Evaluating the journey

Looking over some of my original posts reminds me to take stock of how I am doing on my journey. Changing ourselves is one of the hardest things that we can do. We have to begin the change and then repeat it util it becomes habit. Not so easy.

Change-is-Scary

We struggle with the habits that are ingrained from years of practice. Once we begin trying to change it is so easy to fall back into the old routine. Since I began this journey I have made some positive changes that have stuck and some that have not.

My task now it to evaluate and decide if the things I haven’t changed are still relevant. If so it is time to tackle them. I find it easier to make small changes that lead me to the bigger one.

everything will be ok

I have not been meditating as I should and this is one I will tackle with intent. Why should I consider 5 or 10 minutes out of my day as a problem. From there I hope to grow back into a routine discarded years ago and see the result of spending time in “neutral.” As I said once before my long ago yoga instructor said when we are awake we are in forward gear, asleep in reverse and in meditation in neutral. Routinely meditating brought me calm and a sense of connection to the universe. I want to regain that.

Changing is hard and not for sissies. I won’t give up but keep on keeping on.

May you each have a serene weekend.

Lots of love

all kinds of loveAny man who thinks he can describe love understands nothing about it. from The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson

Love really can’t be explained. It has so many facets. Advertisements want us to see love as passion and sex. It sells things from perfume to Viagra. Passion is important. It keeps humanity going but it is a minute part of love. There is so much more.

I talked a little about this in an old blog. The Greeks had a totally different way to look at love and did a much better job of seeing it.

We need to experience the full range of love in our lives. Explore your life and find the different ones that you have experienced or are experiencing. Broaden your thinking beyond what advertising wants us to see.

eight kinds of love

1. “Eros” or Erotic Love

This is what most of us think of when love is mentioned. We have narrowed love down to sexual attraction. This love can be like a flame that burns down and dies. We have lost so much by doing this. I think we know other kinds of love are out there but we push them to the back.

2. “Philia” or Affectionate Love

This is our love for our friends. If we are blessed to have friends who love us and that we love in return we should rejoice. This love leads to caring about others.

3. “Storge” or Familiar Love

This is love of family. We can actually have this love for long term friends who have become family to us. It is similar to Philia

4. “Ludus” or Playful Love

This is like the early stages of Eros but with something added to the sexual attraction. This can be flirting or playful affection.

5. “Mania” or Obsessive Love

Mania is a dangerous kind of love. This is the abusive partner who bit by bit isolates the loved on from all others. This is obsessive love.

6. “Pragma” or Enduring Love

This is the love of a couple who have spent a lifetime together. Their love has componets of all the positive loves. It cherishes familiar love and Philia. It includes Eros. It is a deep and constant love.

7. “Philautia” or Self Love

The Greeks understood that we have to learn to love ourselves in order to love others. This love is important to ground us as persons.

8. “Agape” or Selfless Love

Most of us see this love as the ultimate love. The love that Christ had for us. It is when we can love the unlovable.

Love is worth it

secretToday I did another mediation. It is always interesting to see what it is about. Sometimes it is someone owing someone else money. Sometimes it is member of a family arguing about something minor. Usually with families the problem is not what they have brought to us but lost in their past history. With cases like this it is usually not possible to resolve anything. There is too much water under the bridge.

Too often we see families divided over long standing hurts and disagreements. Families are not perfect but it makes me so sad to see them totally divided. We have so few people in life who love us unconditionally. What leaps to mind is my dogs. It seems we humans have more trouble understanding each other.  We are so ready to let good relationships fall away.

Keeping a family together is hard work just as keeping a marriage together. Feelings get hurt, people behave badly, things go wrong. Sometimes parents have tried their hardest to do the right things and sometimes the parents are damaged themselves and can’t parent well. No matter what happens having a loving family to support you in life is one of life’s greatest blessings.

loved and loving

 

Unconditional love is not easy but we do have to try. Sometimes is it impossible and we have to move on. When that happens my hope is that a new relationship can be formed using the lessons learned from the past. Being loved and loving is worth the effort.

Be there!

There are some things we can’t fix. I have written about this….I know this and yet I don’t want to accept it. My friend is in an untenable position. It is amazing how events can transpire in such a way that there is no way out.

No matter what we do sometimes life boxes us in and there are no good choices. Only ones that bring pain.

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Sometimes I wonder why some people seems to have more sadness and challenge in their lives that others. Is it because they deserve it….no, no, no. Sometimes the worst person has the best come to them and the best person gets the worst. We just want to yell at God and say NOT FAIR. But no one ever promised that things would be fair.

For me it seems at least sudden catastrophes can be gotten through. The long term, every single day, on and on things become an impossible burden. It is amazing to me how there are those who cope each day and go on. Think about the ALS patients (Lou Gehrigs Disease). Day after day…on and on.. each one failing a little more. Those that I have known have been amazing. Keeping faith and a positive perspective through it all. How do they do it?

Life is a precious thing and maybe just waking each morning makes it worthwhile. I can see that but what about the person for whom life has no meaning left, no joy? They may not know that dawn comes each day. How do the families face the next day? How do you manage when each day brings no change but only sameness?

supported

 

The only thing that I know to do is to be there in those times. There is nothing that can fix it but my presence may give some solace. This is what we must do. See around you the people who are in pain…emotional or physical. Reach out to them. Let them know that someone cares. You don’t have to know what to say. Just presence in enough.

Everyone has pain in life. Some immediate, some long lasting. Don’t forget to be there whether supporting them on Word Press or in person. Be there!

 

Be the “one”

elton johnWhen we look around us we see so many people suffering. I recently saw a map marked with all the mass shootings in the US in 2018 (so far). There were red dots showing up everywhere. The disturbing part for me is that we don’t hear about this sort of violence elsewhere. It may be there but I don’t remember hearing about it.

The violence we see every day leaves behind it a path of suffering. The people who died no longer suffer but those left behind do. Life changed for them in a second and will never be the same.

As I think about all of this I grieve for those remaining. Most of the time they have no real answers. The person they loved went to school or a party or a concert and suddenly they were in the midst of terror.

Thankfully I have not experienced losing someone I love to violence but in this climate we never know. The country seems to be falling apart from the inside. Abraham Lincoln said that as a country we would survive unless we self-destructed. It seems to be coming true.

exampleI am only one person but I am one. I can only do so much but I can do something. If each “one” would chose to live a life of love and compassion we could change things one person at a time.

We must each be the “one.”

Love must help us to be ourselves

True union . . . doesn’t turn its respective participants into a blob, a drop dissolving into the ocean. Rather, it presses them mightily to become more and more themselves: to discover, trust, and fully inhabit their own depths. As these depths open, so does their capacity to love, to give-and-receive of themselves.—-Cynthia Bourgeault   from the thoughts of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

love yourself2

Real love, wants more than anything, for us to be truly ourselves. If the person we are with only wants to mold us into someone else then we had best back away.

In my life I have known people who have created themselves to mesh perfectly with another person. They have submerged themselves and little of the true person is visible. Their ache for love is so great that they will do anything to get it. They will even betray themselves. The sad part is that they are not being loved for themselves but for the person they created.

But if in your fear you would seek only love’s peace and love’s pleasure,
Then it is better for you that you cover your nakedness and pass out of love’s threshing-floor into the seasonless world where you shall laugh, but not all of your laughter, and weep, but not all of your tears. Kahlil Gibran from The Prophet

Sometimes we want so much to be loved that we are willing to give up ourselves. This may seem ok for a while but eventually we will feel the strain of it and end up knowing that is it not the right thing.

Love gives naught but itself and takes naught but from itself. Love possesses not nor would it be possessed, for love is sufficient unto love. Kahlil Gibran

love-yourself-as-much-as-you-wanted-to-be

In any relationship we must love ourselves. We have to be able to accept who we are with all our warts and scars. Then with that love we can reach out to another person.

 

Finding meaning

What Gives You Meaning Concept

I read the daily articles from Richard Rohr who is a wonderful source of inspiration for me. Today he quoted the works of Viktor Frankl who was a respected psychiatrist. Frankl talked about how most of us seek for meaning at some point in our lives. I know this has been true for me.

I have found myself at several points asking “what is it all about?”

Frankl posited three possible sources for meaning: in work, in love and in courage. He talks about the possibility of being able to do work that has some meaning. There are jobs where this seems obvious….doctors, nurses, social workers. (there are lots more) In other jobs meaning may not be so easy to find. I am sure that those of us writing blogs have found some meaning in the response we receive and the assurance that we are helping others. This is very affirming.

The second idea…love…also seems fairly clear. Hopefully our love reaches out to others. It allows us to help others in our everyday lives. Again this allows for meaningful affirmation.

The third idea….courage…means being courageous in difficult times. This certainly includes times of suffering. He says that suffering by itself has little meaning. The meaning comes from how we respond to it. We have the ability to use our suffering to be an example to others. Our response can encourage others who are facing the same kinds of challenges.

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It seems to me that many of the bloggers I read can find affirmation that their lives have meaning as so many blogs help others. The community members need to see that this work can bring meaning to their lives. You are important!