Saturday, September 17, 2011

The curse and blessing of Perfection

ye shall therefore be perfect,
as your Father who is in the heavens is perfect.
- Jesus in Matthew's Sermon on the Mount, Chapter 5:48

I used to be dominated by the pressure to be perfect - i.e. to be very different, BETTER! than I was/am and different than I ever could realistically be.

In various layers of my being, consciously and not-consciously, I used to think that I had to be perfect to be loved, to be acceptable, to deserve the earth under my feet and the sun and rain on my face.
I have been allowing God to shift this for many years now, layer after layer, thought after habit after emotional default after energetic attachment... shifting and allowing light and lightness. It is a blessing to allow healing and change at the deep layers.

It gave me a lever to help me free myself, when my spiritual teacher told me that there is NO perfection in this world, on the PHYSICAL it is an unobtainable ideal, so it would serve me to let it go.

At the same time. it helped me to see and expereince over and over, from a SPIRITUAL perspective, that Everything and Everyone really is perfect: right now; always have been, always will be. Everything is ALL Right. As Julian of Norwich said: 'All shall be well, and all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well.' That is the spiritual reality which I expereince, when I tune into my mystical senses.

It also helps me to notice what I think perfect is.

Is it a rigid picture of how someone or something should be, an IDEAL? This doesn't work for me, I never live up to my own or other's idealized pictures of who I should be, what I should look like, and what I should do. And nothing in this world lives up to my idealized pictures either. This is a painful way to live, and it doesn't work for me.

Fortunately my spiritual practice has very useful distinctions and practices around these 'perfect pictures' that so often drive us - so I am grateful to be in the process of allowing God to melt them away, as well as the mechanisms behind them, from deep in my psyche.

Another way to look at perfect, which I find enlivening:
The Greek word that is often translated as perfect (as in the quote above), means "having reached its end, full-grown, complete in all its parts, of full age, consummated goal, mature from going through the necessary stages to reach the end-goal, developed into a consummating completion by fulfilling the necessary process, reaching the end (aim)…"

I find this a useful way to look at 'perfection' - like an acorn that has now become a mighty oak (My favorite Christian teacher, Dr Bruce Morgan used to say ; )

Of course, I STILL won't get there, until my life completes and I am ready to transition. But, I really like this definition of perfection: to be allowing myself and God to be in the active process of wholeness, maturity and coming to completion as MYSELF in my Unique Being and Spiritual Journey in this world.

And to be clear! I do not mean coming to maturity through Striving, through Effort, though Trying to be bigger, faster, smarter, BETTER!
  • I mean like a child in the sandbox, playing: and while I play: learning and growing and maturing.
  • I mean like the beautiful tree BEING itself every day in every way: enjoying the land it is on, soaking up the rain, delighting in the sunlight, swaying in the breeze... then millimeter by millimeter = after years, or decades, or centuries of being - it comes to its fullness.
  • I mean a maturity that comes with being myself, creating and playing in this physical reality, trusting God. 
I am excited about that kind of perfection!

Our heavenly Father is Whole and Complete. In God, through God, we also can allow God to bring us to Wholeness and Completeness within ourselves. Amen.
.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Allowing wholeness: letting go of eschewing pain

In my spiritual tradition, we practice letting go of energies that no longer serve us, and this 'housecleaning' in my energy system serves me, A LOT.

AND what I have noticed is: for the 'core issues', the deep wounding:
- eschewing the pain, pictures, experiences, energy...
- wanting to turn away and not grok this dark gift, rather just let it go:
this path Does Not Work.
I notice it doesn't make the pain move out easily in my system, or my students systems, ot the folks who come to me to open to healing, either. In general, I notice for our deepest wounds, something else is often needed.

What seems to work, is being present to the brokenness, betrayal... whatever it is
- being present to what happened
- being present to what I thought and felt and made it all mean
- being present to how 'what happened' affected me then and affected me throughout my life to now;
- seeing the players and the game spiritually
- and holding it all, 'being with' myself then and now, and eventually validating and loving it all.

I don't mean spending a lifetime there, or even necessarily reliving it. I do mean not continuing the lifetime habit of running away from the pain/fear/whatever, hoping to bury it so deeply that it can't hurt me anymore. Because I can never run fast enough, and the price I pay for trying is very high!

So, in my tradition we notice the energy comes 'up and out to clear', if we let it. This process can be intense for a while, and happily that intensity ends and the fruit is amazing afterward:
- we need less distraction, obsessions, addictions...
- we can stop running from that old pain/fear/whatever...
- we can Just Be in our self and in our lives, more.
And as our internal expereince changes, our external expereince usually shifts as well.

This excerpt below inspired me to share, it is a wonderful description, IMO, of someone else's process of what I am referring to as allowing wholeness: letting go of eschewing pain. I hope you are blessed.
-Wendy
.

As Energy Comes Home

Compacted, frozen pain energy is like a baby. As a mother does not address her fussing baby with nondual language, neither do we in the meeting with ourselves. You may know and understand a lot and be conscious, but these energies are not conscious.

You come into direct relationship with them. Direct but gentle, not piercing, not intrusive, not willpowering anything. Asking contracted energy what it needs is a lovely way of acknowledging its presence and becoming intimate with it. Everything that is not at rest wants to be acknowledged, to be received and bathed in gentleness and benevolence.

It calls for a major slowing down, to receive the old, repressed cries of pain that show up now as contractions, as bodily sensations.

The mind is conditioned to want results - the result in this case being the disappearance of the disturbance. It is very, very sweet to bypass this, allowing the body to have what it has for as long as it does. You may walk around for hours with disturbance but you can be nurturing and aware of your precious cargo. Mercy and opening.

As you become more relaxed with meeting energy in yourself, you find a natural extension of this happening with others. Pain energy in another is no different in any way from energy in your own system. It is all the same separated, totally impersonal energy seeking resolution, looking for Home. So you find yourself, if the situation is fitting, in direct, welcoming relationship with these balls of energy in another, bypassing the personality and issue and mechanisms of mind. A catalyst for the dissolution of pain in others, a totally organic movement of Love.

...your heart is awakening. You come to see that You are Home and all is invited and welcomed Here.

- Mags Deane
.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Some Fruit of Life: Beautiful & Brave

The quote below is really one big paragraph:
I formatted it for emphasis and readability;
I think it makes a wonderful poem
; ) Wendy

We must assume our existence
as broadly as we in any way can;
everything, even the unheard-of, must be possible in it.
That is at bottom the only courage that is demanded of us:
to have courage for
the most strange,
the most singular and
the most inexplicable that we may encounter.

That mankind has in this sense been cowardly
has done life endless harm;
the experiences that are called "visions,"
the whole so-called "spirit-world,"
death,
all those things that are so closely akin to us,
have by daily parrying been so crowded out of life
that the senses with which we could have grasped them
are atrophied.
To say nothing of God.

But fear of the inexplicable
has not alone impoverished the existence of the individual;
the relationship between one human being and another
has also been cramped by it,
as though it had been lifted
out of the riverbed of endless possibilities
and set down in a fallow spot on the bank,
to which nothing happens.
For it is not inertia alone
that is responsible for human relationships
repeating themselves from case to case,
indescribably monotonous and unrenewed:
it is shyness
before any sort of new, unforeseeable experience
with which one does not think oneself able to cope.

But only someone who is ready for everything,
who excludes nothing,
not even the most enigmatical,
will live the relation to another as something alive
and will himself draw exhaustively from his own existence.

For if we think of this existence of the individual
as a larger or smaller room,
it appears evident that most people learn to know
only a corner of their room,
a place by the window,
a strip of floor on which they walk up and down.
Thus they have a certain security.

And yet that dangerous insecurity is so much more human
which drives the prisoners in Poe's stories
to feel out the shapes of their horrible dungeons
and not be strangers
to the unspeakable terror of their abode.

We, however, are not prisoners.
No traps or snares are set about us,
and there is nothing which should intimidate or worry us.
We are set down in life
as in the element to which we best correspond,
and over and above this we have
through thousands of years of accommodation
become so like this life,
that when we hold still we are,
through a happy mimicry,
scarcely to be distinguished from all that surrounds us.

We have no reason to mistrust our world,
for it is not against us.
Has it terrors, they are our terrors;
has it abysses, those abuses belong to us;
are dangers at hand, we must try to love them.

And if only we arrange our life
according to that principle which counsels us
that we must always hold to the difficult,
then that which now still seems to us the most alien
will become what we most trust and find most faithful.

How should we be able to forget
those ancient myths about dragons
that at the last moment turn into princesses;
perhaps all the dragons of our lives are princesses
who are only waiting to see us once beautiful and brave.
Perhaps everything terrible is in its deepest being
something helpless that wants help from us.
- Rainer Maria Rilke
.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Power of Play

I just read an article that I found encouraging: Play Power: How to Turn Around Our Creativity Crisis by Laura Seargeant Richardson

This is the crux of it, IMO:

Someday, rather than measuring memorization as an indicator of progress, we will measure our children's ability to manipulate (deconstruct and hack), morph (think flexibly and be tolerant of change), and move (think "with their hands" and play productively). Standardized aptitude tests will be replaced by our abilities to see (observe and imagine), sense (have empathy and intrinsic motivation), and stretch (think abstractly and systemically). We will advance our abilities to collaborate and create.

To reap the rewards of these abilities, we must set aside the myth that play and work are two separate things. Play should be our greatest work, as it is the biggest driver of innovation.

This quote reminded me of my niece Amy.

As soon as she learns a thing, she barely has the basics and she is already running out of the 'box' with it - building on it. I live across the country and don't see her often, but this aspect of her personality is very clear (and dear) to me.

For example: I sing a lot in daily life. There was a frog in the playground, so I was singing to Amy while playing on the swings: "I'm in love with a big blue frog, a big blue for loves me... " She'd heard the song a few times and the next time I saw her, she sang it with me, most of the words anyway... And Then she immediately started making up a new song, from her Mom's POV, about her mom's relationship with her partner: "I'm in love with a big, brown worm" with half the old words and half new words - telling me why each new part was delightfully relevant to her mom's unique, loving relationship. I was blown away: first by Amy's powers of observation and ability to 'stand in someone else's shoes.' And secondly, by her drive to start improvising; WELL Before she is done (IMO) learning the original...

Another example - I used to play 'car', and 'flying angel' and 'jumping devil' with my sister, Amy's mom, when we were little (I was 6 years older): with her riding on my knees and my feet and sailing and jumping around in the air. I have played this game with Amy a few times. And again, she is barely balanced and barely safe doing the usual 'moves' - and she is off and running: improvising new maneuvers: sideways, jumping off the side, coming on and off from the bed beside us (instead of the floor), and all kinds of unplanned, unanticipated (by me) antics. I work with her on communication and safety as best I can (I am old and broken so it challenges me, and she is only 6.5 years old and doesn't yet know She can be broken) so I try to find a happy medium that is relatively safe and relatively freedom-providing for both of us... and I am amazed: she comes up with a new thing, barely gets it (IMO) and is on to the next new thing - absolutely inspirational.

It amazes me how her play is SO original: so running for the 'edge' and right on past it into amazing creativity.

Reminds me of some of the adults I know (who also happen to be ADD-labeled) and what a joy it is to interact with them, because it is fun and because it helps me learn new 'tricks'. For example, my partner Michael loves to play with words, he is very lexy. And what I have found over the course of our relationship is that first my ability to Enjoy his word-play increased and;  secondly, my ability to play with words Myself is increasing as well.

Awesome note to self: playing with those who play well, increases my own creativity. Even old dogs can learn new tricks, as well as rediscover lost/squashed freedom and joy!

Meanwhile, I feel frustrated about the way our systems are designed to minimize movement as well as personal creativity. Many kids are not designed to sit inside, at desks, being socialized to be still and be 'good' all day. Some adults are not designed to sit at a desk, looking at a computer screen all day. Yet, for many of us, that is the drill.

How long is Amy going to keep accessing her mind-blowing creativity when she is constantly and consistently encouraged/rewarded to sit down, shut up and stay in the box most of the time? Particularly when she is actively punished, so often, when she breaks out of that box in creative self-expression, playfulness and movement of her body, as well as her mind and spirit. Honestly, I don't know how she has kept the freedom she has for so long. Bless her, unfortunately she is showing signs of wear - tightness and holding in her body, feeling like a square-peg in a round hole, acting-out. The pressures she is under from her teachers, peers and family to conform are enormous. Most everyone who cares about her is praying that she will 'get with the program' and conform; which is completely understandable given the world in which we live, but saddening.

I do what I can to support her to continually increase her internal senses, focus and self-discipline, so she can act in increasing accord with her enlightened self interest. This way she can play her own game more, and get played by the games around her less. I pray this for all the kids I love, for all of us...

Meanwhile, I am in good company to believe that the hope for playful creativity is stifled by our current social, educational, and even religious structures: every way we turn, conformity is the name of the game. Amy's creativity will continue to be undermined... AND by grace she will keep some potion of the playfulness and joy that she is, that she has.

And fortunately, each day, each of us has a chance to open, again, to the freedom that is our birthright, as well as the hope of each new generation. We adults have choices, paths ARE open to us now, even if they were closed to us in our youth. Today, let us be the play we wish to see in the world, as we can... WE can change the quality of our lives and our world. 

It is on this path that we yet again enjoy the Kingdom of God.

Monday, May 16, 2011

THIS is the work I want to be doing!

I am bursting with thrilled-ness, and want to share:

For several months now, I have been offering my services through an additional channel: subscription-based, weekly meetings with clients (in person and/or via Skype) for spiritual growth, healing, and deepening.

Depending on each person's needs in general and that week in specific, we play together for about an hour doing some combination of:
- spiritual direction and counseling,
- guided meditation and healing,
- psychic development (opening to soul-senses / spiritual abilities and gifts),
- and shared reading: each of us receiving spiritual information around their current choices and challenges.

My clients that have chosen to devote themselves to this path are really getting A LOT out of it. Each one of them has significantly quickened their inner pace of healing, growth, seniority, and spiritual deepening; and are receiving the fruit of this in their outer lives, as well. In only a couple months of working with each of them, they are doing these kinds of things in our sessions, and increasingly in their lives:
- seeing their unique Way for themselves;
- talking with Jesus, as well as Angels and other spiritual guides, about their choices and challenges: to help get a spiritual perspective;
- communicating with their bodies and coming into a more comfortable balance in their physical lives;
- allowing deep healing of their 'inner child', 'core issues', 'shadow', family relationships...
- learning to be in charge of their personal space and physical creations - co-creating with God;
- releasing darkness, heaviness and stumbling-blocks: allowing Light;
- allowing themselves to just BE here Now, more comfortably...

Yeah, yeah, this is great for Them, but I am writing to say:
This is Tremendously exciting and Fulfilling for ME:
THIS is the work I want to be doing,
with people who WANT to be play with!!!
Hallelujah!

These Weekly Learning and Practice sessions:
- combine the intimacy and transformation of Personal Prayer and Healing Sessions,
- with the highly-fulfilling 'teach a person to fish' of the Meditation/Healing/Seer Training Sessions,
- then add the ongoing support and practice that helps to make this new, spiritually-focused 'way of Being' habituate and integrate...

I am able to encourage their spiritual deepening and healing path to become a natural and central way of life for them.
It is such a blessing For ME to be able to play with people in this holy work!
This is the Real, Life-Changing, Intense kind of Dance that I am made for (I am like a pig in mud ; )

Anyway, I just ended a session, and I am feeling so grateful!! I am impressed, especially, with this particular client's courage and willingness to face herself, to change her mind, to manage her emotions, to choose her trajectory, to shift her foundations, to DO HER WORK - it is inspiring to behold, and I am HONORED to be part of her dance with God!

God is SO good!!
Thanks for reading my joy and self-validation, around finding this channel of service that works so well for me...

Monday, May 9, 2011

Spiritual Safety is a Choice

Responding to a question about About Spiritual Attack:

From my perspective, being in alignment with the needs of my body, with my self as spirit and with God: is a Spiritual Choice. I support and build 'muscle' around this choice with beneficial spiritual tools and I build 'muscle' by attention and practice. I handle attack from outside energies which are 'not in alignment with God' regularly and assist others to do so as well.

Preferably I work with folks on tools and practices to choose what affects them and what energies are allowed in their own personal space. There are Many 'hooks' that allow outside energies in: beliefs, emotions, habits... If I leave the door to my house open regularly, I am more likely to get robbed, it is like that...

Unfortunately, many of our religious and spiritual traditions don't give us the tools and a beneficial place to stand when the storm comes.

The real protection is to Know my space is my own, as a gift from God as part of my spiritual birthright, to allow in the energies that serve me, and choose to let go of the energies that don't serve me. To Believe spiritually that my life is mine to spiritually co-create, and have the Faith to ask God and Jesus and Angels for assistance.

Most of us don't operate from this spiritual perspective all the time, and are hampered by our physical focus, thoughts, ethics, emotions, etc. In that case, a human spiritual guide is very helpful and meditation tools and practices are vital. In my tradition we utilize many practices for protection and safety, such as grounding, centering, body of glass (energetically inviting non-attachment and non-resistance) etc... WAY too much to write in this little box.

BOTTOM LINE - we are spirit a part of God. We co-create our challenging experiences as well as our enjoyable ones. Consciously creating with God is the way to change our creations around our bodies and our lives. Until one is masterful in acting as spirit, spiritual practices assist us to go in our desired direction.

There is no magic bullet around this. But, if I could find one relatively simple thing to do that works for many folks, I say, try a practice that we call 'Matching'. Allowing ourselves to spiritually learn from Jesus, and asking for his assistance can work well for some. Just like children, we spiritually learn through monkey-see-monkey-do.  So, notice that Jesus is near you, ask him to assist in general and specifically around spiritual freedom and safety, ask him to assist to resonate as he does... intend to harmonize with him (this is spiritual application of the musical/physics truth of sympathetic resonance) and ask Jesus to assist you to make this so. Allow yourself to match his energy system... Of course, ask for God's help and for God to send angels as well...

In this practice we are consciously saying: YES, I want to be like Jesus.  As Hebrews exhorts, we choose to play this game:
fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith

That's a very short answer, from my experience...

....

A friend responded:
Its funny u bring up this topic of spiritual attack--i was having a discussion yesterday with someone about "the evil eye"--and while its an old wives tale so to speak i can see some credence to it, like people out there looking upon you in bad ways that could send some negative energy your way that you would have to deal with

I said:

In my experience,
There is non-beneficial energy that comes at us.
We can allow it to hurt us, When we believe in its power over us. When we are full of 'hooks': resistance, hate, fear, victim-pictures, etc ad nauseum...
Or we can be high-energy, and clear, and grounded, and spiritually senior and amused at all the drama: and allow it to pass right on through.
Either way, it is our personal spiritual choice. We Can be Free, Safe and living in Ease and Power that is our birthright! ...or not ; )

A friend responded:
yes that i know-- i was wondering more on energy that was coming at you that you were not aware of-- like i post i am getting something and how happy i am and then next thing i know i am not getting it anymore------ can someone cause that or is that just a stretch?

I said:

From my perspective it doesn't matter a lot if I am conscious about what THEY are doing, or not: it only matters that I allow shift.

That is one of the values of practice and clearing in meditation: so in everyday life, when the 'sh*t hits the fan', spiritually I can clear and be in charge - instead of dancing to someone else's 'tune'.

'can someone cause that'?
Yes, absolutely; and ultimately I am at cause for it, or not. Do THEY get to call the tune in my space, or do I?

If I get full of mud, maybe someone threw it at me, or maybe I fell in my own mud-puddle; but the real question is: do I choose to take a shower or not? And, do I choose to avoid the mud-puddle and possibly the habitual-mud-thrower the next time I walk down that street, or not? There are no right answers here: but lots of learning opportunities ; )

Saturday, May 7, 2011

A Delicious Invitation

Subtle degrees
of domination and servitude
are what you know as love.

...but Love is different;
It arrives complete
just there
like the moon in the window.

like the sun
of neither east nor west
nor of anyplace.
when that Sun arrives
east and west arrive.

desire only that
of which you have no hope
seek only that
of which you have no clue.
Love is the sea of not-being
and there, intellect drowns.

this is not the Oxus River
or some little creek.
this is the shoreless sea.
here, swimming ends always in drowning.

a journey to the sea
is horses and fodder and contrivance
but at land’s end
the footsteps vanish.

you lift up your robe
so as not to wet the hem;
come! drown in this sea
a thousand times!

the moon passes over
the ocean of non-being.
droplets of spray tear loose
and fall back on the cresting waves.

a million galaxies
are a little scum
on this shoreless sea.

-Rumi
.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Open to Spirit, Receive the Desires of your Heart

Delight yourself in the LORD
and he will give you the desires of your heart.
- Psalm 37:4

I woke up this morning with this scripture on my mind.  In it, I hear:
  • Delighting in God for me is consciously opening to the yumminess, wholeness, connection with All That Is, the Beloved, God.
  • This delight is always available and showering upon each of us.
  • I can walk around with a golf umbrella and pea coat and galoshes and resist it, eschew it OR I can ask God to help me strip-off all that armor and ALLOW myself to receive, to be filled and fulfilled in this deep, spiritual relationship and energetic wholeness.
This place of delightful connection with Holy Spirit IS the place where ALL the desires of my heart are met.  The one cannot be separated from the other.  And that is IT - this is way more than enough.

But wait - there's more! : )
Meanwhile... when my needs are fulfilled within, I BE differently, I AM different. When I allow God to fill me with all God's fruit within, I resonate with a new way of being and I attract, magnetize a new life of flow around me, as well.

Striving, effort, and trying to make things happen in the outside world is counter-productive. But fortunately when co-creating with God from the inside out: I can let go of grasping, because my need is already met. And from this place, really only from this place of Already Wholeness in God, I can ALLOW God to give me the desires of my heart, on the outside, as well.

I have found this is a process that is very exciting adventure, with no end... with many gifts, as well as many challenges

; ) wendy
.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Christ is Died. Christ is Risen. Christ is coming again, and again...


SUBTITLE: Death, Destruction, Demise: Hooray!


Unlike Calvinism, and the Puritan ethic that pervades much of modern Christian America;
I believe that bright, shiny, outward 'success' is not the only sign of an inward grace.

Don't get me wrong, it's great when we are on 'top'.
But when we find ourselves on 'the bottom',
it doesn't mean there is SOMETHING WRONG here.
To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heavens...

Jacob met Divinity face-to-face, in struggle,
and henceforth walked with a limp.
My thoughts below are primarily meant to encourage those of us who are in struggle, limping:

- If you feel crappy
- If you think you are a square peg in a round hole
- If the folks around you judge you, and you are tending to agree

- If you are wishing for some 'do-overs' and hoping for a miracle
- If you are tempted to believe you are on the WRONG track, a FAILURE,
- If you are experiencing Death, Destruction, Demise...

Perhaps your spiritual reality is just the opposite of your outward experience:
perhaps it is time to validate YOUR unique PATH,
keep your eyes on God (and not on 'the world, the flesh or the devil') and KEEP GOING!

as Paul said:
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
...

I just listened to an hour interview with Matthew Fox.
From my perspective, I found this interview covered a lot of ground in Christian life:
sweeping through some of our ancient and modern experience. 

I came away excited about the changes that we and God are bringing about in structures as well as cultures, and of course, as always, members (individuals) in particular.
I was encouraged in my faith and in my personal journey, which is currently challenging (about par for the course ; )

I find that I am more inspired to send Easter greetings, than I have been for a very long time; so here we go...


My favorite Christian Teacher, Dr Bruce Morgan, used to say this often:
Our God is a consuming fire,
who burns up everything that is not God

It isn't always comfortable, or easy...
WAIT A MINUTE: what am I saying?!

Let's be honest:
This process is almost Never comfortable or easy.
Because we Will Not let it be so!

My resistance, and judgment, and invalidation, and habits, and emotions, and stories...
make changing Very Painful and Hard!
But, the changes come.

Regardless of our complaining and foot-dragging,
we can trust God in the Long Run to bring us into conformity with Christ.
In this relationship, experiencing this BE-ingness, lies comfort and ease: the meeting of all our need.

Us as souls, and us together as the body of Christ:
we die and we are born again:
again and again...

Into more alignment with our true selves:
God with us, God in us, God through us, God as us:
this is the Good News. Hallelujah!

Meanwhile, DEATH comes before Resurrection.
I appreciate how Leonard Cohen put it:
It's a cold and it's a broken Hallelujah...

In this transformative journey we often look bad, and feel worse. 
AND then WE 'add insult to injury' by making up discouraging stories about ourselves and our choices...
But really, so what?
  • Is looking bad, really SO bad? Who do we really Have to impress?
  • Is falling down really the end of the world? Can't we just get up, now!
  • If we go play in the mud, a shower works just fine to send us off, to play, again...

It is in this time of increasing pressure and cold, dark endings, that the gift of FAITH and HOPE carries us through:
  • In some way, we have seen, heard or known with our spiritual senses the Still, Small Voice that guides on our unique journey...... God is HERE still, even as we cry: 'My God, my God, why didst Thou forsake me?'
  • We have seen, heard and known with our physical senses: Morning follows Evening, since the first day...... The Sun will rise tomorrow, as well: count on it!
  • We have received the gift of example and forerunner: our friend Jesus seemed to come to a messy, inglorious end; then transformed into a beautiful, glorious shining of the Way, the Truth, and the Light...... We have the honor to follow in his footsteps.
We have the honor to follow in Jesus' footsteps, therefore:
  • Let us walk, and keep walking.  
  • Let us trust God through all our ups and downs; and ask God to open us to Faith, Hope and Love: to keep going through whatever Death, Destruction, Demise we may find ourselves experiencing. 
  • Let us Always remember: the end of the story is already written (Spoiler Alert: we all go to the seashore ; )
this is one of the many ways Paul said this:
The Spirit himself doth testify with our spirit, that we are children of God; and if children, also heirs, heirs, indeed, of God, and heirs together of Christ -- if, indeed, we suffer together, that we may also be glorified together. For I reckon that the sufferings of the present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory about to be revealed in us...

May God assist each of us us to:
allow God to bless us and keep us,
enjoy God's countenance shining upon us,
and bring us the experience of peace, as well as all the TLC we can stand.

Comfort and Joy to you in whatever phase of Life, Death and/or Metamorphosis you may be experiencing.
You are in very good company.

Blessed Eastertide, Wendy

So if any one be in Christ, there is a new creation; the old things have passed away; behold all things have become new
(rinse and repeat ; )

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Monday, March 7, 2011

The Power of Uncertainty

Conditional vs. Absolute Learning: The Power of Uncertainty
I recommend this whole webpage by Richard Powers - some very useful information about social dancing and life ; )
Here are four long excerpts from the article linked above:

1)
New research shows that when we're presented with any facts as absolute truths, even math and science, we tend to use them thoughtlessly, often making bad, inappropriate or limited decisions. But when we're presented with the same information in a conditional way ("Maybe it's so, but maybe it's also this other way."), we process the information, and we use the information, in smarter, more effective, and more creative ways.

Someone may reasonably argue, "Sure I can be flexible later, after I learn the basics of a dance. But in that first learning, I want to do it the one correct way, with all of the precise details."

And this is where Langer and others most strongly disagree. Optionality in that first exposure is especially important.

2)
This is Ellen J. Langer of the Harvard University Department of Psychology. She specializes in the science and psychology of learning. Here are some paraphrased excerpts from her work (quoted with her permission).

Whenever we attempt to learn something, we rely on ways of learning that typically work to our detriment and virtually prevent the very goals we are trying to accomplish. The mind-sets we hold regarding learning more often than not encourage mindlessness, although learning requires mindful engagement with the material in question.

Mindfulness, as we use the term, is a flexible state of mind in which we are actively engaged in the present, noticing new things and sensitive to context. When we are in a state of mindlessness, we act like automatons who have been programmed to act according to the sense our behavior made in the past, rather than the present. Instead of actively drawing new distinctions, noticing new things, as we do when we are mindful, when we are mindless we are stuck in a single, fixed perspective, and we are often oblivious to alternative ways of knowing. When we are mindless, our behavior is rule and routine governed.

Experimental research, conducted over 25 years, reveals that the costs of mindlessness, and the benefits of mindfulness, are vast and often profound. Mindfulness results in an increase in competence; a decrease in accidents; an increase in memory, creativity, a decrease in stress; and an increase in health and longevity, to name a few of the benefits. And as will become clear, there is power in uncertainty, yet most of us mistakenly seek certainty.

3)
I've always presented social dance as, "This can work, but another way can also work," because that's the essential truth. The lesson I give my students in their very first week is, "If it doesn't work out one way, it will work out some other way." It's only recently that I've come across Langer's research that shows that conditional teaching also helps people learn better, use information more effectively, and creatively, with fewer mistakes, and enjoy it more.

...as opposed to what they want...

Langer points out that many people don't like not knowing with certainty. All of their school-learning has trained them to expect certainty, and to be told what the facts mean. So people are often affronted if they don't get the pre-digested form they expect.

4)
It's not hard to retrain ourselves to welcome chance intrusions into our expectations. It also makes us more creative, and much happier.

And beyond dancing, wanting life to go exactly as you wish it, and wanting people to behave just as you want them to, is violating a basic tenet of life. If you have that response, you will find yourself fighting losing battles all of your life. People are going to be the way they are. Do you want to spend your life fighting that? Or you can find ways to appreciate and enjoy the great varieties that people present to you.

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Use It or Lose It

Use It or Lose It: Dancing Makes You Smarter.
I recommend this whole webpage by Richard Powers - some very useful information about social dancing and life ; )
Here are some excerpts from the article linked above:

"Randomly dying brain cells are like stepping stones being removed one by one. Those who had only one well-worn path of stones are completely blocked when some are removed. But those who spent their lives trying different mental routes each time, creating a myriad of possible paths, still have several paths left."

"The essence of intelligence is making decisions. And the concluding advice, when it comes to improving your mental acuity, is to involve yourself in activities which require split-second rapid-fire decision making, as opposed to rote memory (retracing the same well-worn paths), or just working on your physical style."

"Dancing integrates several brain functions at once, increasing connectivity. Dancing simultaneously involves kinesthetic, rational, musical and emotional processes."

"Jean Piaget suggested that intelligence is what we use when we don't already know what to do."

"freestyle social dancing isn't that simple! It requires a lot of split-second decision-making, in both the lead and follow roles."

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Monday, February 14, 2011

To Fully Show Up in All our Glory & Darkness

To fully show up in the face of others, in all our glory and all our darkness, is a courageous choice to make.

I live in marriage beyond my wildest dreams. Not that it is always pink and frilly and happy-ever-after, no, it is utterly fulfilling for a whole other reason.

To fully show up in the face of others, in all our glory and all our darkness, is a courageous choice to make. The arena in which the depths of this challenge most reveals itself to us is perhaps that of our intimate relationships.

I was only sixteen the first time I made a desperate decision never to involve myself in a relationship again. I was determined to avoid the pain of a broken heart; I decided to be a nun. This lasted a month, until another prince came along and I was back on the merry-go-round of romantic highs and lows, happily oblivious to the errors of the past. Of course, I crashed again. And again.

My attempt to take the spiritual escape route was not very successful either. Although I enjoyed being alone and meditating, basking in silence, life constantly nudged me toward relating to other people. It became clear to me that I needed to find a way to merge relationship and spirituality instead of holding them as opposites.

Because most of our spiritual role models have been men who lived more or less reclusively, away from family and sexuality, it has been all too easy to conclude that we all should strive for a similar lifestyle to find spiritual freedom. Our attraction to relationship has been looked on as a weakness and a distraction.

Now that the awakening feminine is emerging in our lives again, we see a shift of paradigm. The feminine is naturally drawn to relating and to community and sees no intrinsic contradiction between spiritual realization and full involvement in life. On the contrary, it is in areas of relationship, sexuality, and family that she may find her deepest expression of the sacred.

- Awakening Women Institute

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Sunday, January 23, 2011

Fervor, freedom and leisure - from that comes the artist

I hope this is useful encouragement for 'artists' as well as all for whom life is a creative act:

I just read an inspiring story in our local paper: Neighborhood Gems: Joe Reno. This man found his passion, which is indistinguishable from his service / contribution to the world; and has been doing it steadily for most of his life. Here is some of his wisdom:

Upon his return to Seattle shortly thereafter, Reno started painting night and day, delivering art to the community and the nation in vast numbers.

Heger said Reno’s works lean toward the tail end of mystique’s tradition.

Reno’s works show mystical leanings because he believes in supernatural powers emanating from our natural surroundings, which is why he loves the Northwest so much.

“Nature is key,” he said. “Composition and character are the most important things in fine arts but you can not teach them, you have to be born with it. You have to grow up with people that are wholesome and develop character in nature, out in the woods.”

Reno said sprawl, environmental destruction and wars are making fine art disappear.

Fine art is crucial because it’s the breeding ground for creative thinking and science, Reno said, pointing out Leonardo Da Vinci who was both, a great fine artist and scientist.

“Fervor, freedom and leisure - from that comes the artist,” he said. “Computers are a depletion of your contact with your natural ways. Genius comes from beaches, beautiful parks and all sorts of creatures. The Northwest is one of the strongest breeding grounds for genius.”...

Reno never married and sees his art as his offspring and the world as his stage.

“Each human being on this planet is my audience. When I paint, I’m writing a letter to every human being telling them to be happy and not be evil...” he said.

Brown said that while you need a whole community to keep fine art alive, Reno is certainly doing his bit.

“He’s the most industrious artist around. You won’t find anyone like him. For him it’s 24 hours a day,” he said.
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Friday, January 21, 2011

have dominion

My non-Judeo-Christian friend asked:
And God blessed them, and God said unto them,
Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it:
and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air,
and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
Genesis - 1:28
...Can someone who studies the bible give me their take on this??

And I responded:

I love this question of yours, thanks for sharing it!

It is really cool for me when a particular scripture or quote gets stuck in my craw - usually there is a big gift for me in that, but sometimes it takes weeks, months or years until I receive the fullness of that gift. I hope you receive great gifts from this one, in due time.


Here are some of my thoughts about these verses:

From my perspective Jesus spoke directly to these verses in Matthew 18:18 (NAS):
Truly I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.

I notice that Jesus was mind-blowing-ly radical about the kind of authority that we humans have. For example, he said in John 20:21-23 (NAS):
So Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you."
And when He had said this, He breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit.
"If you forgive the sins of any, their sins have been forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they have been retained."

In my experience, it is not usual for Christians to see these verses I just quoted as necessarily related to your question, but I do, very much so.

From my perspective, Jesus incessant focus, his main message was The KINGDOM: the Kingdom of Heaven, the Kingdom of God.
I believe the use of this translation ‘kingdom’ diverts us from the truth with which Jesus was so committed to enlightening us.
I believe Young’s Literal Translation gives a much better picture for us about what he is pointing to. Let me give an example:

For Luke 17:20-21, the King James version, and most other translations, say something like this:
And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.
But look how Young's Literal Translation translates the same verse:
And having been questioned by the Pharisees, when the reign of God doth come, he answered them, and said, 'The reign of God doth not come with observation; nor shall they say, Lo, here; or lo, there; for lo, the reign of God is within you.'
the reign of God – what does this mean?

See addendum for dictionary definitions of reign, sovereign, sovereignty, and dominion.
I posit that these words are all pointing in the same direction: sovereignty: 'what I say, goes'.

The REIGN of God – this is the sovereignty of Spirit.
Again: the reign of God is everywhere, all realities, all the time – God/Spirit is Sovereign.

Meanwhile, this does not seem to be so on a physical level – what is the deal in earth reality? Many lay the horrors of this world at God's 'feet'. This is known by some as the 'problem of evil'. Some ask: 'why do bad things happen to good people?' This is an issue for many of us, a major stumbling-block for some.

Although I spent most of my life blaming God for the pain and the difficulties in my life, and the ways of the world which I judged as ridiculous and wrong;  I no longer hold God responsible for these things anymore.

I believe this world is given to US. Our time on this planet sometimes feels like a curse, in which we all strut and fret our time upon the stage; it sometimes feels like a challenge as we all fall down and we all get up - over and over and over again. But ultimately this world is a gift beyond all reckoning. Not only do we get to enjoy 'sex and strawberry pie' as my teacher used to say. But, we are also learning to crawl, and to stand, and then to stumblingly walk, and to eventually run. The more we fall on our asses, all the better, because this is how we learn... just as Jesus learned. Paul said of Jesus in Hebrews 5:8-9 (Darby):
though he were Son, he learned obedience from the things which he suffered; and having been perfected, became to all them that obey him, author of eternal salvation;

So...
I believe this world is OUR playing field – all of creation, is the human game. All the parts of creation are our building blocks. This is to what I believe the ultimate meaning of the verses about dominion in Genesis are referring.

Christians call the sovereignty which God gives each of us, free will. In my tradition, we believe this means that the 'world' within me and around my body is mine. In my tradition, we define this as MY SPACE: it is my birthright, given to me by God, and I place for me to practice sovereignty /authority. I like to think of it this way:

We are fortunate to live in a time when we teach our children, and continue to learn ourselves: my body is MY body. My body is mine to do with as I please. I have say about who touches my body: when, where and how. If someone transgresses my physical boundaries, that is not acceptable, and I have the right, power and responsibility to do something about that. I can physically ask for help, and be hopeful to receive it... Of course, things can happen to my body to which I do not consciously consent. This is not optimal, but it does happen. Still, it is very empowering to know what happens to my body is Supposed to be up to me.

In a similar way, what happens within my space: my energy, my thoughts, my feelings, my beliefs, my stuck-ness and my ease, my resisting or my aligning with God, my allowing myself to experience or not experience the presence and communication and blessings of God: This is ALL truly my choice on a spiritual level. No one can take this away from me, although I can give it away... If someone or something transgresses my boundaries in my space, that is not acceptable, and I have the right, power and responsibility to do something about that. I can ask for spiritual help, and be assured of receiving it...

When I allow myself 'what I say, goes' in my own space, my tradition calls this seniority. I have all the say about what happens in my space. This information was a big surprise to me when I first exposed to it, and honestly it has turned my world upside-down. I am still getting my sea-legs around seniority, but I must say, it is very empowering to know what happens in my space is ultimately up to me.

To exercise my free will as a spiritual adult, to allow myself to be senior in my own space, is my greatest challenge and my greatest reward. And when I am senior in my own space, the world inside me becomes a different place, and the world outside me changes as well...

So, in this way, human beings have free will to manifest what we choose. We have been given sovereignty over our inner world, which reaches into our outer world, and effects all of creation.

The question is: what do we do with this authority?

We are made in the image of God, from my perspective we are here on this sandbox-earth to learn and grow and mature in our lives, into spiritual adults. So, we can grow into exercising in our lives, in THIS world / time-space reality, as God is in all the worlds/realities. Today, we can allow ourselves to be monarchs in our own space, as God is Monarch in all space / time-space realities.

AGAIN: what do we do with this authority?

If you look to the right, in the light blue bar: you can see a bunch of scriptures. I believe many of them point in this direction:
We are to be in this world as Jesus was in this world.

Jesus is our role-model for who we can be in this world; Jesus is the first of many.
Paul says in Romans 8:29 (NAS):
For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren;
We ARE the en-flesh-ment, the embodiment, of the Christ. Paul says it like this:
1 Corinthians 12:27 (NAS)
Now you are Christ's body, and individually members of it.
Therefore:
We are to shine God and be God in this world.
That is the game we get to play, that is the game the world needs us to play.
One would not know it by looking at modern Christianity, but Jesus was clear on this, quoting Psalms, in John 10:34 (NAS):
Jesus answered them, "Has it not been written in your Law, 'I SAID, YOU ARE GODS '?
My tradition teaches: when we heal ourselves, we heal the world.
AGAIN, in different language: when we allow a beneficial dance with God, when we allow God to help us heal and shift and grow into who we really are, those around us can do these same things more easily, and all the world (all of creation) changes…

Paul addressed our dance with the world / creation / this time-space reality, in this way in Romans 8:16-22 (NAS) {I chopped out some parts to focus on my point – you can see the whole thing here if you want}:
The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God,
and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ...
For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly
for the revealing of the sons of God.
For the creation was subjected to futility,
not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it,
in hope that the creation itself also will be set free
from its slavery to corruption
into the freedom of the glory of the children of God.
For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now.

So to re-cap; so far, I am asserting:
Regarding what is called human being’s dominion over creation:

1) I believe this is pointing to the spiritual authority (my tradition calls this seniority) to which we are called, in each of our own lives and in the world around us.

2) I believe we are called to create and to utilize our spiritual power and authority (seniority) in our inner lives and therefore in our reality/world, as God utilizes God’s own creativity, power and authority in all realities.

3) I believe we are to be in this world, as Jesus was in this world.

4) I believe as each of us exercise our spiritual dominion, all of us change, and the world changes.


AND THEN,
when we exercise our spiritual dominion in alignment with God, delightful and miraculous things happen inside us and outside us. This ripples out in all directions. In this way, we all come more into alignment with God and God's bountiful flow of grace and blessings. We each come more into alignment with and in experience of our own individual and unique Wholeness in God; as well as our Oneness in/with God in All things. God's will is done on earth, through our own free will.

And so, Jesus taught us to pray (and I believe to ask God's assistance in us doing this), in Matthew 6:9:10(YLT):
thus therefore pray ye: 'Our Father who art in the heavens! hallowed be Thy name.
'Thy reign come: Thy will come to pass, as in heaven also on the earth.

When we exercise our spiritual dominion in alignment with God: All creation is blessed. The earth is blessed. Every living thing that moveth upon the earth is blessed.  We are blessed. God is blessed.

amen and hallelujah, Wendy


****************

here are American Heritage Dictionary definitions for reign, sovereign, sovereignty, and dominion.:

reign
(rān) n.
1. Exercise of sovereign power, as by a monarch.
2. The period during which a monarch rules.
3. Dominance or widespread influence: the reign of reason.


sov•er•eign
(sŏv'ər-ĭn, sŏv'rĭn)
n.
1. One that exercises supreme, permanent authority, especially in a nation or other governmental unit, as:
1. A king, queen, or other noble person who serves as chief of state; a ruler or monarch.
2. A national governing council or committee.
2. A nation that governs territory outside its borders.
3. A gold coin formerly used in Great Britain.
adj.
1. Self-governing; independent: a sovereign state.
2. Having supreme rank or power: a sovereign prince.
3. Paramount; supreme: Her sovereign virtue is compassion.
4.
1. Of superlative strength or efficacy: a sovereign remedy.
2. Unmitigated: sovereign contempt.


sov•er•eign•ty
(sŏv'ər-ĭn-tē, sŏv'rĭn-)
n., pl., -ties.
1. Supremacy of authority or rule as exercised by a sovereign or sovereign state.
2. Royal rank, authority, or power.
3. Complete independence and self-government.
4. A territory existing as an independent state.


do•min•ion
(də-mĭn'yən)
n.
1. Control or the exercise of control; sovereignty: "The devil . . . has their souls in his possession, and under his dominion" (Jonathan Edwards).
2. A territory or sphere of influence or control; a realm.
3. often Dominion (Abbr. Dom.) One of the self-governing nations within the British Commonwealth.
4. dominions Christianity. See domination (sense 2).

✫*¨*.¸¸.✶*✫*¨*.¸¸.✶*¨✫*¨*.¸¸.✶*¨.¸¸ . ✶*¨

Lastly, if you want to read more about having dominion, from a more traditionally Christian Point of View, I highly recommend to you Watchman Nee - he was very committed to Christians exercising Dominion in the world.

Monday, January 10, 2011

The only choice we get is what to worship

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This is the quote that led me on this journey:

...in the day-to-day trenches of adult life,
there is actually no such thing as atheism.
There is no such thing as not worshiping.
Everybody worships.
The only choice we get is what to worship.
-David Foster Wallace.

I recommend the entire speech, here:
DAVID FOSTER WALLACE's commencement address, Kenyon College, 2005.

Here are some excerpts:

The point here is that I think this is one part of what teaching me how to think is really supposed to mean. To be just a little less arrogant. To have just a little critical awareness about myself and my certainties. Because a huge percentage of the stuff that I tend to be automatically certain of is, it turns out, totally wrong and deluded. I have learned this the hard way...

and:

As I'm sure you guys know by now, it is extremely difficult to stay alert and attentive, instead of getting hypnotised by the constant monologue inside your own head (may be happening right now). Twenty years after my own graduation, I have come gradually to understand that the liberal arts cliché about teaching you how to think is actually shorthand for a much deeper, more serious idea: learning how to think really means learning how to exercise some control over how and what you think. It means being conscious and aware enough to choose what you pay attention to and to choose how you construct meaning from experience. Because if you cannot exercise this kind of choice in adult life, you will be totally hosed. Think of the old cliché about "the mind being an excellent servant but a terrible master"...

lastly:

If you're automatically sure that you know what reality is, and you are operating on your default setting, then you, like me, probably won't consider possibilities that aren't annoying and miserable. But if you really learn how to pay attention, then you will know there are other options. It will actually be within your power to experience a crowded, hot, slow, consumer-hell type situation as not only meaningful, but sacred, on fire with the same force that made the stars: love, fellowship, the mystical oneness of all things deep down.

Not that that mystical stuff is necessarily true. The only thing that's capital-T True is that you get to decide how you're gonna try to see it.

This, I submit, is the freedom of a real education, of learning how to be well-adjusted. You get to consciously decide what has meaning and what doesn't. You get to decide what to worship.

Because here's something else that's weird but true: in the day-to-day trenches of adult life, there is actually no such thing as atheism. There is no such thing as not worshipping. Everybody worships. The only choice we get is what to worship. And the compelling reason for maybe choosing some sort of god or spiritual-type thing to worship--be it JC or Allah, be it YHWH or the Wiccan Mother Goddess, or the Four Noble Truths, or some inviolable set of ethical principles--is that pretty much anything else you worship will eat you alive. If you worship money and things, if they are where you tap real meaning in life, then you will never have enough, never feel you have enough. It's the truth. Worship your body and beauty and sexual allure and you will always feel ugly. And when time and age start showing, you will die a million deaths before they finally grieve you. On one level, we all know this stuff already. It's been codified as myths, proverbs, clichés, epigrams, parables; the skeleton of every great story. The whole trick is keeping the truth up front in daily consciousness.

Worship power, you will end up feeling weak and afraid, and you will need ever more power over others to numb you to your own fear. Worship your intellect, being seen as smart, you will end up feeling stupid, a fraud, always on the verge of being found out. But the insidious thing about these forms of worship is not that they're evil or sinful, it's that they're unconscious. They are default settings.

They're the kind of worship you just gradually slip into, day after day, getting more and more selective about what you see and how you measure value without ever being fully aware that that's what you're doing.

And the so-called real world will not discourage you from operating on your default settings, because the so-called real world of men and money and power hums merrily along in a pool of fear and anger and frustration and craving and worship of self. Our own present culture has harnessed these forces in ways that have yielded extraordinary wealth and comfort and personal freedom. The freedom all to be lords of our tiny skull-sized kingdoms, alone at the centre of all creation. This kind of freedom has much to recommend it. But of course there are all different kinds of freedom, and the kind that is most precious you will not hear much talk about much in the great outside world of wanting and achieving.... The really important kind of freedom involves attention and awareness and discipline, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them over and over in myriad petty, unsexy ways every day.

That is real freedom. That is being educated, and understanding how to think. The alternative is unconsciousness, the default setting, the rat race, the constant gnawing sense of having had, and lost, some infinite thing.

The capital-T Truth is about life BEFORE death.

It is about the real value of a real education, which has almost nothing to do with knowledge, and everything to do with simple awareness; awareness of what is so real and essential, so hidden in plain sight all around us, all the time, that we have to keep reminding ourselves over and over...

It is unimaginably hard to do this, to stay conscious and alive in the adult world day in and day out. Which means yet another grand cliché turns out to be true: your education really IS the job of a lifetime. And it commences: now.

I wish you way more than luck.

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