Get Hungry, Get Thirsty

One thing’s for sure that we have all learned, is that no lifestyle or job is a guarantee. Except for a few rare circumstances the days of working at one job and one company until retirement is gone. Recently a friend said to me, “Jennifer, this downturn took my job and most of my life’s savings…how could this happen? I was considered successful!” Then she just shot me a look and said, “One thing’s for sure, it’s time to get hungry, get thirsty, and go and do what will make me happy and make me complete.”

So there it is….many of us know that all the promises, all the guarantees, can they any longer be trusted? Will we ever feel that we have the job that can’t be downsized, or done without? For many years we all thought that we will do the job that pays the most money, regardless of whether we enjoy it or not, and some have found that at the end of that road is a dead end street. All the hopes, passions and dreams we pushed aside, for the paycheck that we thought would always be there, can just as easily vanish.

The great promise of the large 401K, the perfect home, and the mega-bucks job, for quite a few, has come crashing down. If you’re one of them, don’t feel bad…it may be the beginning of an opportunity that will bring you real happiness doing something, this time, that you love. Another friend shared her thoughts with me, angrily saying, “Jennifer, it feels as if somebody came up to me and stole my life’s savings and my home. What adds insult to injury is that particular thief could have been arrested…but in this economic environment, nobody wants to take the blame.” She added, “From here on in, I’m only going to do what I love, for a living. I may end up broke, but at least I’ll be happy, and that they won’t be able to take away from me.” I responded, “I guess you’re not only mad, but now you’re hungry for your passion. God Bless you.”

So many emails, all of them saying the same thing in different ways. What went wrong? I played by the rules. I wasn’t a pig. Something evil went down here. This is America, these kind of things are not supposed to happen, yet nobody seemed to know what was going wrong until it was too late.

I’m writing this essay to let those out there who have been devastated by this downturn, know that they’re not alone. You will come back, but learn, there are always shady people out there claiming to be looking out for us all, yet behind our backs, they’re sharpening their knives. Success can be the best revenge, yet this time let us try to be successful at what we love, and what stokes our passion. Why is it that many times we only find out who cares about us when we go through troubles? Maybe it’s a way to take a good look at our lives, at what we have, and what’s missing.

Carpe Diem,

Jennifer Avalon

© 2009 Jennifer Avalon

Hate Solves Nothing

In the course of any given day, we experience many different emotions. For most of us, we are affected emotionally by television news, co-workers, the radio, strangers on the street, music on the wind….different aspects in the 24 hour day cycle.  The different feelings we experience take a toll one way or another….joy makes us feel glad to be alive, sadness makes life feel bittersweet, loving feelings connect us to a Higher Power, and Hate…well, Hate shrinks our ability to expand ourselves, and although it temporarily can make us feel better, in the end, Hate solves nothing. It neither expands us, or evolves us….it makes us smaller, and less able to cope.

Anger is different from Hate….Anger is a naturally occuring emotion that can come and go according to circumstances. Some people are less affected by Anger….they make a conscious decision to allow compassion to override Anger. Hate, on the other hand, springs forth from not allowing understanding and compassion to enter the field of emotion….because when those two emotions do, Hate is overcome.  Hate also comes from a lack of understanding….in a way, it is an overdeveloped response to Anger.

When one Hates, their vision becomes clouded….they succumb to the emotion, and are not able to see the truth of the circumstance. Hate usually develops after a long time of not allowing Anger to vent itself naturally, and safely, so that compassion and understanding can enter the heart….it is an emotion born of repressed Anger. But Hate solves nothing, because the actions taken out of Hate create more Hatred, and just as Loving acts create more kindness, the ripple effect can be powerful, and often devastating. It is important to vent Anger naturally and safely, because if we don’t, Hate can arise in its place.

We have emotions to guide us, and protect us….otherwise, we would all be walking zombies. The difference between us and the future robots are our emotions. Our emotions are what keep us civilized, in most cases. Our emotions also keep us connected to the world at large. Always keep in mind that Love is more powerful than Hate, because Love expands the consciousness of a human being, and Hate contracts it. Only when we understand this can we strive to keep our lives in balance….to let Love be our guide, as opposed to Hate.

Take the time to Love,
Jennifer Avalon 

© 2009 Jennifer Avalon

Love Is All

 Jobs, foreclosures, divorce, debt, loss and health issues….as terrible and devastating as these things can be, we can come back and rebuild as long as we have Love. Love is the glue that holds the promise of tomorrow and is the ingredient of every positive thing in existence.

Is Life fair? Not always….but we must not forget the journey that we are on is a learning process. These times are the perfect example to show us how basically and fundamentally we need Love in our lives. If one does not feel they need Love, then unfortunately they probably have forgotten how to love. The Ego consistently wants us to believe that we are the Center of the Universe. Sorry Ego…Love is the core that holds the Universe together. It is at those times when we are down on our knees, shattered, that the hand of Love reaches out to pull us up.

All through my life I have watched people over and over again reach a boiling point of frustration and anger until at a pivotal moment they throw their hands up in the air and scream out and say, “I give up!” Out of the clear blue sky time and time again a beam of light from someone appears and says, “Let me help you.” On the evening news whatever natural or man-made disaster occurs, within minutes of the event people rise to help. They don’t ask, “What will I get?” They just say, “How can I give?” That’s Love.

Love heals….Love rebuilds…Love challenges….Love grows. We come to earth, and one day we will leave….but Love goes on and on….the way it should be.

Love always,

Jennifer Avalon

© 2009 Jennifer Avalon

Anger

I’m sure I don’t have to tell you about the level of anger that is blowing through our communities, countries, and the world. There’s a whole lot of people quite angry about what has happened in the past 6 months. The financial downturn has put tremendous pressure on families, friendships, and employment. Oh, one more thing….we have a right to feel angry, we just have to be careful how we use it.

The face of anger is revealing itself right across the board. So many who played by the rules are feeling duped. A few days ago I heard an interview where a Reverend mentioned that he hasn’t lost faith in God, but in the System. Here in the United States the past few days have produced much bloodshed in Binghamton, New York, and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Two events where anger and disillusionment reached dangerous levels. Most people out there are quite worried about their jobs, yet rest assured, we will get through this period of turmoil, and I believe we will come out stronger as a nation, and as a world community.

Usually anger rises specifically in one area at a time…unfortunately, in the past 6 months it seems to be everywhere….people losing their jobs, mounting bills, and health issues. There’s enough blame to go around, yet I do believe we are starting to stabilize and turn the corner. The line I’m hearing over and over again from friends and people I run into at the stores are “I’m hangin’ in there.”

The kind of anger we are experiencing can be put to good use. It gives us a chance to reflect, observe what went wrong, and try the best we can to make sure it doesn’t happen again. Anger, this time, has given us a chance to get finances in order, live within our means, and stop trying to be something that we’re not. It got so crazy over the past few years that quite a few people pretended and lived like millionaires, totally on credit. There was so much credit available that people practically choked on it. I knew that something was up when I started hearing repeatedly the term “Flipping houses,” as a way to make money. A neighbor down the street told me she had three properties that she purchased, no money down! I said to her, “Be careful.” She laughed and said, “Jennifer, no problem….I’m not in the stock market.” Well, we all found out through this housing crisis, if you own a home, you ARE in the stock market! Assets are assets.

There’s nothing wrong with dreaming, as long as we’re realistic. For me, the one thought that has come out of this is, health is true wealth, for sure. And, can you believe it? Frugality has become “hip!” A comment made by one of the victims of the Bernie Madoff scandal had a nice ring to it, for me. She said “I am not a victim, I am a survivor.” We will survive….we will go on….

Live Long and Prosper:)

Jennifer Avalon

© 2009 Jennifer Avalon

God Watches

I am always amazed at the secrecy with which mankind thinks he is operating under, in relation to the eyes of God. Some of mankind who profess to be religious seem to think that they have the ability to shield God from their behaviour….that God can actually be played games with. Nothing could be further from the Truth.

How much better would this world be if those who profess spirituality really believed that there is a God always observing? Would they try a little bit harder to be kind…would they take the hand out of the pocket and lend it to someone in need? Would they re-think the idea that saying one thing but doing another is called Hypocrisy? True Believers do just that….they resist their human impulses and take the Higher Ground…even if it means less for them materially, or it isn’t what they particulary feel like doing at a particular moment…because they know God is watching, and they will be held accountable someday.

We all make mistakes….that’s part of being human. But an honest mistake is one thing….to claim a mistake when it was done consciously and with intent, is another….that is a game, and God can see through it. The ultimate master of the game is God….we will never win against God. The purpose of Life isn’t to win the game….it is to understand why we are here (to love), to correct past mistakes (acknowledgement), and to ask for forgiveness (atonement) We are human….we are not perfect.

I remember as a small child playing outside in the sunlight I always felt the presence of God…I “just knew” that He was around. I think many children “just know.” Perhaps that’s why Jesus said it’s important to come to Him as a child…meaning with the pure heart of a child. Meaning, you really believe, and know that you can’t win the game. Children know that they need their parents…they can’t survive without them. We can’t survive without God…..

Believe,

Jennifer Avalon

© 2009 Jennifer Avalon

The American Dream

There are many at this time in our country dissatisfied and frightened by the apparent lack of ethics in our political arena. I have even heard commentators use the expression “Our Founding Fathers must be rolling over in their graves.” If I was a Founding Father, I cetainly would be rolling over.

If you look at our country as a large tree with deep roots, which represent the Constitution, then the branches of the tree are the various elements of the government….and at the top of the tree sits the President of the United States. The military, who from what I understand are required to read the Constitution on an annual basis, are the ones defending the Constitution, the roots of the tree. When people hear statements on the news like one coming out of Illinois the other day that said people of that state will be able to bear arms, but maybe only if they first purchase a million dollar insurance policy to do so, then the Constitution is being threatened. The Second Amendment was not written to give people a chance to go hunting….it was written so that the folks can defend themselves against tyranny. Tryanny is, for example, when only the rich can afford an insurance policy to have the right to bear arms!

Lobbying is not American. It is not a part of the Constitution. It is using the money from special interest groups to influence senators and congressmen….creating an unequal playing field….once again, not American. One can bend and weave all they want, but at the end of the day I think most Americans know what this country is supposed to truly stand for….and that’s why they are becoming so upset.

What is the answer? Perhaps all of us who haven’t done so should pull out a copy of the Constitution, read it, and see if their elected officials are following it. If not, then we should demand more…more of our officials, and more from ourselves. If we just sit back and act helpless, then we deserve what we get. We are where we are not because enough people are involved and care….it’s because not enough people are involved or care. And why is that so? Because we’ve become lazy….we are a country that eats too much, drinks too much, and chases after material goods beyond our reach. Time to tighten the belts, put down the drink, and get our house in order.

The American Dream is still alive and well….just hidden under masses of neglect and carelessness. The American Dream is a concept….written by the hand of man through the breath of God. We must demand that it be kept alive, and that all of us…elected officials, government, and the person on the street, vow to uphold it. And those who don’t…well, maybe they should buy a boat and go live on an island somewhere….preferably far far away from the coastlines of the United States.

Red, White and Blue,

Jennifer Avalon

© 2009 Jennifer Avalon

Is Sin Perception?

 

I recently had a conversation with a friend of mine where she said to me, “Jennifer, I think we all know right from wrong.” The more I got to thinking about the subject, the more complicated it became. Surely, everyone knows what’s right, or what’s wrong….it all rolls along quite easily until you interject opinion and perception.

Abortion, politics, religion, foreign policy, financial matters, how to raise children, education, social programs, life and death, the death penalty, etc. etc….these are just a few of the subjects where right and wrong, and what is considered a sin in our society, can wave the geiger counter needle all over the spectrum. When one interjects their beliefs on the subject, that too can make the answer of right and wrong quite hazy. If two people have opposing points of view on a serious issue, if both believe they are right, then who’s wrong?

Why am I mentioning all of this? Take a look at the newspapers, and media in general…society has turned Sin into perception. The daily headlines constantly make us all voice an opinion on what’s right before our very eyes. The Iraq war, women having octuplets, the Stimulus Package, and Bernie Madoff….where do each one of us come down on these matters? And at what point do we stretch the line of Sin so far that Sin ceases to exist?

As the old saying goes, “If it feels so right, how can it be wrong?” What’s strange about this statement, for me, is if we as human beings can do whatever we want, then we should be able to eat, drink, drug, sleep, spend, indulge…as much as our hearts desire, without any consequences. If you believe that, I’ve got a bridge in Brooklyn I want to sell you!!

So can we ask ourselves, are we at the point or are we approaching the point, where the word Sin is nothing more than someone else’s opinion we disagree with? Are we on the road of erasing the word “Wrong” from the public square? I hope not. As we live in an imperfect world, perception should never be looked upon as perfection. Disagreement and dissent are fine in a free society….but when we blur the lines of law, we are left with a book of empty pages to live by.

May Justice Prevail,

Jennifer Avalon

© 2009 Jennifer Avalon

The Age of Rediscoveries

If ever America, Europe, Asia or the World were to rediscover what they are, and why they exist, no better year to start than 2009. This is the year many of us will go back to the drawing board, find out what’s working, and what needs improvement.

Within the past year, along with the financial crisis, many have lost jobs and some their life savings. We have been shown just how badly mankind can screw things up. We have two choices…give up, or rebuild. For lack of a better title, this is the Age of Rediscoveries. We have to go back to square one, examine who we are, what we want to do, and where we want to go. 2009 is the year we rediscover our purpose.

Decades from now people will look back at this time to see how we handled this juncture in the road of humanity. Did we buckle? Did we make it worse? Or, did we get it right? For now, the problems seem many, but I believe we will come back stronger and better than ever, as a society. We are more than money, we are more than materialism, we are Children of God. We always get into trouble when we forget that.

The past few decades the family structure has been disintegrating. Parents and their children couldn’t get far enough away from each other. Family began to feel like a forgotten concept. All of that came to a grinding halt in 2008. We started to realize we needed each other more than we thought. Like the generations before us, Family is re-emerging as the center of our daily lives. I know, some have troubles with loved ones…but if a family is strong, they usually can be worked out. A strong family starts to work like a governing body that can right wrongs, and heal wounds. Where did we ever think that we have to reinvent this wheel?

The Age of Rediscoveries is upon us. It falls to each individual to lift up and rise. The soul is not materialistic…all it needs is belief, love, and faith, and it will rise. Past generations with far more complex problems than us have come back strong, so why can’t we? We can regain our purpose, examine where our society went astray, and implement conditions and guidelines to decrease the risk of this ever happening again.

2009! the journey begins,

Jennifer Avalon

© 2009 Jennifer Avalon

The House 2009

This week we look forward to the start of a new year, untouched, like a slate that is unmarked and clean, just waiting for us to paint our thoughts and impressions onto it. Many of us will start to compile a list of New Year resolutions…setting goals for 2009. For a lot of us, by the end of January many of those goals start to unravel, and we become discouraged, wondering why we should continue on the course that looked so bright at the beginning.

I think if we approach the New Year with a different perspective and keep a symbol or image in our minds it may be easier to stay focused and navigate the road ahead. I approach the New Year as a builder, a person who sees a piece of land, and the possibilities that can come forth. I look at the formulation of my goals, hopes, and dreams as a house…a beautiful shining building that by the end of the year I can be proud of. A builder needs tools, not just hammers and nails but Faith, encouragement, conviction and the belief that when you put your mind to it, anything is possible.

In January we start the foundation…we make sure it is strong and has the potential to hold what we place upon it. We make sure there are no cracks. Each proceeding month we add to our house…floor by floor we put in the plumbing, the electrical wiring, the heating system, etc. Sometimes we make mistakes, one room may not be wired right, so we go back, repair the damage and continue on. By the Spring, we see that our house is off the ground and rising. The contributions we have made to our house are beginning to show. People pass by and are amazed how fast the house is starting to come together…but little do they see the problems that we encountered to get to our level. So on we go, each day building brick by brick with the sky above us…and with each brick a feeling of accomplishment comes over us and a better understanding of the mistakes we have made so that we try not to make them again. God looks down and sees a person trying to push forward with a house of meaning and purpose. A badly built house with a weak foundation won’t stand very long…but a good house can last forever. God understands how hard it is to built good houses.

By the Fall, our floors are completed, and we are about to add our roof. We want a roof that will not leak, that can take the elements. If we have done all our work and done it well, by the end of the year we will be standing in front of a house amazed that we were able to accomplish this once monumental task. We look at each brick and floor and see a story. We see the set-backs and the over comings. It is possible to build a good house, God willing, with the right tools, and determination…All things are possible.

Good Luck with your house,

love, Jennifer Avalon

© 2009 Jennifer Avalon