Life is an Adventure

Some days it seems that nothing happens, like a Seinfeld show. “It’s a show about nothing.” We give meaning to our days by what we think, how we react. It seems no matter how mundane my day is, I always try to find some meaning or at least some humor in it.

“One way to get the most out of life is to look at it as an adventure.”  William Feather

When I am out and about, I come home and tell Bruce what I encountered and he listens with  attention and says “That’s amazing!” Of course, it is nice to have someone to listen to my yarns, a good listener such as Bruce Barone. “Susan, how was your day?”

Let me tell you.

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On Saturday after a yoga class at Transform at Amy Bourque, I brought Prashna and Prashik, my Nepali friends, to a musical concert at the West Springfield Public Library.

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Aine Minogue played the harp and told tales for over an hour. She has an Irish lilt and the gift of gab that the Irish are so famous for. She told a folk legend about the selkies on which the movie, “The Secret of Roan Innish” is based. When I told Bruce about it, he knew of the man, John Sayles, from Hoboken, NJ who directed it. We’ll see if we can watch it On Demand. In the meantime, I ordered the book on which the movie is based, “The Secret of the Ron Mor Skerry” from Abe Books. When I finish it, I will pass it onto Prashna, in the hopes that she will read it. It is actually considered a children’s tale. Despite my prodding and bribing, Prashik who is now in 6th grade and is struggling with reading and writing, has no interest in books nor reading. He took out a video game when we were at the library and told me it was “a movie”, a flat out lie.

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I asked if they wanted to get something to eat. I suggested Charlie’s Diner, as they had never been there. Going out to eat is an adventure for them as it is not something that Nepalis do. Prashik ordered soda, scrambled eggs, bacon and home fries. Prashna had a hot chocolate, chicken tenders, and fries and a side of ketchup. Their table manners are somewhat lacking, but we got through, with a little direction. They know nothing about nutrition and healthy eating, but every occasion cannot be a lesson.

Okay, that was more of an adventure for them than for me, but it gave me joy to do something for them. And, I had my favorite western sandwich on toasted rye.

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Going to Costco can be an adventure. Bruce always tells me “Be careful.” Once when we went together, I confronted a woman who did not return her carriage, one of me pet peeves. She reacted by screaming at me and Bruce thought she might take out a gun and take me out. Last week, when I was at the Costco Liquor store, a man had planted himself in front of the wine bins, on his mobile phone. I asked him if he were “shopping or talking?” He said “Both” and I kindly pointed out to him he was not doing either well. I am on a spiritual journey and I think everyone would be better off if they, too, practiced “one pointed attention”, as Eknath Eswaran describes in his landmark book, “Meditation”.

Not all my shopping experiences allow me to share my spiritual wisdom. Here I am with Bruce at Ocean State Job Lot having some fun.

Susan at ocean state

 

Bruce sees beauty everywhere; the seed packet display. It is nice to be out and about with a photographer who “stops to smell the roses”, so to speak.

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“Fill your life with adventures not things.  Have stories to tell, not things to show.”

Having a dog lets me experience life in a whole different dimension. Is that true for you, too?

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Our mini labradoodle, Freddy, is full of energy. I ride on his roller coaster of excitement, wanting affection, eating, sleeping, barking, playing. He has a lot of personality and is demanding of our attention. Rather than look at him as annoying, I choose to see him as a gift from God, someone to remind me to slow down, pay attention, take care of the basics, be nurturing, show love, affection and devotion.

Bruce and I are alike in that we enjoy the social connection with folks  when we are about and about, doing errands, volunteering, shopping, taking care of business. It is an opportunity to be kind and helpful to others, share a moment, build good karma.

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“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.” Helen Keller

I wasn’t always so joyful, uplifted, and positive. I have been racked with depression, had many dark nights of the soul and lonely days, felt that it wasn’t worth it to get out of bed. It seems so long ago, going through each day with a dark cloud over me. After many years of moving through to the light, I see that life is not a struggle for me any longer. It is an adventure.

How did I achieve this transformation? I took to heart the words, “Be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind.”  and “You need to come up higher in consciousness to solve your problems.” It took years of therapy, mind-expanding work, prayer, travel, faith in God, enlightened friendships, spiritual reading, yoga, passage meditation, repeating the mantra, letting go of painful experiences, and the Grace of God to turn to the light, to see the light in myself, in others, in the world.

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My wounds, hurts, fears, doubts, etc. were incurable to the extent that I held on to them; they don’t go away on their own.  In fact, they continued to accumulate and motivate all my thoughts, choices, and actions until I treated them.

I learned to ‘treat’ through the Mind of Christ,  each pain, each hurt, each insecurity by coming up higher in consciousness.  A “mind change” is essential if there is ever to be any “life change” at all. This is not a one time deal; our minds need to be tended to with constancy.

“I beseech you brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.  And be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye many prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” (Romans 12:1-2)

What is life but one grand adventure?

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A song, “Say Yes” by Bob Franke may inspire you.

 

Tribute to Theresa

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The mother of my friend died on July 4, 2016. Cheryl asked me to give the eulogy at the funeral mass at St. Ann’s Church in South Hadley, MA.

Today, with heavy hearts, we come together in this solemn space, to celebrate the life of Theresa and to mourn her loss in our lives.

We learn from the events of her life, our own lives, that life is unpredictable. And yet, we go on each day weaving our dreams, making plans, taking steps towards what we think will make us and others happy.

Theresa had big dreams and she put her whole self into making them a reality. Her sights went beyond the farm she grew up on, with her loving parents and sister. She did not feel bound by the earth.

She looked to City lights and a career in modelling. And, although she  achieved  some acclaim in modelling, it was not to be her lifetime career, nor would she experience celebrity and all the wealth and perks that go along with that. Yet, she was happy that she strove and attained a piece of the pie, however small.

She was accepted into a prestigious, private college and that was a proud moment for her and her family. During the 3 years that she attended, she loved the college atmosphere, drawing in all that knowledge, being exposed to new ideas, contemplating what was possible.

Completion of the degree would elude her. Yet, she used what knowledge and skills she learned at AIC and the Charm School and the modelling School as well as her own innate intelligence to craft a work life that was satisfying and successful and earned her own money.

This period would not last long as she had married and now had a baby daughter to care for. Theresa was keen to see that she and her husband did not share the same dreams and values to make for a happy marriage and family. After the divorce, the gold dust she gleamed from this short relationship was her daughter Cheryl.

It was as if the heavenly angels brought these two spirits–Theresa and Cheryl– together for mutual caring, encouragement, friendship, and love.

They did exciting things together. They went on short trips. Theresa bought Cheryl the latest fashions. They lunched on tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches. They had fun together!

Of course, underneath the fun times and adventures, was the stress and struggle of being a single Mom and raising a daughter. Theresa did it with such grace and poise, others could hardly notice the sacrifices she was making for Cheryl.

Cheryl has become a lovely woman, inside and out. She graduated college and has enjoyed a successful career and financial prosperity. She is in a long-term loving relationship with a kind, gentle, caring man who loves her deeply and is devoted to her.

So what eluded Theresa, Cheryl has achieved. We see the values Theresa instilled in and the behavior she modeled for Cheryl, in Cheryl.

Jackie Kennedy, one of Theresa’s heroine’s once said: “If you bungle raising your children, I don’t think whatever else you do matters very much.”

This is Theresa’s legacy: her role as a single devoted mother who, on her terms, raised a beautiful daughter. A mother’s love.

We can assume from everything we know that this was God’s divine plan for Theresa. We can give Thanks to God for it.

And now, it is time to turn to God and Thank God for His promises to Theresa, to Cheryl, to Al, and to all of us for eternal life; life without beginning or end.

Jesus said “in my Father’s mansion, there are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you; For I am going, to make ready, a place for you.”

Jesus also told us “I am with you always, til the end of time.” So let’s go on, with some joy in our hearts, knowing that God has fulfilled his divine promise to Theresa. And, for us to take comfort in the Holy Spirit who God has given us. And, give heartfelt thanks for the life lived by Theresa.

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Pennies from Heaven

Do you have a prosperity consciousness?

I do.

Prosperity means enjoying peace of mind, health, happiness, financial success, and perfect self-expression.

Consciousness means the state of being awake and aware of one’s surroundings; the awareness or perception of something by a person; the fact of awareness by the mind of itself and the world.

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The other day I was in a parking lot when I saw a penny. I picked it up and said “Thank you God. Now, one million times this comes to me, for my personal use, under grace.” Then, I saw another penny. I said the same affirmation. Then, I saw a third penny and said the affirmation again.

I’m serious.

The reason I do this is because I want to show The Universe that I accept all gifts from God, small and large. It has been said that “Thank You, God.” is one of the best prayers you can pray. I believe it and practice it.

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.  Melody Beattie

My father taught me to have a prosperity consciousness way before I started reading and learning from the great spiritual teachers such as Catherine Ponder, Eric Butterworth, Emmet Fox, Depra Chopra, Charles and Myrtle Fillmore, Florence Scovel Shinn, May Rowland, and others.

Joe used to say to my mother all the time: “Give Susie whatever she wants.” I grew up believing I could have everything I wanted. And, you know what? I do. I always have. I cringe when I hear parents tell their children that they can’t have everything they want.

Peace be within thy Walls and Prosperity within thy Palaces.  122nd Psalm

One year, my tax accountant shook his head and said “I don’t know how you do it.” I hardly had any income, I was in grad school full-time, yet I managed my home, wore nice clothes, took care of myself in a nice fashion, vacationed in Aruba. The thing is God, our heavenly Father, provides for me and for you.

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“The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want.” 23rd Psalm

I also practice The Power of Ten. This means when I have a financial transaction, whether I am buying something, paying a bill, or receiving any money, I affirm: “Thank you God for this bounty. Ten times this amount now comes to me freely, quickly, and for my personal use, under grace.”

The Power of Ten also includes Tithing one tenth of one’s income to the spiritual organization or person from whom you get your spiritual inspiration, on a regular basis. If you give sporadically, you will receive sporadically.

Jesus said “I have come so that you will have life and have it abundantly.”

I have never felt needy or in need. I have wanted, desired certain material things and I have worked and saved for them.  I came into this world with certain God-given skills and talents and you did, too. Remember the biblical story of the man who gave money to his three servants. Two of them spent or invested the money and the third buried his money. The master gave more money to the two who used the money and he took away the money squandered by the third man.

The meaning I take from this story is that we all have been given gifts and it is up to us to make use of what we have been given, to the best of our ability and we will be rewarded, “with the kingdom of heaven” as God promised.

“Your diamonds are not in far distant mountains or in yonder seas; they are in your own backyard, if you but dig for them.” Russell H. Conwell

I have desired intangible things, too, and I have prayed and worked towards those desires and goals. Health, happiness, loving relationships. I suffered with depression for a long time. I  am now relieved of that heavy, dark burden. I have always enjoyed good health. However, I practice healthy habits and strive for a positive outlook. It took me a long time and many prayers for Bruce to come into my life. Spirit is never too late. “Thank You, God!”

I even prayed for a dog to come into my life after Casey passed in 1999. Freddy, the best dog in the world, came to us in 2013. We tell Freddy we love him all the time and add “And more importantly, God loves you.”

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I keep on praying until what I want comes into my life and I try not to worry about time. I have faith that the best will come, in the right way and the right time. The longer your good is in coming, the greater it will be when it arrives.

“And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear. Isaiah 65:24  This means that every good and perfect gift is already awaiting your recognition.

I want to know about you–Do you have a prosperity consciousness? Do you thank God for EVERYTHING? What is your prayer life like?

Please share your thoughts in the comments section.