My Quest

Stars

“Our stories come from our lives and from the playwright’s pen, the mind of the actor, the roles we create, the artistry of life itself and the quest for peace.” ~ Maya Angelou

My life long mission has been to understand human nature. That’s why I became a writer, and why I am now preparing to launch a podcast about the importance of story. As my first three guests all expressed, stories are what makes us human. It’s why stories were told around campfires, why civilization after civilization created myths that we still study today. That’s why we continue to create modern myths. On some level we’re on our own quests to understand ourselves.

These ten weeks of staying at home, I’ve been writing and exploring the stories that have great meaning to myself and my podcast guests. And I’ve been reading a lot. I’m trying to make sense out of all the crazy stuff going on.

The latest book I picked up is Secrets of the Lost Mode of Prayer by Gregg Braden. As I read the second chapter about the link between hurt, love, forgiveness, and wisdom, I realized why millions of people flock to the box office to see some of the big block buster movies of the recent past. These movies are our modern myths. They examine the link between experiencing pain and suffering and the decision to heal or not and they do it on an epic scale. The characters make a kaleidoscope of choices that we get to examine. Actually all stories do this for us. That’s why we’re such big story consumers.

Gregg Braden wrote something that made me pause. He asserts that the size of our “hurt” reflects the size of the opportunity to open up to love and forgiveness, which eventually leads us to wisdom. And I found that to be extremely profound. Braden has studied ancient cultures all over the planet and our human story throughout the centuries has always been the same. No one escapes experiencing pain. The wisdom that’s been passed down to us is a result of people who have dealt with their suffering. We don’t learn anything positive from avoiding feeling our pain.

When I have suffered huge painful events, I’ve recognized that I have a choice. There are two paths I could take. I could try to avoid the pain. Or I could embrace my suffering and move toward, forgiveness, love and eventually the gift of understanding what wisdom the pain was trying to get me to see. It’s my choice.

After a particularly life shattering incident years ago, I wanted to mask my pain, to blame others for it, and to seek revenge. I held onto those feelings and made my life miserable. I fell into a kind of dark pit and don’t really remember much about those years. I was going through the motions of being alive as I nurtured the hurt. I had put myself into a cage.

I’m not sure what brought me out of my stupor. It might have been my father’s death. When the extended family gathered, we shared so much love, and some family drama too as happens during family crises. Suffering brings out our best and worst natures. But one thing was clear, we shared stories about my father that showed what a positive influence his love had on all of us. I thought, “I want to be a person like my dad. I want people to remember me with love.” And so I acknowledged that it was time to examine my pain and start working on forgiveness.

Fortunately, I was teaching English at the time and in some of the stories, the characters had to deal with horrendous situations. I was able to do some self-examination through osmosis. The characters kind of pointed the way for me to deal with my own pain. Forgiveness and healing didn’t come to me for a long time, but I felt better and better as I let go of my suffering.

I’ve taken this great opportunity of being home, to re-evaluate my life. What grudges have I been holding onto, what wounds have I left unhealed. It’s been a revelation how many wounds and grudges I’ve glossed over and ignored. But I want to deal with them now or else I won’t be able to move forward when we come out of this crisis. Of course, it will be an ongoing process, but I know from experience, it’s worth my efforts.

I hope you are staying safe and healthy and maybe even doing some reevaluation as well.

Thanks for reading, liking, and commenting. Welcome to my new followers. I’d love to hear the creative projects you’re working on or any “aha” moments you’re experiencing.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2020

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards.

Have you ever experienced life shattering events? Yeah, most of us have. In The Space Between Time, Jenna Holden gets slammed by her fiancé walking out, her mother’s untimely death, and losing her job all in one week. But she receives unexpected help when she finds her three-times great-grandmother’s journals and begins the adventure of a lifetime.

The Space Between Time is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords and for Kindle at Amazon, or you can find the ebook at iBooks or Barnes and Noble. If you prefer a physical copy, you can find a print-on-demand version at Amazon. Stay tuned for news when the audiobook version is published.

Letting Go

August Sunset

“Letting go helps us to live in a more peaceful state of mind and helps restore our balance. It allows others to be responsible for themselves and for us to take our hands off situations that do not belong to us. This frees us from unnecessary stress.” ~ Melody Beattie

“Before we can forgive one another, we have to understand one another.” ~ Emma Goldman

“What narrative are you playing out in your mind at this moment? The end of society? Or the liberation of it? The story you are telling yourself is more important than you realize.” @MasteringLawofAttraction

Sometimes I drift through life. I’m lazy. I think I’m finished with my personal work. Then something unexpected comes along to shake me out of my stupor. The Covid-19 virus has done that for me and I’m grateful for it.

I’ve been home, except for two short excursions, since March 10. That’s nothing new. I’m home most of the time anyway. But what the shift in energy created by this virus has done is make me pay more attention to areas of my life that I didn’t even realize needed cleaning up. For example, resentments I’ve been holding on to; the people I need to forgive.

I was listening to Amanda Ellis one day and she said that during this time, we need to pay attention to people we need to forgive, especially our leaders. Of course, I knew immediately that I needed to forgive Trump. Once I opened my heart to the possibility that I’d been holding a grudge against him, I had a vision of him as a baby in a crib by himself, crying.

During the 1980s or early ‘90s, when there was armed conflict happening in Eastern Europe, I think it was in what used to Yugoslavia, there were orphanages where hundreds of children got very little care because they had so few staff. The babies rarely got touched, or their diapers changed. They barely got fed enough formula or food. The lack of human contact affected their brains in a negative way. In my vision, that was Trump as a baby. He came from a wealthy family, but in my vision I could hear his father say to the nurse, “Let him cry. It will toughen him up.” Who knows if what I saw is correct, but it would explain why he has very little empathy. Seeing him in that light made it so much easier to let go of my resentment. He’s doing the best he can with what he was taught.

After that profound experience, it’s been easier to look underneath behaviors to why people write nasty things on social media, or try to hoard money, or toilet paper. They’re afraid, or they feel unloved, or maybe they’re sick, or they don’t have hope that things will get better. I wish I could help them see things differently. I wish I could help them understand that they can change their thinking. It just takes discipline to do so. But we all have free will. I can post positive things as encouragement, but some people will never understand what I’m trying to convey. I have to let go of my desire to change everyone’s mind toward positive thoughts.

Every once in a while, though, someone’s positivity does get through. Lesson 68 in Pam Grout’s book, The Course in Miracles Experiment was a profound one for me today. In it she tells a story about Patton Oswalt, an actor, who about a year or so ago Tweeted a “cheeky” poem about Trump’s wall. As Pam writes it, a conservative war vet from Alabama sent some nasty Tweets back. Now, Patton could have gotten into a Tweet fight with the guy, but he didn’t. Instead he did some investigation and found out that the guy had some serious health problems. He had a GoFundMe page to try to get enough money for some much needed medical procedures. So, what does Patton Oswalt do? He sends this Tweet, “Aw, man. This dude just attacked me on Twitter, but … he’s in a LOT of trouble health-wise. I’d be pissed off too. He’s been dealt some shitty cards – let’s deal him some good ones. Click and donate – just like I’m about to do.” Patton donated $2,000, and in the end the vet’s campaign raised $15,000 in a couple of hours, three times its original goal. The vet’s mind was changed. There were people out there who cared about him, and it was all because Patton Oswalt let go of the insults. His second Tweet to the vet was this: “This is why compassion and forgiveness are always best.”

So, today, I’m doing some self-examination. Who else do I need to forgive? My father’s mother is one. She lived with us when I was thirteen years old and unfortunately she tried to spread discord in our family. She treated my mother horribly and tried to drive a wedge between my parents. That didn’t work, of course, and my father moved her out to a town a few hours away. When I got older I came to the conclusion, because of things she said repeatedly, that she must have been sexually abused. I felt sorry for her. She’d never been able to heal and recover from what I assume happened to her.

This past week, I realized, I had never formally forgiven her for her nasty behavior. In fact, it never even occurred to me that I needed to do so. But resentment was still stuck in my heart. I visualized her standing in front of me. I told her I forgave her, and I felt those hard feelings leave my heart. My poor grandmother needed love, compassion, and understanding. But none of us knew why she was the way she was and we resented her. I hope she’s had a chance to heal and is having a grand time with her family and friends in the afterlife.

As this weird time continues, I’m not sure we’ll be finished with it for quite some time, I’m hoping we let go of all the institutions, laws, and business practices that have needed to be overhauled for a very long time. And I hope we’re also taking time to overhaul ourselves as well. What is most important to us? What kind of world do we want to live in? We can play the “What if” game and start to picture the world we’ve always wanted to live in. Each person answering those questions for themselves accumulates and that’s how we change the world.

Thanks for reading. I hope you leave a comment. I want to know what you’re learning during this time.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2020

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards.

Have you ever experienced life shattering events? Yeah, most of us have. In The Space Between Time, Jenna Holden gets slammed by her fiancé walking out, her mother’s untimely death, and losing her job all in one week. But she receives unexpected help when she finds her three-times great-grandmother’s journals and begins the adventure of a lifetime.

The Space Between Time is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords and for Kindle at Amazon, or you can find the ebook at iBooks or Barnes and Noble. If you prefer a physical copy, you can find a print-on-demand version at Amazon. Stay tuned for news when the audiobook version is published.

Family Connections

Arizona Butterfly

“Forgiveness is the final form of love.” ~ Reinhold Niebuhr

“Forgive me my nonsense, as I also forgive the nonsense of those who think they talk sense.” ~ Robert Frost

During this visit to family for the holidays, we’ve been able to reconnect with my father’s last living brother. It’s been over twenty years since we last saw him, and we’ve all been through lots of life altering experiences. Seeing my uncle again and hearing the stories of his painful experiences has caused me to reflect on relationships and just how complicated they are. Each of us carry wounds, some healed, some still seeping. But for me the meaning of Jesus life, and that of the other great teachers like him, is that we must learn to forgive those who have wounded us, and forgive ourselves for being thoughtless.

When we think of forgiveness, we often think of the person who has been hurt, but not about the person who caused the pain. Having been the perpetrator of hurt feelings, I know that when I hurt someone else, I feel terrible that I could have done such a thing and I berate myself endlessly. Okay, I know not everyone is sensitive, or has empathy enough to regret what they did, but still there are always two sides to any story when someone gets hurt. And often there are two wounds that need to be addressed and healed.

This year there has been a lot of talk about how uncivil our society has become, and that we need to be kinder to each other. Social media has become littered with landmines of nasty comments. But I have to remind myself that when someone lashes out with hate, they are trying to get rid of their own negative feelings. So, I go back to one of my life themes, if we want to rebuild our personal relationships and create a kinder society, we have to begin with loving ourselves. Then we can spread kindness within our smaller circle of friends and family. This creates a ripple effect that will transform our personal relationships and our society into one that most of us say we want.

I try to remember that we’re all a member of the human family and that no one is perfect. Often we’re in our own little worlds and aren’t as mindful as we could be when interacting with others. We cause harm where none was intended. I’m a firm believer in the idea that we’re all doing the best we can all the time. And that not everyone has the same level of life coping skills. So, maybe we should do what Atticus Finch suggests to Scout; put on someone else’s shoes and walk around in them for a while. Doing that might help us not only see where we’ve caused pain, but also see that the people who hurt us might not have intended what happened. They were just living their lives and doing the best they could at the time.

Here’s to creating a great 2019!

Thanks for reading, liking, and commenting. I appreciate it.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2018

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards. It’s a historical, time-travel, magical realism, novel, and is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords, or you can find the ebook at iBooks or Barnes and Noble. If you prefer a physical copy, you can find a print-on-demand version at Amazon. Stay tuned for news on the audiobook version Lucinda is working on. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.

Themes for My Year

Act I The Skin of Our Teeth

“I write about the power of trying, because I want to be okay with failing. I write about generosity because I battle selfishness. I write about joy because I know sorrow. I write about faith because I almost lost mine, and I know what it is to be broken and in need of redemption. I write about gratitude because I am thankful – for all of it.” ~ Kristin Armstrong

I resemble the quote above. I just finished my first full week of teaching three college classes. It’s four late evenings a week. A couple of interesting things happened. First, I thought I’d be exhausted by the Thursday night. I wasn’t! I felt great on the drive home, energized by my students. However, when I woke up in the morning my head was in a fog and I felt like everything I’m doing to going to fail, or worse be mediocre. This post is my attempt to unravel my feelings of inadequacy.

The second thing that happened was that I noticed a theme emerging from the play I’m directing and the movies I chose for my dramatic structure class. Measure for Measure, and most of the movies are about flawed and damaged people trying to protect themselves. Some of them commit terrible acts, or are forced to face their woundedness. But in almost every case they are redeemed by people who love and forgive them.

Then there was the Larry Nassar case. He sexually abused more than 150 young girls and women gymnasts including some Olympic champions. Thursday night as we were leaving class, my students couldn’t help but bring up the case and how they thought he got what he deserved. All the way home I was thinking about my themes for the year; how we’re all flawed, sometimes making huge mistakes, and that possibly unconditional love and forgiveness might just redeem us all. But it’s hard to go against conventional wisdom. I mean, I feel torn about such cases. Do we just let violent offenders go without any consequences? Do we shower them with love and expect them to change?

I have no clear answers for those questions, except that I think it’s always good to defend the weak. And how can we learn if we don’t face the consequences of what we do?

As I was ruminating about these issues, the book Conversations with God came to mind. In the book, Neale Donald Walsch asks God a very important question about the evil we humans have created. God said something that confirmed some deeply buried beliefs I had never dared to speak out loud, “”Evil is that which you call evil. Yet even that I love, for it is only through that which you call evil that you can know good; only through that which you call the work of the devil that you can know and do the work of God. … I do not love ‘good’ more than ‘bad.’ Hitler went to heaven. When you understand this, you will understand God.” Then when Neale says that he was raised to believe that good and bad do exist, God replies, “Everything is ‘acceptable’ in the sight of God, for how can God not accept that which is? … Yet hold to your beliefs and stay true to your values … still examine them one by one.”

Well, this year I’m examining my beliefs about what we do to ourselves and each other. For now holding myself and others accountable is a good thing. The discussions that abound right now about human rights of all kinds are good because we need to address the rage of those who have been mistreated for so many centuries. We have to allow them to tell their stories so they can heal. In turn we all need to tell our stories in order to see where we’ve become uncaring and cruel so we can choose new ways to interact with each other.

On a more personal note, during this process of preparing to direct Measure for Measure, I realize that I am so hard on myself. I blame myself for not being sensitive enough, yet like two of the main characters in the play, I’m tempted to shut off my emotions because it’s just too painful to be bombarded daily with new allegations of abuse, or new legislation that hurts the people who are in the most need. I expect myself to be perfectly loving, accepting, compassionate, and forgiving. But I’m human and sometimes I call people idiots and shake may head at their lack of compassion. Then I think, who am I to judge? Living is a complicated proposition, unless I remember that I’m not the one in charge of the big picture. I’m merely one of the actors on the stage.

So, we’re all works in progress and I’ll try to be better at giving myself a break when I’m not as “good” as I think I should be and do the same for those around me.

Thanks for reading, commenting and pressing the like button.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2018

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards. It’s a historical, time-travel, magical realism, women’s novel, and is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords, and print-on-demand at Amazon and other fine book sellers. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.

What to We Want to Be?

Arizona Butterfly

“This is the United States of America. What have we become?” Social Media Meme

“One of the things I learned the hard way was that it doesn’t pay to get discouraged. Keeping busy and making optimism a way of life can restore your faith in yourself.” ~ Lucille Ball

“There are two ways to live: you can live as if nothing is a miracle; you can live as if everything is a miracle” ~ Albert Einstein

I saw the above Facebook meme the other day. Every time there’s a mass shooting, story about a rich and powerful person abusing their power, violence erupting, and massive amounts of people killed or left homeless, I see or hear someone say, “What has this world come to?” Or “This is not who we are.” Well, I say, yes this is who we are until we ask some new questions. Who do we want to be? What do we want the world to look like? How do we want to treat each other? And what steps do we need to take to create a more loving, compassionate, empathetic world?

I’ve written this before, because I’m thoroughly convinced, that humanity is in the midst of a great evolutionary awakening. It’s amazing how much of the old ways of doing things and ways of thinking are getting exposed. There are just too many to name in this short blog post, but then you already know what they are. For a highly sensitive person like me, what we’re living through right now can be crazy making. There are days when I just want to stay in bed with the covers over my head. But that’s not an option if I want to help contribute to our awakening. So I’m sharing some things I’ve learned over my fifty plus year spiritual journey that are steps you can take if you want to awaken and help make the world a better place in which to live.

First, we have to acknowledge where we are, both in our personal lives, and our global lives. Okay, things are really bad in this country right now in almost every area of life, but that’s nothing new. We’ve not been very good stewards of the planet, or been very kind to each other. It’s just that we have world wide media now. We see all the bad things that are happening, get overwhelmed and throw up our hands. But, I choose to think that everything is a miracle and that all the dark events that are out in the open now, give us a chance to make a choice. Do we live in a hostile or friendly universe? Yes, I think that choice is up to us.

I can’t say that I have always believed we could choose to see the universe as friendly. Like my sister says, “Everyone has a hole in their heart.” I certainly had some challenges, but even though I doubted, there was one part of my heart that kept whispering that life was a miracle, and all I needed to do was change my perspective.

If you look back at history, you know that we’ve always lived with fear, bigotry, misogyny, greed, hatred, disregard for life, and the desire to go back to the good old days. But, history also teaches us that humanity has been progressing. I’d be willing to bet that now more people react to the bad things that happen with shock and disbelief instead of blind acceptance. More people are saying “Oh hell no! I don’t want to live like this.” That’s a good thing. I think more people are doing self-examination which leads us to better societies.

Of course, there will always be people who don’t want to change. They either bury their bad feelings and go on about their daily lives, or they side with the haters. But if your foundations are shaken when bad things happen, it’s an opportunity to wake up and become a part of the tide of change. Looking into our dark places is not pleasant but it’s a necessary part of the awakening process. I know this from personal experience. When I could accept my darkness as well as the light inside, I was able to understand others better.

Second, accepting all of who we are leads to forgiveness of ourselves and others. This is a vital part of awakening. Each of us must find our own way to forgiveness. The methods that work for me, might not be helpful to you at all.

Forgiveness can take time. I once lost a beloved job due to nepotism. For the longest time I wanted revenge, and I got it in a way. Losing that job led me to the realization that I was meant to be a writer. I’m more happy now than I’ve ever been. But, it took me twelve years to fully forgive the perpetrators of my dismissal. I had to let go of wanting things to be different. And I had to learn that forgiving someone doesn’t mean you let them off the hook for what they’ve done. We each have to face the consequences of our actions. In my case, I had to let God take care of their karma. That wasn’t my job.

Third, after embarking on the awakening journey, our purpose becomes more clear. I think it’s easier to answer the questions I posed above once we know our purpose for being here. We see how we can help make the world a better place. But this process is a kind of cycle, or maybe it goes up and down, back and forth. We address our darkness, we accept and forgive, understand a little bit more about who we are and why we’re here, which leads to the next set of challenges to solve.

So, things look pretty bleak right now, but we don’t need to despair about that. It’s just God’s way of calling us to deeper understanding and healing. And because we have free will, we can choose to ignore the call, or get busy and do the work.

Thanks for reading. I appreciate your likes and comments.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2017

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, a historical, time-travel, magical realism, women’s novel. It’s available in all ebook formats at Smashwords, and print-on-demand at Amazon and other fine book sellers. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.