If Life is Love, What Have I to Give?

 I want to share a waking dream this week. I came upon a documentary called “God’s Super Collider,” and I found it so fascinating I watched it three of four times. It is mainly about the Higgs field and Higgs particle (known as the God Particle), which give mass to everything in the known universe. Also it explains ‘dark energy’ and ‘dark matter’ better than I have seen before. But what I liked most is that the narrator/ filmmaker takes a gnostic turn with this scientific discussion into a treatise on God as Everything (and, No-Thing).  God is not outside but within every cell, every atom and particle of Its creation, the very air we breathe both metaphorically and literally. Since the Universe is One = ‘God’ = Love and love only, as THE cohesive and integrative weft and warp of reality or life itself, then It Just Is and that is All.

I Am… That… I Am.

I came away from this program with a mantra phrase that I practiced for several days:

“In Love I live and breathe and have my Being.”

This leads me back around to my monthly question about ‘How May I Serve?’ Since all life is One and we are each and all part of this Whole, then service to one is service to all, including care for oneself and one’s dear loved ones.

So I offer two techniques we can use to “take stock” of our capacity to be of greater service to the Whole:

First, make a list of your five (to ten) greatest strengths. I once attended a creativity conference where a workshop presenter had us write our five greatest weaknesses, then strengths; then he asked us to crumple the list of weaknesses and throw it away. Focus on your strengths to improve those and over time former weaknesses will also strengthen.

Second, write or talk about or make a list about: “What I Have to Give.”

List as many traits or qualities or abilities and talents you have developed that come to mind as ways you have been or could be of service in your life.

Review both lists or journal notes. When I did this I found myself noting beside each ‘what I have to give’ item in what domain or kind of relationship or activity I can or could express that trait. For instance, “caring” I can and do give to my pets, friends and family; while teaching I (can) give in more structured activities.

Try circling 3-5 of the qualities and/or strengths you have noted that seem to stand out to you as potentially linked; so, you can connect the dots between your greatest strengths and what you have to give. Looking then solely at these circled and linked elements, ask yourself if they suggest some specific sort of activity or a fresh approach to your developing and offering a new form of service?

images are from pixabay.com

I welcome YOUR Story and Comments!

In Service Is My Reward

For 45 years I have participated in service activities with my spiritual group, and I have taught university courses first as a grad student then  as a professor and author for forty years altogether. Service is baked into my sense of identity and purpose. I would feel bereft without the opportunity to serve, wherever and however I can be of use. A credo I have adopted is:

In service is my reward.

I put this out there because this month’s question is about how to be of service in a new location after semi-retirement, which I feel is a fundamental necessity for continuing growth and development. Living your Dream, Now!, which is the through line of my book, Your Life Path (see right panel), does not mean “settling” into an inert, less than active life. Quite the contrary; Living Your Dream means to be following (in Joseph Campbell’s terms), yet I would say, manifesting your Bliss! For as you achieve one facet of your fulfillment, this opens doors to pathways leading forth to many more.

In Indian traditions (both continental Indian Hinduism and some Native American cultures) conceptually a lifetime can be understood to be comprised of four stages or cycles. Elder-hood can be a period of reflection that bears the fruits of Wisdom, not just head or fact knowledge. Wisdom is expressed as service to one’s community based on the wealth of experience an elder has attained. Giving back, offering insights from a life well lived, is a vital stage by which the generations turn in the gyre of transformation and continuation of growth and enlightenment.

images are from pixabay.com

So I am ready to step forward, to volunteer in my new community and to forge continuing pathways forward with writing and other creative activities. I find that having made this commitment, already avenues are opening. I dreamed of an advertisement for my life mapping services. I will add some info in the blog tabs shortly. Plus I have been welcomed to help in a political context, and ideas are flowing for writing.

Service and love are one and the same, as forms of reciprocity in community.

I welcome YOUR story, and comments.

How May I Serve Thee?

My July Quest theme is “How May I Serve Thee?” By Thee I address the Universal Oneness by which we are all interconnected: all beings; all states of consciousness including all humans, other animals, all of Nature and Spirit. I could say, how might I serve All that Is, but I prefer to include You, dear readers, family and friends.

Service is in so many ways what I identify with as my ‘mission’ and goal in this lifetime. As my overall Quest this year is to manifest true happiness in my new post/semi-retirement location, and since service is the means by which I might fulfill my purpose, then service is the basis of my happiness. Hence ‘How May I Serve Thee?’, day by day, moment by moment is my means as well as my measure of happiness.

images are from pixabay.com

A practice I have been using this week, based on a morning contemplation insight, is to ask myself several times every day:

What More Can I Do, Today?

This has been a fine motivator this week. It has helped me revitalize my writing goals and to refine my writing activities, for writing is one primary outlet for service to me. In addition, this prompt helps me daily to clarify and focus on priorities and opportunities, including tasks but also expanding to creative action.

What I CAN– not should or would or might — DO opens unlimited possibilities of the Moment. I CAN, for example:

walk with my dog, read, write, explore new horizons locally, meet new neighbors, exercise at the Y, write a blog post, outline chapters, edit, respond to and send emails, read poetry, contemplate, watch documentaries, like other peoples’ blogs, interact over social networks, grade papers online,  kayak with a new friend; you see? Endless vistas of possibility unfold to reveal the multidimensional potentials of Now! And all of these actions can be engaged with as modes of service to Life.

So, I give to Thee:

What More Can You Do, Today?

I welcome YOUR Story and Comments

Deer Vision

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I have had two waking dream concepts recently about my monthly question of ‘Why Am I/ Are We Here?’ I realize now they are two facets of the same idea: “Bubble awareness” and “Deer vision.” Both refer to living mindfully in the Now. Let me begin by exploring Deer Vision, as it seems most relevant to my probe.

In the rural environment I drive through where I am living now, white-tailed deer are abundant. They are such exquisite Beings, playful and loving in their close family groups, able to dive and leap in play with one another. One of my greatest concerns is that I never want to hit one as it would be crossing a road. So, I try to drive always with Deer Vision: looking far enough ahead and driving at such a speed that I could slow or stop in time to avoid injuring a deer.

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Deer Vision also means for me to consider and emulate how a deer sees. Such soft, intelligent eyes these white-tailed deer have. They often make eye contact with me as I stop for them to cross or as I slowly drive past. I imagine that how a deer sees is in energy forms, perceiving and assessing the intentions or consciousness of other denizens of the forest.

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This brings me to the broader notion of Bubble Awareness. From fencing I learned how important it can be to maintain a 360 degree awareness, forming a protective but fluid  ‘bubble’ of attention. This allows responsivity, let’s call it, the flexibility to advance or retreat in the moment without having to consciously “think” about it. When the alter (i.e. the opponent, in fencing) and self are both operating at a high degree of this sort of awareness, the ‘bubble’ envelops them both and they are in it together. I used to call this a ‘peak experience bout.’ But the principle extends to life in general.

I am Here, in part, to exercise Deer Vision within the perspective  of Bubble Awareness: to be attentive and responsive to the needs and opportunities of the Moment, for myself and in relation to all others.

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images are from pixabay.com

To be sure, being (only) human, I do not always achieve or maintain this ideal awareness. The other day while driving and actually mulling over Deer Vision at the time, a beautiful little chipmunk darted out in front of my car. Although I tried to slow down and veered slightly to avoid hitting the chipmunk, the car did run the chipmunk over. Darn!

My very act of trying to avoid the chipmunk may have been what caused the accident to happen, since s/he could not adjust to my change in speed or trajectory. Likewise, when “trying” too hard in life more generally, I often err in my human relations, too. Darn! So, patience with myself, acceptance of my limitations or the limitations of the situation as I/ we aim to see and respond, better.

I welcome YOUR Story and Comments!

 

Eagle with Snake

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While driving in my car via a new route for me, from Ithaca to finally settle in at my new lakeside community retirement house, I watched as a Golden Eagle carried its living prey: a snake, dangling from its beak. The eagle with snake flew in front of my car in my same direction for a long while, weaving back and forth like blazing my trail forward; then it veered off to the northwest, precisely in the direction of my new home.

I certainly accepted this unusual experience as a waking dream, and one that relates greatly to my June question: ‘Why Am I Here?’

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My initial personal associations with this sign include that the Eagle could be understood as an Animus (a masculine energy form) in Jungian terms, with keen vision, sharp talons to provide for its young; also as positive purpose and clear directionality.

Online some of the information I discovered about this image revealed:

  •  Eagles and hawks have the keenest vision of all birds; therefore they are symbols of visionaries and messengers;
  • eagle with snake, in mythology, represents the conflict of opposites (a dialectical, dynamic fusion);
  • the Mexican flag contains the image of a golden eagle on top of a cactus, grasping a snake: “the very image the people had been promised would direct them to the place they would make their new home.”
  • Golden eagles do eat snakes but only as 2.9% of their usual prey; this has not even been reported to occur in New York state.

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images are from pixabay.com

I am grateful for this sign which feels like a blessing for my purpose in my new home. May I serve Life here in whatever capacity I am able.

I welcome YOUR Story and Comments!

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!

Make Every Day a Good Day

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My waking dream this month is from a book called Wisdom of the Heart, by Harold Klemp:

“…life does not give rewards for good

or punishment for evil. It merely gives

results. Life is what you make it.” (pg. 26)

The same author says, “Make every day a good day.”  I found this gem a few days ago and have been using it like a mantra. Each day has been a gem of its own so  far, with new connections, insights and positive motion forward with responsibilities and creative projects.

Starting over–ostensibly alone but for my pet family–carries a full load of worries or trepidation as well as excitement and adventurous, fresh opportunities. Mainly I am faced daily with choices: everything from what Medicare plan to enroll in–as I turn 65 next month–to when it would be best to start social security allotments, how to address health matters, and how best to follow through with new local connections and with my writing and service ambitions.

I am approaching every new day as like a time capsule, using lists to keep me focused on what I need to do each day to fully ‘move in,’ to conquer immediate fears or anxieties, and to shape my new way of life in a new environs. A move is such a golden opportunity to establish yourself in a manner that accords with your current state of consciousness and intentions.

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images are from pixabay.com

I find I truly am now, mainly, gratefully, “living my Dream, Now!” every day. That does not mean everything is smooth sailing. In fact, to move forward consciously requires attending to my habits and thoughts, to choose wisely that which will continue to allow this Dream to unfold naturally and with beauty.

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.

What Difference Does It Make? Double Ballestra!

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This month I am framing a lifelong question of “What difference does it make?” Similar to my question from last month of “So what” or “what then?” I have often returned to this question in times of deep transition or choice. It relates now for me to how best to proceed “forward” with my current relocation process. I do not want to settle as I gradually assume more of a retirement income; I always aim to live a life of value not just to myself but to others, to life itself.  Every action, every thought, every creative or productive expression should matter or I feel I am wasting God-given energy, intelligence, love. So, ‘what difference does it make?’ propels me to continue with my writing and to figure out how best to offer services related to the Life Path Mapping process I have been blessed to develop over the last decade or so. So far, though, visiting my new home while still completing a semester of classroom as well as online teaching has left me just settling in. Like a recluse, I enjoy the new home but have not been very active.

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Already I have had a significant dream this month about my question. It was a fencing dream. In the dream I discover a fencing club or team at a new location, so I go around looking for equipment so I can join the team. I realize that in the past when I have needed a major boost in life, I have returned to fencing, either in reality or in my dreams. When I was finally ready t complete my dissertation in Phoenix, I joined a community college fencing team with a former Olympian coach. This gave me the impetus to carry forward; within six months after three years of slower progress, I finished my dissertation, graduated, and moved to take a university position in Colorado.

Advance; retreat; feint; attack; retreat/ defend; parry-riposte; double advance; coupé-disengage; fence without a blade; shield with parry; distance control; beat-feint, advance; bind; retreat; double-ballestra-beat-disengage-coupé-fleche—touché!

The above syntax reflects the sort of thought process I would engage with in a typical fencing bout, at the height of my fencing skills.  Fencing is a constant flux of action and reaction, a continuous flow of positive intention to find an opening and defend one’s ground and person along the way. The final successful touch is so exhilarating; I have never experienced anything remotely as satisfying or completing…to land a touch is to make a difference, surely!

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Because I am short and fencing generally favors tallness, my own strategy would be to stay out of reach of the opponent while figuring out her patterns and discerning vulnerability. Then on a final flourish I would do a double or triple ballestra (a forward jumping motion), culminating in a fleche which is an outright running attack, landing the point while running past the often then bewildered opponent. If I failed, at least I usually would not be hit (though might be!) I could start the process over and improve upon the maneuvers to build a new attack or wait for their attack instead and counter it quickly. Even remembering these moves stirs my enthusiasm.

The solution to inaction is action! Engagement. Stepping forth. So HOW to make it count, HOW to make a difference supercedes the fear of not succeeding. What is worth doing is worth doing well. May I draw upon this awareness in forging the new life ahead.

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images are from pixabay.com

What is your pressing question this month? I encourage you to dream and contemplate its meaning and significance. Forge on!

Ehwaz—A Better Endings Answer to ‘What Then?’

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Week Four of each month this year I am inviting you to write your own Better Endings story or scenario relating to going forward in your life based on insights you have gained from contemplating a monthly question pertaining to your personal life Quest.

For me through February I have been contemplating the personally meaningful question of ‘What Then?’  I have arrived at some valuable insights from dreams and ‘waking dreams’ about this question.  One amazing dream showed a woman (a spiritual Guide and/or my realtor) ceremoniously carrying a large spruce branch as she approaches the new home I am in process of moving into as my new writing and retirement home. This was a wonderful image as I associate a spruce branch with cleansing and with new growth, so this dream vision portends great new potentials for a fresh, creatively productive life in my new home and location.

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Just this past Tuesday I received another very relevant waking dream: a photographic slide made into a pin that was among a set of these the Art History department where I am teaching left out for people to take as a gift. The ‘art pin’ slide image I selected is a sculpture called “Horse and Rider” (by Maria Marini, 1945-1950). The abstractionist metal sculpture depicts—to me, though at closer inspection online the rider is nude (see below)– a Medieval knight wearing a helmet astride a horse whose head juts forward while the rider has his arms fully extended outward to both sides.

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I have always found the symbol of horse-and-rider significant personally. The Nordic runes I have sometimes consulted have a Horse and Rider “partnership” rune called Ehwaz.

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images are from pixabay.com

This rune draws attention to a partnership or friendship relationship of any sort (with another person, animal companions, or a creative project).  Here is an interpretation:

How to Interpret “Ehwaz”  (https://www.ifate.com/rune-meanings/what-does-the-ehwaz-rune-mean.html) :

Most simply put, Ehwaz symbolizes ‘forward energy and movement’. Ehwaz may represent general travel and steady progress– or it may literally represent a car, plane or another method of transportation. Ehwaz also symbolizes communication over long distances, and can refer to an important message that one will give or receive. Harmonious concord and pulling together as a team is also referenced here. When Ehwaz appears in a spread, it empowers the runes around it and augments their meanings simply by virtue of its directional energy and forward movement. Teamwork, forward-motion, communication, and consistent drive will win the day when this rune turns up.

So, let me try my hand at a Better Endings story based on this image of Ehwaz along with other insights arrived at this month from asking ‘What Then?’:

‘What Then? sang Plato’s ghost;

What Then? W.B. Yeats

            My partial retirement and relocation to the Godsend of my new home are about riding forward, not settling back into any less active or less creatively or spiritually productive way of life. This gift I have gratefully accepted of retiring a bit earlier than most while still continuing to teach online from a remote location allows me to step up, not down; to continue to develop book sales and offer life mapping services related to my new book, Your Life Path (see side panel to order!) while writing forward to complete the next 2-3 books in my Life Paths series.

 Your Life Path

Horse-and-Rider is an image meant not only for myself alone; it betokens what the Life Path Mapping Process provided within my book can offer to anyone: a creative, practical toolkit for integrating and aligning the Self with Life Itself; i.e. with Spirit or the Universal Life Force. Life Path Mapping can help anyone to reflect upon and envision or even re-model their life course according to their highest, deepest sense of purpose, their Life Dream.

I ride forth from Here, arms outstretched and open to new potentials, to fulfill the life purpose that has brought me to this space. I ride my Spirit Horse with trust and loving gratitude, whatever the future might bring.

The horse-and-rider partnership also reminds me of one of my favorite Irish film stories, Into the West. A set of brothers have lost their mother and have been separated by their despondent father from their spiritual heartland and heritage as Travelers. A white horse depicting the mythic Tir na nOg arrives and transports them, propels them, back to the Western seas where they will metaphorically reunite with their Mother, with their very Soul.

Funny that my current relocation process propels me Westward from where I have temporarily paused en route to re-engaging my deeper Purpose. I accept! Thank You, my Spirit Horse, my family, friends and pet companions all, and my spiritual Guides. May the Blessings Be!

So what about you? I encourage you to journal or to write a Better Endings story about your recent insights regarding a deeply meaningful question you have been pondering. Writing can help you to exteriorize your process and keeps open the channels of communication between your Mind, Heart, and Spirit!

 

 

 

Reading the Tea Leaves (Pay Attention to Your Signs)

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“Not everything has meaning!”
(my college fencing coach Roxanne, en route to a competition in NYC)

Later, to myself: “No, but anything can!”

I am a huge believer in using outer signs for listening to and following inner guidance. I have found through long experience that so long as I reflect deeply and act in a balanced way in response to ‘waking dreams’ that catch my attention while I am mulling over some question or pursuing some meaningful goal, good things follow.

Responding to outer signs can help to keep the flow of communication open between Spirit or the Universe, Inner Guides or whatever you prefer to acknowledge, and your own higher awareness. The more you can progress in tandem with your inner nudges or guidance, the easier it becomes over time to wend your way through challenging situations and key decisions; and, life is more fun!

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So what are your ‘tea leaves’ telling you this month about some meaningful question you are pondering? Pay attention to the slightest waking dreams or outer signs: random seeming thoughts or insights you may have; statements that stand out to you from a passerby or on tv or in your reading; roadside messages on signs that you pass, or even bumper stickers that catch your eye… Any of these or several taken together could offer you a breakthrough insight on your problem or query.

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Some people like to set up an image or a specific object that they will see if their potential decision is correct.

If you want to try this, you can set up a sign of affirmation for your question that would not be common or likely for you to see, and you can set a time frame as well for encountering your sign. When I was working on my final book proposal for Your Life Path (see right panel), I set up the sign of a blue butterfly if I was going to be able to find a publisher. Right around the time my wonderful literary agent began circulating the book proposal, I started seeing blue butterflies everywhere. This encouraged me with every step of the proposal and publishing process. Now I have several items in my home with blue butterflies on them to remind me that this book process has initiated a longterm project, with much yet to come for me to fully realize its potentials in terms of writing and service.

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images are from pixabay.com

What are you asking to better understand or what decision are you weighing? Pay attention to YOUR outer signs; they are all around!

What Then? (Week Two: the Dreaming)

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For Week Two of our monthly Better Endings process this year, I ask you to reflect on your dreams or inner guidance with respect to a monthly personal question or quest.

I have been dreaming a lot this past two weeks since posing the question, “What Then?” In one dream a friend standing behind me introduces me to a couple of potential new friends in a new location. As I am in transition already, moving gradually to my new home in a new town for me, this seems quite likely! I took note of the appearance of the two potential new friends so I might recognize them when or if this comes about outwardly.

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Another dream shows me (from my dream journal): “approaching a space, like a hole on a white membrane, that if I were to enter, it ‘would go on forever… like a wormhole’.” It felt like a purification portal of some sort–I woke up wondering what it would mean to enter into that space and sensed it would be “transformative” and that it indicates a passage to embracing or becoming/ joining with “all that IS.”

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images are from pixabay.com

These two dreams taken together both are positive indicators that the new direction I have already embarked upon is a forward motion, advancing into new potentials. A step into an apparent void, perhaps, yet clearly full of positive potentials. The wormhole-like image felt as though to enter would be like a death or a near-death experience. Yet it was placed before me as what is next, something I must enter into, a natural passage of spiritual development even though it is a mysterious movement into a void or the Unknown.

Ready, Set, I Accept!

What are YOUR dreams telling you this week or month about some deep personal question you are contemplating? I encourage you to keep a dream journal and to review it at least once a week. I had forgotten the “wormhole” dream until reviewing my dream journal. (Interesting, though, how I used a wormhole picture in last week’s blog post when I first established my monthly quest for understanding.)

Dream On!

What Then?

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“They went from world to world,

and each time they lost the world they left, 

lost it in time dilation, their friends

getting old and dying while they were in NAFAL flight.

If there were a way to live in their own time,

and yet move among the worlds,

they wanted to try it. …

(Ursula LeGuin, “The Shubies’ Story”)

I envisioned. Wrote, edited,published, prepared for the Big Move, left… to live my dream, Now! Arrived at one place, then searched for the next. Found it. A refuge for me and my pet family. Moving, again.

But, why all this? Or as W. B. Yeats once asked:

“What Then?”

His chosen comrades thought at school
He must grow a famous man;
He thought the same and lived by rule,
All his twenties crammed with toil;
What then?’ sang Plato’s ghost.  ‘What then?’

Everything he wrote was read,
After certain years he won
Sufficient money for his need,
Friends that have been friends indeed;
What then?’ sang Plato’s ghost.  ‘ What then?’

All his happier dreams came true –
A small old house, wife, daughter, son,
Grounds where plum and cabbage grew,
poets and Wits about him drew;
What then.?’ sang Plato’s ghost.  ‘What then?’

The work is done,’ grown old he thought,
‘According to my boyish plan;
Let the fools rage, I swerved in naught,
Something to perfection brought’;
But louder sang that ghost, ‘What then?’

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I once posed a similar or perhaps it was the same question to a Philosopher, my college mentor, Dr Antoinette Patterson in Buffalo, NY.  I was glum that day.

“So, what?”

I asked Toni in her office, there for an independent study session on a topic we had agreed to, the ‘philosophy of Silence’. 

“Take out a pencil and a piece of paper, and write down

two words and a question mark:

So   What ?   Your assignment by next week

is to answer that question.”

Bemused by my mentor’s response to what I thought was a futile question, I went off to seek for answers.  I read an essay by Emerson called “The Transparent Eyeball” and many poems and essays about silence, thinking somehow that must connect. Who was I beyond my embodied personality; what was Life beyond the day to day back and forth of conversations and classes?

When I went back to Toni’s office for our session that next Wednesday, she was waiting for me. After I shared about what I had been reading and journaling about, having not really answered the question at all, she took me to a far corner of her office where she had set up a card table with a large, empty sheet of sketch paper she had laid across it. She had me write “WH-” words on every corner of the page:

What? 

Why?                                            Where?

When?

Dr. P. then used a pencil to draw connections between these WH- words, allowing the  lines of connection to intersect at the center of the page where she drew a blank circle and wrote in that space one word:

W  H  A  N

There before us on the page was our answer to the proverbial question.

So What?

Whan.

In that moment in that office on that one day, nothing seemed clearer than that one discovery: the answer to every question about meaning or purpose, about Why/ Where/ When/ What resolves to a singular unity: WHAN!

As we discussed what is WHAN, I realized it meant not to worry about Why? or what Matters. Life IS, therefore life is meaningful of Itself alone; and no amount of thinking or wishing or proving or disproving would ever have any effect upon that which simply IS. Whan! and so Life flows forth and I must with it, wherever It may lead.

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images are from pixabay.com

So this is my monthly Better Endings life question to answer for myself this February:

What Then?

I sense this is the natural follow-up question to the discovery of Whan!

I welcome YOUR Story and Comments. I encourage you to form a personal monthly question to explore with your dreams and contemplation this month.

Better Endings Stories/ Month One

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The process I am encouraging you to engage with this year is a Better Endings approach. Week One for each month you may pose a personal question involving a deep personal life goal or pursuit. Week Two: record and reflect on your nightly dreams for insights about your question. Week Three: look for Waking Dreams that could further help you to understand and resolve your question. Then Week Four (this week for January), I invite you to compose or creatively envision a Better Endings Story about how you CAN manifest a positive future scenario with regard to your personal quest.

Creative visualization via active imagination or contemplation is a fun, helpful Tool that lets us exercise our Higher Self imagination.

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So, let’s have at! It can help to give a title to your Better Endings future scenario. Use the insights you have been gathering about your question throughout the month. My own BE Story for January, by way of example, is:

Writing Forth

The path is being cleared even now for me to go forth, to finally settle into my writing future at my new home. It is amazing how swiftly the universe of Spirit has opened this new space which is exactly what I need for moving ahead.

Now is a time for doing what I can to prepare the ground and nourish the roots for future growth. Interesting how my sister gave me a spruce/ evergreen tree which is sprouting new growth wildly now and that my strongest dream was of a woman in white clearing the path ahead with a spruce branch. 

I will design my new home, which I am closing on this Friday, as a constant writing retreat. There is a writers group that meets Fridays 10-12 at the nearby library from there. And it is closer to a wider community interested in body-mind-spirit topics with which my writing projects connect.  I can finally settle down to publish the first of my science fiction/ fantasy books while also offering life mapping services re. Your Life Path (see right panel to order) and completing the second manuscript on the Life Paths series.

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images are from pixabay.com

So, I invite you to reflect on a question you have been pondering this month (or you can establish one now). What insights have you gained this month as you contemplate your question? It is part of your greater Life Quest. Once you have assembled some of your insights around your question, write a Better Endings Story!

I welcome Your Story or Comments.

Dreamin’

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Last week I invited you to state a personal question for the month to explore by reflecting on your dreams, your inner guidance, and outer ‘signs’ or synchronicity (waking dreams). Please review your question again or develop one now. This week, I invite you to reflect on your question by posing your question inwardly to invoke nighttime dreams about your topic, and/or to review and reflect upon your recent dreams that are relevant to your question.

For my part, second week posts will include some dream tips as well as modeling from my own process and experiences.

Dream Tip:  A.C.T. on your dreams! To me this means: 1) ASK for (and then ACCESS or record) dreams that are relevant to your personal question. Then 2) CONSIDER or CONTEMPLATE the messages from the relevant dreams you receive. And 3) TAKE ACTION based on the dream’s message as you understand it, to manifest positive personal growth and development.

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Dreams are our personal inner laboratory for exploring any question, principle, or choice we may have as well as being a fertile, unlimited field for exploring the inner landscape of the Cosmos!

Example: My own question for this month is about how I can revitalize my writing activity and move forward with that creative and service oriented process despite being overburdened with responsibilities and necessary new home mortgage procedures (I will be moving again, gradually from Feb 1 til July, and meanwhile moving back and forth between two residences as of Feb 1.) This week I am asking for dreams and reviewing my dream journal (Tip 2: Always keep a dream journal and review it often.)

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I have kept a dream journal (within a larger journal usually) since I was twenty.  I know that when I do have a pressing personal question, reviewing my dream journal will always throw light upon that question because I know we mull over our deep questions inwardly sometimes even before we are consciously aware of the importance of a challenge or issue we are pondering.

Some dream journal entries relevant to my question:

8/12/18 [just after relocation]: Dreamed of worry over future employment and service potentials after graduating from grad school [as though I just had left college]. I know this represents my lifelong concern over making a difference: ‘What difference does it make?’ or settling into a life with a lack of creative productivity.

8/18/18: An adventure dream –in story form– Russell Crowe as the older and me as the younger Self. We stop by a room with xmas decorations we have set up, en route to some upcoming activity. I see someone else, a friend from from my past, will be involved with that upcoming activity.

8/27/18: Dream of presenting a partially completed manuscript to  an advisor–thinking it was in good form but open it and it is like a seafood gumbo: a miasma! So, it is back to work.

1/6/2019: See a lady in white going before me and to left along a trail going upwards, carrying a large pine branch. I follow humbly and am grateful.

This morning (1/9/19): Mulling over a question about how to proceed forward and am shown this  “hole” on a white field, that sucks in like a whirlpool drain in a sink…maybe a wormhole! But as I contemplate whether to dive into it (as being proposed inwardly for me to do), I have a fear because I am told the “It goes on forever!” My fear is that everything I have ever been, known, or done will be dissolved, and if it goes on forever, how will I ever emerge to have any solid reality ever again? (on waking, think the message is that this positive, needed leap of faith is to be very deeply TRANSFORMATIVE!)

REFLECTION/ INTERPRETATIONS : 

Two of the dreams show a higher (or elder) and a younger (or outer) Self, or a Guide I am learning from or following. That Higher Self/ Guide is blazing a trail or helping me with my creative and spiritual ambitions. The pine branch means clearing a pathway forward (and now I see the lady in white possibly as my current realtor who has found my next location, a great space for writing!) The future is about transformation and will require dropping the past…plunging into the void of new experience!

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images are from pixabay.com

So, dear Better Endings reader, go forth! Review or start a new dream journal for this year’s process and ask/ write out your question inwardly, then review your Dreams.

I welcome YOUR Story, Questions, and Comments!

A NEW YEAR of Better Endings

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This new year at Better Endings for Your Life Path let’s explore Tools for Better

Endings. I will introduce and model the Tools each week and I invite YOU to

practice Better-Endering on your own! You are welcome to send me your story

(lkwatts@uccs.edu) if you would like me to share it on the blog (I will give you an

author’s byline if you’d like for your Better Endings reflections or story). 

We will practice FOUR Tools for Better Endings relating to a personal Question or Goal you can set in Week One of every month: 

Week One (of each month):  I invite you to set a personal Question related to a Goal you are contemplating in your life.

Week Two:  Consider any DREAM events, dream messages or dream images relating to your Question or Goal. You may reflect on current dreams or on earlier dreams you still can recall that relate to you Question or Goal.

Week Three:  You can explore your inner guidance that relates to your Question or Goal. For instance, what waking dreams, mindful insights, synchronicity, or Golden Tongued Wisdom are you aware of that relates to your Question or Goal?

Week Four:  I invite you to journal about or write out a Better Endings Story. With this story or journal entry you can envision a Better Ending solution and implementation of that solution and insights you have gained with regard to your monthly personal Question or Goal.

Daily Miracles

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For this final post about our monthly theme of Spirituality as a Life Theme, I’d like to express gratitude for those daily miracles that happened just two days ago and indicated to me the ever-present protection and guidance of Spirit.

I drove to New Jersey then took a subway train to Manhattan for lunch with my wonderful, excellent literary agent (pinch!), then back again in time to give my dog Sophie her dinner and insulin. All day I noticed the miraculous workings of this tandem relationship with Spirit.

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Once while driving I was nearly in what would have been a terrible accident. I pulled into the left lane but a car was already there, in my blind spot! For a dangerous, long moment we shared the same lane. I was able to fold back unto the right lane just a fragment of time before the worst would have occurred. It felt like there was a force field separating our two vehicles just to the perfect degree to allow us to adjust and correct the situation.

At the subway station in Journal Square, Jersey City, I had only a short time left to reach Manhattan in time for my meeting, and all of the spaces in the parking structure were taken. I drove around three times and came to the realization I would need to exit the parking garage and try my luck outside in the mayhem of the over-crowded street parking, which would make it nearly impossible to stay on schedule. Instead, as I was ruefully leaving the parking structure, just one parking space, just wide enough for my car to fit into, miraculously appeared. I had been driving around hoping for someone to leave, and no one had left, I was sure!

Once in New York, hailing a cab was no ordeal at all; both going to and returning from the restaurant across from Central Park a taxi pulled over immediately.

Lunch went splendidly as always with this amazing, brilliant soul who sees and inspires the value of my writing. She gave good advice and guidance about promoting my new book, Your Life Path (see right panel or click here to order), telling me I need to promote the book in every blog post (😊). We also talked about my next book which is in progress.

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images are from pixabay.com

Then the return trip was smooth, bringing me home—thanks to the excellent voice guidance of Siri on my phone—just in time for my Sophie to receive her meal and insulin in a timely manner. Once while I was booking it homeward a squirrel found itself in my lane and s/he literally high-tailed it—now I understand that phrase. Its tail fluffed high as it scooted quickly out of danger, so quickly that it looked like a gentle hand of Spirit must have cupped it from behind and given a needed push! Usually squirrels tend to slow down when confused in such a situation, so again I was grateful for the intervention.

So, home safely, I was reminded of the quote I was going to be posting as the full post today. It is about the subtle nature of Spirit or the Universe, the Force; whatever you choose to know It as. Paul Twitchell wrote that Spirit is:

“…that thread, so fine as to be invisible yet so strong as to be unbreakable, that binds together all beings in all planes, and beyond time into eternity.”

I welcome YOUR Story and Comments!

Education is the Key

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Life is the greatest teacher, when we allow it to be. Every one of us could title our Life Story: The Education of (Your Name).

Education, or learning generally, is the key to unlocking more than just knowledge but potentially wisdom.  What is that difference, for you? For me it is not merely knowing WHAT, but WHY and ethically HOW.

Education is  a reciprocal relationship with with life and/or with other beings. We teach–intentionally or not–from our experiences; we learn from observing or interacting with others or with nature or Spirit.

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At best, our education equips us to embark upon and to learn and teach from new, “fresh” experiences.  An experience is new only if we can approach it from a fresh perspective, applying what we have learned previously. I like to remember the psychology premise that says, if you keep repeating the same ‘mistake’ or running into the same “wall,” then perhaps it is time to go AROUND it.

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images are from pixabay.com

One way to tap into your daily education is to journal and/or to actively contemplate every day.  In your journal you can ask:

What Have I Learned Today?

What Have I Taught?

How might what you discover from journaling about or reflecting on these questions equip you for something ‘new’?

I welcome YOUR Story and Comments

Friends as a Life Theme

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Many life mappers identify Friends as a primary Life Theme that brings positive inspiration and encouragement into their lives.  Friends are for many of us as significant as Family, especially in our contemporary society where so often we need to live away from our natal family to work or go to school away from our original homes. So this month’s Better Endings topic is the Life Theme of Friends. (To discover your own primary Life Themes, purchase or find my book at a local library: Your Life Path, which provides a complete Life Path Mapping Toolkit!)

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Friends have always been core to me. The sharing and unconditional reciprocity of a true, lasting friendship anchors my sense of purpose and brings great joy. I love the constancy of a true friend. Even though we may have our ups and downs or may be nearer or more distant geographically over time, a Friend is always Here, in our hearts.

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images are from pixabay.com

To begin this month’s set of posts about Friends, I turn to Khalil Gibran, whose essay on Friendship I remember since I first read it forty-five or so years ago.  I especially remember from Gibran’s essay how important it is to share the positive as well as your fears or frustrations with your Friend.

Celebrate the joy of your deep connection with your Friend.  This reminds me also of Rumi’s spiritual teacher and guide whom he refers to as The Friend, Shams-I- Tabriz. For a Friend is a Teacher of love and respect, one with whom we share unconditional, even an Eternal spiritual connection.

So for your reading pleasure, here below is Gibran on Friendship:

On Friendship
 Kahlil Gibran

Your friend is your needs answered.
He is your field which you sow with love and reap with thanksgiving.
And he is your board and your fireside.
For you come to him with your hunger, and you seek him for peace.

When your friend speaks his mind you fear not the “nay” in your own mind, nor do you withhold the “ay.”
And when he is silent your heart ceases not to listen to his heart;
For without words, in friendship, all thoughts, all desires, all expectations are born and shared, with joy that is unacclaimed.
When you part from your friend, you grieve not;
For that which you love most in him may be clearer in his absence, as the mountain to the climber is clearer from the plain.
And let there be no purpose in friendship save the deepening of the spirit.
For love that seeks aught but the disclosure of its own mystery is not love but a net cast forth: and only the unprofitable is caught.

And let your best be for your friend.
If he must know the ebb of your tide, let him know its flood also.
For what is your friend that you should seek him with hours to kill?
Seek him always with hours to live.
For it is his to fill your need, but not your emptiness.
And in the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter, and sharing of pleasures.
For in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed.

Family–Where Our Lives Begin

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For May, our Life Theme topic is Family. In the over 550 life maps I have helped people create, I would estimate over 95% contain Family or an aspect of that (e.g. Parents, Mother, Father, Sister, Brother, Grandparents, etc.) as a primary theme that has been a fundamental ‘shaping’ factor in their lives.

Of course, for most Westerners at least, Family is most often the dominant Life Theme in one’s early, formative years, then after a person ‘leaves the nest’ for school or a job or marriage, the original family may be less of a direct, daily influence. Yet because it was THE primary influence throughout childhood, our family is with us ALWAYS, unconsciously if not physically.

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pictures are from pixabay.com

So, reflect about how influential your family has been in shaping the person you have become. For this opening week I invite you simply to journal or tell a story about the role your Family has had in your life. I may add my example next time.

I welcome YOUR Comments and Story!