Our Favorite Things Are More Important Than Most People Realize

Christa Wojo’s “A Few of My Favorite Things” Blog HopLife continues to make it difficult for me to respond quickly to things other than my daughters’ needs,* so I want to finally say thank you, Christa Wojo, for inviting me to your blog hop!

As you mentioned in your “My Favorite Things” post, I also heard the song, “My Favorite Things” from The Sound of Music over the holidays, but I blew off my emotional response to it as nostalgia. However, your invitation gave me an opportunity to give it some more thought, and while it usually takes me quite a while to process this kind of thing, you did say you wanted us to dig deep, so here it is!


Since the song focuses on things Maria thinks about to stop feeling badly, I initially tried to think about how I cope with life’s difficulties—loneliness, pain, boredom—and I realized a couple of my favorite things were not physical things. Then, as I read your blog post and a few of the comments, as well as Charlotta Amato’s response on Facebook, I saw that a few of you listed at least one thing that didn’t have anything to do with physical difficulties like dog bites or bee stings, instead they revolved around deep feelings about our existence.

Your example was pine needles. You said, “My house is surrounded by tall pine trees that sway in the wind. Sometimes it sounds like ocean waves. Sometimes it’s like a round of applause. Hundreds of thousands of little pine needles slide upon one another and crash together to make that sound. Like Siddhartha at the river, I feel like if I listen closely enough, the pine needles will tell me the secrets of the Universe.”

On your Facebook post, Debbie Herbert listed “ocean smells” and the ocean is incredibly important to me as well. Both of these comments reminded me of stories and perspectives I’ve developed in my yet-to-be-published memoir. Everyone knows that during our lifetimes everyone gathers a collection of things, but some of them transform through time and a variety of different kinds of experiences and they become imbued with an importance that goes beyond the material thing itself, making it incredibly special to us.

Many parts of my memoir revolve around these kinds of things. One of its central concepts is about how, over time, I began to see that “things that had become special or important to me” enabled God to connect with me.

As I will clarify a little more below, I have come to realize that it is incredibly important in our journeys to give a little extra thought once in a while to the things that are important to us, and it is equally important to share them with others.

I loved seeing that Debbie listed the ocean as #1 and that you compared the pine needle sound to it, and I am going to list it as #1 as well. When I was about nine, I had an experience with the sea that was transforming, and it continues to be a focal part of my life and my journey toward understanding my place in the scheme of things.

The things we love are the things God uses to connect with us.

Ten of My Favorite Things

1) The ocean

Here is part of a story that is included in the memoir mentioned above:

One day my parents announced that we were going to take a trip to Seattle. Grandma and Aunt Rosie were going to join us, and the way everyone talked about the trip it sounded like we were making a pilgrimage to the western Mecca. After we arrived and got settled in our hotel, we headed to the waterfront and had lunch along the piers. Aunt Rosie ordered a seafood variety platter, and I had my first taste of Dungeness crab. As the salt air drifted into the restaurant on the breeze, I was touched more deeply than I ever imagined I could be. I found myself breathing it in repeatedly and being very aware that I was experiencing something profound that I couldn’t clearly define. All I knew was that I loved everything about Seattle. It was as if I’d come home to a place I’d never known.

2) Technology

Kind of speaks for itself in this situation. Computers, phones, internet (even books) enable us to connect with other people over vast amounts of time and space and I appreciate it in so many ways it would take too long to list them.

3) Modern medicine

I have been dealing with a skin condition for over a year (think I finally understand it is a reaction to airborne chemicals like perfumes), and more recently an eye infection, and I am so thankful we live in a time when we can get help with these kinds of problems.

4) Feminism

We still have such a long way to go, but my oldest daughter just graduated from MIT and is now working at one of the most prominent companies in the country, and my youngest daughter is the Mechanical Lead on a FIRST Robotics team she joined this fall after our move, which had been her hope and was actually the driving factor in much of my decision making as I tried to figure out what to do after losing my last business client last January.

5) Make up

Without it I would be even more of a hermit than I already am.

6) My hair

I get compliments on it all the time, and I have cut it since I was about fourteen.

7) Sweet potatoes

When I was little my mother baked them in maple syrup , and I have decided to cut back on sugar for a number of reasons, but found I can bake them until they reach the “just about gush” stage. Then, to be able to enjoy sweet and sour without sugar, which is one more notch up, I usually have a salad with Annie’s Shiitake Sesame vinaigrette dressing on the side, and it’s wonderful!

8) Walking at night

Here is portion of a blog post, Star Gazing & Other Matters of Immense Gravity I wrote about it:

I love walking at night, but one night something shifted, I looked up with a different perspective—there seemed to be nothing between me and the stars…

…I’m a compulsive multi-tasker, so I always hope that I can work on my writing while stretching my legs after a long day at work, but sometimes I’m unable to get away from ruminating about the garbage of the day or making plans, which I keep trying to tell my mind could wait until I’m cooking or cleaning. But, once in a while, I get lucky. The vast emptiness and quiet that’s surrounds me allows me to clear my mind and it opens as if I’m a conduit accessing different connections. Like I’ve tapped into another force at work in the eternal unknown that enables me to utilize some other kind of power. Perhaps it’s the other 95% of my mind we’re told we don’t use, I don’t know, but ideas begin to flow.

And, once in a while, I get a jolt.

9) Conversations with my daughters

I have been on a journey of trying to understand experiences that started in 1998 when I felt certain that God gave me a remarkable gift one afternoon when I was on a boating trip, then another in 2002 at a writer’s workshop. Since then gifts and experiences have continued, and while I was uncertain about how to go about sharing my experiences for about ten years (since many during that time seemed to fall more in line with the kind of thing everyone would describe as luck or coincidence) in 2012, another phenomenal experience occurred and I couldn’t deny it anymore.

But for years prior to that, I used to wonder what it would be like to be part of the conversations of the great thinkers of our time. The names I heard in college were those like Allen Ginsberg, Abbie Hoffman, and Virginia Woolf. So I just read everything I could get my hands on, and as my daughters got older, I began to realize that the way God “gave me what I dreamed about” was to give me two incredibly intelligent daughters.

When I was in high school, I was part of the group of kids called “freaks,” so I never dreamed I’d have brilliant daughters or that the kind of things that are happening to me could happen to anyone, let alone me, and that leads me to #10.

I am sharing stories about events I know have been orchestrated by God—something most of us have been told isn’t possible.10) My relationship with God

It’s kind of awkward to call God a thing, but when I am feeling sad or bad, most often now, I think about God. And I know a lot of people get really turned off by people who say this. For most of my life, whenever anyone would say anything about God, I would literally cringe. Now I am the one who is trying to share my experiences.

And it’s incredibly hard because I am not sharing experiences that have come to me from religious or spiritual concepts so there is a large group of people that is automatically agreeing with me, I am sharing stories about events I know have been orchestrated by God—something most of us have been told isn’t possible.

What has been the most surprising to me is that it has simultaneously been a journey of increasing my knowledge about myself, and realizing that my unique nature and unique life experiences have been critical to enabling God to connect with me, which is the opposite of the idea of recognizing the importance of our oneness or unity that most spiritual leaders are proclaiming is the true foundation of “spiritual” thinking. The journey has been a process of holding on to who I am when others try to define God and make claims about the kind of people we have to be to have any association with God. In some of my stories and parts of my memoir, I describe the ways I am being directed in these events and you can read a few stories and see the progression of my thinking in blog posts I’ve written since July 2013.

One of the most recent experiences occurred in 2014 and I was led to information that challenges a number of the most popular concepts of spirituality. I never dreamed I would have anything of value to contribute to the ideas being proclaimed as truth in the spiritual realm, but it’s still not an easy place to be.

[ In addition, in early 2015 while I was working on a book about it, I lost my last business client and had to move, but to my surprise, again, it turned out to be another phenomenal event that benefitted my youngest daughter in incredible ways (See Phenomenal Story to Share About Our Move.)]

I wouldn’t have been able to write Critical Revelations in the Realm of Contemporary Spirituality without the experiences I’ve had. They gave me the courage to question what many people are claiming to be the truth about God. They enabled me to stay true to myself even though people have been telling everyone (via posts and in books) that our experiences with God will/should be focused around abstract things like love, light and positive thinking, and mine weren’t. The process of discovery enabled me to explain why many of the popular spiritual concepts aren’t quite right, and the book revolves around a huge discovery, that some of the ideas being presented as “the truth about God and our relationship with God” in many spiritual communities (religious as well) are actually just reflections of people’s Myers-Briggs personality traits.

I believe the information I share will open new pathways for people to recognize God in their lives and perhaps begin a shift that will enable more people to walk away from the limited concepts of religion and spirituality to embrace the simplicity of the idea of simply working to help bring God’s goodness into the world in their own unique ways.

I hope you will consider reading Critical Revelations even if you have no interest in the concepts being shared in spiritual communities, because I believe the information about knowing ourselves on many levels, including understanding our personality traits and those of others, is important for everyone. I have the ability to offer free promotions on Kindle, so please feel free to check with me about when I am running the next one!

I hope over time more people will begin to see that our favorite things are important, beyond just making us feel good in the short term, that while pine needles (or things that are of similar value in every one of our lives) may not offer answers to everything we want to know about the Universe (because what fun would that be?), they can help us answer some of life’s deepest questions.


*Last week Amber and I went to three long doctor’s appointments for lower abdominal pain that made it difficult for her to walk (thankfully we found out it was a strained pelvic floor muscle instead of cysts, torsion, or endometriosis). She’s had a cold this week which meant running to the store for medicine. Yesterday she had her third college interview. Her work schedule has increased, and her robotics team is in week two of build season (of six) so there have been additional/longer meetings of all sorts! Of course, Jade has lots of things going on as well. Her work situation and new relationship also often lead to long conversations.

6 Responses to Our Favorite Things Are More Important Than Most People Realize

  1. Thank you for the beautiful message about the important meaning our favorite things have upon our lives.

    Here are a few of mine.

    What are a few of your favorite things? They’re more important then you think.

    Here are mine!

    This year has been a strange one when it comes to my favorite things. things that were my favorite for years are now seen as bars set for me to be inspired by. While other things became much more meaningful this year because of Gods guidance.

    1)God- God has brought me to an enormously amazing realization this year especially. I feel if I hadn’t had God through my life I wouldn’t be where I am today. It’s not a cold detached go to church type of God relationship I speak of though. It’s a friendship that has grown through the years.

    2)Family- the amount of memories that I have been blessed enough to accumulate over the years through family experiences is a book itself. As I’m sure it is will all people for the most part. The ones I lost I long for now and I work hard to carry their beautiful light left from their legacies.

    3)Legacy-we each leave one for history and my goal is to leave one that can touch people’s hearts enough to help all of us want to see God shining back at us through each other’s simple connective good deeds for the world.

    4)Courage- it’s impossible to believe in love, experience love, overcome our fears and pain, believe in the impossible, dream further and wider than the cosmos can, to imagine hope, peace, and joy as something real without courage.

    5)Peace-if I could share little slices of moments that I’ve felt during the most peaceful experiences in my life I would d it for anyone willing to try it out. To bring such a serene feeling to others is the most amazing gift we could offer one another.

    6)Inspiration-when I’m inspired I feel as if I could move mountains literally with the spiritual zest that flows through. Sometimes with music, sometimes from a video, sometimes from research, sometimes just from God. My biggest hope is that I would be blessed enough to inspire those that gave me inspiration from their creativity.

    7)Truth-when I read something that is true there’s no question in my bones that it is. When I read something that is false I almost instantly feel doubt flow into my thoughts. Truth is something amazingly powerful. It’s not filled to the brim with fear which is how most people advertise it. It’s real and filled with life. I’m talking about truth which hasn’t been known or available publicly. That type of truth sends shivers down my spine with how beautifully redeeming it is when compared to all the fictional tales it was believed to be.

    8)Music-music changes the world or can and has. It tells stories, creates ideas, inspires through tone and feeling sometimes, doesn’t need vocals, to me music is closer than most things when one is trying to connect with God. Is love music or music love?

    9)Love- all you need is love and love is all you need.

    10)People- without people we wouldn’t be able to rise above our survivalism, tell stories, share pain, share inspiration, know what it feels like to be loved by more than yourself or the opposite, create a world with an entire race of individuals who have a shared heart aimed at making the world better by healing the world that is. Without people I wouldn’t be able to share my favorite things with you. But my hope is by sharing those things it might inspire you as well to get to know more people who have that shared heart, love music, who want to inspire others, who want to build a global family, who believe in the feeling of peace, who have the courage to share their vulnerabilities, who together want to leave a legacy and dreams behind for others to build and expand upon, and finally people who believe in God and can see God in all people across the globe, whether because of their own faith, experience, or the truth they discovered along the way.

    Thank you for this post. I know it wasn’t conventional, but it felt good to share that with anyone who’s willing to read it.

    God Bless

    Mirror Living

    • Thank you Mirror Living!

      You have a beautiful list and many wonderful thoughts to consider. I believe that while we have some different views, we are on a similar path and I am so honored to have connected with you!

      A couple of thoughts. I have lived a very challenging life, and have found peace with some things people are being told they may never find peace with, and I just realized that one of the things no one has mentioned in this thread of information, including the comments on Christa’s blog post and Facebook comments, is humor.

      I think God has a sense of humor and a couple of the stories that are in my memoir show how humor and my views about God enabled me to find peace with those things. I am starting to wonder if I should just self-publish some of those stories, but I will have to give it some thought because I have so much more I want to share, and, perhaps not surprising, the next story I will be working on is humorous.

      Also, I found some incredible information about one of the people I mentioned in #9, and I can’t wait to get information about that posted!

      I am looking forward to continuing to share our stories and discuss our ideas!

      Ceejae

    • Beautiful thoughts! Especially number 10. I was not treated very well by my peers as a child, so I’ve shunned people without even realizing why I was doing it. I thought I didn’t need friends. Now I know why I isolated myself, and I also know that, even though I’m an introvert, I love people and do enjoy them (in small doses, lol). Most importantly, I need them and they need me.

      • Thank you so much Christa for your inspiring blog hop and your kind words. I was always a social bug so I always loved meeting new people for years. Later in life I became more introverted and I loved the unplugging that I afforded myself with meditating and reading books. It was a beautiful and simple time in my life, but even that came with an over arching loneliness that I didn’t a count for.
        Finally I realized that God wanted me around people to help blaze a trail with my off the cuff ways that I perceived life. This was not a self fulfilling intention. It was led with a strong love for life and the want for others to become contagious with that exciting joy that fueled my journey.
        Now I know more than ever that we all need each other to help achieve our true destiny which in my experience and opinion, is all humanity’s utmost purpose in life. To build a family across the globe and beyond the heavens. I know it’s true, I know it will happen, and I know that God will guide us toward that shared common goal. If we allow God to do so.

        Many thanks and lots of love. God Bless.

  2. Ceejae,

    Thanks for taking on the Favorite Things idea and making such an enlightening post! I’m really excited to get to your book because I’m in a place right now where all of my preconceived notions about nature, humanity, and spirituality have been smashed to dust. Life experience and observation alone has made me doubt everything human my fellow human beings have taught me since birth. It is a difficult time, but somehow, there is part of me that knows the unrest and unease is necessary to get to a greater understanding. So I bear it and bide my time, waiting for the next lesson life wants to give me. I love to explore new ideas and perspectives, and I can’t wait to see what impressions you have been given from your life. I know one day the dust will settle and I’ll have found a comfortable relationships with “God.”I hope!

    I also agree with you on all of your favorite things. I would have been a cloistered neurotic without today’s technology. Make-up is also a godsend the older I become. I feel sorry for men, who don’t have the same option.

    The ability to enjoy oceans and stargazing are probably the best parts of having a conscious mind. And I’m glad you also chose something about yourself: your hair. We should be grateful for our personal gifts and qualities too. You’re so lucky to have your daughters to relate too. I hope they achieve their dreams (and stay healthy!)

    Thanks so much for joining me on the blog hop! I’ll leave a review of your book as soon as I read it.

    • Christa,

      I am so glad you tagged me on the Blog Hop, and I really appreciate all of your kind comments! But seeing your reply, I decided I needed to think things through a bit before I replied. I felt like if I said anything about your situation it would sound trite, but work delayed me enough that some more content from my memoir surfaced that seemed appropriate to share. I was reworking the introduction just before I attended the workshop that caused me to switch gears (again) to start Critical Revelations.

      ______________________

      Here is a cut into the middle of the rework, which still needs work:

      What I remember from the first ten years or so of my life smoulders, like remnants of a house burned down. Scorched ground that still burns to the touch. Vast shadowy spaces. Sifting through the remains, fragments here and there used to give a moment’s hope that I’d remember happiness, but everything is tinged with blackness. Even my first memory became blighted. Events that collapsed through time, piled onto one another in juxtapositions and connections that often felt like cruel jokes.

      ______________________

      My memoir is about how God slowly led me out of that. It was a process that took me through more extreme emotional challenges, and had paths that took what I call in Critical Revelations, “hard right turns.” I had no idea that God was there for me until 2002, when I sat in a writer’s workshop severely depressed about my marriage of 16 years, my business, and my writing, feeling like I shouldn’t be taking time to be there and having God create a phenomenal event that made me realize I was being supported and should not stop writing.

      I want to hear your stories. Not just about this. You write beautifully, but from what I have seen it takes a long time to process these kinds of events. So I will continue to look forward to opportunities that will enable us to share more!

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