“God delays, but doesn’t forget.” — Spanish Proverb
Each month, I find it more difficult to meet my expenses until the end of the month, on my fixed income. As each month’s end grows closer and I find myself without enough funds for essentials like food and medications, I find myself sinking into a dark hole of depression and anxiety. I worry that I’ll become severely ill, as happened last year, spending months in the hospital. In today’s still lingering economic downturn, it’s frustrating for anyone who has lost a job or met financial setbacks. Those of us facing financial difficulty suddenly feel curtailed, with the rhythm of our lives changed in a way we never anticipated. But the Universe slows us down for a reason.
There can be gifts in adversity. They can give us some much-needed time alone, time to think. Being alone gives us the chance to find ourselves in a new way. We may be surprised to find some previously unknown inner resources. A period of waiting through adversity can also turn us to our Higher Power, God, or the Universe when the solace we need is beyond the capacity of people to give.
It’s challenging to be able to do nothing when the world tells us that we must take action. When action isn’t possible, accepting the circumstances of our lives enables us to experience the value of being, and not doing.
- Prayer and the Spiritual Journey (christophersmark.wordpress.com)
- Suicidal Thoughts: Strength to Continue and Endure (christophersmark.wordpress.com)
- Feeling is the Inner Life (christophersmark.wordpress.com)
The Wiccan celebration and ritual for Imbolc is fast approaching February 2nd. Imbolc brings the end of winter and of course a time of great change toward spring. Spring, even here in the desert southwest means new, rebirth, regeneration. I find that I often feel uncomfortable with the new because it causes me to reach out and expand my vision. This may be painful and I don’t like the pain that comes with change.
My life at times is cozy and gives me a curious kind of comfort and reassurance. When lonely or anxious or hopeless, I have at times turned toward unhealthy behaviors. I am used to it and don’t need to do much to keep on going in the same old way.
Suddenly, I have seen the error of my ways. Discovery, disgrace, legal issues, isolation, despair, the loss of a partner, the contempt of friends – all possible consequences of that cozy, complacent turn to my old behavior. Yes, I may have awakened one day to find that my old behavior ruined my life! This awareness has caused me to begin reaching out for the hard process of change.
Making difficult change is painful, but that pain is preferable to the agony caused by the inevitable outcome of unhealthy behaviors.
- Change is Painful (christophersmark.wordpress.com)
- Embracing the Change (mike.kaply.com)
- Enabling And The One You Love (psychologytoday.com)
“Asking for help does not mean we are weak or incompetent. It usually indicates an advanced level of honesty and intelligence.” — Anne Wilson Schaef
I’ve received a lot of help lately. Most from my dearest friend and some from people I never imagined I would receive so much of their time or efforts. I don’t like to ask. I’ll spend more energy talking about how hard it is for me to ask, than the energy I’d expend simply asking for what I need.
Many of us may have grown up in isolation and with shame being constantly reinforced the way I did. Help began to feel like a luxury reserved for other people. I thought I didn’t deserve it. I thought I should be able to handle everything. I failed to realize just when I needed help, because I’m so accustomed to living life in a “crisis mode.” I tell myself that my concerns and problems aren’t important enough to bother somebody with. Then, when life becomes really complicated, I blame myself for feeling overwhelmed and almost unable to act.
But we all deserve help. We deserve all the help that we may want and need, whether it’s a ride to an appointment or for someone’s shoulder to cry on when we’re sad or upset. We are worth the time, effort and concern of others – not because any of us is different, but because we are the same.
- I Feel As Though I’ve Lost My Way In This World (christophersmark.wordpress.com)
- How does it make you feel? (jennasauber.com)
- The Kindness Blotter: A Spate of Compliments and Helping Hands (fort-greene.thelocal.nytimes.com)
“That guy on Facebook is being a total ass to me today.”
“What the fuck is her problem? Did you see how that woman just looked at me?”
“That is so fucked up! What’s wrong with this world?”
— Mark on a bad day.
“Bitch, bitch, bitch. That’s all you seem to be doing today” my friend Scott said to me; after listening to me spew negativity for a bulk of one morning together. His words got my attention. Why would I blame the world, when it’s me that is out of sorts?
Life after all, is neutral. It is our moods and attitudes that affect our view of things and the responses we receive. If we are seeing life through the dark glasses of downheartedness, then we can’t blame the world for seeing grim.
I know that when I’m at ease with myself and feel at home in my life, other people seem friendly and serene. A smile begets a smile; the simplest greeting elicits a friendly response. And when I’m considerate to a neighbor or friend; it sets good deeds in motion. Kindness is contagious. I really do believe that it is kindness and love that make the world a brighter, better place.
- Bitch Bitch Bitch (sporeflections.wordpress.com)
- My Resolution for 2011: Stop Blaming the Internet (themillions.com)
- The Bitch Slap: 6 Things That Are Bullshit (redheadwriting.com)
I’ve blogged several times about how much the Silva Method of Mind Control has helped me in my life. Recently, I came across this very comprehensive website – and yes its goal is to sell something, but please check out its content. http://www.silvamindbodyhealing.com/
- The Silva Method: Mental Housekeeping(christophersmark.wordpress.com)
- Introduction to Concepts of the Brain – Silva Style(christophersmark.wordpress.com)
- The Silva Method of Mind Control (christophersmark.wordpress.com)
The only time I’ve ever paid attention to whether I was born under Chinese Astrology’s Year of the Rat, Year of the Pig, or the Monkey has been while waiting recently for my dinner in a local Chinese restaurant, reading the animal’s names and corresponding New Year dates only to find myself ruminating why my dinner wasn’t served in twenty minutes!
I’m learning only the beginnings of this complex astrology, and so far know that:
There are 12 animal representations, associated with a branch (of which there apparently is no English translation). Each animal and its associated branch are aligned with a New Year date. As I scan my place mat for my birth year of 1961, I discover I was born in the year of the Ox! Further reading tells me that we are in the “Year of the Rabbit” until February 3, 2011 after which time it will be the year of the Dragon.
Lately, with my fascination for the Zodiac and my own daily horoscope, I thought I might try expanding beyond and see what my outlook may be like for 2011 according to the Chinese Astrology.
The Year of the Metal Rabbit should bring progress and expansion. The Metal element exerts a beneficial influence on Water, which is this sign’s element. Last year certainly was a bumpy ride. There may still be a few obstacles in 2011, but there’ll be ten favorable months to look forward to, and only two not-so-favorable months. Being the typical Ox, one needs to work on being more flexible and less stubborn. Compromise is the mentor of teaching how to bend with the wind. A tough and powerful creature, the Ox might butt heads with others if forceful about being right. Borrow some creativity and gentleness from the Rabbit. Raise expectations, and practice diplomacy to get what the Ox wants.
While things should stay steady on the home front, there could be a few challenging moments in the land of love. The Rabbit is strong and stubborn like the Ox, so relationships might feel strained. When dealing with other strong personalities it may be wise to show one’s soft and sensitive side to everyone, including loved ones. Harmony and order will be important this year. Work on communication skills and heal any rifts with estranged friends or family.
A typical Ox might be a bit of a foodie. 2011 is a good time to restore balance to your digestive system and make sure you’re eating healthy. If there are any long-standing health issues, it’s time to discuss them from a holistic approach. A sensible diet is one piece of the puzzle, but consideration of the other factors that encourage balance and wellness. Exercise. Relaxation. Meditation. Laughter. Make sure life holds equal parts of each or the Ox could burn out quickly.
As the element of our year, Metal also rules several months in 2011, including the Ox. There will be several Triple Metal days — where the element of the year, month, and day all match — which could make for some incredible luck where money is concerned. Jump at the opportunities in favorable months but exercise caution in the unfavorable ones. More than anything, it is one’s Oxen diligence that will reap the most rewards. Avoid any get-rich-quick schemes and instead just let your talents bring in prosperity.
None of what I’ve discovered so far is really difficult to digest. For me personally, things have gotten out of hand lately and I do need to slow down a bit and check-in on those priorities. That stress level that had a hard time waiting for dinner needs things to be simpler; making sure what’s necessary is getting done without overextending one’s self.
- “Year of the Rabbit” and related posts (thediscerningbrute.com)
- Your Fortune for The Year 2011-part One (socyberty.com)
- A New Year rolls in (boston.com)
- Photos: The world rings in 2011 (news.nationalpost.com)
“Courage is like love; it must have hope for nourishment.” -Napoleon
In the story, The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy, on her way down the yellow brick road helps the Scarecrow from being impaled on the pole he has been on, helps the Tin Woodman move again with a simple oil can and encourages them and the Cowardly Lion to journey with her and Toto to the Emerald City. The Scarecrow wants to get a brain, the Tin Woodman a heart, and the Cowardly Lion, courage. All are convinced by Dorothy that the Wizard can help them too. Together, they overcome obstacles on the way including narrow pieces of the yellow brick road, Kalidahs, a river, and the Deadly Poppies.
When each traveler meets with the Wizard of Emerald City, he appears each time as someone or something different. To Dorothy, the Wizard is a giant head; the Scarecrow sees a beautiful woman; the Tin Woodman sees a ravenous beast; the Cowardly Lion sees a ball of fire. The Wizard agrees to help each of them, but one of them must kill the Wicked Witch of the West. The Wizard provides the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodman, and the Cowardly Lion with a head full of bran, pins, and needles (“a lot of bran-new brains”), a silk heart stuffed with sawdust, and a potion of “courage.” Because of their faith in the Wizard’s power, these otherwise useless items offer a focus for their desires.
Courage never operates in a vacuüm; we can always try hard and see ourselves as courageous about something. We also need to believe that there will be some consequence to our acts of bravery. It seems we are all looking at the long-term for a deliverance for ourselves and others.
Love, too, needs a sense of future, time to develop and flower. It is only passion that lives for an instant and passion, like the red rose, doesn’t last out the full year.
So I believe, love and courage are similar and work together for our own good and the good of others. By working on ourselves through a form of personal growth and development we treasure love and courage as we find ourselves with greater wisdom and more abundance of peace with ourselves and others. I believe that this is one of the ways we have faith in the long-term and in things that endure. No one is suggesting we can change overnight, but with love and courage and the hope on which they depend, we can all work wonders! I believe in my courage to change day-by-day.
“Tis a gift to be simple, tis a gift to be free. Tis a gift to come round to where we ought to be. And when we find a place that feels just right, We will be in the valley of Love and Delight.” — Appalachian folk song
As I focus more on positivity, I find myself taking time to feel gratitude and joy. My true Self is emerging and becoming more present every day. For this I am grateful. I am taking those all important “baby steps” to rebuild my self-esteem. I am worthwhile and lovable, and for all this I am grateful.
Just as I have come to know joy, I have known sorrow and I will know both again because that is the nature of life. If I trust that the Universe is turning everything that happens to good, I can truly say, “Thy will, not mine, be done.” Is it asking too much to be grateful for everything that happens to me? I must admit that on some days, it certainly seems so. But I have found that those days pass, and after they do, I once again begin to see my purpose in life. It is then that I feel content, knowing that I have the promise as well as the reality of this new life I have chosen.
“If Winter comes, can spring be far behind?” – Percy Bysshe Shelley
I live in sunny Phoenix, Arizona. For those not familiar with our desert climate, we do in fact experience a period of winter weather. We can experience some very cold temperatures during the month of January; lows can dip to below freezing at night and only reach the low to mid 50’s during the day and a relative humidity in the negative. There remains however plenty of green and flowering plants to trick the mind when the eye shoots a quick look out the window and sees the majestic palms and the deep blue sky with seemingly unending sunshine. Occasionally those of us who grew up in the winter grasp of the Midwest begin to long for that time of hibernation. I know I do. I miss snow, bundling up with hats, coats, mittens, boots, scarves and more. I miss warming up the car and days when no one goes anywhere because the snow has us shut in for a day or two.
I have learned that we do not need to be afraid of winter. In winter nature lies fallow in preparation for the New Year. All life needs rest in order to grow with greater strength and winter is the time of withdrawal that precedes renewal.
Sometimes, it may seem that our lives have become dark and hopeless and we can’t see a way forward. I felt exactly as I’ve just described, many times over. Perhaps, it came when a relationship failed and I thought, “This really has to be the end”, or my business was going badly; money became a problem, or the loss of family ties or connections. I became lost in my melancholy and felt that things would never get better.
I knew that I could draw some strength from the wisdom of the seasons. Bare trees will become clothed in green and the hard earth will again yield harvests of plenty. I learned to appreciate this transformation as it happens every year and I take hope from it. I can see my life also as bound to change! From this wisdom of the seasons I grew this affirmation which is ready to be plucked from my jar of affirmations when the time is right: “Nothing in my life need defeat me, since I know that spring and summer will always come again”.
- Snowy Winter Photography (noupe.com)
- Gahl Eden Sasson: Christmas Grinch and Mercury Retrograde (huffingtonpost.com)