Friday, October 30, 2015

Having all the answers

Have you ever thought about what life would be like if we had all the answers?

At first glance it seems like something wonderful!
After all, when we have the answer, we will always know what to do next, which steps to take, which people to meet; where to go and what to do to really fast-track our lives.

Giving it some thought, however, makes me reconsider…

If any and all answers where handed to us on a silver platter, would we still be curious about something new? Marvel at how a new invention works? Or be in awe about an unexpected discovery we are stumbling upon, often while doing something totally different?

Or would we become jaded?
Start to just sit back and only take action when we know we will benefit from it ~ be it materially, physically, emotionally, mentally, or spiritually? Would we still be spontaneous?
When we already have all the answers, what would get us enthused? Would there still be adventures that would attract us?

Would we also have an answer to the miracles ~ big and small ~ we encounter in our lives?

I suspect that how we would receive the answers would make a difference in how having all the answers might change us.

If the answers would truly be ‘handed to us on a silver platter’, in other words, if there would be nothing we would have to do, focus on, or be aware of to gain the answers, the result may well be that we indeed would sit back and pick and choose what we want to experience based on the expected benefit.
However, if we would need to teach ourselves to focus, to be aware of all that is around us ~ being aware of any and every way the answers may come into our lives ~ and perhaps even learn some advanced meditative techniques in order to truly get that answer; then the result may be different.
Because that is hard work!

And it would bring a whole range of new and different questions into our lives. Like, are we willing to put in that amount of work? Do we trust the answers we get? Are we truly ‘here and now’; because that is in all likelihood where the answers are given? Or are we worried about something that happened somewhere else, or in a different time frame?

Either way, perhaps the question that remains unanswered the longest is what ways the Universe will find to nudge us in the right direction…
Because after all, we can only receive the answers to the questions we can perceive; moving forward in a direction we can see ourselves going. And sometimes the most interesting answers are given to the questions we could never have imagined.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Questions and answers

What are the questions that we truly need the answers to?
And to which questions do we want the answers? Sometimes desperately.

The questions we feel we need the answers to generally have to do with our path through life. Where are we headed? How can we make a difference? What is our next step in our (spiritual) growth? What are the things we are passionate about in life?

That last one is a funny one; one would think that we know what we are truly passionate about in life, however, when we start to think about it, things hardly ever are as clear-cut as they seemed to be when we asked ourselves that question. Of course there are also levels of answers. We can be passionate about certain kinds of foods, certain activities, and on and on.

However for most of us the most interesting answer lies at the crossroads of all four of the questions. In other words, when we find that there is (more or less) just one answer that applies to all four questions, we know we are on to something big!

The questions we want the answers to tend to be totally different. They are usually more along the lines of the winning numbers in the lottery, the stock market, the best car to buy, or best house to live in.
Each question may have one or more answers that will turn out to be correct. The answers also may change; sometimes from week to week, other times as we progress on our path through life. Yet each answer will be very specific to that very question. There is hardly ever a point where those questions and answers all come together at one point in time.

Another difference between the questions we need the answers to and those we want the answers to, is that for the answers we need, we have to turn inside ourselves. To those questions the answers are pretty much every time to be found inside ourselves.
The questions we want the answers to, often can benefit from interaction outside of ourselves; from input from others, or even from reading up on the research others have already done; statistics others have already put together. And when we have done our due diligence, we pick the best answer we can find to that question.

Perhaps it is that difference between the answers we need ~ that are to be found inside ourselves ~ and the answers we want ~ which we can find doing the required research ~ that when asked if we have any questions we need answered at this point in time, we have a hard time coming up with any question at all…

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

The short end of the stick

Throughout our lives we are bound to find ourselves on the short end of the stick on occasion. When things don’t work out the way we had envisioned, or even when we find ourselves in circumstances where we get hurt ~ whether it is just our pride that is hurt, our ego, an emotional or physical hurtful experience…

Those experiences are never ‘good’ experiences.
Without exception ~ certainly right when it happens ~ we know we could have done without that episode.

On the other hand, depending on how we handle our involvement in the situation and what happened to us, we may come out (a lot) stronger than we ever thought we were. Or we can find ourselves sinking in a pool of negativity.

Coming out a stronger person usually means that we have learned from the situation. Whether we have learned discernment (“I don’t need to get involved in a situation like that ever again”), or whether we look at it from a ‘life lessons’ perspective (“What has been my attitude about myself and/or my life that has permitted that situation to come into my life in the first place?”), chances are that we will change our lives to such extend that whatever happened to us won’t happen again.

Sinking in a quagmire of negativity, however, may land us in an attitude that tells us that the whole world is against us, out there to get us. And everybody we meet will do things to purposely hurt us.
This means that every innocent conversation is taken personally. And every ‘off the cuff’ remark is taken as a personal affront.

Without a reality check, it is an attitude that is hard to step away from!
Because the negative attitude in and of itself becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy…

After all, we like to be among happy people rather than negative, unhappy people. So pretty soon those with a negative outlook on life may find themselves being alone more often than they would care for as slowly ~ over time ~ friends and family turn away from them.
And come to think of it, when every comment, every remark is taken as an insult, there is not a whole lot to talk about either.
And in the ensuing loneliness it is easy to propagate the negative attitude by observing that ‘nobody likes me’.

As the negative spiral goes down further and further, it may also become harder and harder, not only to ask for, but also to accept help to get out of the quicksand the person may find themselves in…

It is a way where how we handle things we encounter in life try can get us on the short end of the stick.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015


Today is a day to harvest the grapes that are growing over my patio. The birds have been enjoying them for some time, and it seems a shame to not taste any of them myself ~ even though this is not really a terrific climate to grow grapes that are truly sweet…
Other years I have made grape juice out of it; chances are that is going to happen this year as well.

Another perspective is that the abundant amount of grapes is part and parcel of my more personal harvest this year. A bonus handed to me for all the hard work I have put in, as the seasons moved from one into another. Taking this into consideration, I’m double grateful for this time of harvest!

Pondering that thought it does seem funny how the return to our labor ~ to the energy expended ~ can come in such unexpected ways. Especially since I haven’t given my patio and the plants growing there much thought this year. My attention was needed elsewhere. And while there doesn’t seem to be a big ‘return’ with those things I have spent my time and energy on, suddenly I find there are buckets full of grapes, right there in my own patio…

It is unexpected as we tend to look at things from a more two-dimensional perspective of cause and effect. “This is what I am working on, so this is where the results will manifest.”
And when they don’t, we are easily discouraged as we have worked so hard for so little result.

But perhaps we are looking at it the wrong way. Maybe, when we are making the most of walking our personal paths, planning and doing whatever it is we feel we need to plan and do, the results come back to us in a more multi-dimensional way. By suddenly finding ourselves being in the right place at the right time to meet this person we were meant to meet. Or by finding that we have, often unknowingly, accomplished something that ~ while it is truly nice ~ never was a ‘blip’ on our radar.

To notice the full result of our labor over a full year, we may have to look not just at those things we know we have been working on, but also become aware of the little ~ and sometimes big ~ bonuses that may come our way from places where we least expected them to come from…
And then to not just recognize them, but also being grateful for it!

Friday, October 9, 2015

Taking care of business

Nowadays it seems we are all very busy ~ whether that is with a job, with family, sports, or social events; we manage to spend our time like there is no tomorrow.

Gone are the quiet mornings, the lazy afternoons, and long walks; and meeting with friends and acquaintances can only be done by appointment. Mainly because each and every one of us is taking care of business, doing all of those things that absolutely need to be done.

It seems that this, while it in itself is certainly not a bad thing, comes to a point ~ especially in the energy we are living in nowadays ~ where we need to evaluate whether we are focusing on the ‘right’ kind of business. In other words, in the ever higher energies of today it becomes more and more important to figure out where we want to spend our time and energy.

Spending time and energy on a job ~ be it working for a company, being self-employed, or any other way through which we create our livelihood ~ is a good thing. We just need to make sure that we actually like the job we are doing, enjoy the work and the people we work with; even be passionate about creating the best results.
And the time we spend with family; is that really the quality time we would like it to be? Or is it more like saying ‘hello, goodbye’ to each other as one person comes in while the other is just about to leave? Which in and of itself is not a bad thing; yet the question we may want to ask ourselves is whether it is enough?
And our social contacts, are they our true friends? Or are they people we meet occasionally, and who only seek us out when they need us to do something for them? Or the other way around; us getting in touch with them because we need to get something done?

The recurring question is whether whatever business it is we are taking care of; is it what we really want to be doing at this point in time? Is it where we want to spend our time and energy? And whatever it is that we get out of it; is that enough?
When our answers to all of these questions is ‘yes’, without any hesitation at all; we are right where we should be! But if by answering these questions we feel any doubt, we may need to re-evaluate where we spend our time and energy. And perhaps make that our business that needs taking care of…

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Autumn song

That time of year when the temperatures drop and nature seems to turn inside itself always is like a song to me. When the tall grass falls over and changes color from a vibrant green into a somewhat drab yellow-brownish, when the leaves turn into bright, exuberant oranges, reds and yellows before finally falling. When mushrooms and fungi thrive in the moist, sometimes still warm environment, and the scents in nature are stronger than they have been all year…
All of that adds up to that Autumn song. A song that is sometimes subtle ~ even hard to hear ~ while at other times it is wild, eccentric and abundant. A song that sings of accomplishments and achievements.

It is the final outburst of color ~ and song ~ before nature quiets down for its hibernation of sorts during the Winter months. A final pad on the back for a job well done. And sometimes it seems that the greater the ‘bragging rights’ the more abundant the colors, the scents, and the song are. And from that perspective, the song of Autumn is definitely a celebration!

Nature has a way of doing that throughout the seasons; sowing the seeds, allowing them to germinate, to grow and flourish, to finally harvest the achievement of that cycle of the seasons. To celebrate the accomplishment. And in all of its color, scent and sound it tells the world about it.

Us humans don’t seem to do these things quite as much.
Even when we are aware of the cycle of the seasons, we plan and scheme; we find structure and work hard to make our plans reality in our world. And when the time comes to celebrate our achievement, we often see all the things we didn’t do, the things we haven’t accomplished, and the faults in our original planning first and foremost. We seem to focus on the things that go wrong instead of on the things that go right; and rather than being grateful and celebrating, singing our ‘Autumn song’, we find ourselves stuck in a quiet murmur of negativity.

Perhaps this is the year ~ the time ~ to consciously focus on our personal ‘Autumn song’. To focus on the things we are grateful for in our lives; to truly see our achievements over the past year or so, and to celebrate our accomplishments. Even when they are not the things we set out to do, or planned.

After all, sometimes our greatest accomplishments can be found in the fact that we handled those things the universe has thrown our way effectively and with grace…

Friday, October 2, 2015

The promised land

Apart from the biblical meaning of the promised land, there are many aspects of our wishes and desires that constitute our own, personal promised land…

That personal promised land is more common than we might think. When we are very young, the promised land is when we can walk. Later it is that time that we are allowed to do things on our own. As teenagers the promised land may be that time when we pass our drivers test and obtain a drivers license; and finally having that drivers license it opens the world to us!

During our lives there are those wishes and desires we may cherish that, each in their own right, become our promised land. At least for a while. And after that we have either reached our personal promised land, or we have moved on and are now desiring something different.
For instance when we may have wished for a grand mansion to live and enjoy and to raise our family in. At some point in our lives we may come to the realization that we are better served with a smaller, more modest abode. Sometimes even in a different setting; more quiet, more culturally stimulating, or perhaps in a setting where we are surrounded by like-minded people…

Throughout history there have also been times when people started moving from one place to another in (family)groups; sometimes over quite expansive distances. Often driven by needs rather than desires, and looking for a place where they would have a better chance to not just survive, but also thrive.
They would bring the culture they were raise in with them, which often became an instigation for new things, new perspectives in the places they ended up settling in.

In other words, the fact that they moved to their ‘promised land’ benefited not only them, but it advanced the whole area they traveled to.

And yet, chances are that even in those days they were met with strong opposition by those that didn’t understand their language, their behavior, and their way sin general. The argument that may well have been used as a ‘catch-all’ reason to oppose those new-comers could have been that they were taking away the food as they were hunting the same grounds, or tried their hands at agriculture in the same area where others had been living for generations…

Looking at the world of today, nothing much has changed.
We, who have lived here for generations, still try and deny the ‘new-comers’ their ‘promised land’; and we are doing so from the same fear-based thoughts and reasons that have been used throughout the ages.

Perhaps it is time to focus on our own wishes and desires, to reach for our own, personal promised land, benefiting from the newness that new perspectives bring as others come to join in that place we know so well.