Archive for the ‘Candide’ Category

We make plans. We set goals. And then LIFE happens. Somehow those plans and goals don’t always work out.  Broken hearts, betrayals, divorce, job loss, death of loved ones, cancer, even prison. So many things can go wrong and frequently do.

This is a link to a beautifully written blog about plans and dashed plans that touched me deeply. It is about accepting the reality of the journey and realizing that the journey is EVERYTHING. When people do accept it, their lives open up in ways they never imagined.

If you are going through one of Life’s “gifts” wrapped up in tears, trials, and heartbreak, you may find comfort in this blog, The Soul’s Plan.”


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I have fallen in love with a children’s book that has taught me more about adversity than anything I have ever read.  Have you ever had something really awful happen to you? Of course you have. Everyone has story. When it was over and you survived, did you look back and realize it was actually a gift? The Little Soul and the Sun is a beautiful book by Neal Donald Walsch that explains how that works.

Picture heaven. It’s just what we imagined, lush colors, fluffy clouds, brilliant, beautiful Light, and lovely little souls who delight in the joy that surrounds them. They know who they really are. They are the Light. But then one of the little souls (There’s always one, isn’t there?) decides it wants to feel Who It Really Is. That’s serious, so the Little Soul goes to God to find out what it feels like to be the Light. Problem is, to know yourself as the Light, you have to know Darkness. Think about it. To know Warm, you have to know Cold. To know Up, you have to know Down. There’s no Left without Right; no Here without There. We’ve got to have those contrasts and those conflicts.

The Little Soul has an inspirational conversation with God. (I imagine every conversation with God is inspiring, don’t you?) God says that the Little Soul can experience just what it feels like to be the Light by choosing a special part of special. “It’s special to be kind. It’s special to be gentle. It’s special to be creative.” The Little Soul wants to experience the specialness of forgiving. It wants to learn about forgiveness. That’s not so easy in heaven. After all, everyone there is perfect. What’s a soul to do?

Suddenly a Friendly Soul comes out of the crowd of Souls and offers to help. “I will give you someone to forgive.” This light, beautiful little soul offers to go into Life together and do something heavy and bad so the first Soul will learn to forgive.

“I will do something really terrible, and then you can experience yourself as the One Who Forgives.”

Then the Friendly Soul asks a favor. “In the moment that I strike you and smite you, …in the moment that I do the worst to you that you could possibly imagine…in that very moment…Remember Who I Really Am.”

“…because, you see, I will have been pretending so hard, I will have forgotten myself. And if you do not remember me As I Really Am, I may not be able to remember for a very long time. And if I forget Who I Am, you may even forget Who You Are and we will both be lost. …”

Think about life’s challenges. My friend G.J. has a son with Downs Syndrome. That challenge lead to the formation of an amazing nonprofit that educates parents about the unconditional love that comes from these children. My friend L.H. works to help at risk women and children because she walked a rebellious path in her youth. They both impact many lives because of those early challenges.

What about your challenges? Has anyone hurt you? Shouldn’t be too hard to make a pretty long list. But did the hurt create an opportunity to grow? Did your divorce allow you to stand on your own two feet? Did the death of a loved one increase your compassion for others who grieve? Did cancer teach you about LIFE? Did a terrible injustice show you what to cherish?

This beautiful story lead me think of all the Little Souls who have helped me grow and learn Who I Really Am. When you’re in the middle of a hurricane, you don’t thank the wind. In the midst of prison, nobody says, “Oh, great, I’m learning so much. This is fantastic.” Nope, it doesn’t work that way. (Unless you’re Gandhi or Mother Teresa.)

I served seven years in prison. I didn’t love it. I didn’t think, “What a fantastic experience.” But prison was a journey I was meant to take, exactly when I took it. It gave me my passion and my purpose, which I know are key to a happy life no matter where you are.

Wherever you are, find your passion and turn it into your purpose. Your life will have a great depth of meaning. You will be like the Little Soul and find out Who You Really Are. Inside or out, you can create meaning in your life. You will become your own best friend and the friend of many as you learn to serve others. God has sent us nothing but angels. Some of those angels are the Little Souls who have promised to help you find out Who You Really Are.

Neale Donald Walsch’s beautiful little book helped me realize that no matter where we are, we are surrounded by Little Souls to help us become our best selves. DO NOT forget who they really are. Love them for the love they are showing to you. Thank them for that love.

By the way, The Little Soul and the Sun was published in 1998 and is still available on Amazon. It is a book to treasure and to give away. If you are inside, see if you can get it in your library. Ask someone to send it to you. Share it. Because of this book,  I look at people and events differently. I hope you will too.

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I have not written in my blog since April 6. It is constantly on my mind, but I’m unable to just zip off a blog with the speed of a bullet train. It takes time and thought, and time is not stacked up at my doorstep like cordwood right now. (Who needs sleep anyway?)  

Today I am being thoughtful but very quick. Instead of a lengthy blog, I am giving you a link to a brilliant and provocative TED Talk by KathrynSchulz. http://http://www.ted.com/talks/kathryn_schulz_on_being_wrong.html

In talking about being wrong , she causes us to think about it in an entirely different way.

I hope you take the time to watch this and share your thoughts. It is worth a conversation.

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Do you ever feel like you are in the dark without a light in the tunnel? Then suddenly a blinding light appears and it turns out to be an oncoming freight train? That’s what social media feels like to me, an oncoming freight train. See how old I am. I should be saying something like an oncoming rocket launcher. Freight trains are outdated.

Social media is NOW. It is instant. It is our connection with the world. I’m on Facebook and Linked in, even Twitter but I never remember to do it. I have a hard enough time remembering to blog. I love to write and I would be blogging every day except that email and Facebook and all the other instant demands are tugging at me minute to minute. My friend Sara Dobie has a fantastic blog full of music and pictures. (www.saradobie.wordpress.com)  Another friend, Leigh at www.liveyourbliss.wordpress.com , puts videos in hers…of gorgeous Brazil, no less. I’m good to just get the words down.

I have just spent an entire day at this computer and I’m not sure I’ve accomplished anything. It is a very deep compelling and dark hole. Am I the only one who feels this way?

Remember where you were in 2002? Then think about where you are now, I mean with social media. In 2002, there was no Facebook. Twitter was something the birds did and a link was for a bracelet or a handcuff. Recently someone sent me a request for something called Tubely. Oh dear lord. I politely send a message back that I had all I could handle with FB and LI. Seriously do we need anything else?

In prison there are so few choices. A professor friend of mine told me that a free person makes about 6,000 decisions a day. 6,000! What time to get up, what to eat, what to wear, where to go, when to go, what to do. The list is endless. He said the average inmate makes about 600 decisions a day. I believe it. I will never forget the restrictions. That is why it is so very difficult to readjust to society upon release. The light at the end of the tunnel (release) becomes the light of a blinding oncoming rocket launcher. It can be terrifying.

I’d love to hear that I am not the only one having challenges with all this social media. It would make me feel slightly better about my very slow trek up the social media mountain. And I could share it with newly released inmates who really feel intimidated. I’ve said before, it’s like being in a cave and suddenly being shoved into the light. It’s blinding.

Normally, I have something uplifting to say in my blog. Today I feel like I’m venting. I really love the miracle of Facebook. I’m connecting with people from high school I haven’t seen since 1963!! That is amazing and fun and, yes, a miracle. But I’m still venting because I feel like I’m so far behind. Would somebody please tell me a story to weave away the intimidation of it all? I’d be so grateful.

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My dear friend Tom Brown is one of the most prolific and imaginative writers I know. I just had to share this. 

“In a perfect world: 

…we would actually be as smart in our senior years as we thought we were at 18. 

…pro-baseball players would complain about teachers being paid contracts worth millions of dollars. 

…the mail would always be early, the check would always be in the mail, and it would be written for more than we expected. 

…potato chips might have calories, but if you ate them with dip, the calories would be neutralized.”

Sigh.  That is indeed PERFECT. Thanks, Tom.

Anyone out there have anything to add to the perfect world?

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