Life Has A Crush On You

Falling in love with Life one day at a time…

Merging

Highways might as well be a prayer rug for me that stretch out across the country. I travel often, most often by car, and every time, I find myself on my knees, bowing down, asking for some grace on the journey.

In reflection I can see that I really do love this. It’s a small reminder of the power of living a prayerful life, of surrendering, while still gripping the wheel, heading into your own direction, at speeds hard to fathom.

The prime time I pray- a simple and direct prayer- is before merging onto highways. The cars whipping by. The blindspots. The inability for me to punch my speed to match theirs as quickly. Wow, do I pray.

And there, every time, within moments, the prayer is answered. I cannot tell you how remarkable- truly awe-some- this prayer is. I merge onto congested and racing speedways with wide gaping holes in the traffic. How do I help you understand this even more? Every time, each time, I pray and then I come onto a highway where there are dozens of cars 50 yards ahead of me, and dozens 50 yards behind, but rarely a car even on the 4 lanes I enter. And every time, in the expanse of the highway I am reminded of the power of the Divine. I am reminded of our use of prayer. I surrender in awed gratitude to the ability of Life to protect, guide, and help us.

This past Thursday, as I was heading to Charleston, South Carolina, I was doing this practice, amazed yet again, and a thought came to me, as they so often do- out of the blue.

“Why don’t you pray for the merger of your career?”

Of course it clicked right away. Like the sky knocking on my thick skull – “Hello! If I can work in traffic, I can work in your other future paths too.”

So I did. I prayed for the safe and bless merger of my writing career.

We think these big life decisions, these dreams and songs of our heart are massive and slow moving like glaciers, and sometimes they are. But sometimes they look more like the Interstate.

I can’t help but feel like Squirt from Finding Nemo. When he gets knocked out of the East Australian Current and has to merge back in, with power and with courage, his Father waiting patiently for his safe return, which he knows is coming.

 

The Root Of Your Sadd

Real Balance- enough vs. drive

Apprenticing Your Soul Work

As I sat in contemplation this evening, I was struck by a new-ish phenomenon – the seemingly rapid growth of the “coaching” industry. How cool is this! Life Coaches, Business Coaches, Career Coaches, Relationship Coaches, Writing Coaches – anything and everything – you can find someone to help. In my internal dialogue, I was wondering why – why now was there this push, this explosion? Why was it all of a sudden so accepted to hire someone to help you in any pursuit – most namely that which you have dreamed about since being a child?

The answer came quickly and clearly. We are at an exception time in history where culture has set up systems for us to be apprentices to our soul work. We accept, recognize and dare to pursue the call of our soul. So often, however, we have no idea where to start or how to get an organized, focused, and clear enough about what exactly our nebulous soul offering is.

Hence, you hire a coach.

Sometimes the money spent will be incentive enough to get clear and get busy. But often times we also need their direct, honest feedback. You need some sacred space to share the embryo of your dreams where they won’t crush it, but cradle it gently and firming while guiding you in how to continue to grow.  You can work with someone to refine your gift, your soul’s work and put it in a readable, understandable package and share it!

Coaching exists in such abundance now because the world is in need of more soul workers. We are actually at a place in the evolution of the planet, where we need to more quickly get to the purpose of our life. Our contribution to the world is needed beyond compare. Coaches help you get there.

So whether you are learning to love, learning to write, learning to market, learning to balance the demands of life there is a new army of teachers ready to help.

We all might feel the stigma of not wanting to ask for directions – especially when the journey is one of getting to your purpose, but let’s admit it – if you haven’t already achieved it, then you haven’t reached the destination. Why not stop and ask for help? Why not pick someone up for part of the journey who has taken that road before? Why not expedite your blossoming and contribution to us! We need you! You are part of the healing of lives and of the world. We all need teachers. We all need the enthusiastic, honest, demanding voice of a coach.

How blessed we are to live in a world that supports these coaches who pry from us the hidden words and dreams we struggle to even admit. They are teaching alchemy. They are healing the world.

 

Tulips

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The tulips are better this year than ever.
It was during our engagement we planted them. Before we had any gardening sense we thought it would be brilliant if we could not only grow the flowers for our wedding, but then enjoy their beauty every year as they bloomed.
Our timing was a bit off on the tulips for the wedding, but not for life. They have sprouted their way each following spring and with them a reminder of the beauty to come, of the seeds and bulbs we have planted for our relationship in the past, a reminder of rebirth.
But there is something about this season’s tulips. They are stronger, taller, more radiant than ever before. Time has developed them. Practice has effortlessly made them more striking and unique.
Of course this observation is dependent on my eyes too. My perspective, I am sure, has changed having come through the the colorless winter. Nevertheless, I can see the miracle now. The tulips and us are stronger, more rooted, more captivating than ever before. Time has been a good friend.

I Don’t Know

Can we relax into this phrase? Can we let go of ourselves into the not knowing? Can you embrace it? Love it, dance, swim, indulge in it?

What if this week we lived in the “not knowing” space? What if we were not only honest with others, but with ourselves - I don’t know.

As I read this idea this morning, parts of my body and soul that were secretly clenched instantly released. I realized I was harboring so much tension in my body because I had set up the standard that I should know the Way of my self-expression, my future, my contribution to others.

While it is a challenging journey to begin to understand what you can uniquely contribute to the world, in recognizing your gifts, your talents, your abilities, and wanting to spread them, it may be even harder to not just attempt to map out your contribution, but to remain honest with yourself, that you really have no idea how it’s going to happen.  The truth is that your path is just that – yours. It has never been experienced before. It cannot be predicted. It cannot be copied.  This individualized adventure, your Divine Self Expression, is wholly unique and the only thing you must carry forward on this journey is this mindset of not knowing. With this comes immense trust in Life, superhuman persistence, dogged determination and a gentleness with yourself that isn’t always supported culturally. Not knowing takes you out of the picture and allows the teachers, leaders, guides and others to point the way, lift you up and enter you into a life of awe.

Today, I admit it. I do not know. 

Carve

As I was lying in bed last night I knew exactly what I needed to do. I needed to become a chiseler. I needed to work on the stone in my heart and mind that is blocking my contribution, my joy, my enthusiasm. It sounds strange, but I can actually feel it. A block. A weight. And with it comes the backed up undercurrent of a life not fully lived.
As I lay there, knowing this, I realized what I was telling myself… Carve, Elizabeth, carve. Carve out the time. Everyday.
With this common language I knew more of what it would take. Have you ever tried to make something beautiful out of a rock? Have you ever chiseled, sanded, cut a stone? It’s not easy. It takes consistent effort, more force than you can imagine, and so often it is hardly beautiful. The beauty doesn’t come out until then very end, the shape and vision you saw from the beginning doesnt appear for some time. The journey there is arduous, filled with a daily attempt at making something beautiful, of expressing your soul in the outside world.
I knew with this one realization through such an everyday phrase that my life and my Soul work is like this. What I must do, what my joy depends on, is giving myself this carving time- a time dedicated, pure, ugly, rough, thrilling- everyday to express and work towards my life work. This what it means to carve out time to write. This is what it means to live your purpose.

Soul Rain

We so often hide from the rain. We cover ourselves from its sprinkles. We put concerted energy into preparing and planning strategies for traveling outside in downpours. We get annoyed when we get wet. But tonight I smelled the earth as it received the rain and my whole body let go of something. My heartbeat found some place in the orchestra of the weather and I felt more at home. I felt safe. I ventured out without a raincoat.
What is it? I couldn’t help but think. What is it that is so refreshing as millions of detailed water drops hit the earth? What is it about the pause and drink the ground seems to take? What is it about the joy the early spring sprouts radiate that I am so attracted to?
The answer I heard was that here you were watching full acceptance- and only with this acceptance can you be fully alive. I thought of my work, how for months I have been resisting more work. Resenting “too much” and struggling to balance. Each raindrop I equated to another detail I needed to tend too. We are watered by these details. We grow by their contribution, but in nature in no way are they a hindrance. No, they are necessary and part of growth. The inundation of every unique drop to the earth is an example of how it all can work out, from the minutest drop to the largest tree. All are necessary. The soil doesn’t resist the rain because it’s too much. No. It accepts it. The animals don’t complain or revolt against the wet. They accept it.
So why don’t we take a lesson from nature for the times in life when everything seems to be showering down on us? Why don’t we lay back with arms wide open and accept it. Why don’t be live like the birds and sit through it? Why don’t we make like the ground and let it change our consistency, structure, and worth to everything depending on us? There are seasons and forecasts for every stage of life, it’s ok to be in a rainy season, it’s a season for acceptance before tremendous growth.

The body is weak, but the Spirit is strong

 

 

 

Health is something we all aspire to have. Strong bodies serve us throughout our days, and truly are the tools of the work we do. However, there are times when these bodies fail. They don’t work, they take you away from your life, your tasks, your dreams. But this physical weakness can actually be the tool for greater good, greater inspiration, greater Life.

 

 

Loss seems tremendously unfair. It is tragic to lose those you love. But in the depth of the pain, sometimes our only option is to go higher, to see the bigger picture, to take a perspective we so rarely take. Could the body have been weakened so that the Spirit could be strengthened?

 

This afternoon I will attend a celebration of the life and the legacy of Kajal Patel, a young 7th grade girl, who passed away last week after many health difficulties. She was a student of my husband, a sister, a daughter, and a dear friend to so many of her peers. Drew, my husband, will be the emcee for the event, leading the group of hundreds to hear from those that loved her, and that she loved so much. At the funeral on Thursday, he said that he had never seen so many people, at least 500 hundred show up. Today we expect even more. It is evident that although small and young, this child reached endless amount of people.

 

Last year when her health took a turn for the worse, it was her closest 6th grade friends that were torn and moved to do everything in their power to help her. The truth is, they probably didn’t realize the depth of the power they had. The doctors had said that the last option to help her was to be a bone marrow transplant, but that the odds in finding a match were so slim, so not to count on it.

 

a friends knew differently. Organizing with their families, teachers, school and community leaders, these children led the brigade to find a match. In their endless pursuit to save their friend, they organized the largest and quickest bone marrow drive in history. Setting a new Guinness world record for the number of swabs taken in a day, these students who had set out to change the life of one person, touched thousands. They appeared on TV, newspaper, internet and more. They became well-known in the community for the endless support and their dogged determinism to find a match.

 

In the end they did. They found not only one match, but four for their friend. In addition, through their efforts they entered thousands of more bone marrow donors, who would have never been in the registry without them. All of us became aware of  what it means and how hard it is to find a match for those that need the transplant. We learned how easy it was to do the operation of transfer from the donors part. And we learned in with just a swab of a q-tip on the inside of our cheek, a 3 second process, we could see if somehow we had something that someone else desperately needed.

 

 

The Be The Match Bone Marrow Program was brought to the forefront of our minds and community during the drive, but it didn’t stop there. One UGA student was called a few months later, having been persuaded to swab after initially declining, and heard from that he was a match for a young boy on the East Coast. He was flown to a hospital, and generously underwent the procedure for the transfer. He saved a little boy’s life all because of that 30 second exchange in front of the Student Center.

If we follow logic down its path, we see that in reality it was Kajal that helped that boy survive. It was her  love and then physical weakness that inspired thousands upon thousands to use their bodies for her. It was her love that pushed her peers and others to do the unimaginable. It was Kajal that changed the world of so many.

 

 

 

This is why I cannot help but think of Psalm 73:26. “My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.”

There is no end of the tools and methods of the Spirit, even in the most tragic of situations. We may never know why this happened, but I don’t think that is the right question to ask right now. Asking “why?” will bring us down into a spiral of questions that we simply cannot know the answer to.

 

 

We can, however, ask ourselves, how far did the reach of this girl go? How deep did her love penetrate the souls of others, whether they ever met her or not. How strong is the Spirit, that through one small 6th grader, it can alter, change and improve the lives of thousands?

 

Health is a Divine Gift. Yet the absence of health does not change the presence of God within or around us. There is no end to the tools the Divine will use to spread love, grace and joy. While we may never understand the choice of using a life, it is forever evident that she served her Divine purpose with grace, love and a self-sacrifice that we are all in awe of.

The campaign the students ran had a tag line of  “Be A Hero for Kajal“.  I cannot help but feel the second part of this statement is missing. “Be a hero for Kajal, because she has been a hero for you.” The fearlessness, the strength and the love this child has, at such a young age, is of an example we all hope to hold in this life. Her life was truly a gift and today, while we celebrate it, we remember this heroine. We remember that anything is possible no matter what limits of body, age, mind, are in front of us. We honor the Spirit that has been awakened in all of us by the enthusiasm, love and life of Kajal Patel.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just take a step

I had the fortune of riding for an hour yesterday with a good friend and a professional counselor. It occurred to me a bit into the conversation I should ask her about a dilemma I had been facing. Nothing of major import, but a situation where if I didn’t move quickly then the opportunity would pass me by. Her advice was clear and rung true within me- just take a step.
You don’t have to know the whole picture right now. You don’t have to commit to a program or path and make a decision right now that defines your future. You just have to take one step in the direction.
She pointed out the fact that who knew what I’ll learn about myself or the world after I take that one step. It may open other options and paths I’m not even aware of. My job right now is not to know the whole picture, it to just take one step.
For the first time looking at this dilemma I have actually felt excited. Her advice opened me up to follow my bliss, not a program already designed that I have to prescribe to. It opened a world of possibilities I wasn’t even aware existed.
So I share this advice hoping it may open something up for you too. Is there something you just can’t figure out about moving forward? Great! Lift up just one foot. Take one step and explore yourself, your life and what you have to offer from there. While we are tremendously powerful forces of life we aren’t built or meant to have it all figured out before the journey. Where would the adventure be then?

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