Heart Chakra Opening Day

My heart chakra opened on Saturday January 18, 2020. This is what I wrote in my journal that day: “Wow! I woke up this morning to another amazing moment. Treatment and prayer work! There was love in my heart, for those who I once felt "wronged" me. We are all children of God, and share one soul; I forget at my peril that we’re not going to Heaven because we never left it, and that this physical life is an illusion.”


The Meaning of Life

[a reprint from June 2002, when my mother was still alive]

[Turns out you don’t need a manual; just live every day showing loving kindness to other beings. It works for me. This is the best moment of my life. Now this is. Now this is.]

No, not the Monty Python film (one of their best, by the way), but thoughts on the subject. First, from a novel my mother is reading:

We are born not knowing where we came from, we have no idea what we are going to do, and we have no idea how long we have to do it before we go to the next unknown. “That's not an exact quote, and not so terribly original, but it sure sums it up well!”

Well, yes it does! Reminds me of Douglas Adams, who used to say that humanity clearly had lost its owners manual, and that if only we hadn't thrown it in a drawer and forgotten where it was, things would have been so much clearer, simpler and more obvious. Yes, I know, some people think the Bible/Torah/Koran is the owner's manual, but if it is, it's been transliterated from another language, and has entirely too much "tab a in slot b" and not enough practical advice.


What I Need To Give Up

My excellent meditation ap, Daily Calm ($80 annual), asked on the first day of Autumn, “What do you want to give up?” Seemed like a fair question. My five-year-old daily meditation practice plus daily prayers of gratitude, seems to have helped with the process.

I want to give up grudges and resentment. I come from a long line of grudge holders on both sides of my family. I saw the toxic effects. I’m trying to break free. It took me a half-century to accumulate this baggage; it may take a while to unpack it. In the meantime, I thank God daily for grace and mercy, and for my multitude of blessings. I wake up every morning filled with gratitude, joy and love, which I am trying to spread.

I am not working on this alone. People from my past and present (you know who you are) are working with me. Also, some great psychotherapists. Brain Spotting. Crystal Bowl Music. Soul Retrieval. All part of the process.

And of course, my friends, going all the way back to college, when they threw out my ridiculous wardrobe and taught me how to disguise my roots as a working-class nerd from the sticks. And, the woman who ignored my desperate efforts to attract her attention, and the other woman, who said “We could have a shitty six-month affair and never see each other again, or we could not sleep together, and be friends for the rest of our lives.” We’re still friends.


You Can’t Change History But…

Gratitude is a choice. You can’t change history, but you can change the way you feel about the people and events in your past.

I was angry and hurt that, after 20 years of loyal service, the Brits laid me off from CMP on Oct. 2, 2001. I ran an annual item in my blog complaining about the layoff for almost as long as I was employed, then stopped running it.

[By the way, I never once indicated empathy for the hundreds of others laid off that year in the Dot.Bust―now I do feel empathy.]

I realized the layoff was a golden opportunity to take up the family tradition of teaching. There are 1,000 students out there whose lives I changed (slightly) by doing a good job of teaching them 8th grade U.S. History. In decades of journalism, no one ever said to me, “You’re doing God’s work,” but now, even a decade after I retired, parents and students still stop me on the street and say that.

I am now grateful to CMP for laying me off.

As a result of some spiritual experiences, I re-examined all the people and events in my life that I had hated, and realized they were actually good for me. It’s true: hating someone is like drinking poison and hoping the other person dies. Shoveling all that hatred and anger out of my heart improved my cardiac, mental and physical health.


Empathy and Compassion

It’s amazing what you find if you actually read your LinkedIn feed. Derik Timmerman of Sparrow Nonprofit Solutions linked to this video: A cancer patient visits her hairdresser and he does the unexpected and noted that it was Level 5 on his list of ways to show empathy and compassion.

LEVEL 1: WORDS
Saying something genuine to affirm the sufferer's enduring worth.

LEVEL 2: UTILITY
Supplying helpful goods, services, or money for the sufferer's use.

LEVEL 3: TOUCH
A tender gesture to inhabit the same physical space as the sufferer.

LEVEL 4: TRANSFER
A permanent exchange from giver to sufferer (e.g., organ donation).

LEVEL 5: CO-SUFFERING
Voluntarily joining the sufferer to share the experience of their pain.


Ripples

When we are kind, it is like dropping pebbles in a lake; the waves spread and affect many plants and animals. I have been nice to the staff at Tangelo Yogurt for years. So when I arrived at five past closing, they opened up because people pay it forward and back. People don’t remember what you say to them, but how you make them feel. Apparently, I made my 1,000 middle school students feel pretty good, because every time I meet one they are sweet.

Then there’s the teacher who used to say, “I know you can, but may you?” It probably attenuated my interest in grammar for years. Pebbles in the lake.

And…

A fantastic story of small kindness.


Profound and Spiritual

On Jan 16, 2021, David Paul Kirkpatrick wrote an essay about Clarissa Pinkola Estes. It includes this missive from her:

One of the most calming and powerful actions you can do to intervene in a stormy world is to stand up and show your soul. Soul on deck shines like gold in dark times. The light of the soul throws sparks, can send up flares, builds signal fires, causes proper matters to catch fire. To display the lantern of soul in shadowy times like these — to be fierce and to show mercy toward others; both are acts of immense bravery and greatest necessity.

Or as we say in Christianity (of which I am a nominal member) treat others as you would be treated, or “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”


Heart Chakra Opening Day

My heart chakra opened on Saturday January 18, 2020. This is what I wrote in my journal that day: “Wow! I woke up this morning to another amazing moment. Treatment and prayer work! There was love in my heart, for those who I once felt "wronged" me. We are all children of God, and share one soul; I forget at my peril that we’re not going to Heaven because we never left it, and that this physical life is an illusion.”