Life is a series of choices. We don’t often think of that but just getting out of bed in the morning is a choice. We are so used to routine that it doesn’t seem like we made a choice. It’s just what we do every day with little thought. How different life could be it we could be fully present for each of those choices. It is interesting to reflect on one’s path in life. It is so easy to see the places where I stepped off the path and usually paid for it. Sometimes the slip brings an instant outcome. Sometimes life continues and only with a long look back can we see the result of the choice.
I have always wanted to learn to live each day in the present moment but I haven’t mastered it yet. If only every second of every day I could remember I am alive now! How different my whole life would have been.
You see, I am a worrier. I cross bridges and explore every good and bad outcome for each crisis or major event that comes up. I can easily picture myself with a fatal illness or catastrophic problem. The real question is how I have managed to live for 76 years and not learned how to let this go. It is time to move on. This is my journey into change. My first step into a new way to really live each moment.
I know that I have a tough road ahead of me and will struggle with my resistance to changing habits and applying all the advice and wisdom I have been given. I worried as a child. My grandmother used to tell me to sit in a chair and worry as hard as I could and get up and see if anything had changed. Her wisdom (she died at 100 ) was there for me as long as she lived. I heard it over and over but never learned how to do it.
The practice of faith was not absent in my growing years. God was a part of my everyday life. I was baptized in the Presbyterian church that my parents attended and each Sunday was in church with my parents or my grandmother (she was Methodist) I saw my grandmother read her Bible each day and pray as she rested after lunch and again at night before bed. Her connection to God was strong. Was Her consistent time spent with God the thing that brought her such peace? Many of my adult years have been spent in God’s ministry. Interesting that all that energy and action didn’t have a deeper effect on my way of being. One would think that Bible study, leading church events, teaching yoga and meditation would have had more impact.
So many human quirks that have been around since Adam and Eve have been given titles and are seen as present in many of us. In today’s world, my worrying would be given the title mild anxiety. What I do is not unusual nor can it be considered a psychiatric diagnosis. It seems to me that the recognition of garden variety anxiety has given some relief for those of us who worry. I am not the only one and will certainly not be the last.
Added on to this propensity to worry are the major changes in our way of life. It seems to me that sometimes ignorance is bliss. (note: I say it seems that way). Today we are bombarded with information. The world seems to be more dangerous day by day. To quote Dr King “Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars… Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” We can see the result of this on the streets of our cities. Have we been desensitized to violence so that nothing is too abhorrent to do?
All the electronic devices have added noise on a former unprecedented level. Is there silence anywhere? Do we understand the effect on body and mind of constant noise? Do we ever just sit back and think? I see this pattern as actually increasing worry or anxiety in the future. There is no time to just be.
All that having been said this writing will record my progress (or lack thereof) of a journey into change. I cannot change the world but I can change myself. I believe in the butterfly principle and maybe if one person finds a different way something will change.
None of us is perfect. No matter how hard we try. We are human and humans make mistakes. In the Bible Paul says I do the things I ought not and don’t do the things I should. This is true of everyone.
The things that most of us do wrong are usually not serious but can hurt others. Hopefully, we don’t really want to hurt anyone. The thing that is hard to take is that there are some who really do want to do harm. There are many explanations why this happens. Most of us want to believe that they are damaged in some way. Many of them are. The shooter in New Zealand may have been taught the hatred he exemplified.
There are those that were damaged by the treatment they received as children. The things that happen to us in the early years can leave some terrible scars. Some people are able to recover and make peace with themselves. Some are not and that past pain is reflected in their treatment of others.
In my lifetime I have had the experience of meeting a few whose earliest lives created true monsters. There are theories for why this happens… some about early bonding. One of my friends adopted two infants from mothers who were addicted to crack cocaine. One of them did well but suffers from some physical problems. The other was diagnosed as a sociopath. ( I think now called antisocial disorder) As early as preteen the rooms of the other family members had to be locked in fear of his actions. They tried everything they could to help but to no avail. This very loving family was able to keep him until his teen years and at that point safety for the family required letting him go. I know he was in treatment for a while but I don’t know where he ended up. God help those where he is.
Every one of us has done things we regret and wish we could fix. We would like to go back and change everything. We may not be able to do that but we can go forward with a desire to do better. Doing our best to respect and understand those around us can make a difference.
If you have things you need to let go confess them. Whether to God, your own higher power or even to yourself. Acknowledge your mistakes and move on. Forgiveness heals.
Western society is a “first-half-of-life” culture, largely concerned about surviving successfully. Richard Rohr
Some of the Eastern cultures understand that life has stages. The Hindus see a learning/student stage, a family/work stage, a retirement/spiritual exploration stage and an enlightenment stage.
This kind of thinking is also present in Buddhism and other cultures. We seem to get stuck in the beginning stages and have no understanding of how we need to live the “second half of life.”
In the first half of our life we are learning and absorbing things. It is as if we are creating a receptacle in which to live. The second part of life should be about putting things in the receptacle. This means understanding the world around us from a deeper perspective. Filling ourselves up with the meaning of life and understanding what is important. This leads to a deep fulfillment and sense of purpose.
Experience the first part of life with everything you have. Learn, grow, love but don’t skip the next part which will bring you to a place of peace.
What is is to search for our own soul. (It doesn’t matter what you call it. It is our inner core…our best self.) How do we turn away from the things that our society has led us to believe are the ultimate good? When are we able to grow enough to cast aside the ideas that we have been taught from birth?
Most of us who have spent our lives in western society have been taught to reach for things that are finite. We look to find joy and peace in things that fade. We want everything taken care of NOW! We are impatient and want pills to cure our ills that work fast. If we feel the slightest bit bored we want entertainment that distracts us from spending time with ourselves. We want to be as beautiful at 80 as we were at 25. The look of youth is the ultimate. We want things to feed our emptiness with…cars, jewelry, clothes, electronics, houses….anything to make us important. We want to seem important, looked up to and emulated. We think that these will be fulfilling. They won’t. Their rewards to us are ephemeral.
Turning away from these illusions and seeking the soul itself is a challenge. Can we go against society and understand that love and compassion and empathy and generosity are what matters? These are eternal.
Seek inside yourself for the things that really matter and pursue them.
Today was beautiful here. We have been having typical March weather…one day cold the next really warm. Today was just right. In spite of the weather the azaleas have been beautiful. We have several varieties in our yard and they don’t always bloom at same time. This year they are all blooming at once.
There is nothing more beautiful than nature. Spending time outside will refresh the soul. Just sitting in the sunshine can make life seem better. Time under the trees quietly thinking helps reduce anxiety and depression. When you can take some quality time with nature.
We are frequently in and out during the day and consequently leave our dogs alone for short periods of time. One of the, Crash, has issues with being left due to his history. He is a rescue who was on the street until found by Carolina Basset Rescue. He suffered greatly with a broken pelvis and so filled with ticks, fleas, etc. he was emaciated.
Our other dog, Tillie, is also a rescue but we don’t know her history. Both dogs are well behaved and so funny. I mentioned before that while we are gone things happen in the house….nothing damaging but darn funny.
The latest thing that I have been finding upon our return is dog food in a throw rug in the bedroom. The first time this happened I wondered how it got there but just dismissed it. However, yesterday there was a second offering. This begs the question how are the dry pieces being brought from their bowls to the bedroom and who exactly is the culprit?
When you have two dogs it is easy to blame the most obvious one for whatever has taken place but we have always had two dogs and I learned long ago that it is not always the one you think. The problem is who?
We still don’t know who is moving kibble to the bedroom but again no damage is being done. I wonder if I perused the house camera I would learn the truth but it doesn’t show the bedroom. Oh well. Life with dogs. Love it!
Holding on to anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. Unknown
I don’t remember where I got this quote. I just put it in my quote book. It may have comes from another blogger if so I ask forgiveness but it is just perfect.
With what has happened recently in Christ Church, New Zealand hatred has reared its ugly head. Again we have an example of how hatred destroys lives. There is so much ado when the Muslim extremists carry out a terrorist attack and it is hard to understand why the other side doesn’t see it as the same thing when they do it. Admittedly their anger did destroy others but it also will destroy them. Anger held inside will kill. Not only will it cause problems on an emotional level but it will kill due to physical changes.
I love the song from South Pacific that talks about how this gets passed down.
You’ve got to be taught
To hate and fear,
You’ve got to be taught
From year to year,
It’s got to be drummed
In your dear little ear
You’ve got to be carefully taught.
You’ve got to be taught to be afraid
Of people whose eyes are oddly made,
And people whose skin is a diff’rent shade,
You’ve got to be carefully taught
When will begin to understand that the world is growing smaller and smaller and we are more alike as human beings than we are different?
When will we be able to turn away from hatred and anger?