Tuesday, October 26, 2010
At times I used to believe prayer made me lazy. I felt if I “whined” enough, or perhaps asked and then did not receive, I could “blame” my circumstances on something or someone and just casually go back to what I was doing, professing that “it just wasn’t in the cards for me” then. The opposite of what I asked for being more of a punishment–penance.
Many times, and I mean many times I fell short of a desired goal. Many times “Santa” did not bring what I wanted for Christmas. Many opportunities fell short of my expectation and many times did I resort to feeling cheated, victimized, hated, forsaken, violated, and bitter. Life became cruel
Oh yes I would receive some things–just not what I asked for! The nerve...
In awakening to the principle of life’s lesson in alchemy, my experiences started to transform.
I see how alchemy is the ability to transform.
It is the ability to shift our perception of a potentially negative situation and position it as one of value. What are we to learn? What are we to gain? To whom are we to share this with? To whom are we to serve?
It is easier for me to see the blessing knowing that I at least have the ingredients for that I wish to create in my hands; I just need to start working out the recipe. Like the fledgling chef preparing a new dish for his loved ones, when the intention behind the application of skill is a gesture of love and providing for the greater good of those I serve, I rarely have my deeds fall upon unappreciative receivers. They can feast even though more skill is needed.
The beauty of alchemy is simply the ability to reframe our perspective. We are able to shift our vision to be able to see the presence of that which we ask we currently have–simply in it’s not yet altered form.
As an alchemist, if I am able to take a less-than-desirable event that has happened to me, and save another from treading down the same path or at least from treading on it as long, I have started the transformation.
If I am able to see the strength, wisdom, fortitude, and courage I have gained in spite of the adversary, I am that much more prepared for future conflict. Forethought in the ability to avoid repeating danger is gold in and of itself.
If I am able to simply get cut to the point where the “scar tissue” is a reminder to avoid the same situation again at all costs, and to help others abstain as well, I have validated the incident.
So when life hands you heavy lumps of dull gray lead matter, worthless in appearance and burdensome to carry the load–remember this:
Alchemy is learning. Alchemy is growing. Alchemy is mysterious and transformative. Alchemy can be the initiative of gratitude, and when shared with others–alchemy is love, and love is golden.
Will you practice this skill?
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
As I reflect, I see many of us always seem to look beyond where we are. We seek that nirvana of our “freedom”–the concept of: “there” is better than “here.”
Is it not paradoxical that if we continually focus on something or someplace beyond our current grasp, that the space between actually becomes our jailor? How can we feel free? We become trapped by our longing...
Someday we will get to someplace at some time to receive something from someone somehow. How many people live life in these shackles?
I wanted freedom from a career and received unemployment. I wanted freedom from relationships and received loneliness. I wanted freedom from pain and received intoxication. I wanted freedom from a schedule and received boredom. I wanted freedom from reality and found it wouldn’t leave. Which is more binding?
I offer you this taken as an excerpt from Viktor Frankl's - Man's Search for Meaning:
"We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms–to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
I see how restraining my chosen perspective on things has been to me in the past. I see how my internal dialogue leveraged my inability to see the true gold from the pyrite. How often do I now humbly desire for one more chance to be confined within the walls of the spaces I wished to break free from. Sometimes only momentarily...
Thursday, October 14, 2010
Today’s social network reading led me to stumble upon a couple friends exchanging pleasantries and one mentioned being “in a really good place.” Inspiration to write ensued...
I wondered, “What do we have to endure to get into a really good place?” Is it by comparison? Is it by fortune? Is it divinely bestowed upon us? What do we do to deserve it?
I also reflected that as I glance over my shoulder to my own past, what did I consider the “really good places?”
I found that it was after taking a personal inventory of what I was surrounded with and those I loved.
I realized that I was not as bad off as what I perceived.
I realized I was still, at my worst, more fortunate that a large percentage of the planet.
I also realized I had a lot of ownership in the timing of when I realized most of this.
I also realized I can be in a really good place a lot sooner than I expected.
What we focus on is what we see. If we only choose to focus on what we are lacking, we are distracted away from the blessings we currently have. Often it is these blessings that will be the life preservers that keep us afloat in the torrents to come.
When we feel that things are most bleak, I find that a simple emotional detour is to take a moment to reflect on the things I have now that were once goals–some of them once perceived as lofty or unobtainable. At one time I could never picture owning a home, being in a partnership with a beautiful caring wife, and being the father of two loving kids. I have traveled; I have and have had toys. I’ve done stuff that I never thought I could at one time.
So I lost a business. Okay it sucks, but at least I had one to lose and it taught me a lot. The memories both good and bad are priceless. They also allowed me opportunities I would never have been able to achieve without it. I gained more than I lost. (Not financially)
We must endure the sweat and pain to get the buff body. We must endure the knife, to remove that which ails us. We take a punch to know how to keep our guard up. We must lose to know the value of that which we hold. Love must sometimes leave our presence for us to realize the preciousness of its gift when we have it.