Life After Life…

I share a poem this week, in loving honor of two excellent friends, one of whom has recently passed on, and the other now facing her physical mortality and her spiritual freedom:

 

The Tide Rolls Out

On the incoming wave

comes the bounty:

times spent with friends

laughing, loving,

serving Life together

day by month by year

by decades shared in the fellowship of Soul.

 

Then the wave breaks

against the rocky shoals,

sends shimmering mist

that dissolves

any rigid formations.

 

Now as I watch

the tide rolls out

carrying the tiniest gems

of eternal blessings, holographic

universes of light and sound

memories

rolling back to the Source

 

never to be washed away

nor forgotten.

images are from pixabay.com

Gratitude for All Good Memories and Lessons

As I have been contemplating the goal of Release this month, I have wanted to call this post “Releasing the Past.” This led me to consider all the good memories from my past that I would first honor and then release. Thus includes lessons from the past that I wish to acknowledge and ground in consciousness in order to have grown from their occurrence.

So I wish to take stock this week of all I am most grateful for, both in the present and from past events or experiences that have ultimately brought me to where I am today.

Yet this is a private exercise, to make a list of what I am grateful for in order to embrace those gifts and lessons in order to move forward with greater awareness. So I invite you to compse your own Gratitude List. What gifts and lessons would you wish to acknowledge, ground mindfully, and then release?

images are from pixabay.com

I will share but one. I acknowledge with gratitude how my closest family and friends have accepted me and made room for me in their hearts despite my many human frailties and limitations. Aspiring to excel or to do well in some arenas has meant not developing so well in other facets of life, specifically in terms of the full spectrum of social relations. I tend to be introspective to the point of preferred introversion, often avoiding or leaving early from social gatherings. I appreciate my family and friends who have usually been more outgoing than I am, though they are also deep and thoughtful Souls. To the extent I do reach out more to others than I once did, it is because of these family and friends who have demonstrated what unconditional love and trust can be.

The Times of Your Life

Stairway to heaven

So, have you composed a list of the significant events of your life that have shaped you as the person you are today? (If not, I invite you to take some time to reflect. You can read Sunday’s post for some background.) This list does not have to be assembled in chronological order, though it may help to plot these events along a timeline, as in the example that follows:

 

Age _#1__#3__#2__#4__…___current age

6y     8y   16y  16.5y  …

This timeline simply reflects the order in which you recalled the events (#s) and your year of age when it occurred. Allow yourself to recall events forward or backwards along the timeline, gradually representing the significant shaping situations and events of your life up to now.

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If you prefer to represent these shaping experiences in terms of phases (for some or all of them), then you can demarcate time frames along your timeline, as follows:

Age _#1___#2___  … _current  age

{2-5 y }      10y

The important thing is to represent your life events and situations in a manner that is meaningful to you, so that when you look at the record of events plotted along this timeline it reflects the punctuating moments or phases of your Life Story.

For each event or time frame, be sure to write a brief description of the event (in a separate log) so you can reconstruct which events you recalled quickly while reading across your timeline.

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If you would like, you can add computer icon images to represent meaningful factors you associate with some of your events, as follows:

                      house4-01-111413-1754 (1)

Age  _#1___#2__…__ current age

4 y           6y

 

For now it is enough just to represent a set of shaping events from early childhood up to today. This will start your process of reconstructing your life as a Story with meaningful experiences, challenges, joys and sorrows. Everyone has a Life Story to tell and reconstructing that story can help to illuminate patterns or trends that reveal your significant lessons and gifts.

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I welcome your insights and questions.

Your Formative Influences (with interactive stories/ comments)

 

Grand Palace. A temple Wat Phra Kaew

April felt like an Orphan through much of her childhood; though she was the middle child of five she always felt—somehow—like an outsider. She slept in odd places: basements, attics, as if she was always trying to be somewhere else. She did have friends in her sisters and a best friend. Her introverted nature led her to books and games of creative fantasy. Then she discovered writing: poetry, journals, science fiction/ fantasy, and later, anthropology: other vistas, other worlds.

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What personal character qualities have you developed as a result of the influences you can identify in your Origin Story (“I am who I am today because…”)?

Two ways to review and reflect on how your Formative Influences have affected you include:

1)  Try writing in a narrative story fashion, as practiced in the story above . This is a reflective, subjective approach. It’s a fine way to express how the FEELINGS of your Inner Self have developed; or

2)  You can review your shaping experience factors from significant memories, identifying kinds of influences. This is more of an ‘objective’ or descriptive approach.  

The most common influences people mention affecting “I am who I am today because…” include:

  • People, especially family members/ parents or siblings; also friends, mentors, or role models
  • Events  with either strong  positive or negative impacts
  • Belief systems
  • Educational influences
  • Actions (by others or your own)
  • Choices and their consequences

For me, while the story above expresses my subjective responses to early influences, I could also  identify more specific shaping factors:

E.G.:

#1: Family: a mixed bag because my father’s highly critical nature affected my early shyness/ introversion; still in retrospect I learned so much: excellence as a work ethic standard; support from/of my siblings and others; I was my father’s 2nd son while a teen (waxed car, mowed & trimmed lawn; was somewhat a scapegoat and learned to placate my father in a codependent way); I became an athlete/fencer through college years which helped me to develop a stronger character. I learned to be outwardly tough when needed, though inwardly I was oversensitive and harbored an inferiority and shyness complex as the “runt of the family/ unattractive” compared with siblings;

 #2: Friends, including my companion pet friends:  loyalty, companionship, caregiving, honesty, enjoyment of life; but also loss, and how to overcome codependency;

#3: Beliefs, which have led me to adopt spiritual practices of daily contemplation, dream journaling, and that have involved me in many group leadership roles and opportunities and allow me to feel connected with people from several circles;

#4 Education: knowledge, awareness, social connections, a love of teaching,  mentors

#5 Writing (and Reading): always an avocation and a professional vocation (journaling, poetry, philosophy, dream journals, sci-fi, academics, personal development genres); continually expanding.

OVERALL: These influences have led to a life pattern of INCORPORATIVE GROWTH and Individuation / Introspection/ Adaptability

As I review this list of my Formative Influences as an example of how you might develop your own Origin Story, I notice that without intending to do so, I have recreated precisely the set of Life Themes that appear in my basic Life Map. (I’ll be offering some activities to help you to identify some of your own Life Themes and to construct a basic Life Map in coming weeks.)

 fire place

What factors have helped you to develop your most positive character traits?  Which, instead, have posed challenges or have led to fears, inhibitions or self-limiting concepts?

You may experiment by writing from who you are internally, based on your Origin Story. This could be in any medium: narrative, poetry, photo montages, a collage,...

Hints: Regard yourself as the central protagonist of your own Life Story (as you are!). What are your hopes? Fears? Expectations? Conflicts? Patterns? Goals? Basic Feelings? What are your Needs?

Later I will be inviting you to reflect on some of these influences from your Forge of Experience in relation both to your recurring Life Themes and to some “Archetypal” qualities you will be able to identify that are unconscious companions, intrinsic parts of your holistic Self that form an “ensemble cast” of potential Ally characters.

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Please remember one thing as you begin to explore your own Life Path: You are absolutely unique (Margaret Mead would add, “just like everybody else!”) There has never been and there never will be again, ever in the entire history of Creation, the specific person, with the unique Soul/character consciousness that YOU ARE!! Your unique character and consciousness are the basis of and contain the seeds of your greatest potentials; they carry the Life Dream that you alone have the Responsibility along with the definite CAPACITY to Realize!

dreams-dont-materialize

Above slide from : Ajaytao

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I welcome your Comments, Insights and Stories!

(I intend for this site to be interactive and open to all points of view/ backgrounds. I received by email the story below from Gail. Anyone who wishes to share your process with these “life mapping” prompts, please do! I will assemble your stories below the current post and also I will reply to all Comments. Feel free to respond to another’s stories or comments, too.-Linda)

From Gail (5/29/14):

I never have been interested in ordinary horses i.e. Appaloosa, Arabian, etc. I since probably around five or so have had a white Pegasus. The gender changes and sometimes it’s appearance. The tail might have a pink or blue tip. In our travels the forehead always has a star where the third eye is located. Whether doing Soul Travel or musing about a country, state, or city it is my usual choice of transport.
I am originally from the state of Hawaii and now live in Texas. When I was in highschool I went to San Diego. It was for Girl Scouts what the event was I don’t remember. This was the first time I had ever come to the U.S. mainland. It cemented in the physical my understanding I would not remain in Hawaii. When I was 26 I got my first job in Nebraska and
have lived in several states since then.
I had a hard time learning to be a trustworthy person. When I was in Girl Scouts I made a friend who told me something in strict confidence. I have always regretted telling a few people just because I could. Over the years I have learned to keep confidences and be a good listener. Most of my friends, the special ones who I can trust and discuss anything, number about four and they are sisters in ECK. I have one friend who has been in my life since we were three and four. She has a different religious preference and we both practice them with enthusiasm and total commitment. Although we have political
differences and our views are different as to what happens after death we respect that each of us is a child of God. We maintain contact several times a month.
Dear Gail:
Thanks for sharing your story about what has ‘made you who you are today’! You mention Spiritual visionary experiences, plus Moves/ travel, and Friends/ the value of trust. You have shared in earlier comments that outwardly you are visually challenged, so I love how you describe your Pegasus in colorful terms (I have similar stories I could share!); you find spiritual liberation with your soul travel adventures, and that is what you mention first, and last, so it reveals your Core. You also mention Trust as a factor you are exploring in your life; a ‘part’ of you appears to have issues with Trust because of perhaps some early memories and significant life experiences. I believe I might be able to help you explore that aspect, later with the Life Path mapping tools here. Please continue step by step with the tools I’ll set out here, of course if you feel so inclined. I will be building these prompts step by step to gradually open up some deeper areas for people. – Linda

 

Your Life in Bubbles

First, A big THANK YOU to Tatyana, for your heartfelt poems that you shared with us yesterday about how your wonderful mother found you and you gave her the beautiful family you two share! It is amazing how you have grown from your experience so that now you are reaching out to help others! – Linda

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FOR TODAY:

If you haven’t completed the Life Mapping Activity for this week (see right sidebar), you may do so now. Write a list of 12 of your life’s significant events. These are events that have influenced or shaped “the person you have become”. It doesn’t matter in what order you write these down; just let them come forth as you remember them. The Wednesday prompt list (January 1) might help you to trigger some memories.

List 12 Significant Life Events before continuing.

Next, find a way to arrange these twelve events in a manner that is meaningful to you. How are they interrelated, and not? You can place the events (numbered or captioned) along a timeline, raising them above, below or on the line depending on their relative positive, negative (or both) impact on your life. Or you might wish to represent them in a circle, placing them in bubble clusters depending on how they relate to one another. Be creative; find a way to arrange these events that is meaningful to you.

Save your “life mapping” chart or picture to use with next week’s follow-up activity. Feel free to share yours if you would like (you could scan it in and send it as a jpg. image if you wish; see the Submit menu tag). There is also still time, until Saturday night, to submit your Story of the Week about how, in retrospect or maybe surprisingly, a significant event in your life has led to Better Endings.

I welcome your Comments and insights! THANK YOU to new followers (and continuing ones)! I invite you to get the most you can from this blog by participating in the activities and sharing your insights!