M is for “Me”

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Earlier this year, I chose the “M” word, METHOD (as in Methodist) because I felt called to share my passionate thoughts and feelings about my experience of the Methodist church. M was not the appropriate sequential letter for that week, but…because I’m “Me”, I chose to do it anyway. The older I get, the more grace/permission/freedom I grant myself to truly express my heart, mind, and soul in truly authentic, often random methods.
Aging has managed to gift me something extraordinary: Me. I keep growing awareness of who I am, whose I am, and my power to choose what I want to create, who I choose to be, how I choose to feel, and what empowers my happiness. Accepting myself, however I show up, is learning to love me beyond conditions, a necessary prerequisite for loving all of creation the way God loves me.


This week’s Pause is M for “ME”—the “me” that all of us are individually; the “me” that I may ignore or put on the back burner; the same “me” that likes to grab center stage and selfish focus; the “me” that expresses as ego/personality, and the “me” that carries my physical body through life in this world as the temple for my holy spirit.
ME. Myself. I. All three united in a description of person. “He is he. She is she. I am I.” We label ourselves as separate souls, minds, hearts, and bodies, sharing the unity of spiritual experience in separate physical bodies. The paradox of “ME” comes with the growth in awareness that we are all interconnected—like (excuse the reference) fruits on a tree, or if the fruit analogy doesn’t grab your imagination, how about limbs, roots, branches, trunks, leaves of a tree—each piece a unique expression of the living, breathing, dying, seeding, birthing tree. The Tree of Life symbol is a favorite of mine because in that tree I see the individual, interconnected renditions of all creation, displaying with awe and wonder the greater wholeness we create with “me and thee” union.

I often write about how life is defined as “All of us are walking each other home.” I also write, ” ‘I’ don’t go home until we all go home.” We were created to be relationship beings. Perhaps, Source/Creator/God designed a cluster of grapes that God designed to be “mini-mes” (Bear with me, a.k.a., even a weird imagination is a source of inspiration). This cluster of like-minded souls chooses to experience life in a body as a physical manifestation of separate bodies, same soul energy. The visions, dreams, dharma, harmonies these souls harness as their calling support the others with whom they share vision and focus. When I meet someone that I feel drawn to immediately (a soul friend), I imagine him/her as one of my fellow cluster mates, and I feel grateful, blessed, encouraged, and inspired by my association with him/her, a mirror of me, reflecting who I am called to be at a soul level.


Who I am, what I choose to create, where I go, what I do—these choices are MY freedom to be, do, have, and belong, wherever I am. What impacts these choices most often comes from the mirrors around me, the “other-mini-mes”, and a desire to contribute, commit and be responsible to and for the greater good of all creation. With age and growth come authenticity, which allows the true ME to sing my soul song and listen for the beautiful melodies of other soul songs. I embrace good, love, and possibility in every amazing creation, and I give thanks for our outer diversity and our inner connection. The marriage of thee and me into the greater blessing of a great I AM or the everyday notion of “WE” is integration, blessing, and relationship at its highest level in Earth School. Life is sweet, filled with grace, gratitude, openness, and acceptance. Our walk home together is joyful, and the tree of life is glory manifest.

 

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“I’ve gotta be Me” is a refrain I hear often. How about we choose to be the best me we can be?
And so it is.

Namaste,
Me

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LONGING

“Your children are not your children. They are sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.”
Khalil Gibran, THE PROPHET, “On Children”.

 

 

 

 

This Gibran expression of “Life longing for itself” is one of my favorite quotes of all time. In a spirited age of divisiveness, life is the unity we share: Life birthed us, carries us, contains us, propels us, and, ultimately, surrenders us. Life/Living– as a collective wholeness; as a state of being, manifesting, planting, nurturing, growing, harvesting; becoming, experiencing, birthing and dying—presents as a universally shared context for the moments between our first and last breaths; our heart’s beating, pumping and circulating blood to flow and nourish our temporal bodies; our thoughts, feelings, hopes, and desires providing illumination for longing. Rather than examine a generic, subject to interpretation essay about Life; I’m choosing to look at the word LONGING, and why it appeals to me so completely in this day and age of craving, wanting, yearning, aching, hungering, thirsting, and hankering—descriptive words describing an “unmet yet” vision of life.
Longing is defined as a strong feeling of need and desire. Jim Brickman wrote a song called “Longing”. To me, his piano piece reflects an ardent, yet unfulfilled piece of heart within music without words. Googling names of music and books, articles and poems, I find numerous works containing “Longing” in their titles. A longing, as a noun, can be an ambitious desire for success. The word, longing, is a word that tugs at my heartstrings. In my most heart-centered imaginings, I long for what I long for with deep passion and ardent aspiration. My deepest passionate longings are for peace and love intended by and for all creation.

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I mentioned words similar to longing earlier in this essay. A few of those words stand out as radically opposed to my love for the word longing. Craving, Wanting, Yearning are the three similar; yet different, words I will address today.
The subtle difference between desire and neediness is illustrated in the words longing(desiring) and craving(needing). A craving may be insatiable, perhaps never fully satisfied, as in a craving for a forbidden food or drink while dieting or in recovery. Craving denotes a strong need for something whereas longing waxes poetically in reference to a strong wish for desire’s fulfillment.
When I “want” something, I acknowledge that it is outside of me; that what I want, is what I don’t have. When I “long” for something, I can utilize positive affirmation and prayer to plant the desires of my intention and vision. Positive affirmation and prayer bring me, “And so it is/Amen!” Wanting leads me to covet, to expect, to extend outside of myself to fill the place inside of me void of what I want.
The slight nuance between longing and yearning is compelling for me. I experience a longing as deep, earnest, poignant desire. I can have a desperate yearning for chocolate chip ice cream when I’m on a dairy free diet. When I yearn, it’s a kind of wistful wish. To me, (which means it’s my subjective belief) a yearning can be appeased only through a met desire—almost close to the need expressed with craving.

 


When” Life longing for itself” gives birth to life itself, my personal longing is that my life is committed to contributing to a world where all sentient beings are safe, happy, and free. In my longing, I become a particle of the energy that carries Life to the healing grace of good, love, and possibility.

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My yoga shala in Pensacola is called “Breathe”. In my favorite yoga class, our teacher Nancy  sings with us a mantra called, “Lokah samasta sukinoh bhavantu.” After we sing it, she repeats the mantra’s meaning in English:
“May all beings everywhere be happy and free, and may the thoughts, words, and actions of our own lives contribute in some way to that happiness and to that freedom.”

What are you longing for today? What will you commit to breathe into being?

Namaste,
Carol

 

A Pause for Kindness

A PAUSE FOR KINDNESS

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“Let me be a little kinder, let me be a little blinder to the faults of those around me. Let me praise a little more. Let me be a little cheery with my brother who is weary. Think a little more of others, and a little less of me.”

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These lyrics have taken root in my brain, planted many years ago at girl scout camp in central Illinois. I stayed in scouting for the sole reward of two weeks every summer at Camp Tapawingo. Some of my favorite moments at camp included hiking, canoeing, learning survival skills, being with old friends and making new ones, campfires…Wonderful memories I love. Without a doubt, my most beloved activity at camp was singing. At camp we sang by the campfire, when we hiked, when we ate, when we did chores—singing the songs we learned at camp inspired jovialness in me and an abundance of , “Thank you, God!”

When I became a mother and would rock my babies, I found myself singing those old camp songs, remembering all the words from yesteryear. What I called “The Kindness Song” was very dear to me.

Kindness. If there were one wish, hope, desire, I could wave my magic wand to manifest in our world, it would be kindness. What, actually, does it mean to be kind? The dictionary defines kindness as the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate. To that definition, I would add respect, unselfishness, patience, and presence. So many times we define kindness as the act of being kind, and we never really look at how we choose to show kindness in our world.

To be kind is a choice that doesn’t require education, wealth or social position. Kindness can be a smile, putting someone before my own self-interests, stopping to take the time to be present and available for another soul needing witness and care to become centered. The school of life can teach kindness—the person who refrains from blowing the car’s horn when another car is lingering at a green light; the guy who lets another person with fewer items go ahead of him in line at the grocery store; the runner who stops to help an elderly lady needing help crossing the street—kindness compels us to stop, look, listen and be present to how we may serve creation in the manner we would like to be treated.

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The Golden Rule is kindness in a nutshell: Treat others the way I wish to be treated. And to that universal commandment I add, Be present enough to notice the world outside of myself. Kindness is a choice to be present. Kindness is a choice to slow down, stop, and notice others around me. When I notice, I listen for the intuition, guidance and inspiration of how to act, and I choose to act with intention to serve the highest good. In stalled traffic, I let merging cars into my lane. I am late( but attend with a discreet, non-disruptive entrance) to my yoga class because I was fully present to my husband’s detailed accounting of his great golf game. I help my neighbor find her lost cat. These choices to be kind are living the Golden Rule in a way that blesses the giver and the receiver.

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When I choose to “be a little kinder”, I’m living my dharma and at one with goodness and possibility. Kindness always creates room for grace and gratitude.

 

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How can I be a little kinder this week?

Namaste,
Carol

A JOVIAL PAUSE

A Jovial Pause

 


Today’s word is JOVIAL—a word that always inspires my smile and calls me to embrace a lifted exuberance of spirit. Jovial means joyful, playful, cheerful, friendly, jolly…. Jovial is a very agreeable description for someone enjoying a happy time. It would be really disjointed for a jovial person to be depressed. A jovial soul is in love with the moment and carries me into his attitude just by choosing to be jovial.
A jovial person brings gusto to wherever he/she is. Joyous humor and a spirit of good-fellowship characterize a jovial enthusiast. Jovialness is the noun we use to define a convivial mirth, a merriment, an agreeable, good- humor-filled occasion.
Sometimes the word, “jovial” is confused with the words “jocose”, “jocular” and “jocund”. Each word contains unique nuances. A “jocose” person is one who is promoting laughter in others, given to joking and being somewhat silly, comical. A “jocular” person is humorous, facetious, and kind of “in your face” with their presentation. “Jocund” is a literary word describing a cheerful, light-heartedly glad person. These words are somewhat the same, but oh, so different.
I’ve learned, in my love for words, that there often exists a preferred or better word for what I want to write and how I choose to speak. I can have a skip in my step as I incubate a fun plan in my head and be jocund. When I’m contagious with joy and laughter, I experience myself as jovial. Jovialness is one of my favorite modes of self-expression, because, for me, it can’t be faked. I can be a deeply unhappy soul with a jocose façade, but jovial can’t describe me unless I’m authentically experiencing jovialness. I convey humor through outrageous drama and sarcasm when I choose jocular modes of expressing myself. My favorite self, at the appropriate moments, is jovial.
Words so similar, yet with nuances that separate how I truly feel and what I show to the world outside of me.

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Wishing you a jovial week,

With joy and a smile,
Carol

Inspiration

INSPIRATION

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One of my very favorite words of all time is the word, “Inspiration.” Inspiration connects me to good, love, and possibility; to creativity, imagination, intuition, and spirit; to miraculous innovation, divine guidance, and illuminated, enthusiastic thoughts and feelings. Inspiration is the word, thought, and feeling that lifts me to soaring at 30,000 feet. It gifts me invention, solution, joy and original ideology that bless my life in countless ways. Inspiration is the benison of my being—Thank you, God!


Inspiration is the way of being that connects my outside, in the world, way of being and doing, and my inside authentic way of seeing grace, beauty and possibility. My outside persona may be joyful, fun, creative, or compassionate—whatever I’m choosing to be on any given day. Inside myself there is an inner world of imagination and intuition, an authenticity that is sourced from the goodness, light and love that created all being. When I connect my outer joy to the love I am through the conduit of choosing to be inspired, I am the complete expression of who I have chosen to be. From that chosen expression of self, I create abundant vision for creation of what it is I choose to vision. I give thanks, happy dance, and sing. Amen! And, so it is.

 


Inspiration is the flame of the Holy Spirit. It fuels the wells of imagination, one of the greatest sources of spirit. Inspiration sparks me to listen to the inner voice that leads me to my best self, and to intuition, spirit’s best friend for all responsible, intentional dreaming and manifesting into being.


Inspired creation—nature, great art and literature, beautiful music, laughter of a happy baby, the excited prancing of a dog with a new toy, people praying, marching, chanting together, the stillness of beginnings and beginnings again—Inspiration knows no limits or boundaries. With leaps and bounds it infinitely moves all creation to the freedom of pure possibility, the place where miracles prevail and all is one.
Today, I choose inspiration as the magical means to live a life of miraculous possibility.


What inspires you today?

 


Love,
Carol

HONOR

CONSIDERING HONOR

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A word I highly regard and a concept I revere as a moral compass is HONOR. Honor means to respect highly,  to hold in/with great esteem.  Honor can be a code of adherence to a standard of conduct; something perceived as a rare opportunity, a privilege; or something conferred as a distinction for bravery or achievement, a high level of award for exemplary behavior or fulfillment of duty/obligation. Honor is the kind of word that inspires me to desire it at the center of my own being and doing. Honor requires honesty, diligence, character, and congruence.
In Philippians 4:8 (RSV), Paul writes, “Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” I remember the Commandment, “Honor your Father and your Mother.” Many religious and spiritual writings speak highly of honor as chosen methodology for a holy life. When I am honorable, I can be authentically congruent, in integrity with what I say, do, and mean—aspiring to bring my best self for the highest expression of goodness with dedicated commitment to be diligent, honest, and aligned with my best excellence with every endeavor.

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Living a life of honor means I don’t compromise or take short cuts to make life easier. I remain true to my vision of being and honor all intentions that create that vision of the best me I can be.
When I was a young girl, I was very achievement oriented. I sought to accumulate honors—whether it be good grades, prestigious awards, winning talent shows, speech contests, lead roles in plays, or scholarships—I was driven to garner awards because I wanted recognition. Achievements and Awards gathered me attention and praise from my parents, which for me equaled knowing that I was loved, worthy, and succeeding in pleasing my most esteemed, beloved people, those I sought to honor and in turn, be recognized by. Everything else was accoutrement. This kind of attention achieving is not honorable or honor producing. In my youth, it was my translation and misinterpretation that produced my constant search for love and acceptance as outside begotten “honors”.
As I matured, I realized honor was more than excelling to please my parents or to create the illusive feeling that I was “enough”. To truly live an honorable life requires purity of heart, intention, and vision. Honor isn’t  an ego-driven limousine; rather, it is like a bulky wagon I pull to wherever I choose to go because I know it is a congruent means to carry the burdens, gifts, and belongings of a life well-lived. Humility, vulnerability, and unknowing strengthen my endeavor to maneuver with this heavy, laborious vehicle I drag with me everywhere. Sometimes, I abandon my load in a ditch by the roadside as I propel my unburdened self forward in high gear. A few blocks down the street, I pause, turn around, and retreat to the muddy mire in which it is stuck to retrieve it and continue on my journey.

“Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.” (Matthew5:8). For me, living in honor brings me closer to oneness with God. Although I falter and fall from my lofty perch of aspiration, I pick myself out of the ditches of defeat, pile my worries, failings, and faults into the muddy wagon to recycle, and move forward toward God, all the while visioning good, love, and possibility surrounding, supporting, and gracing my journey.


To be a person of honor, for me, means seeking truth, goodness, and light in all experience. It means looking for “God” in every situation, and choosing ways of being and doing in my life that are congruent with who God is for me, in alignment with my moral compass, and reflective of my choices of integrity, grace, and compassion as navigators for experience.  When I honor another, I see honorable qualities in another, admiring and celebrating how another’s honor inspires and blesses me and our world.

 


Honor can be subjective for each of us. When life is viewed as black and white, someone may judge one person as honorable, and another as not. To be true to our more or less justifiable beliefs and to be truly honorable requires scrutiny, study, and self-examination before judgment and rigid right and wrong defenses. As I wrote last week, “gray” is often the way to combat the competing wars of good or bad, wrong or right—all of which are illusions keeping honor hidden within the fears and worries of the wagon we pull.


What could our world be like if we could honor ourselves and each other?

What if we aligned our moral compass to love, peace, bless and honor, traveling together to a true north of being and creating?
How exciting if our greeting to each other at every meeting was “Namaste”…

 


Namaste,
Carol

The gifts of GRAY

 

 

 

This week’s Pause is for GRAY—the “G” word that jumps off the page and into my heart, mind, and soul with grace and gratitude for what the word conjures for my reflection and imagination. Gray is the space between two contrasting hues, poised in the middle between black and white. Gray, like black and white, is composed of all the colors; remaining neutral, connecting the extremes; holding the in-between. Currently, in paint colors, gray is one of the more popular colors for choices of décor for home and office. There are numerous colors of gray to choose, some light, some dark, some with tinges of every color in the rainbow, and some “simply gray”.

Our world is so black and white, it becomes refreshing to view the world in gray scope: Looking at the world through lenses that see all the colors, and yet stay grounded in the middle. “Middle ground”, “middle way”, “fair to middling”—The gift of gray keeps me centered. I can explore the far corners of the extreme black and the white, and I can always go home to the middle consolations of gray. Gray space is calming, soothing, relieving, and peaceful—the color itself, and all of my associations with the word, GRAY.

In Great Britain, GRAY is spelled, GREY. Neither is incorrect, just peculiar verbiage for each locale and transferred between both cultures. I write about the word, Gray/Grey. What kind of feelings come up for me in association with that word? I find things I love about gray: the colors we chose to paint the walls of our Indianapolis homes; my experience of dealing with the diversity of race, creed, politics, and division in our world; the sky and the weather manifesting as gray this time of year, and my very dear forever friend, Gray, who makes life on this planet gracious, lovely, fun, thoughtful, and wonderful.

Our world needs colorful souls who can be gray in acceptance, action, and relationship. Middle-makers are gray perceivers who bring all the colors together for peaceful, harmonic amalgamation. Two sides to every story meet in the middle with the mediation of gray. We get to celebrate diversity like we celebrate contrasting paint colors, meeting in the middle to appreciate the meeting ground for each “different, yet the same” discourse.

This season is our first experience of snow birding in Florida, “The Sunshine State.” I can count on one hand the days of sunshine we’ve experienced since late January when we arrived at our Perdido Key home. I’ve learned to be grateful for the warmth and sunshine when we experience them. My happy dances are incredible on those days. I’ve learned to love the gray days as opportunities to go inward, forgo sunscreen, and be grateful for the magnificence that we call weather: volatile, uncontrollable, and as real as it gets. Gray days allow me to appreciate blue ones with sunny skies and clouds of white. Actually, because gray skies have been gracing my Florida winter, I’ve learned to value them as gifts to my yoga practice, stillness, and writing.


A very special friend I love is a guy named Gray. For almost 40 years we’ve been friends, and he’s been Gerry’s friend even longer than those almost four decades. Gray is a person who lives from his heart. He is authentic, loyal, loving, sincere, and true. A perfect friend definition was probably created with him in mind. In urban dictionary, a person named Gray is a rarity. So, too, is my friend Gray. He meets whomever he is with in the middle: compassion and grace personified. I thank God for R. Gray Tweedy!

Color, conversation, meeting ground, perfect friend, changeable sky—all Gray.

Thank you, God, for the gifts of GRAY.

Namaste,
Carol