Call to Action

March 12, 2019

Have you ever been in bed and had ideas pop into your head? Perhaps it’s the list of what to do that day or a shopping list of activities that need to be done over time. Well, for me, I had an idea – that was almost totally conceptualized creep into my waking moments around the early part of this month and just wouldn’t let go. For days I had the same thoughts that I should create a non-profit community group aimed at making the world a better place using the energy of tango dancers. Ok, so why tango dancers? My two passions are helping to make the world a better place – or more esoterically put, raising the vibration of the planet; the other is dancing tango. The creative idea that hatched in my head used both these thoughts – tango dancing and bringing light to the world. No small task; or what many have told me when I started to talk about it, “good luck with that!”

In terms of creating a community action group, I was totally in unfamiliar territory. I seriously had no clue where to start, so I began where I always do when I don’t know – I decided to ask other people who might know. So just like any other creative project that I’ve tackled over the years, I decided to do information interviews with key influencers, who could eventually become stakeholders in this new venue. I selected friends, tango dance friends, friends of tango dance friends, people that tango dance friends knew, and so on. It wasn’t long before I had lots of people to interview and plenty of, “good luck with that” answers as well as a few good pointers along the way. I knew I would have my hands full with this activity, if it was even really viable.

After about a week of these interviews, I went to a tango dance wherein I realized that just the next week, this particular organizer was holding an anniversary dance. I quickly decided to hold a first fundraising asking permission to use their venue with the caveat that it wouldn’t impact their collected fees.  The organizer owned the space and was all about helping charity especially if it didn’t cost them anything.

The next day I set up a Facebook page for my new group which I named, Tango for Change.  Within hours one of my dance friends put a donate button on my personal page (not the new page), OH MY NOW WHAT?? So I had to figure out what to do. When you’re new at something, often times it doesn’t go smoothly the first time you go at it. Alright, I just went along with it and “SHARED” the fundraiser which had been created on my personal page to the Tango for Change page. This was a bit awkward but it was sufficient to have a few people donate. I had to work at it but by the end of the week, the initial modest goal of $200 was raised.

That night, the actual date of the fundraiser, I simply put out a decorated spaghetti keeper with a ribbon indicating the charity (a homeless shelter in the area) and with my encouragement around the room, another $83 was raised. Wow, it was hard work, but in less than 2 weeks the idea was hatched, created and implemented (with $283 going to my first charity). More on my new group as it progresses, but other than being exhausted from being emotionally trained, I’m pretty happy with the result. Now to keep the momentum going! (Of course, what you give out you get back multiplied!) So PLEASE like my new Tango for Change Facebook page to show support!!!


Are You Connected?

February 6, 2019

Ever sit in front of a TV set that’s not turned on? There’s not much happening; it’s just a dark screen. One can stare at it for hours and wonder what kind of shows or other programs are on but really, it’s just in our minds. Until we turn on the set (as in establish the connection of the TV with the electricity that provides the source of the programming), we won’t get a signal. Well, our lives are really like this.

Do you remember the movie, the Avatar? Here’s a recap just in case to make my point; the blue almost human looking creatures all have long tails that seem to connect with other creatures that we’d call horses, just to simplify the discussion. As the tails were plugged into each other, the “connection” would allow both to sense what the other needed. Rather than the rider pulling on the reins or making noises, as one would expect in this plane of existence, in the land of Avatar, only thoughts are needed. One could say that the thoughts of the creatures would be conveyed through the connection; it was like an energetic transfer both of feeling and need – what and how it should be done. Later in the film, the humanoids would do the same thing, and while swaying back and forth one could imagine a large gathering of people singing Kumbayah. This plugging in was required in their world for a connection between beings.

Just like the TV set or the Avatar creatures, we as humans have a source that we need to plug into in order to function properly. One could say that we need to receive our programming as well as interconnect since we’re all made of the same divine energy. This divine energy comes from a divine source where our inner guidance system, our life lessons, both challenges and successes are all interwoven. Unless we make a decision to plug ourselves into this divine plug, we will just walk around in a daze, blindly performing our daily duties without much thought. Plugging in can be as simple as taking a meditation walk, sitting and asking for guidance, or the act of prayer. How will you plug in today?


Stand by your beliefs and you will be supported

May 1, 2018

Recently I watched a TV evangelist talk at great length about how God promises us that we can be ten times better if we just “believe”. He then went on to give examples of how this can come to be; one of these stories was of Daniel, a well-known central figure in the Bible.

According to Good News Translation/The American Bible Society, the following passage tells the shortened version of the story of a young man who along with others of his day stood by their beliefs and came out not only momentarily victorious, but generally many times stronger.

The Young Men at Nebuchadnezzar’s Court
1 In the third year that Jehoiakim was king of Judah, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylonia attacked Jerusalem and surrounded the city. 2 The Lord let him capture King Jehoiakim and seize some of the Temple treasures. He took some prisoners back with him to the temple of his gods in Babylon, and put the captured treasures in the temple storerooms.

 

3 The king ordered Ashpenaz, his chief official, to select from among the Israelite exiles some young men of the royal family and of the noble families. 4 They had to be handsome, intelligent, well-trained, quick to learn, and free from physical defects, so that they would be qualified to serve in the royal court. Ashpenaz was to teach them to read and write the Babylonian language. 5 The king also gave orders that every day they were to be given the same food and wine as the members of the royal court. After three years of this training they were to appear before the king. 6 Among those chosen were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, all of whom were from the tribe of Judah. 7 The chief official gave them new names: Belteshazzar, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.

8 Daniel made up his mind not to let himself become ritually unclean by eating the food and drinking the wine of the royal court, so he asked Ashpenaz to help him, 9 and God made Ashpenaz sympathetic to Daniel. 10 Ashpenaz, however, was afraid of the king, so he said to Daniel, “The king has decided what you are to eat and drink, and if you don’t look as fit as the other young men, he may kill me.”

11 So Daniel went to the guard whom Ashpenaz had placed in charge of him and his three friends. 12 “Test us for ten days,” he said. “Give us vegetables to eat and water to drink. 13 Then compare us with the young men who are eating the food of the royal court, and base your decision on how we look.”

14 He agreed to let them try it for ten days. 15 When the time was up, they looked healthier and stronger than all those who had been eating the royal food. 16 So from then on the guard let them continue to eat vegetables instead of what the king provided.

17 God gave the four young men knowledge and skill in literature and philosophy. In addition, he gave Daniel skill in interpreting visions and dreams.

18 At the end of the three years set by the king, Ashpenaz took all the young men to Nebuchadnezzar. 19 The king talked with them all, and Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah impressed him more than any of the others. So they became members of the king’s court. 20 No matter what question the king asked or what problem he raised, these four knew ten times more than any fortuneteller or magician in his whole kingdom. 21 Daniel remained at the royal court until Cyrus, the emperor of Persia, conquered Babylonia.

Daniel

The point of the story is that Daniel and his comrades chose what they believed to be the correct behavior regardless of what others thought. In this case, the heavier food would indeed slow them down while a lighter diet kept their heads clearer and facilitated higher performance. In the end, Daniel rose up through the ranks as he aged and eventually became the leader of the city, while his comrades were also appropriately rewarded for their service.

What does all this mean for you or me? Well, it means that even under duress, if we take the higher ground, we will be supported by the positive forces in nature. Recently, I had 3 nasty things happen to me during a very short period of time. In just one week, a pipe burst flooding the lower level of my home; while the house was being repaired I was very sick with the flu; then at the end of the week when I finally went out my car was hit on the highway during a flash rain storm by an exploding semi-truck tire. It was almost as if it all was meant to happen to show me that I could live through lots of duress. Although each of these things were quite distressing, I kept my perspective and believed that it was all part of the divine plan. In fact, I believed that there was some lesson I was meant to learn. Perhaps that God had saved me – each time. I could have been away when the pipe burst; I could have gotten ill during a vacation rather than a week when I had to be home anyway; and the exploding tire hitting the car could have killed me. So I had lots to be grateful for. I continued to believe and stay positive.

The next month I left for a 2-week vacation and everything went very well… or at least the challenges I experienced were all kept under control. I had a wonderful time. I went on the trip believing that I had had my “three” bad things happen to me so that nothing else would happen this year! It was certainly one way to look at it! I believed and I was supported. We always have the choice to make daily how we will believe, and whether we will take the higher road when under duress.  

 


Doing the Right Thing

March 8, 2016

Life can be complicated. Heck, it’s most often complicated. And on top of it there is usually more than one way to get things done. When we look at all the variables and the options to attack our problems, sometimes there are short cuts, ways around the issues, or even methods that may be a bit nefarious. Ah oh! What happens when we choose to cut corners, snip a bit off the end of something to save time or take the low road rather than the high road? This is called taking the easy way out and is not the spiritual way; that is, thinking or doing in this manner will not serve us in the long run. Anything that doesn’t serve us, certainly doesn’t serve our soul growth, so why do it?

This leads us to a better understanding of doing the right thing. It’s obviously not easy to do the right thing when there are other options. If there were only one option, it would be easy. But this isn’t the way the world was built. We are usually given challenges so that we come out of the situation stronger than when we went in. As souls in a body, we’re given a choice – we can move towards the higher path towards the light or take the low road towards the darkness. Without a choice, there would be no challenges and therefore no way to ever overcome difficulties; thus, we would be in a world where we wouldn’t know the difference between the light or the darkness. So when we have issues, understand that these problems are not thorns in your side, but opportunities to grow and become stronger. Without hills to climb our legs would never have a chance to know their limits for example. The same is true of our spiritual and moral bodies. Only by stretching our limits can we grow, become better people and move forward on our spiritual path.

lightdarkIn the end, doing the right thing may be harder, but it is usually more rewarding. This has been my experience. I’ve found that with challenges in my life, moving through the tunnel of difficulty eventually brings me to the light; how wonderful it feels to get there. And, often there are unexpected rewards. It’s also my experience that when we follow the light and do the right thing, goodness follows us also.


Timing is Everything

September 23, 2015

It’s an old adage that we can be successful sometimes and at other times we might do the same thing and we could fail. Translated, this saying is “timing is everything! ” I believe when things fall into place as if it were a script already written, the situation indicates a divine hand at play. I recently had an experience where things fell into place just the way they were meant to so perhaps there was a divine hand helping out as well.

Time1
I was on the fence about travelling and after considerable deliberation, made a final decision against going on this particular trip. No sooner was the plan not to leave the area made but a dear friend became ill. I got a call from her sister informing me that my friend Jessie was in the ICU and that I should visit while there was still time. Getting this call was upsetting to be sure, although some one in her condition could be expected to expire way before this point. In other words, she had lived in a semi-paralyzed state after a stroke for many more years than the doctors had predicted. Still I was disheartened to hear the news. I knew that I would attend to her as best I could during her final time with the living.

The days passed quickly that week as I visited my dear friend in the hospital ICU, taking turns with family members in her room. Fortunately, the timing worked out for me to have blocks of time alone with Jessie to speak to her not just about the everyday common exchanges, but what might be still on her mind. My goal was to be a friend as well as a spiritual counselor during what was known by those close to her as most probably her last hours and days.

On Monday, during my first visit, I asked her if she had any regrets; any business left undone. We talked through a couple of things to the point where I felt she was satisfied that all that was possible to do was done. on Wednesday, I held her hand as she was too weak to speak and only occasionally opened her eyes as I guided her in a meditation through a beautiful meadow where her deceased family would be present to greet her. She seemed to relax during this time as judged by the attached monitors and the flicker of her eyes. I could only hope that she was able to let go of any attachments to this earthly realm and go in peace. I said, “Jessie, if it gets too hard it’s OK to let go” to which she nodded in agreement.

Thursday I got the call that Jessie had gone peacefully, surrounded by her family. I had just been about to leave the house and felt bad that I had missed her passing. Then I realized that I had done my part and wasn’t needed for the rest. Everything has a timing of its own. In this case, the timing was perfect. I was asked to conduct the service by the family and did so on Saturday. While preparing, I thought of Jessie and wondered how she was doing on Friday, when a photo fell off the wall. It was my Reiki plaque that said, “Just for today do not worry”… so I knew it was Jessie telling me not to worry. All was happening according to the divine plan. After all, timing is everything.


Let go and let God

June 7, 2013

letgoMany spiritual traditions have a slant on the expression, Let go, and Let God. Why is this? The concept centers on the precept that we are innately egotistical; that is, concerned with self and thus we have a lot of self-talk. How are we feeling about this or that? How does this person make us feel? Do we like what happened to us? And if we don’t like it, then we are hurt, angry or otherwise agitated about the outcome of the situation, relationship, or event. This is an inwardly facing world view and, frankly, since we are souls in a body, here to learn lessons, a view that is understandable. But, just as understandable, this is not the only view. We can also be outwardly facing e.g. altruistic, or more caring about what others think, feel, and want.  Both perspectives are quite valid and may be more appropriate in certain circumstances. That being what it may, the attainment of a balanced perspective is always a good goal.

Now, where do we go from here? Letting go, as the Buddha proclaimed, is releasing our ego self to be more balanced and in sync with our true natures or “God-like”. Let’s dive a bit deeper on this one. When we are egotistical, we have cravings, desires, anger, and hurts about what we want/need to make us happy when in reality all we are doing is setting our mind in a place that creates irritability and suffering. Thus, moving out of this mindset, frees us from our wanting, needing, and craving to have life different than what it is to be more still. To put it another way, letting go and turning the problem over to God helps us to be more tranquil much like God. Thus we have the phrase, Let go and Let God.

Edgar Cayce, the renowned psychic of the early 20th century who would do readings from a sleeping state, had the expression, be still and know that I am God. This is a similar concept to the prior Buddhist one in that it stresses the importance of slowing down to get in touch with our inner divine self. We all have this inner divine quality (we are souls in a body here to learn lessons) which we often forget about. By slowing down, we can focus our minds to better connect with this inner knowing. In the end, both expressions are a way to move forward in our lives to betterment. Whichever one speaks you, by all means use.


May it be written

October 2, 2012

The ten days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kipper, are called the days of atonement since we are to ask for forgiveness not only for our own misgivings, but for the rest of the world as well. We do this even for those we don’t like, even our enemies, since we are all children of God. Thus, it is a time to assess our lives, be grateful for our blessings and to ask for a sweet year – one represented by health and happiness.

While sitting in synagogue on Rosh Hashanah, happily listening to the sound of the shofar during the morning service, I noticed something in need of attention. The cloth upon which the Torah (the Bible in Hebrew) scrolls were being read was old and faded. It just didn’t seem appropriate for such a revered setting. The curtain covering the box or Ark of the Covenant which contained the other Torah scrolls was beautiful, deep blood- red velvet, with deeply embroidered design. In comparison, this table covering didn’t match up and was sorely in need of replacing, in my estimation.

My mind began working. As the words of the service passed by me, “We ask for forgiveness for…” my thoughts went, “I wonder how much fabric and trim would be to make the Rabbi a new table cloth for the Torah scrolls?” And then I continued, “But should I even think of such a thing? Maybe the fabric will be too expensive for me. Or, perhaps I won’t buy the right kind of fabric for such an important undertaking. “And, “Who am I to think that I could make such a cloth worthy of the Rabbi and the synagogue?” Then, I came back to more positive thinking and decided to wait until the end of the service and ask the Rabbi for his opinion.

“Rabbi, am I allowed to make you a new cover for the table where you read the Torahs?” I asked. His face brightened at the thought, since he recognized the state of his current cover and although he was a modest person, he seemed happy at the prospect of a new one for his simple synagogue. He responded that yes it was fine. I qualified my offer with being able to find fabric that I could afford and that was appropriate. Before I left, he came over to me and again mentioned the cloth. I knew he approved of my offer which made me smile inwardly. Since it was a religious holiday, I couldn’t do any serious measuring. Thus, I merely used the length from my wrist to my elbow knowing that it was approximately one foot. This is how I figured out the size of the cloth to be about six feet by six feet.

As I left the synagogue I said a little prayer, “God, if this is something that I’m supposed to do, help me find fabric that is suitable that I can afford.” I fixed a price in my head. When I went to the shop to actually look for fabric, I told the shopkeeper of my creative project and he began to help me. I couldn’t find velvet in the right color so I had to find another alternative. The shopkeeper went into this work room and came out with a gorgeous tapestry fabric that looked quite regal and contained the deep blood red that would match the synagogue’s Ark curtains. The only problem was that it was on the small side. I then figured out that about 12 inches all around would be a good border in a gold color and would add enough fabric to be the correct size. As luck would have it, he came out with a  bolt of gold dupioni silk. There was exactly 2 yards left on this bolt and when we did the calculations, it was just enough to add the border! Wow, the two fabrics matched together beautifully. Then I needed gold tassel trim. The shopkeeper found some trim and gave me a good price. Since the other fabrics were end of the bolt, he gave me a remnant price. All together the price came to exactly half of the figure I had had in my head for fabric that would have been several hundred dollars retail. Including my work the tablecloth would be valued at close to $400. I was very happy.

Next came the construction of the table cloth. To say it was a labor of love is an understatement. With the added work of the border and the fact that I wanted to line it (I just happened to have lining material at home), it took me close to 30 hours of sewing! In the end, the Torah scroll table cover turned out beautiful, the Rabbi was thrilled when I gave it to him in time for Yom Kippur, and I felt like I had done a mitzvah (good deed) to be sure. In addition, I wrote a dedication to my father’s memory on the lining which the Rabbi said was very special.

My creative project turned out to be divinely inspired, guided and blessed. Hopefully, I’m forgiven for any transgressions over this past year. But, rest assured, I didn’t do it for that reason. I did it because I felt the urge and decided it was the right thing to do.


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