When I started writing down the spiritual guidance, the first book I wrote contained a lot of information about life in the modern world and our expectations and responsibilities. I’m rereading this book, and one chapter particularly jumps out at me. It’s called “Embellishments” and its focus is on how most of us live “embellished” lives in which we focus on more than the basics of living. The emergence of the pandemic draws me to this chapter. Here are excerpts from it:
“Once a person’s basic needs are met, embellishment can occur. Embellishment refers to the extra elements that enhance existence. After the most basic level, embellishment means a bit more choice—choice between this berry and that berry; this location to sleep in and one slightly more secure; or a higher feeling of security. Further embellishments could be an abode to sleep in; more abundant food choices; time to enjoy surrounding features and life; and personal care. Continued embellishments could include interaction with the surroundings for enjoyment; interaction with unnecessary accouterments, or a permanent dwelling to live in. Taken to the extreme, embellishments include excessive amounts of money, food, and possessions; more than one dwelling; or having an inflated sense of oneself and one’s worth…
In the modern, Western world, life has become so embellished that we assume, feel, and demand that the embellishments are our basic survival requirements and our deserved rights. We know that we are meant to live in a secure environment that provides not only shelter from the elements but also a place to express who we are (decorative items, pleasing furnishings, and extra touches). We know that we are entitled to labor in endeavors that supply us with satisfaction and monetary remuneration. We know that we deserve to be acknowledged for our efforts, be they for the good of our society or for our own betterment. We know that we deserve to be capable of providing our families and/or friends with whatever they want (for example, gifts). We know that we can choose to do this or that, be this or that, refuse this or that…
But the reality is that the natural world does not consider our expectations. From time to time, the natural elements push us to remember that the world has its own rhythms and expectations, that our embellishments are minor in the scheme of the flow and ebb of the world. In these instances, we are humbled and returned to our less embellished lives. The focus of our existence becomes unmistakably apparent and clear. Our expectations lessen and we accept less. We live more authentically and more thoughtfully. Our manipulations and interactions become less important; our basic needs become the focus.
Fortunately, life usually returns to some semblance of its former, advanced presentation and people return to interacting and manipulating as before. The flow and ebb continue, and the cycles of natural existence and created reality perform their own¾and intertwined¾dance of the forces. Nature and crafted reality move towards one another, then away, and then together in a different variation, and so on. People find their place in the cycle of this constant change…”
“Embellishments” is in the book The Gift of Intuitive, Dedicated Comfort. You can find it at this link.
“War, displacement, societal upheaval, familial upheaval, accidents that result in maiming or impaired mental functioning, and natural disasters—these events drastically affect health. Some people survive these events with perception and sense of self intact; most people do not. The normal responses to difficult events are grief, blame, withdrawal, or incapacitation. To survive unscathed is unusual; to be weak, unpredictable, suspicious, fearful, hurt, sad, cautious, blameful, indecisive, or angry is expected. Minor changes to reality can be unsettling and can cause many of the same reactions. Few people are unaffected by the ebbs of life.” – from Pond a Connected Existence
Expectations of no problems in life are expectations incorrect. Life presents struggles and challenges because that is the nature of life.
Expectations of ease and fun are expectations misleading. Ease and fun can be part of life, but they are not to be expected, rather to be cherished.
Approaching the ebbs of life with creativity and courage brings growth and understanding. Taking the storms and seeing beyond them brings appreciation and satisfaction.
Potential is a motivator and an obstruction. Potential gives opportunity to create, affect, and accomplish when the potential is realized. Realizing potential is possible for all through self-discovery, self-motivation, and self-discipline. Each of these personally executed processes (self-discovery, self-motivation, and self-discipline) is necessary for fulfilling one’s talents, although distractions and excuses halt success.
Distractions and excuses are self-inflicted even when they appear to come from external sources. The main reason for allowing distractions and excuses to hinder is being overwhelmed by potential (the obstruction). All people have potential to reach goals. Large goals. Satisfying goals. This ability to achieve can frighten when the potential seems overwhelmingly high—like staring up a mountain that is very steep with no footholds to support.
Potential is instilled with the soul, and it differs from person to person. People who are born with mental handicaps have potential that is resized for their abilities. People who are born with moderate physical handicaps have the same potential had they been born without the handicaps.
Reaching potential requires awareness. Awareness of talents and awareness of interests. Sometimes the awareness is not available because society and early childhood caregivers quashed the early-on expressions of individual talent (sometimes done intentionally and sometimes done caringly [meaning that a caregiver meant well]). Sometimes the awareness is not available because of personal causes: letting distractions distract, letting others choose, letting time slip by, or being envious. Awareness is just the first step though.
Whether or not a person reaches potential, life can still be meaningful and satisfying. By taking the time to feel what is fascinating and what is self-fulfilling, a person can create a path that has personality.
Part of the human design is the pull towards the unknown. Working things out, discovering, learning. People are driven to explore and understand. And to master. People also tend to want new challenges after they have internalized previous challenges. Contests, freebies, and prizes are human ways of answering the need for the unknown and for the challenge.
Each person has a reason for entering a contest or vying for a prize or applying for a freebie. How does a freebie fit in? Because the wanting of a reachable-but-not-quite item or experience is a form of a challenge, albeit a minor one. The freebie-wanting is a way of working things out and mastering.
Also, people want entertainment. Another design feature! Contests, freebies, and prizes answer this need. Each in its own way entertains and interests.
The more one participates in contests and events that include prizes, the more one feels purpose, because the winning or placing or almost-winning or almost-placing satisfies a magnetic pull towards out-doing the unknown—changing the rules, creating a surprise ending.
Explore unknown (want ___ after ___ have )! Fill in the blanks and win a prize! Just kidding.
Does luck exist?
Answer: “Luck does not exist. Luck is used to explain good or bad fortune, to ward off the evil eye or other such spirits, to water down achievement. Rather than attribute life happenings to the true causes, people often attribute them to luck. As if it’s not in our hands. True, things happen that are not in our hands. Natural disasters are not in our hands. The behavior of the environment, of animals, of the weather, of fire, are often beyond our control. Then timing comes to the fore. Being where the disaster occurs, not being where the disaster occurs—timing matters.”
—from “Luck! What Luck?” in Book #2.
Does luck truly govern our existence?
Answer: “When something bad happens to a person, it is easier to say “I have bad luck” than to say “I wasn’t prepared” or “I was responsible”. Much easier to be happened to than to be happened because of. Much easier to let go of the resulting havoc than to accept personal involvement. Much easier to assign to something outside, something amorphous, than to acknowledge, admit, embrace one’s own involvement in the lackluster performance, mistake, or mess. Luck is the recipient of ownership when the real owner is unable, too modest, or too embarrassed to claim title.”
—from “Luck! What Luck?” in Book #2.
What is luck really?
Answer: “Attitude. Timing. Cause and effect.”
—from “Luck! What Luck?” in Book #2.
Each of these influences, together, create the reality that is our life.