Life Has A Crush On You

Falling in love with Life one day at a time…

Category: dealing with emotions

A Life of Contribution

 

 

I find there is really just one question that can turn my day around – am I acting from a place of contribution?

 

I have a tenancy when I am stressed to become selfish – selfish of my time, my desires, my needs. It’s like I am mad at the world, and therefore everyone around me, for not making things easier.

 

 

Logically, I know that having more on my plate right now is the next step. It is necessary for my own growth, for my own ability and greatest desire – to be of greater service. But I notice within me a deep resistance, a bratty self awakens within me, screaming and shouting for her comfort and stress-free times.

 

I think this is particularly hard for me to look at and handle today. Not only am I reminded of the stress and abundant pulls on the President of the United States, as he is inaugurated, but I am overly aware too of Martin Luther King, Jr. , whose presence and life are perhaps one of the greatest examples in American History, of taking on a burden, a deeply rooted history and creating change my being a channel of love.

 

It is a national day of service, yet the toddler in me is tantruming because she is a bit overwhelmed, because somewhere, she reverted back to the idea that it was all about her.

 

 

Martin Luther King Jr. did not have an easy path. He created massive change with effort and massive love. His days were riddled with incarcerations and beatings and fightings, and yet, it was lived on the foundation of such a deep love from faith, that the man kept marching, he kept fighting, until his final breath.

 

 

I suppose what I am asking for today is to have that. Is to be so filled up with the confidence, the love, the peace of God that despite the overwhelming task asked of each of us, that I meet it what is being asked of me peacefully, confidently, and joyously, as an act of service to God.

 

As I have prayed continuously that I be of service, it is quite silly to suddenly be upset when I have things to do. These aren’t just “to-dos”. These aren’t punishments. These are answered prayers. The ideas that come up that you feel inspired to follow. The tasks put on your desk at work. The places you are called to serve. The products that you hope to offer others. These aren’t burdens. These are contributions.

It may be messy at first, like a toddler learning how to walk – but it will get easier. Allow yourself to make mistakes as you venture forward and become involved in more, as you are of greater service to more people. Everyone must learn to walk before they can run. As long as you keep your mind on the path. As long as you remember those who have run before you, who reach back every year to help you remember that life, your life, can be as massively contributive and as faithful as their was, even if you fall down time and time again with your attitude, your spirit, or your will. Those that have come before us will reach down and pick us up and train us yet again.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Watching the Waves

There are moments everyday of disappointment. Moments when we catch ourselves plummeting, when we sense loss and tighten up. We brace ourselves for the fall.
I know when these happen, sometimes in the tiniest of moments for me. Someone says something. I hear something from somewhere, I spin into reaction. I try to find a grip. Sometime I grab onto things that give me a false sense if control and steadiness- blaming others, anger, eating, jumping into unplanned action. But I know these are just temporary fixes. Band aids for a wound that might need some time to heal.
But I can sense I am on the right path since I know when these moments come where I loose my footing. I can feel my breath stop. I can feel a mood brewing in my blood, uninvited. I can see my hand reach to stuff down another emotion with something to occupy my mouth. I can see my true self shrink by enlarging the issue before me.
While there are many strategies out there to help us with those moments that surely come up daily my only cure right now is to watch the waves. I set a timer to literally create some space for me, some time where I a not allowed to do anything- talk, eat, even think. I can only breathe. Deeply. Audibly, visibly with my chest rising and falling. This is the secret ocean I carry around with me. Hidden, like an ancient secret cove, these are the waves that smooth the jagged edges of anything in its way. I get the same peace in this time as I do sitting by the shore. I get the same wonder on this edge as I do standing and searching for an ending that doesn’t exist on a vast ocean. And to think, it’s always there. I can choose to always live by the sea. I just have to turn around. I just have to pause to hear it crash on the shore, rhythmically reminding me there are things that came before and things that will outlast. I just have to breathe.

Nesting for Christ

There was something off this morning. I couldn’t put my finger on it. I keep on thinking and relating tonight’s Christmas service to going to the hospital. To an actual birth, of an actual child in today’s modern age. But it wasn’t until my meditation that I really understood what was going on. While visions of cleaning the house, and organizing my closet, and finalizing gifts, rushed through my mind, my heart was simply not with it. These to do lists of everything surrounding me were the “nesting” aspects of bringing in a new child to a home. Yet I quickly, oh so very quickly, realized that it was not my home that needed to be prepared – it was me.

I could feel a literal pull from my heart and immediate tears well in my eyes. My deepest desire  was more that  the clutter in my heart that was taking up the space for this new Light be removed and I be connected again. I needed to nest myself, not my home, for this coming Child and all that He promises.

So my tearful prayer is that while I have become off-balance with my devotion and spiritual practices, that I too may be restored. My prayer is that I am made ready for the Joy, the Bliss, the Promise of Christmas. My preparation in this 11th hour is that I may practice self love, which might entail sitting in a messy home, just telling myself “I love you”, despite the bloat from Christmas treats, or the list that is hard to forget that streams through my mind. I ask that I may be ready for the coming Life. I ask that I may be restored to be a clear channel of the coming Joy. I ask that my ego be silenced, and Love pour through my body and seep into my mind in an endless stream. I ask today, that I be made ready and whole for the promise of Life that is coming.

“Today I prepare myself for the Divine in all its glory to come and live within me.”

Joy in Preparations

“Maintaining our joy in the midst of extensive preparations can be a challenge for anyone.”

I read this a moment ago in a beautiful cookbook that was a gift to my cousin and the line struck me. How funny that it is hard to find joy sometimes in preparation. Didn’t we choose to do this? Didn’t we have excitement when we started to plan the party, the day, the meal, the gifts, the event? Where did the joy go? How did it escape? And why? But perhaps the question is more about restoration. After stopping and realizing that the joy is no longer there, can we have a plan to invite it back in? Can we plug the hole that let the joy seep out and begin to be filled up again? I think what we can do is remember that it is ok to be joyous. It’s ok to not stress out. It’s ok to focus, do your best, and let go. It’s ok to be imperfect. It’s ok to stop and see the beauty around you and to find laughter in whatever your situation. All will get done. You have more than enough time. And joy, its there to swim in, even during the 11th hour of preparations.

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In Advent this is the week dedicated to Joy. A whole week where we consciously, prayerfully and merrily seek to find the bliss of being alive- fully alive. Yet I know pastors everywhere struggled to incorporate such joy with the sorrows of the news as we all did ourselves. How can you live in both […]

The Spiritual Sounding Board

I consider myself very blessed. One of my greatest blessings is to have a best friend whose standards of life and joy and personal conduct are so truthfully aligned that you can literally not bring anything to her that is not your highest and best. It’s not as if she judges you at all. It’s more that somehow she sees you and life clearer. She sees and expects what you could be and doesn’t waste her time with the junk or the clutter or the muddled. It’s always been very clear to me this Divine Quality she has. It is like a spiritual sounding board- you just can’t lie to her like you can yourself. It’s a friendship where there is no room for excuses.
It is truly a rare and special gift to have this person in your life. Just their presence seen or unseen lifts you up to the next level. Their perspective, unblurred from their distance, offers the honest and true advise that is usually the missing link in getting yourself to the next level.
Thank you Life for such a friend.

Millionaires of Life

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We so often pray for wealth, but what is it really that we are asking for. Security? Love? Significance? Ease? Exactly what is it that wealth represents to you?

What if instead of wealth we asked to be massively contributive to the lives of others? What is instead of asking for dollars, we asked for skills, love, compassion and understanding to be used in the service of others? What if wealth was measured by the value we add to other’s lives? What if this was our focus- to add wealth in the forms of security, love, significance, adventure, ease and peace to all those we meet everyday? Would we not be millionaires of the Life?

Take Yourself Easily

I wasn’t feeling well last night and so this morning I slept in (until 7:30). Wow what a difference. My whole demeanor if different. Nonetheless I am feeling better. It’s as if Life has said, “Oh yes, welcome back. This is where you belong”. Within an hour of waking and observing this difference in my body and mind I can see how incredibly harsh I have been on myself. Comparing myself to others. Needing things to be perfect. “Should”ing myself in all areas of life. “Elizabeth”, I can hear this gentle voice say, “why don’t you let go of the reins you’ve got so tight and just ride.” I can see that it’s not that I have to get off of the horse completely or let go of you ability to direct it. But nothing will get done if I am this tight. . . and no one, especially me, will be happy.
My commitment this Monday morning is to embrace this new gentility I have towards myself. There is no reason to put more on me, but instead time to take somethings off. While I can’t change the demands on me from work, I can change the demands on me from me. I can sleep in the extra hour. Take a little but longer walk at lunch. Take a bath. Enjoy a flower. Embrace imperfections and take the time and care to fix anything I mess up.
For the month of December I am relieving myself of standards I have put on myself like waking up in the 5s. Of needing to take the next and new course of study. Instead I am creating space. For my health. For my joy. For the light of Christ to dwell with me and my life this Holy season.

Ishvarapranidhana

I love this word. I love it so much, I have probably written about it before. But today calls for it too. This Monday, the start to a holiday week that then tumbles into an even greater, merrier, cheerier, stressier, happier, cookier, noggier season somehow marks the beginning and the ending for me in many ways. This is the first day after a day of completion yesterday where I tied up many large and looming projects and proposals. And today, I am up bright and early preparing for the next commitment.

I have thought a few times, as the “to dos” pile up with me putting on thing after thing on my calendar and commitment list, that I might not be setting myself up for the peace of the season. But the truth is, I am excited about all the things I am doing! I am thrilled! I want to do it all – just like I want to attend every Christmas party, every Thanksgiving potluck. I cannot help but feel I am called to do everything I have committed myself to do – even if this is a tremendous amount more than what I have done before. It must be a sign that I am growing.

I am coping with the increase of commitments in a few ways. One of them is remembering and practicing Ishvarapranidhana. This long Sanskrit word means literally to  “Surrender to the Divine”, yet often I have heard it said as “laying “it” at the feet of the Divine”. What an image.

This is what I find myself doing when tiredness creeps up, or I am nervous about the next step I have to take. I pause, I think about what it is that might be a little overwhelming and I see myself bow down, arms out stretched ahead of me, as this burden rolls from me down onto the largest, glowing feet I have ever seen. Then in the midst of the Divine all that I have surrendered – my very best work and my very worse-  evaporates and is made Perfect. My imperfections and errors are erased and I am free. It’s like standing by a fire. The unnecessary is burned away. I realize again, that it is not about me. I am the channel. Life asked for what I just gave it – my wrong perceptions, my feeble attempts, my best test – my thinking that it was me doing the work.

I hope I can remember this as time continues in the next few months. Any moments of overwhelm, exhaustion or the like can be wrapped up and given to the Divine. They don’t have to be perfect – in fact, that is NEVER the expectation. No, give it to Life in the messy form that you have made it and watch with wonder as it transforms before your eyes.

Any stress or anxiety that creep up, I ask now, to be a symbol of the fact that I am carrying the burden when that is not my job. May these emotions be triggers that it is time to surrender fully and allow, with the release of this mis-perceived weight, a flood of joy, merriment, and Christ- light to fill my body, mind, and affairs.

Amen.

 

My Unrealized Addiction

I have woken up early on this Sunday. This, a rare occurence, yet something I have been intending for some time. I find that this is how life is for me. I pray, ask, set goals around something, yet the way it comes into my daily life is quiet and slow like this peaceful Sunday morning.

The gift of this time alone right now has been great. Through both yoga and meditation, I sat with a physical pain in my shoulder that I have whenever I get involved in a family business venture I had explored, as well as, the anxiety that rises up when I think about the fact that I have been called in to help. The pain is gone for now, as is the anxiety, for the perspective and realization I had this morning helped me to reframe what I was dealing with.

I realized that when I go back to help my family I am caught in the demanding, insistent need to worry. This stress and worry, coming from both my parents, whether real or simply imagined by me, had because my modus operandi for most of my life. It is like an addiction. You don’t want to feel it. You don’t seek to feel it. You talk about changing. You “give it your best try”. Yet at the end of the day, you fall back, awakened by the wild, rambunctious thoughts that destroy the true peace and many blessings that are around you.

My realization this morning was that this is not just a matter of will power. This is a matter of deep change, and altered old mental pathways. The truth is that I do not want, and now choose, to not use worry or stress to gain what I it give me- significance, importance and urgency. Worry had given me these things. It was the language used in my house to get attention. Just like a child who realizes bad behavior will finally get his parents to look at him, I see how we have all done that too in my family, just replace bad behavior with worry.

So what can be done? I have chosen to treat my “need” to worry like an addiction. “Hi, my name is Elizabeth. I am a worrier.”

I have chosen to avoid the situations were it will be, where it will taunt me and lure me over. I choose to make the hard decisions to avoid the people, places and things that have brought me to indulging in worry before. I choose now, instead, to steady my mind, and surrender to the Divine, whose stream of perfection wipes away any cause for concern. I choose to replace this ancient “need” of mine with new positive addictions, like gaining significance through giving generous support and help to others who need it, or contributing to the empowerment and inspiration of others through my words, actions, resources and love.

I realize this is an overhaul change, the type the ruffles feathers, and that the other addicts won’t understand, or will judge harshly. But I also realize that this is the lesser pain, despite the fact that these are the people I love most, not playing their game, closing the door on their methods, is the only way I can move forward into the peace, love and contentment I know are my Divine right.