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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.

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.

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.

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.

Walls and Doors

“Every wall is a door.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

More wall than door right now. Patiently waiting for what will come, an inlet letting the water flow in and out, slow and steady. Light makes its way in.

“What you are comes to you.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

A Picture

“What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; What is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs.” – Matthew 10:27

It’s been a month when words have meant so much and so little all at the same time. Indescribable really. Sometimes, many times, a picture, a song, a scent, a sound capture what words could never harness.

Here are a handful of photos from my Lake Tahoe vacation last week with my best friend Sharon. We don’t see each other as much as we did when we were in college, yet each time we get together, there’s a silent connection that needs no words.

Be present with yourself and others. Words will come or they won’t need to. Look around, listen. Say what needs to be said and let silence enter too. In the silence, we hear what we need to, what we must. A picture, more than a thousand words.

“The truth is, I can never die. For I will be in everything and see you in everything and watch over you. I am your reaction in the water of a mountain lake.” – Klaus Kinski

“The truth is, I can never die. For I will be in everything and see you in everything and watch over you. I am your reaction in the water of a mountain lake.” – Klaus Kinski

“The mountains are calling and I must go.” – John Muir

“The mountains are calling and I must go.” – John Muir

“Leave it as it is. The ages have been at work on it and man can only mar it.” – Theodore Roosevelt

“Leave it as it is. The ages have been at work on it and man can only mar it.” – Theodore Roosevelt

“A true photograph need not be explained, nor can it be contained in words.” – Ansel Adams

“A true photograph need not be explained, nor can it be contained in words.” – Ansel Adams

“The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance.” – Aristotle

“The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance.” – Aristotle

“When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.” – Ansel Adams

“When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.” – Ansel Adams

 

 

 

Vast

“Always keep your mind as bright and clear as the vast sky, the great ocean, and the highest peak, empty of all thoughts. Always keep your body filled with light and heat. Fill yourself with the power of wisdom and enlightenment.” – Morihei Ueshiba

It is when we get above the clouds that we discover the vastness of all that is beyond our imagination, without limits. The texture, richness and beauty that surrounds, invites and engulfs us, in this very moment in time…stunning.

“God writes the Gospel not in the Bible alone, but also on trees, and in the flowers and clouds and stars.” – Martin Luther

“God writes the Gospel not in the Bible alone, but also on trees, and in the flowers and clouds and stars.” – Martin Luther

Ask, Listen, Ask Again

“Standing as a witness in all things means all things – big things, little things, in all conversations, in jokes, in games played and books read and music listened to, in causes supported, in service rendered, in clothes worn, in friends made.” – Margaret D. Nadauld

In loss, we vividly see the gain, the depth, the abundance of what was AND what IS right now. Big events, milestones – birthdays, graduations, weddings, funerals – make us stop to witness and celebrate our individual lives together, in community.

If we are present daily, aware and alive in the moments that create memories, weaving the fabric of our lives a stitch at a time, we can witness and celebrate each and every day as well.

Don’t speed through this day, planning for the next milestone, missing the moments, the substance of life. Put your phone down, have an in person conversation, look at someone, anyone, everyone in the eye with rapt attention. Learn something new about the world, your neighbor, your family, yourself. Go deeper, gaze longer, notice all that is contained and offered in this very day.

We are called to witness and participate in not only our own life but others as well. Ask, listen, ask again.

Pivot

“We either live with intention or exist by default.” – Kristin Armstrong

It’s been a season of big and small, sudden and not-so-sudden change. Trying to keep my footing, I find myself pivoting, adjusting, accepting, shifting, at times with heels dug in, often tripping but always getting up and moving, sometimes forward and at times a few steps back. Letting go of what was and trusting at some point what is and is to come will play out the way it is meant to.

When we pivot, we keep one foot grounded in what is fundamental to our core values, beliefs, intentions, universal and non-worldly truths – love, peace, kindness, gratitude, joy, faith, despair, darkness and ultimately light – God. The other foot is the one that moves, opens us up to beginnings, transitions, new directions, pushing us to release assumptions and judgments that weigh us down.

Grounded yet still moving – the pivot.

An Ordinary Day

“Nothing is too small. Nothing is too, quote-unquote, ordinary or insignificant. Those are the things that make up the measure of our days, and they’re the things that sustain us. And they’re the things that certainly can become worthy of poetry.” – Rita Dove

We live our days steeped in habits, following routines, checking off lists, getting things done. We feel satisfied but not quite complete. Relationships, thoughts, words, how we give and live each moment completes the whole picture.

April 28th was just another ordinary day. Work travel, quick trip to Boston for a potential client presentation. The night before, my regular goodnight call with Mom and Dad for “small” talk, love you and talk to you on the way back and we’ll see you on Friday. Another ordinary day.

Ten minutes before the flight back from Boston with co-workers/boss/friends, I get the call from my brother John. Dad fell. He’s done that before – broken arm, broken hip. I told him that I would get wireless on the plane and to text updates. A two and half hour flight and I’ll be there. Five minutes before departure the text came in that it was serious. Ten minutes later, the last rights. An hour later, “Dad has passed.” Another ordinary day that is nowhere near ordinary.

As I’ve pondered, wandered, contemplated, laughed, hugged and cried my way through the past 19 days, things that bothered me before don’t mean much anymore. Little things, memories of ordinary days with Dad, Mom, family and friends have amplified. Daily moments keep appearing to remind me of living and loving well.

I keep noticing the “little things,” – the replacement trees that Dad and Mom gave to me to plant some new life after two of my trees fell on my house are hearty and full. Rain, sun, seasons and time have done their job. The recliner in my living room that was “Dad’s” chair.

“One looks back with appreciation to the brilliant teachers, but with gratitude to those who touched our human feelings. The curriculum is so much necessary raw material, but warmth is the vital element for the growing plant and for the soul of the child.” – Carl Jung

“One looks back with appreciation to the brilliant teachers, but with gratitude to those who touched our human feelings. The curriculum is so much necessary raw material, but warmth is the vital element for the growing plant and for the soul of the child.” – Carl Jung

When I would leave Mom and Dad’s house on Sunday, I would get the girls in the car, go back in for one more hug and Dad would stand in the door with his hand raised, as I did the same in return until the end of the driveway. The door slowly closed as I glanced left for one more look.

The overwhelming, kind and compassionate support of so many has moved us through these days gently. In cards and conversations, I’ve realized what’s causing the most angst. The suddenness of it all. A fall and four hours later gone.

Dad was diagnosed with stomach cancer and Barrett’s Esophagus about four years ago. Each time, we went to the Mayo Clinic every three months, we quietly prepared for the “worst case scenario.” Dad was scheduled to go back to the Mayo Clinic last week for his one year check up. It was the longest time that they gave him since the diagnosis was good. We had prepared for a “long” goodbye, not for a short one.

So as we reluctantly accept our “new normal,” I am vividly reminded that there are no ordinary days and it is the ordinary days that will be remembered and treasured the most.

Absorb, celebrate and appreciate each and every ordinary day. All stringed together they culminate into a beautiful, meaningful, memorable and purposeful life that is filled with sweet memories and depth. Plant and grow many trees in this life, a forest.

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