Tag Archives: pagan

A Wise Defense

26 Jul

If you try your best, it is still quite difficult to shut out the noise of the world, perhaps that’s not a bad thing because little would change without collective outrage against the status quo. But there is only so much energy a person can expend before annoyances burgeon into total outrage. A thoughtful person who deeply knows him/herself respects the boundaries he sets in efforts to keep enough energy available to successfully run the Mother Ship. A good rule of thumb: Carry social concerns and controversies in direct proportion to weight you can safely bear without causing damage to your mental and physical balance. Do what you can to further causes you are passionate about mindfully; that’s another way of saying the same thing.

The desire to continue my own inner journey is often inspired by observing the chaos of others. The further they move from the light, the more driven I become to reflect its radiance.

Life is the teacher, we are students. Some learn quickly, others never try. Some people in the classroom act out, hoping to illicit a response from others. Often it works, distracting many from tasks at hand. There are pools of negativity everywhere we look. They have always existed, but the smaller the world becomes with the tools of social networking, the more aware we become of their existence. Social media consists of many students of the world. Some use global social media in an attempt to increase numbers in their angry crowds. Like follows like, but loud attracts the attention of many who have not yet formed strong consciences regarding issues presented; thus, it is a formula that, sadly, works.

When I hear, read, or witness words of hatred, I am inspired to react in two different ways. The first is to fall into the abyss, heat rising in my gut, evoking a primal urge to strike back. The second is to intercede and settle the matter, hoping against all odds that the terrible hate-filled events were mere misunderstandings. These are initial reactions, but both are far from practical responses.

Throw hatred in my path and even though I want to kick it out of the way, I have learned that’s like kicking a hornets nest, or trying to reason with a rattlesnake. But as a human, emotions must be respected, so I allow myself to experience the feelings of having been offended, and then I move in.

For me, the best way to accomplish this is to try to identify the source energy of the particular hatred involved, examining everything I discover from a philosophical perspective. Almost always hatred can be traced back to fear. Each of us shows our true colors by the words we choose to speak, by the banners we carry, the projects we begin and the arguments we end. To create something beautiful and beneficial does not require one to be a god, but a steward of positive intentions, deliberate actions, and unwavering focus. All that is needed to destroy is a carefully chosen word of dissent angrily spoken.

Words are powerfully constructive tools when used to build, but they are weapons of mass destruction when intended to destroy. Conflict cannot be avoided in life; for me, the goal isn’t to be giddy with hope or combatively defensive, but to counter the extremes in a spirit of generosity, choosing to use language fostered in the quiet, practical countenance of inner peace before speaking, or setting words to paper.

Throw a rock at my right eye; I will not offer my left as your next target. I will not throw another stone at you. I will not satisfy your cruelty with screams or tears. But I will look you in the eye and I will know you. I will see your weakness and your fear. I will maintain my peace, and the fact of knowing you as I will, shall weaken the hatred that propels you to do and say irrational things.

I cannot shout louder than an angry crowd, but wisdom and introspection will protect me from catching hatred’s demoralizing disease. There is a cure for hatred. To find it, we’ve only to look inside.

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The power of a strong inner life…

6 Jul

It’s easy to imagine because I’ve seen it a thousand times in my head, a bit here, a fragment there; pieces of a grand puzzle coming together like a rainbow after a long storm, one color fitting snugly against the next, complementing the whole, yet amazing on its own. That’s how it is, this forest inside my head, the enchantment of the soul visualized by the mind’s eye, making it real.

I’ve been to the forest many times, beginning early in childhood when monsters came out from under the bed, their terrible teeth threatening to eat me alive.  I visited again during adolescence, those years of longing and drama.  The stillness I found amongst towering branches and the scent of deep pine wafting through tangled jasmine was the white knight whisking me away from turmoil, transporting me to a happier, more welcoming place.

Had it not been for the forest, I may not have survived the first twenty years of my first marriage with its intoxicating balance of delight and cruelty, and co-dependence so cavernous it erased every good thing that crossed its path.  But when I was 49, my body made the decision my mind had refused to make, as I stumbled into the kind of illness that consumes every ounce of strength and deliberate thought possible.  Suddenly my body was the tomb I was buried in. 

After the anger and grief, temperance set in, and I found in the midst of rubble, the most peaceful cave.  This silent, empty space was perfectly accommodating, seemingly knowing my needs before I’d consciously recognized and acknowledged them.  I dwelt in that space for three years, until one morning I heard the most delightful sound of a red bird singing on the window sill beside my bed, and his vibrant energy and contagious joy became the crutch I used to move from the cave into the forest of the outer realms of the world.

Pushing my weak body and placid mind, I moved forward, one step at a time.  But the cave of introspection and intuition had become part of me, so I brought it along ever conscious of its presence, and I used it like a self-help manual, or a book of new rules, rules written for and benefitting no one but me, and I called this newness of thought The Self Is and its code and content, The Requirements of Self-Is-Ness.

With renewed clarity of mind, I coaxed my body to do its part to save Self so that I might tell my children about this most amazing revelation I’d discovered within, the absolute fact that we can rid ourselves of the poisons that cripple us, that we can grow whole and find happiness within the boundaries of our own bodies simply by understanding the power we hold. 

I wanted to tell my daughters there are safe places that provide shelter when we become our own worst enemies, or when we allow the world to infect us with unhealthy ideas and role assignments, and how it is necessary first to go in in order to work ourselves out.  I wanted to tell them that the results of caring most tenderly for ourselves with absolute honesty and the tenderness we would afford a child, will carry us past any solution we may have previously imagined, because time spent in the cave is time spent unlearning, converting old assumptions and presumptions of implied fact into authentic personal truth

During the day, I worked to regain strength and balance.  When the time came I sought help from a neurological therapist who taught me how to create and integrate new tools for thinking into automatic responses.  We did this to improve my short term memory and to help me adjust to the loss of many memories of the past.  At home, I took on new tasks, trying confidence on as if it was an exotic new dress, and I embraced critical thinking in ways I’d never imagined before. 

I deliberately broke many status quo rules, as difficult as that was for me.  Friends and family either moved away from me, as if to avoid catching whatever madness had settled upon me, or gathered closer as a show of support for something fragile and young that was determined to live.

It was a difficult but satisfying process. At night I began building a house in my mind, deciding to return to the protective forest of my youth, using this technique like a new tool.  Building this house was a deliberate exercise, lasting an entire year. I began by mentally leaving home and then I imagined a beautiful green valley, lush and inviting.  Arriving in a car packed with sentimental belongings, none of which were particularly well suited for survival in the wild, yet each priceless thing, emotionally necessary, I began unpacking, moving each article into a back corner of an abandoned, leaking shack that I would soon transform into a comfortable home.

I can still see every item I’d packed for the journey, a foot pedal sewing machine, wooden bowls, blue glass, quilts and scraps for making more, good books, pen and paper, string and basic tools, and a seemingly endless supply of candles. 

This mental exercise strengthened my resolve as I built a home from scraps I imagined had been abandoned by another woman who had moved through her own personal forest, discarding possessions she no longer needed as she traveled forward.  In the end, what illness had taken away, newfound physical and mental health and deepening spirituality returned one hundred-fold.

Today I visit my cabin often; I sit on the porch under the stars, or drink coffee beneath the warmth of a quilt, and watch in perfect peace as storms pass outside.  Every day each of us is healing and growing at the same time; that’s what we do on this journey.  As for what comes next, I simply cannot say, but today is good, and that’s enough for me. 

There are so many paths leading home.  The lesson for me is learning to respect myself by caring for that timeless child within, and to listen to myself.  When I do these things, the daily practices of the Requirements of Self-Is-ness are easier to follow in spite of the clamor and chatter of those who confuse self-care with selfishness.

I believe personal forests are essential; without a quiet place to contemplate the pace of the world and it’s sharp, narrowing judgments, too much time is wasted feeling constricted or sad by our personal limitations.  I choose to live an active inner life, working to make my home in the physical world a better reflection of the healing forest in my mind, anchoring myself, providing safe passage for the infinite child who lives inside.  

 

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When your heart takes over the show…

20 Jun

The signs were there.  But my bossy brain, as disciplined and intent as a Sumo wrestler assigned them to the wrong room, unwilling to admit she may have made a mistake.  When the body revolted causing a scene, the doctor was called, and well-intentioned-rationalizing-I-Can-Do-It-Myself-Sumo-Me was sent to detention hall where I’m trying hard to blend.

It is not asthma, the drain of wind from great sails; it is not the gut gone tight and bubbly in the gladiator coliseum of social and political riot.  No, it is the sweet, red pump that drives everything.

As often is the case in this world of doublespeak, the tests that had moments before been reported positive, coiled, rose and struck like a snake interrupting my happy dance; and the interpreter of medical lingo on the other end of the telephone, (her voice as calm and cool as a summer melon cut in half), explained that was bad news.

So now the road forks, one sign pointing toward doom, another toward freedom; but the third trail marked by the largest sign of all, its path rutted by the passage of thousands of determined feet.  This is the direction I have chosen, the sign marked Onward, with Hope and Determination.

On June 26th, at 10:30 in the morning, my body will join the long line of silver headed warriors lying on gurneys in front of the alter of stainless steel doors that are as cold as a gnat’s teat, watching through a veil of numbing drugs, as the doors swing open then close like jaws around the lives of the hopeful.  Just like a busy ice cream shop, or a government office, I’ve been assigned a number and will wait my turn for the Great Oz while my best friend/lover/husband grinds his teeth in another room the same way I’ve ground my own for him each time he has taken this trip.

 My heart is huge.  My heart is durable. My heart is not close to giving up.  I’ll be back soon.  You’ll see.

And PS, I love you all.

 

 

Whoo! Hoo! Super Duper Sweet Blogging Award

5 May

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You can imagine my surprise!  How great is this?  Recognition from peers is a beautiful thing that inspires, encourages, and affirms we are heading in the right direction!  Now it’s my turn to shine a light on others.  Please take time to explore the blogs below; if you do, I guarantee you’ll walk away knowing a little bit more about the world, others and yourself.

Rules to this award are:

1. Thank the Super Sweet Blogger who nominated you

Mind On the Loose is an amazing woman who inspires us with stories reflecting the history and traditions of her family, her hopes and passions, and a litany of on-going and revolving projects. Her curiosity about the ever-changing science of electronics is quite impressive to a technologically-challenged admirer such as myself. Mind On the Loose provides a welcoming community setting for anyone looking for a place to share.  I hope you visit her soon.

This is the first time I have been nominated for a blogging award, and it’s name fits so well, not because I’m sweet, but because Sweet is my maiden name!   So, many,many thanks to Sabrina, whose mind is on the loose, for including me in this award.  I’m so happy we’re friends, but we most likely would never have even met if it were not for WordPress!

2. Answer five super sweet questions: The 5 sweet Questions are: 

  • Cookies or Cake?     Cookies! (mostly)
  • Chocolate or Vanilla?     Chocolate!
  • Favorite Sweet Treat?     Italian Cream Cake! (Neither chocolate nor cookie, whoops!)
  • When do you crave Sweet Things the most?     3:00 (PM and AM!)
  • Sweet Nick Name?     ittyMac, a combo of maternal and paternal grannie’s nick names: IttyBitty and MissMac.

3. Include the Super Sweet Blogging award image in  your blog post  (See above)

4. Nominate a baker’s dozen (12) other bloggers

Here, we go!  I’m following Sabrina’s example of giving you an idea of what sort of content you’ll find in the blogs I’ve nominated to share this amazing sweet prize!

The Empathy Queen – is a sincere, sometimes heart wretching journey through life and all that means. Pure, straight up honesty and amazing candor expressed humorously, punctuated, when least expected, by a precise and smooth sense of irony.

Humoring the Goddess – Back from a blogging hiatus, this funny, relevant blogger takes a swing at aging in a fast forward world continually changing.  This blog is a wild, fun ride you won’t regret taking!

Meganhasocd, The War in my Brain – A tug-a-war some days, a sail boat ride across a placid lake on others, The War in my Brain delivers a hard message softly, and with humor that always leaves me thinking; which, I believe, is exactly Megan’s intention.

Foreignly – Enlivening Dreams – is written by a student sharing his “ideas about various subjects ranging from humanities to science, but mainly on personal development…”  I think this is a very interesting blog, and being able to communicate with a young person on the other side of the planet is just too cool.

South of Where – is a blog I have only recently explored.  I found it while reading a response comment on an unrelated blog.  It was stumbling into treasure, for me.  At first, I thought I could see my own life in her words, but later I realized it is the author’s perspective that makes hers special to me.

Kmosullivan – is an advocate for women and setting socio-economic, cultural and community bars higher.  I’m drawn to the author’s use of humor and current events, and always enjoy the personal stories Kelly shares.

Writings of a Mrs – is the journey we follow as a woman works through the process of achieving her dream to make writing a profession.  Family photographs, poetry and personal musings bring us along for the ride!

Forgiving Dreams – thoughts on life and living the dream – covers a myriad of subject matter ranging from current events to spiritual musings.  This blog is where living  a Sustainable Green Lifestyle intersects, nicely, I might add, with the fast paced challenges and changes of Corporate World.

World’s Worst Moms – Well, if the blog name was actually intended to represent the truth, I’d have to be the first one to say, “I want one of those!”  Humorous, serious, relevant.

Cranky Caregiver – Grandma says – cracks me up!  If I could take life on like Grandma does, I’d have a lot more pep in my step!  Funny, fun and accurate.

Jenny Kissed Me – JeGlatter  This blog takes me into the space in my head that poets share with both the splendor and the abysses that are part of celebrating and surviving a deeply introspective life.  Her words are so fluid, it feels like I’m swimming.  She is great, not good.

Second Half Woman – follows the journey of a single woman exploring the second half of her life and sharing with gorgeous photography, poetry and personal musings along the way.

5. Notify your nominees on their blog

There; all done!  Thanks again, Mind on the Loose!