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.
Today I went back to place I lived in Philadelphia. I haven’t seen since the day I ran away in 1968. That’s 50 years ago. It was an institution in Philadelphia called Stenton Child Center. My younger sister and I were supposed to feel fortunate that we were in such a nice place. Most of the places the state provided for abandon children were pretty run down. There is no place on earth that could be better than being with your own family no matter how difficult things are at home.
I didn’t know how I would react when I actually saw it. As we began to approach I felt only a moment panic, that quickly turned to curiosity. I couldn’t believe how much it looked the same after all these years. The memories so fresh in my mind and stories yet to tell. I couldn’t go inside because it’s now a shelter for homeless families, but I was okay with that because I felt like the monster it represented in my mind for so many years no longer had a hold on me.
On my way home I wondered about how this applies to what I wrote about yesterday in relation to place of shifting I find myself. Of all the different places I’ve been, this was by far the worst ground I’d ever worked in my life. But it’s also yielded the most growth in my life. It was a time of planting, growing, and nurturing. It was full of many cultivating opportunities that could have yielded many weeds, but instead continues to teach and bear much fruit.
I am not only in the winter of the season, but nature teaches another lesson in my life, that I am in the winter of my shifting cultivation. A time to rest, re-evaluate, contemplate, let go and chill out on a icebergs going with the rivers flow.
Sometimes life becomes as twisted as a vine. The tighter it wraps itself around one circumstance after the other it becomes hard to breath. Hard to understand. Hard to think. The desperation to reach and cling, and climb brings us to a standstill. In this place of resting we find the breath of life, and clarity begins to set in. We quench our thirst from a drop of the ocean, and we begin to see that we are a part of something much bigger then ourselves. We begin to feel the need for expression going deeper within where we feed on the nourishment we’ve collected along the way. In the process, we become a bud growing within instead of out. The need to express what we are becoming grows ever stronger until in the mist of all our twisted vines what we were created to be burst forth in all our beauty and glory.
We can become who we were created to be if we stop twisting ourselves up knots. If we stop fighting against ourselves and others. If we stop to listen to the voice…not calling in the wind…but the one that comes from within longing to be expressed through…you…and…me.
I guess since I’ve come into my new family’s life I’ve turned it upside down a bit. I don’t know why because to me everything seems as it should be. I’m 6 months old which makes me about 3 1/2 in people years now. I’m easily distracted especially when I go out to pee. If I see a bird, bunny or bee I forget what I came out to do, and want to play with all Gods creations. I love being outside in the world walking bare paw on the grass, I don’t care if they get muddy or wet. I love digging in the dirt smelling all the scents, hearing all the sounds even taste-testing different things like those lip-smacking rabbit turds, yum!
I think I’m good for my people. I keep them hoping up and down as they have to take me out several times to pee. It makes them walk in their bare feet too as they don’t always have time to put their shoes on. It also gives them a timeout from what they were doing. I look up at my Connie and see something as she breaths in the fresh, is it happy, peaceful, contentment? I don’t know a lot about these things yet, it just looks like she’s feeling and sensing the same things I am, and everything seems as it should be.
Then there’s the leader of our pack, Tom. He’s like the lion in our tribe. When he roars, he expects me to listen. I just love teasing him. When he points his finger at me with a roar to stop, I jump up and nibble at his finger. He roars some more, and I jump back and forth yapping at him. He says, “don’t you talk back at me!” and I ruff, ruff, ruff right back again. The whole time my Connie is laughing at us both. My Tom tries to keep that stern look on his face, but I know if I keep it up I can melt that look right into a smile even a chuckle or two. He loves me, I know it. Sometimes I don’t know who I love more…my Connie or Tom…maybe I just love them both for who they are. What I do know for sure is that I like making them happy and I think I’m doing a pretty good job at it even if it is in upside kind of way.
Until next time,
In dormancy of winter we are like the seed have a time for deep thought and contemplation as we await a new awakening that comes in the spring of our life. We encapsulate all that we’ve learned and gained throughout our lifetime thus far. There is a sense of comfort staying safe within the bounders of our shell, but the spirit within longs to be free to experience more, and grow into the beautiful creation it was created to be.
In the process of new awakening we tend to forget where we’ve been and what we’ve learned thus far. Where we are heading becomes our focus and our senses go into high gear as we begin our journey toward new growth. We drink in the waters and feed off of the earth, and begin to feel an inner warmth that connects material life with the spiritual, pulling us instinctively upward. When we finally burst through the earth and the sun kisses our cheeks we know that which we were seeking was seeking us as well all along. It is in the spring of my new life I feel that warmth of love surround me, I in It, and It in me. Oh, if only I could remain in the warmth of light all the days of my life, but there’s much more life to see, lessons to learn, and growing to do along my journey as the spring of life begins anew…right here where I stand…right now.
“When a knowledgable old person dies, a whole library disappears.” –An old African proverb
I read an article today from my local newspaper titled, “Older people have knowledge to share—if we just listen” by Bob Rudy. It caught my attention for several reasons, one being that I spent time as a hospice volunteer a few years ago listening to the fascinating stories of people’s lives. Not only was it interesting to me, but the way their faces lit up as they told their stories turned out to be a gift for both of us.
I’ve also been working on my families genealogy for over 20 years now. I was fortunate to start it at a time when my parents were still alive, and as I dove into it I found myself wanting to know more about what their life was like growing up. They’ve both been gone a long time now and still I have question I wish I would have asked. I can’t imagine what it’s like to have never taken the time I did though to get to know them. It is true as the quote states as each family member passes away, a whole library disappears.
The other reason this subject is close to my heart is because I am a story teller myself, and as the younger generations calls us, I’m an older person myself. I like the phrase that getting older is not for wimps, because it is a time in a humans life when we have to work really hard to hang onto what we have. Sometimes it even feels like your slowly disappearing, fading into space as we lose our hearing, sight, coordination and many other facilities that make you feel like a child again. But ask us to tell you one of our stories and we become energized. Our eyes will light up, and just maybe we’ll feel like our lives matters once again, and you’ll hear a real live story like the ones you read in a book you borrow from the library.
Today’s question in my daily reading asked, “Do you love yourself enough to let go of that which no longer serves you?”
What a great question to ask on a daily basis.
We change every living moment of our life, but we don’t think about it.
Only when change creates pain does it come into view. Whether it no longer serves us or not, change is hard but necessary for new growth.
Change doesn’t ask us to give up who we are. It asks us to love ourselves enough to let go of that which no longer serves us. And in the process of our own life’s transformation we eventually become the butterfly.
As I’ve journeyed through my faith walk, I have experienced many ways to God. I wanted to be a part of something I could believe in. I knew once I found it I would be a true believer, and live it through my everyday life. But nothing seemed enough, not church, bible studies, the charismatic movement and so many other things I tried within the boundaries of religion. There was just something missing, and one day I stepped out in faith, and left it all behind. I felt like a lonely leaf falling from a tree leaving behind all that I knew. As I lay stagnant upon the heaps of other dead leaves, the fall turned to winter and it was as if I was in a resting place of thought and contemplation. I often think that it was like Jesus’s 40 days in the desert. There were many fears, temptations, and guilt, but in order for the leaf to fall from the tree it must let go. To let go I had to trust in something bigger, and what could be bigger then God’s love. That was all the discernment I needed to let the wind blow me where it would. It blew me back to the simplicity of my childhood belief that God was my friend, and the only one that truly loved me. My journey is not over. Letting go was only a new beginning. I‘m still that falling leaf blowing in the wind learning and discovering everyday, but I don’t do it alone anymore, for I am the leaf and God is the wind and He carries me in His direction throughout the day.
I was just telling my honey that it seems like everything is changing around us. Our family our friends, and the way life use to be. However, as the quote states it feels like the only thing that hasn’t changed is him and I. Of course as we look back there have many changes, but the life we’ve worked at building together has always had the same focus. All the different stages we go through in life feels as if your standing in a strange new place. I guess that’s what we’re going through right now, standing before the stage of life watching the moving pictures of what we’ve created upon its screen. Seeing where we’ve been. How we’ve grown. Proud of what we’ve accomplished. The children we’ve raised. The friends we’ve made along the way. Golden years! That’s what this new stage is called. Not everyone would think it’s such a great stage to be in, but for us all those years wrapped up together, have become golden, and the memories are the golden nuggets that come with it.
As I’m in the yard playing in my garden I usually get so caught up in what I’m doing that I’m as happy and content as I can be. But of late my thoughts are on the things I should be doing and why I can’t seem to find the disciplines needed to do them right? As I sit on my garden bench, I pause to watch the birds, how they work so diligently to build their nest. I see troops of ants marching one behind the other toward their mission. I imagine them singing hi, ho, hi, ho it’s off to work we go! Then I look at my plants that have popped through the earth in their early stages of new life, just sitting there doing what they’re called to do without question. I whisper out loud to nature, “how do you know how to do what you do so easily?”
“Intuition,” I hear from within. “ All creation knows intuitively what to do…even you. The problem with being human is having a brain that has the ability to analyze, question and take apart that which is already made to work perfect without question. Why wouldn’t anyone want to grow like the flower with the chance to open and bloom? All you have to do is stop making things more difficult than they actually are.”