Monday, October 31, 2016

Happy Halloween!

The Mystery within...
I had recently checked the huge bowl of candy I had set out and saw there were only a few pieces left.  Easily over a hundred ghosts, goblins and witches had come by already but the parade was now thinning.  I hoped I would have enough candy before Trick or Treat would soon end for another year.  So I went in the house and closed the door.  When the doorbell rang two small and identical voices, in twin bodies, not more than three feet tall, enthusiastically burst out with “Happy Halloween!”  Their eyes were bright with excitement, as they looked up at me in their matching red sequined outfits that sparkled in the porch light.  I saw the bowl was empty.  My heart sank. 

Of all the Trick or Treaters that came bye those two would be the last ones I would want to disappoint.  With a heavy heart and an ache in my voice I said most sincerely, “Oh, I am so sorry but that great big bowl was full to the top and now it is empty.” Those two identical princesses never stopped smiling and said in unison, “It’s okay.”  And in the nearby shadows I heard their parents say softly, “Really, its okay.” 

I brought in the empty bowl and turned off the porch light.  Then I remembered, too late, that I had two identical candy bars in my kitchen cupboard and initially wished I had given them to the twins.  But the more I thought about it I realized that I was the one who was really treated that night with consoling empathy from two smiling angels.  I now realize it was the perfect ending to another Halloween.

The word “Halloween” means “hallowed evening” or “holy evening.”  Many cultures believe boundaries thin between this world and the next when harvests end and winter begins.  It must be the interplay between darkness and light that blurs boundaries.  It is why this season is my favorite time of the year.   

“What if we could all be the recipient or the bestowers of consoling empathy more often?” 

Monday, October 24, 2016


The Mystery within...
I am coming to understand the true importance of being observant.  All discoveries, both within and outside myself, begin with my observing.  It is the primary attribute in successful science and now I see it as a simple key to successful living.  It is how I come to live in the present, with what is, through observation.  It suddenly seems so simple.  Just be observant of self and others.  Last week I wrote I observed my ego in my rattled reaction to another and then could forgive my self and feel compassion for the one who rattled me. 

Some related words in my thesaurus for observant are:  attentive, diligent; dutiful, deferential, respectful; regardful, faithful, conscientious; vigilant, prudent, and watchful.  Who wouldn’t want to be all that?

True joy also came with observation this week as I walked my yellow lab, Oliver, across the river on the bike trail that takes us to the woods.  As we crossed the bridge the late afternoon sun was at our back.  It highlighted glorious bright orange, red, and yellow leaves on the trees ahead of us along the bank.  Then a strong gust of wind released a mix of color thirty to forty feet above the trail ahead of us and held them there for a time in a wild, joyous dance before letting them settle back down to eventually turn back into earth again.  As we returned on the trail, the lowering sun colored small puffs of clouds above the river ahead an iridescent orange that soon turned to gray as we crossed back over.

There is so much to be gained from being observant.

What if we were all more observant more often?

Monday, October 17, 2016


The Mystery within...
I found myself really rattled this past week.  It was very unsettling.  Uncomfortable feelings were intense and stuck around for two days.  So I got out my little chart depicting forty-nine faces, each face illustrating a positive or negative emotion, in alphabetical order, beginning with Aggressive and ending in Withdrawn.  I recognized seven negative faces/emotions on that chart that made up my distress and even assigned a percentage to each one—Aggressive 5%; Anxious 15%; Disappointed 10%; Disapproving 25%; Exasperated 10%; Frustrated 15%; Horrified 20%.  Identifying the details of my rattle helped me begin healing my unsettledness.

And then a friend, who just happened by, gifted me with these words, “All relationships are subject to difficulty.” I marveled at the perfect timing of his reminder.  I also recalled a class I took on self-healing where it was said we are in this life to learn and we learn through our discomfort. I saw my ego in my rattle and remembered the comfort I felt when I read in the “Sophia Code” how necessary it is to first forgive and love our self so we can then forgive and have compassion for the other.  And finally I was reminded I do have a still quiet place within where I can go for healing.

“What if we could come to find the gifts in our rattles more often?”

Monday, October 3, 2016

Navigating Life

The Mystery within...
Like a river, life flows on. 

Many years ago I had the honor of having my breadth taken away on a warm, humid afternoon when I jumped from a johnboat into an ice-cold crystal clear river in Missouri.  Returning to the water’s surface I gasped, panicky, until I could finally inhale again—the water was that cold.  And then I dove back under the cold clearness and watched a giant turtle swimming under a submerged tree and was awestruck by other beauty in the river’s icy clarity.  Another river immersion experience came later when I talked my visiting brother (who doesn’t like water) to canoe with me on a stretch of the Milwaukee River near my home.  We hit a nearly submerged tree and dumped in surprisingly deep, warm, murky water.  I panicked hoping I hadn’t drowned him.  But we retrieved our paddles, pushed the canoe to the bank, up righted it, and then proceeded to search down river for belongings we had that floated.  After he returned to Colorado he sent me a note that closed with, “Dumping in the Milwaukee River—priceless.”  And then there was the raft trip I took my two youngest children on when we visited in Colorado (my brother did not join us).  When we hit the meanest stretch of wild, splashing cold water, big rocks on either side of us, holding on for our life, and screaming, I promised God if you let us live I will never do anything so foolish again.  When our feet touched dry land I apologized profusely to my children and told them I didn’t think it was going be that scary.  To which my young daughter uncharacteriscally responded,  “It’s okay.  It will help me to not be so afraid.”

If life is like a river, I’ve been on another eventful stretch with my son’s month long hospitalization, most of it in intensive care, after two major surgeries, the second one a life threatening emergency.  He’s home now recuperating.  Gratefully, life is returning to a smoother flow.  Priceless gifts, however, did come with this journey.  Trauma brought clarity.  It highlighted what is truly important in life.  It let us know that we really do love one another, and helped us not be so afraid of where the river may take us next.

What if we could go-with-the-flow of life more often--knowing priceless gifts do come wherever the river takes us next?