Sometimes, and it should be many more times than we do, we need to take time to feel, experience, and commune with Nature. In such times we have a unique soul, Heart, and Spirit connection, times we reflect, evaluate, and sense being in synchronous flow with the Universe.
Why would we require frequent times like this? Ego, for the most part, likes to keep us busy and engaged in noisiness, because then we conform, we go through life without dreaming, without hearing risky Heart suggestions.
A great Bob Marley quote highlights the need we have to experience Nature, which puts us in vital connection with the Soul of the World: “Some people feel the rain. Others just get wet.” We do that so easily — allowing life to just keep rushing past and unprocessed responses and soul needs pile up around our feet. There, they rot, unused, and our souls experience increasing emptiness and sometimes ugliness and stench. This is a choice.
Almost everyone knows we need quiet time, personal periods of reflection. Very few make such times, and even fewer do it as often as necessary. Herein lies the problem of not choosing to get quiet enough to hear the Heart: people are swept along by others, by others’ dreams, in others’ visions, and people remain empty, wondering why they are sucking oxygen here on this earth.
Feeling purposeless, whether consciously or subconsciously, they grow tired, angry, bitter, or worse.
I want to bring a few more thoughts to bear on this subject, simply because I care about you. Before those thoughts, though, my Heart reminded me of two poems — short! — I wrote when first embarking on this writing journey of discovery.
Just Listening, Just Learning
Texture of life in suburban milieu of
Asphalt streets, neatly arranged neighborhoods,
Trimmed lawns — stamps of the order and needs of us.
Here in the midst, Nature thrives and Soul of the World communes:
Doves coo, sparrows twitter, cardinals call insistently, dogs bark,
Leaves of the trees whisper, and untended weeds prosper.
Nature, wild or tame, speaks.
Questions and Thoughts
I do not believe that every turning of a leaf or cawing of a crow presages some momentous event in my life. Sometimes for someone in particular significance may be found in some message of nature. However, I do believe that Nature speaks daily of patterns and possibilities of life.
What do I perceive of nature this day?
What are my needs for order, significance, or anything?
How does any natural pattern about me today answer to any of these needs or give me insight into myself?
Hush, My Soul
This seductive Sunday morning echoes with
Church bells — a slightly muffled ring, a recorded ring --
In former days a call to prayer — when done with actual bells --
A call to quiet reflection — the meanings,
Purposes, possibilities, and creations of life.
Today my first thought, as many think, I’m sure,
“I wonder what time it is.”
We should hear, “Slow down!”
Questions and Thoughts
What can serve as my church bell, a reminder that I need to daily reflect on the meanings, purposes, and expansion of my spirit?
Have I silenced my Heart so much that I cannot hear it speak to me the language and soul of the Universe? Why do I do that? Why do I let so much other noise occupy my mind, suborn my thoughts, and urge me to frenetic activity?
How may I slow down? What should I do that will slow down my thoughts enough each day in order that I may be able to work efficiently and effectively the rest of my day?
I have left the questions after the poems. They are there because I intend for this to be a workbook for helping others discover Self. You get them now, as a preview I hope will be encouraging to you.
Believe me, I understand and feel the same things you may be feeling facing a week of work at a job you despise, all the while harboring unrealized dreams. I have no direct, answers for every individual, because the way to manifest dreams comes through Heart. I cannot stress this enough, in case you have not read any of my writing. Unless you get still and get in touch with your Heart — a very real, heard, distinct conversation with your own Heart — you will continue to live in frustration, not continual, not hopeless, but the longer you go without that self-awakening, the more hopeless you will become, or just simply apathetic, which is probably worse.
How much do you truly care for yourself? Really? Then, tonight or tomorrow, no later, get into whatever slice of nature you can and speak to your heart and keep speaking till you hear an answer. Don’t make the excuse of not enough time. Not enough time for your own eternal purpose? Not buying it.
Oh, you have responsibilities. Yes, to your Heart, to your core Self before any others, and I mean any others at all. I think you are worth it, and many others do, too. I hope you think You are worth it, and then, together in Spirit we can enter the quiet yet dynamic Fellowship of the Heart.
p.s. — I wrote the two poems in August 2011, within a week of each other. Do you get the sense I feel this is important; I have been living and evolving in amazing ways these last five years.
Stress! Big topic these days. Stress — what do I really know about it? Wait, I’m not sure. Maybe it’s killing me, and I don’t even know how it’s happening. Now, I feel sick.
Okay, I’m making a point. Yes, professionals discuss many fine points of the phenomenon, but most folks, common everyday people like me, only know some things stress us out. However, as I thought of this last night and this morning, I realized the premise is wrong — no big news, I suppose, but certainly the inexact use of language does not help in any way to resolve stress or use it to our advantage.
Things don’t stress us out. People, places, events, circumstances, don’t cause me stress. I do that; I am the source, the cause, the mover and the stress shaker. All these elements are benign, for the most part, until Ego grabs ahold of something and makes us start reacting.
I’m not even sure how to technically categorize stress. I have seen different versions, but I want to only consider two kinds of stress and one solution: good stress, bad stress, and knowing and following Heart.
Good stress pushes me to complete responsibilities. Let me be unequivocally clear here: ego will make you responsible to everyone for their approval or rebuke or some other reason. True responsibility begins with self-awakening and self-awareness. Core Self establishes the terms of responsibility for you, no one else, if we know Self. If not, almost anyone else will step in to fill the void.
Therefore, good stress results from factors that don’t challenge life purpose because Heart motivates the action. This good stress would include those little daily necessities of life we can complete and then forge ahead with our life purpose goals of the day. Usually, we have feelings of fulfillment and satisfaction upon completing these, because whether directly or indirectly, they contribute to expressing core Self.
On the other hand, bad stress expresses ego concerns and produces feelings of guilt and anxiety if not done. Bad stress usually has little or nothing to do with core Self. In fact, stress can be put to a test: do the factors stressing you out have to do directly with your life purpose? Anything creating stress that is not in harmony with your personal truth represents Ego seeking to take the place, to usurp Heart and all those dreams, visions, missions, and goals which express life purpose, the one you co-created.
Oh, wait, you didn’t co-create a life purpose? Well, then, there’s your problem and the point of this mini-treatment of stress. If you have not awakened to and identified your core Self, your truth, and determined how to live in expression of love to yourself and the world, Ego will have a field day making you feel responsible to anybody and everybody, or maybe even worse, nobody.
A self-awakened individual will feel many responsibilities and act responsibly towards fellow human beings; however, the stresses resulting from that create significance, fulfillment, and peace and joy and love. Okay, gets a little sappy in one way, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Especially money, which seems to form the basis of most of my unhealthy stress.
Why this for me? Because I have not fully replaced my income I made when I taught, I am tempted to forsake writing. My work right now as a writer of discovery of self involves somewhere around sixty hours a week, and I haven’t made a penny from it. I will, but in the meantime, the ego urge is to keep trying to find a full-time job. And I feel the stress of ego and possible disappointment about leaving writing dreams unfulfilled. (Not gonna do it.)
Oh, I know some people think writing can coexist with a full-time job, and that is true for many things. A job in education, however, requires the same degree of emotional investment for me that my writing does, and I’m intense in many ways but not that intense. My Heart urges me, commands me, to write — if I am to live my truth and fulfill my purpose.
What is a comparable stress for you? Identify it. Write it down. Way, way, way beyond that, though, spend time listening to your heart.
What is your truth?
Who are you, really?
What word could represent you in that truth, be an auxiliary name for you? (Mine is Discovery!)
With that as a characteristic, what life purpose will express You? (Co-creation with Spirit, Heart)
What form will that take for the immediate future? (Vision)
What actions will you need to take to make this a reality? (Mission)
What will you do this week on a work basis to create this? (Goals)
Anything not consistent with the above answers? Discard it, walk away from it, battle it, whatever needs to be done, because it will create stress, unhealthy, dream-killing, and maybe body-killing stress. Not worth it, my friend.
Ego sees dreams, visions, and all those good things as risks and seeks to keep us safe. Why risks? Because society norms say be a good little student, be a good little worker, get a good little spouse…you get it. Ego says conform. Non-conformity is a risk, but that is where the Heart operates, because you are not me or anybody else.
But You, your core, essential Self is worth risk and will always seek expression. If we don’t give creation to that expression, we will live immensely more stressful, disappointing lives. I count it a privilege if in any way I have helped you to think about You. You and I, We are worth thinking about from our Heart, risking and reveling in non-conformity, and enjoying the fruit of personal responsibility, healthy stress, and giving substance to our dreams.
Fear accomplishes virtually nothing positive in the course of human experience. Really. I know what a few of you may say, but I think running from a charging rhinoceros is a matter of logic. So, why will I be highlighting the last poem in Walt Whitman’s epic work, Leaves of Grass? Death. Walt writes quite a bit about death, but he writes about it positively, as something definitely not to be feared.
Fear of death probably brings on our departure more quickly, which is fine because ultimately, you wanted it that way if that’s what happens. Walt has that figured out, which is why he can accept his impending departure without flinching. He has mastered the most important piece of the fear puzzle in his life by knowing and living his Heart and then expressing his truth in his writing. He understands the fellowship of the heart and how operating out of Heart energy places him in the flow of the Universe, in union with the Spirit of all. And he comes to the end of his physical life with positive anticipation.
In his final poem, “Good-Bye my Fancy!,” Walt, without explaining or equivocating, says good-bye to what he terms his Fancy — capitalized. Some might take it he was speaking of a person; it becomes clear this is not the case: “Farewell dear mate, dear love! / I’m going away, I know not where, / Or to what fortune, or whether I may ever see you again, / So Good-bye my Fancy.”
Must be a someone, right?
Once again, I would love to read this eighteen line poem to you. The sensitive and personal nature of it makes me feel as if I’m listening in on something intimate, private, yet that very tone turns me to face my own heart and perform a reality check.
How sincerely am I, my mind, my managed ego, my whole being, in the fellowship of the heart, my Heart? Walt says good-bye as if he was losing the vital link of his personal essence back to the Universe: “Long have we lived, joy’d, caress’d together; / Delightful! — now separation — Good-bye my Fancy.” Still could sound like a person, eh?
Even to the end, he continues to know himself, to awaken to ever-expanding vistas of spiritual realities, for he catches himself. A flash of understanding enlightens his mind. His Fancy, his Heart makes it clear to his conscious mind: “Yet let me not be too hasty, / Long indeed have we lived, slept filter’d, become really blended into one…” We grow, constantly mature, and become increasingly a true representative of that core Self when we stay with the Heart operating system, “blend into one.” And still…is Fancy a person or not?
And that leads to this: “Then if we die, we die together, (yes, we’ll remain one,) / If we go anywhere we’ll go together to meet what happens, / May-be we’ll be better off and blither, and learn something…” Walt realizes that his essence, Heart, is him, and not a disembodied spirit working with him, but his spirit that is his link with all eternal, all immortal. He understands how Heart, which he has listened to and followed, still has unrealized power: “May-be it is yourself now really ushering me to the true songs, (who knows?) / May-be it is you the mortal knob really undoing, turning…” Not a person, unless we’re talking mutual suicide, and we’re definitely not doing that. He senses Heart saying, “It’s moving day! This is the way we meant it to be!”
He rejoices in it because he comprehends he has fulfilled his purpose for which he arrived on this mortal scene. Eureka, he gets it and he sees how the true unity and significance we seek is in Heart, so much so I imagine his Heart saying, “It’s time. Let’s go, Walt. New vistas, new adventures.” It was Moving Day!
Yes, Walt gets it: “Good-bye — and hail! my Fancy.” Hail is a term of greeting. They’re going through the transformation together. Life energy is not lost; it cannot be. It is only transformed from functioning in a physical body to functioning without that limitation. It’s real.
And I have thought of this today because my uncle has died. I do not know, truly, how much he lived heart, but he had a full life. He knew he was departing soon, and he was at peace as far as I knew, and just a week or so ago, I spent three hours with him. All reconciling for any of us, for our lives, is left in the intimate setting in which Walt Whitman pens his final poem — in each being.
Fear of death shows people they have not come to terms with their own hearts. It’s a love affair, and as I John 4:18 puts it so beautifully, “There is no fear in love; perfect love casts out fear.”
I know my Heart, and I have much more to know. It will be over one day, though, and when that happens, I want people to have a freakin’ party, because I don’t want to sense in my unencumbered core Self that folks are moping around. It’s the way it is supposed to be.
Live your Heart! Rejoice in life, because whatever we are living, we came to experience it and we have created it. Heart growth might mean we need to change or simply evolve, but always, always, always love. No fear. And then, rejoice in death, because a great transformation is coming.
We need to hail our Heart now, greet it consciously, before the end. Do we really understand how different this world would be if masses did this instead of lazily, helplessly caving to ego? But that’s what they came to experience.
As for me? Hail, Hello, my Fancy, my Heart!
Magic. I suppose it means many things to people. I have no intention of explaining magic here in some complete treatment. In fact, I may be un-magicking magic a bit. Yes, I’m a muggle — by birth, not choice.
When it comes to things that we consider to be magic, we think of some supernatural manipulation to change the course of events or things, objects. Definitions and applications of the word vary greatly, so as I said, I want to make a few random observations.
This unexpected detour happened today because I had some magical, extraordinary experiences over the last twenty-four hours. I will not go into detail, but it involved spiritual elements associated with two bird species that seem to play a part in my life: great horned owl and red tail hawk — among a few others.
I believe that the vibrations of life energy surge throughout the Universe, and our ability to perceive them, read them, and respond to them account for many instances of magic. When I taught, I told students that an example of unseen but very real energy was the radio waves bombarding us constantly. We only need an antenna to capture and use them, make sense of them, learn from them.
In case you think “What crap,” I would like to point out that somewhere within us, somehow, we even sense radio waves. Proof. Ever been thinking of a song, turn on the radio, and abra cadabra, there it plays? Yeah, me too. We can be attuned to other frequencies and other sorts of energy waves in order to live magically in our daily lives. That ability begins with awakening to the call of our heart, choosing to listen to and use heart as primary life filter. That is our antenna to the vibrations of life. Ego keeps us so bound and focused only on self that we miss out on the power of life around us.
Paulo Coelho, author of The Alchemist, writes about magic and experiences magic in his life — truly magical type occurrences. He says, “Magical places are always beautiful and deserve to be contemplated…Always stay on the bridge between the invisible and the visible.” These magical places seem to be anywhere we can quiet our whole being, listen to Heart, and engage in perceptions that give us understanding previously unknown — enlightenment, revelation. This is the type of magic that I experienced last night, and sometimes it is mystical, halfway between normal sensory perception and extra-sensory perception.
Coelho also refers to a magic moment as a decision point in our lives. I believe this is akin to anytime that we face a decision to choose Ego or Heart energy to respond to life. Coelho says, “The magic moment is the moment when a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’ can change our whole existence.” Saying yes to Heart always changes our existence, and it’s a magic we can tune into, grab with our spiritual antenna, every day. Agreeing with this, Coelho says, “If you pay close attention to each day, you will discover the magic moment. …But if people pay attention to their everyday lives, they will discover that magic moment.” See, we can all be wizards and witches, but only through Heart.
Magic, you see, is not always and only waving a wand to capture energy and redirect it. Magic happens when we perform another sort of energy transformation, one in which our heart discerns the energy of situations and speaks to our minds. That is available to us everyday.
I do believe that some deeper, more mystical magic occurs, but it is on the same principles of capturing the waves of life energy around us and transforming that energy. It really doesn’t matter if you believe that or not; what does matter is if you listen to your heart for the daily magic that is available to you.
When you face a decision about attitude, response, course of life, choice of anything, choose Heart, consciously, directly in fellowship with yourself. Magic occurs. You can even use a wand if you want to. Really. Don’t be such a muggle, eh?!
(p.s. Enjoy the unrestricted magic now, Uncle Joe. No more limitations.)
If you like to dream of having the life of a millionaire, try this on for size. You have free reign of a whole nation. You are a prince or princess, and anything your mom or dad has or can do, is yours, too. Not only that, any friends you want to see, any place you want to travel — done. And everyone adores you. No problems except for two things. You are old enough for doctoral studies at a university and your mommy wants you to keep the castle as home base — no living in foreign cities. Oh, and the king is your stepfather and your uncle, which means that your father’s brother married your mom. You got all the other stuff, so that’s okay, right?
You guessed it. I’m talking about Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, in Shakespeare’s famous play. Why? Hamlet was extremely privileged and had a future, but he was also extremely depressed. His words and actions may be indicators for us, and they help me think about a question I consider from time to time.
Why do famous, wealthy, privileged people who seem to be living very professional, talented lives, with more going on for them than Hamlet, grow so unhappy they self-destruct? I remember the first time I ever heard of an event like this was when my mom told me that George Reeves, the television Superman, had committed suicide. I don’t remember how it even came up, but I wrestled with the whole concept. I knew Superman wasn’t real, but how could someone who everybody liked and recognized do something like that? Then, I heard about Judy Garland.
I now, however, have some ideas. Hamlet’s expression in Act 1, Scene 2, yields some insight: “O, that this too too solid flesh would melt, / Thaw, and resolve itself into a dew! / Or that the Everlasting had not fixed / His canon ‘gainst self-slaughter! O God! God! / How weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable / Seem to me all the uses of this world!”
Hamlet wants to die, to the point that he wishes it wasn’t a sin. Why? He now despises mommy and uncle, and his ego reasons him into his state of mind. Nothing’s right nor can it ever be right. He has no joy in life because he has no purpose and no relationship with his own heart. He’s tired and sees no benefit of anything. No matter what anyone brings up, he reasons it back to uselessness, futility. Ever feel like that? It’s Ego, not rationality, logic, or most importantly, Heart.
Many folks who appear to have the world by the balls have willingly subjected themselves to their own ego’s rationalizing — not rationality. They may have even at some point heard their hearts, come to know core Self, and engaged in a life purpose. However, if we do not walk in the fellowship of our heart, stay in touch with Heart, then the door to the ego default system swings wide open — unhappiness with life, uselessness of everything, no humor, no enthusiasm, no direction. No fulfillment, no significance means no reason to continue if the ego is given control. So, a George Reeves or a Judy Garland could be extremely talented, loved, and active, but when they give their egos dominance, all of that means nothing.
Folks didn’t know why Hamlet was so down. Everybody was guessing, except for one friend, and he had no idea how much Hamlet wanted to die. In Act III, Scene 1, Hamlet’s famous “To be, or not to be” soliloquy shows that tortured thinking: “Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer / The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune…” and “…end / The heartache…” Later in the passage, he lists some of those heartaches. Bummer. He had no focus or life purpose.
When we lose all joy and interest in life, when we feel no purpose, and when we knowingly project a false façade, we need to recognize the ego problem and call out to our hearts. We need to get re-grounded in Heart truth, being conscious that life is right here, right now, and to regain our perspective and purpose.
What can I do at that specific time of such total dejection? The immediate answer is anything. Just take any step away from the voice of Ego to whom I have handed my authority. Mow the lawn, take out the garbage, empty the dishwasher, and then, tell yourself that you did something useful, sit down, and begin speaking to your heart.
If you know who you are as core Self, then listen closely because your heart will tell you what to do. I know whenever I get a little wobbly, I hear those words: “write, write, write. Why are you asking me?” Because ego can quickly confuse when we don’t stay close to heart.
Hey, if you can’t gain perspective, hear your heart, and find purpose and joy, get to a counselor, a therapist. Hamlet needed one, for sure. But for now, know that wild, self-destructive thoughts evolve from an unchecked ego feeding a mis-focused mind. Get re-grounded.
I would like to share a poem and some thoughts that I wrote five years ago, but they seem so appropriate, maybe helpful, because they are personal to me.
Sun begins to droop on this one hundred plus degree day with the
Four workmen banging, pounding, and screeching aluminum ladders
In their hurried finale for day’s end,
Punctuated by two insistent barking dogs, excited to protect me and gain my favor for their faithfulness.
Now evening --
Here, where encroaching darkness limits my ability to write,
Here, where a slight breeze grants refreshment,
Here, where cricket and cicada softly hum,
Here, where a few fireflies lazily blink,
Here, I remember them:
My dreams, my passions, and like them,
Here, I still am.
Questions and Thoughts
No matter what a day holds, I need to hold onto my dreams and my visions in order to maintain focus.
To what extent do I allow circumstance and busy-ness to rob me of my daily responsibility to visualize and search for or reflect on self?
Do I daily acknowledge my core self and take steps toward real expression of who I think I may be, even though I am not yet fully living in a continual, practical expression of it?
How fervently do I listen to and follow the whisperings of my heart to develop creative purpose?
Do I have a sense of exactly where I am in defining, identifying me?
Questions to consider:
How many times have you asked yourself or simply thought about the following questions?
Who am I, really?
What is my truth?
How do my actions reveal what I really feel and believe?
What would I do with my life if I could do anything?
What is my passion?
Why am I here?
How can I discover answers to any of these questions?
If you have considered any of these questions, I hope that my experiences and writing will give you some guidance. Please read my blog and comment and share your thoughts. I would love to hear from you!