Life Has A Crush On You

Falling in love with Life one day at a time…

Category: faith

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.

 

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.

Little Talks

I find one of the most important things I do in life is to talk to Life. Often times my prayers are pleads, yet these little talks with Life are more real, insightful and invaluable. It’s like talking to my wise sister, a best friend, a parent for advice.
This morning I caught myself talking like this in my mind while I was walking to the bus. The quiet place within me bubbled up a question. “Why don’t you trust me with the bigger stuff?”
I knew this was a deep question underlying much of my anxiousness and worry.
I was quiet.
“You trust me in the little things. It is no different. I am the Power the causes and designs breath in your body and planetary movement on scales unimaginable. Do you think I can’t handle your schedule? Your job and responsibilities?”
“I know.” I thought with a sense of surrender of self that released something- the control I had been trying to exert.
“Remind me.” I asked. “Help me to remember and know that really everything can be touched, influenced and handled by you.”
I knew were we both smiling. The gentleness of power had graced me yet again. The Voice is always there. Are we quiet enough to hear it? Are we vulnerable enough to engage it?

Following your own blueprint at work

It is interesting moving into February and March. This weekend marks the beginning of a downhill slope for me of event after event. All I can think of when August finally does come is that I will have gotten at least 100 times better at all my jobs with all this practice!

But the question- the balance- lays in the approach. Will I derive a judgment of my work by the approval of others? Will success lay in the hands of my colleagues, bosses and general opinion? Or will I so dare to acknowledge the one true judgment, the one true standard, the one that lays within me?

It is an act of vulnerability to fearlessly pursue the tasks before you with your own personal blueprint for joy and unique expression. You are taking off the cloak of business, of stress, or being overburdened, which in some work environments can be measurements of your effort or even success at completing the job.

It is radical to find joy where others find stress. It is radical to trust when typically we try to control. It is radical to move from your heart not your head at your desk.

Like most radical things this new movement of yours will either die of its own accord- or change the world- your world- in deeply moving and profound ways to produce a life you were destined to live.

So yes, there is risk at working according to your own blueprint. But there in also lies the risk of never trying, the pain of conforming to a shape that isn’t yours, and a life spent worrying and stressing over the fickle opinions of others.

I hope as I begin this busy season of work that I remember my own orientation. That I make decisions aligned with the Divine that lives within me and that I remember this guidance is always available so I too can relax and enjoy this marvelous ride.

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.

Intention and Resolution Questions for 2013

Ever since I began a daily spiritual devotion I have gained greater clarity with each passing day and year. It is comforting to come to New Year’s Day with a peaceful heart and the ability to articulate clearly what I desire to contribute and be in the coming year and years. My goals are attainable but make me stretch. My vision is exciting. My plan to accomplish these things is enjoyable! I hope that you too enter into this year with excitement, passion and clarity!
My affirmation for myself and you is that this coming year is the best yet! That 2013 is filled with deeper love, greater growth, more abundance and joy in every day!

While we all have ways to establish our intentions for the coming year, below is an outline of questions that were sent to me and that I have found useful and enjoyable at this turning of the year. I hope you do too. I toast to you!

1. What do I truly value?
*My primary goal is:
*I want to be _________ kind of person
*How do I want to feel each day?
*What do I want to experience in this life?
*Where does love fit in to this picture for me?

2. Personal Mission Statement
*What is my goal for my daily practice?
*Share that goal with someone else.

3. How can I express myself and my goals in my life?

The Last of this Year’s Visitors- God

A standard was set tonight for what I would consider an ideal New Year’s Eve. Set out to the yoga ashram just outside of town there was to be a three hour ushering of the new ear and celebration of the last year in the yoga yurt complete with direct intention setting, Kirtan, or sacred chanting, meditation for world peace and a fire ceremony. It sounded sacred. It sounded fun It sounded perfect. Yet Drew didn’t care to go and no matter how perfect an evening we were invited to for me it is a no brainier that it would have been a horrible night without him.
I got my perfect evening, though, and was taught at the perfect moment how God will always come to you.
It began by watching a particular a movie that I rented that opened my eyes and, most importantly my heart, to the pain, the disruptive mess and wars abroad. It was a stark contrast to my life, the safety I take for granted and the innocent bubble I can and do create for myself by not watching the news or reading the papers. Although what I watched was fiction, just the thought that such happens abroad and domestically is enough to shake me awake. I saw and could swim in the millions of blessings I experience on a daily basis. Above all, I saw the need for peace and I prayed a true prayer for peace for all people. I prayed that everyone would be given the freedom, the safety and the love the needed to lead their lives. I prayed that all should be as blessed as I have been.
But this was not to end the evening. God came to my door, not ready for me to settle out the year quite yet. After undressing for the day, stripping off the hundreds of dollars of clothes I had just bought today, a man knocked. We thought it was fireworks at first. But then we heard how it was at our door. Drew answered and it was a man who a few weeks ago came around on a Sunday afternoon asking for work and food. I had given him a fresh loaf of bread and he came back, at 10:30 tonight to see if we had any more to spare. Although we didn’t have bread we gave him some crackers and food we did have. Yet it was a few minutes later that all the pieces came together. I couldn’t help but look at and see the need too that exists in our own town, on our own front porch. There were knocks on the door and on my heart.
There have been a few nights over the past couple of years where I have dreamed of using our resources to help those who need it. I have laid awake in bed running over the details and strategies of allowing homeless people use our backyard, water and firewood. I have written out and thought time and time again of somehow using the small yet powerful skill I have learned of making bread to help others and improve the lives of those who we know and don’t. Yet it wasn’t until tonight that I felt what I dare say was a call. Without a doubt, just as He planned the man to ask for bread, my heart to be awakened and compassionate, He too planted the Divine Thought and connection in my mind. This man came asking for bread. And what did I see? I saw God on my front porch saying, “Yes. It’s time. Make bread. Fill the hungry with food and work. Give what you can and what I am asking of you, so you can become who you are.”
It didn’t take a yurt or chanting or a fire ceremony for me to find God tonight. He came to me. He found me. And this is how I enter the New Year. On my knees. Head to the ground and in awe of the good and the hard, with a prayer asking for strength to carry me and you through the work before us.

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.”

True Christmas Gifts

I recently heard Cheryl Richardson advise us all on becoming comfortable with “wanting something when we know or understand it’s not our time to have it”. This is a powerful idea. Can we sit and become comfortable with our own wanting?
I think this is pertinent around this holiday season when we are asked what we “want” in a material sense, and then are asked at New Years what we are resolved to committing to in order to get rid if other wants. It’s a time when we are face to face with the exchange between us all. We can face it with anxiety, with hope, with love or peace, but time an time again we are thrown back into the wanting.
Starting seven years ago every Christmas what I really wanted was a miracle. I wanted the Spirit to fix a wound that hurt us all in my family. I wanted this more than any present imaginable. I asked every year for this miracle and not only around Christmas and yesterday it happened.
Wrapped nicely in a 3 word text, “He did it” the Christmas gift I have asked for with my heart and soul came just a few days early.
It’s hard to describe the fulfillment one has after a seven year wait, but to be perfectly honest the gift came a while ago. The gift came when I became peaceful with the wanting. This year I did not pray and plead for this gift. While my desire for goodwill, health and all good things for my family is still very much with me, I am comfortable with it. God heard my prayers. He got the request from me the very first time my heart ached for it and I asked for it. It was coming, it has come. It’s just on His time. It was this Christmas that was meant to get this gift of fulfillment. The six before have us other important things- patience, faith, a recognition of love, joy in the unseen, detachment of the material, strength in family, release of wanting. I can see so clearly now how it was these other gifts with this year’s answered prayer that constitutes my Divine wealth- that which is unshakable despite circumstances and appearances. It is with these gifts that I have been truly blessed and been given things I didn’t even know I needed much more than my own prayers. This is the Christmas miracle- not that my prayer was answered- they always are- but in the mist of our many year long dialogue I was given Life.

The Balance of When to Let Go

I was an English Major. This was an excellent choice of study, except I had not mastered one thing yet that would have made my life tremendously easier – when to let go. I suffered from the problem of never feeling a paper was complete. Essays could always be tweaked. I believed that I could never fully be ready to hand something in. While I can see this belief stemmed from self doubt, I set up systems too that didn’t support completion. I procrastinated and waited till right before the paper was due because I had made the task so ominous that I had no desire to finish or start early. If there is no chance of completion, then we often delay starting.
Since then I have learned not only how to chunk processes into bite size and doable steps- even writing papers, but I have embraced the fact that when I come to the end of my abilities that is when the Divine takes over. As it turns out any and all tasks are not only up to me. I have a partner in God. Yet just like any other group project, I have to bring my best and offer it to have the other team members play to their best. I can see very clearly as I have grown more organized and more aware of God’s presence that my job is to do my absolute best- to follow through on every idea I have that seems good, to exhaust my resources, my intelligence, my planning and come to the end of my abilities. Then it is my job to let it go. While we can all expect more from ourselves there is a fine line of being too demanding and therefore never allowing ourselves the satisfaction or joy of accomplishment. It is ego that tells us it is all on our shoulders and causes us to forget we are intimately and forever paired with the Divine. Give yourself a fighting chance of producing your best work and know that there will be many more opportunities to try again. None of us are expected to be perfect, at the beginning or the end, but we will get better at doing our job and then letting go, allowing the work to go through the refining fires of God’s grace.