On Monday, March 7th, Louise Hay posted on her Facebook page:
Life is a grand adventure! Today I choose to see my life as an adventure. I uproot outdated beliefs and discover hidden treasures of joy and freedom.
I shared that post on my own timeline and a friend asked, “How can it be determined that a belief is outdated?” My initial response was that you know it is an outdated belief when it no longer rings true for you and I used my once deeply held belief in Santa Claus as an example. I left my response there but I continued to think about beliefs I have had, how they have served me and how they have changed over the years.
Another friend gave us a candlestick holder as a housewarming gift when we moved into our house. The base of the candle holder is a beautiful glass prism and I put it in the window in our kitchen which faces east. In the mornings, the room is flooded with the warm, morning sun and dots of refracted light cover the walls and everything else in the kitchen. The cats enjoy trying to catch the brightly colored spots that crawl up the walls. Lynn and I point out particularly odd-shaped reflections to each other and we laugh when we’re deep in conversation and vivid greens and purples cover some part of our faces suddenly.
Another treat that this gift of light brings to me on sunny mornings is the memory of my paternal grandmother and what a presence she is in my life. As a child, I enjoyed spending time at my grandparents’ house and I believe that my love affair with light began in the east-facing living room of the house they built in 1937, at the corner of Highland Avenue and Pike Street in Cynthiana, Kentucky. My grandmother lined the large casement windows with prisms dangling from ribbons and fishing line and in the mornings the room would burst with rythmically swaying dots of colors. I was enchanted!
Grandmother would thrill me by running her fingers under the prisms and causing the colors to dance about the room for what seemed like forever. First, the dance would be fast and jittery and then it would become slow and the colors would swing back and forth – all while inching closer to the floor where they would eventually disappear. Looking back now, from the age my grandmother was when I visited her on sunny, spring days, I realized that she had the secret to sharing quiet mornings with unruly children. My grandmother was magic to me. She was Glenda the Good Witch. She burned incense, looked like a diminutive Lucille Ball with her bright red hair, watched wrestling on tv – had a color television! – and listened to baseball games on the radio at night as she fell asleep.
On the nights when I couldn’t fall asleep, she would instruct me in ways to “release” the energy from my body by intentionally thinking of each limb and imagining the tension floating away from that body part – slowly and gently. I usually lost track by the time I’d worked my way up from my feet to my hands and drifted into a peaceful sleep. The time I spent with my grandmother when I was very young was euphoric for me.
As I grew older and my interests became more hormonally charged, my idea of my grandmother changed significantly. This woman who was not afraid to openly talk about sex and bodily functions shocked and repulsed me. Having by now, adopted the very certain convictions of my mother that there were things in life that one NEVER spoke of – regardless of my overarching preoccupation with them – I was embarrassed by my grandmother’s probing questions and what seemed like unnatural concerns for my affairs. I didn’t want her in my business and didn’t want to be around her. She seemed to know my secrets and inner-most thoughts and desires – which, of course, were shameful and bad because they weren’t like anyone else’s. I ran from her believing without realizing it, that she would “out” me to my tribe and then there would be yet another reason to abandon me – to cast me out. I had hung in there with them so far but I was sure it was simply because they didn’t really know me. If they knew my heart, they would surely reject me finally and completely. Becoming “the lost child” and slipping into the background was strangely my way of staying engaged.
I have at times regretted that my relationship with my grandmother never made it over the considerable hurdle of my fears. We never had in actuality some of the conversations we’ve had in my imagination and dreams since her death. As I trace back over my many changing and evolving beliefs about my grandmother, my relationship with her and appreciation for her has deepened even in her physical absence. I am so grateful for her energy and presence in my early life and know now that she is exactly what I needed. She sparked my imagination and delighted my senses. She encouraged me and made me feel special. I’m grateful for every lesson she taught me and every opportunity she gave me and how it has made the life I live today possible.
I’ve had a lot of outdated beliefs about my paternal grandmother and for that I am grateful. They were my beliefs at the time and they served me well. I learned something valuable from each and I am happy for the time I spend with my grandmother now. I feel her energy in me. I burn incense and enjoy bodywork and the magic of refracted light moving around a room and I try everyday to live my life fully and completely.
I no longer believe I’m the lost child – that is an outdated belief. I no longer believe that my grandmother was scary and repulsive – that is an outdated belief. I do currently believe that my grandmother was magic – that was an outdated belief that I am taking up again. I believe she was magic in the same way that we all are – whether we believe it ourselves or whether anyone else does – we are all extraordinarily magical. And I am grateful for that marvelous time in my life when the magic in me recognized the magic in my grandmother.
I am blessed and I am grateful. What are you grateful for today?