meaningofstrife

Seeing the best in life's challenges

Duality vs. Unity Consciousness

Duality is introduced in the Bible in Genesis.  God creates the Heavens and the Earth, the darkness and the light, the day and the night.  And it is good.

He creates the land, the sea, the sky; the above and the below.  And it is good.

God creates all kinds of diversity; the Sun, Moon and Stars.  The animals and fish of the sea.  The birds in the air.  All good.

Then God creates people, humans, male and female (the ultimate opposites!).

The words in the title might be unfamiliar and might seem a little weird.  But the concepts are not new.  To me (and many others, apparently) they represent two ways of thinking and interpreting the world.

Duality is just a word used to talk about opposites.  Consciousness that is defined by Duality is just a way of thinking that focuses primarily on these opposites.  Within this mindset, judgment is inherent.  Everything is good or bad, right or wrong, constructive or destructive, yours or mine.

How do you see it?  Which “side” do you choose?  Can you see both sides? Most of us have had enough life experience to realize that not everything is black or white.  There’s more grey than anything.  The older we get, the less we know for sure.

Notice that in the first chapter of Genesis, many opposite and different things are created, but they are ALL good.

Which brings us to Unity Consciousness, nicely alluded to in Ecclesiastes 3:

  • There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:
  • A time to be born and a time to die,
  • A time to plant and a time to uproot,
  • A time to kill and a time to heal,
  • A time to tear down and a time to build,
  • A time to weep and a time to laugh,
  • A time to mourn and a time to dance,
  • A time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
  • A time to embrace and a time to refrain,
  • A time to search and a time to give up,
  • A time to keep and a time to throw away,
  • A time to tear and a time to mend,
  • A time to be silent and a time to speak,
  • A time to love and a time to hate,
  • A time for war and a time for peace.

In other words, all these opposites and differences have their place and their time.  There is purpose to all of it.  How can you know something, if you have not faced its opposite?

We are moving into a time of Unity Consciousness, connectedness.  It is a more mature way of thinking.  There is no need to judge, only the opportunity to discern when the time is appropriate.  There is nothing to be afraid of, because everything has its place.  EveryONE has his/her place, even the evil ones.  There is no reason to fight or eliminate evil; rather, opposites create opportunities to learn and gain understanding and wisdom.

How do you see the world?  The choice is not either/or, one or the other (that’s SO 3D, Duality Consciousness!)  Rather, it is a transition:  where are you in the journey toward Unity?

Welcome to the Fifth Dimension!!!

Related topics:

David Lynch on Consciousness, Creativity and the Brain

The movie I AM talks about how we are all connected

(and did you know Tom Shadyac has written a book?)

I always love what Ernie Fitzpatrick has to say about God

The first article in a series of 12 about Living in the Fifth Dimension

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Marriage: It’s Not a Competition

Next week is our 25th wedding anniversary.  That has me thinking, of course, so here it goes.

As we all know, there is a lot of talk about marriage lately.  What it is and what it isn’t.  People are VERY attached to their views about what marriage should and should not be.  Traditional marriage – what is that, anyway?  Set aside the gender issues for a moment….

The “traditional” model seems to go something like this:  Once you decide to get married and make that promise, as long as the couple stays together, the marriage is a success.  If they split up, it is a failure.

Huh?

When you put it that bluntly, it doesn’t sound quite right, but yet that’s the essence of our marriage paradigm.

We read about marriages in magazines, we have friends with all kinds of marriages, we know people who have split up, we know people who are struggling to hold things together, we know people who don’t want anything to do with marriage.

We all probably know couples that have been married a long time who don’t really get along all that well.  We might even say they have dysfunctional relationships.  They’ve struck a balance, but it’s not all that healthy of a balance.  But the superficial appearance to the outside world is of success.

When couples have been married a long time, others look up to them.  I think this is because we all long for security and love that stands the test of time.  We project these hopes and dreams on others, and we don’t want to hear about break-ups.  We hear about them and we are disappointed and shocked.  This is illustrated by society’s obvious interest in celebrity marriages.  Just read a few magazine articles and note the “fantasy” quality with which they are described.

Being married a long time, it is easy to be tempted to feel superior.  We are the elite, after all.  Uhh…not!  I am not an inherently better person because of the number of years I have been married.  But I see this attitude all the time.

I think we need to redefine success in marriage.  I have a friend who has been saying this lately:  Years ago, people got married and they only expected to live another 15 years – not 50.  People change over time, and how can we expect a relationship that worked at age 20 to still work at age 70?  Why can’t a “successful” marriage consist of 5 or 10 good years?

So what do we see happening when relationships are not working?  If we label this situation a FAILURE, then the next thing we want to do is figure out who or what we can BLAME for the FAILURE.   Who is WRONG?  Why did it go BAD?

Can you see how this cycle is so destructive?

Because not only do we want to decide who is at fault for the FAILURE of the relationship, we then start to look for evidence to justify why one party is RIGHT and the other party is WRONG.  This paradigm is set up to perpetuate conflict and competition, rather than cooperation and understanding.  Friends and family then feel pressure to take sides.

Marriage is not a sport.  It’s not a competition.  There should be no need to take sides.  We don’t need to keep score.  The sooner we get over this paradigm, the better.

Rather than longevity, I think we need to focus on the quality of the relationship.  If we reframe the idea of success to focus on quality, not quantity, we will focus on what matters, not on superficial appearances.

Every couple is different.  What works for us won’t necessarily work for you.  What worked for us 25 years ago probably won’t, and probably shouldn’t, work for us now.  As individuals grow, couples need to grow and adapt.  Add kids and the challenges of work and extended family and the rest of life, and you have a complex set of issues that must be balanced as well.

We like simplicity.  If we can just follow a couple of rules, that’s easy.  But life and relationships are way more complicated than a few simple rules.  We need to get comfortable with the complexity and realize that relationships involve effort and compromise.

And the reality is, sometimes relationships just aren’t working any more.  Obviously, if half of marriages end in divorce, we cannot deny this fact.

For whatever reason, I’m close to several really nice guys who have been divorced in the last few years.  In a few instances, they have shared stories with me that if repeated, would be situations that most people would readily judge as just terrible.  My point is that I could easily perpetuate the old paradigm and get into “who is right and who is wrong” and get you to decide that these guys were “right.”  And I’m sure the “other side” if given the chance, could make these guys out to be jerks, just as well.  See what a losing proposition it is to play that game?

But what matters, to me, is the way these guys view their situations.  They have very thoughtful, philosophical attitudes about what happened.  They say things like, “I still love her, she’s a great girl,” and “She’s just following her heart.”   These guys have learned forgiveness and understanding.  Despite breakups, they still want what’s best for their ex.  It’s actually very impressive.  They have become wiser.

Are these guys “failures”?  I think not.  Yet I know from talking to them, they can get down on themselves and feel hopeless and very lonely and defeated.

On the other side of the coin, I’ve spoken to women who are just fed up, who are done with the idea of marriage.  One of the guys I mentioned, after dating for the past couple of years, concludes that most women out there are just too hurt and damaged from previous relationships.  I am sure being labeled a “failure” hasn’t helped any women out there, either.

Obviously, there are women and men who have been in “good” and “bad” situations, but again, life is complicated, and if we look for it, there is enough blame to go around. What we need more of is compassion, understanding and acceptance, so people can heal their wounds.

Marriage is not a game to be won or lost.  It is very personal.  You can never know what another relationship is like, because you haven’t lived it.  So why feel the need to have expectations of another person’s relationship?

What matters is whether we are turning experience into wisdom.  That’s the only result that counts.

 

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Sorting Socks

Yes, this is a real story about sorting socks, and one of my favorite illustrations.  When my kids were little, we had a Dr. Seuss Preschool computer game.  When your kid plays, it keeps track of how they are doing – so you can monitor their progress and see how well they are learning.

Well, my kids were really little, not much more than 2 and 3 or so.  I can’t remember where or how or why we got this game, but I was amazed at how quickly they picked up how to use the mouse, etc.  This was the late 1990s, back in the old days!

 

 

One of the games involved socks hanging on a clothesline.  The socks were white and red, and the object of the game was to put the red socks in the basket labeled for red socks, and the white socks in the one labeled for white socks.  You had to click on the hanging sock, and drag it to the basket.  Obviously, this was a really simple game, and probably had more to do with teaching “using the mouse” skills than anything.

What was fascinating was watching how my two kids played the game.  My daughter, who is younger, always played perfectly.  She understood the game, the rules, the object of the game, how to use the mouse, etc.  So, when I checked her “scores” they were always perfect.  Perfect.

My son, who is just as “smart” as his sister, and was a year older at the time, played the game differently.  No question he understood the game, the rules, the object of the game, how to use the mouse, etc.

Even at this young age, my son was not constrained by the rules.  He soon figured out that if you tried to drag the sock to the wrong basket, it would quickly hop back up to the clothesline.  This was much more fun and exciting than dragging the socks to the “correct” basket, so he would just mess around and play with the game.  If I checked his score, it was not “perfect.”  If I had relied on his score to tell me what he understood, it would not have told me the real story.

In reality, his approach to the game allowed him to learn more – what happens “if”?

You will not be surprised to hear that, years later, he is the kid who has gotten in trouble for “coloring outside the lines.”  He does not do well with authority figures, especially the ones who don’t have good reasons for their rules.  He asks way too many “why” questions.  He is not easy — in fact, he’s exhausting at times.  But he is going to be the most amazing, creative, innovative adult I can imagine.

Also, you will not be surprised to hear that, years later, my daughter is very successful in school.  She knows how to play the game.  A soccer coach once called her the most coachable kid she ever had.  This kid takes advice.  She has gotten the label “model student” several times.  She gets along.

Turns out, she also has a mischievous side, a killer sense of humor, and a quiet strength to go along with her “get along” traits.  Life is going to be easy for her, but I do wonder if sometimes she may be underestimated.  We shall see, but I have no doubt this is going to be another amazing adult.

When I think about this simple example of how differently my own two kids handled a simple task at such a young age, I laugh at how truly indicative this was of their personalities and approaches to life.  They were born with this.  I did not teach them differently.  I’ve learned that I can’t interact with them the same way at all.  It’s a constant balancing act, attempting to be “fair” and to give each what they need.

I cannot label one “good” and the other “bad” – they are just two different people.  Our educational system wants to label one “right” and the other “wrong.”  But in life, in the real world, we need individuals, unique approaches, as much diversity as we can get.  We don’t really want everyone to be the same, do we?

 

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Impeccability of the Warrior

 The following article is taken directly from the website:  www.warriorskeep.com    It is a website about Toltec teachings, about which it says:

“This approach to life is non-dogmatic, helps people to find their own answers, and seeks to unite by revealing the richnesses that lie within our diversity.”

 

To seek out the disciplined and skilled ways of the hunter is the only true honour we may rightfully claim, and to seek the impeccability of the hunter’s spirit is the only possible justification for our existence.

The impeccability of a warrior does not allow him to become obsessed with the possible outcome of his actions. Winning or losing is not in any way his concern – he is merely absorbed in the challenge of the moment. To become obsessed is to lose control, something a warrior cannot afford to do, for a warrior must be calm and always keep his wits about him.

“Time is the essence of impeccability. It is only the sense of mortality which engenders in man the desire to act impeccably.”

In observing warriors one can easily be led to believe that they are extremely self-confident people. However, it should be realised that there is an enormous difference between what man generally terms self-confidence and the deeper implications of the term. This term is important in that it clarifies the difference between two distinct concepts, namely impeccability and perfection. It is not easy to define impeccability without getting caught up in the concept of perfection, and yet there is a fine distinction between the two. This distinction lies in the difference between arrogance and humility, two further concepts which can only be understood through the term self-confidence. If we are to come to grips with the Warrior’s Path these terms must be carefully defined.

“Self-confidence, as it is generally understood, implies arrogant presumption; humility implies being impeccable in one’s actions and feelings.”

Since the warrior does not regard himself as being more important or less important than his fellow man, it does not matter to him if he loses face in the eyes of his fellow men. In other words, the warrior does not strive to be self-important and therefore does not care about public approval. This freedom from having to seek approval is true humility.

Since he no longer has to fear the impact his actions may have upon his sense of self-importance, the warrior’s only consideration is to act upon his own knowledge to the very best of his ability. Accordingly, a warrior understands self-confidence to mean confidence in one’s own ability to act like an impeccable warrior. It is obvious how different these two approaches are, and yet people often make the mistake of confusing the act of seeking approval with self-confidence. In seeking approval from his fellow men, man very rarely acts freely upon his own knowledge. To avoid acting according to one’s own knowledge merely to win the favour of someone else, is to be unimpeccable.

Impeccability is to act to the very best of your ability upon whatever knowledge happens to be available to you at any given moment. Time is the essence of impeccability; it is only the sense of mortality which engenders in man the desire to act impeccably.

When man is called upon to consider the concept of impeccability he usually cannot distinguish between perfection and impeccability. However, perfection is not at all the same as impeccability. To strive for perfection has the hidden motive of wanting to be the best. There is nothing wrong with this provided that one does not want to be the best merely to gain recognition or approval from one’s fellow men.

From the moment we are born death begins to stalk us. In the presence of death any act, regardless of size or significance, can be one’s last. Death can find one doing the shopping, driving one’s car, eating a meal, spending time with a loved one, or simply watching a beautiful sunset. If any act is going to be one’s last on earth, then it makes sense that it should be the finest of all one’s actions, and that one should savour every detail of those last few moments.

To live one’s life in the knowledge that every moment, that every act, matters, is to fill one’s life with uncountable riches and to imbue all one’s actions with that quality termed impeccability. It does not matter to the impeccable warrior that his life or his actions may be less than perfect. In living his life to the full, and in performing each action to the best of his ability, the warrior has no regrets and suffers no remorse. A life lived in this way is rich in joy and wonder, because there are no missed opportunities and no lost moments of pleasure.

In his pursuit of perfection man never fully enjoys the present moment, or his present situation, and therefore rarely gives of his best. Instead man lives a life which is only vaguely happy, filled as it is with undesired experiences only partially perceived, and half-hearted actions which are less than impeccable.

Perfection is a stupid waste of time and personal power, whereas impeccability replenishes personal power.

Should a warrior feel the need to be comforted, he simply chooses anyone or anything, be it a friend, dog, or mountain, to whom he expresses his innermost feelings. It does not matter to the warrior if he is not answered, or if he is not heard, because the warrior is not seeking to be understood or helped – by verbalising his feelings he is merely releasing the pressure of his battle. Such is the predilection of a warrior, and such is the impeccability of his spirit.

The prime requirement for walking the Warrior’s Path is the state of impeccability, but to achieve this we must sacrifice our view of the world. The principal constituent of this view is the belief that we have unlimited time on this earth. In this, reason is ever leading us astray, because reason delights in making us believe that it understands everything, and has it all under control. Yet there is very little to understand other than the fact that we all have incredible abilities and awesome potentials which never surface unless a sword is dangling overhead.

Accordingly, the warrior chooses to live by challenge and acknowledges the fact that he cannot afford to behave like an immortal being. The warrior does not waste his time in complaining about his life, nor does he waste his personal power in blaming others. Living on the very edge of life the warrior is always ready to seize his fleeting moment of chance and to claim his power. The warrior is an impeccable being fighting for his freedom, and in his struggle he sees life for what it truly is.

It is the prime requisite of a warrior’s being that his control must be impeccable; therefore he never allows anything to affect him. A warrior may be staring death in the face, but his actions will reveal nothing.

All of us must one day die. If we are to die tomorrow, or next year, then why not today, right now? In man’s fear of death he will avoid it at all costs, even at the expense of an honourable life. Although the warrior too fears death, he nevertheless also knows it to be his constant companion, and his best advisor. Therefore, the warrior does not try to avoid death, but knows that as long as he treats it with the utmost respect it will guide him into living an impeccable life which is filled with richness, power and the excitement of challenge.

Having witnessed the very essence of life and death, there is nothing in this world which a warrior cannot contend with, although to judge from his behaviour one would never suspect this.

Toltecs claim that to live the impeccable life of a warrior is the only justification for man being endowed with the priceless gift of life.

Also inherent within the title of ‘Toltec’ is the poignant truth concerning the warrior’s battle against old age. In choosing the Path of Total Freedom, the warrior has also relinquished the will to delay the aging process, and for that matter, death. As a result, the warrior knows that he is fighting a losing battle, and yet the impeccability of his spirit is such that he does not despair, nor does he resent the fact that he will never defeat this, his final enemy. Instead the warrior gives this battle his all, and allows his spirit to flow free and clear to rejoice in the wonder of the definitive journey. As incomprehensible as this may be from the angle of average man’s normal awareness, the warrior who is fighting the battle against old age is in effect going to his death singing!

By acknowledging the fact that his time upon earth is limited and that he can die at any given moment, the warrior turns his ordinary time into magical time; and by living in the moment and by taking full responsibility for his actions, the warrior achieves that alertness which makes each one of his acts an expression of his discipline and his predilection. This is the true meaning of the impeccability of the warrior’s spirit.

An apprentice starts off with the certainty that only by disciplining himself into becoming an impeccable warrior can he live his life without regrets, but by the time he has achieved warriorship, he knows beyond all controversy that impeccability of the spirit is for him his innermost predilection.

By being wide awake, and by living on the edge at all times, the warrior is capable of meeting his challenges impeccably in the moment. Every challenge met with impeccability yields personal power, and in having more personal power the warrior is able to intensify his awareness. This intensification obviously allows the warrior to see ever deeper meanings in the occurrences within his daily life, and these deeper meanings in turn ultimately lead him into seeing the interrelationship of life.

All our challenges in life are there so that we may learn the true value of the priceless gift of life and, in doing so, also learn what it is to take charge of the huge responsibility inherent within knowledge. This is true no matter whether we are the so-called victors or victims. Therefore, if we wish to acquire the impeccability of the warrior’s spirit, we cannot afford to take our circumstances in life at face value, but must strive instead to find the gifts of power they bring us.

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Can you see me?

When you look at me, what do you see?

Do you mostly see what you want me to be?  What I should be?  Are you scanning for the traits you like?  Are you looking for your missing pieces?  Are you deciding whether you like the package?  Are you focusing on your own opinions?  Are you figuring out who I resemble, so you can put me in a category?  What were you expecting?  Do we have to agree?

Or are you curious?  Are you watching and waiting?  Are you listening?  Are you learning?  Does the joy of discovery make you laugh?   Did I surprise you?  Have you set your own needs and expectations aside, so you can truly focus on understanding who I am?  Do you see me as equal yet different?

We all have reasons for getting to know others better.  We all want friendship, companionship, intimacy, love.  These are legitimate needs, important parts of life.  We are born into a world of people, a world of relationships.  Connections to be celebrated!  What else is there?

But it’s hard to keep our eyes open when our needs get in the way.  Our egos can inflate the importance of those needs, and make us blind.  Then we only see what we want to see.  We ignore or want to change anything that doesn’t fit.  Eventually, the inconsistencies between what we were trying to see, and what really is, will become apparent.  Then we’re back where we started.

How do I want others to see me?  Do I primarily want to be acceptable, a person who can be counted on to do what they should do, to do the “right” thing?  (And what’s my definition of the “right thing?”)  Do I want to please others?  Avoid negative conclusions about me?

No matter how hard I try, I cannot live up to everyone else’s expectations or definition of “the perfect person.”  Because there are too many of those definitions, all different.

What makes matters even worse, is if I continue to grow as a person that means I am going to change and evolve.  Which means I am a moving target.  People with expectations don’t like moving targets, flip floppers.

 

“I went to a garden party to reminisce with my old friends

A chance to share old memories and play our songs again

When I got to the garden party, they all knew my name,

No one recognized me, I didn’t look the same

But it’s all right now, I learned my lesson well.

You see you can’t please everyone, so ya got to please yourself.” 

Rick Nelson, Garden Party

 

I don’t want to be “like” anyone else.  I just want to be me.  I don’t expect everyone to like me.  And I certainly don’t expect anyone else to be the same as me.

The problem is, that can be a really lonely place.  Almost everyone in the world has opinions about who they want me to be.  There are so many “shoulds.”  Very few people take the time to listen and understand.

Do I have to just learn to live with that loneliness?

Or can I hope that others will look at me as perfectly imperfect, exactly the way I am?

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Types of Soul Connections

Note on 1/7/14:  Hi!! and Wow!!  Somehow this post (which is from another website, see below) is getting lots of attention!! I hope you enjoy it.  When I first saw it, it helped me make A LOT of sense out of my life and the people in it.  I can look at the categories and put the people I know in them.   So, enjoy, and have fun looking around my blog, if you are so inclined!

Another note on 4/12/15:  I continue to read and learn more….and if this stuff interests you, please read Michael Newton’s books, especially Journey of Souls.  It is really amazing.  He describes what our souls do between lives and how we plan our incarnations…and a whole lot more!  This is based on what his clients, under hypnosis, have told him over many years.

If we really are primarily souls, here temporarily in a physical body, what does that mean?  How does that work?  I’ve written about the idea of reincarnation, and also about the idea that we “plan” our time here, with the purpose of growing and learning lessons.  A lot of this seems especially relevant considering the stories I keep hearing from friends, stories that seem to have a lot in common.

So you might find this interesting.  It fits very well with a lot of the things I have read.   To me, the idea that we are here to learn lessons takes away the worry and guilt associated with a lot of what happens, especially the challenges.  If we look at them as valuable learning experiences (that our soul actually wants to have), rather than something that was done “wrong”, what a relief!  The other souls that share our journey are here to help us to grow.

(I’m adding this in April 2013:  a description of the process where souls were created is in the post A Process with a Purpose found here.  You might find that interesting as well 🙂  )

The following is from this website:  http://2012themayanprophecies.blogspot.com/2010/09/hierarchy-of-soul-mates-and-twin-souls.html

Monday, September 27, 2010

Hierarchy of Soul Mates and Twin Souls

There are basic categories of soul-connections that can be identified. We recognize them because of the role the souls play in each others lives and the energy underlying the connection.

Even as I write this, I do so for the purpose of helping you understand that not all soul-relationships are supposed to last an earth life of forever nor are they meant to be a feel good experience in many cases. We experience soul-mates for the primary purpose of helping us remember who WE are and to further our spiritual awakening while in these human bodies. There are numerous soul-encounters that can happen in our lives; this is simply an attempt to clarify the major categories.

Kindred Spirit:

While not actually related at the soul-level, we feel warm, comfortable and quickly at ease with these people. We share a profound mutual understanding of people and situations based on our similar soul age, spiritual values, and most likely metaphysical abilities. We energetically vibrate at a similar level, yet do not have the familial ties as with a member of our soul-family.

Primary: Parent, child, relative, friend

Primary soul-mates stay the course with us for years, often a lifetime. We experience the ebb and flow of life together. While these relationships have ups and downs they are about teaching us how to forgive, to love in a sustainable way- not for what someone can give us but for exactly who they are; faults and all (parents and siblings for example). These souls teach us about acceptance in a universal way. Over time we realize that we have chosen each other for lessons that could have come no other way. It is essential that you forgive these souls for any trauma they caused you. It is critical for your own health, but in terms of hierarchy of soul mates, you will never draw to you a high level soul mate until you have completely forgiven all primary soul mates.

Junior Soul Mate: Teacher, friend, person in line at the store, pal you meet on vacation

These souls might fulfill their role in an instant, or can be with you for a period of time. They won’t stay with you long, but you will probably never forget them. These souls may say something to you that changes the course of your life. Their impact is powerful and there is no ability to ignore the prompt they bring you. If what they teach you “stings” at first, it will become one of those lessons you are most grateful for after you reach a certain level of spiritual awareness.

Karmic Partner:

Romantic partner, friend, fling

Ready set go with these. There is instant recognition. If it is a romantic relationship, the physical chemistry is intense. It is intense enough that the souls may choose to enjoy the physical expression while ignoring the little voice that says “there are issues here”. These relationships burn intensely and typically end on terms that are unpleasant. These relationships are designed to teach major lessons that can only be taught by someone we love. When these relationships end, it’s often one sided or out of anger rather than a slow fizzle. The person being “left” learns resiliency amongst other things and there could be many reasons why the leaver leaves; but they must learn how to end a relationship with mutual respect rather than an unexplained departure. If they don’t learn this (either party), they will continue these kinds of relationships in this lifetime & the next until they learn the valuable lessons that ONLY these connections can teach. The sting of these breakups whether romantic or from someone you felt certain would be your friend forever can be devastating. This category of soul-mate bond is designed to teach you more about yourself than anything in your life to date. If you learn what is intended, you are preparing at the soul level for a High Level Soul Mate.

Karmic Companion: Friend, romantic partner, parent/child

There is not a lot of drama in these relationships. You’ve worked through most of your karma with these souls in prior lives. These relationships feel like a break from the intensity of other kinds of soul relationships. That can be a welcome change! They are based on friendship rather than passion. Certainly you will have some ups and downs and disagreements, but the overall purpose is that of companionship. The lessons in these relationships progress over time rather than being shoved down your throat. Karmic Companions can share any length of physical time together. A romantic or friendship Karmic Companion can last a lifetime; however if you separate things generally fizzle out rather than end suddenly. You will sense it’s time to move on. There is a sense of maturity – “It is time we go our separate ways” and you will wish the best for your partner. It’s a very “mature feeling” soul-mate bond.

Senior or High-Level Soul Mate

Romantic partner

Like meeting a Karmic Soul-Mate there is usually instant recognition- through the energy field or through the eyes. The desire to be with and truly know the other person at the soul level is intense. Partners at this level feel such joy to have discovered each other. It is often said there is a feeling of “coming home”. There is deep and abiding friendship. The partners are willing to sacrifice something for themselves to benefit their mate. They discover that their mates completeness seems to mean as much as their own… yet they experience that without dismissing their own growth or happiness. There is a perfect and easy balance of “Me/You/Us”. When problems do arise- and they will because we’re human- the partners have the soul/mind tools to quickly rectify the situation and return to a place of harmony. These are ways in which you’ll recognize the difference between a Senior Soul-Mate and a Karmic Soul-Mate. Partners at this level have learned to balance the need to remain self with the skills necessary to be a soul-based team.

Twin Flame- Two Souls Created From the Same Energetic Unit- Your Souls Most Complementary Partner

There is not always instant recognition. Twin Flame recognition occurs at the energetic/soul level rather than at the physical, although physical attraction typically follows. There is a compulsion toward each other that exceeds anything either has experienced in the past. It defies logic or rational thought. The Twins have trouble making eye contact at the beginning. That is because they have knowledge of everything about the other simply by looking into the eyes. This is a major responsibility and it is sensed by both parties. While a Senior Soul Mate can be recognized through the eyes, a Twin Flame perceives everything about their Twin through the eyes. There are elements unique to a Twin Flame pair that do not exist in other soul-connections. While all soul-mate relationships serve to further the spiritual growth of the individuals, Twin Flames meet for a purpose beyond the individual.

They must join their energy/souls to bring light, love and healing to the planet and its inhabitants. When these two unite, there is an exponential explosion of energy that is greater than the sum of the individual parts. Being presented your Twin Flame is the ultimate spiritual responsibility and should not be belittled by romanticizing the nature of the work to be done by the Twins.

Have you experienced a “soul connection” that you are trying to figure out?  I actually think that a big part of the purpose of this experience, is to get us to dive in and figure it out.  Remember, no one but YOU can figure out what it means FOR YOU because no one else IS you!  So, while the idea of categories of types of soul connections is useful, it’s more complicated than that.  You have to go beyond the label and understand the connection at a level that’s impossible to describe in words.  I really like Steve Gunn’s article Soul Connection or Relationship?   He has really good stuff to say.  ALWAYS remember to trust your own instincts rather than relying on someone else to tell you what’s going on with you. 🙂  YOU figuring it out FOR YOU is what it’s all about.

Another perspective can be found here:  http://awakening.goypaz.com/understanding-the-difference-between-soul-mate-and-twin-flame/  Lots of videos and explanation from a person in this type of relationship.

More recent thoughts on Soul relationships:

The Ultimate Relationship:  Part I  and  Part II

ALSO, if you liked this post, you will probably enjoy this one:

THE SACRED DANCE :  MULTI-DIMENSIONAL RELATIONSHIPS IN THE 21ST CENTURY (a reblog of an article by Celia Fenn)

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Breastfeeding Wars

 

I have no hesitation in saying that I am extremely well qualified to weigh in on the “breastfeeding past infancy” controversy, thrust into the spotlight by the recent Time Magazine cover.

You see, I have three children.  I nursed #1 until he was 3, #2 until she was 2, and get ready for this: I nursed #3 until her fourth birthday.

Stop for one minute, and think about the assumptions you just made about me (or didn’t).  Do you find this shocking?  What assumptions did you make about my family dynamics?  How about my kids?

Why did I do it?  Well, it just worked out that way.  It felt natural.  My first two are 15 months apart, and my son had almost weaned himself just before my daughter was born.  Then came the experience of a new sibling, he saw her nursing, and still wanted to.  Was I going to push him away?  Of course not.  So there was much tandem nursing for a while.

Did I do it for me?  Well, no.  I wasn’t trying to prove anything to anybody, and I didn’t have an emotional need to fill.  It didn’t make me feel like a better mom.  It’s just what worked for my situation.  It was easier, to me, not to have to deal with bottles – I had total portability, which was a huge help when juggling two kids so close together in age.

Interestingly, we were not into attachment parenting.  Just wasn’t our thing.  When my two oldest were little, I had them on a schedule that had them eat dinner about 5:00 and in bed by 7:00. We could never stand to have kids sleep with us.  I just wouldn’t get a good night’s sleep.  Since I was home with them all day, I needed a break, and I also felt it was important that we had time together as a couple.

We did the crying it out thing (not pleasant).   When they were older and came into our room at night, we didn’t let them in bed.  We set up a spot on the floor (hoping that would deter them) and when that didn’t work, we got a couch for our bedroom and directed them there.

About #3:  she had me at my wit’s end when she was still consistently waking up at 3 a.m. at 18 months old.  At that point, the easiest way to get through it was to nurse her and get back to bed ASAP.  Nursing was also the only way she would let me comfort her in many instances.  It was just a personality thing.

Did we do it “right”?  Maybe right for us, but what works for me won’t necessarily work for you.

Enough years have gone by, that I guess most of my friends have no idea I did this.  Interestingly, people comment all the time that I have the most confident, independent kids they know. If I had to describe my primary parenting goal, it is to raise independent, confident, responsible kids who are prepared to thrive in the real world.  #3 especially, amazes every adult she comes in contact with.

Of course, at their current ages, if we had a discussion about this, they would be rolling their eyes and more.  I embarrass them a whole lot these days.  It’s just the phase we’re in.

It was always very interesting to see how people would react when they figured out I was nursing my kids so long.  It does make many people very uncomfortable.  Some would even make pronouncements about what kind of a person I was and what my motivations were, just based on my breastfeeding habits.

Well, I don’t fit into a neat box.  And guess what, most people don’t.

So my opinion is this:  if you don’t know a person well or at all, and don’t make an attempt to ask questions and understand his or her motives and life, PLEASE withhold your assumptions and judgments. Ask yourself why you feel the need to have strong opinions about something that you know little about and does not affect you directly.

An example of someone who is obviously very emotional and judgmental about this is Dr. Keith Ablow.  I am sure he has not spoken with Jamie Lynn Grumet, the mom, or her son, but he blasts her for all kinds of sins.  Really?

This “controversy” presents two different types of opportunities.  On the one hand, it puts an issue in the spotlight that can benefit from some discussion that leads to greater understanding.  On the other hand, it can just turn into drama, fed by accusations and judgments.  Collectively, we choose which of these opportunities to pursue.

As a busy mom, I just don’t have time for the drama.

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Jumping off the Cliff

Have you ever known something to be true and right, with all your heart and soul, but been afraid to act on that knowledge?

I’m talking about the kind of situation where you are at a crossroads.  A decision that will likely change your life forever.  Maybe in a dramatic way, maybe not.  Maybe right away, maybe the change will take some time.  But you have no doubt that it is the right move for you, it feels like truth.  And that after you jump off that cliff, there will be no going back.

I’m talking about when you care about something more than you care about the consequences.  Choosing truth, despite that fact that this truth might not be well-received by others.

One way to avoid putting yourself in this kind of difficult position, is to not let yourself care about anything that much.  If you remain detached, keep up that protective shield around you, you can stay safe and not get yourself in a sticky situation.  Do only what you are supposed to do (whatever THAT is!?!) and you won’t have to make waves.

I’m talking about something that you do despite the fact that you are afraid and sure at the same time.

I’m guessing this is how Sarah McBride felt before coming out as transgender.

That first brave act of stepping out into the unknown is the most scary.  It feels like jumping off a cliff.  A leap of faith.

Have you done it?

After, you realize that the world didn’t end.  You might even be surprised that the same people that liked you before still like you, and the ones that didn’t, well, they still don’t like you.  But everybody now knows that you are brave.  Mostly, YOU now know that you are brave.  And that is when you start to feel empowered.

Sometimes a big step for me, will seem like a small step to you.  That’s ok.  This is personal for each individual.  Most of these brave decisions will not be in the spotlight, and hardly anyone will notice.  But the person making the decision will have moved one big step forward.

I’m thinking about this in the context of the various responses from our elected officials here in Delaware, in response to the topic of gay marriage.

I don’t think Joe Biden surprises any of us, anymore.  Joe is not afraid to say what’s on his mind.  We know that about him.  And he gets beat up for it.  I wonder if he is afraid of the fallout, or even worries about that ever.  I think, bottom line, that he is just being Joe.  I give him a lot of credit for that.

Then there is Chris Coons.  I know Chris well enough personally to know that he is thoughtful, caring, full of integrity, and is not afraid to stand up for what is right.  Chris is a man of Pure Intent.  A rock.  Fearless.  It is absolutely no mistake that Chris is where he is today.  No one who has watched his journey over the last couple of years would deny that.

In Chris’s own words:

“This is an important moment on the journey to equality: the first time a sitting president has endorsed the idea that every American, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, should be able to marry the person they love. Period. For some, the question of marriage equality is difficult to answer. I respect that everyone comes to a position in their own way and in their own time.

“President Obama is doing the right thing. By coming out for marriage equality today, he is sending a clear message: LGBT rights are human rights, and the right to marry the person you love is intrinsic to what it means to be an American.

“President Obama may be taking a huge political risk, but some risks are worth taking. That’s what leaders do.”

It’s totally OK with me that some people are not willing to take a stand.  I love how Chris says this in his statement.  It’s important to respect each individual’s right to make their own decision in their own time.

But at the same time, I want to celebrate those amazing individuals, like Sarah and like Chris, like Cory Booker, who are not afraid.  They inspire me.

Are you going to play it safe, or are you going to take that leap of faith off the cliff, too??

(I’ll tell you a little secret….. just like the baby bird…. when you are ready, and when you jump, you will find out that you can fly 🙂 . )

CONGRESSIONAL DELEGATION (from Delawareonline.com)

U.S. Sen. Chris Coons was the lone member of Delaware’s congressional delegation — all Democrats — to endorse the president’s statement favoring gay marriage.

“This is an important moment on the journey to equality: the first time a sitting president has endorsed the idea that every American, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, should be able to marry the person they love. Period,” Coons said.

Asked whether U.S. Rep. John C. Carney Jr. supports gay marriage, his spokesman James Allen said Carney “is proud to support Delaware’s civil unions law and he will continue working to ensure that same-sex couples receive the same legal rights and benefits as heterosexual couples.”

U.S. Sen. Tom Carper said he does not yet have a position on gay marriage or on proposals to repeal the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which forbids federal recognition of same-sex couples.

“I respect the president’s announcement today and believe it will encourage more discussion,” he said. “As for me, I’ll continue to give this issue a great deal of thought.”

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Almost Nothing Bothers Me

It’s not that I don’t care.  Actually, I care a lot.  It’s just that very few things that happen are really worth getting upset about.

Problems come up, things don’t go as planned.  Getting upset does nothing but create drama.  So why get upset?  Just figure out what you can do to make it better or to prevent the same thing from happening over again.

“There are no problems, only solutions!”

And if there’s really nothing you can do about it, avoidance is sometimes the solution.

Say that someone says something to offend me.  Just because they said it, doesn’t mean it’s true.  If I know it’s not true, why do I care?  If I get offended, they have just sucked me in.  Life taught me this last summer when one person who didn’t even know me called me a racist (after a nice discussion, she became my friend), and another called me a slumlord.  If you know me, you know these are two things I care very deeply about, two accusations that would most push my buttons.  I found myself getting really upset, but then I thought, I know that these are ridiculous statements, so why do I even care?

Then there are the entire categories of people that are annoying….but only if you let them annoy you.  If there isn’t anything I can DO to change those people or those situations, there is no point in getting annoyed or ranting about them.  It might be true that they can’t see what I can see, or understand what I understand, but heck, it’s their journey, not mine.  If they want to remain in a cycle of making the same mistakes over and over, or living the same drama over and over, or having a point of view that seems crazy to me, so be it.  If it doesn’t affect me directly, I want no part of it.

“But everybody thinks

That everybody knows

About everybody else

Nobody knows

Anything about themselves

Cause they’re all worried about everybody else yea”

-Wasting Time, Jack Johnson

What I CAN do, instead of wasting time being annoyed, or offended, or upset, or feeling superior, is conduct myself in a way that promotes positive energy, compassion, and understanding.  It might not seem like I am “fighting” the negative, but fighting is what the negative wants.  It’s the only way for the negative to survive.

Because when you spend time fighting, you are really feeding energy to the thing you can’t stand.  You make it bigger than it was before.

Believe me, it’s not that I don’t want to change the world.  I am here to change the world, I just have a different strategy.  My strategy is to rise above it.  Worry about myself and the only thing I really have control over:  ME.   And then BE and DO in a way that supports positivity, compassion, love, understanding, and unity, that’s all.

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Unforgivable Sins

Allowing people to see who you really are, means letting others see that you are not “perfect.”

This is not necessarily an either/or proposition or even that big of a deal.  You can open up a little bit, let someone see your more acceptable “faults” and they are still most likely to accept you and maybe even love you.  This strategy is a pretty safe bet for most of us.  We can find a pretty good balance doing this, and keeping certain imperfections or experiences to ourselves really isn’t that big a deal.  Why rock the boat?  In many cases, there isn’t any dramatic big secret to keep, so it’s easy enough to get along and fit in.

But let’s go back and take another look at my initial statement.  What about being “perfect”??

Maybe it’s not that we want people to be perfect, it’s more that we want them to be as we EXPECT them to be.  Within the “acceptable” range, we can tolerate some quirkiness, some minor indiscretions, maybe even one major slip that has been forgiven.  There might be a sordid past, but if a person has obviously learned their lessons, they are not really “like that.”  We forgive and forget, especially with those we know and love.

Usually, we choose to spend our time with others with whom we have a lot in common, who are in the same social circles, so we are less likely to run into serious incompatibilities or surprises.  We give our friends the benefit of the doubt.  After all, they are “like us” and we know that we are basically good at heart and don’t mean any harm, so they must be the same.

When we surround ourselves with others who are similar, it’s easier to sail along without disruption.  If you avoid conflict and differences, you don’t have to deal with them.

But then there are the Unforgivable Sins.

Child molestation.  Rape.  Murder.  Adultery.  Abortion.  Homosexuality.  Teen pregnancy.  Criminal activity.  Domestic violence.  Drug use.  Drug dealing.  Drunk driving.  Smoking.  Suicide.  Being an atheist.  Being Muslim.  Corporate Greed.  Laziness.  Bullying.

As Christians, we are told not to judge yet we don’t think that applies to unforgivable sins.  Few will find fault with condemning child molesters, rapists, terrorists, and murderers.   They should get what they deserve.  But that is still judging.  I have heard people rant with passion about many of the above categories.

You might not like that I am putting murderers and homosexuals, for example, in the same list.  I do not personally think these categories of people are in any way the same, except that they both get condemned.  In fact, I don’t like categorizing people at all – I put them in categories to illustrate how we label, judge, and dismiss large groups of individuals, and we do it all the time without thinking about it.  And most likely, if you are reading this, you don’t consider homosexuality to be an “unforgivable sin.”  But how about murder and child molestation?  Do you really think those can be forgiven?

What’s on your list of Unforgivable Sins?  Obviously, not everyone’s list will be the same.  Whose list is “right”?

As one goes down the list, the level of condemnation starts to get fuzzy, especially if you have had a personal experience in which you or someone you are close to has had to grapple with that particular “moral issue.”  It’s also obvious that each Unforgivable Sin is unique.  I’m guessing many people would be tempted to spend some time arguing why certain ones “should” be in the list and others “shouldn’t”.  Who is “right?”

Granted, many of the categories in the list represent the “extreme” issues.  Let’s get back to being perfect or meeting expectations.  Maybe you aren’t worried about those major issues, but what about the minor Sins and Expectations? How well-defined is the box you would like others to fit into?

I find Ernie Fitzpatrick’s thoughts on forgiveness very interesting.  He asks, “What if God doesn’t forgive, because God doesn’t judge?”  “Can you handle such love?”  My question to you is:  Can you offer that kind of love?

What Ernie is saying, is that to God there is no such thing as an Unforgivable Sin.  Wait, doesn’t that sound familiar?  I’ve heard that somewhere before….

In a culture that condemns certain “sinners” forever, shuns them, bans them, does not tolerate mistakes or differences, there is NO WAY OUT.   Once a person slips up or doesn’t fit in (or worse yet, gets labeled), self-preservation kicks in.  If possible, mistakes are hidden.  There is the fear of being found out, and holes may be dug.  Some will continue to deny the obvious (i.e., Jerry Sandusky) to the point of absurdity.  Others will take their own lives.

Most important, in a zero tolerance atmosphere it is very difficult to get help, to focus on prevention, to find support, to come up with solutions.  So situations and problems, and the potential for more problems, dysfunction, misunderstandings, repeat behavior, all get worse.

Sarah McBride’s story proves there is a different way to handle perceived Unforgiveable Sins.  We can throw away those lists, and stop expecting others to be just like us.  Instead, we can be open and focus on understanding people as individuals.  We don’t have to be like them and they don’t have to be like us.  We don’t even have to hang out with them or be their friend, if that doesn’t feel right.  And yes, maybe it’s easier to accept Sarah than some others.  After all, she’s a super great person, well spoken, honest, brave and accomplished.

But what about the others we have condemned as unforgivable, for whatever reason?  We don’t have to condone bad behavior and violence.  Yet we can fight to make the world a better place without the need to condemn, especially with anger and contempt.  We can always choose to react with compassion first.

 

The video that can be found at the following link complements this discussion.  I ordered the book Practical Wisdom today, and am looking forward to reading it!

practical-wisdom-barry-swartz

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