Tag Archives: survival

To the Umbrella Seekers

Earlier today I pulled up to a four-way stop a second or two after the person to my left. We both paused. I waited my turn. Then, said car to my left, roared forward. She looked unhappy. She looked unfriendly. She looked put upon. Most of all, she did not look pleased with me.

Please know dear reader, she may have been none of these. But such were the thoughts I had as I slowly made my way forward. You see, I’ve always been one of those persons who smiles regardless. I keep my true feelings to myself. I share only with a tiny group. That is, if two or three constitutes a group. But even with them I don’t reveal what’s really going on within me. Maybe it’s because I’m a child of an alcoholic. One of which is usually assigned the role of fixer. That was me. Or maybe it’s because I’m a diehard optimist and romantic. By God I think flowers are there to be smelled, and love is there to be felt and honored. Even if not by me. Or maybe it’s because I’m a Libra. I’ve read we are the one’s who entertain our guests well, making sure everyone has a good time. Although, I’ve met plenty a Libra who couldn’t be further from such. Regardless the reason, I smile even when unhappy. Even when I feel unfriendly. Even when put upon.

Today was one of those days wherein my eye noticed the rough edges in life a bit  more than usual. I’ve worked hard to train my eye to see the beauty in most things. Even when life is like one of those puzzles we use to play as children, wherein we had to find the hidden object. Found the hammer nestled within the bark of the tree. Now the umbrella camouflaged within a potted plant. Found it. Oh God, where’s the boot. It has to be here somewhere.

The beauty of life often works like one of those puzzles. The problem is, once older, we don’t find the same joy in having to hunt for it. Instead, it sort of stinks. Or at least on days like today it does. But the hunt is a muscle. At first it exhausts easy. Over time, it gets conditioned. Pretty soon, we barely have to glance out before we pick up on all the little treasures. Things that were there all along.

That’s how life works. At least to me it is. There’s all this stuff constantly looming around. The weight of it can be absolutely crushing at times. And, oh dear reader, don’t even get me started on the pain inherent to life on this planet. It can be brutal. The pain done to us. The pain we see done to others. The pain of letting go. The pain of having to hang on. 

But that muscle, the one that helps us find the beauty, allows us to do more than simply scratch a word off the object list next to a puzzle. It helps us to weather the storm. It builds grace.

Most likely, I will always be the person who sees layers and layers into life. It’s just who I am. But that muscle helps me to see the beauty in that too. It helps me to see the beauty in tears. In a novel so deep it hurts to read. In a song so touching I ache when it plays. The way the waves share their secrets and the moon reminds us of our small size. But also in the laughter that erupts from nowhere. The twinkle in a person’s eye. The kind smile of a stranger. Or the simple nod from someone who also is just trying to find the hammer hidden within the tree. 

It takes great strength to be that person. Anyone can complain. Anyone can point out the tree. But I hang best with those who don’t. I tend to do best either alone, or with those who want to find the umbrella in the potted plant. Those are the one’s that can also see the beauty in me.

So dear reader, surround yourself with those who aren’t afraid to hunt a little for the goodness nestled within the cracks. They are the ones who will also take the time to hunt for it within you. There’s many of us out here. In that, you are never alone. 

Sane

Normally I’m working right now. Who knew building an empowerment company would be so all-consuming (please laugh at that). But I was contacted awhile ago by someone regarding my writing. And the words they shared have stayed with me. To them this post is dedicated. 

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Greta Garbo

Greta Garbo

As you head out this July 4th, with thoughts of independence in mind, I’d like you to consider liberation on a larger scale. I realize while living these seemingly, all-consuming, physical experiences we get caught up thinking that all we see, is all there is. Please consider that this is not so.

To see what rests under the surface of life one must first grow quiet. It is within the quiet place behind the mind that awareness of the soul is most felt. And the stillness of the soul is where we come to familiarize ourselves with the peace of the Divine. God is calm. God is non-judgment. God is joy. God is love. And God can be found within every minute of every day – even the most chaotic ones. You just have to go within to see it, feel it, experience it. And that dear reader, is freedom.

If this sounds daunting, if this sounds like a near impossible task, start by noticing your commentary. From the moment you wake until the moment you sleep your mind offers comments on everything. The first step to silencing the commentary is in noticing it. By shining the light of awareness, we begin to take back our power. No longer is the mind something allowed to run rampant. Instead, we see it as an unattended tool.

Just because a comment is voiced within your mind doesn’t mean that it is accurate. It doesn’t mean it is in your best interest or a guiding force. Nor does it mean you have to listen. Allow it its moment, then tell it to hush – even for a second. In time that second will grow into minutes. And those minutes will, if we are patient, become an hour. Soon, that hushed stillness will be our predominant way of being. And our judgments of the world will be few and far between.

It is liberating to allow yourself not to have an opinion on each and every thing we see. It is freeing to allow yourself to let go and let it be. It is true peace to feel this calm within chaos.

There have been many times, dear reader, when I could not find silence within my mind. During those moments I refrained from inundating the heavens with my feeble words, but instead, asked for words to be given unto me. What I received was: let it be. And so with that, I said those three words repeatedly until I felt a wave of calm settle over me.

Awareness is one of the greatest spiritual tools given to us. It is your key to freedom. Life mirrors our beliefs. When we free ourselves, we free the world around us. It’s a subtle ripple that carries with it a great spiritual impact. Use your key my dear, sweet reader, and set yourself free.

Sane

Written to: Beatles, Let it Be. One of the many songs on my spiritual playlist.

Stronger Than You Think

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Some people are stronger than others – this is obvious. But I have to wonder what it is that creates this internal, emotional fortitude in one but not the other.

Maybe one’s character can’t develop unless put to the challenge. I’d say that were true; noting all those that have risen from adversity to become awe-inspiring individuals. Yet, for every one of those, there are ten or more coming from the same adversity that didn’t develop in the same way. Two people, cornered with the same problem; one braces and stands tall; the other squirrels around, lashes out and does every fear based absurd action  possible.

Perhaps conditions, good or bad, have little to do with one’s internal strength. Instead, there’s something beyond the visible that holds the answer.

I’m more inclined to believe the latter, as I’ve watched two seemingly similar people, with similar upbringing and lifestyles, respond in contrast to the same issue. One is firm, while the other crumbles. I suppose the best of the lot would be those already in tune with their inner strength, that went on to endure an uneasy road; the adversity only adding to their emotional muscle.

My father, the wonderful yet troubled man that he was, struggled unmercifully to be strong. His knee jerk reaction to life was to feel despair. And yet, I see so many that have gone through far worse than the disappointing life my father was given. Nazi camp survivors, rape victims, those who’ve had everything brutally ripped from their lives; within those groups, are a few that grew in strength even at the hand of such atrocity.

As hard as my life has been at times, I’ve never felt I could complain, as others have endured far worse. The human spirit, I feel, is what gives us our strength. We all have it. Some tap into it, others fail to know they even have this divine well-house of personal strength and operate solely using their external, physical and mental senses and abilities. There’s a line from a song that describes the power of the inner spirit well: “It’s my turn, this soul won’t burn, so throw me into the fire.” The part of us that doesn’t burn and never changes; the part of us that sits above the fear, the worry, the insecurity – it is there – where our strength can be found. But to go there, one has to set aside all the emotions that make up so much of who we are. I tap into that place often. I’m having to tap into it right now. At times I wonder if it will get tapped out. But so far, it seems to be just as strong as it’s always been.

Sane

Written to: These Days by Foo Fighters