All photos by my brother from another mother, Scott Swanson in Montana.
A few things that I have learned along the way:
Conflicting views of life exist side by side: Life is random. Life is based on a plan. Is it possible for both to be true? If not, which is it?
Life is random in the sense of the common question, why me? The only answer is why not me? It’s not like certain people are singled out for suffering. It’s luck of the draw.
Or is it?
Is it a plan or isn’t it?
If life has been fairly trauma-free, or if you’ve dealt with your trauma effectively, it’s a lot easier to think that life is based on a master plan developed before you were born.
Where this gets tricky is if your life holds a lot of suffering. There’s huge resistance to there being a plan, a lesson. People I know have struggled with finding the lesson in their suffering. Sometimes the lesson isn’t theirs, but for those around them. Not that anyone wants to suffer on another’s behalf. But we don’t get to choose.
Or do we? Is this really a path we’ve chosen?
How do we know?
I believe it all revolves around whether or not you believe life goes on after our time on this plane is up. If you do, it’s easier to see life here as Soul School, as a place to learn and teach.
If you don’t believe life goes on after this, then you have no context from which to view what happens. It’s just “shit happens.”
Most everyone brings up Hitler when resisting the concept of “everything has a reason.” Or the suffering of children. I can’t explain Hitler’s existence and evil and the suffering of so many in a way that anyone would find palatable. It is just too horrific and I am not that all-knowing.
But my own faith tells me that there is a reason and a plan, yes, even for the awful things that happen.
What kind of Spirit is it, really?
I know others who believe in the “watchmaker god”–who winds it up, steps out and lets it run on its own.
And of course, there are those who think we are just one big science experiment for a more advanced civilization.
No matter how we view life, it’s important for us to get the most out of it. Yes to learn, and to teach. And to laugh and find joy. To garner strength to deal with struggles.
And yes, to trust life. What alternative do we have?
I offer past life regressions, between lives regressions & other spiritual connection services in person and via Skype or Zoom. See regressions here and see spiritual connections here.
Do you have a family motto? Katherine Hepburn once said that her family’s motto was Listen to the song of life.
I wonder, do other families have mottoes? First thing that came to mind for my own family’s motto is “Don’t air your dirty laundry in public.” I know. Not much of a motto. Certainly not as good as Hepburn’s.
The song of life isn’t always in a major key, and it wasn’t always upbeat for Hepburn, who lost her brother, Tom, when they were kids. It was a huge loss for her, personally. Then, her life was nowhere near “traditional.” Her love affair with alcoholic Spencer Tracy was “fraught,” to say the least.
And yet, listening to the song of life, no matter the tune, she persevered and had a remarkable career and long life.
I wonder what it would be like to grow up in a family that lived life looking for the positives and facing the hard stuff head-on, like the Hepburns.
I’d love to know your thoughts on this and also if your family had a motto. If it didn’t, what do you think it would be? And what song is singing now, in your own life?
It isn’t until we’ve suffered a great loss that we see our mortality close up and personal. Right now, we’re writing the story of our lives, but we can not grasp that it’s in disappearing ink.
And then, a loved one makes their transition and sometimes it can feel like “What happened? Where did he go? How did that happen?”
All we know is this life. One breath after another, one step after another, one life event after another. We march through without recognizing how finite this life is and how every breath, step and event will one day be memories.
This is something I struggle with every time a loved one dies.
The other day I was at a restaurant where my late friend and I had a wonderful lunch the year she died. I looked at “our” table–yes, I remember it–and I even remember where we were sitting. I can even pull up how it felt to be there with her.
What I CAN’T fathom is that she is gone. She has disappeared.
Our mortality is, arguably, the hardest reality we ever have to face. No one gets out of here alive. No one. Not even us.
But is that such a bad thing?
Sure, we’ll miss those we leave behind. But if we have a belief in something more, transition is likely to be an amazing thing. And if it’s all about love and peace? And if our lost loved ones greet us?
What’s so bad about that? It would be a refreshing change from the travails of our earth.
Here’s the thing: we’re all moving on one day and while we don’t like to think about it, making peace with that fact allows us to live our lives here more fully.
Mortality is the hardest thing we face. But face it we must one day. Why not learn to make peace with it now?
Many of you are dealing with serious and even debilitating health issues. Ones that may keep you from doing some of the things you’d like to do.
Nonetheless, it is entirely possible to live a full life. And I’m going to show you some of the ways people I know are doing just that.
You may not be able to climb Everest or even hike a mile or two. But you CAN get out into the fresh air and admire nature. Do that as much as possible, even if it’s just on your patio. Breathe in the fresh air and breathe out any tension or grief. Watch the snow fall, watch butterflies flit or hummingbirds hover. Enjoy the Creator’s handiwork, as we were meant to.
You may not be able to get out of your wheelchair physically, but in your mind? You’re free.
If you’re lucky enough to have grandbabies, there’s nothing like a cuddle or two. Or three. If you have a cat or dog, those cuddles are just as good. Enjoy the loving feeling these sweet creatures bring out in you. Ahhh…love. Nothing like it.
So many movies are free online–YouTube is replete with them. Free. I love that! If you’ve got Netflix or cable with its On Demand features, so many options available for free entertainment. Often for just the cost of an internet connection.
Board games have never gone out of style for some of us. Nothing like Monopoly, cards, Scrabble or even Chutes and Ladders with the right young kids!
I have two words for you: used bookstores. Get great books at bargain prices. Same with library overstock sales. I know, sometimes it’s hard to focus on reading but if you can, it’s a lovely escape.
And then there are blogs. And so much online content, like magazines and newspapers. And inspirational reading. A lot there if you’re in the mood.
I love taking time to bring peace into my life. Meditation is more powerful than you might think. In one study, group meditation actually reduced violent crime rates. Think I’m kidding? Here’s an article about it. Take a look, then return here to finish up:
I made my affirmations for healing and grief to help by providing a positive or inspiring focus thought. Research shows that affirmations can be helpful –a Carnegie Mellon study showed that self-affirmations had a positive impact on stress levels and problem-solving ability. And boosted grade point averages in another study. It’s not such a stretch to see how they would help health and grief. One day research will show this, I firmly believe.
If you’d like some affirmations for health or to help release grief, they’re available on this site in pretty card decks or online as daily emails for 50 days. What a beautiful way to start each day and you can use them over and over.
And don’t forget–they make thoughtful, gentle gifts.