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Posts Tagged ‘resistance’

Choices and Consequences

Posted by Amanda Gray on August 1, 2014

I’m still thinking a great deal about the death of my cat.  Specifically, regarding the choices that were made along the way.

Dr. David R. Hawkins says that events do not actually happen in an A = B = C linear fashion.  It’s more like once a choice has been made, then the EVENT ‘ABC’ is created, involving all it’s resultant consequences, but then experienced in a, seemingly, linear progression.  There have been several incidences in my life where I observed this theory in action, and I hold it to be fairly accurate, at least, at my current level of awareness.  This idea is also inherent in the statement, “You can’t mess it up.”  You can’t, because you always make the decision that’s right for you in the moment, and then the consequences are, as they unfold, pretty much out of your hands.

My cat, Jonas, was 19 years old.  Even if he hadn’t gotten suddenly sick, he would have died, of something, soon anyway.  I made a decision, early in his sickness, not to take him to the vet.  Even in my own mind, it was an extremely difficult decision.   Do I put him through the fear and stress of a trip, a battery of tests, and an overwhelming expense, only to learn that compassionate euthanasia is the, most likely, resort?  Could I made a decision for euthanasia, with even the slightest, tiniest chance of recovery?  Could I leave him at the vet clinic for any length of time, for tests, and the possibility that he could die while away from me?   Could I nurse him at home, giving him my full attention, and every chance possible of recovery, while, if necessary, providing as much comfort as I could in his passing, like hospice?  I made the choice that was, to me, the most courageous and most natural.

Jonas started going downhill from the beginning of May, concurrent with my move to BC.  He lost a lot of weight, ate little, and slept most of the time.  But whatever sickness led to his eventual demise, it began with an acute attack in the night.  It was a big shock, and I thought he was going to die, right then and there, but he didn’t.  He recovered seemingly well in a few minutes.  What was the attack?  Heart attack?  Stroke? Was he poisoned by a bad can of food?  An acute renal failure?  Whatever it was, it was done.  There was no going back from it, and then, after a few days, I noticed that his health was definitely going downhill.

I provided all possible avenues of recovery.  He was still drinking water, peeing, moving about (with great difficulty in his back legs), but not eating.  I got high nutritional food and oral syringes at the vet and began to force feed him, a couple of teaspoons, every three hours.  I also started giving him 1/2 tablet of baby aspirin 2 to 3 times a day to minimize any pain he might be experiencing.  He took the food and the aspirin, I helped him drink water, and he rallied for a couple of days.  His will to live was strong and persistent.  I thought he might actually make it.  Yet, his eyes had changed.  They were small, and sunken.

In the third day of treatment, Jonas would spit out more food than he would swallow.  And he made an irreversible decision.  He stopped drinking water.  Looking back, I see that as the point of no return.  He was ready to die.

What happens in nature when an animal is passing?  They go off, alone, and hide.  They stop eating and drinking.  And they die.  No muss, no fuss, no intervention.  No resistance, no refusal.  I made a critical decision at that point too.  That I would allow him to die naturally, and I would stay with him until his last breath.  That was the most important thing to me, that we would be together.  Again, I deeply questioned my motivation.  If he was going to die anyway, why not make it quick with an injection?  Well, because I hoped and expected that he would go to sleep and slip peacefully away.  And I wanted to do for him, what I think I’d want others to do for me.  If I’m ready to die – just bugger off and let me go!

I stopped force feeding him.  I gave him as much water as I could with the oral syringe, to moisten his mouth, but he wouldn’t drink it down.  With great difficulty, I got him to swallow another 1/2 aspirin.  I kept his bed directly on my lap most of the day, looking into his eyes, holding him, hugging him, talking to him.  At bedtime, I took him to my bed.

But that was when he took another turn for the worse.  He began to make a horrible cry.  He vomited a couple of times.  I felt so helpless!  I forced another 1/2 aspirin down his throat.  I moistened his mouth.  Did we have anything else to give him – a sleeping pill?  No.  What if this went on all night?  OH GOD!  Why didn’t I get the injection while I had the chance???  I was terrified that I chose wrongly!  I said to Jonas, “We’re in it now.  No turning back.  We made our decisions and now we have to go down this road.”  Then I knew that I couldn’t have chosen any other way, because all choices would still lead to the same end – an end that I didn’t WANT – but that would happen anyway.  Is an injection ‘better’ than a natural death?  Is a natural death ‘better’?  What defines the word ‘better’ when all choices lead only to certain pain?  I don’t know – NOBODY KNOWS!!  I told Jonas, “You can go, little baby.  You don’t have to fight anymore.  Just let go.  It will be ok.”

He was quiet only when I had my hand on him, and when I kept the light on.  I discovered that he peed a little in his bed, so I gently cleaned it up and put a layer of paper towel under him.  This seemed to offer great solace, as it always disturbed him tremendously to be ‘unclean’.  That may even have been why he cried.  It didn’t take long after that, maybe 10 or 20 minutes.  I was so sleepy… I rested my head against his bed, near his head, with my arm around his back.  I couldn’t see his face, but I could see his body and hind legs.  His legs flicked out, once… then again.  I knew this was the moment.  I watched his last breath leave his body and he was still.   I sat up and looked fully at him.  He looked completely peaceful.  Was it over?  Could he still come back?  No.  He was gone.  His body soon began to feel stiff and cold.

I write about this because I want to remember these details, as morbid as they may seem.  Perhaps it’ll be helpful to another who’s faced with these same decisions with a beloved pet.  Perhaps it will be helpful to me in the future, with another pet or person, even.  And, who knows, this was the way I chose this time, but I might choose differently next time.  As a society, a culture, and as human beings, we still have a long way to go in learning about and dealing maturely with the process of death.  Shouldn’t it be a natural thing?  As natural as birth?  What if, wherever Jonas went, it was a WONDERFUL place?

Ultimately, my intention was love.  I’m confident that Jonas knew that.  Although I’m still grieving, I have no regrets, and I’m confident that I made the ‘right’ and ‘best’ choices that I could.  There is a giant hole in the energetic fabric of my existence right now and I just have to deal with it.  Nothing will make it feel ‘better’.  Jonas isn’t coming back.  All resistance and loss I feel is merely the denial of the fact.  I feel his energy missing at the foot of my sofa during the day, and a sweeping sadness at bedtime when I used to carry him with me to bed.  I actually feel an aversion to my bedroom now, as the pervasive empty loneliness in my chest is greatest there.  And I’ve developed a, perhaps unhealthy, attachment to a bone shaped neck pillow that I’ve been holding at night, in the crook of my arm, as if it’s Jonas.  I’m letting it happen.  Because I know that all of it, in time, will pass.

 

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God bless Jonas.  5 Sept 1995 – 26 July 2014.

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I am Here Only to be Truly Helpful

Posted by Amanda Gray on March 9, 2012

A Course in Miracles

Thus begins a prayer from A Course in Miracles, in the Text on page 28.  I’ve been considering this phrase a lot recently.  What does it mean to be TRULY helpful?

 A few days ago, I travelled to the city with my mom.  When we arrived, I dropped her off to spend the night with her sister, while I went to stay the night with friends from my meditation group.  The next morning, I arose early and picked up mom to take her to three appointments.  At first, I thought I would be early enough to grab a quick chai latte, but an unexpected traffic jam delayed me.  Then, I was angry that we had to crisscross half the city to go from one appointment to another, in no reasonable sense of driving order.  Also, it was snowing and the road conditions were less than optimal.  Grrr.  Well, from there, the whole day just spiraled down into more feelings of anger, arrogance and blaming.  I could observe what was happening, and I took responsibility for it, apologizing to my mom several times, but I couldn’t seem to shake the negative attitude either.  The verbal attacks that sprouted from my mouth like a bunch of thorny weeds – aimed at, pretty much, any excuse I could concoct – felt like it was completely out of my control.
 

As I thought about the day later on, I wondered why I hadn’t remembered some lessons from the Course, designed for these very situations.  I could have used, “I am not upset for the reason that I think“, or “I do not know what anything, including this, means“, or, failing to recall precise lessons, I could still have just stopped and prayed at any point.  Any words would have been fine, but I didn’t do it.  Instead, I let the negativity grow and grow, until I sucked my mom into its insidious gravity so we were both in bad moods, and then I juiced the situation for every drop of dark satisfaction I could get.  The bottom line is that I WANTED to juice that negative energy.  But WHY???

It was really hard for me to understand the underlying motivation of it, so I used a technique that Adyashanti recommends: to talk to the anger.  Anger said that it didn’t want to do things it didn’t want to do.  It didn’t really want to help my mom.  It was too much trouble to do all that driving, especially when there was nothing in it for ME.  Anger only wanted what benefited its own selfish little self!

So, somewhere along the line that day, I went into resistance about helping my mom, and then I couldn’t help but operate out of the internal conflict.  That’s why it felt so “out of control”.  Resistance occurs when we’re doing something we don’t really want to do – or not doing something we really do want to do.  Doo-doo-de-doo, de-doo-de-doo-doo.  If I would’ve just been honest with myself, as rude and embarrassing as it is to admit the truth, the whole negative condition would’ve melted away.  If I would’ve allowed myself to feel how I felt, been OK with it, then I could have made an active and free CHOICE to help my mom anyway.  At that point, feeling fully engaged and positive about the choice I was making from an honest place of power.

This morning, while I was doing the dishes, thoughts of complaint and blame arose again.  Right away, instead of trying to ‘figure out’ why I’m so bitchy about dirty dishes, I just surrendered and asked spirit to see it differently.  I admitted that I truly didn’t know why the dirty dish conflict kept rising in my mind, and I dropped the whole problem into silence.  And, from silence, the answer came.  I could see that it was the same issue as the travel day with my mom.  Oh, for Pete’s sake!  For so long, I danced around the issue because I didn’t really want to see the truth.  It’s not just about being frustrated at chaos – although that may be part of how I was perceiving it – it’s more about being selfish.  It’s hard to admit to being THAT selfish.  After all the things my mom does for me, totally unconditionally, why don’t I have the same generosity toward her?  No, my helpfulness definitely comes with conditions.

I was watching Nadia G’s Bitchin’ Kitchen yesterday (she’s like a female Andrew Dice Clay and she kills me!) and she said that she’s an only child and that she’s grown up used to doing everything she wants for herself.  Yup.  Me too.  She made me laugh about it, which was good, so today I can look at this monumentally selfish beast that I have been and I can forgive myself. 

The truth is that I don’t know how to be unconditionally helpful.  I don’t know how to do things for others without expecting a quid pro quo…

… BUT I AM WILLING TO ASK FOR HELP.

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It Doesn’t Matter (Part 1)

Posted by Amanda Gray on July 21, 2011

I have so much gratitude. So many revelations – miracles – have been shown to me this evening. One of the compensations of spiritual work is that, when you get it, you really GET it! A whole new vista opens up within you; a dimension of liveliness, loveliness and acceptance that feels… blissful.The Razor''s Edge

I watched the movie “The Razor’s Edge” yesterday.  (The photo and link are to the original story by W. Somerset Maugham.)  It’s a very spiritual movie, but its messages are exceptionally subtle. So subtle, that the first three times I watched it, I didn’t understand, but this time, the actions of the main character (Bill Murray) finally made sense to me. Another character does something horrible, but all he says is, “It doesn’t matter.” What could he mean? How can it not matter?

But it’s true. I get it. It truly doesn’t matter. None of it. This entire world and all of its participants – none of it MEANS anything. It’s only a thought that thinks it means something. Only a thought that ‘decides’ whether something is good or bad, right or wrong, likeable or detestable. And I don’t have to believe the thought. I don’t have to believe ANY thought. NO thoughts are true. When a feeling arises, it’s just an energy being released in that form (anger, fear, grief). I don’t have to believe it MEANS anything. It doesn’t. NO feelings are true.

The other day, I went out with my Mom. The entire day, I struggled with judgements and grievances. It seemed that all day, we just couldn’t communicate, and couldn’t decide together on anything. I wanted one thing, and she wanted something else. What can you do when each wants something different and no compromise is possible? I watched my thoughts carefully all day, recognized my resistances, surrendered my judgements, and at the end of the day, I recognized something truly significant. When I wanted something but then couldn’t get my way, I would blame my Mom for ruining my PEACE. I tried every way to Timbuktu to project the blame on her – but it wasn’t her. It was me. Holding the desire was ruining my OWN peace. Being in resistance ruined my OWN peace. It could’ve been a very nice day – but within me, I resisted and struggled. Me. All me. Outwardly, everything was fine. There was nothing to complain about. Does it matter if it’s ‘her’ way or ‘my’ way… if, in truth, we’re ONE, and that there is only, in truth, ONE way?

Today I started a new job. It was very physically taxing, and I’m not fit at the moment, so it was a real challenge. Like Adyashanti often recommends, I simply accepted everything just as it was. If I was tired, I accepted being tired. If my head hurt or my neck was stiff, I accepted it. I thoroughly enjoyed working with the team, and I accepted each person in each moment, just as they were, and whatever they were contributing. (Of course, it’s generally pretty easy to do that with complete strangers.) I accepted the job as it was, even though, normally, as a very lazy girl, I wouldn’t put myself out that much. Normally, I’d resist and make excuses to get out of doing things I didn’t want to do. I took one of the tougher jobs and gave it everything I had. When I wanted to trade out of that particular position, but was assigned to continue, I accepted it. What I learned at the end of the day is this: if it truly doesn’t matter what’s happening or what I’m doing, I can just do the best I can, I don’t need to worry about the results, and I can believe that I have everything I need to do the job. If I decide I CAN do it – then I CAN.

Today, I also learned that when a truth is revealed, it can be enjoyed in the moment and then soon forgotten, or it can be integrated into my life, thereby making it a PERMANENT transformation. I learned yesterday, from that movie, that all this stuff of nonsense just doesn’t matter, I integrated that into my day today, and all the hard work was made light.

It just doesn’t matter. Thank God!

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Kundalini Risin’

Posted by Amanda Gray on May 21, 2011

Holy backlash, Batman!  I expected to write yesterday, but I was kept horizontal by a massive headache.  It started immediately after I finished my last post and continued, at peak, for about 36 hours.

I suspected that the pain was ego backlash.  Getting too close to the ‘fire’ of truth again.  Since I’ve experienced headaches and migraines (headache accompanied by nausea and vomiting) for most of my life, I followed the usual routine for relief, including painkillers, hot showers, tiger balm, massage, and bed rest.  I prayed to spirit for help and asked various questions: Pain, what are you trying to tell me?  What am I resisting so vehemently?  My Course in Miracles lesson (140) for the day was:

Only salvation can be said to cure.

I didn’t eat any dinner last night.  On an empty stomach, I took two more painkillers, put a Dr. David R. Hawkins CD in my player, and curled back under the covers to gently cradle my head in my hands and lie as still as possible.

The CD that I picked, casually, off the shelf, included a question that I had asked Dr. Hawkins in person that day.  The Doc had reminded me that I was strong and courageous, and that I could take my spiritual work lightly.  I listened to the whole CD, then a few restless hours went by.  I was lightly snoozing when a thought spontaneously arose:

Who is it that thinks it can resist?

My brain softened, melted into liquid, and in a download, I knew that the resistance was, entirely, an illusion.  In the same moment, I also knew that it had been beneficial to skip dinner, that indulgence with food had been another method I’d been using to defend against truth.  I sat up on the edge of my bed.  The clock read 10:30 pm.  Kundalini energy flowed, like exquisite tendrils of warm electric smoke, around my whole body.  The heart centre was aflame, like a flat, 10-inch disc under the thin crust of my ribcage.  I knew it was the kundalini energy that was restricted at the neck and causing the headache.  Oh, right.  It had happened before.  I paced around my bedroom, crying with profound joy and gratitude.  Using some previous Dr. Hawkins advice, I tried to ‘breath the energy up’ through the blockage and into my head.  It didn’t seem to make much difference, but by then, the pain was already greatly diminished, and I went back to bed to sleep peacefully through the rest of the night.

As I write, I’m experiencing warm kundalini flowing across my back.  It’s lovely.  My neck is twinging and weak, like it’s not properly attached at the ends, but, otherwise, I feel better.   Just toasted a little at the edges.

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