Ten years ago, I came across this little parable. It arrived in an unlikely fashion. It brought me to tears, and I only recognized a portion of its power then. I was only operating on a low frequency at that moment.
Now I see that my consciousness was operating at a lower frequency. A level that prevented me from the enormity of the content. Growth is slow and steady. 10 years to be exact.
An old man and his son lived in an abandoned fortress on the side of a hill. The son was the sole support of his father, and their only possession of value was a horse. One day, the horse ran away. The neighbors came by to offer sympathy. “This is a terrible thing,” they said. “How do you know?” asked the old man.
Several days later, the horse returned, bringing several wild horses. The old man and the son shut them all inside the gate. The neighbors hurried over. “This is fabulous,” they said. “How do you know?” asked the old man.
The following day the son tried riding one of the wild horses. Alas, he fell and broke his leg. Sure enough, the neighbors came around as soon as they heard the news. “What a tragedy!” they said. “How do you know?” asked the old man.
The following week, the emperor’s army entered the village, forcing every young man into service to fight faraway battles. Many of them would never return. But the son couldn’t go. He had a broken leg.
Now for the good part. I re-read it this morning as if I had read it for the first time. Whoa!
This time around, I recognized the certainty. When things happen in our life, good or bad, they are happening for us, not to us. This trust isn’t easy, especially for me. I’ve never felt safe enough not to doubt what I was thinking, let alone being told. Even when all of the evidence proved otherwise.
Another vital message missed, primarily because I’m a people pleaser in recovery, was the power of opinions, both our own and those of others. I feel like I was hit by a lightning bolt.
This time, the “How do you know?” jumped right off the page. Suddenly, every bit of advice/opinion ever given or taken flashed before my eyes, whether it was solicited or not. Whew, that was quite a show!
I am so proud of myself for seeing these messages this time around. I’ve been working hard to heal, and it felt like my progress was being revealed.
Hey, listen up. We’re all human, so don’t think re-reading a parable and getting hit with an imaginary lightning bolt fixed decades of damage. I wish!
I’ll still have doubts, but now I’m more aware of their negative power, and you better believe I’ll be giving my two cents, but not before pausing to consider what I know as opposed to spewing off words based on my own scarcity. A work in process.
It’s never too late to resurrect your life. So, get to it.
Enjoy the Ride!
Rory’s Question Time Over Coffee 10th December
Rory is our gracious host, and I have met my coffee quota for the day, but here goes.
What motivates you to get up every day?
No motivation is needed from me. I just enjoy getting up every day.
What words have always struck you as funny or odd when looked upon?
Cattywampus. My hubby uses it more than most humans. Why? I have no idea; all I know is no one questions him about it. It’s usually followed by awkward silence.
How often do you read the comments left by other bloggers on other bloggers’ published posts?
Always! It’s the curiosity in me I can’t help myself.
How hard do you work to keep your long-standing friendships alive year in and year out, and do your friends work the same way to keep you?
The friends who did not put in the work have recently been dismissed from their friendship duties. If I have to work hard at a friendship, it’s not a friendship, it’s a job, and I already have one of those.
How many emails do you delete every week?
Oh, sweet baby Jesus, I don’t think numbers go that high.
Are you easily distracted, and what delights you the most?
Yes, and let’s face it, it doesn’t take much.
Have you ever had a strange unexplained encounter that left you shaken and baffled, and if so, what do you think it was? Or what did your brain make you think it was?
Yes. I saw a female ghost floating at the foot of my bed, holding a small box. If a police officer asked me to describe her, there is no doubt I could give a vivid description. I thought it was a female ghost.
Are we more scared of things that go bump in the night when in the dark or equally as concerned if the same thing happens during daylight hours? If so, why do you think that is?
Bumps at any time of the day are alarming because I’m not a big fan of surprises. Bumps in the dark raise the fear factor bar.
What are the magical ingredients for writing a bestseller, and do you think you could write one?
Considering some current bestsellers, I would say the magical ingredients are a boatload of money mixed with notoriety and a hint of basic writing skills.
Well, I don’t think I couldn’t write one, but I currently lack a boat with a load of money or notoriety.
When was the last time you stayed awake all night having fun with another person, and what were you doing?
February 23, 2022, in New York City, enjoying the Elton John concert with a friend.
Would the 18-year-old you recognize the older you if you both collided on the street today? If not, why?
Hell no! That girl would be too naive to accept the possibility of it even happening.
What are you most looking forward to in 2023?
Being the best possible version of myself by raising my consciousness.
Are you more curious, are you more passionate, or are you both?
Hands down curious first, passionate second.
Can you easily recognize your flaws, and do you think it is important?
More so now than when I was younger. I spent too much time focusing on my outer “flaws” while the inner flaws were screaming for attention.
The musical album you loved the most in the last twenty years was…?
This is tough, but I think I’m going with Amy Winehouse Back to Black.
What could you do less of?
There are several answers, but the one that comes to mind is, wasting time.
The Show Must Go On
Just sitting here pondering about life. Concluding that, if nothing else, it’s engaging as we navigate through our individual and collective journeys. I say collective because we’re in this together. Who’s crossing your path today, and why?
Have you ever viewed life as a movie with yourself as both the writer and star? I have.
Of course, there will be significant co-stars. At the same time, God, the universe, creator, or whatever term you refer to as a higher power is trying to direct scenes that include, I don’t know, millions of extras and a storyline that changes daily. Spielberg gave it a hard no.
It all started when I began recognizing a pattern of who I was attracting onto my set. Yes, we’re sticking to the movie theme here. My awareness heightened when someone or something got under my skin. Ugh, what is it? Why are you so f@#$ing annoying?
The answer is simple and complicated. Oh, you thought it would be easy too?
Remember the millions of extras and those co-stars? Well, they play crucial roles in our stories, some more than others, but they’re all critical in their own way. It’s no accident they auditioned.
It doesn’t matter if it’s the disgruntled cashier, a family member, a boss, or someone in between. If they show up, I ask myself whether they’ve been cast as my mirror, a messenger, or a teacher. A memo from the director would be nice; just saying.
The other plot twist to remember is that everyone you encounter is also starring in their own movie. What could possibly go wrong? Without ever being in Hollywood, I think it’s safe to say things can go wry when too many stars are on the stage. Why? Well …
We’re all walking around the studio lot we call this world with unhealed wounds while our particular audiences sling salt at them daily, provoking us to choose between reacting or learning. It’s not a Hallmark movie out there, folks.
So far, I’ve realized that our movies do not include stunt people, which is sometimes unfortunate but necessary if we want that blockbuster; we have to feel the bumps along the way. They don’t call it growing pains for anything.
Another important lesson learned is improvising or using our free will during production makes it very difficult for the director to navigate the script. Ego is always trying to steal the show.
So, until we allow the spotlight to shine on us with certainty, the problematic scenes in our movie will play on a loop until we decide to heal or learn. It’s all about the light.
This perspective has allowed me to view my movie more transparently and ask the director for guidance; this has led me on a path to winning the Best Picture award.
Enjoy the Ride!
Can I Get A Pound Of Love?
I’m finally settled in at the new abode. Learning how to navigate traffic patterns, grocery stores, finding new medical providers, and a job has been, shall we say, an experience, but being near the beach has made all of this more tolerable. Salt air works wonders.
One thing I’ve learned for sure is this place is a vortex. Not the hellish whirlpool kind. This area is loaded with people that bring it to life with their energy. There’s a vibe.
I’m not sure if it’s a recipe of transplanted people mixed with the locals and a dash of vacationers for flavor or something else, but there is something extraordinary in the air.
Recently I met a woman who opened her hand to reveal a fist full of glass hearts. I was instructed to pick one, which I did with a smile. She is spreading love, literally.
Cupid and I got to talking, and she explained that since 2003 she has given out approximately 80,000 of these hearts worldwide. That’s a lot of love.
My face must have been saying, “Damn! That’s a lot of hearts/money.” Because without a word, Cupid explained that she purchases the hearts by the pound, and like everything else, the price has escalated. Come on! Gas is one thing, but love?
There was something about this exchange that I couldn’t shake. Over the next few days, the experience kept playing over and over in my head. I would pick up the heart several times daily, hoping for enlightenment. It was nagging.
Well, once again, the universe came through. This time in the form of a website. That’s right, ladies and gentlemen, this extraordinary woman has a website that came to my attention in a way that genuinely confirms there are no coincidences. Well done, universe, well done.
I couldn’t get to Google fast enough to check out her site. To my surprise, but not really, the first thing to hit my eyes was the statement, “Kindness is the Foundation of Peace.” It sure is.
At this moment, I was overcome with emotion. As some of you know, my mother passed in 2020, but she left this world with an exceptional last sentiment. “Be kind to everyone no matter what; this world needs kindness.” https://life-with-the-topdown.com/2020/12/17/be-kind-to-everyone-1926-2020/
Now, here I sit 7 days later, writing this essay, wondering what my next step will be in this world that desperately needs more kindness. Hmmm …
You can check out her story and more about her mission at https://www.radicalkindness.com. It’s proof that it doesn’t take much effort to impact the world positively.
Enjoy the Ride, with Kindness!
We hired a new girl at work. She’s the same age as my daughter and very sweet. This week I was training her on the dynamics of the office. Considering her age, I knew I didn’t have to say too much about the computer system beyond a password. I was right; she’s a wizard.
As we talked and got to know each other, I noticed a common thread in her language. Fear. Not just your common fear of, let’s say, spiders, I’m talking fear of life. What in the world?
I was drained by this negative energy by Tuesday, which was a new reaction for me. Typically, the mother in me takes over, but I stopped noting she has a mother. Who I now know is 11 years younger than me. Next up would be my inner Therapist, who I had to tackle before she started to take on another non-paying patient. Boundaries baby.
On my ride home, I could not shake the thought of our conversations. There was almost a sadness about them, and usually, I’m very understanding. So why the hell was I so annoyed? What is it about myself that I don’t like in this girl? Ding, ding, ding!!!
Then I remembered a chapter from a book I listened to recently, The Untethered Soul by Michael A. Singer titled Removing Your Inner Thorn.
I highly recommend reading or listening to this book for a broader explanation.
This is a complex subject, so I’ll do my best to explain it in the simplest form, and even that is complicated. I think I listened to this chapter 1,000 before it started to sink in.
Let’s say you have a thorn in your arm, and the pain is excruciating because it’s touching a nerve. Of course, you’re not going to let anyone near it because it will cause too much pain. This makes your life very difficult. The thorn now becomes a constant source of disruption in your life. Protecting and hiding is a job.
To solve the issue, you have two choices: One, you continue to protect the thorn, or two, you take it out. As simple as this sounds, it’s actually the most complicated thing a person can do to heal and grow.
Where am I going with this? Well, let me tell you. I’ve had thorns stuck in me for decades! You could say I was a professional thorn protector, or so I thought. I didn’t realize everything I was missing while my energy was focused on creating airbags to keep my thorns at bay. The thorns ran/run my life.
No matter what solution you choose, the thorn will continue to run your life until you remove all the layers, dig deep down to the root and give a good long hug and a quick yank. Free at last.
Through growth and higher consciousness, I’ve learned that my thorns are nothing more than stored energy from the past that sits in my heart. The good part is I noticed my thorn was being poked, but I didn’t have a reactive response; it shows my growth. It’s about time!
When I look at this girl, I see my twenty-something self looking back at me full of thorns. Talk about being tested; she’s my teacher.
The low self-esteem, lack of self-worth, an unhealthy relationship, people-pleasing, and fears out the wazoo were front and center, staring me in the face. Taunting me. Forcing me to feel my own thorns. Oh, not today, Mother F@$#ers, not today.
I thought if I had to sit three feet from my twenty-something self four days a week, I’m going to need a plan that doesn’t involve drugs or alcohol. This was not in the job description.
I asked myself, “what did I need in my twenties?” “what would have helped that wounded girl?”
I had to really dig for an answer without getting too complicated. The answer, drum roll please, I needed someone to see me, the me I didn’t see. In 2022 terms, someone to give an actual f**k.
Now, I’ll have to be subtle. My challenge will be controlling my inner cheerleader to quietly assist this young, intelligent, beautiful soul on her path. Pom-poms in the face could be scary.
Of course, I know I can not heal her thorns, but I can have compassion and not judge her journey. We’re all human. We all have pain.
Recognize the teachers; they seem to show up in the strangest circumstances.
Enjoy the Ride!
No News Is Good News
Background: The first recorded use of this exact expression in English is by James Howell in 1640, who wrote, “I am of the Italians’ mind that said, ‘Nulla Nuova, Buona Nuova’ (no news, good news). Some years before that, James 1 of England (VI of Scotland) wrote, “No News is better than evil news.” In case you were wondering like me. Information compliments of bookbrouse.com
Do you know what else Good News is? Umm, plain ole Good News. There is plenty of it out there in the world, but it’s not a moneymaker, so it doesn’t get all the glitz like a good tragedy. Seems a tad backward, but here we are.
Today, I share not only a good news story but the far-reaching effects of a simple gesture of kindness. Many of you may have heard it, and if so, consider it a reminder; if not, enjoy.
I recently found out quite a bit about Sidney Poitier after his death. We both share the same zodiac sign, and shortly after I entered the world in 1964, Sidney won an Oscar. Looks like two Stars were born that year.
After reading about Mr. Poitier’s accomplishments throughout his long life and career, I found his constant strive to be viewed as dignified, with his strong sense of decency to be at the forefront. If only these were available on Amazon …
Now for the good part.
As everyone knows, Mr. Poitier was well known for his elegant speaking voice, but that was not always the case, being born in the Bahamas and arriving in the states with his heavy accent and illiteracy in tow. It’s hard to believe after listening to him for one second.
He told the story many times, but this excerpt is from a CBS interview in 2013.
“There was one of the waiters, a Jewish guy, elderly man, and he looked over at me and was looking at me for quite a while. I had a newspaper, it was called Journal American. And he walked over to me, and he said, ‘What’s new in the paper?’ And I looked up at this man. I said to him, ‘I can’t tell you what’s in the paper because I can’t read very well.’ He said, ‘Let me ask you something, would you like me to read with you?’ I said to him, ‘Yes if you like.’ …
As the story goes, they would sit together every night after their shifts. This kind man would teach him not only how to read but also the importance of punctuation, why it exists, followed by syllables, how to recognize them in words, and finally, pronunciation. I didn’t get that in my formal education.
This small act of kindness put Mr. Poitier onto a path that led to significant changes, on and off the silver screen. He was not only an actor. He was a published writer, director, and most of all, a social game-changer. Kudos to brave waiters and diner educations.
Although he regretted never getting the opportunity to thank this man in person, I’m going out on a limb to say he unknowingly thanked him every time he opened his mouth.
Be Kind. Share the good news, and Enjoy the Ride!
Girl, We Tried
As I was stumbling through some papers this morning, not one but two fortune cookie fortunes fell to the floor. Considering the last time I had Chinese Food was New Year’s Eve, I was taken back for a moment. Where the hell did they come from?
Once I read them, I knew they hung around for a reason, and by the looks of them, they have been doing their best to get my attention, and it hasn’t been easy. I had to laugh, imagining them jumping off tables shouting, “over here, look, I’m right here!” As Mrs. Magoo walked on without notice, until today. The universe knows best.
“Present your best ideas today to an eager and welcoming audience.”
“Questions provide the key to unlocking our unlimited potential.”
Please can we get a round of applause for the author and the delicious cookie?
Well, folks, I certainly hope you’re eager, welcoming, and ready for some questions because you are about to get hit with the idea that has been pressing on me for a few months now. Ready or not, here it comes.
We seem to be living in a country where fear, division, and conflict are sitting center stage. The big nugget of knowledge that we were born from conflict seems to get forgotten. You reap what you sow.
Common sense at the most basic level has left the building. Somewhere along the line, we allowed the detrimental us vs. them mentality to migrate into our own homes, areas of employment, and houses of worship. Enough already.
How long are we willing to keep this big bag of crazy alive by feeding it every damn day? At this point, it’s morbidly obese.
I think it’s time we start asking ourselves some serious questions. I’ll get the ball rolling since I was chosen via a coffee-stained fortune cookie fortune that fell to the floor to do so. Sometimes the universe does not take no for an answer.
I’ll share my questions with my own eager and welcoming audience. Hey, I can’t help anyone else if I’m unwilling to do the work myself – right?
- Are my fears causing this reaction?
- Are my opinions coming from a place of compassion?
- Are my thoughts, words and actions in allignment?
Fear, as we all know, comes from the outside. Isn’t it time we elevate our consciousness above this negative narrative and look for the good? I know my alarm has sounded.
There truly is good roaming around waiting to be shared and cultivated into our society. I think I just heard my disheveled fortune say, “Girl, we tried.”
In the end, we are human. We make mistakes. It’s not easy to recognize and change our behaviors, but I believe we should look to put in some effort at this moment in time. Remember, my fortunes look like two hot messes from their efforts to be heard.
Do the work, and Enjoy the Ride!
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