“The Freedom to Be Me”
America, the land of the free. Who wouldn’t want to live in a country where they could say, “I’m free to be me?” Is that not why our own ancestors came to this country in the first place? To live their lives in a way that would fulfill their potential and personal calling from God? But freedom is not merely entitled to those who come to America. The source of freedom was given to us by God from the very beginning when he created us in likeness. He taught and continues to guide us through his example. That through our thoughts, words, and actions we create the world we live in, the country, the family all the way down to ourselves. Freedom is not just a word. It is nothing without choice. That choice is like the stone you toss into the still waters, it creates a ripple effect and touches everything around you. So, while the freedom to be me is a beautiful God-given gift. It also comes with a great responsibility not just to the people around me but to this great big wonderful world I live in. The real power of freedom begins with you and me right where we find ourselves…now. So, on this special day of freedom and independence maybe we could all take a moment to pause and ask ourselves, am I adding to the better-good of all through my thoughts words and actions? Or could I make a new commitment on this 4th of July to do the best I can to forgive and love one another as God first loved us? I’m in! How about you?
I was sharing with a friend the other day how uninspired I’ve been feeling lately with my writing. These times of disarray, fear and anger going on in our country, and the world, feel awful familiar to me. It brings me back to the 60’s a time when my own life was turned upside down…let alone what was going in our country at the time. No wonder I can’t get inspired, the feeling paralyses me like it did back then when all I wanted to do was roll up into a ball and disappear. I remember my Dad telling that life is like a pendulum swinging back and forth between the good and the bad times. That every generation has its own painful experiences to go through and overcome.
I’ve always wanted to help others. To make people feel more hopeful, but sometimes even the flower girl runs out of flowers to offer, and she just needs to have one offered back to her so she can remember how good it feels to receive. So, as I pray for guidance I come across a fable in one of my daily readings, and I receive the flower that it has to offer me. Today I pass it onto you with a hopeful heart that you can find some peace in the midst of these stormy days.
*There was a king who offered a prize for the person who could paint the best picture of peace. There were two finalists. One drew a picture of peaceful mountains, fluffy clouds and a calm lake. The other drew a picture of an angry sky, lightning and a rushing waterfall. Behind the waterfall was a tiny bush growing from a crack in a rock, and there sat a mother bird in her nest in perfect calm. The king chose the second picture, because, as the anonymous author described, “Peace doesn’t mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of these things and still be calm in your heart.”
*Science of Mind Magazine daily reading Sunday August 20, 2017 by Rev. Ron Fox
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“The sun, without intent or will or plan or sense of principle, just shines, thoroughly and constantly. By being itself, the sun warms with its light, never withholding or warming only certain things of Earth. Rather, the sun emanates in all directions all the time, and things grow. In the same way, when we are authentic, expressing our warmth and light in all directions, we cause things around us to grow.” -Mark Nepo *
Lately I’ve been reading a lot about being authentic. Being human we’re much more complicated than the sun and the flowers. They are what they were created to be without wondering what they have to offer. They simple do what they do best. The very question of authenticity takes us outside ourselves looking in comparison at others. Thinking I’ll never be as good as so and so, all the while missing out on who we are and what we have to offer the world. How can I shine my light on others? How can I be the expression of Love in which I come from? How can I wrap that warmth around others and help them grow? The sun and the flower show us by example and in their nonverbal language tell us…just be.
How? By looking within and recognizing what makes you feel the most alive when you’re doing it. Maybe you enjoy singing, playing an instrument, cooking, gardening, making crafty things, giving massages, doing Reiki, or writing, just to name a few. Anything we love to do can be used to warm someone’s else’s heart, light their day and help them grow into their own authentic self just by being who we are. There’s nothing more affective then showing rather than telling just as Mark Nepo’s does with his beautiful metaphoric writing about the sun and its intent. I wonder, can you see the picture he draws with his words?
*A Book of Awakening by Mark Nepo March 30 reading
One of my daughters called recently to see how I’ve been doing. As we talked and I shared how difficult my recovery has been. I began to hear an echo of my own words coming out of her mouth. My spirits were lifted not only by her words of encouragement, but the fact that the very same words I’d said to her had so resonated that she was now feeding them back to me. A true gift for any parent to receive. But it didn’t end there. She was trying to find ways I could cheer myself up looking toward the end results of my recovery. So she encouraged me to plant some spring bulbs inside and as they grow I could see my own growth along the way anticipating the end result that blossom with hard work and time.
Sometimes those of us who try to inspire others, need to step back and let others inspire us. Thank you!
December 24, 2015
A Note from Ollie
“I’m ready for this party to get started!”
“The Grandkids are coming that means I’ll be cleaning up the floor tonight! Can’t wait!”
This popped up on my Facebook timeline this morning, and I lost it. There’s no Ollie this year here, they’ll be no grandkids here for our annuel Christmas Eve celebration because of my condition. I do have a lot to be gratful for though. My family and friends who have done so much in these past few weeks to make things easier for me. And we are still having our celebration at Shannon’s this year as our kids pitch in together to carry on our family traditon. Letting others do things for me is not easy, but has been a good lesson in humility. In turn I’ve been blessed with much grace. I guess the lesson for me is to remember with change comes much pain, and yet beneath it lies the grace that gets us through it.
Merry Christmas and may we all be blessed with a health happy New Year!
I was thinking today that this will be my 63rd Christmas celebration in my lifetime. Wow! I know, that’s a lot of Christmases when you look at it that way. When I was a child, I was more excited about what I was going to get under the tree than for what Christmas actually stood for. When I had my own children, I tried to teach them that it was Jesus’s birthday we were celebrating. As much as a child can try to articulate the true meaning of Christmas it still takes a backseat to the anticipation of the gift beneath the tree. The true meaning comes with time, maturity and the challenge that faith brings into our life.
There’s nothing I really need or want at this point in my life, materialistic anyway. However, there’s still a bit of that child in me that lights up with an unexpected surprise. But the real gifts come when our consciousness is in line with the spirit within us. It is than that I am able to wrap my mind around all the gifts that Jesus’s birth has to offer. It is than that I get down on my knees and look beneath the tree for the gifts that are hidden from sight. There is always a gift to be unwrapped at Christmas time, and many times it’s the same gift over and again. Like the gift of love, hope, joy, faith, forgiveness, gratitude, friendships and family. Celebrating Christmas for 63 years has giving me the opportunity to reopen these gifts over and over again, but each time seems like the first. With the same childlike anticipation I’m eager to gather up my gifts, and let the spirit of Christmas lead the way into the New Year.
“It is impossible to be unhappy and grateful at the same time.”-Dr. Tom Costa
This is very true. I awake each morning thanking God for giving me another day to live. Then I go down the list of all things I’m grateful for. Since Ollie’s been gone I’ve been saying the words, but not truly focusing on what I’m saying. It is impossible to be grateful when you’re feeling unhappy. It consumes your life and you forget all the good things that still exist.
It never ceases to amaze me how God finds a way to get my attention. I saw this quote this morning and it made me think about the other times in my life when I’ve had to work hard to find something positive to focus on. Practicing gratitude taking one small thing at a time, building one on top of the other has a transformational effect on us. I know it’s happened to me before.
I realized that even though I no longer have Ollie in my life to be grateful for. I can be thankful for the years we had together. Thankful for all the unconditional love he gave me. Thankful for the inspiration he gave me. Thankful for the comfort he gave me when I needed it. Thankful for all the lessons he taught me about the simple things in life. These are things that can never be taking away from me, and that is the most important thing I should be grateful for.
It may be impossible for an unhappy person to be grateful. But it’s not impossible for gratitude to have a positive effect on an unhappy person. It certainly softens my pain. You know the biggest thing it reminds me of is that I wouldn’t have anything to be thankful for if it weren’t for the gift of life God gives me each day.
“If you wish the world to become loving and compassionate, become loving and compassionate yourself. If you wish to diminish fear in the world, diminish your own. These are the gifts that you can give.”-Gary Zukav
I had a dream and in it I saw a tall stool. It had a green and black shawl neatly folded on the seat, and on top of that was a crown. As I walked over ready to sit down. I heard a voice that said, “stop.”
“Why?” I asked.
And the voice said, “you may sit after you’ve giving first.”
“Given what?” I asked.”
“Anything and everything just make sure it comes from the heart. Then each time you give sit upon the high stool that you may see the difference your efforts have made. Wrap the shawl around you that you may feel in the comfort you’ve given others, and wear the crown of glory that represents the gift of your efforts.”
Once again I say if we want to see the change, we have to be the change first. That is the one thing we know we can do something about, ourselves. It’s all about the boomerang effect. What we put out there comes back to us. Give and you shall receive…that is the gift.
The Treasure Beyond the Veil
Oh what a beautiful morning. When I opened my eyes this morning I was greeted with this wonderful view.
What’s that you say, you don’t see anything but the sun shinning through a lacy curtain. Oh, but there’s more to see than what meets the eyes at first glance. There are two layers you have to look beyond to find the treasure, a curtain and a screen. Looking beyond the veil for what life has to revel to us is what we’re called to do throughout our day.
See they’re my unusually tall daisy’s stretching all the way up to my window. They don’t have to speck words for me to know what they are saying. I hear it in their presence as if they whisper, good morning!
Such a simple flower, one that can be easily ignored above all the other beauties that stand out, but there she stands with her sisters offering me the gift of her presence. A treasure for me to carry throughout my day.
I feel a renewed energy to move into the healthy lifestyle I’ve missed for the past few months. I want to go all out, but the daisy reminds me to keep it simple, one step at a time.
I hope you have a wonderful day, and take a moment to see one beautiful thing life has to offer you beyond the veil of your busy day. You’ll be as blessed as I am today for it.
I know it’s important to rest and take time out to let my body heal, but I’m not content to waste a day when I could be doing somthing that makes my life feel worthwhile today. Whether I am healthy or sick, there is no guarantee of another day. So I wonder what can I do in my limited state of recovery that would give my life a little meaning and purpose today? Instead of wallowing in my own pain and sorry, I’m reminded of the many people in my life who are sick and suffering right now. So while I sit, I decide to write them a note at my own pace, one person at a time. A simple note of thought and good will. By 3:00 pm I had 3 notes in the mail. Who doesn’t love a personally hand written letter in the mail these days. I have to say, instead of feeling weaker from my small little effort my own spirits have been lifted. Isn’t it funny how the simplistic things that have been forgotten can become some of the most precious gifts we can give of ourselves to others. It doesn’t even cost anything but a little bit of our time and the cost of a stamp.