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Juno

“Most of us today were parented and socialized in such a way that, by the time we reach adulthood, our Genius is so covered over with shoulds and shouldn’ts that we often don’t know where to look for our Juno, our Genius, our authentic self. In fact, the whole notion seems questionable. Is there really such a thing as an “authentic self,” a “real self”? I say yes. Perhaps it is suppressed or scuffed up, but it can be liberated; it can be polished. I have personally experienced this. after years of trying and failing, and then trying more and succeeding by fits and starts, I know now that when I get my small ego and my frightened reactivity out of the way, my authenticity, my soulfulness, will rush in and fill the confines of my being. It will guide my steps and gratify even the toughest times with a sense of meaning. Your Juno or Genius must be courted. Although it is strong and luminous, your guardian spirit is unassuming and even shy. It responds to persistent yet kindly biddings. Once awakened, it outshines everything false within you and in your life. But it needs room and time to stretch as it stirs. Your Juno, your Genius, they know who you are—they know you suffer from a case of mistaken identity.”— Marrow: A Love Story by Elizabeth Lesser

Beyond our emotions, circumstances and ego, abundance, energy and light wait patiently for our return. Suspend and release limiting beliefs, momentary moods and move into the expanse and depth of your Juno – your Genius.

Mindset is important, but “soul-set” is the path. Tend to your soul garden daily through meditation, reflection and exploration. Allow thoughts and feelings that bind, limit and tether to come, go and pass on by, making space for equanimity, ease and light.

Excellent 3 minute talk on aligning with the energy of abundance on Insight Timer to get you moving into this day with your GPS set and headed in the right direction. Realign, start fresh, embrace your Juno and enjoy the ride.

Blue or Grey or Both

“You are the sky. Everything else is just the weather.” – Pema Chodron

“To be nobody but
yourself in a world
which is doing its best day and night to make you like
everybody else means to fight the hardest battle
which any human being can fight and never stop fighting.”
― e.e. cummings

What do you see? The grey clouds or blue skies peeking through. Or both. What you look for, you find. If you look for the blue, you find it, not denying the grey, for the clouds make the blue even more brilliant. Take off old glasses and put on new glasses to see the same in a new light.

Become aware of your thoughts, words, what you see and do not see. Who influences you, who inspires, who leads you away from you? Return to yourself and keep on the path to becoming, unfolding and discovering. Look and listen without judgment or assumption, allowing wonder and awe to make their way through the cracks of time and experience. Create new experiences.

“To pay attention, this is our endless and proper work.” – Mary Oliver

Keep paying attention to find new things that are not ahead or behind but all around and available in this very moment.

“may my heart always be open to little
birds who are the secrets of living
whatever they sing is better than to know
and if men should not hear them men are old

may my mind stroll about hungry
and fearless and thirsty and supple
and even if it’s sunday may i be wrong
for whenever men are right they are not young

and may myself do nothing usefully
and love yourself so more than truly
there’s never been quite such a fool who could fail
pulling all the sky over him with one smile”
― e.e. Cummings, e.e. Cummings: Complete Poems 1904-1962

Vim and Vigor

“Great effort is required to arrest decay and restore vigor. One must exercise proper deliberation, plan carefully before making a move, and be alert in guarding against relapse following a renaissance.” – Horace

“Youth is not a time of life; it is a state of mind; it is not a matter of rosy cheeks, red lips and supple knees; it is a matter of the will, quality of the imagination, a vigor of the emotions; it is the freshness of the deep springs of life.” – Samuel Ullman

When we forget or get distracted, there are signs and signals all around to wake us up to the present moment, to gratitude and awe. I find it in nature, in the greening of spring grass, amidst awakening of slumbering flowers, at the dog park with the girls and in watching kids lost in play.

We need to do less “adulting,” “reality” and judging and more noticing, searching and observing. Break the hard ground, bud and bloom. Celebrate today with your attitude, thoughts and actions.

“Die to everything of yesterday so that your mind is always fresh, always young, innocent, full of vigor and passion.” – Jiddu Krishnamurti

The Good Fight

“The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun.” – Christopher McCandless

“Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow, it only saps today of its joy.” – Leo Buscaglia

I started yesterday with focus, attention and intention. Meditation. Exercise. Positive mindset. After a day of meetings, I ended the day tired, worn out and sick of everyone. All the negativity, the weariness, the heavy weight people bear and share. Overcounting burdens, undercounting blessings, bypassing bliss. I’ve done it too. I just don’t want to stay there anymore.

We are so much more than our fickle feelings, deeper than our temporary circumstances. When we refuse to engage and respond by allowing feelings to pass by without fuel or expansion, we detach from being victims of negativity to victors of optimism, hope and resilience.

We all have bad days. Let them happen, but not too many. Precious time is being wasted in the spirals we enter and allow others to pull us in. Your mindset is under your control so allow others to be who they are and fix what’s yours to fix – your own outlook and perspective. You can have empathy and offer hope at the same time.

Looking up at the sky last night with the sun breaking through the clouds as the rain prepared to enter, my consciousness rose above the day, breaking the earthly bonds of heaviness, equilibrium returned, a steady joy state.

“If you carry joy in your heart, you can heal any moment.”- Carlos Santana

Allow feelings to enter, pass and be released. Ease and peace will enter with no effort. The gift of grace. Accept it. Offer it to expand it. Fight the good fight, the right fight.

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” – 2 Timothy 4:7

 

Mirth

“Life is the fire that burns and the sun that gives light. Life is the wind and the rain and the thunder in the sky. Life is matter and is earth, what is and what is not, and what beyond is in Eternity.” – Lucius Annaeus Seneca

“Mirth is like a flash of lightning, that breaks through a gloom of clouds, and glitters for a moment; cheerfulness keeps up a kind of daylight in the mind, and fills it with a steady and perpetual serenity.” – Joseph Addison

In all seasons, in nature, in each day, in this very moment, light remains to hold, lead and guide. Sometimes behind the clouds. Sometimes in blue skies on a warm day in April. Sometimes introduced by deep rolling thunder and suddenly breaking through the clouds in brilliant lightning followed by soaking rain.

Seize it and find mirth in all of it. Suspend reasoning, judging and rules. Embrace gratitude, count your blessings and allow joy to enter this day. Guard it and give it away, more will come. We become what we pursue and allow in.

“I am a being of Heaven and Earth, of thunder and lightning, of rain and wind, of the galaxies.” – Eden Ahbez

Easter Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday…

“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” – Elizabeth Appell

“And why, you may ask, spend precious time searching for something as elusive as a soul? Why not leave it where it hides—near to us, yet so difficult to find and sometimes dangerous to follow? There are two reasons: First, you search for the soul for the sake of your own life—for purpose, for meaning, for strength, for freedom and peace and love. Second, you search for your soul for the sake of everyone else. You do it for your family, your children, your coworkers, the whole world. The world needs your originality, your ideas, your humor, your creations. All of this is alive and well within you, hiding somewhere near you, beneath the layers, down, down, down, into the soul.” — Marrow: A Love Story by Elizabeth Lesser

We forego the everlasting gift of Easter Sunday, if we neglect to carry it forward into Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday…and each day going forward. Not just a drive-by holiday, the story of the Cross to resurrection is life-changing, world-changing.

That relief and lightness that people are feeling about getting the vaccine after going through year of a pandemic is but a glimpse of what Easter living offers, present in each day beyond frustrations, fleeting feelings and what the world says is true. That lightness will pass as we resume “normal” whatever that may be. We’ll replace it with the next worry, the next dilemma. It’s exhausting. The eternal light of God was, is and always will remain true and available to all freely, no matter what humans say, do, deny or pursue, thinking it can be found somewhere else. Somewhere else is here on Easter Monday.

To get to here, there is a lot of letting go of resentment, anger, unforgiveness, opinion, judgment, assumptions that shape our life and steal our joy, wonder and awe.

No one makes the decision but you so if you are all good, riding high and where you want to be, carry on, you’ve figured it out. If you’re struggling, searching and unsatisfied, Easter Monday is here and will remain no matter your choice. Consider your options. It is up to you.

“People deal too much with the negative, with what is wrong. Why not try and see positive things, to just touch those things and make them bloom?” – Thich Nhat Hanh

The 15th Station

“EASTER MORNING The stirring wildness of God calls brittle bones to leaping and stone hearts to soaring. Old women dance among the stars.”— Kneeling in Jerusalem by Ann Weems

“In all ten directions of the universe, there is only one truth. When we see clearly, the great teachings are the same. What can ever be lost? What can be attained? If we attain something, it was there from the beginning of time. If we lose something, it is hiding somewhere near us.”― Ryokan

With a year of the pandemic, weekly church has been on YouTube, sitting on my couch drinking a cup of coffee. With more places opening and the vaccines getting out, I went to Good Friday’s Stations of the Cross “live” this year, all in attendance spaced appropriately with masks. Stations on Good Friday has been a tradition for years with my parents. My Dad will be gone five years on April 28 and as I sat through the service, I thought of the many times we went together.

There are 14 stations of the Cross that are reflected on and contemplated during the service:

  1. Jesus is condemned to death
  2. Jesus takes up His cross
  3. Jesus falls the first time under the Cross
  4. Jesus meets His afflicted mother
  5. Simon of Cyrene is forced to take up the Cross
  6. Veronica wipes the face of Jesus
  7. Jesus falls a second time
  8. Jesus meets the Women of Jerusalem
  9. Jesus falls a third time
  10. Jesus is stripped of His garments
  11. Jesus is nailed to the Cross
  12. Jesus dies on the Cross
  13. The body of Jesus is placed in the arms of His Mother
  14. Jesus is laid in the tomb

The Lenten journey culminates today, Easter morning, in the glory of resurrection of Jesus. On Friday, the priest called the resurrection, the 15th Station.

We all have our own stations that we move through in life. The times we fall and keep getting up only to fall again. When we watch others suffer and can do nothing about it but be quietly present to witness and hold. When we help others, but complain about being interrupted and bothered like Simon, yet do it the same. When we are generous, wiping the face of another like Veronica. When we die to self again and again or cling tightly to offense, resentment and opinion, refusing to change and insisting others change instead. The 15th station is completed by the 14 stations that come before.

In our journey to the 15th station of resurrection, transformation, renewal, we do not walk alone for Jesus walked the path before us and remains with us in our journey if we choose to see.

Eternal spring, a well to return to again and again in our bewilderment, consternation and struggles. We are Easter people. Be changed and rise up. Happy Easter.

“AND THE GLORY The silence breaks into morning. That One Star lights the world. The lily springs to life and not even Solomon… Let it begin with singing and never end! Oh, angels, quit your lamenting! Oh, pilgrims, upon your knees in tearful prayer, rise up and take your hearts and run! We who were no people are named anew God’s people, for he who was no more is forevermore.”— Kneeling in Jerusalem by Ann Weems

Saturday

“We’re all born exactly who we are supposed to be, but we take these weird detours in order to fit in, or please others, or get our way, or just get by. We suffer wounds and build up scar tissue.”— Marrow: A Love Story by Elizabeth Lesser

If you know the full Easter story from Friday to Sunday, it means more this year if examined and applied to your own and our collective life. After a year of a pandemic, ongoing unrest, the anger of opinions and hatred of others different than “me,” we carry many crosses. With the mass distribution of vaccines, this Easter is different than the uncertainty of last Easter. We are in between Friday and Sunday, not where we were and not where we are going to be quite yet.

While I will get the vaccine for the rest, I am not putting my faith, hope and being into a vaccine to save the world. Jesus already saved the world. He saves us daily from our unbelief, fear and shallow living. It’s a matter of whether we choose to notice, do something about it and be changed.

While imperfect and often poorly executed, I put my faith and hope in God to save the world, not man. Today is the day in between crucifixion and resurrection. Linger here and allow it to touch your soul and transform your life. By the scars of Jesus, the empty tomb and the resurrection, our own scars can be softened to feel again, to be reborn and remade.

“SATURDAY SILENCE The shadows shift and fly. The whole long day the air trembles, thick with silence, until, finally, the footsteps are heard, and the noise of the voice of God is upon us. The Holy One is not afraid to walk on unholy ground. The Holy Work is done, and the world awaits the dawn of Life.” — Kneeling in Jerusalem by Ann Weems

Sunday light and transformation are coming, has already come and remains to this very day. Hope over despair. Choose light, accept the darkness lingers and still choose light to overcome it.

First Day

“No pain, no palm; no thorns, no throne; no gall, no glory; no cross, no crown.” – William Penn

“Hidden life under the sea, under the ground, under the skin. The buried marrow in my bones and the secret stories in my heart. What are we supposed to see and hear, show and tell? Are things hidden for our own good, or is the human journey about going into the shadows and searching for the deeper truths about ourselves and each other, about life itself?”— Marrow: A Love Story by Elizabeth Lesser

We want to get to the Third Day and bypass one and two, to our Easters, victory, light, spring, joy, peace, butterflies. The only way to the Third Day begins with Day One – our Good Fridays, the crosses we bear, the struggles, the angst and pain. But darkness is not the end of the story. We must push through the middle to get to the other side. Hope is both the flashlight and lighthouse for our journey.

“NO DANCES There are no dances for dark days. There is no music to bellow the pain. The best we can do is to remain still and silent and try to remember the face of God… and how to kneel and how to pray.”— Kneeling in Jerusalem by Ann Weems

In our Good Fridays, we are not alone because of the Cross that Jesus bore for us all, not only Christians, for all humanity, every person. Lay down the labels, divisions, constraints of religion and rules that humans create to consider the immensity of the Cross in a new light for your own life. Open to what this day does and can mean to how you live daily. Read the story, allow it into the realm of possibility.

“LOST AND FOUND As we approached Jerusalem the crowd stood at the gate and cried in tear-choked voice: “We are lost in his death.” Upon the hill the angels sang: “We are found in his rising.”— Kneeling in Jerusalem by Ann Weems

In the process of transforming from caterpillar to butterfly, the chrysalis turns to liquid before it is rebuilt and transformed into a butterfly. The same matter in a new form is recreated and made new. Today, choose to die to old thinking and ways, melt and release the struggle, the burdens. Invite God into your heart to do His butterfly work in you. Moving from the cocoon and the tomb to the redemption and resurrection of the Third Day.

“ROOM IN THE HEART Death abides not on a hill called Golgotha, but in every heart that makes room. Life abides not outside a garden tomb in Jerusalem, but in every heart that makes room.”— Kneeling in Jerusalem by Ann Weems

Make room. Start with Day One but do not stop and linger there because it is not the ending but the beginning that gives meaning to the suffering. Day Three ahead.

Models

“Do you realize what I have done for you? You call me ‘teacher’ and ‘master,’ and rightly so for indeed I am. If I, therefore, the master and teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash one another’s feet. I have given you a model to follow, so that as I have done for you, you should do also do’” – John 13:12-15

From the Last Supper, to the denial of the denials to come, to betrayal, to washing of feet, to the Garden of Gethsemane, awaiting for the suffering to begin, Jesus models the way for us.

Who wants to take that journey? To take up crosses, none like the Cross, but burdens the same. To wash feet of others. To love amidst hate and fear. A journey to run from, avoid, look for a short cut. There’s got to be another way. And yet, this is the only way. We do not go alone. He has gone before and carries our crosses for us if we allow right in this very moment, in the past and in the future.

When all of the other paths and models we follow lead to dead ends, again and again, return to this place to rest in love. That’s the story of the Cross. Love that transcends and transforms.

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