Tag Archive | love

What will I do today?


Eleanor snuggling with one of Luke’s toys

“I arise in the morning torn between a desire to save the world and a desire to savor the world. This makes it hard to plan the day.” E. B. White


For much of my life, I’d felt a deep urge to help others…but it never seemed like I was doing enough. I believed that life was a long, narrow, uphill, climb toward some place of perfection where I would finally be in my right place, doing my right work, at the right time; a place where I’d finally know who I was and why I was here. I struggled for years to get to this place, yet it always seemed out of reach. Rest was not an option on this path.

During these years of struggle, I was incredibly self-concerned, but I didn’t realize it. I thought that my striving was noble, not selfish. I assumed that harsh self-examination was the path to improvement…and god knows, I believed that I needed to be improved. But God didn’t “know” this. This wasn’t a Divine path. The constant thoughts of how I could be a better person, do more for the world, and become happier, were fueled by ego.

When I began to lighten up, which meant stopping critical thoughts about others and myself, I noticed that people around me changed and reflected this light back to me. I saw that I didn’t so much have to do something but I needed to stop doing/thinking the things that separated me from who I really was/am: Love.

I don’t mean to suggest that I never have a critical thought about myself, or other people, anymore. I have plenty of them, but I am much more aware of these thoughts as invitations to a fight; they are seductive; they call to me with feelings of anger, righteous indignation, resentment, and revenge. They tell me that I am better than other people. They tell me that I’ve been wronged. They tell me that there is a right and a wrong (I’m usually the right/virtuous one) and I must choose my side and fight for it, or banish the other one. They masquerade as strength, but in reality, if I believe them, I become their victim.

I’ve been declining a lot of these invitations lately and in their place, choosing to see what is right with a person (including myself), situation, event, or memory. Several days ago, I was thinking about one of the people currently running for president, and how easy, and almost fun, it is to blast this person. So, again, I noticed this and asked myself, “What is there to love about this person?” We are one. He/she is a part of my consciousness at some level. It wasn’t hard to answer the question, it only required giving up my desire to criticize and condemn.

So, what will I do today, save or savor the world? I think that I’ll just be myself. I will Love it/me/them/us and I will allow that Love to flow back to me.


Everything I need is right here, right now

“It may be that when we no longer know what to do,
we have come to our real work,
and when we no longer know which way to go,
we have begun our real journey.”
Wendell Berry


I came home on Wednesday afternoon to find our cat, Noah, barely moving. Noah is a very old cat, and we’ve been getting the feeling lately that he was at the end of his life. After I washed him up, isolated him in the bathroom with a warm bed, litter box, water and cleaned up the considerable mess (he had been incontinent on the couch, happily I’d put a heavy quilt over it the day before) in the living room, I called the vet. When I made his appointment I thought it would probably be to put him down. The appointment was for yesterday at 10 a.m.

Before I went to bed, I checked on him and he seemed very peaceful. I prayed that he would pass away quietly at home. As I tried to go to sleep, my mind kept running scenarios about what I should do for him. How can I help him pass in the most gentle way? Should I try to find a vet who could come to the house? Should I even take him in for his appointment (Noah, like most cats, hates going to the vet). Do I really want his final hour to be spent so unpleasantly? After about a half hour of this thinking, I realized the problem: It wasn’t what to do with Noah, it was what to do with my mind that was not resting in bed at 10 p.m, letting go of the day, but was off in the next day trying to figure out what to do tomorrow. Hopeless.

The next thought was, “You will know what to do tomorrow” and this thought filled me with peace. When I woke up in the night and felt those worried thoughts try to come back I noticed this but instead of running with them I meditated on the thought that Noah was also a part of this vast “Oneness” which knows what to do at all times and which always guides, directs, and points the way. I kept thinking about how interconnected we all are. I kept thinking about the concept of Grace, which is always present in the moment.

I notice that when I try to get out ahead of “a problem” and figure it out, I feel lost… because I am. I’m lost in a mind that believes there is something to be afraid of as it conjures up unhappy scenes, one after the other, each looking more dire than the previous scenario. I am afraid that something in my life will get out of control if I don’t control it (which I also realize I am powerless to do so I feel even more desperate). When I’m letting my mind run wild like this, I am lost in fear and in that low place, everything looks bad.

When I woke up yesterday morning, I quietly stepped into the bathroom to find Noah looking up at me like, “What? Are you going to let me out of this bathroom now?” All of my thoughts about how to help him pass, blah, blah…he wasn’t ready to go, but I didn’t know that until I needed to.

When I need to know what to do, when to do it, and how to do it, I will have access to that information. How? I don’t know. How is it possible that at some level, I have access to infinite intelligence and guidance? I don’t know. How can I possibly be connected to all of life (and that includes every being that has ever been or will ever be)? I don’t know. But I believe this and I know this to be Truth. I don’t know how I know this, but I do, and when I remember it, it brings me unspeakable peace. I also know that this is true for everyone whether they belive it or not.

Bodhi and Noah

Bodhi and Noah snuggled up on this chilly morning


goodbye to a limiting way of thinking,…hello to a friend

Maud and me

Mary and Maud

I’ve been wanting to write this story for a while, and finally I am. I first met Maud Maynard in 2009, but I’d heard about her, and had been briefly introduced to her, in 2002… but I didn’t want to have anything to do with her. Not because she wasn’t a perfectly nice, possibly interesting person, or because she had done anything wrong. I didn’t particularly want to like her since I’d found out that she and Jack had dated before he and I met, and that they were still good friends, and it was obvious that he thought the world of her. That right there was enough for me to not care for her.

It wasn’t like he’d talk about her all the time or anything, but he’s say, in casual conversation, things like, “I ran into Maud at the bank and you’ll never guess what she just did?!” I would pretend I didn’t hear him or change the subject, but he’d inevitably get back on-track and say, “She just went skydiving with her son!” or some other equally fun sounding story, knowing how I myself like adventure and thinking I might appreciate another woman with the same spirit. I didn’t. I’d respond to his stories about her with a casual “Oh”. This went on for years, and I thought it was an odd joke the universe was playing on me, that one of my favorite names was Maude (my grandmother’s name) but I had no intention of getting to know her.

Then one day it happened. I’d been asked, along with a number of other alternative health/spirituality practitioners/healers, to give a short presentation to a group. After I’d agreed, the schedule of events was mailed to me and I was aghast to see that Maud Maynard was one of the presenters too.  I wondered if I could get out of it.

Fate had different plans, and several weeks before the event, another friend of mine suffered a horrific loss in her life. By the night of the presentation, I hadn’t even had time to prepare. I knew what I was going to talk about but I didn’t have a note or any emotional reserve. I showed up empty, hoping Spirit would help me to say what needed to be said.

Maud presented before me and as she began to speak, and tell the story of how she became involved with Reiki, I felt a light, that was surrounding her, almost reach out and hug me. As she continued to talk, I had to hold back the tears. I thought, “She is wonderful. She is wonderful.” …and I told her this as we walked out together that evening. We’ve been walking together, as friends, ever since (and Jack is thrilled and occasionally says things like, “I knew that you would love her. You two are so much alike.”) I now take this as a high compliment.

I started this story by saying that I’d wanted to write it for a while, and one reason that I didn’t was because it was/is so multi-faceted. Do I write about how sometimes we resist what is right in front of our faces and is so perfect?  How the Spirit of this Universe is always putting the highest and best in front of us to simply say yes to? How jealousy can be so insidious, and can limit our lives, if we don’t challenge/recognize it?

All of these are true, but I don’t think I’ve ever written about jealousy before, and if anyone had asked me if I was jealous of Maud, I’m not sure I would have had the awareness to say yes. After all, I didn’t really have a reason to be jealous. But I’ve found out that jealousy doesn’t need a reason. Just like all destructive emotions: hatred, resentment, bitterness, and unforgiveness, jealousy manifests when we don’t feel good, for whatever reason, about our lives or about ourselves.

I’ve also found it very healing to recognize, uncover, and admit when I am feeling jealous. For me, being able to tell this story, first to Maud (years ago …and we’ve had some good laughs about it) and now here, helps me to keep an eye on that tendency in myself. Because it still does come up at times, and maybe it always will. But it won’t hold me captive if I see it, maybe even talk about it, and then gently say goodbye to it.

I want to live in inner-peace and happiness. I want to be open and free of tormenting emotions and thoughts.  Every time I let go of an unhappy belief or emotion, the world, my world, opens up a little more….the world becomes a little kinder, nicer and friendlier.

“The jealous are troublesome to others, but a torment to themselves.” William Penn

Maud’s website is http://maudmaynardreiki.wordpress.com   She has a blog and also her contact information for her Reiki practice. I’ve had many sessions with Maud (all have been wonderful) On my trip last spring with my brother (when we were planning on driving 20 hrs straight) I asked Maud for Distant Reiki and found I had an energy that was surprisingly great.

Our deep and loving connection

I was speaking with a friend yesterday and she said, "Do you have your magic wand?" I had just picked up this little paperweight with the angel inside and had placed it by my phone...and was looking at it when she asked me that question!

I was speaking with a friend yesterday and she said, “Do you have your magic wand?” I had just picked up this little paperweight with the angel inside, had placed it by my phone, and was looking at it when she asked me that question!

A couple of months ago, I asked my friend, Sister Madonna Buder, to keep me in her prayers for an issue that I was having difficulty turning over. She replied that she would love to pray for me, and as a matter of fact was competing in (yet another) triathlon the following Saturday and would dedicate a portion of it to me. I felt like a weight had been taken from me when she said that.

This weekend, I’ll be riding a bike 25 miles. Nothing like an Ironman, but still, I’ll riding for (by my estimation) at least 2 1/2 hours and would love to be able to offer this time to those who would like prayer.

Is there is something that you’ve been carrying …something that you haven’t been able to let go of (even though you feel you really need to)? If this speaks to you, please comment (as specifically as seems right for you) with your request, and I will hold you in prayer during my ride. Your request (or requests) can be for yourself, a friend, animal or situation that is important to you.

In a book by David Holmstom, published in the mid-nineties, When Prayers Are Answered, Dr. Doyle explains the amazing healing he had of an open fracture he sustained as an adolescent. Doyle was participating in a judo tournament when an opponent sized his finger and bent it back until the bone protruded. Seeing the bone was broken, his instructor sent him to the hospital for x-rays. He sat in the emergency room for three-quarters of an hour, waiting for a doctor. While he waited, he pondered the biblical story of God healing Job when the latter prayed for his friends.

He says, ‘I began talking to and comforting all those people with me in the emergency room until I completely forgot about my hand. When I did look down again, the bone had slipped into place. When I got my x-ray the technician said that the bone had been broken, set, and sealed already…and that I shouldn’t’ have come to the emergency room at all….My interpretation of the healing was that your hand exists in your thought. So when your thinking is correct, nothing , including time, can stop the healing process.

We are at the verge of being forced by physics into accepting the fact that thoughts and body cannot be separated. What are the laws of Mind? That’s the renaissance. That’s what’s coming, and that is why I pray.”

From The Gentle Art of Blessing, pp 34-36

New beginnings

Noah on the couch (with his cute paws folded)

Noah on the couch (with his cute paws folded)

Thank you everyone for the blessings and wonderful wishes for Tom and Lindsay’s wedding. It was better than I could have imagined,… in every way (and I will be posting a picture when I get them).

Possibly every family has a couple of members who are not easy around each other, and I am no exception, but I made a decision that I was going to be open and welcoming to everyone, including the two who, judging from past experience, have been more of a challenge. When we first saw each other at the rehearsal dinner, they averted their eyes and looked like they wanted to escape, but I knew that if I was going to feel peace during the events (and after) I needed to look past this. I thought that maybe if I extended a genuine welcome (which I really was feeling), told them that I was so happy that they had come, it would be the needed opening. They were cordial.

The wedding was like stepping into a fairy tale. All of  Lindsay and Tom’s hard work and planning had paid off and even the weather cooperated. It felt like we were being carried on the wings of Love. Even the air seemed like it was so full of joy that it would burst with happiness.

Before the dancing began, I got in line for the bathrooms and as I looked out to the beautiful lawn I saw the two family members walking away from the wedding, heading toward the cars. My first thought was, “No, you can’t leave yet! Don’t you at least want to try to say something nice to me? Anything?…like, “Beautiful wedding, or this is such a special day for Tom and Lindsay, you must be so proud”, or anything nice, kind, or open?”

As I stood in that line, I had the realization that I was at a crossroads. These people, that I had tried to please for so much of my life, didn’t want to be involved with me; they didn’t even want to say hello or goodbye. I’d known it for a long time, had always felt this, but I also always believed that I could do something, should do something, to change it, to make them see me differently.

I watched them leave, and wondered if I should go after them, and a small voice inside said, “No. Let them go. They have their own choices to make, their own lives to lead, in the way they choose. Now, you need to choose.” I don’t quote much scripture (from any religious tradition) but the words that came next were:

“I set before you life and death. Choose life.”

In that moment, I  knew that I could turn one way and follow them, try to convince them to stay, to make-up, to forget the past and begin again with me, or I could turn the other way, and re-join a wedding that filled my heart with Love. …a place that was celebrating Life, Love, and a Grace-filled new beginning.

I let them go, and as I watched them walk away, I could feel that they were also just a mirror of me: the small part of me that is still walled off, still afraid of getting my feelings hurt, still afraid that I am not getting enough, or the right kind, of attention.

But I also saw that this wasn’t the biggest part of me…it was a remnant. They are still a part of the quilt that makes up my life; the millions of little patches, threads, and beads that move from center to periphery, from large to smaller pieces, some from small to larger, all in a way that I could not possibly orchestrate, all in utter, incomprehensible, perfection.

As I walked back to the wedding, I could feel what can only be described as a blossoming inside my heart. I saw my son and his new wife beaming, laughing, surrounded by family and friends…and I felt that patch of the quilt that once only said, “Tom”, grow and expand to “Tom and Lindsay and the new family that they are beginning to create”.

…and I could see another little patch begin to take form…it wasn’t quite on the quilt yet but I could feel him or her somewhere very close, and the thought flooded me with goosebumps. It is all perfect.

“Don’t look further for answers: be the solution. …Make a promise to stop getting in the way of the blessing that you are. Take a deep breath, remember to have fun, and begin”Jonathan H. Ellerby

Something truly human: choosing love

My porch with Esther

Esther by my chair

Last week I pulled a comfy, old, cat-scratched chair outside, and put it on my tiny porch. Having it there makes opening the door a challenge, but this isn’t the door that we use most of the time anyway. After I make coffee and feed the cats, I come out here with my cup of coffee and sit. I do something else too… I think about the people who have asked for prayer, and the people and animals that I love, and the ones I’m still struggling with, and I see each one as happy and fulfilled. This way, I have loving relationships with all.

I love this spot, but I know that it doesn’t matter if I am sitting on this little porch, or on a mountain top, in a church, a monastery, or a temple. The portal into the Divine realm, the place of Infinite Good, is in my own heart. It is such a uniquely human quality/gift to be able to do this; to choose to love,…and this is what I was born to do…this is my job while I’m here on this earth.

Of all the fears that haunt us, from fear of the dark when we are young to fear of snakes and high places, there is nothing to compare to the fear that we may have wasted our lives…The challenge is not to rise above the level of everyday life by some superhuman effort. The challenge is to find something truly human to do everyday of our lives.

Rabbi Harold Kushner (from the book, When All You’ve Ever Wanted Isn’t Enough)

The open door of intuition: The Spirit of Truth

Noah heading out into the garden this morning

Noah heading out into the garden this morning

Have you ever just known that something was right? Even when it didn’t make sense? Even when there was no way that it was possible? And have you ever held your belief anyway; persistently turning away from those voices of doubt and reason (the voices that were really in your own mind, but seemed to be coming out of the mouths of people around you…the ones who didn’t want you to be disappointed or deluded enough to believe in something that you couldn’t figure out the “hows” of?).

I love hearing stories of how others did just this: held their vision and came to see it become their reality. If you have a story that you would like to share; a story of hope (when things seemed hopeless), faith beyond your ability to understand, or healing, please tell it here. There are an awful lot of stories that we hear everyday of “senseless” violence, loss, and hatred…and I know that there are so many, many more stories of “senseless” (we can’t understand how this wonderful thing happened) blessings, recovery, and Love.”…..Grace, Goodness, and Love may not make sense to our small, limited selves, but they are who we really are at our centers.

Faith does not depend on physical facts or on the evidence of the senses because it is born of intuition, or the Spirit of Truth, ever living at the center of our being. Its action is infinitely higher than that of reason. It is founded on Truth, while reasoning or intellectual argument is founded on evidence of the senses and is not reliable.

Intuition is the open end, within one’s own being, of the invisible channel ever connecting each individual with God. Faith is, as it were, a ray of light shot out from the central sun, God, one end of which ray comes into your being and mine through the open door of intuition.” from,  Lessons in Truth, by H. Emilie Cady (1848-1941)