“I don’t sing because I’m happy; I’m happy because I sing.” – William James
“Do you not say, “Four months more, then comes the harvest? But I tell you look around you, and see how the fields are ripe for harvesting.” – John 4:35
Each season creates a harvest. Sowing, tending and reaping daily we savor the harvest in gratitude, awareness and awe in beauty abound, in seemingly simple things.
New flowers are blooming daily, filling the air with fragrance as summer takes the driver’s seat. Pull over and spend some time in the spring harvest to awaken your senses. Deeply rooted gratitude is the secret to sustaining the winds.
Do not miss the scenery on the road to what’s next, to what’s easy, to someday. William James said, “The art of being wise is the art of knowing what to overlook.” The art of brilliance is seeing the beauty and bounty in each day, in the moment, free from circumstances and expectations.
Never surrender joy in difficult times. Guard it, embrace it, release it. Joy multiplies. The fields are ripe for harvesting today. Life is in the details woven through each 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.
“First comes thought; then organization of that thought, into ideas and plans; then transformation of those plans into reality. The beginning, as you will observe, is in your imagination.” – Napoleon Hill
That wanted to be
A beautiful book
It would die
If that’s what it took…” – Butterfly Boucher
Thin ice remains on the shore as the middle gives way to open, cold, deep water. The transformation from winter to spring almost complete. As winter and spring dance, transitioning who leads, a mix of cold and warm, dry and wet will bring us into April. The rain softens and greens the grass. Spring is certain. Winter returning in eight months is certain as well. The dance continues, steps in sync, choregraphed by the Author of Life.
Seasons, cycles, transitions, change are certain. Transformation, growth and transcendence are a choice, a decision. We can remain on the surface, on thin ice, in the hardness of winter or give way to spring, to dance, to deep waters.
The journey is not to foreign lands beyond but within to unfold, unwind and peal the layers to reveal our authentic self. It calls for letting go, dying to old self, releasing what was to be on its own to fully embrace what is while anticipating the fruit that comes with time, sun and rain. Take the journey.
Full of dreams for one thing…
Full of dreams for reasons…
Full of dreams for one thing…
So keep dreaming” – Butterfly Boucher
“A LISTENING – Going through Lent is a listening. When we listen to the word, we hear where we are so blatantly unliving. If we listen to the word, and hallow it into our lives, we hear how we can so abundantly live again.”— Kneeling in Jerusalem by Ann Weems
When the answers are hollow, listen to hear the hallowed;
Speak less, listen more;
Listen to understand rather than to respond;
Be open to a new space of possibility;
I discovered Ann Weems work through listening to Amy Bost Henegar, who I discovered on Insight Timer. When we search with an open mind and heart, one thing leads to the next, connections begin to form and sense-making follows.
May we all be open to listening, changing and growth on our joyful journey to Bethlehem and the difficult journey to Jerusalem. Oasis and desert. Living and dying. Winter to spring. Renewed and strengthened.
“THE WAY TO JERUSALEM IS CLUTTERED – The way to Jerusalem is cluttered with bits and pieces of our lives that fly up and cry out, wounding us as we try to keep upon this path that leads to Life. Why didn’t somebody tell us that it would be so hard? In the midst of the clutter, the children laugh and run after stars. Those of us who are wise will follow, for the children will be the first to kneel in Jerusalem.” — Kneeling in Jerusalem by Ann Weems
“A woman is like a tea bag – you can’t tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
“Tea time is a chance to slow down, pull back and appreciate our surroundings.” – Letitia Baldrige
It’s going to break into the teens today and 20s this weekend. After two weeks of below zero temps, 20s will be balmy. Dog parking, snowshoeing and running will commence today with a deeper gratitude and appreciation for the outdoors.
The past year of a pandemic, weeks of below zero and weather extremes across the country have steeped us like teabags in hot water. It’s been long enough, the tea leaves have dissipated in the water, there’s no flavor left, pull us out already. The tea is dark and strong.
Our timing and God’s timing are rarely in sync, and God is always on time. While steeped and stuck in the hot water, in the desert and winters of life, rather than longing to be pulled out already, perhaps the answer lies in us listening quietly, observing with rapt attention and opening up our being to receive the cues, clues and signs that we are surrounded with in this present moment.
We have had a combination bootcamp/master class this year in self-awareness and gratitude, the first ingredients to empathy and transformation – the ability to go outside ourselves and see our connectedness to others, awakening to our shared path and grateful for what already is present. Rather than pass hard and fast on the left in a rush to what’s next and new, we can move alongside each other and continue our journey together on our journey to return home to authentic self and becoming.
The only way to the other side is right through the middle. Not around or about but through. We fritter away a lot of time looking for shortcuts and loopholes rather than do the root work of seed germination that’s required to break ground, unfold into bud and burst into beautiful bloom.
Do not forgo this time. Go deep until the tea bag has expended all the flavor into the water. Steep and when it’s time, savor.
“Time moves in one direction, memory in another.” – William Gibson
“If you are irritated by every rub, how will your mirror be polished?” – RUMI
In golf, taking a mulligan is a “do-over,” taking another shot after a bad one. This morning started with a few minor irritations that I had to take care of right away. It interrupted my morning rituals and I was going to skip morning pages, writing my daily post for Cast-Light and listening to Insight Timer, my daily non-negotiable activities. The details aren’t relevant other than it offered an inflection point to decide if it would be major and direct the rest of my day.
Hard STOP. Pivot over spiral.
I decided to take a “mulligan” and restart the day to choose the direction rather than succumb to the spiral of a bad start, of a golf ball shanked into the woods.
The thing about mulligans is that you can only take them in the present moment, at the precise point of inflection. It is the only time that they work. We can’t take mulligans for what’s happened in the past. While we linger in past offences – both received and given, in roads not taken and taken, in words said and not said, time is ticking. We forgo and fritter away the present, the only place we can influence and experience.
While we can’t change the past, we can heed the lessons to do things differently, choose new paths and know that every mile mattered to get to the present. The past has had its turn, the present offers new trails and adventures to explore, to start fresh each day. In those moments when you start to spiral to old patterns and triggers, familiar reactions, making minor things major, take a mulligan to change the trajectory of your day upward and forward.
Create and commit to two to three “non-negotiables” for yourself to not only serve yourself better but others as well. What we offer daily – positive or negative – is cast upon the world and returns to us tenfold. When the golf ball plops in the middle of the pond, choose the positive, take a mulligan, drop another ball and take another swing. Start from a settled place, centered in intention and attention, to properly prepare yourself to see the extraordinary in ordinary days.
“As with the butterfly, adversity is necessary to build character in people.” – Joseph B. Wirthlin
“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
After 100+ days of a morning meditation with Insight Timer, I have attained equanimity – mental calmness, composure and evenness of temper. By no means a perfect record, the daily ritual is moving me to a new ease. Self-awareness, kindness, self-care all lead to changing the only person we can change – me.
In addition to self-reflection through meditation and prayer, the way to make it “stick” is adding affirmations. We not only need to identify and remove the negative, we need to replace it with optimism and action.
Start the journey back to yourself. Be selfish, work on yourself before trying to fix others. May we all be patient and aware enough to keep moving through the process of transformation. From caterpillar to butterfly, again and again.