The Ponderer

{ Illusions We Can Bear To Live With }

Angela DiGiovanni | Anais Nin{When others asked the truth of me, I was convinced it was not the truth they wanted, but an illusion they could bear to live with.”} ~Anais Nin

I think people think they want the truth.  But when it doesn’t sit well in their stomach, or it leaves a bitter taste in their mouth, they can’t possibly reconcile the contradiction or justify it when it doesn’t process through their filters.

I’ve always maintained that believing something new, antithetical to our current position, is quite possibly the hardest thing one can achieve.  We love our positions.  We love finding justifications for the beliefs we already have.  We don’t want the hassle of a new belief.

We’d also rather hire a gardner to tell us how it is than to get our own hands dirty.  Gardeners come in the form of many things… Spiritual leaders, news broadcasters, political figures… these replace the hard knocks of experience, grunt work, discernment, praying, reading, and divine communication.

It is also with people… our perceptions or judgments of them.  We either hold them on a pedestal they can’t even reach, or we dismember their every moral fiber; both for the sake of convenience in chalking up the whole of them based on a perceived portion of them.

We don’t want to actually get inside someone’s head.  It’s simply too much work.


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{ Abrahamic Tests and Wandering Souls }

Angela DiGiovanni

I’ve headed into a “Woman Cave” for a week long honeymoon with myself and my favorite things: paper and paints, a journal and pens, profound and thought-provoking books, and passionate music; and I’m hanging a big old ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign to life so that I may enter into the bittersweet nest of introspection without unwanted interruption.

After two months of ranching (which I really regret not blogging about), witnessing more life and death than I have in my whole life, unwinding and unraveling in the beauty of alfalfa fields, mountains at sunrise and sunset, old cotton trees, running on horseback through unpaved trails, herding thousands of head of sheep to greener pastures, being away from ‘busy’ and immersed in nature and cycles of life, and feeling the most content I have ever felt in my entire life (though my skin is weathered and aged from the elements), I find myself with a new challenge.  There is no rest for a wandering soul.

Life has a way of throwing curve balls we never in our wildest dreams expect, for better or for worse.  So here I am in a little town far from home, in a tiny room, with natural hot springs within walking distance.  I’ll be pouring in knowledge and wisdom through books and authors, and painting my expressions, pouring out the emotions of my soul.  I’ll be soaking in the healing waters of mineral baths under the moonlit nights ahead, pondering the issues at hand, seeking guidance from On High.  Pushing.  Pulling.  Stretching.  Growing.

I just recently read this, and nothing rings truer right now:

God doesn’t give you the people you want,
he gives you the people you need.
to help you,
to hurt you,
to leave you,
to love you,
and to make you
the person you were
meant to be.

We have plans for our lives, and God has other plans.  We can hold tight to what we hold dear, or we can surrender our will to His.  When we tell Him we will do anything for Him, we musn’t say it casually, because He will test us, and He may not provide a ram in the thicket to bail us out.  And sometimes He asks us to do things that seem contrary to His Word, which can leave us confused.  But then we remember that asking Abraham to kill his son Isaac, wasn’t exactly orthodox, and full of contradiction, and so we can find some comfort and assurance that not everything has a textbook answer; that it is by His spirit He reveals truth unto man (John 15:26).

I’ve tried to get inside the mind of Abraham.  He was willing to face persecution.  He was willing to be misunderstood.  He was willing to be falsely accused.  He was willing to risk and give up family, and friends, like Jesus says he expects of us if we are truly willing to follow Him. (Matthew 19:29: – “And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.”)

Though I’ve not talked about it much, if at all, in this space, I am of Mormon persuasion, and our modern Scriptures declare that we must be “chastened and tried, even as Abraham” (D&C 101:4).  The Prophet Joseph Smith said, “You will have all kinds of trials to pass through.  And it is quite as necessary for you to be tried as it was for Abraham and other men of God… God will feel after you and he will take hold of you and wrench your very heart strings.”


“We will take of these materials, and we will make an earth whereon these may dwell; and we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them” (Abraham 3:24–25).

“For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father” (Mosiah 3:19; emphasis added).

The Lord affirmed that He would “give unto the faithful line upon line, precept upon precept; and I will try you and prove you herewith. And whoso layeth down his life in my cause, for my name’s sake, shall find it again, even life eternal. Therefore, be not afraid of your enemies, for I have decreed in my heart, saith the Lord, that I will prove you in all things, whether you will abide in my covenant, even unto death, that you may be found worthy. For if ye will not abide in my covenant ye are not worthy of me” (D&C 98:12–15).

Abraham was tried in consequence of his righteousness.  But Abraham was not some anomaly in the Scriptures.  The Lord must try all his people “in all things, that they might be prepared to receive the glory that I have for them, even the glory of Zion; and he that will not bear chastisement is not worthy of my kingdom” (D&C 136:31).

Do we love our Lord above all?

Are we okay with rewards not of this world?

 Weighty matters to ponder, indeed.


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De-hoarding | The Beginning of a Massive Cleansing

For the last year or so I’ve been feeling very compelled to get rid of “stuff”.  Stuff has always pervaded and overwhelmed my life for as long as I can remember.  I’ve been trapped by consumerism and consumption, and I’m a sucker for all things sentimental, and attach sentiment to lots of things.  My husband and I have always lived in larger spaces than we’ve needed, even though it’s just the two of us, because we’ve needed extra space for our stuff.

We have stuff in rooms we don’t even go into.  We have stuff in boxes we haven’t unpacked from three moves ago.  Yet we keep lugging it around with us wherever we go.  Though it has felt burdensome and like a sickness for years, I’ve been attached to it, like it is all a part of me.  And I know that is a lie.  And after being with it for a year, I’m finally feeling the courage and motivation to root out this disease from my life.

When I imagine my life with empty rooms, I feel lighter and more peaceful.  Ironically, I’m very sensitive to aesthetics and atmosphere.  Beautiful surroundings does wonders for my soul, including cleanliness, orderliness, beautiful tapestries and visual art, uncluttered areas, and color palettes.  Yet, I’ve never lived in a space that would be described this way. I’ve wondered what my blocks are, and why I have not been able to achieve this simplicity and beauty in my life.

One major idea is that I’ve come to realize that I associate cleaning and organizing with anger and punishment, a feeling that goes way back into childhood.  Also, because of my sentimental attachment to everything, I feel like I can’t let go.  Like if I don’t have these physical triggers, how will I remember my years gone by?  What will I have to pass on to those important to me?  Sentimental trinkets are my stories.  With this combination, I have created clutter and chaos, and it is no wonder I have been stuck in my life, as this disease has reached its tentacles in and around so much of my life.

After so much thought and visualization of what it would feel like to be able to detach from stuff, I yearn for that feeling more than I feel the need to hang on.  And today the first-fruits of this physical manifestation has taken place.

I put pressure on myself to get a certain room done today, and I noticed that I was resisting and procrastinating all day.  So, instead, I asked myself what could I work on today?  My mind went to one of the smallest spaces in the house, my closet.  So I went to work in that area, where it felt the least overwhelming to me.

I don’t care too much for fashion nowadays.  I like to be comfortable, and my life has changed so much, I don’t have a place necessarily to wear high fashion.  I live in the boonies with horses, ducks, chickens, stray cats, and my dog.  Fancy clothes or heels aren’t part of my life so much.  So I started by getting rid of things that didn’t suit my lifestyle anymore.  I’m not gonna lie, it’s hard to get rid of the cutest shoes ever.  But when they’ve collected dust because they haven’t been worn in years (in some cases), it becomes ridiculous to think of hanging on to them for that one time that I might possibly wear them.  The feeling of having them gone, feels better than them taking up space and looking cute.

Yes, even these.  Aren’t they so pretty?!?!?!  Well, it’s time they be pretty on someone’s feet, and not in my closet.  If you look close enough, you can see the dust in the picture.

Pretty ShoesI can remember each instance of buying these.  The middle one was with my sister while we were shopping together in a consignment store.  The pink slipons on the right, I wore to a good friend’s wedding in 2001.  I think I only wore them one other time.  They are so pretty and delicate, which is why, other than the sentimental value, I kept them, but they hurt my feet like hell, so that is why I only wore them twice.

And now I’m looking at the black ones in the picture, thinking, dang those are cute! and am tempted to take them out of the ‘get rid of basket’.  But again, I can’t remember how long it’s been since I wore them, so no, they have to go.


I literally emptied half my closet and dresser drawers.  Mostly stuff I just haven’t worn in a long time, or stuff that I was waiting to fit into again.  Right.

jeansHow many pairs of jeans does one need?  I had 12.  Ridiculous.  I got rid of 7.  Let’s face it, I wear the same few 80% of the time.  It feels better to get rid of these than to have options the other 20% of the time.

Utah shirtThis shirt.  This was given to me in 2005 by a dear friend just after I moved to Utah.  I love this thing!!  It’s so cool!  But it didn’t fit me then, and it surely doesn’t fit me now.  I’ve waited many years for this to fit me.  Dang it.  Cute, and dear to me.  But it’s time it be cute on someone, and not cute taking up space in my closet. : (

And so the journey starts.  I’ll go room by room, getting rid of as much stuff as I can stand to part with, and separating myself more and more from the consumption disease.


I Want God, Not My Idea of God.

I Want God, Not My Idea of God.

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my mantra for the year
warmth and love and belonging
from things
and replace with
nurtured soul
nurtured mind
nurtured body
treasure my soul’s estate
embrace liesure
let go
even of the books
everything that doesn’t belong in
need less
to make room for more

“Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify. Simplify.”
~Henry David Thoreau

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