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Permission to Play

“As we let our light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence actually liberates others.” – Marianne Williams

In the past months, I’ve been asked a lot “how are you doing?” While I appreciate the concern, I feel obligated to say “good,” to avoid talking about how I am really feeling, to not share the impact and depth of loss since who really wants to hear it. I often don’t want to hear it, say it or feel it myself.

But to be straight up and honest – Lily and me miss the members of our pack and best friends – Molly and Dad. It’s been a month for Molly and three months for Dad. Each day that passes eases the sharp and deep blow, yet a steady melancholy remains. Loneliness is hard to explain. Yet we all carry loss. How we carry or acknowledge or don’t acknowledge it varies.

“I gave myself permission to feel and experience all of my emotions. In order to do that, I had to stop being afraid to feel. In order to do that, I taught myself to believe that no matter what I felt or what happened when I felt it, I would be okay.” – Iyanla Vanzant

“I gave myself permission to feel and experience all of my emotions. In order to do that, I had to stop being afraid to feel. In order to do that, I taught myself to believe that no matter what I felt or what happened when I felt it, I would be okay.” – Iyanla Vanzant

Tonight I arranged a “play” date with Lily and her cousins Chloe and Grace. The past few times we’ve been together, Lily has been tentative and stayed in the house as a spectator rather than a participant. Tonight, it took a bit, but Lily let go and gave herself permission to play, to let loose. It was fun to see her chase the girls and to allow her smile to light up, if but for a short time.

No matter what we carry, we can lay it down for a moment and be carried by light and frivolity. It plants a seed of hope that this too shall pass with healing that time gives. And letting our burdens go to delight in the moment doesn’t erase or diminish loss. It reveals the sacredness and redemption of joy.

No matter what you may be going through, or what may come, give yourself permission to play like a kid or puppy. Forgetting where we are exposes that shadows are momentary and that momentous light remains steady and strong. Search for, delight in and cast light each day.

Daily Grace

“The invariable mark of wisdom is to see the miraculous in the common.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

The fabric, the very essence of life, is found in the daily-ness of it. Beauty, blessings and mystery are present to each of us in the thread of moments, the pattern of days and revelations that unfold in months and years.

Never take your days or those who are in them for granted. Be present, in awe and deeply aware of the fragility and grace that embraces, carries and holds each of us whether we realize it or not.

“For me, every hour is grace.” – Elie Wiesel

“For me, every hour is grace.” – Elie Wiesel

Open and Still

“When everything is moving and shifting, the only way to counteract chaos is stillness. When things feel extraordinary, strive for ordinary. When the surface is wavy, dive deeper for quieter waters.” – Kristin Armstrong

Pause and create pockets of silence each day with rapt attention. From the sacred quiet at the rise of the day to the gentle peace offered as the sun drifts to slumber, stillness calls to restore, renew and inspire. No sense of time or tasks to check off. Present in the present. Discovering the poetry found in a walk, a smile, a flower.

Open, still and ever so grateful.

“Only when your consciousness is totally focused on the moment you are in can you receive whatever gift, lesson, or delight that moment has to offer.” – Barbara de Angelis

“Only when your consciousness is totally focused on the moment you are in can you receive whatever gift, lesson, or delight that moment has to offer.” – Barbara de Angelis

The FULLness of Time

“When the fullness of time comes a sacred voice at the heart of us cries out, shaking the old foundation. It draws us into a turbulence that forces us to confront our deepest issues. It’s as if some inner, divine grace seeks our growth and becoming and will plunge us, if need be, into a cauldron that seeths with questions and voices we would just as soon not hear. One way or another, the false roles, indentities and illusions spill over the sides of our life, and we’re forced to stand in chaos.” – Sue Monk Kidd

I’ve been wandering a bit lost the past few months, taking it a minute at a time, going through rather than around. Knowing if I don’t go through now, I’ll end up going through the same thing later, again and again. Head on and through, like walking hip deep through wet cement.

“We don’t cross into the ‘sphere of rebirth’ by power but by descent, by being swallowed.” – James Campbell

I haven’t written as frequently in the blog since I haven’t been casting much light lately and words are not coming easy. But an authentic life is messy and beautiful. It’s filled with light and dark, delight and burden all at the same time. Sometimes one outweighs the other, but they co-exist.

Last night I was drawn back to one of my favorite books that I read over a year ago – When the Heart Waits by Sue Monk Kidd. The word seeds were planted and now have broken ground with new meaning, describing what’s been indescribable. That’s what good authors, artists and friends do. They hold a mirror to show us our true selves beyond this moment and binoculars to show us hope in what will come when the time is right. They cast beauty and light inviting us to recharge and strengthen our own resolve and light.

Yesterday afternoon, I received a heartfelt email from a friend that pierced the darkness too. Her generous and kind words reminded me yet again of the power each of us has to positively impact others’ lives with words and deeds.

“We can endure, transcend and transform the storminess when we see the meaning and mystery of it.” – Sue Monk Kidd

So with the fullness of time coupled with patience, gratitude and fortitude, we will come out on the other side, our light stronger than ever. Bring it on time, bring it on.

Simple Beauty

“A flower’s appeal is in its contradictions — so delicate in form yet strong in fragrance, so small in size yet big in beauty, so short in life yet long on effect.” – Terri Guillemets

“Every flower is a soul blossoming in nature.” – Gerard De Nerval

“Every flower is a soul blossoming in nature.” – Gerard De Nerval

Simple beauty surrounds and waits patiently to be noticed each day, to be taken in. The flower is drawn up and held by the light and so must we.

 

Biding Time

“Every man must patiently bide his time. He must wait / not in listless idleness but in constant, steady, cheerful endeavors, always willing and fulfilling and accomplishing his task, that when the occasion comes he may be equal to the occasion.” – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

I’ve been keeping Lily busy (both of us really) the past week since Molly died. She’s got loneliness in her eyes that I can’t fix and it’s like looking in a mirror. We are both biding time, knowing that with passing of time it will be more tolerable and we’ll settle into a new normal we didn’t want but need to accept. I’ve had two dogs for the past twenty years and when one leaves the other behind, it’s heartbreaking. But the love and joy that they’ve shared through the years and that they let me share with them carries us through and stays with us.

“Find a place inside where there's joy, and the joy will burn out the pain.” – Joseph Campbell

“Find a place inside where there’s joy, and the joy will burn out the pain.” – Joseph Campbell

So some distractions like swimming, long walks, patios that allow dogs and boating give us permission to smile and carry on since there are no other real options but to go through. So we bide time, we cry, we laugh, we play and we remember well, grateful for what has been, for what is present right now and for what is to come.

Sweet Molly

“The most important lesson that I have learned is to trust God in every circumstance. Lots of times we go through different trials and following God’s plan seems like it doesn’t make any sense at all. God is always in control and he will never leave us.” – Allyson Felix

“That perfect bliss and sole felicity, the sweet fruition of an earthly crown.” – Christopher Marlowe

“That perfect bliss and sole felicity, the sweet fruition of an earthly crown.” – Christopher Marlowe

As written in this blog through the years, Molly and Lily have been an integral part of my life, primarily the joy of it. They cast light so naturally and have taught me how to cast light. This post saddens me to my very core, like some others over the past few months.

Molly had surgery last week on a torn ACL – last year at this time, it was her right leg. I brought her back on Saturday for a high temperature. This morning I got a call that she was in critical condition. After hours of stressed breathing, they were able to get an x-ray indicating severe problems with her lungs. The option was to hang on for desperate measures to keep her alive for a few hours or to let her go and release her from the pain.

Unconditional love knows when to hang on and when to let go. I do find comfort in Dad embracing her in heaven and lovingly walking off the leash of this world to a peace that passes all understanding.

Farewell Sweet Molly.

molly3

There’s Blue Up There

“Shining through tears, like April suns in showers, that labour to overcome the cloud that loads 'em. “ – Thomas Otway

“Shining through tears, like April suns in showers, that labour to overcome the cloud that loads ’em. “ – Thomas Otway

“The soul can split the sky in two and let the face of God shine through.” – Edna St. Vincent Millay

Life is a mix of clarity and ambiguity. To live an authentic life, we find the wherewithal to cast light amidst, because and despite the clouds. The blue pulls us through, wakes us up and forces patience and faith to do their work in their time, not ours.

The assumption and expectation that life should be easy leads us down paths that spiral into nowhere, to nothingness. We have what we need within us to thrive in the good times and survive the tough times. Sometimes surviving is enough. Thriving waits in the wings to show itself when the time is right, when we’re ready.

What We Remember

“We do not remember days, we remember moments.” – Cesare Pavese

Every day for the past eight weeks since Dad passed away, I have been flooded with flashes of time – moments of laughter, his gestures, our daily calls, his sage advice and quiet times just hanging out. He was not only my Dad, but my best friend who knew and understood me better than most.

Moments that seemed like little things at the time now reside front of mind and heart and what I miss the most. I want to call him to yip about my day, yap about his day or discuss the ridiculous world of politics.

Be acutely aware of the moments that you are spending or not spending with family and friends. Be careful, kind and generous with your words and acts. Go first to mend a broken relationship now so it’s not too late.

Celebrate your dad, mom, brother, sister, kids, friends each day and live well. You are creating memories that will remain deeply rooted in your heart that will carry you through good days and especially through the difficult ones. Life is built of moments. That’s what we remember, so spend them well.

“Live so that when your children think of fairness, caring, and integrity, they think of you.” H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

“Live so that when your children think of fairness, caring, and integrity, they think of you.” H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

Surrounded

“He who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead; his eyes are closed.” – Albert Einstein

“Time itself comes in drops.” – William James

“Time itself comes in drops.” – William James

We are surrounded with beauty and brilliance. What we focus on becomes our day, our life. Wonder, awe, delight and joy are choices, disciplines that we must hone and foster amidst daily living. Practice gratitude and blessings are amplified, taking their rightful place.

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