Why Are You Here?

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June is my birth month, this year I’ll be 65. I find myself living my dream, now, as I have discovered, purchased, and moved into my dream retirement home in a beautiful natural setting, with a dynamic community, and with excellent regional resources and opportunities. I must admit, this scares me! Will it all come crashing down, too good to be  true? This trepidation reveals to me a self-limiting postulate that I need to confront and resolve in order to go forward with this fresh set of life conditions. My monthly question becomes:

Why Am I Here?

I have always recognized the double entendre of this age-old question, ‘Why are you here?’ Why here, at this physical place and time; or also why Here, in a spiritual sense. These two are connected from the perspective of Purpose. What am I here to do, be, and see? This also relates for me to a search for greater clarity regarding an even deeper concern:

How Can I Serve?

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Wednesday night last week I happened upon a sci-fi movie on TV that I had not heard of before, called “Passengers.” It was about two people on an interstellar spaceship traveling some 88 years to reach a habitable planet. Some 5000 passengers had been cryogenetically suspended for the duration of the voyage, but a malfunction caused one man, Jim, to resuscitate early, and after over a year alone, he revived a woman, Aurora, whom he had developed a fondness toward from watching her autobiographical video records. This was an atrocious act of selfishness as it meant Aurora, too, would die in transit before the ship could arrive at its destination.

(Spoiler alert): After an initial phase of believing Jim’s story that she had awakened accidentally, Aurora becomes enraged after a robotic bartender informs her of Jim’s actions to assuage his own loneliness. But my interest in this story piqued when the ship developed further malfunctions that required Aurora and Jim to work together to repair the vessel if the ship were to reach its destination at all, and for all its passengers to survive as well as themselves. It became a matter of Purpose then; I could surmise from a spiritual perspective that there had been no accidents at all in the revival of this man and this woman, with their particular skillsets and their survivalist personality dispositions. They were needed to save the ship and its passengers, a purpose of collective, not just personal, good. Their lives then took on a heightened significance; they had a purpose, a reason to be who/ what/ where and when they were in their own sojourns of discovery and service.

Already I have had a waking dream about this question, from a conversation with my sister who is a pastor in New England soon to be retiring after more than 40 years of serving as interim pastor in many churches. We arrived at the awareness:

Love Is All There Is.

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images are from pixabay.com

For all of our human questioning as members of an often overly self-conscious species (my dog Sophie and cat Emily do not have this problem!), I do feel that at the foundation of everything–of all sentient experience–is Love: unconditional, untaintable. I sense if I can connect these principles of service and love I can accept that I, like everyone, am indeed here for a greater purpose than personal satisfaction or material success. Therefore I have a right to be Here-Now and am willing to step forward to fulfill whatever service opportunities I can. Already here and now, I am writing!

I welcome YOUR Story and Comments!

Carrying Deni

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Week Two of this year’s monthly process at Better Endings invites you to reflect on nightly dreams with regard to a question you have posed in Week One (or any time).

This month for me my significant dream has preceded the statement of my question, and has influenced it. My question is about Starting Over (see last post) after having retired and relocated far from my familiar life of the past 25 years. Not having a lifelong spouse or children due to choices made along the way, this major shift of location and new social community can seem overwhelming some times, though my dear dog and cat companions and being closer geographically to my family members and returning to be reacquainted with some very old friends are welcome blessings.

Recently I have been rudely awakened to the distance I have created from my Colorado friends as a very dear friend there (as well as another dear friend further away) has become afflicted with a debilitating illness and I feel sad and helpless not to be able to be there to lend a hand and provide direct support. Thus, “starting over, again” has a sad element of separation and anguish regarding loss of the mobility to be with especially my friend Denise in Colorado.

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So, the dream. In this dream another Colorado friend and I are going to pick up Denise–who is the one suffering now–to bring her with us to visit a third friend who is in the hospital (in the dream). I go to “pick up” my friend Denise quite literally, for her body is shrunken and she is unable to move about on her own. I pick her up in both arms rather awkwardly and ineptly and she says, “Hold me like a log.” When I awoke (just after that) I realized that holding someone like a log could mean with both arms outstretched and holding the body up toward my chest. Or, it could mean I am to see my friend’s or anyone’s body itself as just “like a log,” dead weight so to speak, as versus the dynamic, beautiful and vibrant, free spirit/ Soul my friend is and will always Be.

When I awoke and reflected on this brief dream I still felt sad for my friend’s condition, but I also felt encouraged. Time and geographical distance shift and forms of life and relations bend and change, but Soul to Soul connections, camaraderie, unconditional love do not fade and can persist despite outward facts and conditions. I love my friends; friendship has always been the bedrock of my life despite a lifelong theme of Relocation to pursue, first my family’s and later my own primary quests: educational, career-based, and spiritual.

So how this dream helps me answer my probe about how to best approach starting over (yet again) is to suggest that a life based in love, friendship and service is never truly solitary; and that friendship is eternal, spiritually if not always in the outer form.

That is all I can say, for now.

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I welcome YOUR Story and Comments about your own monthly–or lifelong–Quest.

The Room of Requirement

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Last Sunday around 1:30 AM I discovered a “room of requirement,” right here in my new home! Immediately I recognized this was a waking dream confirming my emerging insight this month, that Love Matters (answering my monthly question: “How Can/ Does Love Really Matter After All?”).

I was in bed with my two pets Sophie (a Shorkie dog) and Emily (my orange tabby cat), looking forward to a restful sleep after being up late the night before.  Sophie started barking; I listened and heard a ‘drip, drip, drip, coming from the living room. It was raining outside, and when I got up to check it out I found my sliding porch door had sprung a leak, endangering the new wood flooring!

My first effort to plug the hole was to use a roll of “magic tape” I found in a kitchen drawer. This prevented the drip temporarily, but I knew it would not hold up through the night.  I live about 30 minutes from the nearest store that would be open 24 hours and have sealing materials and I did not wish to go out.

I went into the guest bathroom to use the toilet while asking inwardly, what could I do? For the first time ever, suddenly I noticed a door behind the bathroom door that I had never seen or been told about. It was a linen closet. Inside were not only extra towels but also a large red emergency kit. In the kit was an unopened package containing a roll of “absolute waterproof tape”!

I recognized this immediately as a gift of love from Spirit/ the Universe (call It what you wish!) in my time of need. This reminded me of the Room of Requirement from the Harry Potter saga.

The Absolute Waterproof tape worked to seal off my interior leak through the night. In the morning then I went to a store and came back to seal the sliding door both outside and inside. Mission accomplished.

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images are from pixabay.com

So What’s Love Got to Do With It/ How Can Love Matter? I believe “Soul Exists Because God (/the Universe…) Loves IT.”  In times of need, when you ask, even with the smallest of need as also with the greatest, It CAN embrace you and bring real solutions or balm for your anguish.  Sometimes, as I have found, we just need to be open to ACCEPT the love that Spirit brings in the Moment.

As my Better Endings story for this month of April 2019 then, I simply acknowledge:

Love Matters!

Because of this, I am okay, no matter what, wherever I am and whatever circumstances or conditions I encounter. Gratitude for all good things received and trust in the goodness of Spirit can lift our hearts to soar with the angels and is ever with us in times of need.

I welcome YOUR Story and Comments!

Stephen Hawking from the Other Side (or, What’s Love Got to Do With It?)

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This year we are exploring and pursuing our dreams here at Better Endings. Each month I invite you to put forth a deep personal question that relates to your high spiritual quest, let’s say, for it pertains to your greatest sense of mission or life purpose, in this life or beyond.

After posing your question (week 1) I encourage you to pay attention to and record your nightly dreams (week 2), then to contemplate your waking dreams and emerging insights about your question (week 3), so by the end of the month (week 4) you can compose/ write a Better Endings story or scenario about how best to incorporate what you have learned into your future Life Path.

I am excited this week from a dream I had yesterday morning (4/9) and to reflect on how it pertains to my own monthly personal question (but, please use your own): What’s Love Got to Do With It? (or, Does/ How Can Love Matter?)

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In my dream I am at a campus of—truly—Higher Learning (n.b., always use present tense in recalling your dream). First I am visiting a sports field where teams dressed in white and azure blue are playing a game akin to soccer except they use thought impulses to propel or to counter the ‘ball’ along the field a to goal area. A middle-aged appearing man approaches the field to observe the game with us from the right. I think to myself, ‘Is that Stephen Hawking?’—from his shock of hair though it is reddish here, and from his lithe step…until I realize this man is not in a wheelchair, which throws me at first.

Then I wheel/ drive a wheeled chair vehicle to carry a friend (woman, semitic appearing) to a special meal event. (This part was so important in my dreaming that it had an instant replay so I would be sure to recall it on waking.) The guest of honor at this honorary meal was indeed Stephen Hawking! This time he appeared more like I would envision him though he was seated upright and without any wheelchair or speech problems.

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The people who had organized and were hosting this special event are two of the greatest spiritual leaders I have been fortunate to know: Luisa and Gordon (last names not used here for their privacy), who are superb leaders with a spiritual group I have been associated with in Colorado. Several other guests at the table include a couple of other folks from that group and some special, once famous bright thinkers who have ‘passed on.’

Hawking shares a new insight he has gained since translating his form into the higher planes with the death of his physical form. Luisa observes that the principle he is describing could help ‘the Poor’ (though she qualifies that she is not yet sure if she would support such use for the sake of wanting people to strengthen rather than being dependent on quick solutions). Hawking agrees. He says that ‘students’ can, ‘even now’ (i.e. in the Physical, I surmise) use this principle to create abundance to meet their immediate needs, by manifesting through some sort of feedback loop effect, “reflecting (thought? spirit?) back on itself.” This statement is so astounding and exciting to me in the ‘dream’ that I wake up immediately on hearing this (btw, a good way to remember an important lucid dream message is to train yourself to wake up right then).

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So, “What’s Love Got to Do With It?” Everything. My bigger question about Love this month is ‘(How) Can Love Matter?’ which itself more deeply asks: Is there (after all) a meaning and purpose or positive results from living this (i.e. a particular) lifetime? As Love Is All, the basic fabric of the Universe and all things and Spirit Itself that fills such universe (my view), What/How Can Love Matter (“in the End”)?

In this dream of Stephen Hawking continuing to grow and share his uniquely gifted insight from Beyond in an after this lifetime context, well then, Wow!

Love/ Life/ It CAN and often DOES Matter, Very Much!

A lifetime of experience is not wasted and provides spacetime for developing or honing awareness and, hopefully, wisdom. We are unfolding this individualized awareness and character not just in a single lifetime (my belief includes the assumption of reincarnation to the point of eventually transcending even that); and not only in our current bodies that carry us along for a life cycle, but beyond that as well.

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images are from pixabay.com

It comes down to what we can do with the love we have expressed and the awareness gained in a lifetime of focused experience. The old adage, “you can’t take it with you” does not abide here. True enough, we do not take or physical body nor our material acquisitions with us as we translate from this lifetime into the next/ other dimensions. But we do retain our individualized consciousness as a facet of our higher Soul awareness, a spark of divine wisdom, a molecule in the creative fountainhead, from the Ocean of love/life force Itself (my limited view, of course).

So, goodbye to Despair! This has been my deeper concern over the past few monthly themes. (This) lifetime can/ does/ shall matter, for Love is All, the source and basis of all transcendent awareness. This reminds me of a useful insight:

“Soul is a happy entity.

IT cannot be any other way.”

(Paul Twitchell)

I welcome YOUR Story and Comments

What’s Love Got to Do With It? (Love Matters)

Hi All, I am merging week One and Week Two topics this time because the author interview posted last week came through unexpectedly, and I was asked to share that.

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This past month has brought difficult news about two of my good friends who are facing very difficult health conditions. Both are facing their conditions with strength and some degree of appropriate humor, but they are facing the impending mortality of their physical bodies and the mysterious transition of spirit which that entails. As I ask myself what should my monthly contemplation question be for April, I hold my friends dearly in my heart as I ask, “What Is (the Value of) Love?” or maybe more specifically, “What’s Love Got To Do With It?” Because Love seems to be what matters most in dealing with issues of life and transition.

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When I was in high school in the turbulent early 1970’s, my father once grounded me because he said I “do not know what love is.” We were at a restaurant with the family for a Sunday brunch. Dad made some negative comment about the Beatles, especially John Lennon. I said boldly,

“All they are singing about is Love!”

For this Dad grounded me for a month, to think more deeply about the true meaning of love (to be generous with his motivation; actually he just didn’t like for anyone to challenge or contradict him in public). But I have never forgotten this experience and have often asked myself, at every new stage or transition of my life:

“Do I truly know what Love Is?  What Is Love, Really?”

This means, for me: why is love so important; am I truly capable of love or of being loved; and what does/ how can love matter, for I sense it is the most important state of consciousness one can have/ develop/ give/ receive/ share. I have come to believe that “Love is All!;” that at the base of any vital experience IS Love, a fountainhead of grateful bounty and blessings, the foundation of a true harmonious connection with another being or with nature or with our own higher Self, Spirit, and Divinity Itself; or else, the apparent lack of love, an emotional or spiritual vacuum.

In all, my best understanding so far is simple:

Love Matters.

So this shall be my personal growth question for this month, about how love matters and how the fact of Love, as an unconditional spiritual force, matters to the continuation and transformations of Life. I am reminded at the start of one of my favorite songs ever, about Love. It happens to be by the Beatles. (You may Click here to listen.)

In My Life

(by Paul McCartney, John Lennon)

There are places I’ll remember
All my life, though some have changed
Some forever, not for better
Some have gone and some remain
All these places have their moments
With lovers and friends I still can recall
Some are dead and some are living
In my life, I’ve loved them all

But of all these friends and lovers
There is no one compares with you
And these memories lose their meaning
When I think of love as something new
Though I know I’ll never lose affection
For people and things that went before,
I know I’ll often stop and think about them
In my life, I love you more
In my life– I love you more

 What is YOUR question for the month of April? I invite you to set your focus question as a contemplation seed for personal growth.

I welcome YOUR Story and Comments!

 

 

 

Love Equals Love

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Love = Love.

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

So yes, a Life Lesson:

Love Equals Love !

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

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images are from pixabay.com

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

(for, Love = Life = Love).

I welcome YOUR Story and Comments!

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!

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!

Vocation Better Endings

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One of my favorite classic movies is the Deborah Kerr/ Cary Grant version of An Affair to Remember. One of the reasons for the enormous popularity of this story is not just the romantic kismet between the main characters Nickie Ferrante and Terry McKay but also because of what they represent to each other as opportunities to Follow Their Hearts and Realize their Dreams, apart from the normative, mediocre lives/ relationships they have been oriented to before they meet.

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They each have ardent vocations: Miss McKay’s as a working class children’s vocal teacher and Nickie’s as a painter.  Once they meet Nickie vows to give up his money-seeking, playboy lifestyle to earn a living for his wife from his painting, though he could instead marry into money and continue with a carefree, empty life instead. Terry is willing to risk pursuing true love with Nickie rather than settling for a predictable life where her own career is likely to be sacrificed or to come second to her husband’s.

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Both Terry and Nickie’s vocations fulfill their deeply artistic natures.  They are following their hearts as well as recognizing kindred Souls in one another.  Both have “gone to Sea” on an ocean liner seeking deeper truths than their engagements of ‘convenience’ offer. So, An Affair to Remember is a Better Endings tale, through and through.

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images are from pixabay.com

Of course the ending of this film is itself a Better Ending conclusion, wonderfully acted by Grant and Kerr.  It is Nickie Ferrante’s art that saves their relationship: a painting of Terry wearing his Aunt’s shawl, in Terry’s bedroom, that Nickie had been told “a crippled woman” had purchased.

“If you can paint, I can walk!” 

May you, too, Follow Your Heart. Listen closely to the beat of your own drum. This way you, like Terry and Nickie, can embark on the Journey to Live Your Best  Life!

I welcome YOUR Comments and STORY

 

Map Your Relationships

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Life Mapping lets you review the trends and potentialities of each of your Life Themes within the epic adventure of your lifetime! This year at Better Endings for Your Life Path we are exploring one Life Theme per month (see monthly topics) by using and reflecting on life mapping techniques; for February we are focusing on Relationships.

Many life mappers identify Relationships as a primary Life Theme, either directly or according to sub-themes like Family, Romance, Pets, and/or Friends.  I would like to invite you to choose one or more of these topics to map across your life course. If you choose more than one, then I would ask you to color code the events you will map for each Theme you are exploring.

The basic technique of life mapping which I will be presenting fully with my upcoming book, YOUR LIFE PATH (see right panel!), invites you to first make a list of Significant Life Events pertaining to your Theme(s), then plot their relative impact on shaping “the person you have become.”

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First then, make a list of events or situations involving key relationships in your life. You can make separate lists if you are exploring more than one Relationship theme, like one list for Romantic relationships and a separate list for Family or for Friends events (or do one at a time). Keep a wide left margin on your page. Let this be a list of events or situations that have influenced you in significant ways. You can start with the earliest or with the most impactful life experience involving this Theme, then feel free to recall earlier or later events freely (you will order these chronologically later).

After you have a list of key events, in the wide left margin next to each event, note the age you were when this occurred (either a single date or a time frame). Then ask yourself, “How has this event or situation impacted the person I have become?” RATE the event or situation relative to the time frame when it occurred, from -5 to +5, where -5 is extremely negative and +5 is extremely positive. Note that you could rate the same event as both Plus and Minus in its impact, such as -3/+5 if you recognize the event has had both a negative as well as a distinctively positive impact on your life for one reason or another.

Now then, you can use the Life Map chart below to simply PLOT the impact scores you have used to rate the relative positive and/or negative influence of each event in your list. Use a pencil (you can copy this post and enlarge the chart or make your own separately) to put a dot or an x along the time line , marking onto the 0 to +5 or 0 to -5 lines to represent your events. Plot these impacts according to the relative age you were when they occurred. You can write your Age for each event along the center, neutral Age Line.

You can “connect the dots” of your plotted events on the chart to reveal trends or PATTERNS of how this Theme has unfolded in your life.  Connect two plotted events especially if they seem somehow connected to you as forming a trend, like if you went from a negative experience to a positive one, or if a series of events were all negative or all positive (or neutral = ) on the chart).

It can help to draw a vertical hash-marked or dotted line where the event you have plotted is so significant that you may feel you were “a different person” before and after this event occurred. (These are your Critical Life Events or Turning Points.)

If you want to map more than one relationship sub-theme, repeat the above steps for each Theme you are interested in exploring.

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images are from pixabay.com

After plotting your Map, review it. Journal or contemplate (or both) or talk with a loved one about the PATTERNS you observe in this Theme. If you have mapped multiple Themes, do you notice differences in the patterning of each of these as they have interwoven within the fabric of your Life Story?

I welcome YOUR Comments and Story!

Pets and Rebirth of a Dear Companion

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Yesterday I read a post from a favorite blogger about how she was wondering whether seeing her recently passed dog’s collar that showed up on the first day of Hanukkah could be a sign from her beloved companion, perhaps even that he would be coming back, as she had at the time been contemplating finding another puppy .I do believe in reincarnation, and since Animals are Soul, Too (There is a book of that title, by Harold Klemp), our Soul companions that we share our lives with in their animal and our human forms can also return if that is in the highest spiritual interest of all concerned.

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I am an animal lover and have had pets all my life. I do recognize that some of them have been with me in more than one animal companion form.  My cat Ariel came to me in such a way that I knew with certainty that she was returning from having been my cat Chela who had passed away around nine months earlier. There are many layers to this story, including dreams I had had when Chela was with me about other lives we had had together going way back to when I was an archaic human boy and she was a Tiger:

Yellow Eyes (the dream, in present tense for better recall):

I am a young boy walking alone in the veld. Language is minimal. I look around, taking stock of the environs. “Sky, storm” I think as I see the sky has a greenish tint and that signifies a violent storm is coming. “Cliff’” I think as I see a wall of cliffs with caves and I climb up there to take shelter from the storm, which swiftly comes with high winds wailing outside the cave. I look around and see a pair of yellow eyes looking back at me. “Tiger.” She also is seeking refuge from the storm. We seem to understand that we are both there for that reason and we do not attack one another.  The storm passes. Tiger leaves the cave, with an appreciative gaze as she leaves.  Later, a different life: I am a young man (indigenous native in a rainforest).  A lion is about to pounce upon me as I am walking through the jungle. Then a Tiger leaps onto the scene and prevents the Lion from reaching me.

Other memories of this same Soul as a white horse  while I am some sort of soldier.

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Then fast forward to after Chela’s (as a calico orange female cat–also with Yellow/ Gold Eyes–, my closest companion for 11 years)  passing.  Around nine months later I wake from a dream. I am leaving a castle where I had been visiting a mentor who had recently died; she is who had introduced me to Chela while I was taking an Independent Study in Philosophy with her, Toni.  I look down as I am about to close the gate and see a female cat, ‘black and white with orange blotches’ coming toward me. Excited, I kneel down: “There you are!” and she leaps into my arms; we are so close, so familiar.  That very day of the dream I go to the office of my then mentor, my PhD advisor, Betsy. Her first words to me:

“Linda, do you know anyone who could take a kitten?”

“Not unless it is black and white with orange blotches,” I answered.

“One is!”

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images are from pixabay.com

So I met Ariel that day, also with golden eyes, who was with me for the next twenty years. We were as close as Chela and I had been, loving companion Souls who travelled together and loved each other deeply.  She had marks on her forelegs and forehead of an orange calico just like Chela had been, though Ariel was a beautiful Harlequin Tortoise Shell Calico.

Because there is a need for ‘death’ (I call it translation in my faith), there must also be rebirth. We learn through cycles of growth and change.  It is all about love after all, which is reciprocal always or it is not love. Reciprocity and cyclicity are two aspects of the same relationship with Love, Life, and Spiritual Freedom. So I believe.

I welcome YOUR comments and Story!

Jungian Re-integration: Gathering Wholeness

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Allow me to share two difficult stories around the theme of re-integration this week. Carl Jung recognized three stages in the process of psychological individuation that are closely tied with the three phases of the hero cycle or the three stages of rites of passage cycles. For Jung these three stages of individuation include: integration, disintegration, and reintegration. The story of Isis descending to retrieve and reassemble the dismembered parts of her brother-husband Osiris well illustrates this process.

We may feel as if we are whole until some disruptive experience  dismembers us and we feel we have  “fallen to pieces.” Then we must “pick up the pieces” and “put ourselves back together again,” resulting in a new self with regard to difficulties we have faced.

On NPR on Saturday, I listened to a story that reminded me of this theme of Jungian reintegration. A mother, Sarah, was dealt the worst blow life has to offer: one of her two twin sons, Caleb, died from a genetic illness. Sarah donated Caleb’s body to science. Yet she found she could not leave it at that; two years later Sarah followed up on where various body parts of her beloved son were delivered and to what use they were being put.  She found that Caleb’s cornea was still in use in studies of infant blindness; DNA studies comparing her two twins’ blood samples had revealed thousands of discrepancies of an epigenetic nature; and Caleb’s retina was a valuable resource in a Philadelphia study of infant illnesses.

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In tracing what had happened with her son’s donated parts, Sarah was re-integrating her very memory of Caleb. He had not died without purpose or consequence, and Sarah’s decision to donate his young body to science had served more than to alleviate her own suffering. Sarah summed it up nicely:

“The choices you make affect others.”

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images are from pixabay.com

The second story I wish to share is as grim as Sarah’s.  Just yesterday while driving on an interstate highway to Denver, I passed a male deer which had just been struck by a vehicle. It was terrible. The deer had been impacted at its rear so that both of its rear legs were broken. I pulled off The highway to call the state police. That poor deer was scraping itself off from the highway shoulder, in terrible agony. He could not survive for long in that condition. The state troopers would euthanize this Soul’s mortal body. I knew this was the only way for this Deer Soul to return to wholeness spiritually, though it could never return to its physical family. I stayed until the troopers arrived, sending what peace and love I could to the struggling animal.

Reintegration is a reassembling of parts of the Self which may have been lost or dismembered through crisis.  As we pick up the pieces we go forward with what we have left, hopefully contributing to others from the lessons we have gained from our ordeals, so that others may suffer less down the road.

These stories are grim indeed.  But they remind us of how life may also deal harsh experience. Yet, the hero cycle or rites of passage allow the process of individuation to be always an upward spiral of growth and purpose.

I welcome always your comments and stories.

Happily Ever After

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Certainly one of the greatest elixirs is Happiness. After attaining our worthy goal, we achieve a degree of happiness which we can carry forward with us into the next ordeal and adventure. Probably most people would claim greater happiness—for themselves and for others—as a measure of success, whatever their endeavor.

What makes you happy in the deepest sense? I mean, not only in the moment but long-term? A child (or a pet’s) smiling face (or their playfully wagging tail or purr), a beautiful mountainscape or an Oceanside sunset: these bring a valuable though transitory happiness. They warm the heart and bring a smile. They reveal, I would say, a deeper state of intrinsic happiness. They reveal a harmony of Nature, an innocence of Spirit; breaths of fresh air, a tonic to the Soul!

Still, how can you expand your condition of happiness beyond the fleeting moment?

So I ask again, what could make you Happy in the grandest sense? Is it your job? (Stay then! Take it as far as you can!) Or your relationship(s)? Then Bravo/a to you! Or maybe it is your chosen environment, where you experience At Oneness with the All One? (More cosmic, loving power to you!!!)

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For many people, enduring happiness is yet an elusive goal. Achieving their ultimate happiness shall be a result of fulfilling their most ardent endeavors (or, it may be found in the very practice of those endeavors themselves). Many will gain their enduring happiness by serving others and/or producing good works; by fulfilling, that is, their sense of Purpose and their Mission for this life.

So now, what is your Purpose; what can you claim as your Life Mission?

As a personal example, my life mission inflects on several levels. I have a spiritual Mission, which I do not feel the need to share. On a practical level, I have always sought, in one form or another, to serve the Whole…that is, to embrace and express my own inherent wholeness as well as to serve however I can the greater Whole of the community, family, fencing team (e.g.), and the world in which I live. Like many, I have always strived to make a positive contribution—whether through teaching, sharing in general, through responsible service, or through writing/publishing.

“What difference does it make?”

“It doesn’t matter!”

These were my calls in the wilderness to God, my deep laments through at least the first five decades of this life. So then, I would try harder, work more.

Until, gradually, as on cats’ feet, the Process itself—e.g. of communicating, teaching, contemplating, writing, living—has become fruitful in itself, in the moment of Doing, Being, or Knowing.  I find that I am still very goal-oriented, yet now my goal and the process I engage with to fulfill the goal have merged as one focus; see?

With this transformational shift from a ‘product/goal’ to a ‘process’-oriented mindset, now that I check in with my Self, Happiness has set in!

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images are from pixabay.com

This is not to presume that I am always “happy” in the glib/ surface sense. That has never been my goal. Actually I can sometimes let things bother me now just as much if not more than ever before. This comes from my passion for advancing what is in process. Disruptions or interruptions of this forward arching flow can set me back, but only long enough overall now until I can accept and absorb the lesson (for there is always a lesson!), and move on.

What Is Your Life Mission?

My upcoming book that is announced in the right panel of this blog, Your Life Path, is my best contribution so far to serve the Whole. This book provides a complete/ original Life Path Mapping process with its chapter-ending self-discovery Tools. I have developed and practiced this approach over the last fifteen years, through interview research, analysis of results, producing a previous academic book on the subject, and—more importantly—through developing the embedded self-help Toolkit from applying the mapping and reflection process with large classes of students and with many individuals, as a “life path mapping” coaching approach.  It has been helpful for many and even deeply transformative for some.

The Your Life Path Tools can guide you gradually yet gently to review your past, to reconsider your present with regard to how you have reached where you are in life now; then to explore your values, your inner conflicts and challenges (from an archetypal psychological  perspective), and to reveal your deepest, most integrative goals. It leads you to express and embrace your Life Mission; then to claim your Life Dream and plan a fulfilling future course, beginning here and now, to live into the life of your dreams!

I do invite you to check out this book if it may serve you. You could pre-order using the url address in the right panel, either through Amazon (as a book or ebook), Barnes & Noble, or Indies. I will be offering a preview webinar series on Life Path Mapping by December (I will post about that as it becomes available).

And so, wherever your life path leads you to:

Go For It!

A Te Sante!

Be Happy!

Live Your Dream, Now!

I always welcome YOUR Comments and Stories.

Create a Totem of Your Goal Achieved

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An elixir is a potion or aid you receive from achieving some degree of fulfillment along the path to attain your highest goal.  The elixir is like an alchemical agent in that it raises your energy levels, your awareness, to a higher plane that you have attained with your accomplishment. So you come away from the ordeal you have successfully met with a greater power of insight or a force of greater love that you can carry forward with you on the next leg of your Journey.

A Totem is an image or object you can literally plant in your ‘growing space’ or carry with you as a reminder of the qualities you have gained and of your higher Goal.  It could be something as simple as a talisman, like a necklace amulet, pin, or charm bracelet representing the qualities or goal you wish to focus upon.  It could also be a collage of images you compose and place in a highly visible personal space to serve as a Vision board. (I do these often and pin them on my office bulletin board).

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Totems are anchors that “ground” your vision and amplify your intentions like a magnifying glass that concentrates the rays of the Sun.

To create a personal Totem of your goal or aspiration, whether that be a concrete objective or a value you wish to strengthen day to day, find or create an object, or create a collage of images that will remind you to center your attention on your ideal.

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With online imagery such as at pixabay.com or with clipart, it is easy to find images to represent your goal or the values you aim to strengthen.  I recommend placing an image or photograph of the goal or value itself, or of yourself having achieved this goal, in the center of the page to form a mandala composition.  You can surround that central image with additional images that represent how you are to attain this level of fulfillment and what will be the outcomes when you do!

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Place your collage or object somewhere that you will see it often. It could be at your office or in your bedroom or kitchen, somewhere you spend a lot of time thinking about your goal and actively pursuing that.  Or you could wear your totem talisman close to your heart or on your person. It could be private, like a special stone that you carry in your pocket, or even a personal mantra or prayer or poem that you repeat inwardly as you move through the day or before sleeping at night.

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Your totem can be any means of focusing your intentions deeply. This plants your intention in the loam of your everyday life, infusing your activities with a greater sense of mission, of value and purpose, and of unconditional love.  For no one but you can fulfill your deepest Soul objectives, which enhance not only your own capacity to live but your determination to serve Life Itself.

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images are from pixabay.com

I value your Comments and stories!

The Urge to Merge: The Sacred Marriage

Preface:  Today (solar eclipse day, 8/21/17) I want to wish a Very Happy Birthday!!! to hom a:kuwaye (my special Zuni friends, twins) Arlene and Darlene. And thank you for your prayers and sage advice about my concerns in the blog that follows. They have let me know that one of the Rain Priests at Zuni, a relative of theirs, has been praying for Longevity. WE should all be very grateful to Zuni religious leaders who have the whole of humanity in their hearts and prayers!

Oh yes, and also Thank YOU to all Followers linked to this blog. Yesterday we reached the magic number of 5000 Followers, which has been a major goal for me from the beginning!

 

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I am contemplating life and “death” tonight.  The US may be at the verge of a conflict that may easily get out of balance; our human and animal lives are fragile and could be taken quickly.  So our topic this month of the Sacred Marriage is all that more vital to comprehend.  The phrase “the urge to merge” came to me in contemplation.  Soul merges with Spirit.  We are not these bodies but the consciousness of Soul within the Ocean of Love and Mercy we may call Divinity.

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As we realize this, that Soul and Spirit and Divinity are a Unity, a Oneness, then we understand that life can never be either given nor can It be taken away. It just Is, as Isness Itself, and that is a loving condition, the ultimate awareness of IAMTHATIAM, or, Alone with the All One.

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I remember a Star Trek original series episode where a species’ Sun was going nova so they needed to be transported away.  They had evolved to pure energy beings, so Kirk and his officers allowed the passengers to semi-possess their body states in order to be transported.  What I recall is how separated and alone they felt, wearing bodies.

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I don’t usually speak too directly of spirituality in this blog, but the times as well as the topic lead me to do so now.  I will share a vision I experienced a few years ago, as it transcends any specific religious dogma.

A Being visited me in that wonderful interstice zone between sleeping and waking.  I could not assign a gender or a race to this beautiful Being.  S/he was gentle and loving is all I can say, with a delicate beauty beyond any mere bodily state.

“How are things going out there?” The Visitor asked me.

I paused to reflect, then answered:

“Well, there are lots of  people believing in many different religions,” I heard myself respond.  “But most people are still afraid of death.”

The Visitor paused as on a breath and issued softly:

“Next time, we won’t do Religion.”

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images are from pixabay.com

The Urge to Merge with Spirit, with Divine Love that IS who we Are as Soul, is the most natural and graceful inspiration we can allow.  Sweet surrender, trust, and faith can lead us Home, which we have never really left anyway.

I wish peace and love to all.

Pass It On!

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Here is a quick activity: Think of one mentor who has taught you a valuable lesson. What was that lesson?

Second, how have you sought to impart that lesson to others? What has been the result?

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My quick response:  “Patience is a virtue.” (from Diane) I aim to teach this to my students, especially advanced students working on research projects or thesis papers. I have seen many of these students take some great strides. For myself, I use this principle daily, now in yet another book editing romp.

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images are from pixabay.com

I am amazed daily at the miraculous interweaving and orchestration of Life.

“Love is all, and do as thou wilt.”

(Stranger By the River, by Paul Twitchell)

Guard Your Own Threshold (My Creepy Crawly Road Trip, Part 3)

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For those of you who have been reading the blog this month, I am still on my road trip with my dog Sophie, and hopefully I am on track for overcoming the creepy crawly scourge we have encountered since day one, Feb 25, of bed bugs, hair and body lice, and tiny brown mites… oh yeah, and possibly dog mites too. My body as well as Sophie’s show the scars of the engagement. I am using lotions, meds and showers to try to regain a  balance, and today (yay) I am taking Sophie to a vet who will know what to do. (Previous vets have not found the root of the problem since her mites are burrowed, not actively moving about.)

The hopeful turning point phase began about six nights ago when I started taping rolls of sticky lint paper at the bottom of the bathroom door to sleep protected in there, keeping the mites in the bedroom. Then I realized turnabout is fair play, as I have now become the threshold guardian of my own and my dog companion Sophie’s bodies/ skins. Four nights ago while waiting for an Orkin treatment to be fully effective, I went out to Walmart, bought two tarps and a mummy sleeping bag and I  slept one night at least on the bed again, free of the tiny brown ones.

Yet even the next night a new patrol of tiny white specks  cropped up from apparently the fibers of the freshly laundered sleeping bag, nipping where they appeared. I almost succumbed to total surrender at this latest foray, but I got up, took a shower and used that magical wand of a lint roller to start picking these critters up as they surfaced. I continue that vigilance since moving to a hotel.

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Guarding your own threshold means stand up for yourself against all would be attackers who seek to feed off of your own good nature and integrity. You have a right to the sanctity of your own personhood and space. “One’s freedom ends where another’s begins” is a spiritual principle as stated by Harold Klemp, the spiritual leader of Eckankar. I get it now; that works in both directions.

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images are from pixabay.com

On a happier note, I had two wonderful days meeting with the team of publicists from Scribes Unlimited, Paula and Paul, this past two days, as we are preparing to  launch and make available to the general public my book, Your Life Path, with its related life mapping services. Pretty soon you will be able to link from this blog to an interactive site about Life Path Mapping, podcasts and all!

I welcome all of  your comments, help…,and stories.

Let Your LOVER Be Your Guide

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So yesterday once again I was walking the labyrinth path and received this impression:

“Let your Lover be your Guide.”

I recognize that since this is near the end of the month of October in which I have been focusing this blog around the Lover archetype, this message meant for me to let Her lead the way for me as I go forward with some wonderful new opportunities surrounding my book, Your Life Path.  I am about to step forward into a whirlwind of activity, it seems, to complete the final polishing edit and then, after it is published, to promote it so that it will reach all readers who can benefit from its life mapping Tools.

But I also realize this message is meant for you all.

LET YOUR LOVER BE YOUR GUIDE!

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images are from pixabay.com

Archetypal psychology is largely about INTEGRATING your inner archetypal personas, harmonizing them to work together as Allies as you go forward to manifest your goals and to live your greatest life.  While any one or another of your inner archetypal parts-of-Self might dominate for this or that situation, putting the Lover in you first can mean,

Let LOVE lead the Way!

What would Love do, right? I invite you to contemplate and then to put into practice the Path that Love shall forge.

What Really Is Love, Part Two: If I could live but only in the Moment

 

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From my Lover archetype persona:

You asked me the other day while driving back from helping a friend pack and move, “What Really Is Love?” I reminded you of that movie, “The Man Eating Tiger,” that we saw on late night TV decades ago. That film had the right idea. When we love we wish only the best for the beloved. “Love is not a matter of belief but demonstration,” as expressed in a book I love by Paul Twitchell called Stranger By The River.

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When we were a teenager you formed the impression (from Me) that “Love is Love.”  There is no true separation between one “form” of love and another. Family, Friends, Pet Companions, Colleagues, Students, Partners, God, Soul, Inner Master: the love we feel for each and all of these, as it is Love, is the same. Love is the essence and breath of divinity Itself. Love is the Life Force of creation, what you call as an ECKist the Audible and Visible Life Current.

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images are from pixabay.com

You thought of love then (still from Me) as a “place” rather than an emotion; as a state of consciousness superseding all others! Remember Dylan’s line: “I was so much older then, I’m younger than that now”? We were wiser, then, about love. Now you may need to relearn all of this.

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Love=Love means you do not need any other to ‘bring’ love or to feel whole. Love is who you ARE; so be Love! Be a vehicle for love to flow out into your world everyday in every way, never asking for anything in return.

 

 

What Really Is Love? Part One

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I’m going to give voice to my inner Lover archetype for this and the next post. We had an internal, “active imagination” dialogue while I was driving from Denver to Colorado Springs last night around the topic of Love.

I mean, really, who am I to speak of love? Apart from spiritual, unconditional love, which I do have abundantly from many decades of spiritual practice and positive relations generally, this is a topic that most would see in the context of romance, marriage and family, and I consider myself “post” relational, except nowadays for deep Friendship with my dog and cats, family, and close friends. I “did relationships…” but I have relinquished that pursuit for over 13 years—as I mentioned in the last post I have a Shadow Lover facet of Self going on…

Anyway then, Part One (this week) as an expression from my Inner Lover to the page is a Better Endings story that She/I like a whole lot and have never forgotten. Part Two (stay tuned!) will be an open expression from my Lover persona archetype about ‘What Really Is Love?’ that we will subtitle: ‘If I could live but only in the Moment.’

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A Better Endings Story about ‘What Really Is Love?”:

One of the best love stories I have ever encountered was in a late night movie I happened to catch some 30 years ago on TV. It was titled “The Man Eating Tiger” (or something close to that). It was about a mercenary sharp shooter during WWII who was hired by an African village to track down and kill a Bengal tiger that was terrorizing the community and had already killed many residents. Now as the story goes, there was also a female nurse serving the village who just happened to be a woman the mercenary had been in love with before his best friend and war buddy had married her instead. She was the person who had recommended him for the job of taking down the man-eating tiger. As a plot twist, this nurse’s husband had gone Missing in Action from the WWII  front lines as an Army infantry soldier, and it had been months already since anyone had heard of his whereabouts so that he was considered to have likely been killed.

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Now then, the plot thickens as the Mercenary is once again stricken with feelings of love for the nurse, his missing best friend’s wife that he now sees daily but only for so long as he will stay at the African village to complete his mission and take down the Tiger.  He becomes deeply conflicted—as does she but less so—about whether to act on his feelings in his friend’s absence (and probable death). Should he proclaim his love?

The scene I like so much and that I will never forget from this story involves an evening walk that the Mercenary takes with an Indian woman he has befriended, also a nurse in the village. He is able to open up with this wise Indian woman about his deep feelings of love he has for the Nurse and how conflicted he feels about being in the village without being able to declare his true feelings. He WANTS her; he sees the condition of her missing husband as an opportunity to have what he most desperately wants in his life: Her.

But the Indian friend speaks to the Mercenary about the true meaning of Love.  She tells him she has observed Americans and other Europeans to have gotten the reality of love all mixed up and topsy-turvy. She points out that to Europeans, what they—including the Mercenary—think of or speak of as love is much too often little more than possessiveness. They pursue one another by wanting to possess the love “object.” That is wrong. Instead, if they truly were meant for one another, if they truly held genuine and authentic love for one another, they would want ONLY that which would be the very BEST for their beloved. They would be willing and happy in fact to LET GO, to detach from any relationship less than fully conducive to the total freedom and happiness of their beloved.

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images are from pixabay.com

Maybe I shouldn’t tell you the rest of the story as it was portrayed in the movie. I will tell you that the husband does come back and that in the jungle whilst the Mercenary is about to catch up with the Tiger, his MIA friend shows up (not yet having arrived at the village to present himself to his wife) and the Man Eating Tiger is about to pounce on him! What do you believe the Mercenary will do? Will he shoot the Tiger and save his rival friend? Has he yet learned what Really Is Love?

Can you relate to this story metaphorically?

I welcome your Comments and Stories!