Tag Archives: loving what is

HOW STRONG IS YOUR FAITH?

So many people get so upset about our melting pot society and how things are changing. All things change like it or not.

One of the things that people get the most upset about is thinking that your faith/religion is being taken from you. Believe it or not, this county was not just put together by men of the Christian faith. If you are pretty solid in your faith why are you worried that it is being taken away from you? I don’t know about you but my faith is in pretty good shape, after all, it is mine, is it not?  If your faith and belief, whatever it may, be is still in there solid when the winds of change blow, then it is not gone. It may be tested but it can’t be taken away from you. Only if and when YOU want to “update” how you believe or what you believe does it, in fact, change. You are free to go to a church or temple or sit under a tree and meditate if you want to.

Your “religion” or faith is who you are and what you are. It is the blueprint (or should be) for guiding your choices and behaviours. Can that really be taken from you? Whatever happens outside in the society may not be to your liken or hard to get used to but it is within you, not outside in society. Hang out with people who believe as you do but you can hang out with people who do not share your beliefs as long as being a loving human being is the goal. If the goal is to argue about who is right and wrong and what you should or should not believe, then, it is impossible.

What if you knew someone and religion was never brought up and you found that person to be the kind of person you want to be around. Perhaps you have some things in common and enjoy one anothers company and companionship. Then one day one of you mentions what you believe about God. Has that person become the enemy of your believe system? Will that person corrupt you or take away what you believe? If that person tries to, then you either have to suggest that you not go into that with one another or you may have to give up the friendship if they are pushy about it or they tell you how wrong you are. If you both realize that beliefs are not meant to be swords with which to divide but an opportunity to be mutually respected, then what is the problem? Nothing.

So during this time of year when people practice their various ways of celebrating or choosing not to acknowledge the reason for the season, how about putting those swords away or at least think about it? More than anything it is the season of Love that should be carried out all year long. Be thankful  you are still able to practice your faith whatever it may be. They can’t take that away from you. Be thankful that this country allows you to believe what you want even during times of change.

Cinderella Girl

Feet dangling in the adult-sized chair, head bent downward slightly, eyes fixed on a spot in the flooring where an invisible stain nailed her, the demure female child felt small, insignificant, powerless, unacceptable, unworthy, unloved, but worse of all, unwanted and in the way. Her intuition was now tuned into sending feelers out into her environment to see if she could guess the next move and where it might come from. Gut ears reaching out to detect the other shoe dropping. Perhaps she could keep that shoe from dropping. Yes, she could hold onto that hope. The questions above all questions she might ask were the thoughts that never where spoken like What can I do to avoid that tongue lashing or leather belt that bites my flesh? Can I get through the day without breaking some unknown and sacred rule that would invite an unwanted response from the parent? Why did they bring me into this world if they are so displeased with me, especially the mother? Yes, these were the bothersome questions that consciously and unconsciously played in the back of her mind no matter how the day was going. These questions colored her world and made life more difficult than it should be all through her life. Right now, she did not know how much energy that took or how it would influence every thought, every decision, every choice she made for years to come.

Looking upon that child now in my mind’s eye, my heart goes out to her and I want to gather her in my arms, to tell her that she is a diamond in the rough, and that one day she will see herself as I see her now, a pure sparkling jewel that has a tough journey ahead and that it will all make sense one day. I

want her to know, as I look upon her unhappy little face, that it will all be worth it in the end. But, I know I couldn’t change things in that time long ago as it unfolded then and in the growing years to come. I only know that I can finally look upon the face of triumph and be so proud of what she has and is still accomplishing in this future time.

We think that we live in a space in time that spreads out in linear fashion with every step we take along our journey. Of course that is how it seems to us, because when we turn back time in our minds we can almost see the footsteps along a path from our first cry to where we might be now in human years. Yet doesn’t it seem like yesterday when we started our first day of school or had our first kiss or became a parent? There have been moments of my life that seem to have dragged by agonizingly slowly; other times moments went by in a blink. Time, it appears, is what our mind perceives it to be but one thing we can agree upon is that it is ever-moving energy captured in events of shadow and light. Our minds take a photo of these events, these moments, and place in the file called “My Life” along with all the emotion and meaning that we experienced then and placed upon them. This, I call baggage.

The god or goddess of Fate seems to descend upon every little girl and boy from birth doling out perks and punishments without thought or care. It reminds me of the ancient gods of myth who seemed to pick on mortals flaunting their powers and choosing to bless or curse at whim while leaving mortals believing they are powerless in Fate’s quake. For a very few die hard souls, however, with the desire to overcome and break the chains that would bind them, there is a freedom waiting for them that others may never experience before they die.

Rumi the poet wrote, “Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing there is a field. I will meet you there. When the soul lies down in that grass, the world is too full to talk about.” In terms of Cinderella she not only gets to go to the ball henceforth known as that pure field but she eventually transforms from that abused little girl to that soul who becomes the princess she always was. The fairy godmother did not save her but supported that girl while she reached for and created the freedom and love that she desired. Prince Charming wasn’t a savior either but rather represents to this Cinderella, me, the love that was in her, outside of her, all around and through her. This was and is her dance partner.

I am evolving constantly as layer upon layer of lies I have told myself drop into ashes from which a new Phoenix is born. Rumi’s field is within reach now. I hear the music at the ball and I want to dance.

I had searched in others for the mother I wanted. I was hoping for direction, support, understanding, guidance, and love. I thought that these had been lacking and withheld from me. The fickle finger of fate had denied me and I knew not why. Now I know that the direction, support, understanding, guidance and love are within me. In a manner of speaking I am my own mother not that I don’t find and enjoy knowing that it is there in others as well. I enjoy sharing the wiser woman I have become and I know that the path that I had taken was not fate but rather mapped out by a higher power than myself to give me the opportunity to bring my bruised little Cinderella self through to self-actualization which is not the same as a damaged ego.

Abraham Maslow a psychologist in 1943 came up with his theory of the Hierarchy of Need . It’s been a hard climb to even get closer to the top of the pyramid where self-actualization abides. Maslow’s pyramid starts at the bottom with a person’s need for physiological necessities like food, clothing and shelter as the first order of need. Once that is met then one may be able to concerns him or herself with safety. From there, the next need is for belonging and from there moving onto the next, is esteem which can begin to catapult a person upwards towards self actualization. But it is not actually an upward movement where you leave one step to go to the next. It is more of spiral of movement where at times you may experience any of these needs to a more then lesser degree as you become more your real self. You are still wanting and needing connection with others but there is a giving and taking inspired by Love Itself. It still takes a village of many people and events in order to climb that pyramid.

Carl Rogers, a humanist psychologist, had a theory much like Maslow’s. He expanded upon self-actualization. He believed that self-actualization was more apt to be achieved if a child experienced unconditional positive regard from parents and significant others. This means that the parents and significant others loved and accepted the child for who and what they were at any given time. This child felt taken care of, supported, and loved no matter what and therefore could feel free to explore life and make mistakes without feeling like love was being withheld or based upon conditions. Rogers believed that a child deprived of positive self regard, particularly in childhood, would be less likely to reach self actualization. I believe it is possible for anyone to move beyond their deprivation of unconditional love if they realize, first of all, that there is anything to move beyond. Secondly they must be willing to do the work. It is hard work and requires an unimaginable desire to shed the shackles of self doubt and unbelievable need to be approved of in order to reach the individual ideal goal. It is the road less taken and there is no map.

So now, I take that little brave and determined little girl that I was into my embrace and no matter what she has thought or done ever that made her feel wrong, at fault , guilty, unworthy or unlovable and let her know that was all a lie. I want to tell her how brave she has been. I want her to know that I honor her efforts to break the chains of abuse. I want her to learn, if she hasn’t already, that she need not seek others approval in order to achieve positive self regard. I give her positive self regard. I love her no matter what and no matter what anyone else may think. I want her to be certain that she was always being the child she had to be in order to survive. Now she is free to be the soul, the person, she was destined to be and that she has and is doing a service to her fellow human beings by doing her part. I think my inner child now know that the adult she and I have become have been teaming up to heal abuse received and given no matter the form in which it came. The chain has been broken. Now is the time for healing..

I love you Brenda. You are a precious human being and I am delighted that you can see and feel the suffering of others even when they do not. Come away from the ashes, go to the ball and dance like everyone is watching but you don’t care.

Cinderella Girl by Brenda Andradzki Elliott, MSW November 16, 2014

SHOW ME THE MONEY

What Does It Mean to Walk Your Talk

In the movie “Jerry Maguire” the famous words that keeps getting used and repeated is, “Show me the money.” Don’t talk about it, show me.

How many times have you heard people talk about their religion or their relationship with God or Allah or whom or whatever and are so sure that they are walking the right spiritual path? Well for them, that might very well be the right path; but whatever spiritual path a person may take is less important to me than how they treat other people.

Yes, show me the money. Show me in every word, every action. Don’t tell me how great your God is, show me how your God treats others. Don’t just tell me how much better you feel or that your salvation is secure. Show me your love for all people whether you agree or not with their religion, their politics, their sexual orientation, their color, their life style. You don’t have to join them. You don’t have to like it or agree with it but do you allow them loving spiritual space to be who and what they are without tearing them down, fighting them, trying to force them to change, or treating them as what I call, others.

Once you put yourself into one category and put another person or group in an opposing camp, you can easily make them into the enemy. You start treating them as less than human and it them becomes easy to harm them or bully them or cause them grief. It is even easier to kill them if you let your idea of your need to control their behavior reaches that level of righteous intensity.

How do you treat yourself? How do you show love and affection or do you? How do you treat your mate or your children? How do you treat your neighbors? Is your heart tender? Do you see beauty everywhere or garbage or do you even notice? Do you want the best for others or is your goal to win or outdo or outshine or to be jealous? Does your heart go out to others in their suffering? Do you try to smile more and make someone’s day a little brighter by the things you say and do?

Show me the money. Don’t talk about it. Leave this world one day having known you did your best to leave it a better place. Show me a loving, caring, person. Show me a discerning person who knows how to handle the unpleasantness of life. There will be those who cannot or will not respond to love, who are bad to the bone it would seem. You don’t have to love the behavior but love them anyway if you can. Know when to hold them. Know when to fold them. Know when to walk away. But love them anyway. Show me the divinity within you. That’s all I ask of you. Show me.

LOVING WHAT IS AND GROWING OLDER

When I was young it seemed as though time walked at a slower pace. In fact I had been known on more than one occasion to get behind time with a broom and try to hurry it along, sweeping in desperation and angst. I couldn’t get to a certain age fast enough or I couldn’t get through a difficulty or challenge fast enough or the goal or special something I was looking forward to just could not get there fast enough.

Fast forward to middle age. Time began to seem like I was riding on a train watching the events go by outside my window slow enough to be seen but fast enough that at times I seem to miss some of the scenery. I began at times to search inside my head for memories that were not sticking because time was moving faster than before. Then I noticed that every time I turned around, my children were becoming women and preparing to go out and begin lives of their own on their own.

Fast forward and my children are having children who are growing at a faster rate than mine did,. And the mate I though would grow old with me is given a death sentence by an oncologist. What? No! This isn’t happening to me. Time finally got me to an age where we finally had a little more money and more time to enjoy our “Golden” years. This cannot be. At first I wanted to grab the hem of time and slow it down again so that I could have more time with my husband but as his pain worsened and every organ in his body was dying for lack of oxygen I wanted time to be merciful and pass a little more quickly for his sake and not mine.

Time stopped for a while after that. I was not the “me” with whom I was familiar. I was dead inside. Yet, there was a spark that would not let me give up. One day time started back up, slowly at first, until I had begun to see that I had redefined myself. I had become a familiar being to myself yet different than before. Once again time was going at a nice pace that I was nether hurrying along nor trying to slow down. I started building a new life and open to dating again which seemed to throw me happily back to my teenage years. I thought for a while I had pushed time back, was reborn into my teens (in my head) and started finally seeing a second chance for a whole new squeal to my first book of life. The second book would contain some of the same people and things and yet many, many more different characters added, new places to live, new life style, new way of looking at things. This was not to say it was all peaches and cream. I had to learn about managing money and a whole lot of things that I never had to mange before. Some things I did not know how to do or who to talk to or who to hire to do things I could not do. Time for me was exciting, scary, tearful, joyful, and challenging. Sometimes time flew, sometimes it stalled in the air, sometimes it crawled and sometimes it enjoyed tangling me up it its web.

Fast forward to now. Has time been good to me? Yes. Has time been painful sometimes? Yes. What is time doing now? Time is going faster and faster now. I look down at my hands and my arms and I see the container in which I have lived these many years is shriveling up. Mother nature knows I am way past child bearing so has called back the estrogen that kept my skin a little more moist, my hair thicker, the wrinkles at bay, and muscle tone with ability to hold things where they belong instead of sagging or dropping south so I shrivel with every day that passes. Though I have a lot to be thankful for including activities if I feel up to them; people who love me and whom I love; enough money right now to sustain me; a roof over my head; a wonderful little dog; traveling planned; and a nice place to live, I find that time is slipping away. People whom I have known all my life, famous people who lived in my life time so far, and all that composed my life all my life are dying or dead. I am feeling more like I am becoming the last leaf on the tree. My whole life now is geared towards its end. Time is still there but even if I live twenty more years, those twenty will gather momentum and pass with the speed of light. So I am in my final times of my life and the next big transition will be my final one. At times I start to grieve my own demise like I grieved the loss of my first and second husbands and my boyfriend who also died long before the transitions were made. It is a preparation that cannot be avoided.

Through every state of my life thus far, time has been on my side whether it went quickly or slowly I know that time is always now. It is only fast or slow in my head. Looking back I can see more clearly now and know that I can love every bit of life – the good, the bad, the ugly of it all. I know I will continue to do so as I come to terms with growing older and beginning to transition from a life looking forward to life loosing its meaning and hold upon me. I am starting to embrace the body changes more and resist them less, to love what is. I’m not alone in this transitional time of life. I may be more aware or willing to talk about it than some are and I know the key to love what is at all stages of life. The “what is” are things we cannot change. The things we can change, we should of course.

It has been said that growing old is not for sissies. Life is not for sissies either but it is a most fantastic and deliriously, ever-changing whirlwind of being whose form we must embrace at all times or suffer through a resistance that is futile. I have not choice but to love it what is and to grow old with it.

LOVING LIFE

I love to watch my dog pounce on a toy in victory. I love the way he jumps up on the sofa right by me looks straight into my eyes and then as though he is puzzled, looks away for a second then back at me until he figures out what’s next.

I love the way cats purr and mix dough when they are content.  Sometimes their eyes close and they seem to have smiles on their faces like they are sleeping in a poppy field.  I love that they are not like dogs because they teach me about getting needs met without attachment.

I love the way hummingbirds can go up or down or sideways or fly in one place for a while. I love that they are so tiny and yet strong. And like me, they have a sweet tooth. I’m a lot like them.

I love to listen to the ocean or a stream bumping along over river stones or the sound of a flute floating on the air as I feel these rocking me gently to the quite rhythm of breathing in and out, of life.

I love the acidic taste of lemon upon fish and the crunch of a crispy pizza and a cup of steaming anything when the weather is damp or chilly. I like how coffee runs through my veins and gets my brains in gear or how sweet tea just makes a meal complete somehow. My taste buds like to show off.

I love the ticking of a clock that reminds me of my grandmother’s hall clock when I was young. It reminds me of home and days gone by. A fire crackling in a fireplace has it’s own delights mesmerizing, enchanting, glowing and warming it invites me to remember a time when my piano teacher had a party for us students and we roasted marshmallows in the fireplace.

I love the sound of an airplane flying overhead placing visions of bygone trips and trips to come where for a while I leave my normal life behind and see, hear, touch, smell, and take in all the nuances of different cultures that I can. Climbing up falls, looking at ruins, seeing great cathedrals and monuments, visiting museums, hobnobbing with the country and city folks, eyes wide with wonder and gratitude.

I love the smell of bacon and wonder why it is that is not so good for my body. I love the feel and touch of books and the excitement, the mystery, the love, the truths, and the ideas they embody. I love to go barefooted and feel the floor, the ground, the grass, the carpet the sand beneath my feet. It ground me. I love the freshness and newness of Spring after a gray and chilly winter. I am born again when the flowers bloom.

I love the gift of life that has been given to me in all its forms. I am so grateful for all that I have and have experienced. Life is good. All is well.

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Being A Sponge

SPONGE DIVING

Did you ever reach the point in your life where there are so many things to learn about, to see, to smell, to touch, to read, to think about, to just gobble up because they are so interesting, exiting, and stimulating? I feel like a dry sponge wanting to soak it all up. I don’t want to spend my time cleaning house or doing my income tax. I don’t even want to know about the politics going on either but I know that this part of me that rebels against such things must also accept that some of these nasty time eaters are to some degree necessary. I also realize that for some people, a spotless and neat home is what they enjoy creating so why compare myself to them? Taxes? Well, the IRS is not people friendly enough but just decide you won’t spend you time digging up all the necessary paper work and keeping it forever and they can get really ugly.

 

But I grab all the other things I consider goodies and wondrous things I can. Like this morning I took Ollie out to do his thing. It is a very dark and gray morning and early enough that it is quite. I could hear Ollie sniffing as we walked along this way and that. A very gentle breeze was blowing – not too warm; not too cool. In a nearby bush, song birds were trying to cheer the gloomy day. Across the golf course, there were other noisy birds having their say which was a bit rancorous in comparison but part of the morning symphony. For a moment I just stood in awareness and let those things pass through me leaving their perfume.

A MOTHER’S LOVE

There are many females who become mothers but they don’t exactly know how to love, to be a good parent. Some of them are not well or have emotionally issues that are not addressed. Some get into drugs or alcohol. Some had an abusive, neglectful, distant or absent mother themselves. Some mothers abandoned their child or children or give them up for adoption but sometimes we don’t know the whole story and maybe the giving up of the child was the most loving thing that they could do.

Recently I read a story about a little girl who was left near the highway in a paper bag on a very cold night more than 20 years ago when she was found by a state trooper. She was meant to live. You have to wonder what the mother was going but my guess was that she was very young and without support. Possibly she wanted her child to be found. But you question, “Put her in a paper bag like trash?” The baby was wrapped in a towel and put in the bag. Perhaps the mother though that would keep the baby warm enough until someone found her. We just don’t know the whole story. Desperate people, though, do desperate and sometimes stupid or cruel or dangerous things. That much we do know.

Every sibling born to one mother has a different take on the telling of how Mother was when they were growing up. People on the outside had their own version of what she was like as well. So what is the “real” story? Listen closely, it really doesn’t matter what the real story was because the mother’s children and all the outsiders looking in each had their own experience of that mother and then interpreted that experience in their own language so to speak.

I had a version of my own mother that wasn’t all peaches and cream but it wasn’t a horror story either. Yet, I have to admit, I had a bit of a tough time with my interpretation of growing up with Mama. Little by little, I have let go of “My Story” about all that and have been healing. Over all my mother was a good person with some anger issues and some depression. I have some wonderful memories but I have some that sting a bit though the sting part has been getting better step by step.

I had a dream this morning as I was beginning to wake up. In the dream I had a lot of tears that were caught in my throat. That is what we call having a lump in our throats. The tears wanted to come and what I was struggling with so much was about the things over which we have no control. I was about to cry because sometimes we have to let go of how things were, could have been or are that we can change. In my dream, I was in my bed in the house I lived in at one time as a child. It was dark. Slowly the door began to open and it was my mother. As she further opened the door, light came into the dark room and the tears flowed. I wanted my mama and she came to me. The dream was so healing. I woke fully away with tears in my eyes. A mother’s love. Ah.