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When Love Smells like Orange Blossoms

Early spring in my neighborhood in Los Angeles, California is a heavenly time to lay in bed at night with the windows open. The orange trees in front of my apartment building are blooming.  Orange blossoms, while fragrant during the day, become intoxicating at night. The sweet perfume wafts invisibly in on the light evening breeze and collects heavily within my room.

For such a powerful fragrance orange blossoms are actually very small. This past week I spent thirty minutes picking up many of the tiny, paper thin blossoms that had fallen from the trees. Seeing them from the ground in clumps is deceiving.  Only when I was squatted on the ground did I truly appreciate how little the blossoms are.  It takes quite a number of them to fill even the smallest package.  But I carried on determined and stayed bent over, squatting and kneeling under my orange trees until I’d picked up hundreds, cramming the teeny zip lock baggie full until it was bursting. I found a cheerful greeting card, put the sealed package of orange blossoms inside, and mailed it to my mother.

With everything mother has done in her 88 ½ years, of all the places she’s traveled throughout the world, she shared in a recent nightly telephone conversation, that she has never once smelled orange blossoms.  As I sealed the envelop I felt the excitement of her surprise at opening the card. Of her wondering for a moment what in the world I’d sent her.  Of her opening the teeny zip lock package, and for the first time breathing deeply, taking in the intoxicating fragrance, the smell of my love for her in the form of orange blossoms.

Never Stop Asking Questions

We are being taken advantage of and we are apathetically allowing it.

To truly be spiritual people who lead with the higher wisdom of our heart it is important to accept that while we are to remain peaceful agents of positive change we have a responsibility to question what petitions we are asked to sign, what causes we are asked to support, what advertising, sales tactics, people, and “entertainment” we allow to influence us. We are responsible for questioning what we have been taught to believe, what we are exposed to on the internet, and what we hear, read or see over other media outlets.

Simply because it is out there does not mean it is true or real. Just because someone is good looking, famous, charming, seemingly intelligent, has a position of power, or is wealthy does not mean he or she is a person of honorable character. Merely because a company or long standing institution is well-known does not mean it is out for our best interest.

Let’s not allow ourselves to blindly follow anyone or anything. We have a higher responsibility to be intelligent, to think for ourselves, to gather facts instead of relying on opinion or blind emotion, so we are best informed about what we are doing, where we are going, and what and whom we are supporting, and why.

Let’s be powerful, peaceful, and positive agents of change and challenge status quo. Let’s carefully evaluate what and who we are exposed to with the positive, responsible values of our heart so we can differentiate between those who are truly honest, responsible, and who are devoted to moving us positively forward, from those who are not.

My Heart Goes Out to Lance Armstrong

My heart goes out to Lance Armstrong.  Not because I feel he is not deserving of the backlash he is receiving for his behavior. No, I empathize with him, because I know how it feels to one day wake up to the emotional reality of just how badly you’ve behaved and caused others to suffer. I know how it feels to have the slow drip of harsh reality burn regret and guilt into your heart. I know what it feels like to be caught by the truth of “it’s not a matter of if, but when.” I know what it feels like to have your egocentric arrogance ripped asunder to stand alone before the Karmic mirror of cause and effect.

He is not innocent. He must and will pay. Yet I cannot throw any “he should have” stones.  I clearly know what it is like to know what I was doing was wrong and to do it anyway. I clearly know what it is like to weave and defend a tight and longstanding web of deceit, to one day watch it unravel. I clearly know what it is like to want anyone to believe that I was, at last, telling the truth, even when I was not yet being completely honest with myself, so I could not be completely honest with others. I clearly know what it feels like to want desperately to be forgiven, and yet not feel deserving of that forgiveness.

Lance Armstrong is a public representation of our selfish human ego when allowed to run free, without ethical or moral boundaries. Without establishing and upholding a personal positive standard of behavior, he allowed himself to act with complete disregard to the consequences of how his actions would eventually impact himself and countless others. He was blinded by the egocentric justifications that everyone is doing it, I am invincible, I will never be caught, I am entitled, and I must cheat to win. Now, in hindsight, he is developing a clearer vision about what it really means to win at life.

But will we use this man’s pain, humiliation, and public chastising to turn the mirror of assessment in our own direction? We are not innocent bystanders.  The corruption, cheating, bullying, and attacking those who blow the whistle on bad behavior have become a common an accepted part of society. No matter if it is in sports, politics, finances, government, or our personal lives, each of us who falls is a call for all of us to face the lack of moral and ethical standards within our societies.  Mr. Armstrong is only one of many whose bad behavior is a sign for us to look closely at the cultures we have created and are tolerating. Until we do, the faces and names will change but the parade of corruption will increase.

To stop it, we must bravely make the individual decision that being a person of high moral and ethical character is what winning actually looks like. When the majority of us courageously lead the way toward this higher standard, honesty, fair play, and cooperation will become as prevalent as their negative counterparts are now. Lance Armstrong is coming to the realization that he never really won through cheating, lying, or abusing others. And, we must also learn that neither will we.

No matter what anyone says about the motivations for his confession, I am proud of him for bravely beginning to own up to his past. I refuse to limit him by it. I also understand that his awakening and assuming responsibility for negative behavior will be a process. It was for me and countless others.  I remain optimistic that he will continue to move toward accepting full responsibility and culpability. If not, he will be destined to live forever in the hell he has created. Honesty is the only key that will set him free to achieve the 180 degree change I believe he genuinely desires, for his life and the lives of the people he cares for.

I will continue to hold the intent that he finds the courage and self-respect necessary to become and remain completely honest, as any of us must do if we are to permanently change the course of our lives for the better. I will patiently watch how he chooses to behave from now on, because I am excited about the possibility this man has to rise from the ashes, to choose this time to unwaveringly stand on the side of the highest ethical and moral behavior. I am rooting for him to do just that.