Sunday, February 28, 2021

February 28--Wide Open Hearts

What happens when people open their hearts? They get better. 
--Haruki Murakami

    This comes from spiritual teacher, Beverly Lanzetta:

    Over the years, I have composed and followed a personal rule of life. I include below excerpts from the original and longer rule, which you may find helpful in writing and living your own code of conduct.
  1. Be faithful to the Divine in all that you do. Put the Divine will before your own. Ask, “What would God do?” and wait for the answer. Do not allow personal attraction or gain to cloud decision-making, or your soul’s intentions to be compromised.
  2. Be simple of purpose. The basis of simplicity is centering on God. The heart of life is to live in God’s presence. 
  3. Love all of creation with Divine compassion. Total commitment brings change. Give to life your unparalleled commitment, and complete love, one that is without self-interest.
  4. Offer yourself as a place of prayer. May your presence be one that heals divisions and expands hearts.
  5. Be attuned to the splendor of creation, and the gentle web of existence. Celebrate embodiment. Actively work—both within yourself and in the world—to make the holy manifest.
  6. Refrain from possession. Remember the transient nature of earthly life. Possession can occur on all levels: physical, emotional, psychic, spiritual. Love expands the spirit, possession contracts it.
  7. Pray daily to grow in humility, and to be empty of the false self. Offer over to the Divine your regrets, sorrows, doubts, motives, and unresolved desires.
  8. In all you do, practice nonharm. Make a small footprint, tread lightly, become aware of the impact your actions have on others. The refusal to reflect on your motives leads to suffering (for others and also one’s self).
  9. Treat all religions and spiritual paths with honor and respect. Enter silence. Keep faith alive.
  10. Create community wherever you are. Make of your heart a home for the homeless, a refuge for the poor. Pray for the well-being of your sisters and brothers.

    I'd say practicing all of these is surely a heart-opening endeavor, and would certainly make each one of us and the world better. 

Saturday, February 27, 2021

February 27--Gentleness

Be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.  --Max Ehrmann

    Reading this quote makes me smile and feel good. It seems that there is a woeful lack of personal gentleness in our world. We are much too hard on ourselves to do and have rather than to simply be. I believe that we not only have a right to be here, but that someway, somehow, we chose to come here at this time. We are each on a soul mission, exploring both our inner and outer universes. 
    Think of a few people who have had a profound impact on your life, and consider how different you and your life would be had they not been here. The same is true for you--there are lives that would be very different had you not been here. You do good work simply being you. Be gentle with yourself. 

Friday, February 26, 2021

February 26--Inside ==> Out

What we achieve inwardly will change outer reality.  --Plutarch

    I would add that the only way to change our outer reality is to achieve inward change. Sure, we can try to change people, places and situations by forcing, bullying, cajoling, and controlling, but eventually those efforts lead to exhaustion and frustration. Can you tell I'm speaking from personal experience here?!?!!
    Nothing that we seek in life--serenity, happiness, joy, contentment--are commodities to be acquired elsewhere. They are all within us. Choosing to live from the well-being that is our innate state changes how we see and operate in the world. Someone really well-known said that heaven is within us. Living from that place of heaven within makes for a very nice outer reality!

Thursday, February 25, 2021

February 25--Let Light In

The wound is the place where light enters you.  --Rumi

    Here's an example. I had an actual wound when I had my hip joint replaced. It's a lovely, well-healed line on the front left side of my body. Much "light" has entered since that surgery. I feel like I have a new body. I'm much lighter on my feet because walking is now pain-free. I have been astounded to learn how much mental energy I was devoting to the ache and instability of that damaged hip. I feel more refreshed in the morning because I am able to sleep well. I am very empathetic regarding the plight of chronic pain. I am extraordinarily grateful that I finally became ready for the surgery and had it done. 
    Then there are the mental, emotional and psychological wounds. We all have them. Each one gives us a choice to heal, i.e., let the light in, or to hang on, let it fester into resentments and other emotional clouds that block the light. 
    I like having the choice for light. 

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

February 24--Required for Healing

We are healed of a suffering only by experiencing it to the full.  --Marcel Proust

Dive in. 
Learn something. 
Feel every feeling. 
Let it all go. 
Life goes on. 
Wounds heal. 
Not easy.
The reward is resilience.


Tuesday, February 23, 2021

February 23--Sorrow and Joy

The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain. 
--Kahlil Gibran

    Mystics have known this truth throughout the ages. Granted, the carvings of sorrow are not so much the fun part. It could be losing a loved one, a serious illness or accident, or betrayal. It can also be "day-to-day sorrows." Here's my example. Yesterday, with my husband away for a skiing break, I took Barney to work with me at the tax office. We are becoming quite busy now, with many folks dropping off their tax documents and picking up completed returns. Every time another person approached the door, Barney started barking, his innate doggie behavior. He's not mean or dangerous. He wants to play. 
    Barney's mom, me, on the other hand, soon got to the point where each bark felt like someone sticking a screwdriver into my brain. This is not a good place to be for tax work. We left early, with me exceedingly irritated with Barney, which creates a state of sorrow in me, because I dearly love him. We went on another walk, it being a lovely spring-like day, and he finally settled down. He is well aware of my not-pleased glare. Despite my irritation, I melt every time I look at him. He is a source of enormous joy, and I can't imagine life without him. 
    Sorrow and joy go together like peanut butter and chocolate. 

Monday, February 22, 2021

February 22--Being Peace

If there is to be any peace it will come through being, not having.  --Henry Miller

    Peace is within us. It is our natural state of being if we do not let the dramas of life overrun us. It is the challenging moment-to-moment practice of staying focused on peace rather than the events swirling around us. 
    Having stuff, and getting more stuff, does not bring peace. The more stuff we have, the more there is to take care of, protect, clean, store, repair, on and on. We may think more stuff will bring us peace and contentment, but we soon learn that is not the case.
    Cultivating peace within each one of us is the best way to create peace on Earth--it's a win-win individually and collectively. 

Sunday, February 21, 2021

February 21--Sadness

Perhaps somewhere, someplace deep inside your being, you have undergone important changes while you were sad.  --Rainer Maria Rilke

    The sadness I feel relative to the political and economic state of our country, the pandemic and its devastation, and the harsh treatment of Mother Earth has clarified my personal beliefs due to much "deep inside" introspection.  
    The sadness I feel relative to the health issues of close family members and friends has strengthened my prayer practice, has encouraged me to express my love and gratitude more often, and has made me even more appreciative of my own great health.
    The sadness I feel relative to aging has made me more focused on all I can do, more aware of my thinking and how that affects me, and encouraged me to live by the mantra, "Spirit within me does not age." 
    Those are the forms of sadness that are hanging with me at the moment. Others will come and go, and each, fully felt, will bring changes within me. It's called evolution, and it's good.

Saturday, February 20, 2021

February 20--After the Tears

Crying is all right in its way while it lasts. But you have to stop sooner or later, and then you still have to decide what to do.  --C. S. Lewis

    See the Feb 16 post for other thoughts on crying. 
    If there is enough tension built up in me that I need a good cry, then there's too much energy swirling in me to make a good decision. I consider crying to be soul-rinsing, and with a clean soul, we are in a much better position to make a calm and informed choice. I remind us that we are one whole entity--mind, body, spirit, consciousness--and therefore the physical ability to cry has to be an essential function in support of the whole being. The relief of letting that tear-filled energy flow from the body is both healing and clarifying. 
    Enjoy this day, "best day yet!"

Friday, February 19, 2021

February 19--Grief Changes Us

Someday you're gonna look back on this moment of your life as such a sweet time of grieving. You'll see that you were in mourning and your heart was broken, but your life was changing.  --Elizabeth Gilbert

    This quote is quite relevant to these times, especially looking over the past year. Last March, everything changed very suddenly, with the pandemic fully landing on us. Even though we might be reluctant to label the past year as a "sweet time of grieving," that is exactly what it has been. 
    Overall, my life over the past year has been quite good. Nothing essential is lacking. But I have grieved many things: not seeing family and friends, travel plans cancelled, routines of life turned upside down, political corruption and general ugliness, the January 6 attack on the Capitol, economic struggles for so many, and illness and decline in dearly-loved family members. These griefs are not unique to me. We are all in mourning, for life as we have known it is radically changing. Grief done well makes us more loving, compassionate and caring. Aaaahhhh, that's where the "sweet time" comes in. More loving, compassionate and caring is certainly the direction I would like to see humanity take. 
    Let's use our grief for good,

What a revolutionary proposition to realize that your heart-brokenness turns out to be the key to your willingness to remember what it takes to be a human being.  --Stephen Jenkinson

Thursday, February 18, 2021

February 18--Better

If better were within, better would come out.  --Simon Patrick

    Many thoughts and possibilities are roaming through my brain on this one. I can think of pairs of people to compare, one with "better within," one without. I don't feel like writing about that. I think you, dear reader, most likely can come up with an example or two on your own. 
    None of us know another well enough to know what has made their "within" be such as it is. Suffice it to say that it behooves us to choose to make our "within" better, because we live and act organically from that "within."
    Cultivating "better,"

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

February 17--Peace, Right Where We Are

You cannot find peace by avoiding life.  --Sir David Hare

    Well, I think you could. Maybe not forever. At least for a time. I've often enjoyed the fantasy of a comfy cabin (indoor plumbing essential!) beside a body of water, all to myself, no need to see another human for a LONG time. No responsibilities other than to be with myself and my thoughts. Letting the "outside world" do its thing without me. I feel great peace just thinking about that. Can you tell I'm an introvert?!?!!?
    I've had that fantasy for 65 years now, and it hasn't happened, and most likely won't. I've managed most days to find peace in the midst of life. I think the key is finding a healthy and successful way to deal with life, rather than substance abuse or any other numbing or distracting technique. A 12-Step program gave me that. Others may find it in a religious faith, or uniting in a group with a common purpose. Serenity is a daily choice, just like drama. Inner peace is priceless, and with grace, it spreads in ripples. (See the Feb 9 post for more on the ripple effect.) 
    In life, in peace,

    Once we know that the entire physical world around us, all of creation, is both the hiding place and the revelation place for God, this world becomes home, safe, enchanted, offering grace to any who look deeply. --Richard Rohr

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

February 16--A Good Cry

I will not say, do not weep, for not all tears are an evil.  --J. R. R. Tolkien

    My first reaction to this was that no tears are ever evil. But I can see fake, manipulative tears as an evil. Let's set that thought aside. 
    We U.S. humans are far too reluctant to cry. It's seen as messy, uncomfortable, even embarrassing. It can make those witnessing tears feel like they need to fix something, which is really annoying both for the crier and the fixer. This is all balderdash. 
    If crying was not a vital function of the body, we would not have the ability to do so. It moves energy that needs to be released. I'm sure there are plenty of specific physiological functions crying performs, though I don't claim to know all that. I think there's a common fear that once one starts crying, they may never stop. That's just not possible. Tears do dry up eventually. It feels GOOD to have a good cry. That's why I've come to refer to crying as soul-rinsing. Given what we've all been through over the past year, I'd say plenty of soul-rinsing is in order. 
    One more thing... if you see a person crying, leave him alone. Don't pat her patronizingly, don't try to fix anything, and most of all, don't encourage him or her to stop. The chances of dying from crying are non-existent. 
    If you want to have a great cry, watch the movie, "The Art of Racing in the Rain." Have lots of tissues handy. 

Monday, February 15, 2021

February 15--Amusing, or Not

The truth will set you free. But not until it is finished with you. 
--David Foster Wallace

    I chuckled when I first read this quote. We do learn some tough lessons in life. Many of them get repeated because sometimes we can be quite dense, i.e., resistant to the truth. I have to believe that the truth always does make itself known, though that may take a while. 
    The 4th step in the Anonymous programs is "Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves." Sincere effort here brings us face-to-face with considerable truth about ourselves, both good and not-so-good. While this inventory can be a challenging emotional experience, it truly does set us free from self-destructive thinking and behaving. 
    Then we reach the part of "But not until it is finished with you." That's the 5th step: "Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs." We share the inventory with a trusted individual as the official act of releasing it, knowing that God/Spirit/Higher Power is within the sharing all along. 
    Anyone who has completed these two steps knows the serenity of freedom that they bring. Challenging though they may be, these steps are often repeated over a lengthy recovery journey because the individual craves the freedom that the truth offers. It is a magnificent feeling to release character defects such as shame, rage, resentment and perfectionism. 
    Appreciating freedom,


Sunday, February 14, 2021

February 14--A Flexible Heart

Blessed are the hearts that can bend; they shall never be broken. 
--St. Francis de Sales

    It seems to me that there is a mighty fine line between a bent heart and a broken one, and there's a very slippery substance on that line. Tears and snot? 
    My heart is definitely bent now. I learned yesterday that my brother and his wife were both in the hospital for a time this past week. Both have multiple serious health issues, and it is becoming increasingly untenable for them to continue to live on their own. This is creating great stress for their children who live nearby. It is all very much a heart-bender. I'm in Kansas, they are in Ohio, and due to the pandemic, it has been much too long a time since I have visited them. We do talk often, but that's not the same. Things are such that a phone call announcing the transition of either or both would not surprise me, but it would certainly push me over that slippery line into "broken heart," at least for a time.
    Let's look at today's quote more generally. If we can take things in that rough up the heart, feel the feelings, recognize such things as a part of life, and keep faith that Something Bigger is in charge, then we do have a flexible heart that can bend. Flexibility, the ability to bounce back, is key. We grieve and move on. Getting stuck, holding on to pain, hurt, anger, resentment--this leads to heartbreak. As humans, we will most likely feel times of heart-bend and heart-break--it's simply part of the emotional gamut we signed up for in choosing to be here. I'm guessing that a review of the past year of your life will point out both bends and breaks. I thank Something Bigger for the infinite flow of love moving through our hearts and sustaining us. 

Saturday, February 13, 2021

February 13--The Heart Is Right

When the heart is right, the mind and body will follow.  --Coretta Scott King

    I believe the heart is always right. It is our innate state. We are born with the perfect inner guidance of our hearts. It is the "hard-wired" connection to the All-That-Is that sustains us through each earthly life adventure. 
    Being raised in the U.S. culture, we are generally taught that the head is more valid than the heart. I'm figuring this is because all those heart-felt feelings make those raising us quite uncomfortable. When the head takes over, all manner of messes can arise--violence, greed, corruption, us vs. them, resentments, vengeance, racism--the list is endless. 
    It is no small challenge to buck the current and live in touch with one's heart wisdom, allowing the mind and body to follow it. Like all skills, it is one improved by daily practice. It takes time, quiet attention, and listening. (Check out the Jan. 24 post and its reference to Heartmath.) Sometimes, when pressed for a too-soon decision, I've learned that it's OK and wise to say, "I don't have my guidance yet." The grace involved in following one's heart feels good, feels right, and makes it comfortable for the mind and body to follow. 
    Loving my heart,
Couldn't resist this one! JOY!

Friday, February 12, 2021

February 12--"Just the Way I Am"

Forgive your anger. Forgive your guilt. Your shame. Your sadness. Embrace and open up your love, your joy, your truth, and most especially your heart.   
--Jim Henson

    Here's a paradox. We are all a mess, yet there's nothing to fix. At one time or another, every one of us feels anger, guilt, shame and sadness--human emotions resulting from the choices we make. Sometimes we pack up those emotions in lovely baggage and lug them around for a lengthy amount of time. If we take our attention away from those universal human emotions, however, and embrace love, joy and truth, we know in our hearts that there is nothing to fix--we are in touch with Spirit that loves and accepts us just the way we are. 
    As the "writing gods" would have it, yesterday in my miscellaneous reading I found the perfect bit for today's blog. This comes from James Finley, a teacher at the Center for Action and Contemplation: "My spiritual practice is to sit each day in childlike sincerity with an inner stance that offers the least resistance to being overtaken by the God-given, godly nature of myself just the way I am."
    You and I live love, joy and truth when we open our hearts to let those godly qualities shine forth. 

Colorado State University Gardens, 2020
I LOVE flowers!

Thursday, February 11, 2021

February 11--Sorrow's Gifts

Sorrow fully accepted brings its own gifts. For there is alchemy in sorrow. It can be transmuted into wisdom, which, if it does not bring joy, can yet bring happiness.  --Pearl S. Buck

    "Yippee! Let's do sorrow today!" said no one, ever. It is not a favorite space to be. It hurts. It cuts deeply. It implies that permanent endings may be involved. Being fully present and feeling sorrow is certainly not something our society encourages. We are more of the "Get over it!" mindset. 
    Yet Ms. Buck tells us that sorrow has gifts for us, transformative gifts. Note that if you have experienced a great sorrow, you have come through it a different person. The death of a loved one, a serious illness or accident, or a significant trauma (a pandemic!) changes us forever. It is fairly impossible not to learn something from these experiences, increasing our wisdom and the confidence of knowing we can move through sorrow to a happier place. 
    Sorrow fully accepted--feeling it and letting it move out of the body--keeps it from being held in and festering. The pain of sorrow enlightens us to the toughness of the human condition and thereby inspires empathy. Judgmentalism fades as we realize that we don't know what is happening with another, that we are all doing the best we can with what we understand at the time. I can say from personal experience that lessening judgments certainly brings happiness, though it is a necessary daily practice. Sorrow can enlighten us to what we truly value, make us more appreciative of the blessings of life. Sorrow helps us to realize the support we have in life, be it family, friends, or Something Bigger. Sorrow is a direct channel to the soul, and that's a potent opening for happiness, and ultimately, joy. 

Alan Seeger Natural Area, Pennsylvania...
Probably my favorite spot on Earth

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

February 10--"All is as it Should Be"

The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quiet, alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be. --Anne Frank

    I had an experience a few years ago which changed me forever. I was leading a retreat in the magnificent Flint Hills of Kansas. There was a hilltop area with huge slabs of granite where one could lie "alone with the heavens, nature and God." I reclined there around sunset. It happened to be the night of a supermoon. I had the sun setting on one side of me, and the supermoon rising on the other side, with billions of stars beginning to twinkle in between. Such experiences don't lend themselves well to words. Suffice it to say that I came away with the knowing that "all is as it should be," now and forever. Something bigger than me has everything well in hand, and I have no need to worry. I think of that time often to bring myself back to a space of peace. 
    Go outside and find something beautiful,

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

February 9--Ripples Through Generations

Everybody talks about wanting to change things and help and fix--but ultimately all you can do is fix yourself. Because if you can fix yourself, it has a ripple effect.  --Rob Reiner

    I know the ripple effect to be true. I've witnessed it working both ways. I was raised in a multi-generational family of addicts who had no inkling of a need to fix themselves, and the "ripple effect" was a set of three offspring who all turned out to be addicts. One of my brothers has passed. The other brother and I have spent decades in recovery. One thing that is front-and-center in the 12-Step programs is "ultimately all you can do is fix yourself." A person determined to improve their well-being by releasing self-destructive behaviors is a powerful force for good, and such folks uniting to carry the message definitely has a ripple effect, even in multiple generations. Living life in a healthy and successful manner is noteworthy. People recognize it soul-to-soul, and it is a powerful example for good that spreads. Such is the concept of sponsorship in the 12-Step programs. 
    Here is my affirmative version of the Serenity Prayer: God grants me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. 
    Enjoying the ripples,

Monday, February 8, 2021

February 8--Grateful for Grace

It is the nature of grace to fill the places that have been empty.  --Goethe

    This is a powerful truth for which I am ever so grateful. Grace is a mighty leader, if we will allow her to lead us. I spent many years of my life trying to fill the places that were empty in me with food. I'm here to tell you...that does not work. I knew overeating was a symptom, not the real problem. Reaching for help and recovery brought me the understanding of my empty places--that was and is grace in action.
    I've been around a lot of addicts in my life, primarily those seeking recovery. I've seen all manner of empty places: broken relationships, poor health, low self-esteem, resentments, emotional shut-down, fearfulness and paranoia, loneliness, self-destruction and suffering. It is the willingness to allow grace to change us that makes all the difference. Misery loves company, but so does grace.
    One of my favorite instances lately of grace is the arrival in our lives of our angel dog, Barney. We wanted a rescue, one that at least looked similar to a Golden Retriever. We were in no hurry. Grace provided us a friend who volunteers with a rescue organization. When Barney was turned over to them, very ill, my friend alerted us. He was treated, recovered, and became ours just a couple months before the pandemic hit hard. I guess we didn't know how empty our doggie space was, but it is full to overflowing now with love and joy. It is an outstanding amount of grace to have another presence to love in our home. (Barney's photo is on yesterday's post.)
    Willing for grace,

Sunday, February 7, 2021

February 7--Outside

Find meaning. Distinguish melancholy from sadness. Go out for a walk. 
--Albert Camus

    I was participating in a discussion recently with several friends about how we are coping with the "confinement" of these pandemic times. One consistently mentioned tactic is to go outside. Go for a walk. Hang out and look at the stars. Watch the birds and squirrels. It's quite cold in our area, so those outside adventures don't need to last very long. There's something about fresh air that is rejuvenating. I'm grateful for my angel dog, Barney. There are many winter walks I would have skipped had I not had Barney to exercise.  
   "Distinguish melancholy from sadness." This is no small challenge--I looked up definitions of melancholy and they all include "sad" or "sadness." So I'll go on my own ponderings. I think of sadness as being related to something specific, like a condition or event, such as the death of a loved one. Melancholy seems to me to be more of a general low state with no particular cause. I'm not sure if one is better or worse than the other. In terms of healing, February's theme, I'd say it's useful to feel whatever we feel and let it go. 
    "Find meaning" may be a stressful thought, like we have to have some big world-saving purpose in life. I find meaning in simply enjoying each day. It's meaningful to me that I help care for Barney and we each make the other's life better. I enjoy the work I do. I enjoy my hobbies of swimming, golfing and napping. I love hanging with my husband for a before-supper beer and talking about our days and life in general. Writing this blog is meaningful to me. From the 12-step literature: "Each day we live well, we are well." That's meaning enough for me. 
    Keep moving,
Outside with Barney, bbrrrrrrr!!!!!!

Saturday, February 6, 2021

February 6--Follow-up from Yesterday

When you learn your lessons, the pain goes away.  --Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

    Yesterday's blog was all about the usefulness of pain, and what we can learn from the assorted pains we experience through a lifetime. Yes, as I learned the lessons from the pains, the pains went away. I believe it is helpful to have a simple memory of the pain to remind us of the lessons we've learned. Those memories can keep us from repeating unnecessary pain-causing actions. Also note that if we hold onto the pain via resentment, anger, conflict, stubbornness, or any other strong emotion, the pain doesn't go away. It festers. 
    I've been asked many times if I wish I had had my hip replacement surgery sooner, given the excellent result of now living and moving pain-free. My reply is that I just don't think I was ready. There were lessons to be learned, and I'm even now still figuring those out. Certainly there was plenty of fear--it's a major surgery, after all--and it turned out that the fear was what fear often is... false evidence appearing real. I guess I also released some unconscious need to suffer. That one just came to me and deserves some additional introspection. Hmmmm....
    Always learning,

Friday, February 5, 2021

February 5--Useful Pain

Be patient and tough; someday this pain will be useful to you.  --Ovid

    There's that saying...whatever doesn't kill us makes us stronger. In the midst of pain, it can be quite a challenge to be patient and tough, much less to look ahead and think it will be useful at some point. 
    However, in hindsight, I can see the truth of Ovid's statement. One instance of pain from my life has been associated with the death of loved ones, in particular my parents. Experiencing that pain has caused me to learn to grieve, to be independent, to appreciate the loved ones still with me, and to be compassionate toward others who are grieving. 
    The pain of addiction reached its peak for me in my early thirties. I have been patient and tough enough to hang in there in a 12-Step program for decades, and the pain of addiction gave way to brand new and successful methods for dealing with life other than substance abuse. 
    Conflict--now there's a fun subject, one most folks would prefer to avoid like a root canal. The pain of conflict teaches us problem-solving, boundary-setting, compromise, and the ability to see something from another's point of view. 
    Physical pain from an illness, injury or lack of movement, while tough to bear, can be very useful if it leads to changes in behavior that support our well-being. It gives us empathy for others in physical pain.  
    Finally, I'd have to say that the mental/emotional/spiritual pain I have experienced has probably been the most useful. With decades of patience and toughness expressed in tears and rage, that pain has exposed limiting beliefs and character defects that definitely were not serving me. I've learned to value the unique individual that I am, quirks and all. Feeling comfy in my own skin--priceless!
    Still patient and tough,

Thursday, February 4, 2021

February 4--Stated Flat Out

Your problem is you are too busy holding on to your unworthiness.  --Ram Dass

    Very blunt and very true and quite often, very unconscious. I can't think of anyone I know who was not given the message growing up that they didn't quite measure up to par in some fashion. There's the original sin nonsense from the Bible. Assorted religions thrive on telling folks of their sinfulness and powerlessness. (I grew up in one of those.) Messages of lack seem to hit us from all directions--we're too young, old, tall, short, fat, thin, beautiful, unattractive, unskilled, stupid, rich, poor--it's endless. Add a self-destructive addiction to the mix, and you have a complete "I'm no good" package. It's no wonder we cram our unworthiness into the finest of suitcases and drag that baggage around most of our lives. We seem to think that we can somehow earn our worthiness by being sufficiently miserable. So much bullshit. 
    It's no small challenge to change the personal and collective mindset that we are here to live in joy and abundance rather than to suffer. One is pushing "uphill" against all the downer forces mentioned above. I am eternally grateful to the 12-Step programs for bringing me and thousands of others through the journey of learning to value ourselves. Alas, when I finally recognized that I felt worse leaving church than when I entered, I stopped attending, which greatly improved my relationship with myself and Spirit. 
    Those places in life where we feel we can't do, be or have something we desire are the spots to start excavating those "unworthiness" beliefs. Like splinters, we find them, pull them out, toss them and heal. 

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

February 3--Scars

To be alive at all is to have scars.  --John Steinbeck

    So true, so true. The physical scars often start as babes when we are learning to walk, the first frightening gush of blood, then stitches, from banging our head on something solid. Then there are lots of skinned knees, cut fingers, maybe a broken bone. I'd be willing to bet that few of us make it through modern life without some sort of surgical scar. Mercifully and mystically, our bodies have an amazing ability to heal.
    We generally get over physical injuries quickly. More challenging are the emotional, mental and spiritual scars which we all acquire over a lifetime. Difficult family situations, unhealthy environments, abuse, violence, neglect, betrayal, abandonment--all these can leave very deep and painful scars. I have even felt scarred by my early religious indoctrination. It's sad to note that our scars are often created by those closest to us. Mercifully and mystically, our souls have an amazing ability to heal.
    It's interesting to me that some of our scars are worthy of showing off ("Wanna see my scar?") and others are deeply hidden and never shared for a lifetime. Let's accept the fact that if we are alive, we are scarred, every one of us. Kindness soothes a scar. 

Tuesday, February 2, 2021

February 2--Keep It Close

The love of the family, the love of the person can heal. It heals the scars left by a larger society. A massive, powerful society.  --Maya Angelou

    There has been much scar creation in our massive, powerful society lately. The stress of the pandemic, both in terms of varied illness and vastly limited activity, has left a huge scar on our world. The economic repercussions have been devastating to many. Political divisiveness has been a source of violence and hatred, and has put the brakes on progress, if not actually pulling us backwards. Racism is alive and well. Our abuse of Mother Earth has reached epic proportions. 
    I don't feel capable of solving any of those gigantic problems, and most likely, you don't either. We can, however, be a loving presence in our family. Healing the wounds in individual families is vital to creating a larger society of peace and well-being. It is individuals, acting in love, right where we are, doing the next kind and helpful thing, that will move our larger society along a healing path. We must hold tight to the knowing that every person acting in love matters greatly to the whole. Each of us can be a healer.

Beauty heals. (Beauty=Love)

Monday, February 1, 2021

February 1--A Month of Healing

What is required of us is that we love the difficult and learn to deal with it. In the difficult are the friendly forces, the hands that work on us.  --Rainer Maria Rilke

    The theme for February in "Daily Peace" is healing, a very front-and-center topic in our world today. On a global scale, we need healing of international relationships as well as in our care for Mother Earth. We need healing of the divisiveness within the U.S. And many individuals are seeking healing, be it a Covid-19 infection or otherwise. All of these circumstances are "difficult." Love them, as Rilke suggests? There's a challenge. 
    It's also an opportunity. It is in dealing with difficulties, i.e., finding solutions to problems, that we do encounter those "friendly forces" that help us resolve any situation. Once we set our focus on the solution, rather than the problem, friendly forces and helping hands seem to appear as if by magic, if only we are aware enough to recognize them. This process is vastly helped by being willing, in the midst of "difficult," to ask for help. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness. It is a vital life skill, especially when dealing with the "difficult." 
    Appreciating those friendly forces today,