Tag Archive | Love

Perfection and Blame

Those who know me probably agree that in a good portion of my adult life I have been a perfectionist or perfectionism has influenced my decisions at times (I know my daughter and son-in-law agree). I mean I can spot a minuscule crumb on the floor from twenty feet away and must get it up. It is as though I cannot help myself as sad as that sounds🙄. Being a perfectionist makes me happy in many areas of my life but it has also led me to give up at times on creative ventures or adventures because I could not get it perfect.

This need for perfection I know drives some folks crazy so I always blamed it on being raised by a perfectionist mother. Oh it is so nice and easy to blame someone else. The other evening my mom and I were eating dinner. For some reason she brought up the fact that even as a young child my bed had to be made up perfectly with all my dolls lined up on it a certain way and nobody better touch it. My initial reaction was that cannot be true when in my heart I knew it probably was although I conveniently forgot about it. The truth is I probably came into this lifetime with perfection as a part of me.

Don’t get me wrong. I really do not see it as a bad thing if tempered with a hefty dose of reality and forgiveness. But this post is not really about that. It is about conveniently blaming someone else for traits we somehow see as bad or negative in our personalities. How embarrassing to realize this. But it was also amusing to picture the 4 year old me already declaring my perfectionism and need to control. Thank goodness I can laugh about it (for the most part). And I also realize that blaming keeps me from fully honoring and loving all of me including idiosyncrasies.

Are the aspects of your personality you discredit or blame on someone else? Are you willing to consider taking ownership? Even more important can you honor and love all of yourself and have a sense of humor about it?

Let me know if there are other stories about aspects of life you want to read.

Advertisements

The Afghan

During the recent snow storm here in Virginia I was sitting drinking coffee and reading with a warm afghan over my lap. I started thinking about the afghan and its origins which led me to family ties and other musings. My father’s sister knit it probably between thirty and forty years ago. It was given to my mother and at some time passed on to me. For many years it was draped over the back of my sofa and used as a comfy perch for Mystic the cat. I now use it on winter mornings as I sit in my favorite chair.

This afghan is rows of different shades of blue with white mixed in to it. I am not a knitter (although I have made several half hearted attempts to learn and just never got it), but I can guess that knit and purl stitches create the wave like effect. Some rows are closely knit and others appear looser but it all works together to not only provide warmth and comfort but a pleasing complete pattern.

The aunt who knit this was not someone I saw often when growing up as her husband was in the Army and they lived in different states. My memories of her are of a warm, practical woman with a wonderful laugh who enjoyed her family and friends. When we visited her she treated us with love and was able to make even children feel respected and acknowledged as individual personalities.

What is all this pondering over an afghan? I am not a person who is much attached to things (or so I think😊). In fact I need a home as uncluttered as possible and often say I could easily live in the simplicity of a Japanese style home. However I am very appreciative of what I have. But I was surprised at my seeming “attachment” to this object. And I am beginning to see that the meaning for me is on several levels.

First, it is connection to family. Something that brings smiles to my face and loving memories not only of her and her family but of my father and grandmother. It reminds me of the heritage I have of strong women and men. Some bonds are tight or close and some loose with family members but all are connected and a part of who I am. Ultimately the afghan is connected to the Creator who provided the talent and interest in its creation and another reminder to me to appreciate the connections of love in my life. It helps me to be aware when I discount “stuff” lovingly given to me by family and friends that in truth keep the presence of Love always before me. And I have been graced with some beautiful extraordinary handcrafted gifts.

Oh I still will never have an over abundance of things and prefer open uncluttered living spaces. But I am learning to honor those gifts that raise me up in the love through which they are given. What a wonder that such kindness flows through life.

What “stuff” or “things” in your life hold special meaning for you? Why are they special? If there is nothing, why is that? Does it define your experience in life? Are there gifts you have given to others that have special meaning?

Relationship to the Natural World

Until the last five years or so I lived from my mind and emotions most of the time. Since learning to live more from my heart all my senses have opened more fully to the brilliance of our natural world. The sky, the clouds, trees, the ocean and so much more are in technicolor for me most of the time. The gift of the Earth takes my breath away often.

It is interesting when I look back on the last few years to see how my opening to the Universe brought more wonderful opportunities to connect with nature. I traveled in the mountains of Virginia as part of my job when I was working as a trainer. Traveling all times of year allowed me to see them in their coats of many colors. I even rejoiced when seeing cattle and sheep negotiating the hillsides. The month I spent in Maine last year allowed me to connect to both the beauty of hills and the ocean in a quiet, joyful way. There really are no words to describe how the experiences there confirmed the freedom of my heart.

This past fall I did an experiment using my imagination in “feeling” from my heart into the southern East Coast states on the ocean the ocean side. Maybe later I will write a blog on that experience but it was incredible in what was revealed to me and I ended up focusing on the Gulf Coast of Florida from Sarasota south and the Merritt Island section on the east coast of Florida near the Space Center. At Christmas my brother gave me a book about the living beaches of Florida and I am fascinated by life in the ocean and on the beaches. I am blessed to have experienced the beaches in Virginia Beach, VA, Outer Banks of NC, Folly beach, SC near Charleston and the Gulf Coast beaches in the Venice, FL area. In my travels and experiences with all these beaches I began to open my heart connection to the ocean and now recognize my soul frequency match with it and how we support each other. And just as an aside I have again learned the truth of the saying “Never say never” as I have come to appreciate Florida a place I said I would never live😊. But oh the ocean there is marvelous.

In 1962 Rachel Carson wrote Silent Spring predicting environmental disaster based on the use of pesticides. She focused on birds but we have seen the impact was much greater. Many of you may be old enough to remember the Keep America Beautiful campaign of the 70’s and the tv ad showing an Indian canoeing down a pristine river that turns to being polluted, etc (it is on YouTube). The ad ends with the man looking at the mess and a tear rolls down his cheek. Jacques Cousteau tried to educate us about the wonders of the oceans and the importance of taking care of them.

Where are we now with all this. We did pay attention to this early teachers. Today we have many conservation groups working toward preserving the land, the seas, and all the creatures who live here. Certainly since Rachel Carson’s book progress has been made. Some pesticides are banned and many of us are more aware of our responsibility to the Earth. Many of us no longer blindly believe what big corporations tell us. For this post I am going to just mention a few impacts on the ocean from our disregard for it. Tons of plastic and other materials are dumped from ships into the ocean. People either leave items on the beach or blatantly throw them in the ocean. In the book Florida’s Living Beaches by Blair and Dawn Witherington (2007) the authors state: “About 85% of small loggerhead sea turtles washed ashore in Florida have ingested plastics.” We all have probably seen studies about how our lighting up the beaches with our need to live on them can have disastrous results when sea turtle hatchlings get confused and head away from the ocean. Thank heavens for the volunteers who sit vigils waiting to help them on their way. I could go on and on but most of us know how full of waste our oceans and seas and rivers are due to our negligence or unwillingness to take action for solutions.

I admit to being a tree hugger now (in the literal sense) and in fact encourage us to teach our children to hug trees and understand how they give us so much. We all have a place in this natural world. Some came here to support the advancement of humanity. Some came to work actively in conservation of our natural resources. Some came to teach us about our spirituality and other came to experience human life and through that experience advance themselves as well as others. I know I am here to love and show how we are the peace and hope we seek. I am also coming to believe now that my purpose is connected to the ocean and the creatures that live it. This may be as a support to me with a frequency that resonates in my soul while I create near it or a more active conservation. I am saddened by so much of humanity disregarding anything other than self and living as though everything is not interconnected. We are told 50-75% of a human body is water.We came from water. We cannot survive without it. It is my prayer we can begin to understand and live from a place that appreciates and supports the rivers, streams and oceans that support us. For me there is such excitement in learning more about shells and plants as well as creatures of the seas and the beaches. At this time of my life there is such joy in clearly seeing the majesty from a depth of my soul different from how I saw the natural world previously.

We humans are so incredibly intelligent with a spiritual core that knows Truth. We just need to allow it to rise up before us. Thankfully many are now working diligently to not only preserve the natural world but see it and us thrive. But there are still many that disregard any responsibility for living what I consider responsibly and lovingly. My prayer is that more and more people will wake up and realize living in harmony with the Earth increases the joy of living for all.

I end with a wonderful quote from Rumi:
“And still, after all this time, the Sun has never said to Earth,
‘You owe me.’
Look what happens with love like that.
It lights up the sky.”

How do you see your relationship with the Earth and our natural world? Is there anything you want to change or expand in that relationship. How do you see this fitting in with your day to day living?

Maine Journey – Part 3

It has been two weeks since I arrived home from the Maine vacation and it is taking time to adjust to not being there. The last two weeks of the trip flew by with a walk up Mt. Battie in Camden Hills State Park, a ferry ride to and hiking on Monhegan Island, a visit to the Belfast Cohousing and Ecovillage as well as a stroll through the Farnsworth Art Museum. And in between these trips were walks into downtown Rockland and the Breakwater.

The last weeks were filled with the continuance of grace as I was enveloped by much beauty and touched by the people I met. There were more opportunities to laugh at myself such as during the climb up Mt, Battie. As I kept stopping to catch my breath I wondered why a short mile hike could seem so long and deciding dying on the side of a small mountain in Maine wouldn’t be so bad (working out at a gym does not necessarily prepare one for steep hikes). But I made it to the top to partake of not only another beautiful view but to connect with another lovely family. They were from New York and reflected both awe at the beauty they were seeing as well as a quiet sense of peace. Of course there were also families dealing with tired whining children and whining adults complaining as their expectations were not met. All a part of the human community and our various stages of being.😉

An exhibit at the Farnsworth reminded me how extraordinary what we see as ordinary often is when we open our eyes, mind and heart. Currently there is an exhibit “Andy and Kosti” that displays works by the painter Andrew Wyeth and the photojournalist Kosti Ruohomma. These men were great friends both with a love for Maine. The exhibit features photographs by Kosti paired with paintings by Andy. A striking talent of both was to take “ordinary” subjects and help us see their extraordinary nature. This led me to think of all the many entrepreneurs in Rockland at the local bakery, coffee roasters, spa, art galleries, grocery co-op as well as clothing and gift shops. To me the risk taking, following their passions and giving to their community is beyond ordinary. I am sure at times it is highly stressful but also produces times of joy as they share their talents with us. I pray to never again look at small business owners as ordinary or fail to acknowledge their heart.

As you probably see places and people filled my heart in Maine. There was more clarity of vision and feeling I believe because I was free from my “Virginia” routine and responsibilities (whether real or perceived). That supported the ability to relax, live more in the moment and be more light hearted. So what did I discover about my self- nothing new😊. What I knew before this trip is that I am love and at my core is peace and joy. This adventure let me experience that more fully and freely especially on the feeling level. It is a gift that I now will strive to integrate more into my perception and action of daily life.

What do you see in your life that is extraordinary? Might it be you? How do you see yourself connected to both people and the Earth?

Preparation for the Trip – Mental, Emotional, Spiritual

Beyond the areas of physical preparation for my journey of play and discovery to Maine is assessing any preparation needed in the mental, emotional and spiritual arenas. Attending to my mental, emotional and spiritual bodies is as important as addressing the physical.  For me this seems to be letting go of any expectations that may exist in order for me to be open and be in the flow of each moment. Any remaining negative memories, feelings from the last two trips to Maine must be released.  Yes, those were wonderful trips but there were also experiences related to my belief of “not being good enough”.  Although I am not in that place anymore our minds have a tendency to want to cling to things.

I am practicing relaxation through using both music and silence to help me “feel” what I am feeling. Our emotions alert us to where our focus is whether it is joy and excitement or anger and fear. Long held anger or fear connected to our stories contracts us physically and mentally.  I am allowing any of these emotions that arise to move through me acknowledging them and reminding them that is the old and I am no longer in that place.  As you see the mind plays a part here as the emotional and mental bodies work together. For me the rising of joy lets me know the clearing is taking place.

I plan to leave my roles as mother, daughter, and sister in Virginia. Part of the reason for this trip is to find Pam or a part of Pam that has been buried for awhile.  Who am I beyond these roles and other roles such as trainer or employee or friend?  This too is another area where the mental and emotional intermix and what a fun experiment this can turn out to be. At this point I am conditioning my mind and emotions to be aware when I start to fall back into one of those roles and remember when I interact with other people or the earth that I am simply being fully Pam. And I am blessed to “see” and “feel” the angelic beings who are with me to help.  We have an agreement that when I start to contract or fall back into old patterns they stand on either side of me and gently touch my shoulders reminding me to relax and expand my heart (Yes those beings are really here with us). What a blessing that I am at this point in my life.

It is the Spirit that I am that supports it all.  In silence I am reminded that I am peace and joy at my core and that Love created me and that is who I am: a being of love and light in a human experience. I believe that as we mature as total beings – both spirit and human – the human process of mind informing heart begins to switch to the heart (the core of who we are) informing the mind. This process feeds the emotional body so that there is more joy, excitement and passion than fear and anger. It is understood that fear and anger maybe appropriate short term human emotions at times of danger or mistreatment but we begin to tell the difference.  We begin to recognize when these are stopping us from being our true selves. What Diadra Price calls “Grace Mind” is our highest consciousness in the spiritual realm and it guides us.

No, I am not totally there yet but am confident that I am moving upward.  Since I see this trip as a pilgrimage of sorts I am planning on intervening when my mind wants to whine or react negatively by reminding it that I am not there anymore and it is wasting my time. There is no need to fear the drive, leaving family, the unknown or anything else.  And believe it or not the planner that I am intends to allow plenty of time for wandering unplanned in this beautiful place much of the time. There is no doubt that in this process I will discover Maine has something for me and it is highly probable I have something to give Maine.

The gallery below is just a few more enticing pictures of part of this escapade (I just love that word).  All are from Bing Search but soon I will be including the ones I take. A week from today I will on my way.  See you in Maine!

Do you believe there are mental and emotional areas that keep you from being yourself and from enjoying life?  If so, are you working on clearing those?  What works for you?  What adventures or pilgrimages are you undertaking?

Begin Anew

Recently the words “begin anew” popped into my thoughts. Maybe the New Year approaching, my ending a job (again and hallelujahJ) or something else going on brought it to mind. And with the thought came the notion that there are many times in our lives when we begin anew.  My first action in exploring this was to check out the meaning of the word “anew”.  According to the Oxford Dictionary it means “…in a new or different way, typically a more positive way.”  Merriam Webster indicates one meaning is “…in a new or different form”.  So possibly the whole concept of New Year’s resolutions grew up with the idea of starting anew.  Unfortunately for many folks setting resolutions has become a game of tracking how long it is before those commitments are broken.  So I will skip any discussion of resolutions.

But before I investigate whether there are any areas in my life to begin anew it is necessary for me to look back at the past year.  WOW!!  It was a year of remembering more clearly who I am and my purpose here on earth at this time.  It was a time to see more clearly the experiences of my childhood and into my adult life that support my mission.  The past year afforded me a better understanding and appreciation for some aspects of the natural world.  2014 also saw me drop fear about some things and this freed me to follow my heart.  There is so much gratitude in that heart for the year 2014.

So as I look into the year 2015 I might be tempted to say there cannot be anything new for me to begin after last year’s wondrous time.  I can relax and just bask in the joy of it.  But I know better.  There will continue to be new opportunities to experience the Oneness and the connections to all as I live the Love I am.  I will experience some familiar things in a “new or different form.”   Although the human part of me wants to have a crystal ball view to see how the year will play out, I embrace the mystery and feel a sense of adventure.

Even though I know there really is no time and that it is our human creation to help us organize, I can see that I am beginning 2015 “…in a more positive way.”  I have begun past years down and in the doldrums but now I feel full of hope and joy.  Grace has afforded me the knowing that I am surrounded and filled with the love of the Creator and that at my core, in the stillness there is only peace.

So it is in the quiet of your heart that you must begin to see where you have come from and where you are to be going.  But you must allow that process to unfold by letting your mind’s constant chatter quiet.  Remember it takes practice and patience sometimes but always remember you are created from Love.

Margaret Wheatley recently published a beautiful memoir How Does Raven Know?  I leave you with a quote from her afterword in which she states that she hopes the book: “…invites you to see the world anew informed not by science by sacred wisdoms.” Those sacred wisdoms are within you my friends.

Things to contemplate:  As you look back on 2014 and step into 2015 are there areas in your life where you are beginning anew?  What are they?  What does “anew” mean in those situations?  Do you begin each day anew?

Perhaps Love Is

As I stated in an early post music is a major joy in my life.  I love looking at it from the standpoint of what it says about both our human and spiritual lives.    So for  a time I am going to change the focus of this blog to begin to look at some songs (mostly older, “non-religious”) that have many layers and are another doorway to understanding our lives and hearts.

The subject of love is widely covered in literature, music, art, religion, philosophy……  We are obsessed with the study of it, the expression (or lack thereof) of it, the mystery and intangibility of it while all the while trying to define it.  “Perhaps Love” a song written by John Denver is one attempt to explore love.

Perhaps love is like a resting place
A shelter from the storm
It exists to give you comfort
It is there to keep you warm
And in those times of trouble
When you are most alone
The memory of love will bring you home.”

In the first stanza the exploration begins.  Love is described with feel good words rest, shelter, warm, comfort.  This love is so positive that it stays in your consciousness as a welcome memory that provides a sense of home when that is needed.  But what about folks who do not have a good experience of home? Do they relate to this at all?  Do we need to explore “home”.  First let’s look at what the songwriter moves on to say.

“Perhaps love is like a window
Perhaps an open door
It invites you to come closer
It wants to show you more
And even if you lose yourself
And don’t know what to do
The memory of love will see you through.”

In the next verse love becomes active.  It beckons you to explore to expand what you think it is: “it wants to show your more.”   Even a glimpse of that more becomes a part of you so that when lost you hold on to what is remembered about this love.  Again the “memory of love” is referenced.

“Oh, Love to some is like a cloud
To some as strong as steel
For some a way of living
For some a way to feel
And some say love is holding on
And some say letting go
And some say love is everything
And some say they don’t know.”

And then the section above reflects on the different ways people see love: soft, strong, way of life, feeling, all encompassing or confusing.  Many of us probably have experienced or witnessed love that wants so badly to hold on. Here it is established that there seems to be no consensus about defining love.

Perhaps love is like the ocean
Full of conflict, full of pain
Like a fire when it’s cold outside
Thunder when it rains
If I should live forever
And all my dreams come true
My memories of love will be of you.”

In the final verse we again get a mixture of thoughts or feelings: conflict, pain yet warmth.  Also, for someone that loves the ocean is there comfort there or is it what reminds of conflict and pain?  For some of us there is energy and excitement in thunder and for some fear.  And at the end a “you” is referred to as holding the memories of love.  The last two verses are repeated before the song ends.

My belief is that not only does this song capture the many ways we experience human love but underneath tells us who we are: children of God/Creation/the Universe not only created from love but love itself.  The word “home” for many may hold negative feelings that lead them to reject even the idea of love attached to it but I believe this song is telling us to look beyond that.

Notice that the first two verses reference going home” in relationship to the “memory of love”.  However, in the last verse it changes to “my memories of love will be of you.”  On one level it can be said this refers to another human being.  While that may be true I believe there is a much deeper level referred to here.

As I listen to the song what becomes truth for me is that there is a memory born in another place beyond my humanity. There is something at our core that “memory” of where we came from or who we are beyond our human earth home.  During the dark times in my life that memory has carried me through to light. It is a memory that whispers you are loved beyond measure and you are LOVE.  As I remember that it fills my heart and comforts me in times of trouble and joy.  Yes, the human experiences both the positive and negative impact of love in human relationships but those do not define Love.  For me ultimately it is God/Creation/the Universe that ultimately is the “you” and the “home”.

I also believe John Denver was a light being who came here to help us see the beauty of the earth and ourselves.  He recorded a wonderful duet with Placido Domingo of this song and if you do not know it I suggest you take time to listen and let it speak to your heart.

As you look at your life what are your experiences of love?  Are you willing to open your heart to see what may be beyond your human experience?  Does music have answers for us to our questions about life?