Falling Upwards

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Do be do be do … – Frank Sinatra November 25, 2017

I’ve been struggling a lot, lately, with living and doing. I’ve got the being part down pat. You know, the thing that spiritual leaders tell you is the main part of being a spiritual being (see? There’s a lot of “being” in those two sentences!). But, as I tell those who come to me for advice, we live in this 3D reality, which means that we have to do and act and live. And, as I repeatedly tell them — Action is creation made manifest.

The result of action is a product, in the form of a service or a thing. I often wonder – is it “creation” if there is nothing to show but an idea in your head? And, I keep coming back to the same answer. No. Creation necessitates completion, starting with the energy of an idea and culminating in the product, the something tangible (even if it’s just in the un-seeable form of service rendered).

I have struggled with this for years. On and off, I believed that my inability to act is due to laziness or lack of discipline. But, deep down I know that is just my Shadow talking. I mean, geez, all those years I woke up early to get my kid ready for school, make him lunch, and get him to places he needed to be were years of doing stuff that is not in my nature. Now that he’s grown, I’ve spent entire weekends in my pajamas just because I can and I want to. But, is that “living” just sitting for hours on end, in comfy clothes, with nary a thought of getting anything done?  I know for sure it’s existing. Sitting there deep in thought or meditation, it could be labeled being because that sounds so much more “spiritual.” Some might call it depression, but I really do enjoy doing nothing, and my happiness exists within me.

Lately, people keep telling me that we are “spiritual beings in a human body” as if I’ve never heard that before and they were the first to think of it. The proper quote was from Pierre Tielhard de Chardin:

We are not human beings having a spiritual experience.
We are spiritual beings having a human experience.

Ah … but see?! The people quoting Tielhard de Chardin to me have been misquoting him! Or, giving those folks the benefit of the doubt, I have been mis-hearing them!

In the actual quote, we are having an “experience.” What is that?
Because I’m a word nerd, I looked it up on Merriam-Webster online. It’s first definition is:
a : direct observation of or participation in events as a basis of knowledge
b : the fact or state of having been affected by or gained knowledge through direct observation or participation

So, if I’m interpreting the definition correctly, I can easily have an experience just by watching, observing. It’s sort of a voyeuristic way to live; kind of like the way we live vicariously through others, e.g., actors in productions, sports figures playing their games, or even friend dramas when we gossip about their lives.

I have a tendency to take this a step farther, as I think many people do. I will often come up with an idea, work it out in my head with all the details to make the idea happen. Then, I will let it go. In my mind, literally, the product, service, event, or whatever has a beginning and an end. It never sees the light outside the darkness of my own mind. I’ve always thought I was okay with that.

Blackbird singing in the dead of night

But, I’ve recently realized that the idea may come back to niggle at the back of my mind. It may be a feeling of incompleteness or, very rarely, what some may consider as regret. It’s the same thing as when you see something or hear of someone do something innovative and think, “hey! I thought of that!” And maybe think that you should have. For me, I’ve never considered any undone thing to be a regrettable inaction. I’m more inclined to think “hey! That’s cool that someone had the same idea I had and did it! That’s wild that we could have the same thought!”

Thinking back, I could probably trace this to when I was, like, 5 or 6 years old. My family was driving from Chicago to Virginia to visit my family. And, my dad was always the one driving. I thought how great it would be if my mother’s side also had a steering wheel so she could take over driving whenever Dad was tired. Many months later, I saw a TV ad for a driving school where their selling point was that the instructor had his own steering wheel to “take over” driving for safety’s sake (or something like that). I thought, “Hey! That was my idea!” But, I realized I was child and couldn’t do anything about it even if it was my good idea. (Yes, I was a very self-aware child.)

Take these broken wings and learn to fly
All your life
You were only waiting for this moment to arrive.

I’m not a child anymore. And, in the mental back and forth of what it truly means to be alive, I consider whether mental exercises of creation are sufficient. In fact, are you actually creating if there is nothing to show for it? If there is no manifestation of the thought?

And, in all my philosophizing, I consider what it is to be human. What is our purpose in this human experience? Why am I not simply a spiritual being that is . . . spirit? Why was I born into this world?

In the Bible I was raised on, I learned that Man is made in the image of God. What does that mean? That God looks like us? Even before I left my church, I knew and believed that God/dess exists within all living beings. That all my eyes look upon are, in some way, images of God. That is my spiritual belief. But, I know there is truth in religious teachings. We just have to dig deep to understand and find that truth. What is the truth of that statement – man is made in the image of God? And, of course, I acknowledge that there are multiple understandings and multiple truths to any statement because, as with all things, it is a matter of perspective.

One of those truths is that God is a Creator. And, if we are made in His/Her image, we are creators, too. And . . . creation exists outside of a thought. If it didn’t, you and I wouldn’t exist. We would still just be God’s thought.

Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Take these sunken eyes and learn to see
All your life,
You were only waiting for this moment to be fre
e

Yes, as all life coaches and esoteric and rah-rah folks will tell you, manifestation begins with deep imagination, dreaming in detail, of what you want to create and/or accomplish. In our mainstream world, we see corporations and business folks use this as their first step in strategic planning when they write their vision and mission statements. But, it is the action — the planning, the steps taken, and the actual production of the service or physical object  — that completes and makes manifest the creation.

I think it is that feeling of “incompletion” that hurts our soul. Yes, there are things we can let go or leave undone. But, those wonderful things we have imagined, those ideas that begin to spread their wings in the comfort of our minds, need to break free to truly be able to become.

I mis-heard those human guides correctly because we are not only spiritual beings having a human experience, we are also spiritual beings in a human body. We are physical beings, a manifestation of God/dess’ imagined conception; a true complete creation. If part of my purpose is to be an image of God/dess, then it is my purpose to create and manifest. For that, I must act; I must do.

I guess there is much wisdom in Mr. Sinatra’s words. As an image of God/dess, my purpose is to do be do be do. (yeah, I crack myself up!) And, of course, a nice reminder from the Beatles:

All your life
You were only waiting for this moment to arise
You were only waiting for this moment to arise
You were only waiting for this moment to arise


P.S., I just watched another YouTube video explaining the background of this song written by Paul McCartney. Supposedly, it was inspired by the Civil Rights movement and the blackbird represents a woman living in oppression. In the context of this essay, I wonder if the worst type of oppression is self-oppression. We limit ourselves and our capabilities by keeping our talents and wisdom hidden and our Selves caged. Hmmm.. what do you think?

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We Are Love, We Are One… February 12, 2014

… We are how we treat each other when the day is done.

I’m posting this a little later than I meant to, and I actually wondered for a few days whether this even makes sense to post… this is kind of an announcement, and a challenge, and an invitation … all rolled into one. It’s not my usual post, hence the questioning on my part. So, here goes…

Several months ago, I asked my Facebook friends what they thought of a particular personal challenge I thought I might want to do — not because I need permission or validation, but because I thought I would put it out there for accountability. Well, I got great support to do it, and to start at the beginning of the year, but I chickened out. My challenge to myself was this:  365 Days of Love

Every day, for the next 365 days, my goal is to create one art project each day which represents, in some way to me, the concept of Love.  The art can be in the form of a photograph, a drawing, a sculpture made on the beach of sand and rocks, or a poem. The challenge is to create each and every day, even if it sucks or is created in a medium with which I have no experience. And, believe me, this is quite a challenge because I can’t draw to save my life, my poetry is laughable at best, and my schedule is so hectic that to go out an capture something on digital and upload, process etc. is difficult.

Now, I’m not the kind of person who likes to challenge herself on… anything, really. I’m not competitive, and I’m mostly a “go with the flow” kind of person who rarely thinks ahead a week or two. And, “disciple” has never been an attribute assigned to me. So, why even think of something like this to do and put it out there to my family and friends? Well, honestly, it has nothing to do with discipline or challenge.

One day in December, I just happened to be thinking of how it’s becoming increasingly difficult to remain positive; how even the positive things I read on the internet can turn so negative when people make terrible comments on a post/article that is meant to uplift. People are so willing to be angry about anything, it seems, whether there is merit or not. I read recently that it is human tendency, and a product of our evolution, to focus on the negative. The I started thinking, … beyond trying to catch myself in my negative thoughts and turn them to the positive, what do I do to try to put positive vibrations out there? What do I do to promote a higher vibration in my family, in my community, in my world? What do I do?

To be bold, to be brave.
It is the thinking that the heart can still be saved
And the darkness can come quick
The Dangers in the Anger and the hanging on to it.

Other than trying to always remain positive and optimistic, trying to show compassion (when I’m aware of it), and trying to help relieve my family and friends of their burdens, I don’t do a whole lot. And, then I realized, for all my preaching and writing of how we are all in this world together, how it is up to all of us as a community to raise the vibrations of our societies and the world, how the answer to everything that plagues our world is Love, … I’m not doing a whole heck of a lot to contribute to make that world happen.

So, that’s when I thought of the project. It doesn’t seem like it might be that useful in promoting Love. After all, it’s an art project. But, I think that if it’s something I’m thinking of all the time — if I’m thinking of Love and how to represent that –then my thoughts are already beginning to create a possibility. And, if I give form to those thoughts, if I create something that is a material, touchable, seeable representation of Love, then I can share that with others who will then, at least for that brief moment of their day, think of Love and, maybe, feel Love. I guess it’s an actual, physical way to spread Love without going around hugging everybody and anybody I can find.

To be humble, to be kind.
It is the giving of the peace in your mind.
To a stranger, To a friend
To give in such a way that has no end.

So, here’s my invitation: won’t you join me on this journey, this challenge, this .. spreading of Love?

The rules to the challenge are simple:  There aren’t really any rules. Just every day, for a year, you create something that, for you, is representative of Love. It can be any medium – drawing, painting, photo, sculpture, poetry…. anything. The only rule is to take photo evidence (can be on your phone). So, if, for example, you make a heart out of rocks on the beach, just take a pic since you can’t take it with you. Then, share it! Spread the Love! If you can, please tweet or Instagram a pic of your art with the hashtag #365DaysOfLove. If not, share it with your friends, your family, with people on the street. It’d be awesome if we can spread the Love globally!

And, since practicing Self-Love is just as important, if you miss a day, forgive yourself, pat yourself on the back for what you’ve accomplished and just resume where you left off the next day. I have a few friends joining me in this already. We start February 14th (yeah, sorry for the late notice).

I’m going to try to figure out the whole Instagram thing and link it to my Facebook page, so if you wanna follow me and see how well I’m doing on this challenge, I’m on Facebook as Facebook.com/FrancesMarie.Photographs  (where you can friend me), on Twitter as @FrancesPhotos, and on Instagram as FrancesPhotographs. I’m not a complete luddite, but I honestly haven’t figured out how to link everything, so the posting may be spotty. I will try to figure it out by the the 14th, though.

And, if you decide to join me, first of all, that would be awesome (read that in a sing-song voice). But, also, please comment on this post so I can watch out for you, too. I’ll be able to find you if you use that hashtag #365DaysOfLove (I think. I hope.). And, remember,

Tell me what it is that you see
A world that’s filled with endless possibilities?
Heroes don’t look they used to, they look like you do.

P.S., I actually didn’t know this was featured in the Olympics until I went to get the Youtube vid for you. What a nice coincidence. I’m taking it as a sign that this is the perfect time to be doing this project.