31 – January 31
“I walked for miles at night along the beach, composing bad blank verse and searching endlessly for someone wonderful who would step out of the darkness and change my life. It never crossed my mind that that person could be me.”—Anna Quindlen
The world and reality shifted for me on an excruciatingly awful day, a culmination of many awful days. I was a young actress in the fifth year of marriage to a brilliant young actor. We had little money and the stresses of two creative artists trying to succeed in a difficult business made our relationship a cauldron of roiling emotions. With each failed audition, his rages and my fear intensified. I had no tools for dealing with anger; in my family, if you got angry, you were sent to your room to cool off until you could be nice again. I had never seen anyone put a fist through a door, or throw a chair across a room. In shocked silence, I waited for the anger to subside. We were both frozen in our positions, and neither of us knew how to reach the other.
On this particular day, I sat in a rocking chair in our home, miserably reviewing my messed-up life. My husband was out of town, performing in a play. I noticed that a lot of my unhappiness went with him, and the distance between us gave me the courage I needed to fight back when the telephone rages started. Finally in touch with my own anger, I rocked in my chair, raging and blaming him for my life. Rock, rock, blame, blame. I was the martyr, the good one, the oppressed. Rock, rock. He was the bad guy, the perpetrator, the oppressor. Blame, rock.
I sat and rocked, rocked and blamed, blamed and cried all afternoon.
All of a sudden, a voice from out of nowhere spoke in my ear three words that changed my life: “You picked him.”
Thunderbolt! Electrified, my breath caught in my throat, my next blame dying in my mind, I froze in my chair. “I did!” I answered the voice, “I picked him! No one chained me to him at birth, no one told me I had to live this way, I chose it!” I was horrified at what I had done—not at what he had done, but what I had done! “And I continue to choose this every day that I stay here,” my thoughts progressed. “How did I choose this? And how can I get out of it and choose something else?”
When I went in search of answers to that question, I took back control over my life and my destiny. A different woman got up out of that rocking chair. You can’t blame a shark for eating a tuna—it’s your responsibility not to be a tuna! My husband and I divorced, but I bless him and bless every difficult experience because it was what I needed to bring me to this point of realization and enlightenment.
What have you chosen in your life that it’s time to change?
“I create a wonderful, fulfilling life for myself and help others do the same!”
Looking back, I can say that this truthfully was one of the biggest realizations of my life – that I create my own reality, and that I am responsible for my life. Things didn’t “happen” to me – I moved towards and away from things based on my knowledge and understanding at the time. But whether the experience was negative or positive – everything contributed to my growth.
When I got out of that rocking chair that fateful day, I went straight to the library. I went looking for information on how I had created the life I was currently leading, and what steps I needed to take to live a different (better) life. I remember stopping at the philosophy, religion, and psychology sections and taking home books from each. The library limit was ten books, and I took ten. When I finished those, I went back for ten more…
The most significant book was given to me by my sister, Jane. It was called “There is a River” by Thomas Sugrue and was a biography of Edgar Cayce (1877-1945). He was known as “The Sleeping Prophet” because he did readings while in a kind of sleep or trance state.
The book started off rather slowly, as biographies often do, and I didn’t give it much weight. Cayce seemed a nice enough Christian Southern gentleman, a photographer by trade, but had an interesting psychic ability to “read” a person and know what was ailing them physically.
I read the book slowly. But my sister kept calling every couple of days to see if I had finished it yet. I understood why when I got to the middle of the book. Cayce had been giving medical readings for neighbors for years when finally a philosopher came for a reading and asked about God, religion, metaphysics, and the purpose of life. Cayce spoke of reincarnation and the continuation of our lives after death and rebirth as a cycle of our soul’s growth and education.
That was electrifying to me. I finished the book that night. I called Jane the next morning and we went to hear a lecture on Cayce at her church that weekend. We joined a study group and began a life-long investigation of different avenues of religious thought, metaphysics, and philosophy. I liked that the Cayce study group books were called “Search for God” instead of “We-Found-God-and-You’d-Better-Believe-as-We-Believe-or-You’re-Going-to-the-Bad-Place”. Nobody flipped out if you had a question, or disbelieved a portion of the philosophy. You were accepted at whatever level of growth you were at, and encouraged to learn further.
Wikipedia reports that Cayce repeatedly stressed the choice of an ideal as the foundation of the spiritual path. “And O that all would realize… that what we are… is the result of what we have done about the ideals we have set” (1549-1). We may choose any ideal we feel drawn to. As we attempt to apply it in our lives, God will guide us further, perhaps inspiring us to revise our choice of ideal.
In 2009, Jane and I went to a weekend seminar at Edgar Cayce’s foundation headquarters, The Association for Research and Enlightenment in Virginia Beach, Virginia. It was wonderful to see it and some of his collected 14,000 readings – it’s the largest archive of a psychic’s readings anywhere.
Cayce often invoked these three terms, or their equivalents, to describe the human condition. “Spirit is the life. Mind is the builder. Physical is the result.”
Mind is the builder. What you focus on is what you create. Sounds just like “The Secret” doesn’t it?