Wednesday, October 3, 2018

You Have All the Time You Need

A year ago today I penned this piece for a FB post. It feels so timely (pun intended!) to share today. How do we move through time without fear and with grace? We BREATHE.

Once a night owl, always a night owl but that only applies to waking and sleeping hours. It has nothing to do with productivity; at least not anymore. I can't buy back "lost time" in the midnight hours any longer. Back in the day, nighttime hours (after 9 pm) were my most productive time at home even after working a 40+ hr/wk job. Now, no matter what else needs to be done, I'M DONE by 8 or 9 pm. I may not be ready to sleep but I'm "clocked out".
A curse of aging or a blessing of wisdom? They say with age comes wisdom. One can only hope. Who needs to be working all day and night, right?! Why then, does it always feel like I'm a day late and a dollar short, as they say, still caught up in the pressure cooker of time, never "caught up" and I feel the pressure to keep doing? The best I can figure is it's old conditioning, driven by fear and a harsh inner critic and a crazy culture that places more value on productivity than stopping to smell the roses.
At my age now I tend to feel like I'm living on borrowed time. Not being maudlin here - it's a simple fact. I've lived more than 50% of my life now, even if I live to be 100. Local and world events of violence, war, natural catastrophes, disease, and death remind me that every moment is precious. Every moment counts. I want to savor them and not waste them caught up in a pressure cooker of time and "doing". I want to BE present in each moment, whether that's chopping wood/carrying water or riding a spiritual wave of bliss or ordinary playfulness.
Many years ago a very dear friend of mine looked into my eyes, held my hands and said to me at a very tender moment of personal breakdown, "You have all the time you need". I wept with tears of relief. No one had ever said that to me before and I've never forgotten it. I had felt nothing but the pressure of "not enough" in every way my entire life. It was hard to believe and even today I can doubt it but something healed in me in that moment that I am forever grateful for.
Now I say it to myself. Funny how it always magically seems to create more time and space.
There's no rush. There's no pressure. There's no one judging me. I'm right on time. I have all the time I need. I'm living one day at a time on Divine time.
And then I BREATHE.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

When I'm 64...(the real Truth)

“Looking back, I’m awed by the way that embracing everything - from what I got right to what I got wrong - invites the grace of wholeness. When psychologist Florida Scott-Maxwell was eight-five, she wrote, “You need only claim the events of your life to make yourself yours. When you truly possess all you have been and done . . . you are fierce with reality.
Fierce with reality is how I feel when I’m able to say, “I am that to which I gave short shrift and that to which I attended. I am my descents into darkness and my rising again into the light, my betrayals and my fidelities, my failures and my successes. I am my ignorance and my insight, my doubts and my convictions, my fears and my hopes.
Wholeness does not mean perfection - it means embracing brokenness as an integral part of life. I’m grateful for this truth as age leads me to look back on the zigzagging, up-and-down path I’ve hacked out during my far-from-perfect life.
What I know for sure is this: we come from mystery and we return to mystery. I know this, too: standing closer to the reality of death awakens my wonder at the many gifts of life.” 
Parker J. Palmer, “On the Brink of Everything. Grace, Gravity & Getting Old”

💛 💛 💛

I’d like to think I’m about 20 yrs too early for a book like this - Parker J. Palmer is 80 yrs old at the time of this book’s writing and release this year - but the truth is, it couldn’t have been more timely in its arrival for me. Eight days ago I turned 64. My husband saw the book on the kitchen counter with birthday cards and he laughed heartily and asked me very seriously who would be so cruel as to give me a book like that for my birthday! I laughed in return and said, “I gave it to myself! No cruelty involved! I bought it on an intuitive nudge and it’s the best gift I’ve given myself in a long time.”

I've never feared death (still don't) and I’ve always looked forward to my birthdays acknowledging that if I didn’t have another birthday I’d be dead and simply being alive is surely worth celebrating no matter what the circumstances of my life happen to be with each birthday.

Each decade has brought with it its own unique flavor of change, challenges, growth and wisdom and as the years ticked by I learned to look forward to the new adventure of a new decade beginning. I savored each one and all the highs and lows that have come with them made the journey worth living and marked a unique path I could call 'my own'. I always felt younger than my chronological years and I always felt like I still had time (well, most of the time!)...for whatever I’m supposed to accomplish in this lifetime (which remains a mystery to this day). Even 60, 61, and 62 were fairly easy on me comparatively, but deep down something shifted for me with the start of this decade in a way that it never had before and it wouldn’t let me rest.

The idea of turning 64 this year felt like 84 and I found myself doing some serious soul searching. There’s lots of reasons for that - depression, anxiety, chronic illness, unrelenting stress, overwhelm, isolation, existential angst, dread and urgency, just to name a few of the "darker" visitors. Perhaps a sense of mortality is creeping in knowing that I’m beyond the halfway mark of my life now and I pondered, if I’m feeling this at 64, what’s it going to feel like when I’m 70 or 80, if I live that long (or even longer)? I ‘soul search’ all.the.time (often to a fault)….and no one takes my inventory better or harsher than I do. I was going down hard this year and for the first time ever I didn’t really want to celebrate another birthday. I felt tired, old, wasted, unworthy and running out of time. I truly felt "on the brink"...of life and death. Don’t worry, I wasn’t suicidal but to be honest, living felt way too hard. I was, however, “giving up”...which ultimately (thankfully) became true surrender which is where miracles come from.

And then, through Grace and Divine intervention, ‘help’ came my way through various resources - holistic, spiritual, energetic, medical, my “inner physician” and THIS BOOK! Friends, I was truly changed and lifted up by just reading the Prologue and the first chapter and I can’t wait to read the rest. It's a short book but I’m taking my time with it because I want to savor and really integrate each section and each chapter. It feels like balm to my soul as he speaks my own heart’s Truth. 

The veil of darkness continued to lift and I made another shift just in time to celebrate my birthday with a sense of true joy, love and gratitude.

“Fierce with reality” is where I needed to land and where I choose to BE as I choose to age grace-fully and consciously. Parker J Palmer said it all perfectly for me. He feels like a kindred soul to me. He gets the dark and the light, not just through platitudes or repetitions but through his LIVING IT.

"Her Universe to Create"
by Sean Corner Sculptures, Wichita K 

My soul lit up with his words, reflections and poetry and I had a wonderful birthday - perhaps the best one ever simply because I “got it” a whole new way. Mind you, his wisdom and truth is really not new to me - on principle, it’s been the foundation of my own spiritual path, teachings and belief system for most of my adult life - and yet the way he said it made it feel brand new and made ME feel brand new too. Ahh, that’s the hallmark of a great poet, writer and teacher. I needed to hear the tried and true and timeless wisdom in a new and fresh way and there it was.

I’m back. Back on track. Here for the duration and embracing it all. Fierce with reality and facing life with an open, forgiving and compassionate heart. I don’t want to live in the transpersonal spiritual world...I can go there easily enough and I do want to embody the wisdom that's there, but I want to bring it down to earth. I want to live a life that’s Fierce with Reality by bringing Spirit into Matter through Practical living. Practical magic. Practical mysteries. Bridging duality. Collaboration! It’s really all one and the same. We’re the ones who create the separation.

“The laws of nature that dictate sundown dictate our demise. But how we travel the arc toward the sunset of our lives is ours to choose: will it be denial, defiance, or collaboration?” - Parker J. Palmer, “On the Brink of Everything. Grace, Gravity & Getting Old”

A BIG BONUS: three essays in this book are accompanied by songs written and performed by the gifted singer-songwriter Carrie Newcomer in response to themes in those essays. All three songs can be downloaded free of charge at

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Dig Deeper!

Dig Deeper 

It's time for renewal

June 10, 2013

Funny thing, I thought I was finished raking the leaves out of the hedge bed in preparation for this year’s spring mulching. I’ll admit my time was limited and my typical perfectionism about paying close attention to detail was quite pleasantly on retreat. Contrary to my typical Virgo-Capricorn nature, I’d had a rare and rather freeing thought that I could just leave behind what was very hidden from view in between the hedges and deep underneath in the gnarly branches and in the recesses, making sure I did a good job in the front, around, behind and underneath just far enough to where the eye can see. After all, there’s nothing inherently wrong with leaving leaves behind. Left alone they decompose quite naturally and make great mulch themselves. I figured if I don’t see it (which I really didn’t), then no one else will. I felt good about the job I did and looked forward to coming back the next day to mulch it and make it all pretty.

Ahhh, but nature is our messenger and teacher and reminds us of many things! During the night we had a nice drenching spring rain with a little wind. So, the next day, when I went back out to mulch I noticed that quite a few leaves had been disturbed by the rainstorm and floated up from underneath and were now resting on top of the hedges. No big deal, I can just shake those off. Then, as I stood back to get an overall view and perspective of where I needed to mulch, and then, as I stooped to spread mulch in front and underneath, suddenly everything that I’d left behind yesterday in the deep, invisible spaces was VERY visible to my naked eye today.

Just like life, I thought. Layers and layers reveal themselves and beg for our attention just when we thought we were all done and ready for the next step.  What I didn’t see yesterday is suddenly staring me in the face.

I felt the heaviness descend upon me as I surrendered to accepting a more challenging task than I thought was mine for this day. I began raking deeper into the roots of the bushes and clearing the small pathways between them that keep them separate enough from each other as their own bush and yet on the surface they connect enough to appear as if they are one long singular unbroken hedge. I pondered the symbolism here of the “individual and the one” and how we really do need to keep our own roots and the pathways between each other clear and free so that we can then reach up higher and share a unified connection together to create more beauty, ease and grace in the overall flow. 

As I worked, I thought about how many times we dig in and get dirty and give it all we’ve got, in the time we can, with the energy we’ve got, and the birds-eye view and perspective of the moment to clean up and pretty up the parts of us that are the most obvious to us and most easily seen by others. How many times do we walk away feeling satisfied and confident that “we’re done with that”. Why can’t we just leave whatever residue might still be hiding in those dark, wet, molding spaces and places in between the roots and the gnarly branches that no one wants to get close to or look at anyway? Why can’t we just cover it up with something fresh and pretty and just let it rest in hiding until it rots away?

Because we will rot away if we try to take a shortcut along the way to creating more space for something new and beautiful to emerge. When it’s time, it’s do or die. It’s do AND die - the old layers that are asking to be cleared by our “doing” have already “died”. It’s time for renewal.

One way or another what’s hidden, dead or dying will rise to the surface and ask for our attention. Something unexpected from inside or outside of us may come along to stir it up. Maybe a storm; maybe a gentle rain to cleanse it and make it more malleable; maybe a little wind or a lot of wind to move it around and leave a trail.

And wouldn’t you know, because we really did a good job clearing what we could see or we were willing or able to clear the first time around, we created just enough room and space for the next layer to float up to the surface. Once we start the process, there’s no turning back. So we get to go back in again, dig even deeper, and create an even more open and fresh space for the next new layer of beauty to shine through.

So that pile of leaves in this picture is what I raked up or hand-picked from the deep, dark, gnarly recessed crevices of the hedge-bed and it’s roots today. It’s not a very big pile really - not nearly as big as the day before - but it had a big message for me:

Life is a many-layered thing. You don’t see the layers until you’re ready to see. All the elements in time and space, nature and nurture, heaven and earth conspire together to bring each layer into your visibility in your most unique and divine timing according to your vision and perceptions. Your efforts are always good enough. There is no failure in yesterday’s efforts because there was “more” left behind. Today is not better than yesterday because you went even deeper and it was harder and messier and now it’s even cleaner than yesterday. Every day is perfect when you view it in the moment from right where you are. When you tend to what is visible right now with awareness, action, commitment, care, and humility and you remain willing to go back again and again and dig deeper, it’s always good enough. As many times as the leaves reveal themselves to you, you say “I see you ~ thank you for showing yourself to me ~ I will release you now” ~ and you go back and you dig deeper. Remember, every single leaf does not ask to be cleared - some will choose to remain behind and become the mulch naturally, organically; others will reveal themselves and ask to be appreciated, acknowledged and removed to make space for the new. Both ways are gifts and You will know how deep to go and when if you are looking and listening from an open heart and a quiet mind [and offering it all to the Divine]. 

#spiralpath #renewal #doordie #divinetiming #cyclesoflife #cyclesofchange #rebirth