Shadow and Light

There are many things in life that we don’t have control over, but our perception of them, we do. This perception affects our state of mind and in doing so, we choose whether to rejoice in the light, or lurk in the shadows.

It never ceases to amaze me how two people can look at the same picture and come away with two totally opposite viewpoints of what their eyes have seen. Interpretation is incorporated into just about everything we encounter in life. The affects of these interpretations place us on an emotional scale where joy and freedom sits at the top, and fear and despair reigns at the bottom. The Shadow and the Light….two opposite spectrums within a world of consistent contradictions. Which we choose and which prism we look through, eventually rests with us.

The Light is where the soul and the spirit synchronizes with the Divine, and sees the greater picture that never changes. We live, we love, and we transform to the next level. Death is not a punishment….but a transition. We come here, we live, and we leave…pure and simple. What we fill with that time in-between is up to us. The Light acknowledges all of this….and with the fear of death subsided, one truly learns to live.

The Shadow embraces all that we fear. It feeds off anger, and depression. In every joyous day, the Shadow looks for the failures. The Shadow is an emotional blackmailer…never allowing us to feel joy for too long until it is sucked away into the darkness. It is a cloak that can leave one feeling cold and despairing. This Shadow can make one fear love. It never gives answers, it just lets the circle of sadness go round and round. Some unfortunately have decided to kneel at the altar of the Shadow, believing that life can be no other way.

The Shadow and the Light…two different ways to walk the road into eternity. One a diary of learning, where Heaven is home. The other, a storm that never seems to end, with a compass that goes haywire. We have all met people from both. It’s never hard to see the difference. The Shadow and the Light compete daily for the heart of our souls. In the course of a lifetime, we can slip back and forth between the two, but at the end of the day we become imbedded in one or the other.

I believe in life…it rests on all of us to embrace love, and compassion, and reject the forces of fear and oppression. Getting there can sometimes be quite a journey….yet when the Light shines, all the reasons become quite clear. When all of our hearts are turned on, there can be no darkness.

Choose the Light,
Jennifer Avalon
(c) 2004 Jennifer Avalon

Internal Struggle

Every single morning as we open our eyes and greet the new day we begin the daily struggle of what part of us has the domain to control and make our decisions. It is an internal war indeed, where we contemplate, are we spiritual beings? Or, just human beings?

The majority of our daily decisions are either planned or decided on a moment’s notice. Sometimes it is very hard to see on the faces we encounter, while on other occasions the confusion or anger is evident for all to see. The spiritual part of us seeks for wisdom, and sees the greater good in each decision that we make. Our spirituality centers us with the conclusion that we are here to grow and improve the world around us. The human side of ourselves is driven by ego and instant gratification. Materialism is the key component to feed the temporary joy that needs to be fed daily. Our human side embraces the ego in which the boundaries of acceptability can be pushed further and further out.

In reality, we need both….the human and the spiritual. Yet each day we choose which part supersedes the other. One part of us makes the decisions…it can waver back and forth between the two, but when the totals are added up, at the end of the day most times there can only be one winner. Homes, cars, clothing, food, entertainment, etc., are viable needs in one’s life, but, we always have to ask ourselves, how far are we willing to go to get them? Is there a line we are not willing to cross? Let’s not even contemplate how much these decisions can affect family members or loved ones. Our human side can sometimes see no limits.

I don’t have the answer….but I will tell you what I try to do. Each hour on the hour during my day I try to put aside what I am doing for a few moments, to re-center, reflect on the past hour, and let my spiritual side listen to my human side, and then, let my soul make the decisions. It’s not always easy….but I find at the end of the day, when I try to do this practice, as I look back I have a better understanding of what I did, and how I can proceed to a better tomorrow. All through the day there are always little voices within us pushing us this way and that way…it is only when we stop and reflect can we gather a greater understanding of our Higher Self. Prayer and meditation are always great tools to silence the moment. Once in a while all it can take are a few deep breaths to make the right decision.

In silence,
Jennifer Avalon
(c) 2004 Jennifer Avalon

The Passion

Wednesday afternoon I sat down in a seat in my local movie theater to view one of the most controversial movies of our time, “The Passion of the Christ.” Reading all the publicity of the past few weeks, I truly did not know how I was going to react, but also, what my opinion would be. I was quite surprised.

So what did I think?

“The Passion of the Christ” is a movie that tackles multiple subjects…not just the concluding death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. That I knew about before I sat down in my seat. “The Passion” is also a story about mankind left to himself. I did not find the movie anti-Semitic…on the contrary…I found the movie antihuman. Like many times in history, man can show himself to do extraordinary acts of kindness and diabolical deeds of evil. Each culture contains the possibility of both at any given time. I watched a movie where I saw someone beaten like I’ve never seen beaten before. Jesus was not just crucified, but tortured, for every ounce of life to be wrung out of Him before His death. Halfway through the movie I found my mind flashing back to memories of the past and thoughts about the future. “The Passion of the Christ” showed all the defects and glory of humanity.

In the movie “Schindler’s List,” I watched a brave man, Oskar Schindler, risk his life to save Jewish people who worked at his factory, from a nation that wanted to kill every one of them. The rage that swept through Europe during the Second World War was not only a German rage, but also a Human Wave of Evil. What happened to the Jewish people in the concentration camps was not only a stain on the Nazi’s, but also an example of mankind reduced to a violent, angry mob. “Schindler’s List” was a warning to us all. If not heeded, it is destined to repeat itself.

“The Passion of The Christ” too is a warning to us all. The Jewish people and the Roman Empire did not kill Jesus Christ….mankind did. The same evil that raged itself in World War Two Germany raged itself in the Holy Land over 2000 years ago. WE, mankind, as a collective body, which allows such evil to roam free, are responsible for both of these acts. “The Passion” involved fear, politics, misunderstandings, hate, anger, strength, determination, love, and forgiveness. Quite a journey packed into two hours on the screen! Jesus says in one part of the movie, “If they can do this to me, what do you think they can do to you?” This was truly, I believe, His thoughts regarding mankind left unchecked. Yes, indeed the violence was numbing, but as Jesus carried the cross through the streets, while being beaten by the Roman soldiers, you could easily feel yourself leaping into the movie to carry the cross with Him. I found myself saying, “Hang in there Jesus…you don’t have much farther to go to get Home!”

Myself being a mother, the scenes between Mary and Jesus brought me to tears on more than one occasion. The connection of love between them was palpable….imagine a mother having to watch her Son being brutalized, and nailed to a cross? an angry mob attacking Him? All of the acting was superb, but the scenes between Mary and Jesus will stay in my mind forever. Academy Award level, for sure.

“The Passion of The Christ” is a statement of how mankind can be caught up in the atmosphere of anger and hate, and the random acts of kindness of some who helped Him accomplish His mission. In the blink of an eye, we too can choose acts that swing both ways…to learn right from wrong is our dilemma. Until Peace, Love, and Brotherhood circle our world, who killed Jesus Christ? we all did.

Follow the Footsteps to Heaven,
love, Jennifer Avalon
(c) 2004 Jennifer Avalon

3 Dimensional

Here is a little experiment to try: take a piece of paper, and a pen, and write down who you think you are. What do you need…what do you want….what matters most to you? When you are finished, get a cup of coffee or tea and after a little break, revisit the page and see if there are any more additions you would like to make. Then, put the page in an envelope in a safe place.

The next step is to go to somebody whose opinion you really trust…perhaps a good friend, or a close family member. Ask them to write down on a piece of paper who they think you are…what they think you need and want, and what they think matters most to you. When they are finished, tell them to place it in an envelope and hand it to you. You in turn will place it next to your letter.

Finally, if you can, find someone that you’ve just met, or who doesn’t know you too well, and ask them to write down who you are, with the same questions as before. When they are finished, ask them to put it in an envelope, and hand it to you.

When all of this has been completed, bring all three envelopes together, open them, and place the letters side by side. You get to see how you see yourself, how a close friend sees you, and someone new in your life sees you. The differences can be quite interesting. We get to learn not only how we see ourselves, but how we are perceived by others. The more information we can gather about ourselves, the greater the knowledge can be obtained to help us grow. It allows us to get outside of own heads and see ourselves from different angles. It can be a little scary, but also a little fun. We become 3 Dimensional.

You could also try this with your spouse or partner, to get a better understanding of each other, and enhance communication lines. None of us are islands unto ourselves…going 3 Dimensional could be a way to extend the view.

love, Jennifer Avalon
© 2004 Jennifer Avalon

Freddie

I would like to tell you a story about Freddie. Freddie was born with two legs that had weak knees. His parents were told that eventually his legs would require some form of surgery that would correct damage that could be caused by arthritis. The early weeks of Freddie’s life were quite tough, so much so that if you looked into his little eyes you would see that his whole being was turning inward, as a way to protect himself. He was quite fearful…I believe of rejection. In a world that glamorizes perfection, Freddie had quite a lot to overcome.

When Freddie came home his sister Elsie was waiting…wondering for days what all the fuss was about. She embraced Freddie and from day one she truly not only became his big sister, but also an additional mother. As the months passed, if you looked into Freddie’s eyes, you could slowly see the personality emerging, as the fear subsided. More and more he became stronger….until one day his eyes, which also were not strong at birth, gleamed and lit up the room. Freddie learned and grew with time, becoming more and more evolved. Today, he is one of the center figures of his family. People look up to Freddie….there isn’t a day that goes by where one doesn’t learn something from him. When you enter a room where Freddie is sitting, you have to be very careful…it’s quite easy for him to pick up on your moods and know if something is troubling you. He can smile with you, and help to dry your tears. Freddie is compassion, personified.

Who is Freddie, you may ask? Freddie is an 8 year old little dog. What Freddie was given to work with at birth and what he has overcome is remarkable. He is an inspiration to anyone who meets him. Family and friends all know Freddie…and the kind soul that he is. To spend time with Freddie is to enrich one’s life. I am truly blessed to be his caretaker.

Freddie, a best friend indeed,
love, Jennifer Avalon
© 2004 Jennifer Avalon

The Comfort Zone

We all need to feel safe, sound and secure. What is familiar can be quite comforting. Yet, if all we do is allow ourselves to remain in the same spot, at what point do we start to feel stagnant, stale, or perhaps bored? The Comfort Zone can be very wonderful, but at some juncture to continue growing we may find it wise to extend it’s boundaries.

Over the eons scholars, authors and celebrities have dropped tidbits about how the Comfort Zone has affected their lives. Recently an actor said on a talk show, “It feels nice and safe to continue playing the same role over and over, but after a while it can trap your creativity.” He went on to say “When you decide to make changes in your life or career, forces seem to come out of nowhere to stop you from going forward.” An author said recently “Life is like an air flight….before you get to cruise control where everything runs smoothly, you hit pockets of turbulence.” As we can see, to move forward, it sometimes can take a touch of bold determination.

Do we have to always choose between comfort and growth, or comfort and stagnation? Or, is it change itself that we have to come to grips with? The trick seems to be to allow change to become part of the Comfort Zone. Not an easy task indeed, but very possible. Ages and stages are parts of life, each one bringing it’s own challenges to be overcome. We are supposed to know more and be better people at forty, then we were at twenty…if not, then we wasted some of our precious time. Can it be said that we can only hold on to yesterday for so long, until we have to let it go? Tomorrow can be an enemy, or a friend…how we deal with it is up to us, both inward and outward. The Comfort Zone can be a place of growth and knowledge, as long as we let the winds of change blow through it.

May the winds prevail,

love, Jennifer Avalon
© 2004 Jennifer Avalon

New Toys

This may be the year that the mainstream embraces the new toys. All one has to do is take a look around the local electronics store to see what is coming down the pike. Surround Sound, Plasma Screens, I-Pod Music players, or Cell Phones that can take pictures…one thing’s for sure, the world as we see it and hear it over the next few years, is going to drastically change!

A friend of mine recently purchased one of the new plasma screens…it hangs on his wall like a piece of art. To demonstrate he put on a DVD and lo and behold, a moving multicolored three dimensional art painting was born. As guests arrived and we shared conversation, I could not help but once in a while stare at the images on the plasma screen. Even though they retail right now for around $3,000 it won’t be long until the price comes down to where we will all be able to acquire it. Moving pictures on the wall…go figure!

Like all new toys, they can be used for good, or bad….hopefully, responsibility will prevail. These new gizmos are having an effect on our society as a whole…seeping into our subconscious in some strange, interesting, and at times, comical ways. Another friend of mine shared with me a dream of hers that appeared a touch bizarre, but let me share it with you anyway. She told me that in the dream she was sitting on her couch next to a robot, who looked totally human, and was wearing khaki slacks, a shirt and a sweater, with a baseball cap on. His name was “Fritz.” To her, he was just wonderful…she could talk to him all about the headlines of the day, her favorite hobbies, and exotic recipes from around the world, that she would cook for her family that night. “Fritz,” to her, became like a trusted old friend, who took interest in whatever words sprang forth from her mind. Could it be, I thought to myself, that one day, like the plasma screen, we will all have our own “Fritz?!” I know a recording engineer who always says to me, “I would love to mix my own version of Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of The Moon”….when I mentioned to him the “Fritz” story, his eyes jumped out and he said, “Man, “Fritz” may be just the kind of guy I’m looking for to help me remix Pink Floyd’s classic album!” You see, a “Fritz” could be a unique individual experience for each one of us. Can we even begin to contemplate looking out our window and seeing humans and robots walking side by side, engulfed in conversation? If the plasma screen is today’s new toy, what will tomorrow’s be?

Not too long ago, there was no World Wide Web, and today we fire off messages around the world at will. We see images that change our lives. I believe a “Fritz” will come…how this latest toy is handled is up to us. Each Holiday Season the envelope of imagination and excitement is pushed further and further…with all great discoveries, comes responsibility and promise. But what good will it all be if we don’t embrace the oldest gift of all…..the human heart. For we all can be dazzled, but for what purpose if we don’t become better people for it?

May the force be with you:)

love, Jennifer Avalon
© 2004 Jennifer Avalon