PostADay 2011: Do we live life forwards, but examine it backwards?


Soren Kirkegaard raises this question, and I find it intriguing. I like questions that make you say – hmmm:) Let’s see what this evokes, alright? It’s coolio when a simple question leads to other questions.

So, here’s my take -

I think we fluctuate between backwards and forwards at times. When life is difficult, we tend to live in the past and dwell on it quite a bit. That’s not always the best thing to do. The down side is, you get so consumed in what was going on back then , you fail to live in the now. It’s really important to have a view for the future. A clear vision of what you want helps guide you towards your goal with much greater accuracy. Otherwise, it’s like shooting a quiver full of arrows at random. I’m saying that based on past experience.

Who we are now is a reflection of our past experiences and who we were before. You can’t go through life without being impacted by the people, places and events of your past. Those events shape and mold you into who you are. Sometimes I think it’s necessary to sit down and reflect on past events as you plumb for deeper meaning and purpose in life. That’s the plus side. By looking back, I think we have an opportunity to make adjustments. And the thing is, sometimes we get stuck in the rut of feeling that we can’t make any changes. Life is full of change, and if we want to change course, we can do so at will. I think of it as zigzagging through life. It’s okay to zigzag. In fact zigzagging can be fun!

Everybody wants to be in control of their destiny and thinks they don’t have the power to make change. That’s not true. We can travel through life in whatever direction we want. Like everything, there’s a consequence to every action we take. We have to kinda weigh the costs of the choices we make. So many times, we pray for inner guidance on what to do, and we feel like we’re never getting answers. We always get an answer, and forget no can be an answer. We get ticked off and have a hissy fit when no might be the best thing that ever happened to us. There’s a closing technique used in sales strategies. It’s “No means yes.” They call it a buying sign. The first time I heard the phrase years ago, I kinda scratched my head, wondering huh? No means yes? AHaaa!! It was a major breakthrough moment that has helped me improve my sales skills. A more important and secondary benefit has been that it has also applied as a life skill and given me great direction.

The truth is, we’re so caught up in the rat race of life, going through the motions, we can’t hear the still small voice wanting nothing more than to give us direction. Sometimes I find myself in a quandary about what to do and ask God “What should I do now? Should I zig or zag? Can you send me a clear sign of what path to take? I generally look at it like this. When God says yes, there’s no question about it. Doors are flung open for you left and right. Things happen at warp speed and sometimes go faster than you were anticipating. I call it “God Speed”. There’s people speed and God Speed. The two are totally different. When God says yes, He pulls out the stops and showers blessings all over the place. When God says no, barriers pop up, and things don’t go as you wanted. Eventually, your gut tells you this is not the right thing to be doing at this particular time in your life. You can only hear the answers if you’re still and tuning in to that “higher frequency”.

There’s also the factor of time. Time is an invention of man, and we assign values to it in increments. If you look at time as a linear thing and as infinite, then the human lifetime is but a pinprick on the continuum. I am by no means trying to minimize the value of human life. Just trying to put it in context of eternity. Time is relative. If you look at time as a vibration of energy and particles. And if you look at all creation in the same way, you can come to no other conclusion than there is no such thing as past and present.

In the end, isn’t life just a series of nows?

Would you rather have one free trip to space or free international travel for life?


Today I was looking at different word prompts, and websites to generate ideas for blogging and for writing stories.  I found a really cool website called plinky.com .

The question of whether I’d rather have one free trip to outer space or free international travel for life.  It really intrigued me. But I knew immediately, hands down, the answer would be free international travel for life.  That’s one of my biggest fantasies.  Having unlimited resources to travel anywhere in the world for the rest of my life.  I love the idea of traveling to different countries exploring different cultures, languages and traditions.  Once you get out-of-state and out of country, a whole new world opens up to you.  And you know?  You’re never quite the same when you return.

It really saddens me to know that young people and even baby boomers like us haven’t had a chance to get out-of-town or out of country just to see how other people live.  I think we can learn to better understand each other when we take the time to celebrate, experience and share in the cultural diversity in our world.  Gives us a chance to get a different perspective on things.

For me, this started at a very early age.  When our family picked up stakes here in the USA and moved over to Norway in 1968.  We learned the language, researched the geography of the land, learned the metric system, transportation system and the foreign exchange rate for the currency. Not to mention the food, music, rituals and holiday festivities!  It’s a major culture shock, but it’s also the experience of a lifetime.

If I had to come up with a list of the places I would most like to see, it would look something like this: Italy, England, Germany, Russia and Egypt.  That’s just for starters! The first three encompass my family heritage, Italy being on the paternal side of my family and England and Germany being on the maternal side. going back to their roots at the very places where your families have come from is a deeply spiritual experience.  I’ll never forget the time I traveled to London, England to see my grandfather’s birthplace.  There, on a city street, we found the house number and a very small door.  It was probably about 5 feet tall.  I guess the people were little better than!  LOL  And standing there, I was moved.  This is where my Poppy lived as a little boy.  This is where he played with his friends as his parents prepared for his family to embark on a journey across the Atlantic Ocean to start a new life in the United States.

When you start making those authentic connections with people and places of your past, travel takes on a whole new meaning.  And you meet so many wonderful people along the way.  Whether you’re traveling by air, train, bus or backpacking, you all always learn something new and exciting every day.  And while you may never see the people who cross your paths ever again, you get to take the memories you shared with them for the rest of your life and into eternity.

The idea having a free trip to outer space just isn’t my cup of tea.  I like my feet planted firmly on the ground.  Yep, it’s terra firma for me baby! No way, no how am I getting catapulted out into limbo.  Granted, the view would be spectacular from up there, but I would rather watch reruns of the lunar space landing, and let the astronauts give me their first hand accounts of what that;s like.  Now don’t get me wrong.  I love everything about the space program and exploring deep space, other planets and the constellations.  I’d just like to do it from the comfort of home.

Besides, don’t you think it would be awful lonely up here, out there?  Just dangling out in outer space?  I mean, what if something happened and your life line snapped and you floated off to who knows where? I have visions of the second coming of Close Encounters and alien lifeforms.  Getting cryo-freezed or something. So maybe I’m far out.  For the time being though, I’ll leave it to the scientists and astronauts to figure out ways for us to live off planet and survive.

My feeling has always been you get much more bang for your buck by traveling the world and expanding your horizons.  And if you’ve never had that opportunity, this would be my greatest wish for you!

peace out,

Lissy

I’m Posting Every Week in 2011!


Well, I’ve hooked up with some friends, and we’re going to participate in the 2011 National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) challenge starting 11/1/11. So, without further ado, I wanted to let you know I’m gonna try out the PostAWeek to wake up my muse a bit.

Ok, so it’s almost the end of the year, right? Better late than ever!

If you feel inclined to join me , just jump in, and we’ll see what keewwwl things arise from our sparks of creativity.  Here’s the main link for NaNoWriMo if you wanna scope it out:  http://www.nanowrimo.org/

You can find http://dailypost.wordpress.com/ right here.  Lots ‘o’ inspiring and thought-provoking questions there.

On the PostAWeek2011 page I just saw a featured post with the heading:  “Are you ok?”

What a loaded question that is!  I get that all the time with my MS. When people ask me that, my immediate response is:  “Do you want the long version or the Reader’s Digest Condensed version?”

To be continued. . . .

Peace Out,

Lissy

Mamasteria and the Shrine of St. Michael Archangel


This is something I shared with my friend, Fred, today. Maybe it can be a comfort to someone else in a time of grief and loss. I know I found immense comfort and healing. Very personal….

Yesterday I went the the Shrine of St. Michael Archangel Taxiarchis in Tarpon Springs. My brother always goes there when he’s in town. In all the years we’ve lived here I haven’t gone. Day after Papp passed, Mom, Alex and I went to light some candles and sit with St. Michael and our Holy Mother for prayer and reflection. It was a profound experience being surrounded with this powerful, healing love. Was like being cloaked in a blanket and swaddled. I didn’t want to leave for I felt like I needed and craved to sit in silence and listen. Let the peace in.

When we left, I knew I had to return there for answers to questions burning way deep in my heart and soul. There was a sense of urgency I could not explain.

Well, yesterday, an aperture of time opened up for me, and I drove with great excitement, because I knew I was going to be relieved of some of the heavy sadness I’ve been feeling w/ Papp’s transition. I was praying for the place to be quiet and not overly crowded so I could have private time. And it was so for a while . I lit my candle, recited the prayers and went up and sat in the front left pew in full view of the icons of St. Michael and the Mother of God. Miracles of healing have happened in this place.

So there I sat for a while. Thoughts racing and fairly numb. Trying to focus on something , anything to slow down and be still so I could listen and let the Light of Love in. I also needed to sit with and feel the full force of my grief and deep heaviness of heart. And finally the tears came. At first, just little tears, then rivers of tears. Hot and salty, they streamed down my face. I was overcome with grief, and keening quietly, rocking on the pew, cradling my head in my hands.

Finally, I had to get up and get some tissue, because by now I was a blubbering pile of oooze. I wanted to scream and cry out the full intensity of emotion I had been holding in, but it didn’t seem right at the time.

As I approached the front desk and reached for the tissues, this sweet old lady, old and grandmotherly like, motioned for me to come to her. She was so gentle and full of love. Pulled me directly to her bosom, hugged me close, as a mother would a child. She stroked my hair and wiped my tears away with her hands. She took tissues and wiped my eyes and runny nose. Kissed me and said “I love you, I love you!” over and over. Stroking me, soothing me. In her quiet voice in that “there, there now child” way she hugged me and kissed me again saying with her Greek accent – “You no be sad! No more tears now.” Placing her hand on my heart and my head, she said, “St. Michael here and der,” motioning everywhere. “He is always with you wherever you go. Now and forever. And so is the Mother of God.” I started crying uncontrollably at this point. She motioned with her hands, as if saying wait one moment . And with great haste and tenderness, proceeded to anoint me and bless me, pray over me. “I love you, I love you. God loves you! Now, no more tears. You gonna be fine. All will be well, you’ll see! ” Then in one last hug, she gave me one of those motherly pats on the butt that says, “Now run along, child of grace!” And so I returned to my pew and sat. Carrying on and blubbering. Snot and tears. A really pitiful sight, let me tell you! And then shortly, peace and comfort flooded into my whole being. That kind that fills you to overflowing and radiates outward, into the Universe. I was touched with fire and grace. Sat there humbled, knowing I was on sacred ground .

And then I knelt before the image of the Son of God, givIng thanks. For everything and so much more. Then praying on before each image , then moving across to the icon of St. Michael and the Virgin Mother and Child. Touching them gently and kissing them softly with gratitude in my heart.

And finally I returned to the front desk where my sweet old lady was waiting with open arms and pulling me to her bosom enfolding me in Motherly Love once again.

She placed a little packet wrapped in a paper towel into the palm of my hand, opened it slightly and said, “Every day now, you pray and bless yourself with the oil. I love you, I love you, I love you!” I nodded in agreement with her. Looked into the windows of her soul. Held her gaze and smiled knowing all would indeed be well in time. I payed my last respects while she went outside to comfort another soul. As I went out we had one more embrace. I asked her to remind me of her name one more time. “My name Mamasteria, ok? And yours? What your name?” To which I replied, “Lisa. My name is Lisa.” And then she cradled my cheeks in her work-worn hands. Nodding as if in approval, and said, “Ahhhh! Aaahhh haaaa! Liiiiiisa!”

In one last gesture, she pinched my cheeks, looked me in the eye with those bright, twinkly eyes of hers and said, “I see you again sometime, yahh?” And I nodded my head with , “Uhmm hmmm…”

Then off I went with a vast smile in my heart.

Living Under the Sea


With everything going on above ground on our precious earth lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about what it might be like to live under the sea.  All my life I’ve been fascinated by marine life and research.  This was one of my career goals in high school, but it was not to be.  Doesn’t stop me from poking around on the subject now and then.  There are so many possibilities and untapped resources under the sea.

Sadly, we’ve raped our land and continue to strip it clean of everything good without any regard.  Yes, we’re starting to make a turn-around environmentally, but I think we’re making a big mistake by discounting the bounty of the ocean and its many resources.  We’ve made it to the moon, and the space shuttle just completed its last mission this morning.  What would happen if we devoted the same amount of money to underwater habitats and sustainable living under water?  Oceans are teeming with life, and they’re finding new species every day. We could harvest potable water, oxygen, food and energy sufficient to meet our needs while giving back to the environment at the same time.

What’s cool is, several expeditions and underwater habitats have been constructed and inhabited successfully since the early 1960′s.  Been doing a little research on the habitats.  Cousteau was the catalyst with the Conshelf I – III continental shelf stations.  The US Navy followed with Sealab I, II and III.  General Electric constructed the Tektite I & II habitats and carried out missions in ’69 and ’70.  The Hydrolab was built around ’66 with funding from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association. The Helgoland under water lab was built in 1968 in Lubeck Germany. The NOAA’s Aquarius Reef Base was built and ultimately re-deployed off the coast of Florida in ’92. MarineLab and La Chalupa Research Lab popped up in the 1970′s. Two more launched in the late ’90′s.

Each mission kind of built on the next one, and the technologies with it became more and more advanced. I was really excited to find out there’s going to be an upcoming expedition in 2012, The Antlantica Expedition I, II and III.  They’re going to be exploring permanent underwater habitation and sustainable living.

Tomorrow, I’ll be going into more detail ok?  Have some links I want to share so you can click and get a glimpse with your own eyes.

Time for bed!  Hopefully this will wet your appetite!

nitey nite….

Lissy

A Visit


The other day I stopped by a nursing home to visit a friend and former co-worker.  At first I didn’t recognize her, but once I saw the light in her eyes, I was like – Oh yes, there she is!

I must confess, I was taken back.  For this once vibrant, physically active and hard-working woman was sitting in a wheelchair now. Used to be she could spin circles around everyone.  Full of energy and getting things done.  And now…well…my heart welled up, and went out to her.   But I also felt so vulnerable. Could be any one of us in her shoes. It really could.  And I was reminded how fragile life is.  How things can change in a heart beat. No one is immune to that.  We pretend, though. Boy, do we pretend! We delude ourselves into thinking we’re invincible and thinking nothing can hurt us. This “thing”, whatever it may be – cannot and will not touch us.  But we are mortal beings.  And this “thing” does happen at one point or another.  Pain and suffering are an inevitable part of life.  Just as change is a part of life.

Sitting there, feeling at once so vulnerable and exposed, I was anxious. What to say and how to say it? Where do I start?  Was chiding myself, thinking, Lord knows I was in Human Services for years and had no trouble engaging the folks I worked with. What’s with this?  In the end, I decided I was fearful.  I didn’t want to do or say the wrong thing. The thing that might upset my friend or make her feel bad.  Why do we do that? For me it comes under the heading of “and first, do no harm”.  I wouldn’t ever want to do or say something that would hurt anyone.  I’ve been hurt before, so I know how it feels.

Now, once I sat down and said hello.  Once I got started, it was ok.  At first, I was very gentle and soft-spoken, taking a few moments to get re-acquainted and feeling things out. Then, before I knew it, the connection was made.  In full!  What I mean by that, is the we were fully engaged, talking back and forth and with each other.  Right there. IN the moment.  And something so beautiful happened!  After talking for a few minutes, we sat there.  The sun was cascading into the day room, filling it with light.  And we shared a period of  profound quiescence. It was soooul palpable!  The world stopped spinning on its axis. Time stood still. It was just  me and my friend. Right then, right there.  It was like no time had lapsed between our last connection.

It was one of those moments you want to last forever.  Now and then you’re granted these Divine gifts of moments expanding and time slowing.  There is this certain sound of silence. When people talk “by heart”.  When hearts burst wide open, and love and peace pour into that space in the in-between.

That’s how it was, the other day.  When I went for a visit . . . . with my friend.

 

 

 

Life – In a Bowl of Salad


The other day, I made a salad with dinner.

I LOVE makin’ a fresh salad with whatever I can find! My favorite dressing is simply balsamic vinegar, olive oil, cracked pepper and sea salt. The sea salt brings out all the flavor.

Tastes even better with home-grown herbs thrown in the mix. And color. Loooots of color! All kiiiiinds of color, ok? lol

Momma has always cooked with color, because it’s fun and has great eye-appeal. Makes the eatin’ all the better, too :)

So anyway, I made this salad. And I really took my time eating it. VeRy slowwwwwly. I savored every single bite. And I wanted to bring my attention to the whole experience. Not just scarf it down, but be fully conscious while I was eating it. You’d think it would be so easy, right? And especially if food is your favorite hobby, right? HA!! Uh-uhhh!! Nada! No way! lol

The TV was on. Momma was sitting next to me. She was masticating. Max the cat was trolling around the kitchen for free food. And I was sitting in the easy chair with my bowl of salad. I looked at the salad. Picked up and ate some salad. Chewed it. But I wasn’t all there with the salad. I was everywhere but with my salad! I mean everywhere! And I’m like – Lis’!! You need to focus on your salad! F – O – C – U – SSSsssss [ and, no I am NOT Martha Stewart! ] ….

And so I brought my attention back to the salad. Picked through it. Looked at it. But didn’t really see it. Just vague shapes and colors. Put some in my mouth, but didn’t really taste it. Rolled it around my mouth, but didn’t really feel it. Was way too busy repeating the process of before. Then I was like – Ok, Lis’, you really need to give this salad your full attention. It’s called mindful eating for a reason, silly. You can DO this! Then I was like…. siiiiiiigh…ok, sistah! Reel it back in. Get it together! You need to focus on your salad! Focus on your salad! And then I was like – you know this is crazy! I know how to focus. I can focus. Ok, lemme focus.

Then I repeated the process again. But when I once again returned my attention to the salad, I was like ok – take a bite and taste all the different flavors in your mouth. What do you taste? Name them one by one. Mutter, mutter, $@#! , *%#^* !! Phhhhbbt, phhhhhhbt! Deep siiiiiigh…..geeeez, this is soooo hard! Ok, well, I taste vinegar, sea salt and oooooo, oooooo!! Cucumber! I love cucumber! Lettuce….mmmm….mushrooooms….mmmm…what else have we got here? Tomatoes! Grape tomatoes packed with a world of flavor. And…wait….wait! Cracked pepper! And how ’bout those green onions? Oh yeah, now we’re talkin’!

By now, my chewing had slowed down dramatically, and so had my breath. My shoulders dropped down considerably, too. No longer way up over my ears. Then I was like — wowwwwww! I’m finally breathing again. I feel relaxed! And THEN – I exhaled such an exhale! And it was theeeee most wonderful exhale I had experienced in a good while.

Next, I was like – Ok, let’s take a closer look at the salad. Look at the salad in the bowl. What do you see? Well, I see lots of round shapes, spheres, pie shapes and edges. Ok, you’re doing a great job. Keep up the good work! Now. I want you to go deeper into that bowl. Shift your focus ever so slightly past the shapes. Now what do you see? I see color. Serious color! I see red. Pops of red in the tomatoes. I see light to dark browns and black in the mushrooms. I see dark forest and emerald greens in the skin of the cucumber, and that soft, mystical light neon green in the pulp. And finally, the reddish browns in the grapes.

And then. For a brief moment. I sat there in awe. Marveling at what I had just experienced. The infinite wonder and detail in everything I had seen on that closer examination of things. What happened next I cannot properly express, except to say it was swift and sudden. It brought me to my knees. Humbled me. Touched my soul with white-hot fire. It was intense, bright light, expansive warmth, joy and sunshine. Pure ecstasy. The peace that passes all understanding. Living Grace!

I knew I was in the “in between”.

Lastly, that still, small voice inside me said. . . .

Now Little One – I want you to take it even deeper still into that salad bowl. Go past the shapes and past the colors. There’s so much more that awaits you! Look for the deeper meaning of things. Go on now. You can do it! Just look, and you’ll see. I promise!

And so I did. I went down deep. And I looked for that deeper meaning. And there it was! In high-definition. Intuitively, I knew it had been there all the time.

First I looked at the grape tomatoes. Then I looked at the mushrooms. Then it really hit me! OMG!! Thunder & Lightning :) Would you look at that?

The tomatoes thrive in the light, and the mushrooms thrive in the shadows!

Ok, look at the tomatoes and the mushrooms again, except this time, I want you to THINK. Really think about this:

What do the tomatoes and mushrooms have in common? Well, let me think now. . . .

They both thrive under the same sky – yet they live in different conditions

One from seed, one from spore

They both grow and both have to let go

They both come from the same Source

Our Earth Mother

They are both nourished and supported by her

She feeds them from the same waters, soil and light

Don’t you see, Lissy? It’s about harmony. It’s about balance. It’s about light and shadow.

They can both co-exist happily together.

And, yes….it’s about letting go

So go on now. Let go, and enter the shadow! No fear, Lissy!

You’re gonna be just fine. You’ll see.

For wherever you go, there I will be!