Looking Back—Moving Forward

A Brand New Day

Morning Has Broken by Cat Stevens on the album Teaser and the Firecat released in 1971

  Morning has broken, like the first morning

Blackbird has spoken, like the first bird

Praise for the singing, praise for the morning 

Praise for the springing fresh from the word 

A  Brand New Day

 I recently, and somewhat reluctantly, took down my first Blog—a Blogger Blog called A Glitch in Time.  I started it shortly after coming back to Florida, having most recently resided in North Carolina for the better part of a decade. We moved here in late October of 2012 and I posted on the blog for the first time in January 2013. It is hard to believe that we will have lived in Florida for five years this Fall. They have been eventful years, and the time has flown. 

I started the O Deer website and began blogging on it over two years ago. I had not even posted on the “Glitch” Blog since September 2015. When I began my current Etsy Shop, O Deer Mercantile, and the website to accompany it, my intention was to take a very different direction. While my original blog covered all aspects of life— home, family, gardening, cooking, Florida history and my own roots, and my views on the Spiritual Path that has for many years been the wellspring of my being— I intended something quite different for this site. I wanted to get away from my rambling stories about growing up in a Florida much different than the one we live in now. I thought that perhaps I should avoid dwelling on spirituality and my sometimes controversial opinions and musings on same.

Monitoring my Old blog from time to time, I couldn’t help but notice that even after not posting for many months, I still got much more traffic on A Glitch in Time than I do on O Deer Mercantile. Since I have devoted a great deal more time and energy in the new website and blog, that remained a rather discouraging fact. I know that some of it can be attributed to things beyond my control—the profound changes in how Pinterest presents Pinned content since they began so heavily monetizing the site, for instance. My previous Pinterest Account linked to my old blog had a great number more followers, and I had numerous pins that, while not viral by any means, brought a steady stream of traffic to my site. I have not been willing or really able to afford to Promote Pins and this is no longer the case. 

I guess I could go on and on, but the upshot of this is that I saved a number of my more popular posts from A Glitch in Time, and I have more or less decided to quit trying to define or limit this new site, essentially ignoring aspects of myself that are in fact, essential to who I am and what I do. Over the next few months I plan on rewriting some of these posts to make them more relevant to my Now, and presenting them in this venue. I’ll just wait and see what happens from there. 

Here is an updated post from Summer 2013 that was called A New Day…

Playing It By Ear (The Songs in My Head)

Often, as I hurtle through these busy days, always rushing it seems, and still falling a bit further behind each day, I find myself humming one old tune or another. There was a time in my life when through meditation and contemplation, and a bit more self-discipline than I seemingly possess just now, I could successfully quiet the nagging and pesky inner dialogue which is almost universally part of the human condition. It seems to have crept back over the course of several years, and now be intent on running my life. That voice is back with a vengeance, and the only way I keep it at bay is to let the music, that lives also in my busy mind, play.

So, I often hum as I go about my daily business. Over the course of several decades, I have acquired a rather immense library of familiar and dearly loved tunes. This is not something I think about. Songs, some I have not heard in many years, are just there. At times it is the full experience— lyrics, tune and even the approximate year and the band who recorded it. Other times a tune will worry around my mind, and I am unable to let it go until I remember the words that go along with it. At times like that, Google is a wonderful tool. Mostly though, the music just serves as a backdrop to my activities. Sometimes, something I see or hear brings a particular piece of music to mind. At times like those, I often fancy that the music, the particular song I am hearing in my head, is a message. I think that Spirit (God, All That Is, The Source, the Man Upstairs?) has to find other means of speaking to us when we get so busy and involved that we ignore or under-nurture our spiritual sides. 

Such seemed to be the case as I gazed out the window early one morning while I waited for the coffee to brew. The sky was, simply put, beautiful. Mornings at our former rural home were often lovely, but that day was magnificent. As an old Cat Stevens (Yusuf Islam) song I had not heard in years began to wind softly through my consciousness, I shook off my morning torpor and ran to get my camera. How exhilarating it is to venture out early and greet the day. In the days that followed, this tune was often in my mind.

Is there a message there? I think maybe the answer is yes. Morning has broken— that could just be an archaic way of saying that it is past dawn.

Or, it could be a more personal communication to a woman whose favorite time of day was once morning. Now, I get up grudgingly, wincing at the aches and pains the night seems to inevitably bring. I do not even court wakefulness once I am up, as all that accomplishes is to remind me of an endless list of tasks that need to be attended to. So, I cling to my grogginess and more often than not miss the beauty of the early day. While I will say that I am doing ever so much better these days, I still have a very long way to go. I exist too often in a sort of busy void, neither particularly happy or unhappy, but preoccupied and rather unfocused a good deal of the time. Once again I am quite certain that I am being nudged though, to wake back up to a greater reality, to See and to Breathe in Life rather than just getting through it. 

“Praise for the singing, praise for the morning. Praise for the springing fresh from the word.” 

Dawn Breaking
Morning view from our previous country home. The new house doesn’t have much in the way of sunrise views.

Have I made any progress toward those lofty goals I espoused in that blog? I suppose that depends upon ones’ definition of progress. I am still thinking about doing yoga and meditating. But since I already “think” far too much, all this accomplishes is to add to my already overtaxed synaptic activity, and to make me feel mildly guilty that thinking about these important things is all I am doing. I tell myself that there is no shortage of exercise or activity in my life. It is nearly summer— the yard and the weeds practically grow right before my eyes. I have spend a good number of hot, sweaty hours outdoors and expect that I shall keep right on doing so in the months to come. However, I am avoiding. Exercise is not at the crux of this particular dilemma, though being healthier, in better shape and more active are desirable attainments. It has got a lot more to do with the approach I have for too long taken to life, and that is piecemeal and sometimes frantic. Meanwhile, the household chores are always there— a myriad tasks constantly vying for attention, and quite frankly, my usual overload of Projects. I only wish my list of accomplishments were commensurate with the amount of effort I seem to expend. Do you ever feel like Don Quixote, tilting at metaphorical windmills? So often, I feel that trying to be equal to the task that is life is just such a futile act. Intellectually, I can see that I have created of my life the giant, or monster in this case, and that I am taking it all far too seriously, but the heart still often insists on despairing.

Remembering the Words to That Tune

I spoke before of quieting the “inner dialogue”, that running conversation we all carry on with ourselves in order to assure that we are we, that reason and consciousness are firmly in control. What a load of bull our egos insist on feeding us. I long for that quiet place inside, for truth and the opportunity to experience what I truly am. I think that what I need to cultivate while I wait until I am able to undertake the Path toward Enlightenment I can sometimes See so clearly before me, is openness and acceptance. Until I can embrace this mass of contradictions which has become me just now, I cannot move forward. I cannot be what I truly am until I accept myself and forgive myself right now.

In earlier times, this Spiritual progress came no easier or more quickly, but having already run this particular course, I am afraid that my impatience is showing. During that long ago spiritual quest, it took me months of meditation before I one day realized that I had finally achieved that long sought inner silence, and as soon as I realized it, it of course ended quite abruptly. (The need to “think” about what I had accomplished defeated it completely.) But I kept at it, the intervals of peace grew more common and lasted longer, and I found out that what fills the silence is ever so much better than that which we manufacture to hide from it. In silence, we learn to speak with, rather than at, God.

Lest I forget, quelling the inner dialogue and achieving silence was and is, only the first step in a process. I spent the next years learning, healing, releasing the past, and evolving through a series of internal initiations. I only vaguely remember most of this effort now, though I thought I suffered greatly at the time.

Then what? I suppose I might have opted out, taken my Enlightenment and opted out. Only there never was an option, because I knew that I had a Purpose with a capital to fulfill in this world, that I had went through it all that expressly so I could Serve that Purpose. And so a New cycle of work and service began.

As I went through those next difficult years, I actually felt myself slipping. My hard won Spiritual accomplishments were eroding away. I held on as best I could, but I was forgetting so much, becoming unable to access states of consciousness that had been like breathing to me just a short while before. Memory has never totally deserted me though. There have been times when I have questioned my own sanity certainly, and ashamed as I am, times when I have been bitter and angry at what I have been through. Too often, I have questioned whether I have it in me to take that same road again.

No Time Like...

I hope though, that the answer is yes. Would I do anything differently if I could Reel in the Years (Steely Dan) and start again?

Quite simply— No. I may sometimes wish returning to that exalted and ecstatic state that is variously called Nirvana, Transcendence, Samādhi or Enlightenment was easy as clicking my heels together and being transported home, but anything worth doing once is no doubt even more rewarding the second time around.

For me, ultimately, though I may kick and scream as I go, there is only God’s Will, the Path that Spirit has set for me. In the meanwhile, I will just let the music keep playing in my head. There are so many songs that mean so much, so many that speak to me on levels I cannot reach otherwise just now. Time after Time.

Baby Steps

I have made some progress in the years since I first wrote most of this. Not huge strides mind you, but I am willing to accept baby steps. I am reLearning Patience and Acceptance. I don’t rail against my lot in life much these days, and my outlook is in general a lot sunnier. I find that inner peace, if only briefly, from time to time. 

And the music in my heads keeps on playing…

Till Next Time!

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