Life Has A Crush On You

Falling in love with Life one day at a time…

Category: spiritual

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.

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?

What thought would I have to think right now to feel great?

This is the question that has been occupying my mind last night and this morning. Every time a sense of overwhelm creeps in I pause. “What thought would I have to think right now to feel great?” In an instant my perspective, my day, my body changes. I am focused and forced by the question to see my options of other thoughts and of other ways to feel.
I know questions can be one if he most powerful mood, emotion and life changers- but it’s rare for me to find one that works so universally. If this life is ours to create, the foundation, the blueprint starts with these questions.
Take some time right now while reading or next time you start to feel stressed, annoyed, even physically sick and ask yourself, what thought would I need to have right now to feel great? What do you hear? What thought are you led to?

Abundant living comes from recognizing, seeing, and embracing the abundance that is already ours. Any thought can be yours. Your wealth of thoughts abounds. Enjoy it!

I would like to offer deep thanks to Cheryl Richardson for bringing this question to me and to Louise Hay for bringing it to her. It has opened up a whole new world for me! I hope you enjoy it too!

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?

Time Affluence – Developing a Practice of Experiencing Awe

Drew picked up on it this morning.

“Are you ok?… Are you happy?”

I had to face the question with honesty. In truth, the underlying current of my being really wasn’t happy. It was muddled. Overwhelmed. Being beaten up by my own self-criticism. By looking at myself honestly, I knew exactly what he felt- I had lost a sense of myself.

We took some time to describe what exactly it was – why wasn’t I happy. I went through a laundry list of tasks at work and we talked of chunking it down and making it manageable. And, as always, when you continue to talk and really look at the issue, the superficial reasons began to peel away and the heart of the issue emerged.

“I haven’t written.” I finally realized a deeper issue. “I haven’t written because I don’t feel connected to God.”

And that’s the truth. The laundry list of tasks has become a tool of the ego to keep me from living in the present, from dwelling in awe, from trusting in someone and something greater than myself.

Could I flip this around? Could I look to the directives of “my tasks” as coming from the Divine, even if they are presented in a secular world?

The truth is that I knew when I accepted and took this job that it was aligned with a Divine plan. There were signs and perfections scattered throughout the days. Now that it has revved up, I seem to have forgotten the tremendously powerful perspective that it is Divinely Perfect. I seemed to have forgotten how to remain alert, assiduous and diligent – and happy, carefree, and joyous.

The solution, for today, suggested by Drew was to have a happy day. A day dedicated to finding and living in that balance again. I couldn’t agree with him more.

But the tool that really helped me begin this day was an article posted by a friend entitled, “How to make time expand”. Everything within me knew that this was really the issue. It wasn’t the work, the tasks, the job, my overwhelm (I am excited to finally be doing so many things that I love to do) – it’s that I had lost my sense of having abundant time.

When I was intensely practicing yoga last year, I remember the message being delivered that there was more than enough time to do everything. There was more than enough time to accomplish your dreams and your goals. To love those that you love. To transform your mind, body and spirit to be its best. There was so much freedom in this idea. I swam in it. I drank it up. And remarkably, by living in this place of abundant time, I accomplished more. I was more productive, happy, aligned than ever before. The article calls this “time affluence”, a recent term that directly corrects the other aspect of “time famine”. It is rare when you are looking for a term, a phrase to encapsulate what you are struggling with, and then it comes in the most unusual channels to you, but that is exactly what happen today.

Time affluence, and what creates it, is being studied now and I look forward to hearing their research and trying it in practice. But the two things they suggest to create more “time affluence” in the article are giving time away and experiencing awe.  Not only do we have the satisfaction of helping others, of feeling useful and productive when we give our time away to others, but there is also a sense of definitive ending. The tasks we see for ourselves can drag on forever, and this creates more time famine than time affluence.

Then the idea of experiencing more awe is fascinating. Awe brings us to the present moment. Awe creates a sense of time loss – expanding time to be eons within a moment. We lose ourselves (including our “to-do” lists) and we feel happy. But can we do that without going to a waterfall, or meeting a baby for the first time?

Yes, we can. It’s all a matter of perspective, and stopping to see what really is around and within you.

When looking at this concept of awe, this morning, I realize the real reason I write. I write because each day there are hidden pockets of awe waiting to be dwelled in, discovered, played with and lived. I experience loss of time when I write because here I am truly in awe. I am in awe of the workings and perfection around me. I am in awe of the emotions I experience, the thoughts that I have, the ideas I am exposed to.  Writing is my practice of experiencing awe.

I had been pushing writing away for the past few weeks, so no wonder I have been feeling pressed for time and not connected with God. The short 20 minutes I take to write on something remarkable, on some Divine aspect of life that is around me seeps into all other aspects of life. By expanding time just once a day, in one way – I can expand it in everything.  Writing takes me out of living in the future and puts me immediately engaging with the present. This, the present moment, is the only dwelling place of endless possibilities, love, grace and joy.

I can see now that I am not a writer. I am a discoverer. I am an observer. I am a lover. I write because I cannot help but to share what I discover and observe. I write because this is my processing tool. Writing enables me to play and interact with the Divine that is all around me and within me. It is in writing,  in these moments of expanse, that I catch the most wonderful, awe-inspiring, True Life I can ever imagine. And it is in writing that I hope to share, to give this to you, too.

 

 

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.

From “A Course in Miracles”

 

To heal is to make happy. I have told you to think how many opportunities you have had to gladden yourself, and how many you have refused. This is the same as telling you that you have refused to heal yourself. The light that belongs to you is the light of joy. Radiance is not associated with sorrow. Joy calls forth an integrated willingness to share it, and promotes the mind’s natural impulse to respond as one. Those who attempt to heal without being wholly joyous themselves call forth different kinds of responses at the same time, and thus deprive others of the joy of responding whole-heartedly.

 

To be whole-hearted you must be happy. If fear and love cannot coexist, and if it is impossible to be wholly fearful and remain alive, the only possible whole state is that of love. There is no difference between love and joy. Therefore, the only possible whole state is the wholly joyous. To heal or to make joyous is therefore the same as to integrate and to make one. That is why it makes no difference to what part or by what part of the Sonship the healing is offered. Every part benefits, and benefits equally.

 

You are being blessed by every beneficent thought of any of your brothers anywhere. You should want to bless them in return, out of gratitude. You need not know them individually, or they you. The light is so strong that it radiates throughout the Sonship and returns thanks to the Father for radiating His joy upon it. Only God’s holy children are worthy channels of His beautiful joy, because only they are beautiful enough to hold it by sharing it. It is impossible for a child of God to love his neighbor except as himself. That is why the healer’s prayer is:

 

‘Let me know this brother as I know myself.’ “

Chapter 5, “Healing and Wholeness”. A Course in Miracles. Volume 1