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.
“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
“The greatest gift you can give someone is receiving what they have to offer.” – Anonymous
From the simplest prayer, thought and reiki, to the many cards, flowers, meals, and care giving. I’ve been showered with the gifts of kindness, selflessness, blessings and love. My surgeries this past year while overwhelming in the negative sense have brought a new awareness of overwhelming proportions revealing how much others really care. I used to be a very private person not telling too many people what was going on in my life. I didn’t want to complain or seem whine about things. Getting through those difficult times was pretty lonely and seemed to take longer. What I have found in reaching out to others is that the experience is much less stressful, I heal faster, and I’ve become more humble as I accept the gift that others have to offer me.
As I continue to heal through the Christmas season. I’ve been saying that it doesn’t feel like Christmas. Of course that’s because I’m not doing all the things I usually do that get me in the mood. But in truth these past few weeks I’ve been experiencing what the true meaning of Christmas spirit is about, the giving of oneself. “The greatest gift you can give someone is your time. Because when you give your time, you are giving a portion of your life that you will never get back.”-Anonymous
I humbly and with deep appreciation accept your many offerings. I couldn’t ask for a greater Christmas gift.
Today I was reading several different gratitude quotes. Which should I use to express what it means to me? They are all great messages, but didn’t quite say what it’s taught me in my own life. So I’m writing my own.
“Gratitude is the medicine,
That brought healing to my broken heart.
That mended my painful wounds.
That cleared away my foggy mind.
That brought clarity into focus.
That opened my eyes once again.
That revealed all the good,
That over-shadowed all my saddness.
That brought me back to life.
And for that I will forever be full
Of thankfulness and gratitude!
Painted by Marnie Pitts
“No tree has branches so foolish as to fight among themselves.”-Native American Saying
Today I’m turning over a new leaf in my life. I start by thanking God for this day, and pray that I may see the many gifts He has in store for me. Like the leaves blowing on this windy day, may all the accumulated negativism I’ve let piled up around me blow away with them. I am thankful for the people in my life who I can always depend on to point me in the right direction. They are ever-present the same as all the other good things that continue, even when I lose sight of them. Forgiving myself begins the healing of all the dis-ease I’ve brought into my life that has literally made my body sick. I am free of the prison that held me bound. My ego is not happy as it now takes a back seat to my true-self. I can breathe the fresh air again, see the beauty of the perfect world God created, and I’m reminded of how important it is to honor all His creations.
I was thinking as my day began that it was going to be hard work keeping myself centered in this good place. However, as my day goes on I realize the hard work is only present when I go against myself.
Holding on to those grace filled moments, that’s where I find the miracles, and I get so lost in the moment that it seems to last a lifetime.
My Peachy Moment
I found out last week that I have to have surgery again on my sinuses as some of the problems I had came back. It’s only been 3 months since the last one. At first I felt like it was in a nightmare. But as I’ve prayed about the why. The only answer I got was that no matter what the situation is there are always the slivers within the moments where we can find joy in something.
When you don’t feel good it can be all consuming, but as I’ve been working on it I do find those moments of reprieve. It does take some conscious effort, so today I did an experiment. My mindful task was in the focus I gave to eating a locally grown fresh ripe, sweet, juicy peach. I found myself taking pure delight in every bite. It’s amazing the tonic effect a simple sweet juicy peach can have on you when you give it your full attention.
I think in the moments that mindfulness provides is the place where God begins our healing process. If I am able to tune into the simple joy of eating a peach, than in that mindful moment I am not wrapped up in my symptoms. And in that knowing I see, feel and experience the healing process taking place in me now!
My reading today was about how important laughter is in our daily life. I can’t think of a better time to bring it into practice. As we contemplate all that is going on around us, we can feel an overwhelming sense of being violated inside and out. An unknown author put it well, “Laughter is to the soul, what soap is to the body.” That’s the way I feel sometimes, like I want to wash away all the ugliness from my mind, body and soul.
If laughter is so good for me than I wonder, how can I bring more laughter into my everyday life? Sometimes things can be so traumatic that you know you’ll never get through it unless you can find something to laugh about. It does take a bit of retraining of the mind to get ourselves unstuck from the seductive lure that drama pulls us into. So we have to work harder to find ways to experience the benefits laughter creates in our life, and when we practice it like anything else, it becomes easier to experience.
Do you ever wonder how many times you laugh in a day?
Oh to stand in the sunshine once again.
I feel your healing rays in the warmth of your touch.
The power of your energy fills me with strength.
And the shadow of what was stands behind me as only the light can do.
And I am grateful for the clarity that shines through once again.