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Archive for March, 2012

Wishing for…Pizza?

From a very young age we are taught to wish; our first birthday candle, wishbone at Thanksgiving, dandelions in summer, an eyelash on our cheek and shooting stars. Always hoping luck and a sturdy breeze will take our wish and make it come true, but are wishes real? If they aren’t then why do we continue to wish because trust me grown adults wish on the providential sighting of a shooting star as much as children do. And are wishes different from prayers?

Like most people, wishes have weaved their way through my days but some have more than stood out, they have mapped major moments of my life. About a year after separating from my first husband I was listening to the radio. This Kiss, Rock a Bye and One Week came on in succession and by the end of the third song I thought, “That is what I want, a good kisser, someone who will gather me up and make me feel loved and someone who doesn’t play the games. I heard only what I can describe as a ka-thunk. Six months later I was going to my friend’s wedding. Before I left the house I looked in the mirror and said out loud, “he has dark hair, light eyes and his name is Mike.” I met a dark hair, light eyed, Mike that night and he was everything I wished for. We dated for six months; I had the time of my life and then he ran for the hills. I had forgotten to include “not afraid of commitment” in my wish list, but that’s ok because little did I know there was someone waiting for me in my future.

Six months after the break up I was sitting by a campfire with my mother, burning my students’ letters to God, sending their prayers up to heaven, when a star fell from the sky. I was a single (divorce was final in September), working mother with great kids and a job I absolutely loved. I was in a good place. I looked up and wished for my soul mate. “God, you know what I need, bring me my soul mate.” Another ka-thunk. A friend warned me I might regret that wish. “Maybe you should put in some physical attributes,” she suggested. “Nope,” I stubbornly refused. If you can’t trust God who can you trust?

Six months after that I met my now husband and he is exactly what I asked for, my soul mate. That doesn’t mean we don’t have disagreements or that we don’t have to put effort into our relationship but it does mean that  even after ten years of marriage, the end of the day, when we lay next to each other, is still the best part of my day. It means that whatever is going on in our life we can hold on to each other and everything is just a bit better. He is the only person, other than my mother, whose hug makes me physically feel better. What a gift. What a wish.

As I have said before, after the birth of my fourth child I was hit with postpartum depression. It was beyond awful. To go from being such a joyful person to someone who carried around this oppressive weight it was not only miserable, it simply wasn’t me. A year later I had my last baby and while she has been my joy, the difficulties surrounding the time of her birth left me in perpetual depression. I tried medication, therapy and finally my personal spiritual walk. I am sooo much better now but during that dark time if a star fell, an eyelash was found or too many candles needed blowing, my wish was always the same; take away my depression. No ka-thunk, just a begging, pleading and sobbing from my soul. This wish I had to make real myself. This wish needed hard work and some major soul-searching in order to become true.

Two years after taking myself off medication and working with a new kind of spiritual therapy, there was a moment when I saw a star fall. My wish was for my husband’s stress to leave him. It was automatic and it was not for me and in that moment I knew I had turned a corner in my fight against depression. It might not have been completely gone but that wish told me it no longer was everything I was. While this wish didn’t give me what I was asking for, it did make me realize my other wishes were coming true.

Last week my husband and I went out to dinner. We try to go out alone at least every few months to reconnect and have uninterrupted adult conversation. As we left the parking lot I saw a falling star. “Published,” was the word that came instantly to my mind, “I want to be published.” Was there a ka-thunk? ( I’m listening for it now) I’m not sure, it was more like an angelic rolling of the eyes, a duh and a done, been done baby. As if the stars were saying they already have things in place and they are just waiting on me; can’t win if you don’t play, can’t be published if you don’t send out the book to a publisher. Then the questions began. Will it be published right away? Will I have to struggle a lot? Will it have to be self published? There’s a lot of different ways to be published you know…

More rolled eyes and silence.

Some of my wishes were meant to be, obviously I was meant to find my husband but when I think about it, anyone who knew me during my first marriage was probably praying for me like crazy because trust me after all I went through it was time a little good came my way, and a lot did and I am so grateful for all those good wishes (prayers.) Some wishes tell you where you are emotionally, physically and spiritually and some wishes are a result of lots and lots of hard work. I believe all wishes are prayers, some answered, some unanswered and some calling, asking us to prove how much we really want the wish to come true because no dream is more valuable than the one we earned and won ourselves. It sort of seems like when I ask my children what they want for lunch, grilled cheese or peanut butter and jelly. They can ask for what they want but if they ask for say pizza it’s not happening because I don’t got it. We can ask the universe for what we want, and sometimes they got it, sometimes they don’t and sometimes we have to go out and get it ourselves. I think I’m in the mood for a pizza, a really good pizza.

 

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You know how a parent teaches their child a skill say, tying their shoe and then steps back to let them practice to see if they grasped the concept?  Yeah watch how my spiritual teachers did that to me. 

I have been ignoring my lessons quiet well for about a month, like so forcefully ignoring them that I have taken thinking off my “to do” list.  Last week I forgot my daughter’s birth date.  (It’s not like I wasn’t there!)  The nurse asked for her date of birth so she could answer my question and I couldn’t bring it up in my mind, couldn’t even remember the month, the season!  Presently brain activity is reserved for eating and breathing.

About the only thing I have been working on is my book the second one, not the first one.  Yes I have two books but the first one is a big blob that needs a massive edit where the second one is riding on the writing coattails of the first and is much better as far as writing structure.   I have been working on it for two weeks straight eight hours a day which is probably why my brain is limping through life.   I haven’t worked since before vacation and I was ok with that.  This week I was about five pages away from finishing and I got called to work Tuesday and Wednesday.  Ok, the bank account is getting low so this is good…but I’m five pages away.  The class was great, a fantastic bunch of 6th graders.  The only problem is that some time in the beginning of the year I made a sarcastic remark that sounded mean and small minded and whether the helper teacher doesn’t like me because of that incident or I feel guilty and just think she doesn’t like me I’m not sure but that was a weighing on my emotions.  You would think I would have picked up on the nagging gut.  What a wonderful opportunity to work through past mistakes and be a better human right?  Of course not, the habit of ignoring my spiritual lessons was my best friend by now and I focused on moving through the day.  By the second day I was aware this was an opportunity sent by my teachers and while I tried to connect I just didn’t remember to bring my whole self to work.  I was surprised when I didn’t get called on Thursday because I knew I had not completed the lesson.

There was this one student whom I’ve worked with before who has always seen the negative side of things.  When he was grumbling about one thing or another I called to him and said, “you do know about the law of attraction don’t you?”

            “What’s that?”

            “It’s when positive thoughts and attitude bring positive consequences and negative thoughts bring negative consequences.”

            “Is that some sort of religion thing because I don’t believe in that junk.”

            “Not really it’s more like a practice.”

            “Nah,” he dismissed me.

            It would have been so nice if I got the hint right there. 

Since I have banned any spiritual growth, I have also been ignoring my February copy of Yoga Journal.  I just couldn’t get into the articles and figured it was like a cooking magazine.  A lucky break to find one with a number of good recipes and the rest of the publications are just adequate.  When I found myself completely out of reading material I picked up the journal and found an article on karma.  I skimmed over most of the article (because yes I’m stubborn) but lingered over the part about how a positive attitude brings positive karma.  The message that we can affect our circumstances with the way we think about them.  So you would think I would have picked up the messages from the powers that be right?  Let’s bring back that positive attitude, girl!  Nope.

 So by now my teachers have lost their patience with me and have decided to let me hang myself while they watch.  I’m with a few girlfriends and we are talking and I was an idiot.  I said some stupid obnoxious things.  Let’s just say if the law of attraction is true my son is going to grow up to rob grocery stores and the kids down the street are going to set fire to my house.  I only needed to get to my car to realize I had been dreadful.  Ok you got my attention.  Unlike my other experience with guilt this time I knew right away what was going on (progress I guess).  I knew I needed to work through it and by morning it had coalesced into a real message. 

            If I want good things I need good thoughts.  If I want good karma I need a good attitude.  If I want to do good I have to be good.  Sometimes it’s hard to let go of all the craziness and worry of life.  My concern about my children’s struggles, my worry about money and failure.  They take over my mind and obscure the good things.  My desire to someday live the Right Path and become a person of truth is not some light form of entertainment to dawdle over when I’m bored.  It is a practice, a way of being that I asked to be trained in and it is important.   And while my guardians have patiently waited for me to get over my tantrum, I have run from the call. 

            Yes, I will meditate today.  Yes, I will remember that within the everyday patterns of life there is a higher calling.  This is why we are here, to push aside the distractions and focus on our spiritual growth so that someday we are not only worthy to stand in the Divine Light but are strong enough to turn around and bring one another into the Loving Energy as well.  I am so lucky that, despite my stupidly, the Universe has got my back.

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Ok, before anyone else freaks out or calls an intervention or an exorcism on me, I am not Wiccan.  I’m Methodist.  At least that is the church I go to every week, a slight sidestep from the Catholic traditions I was raised in and a nice combination of that and the Baptist traditions of my husband’s childhood.  Putting those specific, socially accepted labels aside what I truly am is a seeker.  A word I stumbled across while reading Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert.  I’m sure the word has been used by others before her but when I read it my soul sort of sighed.  It was like being sick for years without any doctor knowing what was wrong and then suddenly getting a diagnosis.  The label didn’t really change anything but as least I knew I wasn’t alone. 

A seeker, according to my personal definition, is someone in search of spiritual truth-not religious truth that is not the same thing.  Somewhere between my 30’s and 40’s religion became a hobby.  I won’t say I study religion because that implies work and thoroughness.  It’s more like I find myself drawn to reading about a religion (think peruse and browse) and then another belief wafts by and I go learn what I can about the next one.  I have listened to a number of people who have studied religion in college and on their own and often they come away with a shattered or at least an injured belief system.  Even my husband who enjoys learning about history and religion felt he had to make a choice between his faith and learning about the history of religion.  He chose his faith and reluctantly turned a blind eye to the tragic and often horrifically, violent histories embedded in almost all of the world’s major religions (except Hinduism, look it up.)

I, on the other hand, am not normal.  When I study different religions I push aside all the rules made by man and look into the heart of belief and practice and as I do I find connections.  Somewhere deep in every soul we are all asking the same questions.  Who am I?  Why am I here? What is my purpose? And where do I go when I die?  These are the questions man asked when he went from crawling on all fours to standing upright (if you believe in that sort of stuff).  These are the questions every religion has been created to answer and the answers can be found within all of us.  

Religion is a hot topic and sends many into a frenzy but with knowledge comes understanding and hopefully tolerance.  Wiccan was an ancient word meaning wise woman and those who practiced were woman and men who understood and revered the earth for all it had provided to their survival.  It was only until a new government came along with a new religion where the word “witch” became evil.  Not because it was true but because that was what someone wanted everyone to think.  I look at every unfamiliar faith with open eyes.  The parts that resonate with my soul I look into further and determine if my center believes the same.  I have seen the belief in Jesus save lives.  I have heard of mystics whose energy and love could be felt across the room and I have felt the divine peace of meditation.  Spiritual energy has presented itself to me in my life and wherever the energy appears is where I begin to search.   I explore without judgment and expect no one to believe my beliefs.  They are just that, mine.  Everyone has to find their own path and each religion has their own plentiful and varied paths all with priceless destinations.

Personally I believe we all serve the same energy regardless of the name we give it, God, Allah, Jehovah, Great Sprit, the Goddess, (quite a few I can’t spell) and so on and on and on.  I also believe we are all created from a spark of that divine energy, as is the earth and the universe.   We are all wrought from the same divine source and therefore, regardless of the name we give it, we are all connected.  It is in this connection, to ourselves, to others and to the earth where we find true spirituality.  It is a part of every religion and every belief and while it may be deeply buried beneath dogma, rules and practices it is still calling.  Thousands and thousands of years later God is still actively calling each one of us, some with quiet whispers, some with bellowing trumpets and some with the click of keyboard keys or a cell phone ring.  Every call is unique and there is one out there absolutely perfect for you.

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