In Between the Lines – Sacrifice

When looking at several definitions of Sacrifice, a few words and phrases stand out – offering, relinquish, forfeiture, loss, and to sell or give away. Those are not attractive words/phrases. If one were to think of Sacrifice on those terms only, it would definitely not happen (maybe the offering part seems to be the only part with a positive vibe).

Sacrifice is a main theme on my novels. However, it is presented tied to Love and Duty. When we think of Sacrifice as part of those, somehow, the meaning of the above mentioned words/phrases take a different tone. For Love and Duty of the deepest and highest kind, we offer, relinquish, forfeit, lose, and give away anything and everything. Sacrifice becomes an act of Love, of Duty, and suddenly it becomes a form of exaltation, a high state of being, and instead, a great offering – giving instead of lack of, or losing something. It changes the meaning. This is why Sacrifice is bound to happen.

Food for thought – If you experienced Sacrifice, in what light did you view it, and how it affected your state of being? Think of the Why.

In Between the Lines – Hate

Hate – To loathe; detest. To dislike. Intense dislike or animosity. (American Heritage Dictionary)

Hate is a very strong word and full of negative energy. This makes it a passive and active entity. In other words, hating requires an amount of negative energy as well as negative action, that is, if the person acts on the hate he/she feels and entertains.

If you believe in the adage “what goes around comes around,” then hating and acting in hate damages the hated as well as the hater. Hate is another topic on one of my novels. If you have experienced the effects of hate (whether hating or hated) you will agree that it is a very damaging emotion, and one that will only attract more negative emotions/feelings by empowering these (negatively) as the person becomes entangled in its trap. I never want to experience such a negative emotion, but I have observed it on others, and it is very dark and uggly. I may say that I hate injustice, but this type of dislike is different from the damaging emotion of true Hate.

We get to choose the emotions/feelings that we welcome in our lives. We have been given the power to encourage or reject these – to choose to love or to hate, to forgive or not to; however, that does not mean that we are androids. Negative emotions are intense but we can control these, and if we feel them we are free to let them go or let them haunt us, and even let them determine or affect our future behavior. We become masters or slaves of our emotions/feelings – it is up to us; not easy, but always up to us.

“He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.” – Proverbs 16:32 (kjv)

“When I do good, I feel good; when I do bad, I feel bad, and that is my religion.” – Abraham Lincoln

“In time we hate that which we often fear.” – William Shakespeare

 

 

 

In Between the Lines – Betrayal

Betrayal – I don’t like to hear or even say the word. It is sour, pungent, and yes, it leaves a bad taste in your mouth, and soul. If you have ever been betrayed and never saw it coming, then you know what I mean. Unsuspected betrayal is one of the hardest things to forget and forgive.

Betrayal is present as a secondary theme in one of my novels – Ramblings of the Spirit (The Dinorah Chronicles). What intrigues me about betrayal is that it comes in many degrees, however, leaving the same feeling, and contributing to an array of other feelings/emotions that attach to it – distrust, anger, pain, desire for revenge, disappointment … all far away from our true nature of loving beings. What makes us depart from that nature? Different paths for different people on different journeys crossing paths in one big journey.

Betrayal is defined mainly as treason, as committing an act against … . In movies, and stories of all kind, the heroes are the good guys/girls, but most times they are betrayed. Yes, “good guys/girls” sometimes finish last (a temporary illusion). It is not the goodness in the hero that makes him/her so, but the way he/she bounces back and deals with the emotions/feelings that are packaged in with the betrayal. How we react after we open the package makes all the difference. Do we let it make us less than heroes or do we go through mourning of the self in an array of emotions (because we are human and not super-human) and decide who we want to be? Do we want to honor our loving essence or ignore it? It is a process, not an easy one, but eventually, the hero will rise, that is, if you let it.

Life Mapping

If you are a goal-setter you might like the idea of life-mapping. Life-mapping can be done in many ways. It represents the big picture of your many goals and dreams and what you would like to carry out in the long run. It is a healthy exercise as long as you use it as an inspiration to enrich your life, and it does not become an obsession, meaning that one might focus on it solely and not live fully because things are not happening the way one intended them to happen. Many times, especially if you believe in Divine intervention, things might not work out the way we want or plan, but in the end, it was all for a greater good – a better ending.

I have practiced life-mapping for some time. I have used time lines, picture boards, and even a treasure map style to highlight long-term dreams and goals. One thing I can say is that a lot works out as planned, but many other things do not, despite putting the work and walking the path. However, I still like the idea of life-mapping and practice it to keep me inspired and on track. Right now, I am using a different style that I thought about, and is easy to post anywhere and is more portable than a picture board. You can carry it on your planner, and it gives you an overall glance of your dreams and goals. I believe that you are never too old to do life-mapping. It is never too late to enrich your life and enjoy it more, so in my eyes, this practice stops at your death-bed.

The idea was inspired by my icon to-do-list. It is life-mapping by using icons that represent what you want, and you can do this as a time-line or as a step by step map to guide you. Here is the life-map I came up with, and I can share it here because the icons mean something to me, and not necessarily mean anything to anyone else, so in a way it is still somewhat private. A picture or an icon can have as many meanings as you give it. The meaning is up to you. This life-map was done using Microsoft Publisher. I started using footprints and changed to cat prints because after all, our family includes 6 cats, so they are in the journey as well. In addition, I left empty fields at the end to fill as needed, and these are represented by a potted plant with an interrogation sign. I used two pages for mine, but you can make your icons smaller and fit them on one page, or use as many pages as you would like. You can also use only a few icons to represent the important points only, and not necessarily every detail. It is a good idea for visual people. You may also do it in 3-5-10 … year increments or overall. Other ideas include drawing your icons if you are artistic, or painting them. In addition, if you want to make it more detailed you can dedicate a journal or planner just for life-mapping. Mine is just a more general approach. Life-mapping is ever changing, but it serves as visual inspiration, and it can be adjusted as necessary.

Life-Mapping

Life-Mapping

009

I hope you enjoy this idea.

 

 

 

Divine Organization – Prayer and Theology Journal

On a earlier post I talked about getting back on the saddle and renewing my work/life vows. Another step that I am taking is starting a prayer/theology journal to organize my thoughts and study different sacred works, starting with the Bible and following with other sacred texts and authors . Of course this will become a lifetime activity, as I have felt the need to learn more about different faiths on this planet. I am not pursuing a degree in theology but instead want to learn as much on my own. After all, our time on this planet is so short, I think not enough to learn and enjoy everything that we want to experience.

This journal is divided into three sections – Journal – Theology/study – Prayers. Of course being creative, it cannot just be a regular journal, so I took my time to find the perfect one for me and did some decoration to its pages as well. This particular one I found at Staples, the same day I went looking for the huge binder for my Home/work/life Management System (see earlier post). The cover art couldn’t have been more fitting for this type of journal. I find that taking a bit of time in the morning to meditate and learn helps me become more productive during the day, as well as setting the mood.

Here is what it looks like.

Prayer/Theology Journal

Prayer/Theology Journal

Decorated pages

Decorated pages

002 003

 

Of course, as I continue this part of the journey, I will end up needing more journals, but I am happy to combine my regular journal-writing practice with the study of the sacred texts, and into a devotional time. It works for me. In searching for a better way to do the study part, I will keep some points in mind.

  • Start the study with my faith (Christianity/Bible) before moving on to other faiths
  • Pay attention to the title, time, and writer or writers, as well as language (original) and how translations have affected the book. In addition, how different groups have adopted variations on interpretation (for example – Christians and Jews interpret the book of Jeremiah differently).
  • Note any main topics/ideas of a particular book, chapter, or passage and cross-reference.
  • Note my interpretation and application to my life

One thing that I am not doing is following a particular study program/system because I don’t want to rely on a sole interpretation, but will use any material that will enrich my understanding or offer cross-reference points and enhance the learning experience.

 

 

What’s New

To me, reviews are just opinions and the reason I never leave negative reviews. What I don’t like someone might enjoy. When I enjoy a book I leave a positive review, and if I think the book will be of great help to writers I will mention it here. I just finished reading Never Too Late – Your Roadmap to Reinvention by Claire Cook. I enjoyed this book. It is her first non-fiction and shares her experiences as a best-selling author and her views on reinvention. It is written in a conversational and warm tone, as she talks to the reader and shares her wisdom through many years of hard work and dedication to the craft. She shares many personal and significant experiences that many writers will appreciate. The book is great for aspiring writers who are looking for an honest and real view of what navigating these waters feels like. In addition, it will benefit people who are on a journey of reinvention and betterment of their lives. As most of you know, Claire Cook is the author of many novels and she has a unique style. One of her first novels was made into a movie – Must Love Dogs.

I added her book to my website under the recommended reads on writing. In addition, I added a FAQ on writing and indie publishing. I am planning on sharing a few posts on what I am doing to get back on the saddle and sort of renew my vows to myself and my work/life. I see it as a way of reinvention or starting a new page. There is no such thing as jumping out of your skin into another but you can certainly shed off what doesn’t serve you anymore. It is one journey with many roads, detours, and wherever you need to turn, backtrack or rest along the way, there is a place to reflect, breathe, and figure out your next step. After all, it is your journey and you make it whatever it may be.

Back on the Saddle and the Need for a Blank Slate

Sometimes, when you come to a halt, being that a physical, material, emotional, psychological, or spiritual pause, the need to start fresh arises. After change, a rock on your boat, or any kind of disturbance, there is that silent pause, a very personal and intimate moment that only I recognize, and the prelude to what comes next in action. It is not so much the defining moment but the silent moment that makes the next one possible – whatever I may or may not decide – choose – act. It may be a source for strength or not, because it depends on how I embrace change, view it, and the emotions/feelings that I associate or attach to it. From that silent moment on, I either get back on the saddle (even in the midst of change) or not.

It is at that moment of truth that the need for a blank slate presents itself, summoned by vision and attitude, faith and determination. Back on the saddle again, I resolve to start on a blank slate, or a new page. One thing I know for sure is to change the ink, to not write in old ink on the pages of the new journal of life. A blank slate is a wonderful start, even if it may not look it right away. Vision becomes clearer as the writing starts once more.

We are writers of our lives. Sometimes we write to slow, too fast, or scribble; other times, we run out of ink in the middle of a page – an important page many times – and we pause, refill, and continue writing the great novel of our lives, which is eternal.

 

Eternal Fibers of the Soul

I am an observer of life by nature. Even as a child, I spent hours in solitude observing and thinking (according to my mom). While going to my physical therapy sessions, I have been able to meet and observe many of the people working very hard to heal their body. This experience inspired this poem.

 

 

Eternal Fibers of the Soul

 

Broken promises, broken dreams

Broken bones, broken links.

Stretched fibers of the soul,

Ligaments of faith, wisdom, and hope.

 

Pieces coming together,

Bits of healing, bits of pain,

Bursts of living, crying, hustling

Not in vain.

 

Crooked steps,

Blind hope turns to faith,

Reviewed, renewed, redone,

Outstretched but not undone.

 

Eternal soul

Fibers of humanity

Flesh and bones

All in one, one in all.

Ouch and Developing Hind’s Feet

Life is full of serendipity and synchronicity, and although time (timing) plays a role, it truly does not matter how long it has been, how many years have gone by, because when life, God, the Universe … fill the blank — wants to convey a message to you, everything comes to a halt so you may listen and pay attention. It has been my experience.

As a quick update, and following my earlier post, I broke my right arm near the shoulder, so it has been painful and I am undergoing physical therapy. I have not been able to tend to my writing as it was painful to write, but I am feeling better now. During this time, I have done a lot of reading. Right now I am reading a book that I read about 20 + years ago – Hind’s Feet on High Places by Hannah Hurnard – an allegory dramatizing the journey each of us must take before we can live in “high places.”

The book was given to me by a priest. I read the book when I was younger (much younger) and I loved it. It inspired me then, but little did I know the difference that the span of 20+ years makes when you read it again. I had forgotten about the book. I had lent it to a friend, years had gone by, and out of sight out of mind. Recently, I got a package in the mail from my dear friend, and in it I found the book with a lovely note that expressed how she was organizing her home and found the book and was returning it to me “since books are like children and should not be separated from their parents for too long” (her own words).  When I saw it, I became excited since I had forgotten about that book entirely. Then I thought, “there is a reason why I should be reading this book now, and I believe that there is a message in it for me.” Little did I know that the book contained the wisdom I needed at this moment, but moreover, the words were new to me; a different kind of understanding developed this time, as I read it. Is it the wisdom of years and experiences gone by or the need for those words at this moment? Maybe a combination of both, but I am grateful to my dear friend and I believe that she was inspired to send me the book that my soul needed now while many of my systems are being tested. How beautiful and amazing life is despite the many tests and situations it presents us with, when we least expect them. It all ties in and we are all connected in this beautiful reality and beyond.

We live in a material and dimensional reality which many times we measure by L (long) x W (wide) x H (high) but when we halt, listen, and yearn for more we can start living by another reality L (life) x W (wonder) x H (heights/new heights) and experiencing existence at another level, more meaningful, more magical, more divine. Here I leave you with another inspirational picture – a flower from my garden that may seem simple at first glance but which contains a whole universe when we look at it closely.

Photo by M.A.D.

Photo by M.A.D.