“The True Self is not our creation, but God’s. It is the self we are in our depths. It is our capacity for divinity and transcendence.” – Sue Monk Kidd
Gratitude and grace remind of the gifts that are present and remain ever present especially in difficult times.
It’s a heavy season right now. Serious cancer diagnoses for friends, beautiful courageous young women. No words can adequately express the deep concern and care of many who just want to do something, anything to make it better.
We so often don’t have answers to what life deals us. It requires us to let go of our plans, to trust in the darkness, to exist in the unknowing. It’s not easy. But while we are here in this place, breathing, we must continue to get up and come out swinging. Hope and trust in the waiting.
And a simple reminder to all. We never fully know what someone is going through, so always error on the side of kindness, compassion, empathy and love, without condition. Be present and fully aware so you can be a gift that someone may desperately need. Go deeper, stay longer and never give up.
“Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it.” – Michelangelo
Daily life is often unclear, messy and loud. With an abundance of options and directions, we bury ourselves in the mundane pursuit of tasks and find ourselves in a hole of scarcity. We don’t see the exact path, so we don’t take the first step.
But just one step beyond the noise, grey and cloudiness, we are called to carve out our lives with what we are given in this very moment. Each step prior has prepared us for steps unseen. Discovery and delight are found in daily pursuit of joy, unfolding the statue inside.
So instead of over-analyzing and over complicating, simply start chipping away each day to carve out the life you are meant to create. Take the chisel back from others and hold it in your hand firmly. Set the angel free.
“I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.” – Michelangelo
“If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.” – Henry David Thoreau
As we were finishing our walk in the woods, we heard the trees rustle. We looked quickly to the left and a beautiful deer popped her head up, mouth full of leaves. Startled at first, we gazed in awe in each other’s eyes for a minute and then quietly went on our way.
“If you do not expect the unexpected you will not find it, for it is not to be reached by search or trail.” – Heraclitus
You never know what’s going to be around the next corner, on the path ahead. Assume good things are coming and open up to the “unexpected in common hours.”
“Blessed are the hearts that can bend; they shall never be broken.” – Albert Camus
“I have woven a parachute out of everything broken.” – William Stafford
The tension between bending and breaking – life is made up of both. We learn how flexible we can be when we bend and let go. We learn how soft we must become when we break and must start anew. Each has its place. Each has its time. You’ll be surprised how far you can bend and you will come out stronger from the breaking times. Both require relinquishing our ego, a fight not easily won.
“Creativity is always a leap of faith. You’re faced with a blank page, blank easel, or an empty stage.” – Julia Cameron
Each day is a new blank page in the story of our life that we are writing with our actions, thoughts and words. We either write our story or we let others write it for us.
Some days, too many days, our page is filled the scribbles of chaos, busy work, mechanically going through the motions. Some days, not enough days, are pure poetry, light and joy. Life makes sense when we connect in conversation with that quiet voice that calls us home to who we really are, not who others want us to be.
So if your story is not turning out the way you want it to or know that it can be, start changing the plot, a few new words at a time, each day. Tomorrow is a blank page.
Poetry unfolds a word at a time, with first drafts, edits and rewrites, leading us down a path to the unknown but known to us at the same time. Take your pen back and start filling that blank page with meaning, depth, dimension and lasting value. Create the life, the story you are meant to write.
“The regret of my life is that I have not said ‘I love you’ often enough” – Yoko Ono
Life is happening, whether we recognize it or not. And so often we do not. We let busy define our life, but as fast as we go, as many checks we check off our “to do” list, we remain unsatisfied, unsettled. And then that soft persistent voice whispers over and over again, “there’s more!”.
So we run faster, add more to our over-scheduled lives. Again, more incomplete. That uncomfortable, bothersome, empty feeling is our wake-up call. So stop hitting the snooze button.
No grand gestures, no complicated plan, no broken resolutions. Start now – tune in to each day and realize that the “more” is found in less, in gratitude, in slowing down, in kindness, in delight, in laughter (and even in tears), in loving more deeply, in forgiving, in living each day as if it’s our only one remaining.
Damn, it’s hard to do. But that persistent pesky voice isn’t going away. And if we don’t heed the call, our call, we will be one of the many souls that have gone before who look back in regret wanting a “do-over.”
There are no “do-overs.” It’s happening right now – life is happening. Participate.
“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
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.
“The moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now.” – W. H. Murray
Much of our activity is busy work, running faster to get our “to dos” complete without questioning what we are doing in the first place. We need to slow down to have our “lazy” days or enough moments each day where we can be quiet and still enough to think, to connect with what’s inside. Vacations scattered throughout the year and “someday soon” are not enough. Daily, a bite at a time.
And when clarity strikes, and it will, commit and move boldly into your purpose and who you are meant to be each and every day. We’ll still have busy work to do, but it will be in the background and we’ll be pursuing what’s right and investing our time in what’s most important. When we do our part with work and commitment, the rest will fall in place.
“The more the soul knows, the more she loves, and loving much, she tastes much.” – W. H. Murray
“Look at every path closely and deliberately. Try it as many times as you think necessary. Then ask yourself, and yourself alone … Does this path have a heart? If it does, the path is good. If it doesn’t, it is of no use.” – Carlos Castaneda
Our choices and paths are as wide and deep as the ocean. We often get stuck on the same path and think it’s the only one so we remain. We accept comfortable and familiar over completion and fulfillment.
Our compass, our heart knows better, so listen carefully. And then move, begin the work. There will be delays and detours on the way, but if we’re on the right path it is part of the whole journey. Enjoy each day, be kind and put your heart into each minute. Does your path have a heart?
“Just imagine becoming the way you used to be as a very young child, before you understood the meaning of any word, before opinions took over your mind. The real you is loving, joyful, and free. The real you is just like a flower, just like the wind, just like the ocean, just like the sun.” – Miguel Angel Ruiz
“At sunrise everything is luminous but not clear. It is those we live with and love and should know who elude us. You can love completely without complete understanding.” – Norman Maclean
Love has no conditions, is not measured or withheld. Love looks past the obvious, beyond the first impression and beneath assumptions. Love stays when the room clears. To the core, to the bone, love settles in, even when asked to leave. Fearless, love lingers, unmovable, unflinching. Complicated yet simple. Impossible yet possible.
Love lights, thaws, glows, grows and reflects the best in each of us. God loves us first, second and last, no matter what. We are called to do the same. We love God by loving others.
Cast light. Cast love.
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” – 1 Corinthians 13:4-7