I am pleased to announce that my newest book, Soul of My Voice, is now available at Lulu.com. Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com. This text was written as a workbook/journal to accompany my first book, Soul of Voice published in 2016. However, Soul of My Voice is just as effective as a stand alone book, chuck full of essays, poems, quotes, photos, writing prompts and mandalas. Happy reading (and writing, and coloring, etc.)!!
I count myself as fortunate to not only have a close girlfriend who had a baby in March of this year, but my new neighbors also have a baby turning one year old this November. I am inundated by babies, and I love it! And now with the end of the year’s holidays upon us, I am especially mindful of all the gifts babies can bring to a person’s life.
“All the evidence that we have indicates that it is reasonable to assume in practically every human being, and certainly in almost every newborn baby, that there is an active will toward health, an impulse towards growth, or towards the actualization.” Abraham Maslow
For me the presence of a baby reminds me that renewal is always possible. A baby promises a new chapter in our lives, a new beginning—perhaps even a second chance. Babies figure prominently during the holidays, foretelling that a change of year will be soon upon us. And with the New Year comes a sense of starting over, of beginning anew, of transformation.
“The single overriding objective in wellness is creating constant personal renewal where we recognize and act on the truth that each day is a miraculous gift, and our job is to untie the ribbons. That’s the Law of Esprit: living life with joy.” Greg Anderson
Babies also signify the birthing of a new idea, project or adventure. Babies require our diligence. They need to be nourished, disciplined and guided toward positive growth in all areas of their lives. Just like the birthing of our new endeavors, we need to give them the necessary nurturance, focus and positive energy they need to grow and stand on their own.
Babies demand our full presence. Absent-mindedness or laziness cannot be allowed, otherwise danger may follow. The same must be said about that which we are birthing as the New Year approaches. In either case, we must stay healthy, positive and patient, for we are asked to take on a new kind of personal responsibility that pushes forward into realizing our best gifts, whatever form they may take.
“If there are flaws they are in ourselves, and our task therefore must be one not of redesign but of renewal and reaffirmation, especially of the standards in which all of us believe.” Elliot Richardson
Therefore, sharpen your spiritual eyesight and be on the lookout for all the babies within the scope of your vision, for you are entering a time or renewal and reaffirmation—the adventure of bringing into the world the seeds of your life’s purpose, the birthing and re-birthing of your heart’s desires.
“Life without thankfulness is devoid of love and passion. Hope without thankfulness is lacking in fine perception. Faith without thankfulness lacks strength and fortitude. Every virtue divorced from thankfulness is maimed and limps along the spiritual road.”
― John Henry Jowett
Thankfulness has a much different connotation to me than the work gratitude. When one is in the state of being grateful, they are attuning their soul to their innermost thoughts. It is a private, inward experience. A way of Being—analytical and reflective. However, thankfulness or being thankful means that action in the present is being taken. One is purposefully thanking Providence, God or the Universe for any number of things that a person is glad for or joyful about. A person may also be thanking others for their words and services—perhaps their very being.
“Joy is thankfulness, and when we are joyful, that is the best expression of thanks we can offer…” ― Thaddeus of Vitovnica, Our Thoughts Determine Our Lives: The Life and Teachings of Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica
Thankfulness is a sign something or someone has brought us joy—that our world is that much happier of a place to be in. In other words, we are happier people due to the fact that we have something or someone we are grateful for. Yet, true happiness comes in the act of verbalizing or demonstrating our thankfulness in meaningful ways.
So … it seems fairly clear to me …
If you want to be happy and have a joy-filled life, be grateful for your blessings.
But more importantly, speak out your thankfulness in both word and deed. Make clear to the Infinite Presence as well as those who cross your path that you are thankful for who they are and what they do!
Recently a friend of my son’s passed through our town after spending four months traveling alone on the Pacific Coast Trail. He began his adventure in Mexico and still had all of the states of Oregon and Washington to travel before his mission would be accomplished. I invited him over for dinner and we had a deep and serious conversation about the hardships and values of spending time alone with oneself, particularly in wilderness. He admitted that it was not for everyone. And that even now and then at the beginning of his hike he wondered if it was even for him. But after he finally passed through the threshold of loneliness, something soulful happened to him, opening him up to the significance of his initiatory experience which could only have occurred had he not become accustomed to solitude.
Most of us will never have the opportunity to give ourselves over to a solitary nine month hike, nor perhaps should we. But to find a place of soulfulness, a sanctuary of solitude in our busy lives is more valuable than I think we can imagine. Nearly every great teacher, thinker and artist has gone through some kind of initiatory experience where like Jacob they have had to wrestle with their own angel. Or demon. (Or Daimon, as James Hillman puts it.) Whatever the dragon is that protects them from facing the ecstasy and the terror of their own soul.
A time of solitude I think is especially important to a young adult when they are looking toward discovering who they are, what their life’s purpose is all about, and what kind of person they hope to spend the rest of their life with. But the fear of loneliness is always their lurking in the shadows. So distraction becomes the name of the game—video games, TV, computer surfing, all nighters at bars—you name it.
I think as a culture we all need to take time out from our busy lives from time to time and give ourselves a sanctuary where our souls can be nourished and if needed, be made whole. Perhaps it may be taking up some creative activity, walking in nature, or even gardening. For my step-father it was tinkering in the garage. Whatever one chooses, it needs to be away from one’s phone, computer, family and neighbor. It needs to be in a treasured place where sanctuary is honored and aloneness tantamount. We need it as individuals, as a culture. We need it as inhabitants of this glorious interdependent planet.
I am not one to post anything political on either of my website blogs or Facebook accounts, but with all the anger and frustration bubbling up over this upcoming election, I cannot help but take a step back and look at how much has been accomplished in just the last ten years with regard to who can now realistically become President of this beautiful country. I consider myself and my children lucky to be living at a time when the best person for the job can actually have the job, should the popular and electoral vote prove them electable.
Perhaps for some people this is no big deal, but for me it is nothing short of miraculous. What a privilege to know that my cousins, nieces and nephews, should they desire a life of political service, achieve the highest office possible—and that in spite of their skin color or gender. And hopefully someday soon, their sexual identity. We all deserve to speak the truth of our voice! And especially if we are called to be President of the United States of America!!