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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Letting Go

I was walking to work today thinking about all the things I need to let go of so I can change my life and make me a better person. Coughing slightly because of grief that has settled into my lungs, a seeming boundless grief that knows no relief, a deep one that seems to encompass and reflect many lifetimes.

A few of the items I was thinking needed changing were the:

  • notion that I can significantly help anyone but myself
  • idea of the loss of my once youthful physical body
  • tendency to worry about the illusory real world of diving economies, increasing warfare and hatred, and global disease
  • fear of my own death (which equals the fear of my own rebirth)
  • belief that sex, drugs or rock & roll can help me escape the illusory real world by providing an alternate illusory real world that is somehow better

And as I am thinking these noble thoughts, a man comes up to me with his arm outstretched. He seems to be of Everyman descent and he has a sparkle in his eyes that indicates he is coming directly from visiting God/dess (or, as my mother would say, on drugs).

"Help me," he says, "I'm hungry and have no place to go."

"Sorry," I say to him without even blinking.

And then I have passed him.

I look back a minute later and there is no evidence of the beggar. And all at once, I am wracked with guilt, fear, concern, and a thousand forms of sorry.

  • What if that man actually is God/dess?
  • What if it was a test?
  • Suppose he wasn't just a hustler like me in my younger days?
  • Maybe he was telling the truth!
  • How pathetic that I want to change my life and can't even help one poor Soul?

And frankly, my ego loves to play these imaginary games with me.

One minute I was thinking about giving up the "notion that I can significantly help anyone but myself" -- and the next minute my ego tosses a needy soul in my path. What better test of my own resolve than to feed me my own fears in concrete, physical form?

Yes, the beggar was no doubt real; but the shear coincidence, serendipity even, of his appearance in my life at that moment was truly cause for pause and suspicion.

After all, I create my own reality -- good, bad, and neutral. Maybe I even manifest "tests" for my own guilty, grieving conscience.

This apparent truth is another reason for me to let go of the very illusions I create or allow others to create for me.

And so it seems (today) to be.

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Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Sarah Palin Opportunity

"Life's challenges are not supposed to paralyze you, they're supposed to help you discover who you are."
-- Bernice Johnson, American Historian and Musician

As you can see from my previous post -- dated August 30, 2008 -- the Sarah Palin Opportunity had a profound and paralyzing affect on me. Why this is so, I'm not sure, but the entire illusion called the 2008 Presidential Elections threw me into a tailspin. This in spite of a promise I'd made to myself to not get caught up in it all. Then, almost self-destructively, I engaged in the entire circus. And even though I (sort of) didn't really care who won the election (I was leaning heavily for Obama); I just wanted George and his cronies out of the People's White House.

The delicious illusion of it all, though, grabbed me early on. Against my own self-promises, better judgment, and inner vision, I began watching MSNBC early on -- two years ago, in fact. Each night the news pundits would fire me up -- or, more accurately, I would invite them to fire me up. And each night I went to sleep with their inflammatory and toxic notions on my mind. And the truth is, it wouldn't have mattered whether I watched Fox News or MSNBC. The results would have been the same. Restless dreams filled with endless worry. And for what? An illusory coloring book marked in with imaginary crayons.

And then Sarah Palin entered the picture and, whereas everything up to that point seemed dully insane, the mere fact that anyone like her could be placed anywhere near the Office of the President of the United States of America made my brain cells curl. What madness had infiltrated John McCain's head? Could greed and vision be so clouded and twisted to result in this?

And so, it seemed, it could.

(I have always said I am not a politician or minister or doctor or business man, and that those areas of life are best left to people more suited for them than I am -- more knowledgeable. But John McCain's decision to utilize the governor of Alaska stymied me and had me second guessing my own convictions.)

I knew some veil of reason had been breached.

After I wrote the previous post, where I laid out a fabulous scenario where McCain was utilizing Palin as a ruse to appease the Powerful Right -- and that once that was done, he would dispose of her in some way -- by hook, crook, or plain politics -- make her vanish, possibly allowing Mitt Romney to come in as his second choice for V.P.

Well, I was obviously wrong on all counts. And Palin, at least in her own mind, is here with us for a while. And McCain -- well, who will remember him for anything but being a courageous Vietnam war veteran who ran the weirdest and possibly most negative campaign for President in United States history?

Still, something about the negativity hooked into me -- or, more likely into my ego. My ego, so easily sated by fear, the only thing -- in fact -- that makes it smile. And I, woefully, was off to the races.

Normally, I drift in and out of life's little power shifts like a fish gliding through water. The contractions come, I take a deep breath, and then they go -- followed by a period of well-being and, sometimes, bliss.

But this Palin affair pulled me out of the water, threw me upon a giant rock on the shore, and left me lying there to bake in the sun of disbelief, fear, and confoundment.

And that was where the opportunity of it all became apparent.

Because, fortunately, through it all, I continued to pray, meditate, do yoga, attend spirit-based retreats, and generally stay On Point some of the time. And when the sun broke through the clouds on the evening of Election Day, I came home to where God/dess resides and where all is well.

I imagine that when the day comes for me to once-and-for-all shed my earth skin and Go Home, these cycles of contraction/bliss will make some sense.

Until then, I just have to have faith that everything really, really, really is exacty as it needs to be.

And so it is.
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