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Modern Appliances

“Do you remember that scene in the kitchen at your home when you were seven years old?”

“Funny you should mention that my friend. It came in a dream a few days ago. I had forgotten it until then. Now I remember it as though it were yesterday; fifty years ago yesterday.”

“Don’t keep me waiting my young friend.”

The younger man laughed and looked back into his past to the scene featuring his mother and younger sisters. Just tall enough to lean on the ‘twin-tub’ washing machine. He stared out of the window at the blue sky and sunshine reflecting from the windows of the houses on the new estate. Mother was laying down rules, rules that would become integral to his being.

“I can’t remember those rules, but I know they are in here somewhere.” He tapped his chest. “The problem is, the world has changed and most of those rules have become obsolete. They became so many years ago and I know I deleted a few because doing so brought about conflict and ill-feeling. Mother, I’m afraid, took things personally, she didn’t see the big picture that became my life and the path I had to follow.”

“Such as?”

“Oh, my belief going to confession was an unnecessary ritual. I used to invent sins I’d committed, so I had something to offer the priest. Also, I objected going to High Mass on a Sunday. Delivered in Latin, I didn’t understand a word.”

“So, you didn’t like the church?”

“It wasn’t as simple as that. The priests and nuns frightened me; they wielded terrible power to strike me down to the depths of hell for my blasphemous thoughts. Thoughts that left an indelible stain on my soul.”

“Do you still feel that way?”

The young man laughed again, with much humour.

“No, no, far from it. I see every place of worship as a sanctuary where we can reach out to our higher selves. I know my childhood thoughts have left no permanent marks on my soul. I am as I am.”

“What are these other rules you mentioned?”

“There lies a problem. I remember adult discussions about work that no longer hold true. Debate about how life should run. You know? Get a good education, work for a local employer, get married, have children, work more, retire, die.

People still live this way because they don’t want to question the status quo. It’s not how we’re supposed to live. There is no individual blueprint globally available.”

“That’s a bold statement.”

“Perhaps, but only for those who follow the path of another rather than the path of their soul.”

“Please continue my young friend.”

“Sorry, I’m looking forward to getting back to my work. Later perhaps.

The young man walked through the light, whistling a joyful tune, sending waves of love and gratitude in his wake.

A Wonderful Place

Vishen Lakhiani, the man who founded Mindvalley came up with a great word to describe rules that can be bent, changed or even completely discarded. That word is Brules and defined as B*** S*** rules. So, with that in mind, I make no apologies for not editing this story and ignoring some basic grammatical Brules. Hope that doesn’t stop you from reading 🙂 S

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Looking out across the savanna, the young man could see giraffes and marveled at their incredible grace and beauty. Far away to his left, the trail of dust left by a herd of wildebeest and zebra drifted and settled in new places. A pair of warthogs splashed in the ever-decreasing water hole after several elephants enjoyed an evening shower before going back to graze in the nearby bush. A flock of starlings appeared to fly into the setting sun.

“You’ve discovered a wonderful place to share a few moments my young friend. What brought you here?”

Before sitting, the older man tested the dead tree by the waterside. Satisfied it would take his weight, he made himself comfortable and indicated a place for his friend.

“Giraffes are on the endangered list for the first time. At least that’s what I read somewhere. But look at them; they seem blissfully unaware of any danger.”

“Humankind is their only real enemy; but I sense you aren’t here to discuss the possible extinction of another beautiful species.”

“You’re right, though concerned, I simply chose this as a place to think and reflect on the day I stepped into the sun.”

“Not literally I hope.”

The young man laughed.

“No, far from it. I suppose I should’ve said, stepped into the light. Yes, that’s a better fit.

Back in the summer of 1995 I was working and living far from the land of my birth. Married with no children, few friends and no life to speak of outside work.

When my workday finished at 10.00 pm on Friday 11 August, I was excited because the car was loaded for a road-trip and two weeks of Psychology seminars at a university in England. After five minutes at the wheel, I crossed from Germany into The Netherlands and noticed a subtle shift in my mood. Difficult to describe except to say that I started feeling light.

The further away from base I drove, the lighter I felt. Interesting too that although I’d given myself more time than I needed for the trip; I had very few breaks, no sleep and didn’t once review the information I had about the Psychology seminars; despite my intention. Whatever had me, made everything seem irrelevant. The feeling was wonderful.

It was early morning, a little after dawn when I decided to take the scenic coastal route from Dover to Brighton. I knew most of the route but had forgotten how beautiful it was. I felt like a child seeing the ocean for the first time.

Still before 8.00 a.m. I turned off the route to an area of dunes and a traffic free space to park, lay out my sleeping bag and take in the clean air. The feeling of light didn’t leave me for an instant; it was so persistent that as tired as my body should’ve been, the thought of sleeping didn’t occur.

Even after arriving at the university, I couldn’t sleep despite having until 6.00 pm to do as I pleased. So, I walked, got to know the block world that was to be my home for the next two weeks and completely forgot to find out where the campus restaurant was.

Fortunately, the man in distress was rescued by a beautiful woman who escorted me to the restaurant and although she had eaten, she offered to keep me company. It was like sitting in a very bright room with the sun in my eyes. I could see her but everybody else was shadowlike.

We found a bench outside afterwards and shared the trivia of our lives before she dug deeper for the things that mattered. I went along happily and not one pause to wonder why until the sides of our hands touched and a dynamic spark exploded through my body.

Not sexual at first but incredibly lustful. Something took hold of me and it wasn’t ever going to let me drift back to the darkness I came from. Somehow, I knew that.

Later that evening, we sat on a hill between the concrete blocks watching the stars and were gifted with the most amazing display of shooting stars either of us had ever seen. Our vibrations were up there with the stars and stayed there throughout the following week.

Something deep inside of me awoke and there was no way I was going to turn my back on it.

Eight months later, she and her amazing one-year old daughter were living with me. Shooting stars never stopped and five-months later, she was pregnant, and our son was born in the following summer, five days after my birthday. What an amazing gift.

I gave up the free accommodation that came with my job and we moved to the nearby Netherlands where we made so many true friends it still brings a tear when I think about their outstanding generosity and friendship.

In March 1999 I crashed. Quite literally; I didn’t notice a small dent on the cycle track as I headed home on my rollerblades at dusk. Falling backwards, I kicked my left knee with my right skate and fractured the top of my tibia.

I’d had a few sporting injuries before that and I was slightly happy with this one because my work paid me to recover at home with my partner and our two amazing children.

Then darkness began to fall. I didn’t recover as expected and by the time our second son was born seventeen months later, I was sitting in a wheelchair. A doctor told us to expect that I wouldn’t recover, and only strong opiates would manage the pain.

My family shared their unconditional love our friends rallied, and I knew the doctor was not going to be right on this occasion. Nevertheless, many dark days followed, my pay went to half and after twelve months down to zero and we were forced back to the UK. The most painful decision we ever had to make and even though we also had a second daughter by this time, the world felt like a very dark place.

I loved my partner and our children but had no love whatsoever for myself. On the scale of 0 to 1000, I think I vibrated below 100.

Positive distractions fell into our laps and learning took place. I recognised fifteen years ago where I need to be today, but minor health setbacks kept popping up. Each time they did, new learning took place and I grew. The light beckoned once more; it had only asked that I consider a few things; including what it felt like to be told that I had MS which was later disproved.

I have always been drawn to writing, speaking, enabling and today, the light is very, very bright and I am drawn and guided to the place I am meant to be.

In his book *Perfect Love, Imperfect Relationships, a psychotherapist called John Welwood summed up where I am today,

“Spiritual work focuses more on what is intrinsically right: how we have infinite resources at the core of our nature that we can cultivate to live more expansively. If psychological work thins the clouds, spiritual work invokes the sun.”

I was in darkness was shown the light and despite clouds cast over my life, that light never leaves. It’s where I and all of us are meant to be. The learning didn’t follow a curve, rather a series of vertical leaps and the hands of the universe never left my back.

So, if I am to sum up three things you might take away from my beautiful and continuing journey; they are these:

As dark as it may get, the light is always there. The Universe has your back

If you can’t love yourself, you can’t love anybody. Reach out for love or above.

Trust your intuition (Divine Wise-Self); it knows what you need. Be patient and listen.”

The young man took a breath and absently wiped away a tear as he turned to his friend; who had gone. He left with the sunset which reminded the young man that the sun would rise again the next day.

So many questions

Listening to Lyre Le Temps on a loop is a great way to connect. It’s wonderful swing music that at the right volume you can find a partner or a few and dance the night or day away. Reduce the volume just a little, put on a good set of headphones, write and be amazed at how the ideas flow and your fingers dance across the keyboard. You think I’m joking? Try it and find out for yourself.

That said, I’d better give you something that matters otherwise you might think I’m a fraud. Fact is, I’m a lot like you. We are beings of planet earth living in the twenty first century and it’s way past time we stood up and made a difference. You see there are amazing things going on in our world. Sadly though, there’s other stuff we may not approve of. But who are you or I to judge? How much attention are you paying to your own life? Is it right to judge? Are our judgments self-reflections? So many questions.

Well, I have a few too, but you’re not necessarily going to like them. Do you know somebody who judges? Guilty as charged, I’ve caught myself judging him too. My guess is that I have something he wants, and he has a little of something I want. How often do we catch ourselves envying somebody else because they own a flash car while you don’t? More time to party while we must work?

This stuff is rife through our societies and all the way to what we call the top. Presidents threatening leaders of other countries with nuclear weapons. “I’m bigger than you and I could blow you to pieces if I felt like it.” Ouch Mr President, what about the families who would do away with guns and arms in a heart-beat if it were up to them? Would you really obliterate innocent people who have a tough enough time feeding their families, never mind putting up with a regime they might not like?

Playground threats make none of us better than the next kid. We are all learning and growing in our own connected ways. Yes, connected, like it or not. It’s the way of things so there’s no point beating me up about it. Switch off your ego for five minutes, open your heart; you’ll see what I mean. But don’t forget to leave your baggage at the door. It’ll be there when you get back, I promise. You may find a new perspective on how to deal with things though.

No, I’m not talking about Zen meditation or a course that will cost next months food allowance. Ten minutes each day (twenty if you can spare the time from Social Media) spent in a relaxed state of perspective shifting meditation and no fees involved. Come on, give it a go. Somebody might thank you. Your Higher Self would applaud your efforts and celebrate.

There is plenty of meditational material around on The Internet, free guided meditations, instructions, relaxing music to accompany your own meditations. Give it a go; it makes a huge difference. If you can wait a few days until I get the technical elements sorted out, I will share one of my own daily meditations with you.

Send an email to authorstevecostello@gmail.com and I’ll send you the link as soon as it’s ready.

With Love, Peace and Light,

Steve

 

Conundrum

“It’s a strange thing being accused of something I didn’t witness or have any involvement. Stranger still that my accusers absolutely believe I am responsible despite my honest explanation of the little I know.”

The young man looked upset, mystified and unusually withdrawn.

“Have they accused you of taking something valuable my friend?”

Laughter without mirth.

“Three or four small pieces of metal with sharp spikes to deter my daughter’s kittens and our old family cat from walking across his balcony wall.”

“He would harm another living creature?”

“Oh, I doubt he would see it like that, but yes, I believe he would.”

“Did you know these offensive pieces of metal were on that wall?”

“Yes, I did. As did several other people who care for cats.  We live in a small village, news travels.”

“So, tell me my young friend. What part have you played in this incident?”

The young man wandered to the edge of the precipice and looked across mountains and valleys. The silver reflection of a river snaked along the valleys, fading to a thin grey line until the eye could no longer discern river from land. He turned back to face his friend.

“Although I know the truth of what happened to the spikes, I had no involvement. Sharing what I know may have brought wrath upon another and I didn’t wish to handle that. My instinct was to protect.”

This may sound strange, but when the young man looked at the wise old man he always saw a young image. There was no telling how old he was but no matter what, he always seemed young and full of love, life and vitality. Age in our regular, mundane sense, is of no consequence and when he talks; the younger man hears and understands every word. There is never any doubt but sometimes his words bring long periods of thought and reflection.

“You sense something deeper at work?”

The young man laughed, this time with humour.

“For a change I have an instant response. The man with the spikes and his wife have something far deeper going on. Something they have carried for a great length of time which they have tried to bury and ignore. This something isn’t shared, it’s different for each. It’s as though a darkness cloaks their true being but, they are so used to it that the truth is far away like the source of that river. They need to ask for a sword of light to cleanse their pain.”

“How will they do that?”

“I’ve sent compassion, love and light but I don’t think it will be enough. They need a physical helping hand.”

“This may be a great opportunity to make new friends, but I see your problem. You are the bad guy, they believe you took their spikes. To share the truth may harm another. A difficult conundrum.”

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