Lessons learned in death and life.
I understand that life always teaches us lessons. And when you learn the lesson you no longer need the experience. In years past I lost my sister who had MS for 3/4 of her life. What I learned through that experience was truly caring for others. My sister regardless of her condition always wanted to know how you were doing. Then years later I lost my father. My father was a man of little words. He didn’t frequently tell you he loved you, he always showed you with his actions. I learned actions truly speak louder than words at times. Then four years ago I lost my mother. Regardless of what I did my mother always believed in me. In her passing, I truly learned to believe in myself. I also learned that you can transmute emotions such as grief into other creative feelings. And years before all of those, I had to make a decision to put my dog at that time down. That was not hard because he was suffering greatly. It was sad but the right thing to do. I am familiar with grief. Which brings me to my current weeks’ situation. The passing of my beloved Harley on Wednesday February 7th, 2018. I don’t know how this is possible but my grieving for his loss is more than the others combined. I don’t know how that can be? I understand there are great blessings in the unconditional love pets give you and they teach you to love unconditionally. So often how can you be mad at them when you look into their eyes? They seem to think and know you are perfect for them and the sun/moon rises and falls on you. Friday February 9th, 2018 was one of my hardest days of my life. I came home from work (not really wanting to come home) knowing that no one was home as usual. I sat and cried in my car for a short while and then I came and stood on the porch for a while. I was not wanting to face the fact that Harley was not going to be there to greet me as was his custom for the past 11 years. I could not face the fact that I would come home through the front door and no one be there. I would be utterly alone (or so I thought). This was one of the saddest days of my life but an event to remember in this post coupled with this scripture to be still and know that I am God…C.S. Lewis in his book “The Problem of Pain” said, in life God always whispers to us and unfortunately we often don’t hear Him but in times of pain He shouts and we are able to hear Him. But silence is incredibly loud. Harley and I had spent the last several years during the day together. Just he and I. Whatever I did he was right there. In fact a big part of our life was planned around Harley. Because of his diabetes we had to keep him on an eating schedule so that we could give him his insulin shots. Understand we had no regrets whatsoever regarding this. We loved him. In my grieving and pain on Friday at one point I literally yelled out to God saying “This does not feel like love Father.” Knowing that He (the Father) always has my best in mind. I was struggling with my experience and my belief that He works all things together for my good. So I asked, what lesson are you trying to show me through this grief? It is indeed a truth that if you ask, you will receive. So in my years I have gotten accustomed to asking and then started looking for the lessons to show themselves. And several of them came.
Lesson number one…
There are times in your life that you need to be validated by someone else or something outside of you. In this example, I posted that my dog had died and that I was grieving over his death. Several people responded with kind words/thoughts and prayers. I needed my grief to be validated. However what we truly need is already inside of us. We already possess that which we need. There is no lack. Lack is only an illusion. Everything we need or desire already exists in the unseen realm (spiritual realm). Hence God calls things that are not (physically) as though they are (spiritually). And faith is a substance of things hoped for, the very evidence of the things not seen. The not seen is the spiritual realm. So we being a spirit, should live by our higher faculties (imagination, intuition, reason, memory, perception, and will) and know that unseen things are truly more real than seen things. We tend to live life backwards judging our life and circumstances by what we see. This is the lesser way to live.
Lesson number two…People do not resist change. People resist being changed. We truly understand that change happens. We can just observe nature and know change happens. Most of the time it is orderly or by law. But we resist being changed. In my experience, I was having to face the change that Harley was no longer going to greet me and be excited to see me. A change that was being forced upon me so to speak. So my grief/fear was holding me in the moment of my comfort zone (having Harley around), hence not allowing me to embrace the change that was happening. Embrace change regardless of how hard it seems. Yes, it happens, in this physical world, we live in.
Lesson number three…
Sometimes you have to be reminded of the things you believe. For example, I know and understand that death is not the end of life, but truly the beginning of really living by our true nature. Spirit. I needed that reminder to begin setting me free from my painful grief. Life does not end with physical death. Just a graduation of planes from physical to spiritual. Spirits are eternal. Your faculty of intuition enables you to sense spiritual things.
Lesson number four…
Your dominant thoughts mixed with feelings are the cause of your experience. What was I constantly thinking? How much I missed Harley and how hard it is to not have him. These thoughts mixed with emotion (grief) was making an impression on my subconscious mind. Your subconscious mind does not reason like your conscious mind. It just takes a command and executes plans, and makes experiences that match the impressed belief. Hence Jobs words, the thing I feared has come upon me. At this point, it would be good to mention a quote from Andrew Carnegie. “Any idea that is held in the mind that is either feared or revered will begin at once to clothe itself in the most convenient and appropriate physical forms available.” Your subconscious mind is likened to a garden. Your dominant thoughts mixed with feelings are your ‘seeds”. Your conscious mind is the gardener. You are the landowner who employs the gardener (conscious mind), now the gardener plants (impresses) the seed (dominant repeated thoughts especially mixed with feelings) into the garden (subconscious mind). Now your garden (subconscious mind) does not discriminate against the seeds planted. It does not care what type of seed is used. Productive seed or destructive seed, positive or negative your garden only knows to grow the seed after it like kind. Now understand, in this analogy, the growth is your experience. So I ask you, what do you want to experience? You are the employer of your gardener, so make sure you discipline your gardener to plant only what you want growing. You have the power to pull the weed seeds and plant what you want.
Lesson number five…
You don’t always get what you want. However, you do get what you ask for. A week ago I wanted my beloved dog Harley well. I prayed to the Father, knowing that I am one with Him. Meaning we are not separate, not two but one. In my prayer, I went big. Not only to have Harley well but without his blindness and diabetes. In essence complete wholeness and complete healing. I prayed believing and to cover all my bases so-to-speak, I prayed to help any unbelief. On that same Wednesday at 9:10 PM. Harley passed away. Only to be made completely whole. But what I did not realize in my asking it would include healing me. I have come to understand, Harley has become one of my greatest teachers in life. Thank you, my friend. I am forever grateful to have had you in my life.
Lesson number six…
Sometimes life is a gangster. Sometimes life knocks you down and kicks you when you are down. Sometimes life rains on your parade, or a storm comes and ruins your crop or tears off your roof or even worse. Sometimes life tries to hold you hostage and you feel all of your walls are collapsing upon you. One of my great mentors Jim Rohn always said this is the way life will always be, opportunity mixed with difficulty. But either one happens only for a season. Life happens, the good, the bad and the ugly. But what I have learned is it rains on the just and the unjust. Life treats us all the same and is no respecter of persons. The sum total is all things work together for our good. But it pays to go looking for that good at times. Remember seek and you will find is a law. This event of my dog dying has painfully forced me to change. Sometimes life is a gangster that way. However, the key is not to react but to pick your response.
Lesson number seven…
A limiting unconscious belief was uncovered and revealed. Here is that limiting belief that was rooted in my subconscious mind. “Life is unfair.” I did not realize this until now. Before Steve Jobs died he spoke to some graduates saying something to the effect, “in life looking ahead you don’t have to know how all the dots will connect. You just need to know that they will connect. And you can only connect the dots in your life looking backward. This is exactly what I did once it was revealed to me that I believed life was unfair. First, so all understand how we come into this world. When we are born our conscious mind is not developed yet. And with no conscious mind, our subconscious mind is left wide open. Everything in our environment is being recorded into the subconscious mind forming our belief system and habits until approximately the age 7. So all of our beliefs and habits are programmed into the subconscious mind and most of the time they are other people’s (parents, siblings, teachers, friends) habits. Understand your subconscious mind takes your habits, beliefs, and programming and produces those type of experiences in your life. Liken to a holding pattern or comfort zone because you are comfortable with them.
With that said I will now begin to connect the dots of my unconscious belief that life is not fair. About the age of 4-5, I went on a trip to New Jersey with just my mother. On the way home the bus stopped and my mother left me and went somewhere is a lady dressed in black. I was terrified while she was gone (life unfair). Not knowing what was happening my mother was having a nervous breakdown grieving over the death of her mother. When we got home, my mother spent several months in the hospital (life unfair). My father having six kids obviously had to work to support us and he recruited his mother to watch me while he worked and my siblings were in school. I don’t really think my grandmother desired to do this but felt obligated. She would make all kind of spooky noises to scare me so I would hide for hours (life unfair). As I grew up in my neighborhood since I was six years younger than my closest in age brother all of the neighborhood kids constantly picked on me (life unfair). They call that bullying today. During this time a person known to me convinced me to do certain things to them and not to tell anyone (life unfair). In four grade I was in an all-star chorus and had a speaking part during this particular concert. I was an Indian chief and stepped out of the bleachers to say my line (which I nailed) while returning to my place in the bleachers, I slipped and fell and everyone in the audience laughed at me (life unfair). I quit chorus.
Fast forward to 16 years old. I got arrested for public drunkenness. I can’t say that was exactly unfair but someone did turn me in to the police (life unfair). Also at 16, I had made a decision that I desired to be a carpenter. Opted to go to a vocational-technical school instead of staying academic in high school. Graduated top of my carpentry class and wanted to be a union carpenter. At 18 I went and took the union test, one of the hardest tests I had taken at that time. Graduated in June and at the end of June I got my letter from the union. The letter began stating that I passed the test. But as the letter closed they informed me that due to the poor economy and too many applicants they could not accept me into the union (life unfair). Lost my desire to become a carpenter.
At 20 I came to know the Lord and then I got into retail management. At 21 got my first store, got married, and then got transferred to a bigger store. I was transferred to a city where we didn’t know anyone but my employees. I eventually went through several employees and this one time chose to hire a lady, who told me she was a Sunday school teacher. Thought that was a safe choice. She ended up stealing $800.00. We had an investigation and she confessed. She lost her job but agreed to pay the money back but never did. My company came to me and said you hired her, you have to pay it back. They took the money out of my commission checks (life unfair). During this time my wife was pregnant with our son. He was born in April. By September I could no longer swallow the big pill of paying back the money and with a child, I turned in my two-week notice and quit. I began to get depressed and angry with God, shouting you saved me to bring me to this? I don’t want anything to do with you! Thinking we needed some family, we moved back to our hometown. In time a got another retail management position and got reacquainted with some old friends. One Saturday they invited me to go to a club and watch a football game. So I did but the completely ignored me and I thought they were what my life needed (life unfair). (Watch this next sentence) So even more depressed I left the club and went home knowing no one was home. Came in my front door feeling very sad and all alone. Then I heard and I am not sure if it was audible or not but this is what was said. “What are you looking for? I am here.” I immediately knew who was speaking. Since that time I learned about the grace and love of the Father.
Fast forward, a couple of years into the late 90’s and besides being in retail management I also got involved being a distributor for a herbal products company as a home based network marketing business. My business was growing and at its height was earning as much as $400.00 extra a week. Then the federal government stepped in and banned ephedra and my business plummeted (life unfair). Then I lost my management position because the business owner’s son was getting out of the military and needed a job. I was let go (again life unfair).
Which now brings me to my current week. My beloved Harley and best friend passed away after I had prayed for him (life unfair). This past Friday I came home feeling the saddest I have ever felt. (Notice this next sentence) I did not want to come in the door and no one is home, especially my beloved Harley to greet me. I came in the door and broke down missing him greatly. As the tears began to subside and in the silence, a still small voice said, “We are here.” I have come full circle. And in my pain and grief, it was revealed that I had this limiting unconscious false belief that life was unfair. I drove in a stake (so-to-speak) and turned the corner with my belief that truly all things work together for our good and life is for me.
In the past, I always thought this scripture seemed unfair.
Matthew 25:14-30 New International Version (NIV)
The Parable of the Bags of Gold
14 “Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his wealth to them. 15 To one he gave five bags of gold, to another two bags, and to another one bag, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. 16 The man who had received five bags of gold went at once and put his money to work and gained five bags more. 17 So also, the one with two bags of gold gained two more. 18 But the man who had received one bag went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.
19 “After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. 20 The man who had received five bags of gold brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five bags of gold. See, I have gained five more.’
21 “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’
22 “The man with two bags of gold also came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with two bags of gold; see, I have gained two more.’
23 “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’
24 “Then the man who had received one bag of gold came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. 25 So I was afraid and went out and hid your gold in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’
26 “His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? 27 Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.
28 “‘So take the bag of gold from him and give it to the one who has ten bags. 29 For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them.
Put in the most simplest of terms or law. Use or lose. You will either have to grow and use your talents or gifts or you will lose them. This is very fair in the law of growth.
May you find your peace, know your purpose, let your light shine and be the best version of yourself you can be. Be blessed and encouraged to know this.
Jeremiah 29:11 New International Version (NIV)
11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Lesson number eight…
He is for you! Enter His rest.
Lesson number nine… (VIA my friend Billy Kimmel)
Joe, you missed one lesson. You are the vessel used by God to send a message to others like myself who are sometimes in grief and sadness.
Hugs and love to you.
Lesson number 10
With eyes wide open now…Can you grasp what is now being said? Matt 9:29 Then he touched their eyes and said, “According to your faith let it be done to you” The Greek word for faith is pistis which means belief. So in other words…What you believe, is done to you. That is exactly how your subconscious mind works.
Lesson number 11…
Yesterday was the first day I did not cry in over a week. What was the difference? I shifted my perspective. I shifted from looking at losing a very dear friend, to what has my dear friend taught me? Know this. When you change your perception, your experience changes. May you indeed experience unconditional love and be blessed!
Lesson number 12…
What do you have to fear in being your authentic real self? Not like someone else is exactly like you and can steal who you are. Is it what others may think? Honestly what others think is not in you, it is in them and they are not you. I have learned that people, in general, like and respond to authenticity. Be who you truly are! We need you being you. But perhaps you may struggle with who you are. So I ask who are you??? I’ll take that one. YOU ARE LOVE!