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.”
”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?
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.