Monday, June 26, 2017

Reconciling Things

I am not quite sure, frankly, why I chose this picture of a waterfall in its frozen state other than it occurred to me that we have to reconcile that fact that sometimes a waterfall can be flowing and, at others, frozen. The topic of reconciling things popped into my mind because I was doing my monthly bank account reconciliation this morning.

How many seeming opposites does life contain that we need to reconcile. There is one of the most basic, day and night, dark and light. We need to be able to manuveur between the two. One of the debates that happens often is whether someone or something is that way it is because of nature or nurture. 

And, how can it be that people can be so open-hearted, brave and generous, yet people are full of fear, hate, anger, and isolationism? This is a truly big question that I am not sure I have the answer to. I do know that what I can do is choose which way I wish to live my life. 

My tag line on my email and my website (here) is Open Your Heart - Blossom in the World. Maybe I chose this picture knowing unconsciously that, when you choose fear, hate, anger, and isolationism, your heart closes down. Or, maybe it's when you close down your heart, you end up with fear, anger, hate, and isolationism.

I look at how many flowers are open to the world and face whatever comes. They take in the sunshine. They live through the rain. They go dormant and then come alive. Always, seemingly to me, open-heartedly.

May each and everyone of us find a way to face life open-heartedly.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Helping out a Friend

I have a friend, who I will call Amy as I haven't asked her permission to write about her in depth here. I will also somewhat disguise the situation she finds herself in for the same reason. At any rate, she found herself victimized in a scam because someone stole her friend's identity. (I do often think that if the perpertrator's would spend as much time, effort and creativity into creating a legitimate business that they and the world would be much better off.)

Amy is also in the metaphysical business but has reached out on a couple of occasions asking about the situation. She asks because she says she is too close to the situation. I am happy to ask my angels and guides about the situation and relay the guidance I recieve to her. 

In how many ways can we provide small (or large) services to help out a friend? My helping Amy today did not take a lot of time. It did not take a lot of effort. It hopefully has provided some clarity about what is going on. 

In how many ways can we proivde services to help out a neighbor just as we would help a friend? I had a neighbor knock on my door one day asking if I could follow her while she dropped off her car for a repair and then take her back to pick it up. I, truthfully, would have preferred that she had asked me a bit more in advance, but I had the time so I said sure. 

And, how do we define a neighbor? Solely the person next door, down the block? Is someone in the next town a neighbor? In a different country? It all comes down to perspective, I suppose.

A different friend commented once that she was struggling with the love your neighbor as yourself as there are people she just doesn't like. My response to her was that I didn't think that love meant familial or romantic love in this case, but rather it is wishing the best for everyone. To me, on reflection, just as you would wish the best for family and friends, loving your neighbor is wanting everyone to be healthy, having a decent safe place to live, fulfilling work, good food, clean water, and so on.

I am not trying to say that I am great because I did these things for a friend and a neighbor. I wrote about them because sometimes we all can get caught up in the idea that it is only the big, grand gestures that count, when most likely, it is the small things we do to help that make a huge difference in the world. 

Note: the photos are from my book, Opening the Heart: Meditations on How to Be (here).

Monday, June 12, 2017

Shifting Things

Things happen. Things shift. The companion meditation to this one in my book, Opening the Heart: Mediations on How to Be (here) is "It is good to plan and prepare." But things happen. 

I thought about this, again, this morning. I have been going for a walk after lunch, but it is going to be 95 degrees here in Vermont today. Much too hot to take a walk this afternoon. So, I decided that I could do my work related things after my walk. I was able to start working not much later than I normally do. It is going to be 85 degrees tomorrow - not as hot - but I decided to go for a walk before I do the errands I usually do on Tuesday mornings. Just by shifting things around I can do what I want and need to do. 

The point of this exercise, I think, is to look at things from a new angle. Can I use this shifting of perception, this deciding I don't always have to do things at the same time and in the same order help me in other areas of my life? I certainly hope so. I took a beginner multi-media art course some years ago. I remember that, at times, we would turn our pieces and look at them upside down or sideways to see if the piece worked from that new perspective. I believe that this is similar to what I was doing this morning. 

On a bigger scale, say globally, if we start shift our attention soley away from the terrible things happening in the world and look at the good things that are happening as well, can we feel more in balance, more hopeful? I believe that it helps me. There are sources out there with this kind of news if you look for it. (The Optimist Daily, Yes! Magazine, and the like.) After all, we can keep working for the things we want if we don't despair. Despair can cause us to give up and give in.

One way I have looked at things is that you have to lance boil to clean out and heal it. Someone recently said to me that growth and change come out of chaos. So, I look for the change, the hope, the beautiful.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Hallelujah Anyway

Yes, I took the title of this post from the title of Anne Lamott's new book, Hallelujah Anyway. I think the phrase is apropos of the world right now. The crazy, wacky, often scary world. 

I went for a walk the last 2 or 3 days at a local park that butts up against the Connecticut River. I looked through the trees and out to the river, and, yes, I thought Hallelujah Anyway. Hallelujah despite all the stuff going on. Anne Lamott says on page 11 that: "Hallelujah that in spite of it all, there is love, there is singing, nature, laughing, mercy."

In spite of federal governments, singing, nature, laughter, mercy, and action continue on state and local levels. Trump has withdrawn the U.S. from the Paris Accord (although I read that it will take 4 years to be able to be out of the agreement). Yet, the Governors of the States of California, New York and Washington have created the U.S. Climate Coalition because they believe in continuing to work for the goals of the Paris Accord. The Governor of Vermont announced shortly after that that Vermont is joining the coalition. Interestingly, he is a rich, former businessman and a Republican. (He also, along with the Mayor of Burlington, declared Burlington to be a sanctuary city.)

Fighting seems to be going all across the globe, whether on warfare scale, or between individuals. There seems to be so much division. So much that is good, kind, and loving, however, is happening. I receive The Optimist Daily. I subscribe to Yes! magazine. Both are full of stories about ways that people are creating new ways of being or products that help the world, the stories that you don't hear on the nightly news. 

Someone I know was bemoaning the lack of leadership in Washington D.C. I thought about it later, and my thought was that maybe he is looking in the wrong place for leadership, or possible expecting things to unfold faster than they can.

I am going to continue to try to find those Hallelujah Anyway moments to help me keep on track, keep me grounded and moving forward.

Note: The first picture was taken at Kilowat Park North, Wilder, VT. The second picture was taken at the Flume Gorge, Franconia State Park, NH. Please only use with permission and credit.