Showing posts with label Self. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Self. Show all posts

Sunday, March 01, 2020

A Letter To Your Future Self

Have you ever written a letter to your future self? Then sealed it and put a date on it—not to be opened until then?
Lately I have been preparing my book, A Heart Traced In Sand, Reflections on a Daughter's Struggle for Life, in order for it to be available as an ebook. The ebook will have easy links that will go to web pages containing images from Naomi’s journals, her affirmation pages, photos of her life etc. The black and white illustrations in the original will be viewable in color.
I have been going through photo albums, journals, mementos, her Make-A-Wish chronicles . . . gathering pictures and words. It has been poignant to say the least, even though I have previously seen most of the material. `
Tucked away in a photo album, I came across a small monogrammed envelope. It said, open in 0002. It is now 2020. I opened it, dated 5-5-1996. Then it says: I am 16. 
From the first sentence of this note written 26 years ago, I knew Naomi had written to her future self. She died three years later from cancer with the unopened envelope tucked away among her treasured photos.
Here are her words:

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Ecstasies Of Heavenly Union

“True loss is for him whose days have been spent in utter ignorance of his self.” —Baha’u’llah

I am at the midway point of the Baha’i nineteen day fast I observe each year. I began in 1971 and will continue, God willing, until 2022. The dates of fasting are March 2-20. The way it works is if you are healthy, between the ages of 15 - 70, not pregnant or breast feeding, then you give up food and water between sunrise and sunset. It is difficult to practice faithfully, but each year about a week before the start I have deep yearning for it. Like no other discipline, it affirms that I am a spiritual being, far beyond the material elements that compose my body. Sometimes I think that if a Divine command were to arrive that I must not ever again pass anything beyond my lips, I would be obedient until death were to release me from the physical bonds entirely. Then like a bird escaping its cage, I would wing my way into grand celestial spheres and sing the ecstasies of heavenly union with Divine Spirit in limitless freedom.

It seems just about every religion has a fasting period. The prophets, who are like Divine Doctors, prescribe it for us for our own good.

Sunday, June 25, 2017


The ancient Greeks believed Chaos was the first thing to exist from which the primordial deities came; including Gaia, the ancestral mother of all life, Eros, a god involved in the birth of the cosmos, and Tartarus, both a deity and a place in the underworld—also the unbounded first-existing entity from which the Light and the cosmos are born.

The word khaos means "gap" or "chasm" being the space between heaven and earth.

Chaos has always been a partner to me in life. During early childhood, it was a natural part of magical life and development. Yet like everyone else, I was trained away from it in favor of order. Then it felt like waging war between good and evil.

When this happened a deep division came into my life. From then on I felt as though walking a tightrope. To fall was to descend into the chasm of chaos.

I remember being with other teenagers and driving out on the town one night. When the music was being changed between channels, static came on and I said "leave it there." Everyone laughed but I preferred it for awhile;  the little interval of chaos.

Shortly thereafter, I became afraid of dark forces in the universe and in myself, and turned against chaos. I suffered. Part of the equation of existence is that in life, mistakes happen, surprises occur, plans are upset, the unexpected happens. Chaos is in everything to some degree.

The "chasm" between heaven and earth is a fertile place. I believe, as did the Greeks, it is where creativity begins.

I have become stubborn about leaving space for it.

In my artwork, some of the best results come when there are "happy accidents". The mind comes to an impasse and sort of collapses into "unknowing" . . .  a place is messed or destroyed on the canvas yet in the destruction the hint of something with great beauty and clarity arises like a phoenix. It could only come about through destruction.

When I am out on the streets photographing, I often stop to study and take pictures of random textures and forms that seemingly come from chaos. Sometimes they are quite beautiful—the scrapings across metal, leaves floating in streams, random blazing clouds at sunset, or many other chance interchanges that leave marks upon nature.

I have learned in myself too, to make room for surprise. It is necessary.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Know Thyself

Know Thyself. 
- Socrates

True loss is for him whose days have been spent in utter ignorance of his self. -Baha'u'llah

I went to see my long time psychologist recently. We have met off and on for many years. It has been the nature of my adult life to be in many predicaments leading to moments of truth. I am a risk taker. I have always learned by doing and experiencing consequences. My father thrived on problem solving his entire life, and I have that tendency too.

The therapist I see is renowned, an author and lecturer. In the past he has traded with me for art.

When I arrived for the recent session, I took a few minutes sitting quietly in a waiting room. I reflected on what I wanted to say, glanced at recent journal passages, prayed that the discussions would be enlightened and bring the highest good. Then I thought of what to talk about. Essentially, I try to be on the path of "heart"; strong and open, feeling truth and mystery, having equanimity and fullness. Knowing joy and pain and being fluid in both.
I chose to talk about feeling stuck in some ways . . . and decided to mention a couple dreams I had had about a year ago that seemed to explain much but I could not decipher all the symbols within them.

Comfortably seated in the office, the two of us made great headway with the dreams in our hour of conversation. He knows me so well, I could refer to childhood memories he knew about. With his help and adept questioning, I gained new inspirations and insights that are helping to unlock closed passages that are essential for me to travel in.

As I drove home, reflecting on realizations, I saw people walking about, and noticed how they held themselves and how they dressed. I could "see" the psychological being that formed the outer picture.  Then I felt compassion because it is not easy being human and everyone tries.

Observe all men; thy self most. - Benjamin Franklin

Charity is in the heart of man, and righteousness in the path of men. Pity the man who has lost his path and does not follow it and who has lost his heart and does not know how to recover it. When people's dogs and chicks are lost they go out and look for them and yet the people who have lost their hearts do not go out and look for them. The principle of self-cultivation consists in nothing but trying to look for the lost heart. - Mencius (4th century B.C.)

Some people say they haven't yet found themselves. But the self is not something one finds; it is something one creates.- Thomas Szasz

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Gates Of Heaven

At unexpected moments lately, when I am tired or have complaint, a gentle breeze will waft through my being causing me to pause and be thankful. I wonder where this gift comes from and perhaps it is because I am growing older that an inner perspective and appreciation of life's fluidity has arrived. 

 For instance, I might be hot and bothered about cleaning my studio, which takes time away from creativity and is messy drudgery. As I carry smelly garbage bags to the trash bins outdoors, I find myself tired and complaining, and then, in a moment, something comes over me and I laugh about it and take notice of the fresh air outdoors, the light that plays everywhere around me, and maybe I hear a bird call. In an instant, it is as if I am cured from a morose malady and leave the prison of self and enter the gates of heaven.