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A screen shot of my Kindle reader.
A screen shot of my Kindle reader.

It would help if I meditated.  Yes it would.  But writing helps too, and so I write.

What is it I need help with on this fine Saturday morning?  Nothing really.  I’m just a bit scattered.  Trying to land on something so I can concentrate enough to do what needs doing.  I’m working on a few things.  A new workshop.  A talk.  Two books.  Trying to figure out technically how to create an online self guided class (if anyone is moved to help me with this one I sure would appreciate it).  

I discovered a few daffodil plants in my yard last week, and today they are blooming!  I love the spring bulbs and will plant more of those in the fall, so that next spring I will have even more.  I could create a new version of Daffodil Hill, since weather eliminated my annual spring trip this year.

I believe I will make a batch of chili today.  Monthly pot luck is tonight and it is good chili weather.

My photo today is a screen shot of my Kindle.  Yes, I read a lot.  Most books I read all the way through, then return to them again and again for research.  Some are for pure entertainment purposes.  Those are the ones with the semi naked men on the covers.  

Today I turned to Joseph Campbell for a bit of inspiration.  He always seems to just dial it in for me.

“The world is perfect. It’s a mess. It has always been a mess. We are not going to change it. Our job is to straighten out our own lives.”  I often tell my clients that they cannot do anything about what anyone else is doing.  They usually do not want to hear that.  I don’t want to hear it.  But it is true.

“The Hoarder, the one in us that wants to keep, to hold on, must be killed. If we are hanging onto the form now, we’re not going to have the form next. You can’t make an omelet without breaking eggs. Destruction before creation.”  Yes, we must let go of what is in order to move into our next greatest level of expression.  I’ve been using that phrase for quite some time, and just recently discovered that Joseph Campbell said something similar.  Unfortunately, it is my experience that most people would rather live with the devil they know about than move into something new.  The unknown is much scarier than the known, even if the known is shitty and the new is likely to be better.  So they stay stuck, they hoard, and fight any destruction that may be happening.  I’ve seen people do this to their death.  Literally.  Sigh. 

“Out of perfection nothing can be made. Every process involves breaking something up. The earth must be broken to bring forth life. If the seed does not die, there is no plant. Bread results from the death of wheat.”  People come to me when they are in pain, and without exception, I discover that the pain is just a symptom of a lifelong pattern.  The solution to the pain is in recognizing the pattern and then changing the pattern, from the inside out.  But most folks don’t want to do this.  They want instant gratification, a quick fix.  The idea of taking a look at the pain and the messages it has for them is not something they are even willing to consider.

“When seeking your partner, if your intuition is a virtuous one, you will find him or her. If not, you’ll keep finding the wrong person.”  I’ve often put it like this:  water seeks it’s own level, and we humans are made primarily of water.  Another thing people do not want to hear.  They would rather blame the other.

I’m reading a new book, it’s called A New Republic of the Heart.  I’m only 7% into it, and still reading about the problem.  They haven’t gotten into the solution yet.  Perhaps that is part of the reason why I’m feeling a bit pessimistic this morning and why my writing seems a bit cynical.  But I will persevere in reading this one, because I trust the folks who recommended this particular book.

And isn’t that what ultimately provides the willingness to hang out in the pain for a while, to examine it and discover the lessons it has for us?  Trust.  Or faith.  Call it what you will.  We need to trust that it will be better, or else why would we subject ourselves to this shit?  Trust or faith is one of those things I find difficult to describe. I have ultimate faith in a Power that I like to call The Force.  It is within me, a part of me.  This means I also trust my instincts, inclinations, and ideas.  It took a while to get to that point, and today, when I work with folks who simply cannot believe in a religious God, that male entity that is so separate from them as to be unreachable, and I present the idea that perhaps God is hiding in a place they would never think to look, within them, well, let’s just say the rebellion reminds me of a teenager, plotting to run away in the middle of the night because no one can tell them what to do!  They refuse to consider anything different, and they refuse to consider anything known.  They create their own stuckness.  And yet, when I speak with people about this, they remain stuck.  They refuse to consider that their stuckness is not a barrier but a cleverly concealed path to joy and freedom.  They go away, and call themselves seekers, and never find anything.  The truth is there is nothing to seek, and nothing to find, there is only our own incredible power to create.  But sometimes we misuse that power.

So it seems as if today I am inspired to be cynical.  To be pessimistic.  To be real here, I know the reason for this and it has nothing to do with the latest book I am reading.  But I can’t reveal the reason because to do so would violate the privacy of another human being.  But I have clarity now, and that helps.  On days like today, sometimes it is all we can do to acknowledge the feelings and be gentle with oneself and move on as best we can.  And when the sadness and grief give way to anger, I will do my best to not react and do something that will get me into trouble.  And when the anger gives way to acceptance and I breathe a bit easier, I will then be able to explore what lessons are in this experience, for me.  

So that is what I will do today:  notice my feelings, notice the new life in the form of the daffodils in my yard, create something new in the form of the chili, share my creation with others tonight at the potluck.  And revel in the joy that is humanity, even in the midst of strife.  And that, my friends, is what faith looks like.

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I love the look on this face!  A sort of "Wait.....WHAT!?!?!?!?!?!?"

This is the look I sometimes get,  and the reaction I sometimes get, when I advise a client to go within.  When I ask for the reasoning behind such a response, the answers vary.  Some find the journey within to be dangerous, and their insides a place to not venture alone.  And some simply cannot or will not believe that going within is going to make any difference in their lives.

I will save the "dangerous place" responses for another post, because today I want to address the belief that going within will not make a difference.

I can state,  unequivocally, that going within DOES make a difference.

And I realize that most of us are trained to do just the opposite.  We are taught throughout our lives to do.....get a job, help others, clean house.  Basic variations of that, and the promise is that if we do those things life will be good.

But life isn't always good, no matter what we do.  And sometimes the doing is in direct conflict with how we feel on the inside, but we don't know it because we've never gone within to check out how we feel.  This doing rather than being is so insidious that I know people who are incapable of identifying their feelings.  And because of that, they live lives of lack and limitation and don't understand why.  They keep doing, and thinking things are going to turn around, and things don't turn around, and then frustration and anger gets added to the list.

Going within means exploring who and what we are....our feelings and thoughts which are based in beliefs and values.  Going within also means sometimes exploring the stories of our lives, not to relive them over and over, but to view past events from a new perspective, which allows us to move beyond the story and stop allowing ourselves to be victimized over and over again.

When we refuse to go within and view things from a different perspective, we can almost provide ourselves with a written guarantee that nothing will change in our lives.

The invitation is this:  if you are experiencing something that is not serving you, go within and explore the story.  Explore the times in your life when something similar has happened.  Look for the pattern, I guarantee there is one.  Look for the common ground, I guarantee there is that too.  When you discover the pattern and the common ground, you are then in a wonderful position, because then you will be able to change the only thing you can change:  yourself.  And when you change yourself, your outsides will automatically change.

I guarantee it.

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Every day, as part of my spiritual practice, I read from a couple of different daily readers. Today, both of them are about forgiveness. While some might consider this magical thinking, I've learned not to ignore stuff like this. When I get two readings on the same topic, it allows me to stop and take a closer look and ask myself: is there anything or anyone I need to forgive today in order to provide myself with relief? I spent some time in contemplation this morning and am happy to say that no, no forgiveness is needed today. I have no lingering feelings of resentment that need taken care of. But when I do, I take care of them.

I've learned a few things about forgiveness.  When I forgive, it doesn't excuse or condone bad behavior on the part of another.  Forgiveness really doesn't have anything to do with anything or anyone else.  Rather, forgiveness has to do with myself.  Forgiving gives me relief.  It frees me from victimhood.  Forgiveness feels like a huge weight lifted off my shoulders, allowing me to move easier and breathe freer.  When I forgive, I must also be willing to give up the  payoff that sometimes comes from lack of forgiveness.   Have you ever realized that not forgiving gives us a sort of feeling of power?  "I am strong!  I am NEVER going to allow that other person to think what they did was OK!"  Unfortunately, such a sense of power is false and will turn against us, making us sick.  And what we do doesn't have any bearing on what another thinks.  The real power comes from forgiving and moving on and fully enjoying life.

How about you? Is a lack of forgiveness preventing you from fully experiencing all the joy that life has to offer?