I can love me too…
Okay. Actually that wasn’t the original title for this post.
My first thought for a title was to declare 2013 “The Year of Abundance”, since 2012 was such a rough year for our family. I wanted to proclaim the start of this new year as a turning point for us. But then I thought:
“Why just one year of abundance? Why not abundance for life?”
Made sense to me. So hence, the (new improved, and ridiculously ambitious) title.
Now, this is no mere “New Year’s Resolution”, mind you. Those things never worked for me. However well-intentioned the promise, somehow calling it a “New Year’s Resolution” seemed to doom it to certain failure. But this is no piddling little promise. No.
This is a whole new way of thinking and living; not out of my own sense of not-enough-ness and can’t-do-it-ness, but from a limitless abundance of Divine guidance and resources. That means I have to to stop making promises and start claiming them.
2013 is a wonderfully unique year in which to usher in a new “Age of Abundance”. The early snowfall here in Tennessee has officially confirmed that 12-21-12 was the beginning of winter – not the end of the world, as many predicted. In a weird way, I feel like humanity has been given a renewed lease on the planet. So now that we’ve dodged the Big One, I’m thinking maybe it’s time to start living as if we’ve been offered a gift, rather than handed a pink slip. I can’t speak for anyone else, but as for me, I now hereby declare that this is henceforth and evermore the “Age of Abundance”, and I intend to receive each moment with a deep sense of gratitude and anticipation.
So, in support of all these outlandish and grandiose declarations, I’ve started what I call my “Abundance Board”. Actually it’s a cork board that has hung above my writing desk for a few years. Whenever I had a short little thought or found a quote I thought would be helpful in my spiritual journey, I would write it on a piece of paper and tack it up there.
As you might imagine, the board became quite overrun with these little snippets. So I got this bright idea: I decided to remove all the sayings except for the ones that specifically dealt with abundance. That left 8 little slips of paper, randomly scattered over the surface. I pulled those down, rearranged them and tacked them back up, right down the middle of the board.
No doubt you’re wondering which 8 messages made the cut. Here they are, in the order they appear:
“I have the power to invite miracles.”
“If you’ve got to doubt something, doubt your limitations.” ~ (Rob Williams)
“There is no last piece of pie in God’s bakery.”
“Take what is yours.”
“Treating myself like a precious object will make me strong.” ~ (Julia Cameron)
“God is taking good care of everyone. I don’t have to.”
“Go play.” ~ (Aimee Dassele)
“Don’t worry about fitting in. Just be happy.” ~ (Dr. James S. Gordon)
A fantastic start for my “Abundance Board”, don’t cha think? I plan to add to it until it fills up like before. That way, I am constantly reminded of the abundance that is available to me in this very moment, and every moment still to come.
So welcome 2013. And 2014, 2015 and how many ever more years there may be. I’m looking forward to seeing how this new chapter unfolds.
Happy New Year, everyone.
And while we’re celebrating, how about Happy “Age of Abundance”, too?
Who’s with me? 🙂
Yep, that’s me, all dressed up like Elvis. Yes, the black bell-bottomed corduroy jump suit I’m wearing is the very same one I wrote about in The Closet of my Discontent. And yes, when this picture was taken, it still fit.
As long as I didn’t sit down…
The dashing black mane I’m sporting was store-bought, since my own hair was thinning by then. And that glorious sash? Yet another leftover from my 70’s wardrobe. (It was part of a costume from the musical group I was in at college.)
So why in the world would I squeeze into a tight jumpsuit, don a cheap wig and pretend to be Elvis? Well, there’s a perfectly reasonable explanation for that.
You see, the department where I worked in the ’90s used to have a Halloween party every year. So we’d all dress up in costumes, decorate the place up, and do the whole Halloween bit. The building we worked in was a former funeral home, so it lent some extra creepiness to the festivities. Our supervisors let us have that day for pure fun and just dealt with the reality that no work would ever be accomplished on October 31.
So one year I was Elvis. And because I do a pretty fair impression of The King (if I do say so myself), I brought along my guitar to showcase my formidable talents as an Elvis impersonator.
I had no idea what I was in for.
The second I began crooning something like “Love Me Tender”, a crowd would immediately gather around me and join in with the shtick. The women would all coo and sigh and pretend to swoon as I serenaded them with rendition after rendition of those iconic ballads and hip swivelers (although my swivel was somewhat limited by that jump suit).
I was a hit…
I was a rock star…
I was The King…
I was exhausted.
So okay. I had always wondered what it would be like to be Elvis. To put on the clothes, the accent, the attitude. Now I know. I’ll have to admit, it was kind of fun. But after one day it wore me out. By the end of the day, I was ready to ditch the jump suit and put on some regular street clothes.
So I could get back to normal.
So I could sit down.
So I could use the bathroom without stripping down to my skivvies.
Honestly, I don’t know how this guy Elvis Presley put up with it all. Because the truth is, he wasn’t really Elvis either. “Elvis” was a stage persona. In reality, Elvis Presley was a shy man with a quiet southern drawl as thick as the Mississippi mud he was raised in. But once he hit the stage, he became that swiveling, sensual hunka-hunka burnin’ bravado that sent teeny-boppers into hysterics.
Yes, “Elvis” was a phenomenon. Thousands of adoring fans attended his concerts. Still each night, it was inevitable. The applause would die away. The curtains would draw to a close. The klieg lights would fade to black. Finally, a deep, disembodied voice would announce, “Elvis has left the building”.
So where did Elvis go after he left the building?
Well, it depends on which one you’re talking about. “Elvis” the rock star was left behind in the dressing room, along with his bejeweled jumpsuit and sweaty scarves. But the real Elvis Presley? Well, often He could be found sitting at a piano, surrounded by his closest friends, singing the beloved hymns of his childhood into the wee hours of the morning. Why? Perhaps he needed to ground himself, to reconnect with who he really was. After being the King of Rock ‘n Roll all day, maybe he found it comforting to settle down and just be a child of God.
But I think I like being me, after all.
Long ago, a young couple was standing on a deserted beach.
The man sank his toes into what he had always been told was a flat earth. He fixed his gaze upon the flat ocean shimmering before him. Staring straight out into the horizon, as far as his eyes could see, he suddenly had a thought:
“Beyond that distant horizon, beyond anything I can see – there’s more.”
Meanwhile, the woman turned her eyes towards the big blue sky that hovered far above the ocean. Considering the huge, mysterious canopy that stretched out over her head, she also had a startling thought:
“Beyond that big blue sky, beyond the clouds, beyond anything I can see – there’s more.”
The two looked at one another. They shared their observations. Then, despite all they had been told, they dared to to believe it was true. They dared to believe in something far beyond what they could see. Because of their belief, their whole world suddenly took shape and a vast universe opened up before them.
Today, I stand in front of a mirror, looking at a flat image of me.
So what is it that I’m seeing?
But as I stare straight into those curious eyes that stare right back at me, suddenly I have a startling thought:
“Beyond what I’ve been told, beyond anything I can see – there’s more.”
Dare I believe it?
Dare I not?
To all those teachers who wrote on my report card, “Ken does not work up to his potential”:
Actually I was trying to work up to my potential. I just wasn’t doing what you wanted me to do. So you thought I was:
Well, I was – when it came to succeeding at being a “straight A student”. But what’s that got to do with my potential? My potential is more than a collection of gold stars and perfect marks. It’s a spark of divine fire, burning at the very core of who I was born to be. It isn’t a catechism of outward behaviors and responses. Potential is the inward journey of discovery that ultimately reveals the true self.
Yes, I understand. You were trying to educate me. And personal discovery is not what education is about. Education is about conformity. About marching in step. About everyone having a No. 2 pencil to fill in those bubble forms. Education has the same answers for everyone. The teachers teach them. The students parrot them back. If I learn all the right answers, I am intelligent, open-minded. If I don’t, I am simply ignorant. Possibly rebellious.
Or maybe I am just not working up to my potential…
Deep down, I’ve always believed that truth is more than just the answers in the back of the book. For me, it transcends all those smug academic certainties. It is endlessly alluring, ever elusive, but ultimately – knowable. Still, you can’t just open up my empty brain and pour truth in. I’ve got to discover it for myself. On my own path, in my own time.
So I’ll admit, I tried to do things my own way. I didn’t always do what was expected. I didn’t always follow the instructions.
You knew all that. But you missed two very important points:
Thanks for letting me share my truth. 🙂
This post marks two blogging milestones for me:
(1) Today is the 2nd anniversary of the start of Ken’s Back Home blog (yay!)
(2) This is the 50th post on Ken’s Back Home blog (double yay!)
I know many other blogs are much older and much bigger. And much more widely read. But honestly, I’m kinda tickled at how far my little experiment has come. As chronicled in last year’s Yearly Checkup post, Ken’s Back Home blog got off to a shaky start, and I really didn’t know how long it would last. Along the way though, I’ve learned a lot, connected with people all over the world, and gotten a lot off my chest. So it’s something to celebrate.
And I’m excited about all that. I really am. But as you may have noticed, I haven’t been posting much lately. In fact, I went most of April and all of May with nary a post on Ken’s Back Home blog.
Remember how in the last line of this year’s Easter post, I smugly remarked that the difference between bad news and good news is “all a matter of perspective”? Well, ever since Easter, our family and friends have been hit with a run of bad news that has left me with the uncomfortable choice of either finding some of that perspective, or eating my cocky little words.
Pass the ketchup, please?
It’s hasn’t all been terrible. In the midst of the mess, we’ve managed to squeeze in a friend’s wedding and a wonderfully relaxing vacation in the Smoky Mountains. But overall it’s been an emotionally exhausting few months, and I just haven’t felt up to writing. Especially about pursuing dreams and living in the present moment. Because a lot of the time, the present moment was the last place I wanted to be.
March to mid-April is always crunch time at work, with deadlines to meet and everyone pulling on me, needing this or that “ASAP”. I’m not even thinking about “living the dream” during that time. I’m just trying to juggle the flaming swords as they are tossed at me. By the time it’s over, I’m pretty burned out. I need extreme self-care. And I usually get a short breather in May to recuperate.
Not this year.
Starting Easter, the bad news started coming in, for both family members and close friends. And frankly, I just had no more to give. The only thing I could do is try to meet the minimum requirements for a caring response, while all the time my inner child was screaming, “What about me? When do I get a break?”
In light of that, I’ve had to stop writing for a while and think hard about the next step. I’ve had to ask myself how I let my heart get this empty in the first place. I suppose I need to start dreaming again. But there’s a big difference in “living a dream” and “living in a dream”. And there’s nothing like having my chain jerked a few times by Life on Planet Earth to bring me down out of the clouds.
After all, if my dreams can’t survive the bumps and bruises of real life, they are only illusions of my ego, not the dreams of my heart. The heart can persevere. The ego will just go crouch in the corner and pout. I need a dream that doesn’t require constant tending to a bed of roses. A dream that can still be beautiful, even when there are a few weeds in the garden.
So I suppose if there’s any “good news” here, it’s that Ken just got spun around and shown just how far away from “back home” he’s gotten. Now I’ve got some work to do. Each moment, good or bad, offers me a spark of Divine wisdom. About what’s real and what isn’t. About what will pass, and what will remain. The good news is, I get to choose where to place my focus. Whatever I do, I can’t let the bad news choose for me.
All this is easy to say, of course. Doing it is another matter. But at least I’ve got my freaking perspective now, so you can put away the ketchup.
Starting today, I need to make the words in this post a catalyst for real change. Otherwise they will likely be served up to me along with barbecued crow at the third annual Ken’s Back Home blogaversary party.
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