What If Today… You Understood Freedom of Choice?

unknown photographer

There were so many people there, and they were all as different and special as the next. Each was engaged in studying something. Some were flitting from one thing to the next, excited by the discoveries they were making, anxious to apply them in physical form. All things had to be learned spiritually first. That they knew. But someday they’d be born and have that chance. For “now” – even though forever doesn’t have a now and then – they were absorbing whatever it was that they were attracted to.

“That’s how it works,” He whispered, noticing my wondering about how freedom and choice and individuality came together to form a life – then and now.

“I know,” I said. “But how will I remember that and not blame you or thank you for things that you didn’t do?”

Freedom to choose, he said, was an eternal principle. It doesn’t get activated at birth. It has always existed. If that weren’t so, then everyone could blame God for things because he would have chosen for them, assuming that he knew better. Of course he would know better, they’d argue! He’s God! Well, he said. I trust my children more than you trust each other or me. I understand how spiritual growth works and why. It’s wrapped up in freedom and light.

I sat and reflected on what I’d witnessed forever, ’cause a lot goes on in the eternities before you’re born. You see a lot of patterns unfold, and I saw some that were starting to make sense.

Betsy, he interrupted, why do you like the things that you like – dancing, drawing, writing, swimming? Did I plant those “likes” in your heart? Am I responsible for those gifts, talents, loves? Or could it be that I am actually just watching you and supporting and guiding you? What’s your role in the acquisition of  and growth in those things?

There was a common thread, or ingredient, I had to admit, in all of my experiences there – light and the freedom to move toward it or away from it. Whenever I was attracted to something it was because I was either searching for the light in it or it was calling to me with a brightness that connected to my heart – I felt joy with and in the expression of it in such a way that I stayed with the study and mastery of it in its spiritual form.

The things that I couldn’t understand – things whose light was less discernible by me and more difficult to understand, I’d study here on Earth because everything was important even if I couldn’t understand it. I’d started my education of things like compassion, forgiveness, worry, doubt, fear and the many faces of love there and then, and I’d search out ways to continue that education here and now. God’s only role was and continues to be supporter and guide towards the light of the truth of those things.

I find him when I find the light because he stands still in it. He’s steadfast and immoveable. It’s that simple. I’m not compelled to learn by loved ones’ suffering, natural disasters, illness, or financial struggles. My one and only “lesson” is to see the light of God in all of those experiences so that I can feel peace and love in them regardless of the outcome. I’m the one who started those lessons and they dissolve peacefully as soon as I see the light in them – when the part of them that has light in it becomes a part of me – when I have no need to resist it anymore.

When it comes to talents and gifts, I know that I’m responsible for those, too. I wasn’t given a basket full of things that God thought would do me well to try on and play with that didn’t fit my nature. He knew that only I could do that. He knew that by not getting in the way of my freedom to choose to follow what I’m attracted to was the only way for me to learn to find pure joy. It could not be forced on me or on anyone else. That way there would be room for  applause for my brothers and sisters as they remembered and continued their studies here on Earth – there wouldn’t be any jealousy or comparing. There would be no desire for any of that because I’d be so in love with who I am, what I love and the freedom to spend my time uncovering truth, light, and God in everything that I’d be too happy.

With that perspective I’d be comfortable with who I am and the life I’m choosing (complete with problems that are the ones that I chose to get a master’s degree in!) and be a better cheerleader for my brothers and sisters.

*****

maybe this is good example, maybe not….you decide:

James and Kenny were playing a video game and the competition was getting heated. Kenny is three years older than James, but he’s also very attracted to everything that games offer whether they be in the form of videos or sports. James can’t keep up with him half the time, but what’s funny is that he doesn’t really care. He just really loves hanging out with his brother.

The “problem” is that Kenny needs to “win”. He’s a finisher. He’ll work on the skills related to sports and games until he’s so frustrated I think he’s going to pop. But the joy that emanates from his face when he finally succeeds is overwhelming. That, whatever it is, is one of Kenny’s gifts or talents. Nobody gave him that gift. You can tell that it comes from a spiritual place by the look in his eyes when he gets lost in what he’s doing.

“My teacher said that no one should win -that it’s better to play and have fun. So, James, let’s just play. NO LOSERS!”

I was drawing in the dining room and I couldn’t help myself.  I didn’t know if I was right or wrong, but something in Kenny’s statement rubbed me the wrong way  – he was stifling his gift to make someone else (James) feel better, so I jumped in, “No! That’s the thrill of the game, Kenny! Someone has to win and someone will lose. But here’s the fun part: the loser gets to clap for the winner! They get to be happy for him and then play a little harder themselves!”

I wasn’t sure how they took what I’d said, but they were quietly playing and I went back to drawing.

Seconds later James squealed, “You did it Kenny! You won!”

Kenny smiled and laughed, “Yeah! I’m really good at this game.”

“Yeah, you are.”

*****

And God watched, listened, and smiled with them. Kenny was comfortable with something he loved and James was loving him as James has a gift for doing. Someone just had to see and point out the light of the truth for them and it unfolded naturally.

They could have chosen a different way ’cause that’s the way freedom is.

This time they chose light….and it really made a difference.

Moral of the story ( there are many more, but I’ll get you started): Play your game full-out. You chose it.

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What If Today…Our Life Was Lived as an Occasion?

“There are a million things one might do with a block of wood.

But what do you think might happen if someone, just once, believed in it?”

It didn’t matter what was on tv at the moment. All I really wanted was something to entertain me while I sanded my feet  – a semi-regular task for flip flop wearers around the world. I was a bit miffed that what was on was Mr. Margorium’s Wonder Emporium – a movie I’d watched a million times with my children. I almost changed the channel , but that little voice that knows better  whispered, “There’s a reason. Watch it.” It was half an hour ’til it ended. so I watched. Here’s a trailer:

I studied Mahoney – her depressed mood after Mr. Margorium died, and how the toy store he’d bequeathed to her mirrored her darkness. All the magic had gone out of it. Everything was black getting blacker. She’d given up because she didn’t believe that anything would be the same without him.  All of the magic was on the outside of her. She didn’t know how to access her own magic.

Then, near the end, the store’s accountant witnessed the power of her passion triggered in her defense of what appeared to him to be an ordinary block of wood. She insisted that it wasn’t ordinary, and he insisted that it was. The block of wood responded to her belief in it by coming to life, and, here’s the fun part,  the awareness of who she is in her world started to grow. Her friend the accountant saw the “sparkle” in her eyes – the one that had been missing for so long. He is mesmerized by the “magic” that she allows to flow out of her and into the lifeless store, breathing life into all of the toys.

The transformation was remarkable.

**********

I told you about “being an artist” in one of my previous posts. Once I’d said it to my boss it was as if I’d opened a door to a new path for both of us. Her excitement was unleashed and there was no reigning it in. In the short time since that announcement she has had a dumpster delivered to empty out a basement to make room for a studio, and not 24 hours after its delivery, found “us” a studio to work in. She texted me to be at the studio at 10:45 yesterday morning, saying she would be late and I needed to bring my artwork to show the owner. I put my shoes on and gathered my stuff and raced off in my little yellow Beetle wondering what she was getting me into….

“Our” studio? When had that happened? What did it mean? Those thoughts were quickly dismissed because there was no life in them. I found the place easily and climbed the stairs to the most beautiful studio apartment that matched every one of the daydreams I didn’t realize I’d been having until I saw them in real life, all rolled out in front of me.

It sits on a pond and is seconds from the beach that you can see beyond the pond from the deck. And all I can think is….swimming!

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What does any of this mean? For you? For me?

Right before Mr. Margorium dies he says to Mahoney,

“Your life is an occasion…….rise to it.”

I sat still at the end of the movie and tried to connect the dots from “I’m an artist” to yesterday’s acquisition of a beautiful space to continue doing what I’d started doing seriously once I’d said it – drawing. What had happened? All I can relate is that there was a shift in perception of who I am and how I spend each day. I’m doing what comes to mind. I accept with gratitude the time I’ve been given. And I’m becoming masterful at not caring what people think about me….’cause I like who I am….

I swim in the cold because…

I draw because…

I smile because…

…because it’s all so wonderful.

I truly live a magical life.

One of the things I noticed as I sat and pondered the lessons from the movie was the connection I have to some beautiful people and their joy and generosity to be a part of the unfolding of my life, however unaware of it that they are. We are more connected than we think. When we live our lives joyfully (and that will mean different things for each of us) something magical happens. What we radiate sparks a flame in another and the whole world is eventually brighter.

This is a glimpse into my world as an example:

My son sparked an interest in doing Polar Plunges and I did my 1st one on New Years’ Day this year, 2013… and I remember that I can do the impossible and scary….

I’m asked to paint portraits on potatoes by a friend who’s passionate about online gaming…and I start to remember that being challenged and supported for what and who I really am is important in relationships for me….

An old friend invites me to Rose Island Lighthouse for an overnight… and I remember what real joy feels like. I start noticing the joy in people because of that one night and my life feels fuller, richer, happier. I feel more alive…

A new friend follows a desire to work in Alaska and comes home with some amazing photographs…. and I remember what it feels like to be inspired. I ask permission to draw them and show them to my boss when I finish them… and she remembers who she is….

I ask the local art supply shop for a reference to a printer. I meet another new friend (the printer) with whom I can talk passionately about light and art things and he gets it and spends time teaching me all about his passion for digitally enhanced artwork for which he is world-renowned. He waives some fees for me because he wants me to succeed…. and I remember that miracles do happen in the form of kindness and support and shared vision…

My boss hears and feels my love of life in the Polar Plunges and the creation of my artwork and rents a studio for us yesterday to keep the dream alive…. and I remember that like attracts like.

Who knows what today will bring. One thing I know is that it’ll be magical because we’re in it together. Sparks need something nearby to spread their energy…

I’ll end with a snippet of a conversation from the movie. You do with it what you will. To me it means throw your own life party and be the first one to show up. Design it from your heart and live it with eyes open and grateful for those who are placed in your path as gifts.

(I missed this part of the movie. It had something to do with clocks and maybe coordinating them to chime as one?)

Mr. Edward Magorium: 37 seconds.

Molly Mahoney: Great. Well done. Now we wait.

Mr. Edward Magorium: No. We breathe. We pulse. We regenerate. Our hearts beat. Our minds create. Our souls ingest. 37 seconds, well used, is a lifetime.

Have an extraordinary day, whatever you choose to do. I’m going to clean my new art studio… 🙂