Where has Christ-mas Gone?

Christmas time.  I dread it every year.  I feel like a mouse trying to escape a trap.  When I go to the store I hear Christmas music, but I know it’s not for my enjoyment.  It’s to put me in a certain frame of mind.  I feel pressured into consumerism.  I feel like I can’t breathe.  I’ve got to get out of the store.  I need peace and quiet.  I want to run from all of this craziness.  Don’t they see what’s happening?  Don’t they know we are being shepherded into a pen?   I know the true meaning and I will not stand for this.  I will not renounce my belief for anyone.  It is Christ- mas time.  It is time to celebrate the birth of Jesus.  Why aren’t we allowed to use his name if it’s his birthday?  If we can’t use it and rejoice in it, what are we celebrating.    Why are we all so blinded by the sparkling lights and the ringing bells.  Get me out of this trap, this rat race.  Take me to the peaceful place within my soul that knows what is real.  We say Christmas is for the children.  We are the children of God.  Let’s rejoice and celebrate accordingly.

Love is a year round action.  I don’t need ringing bells or holly or Santa to feel true love.  Jesus came to show us the way of true love.  That love lives in each and every one of us.  Let’s change things up and celebrate love. We can celebrate by sharing our time with others, laughing, singing, caring and loving.  These are the gifts that matter most.  I have to step back from allowing the commercialism to consume my heart.  I have to return to my source, my God. I open my heart now to receive love and to give love freely.  Now, I can feel the joy of Christmas.  Thank you Jesus!  Amen.

Barrage of Goodness

Here we are, the Monday after Thanksgiving.  Many have mixed emotions today.  Some wake in dread of another Monday of the work week.  Some are just plain exhausted and want a few days to rest before returning to work and some are happy to get back to a normal routine after four days of out of the ordinary stuff.

This year, my boyfriend and I drove to Virginia to share Thanksgiving with my children and grandchildren.  There are a lot of changes just in the fact that we went.  #1:  We never travel on Thanksgiving. #2:  We never leave our state on Thanksgiving.  #3:  We have never actually gone on a road trip together.  #4:  We have never been in one house with 14 people for three straight days.  #5:  We have never spent Thanksgiving with all my kids and grandkids and their spouses and my ex-husband.

That’s a lot of new things to experience in a three day period, especially for my boyfriend who is a homebody.  It was completely out of his comfort zone.  Let’s break this whole thing down step by step.  #1:  I have always heard that the Wednesday before Thanksgiving is the most heavily traveled day of the year.  For the most part, the travel was fine because it was 95% interstate travel but we came upon an accident within the last 50 miles of our 7 hour journey.  The whole dynamic changed at that point due to being tired, cranky, hungry and the disappointment of being almost there but you have to wait a little longer.  The trip back home was awful in a whole new way.  Driving rain followed us from Virginia all the way back to New Jersey along with temperatures hovering around 32 degrees in the mountainous regions.  Visibility was almost non-existent.  On top of that, My boyfriend was having stomach issues and was unable to eat for the two days after Thanksgiving.  So, he was tired, weak, and hungry.  He hates to drive so he’s not the best road trip partner to have.  There was no singing in the rain.  I believe that I have just covered points 1 through 3.

Point number 4:  The house we stayed in was an open floor concept with three bedrooms.  There wasn’t any extra beds so we all brought air mattresses.  Bedroom number one was extra big so we fit two queen air mattresses in there to inhabit my daughter and her husband and my son and his wife.  Sounds all fine and good until you get one person who snores enough to activate the richter scale.  Much laughter came from those stories in that room.  There was even video evidence of my daughter-in-law sleeping so deep that she didn’t realize my son was sticking his finger up her nose.  We move on to Bedroom number two where my boyfriend and I slept. That was a master bedroom with a beautiful garden tub in the master bath.  When other people can’t sleep during the night, what’s a person to do but get a bath in that glorious tub.  So, people would come in and out throughout the night as we tried to sleep.  But sleeping on our air mattress was a struggle in itself.  There must have been a slow leak because during the night, I would roll over into this deep dark hole in the middle.  It was like a bad water bed.  But we survived.  Moving on, the living room was sleep central for my son, daughter-in-law and 5 grandchildren with three air mattresses and a couch.  Usually well after I went to bed there were shenanigans in the living room.  The third bedroom is where my ex-husband slept.

As I stated before, the living room, kitchen and dining room are all open concept so there was movement of one form or another throughout the night.

During the day and evenings all kinds of crazy took place and that is where the magic happened.  Silly games, kids shouting, adults laughing and mudslides going down nice and easy.  One night was craft night, so we took over all the tables as we each made our own Christmas wreaths.

Thanksgiving day was amazing.  There were no rules, not just one person cooking.  We each decided to make a specific dish.  Much to my surprise, we each were able to share the kitchen and we worked like a well oiled machine in bringing the meal together.  My two sons were outside frying the turkey in a turkey fryer while the rest of us were working on the ham and side dishes.  We placed the food out on the island in the kitchen and gathered around in a circle to share our individual gratitudes which was followed by such a heartfelt, sincere prayer by my son.  There was one person missing this year and that was my former mother-in-law who passed away in September.  We were in her kitchen, in her home and as we gathered, we knew her spirit was right there with us celebrating a very momentous occasion that she would have loved.

The things that made this gathering extraordinary were the gathering of all the sects of this family.  Being able to have 5 of my grandchildren together.  We came together from all different states.  We all traveled to be together because we wanted to.  Everyone got to meet my daughter’s new husband and my daughter got to spend this time with her father.  After Christmas my daughter will be deployed overseas.  This gathering was a very necessary one, full of love, laughter and joy.  We came together despite differences in circumstances, living proximity and time restraints.  We were one family unit, the support system for my daughter and I believe, the best send off team anyone could ask for.

As we said our goodbyes, we shared our love and prayers with each other.  We shared our blessings with my daughter on her journey.  We bonded as a family to a level that we haven’t reached before.  The word grateful cannot begin to describe the experiences of this holiday.

My heart is so full that I believe it can explode.  The explosion will consist of joy, peace, tranquility and love and my intention for this outburst is to let it all fall on everyone I come in contact with.  I share my explosion with all of you.  Please pass it on.

As far as the mixed emotions regarding this Monday after Thanksgiving; My boyfriend was filled with dread to start another Monday work week.  I am thrilled to be back home and welcome my daily routine.  I also have a sadness in my heart with having to say goodbye to my daughter for an extended period of time as she serves our country away from home.  For the most part, I think everyone was thankful to be back to their own homes and beds.  I think I can speak for everyone when I say that we came away from this Thanksgiving with new love, respect and a stronger bond with each other.

I don’t want to lose this feeling of family joy so I will choose to keep it close in my heart and reignite it each and every day.

 

The Eagle Soars

Yesterday morning I had to make a trip to my hometown which is about an hour and a half away.  Before I left the house, I had my morning coffee while scrolling through facebook.  My memory feed came up first and it contained a memory and pictures from 3 years ago of my sister’s funeral.  I looked at those pictures and the feelings from that day rushed through me.  I remembered every thought, feeling and emotion from that day.  There was so much sadness but in between there was our family joined together with love and laughter, sadness and tears.  I remembered the way everything was laid out at the service and felt my sister’s presence in each item of rememberance. I could see her hands touching each one of those items as she left her imprint to be passed along.

I finshed my coffee and proceeded to get ready for the trip without any more thought to the symbolism of the day.  As I ventured out on the road, something happened.  A bald eagle flew over my car, circled back around and flew alongside my car as I drove the highway.  He was flying very low so I didn’t have to look up in the sky as it were to see him.  He was traveling with me.

My sister had grown spiritually  in the environment of the Native American Community.  Her beliefs were grounded in the Great spirit and Creator of us all.  Although being raised Catholic, she found her home in the Native American Way.  She welcomed me and our family to share in her spiritual journey on this path.  I accepted with open heart and mind and have found much growth, love and peace along the way.

On that morning, my sister’s spirit visited me as that eagle came in my path for a quick hello.  I knew immediately that it was her.  I didn’t hesitate to say hi to her as she let me know once again that she is flying with the Great Spirit and she is very near to me always.  An incredible comfort and peace,  along with excitement came to me at that moment.

When I got to my destination, I visited with my mom and brother and sister-in-law and shared the happenings of the morning.  Every one of them knew it was our beloved making a quick, unmistakable appearance and it lifted us all in joy.  At this time of year, it seems that out of the blue, friends and family are all having their own eagle sightings.  It is clear to us that our spirit guides, our friends and family from our heavenly home are with us always.

I find peace in knowing that our dearly departed haven’t left us at all.  I believe they walk with us and give us signs that they are near.  I am grateful today for this visit from my sister.  It seems that just last week, she visited her daughter and our dear friend in Michigan.  She once again comforts us and tells us that we are never alone.

Shine Brighter

The other day I was out and about running errands and I had this experience where I felt like I was standing outside myself, observing my surroundings and the people moving about.  It was kind of weird and pretty cool at the same time.  Throughout my self-awareness journey, I have heard countless teachers mention that you have to be the observer of your own life.  When in that state, you are not operating in the egoic mind.  Does that mean that I have achieved something on that day?

Although it was an interesting experience, it only lasted for a short moment and I continued on with my day.  But, the experience itself stayed with me and I stayed conscious of the fact that it did happen.  I ask myself, ” What could the meaning of that moment be?”  I am finding that more and more people are becoming awakened to the spirit of the universe.  In my mind, I consider that to be the Holy Spirit.  As I have mentioned before, I’ve read so many books, taken classes and watched videos about self awareness.  Ever since I started Blogging, I’ve noticed that  I am encountering more and more like-minded souls out there.  This demonstrates the fact that the world is awakening from an abysmal slumber where people operated on a level of puppetry.  We have been wandering around aimlessly and willingly accepting interpretations of what life’s purpose should be from generations upon generations of pain and suffering.  The sins of the father seem to pass down and through lifetimes of willing recipients.  There are cycles of conditioning that move through us and so we share that dysfunction with our children and grandchildren and so on.

On this day, in the year 2018, things are changing.  Cycles are being broken and new thought patterns are being wired into the physical brain because somewhere along the line of generations, someone had a form of insight that maybe things were not what they were being conveyed as.  Someone decided to question certain attributes of their religion or their culture or their family.  All it takes is one person to change the dynamics of any situation imaginable.  Just one different thought pattern, just one simple question at a time, just one tiny difference can jolt us out of our dormancy and bring us into a light that we’ve never experienced before.

I believe that I may have experienced that light.   My awareness in that moment expanded to a different level.  I had a glimpse of clarity and it changed the dynamic of my thought process.  I can only imagine what would happen if this experience I had,  moved from one moment to several and so forth.

Imagine the result of  my tiny, little moment of consciousness being magnified by millions of people.  It only takes a spark to get a fire going.  We are on a path of awakening and I can feel the acceleration of awareness around me.

I am on this journey along with so many others.  We are all at different levels of consciousness.  As we journey together, the light is beginning to shine brighter and brighter and I believe that it is becoming impossible to ignore such a bright light.

 

 

Contrast

I read many self help books and I watch a ton of videos about meditation and such.  I try to surround myself with positivity.  It all sounds so Zen, doesn’t it?  Granted, I work hard at soul-searching and self growth, but I’m as human as the next person.  I like laughing at stupid jokes, drinking a glass of wine until I’m silly and acting like a kid.  Being spiritual doesn’t mean being a stick in the mud and it doesn’t mean being a perfect being at all times either.

While I was raising my kids, I was very strict.  Everything was black and white.  I was so rigid and the kids knew their place and they followed suit.  I look back now and wonder , who in the world was that person calling the shots?  I don’t recognize her.   I don’t think I could live with her anymore.  With that being said, I find little shades of that person peek through me at times.  Yes, those stubborn, black and white thoughts are ingrained in me and they rear their ugly heads from time to time.  Thankfully I am able to recognize her when she comes calling.  But, honestly, there are times when she stays around a little longer than I would like to admit.  I get stuck on technicalities such as being in a bad mood because they didn’t put the dishes in the dishwasher, they didn’t replace the empty roll of toilet paper, they left the mess for me to pick up.  Such trivial things to waste my energy on and I know better, yet I still do it.  The big test for me right now is this 8 month old puppy of mine.  I find myself losing patience and reacting in negative ways that only frustrate me and the dog.

There’s a difference now, though.  I am able to at least recognize the creature from within.  I’m not always able to put her away immediately but recognizing her is a result of the time spent in soul-searching and self-growth.  Meditation calms me down and brings me to a peaceful place to springboard off of into my day.  It helps me to realize that I am not that creature from within and that changes the chain of events that follow the crazy hysteria.  All of the spiritual work, self-help, positivity training that I do will not make me a perfect person.  Perfection is unrealistic anyway.  It’s not attainable, it’s a fallacy that we tell ourselves.  I don’t try to be perfect.  I try to be better. I want to be a better version of myself.

I think sometimes we put expectations on people that we call gurus and spiritual teachers.  These people are human just like me.  They are not perfect and don’t claim to be.  (most of them anyway).  They’ve learned a way to find the better version of themselves and are sharing what they have found.  Isn’t that what we call purpose?

I’m never going to be happy, excited, loving all the time.  It’s actually not natural to be.  I’m going to be sad, depressed, angry, lonely at times too.  All of these emotions are what balance us out as humans.  These feelings are meant to be felt and acknowledged and allowed to pass through us.  It’s the contrast of life that makes us appreciate everything.  One thing that I’ve learned is that it’s okay to visit all these emotions for a time but I just don’t want to take up residence in any one place for too long.  I’ll end up missing out on true living, growth and love.  But, it’s possible to visit all these emotions while being in a state of deep love within.  When we live in true love, that is, joy, peace, calm, compassion, empathy, we are able to live our daily lives with an innate knowing that we are perfect as we were created to be.  Perfect, not in the sense of actions or reactions but perfect in the sense that deep within our core resides God.  You can’t get more perfect than that.

 

The Natural

My soul, so tired of trudging through the daily routine is feeling empty.  The drudgery of facing each day with the same old happenings and no fire in the furnace leaves me hollow.  Where can I find a spark?  How do I feel the spirit of inspiration?

Today, I stepped into a world of enchantment.  I was shocked and overwhelmed at what greeted me at the door.  As I entered, I smelled a familiar scent that awakened my other senses.  It immediately engaged my mind, asking it to notice and rejoice in the offerings of such a joyful world.  The cement that held my eyes tightly closed to the mystical had suddenly been loosened.  There, before me, lay intense pigmentations  of trees and leaves.  The fountain of outpouring tears of happiness cascaded throughout the landscape, giving the sense of hearing a bountiful, flowing treat.  As I ventured through this forest of extraordinary beauty, I breathed in a spirit that filled my lungs with life-giving tranquility.  It has  been said that the breath brings us serenity.  I inhaled the miraculous spirit that I seemed to have lost.

My body has been an empty furnace searching for it’s spark.  My soul has ached to feel the spirit within.  Today I stepped out, into the world and onto the path that I have walked before.  I sauntered into a church that I have always known but somehow kept myself away from.  Today, I entered the church of nature and I felt life breathed back into my body as if I was being risen from the dead.  First came the tiny spark and within moments I felt the flame of spirit within me.  At that moment I felt weightless and alive, filled with peace and inspiration.  In one tiny moment, it all came back to me.

The truth is that my God has never left me.  His spirit is in me.  I took life for granted and lost sight of my inner light and with one step into the natural world , my awakened self was restored.  All that I long for exists here within.

My Church

I took a walk early yesterday morning with my puppy of 4 1/2 months.  We have a beautiful trail in our town that moseys through one town after the other.  Although I live near the beach, my heart has always been inspired by the forest.

As I entered the trail it was like walking into a church.  All of the trees and vines are in full bloom and together they create a canopy above making me feel like I am walking on Holy ground.  The coolness of the shade is welcomed and refreshing.  The scents that reach me are uplifting to say the least.  The sweetness of honeysuckle refreshes me.  The coolness and smell of damp earth makes me feel alive.  They transform my soul to a higher vibration.

As I walk through and into this magic kingdom I feel one with the trees and closer to God.  There’s so much life and wisdom here.  I just have to breathe and listen to  the soft breeze and the story she is telling me.

I hadn’t walked on this trail for some time,  and now being back with her, I feel such a sense of peace and tranquility and realize how much I missed my inspirational companion.

Today I am grateful for the uplifting spirituality that comes to me as I walk on this trail.  I have found a blessing that is priceless.  Nature doesn’t cost me a thing but gives me so much love and power.

I pray that you have a special place of peace and serenity at your beck and call.  A place to go to when you need calmness and love.  Love and wisdom are surrounding us in the humblest of places.  With hearts and minds open we can be transformed in nature and share that transformation with others.

Life is good and we need to remind each other how blessed we are to be alive.  We have to see that the world is a wonderful place and that most people are good.  We all just want to love and be loved.  That’s what I get out of my “church” as I walk along her path.

It is my responsibility to share this goodness with everyone.  Eventually, we will see that there are so many others experiencing the same thing and that we are not so very different.  Love is Love.