Monday, October 16, 2017

THE UTMOST UNUSUAL, WEIRD, UNEXPECTED, WONDER-FILLED DAY!

Last Tuesday began as usual, but as the hours ticked by, it became abundantly clear that it would become THE UTMOST UNUSUAL, WEIRD, UNEXPECTED,  WONDER-FILLED DAY!
  • Awoke at 6:00 a.m.  
  • Took the dog out, picked up the morning paper
  • Poured a cup of joe, grabbed a breakfast bar
  • Changed Shadow's water, gave her two bacon strips
  • Meditated with prayer and centering
  • Read the paper
  • Checked book sales 
  • Read FB posts
  • Brushed teeth, washed face, and dressed for zumba class
  • Drove to Anytime Fitness
Nothing unusual to this point, right? Right.
  • Met up with a few Zumba regulars
  • Was asked if I was going to lunch with them (didn't know about lunch date)
  • Graciously accepted invitation
Folks, if you've never eaten at the Bistro Iceburgh before, do yourself a favor and head on over to the corner of 4th Street in downtown Irwin. You can build your own salad with fresh greens, multiple meat and veggie choices, various toppings and at least 20 different dressings from which to choose. The salads are enormous, and with the exception of one of our Zumba buds, who nearly consumed the whole bowl in one sitting, could easily feed a family of four for a mere ten bucks. But I digress...
  • Casually chatted about varied topics
  • Heard someone say something about an 'esoteric' presentation 
  • Gathered outside to say good-byes when presentation came up again
  • "I want to go," popped out of my mouth
  • 'Dawn' invited me to come along with 'them' and offered me a ride
Still not in the category of the unusual, except for the 'them'.
  • Received a call at 2:00 from 'Dawn' saying 'they' were in front of my house
  • 'Dawn' was in the driver's seat, 'Mellow', riding shotgun, 'Your Highness', in the back seat
  • As I got in the car, I thought, "What the hell am I doing going to a 7:00 p.m. presentation in East Liberty on something I knew nothing about with three kids nearly 30 years my junior at two o'clock in the afternoon"?
You've got to admit things ARE getting a little bit weird now!
  • Headed for Homestead which just happens to be a stone's throw from Munhall, the place where I was born and raised
  • Compared notes on the Homestead area
  • Proudly said that the mayor was an old family friend I'd known since the age of five
  • 'Dawn' called the mayor, "Betty," which absolutely horrified me
  • Parked in front of an apartment building and approached the front door
Picture yourself walking up the pathway to a place you've never been before with three people you barely knew to do God only knows what! (for me, the scary movie, 'Halloween' comes to mind). Actually 'they' were there to paint walls. When asked if I enjoyed painting, I responded with a loud and clear, "Hell, no!" 

At this point, you've got to admit 'unusual and weird' might not be strong enough words to describe my experience thus far. Oh, and it's about to get even better!
  • Stairway and interiors rooms eerily similar to those in my grandparents' home in which I grew up
  • A train whistle outside carried me back to the Fifties in one split second
  • After exploring the entire unit, settled on the back porch to read about abuses in a particular Amish community (perfect selection)
  • Asked 'Mellow' if I could get a lemonade, but never did
  • While reading, heard some muffled voices and bangs of unknown origin 
CREEPY!

  • Decided to check on the 'kids' (if one think I've learned in my 73 years on this earth is that kids always need to be checked on)
  • 'Mellow' was washing baseboards
  • 'Dawn', high on a ladder, washing windows (by high, I mean up on a rung)
  • 'Your Highness', the only one actually painting
  • Felt guilty about not being useful, offered to help wash windows
  • Had a bucket placed at my feet, and a rag in hand before I could even entertain the thought of changing my mind
  • Took 2 hours to clean two double-hung windows that hadn't been kissed by Windex in a very, very, very long time
During this period of the day, things were beginning to normalize or so you might think, but, as par for the course, you'd be wrong!
  • Announced that 5:30 quitting time was fast approaching
  • The 'kids' ignored me and continued their work
  • So, in my teacher voice, I instructed 'them' to wrap it up in five minutes
  • Freshened up with cold water and a paper towel 
  • Put on deodorant and a clean blouse
  • At some point, 'Dawn', 'Your Highness,' and 'Mellow' did likewise
  • Headed out for dinner
Now for the 'unexpected'. Surely you'd think that since we were so near Homestead's Waterfront, a fairly new development of businesses, apartments, and eateries, we'd be on our way to an establishment well-known for its good food and pleasant ambiance. Wrong again.
  • Pulled into a COSCO lot and exited the car
  • Gained admittance by 'Dawn' flashing her membership card
  • Studied the menu placed high above on easily-read placards with pictures and prices included
  • Selected a 'chicken something' encased in a tubular crust and a lemonade
  • Sat at a picnic table to eat and take in the eclectic ambiance of Christmas trees set up right next to the Halloween display
  • When finished, we tossed our paper plates and off we went

If truth be told, 'Dawn' had asked beforehand if it was okay with each of us to go to COSCO's, for dinner, and with no objections logged, it was a unanimous group decision. I must say, though unexpected, my meal was delicious, the price was definitely right, the company was delightful, and the ambiance, it was unusual!

Perhaps it took awhile, but finally we get to the 'wonder-filled'!

  • Signed in at the registration table, dropped five bucks in the donation basket
  • Had to insist 'Dawn' exchange seats with me since she had me sitting squarely in front of the speaker
  • Listened to the introduction of Mr. William Meader, an esoteric philosopher who teaches and lectures in various countries around the world
  • Took part in a brief centering exercise before the presentation began

From his first words, Mr. Meader, in a soft-spoken tone, captivated my attention, and for the next 90 minutes or so, enlightened my mind with sacred information I had either never heard before, or had never heard it explained exactly in that way. The title of his talk,"The Cry of Humanity", began by going back to ancient times, passed through the centuries, and circled completely around to the sorry conditions we are experiencing in our world today. The crux of his presentation focused on what he referred to as, 'The Seven Rays of Divine Manifestation.' With my limited knowledge, I would do a great disservice to Mr. Meader in trying to explain this topic, so instead I've provided an attachment for your thoughtful consideration. Believe me, if you're looking to discover an answer to the age old question, 'Who Am I?' it would certainly be worth your valuable time. Upon finishing his remarks, Mr. Meader allowed ample time for questions from the audience. Towards the end, I asked, "if the Rays of our Soul and Personality would ever be one and the same, and would they then be operating at the same intensity?" His response was, "yes, and yes." He then answered by saying that when such a phenomenal occurrence happened, that person would then become the Master. I was certainly satisfied with his explanation, but was absolutely baffled when he unexpectedly added a seemingly off- the-cuff exclamation to me. "You'll get there," he said and turned away to entertain another query.

THE UTMOST UNUSUAL, WEIRD, UNEXPECTED, WONDER-FILLED DAY was nearing its end, with only the ride home left.

  • Upon leaving the building, my head felt like it was three times the size which made me dizzy and a little wobbly on my feet
  • Walking down the embankment, 'Dawn' shadowed me to offer support if need be, but I shooed her away (I find it difficult to accept help even when its clear assistance might be needed)
  • I tripped trying to navigate the curb, only to have 'Your Highness' stop my fall with her outstretched arms
  • Got in the car, closed my eyes, and listened to the constant reverberation playing in my brain, You'll get there, you'll get there, you'll get there.
  • When the kids dropped me at my front door, they waited until I was safely inside 
After almost spending eleven hours in their company, I believe I now know much more about 'Dawn', 'Your Highness', and last, but certainly not least, 'Mellow' than I did at the beginning of THE UTMOST UNUSUAL, WEIRD, UNEXPECTED, WONDER-FILLED DAY! And what I know is that we can be very proud of our young people who are definitely the hope for a better world in our not so distant future!



I couldn't figure out how to add the atttachment, so here it is:

*THE SEVEN RAYS OF DIVINE MANIFESTATION
William Meader
                                                                                                       www.meader.org

I.  WHO AM I?
 A.   The question we ask ourselves every day of our lives
                 1.    Subconsciously or consciously
                                   2.     Attempts to answer this question include:
                                           a)   Personal relationships
                                           b)  Chosen career paths,
                                           c)    Personal beliefs
   B.   Spiritual perspective of this question
                       1.     Search for the Soul
                       2.     All Souls inherently conditioned by love 
                       3.     Significant variations exist between Souls

                 II. NATURE OF LIGHT

A.   White light, through a prism, is divided into seven unique colors
B.   Light of God expressed Itself in seven unique qualities
1.       In Esoteric Philosophy, these are the Seven Rays of Divine Light  
a)       Purpose of Divinity
b)       Divine Love
c)       Divine Intelligence
d)       Beauty of Divinity
e)       Clarity of Divinity
f)         Vision of Divinity
g)       Manifestation of Divinity
2.       Every human Soul is an express of one of these Seven Rays

                                          III. DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVEN RAYS

A.  Ray 1 – The Ray of Divine Will and Purpose
1.     Reveals the Purpose of Divinity within the human kingdom
2.    Stirs the 1st Ray Soul to express the power of divine purpose thru loving strength and one-pointed vision
3.     Role is to shatter forms that no longer adequately express God’s Love
4.    Liberates Divine Life from outworn modes of outward expression
5.     Frees the Life to seek new forms to express Itself more radiantly
6.   In ancient record, known as The Light Which Annihilates

B.  Ray 2 - The Ray of Love and Wisdom
1.  Conditions all of life with Divine Love
2.  Reveals the unity that underlies all apparent diversity within creation
3.       Expresses love through compassion and   understanding
4.       The Ray of inclusiveness
5.       It attracts all unto itself
6.       In ancient records, known as The Cosmic Magnet

C.  Ray 3 – The Ray of Abstract Intelligence and Activity
1.       Provides the underlying intelligence in all of nature
2.       It is the force that animates human thought
3.       Reveals the Mind of God within the consciousness of humanity
4.       Gives spiritual understanding to all human activity
5.       Most associated with karma, remembering what was, and what is to be
6.       In ancient records, known as The Keeper of the Records

D.  Ray 4 – The Ray of Harmony Through Conflict
1.       Creates a sense of equilibrium and beauty in creation
2.       Seeks balance and resolution to the warring dualities present in the human experience
3.       Ability to see both sides of opposing ideas and seeks harmony between them
4.       With harmony, beauty emerges
5.       All life contains a hidden seed of spiritual harmony
6.       In ancient records, known as The Seed that is the Flower

E.      Ray 5 – The Ray of Concrete Knowledge and Science
1.       Pursues correct knowledge
2.       Clarifies life through scientifically precise examination of reality
3.       5th Ray Souls dedicate their lives to finding solutions to problems facing humanity
4.       Spiritual purpose is to show that knowledge adds understanding of the Spirit
5.       In ancient records, known as The Dispenser of Knowledge

F.      Ray 6 – The Ray of Idealism and Devotion
1.       Instills a yearning to spiritually aspire
2.       Influences humanity to realize the Spirit within
3.       Lifts humanity to realize something greater than life awaits those who aspire toward the Light within
4.       6th Ray Souls believe that the path to enlightenment is in letting go of human desire
5.       In ancient records, known as The Negator of Desire

G.     Ray 7 – The Ray of Ceremonial Order and Magic
1.       Best known for bringing order out of chaos
2.       Purpose is to translate spiritual ideas into tangible realities
3.       Influences humanity to outwardly creat according to Divine intention
4.       7th Ray Souls are true magicians, since through the power of the spoken and written word, they are naturally able to create positive change in the world
5.       7th Ray Souls understand the power of speech for creating new forms for Spirit to express Itself through
6.       In ancient records, known as The Keeper of the Magical Word

IV.  THE PATH OF SELF DISCOVERY
A.  The Spiritual Journey
1.       Who Am I? is gradually answered
2.       It is the quest for the Self, the Soul that we are seeking
B.    Individuality of the Soul
1.       Each Soul is a fragment of Divine Light
2.       Each Soul has a unique spiritual mission to fulfill
3.       Introspection is most important in identifying which     Rays are working through us and at what level of         intensity.




*I’ve taken the liberty to simplify Mr. Meader’s handout and blog post, http://tinyurl.com/yde6d7j7,
 by outlining the main points of The Seven Rays of Divine Manifestation for my own understanding.











           
  

    
            
                             

   

           
  

    
            
                             
   

Monday, October 9, 2017

PERMISSION TO CRY

As I watched the horrific scene outside the Mandalay Bay complex unfold in Las Vegas last week, a lump formed in my throat, my chest tightened, and tears reached my eyes. I couldn't wrap my head around how someone would even conceive of such a plan much less cold-heartedly carry it out. I must confess the 'why' of it plagued me for a short time, but does it really matter what the motive may have been when 59 people are dead, and over 500 injured, some critically wounded who could eventually lose their fight for survival?

For the next several days, I read many news articles about varying accounts of what happened during those 15 minutes of terror: the mounting number of casualties, the first responders who ran towards danger, the fans who acted selflessly to help wounded strangers, and the madman who inflicted this atrocity on innocent concert-goers. Each and every time I experienced the same visceral reactions, lump in my throat, tightening of my chest, and tears in my eyes.

BUT I DIDN'T CRY AND I WONDERED WHY?

I consider myself to have empathy for folks who have been wrongly treated or accused. Certainly the Vegas massacre was heads-and-shoulders beyond mistreatment or accusation, and yet I didn't shed a tear. Is it because over the last twenty years or so, these kinds of ugly scenes have become commonplace in our country to the point that I've become numb to them? Maybe without actually having a personal connection with anyone who suffered injury or death, I felt somehow removed from this cruel reality. I hope neither of these possibilities are true of me.

As I gave thought to my lack of emotional release, I tried to think when it was that I had last cried. September 14, the 14th anniversary of a dear friend's suicide...

 After attending a band concert, my friend went home and in the wee hours of the morning, she shot herself. I remember getting the call, screaming into the phone, and pounding my fists on my knees. I was so angry, so irate, and felt so disappointed with her, that I couldn't have cried if I wanted to. which at the time, I had no intention of shedding my precious tears for someone who devalued life in such a violent way. I attended her viewing, even sang 'Ava Marie' with our performance group while there, and although I experienced the lump in my throat, the tightening of my chest, and the tears in my eyes, with chin extended and a hardened resolve to be strong, I refused to cry. 

When something significant or catastrophic happens in my life or in my world, the best way I find to deal with it is to write about it. After a few months and an unusual occurrence, I wrote the poem, *"A Light In The Mourning," detailing my friend's suicide; what might have driven her to it, the feelings that rushed through my mind and body when I was notified, and finally described how I came to some sense of acceptance.

As I wrote each line, visions of the good times we shared played like a video in my mind, and as I continued my efforts to complete the poem,  I realized more and more how much she'd meant to me, how much I missed her, and that I would go on missing her always and forever. With that realization I, either consciously or subconsciously, gave myself permission to cry, and by the time I'd finished, I found myself sobbing uncontrollably.

Every September 14 since,  I cry over a loss that ripped out a piece of my heart and my soul. I feel sorry for her, I feel sorry for me, I feel sorry for all those who never had the chance to meet this wonderful, talented person, and I feel especially sorry for the great things she left undone that could have been so influential in making our world a better place.

As I write this post, tears run down my cheeks for all those who lost their lives in Las Vegas, for all those who were critically wounded and for all those who had to witness this senseless massacre.

I feel sorry for them, I feel sorry for me, I feel sorry for all of us who will never have the chance to meet these wonderful, talented people, and I feel especially sorry for the great things they've left undone that could have been so influential in making our world a better place.




* "A Light In The Mourning" by Flo Barnett

A LIGHT IN THE MOURNING
    
In the blackness of night,                            Then, somewhere in the mourning,  
She writhes in unspeakable pain.                 An incredible light appears.
Her demons screeching out obscenities       Trembling we draw closer
Leaving her tormented soul defeated,          And, although never seen before,
Without hope or friend,                                This radiance is familiar,
She ends her life.                                          Comforting even.

In the early mourning                                    Intuitively, we recognize her glow.
We cry rivers of tears,                                    It warms our hearts,
Wail in deafening pitch,                                 Eases our minds,
Sustain crushing blows                                  Embraces our souls,
To heart and spirit,                                         Lifts our burdens,
Drained, we turn stone cold.                           Genuinely loves us.

We hate her for this dastardly act,                And in the light of the mourning,
Cursing her decision to inflict agony.             We sense the ‘why’ of it.
But not for precious memories,                      Enlightened in our grief,        
We might hold her forever in contempt,         We come to respect her choice,
Wishing her eternal suffering,                        For her it was the right choice,
Damnation even.                                            The only one even.

In time, God only knows how long,                 Every second of life involves choice
We remember,                                               And each one we make
Laughing like hyenas,                                    Is right for us in that moment.    
Talking about how to live,                             We will never understand hers, 
Dancing to life’s rhythms,                             One day, perhaps we’ll accept it,
Singing in perfect harmony.                          Forgive it even.

                                 
                                           Unedited original
                                               

                   

Monday, October 2, 2017

DE-CLUTTER YOUR LIFE!

We spend so much of our precious time gathering things that are of little to no use to our existence. Why? Perhaps we're like the squirrels of the forest who act upon survival instincts, scooping up as many acorns as possible before the winter snows cover the ground.

But we're not like the squirrels, and the more we accumulate the more anxious we become, exerting inordinate amounts of energy to protect our stuff. Letting go of anything is extremely difficult, but absolutely necessary to exist harmoniously within ourselves as well as with others.  De-Cluttering our lives allows us to be free of the inane responsibilities we bear for the "junk" we feverishly clutch with white-knuckled determination.

YOUR ENVIRONMENT:

Look around your home and access what you see with truth and introspection. Do you need even half of what is scattered haphazardly on your kitchen countertop? Empty grocery bags, three chewed pencils, stacks of newspapers, a moldy tomato, one cookie jar for the family, one cookie jar for the dog, last week's mail, a few beer cans, a pizza box....need I go on? What in God's name do these things have to do with your happiness or survival? NOTHING, NADA, ZIP! Aside from the dog's cookie jar, nothing deserves the least bit of your attention, and with one swipe of the hand, all of it can be swept into the trash.

Throw out the recliner that has a gaping hole in it, rip down the drapes that have been hanging since you moved in, clean out your linen closet, saving only the sheets and towels that you actually use, go through your clothes, and if you haven't worn them in the past 6 months, Good Will will gladly accept your donations.

Having rid yourself of things that have absolutely no relevance to your value as a person or to your ultimate survival is truly freeing! Once you start this process, you'll find that the less you accumulate, the more you have.

Open the windows, let in the fresh air, and reflect upon this, "The best things in life are free!"

STARTING TO FEEL IT? AH, WHAT A RELIEF!

YOUR BODY:

When you were born, you were perfect. You were the weight and length you were meant to be. Your skin was gorgeous, your hair, soft as silk, your eyes, clear windows to your soul. I'm pretty sure you didn't exit the womb with tattoos covering your face, arms, and ankles, you had no ear, eye, and tongue piercings and permanently stamped eyebrows, lashes and lips.  Am I right? Of course I am!

In order to have a healthy, beautiful (your concept of beauty, not one that society has imposed) body, you simply need to eat well, avoid empty calories, exercise regularly, shower daily, and love the skin you're in!

All of the accouterments you think you need to enhance your appearance such as jewelry, the latest in fashions, shoes, make-up and hair style, do nothing but increase your anxiety over not having the latest and greatest, and do more harm than good to your self-image than you might consider.

Today's media, as well as growing up in a dysfunctional family, are largely responsible for how poorly we view our own bodies. Disregard these toxic forces, take care of your health, and present yourself to the world much like the perfect baby you were at birth, pure, simple, and entirely whole!

WOW, THIS REALLY DOES FEEL GOOD!

YOUR MIND:

What is on your mind right now? Is it meaningful? Positive? Beneficial? If not, erase it and either clear your mind of all thoughts or replace it with ones that contribute to your health and success.

If worry, negativity, and depressed thinking fill your mind for even a few minutes each day, these villians eventually kill your ability to formulate  mentally-sound judgments. You become prone to making poor choices in all areas of your life, and I can assure you, nothing can threaten your survival more than a warped mind.

Taking time each day to meditate frees the mind and opens the door to more productive thinking. Try giving some thought to the needs of others instead of concentrating on yourself,  Formulate a plan that can turn these ideas into changing the lives of folks less fortunate than yourself.

When events in your life cause stress, make a concerted effort to see the possibility for positive outcomes no matter how dire the situation.

By De-Cluttering your mind of mundane, useless thinking, you can train yourself to focus on more important, expansive issues.

THIS JUST KEEPS GETTING BETTER AND BETTER, DOESN'T IT?

                                                *********************

BEST CASE SCENARIO:

De-Clutter your life and, I promise you, your soul will be reawakened. You will gradually feel a sense of well-being, and begin to enjoy a light, carefree existence full of promise and hope. When your survival is in tact, true peace will embrace you, eradicating the need to be responsible for that "junk" you've been holding on to, dragging around, and finally give you the courage to dump it.

BLESSINGS AND PEACE TO ALL!