Stranger than Fiction?

Are we in a collective, shared and co-created fantasy we call Reality?  Actually there are contemporary physicists who have argued our apparent physical, three-dimensional reality is a holographic projection from the event horizon of a black (or, white) hole. I know, that is mind-stretching to the point we cannot comprehend with our pithy human brains just what that means. But as we deal with a global pandemic and racial rage and mob violence in our streets, our collective story right now does seem to have become rather fantastical.

Panicked woman wearing a face mask against covid-19, she is scared and stressed

Lately I have been watching (and am recording as I write) the film Stranger Than Fiction. I have blogged about it before. The story is about Harold Crick (Will Ferrell) as a tax auditor who comes to realize he is a character in a narrated story about his life, being narrated by an author with writer’s block (Emma Thompson) who always kills her protagonists. A literary professor (Dustin Hoffman) asks Harold to try to figure out if his life story is a comedy or tragic.

The matrix of this movie script leads me to ask what is my own life about and on a bigger canvas, yours; all our lives?

If we look at our current chapter or act or scene as scripted, what is the narrative purpose of the pandemic, the character motivations of the patients and politicians, the doctors and scientists, and people either staying home, risking all to go to work and provide care and service, activists and anarchists, and our neighbors whom we hardly get to see any more? Since not as much as a word is ever wasted in good writing, why is all this occurring, how might it end or develop as a plotline, and what lessons might we all gain if this is—as I expect that it is—composed as a transformational story?

To scale down such a wild hair set of questions born no doubt of my own self-sheltering thought formations, what am I/ are you learning through the challenges and ordeals we are facing?

I am learning to pay greater attention to my dreams and inner guidance.  In fact this ‘time out’ has brought me to a revolutionary, transformative quantum leap moment for turning a page of my own life’s tale: I intend to make yet another Big Move by December or January. Quite to the honoring of epic mythic structure, I am going Home—moving back to the one and only true hometown I have known in this life—where I attended high school and worked for early college summers. Now two hours from my current location, I am feeling inwardly, deeply called to return to my hometown community, at least for awhile.

Maybe my character is seeking an anchor in these decidedly unmoored times. Even though only one of my high school friends—my best high school friend, in fact—is still there, the place itself, a village that is generally a quiet, sleeper community until it becomes an artistic and musical resort town over the summers due to its dynamic performing arts center, is Herself a familiar friend I have always kept tethered to in my heart, a hearth-stone to all of my travels.

images are gratefully from pixabay.com

What about you?  What momentous or meaningful ideas are occurring that could help propel you in your character arc to enact transformational growth or change?  With the time you have for deep reflection—or from the stress you are facing—what fantastical leaps of faith might you be preparing to embark upon?

This is a meaningful passage, ripe for epiphanies.  As such, I am grateful for the gifts that it brings. It is not so much what happens in the world but how we respond to what happens that matters most in our own life story; in this way we are the authors and editors; rather than being merely acted upon, we are agents of self-change.

Sit Still and DO!

Sheltering in place has its opportunities as well as challenges.  On the down side, over time staying home can seem isolating and lonely.  Then it may feel draining.  Time drones on, days and weeks go by with little advancement but for provisioning and maintaining basic contacts by phone and social media.  But on the up side, there are golden opportunities: for solitude and inner processing, and for Doing.

“Sit still and do something” (Paul Twitchell, Stranger By the River) is a Zenlike koan of sorts: a spiritual nugget or seed.  In that context it can mean to be active even while sitting for deep contemplation. Explore your inner cosmos, reflect on life’s lessons, unfold in wisdom and awareness.  But now this phrase can also mean, for me, stay home and yet find ways to be of service to others and to the Whole.

Many of us are fortunate during the current pandemic to have social media and readily available technology.  With these we can communicate by phone or through our computers and other devices; email, FaceTime, Zoom, Skype, Facebook, Google generally and online learning platforms allow us to expand our connections while staying home to provide safety for ourselves and our families.

There is a lot of Doing possible, day by day. For myself I continue to teach online and to write. I attend spiritual discussions online and have learned how to conduct Zoom meetings.    I am helping an elder friend get groceries by adding her items to my Instacart orders. I have also helped send out some positive messages for the general public through placing local Pennysaver ads with my spiritual group that offer online public discussions.

I am finding that, when I can sleep, I am often dreaming deeply, and when I contemplate, that too is  very revealing and helpful. I often go to bed with questions or concerns and wake with answers.

images are from pixabay.com

I do wonder what will result socially after all this staying home and social distancing becomes less necessary.  Are we changing as a society overall to an even more atomistic, socially fragmented population?  Or will we emerge as from a chrysalis, with greater appreciation and gratitude for human and natural connection? Time will tell, but I sense we can benefit greatly if we simply choose to  Sit Still and DO!

The Cultural Meaning of Masking

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As an anthropological linguist, I have been noticing how so few Americans, at least in my local area, are comfortable wearing a mask in public. Despite our state governor Cuomo’s executive order requiring all to wear masks or cloth facial coverings “in public,” in my semi-rural neighborhood and wider small city community few except essential workers who are assigned masks are actually wearing them, to the potential detriment of the whole population. Most instead are relying on “social distancing” by a six foot margin; that behavior is not uncomfortable, at least between strangers.

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I recognize this noncompliant behavior may have to do in part with the “cultural markedness” of masking. Since normally the average person would not wear a mask in public, then wearing one is “marked,” i.e. noticeably different. Further, we have negative cultural associations with people who wear masks: they might be hiding something or they could have criminal or “shady” intentions.  People who wear a mask have something to hide, we may unconsciously believe; they are being deceptive or pretending to be someone or something other than whom they really are.

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Now superheroes are the notable exceptions to our negative masking semantics. “Who was that masked man?” we asked after the Lone Ranger or Spiderman or Batman, for example, had saved the day. Superheroes mask because they are selfless, serving the common Good.

In these days of our confrontation with a deadly villainous global pandemic, to wear a mask is to protect not only yourself but everyone you interact with. Still many feel uncomfortable so they choose not to comply.

We need to establish a “markedness reversal;” to reframe the very meaning now of wearing a mask.

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Wearing a mask in public is a demonstration of humility and caring, of respect for others, of service to the common Good.  None of us knows (unless recently tested) if we have been infected. We might be asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic, and if so, we could be spreading the infection unknowingly.

Be a selfless Superhero!  Wear a mask in public.  You can know privately that when you do so, you are serving the common Good.

When you see someone else masking as you do, give a thumbs up! I would say smile, but of course that gesture may not show except for that kindly twinkle in your eyes. Thank one another. Continue to social distance, but  you can do so while acknowledging how the masks unite rather than separate you from your neighbor.

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We are confronting a common enemy, together.  We need one another.

Give yourself a superhero name or give your neighbor one.  Lovely Lily, Helpful Harry or Generous George.

We are in this together. Wear a mask!

Be Still and Do Something

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Are you spending a lot of time at home these days? Unless you are in an essential service…and bless you if you are!… likely you are sheltering in place as far as possible, as am I.  Yet I am finding that with all the extra demands and stressors I need to deal with day to day, this staying home is becoming like a full time job!

I am reminded of a spiritual kernel:

Be Still and Do Something

There is so much you can accomplish while being still and staying in. Here is a brief list from my current experience. I invite you to compose your own list.

contemplation (active imagination)

meditation or prayer

writing (and editing)

art

reading

conversation (by phone or social media, including

FaceTime, Zoom, Skype)

Online searching

Jigsaw puzzles, crossword puzzles, Soduko

     Ordering groceries or supplies for home delivery (e.g. Instacart, Amazon,                                       WalMart.com)

     Cooking, learning new recipes

What are some activities you are engaged in that I have not covered here?

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images are from pixabay.com

I have opened a book of Rumi poetry to this passage (“No More the Presence”/ Coleman Barks, The Big Red Book):

               No more meanings.

               My pleasure now is with the inner sun, inner moon.

               This giving up has nothing to do with exhaustion.

               I walk from one garden to another,

               waves against my boat, ocean flames refining,

               as fresh as flowers and fish calligraphy.

Are you being beckoned to connect with your own inner guidance?  We are never truly alone!

 

 

 

Just Love

I have had a blog post written on the monthly theme of Listening Closely to Others for over a week, but the magnitude and scope of the global pandemic we are all dealing with makes any words I have to say seem weak and vain. So I am postponing regular themes. Today I just want to write from the heart.

At night before trying to get to sleep in these trying times, I have been sending light and love to the earth and all its beings. I visualize sending love and light from the center of my consciousness that then joins with billions of other souls, both embodied and from higher planes, also sending light and love, like 360 degree waves or globes expanding, intermixing and merging to blanket the entire globe in a golden sea of light, love and purity.

It is important I feel when I participate in this global light and love not to try to direct that love in any way. It is not a prayer or petition; it is not asking for anything to occur, just sending light and love and being detached, releasing that love to the whole.  This detachment is necessary to allow the outpouring of love to be humble and pure.

images are from pixabay.com

So if you wish, Just Love.

Gratitude for All Good Things

While dealing with the every day requirements of sheltering in place during the covid19 threat, lately I have come to realize how, for myself, I find I have much to be grateful for.  An attitude of gratitude helps me to tip the proverbial glass from almost empty to somewhat full.

I am grateful for my current state of good health, knowing that for all of us, that is not to be taken for granted.  My state of health allows me to be here for my home family of Sophie (my Shorkie dog), and Emily, my cat, who depend upon me for their own wellbeing.

I am grateful for my family and friends and for keeping in contact with them day by day.

I am grateful for Love. I perceive Love to be the very fabric of the universe that connects all to one another in all planes of Being and to the Divine, always.  Whatever happens, Love is here and now.  Fear can cast a shadow over our perception of Love but if we can remember to turn our hearts to give and to receive divine love, the light can shine through to dispel the shadows.

I heard a doctor quote from Mr. Rogers the other day: “In times of darkness there are always the Helpers.”  I am grateful for the Helpers, whether health care professionals, compassionate politicians, neighbors and friends, and service workers who deliver supplies and services to those quarantined or staying home.  So quickly have these Helpers become mobilized to serve others in ways unprecedented on the planet Earth.

images are gratefully from pixabay.com

What are you most grateful for today? If this question has become a difficult one for you to consider or to answer because your circumstances may seem anything but fortunate right now, of course I honor your feelings and you are entitled to be where you are at.  Whatever you are experiencing may divine love reach you, bringing some comfort to you and your loved ones.

May the Blessings Be!

For the Good of the Whole

 

What times we have found ourselves mucking around in these days! A global pandemic such as we have not encountered, certainly in America anyway, since the 1918-21 flu epidemic.  As this year’s theme for this blog site is about “Building Bridges,” I feel it is worth noting that underneath the terrible situation we are still trying to get a handle on collectively as well as individually for ourselves and our families, there are some potentially positive undercurrents.

When faced with a common fear or enemy, there can be a unification of otherwise factionalized groups.  We can put aside our differences and come together to share our insights and our resources, our best practices and our compassion, for the Good of the Whole.

May it be so!

I am finding my neighbors are reaching out to each other, checking in on each other to see what may be needed. Spiritual classes that cannot meet at a center or church are starting to occur by phone conference calls or by Skype or Facetime or Teams.  We have ample online resources now so that we can stay connected.  I have found I can order needed supplies and groceries via Instacart for a small fee; they will deliver to your door. Thank heaven for such services and that there are still goods and groceries available.

images are, gratefully, from pixabay.com

We are facing a common dilemma, together.  Hence we are already building bridges and sharing smiles (6 ft. apart!) as we go.  These are difficult times and many are facing peril.  Every single individual matters.  Hopefully we can lessen the dangers as far as possible, so long as we continue to serve the Good of the Whole.

Remember to Smile

 

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Life is precious.

Remember to smile.

Pets giving unconditional love.

Remember to smile.

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Family and friends, and few strangers now.

Remember to smile.

Birds singing Hu-u-u

Remember to smile.

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Sun in the Sky.

All is Love,

Remember, and Smile.

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images (except Sri Harold Klemp) from pixabay.com

 

When You Smile–Not Lost in Translation

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Hi everyone. I apologize for slowing down on blog frequency lately. I am teaching three classes online and trying to complete my next book manuscript (Better Endings!), so I have just been preoccupied.

This month’s theme continues our focus this year on “building bridges” and the theme (same as the title of this post) comes from an experience I had in high school that I have never forgotten. At a drama workshop I took part in an exercise.  One at a time, each student in a group of around ten was put in the center of a circle, with the rest of the group making the circle. The one in the center was to make a statement that they would keep making no matter how much those in the circle tried to override or interrupt the person.

The statement I used when it was my turn in the center was from Crosby, Stills and Nash:

When you smile at me I will understand,

because that is one thing everybody everywhere does

in the same language.

I persisted with this phrase for about ten minutes and gradually the rest of the group relented; they liked what I was saying! So did I.  This statement does carry a universal truth and maybe these days, with so much divisiveness and “tribalism,” we could certainly stand to remember this notion and remeber to SMILE with one another, regardless of anyone’s opinion or angle on ‘truth’ or reality.

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images are from pixabay.com

So that’s enough. This month, I aim to practice smiling more. Next time we can apply this to the conclusion of the story of Hermann Hesse’s Siddhartha, which follows the life of the Buddha. Good reading if you are looking for a respite!

Love Will Find Its Way, May the Blessings Be!

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This month the phrase “Keep Your Heart Open” has been a mantra and a lesson for me. Now I can connect this with its lyrical counterpart:

Love Will Find a Way!

Let’s make that, “Love Will Find Its Way” and we find a Better Endings mantra of positive resolve and acceptance.

Folks, I want to express my deep gratitude to each and every one of you who has been or is currently reading this post. I have so enjoyed the Blogverse this past several years, and some of you have become friends as I have liked reading and viewing your brilliant pieces and I have enjoyed sharing here.

Because my life has suddenly burst open with several new responsibilities and opportunities with which I am happy to engage, after long consideration I am signing off. This is my final post.

May I leave you, in deepest respect for all of your unique and beautiful Soul paths, with a universal mantra, the word HU (sung Hu-u-u-u-u-u on a long drawn-out breath, either aloud or inwardly). This is a breath mantra of divine, unconditional love that I have learned through my spiritual practice of Eckankar.

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images are from pixabay.com

Keep Your Heart Open;

Love Will Find Its Way.

May the Blessings Be to All!

Linda

Deer Vision

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I have had two waking dream concepts recently about my monthly question of ‘Why Am I/ Are We Here?’ I realize now they are two facets of the same idea: “Bubble awareness” and “Deer vision.” Both refer to living mindfully in the Now. Let me begin by exploring Deer Vision, as it seems most relevant to my probe.

In the rural environment I drive through where I am living now, white-tailed deer are abundant. They are such exquisite Beings, playful and loving in their close family groups, able to dive and leap in play with one another. One of my greatest concerns is that I never want to hit one as it would be crossing a road. So, I try to drive always with Deer Vision: looking far enough ahead and driving at such a speed that I could slow or stop in time to avoid injuring a deer.

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Deer Vision also means for me to consider and emulate how a deer sees. Such soft, intelligent eyes these white-tailed deer have. They often make eye contact with me as I stop for them to cross or as I slowly drive past. I imagine that how a deer sees is in energy forms, perceiving and assessing the intentions or consciousness of other denizens of the forest.

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This brings me to the broader notion of Bubble Awareness. From fencing I learned how important it can be to maintain a 360 degree awareness, forming a protective but fluid  ‘bubble’ of attention. This allows responsivity, let’s call it, the flexibility to advance or retreat in the moment without having to consciously “think” about it. When the alter (i.e. the opponent, in fencing) and self are both operating at a high degree of this sort of awareness, the ‘bubble’ envelops them both and they are in it together. I used to call this a ‘peak experience bout.’ But the principle extends to life in general.

I am Here, in part, to exercise Deer Vision within the perspective  of Bubble Awareness: to be attentive and responsive to the needs and opportunities of the Moment, for myself and in relation to all others.

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images are from pixabay.com

To be sure, being (only) human, I do not always achieve or maintain this ideal awareness. The other day while driving and actually mulling over Deer Vision at the time, a beautiful little chipmunk darted out in front of my car. Although I tried to slow down and veered slightly to avoid hitting the chipmunk, the car did run the chipmunk over. Darn!

My very act of trying to avoid the chipmunk may have been what caused the accident to happen, since s/he could not adjust to my change in speed or trajectory. Likewise, when “trying” too hard in life more generally, I often err in my human relations, too. Darn! So, patience with myself, acceptance of my limitations or the limitations of the situation as I/ we aim to see and respond, better.

I welcome YOUR Story and Comments!

 

Eagle with Snake

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While driving in my car via a new route for me, from Ithaca to finally settle in at my new lakeside community retirement house, I watched as a Golden Eagle carried its living prey: a snake, dangling from its beak. The eagle with snake flew in front of my car in my same direction for a long while, weaving back and forth like blazing my trail forward; then it veered off to the northwest, precisely in the direction of my new home.

I certainly accepted this unusual experience as a waking dream, and one that relates greatly to my June question: ‘Why Am I Here?’

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My initial personal associations with this sign include that the Eagle could be understood as an Animus (a masculine energy form) in Jungian terms, with keen vision, sharp talons to provide for its young; also as positive purpose and clear directionality.

Online some of the information I discovered about this image revealed:

  •  Eagles and hawks have the keenest vision of all birds; therefore they are symbols of visionaries and messengers;
  • eagle with snake, in mythology, represents the conflict of opposites (a dialectical, dynamic fusion);
  • the Mexican flag contains the image of a golden eagle on top of a cactus, grasping a snake: “the very image the people had been promised would direct them to the place they would make their new home.”
  • Golden eagles do eat snakes but only as 2.9% of their usual prey; this has not even been reported to occur in New York state.

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images are from pixabay.com

I am grateful for this sign which feels like a blessing for my purpose in my new home. May I serve Life here in whatever capacity I am able.

I welcome YOUR Story and Comments!

Why Are You Here?

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June is my birth month, this year I’ll be 65. I find myself living my dream, now, as I have discovered, purchased, and moved into my dream retirement home in a beautiful natural setting, with a dynamic community, and with excellent regional resources and opportunities. I must admit, this scares me! Will it all come crashing down, too good to be  true? This trepidation reveals to me a self-limiting postulate that I need to confront and resolve in order to go forward with this fresh set of life conditions. My monthly question becomes:

Why Am I Here?

I have always recognized the double entendre of this age-old question, ‘Why are you here?’ Why here, at this physical place and time; or also why Here, in a spiritual sense. These two are connected from the perspective of Purpose. What am I here to do, be, and see? This also relates for me to a search for greater clarity regarding an even deeper concern:

How Can I Serve?

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Wednesday night last week I happened upon a sci-fi movie on TV that I had not heard of before, called “Passengers.” It was about two people on an interstellar spaceship traveling some 88 years to reach a habitable planet. Some 5000 passengers had been cryogenetically suspended for the duration of the voyage, but a malfunction caused one man, Jim, to resuscitate early, and after over a year alone, he revived a woman, Aurora, whom he had developed a fondness toward from watching her autobiographical video records. This was an atrocious act of selfishness as it meant Aurora, too, would die in transit before the ship could arrive at its destination.

(Spoiler alert): After an initial phase of believing Jim’s story that she had awakened accidentally, Aurora becomes enraged after a robotic bartender informs her of Jim’s actions to assuage his own loneliness. But my interest in this story piqued when the ship developed further malfunctions that required Aurora and Jim to work together to repair the vessel if the ship were to reach its destination at all, and for all its passengers to survive as well as themselves. It became a matter of Purpose then; I could surmise from a spiritual perspective that there had been no accidents at all in the revival of this man and this woman, with their particular skillsets and their survivalist personality dispositions. They were needed to save the ship and its passengers, a purpose of collective, not just personal, good. Their lives then took on a heightened significance; they had a purpose, a reason to be who/ what/ where and when they were in their own sojourns of discovery and service.

Already I have had a waking dream about this question, from a conversation with my sister who is a pastor in New England soon to be retiring after more than 40 years of serving as interim pastor in many churches. We arrived at the awareness:

Love Is All There Is.

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images are from pixabay.com

For all of our human questioning as members of an often overly self-conscious species (my dog Sophie and cat Emily do not have this problem!), I do feel that at the foundation of everything–of all sentient experience–is Love: unconditional, untaintable. I sense if I can connect these principles of service and love I can accept that I, like everyone, am indeed here for a greater purpose than personal satisfaction or material success. Therefore I have a right to be Here-Now and am willing to step forward to fulfill whatever service opportunities I can. Already here and now, I am writing!

I welcome YOUR Story and Comments!

Today Is the First Day of the Rest of Your Life

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My Better Endings envisioning based on this month’s personal question (How Best to Start Over, Again?) reminds me to start every day with the postulate, “May I Make of This Day a Good Day.” This reminds me of the old adage, “Today Is the First Day of the Rest of Your Life!”

I have a ninety plus year old friend (let’s call her Bea) who is having some degree of short-term memory loss. Bea always seems happy when I come to visit, as if this were the first time she had seen me for a long time.  She sees every day as an exciting new opportunity for enjoyment and daily blessings.

There was a PBS program years ago that I have never forgotten about the brain. The episode I saw was about a concert pianist who had suffered complete short-term memory loss. In his journal, every page contains the same statement: “This is the first day of my life!” When his wife of forty some years comes to visit him (almost daily), he is overwhelmed by happiness to finally see her again as if he had not seen her for a very long time, though he knows her as the love of his life and welcomes her visit. When this musician would sit behind a piano, he could still play an entire symphony beautifully, but as soon as he would stop playing, he would go through a brief physical convulsion before coming back to his normal, vacant frame of mind.

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images are from pixabay.com

So, what can I learn from people with short term memory loss? Every day is like a whole new lifetime of possibility and potential. Perhaps as in the movie Groundhog Day, every day is a chance to tweak how I would present myself or respond to whatever arises. Without being laden by patterns of thought associated with memories, whether long term or short, I awake each day as somewhat of a tabula rasa, with one more chance to ‘get it right.’ Or if not “right” in any absolute sense, at least each day I can strike out as the best version of myself that is possible, that day.

I welcome YOUR Story and Comments!

Make Every Day a Good Day

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My waking dream this month is from a book called Wisdom of the Heart, by Harold Klemp:

“…life does not give rewards for good

or punishment for evil. It merely gives

results. Life is what you make it.” (pg. 26)

The same author says, “Make every day a good day.”  I found this gem a few days ago and have been using it like a mantra. Each day has been a gem of its own so  far, with new connections, insights and positive motion forward with responsibilities and creative projects.

Starting over–ostensibly alone but for my pet family–carries a full load of worries or trepidation as well as excitement and adventurous, fresh opportunities. Mainly I am faced daily with choices: everything from what Medicare plan to enroll in–as I turn 65 next month–to when it would be best to start social security allotments, how to address health matters, and how best to follow through with new local connections and with my writing and service ambitions.

I am approaching every new day as like a time capsule, using lists to keep me focused on what I need to do each day to fully ‘move in,’ to conquer immediate fears or anxieties, and to shape my new way of life in a new environs. A move is such a golden opportunity to establish yourself in a manner that accords with your current state of consciousness and intentions.

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images are from pixabay.com

I find I truly am now, mainly, gratefully, “living my Dream, Now!” every day. That does not mean everything is smooth sailing. In fact, to move forward consciously requires attending to my habits and thoughts, to choose wisely that which will continue to allow this Dream to unfold naturally and with beauty.

I welcome YOUR Story and Comments!

Carrying Deni

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Week Two of this year’s monthly process at Better Endings invites you to reflect on nightly dreams with regard to a question you have posed in Week One (or any time).

This month for me my significant dream has preceded the statement of my question, and has influenced it. My question is about Starting Over (see last post) after having retired and relocated far from my familiar life of the past 25 years. Not having a lifelong spouse or children due to choices made along the way, this major shift of location and new social community can seem overwhelming some times, though my dear dog and cat companions and being closer geographically to my family members and returning to be reacquainted with some very old friends are welcome blessings.

Recently I have been rudely awakened to the distance I have created from my Colorado friends as a very dear friend there (as well as another dear friend further away) has become afflicted with a debilitating illness and I feel sad and helpless not to be able to be there to lend a hand and provide direct support. Thus, “starting over, again” has a sad element of separation and anguish regarding loss of the mobility to be with especially my friend Denise in Colorado.

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So, the dream. In this dream another Colorado friend and I are going to pick up Denise–who is the one suffering now–to bring her with us to visit a third friend who is in the hospital (in the dream). I go to “pick up” my friend Denise quite literally, for her body is shrunken and she is unable to move about on her own. I pick her up in both arms rather awkwardly and ineptly and she says, “Hold me like a log.” When I awoke (just after that) I realized that holding someone like a log could mean with both arms outstretched and holding the body up toward my chest. Or, it could mean I am to see my friend’s or anyone’s body itself as just “like a log,” dead weight so to speak, as versus the dynamic, beautiful and vibrant, free spirit/ Soul my friend is and will always Be.

When I awoke and reflected on this brief dream I still felt sad for my friend’s condition, but I also felt encouraged. Time and geographical distance shift and forms of life and relations bend and change, but Soul to Soul connections, camaraderie, unconditional love do not fade and can persist despite outward facts and conditions. I love my friends; friendship has always been the bedrock of my life despite a lifelong theme of Relocation to pursue, first my family’s and later my own primary quests: educational, career-based, and spiritual.

So how this dream helps me answer my probe about how to best approach starting over (yet again) is to suggest that a life based in love, friendship and service is never truly solitary; and that friendship is eternal, spiritually if not always in the outer form.

That is all I can say, for now.

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I welcome YOUR Story and Comments about your own monthly–or lifelong–Quest.

Starting Over, Again

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At 65 next month, I feel I am starting over. Recently retired and this week completing a year’s stint as adjunct faculty far from my tenure of 25 years in Colorado, I have a second new home, no more classroom teaching after 40 years (though still teaching online), and a wide new community and lake environs to explore and to connect with.

I am grateful for the opportunities ahead without knowing what is ‘out there’ beyond the new horizons. My monthly question (inviting you to choose your own) is about how to  proceed with the greatest aplomb into this next Chapter; how to step forth into new territory with more mindful awareness, an openness to real change, and the dedication to implement my potentials through various forms of service. How am I to start over, having moved away from longtime friends and environs?

I open this month’s query with a poem, my first poetic impulse for over two decades:

Now Settled In Me

These days I traverse mindscapes

accompanied solely by voices from within,

now settled in me:

Friends I may never again visit bodily

remain; constant companions

alongside Masters and guides,

memories and silent vistas.

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I welcome YOUR Story and Comments!

 

 

The Room of Requirement

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Last Sunday around 1:30 AM I discovered a “room of requirement,” right here in my new home! Immediately I recognized this was a waking dream confirming my emerging insight this month, that Love Matters (answering my monthly question: “How Can/ Does Love Really Matter After All?”).

I was in bed with my two pets Sophie (a Shorkie dog) and Emily (my orange tabby cat), looking forward to a restful sleep after being up late the night before.  Sophie started barking; I listened and heard a ‘drip, drip, drip, coming from the living room. It was raining outside, and when I got up to check it out I found my sliding porch door had sprung a leak, endangering the new wood flooring!

My first effort to plug the hole was to use a roll of “magic tape” I found in a kitchen drawer. This prevented the drip temporarily, but I knew it would not hold up through the night.  I live about 30 minutes from the nearest store that would be open 24 hours and have sealing materials and I did not wish to go out.

I went into the guest bathroom to use the toilet while asking inwardly, what could I do? For the first time ever, suddenly I noticed a door behind the bathroom door that I had never seen or been told about. It was a linen closet. Inside were not only extra towels but also a large red emergency kit. In the kit was an unopened package containing a roll of “absolute waterproof tape”!

I recognized this immediately as a gift of love from Spirit/ the Universe (call It what you wish!) in my time of need. This reminded me of the Room of Requirement from the Harry Potter saga.

The Absolute Waterproof tape worked to seal off my interior leak through the night. In the morning then I went to a store and came back to seal the sliding door both outside and inside. Mission accomplished.

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images are from pixabay.com

So What’s Love Got to Do With It/ How Can Love Matter? I believe “Soul Exists Because God (/the Universe…) Loves IT.”  In times of need, when you ask, even with the smallest of need as also with the greatest, It CAN embrace you and bring real solutions or balm for your anguish.  Sometimes, as I have found, we just need to be open to ACCEPT the love that Spirit brings in the Moment.

As my Better Endings story for this month of April 2019 then, I simply acknowledge:

Love Matters!

Because of this, I am okay, no matter what, wherever I am and whatever circumstances or conditions I encounter. Gratitude for all good things received and trust in the goodness of Spirit can lift our hearts to soar with the angels and is ever with us in times of need.

I welcome YOUR Story and Comments!

Stephen Hawking from the Other Side (or, What’s Love Got to Do With It?)

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This year we are exploring and pursuing our dreams here at Better Endings. Each month I invite you to put forth a deep personal question that relates to your high spiritual quest, let’s say, for it pertains to your greatest sense of mission or life purpose, in this life or beyond.

After posing your question (week 1) I encourage you to pay attention to and record your nightly dreams (week 2), then to contemplate your waking dreams and emerging insights about your question (week 3), so by the end of the month (week 4) you can compose/ write a Better Endings story or scenario about how best to incorporate what you have learned into your future Life Path.

I am excited this week from a dream I had yesterday morning (4/9) and to reflect on how it pertains to my own monthly personal question (but, please use your own): What’s Love Got to Do With It? (or, Does/ How Can Love Matter?)

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In my dream I am at a campus of—truly—Higher Learning (n.b., always use present tense in recalling your dream). First I am visiting a sports field where teams dressed in white and azure blue are playing a game akin to soccer except they use thought impulses to propel or to counter the ‘ball’ along the field a to goal area. A middle-aged appearing man approaches the field to observe the game with us from the right. I think to myself, ‘Is that Stephen Hawking?’—from his shock of hair though it is reddish here, and from his lithe step…until I realize this man is not in a wheelchair, which throws me at first.

Then I wheel/ drive a wheeled chair vehicle to carry a friend (woman, semitic appearing) to a special meal event. (This part was so important in my dreaming that it had an instant replay so I would be sure to recall it on waking.) The guest of honor at this honorary meal was indeed Stephen Hawking! This time he appeared more like I would envision him though he was seated upright and without any wheelchair or speech problems.

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The people who had organized and were hosting this special event are two of the greatest spiritual leaders I have been fortunate to know: Luisa and Gordon (last names not used here for their privacy), who are superb leaders with a spiritual group I have been associated with in Colorado. Several other guests at the table include a couple of other folks from that group and some special, once famous bright thinkers who have ‘passed on.’

Hawking shares a new insight he has gained since translating his form into the higher planes with the death of his physical form. Luisa observes that the principle he is describing could help ‘the Poor’ (though she qualifies that she is not yet sure if she would support such use for the sake of wanting people to strengthen rather than being dependent on quick solutions). Hawking agrees. He says that ‘students’ can, ‘even now’ (i.e. in the Physical, I surmise) use this principle to create abundance to meet their immediate needs, by manifesting through some sort of feedback loop effect, “reflecting (thought? spirit?) back on itself.” This statement is so astounding and exciting to me in the ‘dream’ that I wake up immediately on hearing this (btw, a good way to remember an important lucid dream message is to train yourself to wake up right then).

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So, “What’s Love Got to Do With It?” Everything. My bigger question about Love this month is ‘(How) Can Love Matter?’ which itself more deeply asks: Is there (after all) a meaning and purpose or positive results from living this (i.e. a particular) lifetime? As Love Is All, the basic fabric of the Universe and all things and Spirit Itself that fills such universe (my view), What/How Can Love Matter (“in the End”)?

In this dream of Stephen Hawking continuing to grow and share his uniquely gifted insight from Beyond in an after this lifetime context, well then, Wow!

Love/ Life/ It CAN and often DOES Matter, Very Much!

A lifetime of experience is not wasted and provides spacetime for developing or honing awareness and, hopefully, wisdom. We are unfolding this individualized awareness and character not just in a single lifetime (my belief includes the assumption of reincarnation to the point of eventually transcending even that); and not only in our current bodies that carry us along for a life cycle, but beyond that as well.

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images are from pixabay.com

It comes down to what we can do with the love we have expressed and the awareness gained in a lifetime of focused experience. The old adage, “you can’t take it with you” does not abide here. True enough, we do not take or physical body nor our material acquisitions with us as we translate from this lifetime into the next/ other dimensions. But we do retain our individualized consciousness as a facet of our higher Soul awareness, a spark of divine wisdom, a molecule in the creative fountainhead, from the Ocean of love/life force Itself (my limited view, of course).

So, goodbye to Despair! This has been my deeper concern over the past few monthly themes. (This) lifetime can/ does/ shall matter, for Love is All, the source and basis of all transcendent awareness. This reminds me of a useful insight:

“Soul is a happy entity.

IT cannot be any other way.”

(Paul Twitchell)

I welcome YOUR Story and Comments

What’s Love Got to Do With It? (Love Matters)

Hi All, I am merging week One and Week Two topics this time because the author interview posted last week came through unexpectedly, and I was asked to share that.

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This past month has brought difficult news about two of my good friends who are facing very difficult health conditions. Both are facing their conditions with strength and some degree of appropriate humor, but they are facing the impending mortality of their physical bodies and the mysterious transition of spirit which that entails. As I ask myself what should my monthly contemplation question be for April, I hold my friends dearly in my heart as I ask, “What Is (the Value of) Love?” or maybe more specifically, “What’s Love Got To Do With It?” Because Love seems to be what matters most in dealing with issues of life and transition.

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When I was in high school in the turbulent early 1970’s, my father once grounded me because he said I “do not know what love is.” We were at a restaurant with the family for a Sunday brunch. Dad made some negative comment about the Beatles, especially John Lennon. I said boldly,

“All they are singing about is Love!”

For this Dad grounded me for a month, to think more deeply about the true meaning of love (to be generous with his motivation; actually he just didn’t like for anyone to challenge or contradict him in public). But I have never forgotten this experience and have often asked myself, at every new stage or transition of my life:

“Do I truly know what Love Is?  What Is Love, Really?”

This means, for me: why is love so important; am I truly capable of love or of being loved; and what does/ how can love matter, for I sense it is the most important state of consciousness one can have/ develop/ give/ receive/ share. I have come to believe that “Love is All!;” that at the base of any vital experience IS Love, a fountainhead of grateful bounty and blessings, the foundation of a true harmonious connection with another being or with nature or with our own higher Self, Spirit, and Divinity Itself; or else, the apparent lack of love, an emotional or spiritual vacuum.

In all, my best understanding so far is simple:

Love Matters.

So this shall be my personal growth question for this month, about how love matters and how the fact of Love, as an unconditional spiritual force, matters to the continuation and transformations of Life. I am reminded at the start of one of my favorite songs ever, about Love. It happens to be by the Beatles. (You may Click here to listen.)

In My Life

(by Paul McCartney, John Lennon)

There are places I’ll remember
All my life, though some have changed
Some forever, not for better
Some have gone and some remain
All these places have their moments
With lovers and friends I still can recall
Some are dead and some are living
In my life, I’ve loved them all

But of all these friends and lovers
There is no one compares with you
And these memories lose their meaning
When I think of love as something new
Though I know I’ll never lose affection
For people and things that went before,
I know I’ll often stop and think about them
In my life, I love you more
In my life– I love you more

 What is YOUR question for the month of April? I invite you to set your focus question as a contemplation seed for personal growth.

I welcome YOUR Story and Comments!