Failure or Lesson?

Our life on this earth is a school and everything we experience here is a lesson.  But sometimes we forget that and see things that don’t turn out as planned or hoped for as “failures.”  That is a loaded word for most of us.  When we see something we tried as a “failure” we may begin to see ourselves as a “failure.”

Next time something you do doesn’t turn out the way you want, calm down and go within.  Ask, “What is the lesson in this?”  Be open and listen.  Answers may not come right away but as you go on with daily life they will start to come, sometimes in unexpected ways.  There may be more than one lesson.

Once you are aware of the lessons, what you do with them is up to you.  You may choose to revisit the project or experience that didn’t work out the way you wanted and apply the lessons you have learned.  You may choose to just start over with something new with the new knowledge and experienced you have gained.  Perhaps what you learned from the experience was that you were trying to do something that was outside of your skills.  Here again  you have a choice — to learn new skills or try something else that is more in line with your skills, abilities and knowledge.

Finally you may decide that what you were trying just wasn’t what you thought it would be.  You may have been miserable as you worked, determined to  not “fail” at something your heart really wasn’t in.  Letting this go will free you up to move on to something that makes your heart sing.

Letting go of something that was making me miserable is what led me to follow a calling I had felt for many years, but had felt prevented from acting on.  And that was the beginning of Espirational.  I might never have found my way here if it hadn’t been from two attempts at an online presence that didn’t turn out the way I had hoped and the lessons learned along the way..

Many of us have unrealistic expectations of ourselves and our lives.  Fame and fortune are not required for a life well lived.  Many expect to be perfect the first time they try something new.  When we let go of these expectations we will find that we are free to live the life we were created for, learn lessons we need to learn and perhaps even enjoy the journey.

 

Seeing with New Eyes

Copyright 2015 by R.A. Robbins

Yesterday morning as I was walking toward the lake I stopped suddenly with a “Whoa… Cool!”  The beauty of the morning mist hovering over the lake stopped me in my tracks.  This is not an everyday occurrence,  but it is also not that rare.  It does leave me in awe every time I see it however.

I continued on and stopped for a minute to take a moment to soak in the beauty of the moment.  When I turned back to the trail I saw someone on their porch and said, “I was just admiring the mist on the lake.”  He looked out and had obviously not noticed it.  Then I said while pointing, “That bank of clouds over there looks like it is actually touching the lake.”  He then paused for a minute, looking, and said. “Yeah, it does… Cool!”

As I continued on my walk, I realized that this is what my life is all about.  Living my life, walking in the truth and sharing it in gentle and subtle ways as I go.  I need to be reminded of that a lot.  When we first moved here people laughed at me… a lot.  I was just that crazy woman who walked all the time.  But now after watching me for three years I am seeing people making changes in their own lives to become more healthy and mindful.  Our best teachings come not from our words, but from the way we live.

As an artist I believe it is my joy, pleasure and responsibility to let people get a glimpse of the world through this artist’s eyes.  In fact all awakened beings share in this, artists or not.  It is only through seeing glimpses of what life not only can be but is if we only open our eyes to it that people will begin to realize the reality that they have created for themselves does not have to be so.

So as you walk through this life be open to your own opportunities to see the world through new eyes.  Live and walk in truth and love and others may have the same opportunity through you.

Walking the Middle Path

Flowers along the road Copyright 2015 by R.A. Robbins
Flowers along the road
Copyright 2015 by R.A. Robbins

I walk the middle path.  It can be a lonely place to be.  It can be a dangerous and frightening place to be, caught between two extremes at war with each other with verbal, spiritual and even sometimes physical shots being fired by both sides.   But as a Christian who tries to follow the teachings and example of the Master Teacher it is where I am called to be, shining the light of God’s love.

So, what does walking the middle path mean for me?  Well, it means being a Christian.  It means not being an “Evangelical” or a “Progressive.”  It means not being a Democrat or a Republican.  It means not being  “conservative” or  “liberal.”  It means believing that being “pro-life” does not end with the birth of a child.  It means believing in protecting and caring for children once they are here. Protecting and respecting the lives of individuals with disabilities. Allowing and encouraging everyone to grace us with their gifts. And, finally, not playing God with end of life issues, either by extending life by artificial means or prematurely ending it.

Walking the middle path for me means believing that peace is not best achieved by war.  It means believing that frightened citizens arming themselves too often ends in tragedy.  It means seeing the Christ in everyone, no matter what they look like on the outside or where they came from.

The middle path demonstrates loving our neighbor, even when they seem unlovable (I struggle with this).  It means recognizing that we are all in this life to help and care for each other and that life is not meant to be a huge competition with winners and losers and no middle.  It means seeing justice not as vengeance or retribution, but rather doing what is right.

Do I always stay on the path Spirit has set out for me?  No.  I veer off course, first once direction, then another — right, left, forward, back and sometimes even up and down.  If you could trace my spiritual footsteps it would be a mess.  I allow myself to get pulled off course by fear, loneliness, old beliefs and anger.  But no matter how far off path I may get I always have to come back to my true center.  To that place where love, light, peace and justice exist.

And that friends is our calling.  To live in the world but not of it.  To rise above the hatred and confusion of our times.  To rest in God and to shine our light. There is no brighter candle in the world than the one who, through it all, is able to live a life of peace through faith. That candle is found in the middle path where Christ still walks.

If You Don’t Love Your Neighbor, Then You Don’t Love God

Today we’re going to do something different and begin with a Scripture reading from Mark 12:28-31.

28 One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”

29 “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.[e] 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’[f] 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[g]There is no commandment greater than these.”

32 “Well said, teacher,” the man replied. “You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but him. 33 To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”

34 When Jesus saw that he had answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And from then on no one dared ask him any more questions.  

—-Mark 12:28-31, The Bible

Just a reminder for all of us right now.  No matter what side of the political, social or religious divide you may find your on, we all need to remember what Jesus called the greatest commandments, to love God and to love our neighbor.

Take a minute and look at your attitudes, words and behavior toward those you disagree with and may even consider your enemies.  If we are going to call ourselves Christians, no matter what else your call yourself, we must live lives that follow the teachings of Jesus.

If you think the word neighbor refers only to your fellow church members or those you agree with please refer to Luke 10: 25-37 for the story of the good Samaritan.  You may remember that Jews and Samaritans hated each other.

Do you have the courage to reach out to someone you  may hate or even consider “evil?”  I am preaching to myself here.  I live surrounded by outspoken people with different political and religious beliefs than mine and I get very perturbed with them, but this is something we have to do   It is our calling, we can’t ignore it and still call ourselves followers of The Christ.

Now let’s stand and sing the closing hymn with Rhonda Vincent.  It’s a good one!