Love Equals Love

 

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I meant the first post for this month’s Topic of Life Lessons to be a general introduction to the topic, which I have already written. Instead, I have had a three-part dream this morning and realized while driving to work this morning how it conveys a major life lesson for me: Love Equals Love.  Along with this, Acts of love are Heroic!

In my dream I am visiting all day with a lifelong friend. Since my friend’s gender in the dream is ambiguous, I will call my friend here Dona (Donna/ Don). In Part I of this dream Dona is visiting me and we share some experience together like attending an event or a class, but I do not recall that segment. After that activity, Dona drives us back to her/his location and I ride in the car, talking familiarly with my friend and grateful to be in Dona’s presence. We arrive at Dona’s place and sit out on a portico (that is the word that comes as I write out the dream), suspended over a gorge with water below.

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After talking awhile I realize I have brought my orange tabby cat Emily with me on the visit but did not bring a litter box, so I say maybe we should be leaving. (This often happens in a lucid dream that some element of a physical-world concern can intervene and shorten the dream experience.) Dona says–I believe not wanting that I should leave so soon–that visiting animals often use a fenced area down in the gorge below for their needs.

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Sure enough when I look down to the gorge (where previous to this I had looked and saw a large dog in a region beyond a further fence), Emily is already down there and does relieve herself. One and then up to three or four other ‘local’ cats have gathered just outside the inner fenced area where Emily is. I mention this to Dona.

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All of a sudden Dona gets up and DIVES off from the portico over the cliff! S/he transforms into a cat on the way down so that s/he lands on her feet and then transforms into Dona again, to save Emily from the cats that might have attacked her. After realizing what has just occurred, I (with I think my sister Cheryl) go down a trail to the bottom to check on Dona and Emily.  A younger woman with blue and pink  hues, blonde, is coming up as we go down (angelic?). We get there and Dona is lying down, okay but needing to recuperate, enclosed in a blanket or even a protective tube to help him/her to regenerate from the hard landing.  Emily is fine and I have her in my arms to carry her. We will bring Dona up in the tube, but meanwhile Dona is talking about how this will make for a great story to tell later. Quite a story, Indeed! Dona says this is about the need to take bold action on behalf of others; that this is a sort of action often not taken in today’s world!

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Driving into work after this dream this morning I was replaying the dream in my mind, trying to comprehend and interpret its meaning for me. What came to mind almost immediately is:

Love = Love.

I had been thinking of a spiritual expression I like: Soul = Soul. But then came this slight emendation: LOVE EQUALS LOVE. I realized then how the dream itself was about the love that comes with lifelong friendship; and as well, Dona’s leap into the gorge off from the portico to protect my cat Emily (whom I also love) was an act of love as much as an heroic act of itself!

So yes, a Life Lesson:

Love Equals Love !

Dream Reflection: Whatever form love takes, it IS Love. And love, to be love truly, is always reciprocal.  Love engenders Heroic qualities on behalf of the Beloved.

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images are from pixabay.com

I hope that some of you reading this story can relate to this Life Lesson of Love = Love. It is a beautiful affirmation, for me, of the magnificence of Life itself:

(for, Love = Life = Love).

I welcome YOUR Story and Comments!

My Animal Pet Companions Family

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Emily and Sophie

I live with my home family of Sophie and Emily. Without them I would be living alone, as has been true most of my adult life. Occasional partners (up to 17 years ago already) and an excellent on and off roommate until my recent move from Colorado to New York state have provided off and on human companionship, but my animal Soul Companions are always constant and remain for lifetimes of love and togetherness. Without them I would feel bereft, isolated from the cornucopia of life.  With them life is full of joy daily.  Walking with my Sophie  and cuddling with Em bring such great warmth of Spirit so that I know, as I hope they do, that we are never alone.

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Sophie, November 25, 2018

Living with pets for as long as I can remember and all through my adult life has allowed me the freedom to pursue my independent life dreams of writing, travel and teaching. My life has been unconventional, without a longterm spouse or children, and it is my pet companions who have supported this fun and a productive life.

How about you? How have your animal Soul companions brought joy and comfort to your life?

I welcome YOUR story and comments!

 

 

 

 

 

Golden Eyes: A Pet Reincarnation Tale

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My Cat Emily

I had a dear cat companion named la for 13 years. She was an orange-white calico/tabby with gold eyes. Chela and I were very Soul-bonded. She would ride draped around my shoulders as I walked through a room and she was—as most of my dear animal companions have been—my close confidante.

A few weeks after Chela passed away (I had to have her euthanized due to a severe neurological condition), she came to me in a vision between sleeping and waking. She showed me where she was staying: in a clearing in a wooded area with many other animals of various species there too. She introduced me to them from a wooden stage in the clearing and I got up on the stage and said hello to them as well.

Six months or so after Chela’s departure, I had a significant dream. I was returning from visiting a former mentor, a philosophy professor from my early college days in Buffalo who had herself already passed away. As I was closing an iron gate of the castle grounds where I had been visiting my mentor, I knelt down to greet and welcome into my arms a beautiful little female cat—orange and back with white splotches. I felt immediate recognition and familiarity as we greeted each other, so grateful for seeing each other again!

That very day of this dream, the first words out of my then-mentor (my PhD advisor in Anthropology)’s mouth were:

Linda, could you take a kitten?

I answered immediately:

Only if she is orange and black with white splotches!

And my mentor’s next words:

One is!

So, I took home with me that day from my mentor’s home little Ariel. Her orange-white accent stripes intermixed with orange-black calico and white splotches (a tortoise shell Harlequin calico kitty) looked exactly like Chela’s, and she had gold eyes. As Chela before her, Ariel and I were very closely bonded Soul companions, for the next twenty years!

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A few years after Ariel had come into my life, I had another significant dream, this one a past-life vision. I dreamed I was a young Archaic Homo Sapiens (like a pre-human simian) boy. I was walking along in a savannah veld region with cliffs alongside the open plain. I hardly had language except for a gew major concepts in my consciousness: “ground”, “sky”, “storm”. As I looked up at the rapidly greening sky overhead (Note: I did not learn until after this dream in this present life that a green sky could mean tornado weather), I ran toward the cliffs and climbed to get into the safety of a dark cave.

While in the cave, the storm clouds quickly amassed and dropped a heavy storm. Looking around in the cave, I saw a pair of golden yellow eyes, looking back at me!

“Tiger!” I thought.

The tiger and myself as a simian boy had both sought refuge from the storm in the same cave. Yet, the Tiger did not harm me. When the storm had passed, we locked eyes with each other again and the Tiger left the cave first.

Then as I was waking from this past life vision, I had yet another brief glimpse from a later lifetime. This time I was an older, African tribal human walking stealthily through a jungle. A lion had spotted me and just as he had launched into the air to attack me, a female tiger jumped into the lion’s path to intervene!

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stock images are from pixabay.com

My cat Ariel, like Chela before her (and my golden-eyed Emily today!), loved nothing better than to have me prop up a bed-cover with a pillow beside me to form a cave beside me as I would sleep, especially in cold weather. Ever since this past life visionary experience about the Tiger, I called Ariel, Golden Eyes!

Animals are Soul just as much as you or I. That is my belief based on experience. What about you? Have you had glimpses of other lifetimes with your dear animal Soul companions?

I welcome YOUR Story and Comments!

Our Animal Soul Companions

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The Life Theme we will be exploring this month is Pets.  I regard my pets as Animal Soul Companions and always have. I was the child in my family who would bring home a box filled with a mother cat and her six kittens and put them in our garage. I cannot remember a time when I did not have at least one dear animal friend.

Once I closed the garage door after a pigeon flew in. Pidgey remained my confidante in the garage for many months, flying outside in the morning when I left for school and then returning to the garage when he saw my school bus arrive home.

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Pets are such wonderful companions!  My current home family includes my dog Sophie and my cat Emily. Without them I do not know how I could have left all my friends in Colorado to relocate to where we now live in New York state.

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Emily (in Colorado)

Sophie, my Shorkie (Shitzu/ Yorkie girl) is my co-pilot in life; she has traveled with me seven times across country, bless her Soul. We walk 2-3 times a day. She and Emily are my constant companions and I am thankful every moment!

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Sophie (on a road trip)

I do believe that all animals, including humans, are Soul using our carbon bodies to get around in this Physical world. What we all share is love or the capacity to give and receive Love in the form of unconditional acceptance and companionship.

What about you? Have pets provided a Life Theme of companionship for you?

I welcome YOUR story and comments!

Daily Miracles

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For this final post about our monthly theme of Spirituality as a Life Theme, I’d like to express gratitude for those daily miracles that happened just two days ago and indicated to me the ever-present protection and guidance of Spirit.

I drove to New Jersey then took a subway train to Manhattan for lunch with my wonderful, excellent literary agent (pinch!), then back again in time to give my dog Sophie her dinner and insulin. All day I noticed the miraculous workings of this tandem relationship with Spirit.

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Once while driving I was nearly in what would have been a terrible accident. I pulled into the left lane but a car was already there, in my blind spot! For a dangerous, long moment we shared the same lane. I was able to fold back unto the right lane just a fragment of time before the worst would have occurred. It felt like there was a force field separating our two vehicles just to the perfect degree to allow us to adjust and correct the situation.

At the subway station in Journal Square, Jersey City, I had only a short time left to reach Manhattan in time for my meeting, and all of the spaces in the parking structure were taken. I drove around three times and came to the realization I would need to exit the parking garage and try my luck outside in the mayhem of the over-crowded street parking, which would make it nearly impossible to stay on schedule. Instead, as I was ruefully leaving the parking structure, just one parking space, just wide enough for my car to fit into, miraculously appeared. I had been driving around hoping for someone to leave, and no one had left, I was sure!

Once in New York, hailing a cab was no ordeal at all; both going to and returning from the restaurant across from Central Park a taxi pulled over immediately.

Lunch went splendidly as always with this amazing, brilliant soul who sees and inspires the value of my writing. She gave good advice and guidance about promoting my new book, Your Life Path (see right panel or click here to order), telling me I need to promote the book in every blog post (😊). We also talked about my next book which is in progress.

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images are from pixabay.com

Then the return trip was smooth, bringing me home—thanks to the excellent voice guidance of Siri on my phone—just in time for my Sophie to receive her meal and insulin in a timely manner. Once while I was booking it homeward a squirrel found itself in my lane and s/he literally high-tailed it—now I understand that phrase. Its tail fluffed high as it scooted quickly out of danger, so quickly that it looked like a gentle hand of Spirit must have cupped it from behind and given a needed push! Usually squirrels tend to slow down when confused in such a situation, so again I was grateful for the intervention.

So, home safely, I was reminded of the quote I was going to be posting as the full post today. It is about the subtle nature of Spirit or the Universe, the Force; whatever you choose to know It as. Paul Twitchell wrote that Spirit is:

“…that thread, so fine as to be invisible yet so strong as to be unbreakable, that binds together all beings in all planes, and beyond time into eternity.”

I welcome YOUR Story and Comments!

Mapping Your Spiritual Life Path

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Each Life Theme that threads through our lives, interweaving with other Themes to form the fabric of a life creates its own warp and weft; its own pattern. Some Life Themes are uplifting while others might hold you down in the doldrums or could oscillate between highs and lows like a roller coaster ride.

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You can map any Life Theme to discover its pattern in your life.  Start simply by making a list of “shaping events” relevant to that Theme. Shaping events are events or situations that “have shaped the person you have become.”

After listing events for a Theme you can assign an impact score from -5 to +5 to rate the retrospective negative to positive shaping impact of that event, including binary or dual impact scores (e.g. +3/-2 or +5/-5) to indicate events with both positive and negative impacts.

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So I invite you to make a list of events you associate with Spirituality in your life.  Note the age you were at when each event occurred and assign retrospective impact scores. After composing this list then I invite you to PLOT these events on a chronological Life Path grid, as shown above. Plot the impact scores on the positive and/or negative spaces above and below the Age Line. You can connect binary or dual impact events with a vertical line crossing the neutral Age Line.

Now you can simply connect the dots–the relative highs and lows of adjacent events on your chart–to reveal the pattern of influence of Spiritual events on your life over time.

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images are from pixabay.com

When I map my own Life Theme of Spirituality (privately), I realize how spirituality has been the buttress  of my life always. After a time of seeking which had its ups and downs, once I found a path that works for me it has continuously provided an upward drift to my life. It is the wind beneath my wings and helps me understand any and every event as meaningful and positive.

What is YOUR Story? I invite your comments or questions.

A Waking Dream

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A few days ago I was stressing out about my next direction after the big move I have recently undertaken. I found myself reading my Cancer horoscope, which is something I have not done in quite awhile. Here is what it said:

There is a part of you that is not your body.  It is not your thoughts, your words or your feelings. This part of you is doing something mysterious and exciting. Let it be. Give it space.

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I take this horoscope message as a waking dream, one way that Spirit or the Universe communicates and brings about daily miracles.  In this month of focusing for this blog on the Life Theme of Spirituality, it is wonderful to be gifted with such a message. It helps me to accept where I am at and welcome the new possibilities open before me after this Big Move.

Soul IS doing something mysterious and exciting. Is it so for you as well now?  It is good to remember who we are NOT, so as to remember and better come to appreciate what IS!

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images are from pixabay.com

I welcome YOUR Story and Comments!

Hook Your Wagon to a Star

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When I was in graduate school in Buffalo, I had a little yellow Puch moped for transportation. When I would ride as needed in heavy traffic, I used to remember a ine from Bertolt Brecht’s Mother Courage:

Hook your wagon

to a Star.

“Hook your moped to a Mack Truck!” I would substitute mentally, hugging the wake of a large truck for security on the road against faster moving cars whose drivers often would disregard my little moped.

There was a principle involved. ‘Hooking my moped to a truck’ meant, to me, living in tandem with Spirit. Active choice plus faith in helping to bring about the most positive potentials of any life situation have carried me along on this journey, so far,  through relationships with people, my animal friends, and places I could not have foreseen and yet now, I will never forsake or forget.

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So, again, having recently set out on an unknown highway to encounter places and people unknown, I must trust in Spirit, surrender my fears, be grateful for what IS, and enjoy the adventure.

In the process I am relearning some basic lessons: acceptance of change, gratitude for what is permanent, willingness to forge ahead, one small footstep at a time.

I am also unlearning now. This new process has only begun, yet I am already unlearning what had only seemed most solid; peering ahead to where I had assumed was No-thing. Yet here it is, I am, Life is, even Love is, yet not at all as I had imagined it might be. Spirit leads me onward–not necessarily forward as I would have expected, yet onward inexorably nevertheless.

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images are from pixabay.com

I do not know what lies ahead; I must simply release what was before yet carry forth, not memories so much as a dim awareness of the certainty of love itself, of life itself as Spirit. New life birthing yet of the same indelible fabric that weaves through us all.

Thank you to all who have shared with me to any extent this lifetime of human (and broader!) experience. Thank You with love for all you Are!

The Force of Spirit

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Spirituality is one of my core Life Themes. All of my life it has been a motivating force to my thoughts, questioning, and adventures.

Spirituality brings depth to any experience. It frames experience as gifts and as lessons to grow by.  It provides guidance and protection as a source of inner guidance. It illuminates the meaning and purpose of life events and relationships. It nourishes and supports one, always.

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To map the Theme of Spirituality over the life course can be revealing. One of my earliest “shaping events” based on what I would come to understand as Spiritual was that when I was around 7 or 8 I recognized a “blue man” in my conscious awareness. Somewhat like an invisible friend, the Blue Man was with me always, in my thoughts as well as my actions. I could pose questions to him and he would help me understand things generally. Because of him, I for awhile believed that all adults, not just him, could read my thoughts and knew everything about me; I even thought animals, though choosing not to speak, could do the same.

I remember as well when I was around twelve I stayed home from school one day. I was shy and for some reason wanted to avoid going in that day, though really I was only “faking” being ill. For some reason that day my mother was angry with me; I do not remember why but I do recall feeling guilty, perhaps for malingering. I went to my room an wrote in my diary. I remember writing a lot, painfully confronting that maybe the Devil had sent me to this world, but even so I chose instead to be a vehicle for God! When I discovered this little diary several decades later and found that diary entry I was surprised; the entire entry was about one sentence long! But that was a Turning Point for me. From then forth I have always sought to be a positive agent to be of spiritual value in the world.

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images are from pixabay.com

What about YOU? What are some early ‘shaping events’ involving spirituality in your life? How have these affected your sojourn through life to Now? What lessons do you take forward from these?

I welcome your story and comments!

 

 

Education is the Key

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Life is the greatest teacher, when we allow it to be. Every one of us could title our Life Story: The Education of (Your Name).

Education, or learning generally, is the key to unlocking more than just knowledge but potentially wisdom.  What is that difference, for you? For me it is not merely knowing WHAT, but WHY and ethically HOW.

Education is  a reciprocal relationship with with life and/or with other beings. We teach–intentionally or not–from our experiences; we learn from observing or interacting with others or with nature or Spirit.

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At best, our education equips us to embark upon and to learn and teach from new, “fresh” experiences.  An experience is new only if we can approach it from a fresh perspective, applying what we have learned previously. I like to remember the psychology premise that says, if you keep repeating the same ‘mistake’ or running into the same “wall,” then perhaps it is time to go AROUND it.

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images are from pixabay.com

One way to tap into your daily education is to journal and/or to actively contemplate every day.  In your journal you can ask:

What Have I Learned Today?

What Have I Taught?

How might what you discover from journaling about or reflecting on these questions equip you for something ‘new’?

I welcome YOUR Story and Comments

Live and Learn

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To live is to learn and to learn is to live, nest-ce pas?  That appears to me to be what life is all about, along with developing our capacity to give and receive unconditional love, and to survive.

I am grateful for being on a definite learning curve, having recently relocated just with my beloved cat and dog, across country from Colorado to central New York.

With a major relocation comes tremendous opportunity to ‘create the life of your dreams.’  At the same time it is rife with challenges: how to make the right choices so as not to recreate patterns or habits of thought or behavior you aim not to continue while establishing conditions for true growth and spiritual prosperity.

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So, here’s a thought.  When you set out to make a major move or a significant change of any sort, for instance either geographically or with work or a relationship, ask yourself what Life Lessons from earlier experiences do you intend to apply to establish new conditions rather than having to relearn these same Life Lessons yet again? There is a spiritual principle that says, once you have truly learned a significant lesson from some experience which has repeated in your life, you can finally move on. After crashing or butting into the same wall many times, psychologists would tell us, finally we might choose to walk AROUND that same wall when it shows up—and it likely will—yet again!

I invite you to reflect on some key Life Lesson that feels appropriate with respect to some new life adjustment upon which you are or soon will be embarking.  Is there one Life Lesson in particular that you would like to avoid having to re-learn this time around, once and for all?

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For me one of my core Life Lessons is to ASK and to LISTEN for (and then to ACT upon) inner guidance, before making major choices.  I aim to avoid acting primarily by ‘trial and error.’ This definitely applies to my search over this next year for a retirement home that will allow for me to fulfill my full life potentials and ambitions from here forward. This includes a goal I have set for myself with this relocation: To Be Happy! Not just to fulfill responsibilities and be ‘safe,’ I mean—though those will always matter—but to find a range of happiness, stable and complete, that I have perhaps always been seeking in this lifetime.

This goal reminds me of Hermann Hesse’s Siddhartha (the Buddha), whose smile to his friend Govinda at the end of the story is a message of how to attain enlightenment:

As Govinda thought like this, and there was a conflict in his heart, he
once again bowed to Siddhartha, drawn by love. Deeply he bowed to him
who was calmly sitting.

“Siddhartha,” he spoke, “we have become old men. It is unlikely for
one of us to see the other again in this incarnation. I see, beloved,
that you have found peace. I confess that I haven’t found it. Tell me,
oh honourable one, one more word, give my something on my way which I
can grasp, which I can understand! Give me something to be with me on
my path. It it often hard, my path, often dark, Siddhartha.”

Siddhartha said nothing and looked at him with the ever unchanged,
quiet smile. Govinda stared at his face, with fear, with yearning,
suffering, and the eternal search was visible in his look, eternal
not-finding.

Siddhartha saw it and smiled.

“Bent down to me!” he whispered quietly in Govinda’s ear. “Bend down to
me! Like this, even closer! Very close! Kiss my forehead, Govinda!”

But while Govinda with astonishment, and yet drawn by great love and
expectation, obeyed his words, bent down closely to him and touched his
forehead with his lips, something miraculous happened to him. While his
thoughts were still dwelling on Siddhartha’s wondrous words, while he
was still struggling in vain and with reluctance to think away time, to
imagine Nirvana and Sansara as one, while even a certain contempt for
the words of his friend was fighting in him against an immense love and
veneration, this happened to him:

He no longer saw the face of his friend Siddhartha, instead he saw
other faces, many, a long sequence, a flowing river of faces, of
hundreds, of thousands, which all came and disappeared, and yet all
seemed to be there simultaneously, which all constantly changed and
renewed themselves, and which were still all Siddhartha. He saw the
face of a fish, a carp, with an infinitely painfully opened mouth, the
face of a dying fish, with fading eyes–he saw the face of a new-born
child, red and full of wrinkles, distorted from crying–he saw the face
of a murderer, he saw him plunging a knife into the body of another
person–he saw, in the same second, this criminal in bondage, kneeling
and his head being chopped off by the executioner with one blow of his
sword–he saw the bodies of men and women, naked in positions and cramps
of frenzied love–he saw corpses stretched out, motionless, cold, void–
he saw the heads of animals, of boars, of crocodiles, of elephants, of
bulls, of birds–he saw gods, saw Krishna, saw Agni–he saw all of these
figures and faces in a thousand relationships with one another, each one
helping the other, loving it, hating it, destroying it, giving re-birth
to it, each one was a will to die, a passionately painful confession of
transitoriness, and yet none of then died, each one only transformed,
was always re-born, received evermore a new face, without any time
having passed between the one and the other face–and all of these
figures and faces rested, flowed, generated themselves, floated along
and merged with each other, and they were all constantly covered by
something thin, without individuality of its own, but yet existing, like
a thin glass or ice, like a transparent skin, a shell or mold or mask of
water, and this mask was smiling, and this mask was Siddhartha’s smiling
face, which he, Govinda, in this very same moment touched with his lips.
And, Govinda saw it like this, this smile of the mask, this smile of
oneness above the flowing forms, this smile of simultaneousness above
the thousand births and deaths, this smile of Siddhartha was precisely
the same, was precisely of the same kind as the quiet, delicate,
impenetrable, perhaps benevolent, perhaps mocking, wise, thousand-fold
smile of Gotama, the Buddha, as he had seen it himself with great
respect a hundred times. Like this, Govinda knew, the perfected ones
are smiling.

Not knowing any more whether time existed, whether the vision had lasted
a second or a hundred years, not knowing any more whether there existed
a Siddhartha, a Gotama, a me and a you, feeling in his innermost self
as if he had been wounded by a divine arrow, the injury of which tasted
sweet, being enchanted and dissolved in his innermost self, Govinda
still stood for a little while bent over Siddhartha’s quiet face, which
he had just kissed, which had just been the scene of all manifestations,
all transformations, all existence. The face was unchanged, after under
its surface the depth of the thousandfoldness had closed up again, he
smiled silently, smiled quietly and softly, perhaps very benevolently,
perhaps very mockingly, precisely as he used to smile, the exalted one.

Deeply, Govinda bowed; tears, he knew nothing of, ran down his old face;
like a fire burnt the feeling of the most intimate love, the humblest
veneration in his heart. Deeply, he bowed, touching the ground, before
him who was sitting motionlessly, whose smile reminded him of everything
he had ever loved in his life, what had ever been valuable and holy to
him in his life.

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images are from pixabay.com

I invite YOUR Story and Comments!

Education as a Life Theme (or, Why I love driving time)

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I have been driving a lot this weekend, from my new apartment in Ithaca, NY to my sister’s in Ellicottville, NY, to Cleveland for my aunt’s 90th birthday, and back. I love driving, alone or with my dog Sophie, because it frees my mind to reflect.

Education is our Life Theme topic for September. This is one of the most ubiquitous or common Life Themes that most life mappers identify, whether as a set of influential “shaping event” experiences early on in life or running throughout.  As my professional role has been as a Teacher (and Student) for most of my life and still, Education has certainly been a dominant Theme in my own Life Story. Whereas other Themes such as Romance have had a variable or even a Roller Coaster sort of patterning, Education has always been, at least on the surface, an increasingly uplifting experience, patterning as upward tending, step-like plateaus of learning and adventure. For many a life mapper, Education events are consistently +5 (extremely positive impact) experiences which maintain an uplifting theme of stability and growth.

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Sometimes—I am learning recently—I need to ask my inner Teacher to step back a bit, to listen more closely to what others are sharing during a time of transition and adaptation after my Big Move. Still, Life Lessons abound, which are a part of my own Education theme.  After all, Life Itself is the greatest Teacher of all, n’est-ce pas?

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Education opens our minds and hopefully our Hearts as well, to new ideas and fresh experience. It is so important to remain open as such; even though we might have learned a great deal from a certain belief system, for example, it is imperative not to close our minds to ideas from outside that system if we are to continue to grow and develop.  Here is a relevant passage I have recently been gifted with from David Steindl-Rast (from Belonging to the Universe, IN: God in All Worlds, Lucinda Vardey , ed., Vintage: 1995, pg 22):

We search for meaning, we search for belonging, and that means that we are all exploring God-territory. But that territory is so vast that you can go on forever and ever exploring one part of it and never meet other groups that explore other parts. There are certain crossroads where you chose to go in a certain direction. After that, you are not likely to reach the territory others are exploring who took a different turn.

Drive On!

I welcome YOUR Story and Comments.

Always Keep Moving!

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I walk with my dog Sophie three times a day since she was diagnosed as diabetic last December. Her condition is now “well managed.”  Our walking has been a major factor benefiting her health as well as my own.

This morning on our walk through a light rain in Ithaca—our new home—I was thinking about Dick Van Dyke. He wrote a book out recently called Keep Moving (2015). Here is a Youtube clip of Dick Van Dyke in motion:

    

At over 90, Dick Van Dyke lives his credo to always keep moving; that is, not to slow down or become sedentary; not to settle.

What a great credo for our “better endings” theme with this blog:

Always Keep Moving.

While reflecting on this theme I also have opened to a quote from the Dalai Lama:

“Once a year,

Go somewhere you’ve never

been before.”

So I have relocated across country with my cat and  dog and within a month life here is already in a state of perpetual motion.  People to visit with, some new friends, a new job and continuing work from an earlier teaching post; a new and very rich, expansive locale with endless opportunities for adventure…certainly by no means slowing down after my so-called retirement!

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Nor would I wish to slow down.  I love this life and am eternally grateful for the richness of every phase, of every Life Chapter. Living Your Dream, Now! (which is the focus I offer to YOU with my new book, Your Life Path/ see sidebar) does not mean reaching a static goal. Rather, it propels you ever further to Always Keep Moving!

Relocation Blues

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When you embark upon the major adventure of Relocation in order to Follow Your Heart and Live Your Dream, Now!, as I have just recently undertaken, mainly it is or can be a very positive experience, laced with all sorts of new potentials. Yet you can expect to encounter resistances as well, especially within your own psyche.

Having moved from Colorado to New York state just three weeks ago, I have been on my own now with just my pets for a couple of weeks. A few days ago I heard a small voice within me welling up, crying out:

“What have I/we done?”

Then last night this trepidation came on more strongly: What am I doing here? How can I be so far away from all of my close Colorado and New Mexico friends and colleagues? Will I ever truly be able to ‘make a difference’ here in terms of my work and sense of purpose?

Let’s call this the Relocation Blues.

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Just keeping busy is not the solution to the Relocation Blues. It is important to check in deeply with your various archetypal parts of Self, to LISTEN to all those facets of your psyche that are concerned about the changes and the opportunities that have come about with the Big Move.

I find active contemplation (or, active imagination in Jung’s terminology) most helpful.  Close your eyes for a few minutes to a half an hour or so and ASK for inner understanding, SEEK internal guidance.  Ask what CAN you do to move forward most effectively, how CAN you fulfill the ambitions that led to your Move?

A CAN DO attitude (see the last post, “Say Yes!”) is important for overcoming fears or trepidations that come with radical change. ASK:

What CAN I do, today/ Now, to move my objectives forward?

How CAN I realize happiness with new conditions?

Then, of course, ACT on the resolutions you arrive at. Take the next Step, one day at a time. Be patient with yourself, take the time you need to adjust flexibly to your new surroundings. But ACT on your insights to gradually realize your potentials.

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For myself, I realize this is a crucial transition point in my Life Story, and what I do with the opportunities before me here will determine the outcomes. I cannot go back, must find a way to go forward to honor the past by fulfilling the purposes that led me to make this Big Move.

Yes I say, Say YES with Relocation

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So I have relocated, to a Dream Life sort of scenario in Ithaca, NY.  And it really is spectacular, a lovely community nestled in an idyllic environment of lakes and forests, birds and abundant cultural opportunities. And as Relocation always offers new possibilities to create the life of your Dream, I am practicing a basic principle of Relocation as I begin this new adventure:

Say YES!

Of course you will sometimes want to practice right discrimination to also say No (to repeating pathways to bad habits from the past, e.g.), but all in all I am saying YES to opportunities as they arise. The Universe/ Spirit, I find, is meeting me at the precipice of this new adventure, presenting opportunities.  I have met a small community of Eckists (my spiritual group) at a class last week, which led to lunch with two of these new friends yesterday and my agreement to transport a new friend to a weekly meetup group, and to travelling with new friends to a spiritual service in Syracuse tomorrow. I responded to discovery that a local college (one of my favorites: Ithaca College!) might have adjunct teaching positions available, so I applied a couple of months ago and–long story short–I will be teaching there as well as in Colorado via online teaching, come this Fall semester! Another online lead has led to the chance to meet a potential new friend who has welcomed me to the area.  And people here are NICE, so far everywhere.

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Say YES is I believe an important principle when working in tandem with Spirit/ the Universe (however you wish to construe this), always. It can lead you forward so long as you trust (and exercise) your ‘instinct’ and WELCOME new directions, new connections, a new life.

Of course old friends will always be on my mind as I move forward here. It does seem impossible that my friends and colleagues of the past 25 years are now as remote from here as my family was while I was living in Colorado. I aim to continue to nurture these connections. But I am ready and willing to step forth with this new Life Chapter, too. As much or more lies ahead as in the rear view mirror.

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images are from pixabay.com

Life is ephemeral, as a remembered W.B. Yeats poem (click here) states. Friends, family and this life as a whole is on loan to us from Divine Love/ the Universe. It is what we do with our associations that matters. Separation is only a temporary illusion, one might also say. New friends may be Souls we meet again.

I welcome YOUR Comments and Story!

Relocation for Better Endings

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The Life Theme we are focussing on for August is Relocation. For many a Life Mapper a Big Move or Relocation is a golden opportunity for life changing new beginnings that can help someone “jump start” their life.

As I have just relocated myself from Colorado to New York state, I can certainly attest to the freedom such a major transition affords. It is a Starting Over in some respects though I also find myself banking on anything familiar so as to feel grounded. The daily routines with my dog and cat, walking 2-3 times a day with Sophie, for instance, keeps me in the flow of life as I have known it, though the new environment is welcome and fun to explore for us both.

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Transplanting oneself through relocation offers many opportunities to reflect on the life one has been living so as to tweak or make conscious changes for “better endings.” What would I have done differently? becomes rephrased:

What CAN I do differently Now?

This is a time for deep reflection while also for moving forward. It is a time pregnant with opportunity and for avoiding merely settling into old patterns. Every new adventure brings sights not seen before in this lifetime. Every new connection is ripe with the joy of discovery.

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What about you? When you have relocated or undertaken a Big Move, how did you go about using it as an opportunity for Better Endings? Or if you have yet to take such a step, with retirement or changing a job or your environment, how might you prepare?

I welcome YOUR Comments and Story!

Mischief Managed? Or Lesson Learned in Transit: Love Is All

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I have just driven cross country with my dog Sophie and cat Emily and with two excellent friends, Arlene and Philemon, who volunteered to drive a Uhaul with all of my personal belongings, from Colorado to Ithaca, NY.  Semi-retired, house prepped and sold, on the road away from all I have known and cultivated this past 25 years, and now here, mostly moved in already, friends leaving tomorrow for their Amtrak journey home to Zuni, New Mexico.

I had thought the title for this blog after finalizing this big transition would be MISCHIEF MANAGED, meaning I have completed twenty-five years in my chosen profession as an Anthropology/ university professor and now I am “freed” from many of the responsibilities of that post. But along the way, something spectacular happened. First, my friends from Zuni and from my faculty in Colorado Springs surprised me with a wonderful dinner party they had been planning for months! As it was on the day of my cleaning and then closing on the house, I only had a short time to share my appreciation with them, but I was profoundly affected. As well, the day prior some ten friends helped me to pack the uhaul and the next day, one friend of many years helped to clean the house.

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I realized while on the road that I had set a spiritual intention when I began my life in Colorado, which was to learn what love is. And, I did! Friends from my spiritual community, from my workplace faculty, and other solid friends shared much impersonal, unconditional love and continue to do so.

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images are from pixabay.com

Next, my intention in New York with this new Life Chapter is about attaining happiness through fulfillment of my deepest potentials. A friend, Donna, once said to me: “New York is not the place to start but is the place to finish.” May it be so!

With gratitude to All who have embraced this journey in tandem with me as we each proceed with our own spiritual purpose, not Mischief Managed after all, but May the Blessings Be! Elahkwa!

The Value of Friendship– My Tribute to a Friend

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image from pixabay.com

There are places I’ll remember all my life,

though some have changed.

(All My Life, by Lennon and McCartney)

I do not believe in accidents. I do, in fact, believe in reincarnation. One of the best books I have read on the subject that has helped me understand relationships in life is The Journey of Souls, by the psychiatrist Dr. Michael Newton. Newton bases his understanding of reincarnation on transcripts from persons under hypnosis answering his questions about Souls’ experiences BETWEEN lives. These transcripts show amazing uniformity and provide a fascinating account of the spiritual nature of our relationships generally– including how we might recognize a Soul over multiple  lifetimes with whom we have a strong affinity or connection. While Newton avers that the future is not fixed or predestined in a rigid way, as there is always a Plan B if one connection in life or another does not work out so that we can still reach our goals and learn life’s lessons, still his subjects claim we often meet and form relations with some Souls over several lifetimes, and between lives we might reconnect with members of our “Soul group.”

All these places have their meanings

with lovers and friends I still can recall.

This week I want to share about aspects of a personal friendship which has helped me understand the spiritual value of Friendship altogether.  One friend in particular whom I first met when  was 17 has been an important connection ever since, despite geographical distance. This friendship has had a profound influence on my life in a way I can only call “spiritual,” and it has led me to question and arrive at my own understanding of what it means to be Soul occupying a (human) body.

I first met Donna when a high-school buddy invited me to join a fencing class in our home community. Donna was our fencing teacher, and I fell in love quickly with the art and sport of fencing, which I continued with for many years later on an intercollegiate fencing team. After the ten week class was over, I had ordered some fencing equipment which I picked up from Donna at her apartment. We began a conversation then–I might later say she became a special mentor at the time–which grew over the years into a special friendship.

Donna would read and encourage my journaling and poetry when, once a week on  Thursday afternoons, I would walk a mile and a half to her apartment to visit. She introduced me to excellent literature–from prose to philosophy and spirituality and poetry–as well as to music and art. I felt a unique sort of affinity with Donna–that when our eyes met, she was somehow mirroring me in a more experienced, dynamic, creative elder persona. I believe Donna also saw in me a diamond in the rough, with some of her own younger life aspirations and interests.

I attended college initially not far from where Donna lived, so we continued our friendship until eventually, at 25, I left for graduate school in Arizona. After that a major shift occurred. I called Donna from campus one day having felt inwardly something momentous was happening with her.

“Hello, is Donna there?”

“Just a moment.” (Her partner)

“Hello, Linda.”

The low voice at the other end of the phone I almost did not recognize; was this a friend of Donna to tell me she had passed away? But then I realized it was Donna after all.

“I am changing my name. It is odd that you called today, because

tomorrow I am having surgery.”

I put pen to paper to write down Donna’s new last name, assuming she had married her current partner.

“Donald, Linda. My new name is Donald.”

“Okay…”

Donna, to make a long story much shorter, had realized, after having successfully dealt therapeutically for several years while I had been in college with a situation of multiple personality syndrome, that her/his core gender identity was actually that of Donald and had perhaps always been such since childhood.

When I met Donald for the first time face to face a couple of summers later, my first thought was, “That’s it! That is what was always so different about Donna. This is who He truly IS.”

So, life went on. Donald has had an amazingly dynamic and successful life after ‘transitioning’ in place in his home community. For over 35 years he has given wonderful service in the arts world as well as professionally in the behavioral/ mental health field.

Of all these friends and lovers

there is noone who compares with you.

And these places lose their meaning

If I try to think of love as something new…

But this story is about our friendship through the years and about how Donna/ Donald has helped me fathom the spiritual value of Friendship.

Sometimes I have felt I could have been “Donna”; that when “Donald” stepped into little Donna’s form as a young child or baby somehow I stepped out and was born as Linda. I know that sounds incredible and probably is but a fantasy, and at the same time for me Donna has had an independent spiritual persona somewhat apart from Donald. For many years I often dreamed of visiting Donna, usually in the same, transitional sort of place, overlooking a pond with a pathway around it. We would play cards or Scrabble and continue our unending conversation. In more recent years that has shifted to where I sense Donald and Donna are indeed one and the same–merged as one, so to speak. I sometimes hope that when I leave this world, I will reconnect with my Friend and continue our spiritual friendship, eternally, as we go forward with our individual spiritual capacities.

So, a Friend. That first day as I walked to Donna’s to pick up a fencing foil, jacket, mask and a glove, I was singing “You’ve Got a Friend” by James Taylor (click here to link to that song). And often on the many Thursdays that followed, walking to visit Donna, I continued to sing and to ponder that Song.

A Friendship connects two Souls far beyond merely physical or emotional considerations or circumstances. It uplifts and extends our very notion of personhood and can reveal the eternal, Divine nature of Soul.

I welcome YOUR Comments and Story!

 

Friends as a Life Theme

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Many life mappers identify Friends as a primary Life Theme that brings positive inspiration and encouragement into their lives.  Friends are for many of us as significant as Family, especially in our contemporary society where so often we need to live away from our natal family to work or go to school away from our original homes. So this month’s Better Endings topic is the Life Theme of Friends. (To discover your own primary Life Themes, purchase or find my book at a local library: Your Life Path, which provides a complete Life Path Mapping Toolkit!)

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Friends have always been core to me. The sharing and unconditional reciprocity of a true, lasting friendship anchors my sense of purpose and brings great joy. I love the constancy of a true friend. Even though we may have our ups and downs or may be nearer or more distant geographically over time, a Friend is always Here, in our hearts.

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images are from pixabay.com

To begin this month’s set of posts about Friends, I turn to Khalil Gibran, whose essay on Friendship I remember since I first read it forty-five or so years ago.  I especially remember from Gibran’s essay how important it is to share the positive as well as your fears or frustrations with your Friend.

Celebrate the joy of your deep connection with your Friend.  This reminds me also of Rumi’s spiritual teacher and guide whom he refers to as The Friend, Shams-I- Tabriz. For a Friend is a Teacher of love and respect, one with whom we share unconditional, even an Eternal spiritual connection.

So for your reading pleasure, here below is Gibran on Friendship:

On Friendship
 Kahlil Gibran

Your friend is your needs answered.
He is your field which you sow with love and reap with thanksgiving.
And he is your board and your fireside.
For you come to him with your hunger, and you seek him for peace.

When your friend speaks his mind you fear not the “nay” in your own mind, nor do you withhold the “ay.”
And when he is silent your heart ceases not to listen to his heart;
For without words, in friendship, all thoughts, all desires, all expectations are born and shared, with joy that is unacclaimed.
When you part from your friend, you grieve not;
For that which you love most in him may be clearer in his absence, as the mountain to the climber is clearer from the plain.
And let there be no purpose in friendship save the deepening of the spirit.
For love that seeks aught but the disclosure of its own mystery is not love but a net cast forth: and only the unprofitable is caught.

And let your best be for your friend.
If he must know the ebb of your tide, let him know its flood also.
For what is your friend that you should seek him with hours to kill?
Seek him always with hours to live.
For it is his to fill your need, but not your emptiness.
And in the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter, and sharing of pleasures.
For in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed.