Sometimes You Just Need An Egg

Several years ago I was working on a book about happiness with my friend, Joan Singer,* when she came up with this thing about eggs. Of all the pieces we wrote for this project, this topped my list. And right now seems the perfect time to share it.

Eggs. My mother explained it all. The daddy fertilizes the mommy’s egg. Okay, simple enough. So I literally went through childhood picturing a shelf with a bunch of eggs, neatly lined up, just waiting for my dad to appear. And I always marveled at how miraculous it was that my egg was the one that got picked. What if he’d chosen the next one?I would never have been born! I couldn’t get over it. What luck.

 And in a way, I was right, wasn’t I? I mean we’re all eggs that made it! The arrow lands on its target and there we are. Another egg would have been a different person. But we were chosen. Each one of us. We’re a bunch of winners.

So why so much crankiness? It’s kind of like the world is full of people who’ve already won the lottery and haven’t bothered to look at the numbers on their ticket. What’s worse, they throw it aside and forget it even exists. Look! Look! I feel like yelling at them, but I don’t think that anyone is going to listen. So what do I do with this information that nobody seems to want?

Exactly! Here we are. The “Chosen People”. We’ve made it through from the miraculous/ mysterious world of pre-birth, through the pain of being born, the dependency of infancy, the challenges of childhood, the peculiarities of adolescence, and into the adventures of adulthood. Well, isn’t that something. And isn’t this the perfect time to remember and give thanks?

So why not, for this moment at least, be grateful that you’re the egg that got chosen — the one that made it? What could be more amazing? More magical? Despite the discomforts, disappointments and difficulties of being here, I can’t begin to imagine not being that egg — not being here at all! It’s impossible to even consider.

Here’s an imagery exercise for Self-transformation.To move from selfish forgetting to gratitude, freedom and joy.

Falcon of Gold *

Close your eyes and breathe out three times. See, sense and feel yourself being released from a blue egg as a falcon of gold, and rising high above the world.

Breathe out one time.

See yourself sailing on golden wings. Know what it is to live, to love, to change, and to embrace the infinite. Do not forget this becoming.Then breathe out, return safely to earth, and open your eyes.

* * *

* From “Healing Into Immortality” by Gerald N. Epstein, M.D

* Joan Singer is a teacher who creates educative programs for both children and adults.

JFK: Still Personal After 50 Years Gone

Fifty years ago, at 1pm, on November 22nd, my 80 year old aunt called and told me that the president had been murdered. Shot dead in Dallas. But she was elderly and infirm and probably confused. Then I turned on the radio and discovered she was right. John F Kennedy was gone.

That afternoon, I went to the playground in our apartment complex and stood alone, not another soul in sight, pushing my child on the swing, waiting for someone to tell me it was a mistake, a horrible dream.  Suddenly I was stuck in a dark new reality that snuck up on me as I napped alongside my 20 month old son, thinking that everything ─ though certainly not perfect, and far short of where I wanted it to be ─ was good and getting better. How could it not be?

For we were young and our president was young and this was a timeless time with a hopeful vision that fooled us into thinking things would turn out well, no matter what. No matter that the presidential marriage had its issues. No matter that The Bay of Pigs had been a disaster.The intentions for peace and progress were strong. Kennedy wanted us on the moon, and the advisors out of Viet Nam. He asked us to contribute, to go beyond ourselves, to get out of the box of convention and into the sea of life. He made us feel patriotic. He challenged us to act. And we did!

The flame of life burned bight. While grace, beauty and style, excitement, possibility and brilliance, were the golden glue that held things together as Camelot ruled, and the devil danced, unseen, in the wings, waiting for his inevitable moment on stage.

For reasons that make no logical sense, this loss felt personal, like a death in the family, or the loss of someone dear. I used to dream that Jackie was a friend, not a close friend: she wasn’t the type you got close to. She was too cool and regal for that. But someone I went shopping with. Someone I had lunch with on occasion. I know this sounds crazy, but try to be kind. It was, after all, a dream.

In peculiar ways our lives were entwined. We felt we actually knew them. They were  friends and family. A daily presence in our lives. Even afterwards I felt the connection: Our next door neighbor’s son went to school with John-John, who was a guest at his birthday party. I caught a glimpse of his beautiful face as he passed my door. My friend won a Jackie look-alike contest at a magazine she worked for. They photographed her in a Jackie-type outfit, and styled her hair in a Jackie bouffant. And though I thought it was silly, it was no sillier than my dreams of going to lunch. Oh, how I loved those frivolous, wonderful dreams. And the truth was that I envied my look alike friend more than a bit.

Then it was gone. He was gone. They were gone. That special time of our lives was gone, and we were left missing something we had just barely known, wondering what if? What if we could have held onto it and him and them and us, as we were in that moment, and for just a while longer? Would it have been better or worse? I choose to think better. But I’ve been wrong before.

When I hear the old broadcast clips, the commentators holding back their grief as they delivered the news, Erich Leinsdorf, conducting the Boston Symphony Orchestra in Beethoven’s funeral march as the audience sobbed. I still feel a catch in my throat, tears well up and, and grief is reborn. Even when I think it’s over and done, it turns out that it’s not.

There are those who still float conspiracy theories about what really happened, while the pragmatists and main stream sources insist that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone, and mock the idea that anything or anyone beyond him was at fault. But why couldn’t it have gone down a different way from what the “experts” insist? What facts aren’t just the smallest bit skewed? What stories don’t get perverted in the telling?

Those who might know are long gone. The inside story will never be revealed. The players will continue to elude us in death as they did in life. And the world will keep spinning just a hair off kilter, waiting for the next horrific event to blow away our hopes and sully our dreams. And those of us who recall the promise of Camelot, unfulfilled, and that tragic and terrible murder, unresolved, had best send blessings and light, move on, and finally learn how to let it all go.

Should you be interested, you can use the following image to practice letting go with love.

Cutting The Ties/ Moving On

Close your eyes and breathe out one time. See yourself standing with something or someone that keeps you tied to the past. See how closely, tightly, and with what, you are bound together. Try to turn and move freely while in this position.

Breathe out. Using the power of your imagination, and knowing anything is possible, find a way to break free. See the ties unraveling and falling away.

Now, once again, turn and move in a new direction. See what happens and how you feel. As you do this say goodbye to the past. Send Light. And move on.

Card Sharks

Life is risky. One minute good, smooth, pleasant, mostly fine. The next not so much. It can turn on a dime, just by opening an envelope, receiving an email or picking up the phone.

Yesterday, I got my credit card statement and the balance seemed high. Then I remembered: the dentist, the shoes, the friend’s birthday gift, the dinners out. But still, something felt off. I opened it and discovered that at the hour between breakfast and opening my email, I had taken Eddy’s New Jersey Limo Service  for a ride costing a hundred twelve dollars and twenty- three cents.  As I scanned the statement further I found that only six days before, I had used Eddy’s services as well, that time for ninety eight dollars and sixty-three cents

The thing is, I never used Eddy’s services at all. Not then. Not ever. Yet according to my statement, I owe him $98.63 for ride #1, and $112.23 for ride #2. After speaking with both Eddy and the credit card rep, the solution was for me to cancel my card.

But I love my card. I know every number on its shiny gray face. I know the three digit security code. I can rattle the whole thing off faster than a speeding bullet. Just a couple of days ago, before all this happened, I got an updated card in the mail, all numbers the same except for the new date, through 2016. I was set. Until someone scammed both Eddy and me, and now I need to start over, calling all my steady auto payees to give them the news.

This experience, I could easily do without. Beyond the need to engage in robo-speak with robo-reps, there’s the unsettling knowledge that someone has been using my credit card, and thus, has been stealing my identity. And my identity, my credit, and the whole thing with money, is part of my spiritual process. One that goes to the core of my daily existence. For both credit, and money are inexorably entwined with who we are, and how we manage to live in this world.

So that sick, scared or angry feeling you get when something like this happens is natural. You’ve had the rug pulled out from under you, if only for a moment. And sometimes for longer than that.

But what to do next? My own experience today, right now, while I’m waiting for Fed-Ex to deliver, is to stop thinking and take action. To make my list, then once the card arrives, to get on the phone and do what needs doing. These things happen. And having already stolen my credit and peace of mind, if only for the time it took to get the rep and Eddy on the phone, this someone, or someone just like her, is already on track to do damage to someone else.

So, beware. Read through your monthly statements line by line. Watch for the unfamiliar name or number. Doing otherwise may spell financial disaster, or at least a mountain of aggravation, including the waste of precious time, more enjoyably spent doing anything else.

I know. Stuff happens. And this is just one more pebble on the rocky road of “Life 101.” But I thought I would share it with you, just in case . . .  Also, to see if you might have some good and easy tricks for memorizing the numbers on my new credit card. Security code included.

Meanwhile, here’s an imagery exercise for prevention that takes just a few seconds. I wish I had thought of this a long time ago. But now is all we have, so why not use it?

The Golden Circle

Close your eyes, exhale one time, and see before you your credit, and your name, in whatever form they appear.

Place a circle of golden light around both. Know this circle of light cannot be broken, or defiled in any way or for any purpose.

Notice how you feel. Then breathe out and open your eyes.

Use this to begin each day. Or use it once, then renew it every three weeks, according to your need and preference.

The Mystical, Magical World of #36

Years ago, when I first moved to Vermont, I met a man. He asked me to do things I had never done before. No. Not those kinds of things. These were things that required me to go beyond my nature. That took me to places I had never been. That allowed me to see a kind of goodness and generosity, which until that moment, I hadn’t known existed, and that I had never before understood, or been connected with.

He midwifed my birth into the world of prison work where I would sit each week in a locked, glass room,  watched by skeptical guards, while I spoke with addicts, murderers and thieves about their images and dreams, never asking why they were there or what they had done. For during those hours it made no difference. And it seemed at this moment it was good not to know.

One glorious spring day this man stood with me on a hillside as we called out our names, while the wind snatched away our voices and blew our words out over the mountains to who knows where.

He taught me to think more compassionate thoughts, to treat myself and the world with wonder, and to bypass my fear. I was honored to be his friend. He helped me to reunite with my soul.

Mystical, Talmudic Lore, tells us there are 36 special people in the world. And were it not for these 36, the world would come to an end. It’s also said that for the sake of these people, God preserves the world, even should the world and its inhabitants commit terrible acts and completely lose their way.

These 36 are not a club, a society, or a group. Their identities are unknown to each other.  And they go their separate ways as humble human beings, unaware of their exalted state. Yet, at certain times they are called upon to use their powers to ward off disasters and ensure the world’s continued existence (a kind of Spiritual Crisis Management). Once done with the task, they slip back into anonymity, until called upon again.

Should any of these special persons claim to be one of the 36, this immediately proves their claim false ─ for humility is at the core of their natures.

I believe my friend comes so close to being one of them that there’s barely a hair’s breadth of difference. He makes Tikkunim every day of his life just by being here.  His light is so strong he may seem invisible. Yet his presence is palpable and real. His way has not been easy, but despite that, or because of it, he moves through the world with presence and grace. Who knows how far he will go?

Recently I received an email from him, saying that he’s taking time off from his daily life to be silent.  I can see him doing It. Just thinking about it calms me and makes me smile.

At the end of his message, he wishes me, and all who are dear to me, living and dead (Yes. Living and Dead!) much light, love and healing. I have never before received such a message. You see what I mean?

What more can I say? Perhaps nothing. Best to be silent. To watch. To witness. To be grateful. To learn. And to hope that if I pass this way more than once, he will choose to join me.

Should the sacred concept of these 36 preservationists of our world resonate for you, and if for one timeless moment you might like to imagine how it would be to share in their journey, you may choose to practice the following exercise:

 #36

Close your eyes, breathe out, and see before you the emptiness of space. Feel inside you the impulse of your heart. Know that in this moment you are here to go beyond yourself to a place unheard of in your wildest dreams, where you can reverse chaos, repair worldly damage, and weave new life out of death. A place where nothing is impossible. And where you are the agent of sacred magic, who gives everything and takes nothing in return.

Do what needs to be done. Then return, knowing you have completed your task, and that all is well.

The Princess And The Shoe

The rain starts coming down hard as I walk up Madison Avenue. A shoe store on 53rd Street beckons. There’s a bag in the window that grabs my attention. I need to get inside. Take a closer look. Get out of the rain. Take a bite of the bait.

The bag is beautiful. It has pockets and flaps and zippers and compartments and barely weighs a thing. It’s a soft cushy red, and it’s perfect. The sales woman knows her customer. She sees the gleam in my eye and adjusts the strap as I place it over my shoulder. Ding dong. I’m bewitched. Done for. Cooked. I thought I had lost my shopping gene. I was wrong.

I follow her to the back of the store where I see more red. This time it’s shoes. Who doesn’t love red shoes? The color is called Chianti. I can’t resist. And why should I? Let’s not talk budget, practicality, or deprived starving children who could use my help. Unbridled desire takes precedence. The bag and the shoes are must haves.  Can’t live withouts. I easily succumb.

And what’s that over there? A pair of short, soft boots that call out my name.  No!  I don’t deserve them. But look! The black furry tops can be worn pulled up or pushed down. I try them both ways. Perhaps I could wear one this way, one the other. I need to calm myself. Settle down. Breathe.

Debra, the sales woman (we’re already on a first name basis), goes downstairs  to look for a different size. I close my eyes and I’m back in my childhood, at the neighborhood shoe store buying school shoes, or dress shoes, or sandals for summer. The school shoes are “oxfords,” and  decidedly unattractive. They make my feet look like big, brown boats. The dress shoes are black patent leather Mary Janes. Classics. The sandals are white with gold buckles. They will be gray before I know it.

Another flash-back to the weird shoe-fitting fluoroscopy machine they used as a sales tool in the 40s and 50s, until they woke up in the 60s and decided that taking x-rays of kids feet and other body parts as they stood there, unprotected, and unaware (along with their unprotected moms and sales people), wasn’t such a great idea. But those yellowy-greenish ghost visions of wiggling toes were amazing. A fun, albeit, dangerous event that I adored. I would have spent the day there had they let me.

Aha! Debra is back. She has the Chiantis in hand. They fit perfectly. I ask for a discount and get it. It’s a sign! Buying this stuff is the right thing to do, so I do it. Quick, before my “You don’t really need this” logical mind kicks in.

Debra rings up the sale and discovers another discount she can offer me. Yes! I shall suffer no guilt at all. Victory is mine. At least until I open the Citicard envelope next month. But a month is a long time away. Just not long enough.

As Debra writes me up she tells me about a customer who fell hard for a pair of shoes that didn’t fit. Yet she refused to give in.

“I’m going to make it work,” the woman said. She bought the shoes and wore them home. Good for her. Better she than me. Shoes that hurt are not my thing. I’m not into pain — unlike an old boyfriend of mine, who would sit on his seat buckle when he drove my car. Whenever I would point this out he said he was used to pain. For him, it was  ”normal.” I’m not that into normality either. I find it boring and overrated..

But back to what’s really important. What is it about women and shoes?  A story handed down through the ages, fit for princesses and shop girls, ladies and maids, mothers, daughters, and girl- friends, of course. Shoes are status, protection, armor, sex, femininity, courage, power and strength. A statement of who and what we are. The height of a heel, the sling of a shoe-back, the opening for a toe, the wedge, the spike, the buckle or stud, say more about us than we think.

For while our regular clothes are interesting costumes, our shoes are revelations. My sister had boxes of shoes she never wore. Until recently, so did I. We couldn’t resist. Women’s shoes tell stories woven from leather or fiber, silver, sequins, or gold, instead of from words. They hide nothing but our physical feet, and much of the time, not even that.

I have a client who wears “MooShoes,” shoes made for vegans. They speak to her sensitive nature. They reveal the softness of her soul. If they came in narrows I might wear them too. For walking around in animals’ skin bothers me whenever I stop to think of it. But mostly I don’t, so it’s not a problem.

Debra will ship my shoes to me, no charge. She will spray them with silicone. They will suffer no harm from rain or snow.  I take her card. She takes mine. She is now my #1. Yes, shoes are that magical. That powerful. That convincing. That fine!

It stopped raining. I head home. Another sign. A good one, of course.