#19 About Writing Your Memoir

June 21, 2017

Quote Anelou PenI always tell people, “I think everyone should do this.” But with the caveat that you probably should not do it until you’re at least 50 years old, because you might not be able to handle it.

It’s no small deal. Telling your truth honestly and earnestly means time-travel, not just remembering. Being a disembodied observer looking down impartially like a sacred voyeur. You will see things you never saw– about your life, yourself, and the people along your path– truths and revelations you could not have seen with your younger eyes.

This will be painful. It will also be healing. Old wounds you didn’t realize you had will open right before your eyes, and bleed and leak other nasty stuff you never realized was in there. That’s the bad news. The good news is, you will see other things too, that you didn’t notice before: the beauty of yourself and other “imperfect” souls in your story. I promise you, you’ll be astonished, and quite possibly overcome with love and respect for that stumbling, blundering, courageous innocent that you really were.

Emotional wounds are like abscesses, scarred over with guilt and denial. When opened again in a clean place with a good light, they can have the opportunity to drain their poisons and finally heal. We all have old wounds, many from our earliest years on earth, because they just go with the life-path. A big part of the adventure in life is the challenge of managing them, rather than allowing them to manage you. This takes a mature observer, an experienced blunderer, a sympathetic listener. This is the heart of my book.

A friend of mine said, “If it’s unconscious, you can’t make any choices about it; you just let it ride.”  Writing a memoir forces us to re-open the time again, to look at ourselves and others in our story with mercy and compassion that puts whatever regret or guilt we have been carrying into a truer perspective. We can honestly forgive, and be forgiven.


#18 Facing Fear, Choosing Something Else

June 13, 2017

“As long as anyone believes that violence is a solution to anything, there will be more violence.”  When we believe in killing the killers, that doesn’t end the killing. We just become the new “killers” and this incites more revenge and more killing. This pattern plays out today vividly in the Middle East but also in the neighborhoods of civilized countries all over the world. There is a shocking increase in violence, in the streets, in the schools, in the family, between religions, between lovers and friends, and even children. Casual murders are on the Nightly News every night and to the children, this is the normal world they live in. Who is responsible? We are. This si the world they are born into.

The world we live in didn’t happen by accident. It came from an unchangeable, eternal, unfailing universal law: What we plant and cultivate in the universal ground of thought and belief, must manifest in our personal lives and in the world beyond our individual thought.

Our thought has great power, greater than most of us realize. The apostle Paul in his letter to the Philippians said:  “…whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”  – Philippians-8  RSV 

If you are holding onto thoughts of fear, anger, hatred, revenge, resentment, jealousy, or victimization and helplessness, you are inviting those things to manifest in your own life in some form. Believing that you are helpless will guarantee helplessness in your life. Holding or repeating thoughts of harm – to anyone – invites violence into your personal physical life.

If those things are not what you truly want for yourself, you must stop giving harbor to those thoughts – stop fearing and stop fixating on hurts and wrongs, because that will surely bring more of those into your life. Whoever you are, whatever you have done or failed to do, you deserve better. You have the power to attract and recieve better, no matter what seems to be now, or what has been before,

The power to create and manifest any life you choose, is possible and available, if you have faith. It is ready now and waiting to be manifest. But what you believe, empowers your life, for better or for worse.

You can choose and believe in what you want instead of what you don’t want, and that will open the way to it. But first. you have to become aware of what you have been believing, that has brought less than what you really wanted from life, and held off the gifts you sought, or even prayed for. In truth, we are all  constantly choosing, whether we know it or not. Seek to know it, and decide to choose what you really want in your life and in the world.

This simple exercise of heart and mind has greater power than you can possibly imagine until you try it and see it for yourself. All through the day, take notice of what you are thinking. Become Aware. Even in the smallest moments, what you’re thinking and believing right now is what you’re creating, not only for your own life, but also for the cosmic consciousness of humankind.

If you find that your thoughts reflect fear or anger – even if it’s completely justified – stop yourself and choose a new thought. A kinder one, a happier one, and that will begin to manifest in the daily circumstances of your life – more kindness to you and from you, more happiness for you and for those around you.

It’s not the way of the world but the Way of Spirit, and God/universal consciousness is the power that moves the universe and everything in it. Turn your thoughts to something that you love or desire in your life, simply believe that it is out there waiting for you to call, and it will begin to come forth, starting now. 

Every human being has the innate power to change anything that needs to be changed in your life, to strengthen anything that needs to be strengthened in you, and to discard and remove anything that does not reflect the highest and best of you. The truth is, you are a beloved son or daughter of the God of the universe (no matter what Name you have come to call Her/Him/It) and that same power flows through you too. When you change your way of thinking, you have already begun to change your way of being – and more –  you are changing the nature and consciousness of the world and beyond.

You are not alone in this. Billions of others quietly feel as you do, that the world and its ways are not as they could be. One mind at a time, one heart at a time, influences the world, even in ways we cannot understand yet we know are true. Decide to be the person you could be. You can make a difference, starting right now. Change your habits of thought and you change not only your own life, but our world. You are needed now. Begin.

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#17 The Burden of Light

January 22, 2017

Life is more profound than just the surface part of it that we see with our eyes and perceive with the five physical senses, more vast and more complex. We are always given the choice to seek and find a deeper life than we yet know, but relatively few of us will do it, because the inner self of us knows that it’s easier and seems happier to just let life happen, without too much thought or investigation.

“Ignorance is bliss.” The old saying goes, and it’s true, but it doesn’t refer to any lack of intelligence, but rather the choice to not look too deeply at life. (i.e. ignore-ance.)

I have always thought that these words in the Bible, attributed to Jesus the Christ: “Many are called, but few are chosen” has gotten misquoted somewhere along the way, with the many retellings and translations of the original stories. I think what Jesus the teacher would have said was probably more like: “All are invited, but only a few accept the invitation.” Jesus was Jewish, you remember, traditionally known for hospitality, so when he said “all” he meant all. And he also said, “My yoke is heavy, but the burden is light.” The burden, what he carried, was Light, don’t you see? He was a Bringer Of The Light (of understanding God). Those who accept the invitation, all of us, are also bringers of the Light, as He was.

The yoke, I think, is the knowing, the wisdom. The more we learn and the more our souls grow from living our life, the greater is our responsibility to bear that knowledge forward in whatever work we are given to do.

And as we learn, it will become harder to enjoy life simply, when we know that there are others who are in sorrow, who are hungry, who are in pain. We can never be quite as happy in the same way we were as children, when our hearts were child-hearts and we didn’t know what wars were, never wondered what death might be, and never imagined anything like old age or illness. We ran joyfully through sunny days and skipped down our neighborhood streets to play and grow strong and be beautiful, and that was our only job. I know I can never return to that same joy, and yet, I know I can never lose it either. I carry it with me always; it is the true authentic nature of my soul.

#16 Girls Matter

January 13, 2016

Truth has a way of just popping up every now and then; you can’t hold it down. I found this on a friend’s facebook page and grabbed it to share here with you: “Seven Things Every Child Needs To Hear.”

I would only add: Especially every girl-child. Growing up in Texas, I was always taught, either in words or more subtle ways, that I could never be “as good” because I was a girl. I had to work a lifetime to prove it wasn’t true. It never was true, but because I believed what they told me, I waited too long to step up and step out into life. Don’t make your daughters wait that long.

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#15 New Year / Myth of Sisyphus

January 9, 2016

Saturday again. Another week has blown by with less than two days’ worth of work getting accomplished. Mad at myself, again. Today again, I begin again, (again) with resolutions to change my life and build some new better habits.

Waking as usual at 9:00 AM, I get up and shuffle to the kitchen to make the coffee. I turn on the heat in the front room and close the door to the bedroom and bathroom – no need to heat them right now, I’m not going to be in there, I’m going to be right here in my warm corner where I read books and scribble my thoughts waiting for the winter to pass so I can feel alive again.

Again today I tried to get up earlier. I do this every day and I fail almost always. Yesterday I tried non-resistance; I didn’t set the clock, and I slept until 9:00. Okay, that didn’t work. I keep on struggling to get up at seven, or at least as early as eight, but my body keeps on defeating my will. This has become a baffling frustration: my mind seems to be unable to control my body. That’s one of the brain’s primary jobs, after all. But now my body is much stronger, or else that part of my mind that calls the orders for sleep, is stronger, than the part that says “Get up. Get moving. Get it done.” (My new mantra.) I got up at 7:00 most of my life, through college and marriage. Why not now? Somehow my body knows I have no such rigorous schedule to meet, so it does what it pleases, taunting “neener-neener-neener” to me like some punk kid of twelve.

This morning I didn’t fight it. I didn’t set the alarm, I just slept till my body woke, at 9:00 sharp. It happens whether I do this, or whether I slap the snooze-alarm starting at 6:30 or 7:00 or whatever time I set. After five or six ten-minute slaps, I just sleep through the jangling noise and squawk of the radio until my brain wakes up at 9 o’clock. Sharp.

For 20 years I got up at 5:00 to get to work at 7:00 at the hospital, totally alert and clear-headed; had to be, because I worked in ER. Even now, I still (often) wake up (totally) at 5 o’clock or 5:15. But I scoff now, and say out loud “No way.” And go back to sleep till 9:00. Meanwhile, there are many nights I cannot fall asleep, no matter what, and after I have tossed and turned miserably until three or four in the morning, wide-awake, I turn off the alarm and surrender to the inevitable result: my body/mind now will take whatever time it wants or needs – maybe till 11 o’clock or even later, and there appears to be  nothing I can do about it. Arrrrrgghhhh!

The thought has occurred to me: What if you just forced yourself to get up at 7 o’clock, whether you’d slept or not, no matter what? Wouldn’t your body/mind get used to it eventually, and do that on its own? (“Good luck with that,” I reply to myself.) And anyway, I’ve tried that. This plan falls apart because I cannot, absolutely cannot, get my body awake and up out of bed at 7 o’clock or earlier under any circumstances, except for true emergencies such as a major earthquake or having to take somebody to the airport. Then I’m up like a shot, staggering to the kitchen with eyes closed, making the coffee in an automatic, robot-like manner.

I need a really, really good reason, (but I don’t want an earthquake) to get out of bed in the morning. That’s the long and short of it. A compelling reason, even though, surely, having a Pulitzer-Prize book to write ought to be reason enough, to defeat laziness and make any normal reasonable person leap out of bed at the first glimmer of daylight. Not so for me, apparently. (Apparently I’m not a normal person. No news there.)

I’m reading poetry again, and again I am groping the ground around me for some indication of the path. Am I still on my destiny’s road? Is this a detour? Or just a few miles of speed-bumps? (Which ought to be called Slow-bumps anyway.) Oh sigh.

Next month is another birthday, and I’m still trying to figure out my life. As I get older, I’m getting smarter, even wise in some ways, in some moments. Wise enough to know that life will always be a challenging and confusing journey and even when I get to the end, that might be just a temporary stop-over before the next trip. Maybe it starts a new thing then, or maybe it just starts over, like the myth of Sisyphus.

He was the guy in ancient Greek mythology who had to shove a massive heavy boulder up the side of a mountain all day long, struggling with it till nightfall, only to find in the morning that it had rolled back down the hill again, and he had to do it again. And again. Every day, forever. At first that story horrified me, at face value it seemed like torture for sure. But later I read somewhere that the meaning of the story is not to show his misery, but his immense courage to keep on doing it.