Friday, December 31, 2010

Surely you're not thinking of resolutions....Are you???

It is with some reticence that I write my final post for this year.  

In the northern part of Queensland, floods have been ferocious, engulfing thousands of homes, forcing families and individuals to evacuate into unfamiliar and not the cosiest of temporary refuge.  

How do you celebrate the auspicious closing of one year and the opening of a new one when, virtually in your backyard, thousands have been robbed of the spirit of celebration?  Or so it would seem.

I know that no sorrowfulness on my part will alleviate the flagging spirits of my neighbors.  I'm also reminded that, while the proximity of this latest disaster makes it less easy to ignore or even want to ignore, everyday, somewhere in the world, many more suffer disasters of one form or another.

So, here I am with a jumble of inconvenient thoughts and feelings.  Yes, inconvenient because they make me feel less than celebratory at this rather momentous time of years, old and new.

My expanding awareness of life's realities, however, provides some recourse.  

I can connect, in spirit, with the spirit of hope and faith within each of these people, here and everywhere else on this earth - hope and faith that things can and will get better even if we don't know the exact machinations of how.  

I can summon within me, the spirit of determination to focus on desirable possibilities rather than undesirable ones, and connect with others in this spirit of determination.

I can raise within me the natural spirit of glee and optimism rooted in my knowing that in any adversity, there are doors of opportunity.  We only have to have an open and willing mind.  (It wasn't all that long ago when I was homeless for eighteen months).

I can celebrate and increase the spirit of joy and hope that seeks to move freely throughout the world rather than be an obstacle to it.

These are the things that come to mind now.  They are anchored in my knowing that any outcome in the material/physical world has its origins in the mind, within the ever-expanding screen of our imagination.

I want to join all my friends and family across the world - those that I've seen face to face and those whose faces I've not seen but whose spirit I've felt deeply - in celebration.  

I'm not going to ask you what your resolutions for the New Year are.  But I do want to ask you what your dreams are.  Will you share them with me?

As for me, my dreams are of:
  • meeting my perfect partner and  having an amazing, exciting, fun, adventurous, inspiring, romantic, liberating and adoring relationship with him
  • enjoying the beauty and goodness and greatness of my two children as they experiment with life
  • doing something truly significant in the service of others, something that I will enjoy wholeheartedly and that will benefit them in big and meaningful ways
  • exploring and enjoying even more the friendships I have made, on and off-line - really seeing and enjoying the beauty and magnificence of each person I meet
  • traveling to places where I can spend time enjoying the people and their spaces
  • singing, playing guitar, writing, drawing, cooking much more competently, freely and frequently than I currently do
  • enjoying wealth and abundance 
Wow!  There they are.  I didn't think I'd be making any of this public but, hey, another one of my ongoing dreams is to live more freely than I've ever done!  This is one way of doing it.

I do wish you, my very,very dear reader, with all the warmth and affection in my heart, a truly spectacular 2011.  May every desire of your heart be delivered in bountiful measure! 

Thank you for being such a beautiful part of my life in 2010.

Love, hugs and kisses - TBT

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

So you think that being vulnerable is sexy?

I don't know the precise sociology or chronology of events but somewhere along the line, Hollywood and psychologists decided that we needed to be vulnerable.  More accurately, they decided we needed to acknowledge and express our vulnerability. 

It became such a sexy thing to do, especially for men.  It truly melted the female heart (really, it was more like puffing up her ego) when her otherwise insensitive, broad-shouldered, square-jawed, crotch-squeezing-tight-panted (wait a minute - that's back in fashion!) male partner or colleague could admit to feeling afraid or insecure.

That was in the period predating women taking over the workforce and literally wearing the pants.  Following that, the new challenge was to get superwoman to express her fragility and insecurities, attributes that appealed to the male ego when it was fashionable and helped to bolster the latter's confidence and sense of purpose.

Yep, it's now become such a turn-on (for men), when a  ball-busting,  kick-ass, call-a-spade-a-spade, stare-you-down, unflinching (I mean, how often do you see a female professional on any of those TV serials have a doubled-over belly laugh as opposed to a 'I'm too cool for you' labored muscle stretch that we've come to recognize as a smile?) female would eventually drop her guard, let the tears flow and allow her male side-kick access to her marshmallow, right-brained interior. 

(Forgive me, that was an excruciatingly long sentence which I attribute to my poor writing skills - see, I'm being vulnerable or is it just modest? ;)

Okay, I might be guilty of some exaggeration but only fractionally, mind.  And I readily admit that tears and melodrama are not the only expressions of vulnerability, if they are even that.  But seriously, why has being vulnerable become fashionable? 

I happen to believe (and increasingly experience) that we are, by nature, male and female, powerful.  That is, we are filled with power, naturally.

Life is power.  Love is power.  And for me, love is just another name for life and love and life are just the raw energy of everything that exists. 

Right, I realize I'm starting to sound *metaphysical* but that is truly how I see the world.  The pure energy of everything that exists, that has ever existed, is filled with power.  It is powerful.  And we are, by nature, powerful.

So does that mean there is no room or cause for vulnerability?  Oh yes, there is plenty of room and cause.  Way too much, if you ask me. 

Why do I say that?  Because it is all to do with ego.  Yep, EGO.

Oh right, beat up the ol' ego now, why don't you!

No, no, no.  I have no intention of pulverizing the ego.  But I do want to share what I understand of this thing we call ego.  It is a state of mind that is ignorant of WHO AND WHAT WE TRULY ARE - POWERFUL, FREE, LIMITLESS AND INGENIOUS!

That is who and what we truly are!  That is what we experience in the stillness of our observing (non-judging) mind! 

The ego judges and separates and attempts to control because it does not see that none of this is necessary! 

The ego is unaware of our natural, limitless power, freedom, gleefulness and ingenuity!  And from its limited, self-grasping, pin-hole vantage point, it needs to protect and preserve itself from everything else that it sees as 'Not I/Me'.

Phew!  I just had to get that off my chest :). 

Vulnerability is not a virtue though I grant that it is highly fashionable.

Power, true power (which is not ego-driven), is a virtue.  Heck, let's dispense with these egotistical labels like *virtue* and *vulnerable* and *victim* and *victorious* (Sesame Street is brought to you today by the letter 'V' ....)

Before I get off this soapbox, I just want to say one other thing.  I'm not an advocate for intending vulnerability.  In other words, I don't hold thoughts or intentions of wanting to be vulnerable. 

However, it doesn't mean that I don't have behaviors or use words that could be interpreted as being vulnerable.  I mean, I'm not entirely free of the ignorance and torpor of my ego :)

Neither do I judge (or at least wish to judge) others for expressions of vulnerability. I do a fair lot of it myself - you only have to read my posts for evidence :)

But f anything that I've said here makes any sense to you, then it is my wish and intention to encourage you (and me) to express (more of) who and what we truly are - POWERFUL, FREE, LIMITLESS, JOYOUS AND OH, SO VERY SEXY WITHOUT EVEN TRYING - and less of what we truly aren't :).

Agree???  Come on, let me know what you think :)

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

How about an explosion of freshly peeled orange on your tongue?

My post yesterday uncovered a new path of exploration for me.

Sure, virtually any philosopher you pick will have expressed the fact that we humans have a need to feel connected and that biologically and psychologically, we depend on feedback.  To that extent, there is nothing new in my recent realizations. But they are new and fresh to me.

Not entirely new, I suppose, but entirely fresh.  Rather like the flesh beneath a freshly peeled segment of orange.  The orange itself is not new to the eyes but the bit of flesh it now reveals is very fresh indeed and I'm salivating with eager anticipation of its sparkling, zesty juice on my tongue - guaranteed to generate an explosion of pleasure on my taste, I mean thought, buds :)

Forgive me, I don't mean to get all metaphorical.  I'm just relating the observations that my mind is making.

And, yes, it intrigues me, this need of ours to feel connected and to receive feedback.  Let me put it this way.  If I didn't believe that someone would be reading my posts and might respond to them, I'm pretty certain I wouldn't write them.

Nope.  I mean, I might pen my thoughts in a journal, whether electronic or paper, which is something I have been doing.  But blogging is a public affair, and for many of us bloggers, it's a public affair of private proportions.  Or might that equally be a private affair of public proportions?

Regardless, why do we have this need to feel connected?  Why are we looking for feedback?

As always, my best answers are the ones that are true for me.  So let me try and rummage through this rain forest of my mind and see what I find.

Wow!  Here is some of it:

I want to feel connected because THAT'S WHAT I REALLY AM and this sense of a separate 'me' feels neither real nor good.  Whoa...!

In other words, I want to remain in touch with a truth that seems to have become obscured by a dominant belief in separation!  But, I suppose you may ask (as I am now doing), why we need external forms of connection when true connection is ultimately felt in the mind and heart.

Yep, that is a great and very valid question.  My answer is that we are physical beings and our physicality predisposes us to physical/external forms of connectivity.

It's like eating food.  The physical body requires some food to keep it going.  Not a lot, but enough.  We'd die without it, eventually.

Likewise, I would think, with being connected.  The physical/external forms of connection help remind us of our fundamental connectedness - something that our false sense of separation obscures us from.

Without it, we might feel completely and falsely separated and that would not be a true and full reflection of who and how we truly are.  We'd die, psychologically and spiritually, without it just as we'd die physically without food.

And feedback?  

I think that feedback gives us information about our relationship with others and with ourselves.  Whether we're being drawn closer to them or pulled further apart.  Whether we're feeling more or less alive.  Whether we're experiencing more or less joy.

We don't need to be in agreement with other people's ideas in order to feel close or closer to them.  But we do need to know that we are not disconnected or distanced from them because of our differing ideas and beliefs.

I seek feedback as my way of testing out some of my ideas and beliefs.  What you say in response to them gives me new lenses to view them with and this could result in my re-examining and refining them or explaining them further or abandoning them altogether.

It also helps me recognize and respect you as a unique expression of the single connectedness that you and I are.   And that you have as much freedom and right to your thoughts and beliefs as I do to mine.  AND that the more I am accepting of your unique expression, the freer I can feel! Oh yeah!

I seek feedback also because I think, in some way, it tells me that someone cares and that I matter, in however minuscule an amount that might be.

So, what do you think?

Monday, December 27, 2010

Ahem...excuse me, but why, really?

Honesty is both scary and exciting.  Titillating even, wouldn't you say?

Like this admission I'm about to make, which, incidentally, I had no intention of making when I began writing this post.  Matter of fact, I had a question in mind for you (surprise, surprise) when I first put paws to keyboard.

I'll tell you what that question is in a minute.  But first, I want to share with you the series of thoughts that has brought be to this point of embarrassing (yes, I'll reveal why in a moment although I;m certain you'll have it figured out before I do) admission.

You see, as soon as the question popped into my mind, I attempted to answer it myself at which point, two rather disparate and contending thoughts stepped into my mental thought cafe.  Before they could order their cappuccino and latte, I was compelled to find out who they were.

Well, the first quickly revealed itself as 'I don't know' and the second, glancing somewhat disdainfully at the first said. 'Well, surely what is true for you is probably true for your readers, or at least some of them.  So, you might answer the question by asking it of yourself'.

Right.  Got told.  And here's where it started to get embarrassing.

Huh???  Are you following any of this?  Alright, alright, let me put you out of your misery.

Well, you see, on this the third or is it the fourth or fifth day of perpetual rain (and I'm not complaining, just describing as I do love the rain and the drop in temperature that it brings about), having finally chosen my new blog theme and colors (at least for now), my mind was free once again to think about what I wanted to say in this post.

In actual fact, there have been so many things that I've wanted to write about, some of which could easily take me in a different direction of interest and application.  That said, one of the reasons why my blog has its name and description is that it gives me the freedom to write about virtually anything that I wish to write about.

Such, after all, is the ordinary content of my mind - untidily strewn with thought bubbles of every shape, color and description.  Well, perhaps not 'every' as that would suggest I have the omniscient mind of god, when, in fact, I have an infinitesimally sized mind, albeit an ever expanding one :)

However, before I distract myself and you any further, let me return to the original intent of this post and the embarrassing revelation it triggered.  The question I had wanted to pose to you was this:

Why do you read this blog?

I know, I know.  It does seem like I am fishing for eh...well..ahem...compliments but believe it or not, that was not (and still is not) my intention.  However, it might interest you to know why I am interested to know.  It's quite simple really.

Here I am wondering, as I often do, which, of the many ragged thoughts that course through my mind, I should pick up and stitch some kind of story or plot or post, if you like, with.  And then it occurs to me that it doesn't seem to matter what my post is about, some of my readers will take the time to read it and some of you, bless your cotton socks, will go even further and leave me a comment or two!

Well, as I said earlier, following the indifferent (or was it bewildered?) 'I don't know' thought, came the reproachful (or was it inspiring?) thought, "Ask yourself'.

So, here's the embarrassing confession.  It is in response to the self-directed question:  Why do I read your blogs? 

  1. I'm curious about what's happening with you, what you're thinking and feeling and what I might gain from reading what you have to say (and I always gain something, whether pleasure, inspiration, resolution of an old hurt or the joy of admiration)
  2.  I know I'm likely to leave a comment and (here is where it gets really, really embarrassing) it might prompt you to come read my blog and hopefully, leave a comment too
There.  It's out in the open - my shameful, self-indulgent motive for reading your blogs!  Didn't I say that honesty is both scary and exciting?

It is.  There's a chance you might snort in disgust at my admission, which in truth, probably confirms what you'd already suspected.  And you may choose to heretofore refrain from commenting on my posts even if you should choose to read them.  That's the scary part.

But, here's the exciting bit.  You may forgive me for my egotistical indulgence and ...wait for may even admit to a similar indulgence!!!!!!!  Farrrrrrrrrrr out!!!!!

But really, so what if we did read and comment with selfish motives?  I mean, SO WHAT????

Is that such a bad thing?  I mean, you might just as easily ask:  Why do I bother talking?

Isn't it for feedback?  Of course we have other reasons such as wanting to make a point or share some fantastic or tragic news or enquire about something or someone.  But ultimately, it's for ourselves, always and every time, even those times when we want to let others know that we care about them.  It's because when we do, we feel good or better!

Right, I'll get off the soap box now.  Oh gosh, did you notice how I felt a need to defend myself there???

Anyways, embarrassing, selfish, self-indulgent, virtuous or outright manipulative, I reckon we're all motivated by feedback in one form or another and so I'll boldly and with utmost sincere selfishness ask my question:

Why do you read my blog?  I mean, really?

Oh, and while you're at it, feel free to answer any other questions that may be lurking in this post or any that pop into your mind or leave a comment about anything at all.  You know how much I love reading your comments :)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

What is it for you, this so-called 'Spirit of Christmas'?

This is a post I've been wanting to write for some time now but just didn't find the time and when I did have the time, the energy to write it.

You see, my working hours and days at the store have tripled due to the Christmas season and being on my feet all day and enjoying every moment with customers leaves me completely spent - in a good way, of course.

It also means that, for the moment at least, I feel unable to do much when I get home other than make myself dinner, give my dog hers, put my feet up and watch some docco or comedy on TV.  Oh, that and make a few Christmas presents and cards for the few people that I have on my mental list for giving cards and presents to.  I should add that the warm (hot, if you ask me) and humid weather isn't conducive to much else.

So, what was this post I so badly wanted to write?  Well, it's really to ask you this question:

Do you feel you have the 'Christmas spirit' happening for you and if so, what is it?

It's a question that I've been asking myself.  I mean, I wonder what the 'Christmas spirit' is, you know?

As a child in an oppressively Catholic family, it was very much about the amazing birth of this baby following the arduous journey of its parents and the magical arrival of the Magi at the stable amidst shepherds and farm animals, all of which was foreshadowed by what we knew too well would be the tragic-triumphant destiny of this child.  At least that's how I remember it.

It was also the one of perhaps two occasions in the year (the other being birthdays) when we had new clothes.  Our family of nine kids  was too poor to afford them any other time.  As for exchanging gifts, well there was none of that for obvious reasons.  Those were the conditions within which the 'Christmas spirit' manifested for me as a child.

Actually, there was more,  relating to the ongoing brutality of my father which seemed to escalate to cataclysmic proportions on occasions of significance resulting in an atmosphere of unbearable tension between innocent enthusiasm and inescapable dread.

But that's all in the distant past and I have had many. many more joyous, gift-giving and pain-free Christmases since :).  (And I hold nothing against my dad, now some years passed on).

I suppose I'm wondering what is left of the 'Christmas spirit' now that the religious purpose and overtones of Christmas are no longer relevant (as is the case with me) and the gift-giving has been liberated from obligation and convention.

I know I feel immensely freer and more open to spending Christmas day with people other than family.  Admittedly, this has been happening for a few years now as the children have approached 'adulthood' (whatever that means).

I had this thought yesterday: So much for tradition...what's mine?  What's my family's?

It used to be going to midnight mass in our new clothes, checking out everyone else's new gear, listening to the choir's delicious harmonies and enchanting solos sung from the loft of a church that swelled and overflowed with people I didn't usually see at the weekly services and returning home to have my father open a bottle of sherry which we each, the eleven or so family members,  got a thimble full off (just about) together with a no-where-near-enough crumb of fruit cake.

I tried to keep this tradition going with my family, before and after I got divorced, with much more generous helpings of sherry and fruit cake of course :).  It lasted for many years but with my daughter now in Melbourne and my son experimenting with life as all of us are destined to do, I'm left with neither tradition nor anyone to pass it on to!

So what's left of the Christmas spirit for me, I'm wondering.  And I'm asking you the question certain that your answers will help me find and refine mine.  Care to share?

PS I wish you the true gifts of Christmas - Peace, Joy and Love.  And may 2011 thrill you with the wonder and magic of your dreams fulfilled!


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