Exploring the journey

win or loseToday I went back and read some of my original posts. I had a plan for this journey. I wanted to find a way to accept what comes each day and to learn new ways of coping. In some things I have done well in others not so much.

I have managed to spend more time in the “now.” I am more aware of each day than I have ever been. I have made daily prayer a habit. I have always prayed in erratic moments but now I also pray intentionally at the end of each day. This has worked for me and allows me to explore the events of the day in a different way. It is a time for contemplation.

I have not done as well with meditation. I can’t seem to get into a pattern or keep to any kind of a schedule. My past experiences taught me that meditation works best when it is practised consistently. This is something I want to improve.

Life is all about changing ourselves to better manage our place in the world. The world is not going to change for us. We are the only ones in our control. We have to continually work to understand how we react to what happens in our lives.

change ourselves

It is so easy to say that I know what to do and so hard to actually do it. I will continue to fight the struggle that some things are for me and work to truly immerse myself in changing. The struggle will remain until I am no longer on this earth but that is being alive. There are always challenges but we can move forward each day.

Use your experiences

I have learned much in my 78 years. Life has not ever been perfect and usually not at all what I expected but it has been full with everything from grief to joy. I am so grateful that I can look back and see the times I was tested and grew. I realize that my empathy for others and desire to help comes from those testing experiences.

fire for pottery

 

It is something that I have said often but here it is again. Don’t regret those times of trial.  It is in the fire that the pottery is formed. You have come out of the fire made more beautiful and more compassionate.

 

 

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Remember that and use that experience to help others. I talked with someone today about how encouraging and full of empathy are the people whose blogs I read and those who read mine. We are a community.

 

Time out

This is my last day with my daughter and her family. It has been a wonderful visit and I look forward to being with them again soon. Each of my children’s families are different in personality and the things they enjoy doing. That is as it should be and I would like to think it means that I allowed each of them to be themselves.

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It has been cool since I have been here unusual for Austin but a great break for me. I will now return to warm weather and humidity. My mind is beginning its shift to what is ahead and the things I need to do this week. This has been a wonderful break. I didn’t have to plan anything or think about anything in particular.

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We all need down time. It refreshes us and allows us to go back to our routine with renewed enthusiasm. This time out has been a blessing. I hope that each of you can find time in your lives to back away and just vegetate.

Life has meaning

I read a blog today that was an interesting discussion. There was much back and forth about life and death. It was quite technical. At some point a meaningful life was mentioned and it seemed to me to most participants completely let that drop for more esoteric thoughts.

life meaning

I am totally concerned about life having meaning. At this time in my life I have no doubts that mine does. This may be hubris on my part but over the years I can see where something that I did or said changed something or someone. I have had people that I don’t even remember who they are come up and say that I changed their life. I can’t remember what I said or did but that doesn’t matter. Somehow, at the time, I was blessed with the right thing to say. Does this mean that I am special? No way. I was just a catalyst…a stop on the road.

For me, these are the things that make life meaningful. Was I able to help someone? Was I in the right place at the right time? Did the right things come to me out of the blue? Yes! It was not me. It was God, or a higher power, or coincidence. Whatever works for you. But this is what helps me to understand how our lives are meaningful.

sharing love

Loving, giving and sharing our stories and our pains helps others along the path. Because of this I can know that even when I messed up my life has had meaning. I plan to keep on loving and giving until the day I die.

Have I?

Ralph Waldo Emerson said it best: “To leave the world a bit better, whether by healthy child, a garden patch, or redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you live—that is to have succeeded.”

That is my hope. I would like to think that somehow I have left the world better. That would bring meaning to my life.

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Have I done something to help someone?

Have I done something to make the earth cleaner?

Have I stood up or spoken out about abuse and injustice?

Have I showed kindness in the face of anger or hurt?

Have I helped the cause of injured or abused animals?

Have I listened when I should?

Have I followed my beliefs?

Have I showed love?

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And most important of all Have I done any of the above?

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?

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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.”