So, here we are, on our trip around the sun, near the end of another year on this glorious blue ball we call earth. This time each year we reflect on the past 12 months, while also looking to the new year with hope and expectations. Just like every day, we get to start over again, fresh, each year trying to get it right.
I’m imagining, like you, we’ve all had our share of ups and downs in 2022. Some more than others. But, as I move along in these golden years, I’m reminded to look at them differently and take on a different perspective. I’ve learned to ebb and flow more freely these days through whatever unfolds. I can’t say it’s easy, but I feel grace in it. Grace that seems to match however great the need. I’ve read a few times that with God there is no order of difficulty.
“Bring your mind inside your heart and the world will not trouble you.” ~~ Mooji
Throughout the year, I’ve seen neighbors challenged with cancer, friends dealing with death, family at crossroads with life choices. I’ve been there and I’m trying to be there for them while the world appears to be unstable in these times. But it’s not that it hasn’t happened before. When the next time comes around and similar events pop up, I think what I’ve learned is we get another chance to do it differently that hopefully will put us on the right path for how this life works.
Something else I’ve learned is not to automatically react to life situations but to pause to notice what I’m feeling in the moment. If I pause long enough, instead of reacting, maybe another choice will present itself. Amazing, how that happens to work out more often. And I’ve also discovered that if health issues show up, I can look to the inside for answers as well as work with my resources on the outside.
From Rainier Maria Rilke in “Letters to a Young Poet”:
"I want to beg you be patient towards all that is unsolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves. The point is to live everything. Live the questions and now perhaps you will find them. Perhaps you will then gradually without noticing it live along some distant day into the answer.”
Life is beautiful in all its many shapes and forms. You can’t get it wrong. Even the lowest parts are gifts that put us in touch with what’s important and force us to look for something beyond our reality. Laugh, cry, get mad – but feel and embrace all of it, instead of react, and you’ll find it will take you to another place. Be kind to yourself in that place and you’ll remember who you are. Then, you will begin to know your path.
We’re just passengers on this living blue vessel, as it keeps floating on course no matter what is happening — steadily ticking along. We will be at the end of our journey before we know it and events and challenges can help us make changes that really count. It’s a beautiful life and it’s a beautiful journey.
Happy New Year, my friends, and God bless you on your next journey around the sun.
Hubby took this photo many years ago and it struck me as something seemingly out of place – imperfect, if you will. How did that beer bottle get lodged in the rubble of that old roof? There’s evidence that a human has been there and everywhere else you go, even on the moon.
I suppose we try to put things in order, align and match, as some illusionary effort of control. Nothing escapes these attempts and, yet, where’s the perfection? I have been trying to perfect me and the world my whole life only to manage to always come up short. Oddly, I have the innate ability to perfect what I’m working on, while completely ignoring everything else around me.
I’ll want to get my writing perfect, down to the last comma, while my piano reveals the dust of my signature. It’s selective and I know it, yet, not alone as I see a lot of it these days; especially in the midst of this pandemic, where we notice those imperfections of others not so easily noticed in us.
Life is just imperfect and, for me, I’m really seeing it in a profound way in giving up trying to fix things. There will always be injustices and, perhaps, the point is not to right the wrongs but to bring something better into the equation – maybe, the best of both sides.
I’ve recently considered possibly some of the battles I’ve had within myself are rooted in history with parents from the North and South. Even though the Civil War in the U.S has long been fought and is over, there will still remain distinctive beliefs supporting each side to the extent of rioting and killing. It’s gotten to extremes in demanding rights completing discounting the fact others may have rights, too. Why is it we try so hard to get others to believe our way? We think life would be so much easier if others would just do what we want them to do.
On the lighter side, it’s quite funny, when I think of it, in the many situations where my imperfections have showed up – in fact; it’s been like a spotlight augmenting the flaws. I think at this stage in my life I’ve learned to embrace it and love the quirkiness of it all. Hubby can tell you that for so long, having lived with me for over 53 years, between him and girls, I’m surprised the outcomes have turned out as good as they did.
It usually shows up when I’m not true to myself. I’ll try to do something like someone else or want to give a good impression. Or, when I don’t have the courage to follow my own instincts and instead follow along with everyone else. And, also it’s particularly revealing when I have something in mind that I want to do and don’t want to take the time to consider the consequences and think it through.
An early example is when hubby and I were first dating (and I don’t know why I’m sharing this). We were parked after a movie and talking before having to get home. It was dark and, in the stillness, the moment was perfect as hubby pulled me close to hold and kiss me. As he held me tight I felt the cup of my bra fold in but didn’t think much of it. A few moments afterwards – still in the moment and silence – there was a “pop” where my bra sprang back out. It was awkward and spontaneous and we both burst out laughing. I was glad it was dark and you couldn’t see how embarrassed I was but happy another date followed. Now, you can’t make that stuff up.
Another time was when I drove the girls down a back way off a mountain trail to empty their snails in a stream. That was probably not a good idea either. The hill coming back up was so steep I had a hard time getting any traction. Halfway up, I lost my momentum in the climb and slowed down long enough where the tires just started spinning. Every time I tried the car would shift sideways and wasn’t getting a grip. Because the hill was so steep and the car had gotten sideways so far it looked as if it could tip over. So, the girls bailed on the higher side and I managed to get out too. They ran back home and a neighbor graciously came to our rescue.
I suppose imperfections also show up in making bad choices. Maybe somewhere deep inside of us there’s a moment, when the results could be avoided if we took the time to listen. But, in our headstrong quest we boldly forge ahead. One such event like that happened in making a wrong choice. If I had paused long enough I probably would have done something differently.
Again, the girls were with me. They “enjoyed” these adventures with me and so enjoyed sharing them with their dad. We were downtown Denver, Colorado, in a ’77 Ford Van (orange – go Broncos). We came to the entrance of a parking garage, where a pole is suspended by chains to stop you long enough from entering to consider the height of your vehicle.
I stopped. I even think I got out to look and assess whether I had the clearance or not to proceed. I concluded that I did and continued on but didn’t consider the vent we had just installed on top of the van. I realized it was too late then and no going back after going under one of the main concrete beams . . . “shhhh”! It was “shhhh” all the way through the parking garage until we finally came out on the other side.
I’m making light attempting to interject some humor in the complexities of life and some of the difficult events we’re experiencing in these times. It gets hard when we insist on doing things the way we see it. We live in a world of right-wrong, up-down, in-out and the universe will be patient and allow us to go on beating the wind to justify our position and rights until we pause long enough to consider that’s the point. Eventually, in the challenging struggles and frustrations we’ll look for another way and there it will be.
“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing there is a field. I’ll meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass the world is too full to talk about.” ― Rumi
Life is serious and there’s a lot of heavy stuff happening that’s not to be taken lightly. But, we’re all in this ride together on this big beautiful world taking another trip around the sun. It could be so much better if we’d pulled together in finding a better way to solve these challenges and embrace the imperfections.
I know I’ve been on this mountain road before at night but it’s different this time. Maybe, because I’m dreaming and sense there’s a reason. Funny (you think?), that in this dream it takes place where we’ve just left the voting polls and we’re on the road to get onto the main highway for home but it’s shut down. There’s been some type of roll over, and, in the mountains that could mean hours.
I remember some years ago, when a logging truck lost it’s load, it took a good part of the day before it opened up again. There was another time when some type of tanker truck was in an accident and the highway was shut down for cleanup. It took hours to get home from work when traffic was rerouted weaving for miles through forest access roads to get around it.
What do we do now? We thought maybe we would see how far we’d get by walking; at least, it was doing something rather than just sitting in the car. There was one of two routes we could choose. One was go back to the car and back to the voting polls where we came from or walk out to the highway.
We chose to walk out to the highway – maybe not such a good choice, but everything was gridlocked and no traffic was moving. So, we began walking, for a couple of miles it seemed, up Crow Hill. After walking awhile past people sitting in their cars, it seemed senseless that we left our car like that. It was time to rethink this decision.
I wanted to continue on and hubby wanted to go back to the car and turn around to get back home from there. So, we decided to do both. We’d split up and I would go on and he’d go back and somehow we’d meet in the middle or at home. This is where a message began to form infused more with feelings.
This was not a random dream that just happened to come to me on election night. I sensed more in my heart for my neighbors, family and friends in our neighborhoods and across our country where we were at a crossroads with the choices we’re making. There’s not just a high road or low road – just choices. We make them all the time and find ourselves in the strangest places wondering how we got there.
Even now, as I sit here to write this the next day, rather than 4:30 am, I still feel the gentle tenderness of the message: that is, look at where I am and pay attention to how I got there. It’s not necessarily a bad thing – just navigation and choice. Most of the time, we get sidetracked, take a shortcut or we lose things along the way and have to go back and get them before we can begin again.
If we don’t notice, we can be way off course and it may take longer and be more difficult to get back. But, in the end somehow we’ll always find our home, that field beyond – together. It’s our choice and we can work together to make it easier.
‘If you realize that all things change, there is nothing you will try to hold on to. If you are not afraid of dying, there is nothing you cannot achieve.’ ~~ Lao Tzu(taken from Leo Babauta’s “Zen Habits”)
Yesterday, I was reminded of an analogy Dr. Wayne Dyer spoke of awhile back, when he asked (to paraphrase), “What comes out when you squeeze an orange?” Well, the obvious answer would be orange juice. But, he took it further in asking to take a personal look at ourselves and what goes on in our lives.
What comes out when we’re being squeezed? I think this is what I got hit with yesterday ― the stuff that’s held onto for so long in people’s hearts. It had to come out.