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Posts tagged ‘Reflection’

The 15th Station

“EASTER MORNING The stirring wildness of God calls brittle bones to leaping and stone hearts to soaring. Old women dance among the stars.”— Kneeling in Jerusalem by Ann Weems

“In all ten directions of the universe, there is only one truth. When we see clearly, the great teachings are the same. What can ever be lost? What can be attained? If we attain something, it was there from the beginning of time. If we lose something, it is hiding somewhere near us.”― Ryokan

With a year of the pandemic, weekly church has been on YouTube, sitting on my couch drinking a cup of coffee. With more places opening and the vaccines getting out, I went to Good Friday’s Stations of the Cross “live” this year, all in attendance spaced appropriately with masks. Stations on Good Friday has been a tradition for years with my parents. My Dad will be gone five years on April 28 and as I sat through the service, I thought of the many times we went together.

There are 14 stations of the Cross that are reflected on and contemplated during the service:

  1. Jesus is condemned to death
  2. Jesus takes up His cross
  3. Jesus falls the first time under the Cross
  4. Jesus meets His afflicted mother
  5. Simon of Cyrene is forced to take up the Cross
  6. Veronica wipes the face of Jesus
  7. Jesus falls a second time
  8. Jesus meets the Women of Jerusalem
  9. Jesus falls a third time
  10. Jesus is stripped of His garments
  11. Jesus is nailed to the Cross
  12. Jesus dies on the Cross
  13. The body of Jesus is placed in the arms of His Mother
  14. Jesus is laid in the tomb

The Lenten journey culminates today, Easter morning, in the glory of resurrection of Jesus. On Friday, the priest called the resurrection, the 15th Station.

We all have our own stations that we move through in life. The times we fall and keep getting up only to fall again. When we watch others suffer and can do nothing about it but be quietly present to witness and hold. When we help others, but complain about being interrupted and bothered like Simon, yet do it the same. When we are generous, wiping the face of another like Veronica. When we die to self again and again or cling tightly to offense, resentment and opinion, refusing to change and insisting others change instead. The 15th station is completed by the 14 stations that come before.

In our journey to the 15th station of resurrection, transformation, renewal, we do not walk alone for Jesus walked the path before us and remains with us in our journey if we choose to see.

Eternal spring, a well to return to again and again in our bewilderment, consternation and struggles. We are Easter people. Be changed and rise up. Happy Easter.

“AND THE GLORY The silence breaks into morning. That One Star lights the world. The lily springs to life and not even Solomon… Let it begin with singing and never end! Oh, angels, quit your lamenting! Oh, pilgrims, upon your knees in tearful prayer, rise up and take your hearts and run! We who were no people are named anew God’s people, for he who was no more is forevermore.”— Kneeling in Jerusalem by Ann Weems

Ice Out

“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

“The tree
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.

“Well everything’s
Full of dreams for one thing…
And everything’s
Full of dreams for reasons…
And everything’s
Full of dreams for one thing…
So keep dreaming” – Butterfly Boucher

Come, Sit for a While

“Happiness is a butterfly, which when pursued, is always just beyond your grasp, but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you.” – Nathaniel Hawthorne

“Anybody can observe the Sabbath, but making it holy surely takes the rest of the week.” – Alice Walker

For so long
Day after day
Running fast and furious
Checking the box
New list, new boxes
Task after task
Problem solved, another takes its place
Transactional living

For who?
For what?
Why?
To What end?
Ask the questions
Inventory what stays and what must go and then release it

Money
Power
Ego
Legacy
Expectations and assumptions
Quantity over quality
Examine how time is being spent or given

On sabbath, God’s day, He calls us to rest as He did after 6 days creating the world
The Author of Life, asks us to pause
To ask the questions, to listen, to pull off the racetrack to rest, nothing to check off, no problem to solve, to just be so we can carry Sunday into the week

God chases us as we chase everything and everyone but Him
Patiently, lovingly, mercifully, gracefully, generously
He chases, calls and waits for us to see Him in the threads of ordinary moments, always present, whispering, “Come, sit for a while”

You have earned your rest
There is nowhere to go
Nowhere to be than right now
On a bench, taking in the depth and beauty of this very moment
Sunday was created to linger, to laugh, to lounge, to live so the rest of the week makes sense and is lived on purpose, gratefully and with intent, not accidentally

Right here, right now.
Come, sit for a while.

“If you keep the Sabbath, you start to see creation not as somewhere to get away from your ordinary life, but a place to frame an attentiveness to your life.” – Eugene H. Peterson

Red, Yellow, Green

“Intuition is the very force or activity of the soul in its experience through whatever has been the experience of the soul itself.” – Henry Reed

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.” – Steve Jobs

Red light – hard stop
Yellow light – in between, stop or go, make a decision, choose the brake or the gas
Green light – hard go

Much of our time and energy is spent in the comfort of the yellow light zone, vacillating between stop and go, searching for signs of red or green, clarity, specificity, direction, an obvious sign, a detailed map, a guarantee. There are certainly clear reds and greens, but the in decisions that truly matter, that move us to purpose and meaning, in change and new directions off the beaten path, direction is found in quiet, in trust, in our own intuition.

Without questioning, we put our trust in the world, in institutions, in parties, in others, in systems, in our own limiting beliefs and narratives. But when God asks us to trust in Him, in His plan, in your own purpose for being, we balk. Hard stop. It cannot be that simple and that hard at the same time. There must be more.

When we do our part of listening to the soft whisper, we can move into each day taking a step at a time in gratitude and trust, guided by the compass of intuition rather that a detailed step-by-step map down the world-approved obvious road. God always does His part to show us green lights, red lights, when to pump the brakes, to hit the pedal, to idle in patience and when to pull off to the rest for a bit.

Signs and signals are woven into each day showing the path, one step at a time, when to stop, to go, to simply remain. Look, listen, trust. Eyes on the road ahead, glancing only but for a moment in the rearview mirror to see how far you have already come.

“Ships that pass in the night, and speak each other in passing, only a signal shown, and a distant voice in the darkness; So on the ocean of life, we pass and speak one another, only a look and a voice, then darkness again and a silence.” – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Emanate Calm

“Remain calm, serene, always in command of yourself. You will then find out how easy it is to get along.” – Paramahansa Yogananda

“Never be in a hurry; do everything quietly and in a calm spirit. Do not lose your inner peace for anything whatsoever, even if your whole world seems upset.” – Saint Francis de Sales

Create space each morning to reconnect and take hold of yourself so you can enter the world anchored, quiet and calm. When we focus on our sphere of influence – our thoughts, actions, reactions – with measured response, we invite others into peace and calm.

Each of us can be apart of a worldwide movement to INCITE PEACE! Hold up your signs, go out into your world and respond with kindness, thoughtful discourse, active listening and sincere inquiry to understand rather than be understood.

More dialogue. Less monologue. Let’s take the world back with civility, diversity of thought, generosity, humor and a sense of wonder.

The first step to healing is fostering and nurturing calm within and emanating it without. Peace! Be still.

Return to Center

“When you wake up each morning, you can choose to be happy or choose to be sad. Unless some terrible catastrophe has occurred the night before, it is pretty much up to you. Tomorrow morning, when the sun shines through your window, choose to make it a happy day.” – Lynda Resnick

“The nature of God is a circle of which the center is everywhere and the circumference is nowhere.” – Empedocles

Honestly, the last few days have been a bit of a struggle culminating from at least a three week build up. The reasons don’t matter. How I respond does. Each of us can change our perspective. Rather than defaulting to the easy answer of things happening “to” us, we can transcend to see the whole picture and discover all that is happening “for” us. Blessings and meaning can always be found when we look for them.

The common thread of our discontent usually returns to other people and circumstances, not getting our way assuming our way is the right way. It may very well be, so keep going. Don’t let external forces knock you off your center of knowing, your intuition, your light. If it is you, face it, be honest and don’t react with the same behavior that has never served you well. As Einstein said, “insanity is doing the same things over and over again and expecting different results.”

Before reacting, pause and choose to respond with ease, positivity and kindness. I am in the middle of unfolding a lot right now so I am returning to center to mindfully respond rather than randomly react. When we get our equilibrium back, the thin crack of light bursts open for more light to shine to illuminate the path forward. As the sun greets the morning or bids adieu to rest at days end, center on the light.

Let bliss find you and embrace light, so you can release it again and again.

“Meditation is to dive all the way within, beyond thought, to the source of thought and pure consciousness. It enlarges the container, every time you transcend. When you come out, you come out refreshed, filled with energy and enthusiasm for life.” – David Lynch

Calm Waters

“To be calm is the highest achievement of the self.” – Zen proverb

“The nearer a man comes to a calm mind, the closer he is to strength.” – Marcus Aurelius

Start and end each day in quiet with pockets woven in between;
Enter reflection, welcome ease;
Detach from activity, order and planning;
In calm, still waters, clarity enters;
Emergence, patterns, flow;
Let it unfold in the silence.

“Insight emerges out of silence.” – B. D. Schiers

Clear the Deck, Burn the Ships

“It’s never too late in life to have a genuine adventure.” – Robert Kurson

“Adventure is not outside man; it is within.” – George Eliot

When I got new floors in Spring, I donated a lot of items and only put back what I really wanted into my house, leaving space, organizing and eliminating piles. My goal is to have my basement and garage fully decluttered and organized by spring.

Each day, I organize a shelf, create a file rather than a pile and chip away one step at a time. I’ve collected a lot through the years plus items from my parent’s and Aunt’s house after my Dad and Aunt passed. At the time, I couldn’t part with the items, but now realize that they are not required for me to remember them since they remain in my heart, voice and stories.

As I am decluttering physical spaces, I am noticing that it creates a sense of order in my mind. I can find things easier and am not filling space with new stuff recreating clutter. Not fully a minimalist but on the path to deeper meaning which equates to more with less.

Clearing spaces naturally leads to the clearing of the mind. If we are willing to clear the shelves in our thoughts and narratives, we expose old thinking, limiting beliefs, “should” lists, “others expectations of me” lists, people pleasing habits that no longer and never served our becoming and coming home to ourselves.  It isn’t as easy as cleaning a shelf, but the journey is worth the destination. As you unravel trappings of ego, vulnerability and fear, you create space for expectation, joy, creativity, renewal, light and freedom.

And the journey both ends and begins when you arrive in a “new world” and “burn the ships.” In 1519 when Spanish Conquistador Hernando Cortez landed in the New World, he ordered the burning of the ships signaling that there was no turning back. For King and Country has a song called Burn the Ships:

“Burn the ships, cut the ties
Send a flare into the night
Say a prayer, turn the tide
Dry your tears and wave goodbye

Step into a new day
We can rise up from the dust and walk away
We can dance upon our heartache, yeah
So light a match, leave the past, burn the ships
And don’t you look back”

Until we are willing to “burn the ships,” we will keep returning to the past, assuming the future is a continuation and replay of what was. Clear the deck in all spaces, keep the lessons and burn the ships.

Cling to nothing so you can embrace everything.

Opposite, Dichotomy, Pattern and Connection

“Life is a great tapestry. The individual is only an insignificant thread in an immense and miraculous pattern.” – Albert Einstein

“I believe we create our own lives. And we create it by our thinking, feeling patterns in our belief system. I think we’re all born with this huge canvas in front of us and the paintbrushes and the paint, and we choose what to put on this canvas.” – Louise L. Hay

In our effort to prove our rightness and others’ wrongness, we diminish the complexity and depth of the world and our place in it. While it may provide temporary comfort, we miss the rich essence of living fully by both observing and participating, listening before speaking, conversation rather than pontification.

Life is filled with dichotomy and opposite as well as pattern and connection. When we put down our ego, listen and open our eyes, we find that we share the road on this journey, with no one right about everything. In the blending, depth and connection, there are patterns, insights and answers that have been present waiting to be discovered through thoughtful, quiet inquiry.

A meaningful and content life emerges when we ask, “what am I to learn?” and “how can I give rather than take?”

While I may not agree with others, I can still maintain my principles and beliefs without diminishing them in the process. I can even go so far as being kind and generous, especially to those I don’t agree with.

We need to both insulate the noise that distracts us and absorb the rhythms to create music. When we are too close, we need to pull back. When we are too far, we need to move in. From simple to complex and back to simple again. Going deep, then rising to the surface.

Be open to seeing patterns and connections amidst the dichotomy and opposites. There is far more beauty than we account for as we count the wrong things. Be willing to learn and as a result, grow and change.

Perspective

“Because of the dog’s joyfulness, our own is increased. It is no small gift. It is not the least reason why we should honor as well as love the dog of our own life, and the dog down the street, and all the dogs not yet born. What would the world be like without music or rivers or the green and tender grass? What would this world be like without dogs?” ― Mary Oliver, Dog Songs

“Pray thee, spare, thyself at times: for it becomes a wise man sometimes to relax the high pressure of his attention to work.” – Thomas Aquinas

When we settle in and settle down, allowing relaxation to restore and rejuvenate, we gain new perspective. A shift, a turn of the head and the world becomes new from the inside out. Don’t waste days wallowing, wading and willowing. Rest up, look up and relax. It’s all good and going to be good with the fullness of time. In the meantime, let go and relax.

This public service announcement is brought to you by my life coaches Abby and Sasha – the model fun makers and relaxation queens. Lighten up, it makes the journey so much sweeter.

“We will be more successful in all our endeavors if we can let go of the habit of running all the time, and take little pauses to relax and re-center ourselves. And we’ll also have a lot more joy in living.” – Thich Nhat Hanh

“To have faith is to trust yourself to the water. When you swim you don’t grab hold of the water, because if you do you will sink and drown. Instead you relax, and float.” – Alan Watts

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