I think as we journey through life we come to the end of each path wondering how am I going to get from here to there? Sometimes the next journey requires us to walk through valleys or up steep mountains, maybe even across paths of hot coals, or over wobbly bridges, and what about the ones that are paved in stones across the sky. Will, freedom, choice, trust and faith come into play surrounding me, and ego steps into view with its limited human perspective announcing that there is no way on earth to get from here to there. All the while the spirit within waits and watches patiently until will, freedom, choice, trust and faith can finally see past ego and into the depth of their purpose.
We walk through a period of our life being host of our soul. Showing it all there is to be seen through our eyes, senses and emotions much like a tour guide on a trip. But eventually the spirit within the soul becomes bored and tired of seeing the same thing as we circle round the Ring of Kerry over and again. We are at the point of our crossroad and it’s time for the ego to get out of the drivers set and let the spirit take the wheel. The spirit doesn’t’ need the maps or GPS to get us to the next path in life. It tells us now to sit back and enjoy the ride, choice is our ticket, trust is all we can take, will is what pushes us on the bus, and faith is what gives us the courage to take the first step, freedom is the weightlessness we feel as we let go of all the things that hold us back from moving on. As we travel once again around the Ring of Kerry on our way to the next destination we see as if for the first time because now it’s through the eyes of God.
For the 3rd time I’m pulling out these entangled vines in my garden. Every time I think I have all the thick twisted vines pulled, a week or so later they find their way back to the top of the soil. As I stand looking at their fresh green heads poking through the soil I can almost hear them laughing at me, as they say in their wee taunting voice, “we’re back!” I dig deeper with more determination to get to the source of each plant. Hum! I think to myself. There’s something awful familiar about what’s happening here besides the mere fact that I’m pulling these vines out again.
“Okay God, what are you trying to show here?” I say to myself
I’ve been doing the same thing in my own life pulling out the stuff I don’t want anymore, pulling out what isn’t good for me, and pulling out what no longer has a purpose. I do feel much lighter in many ways, but the vines from all that stuff is deeply rooted and intertwined so even when I think I’ve pulled it all, it finds a way back into my life, temping me and trying to sabotage all my efforts. Pulling out the entangled vines feels as if it has a hold of me. It doesn’t want to let go of it.
“What am doing wrong God?”
“It isn’t the vine that has a hold on you. It’s you who won’t let go of the vine.”
Woo! I didn’t see that one coming!
I had a friend once who seemed to have it all. She was smart, well educated, successful, classy, charismatic, faithful church goer, involved, and giving in so many ways. However, when it came to her own pain and suffering she didn’t know how to let go of the control she used to make everything else in her life work so well.
I made her up a care bag full of things I thought might help her through this journey. It had a stress ball to squeeze when the pain got bad. Lavender Epson salts to soak and relax in the bathtub. Chocolate kisses to treat herself with a bit of decadence, and a Meditation CD to calm her thoughts enough to meet right in the middle with God. She loved the bag of goodies and was eager to try anything, but when I checked in with her a few days later she said that she didn’t know how to make any of it work for her. I knew right away what she was talking about. I’d been there myself many times. It’s because we get in the way, trying to take control of what we can’t do in the normal scheme of things on our own. As a matter of fact it doesn’t seem logical at all. I mean how can anything change if we don’t take control of the situation, right? Well how’s that working for you so far?
I tell myself It’s all about going deeper reaching within my soul to reconnect not only with the God who created me, but with everything else He created as well. Reeducating myself constantly to touch base with what I instinctively know, but sometimes forget along the way. Opening myself to trust in what I know in my heart, but can’t explain in words. I think how easy it is..when I get out of the way
A friend asked me a few weeks again, what is it that you want out of life? All I could think of was that I simple want to “be.” I’ve been on my caterpillar journey. Moving upon the various path. Taking in all the nourishment, knowledge and understanding I could get along the way. Never quite knowing where I’m going, only knowing that something instinctively inspires me to keep going. Now I find myself up a tree and resting upon a branch. I can see from this place everywhere I’ve been and what I’ve learned along the way. It’s time to begin to let go of what no longer serves me at this point in my life, but this is the hardest part of life yet because it means trusting in what seems illogical. I mean how can I let go when I need to hang on in order to go through the process of metamorphose or transformation.
And so, this is where I’ve been these past few weeks sitting on my branch looking out over my life. Getting rid of this and that. Feeling lighter with less weight holding me down. Yet I find myself holding on tighter as I pray for the courage I need to move onto the next stage. I contemplate the quote above that reminds me that, “Nothing happens until the pain of remaining the same outweighs the pain of change.” I’ve still a long way to go, but a caterpillar has many feet to hang on with. I’m learning to let go one foot at a time, and each time I trust a little bit more in that which goes beyond the self. For I have come to believe that the God I know wants nothing more then for me to become the beautiful butterfly…He created me to be.
“Being “right” is the easy part. Finding the “rightness” within the opposite point of view is the challenge.” -Barry Johnson “Polarity Management”
I read this quote and thought of all the controversy and rhetoric that so many of us were caught-up in just a month or so ago. I don’t know about you but I’ve taking a step back lately needing to catch my breath and move onto healthier hopeful positive things that bring some goodness back into my life. It’s created some wedges between me and some of the people I care about. I find it’s unfortunate because it’s behind the wall of the internet that so many things have been said, misunderstood, taking out of context and assumed without the advantage and respect of a face to face conversation. Body language and facial expression play a big part in expression our passions. But more than that don’t we owe at least the benefit of the doubt to those we loved and cherished for so many other reasons that go beyond politics?
I looked at the front page of the Lancaster newspaper today. Jeff Hawkes a reporter for the LNP had a perfect article called the “Bridge Tables” to go with the thought provoking quote above. It’s about a way of bringing people of different political views together in a way that they can discuss their differences in a respectful way with nothing between them except the table they sit at. The event is called the Left/Right Café and the premise behind it is to heal America’s political divide. The organizers Eric Sauder and Jamie Beth Schindler’s idea is for liberals and conservatives to come together for a respectful conversation getting past stereotypes and broadening understanding in a safe comfortable environment. Breaking bread and sharing food often has a way of bringing people together in a non- threating way. The hope is to find some understanding and a place of common ground, and from the article it appears that’s what these willing conversations did. It opened each other’s eyes that sometimes what is right to us is not so different from what the other persons believes, but even if it’s not giving one a chance to explain themselves can allow us to better agree to disagree. And who knows maybe we’d learn a fact or two that holds some truth within it giving us a chance to broaden our perspective on beliefs.
For local readers, I’ll pass on that if you want to know more you can contact Jamie Beth Shchindler at LANCoalition@gmail.com
I have a wonderful morning ritual that I’ve spoken of many times. It’s not only the most important way to start my day, but it’s the part of my day I look forward to the most. It’s a time of prayer, contemplation, spiritual readying, journaling and meditation. But sometimes even with every good intention I get distracted. Maybe it’s by what’s going on in my life. Maybe it’s what’s going on in someone else’s life. I become discouraged because I think I know enough to be able to center myself and get back on track. The one thing that I haven’t quite mastered is meditation, yet that is the one thing I know I need to practice the most. It quiets my mind, brings me back into the moment, and allows me to see things clearing and more simplistic. So today that’s what I did and when it was time to open my eyes the first thing I saw was the word “love” written in big read letters on my door of art where I tape the pictures my grandkids draw for me. All their pictures are about love, maybe that’s why we’re called to be more like the little children. They remind us how easy it is. If life is lived in and through love then how can we go wrong throughout our day in all we do. How can we not find comfort in the love that’s all around us. All we have to is open our eyes for as Gandhi said, “Where there is love there is life.”
Today as I begin my meditation I’m giving a quote by Albert Einstin to ponder, “There are two ways to live: you can live as if nothing is a miracle; you can live as if everything is a miracle.”
A few weeks ago a friend read a quote to me by Napoleon Hill, “In your search for the secret of the method, do not look for a miracle, because you will not find it. You will find only the eternal laws of nature.”
I realized that sometimes I get so caught up in how to make the miracles in my life happen that I actually miss the miricles there are to see. I think to myself often that I know how to do what I need to in order to get from here to there. However, in the process of doing things the way I think I should, I miss out on all there is to see in between where the miricles actually exist.
Why do I need notes to remind me
What’s already written my heart?
To be grateful for a new day.
For the people I love
And pray for too.
To remember to hear the birds sing
To smell a rose or two.
How could I ever forget
to tell you
I love you too.
And don’t forget to laugh out loud
And be silly instead of blue.
Savoring a glass of wine
With a piece of dark chocolate
Walk on the grass in my bare feet
Maybe even dance in the rain like a kid.
Sing a song that goes to my heart
And makes me tap your feet.
Oh the gift of life
Is so sweet
Yet can be gone in the blink
Of an eye.
So why waste my time
Writing notes to myself
When I could
written in my heart.
“Ring the bells that still can ring. Forget your perfect offering. There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.” -Leonard Cohen, “Anthem”
Everything starts from a seed including us. I wonder if we live within that shell all our life with the seed being our soul and our lifetime here on earth being a gathering of all we need to slowly begin the painful process of cracking open. Many of us have felt the harder blows of life that leave an opening so wide that it goes straight to the heart of the soul. Whether our cracks are big or as small as a tiny papercut it is how the light gets in and once we experience the warmth it brings the more our soul craves it. Like our hands reaching upward we begin to sprout moving toward the unknown yet a knowing that it’s the natural process of who and what we were created to do. Yes, there is a comfort in staying within this place we’ve existed, and a fear of being exposed and vulnerable to the unknown. It’s never easy to step outside of our comfort zone to leave behind all that’s been a part of us, but the light continues to pull us toward it, and it is only in the letting go that we can fully begin to blossom in the fullness of the light.
Most importantly let us not forget in the process of breaking free…to ring the bells that still can ring, and forget out perfect offering. Look around there are cracks in everything. It’s how the light gets in.
In dormancy of winter we are like the seed have a time for deep thought and contemplation as we await a new awakening that comes in the spring of our life. We encapsulate all that we’ve learned and gained throughout our lifetime thus far. There is a sense of comfort staying safe within the bounders of our shell, but the spirit within longs to be free to experience more, and grow into the beautiful creation it was created to be.
In the process of new awakening we tend to forget where we’ve been and what we’ve learned thus far. Where we are heading becomes our focus and our senses go into high gear as we begin our journey toward new growth. We drink in the waters and feed off of the earth, and begin to feel an inner warmth that connects material life with the spiritual, pulling us instinctively upward. When we finally burst through the earth and the sun kisses our cheeks we know that which we were seeking was seeking us as well all along. It is in the spring of my new life I feel that warmth of love surround me, I in It, and It in me. Oh, if only I could remain in the warmth of light all the days of my life, but there’s much more life to see, lessons to learn, and growing to do along my journey as the spring of life begins anew…right here where I stand…right now.