Soul work

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?

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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.

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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.

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Seek inside yourself for the things that really matter and pursue them.

Would you go back?

Today the plumbers came and fixed the pipes and covered the hole. Yea! Sometimes we tend to bite off more than we can chew. At our age it is so easy to do. One of the hard things about getting older is understanding that you are not 30. Even thought we are both active there are still some things we don’t have the strength for.

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My grandmother used to say there were advantages to growing older. ( I may have said this before) She said: “when I get up in the morning and look at myself in the mirror without my glasses I don’t look bad and when people are talking and I don’t want to listen I turn off my hearing aid.”

It’s funny but I have never wanted to be any age but what I am. Even now. Maybe if I get to be 100 I might wish to be younger. Who knows?

I know people who would like to go back and live certain years again. For me, every years has had its joys and its sorrows. I don’t need to revisit them. Each taught me new things that I use in my life now. Wisdom is gained by living.

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Sometimes I would like to tell someone how to fix their problem but manage to hold off. (Most of the time) With years behind me I can often see an easier way but each of us needs to learn for ourselves. If someone really wants me to share my wisdom I would be glad to. I do some of that on this blog.

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Learning is a lifelong journey. Don’t ever stop learning and growing. That’s when you are dead before you have died.

Fired into beauty

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This is been a strange week. For the first time in forever I didn’t write at all for two different days. Both times life was overwhelming and it just didn’t work. For someone who is retired it seems strange that I have had very little time to do anything. Things are slacking off now and I hope to see a more normal pace. Is there any such thing as normal?

Have you ever noticed how some people seem to have one trauma after another and others seem to drift through life unscathed? I just want to shake my fist at God and say unfair! unfair! It just doesn’t seem right. To make it worse sometimes the ones who have just floated through are also the worst people.

Looking at these things from the outside is probably not logical. Who can really know what is going on underneath. It’s like the saying about the swan. Serene on the surface but paddling madly underneath.

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Maybe the people who have been through the fire have been formed into beautiful vessels. Most of the ones I know have so much more compassion and ability to care than others. With all their trials they can still support and care for those around them. You can actually feel the vibrancy of their empathy. It radiates from within.

No one knows what form us. Some can be broken by events and some make finer. When that happens it is a beautiful thing to see.

We are a whole not parts

It has been two weeks since I was so sick with IBSD. I have been so well in general that the episode completely blind-sided me. Now I am experiencing the hangover. Since these particular episodes always occur between 9 and 10 in the evening I get anxious each night around that time.

The irony is that this kind of episode only crops up, at the most, once a year. It will take weeks for it to fade from my mind and then I will be fine.

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It is so amazing what we can do to ourselves. I am fine physically but my mind clings to the latest event. So what to do? I have increased my prayer and quiet time, continued my regular routine and let that event become a memory that will fade. Learning and using coping skills is such a critical piece to our health and wholeness. We must remember that we were created as whole beings….not separate parts. Everything that we do affects our entire being.

One of the problems with out medical systems today is that we are not see this way but as different parts managed by different physicians. Not only do they not see beyond their specialty but they seldom communicate with each other.

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We must learn to be our own advocates. Even if a physician ignores or puts you down for your concerns and conclusions about your care remember who sees the end result. Don’t ever be afraid to speak your mind and if you have someone who can’t accept that change to someone else. Never let a caregiver dismiss you. Each of us is just a important as the person caring for us. Never forget it.

Can you live in mystery?

Can you live in mystery? For me, advent is a season of mystery. It is about waiting…something that most of us don’t do well. It is also about not knowing. When we wait for a baby we have no idea what the outcome will be. The baby may be healthy or not…fussy or not….cute or not. We just don’t know.

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We also won’t know for years what that child will be like when an adult. We may do everything we can to raise him/her and it still may not work out. We live daily in mystery but we think we are in charge. We think we are in control.

im not in chargeI learned pretty early on that I am not in charge. Anyone who has suffered with illness or mental health issues has that hit home. We have learned that life is about living each day as it comes.

If we have learned how to cope with unknowing then we make adjustments and move on to the next day. Strangely enough this is not a bad thing. Those who have not learned about life’s mystery have difficulty when something goes out of their control.

So, don’t bemoan the trials you have had. Take the things you have learned and use them to your benefit. You will be able to tackle challenges better and recover faster than those who have never faced the unknown that shatters their belief.

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Know this—your experiences have made you stronger. You can live in mystery.

Do we really want to see?

We so often talk about knowing ourselves. We want to see ourselves and know our innermost thoughts and feelings. Most of the time I don’t think that we are ready to see ourselves fully. The truth would be too painful.

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I often think about this as standing in a bright light looking in a mirror. In the mirror we see our face unadorned. All the blemishes and flaws are totally revealed. If we see this most women are quick to add make up to cover what we see and make it acceptable to us. We hope that others will not see what we saw. The face we present to the world is different than the one in the mirror.

The same thing is true of us. We don’t really want to see all the flaws that would be revealed if we could really see what is inside. Our minds have doors that we don’t open. We say we want to see but we look without opening those doors.

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I wonder if this is part of the reason that contemplation/meditation is so difficult. Not only is it not part of our culture but it can be revealing. Sitting in silence and letting the unconscious be in charge can be scary. We may learn things we didn’t really want to know.

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The other side of the coin is that opening those doors and cleaning out those closets can bring us a peace that we can only imagine. We just have to be strong enough to accept what we find and let the ugliness drift away and hold on to the beauty. We will find beauty there as well and it can bring peace and help us to love ourselves.

The struggle

Heres-a-lifeline-to-stop-struggling-with-yourselfI have been struggling since I developed a cold prior to my husband’s surgery. The events leading up to the surgery (for over a year) stretched my coping like a taut rubber band. I think that is why I caught a cold. My immune system was low. The combination of the cold and the travel for his surgery pushed me over the edge. The cold is better and his recovery is continuing at home.

However, as usual when things are improving I didn’t. I am fighting the dregs of the cold and a major flare up of IBSD which brings on anxiety. I am continuing to fight both with stress reduction and medication. I am trying to rest as much as possible since I am completely exhausted. All of this means not a great few days.

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Somehow I am holding on to the knowledge that this too will pass and once again “all will be well.” My strength to resist all of this will return and I will be able to move on. I am so thankful that we are both retired and don’t have to be anywhere on a daily basis. So there are gifts in the midst of this.

Today’s blessing: We both have time to heal.