When we yearn for something, pursue it at any cost, and keep pressing forward, do we really believe we will gain our goal? I know the answer to that question. It’s yes, but with one condition: we cannot quit.
Plowing thoughtlessly ahead will not cut it, though. Our moving forward must be based on something greater than “I just won’t quit.” What? Yes, because we must have a conviction, one borne of the heart. Then, we won’t be doggedly hanging on without an end in sight.
When we have Heart vision, we won’t be sidetracked by Ego, and Ego is the biggest impediment to carrying through, even when we have solid conviction. You know how it works? Under a cloak of rationalization and feasibility and even spirituality.
Here’s a personal example. Sometimes when I am discourage due to lack of time and lack of finances, I honestly think about chucking the writing commitment. Only problem is the only one I’ve made a commitment to is myself, and it is a problem because I wouldn’t be letting anyone down except for me.
Do you know what I hear, the things brought to my mind and soul when I have not consciously engaged Heart? “Okay, let’s evaluate this logically. What in the hell have you accomplished for all this time you are putting in? Look at how few followers you have. You obviously don’t know how to use social media. Your friends rarely read your writing and don’t think much of it. Why would people who don’t know you? Just get a job so those close to you don’t think you’re worthless. You could make enough and just be home and do nothing or even write when you feel like it.” Enough of that.
How does Ego even have such statements to work with? I can tell you. I supplied them. How? The same way everyone does at some time or another. I put limitations on myself, limitations of belief in my own abilities and of faith in myself. I limit the workings of the Universe, the power of the Spirit, the interest and goodness of countless others, and ultimately, I limit the wisdom of my Heart. All of these are self-imposed limitations.
An Ego view might say these are good things to consider. When Heart, though, tells me in our daily fellowship, when maybe I hear nothing else except for “Write,” anything else is a betrayal, a betrayal of my own Heart. I need to understand the relative places Ego and Heart hold. The true me, my Heart, with whom I have co-created my Purpose and a vision, gives me peace, fulfillment, and significance. Ego creates conflict when we refuse to conform.
Humans don’t truly want ease. We want the things that make for a meaningful life, the things that create, share, and allow us to receive love. The only way we put Ego to rest is through that one action that overcomes our self-imposed limitations: faith.
This is what keeps us from quitting. This is what drives us forward. To maintain faith in our life Purpose and the vision we have created, we need to stay in close touch with our Heart. We need time in the fellowship of the Heart every single day. It’s a conscious choice.
Refusing to make that choice results in Ego making the option to quit on our vision sound rational and even spiritual — “It’s for the good of others. You’ll have more time and money to spend on your family.” So much shit. The choice must be for Heart, must be for faith in ourselves and the spiritual laws of the Universe and the goodness of the Spirit, all according to the energies of life with which we are created and endowed.
When we through Ego establish our own limitations, we do it because of faithlessness. We create our own massive internal conflicts. Nothing short of a daily assurance of Heart conviction will keep us from quitting on our really big life Purpose. Nothing short of the fellowship of the Heart will do.
Here’s to a week of living the truth of Heart purpose in faith and love!
Pardon Me, but What Is That I Smell on Your Breath? OR Is This Orange Juice Diluted?
Before a full self-awakening, sometimes the best we can do is sense something is wrong, something we can’t put a finger on. That, my friend, is usually Heart trying to break through the constant clutter of Ego.
I want to make a point here: living with Ego as a primary operating and processing system is totally valid. There are no rights or wrongs when it comes to those sorts of life choices. Ego is part of us, part of our total being and always will be. In fact, when people have not discovered core Self yet, they still live personal truth; however, their truth is like the orange juice my mom made for me when I was a kid — watered down. I caught on to the taste difference when I was a little older, and boy, what a difference it was! No comparison. Get the comparison?!
When we don’t have more than minimal Heart input for growth in our truth and when we don’t really understand ourselves, we have little clarification about what we are doing, where we are headed. Also, since a choice hasn’t been made for Heart to be be the daily motive force, our truth is diluted like my orange juice by others’ truths and egos, because our own ego is ever moving us towards conformity.
People live, function, and even thrive at times living via Ego. Ultimately, at some point — sometimes acknowledged, sometimes repressed, sometimes, rejected — we all come to question who we are and why we’re here.
Until we connect with Heart and receive those answers, our ego lives are akin to living via the instincts of the lower animals. We did not arrive here bearing a part of eternal Spirit to live in something as low level as a fight or flight physiological response, nor did we come for even something as high functioning as either trying to beat everybody else or making ourselves victims over and over again. I know, because in the words of the old comic strip character Pogo,”We have met the enemy, and he is us.”
In my novel, The Fellowship of the Heart, Anne Lafarnge is struggling with her own ego. She is not aware of the source of the struggle; she only knows she is growing in unhappiness. She braces herself for conflict every evening with her husband, Eric. Currently, they haven’t even been sleeping in the same bedroom for like a month or so.
Her co-worker, Kathryn Frank, has noticed Anne’s energy. I will share a bit of the dialog here. (Please remember when I am sharing this part of my journey, these are unedited, unrevised chunks of writing!)
Kathryn and Anne met after work for a drink and discussion. Anne was a half hour later than she had told Kathryn.
“I’m so sorry, Kathy. I got pigeonholed again by Stan Boyle when I was on my way out the door. He asked me if I knew about the extra time you and Ed had taken on the alternative materials work.”
Kathryn took a sip of her beer. “Hmm? That’s interesting. How would he even know that? He’s been doing some snooping, I think.”
Anne gulped the mouthful of pumpkin ale she had just taken. “Why would you say that, Kathy?”
“Well, we have not really been in touch with Stan on a daily basis. In fact, we haven’t seen him except in passing for a month. We have only shared the numbers with him on the standard material estimates. I’m fairly certain of that. Ed just lets me do the accounting type of reporting so we don’t accidentally duplicate anything. Isn’t that okay?”
“Yeah, that’s smart, but I’m bothered by this. How did Stan know about the time you have spent on the other stuff? Why would he even care?”
“I’m not sure. Maybe he was just guessing. We have talked about it in the group.”
“He was very specific with time stats and what that translated into as costs based on your salary schedules. Very odd. And quite honestly, I don’t like it. Also, as long as I’m being honest, I don’t like Stan very much in terms of his personality. And that stays right here.”
“Anne, I would never repeat anything between us like this, but Stan isn’t so bad, really. Even though he has a lot more seniority, he has kept to his parts of the project. I feel like his abrasiveness is due to his unhappiness, too.” She flinched and quickly took a sip of her beer.
Anne set her drink down and leaned back a bit in her chair. “What do you mean when you say too?”
“I was going to say I let that slip, but I really didn’t, I don’t think. I hope you don’t take this the wrong way, Anne, but so many things about your demeanor and your actions tell me you seem to be struggling.” Kathryn looked up from her glass and engaged Anne’s eyes. “I hope I haven’t upset you, but I’m kind of good at sensing these things about people.”
Whether we know it or not, we always are revealing what is going on inside of us, what our mental, emotional, and spiritual states are. Some people see it; others don’t. Egos try to help us hide it.
When we walk in the fellowship of the Heart, we emit those energies, qualities, and characteristics everyone at some point desperately desires. The ancient Hebrew word for spirit was the same as the word for wind and breath. Whichever motive force we choose or allow, we literally produce a wind carrying the aroma, the scent that we produce from within.
When it’s Heart production, it is one sweet smell to breathe out that unique aroma of Spirit that has come as part of us. We need to discover that true Self, live it, breathe it out to those around us who want to know the fruits of that Spirit — love, joy, peace being among those.
Not very many would refuse those, would they? Here’s to good breath!
What does voice have to do with creativity? For me, quite a bit, but that’s because of the way I am using Voice. In my novel, one of the protagonists is currently consumed with his vision of giving Voice to the voiceless. Because of the theme of the book and my philosophy of life, I apply this concept of giving voice to the voiceless to self-awakening, coming to the point where we finally hear the words of Heart and in essence, give voice to our true self, that self who has been whispering, urging, tapping, rapping, maybe even sometimes raging to be heard.
And Ego does its best to keep it quiet, rationalizing, offering all sorts of alternatives in order to keep us from doing anything that will upset the status quo, make us look stupid, threaten us with ridicule, or leave us lacking in the eyes of others. In other words, ego wants us to conform. Having a unique, defining Voice obviously creates instant nonconformity.
It also creates opportunity for new or renewed creativity. How? When core Self is discovered, we also seek to discover life Purpose. Life Purpose will lead us to a vision of how to express core Self to this whole creation, and it takes creativity to do that — not the creativity, necessarily, of an artist-type person but rather the creativity of innovators who find a way to get it done.
If we listen to Heart, we will find a way to live our Purpose. Those who move through the motive force of Heart yearn to be connected to this amazing creation, to find the place in it all where they can experience all of those qualities, emotions, and effects we, at our deepest level, long for: meaning, significance, peace, love. Yes, this is giving Voice to core Self who has screamed a prolonged silent scream for years.
This morning as I worked on my novel, my thoughts kept taking me to the work of William Blake. I wrote about him the other day in direct reference to giving voice to the voiceless in matters of social injustice. I did a bit of analysis of “The Chimney Sweeper” poems in Songs of Innocence and Experience. Blake’s poems present the contraries of human nature as co-existing and necessary for engagement in the creative process and in growth of understanding. His Songs of Innocence and Experience reveal these contrary aspects that are both a part of us, similar to my concepts of ego and heart. He also holds that we can arrive at a a state of Higher Innocence, which is something like my idea of the fellowship of the Heart.
This process of living with these contrary states produces continuing development of us as individuals and as a species. And today I thought about his poem, “The Tyger,” which is found in the Experience poems, the ones dealing with a state beyond the iconic state of naive children who quickly learn to live in conformity. (There is another side to this, but I’m not teaching a class here!)
In Experience poems, that unique, daring, expressive voice of creativity makes itself heard in the midst of a less than ideal world. The creation of the tiger — “tyger” as he spelled it — fills the narrator with awe and fright. How could anyone, who could it be that could craft such a powerful, perfect animal? The analogy is to a blacksmith, who visualizes a concept and works hard to bring it to fruition, to make his vision a real, workable thing. The whole poem consists of a series of questions — questions only. Let me quote the last stanza.
“Tyger Tyger burning bright, / In the forests of the night: / What immortal hand or eye, / Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?” This is the last stanza, exactly like the first with the exception of one word: “dare.” Who could create such a creature? One who had a vision because that one saw a need and dared to fill it, one who could work from the depths of the creativity of the Universe bound in the heart. Giving voice to that creativity means giving form, shape, and reality to a vision.
And that’s what I’m talking about!
Spoiler alert! Short post tonight! Why? Primarily because so much has been written about gratitude and thanksgiving, I feel I have nothing new to add. However, the feeling and expression of gratitude never grows old or trite.
My gratitude today was fueled by an early morning text from a young friend of mine. His wife, also my friend, was in labor and several hours later they had their second child. Babies always elicit thanksgiving from me, and I felt privileged that he would even let me know when they were on the way to the hospital. I had the same feeling when my own grandchildren were born, except, of course, I got to be there for their births — or shortly thereafter. (Not all of them because three were born in LA!).
I thought about gratitude this morning, especially after the morning I had yesterday, one fraught with ego reactions to things. It wasn’t that bad, honestly, because the longer I walk in the fellowship of the Heart, the more I recognize and adjust to such times. They are good growing experiences, strengthening exercises. They are very real, too, so I was ready for some good news today.
And good news produces celebration, and celebrations — large or tiny — produce thanksgiving and gratitude. To me, celebrations are the positive keys to gratitude. I’ve heard a lot of folks take the negative position to create a forced response, one I have never much cared for but have used at times because sometimes it may be the best we can muster. You know those sayings like At least I’m not as bad off as they are — that variety of sentiment. I’d rather find tiny things to celebrate.
And when I do, I celebrate aloud. It may be quietly, or it may be loud over something small or something large but always significant. Those exuberant exhalations of gratitude — at times directed to those who produced the reason for thanksgiving, at times to the Spirit of all — reverberate throughout the Universe and add positive energy around me that flows freely. Yep, that’s an attitude of gratitude, and it’s not a mark of pride, but a need of my soul.
Thank you, my young friends, for including me in your joyful news this morning! Thank you, Spirit, for the way life is created and the ever-abundant evidence of you in each of us, especially babies!
Literature can help some people in everyday life, especially former English teachers. My morning brought up some poetry I have thought about, learned from, and enjoyed for quite a few years.
This morning, I needed the memories of William Blake’s poetry which was buried, but not too deeply! Why would I need that? As I have written before, sometimes I still struggle with the old ego circuitry that is mostly bypassed but will always be there. When I thought through it a bit, the reality was I battled conformity — ego prodding me about societal expectations.
An ego-fueled society, which is what egos have effectively established throughout history, will often invert values of the Heart. Those most basic values revolve around happiness, i.e., what makes us enjoy life. Death, destruction, crass materialism, and stress are not induced by the counsels of Heart.
How does Ego do this? Instead of hearing Heart and standing in personal truth, Ego convinces individuals — which always bring a society to an egoic tipping point — that discovering self and purpose, living personal truth, and carrying out dreams and missions causes trouble. It’s too hard for the individual and too disrupting to the mass of people willing to resign themselves to living in mediocrity. Ugh! But I can tell you, when money is involved, especially, it’s not so crystal clear, and that’s how ego works.
This leads me to William Blake’s works. In his volume Songs of Innocence and Experience, he has written two versions of the same poem, one illustrating Ego motive force and the other Heart. The poem, “The Chimney Sweeper,” portrays a little boy who has basically been sold into the slavery of working for brutal men in the coal-fired Industrial Revolution. Children as young as seven years old would actually be hoisted up and down filthy chimneys for ten or twelve hours a day. Here are parts of the poems, Innocence version followed by Experience version in each pairing.
The tone of the poems stand in stark contrast. Innocence is child-like credulity; Experience is an awakened child who sees through the shit.
“…my father sold me while yet my tongue / Could scarcely cry ‘weep!… / So your chimneys I sweep & in soot I sleep.”
“A little black thing among the snow, / Crying ‘weep! weep!’ in notes of woe!”
Then, how do the egos of these boys convince them to conform and accept their lot, over which they had little power? In a dream of one of the boys, they get a glimpse of a future life in Innocence.
“And an Angel came by who had a bright key, // And the Angel told Tom, if he’d be a good boy, / He’d have God for his father & never want joy.”
“They clothed me in the clothes of death, / And taught me to sing the notes of woe.”
Now, consider the acceptance and conformity of an ego-rationalized view and the rebellious nonconformity of one who knows his Heart and rightly appraises the situation. No, reconciliation, however, occurs in the poem.
“So, if all do their duty, they need not fear harm.” (Ugh!)
“…They think they have done me no injury, / And are gone to praise God and his Priest and King, / Who make up a heaven of our misery.”
19th century English society thought this to be acceptable until the Parliamentary Reforms of 1832, which Romantic authors and thinkers helped bring about. Blake reveals the spiritual essence of social injustice. He also blasts the ego rationalizations adopted, enforced, and codified in organized religion, which is sickening. And society thinks the trade off of doing what makes for wealth and maintaining the status quo is exactly the way life should be, because not many people kick against it.
Do you think none of this applies today? Have we traded off the deep, meaningful, satisfying, significant, joyful aspects of life for money, making a living? It seems we cannot divorce self-destructive tendencies to gain wealth in soul-sucking positions from working in areas fueled by dreams, passions, vision — values of the Heart. And most of us buy it hook, line, and sinker.
Don’t think so? Show of hands. How many of you know that the career — no, let me put it more simply — know that the work you are doing every day is an expression of who you are as core Self and you love doing it? How many?
And yet we hear things like we have to endure, look forward to retirement, provide for that, enjoy the weekends, be good little boys and girls, blah, blah, blah. I want my joy to be the work of my mind and soul under the direction and influence of my Heart. And many times that means I don’t give a shit about what society or any individuals or organizations in society say. My eternity is now, not after I die, like the deceived little boys in the Innocence version of the poem.
We can evaluate truth, our personal truth, and decide to live it. This might appear irreverent and defiant and maybe even anti-social to many, but those folks have no idea of the power we contain in these mortal bodies.
What about you?
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!