In a world of despair and disappointment a glimmer of hope helps to keep the heart light and the mind open. The source of that hope can be anything or anyone that speaks to our soul through encouragement, love, empathy. A simple “I believe in you” is often all it takes to help someone through a difficult time. It’s a glimmer of hope that says “everything will be alright in the end and if it isn’t alright, it is not yet the end.*”
“The world is bent on destruction at the hands of those who would themselves destroy …”
Grandma Rose raised her tea cup to her lips and sipped. She seemed unperturbed by her words, while I sensed my rose-coloured glasses slipping.
“Fighting for peace is not the wise course, but those who know not how to love themselves can never demonstrate love, or offer true peace, to others. It is not possible.”
I felt hopeless. She’d lived her life while most of mine was still ahead of me. The world seemingly falling apart around me. Still, I could see her point. How many times had I witnessed the mask of love a-kilter on the faces of those who felt nothing but self-loathing? Their acts of redemption couched in resentment and frosted with anger. The glass half empty with a cracked smile on its face.
Fighting for peace ~ the greatest oxymoron of all.
“What is to be done?” I asked.
Grandma Rose raised herself up, replaced her tea cup to the coffee table, and focused her attention on me.
“Love yourself. Genuinely love yourself ~ warts and all. Look inside your soul. Whatever troubles you, address it, embrace it and love it away. Even those we consider unworthy just want to be loved. They act out for attention. They act out because they don’t understand the source of their pain. If people would just look inside to find, address and love away their suffering they would feel no need to cause suffering in others. Only when the people can find this place of peace in themselves will there be peace in the world.”
A sigh rose from the depths of my own suffering; a tear pooled in my eye. I knew she was right. I had learned a long time before that love begins at home ~ the home of my soul ~ and that it resonates and colours the lives of others according to my intention. Love begins with the inner journey ~ a painful journey I understood all too well. A journey that creates empathy and a liberating knowledge of self that disengages the power of pain and sets us on a course of love in its purest sense.
Grandma Rose, ever the philosopher, noted my discomfort and offered this consolation:
“When you ask the meaningful questions, my dear, it is my privilege to give you the meaningful answers. As my wisdom is born of the inner journey so will yours be. It is a hard road but one worth travelling. Remember, the Golden Rule: ‘Do unto others as you would have have them do unto you.’ As long as you live by this treatise you will not go wrong … as long as you understand how you would like to be treated … and why.”
The challenge: What Dreams Are Made Of … For this writing event, share a dream or two that’s had a great effect ~ even after waking.
I always pay attention to my night time dreams. I write them down. Review the more dynamic ones with my therapist to find the meaning and application to my life. The subconscious has a lot to say and I want to know what it is.
There have been a few times in my life ~ when I was at my most distressed, as it happens ~ when my dreams have actually proven to be of some comfort.
The first one I recall occurred when I was 12 years old.
I was staying at my grandmother’s at the time and one night had gone to bed quite distressed. A much anticipated trip to a farm to see horses and make a new friend had been cancelled at the last minute by my second cousin who had arranged the excursion. Her husband wasn’t able to go so they’d decided to postpone and arrange to go another time.
I was grief-stricken, sobbing myself to sleep on the couch that served as my bed for the two months of that summer at granny’s trailer home. Inconsolable, actually. Burdened heavily by my life in survival mode (though I didn’t know it at the time) I looked at the chance to be with horses, and maybe even ride, as an escape from the unhappy circumstances in which I found myself.
During the night, a dream. Nothing elaborate. A simple message. An angel, it seems to me, appeared as an ethereal, comforting presence and a gentle voice spoke the words “everything will be alright.”
The next morning I awoke feeling much better; my heart lighter. I recall getting off the couch and going over to my grandmother, who was making breakfast in the galley kitchen, and telling her about my dream and how I felt that everything would, indeed, be okay.
Within moments the telephone rang. Granny answered. It was for me.
It was my cousin. She had changed her mind. We were going to the farm after all. Her husband could go another time.
To this young distraught girl it was a total miracle. Just as the voice in my dream had spoken, everything was going to be alright.
We did go to the farm. I did spend time with, and ride, the horses. And I met a girl the same age whose friendship I would enjoy until several years later when life got in the way.
It has occurred to me since that my grandmother, realizing how distraught I was by the change of plans, may have called my cousin after I went to bed and asked her to reconsider. And that it might have been her standing over me in the night, the angel that she was, with a reassuring voice telling me everything was going to be okay.
It doesn’t matter how it transpired. I have never forgotten those gentle and oh, so important words ~ words that have comforted, guided and consoled ever since, during times of sorrow, grief, uncertainty and pain. At times that simple message was the only thing I had to hold on to, giving me the strength and the understanding to know that whatever happened I would be fine.
In recent years I have come to admire the supremely talented Canadian singer/songwriter Jacob Moon who, a few years ago, penned a song called, believe it or not, “Everything’s Gonna Be Alright.” When I first heard it I was reduced to tears by its simple melody and moving words. Jacob had put to music the song in my heart. Now whenever I hear it I am moved to remember that moment, long ago, when a simple message comforted the heart of a distraught young girl. Words I continue to lean on as my life unfolds and realize that in my trials I am not alone.
This is written in response to the Weekly Writing Challenge: 1,000 Words. It started as a free writing exercise, calling upon the memory of a dream I had a couple of weeks ago, an experience in a restaurant where you eat in the dark and years of therapy.
Recently I made a major decision to move my horse to another barn.
The process of deliberation did include “What if?” but it was more in terms of “I don’t want to be looking back 10 years from now and asking ‘What if?'”
This actually made the decision a lot easier. Who wants to live with regret at an opportunity lost? Certainly not I. I know what that’s like and it’s taken some time for me to let go of that negative way of being.
At this stage of my life making mindful decisions is more important than ever.
Being mindful of my horse’s needs as well as my own was an important part of the decision process. His physical and emotional care are paramount. He’s been well cared for where he is and I have no dispute with it.
But, after nearly eight years for him and 13 years for me of being in the same place, it’s time for a change. Time to see life differently. Time for new perspectives and input and friends.
I am really happy with my choice to move Bear to this new farm. He will be well cared for and I will be one step closer to my dressage dreams. Our world will expand in wonderful ways and I’m really looking forward to it.
I am certain that 10 years from now I will not be looking back and asking “What if?”
The name Dorothy is of Greek origin and means “Gift of God.”
To those who do not believe in God, this probably won’t mean much.
My strong belief in God, however, makes this name particularly meaningful to me, even if, at times, I have felt it terribly old fashioned for the era in which I live. I have contemplated changing it to something more hip many times, and considered shortened versions, but they just don’t want to stick.
When I was a little girl of three my parents and I were visiting San Francisco Zoo. Apparently, towards the end of our visit, I got quite tired of walking and turned to my father, looked up and said, “Poor Dofy …”. I was carried the rest of the way. Occasionally a family member might address me affectionately by this name. Very occasionally.
I will not tolerate Dot or Dotty.
I am told, by my mother, that I was named after my godmother (ironically enough), someone with whom I am still in occasional contact, though we are not close.
Dorothy is also easily translated into Hungarian (Dorotya) and as half my heritage originates in that country it stands to reason that my name might have some link to that culture. However, I am not aware of any of my female Hungarian ancestors having that name, nor that my parents had this in mind, particularly, when considering my moniker.
Coincidentally (or not), my middle name, Elizabeth, Hebrew in origin, means “God’s Promise.” (Hungarian: Erzebet.)
The inspiration: Queen Elizabeth.
I have tried to adapt this into a nickname as well but again, nothing sticks.
I am Dorothy, through and through. This name reflects my deep and abiding faith in a power greater than I that has, through all my life’s ups and downs, been my rock.
It’s Free Write Friday (well, Saturday for me, now) and Kellie Elmore has issued a most intriguing prompt:
… use your choice of lines as your prompt. They can be the ending lines of your favorite book, or a favorite poem…whichever moved you the most. You may begin your work with the lines, or simply use them as inspiration.
I take my inspiration from American poet, Robert Frost.
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I ~ I took the one less travelled by, and that has made all the difference
Where Faith Took My Hand
I did not take the road,
The road took me.
It bade me by
The way with
Hints of who-knows-what
Uncertain, I yet followed,
Fear a weight unburdened
At the step
Where faith took my hand
And said, “Fly!”
Oh, how I wanted to fly!
See what others may never
See. Be what I never dared
My soul’s inner journey
To that place where
Down the road less
Travelled where strength and
I’d like to take this opportunity to acknowledge everyone who’s stepped in the deep in to follow this blog. It is an expression of the inner journey, so I’m not surprised my response to this week’s challenge unfolded as it did.