Kipling and The Metaphorical Shoebox

Kipling and The Metaphorical Shoebox

‘Brother Square-Toes’

If you can keep your head when all about you   

    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,   

If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,

    But make allowance for their doubting too;   

If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,

    Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,

Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,

    And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

 

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;   

    If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;   

If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster

    And treat those two impostors just the same;   

If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken

    Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,

Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,

    And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

 

If you can make one heap of all your winnings

    And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,

And lose, and start again at your beginnings

    And never breathe a word about your loss;

If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew

    To serve your turn long after they are gone,   

And so hold on when there is nothing in you

    Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

 

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,   

    Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,

If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,

    If all men count with you, but none too much;

If you can fill the unforgiving minute

    With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,   

Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,   

    And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

-Rudyard Kipling

 

Rudyard Kipling has managed to weave together everything that I aspire to be in one poem. In reading his writing, I am reminded that I spend many days listening to others who for one reason or another have chosen me as their confidant. In this listening, I am often left wondering why some are left so broken from life while others continue to move forward with hope regardless of circumstance. What is it that separates these two very different approaches to life?

 

My first thought is that this separateness is created by a gap in faith, but I believe that does not fully explain the dichotomy. The fact that some are left struggling with darker emotions while others rise above is both fascinating and terrifying. Terrifying in realizing these lost souls could easily be me. We are all only a few thoughts and decisions away from being stuck in a dark place . We all have the potential to embrace the darkness rather than the light.

 

One possible answer is in the weaving together of our stories while not clinging to this narrative as if a baby to a beloved blanket. It is in feeling the scars but rising above the pain. It is in leaving those behind that have treated us as less than while not lingering or looking back. It is in not hanging on to a metaphorical shoebox of wrongs hidden deep away in the shadows of our psyche.

 

Kipling say it perfectly with, “If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster, And treat those two impostors just the same;If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken, Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken, And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools.”  We have all flirted with this shoebox of wrongs at one time and stayed in this space far longer than expected. It is a dangerous place filled with a bitterness that is frightening if allowed to fester. Triumph and disaster are just that, two pivotal life moments each having a place in the tapestry of life. Without sadness, there is no joy; without anger there is no love and without failure there is no gain. One requires a concrete measure of where to begin in order to set goals and achieve tangible change.

 

It is only in lingering in this shoebox that one can get stuck. You will find those in this place proclaiming how life has mistreated them, committed great wrongs and where the blame lies. Remaining the victim allows the pain to completely dictate a life. Overcome by the shadows of the shoebox, one can only see darkness, missing out on all of the many beautiful things that life offers. Kipling speaks to this with, “If you can make one heap of all your winnings, And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss, And lose, and start again at your beginnings, And never breathe a word about your loss”. Heeding Kipling’s words, I make every possible effort to avoid this shoebox filled with bitterness. I no longer feel jaded, spending precious life energy pointing fingers at those that have peppered my life in unforgiving ways. I simply look at these same people as knots in a beautiful and colorful tapestry of my life, nothing more.

 

Empty your shoebox let it all go. Don’t carry around things that no longer serve, even if those that we love refuse to let the story go. The rehashing of the past does nothing but reaffirm harm. It has no value in the present. Everyone has something that they struggle with, tucked deeply away. Work each and everyday to write new stories that do not need to be buried in a box, stories that uplift and serve a greater purpose. Occasionally you may still tuck away a few morsels of regret, but do not linger. The journey is happening now and the road is just ahead.

 

Fragile-Handle with Care

Fragile-Handle with Care

A Song of Living

Because I have loved life, I shall have no sorrow to die.

I have sent up my gladness on wings, to be lost in the blue of the sky.

I have run and leaped with the rain, I have taken the wind to my breast.

My cheeks like a drowsy child to the face of the earth I have pressed.

Because I have loved life, I shall have no sorrow to die.

I have kissed young love on the lips, I have heard his song to the end,

I have struck my hand like a seal in the loyal hand of a friend.

I have known the peace of heaven, the comfort of work done well.

I have longed for death in the darkness and risen alive out of hell.

Because I have loved life, I shall have no sorrow to die.

I gave a share of my soul to the world, when and where my course is run.

I know that another shall finish the task I surely must leave undone.

I know that no flower, nor flint was in vain on the path I trod.

As one looks on a face through a window, through life I have looked on God,

Because I have loved life, I shall have no sorrow to die.

Amelia Burr

1878-1968

We are such fragile creatures. The gentleness of the human disposition is often shrouded in a rigid shield used to navigate a somewhat unforgiving world. Underneath all of this protective gear we are naturally soft, exuding light and love. I feel this light from others even when I do not want to, inspiring instant connection regardless of outside packaging. I do not care what religion, political affiliation or race you are. I only care what softness you hide inside and how I might see it better. I question how many layers have been sewn in order to function and how long it will take for me to unlock these layers witnessing the brilliance of a soul. I have little time for those that hide indefinitely under false pretense. I want to know the real person and deeply so.

As one that walks this edge every day, I tend to wear my softness on my sleeve. I cry, laugh and become sullen at the most inopportune times. Labeled sensitive as a child, I was told to grow a stiff upper lip, toughen up and not be so sensitive. This struggle persisted and is one that I grapple with even today.  I have found the only way I can manage interacting with others is by putting up a few walls. If I hold hearts too closely, I am ineffective as a leader in becoming sensitized to the lion’s share of their pain. Once again, I find myself walking the edge. I find ways to be receptive while at the same time creating some necessary distance. The whole charade can be exhausting and one in which I never relish the process.

 

My soul is full of whispered song;

My blindness is my sight;

The shadows that I feared so long

Are all alive with light.

Alice Cary

1820-1871

 

In addition to the energetic qualities each of us exhibit, we inhabit a delicate disposition and our physical bodies often fail us. Recently, after having some unpleasant side effects from a medication, I found myself feeling my fragility more than I liked. Having no illusions as to the longevity of this body, I am well aware that I am on the backside of midlife and am heading into the next chapter of my life. You will not find me wishing to be twenty; I welcome the wisdom that only travels with age and experience. I aspire to remain functional for as long as I am afforded and do all within my power to facilitate this. It is only when I have done all that I can to improve my environment, but still find myself falling short, that I get frustrated.

In moments such as these I call upon my faith and remember that I too am fragile. I try to honor this vulnerability and treat myself with as much empathy as I would another. On days in which I am far less than perfect, which is every day, I try to be gentle with myself. I cradle my budding and precious soul as I would a beautiful piece of stained glass forged by multiple life experiences in the heat of living a full life. After all, we are all just shards of glass reflecting our light out into a world made of rocks and stones.

 

“Some people look for a beautiful place, others make a place beautiful.”

― Hazrat Inayat Khan

 

It is with this revelation that I find we should all have a “Fragile, Handle with Care” sign worn daily. This fragility warrants gentle handling in all instances, one crack and we become weak and prone to breakage. I would venture to say that we all have moments in our life in which we are in danger of being shattered. Amanda Burr’s poem, A Song of Living speaks to this with, “I gave a share of my soul to the world, when and where my course is run. I know that another shall finish the task I surely must leave undone.” We are all unfinished in some way, jagged pieces and all.

Simply by showing up,  we forge these broken pieces into a beautiful and loving piece of art. We will never be perfect and should never ascribe to this paradigm. We can only be the best version of ourselves each new day, learning and growing as we go.  I have known some older and much wiser people whose souls shine as brightly as the sun. They have lived into the truest version of self and their brightness is more beautiful than the greatest works of art.

Know that all glass breaks, it is only just a matter of time. When your fragile pieces become damaged, take heart in the fact that you can forge them back together with love and light. It takes much time and reflection to pick up all of the pieces and lovingly create a new version of self. Enjoy the process, look to each day as a creative expression of self, built upon newfound wisdom and the oldest of scars. Use every experience to reinvent yourself shining more brightly with each attempt. Slowly, over time, you too will shine like a thousand stars in the night sky.

The Sacred Rose

The Sacred Rose

Just as the rose consists of many petals held together, so the person who attains to the unfoldment of the soul begins to show many different qualities. The qualities emit fragrance in the form of a spiritual personality. The rose  has a beautiful structure, and the personality which proves the unfoldment  of the soul has also a fine structure, in manner, in dealing with others,  in speech, in action. The atmosphere of a spiritual being pervades the air like the perfume of a rose.

Hazrat Inayat Khan

 

Life can be limiting at times. Despite these limitations, I have the deeply held desire to unfold completely by sharing my light even when I feel constricted in the process.  My light, my spirit longs for the freedom of eternity. This journey of a lifetime can be difficult, the  pathway strewn with thorns. One is meant to walk this path with the intention to become more like a rose in its infinite perfection, greeting each new day with a continued commitment to purity of the heart.

This journey requires a freeing from the entanglements of a thorny and messy life. Rilke speaks to this unfolding of the soul in the opening poem of  “Unfolding”. His words serve as a powerful metaphor for a spiritual journey and one that has led to much introspection and participation on my part.

Reflecting on the beautiful imagery of Rilke’s poem, I cannot help but see associations in my own life. My favorite flower growing up was never the rose. Roses were far too perfect and classic for my taste. Draw to lilacs and lilies, I feel in love with their elegant yet simple aesthetic. My home had a gorgeous lilac bush right behind it. The vibrant purple color and seductive smell wafted into the house cementing the sensation of these flowers into my senses. My first memory of roses was as a dancer. I received bouquets of roses after performances; big beautiful and colorful roses that intimidated me with their boldness. I always felt undeserving of this grand gesture and found the whole experience a bit over the top for my liking.

As a newly married young woman, I rarely received flowers from my husband. He didn’t understand or enjoy the practice of gifting, stating it was a commercial enterprise and one he refused to participate in. I witnessed the many times my father bought roses for my mother even into their fifth decade of marriage and was sustained by this display of everlasting love, something I was sure I would never have. All the while I had begun the journey of spiritual awakening by taking tentative steps toward the unfolding of self. It was a rocky time in which metaphorical thorns pricked at me constantly reminding me of my own imperfections and mortality.

 

“Often the prickly thorn produces tender roses.”

–  Ovid

 

Within the darkest of days, one can always find some small ray of light. During this rocky time I gave birth to my children, rediscovered a love for education and cherished the many days spent dancing in the studio. The thorns irritated only when I choose to step off the path, distracted by my limitations. These limitations seemed to abound; a long term marriage in which I was not valued, silencing my voice while allowing others to speak for me and shrinking away from my inner light. I was tired, frustrated, sick and disillusioned. Finally, in a moment of severe distress, I was forced to evaluate everything leading to a deeply uncomfortable unfolding. Extremely vulnerable, I was forced to break down walls I had built over many years in order to navigate my unhappy life. Fearful yet determined, I choose not to look back and asked my guides to help me “see” which direction was meant for me. I did not trust my inner voice, at least not yet.

In this intense moment of unfolding, I recognized and honored that young girl inside who loved to write, dance,  sit in the grass while making dandelion chains and was a truly free spirit. Gentle-hearted by nature, the hard exterior I had worn for so long was now ill fitted to my new sensibility. I began to recognize that I was in fact a beautiful, intelligent, creative and loving soul. No amount of thorns could take that from me unless I choose to give it. Light was shining through the cracks in my armor ushering in a necessary yet chaotic fracturing of self. My old self that had moved about the world hidden and invisible, as well as my true self that was free to express all the light and beauty within. Each part of this fractured self was important to my wholeness. Nothing exists without a balance and as such, we are nothing without having visited our shadow and making peace with it. I continue to use light and spirit as my guide and have not looked back since.

I cannot help but be mystified by spirit. In shining my light outward I found another soul, one that gently tended roses out in the desert. Having been witness to the beauty he nurtured, in times of unimaginable grief, I can only say that when souls speak to one another it transcends all else.  I am astounded that our lives have intersected at this point, one blooming rose calling to another. A call finally heard and answered.

                                 “Little flower, but if I could understand what you are, root and all in all, I should know what God and man is.”

–  Tennyson

 

Today, I still encounter thorns on my path but they are far and few between. I am a trembling young bud continuing to bloom completely into eternal life. Each day requires a rejection of fear and a conscious acceptance of love and the unknown. As I continue to unfold, I find the thorns less piercing, more manageable and the blossoms breathtaking. When I refuse to hide who I am, I  find the limitations less constricting. They have loosened their grip and I can finally breathe. I know complete perfection is unattainable and just as each bloom is unique so too am I. With this I allow myself to just be and bloom into the unique and beautiful soul that I am called to be.

 

   

Look to the Sky

Look to the Sky

 

“I was wedded to all the stars of the sky.There was not a single star left, and I married every one of them with great spiritual pleasure. Then I married the moon.”

― Ibn Arabi

 

I have so many questions. I dwell in the space of the unknown and reside there comfortably, most of the time. I rarely become frustrated and make a conscience decision to quiet the voice of uncertainty daily. It is only when I am tired or experiencing change that my resolve weakens and I begin to question more fervently. Thankfully, I now recognize this as a symptom of stress and find that by gazing at the sky, I am able to calm myself. The immediate connection I sense with the universe feels like a warm blanket enveloping me with an all knowing wisdom. My brain stops the constant repeat of anxious questioning and for a few moments, I am at peace.

 

How does looking at the sky have such a profound effect on well being? I  suspect that frequent sky gazing creates cords of connection to the universe and the energy that is our life force. This life force, one single and universal heartbeat, encompasses all life as we know it. Taking some deep and measured breathes, I feel this life force enter my body, permeate every cell and take up residence. All anxiety is immediately lifted and a calming sensation settles in. Any lingering questions become less important in the vortex of this energy.

 

Dwell as near as possible to the channel

in which your life flows.

Henry David Thoreau

 

My frequent desire is to bottle this energy and carry it around with me every day. I make every attempt to memorize the peaceful feeling and return to this place in times of unrest. It requires a letting go that is difficult to master when overcome with the many distractions of daily life. I actively practice by visualizing the expansive feel of the universe whenever I find myself in the company of anyone that may be struggling. I make a herculean effort not to take on the heaviness or darkness of their energy.  I have my own dark corners to work on and have no interest in taking on the soul work of others.

 

The minute I heard my first love story,

I started looking for you, not knowing

how blind that was.

Lovers don’t finally meet somewhere,

they’re in each other all along.

Rumi

 

Finally, looking to the sky evokes the astounding beauty of creation. We are all so fortunate to inhabit this magnificent and forgiving planet.  By focusing on this miracle, I find some immediate perspective of my place in relation to all else. If I do not show up with love in my heart each day,  I will have lost a valuable opportunity to embrace the beauty of this life fully. Rather than worry about riches and professional acclaim, I worry about not having loved enough even when given this one precious life to do so.  Looking at the sky reminds me in the most intimate of ways that this journey will in fact end. Everything has a season, including me. Looking to the sky reminds me of what is important and what is not. It is all very simple even within an exterior of complexity and uncertainty.  On this day, look to the sky, breathe deeply and let the life force of the universe take the wheel for awhile. Don’t worry, it can handle it.

 

Looking to the Full Moon

Looking to the Full Moon

Faithful Lover

The moon came to me last night

With a sweet question.

She said,

“The sun has been my faithful lover

For millions of years.

Whenever I offer my body to him

Brilliant light pours from his heart.

Thousands then notice my happiness

And delight in pointing

Toward my beauty.

Hafiz,

Is it true that our destiny

Is to turn into Light

Itself?”

And I replied,

Dear moon,

Now that your love is maturing,

We need to sit together

Close like this more often

So I might instruct you

How to become

Who you

Are!

Hafiz

 

 

I am a woman of the moon. I am a summer baby born in the sign of Cancer and a few days before the first man landed on the moon in 1969. So many of my life’s pivotal events have centered around the moon that I have begun to feel the connection is much more intentional than suspected. With the full moon occurring tonight, I cannot help but take notice of all the major life changes chasing me down.

 

To begin with, my daughter and her boyfriend have decided the timing is right to step into adult life fully and move out.  My daughter has lived with me for a few years and I can think of nothing but blessings for having had this opportunity.  I doubted we could tolerate living together at the onset given the great disparity in our personalities. I had visions of complete chaos in my home, loud music, loud voices, late night soirees and junk food everywhere. In actuality, I have had a front row seat to her growth.  It has been nothing less than an amazing evolution to observe.

 

In addition to my housing transition, I have been dating someone. He is a wonderful man that has shown me in the most authentic way what it means to truly love another. Being in this relationship has required that I move about in a much less guarded manner.  While this can be exhilarating, it is at the same time terrifying. Having closed my heart off for a number of years, I can happily say that I have embraced the fear and vulnerability by choosing to be present in this relationship each and every day. Relinquishing some of my hard fought independence has not been easy but absolutely necessary for my growth.  

 

My son is also experiencing transition. After graduating from college and breaking up with a long-term girlfriend, he was a bit lost. Unsure of his next step and alone for the first time, he took a year to explore. Watching a child struggle is never easy. I had to exercise all of my mothering skills by quietly supporting him without being obtrusive, always a delicate balance. Thankfully, he is nearing the light at the end of this tunnel. He is fully employed in a job that is a stepping-stone for his future career goals. He seems satisfied with his life trajectory after a period of disillusionment and I could not be more proud of him.

 

Bring your wings tonight

I want to fly with you

Through the galaxies and sparkling stars

Elena Notara

 

At the same time, I find myself quickly approaching the half century mark. My older sister will meet this milestone in September and I will do the same in two years leaving me perplexed as to how quickly my life has accelerated.  I choose to greet this milestone as a mid life opportunity rather than a crisis. What is it that I feel the most passionate about and how can I move toward that passion while still supporting myself in this fiscally motivated world?

 

Finally, I am also on the precipice of menopause and have the good fortune of experiencing all of the physical wonders that this life change can bring. A woman’s body is an amazing and I am in awe of how many changes we weather with gusto. I tire of the stigma that menopause is a sickness and an uncomfortable physical transformation. My body has carried me through many experiences; birthing my children, years of rigorous classical ballet training, pleasure, pain and now sickness.  I aspire to respect the current process and approach it with a divine wisdom that centuries of women have exhibited before me.

 

This is all a very long-winded way to say that I am feeling the intensity and pull of this full moon in specific relief. I feel it so deeply that at times it hurts. It is as if I am a butterfly at last being birthed from my cocoon. I feel all of the constrictions that have held me thus far and the freedom of the open sky beckoning. I have a deep desire to shed everything that is not authentic. This shedding leaves me feeling bare and unprotected from a barrage of elements.

 

Because of this uncomfortable vulnerability, I feel the constant duality of wanting to escape this transformation by hiding away until this energy passes while at the same time wanting to run directly into the eye of the storm. The night sky calls to me, mapping out my place in the greater universe. I belong out there, with the stars and the moon. I feel it deeply in my bones as if a homesickness. I know that all of these transitions, while unsettling, are my pathway to this flight. I look to the sky on this full moon for comfort and bathe in the light feeling at once as if I am home and all is well.

 

A Sugar Manifesto

A Sugar Manifesto

When did I become the exception in regards to diet? Why is it so strange to eat only when hungry? Why is it so difficult for others to accept good habits? I wish I knew the answers.  Today being a holiday, I always find it especially challenging to dodge all of these questions. A family picnic, parades, dinner parties, weddings, this time of year is rife with situational landmines for people such as myself.

 

Morning smoothie packets to put in the freezer. This way I rotate greens and always have one ready no matter how busy I get.

 

I am baffled as to why eating healthfully has become such a point of discussion. I walk into a grocery store and see people buying things that do not even classify as food in my book, chock full of chemicals and fake ingredients. They look at me as if I am the one with the sickness because I continue feeding my body healthfully no matter what day it is. I never “cheat”. There is no such thing as cheating if I want to keep on walking, hiking and dancing. I chose living a full life over a store bought cheesecake…hands down.

 

My idea of a “treat” is a grain free, dairy free, nut free and refined sugar free cookie. They are incredibly sweet to me and I never feel deprived. Some in my family still raise an eyebrow or two when they learn what I exclude from my diet. My father is convinced that if I remove grains from my diet, I have nowhere else to get carbohydrates and therefore must be deficient. I simply don’t have time to argue the merits of my diet any longer. I also can’t spend another minute of my life energy explaining why I only eat when I am hungry, which is usually twice a day. Why do I care if society has completely bought into the made up structure of three meals a day? People shovel food into their mouths simply because a clock tells them too. That is madness to me. We eat to live, not live to eat.

 

 

 

My July 4th mid day feed. Pesto Chicken Pizza from the Healing Kitchen. (AIP and Paleo). http://grazedandenthused.com/pesto-chicken-pizza-from-the-healing-kitchen-paleoaip/

 

I know this way of life works and my doctors see that I am stable. Most importantly, I feel better when I eat this way. So the next time you attend a family function, or a holiday party, be careful what you say and how you judge others. Do not force ice cream on someone and give him or her a verbal lashing for not participating in your sugar fest and do not become the sugar dealer of your family. It is a drug and you would probably not force it upon a diabetic. Realize that I, like others, have made a very deliberate and conscious decision to do what is best for my health.

 

One of the many variations of my “treat” cookies. (Paleo, Grain free, Refined Sugar Free) http://mysticcookie.com/lighter-chocolate-chip-cookies/

 

After much self-work, I never crave “fake” food, I am never without and I feel satiated. Please do not pass along your misgivings about how you eat to me; I categorically refuse to take on that burden. Cho0se to hold your tongue instead of offering a litany of misguided nutritional information. It may make you feel better for your choices, but it does nothing to me beyond making me once again aware of the level of ignorance in regards to nutrition. It also makes me sad that people do not exercise enough self-love to eat well. It is a gift that you give yourself and well worth the effort.

 

 

Be Yourself. Everyone Else is Taken.

Be Yourself. Everyone Else is Taken.

“You deserve a lover who wants you disheveled, with everything and all the reasons that wake you up in a haste and the demons that won’t let you sleep. You deserve a lover who makes you feel safe, who can consume this world whole if he walks hand in hand with you; someone who believes that his embraces are a perfect match with your skin. You deserve a lover who wants to dance with you, who goes to paradise every time he looks into your eyes and never gets tired of studying your expressions. You deserve a lover who listens when you sing, who supports you when you feel shame and respects your freedom; who flies with you and isn’t afraid to fall.You deserve a lover who takes away the lies and brings you hope, coffee, and poetry.”

*Frida Kahlo*

 

Loving self is one of the hardest things we all must learn. The internal nitpicking and focus on faults rather than strengths can become incessant. While I have worked on self-acceptance for many years, it still eludes me to some degree. I suspect I fake it better than most, putting on an air of self-confidence. The truth behind this grand deception is that I, like so many others, am still faced with many moments of defeat, self-loathing and dissatisfaction.

 

As a teenager,  the idea of loving self could not have been more foreign. It was ingrained in me not to think too highly of myself by embracing humility fully and completely.  If I felt my confidence rise, I worried that my ego was out of control. The only way I knew to rectify this imaginary ego feast was by putting myself down. I began to constantly think I was not as smart, beautiful or capable as I believed myself to be. Being a dancer did not do much to challenge this negative internal dialogue. Dancers thrive on self criticism. We are never good enough and perfection is something that is always an unattainable goal. What horrible voices to have on repeat in one’s head during formative years.

 

Shortly after discovering the concept of self-love, I began the process of unraveling years of conditioning.  I practiced self-affirmations and still do to this day. Frida Kahlo’s poem is one such affirmation speaking to what she and all women deserve in regards to love. I find these words have a specific purity thereby quieting the negative voices if only for a moment. In no other way are we more vulnerable than when loving another.  Sharing our heart completely without hiding the jagged pieces of our soul, is scary and requires some degree of self-confidence.  One needs to feel deserving of the type of love that is both healthy and good. If one does not feel deserving, it is quite possible to fall into an unhealthy relationship.  One that is dictated by faults and fears rather than loving acceptance.

Reading the following line by Kahlo settled in my bones like an old and familiar wisdom longing to be brought to light.

 

“You deserve a lover who makes you feel safe, who can consume this world whole if he walks hand in hand with you; someone who believes that his embraces are a perfect match with your skin.”

 

We all deserve the intensity of this type of connection. Why settle when the possibility exists for an otherworldly love? I say, never settle into a relationship that does not honor who you authentically are: mind, body and spirit. Settling, while providing some comfort, will have long term consequences. It is never enough to be with someone that does not “see” you and value you for all that you are and all that you are not. Know your worth and be unabashedly who you are. Celebrate all of the unique and beautiful qualities that make you…you. Be open and receive, you deserve it.

 

The Space Between

The Space Between

Oh Beloved,

take me.

Liberate my soul.

Fill me with your love and

release me from the two worlds.

If I set my heart on anything but you

let fire burn me from inside.

Oh Beloved,

take away what I want.

Take away what I do.

Take away what I need.

Take away everything

that takes me from you.

-Rumi

 

I comfortably reside in the space between, constantly vacillating between two ends of a spectrum. The space in which night meets day, darkness greets light and in which ideas percolate like a strong cup of coffee. This space is calm, no unnecessary posturing. Ideas bounce off the boundaries as if molecules of a much larger universe. Nothing is claimed but all is examined. It is a space of introspection and deep thought, a place I like to stay in until ushered out by the demands of the world.

 

If asked what my favorite color, book, food or movie is, I have no answer. It is not that I don’t harbor strong opinions, because I do. Nothing floats up to the surface from this between without great introspection and review. I prefer to let things simmer, mulling over the merits of all positions and the reasons why people hold the beliefs they do. Rumi speaks to this with “Fill me with your love and, release me from the two worlds, If I set my heart on anything but you, let fire burn me from inside.” I wish to be released from the world of right and wrong and black and white. I wish to live in the muted world of gray. I wish to be left alone with an uncluttered brain, free to think and write without the noise of others constant chatter about things that mean very little to me.

 

“When you start to notice the mystical, the mystical will start to notice you.”

― Dacha Avelin

 

Because of these desires, I am often seen as wishy-washy. On the contrary, I have a constant internal dialogue going at all times. I am able to see all sides of an argument, the only exception being when an idea goes against my core beliefs. If this should happen, God be with you. I can be very stubborn and disagreeable about the few things that I hold dear.

 

All of this makes me question what really makes something wrong as opposed to right? Obviously, some values are clear and non negotiable. Thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not bear false witness and so on and so forth. I don’t think many would argue the merits of the Golden Rule. Rather, it is in all other instances, that I vacillate. On a thousand fronts whether it be tattoos, religion, reading material/genre, intimacy or political ideas. I stand in the middle and enjoy a panoramic view of the world discussion.

 

Why then is this space foreign to so many? Would it not be a better world if everyone dwelled closer to the middle rather than the extreme? We are all fragile souls having a very imperfect and human experience. It can be a painful experience when not given breath and space to live an examined life. We require this space to spread our wings and learn how to fly, each in our own unique and beautiful way. The next time you are pressed for an opinion or pulled into a debate, move gently and quietly away from the noise. Do not make a scene; do not hurt the other person. Retreat into the space between and into the calm and serene waters of understanding, faith, hope and love.

 

Messages from Spirit

Messages from Spirit

 

Spirit; It moves within, around and beyond. I feel it most intensely when I relax my body and go to that space, the bridge between this place and the next. The heaviness of gravity lifts if only for a moment and I am free. I love the tranquility and crave the calmness of this space, especially during my daily wade into the sea of uncertainty.  I know that soon enough I will reside here and be free from earthly restrictions. I don’t really mind what others think or what definitions they place.  I do not require specifics…..I just know.

Of late, I have been receiving numerous messages from this space and have taken quiet notice. I have become far too aware over the years to let these messages go unnoticed and instead make the conscience decision to trust this voice without hesitation. I experience these messages in many forms: be it the white butterflies that are representative of my grandmother’s wisdom, the visceral moments of universal connection representing spirit or in vivid dreams that are far too telling to be happenstance.

 

If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.

Henry David Thoreau

 

I had one such dream last night that had me pondering its meaning well into the morning.  Having often dreamt of one particular animal my entire life,  I now view this animal as a guide that only makes an appearance during times of great transformation or emotional wrangling. Similarly, water in my dreams always serves as a spiritual medium for transformation. Last night’s dream had components of both and clearly sent the message that my deep subconscious is harboring fears.  Fearful of new and deep emotions that I have become acquainted with, yet knowing it is precisely these feelings that I require most for growth. 

I accept that these messages are Divine and meant specifically for me, but still wonder what it all means?  My mind circles back and forth between current situations, what aspects are troubling me and what decisions I am wavering on. I often fall back on the metaphor of a candy store to frame this give and take. Walking by this store and looking in the window, one may find it impossible to resist the sweets within. If I choose to enter the store and gorge on the sweets, I will most certainly suffer for this transgression.  If I call upon my will power, I can continue on my way knowing that I have averted a sugar binge. We are all faced with this metaphorical candy store window in many ways. The easiest route is represented by the immediate satisfaction found when entering the store and eating all the sweets.  For me, the spiritual way forward will undoubtedly be looking at the sweets but choosing to continue down the sidewalk into the unknown.

 

“No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path.”

Gautama Buddha, Sayings Of Buddha

 

Messages are as individual and unique as each one of us. One person may look at the sky and see a cloud while another may take away a deeper meaning from viewing this very same sky. The balance for me lies in learning to disregard the outside noise and trust my inner voice. The very same voice that speaks through spirit and knows me better than I know myself. A hallmark of true wisdom is seen in one that recognizes and acts upon this voice more often than not. I continue to aspire to be wise by listening to my spirit when it speaks.

Loving and Letting Go

Loving and Letting Go

Touched by an Angel

We, unaccustomed to courage

exiles from delight

live coiled in shells of loneliness

until love leaves its high holy temple

and comes into our sight

to liberate us into life.

Love arrives

and in its train come ecstasies

old memories of pleasure

ancient histories of pain.

Yet if we are bold,

love strikes away the chains of fear

from our souls

We are weaned from our timidity

In the flush of love’s light

we dare be brave

And suddenly we see

that love costs all we are

and will ever be.

Yet it is only love

which sets us free

Maya Angelou

 

Love and vulnerability, forever bound in a dance of both holding and letting go. It is within this dance that we live, learn and grow, gaining valuable life experience along the way. Loving another is one of the first emotions we experience when looking into our mother’s eyes shortly after entering this world. This love affair with connection continues until we are ready to leave this place, fully spent from a life well lived. Love exists in all types of relationships: friends, siblings, parents, partners and extended family. In fact I would argue that love is the primary emotion in most instances.

Loving another does not mean giving free license for one to do as they will with your heart. On the contrary, loving another may mean doing so from a distance. In some cases loving another may simply be living with the intention not to dislike them and committing to this daily. Those that have experienced abusive relationships will understand this type of love. By holding on to hate for the person that did harm, it only further gives strength and veracity to the negativity.  By loving and letting go, one frees themselves from the vicious cycle of bitterness.

 

“Some of us think holding on makes us strong but sometimes it is letting go”

-Herman Hesse

 

 

All much easier than it sounds you are probably saying. This exemplifies the difficult soul work that we are all called to do. Dr Maya Angelou speaks so clearly about this task with, “old memories of pleasure, ancient histories of pain. Yet if we are bold, love strikes away the chains of fear, from our souls.” We all bear scars from past vulnerabilities that leave us exposed and raw. The fear of future pain can be paralyzing. We are in a sense “chaining our souls” from the experience that it requires for growth.  In this state the energy is not flowing but becomes stagnant. The effect of blocked energy on the body is profound.  It is not beyond the realm of possibilities to see illness in one that is caught in this state.  

As tentative as a child, one must take small steps to open their heart again and again. This requires looking fear in the face and refusing to back down. It is standing on the very edge of the shadows and choosing instead to focus on the light. It is hearing these words, “And suddenly we see that love costs all we are and will ever be. Yet it is only love which sets us free” and upon hearing them allowing the soul freedom to be open and feel completely once again.

 

“The love of the family, the love of one person can heal. It heals the scars left by a larger society. A massive, powerful society.”

Maya Angelou

 

 

As a measured person, my challenge is to constantly check myself when the voices of doubt and fear become loud. I must learn to comfortably walk the space between honoring my intuition and turning away from the fear. This balance feels precarious at times and intimidating. It is only when I chose to let go that I find the most peace in the process. It is in these moments that I am the most clear of my direction. Without the haze of excessive thinking I settle more readily into the unknown with an open heart and mind.

The lesson for me continues to be letting go of the end result in all instances, including when choosing to love another. With adult children on the move and new relationships blossoming, this message could not be timelier. I am thankful for the divine spirit holding me up when I am not able to. I am never alone in my ventures and am at rest knowing that I will be okay and well supported no matter what the outcome.