One: Ingredients for Heaven

ingredients for heaven on earth,

In our little piece of heaven, my husband and I often share an aperitif under the leafed canopy in our backyard before supper. On such an occasion I leaned back in my lawn chair and looked up beyond the lime-green interruptions at a perfectly blue sky. A sudden inundation of gratitude glowed within my being. I am blessed. As I thought about how heaven had come about, a few important ingredients came to mind.

Important ingredients

Without these ingredients the many blessings so easily slip away. I remember a time when depression dogged my daily life. Fear had me in its deadly grip and heaven was far away. Even today, should I forget to name the good in each moment, I may awake to the old familiar fatigue draining all vitality from every step I take. Hence, being present is important.

Blessing instead of curse

Blessing instead of cursing is another of the ingredients. Rather than joining the throng criticizing government, church and spouse, I choose silence for the most part. Each negative thought and word dismantles the good around and within us, blinds us to the beautiful. Truth is, our world is far from perfect. Instead of criticism, however, a few steps in the direction of kindness and patience make a solid foundation for heaven on Earth. “Thank you” uplifts weary souls. A smile can do wonders for an overburdened spirit.

Gratitude is one of the ingredients

Another ingredient is gratitude. While everyone can decide to be grateful, the choice is far from unanimous. Maybe if we were more grateful, heaven would be closer.

Detachment

Among the ingredients is the knowing that nothing belongs to me. All my comforts, my home, my family, everything belongs to the one who gave it to me. I do not own my spouse or any of the members of my family. My home is a borrowed dwelling where I am responsible for upkeep and beautification. Moving forty times in my life has taught me detachment. Although I must admit if a tornado blew through I would be upset for a while.

Sharing is among the ingredients

Sharing shows up among the ingredients. Although Covid-19 has put a damper on sharing, it is still possible. We look forward to new ways to share the wealth of our blessings. Every time we come together we ripple the goodness creating a larger space in which heaven may grow here and now. Walking in solidarity with those less fortunate moves us toward a better world. We can sign petitions, donate to charities, move beyond our comfort zones to include those outside our circles.

Peace is a blend of ingredients

A certain peace permeates our little piece of heaven because it does not depend on external measurements. Our home is not large, our family is imperfect, our community insular. Imperfections give us something on which to work and keep us humble. Remembering we are not alone and the whole is not our responsibility, gives us room to be the best we can be. I do not need to do it all and it is not about me.

Share

One: Attitude

attitude, crisis, choosing,

Our state of mind often determines whether we receive challenges with ease or with trepidation. Fortunately, our attitude lies within our control.

Attitude depends on the wolf I feed

To begin with, it seems as if reactions are uncontrollable. first of all, I must recognize the consequences within me of the thoughts and ideas around me. I get to choose which wolf to feed. My attitude depends on whether or not I feed the wolf of fear. 

Takes time to change

While I recognize the long period of time it has taken to change my attitude from fear to confidence, I celebrate the peace I enjoy today. I welcome this period of isolation as it gives me time to reflect on the most important issues of the day. I get to choose where to put my energy. 

Attitude of adventure

A global pandemic awakens the world to new possibility. We could build a new world instead of rebuilding the old one. Obviously, the old one is not working anymore anyway. Yet in order to rebuild we need an attitude of adventure embracing possibility.

Art world stresses attitude

Certainly, in the art world things are changing rapidly. There is little doubt it will never be the same. It could be better. Amidst the closing museum, galleries and festivals new venues are opening. For an interesting discussion on these topics listen to the Art Angle Podcast.

New possibilities

The attitude of solidarity grows as we reach out to connect in new ways. People have power in solidarity. The solution lies in the ground swell of those demanding a more equitable distribution of wealth. Protecting our planet and its resources also comes to the fore. Creating a circular economy becomes priority.

All is well

We live in exciting times. Let us embrace the new and the miracle of possibility. A positive attitude will lead us to new ideas and new solutions. In the meantime, rest. Reconnect. Open to the possible. Celebrate. All is well.

Share

One: Pathways

Pathways, blog, choice, forgiveness, gratitude, letting go
Where am I going?

Restlessly we seek that which might satisfy our hunger. Many pathways lead upward yet we cannot see the whole distance. Beyond the top of the hill or around the corner remains a mystery.

Imperfect pathways

Some pathways are safer than others. Occasionally they are blocked. Every path can, however, by dangerous. Earthquakes or falling rocks can destroy perfectly good highways. Despite the disruption we wish to continue.  So we may find a plank to place across the gap. Having travelled a little way, we discover our plank is sagging and wobbly. Many turn back. Some move forward. A few have enemies who push the would-be bridge into the chasm. We fall.

Falling

All of us stumble at some point, losing our footing and our way. At the bottom, once we have regained our equilibrium and our eyes have adjusted to the dark, we might spy a crooked, narrow path leading up or another leading down. The downward path leads into deeper gloom and some require the intense darkness to see the light. Others begin the climb again. Still others remain where they are waiting for someone else to carry them. A few need carrying for everything is broken. Only gentle kindness can heal the wounds. Healing allows another attempt to climb the crooked path. Yet the path is narrow, crooked and steep.

Forgiveness

The pathways of love invite us to forgive those who have pushed us into the chasm. Furthermore, love demands we help those who are too broken to move. She also insists on letting go of hurts, taking responsibility for our own lives and choosing anew. Sometimes Love requires we move away from those we love to give them enough space to find themselves. For indeed, the darkness teaches lessons we need to learn. One such lesson reveals the fruit of blaming others. Only by letting go of blame can we be open enough to receive and embrace what pain has to teach. Then can we be thankful for both the good times and the bad. Certainly, both pathways lead to good eventually.

Share