24 March 2009

Desire, The Mother of Ten Thousand Things

All of creation arises from desire. Was is not desire that created this entire world we live in? I know that it is from desire that I write novels, essays, poetry, and songs. It is a result of my desires that I paint pictures, photograph nature scenes and wildlife, and make love. Desire builds bridges and buildings, corporations and institutions. Whatever has come into being has gotten here as a direct result of desire. Yet we learn from Buddhism that all suffering arises from attachment to desire. So how do we desire without falling into the trap of attaching ourselves to the desire and thereby causing ourselves and others untold suffering? How do we desire and let go of the object/subject of the desire at the same time? Therein lies the paradox.

An example of fulfilling our desires without attachments could be the writer who writes because she/he cannot help but write. I have always tried to write what I would want to read and what I want to say. I may have an audience in mind, but I don't change what I write because I am concerned that it won't be acceptable to someone in that audience. Do I desire to be commercially successful with my writing? You bet I do, but I don't write with an attachment to the commercial end of it. If I did, it would take away not only the joy of the writing, but the purity of the writing act. I don't write because I want you to like me for it. I don't write because I want to become a millionaire. I write because that's what I do. That's who I am. I write because words and ideas and the DESIRE to express them arise from the depths of my soul and, like a fountain, bubble forth and splash onto others. If you don't like me for what I write, then the result is that you don't like me for what I write. Nothing else. I don't curl up and die over that, and I certainly don't stop writing because of it. The fountain will not cease to flow and run over. It continues to recirculate, to renew itself constantly because it does not depend on the end result for its renewal. It relies on the source, the desire itself. It does not become attached to anything else. In the writing, there is also release.

The same should be true of a love relationship. Do you love someone or do something for someone so they will love you in return? I hope not. That is the kind of conditional love that will fall apart as soon as the conditions cease to be met. You should love without requiring love to be returned and give because your life is so full that you want to share without thought of reciprocation. If love is reciprocated, then that is wonderful and a deep blessing indeed, and a relationship of mutual loving is born. This kind of relationship is like the fountain that is continuously renewed. In the loving, there is also release.

So how do we go about desiring without attaching ourselves to our desires? I think here we need to think in terms of the end result of our desires. That, I feel, is where the potential for attachment lies. We may have a pure desire that is good in itself, but if we attach ourselves to the end result of the desire, then we fall into suffering. We give and instead of releasing the act to go wherever it will, yielding whatever harvest it will yield, we try to control the end result. That is attachment. That is the road to suffering.

To avoid attachment to the end result, we have to maintain awareness. When we slip into unconscious living, we more easily fall into the trap of attachment, of wanting something in exchange for something, tit for tat. We want to decide on the outcome of our actions. But if we focus on the source, the original desire, to fill us, then we can move through our lives loving and releasing, giving and releasing in a way that we can't if we are worried about who is giving or loving back. If we allow the desire (the writing, the loving, the giving, etc.) to go forth into the world on its own terms, simply allowing it to have whatever results it will have, then we are yielding to our hearts' true desire and living according to our inborn purpose, while letting go of any control over the end result. I'm willing to bet that the more each of us lives according to the desires of our hearts, without attaching ourselves to the outcome, the more we will reap a harvest of blessing.

Beth Mitchum is the author of five novels, one collection of poetry, and one music CD. Her works are available at Amazon.com through the following link:


23 March 2009

Beware the Half-Warmed Fish

(Reprinted with permission from http://mysticangelhealing.net)

"We all know what it is to have a half-warmed fish inside us." Rev. William Archibald Spooner

The beauty of the Law of Attraction is that, with focused attention, you can create a miraculous life, full of love and light and, well, fullness itself. You can have exactly what you want in your life, if you are willing to do what it takes to draw it to you. It's a very simple concept that is not so easy to do at first. The good news is that it does get easier with practice. The beastly side of the Law of Attraction is that if you don't follow-through with your beam of focused attention, you'll get the "half-warmed fish."

Apparently in my exuberance to throw open the doors of my heart and make a wish, I allowed my attention to meander a bit. I got a little sloppy in what I was putting out there, so what I got back was messy and a bit of a "half-warmed fish." By this I mean, instead of getting exactly what I wanted, I got sort of what I wanted, but definitely what I asked for by not being specific enough. It manifested back to me as the half-formed wish (or "half-warmed fish") that was sent out by my heart via psychic fax into the universe.

The fish reference is a partial quote by Rev. William Archibald Spooner, a nineteenth century Anglican priest and scholar, who had a peculiar habit of mixing his words up so you understood what he meant, but it wasn't quite right and usually ended up sounding rather comical to the listener. This type of speech pattern is called metathesis, which means essentially, transposing or switching around. Since Rev. Spooner's time, his special way of switching around words has come to be known as a "Spoonerisms."

Had Rev. Spooner lived out his life speaking seldom so that his verbal blunders didn't come into the spotlight, not only would we know less about this speech pattern, but many of us would have spent a great deal less time laughing and playing around with Spoonerisms. I was introduced to this concept from a friend of mine in college (thank you, Penny, wherever you are!), who used to tell the stories of "The Pee Little Thrigs," Wo Snite and Deven Swarfs," and "Rindercella," (you know, the gal who slopped her dripper that was later returned to her by the Pransome Hince).

Fortunately for us, Rev. Spooner didn't hide his gift for unusual speech in obscurity. Instead he became a well-known and unforgettable part of ecclesiastic and linguistic history. For sixty years he lectured at Oxford, and later became a dean and president at the same institution. At the bottom of the page, I will include, for your amusement and mine, links to some of his many oft-quoted transpositions. In the meantime, let's get back to the half-warmed fish.

If you've gone a long time without eating and have allowed yourself to get truly ravenous and probably a little shaky and unfocused from low blood sugar, you really have to be careful with yourself. If you go into a restaurant, sit down, take a look at the menu selections, and point somewhat haphazardly at something in your excitement at the prospect of eating, you may get something you don't want because you aren't paying close enough attention to what you were asking the waiter for with the careless placement of your pointing finger.

Now you can refuse to eat what gets served to you because of your shoddy communication style, but it's likely that you'll have to do a lot of apologizing, explaining, and some careful reordering from the menu. At best, this results in a delay in getting what you really wanted. When you're hungry, that may hurt a bit, but at least if you are careful the next time, you will get what you really want in exchange for a little delayed gratification. At worst, you may have to end up paying for both orders--the one you didn't want as well as the one you did. In this case, I recommend you check to see if it's tax deductible under the category of a lesson well-learned. Seems like an education expense to me. If, however, you decide to settle for what has arrived because you are too hungry and shaky to wait until what you really want can be prepared for you, then at best you'll be disappointed with what you get. At worst, it could make you sick.

What am I choosing to do? I'm sending back the half-warmed fish and going back to the source to order what I really want, much more thoughtfully and with greater attention to detail this time, and with the awareness and intention that I am actually ordering something. It's amazing how quickly I manifested the first order, the half-formed wish. Although it wasn't quite right, it was probably as accurate as I had been in my wishing. Even if it takes a little while to prepare what I order the second time, because I'm much more specific, it's still better than settling for less than the best for my life.

Now for more on Rev. Spooner and his infamous "Spoonerisms:"



Beth Mitchum is the author of five novels, one collection of poetry, and one music CD. Her works are available at Amazon.com through the following link:


18 March 2009

Quick-Thinking Pilot Averts Collision with Van

(Reprinted with permission from http://allgoodnewsalldaylong.com)

You gotta love Reuters "Oddly Enough" news feed. It's a great way to start the day scratching your head, wondering what on earth some people are thinking. This one today is a classic example of that. The good news of course is that it has a happy ending, although no doubt there were a few scary moments for the 80 passengers on board a Philippine airplane that was attempting to land at Legazpi airport.

Apparently a couple in a van were driving across the runway as a Cebu Pacific airplane was landing. The quick-thinking pilot managed to take off again, avoiding certain collision with the van in its path. It seems that the son of a local aviation official was teaching his girlfriend to drive, using the runway as a driving range of sorts. The man in question has now been suspended from duty.

Legazpi Mayor Noel Rosal told the press, "It could have been a disaster if not for the presence of mind of a veteran pilot."

Personally I would like to nominate the "driving teacher" for a near-miss Darwin Award. If you're not familiar with the Darwin Awards, you should become acquainted with them. They are given out on behalf of people who rather ingenuously remove themselves from the gene pool. I for one am delighted that this man and his girlfriend will be receiving only a near-miss honorary mention, since they probably would have taken out dozens of other unsuspecting bystanders with their thoughtless stunt. It's a airport, for goodness sake. What was he thinking? Ah, obviously, NOT! Anyway, all are safe thanks to the pilot of the Cebu Pacific airplane.


Beth Mitchum is the author of five novels, one collection of poetry, and one music CD. Her works are available at Amazon.com through the following link:


12 March 2009

Where in the World is Delaware?

Anyone remember the video game called "Where in the World is Carmen San Diego?" It was a fun game if you lean to the geeky side of life, which I definitely do. I am interested in many topics and have been known to go off on research binges--hunting down listings for books on certain subjects, reserving them, and having them sent to my local branch of the library. Then I check them out as they come in and read like crazy on a subject until my curiosity is satisfied, I run out of books, or I veer off to another interesting subject. It's no wonder my masters degree is in humanities. Nothing like majoring in generalities. That would be my focus of nonfocus, a masters degree in lotsa stuff.

So anyway, I have liked geography ever since seventh grade when my mom was helping me studying for an exam, and she started singing a song about Copenhagen. I just googled the song and found it on YouTube of all places. To my knowledge I have only been exposed to that song from my mom's use of it as a way to help me remember Denmark's capital city. I aced the test and the class, so she must have done a good job drilling me. Anyway, I still enjoy learning about other places in the world, so the Carmen San Diego games were a sure bet for me.

Now there's a game on Facebook called "Kidnap!" where people kidnap each other and take them off to exotic or not so exotic hideouts. I'm currently in Dublin, although I change my hideout rather often. Once you've been kidnapped, you have to answer trivia questions to get out of prison. They give you a cheat sheet, but you have to go and read about the city where you're imprisoned in order to learn the answer, which is the key that unlocks your prison, unless of course you just happen to know the answer off the top of your head. I've gotten a few answers that way, but not all that many.

Now by this point you may be wondering what all that has to do with Delaware? The answer is absolutely nothing. That's just my rambling, tangential way of writing, while throwing bits of knowledge and trivia at you before getting to the point. You have to admit that more times than not, you probably learn something while reading one of my blogs. You can thank me later when you are able to spout bits and pieces of fascinating things at people during a dinner party. Just mind your manners and don't spit anything else at them please.

So back to Delaware, or more to the point, NOT back to Delaware. Recently on Facebook, I got one of those "lists" things where all 50 US states were listed and you were supposed to check off the ones you've visited. Although the vast majority of the traveling my mom and I have done has been separate from one another, we have both been to 47 out of 50 states. Oddly enough, we've been to exactly the same 47 states. Back in 1985, on a trip from North Carolina to Canada, we drove up Interstate 95 and purposefully tried to find Delaware along the way because it was one of the states neither of us had ever visited. As far as we know, we still have not been there. If we drove into Delaware, we did it without noticing it, even though it appeared to be on the map, and despite the fact that we were looking for it. I'm not utterly convinced that it exists anywhere except on a map. I know it's a small state, but so is Rhode Island, and we managed to locate that state without difficulty.

I finally concluded that all Delaware consists of is a single post office, which they built for credit card companies to use as a billing address, since that's the only thing I've ever noticed as having a Delaware address. Do you know of any people who are from Delaware? I've met people from all around the world, but I've never encountered one person who claimed to be from Delaware. Do they never leave the state? Are they too embarrassed to say they're from Delaware? I'm still convinced that it doesn't exist and you're going to have to take me there in person and solve the mystery of "Where in the World is Delaware?" before I change my opinion. So there.

Beth Mitchum is the author of five novels, one collection of poetry, and one music CD. Her works are available at Amazon.com through the following link:

Beth Mitchum's Books and Music

01 March 2009

Cotton Candy Clouds

The clouds are tangled in the trees today.
Spun white cotton candy stretched
and intertwined 'round evergreen spindles,
rising from the island across the way.