Monthly Archives: January 2013

Happy New YOU: A New Year’s tribute

As always, I’m thanking God for each of you and all that you represent to me. And understand that my words are carefully chosen and charged with utmost sincerity to express my appreciation for you. I don’t take our association lightly, and know that so much more is “in the works” as we move forward.

I really just want to encourage you as you work toward whatever you’ve given yourself permission to obtain and attain, this year. I’m not big on “resolutions”, because the color of that word is tainted so badly that to set them usually results in failure by “default”, because that’s what we expect…our world has dictated that by mid-February or March, most people cry “do over!” anyway. So what I’m talking about is your vision for yourself, and crystallizing it (or at least becoming aware of what you ALREADY envision for yourself…because it may not be what you want, and you didn’t realize that’s why you keep repeating like-caliber experiences).

Scripture reminds us that “as a [wo]man thinketh, so is s/he”. So what are you thinking about? What images do you constantly keep before you, in your mind? What kind of people are you surrounding yourself with? Are you surrounded by people you believe in and who believe in you? Is your environment conducive to building and working toward your dream(s)? Or are you (and/or others) always “bringing it back to reality”? [By the way, if your present reality is not what you WANT to experience, but your dreams are, why in the world would you FOCUS on your present reality??? What you devote time, energy, and attention to will find its way to you; so if you want more of what you’re already experiencing, then by all means nurse that vision. But if your desired reality reaches far beyond what your “today” looks like, it makes sense that you feed your vision more images of itself. This doesn’t mean you become negligent in regards to your responsibilities in order to “daydream”, but it means your PASSION, ENERGY, and FOCUSED ATTENTION becomes re-directed so that your “so is s/he” begins to reflect you more accurately.]

So forget what time of the year it is…this is beyond resolutions. This is about living in the success, abundance and prosperity that you will ALLOW yourself to experience. This means you have to give YOURSELF permission to experience the life you want to live, which may consequently mean releasing prejudice about others who already live the life you want to live. Because if you judge them, coming up with your own reasoning as to why and how they got it, you’re subconsciously blocking it from coming into YOUR life because you’ve inadvertently told yourself that achieving that life will make you lazy, excessive, “too good”, inaccessible, detached, carnal, or otherwise “bad” – not exactly things that invite or invoke your best.

So get passionate about life and living, and create what you want to experience. IT’S WITHIN YOUR REACH! And it doesn’t require an overhaul…in other words, you don’t have to become something you’re not already, in order to be, do, and have what you want. Quite the contrary, you will have to RELEASE those things you’re not and allow the God-intended you to come forth!! If it were not a possibility, you wouldn’t be able to conceive it in your mind. So truly (not to sound cliche’), if you can conceive (or “see”) it, you really CAN do, be, and have it!

Go for the very BEST!!


HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!!

May this be the most joy-, laughter-, and peace-filled holiday season you have ever known (whatever you may or may not celebrate).  Wisdom tells us to “think on things that are true, honest, lovely, and of good report…” and to “give thanks IN all things…” because all things are good, regardless of our perception of them.

We have all known the bliss of experiencing the things we want in life, because we’ve also experienced the offset of the sting of those things we would have certainly chosen to avoid or completely cut out of our lives…but what Wisdom would that be?

Of all the people you will encounter over the next couple of weeks, love every moment of that exchange…make of it what you want it to be.  If you wish for it to be harmonious, soul-warming, and beneficial, allow it to be.  If you wish (and plan) for it to be stressful, intense, annoying, or energy-consuming, allow it be and it will be.

Today, I know it’s not the “designated” time of giving thanks, but EVERY DAY is a good day for that.  And I’m actually giving thanks for the gift of each one of you…regardless of the depth of our knowledge of one another.  I acknowledge that we have been brought into each other’s lives for a purpose beyond what we may currently realize.  Therefore, I’m grateful for the gift of YOU – beyond your “personality”, your celebrity, or your physical casing, but for your true essence…the part of us that is connected from before we were ever introduced.  And I’m thankful for the perpetual “unwrapping” of the gift, as we continue forward.

May this season be one of reflection, of ultimate revelation, and may the peace that passes all understanding be yours simply because you are.  You deserve all the best that you can imagine for yourself…anyone who tells you anything other than this is an imposter – even if it’s you.  “Keep it real” is the saying of the era; this means knowing the truth, and being free because it resonates within the truth that you are.


When Did We Grow Up?

I don’t even really know why I’m writing this right now.  But I just felt like I needed to.  There are a number of different ways I could go with this, given the title, but I’ll just write on the one that’s most immediate in my mind.

When we were children, we didn’t understand seasons (“I want what I want how I want it and NOW!, or YOU can’t be my friend anymore!”…at least not for another 15 minutes, until I forget you aren’t my friend anymore” or “What do you mean I can’t go play in the snow in these sandals…I’ll put my COAT on!”) and humility (“If you’ll sit and laugh at me, I’ll put on a show you’ll want to write home about until mom or dad tells me to stop “showin’ out” and sit down somewhere”); or even jealousy (it’s called SHARING…we all learn that in kindergarten;  “If you have it and I want it, if I wait long enough, I’ll either get to play with it when you’re done or I’ll eventually get my own”) and scarcity (“…what the heck is THAT??!?”).

At some point in our development, these and other things – either positive or negative in perspective – began to “mold” our minds.  [You do realize that people DIE from “mold”, right?  I know it’s a different situation, but feel me…]  At some point we learned how to respect and respond to the various “seasons” in our lives, but also used “timing” as a crutch by procrastinating (“Now’s not the time…I’ll do it later”).  We also grasped the concept of humility by learning not to “hog” all the attention and not be pompous or arrogant (most of us anyway), but also used THAT as a crutch in shrinking back and playing small (“What will people think if I really step out there and do what I’m passionate about?  Will it be accepted?  Will it be in line with what so many already know about me?  What if the new, “real” me doesn’t fit their “mold” of who or what I’ve been to them up to this point?…there’s that word again).

I believe it’s important for us to recognize and acknowledge that there IS such a thing as “balance”…and it’s not as far off or elusive as many of us think it is.  It doesn’t require precision or much time contemplating about how much is “enough” or “too much”.  When we have to think about these things, it’s already out of balance.

Children don’t think “Geez…I’ve been on this playground for about 40 minutes now, I should call it quits.”  When they’re tired, they simply stop.  Likewise, parents of infants can vouch that their baby is probably not thinking “Hmmm…3 4-ounce bottles already, better slow up before we run out of formula.”  Not likely.  When s/he’s hungry, s/he’s hungry…where the heck is the damn bottle?  Conversely, when s/he is done eating, you’re not getting that nipple into his/her mouth.  These aren’t careful, strategic decisions…we are born with internal, automatic sensors that keep us in balance.  When did we learn how to stifle ourselves?

When you’re spending too much time at the office or wherever, you know DAMNED WELL you need to take yo’ ass home!  But you stay because of pressure from SOMEwhere (1) work – “this project needs to be done by this certain date/time”, 2) home – “that (wo)man is driving me crazy at home…let me stay here just a couple more hours”, etc.), 3) finances – “I can use the extra hours on this next paycheck…”.  When you’re eating or drinking too much, your body signaled to you LONG ago that it was time to quit (“I really don’t need the rest of this linguini, but I paid $XX for this meal, and it won’t taste the same tomorrow!” or “Nobody makes this drink the same, and I don’t know when I’ll get to come back here”).  When you’re not sharing enough time with the people you care about, you feel it…you KNOW (by intuition) that that person or those persons need to hear from you, because you’re THINKING about calling them or going to spend time with them, but for whatever reason you rationalize yourself out of the magic of those precious moments.  How many of us are STILL living with the regrets of not having shared more time with people who are no longer in our lives…either because they transitioned back into eternity OR because our pride and the need to have “our way” transitioned them out of our lives because we didn’t have time for them, so they moved on…without us?

At some point, by some magical age “default”, we get to label ourselves “grown” or “adult”…usually 18, 21, or 25, depending on what it is we’re supposed to be “grown” enough to do.  I propose that this process of “becoming” is never done.  Sure, we’re old enough to vote, rent cars, or purchase property, but are we BALANCED in our ways?

When do we outgrow tantrums and the need to “get our way”?  When are we constantly aware of the transition and adjustment of the seasons of our lives?  When are we officially interdependents, rather than dependents or independents?  When have we “gotten it”?

I could conclude any number of ways on this, but none of them would be right…and none of them would be wrong either.  These are merely questions/observations.  The religious person will want to leave a battery of scriptures to force a definite conclusion.  The spiritual person will merely reflect, go within, and respond/act accordingly, allowing each reader to come to his/her own way…as s/he will understand that our Divine Wisdom is FULLY capable of leading us to where we’re supposed to be.

Again, these are mere thoughts.  I warned you at the beginning that I didn’t know why I was writing…SELAH.


Seasons

I love it when seasons change. When we’re in any season, it can feel like it’s never going to end…even though we know better. In the summer, we almost can’t even imagine it ever becoming cold enough to wear a hat, scarf, and gloves ever again. As a matter of fact, just the thought of it is enough to make us break into a sweat. When the bitter cold of winter threatens to freeze us senseless, there’s no way we can be convinced that we’ll ever be able to leisurely lounge around out in the yard barefoot, wearing just a tank top and shorts…are you KIDDING me?! Where is the nearest cup of hot chocolate?? But alas, the seasons do change…consistently, and without fail. Granted some seasons are harsher…some are milder. Some changes are subtle, while others are drastic. But you can bet the family farm that change is coming.

 

If you’re a person who hates change, you probably find seasonal transitions annoying and inconvenient. But something to consider is that even within each season – whether it’s your favorite or not – there will be SOMEthing you either loathe (or would rather not have to deal with) or something to which you absolutely look forward. And I really do mean EVERY season. If you’re a winter baby and love to cuddle and snuggle, maybe you can’t stand driving in the snow or the elevated energy bills. If you’re a water baby and can’t wait until summer rolls around each year, maybe you’ve just grown accustomed to the humidity or seeing half-naked not-so-“beach” bodies flouncing around. If you happen to enjoy the transitional seasons of spring or autumn, maybe the unpredictability of rain or suddenly-cool weather, or tornadoes, hurricanes, or allergies puts a damper on your celebration of those flowers or beautifully changing tree colors.

 

Something I’ve come to realize is that wherever we are, it’s a season…always. No matter how good or bad, change is always on the horizon. And it always seems to happen right when we get good and settled into the groove of whatever season we’re in. Something or someone comes along and shifts the dynamic, and catalyzes some kind of different focus. Be it a job, a death, a relationship, a birth, or simply an internal awakening. Change happens. It’s the only thing that’s constant, ironically.

 

We can try to fight the changing of the seasons, or hang on as long as we can to the current season…but that only makes the shift more difficult. And only makes us look ridiculous. We’ve all seen that “clueless” fashionista that absolutely LOVES “short shorts”…so she tries rockin’ ’em with tights and knee-high boots, while wearing an extra thick bubble coat with a faux fur hood, extra long scarf, and matching gloves…and when she gets home, her legs are purple and she can’t feel them for two hours after she’s in a heated environment. WRONG SEASON, BOO. Same thing applies for the lover of cowboy boots when it’s “one hundred and HELL” in the dead of summer.

 

So what do we do? Be prepared for the season to change. This doesn’t mean missing the magic of the moment or becoming the proverbial witch hunter, looking for what’s looming around the corner, but it does mean FULLY getting the most out of the current season while having a realistic understanding that what exists AS it exists today can and very likely WILL be very different in the next season. And we have to be prepared to embrace and welcome the new season, along with all of its gifts and lessons (which can take on any number of forms, and/or come from any number of sources).

 

One reason I enjoy the changing of seasons is it makes me accountable. Because even if a similar season is to come next year (or whenever it comes, thinking in terms of the “life” seasons and/or cycles we experience), THIS season will NEVER return. How I spend my time and energy, or where I choose to direct my attention will never be able to be re-directed.  THIS season’s seed will have been planted wherever I chose to sow it, and cannot be uprooted and re-planted. Therefore, I’m learning to give credence to what really matters while I can actively influence the outcome. Because once the season changes, that chapter is closed and there will be no edits, and no do-overs. It’s done.

 

Now do I always make the “right” choice? I don’t think so. But even recognizing a poor choice is a tool to be added, and a garment made available for wear in the upcoming season…so long as the same poor choice isn’t made next go-’round. Have I caught myself in the mirror wearing out-of-season garb? Or worse…have OTHERS had to tap me on the shoulder and tell me to get my ass back in the house and put on a coat or take off that hot ass sweater? Unfortunately, yes. Do I stand there and mourn the fact that I messed up, or quarantine myself because I was embarrassed by the fact that someone else had to call my attention to it? I could. I have. But when I wake up from that lunacy and realize it’s much easier to just surrender to what the season truly calls for, recognizing that the seasons change for a reason and there’s a process I’m hindering by bucking against it…serenity comes. Freedom comes. Clarity comes. The bliss of the new season comes.

 

Why does the season always seems to change right when we start to settle into the current season’s groove and routine? Maybe it’s to keep us “alive” and not to get so deep into that groove that it becomes a rut. I don’t know. All I know is I love it when the seasons change…


The Walk

I was walking from my car on the long journey up the hill to the gym. [No, REALLY…if you saw the gym, you’d realize that the walk from the car to the doors of the building is a workout in and of itself.] And on this particular walk, I was feeling rather contemplative and was very alert and aware of my surroundings. The sky looked like a body of the most beautiful blue waters hovering overhead. The new spring leaves swayed ever so gently as if in rhythm with the spring breeze subtly whistling a gracious tune. All of the insects, birds, squirrels, and geese were co-existing in harmony. I wasn’t doing my usual swatting and dodging…and actually, I didn’t need to this time. It was such a serene and calm moment before working up a hearty sweat and giving my heart the massage it deserved. It was a perfect scene. And when the breeze changed directions, I got a whiff of something so breathtakingly aromatic I had to look for it.

I looked and I looked…inhaling as often as I could before it “passed” or before the breeze changed directions again, wafting it away from me. And I was baffled because I just KNEW that something that fragrant would be nearby, or at least that I’d be able to easy spot it as it stood out with its vibrant colors or thick foliage. But nope, nothing…or so I thought. As I kept walking (I told you it was a long walk…you thought I was exaggerating, didn’t you?), I looked around and noticed that I had been looking at those blossoms all along. They were the smallest and sweet-smelling WEEDS I’d ever encountered! Yes…“weeds”. I couldn’t believe it.

And even though I was looking right at ’em, I still kept trying to find the “real” flowers that were making my nostrils dance a happy two-step. Then it hit me that this is how I’ve been going through most of my life…looking for something “else” to which I could or would attribute my joy or fulfillment. Saying things like “when such-and-such happens, I’ll be happy”, or “when so-and-so finally gets here, I’ll be fulfilled”. Forfeiting the bliss of NOW. Overlooking the magic of THIS moment. Being blessed enough to breathe in the beauty of today and the succulence of the present…yet downplaying it to grasp at the straws of “someday”, “someone”, or “somehow”.

When I made that connection, it made the air even sweeter…because I wanted to make sure I was fully present and chose to appreciate the miracle of the moment. No, the source of the experience didn’t look the way I thought it should. It wasn’t packaged the way I figured something that engaging would. I was totally taken aback by the beautiful surprise that was surrounding me…and in that space, walking up that long hill, I was in awe. It was a holy moment for me. Because one shift of the wind, and being in the right state of mind to receive that new perspective caused me to dive into another depth and consider what I’d previously deemed as ordinary or even annoying or unkempt as a beautiful offering. What a walk!


Strapping In For the Ride

As a writer, I’ve thought about a number of different writing ideas and projects.  The bulk of the ideas are fantastic.  No, I’m not being narcissistic or egotistical…I mean many of the ideas are grounded in various fantasies of experiences I’ve never had.  For example, I’ve wanted to write about the different “holy moments” in life, such as birth (well, I’ve experienced it myself obviously, but haven’t had the opportunity to witness it), death (GLAD to be in the dark on that one on a first-hand basis), “seeing” someone for the first time (not just visibly, but having the experience of being able to embrace their very essence), and so on…  All of these and several others I’ve dreamed about and imagined what it would be like to be in such a moment, but still I’m clueless.  I’ve also had several ideas surrounding the whole phenomenon of falling in love…again, not something I’m sure I’ve experienced.  I’ve had crushes, sexual flings, and been infatuated with the “idea” of people…but the experience of being baptized in the holy warmth of a whole love with someone who’s right there in the baptismal with me is something that has escaped me.  But the one thing I have working for me is my imagination.  

Even with that, I have yet to allow myself to tap into all of the recesses of myself without judgment.  For example, an incredibly dynamic writer that I’ve grown to appreciate is Shonda Rhimes (Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice, Scandal).  But some of the ideas she comes up with are from places that I’d be afraid to fully venture into.  Although if I did, I believe I’d surprise myself.  I have enough dark places inside me that “Hollywood” would probably welcome me with open arms, but I haven’t quite released the idea of emotional safety (probably another reason why I’ve never been exposed to that baptism I referred to earlier…because being in love is not “safe”.  It’s the riskiest thing we ever do.  But I’ll write about that another time.)  But I know that those “safe” story lines are the corny predictable stories that don’t go anywhere beyond superficial pleasantries.  And the truth of the matter is that I’m not a “safe” thinker.

For as long as I can remember, my imagination has tended to lean in the direction of the worst possible scenario.  Fear and uncertainty were groomed in me by the unexpected experiences of my childhood…more stories that I can’t write about because they’re not just my stories, and would expose things about other people that they haven’t revealed yet.  And I don’t have the energy to change all of those scenarios and facts to protect them…might as well just make up a new story altogether – which is where that vivid (albeit dark) imagination of mine comes in.  It starts in truth, but then spins off into layers of details and complexities that turn it into something completely different than how it started.  I’ve done this in my life a number of times.

The thing that has preserved me through this darkness is an uncommon optimism that things will actually work out in the best possible way.  Not necessarily in a cliche “happily ever after” fashion, but in a peaceful and joyful resolution that leaves all parties whole.  Huhn…guess that is happily ever after.  Whatever the case, the point is it doesn’t end in my dark imagination.  There is always hope.  And hope always prevails.

These two can be kinda maddening at times, but rather than condemn and/or try to “fix” the two ideas, I’m taking them as a gift.  And with that gift, I intend to allow it to work for its best purpose…one that I won’t try to define.  It will define itself, and I’ll work within it.  

So I’m strapping in for the ride…