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!

Thank You! And… The Value of a Vocation

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Dear Readers:

I want to add a few words  as a sort of preface to this blog post. It is all about GRATITUDE.  I thank each and every one of you for reading Better Endings when you do, and especially I am grateful for every Comment shared.

This week I am particularly GRATEFUL to every one of you linked to this blog or from Facebook  who took the time to come to the launch of my new personal growth & development book, Your Life Path (see side panel for ordering info and to read an interview about the author; the book is now available through all major outlets). Friday and Saturday nights March 9/10 were well attended and I got to see some of my best friends and closest colleagues along with several former students! To see you all before I move to NY after retiring this summer was such a blessing; you can only imagine how wonderful it was for me to touch base with each of you.

My Thanks also to all of you who have ordered this book, Your Life Path. It is a labor of love for over 12 years and provides the best techniques I can offer to you for engaging in the Art of Life Mapping. I have seen how the approach that has emerged with the Life Path Mapping Process embedded as a self discovery toolkit with this book has helped many people already to reflect on their lives and go forward with greater clarity and passion.

AND FURTHER GRATITUDE YET: to my Super Agent, Linda Langton and to the team of publicists Paula Kalamaras and Paul Kraly of Scribes Unlimited, without whose inspiration and expertise this book would certainly not have been manifested. (Further thanks are of course in the Acknowledgements to the book.)

A word to you ALL from the Zuni language, which I have been blessed with myself through the years:

ELAHKWA ! (Thank You!)

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The Value of a Vocation

We are multi-dimensional beings. Within our core Identity we house several sub-identities, formed somewhat distinctly depending on the roles and statuses we “take on” in our lives. Jung called these sub-identities archetypal members of our personal unconscious domain of the Psyche.

Elder Leader, Lover, Warrior, Nourisher, Artist, Idealist Golden Child, Descender, Teacher, Communicator, Healer and Mystic :  these are twelve universal or “primordial” personal archetypes recognized by the archetypal psychologist Dr. Charles Bebeau, founder of the former Avalon Archetype Institute in Boulder, Colorado.  All of these are latent or active component sub-identities we may develop in relation to our relationships, our jobs, our hobbies or other activity roles and identities.

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Most of us develop a few of these archetypal personas more than the rest. Some even become over-balanced in one or another of these ‘dimensions’ of the Psyche. A strongly developed or rigidly enacted ELDER LEADER mode, for example, may lead one to downplay their more nurturing or playful ‘sides’.

Vacations (I am about to step into Spring Break mode!–may not blog again until April) are good times to step away from primary workaday roles to expand or exercise other facets of your Self. The IDEALIST, for instance, is often associated with travel, and on vacation you can give yourself more freedom to enjoy your more idealistic nature as “a breath of fresh air.”

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VOCATIONS also allow us to express a more balanced and integrated Self and Psyche. Hobbies, artistic practices and “callings” bring greater harmony of our “cast of sub-selves” into our core Identity. We benefit by expressing our full multi-dimensional capacities.

I value Julia Cameron’s invitation in THE ARTIST’S WAY for us to give ourselves an “Artist’s Day” at least once per week. Do something ‘out of the box.’ Take a new way home, go to a museum, walk by a lake or river, dream, journal, try some new food; anything to shake you out of any ruts you may be in.

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images are from pixabay.com

Forge new pathways of thought and emotion. Expand your horizons.  Let a part of you that you may usually submerge or repress “out.” Experience the FREEDOM to BE all that you are, not just your “responsible” or “dutiful” persona.

I welcome YOUR Comments and STORY!

APOTHEOSIS / Fulfillment of the Quest

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Fulfillment of one’s quest promotes “apotheosis” in Joseph Campbell’s terms pertaining to the Hero Cycle. That is our topic for September. In The Hero With 1000 Faces, Campbell presents apotheosis as an initiation stage by which duality is dissolved into unity.

The merging of opposites: masculine + feminine, positive + negative, physical + Divine; such fulfillment transcends merely apparent paradoxes.  Neutrality is achieved, being neither for nor against. Equanimity allows us to resolve differences and internal as well as external conflicts. Stasis occurs at the eye of the storm. From here one attains Higher Consciousness.

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Freedom is born; a new, heightened sense of freedom from any attachments. Now one is free to move on to new adventures, no longer trammeled by whatever tension of opposites might have brought him/her to overcome obstacles and navigate stormy seas to arrive here.

In life we are constantly asking ourselves—if we are at all reflexive about our progress, or Being—who am I? And then again, who am I, Now? This ‘I’ that we are asking after, this Higher Self, resides always in the Apotheosis state.

I think of Rumi, who must certainly have many a poem about apotheosis. Here’s a verse:

“Through your love

existence and nonexistence merge.

All opposites unite.

All that is profane

becomes sacred again.”

 – Rumi

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Have you experienced times in your life when cycles have shifted and you have felt a special calm after fulfilling some deep quest? Sometimes when I have worked on a difficult project and have completed that successfully, either alone or with others in service, I know, as Frederico Lorca expressed so poetically:

“Something has come

to an end here,

It has been

accomplished.”

I feel the ending of a cycle as an equinox in my life. It has often seemed to me in such a moment that I could willingly die then, translating my life experience into new forms in another dimension. But then, so far anyways in this life, the next project or adventure appears on the horizon, so I am off again to meet it.

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images are from pixabay.com

The attainment of Fulfillment for any one Quest brings strength and understanding we can apply evermore.

Do you have a story to share?  I invite and welcome your comments and stories.

Cross the Threshold to Your Greatest Adventure

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The greatest adventure is living life fully in the NOW (see “Alternate Futurescapes” recent post). Now then, the NOW is not necessarily but does include the Present of time-space. NOWness as well includes your own Past and Future lived and liveable experience (as arrays of possibilities) and the total range of possibility arcs in this lifetime, in parallel (e.g. ‘past or future lives’) and in the mulitiverse at large! Have I blown your mind yet? What the heck am I suggesting here? Yes, that You, as a Soul divinely gifted with a capacity for perception and vision–i.e., your creative, active imagination, not just your mental memory banks or existing synaptic networks–are free to explore, examine, and create forms from formless substances; you as Soul are indeed a Creator of and in your own worlds.

So, I encourage you to exercise your innate freedom of consciousness! You needn’t hesitate to daydream, and pay attention to your nighttime revelations as well as to those waking dreams that bring a message to you in the moment. If you were to lock your keys in your car, for example, how might that be a waking dream for you? Maybe it is telling you to pay closer attention, or not to close yourself out of a potential vehicle for moving forward. Take that job offer, for instance, when this sort of waking dream symbol occurs.

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images are from pixabay.com

Crossing the threshold to your Greatest Adventure signifies living your life to its fullest potentials, Now, and Now too, and also NOW! In this sense the nature of your life event may be less important than how you experience, frame or respond to it.

Life is transitory: its constructs of imagery, form and emotions ebb and flow as your consciousness focuses or directs your attention (or else as we react, based on former constructions; so, far better the former).

So now, take heed and celebrate every blessed moment, not only in this lifetime you are creating but in the Wholeness of Life Itself.  The mystic sages tell us, and I do believe, that in the most ultimate awareness of truth, Life of Itself is only LOVE.

Love (or, Spirit) is: “…that thread, so fine as to be invisible, yet so strong as to be unbreakable — which binds together all beings in all the worlds of God, in all universes, throughout all time, and beyond time into eternity.” (Paul Twitchell, The Shariyat-Ki-SUGMAD, Book 1).

I enjoy and welcome your Comments. I also invite you to send your own stories on these themes that I will post or reblog with a byline for you, by sending them to my email at lwatts@uccs.edu.

Making a True Departure / Shifting to Here-Now

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I recognize a distinction between the Present as a current moment in time-space and the Here-Now as a spiritual focus. The NOW experienced in contemplative spiritual practice is a liberating orientation while the notion of Present from a time-space frame of reference is artificial and can be self-limiting. It is a matter of perspective or more accurately it depends upon where you place your attention. If we accept, as I do, that time is an illusion or an artifice of context, then as we shift our focus of attention such as to look ahead with creative visualization or to re-envision a former state of being by reactivating a stored memory, we can focus our consciousness in such a manner as to alter our Present reality. From this angle, the Past is NOW, the Present is NOW, and the Future is also available NOW.

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When I was first in college in Buffalo, New York, I had a friend Ann who was an artist specializing in sculpture. Ann created this amazing piece of conceptual art which was comprised of a five foot tall vertical array of multicolored fabric cords with simply a one foot tall plexiglass tube around them. The art was interactive so it invited you to change the position of the tube up or down along the colored cords, slightly compressing the bundle of colors as you would shift the transparent tube. To me this has always been an excellent metaphor for the practice of contemplation or active imagination. We simply shift our consciousness from Here-Now to another Here-Now to OBSERVE; we focus our locus of attention as we choose. We thus can place and activate our consciousness in any dimension of Nowness at will.

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pictures are frompixabay.com

Locked within a Time orientation, the Present is a bubble from which we never seem able to escape. The freedom to Act is in the Now. To bring about a true change of life conditions as in realizing a desired future that is a true departure from present conditions requires only a subtle shifting of your attention to a Now of your imagining.

See?

I welcome your comments and viewpoint.

Departure: A Double Entendre in Current America

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This month I am sharing about the phase of the Hero’s Adventure known as the Departure. It is a response to the Call to Adventure and must be undertaken mindfully, with good intention in order to bypass Threshold Guardians and Cross the Threshold of Adventure as you embark upon your Quest that only you can fully accomplish!

But as I attend to the news in this unsettling era of American conservatism in the White House, I recognize that “departure” is a word with a double meaning. The first meaning is as described in the above paragraph. The second is darker, more foreboding. A Departure can also be a turning AWAY from everything one has valued or known to be true for themselves. Where this new administration is going–or trying rather forcefully to take us to–is an extreme departure from much of what I value dearly and hold to be true based on the evidence of science and the witness of my heart.

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Climate change; Native American sovereignty rights over reservation and cultural resources; immigration and an open heart for refugees fleeing violence, poverty or corruption; racial and religious equality and freedom of choice including a woman’s choice over her own reproductive rights: suddenly all of these appear imperiled.

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The first sort of departure, acting on the intention to embark upon an Adventure in pursuit of one’s Dream, is positive and it can bear much bounty of a profound, heroic nature for all concerned. The second, a reversal of value-orientations developed over decades or even centuries in our democratic nation, feels ‘negative’ and disheartening to me. I feel disempowered by this second-order form of departure from the course the vast majority of people in my entire country have been pursuing toward achieving our collective American Dream.

So, the first departure, you must hold to, even in times of radical change and upheaval. Never turn back from your Dream!

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As to the second, darker seeming reversal (or any such external sort of reversal of charge threatening to obtrude within your world), do what you can, of course. Step forth, speak out as that becomes available for you, march, sign petitions as an active citizen who does have rights of free expression and whose values DO MATTER!

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Perhaps the collective good will ultimately triumph over the narrow nationalism and bigotry we see paraded about before us daily. The political comedians and newscasters are doing their best to stem the tide. Activism IS bearing fruit and will continue to do so. If that is the departure you are now being called to or in addition to the positive path you are set upon, all the best to you.

But my core message here for you is to not let the Threshold Guardians–any would-be naysayers or fatalistic pessimism itself–deter you from heading out on or continuing forth with YOUR Adventure.  Joseph Campbell would remind us that every successful Hero’s Adventure, both in the pursuing and in the realization of one’s Quest, one’s Dream, profoundly benefits not just the individual but the Universe as a Whole.

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images are from pixabay.com

We need to support one another in our joyful pursuit of our Dreams, perhaps Now more than ever.

I welcome YOUR Comments and Story.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Time Out of Time

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With this month’s theme of the Call to Adventure, I offer you an invitation. Do something amazing this week or even today: take ‘time out of time’ to take or plan for an Adventure!

Julia Cameron in The Artist’s Way suggested taking yourself on an “artist’s date” at least once per week. For her that meant do something out of the ordinary that can stimulate your Inner Artist.   Take a different way home from work, go to a movie, or do anything that departs from your normal routine.

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Likewise I invite you to exercise your creative license; to play Hookie, not necessarily once per week but when you hear the Call!

When I was a senior in high school, although I was a good student and enjoyed my classes, about once every couple of weeks I skipped classes and left campus altogether! Usually on these ‘hookie’ excursions I simply hoofed it: I walked 3 miles or so to my home town. There I would loaf about, meandering and most importantly journaling, then later in the day I often visited a special mentor who had taught me fencing and since then talked with me about everything from reading and writing to music, religion and philosophy.

These outings were delightfully self-liberating ‘times out of time.’ They allowed me time to play, to creatively explore my own freedom.  During a formative time of my life this self-liberation was a launching pad for my eventual life career and creativity.

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images are from pixabay.com

So go ahead, play hookie!  Shake up the old routine in any way you can! You might find new answers, new pathways of adventure that can lead you to wondrous new frontiers!

I welcome your comments and stories.

Ladybug, Ladybug, Fly Away Home!

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In this month of the DESCENDER Archetype, I’ve just had a wonderful Descender Moment.  As I was walking out from my institutional Cave (the university building I have an office within) I was thinking about my upcoming sabbatical and retirement one year later.

I was thinking about stepping OUT from the enclosed mental space of Academia into a more open, liberated way of life. Just as I was musing about that liberation (I call my upcoming retirement “my graduation” as it begins my next Life Chapter as an Author), I looked down to the floor in the space between the inside of the building and the outer glass door. As I was opening the door, I watched as a Little Ladybug saw the opening and scurried Across the Threshold from the interior space (where she would starve if she stayed there too long) and the Light and Nourishment outside, to the air and grass.

“Ladybug, Ladybug,

Fly Away HOME!”

This childhood nursery rhyme came to me as I watched Little Ladybug soar up into the open, fresh air.

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You know the old adage: “The (darkest) Night is always just before the Dawn.” This may refer to how it is in the proverbial (and often literal!)  Night that we dream, take stock, and envision our plans for the future or for the Daytime of vital expression.

Our DESCENDER works through the Night to deliver us into a greater Tomorrow.

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free images are gratefully from pixabay.com

I welcome your Comments and Story!

What Do You Stand For?

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When does your Warrior archetype show up for you in your life?  Is this a primary archetype for you, or situational? Remembering that all persona archetype characters have potentially both positive (Strength) and “negative” (Shadow) modes–and masculine and/or feminine forms, too–could you look back over your Life Story to trace times or situations when you have relied on the Warrior to help you move forward, or perhaps also when your Warrior nature may have embroiled you or held you back?

Let’s focus of the Strengrth mode of the Warrior. This is a facet of your Self that will step forward and stand up for a worthy cause that is dear to your Heart.

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So, what do you STAND FOR with your Warrior spirit? What is worth claiming, worth defending or striving for?  I invite your Warrior nature to step forward and communicate. What do you stand for, Warrior?

I welcome the reader to go within by active imagination, and/or to journal from your Warrior’s perspective. As a sample, I feel my Warrior ready to declare some of what I stand for and have stood up for in my life.

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I STAND FOR:

We (Self & Warrior) have always stood up in this lifetime for FREEDOM: Freedom of thought, choice, and action. For a long time as an adult this has meant standing up for “diversity,” defined in terms of minorities or underrepresented peoples. We pursued this with our degree in Anthropology–specializing in Native American studies, global gender studies, and the inviolability of indigenous peoples’ rights, cultures, choices, languages. More recently, however, this CAUSE has shifted its focus. Now, we stand up to proclaim:

“ALL LIVES MATTER!”

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free images from pixabay.com

Spirit and Soul matter, along with all positive, freedom-granting, life affirming beliefs and spiritual practices.

“All lives matter,” as a new banner credo for my integrated Self, comes from a recent Mystic realization that: “All are cut from the same cloth.” This brings unconditional love.

I/we still care about diversity; variation is the palette of Divine love and reflects or may be a measure of the health and well being of the Cosmos Itself. But the divisions people devise to divide are, ultmately, illusory. Experience differentiates by community or culture, class, subculture, ethnicity, race, or religion; whatever. But underlying all that beautiful spectrum of diversity:

ALL ARE CUT FROM THE SAME CLOTH.

I oppose, then, only divisiveness or threats to the full expression of life affirming freedom.

What do You Stand For, Now?

An Attitude of Gratitude

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This month’s Life Metaphor postulate is “Life is a Bowl of Cherries!” and we are approaching this postulate from the perspective of the GOLDEN CHILD persona archetype—one of your own Archetype Allies. I find that many people in expressing their Golden Child aspect of Self in a positive way express an attitude of gratitude for all of the bounty in their ives, and they tend to see this bounty everywhere.

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Life is “a bowl of cherries” no matter what your circumstances are, when you choose to pay attention to and be thankful for that which is positive, even in the most dire conditions.  When you are thankful  every day for the abundant blessings in the smallest details of your life and world, then the GOOD we aim to manifest in our lives is already present, Here and Now!

I invite you this week to make a list every day of what you are thankful for Now/ Today/ this Moment!

I’ll start with an immediate list for myself right now:

I am grateful for having the freedom and ability to travel and visit my family and friends.

I am grateful for my dear dog companion, Sophie, and for my cats Loki and Emily who are home with my family friends in Colorado, Gm and A.

I am grateful for my family.

I am grateful to my mother for how she raised her family for each of us to stay connected yet to follow our own dreams.

I am grateful to my sister C., who has been an angel to my mother in her later years and who has established an anchor point for our family as a whole.

I am grateful for my spiritual freedom to explore and experience Reality at a deep level.

I am grateful for the Beauty in the world.

I am grateful for the VARIETY of people, beings, and environments.

I am grateful for my friends.

I am grateful for writing and for this blog vehicle and its readers.

Thanks

So look around yourself and within your Self. What are YOU grateful for NOW?

How can your attitude of gratitude bring about even further abundance?

I welcome your Comments and Stories!

 

 

Crossing a Threshold to Embark on Your Greatest Adventure

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For the month of May I will illuminate here the archetype of the ARTIST and the Life Metaphor of Life as “Crossing a Threshold to Embark on your Greatest Adventure.” Crossing a Threshold refers to taking a step in a bold new direction that leads to the fulfillment of Living Your Dream, Now!

Most people live most of their lives either going forward into the future based on  experiences and effects from their past, or they live from day to day in the protective bubble of present events that stretch from the familiar past into a similar future.  This does not necessarily embody living with awareness in the NOW.

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Nowness is often mistaken for yet remains independent of timespace; it is where your consciousness is rooted, Moment by Moment. It is a state of balance or stasis you maintain that embues the liberation to choose freely what your experience—in or out of timespace–shall Be.

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In order to step across the threshold of experience rather than being condemned to repeat or perpetuate sameness–like the mythical Sisyphus going up and back down his mountain interminally–you must know who you Are (Soul, not embodiment) and where you desire and intend to go based on your mission, purpose and goals, or your Life Dream. So, it helps to contemplate where you are at this time in your life in relation to that which you desire to manifest that may or may not extend from your present life conditions.

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To genuinely cross the threshold to fulfill your life mission and dream, you need to detach yourself from your present, like a marionette cutting her strings to find s/he was a human all along!

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Can you think of a time when you accomplished a ‘quantum leap’ to a whole new quality or level of life experience than before? How did you do this?

We will explore this question this week and I invite and welcome your insights and your stories.

Friends, For Ever!

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In Pennsylvania, between 2nd grade and 7th, my very best friend was Karin Moody. We learned and played violin together, played outside as being horses, cowboys & Indians, WWII Germans & Americans, Barbie & Ken. We would use ‘golden books’ as walls to build a mansion for our Ken and Barbie dolls on top of and beneath our family’s ping-pong table, then we would play-fantasy in that space for weeks. I was Ken: a secret agent like Napoleon Solo, a millionaire horse rancher, world adventurer, astronaut, teacher, or soldier. Barbie and Ken were best buds. We had plastic horses to ride, and ceramic dogs and cats that turned out to look just like several pet friends I have had in my life later on.

Living in Pennsylvania, we didn’t only have to imagine. There were horse farms all around that we would ride our bikes to. Two ranchers let us kids from the neighborhood clean out stalls, pitch hay, and brush & water the horses. In return we could ride–often bareback–especially the young colts that needed us ‘wee’ riders to break them in for riding.

And there were WOODS–amazing woods, deep woods, with huge boulders, trails and creeks winding through them. In summers we kids nearly lived in those woods. We would pack bag lunches and hike off to our favorite boulders by the creek, clambering on top to have our picnic, then play. We played Star Trek and all sorts of adventure roles. We knew the trees, the plants, how and where to ford the raging creek. We discovered our freedom there, and created a space for childhood solace. Pennsylvania–Penn’s Woods–was a great place to be a kid.

Karin moved to Florida while we were in 6th grade. After 7th grade, I moved with my family to near Niagara Falls. I saved babysitting money all year in 8th grade so I could visit Karin in Ft. Lauderdale, the summer that Neil Armstrong walked on the Moon! Karin visited me once in Niagara Falls, too, but after that, we lost contact and drifted into late teen years and after.

I remember Karin–and her wonderfully supportive, also adventuresome mother, Doris–AS my Childhood. Our friendship was a time for play, a space for dreaming, with limitless hope and imagining. We experienced and envisioned so much together: took trains to downtown movies or to go to the Philadelphia Philharmonic together, just us. We learned to be responsible travelers that way, and stoked our love of freedom and adventure that has never left me, ever since.

No matter what else might have been happening around us while we were ‘growing up’, Karin and I had each other to rely on. I’ll never forget being in my family’s kitchen on the phone with Karin when she had to tell me her father had committed suicide that day; he turned on the exhaust in the garage. He had lost his job and couldn’t bear to tell his wife, Karin’s mom. But we endured. Then a neighbor woman, next door to my family, also committed suicide, with a rifle her son had taught her how to use. Obviously, the adult world was fraught with tensions and hardship. But, at that time, as long as we had our friendship–and, for me, my sisters and brother; Karin herself was an only child–life would go on with relative surety into a future when we would eventually need to become adults, ourselves. But we would hold onto our childhood awareness, creativity, appreciation of Nature and animals and friendship itself, always.

Even now at 59, when I come home from work to contemplate or to walk my dog and be with my cats, and write, I am “Little Linda” still; Karin’s–and since then, also some other buddies’–Friend.

Better Choices—A Lucid Dream (by Linda K. Watts)

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I am sometimes blessed to be a lucid dreamer. About a year ago, I “received” a dream that unfolded as a full story, in three separate acts! It was an unusual dream. It does not seem to have much to do with my own personal life or psychology, although it could pertain to an archetypal aspect of myself that I am not always aware of. Since the dream unfolded in three distinct act sequences, that is how I’ll tell it. Maybe this dream was meant for this blog or for some readers of this post, though at the time of the dream I had not yet even developed the idea of hosting this Better Endings blog.

ACT I

I see a business man walking along a sidewalk in a city environment. He is apparently quite successful. He is wearing an expensive looking grey suit and tie, he is obviously well fed, and he is a bit overweight. He has achieved a degree of comfortable repute with his business. Let’s call him Howard. Another man approaches him, stops him on the street and introduces himself. (Let’s call him, Jack.) As the Dreamer I know that Jack is a Mob Boss. Jack has heard of Howard’s success and he feels threatened by it, so he has approached Howard to offer him a deal.

“Join my team,” Jack invites Howard. “You will share in my success. We stay at the finest hotels and have all of the good things of life. You will merge your business with mine and be on my team.”

Thinking that joining Jack’s team could lead to “the good life” with little effort on his own part, Howard complies. He becomes a constant member of Jack’s entourage (read, mob gang). They travel together 24/7. But after a few months have gone by, Howard approaches Jack at a hotel they are staying at, in Chicago.

“Would it be okay with you if I sometimes do things just on my own, Jack? Like eating alone or sometimes spending a few days away from the team?”

Jack looks Howard up and down, sizing him up before he answers point-blank, “No, Howard. That would not be okay.”

Now Howard realizes he is, in a very real sense, Jack’s prisoner. He has been under Jack’s control, not an equal business team member with him.

The dream next shows Howard in a hotel bathroom. He looks out a small window onto a snowy rooftop in Chicago. He longs for his freedom. So, he climbs up onto the toilet, opens the window, squeezes himself through to the rooftop, and runs! He leaps from the rooftop into a snow drift below. Then he runs in leaps and bounds away from the hotel and Jack’s control, free!

ACT II/ Part A

Free from the Mob Boss Jack’s control, Howard gets a shrewd business idea. He figures he can do business with Jack’s own clients and offer them to pay a little less to him for the same services; so he will benefit at Jack’s unknowing expense. He walks into a shop which has a front business area and a back office and he offers his deal to one of Jack’s customers. The store owner pretends to appreciate the offer and says he needs to check something first in the back office.  As the Dreamer I understand immediately what is really going on. The store owner has called Jack and reported Howard’s offer! He has agreed to keep Howard occupied until Jack and his gang will arrive. Though the dream doesn’t show the final conclusion of this ‘act’, as the Dreamer it is clear that Howard will turn to leave the shop just as Jack and his gang close in on him, guns drawn. He will be toast!

ACT II/ Part B

Here’s where it becomes very interesting as a dream! I am now shown an ALTERNATE dream scenario, a different way that Howard could experience his Freedom. This act picks up again from the same scene of Howard having jumped from the hotel roof, skipping away happily to enjoy his escape from Jack’s control. This time, however, he does not revert to his old business ways. We see Howard exploring his newfound freedom, staying in the cover of night to avoid being recaptured. He comes to a remote, natural enclave area, like a small, recessed canyon with Red Rock cliff walls.  Howard looks UP. He sees, looking back down at him from their comfortable perch near the top of the cliffs overhead, two otherworldly Beings, one of them holding a flute. They are Guardian Spirits of some nondescript sort. They have been watching Howard.

“Can I climb out this way?” Howard asks the two gentle Beings who use no words but smile openly when he sees them and asks them this question. One of the two beckons a way that Howard can climb up the cliff. He does so. Howard climbs up and then crosses over the lip of the red canyon cliff wall.

ACT III

Still in this extended, lucid story-dream, I am shown that Howard has been experiencing a wholly new and different life situation since his choice to climb out of his old life to Freedom. Now Howard lives in a small, rural sort of community. He lives an average life, one of service to his village. Everybody knows him, and he them. He does good deeds whenever he can, always being willing to lend a helping hand to a neighbor or to give from his own meager resources to anyone in need. He has lost weight and he wears common work clothes, not a business suit.

As I wake from the dream, I am given a title for it: “The True Meaning of Spiritual Freedom”. As I open my eyes I have the distinct awareness that if Jack were ever to be face to face with Howard now, he would not even recognize him at all!

So, that’s the dream. I share it with you now as a story for this week’s topic of Better Choices. I will let the story’s message speak for Itself to you, as it may hold different meanings for different readers.

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