Thursday, June 09, 2005

Angels, The Voice, and Pooh

This is actually from May 11, 2005

I wanted to share my insight for the day. My sister, Kelly, sent me a forwarded, echain mail message, but rather than cast it aside, something said "send it." So, listening to the Voice, I compiled my list of folks to send it to, but then felt that I needed to send a kind of apology/acknowledgment about the "chain feature" of the email, and then a whole bunch of other stuff started coming out right behind it, so I went with it. I didn't know until I was finished that I'd had a flash of insight...that, perhaps, I had already heard the message that the chain promised to deliver. Here's what I sent, but then I'll finish up on my epiphany after that.

Subject line: Angels, the Voice, and Pooh

Forwarded message: This morning when the Lord opened a window to Heaven, he saw me, and he asked: My child, what is your greatest wish for today? I responded: "Lord please, take care of the person who is reading this message, their family and their special friends. They deserve it and I love them very much." The love of God is like the ocean, you can see its beginnings but not its end. This message works on the day you receive it. To some it may sound dumb, but the person who sent this to me was impressed with the time. Let us see if it is true. ANGELS EXIST, but sometimes, since they don't all have wings, we call them FRIENDS, SUCH AS YOU. Pass this on to your true friends. SOMETHING GOOD WILL HAPPEN TO YOU TODAY AT 11:11 IN THE EVENING. SOMETHING THAT YOU HAVE BEEN WAITING TO HEAR. THIS IS NOT A JOKE, SOMEONE WILL CALL YOU BY PHONE OR SPEAK TO YOU ABOUT SOMETHING THAT YOU WERE WAITING TO HEAR OR AN ANGEL WILL GIVE YOU A MESSAGE IN YOUR DREAMS. DO NOT BREAK THIS CHAIN; SEND IT TO A MINIMUM OF 7 PEOPLE.

Nicole’s message: I hate chains, but I love the idea of the Voice that tells us something we need to hear. But don’t assume it has to be at 11:11pm, or even tonight…just start listening and you’ll hear the Voice whispering to you and you will know what to do. I belive that our pain in life comes from imagining our existence as a tightrope act. Sometimes we even imagine that God is our net, but this too is unclear thinking. There is no tightrope. Step to the left…it’s ok. Step to the right…it’s ok. Step forward…backward…it’s ok. Stop for a minute? It’s OK. The only thing required of us is that we make honest decisions about when and where to step. By honest decisions, I mean that we need to be honest with each other and, most importantly, to be honest with ourselves. Now THERE is the complexity!!! Self-honesty! Self-honesty—to operate from a center that we know, understand, and love! Does it seem elusive? Non-existent? Well, guess what? It’s right there—waiting. We have to TRY to ignore, avoid, or abuse that center. If you can remove the striving for something outside of your center, then you have found your center. In other words, the intention of your steps must be toward a goal (active) and not merely to avoid an unpleasant outcome (passive).

Think of Winnie-the-Pooh, lost in the Hundred Acre Wood. He, Piglet, and Rabbit circled round and round, always ending up where they started—-at the Pit. Once they decided to stop trying to avoid the Pit but rather to intentionally walk back toward it, they made it out of the woods effortlessly.(Well, Pooh and Piglet did...Rabbit had a "whole nother" lesson to learn!)So today, if you find that you keep ending up in the place you are trying hardest to avoid, ask yourself: What do I REALLY want? Do I just want to avoid the “pits” in my life, or do I want to go Home? You see, when Pooh and company were merely trying to avoid the Pit, they went in circles and essentially went nowhere. We do not go “home” by avoiding the “pits.” When we face the “pits” head on and deliberately take each step, acknowledging and embracing the existence of the Pit, we find a new path that leads home. Now, I seem to have muddied the meaning of Pit, haven’t I? But wait! Listen. The Pit is really our center. Think about that. The pit is not something “bad” or “wrong” (although the connotations can work that way), but rather, it is where we are. You are here—at this Pit. Being “lost” in our lives is a refusal to work with where we are right now. Only through an acknowledgment of the Pit and the full intention of walking toward it, can we move forward and find the path that leads home. So stop striving to avoid your center! Take a deep breath. Smile. Laugh. Feel the truth of your existence. Know it. It is love. It is perfect. It is never-ending. There is no falling--only the next, intentional step.Have a blessed day!Nicole

OK! Wow! Did I learn something? YES! Is it something I already knew? YES! But it's that lovely space where an old idea becomes new and more beautiful because it suddenly seems deeper or makes even more sense--or really, perhaps it is that now it doesn't just make sense, but that your gut finally gets it?? So, my problem with choosing the big rocks in my life has been that I was trying to choose rocks that would lead away from my Pit(s). I visualized goals that were superficial, avoidance goals and not what I really want for me, at the Pit, goals. What does that mean? Let me see if I can articulate a specific example.

I wanted to be more efficient--to plan my days more--to have a "schedule" so that I could get more things done, but I could never do that. It hurt my brain to try to divide up the day into time slots that were next to inviolable and to work at those times and play at others. I thought, I MUST get this work done during this time during the day and have all the other time for things other than work. I also thought that the reason I balked at this was because I was just a rebel without a cause and that I was undisciplined and lazy and a horde of other negative adjectives that clearly proved that I was not a "normal" person--or at least, not "one of those successful people." I still want to think that I have to be like it's the "best" way to get things done. Even when I coddled myself and said, "You're just different and unique and your artsy/creative and it doesn't fit with your personality," I was patronizing myself and still beating myself up with the idea of a perfectly scheduled person. I had had a few glimpses though, especially since grad school, of how something in me knew exactly how much time I had to get things done. I ALWAYS finished things by the deadline and they were always done well--not as perfectly as I might think they SHOULD be, but well done. There was no external evidence that I had not planned out each stage or that I hadn't done the work thoroughly. I had started telling my husband, when I put off things like grading or lesson planning, that my subconscious was aware of how much time I had, and since I didn't feel compelled to do them, then I must still have enough time. And then something happened the other day.

I thought that I had surely run out of time to grade. It was Mother's Day...the pile of papers was too much...I didn't want to do I sectioned them up and picked a stack and started grading. While grading, my brain percolated and I began to see a plan of action forming. Wait a minute! I could grade these by tonight, those tomorrow, and then I have time during and after the final exam periods for these other ones I thought I had to do by the end of today...etc. So, I figured out that I had plenty of time to grade and that I hadn't wasted my weekend and that I had done the right thing all along! I had made the right decisions for my time (when to play, when to work), but all the while, I had been beating myself up about the pile of grading I had to do. From the moment I realized that I had this time, and stated my plans out loud, I have gotten things done according to plan and the time has been sufficient for everything! And I relaxed.

Now, it's not as though I'm still not busier with some things than I would like to be...I feel like there are other things I want to be busy with...things without deadlines (uh-oh...those are the tough ones!)...but I am seeing that all this time, I have been trying to avoid the Pit of subconscious, deadline-related planning that is at my center, and I've been doing nervous and self-abusing circles around the issue for years. So, rather than try to cramp my true self (oh, it's SO hard to admit that it might be ok to be this way!) into the box of perceived successful organizational strategies, I have committed myself to listening to my inner Voice of planning. Again, it's not like I don't make lists and order events and what have you, but I was going too far in the extreme. I will never be a Day-planner person, and it's really ok. (sounds a little pathetic now, but this is a huge load off my back!) Anyway, I now can see the difference between walking intentionally toward my planning Pit as opposed to failing circuitously and continuously by avoiding my natural planning ability. You see, I was operating under the idea that I did NOT plan and that there was "the" way to plan, but now I see that I DO plan (quite a bit takes a lot of internal planning to get everything done well by deadlines!) and that it fits with what I want better than I imagined--it's not just that it's easier or lazier, but that it keeps me creative and happy. So, to recap, mostly for myself...

Today I realized that I have been "stepping out" in avoidance of my center--my "I am here" place--and trying instead to avoid myself in order to be like some perfect person I imagine. I have been abusing my center with name-calling and belittling under the guise of "self-improvement" in the "I must be better than THIS" kind of method. So really, starting every attempt at progress by saying that I have a "problem" to solve, rather than a "desire" to follow, sets me up for failure each time. Every time I think I am starting to help--or improve--myself, I am essentially rejecting my current center. I am immediately sabotaged by perceiving myself as lacking something, and by putting myself down. I suddenly feel as though this is elementary my Dear Watson because it makes so much sense to me. Here's an analogy (I thought of my mom and a conversation we had about losing weight): It's the difference between saying, "I need to lose weight; I'm fat. I shouldn't be fat, so I should try this diet and lose weight"; and saying, "What do I want right now in my life? I desire to feel healthy and energetic and I want the clothes I have in my closet right now to not feel so tight on me. I'm going to look at what I might be eating (or why) that makes me feel less healthy/energetic or might be contributing to some abdominal weight gain. I'm also going to see if I am sleeping enough and if I need some vitamins. The weather is great, so I think I'll start walking in the __________ (to wake up, to relax before bed, to revive before the evening stuff I do, to hear the birds singing, to hear the crickets chirping, to see the stars, clouds, to feel the sun on my face). It's a holistic approach. There's another dream. I wanted to be a practitioner of holistic medicine at one point when I asked myself what I really wanted. But that's for another day! The point of today...the blessed, wonderful, amazing, stepping stone for the day is that I feel an old lesson in my's truly mine today. It really doesn't matter what I do at all. It only matters why. If every step I take is an honest and centered step, then I am on the path home. But even better is that if I don't make the next step, I can refocus and step again, and again, and again. There is no falling. No reason to fear the step. Any step taken in the absence of fear--in faith--is the right step. Here's to stepping out in faith!

And just in case you haven’t read about Winnie-the-Pooh in a while…here’s the part I was talking about."The fact is,” said Rabbit, “we've missed our way somehow."They were having a rest in a small sand-pit on the top of the Forest. Pooh was getting rather tired of that sand-pit, and suspected it of following them about, because whichever direction they started in, they always ended up at it, and each time, as it came through the mist at them, Rabbit said triumphantly, "now I know where we are!" and Pooh said sadly,"So do I," and Piglet said nothing. He had tried to think of something to say, but the only thing he could think of was,"Help, help!" and it seemed silly to say that, when he had Pooh and Rabbit with him."Well," said Rabbit, after a long silence in which nobody thanked him for the nice walk they were having, "we'd better get on, I suppose. Which way shall we try?""How would it be," said Pooh slowly, "if, as soon as we're out of sight of this Pit, we try to find it again?""What's the good of that?" said Rabbit."Well,” said Pooh, “we keep looking for Home and not finding it, so I thought that if we looked for this Pit, we'd be sure not to find it, which would be a Good Thing, because then we might find something that we weren't looking for, which might be just what we were looking for, really.""I don't see much sense in that," said Rabbit."No," said Pooh humbly, "there isn’t. But there was going to be when I began it. It's just that something happened to it on the way.""If I walked away from this Pit, and then walked back to it, of course I should find it.""Well, I thought perhaps you wouldn't," said Pooh. "I just thought.""Try," said Piglet suddenly. "We'll wait here for you."Rabbit gave a laugh to show how silly Piglet was, and walked into the mist. After he had gone a hundred yards, he turned and walked back again. . . and after Pooh and Piglet had waited twenty minutes for him, Pooh got up."I just thought," said Pooh. "Now then, Piglet, let's go home.""But, Pooh," cried Piglet, all excited, “do you know the way?""No," said Pooh. "But there are twelve pots of honey in my cupboard, and they've been calling to me for hours. I couldn't hear them properly before, because Rabbit would talk, but if nobody says anything except those twelve pots, I think, Piglet, I shall know where they are calling from. Come on."They walked off together; and for a long time Piglet said nothing, so as not to interrupt the pots; and then suddenly he made a squeaky noise . . . and an oo-noise . . . because now he began to know where he was; but he still didn't dare to say so out loud, in case he wasn't. And just when he was getting so sure of himself that it didn't matter whether the pots went on calling or not, there was a shout from in front of them, and out of the mist came Christopher Robin."Oh, there you are," said Christopher Robin carelessly, trying to pretend that he hadn't been Anxious."Here we are," said Pooh.

© Nicole J. Williams, 2005, all rights reserved