A Pause to Discern

 

Discernment is this week’s “D” word. As a dictionaried noun it means an ability to judge well. From a Christian context, it is a perception in the absence of judgment with a view to obtaining spiritual direction and understanding. Actually, discernment is beyond religion; all of us empower each other when we choose to be discerning, choosing to discover what is our highest and best way of being, doing and having.
The verb discern means to perceive, recognize or distinguish an object, person or issue using faculties that require intentional practice, concerted deciphering, and perhaps, some difficulty. Discerning, and all aspects of this word require thought, effort, openness, intention, vision, questioning, maybe some charting and graphs, and most likely, the addition of prayer and grace.
Life’s most ardent pursuits can be travelled with no thought, all thought or hit and miss efforts. The marriage of thought, effort, heart, and passion are led by one of my favorite guides: discernment. The question, “What is for the highest good in this situation?” is a grounding question for the ever-present quandary of who I am, what I want, and what is my dharma. It also works for every other question that guides my best self’s reckoning for how to be contributing, responsible, committed and authentic in my creation for the highest good in my every intentional aspiration and action.
To choose discernment as a preferred manner of navigating life is a conscious choice to slow down, be present, let go, and breathe. Discernment is a great tool of discovery and becoming. It may be subjective, but as a constant and ongoing process, it evolves as I do.
Thank you, God, for the ability to discern what works best for me and my experience of life in this world. Thank you, too, for the ability to change my mind, my heart, and surrender my need to be right, in control, to judge with subjective filters. Help me continue to recognize we’re all in this life together, all of us walking each other home.


Namaste,
Carol

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Content

 

 

CONTENT is the subject of this week’s pause. Many meanings for this seven-letter word, depending upon the context I use to define it. Context is the setting or situation in which a phrase or word is used, and Content is the word or idea that make up a piece (of art, literature, grouping, arrangement—what holds a grouping, a piece unto itself yet open for navigation). I can discern the content of something from its context, but I can’t invert it with a vice versa.

Content differs in meaning depending on whether it is used as a noun or a verb; in a sentence or in a book; in art, language, and audience (adult or kids).

In literature, art, communication and all presence, content is experience and information directed toward an end user or audience. In most books, newsletters, journals and magazines, I can find a “table of contents” listing what I can find within the piece and where to find it. With art, I consider content and form as I review an artistic rendition. Form is the medium and content is contained within the medium as its subject. Content, as a noun, as a distinctive bent toward academia, the arts, and intellectual pursuits; however, it’s a word any of us encounter when we read the ingredients in a soup mix or the lists of books/articles/videos in a syllabus, even the steps that go into the process of assembling parts from a box. Content clarifies what we are questioning, exploring, or ready to study/read/ appreciate/navigate.

Content as an adjective or a verb has another meaning. When I am content, I am pleased, gratified, at peace with my situation, satisfied. While content is not a word like awesome or wow, it is a remark similar to, “It is well with my soul.” There are subtle nuances to this word that convey, “Less than perfect, but I’m okay with what is.” Content as a verb or an adjective is a generic term with many levels, depending upon the user and the context. When I say, “I’m content with that definition.”, what I really mean is, “This is enough for now. I might like developing this idea more fully, but it doesn’t work for me to do this now so I’m at peace with what is.”

My favorite Martin Luther King quote is, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

Content, as a noun, is something all of us contribute to as authors, artists, captains, parents, and servants of our lives, the context we create, and the content contained within what we create. May we be content with the content of our character as we contribute to the content of our world.

Namaste,
Carol

A Pause of BODACITY

 

This week’s Pause is a word beginning with “B”. Some of the words I considered were balance, beatitude, benison, being, boundary, belligerence, and bliss. The b-word I’ve chosen combines an “A” word I especially like with a “B” word my husband uses frequently while scanning the beach: BODACITY.
In a standard dictionary, “bodacity” may not always be listed. Its claim to fame was Kung Fu Panda. Most word detectives shun the idea of “bodacity” as a verified word; however, I’d like to be audaciously bodacious in claiming it as creatively accurate for the purpose of this blog. How else do words like audacity and bodacious become cross-bred from words containing the slight differences of meaning to a combination more brilliant than either alone? In today’s world, “bodacity” is wanted, needed, appreciated and venerated. Just as passionately, it is scorned,  admonished, and judged. “Bodacity” is required for radical transformation. When old methods no longer modify a broken status quo, an exploration of other transformative options is necessary. “Bodacity” is the biggest, boldest, loudest forum for protest, petition, enrollment, refinement, and reform.
The dictionary defines audacity as a willingness to take bold risks. Audacity is also defined as rudeness, impudence, disrespect. A two-sided coin, the word itself can be a grand action or a deplorable judgment. Audacity walks the fine line between favor and disrepute, rather like an unpredictable relative at a formal family event.
Bodacious means unrestrained and audacious in a way that I find admirable. It also means excellent and attractive. I would say bodacious is the preferred definition of audacity from a positive, grand action view. The person who is bold in an acceptable way can be bodacious. As slang, (like Gerry’s bodacious beach remarks), this word is used; however, in this context, it doesn’t apply.
The reason I like the word “bodacity” is that the impudence, the loud side of audacity when married to the freedom and awesome excellence of the” bigger than life” bodacious inspires calls for marches, petitions, protests, community formation, reformation, revolution, group movements—all of which inspire our collective closer to what brings possibility, peace, progress and open doors: freedom. Practicing “bodacity” blesses me with authenticity, comradery, honesty and a voice to express, be heard, and move forward reform, renovation, restoration and rejuvenation. Bodacity connects as much as it fragments the collective. Often it initiates fractions and fissures before the broken pieces align into a patched restoration of wounds, slights, celebrations, and healing.
Some made up words like “fortuosity” (The Happiest Millionaire) and “supercalifragilistic” (Mary Poppins) stick with me when I maneuver exuberantly and confidently through life. “Bodacity” is an attitude I adopt and embrace as I purvey with angst the nightmares fostered by the leadership of our divided country. We need audacious, bodacious being and doing to bring healing to ourselves, our country, our world. It may not be easy to step out of our cozy, small-world comfort zone into radical “bodacity”, and yet, if we don’t, who will? We’re in this together, and we don’t go home until we all go home.

I go to my mat to do yoga regularly because I show up for myself. Where are we showing up for each other, our world? Whatever our “more or less justifiable beliefs”, may we be one in our bodacity.

 


Audaciously, bodaciously yours,
Carol

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A Pause for Acceptance

 

To launch an arrow from a bow, resistance is necessary. Tension with the bow string propels the arrow toward its desired target. Choosing to travel the alphabet, beginning with “A”, apprehensively yet avidly approaching the absolutely astonishing alphabet with aspiration for artless accuracy, mirrors the archer’s administered adaptation for an arrow’s astounding airlift. Initially, I imagined, “All right! Awesome!” (Another great “A” word!)
As I applied appreciative accommodation to actively acquiring an abundance of “A” words, I aggressively accumulated assorted acronyms, adjectives, and adverbs. I abandoned archaic adherents (abhorrent to adapt or address) as I accelerated archiving antonyms. The amicable, appealing assurances actualized were the following awards: 1. An “A” for… Ardently arranging all “As” as addressed, attached, attended, accomplished, assembled and accounted for. 2. An appallingly analytical amusement for adopting an amazing attraction to an abnormal activity in my search for the perfect “A”.

AND…I acknowledge advancing to an agonized achievement of acquired ability to choose A word…finally. I feel especially agreeable to accessing what is accessible to aggressively activate this “A” agitation away from asylum!
This is how my mind works, dear reader. So many words, and all of them competing for my adoration. I preface this pause with weird meandering because I often process in this manner. It is so much fun until I drive myself crazy becoming overly absorbed studying A words. It is with great deliberation I’ve chosen this week’s word. In the running were words I love but didn’t choose: Authenticity, Audacity, Activism, Attention, Awareness, Apathy, Appearance, Attachment. The A word winner is…ACCEPTANCE.

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Acceptance is synonymous with acquiescence, which comes from a Latin word which means, “to rest in”. Acceptance in human psychology means facing and recognizing the reality of a situation, process or condition without attempting to ignore, change or resist it.
Resistance to change often manifests as pain, suffering, despair, disease, death, angst, loss, or sadness. Change is constant in our world. Each of us, individually as well as collectively, is responsible for choosing responses to all change.
I’ve learned that fearful, negative or undesired thoughts and feelings are only released when I consciously choose to face my experience with neutrality: detach. observe. notice. embrace=D.O.N.E. (Perhaps a superficial acronym, yet memorable in a “go, do, get” world.) Done with the drama, avoidance, judgment, fear-based layers, I open the portal of possibility, unlocking the door for acceptance to enter my awareness.
Acceptance doesn’t mean I love “what is”; rather, I am choosing to acknowledge the situation without running away from my experience or deluding what is into made-up worries, chastisements, blame and reasons to escape, elude, circumvent, and willy-nilly life. Acceptance does not deny what it is. When I discard my attachment to my emotions (thoughts and feelings in motion), I am able to confront the condition before me without ignoring it, fixing it or making up horror stories about it. Detachment empowers me to objectively view what I’m experiencing without an accompanying storyline, releasing the masks of anger and accoutrement. I can observe my situation rationally, without the competing intentions of fear and ego clamoring for power and control. I notice how my thoughts and feelings become parallel. When I detach enough to observe my process, I notice that the movements of thought and feeling have subsided, and integration of thought(mind) and feeling(heart) is available. Whenever I choose to embrace this methodology without resorting to the emotional drama of non-acceptance, I heal my view of the situation and the world within me.
“Non” and “Un” are pronouns to words supporting negation. When I affirm, “It is what it is,” I’ve made the first step toward positive intervention. I am a conduit for miraculous healing when I choose to accept my role as a conscious spiritual embodied being, intentional about doing my part to improve what I can, and accepting my presence with “what is” as DONE.
Acceptance is what I consider the human equivalent of grace. So many differences, sufferings, disparities, conflicts, and subversive acts attack and invade my ability to navigate life as I would ideally choose in this world. Thankfully, throughout the course of history, humans have sought God, nature, humanity ,and art for support and ideation. These four pillars are grace-builders for me. These “Fabulous Four” supply catalogues of inspiration for our journey through Earth School. How amazing are the gifts of navigation provided for us if we choose to seek them!
When I consider the question, “Is there a universal truth?”, the only one I ardently hold as my truth is, “ All beings want to accept themselves and be accepted by others.” Acceptance is the first step toward the ultimate aspiration of my heart: Peace and Love intended and realized by and for all creation. The first step toward any kind of healing with ourselves and our planet is acceptance. We’re alive together. Let’s be DONE, accept each other, and choose to journey with peace and love.

Namaste,

Carol

Questions for consideration:  What does it mean for me to practice acceptance?  Do I practice non-acceptance anywhere in my life?

Quote to consider:   ( James Baldwin, “Notes of a Native Son”  from Notes of A Native Son, 1955)

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“It began to seem that one would have to hold in the mind forever two ideas which seemed to be in opposition.  The first idea was acceptance, the acceptance, totally without rancor, of life as it is, and men as they are:  in the light of this idea, it goes without saying that injustice is a commonplace.  But this did not  mean that one could be complacent, for the second idea was of equal power:  that one must never, in one’s own life, accept these injustices as commonplace but must fight them with all one’s strength.  This fight begins, however, in the heart and it now has been laid to my charge to keep my own heart free of hatred and despair.”

 

A Pause for Adventure with Words

An Introduction to…A Year’s Journey of Weekly Discovery.
An Exploration of 26 Letters Beginning 52 Pauses for Consideration.
An Adventure with Words for 2019.

 

 

Dear Reader,
With some trepidation, I address my computer screen as I write this introduction to 2019’s weekly “Pause”.   I’ve decided to follow a crazy inspiration to travel the alphabet, reflecting on meaningful words defining and coloring my experiences of life in this world. Subjectively-languaged words create both possibilities and problems because of what they represent, symbolize, evoke or invoke in me/us. Some words are controversial in their meaning and construction, and some words are paradoxical by their very nature. Words with multiple meanings can be confusing. Many words invite divisive response, even adversarial reaction. Some words demand and command attention , and some words command and demand action. In our world, historically and today, words unite and words divide. We use language to reveal ourselves—our stories, passions, beliefs and feelings. Words can be conflicting, defensive, attacking, justifying. Especially as I age, I prefer music, prayer, and the silence beyond words in my quest for reconciliation to a unified vision where peace and love are intended by and for all creation.
This year, I invite you, dear reader, to participate in a lively discussion of my weekly Pause, sharing freely your feelings and considerations concerning each subject. Because we go through the alphabet twice (26 letters x 2=52 weeks/a year), there will be opportunity to propose suggestions for the second round of word discussion. For example, if I chose audacity, activism, or attachment for “A” next week and shared my experiences, questions and judgments around the chosen word, I would appreciate hearing your thoughts and considerations about attachment, activism or audacity. I would also value ideas for the next “A” word to be considered mid- year. Realizing discussion can become divisive, I ask that we remember Byron Katie’s questions when responding:
IS IT TRUE?
CAN YOU ABSOLUTELY KNOW THAT IT’S TRUE?
HOW DO YOU REACT, WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU BELIEVE THAT THOUGHT?
WHO WOULD YOU BE WITHOUT THE THOUGHT?
I would also ask myself the questions, “Am I respectful and considerate of differences expressed? Can I be open to differing opinions with a gracious attitude and a willingness to engage in open dialogue?”
A debated writing is an audacious act for me. There are so many horrors and great divisions in our world. While I may gather with like-minded souls, volunteering, voting, serving, and praying for my peace and love vision, it is when we come together from different mindsets with the concerted intention to create open dialogue that miracles occur. Healing happens when we are open, present, and lead from our hearts with compassion and vision.
At the end of each pause, I will include one or two questions for reflection, response, discussion. I hope our conversations will gather us toward the good, love, and possibility we were created to share. Until next week…

 

 


Namaste,
Carol

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Pause for a New Year: Welcome 2019!

 

 

A Pause for the Gift of a New Year: Welcome 2019!

Today’s Pause is written with gratitude for 2018’s gifts and with eager anticipation for 2019’s unfolding: a new beginning, the realization of another beginning again which may unfold in a manner unlike any other new beginning I’ve known. This January, I count sixty beginnings again. This year I enter a new decade. Everything different, everything the same. Another, a new, beginning again—in a way I haven’t seen it or wondered about it before this year. Everything done gets to be done again—over, over, and over…. Yet, every year, my life’s expectations, demands, and graces manifest differently.
This month we are moving to a new home, leaving our home of almost 20 years for a home with less exterior maintenance and a wonderful location. We are snow birding at our lovely Florida home in a warm location that we bought prior to Gerry’s heart attack #3, another new experience. I am pregnant to give birth to the 7th decade of my life—a true gift, to be sure; yet, where did my youth go?
With these very obvious changes to my status quo, what do I long to create with this next chapter of my life? As always, but especially relevant right now, this chapter wasn’t already written in my heart, my head or anywhere else in my awareness. With a new year, a new decade, a new way of being and doing, I enter another unknown corridor leading to wherever I am propelled to go. I have no idea where the light, the sense of direction will come from, but the comforting thought is that I know it will be there when I need it. Age has taught me that wherever I traverse, whatever mystery I can’t unravel, however I lose my way—a map, a clue, a love gift, a message will carry me, inspire me, aid my becoming, and grow my wisdom into opportunity to serve, cherish, relish, and savor life in the here and now.
What I don’t know, the mystery beyond understanding, is actually a gift. When I trust myself and I trust God, magic occurs, and I don’t have to understand its mysteries with my ever-constant mind. I get to vision the life I want to have, choose ways of being that support that vision, a.k.a., intentions which grow my be-coming, and then, I give thanks because…my vision already is. A systematic process may aid my growing awareness in ways that I can’t create beyond myself.
I spend much of my life committed to what I DO. Whether it be roles I take, work, activities, programs, affiliations—what I do is what generally defines my barometer of good enough or not. What I hope to turn into reality in 2019 is to regard myself in terms of my choices to BE. Being prefaces Doing and it precedes it in all measurement paradigm. Would I prefer to garner riches and fame because of what I’ve done, yet been deep in my own inauthenticity, non-congruent and out of integrity with myself and others around me? Would it be preferable to be poor, wondering what will be, congruent with who and whose I am? Always, I would choose the latter. I can choose who I intend to be. I can choose what I do. I get to choose beingness before doingness, and it’s the only choice that leads me congruent and whole to where I choose to go and what I choose to do.
Life isn’t easy. Life is amazing. Life is a gift. Our power of choice is what creates a view beyond spectacular for our lives and for our world. From where we stand on our mountaintops, valleys, hillsides, and plains; may we reverence our ability to choose what brings goodness, love, peace, hope, joy, inspiration, possibility, and God to every being in our circumference. May this new year grow us holy, devoted to the highest good for all creation.
New Year’s blessings to all.

Namaste,
Carol

ps. This pause will be transformed late January. A few weeks off to savor the new year, and then…we get to travel the alphabet together. Much love to you, dear readers!! Back soon…

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A Pause for Reflection and Aspiration

A Pause for Reflection and Aspiration

As 2018 retreats into a memory and 2019 heralds a beginning again, I pause in/with/ and for reflection and aspiration. These next two weeks, the 52nd week of 2018 and the 1st week of 2019, my expressions, intentions, contemplations, hopes, and dreams will attempt to process what I’ve learned in 2018 so I may discern what to pack for the journey of next year/next week. How can I best bring my congruent, creative, and compassionate self in service to/for/with the highest good? Every year, these musings and ambitions color my heart, mind, body and soul as the calendar monopolizes my attention, and the passage of time (with all of its ambivalence) is center stage.
This year (Upon reflection at year’s end, every year does this fervent review.) seems especially poignant when I recall the radical changes, transformational events, divisive and uniting occurrences—the good, the bad, and the in-between I’ve experienced in 2018. Facing the future of a new year next week harbors me in the unknowing: the uncertain newness of a big birthday (60), settling into new homes (plural), letting go of our home and lifestyle of many years, adventures yet to be experienced, chapters still unwritten and unexplored. A new year heralds me into the paradox of life in this world and implores me to be better, to do better, to create more of what is good, love, and possible. And…to embrace joy in the discovery.
The passing year gifts me tools of awareness, the experiences that teach me resilience, remembrance, and opportunity. I feel called to be present, available, and courageous in my reflection, aspiration, and concentration so that I may maneuver time, age, distance, and space with passion and grace. Thank you, Life.
Every year since I was a preteen, I’ve considered my vision and intentions for the new year. I imagine magical energy permeates the minutes before one day becomes another, especially when it translates into a new year. When I was younger, I wrote out resolutions, promises, and commitments to myself and others—true inspirations/aspirations for what I wanted to become/grow into my awareness. At age 12, I did manage to stop turning the corners of any book I read, using a book mark instead. Over the course of many years between 12 and almost 60, I have promised to pray, to forgive, and to choose to love every day. I have aspired to be diligent with my studies, my practices, and my vision of bringing the best me I can be to my every experience. All of those promises have brought challenges, opportunities to fail, grow, learn, and live. All of my visions and intentions have helped me up from the ground when I have fallen and inspired me to persevere, to begin again. The relatively easy things have been the book page turning and giving up cottage cheese, deviled eggs, and training for a marathon. It has been a joy to write 60 “pauses” this year, at least one a week, some before I discovered this WordPress site. My intention/resolution to write weekly has become a devotion birthed from discipline. Thank you, Maggie! Thank you, God.

When I focus on what I want to experience, create, and carry with me into a new year, vision and intention lead me to what is good, loving, and possible. Precisely, these miraculous tools lead me to the questions, the four agreements, and inspirational inner dialogue. Positivity, productivity, presence, and passion.
Someone once told me that the key to life is persistence—keep on keeping on. Many daunting days, I’ve held on to the invisible lifeline formed by what that consistent mantra gifts me. I know that the best of times and the worst of times contain hope, peace, joy, and love (fruits of this December season) hiding in the most unexpected places—often living deep within me, waiting in the wings for their time to shine.
Probably the one quality that has given me wings to fly is inspiration. When I long to lift myself from the mundane mires, I seek inspiration. When I find it, I bring it to my every experience. I become the change I wish to become. I live fully into who and whose I am created to be: a joyful, inspired, loving woman; beloved child of God, immersed in blessings. I give thanks and I rejoice. And whenever I feel worry, sadness, or pain; I keep going until I find those wonderful qualities that make life worth living: hope, peace, joy, love, and inspiration. Everything is a miracle waiting to happen, and inspiration is everywhere when I acknowledge who I am, what I want, and how I am called to live my life.


My questions for myself and for you, dear reader: What have I/you learned about my/yourself in 2018? What do I/you vision for my/yourself and our world in 2019? How can my/your intentions inspire good, love, possibility? Who do I/you choose to become?

Namaste,
Carol