Remember Where You Started

I can still hear my father’s wisdom over the years and lucky to still have him around, sharing wisdom of his life experiences. He has shared so much wisdom through the years, but being young, I didn’t listen. Until now the words and wisdom ring true in my own life, passing them onto the next generation.

Things like: “everything in moderation”;” everything has a purpose”; “be kind”; “be prepared. But my favorite is this: “remember where you started.” The latter of these, remains layered. While at first glance it takes a meaning of socioeconomic status, but upon further discovery, becomes something far greater.

I reflect on this lesson often, but this morning brought it to the forefront of thoughts as I was given the ‘cheap seats.’ Something to be said about getting your favorite locker each and every morning, for the past five or six years at 5 AM. Not sure if it is the conformity and ritual of our days, or feeling special, that brings us the most joy.

Happiness begins at the end of one’s comfort zone.~Neale Donald Walsch

Given a locker on the other side of the locker room, it felt like I had been stripped from the ranks of the important people. This is ego-thinking. After further review of the situation, It brought gratitude. Gratitude for the fact that I even got a locker. Thanking the person at the front desk, they thought I was being facetious. I would too. But in all sincerity I looked to her, smiled and said, “no really, I am grateful for the locker and I am grateful of your cheerful smile everyday. Thank you. Thank you for brightening my day and bringing a lesson of my father back to the forefront.”

Returning the facetious gestures or what she thought was facetious, she said, knowing that I write about my days, please don’t write about me in your daily blog. Laughing now, I go on my day. Thank you Debbie…you are one in a million.

So where did we come from? Where are we going? We all seek this answer, but never really get the answers. Or do we?!

There are some who obviously have started with nothing, judging by their socioeconomic status. There are those who’ve been handed a golden spoon, never really knowing what it is to struggle. Either way both groups never really have a good understanding of reality. Unless the other is willing to learn from the other, person will never know what it’s like. This is true about all groups and all sectors. If we’re unwilling to learn from our neighbors, we will never know how they live. Remove the socioeconomic status, religious beliefs, and we all come from the same place. We have all come from the womb, entering this world with nothing….leaving with nothing. The illusion is we think we are this or that or the materials we accrue over the years. We associate our self-worth by the materials collected versus our happiness collected.

Truthfully I say to you, we are not the material “stuff,” we are not how high on the socioeconomic ladder we get…we Just are. We are in this together, whether we like it or not. We are here to get along…and need to start acting like it. Love thy neighbor as thyself.

Throughout our day, as we take in the beauty, we are given opportunities to say thank you. Thank you for the beautiful day painted before us; thank you for the backdrop of the sun and the blood red sky in the East; thank you for the clouds that cover us; thank you for everything around us; Thank you for the opportunities! As we go in gratitude…we become more accepting of the differences of our brothers and sisters, leading to more gratitude. Lend a hand, study with them, learn from them, grow from them…we are all here to learn from each other.

Then the dust shall return to the earth as it was; and the Spirit shall return to God who gave it. ~Ecclesiastes 12:7

Going back to the beginning, within it all, all thoughts are born. Our intentions are manifested out into the world…we have to feel it and believe it. As the ego dies, Spirit is born within each and everyone of us. Our own death, and resurrection of Christ within, is symbolic of: protection, life, unconditional love, new beginnings, connections, life ever-lasting. When humbled and able to extend our arms, vulnerable, in full submission, we are made strong.

We are the beginning and the end and need only travel the path of other warriors before us. The path less traveled, but the most important towards our own happiness. The path least traveled is the path inward. Inward we find nothing, yielding everything. In nothingness, we project outwards…everything!

From Source we came; To Source we return.~Ani Po

Peeling our own layers, we discover new meanings to life itself. Things that once made sense no longer do; things not apparent, shall be made so. The lessons of our own fathers, shall be made known by Our Father. Through the inward journey, we discover the child within…through this child, we discover the Father without.

Stepping into the Canvas in remembrance. Remembering where we started, peeling back even more layers, we arrive at a place of oneness. Accepting all as it is, more importantly accepting our true nature…that of Love. Walking in true nature…we plant seeds for brighter days…carrying the Light of the world…ending in pure Bliss.

The Parable Of The Lonely Shepherd

It is often difficult to stay a course of The Way, without getting side-tracked or pushed down another path. The key to staying the course, is through mindfulness. When we practice awareness of who we are or our greatest desires, we tend to remain focused on that which we most desire. But what about the suffering around us? How do we pretend everything is ‘hunky-dory?’

While the pilgrim remains lost, seeking The Way, the Warrior is found practicing The Way.~Ani Po

It is typically a small few who will rise above suffering and despair. Subscribing to a destructive way of life no longer serves them well and they begin to see life as beautiful as it can be. While the suffering remains, focus shifts towards happiness.

Suffering will always exist, but affix not our gaze upon it.~Ani Po

It is often written that we are to “brush the dirt off our sandals,” moving on our way. This does not suggest we pretend it does not exist or smug those in need. Not at all! We are to help when possible, but when others are set in their ways, unwilling to listen to our suggestions of change, then we must free ourselves by ‘wiping our sandals clean.’ This next story is about a man who knows this all too well.

Ani Po has a good friend who is a Pastor for an inner city church and makes it his life passion to aid those who are lost. A day does not pass, when he tells Ani Po of another funeral, “buried another young man this past week.” I recall him asking, “How am I supposed to continue helping people, when I can’t help them?” Reminding him of the simple teachings “we cannot save anyone, but we can show them the water of life. We can show them to the well…but they must drink from it.”

He smiled, as if he already knew this, but it was helpful to be reminded. Just as he needed reminding, Ani Po is not impervious to reminding. Have you ever been there? Have you ever needed a good reminding, when the message needed shows up? We all have our moments when we trip, but how quickly we get up depends on our practice. When we practice mindfulness, we practice awareness of who we are and how we shall or want to react to a given situation.

But what of this lonely shepherd? Ani Po continues the conversation with her friend as she is reminded of the loneliness he must feel. As everyone else follows a given way, he attempts to shift their thinking to following The Way. Just as a shepherd tends to his flock, so to the Pastor from the city.

Ani Po knows the feeling of loneliness. As she assertively moves forward in The Way, she is ridiculed daily on how she chooses to live her life. She smiles regularly at the others, as she sees how that way is working out for them, but chooses a way of happiness.

Even under great scrutiny the good shepherd tends to the one lost sheep. He may even, if necessary, leave the rest of the herd unattended to attend to the one lost sheep. Ani Po knows this is how it is supposed to be and we are all to attend our flock, with willingness to abandon others to secure safety of the one lonely sheep.

This Pastor is a lonely shepherd. He goes into darkened regions, when everyone else has given up. He Lights a flame of Hope for those who have lost their faith. He does not follow a rule book, but he follows his heart. He does not Love one person and not the other…He Loves freely for All people, randomly sending Agape into the world…knowing that he was never really alone.

Stepping into the Canvas as a Lonely Shepherd…Often doing what is right when not accepted by the masses…even when they are going left, you go right. Our character is defined by our willingness to do what is right, not for any one person but ourselves. When we stop worrying about approval from others, we accept our own approval.