Life Enhancements: Part Five

Communing with my Inner Self — the Last Frontier

Good Morning, God

It was just this morning — while taking part in a guided Welcoming Prayer — that I sort of heard my Second Brain speaking. She was rejoicing at having a positive, compassionate attention focused on her. My First Brain — what I used to think of as my ONLY brain — was listening to her. *

Now, I understand, God, that the words speaking and listening are inadequate to capture what was going on. But, it felt like a flow of respect and interest between these two brains — separated so long ago in the womb. And more and more I am defining “love” as something that begins with “respect.” And that is what this gentle flow — back and forth — felt like! Respect!

Sigh, my First Brain, has been trained to focus and fix! She has opinions, hypotheses even! So for her to be softly and respectfully reaching out to commune — to receive — was a wonder. (I am pretty sure that was possible because of the loving kindness of my friend Pulelehua, who has been a wonderful guide into the Welcoming Prayer. She is presenting the Welcoming Prayer Embodied at the 2021 Parliament of the World’s Religions this weekend.) This morning, it felt like a new experience — a very much welcomed experience of inner peace and compassion.

I found myself thinking that THIS is the key to World Peace! This peaceful, respectful communing with my full self. Aha, so THIS is what self compassion feels like. There was no judging. No regret. No anger. No hate. There was Nothing that I wanted to project out onto others. . . .

There was only a gathering awareness of my Second Brain as another Entity — One that loved me — One that I was slowly coming to acknowledge, respect and love.

*(These two brains begin as one in the womb — then the Neural Mass divided — with one half going to the head and the other to the gut.)

Posted in An Inner Entity, being together in a compassionate presence, Compassion, connecting, developing helpful definitions of love, LOVE, respect, Second Brain, self care as self compassion and humility, Self-Respect, the gift of persistent love, Welcoming Prayer

Life Enhancements: Part Four

Lunch with a Fellow Idea Popper

Good Morning, God

I used to joke about having ideas as fast as a popcorn popper . . . but it was several years into my friendship with Ann before I heard her describe herself as “an idea popper”. As soon as I heard her say that I thought, “Ah HA! So that is what I am!” It is always enlightening to find a new way of understanding myself. And yesterday, I found myself expanding on it — explaining to a friend that I seem to generate a hypothesis where other folks just wonder for a minute of two.

Actually, mostly I just wonder — if I even get to the stage of wondering.

That’s why it is such fun to visit with Ann. Idea Popping is a “named” activity. Even better, it is a valued activity! And I must say that I am valuing this activity now more than ever. Because, I am, quite clearly in need of ideas.

This is a time of personal transitions, as my beloved husband and I are aging. I am becoming willing to recognize this. . . slowly. And since I have decided against the obvious way of coping — a retirement residence — then I am in need of alternative ideas and options.

So how might “idea popping” differ from suggestions? I guess it would be a lightness or playfulness in the presentation?

I’m sitting here smiling, God. I am assuming that there ARE options. I am assuming I have just not explored enough or imagined enough. Or perhaps, I have not been observant enough? But, I have observed how the unexpected happens. And so I am “embracing this moment as it is.”

And I am OPEN, God! Open to ideas, suggestions too, and to The Unexpected.

Posted in a hand up, a series of molts and upgrades, accepting my ability to REDESIGN, accepting my need for help, asking for help for myself, attitudes, connecting, decision making, developing helpful definitions of love, Idea Poppers, LOVE, The Slow Drift of Aging

Life Enhancements: Part Three

Good Morning, God!

Now that I am back to swimming frequently, I drive by this fountain several times a week. And each time I get a visceral reaction! The LIGHT. The WATER. And Diamondhead in the background! I long to take a photo so I can SHARE the beauty. But, I’m driving. Sigh. But the other day there was no traffic behind me. . . and so I slowed down . . . and snapped three quick shots! Vola!

Because, now I can share. Sharing is part of being “human”. In the old days — maybe before radio — people used to be called on to share. A good storyteller could count on being asked to share an old favorite story. Others had jokes to share or poems or impersonations, perhaps. Entertainment was not an industry. It was what humans did when we got together.

Now as we are zooming toward the future . . . some aspiring even to becoming trans-human . . . I find that I am becoming more and more enthralled with simply being “human”. The quiet joy or just “being with” family and friends has deepened and become richer. A few days ago — I think in the book The Chemistry of Calm, by Henry Emmons, M.D. — I came across the idea of a Clearness Committee. That is a quaker term and is used when a person is seeking clearness on a decision. The person goes to the elders — or people who listen well and are not given to advising — and asks for their help in discerning clarity. They ask clarifying questions. But mostly they hold the person in love. Trusting that the person’s inner light will show the way.

In the article below Gil George ended by saying, “even if no clarity comes from it, there is a sense of being held in love by our community that can make the lack of clarity not as scary as it used to be.”

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Posted in Being With, connecting, LOVE, Sharing, Story Tellers, the gift of persistent love, the joy of sharing, The power of Story

Life Enhancements: Part Two

Good Morning, God!

I have been reorganizing our home and mostly enjoying it. Our daughter, Sandy, is coming with her husband Dave. This time I want them to have an upgraded guest room! So, the old closet doors that did slide if you made a real effort, have been replaced with gently sliding mirror doors. And Kit had mostly emptied the big wooden dresser in his office! So, I finished finding places for the rest of his archival collection. And I diligently sanded the dresser drawers so they too would slide easily.

But, a real old fashioned wood dresser is heavy! I easily carried down the 3 drawers. And I figured that gravity would help me get the main frame of the dresser down the stairs. I was a little concerned though. Concerned enough so that I mentioned my intention to friends. All of them were HORRIFIED! One suggested I ask our handiman for help. Duh! He came the next day — did it in five minutes — and exhorted me saying, “DON’T BE STUPID!!! Give me a call anytime.” He refused the idea of getting paid for such a small amount of helping.

A few minutes later — moving a few more books — I put my hand on Meditations For Women Who Do Too Much, by Anne Wilson Schaef. I opened it to the page titled, ASKING FOR HELP. Ooh oh! Sure enough, that page nailed me! “We have learned many ways of getting help with our asking for it and without admitting that we need it. Yet, there is something infinitely more honest in asking for help when we need it.”

Her takeaway at the bottom of that page was: ASKING FOR HELP does not mean that we are weak or incompetent. It usually indicates and advanced level of honesty and intelligence.

Sigh. . . yeah, Margie, don’t be stupid! Or proud! Or smushed by a falling dresser!

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Posted in accepting my need for help, asking for help for myself, connecting, Humility or Needing Help!, Pride, reality, the cold snow of reality

Life Enhancements — Part One

Giving credit to Judith Kolberg for “body double” or “Body Anchor”

Good Morning, God!

Many years ago, while reading this great book, I came across her description of a “Body Double”. That was when a client hired her to “just sit there” while I write out checks! He job was to just BE THERE! And by being there to help anchor the person to her task. I immediately saw the value of this idea! Only, I renamed it “body anchor” because, that seemed to be the “function”.

I meet most Monday mornings to be a “body anchor” for a friend. Only, of course, I kibitz and offer up my opinions. My friend is doing presentations — conveying information — and I have a mind that loves images. In fact, I probably “think” in images. So, I am invited in on the graphic portions.

But, this concept is flowering inside of me. I will be going off to swim at the beach in a few minutes. And during the 20 minute drive I will be a body anchor to myself! I will record myself and play it back and listen to myself. Listen to myself as I excrete amorphous thoughts out into the form of the spoken word. Something happens, when I hear myself say things.

I suppose it is like what happens when we journal. But, I seem to learn best through my ears. In any case, I am in need of being heard into speaking. Right now, I am in flux. Reality changes . . . or perhaps it is just that I can see how reality never stops! I used to have a mental map in which reality had Pause Points. It does seem to . . . if one doesn’t look too closely. Now it is all flow.

And I am doing my best to adjust to this new model of reality. Adjust? Keep afloat? Swim? And hearing that word I shall now be off to the beach. . . with new fins and a new snorkel. Hm. I wonder what “fins and snorkels” would help me navigate my new understanding or reality?

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Posted in Abundant Life, an invitation to abundant life, authority over my life, connecting, Life isn't supposed to be easy., mental maps, organized, perceptions, reality, slow incremental change, supportive organizational structures, the cold snow of reality

The Pitfalls of Being a Favorite

Joseph being tossed into a pit by his older brothers

Good Morning, God!

I was carrying books up from our guest room into another bookcase upstairs — when my eye lit of the book by Madeleine L’Engle, Sold Into Egypt. Immediately, it hit me, God, that Joseph was able to survive and indeed flourish because he knew himself to be his father’s “favorite”.

His father had many sons — but Joseph was the first son of his beloved wife, Rachel. And in many ways his father showed his favoritism. But the straw that broke his brothers’ back was Joseph having a dream in which his brothers bowed down to him. So, his brothers intended to kill Joseph at the first opportunity. Finding him alone with them, far from home, Reuben said, let us just toss him in a pit. Then Judah — seeing traders coming — said, “Let us sell him to these traders on their way to Egypt!”

As I was climbing the stairs I pondered again how being loved as a child helped Joseph not just survive his hardships but flourish! Being loved gave him resiliency. For Joseph actually became second only to Pharaoh in Egypt and was in charge of storing grain for seven years — so Egypt could save the world (and make lots of money) during the seven years of famine that followed.

Yes, God, being a FAVORITE is hard — just ask the Jews, Your Chosen People. Not an easy gift to bear.

But at the top of the stairs I thought, what if each one of us, is Your Favorite, God? This thought felt very true! But it is a very difficult concept for us humans. For us, being a “favorite” is all about linear comparisons. The idea of being in a Sphere — in which each one is a favorite — isn’t just hard to grasp. It just cannot be true. Well, it can’t be true when we have a linear definition of favorite.

Sigh. Definitions are surely hard. My definition of love has been quite shallow for much of my life. Going through something UNBELIEVABLY HARD (Patty’s illness) and seeing You “with me” in it — that was a huge step. And, one I fall back from “feeling” even while I still grasp the “knowing”.

And that, again, is why it is so hard for us to see ourselves beloved as Joseph was. We look around us and seeing things that are hard, unfair, and meaningless, we say THIS ISN’T LOVE!!! Ah, yes. . . definitions. But, if in the HARD we could envision You WITH US . . . how amazing that would be!

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Posted in connecting, Definitions, developing helpful definitions of love, Helpful Hards, Life is hard., LOVE, The Flow of God's Love, the gift of persistent love

Tiptoeing Toward Self Care

Good Morning, God

This weekend I put into practice an Idea that a dear friend offered. I commented on how much time I spend just “tidying” our home, “Why don’t you tidy 3 days a week and actually organize/clean 4 days a week. Upon hearing that I actually shrieked! And I quivered all over! THAT WAS RADICAL.

But, after the quivering stop, I thought THAT MAKES SENSE!

So this weekend was one of taking stuff off shelves and out of cupboards and filling up boxes to give away. And filling up garbage bags of stuff too old to give away.

So, why the photo of this one corner, God? Because while I was removing assorted “stuff” from this corner — I remembered asking a friend what did she do with stuff that she didn’t have a “place” for? Oh! she replied, I THROW IT WAY!

All of a sudden, I realized why she had unfriended me after 40 years! I have a different world view. I think getting an experimental vaccine when I don’t have any comorbidity factors is unwise. She believed everyone has to get a vaccine in order for the pandemic to end. With that belief, she didn’t have a “place” for me.

Now, the vaccine is up to almost 80% in Israel and the UK . . . but the variants are flourishing. And more folks are in the hospital than last year. Virus like this one mutate very quickly. People with vaccinations do get COVID and they do transmit it. But, I am pretty sure she is still blaming me for that. Once a World View is SET . . . we all tend to toss out any and all facts to the contrary. Me too.

And that brings me to the real point — I have been judgmental — I have not been loving. Hosea the prophet, has You, God declare, “I desire steadfast love [hesed] and not sacrifice, / the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings” (Hosea 6:6).

I am sitting here feeling very much in need of Your steadfast love. And in need of Your help in letting Your love flow through me.

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Posted in A Spiritual Spring Cleaning, adjusting, Balancing and adjustments, clean and tidy, Cleanliness, connecting, Impermeable, LOVE, loving myself, Lovingkindness, the gift of persistent love, The World of our Senses

Happy 59th Birthday Beloved Patty

Our beloved Patty — Patricia Louise Smith — 8/31/1962 – 6/20/1981

Hello, God

As hard as it was — If You hadn’t assured me that Patty was “Vibrant, Radiant, Alive and with YOU” — how much harder it would have been. Or, actually, would be.

Being a Believer, it was all too easy to rejoice in Patty being with You in Heaven. My Spirit knew that and gave praise. But, while I had wept . . . during her illness . . . afterwards I took the grief and tucked it deep inside and froze.

I realize now that is the third response to major stress. Fight, against Death? Flee from reality? Ah, but FREEZE! It seemed perfect. I could even picture my frozen inland sea — deep inside me. It was so big that I could picture old fashioned sailing ships moored at the dock. Their sails were furled and stiff with ice. No waves lapped the shore. It was all ice.

My surface grew flowers. I’m a Seven on the Enneagram. We laugh a lot and are always looking for the silver lining. But my core was frozen. SOLID. This was not good. But, looking back I can see that this was the way my family handled — or didn’t handle — grief.

How I wished I was Italian or Jewish or from some culture that knows HOW to grieve. Knows HOW to weep and weep some more. How I wished I was from a culture that had a prescribed ritual I could have done at set intervals.

But, I am doing better now at going back — into the frozen sea — the water now laps at the shore. I am in a grief group for mothers. And I am befriending Sorrow. She has a lot to teach me.

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Posted in a series of molts and upgrades, accepting gifts sight unseen, Accepting Imperfection, connecting, going THROUGH the sorrow, Grief, Sorrows of the Deep, Transitions, Trusting God

The Micro and Macro of Life

small copy of a watercolor by Sue Stagner

Good Evening, God

I’ve been wanting to chat with You about this for days . . . but the micro of life occupied my focus. The idea came to me while I was telling a dear friend about how Kit’s personal trainer has been strengthening his small muscles — the ones that keep him balanced and upright.

“Oh yes! The Micro muscles!”, she said. Then she added, “I see my life in terms of micro and macro.” Just hearing her say that made a Reframe click into place! I had been lumping the multiple, and somewhat tedious details of life, together — and labeling them irritating. All of a sudden, I saw them as the essential micro aspects of my life. Keeping them exercised and strong — keeps my life balanced and upright!

And the fun thing to me, is that this lovely watercolor (with its macro view) is positioned right over my kitchen sink! Surely, kitchen sinks are one of the major focal points for micro activities.

My new found respect for the micro aspects of my life has been very helpful. I (mostly) don’t waste energy on being irritated by endlessness micro tasks. Yes, they are small…but they are essential to a well-lived life.

Posted in connecting, Micro and Macro, Personal Responsibilty, reframing, respect, Responding, responsibility, Self-Respect

The JOY of Serendipity

These are Poverty Point Objects from Archaic America circa 3,500 BC

Good Day, God!

I love stumbling across an unknown time and place! And that happened this afternoon — when I intended to organize my office — but opened the current issue (July/August 2021) of Archaeology instead.

The place was all over the eastern portion of North America. The time was say, 9000 BC to 1000 BC. And the WHAT — was that supposed hunter gatherers created a complex 345 acre site at Poverty Point (Louisiana). Hunter gatherers are not supposed to have complex social systems.

But the Mound A was constructed in a three month period (estimated, of course). And it contains the equivalent of 31,000 dump truck loads. This was a feat that might have required 1,000 workers — plus those required to house and feed them. That would seem to require a complex social system so WOW!!! Old ideas, UPSET!

That is indeed interesting. But what captured my visceral interest were these Poverty Point Objects. I wanted them! I wanted to touch them. I wanted to hold them. To play with them. Maybe to wear them? And finally to MAKE them.

I rarely get that kind of a feeling from objects. And to connect with objects from a civilization 5,000 years ago was a joy! To discover that there even WAS such a civilization — that connected up to Michigan and over to the Atlantic coast of Florida — was a further joy.

As archaeologist Kenneth Sassaman said, ” if you presume in advance what you aren’t going to find, you may never find what is really there.” In fact, you probably never look.

So, God, I’m back to the importance of LOOKING . . . of being attentive . . . of being OPEN to other layers of reality.

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Posted in awareness, connecting, Curiosity, Discovery, JOY, seeing, stopping to see

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chatting and sometimes, listening

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chatting and sometimes, listening

A Moment with God

chatting and sometimes, listening

Sacred Dance Guild Journal

Since 1958 articles by members & guests offer news about activities, history, Sacred Dance practices, profiles of Sacred Dancers, choreography, images & illustrations.

Victoria Paulsen

How to Step In -- Substitute Teaching