Archive for the ‘Life-Passages’ Category

42. How You See It

December 7, 2018

When I try to do something and fail, that seems to suggest that I can’t do it. Suggest, but not prove. This is where I have to decide, and choose between letting it go, or trying harder. If I try again and fail again, the suggestion gets stronger, so the determination must get stronger, or else rationally I should choose to let go of that endeavor and move on. Does that make me a quitter? Or a failure? That’s my choice too.

Everything that happens in life is open to interpretation, and ultimately the only interpretation/ opinion/ belief that matters is yours, because that is the only one that actually has any true power or influence on your life.

The children’s rhyme “sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me” is good advice, though not entirely true. Words can hurt, a lot, but can not conquer you, unless you choose to let them. You always have a choice. Are you going to let somebody “out there” set your course in life? Will you choose to let their opinion change your own inner knowing, that you are much more than they can see? Are you doing that now? Why would you do that?

Once in a casual conversation, a firefighter friend told me “you can do it if you set your mind to it.” I wanted to be a firefighter but as a woman, at 5 foot six and 112 pounds, the odds against it were enormous. Three years of hard work: pumping iron, running bleachers with a backpack full of sand, biking 40-mile-a-day rides, and many failures later, I became firefighter, and then an officer. Though I started late, I served eight years of active duty first-response Fire and EMS, with a remarkable record of work well done. My friend was right.

This is a truth: We can often learn more from failing than succeeding. The experience of failure is painful and humbling, but it is the ultimate challenge to our inner strength. It can develop character and courage, depending on how you look at it, how you choose to see it. Everything in life is open to an unlimited number of interpretations. The one that matters, is yours.

36. Believe Anyway

April 6, 2018

Even though it’s true that every life will have some stumbling places, dark passages and challenges to grow through, the most powerful factor and the most profoundly hard-to-accept truth is that Life responds to our beliefs. That’s the catch-22 that our parents never taught us, because they didn’t know.

Most of my adult life, I never asked for what I really wanted because I believed I didn’t deserve it. If I prayed for it, I did so as a meek unworthy supplicant, not as a fully entitled child of the Most High, my Father God. One reason why our prayers for other people often are more successful than prayers for ourselves, is that we dare to ask earnestly for their sake, in trust and faith, believing that they deserve it.

Jesus the Christ said, “Whatsoever you ask, believe you have received it.” The catch is, you’ve got to somehow dare to believe that God believes you deserve it, even if you don’t. He tells us to believe even before you ask, that the gift is already set up, ready to go, with your name on it. In this physical world, that’s a difficult task. You have to hold your secret wish in your heart with all your strength, and yet release it to Life/ God/ the Universe, then relax and trust that “it’s on the way – no problem.”

But wait a minute – If “The Force” is always with you, why don’t you always get what you want? Because God/ Life/ The Universal Consciousness/ etc. always works to bring about what you are actually believing. When you know this process is real, eternally active, and it’s a gift to you as a life-law that you can use – then you’re set free to choose the life you really want. You can do whatever you have to do to believe in it as being rightly yours, and begin to live it.

Whatever you hold in habitual belief, life will habitually deliver to you. But be careful of what you are believing unaware, in the dark corners of  your mind, for it is not harmless. All lies, when you believe them, are as powerful as the truth, because you are holding them as your truth.

Faith works. What we believe, we will receive. We often fail to have faith in the best things of life is because there’s always so much loud ugly “physical evidence” to the contrary on the 10 o’clock news. These are real people’s lives, yes, but if you find yourself more blessed, don’t feel guilty, feel grateful. Do what you can to help where you are, and make your choices different from the individuals on the news. It’s that simple, and that profound

Search out, shore up, and call forth the hidden strength that’s in you, and have the courage to believe in your own life, and in your self, no matter what the odds are, and no matter what other people’s lives are. You’ve got to be willing to believe that God thinks you’re good enough, even if you’re pretty sure you’re not. You’ve got to make up your mind, and then, as stubbornly determined as a four-year-old, Believe Anyway.

31. How To Learn How

December 30, 2017

When I was much younger than I am now, I wanted to become a firefighter.* Never mind why; it’s a long story. I was small compared to the male firefighter Wanna-Bes I was competing with. I went to the gym and pumped a whole lot of iron and didn’t get much bigger but I did get hecka-strong. (It took a while.) I applied at every fire department hiring opportunity that came up and took the tests. First is the written – easy enough if you study hard. (You should study really hard.) Next, if you pass the written, you get to take the physical agility test.

I failed the physical agility tests of the first three departments I tried for, at first by a mile, and then by inches, and finally by 2/10 of a second. I went back to the gym. I put in an application at another fire department, and took another test. I failed another one. Maybe two. I forget now, because  once I passed, It didn’t matter, I would pass some more…

I had to fail, to learn how. I had never encountered those kinds of challenges, or even those kinds of objects, lifting and carrying heavy rolls of fire-hose, climbing the 100-foot aerial ladder, dragging the 160-pound dummy through the tunnel. (In the beginning, I only weighed 112 pounds myself.) Very early I learned two Essential Truths, and I’ll share them with you in a minute.

There are wonderful things you can learn from books, that’s one of the reasons I love them so much. But there are some things you cannot learn that way. You can’t learn how to play home-run baseball… out of a book. You can’t learn how to downhill ski… out of a book. And you can’t learn how to be a firefighter and perform the skills a firefighter must do extremely well, very quickly, and absolutely reliably… out of a book. Here comes one of those Essential Truths I mentioned:

Essential Truth #1: The only way to learn how to do it is to do it.

Take downhill skiing, for example. The first day when you go out to the bunny hill with big awkward boots and slats for feet, what’s going to happen? Right! You fall on your butt. Not once, but many times. There will be people around who will see you fall on your butt. Little kids will laugh. Some adults will smile smugly. Others will be annoyed because you’re messing up the good snow with your sit-splats, and getting in everybody’s way. “She shouldn’t even be here! She doesn’t know how to ski at all.”

The next day, you will again fall on your butt in front of everybody. A lot. But probably you will be doing a little bit better, and there will be thrilling moments when just for short distances, you get it, and miraculously, it works. It feels like flying! Your heart, for sure, is flying. Now when you fall, you get up quicker, you want some more of that good feeling.

By the third or fourth day,  your spirits soar. You get that feeling more times, for longer moments, right before each time you crash clumsily again. But now you will be up more of the time than down, and though not exactly smoothly or elegantly, you are skiing!

And pretty much like that, in spite of a very steep learning curve, I had to learn how to be a firefighter by doing the things a firefighter does. There was no other way. That meant falling on my butt in front of people a lot, and getting up again.

We who aspire to be writers, like anyone learning any skill, must expect the same process.  In the beginning, it’s the beginning. While the first levels of success in skiing may take a few days, writing more likely will take a few years. We’re learning how to express our gift. For every great writer, there was a beginning. Thus, Essential Truth #1 about writing: The only way you can learn how to do it is to do it. But don’t take my word for it, try it yourself. Oh, and the skiing is fun too.

Essential Truth #2: Failure is a necessary part of success.

Falling down is one of the first things we all do in life. For a new-born person, this is necessary, inherent, and totally valuable. Failure is how we learn what to do and what not to do. There is no other way. 

We never learn as much from success as we do from failure. Therefore, allow yourself this part of the path. Expect to not be brilliant at anything right away. Expect a cartload of disappointments and possibly humiliations along the way. These do not prove you are un-brilliant. They only mark your serious commitment to the truest and best expression of whatever is your unique personal gift. It may be different from most people. Many people live their whole lives without expressing their truth, not because they don’t have any gifts, but because they don’t have the enormous courage it takes to do it.

Don’t be one of those. Fly down the snowtrails, again and again. Fall on your butt with joy if possible, or with determination if not, and then with embarrassed, wounded, but unconquerable pride, Get up.  Fall down, get up, keep going. Fall down, get up, keep going. Fall down, get up, keep going. You can do this,  if you want it bad enough. Because if it truly is your path, you will do it.
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*I did become a firefighter and served eight years with Alameda County OES Fire Department as a line firefighter and officer.
ofcr me w2w

30. The Path: Life After Life

December 18, 2017

When my dearest, nearly-lifelong best friend Lynn developed Alzheimer’s and left us all behind, it was so hard, so painful for all of us who loved her. We were many, and we loved her so much. She lingered here for years physically, but gone from us in every other way. When she passed away gently in her sleep, in a way it was a sweet relief, and even though we cried for ourselves, we didn’t cry for Lynn. She was free again. Free to explore other adventures and discover new trails, as she had always loved to do. She was always the one out ahead of us, a joyful trailblazer in life. She still is, just on a trail we can’t follow as closely now, but someday will. Vaya con Dios, Amada, hermana de mi corazón.

Along my way I have learned that God/ Spirit/ Universal Consciousness doesn’t like Why-questions. But there are some things that even though I can’t understand, still I have begun to make some sense of, and stop my struggling to figure everything out.

I believe there are some things we simply are not given to know. God knows, and watches out for us, I can see the proof of this in my own life. But God, whatever that is, also allows us to blunder if we choose to, and wander off the path, and stumble, and even sometimes fall hard as we are learning to run, but never lets us stray too far. If we lose our way, or if we hunger for a greater challenge than this life holds, God can always call us home. Then in the morning, we begin again.

25. The Sheer Edge of Reality

September 23, 2017

Jesus and many others since have said “God is within.” New Thought faiths reveal that “God is all there is.” But if I accept and believe that I am, myself, an embodiment and Expression of God, “one with all that is,” then in a way, there is no more God to turn to. No God to thank, no God to look up to. And if there is only an in-here God and no more out-there God, there is no more help. Are we on our own in the cosmos? That might be the loneliest thing that can possibly be experienced. For me, and for a whole lot of human beings I think, “oneness with God” almost feels like an abandonment. So I still keep a version of God from my childhood that I still need, on the back burner, for somebody to talk to when things get too rough or too lonely or too hard.

Yesterday at twilight I prayed. It was not my usual silent or softly-spoken prayer. It was one of those out-loud-prayers where you rant at the evening sky like a lunatic. At one point I broke down in a flood of tears when I said out loud to God, “It’s just so big.” (The work, the book I’m writing, my soul’s assignment.) “it’s so much bigger than I am. You’ve GOT TO help me do it! You’ve got to help me!” Sometimes the skies open up, not this time. No bush caught on fire, there was no sudden shift in consciousness, no revelation, and no epiphany, only the absolute silence. It’s hard these days not to believe that God is mad at me.

But I know that the image of a rewarding-and-punishing, loving-and-abandoning God is not real. It’s something we human beings made up, one of many versions of God we’ve created, trying to help ourselves understand. These versions of God are as real as we make them, and what we believe, we will receive. The constant loving and sheltering God of my childhood still exists, when I can become a child again and live life with a child’s trust. But how can I? Now I know too much. I’ve seen what life can do. I have too much work to do, and always I fear the ever-faster passing of time.

In the empty calm at the end of that prayer, I remembered the first time I did this, or rather, it happened. It was twilight that time too. Years earlier a friend had confided in me  that he believed twilight was the time when the mind was at its thinnest and weakest point, and that there was a danger of slipping through to the other side, and maybe not being able to get back. That scared me, but I was young and happy and I soon forgot about it.

When my first out-loud-prayer happened, decades later, it was enirely spontaneous and I drifted into it without realizing. Then suddenly I heard myself talking to Something, all by myself in an empty room. Shocked and scared, I stopped. I listened carefully to the silence, and I wondered fearfully whether I had lost my mind.

I hadn’t, but somethjing had happened. Something had broken through to a different level. I was sobered by the experience, and I would be again, four years later with the first “message” I received from “somewhere else,” which I eventually came to call the Inner Counselor. It was just before I came to California and my whole life changed. The inner voice had said: “Take faith in yourself, for God has had faith in you, and the gift is already given.” I didn’t understand what it meant, but I knew then and I know now, that it was real, and it was a personal gift to me. In my 40 years since, I have learned that it was no big deal. Everyone has this. God commonly speaks to everyone, most of us just don’t want to tune in.

Life rolled on. Today the world is crashing around us, there is violence, death and disasters in great numbers never before seen in history. And yet we hardly notice, because we are so bedazzled by our amazing techno-toys and devices that take us to instant fantasy worlds. Mass killing has become perfectly normal to our children now, because they practice video murder-games several hours every day, see hours of  violence on TV every night, and the Nightly News is not much different from their video-games. Statistics report that most kids start practicing the skills of cold-blooded murder at age 5 and by age 12 have killed thousands of other human beings, calmly and casually, in their minds.

There is the relentless loud clamor of  flashy advertising, everything exploding in flames to sell cosmetics or cereals. Rich good-looking people drive dangerously recklessly just to sell cars, and the increasingly frequent explosions of rage, hate, and assault among perfect strangers in fast-food restaurants and drive-by shootings on the “Breaking News” is an everyday thing. All of this is so much louder than the still small voice within you. It has become more important right now than ever before in history, to find a space of solitude for yourself for a while every day, turn off the tempting illusions and fantasies of those addicting techno-toys, and listen to what is true, in you.

Most of us are brainwashed and hypnotized without realzing, and we’re unable or unwilling to wake up and see reality, because reality has become technologically counterfeited in so many realistic, beguiling and entertaining ways that massive numbers of humanity have slipped through the thin membrane of sanity to the other side, without even noticing it.

You have the choice, and you have the power at any time, to wake up. To turn off the noise, and come back to listen for your own voice of truth. It can give you back your life. Not a hi-def virtual one, a real one.