Tag Archives: spiritual growth

THE PATH OF AUTHENTIC FREEDOM

I have come to the point in life where differences (race, color, cred, sexual orientation, religion or no religion, beliefs and what is “proper” or not) are superficial to me. What is uppermost is what lies deeper than that. Can you just enjoy laughs, tears, joys, sorrows and celebrate the ways in which you and others are alike? Can you stop, at least now and then, from being offended by someone else and realize that it is not they who offend you but rather your beliefs and inability to see beyond your own boundaries that cause the offense? 

Perhaps the question is, do you want to look beyond, walk out on that limb, suspend your own beliefs or feelings for even a moment or two, to try to see things differently? If the answer is that you would rather keep things just as they are and you feel no need to see deeper than your present ability, then, please don’t pretend you do. Be true to yourself, be authentic. That does not mean that this should give you free license to be be cruel, harm someone physically, or want to make them conform to your own standards. You will, perhaps, miss out on a more expanded and enriched life but that is your choice and certainly you have that right.

If you do wish that you could be more open and accepting, I can tell you from my own experience that this has been one of the best gifts I could have given myself. I can walk through freak shows and find the freak in myself. I’ve been an insider during my lifetime and an outsider as well but when I choose to allow myself to just be with different people expressing different things, I can enjoy the party even if I am not an exclusive member. What does that mean? I can be free to jump in and frolic all I want, then go to a different party and frolic there even if the former was worlds apart from the latter. I can be dead serious, solemn , thoughtful, or off-the-wall funny, playful, light or sassy. Without my erecting or keeping so many boundaries, I am free to fly however I want, whenever I want, wherever I want instead of being constricted and becoming a prisoner of my own making. Does this mean anything goes? Of course not. You don’t throw common sense to the winds. You don’t put yourself into harm’s way. You don’t stay where you are not welcomed. You don’t have to play any games that make you feel uncomfortable or stay in situations where you are being taken advantage of. You don’t have to join in for the sake of appearances, of looking good. It has taken me a lifetime to begin to figure this out. I don’t know about you but I have often felt out of place. It wasn’t because I was so different (though I often feel that way) but rather because I was not allowing myself to be the authentic expression of Brenda that I always was deep down inside. I was brain-washed and trained to conform to my family, my society, my church, my groups. I tried to make myself into whatever I thought would make me fit in with the norm. I find that I can fit in with the norm or the exception thereof not so much because of the need to be accepted but more for the sake of just expanding myself and setting myself free.

No one could tell me this. I just had to figure out where the discomfort came from all these years, look back at my experiences, and find the real me. I invite you to do the same. You may not find that your path is like mine in any way. I believe that this Energy or Power or Spirit or God that creates all things wants to express in, through and as me, as you, as all things created. I find that having that belief brings me joy, helps me make sense of what I can’t explain, and gives me the the awesome job and responsibility to allow Spirit to shape me and shift me as He/She is declined to do. Following a path of authentic freedom is, to me, the most loving, common-sense, and creative path one can take, It is the gift that keeps on giving through storms or calm, through light and dark, through joy and sorrow and for this I am truly thankful.

LOVE AND BREATH

Breathe in the pain; exhale the peace. Breathe in the anger; exhale the love. Breathe in the fear; exhale the courage. Breathe in the confusion; exhale the need to know. Breathe in the hurt; exhale the compassion. Breathe in the disappointment; exhale the gratitude. Breathe in the prison; exhale the freedom. Breathe in the control; exhale release. Breathe in the hesitation; breathe out the steps. Breathe in dying; exhale life.

Breathe through the feelings – especially the painful ones – feel them, let them express then allow them to be transformed back into the silence from which they came when your thought gave them life.  Grieve them, allow them but do not make a bed in them.   Rather chose the place to lay your head and your heart that brings you peace, joy. and love.  Every though gives birth to feelings and feelings need to be acknowledged and allowed to have expression.  They are real and you are alive because of all feelings – both those you enjoy and those you do not.  Each feeling is just the flip side of the other and  within the whole of them is where your being springs forth and that being that you are is awesome, fantastic, beautiful, alive, full of promise, and precious.  Breathe that in and exhale the wonder that you are.

LOVE’S NEW EYES

Many years ago now there arose a wave of what became known as the “Charismatic Movement” and being a seeker who yearned with all my heart to actually know and experience what we call God, I dove into that wave head first. At the time I was a member of the Catholic religion after coming from a Baptist/Methodist background. I officially converted a few years after my marriage to my part-time Catholic husband. I say part-time because he found living life to the fullest was much more satisfying and fulfilling than being a full-time practicing Catholic. This living life to the fullest and gobbling up all the different and interesting things life had to offer was his religion.. This was not a bad thing because this man could love like his very next breath depended upon it. At the time I did not understand a lot of things like I do now and I often resented his plunging into experiencing all of life that he could experience because it left me alone a lot of hours with the job of rearing our children pretty much entirely by myself. I was not as free as he was to pursue interests and flit about unaffected by all the responsibility that came with caring for children minute by minute.. John did hold a job and worked very hard but any and all his free time was his. Let me hasten to say that what this restlessness, resentment,and the emotional pain in my life (including guilt) did for me was to make me all the more hungry for finding peace, love, joy, contentment and understanding of myself, my life, and my God. So were it not for that, perhaps I would never have become what I call a Christian mystic though I hesitate to pin a label upon that which does not wear a label well. I will deal with the subject of mysticism in another chapter.

While I resented my husband’s religion of plunging as deeply as possible into experiencing all that life had to offer, he never resisted my seeking my own way to make peace with life. He fully supported me in anything I pursued and that included financially if that was called for. Was he perfect? No, but he was a prince among men and one whom I never really fully appreciated until I could see with new eyes. He and our life together looks so differently to me now as I look back and re-evaluate everything from a different point of view – that is, seeing through new eyes.

My path is what it is day by day minute by minute. And as my new eyes have grown through the years to see yet more clearly, that which has been, is now, or will ever be, changes each time I look at it.

How did I find myself in this enchanted land where nothing is as it seems or seemed, where thorns and roses can abide on the same one stem and be understood? How does one, for example, find in a person or condition or event both the good and bad, the wanted and unwanted, or an adversary and a supporter simultaneously? How can we find both tears and joy in one event? How can we find sense in those things that do not make sense? How can we find the whole in the world of division? Why do we even care about such things? One usually gets the urged to explore beyond what they think they know and understand, because of curiosity or pain or something that they cannot explain. It can be one thing or another of these or combination thereof. What made Alice go through the looking glass or chase the white rabbit? What made Dorothy want to go somewhere over the rainbow to make her way to the city of Oz and the Great Wizard? Whatever it was (and as undefinable as it might be) you know it when it calls your name and urges you out of your familiar comfort zone. As an aside, a “comfort zone” may not be all that comfortable but it is familiar and there is some comfort in the familiar; so, something has to call us to leave that comfort zone and to explore the unknown. So if you hear that call, let us leave behind what we thought we knew and begin the journey to chase the White Rabbit and slide over the rainbow to find the Great Oz.

SWEET MYSTERY OF LIFE

SWEET MYSTERY OF LIFE

Way back in the land of long, long ago, when I was a mere future thought in my parent’s head there were movies called “talkies”. They were the first attempts at movie making that gone from the silent films to having sound tracks and dialog. Somewhere in the 1930s there were two actors Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy who made numerous films together. They ran these old films on TV when I was a child. I remember one film they made in which they sang a song “Ah Sweet Mystery of Life”

The lyrics: Jeanette MacDonald & Nelson Eddy – Ah Sweet Mystery Of Life

Ah, sweet mystery of life
At last I’ve found thee
Ah, I know at last the secret of it all
All the longing, seeking, striving, waiting, yearning

The burning hopes, the joy and idle tears that fall
For ’tis love and love alone, the world is seeking
And ’tis love and love alone that can repay
‘Tis the answer, ’tis the end and all of living

For it is love alone that rules for aye
Love and love alone, the world is seeking
For ’tis love and love alone that can repay
‘Tis the answer, ’tis the end and all of living
For it is love alone that rules for aye

Here in the film are two people who found each other and are “in” love. Love comes in many forms and comes to us and through us in many forms yet there is only one LOVE that comes from one Source and until we find that core, that endless well within us – until we find that Sweet Mystery of Life and surrender to It, become it, we cannot see the infinity of IT. Forms die, forms change, forms turn on us, forms leave but the Love Itself that, as the song says, is the end and all of living. This is what we all seek. How do you “find” It. Ah, now there’s the rub. Are you willing to do whatever it takes? Then you are on the right path. Follow that yellow brick road. More to come in this blog regarding the yellow brick road.

 

JUST OLLIE AND ME AND BLOGGING MAKES THREE

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This blog I have started is a preview of the book I am creating based upon the material I gather from my blogs.  I will keep everyone informed when it has become the finished product, that is, the book I am longing to birth.  So if you like my blog, please stay tuned for the finished product.  Please let me know what you like so far and what you would like to have addressed or explored further.  Be a co-creator with me by giving me your feed back, suggestions, and comments.  Thank you so much. 

Brenda Andradzki Elliott, MSW

LOVE WANTED APPLY WITHIN

A baby is born and the little soul leaves a place of pure and absolute love, takes on a body, and comes into a strange world where he or she is either welcomed and loved or thrown to the lions.  There are many shades of welcomed and loved and many shades of thrown to the lions.  Welcomed and loved can be anything from over indulgence to smothering to controlling mode which is designed to mold the child into the parent’s own image or so the parent may life his or her own life vicariously through the child.   So, being loved and welcomed can have it’s darker side.  Being thrown to the lions can be total disinterest to neglect to horrendous abuse.  So what could possibly be the “good” side of  this you ask.  Unless the child makes the decision to break that chain and to find what he or she desperately wants to find or know about or to receive which is love, then I am afraid the life story of that child will have a long and very unsatisfactory outcome.

It is a well-documented fact that children tend to survive and thrive the best when there is at least one someone in their life who gives them love, affection, attention, and welcomes them.   Babies don’t know anything but love but soon forget once their socialization and induction into the human race begins and that is when pure love, absolute love, gets clouded over by the coats of social paint that is applied to .  There is one saving grace however, and that is that no matter how many coats of social paint is applied there remains at the seat of that soul, pure and absolute being – pure and absolute love.  One may go to his or her grave never to experience that LOVE within or they may experience it but have no idea where to go from there because they are still carrying the scars and paint that seem to add to the confusion.

People reach for other people, medications, drugs, alcohol, or some other soon to be addiction like spending or gambling or sex.  These may offer some relief and make the person feel good for a while but it never lasts.  They must go get another “fix” or add another one on top of the first one.  They could end up with many if nothing in their life changes.  Even a religion or philosophy can provide some relief and bring some joy to that believer.  Not all things people reach for to find that love, joy, and peace is bad or wrong in itself but if used for a substitute for the real thing or as an escape, it can only take one so far.

Though this is your personal journey from the crib to the grave, there are helpers who come to you in all forms and in all situations that you may use to guide you, to help you find what feels like is missing in your life.  Sometimes it takes different people, different situations, and different things at different stages of your coming out party.  So keep your eyes and heart open at all times because you never know what form in which help may appear.

The first order of business, whether or not you believe this is true, is to go within yourself.  Learn to pray without words.  Invite LOVE to make itself known.  Meditation is another form in which to find the inner door to your true self again which can lead you to that very love within that you seek.    There have been many books written on this subject and many workshops out there if you need help with this.   Some call this Love Within by names such as Holy Spirit, God, Allah, Great Spirit, The Universe, and so on.  Whatever you may call it, you will know when you have reconnected with IT and you will know when you are consciously awakened by IT.

Love is what you seek.  Love comes to you in many forms but until you experience this Presence within yourself you are likely to miss it in all its forms.  In fact, once you have experienced it, it will enhance all of your relationships, all of your experiences, and everything you think, believe, or do in your life.

Love is wanted.  Just apply within.