I Guess We’ll Have To See

Hello, friends!

I have been giving the concept of a heaven some thought recently and I am still on the fence on it. All the Christians talk about it being a place of rest, but I don’t see the point of a resting place where I’m surrounded by only people of my same faith. In the past, I have been far more in favor of something where our souls take on a different form of energy rather than being transported to a resting place. The only place I run into a snag with that is when I think about never seeing my dad again, or never being able to hold my husband when both of us eventually pass. He wants to poke me, that is what he is looking forward to. If there were any other workaround to that that held some shred of proof of possibility, I would go for that. I suppose there isn’t much tangible proof for a heaven, either, so we’re in this eternal spot of “oh, guess we’ll have to see”. I’m an impatient person, so this bothers me. I want my answers and I wanted them yesterday.

I bring this up because the artist Avicii is (posthumously) releasing a new album called Tim. I was confused because I thought he had died back in 2018, and that appeared to still hold true. The thing that really got me thinking was that they had turned his website into a vibrant memory board where people from around the world can post messages about the memories they had with him and his music. This got me thinking about my aspirations for my soul – to do enough good to be remembered fondly on Earth without much care for heavenly things.

As with the Avicii memory board, I have seen many signs pointing to the restful side of the quandary I’ve been facing, the side where I will get to see the people I love again. I have this one aunt that I have felt connected to since I first saw an image of her. Her name is Florence and it is believed that she died of the Spanish flu before 1920. I saw a picture of her and it was like there was an understanding between us that we knew each other at some point and will see each other again. Even if there is no heaven in the traditional sense, I hope we come into contact with one another again somehow. I believe that she is a guardian angel of mine. After reading about how she threw parties in her hometown newspaper, I have no doubt that she does it well.

This is Florence.

I have heard several of my Mormon friends talk about those who are dying being greeted by those they love who have preceded them in death. Some would also call these beings angels. That’s something I have never seen personally, but have felt. As my dad was in his last days, I felt presences that weren’t physically there. None of them ever made a move to speak or touch any of us. If anything, it was a feeling of comfort that we weren’t alone as we held my dad’s hand and sang to him. If that’s heaven, I wouldn’t mind that.

There are times I feel close to the more afterlife-related areas of God and the Universe, like with the examples of Aunt Florence and my dad. I also meet people whom I feel I have known before this life, and I know that if there are to be future lifetimes, there are a few people I’m damn near certain I will find again and again. My husband and my best friend Lindsey are some examples of this. I also know that I have more people to meet. There is a purpose to everything and God is everywhere. That keeps me going when there’s hardly anything left. I don’t always remember that perfectly, but just because I don’t remember it doesn’t make it untrue.

Do you have any thoughts on heaven? Let me know in the comments!

-Mago

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I Win Or I Learn

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Hello, all!

Sometimes the universe grants me joy in providing me something or someone to care for. I was given one such opportunity two days ago.

This is Chadwick.

He’s our itty bitty bearded dragon baby.

He is the most inquisitive baby I have ever seen and he is so precious while he is at it! My husband and I have wanted a bearded dragon of our very own for awhile now, and so we got Chadwick on 1 June after I pulled the birthday gift card. My birthday is on 16 June, so it’s a bit early, but he is my second best birthday gift.

My actual best birthday gift was given to me last year on 16 June proper. My husband proposed to me on my birthday and I said yes! Because of that choice, we are where we are today and I think we’re both better for it.

This is a special time for me as I look back on my 21st year and what all I have learned and done from last year to this one. It is becoming apparent that I am probably the luckiest human I know. I am living my dream here in Alaska, with the man of my dreams (more on that next post), a beautiful reptile baby, doing what I love. I am a happy human.

If I’m honest, I’ve kicked and screamed my way here. I’m a fighter who fights the wrong things. I’m stubborn and reckless and impatient. I am blessed and grateful beyond measure by and for a patient husband and patient friends and family who refuse to give up on me. I continually seem to be surrounded by those more patient than I am. It’s been a winding path getting here and I have waged many useless wars on myself and on others. And as I have said before, the universe and God have placed things in my path to care for and learn from.

I was talking to a friend of mine about this very thing and she said that we aren’t given anything we can’t handle. It was interesting to hear it from the mouth of a friend, for I had read about it before. It was a good confirmation for me, and we talked about it for a bit. To me, this is proof that I am known and loved by the divine. I have seen enough of it in my life to believe it for myself. If we weren’t loved, trials and lessons would be sent to us to destroy us, not help us grow. I imagine it like being a rock put in a tumbler with a bunch of other rocks and tumbled over and over for weeks. This rock would start off ragged and raw and come out smooth due to contact with other rocks. Without contact with these other “rocks”, hardships, experiences both good and bad, mistakes made, I would not be where I am today.

I see all over Pinterest the phrase “I win or I learn.” It pops up in a lot of the motivational quotes in my feed, and I think it’s a thing I need to learn, think, and write on. I see life in terms of winning and losing most of the time, and that’s not where my head should be at. I have written here before that failure isn’t a permanent defeat, it only is if you give up. The fruit of failure is experience, oftentimes valuable experience. I take my experiences with failure and try to apply them properly, but sometimes one failure can make me afraid to try again. Here’s a story of when I took my experiences a little too far.

I was in Idaho school. I had trust issues and enough baggage to fill an entire apartment complex, and the lesson I had to learn at the time was trust. I was afraid to try again after a series of failed relationships and friendships, leaving me with the sour taste of “people always leave” in my mouth. My friends went about trying to change that way of thinking. I remember talking to one of my friends about predicting the end of a situation before anything had happened with it based entirely off of past experience and my friend shot that down quickly. “Meg,” he said, “You can’t assume everyone is like the people who hurt you. Quit using the precedent set by the past to assume the outcome of the future.”

That struck me. Perhaps I had learned the lesson of distrust a bit too much. My friends continued to prove their trustworthiness, and a year and some later, I found someone whom I can trust for the rest of my life, and I married him. I had been seeking him for years without knowing it, and we found each other again. What I sought was also seeking me, and we found each other when both of us were able to be vulnerable with each other. When we both were ready, we found each other. Overcoming experience can be just as important as gaining it. When I stopped assuming that he was inevitably going to hurt me, things changed.

I learned, and in the process I won. So perhaps I would alter that statement – I win because I learn. It’s rare for raw talent to get me to any kind of finish line, and without any kind of learning, drive, or innovation, I stagnate. I win because I learn to adapt, because I learn to overcome challenges, because I learn to persevere. The list goes on. All of these are wins.

These lessons are placed in my path by a loving God and universe. Chadwick will surely present lessons, just as marriage has. Marriage is a lesson I would not trade for anything. So even though I have come here kicking and screaming, I am here. I am alive. I am a student of the universe and of life. I am thankful for all of you!

Love,

MJ

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All I See Are Explosions Anyway

Hello, friends!!

Lately it’s been like an archaeological dig in my brain. If you’ve been following the blog at all, you’ll find that there have been many discoveries made in the last few days. It’s been an awesome experience, but there are still some things to be desired.

I pray a lot in my own way, and sometimes people think I do it wrong. I have problems praying aloud and instead carry prayers like feelings close to my heart soundlessly. It’s kind of like meditation mixed with prayer, and it helps me a lot. It may be “the wrong way” to pray, but I am firmly of the belief that people can pray however they want so long as they aren’t hurting themselves or other people. There is a time and place for praying aloud and a time and place for praying silently. I’m in the time for praying silently right now.

My friend Laurie talks a lot about there being seasons for things. It was a bit odd to hear that language at first, but now that I think about it, it makes a lot of sense. There was a time and a season where I was a Mormon girl, there was a time and a season when I was an agnostic, there was a time an a season when I identified as male. This is a growing and harvesting season. This is a season of freedom.

The title of this post comes from none other than a poem I wrote that talked about my old school in Maryland. There was a line in there that talked about the only true semblance of prayer I had in those days was when I looked through a telescope and all I saw were explosions of galaxies anyway, not any kind of real answer. In those days, it was hard to be close to God and the universe. I was going through a lot.

Returning to the topic of seasons, there are seasons when I am not close to God and the universe. It’s totally fair and valid if you aren’t close to them right now, in the future, or ever. Your journey is yours, not mine, your best friend’s, or that neighbor down the road that demands an expectation from you and doesn’t deserve one. There will days when you see in perfect clarity, there will be others when all you will see are explosions. You are loved constantly and eternally. That is the great constant.

As I go deeper into this digging phase, this season, the more I learn. Having a seat at the table means more to me than just having an equal chance at life as everyone else. It means being given the same gift of hope and the capacity to dream, be validated, and live fully, not just exist.

I remember bursting into tears at Maryland college after seeing a sign saying “no one deserves just a friendship of utility.” It was advertising a workshop on how to be a good friend. The school was dedicated to the study of philosophy, and a friendship of utility in the texts was a friendship for a purpose, not just for friendship’s sake, not so different from using someone. I was hurting and felt broken and wanted my friends to save me. Not surprisingly, the more desperate I became, the more they pulled away. I was wanting as much of a friendship of utility as that sign was warning against. Nobody could save me but me in the end. It took believing in myself to even feel saved. Nothing, not even believing in God or the universe, would make me feel secure until I started this journey to believe in myself. I may have been broken, but nobody but me could fix me.

My aunt always quotes the safety demonstrations at the beginnings of airplane flights when they say “you need to put your own oxygen mask on before assisting with someone else’s, even if it’s your kids needing help.” My aunt is a wise woman, and there’s much truth in that. There are a lot of ways one can seek truth. You can try and find truth in books, friends, God. A lot of them are ways you can try and avoid who you are. You can believe in and put trust in anything you want, but if it doesn’t help you trust yourself in a deep and lasting way, perhaps it’s not worth pursuing long term. Faith and relationships should give you inner peace and help pass that peace to others, not spread you thin. It’s difficult to help others when you yourself are breaking inside. That’s not to say that you don’t need others to help you get to where you’re peaceful; I’m far from it and I am constantly being filled by the people around me. But I wouldn’t be anywhere close to where I am now without realizing I had it in myself to be where I am now. Because I have people who are willing to be in my life as I transform and encourage that transformation, I am able to become me and who I am meant to be in this moment. I’m beginning to believe in myself and have faith in that seat at that table. I see more than an explosion in things now, myself included.

After all of this, how can I believe in myself, you may ask?

I try not to pretend to know others’ lives, only my own. So here’s what has worked for me.

I’m learning in my life about what I call the great constant – that I am loved at all times, no matter how much I feel I have failed or fallen short.

I am also learning about what I am worth as a human being and child of the universe.

Put those together and I find that I am worth indescribable amounts and so are you. You are given a seat at the universe’s table simply because you are here and you are existing, experiencing this crazy thing called Living. You are loved regardless of where you have come from, who you are, and what you have done.

It takes work and a lot of faith. What really helps is to think back on what I have learned when I’m faced with a setback or a personal failure and present myself with mercy instead of condemnation. Because I know I am worthy and loved, I am allowed to continue trying. Just because I make mistakes doesn’t mean I am a permanent failure. The aftermath of a mistake is an opportunity for improvement, to strive to do better next time and the times after that.

I believe that the moment you start to present yourself with mercy in failure is when you start to believe in yourself. From there, your self talk begins to change and you will work towards being able to see that you are loved in infinite ways and the cycle repeats itself.

I’ll never be perfect, and there is always something new to learn. That’s something that also takes learning. Thank you for learning with me.

Love,

Meg

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The Great Constant


Hello!

Today is a new day, even though it is a bit young for me. I woke up at 12:30 PM and am kind of regretting my life decisions. So I have camped out in a super hip coffee shop and am just enjoying life for now.

There’s something I don’t think about often but am thinking about now. I don’t usually like getting out of bed nowadays unless there’s something that’s making me leap out of bed at 6 AM. That’s usually a lesson, to be honest. I like getting up at 6 AM, but there’s not been much getting me awake and alive. I am quick to blame that on my surroundings and lack of events in my life, but I honestly am not feeling super motivated internally and that is why it’s harder to get up and move, I think.

I’m not feeling depressed, is the weird thing. I am perfectly happy when I get up, I just feel unmotivated, like there’s not much to look forward to in that moment. In other words, I think that my reason why I’m doing things, why I am living and not just surviving, why I am happy, even, isn’t big enough. I have big dreams, but I don’t honestly believe in myself enough for them to motivate me. It’s not that they’re small, it’s my lack of faith in myself.

It’s funny that I feel this way, especially after I have discovered that I have a seat at the universe’s table and have a voice. I should be living this discovery, right? How can I use my voice? How could I possibly be bored with my life?

I find during these “boring” days that I overlook the little things that make me happy and make waking up worthwhile. One of my favorite little things is when my roommate leaves fresh coffee grounds in the coffee machine to be made in the morning. It saves me a step and I am always thankful for it.

I’ve got coffee in hand and I’m thankful for that, too. I used to make long lists of what I was thankful for in a day, and that got me through the final stages of my husband’s and my long-distance phase. I nearly filled up a journal with these thoughts. I keep thinking that I should do them again, but never get around to it. I make note of the bigger little things, but I need to actually write them down and properly thank God and the universe for these little gifts.

I was reading a book called Captivating, which is a Christian book. One of the chapters spoke about God-as-lover and elaborated more on how God shows people love in small (and big) things, like a gorgeous sunset, or for me, the entire state of Alaska. I see God a lot in nature and in the people I meet. I definitely need to do better at recognizing that facet of God.

It’s interesting to me that I generally learn about God and the universe one little bit at a time in the times when I need that facet. I didn’t believe in a God who could personally love me until I started thinking a lot about the process and practice of gratitude. When I started to take note of these things, my perspective shifted. YES, I was loved! Yes, I was protected! It made so much sense.

One of the things I struggle with in my journey with God and universe is that some things need to be taken on faith and that I don’t have to understand everything. I think of my journey with happiness, for example – a lot of the time I am happy and I don’t know why. I don’t always need a reason to have happiness as my default state. It just is sometimes, and that is that. I am a child of God, I am a child of the universe, their love is constant and a given. I am carried on their shoulders. So are you.

“Meg! What does it mean to be carried on the shoulders of God and the universe?” you might be asking.

Well, it means different things to different people. For me, it’s kind of like standing on the shoulders of giants, you can see more than an ordinary being. But it also bears a connotation of a child being carried on a parent’s shoulders. I am supported and seen, is what it means to me. I am loved.

Knowing I am loved is a powerful thing. Knowing that God and the universe watch over me and guide my path as I listen is a wonderful feeling. They are everywhere. I miss my dad, but he is always watching, too, but in a different way than he could when he was here in this plane. I don’t entirely know what the purpose was in him dying, but I know he was needed elsewhere. Some have said that he gave my husband the nudge he needed to talk to me again so that our journey could begin. That would make a lot of sense seeing how similar they are. I know my dad loves me. I know my husband loves me. I know that my husband came back into my life at the exact right time. God and the universe, in their infinite wisdom, knew what to do. I will always be mistaken in thinking that my life is boring.

I am needed and I am in need. It’s strange to think that we are never truly static, there is always something changing, constantly putting us in need of help or in a position to help others. We receive gifts and are gifts to others.

I have said it before and will say it again, we are given what we need in the times that we need it. We are loved spiritually, that is the great constant. Nothing we can say or do will change that, it was so from the beginning and will always be. It doesn’t matter who you are, you are given an equal chance and a seat at the table. Be seated! The meal is coming.

Love,

Meg

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