I love the beginning of a new year. It’s as if once a year we give ourselves permission to start with a clean slate. It’s our opportunity to shed the layers of last year. Just like a snake does when it’s outgrown its skin. Leaving behind all the things that weigh and constrict us from moving forward with greater ease. The trick is, to let it go, and not drag those layers along with us. I started thinking the day after Christmas about all the changes and resolutions I was going to make for the coming new year. As my list grew, I came across a quote from Rumi that put it all into perspective for me.
“There is one thing in the world that we must never forget to do. If you forget everything else and not this, there’s nothing to worry about, but if you remember everything else and forget this, then you will have done nothing in your life… That work is the purpose, and each is specific to the person.”
Hum! Purpose! What is my purpose? And at what point in my life am I going to put that purpose into effect? As soon as I start asking these kinds of question the guidance comes in one form or another. I realize that it doesn’t matter how many times I wonder if I don’t open myself to the answer completely. I then think back over my life. What have learned? What do I do the best? What do I do that gives me the most joy? Where do the compliments come from? What things do people thank me for?
As I contemplate the questions and really take the time to consider them. I thought my purpose was simply to be the person God created me to be. But then I realized that wasn’t my purpose. That’s what my meaning in life is, to discover who I am in relation to my creator. Within that meaning lies the key to my purpose. Like the song goes, looking for love in all the wrong places, we go through a lifetime searching for our meaning and purpose everywhere else… except inside ourselves. What we come to discover deep down inside is that we’ve always known who we are, and what we have to offer the world. We just can’t see it until we get out of our own way long enough to touch the depth of our soul where we see a mirror reflection of ourselves through the eyes of God.
So, my new year’s resolution and intent are to practice living a more purposeful driven life. Asking myself along this 2019 journey how does my purpose fit into the changes I want to make in my life. If I find myself putting more effort into the project then the purpose, I can always gage it by how off balance I’ll feel. The beauty of new beginnings is that we don’t have to wait for a new year to start all over again. They begin the moment we put them into effect.
May your New Year be blessed with all your hearts desires as well as peace and love.
I was walking along my path of life on this cold autumn morning. The sun shinning brightly down on me warmed my cold bones. Deep in thought I looked up and stopped in my tracts to marvel at the intricate woven lace of a spider web sparkling in the sunlight. Each thread interwoven just as we weave our own life. It reminds me of something I once read about the golden thread of Divinity that runs through each of us connecting one to the other. Like the spider who creates a beautiful lacy web, we can spin and weave a beautiful tapestry of our own life with the golden thread that exist within each of us. Like the spider who doesn’t have to think about how to do it, neither do we, it will simple become what we put into it.
Today is the 15th Anniversary of my Dads passing. I miss his smile, his wisdom, and most of all his hugs.
Parents are like God in a way. They hold, care, tend, and love us even though they have their own agendas in life. At some point they have to put us down so we can walk on our own. Dad’s death was a time for me that felt as if I was wondering in the desert all alone. I wondered how I would know how to do all that was yet to come without him to talk it over with. What I learned was that just like God’s word had been planted in my heart, mind and soul. So had the wisdom of my Dad’s words. Two fathers working together to teach me how to stand on my own and live the best life I could.
Those that we love in this world will leave us one day. Cherish the time you have now with them. Learn from the wisdom they have to share. And as my Dad would often say to me, “take what you can from my words that resonate with you now, and leave the rest behind for another time.”
“Divine Guidance is yours for the asking. It is not enough merely to know that Divine Guidance exists – you must use it.” – Ernest Holmes
“This Thing Called You” pg 63.
Sometimes using Divine Guidance means we have to get out of our own way long enough to ask for it. We find ourselves in situations we have no control over or have a sense that everything we’re doing is going against the grain of who we really are. While we’re busy trying to do what we think is best we can lose sight of the actual direction we should go. The beauty of God and his Divine Guidence is that it’s always there waiting for us to turn to it and…simple ask.
It’s amazing how clarity comes once we do and nothing seems as bad as we thought it was. It’s that Divine Guidance that brings me into the now and reminds me that all that matter is where I find myself in each moment and it’s a funny thing…because those moments feel like a lifetime when I’m in them.
I went to great length on Sunday to plan out my week. It’s the only way I can get the things I want done. I got up as planned and wrote for two hours. Got dressed so I could walk Lucy after I ate. While I was making my smoothie, it splattered all over me and the kitchen. I stood there; you know the way you do when time stands still, and you’re not sure if you want to scream or cry. I remembered how it was when my kids were little, and they’d drop milk on the floor all the time. I came to repeat the quote “That there’s no use in crying over spilled milk.” What’s done is done, and the only thing left to do is clean it up. As I was eating, I remembered a quote I read the other day. “Do not lose your inner peace for anything whatsoever, even if your whole world seems upset.” -St Francis de Sales
As I headed out the door to walk Lucy, I ran into my neighbor. She has a one year and is expecting her second child. The baby she’s carrying has some severe problems that will require surgeries as soon as it’s born. She and her husband have a lot of faith, and they’re trusting in God’s will. Instead of going on about herself she wanted to know how I was doing. She is living the words of St. Francis de Sales. She wasn’t going to let anything take her inner peace away, and yet she has every right to feel as if her whole world is upset.
As I proceed to walk on with Lucy, I thought how the unplanned things find a way of eating up our time. My well-planned morning wasn’t going as I’d anticipated. Yet, it’s those unforeseen things that remind us what’s important. That where we find ourselves is often where we’re supposed to be and what matters is being mindful of what those moments have to teach us. It’s in the space between the moments that we catch a glimpse of God. And grace fills us from our head to our toes with its everlasting peace. It’s where we find our caring heart too that makes us want to reach out and ask, what can I do for my neighbor today?
Today I went back to place I lived in Philadelphia. I haven’t seen since the day I ran away in 1968. That’s 50 years ago. It was an institution in Philadelphia called Stenton Child Center. My younger sister and I were supposed to feel fortunate that we were in such a nice place. Most of the places the state provided for abandon children were pretty run down. There is no place on earth that could be better than being with your own family no matter how difficult things are at home.
I didn’t know how I would react when I actually saw it. As we began to approach I felt only a moment panic, that quickly turned to curiosity. I couldn’t believe how much it looked the same after all these years. The memories so fresh in my mind and stories yet to tell. I couldn’t go inside because it’s now a shelter for homeless families, but I was okay with that because I felt like the monster it represented in my mind for so many years no longer had a hold on me.
On my way home I wondered about how this applies to what I wrote about yesterday in relation to place of shifting I find myself. Of all the different places I’ve been, this was by far the worst ground I’d ever worked in my life. But it’s also yielded the most growth in my life. It was a time of planting, growing, and nurturing. It was full of many cultivating opportunities that could have yielded many weeds, but instead continues to teach and bear much fruit.
I am not only in the winter of the season, but nature teaches another lesson in my life, that I am in the winter of my shifting cultivation. A time to rest, re-evaluate, contemplate, let go and chill out on a icebergs going with the rivers flow.
“It matters not how straight the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate,
I am the captain of my soul.”
-William Ernest Henley, “Invictus”
And God is the compass that points the way.
It’s up to me
which way I sail,
Which way I go
Is where I’ll be.
Sometimes I feel
Alone at sea.
Inside of me.
I look for an answer
A narrow telescope.
There is nothing in sight
But a seagull
Why do I forget
Its easy to see.
It can’t get lost,
For its inside of me.
I am after all
Of my soul,
But it’s the compass
That shows me
Way to go.
Sometimes life becomes as twisted as a vine. The tighter it wraps itself around one circumstance after the other it becomes hard to breath. Hard to understand. Hard to think. The desperation to reach and cling, and climb brings us to a standstill. In this place of resting we find the breath of life, and clarity begins to set in. We quench our thirst from a drop of the ocean, and we begin to see that we are a part of something much bigger then ourselves. We begin to feel the need for expression going deeper within where we feed on the nourishment we’ve collected along the way. In the process, we become a bud growing within instead of out. The need to express what we are becoming grows ever stronger until in the mist of all our twisted vines what we were created to be burst forth in all our beauty and glory.
We can become who we were created to be if we stop twisting ourselves up knots. If we stop fighting against ourselves and others. If we stop to listen to the voice…not calling in the wind…but the one that comes from within longing to be expressed through…you…and…me.
I have to say that being in my 60’s feels like another coming of age experience. Oh, I know there’s lots of aches and pains. Things I can no longer do, but something within is changing on a deeper level. The term coming of age is often used as we go from the teen years into adulthood. But what do we really know at that age. It’s really only the beginning of experiencing life. What it has to teach us. Who we want to be. What we want to do. I remember when I turned 40 feeling like it was another coming of age experience. It was the beginning of truly getting to know, accept and like myself for who I was. I road into my 50’s with a little more confidence and understanding that it isn’t all about me, but about who I am in connection to something much bigger then myself, my religion and my calling. Now that I’ve been in my 60’s I feel lighter in many ways definitely freer. I sense this new coming of age is melding me together both body, mind and soul. This longing I have to simple “be” …it’s my soul calling to me.
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.