Posts Tagged ‘gift’

The presence of reincarnation: Magic Redux

December 25, 2013

Today is Christmas, a notorious day for miracles. The whole season gets stretched thin with unmet expectations and people desperate to make the impossible happen.

We miss those who should have been here and wonder where the meaning has gone.

I have a few loved ones on the edge of precarious circumstances and most certainly my Christmas would be more joyful if I knew they were having a warm and loving time. My blessings include knowing they are alive and other loved ones are safe. I have my haven, my life here in Maryland, and had given myself the gift of a 25-day Advent spirituality practice.

I am well loved and the Universe has a most playful, unique way of letting me know just how connected I am.

magic4Some history first. Back on August 16, 2010, my soulmate kitty, Magic, went to the eternal beyond, breaking my heart in the process. I did not get another animal because I was living in other people’s homes at the time, but since moving back to my home this past May, I have toyed with the idea of getting another kitty. Magic

It occurred to me that Magic might reincarnate, but I did not know how I would find her if she did.

On December 23, I was supposed to play tennis doubles, but one of our four had a trip planned to Maui and forgot to tell us (really?). I was irritated because three people cannot play doubles and we were unable to find a fourth. In the middle of my search, my daughter, who is homeless in San Francisco, called asking if I could wire her some money for Christmas. I left work early because of course I want my daughter to have a Christmas. As I was leaving the store after wiring the funds, I saw the PetSmart across the street and wondered if Magic had reincarnated yet.

I drove over, walked in, and there she was. Only, she is a he now, but otherwise, nearly exactly the same: a black and white tuxedo kitty. He is nine months old and I knew instantly that he was her. He had just arrived that morning. Through the glass partition, we bumped heads. I could not leave without him.

max 4The store manager thought I was a bit nutty when I kept saying “that’s my cat” and told this story over and over. But when I got him home, my step-daughter (who knew Magic very well) just about fell over, and this little kitty went about finding everything without hesitation. Magic is home. It isn’t about investigation. It is about confirmation that (just like before) she/he:
• Gets to sleep on my side of the bed
• Gets to sleep on any lap, regardless of availability
• Has to know what is going on all the time
• Is on the wrong side of every door

max 2Had my daughter not called, I would not have gone by the PetSmart; had I not been stood up for tennis, I never would have taken the time to go in. The Universe absolutely conspired to make sure we found each other that day.

Inside of me is the absolute assurance that I already know this soul. A while ago, I wrote about replacement love. One of my regrets in life is that I have not loved those who are most precious to me when I had the chance to love them. I was always too busy, too anxious, too tired, too preoccupied, too often on my way to someplace else.

On this day of gifts, I have one of the ultimate: the chance to love again.

©2013 by Barbara L. Kass

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The presence of resolutions

January 1, 2013

I actually found something useful on the Internet.

It was an article on Yahoo about nine daily habits that will make us happier. The article promised “immediate results” which (of course) caused my gullible alert meter to skyrocket. I’ve edited them a bit for personal use as New Year’s resolutions:

1. Start each day with expectation.

The article noted that life “lives up to (or down to) your expectations” and advises you to think “something wonderful is going to happen today” when you first get up in the morning. If you and your loved ones make it through the day alive, something wonderful has indeed happened so this one is a no-brainer. My personal edit to this one would be to look for the wonderful in my life and expect to find at least one if not many.

2. Take time to plan and prioritize.

Article advice is to “pick one thing that, if you get it done today, will move you closer to your highest goal and purpose in life. Then do that first.” My highest goal and purpose in life has nothing to do with achieving status or accumulating wealth. It is to become the best human being I can be. The real trick is to remember to be and do that in each moment even after some nutjob has just cut me off on the Washington beltway going 75 mph.

3. Give a gift to everyone you meet.

The article defines gift as a “smile, a word of thanks or encouragement, a gesture of politeness, even a friendly nod.” It also admonishes readers to “never pass beggars without leaving them something.” For those of you who claim that giving to the homeless just encourages them to remain homeless, here is my experience with that: most of the people who are homeless are not there out of choice. If they could cope with life better, they would. The awful truth is that they cannot for reasons too numerous to list here. You could not rescue them if you tried. I follow my conscience and do what helps me sleep at night.

4. Deflect partisan conversations.

The article advises to “bow out” of conversations about politics and religion but I look upon these conversations as opportunities to find out what is really going on inside the other person. I don’t have to engage in an argument, but I can bring out my inquisitive self and just keep asking questions like “why do you say that?” and “what makes you feel that way?”

5. Assume people have good intentions.

The article states an immutable truth: “Since you can’t read minds, you don’t really know the ‘why’ behind the ‘what’ that people do.” However, it implies that you should assume “good intentions” rather than “evil motives” with regards to “other people’s weird behaviors”. My feeling is that I have to use some judgment about those “weird behaviors” and get more information before I assume anything good or bad.

6. Eat high quality food slowly.

The article recommends that we “eat something really delicious, like a small chunk of fine cheese or an imported chocolate” once a day and to “focus . . . taste . . . savor it.” Why only once a day? Why is only fine cheese or imported chocolate “really delicious”? And, why only “high quality food”? Food (REAL food, people!) is more satisfying if eaten slowly and consciously.

7. Let go of your results.

The article tells us that worry is “the big enemy of happiness” and advises us to not focus on “events that are outside” of our control. Once we have done all that we can about any situation, we need to let go of the results. A good deed done does not necessarily translate into a good outcome.

8. Turn off “background” TV.

The article states that “the entire point of broadcast TV is to make you dissatisfied with your life so that you’ll buy more stuff.” I don’t know that this is true. I see plenty of things on television that make very happy that I have my life and not someone else’s life. That being said, I agree with turning off the noise for a little while each day. Embracing solitude and silence helps reduce stress.

9. End each day with gratitude.

The article recommends each day writing down at least one wonderful thing that happened such as “making a child laugh.” I can’t argue with keeping a gratitude journal but I encourage you to find at least three things each day to be grateful for. Make it your assignment each morning knowing that you can’t duplicate items from day to day.

And here is my personal habit that I am adding: live your life as a question. Quit seeking the answers and instead, live into the question you are asking. For more about that, see my article at Loyola’s Meaning Making blog.

Finally, this is my year of Living the Prayer. Praying has always seemed to me to be a very passive sort of activity, so I generally pulled it out only when I had no other choice (the prayer was usually preceded by terminology similar to “oh, crap!”). Something in my realization of what “eternal presence” signifies has caused me to sit up and take notice that while there are always beginnings and endings, there are also continuings (<=== is this a real word?).

Welcome to my continuings.

©2013 by Barbara L. Kass

The presence of obligation

January 1, 2011

Well, it’s the new year and, no, I don’t have a single resolution. I left resolutions lying by the side of the road when I took my first steps down my reality path. They are probably all still lying there in a jumbled decaying heap occasionally oozing out a noxious trickle of good intentions gone bad.

It was the obligations that wore me down. Once I make a resolution, I feel obligated to fulfill it. As the year makes its relentless appearance day after day after day, the new resolutions I make tangle with the old ones and suddenly my life is full of these obligations to myself, to others, and to imagined beings I think hold the key to my destiny. Often, they are contradictory and in direct conflict with each other. Sometimes, taking good care of me means saying “no” to someone in need and exiting the presence of nasty people.

My personal scrutiny discovered that obligations are not always solidly and clearly defined. They tend to get amorphous, bordering between the wants and choices and the musts and shoulds. It also does not matter. An obligation is a burden. It is a burden made by some agreement.

My obligations can come from a sense of love or duty. I feel obligated to contribute to my granddaughter’s well-being. I let elderly people or people holding babies have my seat on the Metro train when it is crowded.

My obligations are delivered through course of law. I am obligated to drive my vehicle safely in a manner that does not endanger others. I am obligated to pay taxes on my income.

There is an obligation that is a debt . . . it is attached to the favor that someone did for me. The bank lent me money to buy a car and I am obligated to pay the bank back. If I ask someone for a ride to work, I feel obligated to contribute towards the gas.

What about favors that people do for me that I do not ask for and do not expect? Is gratitude enough of an obligation or am I obligated to return the favor in kind? What about people who upon first appearance seem to be causing me problems yet as I work through the problem, I discover something amazing about myself or end up helping another person? What obligation do I owe that person who first appeared to stir things up?

Some people are out there doing favors for others with the expectation that the favor will come back to them in some form. Are they then being truly altruistic or is the favor really a bribe to the universe?

Because I have resources, am I obligated to share those resources? And, if so, with whom? When?

So many questions . . . and it isn’t even noon yet.

The year is already laughing at me.

Typical.

©2011 by Barbara L. Kass