I’m learning that people sometimes want to turn you into what they want you to be. Do you know anyone like that in your life? Maybe they don’t like the way you do things, so they tell you to stop doing that. I get that a lot. Maybe they don’t like the way you say things so they tell you to stop barking. I get that a lot too. Maybe be they don’t like the way you dress so they put their clothes on you.
Little people are especially good at playing this game. They like to pretend that I’m a little person too. So they put clothes on me. I wish I could say the word stop just so I could be me. I mean how would they like it if I put a tail on them to walk around with all day. I bet it would feel as cumbersome as it does for me to wear a dress.The dog God made me special just the way I am same as He made you as unique as you are.
Yes-sir-ere, that makes me a lucky dog indeed.
Lately my head’s been spinning with all the things I want to do. It makes me feel exited to be alive, but often one thing after another pulls me in a different direction. As I’m distracted from what it is I wanted to be doing, I find myself sorting through some old paper work throwing this and that away. I find some notes I wrote down from the book “Tuesday’s with Morrie.” It’s Morrie’s theory on the tensions of opposites. He says, “like a rubber band life pulls us back and forth. It pulls us in one direction that we think we want to go. Then it pulls us in another direction of what we think we have to do.”
Wow! That’s exactly the way it feels to me.
Morrie goes on to say, “it becomes like a wrestling match.” When asked who wins in the end, he says, “love always wins.” However, he goes on to say, “when you can’t see it yet, maybe it’s because the game isn’t over yet.”
So I’m thinking, what’s love got to do with it? Then I realized many of the things that are getting in my way are simple distractions I create myself. That’s where the real wresting match begins, and that’s not loving myself very much. All the other things that seem like have-to’s have actually been opportunities for me to love others. So, in the end, Morrie’s right, love really does have everything to do with it.
God always find a way to show us what we need to hear when we need to hear it, and today I found his message from an old scrap of paper I wrote a long time ago. Amazing!
I am sitting out on my deck enjoying this beautiful summer morning. Breathing in the fresh air I think to myself that I want only to see the good this day has to offer. It’s one thing to imagine how we want things to be, but I find myself easily distracted by life’s events, things to do, and needs that must be met.
“Come on Connie, focus,” my inner voice says to me.
I look up at my beautiful hanging plants and my mind begins to wonder off again.
“Focus Connie,” the voice says again. “What do you see?”
I’m looking at an open socket with a plug lying right beneath it.
“And what happens when you put the plug in the socket?” The voice continues.
“It turns my fountain on.
“How does it do that?”
By connecting to its power source.
“And then what happens?”
The water begins to flow.
“Look, even Lucy’s thirst is quenched by the flowing waters created from the energy source you plugged into.”
Wow! There was the answer staring me in the face all along. The distractions of life tend to splinter us into pieces, but by plugging ourselves back into our source of life we become whole again. It is in this place of wholeness that life flows easily, and our thirst for clarity is quenched just as easily as it was for Lucy who drank from the flowing waters put before her.
Everyone has an opinion of what being in the later years of our life should be. That’s perfectly okay and normal because we each see and experience things from our own perspective. What goes into our perspective is a whirlwind of emotional, physical, psychological, social and spiritual experiences, and let’s not forget the learned behavior we’ve brought with us. The bottom-line is that we don’t know any more about this last stage of life then we did the other stages we went through. However, after many past stages of life I’ve learned that by embracing each one along the way I’ve been able to experience life from a different more deeper perspective than the one before. As I attempt to embrace the senior years of my life, I find myself looking back a lot. Not so much in a longing of wanting to go back, but more of how far I’ve come. These are the years that give birth to all the wisdom I now hold within, and as I discover this, there is a sense of satisfaction in how far I’ve come, what I’ve learned, the places I’ve been and the things I’ve seen. As long as I have a clear enough mind I’ll always feel like I can do most things. It is in the trying that I learn my limitations. It is true that growing older is not for wimps. A lot of time and energy is used to get ourselves moving and being a part of life. I’m learning to embrace the limitations as they present themselves, and I work hard at not giving into the gravity that pulls me back into the sitting position where my body would be perfectly happy to park itself.
So, if I talk about being older at times, it’s because I am. If I talk about running out of time, don’t chastise me. Just bring me back to where I am right now. If you think I’m obsessing over it, don’t tell me how to think, but help me to embrace it. And if I can’t hear or understand you, don’t brush me off and say never mind. Give me a chance to hear what you have to say.
In closing I share my opinion of the later years of my life. I am a senior and that’s okay. I am getting older, but I’m not old in the sense of giving up. I’m not afraid to be where I am or say where I’m at in this stage of my life. I’m a senior and that’s okay with me.
I think as we journey through life we come to the end of each path wondering how am I going to get from here to there? Sometimes the next journey requires us to walk through valleys or up steep mountains, maybe even across paths of hot coals, or over wobbly bridges, and what about the ones that are paved in stones across the sky. Will, freedom, choice, trust and faith come into play surrounding me, and ego steps into view with its limited human perspective announcing that there is no way on earth to get from here to there. All the while the spirit within waits and watches patiently until will, freedom, choice, trust and faith can finally see past ego and into the depth of their purpose.
We walk through a period of our life being host of our soul. Showing it all there is to be seen through our eyes, senses and emotions much like a tour guide on a trip. But eventually the spirit within the soul becomes bored and tired of seeing the same thing as we circle round the Ring of Kerry over and again. We are at the point of our crossroad and it’s time for the ego to get out of the drivers set and let the spirit take the wheel. The spirit doesn’t’ need the maps or GPS to get us to the next path in life. It tells us now to sit back and enjoy the ride, choice is our ticket, trust is all we can take, will is what pushes us on the bus, and faith is what gives us the courage to take the first step, freedom is the weightlessness we feel as we let go of all the things that hold us back from moving on. As we travel once again around the Ring of Kerry on our way to the next destination we see as if for the first time because now it’s through the eyes of God.
For the 3rd time I’m pulling out these entangled vines in my garden. Every time I think I have all the thick twisted vines pulled, a week or so later they find their way back to the top of the soil. As I stand looking at their fresh green heads poking through the soil I can almost hear them laughing at me, as they say in their wee taunting voice, “we’re back!” I dig deeper with more determination to get to the source of each plant. Hum! I think to myself. There’s something awful familiar about what’s happening here besides the mere fact that I’m pulling these vines out again.
“Okay God, what are you trying to show here?” I say to myself
I’ve been doing the same thing in my own life pulling out the stuff I don’t want anymore, pulling out what isn’t good for me, and pulling out what no longer has a purpose. I do feel much lighter in many ways, but the vines from all that stuff is deeply rooted and intertwined so even when I think I’ve pulled it all, it finds a way back into my life, temping me and trying to sabotage all my efforts. Pulling out the entangled vines feels as if it has a hold of me. It doesn’t want to let go of it.
“What am doing wrong God?”
“It isn’t the vine that has a hold on you. It’s you who won’t let go of the vine.”
Woo! I didn’t see that one coming!
I had a friend once who seemed to have it all. She was smart, well educated, successful, classy, charismatic, faithful church goer, involved, and giving in so many ways. However, when it came to her own pain and suffering she didn’t know how to let go of the control she used to make everything else in her life work so well.
I made her up a care bag full of things I thought might help her through this journey. It had a stress ball to squeeze when the pain got bad. Lavender Epson salts to soak and relax in the bathtub. Chocolate kisses to treat herself with a bit of decadence, and a Meditation CD to calm her thoughts enough to meet right in the middle with God. She loved the bag of goodies and was eager to try anything, but when I checked in with her a few days later she said that she didn’t know how to make any of it work for her. I knew right away what she was talking about. I’d been there myself many times. It’s because we get in the way, trying to take control of what we can’t do in the normal scheme of things on our own. As a matter of fact it doesn’t seem logical at all. I mean how can anything change if we don’t take control of the situation, right? Well how’s that working for you so far?
I tell myself It’s all about going deeper reaching within my soul to reconnect not only with the God who created me, but with everything else He created as well. Reeducating myself constantly to touch base with what I instinctively know, but sometimes forget along the way. Opening myself to trust in what I know in my heart, but can’t explain in words. I think how easy it is..when I get out of the way
A friend asked me a few weeks again, what is it that you want out of life? All I could think of was that I simple want to “be.” I’ve been on my caterpillar journey. Moving upon the various path. Taking in all the nourishment, knowledge and understanding I could get along the way. Never quite knowing where I’m going, only knowing that something instinctively inspires me to keep going. Now I find myself up a tree and resting upon a branch. I can see from this place everywhere I’ve been and what I’ve learned along the way. It’s time to begin to let go of what no longer serves me at this point in my life, but this is the hardest part of life yet because it means trusting in what seems illogical. I mean how can I let go when I need to hang on in order to go through the process of metamorphose or transformation.
And so, this is where I’ve been these past few weeks sitting on my branch looking out over my life. Getting rid of this and that. Feeling lighter with less weight holding me down. Yet I find myself holding on tighter as I pray for the courage I need to move onto the next stage. I contemplate the quote above that reminds me that, “Nothing happens until the pain of remaining the same outweighs the pain of change.” I’ve still a long way to go, but a caterpillar has many feet to hang on with. I’m learning to let go one foot at a time, and each time I trust a little bit more in that which goes beyond the self. For I have come to believe that the God I know wants nothing more then for me to become the beautiful butterfly…He created me to be.
“Being “right” is the easy part. Finding the “rightness” within the opposite point of view is the challenge.” -Barry Johnson “Polarity Management”
I read this quote and thought of all the controversy and rhetoric that so many of us were caught-up in just a month or so ago. I don’t know about you but I’ve taking a step back lately needing to catch my breath and move onto healthier hopeful positive things that bring some goodness back into my life. It’s created some wedges between me and some of the people I care about. I find it’s unfortunate because it’s behind the wall of the internet that so many things have been said, misunderstood, taking out of context and assumed without the advantage and respect of a face to face conversation. Body language and facial expression play a big part in expression our passions. But more than that don’t we owe at least the benefit of the doubt to those we loved and cherished for so many other reasons that go beyond politics?
I looked at the front page of the Lancaster newspaper today. Jeff Hawkes a reporter for the LNP had a perfect article called the “Bridge Tables” to go with the thought provoking quote above. It’s about a way of bringing people of different political views together in a way that they can discuss their differences in a respectful way with nothing between them except the table they sit at. The event is called the Left/Right Café and the premise behind it is to heal America’s political divide. The organizers Eric Sauder and Jamie Beth Schindler’s idea is for liberals and conservatives to come together for a respectful conversation getting past stereotypes and broadening understanding in a safe comfortable environment. Breaking bread and sharing food often has a way of bringing people together in a non- threating way. The hope is to find some understanding and a place of common ground, and from the article it appears that’s what these willing conversations did. It opened each other’s eyes that sometimes what is right to us is not so different from what the other persons believes, but even if it’s not giving one a chance to explain themselves can allow us to better agree to disagree. And who knows maybe we’d learn a fact or two that holds some truth within it giving us a chance to broaden our perspective on beliefs.
For local readers, I’ll pass on that if you want to know more you can contact Jamie Beth Shchindler at LANCoalition@gmail.com