Life is… a Bowl of Cherries!

cherry-sticker-background-card-in-vector-format_GJnARQod

Live Your Dream, Now! is the throughline to Life Paths, a handbook for life mapping which should be forthcoming within the next year. This credo of “Live your dream, now!” highlights how important it is not to put off your Life Dream or future aspirations into a nebulous future but, rather, to live NOW according to the values and intent of your Life Dream, Here and Now. You can live INTO your future as a dream fulfilled by focussing on developing your current Strengths and being mindful “every day in every way” about who you are choosing to be, expressing from your core identity and nature.

Golden Buddha

Along with the metaphor of Life is a Bowl of Cherries, this month we will pair the archetypal Ally persona of the Golden Child, which is the universal archetype class associated with the sign of Leo and the month of July.  What an aprt conjunction this one is! The GOLDEN CHILD is a part of Self who knows whom s/he IS and may express itself forcefully or in a charismatic manner based on a positive self-knowledge amd capability, with great competence. Who better to assert Life to be a Bowl of Cherries than this, yourself as a Leonine Golden Child?

Life is a Bowl of Cherries as a life metaphor reminds us to embrace and to enjoy who we ARE and what we HAVE, right here and now. Yet I expect some readers–including myself in some respects this week as I am involved in a struggle currently to help my ailing elderly mother to cope with painful, life threatening effects from late stage Parkinsons–might appropriately question the sheer optimisim of such a credo. Is it then a mere platitude to declare life to be cheery, always positive, like “a bowl of cherries” even while facing the most dire of circumstances? What of all those well meaning people and animals for whom, indeed, life appears to be anything but happy, abundant or carefree? Is holding to such an optimistic mantra no more than a Polyannish attitude requiring one to “bury their head in the sand” or, worse, to DENY the more bitter realities of life in the “Real World”?

abstract-woman-face-vector-illustration_zkfm_M_d

That is a vital question, and one I have similarly heard from people who question Joseph Campbell’s parallel credo of “Follow Your Bliss!” Again, what of those for whom the chance of “attaining Bliss” of any sort seems remote?

I must answer for myself that while the world as a whole will always remain a harsh training ground at every stage of life, even for those with the highest achievements or wearing the most rose colored glasses; nevertheless it can be helpful to focus on the positive. Life metaphors can serve as positive affirmations that orient our outlook to look for the GOOD in life–to see the BEST in ourselves and in others–and when necessary, to see the silver lining beyond the clouds.

digital rendering of an eye

I believe that human beings–perhaps all Beings–are wired to pursue and when possible to manifest “self-transcendence,” even in the most dire conditions. I recall a TV drama with Dick Van Dyke (check out his recent https://www.youtube.com/embed/hoPugqYMISM“>dance videos at 89!) portraying a homeless man in a big city. This character was a man of the deepest character: kind, gentle, self-sacrificing and ultimately happy in his life. He embraced a life of service and gratitude and he focussed on the positive potentials of every state of being, every condition, every relationship in his life.

So, life CAN be a bowl of cherries, if you CHOOSE for it to be so. And you can discover your Bliss anywhere, as everywhere you stand is Holy Ground as long as you stand mindfully and take in the bounty of the moment.

I welcome your insights and stories!

 

Don Quixote, Idealist of La Mancha

crusader-on-horse_z1YRKnLu

One of the most iconic IDEALIST protagonists of all Western literature is “Don Quixote, the Man of La Mancha”. When I was around 10, I read Cervantes’ Don Quixote as if it were a bible, allowing myself only one of the picaresque stories per night (though sometimes cheating to read ahead). I loved this bumbling, well-intentioned but humble everyman sort of hero, and it was not until I was older that I learned in school how Don Quixote is not universally regarded as a heroic figure at all but rather as a misguided, neurotic antihero.

windmill_fkUNo8L_

I have deeply identified with Don Quixote. I’ve seen the play Man of La Mancha performed several times, and throughout college years I knew all of the musical’s lyrics by heart. To me, Don Quixote had an idealistic or cockeyed optimist purity and innocence that eventually won over everyone’s hearts. Aldonza, the “harlot,” is raised by her interaction with Don Quixote to her true inner stature as “Dulcinea”, a Lady; the peasant Sancho Panza becomes an adventuresome Squire on his donkey; and Don Quixote himself, dubbed Knight of the Woeful Countenance, tilts at windmills as if they are dragons and wears an old wash basin for his helmet. His chivalry is as pure as his Idealist energy is strong, even if at times the consequences for those around him are less than positive.

My favorite Idealist lyrics are from the play Man of La Mancha :

“The Impossible Dream”from MAN OF LA MANCHA (1972)

(music by Mitch Leigh and lyrics by Joe Darion)

To dream the impossible dream
To fight the unbeatable foe
To bear with unbearable sorrow
To run where the brave dare not go

To right the unrightable wrong
To love pure and chaste from afar
To try when your arms are too weary
To reach the unreachable star

This is my quest
To follow that star
No matter how hopeless
No matter how far

To fight for the right
Without question or pause
To be willing to march into Hell
For a heavenly cause

And I know if I’ll only be true
To this glorious quest
That my heart will lie peaceful and calm
When I’m laid to my rest

And the world will be better for this
That one man, scorned and covered with scars

Still strove with his last ounce of courage
To reach the unreachable star

 

Abstract Bursting Stars Background As Colorful Dramatic Backdrop

Can you relate? Well then, take a knee! By what chivalric name shall you be dubbed? What is the nature of the most Glorious Quest YOU are on? Look up to the night sky to find that Star you seek, and FOLLOW!

The Idealist Archetype

mythical-creatures-vector-6-6

Pegasus

I soar through the Heavens

On gossamer wings,

Aloft in the faith God is All.

Place your trust in my buoyant,

exhuberant Way,

and in Truth may you always prevail.

— LW

Our February archetype is the Idealist. An AIR energy that MAINTAINS and develops any process, the Idealist pairs nicely with this month’s Life Metaphor of life as A Long and Winding Road.

You can count on your Idealist tendencies to strengthen your motivation to achieve any worthy goal. It is an active, lifting mode; a part of you that—when in Strength—carries you forward in a transcendent, joyful way.

Horse Crossing Bridge

In my own contemplative inner adventures I often actually do encounter especially one Pegasus horse which is a beloved inner companion. She takes me on winged flights of unspeakable beauty. While I don’t necessarily see this dream Pegasus as my Idealist part-of-Self, she certainly is real and animated in my awareness and raises me to a more idealistic state of consciousness about life whenever we connect.

Dragon

If in Shadow, your Idealist may feel trapped or frustrated by limitations or delays. It may help you to find a way around such apparent confinement by offering an alternate activity or route that bypasses or transcends these illusory bounds.

Remember then to listen, and to ask your Inner Idealist for guidance on your next step (or leap) to a desired destination.

Viking Ship

 How do you imagine or experience your own Idealist nature? Try answering this question and see what it might evoke for you:

WHEN I GROW UP, I WANT TO BE  : ____________________________

I invite you to journal your answer, or engage in an active imagination ‘flight of fancy’!

The Light in Your Eyes

 

Forest road. Landscape.

 

The Road goes ever on and on

Down from the Door where It began,

Now evermore the Road doth lead

And I must follow, if I can,

Pursuing it with weary feet

Until it joins some larger Way

Where many paths and errands meet,

And whither then?

I cannot say.

– J. R. Tolkien

spectrum_3-021114-ykwv1

Light is a good measure, and an apt metaphor, for Awareness, which brings “all good things” to those who express a positive attitude from maintaining an uplifting spiritual and/or a healthful mindfulness practice. Light radiates through the eyes and actions of those who are ‘lit,’ regardless of whatever health conditions they may be dealing with. This can be anybody.

From my life maps coaching practice, I find as a general principle that attitude matters greatly in how we go through life, and that attitudes derive often in large part from a person’s mindset and focus. Two people experiencing similar life circumstances might have polar-opposite interpretations and responses because of their outlooks on life.  This sometimes depends on whether they hold an optimistic or a pessimistic view of life, based on their beliefs as well as experience.

3050-1013-B0481

John (pseudonyms used), for example, who maintained a “practical,” non-spiritually oriented belief system, regarded a series of downturns from being laid off, deaths of his father and grandmother, and a car accident as increasingly debilitating, meaningless events. His Life Metaphor of “Life is like a tree with its roots stuck in the dirt next to a flowing stream” encapsulates John’s own ‘stuck awareness,’ as does the fact that he had felt paralyzed in his right shoulder after his car accident, although doctors could not find anything physically wrong with his shoulder.

Contrast John with Ambrosia, whose chronic intestinal condition found her, one night, “touch and go” in the hospital. Doctors told her it was not certain she would survive the night. When I asked Ambrosia to rate the impact of that perilous night at the hospital, without hesitation she beamed, “+5!” (the highest possible positive rating).

“But, why?” I asked.

“Because I had a vision that night that I wouldn’t have had otherwise. My spiritual Guide appeared. He told me I could leave, if I wanted to, but there was much more for me to do here of I stayed. I told him, “All that glitters is not gold.” He answered, “but anything can be.” Then I told him I would stay only if I could get back the passion for living I once had. He said I could.”

Ambrosia survived the night and she gradually healed. She has indeed regained her passion for living, and her health condition has led her to find many healthful dietary aids and supplements. She practices spiritual contemplation and yoga, daily. She mostly walks wherever she needs to go, not owning a car. She is active as a leader in her spiritual community and serves as a compassionate role model for many. I see the light in her eyes that I did not see so much in John’s.

So, Lighten up, in whatever way works for you to experience Life, and Love, to its fullest.

And then, go take a look in the Mirror.

round-vintage-baguette-frame-913-1431