It only takes the lighting of a candle to bring you back to the present moment.
It only takes the lighting of a candle to bring you back to the present moment.
Are you willing to let go of what you have in order to receive more? Watch this three minute video to find out what is possible.
Have you ever made a mistake? That is a silly question, because everyone makes mistakes. But when you make one, isn’t it funny how you feel so alone, like you are the only one who has ever fallen short of perfect? That is why we have erasers!
Have you ever wondered why you can’t seem to move forward? Maybe you are stuck in the past because you won’t or can’t give up your story. But holding onto and letting go of your story are just choices. Can you make a different choice today? What is it costing you to hold on? What can you create if you let go? You might want to grab a pen and journal about how you might choose to grow this spring.
My daughter Sarah will leave school today to lead a retreat. The Kairos retreat is a significant experience in the lives of students who attend Jesuit institutions. At Regis High School, students attend Kairos in the junior year and have the opportunity to lead a group at the retreat in their senior year. I am grateful Sarah has the chance to not only look at her life and reflect on her own growth, but to relay her story to others and provide hope. On our drive this morning to drop her at school, I told Sarah that my prayer this week would be for her to be open to the experience and allow praise and affirmation to come back in without judgment. Like so many of us, she is one who has a hard time accepting compliments. It made me think of the many ways our posture affects how well we receive.
My friend Andrea just blogged about being open to the support around us. Many times, we pull in when things are tough, maybe as a way of protecting ourselves from more pain. And when we “clam up” we are literally pulling ourselves into a shell where we think we can’t feel pain, and we can’t receive the love and support that is coming our way. We become isolated from the only thing that can save us- connection.
Besides being a clam, we can also stand as a brick wall. We may look like we are open to what the world is ready to offer, yet we stand rigid with close fists and a carefully guarded heart, and an air of judgement surrounding us. The person who is judged most harshly is our own self.
Standing with arms open and palms up, even if only energetically, we allow ourselves to receive what is good from the universe. Yes, we are most vulnerable in this position, yet it is this same vulnerability that links us to others, and we are connected by our imperfections. We we are not so afraid to be human, amazing things happen.
So today and this week, I am praying that Sarah will stand with arms open wide, willingly receiving all the love and praise she deserves.
And what stance will you take today? Are you willing to receive all of life with ease and joy?
My mother was the lucky recipient of one of the first copies of my book, and she read it cover to cover. She cried as she relived the story and felt like the book told the story well. And then she almost hesitated to call me and tell me she had found a mistake. The very last sentence of the book, before the acknowledgements is missing. It begins: And may you find the act of moving mountains… and it ends there.
Of course, at first I was angry that I had missed such a simple mistake. It happened because we added a piece into the section and it moved the last question down the page, cutting off the end of sentence. And then I had to laugh because I could hear the universe laughing with me, reminding me that perfection isn’t everything. It is another lesson I learned in the process of writing that keeps coming back to me.
My second thought was that on the second run, I will correct the mistake. It is easy enough to do.
Then a voice in my head asked me if I could turn this into a teaching moment. I now have the first run of the book I have long awaited and it is unfinished. But then I realized the reader now gets to put in his/her own words to complete the sentence.
May you find the act of moving mountains
challenging yet fun?
full of life’s lessons?
hard and not worth attempting?
Or are you too caught up in being perfect that a non-ending is too open ended? ( I know the feeling!)
Have you walked this journey with me and now have new eyes to see the mountains in your own life? Can you begin to move them, one stone at a time?
When you get your copy of the book, come back to this post and leave your comments. Let me know what you think of the book and how you will fill in the blank at the end!
Reflection is one of the most powerful tools we have to increase our ability to make life giving decisions. It is only when we take the time to look beyond what can be seen with the eye to what is happening behind the scenes of a situation that we really grow.
I have been in a reflective state all week, pondering not only where I have been but where I am going. I am looking for just the right path to take me where I want to go. But in all the discerning, I am beginning to realize that there is no wrong path, because any path I choose will provide me with skills and experiences that will take me to the next place in my life. It doesn’t matter if I become a writer of family history or write sales copy. It doesn’t matter what kind of topic I choose to speak about. It is not the doing that matters. It is the person I become in the act of doing that matters.
It is through life experiences that we truly discover what we are made of. I think back to the year I was recovering from illness. I was not able to work, and often felt like a burden on my family because I was not bringing money into our budget. What I had to learn was that who I am makes a difference, not what I do. I am still learning to absorb that wisdom because I still struggle with this issue, especially since I am still looking for a way to contribute income to the family. But I also know that whatever path I choose, it is not the doing that makes me who I am. It is the ability to be content with life no matter what comes my way. It is knowing that time spent with family and friends make me rich. It is knowing that my presence in the world is enough. And that is truly a life long process.
“Let’s ebb together over tea.”
That’s what I told my friend Donna today as we were talking about our week. She is listening to Joan Anderson on CD, soaking in the wisdom of the waves of the ocean by which Joan writes. Joan’s book, “A Year by the Sea” is an amazing read, and worth repeating at different stages of your life.
It seems that both Donna and I found ourselves ebbing this week, in the lull between action, and feeling at times a little off course. When there is no visible movement toward a goal, it is easy to feel like you are alone, adrift at sea, unable to reach the shore. Writing has not come easily. The reality is that everyone goes through periods of flow and ebb in their life. We are not the odd ones out who can’t seem to get IT all together, whatever IT is. There is not a magic formula that allows someone to stay in flow at all times. And even if there were, would you choose to stay in the constant motion of flow?
I need to release the idea that ebb is a bad thing. Ebb time is a chance for me to slow down, and in the quiet, trust that I am in the right place. If I don’t slow down, I often get caught moving in circles. I make decisions based out of fear rather than decisions that are true and right for me.
Yesterday I listened to my body and took a nap. In fact, I took two naps because the first one wasn’t long enough. Today, I have much more energy and am productive again in my work. I have been inspired sharing my new writing business with Donna and am watching the pieces of the puzzle fall into place. There is synchronicity in my life all pointing me in the right direction.
I am learning that the trick to being in the flow is not fighting the ebb. When in the ebb, it is important to take time to re-create, re-lax, re-energize. And next time I feel like I am all alone and adrift at sea, I will call Donna and over a cup of tea, she will remind me that I am right where I should be, relaxing in the embrace of an endless ocean of love. She will remind me that flow will come again. It always does.
It was the disturbing quality of the scream coming from one son looking at his brother that alerted Cindy and told her something was terribly wrong. Her fourteen year old son Stephen was lying as stiff as a board in the middle of the family room having a seizure. The doctors were quick to tell Cindy that he didn’t have cancer or heart disease. And while that was all good, the diagnosis of Epilepsy was enough to throw the family into a tailspin. About the same time, and strangely not connected, Stephen began to lose his eye sight from a condition known as Keratoconus. This disease causes the cornea of the eye to turn into cone shape and it distorts vision, causing multiple images and sensitivity to light.
Car troubles, an ovarian cyst, medical bills, worrying about her other two sons, and wondering if a last straw would cause her husband David to walk out, Cindy has done her best to hold the family together.
According to Cindy, the trick to moving forward is to not look back at the way things were before Stephen’s diagnosis, but to forge ahead, adapting to life’s changes. Eventually, you find yourself moving out of survival mode into something that looks like a new normal. Cindy can’t fix what ails her son, but she has learned to be present and not focus only on the moments when Stephen is having a seizure, but rather live for the moments that look like “normal” life.
Stephen has lived with Epilepsy now for two years. He has gone through seven different medications, none of which have stopped his seizures, and has had almost every side effect, including weight gain and losing his hair. Because of his eyes, Stephen has to study for school by lying on the floor and reading so close to the page of a book it looks like he has fallen asleep in a middle of a boring read. But he is the ever cheerful one, not complaining at all about the challenges that he faces. Cindy and David are even talking to Stephen about the possibility of going to college. He joked and said he would be the only person there who had not only a seeing- eye dog but also a dog to notify him of oncoming seizures. “You have to laugh at those things that would otherwise make you cry,” she says.
“Stephen has been my teacher,” Cindy said, learning how to see things in perspective and not sweat the small stuff. She is a better mother and wife and her family has emerged stronger because of this storm.
The biggest lesson Cindy has learned is that she has never walked this journey alone. “What you don’t know until later is that unseen hands are holding you up, wanting to help in any way they can. You may feel isolated and alone, but there is a whole network of people who say, ‘Let me help.’ And your only response should be ‘Yes, thanks.’”
It has been a challenging few weeks for me, both writing and personally. I am in that dead of winter space where I know things are happening, they just aren’t visible. I am in the editing phase of my book and it gets quite tedious moving forward and backward through all the pages, looking for just the right spot to place a bit of the back history, the part of the story that leads up to the event of the book. I want to weave it into the story so that I don’t have to bore the readers with a whole chapter of it.
At the same time, I am looking for a part time job to bring some income in while I am writing. It is a difficult place to be, especially when I get so stuck in not knowing what to do and I feel like no one has ever been as stuck as me. (Pity Party!) My emotions have gotten the best of me and have begun to present as physical symptoms, adding to my stuck-ness. I know I have work to do.
So today I am starting over on my goals and new habits. I think it is a great day to start again, because I have 21 days left in the month of February, just enough days to create a new habit to replace an old one.
The habit I so struggle to keep going is a morning routine. I am good for a week, alternating between yoga and writing and adding quiet prayer time. Then there is a snow day at my daughters’ school, and the household routine is interrupted. Sometimes I think that taking all that time for me in the morning is counter productive to getting more important things done. This can’t be farther from the truth. I know from experience that when I start my day with quiet meditation of some kind, I am much more centered and productive as I move through my day.
Another piece of my life that needs consistency is exercise. I am consistent about three days a week, but I would like to increase that to everyday because I feel so much better. I have friends who are blogging everyday, working out everyday and seem to be getting their life together, and that just makes me feel like I am behind the curve. No matter. Today is a great day to start again. As my friend Lisa Schultz says, we must take baby steps for success.
I am done beating myself up over where I think I should be, because the truth is I am doing the best I can. However, with some extra love and encouragement, I think I can do better. I am clearing out the cobwebs, resetting my intentions (or maybe just setting them!) and moving forward like today is the first day on my way to success.
I have a new resource that I suggest you try along with me. Darren Hardy, editor of Success Magazine, recently wrote a book called The Compound Effect. On his website, he has a tab for free resources. I have downloaded all of them and am filling them in again, just like it was the beginning of the year. The one I am most attracted to is the weekly rhythm register. I am going to use this to track the activities of my morning routine so I can be accountable to myself, and to you my readers. Play along with me. Even if you got off on the right foot in January, it is always good to be aware of where you spend your time. For any of you who haven’t quite gotten into your groove for the year, this is an invitation to join me. Remember, it is never too late to start again! What would you like to restart in your life?
So often I spend my present worrying about the future. How will I get my book published? How will I pay for all the people I need to help me publish my book? Where will the money come from? I am robbing myself of this moment in time that I can never re-live. I know that when I am completely wrapped up in the future, I am farthest from my experience of God. When I am far from God, I find my thoughts plagued with the doubts and fears of whether or not I am good enough.
So today, my mantra will be, “I am ready to wake up now. Heaven is right here in this moment.” My heaven looks like a hot cup of tea next to my computer and a clear schedule so I can spend the morning writing and editing my book. Heaven looks like my dog Sophie who reminds me to play as she watches for the squirrels in our backyard. Heaven looks like the bright blue sky and the sun casting long shadows of bare tress across the melting snow. Heaven slows my breathing and reminds me that All Shall be Well.
What does your heaven look like?
What is new and growing in you? How does allowing God to work in your life give you the courage to show up for others?