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.

Turning Points — A Birthday Post

 

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My Colorado friends. Photo by Diane Launsby.

Today on my 64th Birthday (June 26th) I have been feeling like Dr. Beverly Crusher in the Star Trek NG episode when she felt that the universe was collapsing all about her, and truly it was! She was caught in a Warp Bubble while the rest of the crew was one by one popping into another dimension. The metaphor is apt as my social universe of colleagues, students, and Colorado friends is dropping away as I prepare for relocating Back East in late July.

Turning Points are momentous shifts in life experience such that you might feel you were “a different person before and after that event occurred” (Your Life Path; also see side panel).

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To go through a Turning Point mindfully, with awareness of that turning as a momentous shift, is a great gift.  Many Turning Points appear to happen to us unwittingly; we do not consciously seek to bring them about.  Those we look back at later to see how momentous they were and we may need to make major adjustments to adapt to those changes. But those we manifest consciously are huge leaps of faith, quantum leaps so to speak even, as they can launch us intentionally into a whole new Life Chapter with a golden new set of life’s possibilities. Such is the Big Move I shall be embarking upon at the end of July!

What about you? Are you ready to plan for and execute the turning of another Life Chapter page? What is next then? What might you resolve soon so you can bring about a Turning Point sort of shift that aims you truly in the direction of fulfilling your deepest life aspiration, your Life Dream?

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Almost forty years ago I went West  (now I return Back East). When I left Buffalo in 1979 to go off to graduate school in Phoenix, Arizona, I woke one morning in the year I was planning that Big Move with a song ditty on my mind that stayed with me the rest of that year:

I’m leaving,

But there are a few doors left to close

Before I get over there.

For the next several months I consciously sought to close those doors, to tie up loose ends so I would be free to experience my new life after closure and with fresh ambitions.  Now I find life is again providing opportunities for a meaningful closure of some relations and continuation of others from here as I am ready to launch into a whole universe of new potentials.

I thank all who have been part of my life in Colorado and Zuni, New Mexico and Arizona before that. I love each and every one of you and wish you well on your own continuing Soul Journey.

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images are from pixabay.com

I welcome YOUR Comments and Story!

Changing Times, Time for Change and The Plight of Child Refugees

Home repairs, cleaning and staging the house daily, stepping away with my dog (cat hiding under the bed) to allow potential buyers to explore the house as a potential new home for themselves: such a daunting process, one I hope will be over soon! I write from my office away from home, waiting for showings to pass.

Relocation is such a time for change, in perspective, in hopes for the future, in care for those I will be leaving once and, for many, forever in this lifetime. This is a time pregnant with possibilities yet rife with challenges to overcome.

It is interesting to be embarking upon such a leap of faith while the country itself is in dire turmoil with the …revisionist, to say the least… policies being inflicted on the collective consciousness politically these days. I try to avoid politics at this blog. But I cannot ignore how tumultuous these times are for so many.

images are from pixabay.com

Families fleeing a country to find safety in another become migrants subjected to all sorts of policies aimed to deter them from succeeding in their quest to achieve what we used to call simply, the American Dream.  If they are deported again back to those conditions from which they have fled, what message does this send to the world, of the world? I am so sheltered by comparison, so ignorant of their plight.

Changing Times are Times for Change, positive or negative, destructive or life affirming. The CHILDREN are leading the way toward positive change in so many aspects these days. That should tell us something, all.  Let them lead! Let the youth forge new pathways for us all, out from the darkness into light.

That is my blog for this week, which may be the final one this month due to the changes happening so quickly in my own life through the rest of this month.

May the Blessings Be!

Set Your Travel Goals (or, Happiness is a Choice)

When I prepare for a major travel excursion, I set a spiritual goal for the trip. That means I contemplate what I am ready or aiming to learn, about life or about my own potentials for self improvement. This is especially true with relocation; such an amazing opportunity to push the reset button involving any life conditions upon which you might wish to improve.

As I approach relocating Back East at the end of July, I find myself contemplating Happiness. At an Asian buffet the other night my fortune cookie stated:

“Happiness is a choice.”

That is precisely the message I needed to receive. As I contemplate the next Life Chapter of my own Dream Come True (for all of life is that, when you think about it), I realize it will be what I choose it to be with regard to the attitudes and viewpoints I exercise. Partly this means acting in ways that serve the greatest good and that may facilitate happiness and well-being for those in my immediate family and social circles. Smiling while engaging with people in public contexts can help me develop the habit of carrying happiness in my heart, coupled with acceptance and contentment.

Of course it is understood that any less than ideal conditions one experiences in one location are very likely to manifest again in a new location, so long as one carries those conditions forward within them. So contemplating current conditions is imperative for considering how to tweak the attitudes you choose to carry forward.

To me, this Travel Goal Setting for relocation goes way back in this lifetime (at least!). As my father was transferred several times to different states while I was young, I learned that in looking ahead to the next Big Move, I could use it as an opportunity to transform or tweak the life I had been living. When I was around 12, for instance, Dad told us the family would be moving around one year later from our home in Pennsylvania to New York state, near Niagara Falls.

Since at 12 I had become somewhat of an awkward, nerdy girl, I looked ahead to transforming my outer persona image in New York. I consciously changed up my wardrobe that next year, aiming to become a more “popular,” mainstream sort of teenager. When I got to my new school in New York then, I purposely sought to “get in” with what I conceived of as a more popular circle of friends. Well, it worked; however, very quickly that year I came to realize that the popular crowd I was courting really wasn’t who I am in the sense that my interests were far different from theirs. So after pretending for a short while to have a long distance boyfriend (wearing a ring from my mother’s jewelry case), pretty soon I figured out I wanted to be more authentic. I stopped sitting with this group of new friends at lunch time, even hiding in a lavatory the entire lunch period to do that. Then I joined a drama club and orchestra and started hanging out with new friends, more nerdy or artistic; people I really enjoyed being with!

The process I had undertaken to transform my life in the future from Pennsylvania to New York had succeeded, more than I could have anticipated.  I have been more mindful from that point forward of who I am (or am becoming) internally, and more appreciative of authenticity itself. I enjoyed my high school years immensely. The choices I made then were formative of the person I am today in very positive ways; no wonder then that at 64 as I have just retired, my immediate plan is to return to New York, to my family and even to be nearer to some of the deep friendships I shared there.

So, this time, I choose Happiness! 

images are from pixabay.com

I welcome YOUR Comments and Story.

Travel Preparations–the Big Move

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Travel, especially for relocation or a Big Move, can be an act of Life Transformation.  It lifts you out from whatever conditions have become routinized and familiar, offering new potentials for adventure and change. Because this is such a momentous occasion, a successful Big Move is deserving and requires major preparations. Preparations allow time for envisioning the adventure or the new life conditions you aim to manifest, so the more you prepare, the better for all your future prospects!

This past two weeks I have been preparing my house in Colorado to go on the market tomorrow as I will be relocating Back East at the end of July. “Staging” has been a major undertaking. New bathroom sinks, some new furniture for my next location, basically gutting and tilling the back yard, steam cleaning carpets, and cleaning and polishing/ renewing all interior surfaces as with a fine toothed comb, every nook and cranny.  It has been like digging myself out from the comfortable, cluttered space I have created as my haven this past twelve or so years.

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The process of returning my house to its pristine state in preparation for its own new occupants has allowed me to gradually come to better awareness of the reality that I am already now all but retired (officially June 30) and that I truly will be moving to a new location altogether. I will be two and a half hours from one dear sister and maybe six or so from another and eight from my brother and sister-in-law: much closer to family than this past nearly forty years. I return to New York state, which was foundational in my formative years; it will be nice to be able to travel as an adult to places I always wanted to explore more fully in my youth. I bring with me my dear Soul companion, Sophie (Shitzu/Yorkie) and my dear feline Soul companion, Emily.

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images are from pixabay.com

I find that preparing for such a big move benefits from lots of time in contemplation and journalling. Inner preparation is just as important or perhaps even more so than the outer activity.  Moving carries such rich potentials for creating the future you choose to manifest that it is vital to check in with your feelings, thoughts, and goals. Nowadays with the internet it is so easy as well to look ahead at the place and resources to which you will be moving or traveling. This allows your imagination to soar and scout out your destination, even before you arrive.

I welcome YOUR Comments and your own Travel or Big Move Story. If you would like to Guest Blog your story, you can simply email me at lkwatts@uccs.edu.

 

Time Out of Time

Travel…ah, a breath of fresh air! Time to breathe again, so we might say. But it is “time out of Time,” an equinox we create for ourselves between cycles. Or perhaps more simply, Time Out!

A great ‘better endings’ account of the role and opportunities of Travel in our lives is found in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. An ordinary fellow in a mundane seeming life of hard work and routine on the surface, yet the real Walter lived an imaginative life of fun and daring adventure. Eventually, the ‘secret’ life and his conscious wakeaday world combined to bring greater upliftment and fulfillment.

Who are YOU when you travel? What transformations do you undertake in leaving the familiar zone and embarking on adventure?

A few years back a good friend and I planned (for two years!) and then went on a two week trip to Ireland. The newness of the verdant environment, fresh air, dialects, and cultural richness expanded my horizons, forever. I had some meaningful dreams while there that illuminated what I take as past (or parallel) life experiences—bringing much needed insights on the life I am leading now.

In the most significant dream while in Ireland, I was walking with my Inner Guide in the lower level of some space, like a castle or boat (wood plank flooring). I realize I have been here before, and then that people died here; then that I HAD BEEN RESPONSIBLE FOR THEIR DEATHS!

I look around and a priest or pastor and a group of working class, salt of the earth Irish folks step down into the space. The priest sets up a table and puts a candle and bowl of water there, for some sort of ritual. A woman and her brother approach me, and I them.

I am so sorry for your loss! I say to the woman.

We are so sorry for what you have had to endure because of this! is her reply.

I say to my Guide, “I am a murderer!” Then I repeat three times, twice in the dream and then once aloud as I awaken:

I can’t believe my life has been about this!

When I awoke fully I called a good friend in New Mexico (3 am her time) and repeated this awareness one more time: “I am a murderer; no, really! I was responsible for people dying here.”

One significant aspect to this story of Travel and Dream is that a different dream had led me to take that Irish vacation, one in which I had been persecuted against as a young woman. So I had thought I was going to Ireland to find where that had occurred and give forgiveness, but instead I discovered I was also in need of being forgiven. What a wake up call!

So, Time Out of Time. Take that adventure; it may bring more than fresh air. It might just expose you to yourself in a way that lets you transform your awareness of the meaning and value of Life as a whole, for the better!

Expanding Horizons

Travel is a common Life Theme people identify with life mapping. Quite often, Travel themes appear as ‘spikes’ in a Life Map–punctuation points, as it were, that usher in new change potentials after the Travel events have occurred.

Travel, whether for planned vacations or for a major relocation, really can bring variety and spice to the adventure of being alive! When we venture forth to experience new environments and encounter new people or forge new relationships, we expand the horizons of our points of view in subtle and sometimes also in dramatic proportions.

Taking the much needed vacation may afford a “time out of time” effect. This is vital for shaking out your routine enough to allow new ideas to take shape for when you return Home.

images are from pixabay.com

I welcome YOUR Comments and STORY!

Friends are Family, Too

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In our modern American culture, while Family is always important, given the highly mobile nature of our society, we must often move away geographically from our nuclear family for school, jobs, or with our marital families. But our human desire to have close, permanent relationships on the order of family ties allows us also to form some—a few perhaps—very close relationships with our lifelong friends. Our families of friends are often just as important to us as our natal family.

I know in my family each of us five kids always developed close friendships that were like extensions of our immediate family.  And we have tended to maintain, at greater or lesser constancy given where life has taken us all geographically and workwise, communication with these families of friends, for life!

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My own closest family friend ties include Barbara, Rosemary, and Michael (also less frequently another Michael, hi!) from high school and early college days; Mary, Jan and less often Pattie and Orit from grad school days; Arlene, Darlene, and Althea at Zuni;  and the same Jan, a newer Jan, Kathleen, Denise, Gianmichele and Zvia in Colorado. These latter from Zuni and from Colorado are the folks it will be most difficult to say goodbye to as I prepare to take the big journey back East to be closer to my main family again after retirement.

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Family is a group of close social relations you can rely on to be constant and caring throughout your life.  Though our modern lives often make being geographically near to our family including our family of friends difficult, we are always connected spiritually.  Fortunately today’s social media technology makes it easier than ever before to check in with one another and stay updated.

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I thank my family of relatives and friends—pets, too!—one and all, for the love and companionship I have been blessed with from your friendship!