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?
“Seeking life everywhere, I found it in the burn of my lungs.” -Mark Nepo
I go to take a sip of my morning coffee of which I’ve added a drop of peppermint essential oil. I can barely touch my lips to the rim before the blast of its essence smacks me in the face. Like a cool breeze it enters my nose and burns all the way down into my lungs. It is simply divine, decadent and mind blowing. There’s no doubt I’m awake now, I think to myself. As I get past the blast and begin to enjoy each sip, I open todays reading and there is the quote above by Mark Nepo.
Have you ever ridden a bike or went for a run on a cool fall day? The air burns the lungs in the same way. It can feel like a rude awakening, but suddenly we feel alive, invigorated and hopeful again. And like the old commercial where the guy smacks on his aftershave waking himself up, I say too, “thanks! I needed that.” Now the work of the day begins as I try to remain in this awakened state of mind.
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.
“Without hard work, nothing grows but weeds.” -Gordon B. Hinckley
I got home yesterday from my week of writing in the Poconos. It was wonderful in every way. To top it off I got a lot writing and soul searching done. I think the best thing I came away with was a new understanding of the gift I have now because of the years of cultivating I’ve already done. What I’ve come to realize is that it hasn’t just been my inner child’s need to be validated for the part she played it in making our dream come true. It goes much deeper and beyond that. It’s been her driving forces to tell our story that has made me a better writer. This has given me the opportunity to do what I have a real passion for and that’s inspiring others with my words.
As I was talking with one of the many accomplished writers there, I began to wonder what I’m doing here. The old saboteur started showing its defeating face. I could feel myself getting sucked into the belief that I was an amateur and I always would be. Then this writer started telling me about how he likes to garden and sometimes he just has to go out in his garden and start doing some composting. As you begin to pull this and that out of yourself all the good and bad stuff gets thrown together. Then you let it sit for a while. When you’re ready you start to turn and mix it up, and eventually it becomes the fertilizer that feeds the story’s you sow.
As the quote says above, I’ve learned too that without a lot of hard work, nothing grows but weeds. I think I’ve managed to grow a few beautiful flowers along the way. Now all I have to do is keep pulling the weeds that get in the way.
At the end of the mini series “Genius,” Einstein is dying, and as his long time secretary looks at him with sadness, he takes a flower from an arrangement and holding it in his hand says, “Look deep into nature and then you will understand everything better.”
I looked at Tom with a childlike excitement, and said, “I learned that all by myself!”
Just a few simple lines, and yet they hold within them a great awakening, opening up a whole new world for us. You don’t even have to be a genius to discover it yoursełf. It reminds me of when my father-in-law had his cataract surgery. He said he could see things with such clarity and crispness, and the colors were so vivid. When our own blinders are stripped away we can also say, ” I can see clearly now.”
“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.
This is Lucy & I resting after our morning walk or should I say chilling out as I ice my ankle and knee. Not to worry…I’m only trying to keep ahead of the swelling that comes with all the extra activity that Lucy has brought into my life. It’s a good thing, but my life feels a bit on hold right now while I keep a watchful eye on her. She wants to chew on everything so I try to catch her at it giving her one of her chew toys instead. Then there’s the housebreaking. I’m not sure if I’m training her at this point or myself to take her out about every hour.
I feel like I did when I brought my babies home from the hospitality. My life was their’s as I put my own on a shelf for a while and tended to their every need. I know I gave up my nice easy going life for her and while I think I should be saying to myself, why’d you do that? I have to say I find it worth all the work. She makes me feel alive in a whole new way, and that’s a good thing at my age, don’t ya think?
“When a knowledgable old person dies, a whole library disappears.” –An old African proverb
I read an article today from my local newspaper titled, “Older people have knowledge to share—if we just listen” by Bob Rudy. It caught my attention for several reasons, one being that I spent time as a hospice volunteer a few years ago listening to the fascinating stories of people’s lives. Not only was it interesting to me, but the way their faces lit up as they told their stories turned out to be a gift for both of us.
I’ve also been working on my families genealogy for over 20 years now. I was fortunate to start it at a time when my parents were still alive, and as I dove into it I found myself wanting to know more about what their life was like growing up. They’ve both been gone a long time now and still I have question I wish I would have asked. I can’t imagine what it’s like to have never taken the time I did though to get to know them. It is true as the quote states as each family member passes away, a whole library disappears.
The other reason this subject is close to my heart is because I am a story teller myself, and as the younger generations calls us, I’m an older person myself. I like the phrase that getting older is not for wimps, because it is a time in a humans life when we have to work really hard to hang onto what we have. Sometimes it even feels like your slowly disappearing, fading into space as we lose our hearing, sight, coordination and many other facilities that make you feel like a child again. But ask us to tell you one of our stories and we become energized. Our eyes will light up, and just maybe we’ll feel like our lives matters once again, and you’ll hear a real live story like the ones you read in a book you borrow from the library.
Sometimes you just have to let someone else’s voice speak for you because they say so clearly what you can’t find the words to say for yourself.
Thank Maya Angelou for the wonderful wisdom you left behind.