What Is Your Compass?

What if no point of view is correct? We both are wrong. Me in my strong moral righteousness and you in your idea of keeping America safe. Is it possible I am wrong? Is it possible the wool was pulled over both of our eyes? Is truth in neither of our hearts? About this, I have always worried. What if?

What if there is someone who has a reason to keep you and me apart? If we are not a whole group, we can never be healthy if we are always at odds. The strength of the people–against all the odds–will undoubtedly win. It’s a winning team. Why would that be bad? About this, I have always worried. What if?

What if we can never heal in this lifetime? Is love not enough to heal a nation of people, a race, a community, a world? I have been on both sides of the political ticket. Once I was a Republican, then a Democrat, I’ve known both sides’ frustration. I walked in the shoes of the Fundamentalist, the Christian, and the Agnostic. In the middle of this country, walk a group of people who are hungry for truth. They long for it. We believe we are right. Until a new reality shows us we are not. About this, I have always worried. What if?

“What does love look like? It has the hands to help others. It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has eyes to see misery and want. It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men. That is what love looks like.”  Augustine

--Around the year 2000, I was awakened to a reality I didn’t know existed. It was as if someone turned on the lights. About this is what I’d always worried. I could see that I’d been stumbling around blindly looking for a pot of gold, but the rainbow’s end had been moving. Now I knew why. There wasn’t a goal. There’s no end of the rainbow to locate. No certainty. I’d been cheated. I was lost and so alone, even in the middle of my own family. I cried and prayed. The word came from inside of me, saying, “Go back to what you know for sure.”

All I knew for certain was love. It was and had always been my compass. Follow love, and not fear. It was the only commandment from Jesus. I grabbed that as if it were my lifeline. Right now, I’m throwing that out to you. Your lifeline is love. Guide your life by love. Follow the light of love.

“So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”  John 13:34-35

“Let all that you do be done in love.”  

1 Corinthians 16:14

Melancholy

I’m battling through overgrown weeds of depression and the bramble of my mind, getting my thoughts in order. Following the confused tangle causes me to lose my balance. And direction.

I indulge in my despair and failure.

I’m comfortable sitting on the forest floor, and I cry. Scream. I can’t stay here forever. So, I get up and go …again..

Janet West
Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

The holidays are a difficult time for me. Our culture has high expectations, and there’s no way for most of us to live up to those. We are disappointed. Somehow I must change my way of living. I need a new view of life, so I will not cry half of the day for two months.

My challenge is yours. Start your own traditions by creating a holiday or non-holiday for you and your family. Live on your terms. Release yourself from other’s chains. And may each year be better than the last

Happy days ahead!

Best Practices

We’re rushing headlong toward a new year, and that means new resolutions with new false promises. Why set ourselves up for puffed-up expectations. Instead, let’s take a look at what we have that’s working. Let’s keep our hopes tied to what we are loving now. We don’t need to fling our energy out into the new year like a scattered seed when we can keep it close and grow more. We can grow stronger.

Take Inventory

You have skills. Ideas float in your head. Do you know how far away you are from success? Where is a success? Is it a place? A feeling? Will it find you? Or do you put on your hiking boots to climb the mountain, kissing the hand of the King that grants special favors?

Keep Yourself Together

Can you name one thing you do rather well? What about five? This week it would be good if you could find the time to grab some paper, any paper, even the back of an envelope, and a writing implement. Write the numbers one through five in a list format. Put this list on your bathroom mirror or your refrigerator, somewhere you will see it. We are going to list our best skills.

The List

Let’s start. Write five skills.

  • Do you keep your promises?
  • Maybe you’re on time.
  • Can you write a moving speech?
  • Do you care for children who love you?
  • Taking care of your body with good food and walking is a real achievement.
  • Have you recently learned a valuable lesson for life?

These are items and others like them could be on your list. What do you do well? What is going right? This is the foundation upon which you can build a better life. If you remember, place the paper in a prominent place.

I’d love to hear some of your achievements.

Keys And Locks

There are too many passwords to remember. I carry a badge for work and a FOB, keys for my car and my home, multiple identification cards, money cards, and insurance cards of various types. The doors at work have levels of protection, so outsiders can’t enter. Has it always been so difficult? Have you counted the number of passwords you need daily now?

Are we safe yet? Or is this about something else?

Gatekeepers

When I came into the world, I met my first gatekeepers. I didn’t realize how much my family’s lack of acceptance disabled me, not until I peered back with adult eyes. I understand why my tiny self raged. I was stubborn and battling an invisible wall of resistance.

Many feel threatened by others who enter their area. It’s normal. Others change the way worship, the way we eat, and even challenge what we rights we have. Fear of others is a survival skill, but so is expansion and acceptance. Learning new skills can keep us pliable and young at heart. Consider before you react in fear.

See also Softness Is Your Strength

Sunny Days

I have swallowed the sun⠀⠀
see how I shine,⠀⠀
large centered, huge hearted⠀⠀
The sky is mine. I ask and I shine

Art: Sol Sister © Janet Newton 2017⠀⠀
We’Moon 2019: Fanning the Flame⠀⠀
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#Janetnewton #womenwhopaint #womewhowrite #womenartist #sunflower #sunshine #junebug #womenempowerment #fightthepatriarchy #crowmagic

excerpt © Debra Hall 2017 ⠀⠀
We’Moon 2019: Fanning the Flame ⠀⠀
#debrahall⠀⠀
⠀⠀

Reposted from We Moon. www.facebook.com/wemoon/

Cursing the Darkness

I curse the darkness.

I know I’m supposed to believe. I’m supposed to visualize good things and make vision boards. But in the end, you’ll find me yelling profanities out my window-maybe not literally, but figuratively I do curse the depression.

You will not torture me!

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light…-

Dylan Thomas

There are three common responses to abuse. Fight, flight, and fawning. Fighting, raging, not trusting anyone, that’s how some handle life. They walk taller, live faster, and work harder than others. But a cockfight is not my first tendency.

My first response to problems is panic! I freeze, like a fawn. I’m a deer in the headlights, and my mind stops functioning. I swear that running would be healthier.

Depression, that deadly chill, is why I curse the darkness. It’s a night which can swallow me, and I hate it. But, I force myself to face its ugliness. I build massive fires to fight the chill.

I curse the darkness. I use any of the tools I have. I love music and watching movies. Writing and studying my ancestry are more than a distraction; they bring me joy. These are my bonfires. My friendships. My family. Memories of favorite moments. I’ve stockpiled a cache of fireworks for whenever I need them.

I refuse to live in the darkness of my fears.

Do not go gentle into that good night

Dylan Thomas, 1914  1953

“Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”

The Difference You Make​

People who really want to make a difference, usually do it, but it’s not always how you expect. Years ago, when I was a young woman, I craved to help and even make a dent in the universe. And maybe I did.

We who are idealistic have a faulty way of seeing things. If we don’t help by teaching or doing some large mission like Mother Teresa touching thousands, we feel we have failed. Our purpose is misty and unfocused.

Crowning Achievement

With maturity, I’ve developed wisdom. I know there small steps can change your life. One moment can make a difference. And if you can hold out a little longer than others you can be mighty. But I’ll tell you what has become the pièce de résistance.

There’s a habit I’ve developed, and this little detail has made the most significant difference in my life. It’s the practice of saying thank you and acknowledging those things I appreciate.

Worry, Worry, Fret, and Worry

Before, I spent my time fretting over what I didn’t have, praying for more, listing my needs, and planning how I’d get them. I still ask, but now I put more emphasis on my gratitude. This is how I focus. This is how my vision comes with a better focus.

Love is What I Know

Darkness. We don’t sit there often. As soon as I get home, I turn on the light, feed the cat, and get the activity going. The dark seems empty. But it doesn’t have to frighten us.

Go back to what you know for sure. Those were the words that I heard when I was in my dark space. It’s taken me some time to understand their meaning.

tumblr_ldlfpavmov1qekgtho1_500Re-boot

In the Bible, there’s the story of Jonah, the man who didn’t want to preach to the people in a city called Nineveh. He hid on a boat until he was thrown out into the storm and he was swallowed alive by a great fish. Darkness. Crazily, he ends up back where he was supposed to be in the beginning.

I laugh because if you call the customer support line for help with your computer, the first thing they ask is, did you try turning it off and on again? Restart. That’s their answer for everything.

But start overs are impossible in real life. Aren’t they? A start over, a cleaning, a bottom level, that was the message I got when I heard the words, “Go back to what you know for sure.”  What did I know for sure? Love.

Where is the love?

I was uncertain of religion. I couldn’t tell you at that moment if I believed in God or the devil, heaven or hell. I didn’t know if the Bible was real or if the teachings I’d grown up with were true, but I did know there was a love that was buried deep inside of me that I’d felt all of my life and it wasn’t of any religion.

What does that mean? What does it look like? I had to stop trusting in everything else. I only had love. So I let myself sit in the darkness, in the emptiness with nothing to light me but the one candle of love. It sounds silly, but when you’re a traditionalist, and you let the old teachings slip away, the emptiness around you isn’t lonely or scary. The love you feel grows. There’s a freedom in that love. Joy unspeakable.

Can you find your truth?

Check out older post — My Skepticism on Religion  and Question It All

The Odd One

Luna Lovegood

My favorite characters are usually the odd ones. Just a bit off beat. They’re likely not the girl to be invited to the party, but not because they’re hated, or ugly, more likely because they were wandering in the forest, gathering mushrooms or rare moth larvae. Let me introduce you to Auri, from Patrick Rothfuss’s series – The Kingkiller Chronicles and Luna Lovegood, from J.K. Rowling’s, Harry Potter series.

Auri – The Kingkiller Chronicles

Auri was a young genius whose spark burned too brightly to function in what most of us call reality. Instead, she created her own reality in the tunnels under the university. Her days are spent making order of the abandoned areas in that hidden world. Her one friend is a current student, Kvothe.

Auri hopped down from the chimney and skipped over to where I stood, her hair streaming behind her. “Hello Kvothe.” She took a half-step back. “You reek.”

I smiled my best smile of the day. “Hello Auri,” I said. “You smell like a pretty young girl.”

“I do,” she agreed happily.

She stepped sideways a little, then forward again, moving lightly on the balls of her bare feet. “What did you bring me?” she asked.

“What did you bring me?” I countered.

She grinned. “I have an apple that thinks it is a pear,” she said, holding it up. “And a bun that thinks it is a cat. And a lettuce that thinks it is a lettuce.”

“It’s a clever lettuce then.”

“Hardly,” she said with a delicate snort. “Why would anything clever think it was a lettuce?”

“Even if it is a lettuce?” I asked.

“Especially then,” she said. “Bad enough to be a lettuce. How awful to think you are a lettuce too.” She shook her head sadly, her hair following the motion as if she were underwater.

Luna Lovegood – Harry Potter series

At first, you dismiss Luna, especially when she’s talking about mysterious things that go bump in the night that steal shoes. But, she also knows things that no one else seems to know. Besides, just listening to her talk is enchanting enough for me, whether she speaks by book or by movie.

The girl gave off an aura of distinct dottiness. Perhaps it was the fact that she had stuck her wand behind her left ear for safekeeping, or that she had chosen to wear a necklace of Butterbeer caps, or that she was reading a magazine upside down. – From Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

“Mistletoe,” said Luna dreamily, pointing at a large clump of white berries placed almost over Harry’s head. He jumped out from under it. “Good thinking,” said Luna very seriously. “It’s often infested with nargles.”

Harry Potter: [sees that Luna is barefoot] Aren’t your feet cold?

Luna Lovegood: A bit. But all my shoes have mysteriously disappeared. I suspect the Nargles are behind it. – from Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007)

The Flip Side of Failure

The flip side of survival and the fear of failure is thriving. Thriving shouldn’t be difficult. How is it so difficult to win? To succeed? Well, the difficulty is when you have achieved, what’s next? You’ve met your goal. Do you coast or do you keep pedaling?

Keep pedaling. This is why slow growth is better than the lottery winning. If you’ve slowly grown a business you got there and grew into your success. Lucky breaks give you false hope.

We are good at striving. Making changes, adjusting, sacrificing, but actual thriving seems so dull sometimes. Oh, yeah we all have the fantasy of buying an island and not having to work for a living, but how long would it be before we would want more? A month? Six months? A year maybe? Somewhere in that time, you start feeling the itchy feet. The need to contribute is too great. Building something even if it’s only a garden is a rewarding experience.