Nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know.” -Pema Chodron
I love painting pictures with my words. It starts when I’m trying to figure something out. I visualize what I’m thinking in an animated or metaphoric way that helps me make sense of it. So, what is my carpet bag of baggage?
It’s a rug big enough to fit all the stuff I’ve collect along the various journeys of my-life. It’s an ugly carpet, full of untruths, most of them having to do with my self-esteem. It’s all tied together with the black rope of fear. I’m so used to carrying it around that I don’t even feel how much it’s weighing me down most of the time. It’s in those moments when I’m paying attention to life that it falls off my shoulder. It’s a wonderful feeling as if I’ve sucked in some helium and I’m floating right above the ground. And I wonder why it can’t be like this all the time.
When the black rope of fear sees me happy it starts to untie itself around the carpet. Moving like a snake. Fear knows I’m afraid of snakes. It’s the way it gets my attention. As the carpet bag begins to slowly open all the dreadful demeaning voices jump around shouting me, me, me pick me. All it takes is for me to believe one demeaning thought of worthiness, and I’ll find myself standing upon the rug that fear uses, to pull the joy right out from under me.
But I’m seeing a little clearer now. They say, you have to see what needs changed, before you can change it. As the quote says about, “nothing goes away until it has taught us what we need to know.” I’m learning one thing for sure, that as big as fear looks, what lies on the other side of it is majestic.
“On Earth as It Is in Heaven”
I ask myself today how can I inspire in these troubling times. I wonder if anyone has hope enough to listen or faith enough to see. What is faith but the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen, at least that’s what it says in Hebrews 11:1. It was the faith of two blind men that opened their eyes to see. As they came before Jesus asking to be healed, he simple said to them, “Do you believe?’ “Yes Lord,” they replied. He touched their eyes and said, “According to your faith let it be done onto you.” And their eyes were opened. Matthew 9:27-30.
I think of myself as having a lot of faith. I am where I am today because of the hope and faith I held onto. Yet even when we’ve experienced miracles we can become complacent in our faith. I ask myself, do you have the faith of a mustard seed? That always boggled my mind. That all it takes is a tiny bit of faith to make good things happen in our life. Maybe it was the innocence of a child’s faith that allowed me to believe in what my mature adult self gets in the way of now. Maybe that’s the way we need to look at things…through the hopeful eyes of a child’s faith. Maybe then we can begin to experience all the good that God wants for us. Maybe then what is done on earth…will be as it is in heaven.
“If you look for the truth outside yourself, it gets farther and farther away.” -Tang-Shan Liang-Chich
To me this quote is a great reminder to bring it all in. It’s also a great example as we wind down to the last 3 days before the election. We cannot make a choice based on all the conflicting information that takes us away from what we base our own truth on. How does each candidate resonate with my own belief and truths? There’s this inner knowing that we all have within us. It’s a nagging voice that’s trying to be heard beneath all the other noise that the ego entertains. Where does the ego look for its truth but from that which it attaches itself to on the outside?
What does this all create, but a division within ourselves. If there is a division within us then it’s going to create a division outside of us, and it spreads like a disease. It has already become prevalent in our country. Now the concern is that whoever gets into office, the division will continue. I don’t want to be a part of planting this seed. All I can do is pull out the negative weeds it’s begun to grow in me.
The bottom line for me is in the clarity of the statement above. Look for the truth within your heart and soul. Don’t let the ego lead you astray. Some would say I don’t’ rely on myself. I rely on God. Well where do you think God exist? Within each of us. He didn’t create us to push aside who we are. He created us that He could experience life through us and with us. But it takes our cooperation and willingness to work as One. I have learned in my own life that when I’m feeling that sense of division it’s a sure sign that I’ve drifted away from the truth within. Until I find my way back I become a part of the problem that contributes to the division all around me.
As Saint Francis so simply taught, having peace on earth, can only happen when we first find it in ourselves.
My husband and I went to grandparent day recently. Our morning began with the pledge of allegiance to our country’s flag. Us oldie’s but goody’s automatically put our right hand over our heart, the way we were taught in school. It brought back memories. As I said the words I found myself thinking how different our country is today. I wondered where that pride went. It sure was prevalent right after 9/11. There where flags flying everywhere even from the windows of people’s cars. Every house had one standing proudly in its rightful place. We felt what that pledge of allegiance stood for. We were one nation, under God, undivided. We cherished the freedom that our county stood for. Love for each other came shining though also as we reached out to our loved making sure that they knew how much we cared about them. We never believed something like 9/11 could happen in our country, and I can’t help but wonder why it is that terrible things have to happen to bring us together like that.
That was 15 years ago, and now all we seem to do is fight with one another right here on our own soil. We are this melting pot of people from all over the world. We’ve come together to live in this great land of freedom, and now that very freedom is being twisted around by words that justify anything and everything, even if its blatantly wrong. We can’t let the gift of freedom be turned into the very thing that destroys us.
We can’t have the kind of world we want by starting with the whole world. We can’t have the kind of country we want by startling with the vastness of that either. We have to start right where we are, first with ourselves. Then reaching out to one another with compassion, understanding, and respect for our differences. Only then can we return to belief this country was founded on. We are one nation under God, undivided, and we stand for liberty and justice for all. Be the change you want this country to be, it has to start with each one of us.
I don’t know, maybe we should get back to flying the American flag in its honored place upon our property’s. Then stand before it with our hand over our hearts pledging our allegiance to the United States of America. The land that we love. It’s like saying our daily prayers it gives us a moment of pause that reminds us who we are, what we believe, and that we’re not alone. We are one nation under God.
Do you live your life from a belief system of collective opinions? Think of all the people who have influenced what you believe to this day. There’s your parents, teachers, leaders even our culture, race and religion. But isn’t part of growing up and flying free to be me, also the time in your life when you decide if these beliefs reflect your own? How will we ever know if we simple go with the flow? It takes courage to step away, and take the road less traveled, trying those beliefs on for size. You might be surprised to finally realize why it felt so uncomfortable all this time. How do you know if something fits you if you don’t try it on first? You might know that wine is simple divine, because I say it is so, but how will you ever know until you taste it for yourself. This is where life gets exciting when you dive into each one of those belief systems and swim within everything they stand for. Are they still your beliefs? If not, then buckle up and get ready for the ride of your life as you discover who you are, your own truths, their relevance, and the abilities you have within yourself to do it your way.
I pride myself on always having something positive, kind, and life giving to say to those I care about. I find myself at a loss for words, as so many are in need of something to hold onto. I found this profound quote below, that I thought we could all benefit from.
“Hope is a beautiful thing. It gives us peace and strength, and keeps us going when all seems lost. Accepting what you cannot change doesn’t mean you have given up on hope. It just means you have to focus your hope on more humanely tangible and attainable goals.”
– Julie Donner Andersen
Freedom is not a gift bestowed upon us by other men, but a right that belongs to us by the laws of God and nature. –Benjamin Franklin
Remember the song “Born Free?” It popped in my head as I read the quote above.
Born free, as free as the wind blows
As free as the grass grows
Born free to follow your heart
Live free and beauty surrounds you
The world still astounds you
Each time you look at a star
Stay free, where no walls divide you
You’re free as the roaring tide
So there’s no need to hide
Born free, and life is worth living
But only worth living
‘Cause you’re born free
– Born Free Lyrics | MetroLyrics
I cannot experience true freedom until I first experience it within myself. I allow too many outside influences to stripe away my very own God given right. I admit I’m a work in progress. I have to work at remembering the freedom I have to choose what I allow myself to believe about me. If I live by the judgments that others place upon me than I live according to someone else’s thoughts. I become divided from my own truth. And as the song encourages us to, “stay free where no walls divide you.” So I’m practicing as I exercise my own personal freedom first. It means getting rid of the limitations my own thoughts place upon me. Than I become as free as the wind blows,to no longer feeling enslaved by the overwhelming need to please everyone else. I’m free!
To Love and be Loved
“I have found that to love and be loved is the most empowering and exhilarating of all human emotions.”-Jane Goodall
All I ever wanted was to be loved. Really, I can’t imagine who wouldn’t want to be. But, it was the belief in the possibility of attaining such love that got me through a difficult childhood. It was my hope for a better life.
Having this kind of love for one another doesn’t make who you are, it’s the power of your love that brings out the best in each other. When you share this great love, you give more then you expect in return. As a matter of fact, there is no keeping score, there’s simple what loving and being loved is all about. I know because I’ve been so blessed.