Tag Archive | love

A visitor bearing gifts

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It has been a long time since I posted a picture of either myself or Jack on the blog…so here we are sending you so much love today!

Several days ago, I found out that someone close to me had betrayed me in a way that quite literally sent me into shock. For hours, my body shook and my heart felt like it would explode. Later that same night, as I tried to sleep but found it impossible…thoughts about the hurtful event felt like spears being shot into my brain and I didn’t think that I could stop them. Feelings of anger and confusion made sleep, the one thing that I thought might bring some temporary relief, impossible.

I tried to say, “This is happening for me, not to me”, but it felt empty and pitiful compared to my feelings…it felt like utter bullshit.

At about 2 a.m. as I lie there in my cocoon of hell, the word, “kindness” came into my mind. I kept repeating it and as I did, I became aware that the angry thoughts, and the reliving of the betrayal, were such unkind things to do to myself. They felt like daggers, because they were just that….and I was doing this to myself.

So I started repeating,

“Be kind to yourself. Think kind thoughts, or no thoughts. This is so hard but don’t become hard. Become soft, stay kind. Let this open you up to more love, life, and goodness. Don’t close down. Don’t become hard.” The sense of relief that I experienced was small and I felt powerless as I was then overwhelmed with sadness instead of rage, but I knew that deep sadness was appropriate and that anger was a cover up.

In the past, anger had been a default emotion for me. I thought that I was in control (or it felt that way) if I was angry…but sadness? Sadness was frightening. Sadness seemed like it would render me useless, pitiful, and unable to move. Anger felt like it contained within it the energy to change and so I had been reluctant to turn away from what felt like an old ally. But I had the awareness that the sleeplessness and sadness were working something in me…similar to the feelings that I’d experience on a vision quest many years earlier. I was in a new place and I needed to trust it, even though it felt awful.

Sleep still did not come and so at 5 a.m. I got up, made a cup of tea,  went outside, and asked to see my part in the betrayal. I could not have asked that question 12 hrs. earlier, and if anyone had said, “So how did you bring this into your life? Or “How did you attract this?” (both legitimate and good questions which I know to be the truth), I would’ve become enraged and probably shot back, “How dare you insinuate that I had any part in this?”

But I was ready to ask myself, and within minutes an answer came; I saw how for several years I’d had so many negative and unfriendly thoughts about this man and in that moment, my heart opened and I sobbed uncontrollably. There was no blame of him or myself; there was only the space that an epiphany creates. There was room for something new to emerge and I sensed that it would heal me in a way that I could never do by trying to change myself. It was Grace…my part in it was simply to stay open (simple but certainly not easy).

We all know people who have been so hurt by others that they shut themselves off from life. They become hard and closed-down in an effort to shield themselves from the inevitable pain that happens as we live these human lives. There is going to be pain. There are going to be betrayals, or what we believe in the moment are betrayals. There is going to be loss or the feeling that we have lost something/someone, but what we do in these moments, holds the key to our freedom and happiness. One of my favorite quotes by W. Clement Stone is, “Big doors swing on little hinges”. Deciding to refuse anger and blame and ask what my part was seemed small at the time.

During the experience that I just went through, I could see these 2 paths clearly and I knew that the old way for me was dead. I made a decision to stay open, not knowing that a light would shine so quickly on the new path, bringing with it a great feeling of relief. I didn’t know if I would get an answer at all, or if it did, when it would come… an hour, a day, a month?

The pain that this incident caused was my wake-up call. It was a gift and I recognize it as such.

I now believe even more in the concept that we do not heal ourselves. Healing happens when we metaphorically speaking, stop pouring salt in our wounds: stop blaming anyone, including ourselves, for the unhappiness in our lives. Stop looking to others to change toward us so we can be happy. Stop looking at anything outside of us for wholeness. We live in a field of Grace…it does the work if we let it.

I’m so grateful to be able to share this with you. If you are ever in a situation like I was, I hope that something here will help you to see a new way too. I wish you freedom and deep peace today.

The Guest House

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.

Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

Rumi
(translation by Coleman Barks)

 

 

 

 

loving the mystery

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“HOME” a new mixed media piece of mine…the eggs are from a local family who raise chickens for the love of it. (it’s for sale on MY ARTWORK PAGE)

 

Last Thursday, I drove by a house that almost took my breath away. I parked my car and walked down the old tree-lined street, from the house to downtown Burlington, imagining what it would be like to call this home.

I’ve been looking at houses around the area for several years, but none have come close to the appeal of this one. It is everything that I’ve been looking for; it’s large and old with several porches and fireplaces, a nice backyard, and, it’s only ten minutes from my son, daughter-in-law, and grandson’s home.

My emotions and mind were scrambling. It was thrilling to see something that looked like the fulfillment of a dream, but within minutes, my feelings plummeted into doubt and despair. There was no way that I could afford this house.

I knew that I had to change my thoughts, so I began to say, “I am always in the right place at the right time. If this is meant to be my home, it will happen, even if I have no idea how.” I felt much better, but still had to work on my mind which seemed to slip into the feeling of desperate longing for something that seemed out of reach.

This morning while I was on a walk, again thinking about this house, I heard myself say, “If I am ready this will happen” but those words felt discouraging. The subtle message in them was, “If I am good enough, If I’ve done enough work to deserve it, If I’ve grown spiritually enough to line up with this kind of abundance…” and of course, a part of me never thinks that I’m good enough, or that I’ve done enough, or ever will.

At that moment, I changed my mind. Not about wanting this home or moving, but my attitude about myself. I began to say, “If this is right for me, it will happen.” It was such an exhilarating feeling to go from, “Oh, I hope that I’m good enough. I hope that I am ready!”, with all that this implies about being “less than” and needed to elevate myself, to, “I am open and ready for the right home: one that matches my desire.” I was suddenly on equal footing with my dream, instead of seeing it as better than me.

There has to be harmony to this move. If I desperately struggle and try to force it, I will carry that energy with me.The energy that we use to accomplish our goals and dreams floats around the final manifestation/outcome like a bubble, attracting more of the same. If I struggle to get something/make something happen, I will struggle, or feel as though I need to struggle, to keep it …or get rid of it. Desperate energy repels what we want most, and most of us have gone after something like this at least once in our lives. I have many times.

When I was single, I couldn’t stand to be without a date, so I went out with guys whom I knew weren’t right for me. I didn’t want to be alone, and I feared no one else would come along, or if they did, they wouldn’t be interested in me, so I said yes when I should have said no, or I’d desperately chase a guy that I was sure was the one for me, only to have him run, quickly, away.

It took me a long time to learn about trusting the greater harmony of Life…and sometimes I still forget, especially when I really want something. But I love having the opportunity to look at it, and talk about it, right in the middle of it, and in this moment, I am at peace with the mystery. I actually feel excitement and adventure in the air, and it feels like what life should be…not something that is completely predictable, foreseeable, or known, but something that has elements of wonder and promise, punctuated with occasional surprises that leave us happily speechless.

Will I eventually buy this home? I don’t know. But I know that I am open and I know that whatever happens, it will be right, because I really am always in the right place at the right time.

“There is nothing to change bur out concept of self. Humanity is a single being in spite of its many forms and faces, and there is in it only such seeming separation as we find in our own being when we are dreaming. The pictures and circumstances we see in dreams are the creations of our own imagination and have no existence save in ourselves. The same is true of the pictures and circumstances we see in this dream of life. They reveal our concepts of ourselves. As soon as we succeed in transforming self, our world will dissolve and reshape itself in harmony with that which our change affirms.” From, The Search, by Neville Goddard

 

What will I do today?

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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