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The ICING Can Never be the CAKE Part II
Two questions remain:
WHY do we not know our own beauty and wholeness?
How do we learn that we, the cake, are not enough?
When we are born as babies, we believe we are enough. The world then teaches us otherwise through the educational system, parents, the media, peers, extended family and others. Because others believe they are NOT ENOUGH, they cannot fully grasp that small children are enough.
You can't teach what you don't believe about yourself.
So, we are programmed out of our knowing our perfection.
The spiritual/personal journey is one of de-programming, and re-programming ourselves back to self-love, self-acceptance, and seeing the beauty / wholeness / loveability of all others.
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The ICING Can Never be the CAKE
The cake. We are the cake. The cake means that we are complete, whole, and wonderful. We are loveable as we are. We are connected, sturdy yet vulnerable, and filled with incredible ingredients. We REALLY are the cake.
We are LOVEABLE as we are. However, some people don't believe that about themselves. The spiritual/emotional journey is one of coming into the full understanding, acceptance, and appreciation of one's cake-ness. This is personal/spiritual growth.
We come into this knowing through prayer, meditation, being in nature, and other practices which connect us to our DIVINE ESSENCE. We are continually growing into a deeper knowing of our DIVINE cake-ness.
Now, look at the Icing. We can add icing to the cake. Icing includes those special sweet worldly things that can make life feel even better. So -- good relationships, prosperity, enough money, recognition, success, and healthy power in the world are the icing on the cake. BUT THEY ARE NOT THE CAKE.
The cake is fine without the icing. The cake stands alone.
The problems come when people don't believe they are enough cake-ness, and expect the icing to fill them up. In other words, trying to make the icing into the cake does not ultimately work.
For some people, it is a lifelong task to add more and more icing, in the hopes that it will help them feel enough and fulfilled. However, infinite amounts of icing can never be the cake.
Continuing to pour on more icing can become an addiction. It creates all kinds of problems including scarcity thinking, fear, and self-loathing. Shame is always a by-product of not feeling like one is enough. Shame causes control issues, defensiveness, and depression.
So, to know one is the CAKE involves:
Knowing that one is loveable
Striving to make the world feel loveable
Seeing the icing for what it is
Feeling like enough
Seeing and feeling the connection of all creation
Having healthy power, and not needing to dominate or control others
Seeing the DIVINE WHOLENESS in themselves
We need to help others come into their own understanding that they are enough, loveable -- TRULY the CAKE. That will do a lot to create justice, peace, and community in a shattered world.
Let us enjoy our CAKE-NESS. We are ultimately DIVINE.
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Navigating Through Them . . .
Navigating Our Many Worlds
We are amazingly adaptive and complex creatures. By the time we are old, we have navigated through many different worlds.
THE WORLD OF ME -- Who am I?
We have personalities, temperaments and ways of being. Every person is unique, and part of maturing is discovering who one is and what he or she needs. We also change our views, attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors as we age.
THE FAMILY WORLD -- Where do I fit?
We are born into a family. To survive and thrive in that family, we act in certain ways, trying to fit in and be safe. We are scripted into roles, and we play with them all of our lives.
Some roles we learn to play in our family might be:
The smart one
The quiet one
The rescuer of the family
The mediator, go-between
The one who messes up
The passive one
The good listener
THE SCHOOL/PEER WORLD -- How do I cope with others and organizational demands?
We then join the peer world, the world of children and school. We learn to play the school game, fit in, and get along. We found our group, or niche, if we are lucky. We learn to play a part in that group. We learn the student role, and the friend role.
THE PARTNER WORLD -- How do I maintain my own integrity and still adapt to my partner?
Eventually, we may find a romantic partner. We play the boyfriend or girlfriend role, This world changes as we age, and we adjust and adapt to expectations. And we learn to relate to our partner's family.
THE PARENT WORLD -- What skills are needed to raise this child?
When we have children, we join the parent world. Making decisions daily that affect a smaller, helpless being.
THE GRANDPARENT WORLD -- How involved do I become?
When our children grow up, and have children of their own, we learn to navigate the grandparent role. What are rules, boundaries, and limits?
THE WORK WORLD -- How can I be productive, make a living, and get along with others?
We start working in young adulthood, and have to adjust to bosses, co-workers, workplace etiquette and rules. If we change careers and jobs, we must adjust to new roles and people. There are often new skills to learn.
THE ADULT FRIEND WORLD -- Who are my people?
Who we befriend determines how we relate, connect, and act. We develop social groups, hobbies, and past-times which often have guidelines and practices of their own. It is a time of discovery of what one loves to do in one's spare time.
THE COMMUNITY MEMBER WORLD -- What is my social and political responsibility?
We can become socially and politically active in our communities. As a result, we are thrust into a variety of environments. We develop social values and live them out. We are part of a neighborhood. When we move geographically, we have to start over making new connections, and learning how to fit in.
THE SPIRITUAL WORLD -- What is my relationship to the Divine?
We join religious groups and institutions, and develop our spiritual lives. We connect with different people from different backgrounds, races, ages and social classes.
We develop spiritual practices which provide amounts of comfort and support. We explore questions like "What does my life mean?"
THE ELDER WORLD -- How do I grow old and still maintain my sense of identity and worth?
As we age, we may retire from work. We grow older, and develop various health issues. We often become medical patients, and generally have to deal with changes in our bodies, hormone levels, and energy levels. Eventually, we decline, and finally die.
Many people do not give themselves enough credit for navigating all of these worlds, and adjusting to a wide variety of roles and expectations.
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A Compassionate Ear and a Passion for Positive Change
There Is No Present Like TIME
In the movie called "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" about elderly people in India, Judi Dench's character states: "There is no present like time." This, of course, is a take-off on "There is no time like the present."
I have been thinking a lot about time lately. Am I old?
After all, I one of the first ones approved for the COVID vaccine. Am I retired? No, I don't think so. Parts of my life have changed, but I am still in the world, doing something I hope is valuable to others. My official "jobs" are over.
I taught college for 40 years. I was a therapist in private practice for 25 years. I led men's and couple support groups for 25 years. But I am still a husband, a father, a friend, a grandfather, an uncle, and a community member.
All of these official occupations were a big part of my life. But my life goes on after those endeavors are completed. I wrote books, plays, and produced films. They are still out there, and on my shelves. But they are not my essence.
I have wondered with this virus, "How long do I really have to live?" I don't know. I've never known, and I don't know now. So, it is not yet my time to die. Being close to 80 seems like it is moving into the final stretch. Betty White turns 100 as I write this. Cicely Tyson is 96. Both are functioning, creative, and inspiring people. Maybe I have lots of time? The question remains: What do I do with this precious, amazing time?
What I have come to believe is that TIME IS A GIFT. TIME is not to be taken for granted. As long as I am able to listen, support others, and live with compassion, I will continue to do so. It doesn't have a name, or definition. It is just a blessed gift of time. As my wife, Gloria, says, "It is my job to be available."
Time to be available. To be a constant force for love in the world. Maybe that's what it is all about. Using the time when I have energy, health, and prosperity to be a light in the world. This means living in integrity, being consistent, telling the truth, supporting those in need and having a compassionate ear. I can also promote social and racial justice, fairness, equality for all, and mindfulness about the environment.
Yeah, that's it. A Compassionate Ear and a Passion for Positive Change. I can share my ideas, and make suggestions when I am asked to do so. I am committed to being present, loving, and kind.
There is no job definition of those, and no paycheck.
But, my time has come to use what I have studied and learned about people, social institutions, and how life seems to work -- to be an elder.
Wait a minute. Being an "elder" is too limiting also. I am every age I have ever been. Maybe it goes like this: Just be, be grateful for the gift of time, the health, the ability to shut up when necessary, to speak up when it makes sense, reach out and pay attention.
So -- that's my identity. That's my category. No category -- but continuing to do God's will, to bring out more peace, understanding, and justice in the world.
We certainly need it. Thank you, God, for the gift of TIME.
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We're all in this together
We need each other for support
So let's start over with empathy
And learn to share, care, and forgive
We can pray for peace
But we must do our part
Protect those in need
And overcome selfishness
There is much to be done
And great suffering abounds
We must free the outcasts
And lift up the underdogs
We must overcome this virus
And move into health
For all in our community
It is time to get real
Racism, classism, ageism
No one is superior when
When we are all one
Let us remember our Creator
Who gave us all life
And supports our every breath
As we keep fighting for justice
We are Unity Minneapolis
We are united in our purpose
To spread Divine Love
All over this planet
The earth needs tender care
Let us be aware and mindful
Of global warming and pollution
With responsible stewardship
So let love guide our hearts
And heal our souls
As we come together in peace
And turn our prayers into action
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LEGACY -- The Imprint We Leave Behind
Every day, we have an opportunity to do our part to bring more love, peace, and joy into the world. Our every action can make a difference in somebody's life. When we leave this earthly body and this planet, it is helpful to know what we have learned, and what we have left behind. This is called our "legacy."
Here, we will take the letters of "legacy" and describe in more detail what that can look like.
L -- Love Lessons
We have daily opportunities to share love in the world. We can be kind to those we know, and those we hardly know. Our behaviors reflect our feelings.
So, it is important to ask oneself, "What is the most loving thing I can do in this situation?" We also learn to love ourselves, and receive love from others. This caring, nurturing feeling reinforces our knowing our own beauty and God-like-ness. We can also teach others to love more by setting an example, being a role model.
E -- Energetic Experiences
By living fully, in the moment, and being the vibrant creation that we are, we feel a deep connection with all there is in the world. This feeling of connection affects our actions, thoughts and feelings. We have had many different types of encounters. Some of these encounters have been joyous and meaningful, filled with love. Others may have been painful, challenging and ultimately enlightening. We leave behind the complexity, depth, and intensity of what we have lived.
G -- God's Grace, Gratitude and Generosity
We live in God's grace, knowing we are loved, cherished, forgiven, and appreciated. With this, we do not need to applause, attention, and approval of others. By knowing this about our lives, we develop freedom to help others become their true selves. We are generous with our resources including our time.
We live in gratitude and appreciating our gifts and talent. We do not take for granted our good health, mental and physical skills, and ability to connect and care about others.
A -- Affirming Actions and Availability
We live with a positive attitude about ourselves, life, and the world. Our actions reflect this positivity. Our actions affect others, and they, in turn, affect others.
So, by affirming that WE ARE LOVE IN ACTION, we become instruments of God's unending love. We make ourselves available to others in need. We listen, care, and support those around us who are hurting.
C -- Courageous Connections
We develop friendships and intimate connections with others. We are courageous and take appropriate risks. We live out our potential and dreams by going out into a challenging world, and difficult situations. We speak up for justice, truth, and integrity of all people. We are mindful and selective as we venture into uncharted waters. We also teach others to be courageous by our example. We are blessed to have resilience, the ability to bounce back.
Y -- Yearning for Yonder
As creative human beings, we have the gift of imagination. We can see beyond the obvious. We wander, and we wonder. We explore and we move into the spiritual realm. This energy of exploration means that we are continuously expanding, and learning new ways of being. We move into worlds different than the one we were raised in. We travel to different places, see different people. All the while, we realize we are one with God, and each other, and nothing can separate us from that knowing. As we have goals and dreams, we inspire others to see that were is more beyond the horizon.
What a journey it is to live this human experience! Since we are spiritual beings, we have a depth to us that transcends what is visible. As we move into later life, we become aware that our legacy is not just money or possessions, but an imprint that has made a meaningful difference in the human world. And for this, we are grateful and blessed.
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Living with 10,000 Chickens
I grew up in rural central New Jersey on a 10,000 white leghorn chicken farm. All chickens, no roosters. My father, mother and I worked hard every day collecting, cleaning, sorting, and packing eggs.
My Dad did not believe in caging animals. So, no cages. Coops with room to run around, and free range time on five acres during the warmer months. There were about 200 per room. Chickens made lots of noise, cackled from 5 a.m., and smelled like manure which they readily manufactured. The laid eggs in wall nests, and slept on wooded perches.
We got to go outside when the chickens moved onto the range for the five warmer months, April through September. I remember the small pleasures I had as I fed them by spreading grain from pails. There was an airport nearby, and I imagined the pilots getting a laugh as they flew overhead. I wrote out words on the ground in grain, and the chickens all ate in the configurations of the words, making them even larger. At age eight, words like "shit" and other curse words were my favorites. My father never knew.
We had several dogs as pets during my childhood, but they would run out to the highway and get killed. So, we couldn't have dogs anymore. However, when was around age ten, I had a pet chicken named "Troodle" for Gertrude. She would run across the room in the coop when I called her name. She would sit down in front of me, and I would pick her up and pet her. She had a painted red mark on her white feathers.
When the chickens molted and were sold to the butcher, Troodle was spared. Although she had molted like the others, eventually all of her feathers grew back, and she looked vibrant again. She lived over five years which is long for a chicken and died of old age. I was about
fourteen, and cried very when she passed. I never had another pet chicken.
I learned about nurturing animals, the cycle of birth and death. We had to deal with diseases and hurricanes. I worked with my parents every day after school, and all day in the summer and on weekends. I started around age seven. I collected eggs, and helped wash, sort, and pack them. I was proud that our truck had letters written on it saying, "David Obsatz and Son."
At times, I really resented the farm and the chickens, the daily routine, and the lack of free time to play with friends. However, we spent many evenings in the summer as a family going to the ocean in Asbury Park, about fifteen minutes away. We watched the waves, the pigeons, the seagulls, and eating salt water taffy. You'd think that I would be tired of birds of any kind by evening.
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O Holy Night: