Paramahansa Yogananda
Paramahansa Yogananda

Focus. Faith opens compassion understanding and spirituality. That’s how I remember to FOCUS. It will come as no surprise to those of you who follow this blog that I occasionally get scattered. Super scattered.

I do lots of things and am interested in more. My mind races at 1500 thoughts per minute. I swear. Sometimes I would like to take mind out and give her a nice washing. Clean the dross out of her. Keep her clear. If I could meditate all day long, that might work. Maybe, maybe not.

I try not to focus on problems. Anxious mind racing is totally debilitating. I have issues – who doesn’t? – but my issues are ones of self-pity and the great WHY ME question. As my friend David would say, “Don’t fight the world.” I try not to fight the world. I am not a natural born caregiver and yet I am married to a very sick person. He seems to get less alert every day. He suffers from incontinence, either because his brain function no longer warns him when he needs to go to the bathroom or because he’s so rigid he can’t get there in time. It has become the biggest problems I face. He also is stubborn. If I ask him if he needs to go to the bathroom (which I do every 1/2 hour) he will say no and then have to get up and slowly waddle to the bathroom within 5 minutes. I have to focus – especially with the hinge of that word – compassion.

Compassion is just not for others though – it’s also for you. If you don’t allow yourself the gift of compassion it is like everything else – you can’t give it if you don’t have it. Sometimes compassion for myself is self-pity. I don’t like self-pity. Too ego expanding a feeling. But it is there and won’t go away just by shushing it.

At the ripe old age of 61, I also look back over the years and see decisions I made that didn’t work out as I’d planned. I had planned to run a bed and breakfast after we retired. Nobody but me was interested in the idea. The rest of the family was not into it at all. And if you’re going to do this – you do need everyone on board.

So no bed and breakfast – probably a good thing because I don’t need anybody else to take care of right now.

I spent a lot of money over the years on my business selling antique quilts and used and out of print or rare books. I love quilts and old books. I am an expert at valuing a quilt. I would buy antique quilts that no one else could see the beauty in, but I was always able to bring it out for them. The books too brought in quite a lot at sale time. I wish I still had everything I sold. That’s the price you pay as a lover of the rare and antique. You want it again.

That period from 1996 to 2005 was a high spot in my life. Buying quilts and reselling them along with the books was exciting. I never knew when I would find something. I’m still on the hunt even though I can’t afford to buy much. I occasionally buy a quilt really cheap and then resell it. It keeps my hand in.

Focus. This is such an easy word for something hard to do. I spent my 40s hand piecing quilts and hand quilting them, usually in the evenings when all the work was done. I have made over a hundred quilts and wall hangings. I would design my own. I sold them all – mostly on PEI at a gallery. Then I only quilted.

After a while I became less interested in making quilts and more interested in sewing. Now I sew, I knit and I have been trying to teach myself to spin fiber into yarn. I’ve been trying to do this for over a year. I find that it isn’t something that I want to do badly enough to sit still and do. I think I have to give up on the spinning idea. It’s time to admit that I would rather buy yarn than fiber – especially since the yarn already complete and ready to knit is the same cost as the fiber you have to spin. I guess it’ time for the spinning wheel to go.

Faith is knowing my soul. Knowing that the observer is just watching. Not being critical of everything that happens but just letting it happen. It is a slow unfolding of events that bring more strength. It may feel sometimes as if the events are crushing and painful – but the unfolding just goes on …………….. this too shall pass is a good watch word while trying to focus.

Opening is the gap between thoughts. This is a place full of wonder. A full stop on the constant chatter. The soul recognizing that it is watching, observing. A place to plant a seed for growth is in that gap.

Compassion – love for one another. Love for every living, growing, every tree, bird. animal and flower. Love for Krishna. Krishna, Jesus, Buddha – all compassion – giving selflessly, with no thought of remuneration behind the giving. Peace lives in compassion.

Understanding – knowing yourself. Standing under the choices you’ve made and not questioning everything you’ve done. Supporting those you love and those you don’t even know. Understanding violence, evil and hate and meeting them with compassion and love.

Spirituality – not just a path. More of a place than a journey. Letting life unfold with a sincere deep belief that spirit is in place. Not in control, just there, observing and watching. And in being there you feel the moment, the peace, the breath of the angels on your face. Seeing the divine all the time, living from your center – you can let go and allow the world, your circumstances, your life – to just be.


Neem Karoli Baba
Neem Karoli Baba

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