EDITOR'S NOTE: Lent, according to the dictionary, "is the period preceding Easter that in the Christian Church is devoted to fasting, abstinence, and penitence in commemoration of Christ's fasting in the wilderness. In the Western Church it runs from Ash Wednesday to Holy Saturday and so includes 40 weekdays."
|Credit: Beautiful &Amazing Photo|
This year, as you're aware, both Ash Wednesday and Valentine's Day fell on the same day: February 14.
I knew right away that this was no accident, and there was an inherent message in the phenomenon. To me, there are no "coincidences" in life. The challenging part, though, with all these happenings is figuring out the meaning.
I finally did, and I'm hopeful that by the end of this post, you draw the same conclusion I did about this special day in February 2018.
So, now I want you to un-see the image above and take a conscious step away from there, i.e. the place where the moon meets the sea.
Most of our lives we seem to strive to get to that place in life, i.e. where everything merges into one. But I believe this is wrong. And during the rest of this Lenten period, I want you to consciously undo seeing or striving for Oneness. During Lent:
Don’t go to a place inside where you can’t see differences anymore.
|Credit: Sonora Borealis in southern California. |
The photo was taken from a mountain ridge near
Go instead to the place where there are separations and differences and a variety of spices and smells. And find those that don't easily blend together.
Go to the place inside where every thing is unique and different and awesome. And when you get there, hold on and fight hard to see beauty and depths into the being-ness of each "thing" you encounter.
Hold on and keep fighting to stay there.
As you fight to stay there, hold on to all the things you know make you unique in this world, i.e. the issues you're passionate about, the events that activate your emotions... thoughts, dreams and spark hope in you.
Hold onto them...really hard.
Begin to know and realize that these "uniquely you" features are keeping you alive and striving and looking forward....
When you're in this stage of noticing a difference between you and me, and arguing passionately for your position, and recognizing that different people live in the world: this state is bliss, if we only but know it.
For when we're in this state, only two things will happen: either the world around us shifts to our view or we shift and see things from a different perspective.
Either way, life is moving forward. And we’re vibrantly and passionately participating in it.
We're in the flow of life.
When life stops and becomes still and nothing is moving, we should be troubled. If all symbols that once represented life merge into one, then nothing has deep meaning anymore.
As much as we admire the beautiful image above, we want the moon and the sun and the sea to each have their own identities, don’t we? We are grateful, aren’t we, that the image is only an illusion?
What if the sun became the moon, and the sea is only the platform for both each day when we look outside? What if the sun did not do its "thing" and did not have a real function? What if the moon had none of its own, or the sea ?
Would the world still seem as beautiful? Would we have the joy of living each day with a different flow and glow?
Surely, we’d become nostalgic for days when the bright sunshine woke us up.
And if the moon stayed hidden behind the sun for days ...what a confusing day that would be! Only sunshine all day...
We may love the sun but with no difference from the moon, we would begin to resent its presence in our lives.
So it is with our emotions.
We then should be grateful when we feel "something" about different things, as this is a signal that we're engaging and are fully alive in the vicissitudes of life. Even the most annoying person with whom we disagree...even the most trifling person we know ...is playing a very important role in our lives. By their very presence and their opposing views, they are helping us further refine and define ourselves. Where they stand is a view we do not want, and we clearly are able to know who we are and what and how we look at ourselves and the world around us.
These folks are keeping us awake, active and participating in the day to day flow of life. We may not all yet realize this, but:
*Stillness is good, especially after activity.
*Silence is appreciated, especially after much talking or listening.
*Walking or any activitiy is good, not only for our health, but especially after inactivity.
We greatly appreciate most things in our lives only because of its exact opposite.
Life is to be lived, and we're all required to participate...to stay alive.
We must be in the flow to live.
This means embracing all the good, all the bad, and other emotions, feelings and activities in between.
On any given day, we may have many colorful characters enter our world: some may bring joy, sorrow, frustration and/or annoyance. Others may be our teachers about different ways we can navigate through life or ways to rise to another level. But by their differences, they bring to us the ingredients for life.
These different folks were placed in our path...not by accident, but they were chosen to be here right now and in our very space by a divine plan in the overall scheme of things. So, don’t let their presence derail your goals or being-ness in life. Hang on even tighter to what you believe and want out of life. That's why they came...and specifically now...
Just so you can be...
Every experience that may seem painful...may have us wanting to lock ourselves away from life and living...is there to serve us. The most important thing we have to remember during these times is to "stay in the flow" of it all.
|A book, written by Eric Butterworth, that I highly recommend|
The day we begin to feel that the moon and the stars are one and the same is the day we must get up and fight for our survival.
No two days should feel the same, because no two days are exactly the same.
If you're in an environment where the sameness of the days is beginning to stifle you: look to make some changes.
*If it’s a workplace: ask for a difference role.
*If it’s in a relationship: create new ways of seeing and being with each other.
*If it’s in a family: change your place in the lineup and subtly switch your view of “those that are last,” and “those that shall be first."
Nothing is ever as it seems, especially in the dynamics of families, or in intimate relationships or special friendships. We just need to go beyond the surface and find the gifts hidden behind each facade, each disturbance, each shared joy or sorrow.
|The Red Vineyard: the only painting that Vincent van Gogh|
ever sold during his lifetime
|"Take your share of the world and let|
others take theirs."
Each of us came here on Earth for a divine purpose, but it sometimes becomes hidden because some people in leading positions take the reins as if the entire world were intended only for them and their "kind."
These people may truly never be able to appreciate the beauty and the blessing of diversity here on Earth. Yet, were they to be introduced to the sameness of their own thoughts and manners, they would choke with the dust of mildew threatening to stifle them. Fortunately for them, though, they are graced by diversity around them. ...keeping them alive.
We hear often, “life is what we make of it.” This is true. But the first gift of life is that we’re given an opportunity each day to walk into life and our world with a new set of lens.
We should be able to awaken to the true beauty all around us. We are called to see more than what meets the eye, i.e. the moon touching the sea and becoming one. We want to see the sparkle of the sun, by itself, and its reflection in our world. We want to see the moon in all its glory, charming us at night, and stars winking at us in the expansive sky. And the sea...the water...what treasures lie within its changing moods, as it ebbs and flows.
These things are our life.. Through their existence, our lives should become richer and more glorious each day as we deepen our appreciation of each and every one.
“With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it still is a beautiful world.” -Desiderata, Max Ehrmann
Christian or non Christian: Keep a True Lent! Stay true to your uniqueness, as you hold fast to your hopes, dreams and life’s promises. Learn to Love Yourself!
There’s time enough to get to the place where the sun, moon, stars, sea and the ocean do become ONE.