I had the opportunity to support someone who was experiencing some challenges this morning and a phrase I heard Warfield, a Lakota Medicine Man, frequently say came to mind: “It’s all good.” As I said it I realized she might have heard: “oh, don’t worry, it’s not a big deal.”

This brings to mind the parable about the farmer whose horse ran away, which seemed bad luck to the townspeople until two wild horses followed it home. Bad luck came again when his son broke his leg while breaking one of the horses…or did it? The next day the army came through rounding up able-bodied men to go to war, but the man’s son was not able. At each opportunity to perceive good luck or bad luck, the farmer said, “Maybe.”

I began this writing perceiving “It’s all good,” as “everything happens for a reason.” Though it may not seem good at the time, future perspectives often reveal a “good” reason.

Maybe.

Maybe it just is what it is, neither good nor bad, simply the events of a life.

You can choose to see bad luck, mistakes, and hard lessons.

Or…

You can choose to receive what comes your way and accept the wild horses and broken bones of today and of the today that comes tomorrow. And at the end of your life look back and see the balance–the hidden beauty within each event and say, “It was all good.”

Love you.

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Today a dear friend of mine sent an email forward with a video of Trace Adkins and the West Point Cadet Glee Club performing “Til the last shot’s fired” at the Academy of Country Music Awards. Words spoken by the warrior who introduced them have stayed with me: “Please consider that it’s not about the war, it’s about the warrior.”

The words in the song are from the perspective of the dead calling us to pray for peace so that they may “lay down [their] guns” and go home. I know I’m taking this to an extreme by thinking that tired, fallen warriors wouldn’t call for an absence of war through the powerful voice of Trace Adkins on a stage such as the Academy of Country Music Awards to set their spirits free with a semi-fallen warrior asking us to pay attention to the warrior if the wars “out there” were anything other than a reflection of our wars within.

Once again I revisit Chief Joseph’s declaration to fight no more, forever. With the deepest respect for the women and men who’ve died and those putting their lives on the line right now, I can’t help but ask everyone, “us”, to examine our hearts, to look for the places within where we will not forgive or where we hold on to right and wrong. I have my own inner bruises and wounds that I choose to lick, so it is with awareness of the depth of the challenge that I ask myself, and you, to consider that it’s not about the war, it’s about the warrior. In one way or another we are all warriors–what are we fighting for?

Is it worth it?

I had a conversation with a friend today about warriors, which naturally included the concept of wars and fighting. Aren’t we all at war in some way? Children are fighting on the playground, adults in the boardroom, parents in the bedroom, gangs on the streets, friends and lovers on Facebook, numerous groups in numerous forums, and each of us within our own hearts.

What are we fighting for? Equal rights? Freedom? A clean environment? Safety? What we want?

To prove we’re right? Good? Important? Valuable? The best?

One of my teachers says there is no “them” out there; there is only “us”. Us at war with ourselves.

I know I have inner conflicts and competing desires and values. I wonder if our experience of war and fighting of all types is an outer mirror of our inner wars…and how long it will take before “we” will stand, as Chief Joseph stood 132 years ago, and declare, “I will fight no more forever.”

What will it take?  How much destruction are we willing to exact on ourselves and others? How much pain are we willing to endure?

     As long as we believe in an us and them…
     As long as we fear rejection…
     And reject forgiveness and love.

New Year’s Eve and other cycle end markers such as birthdays have never had as much importance to me as this one. Why? In some ways I can’t wait for it to be over as if it is simply the end of a story and I get to start a new one in four days.

What if the end of the year (or a month or a week or a day or any cycle) were like the end of a movie? Would we turn it off, go to bed, and wake up to another day as if the events in the movie were just a story, a blip of memories floating around? Would we bother to watch the credits and thank all those who contributed to the making of it? Would we reflect and allow the recollections to stimulate our emotions again? Would we consider the ways it has impacted us—our beliefs, perceptions, assumptions, and choices?

A quick peek at some “2009 year in review” articles revealed lists of happenings with some judgmental commentary. I’m more curious about how these things and those events in our own lives have impacted us—changed us.

I want to bring this year to a close by acknowledging all the people, events, places, ideas, and things that made it possible, including my own ability to perceive as I have.

I want to acknowledge the impact–the changes in me, in my perceptions of myself, others, and the world.

Through this process I want to ring in the new year by using what I’ve learned to re-perceive a few things and drop a few assumptions—maybe write a re-vision…not like a do-over or a take-two, rather an updated version of the beliefs and assumptions that directed the 2009 movie.

I could probably use some wise soul guidance here.

Love you,

 

Lately I’ve been hearing people comment that we aren’t really in control and reciting the Yiddish proverb: “Man plans, God laughs,” that they’re being asked to have faith. Faith in what, I wonder. Don’t we all have faith in something…a lot of things? I realize the term typically refers to having a belief in God or something that cannot be proved, yet don’t we also have faith, without thinking about it, in things such as that the floor will be under our feet when we get out of bed?

Do we look at our unsuccessful attempts to create specific desired results and our illnesses as a sign that we’re not in control, therefore God must be, because we have faith in God? And then tell ourselves we must have faith…that God has a better plan for us? Or, when we succeed, thank God for giving us what we asked for? I know I’m simplifying this, but I wonder if we’d be better off to ask ourselves what we really have faith in and answer the question honestly. Is it a stupendously strong faith that keeps the ground under our feet? That allows us to witness our current perceptions of the physical universe? Is that stronger than our faith in God and his plans for us?

I know I’m stretching out there…

I recently had a conversation with someone and referenced something he’d talked about. He then told me he hadn’t said anything about that, but that it was true, he just hadn’t said it. Wait a minute! Don’t mess with my perception of reality—that I can tell the difference between a thought and a spoken statement. It’s pretty cool to be able to know things beyond the spoken and the physical, but it’s really helpful to know when it’s a “knowing” and when it’s a shared physical experience.

So, what do you have faith in? Your talents and abilities? God? That the sun will come out tomorrow? That the devil tempts us? If you treat others well, they will treat you well? That the other shoe will drop…eventually? That there’s more to our world that what we can see, hear, touch, taste, or smell? That there’s not?

What do I have faith in that I’m not aware of?

       Some things are best kept private.

I’m aware of that.

Yeah.

Love you,

Forgiveness. When does it begin? When we take our first breath? And do we just keep forgiving and receiving forgiveness with each consecutive breath? Perhaps it depends on frame of reference…you know, expecting more than someone can give and killing bugs are small offenses compared to rape and murder.

I remember struggling with the concept of saying “I’m sorry,” many years ago…to the point of actually writing an article about it for which I actually interviewed random people for opinions. At the time there was someone in my life who said “I’m sorry” a lot, but it didn’t feel as if he really meant it.

Now, on the other side of that coin, having said “I’m sorry” too many times, I have a different view—a conflicted view, like looking through a kaleidoscopic, cracked lens at the mixed feelings and mixed desires that drove mixed behaviors that lead to mixed messages and requisite apologies.

Sigh.

How unnecessarily convoluted of you; speaking the truth could serve quite nicely.

Ah.

It is for that that I now ask forgiveness.

Love you.

Sometimes I wish I were a caterpillar…

each cell going about its business

knowing without knowing

no need for faith

simply living

simply living

no need for faith

knowing without knowing

the business of change, of transforming,

becoming what the heart always intended.

A friend recently sent a note in which he shared an experience of recognizing the voice of the victim in the stories he’d been telling about his life. His ability to courageously acknowledge something that most people judge negatively inspired me to explore my own stories.

Reflecting on a series of conversations transpiring over the past week, I can see the threads I missed at the time because I was so focused on one or two threads that I justified as my cause, which now looks more like my excuse. Standing in the light of truth, not universal truth, rather the light of my honest motivation, I can accept that what motivates me may be self serving.

Here’s the crux of standing in this light: once I see the truth of what’s really there I can no longer point only to the threads that I like or want to believe without pretending. That I suppose presents yet another crux: to pretend or not to pretend.

That part of me that doesn’t want to change or doesn’t want to choose something that I think will reveal my perceived weaknesses, which aren’t very well hidden anyway—I know; I hear you laughing—can easily pretend. It’s as simple as turning the light off. Even now, two paragraphs and a coffee refill later I’ve turned off the light.

I don’t want to stand in the dark with my back to my truth.

Remind me of the name of the voice speaking in last week’s story…help me to hold the light steady.

Love,

Me.

I took a little tour through Spirit at Work Books and Beyond today and picked up a book on soul healing. I didn’t read much of it, only the idea that if we heal our souls, everything else in our lives will heal. Though I am familiar with soul retrieval and other methods of healing the soul, I’ve always wanted to believe that our souls are already perfect; here to learn and grow, but not broken or wounded or ill…that if we look closely enough we’ll see the perfection.

Maybe that’s too big picture of me.

Is soul healing similar to soul learning—as if learning/healing occurs when Mind articulates and integrates the truths of Heart?

Is it possible that our souls are on a journey filled with an exquisite array of infinite possibilities and that we come close to those that give us opportunity to learn and grow? And that some of us use the label healing?  

Anything’s possible.

That’s not fair.

That’s possible.

Urgh.

Love you.

While contemplating the idea of pain influencing me to shrink away from others or to feed confusion about feeling loved, I thought of the lyrics to Bette Midler’s “The Rose”. This and innumerable other songs and poems explore the many causes lying behind pain and its influence on how we interpret love.

My own questioning began in earnest when my marriage to my high school sweet heart disintegrated. I thought love conquered all! But I was wrong! And I decided that love wasn’t what I thought it was…and, in fact, I didn’t know anything about love, let alone being created to be loved.

Tell me about love and being loved and shrinking away. 

Like the first time you touched a hot stove—you pulled away. The next time you came close to a stove you either shrank away or you reached out to see if it was hot. If it was, you pulled away, if it wasn’t you learned that stoves aren’t always hot. If you shrank away, you associated the stove with pain, hot or not. Love is simple like that. People are not.  

When love has strings attached, you experience pain. When love expects nothing in return, you experience love. This applies when giving and receiving. When you love another with an expectation of how they’ll be, or what they’ll do, or what will happen next, or that they’ll love you in return, you’re likely to experience a staggering set of emotions ranging from disappointment to resentment and anger or even hatred and cynicism. 

Sounds simple…and maybe easy if I was Peace Pilgrim, but I’m not. So now what?

How do you know when you are loving simply?
How do you know when you are being simply loved?
 

Do that.
Receive that.

Learn to recognize the strings—starting with your own.
If you are honest with yourself, you’ll know what to do next.

I wonder if the journey is really about learning how to love simply and to be simply loved.

Love you–simply.

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