Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Endings and Beginnnings.

 I'm a Seinfeld fan. I'm a Christmas fan. So, as a fan of comedy and also a Christian (some might dispute this last part, but it is what it is.) I used to both laugh and cringe a little at Festivus  for the Rest of Us. If you are a fan of the show then I don't have to explain it. If not then let's just say "Frank" had a personal take on the holidays that was hilarious. :-)

 Anyway, I have my own little personal New Year's Tradition. It started around the late 70's or early 80's. I would go into the woods with a stick or something to prod the weeds and trail and talk to God. It was my way of ending the old year and giving the hopes and worries of the past year to God and asking for "stuff" I'm American ya know ;-) for the coming year. But, it was also a great time to get quiet and really try to listen to that still small voice within.

My favorite place to do this was Noccalula Falls in River City. River City is my name "sometime sarcastic and sometimes fondly for the city of my birth." Gadsden, Alabama. I didn't always go to the falls but it was a great place to walk along Black Creek and under the falls and really commune with my spirit and talk to my maker. I would start at Jack's and get coffee and a biscuit. Then I would walk over the bridge and toward the campground and find the trail off in the woods down to the creek. Cold and clear and if it was high babbling comfort for my meditations. Also, jumping rocks and plowing through the woods. Anyway, I would then talk about my hopes and my failures and my anxieties and my unlimited future. I was a young man and I was trying to grow up. Anyway, over the years that walk was done in Altoona, Gallant, Gadsden, and all over the area where I could get into the woods. I have even tried it later on the beach in Hawaii but nothing was quiet as peaceful as the area of my raising. Be it in the woods in Gadsden or the woods in Altoona or around Gallant. Noccalula was my favorite spot but not my only spot.

 Anyway, this morning while my family slept I went out to my back yard and walked down the private road a little way. The private road leads to houses that are back in the woods and I have talked to a few of the folks back there so there was no problem with walking a little way down the road. I thought about the past year. It was a mixed year. I thought about the good and bad the right and the wrong of the past year. It wasn't the all day walk of my youth. But, it felt good. It was a release of my spiritual "cache." :-) There's a modern word that I would not have referenced back in 1978 or 1985 for that matter. Anyway, it was short but I enjoyed it and felt better for having done it.

There will be New Year's Resolutions aplenty I'm sure. I more than likely won't make many of them. But, I do hope to manager to listen more this year. To find a sanctuary either at home or work or play to get in touch with my source. I no longer think of prayer as a magic bullet or of God as an angry old man in the sky who reads my mind. But, I treasure and find hope and sanity in my prayers. No, I'm not a church going devout evangelical. I don't think I will ever be that again. But, I have always found hope and guidance in prayer and meditation and sometime just in asking.

So, Festivus for the Rest of us. But, the personal tradition of the New Year's Prayer Walk for me. I hope you are blessed.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Life: Past, present and future.

  I had a kind of strange experience the other morning. Now before I start I do want to say this. I understand the concept of the faith "Christianity" which I was raised in. I have said several times that while I have not abandoned the faith of my youth I have certainly had my dogma run over. So, the following account will seem foolish to those who believe that we are nothing but the chemical processes of a organ in our skull. It will seem heretical and even deceitful to those who believe that the bible is the inerrant word of God from on high with no need to know the original language or circumstance or methods in which it has come to us over the centuries. It will seem like wisdom to those who are pie in the sky new age folks that just pull whatever meaning to life they need out of their butts. :-) But, what it is, is: ;-) an honest attempt by a human being on this earth to find the quiet place within and attempt to get in touch with the true nature of my own being. So, if I haven't completely bored you yet, here is what happened.

  I wake up at around 4:30 AM. I don't always wake up unless it's to stumble to the bathroom and try not to completely wake up while actually hitting the target and then going back to bed. :-) Women, (my wife) seem to make a big deal about toilet lids and guys being careful. But, I digress :-)

Anyway, I can't sleep so I get my second favorite gift of this Christmas season ( a recliner being the first.) My new Kindle Fire HDX or whatever it's called. I put in my ear buds and pull up Doctor Brian Weiss on youtube. Now, Dr. Weiss is a very highly trained Psychiatrist who discovered past life regression some years ago. You can find his story by googling his name if you are interested. I am not searching for guru's at my age and I don't claim or mess with people who do claim to have all the answers. But, anyway having an interest in relaxing my mind as well as an interest in the concept of past lives I thought I would at least give the 30 minutes it would take to close my eyes and see where the video would take me.

I got quiet and said a little prayer and prepared the volume. I will give one spoiler here. I did not (and didn't really expect to) discover a past life. I did however go back to my childhood which is of course past life of a sort. This is where it gets a little intense for me.

I listened to the meditation. I felt the tension in my neck and shoulders and relaxed and released it from the soles of my feet to my neck, shoulders and concentrated on my breathing. So far so good. Might not discover I was Joan of Arc's lover from back in the day but I was relaxed. The doctor then said to float above a scene from my childhood. I then thought about a Christmas in Gadsden, Alabama on Chester Street in Walnut Park. I was very young. My grandparents had come by to visit. I don't know why but this was the memory (and I have always had this memory so it wasn't something I had pushed down or lost the memory of.) But, I could see the little boy that morning. It was as if I were looking at him (which was me) from a different perspective.

I was detached but felt intense empathy for him. He was so small and so innocent and I started to weep. I was crying for him (me) as if I were watching a different little being than myself. I guess I may have been crying for the years and the bumps and bruises and betrayals of the innocence that he (I?) had at that moment. I honestly don't know. Anyway, it really touched me and caused me to ponder and kind of go inside myself this week. I think it was Monday morning when this occurred.

The other thing I got was this. I have often thought about my life and some of the patterns of my life. Did I do something in a past life that I have paid for in this one? One of the things I came away with was this. I don't know if there is anything to the concept of past life's. But nothing I am going through today good or bad is the result of something I did in another existence that I have forgotten and am paying for now. My life and the responsibility of my life is  what I do with it now.

Anyway, it was a very intense and personal experience and I just wanted to write it down. I have done that. Thanks for the time and in the words of Bernie Leadon of the Eagles from back in the day. "I wish you peace when the cold winds blow. Warm by the fire's glow.