A Summery Summary of What 2021 Has Been Like for Me
“Miracles are not in contradiction to Nature. They are only in contradiction with what we know of Nature.” St. Augustine
Over this last year –– and in the face of what we’re dealing with collectively –– I developed a strong intention to live with imperturbable equanimity. My focus has been to cultivate a gyroscopic sense of balance and resilience in order to maintain an even keel –– even and especially while navigating choppy seas.
Strong intentions are like depth charges that unleash contrary energies, which then flush out the unconscious debris that inner-fears with the fulfillment of these intentions. Looking back over 2021, it’s both amazing and amusing to recall the series of obstacles that confronted me successively. I mostly managed to maintain a ‘Calm I’ in the center of a storm that was occasioned by poverty, homelessness and a quest for adventure –– after living for so long in one place, under a cloudless sky.
One of the things I learned along the way in 2021, was not to judge any of what occurred or any of the players in the living theatre of my life. And thus, I was able to endure the challenges and appreciate the blessings from a place of relative neutrality and greater gratitude rather than the habitual emotional reactivity that has characterized most of my life journey. The rigors of this year required rapidly tossing a lot of excess ‘baggage’ overboard that had been keeping me ‘under water’ for so long.
Traveling lighter also made it easier to recognize the evolutionary quality of the somewhat tumultuous journey I experienced over this last year: Each time I stepped into a new living situation (by renting a room in somebody’s home), it was like stepping onto a stage set to play in a comedic drama with a different cast of characters.
From one play to the next, there were significant changes in the nature of the cast, the dynamics of our interactions, the set dressing in which the action occurred –– which ranged from funky to phenomenal –– and my own capacity not to take any of it personally. Whether living in a home or a hovel, an exquisite forest or congested city, I was still the same person. And that’s what mattered most as I kept finding my home in my own core, and reducing the clutter around it.
Over time, an unpleasant karmic pattern arose, unfolded and unwound until it ceased showing up altogether in the play. Then ultimately, the whirlwind I was riding carried me from the beauty of the Pacific Northwest to the urban density of Southern California –– a place to which I never intended to return except for a rare visit. Yet, here I found myself, at the tale-end of 2021, living in my eighth dwelling place of the year –– alone for the first time in many years.
Finally, I got to unpack my overloaded car. It didn’t take very long since the bulk of my remaining possessions (and I use this word both literally and metaphorically) is in storage in Portland, Oregon. This is because I was planning to return to find another room to rent somewhere among the trees –– when, in early August, I set out on a thousand-mile journey to the home of the extraordinary Übermensch, Paul Chek (https://chekinstitute.com). I wanted to participate in the celebration of Paul’s becoming a fully-fledged sexagenarian, which is such a promising word for anyone turning 60.
This unexpected geographic relocation has brought me to the sobering awareness that I’m not in charge of this life. Apparently, I’m just along for the ride. And my overall intentions seem to have a life of their own in which they find their own fulfillment in large part without my interventions. For throughout this strange odyssey of ‘short stories’ that has comprised the past 12-months, I’ve been clueless as to how to solve each new seemingly impossible problem as it has arisen. Yet, one after another, miraculous solutions have showed-up just in time.
Life is a stage we go through –– with Angels waiting in the wings: It seems as if an invisible guiding hand has been resting lightly on my shoulder all this time. Seeing that this so has made it possible for me to release the mental traffic jam of anxiety more rapidly. The only thing such frantic contractions have ever done for me is to shut down my heart and hijack my thinking, which turns the mind into a fear-mongering impediment rather than a problem-solving implement.
Thus, I’ve gotten better at keeping the wild dogs of my imagination at bay so that negative thinking cannot eat me alive. And thus, I’ve skirted illness entirely and despondency mostly, I’m very grateful to report.
The other day, when I wrote the word ‘resilience’ in my gratitude journal, I immediately saw that it was spelled Re-Silence –– but with an extra I/Eye at its center: Re-silIence. From this I real-eyes’d that going into my own center to find a quiet place of rest –– in which to affirm the qualities of being that are of primary importance to my being –– actually creates a cushioning effect that affects my whole day in a very positive way.
These qualities of being are the pillars around which my daily life is centered –– not because it’s my conscious intention that this be so, but because I’ve repeatedly strengthened them in my ‘operating system’ through this meditative practice. They relate to compassionate intelligence and supernal inner beauty; unconditional, unbounded love and healing presence and harmony; imperturbable equanimity plus whatever other sensuous spiritual energies emerge in my awareness in the moment as qualities I’d like to embody. Then, I step into the feelings they stir within me as if putting on a velvet robe that envelopes me completely.
This particular process began with a simple heart-centered meditation that I learned on-line from Dr. Ann Marie Chiasson of the Andrew Weil Center for Integrative Medicine. I practice it daily with my own augmentations, and with a beautiful musical background: Heart Chakra Healing Hang Drum Music. Since doing this practice, I find that more and more there is less and less that bothers me –– even though I’m in an increasingly tenuous situation at the moment financially.
So, now, as I stand on the threshold of the Complete Unknown –– without any tangible sense of security or stability –– I feel somewhat better equipped for whatever eventualities may arise in 2022. I don’t anticipate a sudden calming of the rising and converging storms we are all facing together. But hopefully, I’ve calmed my own reactive inner storms to a greater degree than ever before and have strengthened my access to my core in the process. I’ve also made some marvelous new friends along the way. And resonant community is an essential builder of our psycho-spiritual IMMUNITY –– even when contact only occurs electronically.
How We ‘Overcome the World: Under the very best of circumstances, all our lives are always hanging by a thread and could be altered irrevocably in the very next moment. So, all that we ever can hold onto –– that’s of any use under every eventuality –– is the very best of who we are, which is our essential nature.
The inner beauty and kindness we cultivate, the knowledge we gain through our efforts and epiphanies, the wisdom that grows as a consequence of our experiences, the intuition that is standard equipment in all of us and can be amplified through frequent use. All this, plus the COMPASS of COMPASSION at the CENTER of our heART. What other currencies are honored in the higher realms, or beckon forth the miracles we’re seeking in our lives?
In my experience, it is through our High Intentions –– to become more of who we truly are, and to cultivate and share the gifts we’ve incarnated to contribute to enrich our CommonWealth –– this is what best fortifies us for whatever storms may come our way.
I think of the wind-sculpted cypresses clinging to cliffs along the coast of Carmel and Monterey, California. Similarly, the most awe-inspiring people we ever encounter are those who have faced cataclysmic storms and remained upright in spirit by staying true to their own highest values throughout. Here is a beautiful summary statement about that fact from Dr. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, one of the first to research death and dying:
“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.”
Whatever may come, Life is always living itself through us. And the intentions we hold are the rudder that steers our craft –– even and especially through a dark and stormy night. As my intentions have grown stronger, my moods have largely leveled out.
Yet, there still are moments when I feel myself in freefall –– as if I’ve forgotten everything I’ve ever learned in this lifetime. Even then, however, there’s always someone or something that quickly reminds me of who I truly am before I get a chance to wallow in the deep and painful sink hole of I AMNESIA –– the temporary loss of infinitely long-term memory. Once I pull back from the edge of that psychic abyss, I remember we are all forever and irrevocably WHOLE despite occasional bouts of ForgetFulness.
Sometimes, calling on my angels for help comes as an after-thought. Yet, each time that I do so, a small miracle occurs. It’s really stunning how this happens!! And it reminds me each time that, as the English language makes perfectly clear:
There’s a POEM in every PROBLEM
It’s easiest to see that in retrospect. But looking for it all along the way enables us to cultivate OptiMysticism, a word I coined to describe the outlook of the most joyful woman I’ve ever known. Despite the fact that some karmic force –– or pre-life plan –– took a wrecking-ball to Betsy Taylor’s life, and she was forced to endure multiple heart-shattering, spirit–withering challenges, this woman truly ‘overcame the world’ and lived with a joyful, grateful heart such that I was compelled to write about her twice. [https://www.patreon.com/posts/optimysticism-to-36837239].
Given Betsy’s and my own life experiences, and recognizing that what’s ahead for us all will likely be a very wild ride –– yet also knowing the Power of the Word to define our World and design the life we’d like to live within it –– I’m inviting all who wish to do so to join me in an Invocation-Creation New Year’s Celebration. Come craft your intentions and affirmations in a synchronistic gathering of like-hearted people [click here to reserve your spot].
We will be writing and sharing the Life Sentences we envision for ourselves in the times ahead so that we can be the depth charges that turn this whole upside-down world insight-out and wRite Side Up. For together we will ––
Intend, Declare and Affirm!
Relax, Accept, Let Go and Trust!
This will be an empowering starting point for any and all actions that we will be called upon to take in 2022. And it will set the tone and the direction for our lives as we Give our Word to use every challenge that we face as a catalyst for cultivating Higher Consciousness.
Here is a stanza from my WordMagic anthem, Taking Command of the English Language, which is about how we can set the stage, access inspiration, and use our words to change the quality of our world of experience:
With High Intentions
and heightened sensitivity to the electrifying activity
of Creative Intelligence, let us amplify our receptivity
to the eloquence of an Heir-Borne language
of elevating words and emancipating metaphor
never as yet heard before that will enable us
to write, anew, Our Genesis.
With a renewal of our language and our consciousness simultaneously, let’s set the world on fire –– with Love!