Friday, May 24, 2024

May 24--Will We Survive?

Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive.  --Dalai Lama XIV

    I'm amused. Down below is my original post for this quote, written a day in advance. When I saw the title "Will We Survive?", I giggled because our clothes dryer went belly-up yesterday. While some may consider a dryer a luxury (yes, I know it is), I consider it a necessity. My husband put up a clothes-line outside, and we have a hanging rack inside that I can use, so I won't get too stinky. Onward...

==============================

    The Dalai Lama is a wise human. 
    Our survival depends on every single one of us. 
    What will you do today to bring more love and compassion into our world? 
        Leta

My lilies are blooming--heavenly!!!

Thursday, May 23, 2024

May 23--Lowering the Voltage

Slide the weight from your shoulders and move forward. You are afraid you might forget, but you never will. You will forgive and remember.  --Barbara Kingsolver

    We don't forget those things that have traumatized us. The way I tell if I have forgiven something is that I can look at the person or situation and have no emotional charge caused by remembering. Low-voltage aggravations are much easier to forgive than the super-charged ones. Likewise, one time events are easier to forgive than ongoing, repetitive actions. I've made great progress, but I can't say that I feel no charge relative to my brother's constant verbal abuse growing up. I remind myself of all the personal growth that abuse has inspired, and I let it go yet another time. 
    Forgiveness does not require forgetting--that's impossible. 
        Leta

A plot of pretty pansies!

Wednesday, May 22, 2024

May 22--Enjoying Imperfection

Perhaps it is our imperfections that make us so perfect for one another! 
--Emma, 1996 Screenplay

    Let us be comfortable with our imperfections! Speaking from vast experience, it is very unpleasant living with someone who is non-stop striving to be perfect. Perfectionism is a quite common defect of addicts. It is an insidious undercurrent in our society, causing us to hide behind masks and live in fear of "not good enough." 
    Instead, let's cherish our unique human personalities, "warts and all." As I mentally roam around family members and friends, I can easily see "imperfections," but for the most part, that is what I love about them. 
    Let's get really good at being imperfect!
        Leta

Imperfect yet still functional!

Tuesday, May 21, 2024

May 21--Many Versions of Love

Where the myth fails, human love begins. Then we love a human being, not our dream, but a human being with flaws.  --Anais Nin

    You have to be of a certain age, but there was a skit on Saturday Night Live long ago whose central feature was the Love Toilet shown in the photo below. The idea was that the couple could not bear to be separated, even for the time it takes to go to the bathroom. This idea came up because I recently encountered one of those couples who never do anything separate from each other--they appear to be joined at the hip. Granted, that is my assumption looking in from the outside. 
    My husband and I have many interests that do not overlap. He is into music, bicycling and projects around the house. I am into traveling, pickleball, golf, and gardening. We talked about how much each of us would have missed if we had declined our hobbies and adventures because the spouse was not interested. Also, because we have such different interests, we generally have a lot to talk about. What would you talk about if you are together all the time? 
    All relationships are different. It is a blessing to have one that works, however it looks!
        Leta

The Love Toilet SNL

Monday, May 20, 2024

May 20--It's DIVINE!

To err is human; to forgive, divine.  --Alexander Pope

    I knew this quote had to show up eventually in a month of forgiveness quotes. Forgive "seven times seventy" is the strongly suggested effort. I believe 490 times of forgiveness in a long lifetime is not too many. Maybe Jesus was exaggerating a bit? Probably not.
    Actually, as I consider living with another person(s), I see forgiveness as a daily organic aspect of life. That other person is going to do things that are, at the very least, annoying. We simply have to overlook, i.e., forgive, a lot of stuff if we want to keep a loving relationship going. The practice of raising children is a direct lesson in forgiveness, because we all know how frustrating they can be as they humanly err their way into learning life. 
    It is our innate connection to Source and infinite love that enables us to forgive and be free.
        Leta

Sunday, May 19, 2024

May 19--Not a Victim

Experience is not what happens to a man; it is what a man does with what happens to him.  --Aldous Huxley

    Isn't it interesting how two people can go through the same event and each one has a completely different experience? It all depends upon our beliefs, thoughts, triggers and choices. I think of my recently-passed brother who was not keen on the idea of moving into assisted living. He did, though, and he made the best of his "prison" experience despite his health issues and annoyances. He was friendly and helpful, told lots of stories, prided himself on making the staff members laugh. 
    Huxley's quote exactly describes addiction. A practicing addict thinks he/she has no choice, that the addictive substance or activity is happening to him. Getting into recovery empowers the addict with healthier choices about what to do with what happens to him. 
    This is a constant challenge for me, recognizing my choices rather than feeling like a choice-less victim. 
        Leta
From my recent
estate sale roamings

Saturday, May 18, 2024

May 18--A New Dream Is Required

Don't ruin the present with the ruined past.  --Ellen Gilchrist

    As Einstein said, you can't solve a problem with the consciousness that created the problem. 
    One of my favorite writers and spiritual teachers is Brian McLaren of the Center for Action and Contemplation. Even though we have created enormous ruination of our glorious Mother Earth, McLaren shares his dream of the consciousness needed to save ourselves and our Mother:
This is my dream, and perhaps it is your dream, and our dream, together: that in this time of turbulence when worlds are falling apart, all of us with willing hearts can come together … together with one another, poor and rich, whatever our race or gender, wherever we live, whatever our religion or education. I dream that some of us, maybe even enough of us, will come together not only in a circle of shared humanity, but in a sphere as big as the whole Earth, to rediscover ourselves as Earth’s multi-colored multi-cultured children, members of Team Earth.

I dream that the wisdom of Indigenous people, the wisdom of St. Francis and St. Clare and the Buddha and Jesus, the wisdom of climate scientists and ecologists and spiritual visionaries from all faiths could be welcomed into every heart. Then, we would look across this planet and see not economic resources, but our sacred relations … brother dolphin and sister humpback whale, swimming in our majestic indigo oceans, with sister gull and brother frigate bird soaring above them beneath the blue sky. We would see all land as holy land, and walk reverently in the presence of sister meadow and brother forest, feeling our kinship with brother bald eagle and sister box turtle, sister song sparrow and brother swallowtail butterfly, all our relations.

In my dream, the reverence we feel when we enter the most beautiful cathedral we would feel equally among mountains in autumn, beside marshes in spring, surrounded by snow-covered prairies in winter, and along meandering streams in summer. In my dream, even in our cities, we would look up in wonder at the sky, and a marriage between science and spirit would allow us to marvel at the sacredness of sunlight, the wonder of wind, the refreshment of rain, the rhythm of seasons. At each meal, we would feel deep connection to the fields and orchards and rivers and farms where our food was grown, and we would feel deep connection to the farmers and farmworkers whose hands tended soil so we could eat this day with gratitude and joy.

In my dream, our life-giving connection to each other and to the living Earth would be fundamental, central, and sacred … and everything else, from economies to governments to schools to religions … would be renegotiated to flow from that fundamental connection. In my dream, we would know God not as separate from creation, but as the living light and holy energy we encounter in and through creation: embodied, incarnated, in the current and flow of past, present, and future, known most intimately in the energy of love.
    Let us dream this dream into reality!
        Leta
 
One of the many gorgeous spots on our Mother--
south central Pennsylvania

Friday, May 17, 2024

May 17--Let Go, Let Life

Sometimes letting things go is an act of far greater power than defending or hanging on.  --Eckhart Tolle

    My brother was the first one to share with me this phrase regarding unwillingness to forgive: "you are letting that person live in your head rent-free." Such a state is one of weakness. Clearing the mental squatters is an act of self-empowerment.
    Recently I've been considering the practice of self-pity. That is defending or hanging on, and it is a weakened state. Letting go of the "oh, poor me" stuff, dwelling in the past, gives us the opportunity to see potentials for a more creative future. 
    Unforgiveness keeps us trapped in the past. Forgiveness clears the wreckage--a "clean slate" is a powerful place to start.
        Leta
My latest sewing creation, 
a CUBS garden flag

Thursday, May 16, 2024

May 16--Thank You?

True forgiveness is when you can say, "Thank you for that experience." 
--Oprah Winfrey

    "Ouch!" That's a lofty goal, in my opinion. My greatest challenging experience in life was the near-constant verbal abuse by my brother Ken. It's kinda tough to say "thank you" for that, BUT my life would be completely different had he not been around. Given that I pretty-much like where I'm at these days, I guess I could squeak out a little "thank you." 
    I was not happy with my mother dying when I was a young person of 23. It took a while for me to forgive her for that. This is an instance where I can truly say, "Thank you for that experience." Her early passing forced me to develop a level of independence that would have been most unlikely had she lived many more years. 
    I bless those times where it is simply too much bother to hang onto grudges and resentments. 
        Leta

One of many adorable logos
at Hopping Gnome Brewery,
Wichita, Kansas

Wednesday, May 15, 2024

May 15--Handling Mistakes, Or Not

Mistakes are a fact of life: It is the response to the error that counts. 
--Nikki Giovanni

    The photo with this quote is the Leaning Tower of Pisa. The lean is caused by an unstable foundation. And my googling tells me that the builders knew it was leaning after constructing three stories, yet they still completed the eight-story structure. I'm not sure that is a good "response to the error." On the bright side, it has yielded considerable tourist traffic over the centuries. 
    This is, however, an excellent metaphor for life. We screw up, but we keep going. Sometimes we clean up our mistakes with amends and forgiveness. This strengthens our spiritual foundation. Other times we drag the baggage around out of pride or embarrassment, weakening ourselves and our relationships.  
    A good thing to ponder: how can I lighten my mistake baggage?
        Leta

Tuesday, May 14, 2024

May 14--Bad and Good in All

People are very bad and very good. A little love goes a long way.  --Amy Poehler

    Often the question floats through my brain: why do folks have to do nasty, mean, ugly things? Greed is a huge part of it. Much of the quality of life in the Wichita area is due to the "generosity" of the billionaire Koch family, yet they are as greedy and power-hungry as they come. They are a fine example of "very bad and very good." 
    Bringing it very close to home... both our neighbors to the east and to the south now have a collection of ducks. These ducks are quite vocal, and they encourage the neighborhood dogs to get in on the conversations. At least some of these ducks do not fly. What's that about?!?!?! Isn't it cruel of nature to give a creature wings but it can't fly??!!?! I told my husband that I want to get a sign made to hang on our deck (visible to both sets of duck owners):

SHUT THE DUCK UP!!!!!


    Have a lovely day!
        Leta

Monday, May 13, 2024

May 13--Mother Earth is Weeping

We are told that people stay in love because of chemistry, or because they remain intrigued with each other, because of many kindnesses, because of luck. But part of it has got to be forgiveness and gratefulness.  --Ellen Goodman

    Mothers are mothers 24/7/365, not just one day. And our Mother Earth nurtures us 24/7/365. Here are words from Brian McLaren in his book, "Life After Doom: Wisdom and Courage for a World Falling Apart":
You woke up again this morning with that familiar un-peaceful, uneasy, unwanted feeling. You wonder what to do about it. You suspect that if you pay attention to it, it will unleash some inner turmoil….

It’s anxiety that we feel, yes, and a tender, sweet, piercing sadness, not just for ourselves, but also for everyone and everything everywhere, all at once.…

We feel this doom because we are awake, at least partially awake.…

The open secret of doom finds us everywhere. Trees tremble as they tell us about it, weeping. Water whispers it to us. Birds and insects testify about it through the heartbreaking silence that speaks of their absence. Forgotten forests, bulldozed into shiny new housing developments, haunt us like ghosts. Even though politicians try to distract us with their daily gush of hot air, the scorching winds of a destabilized climate breathe the chilling truth down our necks.…

Here’s one thing I’ve learned already: when you dance with doom, doom changes you.

Yes, it can change you for the worse…. But the dance can also change you for the better, leaving you more humble and honest, more thoughtful and creative, more compassionate and courageous … wiser, kinder, deeper, stronger … more connected, more resilient, more free, more human, more alive.
    Loving our Mother Earth is everyone's job!
        Leta
The "mascot" at Bear Creek Golf Club,
Wentzville, MO

Sunday, May 12, 2024

May 12--Loving Moms

Moments of kindness and reconciliation are worth having, even if the parting has to come sooner or later.  --Alice Munro

    It is never too late to forgive. Even if the person is deceased, you can write a letter of forgiveness and have a ritual of release, such as burning or shredding the letter. It works!
    I often quote Richard Rohr from the Center for Action and Contemplation. His Daily Meditations this week have been about "homecoming"--the eventual return to Source that we all experience. While I am happy that my beloved brother is no longer suffering, I do miss him terribly. This quote from Mr. Rohr is quite comforting: 
In the metaphor of life as a journey, I think it’s finally about coming back home to where we started. As I approach death, I think the best way to describe what’s coming next is not “I’m dying,” but “I’m finally going home."
    Thinking of my brother as being "home" works for me. I believe that is how he was viewing it. Eventually being "home" myself also works for me.  
    Let us not pass up any opportunity to express love and appreciation here and now,
        Leta

Saturday, May 11, 2024

May 11--Working Compassion

Compassion is an unstable emotion. It needs to be translated into action, or it withers.  --Susan Sontag

    Often when I am lap-swimming there is a water exercise class underway, and the teacher plays old oldies. Stuck in my brain now are these lyrics performed by Lesley Gore:
It's my party and I'll cry if I want to, 
cry if I want to,
cry if I want to.
You would cry too if it happened to you. 
    I comically note this as the theme song of self-pity. Unfortunately, I do hang out there sometimes. 
    But back to compassion. This word makes me think of my mother (Mother's Day weekend, huh!). It took a long time for me to come to a place of compassion toward her. She was a food addict and codependent and passed on those modes of operation to me. I feel great compassion toward her because she was never able to see those things in herself, and even if she had sought help, there was nothing available in the boondocks of Pennsylvania at the time. I translated that compassion into action by joining a 12-Step program to address my addictions. I could have carried on like my mother and killed myself with food. 
    Compassionate action makes options available to those who need them,
        Leta

Oh, baby, love that hairstyle!!!

Friday, May 10, 2024

May 10--Accepting Imperfection

Perfection is inhuman. Human beings are not perfect. What evokes our love... is the imperfection of the human being.  --Joseph Campbell

    "AMEN!" a thousand times over! It is our faults, flaws, insecurities, "warts," wackiness, stumbles and recoveries that make us the unique, unrepeatable expressions of Spirit that we are. There is way too much perfection-seeking in our society, exacerbated by social media. It is clearly damaging to our children, which we see in ever-increasing suicide rates. 
    After years of spending too much time on Facebook, I gave it up at the early stages of the previous presidential election. All I was seeing was political crap or ads for things I had no interest in. Any time I tried to offer any coaching or class opportunities, those posts went into oblivion somewhere and never showed up where I had hoped they would. Life without Facebook is possible, and it removes a level of perfectionistic comparison from one's life. I have managed to survive quite well without it.
    I have a t-shirt that designates me as "World's Okayest Pickleball Player." We all need one that labels us as "World's Okayest Human."
        Leta
Lilies, my favorite.
What would life be without flowers?

Thursday, May 9, 2024

May 9--Generous Forgiveness

Let us forget with generosity those who cannot love us.  --Pablo Neruda

    WOW, this describes a huge hunk of my life and spiritual healing journey. My other brother, Ken, was the one who could not love me. For reasons I can only suspect, Ken despised me from Day One. He was 14 years older than me. He spent every day he had contact with me working to make my life miserable with near-constant verbal abuse. Alas, I was around him a lot because he and my dad were in the lumber business together. Ken made his transition in 2006.
    It has taken years of inner work to get to the point of "forget with generosity." Ken was my greatest nemesis, but also my greatest teacher. Forgiveness is an ongoing process as I uncover more of the insidious ways his treatment influenced my beliefs about myself and therefore, my behavior. 
    I've read that those who trouble us the most in earthly life are the ones who, on some cosmic level, love us the most. Maybe someday that truth will be known to both Ken and me.
    I can say with some awe that I had both the best brother and the worst brother possible, and maybe someday I shall be surprised about who was who!?!?!?
        Leta
A squirrel-deterring pinwheel 
protecting a pot of baby basil plants...
future pesto!

Wednesday, May 8, 2024

May 8--The Relief Tears Bring

What cannot be said will be wept.  --Sappho

    This has been so true for me. I can't put into words how hard it is not having my brother Arlie on the planet, yet at the same time, I am grateful for his end to suffering. 
    I encourage folks to cry, which I refer to as soul-rinsing. We would not have the physical ability to cry if it was not essential to our well-being. It is an exceptional way to move energy that needs to be released. As Sappho said, we don't even need to know the impetus for the tears. 
    I have shed many a tear of joy in my lifetime, too. Tears have expressed appreciation for a place of great beauty on our magnificent Mother Earth or for a great work of art. Simple everyday things like a spectacular sunset or the intricacies of a spider's web can start the flow of tears. 
    My dad, annoyed with my tendency to cry "too much," used to say about me: "Her water always was close to her eyes." 
    I'm OK with that, Dad. 
        Leta

David by Michelangelo, gets my vote for
the most beautiful work of art in the world.

Tuesday, May 7, 2024

May 7--Bendable Hearts

Blessed are the hearts that can bend; they shall never be broken.  --Albert Camus

    I don't know if my heart has simply bent; it surely feels broken. That's what the past year and a half has been--wrenching my heart with a wild mix of emotions. There have been huge family disappointments in several directions, all capped off by the loss of my beloved brother. Is that what causes us to leave the planet--our hearts stop bending and actually break? 
    I keep chanting my intentions to myself to try to stay within the "bend" range. Those intentions are "to stay healthy and active" and "to encourage and allow myself to be a happy human." It is way too easy these days for my thoughts to wander into the "broken" range. 
    Grateful for resilience,
        Leta

The lovely course I played last Saturday

Monday, May 6, 2024

May 6--Nature Rocks!

Until we have seen someone's darkness, we don't really know what they are. Until we have forgiven someone's darkness, we don't really know what love is. 
--Marianne Williamson

    I think it is probably a really good thing... we don't know how dysfunctional our family of origin is until we get away from it. I was surrounded by amazing amounts of "darkness" growing up and survival forced it all to seem "normal." Because I later recognized all that "darkness," much forgiveness has been required of me. It's a process.
    I was on a golf outing this past weekend. Results were mixed regarding my scores and the weather. However, the highlight of the adventure--my two Sunday playing partners and I saw a BOBCAT on the course. It walked along a chain-link fence, climbed over it easily and went on its merry way. I was not quick enough to get a photo. There is considerable wooded area around the course, but still, it's in the middle of a city. The sighting was a truly rare gift!
    Onward, let us conquer Monday,
        Leta

Sunday, May 5, 2024

May 5--Love Sustains Us

There is always something left to love. And if you ain't learned that, you ain't learned nothing.  --Lorraine Hansberry

    It doesn't matter how much the folks in my closest relationships aggravate me, it all comes down to love. We all put up with a lot for the sake of love. My recently-passed brother and I were on WAY opposite ends of the political spectrum. When he went off on one of his crusading rants, I just kept reminding myself how much I love him and listened patiently till he "came up for air." This proves that I can be baffled by someone and still love him/her.
    Consider the common plant shown below. Weed? But have you had a toddler joyfully hand you a bouquet of them? Have you seen a child's delight in blowing away the seed puff? Have you acknowledged its mighty strength to grow through a crack in cement? 
    "Always something left to love,"
        Leta

Saturday, May 4, 2024

May 4--LIFE Is a Practice

Forgiveness is not a single act, but a matter of constant practice.  
--Diana Gabaldon

    I may have actually said this quote first, but we will give the credit to Ms. Gabaldon. 😉😉
    This is Mike Dooley's "Notes from the Universe" message from Thursday, May 2:

Life is not what you see, but what you've projected.
It's not what you've been told, but what you've decided.
It's not what you've experienced, but how you've remembered it.
It's not what you've forged, but what you've allowed.
And it's not who's appeared, but who you've summoned.
And this should serve you well, beloved, until you find what you already have.

Yeah,
The Universe

    What we project, decide, remember, allow and summon is totally unique to each individual. I guess that is where the need for forgiveness comes from!
    Yet, I praise the Universe for diversity and free will!
        Leta

Another good practice!

Friday, May 3, 2024

May 3--Any Regrets?

Regrets are as personal as fingerprints.  --Margaret Culkin Banning 

    I believe that is very much the case. I would like to say that I have no regrets. However, in my present state of grieving my brother's passing, I feel bummed that I did not have more time with him, even though I had that precious two weeks at the end of March to enjoy him. 
    Are there things I would change if I could? Certainly. But most of those things are not in my power to change. I can mire myself in regret and bitterness, or I can let the circumstances go and move on. This is easier said than done when my "life-isn't-fair-foot-stomping four-year-old" gets going. 
    Staying focused on the next thing in front of me,
        Leta

What a great name for a delivery service...
get it?!???!

Thursday, May 2, 2024

May 2--Forgiveness Frees Us

You have to say I am forgiven again and again until it becomes the story you believe about yourself.  --Cheryl Strayed

    Conscientiously working through the 12-Steps brings one into an intimate, growing understanding of forgiveness, both for self and others. Here is the May 1 writing in "Daily Reflections," a 12-Step daily reader:

Healing Mind and Heart

Step 5: Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs. 

Since it is true that God comes to me through people, I can see that by keeping people at a distance I also keep God at a distance. God is nearer to me than I think and I can experience Him by loving people and allowing people to love me. But I can neither love nor be loved if I allow my secrets to get in the way.

It's the side of myself that I refuse to look at that rules me. I must be willing to look at the dark side in order to heal my mind and heart because that is the road to freedom. I must walk into darkness to find the light and walk into fear to find peace.

By revealing my secrets – and thereby ridding myself of guilt – I can actually change my thinking; by altering my thinking, I can change myself. My thoughts create my future. What I will be tomorrow is determined by what I think today.

===============================

And a quote from Richard Rohr regarding simplicity and the freedom it brings:

When we agree to live simply, we put ourselves outside of others’ ability to buy us off, reward us falsely, or control us by money, status, punishment, and loss or gain. This is the most radical level of freedom, but, of course, it’s not easy to come by.

    Forgiveness equals freedom,
        Leta

Funky storm clouds over west Wichita Tuesday evening

Wednesday, May 1, 2024

May 1--Less Is More

When you forgive, you love.  --Jon Krakauer

    We have now moved into a new quote book: "DAILY LOVE, 365 Days of Celebration." Just a few days ago (April 28), I wrote about forgiveness. As synchronicity would have it, that is the theme for May. I'm thinking the Universe is trying to tell me something 😉😉
    This is Richard Rohr's Daily Meditation from April 29:

Most of us have grown up with a capitalist worldview which makes a virtue and goal out of accumulation, consumption, and collecting. It has taught us to assume, quite falsely, that more is better. It’s hard for us to recognize this unsustainable and unhappy trap because it’s the only game in town. When parents perform multiple duties all day and into the night, that’s the story line their children surely absorb. “I produce therefore I am” and “I consume therefore I am” might be today’s answers to Descartes’ “I think therefore I am.” These identities are all terribly mistaken, but we can’t discover the truth until we remove the clutter.

The course we are on assures us of a predictable future of strained individualism, environmental destruction, severe competition as resources dwindle for a growing population, and perpetual war. Our culture ingrains in us the belief that there isn’t enough to go around, which determines most of our politics and spending. In the United States there is never enough money for adequate health care, education, the arts, or even basic infrastructure. At the same time, the largest budget is always for war, bombs, and military gadgets. I hope we can all recognize how the tragic consequences of these decisions are being played out right now.

E. F. Schumacher said years ago, “Small is beautiful,” and many other wise people have come to know that less stuff invariably leaves room for more soul. In fact, possessions and soul seem to operate in inverse proportion to one another. Only through simplicity can we find deep contentment instead of perpetually striving and living unsatisfied. Simple living is the foundational social justice teaching of Jesus, Francis and Clare of Assisi, Dorothy Day, Pope Francis, and hermits, mystics, prophets, and seers since time immemorial.

Franciscan spirituality asks us to let go, to recognize that there is enough to go around to meet everyone’s need but not everyone’s greed. Francis knew that climbing ladders to nowhere would never make us happy nor create peace and justice on this earth. Too many have to stay at the bottom of the ladder so some can be at the top. Living simply helps level the playing field and offers abundance and enoughness to all, regardless of our status or state of belonging to religion or group.

    Can we love ourselves enough to change our ways? To forgive our greed and simplify?
        Leta

One of life's most simple pleasures/treasures--
fresh home-grown tomatoes