In the last year, I’ve been honored to befriend and learn a great deal from my friend Scaughdt Iam. It is with great humility, pride, happiness, and earnestness that I share with you all again his closure for the year.
“And once the storm is over you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, in fact, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm you won’t be the same person who walked in.” ~ unknown

As 2011 draws to a close, I think back and am completely amazed — both at how incredibly difficult the year was for me personally, as well as how immensely powerful it became. It was my “Year of the Crucible” — a time of radical cleansing when my most halcyon hopes were gently offered to me, only to then be violently ripped from my grasp; 
… when my darkest of fears came feebly knocking at my fortress’ gate, only to then be willingly let in and offered the best seat at the banquet; 
… when my greatest endeavor was perfectly planned, only to then shatter me with disappointment and despair.

aaaaaaand — I made it through! I not only survived those ordeals — my Love has been strengthened by them beyond measure.

These days of pause and ponder have allowed me to reflect upon the crises and sufferings of 2011; to reflect with wonderment and ponder with gratitude. For it is the painful times in our lives that give Meaning to our more joyous days … It is the times of suffering that strengthen us; that allow us to then be able to ultimately encounter our Life’s Purpose with resolve & fortitude.

I wasn’t going to mention any of this to you all, and yet it steadily became clear that it might be important for each of you to realize that no one is immune from the painful challenges of being human; that even “Saints” & “Lightworkers” (I claim to be neither) suffer through bouts of depression & doubt; that even Peace Pilgrims get the blues … 😉

In fact, as I look back on thousands of hours of studying the lives of many “Masters”, every one of them went through intense periods of distress — what some call a “Fall” or a “crisis of Faith”. And in every case, it was these very times of despair that allowed these “Great Ones” to come to now true Compassion for others. For we can only deeply empathize with others that which we ourselves have experienced. 

And so I rejoice and revel today in the completion of my own “tumble from Grace” — my year of 2011. It was a year of regular Joys, of course, and yet also a year filled with fear and doubt and yearning and sorrow; challenges that pushed me to limits previously unsurpassed; difficulties that tested my resolve to remain a champion of pure Love; sufferings — as I transcended them slowly but surely — that enabled me to become a more scintillating champion of selflessness.

Our most difficult times are those that allow us to show the Universe that we are more than merely “intelligent animals”; to show God that we are more than merely “selfish sinners”; to show each other that we are truly Human(e) — that we can pause in our moments of despair and reach out to LOVE ANYWAY. 

Indeed, if we respond to such trials with nobility & gentleness, they become the moments that make our lives worth living.

“Do not be eager to deal out judgment … Even the very wise cannot see all ends.” ~ Gandalf

Times of pain & difficulty are not to be sought out, of course, and yet they inevitably visit us all — in some years much more intensely than others. And when they do arrive, we are always given a choice: to mope over the unfairness of it all, to fight back against the injustice of it all, or to gracefully accept what IS & then use those times to emPower the reawakening of our True Selves — by choosing to LOVE ANYWAY.

I remember this Truth today — and thus, at least for today, I choose to be thankful …

I am thankful for the Peace Pilgrimage I walked from Tennessee to Florida last spring — a walk that destroyed my resolve on more than one occasion, a walk that proved to be the most painful physical experience of my entire life, and yet a Walk that allowed me to shed many of my fears & desires — and more potently know the Peace that comes from true Love.

I am thankful for all those who — either unwittingly or intentionally — blasted me into the darkest depths of depression, for I realize know that they — either unwittingly or intentionally — paid a most terrible price in order to offer me the chance to show my mettle; in order to give me the opportunity to rise up from those ashes and KEEP LOVING ANYWAY. I was not always successful in this regard (and I ask their forgiveness for the times that I failed), and yet I never quit striving to be a Light of Love; I never ceased remembering that these “enemies” were actually my most devout of Friends; that the “demons” that inspired their acts of selfishness were actually the most glorious of all the “angels” that accompanied me on my Journey.

“It is not because angels are holier than men or demons that makes them angels, but because they do not expect holiness from one another.” ~ William Blake 

And, of course, I am thankful for all of you … How fantastically odd it remains that in my most solemn of times I was able to find deep solace by simply “crawling” to my computer and typing a few Kind words here on Facebook. Thank you all for being here for me; for giving me the chance to engage the one thing that has ever brought me true Joy: “being Kind when least inclined”.

I am grateful …

I am Grateful …

I am GRATEFUL!

… wishing you all a most Joyous celebration of the end of 2011, and a 2012 filled with Love & Wonderment.

Scaughdt, out — Peace, in

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