Change of Plans

A little perspective goes a long way.  As odd as it sounds, my stresses tend to come from my blessings, my abundance.  Even my seeming lack of financial resources isn’t all that bad; most everything gets paid most of the time and on time.  It’s the excesses we can’t afford, and excess by nature is something we don’t need.  I get stressed because I’m trying too hard to control everything.  That just cannot happen, and I certainly can’t do everything on my own.

It takes one event to set in motion a trajectory downhill.  That spiral that will go as deep as we let it or as deep as it can pull us.  Some may call it natural selection.  Some call it fate.  It is true that darkness is ever-present.  What makes some of us more keenly aware of the light in our lives and some more susceptible to the pull of darkness?  Can it also be the same for positive events, that when good things start happening, they just keep coming?

I don’t mean to oversimplify this.  Life is not either good or bad.  Mostly, it’s gray, and, despite the over-use of the phrase, it is what it is.  I am convinced that our perspective, how we choose to encounter everything along our way, and our choices going forward make all the difference.  I’m also convinced that we cannot do it alone.  If your faith is enough, bless you.  If you’re like most of us, you need community.

As part of a community I love dearly, I’m willing to change my plans for lunch and visit a friend in need.  I let go of my expectations and live into something greater.  We make magic happen every day and can rejoice in the light.  When the darkness comes, we can know we are not alone and that we don’t have to be afraid.

That’s a beautiful thing.

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Time to Sit

Yesterday morning started with the normal frenzy of a young family household getting three kids ready for school and then a mom trying to decide which thing to do first, followed by a slew of other things.  I let my three-year-old determine the first course of action.  She wanted to go to the gym to see a friend; I knew I needed to go to the gym.

Ironically, I sat on the stationary bike reading in preparation for a class I’m leading today.  The topic:  HeartMath, compassion, patience, changing my concept of time, being fully present.  My legs pedaled along, my eyes moved forward, and I tried to sit quietly, absorbing my reading.  I appreciated the irony of my multi-tasking.

My three-year-old changed my course, again, as she decided to go home with a friend.  Suddenly, my morning opened even more.  Pottery?  Writing?  Sewing?  What to do next on my own.

I had told a friend we would come play, but now I was alone.  I called her anyway, and found her scurrying to clean before her mom showed up.  But her toddler insisted upon being carried.  I found myself volunteering to come help her clean for a bit; I’d still have time to go home and do something before my afternoon appointments.

At my friend’s house, rather than cleaning, I was asked to hold the toddler.  He melted into my arms and chest and soon fell asleep.  All I had to do was hold him.  All I had to do was be calm and still.  I was given time to sit, holding that precious reminder that children bring us just to be.  My friend got to clean without an aching back, and I got time to be still, snuggling with her warm babe.  I left not long before her mom arrived to a house mostly restored.

I didn’t have time to go back to my own home, but I did have time for coffee and a snack at another friend’s house.  I arrived at my afternoon meetings peaceful and present.

Maybe I should let my youngest help me make decisions more often.  Maybe I just need more time to sit.

Thanks be to the children.

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With Gratitude

I hope your Thanksgiving is filled with abundance, friends and/or family, and a warm, comfortable place to settle and rest and marinate in the deliciousness of a life filled with gratitude.

My day isn’t quite like that.  Mine is more of the get up and finish making everything, make sure kids and self are presentable, drive half an hour to one part of the family, eat too much, drive to another part of the family, help make more food, eat too much twice (dessert can be its own meal), spend half an hour trying to make a dent in the mess created, collapse on the couch for a bit and then drive home exhausted around midnight.

But I am blessed to have the family I do.  The more, the merrier, right?  I will gladly spread four meals of thanks throughout the month to get to spend time with my loved ones, and I do sincerely love them.

Complain as we might, some of my fondest memories and the best conversations are had while preparing meals and doing the dishes.  It’s like talking to a man while driving; you can get into deeper conversation there. Women talk well while driving, too, but for me, it’s best when sewing/crafting, cooking, dish washing . . . and, of course, over some tasty beverages.

May your love and conversation be rich, and may you be filled with gratitude.

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Bosom Friends

I remember reading Anne of Green Gables in grade school, relishing in wandering down whatever tangent Anne Shirley would guide me.  An introvert by nature, I admire Anne for her strength and ability to prevail through her consequences.  Though we are opposites in many ways, Anne and I share much in common.  Our imagination, love for literature and loyalty to friends are a few of the ties that bind me to Anne — especially her loyalty to friends.

I don’t pretend to offer an analysis for all the types of people there are and the relationships they can have, but from my experience, I’ve met some people who everyone they meet they love and call friends.  Some rather reserve their love for after a relationship has been tested.  Others of us meet people and quickly develop a kinship, a bond that is not easily broken, if ever.  These are the bosom friends, “an intimate friend, you know–a really kindred spirit to whom (you) can confide (your) inmost soul.”  Some of my friends have been elevated to this status, some hover near, and I suppose all the rest have the potential.

Undoubtedly it is our friendships that carry us through our journey when we can’t go any further or just need the encouragement.  They shine a light for us when we can’t see the way.  Most often, they hold a mirror to us, reflecting to us our innate beauty and vitality that we may be too broken to see for ourselves.  For true bosom friends, though, the mirrors you’re holding for each other become empty frames.  All that exists between you is what is real. Your soul is there to communicate with the other’s without any pretense or illusion.  You both are individually and together part of the Whole.

The only way to celebrate your friends whom you know are special is to tell them they are such.  Don’t put them on a pedestal; you wouldn’t want to be on one yourself.  Offer gratitude for their existence and the gifts they bring to your life.  Continue to be there for them as they are for you, no matter how near or far away they are.  And love, purely and simply.  Forever and ever.

(Happy birthday, Uta!)

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