A few days ago, my 24 year old son asked me a question that had me smiling broadly. “Do you think Grandpop would have made a good Popeye?” He had been watching the Robin Williams movie and in his mind, this image of his gravelly voiced grandfather who had died nearly 4 years ago was superimposed over the cartoon character from my own childhood who chuckled and uttered the line that really sounds like a spiritual mantra. Clearly Popeye knew who he was and what he was called on to do with a sense of integrity, much like my father. Like Popeye, my father was a ‘sailorman’ in his early adulthood. Moish had two good eyes and never smoked a pipe, thank goodness, but he did have ‘musk-els’ (muscles:) that he liked to flex; being an athlete and all; without the anchor tattoo. He would have trusted Wimpy and given him a hamburger, not questioning that he would indeed be paid on Tuesday for a hamburger today. Not a big fan of spinach, though. He liked to dance and be a bit goofy (never saw him dance a hornpipe, though)and he had an abiding faith that all would work out in the end.
As cosmic coincidence would have it, I am reading a book written by John C. Davis (John of Peniel) after hearing him speak at Circle of Miracles and Holly Matson, called Signs Along the Path: A Guide To An Inspired Life, and I opened to page 31 to a chapter entitled…..The Tao of Popeye and whatya know, they wax poetic about that very concept. The idea of Popeye as hero is not new, but think about all of the things he needed to face in the cartoon, which he did in his own inimitable style. Week after week, his archnemisis Bluto, would attempt to make his life miserable and each week, Popeye would rise above it all. Although my mother was not a stringy Olive Oyl, she was adored by my father with the same passion and intensity that Popeye loved his preternaturally tall and skinny sweetheart.
Can you be sure who you are and what you stand for?
What is your version of I Am What I Am?
http://youtu.be/F8TRoMSG-5I I Yam What I Yam-Robin Williams
What is your comfort zone? Is it the area that is only at arm’s length or does it stretch waaaayyyy beyond that? For so many, it is only as far as they can see with their ocular senses. For this ‘opti-mystic’ who views life through the eyes of possibility, it is nearly boundless. I have tossed out my line into the moving current and reeled in so many experiences that my heart desired, from jobs and creative opportunities, to relationships, from interviews with planetary transformers to publishing my ‘first best seller’. The challenge for me is to refrain from going too far. In yoga, we speak about ‘going to your edge’ so as not to injure yourself. Far too many times, I extended beyond my comfort zone and have wished I had been a bit more aware before the impact of my actions and choices knocked me on my tush. This is one of those times. In the past week, I have experienced lower left sacral pain that felt as if a sharp implement had wedged its way into my bones and muscles. On a mental/emotional level, I had been pondering how I would accomplish everything that needed to be done with my full time job, my consulting work, household routines and still leave time for the gym and a social life. I felt grumbly and resentful at times, forgoing sleep so I could make those lovely little check marks on my ever growing to-do list. Last weekend, I engaged in an anger release exercise that was supervised by friends who held space for my spectacular spewing of sincerely snarly stuff. I weilded a plastic baseball bat at a pile of pillows and when I was done, quite winded and spent, I settled into a process of examining how I had allowed the emotions to accumulate so I had that much to let go of. Somewhere along the line, I absorbed the idea that good girls don’t kick up a fuss, make waves or rock the boat. I love the Laurel Thatcher Ulrich quote “Well behaved women seldom make history.” I have learned to relinquish (most of the time) the role of the one who steadies the boat, in favor of the one who may shake it up. And yet, there are times when even a history making woman needs to veg. Today was such a day. After a healing session last night with my chiropractor friend Sandy Levenson, whose ‘hands and heart of gold’ stretched and re-positioned things back into place’, along with a mini massage from one of her staff, complete with a miracle substance called China Gel, I was feeling put together and ready to take on the world again. Sandy cautioned me about returning to the gym prematurely and said that Sunday was soon enough. Getting ansty since I haven’t been there since last Saturday, but still I listened. Awoke this morning with the sharp pain returning with a vengeance. My healing massage therapist friend Cindy Greb worked her own brand of magic and lulled me into an ahhhhh state on her table. When I left her cozy nest in the upper level of a converted barn of friends, I visited some critters in the back yard. Three wise goats stared at me with their unblinking eyes; one chewing who knows what, a second one flicking its tail, not sure if in greeting or warning and the third just hanging out. I asked them for ideas for just being as they seemed to be content with. Opposite them was a fenced in area that house some clucking chickens that came rushing at the gate as I approached to greet them. Such an important juxtaposition as the chickens represented my usual state and the goats symbolizing behavior what would be healthy at least some of the time.
Other lessons that are coming from this…knowing Spirit always ‘has my back’ and I am completely supported. I don’t need to carry everything …myself. It is ok to acknowlege that I sometimes feel pain, without a need to mask it or minimize because “after all, there are so many other people who are in chronic or more intense pain”…blah, blah, blah(:
Paradoxically, as I engage in this process of being part of the ‘Do nuthin’ tribe’ at least for a little bit, I am better able to immerse myself in the practices outside the circle in the illustration above, engaging in no limits thinking.
Have you ever felt like a crayon that didn’t quite fit in to the Crayola box, no matter how much you wanted to? Your unique color and flavor seemed weird instead. As a child with glasses, asthma and foot issues that required clunky, red orthopedic shoes, I had often felt like a differently colored crayon, outside the box and somehow, chameleon that I was, learned to blend in with the other crayons, so as not to feel left out. Now as an adult, I revel in being unique and sometimes deliberately exaggerate the differences to stand out. I surround myself with riotously hued companions whose own eccentricities match or compliment my own. How tedious and bland life would be if we were limited to black and white and shades of gray and yet there are many who, in an attempt to play it safe, do this and miss out on so much vibrance. My lifestyle feeds this paradigm richly. As I am writing these words, I am gazing around the room and take in images of a SARK poster called Living Juicy, a chakra print, teddy bears, a string of twinkle lights,, a fabric butterfly that hovers above me, a window box image of a faerie that a friend brought back from a trip to Ireland a few years ago, heart shaped wind chimes, vision boards that have helped me call in my dreams and desires, my massage table, a sun mask with sun glasses perched on it (“My future’s so bright, I gotta wear shades.”), a white plume feather that I received a few years back from a member of a Mummer’s parade string band when we both volunteered at an event sponsored by Gilda’s Club, bookshelves filled with other people’s inspirational words, (I collect books like some women collect shoes, with more of them than any other type of object in my home)and photographs of loved ones, including my parents, beaming out at me. Listening to my Saturday morning ease-into-my-day music on a program called Sleepy Hollow on WXPN.
I grew up in a silly family who sang goofy songs, with parents who danced in the kitchen (even into their 80’s), who played with us as if they hadn’t forgotten, mom tossing jacks and dad shooting marbles on the floor…the consensus was that my dad took us kite flying because he had missed out on that activity when he was young. They set an example for out of the box interaction and to this day, I hear people’s stories about how cherished they were/are. They embraced diversity and taught us to do the same. Among their circle of friends, they welcomed folks from various countries and faith traditions, abilities and socio-economic backgrounds. They took us to multi-cultural events; the World’s Fair in NY two years in a row in the 1960’s bring with it cherished memories. I was watching family home movies a week or so ago and with delight, took in the images of us dancing with Keystone Cops and at the Indian pavilion where the raven haired women were fascinated with my sister Jan’s bright red curls. As a result, my own overlapping soul circles celebrate diversity as well, coming from different ‘walks of life’, hailing from around the world. Some friends walk on their own, some with a cane, others wheel themselves from place to place. Some are deaf, some blind. Each has their unique way of viewing life and interacting with it.
What colors do you bring to the canvas of life?
Are you willing to color outside the lines?
How can you create yourself as your own masterpiece worthy of gallery lighting?
Can you transform ‘different’ to ‘unique’ and ‘weird’ to ‘out of the ordinary’?
http://youtu.be/o7YMuYs8VWs Don’t Laugh At Me by Peter, Paul and Mary
As I am writing this entry, immersed in what I excel (words) my BFF Barb who came into my life when we were 14 and sitting on a bench at a swim meet in our hometown of Willingboro, NJ, is immersed in one of the things she does best that I cringe when I look them….numbers. A CPA, she is sitting at my dining room table, a cup of tea that is getting cold, with bank statements, my check book, tax info spread around her, she is creating a spread sheet of the facts and figures of my life. I would much prefer to focus on the word pictures, while she and her husband Glenn who is my accountant and financial advisor encourage me to look at the bigger financial picture.
Growing up in a blue collar middle class family, money was never overflowing the coffers, but we always had what we needed. There were never role models for financially well off women in my family and anyone who was, was married to a man with money AND they were all business men, not creative types like me. I had to invent my own relationship with money and it wasn’t always friendly. One thing I have learned is that I have always been able to cover my bills. Widowed more than 13 years ago, I have been able to support my son and keep us in the same house in which have lived since 1992 through sheer ingenuity, hard work and the ability to spin at least 10-12 plates at the same time. For those of a certain age, you will remember the guy on the Ed Sullivan Show who would do just that. Barb is shaking her head at my sometimes lax accounting system and is doing her best to find ways to set up something that will work for this sometimes ‘cosmic foo foo social worker, right brain creative type’ .
I can feel my stomach clenching a bit as we look at the numbers dancing across the page of a manual spread sheet she is creating. I breathe a sigh of relief that she has the patience and skill to assist me in managing a sometimes unmanageable aspect of my life. The truth is, if I welcome financial prosperity, I darn sure better be able to care for it, like I would a relationship with a human being. So, as my relationship with money is evolving, I become more accountable in all ways.
http://youtu.be/1RYc6k803oo Prosperity Chant by Karen Drucker