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!

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!

Name Your Elixir!

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After the initiatory achievement of Apotheosis (see September posts), the adventuresome Hero (you, for instance!) may partake of the Elixir of personal empowerment. Such Elixirs may come in many forms: Manna from Heaven— as my sister, the Rev. Lee Ireland’s guest blog discusses in last Sunday’s post; or Logos/the Word; Spirit essence; spirit waters; Ambrosia of the Gods; or more simply, an empowering sense of enlightenment or awareness that empowers personal Life Mission to serve Life!

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I guess my elixir is, ideally, humility. To me, humility is the awareness that the “best that I have done” has been of divine inspiration and service. I like the phrase: “Love is all, and do as thou wilt.” (From Stranger By the River, by Paul Twitchell)  Love and humility are the best cocktail I could drink! They fuel an ardent passion to serve Life.

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An elixir may be as pure and simple as an attitude, like humility, that comes with your  success in some endeavor or service that benefits the Whole. Some elixirs we might contemplate this month are:

Gratitude

Compassion

Empathy

Unconditional Love

Joy

Harmony

Balance

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images are from pixabay.com

I welcome this month any suggestions of elixirs which you seek or from which you have benefitted.

So, name YOUR Elixir!

Threshold Guardians

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After Heeding the Call and setting forth with your well-considered Departure, you are set to approach the first Threshold so you can Cross the Threshold into the full engagement with your Adventure to achieve your Quest. But wait! It is not quite so easy as that.  Approaching the Threshold of a deeply  significant transition or a personally meaningful adventure invokes Threshold Guardians!  Only if you can pass by these daunting agencies or meet challenges designed to strengthen your weaknesses will you in fact step across that Threshold better equipped to meet your challenges successfully and realize your dreams.

Threshold Guardians are common archetypal character forms found in many a mythic tale.  The Never-Ending Story represents them as monolithic, winged Gargoyle figures guarding the entryway to  Bastian‘s destination. He must pass their enigmatic questioning in order to rescue his Princess and prevent the Nothing from spreading to annihilate all of his mythical world.  Scylla and Charybdis are rocky shoals that block Odysseus’s path to complete his Quest and return to home to Ithaka in Homer’s Ulysses. Dorothy faces winged monkeys sent by the Wicked Witch to deter her progress.  So then, what are some of your own Threshold Guardians and how have they served you or how can they aid you in completing your own mythic Quest?

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Boundary Gremlins

In Your Life Path (see sidebar), I will share a story about a significant dream from a few years ago in which I visited a ‘high altitude’  region inhabited by beautiful winged horses which I felt served God-realized Masters in the far reaches of the Heavens. As I approached the boundary of their realm, excited to witness this, suddenly Gremlins appeared! Honestly I had never even known what gremlins might look like until after I woke from this dream, but there they were: little, broad faced imps with huge ears. They popped up along the boundary to prevent me from stepping into this rarifed realm of the Horses of Heaven.

Recognizing that these Gremlins were doing their own valuable work in this realm I had stumbled upon in my dreaming, I stepped back and knelt down at a respectful distance from the boundary. I felt grateful to have witnessed this realm at all and content to just be there for a moment. The Gremlins were not apparent then but I knew they would pop up again if I were to try to advance.

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images are from pixabay.com

Behind me in this heightened inner realm, two winged Pegasus horses arrived, returning from their heavenly missives. One, white-pink-bluish, knelt gracefully onto her front legs beside me. I knew this was her invitation, and so I climbed up onto her bare back and held lightly onto a shock of her white mane as she stepped across the Threshold of the boundary into her domain.

I woke immediately, humbled and deeply impressed by this encounter with the Horses of Heaven! I realized the Gremlins were Threshold Guardians.  I needed great purity of heart, deep humility in order to venture into this sacred realm.

What or Who Are Your Threshold Guardians?

Your Threshold Guardians will be appropriate to the Quest and to the Threshold you aim to cross so you can achieve your own heroic purpose. I invite you to share YOUR story of Threshold Guardians. What qualities do they help you better master in order to advance to realize your Purpose?

Gratitude for the Blessings of Spirit—Life Lessons, Part Two

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Last Friday when I posted the blog on “Life Lessons,” I actually had a great experience that reinforced another Life Lesson, too.  It has a Christmas theme about it, so I share it today as a positive Holiday message.

I was feeling a bit down that Friday morning. Mainly I was feeling very alone. En route to my regular weekly writing session at a cafe in Castle Rock, Colorado, I stopped along the way at a Village Inn restaurant for a breakfast I could eat  with my low carb diet.

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Writing can make me feel lonely some times.  It is a paradox that an activity someone uses to communicate with a wide range of people is accomplished by practical necessity in relative isolation.  Even when you work with a writing partner or share a writing session with a friend working on their own project as I occasionally do, the self-discipline of writing requires the sort of mental focus and concentration that to some extent excludes the world around you.  That’s why I choose to write in a public space when I can; at least there are others in the background environment while I immerse in the ideational process.

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So, that Friday morning en route to a solo writing session, I had a fine breakfast and prepared to move on up the road. I asked the waitress for the bill. She smiled and said mysteriously:

“You can forget about it. Someone has already taken care of it.”

I was dumbfounded.  What did she mean?

“Somebody paid for your meal. He didn’t want me to say who he was.”

Oh, my! I asked if I could at least leave a tip but she waved it off, saying he had covered that quite well too.

“Did he have a white beard, with a jolly big belly and a red and white suit?” I joked.

“He did have a beard,” the waitress replied.

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images are gratefully from pixabay.com

I left the restaurant feeling thankful for this unexpected gift. It was more than a free meal in mid-December.  It was a reminder from Spirit, I do believe, that I am/we are never truly alone.

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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!

A Victory Cry

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Last time I invited you to compose a Fight Call as a positive affirmation from your internal Warrior  Ally. The other side of the Fight Call or War Song is the VICTORY CRY. And because my own Fight Call (“Remember to Surrender / Always Give UP!”) seems to have worked fortunately for me this past week, I am ready to declare a Victory Cry:

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Yes, Gratitude is my Victory Cry; after long patience and persistence, finally my book project (proposal) will begin to be circulated this coming week. I am deeply grateful to my agent for this, and to Spirit for bringing this about. It is a significant step in a long process of unfolding, so I am grateful for the unfolding of PROCESS for its own sake.

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What is YOUR Victory Cry? You may print this out and write in the space below:

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Here are some more examples:

Ah-iyaiya-iyaiYA! (Tarzan’s call)

We did it! Yay!

Onward!

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images from pixabay.com

A Lesson from the Shadow Idealist

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The Shadow of the Idealist archetype inverts positive Idealist traits.  One so affected might feel at odds with dominant worldly values and priorities, focusing on selfish or predatory ambitions. Two days ago I was beset by a group of Shadow Idealist types who aimed to scam me out of my financial stability by stealing everything I have in my bank account and more. I’m the sort who banks (pun) on positive Idealist values. I want to trust and am surprised whenever trust turns out to be misguided.  Without describing the scam let me admit they almost succeeded. Were it not for the intervention from a vigilant Moneygram authority and my own fortunate choice not to lie or be deceptive to that authority, I would have been robbed of all of my account holdings plus funds from credit.

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I feel entirely humbled by this experience.  I would have thought I would never give out my account information online. I would have expected I would have declined the fraudulent offer to “reimburse” me for a service from two years ago that was really a prelude to deceive and betray my trust.

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I am grateful for the intercession of the Moneygram authority. When later I called to cancel a Western Union account these low life perpetrators set up to further defraud me, the woman who  helped me had a wonderful last name of ANGEL.

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If these Shadow-stricken thieves would turn their intelligence to doing good or altruism rather than invasive attacks on decency, the world might be a better place.  Meanwhile I can only express gratitude for the test and the lessons learned.  I am so glad that when it came to it, I would not lie. But I am dismayed that my human desire for material gain (the “reimbursal”) led me down a path that could have interfered wth my capactity to meet my immediate financial obligations.

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images from pixabay.com

Humility takes on a new meaning for me from this experience. It comes from realizing how Spirit intervenes despite my own weakness or naiveté. It teaches that living by one’s higher ideals (honesty, faith, and humility itself) can trump deception, any day.

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!

 

 

Elder Leader as Pathfinder: Change It Up!

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On Sunday I blogged about Chefs as Elder Leaders bringing about a new fusion of cultural traditions in our globalizing world. Reflecting further on this theme, “change it up!” comes into focus as a statement about personal growth.

The Elder Leader archetype is a harbinger and often an agent of change. When you become too settled into established routines or habits, beliefs and attitudes, you can always call upon your archetypal Leader persona to set you forth in a new direction. This is because Leaders are Pathfinders. They are not content to stay in a situation that feels stuck or stultifying for very long. When you do resist change or feel hampered by limiting conditions, your Leader might “submerge” and cause a feeling of dissatisfaction—that is a Shadow leader trait—or else it will seek a new direction and set your course in the direction of exploration or, at least, envisioning a future set of possibilities.

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I have been feeling somewhat impatient or hedged in about my own creative development lately. I have been getting plenty of things “done” to fulfill my responsibilities, yet now that some of these projects are completed I see a break in the “busy-ness” cloud and I have become more aware of what I wish would be happening beyond my day-to-day routines and workload. So it is a good time to enter into Archetype Dialogue:

Ringleader Whip Circle Retro

LW: Calling Elder Leader; come in, please!

EL: Very funny. Watts’ up, Doc?

LW: Very funny in return!

EL: Droll perhaps, but hardly funny really. What can I do for you?

LW: I feel stymied.

EL: What is it you are wishing for?

LW: Are you my Genie in a Bottle, then?

EL: That is an apt metaphor, at least.

LW: Well in the biggest picture of things, I want to go Home!

EL: What do you mean?

LW: To find my place, my REAL place or space … you know?  Where I belong, where what I do can be effective and reach those hearts I strive to connect with in a dynamic, helpful way…my Family (both literally and metaphorically). Where I can serve my kindred well and be progressive with my own Soul Journey.

EL: You wish to leave this earthly plane?

LW: No, of course not; you know that is not what I am saying.

EL: You want the world to change around you, to better suit your ambitions?

LW: Yes I suppose, I do want the routines to dissolve so that NEWness can enter. New conditions, new activity, finally proceeding to Live my Dream fully, here and now.

EL: What are you going to do about that?

LW: I thought you are the Leader, the Pathfinder for change.

EL: I am; You are!

LW: You seem rather placid lately; you lead me to act toward my goals but seem content with that activity (writing, resubmitting earlier today).

EL: Are we doing all that we can do, Now?

LW: On the level of basic activity and productivity, yes. But I sense there is more I COULD be doing that could facilitate the greater change. What is that?

EL: Perhaps you are referring to the Law of Attitudes or Assumptions.

LW: Change my beliefs or postulates?

EL: Be open to all that which Spirit offers; do not hold back. Sometimes ANY small change is a step in the right direction, like rejoining the Y as you have done recently.

LW: Yes! Physical activity or “returning to fencing” has always been a way for me to shake off the cobwebs to make greater progress.

EL: Then do two things better: Contemplate better. Trust more.

LW: Thank You.

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I invite you to open a dialogue with your own Elder Leader, whomever and however you might perceive that to be!

Faith as a First Principle of Better Endings

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What do all spiritual practices have in common as pathways to Better Endings? I would say that is Faith. Not just blind faith; not necessarily faith in anyone or anything beyond your own capacity to connect with or that you are not a part of…

I AM

THAT

   I Am…

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but the Faith of the acorn, that is content to grow into the mighty Oak it already IS within its seed potential:

 

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A mentor while I was in college, the philosopher Antoinette Paterson who wrote THE INFINITE WORLDS OF GIORDANO BRUNO, told me how one day in the park with her son, she picked up an acorn and put it in his hand. “There,” she said to her son, “IS God!”

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Faith allows us to take our next step with confidence that all will be well, no matter what it is the next step brings to us overtly. We must simply step forward, as into a void at times. There are no mistakes, just further unfoldment. Especially if we are in alignment with the Allness, the interconnectedness of all life conditions, Spirit as Divine Love or as a unifying Life Force, however we understand this.

Faith anticipates a Best Ending or development, even sometimes beyond our own mental or emotional desires or intentions. Faith requires, as a corollary, Surrender to that which is for  “the better, highest interests of all concerned”. When we are in alignment with that, as “Thy will be done”, then faith can guide us to incredible insights and to creative directions and Wellness. Faith is well paired with Gratitude, for “all Good things received”.

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Better Endings to All!

 

 

Tuning In and Giving Forth: Benefits of Your Spiritual Practice

 

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There are so many beautiful pathways of Spirit, available to all states of consciousness.  I like to realize how we are each of us exactly where we are meant to be, right now, to benefit from all of the lessons and blessings of Divine Love and Spirit. All we have to remember to do, and to have a method for doing, is to Tune In, so then we fill with Divine Love as the Life Force of creation, and then we may also Give Forth in service and divine love to others. It is a reciprocal relationship, the giving and the receiving as One, like a heartbeat, a Breath.

My purpose with this blog is to provide “personal growth and development” opportunities and insights about or toward anyone’s Better Endings. As such, I want to support and validate everyone’s approach to spirituality this week, as a primary focus for establishing growth and development in our lives.  (For those whose understanding of life and the Universe is more secular, agnostic or even “non-spiritual”, facilitating an existential ‘Aha!’ or a phenomenological focus on creative re-envisioning will do!)

For Tuesday’s Prompts List, I invite you to contemplate, meditate or pray upon, talk about, or create art around one or more of the following topics in relation to the BENEFITS you receive from Tuning In and from your interaction with Spirit/ the Life Force/ Divine Love. I invite and welcome your expressions if you would like to share them with others:

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The Prompts:

In what ways do you or have you or might you Benefit from the following forms of spiritual practice:

  • Inner Guidance (incl. via Spiritual Teachers, Masters, Guides)
  • Outer Guidance (e.g. waking dreams or attending spiritual talks or reading)
  • Lucid Dreams & Visionary experience
  • Meditation
  • Yoga
  • Mindfulness
  • True Contemplation/ active imagination
  • Writing
  • Chanting/ Mantras
  • Prayer
  • Song, Art, Poetic Expression, Photography, Movement, Dance, Music
  • archetypal dialogue
  • Signs/ synchronicity
  • Healing/ “alchemy”
  • Illumination
  • Prescience
  • Exploration of Higher Realities/ Parallel Worlds/ Heavens
  • Near-Death or Out of Body Experiences
  • Faith
  • Divine Love
  • Congregational sharing/ Family
  • Relationship with and in Nature
  • Communion/ Unity with Spirit and the Divine
  • Surrender
  • Vision Quest
  • OTHER…

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As a Tuesday bonus for readers, I share below a poem that moved me (re-blogged from iithinks.wordpress.com) and that reminds me of Rumi’s intimate communication with his own spiritual Master and with God. Here is a pure expression of gratitude for all that Spirit brings.

MY LIFE: TEARS OF GRATITUDE

(http://iithinks.wordpress.com/)

tears
Each tear trickling down my face
Splashes on the ground
and explodes in gratitude towards you
Darkness consumed my world
Broken and shattered by fear
No matter if I looked within myself or without
I cried that night for death
An escape that seemed so sweet
From the prison holding me captive by my fright
Instead, in your all encompassing mercy
Your love descended and you grasped my hand
And led me gently to the key unlocking truth, beauty and light
You brought me the latihan of Subud
But I was unsure of what to do and how to be
Then the angels sang a song of truth that captivated me:
“In facing He who has All
There is nothing that Man can do
Except empty himself in patient surrender”
On that day, my virginity was cast aside
I was impregnated with your divine power
And for the first time in my existence, my Inner Self came to life
Everything I thought I knew
Was burned to the ground, turned ashes and dust
What else could happen in an experience of your reality?
But it was also an illuminating light
Bringing clarity, understanding and the knowledge of Unity
Here I saw beyond right and wrong and all other forms of duality
I began to accept all that was born of your sacred divinity
Any who climbed the multiplicity of your paths using aught but sincerity
And I began to understand my own way of worship: Its rights and wrongs
Most of all, in my darkness
I was showered with your breathtaking and indescribable Love
It descended from the heavens above and poured forth from the heavens within
Although the darkness still lives with me, it is not of me
Now I am those moments of Peace, moments of Love, moments of Reality
In the end, I have been given that which sustains and nourishes me: hope in your divine mercy
What, oh Sacred Love, have I done for all this?
I know no explanation can be demanded of your overflowing Grace
My forehead kisses the ground in prayer and I simply ask that you always stay
Each tear trickling down my face
Splashes on the ground
and explodes in gratitude towards You
http://iithinks.wordpress.com/2014/02/10/my-life-tears-of-gratitude/

A First Principle of Better Endings: Gratitude

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The greatest tool we can use for manifesting Better Endings day to day and moment by moment is an attribute of Gratitude. So often, the hairsbreadth difference between a “success” and a “failure”–or, for that matter, between a ‘good’ day or not–is simply the thankfulness we feel about whatever our circumstances might be. Are we home with a cold? How wonderful that the body has given us time away from workaday routines to reflect and repair. Have you lost a job? Okay, granted, with this sort of cloud bank it is harder to find a silver lining. Still, there will be valuable life lessons that will inevitably follow from such a potentially major turning point in life.

Usually once the tension eases around a difficult ordeal, we can look back and be grateful for certain aspects in retrospect. But this is watching our lives unfold in the rear view mirror. Gratitude in the Present Moment is more empowering, right Now, than appreciating what life has brought us in hindsight.

To establish gratitude as a character attribute, an engrained attitude and not just a passing feeling, can be empowering because our attitudes govern our interpretation of facts. In my Life Mapping case studies I have found that two different people can experience the same sort of accident or illness under similar circumstances; yet, one will regard the event as an opportunity to bounce back even stronger than before, while the other might crumble into a prolonged remorse.

Please, there are no judgments here! I am not saying one person is right and the other not for responding to challenges with either gratitude or remorse. Each person’s lessons–and timing–are their own gifts, or burdens. Sometimes we must simply  descend into the depths of an experience before we can resurface and go forward in life. Even in Descent there may be vitality so that perhaps eventually we may come to value and be grateful for even our sadness and remorse.


Booktopia image (by Jung) from Carl Jung’s The Red Book

Carl G. Jung, James Hillman, and Joseph Campbell–three authors who have written from the perspective of Archetypal Psychology–have shown that often Descent is necessary. It can be embraced as a potent, deeply meaningful experience. We can be grateful for the darkness as well as the light. For both can help us to eventually unfold, to Better Endings.

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I am adding with this entry a regular Saturday spot: First Principles for manifesting Better Endings. Please feel free to Comment and share what you find helps most to manifest better endings in your life! Also please send your story on Fictional Better Endings, or answer What Are Better Endings to You? for a Guest Blog spot. I look forward to reading and sharing your insights!