I got back from vacation today and checked my email. I have a great cyber-friend who challenges me from time to time. Being the kind and respectful person that he is he never does it in a comment on the blog. He had read yesterday’s Sunday quote from Notes from the Universe and just didn’t get it. He expressed that the quote sounded like blind acceptance without any logic behind it.
I read back over that quote and sent an email back to him regarding what it meant to me. I wanted to talk about it a little more here though.
I titled this post “Faith” because that is basically what it comes down to. I’d say some people get put off by that word because they equate it with religion. But the truth is we all have faith in a lot of stuff throughout our days. We get in our cars to go to work in the mornings and we have faith that they will start and carry us safely to our destinations. We have faith when we get our paychecks that we will cash them and they won’t bounce. We have faith that our children will be safe when they are at school. If we didn’t put our trust and faith in some things outside of ourselves we would probably go insane. If we applied logic to every step we were about to make and thought intellectually about all the various ways that things could go right or wrong we’d probably be unable to actually take action on anything.
When things are bad we have to believe they’ll eventually get better. I’d say most suicide cases happen because the person simply can’t step out and trust that their conditions will improve. Change is inevitable. Nothing is fixed. Last week when I found that quote, I was having a particularly insecure day. I was thinking about losses in the past and worrying they might happen in the future. I was thinking logically. Isn’t it logical that if one person I love leaves forever that another one might? The effect of those thoughts was that by the end of the day I was curled up on my bedroom floor sobbing. I’d let my monkey mind’s chatter trump my faith.
I do understand why my friend would have a hard time swallowing the whole “forget logic” idea. For me the quote meant to stop over thinking things. But I don’t think we should leave behind our common sense and intuition. I think of my intuition and common sense as the navigation system for my faith (if that makes sense). I trust that they will guide me and keep me out of trouble. If someone calls me and offers me a “free” vacation my intuition radar goes off. There’s no way in Hell I’m getting something for nothing and I’m not willing to sit through a sales pitch. It’s usually then that I use my common sense and hang up the phone.
I’m not going to re-post the quote, but to me it was just about having faith that even though I don’t see exactly how things fit together now that doesn’t mean they don’t fit together. I do think that I am a “Being of Light” or expression of love. I might not feel that way every day and especially not when I’m crying on my bedroom floor. But it gives me peace and comfort to know that I can, have, or will make a positive difference in this world regardless of how small. Every little bit counts.
On the heels of yesterday’s post about being(or not being) judgmental, here I go. I thought of this blog post as I was doing my most hated activity. So, I immediately stopped said activity to sit down and write about it. One more way for me to procrastinate.
What is it I hate so much? Cleaning. I hate cleaning. And somehow lately it has gotten worse. To steal a famous quote from my mother…my house is not dirty, just messy…but the messiness is affecting me or maybe it’s my mood that’s affecting the house. If you looked through my Twitter history, you would probably find that more than 100 of my 1000 tweets include something to do with the need to clean and my inability to do it. Every time I try to clean, I get a little corner of the house straightened and then find a distraction. Let me just take a little break, I think to myself.
One thing I realize is that the conditions of the environment you spend the most time in reflects your energy. For me, I just can’t seem to get my house to look and feel exactly the way I want it to. I get it halfway to serene and then I back off, give up. I wonder if this is who I am. Is peace just too dull for me? I don’t think the chaos (of my house and my thoughts) is feeding me. I believe I get tastes of peace…in times of meditation, while writing, while participating in retreats, while cuddling my daughters, and when I’m closest with Mark. But somehow the drama queen/worry wart finds me and tries to pull me away from the Faith that will get me through.
So basically, I’m in a funk -despite how I try to keep this blog uplifting and encouraging- I have to admit it. Right now, what would help is a housekeeping intervention. I need Peter Walsh, Denise Linn, Flylady and the nearest Feng Shui expert to come on over and get me started. Who knows how I’ll feel once the house is really clean!
Here’s another old 1990’s poem… I can’t even remember exactly when or why it was written, but I liked it enough to type it up separately (I may have even entered it in a contest). At some point I’ll start writing new ones, but until then I’ll keep digging through the stash. The stash of course is getting low though and I’m starting to get embarrassed to post them (for various reasons).
Take a step
Which way, which one
Sex and desire
Loyalty and Faith
I love you
Bareness and fire
Burning and longing
Smile and stare
Fantasy of it
My very favorite Dixie Chicks song is “Cowboy, Take Me Away.” I used to think it was about a real cowboy and I’d imagine what he looked like as he swooped in on his white horse and carried Natalie away to some field where they’d lay holding hands among the blue bonnets. Then one day I was listening with new ears and suddenly chills went up and down my arms as I realized that they aren’t singing about some ordinary cowboy, they’re singing about God. Once I realized that the song became even more beautiful.
My very favorite verse is:
“I said wanna touch the earth. I wanna break it in my hands. I wanna grow something wild and unruly.”
I’m pretty sure that one of the ways God connects with us is by giving us seeds. Those seeds might come through watching a TV show or movie, reading a book, conversing with a friend, hearing the still small voice within during a quiet moment, or they spring forth like a phoenix rising from the ashes after a tragedy. These seeds are inspired ideas that make us feel ALIVE. They are the ideas that make you think this is it…this could change everything. Once we get the seeds it is up to us to plant them. I think when we decide to plant the seeds we must be fearless because there is a pretty good chance we will grow something wild and unruly. But if we look at our history, at the people and ideas that had the most positive impact on our society, we will see that so much of it was (at times) wild and unruly. I think God works like that. It’s about having the faith and courage to stick with it and see it through to the end. It’s not as easy as growing a garden. With a garden, you buy the seeds and the package (or salesman) provides you with the answers at the time of purchase. You know what will grow and how long it will take. When God gives you seeds there are no immediate answers, the planting is a leap of faith. But if you take that leap, no matter how wild and unruly it seems to be, you will end up closer to heaven and closer to him!
I was at the gym recently and a woman walked in to the restroom/locker room with her personal trainer. She looked around and commented that all the stalls were taken. The trainer who is a gym employee said “Sometimes people close the doors and you can’t tell if anyone is really in them or not.” So the lady proceeded to open one of the stall doors and walked in on someone. Immediately following the embarassing moment the trainer said “I meant for you to knock.” The woman’s reply to this was “Well, she should have locked the door.” The whole situation reminded me about the topic of taking responsibility.
I used to blame other people and circumstances for almost everything that happened to me. When I was in college I wanted to be an English major, with the idea that I would teach and also write. I took the first class required for that major and I started out shakily. The professor set up a meeting with me and suggested I drop the class. I took her advice, no questions asked and eventually chose a different major. I always blamed her for my failure. If it wasn’t for that professor I would have gotten an English degree. In reality, I was the only one responsible. That moment was a test and I could have reacted a lot of other ways. I could have worked harder and proved myself to her, but instead I let her be the one to squash my dreams.
In my last teaching job, I taught in an open classroom setting (which means 4 teachers shared one huge classroom with shelves dividing our spaces) with veteran teachers. I didn’t exactly mesh with the other ladies. I wasn’t as strict or organized as they were and it made things very difficult. I’d go home crying that if only they liked me more or didn’t expect me to be just like them I would enjoy my job. By the end I had even decided they were plotting against me. I never took responsibility for any of it. I never made real changes or tried to improve. I never even stopped to ask the real question of why teaching was such a struggle for me. I just decided that the next job would be better because I’d be at a different school with different co-workers. It was all their fault. (Of course, now I don’t really plan to go back to teaching.)
These days I take responsibility for everything. When I am happy it’s because I choose to be happy and not because someone or something has made me that way. If I am anxious or fearful I know it is because I am creating that by not being present and having faith. When I am faced with a challenge, I have choices to make and it is my decision that creates my future, not what happens outside of me. If I walk in on someone sitting on the toilet, it’s because I forgot to knock…not because they forgot to lock the door. There is power in responsibility!
I have always been on this path. Everything, no matter how good or bad or mundane, that has happened in my life has brought me to this moment. I haven’t always truly understood that though. “Everything happens for a reason” is something I’ve been saying for years…but mostly as a pep talk to myself in difficult times. Now a days I am very aware of the path, the process, and the lessons along the way. I have some very wise and spiritual friends whom I have learned a lot from, but most of my knowledge and awareness has come from books.
A lot of people scoff at self-help books, but that is where it started with me. I never went to the library or bookstore seeking answers to my life’s problems. I was very content with my life. It really was that the books found me. It started with that Oprah episode and The Secret. After I got really interested in learning more about the Law of Attraction a friend of mine lent me a Wayne Dyer book. Wayne Dyer became my first teacher…in the form of his books. I think I read 10 of them. I love him, he’s great and the funny thing is that at least 3 times recently when I have been down and discouraged I turn on PBS and find Wayne Dyer giving one of his famous talks. He’s become my angel of optimism who shows up when I need him most!
Despite my love of writing, I have never been an avid reader. The love of books comes in waves and bursts with me. But that changed when I started reading books that taught me about positive thinking and spirituality. I have not been without a book to read since 2007. I consider it a part of my devotional time. The books I read remind me that I am a child of God, that I am a part of his spirit and his spirit is a part of me (even if they don’t use the word God). They remind me that love is stronger than fear and anything born from that love can become reality. They tell me that my thoughts are prayers and I should take care as to what I am praying for. Most importantly they have shown me that I am an instrument and all I need is the Faith strong enough to let my purpose find me and carry me home!
So yes, I read a lot of books and sometimes I even believe what I read. If the message resonates with me and opens my heart a little, I try to put it to good use. One thing I have noticed on a lot of blogs is that people have “give-aways.” It has recently dawned on me that I can have “give-aways” on my blog too. I’ve decided to start giving away my favorite books. I hold onto them always thinking I’ll return to them. I rarely do. I think it would be an even greater gift to pass along the books to others. Starting tomorrow, I am going to have a monthly or bi-monthly (haven’t decided yet) book give-away. The first book will be “Creative Visualization” by Shakti Gawain (my copy is much older than the one featured on Amazon) since I have blogged about that one recently. So check back tomorrow for the details!
I am writing this on Tuesday, but it won’t post until Thursday. I’m having a down day, a stuck day, and trying my best not to be just plain sad. We went to the pool, the girls had a blast, I caught up with my wonderful friend Wendy, Mark came home from work early, I made time to meditate, we had a nice dinner, my mother-in-law cleaned the kitchen, I read stories to Bella and Callee, and now I am being serenaded by Mark and Kevin playing guitars. But still my monkey mind is swinging back and forth between the past and the future. I want to be present.
I have a lot of faith these days. I believe that EVERYTHING happens for a reason…even the stuff that makes you feel like shit. I know there is at least one person in my life that I have unfinished business with and am scared to death to finish it. I’m not sure if I really want to look at myself through their eyes. I’m not sure if what is broken can be fixed, so it seems easier for me to put it away where I don’t have to look at it. But I’ve already talked about what happens with that stuff; it comes back up and insists on being dealt with. I’ll deal with it in time, I guess.
The best thing for me to do at the end of this day is allow myself to be filled with gratitude. To be grateful for everything I mentioned in the first paragraph. To be grateful for the relationships in my life that are healthy and loving. To be grateful that I am aware how divine life is and that there is always someone going before me, making the way for me. And finally to be grateful for the teachers who arrive in my life with lessons for me, knowing that I will always benefit from learning them.
I’m ending this post with a picture of Callee’s cornstalk, because it’s growth is a reminder that it is not always as hard as it seems to grow something grand. (Remember, all Callee did was toss a few corn kernels into a hole our dog had dug.)