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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.

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.

Ah hell. Who said life was supposed to resemble a perfectly pressed square of finely woven Japanese brocade made only of the finest spun silk? Certainly no intelligent philosopher I’ve read and yet I’ve pressed and ironed and added new threads, the best I had at the time, and kept the tension of the warp threads and the weft threads as even as possible. And I’ve stretched it and squished it and dyed it and boiled it and scrubbed it and, yes, I’ve even tried removing a few rows. You laugh because you know how true it is.

Now the shape of my fabric resembles nothing but me. How sweet is that? A lumpy here, smooth there, colorful, multi-textured, unusual piece of life, ironically just like all the other unique quilts of life, for which I thank God. Isn’t she brilliant?

It’s interesting how all of our beautifully unusual pieces of life come together in the big quilt–overlapping here, blending beautifully there, bunching up in places, sometimes stretching to meet, sometimes barely touching, sometimes shrinking away.

Why do we shrink away? William P. Young, in The Shack, writes: “Pain has a way of keeping us from feeling loved—and if left unresolved too long, can leave us forgetting that we were created to be loved in the first place.”*

More on that later…

Love you.

*This sentence is in the notes I took while reading the book, which I gave to a dear friend, and may not be exactly how Mr. Young wrote it. You can find it on page 97 in the 2007 version.

I suppose we are all looking for something, like the characters in The Wizard of Oz. Maybe not as earnestly…or maybe. Each on our own journey separate yet together. You know, that soul dance, bumping up against each other, taking nourishment and delight or offense, seeking what we need, even when incognizant. Our amazing souls create perfect situations for us to meet our needs, even when it doesn’t seem so.

What am I looking for? It isn’t as obvious as the lion looking for courage, the very thing already within. Or is it? If others, those beautiful souls journeying with me, serve as mirrors, are they simply showing me something I already possess?

Oh.

Damn.

So…an unmet need might be a bit more humbling than something like needing to feel heard or respected. Maybe it’s to see how I  pretend everything’s okay when it isn’t; how I justify to have what I think I want; how I minimize disrespectful behavior of others and defend them to maintain peace or status quo; how I stuff my feelings for the same reason.

Breathe.

Love you.

If something “rings true” where did the knowing come from? 

From the awesome network of electricity, sound, light, or something else, constantly shimmying and sashaying from one body to another–intentionally and inadvertently–in and out, through and between, striking chords and pushing buttons, depositing ideas and turning on light bulbs?

Where ever knowing comes from, to me it is an elegant dance of souls. Souls simply communicating in accordance with the mystery of existence…

Which reminds me of a wonderful piece by Ray Lynch: What to remember to be happy.

Love you.

Facing remnants of the past, those pieces of life that seem to refuse to functionally decompose and continue influencing present experiences, I think of proponents of attending to the present moment: Eckhart Tolle, Ram Das, Ganjagi, Pema Chodron and other Buddhist leaders, friends, even myself just a few blogs ago. Just be in the moment and know that all is well.

Well, aware of those roots laying at my feet, under the soil of wanting all to be well, I am reminded of the importance of learning from the experience…to go back to the beginning and retrace the path to here…to see the opportunity in the situations.

If each adventure holds soul expanding lessons, which I didn’t see at the time, I can, like the salmon completing its cycle by returning to the beginning, go back and feel for what I missed.

Oh…

…stubborn resistance to the truth of the situations.

It’s so easy to deny the truth when it isn’t what I want to hear.

Love you.

June 2017
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