The Call to Life

Luke and Elenor

Luke and Esther

Tomorrow, I’ll be leaving for my trip down south. Over the past few weeks, my brother and I have been going over plans: travel route, motels, hotels, B and B’s, weather considerations, etc. Everything felt like it was flowing along almost effortlessly. Even a book that I really wanted to take along for some in-depth study (Collected Works of Thomas Troward) came within 2 days of ordering it. My thoughts were along the lines of, “This is perfect. Everything I need is provided, even before I ask. Life is so good.”

Then something happened that didn’t seem so good. A reservation I had hoped to get, looked like it wasn’t going to be available. Just a little thing but I could feel myself start to worry….but I caught it. Then another “not so good” thing happened. A fairly large sum of money, that I felt sure would arrive last week, didn’t arrive.

Sunday morning, I  found myself fretting. I wasn’t feeling relaxed or in the flow or trusting of the larger part of me anymore.

It was as if I was drained of life; I felt tired, and a little discouraged both in the circumstance and in myself. I could hear that old, critical voice begin, “If you were further along the spiritual path, you wouldn’t be thrown off by such small things. You haven’t really grown that much at all”. I noticed also that when Jack got up and said “Good morning” I felt irritated, so I knew that I needed to do some serious work on myself.

I really needed to use my will-power to direct and focus my mind where I wanted it to go and not let it lead me down the path of worried, unhappy, and discouraged thought. I  began to say to myself, “This is going to be an adventure. I am looking forward to seeing how things unfold. Everything is happening for me. My life is perfect, right now.”

One thing that I want to stress here is that I didn’t feel this way when I started saying/thinking these things. I used my thoughts/words to pull me up into the state that I wanted to be in. It wasn’t the outside circumatances that were making me feel down, it was my mind telling me a story of how wrong things were (and how wrong I was) that was making me feel that way, so I needed to change my mind to achieve inner peace (not change the circumstances so I could feel better, because in the moment, I couldn’t change anything on the outside). All I had to work with was my mind, and that was enough. It is always enough.

I started writing this post at 7 a.m. It is 9:18 a.m. I have never had such a difficult time putting a post together. Usually, if I work at it for a couple of hours, and nothing comes together, I assume I am being guided not to write that day.  But for some reason, I kept at it, even though it didn’t seem like it would amount to much.  Book after book revealed nothing appropriate for a quote. I almost decided to abandon my writing when I picked up, Man’s Search for Meaning, and read these words that brought me to tears,

“Let me recall that which was perhaps the deepest experience I had in the concentration camp. The odds of surviving the camp were no more than one in twenty-eight, as can easily be verified by exact statistics. It did not even seem possible, let alone probable, that the manuscript of my first book, which I had hidden in my coat when I arrived at Auschwitz, would ever be rescued. Thus, I had to undergo and to overcome the loss of my mental child. And now it seemed as if nothing and no one would survive me: neither a physical nor a mental child of my own! So I found myself confronted with the question whether under such circumstances my life was ultimately void of any meaning.

Not yet did I notice that an answer to this question with which I was wrestling so passionately was already in store for me, and that soon thereafter this answer would be given to me. This was the case when I had to surrender my clothes and in turn inherited the worn out rags of an inmate who had already been sent to the gas chamber immediately after his arrival at the Auschwitz railway station. Instead of the many pages of my manuscript, I found in a pocket of the newly acquired coat one single page torn out of a Hebrew prayer book, containing the most important Jewish prayer, Shema Yisrael. How should I have interpreted such a ‘coincidence’ other than as a challenge to live my thoughts instead of merely putting them on paper. ” Man’s Search for Meaning, by Viktor Frankl, pages 137-138

As I read these words, I felt a direct prompting from this great spiritual man, to live my highest and best self, and to think my highest and best thoughts……now.

25 thoughts on “The Call to Life

  1. The picture of Luke & Esther is firstly precious…looks like they are discussing you saying “What do we do with her now?” … What would Luke & Esther say to do? Just go and have a “tub of fun” 🙂 … getting that mind to click off center of disasterfying is the hardest human job alive I think…i have never been to New Orleans but I has to have some strange beauty….

  2. I really needed your words today, Mary, so happy you persevered and completed today’s post. Yesterday afternoon I arrived home after being away for several days. This is a frequent occurrence and what is also a frequent problem is transitioning back into my “normal” day to day after being away. I often find myself slipping into a funk of inactivity which then leaves me feeling bad about myself with thought of “you”re lazy, what is wrong with you, just get up off the couch and get busy” and on and on. I so like your suggestion to say the words that will pull me up to the state I want to be in, I am going to start right this minute and have a great day!
    I am sending prayers to you and Bobbie for a safe journey and special days ahead. Have a wonderful time friend, can’t wait to hear all about it when you return. Love, Marian

  3. Your writing today helped begin my climb out of a “funk”. Very meaningful & helpful! Thanks for sharing. Mary Ann

  4. Hi Mary, I wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for your wonderful blog, which I have been quietly enjoying and learning from for several years. I cannot tell you how much it helps me to follow your thoughts and inspiration, which lead me where I need to go. Right now I face a big and wonderful change in my life, retirement from my long-time job, and the uncertainty of the future could be scary. But with your example to take to heart, I am able to focus on the sweet certainty that I am moving in the direction of my dreams and that all will unfold as it should. Thank you for that.

  5. Have a wonderful trp, Mary and as others have said, thank you so much for the blog. You always seem to know exactly what I need to hear. How on earth do you manage that? 🙂

  6. Dear Mary, thank you for hanging in there this morning with your writing! I especially appreciate your words about how when you starting out shifting your thoughts, your mind wasn’t yet convinced that positive thinking would be the answer to your supposed dilemmas. As I travel through my own life’s
    challenges, I realize more and more how important it is to have a healthy command of my mind. Your post today reminds me that I am Spirit personified, and my mind is a valuable tool, but not the commander or creator of my existence. Thank you!

  7. I have had several obstacles thrown in my path for an upcoming trip. Thank you for your post today. Timely, as always.

  8. Thank you, Mary. You have helped me redirect my thoughts today. I so appreciate your input.

  9. Your post just blew me away, Mary. Thank God you continued to write it, no matter how you were feeling. Ending with the quote from Victor Frankl was the perfect stopping point.

    You’ve done it again, dear heart…….brought us all to a wonderful point of lessons needing to be learned. Thank you!

  10. Thank you for being the giving person you are (makes me appreciate yesterday’s work even more). I will be continue to use my will power (as you so beautifully are using and modeling yours) in order to persevere and continue the work I/we need to do….we are not alone in our efforts…attaining the goal….pausing to change focus….slowing down to put new, loving thoughts “out there” and within….changing the “story”….
    So very glad we are all together on our “trip” to peace.
    Thank you for making this possible.

  11. Dear wonderful Mary – l cannot remember a single trip that did not put me temporarily into a spin. We have developed from nomads/gatherers into sedentary creatures over the last few thousand years and now that we’ve become comfortable with our daily habits any change, wanted or unwanted, gives rise to all sorts of thoughts and feelings. There is no doubt that you should go and have a lovely time, you do deserve it, you know, even though it means perhaps that you will spend more money than you feel you can afford to spend right now. If it’s not that, it would be something else, for sure! 🙂 If you need to re-examine your plans, then perhaps begin by recalling your happy thoughts associated with going to New Orleans. You are going voluntarily, remember – unlike Frankl who had absolutely no choice and no say….

    We’re all right there with you, because we’re in need of a trip down south, too..what a way to celebrate Spring Equinox by leaving the snow behind you for a little while….enjoy enjoy, it’s yours for the taking, don’t doubt it for a minute!

  12. ps. Luke and Esther, what a team, thank you for adding another outstanding picture to my collection of your animal fotos. My dogs (3 girls) all have a crush on Luke – l know that for sure because he is the only dog they don’t bark at when they see his picture on the screen!

  13. your words and quote made me cry— a good thing! travel well & have fun on your adventure! xox Veronica

    • Mary Solomon, thank you for this link. My mother-in-law was Jewish. Her entire family came here from Russia. I was so fascinated with her stories and her roots in Judaism, I took some studies offered by the rabbi at a local synagogue. Of course, as would be expected, the Shema was taught and discussed. Your post revived some good and deep memories for me. Many thanks for this sharing.

  14. Dear Mary,
    Have a wonderful trip South!! It’s beautiful here right now. Everything is a riot of flowers blooming! If you pass anywhere near Athens, Georgia, e-mail me and I’ll meet you for lunch!
    Happy travels!

  15. Mary>>>>even when you’re in reverse, you’re moving forward! Have a fun time and DON’T FORGET TO WRITE!

  16. Mary, have a wonderful trip south, at this time of year, south is good. So many of us up here in the Northern Hemisphere are saying that this has been a “brutal” winter and it has, beautiful, but brutal. We are a skating rink here in the country north of Toronto, still and it’s the first day of spring. My sister has just returned from a trip to the Dominican and said that the flights went well, no turbulence, accommodations good, service good…. but, and there are always ‘buts’…. Coming home from a trip as Marion mentions above, seems to hit us all…that funk after the exhilaration of being out of our normal environment, there is a certain adrenalin that accompanies travel that seems to disappear upon returning home. I’ll look forward to your postings along the way.
    Sandy P in Canada

  17. Thank you for going ahead with your post – it was helpful to me. I hope you have a wonderful trip/adventure!

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