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Archive for February, 2012

Ring, Ring

I’m a little behind.  I try to do three posts a month but this month between being sick, February vacation, and basically ignoring any bit of spiritual growth that might have transpired I feel like I have nothing to write about and now I am on the last few days trying to get all three posts in.  I almost gave up.  I almost said, “Oh well if I don’t have anything, who cares?  It doesn’t matter that I only have two posts for February?”  Then I remembered, I wrote 50 thousand words in a month.  If I can do that I can certainly make three posts in 29 days.  It’s funny how participating and accomplishing the Novel Writers Challenge has pushed me on in other things.  So I hunkered down and decided to write about writing.

You’ve heard of people who get “the call.”  You know those people that somehow know they are destined to be a nun, a priest, a reverend or something along those lines, but I think there are other calls.  We are called to do good, to eat well, to do something nice for someone else.  It seems to be less of a call and more of a force compelling one to do what some higher power wants you to do, even if that power is simply your very own heart.  My desire to write is more than something I do for entertainment.  I spend a lot of time trying to complete all the other things that need to be done before I sit down and write that sometimes I go for days or weeks without writing anything more than “milk and eggs” on the grocery list.   One day, as I was ignoring my heart’s ache for my word processing program, it sort of hit me straight on; It is absolutely ridiculous to NOT do what your heart and soul are calling you to do. 

There are days I wish I had a different calling, particularly when laundry is piling up around my ears.  For some cleaning the house cleans out the cobwebs of their mind, for others working out makes their bodies strong so they are better able to face the world, maybe some people nurture animals or children in order to fill their hearts and return love.   If I was called to work out or clean at least I would have a clean house or better body.  My call causes me to sit for hours on end, some days I forget to eat, others I manage to get a couple loads of laundry in, but when I write everything inside me falls into place.  Even a simple blog post gives me an afternoon of contentment that I carry around with me as I tackle the rest of my chores.   I write because it explores all the shadows inside me and brings them into the light.  Writing fills my soul so I can go on to nurture and give to others. 

Does everyone get a call?  I don’t know.  I do know my oldest daughter will complain when she hasn’t been able to sit and write for a while, even if it’s only a silly story just for fun.  If she goes too long her soul gets sad and cranky.  I’ve experienced my 8 year old’s frustration when the computer doesn’t cooperate and she can’t work on her latest story.  So I guess they either got the call or I infected them with my bug.  My husband who is a practical man literally gets strange calls on his cell phone from people who simply need a friend or a prayer.  I think it’s rather amazing that his calls are tailored to his literal nature where mine start out as soft whispers to my heart and then become agonizing screams of need if I ignore them for too long.  If the universe can actually make a cell phone ring it must be capable of sending out messages to more than just my family.

So what forms do your calls come in?  Are they soft like a spring breeze?  Or billboards on the highway?  Can they be ignored, or do they cause immense heartache when you don’t listen?  Do we shut them up with alcohol or food or distract ourselves from the screaming with TV and computer games?  The real question is why do we ignore them?  It’s like dieting I know I feel so much better when I eat healthy and yet I don’t.  I know I feel better when I go to yoga but I can barely make my one class a week.  Why do we ignore the very things that make us feel good and put us in balance?  Then again maybe it’s just me in the padded self-sabotage room and everyone else is out there doing fine.  I guess it’s normal to feel alone when something seems strange and out of the ordinary but then again, I got a call, so I guess I’m not as alone as I think I am.

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The Wiccan, despite multitudes of disciplines and practice styles, have one universal law; Do no harm.  The words look simple enough.  Do no harm to anyone.  We got that, right?  We know we shouldn’t hurt others, but the sentiment imparts so much more.  It’s not speaking only of physical harm but emotional and spiritual as well.  The law also includes other creatures, birds, animals, insects (do hornets count?) and so on.  It goes on to encompass the earth; do no harm to the environment, to the balance of nature, to the energy that made us all, and finally do no harm to ourselves.  Of course most of us don’t want to physically hurt ourselves but how many of us harm ourselves emotionally? Spiritually? 

Too often we hold ourselves back or are way too critical of who we are and what we do.  When I was 18 and pregnant I put up a solid brick wall between myself and my God.  For years I spiritually held myself back because of guilt.  I had gone against who I thought I was and just couldn’t forgive myself, so there was no way I was going to let God forgive me.  25 years later I still have difficulty forgiving myself for my mistakes

I am so keenly aware of my faults and readily dismissive of my attributes that sometimes the imbalance gets overwhelming and I find myself more inclined to see the negative.  Then someone comes along and insinuates either to me or my husband that I’m not organized enough, responsible enough, my house is not clean enough, I don’t work hard enough and clearly my amazing husband who deals with all my mess should step in and do something about it. He should demand my change and I find myself descending further into the black hole of self-condemnation.  I do way too much harm to myself.

I may not have the cleanest house, the most organized life, or the most successful children but I do know without a doubt what I do right.  I love.  I love my husband completely and totally for the man he is and the man he aspires to be.  I love each one of my children for their individual talents and personalities and I am emotionally available and present in their lives.   Mother Theresa states the path to God (Enlightenment) is to love others and calls every one of us to start in our own homes with our own families.  I tried it this weekend.  I stopped focusing on my inadequacies and turned my attention  back to loving my family.   Something changed, I don’t know if it was me or them or all of us but I felt more loved because I loved.  We played a game together as a family.  My husband and I walked into church hand in hand instead of him sprinting ahead while I herd the children from behind.  All because I stopped focusing on the negative within and focused on what I am good at giving, my love.

We can’t let our own insecurities and the criticism of others take away our greatest strengths.  So I will continue to completely and totally give my heart to my husband because he needs and deserves it.  I will listen to each one of my children even if it takes me away from something else I need to do and each one will know they are precious to me.  It is the one thing I am good at.  It is what I was born to do. 

I am done doing harm to myself.  I will do my best to be the best I can.  I will no longer push aside who I am to try to become a person someone else says I should be.   We all have a purpose in this life and we can only fulfill that purpose if we are who we are meant to be.  

When we deny the Master’s design we do harm.   

We do harm to ourselves because we force ourselves to be something we’re not, to our families because we are not the person they came to this earth to learn from  and to the world because if we don’t acknowledge and nurture our true selves how can we begin to know what we are meant to do?  “Do no harm” three simple words, calling me, challenging me to be…well…me.

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I like beans.  Ok so it’s not a major revelation and no I’m not medicated at the moment although I am feeling quite horrible due to a nasty stomach bug I picked up somewhere.  I was making the meat base for nachos and was rinsing the black beans and the smell of the beans came to me and despite my twisted stomach and aching head my mouth watered.  I like beans.  It struck me because I never used to.  When I was a kid I may occasionally  have had baked beans but they were never my favorite.  Black Beans were rarely on my family’s menu, if ever and I would eat around the red kidney beans in my Portuguese soup.  I didn’t even like chili because it had beans in it and I never knew white or pink beans even existed.  The thing is, my latest affinity for beans is automatic, practically a part of me and proof that something about me has matured and changed.

Change is difficult, I know.  It has taken nearly three years to change my thought process around eating and it may take longer to change my mind set about exercise.  You mean it’s not something invented only to torture the weak?  When I began this latest journey I found myself dropped on the threshold of service.  If I really want to be an agent of change, if I really want to help people then I need to acquire an attitude of service.  Sure no problem, I’m a good person.  I want to help people.  How hard can it be?  So I look to the one human I know lived a life of complete service, Mother Theresa.  I download her book “No Greater Love” and began my studies.  A few pages in and I am struck by one phrase, “I need help every day.”  Really!  Mother Theresa needs help everyday to be a person of service.  Hell if she can’t do it alone then what is the hope I ever will?  I put the book down.  I pick it up later.  Her secret to a soul of service?  Prayer.  Pray, every minute of every day. Pray, empty yourself of everything you are and fill yourself with the love of Christ.  I put the book down. 

I pick it back up.  Sit in silence and listen to the Lord.  It is only when he works through you that you can truly serve.  I put it back down.  I sit in silence when I meditate.  Is that the same thing?  I’m pretty sure I’m not hearing anything.  I’m not even sure who to pray to anymore.  I’ve spent so much time expanding my definition of God that having a conversation other than “please bring my kitty back home,” is beyond me now.  It’s not a matter of “oh fill me with the love of God or the Divine light of the universe” it is a desperate plea and deep desire to be filled with the divine energy of love and light.  It is a plea without words and with complete and total intention and I think I have only touched upon it once or twice in my life.

I walk away from the call.  I will never be able to change that much.  I am so afraid of losing who I have worked so hard to become.  I can’t see me walking away from who I am and thinking of only others.  I don’t think I’m that good besides I have a family to take care of.  Mother Theresa must have been a very old soul to be that strong to completely let go of herself and become the love of God.  I admire her more than ever.  Somewhere in the back of my mind I acknowledge I am being small minded but I push the thought aside.  I consider the call and tuck it quietly into the back of my mind and then vehemently ignore it.  I am not ready.  The time is not now, then I wash the beans and the scent wafts to me and whispers… 

Change is possible.  Change takes time.  Change happens even when you are unaware it is taking place.  Change is happening right now.

We can only hope.

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