"We become what we think about." ~ Earl Nightingale

Welcome to Sacred Ruminations

I hope you'll look around & leave comments
then visit me at my new blog ...

Giraffe Journal

and/or website ... Labyrinth Journal
both self-hosted at WordPress
where I publish as myself
rather than under a

I've not had much time for posting or blog visits, but if you're interested I hope you'll find time to check out my new blog, Giraffe Journal or my Labyrinth Journal website ... both self hosted at WordPress.

Thanks for your visit and have a delightful day ;--)
Hugs and blessings,

Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year's Eve and Thanks to all my Blogging Buddies here at Sacred Ruminations

Having spent several hours this morning revisiting my blogging progress at Small Reflections, I'm not ready to do that here because other activities call for my attention. I suppose I could put this off until tomorrow, but I suspect I won't have the discretionary time to devote to the task then either. Therefore, I've decided to take a more general approach now, and perhaps review here in greater detail at a later date (or not).

Initially, my intention in this space was to explore My Sacred Life following Carla's inspiring example ... as so many have done before me. For 31 days, I did just that ... finishing interestingly on Thanksgiving Day. Since then I've participated in Sacred Life Sunday. In these first ten weeks of blogging, I've written for myself as I always have, realizing that people might be reading ... but trying not to let that awareness get in the way of sharing.

In October, if memory serves, Sharon (a friend from the Taos Writer's Retreat ... otherwise known as WGASA Woman) left the first comments. She was warmly supportive and encouraging. It felt okay to be writing for myself but having someone occasionally read and comment. In November Lucy found me along with Karen (my most regular visitor to both blogs), Annie, Chani, Mother of Invention, Heart in San Francisco, Kikipotamus, Olivia, Talking Bear, His Girl Friday, Ladybug, and perhaps a few others whose names escape me as I type this.

Encouraged by their occasional affirmative comments, I felt emboldened ... yet lost focus for a while, perhaps because of participating in NaBloPoMo (30 posts in 30 days during November) and Holidailies (31 posts in 31 days of December). Throughout November, Claire, Sacred Susie, Suzann, Kathryn, Deborah, Carla, Dandelion Seeds, and Catherine visited and left comments once or twice. Recently I've regained my focus and started to share snippets of old journal entries interspersed with current writings, inspirational quotes, some links of interest, and an occasional meme.

By December Annie and Kara (returning from personal blogging retreats), Karen, Ladybug, Kikipotamus, Mama Zen, The Dream, and MP J became "regulars" ... with Chani, Eve, Melissa, Michele, Moanna, Peajay, Talking Bear, and His Girl Friday leaving a comment now and then. There may have been others whose names escape me as I type today. If so, please forgive me. You know who you are, and if you remind me I'll be happy to add your names to this post later. A few of you read both this blog and Small Reflections.

I enjoy visiting your blogs, reading your posts, and leaving comments of my own when I have time and something to say. I like to let you know I've stopped by, but I often read without commenting when time is at a premium. Likewise, it's fun to read and respond to your observations here, but I suspect that like me you don't always have time to stop and share. I appreciate it when you do, and understand when you don't. In 2008, I intend to continue my exploratory process and see where it leads.

I am happy to have encountered you all in this "virtual world" and think of you as friends. With that in mind, (and in the spirit of good-natured fun) I share with you three graphics that you may take back to your own blogs (or not) as you choose.

(my personal favorite, but
perhaps not yours)

This ...

Blogging Buddies Rock

And this ...

My good intentions to make this short and sweet have gone by the wayside. I can be obsessive and a bit compulsive. It seems the "perfectionist" in me won out this afternoon, perhaps because I didn't want to "slight" anyone here after spending so much time on my thank you post at Small Reflections. I value each of you, just as I value my Blogging Buddies there.

Happy New Year's Eve
one and all!

Happy 3rd birthday to Molly!!!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Sacred Life Sunday - Honoring Traditions of Others

"Kwanzaa is a celebration of family, unity and cooperation anchored in ancient African traditions of

the first fruits celebrations. Today we celebrate our connection to all life and our unique individual expressions of the One life.

We rejoice that this important lesson is presented by the children and teens of our church. Together in the spirit of Umoja (Unity) we establish a powerful intention for the New Year as we co-create a community within which all persons are honored and valued as members of the human family. Our joint purpose (Nia) is to bring forth the love that is our essential truth."
~Ric Beattie

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Revisiting Old Journal Entries ... again

7am ... 12-29-1999 (written on this day eight years ago)
Interesting how the fog has moved in off the ocean after the spectacular pink and blue sunrise less than an hour ago ... it reminds me of the experience with Mt. Shasta appearing and disappearing as I watched from inside the mountain cabin one winter while visiting there to celebrate M's grandmother's 105th birthday. How much of life's experiences do we "miss" ... overlook and/or ignore while paying attention to something else screaming for our attention?

D is right ... I am like E in that I procrastinate and/or work to my own time frame ... and I'm like K in refusing to "hand in" the work she does for credit ... for although I write, I don't show it to anyone ... so I get no feedback ... or rather, I share minimally and receive minimally. The feedback I do get is reassuring and positive, but I have a hard time letting good "stuph" in and experiencing it in useful ways. Why is that? What might I do differently?

Change your mind about who you are and why you're here. Pretend if necessary, but take actions to demonstrate the truth of who you believe yourself to be.

Do you mean I should "fake it 'til I make it?"

If that's what it takes, yes! You've always had an excellent imagination. Use it now for this.

So ... what shall I choose to make of my experience of Mom's death ... and of G's departure from my life ... the end of my marriage ... the loss and regaining of my health ... the challenges I've faced in trying to reach and teach children all these years?

It's been an enriching spiritual journey ... leading me from ecstatic joy to the depth of despair and back again ... moving from hope to depression and back to possibility in repeated cycles around people and events in my life. In some respects I am as I've always been ... while in others, I've surrendered much of who I thought I was.

I see how it's all been PRACTICE and I am more SKILLFUL than I once was ... though there remain GAPS ... ROADBLOCKS ... FEARS to be faced, embraced and moved through. Coming to know myself and others as ONE does help me RELAX a bit and appreciate the ADVENTURE of life differently ... HEALING myself bit by bit ... sharing my reality ... opening myself to the truths of other's experience.

"There is no place for judgment in the mind of a master. There is only observation. The master observes but never judges. The master simply watches. First he watches the action, then he watches the result. The master is content to let the student experience the results of his own actions, rather than correcting the student." (pg. 67)

"When your life looks like it's falling apart, remember that it may just be falling together for the first time."
(pg. 72)

"Thank you God for helping me to understand that this problem has already been solved for me."
(pg. 76)

"God has no preferences ... there is no such thing as 'right' and 'wrong' in God's world -- just what works and what doesn't work in terms of what you are trying to do."
(pg. 93)
the 4 quotes in blue (hand copied into my journal) are from
Questions and Answers on Conversations With God

by Neale Donald Walsch

Friday, December 28, 2007

The Gift of Gratitude in a Simple Thank You

This morning while clearing out my gmail inbox, I almost dumped (without reading) a message that contained a story I'd like to share with all who pass this way. In addition, I've decided to impart two personal experiences of my own ... triggered by this video.

The 1st occurred on the last day of my 1st year of teaching 6th grade in a middle school setting. Being the "newbie" on staff and taking two classes created at the last minute when enrollment numbers were higher than expected, I ended up with an odder than usual mix of students. My morning "core" class contained 5 fun-loving marginally motivated boys who although likable enough, drove the rest of the students crazy when having to sit near or work in a cooperative group with any of them. The afternoon class contained 33 students, just 5 of whom were girls. Needless to say, I found the year challenging ... even though I'd been teaching for decades.

On that final school day with my students engaged in saying their good-byes and signing autographs in yearbooks, when the office buzzed the classroom and told me a parent was on his way down to talk with me, I reminded myself that I'd have 10 weeks of summer vacation in just a few hours as I steeled myself for one more thing. A man entered the room before I could get from the intercom to the doorway and announced in a loud voice (no doubt embarrassing the heck out of his son) that he was there to "shake the hand of the teacher who turned his boy's life around" ... and as I extended my own hand, I murmured a prayer of gratitude that this wasn't another problem to be dealt with after all.

Interestingly, the boy in question was one of my best students that year and because of this I'd had no reason to read his cum files. Therefore I had no idea he'd barely passed the elementary grades and had previous problems at school. I don't know why B turned things around for himself in 6th grade. He wasn't one of the 5 boys mentioned previously. Perhaps he realized he didn't want to be like them? Whatever the cause, apparently he had entertained his parents throughout the year with stories about me and his classmates and done his homework willingly on his own. They were delighted but didn't choose to jinx anything until the year ended. I took this gift gladly and enjoyed my vacation thoroughly hoping for more "balanced classes" in the Fall.

The 2nd happened in June of 2001 as I diligently worked before and after school sessions packing up and giving away 34 years worth of accumulated teaching materials to colleagues. The office secretary buzzed my classroom to tell me there was someone on the phone who wished to speak to me urgently. Not recognizing the name, I requested she take a message and assure the caller I would get back to her as soon as possible. Apparently this caller would not be put off, so I stopped mid-task, took the 3 minute walk to the office wondering what could be so important, and picked up the phone.

After assuring this woman I was indeed the person who taught for several years at another school in the district at the specified grade level in the time frame given, she exclaimed that she couldn't believe I was retiring. When she read about it in the paper she felt she had to call and told me it hadn't been easy to track me down. I learned from her that the office personnel at other schools don't give out information when teachers transfer to new settings. Having left elementary grades for an assignment in middle school several years prior to my decision to retire, I could understand the challenge finding me must have presented.

Still wondering the reason for the call while thinking about the monumental task in which I was engaged, I tried to be patient. Eventually she identified herself as the mother of a previous student whose life she believed had been completely turned around by his experiences in my 5th grade class decades ago. As she spoke, I recalled the boy ... along with the personal challenges I faced that year coping with the unexpected death of my mom and the dissolution of my 21 year marriage. It was perhaps my most challenging year of teaching ever, and yet listening to this mother share the changes she noticed that year in her son who went from doing the minimum required to "get by" (while having fun with the "class clowns" who were his friends and idols up until that year) to taking a serious interest in learning for it's own sake ... I was touched to my core.

She went on to tell me what he'd done during the remainder of his years in school, how he'd gone on to college, and was now working in the Silicon Valley as a computer programmer ... doing very well for himself. I learned that they spoke of me and that year often with pleasure and gratitude. As I listened and thought to myself how that seemed like anything but my best year of teaching due to personal "distractions" of my life, I realized the truth of something my sister had often said to me but that I couldn't quite understand or appreciate until that moment. Whenever I would give voice to my classroom concerns, my sister would respond by saying emphatically, "On your worst day, you do more for kids than many people do on their best!" Of course, my sister loves me so it's been easy to discount her point of view. Hearing from others however DOES resonate and warms my heart remembering even now.

So ... in preparing this post, I'm reminded of how many times in my busy-ness, something from within says "slow down" and when I do, a most "perfect gift" appears ... one I might have "missed" if I had rushed on with whatever task held my attention, and gently I ask here ...

What might you be missing in your rush today?
(and if you haven't yet watched the video
I encourage you to do so now)

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Zen Thoughts -- Unity

UNITE all things.
When all of your energies
are going in the same direction,
great things will happen.
When you unify others,
success is assured.
Work in HARMONY with the way,
and all things will flourish.
Daniel Levin

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Letting Go - Quotes for Considerations

Quote found at Tales of Tanglewood
"Just think of the trees: they let the birds perch and fly, with no intention to call them when they come and no longing for their return when they fly away. If people's hearts can be like the trees, they will not be off the Way." Langya

"What happens
to you
does not matter;
what you BECOME through
those experiences
all that is significant.
This is the true MEANING of life."
Daniel Levin

"Cultivating a generous spirit starts with mindfulness. Mindfulness, simply stated, means paying attention to what is actually happening; it's about what is really going on." - Nell Newman

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas to All

you and yours
from me
Molly and Ms. Kitty
here in Southern California
to wherever you live.
2007 zipped by for us bringing
changes along with rich experiences,
some of which you've read about on my blogs.
We hope your year brought
many memorable moments and that the joys of the
Christmas Season bless

Peace on Earth Good Will to Every One!

May Christmas Spirit fill your hearts & minds
with peace, love, compassion, and joy
today, tomorrow, and throughout
the 12 days of Christmas
and into 2008

Hugs and Blessings to All!

Monday, December 24, 2007

A Christmas Message from my Heart

Christmas is coming again and I find

questions of import resound in my mind.

What have we done with the time we’ve just had?

Where are we headed?

Are we sharing glad

tidings of joy and good will day by day?

Have we made time for sacred?

… for play?

… and for discovery?

Have we begun

to recognize we are here to have fun

and to receive

so that we may bestow

gifts of the spirit wherever we go?

What are the truths you believe and display?

What will you do with the gift of today?

Can you hear angelic songs in you heart?

Is there an action with which you might start?

What is the truth you are longing to share?

What would it take to be willing to dare?

Know God is with you

believe this one thing.

Trust in the power of all that you bring.

Angels do hover

and love does exist.

Be the change … face what you long to resist!


Vastly Varied Version in Verse

The list composed with letter “P”
came through these fingers easily,
but somehow with the letter “V”
this variation differently
evolved with effort. Fervently
I did quite energetically
apply myself most valiantly,
while wishing for the letter “T”
(R, B, D or even C)
feeling vexed and verbally
muttering with vividly
animated verse you see.

Thus I gave myself a break
considering “vignettes” to make
a version vixen-like & take
some liberties and thus create
a venerable variation,
hence this rhythmic protestation!
But, alas, with all this mentioned
I’ve produced (with good intention)
not a very “serious” version,
verifiable revision.

My Verbal (not Visual) “V” Vista of Virginia

(or Lucy’s Alliterative Activity)

1. Violet, a version of “purple” … my vividly vibrant choice for my “voice” once I volunteered for this 2nd verbal voyage.

2. Virginia, my given name, vexed me as a child. Friends & family volunteered “Ginny” for variety, though I would have preferred Veronica.

3. A Plymouth Valiant was my 1st vehicle once I could afford a car, though I vacillated forever. My father vehemently vented when I vowed to purchase a Volkswagen Beetle. Eventually, his vote vanquished my vixen-like verve, as I valued his voice and vast experience.

4. Violin, cello, piano, clarinet (and later guitar and autoharp) vied for my vigilant attention. My family viewed musical ability as valuable as volleyball and team ventures.

5. Velveteen Rabbit had a vigorously visceral effect on my vintage self and remains a favorite for its validity and vocabulary.

6. I’m no visionary, but often I view what’s visibly in vogue as vaguely vacuous.

7. My “ex” is a Vietnam Veteran who left home a conservative Republican and returned to vote liberal Democrat ever after. We met Valentine’s Day and married in Hawaii with volcanoes in the vicinity.

8. Vitamin C and Zicam restore vitality and vanquish evil germs when they invade.

9. I’ve visited Versailles & Vienna but not Venezuela.

10. I’ve written volumes throughout my life, venting, verifying, validating, and making visible tracks so I couldn’t vanish (along with my memories) by disappearing into other’s versions of life & relationship … so viscerally different from my own evolution.

If you haven't tried this for
yourself, feel free to thus explore
whatever letter pleases you
or ask, and I'll assign one to
you just the way that Lucy did
with me. It's fun & fancy free
to learn about another thus.
It's really not so ominous
I promise to provide a link
if you participate. Just think,

a way to make new blogging friends
as Christmas comes and this year ends.
For other people who have played
check out the links right here conveyed.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Sacred Life Sunday at Home

I've started my 2nd alliterative piece for Lucy's game, (see Small Reflections for my playful purple "P" post) but a call from my sister this afternoon consumed my writing time ... so my vibrant "V" verbiage must wait for tomorrow.

This evening I'm sharing
more treasures from my home in three photos.

To the left is my Mom's piano in my living room with three of my favorite books containing poems by Nancy Wood beautifully illustrated by Frank Howell. From left to right they are: DANCING MOONS, SHAMAN'S CIRCLE, and SPIRIT WALKER. Also displayed from left to right are hand made art pieces purchased directly from the artists who created them: a carved "bear" motif gourd ... a hand-painted goose egg with an African scene highlighting a giraffe, elephant, and lion ... the pair of snowmen shown last Sunday ... and three more giraffe pieces with my piano lamp on the end.

Below is the 2nd pony I purchased in Taos. It's part of the "Trail of Painted Ponies Project" that I wrote about previously here when I shared my 1st Painted Pony. This is "Heavenly Pony" and was created by Noel Espinoza who was born in Parral, Chihuahua, Mexico. Noel has devoted his efforts as an artist to sharing a vision of Mexico as a place "as colorful and vivid as a memory." Of his inspiration for his Pony he writes, "The nobility and spirit of the Horse is so high and sublime it led me to take them to heavenly heights in the shape of billowing clouds."

Finally, the rose below is blooming in my yard today (along with a few others). It's been cooler than usual for the last few weeks,

but today was sunny & warm "t-shirt & shorts" weather for most locals and visitors alike.

These apricot colored roses have a delicious scent that permeates the entire yard. They last longer than most roses and draw the attention of everyone who passes by.

Today's Zen cards by Daniel Levin:

"What is, is. What IS not, is not. No amount of WISHING or wanting can change that simple fact."
"Tao is truth. FOLLOW it. Meditate on it. BECOME it. Then forget it. Only then can you live it."

"MEDITATE. Live simply. WORK with integrity. Become Compassion. This is the WAY."

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Messages from my Left Hand (with brief snippets from my right) - December 1999

I want you to stop and let this sink in fully so you don't continue to wander and keep missing the mark. You cannot fail, but you can ... indeed MUST live your truth! And please ... know that I am in, with, and around you and everyone else ALWAYS. You need but ask and receive -- stop --- look -- listen -- learn --teach!

You can't pass it on without catching it!

Now is all there is!

Do you see how much needless guilt you carry even now? Relax and lay those burdens down one by one -- now and forever.

"People living the truth change the world." Louise Hay

Love yourself as you love others
whole heartedly
as I love you
just as you are
as I created you.

Be still and know
I am with you always in all ways.

Believe as you did when a child.
what of the glitch in my stomach just now?
Relax it will pass ...

What's good about me?
- I'm bright & honest ... articulate & modest even as I'm self-confident ... speaking or writing what's on my mind.
- I look for the good in all situations, events, relationships & experiences.
- I'm changing and growing all the time, even as I hold fast to what seems to matter.
- I'm learning to be still & listen ... to know & understand ... to pull weeds & kick stones, holding on to dreams while living with bones ...
- I'm learning to appreciate my gifts, talents, & blessings and to be willing to share them more generously all the time.
- I'm responsible & caring ... willing and able to do what's needed, even when the doing feels challenging.
- I find joy in unexpected places and experience everyday miracles gratefully.

Revisiting lessons from A COURSE IN MIRACLES:
#121 Forgiveness is the key to happiness.
#122 Forgiveness offers everything I want.

Ah ... has it always been thus?
Of course.

How did I forget?
You were carefully taught.

And like a good compliant girl, I learned ... trusted ... believed ... and did what I thought I was supposed to.
And now?

Good question -- am I doing the same thing now? How can I know?
Are you happy ? Do you feel free?

Yes ... and yes, except when I don't.
Are you laughing at me?
Yes ... and I also cry with you ... as well as sigh, rage, hurt, etc. There is nothing we do not share except guilt. You do that one even as I offer forgiveness.

Ah -- I imagine that's frustrating for you then.
At times, but I know the power of love and forgiveness ... and eternity exists after all.

Small shifts are heartening, right?

I am happy insomuch as I understand happiness, and I'm becoming freer all the time ... especially as I come to know it's me who has been my own jailer all these years ... and to recognize I've misunderstood so much. Blessed be and thank YOU very much!

Postscript from Today
It's strange & intriguing to revisit my past in this manner, putting it out there for all to see as I consider how I've changed & grown ... opening myself up to guidance for the year ahead. As always, I'm surprised at what I forget & need to be reminded of ... and wonder if this is so for others. Perhaps I could ask ... is it?

On a different topic altogether
for those of you who read this blog
but not Small Reflections ...
Here's Something Special!
Kara, at Spiritdoll offered a link at the end of her 12 Random Chistmasy Things list to this brief but timely and inspirational Inner Christmas Movie created and offered by Lynn Jerico who reminds us "... wonder and wisdom live in questions, not answers." I hope you'll pause a moment to click and watch it because I'm glad I did. I suspect many of us will be considering "The Twelve Polarities" and participating in the "Twelve Minutes of Inner Christmas Practice" between December 25th and January 5th this year. Thank you Kara!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Bits and Pieces from Hither and Yon

"To be what we are, and to become what we are capable of becoming, is the only end of life." Robert Louis Stevenson

What follows are "snippets" from various entries that captured my attention this morning while revisiting more December 1999 journal entries. Perhaps they'll come together and become a quilt of sorts?
We'll see ...

Rereading THE FOUR AGREEMENTS by Don Miguel Ruiz ... remembering Sanaya Roman's books ... considering the $10,000 M won last October (on D's b-day right after she was denied $6000 because D's time of death was a few minutes on the wrong side of midnight) ...all make me reconsider & wonder about messages ignored or unseen which might have 'quickened' my own understanding ... (or rather acceptance) ... of how things work.

I realize how often I stand at the edge but hesitate ... like I did on the high dive as a teenager seeking a life-saving certificate. FEAR (or perhaps lack of faith?) constricts & restricts my options ... and the emotional roller coaster ride which results from action (or inaction) leaves me ill & even more confused often.

--What might happen if I really leaped with both feet?
--What form might that take?
--What might I really love to do ... and/or be?
Living at the beach was one such passion ... teaching is another.

Yes ... Ralph, Charly, Zonker and perhaps Jesse are other passions ... so was G and marriage ... inviting L & the girls to live here ... READING & JOURNALING are grand passions for me ... gardening brings pleasure & regular lessons to revisit ...

On another day I wrote this ...

Strange health setback Sunday night ... looks like I'll be home for at least 3 days, so I'll have time to read Pat Riley's THE WINNER WITHIN & the 3rd Harry Potter book ... to watch kids and other people making a difference on Oprah while realizing how often I've stopped at the edge ... holding back because of fear. These were missed opportunities ... yet each experience HAS changed me so I'll be more ready the next time.

Hmmm ... if not now, when?
Excellent question and please remember how much you've accomplished in your life already. There's no need for guilt or blame. There's just readiness for now and you're present, aren't you?

Thank you and YES ... I do realize what a precious gift the present is ... so I'll try not to get caught up in past memories or future possibilities ... and instead, stay focused here and now ... proactively.

On yet another day ...

What is the best way for me to serve?
Be yourself. Tell what you know. Listen to the stories of others. Touch magic & pass it on.

Could you be more specific?
That's for you to decide. Do what you love.

Why is making decisions so hard for me? Why can't I narrow my focus?
The form doesn't matter because love is always the lesson no matter what you choose.

Thank you very much!
"If you can dream it, you can do it. Always remember this whole thing was started by a mouse." Walt Disney
And on another day ... this entry:

Are my "graphic poems" prayers to the Universe? Are they meant to be shared as gifts as I've done in the past? Might they be published in a book? Where might I find a collaborator who knows how to make that happen? Barbara Sher & Marianne Williamson come to mind. I've met them both. Am I likely to meet either again ... and, if so, will I be ready to share with them this time? Seems like I've written but never mailed letters to each. Perhaps it's time to try again or write other favorite authors like Denise Linn, Scott Peck, Stephen Covey, Carol Lloyd, Mark Hansen, Karen Scott ... or someone else? Lucia Cappachione, Gabrielle Rico, Dan Millman, Madeleine L'Engle? Should I go to the next Writer's Conference and/or send my writings for review & critique? If so, which ones?

Why no answers today?
Your heart knows ... follow its truth wherever it leads and know I am with you always.
"Our doubts are our traitors." Shakespeare

A few pages later I my eyes find this entry ...

Two books are open to "invitation pages" from authors to correspond ... one is Peter Yancey's THE BIBLE JESUS READ and the other is Neale Donald Walsch's FRIENDSHIP WITH GOD. They bring to mind the verbal invitation from Barbara Sher two summers ago and the letter I did write, but haven't sent to Marianne Williamson.

So ... it's my personal fear of rejection (and/or success with a loss of control perhaps) that holds me back if Gary Zukav is correct, right? If not, what else?
Condemnation perhaps? Censure? Loss of livelihood? Glorious acceptance? Touching people's hearts, lives, and spirits in significant ways?

Perhaps all of the above ... and none? Ah ... was that my soul & my personality conversing yet again?

There is a need to be "right" within me. I don't want to do harm to anyone, and if I do nothing that feels safer than reaching out and putting in my two cents where I have no business meddling.
And yet?

... holding back may be harmful as well if what I'd say or write could make a difference in the lives of children & parents ... and people in general ... right? I'm torn ... and perhaps I do nothing out of habit, but mostly I have difficulty believing that what I write matters to anyone but me.
Don't you have experience to the contrary?

Do you mean the reactions of people to my graphic poems?
And to other things. Aren't your ideas consistently well received?

Yes ... except when they're not ...(smile)... thank you. Yes, I do remember finding CONVERSATIONS WITH GOD and realizing how similar it seemed to my own journals.
... and when they're not, haven't you not only survived the experience but also learned essential lessons?

Yes and yes
So ... why avoid such opportunity? Why hold yourself and others back? Why hold my loving message back?

Hmmm -- I guess I don't consider it in those terms very often. Is it laziness? Inertia? Risk? Vision or lack thereof? Non-belief? Doubt? Terror? Discomfort?
All of the above and more? Start small ... or BIG, but please start now!

"I rid myself of doubts by remembering that
there is a valid reason
for everything that happens."
Wayne Dyer

Thursday, December 20, 2007

A Context for Revisiting Old Journal Entries

Regarding yesterday, today's (and possibly future) offerings here at Sacred Ruminations ...

In the course of learning how to do new blogging things technically and joining in NaBloPoMo & Holidailies without much thought, I've allowed myself to get distracted from my initial purpose in creating this blog. Losing sight of my original intention, recognizing I've strayed, and in an effort to refocus ... I decided to return to old journals and share whatever I found, resisting the urge to "rethink" and/or get caught up in endless efforts to "revise & edit" to make things "perfect" ... so what I posted yesterday was just that ... a spontaneous attempt to be bold, stick my neck out and see what happened. In retrospect, although I believe it was "a good thing" generally speaking ... this morning I feel compelled to create a "context" for this shift (even as I hear the "I'm not perfect" song in my head as I type). And so ... I offer this "orientation" without further ado.

In December of 1999, I was reading Chapter 2 of WISHCRAFT by Barbara Sher entitled "The Environment that Creates Winners" wherein she encourages readers to ask themselves questions about the family we grew up in and writes:

"If your answer to all or most of these questions is 'Yes,' congratulations. I'm jealous. Your are one of the rare and lucky ones. You had the great good fortune to be raised in the environment that creates winners -- the optimum environment for the growth and flourishing of human beings.

The fact is that very few of us were lucky enough to grow up in such an environment. I certainly wasn't. It wasn't our parent's fault. They weren't raised in that kind of environment either, and they couldn't have had any idea how to create one. Given their own upbringing, it's moving that most of them still managed to provide us with at least one or two features of that environment -- because they loved us.

Every 'Yes" you can answer to one of these questions is something inside you that you can build on -- the beginning of a bridge between your child genius and its full adult expression. For every "No," I'll invite you to give a little thought to how your life could have been different if you'd been able to answer "Yes." Even if you answer every one of these questions "No," don't despair. With the help of this book, you will be able to build that bridge now."

Question #1 asked "In your family, when you were growing up, were you treated as though you had a unique kind of genius that was loved and respected?" So it was that I picked up my pencil and explored what I remembered of my life as a child and then considered what might have been, if only ...

Next I offered what I wrote in response to this question:
"What might you have been if your family had ...
--treated you as though you had a unique kind of genius that was loved and respected
--told you that you could do and be anything you wanted -- and that you'd be loved and admired no matter what it was
--given you real help and encouragement in finding out what you wanted to do and how to do it
--encouraged you to explore all your own talents and interests, even if they changed from day to day
--allowed you to complain when the going got rough, and given you sympathy instead of being told to quit
--bailed you out when you got in over your head -- without reproach
--surrounded you with winners who were pleased when you won
What would you be doing now? What would you already have done? What kind of person would you be? Think BIG. Be as extravagant and far-fetched as you like."
That's what I posted yesterday here.

Today's entry follows. It's my December 1999 response to this prompt from WISHCRAFT: "Choose a color that appeals to you ... role-play that color ... pretend you are that color and speak for it, since it cannot speak for itself."

I am teal ...
green with a strong touch of blue
like the ocean in which dolphins play ...
watery yet reminiscent of new growth on trees
and unusual blossoms on exotic flowers,
a breath of fresh air with a minty flavor
... a tangy contrast to the orange sunlight of
Satsuma tangerine scent ...
sweet ... without seeds & easy to peel
deliciously melting in the mouth.

Then this exercise: "Play detective. Snoop around your own house or room as if you were a private-eye trying to find out who lived here just from the style revealed in the house. Make an inventory of as many characteristics and interests you can find.

A reader ...
or at least a collector of books
this woman seems also to be a ...
connoisseur of dust bunnies,
seeker of light
with candles & lanterns everywhere,
perhaps obsessed by
(or at least concerned with) time
due to the surprisingly large number of
clocks & watches in plain view,
lover of music
with an organ & piano inside
(and an old upright "player" piano in the garage)
CD players upstairs & down ...
perhaps a bit disorganized with
reading & writing materials everywhere,
spiritual ...
with several manger scenes
numerous angels on display,
some "Santa" stuph, but no tree ...
strange assortment of food in the pantry & fridge
wide range of reading material
even here in the kitchen,
classy everyday dishes ... three sets? ... odd
with another set of China in the hutch,
likes wood and plaids
decorates in straight lines
but writes in curves
creating unique visual pieces ... framed on display,
has three rocking chairs but no children,
herds of giraffes
but seems to take few risks on her own,
spreads out "stuph" ...
perhaps for easy access,
procrastinator ...
creative spirit,
no matter what's needed, she's got it ...
(even if she'll never use it)
but she'll give you whatever you need ...
motivators on the fridge and around mirrors
reminding her of positive thoughts
no matter what.

Reading this today and looking around my living space, I'm aware that my description would be similar ... suggesting little has changed, and yet my pantry and fridge contain "healthier" food choices than in 1999 ... and I've created a "writing area" downstairs in what used to be "the family room" with computer & peripherals more easily accessible than in my old upstairs office. With no "papers to grade" or "lessons to plan" since I've been "happily retired" for almost 6 years, my surroundings reflect my current interests. Gardening supplies, kitty food, and puppy toys all lay concealed in attractive but functional storage within the living room for easy access to the front yard. I have invested in a variety of organizational "containers" and experimented with different ways to "display" what I choose to keep (using ideas from REFUSE TO CHOOSE, a more recent book by Barbara Sher) ... as I let go of what I no longer need ... with the intention of clearing my living space of constant clutter while honoring who I am. Slow & steady wins the race.

I gave away the old upright player piano in the garage years ago to a neighbor who moved to South County. Interestingly, that piano ended up in a local "adult day care center" after passing person to person in an unusual series of interactions. My "ex" called on his 1st day working in the place, wondering how "our piano" ended up in his new workplace. At the time I had no clue, but since then I've learned of its journey and marvel at how the universe works. Perhaps that's a story for another time.

"Intuition is the voice of the nonphysical world." Gary Zukav

To continue with 1999 however ... the following is a "conversation" written with my right & left hands ... about real concerns regarding my role as a teacher at that time as I struggled with some serious personal health issues. By way of explanation, when I was little, all teachers and family members consistently took the pencil from my left hand and put it in my right hand. For a long time I didn't realize I could write with both, but I've discovered experientially that my left hand remains "connected" to spirit ... much as when I was a child and could hear this voice clearly all the time. I think of it as "a voice for God" ... and trust it more all the time.

How are educators supposed to keep themselves healthy when surrounded by such negativity from society, kids, parents and the media?
Be one with me and know I am with you always. You have no failures or flaws, only perfect learnings. Each one teach one, and so it goes. Trust yourself to walk with me and be my voice. I need you!

I try ... and will continue to do so. I'm willing, but weak. Will you take my weakness and make me strong?
Your weaknesses are your strengths ... for they allow you to connect on human terms with one another. Love them and value them as I do.

... and pass it on, right?

So ... how do I do this?

Pay attention ... trust & obey ... follow your heart ... believe & achieve.

Why do I hold on to "things" and how can I relax & let go of stuph?
Good question ... none of us understands the fears that seem to rule your lives given your strong desire to know love's truth and to live faithfully, especially once you know you can only keep what you give away.

This journal entry closes with this prayer copied in my own hand from ENCHANTED LOVE by Marianne Williamson.

Dear God,

Please remove from me
my resistance to love.
Make straight my path
to the heart of my beloved.
Reveal to me the meaning
of this ride that we are on.

Later that afternoon I wrote the following:
These are the characteristics of my personality that I most want transformed by the Holy Spirit:
--my need to hold on to material things I no longer need, want, nor even use
--my indecision ... inner confusion & self doubt which keep me stuck and spinning my wheels
--my fear of failure
--my fear of success
--my sense of personal responsibility for the welfare of everyone & everything and the burden of guilt which I so willingly pick up repeatedly
--my self destructive habits -- poor eating, lack of exercise, overwork, denial, procrastination ...
--my lack of love for myself
--my fear of change

"Author and psychotherapist Pat Allen has written that a man's greatest psychic need is to have his thoughts respected, and that a woman's greatest psychic need is to have her feelings cherished ... knowing it has transformed my relationships." Marianne Williamson

And finally this prayer ...
also from ENCHANTED LOVE by Marianne Williamson

Dear God,
I don't wish to be a child any more.
I don't wish to be held back any more.
I don't wish to waste my life!
Deliver me into new realms
repair me where I am broken,
and ready my heart for every thing.
Thank you God

How much I've grown and changed in the years since then ... and how far I have yet to go. In any case, I'm happy to be back on track with my intentions for this blog. As Jen encouraged us all in Taos ... force nothing and hold nothing back.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Revisiting Journal Entries from December of 1999

"You are always being given opportunities to love and be loved, yet ask yourself how many times in your life you have squandered these opportunities." Gary Zukav

Inspired by Lucy who has been going through old photos and sharing memories on her Blog here, here, and here ... this morning I picked up an old journal at random and opened to this entry dated 12-22-99 at 8:47am. This is what read this in my own handwriting ...

Blustery, but gorgeously sunny and clear day ... I'm reading WISHCRAFT by Barbara Sher and finding it challenging to think about who I was in the 5 years of life ... but here goes:

I lived in my imagination
built places with blocks
& within these spaces
for hours & hours
I played alone
but had real conversations
no one (save me) could hear ...

I spoke
heard replies
just as when I rode my imaginary "horse"
invisible companions joined
the fun.

I read early, at a very young age ...
convincing the librarian
who was skeptical at first
but eventually
allowed me to show her
after which she let me
check out books
on my own
and I read them over & over
devouring them
as I read now ... insatiably!

I had a hard time returning them
just as I keep books now ...
they were important
and I wanted them close by.

I sang songs & recited scripture
in front of the large Dutch Reformed congregation
apparently enjoying the attention
when I was 3 or 4 years old.

I talked easily with strangers.
I felt happy & delighted
with everything and everyone,
was well liked by others
except perhaps one elderly neighbor
who found me uppity and demanding
when I once ordered him off our property
as he trimmed some bushes
(unbeknownst to me) at the request of my parents.

I could leave my body as a child
when I lay in bed ...
I distinctly remember doing so frequently
looking down on myself
from a corner of the ceiling
in my bedroom wallpapered with
white ducks, swimming on blue ponds,
surrounded by white and pink flowers.

The preceding was followed by this entry (written on the same day a little while later without a specific time notation) that I suspect was a response to a series of prompts from my reading:

If I'd been treated as if I had a unique kind of genius that was loved and respected, I'd love and respect myself & my talents. Perhaps I'd share them more freely & willingly today, recognizing the gifts I offer others in the naturally occurring "me" of daily life?

If I'd been told I could do and be anything I wanted (and that I'd be loved no matter what it was) I might be a published writer, motivational speaker, or talk show host now.

Sheesh ... I might be a published author or poet many times over ... sharing my stories, poems & ideas with everyone instead of a select few. I might have written to authors and gotten answers & encouragement ... and I'd be a better teacher of writing because I could help others as I'd been helped.

I might know something besides teaching as a career. I might have become a ranger naturalist or marine biologist, or a movie star ... singer ... or storyteller ...

If people had listened to, validated my feelings and experience, then encouraged me to continue and/or offered to help, I'd know how to do that for myself ... and I'd know it was okay to accept help gratefully when it was offered w/o being in danger of losing my way or my self ...

I might be more willing to make proactive mistakes instead of passive ones.

I'd realize (consciously), reminding myself often that "it's not over 'til it's over" and "hanging in there" is worth the effort.

I'd have written stories for children that would touch their hearts & the hearts of their parents .... that would show different ways of being in the world and would make children want to read (much as books by Madeline L'Engle and the Harry Potter books do today).

I'd have written articles filled with ideas in teacher's journals and magazines for parents about books to share with kids & inspire ourselves.

I'd have talked to groups at schools, churches, conferences, and other gatherings to sharing my love of books & stories ... similar to what Jim Trelease has done all these years.

I'd preview books for editors and write reviews.

I'd write a newsletter for teachers about books or do workshops like Marilyn Carpenter.

I'd work in a library with kids and adults.

I'd trust myself to share what I've written knowing it would reach those who are seeking answers to questions (and w/o worrying what trouble my writings might stir up).

I wouldn't be a "closet" writer even now.

I would have published (or at least shared) my own "conversations with God" and/or fleshed out several books with "reflections" or "ruminations" as a theme -- Small Reflections, Family Ruminations, Environmental Reflections, Political Ruminations, Responsible Reflections, etc. -- and sought publication.

I'd have pursued my idea of writing a book of meditations for teachers (conceived a decade ago) instead of giving up at my 3rd rejection. Those did become popular just a few years after I got the idea ... long before they existed.

I'd know and like myself just as I am ... and I wouldn't hide myself away.

I might have become a motivational speaker like Marianne Williamson or a talk show host like Oprah ... perhaps a Nobel Laureate ... or a Louisa May Alcott, Emily Dickinson, Virginia Ellenson.

The temptation to edit and/or revise these lists is strong, but I've resisted as I've transcribed these words here because I want to share this ... just as I wrote it at the turn of the century.

In the past 7 years, I've done some of these already ... and I'm on making progress toward accomplishing others. As I wrote of previously here, if Dan Millman is correct about 9 year cycles, I've got 2 more years to surge ahead and see what else I might do with this list ... and, of course, there are more lists to generate even now to keep me moving in the days, weeks, months, and years ahead.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

A Few More Christmas Decorations to Share

This snow globe plays
"Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire"
and was a gift from my

The hand-painted wooden angel
watches as I read
and write
by the
light of the lamp
she's suspended from
and was a gift from my sister.

This well-dressed snowman & tiny friend
was a gift from my brother's
oldest son and wife.

These may look like my front doors but ...
(please excuse mess on patio
which did get cleaned up once all the
decorations were up)

this is my real front door
(located on the side of my house)
with a Christmas Wreath

Season's Greetings
Thanks for visiting my home