“It is still breathtaking to me to watch people bring love, preciousness and kindness to their inner world, allowing the light of God to shine through their eyes so that the beauty of their soul can come forth.” – Debbie Ford
We all need a soft place to land. May you find yours today. May you be one in return.
“Be true to yourself. Make each day a masterpiece. Help others. Drink deeply from good books. Make friendship a fine art. Build a shelter against a rainy day.” – John Wooden
“Prayer is the means by which we transform our lives by adding that divine dimension to it.” – Marianne Dorman, Living Lent
If we allow, if we dare to be open enough to make prayer an ongoing conversation rather than an occasional obligatory monologue, we find a peace and calming quiet that transcends the noise. It is in our struggles that we are being changed, made new. If we are willing to release our own expectations and to be held in the merciful grace that only God can offer, a divine and lasting transformation begins. Never easy, but we will never be the same again.
“God is offering an invitation. A call to waiting. A call to the mysteries of the cocoon. I discovered in the spiritual life, the long way around is the saving way. It isn’t the quick and easy religion we’re accustomed to. It’s deep and difficult – a way that leads into the vortex of the soul where we touch God’s transformative powers. But we have to be patient. We have to let go and tap into our creative stillness. Most of all, we have to trust that our scarred hearts really do have wings.” – Sue Monk Kidd, When the Heart Waits
Accept the invitation.
“Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it.” – Michelangelo
As we weave through celebration and sorrow, diving and surfacing, pushing and pulling, time passes. Whether we see it sooner, later or ever, through the yin and yang of it all, life balances, goes deeper to rise higher again and heals itself. Only to start all over again, but from a new place, leading us to what’s next.
Our blessings and burdens both serve to shape, sustain and make the fragments whole again. Life, the very force that hurls us forward, breaks us open and binds us up resides in each day, each moment and in each one of us.
Sometimes we are the stone being sculpted and sometimes we are the sculptor. Chip by chip, we reveal and do the revealing, discovering the beauty that patiently waits to be found. Both light and dark move us further into our blooming, burgeoning and becoming. Life, indeed, heals itself and each of us in the very living of it.
“In oneself lies the whole world and if you know how to look and learn, the door is there and the key is in your hand. Nobody on earth can give you either the key or the door to open, except yourself.” – Jiddu Krishnamurti
Frozen by our resistance to change, we hold firm to our predictable world. And as we grasp to familiarity, change marches on, prompting us to move with it, to become. When we worry less about change that is inevitable, we open up to being changed and growth ensues.
As we open to being transformed, the frozen surface we’ve built to protect us cracks under the current moving deep within, an unstoppable force. Release the need for control and let the water furl and float with a natural sacred ease grounded in faith and grace.
“Time is a sort of river of passing events, and strong is its current; no sooner is a thing brought to sight than it is swept by and another takes its place, and this too will be swept away.” – Marcus Aurelius
“The winter solstice has always been special to me as a barren darkness that gives birth to a verdant future beyond imagination, a time of pain and withdrawal that produces something joyfully inconceivable, like a monarch butterfly masterfully extracting itself from the confines of its cocoon, bursting forth into unexpected glory.” – Gary Zukav
“Too many of us go to our graves with our music still inside.” – Oliver Wendell Holmes
As I looked at my house light tonight at dusk, I noticed the image of a butterfly as the light spread its wings. What we choose to see guides our day, our way.
To release our music before we go to our graves, we must keep pushing through the cocoon to go from the caterpillar to the butterfly. Transformation takes time and then suddenly, it enters softly like a whisper.
Keep pushing. You never know when that last ounce of pressure and persistence will be your breakthrough, the tipping point. Release your light, your music, your true self – the butterfly.
In a number of halting moments recently, I am reminded yet again of the importance of defining who and what we let in. The theme of the week, month, year is “do more, faster.” But no matter how fast and far we run, it will never be enough. The spectators and critics will want more, more and more.
When we run our own race, dance our own dance, defining what we give ourselves to, we discover what we already know deep down – we are more than enough. When we show up, fully participate, give and be our best, the critic is silenced.
Discouragement is easy to be found, felt and shared to be sure. But we are called to a deeper, more meaningful life each day, beyond the obvious and below the surface. When we define who we are rather than letting others do so, we live out our potential, unfolding to our calling.
Define your day, define your life. And along the way, be kind.
“You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.” – Maya Angelou
How many days, years, wasted pondering, pining, worrying about that which we have no control? Thoughts, assumptions and judgments creating stories that aren’t real, illusions. He said/she said. She thinks/he thinks…What if, why?
Do and give your best and let the results take care of themselves. Look for the best in others and the best is drawn out. Think good thoughts and goodness presents itself. Slow down, lighten up, take it in, let it go and most importantly enjoy the ride. It is but a short one at that.
“To know yourself as the Being underneath the thinker, the stillness underneath the mental noise, the love and joy underneath the pain, is freedom, salvation, enlightenment.” – Eckhart Tolle
While the world measures “success” by distance, speed and status, our life is truly lived and measured by depth, connection and substance found in simple moments. Foster joy, depth and meaning each day. What’s real and true is right in front of you, right now.
“Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance, order, rhythm and harmony.” – Thomas Merton
“We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures that we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open.” – Jawaharlal Nehru
“I said to myself, I’m going to quit complaining! I’ll keep quiet especially when the ungodly are around me. But as I stood their silently the turmoil within me grew to the bursting point. The more I mused, the hotter the fires inside. Then at last I spoke and pled with God: Lord, help me realize how brief my time on earth will be. Help me to know that I am here but a moment more.” – Psalms 39:1-6
It is so easy and tempting to join in with the complainers, the “chirpers.” Those who criticize and choose to see nothing but shadow. But the chirping merely breeds more of the same, producing nothing of value. The higher road has plenty of room for all and often a hard one to take. But with one step at a time and an acute awareness that we are here but a moment, the high road is the only journey worth the trip. So when the choice arises, and it will several times a day, choose light. See the beauty, be the beauty.
Just as I fall into bed, tired from the day that was and preparing for the day ahead, I pause for a moment to pick up a book, to plant something new in my head, hoping for a harvest. Sometimes the seed sprouts, other times it remains dormant for another day. Suddenly, when least expected, the notes of the words mixed with those of experience meet to form a new song. And the hope is that in the sharing of the song, someone else may get the same lift.
“Within this journey, I plod some days like an ant so focused on the grain above my head that the next step holds all of life, and I feel in the lineage of slaves pushing the next stone up an unfinished pyramid. Then, without reason, life billows with an unearned ease I can’t describe. When it leaves, like a breeze of Spirit, I feel renewed and certain that God is in both the moment of lift and the moment of ease, in the moment of pain and after. So I’ve given up wishing for ease and running from pain. Everything on Earth moves by this inching between ease and pain. It’s how we grow. And praising both, surrendering to both, accepting both is the work of love.” – Mark Nepo, The Endless Practice
May we all keep practicing, inching and never giving up on the work of love, confident that each note will join to create the song that we are meant and made to sing. Find it deep within yourself each day to cast light and receive light, especially when you don’t feel like it and least expect it. Once light is cast, even if but a glimmer, the reflection returns brighter and stronger to show the path, to bring clarity. That’s the power of light.