"Anticipate the day as if it was your Birthday and you are turning six again."
~ Mike Dolan ~
Why do we always prepare for the worst, and worry in advance about everything that could go wrong? Little kids figure it's all going to be amazing and they will be specially blessed. Maybe we would serve ourselves better if we could be more like that.
"OK" is the most globally used word there is. It crosses multitudes of language barriers, and means what it means in any tongue- that it's all right, that we understand, and that we are d'accord with what's in front of us: a good word to be the one we use.
Everything cultural that surrounds us seems to suggest that we figure life out, that we know what we want and set about getting it with purpose and drive, and I used to be good at that. Now, I seem to have entered this space of not knowing, and of meeting roadblocks wherever I try to be too specifically directed.
Call it God or the Universe, whatever you will, there seems to be a strong encouragement to uncover and discover things rather than manifest them, and allow for what is instead of insisting on what must be.
Self-centered fear, being afraid that we're going to lose something we have or not get something we want, is a sticky trap. It makes us graspy and protective, defensive and snappy. It assumes the worst.
A sense of well-being, on the other hand, and confidence that is rooted in love instead of ego, is inclusive and expansive and allowing and assured.
And, while it's likely that we'd all rather have the one, it's equally likely that we'll all get caught up in the other.
I experience self-centered fear for what it is and surrender it to love.
"As experience widens, one begins to see how much upon a level all human things are."
~ Joseph Farrell ~
People pleasing is an empty cup unless it pleases us as well. Going around trying to keep everybody else happy generally leaves us pretty dried up. Conversation and compromise are options to keep us real. Let's use them, and honor us all.
"Painful though parting may be, I bow to you as I see you off to distant clouds."
~ Emperor Saga ~
Closure comes in all kinds of ways and differently for different people. Everything from a goodbye hug to a sigh will suffice. The point is to honor what means closure to us, and not to pretend that someone else's style will serve our needs.
I take time to create closure in my life when closure is the order of the day.
"Never let your emotions rule, but always let them testify."
~ Robert Brault ~
Wells of feeling reside within us, and whether they spring up from our thoughts, our cells, the seat of our hearts, or the depths of our spirit, that they exist as a kind of energy field that encompasses us and demands its due cannot be argued.
All that's required is that we feel whatever we feel at any given moment; that we nod our acknowledgement to what has risen up, and that we understand that understanding is not the ultimate goal.
"Perhaps all the dragons of our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us once beautiful and brave."
~ Rainer Maria Rilke ~
After an ample portion of demons to overcome and some pretty fierce dragons to slay, my son, Nick, is graduating from the University of Virginia- against all odds really, and by the Grace of God.
It is a profound moment in the life of a parent to see the courage in our children, and the result of their passion when they impeccably follow their truth.
I acknowledge major milestones in the lives of the people I love.
"Sadness flies on the wings of the morning and out of the heart of darkness comes the light."
~ Jean Giraudoux ~
Sadness can be a lurking kind of presence in our lives, sitting quietly and so still that we can't see it. And yet, it watches us, and waits, and waits. Nothing is patient like sadness.
And when it stands up, when it faces us and opens its arms, there is nothing to do but accept its embrace and surrender to the pouring tears.
"Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us."
~ The Lord's Prayer ~
This May 16th, my father would have been 80, and instead of a Birthday party, we are having a Memorial Service to honor his death. It's not at all what I expected or could have possibly foreseen, and yet, here we are.
I'm grateful to my father for teaching me how to forgive the seemingly unforgivable, and for being a powerful example of a life that does not apologize for itself.
"The family. We were a strange little band of characters trudging through life sharing diseases and toothpaste, coveting one another's desserts, hiding shampoo, borrowing money, locking each other out of our rooms, inflicting pain and kissing to heal it in the same instant, loving, laughing, defending, and trying to figure out the common thread that bound us all together."
~ Erma Bombeck ~
Family gatherings trigger old emotions. Freedom is in feeling what is there to be felt without attachment to it, being present in the moment, and committing to compassion, authenticity, open communication, and love.
I value family connectedness in the now over hurt feelings from way back when.
"When I have a terrible need of- shall I say the word- religion. Then I go out and paint the stars."
~ Vincent Van Gogh ~
Sometimes creative juices don't flow. Maybe because we are too caught up egoistically in the meaning or the hoped-for impact of our creativity. Or maybe because we're closed for business emotionally and don't realize it.
Creativity is grace. It's something we receive more than do, and something we must surrender to rather than manufacture.
"Sometimes Mother Nature has the answers when you do not even know the questions."
~ Keith Wynn ~
Working in the garden I encountered a snake, and I'm not a fan of snakes. When I saw the black body curling slowly toward me, I stepped back and watched with respect. It moved randomly, meandering-like, and yet with a kind of steady intensity, pushing through the garden, and seemed as if it would just be on it its way, but then it circled back and proceeded to climb the tree in the middle of the area where I was working. It went up the trunk, out on a branch, switched to another branch, took a brief nap, and then turned back, down and around the trunk, and stopped there for a bit.
Eventually, it moved on, and I felt grateful to have watched it, and in watching it learn anew the merit of letting be what is, having respect, and being patient while challenges run their course.
"If you want me again look for me under your boot soles."
~ Walt Whitman ~
I love the smell of dark, rich, Virginia soil, and the feel of it, the heat it contains from the day's sun, or the moisture from rain. I love digging in it and planting flowers and vegetables. Living in New Mexico, I've missed it, and am grateful to be back where I can wash it out from under my fingernails and bury herbs in it, and begonias, and anything I choose.
"I've met so many people, often the scum of the earth, and found them, you know, quite decent."
~W. Somerset Maugham ~
When we approach people without an agenda, with curiosity and a willingness to be present, and to listen and share authentically, relationships generally go better for us. When we come with blame in our hearts, or suspicion, or insistent demands, we tend to trigger defensiveness in them, which triggers defensiveness in us, and makes for hostile feelings all around.
Love people. I guess that's the bottom line. We all have something of value to contribute and compassion a plenty to exchange.
"Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful"
~ William Morris ~
"More" often seems like the best solution. If a room doesn't feel "right," add something to it- still not right? add something else... And then there's just the daily accumulation of paperwork and "stuff" that comes into our lives that we leave in piles around the spaces where we live, not to mention spiderwebs and dead flies and dust-bunnies.
It's a whole new fresh world when we eliminate excess instead of re-organizing piles- when we delete and diminish and discard and clean. We can re-new our spirits no less than our houses, and get energy moving again in the right direction.
"Just because everything is different doesn't mean anything has changed."
~ Irene Peter ~
Adaptation takes time, and it comes after resistance and discomfort. Finding our way in unfamiliar territory is a Marco Polo kind of situation. We call out and wait for a reply, an echoing of something familiar, something we can hold on to, something we can follow... and we do this again and again until we adjust. We create new familiarity, and, in a halting three steps forward two steps back kind of way, over time, we find a way to get comfortable, and we find a way to make things our own.
I trust that I can adapt with grace to new situations.
Gracious living is being patient with delays, being grateful for the generosity of others, being slow to anger and quick to forgive, and being authentically self-expressed. Flexibility is part of it, and listening from the heart; having compassion, and remembering that whatever we feel inclined to condemn in others, we have likely done ourselves.
We live in a rushing world that's alive and pulsing with judgment and condemnation. Let's not add to it. Let's be light energetically, and balmy, like a gentle breeze on a tropical beach instead of a pounding and punishing dust storm.