Do that to me one more time

My first Covid isolation a year ago was such a time of profound awakening that I must have asked the Universe for another dose, for here I am — today, the 15th of April 2021 — in Covid isolation again. Yet, I also find myself in a state of gratitude and delight, just as I did last year.

Indeed, words — those structures I have studied and loved all my life — appear now as divisions of what is, in my experience, a oneness of all that is and ever could be; an eternal Now. My words at best confuse, and at worst alienate all but those who have experienced this awakening. And they who know this feeling of absolute acceptance and love of what is, don’t need me to tell them about it. It is at once unable to be shared, yet freely available to all.

Life has become even more simple than last year. My job is still to notice how everything happens FOR me, not TO me, but there’s something else I’ve discovered. If I’m not able to do something — like speak, or walk — I’m being spared. For example, this bout of Covid leaves me exhausted with the slightest effort. (And I thought MS was fatiguing? Yikes.) I wondered who would take care of my little garden, for I knew if it was meant to be taken care of, someone would arrive to do it. Sure enough, my neighbors offered. They’re doing the watering and everything, and I get to view it from my living room window.

If you want to experience a life where beauty reigns and you feel like the wealthiest person in the world, you don’t need me to show you how (even if I could). I have no special skills whatsoever, and I’m no more “lucky” than anyone else. I found out I’m not a teacher at all; I am an eternal student. You are my teachers. If you enter my life, I will just listen (benefit of having no voice!). I don’t want to change you, but I remember when I did; when I thought I knew best. I too have felt “hard done by,” whether by disease, unemployment, abuse, or beliefs that I didn’t have or was not enough—and the agonizing emotions those thoughts triggered. I believed my thoughts for 60+ years and I got really good at finding the “proof” I needed to support them. Learning to undo my thinking took but a fraction of that time. I now question every thought that moves me from a place of joy, every day.

If you ask, I’ll gladly do what I can to help you achieve clarity of thought. Nothing you could say would shock, disgust, or change my love for you in any way. Know, though, that you already have the power to change your perspective and live a contented life. We all do.

Thank you for being in my life!

Brave in a New World

It’s been a time of profound awakening for me, this Covid “isolation.” So much so, that I find it impossible to describe the constant state of gratitude and delight in which I find myself. I’m brave in this New World.

Indeed, words — those structures I have studied and loved all my life — appear now as divisions of what is, in my experience, a oneness of all that is and ever could be; an eternal Now. My words at best confuse, and at worst alienate all but those who have experienced this awakening. And they who know this feeling of absolute acceptance and love of what is, don’t need me to tell them about it. It is at once unable to be shared, yet freely available to all.

Life is so very simple: my job is to notice how everything, but everything that happens, happens FOR me, not TO me. I could opt to record these noticings for posterity in this blog or in articles, but I prefer to go walkabout and revel in awareness. A new friend here in Reedsport said I was a beacon, drawing others into a circle of light. I love that! What’s funny is, I’d met him several times months ago, but he didn’t remember those meetings. I’m radiating at a different frequency these days, I guess.

If you want to experience beautiful clarity and bravery, you don’t need me. I am not a teacher; I am a student. You are my teachers. When you enter my life now, I mostly listen instead of talk. (I know! Hard to believe, eh?) I want to hear your story, and I don’t want to change one bit of it. I’ve been there, whether it’s disease, depression, or the belief that I don’t have or am not enough. I remember how it feels so true and real, and how agonizing it can be. I believed my thoughts for 65 years and I got really good at it. Undoing that thinking, though, took but a fraction of that time.

If you want my help, please ask. I’ll gladly do what I can because I love you, but know that you totally have the power yourself. We all do.

Trailing Clouds of Story Do We Come

Two friends recently received DNA test results that floored them: the stories they’d lived with for fifty-plus years were lies. Their grief increased when they learned everyone else in the family had known all along and kept the secret from them. Both have difficulty now trusting friends and family. What else might they be hiding?


What I shared with both friends is that they are not their stories. I and others love them for who they are: kind, witty, generous, creative, easygoing, intelligent. They would express these traits no matter where or to whom they were born.


I speak from experience. You see, I gave up a child for adoption in 1975, and she found me in 2018, through a cousin who’d had DNA testing. When we had our first encounter via FaceTime just before Mother’s Day, what struck me like a cannonball in the chest was that she was exactly how she would have been had I kept her myself. Yes, she looked like my mother (who died in 1994) and me, but what startled me most were her voice timbre…her sense of humor…her intelligence…her mannerisms…even the way she sang and danced with her children. Regardless of the back story, she was just her beautiful self.


Right after the conversation, I felt horror: I wouldn’t have needed to give her up! Rage at the lies told us and grief for the lost years nearly overwhelmed me. Love proved stronger than both grief and pride, thankfully, and now our whole family enjoys her presence.


Love won when it dawned on me we are not our stories—no matter how long we’ve believed in and cherished them. We’re born into our stories, and they’re heavily edited ones at that. Caregivers tell tales they believe are in our best interest. While time may prove those stories to have been more for their own interests doesn’t matter; people do their best at any given moment. Since most humans operate out of fear, however, it’s no wonder we rarely get the truth.


And that’s my point: no story is “true,” as in objective truth. Our vision and hearing are selective. “Truth” derives solely from our perceptions, which are filtered through our personal priority lens. Priorities change, and suddenly we discover the time for confessing has passed. We cross our fingers and hope to die with the secret unspoken.


Stories have this nasty habit of reincarnating, though. Just when we think it’s safe to look in that closet, out tumbles a skeleton, and the coverups restart. DNA testing has caused a sharp rise in de-closeted skeletons, has it not?


If it weren’t for skeletons, we’d have far fewer stories. As audience, we always know more than the poor protagonist: If it’s a quest, we know the hero will find their Grail. If it’s a mystery, we know someone will be found guilty of the crime. But when it’s non-genre, we don’t quite know what’s going to happen. We identify with the protagonist and hope for a happy ending.


What, then, is the difference between “real life” and stories about “real life”? Nothing. Nothing at all. We think there’s a difference, but it’s just that in one we’re the audience, and in the other, a character.


We enter life mid-narrative, our role already decided. The original script has been altered beyond recognition, yet everyone keeps playing their part, however unsuitable. We’re unaware we can change roles at any time; we don’t have to follow the script. We can scrap it altogether and start fresh.


After my daughter found me, I grieved for a time. Losing stories can feel exactly like losing a precious human or pet. Then, determined to suffer no more, I gave thanks for every single past experience and person I’d blamed for my nearly half-century of suffering. Not forgiveness: gratitude. There is nothing to forgive if everyone is, as I believe, doing the best they can. They’ve got their burden of untrue stories, too. Forgiving implies that my perception of events is more true than others’. It’s not. I don’t need apologies, nor do I extend them anymore. It’s simply not necessary.


Gratitude: that’s the key. After mentally thanking every event and person for the gift they’d given, I discovered I loved myself. For the first time in sixty-odd years, I love myself! Talk about miracles… but if I hadn’t had those experiences… if I hadn’t believed the stories… I would not be the person I am today. And I love me! A strange paradox: though we are not our stories, our stories act as a filter of our reality. We then make decisions based solely on what comes through that filter.


What we don’t realize is that no two filters are alike; no two humans view events in exactly the same way. Embracing this truth fosters compassion, and compassion leads to gratitude. I’ve chosen to view everything that comes my way as a gift—the best ones often arrive in shit-brown wrapping paper, BTW—and I give thanks for it. It not only brings me daily contentment, it obviates the need to retread the path of suffering.


Stay in your painful story if you choose. You’ll have a lot of company there, for we’ve long been told that suffering is mandatory, and life is hard and unfair. Those are lies, too. I no longer believe them for one second. Grieve your loss, yes; but know that suffering—the clinging to pain long past its usefulness—is optional.


We’ve all been lied to. We’ve all experienced betrayal. But if we move our mind’s eye, we will also see we had love, sunny days, and starry starry nights. When you filter life through gratitude instead of old stories, you’ll be astounded. Everything you ever needed or wanted sits there, just waiting for you to notice. Notice. Give thanks. Then go ahead—open your Present.

This article will appear in the Milwaukie-based arts and culture magazine 99E in 2020.

This IS My Normal

Wheelchair users get such questions by caring people as, “What happened?” or the more blunt, “What’s wrong with you?” When I hear those questions, I look around to see who they’re talking to, and then realize they’re talking to me. “Oh!” I say. “There’s nothing wrong with me. This is my normal.” They blink a few times, murmur “Oh…okay” and leave, perplexed.


People assume that if you’re in a wheelchair, there’s something wrong with you. Indeed, I believe many wheelchair users also believe there’s something wrong with them. They haven’t yet realized that their wheelchair is the most natural, practical, and helpful thing in the world—at least right now. Believing that you shouldn’t be in a wheelchair when in fact you are, causes deep suffering. I choose not to suffer in that way anymore.


We use words whose meanings we believe we share: honest, fair, or even our friend, normal. But the truth is, we do not share these meanings; we do, instead, create definitions based on our perceptions.


Let’s alter our perception of the term “perfect.” Doesn’t perfect mean that something or someone cannot get or be better than it is? In this moment, can you or I be different than we are? The key is: in this moment. And I hate to break it to you, but we only have this moment. We may choose to alter our behavior in the next moment, or the one after that, but there is no way in this moment to change what’s happening. By definition, it’s perfect. We confuse perfect with ideal. Ideals, when we feel we’re not meeting them, make us feel not-good-enough in that moment and thus rob us of our greatest gift: the present.


To believe that we are not “normal” also robs us of the present. It’s saying to the universe or your Higher Power: “Not good enough. I don’t want this present. Give me another one.” Don’t you hate hearing that after you’ve spent big money on the perfect gift? Yet many of us do this day in, day out.


Let’s get back to normal. We have the perception—aided and abetted by the billions of dollars poured into advertising—that there is a normal out there, and if we just buy/do/say the “right thing,” that normal can be ours. We who are older think we remember a time when we were normal. (Um…yeah.) We spend every waking moment and most of our savings trying to recapture that. (They don’t call it “lost youth” for nothing.) Young people spend their money and time trying to ward off or postpone the Demon, Age. (Thus, “youth is wasted on the young.”) Living in the past or fearing the future is a sure-fire way to waste your present in suffering. And it’s utterly needless, for neither past nor future normals exist. Few people recognize that the present is their normal, and it’s just perfect the way it is.


What great news! If you change how you think about it, then right-here-right-now, YOU’RE NORMAL! And your body knows exactly how to get you to your normal—not the ideal you’re harboring. It’s constantly giving you feedback. Maybe instead of muffling what it’s trying to tell you (with social media, drugs, alcohol, or shopping, to name a few), you might like to listen to it. Your body, with its neural networks and receptors and genes, works tirelessly and perfectly behind the scenes, listening to how unhappy you are and how you wish you were someone/somewhere/something else. It loves you anyway and gives you a constant stream of feedback to let you know what systems need your attention now—not twenty years from now, or twenty years ago. If you choose to listen, you can give it what it asks for: sleep, a good cry, exercise, nourishing food, pure water, a hug.


We arrived in life hardwired with incredible healing powers. We can switch our genes on and off with a mere thought; we can change the course of our own lives in a nanosecond. The caveat? We must be present to do so. We’ve been conditioned to regard our world in a binary way—good/bad; right/wrong; normal/not normal—as if we were computers and not humans. We wonder why we feel so out of place, and agonize because we don’t have/look/act like “everyone else.” It is very painful indeed for social animals like ourselves to feel like we’re just wrong the way we are; that we’re not normal. It’s painful because it’s so untrue. We are not just one thing or its opposite; there are as many normals as there are people. Not an ideal system, but it is perfect.


Our complex body systems have infinite capabilities and thus, an infinite number of “normals.” We’re equal spokes on the ginormous wheel of time, yet we each have a slightly different perspective of that wheel and our place in it. We cannot adjust its spin, but we can know we’re perfectly placed. And normal.

This article first appeared in Utah State University’s Center for Persons with Disabilities blog column, “A Rolling Perspective,” in October 2018.

Breaking News: Talk Not Cheap

TALK NO LONGER CHEAP

by Jennifer Holland, NBN Reporter


Necessarily Brief News reported today that the cost of Talk, once so cheap it could be ignored, has risen to the point that an as-yet-unidentified number of persons have lost everything: relationships, businesses, employment, and worse yet, Hope.

Experts were focused on world markets and various stock indices and did not notice Talk, specifically the Self/Own sector, making its meteoric rise until the Speech Bubble burst. NBN learned that millions, if not billions, of people have been affected by Talk’s steep cost increase. Horizon’s CEO, in a rushed interview, blurted: “No one thought they needed budget. Our ads misleading, ‘free talk/text.’ World under illusion quantity better than quality. Must—”

Human thought/talk expert Byron Katie could not be contacted by phone or email, so this reporter read one of her books. Apparently, self-talk trumps any other form. Disparaging comments directed toward one’s self ultimately affect a person’s health, wealth, relationships, and even happiness levels. People belittle and minimize themselves with shocking frequency, and their Mind believes every word. More important, Mind influences Brain to organize what it believes are successful outcomes to those thoughts, known for decades as “self-fulfilling prophecy.” Fearless questioning of one’s self-talk is, according to Katie, the only sure way to dam the rising flood of negativity that causes untold suffering.

Katie restates older texts here. The Bible’s Proverbs 23:7 notes that as we think in our hearts, so are we. Abraham Lincoln, a man of few but excellent words, noticed people were about as happy as they’d made up their minds to be. Humankind might have noticed the signs of impending doom had they (a) acknowledged sooner that their cell phone bills did not, in fact, total $0.00, and (b) paid more attention to their Self/Own talk than their mobile devices.

Citizens are urged to stop wasting their cell phone’s “free” minutes and spend time freeing themselves via nurturing Self/Own talk.
END TRANSMISSION

How to Give Peace a Chance

I wondered why my mind could not rest after reading and responding to Jan’s comment on my last blog. At length I realized my mind’s machinations were providing me with the last chapter of the how-to book I’m presently writing (as yet untitled, but The Art of Poverty has been bandied about). Though I’m reluctant to release details of the book prior to its publication, my mind cannot rest until I share these more general thoughts with you today.

I was never a contestant for Miss America, but I know my answer to the question, ‘What is your dream,’ would have been — and still is: World Peace. “Can’t be done,” says nearly everyone. And if nearly everyone believes that, they’re absolutely right, for as my friend Jody says, “Perception is reality.” Until we can see something in as much detail as possible in our Mind’s Eye, we have but an infinitesimal chance of achieving it. (You can see my earlier blog, ‘I Can’t See That Ever Happening,’ for a fuller discussion of this phenomenon.) When it comes to World Peace then, it would take a very large number of people indeed to make that happen, right?

Maybe not. Journeys begin with one step, and world peace begins with one person. We must make peace with our own world, our inner world and immediate outer world, first. That’s why I’m writing the book, but I only realized its larger import today. If we individually can see how amazing and creative we are when facing our own budgets, for example, and we see the fruits of our non-violent efforts on our own behalf to love and accept ourselves as we are, the ripple effect will be remarkable in the best of ways — even to the elusive concept that is World Peace.

You know, I taught ESL for years. I often quizzed my students as to why they chose to learn English, and especially why they chose to pretty much forsake their own beautiful languages and cultures in favor of the upstart, American English. My Chinese students confided that their number one reason for coming here was to learn how to be creative. As far as English went, they knew more grammar than I did, but the Chinese knew that that was not enough for success as they envisioned it. They wanted our ingenuity, not our language per se. Unwittingly, we gave this to them and a hundred other cultures because we mistakenly believed all they were interested in was the money they could earn by learning English.

Imagine that! Here’s a country — China — with however many millions/billions of people (as I mentioned yesterday, facts are not my forte; I’m a mystic, for Pete’s sake!), who could take the U.S. over by simply sending over their strongest and bravest young people and killing or maiming us before we had a chance. (You younger folks won’t know that various Menaces were portrayed for earlier generations in just this way.) But this never happened. Why? Because they discovered creativity is stronger than the sword.

As Americans, we have forgotten that it is our ingenuity that made us a world power in the first place, and it is that aspect of us that other countries want for their citizens. Thus, they send their students to learn our “secret recipe,” if you will. They observe and learn and return to their home countries to teach others. Meanwhile, we use the bulk of our money and ingenuity devising ways to kill and torture people. We send our bravest and strongest overseas with that murderous technology, and, unbelievably, in the name of peacekeeping or peace. Has there ever been such a dangerous oxymoron?

Citizens in some countries backed away quite a while ago, while others are only doing so now. They see the truths we stubbornly refuse to acknowledge. One of them is that the country who proudly brings you such earth-shattering inventions as drones to deliver pizzas, fifty ways to cure your hemorrhoids, and robots that will clean up your dog’s poop, seemingly cannot come up with a creative alternative to war, let alone ensure healthcare as a basic right, or clean air, or pure drinking water for all its citizens, and not just the rich few. They watch in horror as their belief in our democracy crumbles. They know that Democracy is a bottom-up process and not a top-down one; how do we not see that? They watch us charge into various countries — often unasked; or worse, having caused the mess in the first place — with the best of intentions, but placing us further trillions in debt. (I’m reminded of the times others tried to “help” when they were doing anything but. I know I’ve said, “Please, if I get any more of your ‘help,’ we’re all doomed.” I wish the countries who feel that way about the USA would just tell us!)

Seriously, would you be given several hundred thousand dollars because you wanted to keep pests out of your and your neighbors’ gardens? “But I’m doing a really great thing!” you tell the loan officer. The bank, knowing you make $1,000 a month and have a credit rating of 500, just gives you an incredulous stare and calls security. None of us are allowed to spend money so irresponsibly as does our government. We must scrimp and save and budget till we feel like we have been through a war ourselves.

That’s why I’m writing the book, which focuses on a concrete method of living happily within your budget. What I only copped on to today was that the method works not only for individuals, but societies. If enough people realize that their ability to creatively control their lives (including their budgets) can be extrapolated to their fellow citizens, world peace could actually ensue. The reason I couldn’t stop thinking about yesterday’s blog was that I hadn’t realized I’d actually discovered a way to World Peace. That’s what I always wanted, yet thought I was being too idealistic and naive. (And you thought so, too, I know:D). Watch this space, folks; watch this space.

It takes courage to envision a new future, and a lot of creativity. Bombing the hell out of people and places is so 2016. I love the words from a Michael Franti song, a man who also believes things can change: “You can bomb the world to pieces, but you can’t bomb the world to peace.” Amen, bro. I’m reminded, too, of a Vietnam-era poster that said, “What if they gave a war and nobody came?” These statements are meant to raise our consciousness and allow the creative process to begin: the imagining that John Lennon so beautifully articulated in his immortal song.

You can have peace in your lifetime, whether it’s world-wide or not. It really is up to you.

 

Bring Them Home

I had an entirely different topic in mind for this blog, a very upbeat look at the New Year, but the shutdown of our government presents such an amazing opportunity to change the world for the better, I could not resist proposing at least one option: Let’s take this chance to bring our children and grandchildren serving in the military home. Get them out of Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and a place most of us didn’t even realize our children were being killed — Yemen.*

Learning that the military leaders Stateside would not lose a penny in the shutdown and that war is considered absolutely the most vital task our country could be conducting, should not have been a surprise to me, but it was. What’s worse, our young people are over there without pay. Even worse, if any of them die, their families are not entitled to the death benefit. Don’t believe me? From ABC news yesterday, 19 January:

Additionally, families will not receive the $100,000 death benefit provided for fallen service members. That money can cover funeral costs and family travel. It also helps to bridge the sudden halt of once-regular paychecks that the deceased was receiving — paychecks that end immediately after the individual is killed.

During the 2013 shutdown, Congress worked to mitigate the shutdown’s effects on the Department of Defense by passing a bill allowing for the death benefits to continue. Another bill allowed service members and “essential” Department of Defense civilian personnel to be exempt from the pay freeze.

“Ah,” you say. “So they’ll be paid retroactively when the shutdown ends.” Um, no. ABC, whether intentionally or not, neglected to mention that (a) the bill allowing for death benefits to continue did not pass, and (b) it was a signed order by President Obama that authorized paying the past wages (but not the death benefit) to military and furloughed government personnel. In case you haven’t been paying attention, anything, but ANYTHING Obama did, Trump will not do. Do I need to repeat that? Anyone believing Trump will pay retroactive wages, let alone death benefits, to our troops overseas is suffering from a major delusion.

So, let’s bring our children home now. We need them, our strongest and bravest young people with a heartfelt desire to defend our constitution. The war against democracy is here. The terrorism of government leaders who champion money over human life is happening right here, right now. Trump and his cronies really thought the Democrats would back down, but that’s because they don’t understand those of us who value human life and dignity over unadulterated greed. This is not a partisan issue; it’s simply about being compassionate humans.

You probably are aware that the military has but few soldiers hailing from the upper class, and even fewer that have Senators or Representatives as parents or grandparents. In fact, it’s less than one percent overall. (There’s that 1%/99% thing again.) Trump and his cronies thus have no “heart investment” in paying or protecting our troops. Trump has lambasted our troops more than once for their lack of skill, bravery, and competence. (This alone should qualify him for impeachment.) Truly, Trump’s way is a dead end.

It’s up to us. Somebody please start up a “Bring Them Home” fund and get our kids out of there. I’d contribute, and I’ll bet you would, too. Let’s do it while they’re still alive. Mothers, fathers, extended families, the Nation; we want you, our fighting sons and daughters, to know WE NEED YOU HERE. You have not been abandoned by those who love you and respect what you’re doing over there. Leave the war, if it must continue, to the mercenaries and professional soldiers. Trump always said they should be the ones there anyway, so let’s let them at it.

Trump probably believes that blaming the shutdown on the Democrats will ensure more Republican wins in the upcoming elections, but he has gravely underestimated the American people. The 99%, those of us who are so happy the Democrats stood up for not only the Dreamers, but all of us, will return the favor by voting against Trump and anyone who supported his racist agenda.

Federal employees too, if they’re honest, realize their jobs came about largely because of the Democrats. And we ALL know it’s mainly warmongering, greedy-for-oil-and-power Republicans who got us into the wars in the first place. Trump is so out of touch with average Americans he believes we all, like he does, only want money and more money. He has no concept of serving our country, for he was never in the military. We all want to prosper, certainly, but not at the expense of our humanity. What does it matter if we “win” (what does that even mean? How will we know?) our various offshore wars against terrorism if there is nothing but racism, hatred, and poverty for our troops to come home to? Indeed, without action on our part, there may be no way to get them home at all, for the parents of the children fighting cannot afford to bring them back — alive or in a box. Trump will make sure they get no financial help, so it’s up to us.

Why can’t we turn at least one aspect of this nightmare into something positive? Can we bring them home? Which is more un-American: a whole-scale walking away from war; or a strutting, pompous President who keeps our strongest and bravest children in bloody arenas just to get his own way? The Democrats drew a line in the sand and stood up to this bully on our behalf. Democrat or Republican, let’s use this time to Bring Our Children Home.

“You may say I’m a dreamer,” as the song goes, and that’s okay. “I’m not the only one,” either. Extraordinary times like these spark the kind of passion and creativeness that give those dreams a real chance of coming true. Let’s change the world!

—————————————————

*The war in Yemen we’ve heard virtually nothing about — even on MSNBC, which aired 5,000% more about Russia in the last six months than Yemen — is unconstitutional because it was undeclared. How much do you want to bet that this is the argument Trump will use to deny payment to all the troops, not just the ones serving there, when the Great Shutdown ends?

 

I Can’t See THAT Ever Happening…

I must share a delightful story. My daughter’s hubby applied for a job and they’re waiting for the answer. My daughter woke up and said to herself, “I’m going to see him [the prospective boss] today! I just know it!” She put on makeup and “dressed the part,” as it were, of the charming, intelligent, beautiful, well-clad wife of the Man for the Job. She walked into WholeFoods and even though she had been CERTAIN she would see him, she couldn’t believe her eyes when she did see him walking down one of the aisles. She tried to put herself in his way so she could speak to him, but that isn’t always the way of it. She did get to speak to him eventually, but the conversation was nothing like she’d imagined. Welcome to my world, dear daughter! Everything and anything you desire or imagine is out there, but you won’t see it until you are prepared to see it (or hear it, or believe it). And if you can see yourself, in detail, in a desired situation that aligns with your highest values and priorities, you will find yourself there. Why? Read on, Macduff…

This manifestation process works for situations you believe are “negative” as well as “positive.” (In my world, there are no poles; they are one, as a coin has two sides but cannot exist without one side). For example: the other day a friend of mine was cursing his slow computer. “I need a new one, but I don’t have the money,” he cried. I asked him, “In a perfect world, what computer would you get? What would it look like?” I couldn’t even get the questions out; the barrage of epithets against the DOS-POS on his lap swept them away before he could register what I was saying. He’s probably still cursing at it and still not getting the resuls he wants. You see, when you put that much energy into a situation, it will continue. It has to. You not only have to unearth how the current situation serves you (and it does in some way, or you would not continue to do it). You must also imagine a new scenario to replace the old one.

If he — or you — want a new laptop (or car, or job, or whatever), try closing your eyes, relaxing into a comfy chair or even your bed. Let your imagination loose. See exactly what you want; the more detailed you can make it, the better. Dress the part, as my daughter did for her WholeFoods adventure. Feel the keys under your fingers if a laptop is what you want. Have your mind’s eye watch as website after website opens speedily and you accomplish exactly what you want. I did this myself last night with my own laptop. It’s a beautiful piece of technology, but I was fighting with it. I took the advice I’m giving you here, and when I went back to it, everything flowed smoothly. Changed perspective; changed reality.

I’ve been doing it also with regard to writing. I tended to agonize DAILY about my lack of finances; I thought about little but budgeting, cutting corners, making do. My focus was usually on poverty, not abundance. After an inspiring webinar by Dr Demartini last week, the one I mentioned in my last blog, I changed my tactics once again. “Start with what you’re certain about,” he advised. “What do you have, right here/right now, to take the first step toward fulfilling your dream?” If you’re taking daily actions to fulfill what are your highest priorities, and choose those actions over the distractions which are keeping you stuck where you are, you will naturally be happier. (And even healthier; the stress from doing jobs that are not in line with your highest values causes diseases great and small.)

But what if, like me, you can’t automatically see yourself in a different situation? Despite my active imagination, I still feel I can’t see the big picture for myself, not really. I’m too old; I’m too poor; I’m too whatevs. That’s okay. I’ll start small, with a small enough dream that I can see myself in. There are days I don’t think anything has happened — I still haven’t seen the Big Picture, and it’s hard for me to see myself as that successful author, or as having more than a three-figure amount in my bank. But today I looked at my surroundings after talking with my daughter. Hmmm…look at what’s changed in this past week. Things I “needed” in order to write are now all in place: my son-in-law had brought over the rug for the living room. That meant I could move my writing desk from my chilly bedroom to a warmer spot, one from which I can still see the mountains when I write (which is why it was in the bedroom in the first place). I replaced the television-watching area with the writing desk. Now it takes effort to watch television, but it’s easy to write. I was substituting actions for distractions and wasn’t aware of the progress I’d made!

The reason I’d been talking to my daughter at all was that I’d written and produced a video book for my granddaughters for Christmas and I was waiting to hear if she had been able to access it. Again: I wrote a children’s book this week. Wow. All I did was start with what I had: I know I love to write. I have the space and time to write. I have a laptop. Maybe I’ll make money and maybe I won’t, but that’s not for me to worry about! MY job is to write, every day. Meditate and get inspiration, every day. Choose actions that fulfil my highest values and say no to distractions, no matter how pleasant, every day. When you’re clear, absolutely clear, about what you want, the Hows take care of themselves. They always do. Always.

What happened in WholeFoods for my daughter was not a miracle. She had seen the scenario in her mind’s eye, and she had dressed for the part because she was certain she would see him. That certainty coupled with highest-value intention is what does it. He might have been there every time she went to WholeFoods, but he wasn’t part of her highest value list until now. She couldn’t see him until…well…she could see him.

Whatever your or my dream may be, the chances that we will achieve them are very poor indeed if we can’t see ourselves doing it; if we can’t see it ever happening. True, we may not get it even if we visualize it in detail, but we are certainly stacking the odds in our favor. The point is, if we are engaged in highest-value priorities day in and day out; if we can see how our present situations serve us and be grateful for them; we’ll be happy even without the dream home or job. Strange but true.

It’s our choice. We’ve created the world we live in now. If we want another one, we need to see it in our mind’s eye first. The rest follows naturally. (And if you don’t believe me, I dare you to try it.)

Now go out there and have the best life ever!

 

 

Fatal Distractions

I’m back.

I’m back from the land of self-doubt, relentless emotional pain, buried resentments. I’m leaving the land of Let Me Tell You What To Do Because I Know Best. I’m leaving, in other words, the Land of Fatal Distractions.

I’ve journeyed right round the houses and have come back to myself; a kinder and gentler self. One who has integrated the traumas of the past and who is enthused about the Now. I must thank you for hanging in there with me for — what is it for some of you? 25, 35 years? It takes me a while, but I do get there in the end. And that, perhaps, is my strength.

Instead of trying to help you achieve your dreams, I can see now that I serve people best by becoming what you already knew I could be. I show my love best not by helping you out with daily tasks or giving gifts, but by honouring my own talents and foibles; by being happily honest with myself. (I’m really quite hysterical! I crack myself up when I watch how my brain works sometimes. I’m glad I can see the funny side of myself now.)

All the things I’ve complained about and worried over — nobody understands me; nobody listens to all my good advice vis-a-vis Byron Katie, or Demartini, or ZPN, or German New Medicine; you know what I mean. Well, I had an epiphany today that turned everything around. I put my own name in instead of yours, as in:

  • I don’t understand me.
  • I don’t support me.
  • I don’t follow what I know with deep certainty is true.*
  • I expect you to live in my values while ignoring them myself.

Wow. I think the one that got me the most though was recognising that what I thought was my strength — being able to see right through to your soul and to know what you could accomplish — was actually my most Fatal Distraction. Focusing on you means I don’t have to focus on myself. It’s the most well-intended distractions that are the most insidious.

No, my highest priority is to become my best self. When I was looking at you, I was looking in the mirror and didn’t even realise it. It was both extremely humbling and exalting to suddenly see the Jen you’ve always seen and supported. To see that I’m as wonderful as you are. You don’t need me to help you; you need me to just be me and let you get on with being you.

And so, I’ve come back to Jen. That enthusiastic, driven idealist and believer-in-dreams. Doing what has to be done to get there and using a bunch o’ creativity while I’m at it. I had Big Ideas and was going to Change the World. Well, I’ve still got Big Ideas, but now maybe I’ve got the wisdom to see I only needed to change my world to get them done. I’m ridding myself of the distractions that keep me from being the Real Me. Every single thing I do, I ask myself, “Distraction? or Action?” (Some are more difficult to shake than others, like coffee and crosswords in the morning! Gotta be able to incorporate those into the Action side of the table…)

As far as support goes, it has always been there, whether in your beautiful smiling faces on Skype, Hangouts, FaceTime, or WhatsApp; or your outpourings of love and encouragement by way of telephone, email, or cards. In my new, safe, peaceful, warm apartment, I’m going through the boxes of papers I’ve dragged from one side of the planet to the other, and I see all the things you’ve sent me. You’ll never know how much those — and you — mean to me. I’m glad I didn’t clear everything out before because I needed to see those things.

Thanks for hanging in there. I guess that’s what love is all about, isn’t it?

xxoo

*Rob Brezsny, a favourite of mine and author of Pronoia, put this Sufi aphorism from his book on his site today: “You can’t be sure you are in possession of the truth unless a thousand people have called you a heretic.” So…I only have about 950 people left to piss off. 😉

 

The Sounds of Silence

I’m going off the grid. Trying the hermit lifestyle: no phone, no internet, no email. The tough part will be not hand writing letters, but if I stop buying stamps, you should be safe.

I’ve fancied myself as good with words, to the point that I even felt my words did good. But time after time, my words hurt those I love most. Since I don’t know how that happens, how words coming from deep love morph into poisoned arrows, I think it safer to stay away from words altogether for a while.

This experiment might turn out really well. Think of the guilt, shame, and sadness I’ll save — guilt over not contacting people for so long; guilt, shame, and sadness over what was said or written or received.

Perhaps in silence I will discover who I really am. All these years, I’ve defined myself with and through words. The non-verbal world is actually far larger; the scope to find a new vibrancy is immense. There’s a whole ‘nother Jen out there to discover. For now, my forays into the Silent World will still be based in Utah, but who knows where this adventure may take me?

Perhaps silence will accomplish more than the words ever could. Then you can invent your own happy stories about me, using your own words and not the ones I try to force on you.I hope you see me healthy, happy, and living closer to Mother Earth. I will always see you with love.

Okay, here I go…internet off in 10 seconds. Peace out.