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.
This morning as I tuned into the Today show Al Roker made the most torturous looking face when reminded that today is the beginning of the 2020 presidential election. I turned it off feeling the same unpleasant feelings that Al’s face portrayed.
Sitting in the quiet with my cup of coffee felt as blinding as the sunlight did after all this ran.
It felt like a much needed rude awakening, and I went into prayer:
”Hi God! It’s me! Do you remember me? Cause I was kind of hoping you could remind me who I am and what I’m here for.”
”Hi Connie! It’s God! Can you hear me cause I’ve been trying to get your attention but you’ve been kind of preoccupied lately.
-I’ve been trying to tell you to untether yourself from fear.
-To speak your truth, than let it go.
-That there is always hope as long as you’re living.
-To respect the uniqueness of each individual because as different as I created you each to be there is purpose in what each soul has to offer.
-Be mindful of what you think, say, do and eat.
-Remember the gifts I give you are the same I give everyone else freedom, choice and above all else love.
-Who you are is an expression of that from which you were created.
-Your soul’s purpose is to experience life right where you are and to be a living expression of that truth from which you come.
-Finally stop making things harder than they actually are, let go and let yourself…be.”
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.”
”And the day came when risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” Anais Nin
We are like a rose bush full of many buds each one having a new lesson to teach us. Sometimes the lesson within one bud is more comfortable to open up to than the bigger harder lessons that come along. Letting go requires the trust for something better. Resisting only causes pain, suffering and discontent. Sometimes that pain becomes so overwhelming that the only thing left to do is let go and use it to grow into something better. It’s all about choice. Do I want to be a bud that never grows or a Rose in full bloom?
Today, I wonder why I feel so down. What is troubling me? Why do I feel as if I’m walking through a maze of undirected thoughts? As if I don’t know how to think anymore or what to trust. How can so many people be right, and so many wrong? I can’t seem to make sense of anything anymore. Then something I wrote a few years ago pops up to remind me how powerful our thoughts are.
“One thought of discord whether it be between people, things or ideas can be like a tiny spark in the woods creating a forest fire. One thought, that’s all it takes!
On the other hand, one thought of joy can have the same effect only it doesn’t destroy. It nurtures like rain quenching our thirst for something better. One thought that’s all it takes!”
Where do our thoughts come from?
The things we lay our eyes on. I can choose to see the beautiful roses in bloom or the weeds that grow around it.
I can turn the news on because I think I must always be informed. Or turn some music on knowing how much it feeds my soul. How good and alive it makes me feel.
I can talk about someone I don’t understand or talk about someone who lifts me up.
It’s all about the thoughts we choose to entertain and how we feed into them. Like the cowboy with his rope, we have to round our thoughts up. Grab hold of the ones that are out of control and take them out to pasture. Keep the ones that honor who we are, the ones that are life-giving and leave the rest behind.
Thanks for letting me share my thoughts with you. It’s funny how talking or writing it out helps us to see things much clearer.
“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?
Nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know.” -Pema Chodron
I love painting pictures with my words. It starts when I’m trying to figure something out. I visualize what I’m thinking in an animated or metaphoric way that helps me make sense of it. So, what is my carpet bag of baggage?
It’s a rug big enough to fit all the stuff I’ve collect along the various journeys of my-life. It’s an ugly carpet, full of untruths, most of them having to do with my self-esteem. It’s all tied together with the black rope of fear. I’m so used to carrying it around that I don’t even feel how much it’s weighing me down most of the time. It’s in those moments when I’m paying attention to life that it falls off my shoulder. It’s a wonderful feeling as if I’ve sucked in some helium and I’m floating right above the ground. And I wonder why it can’t be like this all the time.
When the black rope of fear sees me happy it starts to untie itself around the carpet. Moving like a snake. Fear knows I’m afraid of snakes. It’s the way it gets my attention. As the carpet bag begins to slowly open all the dreadful demeaning voices jump around shouting me, me, me pick me. All it takes is for me to believe one demeaning thought of worthiness, and I’ll find myself standing upon the rug that fear uses, to pull the joy right out from under me.
But I’m seeing a little clearer now. They say, you have to see what needs changed, before you can change it. As the quote says about, “nothing goes away until it has taught us what we need to know.” I’m learning one thing for sure, that as big as fear looks, what lies on the other side of it is majestic.
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.
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.