Keep on Truckin’

Here we are about halfway through the year. Many of our New Year’s resolutions have fallen by the wayside, but perhaps some of them took hold and came to life. Each year we make promises to ourselves to implement changes that are necessary for us to lead a more fulfilling and productive life. Each succeeding month we are met with a barrage of reasons to abandon our goals and somewhere inside we seek to find the strength to fight the negativity. Well whatever it is you’ve been trying to accomplish with your life this year, “keep on truckin”…with the right amount of persistence and energy the walls that try to stop you do start cracking. There are basically two ways to look at life….either it is within your power to bring about changes to better your life, or sit in a chair and do nothing and let the world dictate the changes for you.

I call this essay “Keep on Truckin” because like the trucker, he or she has to press on through the darkest of nights through all kinds of weather to get the job done. If you know some truck drivers you’ll know this is not always an easy task. The trucker knows that he can only drive a certain amount of hours a day before a rest is needed…..but along the road there are many other “compadres” who battle the same elements. Well as you battle to accomplish your goals in life you will find you too have “compadres” who share your vision. We all need fuel and the ability to take care of our “rigs”… sharing information at “rest stations” we recharge each other’s batteries for the next leg of the journey. Faith is a necessity, for without belief there can be no end to the road, the accomplishment of the mission. For me that entails Faith in Myself, Faith in Mankind, and Faith in God.

We’re all really not so different…there are those out there who capitalize on building barriers between people, but most of us really want a little fulfillment, to take care of our families, and leave behind a little love. Some of us have been so beaten down by life that we wonder, why bother? Well the obstacles only win when you quit. You can be a winner. If your truck breaks down, or gets a flat tire, there is help, and once the repairs are made it is possible to turn the key, start the engine, and get right back on the road.

Have a great trip!!

Jennifer Avalon
© 1998 Jennifer Avalon

Shine a Light

It seems very easy in life to allow darkness to creep into the picture that represents us. The darkness is a place of no answers…a place full of confusion, negativity and despair. To arrive at this place sometimes all it takes is making the wrong turn along the winding road of destiny. When one is surrounded by darkness the senses are impaired…the direction to proceed becomes vague. It’s easy to get lost.

I know all of this may sound bleak, but many live with these feelings everyday. Some of us, including myself, at some point in our lives know far too well this touch of emptiness. But it can be turned around. The one thing that darkness fears more than anything else is Light. Light reveals, Light uncovers, and Light heals. The world of darkness is an atmosphere full of smoke and mirrors…once Light penetrates, the illusions have nowhere to hide. In your home tonight go into a room with a flashlight and turn off all the lights. Once your eyes soak in the darkness turn on your flashlight and shine it around the room. The beam cuts through the darkness like the blade of a knife, and the darkness recedes. The same rules apply in life. Once we allow Light to engulf our surroundings, over time the brightness grows stronger. The pupils of our eyes begin to adjust and take in more information. In our world there are truly for us different forms of Light. Physical Light, which includes electricity, fire and sunlight; Mental Light, which represents knowledge, information, wisdom and determination; and Spiritual Light, the relationship between the human being and God. These are our weapons against the darkness. At certain points in our lives we call upon these components, individually or collectively to help us find our way. They are available for the asking.

Each day there are always more than one reason to dive into the pool of darkness. Every morning we all must turn on our Lights to show each other and those beyond this world that separately and collectively we can shine a Light bright enough to be seen throughout the Universe. As our eyes become adjusted to the Light we will be able to see the bigger picture.

Take the time to love,

Jennifer Avalon
© 1998 Jennifer Avalon

Mortgaging Love

Have you ever experienced “mortgaged love?” An emotion that is offered to you with conditions and strings attached. If you have, you’re not alone. Many of us as we walk through the corridors of life see trinkets and seductions disguised as Love, but True Love is something that is supposed to be given freely and unconditionally. There are some out there who have not learned this.

I recently had a conversation with a friend of mine who was telling me of an elaborate plan that her mother used to extract money from her. At first it would start with comments like “You know I love you, and I would do anything for you”. This would then progress to “I’ve been having problems lately…I’m not happy, but I know that people who love me want me to be happy, and I know what I need to be happy. The only problem is, it costs $5,000.” Do you get the picture? Eventually my friend felt so guilty that she had to send a check for $5,000 to her mother, or she believed her mother would think that she didn’t love her. My friend explained to me that she could guarantee about 2 to 3 phone calls like this each year, every time for a different amount of money. Each time she would go through the process of putting money on the side for her mother’s needs, making sure that her husband would never see a trace of what she was doing. What started out as “love” turned into a form of emotional extortion and betrayal. I know sometimes people we love hit a bump along the road, and need to borrow something, but usually that ends up being a one time occurrence. When it becomes habitual, we’re talking about something entirely different.

Each one of us has to, in one way or another, find the balance between spending and saving. Too much of either is no good. Individually it is up to us to find the right allocation. It’s important not to develop the habit that when in trouble, “so and so will bail me out”, because whether we like to admit it or not, every time we ask, we attach more and more negative baggage to that relationship. My friend Mark entered into a partnership in a glass company with his buddy Sal. After about 6 months he discovered Sal was lifting money from the company checking account. Upon discovery Mark confronted Sal and asked him, “Sal, why did you do this?” Sal’s response, believe it or not was, “There’s a sucker born everyday.” Where on earth do people learn to do such things? Mark told me Sal had been a life-long friend…he was totally devastated. It’s obvious Sal mortgaged his friendship with Mark. There are some wonderful people in this world who will go out of their way to help others. But there are also some who will go out of their way to take you for everything you’ve got. One of the most important lessons to learn in life is to know the difference.

Take the time to love,
Jennifer Avalon
© 1998 Jennifer Avalon

Input / Output

As many of us are creatures of habit, who go about our lives that are surrounded by adventure, risks, beliefs and convictions, much of what we do is affected by the information and experiences of our today and yesterdays. Many of us think that the thoughts and ideas that our minds generate on a daily basis come directly from ourselves, with no intervention or influence from the outside…..we are who we are. Well, sometimes it isn’t that simple. Our minds, for a lack of a better word, are like little sponges absorbing much of what we take in through our senses, and the scary part is we’re not always aware of what’s coming in. The subconscious mind takes over where the conscious mind leaves off.

Everyday our minds are continuously bombarded with information from people, places and things like television and radio. The substance from these influences have a direct impact upon how we react and how we see the world. Our job is to continually be aware that self-monitoring is vital for every one of us to stay in control and balanced. Recently there’s been quite a few cases of children killing children. When interviewed, many of the accused have a reoccurring sentence in their interviews. When asked why they did such a terrible thing, their eyes become blank and they speak the words, “I don’t know.” Nowhere in our lives are we more vulnerable and exposed then when we are children. We listen to EVERYTHING. Our habits and responses are developed at this crucial juncture. Here in America I know we live in a free society but each one of us has a responsibility to personally monitor that freedom within ourselves and our children. The children look to us for the guidance that is needed to help develop their minds. No man or woman is an island. We all share and interact with each other daily. What happens down the street or around the corner is important to us, not just what happens in our own homes. If not addressed, those problems down the street one day ring our doorbell.

Have you ever gone to the movies and seen a picture that was so disturbing that as you left the movie theater your mind was haunted by the images? Two or three days later you still were in the process of getting over the shock of what you saw. Well, life works the same way. As we wear coats to protect ourselves during winter, and open umbrellas to shield ourselves from the rain, so too we must remember to wear a helmet of awareness to protect our minds… A helmet that is made from Love, Insight, Compassion, Faith, and Healing. I’m not saying to shut ourselves off from the world….but it’s very important to process the information coming in with objectivity. What’s the benefit from all of this? You start to see that the filtering system makes us become healthier…and as we become healthier we become better people, not only for ourselves, but for others too. The energy that you put out becomes more positive and more fulfilling. You begin to feel like part of the answer, not the question.

Take the time to love,

Jennifer Avalon
© 1998 Jennifer Avalon

Wings

If you look at small birds a couple of days after they’ve been born you will see them flapping their arms, trying to imitate their mother, who can easily fly around at will. Over time they develop wings but still they need the training and guidance to fulfill their dream of enjoying flight, just like mom. In the early days of airplane development people like the Wright Brothers tried over and over again to build a machine that could sustain flight. One day in a field the Wright Brothers were able to make their small man-made craft accomplish flight for just a few minutes. What’s rarely mentioned is the amount of time that was put in to create those few small minutes. Yes, it takes work, dedication and belief to get wings.

I believe each one of us were born to fly. I know, humans can’t fly…physically that is, but who knows what wonders of flight can be accomplished by our souls and minds? It isn’t simple to just fly….just like the Wright Brothers, it can involve many hours of set-backs andfrustrations. Like small birds, we stumble, shake our heads, and wonder, “Why doesn’t this just come easy?” You’re not alone feeling this way…many of us out there battle the same obstacles everyday. The world is not a kind place to learn to fly, but it’s not impossible. You can find a way. Why is all this talk of wings important? Because for our dreams, hopes and beliefs they need a means of flight. That falls on our shoulders…the very place where wings take hold. Once the weight is removed from the shoulders, the wings have no impediment to flight. Like airplanes, when we become airborne we run into things like turbulence, wind-shear, and mild storms, but after awhile the air becomes smooth and peaceful. As our wings become stronger we learn to fly above the storms, and in some cases be able to see them coming. What a wonderful sight to see the sun, gaze at the moon, and feel the Heavens. A Oneness with everything.

Spread your wings,

Jennifer Avalon
© 1998 Jennifer Avalon

The Ruins of Love

As long as mankind resorts to violence, he has not learned his true path. The human consciousness must evolve beyond violence to solve its problems. If not, we are admitting to ourselves that we are nothing more than a stone’s throw away from the caveman. On a planet that has more Ph.D.’s then ever, when diplomacy fails, the only solution we see is war. In war, there are no winners, only motherless children, families without food, rivers of blood. Hate rules over the ruins of Love. In the aftermath all that is left are wounds that take years to close, and populations that return to prayer to try to understand “why?” We live in a world where many people of different faiths on different continents weekly visit churches, temples and mosques to give up praises and thanks to God, each group choosing a different path to that one God. No different than children in dispute in a schoolyard, we often see the ultimate answer as violence. Surely, we can find a better way to end our differences than that. Yes there is a price for peace, but what is that price, and for what kind of peace?

The same thing occurs in the home. A husband and wife have a disagreement and eventually it deteriorates into violence while children watch, and neighbors hear. At some point hopefully the two sit down with a counselor to discuss their problems, and they discover that the violence resulted from lack of self-love, fear, and anger. A relationship where communication broke down. War not only takes place on the battlefield….but also at home.

Could it be that there is a similarity between the disputes that occur between nations and those that occur in personal relationships? Should we tell a couple who are having problems that if they don’t work it out, kill? The world is made up of human relationships on a planet that is getting smaller. Is there still room left for violence? If violence begets violence, then who wins?

In Prayer,

Jennifer Avalon
© 1998 Jennifer Avalon

Changes Don’t Come Easy

The minute you sit down and initiate changing something within you or around you, the world that surrounds you instantaneously will start to react to those changes. Life always involves changes…but the power to change thought and events is one of the gifts that each one of us possess. As we evolve in our lives we develop patterns and habits that over time feel very comfortable…almost like a security blanket. Then lo and behold you wake up one day, you look in your closet, and see a collection of clothes you no longer desire to wear. You look in the mirror and see a hairstyle you want to change. It may seem like mundane things but even these simple adjustments are going to cause a reaction. In our minds we develop mental images of the people that we come in contact with on a regular basis…so too do they of us. They expect us to look a certain way, behave a certain way…to do what’s “expected.” All remains tranquil and calm as long as things go “accordingly.” For many of us the minute we make changes all hell breaks loose. Mental images have to be adjusted, perceptions have to be rearranged, the expected becomes the unexpected. We look around and we wonder, “What the heck is going on?” I recently saw the movie “The Truman Show”….Truman woke up each morning at the same time and went to work the same way to the same job. All looked fine and rosy and perfect until one day Truman decided to go to work a different way. He started to become aware that life and the people around him were not always what they seemed. To him, he was the same person….little did he know his life was really a world-wide T.V. show with everybody watching his everyday movements. His town was a T.V. set. I know our lives may not be like Truman’s, but there is a similarity to the expectations that we allencounter each day.

Once you sit down and say to yourself, “This is going to change”, forces will come to bear upon you to either quit or change your mind. Sometimes the force can come with good intentions, but from fear of you becoming someone else. Other times, the force can come from someone not wanting you to move forward in life. You may have set-backs, but if you continue to press forward the changes that you’ve implemented will begin to take hold. I’m talking about good changes…ways to improve life. Isn’t it interesting….that many good thoughts and ideas have been met with tremendous resistance. Take the Internet and computers for instance. How many people do we know are absolutely terrified by them? Yes there are some people using this technology to do bad things, but look at how many of us talk to each other every day a half a world away. Don’t be afraid to challenge yourself. Embrace change…..it can be your friend.

Take the time to love,

Jennifer Avalon
© 1998 Jennifer Avalon

Emotional Freedom

There are quite a number of things that can affect the quality of each day….a meeting that doesn’t go according to plan, a bill that needs to be paid, etc., but one thing that seems to stand out above the rest is how we truly feel about ourselves. Our inner personal feelings act like a compass to show us which direction to take. The contents of those inner feelings and the mixture of those emotions fall on our shoulders. I know life is not perfect, and yes, bad things sometimes happen to good people, but overall how we look at and think about who we are and what we can do has a profound affect over our lives, and the lives of others.

We are deeply affected by how our parents feel about us. Also true is how siblings, family members, and friends view who we are to them. In a perfect world, with everything equal, where fairness reigns, there would be no need for concern of how all these people can impact on our lives…. but as you know, this world isn’t perfect and neither are we. Many of us so easily can get caught up in chasing the acceptance and affections of those we hold dear to us. In some cases, how other people feel about us becomes more important than how we feel about ourselves. Therein lies the case for emotional freedom. Love is a very powerful word that can be used in many different kinds of conversations. But in some cases I’m afraid we’re not talking about Love….but rather Control. There are some out there who use Control as a very destructive weapon. On the insecure and fearful, this can become a life-changing experience. Emotional thievery at the highest of levels. How you feel about yourself is replaced by how they feel about you. So sad, but so true in many cases. I know we do have good people in our lives, but it’s important to see the difference between those that give and those that just take.

A healthy heart and a healthy soul are the main ingredients to provide emotional freedom. It isn’t easy…it takes work…but each day you will find yourself moving closer to peace and tranquility. The things you have to let go of may be the hardest. Guilt, Anger, and Pain have to be shed and released to give room for Love, Hope, and Healing. I find tremendous strength in prayer. It is my way to connect with God, and find a better understanding of who I truly am. Others may find a deep conversation with a close friend or loved one…. but the main point is people that really love us are happy for us when we move ahead. And those that pretend to love us need to control, trap, and stagnate our growth. It is up to each one of us at certain points to re-evaluate the people around us…..a reality check. The truth shall set you free….

Take the time to love your self,

Jennifer Avalon
© 1998 Jennifer Avalon

Closure

At certain points in life it’s very important to stop, observe, and look forward. To continue on along the road of life some things have to be shed and left behind. It may not be easy, but in some cases vital to make certain choices to start new chapters and end others. In other words, closure. Flowing through our minds everyday are strands of memories that we use to chart the course to our future. We rely on these memories, some good, some bad, to help show us the mistakes we don’t want to repeat and offer guidance for the decisions we make on a daily basis. It’s never easy….but to evolve as a person is a necessity to keep life fresh and enlightening. To arrive at these decisions sometimes it may entail sharing your thoughts with a loved one or close friend, or spending time in prayer with God. Balance and Guidance is needed to allow the body and soul the energy that both require, to grow. We all have had those relationships that haunt us to this very day. It could be a bad experience during childhood or first experience with love that went wrong. We always seem to ask ourselves, “Maybe if I only had tried a little harder it could have worked out”…some people carry these thoughts with them to their dying day. Bad experiences are important if they are used to help us understand life a little better, but in many cases they are held onto like cherished battle scars that we don’t want to let go of. At some point for healing the door must be closed and the memories replaced. The more positive thoughts you let flow through your mind, the more you can accomplish. I have a friend named Eddie…he’s a mailman by trade. Recently Eddie mentioned to me he can’t believe where all the time went. This week he is retiring from his job of twenty years. He said “Jennifer, it feels like only yesterday that I was pitching baseballs in Little League which turned into me receiving a try-out to pitch for the New York Yankees. The day of the try-out I was very nervous…so nervous that I blew it. Can you imagine if I’d made a good impression that day, hey, I may have pitched for the Yankees! Been a star! But look what happened….I ended up being a mailman”. I said to Eddie, ” There’s nothing wrong with being a mailman”. “But”, Eddie replied, ” It’s not the Yankees”. The memories of those days haunt Eddie to this day…in some way it leaves him feeling like a failure. Isn’t it sad that from those days of Yankee try-outs on Eddie looks upon as wasted time. What he failed to mention to me is that he has a wonderful wife, with three beautiful, grown children. The haunted memories overshadow what matters most. If he only could have closed that chapter of baseball in his life it would have allowed him the vision to see the real contributions that he has made since then….to his family, friends, and to the neighborhood he has so valiantly delivered mail to these past twenty years. There are many Eddies out there….brave souls that feel one failure negates everything thereafter. Life comes upon us in stages and at the end of each stage some things are not meant to be carried forward. Like the river that flows to the sea, it’s important that the water not get blocked….but when an obstacle occurs a strong hand is needed to continue the journey. We all must at times clear the path and leave the past behind.

Take the time to love,

Jennifer Avalon
© 1998 Jennifer Avalon

Courage to Live

I receive many letters each week from people telling me how they persevere through and overcome the obstacles that they face in life. Each obstacle that stands before us looks like a huge mountain that we seem incapable of climbing…but if you gaze across the land and look very carefully you can see many people climbing those mountains. It takes tremendous faith and conviction to press forward through all forms of weather that we face in this life…bless all of you who muster the courage to battle on.

Isn’t it interesting how easy it is to give up, roll over and quit in life? For every one reason to continue there are ten that tell us “Don’t bother”…..”Do you know what the odds are?”….”Are you crazy?” Well, some of the most important ideas and inventions have been created by people who were told at the time they were either crazy or dreamers. One example that comes to mind is Thomas Edison. Recently on a PBS Profile it was mentioned that Edison had to devise a way to market electricity for people to find it useful! He went to Wall Street to explain to the companies that it would be much safer and cost-effective for the lighting to be changed from gas lamps to electric. At first they thought “This guy is out of his mind”…..thank God he persevered to explain to them step by step what an important form of energy this could be. I believe there are other people like Thomas Edison out there today…and just as importantly, we need them to state their case….you never know, it just could be an idea that you have in your own mind.

While many of us try so hard to move onward and upward there seems to be so many naysayers. Everywhere you look there seems to be more re-enforcements for quitting than for trying….you start to believe, is all this work really worth it? Well if it’s to progress you or society forward it is worth it. Jealousy, rage, and anger comes in many different shapes and sizes….and I’m afraid to say sometimes the people closest to you have a hard time seeing you succeed. We are all damaged in different ways….some try to repair the bruises, others try to inflict them. That is why it takes courage to live. Any way you can, surround yourself with thoughts and people who can become a protective armor against the negativity and doubts that bombard you everyday. It can get you through some of the most trying times, but you will learn from those times….and press on.

It is so easy to be a nasty person…it takes a lot more courage to be kind and good.

Take the time to love,

Jennifer Avalon
© 1998 Jennifer Avalon