Looking for answers to life's questions

Posts tagged ‘spiritual quest’

In Search of the meaning of Father

Father’s Day is here once again. I don’t believe I’ve ever done a post explicitly about my dad. I read all the stories about close relationships with dads and am always struck with envy. My dad was a good man. He just wasn’t around much and didn’t know what to do with us when he was home. I had almost no memory of his existence before the age of 6 ½. Military life kept him mostly far from us. When he was home, there seemed an uncertainty about him. What was he supposed to do with these little rug rats? He was the oldest of 10 children. When I asked him toward the end of his life how he could go away from his family and not write to his mother, he said he was just another mouth to feed. That sentence broke my heart and answered all my questions.

Dad gave what he had to give. He was the one who sat with me on Sunday afternoons holding a dictionary. I was between 11-13 and struggling with the English language. The nuances were difficult to grasp and I was always feeling like such an idiot because I didn’t understand what someone was saying. He would open that dictionary and pick a random word, tell me to spell it and tell him what I thought it meant. I learned root words, prefixes and suffixes from him. He taught me to guess what a word meant by the root of that word. There isn’t a conversation I can’t follow now because of that drill. Words finally became my friends and they fascinated me.

My dad was hardcore military. Strict and meticulous as any soldier needs to be. He sacrificed his toys so his kids could have some. One Christmas, during the dictionary years, he spent a lot of time at the base wood shop, building a desk with a typewriter insert for me as well as a bookcase. My love of books was already in full bloom. He sold his shotgun that he hunted with, to buy my brother a bike. No more squirrels or rabbits in our pots.

Just a child in uniform.

Just a child in uniform.

After he retired, I discovered we were reading the same books. He would devour everything Edgar Casey had as well as anyone else, in his spiritual quest. We were traveling the same path 2000 miles apart. We could finally have a conversation of sorts. Retirement was very hard on him. Without the structure of the military, he seemed to flounder. He was a man of deep commitment. That I knew when my mother would try his patience to no end and he would say he was there until he left the planet. He came back to Germany for my mother and I when so many had abandoned the children they produced. It took until I was four to get all the channels and hoops jumped. He may not have been the warm, cuddly dad so many have but he was a good example of tenacity and doing what was right in spite of popular opinion. I was able to be by his side as he drew his last breath and hold his memory fondly as I write this. He made the writing possible. Thanks Dad.

“I believe that what we become depends on what our fathers teach us at odd moments, when they aren’t trying to teach us. We are formed by little scraps of wisdom.”

Umberto Eco, Foucault’s Pendulum

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

In Search of Spirituality

I’ve found that if I don’t write what’s true for me, I can’t get anything on the page. To be truthful about who we are is essential to our well-being. I had to find out the hard way. Could it be my German stubbornness at work here?

In all my searching, this is what it boils down to; spiritual searching. It encompasses the search for passion, right livelihood, belonging, purpose and all the rest. I present my fluffy self to the world in hopes of being accepted. It’s a natural human desire. But something in me always seems to be out of step and I beat a hasty retreat.

In my personal library, I have over 140 books relating to my spiritual search. They include “Power vs. Force” by David Hawkins MD and “The Holographic Universe” by Michael Talbot. My deepest interests are in metaphysics, quantum physics, philosophy, psychology, and anything to do with spirituality. You’d think by now I have all the answers. I don’t, but I think I’m getting closer.

I am an odd duck that remembers where her quack came from. That’s a long story in itself. This blog has been rewritten more than four times and shelved for many months. Against my better judgment, it insists on being presented. This is me, trusting.

Ganesha, the remover of obstacles. Like St. Joseph the seller of homes. I was the biggest obstacle and finally got out of my own way.

Ganesha, the remover of obstacles. Like St. Joseph the seller of homes. I was the biggest obstacle and finally got out of my own way.

I’ve studied some Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, and several versions of Christianity. There is a grain of truth in each but my answer wasn’t wholly there either. Trying to even define Spirituality is difficult. I am no more spiritual than any other person, it has just been my prominent focus. I feel we were created to create, be it a painting, book, meal, home, garden, photograph, hairstyle or bridge. When we create anything, we are often having a spiritual experience, if we are mindful and feeling joy in the creation. We see the Sacred in the ordinary if we search for it. I see spirituality and creativity as Divinely One.

I painted her 15 years ago because she moved me to do so.

I painted her 15 years ago because she moved me to do so.

What I am really about and what this illness of Bells Palsy has brought to the forefront is the need to delve deeper into my spiritual search. It has sent me into a self-created monastery. Spirituality is an uncomfortable and often hostile subject so my quest is most often quietly alone. I managed to incense both parents and both husbands. That’s putting it delicately. I really try not to offend anyone. It’s not about religion, it’s about connection.

I've never seen an Angel that looked like this but it's the representation that matters. I tried to paint a glow.

I’ve never seen an Angel that looked like this but it’s the representation that matters. I tried to paint a glow.

My search continues to evolve. I’ve had many extraordinary experiences in my life that keep me going on this quest. Ask me why I have Angels all over my house and I will tell you stories till you beg me to stop. My family knows them by heart now. I will never try to convince someone they are wrong and I am right, because it’s not true. I am ever so willing to share my experiences and hear yours.

Life is happening for us not to us. Panache Desai

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

In Search of Celebration

Today is my 64th birthday. I’m a little late in posting this weekend because I have spent the entire weekend celebrating my aging in unusual ways. Many think that we would not care to celebrate getting older, though I feel that each passing day is reason to celebrate. I’m still here and have another opportunity to make some difference in the world.

This lifetime has been a spiritual quest for me. I’m one of the many who question my reason for my very existence. The answer is still a bit elusive so it remains a quest. I am not speaking of religion though that was where my search started. It has a much broader spectrum now. Most days the question has been; how can I serve my world? Now it includes the question; how can I celebrate my life while serving.

Friday, I took the bus to our local mall. The driver is starting to recognize me. I did the early morning speed walk before the stores opened followed by an ice tea break then an hour or two in the bookstore. It’s where my sister-in-law always seems to catch me with her long distance calls. I think of her when I enter and sure enough, when I’ve found a quiet corner to browse, her call comes through. You can’t tell me telepathy isn’t real. Works every time. I found several great books and treated myself so I could add them to my personal lending library, The Traveler’s Gift and The Noticer by Andy Andrews. Small in size, they are wonderful in content. They are a little help down the spiritual path.

I think there were at least six laps around that mall and several of them carrying books. So when my daughter picked me up after her early off day at work, we had a nice salad for a late lunch going home to read.

The next day my sister and her girlfriend wanted to take me somewhere I had not been before. Knowing my love of books, I was chauffeured to Multnomah County’s resale library in Northeast Portland. I picked out several wonderful books at an outrageously low price and my sister and friend made them a gift. The library makes a little for newer books. I was then taken to a lovely little pie shop where we sat in the sun and had wonderful conversation while watching people and their pets stroll by. The weather was PERFECT! We then all ambled through the one and a half-acre fabric store in Southeast Portland on our way home. I did go home empty-handed but inspired.

Today, my daughter and I had a lovely breakfast then drove to a local park to go Earthing. That’s a fancy word for taking off our shoes and socks and walking barefoot in the grass. It’s reconnecting with nature at its finest. I would never go barefoot in my son’s back yard because of all the stickers and lack of grass. Portland has lots of grass and everyone is welcome to stroll on it. That’s especially nice for all of us apartment dwellers. Nature feeds me just like a good meal with family and friends. That will be how I end my birthday.

We are going to a favorite German restaurant to have a good German meal and one cold German beer. Yes, I’m half German; the rest of me just likes any kind of food. When I get home to my daughter’s this evening, we will get more time to read and talk about the creative endeavors that we want to undertake this year. How much better can it get? Why is food such a big part of our celebration and our memories? If I celebrate much more, I’ll need larger clothes for my next birthday. I’ll toast to all of you tonight.

Laughter is the sun the drives winter from the human face ~ Victor Hugo

From my heart to yours,