content='index,follow' name='robots'/> Plain Talk and Ordinary Wisdom: February 2008

Friday, February 29, 2008

The Preciousness of Life

I’ve been thinking of this half of the day and I’m not quite sure how to write about it. So, I ask for your patience on this and I’m asking for spiritual guidance so as to write this with consideration and compassion honoring those of you out there touched by similar situations.

Life is Precious!

My daughter called and asked if I would baby sit her almost 23-month old tomorrow as she was going to a funeral for a 2-month old twin who had just died that has the same name as her child. It struck me and stayed with me a good part of the day thinking how quickly we come into this life and then pass back out again. Life is a gift and it’s especially realized as precious when a baby leaves.

It also made me wonder what it is about our mortality that shifts us from the daily routines to a tender, deep part of the soul and gives us a glimpse of a world we had forgotten. There are difficult times we all face as we live our lives and what I’m reminded of is that no matter how difficult the times LOVE is our strength and our comforter transcending all time and dimension.

Life is Precious!

Dr. Wayne Dyer talks more about LOVE being our strength in his book Inspiration: Your Ultimate Calling. He says:

“On the fateful day of September 11, 2001, what stuck in my mind were the cell-phone calls made by the people on the ill-fated planes. Every single call was made to a loved one, to connect back in love or to express final words of love. No one called the office or asked their stockbroker for a final appraisal of their financial status, as relationships that weren’t loved based didn’t enter the thoughts of those who knew they were leaving this physical world. Their top priority was to be certain to close out their lives in love: “Tell the kids that I love them.” “I love you!” “Give Mom and Dad my love.”

Life is Precious!

How many times do we go about our daily routines not giving much thought on how quickly things could change? Would we be more conscious? We can’t dwell on death, as it would paralyze our every move and every thought and drive us crazy. But how can we honor our lives every moment, every day, as precious? Alex Blackwell owner of the blog The Next 45 Years writes a post called In the Blink of an Eye where he talks about the seriousness of his wife undergoing surgery and their love. He reflected on their lives together and the sweetness in the little things they do together and share. It’s the LOVE that is there in our daily routines and it’s the LOVE that carries us through the unknown.
Life is Precious!

Dr. Dyer, also in Inspiration: Your Ultimate Calling talks about the healing power of love in desperate times in recalling an article he read called “The Rescuing Hug” detailing the first week in the life of a set of twins where one was not expected to live. He tells it like this:

“The babies were in two separate incubators, but nurse Gayle Kasparian fought hospital rules to place them together in one. When Gayle did so, the healthier of the twins threw an arm over her sister in an endearing embrace – at which point, the weaker baby’s heart rate stabilized and her temperature rose to normal.”

“Even as tiny infants, our spiritually based instincts tell us to love one another. It’s such a simple message, yet it’s so powerful.”
Life is Precious!

In life’s fragility we are touched by a LOVE that goes beyond our thoughts and our physical senses and it is at these times, when our souls show us the way, that we finally appreciate how precious life is!


From the kitchen table - Pat
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Thursday, February 28, 2008

What Do You Identify With? The Ego Knows

We hear a lot these days about identity and identity theft. What are we losing when we lose our identity according to the world’s standards? How attached are you to the things you identify with? I was thinking about this and something else today in more depth after reading Andrea Hess’ post called The Leap Into Growth. Something she said really struck home as I have been wondering “What in the world is going on?” since the beginning of this year.

FIRST PART OF AN AWAKENING
The first part of this understanding and awakening in making some sense out of my life right now came from these words of hers:

“Sometimes, if we’re truly bogged down in our comfort zone, life itself will conspire to toss us over the edge of our own perceived limitations. Our circumstances seem to crumble around us, making forward movement no longer a matter of choice, but of survival.

Who or what is pushing you out of your comfort zone right now? Honor these people and situations as your master teachers. They are serving you on your path, perhaps in ways you don’t appreciate right now. It may seem that they are conspiring to make you fall into the abyss of the unknown. But perhaps, as you go over that cliff, you realize that you are not falling - you are flying!”

Mother-in-law hospitalized, horse dying, losing job, bills piling up, plumbing backs up, truck blows up………ughhhh! She described my family's life situations perfectly. We were in survival mode. You would think something is conspiring against you but the “Ah-ha” moment came when I realized from her post that we’ve been in a major spiritual and physical transition and we have been resisting by continuing in our preconceived limitations. We have been looking at life situations from the old perspective. It’s time we no longer hold onto how things worked in the past and how we handled them then. I am now, as she says, “honoring these situations as my master teachers” and looking and listening for spiritual guidance on the next steps to take. I now realized what was happening.

SECOND PART OF AN AWAKENING
The second part of the beginning of this awakening for me started through the reading of Eckhart Tolle’s book called A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose (Oprah's Book Club, Selection 61)(Paperback). In this book, he talks about ego and explains how it operates. I’m only a couple chapters in but what’s significant to me so far is how the ego uses identification. If we associate the “I” with wanting or having then, when things start going amuck, our self-worth is shattered because we’ve identified “I” with what we don’t have. Tolle says it so much better in several ways:

“The egoic mind is completely conditioned by the past. Its conditioning is twofold: It consists of content and structure.”

“One of the most basic mind structures through which the ego comes into existence is identification. … So when I identify with something, I “make it the same.” The same as what? The same as I. I endow it with a sense of self, and so it becomes part of my “identity.””

““I don’t have enough yet.” by which the ego really means, “I am not enough yet.”

So, if, without realizing it, I identify my self-worth with lack it will constantly be reinforced and what I am really saying is…that I am not enough. The awakening part is to realize what we are identifying with and what it is really saying about who we are. You have to start to become aware of it for it to begin to unravel and change.

It’s powerful when you learn to be the observer in your life situations and not judge. Just open your awareness and things will begin to transform. They have already for me just in what I read and absorbed today and in writing this. My identity wasn’t stolen it was just misplaced by attaching its importance to the wrong things. Who I am doesn’t change by situations. Who I am is intact and when I align myself with that instead of what I may identify with my life is transformed.

***Oprah Winfrey is having a free 10-week teleclass on Eckhart Tolle’s book A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose (Oprah's Book Club, Selection 61)(Paperback) starting this coming Monday, March 3rd. If you’re interested in reading this book and participating in this class, you can still sign up on her site.

From the kitchen table - Pat
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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

An Example of Unconditional Love

“Blondes have more fun?” Or do they? What is the attraction we have to one another and how does that compare to real love – unconditional love? TV commercials and ads in newspapers and magazines, not to mention ads on billboards and busses, all appeal to physical senses to get us to buy something. It suggests if it doesn’t look good, smell good or sound good it has very little value. That’s not to say that beauty isn’t pleasurable. It is and is intended to be but you don’t stop there. With our relationships, we need to go deeper. Physical attraction has its place but it will never take root unless it grows and that growth takes place in the heart and spirit. With all the conditioning everywhere, how do we detect true love, aside from our physical senses, and love from the heart?

When you love someone unconditionally, you love them from spirit to spirit passing through physical appearances. It’s the deepest kind of love. Having a dear friend or loved one and never considering their height, skin color or beauty is loving them from the heart. I have relationships that go deeper than physical appearances and I’m sure you do as well. As the years go by, these relationships only grow stronger while we change and learn from each other.

From a page that I stumbled on in StumbleUpon, written by IcyCucky at Quazen, is a story showing us an example of extraordinary love. This brief story talks about a relationship between Jeremy and Christianne and demonstrates the power of unconditional love when there’s imperfection and challenges. Both teenagers fell in love and Christianne found herself pregnant at the age of 19. That wasn’t the only challenge; Christianne is a dwarf and can’t walk very far and Jeremy suffers from attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD). They could have made different choices - go their different ways or not have the baby - but they didn’t. I like the observation of the writer in this piece when she says:

“I have heard the expression “love is blind”, but I think love is just beautiful What can be more incredible when two humans just love each other for who they are, the way they are, and do not see limitations in other’s as handicap?”

Maybe you don’t agree with their choices and your reasons may or may not be valid but putting aside opinions, beliefs, physical appearances and senses, the beauty is their discovery of unconditional love at such a young age. Can we support them in this? I believe we should. As the years go by and they grow weary at times, will their young unconditional love continue to grow stronger? I believe it can. I hope in the midst of their challenges, there will be people around them to be a voice for them with love and encouragement. We can learn from their example how to give to each other – yin and yang. Where there’s weakness the other brings strength; when there are doubts and fears, the other embraces with emotional courage.

Love is not blind when it’s unconditional. It will pass the test of time. Only when we get a glimpse of the only true way to love will we have a chance to know. Love comes in so many ways and as Jeremy and Christianne show us, it’s the beauty beyond our physical senses.


From the kitchen table - Pat
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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Living Our Amazing Lives - Fully

I read two posts today that made me realize how incredible my life is (see Challenge: Stop Existing and Start Living an Amazing Life by Self Made Chick) and how I can be truly happy in this wonderfully amazing life (see Personal Hack’s post Desire Without Attachment to Outcome). When you stop to think that we only get one chance to live the life we dreamed, why would we want to settle for anything less? It seems like I’ve spent almost a lifetime working on myself – change this attitude, work out this belief – and I settled for whatever came my way. These two wonderful posts shed some needed light on how precious my life is and to go for it with joy.

I have come a long way, as I’m sure most of you have in personal growth. I’m proud of what I’ve learned and overcome but what I realized is that instead of fully working on how much more I should improve, I need to live fully appreciating who I have become. How can I do that and be fully alive?

1. Let go….truly let go. Take care of what you can and let the rest go turning it over to our Source. We wonder why we don’t see what we want happening and it’s because we don’t truly let go and trust. When we want something, let go of the outcome. Also, let go of people’s opinions and what they think you should or should not be doing. No one can understand what you feel from the inside, only you. Honor that.

2. Don’t live in fear. Recognize it and change it by visioning being happy in the present moment. Identify if you’re looking for happiness in your life situations or your aliveness. As Andrew in Personal Hack says,

“As I mentioned your life situation are your current circumstances and situations in life. Your aliveness on the other hand is separate from your life situation. Your aliveness is your present moment, it’s here and now regardless of your past or your future.”
Realizing the difference in these two allows you to see if you’re putting all your energy for happiness in the wrong place. “Embrace the fact that fear and rejection are part of the process,” as said by Christine in Challenge: Stop Existing and Start Living an Amazing Life. When you take risks in life to realize your dream it’s only normal that you would encounter fear and some rejection. Don’t stop there. The world is waiting for a cure for cancer or world peace and it’s waiting for you and me to step up, take part and play our roles.

3. Look at failure differently, not as a measurement of your worth but what you still need to do to realize your success. Very few hit the mark the first time out. It’s a process where we continually keep molding and redefining our ambitions and life’s dreams – our amazing life. Build on the little successes as they come and be open to change and direction to make it better.

4. Set yourself up to succeed. The Universe believes in succeeding and you see it in nature. It turns whatever is available or whatever situation that happens into good by rebuilding, changing and improving. When there is a forest fire nature rebuilds and some flowers that had never been able to survive before in the thick of a forest can now germinate and grow. Meadows flourish and animals have more forage. Set your vision on success and it will follow.

These are some things I realized in reading these posts in how to take charge of my life. It’s my life, the only one I have been blessed with….and I want to live it amazingly. How about you? Let’s all do it together.

From the kitchen table - Pat
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Monday, February 25, 2008

Keeping the Faith

 
                               Faith

When you walk to the edge of all the light you have
and take that first step into the darkness of the unknown,
you must believe that one of two things will happen:
      
       There will be something solid for you to stand upon,
       or, you will be taught how to fly

© 1997 Patrick Overton
"Used by Permission from the Author"

This is my favorite poem and especially at this time of my life when life issues are making demands and there are a lot of unknowns it’s particularly comforting.

In the darkest hour, I hope you would look to your Source as I have and trust as this poem tells us. It’s not what you see, it’s what you believe in your heart and how you align with it. It’s keeping the faith.

From the kitchen table - Pat
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Friday, February 22, 2008

More to Be Said About Gratitude

Volumes have been written about gratitude and what I write here might get lost with all of what has already been written. Having said that, I’ll write because it’s something I’m feeling at this time and believe it to be important. So, to end out the week let’s add more to the volumes and talk about Gratitude.

(Photo by Robert Aichinger aka Raichinger at www.sxc.hu.home)

Lately, I’ve been writing on things that have hit closer to home than I dare to admit (see previous posts 6 Ways to Overcome Adversity and 5 Ways to Find Peace) and I’ve felt the writing was speaking to my soul to teach and inform me as I put the words to paper. Again, the same is true on this post as I write about gratitude. I feel it is such a key component to our spiritual growth and how we develop.

We can practice all the proper steps of meditating, keeping our thoughts in check, affirming our intentions and more but if we aren’t in the right frame of mind while we’re practicing all of these things, it’s neutralized. Being in a state of humility and thankfulness whatever our situation should be our first approach to seeking guidance and answers not to mention the peace we feel.

As I look over my life I am thankful for:

the times someone came into my life just when I needed them

for the time when money appeared to put my mother to rest

an angel who scooped my daughter up before she hit the floor (see post Entertaining Angels Unawares)

a grandmother that I adored and showed me love and pointed me to spirituality

a family of my own - husband, children and grandchildren - all in good health and learning, growing and being who their supposed to be on the paths they have chosen

to live in the beauty and see the wildlife that is all around me in our home in the Rocky Mountains

to have a Creator that loves me and wants the best for me

my health and strength and ability to work and play

and much, much more....

Most of these I’ve written posts about – too many to reference them all here. But it’s not how the answers arrive or what we end up getting that is the point here. It’s knowing and feeling the love of a greater power and Source than what you see and that everything is going to be okay. The sweetness of that knowing means more than what is going on and that’s when you say, “thank you”, from the heart.

What are you truly thankful for at this juncture in your life? Are you in need of a miracle right now? The place to start is to humbly be thankful for this gift of life that you have and all that you’ve been blessed with. Keep this in mind as you go into prayer with your requests, feel it and say……thank you.

From the kitchen table - Pat
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Thursday, February 21, 2008

5 Ways to Find PEACE

In the midst of confusion and chaos, hectic schedules (just writing these things stirs up stress) you can feel peace fading. But, isn’t that what our days look like. Add onto those things normal life issues of losing a loved one or a job and the stress can be unbearable. How in the midst of all this do we find PEACE – how do we walk on the water in the storm?

1. STOP AND BREATHE
Our whole bodies tense up when we’re stressed. Our minds flood with thoughts of “what if this” or “what if that” and if we don’t stop and take control of it we could be taken over. If you’re in a situation like that, just stop whatever you’re doing and close your eyes and take some deep breaths in and out, slowly. Almost immediately you can feel a sense of inner PEACE come over you and your mind begins to clear.

2. MEDITATE – PRAY
Quieting ourselves is one of the last things we want to do when our lives are turned upside down. We want to get out there and make things happen. We want to see results. But taking time to connect to our Source is important especially when there is unrest and disturbance. The practice of prayer and meditation gives us a point of origin. It centers us and helps put us back on track with an assurance that we’re not alone. It gives us PEACE.

3. CHANGE YOUR THOUGHTS AND FOCUS ON SOMETHING POSITIVE
Sometimes when our thoughts get going it’s like a boulder coming down a mountain. If they’re allowed to run their course they take over. Find a passage that gives you peace and let’s you know you’re loved. Keep it in front of you saying it over and over like a mantra. Keep your environment positive surrounding yourself with positive people, music and information. Take charge of your thoughts and allow them only to bring you PEACE and let them transform your situation, your life.

4. TAKE YOURSELF OUT OF THE SITUATION – IF ONLY FOR A MOMENT
If you feel your situation is dragging you down, change the scenery. Go for a walk or a drive. Get out in the fresh air and breathe. Get involved doing something and before you know it the drama of the situation will have lifted and you feel hope and PEACE trickling in.

5. ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE
In the middle of dismay and confusion, decide to focus on the things you’re grateful for and feel it in your heart. Continue to picture and remember all the times when you championed rough times and came out on top. Look at the little things you have been blessed with and the big things. Take a look around and consider who you are and all those you have in your life. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Ahh, there’s the PEACE.

PEACE is available to us all the time. It’s there and we can choose to see it and feel it and put it in the middle of our lives whether things are going well or they’re not. When you feel it’s missing take time to recapture its essence and beauty. It’s a gift for all of us.

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

From the kitchen table - Pat
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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Your Truth and How You Say It

Recently, Harry (aka Bigjohnbird) and I stumbled across each other on StumbleUpon and because we had a mutual interest in Scotland we struck up an e-mail conversation. On one of the pages of his favorites, I noticed a story he had written and asked if I could use it in writing a post. I wanted to talk about words and how they’re conveyed and expressed. They make a difference in the perceptions of our truth and how we present ourselves to one another and to the world.

Here it is:

-posted by harry aka Bigjohnbird on Feb 11, 2008 (on StumbleUpon)

A blind boy sat on the steps of a building with a hat by his feet. He held up a sign which said: "I am blind, please help." There were only a few coins in the hat.

A man was walking by. He took a few coins from his pocket and dropped them into the hat. He then took the sign, turned it around, and wrote some words. He put the sign back so that everyone who walked by would see the new words.

Soon the hat began to fill up. A lot more people were giving money to the blind boy. That afternoon the man who had changed the sign came to see how things were. The boy recognized his footsteps and asked, "Were you the one who changed my sign this morning? What did you write?"

The man said, "I only wrote the truth. I said what you said but in a different way."

What he had written was: "Today is a beautiful day and I cannot see it."

Both signs told people the boy was blind. While the first sign simply said the boy was blind, the second sign pointed the fortunate ones to their positive possibilities.

Moral of the Story: Be thankful for what you have. Be creative. Be innovative. Think differently and positively. Invite the people towards good with wisdom.

This little story says so much in the importance of how we present ourselves, what we say and how we say it in order to get our message across effectively. It’s not just in our writing; it’s in everyday life in how we share with others our truth – what we’re all about. This man showed the blind boy how to state what he needed in a way that included the people walking by. They can’t relate to him in what it’s like to be blind but they can see the beautiful day. The words were simply and beautifully rewritten in a way as to join not separate.

There’s another point to think about in the importance of how our words are relayed and perceived. I think what’s confusing for us is that sometimes the words we read or hear don’t match what we see in body language; or the essence of what is supposed to be coming across in writing doesn’t match the words – it’s all jumbled up. For some reason, we hold back and stop the energy flowing from our true selves. We don’t fully tell the story of what’s going on, there’s a piece reserved. You don’t get that message from Stephen and Phil in using words to connect and inspire. In his latest post and interview with Phil Gerbyshak, Stephen Hopson who writes for the Adversity University blog expressed it perfectly when he said, “I don’t have the exact words for this, but something magical takes place when we dedicate ourselves to make the connection with others and in the process close the gap that society places upon us. Somehow when we see those gaps narrow, even a little bit, we feel uplifted. We feel like we matter. We feel like we’re actually making a difference. Yes, that’s what I’m trying to say. We want to feel as if what we are doing is making an impact not only on others but also on ourselves.”

Last Sunday, on a TV show called Sunday Morning we watched a piece on this new, young conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, Gustavo Dudamel, a native of Venezuela. What came across the screen was someone with passion and life, not holding anything back with how he communed with the music, and through his conducting you could feel what he was feeling. The power and expression of his conducting connected everyone to the music.

So, what is this story telling us along with being kind and lending a hand? It’s telling us that our words are an extension of our truth and that there are many ways to share them and use them to engage others. Be fully expressive of who you are and not hold back, even a little, in letting the world know what you’re about and how you want to engage and connect to them.

From the kitchen table - Pat
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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

6 Ways to Overcome Adversity

This past week, I’ve read so many blogs with examples of how people deal with adversity and shine. Going through a bit of adversity myself at present, it has been a source of inspiration and hope in seeing how people face
adversity and walk through the fire overcoming what appears to be insurmountable odds. My challenges are in no way as great as what some of these people have faced and yet I can understand, being in the middle of it, what has to be done to keep going otherwise it will consume you.

If you’re alive, you have already been introduced in some way to adversity. It comes with the territory. From the moment you’re first born your body triggers the need to eat and you don’t get your nutrition the same way you used to through the bloodstream. Now, you have to cry for it as it doesn’t come automatically. But eventually, you learn how this works and you eventually get good at it and you get your milk.

Adversity, though it may be difficult and uncomfortable at best, can be a tool that teaches us how to operate in this world as spiritual beings having a physical body and through trial and error we learn what works. We can resist and have our temper tantrums but eventually through all of it we become our best – we become the pearl. Here are some of the pearls that are shining through adversity or have overcome it:

1. COURAGE
I can’t imagine being faced with a life-threatening disease and yet so many of you out there are doing just that with a positive attitude and a smile on your face. You’re asking us how we are and comforting us. Your light shines bright through adversity and you’ve been given divine assistance to carry your purpose through to help all of us. I watch Randy Pausch (see a previous post Passion and Enthusiasm, who has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, encouraging us with the Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams lecture noted to be his last lecture at Carnegie Mellon and giving regular updates on how he’s doing on his site. Randy’s conviction to live fully with love and passion is a true reminder of what is important and he doesn’t stop there. He points us to someone who has inspired him and no doubt given him courage to face his own adversity: Jim Valvano, a professional basketball coach giving his reception speech for the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the 1993 ESPY’s. Our attitudes sustain us through difficulties. If you want to feel sorry for yourself you can only do that for awhile as it never changes anything. What these people have shown and are showing us is courage to walk-the-walk and talk-the-talk in whatever cards they’re dealt in this life and to help others in the process.

2. FOCUS
Marc Allen in The Greatest Secret of All-Moving Beyond Abundance to a Life of True Fulfillment shares how he took a difficult time in his life and envisioned an Ideal (Scene) Life (see a previous post on Ideal Scene and Goal Setting). He wrote down in detail what that life would look like in 5 years. He not only envisioned this life but aligned himself with the feelings as if his Ideal Life was present. He then wrote out his goals and how he would accomplish them. He kept this Ideal Life as a focus as he met each difficulty and struggled with the self-doubts. He had a focus and purpose and kept on task working through each obstacle. I remember one powerful little phrase he used over and over that he got from a book he had read by Catherine Ponder on the power of affirmations: “….in an easy and relaxed manner, in a healthy and positive way – repeated thousands of times, overcame a lot of those doubts and fears.” In meditation and throughout the day I repeat this phrase and use it to fit my situation. To intend to focus on what you want, feel it and replace those thoughts that threaten your well being with affirmations is powerful.

3. TAKE ACTION
Patricia Singleton in her last post in Spiritual Journey of a Lightworker talks about her personal situation overcoming abuse. I admire and honor her for deciding when she had had enough and took action to better her life. She decided to no longer continue subjecting herself to others who were harmful and did not have her best interest at heart, even when they were the very ones in charge of her care. Our hearts tell us when the time is right and we have to not only listen but act. Sometimes, it’s immediate action we need to take as in Patricia’s case and other times it’s more subtle. A lot of times we just settle and live with the situation but in order to see any improvement or change taking action is part of overcoming adversity.

4. GRATITUDE AND HUMILITY
Adversity makes us most vulnerable especially at times when we don’t know the outcome. Alex Blackwell wrote a recent article in his The Next 45 Years blog sharing a personal incident with his wife’s surgery. We wait and watch in this moment of adversity and wonder if this time it won. We draw on our resources and on the things we’ve been taught and have practiced and it’s when we finally realize the preciousness of life that new hope arises. Our hearts fill with gratitude for those we love and the little things they do and we’re humbled with how fast things can change in the blink of an eye. To be gracious of the circumstances at hand and turn them over to a higher power and thankful for being blessed carry us through the unknown side of adversity.

5. POSITIVE ATTITUDE
How many times have you heard the nay-sayers say, “You can’t do that!”? I know I’ve heard it. They’re out there ready to jump on the first thing when you slip. But it’s how you react and what you decide to believe about yourself that pushes through adversity, even when you’re the only one believing it. How many things exist in our world today because someone listened to their inner voice instead of popular opinion? Stephen Hopson has a blog called Adversity University where he shares his own personal stories of adversity being deaf and pursuing a public speaker career. He also includes interviews with others who have also overcome adversity – one is coming up soon with Phil Gerbyshak with his own personal story holding onto the thought - I think I can…I know I can…

6. DON’T GIVE UP
When we’re in the middle of these adversities we can be taken off balance and if we’re not conscious go into a tailspin. Thoughts, nay-sayers, evidence, fear all seem to be on the same team predicting your demise. And then, an article comes along that lifts you up and encourages reminding you that the universe always supports you gently shedding light on the limited beliefs you’ve been acting on. Nicholas Powiull in his post says, “The universe by design takes care of us, the more alignment we are with our highest joy in each moment, the easier, and more rapidly, the universe can do its job. When you think you have to push, bend, mold, and oblige things in place with force then you are missing the greatest opportunity of life.” He goes on to say, “If you want negative situations to discontinue then you must be okay with the fact that they will NEVER EVER STOP.”

The point is to not give up even in the midst of adversity. Know we are supported by a great invisible team ready to go to work on our behalf. But it’s up to us in how we respond and where we put our energy. Be determined to see it through to the end using all of your resources.

As Dale Carnegie said, “Most of the important things in the world have been accompanied by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all.”

From the kitchen table - Pat
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Monday, February 18, 2008

“…live the life which he has imagined…” Henry David Thoreau

I was recently reminded of a quote I once read from Henry David Thoreau on a site called Heron Dance. It sparked something in me that I needed to share. I’m not quite sure at this writing what that is and ask you to join me in this adventure of being led to do something but not knowing the outcome. It happens that way sometimes.

The quote (taken from A Pause for Beauty (#238) – The Heron Dance E-Newsletter – Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862) - from Walden, excerpted in Thoreau and the Art of Life) is:

“I learned this, at least, by my experiment: that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours. He will put some things behind, will pass an invisible boundary; new, universal, and more liberal laws will begin to establish themselves around and within him; or the old laws be expanded, and interpreted in his favor in a more liberal sense, and he will live with the license of a higher order of beings.”

As I sit here looking at this quote, I wonder about my life and if I’ve moved in the direction of my dreams. I believe I have, maybe not as confidently as I would have liked. I’ve been a work in progress and still am. But my life reflects what’s been important to me and that is the love of family and to have a living, growing, spiritual relationship with my Creator (no particular order here). This has taken me down many paths and I’m sure there will be many more paths before it’s all said and done. I can imagine you writing your own dream stories, as you look at this quote, and what directions you took to arrive there and the successes you had unexpected in common hours.

As I’m writing this, I’m getting a better understanding of my life and why I had to take the path that I did. As I see it, earlier I had to learn about family and establish that for myself. I grew up in a dysfunctional family, which I believe most families do in one form or another. My parents were not abusive or drug or alcohol addicts. They just had their own personal relationship problems and jealousy issues and while they were in the midst of their challenges, which was most of the time, my sister and I felt cut out, excluded. There was very little peace or family unity. It was as if my parents were in a world of their own unconscious of anyone else around. There always appeared to be a black cloud hanging over our home and the energy was gloomy and heavy.

I didn’t know it then but, as a result, I had to find my own family and the give and take of love. I don’t remember having this kind of love as a child and through the weaves and turns down this path the stages of discovery left me sometimes more confused (see my post My Time to Trust – Again!). I felt disconnected with a hole in my soul. In the earlier stages of my youth, I realized I had an invisible friend who was always there. I later learned to put a name to that friend – God. This made me feel complete until I began to hear people tell me how you have to believe or else and what they said didn’t match the feeling I had for my invisible friend. As I got older and observing the expectations of the world, I tried to comply with teachings of hell, fire and brimstone but it never quite felt right. I missed my friend. Supernaturally, He would come into a dream or I’d hear His voice in prayer but another connection was broken – by me. As I got older and fell in love, this relationship was a part of the answer to reconnecting and filling the hole in my soul. When the children came, I felt so much more complete than I had ever felt – almost, but still not quite there. My husband and children fulfilled the love I needed to find what I had looked for so long but there was still some need to connect.

Now, in the second half of my life with the extended joy of family love and grandchildren (see my post Making Memories), I have advanced confidently in the direction of my dreams and endeavored to live the life I have imagined. But there’s more. Now, I will meet with a success unexpected in common hours, as I continue down this path learning to connect to me (see previous post Who Am I – Be True to Yourself) for there is my invisible friend as I once knew as a child, pure and innocent. He was there all the time and as I learn I will put old beliefs that no longer serve me behind and pass an invisible boundary. As I continue to learn to live connected in every way to God, myself, everyone and everything, I will live with a license of a higher order of beings.

I love Thoreau’s reflective thoughts and the messages that deeply speak to me. I thank you for taking this adventure of discovery with me. I hope you can see the journey you have been on and realize that it’s all perfect and that you’re never alone. In Jeremiah 29:11, it says:

“For I know the plans I have for you”, declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Check Out These Books to Read – Henry David Thoreau:
On the Duty of Civil Disobedience - Thoreau's Classic Essay (Paperback) by Henry David Thoreau
Henry David Thoreau: Three Complete Books: The Maine Woods, Walden, Cape Cod by Henry David Thoreau
Walden by Henry David Thoreau, Introduction by William O. Douglas. Time-Life. 1962 by Henry David Thoreau and William O. Douglas
Walden, and Other Writings of Henry David Thoreau by Henry David Thoreau and Brooks Atkinson

Additional Information on Thoreau:
Online Literature – Thoreau
Biography of Henry David Thoreau – American Transcendental Web
Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862)
Image Results of Henry David Thoreau
The Thoreau Reader

From the kitchen table - Pat
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Friday, February 15, 2008

Keeping Love Fresh and Vibrant - Part 5 of 5

It’s the day after Valentine’s Day. Is how you feel about your beloved still fresh and vibrant? All the celebration is over and the expectations have been fulfilled, what do you do now to keep that spark going – anything? Or….is it back to normal, same old routines, job, chores and running errands? Do you let the responsibilities of life dampen the thrill of what you and your loved one shared on Valentine’s Day? It was a special day wasn’t it?
(Photo by Joseph Hoban aka Lenscap – www.sxc.hu.home)

If you read my last post on this series in Love (A Song For All Lovers (John Denver – The Wildlife Concert) - Part 4 of 5), I talked about connecting with your heart and soul. This was renewed for me on Valentine’s Day when my husband and I enjoyed a quiet dinner together at home and danced to one of my favorite songs "For You" by John Denver. I felt as if our hearts connected in a deeper way more than ever before and I could understand the connection my aunt and uncle had (see my previous post) but this was reserved for my husband and I. The day after Valentine’s I can still capture the sweetness of the moment we shared as we listened and danced to that song. “How long will this last?” you ask. “I don’t know.” And it doesn’t matter - the essence of the moment and what we shared in that dance is carrying me to a new level of love and appreciation for my life’s partner.

How do you keep the spark alive? Here are some ways that come to mind for me:

1. Be thankful for the partner you have and appreciate their strengths and work together on those things that aren’t as strong.

2. Always say “thank you” for the things they do for you.

3. Look for ways to support one another when one of you is struggling with something.

4. Always remember to be romantic and don’t forget to say “I love you”, not as a cliché but as words from the heart with meaning. Don’t say it if you don’t mean it.

5. Encourage – not attack. If you don’t like what they’re doing find a way to show them without breaking their spirit.

6. I remember what my 101-yr old resident at Morningstar Assisted Living said about “True Love”: “If you care about someone, you will never do anything to harm them.”

7. Be spontaneous and goofy and laugh, laugh, laugh at each others’ silliness.

8. Try to be in the present moment and cherish the time you have with each other. Don’t be too proud to say “I’m sorry”. Mitch Albom’s book called For One More Day is about a man who gets to spend one more day with his mother who had died. Dr. Joe Vitale, from The Secret, briefly shares his feelings about this book in this video clip “15-Minute Miracle by Dr. Joe Vitale”.

9. Receive the compliments your partner gives you and acknowledge what they do for you. Also listen to and honor those things they tell you constructively that you need to change and work on.

10. And, I’m sure you’ve all heard this and it’s so true, never go to bed mad. Find a way to reconcile your differences or at the very least agree to disagree.

Our partners, our lovers, our companions and teachers are there with us on this path of life so we can grow. We push each others’ buttons, that’s part of being human. But the love that has been created within us has been placed there to be understanding and compassionate and happy we have this life to live together with our beloved – side-by-side, day-after-day, moment-to-moment. We are here to learn from one another. Just as John Denver sings “For You”, I wish this same true love for all of you – forever!

From the kitchen table - Pat
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Thursday, February 14, 2008

A Song For All Lovers (John Denver – The Wildlife Concert) - Part 4 of 5

Today’s the day – Valentine’s Day! I’ve been talking about Love all week and the different facets: from Love being a common denominator to a deeper connection to counting the ways that you deeply cherish and love one another. We’ve talked some on the lines of our physical connections but for Valentine’s Day, I want to talk about our heart and soul connections.

There is something magical the moment your eyes meet. With our eyes being the windows to our souls, we first glance into each others’ eyes and without a word being spoken our hearts touch each other for the first time. When this is nurtured and treasured, love grows into deeper connections. This love is something that’s not seen but felt; something that’s incomprehensible but intuitively known. When you see this love expressed in relationships, you’re drawn to it because it’s genuine.

I have a favorite aunt and uncle and as a child I remember the energy of their love whenever you were around them. You could feel it and couldn’t touch it because it was something so beautiful reserved just for them. You watched them interact with each other and how their eyes filled with love the moment one of them came into the room. In a crowded room you would see my uncle glancing and the minute he saw my aunt his gaze would glisten as if he had found his angel. They had joined on a heart and soul connection and when it came time for my uncle to pass on, it was devastating for my aunt to be left behind. She is still learning, albeit difficult, how to love as Elizabeth Barrett Browning spoke of in her poem (see my previous post How Do I Love Thee? Let Me Count the Ways – Part 3 of 5) “….With my lost saints—I love thee with the breath, smiles, tears, of all my life!—and, if God choose, I shall but love thee better after death”.

John Denver wrote and sang a song in his The Wildlife Concert CD called "A Song For All Lovers". It touches on the heart and soul connection of love as he talks about Mardy, a 93-year old woman, who inspired this song, who lived in Alaska with her husband. She spoke of her husband as her beloved. It’s a beautiful song of two lovers dancing in each others’ arms on the frozen tundra in Alaska dancing only to the tune of nature, the sound of the wind and their love. The flow of a waltz rhythm lets you feel the love and soul connection for yourself. A couple of lines in the song that John Denver sings are, “will the future remember when the lovers are gone,” and “…a song for the two of us beating only as one”. There’s another song on this same CD called “For You” that touches me so deep I want to reserve it and play it for my husband on our 50th wedding anniversary—just for you, my love.

Are you having a wonderful Valentine’s Day? What have you done today or what are you doing tonight to show the one you love how special they are to you? My husband and I are going to enjoy a lovely dinner at home tonight, just the two of us, and he gave me a beautiful card with a beautiful message and I’ve been sending him Valentine e-cards all week. I’m sure if we did this all the time it would get old after awhile and not mean as much but it’s a reminder that I can do more to show my life’s partner what a joy he is to my life. And, I plan on doing that! And as I play John Denver’s “A Song for All Lovers”, I will think of all of you out there making your own heart and soul connections – ones that will last a lifetime even over to the other side. And maybe, Jim and I will dance to John Denver’s For You tonight; I can’t wait another 9 years!

From the kitchen table - Pat
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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

How Do I Love Thee? Let Me Count the Ways - Part 3 of 5

It’s the day before Valentine’s and I can picture everyone scurrying around shopping and surfing through cards trying to pick the one that best fit their sentiments. How do you effectively express your love to someone that’s meaningful and touches the heart? It’s easy to pick out a card or take your loved one to dinner and why not? It’s fun and it’s sweet. But sometimes you want to do something a little different – something that will be remembered longer than when Valentine’s Day is gone. I know everyone is doing it so I’ll join in and jump on the bandwagon and list some ideas of my own on ways to meaningfully express your love to that special someone. Here goes:

1. Not only on Valentine’s Day but for the remainder of Valentine’s Week, each day slip a note somewhere saying why you love them. It may be on the bathroom mirror or a note next to their coffee mug. Write more than a few words. Give them details on how unique and special they are to you.

2. Cook a special meal with wine and candlelight and soft music. You don’t always have to go out to enjoy yourselves. You can make it special and comfortable right at home.

3. If you’re musically inclined, compose a song and sing it to them. Or, write them a poem. If you’re not good at composing, you could just write them a letter sharing your love for them. On our 40th wedding anniversary, I got a blank, rustic journal from the book store and titled it 40 years and in it I wrote on 40 things we shared together and experienced, the things I love about him and his strengths along with pictures. It was a memorable moment when I gave it to him and he loved it.

4. Surprise them with asking them out on a date and if you live close to where you first met revisit some of the old places you went and recreate the night as if you were first dating. If you live far from where you first met, still call them up and ask them out on a date and plan an evening as if you had first met.

5. Recapture what it was that first attracted you to them and hold it in your mind’s eye and see it in that person now only value how much more they mean to you. Express that to them in some way through word or touch. There’s a sweetness of young love. You can see it captured in Janie’s wedding picture, 22 years ago on her Wordless Wednesday post on Colloquium. Valentine’s Day is special as it gives us a time to stop everything we’re doing and what we’re involved with and remember what’s important and celebrate.

6. Turn off the TV and play some old songs. Sit on the floor in front of the fireplace and cuddle, reminisce and talk to each other again about hopes and dreams.

7. You may be dating or in a long term relationship but not married. These are the times when Valentine’s Day is fresh and real. You’re creating a memory. You may start your own tradition. Maybe it’s a get-away weekend with hot tubs and massages. Just to get away and spend one-on-one time with each other is invaluable. Or maybe you create a memorable Valentine’s Day where you get dressed up and go to an opera or a play or just go out dancing. It’s not so much what you do but how you feel just being with each other.

Whatever you do tomorrow for Valentine’s Day, do it with your soul and heart. Cherish this time that you have to spend with this special someone and share that with them. Take care to show them how much you value them and how they brighten and add to your life.

In his book, Wisdom of the Ages, Dr. Wayne Dyer, shares a poem by Elizabeth Barrett Browning:

HOW DO I LOVE THEE?

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of every day’s
Most quiet need, by sun and candlelight.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints—I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life!—and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.

From the kitchen table - Pat
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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Love – A Deeper Connection - Part 2 of 5

Since we’re talking about love this week, I wanted to touch on the subject from perhaps a different perspective. What does it feel like for you to be loved? You want to be valued and know that your love will hold up with the test of time. The love I’m talking about is more than just the physical attraction.

(Photo by Alexander Abolinsh at www.sxc.hu.home)
It’s what you feel when the one you love whispers how much they love you or when they do something just for you to show their love. It’s the little things, the gestures that tell the tale and touches your heart. How do you know you’re in love? Is it what you have in common or the fun you have when you do things together? All of that plays an important role in being in a relationship but love carries it further because it requires a giving of you. When things get tough and it doesn’t feel good anymore you have to draw on something deeper. Let me share with you my story.

My then husband (to be) and I first met in June of 1966 in a small town in Virginia. It was going to be my last summer with my grandparents and then I was off to school in the fall. My husband (to be) was stationed there in the Air Force. In the ‘60’s, a fun evening was cruising around up and down the beachfront seeing who was out. This was how we met, a couple of girls in their girlfriend’s new convertible and a couple of military guys pretending to run out of gas. We soon realized that they weren’t running out of gas; they were just running low and wanted to meet us so we agreed to see them at a local diner. Soon after that, my husband (to be) and I started dating on a regular basis throughout the summer. Being a small town, there wasn’t much to do except for a local theatre to go to once in a while. So, we would go for walks or to the beach just to talk and over the days and months till the end of the summer we shared our hopes and dreams, our values and beliefs and got to know each other fairly well. We had built something deeper than just the physical attraction for one another.

I left in September to go back home in Pennsylvania to start X-ray school at the local hospital and we continued to keep in touch through phone calls but mostly letters. Things changed with school and my living arrangements and I found myself back in Virginia in November looking for work. We were married the end of December only having known each other for 6 months and now we’ve been married 41 years.

Even though we dated a short time before we married, there have been many times that I have drawn on that strong bond we built early on when I didn’t always feel like loving or didn’t feel loved. My husband is not only my life partner, a father, a lover but he is also my best friend and the combination of all of that make up the many facets of love to me.

Do people really know each other today when they begin to start talking about love? What does it take to show that love and how do you receive it? Alex Blackwell gives some One Dozen Out of the Box Valentine's Day Ideas on some of these things I’ve been talking about, giving you a dozen ways to show your love. It’s something that grows and changes over the years. It has to be nurtured and allowed the space to grow for you to be authentic and ugly, sometimes, so we can learn to be a better person for it.

Can you remember how you felt when you first fell in love with that special someone you’re celebrating Valentine’s Day with this week? Not just the kiss or the caress but something deeper that you knew when you first looked into each other’s eyes. You would have someone to build a life together and a family with, someone to laugh and cry with, someone who saw you at your worst and still loved you, and finally someone to grow old together with and reminisce.

Falling in love only begins with that first spark, and the butterflies in your stomach, and grows through a lifetime when you’re at the other end looking back over your life and feeling the warmth in your heart for that special someone you call your Valentine.

From the kitchen table - Pat
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Monday, February 11, 2008

Love – Monday through Friday - Part 1 of 5

This is Valentine’s week and I know that love is not limited to a day or a week but I wanted to address all the facets of love I can come up with in this week’s posts. My husband and I have been married for 42 years and I have learned a lot about love and different relationships and that there’s a time to give and a time to receive. I know there are still some new things about love I can learn and the spiritual ways to express it.

Several years ago, in the corporate world I had a talking-stick discussion and we were talking about harmony. I asked them, if given what we know to be going on in the world, did they believe we could achieve harmony? They all adamantly said, “No!” I asked, “Why?” Some of the answers were: Too much hatred; too much distrust; greed; selfishness; power. I agreed it seemed pretty gloomy and then they turned and asked me if I thought we could achieve harmony. My answer was, “Yes!” And this is what I’m going to talk about today in this post on Love – Part 1 of 5.

What has the main theme down through the centuries in all the carvings on the caves, the manuscripts, poems, books, letters, movies, and music been about – Love – in some way or another. If it’s not important to us or something to be desired, why do we think about it, write and sing about it so much? It’s because no matter who we are, where we live, what we do, we have a common denominator of Love. We were designed that way by our Creator, who is Love. No matter how much you deny it, or have been hurt; no matter how angry you are, or how much you hate, deep inside there is a dormant desire waiting to be sparked and felt and that is love. You may have never been taught how to love or have felt love, but it all comes to the surface the moment someone shows you kindness or affection and feelings you’ve never known before appear. Love is a part of you and it is a part of me and as long as we have that common connection there is always the possibility of harmony in the world. What a beautiful reminder each year with Valentine’s Day and the many ways we can express our love to one another.

Last night, I talked to the elderly residents at Morningstar and asked them about True Love. Here are some of the questions we talked about and you may think of how you would answer:

Does Valentine’s Day have any meaning or significance to you and your husband/wife over the years? How are some of the ways you celebrate? Do you go to dinner, give each other cards? Or do you have your own tradition?

How do you maintain love for each other over the years? Do you do something special for each other that make your relationship interesting?

What interests do you each have that are similar? What interests are different? Differences in each other’s tastes and interests make life exciting and new things are introduced.

What was the attraction to your husband/wife? What do you think attracted him/her to you? How did you meet?

What do you think keeps your relationship vital over the years and keeps you together? Being partners is a key to any relationship and being supportive of one another.

If you had a piece of advice you could give people in the world today on love and their relationships, what would it be? Dr. Phil McGraw once asked a couple who had been married over 65 years how they were able to stay together for so long. The wife said they never fell out of love at the same time.

A couple of responses to these questions from the residents were significant to me in how we view love then and today. Pieces of advice they would give to the world would be: to always forgive and forget because if you still remember there’s more you need to forgive; and from my 101-yr old resident who had been married for 70 years said, “If you care for someone, you never do anything to harm them”. This is the kind of love that is nurtured and developed as years add on to each other. Love is to be valued and cherished and remembered even beyond this life.

From the kitchen table - Pat
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Friday, February 8, 2008

Silence?

When there are a teenager, an 8-yr old and 22-month old, all boys, in the house, visiting, it doesn’t appear that there would be much silence. But, if you listen between the cartoons, the light sabers swirling around, the guitar, drum and football floating through the air, the love that flows constitutes silence. It’s the feeling that all is right with the world and it comes with children in different shapes and sounds.

It seems like I’ve been writing about family and children more in my last few posts (see Making Memories and Jokes, Family and Fun). It’s the invisible force I feel that is ever present when I focus on family and loved ones. Yes, we go through the everyday routine of chores, jobs, errands but what flows in the background, just as the music between the notes, is the essence of life. You learn as you get older having passed some of the trials and witnessed the highs and lows that life gets sweeter and more precious with each passing day. You try not to take for granted the moments of every fleeting day.

So, where is this silence? It never leaves even when all the noise commands attention. It’s the same with spirituality and God’s presence. Going through each day is demanding with the thousands of thoughts to sort through and the physical interactions no wonder silence and spiritual essence is so hard to detect. You’re focus is being pulled in every direction saying, “Pay attention to me - No, pay attention to me.” What do you listen to? You have to choose. You can feel it if you’re aware of it while there are distractions all around. You have to consciously look for it and it will present itself to you.

Have you been up late at night and listened to the silence between the hours of midnight and 3:00 am. It’s different somehow. There’s a hush where it seems that all the world is in slumber. If you’re up in the mountains or out in the woods it’s a time where you hear the wildlife moving around. You might hear an occasional dog bark or the snorting of a horse. Or, if it’s snowing, you can hear the snow as it drifts down and lands on the ground. You feel a deeper connection to the world somehow.

Children, while they may be a distraction with play and noise, have a pure innocence that ushers in, believe it or not, the essence of silence and love. As it says, in Psalm 46:10, “Be still and know that I am God…” When we can quiet ourselves and be still, we can know there is a God and when we can’t be quiet and the silence seems distant feel the peace, feel the essence of silence as it hums in the background. Soon you will be able to bring it forward.

From the kitchen table - Pat
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Thursday, February 7, 2008

Jokes, Family and Fun

There was a funny story passed along to me via e-mail that I wanted to share with you. It sets the stage to lighten up, play and not take ourselves too seriously. I laughed out loud when I read this. I hope you laugh too. It’s called “Dad at the Mall”:

I took my dad to the mall the other day to buy some new shoes. We decided to grab a bite at the food court. I noticed he was watching a teenager sitting next to him. The teenager had spiked hair in all different colors: green, red, orange, and blue. My dad kept staring at him. The teenager would look and find him staring every time.

When the teenager had enough, he sarcastically asked, “What's the matter old man, never done anything wild in your life?” Knowing my Dad, I quickly swallowed my food so that I would not choke on his response; knowing he would have a good one. And in classic style he did not bat an eye in his response, “Got drunk once and had sex with a peacock. I was just wondering if you were my son”

I’m in a play mode for the next few days and the energies have shifted. It’s time to let go of the ‘have do’s’ for a little while and enjoy the present moment. That’s what happens when kids are around. School is out for a couple of days for teachers’ meetings and the grandsons are spending some time with us and the 22-month old will join us tomorrow. We’ll have a house full of kids, we grandparents, a dog and a horse. When they come up with us to the mountains, everything changes: our routines, what we eat (hot dogs – mac and cheese), and what we watch on television – Looney Tunes. Having kids around changes everything. You hear more giggling, there’s tickling, and rough housing. It changes the energy and I love it.

Just in January, since the beginning of the New Year, my husband and I have already gone through our 88 yr-old mother/mother-in-law having to be admitted to the hospital while visiting for the holidays in Denver, our 23-yr old horse suddenly dying, and I was let go from my temp job. We needed a grandson(s) fix. There has been too much serious stuff going on with us having to deal with. It’s time to get down and play and enjoy life and grandchildren automatically put you in that mode. It’s not what you do so much as it’s how you do it and your attitude.

I know each time they come to visit there’s the familiarity of the house, the sounds and smells each creating a memory that something will trigger sometime in the future. I know I have those triggers that flash me back as a child at my grandmother’s: the fizzle and smell of a freshly poured coke, the sound of seagulls and the smell of salt air. Living in the west, I don’t get much of a chance to hear seagulls or smell salt air but the memories are there waiting to be announced.

When we were small, I remember one night sitting on the front porch in a small town in Virginia with my cousins. We were laughing and talking and could hear my grandparents inside – Grandma was in the kitchen finishing up the dishes and Grandpop was settling down to watch some TV. We continued talking and watched the people walk by on the sidewalk and the cars go by and didn’t realize it was getting late. As we sat there, we heard a noise and looked over to the railing at the end of the porch and saw some movement. All of a sudden, we saw what we thought was a ghost coming out of the shadows and up and over the railing at us. We all screamed and took off running in different directions only to find out it was Grandma with a sheet over her head looking to scare us. She succeeded and when we finally came back to the house and our hearts settled down we had a good laugh.

What are some of the things you do to let go of stress and demands? Do you play video games on the computer or go dancing? Maybe you get some friends together and go out and sing karaoke. Maybe you just chase the grandkids around the house like we do only to hear the squeals of glee and laughter when you catch them and tickle them. Such joy – there’s nothing like it. Whatever it is, life is meant to be shared and enjoyed and we all need to just get down and play once in a while.

From the kitchen table - Pat
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Wednesday, February 6, 2008

A Sweet and Familiar Place

I woke up this morning with thoughts of peace and gratitude. As I lay there listening to the sounds of early morning and opening my eyes to the light of day, I felt that in this place all was right with the world. The feeling was sweet and familiar of a place I had known long ago and I wanted to stay there. There were no struggles to get this done or chase to meet that person. No deadlines to meet or bills to pay. It was all taken care of and I could just rest in it and be thankful. In this place, everything was given effortlessly for your taking with an abundance of love. You didn’t have to meet criteria to purchase anything or to possess anything. All was freely given with no strings attached and I thought how different it is in this world. I like this place – it feels good. I realized that this is our heritage, our birthright, and this is what has been given to us only we have forgotten it. The feeling stayed with me for awhile as I got up and dressed to prepare for the day. It was still with me earlier as I started this post working on doing it justice to find the words to express it. But as the day moved on with all of its distractions the feeling diminished and its presence was felt more in the background as if programs running on a computer.

What is it that takes me out of this realm and into the world as we know it? Why can’t I be in both places at the same time and allow the attributes of one dimension be expressed and translated in the other dimension? Are there two dimensions or are we dreaming? We see signs of this sweet and familiar place in this world when we feel the sunshine on our face and the rain and snow that fall to water and replenish the earth. This is all freely given. The animals and birds have a knowing that their needs are provided and move in that ebb and flow of given energy that appears to be eluding us. If you listen, you can hear the whispers in the wind of the presence of a parallel world. It appears to be there and real and there’s the ability within all of us to access it anytime.

“The breezes at dawn have secrets to tell you.
Don’t go back to sleep.
You must ask for what you really want.
Don’t go back to sleep.
People are going back and forth
across the doors where the two worlds touch.
The door is round and open.
Don’t go back to sleep.”
– RUMI –

As our awareness becomes more acute and intentions more adept to attracting the presence of this dimension, I believe we can live and function in both worlds as we see it. We can bring that dimension forward where it’s ever present from the background and explore and discover it and learn how to live in it while living in the physical world. I felt glimpses of it today as I was going about everyday chores. Because I was focusing on this topic and how to express what I felt, I found myself doing things but not aware of myself doing them. I was going through the motions but my focus was on this place and how to express what I felt. If we consider what Deepak Chopra says as you read on in his book, The Book of Secrets – Unlocking the Hidden Dimensions of Your Life the possibility of living in this place of peace is available to us while functioning in a physical state we only have to know where to look:

“When you are living the truth of one reality, every secret reveals itself without effort or struggle.”

“The one reality is spirit, and the surface of life is only a disguise with a thousand masks that keeps us from discovering what is real.”

“A mystery that doesn’t want to be known will just keep retreating the closer you come to it. The mystery of life doesn’t behave that way: Its secrets are revealed immediately if you know where to look. But where is that?”

“The body’s wisdom is a good entry point into the hidden dimensions of life, because although completely invisible, the body’s wisdom is undeniably real – a fact that medical researchers began to accept in the mid-1980’s.”

We have built within us the secret of life ready to be discovered only we’re hung up on the masks we believe to be a reality. And maybe if there is really only one dimension not two, one reality, as Deepak describes earlier, it is just disguised by elusions and distractions.

That place I felt this morning seems so far away from me now. I wasn’t able to hold onto the feel of it. As I learn to be present in every moment I will remember again that blissful place I came from, a place where all is right with the world, and will discover more of the secret of life to bring forth into this reality. Have you had a similar experience? I’d like to hear your thoughts.

From the kitchen table - Pat
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