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Realizing My Reality

Creation

curtsnativitysetThis afternoon, my eyes settled on the nativity set my husband had made in grade school, and it was time to put it away for another year. Shortly after we were married, his mother had placed it into my hands–knowing that I was an art major–and trusting that I could preserve his creation. I added a bit of glazing which deepened the colors. It has remained unchanged for decades.

His nativity set felt like a metaphor for reality–of the ideas we accept and carry forward. It felt like a realization of both responsibility and permission…each of us having to work out what that means personally. It also felt like a thing of beauty that is treasured in the heart: “in the eyes of the beholder”.

Such a simple shift–this thing called reality.  But then, suddenly, everything looks different.

A Lapse…

I haven’t written a post since back in October–the day I took our aging Brittany to the vet and said, “Good-bye.” It felt as though I had overstepped my boundary into the life of another by making that decision. I vaguely hoped that someday I would be able to make my own decision about whether to continue my life on this planet–or not.

Three months later, on this–my birthday–, it somehow seems fitting to launch again. I don’t know any more now than I did then, but my reality has shifted. I have allowed myself permission to create my own sense of reality. “Real” as understood in Medieval Latin was “belonging to the thing itself”. It has been a matter of wrenching away from other’s viewpoints and learning to read my own.

Communicating One’s Reality

A shift to owning my reality came with a commitment to both myself and others. The commitment occurred as a result of my shift: commitment in the “nominative form”, not in the active. Suddenly, I found that I had signed on to a journey of respecting myself. It came with a big assignment–respecting that same reality in others. To do so would mean that a lot of talking was about to take place. I think that is why I stopped this one-way path of writing and began to spend more time communicating in real time.

Honestly, I had no idea how much work that would become. I was beginning to understand why some people who seem so likable talk sooo much! To find a way to assure someone that they have been understood and to try to be mutually understood crosses a number of communication barriers–eyes, body language, tone, innuendos, emotions, and–oh yes–some words.

In my conscious moments, I am beginning to allow my mind to meld with a greater consciousness. I am allowing myself to accept that the physical world is sending me loving messages, and that I have the permission and ability to send my own back. And I am accepting that my physical self is just a temporary shell allowing me to experience and learn how to do this better. This feels real. It resonates. It feels true.

❤ ❤ ❤

Miralianna

*Your comments are welcome, same as ever before. 😉

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Crisis of Napoleon and an Aging Coffee Pot

butter-and-syrup

What do Napoleon, maple syrup, and an aging coffee pot have in common? According to my tangled dendrites, they have crises!

Some years ago, I read a book pondering the “what-ifs” of history. Among them was the odd occurrence of early winter falling upon Napoleon’s naval fleet. The author claimed that–had the frozen waters of the French port not immobilized his ships–America would be French instead of English. Crisis! (Understandably, Europeans probably have a much different version of this tale.)

And then there was our aging coffee pot staring weakly at me this morning, daring me to make one last cup of lukewarm coffee. Crisis! Instead, I opted for black tea with honey and lime–something I was first served on a houseboat off the coast of Kerala. Accompanied by a toaster waffle with real syrup and butter, it made for a happy breakfast. (My husband and I have decided that life is too short not to enjoy real food.)

The Greeks coined the term crisis to describe moments of decision, while just yesterday I had quoted President Kennedy’s observation that the Chinese character for crisis juxtaposed danger with opportunity. Today, I’m going to try embracing my crises in hopes of discovering what wonders might lie ahead.

What wonders have crises created for you?

Love, ❤

Mira

 

 

JFK Quotation: Crisis = Danger + Opportunity

crisi-tunity

I do not know anything of the Chinese language, so I welcome comments and corrections for this post-it is a work in progress with your help.

For those who have been faithful followers, I apologize for my lapse. Losing a beloved pet seems to put life into perspective. Watching political developments, however, has wreaked havoc on any perceived assumptions that my perspective was accurate.

This evening, I wandered back to re-read some of JFK’s most beloved quotations. My high-school English teacher had them taped to her walls such that not an inch of cinder block showed anywhere, and she started each class period pointing out yet another…rejoicing in the profundity of a president who was probably ahead of his time. This is one that I do not remember from my days in her classroom, but it stood out tonight like a harbor’s beacon, demanding to be seen.

“The Chinese use two brush strokes to write the word ‘crisis.’ One brush stroke stands for danger; the other for opportunity. In a crisis, be aware of the danger–but recognize the opportunity.”
John F. Kennedy

And so, it falls to each of us. We must learn to bear the enormity of our moments, and with equal forbearance, we must hold fast to the unimaginable and wonderful possibilities those moments might provide.

Love, ❤

Mira

Recovery from emotional pain

It doesn’t have to hurt!

brokenheart

Often overlooked is a hidden and mysterious emptiness behind emotional pain. Out of gratitude, I am featuring Dr. Jonice Webb’s program for healing–something you can do on your own at your own pace. During the past few years, her book, Running On Empty, has helped break down walls for hundreds, if not thousands, of people. Perhaps you will become the next to find your personal healing. She is starting a new course on Thursday, October 6. There is still time to sign up. She has several introductory videos that can help you determine if this is right for you. (Tap on the Welcome below to access her website.)

Welcome

Erase the irrational thinking

Breakthrough
483px-erase_stub

No doubt this post will be rather controversial, and if it gets very few likes, so be it.

In my experience, the so-called rational mind can get us tangled into a convoluted mess of he-said, she-said, and difficult-to-verify understandings. It seems that the more we try to think our way out, the greater the problems become. All politics aside, one candidate has a little mantra that does seem rather rational: “If you make it a practice to always be honest, you don’t have to remember as much.” My next thought went to wondering what the corollary statement would be–something like the more you add to the story, the less truth can be identified. (I’m sure there are a gazillion other possible versions!)

My first exposure to the field of psychology was in high school. The more I heard in this elective class, the more I was appalled to think that the reasons I was who I was–or thought the way I did–were no different from the ways a dog was conditioned to think. It scared the crap out of me! My conclusion was that I could trust myself no more than I could trust the people who tried to teach me. The idea that there might be no moral or ethical compass that could be trusted felt like the ultimate darkness.

Have the fields of psychology and sociology served us well? It seems to me that in the end, all of our doubt, hypotheses, testing, and theory-making tend to validate the original idea that love is the human activity that prevails above all. If we could ever figure this out, the learning, the information, the governments, the protections might become a moot point.

Perhaps the best way to affect a breakthrough to a world beyond the “isms” is to simply stop thinking about them. Stop talking about them. Erase them. Get busy and work to take care of ourselves and each other.  That sounds a lot like forgiveness.

(I’m going to go clean out my closet now.)

Mira

 

Gracefully weathering the tides of change

Graceful
ocean

Fact checking: real, or not?

With so many sources of information available these days, how do we determine what we allow into our lives? Who is to say what is real? Reality is a different experience for each of us. When do we walk on by, allowing tidal forces to wash and renew?

Despite the voices proclaiming fear and ruin, cities are reinventing themselves. Industrial towns like Pittsburgh and Detroit are reawakening and allowing the tides of natural decay to take their course, choosing to learn how to stay in the present, learning to live in individual realities. Churches are re-centering: the third largest denomination in the United States (per the 2010 Census) is NON-denominational. They seem to be focusing on helping us deal with our individual realities. (You can tap on the link for details.)

Enlightenment: real, or not? Nearly every self-help source, religion, healer, and wizened person recommends the practice of meditation. This is a world-wide trend, friends. It is finding our higher selves, becoming part of something much bigger: enlightenment. And it is growing. We are allowing it because “it” works.  “It” weathers all tides.

Meditation, like our very existence, can put us into a tailspin if we try to make sense of it. Some people know it as understanding grace. If we can just stop and learn how to live from a foundation of mediation (learning how to be), the puzzle of life solves itself. We, ourselves, can’t do it. Our energy, our peace, our meaning, flows from a source we can’t define. When we can accept our “nothing-ness” alongside our “something-ness” we connect with ourselves, with creation, with our Creator–even if we have no concept of what that means. We just accept.

Allowing the tides…

I love the metaphor of Jesus words (Matthew 11:28-30 NIV):

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

My father rode the changing tide of farming. By the time he retired, he was harvesting with huge machines that did all the work he remembered once doing by hand. Fortunately, he had taken time to tell me stories of farming with horses: how he and his father and brothers took care to choose compatible teams, how one horse became a leader and would nip encouragement to the other when it wasn’t pulling its own share, and how, if a horse strained to go ahead, the result could become painful and destructive.

Meditation allows us to settle into our yoke and harness for the day. If we strain beyond, our futile efforts become painful. If we ignore the gentle tug of the reins, we antagonize our driver and our team.  Jesus told his disciples to go into privacy and close the door to pray. He said words were unnecessary. When we stop and open ourselves to possibility– when we cease trying to be, we learn to be as we were intended.

As always, your views, experiences an comments are always welcome and encouraged!

Mira

 

 

 

 

 

I Will Be That Peace

Unfinished

Until we are able to complete our mission of being that peace, our work on this planet remains unfinished.

*Our local community chorus is privileged to have been granted permission to perform Mark Hayes’ beautiful message in song, as part of our upcoming concert, Peace. (This is the YouTube version.)

Words and music by Mark Hayes

Based on a quote by LAO-TZU (6th c. BC)

©2017 Mark Hayes Music

Alexithymia: the bewildering dilemma of emotional void

Dilemma

One of my teaching colleagues had a poster taped to the front of her desk. It ranks as one of my favorites.

RATE SCHEDULE

………

Answers $1

Thoughtful answers  $2

Correct answers $4

Dumb looks: Still for free

To most of us, this kind of poster seems hilarious. For some, simply a bewildering dilemma. For some, facial expressions are impossible to read–and perhaps impossible to produce. The reasons for this are still being investigated and are thought to range from genetic to environmental to perhaps a single traumatic experience. On the edge of the spectrum, there is even a name: alexithymia.

How to paint emotions when the scenery is deep space

Circling back to my theme of equipping children with self-knowledge, assertiveness, and kindness, I wanted to share that app developers are starting to provide child-friendly tools. These apps can help parents and teachers teach the words and concepts of emotions to children. Time and again, developing emotional intelligence is being seen as key to developing mentally healthy children who can form their own networks of supportive relationships. This also builds the inter-personal skills that help them become productive and financially independent adults.

Here is the list of children’s apps for building emotional intelligence.

Mira

Unless you become like little children…

Pretend

childlike

Pretend: the wonder of a child…

Embracing moments of joy and living with the eager anticipation and assurance of more joyful moments to come…

Until I had experienced enough living to equal about 120 childhoods, I hadn’t been able to understand Jesus’ famous words:

“I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like child is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:3-4 NIV)

The word pretend originated from the Latin word meaning to stretch forth and claim. Personally, I would like to reclaim my childhood wonder. How about you?

I should probably attribute this next concept to someone, but I have now seen it in so many places and credited to so many philosophically-minded folks, that it has created my own confetti-like words in the wind:

For every enlightened soul who has shared what seems like plausible meaning-of-life wisdom, followers have convened to claim ownership and to construct their own air-tight rules. The result is always the same: destruction of the real grains of wisdom. (I am speaking of religions, political beliefs, cultures, traditions, work ethics…all of it.) In fact, just by writing this, I am restricting your understanding. And that is why Jesus’ parables were so brilliant: we can’t know exactly. We can only hope and trust in something that is similar to what Jesus described during his short life.

Here is my personal little childlike box of confetti that, tonight, is what my picture of the kingdom is like. I can assure you that if you asked me tomorrow, it will have even more confetti. (Apparently kingdom boxes work like that!) Furthermore, I am quite certain that we all gather our confetti differently.

The beautiful confetti of children:

(Job speaking to the Lord) Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know. Job 42:3 

When I try to make sense of something or prove to myself that I have made the best decision, I tend to go a little crazy. The kingdom of heaven is like my world-within-my world. It’s the one I cannot hold onto firmly, because if I try, it disappears. It’s a little like staring at a star: if you look directly at it, you can’t quite see it anymore. When I can just pretend…when I can just accept that what is happening in each moment is simply my next opportunity to find love and goodness, each moment becomes an opportunity to learn. Without the baggage of prejudice (prejudging), outdated information, and yesterday’s advice, we live in gratitude for each other and the resources we have.

Does this mean that learning is pointless? Of course not. But learning anything is never static. Learning creates opportunity and invites childlike awe. If we grab it and wield it like a sword, it just gets old and crotchety. Relationships? New, full of wonder, looking for the next opportunity to find more love. Work? New, full of wonder, looking for more ways to care for, serve, and love each other. Backstabbing competition? Back to old, crotchety, and stinky.

What does your kingdom-box of childlike-confetti look like? It is certainly a challenge to keep it in focus, but when we can find others who are humbling themselves to the point of discovering their own gossamer confetti-threads of childlike wonder, finding the laser-like focus doesn’t seem so impossible anymore.

As always, your views, experiences, and comments make us all richer. Please share!

Mira