God’s Perfect Timing

(Published in the July 10th issue of the Warroad Pioneer)

I’m reading the most perfect book for the current events of my life at the moment. It always seems to happen that way.

Timely quote: “You take a giant step toward psychological maturity when you refuse to angrily defend yourself against unjust slander. For one thing, resistance disturbs your own peace of mind.”

Two weeks ago I wrote an opinion column about unkindness. The topic stemmed from the unkindness we are showing refugees and how certain businesses are profiting from their pain. (Nope, I don’t believe illegal immigrants or criminals deserve pain and I’m confident Jesus would agree with me.)

I segued into my personal life, as I tend to do in this column about my life, mentioning (but not naming) a business that sports a liberal-bashing sticker front and center on their door that has continually hurt my little snowflake feelings.

Timely quote: “It is a subtle form of idol worship to think that anyone does anything good or bad for us.”

I wondered why I was focused on fear instead of love, so I examined my reaction to their actions and saw myself in them. I saw the defensiveness I need to soften. I saw the fear and pettiness that I need to work on. I saw the anger I need to evolve into forgiveness. And I wrote about it.

Timely quote: “Unawakened people cannot live together harmoniously. They see and dislike weaknesses in others that unconsciously they have and dislike in themselves. This causes irritation, impatience, all sorts of grief.”

It’s a small town. The owners of the unnamed business and a few others read the piece, misunderstood my intentions and took it all as a personal insult.

When I heard that my words had caused someone pain, I humbled myself and apologized. I had no intention of hurting anyone. Ever. But I had. Again.

Timely quote: “Mystically speaking, there is no difference between you and another person. This is why we cannot hurt another without hurting ourselves, nor help another without helping ourselves.”

I received veiled threats, open revenge, a public shaming and many acts of pure loving kindness. It was an interesting couple of weeks.

Timely quote: “Never permit the behavior of other people to tell you how to feel.”

Please understand that I don’t feel at all as if I’m a victim; Yeah, I struggled a bit at first…I’m human, but now I’m in pure observation mode. Truthfully, it is a curious case. I identify as an outspoken progressive liberal living in Trump country. Here, I am surrounded by self-identified conservative Christians, but me being me, I won’t censor myself, stop writing what I know to be truth, or take full responsibility for anyone’s reactions. Partial yes, full no.

Timely quote: “Advancement to higher understanding is always preceded by a crisis of some kind. The greater the crisis the greater the opportunity for self-uplifting.”

Truly, I really want to see what happens next. Will someone vandalize my property? Will everyone boycott Angle Days? Will people ignore me and start treating my child and my partner cruelly? Will letters to the editor be written about my wicked ways and my drunken past?

I doubt it, but one never knows.

Will we all forgive and continue to treat each other neighborly?

I hope so, but one never knows.

Timely quote: “Let no pressuring person make you feel pressured. You have the power to remain perfectly calm in every difficult and unexpected event in life.”

I am learning so much about politics and religion and the impact they have on relationships. And I’m continually surprised that people who don’t like my opinions keep reading my opinion column. After nearly 100 hundred of them (this is column #96) some readers still don’t see that my column is about me, my growth, my search for peace. In column #1 I wrote, “I want to tell the world (or at least the readership of our nearest newspaper) about what I’m learning about life by living here, by raising a child here, by working side by side here with other salt of the earth folk.”

Timely quote: “The aim has always been to rise above the present self.”

My five-year old came up to me just now holding a canvas she had painted when she was three. “Mom, the artwork on this is stupendously bad,” she said in half disgust. “It’s just scribbles!” Squelching my smile at her use of her new favorite word, I explained to her in all seriousness that it was wonderful for how old she was when she painted it and that I love it. That seemed to appease her, but she still disappeared into her craft area and spread new paint onto the old canvas.

And so it is with my psyche.

Timely quote: A man must behave according to his level of psychic development. No one can possibly behave on a higher level of love than the level he actually occupies.”

I have grown and changed through the trials, through the loss of friendship, through the isolation and especially through being misunderstood. It has all been a gift in its own right. I am not a victim. Nothing has been done TO me; it has all been FOR me and I am grateful. The journey to even this small amount of peace has been HARD. But the gifts of enduring that pain have been tremendous. I am no saint and in 96 columns I have never claimed to be. I have done things that could bear a mark of shame for my entire life if I so let it. But I’ve learned that forgiveness of self is just as important as forgiveness of others. It is also on par with asking for forgiveness, which I have done plenty of over the years.

Timely quote: “Raise your own level of mental maturity then you automatically attract people on your new level and with them you can have happy relations.”

Someone I hurt asked me “where does it end?” And honestly, I don’t know that it does. I keep examining, learning, growing and becoming. Will I make mistakes along the way? Undoubtedly. As a writer who stands up for what I believe in, will I piss off more people? Most assuredly. As a spiritual seeker, will I learn and grow throughout? Damn straight.

Timely quote: “One of the most widely known of all esoteric truths is that inward rightness corrects a man’s exterior affairs. There is no sense trying to battle the exterior storm itself, for it is but an effect. When we are right within, things are right without. So there is but one place to remain and work – within our own system of conditionings, desires, impulses, imaginations.”

And so, to this beautiful place, the hardworking people, the cliques and the loners, the unawake, the injured, the misfits, the outcasts and anyone else who is simply striving to lead a good life, I ask for forgiveness yet again and I offer it as well so that I may be at peace.

To everyone who has ever misunderstood my intentions and me, I also offer the last timely quote: “You are loved far more than you think.”

**

(The book is by Vernon Howard and is titled “The Mystic Path to Cosmic Power.” Don’t judge it by the title…it’s from the same era as bellbottoms and look at the bad rap they get.)

 

Letters to the Editor

My previous column, Kindness is Wisdom, published in the June 26th issue of our local newspaper caused “quite a stir,” to quote someone who sent me a scathing email. In my estimation, it was deeply misunderstood and as a result, a few people in the community took it very personally.

I wanted to include here copies of their letters to the editor, both for my own record in this ongoing life saga and because they deserve to be heard. My opinion on what they wrote isn’t important at this point. (Note: the second letter was published in the same issue as my response column.) Continue reading “Letters to the Editor”

Kindness is Wisdom

 

The warm nights and warmer days seem to have everything on a fast track this summer. June is most often cold and rainy, but not this year. Fans are going night and day. Water temperatures are where they usually are in late July. The algae bloom has started in force. One wonders if fall is going to start in mid-August at this rate.

I would much rather tune in to nature’s news station than that of we humans lately. The lack of compassion and kindness evident in our political and business arenas is heart sickening. Continue reading “Kindness is Wisdom”

Memories and Legacies

 

It had been a rather perfect evening weather-wise.  The heat of the day resignedly gave way to a light breeze and a cloud cover that lowered the thermometer just enough. We sat at long picnic tables, plates full of potluck food and the sizzle of frying fish in the background. It was the first all-camp fish fry of the summer season and it felt special, a touch magical. Continue reading “Memories and Legacies”

Reading Our Way to Truth

“Since we cannot change reality, let us change the eyes which see reality.”

 

I read a lot.

I read every day in almost every spare minute throughout the day. Rarely do I read novels. If I am going to spend time on fiction, it has to be of historical or topical significance, it has to challenge or move me, and it can’t be in the least bit predictable. Basically, I want to read what people smarter than me have written. Continue reading “Reading Our Way to Truth”

All Lives Don’t Matter, Including Mine Apparently

(Note: The Warroad Pioneer edited out the man’s name when they published this piece, but I see no need to here.)

If you’re not on the various social media platforms, you may not understand how much our national political conversation has devolved. It’s turned into a rotting, stinking cesspool of hate and vitriol, the likes of which I’ve never experienced anywhere else in my 42 years.

Let me give you an example.

There is a man in Warroad, a Mr. Brad Heddan (whom I’ve never met), who wants me dead. Continue reading “All Lives Don’t Matter, Including Mine Apparently”

The 15th Minimize Minute

Here’s a new task to help simplify our lives and minimizing our households.

Challenge # 15: Tree Time

When it all gets to be too much, go spend time with a tree.

How’d it go:

I’m just starting this challenge, so I’ll recap next week. Over the Mother’s Day weekend, when I would have relished being celebrated for doing a hard and thankless job, I ended up cleaning house, cooking meals and taking care of everyone else like always. It made me grumpy, and when I couldn’t snap out it, I went for a walk in the woods. The forest floor still crackles with dried leaves, and new green shoots are just barely peeking through. I found a piece of fallen birch bark as big as a place mat, so I parked myself on it and leaned back against a cluster of birch trees, breathing, feeling and listening.

The clutter of home and life seems unmanageable at times. I’m frustrated that we have so much “stuff” and how much time and energy caring for all that “stuff” takes away from truly living. I long for simplicity and an easy-to-clean clean home. These weekly challenges are helping, but not quickly enough for my impatient mind. I do need to tackle a comprehensive de-cluttering project, but I also want to work on my impatient mind. The bugs are few, the dew hasn’t arrived, the birds are singing with spring’s gusto. This week (and hopefully beyond) will be about mind-decluttering.

I’m going to spend time with a tree; upwards of twenty minutes a day is my goal.

I remember reading somewhere that trees have a heartbeat. Some scientists have observed trees subtly moving their branches up and down during the night, which is purported to be the tree actively pumping water upwards in a slow version of a “pulse.” I’ve always felt there was silent wisdom in trees and that they’ll subtly communicate with us if we are still and patient. This week won’t be about proving that, but I will enjoy noticing the difference some quiet time with my back against a tree makes to my cluttered mind.