So, here we are, on our trip around the sun, near the end of another year on this glorious blue ball we call earth. This time each year we reflect on the past 12 months, while also looking to the new year with hope and expectations. Just like every day, we get to start over again, fresh, each year trying to get it right.
I’m imagining, like you, we’ve all had our share of ups and downs in 2022. Some more than others. But, as I move along in these golden years, I’m reminded to look at them differently and take on a different perspective. I’ve learned to ebb and flow more freely these days through whatever unfolds. I can’t say it’s easy, but I feel grace in it. Grace that seems to match however great the need. I’ve read a few times that with God there is no order of difficulty.
“Bring your mind inside your heart and the world will not trouble you.” ~~ Mooji
Throughout the year, I’ve seen neighbors challenged with cancer, friends dealing with death, family at crossroads with life choices. I’ve been there and I’m trying to be there for them while the world appears to be unstable in these times. But it’s not that it hasn’t happened before. When the next time comes around and similar events pop up, I think what I’ve learned is we get another chance to do it differently that hopefully will put us on the right path for how this life works.
Something else I’ve learned is not to automatically react to life situations but to pause to notice what I’m feeling in the moment. If I pause long enough, instead of reacting, maybe another choice will present itself. Amazing, how that happens to work out more often. And I’ve also discovered that if health issues show up, I can look to the inside for answers as well as work with my resources on the outside.
From Rainier Maria Rilke in “Letters to a Young Poet”:
"I want to beg you be patient towards all that is unsolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves. The point is to live everything. Live the questions and now perhaps you will find them. Perhaps you will then gradually without noticing it live along some distant day into the answer.”
Life is beautiful in all its many shapes and forms. You can’t get it wrong. Even the lowest parts are gifts that put us in touch with what’s important and force us to look for something beyond our reality. Laugh, cry, get mad – but feel and embrace all of it, instead of react, and you’ll find it will take you to another place. Be kind to yourself in that place and you’ll remember who you are. Then, you will begin to know your path.
We’re just passengers on this living blue vessel, as it keeps floating on course no matter what is happening — steadily ticking along. We will be at the end of our journey before we know it and events and challenges can help us make changes that really count. It’s a beautiful life and it’s a beautiful journey.
Happy New Year, my friends, and God bless you on your next journey around the sun.
Merry Christmas everyone and wish for you a loving and happy New Year in 2022! I hope you have been well this year and, in spite of perhaps some ups and downs, life has been good to you. Here we are and to everything there is a season and this is the time to celebrate life and each other.
It has taken me all year to write, and I wanted to connect with you before the year ends. For me, it’s been a good year and I hope it has been the same for you given the challenges and obstacle courses we’ve had to maneuver. For me, it mostly has been a year of reorientation to regroup from 2020, the pandemic and the world in general.
I’ve found myself more in observation mode wondering where my place is in it all and I haven’t, until lately, found the words to write. There has been a feeling of ebbs and flows each day, as they unfold, not only in my personal life but in the lives of those around me and beyond. I have sensed a shift, though subtle, and notice the changes in me and my life as I practice love and being in the present moment.
How do I put into words what is going on in my life and throughout 2021? And how can that mean anything to you? I won’t attempt to catch you up in it all in this one post. But, in the past year-plus, we’ve had babies born in our family (our first great-grandson) and 2 great-nephews born to our niece and niece’s daughter – babies, such a fresh addition to life, joy of innocence and hope for the future.
We’ve also had loved ones and distant friends die while others are challenged with health issues. Life keeps nudging us along on this ride and we’re high one moment and then it gets messy the next. All the while, I feel we’re not alone.
But then, what better time than at Christmas is there to reflect and feel the spirit of love. The season gives us that opportunity to pause in our busy lives and take time to write a card or call a friend. It draws us closer in attempts to celebrate longtime traditions, though different, that still have meaning for connection when we haven’t had the time nor felt the need any other time of the year.
There is a strong stirring of spirit this time of year and a holiness, if you can quiet your mind long enough to hear it. I believe this time of year people want and try to be kinder in the midst of annoyances, cancellations and Covid restrictions. The expectations we put on each other are high but so is the spirit of this season to help us remember what is important. Just pull yourself away from the party or TV show and step outside one of these evenings and look up in the sky. Breathe in all the awesomeness and beauty that’s always there waiting for us to notice.
God bless you – everyone. I’m still here and wish you love and joy this beautiful Christmas season and a New Year full of new adventures and surprises.
I’m wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah. Here we are nearing the end of 2020 and feeling the familiar spirit of love and giving, as we pause to celebrate life with all faiths and peoples around the world.
It’s been different and certainly painful for many, as I’ve watched and felt it through the days and months of 2020. It’s as if we’re struggling to break free and transform into something unlike anything we’ve ever known, like a caterpillar and butterfly. We haven’t quite accomplished it yet and we’re still in the breaking-free part. It’s hard to determine what any of this is about while still struggling in the cocoon of challenges. It feels like traveling along a foggy highway and cautiously moving along but can’t see what’s ahead of us.
There is a shift in the heavens and an alignment of the planets with the ushering in of this year’s Winter Solstice. As we watch Jupiter and Saturn rendezvous, while making another trip around the sun on Earth, the shift and alignment is going on in us, too.
Things no longer look the same nor work in the same way. No matter how bad we want it to go back to the way it was, it all seems so confusing and chaotic but I can’t help but believe there’s always hope. It’s part of the Christmas story handed down so many years ago.
I recently came across one of my old journals where I wrote thoughts about things that were going on in my life some years ago. I must have been reaching for hope and drawing on some inner peace and you may think that ‘all is well’ is last thing you can relate to at this time. But, it caught my attention, while I was reflecting on my girlfriend and her husband’s challenges, both going through cancer at the same time and in their ’80’s.
Here are my entries and I hope they help you reach for hope and draw on your own inner peace right where you’re at and whatever may be going on in your life at this very moment. There is something bigger at work this 2020, no matter what it looks like, and there’s always hope.
All is Well
The feeling when you breathe in that fresh, crisp air on a cool, fall evening and see the stars twinkling . . .all is well.
When your puppy licks your hand and you can feel it’s cold, wet nose on your leg . . .all is well.
When you’ve worked hard all day and come home to the ones you love and love you . . .all is well.
You all know those moments, those times, when all the challenges and struggles of life are worth it. And they’re more than we realize. Somehow, it’s like we’re trained to only give credence to those things that make life hard, as if we need to pass an initiation to an important club.
But, if we would only take time to look around at the precious moments in life that pass through and mean so much with very little effort. How it touches your heart. Oh, the laughter of a child, when he’s being tickled – so much to notice – so much love – just for us to enjoy . . . no charge.
Life shouldn’t be so hard. I think we make it hard so we feel like we’ve accomplished something. But, life just happens whether you’re making it hard or easy. It just happens. Sooo . . .
The taste of a cold, fresh glass of orange juice . . .all is well.
A phone call from an old friend you haven’t heard from for years . . .all is well.
You smell a sweet fragrance of perfume or food cooking and flash back to a childhood memory . . .all is well.
Your husband takes your hand in the movie . . .all is well.
Your baby took his first step . . .all is well.
See, there is so much around us to be thankful for, to feel good about. Maybe, if we concentrated more on the good that is happening, rather than the bad, then when we are faced with a real difficult challenge, we would handle it better and be able to move through it faster and be more open to learn from it.
But, somehow, it seems more appropriate to bring attention to our crisis so we have something more in common to talk about. It’s awkward and we’re looking for comfort – a safe place to land. But, did you notice there are not many people listening. They would much rather hear about something that feels good and distracts them from their own challenges.
Imagine with me, if you will, floating up in space and, as you do, panning out and looking back at that big, beautiful blue ball we call home – suspended there – slowly and silently moving on course. Tell me, in the bigger picture of things taking in all that, you can’t say, “All is well!?”
God bless you this Christmas holiday season. Remember you are never alone as you walk this path of your journey. That is hope . . . that is the spirit of Christmas.
These are trying times and no matter how this pandemic is touching you, there are times when you may feel like you’ve lost all hope. I know I’m not saying anything you already don’t know and aren’t experiencing – life isn’t normal these days.
Whether, it’s keeping social distancing with a neighbor or not having a job to go back to. These are the highs and lows with many layers in between – a roller coaster ride, with no end in sight, rising from one level of worry about paying bills to another dip if your spouse or parent gets sick. Sounds pretty grim but please read on.
I came across a scripture in a sample of a daily devotional I received in the mail last year and it struck a chord. I was feeling low at the time and it touched me deeply and comforted me. It seemed to be exactly what I needed to hear at the time.
The same passage popped up again a couple of Sundays ago in an evening TV series finale showing of “God Friended Me”. I noticed the mention of the same scripture and remembered how it affected me when I first read it. When something shows up again like this, even after a year, it gets my attention, especially in times like these. It reads like this:
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)
Hope comes in many forms and this one may not particularly fit for you. You may wonder where’s the comfort in prosperity if your family is hungry and you don’t know how you’ll get the next meal. Or, the one you loved has just died and you couldn’t be there to say goodbye. It hurts and we feel in harm’s way when we’re in depths of despair when these events happen to us.
But, even in those darkest times a glimmer of hope can happen. May be just how the light cast shadows through a window or a passing gesture of someone walking down the street. It’s what catches our attention, grabs our heart for just a moment and we notice long enough to feel that feeling of hope that goes beyond our situation.
What’s different these days is that circumstances are forcing us to refocus. We’ve been locked down and staying home – only now recently going back to work, wearing masks when we go out in public, sanitizing groceries and goods we bring home and washing our hands. Before, we never gave any of that a second thought. We’d meet up with friends at a game or a restaurant and now that’s been all closed down, even airports have looked like ghost towns.
We have to rethink how to work, shop, cook, travel, entertain ourselves and communicate with each other. We have so much time on our hands it all seems so different and, no doubt, foreign. But, when circumstances dictate new routines a new reality appears. You may now notice things that weren’t on your radar before.
It’s like someone who has visited a friend once a week for many years and that friend is going out of town for a few weeks and asks them to house sit. Even though they’ve been in their house for years on weekly visits, there are things they come across while house sitting they never noticed before – a crack in the ceiling or a painting in the hallway. So, when their friend returns and they come for a visit, they won’t see their home in the same way they saw it before.
Even though life is different these days, maybe having to change our routines and refocus is a good thing. We’ll realize we can be more creative and do the same job in a different way and have more time. Once we settle down and move off our old ruts and out of our comfort zones, we may realize it’s nice and less stressful. We find ourselves breathing again with a space for hope. Maybe, in terms of this pandemic, we’ll no longer view things in gloomy black and white but in rainbows.
The “Rainbow Song” – A celebration of Nelson Mandela. “He didn’t dream in black and white, he saw a rainbow”.
I’ve always found that no matter what I’ve had to go through in my life, and no matter how devastating it was, there was always extra grace to match the circumstance. I believe this grace is being matched all over the world in every circumstance that’s being experienced in these times. Hope is for everyone no matter your belief.
When the pandemic has calmed down and we’ve discovered how to treat this coronavirus, life will seem to begin to return but it may look a lot different than it did before. We will have learned and experienced a new reality and ways of living we may not want to give up to go back to the way it was. We will have learned to function in a new way and enjoy it. The old way may no longer work for us.
Old jobs won’t be there anymore to go back to but new jobs will have cropped up to replace them. In reinventing ourselves we’ll have realized we moved onto something more efficient and better. But, more importantly we’ve touched something within that’s more important and noticed things about ourselves and life we never had time to realize before. Life has more meaning and depth.
Dr. Maya Angelou: “Be a Rainbow in Someone Else’s Cloud”
Life is a gift and no matter how bad the coronavirus is realized in your life, there will be something different come out of it you will notice. Let it happen for you and hope will be in the center of it among many other things. God bless you and be safe and well.
I look around at what’s going on with this coronavirus and I wonder, “Will we come to it?” Is this the time when we will be brave enough to listen . . . to change course and accept a new normal and not go back to status quo?
We have such power to carve out mountain ranges, genetically modify our food and our bodies, rearrange rivers, go to the moon and outer space, blow up countries; and, yet, one small microscopic virus has silently and invisibly swept across our world causing countries to shut down, stock markets to plummet and people to die. Can we accept the challenge in what’s happening; that it can touch each of us and is no longer just happening to someone else?
I don’t think we’ve dealt with something like this before on a global scale; though, in the past, we’ve had plagues and pandemics far greater in number than this one. Have you ever thought about that? Why this one? Maybe, this is it.
Maybe this is the time when we come out of this on the other side and there will be countries, beliefs, families — people in general — coming together, settling differences and living in harmony. I felt it early on as a child in wanting peace in my home with my parents. Events happen, catastrophes occur and we always wait for the dust to settle so we can get back to our normal lives, instead of looking beyond and consider something different.
I suspect there’s been a lot of the same tug-and-pull down through the ages and, still wonder, if now we are able to come to it? Come to reconcile conflicts within ourselves, others, and face what’s there in our lives that have been trying to get our attention. Truly learn to be kind and live in peace with one another, particularly now, when we have the capability to seriously damage or destroy this world as we know it?
I believe this is a major crossroad in humanity where we have an opportunity to be quiet, listen and hear and, maybe, for the first time, get the message on what’s calling to show us how to do that: consider maybe we’re the problem and feel life and love we’ve been given. I think we’ll hear and answer the call this time. I’ve already seen so many stories with people reaching out to one another in innovative ways to connect on the internet and many others. It’s beginning.
Over the years, I’ve become more sensitive to life and death and can’t watch anything close to violent movies or shows or even play “bloody” video games with my grandsons. It stays with me. Even to the point where Hubby helps capture spiders and moths for me in the house and puts them outside. I know it sounds crazy, and maybe over the top, but I can’t help it. He has gotten used to my many quirks over the years and I feel if I smash a bug I can’t go back one minute before and put life in it and bring it back to the way it was crawling or flying. But, you know, we don’t have many bugs.
Or, I have a strong feeling when I smell fresh cut pine. It bothers me, even though we’ve chopped down our own Christmas trees for many years when the girls were young. I always sense a feeling they’re stuck planted right where they are with no ability to run. Can you imagine the feeling when the sound of a chain saw starts coming your way and you can’t move (aghh – one of those dreams waiting to happen). Then, there are the cattle trucks I pass on the highway and get emotional knowing their fate, even though I enjoy a good hamburger. It’s not perfect and I still have a lot in reconciling balance within my own life.
The world out there is much different than mine. Big entertainment is popular with killing and blowing things up. People seem to take pleasure in getting even and watching things die. We puff ourselves up and think we’re all so powerful in what we can destroy and conquer but can we put life in one flower or create the song of a bird. Maybe that’s what’s going on in this coronavirus is that it will show us what’s precious. After this, I don’t think we’ll be able to go back to the way it was. Too much will have changed and what was before will no longer serve us. Nature, sun and the moon, earth and many universes beyond will move on. Question is: Will we give up our power plays and petty differences to move on and be there with them?
I came across this poem the other day that spoke to the many things I’ve described above. It seemed to resonate in ways I’ve long felt but never until now seen words put to them so beautifully. It’s really powerful if you listen to Maya Angelou’s voice from the video while following along with her words in this poem. Maya Angelou reading her poem “A Brave and Startling Truth”.
A BRAVE AND STARTLING TRUTH
By Maya Angelou
We, this people, on a small and lonely planet
Traveling through casual space
Past aloof stars, across the way of indifferent suns
To a destination where all signs tell us
It is possible and imperative that we discover
A brave and startling truth
And when we come to it
To the day of peacemaking
When we release our fingers
From fists of hostility
And allow the pure air to cool our palms
When we come to it
When the curtain falls on the minstrel show of hate
And faces sooted with scorn are scrubbed clean
When battlefields and coliseum
No longer rake our unique and particular sons and daughters
Up with the bruised and bloody grass
To lie in identical plots in foreign lands
When the rapacious storming of the churches
The screaming racket in the temples have ceased
When the pennants are waving gaily
When the banners of the world tremble
Stoutly in the good, clean breeze
When we come to it
When we let the rifles fall from our shoulders
And children dress their dolls in flags of truce
When land mines of death have been removed
And the aged may walk into evenings of peace
When the religious ritual is not perfumed
By the incense of burning flesh
And childhood dreams are not kicked awake
By nightmares of abuse
When we come to it
Then we will confess that not the Pyramids
With their stones set in mysterious perfection
Not the Garden of Babylon
Hanging as eternal beauty
In our collective memory
Not the Grand Canyon
Kindled into delicious color
By Western sunsets
Nor the Danube, flowing its blue soul into Europe
Not the sacred peak of Mount Fuji
Stretching to the Rising Sun
Neither Father Amazon nor Mother Mississippi who, without favor,
Nurture all creatures in the depths and on the shores
These are not the only wonders of the world
When we come to it
We, this people, on this minuscule and kithless globe
Who reach daily for the bomb, the blade, the dagger
Yet who petition in the dark for tokens of peace
We, this people on this mote of matter
In whose mouths abide cankerous words
Which challenge our existence
Yet out of those same mouths
Can come songs of such exquisite sweetness
That the heart falters in its labor
And the body is quieted into awe
We, this people, on this small and drifting planet
Whose hands can strike with such abandon
That in a twinkling, life is sapped from the living
Yet those same hands can touch with such healing, irresistible tenderness
That the haughty neck is happy to bow
And the proud back is glad to bend
Out of such chaos, of such contradiction
We learn that we are neither devils nor divines
When we come to it
We, this people, on this wayward, floating body
Created on this earth, of this earth
Have the power to fashion for this earth
A climate where every man and every woman
Can live freely without sanctimonious piety and
without crippling fear
When we come to it
We must confess that we are the possible
We are the miraculous, the true wonder of this world
That is when, and only when We come to it.
Like Maya Angelou presents in her poem, I believe we’ll come to it. We’ll find a way. It may not be my way or your way . . . maybe, a third way, like William Ury talks about, the perfect blend of both ways plus a little more.
It will happen, if we allow it and do our part and when it does maybe we will see something miraculous. Another true wonder of the world – the human realizing they’re true potential.