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Put On Love

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” – Colossians 3:12-17

This is the scripture that I read at my niece’s wedding last night.
Put on love.
It’s a choice that we make daily.
We choose to put it on or to pass it by for our ego, our smallness, for being “right.”
On beautiful celebrations it shows up tangible in embraces, ceremony, ritual, dancing, toasts, reflection, laughter.
More vividly and sweeter in gathering again for the first time in 2 ½ years.

We are all connected.
Called to love.
To love those closest to us and also those we disagree with, those who vote differently, those who are irritating, those who offend us.
That’s when love is most real and revealing.
To make the decision to clothe ourselves in compassion, kindness, gentleness, patience, forgiveness all bound up by love.
May gratitude, peace and love be staples you partake in daily.
Put on love.

Wake into Life

“God is best known in not knowing him.” – Saint Augustine

“The further I wake into this life, the more I realize that God is everywhere and the extraordinary is waiting quietly beneath the skin of all that is ordinary. Light is in both the broken bottle and the diamond, and music is in both the flowing violin and the water dripping from the drainage pipe. Yes, God is under the porch as well as on top of the mountain, and joy is in both the front row and the bleachers, if we are willing to be where we are.”― Mark Nepo, The Book of Awakening

May you wake into life and see God woven in each moment, hidden in the ordinary.
Awaiting your arrival, offering joy, peace and grace.
A mystery, undefinable, expansive, beyond imagination.
Slow down, experience and enjoy the journey.

“The feeling remains that God is on the journey, too.” – Saint Teresa of Avila

Stay Gentle

“You will see the blue sky spreading endlessly above you and smiling down.”– Aya Kitô

Open windows driving on a Sunday to nowhere in particular.
A simple act of exploration.
Wind flowing through, hair in the air.
Listening to music.
Really listening as summer is in prelude, ready to burst.
Expanding my playlist to keep discovering new music to feed the soul.
Poetry in motion, senses tuned.
I land on a song from Brandi Carlile, freshly downloaded, new to me.

Stay gentle.
Words that permeate, demand, stick, challenge.
It’s been a rough 2 ½ years of pandemic living.
You can see the weariness on faces of others and when you look in the mirror.
Now people are saying it’s going to be our “new normal,” just the way it is.
I don’t buy it.
Nothing stays forever.
Some things do change us forever.
Growth, acceptance, expansion if we allow, fostered with time.

And still.
And yet.
And for certain.
We get to choose our response.

We can’t let these things or others harden us, narrow our view, insulate us from healing beauty.
We must say, shout, sing a resounding YES! to life, all of it.
No leads nowhere.

Eyes of a child, soft heart, laughter, light, joy, amazed, wild, cracked, imperfect.
Be naïve, love with abandon, stay gentle.
Turn up the music.
A resounding YES!

“Stay gentle, keep the eyes of a child
Don’t harden your heart or your hands
Know to find joy in the darkness is wise
Although they will think you don’t understand

Don’t let the world make you callous
Be ready to laugh
No one’s forgotten about us
There is light on your path

Stay gentle, keep the eyes of a child
And wear your heart on your sleeve
Know to find joy in the darkness is wise
Although they will think you are naive

Don’t let ’em lower your shoulders
Love ’em more while they try
Grow younger while you’re growin’ older
Be amazed by the sky

Darling, stay wild if you can (if you can)
The girl with the world in her hands (in her hands)
The kingdom of Heaven belongs to a boy
While his worry belongs to a man

Stay gentle, stay gentle
The most powerful thing you can do
Oh, gentle, unbreakable you” – song by Brandi Carlile

Happiness Doubled by Wonder

“I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.” – Gilbert K. Chesterton

“’Thank you’ is the best prayer that anyone could say. I say that one a lot. Thank you expresses extreme gratitude, humility, understanding.” – Alice Walker

Thank you.
May gratitude be your first response to this day, to another, to yourself, to God the author of it all.
The place you begin, the road you travel on, the destination.
Awake and aware of all that already is in this very moment.
To see what is with rather than what is missing.
Difficulties remain but they are not the complete story.
Gratitude, grace, blessings.
Reignite your senses to see it all and be in awe.
First and foremost.
Thanksgiving and expression of it.
Thank you.

“It is through gratitude for the present moment that the spiritual dimension of life opens up.” – Eckhart Tolle

Frames and Buckets

“I imagine that yes is the only living thing.” – e. e. cummings

“Every man takes the limits of his own field of vision for the limits of the world.” – Arthur Schopenhauer

How we frame our world, bucket people, box it up to explain shapes our world, often limiting, greying, and stunting.
We put blinders on, losing our peripheral vision, our gazing-ability and wandering-instinct.
When we allow unknowing, mystery and exploration, we broaden our view, deepen our connection, enrich our experience of daily life, discovering a 360-degree, technicolor landscape filled with beauty, joy and mystery right in front of us.
In a flower, in another’s eyes, in our own heart.
Explain less, relinquish “control,” trade sight for vision.
Invite the horizon, the sky, the ocean into view.
Gaze, grow, imagine.
Expanse, depth and light, right in front of you for the taking, and the giving.
Break the frame, empty the bucket.
New eyes, open arms, beating heart.
Get a glimpse of the wonder and awe, hidden in reach.

“Every creature is a word of God.” Meister Eckhart

In the Unknowing, Knowing

“The biggest human temptation is to settle for too little.” – Thomas Merton

“What can we gain by sailing to the moon if we are not able to cross the abyss that separates us from ourselves? This is the most important of all voyages of discovery, and without it, all the rest are not only useless, but disastrous.” – Thomas Merton

Calculator and canvas;
Art and science;
Sky and spec;
Knowing and mystery;
Boundary and wide open field;
A moment and forever;
Shadow and light;
Oasis and desert;
Deep beyond surface;
Found in silence, inquiry, observation, praise, awe, wonder;
Discernment and clarity;
Imperfection and incompleteness;
Sacred and holy;
Beyond the façade, recipes, rules, assumptions, expections;
Unbound and calling you home to self, true self;
Pieces to patterns;
Unfinished and unexplainable;
All of this and more;
Not caught, rather harnessed and embraced;
Intuition the map;
Homecoming the destination;
Transformation and unfolding.

“The very contradictions in my life are in some ways signs of God’s mercy to me.” – Thomas Merton

Lit Up

“Hope is a waking dream.” – Aristotle

Whether struggling or at ease, or a mix of both, may you separate self from circumstances if but only for a minute or two.
To partake, witness and enter the deep current and flow of the universe, our connectedness to each other.
To see the joy amidst difficulty, accepting God’s unending grace to prompt grace for self and others.
You are enough in this very moment.
Unfolding, becoming, imperfect, lovely and lit up.
Fan the flame.
Hope, joy, love.

“Oh God,
the thought of trying for a new and improved me makes me tired.
I am barely getting anywhere,
so draw me closer to a different vision,
one that sees that I don’t need perfection—
I need love.
Free me from the expectation that life should always be better.
The everyday stressors—the bills, the pressure, the dependents,
the existential fears about the future and the worries of right now.
I am too tired to be more.
Blessed are we, remembering
that the world is not ours to shoulder alone.
Help us put one foot in front of the other
as best we can.
Oh God, today,
give us enough to go on,
give us hope to see a future,
give us joy to see a present
lit up by your love.” – Kate Bowler

More than Just

“Beauty is whatever gives joy.” – Edna St. Vincent Millay

May spring, transformation, light bloom within you.
Each day, may you see beauty, experience joy, awe and delight.
Pause, witness, praise.
A new day, write some good paragraphs today in your story.
You are the author, pick up the pen.

“Don’t just learn, experience.
Don’t just read, absorb.
Don’t just change, transform.
Don’t just relate, advocate.
Don’t just promise, prove.
Don’t just criticize, encourage.
Don’t just think, ponder.
Don’t just take, give.
Don’t just see, feel.
Don’t just dream, do.
Don’t just hear, listen.
Don’t just talk, act.
Don’t just tell, show.
Don’t just exist, live.”

― Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart

Twice, Maybe More

“Be here now.”― Ram Dass

“If your mind carries a heavy burden of past, you will experience more of the same. The past perpetuates itself through lack of presence. The quality of your consciousness at this moment is what shapes the future.”― Eckhart Tolle

We can live twice.
Once in real time, present to the moment, our place in it.
Aware of the blessings and beauty amidst burdens, hidden in plain sight, longing to be noticed.
Grateful when in it, not racing ahead, or rearview mirror driving.
A second time in memory, reflecting, finding meaning, seeing the pieces fit, accepting not understanding, weaving and integrating into our story.
Moving forward to new paths, not circling back to familiarity and the “good old” days.
The “good old” days are now.
Slow down, put down the “to-do” list, stop checking boxes and experience the depth and expanse.
Live twice, maybe more.

“Your hand opens and closes, opens and closes. If it were always a fist or always stretched open, you would be paralyzed. Your deepest presence is in every small contracting and expanding, the two as beautifully balanced and coordinated as birds’ wings.”― Jelaluddin Rumi

Storms

“There is peace even in the storm.”― Vincent van Gogh

“There are some things you learn best in calm, and some in storm.” – Willa Cather

The first spring storm swept in last night.
Thick clouds, lightning breaking through.
70 mile an hour winds.
Horizontal rain.
Hail.
Sirens to warn.
Nature has her way, untouched by our control or consternation.
Nothing to do but take shelter.
Observing, waiting, watching.
In both the external and internal storms, taking shelter is often the only thing to do.
Present to what is.
Laying down worry.
Evidence from the past that we’ve made it through before.
No guarantees but hopeful the same.
Calm this morning.
Greener grass, budding trees.
May you weather the storms, new on the other side.

“When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.”― Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore

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