Just when it seems like everything’s hitting the fan, grace shows up and grants the gift of perspective. For me that means taking a breath. Taking a step back. Looking around with compassionate eyes and a gentler heart . . . especially toward myself.

“Take it one day, one step at a time,” I hear myself say to people nearly every day. If we take everything in all at once, we are easily overwhelmed and succumb to the “craziness” instead of naming what it is that we actually don’t want to deal with. (Reality: I call myself out for using “busy” and “crazy” too much; there are better, truer words to use. Why am I using them to begin with? What do I need to hold myself accountable for?)

Once I remember to slow my breath, love myself and family more, and try not to be so perfect, I think grace has even more room to work her magic, which translates into my seeing more readily how God is at work in the world about me. Synchronicities appear. Things seem to fall into place. And when I get off track again, something like a migraine might reappear to slow me down and help me regain perspective.

While I’m slowed down, I might realize that lovely stories keep popping into my head; brilliant writers are sharing their words; beautiful people keep coming into my life; love just fills the air I breathe, even when things are hard.

So I remind myself to slow down, to write even when it doesn’t make sense, and to keep giving room for Grace to do Her work.

Give yourself a treat. Tend the flowers or the pretty weeds. Go to the music festival nearby. Enjoy a meal with friends at home or out and about–the company is the important thing. Just love, and allow space for life to happen. As my next best friend Kaitlin says (we haven’t met…yet…, but I love her words),

“If we hold space for each other, we learn how to truly be alive with one another, as we cast off judgment and wait for the grace of God to journey with us into unknown and sacred places.”

I’ll meet you in those sacred spaces, following the breadcrumbs of all the synchronicities along the way.

Peace and love to you.

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Restoring Balance

It’s about that time.  The school supplies are purchased.  The laundry is clean.  Summer vacation is wrapped up in memories as early bedtime has resumed.   The kids are sleeping soundly, though I’m sure the anxiety for the first day of school (coming on Wednesday) is coursing through their veins.

I am quite certain I’m not the only mom feeling frazzled.   These last couple of weeks of vacation, I did put my best foot forward to give the kids some last hurrahs to go back to school with some stories.  (How many third grade boys jumped from a bluff into the river last week?)  But the concentrated effort has taken its toll, and my to-do list has grown so long that I dare not look at it all at once.  Talking with a friend, we realize how family-focused we’ve been.

As good as it is to put the family first, there are some of us who receive boosts of energy when we are tapped into a higher power, a greater source of creative energy.  How else would we be able to do all that we do?  I wondered why people thought I was a supermom, but now I’ve realized that I take for granted the strength, the seeming reserve of energy, that comes from doing what we are truly called to do.  When we tap into our “vein of gold,” we are energized to continue our good works, and this inevitably spills into other areas of our life.  When we focus on all of our practical responsibilities that come with daily life without tapping into this wellspring of creative energy, we quickly realize that it is quite impossible to do it all on our own.  At least, that’s how I feel, and after doing too much too long alone, we usually get physically struck down.  (Cue migraine.)

So, as routines change up again and we all find ourselves settling into new fall rhythms, I hope to keep the door to creative outlets open and pass through often enough to be invigorated with that Divine creative energy, bringing it into other areas of my life as well.  Lord knows the only limits are those I impose upon myself, and it’s fully within my means to get my life back in order, trying as ever to restore a sense of balance.

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Life Is But a Dream

My husband shared a poem with me referenced in a Zen book he liked very much by Charlotte Joko Beck called Nothing Special: Living Zen.  It’s a poem by WH Auden:

We would rather be ruined than changed

We would rather die in our dread

Than climb the cross of the moment

And let our illusions die.

Searching for the poem, I found that it is often quoted, for motivational purposes, Zen talks and literary purposes, to name a few.  Perhaps I’ve heard or read it before myself.  But I believe that important words cross our paths at different points in our life with particular relevance.  Last week, it might not have spoken to me in the way it did today, and it may not reverberate for me next month, either.  So this day, how is it significant for me?  Does it speak to you, too?

I think I have made great strides in accepting change, facing death.  Something happens every day where I have a choice to be bull-headed and go forward with my horns or let the ego die another death, take another blow.  Of course, some times it’s easier than others to take the proverbial higher road, but that isn’t always the case.

There are changes I still want to make, changes that my ego isn’t prepared for and is applying all resistance toward.  My illusions hold strong, my dread ever present.  I want to have what I have, live the way I live, says one part of me.  You don’t need all this, for there is a better way to live, more healthy, less debt and attachments, says the other.  I don’t think I need to emphasize which part represents which.  This dichotomy epitomizes many of my struggles, grand epic battles that are seemingly brought up weekly if not daily.

I daresay that when people (including myself) talk about true balance, what we might mean is a balance of the inner struggles, a balance between mind, body and soul.  Complete harmony, I would imagine, would be a balance between the three yet where the mind doesn’t represent the “i” ego but the true I, the Self.  Your balance, your harmony, is possible because you have let go of your illusions, experience the moments for what they are, accepting at once your limitations and infinite possibilities and potentialities.  Ah, isn’t it pretty to think so?

Our lives are mere dreams when we live enshrouded in our illusions, living solely in the mirror.  When we can let go of what we think we see and live here and now, we dare to live this life for what it is — the real thing.

Feel free to comment, share your thoughts and experiences, even disagree if you feel so inclined.  Blessed be.

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A Mindful Reflection on Nature and Ourselves

Spring awakens my senses, surging through my veins a desire to grow towards the sun, all the while digging my fingers deeper into the soil.  ‘Tis the season when the blossoming, growth and fertility all around us reflects the same within most of us, and it is a wonderful time to be alive.

Thinking of all the beauty around me, from rich earth to new green to smiling children, as I look out the door, a web of worms grows on our aging cherry tree.  The dialogue ensues.  This is a reflection of the beauty of nature, likening that to our own true selves.  Ugly worms don’t belong here.

Ah, maybe that’s why they’re in my line of sight today.

Left to its own devices, our earth has its own system of checks and balances.  There is no third party evaluation to discuss the ethics, and the consequences are known, precipitating the action.  Nature lives in balance

However, we as humans have the unique gift of free will.  We get to choose our way and find our own balance.  Where have your choices led you?  Where you are now, is all thriving?  Is there balance?  Or do you need a disaster to restore you closer to where you should be?

We receive signs, if we pay attention.  We receive assurance.  Like it or not, we are part of this “nature” around us, and I feel that if we pay attention to it, Nature will offer suggestions on how we should live, maybe even how we can make improvements.

The worms outside.  I will have to cut off that part of the branch and kill the worms to keep them from spreading before they outgrow their current nest of sorts, if they haven’t already.  I don’t like having to do that.  I apologize to the plants as I prune them back and wish insects light and love and a good next life before I squish them, apologizing after.  But I do what I feel I must to keep a balance, prevent an infestation that could further destroy the good thing I hope I have going.

Our cherry tree is on its last leg.  Already I’ve chosen a couple of its off-shoots to grow in its place, several feet away from the original tree.  Eventually we’ll have to cut down the beauty to allow room for the new trees.  I suppose it’s not unlike our love for our children.  We can’t live forever, overshadowing them.  It’s best that our ego takes back seat if not disappears so that our children can grow in their own light and live the lives they were brought here to live.

It is all an intricate balance, a web of life, not without death.  Verily, there is neither beauty nor disgust; there is just what is, and that whole is . . . just is.  I want to say it’s beautiful, but that would be me adding that which is excessive, tipping the scale.

I should take these lessons and practice them, mull them over and throughout, evaluating my own environment, removing what needs to be removed, nurturing what nourishes the whole.

Happy gardening to you, and may the music of spring sing in your soul.

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Beyond Balance, To Thrive

daisies_base_79679_l.jpgI’ve mentioned before the topic of balance, the importance of prioritizing aspects of our time and delegating it appropriately.  This is necessary.  What has been brought to my attention since then is the notion of thriving, going beyond being balanced, finding what it is our soul yearns for and going full speed ahead to make sure we attain what it is we most desire.

Be very aware, for this shouldn’t be taken lightly.  In fact, my husband’s life coach was guiding him (and indirectly me, too) through the process.  You have to find out what it is you truly need, what your values are, what your true interests are and which of those are what you feel your soul’s calling is. 

If each of us have a purpose, I like to think that discovering what it is we want to thrive for will give us a pretty good sign of what that purpose is.  Maybe it’s teaching art classes to children in your community, helping at a local clinic, tutoring, writing novels, opening that cafe, having a gathering center or intentional community, starting a business with your unique ideas.  We all have gifts.  The universe has room for and welcomes what we have to offer. 

Our time is precious.  Get your plan in action for how you can do what it is you dream of.  You have to take care of necessities, but when it comes time to take that leap of faith, if it’s meant to be, the universe will help carry you through.  It’s not as easy as simply finding balance (and who said that was easy?).  But I’m sure the reward for the soul is manifest in more ways than one.

May we all find a way to thrive truly and thus bring fulfillment to our souls and richness to the universe.  Think about the wonderful example it sets for our children, too, as they grow up knowing that dreams aren’t always hokey, that even Mom trusted enough to follow at least one of her dreams.  Maybe the rest will have to wait until the kids are in college . . . or have kids of their own.  Be realistic.  Give yourself time.  Allow your soul to thrive.

* * *

I wrote this meditation last year.  A year ago, let’s just say we were putting all our eggs in a basket for a business that didn’t take off like it was supposed to according to our plans.  How often do you hear success stories from Plan A or even Plan C?  Who knows what plan we’re on now, but I feel great about where I am now for several reasons.  Perhaps this will help you, too.

I know, I’ve mentioned it before, and I know it seems hokey . . . if you’re not ready for it.  Apparently I was ready for it.  The realizations that I had a year ago (above meditation in mind) are reiterated in the book.  It’s just that in reading the book, a new level of clarity was attained for me, which is just fabulous.  But I can’t be attached to that.  : )  Others are having similar experiences.  Read on.

  • Purpose

The above book focuses on inner and outer purpose, your life’s purpose.  Everyone’s inner purpose is to connect to the Divine, in whatever lingo you prefer, with your ego diminished and out of the picture.  Great.  Now, with the ego gone, you’re more receptive to the Greater Calling.  Consider your gifts and passions.  How do they mix?  This will lead you to your outer purpose if you’re still enough to listen to that still small voice that speaks to your heart.  I’ve been wondering about how my spirituality, connection to women, writing, mothering all work together.  Well, here I am, writing almost daily on this blog I love, loving my children without owning them, and developing a role in the birth activist realm.  I’ve published my first article to DivineCaroline.  Read it here.

  • Thriving

God only knows the potential of the Universe.  If your ego is out of the way, you are tapped into that energy.  On days like yesterday and mornings like today where the wind is blowing and the sun is shining (at least most of the time), I feel like the energy overflows without and within my being.  I feel like I am that conduit of Divine Love and Potential.  I can’t do enough to share this with others.

  • Work

To my husband and to many others, all I do looks like a lot of work.  Looking at my lists, it looks like a lot to me, too!  But I LOVE all I am doing.  I feel like this is good stuff.  I tend to feel guilty, like I’m having too much fun, meeting too many wonderful people, receiving too many blessings.  BLAH!  This is GREAT!  No ego here.  I’m just tapping into the wonder that is Life.  Don’t worry.  I have bad days, too, when I don’t feel the connections so strongly.  But today, right now, is where I am, and now is good!  Echart Tolle mentions that the outer work might look like stress, but when you’re passionate, “in the zone,” (you know what I’m talking about), the vigor of your work is perfectly healthy.  With awareness, you know when your time comes to rest, and if you miss the clues, you wind up sick.  We’ve all been there.

hand_blue_light_796135_l.jpgThank you for sharing this journey with me.  I cannot wait to see what is to come.  While I cannot carry you or show you your purpose, I can inspire you to connect with the Divine.  I can carry the Light, a reflection of the Light that is within you if the real you chooses to see.

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The Fine Art of Balance

Naturally, after thinking about how I need to prioritize my life and home, I realize this morning that what I also need is balance.  I cannot fully exclude anything from my life (as I join yet another Yahoo! Group) if it is indeed nourishing to me in some way.  A day of t.v. and chocolate, after all, reminds me how important a day of gardening and exercise is.

Yet there are so many different levels on which to seek true balance.  Of course there’s the budget and housework versus playtime.  The bigger topics include my time vs. family time, community work vs. home projects, career vs. leisure.  The list goes on.  All themes interconnect.  We aren’t necessarily having to draw a line over which never to cross; rather, we rest on a ball.  A little too far one way or the other might send us crashing down. 

How often have we wondered why there isn’t a manual on how to fill our days?  Sure, there are some books.  Some accept holy texts as instruction manuals, and I can’t help but admire their discipline and devotion.  We all have the free will to see what works for us, and the truth is that what works will be as unique as each of us.  As long as we are striving for balance, there always seems to be a net on either side to help us try again to get on track. 

We’ve all known people, however, who can’t seem to get back on the ball.  Forgiveness may just be our strongest net, not just from others but mostly from ourselves.  If you’re already down, it’s hard to see, hard to realize that there’s something there to help.  I believe that if you look deep enough within yourself, you can connect to a divine source, whatever you believe that to be.  When you look deeply and sense that you can genuinely forgive yourself, feel that you are forgiven, then you’ve connected to a love that helps you up again. 

Hopefully on our next try our priorities will be re-evaluated and a new sense of balance achieved.  Life is so multi-faceted.  We have
choices to make, and our actions reveal who we really are, especially
when we think no one is looking.

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