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Claim It

“No desire will ever be placed in you by the Holy Spirit unless He intends to fulfill it. So let your faith rise up and soar away to claim all the land you can discover.” – S.A. Keen

We have right within us what we need each day. It’s not off in far off places, other people or in the mythical “someday” we create in our heads. It’s within us, this very moment. We need only suspend our search and be found. Then we can move to what’s most important and written on our hearts. Then we can begin to live the life we were called to fulfill.

Uncover it and let your light shine.

Don’t, Don’t Miss This Day

“If every moment is sacred, and If you are amazed and in awe most of the time when you find yourself breathing and not crazy, then you are in a state of constant thankfulness, worship and humility.” – Bernice Johnson Reagon

In our frantic pursuit of who knows what, don’t miss this day. The one thing that this year has revealed in my search for understanding is that what is most important and remembered forever are the moments that we spend in simple conversation and connection, in laughter and in tears.

Be present and awake each day. And when you drift to the past or race to the future, grab yourself by the collar and pull yourself back to now. Our ordinary days offer a profoundness that we often only discover after they are gone. Capture the profound in the midst of unfolding.

Make your words more meaningful, embrace a bit longer, awaken to the sacredness of each day. Don’t ever dismiss or miss this day and the joy it offers. Ever.

EFG – Effort, Faith and Grace

“Effort at its most fundamental level is just that commitment to try, to work hard, to give our all, not knowing where that will lead is also a working definition of faith. Life has taught me that, regardless of what we face, effort and faith will lead us into the larger stream of life that holds us. And being held by the larger stream of life is another way to describe grace.” – Mark Nepo, The One Life We’re Given

“Infuse your life with action. Don't wait for it to happen. Make it happen. Make your own future. Make your own hope. Make your own love. And whatever your beliefs, honor your creator, not by passively waiting for grace to come down from upon high, but by doing what you can to make grace happen... yourself, right now, right down here on Earth.” – Bradley Whitford

“Infuse your life with action. Don’t wait for it to happen. Make it happen. Make your own future. Make your own hope. Make your own love. And whatever your beliefs, honor your creator, not by passively waiting for grace to come down from upon high, but by doing what you can to make grace happen… yourself, right now, right down here on Earth.” – Bradley Whitford

No matter how many times you throw the stick, Grace (my poochie niece) always runs off the dock full throttle with the same level of effort and enthusiasm at the beginning and at the end.

The stick is out of reach but only if you don’t pursue it with all of your heart, soul and being. Yet again, our four-legged friends teach us two-legged over-complicating wanderers how to live well and completely by pursuing the stick and never, ever giving up.

EFG

A Big Band

“After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.” – Aldous Huxley

A big band as the sun prepares to rest can only make for a bit of delight. Music, art and nature sustain and fill our very soul. A light step, a twirl and a smile and the moment is so much more than enough.

Lily and me escaped to Como Lake tonight. To walk, not run. To saunter, not speed. Embracing the gift of a warm summer evening with a slight breeze at just the right time. When we sat down to enjoy the music, an older couple got up to show us how to lighten up and dance like no one was watching.

“Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything.”- Plato

“Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything.”- Plato

Escaping all that binds us need not be complicated or planned too far in advance. Spontaneous and special, and required of us daily.

Turn up the music and get out on the dance floor.

Reach

“Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp, Or what’s a heaven for?” – Robert Browning

It is in the effort and action of reaching that we are simultaneously pulled and pushed. Motion transforms to momentum. Dreams released to unfold. The effort soon becomes effortless and the action natural.

“But for each of us, isn't life about determining your own finish line?” – Diana Nyad

“But for each of us, isn’t life about determining your own finish line?” – Diana Nyad

Change is our friend not foe. Growth is our calling. And reaching our potential is not only for oneself but is the gift that the world needs from each one of us. Our purpose is to leave this world with no regrets or doubts that we became our best and most sacred self. And the world is better for it.

Reach, and keep reaching.

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

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.

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