Stop Waiting for Heaven

I am not one to push my faith on anyone. Simply put, it’s not my style. Furthermore, I believe that we are all given a chance to have our own journey and that includes our walks (stumbles / face-splats) of faith.

However I have no reticence about sharing my belief that you do not have to wait for heaven to experience it. My halo has yet to exit the angelic assembly line nor have all those harp lessons paid off to date (probably because I never attended or signed up for any). But I know when I’m in a moment that is so surreal and spectacular that I can sense I beautiful imprint of that moment on my soul.

This can happen when I see something extremely special to me like watching my husband and children walk onto the same little island that I visited as a child and that my father visited when he was young. More often than not, it will happen in the most insignificant and unlikely of times. Being together for a low rent meal. Laughing hysterically during family game day. Being collectively thrilled at watching the raccoons squabble over peanuts outside our window at night.

It’s the smallest of the small stuff, but the magic is immeasurably great. I want to bottle up those feelings so I can access them whenever I forget. And I do forget. Constantly. By the hour kind of constantly. Probably more often than that.

But when I get out of my way and can see the beauty of the moment, I can recognize that it’s there all the time. Clearly I don’t have the full deets on what will happen once I discard this sweet meat suit o’ mine, but I sincerely believe that any version of heaven would have to incorporate these moments of tremendous wonder and feelings of boundless love.

Feel free to plan to take up permanent residence in heaven after you are gone. Just don’t forget to notice the divine perfection that is all around you while you are here, too. You don’t have to live a life of perfection to be able to find the celestial magnificence that fills every corner of our existence. I’m a prime example of utter imperfection in action yet moments of paradise reveal themselves every day nonetheless.

Notice them. Appreciate them. Allow them to remind you if the spectacular soul who you truly are. And if along the way you do happen to find a way to bottle them up, please drop me a line. We could all use a little more Heaven ready and waiting in the wings. 😇🐆

Much love to you.

Jo

Learning to Accept What I Can’t Control

As one who has minor (ginormous) challenges with slight (immeasurably large) control issues, I have yet to find a way to master my emotional response to situations that don’t turn out according to plan (that I created in my mind regardless of anyone else’s plan or reality). While I am aware of this flaw in my thought process, I struggle deeply with disentangling my personal feelings from the scenarios that upset me even when I recognize that I can’t change them.

A few months ago, we moved to a unique suburban area that offered over-sized lots with a small forest of trees blanketing the back of the yards. My oldest daughter and I discovered a shared passion for wildlife photography (especially of the feathered variety). We have always loved birds, but we were clueless about the vast array of species that would appear when we shared a little space with a grove of native trees.

In addition we have since found countless animal tracks trotting across our yard (inside our entirely enclosed fence). Our family and friends have been entertained over and over again with photos from our game camera as well as our evening animal stakeouts (a.k.a. sitting together in the dark in my room while we all stare out the windows with binoculars in hand and wait for our eyes to adjust and the nocturnal zoo to reveal itself).

game cam1

This level of nature may not be for everyone, but it’s an absolute paradise to my crew.

So when I woke a few mornings ago to the sickening crack of massive trees being felled a few feet behind our home, I felt an indescribable sadness. Our lot backs up to a tiny creek that separates our property from the lots behind us. Despite having a massive lot and a huge amount of space available for any castle / pool / soccer field the a new resident might need, the builders bulldozed tree after tree to the ground. The birds flew madly and many pairs could be heard wailing madly for hours as their nests and chicks were stolen away from them.

trees1

This was the view from our lot a few days prior. We were upset with our own builder for clearing the back of our lot, but we were confident that the green space would be maintained.

To be clear, I’m not an unrealistic person nor do I live in a tree house of my own. I understand that even if it isn’t exactly what I want, many trees may have to come down to make room for a home, pool, and significant yard. But if you buy a massive wooded lot, why in the world would you ever destroy such natural beauty that took decades (or longer) to grow? Why come here at all? In addition, it was a clear violation of everything that we had been told about maintaining the larger trees. Although we rallied with the other neighbors beside us to get the builder involved and stop further mindless clearing, the damage was already done. The builder feigned confusion about the excess of clearing, and the destroyed trees were piled into an 18 wheeler and hauled away.

trees2
This quickly became our view as the bulldozer began to tear through the trees. They did significant additional clearing after this photo was taken, but I couldn’t stomach taking another picture of the decimated habitat.

There was a pair of great horned owls that lived in one of the trees behind us that is now gone. We used to see a thick forest when we looked across our back fence but now see power lines and electrical boxes running along the other street several hundred feet behind our lot. I feel so sad and I don’t know how to let that go. I can’t control their choices nor can I fix the damage they caused.

All I can do is pray that the sadness will fade and that hope will find a way in the end.

I can’t change what has been done, but I humbly ask that you please consider planting a very small native tree or shrub near your home, school, or park. Any home improvement or garden store should be able to offer basic advice regarding appropriate plant species. If not, google might have one or two (thousand) suggestions. People constantly asking us how we get these beautiful species in our yard, and the answer is truly so simple. They just need a little bit of help.

We can’t control the situations around us nor can we go back in time to undo a hurt once it has happened. But we can make better choices when others can’t or won’t. We can rise above the pain. We can recognize that anger may be warranted but cannot define our existence. And we can choose hope and prove that it’s more than an idea.

As Willy Wonka beautifully said, “We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of the dreams.”

And it’s true. Regardless of what is occurring around you, find your song and celebrate your dreams. Never forget that the smallest light can brighten the darkest room. Don’t let fear, hurt, or anger extinguish your brilliant glow. Find that beautiful spark that is an innate part of who you truly are, take positive action of your own whenever you can, and show the world what it’s like to shine.

Hugs to you all. Jo

Meditation Distraction – Anything But Zen

unzen post - IG

Meditation is a beautiful way to rediscover the zen within for a great many people (and sometimes, that group includes me, too). I listen to soft music as soothing wisdom reminds me to find the stillness within. To let the noise float away as I recenter myself. I seek to allow the calm to quiet my thoughts as the divine inspiration reveals my purpose. And at times, that is precisely what happens.

But at other times… not so much.

My mind spirals out of control via a tangled web of critical questions like…

Why do people often say, “Can I just ask you a question?”

Well, you just did. Furthermore you didn’t even give me a chance to decide my thoughts on the whole question matter before you went there. I’m not sure if I’m more annoyed with the violation of the premise or the mathematical inaccuracy of the initial inquiry. However I do know that is definitely is not worthy of violating my mental meditation space.

I also sometimes get caught up on other important issues like the confusing wording in the song ‘Bust a Move” by Young MC. It’s an oldie but a serious goodie. With that said, I have struggled for years with these lyrics:

“…Your best friend Harry has a brother Larry.
In five days from now he’s gonna marry.
He’s hopin’ you can make it there if you can
Cause in the ceremony you’ll be the best man…”

Why in the world are you the best man at Larry’s wedding? Shouldn’t Harry be the best man given that he is Larry’s brother? It’s probably just a wording issue, but what if Harry also misunderstands and suddenly the wedding is left best-manless or, even worse, with a battle of the best men??? Weddings are stressful enough. The last thing you need is a best man brawl! Hopefully the hot bridesmaid will be enough of a distraction to keep the ceremony on track, but I still feel like the less Young than he once was MC should think about the situation he could be causing with this linguistic complication.

Yes folks. Clearly these are mental cogitations of an intellectual giant.

Seriously. Why does this crapfest of irrelevant contemplations bust a move straight into my noggin at the most ridiculous of times or when I am trying my hardest to be chill? ***Please note that I do recognize that the words “trying my hardest” and “to be chill” ideally should never be paired together and thus give a significant hint regarding the real issue at hand.

Alas some days are just this way. Erratic thinking, distractions galore, endless diversions from the task at hand, and an overall feeling of being out of focus. And given that the last couple of days have been rife with those moments, you are now getting this post, my not-so-subtle effort to weed out some of the noise in my mind. Hopefully I will find myself a little more on track come tomorrow, but be warned. If the next post begins with something pertaining to sporks (the cutlery bane of my existence), you can feel certain that this attempt at written therapy was less than effective.

Fingers and toes, knives and forks crossed for calmer days to come.

Hugs to all.  Jo

Shout out to RDP for the inspiration!  😉  https://ragtagcommunity.wordpress.com/