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my mother’s hand

 

IMG_9183my mother’s hand…

so beautifully and instinctively looks for the blooms; the beauty; the heart of another.

as I snapped the photo of the flowers at the market, she was walking and speaking, “look at the beauty”.

I do see the beauty momma! Yes, the flowers are breathtaking, but more than anything, I marvel at your hand in reach, your heart always in motion, your soul aflame with color!

the same hand that soothes, cooks, nurtures and caresses, in one split second becomes goddess-like and leads the way in my world.

I so love you, momma!

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B.R.A.V.I.N.G. Blogging

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B.R.A.V.I.N.G. Blogging-

I just listened to an interview on youtube. Brene Brown talked about her book ‘Braving the Wilderness’. (I have it on my “must read” list.) She said

“True belonging is a spiritual practice and it’s about the ability to find sacredness in both being a part of something but also the courage to stand alone.” ~Brene’ Brown

Hmmmm, we add layers of warmth before we brave the cold. In a social sense, I think we must we layer on much wisdom before “braving the wilderness” of hard (but necessary) conversations. This acronym gave me a lot to think about.
B.R.A.V.I.N.G—

BOUNDARIES
RELIABILITY
ACCOUNTABILITY
VAULT
INTEGRITY
NON JUDGMENT
GENEROSITY
~Brene Brown’s acronym for Braving

After listening, some questions emerged for me as it pertains to blogging.

I wonder if in blogging, we must also find our “belonging”—-and the ability to find sacredness in both being a part of something but also the courage to stand alone?

Do we blog for escape or lack of courage for conversation?

Is there a conversation that we should have with a certain individual?

Instead of having a “hard conversation”, do we blog the release of our thoughts for self- gratification?

The nugget of truth that emerged for me is that there are times, beautiful times, that blogging to “everyone”is appropriate, meaningful and useful. BUT, there is another form of blogging that can steal growth from us. It’s a cowardly substitute blogging. A blogging instead of _______.

Blogging can’t become railing post; the “punching bag” to spew harsh, dehumanizing words about a person or group of people. AND, conversely, blogging can’t become a substitute for the vulnerability heartfelt words meant for a specific human with which you should interact.

Yes, Blogging and braving go hand in hand with courage and belonging.

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What to do when we feel like “Cousin Itt”

cousin it

Remember Cousin “Itt”? The crazy ‘hair-in-the-face” cousin on the “Addams Family”? Oh, wow, who in the world thought of this one? I’ll tell ya. Probably someone going through menopause or some type of hormonal storm. I’ve seen Cousin “Itt” in the mirror in the last few years. Shocking, I know. But I have a strategy in play now

What to do when we feel more like “Cousin Itt” than ourselves?

  1. Talk to yourself nicely. Yep. Do it. You’re not crazy, I promise. We must talk to ourselves with kindness and praise, using our empowering “I am” statements. They speak louder and truer than our demeaning criticisms.
  2. Believe. Believe with confidence that “This too shall pass”. I know, easier said than done. But it will. Nothing ever stays the same. (good or bad, change will come).
  3. Don’t. When in doubt, we don’t do it. If we don’t have clarity about a next step, we don’t pretend we do. Waiting is NOT our enemy in this odd space, waiting is our friend.
  4. Be honest. Acknowledge feeling “off” is part of life. Everyone experiences this. We’re normal. It’s really ok to let someone know we don’t feel as ‘dazzling and smashing’ as we appear. ūüėČ Lock “guilt” and “shame” in the closet. They don’t belong here. Say “I love you” more, not less.
  5. Be quiet. Yes, really. Trust me on this one. Zip that lip. If we don’t feel like “us”, then we need to wait until we at least agree with ourselves before waxing “eloquently” in conversation. ūüėČ ¬†Why does the crazy-brained one want to talk so much? I don’t know.
  6. Say “no”. The world will not collapse if we “bow out”. I can hear your “buts”. They’re flimsy. Give it up, sweetie-pie. Say “NO” It’ll be ok.
  7. Nourish your body and soul.¬†We must listen to our inner small voice. Pray, read, listen, meditate.¬†To the best of our ability, we need to choose the good stuff. Sleep longer, eat the veggies, laugh heartily…we KNOW what we need. Maybe 20 minutes of “I Love Lucy” is just the right entertainment for the night. Take a walk, look for beauty, drive the scenic route…
  8. Ask. Ask for what we need. There are no mind-readers in our house. (I was surprised to learn this). We have to really be intentional to communicate¬†what we know we need. There are plenty of times we won’t have any idea, but when we do, we MUST grow up and ask. We all take turns needing. Next time, we can be the giver, but right now we are the ask-er. Own it.
  9. Apologize. If we did not make it through #5, chances are we might have some apologies to make. It’s ok. Grace is available. We don’t need to make excuses. Just apologize and mend quickly. Love deeply. Share freely to get back to every part of us possible.
  10. Breathe. (10 minutes to peace) I’m talking about the deep in your soul kind of breathing. No shallow huffs and puffs. Set the timer for 5 minutes of the deepest and longest breaths you can manage. Now set it for 5 more minutes. Let’s close our eyes¬†(continue to breathe deeply) while imagining the most beautiful and restful place. (I choose a beach for my destination). Stay there 5 minutes.¬†Don’t leave. I know we’re tempted. Stay. It’ll be worth it.

Before we know it, ¬†we’ll be feeling like ourselves again. I won’t lie, I know this season can last from minutes to years, but in the process (no matter how long) we will always be glad we were proactive. No loss in trying, right? And in the end, we might find that we have grown so that the “old” us isn’t the best version anymore.

Now, let’s not kid ourselves, those raging hormones and volatile emotions (Itt) will come knocking again. ¬†I think it helps to have a plan when the doorbell rings. And we might just have the courage and foresight to dead-bolt the door.

 

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love- volatile and safe, adventure and surrender, noun and verb, concrete and abstract, sharp and kind

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I can’t remember a time that I didn’t believe there was a world more real than the one we see. But today I feel it more surely, like knowing the waxing and waning schedule of the moon, never doubting how it will brighten the night sky. We wait expectantly. I believe LOVE¬†is much the same. Even in our darkest, doubtful, dreadful moments we give a silent nod of respect to this foundation called LOVE. We can’t ignore it. We crave it. We want to understand but also to be understood. We’re wired with tenacity and curiosity, belief and hope that we can go deeper still as the divine voice faintly sings something familiar and we forge ahead to get¬†closer to the LOVE source.

LOVE is that subtle but sure foundation that causes us to believe and pursue the best in us. We seek while also wanting to be found. Love keeps us curious and busy roaming back roads forgotten. It keeps us searching for poetry, writing new (and old) lyrics, looking with longing eyes to the places all around and within that we know can and should be redeemed. It compels us to give weight to whispers, nudges and inklings not fully understood but heard in our soul. It brings a song in the night. LOVE truly is beautifully breathtaking.

LOVE, and the pursuit of living love fully, pushes us past our perceived boundaries, surprising even our own selves in a moment’s notice. It’s volatile and safe, adventure and surrender, noun and verb, concrete and abstract, sharp and kind.

It is the answer to most of our questions.

Love.

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Because I miss you

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Because I miss you, I’ve been thinking about the power and aura of a person. Yes, the physical presence is so much the focus on this earth,¬†but there is so much more.

The ENERGY of the SOUL looms so much larger than the body

and just the power of the THOUGHT of you amazes me.

This boggles my mind. Our¬†feet touched the earth together. Our lungs breathed this air. Our beating hearts have kept this earthly pace. We feel the power of what we’ve experienced together, but then there’s this: something else lives on and is carried by each¬†of us.

I believe there’s more to “US” than shared space. ¬†

Absence teaches, I guess. It drills down deep. Yes, your physical presence is missing from my physical world. But do not be mistaken.

You are not missing from me.

 

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Growing Into

curly silk moss

 

How do we ‘grow into’ connected-ness of life? It feels much like having grandma’s pearls and playing dress-up. Little by little the strand moved up on our chest until they sat perfectly at our neck. So much of life is “growing into”; a momentum and shift, sometimes so slight it isn’t always recognized. Like the elderly’s return to a child state of being, we remember. I’m reminded when I visit the SC Island. That faint smell whistles by in the wind and another time and place take the stage. Something from far behind and something far beyond visits simultaneously. Strangely, “growing into” feels familiar.

“Growing into” can feel like you met¬†a soul mate before you understood the depth and scope of that word. You knew and felt the specialty but the words weren’t yet in your heart’s vocabulary. How could you have recognized something you’ve never seen or known?

There is so much grace in the way we stay connected to people and to life, until we know enough to cherish and savor every moment. It’s like a mother with camera in hand, ‘snapping away’ at her little loves; capturing nuances of life. One hand holds the camera and the other a baby on the hip all the while legs are running to keep up with littles who have newly sprouted wings. It’s not until her hands are free and her legs¬†mirror the¬†clock that turned millions of times, that she realizes what the ‘snapping away’ really was. It was a¬†growing into…grace. This grace from the past now feeding the present and future is another poignant “growing into”.

If we weren’t bound by clock-ticking perception, we might not be so shocked that we do indeed experience¬†in reverse and then again fast forward. The “aha moments”are never in the straight and narrow line. Don’t you agree that sometimes the past seems present, and what is present seems past? And they are all jumbled up into life’s most beautiful epiphanies and memories. Life’s circle is¬†an uncanny, deja’vu kind of feeling.

As I walk down the dirt road with towering oaks overhead, the moss slips down from the trees like curly silk threads in a tattered shawl. I soak in the feeling of belonging; of familiarity. Maybe I am here. Maybe I am in a dream. Maybe I have been here before or will be here again. I cannot tell the difference.

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The Color of Stillness

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I love the sunsets that have me darting my eyes in every direction so I can take it all in…

but tonight I was anchored in one spot, looking in one direction, mesmerized. I saw and felt the color of stillness. The unassuming gradation soothed and made my eyes and ears take a backseat. My mind curled up in the most comfortable chair.  I wrapped in the blanket and took in the sinking light like warm broth on a chilly night; each sip necessary for survival.

The stillness settled and stayed awhile. Even the birds hushed in a moment of respect.

Busyness has it’s place, but not in my mind tonight.

#beautynearme

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Health Challenges & Dandelion’s Shadow

dandelion shadow

Even the dandelion’s shadow is amazing, don’t you think? But it¬†isn’t a substance you¬†can touch or feel, but a visual representation of the real.

The shadow causes me to look again at the flower, to see minute details I missed at first glance.

Shadows, like feelings can be magical and beautiful,  or sinister and ominous. The feelings that have accompanied this health crisis have shaken me, but also guided me to look for the SUBSTANCE that is casting this shadow. I wonder if in this confrontation, I am becoming more healthy in the way I think and the way I process.  Three truths have surfaced:

  1. We have a relationship with our body. I FEEL that my body is betraying me. This is a shadow. It SEEMS that I cannot trust my body. (so ominous). I woke Saturday morning with a clarity and a challenge. I am being called to change¬†what I believe. I am now accepting this truth- my body is trying to RIGHT itself. It is pursuing balance. I am CHOOSING to believe that these issues (while extremely painful) are allowing me to understand something crucial about what MY body needs, thus allowing me to choose in an enlightened way. What if in this knowledge, I am fueling my body with what it needs to fight an even bigger demon? What if this is FOR me? That is what I’m choosing to accept, knowing my body was created to heal itself. I choose to trust that my body is doing something marvelous. This is in essence, choosing GRATITUDE.
  2. We are intertwined. Our body is not disconnected from our spiritual and mental lives. Our spiritual and mental states affect our body and vice versa. I do not say this lightly. We all know it to be true (ask the cardiologist about the stress factor), but when in a physical challenge, believing this truth¬†can feel incriminating. I am not perpetuating that we wallow in¬†guilt and blame, but I am considering this an opportunity to be open to let this “body challenge” teach me in my spiritual, emotional and mental attitudes. ¬†How can I think more WHOLLY? How can I trust more FULLY? How can I love more DEEPLY?
  3. The identity that I accept, matters. All of us¬†have been “defined” in a neat little box by someone, somewhere in our past. Depending on our family of origin and who we were compared to, we were “identified” in categories. This happens, initially, so innocently.¬†Maybe you have been identified in comparison to your siblings, or community, or giftedness, or ineptness. The problem is that “comparison identification” is an ENEMY. Who are you created to BE? What are your PASSIONS? GIFTS? CALLINGS? PURPOSE? This is the digging that we must do as adults. These are the things that we must let identify us….NOT a “weak” body, NOT a “bad decision” as a teenager, NOT our “failures”!!!!! What is said about us by others is not our identity. Most recently I realize I will not, I must not, accept my body’s perceived weaknesses as part of my identity.¬†What label should you reject?

Like anyone who’s life has been rocked, I am looking for equilibrium. I don’t know all of the “whys” and “hows” of this situation but I’m always looking for the light and love, growth and joy, even in the shadows.

“““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““`

I wrote this and have waited a few days to publish. Yesterday (5.10) my friend Bethany Crawford compiled and sent a video of some of my friends sending affirmations to me. It was life-altering, divine, needed and accepted with gratitude. I wish to give this gift of love to everyone I know. It has inspired me to carry these truth-thoughts with me, and then to give liberally the affirmations I see in others.

There is beauty in the flower AND in the shadow.

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ONE must do what MANY cannot

sunwire

I sat inside of the RV, just watching a lone bird on the telephone wire. One little bird, all alone? Hmmmm. I¬†wondered why she was¬†there all by herself? I’m accustomed to seeing many of them “chirp-chat” together, flutter off and on, making me¬†jealous of their free-spiritedness. The camaraderie is so alluring and playful.

But not today. Today, ONE¬†bird highlighted¬†the soul-space we know as¬†solitude. I guess we’re all familiar with¬†the feeling of being surrounded by many, but realizing that¬†the only voice that can really make a difference in our situation is the one inside of our own head. Sometimes we get confused and we say we’re¬†“feeling lonely”, when in reality¬†we are being confronted with ourselves. Our soul needs and is¬†experiencing SOLITUDE.

I think it’s¬†not so much that we SEEK solitude, but that we find ourselves in the reality of it. Immersed¬†IN¬†it. And in no way would I ever want to diminish the¬†beauty of synergy and connectedness… but in the quiet of our mind we know this truth. We have to “handle”¬†who we are, alone. The disappointments and inner pain, this is the sole task. (Maybe better stated, soul-task).

Wrapped up in the vision of this little bird was vulnerability, risk, strength, vision and purpose. And yet there was also a tentativeness I felt as she stayed on the wire a little too long. (Or maybe longer than I thought she should). I was silently cheering for her.¬†“You can do this” (whatever it is).

I imagined she was gathering inner strength, centering herself for the task ahead, deep breathing (do birds do that?), thinking through the¬†knowns and wondering about the unknowns. Maybe she was talking herself out of going back from where she came; back to the safety of the crowd. ¬†Ambiguity in the crowd is appealing and…safe.

And then she boldly leaped from the wire. For a brief second it looked like she was falling, but she caught the wind and soared across the prairie grass- low, graceful and fluid-like. She did it! I felt so proud of her. I sat mesmerized looking at the empty wire. A lone little bird was my teacher.

Sometimes ONE must do  what MANY cannot.

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mud, snow and hope

snow mud hopeI roam¬†the paths in each season and look for hope. It’s what I do-look for hope in change. Some days/seasons are easier than others. Remember when the¬†tree was so vibrant and then the leaves began¬†unattaching, falling and changing resting spots as¬†the wind blew?. And I admit I was tempted like all the rest to see this as a loss. But¬†when the leaf was almost¬†dust, a lacy intricate shell, I found this¬†change almost magical.¬†I¬†could see the hope in¬†change.

And I do believe that Hope is worthy.

But today the path is only muddy, a mixture of snowmelt and dirt. The leaves that turned from vibrant color to the browny dust, is now diluted, being taken somewhere else, far from me it seems. Maybe it fills a little crevice in the rock? Maybe it finds the perfect resting spot? For all these reasons, I try to imagine.

I imagine because Hope is worthy.

I know in time I will see new growth appear when I gaze up to the sky. I will see green and not gray… but is it ok to feel the sadness of¬†longing? Maybe feeling something gives this change the dignity it deserves?

I hope so. Hope is worthy.

My autumn hikes¬†changed me. And frankly, I feel almost ruined by it now. ¬†Oh, I know the winter stillness has it’s own lessons to teach, and I will eventually get into my seat and listen to the instructions, but I’m rebelling today, just standing in the back of the classroom with my arms crossed, daring the teacher to try. I miss my former teacher.

But deep down I know that Hope is worthy.

Maybe change¬†holds up a¬†mirror and shows us what love does to a soul? One taste and we are¬†forever seeking just one more moment of cherishing and being cherished; one more moment where¬†nothing else matters; one more collision of¬†peace and ecstasy. And even though remembering stings and reminds me of something past, I choose to remember. I think to myself “to fight is to hope”. And…

Hope is worthy.