Years add wisdom, difficulties build strength, love moves mountains, tears nourish growth, dreams reveal purpose, character buries superficiality...Truth IS.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Ode to Baby Chicken



It is a very somber day in my household, and there is very palpable empty space in my heart and my home. 

THE GIFT

Two summers ago, while sitting at my dining room table, I heard a faint cry outside of my window.  Every time I would get up to go to the window, it would stop.  It sounded much like a very tiny kitten, though it also could have been a bird--I was uncertain.  I went outside to investigate under the bush that is planted outside of my window...I could see nor hear anything.  I would make 3 trips outside to investigate what I was hearing before I would spot this tiny (approximately 4-week old kitten) propped up on my basement window sill underneath an addition.  In front of her, in the dirt, there were two dead adult birds in what looked like a shallow hole dug in the soft, dusty soil under there.  Her face had scabs on it, like she had been attacked by something.  She was wild and didn't want anything to do with me.  She looked to be very skinny and frail, so I attempted to coax her out with a little soft food...to no avail.  A neighbor's handy-man saw me out there investigating and asked me if he could help.  He put a glove on his hand and crawled under the addition and retrieved this little feline baby.  I kept her crated and offered her some soft food and "mother's milk" supplement and watched her eat.  Right away, I began looking for a home for this beautiful little girl.  She was mostly spotted, and I began to think that maybe she was a hybrid of some sort or mixed with one and that maybe she was a dumped runt that wouldn't be worth charging for or something.  I'd never seen a domesticated cat quite so spotted.  She also had long black hairs that grew over the tips of her ears and these stunning blue/green eyes.  I felt confident that I could find her a suitable home--but I knew that I would have to work with her to get her acclimated to human contact.   She graduated from the crate into a spare bedroom, where I would attempt to get her socialized a bit.  It took about a week before she wouldn't dart and hide when I entered the room...a couple more days before she would allow me to touch her without cowering...or running away..but soon, she warmed up quite nicely.  From there, I left the door to that room open for her to investigate the place at her leisure and pace.  I kept trying to get someone else to see what a beauty she was and offer her a loving home...and she found one..MINE. 

THE NAME GAME

Until SHE became pregnant, she was called "little mans"...and then...well, we had a dilemma..she was definitely not a he.  She was; however, a little tom-boy, was very rough, claws ALWAYS out at play, she bit, and was VERY high-strung.  She seemed to never quite relax...always in high-alert.  I don't think I ever really saw her sleep--until she was with kittens.  She began to slow down a lot as her belly began to protrude...she got wider than she was tall or long.  She was a very TINY little thing--never got really big.  So...all things considered, we had give her a name...little mans just was not gonna work.   I began to call her Dots...and then because she also had stripes, that turned into Dots-n-Dashes...and then Bits-n-Pieces...because she was so tiny...and then just Bitty.  Then it became BP/DD.  She had this tiny little "beeping" meow...so we thought BPDD was apropos.  However, my girls have this thing for calling the cats "chickens" because of the way they lay with their front arms and paws hidden underneath them...and look basically like...well...a chicken--and so then her name just became "Baby Chicken."

HOW BABIES CHANGE YOUR LIFE

We watched this roughed-up, wild cat turn into a soft, very loving and very protective mother.  She gave birth to 4 kittens, 3 boys and one girl.  She incidentally got pregnant by my male cat who at the time had not been neutered yet.  She was so nurturing-- and her demeanor became soft and relaxed.  Once the kittens had all gone to their forever homes, she became so affectionate and sweet.  All of the wild inside her had been tamed by motherhood and trust built with her caretakers.  She began to let her guard down and integrate into the family.  We LOVED her.  So sweet, so affectionate, so quiet and laid back...never a bit of trouble out of her EVER.  She didn't claw the furniture, she asked politely to go outside and to be fed, and waited patiently for both.  She was the ideal cat--not to mention...she was stunningly beautiful with those bright eyes and small tuft of white fur on her chest that melted into a caramel-color going down her legs and up her shoulders that then became defined by her spots and stripes.  She was our Baby Chicken.  You would just say her name and she would appear on your lap and begin loving you up--much like a loving and obedient dog. 

Today...I awoke to pools of blood all over the house...all of the animals were inspected and present...except Baby Chicken.  I searched everywhere for our tiniest family member...and not a peep or sighting of her.  I looked inside and outside...I feared the worst.  I feared she had hidden herself to die--much like cats do when they can't just go outside to do it.  I was panicked and very afraid...there was a LOT of blood all over the house...pools, spatter...in every room, up the staircase.  It was like a nightmare.  She finally appeared but she was very weak with a steady stream of blood coming from her nose.  She was also coughing it up.  I KNEW I would be losing her today.  I just knew it.  We took her to the vet where we were told it presented much like rat poison toxicity--though they were unclear.  What they DID know was that she was not clotting and that her blood looked much like "red Kool-Aid" and had no viscosity at all to it.  Some of the differentials that were thrown around were thrombocytopenia, feline leukemia...but as far as the blood disorder, the causative factor was unknown unless they investigated it.  What was apparent was that she was critically anemic and was very acutely ill and it was inevitable that she would expire from this unless "heroic measures" were taken...and even those were iffy in bring her back from her critical state.  She was conscious, her bright eyes still sparkling, but was very weak and appeared to be oxygen starved.   I asked to go see her one more time...my daughter and I opened the cage they had her in and petted her and spoke softly to her.  She looked intently at us for a moment and then laid on her side and stretched her body out, nuzzled my hand as I stroked her, began to close her eyes...I decided I wanted to hold her...and this is when I knew that the decision was made for me BY her.  She had no energy whatsoever, but fought with everything she had to get out of my arms and back into the cage--where she immediately laid down facing the back of the cage.  From that point, we could not even get her to look at us when whispered her name. She laid down and stared intently at the back corner of the cage as if to say "LEAVE me here...let me go..I am resigned...this is good-bye."

You see, animals have a soul and a spirit...they LOVE...they LIVE...and so they readily recognize life and love.  They have MORE of an insight and acceptance of the end of THIS life as well.  They know when it is time...and in their own way...are merciful in their departure from their loved ones.  I think she knew it was already killing us...they sense this stuff...and I think that she knew how much more difficult it would be for us if she were to be more accommodating to our attempts to comfort her (and ourselves).  I think this is why a dying cat will just about kill themselves to get out of the house and away from everyone to die alone...so that their "people" will not have to witness their departure.  I then struggled with the question of the receptionist there "do you want to stay"....I wanted SO badly to hold her and love her "home"...but I just couldn't.  I guess that makes me weak...but definitely NOT unfeeling--I was overwhelmed by feeling.  I took the cue that she wanted to make this transition alone. 

So today, I came home with one less family member.  I cannot describe the feeling.  It is like there is a space notched out of the air I breathe, the area I take up, and the place I rest that is just empty.  It really isn't the same--and I can feel it.  There is a heaviness and a restlessness in my spirit  that cannot, at this point be comforted or calmed.  I am sad...very sad.  I feel so deeply the loss of this tiny baby girl in this house.  She was so young and so sweet....and did not deserve to die this way.  I rescued her...and she gave me her trust...and there is no other bond quite so strong as mutual respect and trust....patience and love.  She was a keeper and now she is gone and I am left to mourn the loss of a life that touched mine so very deeply. 

THE THINGS A PET WILL TEACH YOU IF YOU PAY ATTENTION

You can be abandoned, mistreated, left behind, tossed away....and you can be taken in, shown great kindness and compassion, be built up and taken in. 

You can be untrusting of people and situations that differ from what you've experienced....and someone can be patient with you and earnestly gain an unbreakable trust through a sincere attempt to offer love.

You can be cold and hungry and very afraid...and someone can offer you shelter, warmth, nourishment and security.

You can be a nothing to one person and mean everything to another.

You can have a tiny stature but take up immense space in the hearts of those who love you.

You can be "the baby" and a mother at the same time.

You can appear in someone's life at a time when it seemed to be the worst time for it...and you can leave it the same way. 

You can love unconditionally and not even realize it.

There is no difference between burden and privilege or the rescuer and rescued.

Animals have a soul and a spirit....they live, they breathe, they teach and they learn...they communicate without words and draw the greatest bonds of love known to man. 

To my Baby Chicken....I feel blessed that your short stay here was with me and my family and that you're now home safe with my family that went before you.  I asked my dad to carry you over and I know he did.  I will sorely miss you until the sting of your absence becomes more bearable, but I will never forget you or the contribution you made to my life by nothing more than your presence.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

WAKING UP--Seek No Other Teacher Than That of Your Own Truth.

Good Morning All!
As I sit here this morning, drinking my freshly-ground and brewed coffee, made just the way I like it, I am overwhelmed with feelings of immense gratitude for my life, and all that I have. 

If I were to make this blog post a confessional of sorts, I would have to be honest enough to say that I haven't always been this appreciative.  I haven't always defaulted to gratitude.  I've bitched and moaned, felt sorry for myself, felt I deserved better or more.  I've been stuck in hostility and resentment over the choices of others that directly effected me and my life in some way. I've been disappointed when others ignored or avoided my need for compassion, assistance and/or affection when I needed it the most--when I would have been the first one reaching out to them in the same circumstances. Sure...I AM human--and probably one of the most pressing and dire needs of a human being is to feel as if they matter..that they are seen...that they are in some way an important and vital part of this life and all that manifests within it.  But, which is more important...how I feel about myself and understand myself...or how others see and understand me?

I recently read an article about the tendencies, behavior, and the exquisite emotional intelligence of "empaths."  Scoff at the "label", and laugh at its implication if you must, but it struck a major chord with me.  Though everyone could read the same article and say they share some of the same characteristics SOME OF THE TIME, or have experienced them at one time or another..there are probably very few who would say that it is a daily cross they bear or a struggle they enter into from the time they awaken in the morning that goes with them every minute of the day--that they really cannot escape...even in sleep.  It went on to explain that the less an empathic person understands about their immense capability to "feel" their way through life, the less grounded they are and go on to become.  Therefore, it is very accurately expressed that those who have this sometimes annoying and most times downright frightful capability need to seek to understand, accept, and incorporate this innate and mysterious part of them into their daily lives in order to be spiritually wise as well as grounded in reality and lead a balanced life. 

I am a chronic researcher, probably because my curiosity has absolutely no boundary.  I have to dig to the bottom of everything....I seek to understand...I want to know...but I am content to WAIT for the answers if they are not the immediate result of my research.  I've learned that there are just some things that need the space and time to unfold before you.  However, in order for me to recognize it when it happens, I have to remain aware, follow the signs, and rely on my ability to recognize patterns and my inner radar to detect "a disruption in the force."  I 've come to understand that  a concentrated focus on a specific answer leaves room for manufacturing what would be a more acceptable and pleasing outcome.  The answers that are most valuable and important are those that come to you without a concerted effort through a state of open awareness. I've always been sensitive to people's feelings and their behavior, and I've also become quite curious about the workings of the mind and nature and how they interact with one another to create the life we lead.  It is a completely natural happenstance for me to just sit back and observe everything that goes on around and inside of me.  I tend to "catch" things that others have no idea I am experiencing.  I rather enjoy the bit of comic relief this provides to me at times--when I cannot believe that people have NO clue how they are coming off to others.  I am not big on lip service, nor am I swayed by campaign.  I DIAL right in on what is behind and underneath it all...it comes completely naturally to me.  I can pretty accurately spot a fraud, and I can also just as astutely recognize the "real deal."  This is my greatest gift and blessing...though it took me half of my life to figure it out how to apply this gift to my overall intelligence.  I spent many years martyring myself before the undeserving because my bent toward compassion and feeling another's pain was permitted to run wild apart from my better judgment.  I was convinced that my over-active empathy and compassion for others was my best asset and so I became totally invested in exerting all of my energy source to that.  What I found was that although it served me in a way to be able to say and believe "I gave (them) the BEST of me"...I also had to face the fact that THAT was a lie.  The best of me would be the BALANCED ME...The real me...ALL of me.  That includes the part of me that KNOWS they have the capacity to dig themselves out of the mess they got themselves into, the part of me that recognized the story didn't necessarily match the facts,the body language didn't integrate at all with the facial expression... the part of me that really wanted to tell them..."FIGURE IT OUT...I don't know what to tell you."  BUT...the part of me that I felt to be selfish, uncaring, and unsympathetic...(ya know...all the "bad" parts of me).  I could NEVER allow those bad things to enter into a GENUINE and AUTHENTIC exchange...that would make me FEEL bad about myself.  So there you have it folks...the confession of a textbook EMPATH.

It wasn't until I realized how much it TOOK from me to GIVE so "unselfishly" to others that I began to understand how I had misused this gift of sensitivity. It is VERY true that we teach others how to treat us. I accept full responsibility, though I also forgive myself for my naivety and ignorance.  I really had no idea how self-sabotaging I had allowed the better part of me to become--until I was left in a serious state of emotional and mental bankruptcy--and had to FIGURE IT OUT MYSELF--and that I did!  The biggest hurdle that has always stood before me in the worst times of my life has been understanding WHY things happen the way they do, WHY people are the way they are, and why I always seemed to be a target for greedy, unappreciative, and self-serving people.  I always seemed to end up on the shitty end of the stick!  There were times where I had lost all hope in humanity...but even more scary, all hope period...and I had no faith at all in myself, did not trust my own judgment, and had NO idea who I was or where I fit into my very own life.  I became withdrawn, kept to myself--out of extreme fear of ever opening myself up again to anyone.  I became sullen and stern...and I tipped from my defaulted "idealistic" outlook to complete and total REALISM...all things possible and everything of potential became nonexistent in my life...for a while.  The term most modern-day spiritual guru's will use to describe this phenomenon is "the dark night of the soul."  Yep...and I'm glad THAT is over with!!  What I came out of that period with...was the answer I had been looking for for most of my life.  Who I am and who I am not, how I think and how I don't, what is most important to me and what isn't so much..or not at all.  What I deduced from my commitment to ME..with all of the very difficult and unabashed honesty...was quite striking and so very true...so much so...I BANK my life on it. 

I AM..an INVESTOR

Only an investor understands VALUE.  Only an investor immediately sees potential in every opportunity/person/relationship/purchase....everything.  In turn, it is just automatic for an investor to begin to invest in everything that he/she feels to be somewhat worthy of risk.  They are focused on quality.  In an ending relationship where one person feels more broken than the other..chances are, it is an investment-spender dynamic.  A spender SPENDS his/her time, his/her money, his/her effort to the ends of immediate gratification...in other words...they live to have fun, to be entertained, to have their needs "of the moment" satisfied.  Where an investor puts all they have into everything they do...their energy, their monetary wealth, their creativity..always thinking of growth, expansion, and building toward optimum potential.  They know the value of giving til it hurts now because they are geared toward "the long run."  It is probably very important for me to clarify...this is NOT a mental process.  This is not a CONDITIONED state.  It is an innate essence.  This is why SO many businesses that "should have made it big" fold up and fall under...because there are spenders who believe that they can be taught or trained to be smart investors.  Umm...sorry....that's not the way it works...right GM? Fannie Mae?  Freddie Mac?  They are quantity driven....more parts, more money, more attention, more notoriety...and yet the quality lacks because their SPENDING habits are always going to come from an attitude of lack and a self-serving vantage point.  An investor invests all of their assets to achieve balance, harmony, peace, joy and lasting happiness.   They NEED their time to matter, their attitude and contribution to the "greater good for all" to allow them to sleep at night.  They give everything they have to the greatest potential outcome...and this is why when things don't work out....they are BROKEN and left destitute.  The spender LIVES in this space.  They never have anything of value because they don't recognize it to begin with...and so when things don't pan out for them, its just normal.  They are short-term thinkers....the value is in the immediate return..and the more, the better.  However, when that is gone, they just seek out a different source.  An investor, however,  LOSES him/herself within the loss....because they ARE their source of investment. 

INVESTOR/SPENDER RELATIONSHIPS

The bible warns "do not become unequally yoked with unbelievers."  This is a very strong and powerful warning.  However, it seems that the age-old saying "opposites attract" is equally as powerful.  Attraction...is temporary and ever changing.  Your innate essence...is NOT.  It is steadfast and it DRIVES you...it is your spirit, your soul...your foundation.  A spender is "attracted" to an investor.  Why wouldn't they be?  It is a free ride on the "potential success" train.  It is an unearned venture into the "shared" success of another...hmmm..good deal...right?  WRONG!  It will never work out IN THE LONG RUN FOR THE INVESTOR.  The spender will stick around as long as the investor will have them....and that is the way things like this usually turn out.  When the investor recognizes what it has COST them to sustain the spender, they usually will cut their losses and walk away...no matter the perceived loss OR how painful it is...because you see, the investor also realizes that with every investment...there is a risk...and emotional reaction/response changes minute to minute.  In terms of attraction, the investor is also strongly attracted to the spender because of their seemingly refreshing care-free outlook on life and their ability to just LET GO of all of the worrisome aspects of life.  Because an investor is so locked into BUILDING, they are typically miring over details...and it is very refreshing to just LET LOOSE once in a while and just go with the flow and be in the company of FUN.  This relationship definitely serves each of the people in it SHORT TERM.  Long term, it comes down to the core of it all for the investor...is this worth my time, my effort, my financial, emotional, and mental strain?  

SO...DOES THIS MEAN THAT SPENDERS HAVE NO SOUL?

Not necessarily.  I believe that souls can be damaged to the point of unrecognition.  I believe that spenders have probably had to seek "alternatives" their entire lives because in their formative years, the true measure of their own value that comes most times from the love, attention, support, and example of our parents in the very formative and most dependent  years of our human existence lacked in some way.  They may have had to SEEK that which should have naturally BEEN through buying, bartering or trade.  THIS is a HABITUAL and CONDITIONED mindset and response to life...it is not natural.  It is based upon ease-of-use and replacement potential.  It is where love and security become objectified into a commodity.  Therefore, because any type of real security was ALTERNATING in nature, it may have manifested into a belief that its source was the same.  Their structure then becomes built upon the foundation of others.  Because they, themselves lack foundation, they go on to become great manufacturers.  And they manufacture EVERYTHING--including (but definitely not limited to)... the truth. 

So one may then pose the question...why...if you have two people who come from similar backgrounds of neglect does one go on to be an investor and the other a spender?  I can only speak for myself, but somewhere down inside of me, I knew that the examples I was given during childhood were not quite right.  I felt a deep sense of discontentment and discomfort in a lot of things I witnessed, the way things were done, and places I would find myself.  I had my "teenage" stint in spending...and it served my purpose for a while...but I was always aware that those fleeting experiences I would lie, cheat, and steal for either always landed me in punishment or back to square one.  I was very aware that I was living hard and going nowhere.  Yeah..it was FUN, while it lasted....but as young and reckless as I was, I really did know how completely WASTEFUL it was.  I wanted what I wanted and I went to whatever extreme...AND EXPENSE to get it, but pretty soon, my reconciliation statement became pretty unbalanced.  A whole bunch of expenditures, and absolutely no dividends.  I was grounded more than I was free, I was worried more than I was at peace, I was living in fear of being "found out"...and more importantly, I was manifesting that same discontentment and discomfort that others manufactured in my own life at my own will.  I think it is just a matter of emotional intelligence--when you can readily recognize that what you are doing IS or is NOT who you are and the feelings and bodily sensations associated with whatever it is that you are doing, have done, or are thinking of doing just feel complimentary or contrasting in nature.  There is a palpable feeling of completeness when your thoughts, your intentions, your motivations, and your actions are in line with your core essence.  It just feels right.

SO then, another question would be posed about whether or not a typical spender really even feels this "spending remorse."  THAT I cannot answer.  I only know that my time spent was the result of immature and selfish experimentation.  There is a LOT of scientific documentation out there that supports the fact that the mind is more powerful than the body--so much so,  that you can alter bodily responses and capabilities with a mere thought.  It is also documented that the mind can, in fact, rewire the brain...it can convince the physical into anything it wants to believe especially if these thoughts then develop into patterns.  So, the jury is out on that one.  I guess people only know what they themselves feel and if what they feel is in line with their intentions, then I suppose it is "normal" for each individual...however, I believe to the core of who I am that there are no good/bad people...I think it is more complex than that.  I do, however, believe that there are two opposing, yet equally as powerful energies that are grounded in one of  these two archetypes.

You would think that this investment mentality would land someone steeped in it into a life of chronic planning...however, the opposite is true.  The more calculated a planner, the more calculating the mind.  I tend to not make plans EVER.  I am really bad at sticking to them.  This doesn't make me disorganized, it just means that I don't have the need to externally organize all that much. My self-discipline is integrated into my person...it is not a separate process.   I'm very aware of the value of my time and effort...that is all I need.   I live in the moment and think what the moment calls for me to think and do what it calls for me to do.  My biggest nightmare is being asked "so what do you do for fun? --or--  how do you spend your free time?  It isn't really a couple-sentence or few-word reply, I am afraid.  It may appear complex, but it is very, very simple.  I AM...I am not DO or THINK...although it is argued that if you think you are this or that...that you are this or that...and this is where the mind removes itself from wholeness. Once you entertain that thought with your time, you become locked in it and you become a slave to your mind.  If I must conjure up a short and very basic answer to those questions above, it would be that I lead my life following where it leads.  And let's face it, NOBODY wants to hear that...!!!!  And that is ok...because I am now aware how just a simple question can lead one to some pretty profound revelations.

Seven Deadly Sins:
1.  Wealth without work.
2.  Pleasure without conscience.
3.  Science without humanity.
4.  Knowledge without character. 
5.  Politics without principle.
6.  Commerce without morality.
7.  Worship without sacrifice. 
~Mahatma Gandhi

"A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to let alone."~Henry David Thoreau.

"Those born to wealth and who have the means of gratifying every wish, know not what is the real happiness of life--just as those who have been tossed on the stormy waters of the ocean on a few frail planks can alone realize the blessings of fair weather."~Alexandre Dumas.

"Wealth is the slave to a wise man.  The master of a fool."~Seneca quote.

The End. 
 

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The Forms of Life...the tapestry of the infinite.



Another summer draws to a close and another fall ushers in another winter.   We New Yorkers should be pretty adept to change...you would think. 

If there is anyone out there who follows my train of thought whatsoever, the changing of the seasons could really teach us all something about life and stand as an example of those things we "cannot change."  Even with the somewhat predictable nature of these seasons..they never quite live up to our expectations...summers are never long enough and winters are always TOO long.  The nice weather never seems to arrive within our timeframe for it and the winter is only welcome long enough to give us a beautiful backdrop for all of the Christmas lights and d├ęcor.  The summers are either too cold and rainy or too hot and humid and the winters....well, last winter anyway...was downright bitter and destructive.  And Spring and Fall...yeah, they are the transition periods...neither are around very long...as they are preparatory phases.  Spring...the preparatory period of birth, abundance, and beauty.  Fall, the period of surrender to the inevitable loss of form.  I have a hard time disconnecting myself from nature anymore.  Once I made that connection, it became an ingrained sense of "oneliness"--one that directs my attention to all that is and marks my steps for me, attunes my attitude to acceptance and lessons my desire to minimize and direct everything according to my wishes and/or level of comfort. 

Fall has always been a most beloved time of the year for me.  It marks the harvest, the landscape displays a beautiful array of color and the scent in the air is nothing less than scrumptious.  However, it has become bittersweet to me now.  As I see myself in all that is...I also see the withering, and as each leave falls from a tree, it sends into my spirit a sense of mournful empathy.  I feel the tree letting go of all that once made it stand tall and proud--as all of its lush beauty begins to thin and fall to the ground.  The shelter it once provided from the elements begins to weaken as little by little, it's canopy is now taken by the wind to return to the soil.  The flowers, once bright and vibrant begin to lose their color and take on a hue of brown--the grass stops growing.  I begin to see the birds gather in large flocks in the almost barren trees, harkening to one another that it is time to pack up and leave this desolate place in search of more adequate shelter and abundant food sources.  It begins to turn cold and on a windless day...there is nothing but silence.  It is as if all of the life has passed away.  There are no birds singing when we awaken, no crickets singing us to sleep, no sound of rain upon the rooftop.  It is just all gone.

It is exactly the way of life isn't it?  There are periods of celebration and there are periods of mourning.  Moments of birth...and moments of great loss.  Periods of life bursting all around us and periods of lonely desolation.  Only, the trees cannot resist the will of the infinite--they must surrender and succumb.  They, themselves do not die at all....the grass doesn't die, the flowers don't die...they merely take on a different form...by losing form..for a time.  They return to their lush and vibrant beauty during the season of birth and regeneration.  The nature of nature is acceptance of what is NOW.  It adapts, changes, and surrenders to the part of it that is all-powerful, all- knowing, and ever present.  The part that is bigger than itself.   There is LIFE beyond our limited scope of it...there is life more abundant out there..the life that sustains life...maybe living is not limited to breathing, a pulse, and the ability to think.  Maybe life just IS....within a FORM or outside of it.  There are parts of nature that we don't see all up close and personal...such as the movement of the  air....such as the intimate relationship between the moon and the seas, such as the billions of stars being born and populating the cosmos..the planets and moons and suns that move instinctively in rotation around them.  How much of LIFE and all that lives do we really understand?  We understand what we have the capability to understand...what nature allows us to understand by its interaction with us, its display and behavior across time. I dare say, if we look closely enough at what we are PERMITTED to experience, we may begin to see things a bit differently, we may begin to appreciate this beautiful living example of  how we are to live here on this earth and recalibrate our focus to look TO nature as a part of us, something that lives in us...instead of something we are a part of and have to live with. 

I mean, really, it is played out over and over and over and OVER again....when are we going to stop  seeing nature and its changing seasons as merely something we HAVE to live with, adapt to, and prepare for  and allow the message it is attempting to send us to permeate our "it's all about me and my survival" default.  It is drawing a pattern for us year after year.  The loss of form is not the loss of life.  The change of form IS the circle of life.  It does not hope for our understanding, but it does bid us to consider.  We tend to view those "inanimate" objects of nature as somewhat lower forms of life...we feel that we cannot empathize with them because they do not have a mind or a central nervous system--the ability to "think or feel"...and they may not...but WE do.  They ARE ALIVE, have a purpose, and really should be revered,  because in all honesty...these inanimate objects of nature SUSTAIN us.  Why would it seem at all crazy to treat them as if.....see them as if.....and know them as if.....just this simple act of willingness could very well lend us ALL a clearer understanding, a more solid sense of purpose, and a closer kinship with ALL life--which could invariably lead us to a greater appreciation for a more meaningful and abundant life.

That is my sermon for the day.  Don't label...but BE WITH, LIVE AMONG, and find that connection.  Look at nature without labeling it.  Look at it as if you were looking at it for the first time...remember the wonder in your children's eyes when they saw or experienced something for the first time....and the immense digging to the bottom of it all curiosity in all of the "but why's".  Once we label something, we lose interest in it and it just becomes part of the background, a topic of conversation, and a thing that merely exists.  I think we miss so much of what is truly important on our journey here...we listen to the screams and ignore the whispers--we believe what we see instead of searching out everything to find that which is really worth believing.  We spend instead of invest, we seek fun instead of joy, we wish to have instead of to share and give..we hope for an inheritance in favor of creating a legacy. 

These beautiful sugar maples lining my driveway, the wildlife that perches in their outstretched branches, the waters that flow through the valleys, the rain that falls from the sky, my animals that await in patient excitement for me to awaken in the morning to give them love and feed them, and the air that I breathe have taught me way more about life, love, expression, purpose and belonging than anything else.  We are all made of the very same substances...in different forms. 

Be still and KNOW....

 

Saturday, July 19, 2014

The voice I listen to.....




WOW folks...how long has it been???  I must say, I am somewhat, if not completely amazed that ya'll continue to drop by to read all of my old ramblings!  Thank you. Knowing that you all drop by injects a sense of value into my spirit...and I so appreciate it. 

I've taken this long hiatus from writing partly due to a lack of inspiration and partly due to having to actually LIVE and experience life.  Last winter in all of its unwelcome and completely destructive surprises dampened my spirit quite a bit.  I was forced to again seek out what I was made of and make that lemonade!!!  It has taken me quite a bit of time to pull it all back together and forge on. 

I've sort of become rather accustomed to waiting for that other shoe to drop and I've learned to not get too carried away with all of the temporary glitz of life "going as planned or expected."  If there is one thing that life will teach you (if you pay attention)...it is that resilience, resourcefulness, and flexibility are major players in one's attitude and outlook in its regard.  At the same time; however, there is a certain component of resisting "status quo" and refusing to accept less than you deserve.  Life has built into it an intricate balance that is only achieved through one's instinctive sensitivities and a hard-won trust with them.  I remember as a teen and young adult my parents saying "you think you KNOW everything."  Looking back, I realize I knew nothing of life but how to dream BUT I also realize that I possessed something my parents lacked----the courage to chase those dreams with reckless abandon and (somewhat misguided) sense of invincibility.

True adulthood brings with it some pretty poignant perspective-shattering realities and begins early-on to teach us the evils of projected expectations.  It takes some of us longer to learn....but I've found the hard way to be the most reliable in sticking!!  There is no shelter for a true adult to seek within the consequence of their choices and actions (or lack thereof)--there is no pinch-hitter, no stand-in, no double.  It is just YOU and what you've created.  Until you begin to really understand and respect this little twist of life, you will ever be a dependent child who relies upon rescue and dependence builds a dam to personal growth and strength.  It is the opposite of LIFE--and life is a series of lessons to the ends of integrity, trust, and truth.  In a book I am now reading, Instinct by T.D. Jakes,  one particular statement reached right out and grabbed me...and it is "you can't take everyone with you just because they were with you where you were before." And this is a nice, tidy end to this paragraph.

Through all of life's ups and downs, there is always an inspirational element that lies somewhat out of reach during times of disappointment, heartbreak, and struggle.  It is there nonetheless, and it sometimes takes a period of rest and reflection to grab on to it and see its contribution to your overall growth and wellbeing. 

I am becoming more and more accustomed to living in the moment and becoming more keen in deciphering what works and what doesn't for me.  I am pretty clear on what it is that I deserve and what I absolutely will not accept.  My integrity has been tested to the nth-degree, and I've had to make some very difficult choices in keeping with its guidance...but I trust in it more than I trust in anything. I've learned that anything we choose to invest in....no matter how little or much...carries with it no guarantee for a return.  However, the value is really not measured in what you receive back, but lies within the reasons why we made such an investment to begin with.  It is the heart, the belief, the faith, and the sacrifice of one's own time, love, and consideration of that investment that become the foundation of who you are and give you some measure of your own character.  That is what it is all about....knowing who you are, where you live, where you come from and where you wish to go.  We have no control over fate...or the choices, views, or opinions of others nor can we base our own sense of value upon the response or reactions of them.  Circumstance does not define you...where you stand in them and what you choose to do with them does.  It is more about listening than talking...and it is about KNOWING more than trying to convince. 

As far as life goes...I'm finding...it's all about the "I's" and "whys"....

Inspiration
Integrity
Insight
Intellect
Investment

What I give to others, I add to myself. 

Much love to everyone!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

A Call To Judgment

I'mmmm Baaaack...

It's been a while and I know my posts on here have been very few and far between..got a lot going on...busy, busy, busy.  However, I've had something stuck in my craw for a few days and this arena seems to be the best outlet for such things.  Today, I would like to talk a bit about the "J" word--yes, I am going to go there.  I would consider myself a very spiritual, very sensitive, very deep, and very conscientious person--but what I am NOT and will never be is NONJUDGEMENTAL.  I do quite a bit of reading and I view a lot of programming where our modern-day spiritual gurus are claiming to live life in the moment WITHOUT judgement.  Just like every church I've ever been a part of while searching for "truth"...this one issue doesn't sit right with me.  This is the cog in my spiritual wheel at this point.  I feel that judgement is a very necessary component to my spirituality and my life as a whole--and to make it sound or appear as if it is some sort of "insidious play of the ego or otherwise spiritually nonproductive trait" is ludicrous to me.

They teach that our intentions are where our power lies.  THIS I do believe, as I stumbled across this realization on my own long before it was eventually validated by others.  However, if this is indeed the case...without judgment, our intentions would never really materialize.  There are a lot of things to consider before setting out to achieve a goal--and they are ALL judgment calls.  

I think what needs to be brought to light is the way in which judgment is utilized.  Are your intentions in disregard to others and for self-promotion or profit?  This is a MISUSE of judgment...and this is what I believe should  be narrowed down in the teaching of a "spiritual life."  It is not WITHOUT judgement that we view anything...but rather, it is with "good judgment."  If you seek to define judgment, this is what you will find:  The ability to make considered decisions or come to sensible conclusions.  Words synonymous with judgement are as follows:  Discernment, acumen, sense, wisdom, reason, logic.  I don't know what spiritual principles anyone else follows, but DISCERNMENT/WISDOM are two of the BIGGIES in the "DO and BE" categories contained in any of them.  Certainly, it does outline with what "spirit" we utilize our discernment and wisdom, however, it is a powerful "suggestion" that we do use them.  So to be without judgment, is to be without balance, without solidarity, without grounding.

There is one "spiritual teacher" who has written many books, done many television appearances and is regarded as very knowledgeable whom I find to be somewhat hard to follow.  He stumbles over his words, cannot seem to express what it is that he wants to say and talks in circles, albeit...calm, soft-spoken, and inexpressive circles...but circles, nonetheless.  It is nearly impossible for me to understand anything he is trying to convey.  Although the message that ALWAYS comes through is "being aware and experiencing every moment without judgment."  The thing that really cracks me up is that I truly believe that he is one of the very few who is capable of this...but if you look at the bigger picture that forms...yes, he is quiet-natured, yes, he is a very still spirit--he talks VERY slowly, walks very slowly, and his body language seems to be a bit awkward and well behind his thought process.  Although he has the "NOT OF THIS WORLD" down to a science, the fact that we are PART of this world is where I detach from him.  This is the balance in it all...and if his message is being nonjudgmental of ANYTHING, he is a clear and true representation of this. You definitely cannot say that he doesn't walk what he talks.  However...I believe our spirit to be our light, our energy-source, the center of what makes each of us DYNAMIC and BRIGHT.  To have a dull spirit is not to have a better one, a more mature one, or a more wise one.  There is nothing so invigorating than to be around someone with a fully engaged spirit...it is contagious...and this is what being PART of this world means---it is ENGAGEMENT/FELLOWSHIP with ALL that is.  Anything we believe in and pattern our life around comes from a judgment.  It is this man's own judgment to "judge nothing"..understand?

Trust me, I am the poster child of poor judgment and what I've outlined above about this particular man is not to bash him in any way...it is just an observation of thought pattern, language, and behavior and how it meshes with the message that is being conveyed--in other words,  consideration of the "parts to the whole."  We always have to consider what fits with us and what doesn't or else we would all be just wayward souls with no destination.  There would never be any choices TO be made if we judged nothing and if our "lives are the sum total of the choices we make"...then we wouldn't really even be living, would we---there is a difference between EXISTENCE and LIFE.  To further comment about my poor judgment calls, I've learned that this TOO is a result of imbalance...too much emotion, not enough reason-- too much fear, not enough courage, too much attachment to control and not enough faith in what's truly best for me.  In my case, I can say that in EVERY instance I've ever felt that deep pang of regret for choices I've made--it was the result of always knowing but denying, an attachment to an outcome I had my heart set on...whether reality was in line with it or not and the fear of having that attachment broken because I had become SO dependent upon it.  They were instances where I would suppress, delay, or attempt to deter pain the pain of just facing the truth about them.  My emotions were driving and I KNOWINGLY placed my logic behind them...My honest judgment of the situation had been told to "shut up" because of a deeper need in me to avoid at all costs the pain I would suffer in lending it any heed.  I sold my integrity out for comfort WAY TOO MANY TIMES.  I can say with CERTAINTY that for me, the worst crisis I've ever been through in my entire life was that of questioning my judgement.  It is a very frightening place to be, and I never want to go back there.  It was the single-most paralyzing fear I've ever experienced.  So I've learned the hard way that sometimes the things we want ARE not always the best things for us..and that it is just a lot easier to see things as they are NOW without any notion or hope whatsoever that they will ever be any different and it may deter us from forming an emotional attachment to a "wished for" outcome while incessantly fighting back the reality that it is probably never going to happen.

So with all of that being said, what sparked this little write-up was a conversation I was involved in about an article written about the $600,000 theft of Joel Osteen's church.  The article stated that this was "only" money that had been collected over ONE weekend and that it did not effect in any way any contributions that came by mail or online or before or after that weekend.  The article went on to say that if this man takes in this much money in one weekend (that just covers about 1/2 of the total contributions made), that he must be rolling in millions per year.  These words were straight out of the mouths of he and his wife...the total sum stolen ($600,000) and the fact that it was LIMITED to 2 days collection and then further LIMITED to contributions other than mailed or online contributions...so I'm thinking that the conclusions that are drawn by most who read this are the same...holy money-pit Batman!!  So the topic of conversation was--as you guessed it...a series of opinions and judgment calls.  Here we have a self-professed "man of God" (fact) publicizing a pretty huge amount of money being stolen from his church safe (fact)...though, if we were to think in terms of ratios..would be likened to anyone of the middle-class reporting to the police the theft of our "change jar."  Because I am a person who seeks a deeper meaning in everything and because this man is so high-profile, I have TRIED to like this guy.  I mean, people seem to really like him,  and the words that come out of his mouth are that of personal empowerment through faith...and he does seem to share a message of hope.  HOWEVER...there has always been something that doesn't hang well with me about him.  Can't put my finger on it, but just like everything else I JUDGE to be right or wrong for me, it comes from this .feeling in my gut...this nudging in my spirit that tells me something isn't quite right about this, so I don't watch or listen to him.  I don't have to know what it is that doesn't fit, I just know that FOR ME, something definitely doesn't.  So I know I've climbed over the hurdle of putting what I "WANT" to believe in greater perspective and I now listen to that gut instinct before I get my emotions all twisted up in the mix.  OK.  So off of the digression and onto the point....I had made a comment that there has always been something that didn't quite set well with me about him...then, taking into consideration the entire article and the vibe I get from this guy, I couldn't help but think about "the marketplace" in the Bible.  People who were commenting were speaking  of his "followers" and THAT hit me the wrong way...then people were talking of the hope HE gives them and "so what if he makes millions...for the message of hope he gives the people, he deserves that money."  Now, I do not claim in any way to be a  rocket scientist, but I think that if anyone is any kind of decent human life-form at all, WE ALL offer hope, faith, and encouragement to others on a daily basis.  We all share a smile, a kind word, a message of hope and actions of purpose...and I don't think that it ever enters our minds to MARKET the kindness and compassion that flows so naturally from us. Point one.  Point two...we are all equipped with a spirit and a soul...THIS is what we are to follow.   "The kingdom of God is within you"  Now to point three...WHY, WHY, WHY would he even publicize or even report this to the authorities...it is obviously (by he and his wife's own admission) a drop in the bucket, so I would be more-so inclined to believe that a selfless man of God may have just said...well, someone obviously needed that money a lot more than we did, (pray for them) and then took INSIDE and PRIVATE action to guard against this happening again.  I am in no way condoning thievery.  It is not a commendable trait at all to possess and rightly, it shouldn't go unpunished, but you have to think outside of the box a little bit here...reporting and publicizing it HELPS his organization because it sends a wave of SHOCK into the community and society as a whole...and it aids to solidify the message that our society in need of being saved...so what he sells becomes even MORE profitable, more believable...his followers rush to give back all he has lost, his book sales go through the roof...because his organization has been the unfortunate and very PUBLICIZED victim of crime and all of whom that support his ministry will rally in solidarity to avenge his character.  However, with that...also comes some maybe not too pleasant fallout.  I commented that it probably would have been in his best interest to keep this information quiet and contained because now the IRS undoubtedly has their own agenda.  Now the conclusions I've drawn from the factual information given along with my own gut feelings about the situation compiled an opinion...a judgement of the situation.  It is mine, I own it, and I am not in any way claiming it to be TRUTH beyond a shadow of a doubt, nor am I upset about any opinions to the contrary--nor do I view them as anything other than a conclusion drawn by another with a different scope on the situation.  I don't voice my opinion in an effort to change someone else's or sway it one way or another...it just is what it is.  Without a stance or opinion on a topic, there really IS no conversation.  It is merely MY take on the situation.  A comment that followed:  "I thought I was judgmental, but there is no way I could possibly top some of these comments."  First of all, YOU already DID--lol.  The art of a productive and interesting discussion about a highly publicized matter is that of keeping the "personal attack" of those discussing it out of it and sticking to the topic.  To hoist yourself up to a higher level than someone else by saying "I could never be so judgmental" is an attempt to make others seem to be BENEATH you to a level you could NEVER go to, and that in itself is a blatant display of what you claim to abhor.

So I guess the moral of this story is....in order to trust yourself, you must trust your own judgment--and you MUST trust your own judgment if you are to act upon or succeed in anything.  We need this in order to develop faith.  Good, sound judgment.  If you limit this very vital part of life's balancing act to merely attempting to reduce others, it is just improper USE of it.  So if you call me judgmental, I'm not gonna cry about it because you see, I've used my judgment enough to know WHO I am and how I arrive at conclusions and I know it is never in any way to market myself or leverage myself above anyone else.  I am in no way ashamed of who I am or the many mistakes I have made in the process of figuring that out.  I do not use my judgment to exploit others, I use it to improve myself and to protect my integrity.

1 Corinthians 2:15:  "But he that is spiritual judgeth all things."
1 Thessalonians 5:21:  "By all means, use your judgment and hold on to whatever is good."
Luke 12:57:  "Why don't you judge for yourselves what is right."
2 Corinthians 10:7:  "You are only looking at the surface of things."
John 7:24:  "You must not judge by the appearance of things, but by the reality."

Have a great weekend!!







Thursday, February 13, 2014

Turmoil to Inspiration....My Story of Success.



Good morning friends!!  It has  been such a LONG time since I've jumped on here to write.  I've not done much writing at all as of late.  This winter has not been the kindest to me--and by the looks of the South this morning, there won't be any jabs at anyone residing here in Western NY about how it is 65 and sunny there while we are thawing frozen pipes, digging our vehicles out, and paying the fuel companies most of our earnings to keep warm..lol.  Life does have its way of humbling us all at the most inopportune times, and I guess the trick is to just accept it, roll with it, and keep our complaints at a minimum, because what we throw out there in thought, intention, and deed ALWAYS comes back to us.

I've kept myself quiet for the most part about the immense struggle I've been through on here because I wanted to wait until I was (at least) on the path to rising above it.  It has taken quite a while, as the cascading nature of "Murphy's Law" principles haven't given me any choice but to commit my every moment, every penny, every bit of positive thinking and energy to their attendance and it has been.....EXHAUSTING.

The most important thing to note about all of it is that it was all so fragmented and scattered, but how it affected me was the same.  Every problem I encountered and every solution to every problem--COST me something I didn't have and stressed me out to the point where I thought I was going to break.  For the first time, I seriously considered putting my home on the market..but knew deep down that this would  be "giving up" and "running away"---and so I didn't do that.

Being one of considerable depth, and knowing that there was some sort of message this was all trying to send to me,  I couldn't help but wonder what it all meant...It almost felt as if the house was fighting me and it had pinned itself against me...my sanctuary was beginning to look and feel more and more like my greatest nemesis.  Realistically, I knew this probably wasn't the case, but WHY then is my place of peace and comfort now the place I dread being.  I began to notice that work now seemed to be where I felt my best, where I felt the most confident, where I had no worry in the world except what was right before me that moment...and I KNEW how to deal with that.  I felt important, empowered, and my smile came easy...I felt in my ELEMENT there.  The moment I got into my car to come back home...panic, tears, agony,&  heartbreak.

It had been MONTHS of struggle there...first...a tenant who turned my beloved rental unit into a pit-stop and an unsupervised dog kennel and hoarded trash like her life depended upon it--as I housed her for 2-1/2 months for free (because I guess she felt she didn't really NEED to pay rent) as I was going through the legal channels to evict her.  All of the damage, a complete dumpster full of trash left behind, carpeting that had to be torn out and replaced--all new paint...and then it sat empty for the next 4 months...all of that income, the money I spent to get it back into "rentable condition"...Then, a wonderful tenant prospect...planning on occupying as of Feb 1 of this year..comes to bring some stuff and show the place to her mom and her son...opens the bedroom door and leaves it ajar THE DAY we had the 30-below-zero with high winds something told me at 2:30 a.m. to go over and check the place...to find the door wide open...and everything COMPLETELY FROZEN, icicles formed on all of the faucets...blew a hot water line in the bathroom and one of my heat zone lines...which then blew the aquastat on my boiler and ruined the zone switch to the holding tank.  The zone switch malfunction was only discovered when it overheated because it was stuck open, and so the pressure release (THANK GOD THAT OPERATED CORRECTLY) blew steaming hot water into my basement, flooding it.  All of this then drained my propane supply, so I had to order more with the money that my "tenant" had given me toward her first month's rent so that she would have heat when she moved in.  After all of this, I get a phone call from her stating she cannot move in because she lost her job!!  It took 18 hours with 4 electric heaters and the furnace to heat that apartment to 50 degrees...so we won't even talk about my electric bill!!  So this will give you somewhat of an idea of what my year had been like..lol.

So from about June of 2013, I had been focused on getting an additional job--had a couple of interviews, neither hired me.  Then there was a dry spell where there were none listed that I would be qualified for.  It just seemed as if the cards were completely stacked against me...and for the first time in my life, I was humbled to the point of degradation and I HATED myself.  I felt like the biggest failure.  How......did my life....that I had completely together at one point...completely fall apart like this?  HOW did I allow this to happen?  When was the last time I could honestly say that I felt confident in my ability to rise above my circumstances with determination and grace?  Sad and quite surprising to me was the answer...it had been probably about 14 years ago.  These problems did NOT crop up all at once and overnight....they only escalated over time--changing as my circumstances changed and my life changed around them...touching on every little thing I thought I could depend upon,  until FINALLY, there was nothing I could depend upon but ME.  Sure, I could probably sell my house and start over somewhere else...fresh starts...they all seem so inviting when you are escaping consequence and struggle.  I am a firm believer that changing the scenery around us only pacifies a deeper change that needs to take place INSIDE of us.  We will relive the same scenarios over and over again until we face what it is about ourselves that attracts this type of thing and begin to understand the dynamics of our very own self-sabotage.

I shared all of this personal information with you because I needed everyone to truly understand that I understand the levels of darkness one can experience and how much damage negative circumstance can have upon the spirit of one with the purest of intention--how it just seems that no matter how hard you try, you just cannot get past yourself and you are left sitting alone wondering how and why this is all happening to you.  I've been scared to death for most of my adult life and never even realized it.  I've sought out a "comfortable" life...not really wishing for anything more than the financial ability to pay my bills and maybe have a little bit left over to plant some flowers, have some gas for my lawn-mower and maybe a drink/dinner out once a month.  I've never had any aspirations of great wealth...because with great wealth comes greater worry!!  <----nail on the head....I've been deliberately patterning my life around what I believed to be the easiest, less worrisome path.  Comfort...yeah, it's not all that it is cracked up to be.  Part of it comes from modesty, I suppose...and the one thing that I have going for me (the thing that ALWAYS sees me through EVERYTHING) is my intention.  I am not out to hurt anyone and I do have a sense of integrity.  However, I have no problem hurting myself....as long as I am "comfortable" doing it--and the problem is...I had become COMPLETELY comfortable with that.  I will guard my integrity from EVERYONE but myself.

I have to say with the utmost confidence and belief that the universe (God, or a higher energy) has FORCED this revelation out of me at rock bottom.  Seems I've had a LOT of those---but each of them really feels like the end of the world (many deaths).  Half of a lifetime of a subconscious attitude spinning around inside of me unnoticed is enough!!

What changed my life forever:
1).  Listening to my gut even when I wasn't sure of the point it was trying to make.
2).  NOT taking the easy way out, running away, escaping the discomfort of untoward circumstance.
3).  Opening my mind just enough to view the possibilities--even if they felt unreachable.
4).  Setting steadfast goals...so I always knew what it was that I was ultimately reaching for, even when obstacles would place themselves between them and myself--I could still see my way AROUND them, even if the path through or above them was blocked at the time.
5).  KNOWING my potential.
6).  Fixative focus is detrimental..... Awareness is most healthy.
7).  Fragmentation feeds fixation.  Problems come in all shapes and sizes..and an onslaught of them may give them a fragmented appearance...as if one doesn't have anything to do with another....DON'T BE FOOLED.  There is ONE solution to ALL of them...so don't chase your tail too long in one direction trying to solve one, because if you do this, you will waste precious time, and the next problem you try to solve in this manner will have you spinning in a totally different direction and you will undoubtedly trip over the one you THOUGHT you solved the first time around in that different direction.  THEY all lead to one solution...find it--inside.

So, with all of this being said, I am most proud to proclaim that my circumstances and my entire LIFE has changed....and all it took...was a commitment to a risk....that's right...a RISK.  I had gotten to the point where I had nothing left to lose and everything to gain by this ONE idea...and it was an idea bred of my potential, my gut, my awareness, and my goals.  Because I was locked up on "fragmenting" and "fixating" upon every little thing as if it needed my undivided attention and it had it's very own solution, I discovered that everything I was trying to do to better my situation was for the WRONG reasons--it was just to pacify, to comfort, to relieve stress---AND alleviate worry.  Not only was I taking a fragmented attitude to my problems, I was also looking at myself in this manner...my talents, gifts, interests...I looked at all of those as "each to their own" and this then confused me regarding what I was destined to do here.  At different points in my life, there were differing areas of focus:  I was convinced that getting an education in counseling was my key...and then it was becoming a published writer, then it was opening a soup and sandwich/coffee shop, then it was something different.  So many interests, such diversified talents...

Just as there is one solution to all of our problems, there is one specific area that encompasses ALL of your inclination, your talent, and your gifts in moving forward to our steadfast and ultimate goal---to live a life of purpose---and problems and purpose are akin one to the other.  I've finally found mine.  The greatest thing about this is, I haven't even begun this venture yet (aside from the planning stages) and just the intention to start a business and saying it out loud...and then actively researching it and planning it has made a significant change in my life.  I've realized how minimal the start-up costs would be, how it will feed my creative hunger and will utilize every single thing I feel I have to offer.  My financial situation changed for the better--literally overnight with NO work from me at all...it was as if the cards were finally stacking up in my favor.  I could just FEEL the change in the air, my attitude, the atmosphere as a whole.  My INTENTION toward my DESTINY was all it took...believe it or not.  There is SUCH truth to this.  It was as if the universe just said...."there ya go....FINALLY....and to prove to you that this is the right choice, above and beyond what YOU already know and feel, I'm going to give you some stepping stones to replace those stumbling blocks."

SOOOO.. I know this is a VERY long and windy post people...but my point is this:

NO matter how hard things get..if your gut is telling you that an "out" you are considering is a "no-go"...listen to it, EVEN if it costs you a little more time, money, stress, worry...etc...Rome wasn't built in a day...be patient and continue to LISTEN.  Side note:  Did you know that Michelangelo was NOT a painter?  He was a sculptor...though he accepted the commission to paint the Sistine Chapel even when he really didn't "want" to or even worse, felt that he didn't have the talent to do so...and it cost him YEARS of turmoil and drastic health problems...but he FINISHED it, and aside from his sculpture of "David"...it is the most recognized and heralded of ALL of his works--and in my opinion...the most beautiful.   There IS a hidden destiny within you...when you find it, you WILL know it.  JUST the recognition and acceptance of it will CHANGE YOUR LIFE and you will find you are being assisted in that direction without any action on your behalf. You will also find that the best parts of you will be highlighted in it...WIN/WIN!!

Also, you will find your focus turn from the "outcome" to the journey...you will find unmatched excitement in the PROCESS and every time that little voice chimes in attempting to sway your thoughts and dampen your enthusiasm with with its "fatalistic potential for failure" rant...your spirit steps in front of it reminding it that the only potential you are focused upon is YOUR OWN and you are so in tune with now that tomorrow doesn't even warrant consideration--AND if you were to even entertain it, it is met with..."I don't even care...nothing ventured, nothing gained...no reward without risk.  <----this alone reinforces a major change in me.  Growth is encountered within the process....the outcome is nothing but validation that growth in a specific area has occurred--and it is really more for the benefit of onlookers than it is for you.  YOU know if you are growing or have grown and you are clear about the direction(s) of your growth.  You don't need a SPECIFIC outcome to dictate this.  One journey leads to another, and then another...but you can be sure that all of them are leading you in the direction of what is best for you.

I'm not going to get into the specifics of my venture here with words....but I will take you along on my journey as it tangibly unfolds.

As always...my very best to you, the ones you love and that love you...and take good care of yourselves.  You are your own ship, sail, and rudder...you are your own wind, sun, and tide...make your journey count!!

Much love,
Raina <3

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Goodbye 2013

Happy New Year everyone!!!

Well, 2013 came in promising prosperity, bringing with it a beautiful symphony of sound, shining like a diamond, carrying that aromatic bundle of roses, and looking SO enticing.  It seemed to have crossed all the T's and dotted all of those I's.  It WAS the perfect package--or so I thought.  Maybe it wasn't the year's fault at all..maybe..and it probably never is.  Maybe there are mistakes I tend to repeat for reasons I'm just not quite clear about and life brings scenarios into my life to give me "another chance to get it right" and I just unwittingly usher it to the crapper all on my own.  I'm thinking that this is a more truthful assessment.

Truth be told, the last few weeks of the year were REALLY good as far as gaining perspective and a more open-eyed, open-hearted approach to my life.  I've gazed into my misconceptions and deepened my understanding of their origination and was quite surprised at how ingrained some of my attitudes were and how "set in my ways" I had become in certain areas of my life.  These were indeed my stumbling blocks for me in 2013 (if I were to LIMIT it to a specific span of time).  The trouble with this type of rigidity is that it permeates deeply without our conscious awareness...it is just habitual..and truly, there is SO much of this conditioned response to events in life that we have to REALLY choke down a HUGE dose of self-honesty and very intricate examination to even discover them.  

For instance, I have a very hard time "taking credit" for "good" things that others believe I do.  I have these words in quotations for a reason.  These are examples of unconscious conditioned reaction and response.  If it is true (and it is) that what others think of you is none of your business...then why do we feel the need to impose this on or attain this from others--(and I know a bunch of you would probably think that there is absolutely NOTHING wrong with complimenting, encouraging, or highlighting someone's accomplishments and that there is absolutely nothing wrong with receiving this type of compliment)...and maybe there isn't, however, it is just an example of how we are conditioned to POINT out to people the good, the bad, the indifferent effect they have had upon us and we in turn begin to just unconsciously say "thank you" or "kiss my ass" without really even thinking twice.  When I was younger, I LOVED this recognition, craved it, and probably did things JUST to get it <---this is the problem..all of the wrong reasons.  Now, it is discomforting to me and I will tell you why.  Because my actions are no longer attached to anyone else's approval or disapproval.  They are simply "because"...because why?  THIS is my point.  The reason behind any of my actions gets lost and this is what is MOST important to me.  What I DO is UNIMPORTANT in and of itself---the meaning of anything I do is in the reason why I do it...and that I cannot take credit for because it comes from a prompt, a tug, a push and I find that I cannot ignore because it just won't leave me alone until I DO something.  It is honestly like something else drives me...so taking credit feels out of place to me.  I've had people say..."you have worked hard, you have achieved this or that...there is no shame in being proud of yourself" for whatever it is that is seen by others as a "good" thing.  The truth is, I am proud of myself...but for reasons that go completely unnoticed by others.  I am proud that I was blessed with a CONSCIENCE that completely rules my ENTIRE life-- my actions, my inaction, my thought life, my creativity, my work ethic, any philanthropic endeavors, anything GOOD that I ever do is credited to this mysterious God .  It rules and that lords over me.  I am led...and when I follow, I am proud of myself--because a lot of times, where I am led and what I am led to do are not places or things that are the most comfortable or easy.  No one is ever taught how to "get a conscience"..and as technologically advanced as science has become, NO ONE can locate it, operate on it, or even understand how it works.  It is what I believe to be something SO supernatural and so above any human capacity for intellect to even fathom.  We teach and learn to "be polite"--"encourage positive action"--and then we learn that positive feedback of our actions brings us attention/adoration.  Attention can become an addiction---a VERY malevolent addiction.  It can and HAS created monsters.  There is nothing overtly wrong with attention--it is nice to know that you are looked upon favorably and that others are comfortable in your company...we are, after all human beings who NEED this type of intimate connectivity to one another, as long as it doesn't over-rule or replace the "master."  It is nothing more than a "perk" in life...it isn't the driving force behind our nature.  AND this is what I wish more people would understand.  Don't be impressed by what I do...but wonder why I do it--where it comes from--I am concerned more that people find this same commanding drive within themselves and relate to it than I am of being any example for others to follow.  This is the true point of connectivity between us.  Simple rule:  KNOW it in you...SEE it in others.  Our words, our actions, our accomplishments should sooner inspire action than collect praise.

Below are the lessons I finally GOT during 2013...though they took my entire lifetime to learn.

OPPORTUNITY

I have been led to truly understand that there are "true" and "false" opportunities all around me.  I never really realized this before...I just figured an opportunity is an opportunity...and all opportunity is GREAT!!  Not the case...not the case at all.

True and False Opportunity: There is a difference between TRUE opportunities and FALSE opportunities...just as there are true and false prophets, hmmm...do you suppose there is a deeper hidden truth to this spiritual principle?  Get your headgear on...here goes:  Any opportunity that is going to be of any benefit to the goal we set for a desire we have to meet our destiny will follow a specific ORDER (trademark of truth).  Most times,  opportunities that are in line with our goal are SOUGHT in keeping with this order.  A true opportunity will only show itself AFTER the pinnacle has been reached in your mind's eye and your intention to reach it has been SET.  In other words....all of the fine details of an eventual success have been considered and you realize that all of the pieces have to be there IN A CERTAIN ORDER to complete the finished product.  A False opportunity comes out of nowhere and is dropped upon you (which is its MO).  The piece fits into the bigger picture, but it is somewhat out of progression.  (Using the analogy of a puzzle...it is that piece that you know goes "somewhere in the middle" because you already have the edges done--so it just hangs out all by itself until you can fit some other pieces in AROUND it.)  It will com easy, without being sought, and it will feel "too good to be true, and this is why these "false" opportunities are SO VERY enticing and leading.  The cautionary tale in this is that a false opportunity will turn up during a time of desperation and within a mindset of lack in a  VERY exclusive area of the big picture and your life--and yet, it is an out-of-place fragment.  If you find yourself neck-deep in a situation where you  are now  "re-creating" your entire vision from the point of jumping upon this opportunity.....STOP!!!  It will derail your life, your mission in life, and your "first love", which was your goal BEFORE you became distracted and derailed. In the end, the promise of this relief of  "one less worry" will have you struggling to see the light of day, let alone the vision you had for your life.  It may look like it belongs...but if it comes too easy or out of order, be advised that you are dealing with a force to be reckoned with.  Trust me.

"Little children, you are from God and have overcome them (false prophets) for he who is IN YOU (your conscience) is greater than he who is in the world (Ego).  They are from the world, therefore, they speak from the world and the world listens to them."  Listen to your conscience...it can't get any clearer than that.  This excerpt serves to transition the above with what you will read below.


The Role of the Prophet in Opportunity
 Prophesy merely means "prediction of the future" and the prophet is merely the "messenger" of this prediction.  The inner prophet and its message are two essential elements of every opportunity, every dream, every goal we will ever set.  A false prophet (or opportunity) will come with an easier, faster, smoother transition, and fulfill an immediate desperate attempt to "fix" something, or  fill a place of lack.  Most people jump on these opportunities because they are desperate to have just ONE THING LESS to worry about. The reality; however, is that you will inevitably see problems crop up in another or many other "unconsidered" areas of your life and/or the journey to your goal.  This one "leap of faith" can leave you fighting to regain the any semblance of the order in which you set out to accomplish your goal in the first place .  So when opportunity comes a'knockin...do not invite it in UNLESS it brings with it the entire view you have seen from the pinnacle--your prophesy.  If you have not invited it by your very own intention, action of some sort in that direction, or immense desire to "see its ENTIRETY come to fruition"...let it go--say thanks anyways..but this is really NOT where my life is going right now--maybe some other time...lol.  There is a reason we have the talents, the gifts, and the desires we have...they contain our destiny.  There is a reason that certain things are VERY important to us, while others lack such importance...they are our inner guide to that destiny and this priority factor outlines the "order of fulfillment."  Do Not Stray From That Order.  Don't sell out for a quick fix in one area of your life, because you you tire of being patient or you become discouraged.  You will find that it has led you into a place you NEVER envisioned being and you will be held against your will struggling to just "make the best of the CIRCUMSTANCE" by patterning your entire life around it.   To be aware of all of the potentials is to be wise, to be fixated upon one or any is to be self-sabotaging.  Be wise...be cautious...be TRUE to yourself and your inner prophet.  Stand firm..don't be tempted and swayed--not matter how bad things appear.

Every Moment of Consciousness is an Opportunity to Learn about Ourselves .  
Every person you stumble across in your life or shows up in yours are TEACHERS.  Our mothers, fathers, siblings, friends, enemies, the homeless, the rich, the powerful, and inept, the challenged..people in your life, and those you just observe from afar....ALL OF THEM ARE TEACHERS...they do not belong to you..you do not belong to them.  They have a message to send you about YOU.  They are there to inspire you in one way or another.  They spur you, they deter you, they challenge you, they love you, they encourage you, they destroy you.  The only common thing in YOUR relationship (whichever form it takes) with other people is YOU.  Remember this.  Do you casually stroll by a poor and homeless person begging for change because of your preconceived notion of how they got there, why they are there, and why YOU think they should or shouldn't BE THERE?  Maybe they are there to teach you humility.  Do you see the infirm and immediately think..."thank God that isn't me"?  Maybe they are there to show you that infirmary is indiscriminate and this may indeed BE you someday and that good health is the most reverent blessing one has and you should be grateful for yours and compassionate to those who are not as fortunate.

What I am trying to say here is this:  Our compass for finding our way around in life is set from the vantage point of  "ME"...thank God that is not me, that will NEVER be me, I would NEVER do something like that, how can he/she do something like that...it is not in ME...we understand others from our only foundation of understanding...OURSELVES...so yes, everyone IS indeed EVERYONE...and everyone contains a tiny piece of YOUR truth--as if they are carrying with them a mirror.  It is not for me to judge...it is for me to observe, study, and LEARN about myself--what feelings do the perceived unfortunate circumstances of others stir in me?  Compassion, love, acceptance...anger, hostility, disregard, disdain?  And how are these thoughts and feelings materialized?  Through ATTITUDES, notions, and intentions.  The ego points and laughs and bullies...the spirit empathizes and sees that person as itself and learns something about itself through its observation.

Do Not Obsess about Getting There.
An attitude or "belief system" is either toxic or healthy.  THAT IS IT.  There is no in-between.  The most consistent way we sabotage our own well-being is through a fragmented, piecemeal, scattered set of rigid attitudes or beliefs.  One bad apple...you could have the best of intentions...and find that you are in way worse condition than you were before you initiated a "means to an end".  I've learned to STOP dwelling on the end result of everything.  What I do is the BEST I CAN in everything now...and then, there is no guilt, no regret, and nothing I could have done differently.  The result will take care of itself and then, I will deal with that as it comes.  I have no way of predicting what will happen not even ONE MINUTE from now, and I have no way of determining whether or not history will repeat itself.  The past and the future are NOTHING but thoughts.  We don't go to bed each night worrying about whether we are going to wake up the next day, do we?  The funny thing about that is....maybe we really should.  Maybe we should just focus on "THIS MOMENT" and getting the most out of it...doing the best we can with it...being as proactive and productive as time allows and go to bed thinking...if I don't wake up tomorrow, today has been taken care of.  With anything we take for granted...there is WASTE, sloth, and indifference.  <---these are toxic---and so is the attitude that you are in charge of everything and everyone around you...and that you can somehow manipulate time and space...people and things to comply with your wishes and YOUR fixation upon how things SHOULD ultimately turn out--and this is what leads to disappointment, disillusionment, and a mindset of dependence.  The only thing we can control is ourselves, our atmosphere, our actions, and our attitude <--this is healthy.   We need to stop always trying to "get" something and just be open enough to receive what is--because there is a reason for it.  I've found that the healthiest attitude to take on is...whatever will be will be...and it is what it is--and then I focus my attention toward finding that seed of opportunity within that moment--and I've discovered there are MANY.

True Dat!!
God is Love/Love is God/...What is Love/What is God..This has been a recurring subject with me...though I believe it to be true, the fact that I keep coming back to this is a signal to me that there was something in it that I wasn't getting.

What I DO know is this:  LOVE is a state of being...it is not an emotion.  It is not exclusive to relationships of any sort.  There is NOTHING missing from it.. and more importantly...and this is what I think I was stuck on...It can NEVER be added to.  Love is found and defined by SELF REALIZATION...the ultimate...last chapter...REVELATION <---which ACTUALLY means "a dramatic disclosure of something not previously known or REALIZED", (and you see, I have emphasized this in as many ways available to me in print because it is the epitome of my point)  In addition, because I am going in this direction with this, in theological terms, its meaning is "a manifestation of divine will or truth."  So in essence, this means "I have discovered AND witnessed the divine truth about ME."   Our "holy war or Armageddon" is nothing more than the hell we find ourselves in as we are embarking upon this truth.  It is our OWN personal battle to come full circle--to deprogram ourselves from societal meme and dogma...which is EVERYONE's hell and it is NOT an easy feat.

The greatest realization of this realization is this:  Once you KNOW and live the truth of who you are and what you are made of and WHY you do the things you do, you can see the truth in everything and yourself in everyone.   Patterns become more recognizable, vibrations begin to become tangible things, and you begin to see that your thoughts are indeed "all powerful."  You begin to see that you are completely in charge of your reality, your prosperity, your dreams, your circumstances.  You are a creator, he is a creator, she is a creator...we are all creators...and yet..."I AM WHO I AM."  <--isn't this the response given to Moses by God upon his inquiry of "who shall I tell them sent me?"  'Once you start believing this...really, really believing it...and not using it as an excuse to limit yourself or an object of blame because of this self-imposed limitation, and you fully REALIZE your highest potential and you can see it materialize before you prior to its actual manifestation, and you can take a moment to relish in that feeling of completion...you will find that it will indeed materialize.  Conversely, if you believe you are damned, you have the "worst luck", nothing can every go right for you, everyone has it out for you...etc...THAT WILL HAPPEN as well.  The quote "If you think you can, or you think you can't....you're right." by Henry Ford really reveals a rather simplistic, yet profound truth.  You are the receiver of your own attitudes and intentions.  The universe or "God" only knows GIVING and deliverance.  Your desires, your thoughts, your intentions, your attitudes, and your beliefs are the conduit for all that manifests in your life.  Whatever you throw out there, comes right back to you--good or not-so-good.  You will find God in the beginning of anything (desire/intention) and you will see God in the fulfillment and materialization of that desire and intention--this is where God lives.  If you are on the right track, you will be rewarded, if you're not, you will be SCHOOLED and redirected, though you have to really understand that ALL that materializes is of your very own intention and if you don't like it, you may wanna check yourself.  If you automatically blame the circumstance, the others, the time, the place, or whatever, you are not learning ANYTHING.   Once you begin to open your eyes to this truth..you will see it in action.   NO ONE or NOTHING can take anything way or add anything to you....you are WHOLE without any compromise whatsoever--  Compromise becomes relevant to situation and circumstance ONLY.  When you fully accept and regard the truth of who you are and pattern your life around that, the events of life lose their power to define you, while you gain all the more power to REFINE you.

Lastly...we come into this world as one, self-contained being...we leave this world in the same manner....however, while we live and breath, exchanging the same oxygen and carbon dioxide--biologically made of the very same substances as the the cosmos,  the earth, and everything that roams here and grows there...we begin to see what an integral part of this vast support system we really are and that what we breath out, someone/something else breathes in..and vice versa...what we offer, we receive.  I would suppose that the sum total of all things exchanged by all things--the ebb and flow of life that we all intrinsically share would have to be God...therefore lending creed to "Alpha/Omega, Omnipresent/Omniscient.  And since God is LOVE...it all stands to reason.

"It does not matter how long much time you are spending on this earth, how much money you have gathered, or how much attention you have received.  It is the amount of positive vibration you have radiated in life that matters."~Amit Ray

"Creative scientists and saints expect revelation and do not fear it.  Neither do children.  But as we grow up and are hurt, we have learned not to trust."  Madeleine L'Engel.

"And when I wake up it's wonderful, like I've been carried quietly onto a calm and peaceful shore, and the dream and its meaning has broken over me like a wave and is ebbing away now, leaving me with a single, solid certainty.  I know now."~Lauren Oliver.

"It is more important to be of pure intention than it is to be of perfect action."~Ilyas Kassam.

And finally.... "Never surrender your hopes and dreams to the fateful limitations others have placed on their own lives.  The vision of your true destiny does not reside within the blinkered outlook of the naysayers and the doom prophets.  Judge not by their words but accept advice based on the evidence of actual results.  Do not be surprised should you find a complete absence of anything mystical or miraculous in the manifested reality of those who are so eager to advise you.  Friends and family who suffer the lack of abundance, joy, love, fulfillment and prosperity in their own lives really have no business imposing their self-limiting beliefs on your reality experience."~Anthon St

My message....live in awareness, curb the fixation.  Do follow your dreams, Don't get sidetracked.  Give until it hurts...it will be multiplied to you.  I'm feeling completely blessed and powerful going into this new year.  I've already experienced many instances of synchronicity and I now know that I am on my way...again. ;)

Love and Light to All..