In a Former Life

To be a truly ‘religious’ or spiritual person I think it is necessary to explore and study and try to understand as many belief systems as our little brains can handle. The more we open our minds to all the possibilities, the better able we are to see that there is no such thing as an exclusive set of beliefs. It becomes more and more difficult to say “I am this” or “I am that” or this is the only truth there is, this way is completely right and that way is completely wrong. Everything overlaps. All religions have the same basic premise, but there are an infinite number of twists and revisions and spins put on things until each one of them comes up with their own little book of rules.

I like the idea of a soul or a spirit in an endless cycle of death and rebirth. Plants die in the fall and come back to life in the spring. Adult animals die and their young take their place with the same instincts and talents for survival. We like to think we’re above all that and more important, maybe because we are able to put all our crazy ideas down on paper and convince other people of their brilliance.

I like the idea that the immortal soul is held prisoner by the body until it completes its spiral of ascent and is finally set free. I don’t think it’s too much of a stretch to think that we get as many chances at this as we need to finally get it right, whatever ‘right’ might be.

I like the Taoist teachings that tell us “Birth is not a beginning; death is not an end. There is existence without limitation; there is continuity without a starting-point. Existence without limitation is Space. Continuity without a starting point is Time. There is birth, there is death, there is issuing forth, there is entering in.”

I respect the things that people believe in, as long as those beliefs give them comfort and peace, and as long as they don’t try to force me to agree with them.

And yes, I do know that the question was “what other person or animal could you have been in a former life?” Have some patience, I’m getting to that. I’d love to say I was Joan of Arc or Cleopatra or Florence Nightingale, but if that were true I haven’t learned much or been able to transfer many of their good traits into my present life.

So I’m thinking I was probably a house cat. I am lazy and self-indulgent and like to sleep a lot. When I was young I was cute and playful. I have been known to hiss and spit when I get angry or frightened or just for the hell of it. I don’t like dogs, but I can tolerate them if I have to. I like to sit completely still and stare off into space. I pretend to be aloof and untouchable. I take affection for granted and being pandered to is my absolute favourite thing ever. It must have been a good life because I appear to be trying very hard to replicate it all in this one. Perhaps in my next life I’ll be a houseplant, with even less responsibilities, and merely have to sit around looking good.

The results of a quiz I took to see what historical figure I might have been in a past life came up as 100% in favour of Mary Wollstonecraft, Anglo-Irish feminist, intellectual and writer. There is only a ten percent chance that I was Alexander the Great.

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Wish List

I’ve never made a ‘gift’ wish list. If I had to think up what someone else should give to me, then I would never feel as if it were a real gift from the heart. It really and truly is the thought behind the giving that counts. And if what I receive is no more than a loving hug and a promise, what more do I really need?

I wish we were not all so materialistic and greedy.

I wish that every single person in the world could SEE the world and know what a vital part each one of us plays in it. It should be unthinkable for us to do something in our own backyards without first considering the big picture.

I wish for tolerance and acceptance and an end to religion based violence.

I wish for less magical and miracle religion, less blind belief in “God’s word, brought to you by a crew of romantic idealists in a harsh desert culture eons ago; followed by a chain of translators two thousand years long….When I want to take God at his word exactly I take a peep out the window at His creation. Because that, darling, He makes fresh for us every day without a lot of dubious middle managers.” (The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver. I wish everyone would read that book.)

Reality based life philosophies and cultivating open minds could save this world. Fighting about right and wrong and black and white and forgetting to be benevolent and kind will probably destroy us all.

I wish that our global theme song for Christmas could be “Peace on Earth”, and not “Oh Shop All Ye Faithful”.

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My 10 Best Qualities

Hmmmmph. Let’s all be arrogant, conceited, ego-centric pin heads today, shall we? Like we have to be when we hand in a resume, because if we’re brutally honest no one will ever hire us.

And my motivation for answering this prompt will be what exactly? “A little gloating is in order”? WHY?  Is a list of all my endearing qualities going to be blindly accepted by people who will suddenly love me MORE?  Well, okay then. Let’s get ‘er done.


Optimism (Photo credit: hynkle)

Because even when I’m being sarcastic, I really, really mean it.

The fact that I can quietly zone out completely at any given moment makes me appear to be thoughtful and imaginative, rather than merely bored to death.

This is the label I give to myself when I am completely zoned out (see above) and performing various artistic tasks at the same time. It’s the process that’s important here, never mind the results.

It is always good to stay calm and relaxed. You can call it being lazy if you want to, I’m perfectly fine with that.

These are especially admirable qualities to have when you deal with the public on a daily basis, and are excellent ones to fake when you feel like being the exact opposite.

Sometimes I am SO open-minded that new ideas and concepts just whoosh themselves right on through my brain leaving no lasting impression. I do try to be flexible and embrace change. This ties in with the laziness thing as well, since resistance to change often requires a certain amount of effort.

Please refer to number 6, where things I hear do not necessarily lodge themselves in my mind for long periods of time.

Because friends may come and go, but relatives you’re kind of stuck with.

Goodwill is a lovely thing to practice, even when it’s not Christmas. Being funny is good, being fun-loving is even better. Being able to kick yourself in the ass when you’re not being either one of those things is a priceless gift.

Because always being mature is highly over-rated. My job description suggests that I should act like a grown up all day long. My heart tells me that life is too short to spend it taking myself so seriously 24/7. So I allow myself to play. I give myself permission to be as happy as a child.

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