A few nights ago, sitting at my computer, writing an email to a friend, I looked out my window and saw, perfectly framed, a full moon sitting above the trees and smiling at me, as moons can do! Since that evening and with this month's newsletter running in my mind I recalled an October message of more than a decade ago when I was preparing to speak at a Ministry conference on "Will you Retire or Re-Wire?" Truth to tell, then and now I have had difficulty with the concept of retiring, but am comfortable with re-wiring, having gone down that road numerous times. Reviewing that earlier newsletter today was another wake-up call, especially in light of this year, which has been somewhat of a breathless wonder. Please join me on a bit of a ramble from this October's perspective. But first, I share some highlights from that conference topic.
It commenced with a bedtime story that was read to me when I stayed at a friend's home. Titled Paint Me a Masterpiece from a book by Gordon MacKenzie, Orbiting the Giant Hairball, it was about someone who lived his life 'responsibly', according to what was expected of him. Using the example of a Paint by Numbers drawing, how he painted within the lines, followed numbers in sequence and adhered to colours suggested. Then, one day in mid-life he looked at his Masterpiece and realized it was not authentically his, as much of it was what other people thought he should do. That was the day his life changed.
Robert Louis Stevenson said it best: "To know what you prefer instead of humbly saying 'amen' to what the world tells you is to keep your soul alive."
That story was also my wake-up call, as it was too true to my life! Certainly, mine had been rich beyond measure with experiences, people, and even the many oops roads that took me up precarious hills and down deep valleys. After serious reflection I made some new decisions:
Reviewing my life today and asking myself if I am more discerning, I can say in many ways, yes, I am. In other ways, I am still learning! While some priorities have changed and too many special people have left this earthly plane, I consider my life a priceless gift that continues to be an ever-evolving work-in-progress. A very special creatively skilled man who has made my orthopedic shoes for over 20 years shared something insightful a few days ago: while most of us know how much money we have, none of us know how many days we have left. How true that is, and how important, therefore, to live in the present moment and release any heavy weights of regrets. I recall reading that decisions and discipline weigh ounces, but regrets weigh tons! So the question is: why put that heavy weight on our shoulders?
As you have journeyed with me on my October years and lifetime ramblings, did any of mine speak to you? Or perhaps new ideas arose for you? I have shared recently doing a serious life review, along with major purging and clearing, that was a cathartic experience. Reviewing yours, are you living the life you envisioned? Or, would today be a good day to make a shift, set a new intention, or dream a new dream? Please know with me, along with my fellow countryman, the late Belfast born C.S. Lewis, author of Narnia stories, it is never too late to do so.
Some years ago I did numerous workshops with Dr. Alan Wolfelt, founder of the Center for Loss and Life Transition. In his book, Understanding Grief, he wrote: "We need to listen to the music of the past so we can sing in the present and dance into the future." As we each expand our own Life Masterpiece, one unlike any that has ever been created, or ever will be, let's listen to that beautiful music we created in the past, sing in the present and dance ... or jig safely ... into the future!
Until we meet again, may you experience a multitude of rich blessings and have a blessèd Thanksgiving. Namasté!
Rev. Dorothy Blandford, Ph.D
Apt. 202 - 1655 Martin Drive
Surrey, BC, V4A 6E1, Canada