Tag: truth

WISDOM – WHAT IS IT? #WisdomWednesday

WISDOM – WHAT IS IT? #WisdomWednesday

As a young adult I admired those individuals who emulated wisdom. I read voraciously the words of great writers and teachers who seemed to have an inside tract on the meaning of life. From Kierkegaard, Tillich, C.S. Lewis, Kahlil Gibran, Jesus, Reinhold Niebuhr, Jung, Martin Buber, to Camus, Sartre, Herman Hess, Samuel Beckett, Tolstoy, Solzhenitsyn, Virginia Woolf, I soaked in what I could.  I leaned in hungrily to the words of my professors of philosophy and theology, hoping to find a nugget or two of wisdom that would free me from my suffering. Wisdom . . . a thing I longed for. . . even as it eluded me.

What is wisdom?

Forty five years later, I think I have finally begun to understand the true nature of wisdom. It is not just the gift of insight, although it is that. Nor is it something that shows up on our doorstep, like a Fed Ex delivery. It shows up  in its own time and is something that one recognizes in oneself only in hindsight.

Wisdom
“It’s not what you look at that matters. It’s what you see.” Henry David Thoreau

Wisdom, I believe, is a byproduct of suffering. It is not an award for endurance, although endurance is necessary.  It’s something more. It requires yielding to suffering and allowing it to become our teacher.

Wisdom comes to those who allow the fires of hell to burn down walls of protection in order to see the truth. It does not come to those who insist on wearing masks of denial or pretense. A fundamental ingredient of the wise is the ability to see and speak the Truth regardless of the consequences.

“We can know only that we know nothing. And that is the highest degree of human wisdom.”
Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace   

The wise learn to see themselves and the world through the eyes of truth, not the eyes of their ego.  Wisdom begins to show up precisely when a person sees how much they have left to learn and when they have begun to be willing students of life.  Not a goal to be achieved,  it arrives precisely when one no longer care about being wise.


FINDING HOPE, Quotes for Midlife and Beyond is packed with quotes to guide and support you as you gather wisdom. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed creating it. If so, please leave a review on Amazon and recommend it to a friend! It also makes a great gift for Mother’s Day and special occasions. Thank you, as always, for your support. DS

Truth ~ What Are We Fighting For?

Truth ~ What Are We Fighting For?

The value of truth seems to have lost its influence. 

The world keeps turning. I get up in the morning to the sun, and go to bed each night with the moon and the stars shining their light on my broken heart. The world is a “hot mess” as my young millennial friends would say.

Navigating life now is not an easy task! Walking the medial way, with one foot in the world and one foot in Spirit, isn’t easy to do under “normal” circumstances!  Now, it feels impossible, and yet it is certainly an excellent opportunity to practice! I, like many I talk to, long for simpler times.

SPEAKING THE TRUTH AS I SEE IT

What is the Truth?
I woke up this morning feeling exactly like Alice in Wonderland. ART BY: David Hoffrichter

I keep choosing, every day, to speak the truth as I see it; to ask the questions, explore the answers, look for what lies beneath the surface of things. Even as I try to be kind about it, not attacking or name calling, my words seem to cause sparks to fly.  People rant at me and call me names.

In the past week, I was called a bigot, a pseudo-intellectual, an irrational feminist, and a few other choices names I’d rather not repeat here.  The nastiest, meanest comments came from men, who I previously believed were highly rational, intelligent, educated men. The comments I received from women were angry and upset, more aimed at the belief that I should be taking about the politics on an aging site, nor should I take sides. I weigh this question constantly.

“JUST GET ALONG!”

The most common concern I’ve heard from women has been, “don’t you think you should play nice and just accept what is happening?” To this I say, yes and no.

Nothing infuriates me more than the part of our culture that wants us to get on board with the status quo. What we are experiencing right now IS NOT NORMAL. It is not business as usual, and I won’t pretend it is. I protested in the 60’s and my values with regard to peace, love and acceptance remain the same. I’ve never been a fan of the establishment, but this is going too far!

NAME CALLING HURTS!

It hurts being attacked.  Conflicting feelings rise to the surface, adrenaline pumps through my body and I’m suddenly in fight or flight mode. I want to lash out, and with my weapon of choice write an epistle explaining exactly how and why I am not what they say I am.  When I realize that more conversation would be pointless, I sink into despair. What am I to do with all these feelings now?

ASK THE HARD QUESTIONS

I have no choice but to go inside myself and ask the hard question. Are they right? Do their labels fit?

Am I a pseudo-intellectual?  I’ve never thought of my self as an intellectual, so that one was lost on me as a true reflection of myself. However, by asking the question I began to see the perpetrators projection. The particular label came from a man who, even at 16, took abundant pride in his intelligence. He believed his intellectual abilities made him superior. Sadly, all these years later when we reconnected I discovered that he has not grown past his arrogant, narcissist ways. He still needs to be intellectually superior, and when he feels threatened, he does what all great thinkers do, call people names.  I told him he was behaving exactly like the President-Elect, which he was. He didn’t like that a bit and unfriended me. I now consider it a victory to have stirred that particular pot!

A bigot – that one got me.  A bigot is “a person who is intolerant toward those holding different opinions” – this coming from a man who unfriended me because he didn’t like what I was saying on Facebook. Am I a bigot? We all have our blind spots so I’d have to say yes, I’m intolerant toward some who hold different opinions. Our president-elect would be one of them. Trust me, I am working on this. I long to find a place of acceptance that does not mean acquiescence.  Right now, I can’t see the divine in this man just yet. In fact, I tend to think he’s evil incarnate and see it as my job to speak out against him.

COMPASSION FOR ALL WHO HAVE BEEN & WILL BE DISAPPOINTED

Beyond that, I have deep compassion for the people who elected him believing he would change their unhappy lives. I have less compassion for the meanness and hatred that a few carry and choose present to the world. I want to say, show me your misery, this I can understand. But anger, rage, hubris, entitlement? And yet, tolerance is tolerance. I’m working on it.

Here’s what I do know. The women before us modeled tolerance and acceptance as a virtue, and to some extent it is.  They did not feel free, however, to rebel or speak up when perhaps they should have.  We feel freer to do so, and yet the past that lives on in us often keeps us feeling guilty and wrong when we do.

Making nice is not always possible, nor is it human. We have a wide array of thoughts, feelings and reactions. it is to our detriment to keep them buried. They will erupt when we least expect them to and it won’t be pretty.

THERE IS A TIME & A SEASON

There’s a time to fight and a time to stand down. There’s a time to speak and a time to be silent. We must each in our own way and find a balance between speaking our truth and taking time for deep reflection. None of us are totally clear on what we are fighting for. Those who are, seem to be fighting one particular battle. Maybe that’s the best any of us can do.

We must continue to ask ourselves challenging questions:

  • What am I really angry about?
  • Are there unacknowledged feelings and thoughts beneath my anger? Are the thoughts I’m thinking true?
  • This feeling of fear, what is it really trying to tell me?
  • When have I felt powerless before? How was that similar to what’s happening now?
  • Is this situation triggering feelings I’ve had all my life?
  • What are those feelings?
  • Can I be proactive in giving myself what it is I want from others?
  • Have I taken time to sit in silence?
  • Have I expressed my feelings honestly?
  • When I speak my truth am I using “I” statements?
As I navigate these strange times, I take comfort from the wisdom of great teachers.

“Wholeness is possible only through the coexistence of opposites. In order to know the light, we must experience the dark.” ~ Carl Jung, Memories, Dreams and Reflections

“Always go with the choice that scares you the most, because that is the one that is going to help you grow.” ~ Caroline Myss, Defying Gravity

“The beginning of love is the will to let those we love be perfectly themselves, the resolution not to twist them to fit our own image. If in loving them we do not love what they are, but only their potential likeness to ourselves, then we do not love them: we only love the reflection of ourselves we find in them”
Thomas Merton, No Man Is an Island

“If you have never been called a defiant, incorrigible, impossible woman. . .have faith. . . there is yet time.” ~ Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés

“Doubt is not the opposite of faith; it is one element of faith.” ~ Paul Tillich, The Courage to Be

“We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.” ~ Elie Wiesel, Author of Night, Winner of the Nobel Peace Prize
“The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference.” ~ Elie Wiesel
“There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.” ~ Elie Wiesel

“SOMEDAY” IS TODAY with Sunny Lockwood

“SOMEDAY” IS TODAY with Sunny Lockwood

“Someday” begins with a day just like today.

No one knows this better than Sunny Lockwood. This morning I”m happy to introduce you to Sunny  in The Voices of Wisdom series. Sunny reached out to me and said she thought Aging Abundantly readers might be interested in her story. I agreed! I hope it is as much of an inspiration to you as is was to me. There is no time like the present to live the life we’ve always dreamed of living. It can begin today. After all someday is just a day like today.

Al & Sunny Lockwood
Al & Sunny Lockwood

 

My husband and I have always been sort of workaholics. Like others with fulfilling lives, we dreamed of things we’d like to do someday (perhaps when we were older and life had slowed down a little).However, on a Sunday evening in July in 2012, as we waited at a red light, our life changed dramatically.

It was a perfect evening. The blue sky held a golden sunset glow. We’d been to the beach earlier and the pounding surf still filled our heads as we waited for the light to change.

Suddenly,  a texting driver slammed full speed (60 mph) into us, totaling both cars in an explosion of glass and metal. I’ll never forget the grinding, screaming metal as her SUV tore through the back end and then the side of our Toyota Carolla. Although seatbelted, we were tossed about as our car crumpled.

Both vehicles were totaled. Fortunately, we suffered no broken bones. But we were bruised and banged up, and our summer was ruined as our days filled with doctor appointments, wrangling with insurance companies and trying to find a replacement car.

We ached for weeks.

I complained loudly about drivers who fool with their phones, wishing I could get them all arrested and thrown in jail.

But my ranting gave way to the awareness of how lucky we were to be alive.

If we had not been wearing seat belts. If our airbags had not inflated.  So many ifs. Yet, here we were. Alive.

The realization that life is fragile and brief changed our lives. It woke us up.

We realized anew how all the little gifts we take for granted — the sweet fragrance of roses or lilacs, the welcome chill of ice cream on a hot day, the comfort of prayer, the pleasure of a kitten’s purring, the delicious smell of newly cut grass or fresh-brewed coffee — all these everyday blessings can be snatched away in a moment.

You can be doing nothing more risky than sitting at a red light, and the next moment you could be hooked up to monitors in a hospital, or lying cold in a morgue.

Everyone knows the truth that life is temporary. But until we take that truth seriously it’s just a distant theory as we rush through our busy days.

Al and I suddenly took that truth to heart. As we focused on how lucky we were that the wreck didn’t kill us,  we decided to start doing some of the things we’d dreamed of doing. It’s not like we had great life goals we’d been putting off. But we both enjoy travel, love seeing what’s over the next hill or around the next curve in the road.  We’d camped up and down the west coast.

And for years we’d toyed with the idea of taking longer trips, perhaps a cruise to somewhere interesting. But we’d talked about such travel in a dreamy, someday sort of way.

Now, feeling grateful to be alive and whole, we decided to actually take part in that “someday” travel.

First on the bucket list was a cruise through the Panama Canal. Al is a retired engineer, and he’d dreamed of going through the canal (one of the greatest engineering feats of the 20th century) since he was a child.

Online research revealed a 17-day cruise through the canal that we could afford and we signed up. The trip from San Francisco to Fort Lauderdale was fantastic.

Traversing the famous canal from the Pacific to the Atlantic in the same way ships have been traversing since 1904 was a thrill beyond compare.  The trip was so amazing that we actually wrote a book about it: Cruising Panama’s Canal, savoring 5,000 nautical miles and 500,000 decadent calories.

So what began as a dream come true trip, grew into a writing/publishing venture.Today is Someday

Cruising Panama’s Canal was named an Amazon #1 best seller in 2014 and continues to sell in both paperback and ebook formats at Amazon.com

Since that first cruise, we’ve taken other wonderful trips and have written three more travel memoirs.

One of our books, Cruising the Mediterranean, was named an Amazon best seller in two categories: Senior Travel and Venice Guidebooks and Travelogues.

Readers from around the world have written that they love our books. We’ve been asked to talk about our travels at retirement communities, senior centers, book stores and service clubs.

Making our travel dreams come true has been fascinating and fulfilling. It has led to new endeavors — writing our travel memoirs, speaking about our travels. And our adventure continues as we schedule more trips and write about them.

We write to encourage others. Everyone carries dreams within their hearts. The dreams may be small or large, but often they remain Someday is Todaylodged inside. Al and I want to encourage readers to grasp those dreams and make them come true.

Whether it’s earning a college degree, or traveling to a far away place, we encourage you to do it. Do it now, while you can. Tomorrow is not promised.

Believe me when I say that making a dream come true is deeply rewarding. How satisfying it is to achieve something you’ve always dreamed about. That accomplishment comes with enriching memories and stories to share. And you can never tell where your dream will take you.

Ours has taken us on cruises and tours, to book stores, libraries and travel clubs. It has enlarged and enriched our life as we’ve shared our travels through our books and presentations.

Who knows where you’re dream will take you?

A few photos from our trips:

Someday is Today
Venice’s Grand Canal was a busy and beautiful highway.
Someday is Today
he Parthenon in Athens, Greece, was spectacular.

Today is Someday
We stayed in a small hotel close to the Rialto Bridge.
Someday is Today
One of the many stunning sights in Istanbul.

 

SUNNY LOCKWOOD has been a newspaper editor, magazine editor, daily newspaper reporter and newspaper columnist. She holds degrees from San Jose State University and Santa Clara University.

AL LOCKWOOD is a retired electrical/mechanical engineer. He is a fine art film photographer, a ham radio operator and an enthusiastic traveler. The sweet photograph of Sunny & Al, at the top of the page, was taken in an Athens coffee shop in 2014. Al and Sunny had ducked inside to escape a sudden downpour.

Visit Sunny’s website 

Connect with her on Facebook.


MORE VOICES OF WISDOM

 

 

Choose the Quality of Your Life

Choose the Quality of Your Life

Hydrangea
“The Truth is that circumstances do not determine the quality of your life; your choices do. Mystical Truth is the nuclear power of your soul. Personal truth is a stepping-stone, but it does not contain nuclear powered grace, so to speak. Why not go for the real thing when you know you have it in you?” Caroline Myss

The subject of “truth” comes up often in politically charged conversations. As candidates enter the race one by one, the pot is stirred, as are emotions. Blanket statements are made and often taken out of context. All rules of debate are thrown out of the window and it becomes acceptable to prove a point with opinion.

We each have our own take on what is true and what is not true, based on our own unique and very personal experience. Our perspective by nature is limited. When it comes to politics, we tend to support candidates whose positions we believe line up with our perceived “truth”, and are let down and sometimes enraged when all points are not congruent with one another. When it comes to politics there is no truth. There is no right or wrong. There’s only opinion. The truth will only be out after the election is over, the race is won and the winner has served his/her time in office. All that precedes it is conjecture, speculation and opinion.

Factual truth, evidentiary truth, is always limited by the very nature of the concrete world in which we live. Mystical truth steps outside of the concrete world and does not bother to take sides in political debates. It knows it is ludicrous to do so. The language spoken is not the same.

The quality of our life is not determined by an election.The quality of our life is based on the choices we make every minute, every day, every hour of our life. What we make manifest in the world today does make a difference. When we manifest political vitriol today we spread ill will and angry energy in the world. Our choices make us who we are. Our choice to be angry and venous today fills our life with anger and venom. It changes us. It does not bring about the positive change we envision.

I broke my own vow, made long ago, to only spread positive, uplifting and compassionate filled messages via social media. There is far too much of the other. I broke it when I became angry with Dell for how they are handling, or shall I say more accurately not handling, my computer’s repairs. I felt my anger at Dell begin to boil. I let off a little steam on Twitter. I justified it in my mind, “I want everyone to know to avoid Dell.” Truthfully I wanted to punish Dell for betraying a loyal customer. These feelings grew as I vented, reminding me of the injustices I experienced with Allstate Insurance, and Blue Cross Blue Shield of NC. The anger grew. I felt conflicted. Isn’t fighting for change important, I argued with myself? When all was said and done I felt drained and I realized I was participating in the much ado about nothing of personal opinion and perspective.

What do I want the quality of my life to be today? That was the more important question I kept asking myself. I do not want my days to be filled with fighting and anger. I’ve done too much of that in the past. I want to focus on things that really matter, like supporting people trying to find their voice, their truth, their lives; to offer hope to those in despair, encouragement to those who fear, and support to those who are alone or suffering.

One need not be angry, or stirred up to speak the truth and keep speaking the truth as one knows it. I resolved to keep speaking the truth as I saw it to Dell and while I waited to focus on the positive quality of my immediate life. I have no room for anger, condescension, combat, name calling. It serves no one. It does not serve the world and it does not serve truth.

Anger builds walls. We tear down walls when we go inside of ourselves and find the voice of truth. Then we hold on to it with everything we have while we go back out into the world and live it. When we can say, “This is what I feel, this is what I see, this is what I hear, what do you see, feel, hear and believe?” Then we can learn from one another, even if we do not agree or see things in the same way, as surely we will not. We can, however, allow them to have their perspective, their truth without relinquishing our own. Honor ourselves, honor and respect them and the real “truth” lies somewhere in between.

Fighting for what we perceive to be the truth need not be done with swords and angry words. Real truth will always cut like a knife through non-truth. On that we can depend.

More on the Inner Life of AgingBest of Aging Abundantly Book

And What is your Truth….

And What is your Truth….

by Nicky Perryman ~ Textile Artist

Words float in my head, unbidden, wandering trying to go somewhere. Like me. Phrases lurk in the shadows looking for a home, a purpose, a connection to something, somewhere. Like me. Beauty rests somewhere unfamiliar, somewhere in yet to be charted territory. Peace and tranquility. Joy. Meaning. Purpose.

The truths of life are the same, from one to another. The real truth crosses all boundaries of time, space, creed, nationality, age and utters its whisper softly and gently to all who listen. I raise my head from a pillow of tears just long enough to look into the eyes of truth and then turn away. Frightened of what, I do not know.

Our truth connects to a bigger whole should we be fortunate enough to find it. When removing the gauze of indifference, or fear, from our eyes we may look upon the face of God…of truth…of that which gives life and takes it when it is ready. Truth is etched upon the hearts of women throughout history, before, during, now, and future times. A string runs through our lives connecting one to another drawing us in, weaving us carefully into a patchwork quilt that is life.  There is no beginning, no end, only now and eternity.

Our lives are our own and yet they are not. Our lives belong to the universe, to the whole, to the patchwork quilt. What we give of our truth will find its way into the pattern, into the beautiful, kaleidoscopic tapestry of eternity, bright with colors, shapes, sounds and above all else, love. What we love will be our legacy. How we love will be our truth.

Its written across the pages of history that as mere mortals we are called to speak the truth and to love. They cannot be divided. One without the other is incomplete. Find your truth and live it in love and your legacy will unfold bit by bit to find its place in the tapestry of eternity.

A Note about photo: I stumbled across the photo of the quilt and loved it. I have discovered it was designed and made by Nicky Perryman, a textile artist in the UK.  You will find more about her and her work on her website Nicky Perryman Textile Artist.  She also has a fan page on Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/pages/Nicky-Perryman-Textile-Artist/176159875736012.