“Oops:” A Matter of Perspective

Image by Steve Buissinne from Pixabay

It doesn’t matter who says it these days. As soon as the expression escapes someone’s lips, the dog comes running, filled with the promise of a dropped morsel. “Oops” is all it takes to make her feet race with joy as quickly as they can carry her into the kitchen. One person’s mistake is another [dog’s] victory.

When my husband dropped a few grains of cereal this evening, sending the dog running to the kitchen to clean up his mess, it got me thinking about this simple cause and effect conditioned response we have created. It did not take long for our Zelda to learn that an error for us meant a reward for her. She’s a smart dog, highly motivated by food.

Food pretty much rules Zelda’s life. She’s an opportunist, ever-ready for the chance to snatch up a meal, whether it be her own, or the remains of someone else’s. When my husband dropped some of his evening snack, I got to thinking about how subjective the meaning of “Oops” can be. Even, you might say, for the person who utters it upon impulse.

In this example of food lost from one mouth, only to be retrieved by another, the idea of a loss equalling another’s gain seems quite simple. But, most of the time what is dropped in our kitchen and retrieved by the dog is mere crumbs and is not really missed by us. The dog, in this case, is doing us a favor by sweeping the floor with her mouth.

At other times, though, the loss is greater. A quarter, or even a half of a meal might be lost with a careless swipe of a hand, resulting in the dog’s gain becoming more of a costly indulgence not just for us, but also for her health. Then, perhaps you could say the “Oops” is a genuine oops.

But I’m more interested in the subjective nature of the “Oops” and how the impulse to utter a word of mistake can, upon deeper reflection, become a gain for the person who might at first glance be thought of as a victim of circumstance.

When an event occurs that disrupts the status quo, it is in our nature to react. Our reactions determine our emotional response to the outcome, and sometimes it is unwavering. For example, if we return to the instance above, the dropped food may be perceived as a careless action that results in self-reprimand. No thought for gain may be considered, aside from the dog’s.

Yet, when we take the time to consider the cause behind the cause and the result beyond the initial result, we might arrive at a different conclusion. We might take a moment to realize that maybe our thoughts had influenced our carelessness, causing the food to be dropped because we had not been fully present and invested in the present moment, or task at hand. Therefore, the dropping of the food becomes an opportunity to reflect and pause. We can consider what has caused us to be distracted and why. We can make a choice to let it go and become more mindful as we carry out the rest of the meal preparation that is underway.

A mistake, then, becomes an opportunity to learn and to grow, even one as simple as an “Oops.” As we do this, the amount of “Oopses” by nature decreases, and the opportunity is seized not by someone else (or the dog), but by ourselves. The reward becomes our own to retrieve if we choose to. And, most likely, with enough exploration, we will find that the gain outweighs the perceived loss.

I chose the above photo as an image for this post because it reminded me of a big “Oops” I recently read about regarding the writer Ernest Hemingway. Early on in his literary career, his first wife, Hadley lost his entire collection of unpublished manuscripts. Deciding that she would gather all of his work to bring to him while they were vacationing, Hadley misplaced the briefcase containing the contents of his creative work on the train. The briefcase, assumed to be stolen, was never to be recovered. It took months, if not years, for Hemingway to realize, with the help of a writer friend or two, that perhaps Hadley’s “Oops” had actually been a gift. His writing, you see, had only benefitted from his loss, becoming stronger and more refined because the page, like our floor, had been whipped clean by a perceived mistake. He had no choice but to start over with nothing to lean upon. Hemingway’s creative hand took not only adapted to the loss, it grew from it.

Living with Spirit

I wasn’t a child who saw ghosts, or maybe I was, but I don’t remember ever seeing a specter. I talked to fairies, but I don’t remember them talking back. I looked for winged beings in pools of sunlight, and peered in search of their forms under tiny white flowers, but I don’t remember seeing them. I didn’t go to church, and knew very little about religion. Despite growing up in an atheist household, I held within me an innate knowing that Life was not a mere compilation of flesh and bones.

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Still, if you had known me before the age of around 25, you would likely be surprised with the turn my life has taken. Or, maybe you wouldn’t be. I went from adopting my childhood teachings that anyone who claimed to talk to spirits, or see them, was a fraud, to thinking in my early adult years that so-called psychics, mediums and those who can be grouped into the woo-woo category, are just that, a bit woo-woo. Despite this, for the last decade or so, I have been traveling, quite willingly down the path of Living with Spirit.

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I now believe, with every fiber of my being, that Living with Spirit is the very essence of Life itself. We all do it, whether we are aware of it or not.

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Sprit is our essence. It moves through all Life. The blade of grass is sustained with the same Life Force Energy that courses through you and me. The only difference may be that the blade of grass, or the butterfly that lands upon it, accepts this as Truth, whereas you and I may doubt the very essence of our existence.

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So what does Living with Spirit mean? It is, in essence, just that: the state of being open to the awareness of the energy that moves through you, and is constantly trying to communicate with you. You may call it the Divine, God, Soul, your Higher Self, etc. It is all of the Whole that is the Source of all Life. It can be expressed outwardly in a myriad of forms. It can take on many aspects, as life does here on Earth. These aspects have been given names such as Spirit Guides, Angels, Archangels, Animal Guides, and Light-beings. Just as Source is called God, Allah, Krishna, Shiva, etc. We open ourselves to Spirit in the way that works best for us. Some of us hear, see, or feel Sprit, while some of us just know of its ever-constant presence.

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Although I do not believe we are all here to be mediums, healers or physics, I believe these gifts are within all of us, in the myriad forms they can take. A gifted painter channels spirit through her mind and body, just as the writer does, and the healer. As does the olympian and the mathematician. The more we get out of the way, and allow our hearts to receive and send, the closer we are open to Source, and the wisdom it encompasses.

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I believe that we are all more alike than we are different. That we are all a part of the energy of Source, and that our journeys ultimately lead us back to this Source. I believe that it can take many lifetimes, and although we all come from and are a part of the same Source, we are not all here to walk the same path to get back Home. To live the individual journey with Spirit, though, is Life at its very essence.

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Alethea channels spirit through writing and healing. To learn more about Alethea and Inner Truth Healing, please visit: https://aletheakehas.com

The Return to the Mundane

It seems, in a way, cruel. To feel the curtains of one’s heart part without effort to enter the place of magic and pure presence, only to return to where you are used to residing.  I have not re-learned what the young child already knows: to live each moment in open-hearted wonder. The ordinary often takes over my mind, and replaces the inherent magic held inside all life.

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The blades of grass on the lawn attract the eye in their uniformity and neatness, but the magic they hold is hidden unless I stop to view with fresh eyes.

pexels-photo-220859This takes effort, or at least intention. The energy in the ordinary feels comfortable, and even flat, when compared to the extraordinary. Yet, this is the nature of life for most of us. I can’t help but think this is part of the cause of so many of our addictions. This inherent search for a “high” to escape the ordinary. When one feels euphoria, or glimpses “nirvana,” it is difficult to accept the placid.

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It’s not simply the placid, though, is it? It’s not fair to say the ordinary, alone, is not enough, and the reason why we seek something more, which does not always feel wonderful. When I was in the moors, at the Raven’s Nest, I did not feel wonderful. In fact I felt a profound sadness and longing. The key, though, is that I felt this state to such an extend it opened my heart to pure connection to the Land and its Spirit. There became, for that time, no division between us. We were one being. It’s a little ironic that I would gladly trade a piece of cheesecake (which happens to be my favorite dessert), to feel this presence again, with all of the pain.

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What I felt was a sense of purpose and belonging that was impossible to describe, except that it felt like I had come home. After, I should add, a long absence. For the ordinary life seems to distance oneself from this state of unfettered connection.

The real “high,” is not an artificial attainment. It is not an escape from the mundane, but rather to feel the extraordinary in the ordinary in each moment. Even if the extraordinary is not so wonderful to feel. I don’t even know if this is entirely possible to feel with such presence, all of the time. The care-takers of Arbor Low, I suspect, could not tend to their farm at its base, if they were feeling the energy of its extraordinary magic all the time. And, furthermore, does that mean that their life has any less meaning?

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I am, on the one hand, quite in awe of their role as caretakers, living a seemingly ordinary life that serves to ground the energies that are so powerfully present above them. It is almost as though they know not what they protect, and that in itself makes their role all the more extraordinary. Really, how else could one reside in a place such as this?

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Is the farmer living a life more, or less, real than the person who walks the stones and feels transported beyond the mundane? At some point, it seems, we all must come back to Earth. We must tend to our children and animals, clean our residences, prepare and eat meals and carry out the daily tasks of life. If we don’t, a state of chaos can take over. Messes pile up, the gnaw of hunger starves the body, bills go unpaid, and we eventually find that we have lost our handle on life itself.

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Yet we keep seeking, don’t we? As though we are trying to fill a void that is infinite. We use food, drugs, cars, vacations, houses, shoes, porn, electronics, exercise…there are so many ways to fill in the blank. There are almost an endless number of things we use to try to fill the void that is ever-present. Telling us there is more to life, if we could just figure out what it was and how to get it.

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Of course, getting it is the problem. There is no getting of what is already present. We look outside, instead of looking within. It’s not easy to see in the dark, so we resist the finding of the light within. To see into that place of magic that resides in all things. You. A blade of grass. A rock. The person beside you. To open that door to the extraordinary in the ordinary, and leave it open. To see the world through the eyes of the inner child, always, seems as impossible as it seem necessary.