Joe

This is a story about a little dog named Joey. As I have mentioned before, I am the proud owner of 3 little dogs named Elsie, Freddie and Phoebe. As you can imagine, taking care of 3 dogs can be quite challenging at times, but believe me, I get back much more than I give from these 3 little creatures. I fully intended to draw the line at 3…….until one day I paid a visit to my local pet shop and saw through the window a little puppy that looked just like Freddie. At first I said to myself, “I don’t need another dog! It’ll only be a matter of time before this one is purchased.” After a month, I noticed nobody had paid much of an interest to the little dog. I asked the store owner, “What seems to be the problem?” She mentioned that the story on the television show Dateline had hurt her business. The story involved how dogs are treated at puppy mills and shipped nationwide to many local pet shops. She assured me her dogs did not come from those puppy mills. Perhaps….or perhaps not….but this little dog was still sitting in his cage after being in the store two months later.

After two more months I decided I was going to take the dog. As I pulled up to my front door my 3 little dogs noticed that in the box was another dog. I asked myself, “I hope they can all get along.” One way or another, this little dog that I named “Joe,” was joining our family. I was determined to make it work.
The first few days each dog was checking out the new arrival, testing their turf, seeing where they fit. 3 dogs were working out becoming part of a group of 4. The first week I was fascinated how these animals worked out their differences, assigning little tasks to one other, developing new relationships, and strengthening the emotional bonds between them. Joe, in a way, is very lucky. He has 3 great teachers to help him adapt to our family faster, and lo and behold, has he adapted! Now 2 weeks later Elsie, Freddie, Phoebe and Joe have bonded together, settled their differences, without losing their individuality.

The point to this story….surely we humans can’t be less smart than dogs, right? How do we, in our lives, settle our differences? Peacefully, I hope. Can we all exist in this world as individuals, inside and outside of groups? We have a lot to learn from animals….wouldn’t it be strange and interesting if at the next Peace Summit or General Assembly, members of the representing countries had to observe how puppies bond and grow together? Maybe there’s a reason why dogs are called “Man’s Best Friend.”

Embrace Love,

Jennifer Avalon
© 2000 Jennifer Avalon

Human Existence

To be Human, and live in this world, there are a number of Laws that are given to us physically. If we are to have any kind of prolonged peace, we must bring ourselves to accept these Laws as fact. As always, I’m sure you too can add to this list to make it more personal.

Number One: We are born and we die. Living is what we do in-between.
Number Two: We will get sick, and get well, many times over a lifetime.
Number Three: We come into this world as newborn babies…depending most of the time on parents to do a good job at raising us. Some succeed, some don’t. Mistakes are made, which we later have to correct.
Number Four: For some strange reason, we nurture and build relationships through our lives, and one by one through age, they are taken from us. Sometimes accidents too can bring about sorrow and loss.
Number Five: Some will be born in prosperous countries….others surrounded by extreme poverty.
Number Six: Human pain cannot truly be measured. One person’s turmoil may not be as severe as the next, but to him or her, the pain is just as relevant.
Number Seven: Each person has to come to terms with his or her physical limitations.
Number Eight: There are no perfect bodies or minds. Some are thinner, or heavier than others, and we all make mental mistakes.
Number Nine: If one is to truly learn and grow through Life, eventually our physical existence will hit a wall where we start questioning why we are here, what we are to learn, and what’s it all about, Alfie? (eh!)
Number Ten: There are extremely kind, considerate and wonderful Human Beings. There are also some of the most evil examples of Human Life.
Number Eleven: In order to continue living, we people of all different religions and races have to find a way to get along.
Number Twelve: Karma exists….what we put out, will come back to us, in one form or another. I know it looks like some get away with murder, but do they really?

One personal thought I would like to add….There is only so much Life to live in the physical sense here. At some point, each one of us is confronted with taking the next step, to establish a personal relationship with the Creator or God. Hey, somebody built all this for some special reason.

I receive many letters from people trying to understand and come to grips with what happens here on Earth. These Laws of Earth, if looked at and acknowledged, help empower the individual to move forward. As I mentioned, you too can add to this list. It’s all a learning process until the day we pass….and go on to a “Higher Education.”

Keep moving forward,

Jennifer Avalon
© 2000 Jennifer Avalon

Programming

The day we are born, instantly our brains start taking in information through our senses, at a rapid rate. In the best of circumstances, in a loving family that takes the time to nurture, with the experience to understand how important the role of parenting is, all is well. On the other hand, as many of us are not perfect, it is very easy to make simple mistakes that can echo for many years. There are no mysteries here…mistakes that are made are carried forward far into the future. We can blame whomever we like, but most of us spend numerous years trying to overcome those mistakes.

Bad habits can easily be passed from generation to generation, through families, until one day it falls on one son or one daughter to break the destructive pattern. An example: Alcoholism can simply run through families as far back as two hundred years, while the family members never fully understand how things got so carried away in regard to alcohol. We all know friends who can drink two bottles of wine, get up, and walk a straight line, while there are others who, after two glasses, start to feel dizzy and boisterous. We all enter the world inheriting some form of baggage, and as I have said, if looked at closely, the mysteries of how things can go astray can be understood.
We look to point the finger of blame at why we have problems. Instead of looking at the problems and initiating solutions, it’s easier to hold others responsible for our present and future actions. Hey look, it’s not easy being a parent. Even harder today! But at some point we inherit the responsibilities in our own lives and must look at and correct what we see that is wrong.

This essay is called “Programming,” for a reason……look at life as it is……where we were born, how we were raised, and what education we received, have a profound affect on our ability to succeed in life. This is called “Programming.” The mind that is a blank slate at birth, receives input each year of life. The input the child receives over time dictates the roads that are chosen. Isn’t it interesting…when the FBI or law enforcement are looking for a serial killer, by the method he or she commits the crime, gives off clues to the psychological makeup of the perpetrator. Many serial killers end up to be children that were from abusive families. Pain shows itself eventually one way or another.

It’s never too late for anybody to overcome their problems, if they seek out help. Once we acknowledge the problem, we then can begin the process of healing and recovery. But we human beings are a stubborn lot….it’s very hard for us to see ourselves sometimes as anything other than close to perfect. But once we admit we’re not, then we can start to become better people, until one day we become the Programmer…..

Fine tune the dials,

love, Jennifer Avalon
© 2000 Jennifer Avalon

Diplomacy

Almost all of us live next door, on a street in a neighborhood, close to somebody. The person or persons may be just like us, or totally different…but one thing you can almost count on, they won’t be identical to us. Ninety percent of the time they may totally agree with us, but there is still that ten percent to deal with. We are all in our lives, at home, at work, at play, walking Diplomats. We represent our way of life….while others represent their world. Like good Diplomats, the goal is to present ideas, listen to others, and find common ground.

In a world made up of so many people, Diplomacy has become more important than ever. The attitude of “My way or the highway,” is a thing of the past. A little story I would like to share with you:

A friend of mine lived next door to this couple that had a large barking dog. The dog’s name was Cyril. He barked out in the back garden all day and most of the evening. My friend paced the floor, wondering how to get the dog to stop barking. A number of people mentioned to him numerous solutions, like “Get your own barking dog, to bark back,” “Shower the dog with water,” or “Blast loud music.” My friend eventually decided to go next door, to talk to the dogs owner. He knocked on the door, said “Hi, I live next door….I think you have a wonderful dog, but I would appreciate it if you could tone him down a little.” Upon hearing this, the next door neighbor apologized for his dog, not realizing what a nuisance he had become. Two days passed, and the next door neighbor arrived at my friend’s house with a hot apple pie that came from the local bakery, as a way of saying “I’m sorry.” The moral of the story is, before even considering other solutions, my friend decided it was best to go and talk to the dog’s owner, politely and calmly. Who would have known that because the owner of the dog had a wife who was dying of cancer, he had totally zoned out in his mind that their dog was making a raucous outside. While all thought that this man didn’t care about the noise from his dog, little did they know the pain the man was dealing with.

Diplomacy may not always work, and you may eventually have to contact the authorities, but so many times we totally misunderstand each other. Communication is a strange thing. We think we know what someone is trying to say, but we could be way off. We all deal with so many problems during the day, it becomes not so much what we can see and hear, but what we can’t.
As we head off into the world each morning, we are the Diplomats of our home. And as any good Diplomat will tell you, “We all have to find a way to get along.”

Shake a hand,

Jennifer Avalon
© 2000 Jennifer Avalon

The Core, Part Two

After last week’s essay “The Core,” the following few days, more and more of my thoughts on the two parts of who we are (the physical and spiritual) started coming to the surface. In my own life, I have found that I can go out, do some shopping, go to the movies and have a little fun, but after awhile I start to get an eerie feeling of depletion in my body. What are these feelings? I’ve asked myself. They never seem to go away until I start to do things that help me get centered in my life. In some strange way, material gratification lasts only so long. I have also found that this form of gratification doesn’t help relieve stress over the long term. Our health is necessary if we are to continue to accomplish our missions and goals. If all we do is focus on the physical and material aspects of life, eventually the well runs dry. I can say from experience that for me to get to this understanding has not always been easy, but once one enters the belief that the soul too needs input, and nourishment, things start making more sense.

Overall we as human beings sometimes find it hard to see things that we need the most. A Priest or Reverend can preach every Sunday about how important prayer is to us……or a speaker may mention how much God loves us, but for many it goes in one ear and out the other, until we are faced with a crisis. Then the mind opens up almost as if it has received a dose of smelling salts. For the masses, the benefits of the Words of God can sometimes be not looked upon as essential for our day to day life….but once one starts to use terms as healthy, stress-relieving, meditative, and centering, lo and behold, those words become valuable. The tools are out there to enrich our lives…we just have to use them.

I used to believe that God and Heaven were this great big dome that just sat out there for all of us to grab at when need be. As the years went by I began to understand that the connection between God and in my case, Jesus Christ, is a personal one. It is a connection that is with me from morning until night. The more I contribute to that relationship, the stronger it gets…and over time topics such as, sickness, life, death, and after-death take on a whole new meaning. The relationship my soul has had with Heaven has greatly enhanced my life.

Each day we rise and make our choices and replenish ourselves, physically and spiritually. As much as we enjoy the material gratifications of life we cannot forget to contribute equally to the other half of ourselves….our souls.

From one soul to another,

Jennifer Avalon
© 2000 Jennifer Avalon

The Core

It’s very easy to seek out things that gratify the mind and the body. A Saturday afternoon can easily be spent shopping to your heart’s content, while after a few days one can lose interest in what has been purchased. Recently I asked myself, what is it that I need and could obtain that could give me prolonged fulfillment and enjoyment? With much thought I was left with just a few things….

I realized that whatever I purchased, or received, unless it contained some sort of spiritual input, that increased over time, the item would decrease in value. For me, books and music, a walk through the woods, a drive to the seashore, and prayer and meditation, over and over would totally recharge my senses. No matter how many times I walked through the woods, each time was a new experience. No matter what time of day, the sea breeze would relax me and put things in perspective. After doing these things, I would feel recharged and better able to tackle the stress of everyday life. I have found that unless the spirit is nourished, the body slowly dies. So much in our society ignores how important certain thoughts are for our well-being. When was the last time you turned on the television and heard that a product would invigorate your life and bring you peace? Not often, huh? Just think, have a seat, breathe in the air. What a miracle taking a breath really is…..with each breath we are supposed to become more alive.

Each week I try to seek out the small things that can feed my soul. It’s almost a little game that I play. I ask myself, what out there can I bring into my life to give me happiness? It’s not always a matter of money…..as I said, it could be a book from the library, or going into a gallery or museum, and observing what’s on display. I always keep on my end table next to the couch, books that by just glimpsing at, are inspiring. Before I write an album, I often go to a museum to soak in the energy from the works of art on the walls. It’s amazing how different people through time contribute to the same pool of inspiration.

The last thing I always do at night, is say prayers, and give thanks for what I have. I know we all may have problems, but it’s always important for us to count our blessings, and pray for others. I hope you find and receive all you need to bring you peace…..and joy.

Peacefully,

Jennifer Avalon
© 2000 Jennifer Avalon

Walking On Eggshells

Each week we are bombarded with good news, and bad news. Somewhere in the middle, we have to have something called “A Life.” Not an easy thing….but there it is. These two extremes so influence our lives, it is no wonder depression and sickness are so prevalent. Come the end of the week, it’s easy to feel like a bouncing ball, that jumps around the four corners.

So what kind of life can we have? The decisions, in most cases, fall into our hands, and choices become vital to how the weather is within our own personal world. Jot down on a piece of paper, all the things that you feel strengthens you as a person…..that is your armor for sanity. For most of our lives, we have to learn to come to terms with this roller-coaster ride of good news, and bad news. That is why I feel it is so important to develop and maintain a spiritual existence…..my connection to God. If I was to totally rely upon this human seesaw, I too would probably go insane. Sometimes it feels like I am walking on eggshells….between the two barriers. Once one visually eliminates those two barriers, one learns two walk lighter. The personal things that you use as armor, act as stabilizers in this topsy-turvy existence. They predict that over the next twenty years antidepressants are going to become the leading form of medication for this country. Interesting, isn’t it? How can that be? We are supposed to be the happiest and most well-off generation on record, but these days we are working longer hours, and spending less time with our families……that’s depressing.

So why not give it a shot, if you haven’t done so already? If you feel overwhelmed, why not jot down some of the things that you feel can lift your spirits and make you happy? It is, after all, your life. No medication, no politics, no spending of money, can bring true peace of mind. That comes from having your soul intact…..and balancing between the good news, and the bad news.

Step lightly,

Jennifer Avalon
© 2000 Jennifer Avalon

Living in the Moment

This past week New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani decided not to run for the soon to be vacated seat of the Senator representing the state of New York. He withdrew from the race because of the discovery that he has prostate cancer. In part of his statement he mentioned that the three most important things that a person should concern themselves with in life are: 1. Take care of your health. 2. Give and receive Love. and 3. Business. Giuliani also said he received some bad advice when he was young, “It is better to be respected than loved.” Today, he disagrees with that philosophy. Whether you’re a fan of the Mayor or not, one thing is for sure….if you take a look at the man’s eyes, there is no doubt this medical problem has had a profound affect on his life.

So many of us, myself included, are guilty of focusing so far ahead in our lives that we totally forget about the Moment. We assume all will go according to plan, and that two weeks down the road everything will fall neatly into place, while each day getting there becomes a blur. We act like an express train that skips local stops, believing after a while that those stops are irrelevant. There is so much Life in each Moment that few of us are able to experience and soak in all that is there. Isn’t it ironic that in most cases only when we have conflict do we fully understand how precious each Moment truly is?

When we don’t embrace the Moment everything goes on fast forward. Our five year old children, in the blink of an eye, turn into eighteen year old adults, and we are left wondering where all the time went. We’re all just so busy. The weeks roll by and before you know it another holiday season comes around. The more we focus on the Moment, the more we are alive, the longer we live, and time slows down. One example for this is, have you ever opened a bag of candy, and gobbled handfuls, until it was empty? Have you also picked, one by one, savored the taste, until you preceded to the next one? Tell me, which way lasted longer? And which did you enjoy more?

What really makes us happy? For me, it is to simplify. The less I have to take care of materially, the happier I am. That extra car, that bigger house, not only costs more money, but costs more time. In society today many of us are tapped out….not only financially, but also time-wise. The Moment is the real key to the beginning stage of happiness. All that we are is in the Moment. The past is gone, and the future lies ahead…while we exist in the Now. The Moment is so important because it is the closest point to silence, and when all is silent, we can truly hear.

Live every Moment,

Jennifer Avalon
© 2000 Jennifer Avalon

Magic Formula

I recently took a journey partway across country. I drove through about 4 states, each place living a little differently than the next. As you stop along the highway for coffee, one can get a gist of how people feel in the current climate of overall life. No two people live life exactly the same, but as groups we do gravitate towards certain norms. While it’s easy for us to believe that everyone sees life the same way we do, once we get outside of our surroundings we can throw the script out the window. Each town, city, and state have set in place their own view of happiness. Some of it we may agree with, some of it we may not, but different strokes for different folks.

Many of us seem to be looking for the Magic Formula, which basically is: 1) Having a nice place to live. 2) Having enough money to afford what we need. 3) Feeling good about ourselves and loved ones. 4) Seeing a Greater Picture to life. I’m sure, as always, you can add a point or two to this list, to make it more personal….but overall this seems to be what many of us desire. The journey to fulfill this “Magic Formula” can take numerous twists and turns, and as I learned on my recent trip, the different faces showed the stages at which people are at on their journeys.

At one rest stop I saw a man and his wife in a large recreational vehicle, or motorhome, taking a break, so I approached them and asked if I could take a look at their “home on wheels.” As the door opened his smiling wife invited me in, and to my shock, inside was basically an apartment fully equipped with shower, kitchen, bedroom, and livingroom. I could not believe how much could be put into one of these vehicles. The man whose name was Bob, said to me, “This is my baby.” I asked him why he feels that he wants to drive around like this. He responded, “Ah ha! This is my freedom. In this vehicle I can go anywhere. All my life I was told I had to stay within the confines of my small town. What I’ve learned about life with this traveling home on wheels I could never have learned in any University.” “What have you learned?” I asked. “Well, Jennifer,” he responded, “I have learned that people basically are good. What’s screws them up is pain. If they think you’re not going to hurt them, they will more than oblige you.” To me, Bob, and his wife Shirley, in some way, have found their Magic Formula. The joy that was written on their two faces was incredible. Also, upon my travels, I visited a local hospital. I witnessed a family being there to support a relative who was having surgery. As they waited for the operation to be completed, the sweaty palms and nervousness echoed around them. Suddenly the doors opened and the surgeon approached them with the news….”Everything went well.” The look on the doctor’s face that she had been successful with the operation and relieved that everything went according to plan, showed me that she too had found her Magic Formula. For her, this is how she feels fulfilled and contributes to other people’s lives.

There are thousands of stories like these, where we set out to fill the void and embrace the answers to our questions. “Why is my life important? How can I make a difference? What makes me feel fulfilled?” we ask ourselves. What we eventually learn is that most of what we need from life involves other people. Life is meant to be shared. It’s a continuing process, this Magic Formula. Once you have discovered it, you must continue to practice it. Bob and Shirley, the motorhome people, continue to drive off each month to seek out new places to visit. They fully believe that the more they explore, the more they grow. The surgeon goes home feeling she has done the best job she could, even if things don’t always work out exactly the way she wanted.

The Magic Formula incorporates the body, mind, and soul. Each are a vital link to the other for growth and awareness. Every day do something that will contribute to the wellness of your Formula.

Be Well,

Jennifer Avalon
© 2000 Jennifer Avalon

Compromise

No two people are alike. All different things make up who we are. It is therefore almost impossible for people to agree about everything. What we are then left with is compromise.

A world that is filled with different points of view, trying to live together under one umbrella, if each one of us presses our position so far and in no way gives ground, that umbrella starts to shrink, and many are left in the rain. Realistic minds understand this, but there are many that take the approach “My way or the highway.” A bill can be submitted to the United States Congress, presenting a specific point of view that has a list of regulations attached to it that have to be adopted in order for it to be carried out. As this bill makes it way through Congress, in order for it to proceed forward, compromises have to be reached, so that at the end of the journey, this bill can become law. Many times the bill that was initially presented can look very different once it reaches the stage of law. If the presenter of the bill stuck to each line, the chances of it ever becoming law would be almost nil. The same can be said, in many cases, for life.

Our relationships are full of compromises. But in certain instances rules do have to be followed….for example, if Mom and Dad say you have to be in by ten in the evening, in the child’s best interest this rule should be followed. As one gets older, compromise becomes more and more important in the health and development of relationships. Each week-end a family can make plans on what it wants to do to enjoy its time together. How much fun can be had if all the family does is do what one member wants? Dad may want to go to a ballgame…. Mom may want to go to the zoo. And the children would rather go to the movies. What do you do? How about a movie about a baseball player who hits a home run into the zoo? Life is very rarely that simple (ha!)

Hey, we all see things a little differently sometimes. But if we can respect each other’s feelings, hopefully we can find common ground, where we all can have some harmony.

Life is meant to be shared,

love, Jennifer Avalon
© 2000 Jennifer Avalon