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Posts tagged ‘Mindfulness’

An Appointed Time

Our deep losses are always interwoven with blessings and gifts. Mixed in with our joy, threads of sorrow and loss. Life is a woven fabric of brilliant hues and worn strands of a single fiber.

As tears have taken their turn with laughter this week, I recall two simple words of John 11:35 when Jesus found out Lazarus died, “Jesus wept.” An invitation and permission to be real, to grieve, to be emptied and lost. At the same time, a promise of hope, grace and light. And while it will never be the same again, it will be alright.

In the dichotomy of daily living, Ecclesiastes seemed like a solid first reading for the funeral mass for my Aunt this Friday. It also turned out to be the foundation for a pretty good Byrd’s song too – Turn, Turn Turn.

“There is an appointed time for everything,
and a time for every affair under the heavens.
A time to give birth, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to uproot the plant.
A time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to tear down, and a time to build.
A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones, and a time to gather them;
a time to embrace,
and a time to be far from embraces.
A time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away.
A time to rend, and a time to sew;
a time to be silent, and a time to speak.
A time to love, and a time to hate;
a time of war, and a time of peace.
What profit have workers from their toil?
I have seen the business
that God has given to mortals to be busied about.
God has made everything appropriate to its time,
but has put the timeless into their hearts
so they cannot find out,
from beginning to end,
the work which God has done.
I recognized that there is nothing better
than to rejoice and to do well during life.
Moreover, that all can eat and drink
and enjoy the good of all their toil,
this is a gift of God.
I recognized that
whatever God does will endure forever;
there is no adding to it, or taking from it.
Thus has God done that he may be revered.
What now is
has already been;
what is to be,
already is:
God retrieves what has gone by.” – Ecclesiastes 3.1-15

Good-bye, Again

“A lot of people resist transition and therefore never allow themselves to enjoy who they are. Embrace the change, no matter what it is; once you do, you can learn about the new world you’re in and take advantage of it.” – Nikki Giovanni

“The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.” – Maya Angelou

We did the final haul out tonight of the few remaining items in my parent’s house. 41 years of memories, now empty rooms for someone else to fill up. Bittersweet to be sure, but it’s time. Over 3 years after Dad has passed with Mom only there a few days a week, it time to say good-bye again, let go and move on.

As with all transitions, we know when it’s the right time and yet we linger and hang on one more minute, or year or more. A lot of good memories have been built through the years in this place, but the memories were with the people first, place second. Any yet we are still tied to place, even though home is within and with others.

So good-bye old friend and welcome new memories in new places with the same and new people.

Closing is Thursday. The final good-bye of many over the past 3 months of preparation. And then moving on. So often we only see the loss and miss the gain in the process. We cling to things so tightly that we miss the gifts of now and the promise of what is to come.

There are times and seasons for everything. Let go, move on and open your arms and heart to what’s new, next and calling. Life is about experiences and relationships not about stuff and structures.

And Then Comes Pink

“Pink looks good on everyone.” – Jeffree Star

“Pink looks good on everyone.” – Jeffree Star

“Dream, struggle, create, prevail. Be daring. Be brave. Be loving. Be compassionate. Be strong. Be brilliant. Be beautiful.” – Caterina Fake

When we awaken to partake in the joy of a late, unexpected bloom, entering abundance and enough, God surprises us yet again with pink hue sprinkles. Humble show off.

The original Creator calls us to notice, pay attention, be in awe, wake up and rest in His creation. And then He calls us to the action of creating with the colors He has generously given.

When we stop hitting the snooze button and finally wake up, being surprised again and again by beauty abound, it is our duty to show pink to others.

Look for the pink all around today and never let delight and awe waiver. Joy ticks off the devil and praises God and His creation. Never let your joy be stolen and satisfy the darkness. Throw in some hope, grace, faith and love and you have a full house. Tough to beat that hand.

Look for and cast light.

Camouflage

“The key to nature's therapy is feeling like a tiny part of it, not a master over it. There's amazing pride in seeing a bee land on a flower you planted - but that's not your act of creation, it's your act of joining in.” – Victoria Coren Mitchell

“The key to nature’s therapy is feeling like a tiny part of it, not a master over it. There’s amazing pride in seeing a bee land on a flower you planted – but that’s not your act of creation, it’s your act of joining in.” – Victoria Coren Mitchell

Each day, hide in plain sight, under the radar;
Tune out the noise;
Reflect, rejoice and renew;
Take a deep breath and tap into the sweet nectar of ordinary days;
Listen for and to your own song;
Re-enter the world anew;
Join in and find your place.

Slow and Steady

“God is offering an invitation. A call to waiting. A call to the mysteries of the cocoon.” – Sue Monk Kidd

“God is offering an invitation. A call to waiting. A call to the mysteries of the cocoon.” – Sue Monk Kidd

“The fullness of one’s soul evolves slowly.” – Sue Monk Kidd, When the Heart Waits

As summer winds down and “back to school” awaits just around the corner, another season enters and the pace quickens. Summer invites us to slow down and take in sun, flowers and long weekends.

I’ve yet to experience a slow summer or a fast winter. But all seasons have their purpose. When we gratefully open the gifts each has to offer, we can be fully present in our life right now as it unfolds, often in waiting. Patience, like abs, is a tough muscle to build. It also requires us to keep moving without seeing and knowing. Trust is patience’s best friend.

Slowly and steady, cocoon to butterfly.

“And somehow the transformation you knew would never come, that impossible lumping of fresh life and revelation, does come. It manifests itself in unseen slowness.” – Sue Monk Kidd

Stop in Your Tracks

“I take a simple view of life: keep your eyes open and get on with it.” – Laurence Olivier

On a long run last night, this flower stopped me in my tracks.

“I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don’t notice it.” – Alice Walker

This beauty was followed by dozens of flitting and playful monarch butterflies swimming through flower patches on the path, floating about in joy and delight. Flowers, butterflies, a sunset pull us out of our spinning thoughts and worries, reminding us of the amazing miracle of life.

God is a creative creator, sustainer and redeemer. He shows us this in nature, in people and in soft whispers in our heart. We are swimming in signs and wonders in seemingly daily “little” things.

Like a flower and butterfly, we go from seed to bloom, from cocoon to butterfly. And in the middle of transformation, we get distracted, confused and discouraged. Keep going. And while you’re on the journey, stop in your tracks and see the depth and brilliance in a purple flower.

Wake up and notice the simple miraculous beauty abound today, tomorrow and the next.

Not easy, not perfect but GOOD!

“Today I choose life. Every morning when I wake up I can choose joy, happiness, negativity, pain… To feel the freedom that comes from being able to continue to make mistakes and choices – today I choose to feel life, not to deny my humanity but embrace it.” – Kevyn Aucoin

After a pretty good run this morning, Jeanne and I stopped for coffee before getting to the details of the day. Another running friend Soni – 80 years young – stopped by to say “hi.” She was telling us that she’s got some knee problems so she’s only running 2 miles every other day until she can get back to her daily schedule. She runs early in the morning and could outrun people half her age.

Jeanne and I were sharing our own ailments and injuries preventing us from doing what we want to do. All of us were in agreement that while we may be slowing down, we’re not stopping.

Soni then summed it up “it’s a bitch” and then we all started laughing – it set the tone for the day. And her t-shirt was perfect too – “Life isn’t easy. Life isn’t perfect. Life is good.” Jeanne told her that she was her hero and Soni’s response was “I don’t feel very heroic.” Moving through life with joy despite circumstances and challenges is heroic indeed.

The gospel this week was the story of Martha and Mary. Martha was working hard, preparing and in full worry mode. She was upset when Mary chose to not help her but rather to rest at Jesus’ feet and be with him fully. When Martha lamented to Jesus about Mary not helping, he responded -“Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

Let Martha rest and put on your Mary today. Enjoy what is present in this very moment and remember, life really is good.

New Mountains

“You have stayed at this mountain long enough.” – Deuteronomy 1:6

The Israelites journeyed in the wilderness for 40 years. The distance to the promised land should have taken 11 days.

We spend way too long in the wilderness looking for the shortcut, lost in our rules and assumptions, making the journey longer than it has to be. We then get comfortable in the wilderness rather than finishing the journey and preparing for new mountains.

You have stayed at this mountain long enough. Stop circling the same mountain and move on. Comfort and familiarity are not goals to aspire to in this one short precious life. New, exciting and fulfilling mountains ahead so keep moving forward. Let go of what was and move into your becoming.

“Who made the world?

Who made the swan, and the black bear?

Who made the grasshopper?

This grasshopper, I mean-

the one who has flung herself out of the grass,

the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,

who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-

who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.

Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.

Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.

I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.

I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down

into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,

how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,

which is what I have been doing all day.

Tell me, what else should I have done?

Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?

Tell me, what is it you plan to do

with your one wild and precious life?”

The Summer Day —Mary Oliver

Expectancy

“How does the Meadow flower its bloom unfold? Because the lovely little flower is free down to its root, and in that freedom bold.” – William Wordsworth

“How does the Meadow flower its bloom unfold? Because the lovely little flower is free down to its root, and in that freedom bold.” – William Wordsworth

We create, accept and follow rigid rules and expectations, borne of others and our own thoughts. Guided by past narratives framing today and charting tomorrow.

Flip it. Do the opposite today. View it from a different view. Observe quietly. Step away from absolutes, black and white, assumptions, either/or thinking and your rules for a day.

Lay it down to free your arms to gather and hold all of the gifts that are present right now. No regrets. No judgment. No “no’s.”

Say “yes!” without hesitation.

Allow color and hue. Depth and dimension. Water flowing over rocks down the river. Forgetting time. Moving between spectating to participating with no expectations. Filled with expectancy, anticipation and gratitude.

Push the reset button on your senses to see the same new, to hear for the first time, to breathe in fresh air. Expectancy and light.

Speak first, then listen and then listen again

“For beautiful eyes, look for the good in others; for beautiful lips, speak only words of kindness; and for poise, walk with the knowledge that you are never alone.” – Audrey Hepburn

Be careful of what you say and what you hear. I was reminded of this today on several fronts while laying around with the flu. People just want to be heard. No need to solve their problem or give dime store advice. Just listening will do. Well-meaning helpfulness, advice, assumptions and opinions have ruined a good many relationships.

For the quiet ones, slowly expressing and at times pining allows their voice to eventually make sense of thoughts that swirl around inside looking for a place to land. For the exuberant extroverts, sharing is a natural discourse with little effort, and at times, without stopping to consider what comes next. The quiet ones could use less forethought and get it out through the shortcut. The not so quiet ones could use more forethought before racing past the afterthought, taking the longcut.

Don’t interpret yipping as a request to solve a problem and don’t accept silence as agreement or consensus. The good news is that we are not all the same.

Thanks to all who have been patient enough to listen to me through the years on Cast Light on mere observations and my interpretation of the world. Just one voice looking for a place to land.

A good writer can make you feel like they know you. A great writer is an observer who is both self-aware and also aware of the relationships and connections outside of themselves while searching for understanding of the big picture. They may know part of you and they challenge you to keep seeking, asking and going until you transform your perspective for the good.

I hope to be a great writer someday with practice and time.

And while connecting some dots along the way, I’ll have fun sharing through writing rather than speaking.

So lighten up. I plan to do much more of that going forward. I fondly remember my Dad once saying, “if you want to know what’s on Kathie’s mind, read Cast Light, otherwise you’d have no idea what she’s thinking.” He knew me the best of all because he was just like me or vise versa. That’s the thing with both understanding and being understood. Together, they are rare and oh so special. St. Francis nailed it:

“Grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console;
To be understood, as to understand;
To be loved, as to love;
For it is in giving that we receive,
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned”

“Be happy for this moment. This moment is your life.” – Omar Khayyam

“Be happy for this moment. This moment is your life.” – Omar Khayyam

With a bit less pining and consternation, there’s more time for the fun stuff. And the really good posts are always about Abby and Sasha who have no struggle casting light. They just love being, and they’re good listeners too. Can’t imagine what they think of me, but I’m opting for the good version.

Speak and more importantly, listen.

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