Tag Archives: spirituality

By Comparison

Good morning, dear reader. And welcome to a new day. I hope it feels better than the day before. I hope for all of us that our troubles are few and our worries are light. I pray that the challenges we face come with clarity as to why they are present in our life. I pray that love finds us wherever we go. And that laughter is never far away.

As much as there are challenges in this world. Things that can pummel us repeatedly, or body slam us out of the clear blue, there are also those hidden umbrellas I spoke of earlier. Little bits of goodness tucked amidst the turbulence. And what I want for all of us is that we are able to keep redirecting our focus, our thoughts and our energy onto those little bits of goodness. It is breathtaking how quickly we can get swept up in the hardships; our own, those of others, those of the world. The media doesn’t exactly help with that. More money is made through fear. Fear of death. Fear of aging. Fear of illness. Fear of poverty. Repeatedly showing us how bad things are. 

And I’d be lying if I said that while focusing on the good bad won’t still happen. It does. And it hurts like hell. But what is the alternative. I do firmly believe that what we think about we bring about. That there is a vibrational pull that draws unto us that which we are. So if we are in a state of appreciation, more things that match that state will appear. The reverse is also true. And that’s the rub. That is the challenge of living in a world of duality. The bad is always there. If not in plain view, its very likely hiding in the shadows. But the same is true for the good. 

I woke having received an order from a kind woman who recently opened a boutique. A week before her grand opening her brother died in an accident. He helped remodel her boutique. Now she has to try to find the goodness within all that pain. And yet, here she is, buying empowerment clothing. Messages of hope and love, from a person with a very wounded heart. And that’s grace.

Grace is in being authentic about where we are at any given time. Not just when everything in life is lined up perfectly. Not just when our first thoughts are of the highest variety. No, it’s in being aware of it all, even our shortcomings and bugaboos, and loving ourselves just the same. 

I try not to judge any situation, because as soon as I do I feel the restriction within myself. I try not to compare myself to others because as soon as I do I hand over my power; the power that says, I’m okay just as I am. I’m right on track. And it’s up to me to decide what that means. I try not to measure myself against anyone. For as soon as I do I’m judging even my accomplishments; which can be the start down a very slippery slope. I try also not to compare even my complaints, because there is always someone who has it worse. If I need to whine, I need a moment to whine.

Sometimes I wonder why on earth I’m doing what I’m doing. For heaven’s sake, dear reader, I’m not a spring chicken. And the money I’m pouring into this business surely has other places it could go. And then the Universe shows me this one woman, and I get to hear her story. And I think, okay. I get it. I’m right where I need to be doing what I need to be doing. My transparency is bringing a bit of comfort to someone. Oddly enough, just knowing that, brings comfort to me. 

And anyway, usually when I’m feeling my worst, I’m granted something purely special. A glimpse into humanity at its best. A hug from my son solely because he knew my heart was heavy. Even though his was, perhaps, heavier. Grace. 

Sane

PS I have no idea how long this little stretch of writing will last. But I’m going to enjoy it while it does. It is my intent that it offers you something positive. A get out of jail free card from being too hard on yourself. A reminder that you’re not alone. It doesn’t matter to me, as long as it aides you in your journey.

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I Don’t Know

The way I see it, life is pretty confusing. It seems half the population act like jackasses and some pretty amazing people die too soon. I won’t lie to you, dear reader, I had a pretty crummy day. Although I can’t go into the details and intricacies, suffice it to say, I spent a large part of the afternoon driving the countryside trying to sort myself out. I arrived home no more sorted than before I left.

Oddly enough, after being completely drained, one of my dearest friends called. She needed a boost. I did what love does. I scraped my reserve tank, and gave it to her. I couldn’t help her feel better about the abrupt death of her friend; a woman about to set off on a new career helping others, including autistic children. Why she had to die in an auto accident is beyond my understanding. I know all my spiritual teachings on the topic. And I could’ve recited it to her. But it fails in the moment. None of it makes sense. 

Something must be in the air. Because there’s a whole lot of pain being felt by a whole lot of people right now. Things are being kicked up. Emotions are rising. and that which is usually buried is being brought to the surface. Some of which isn’t pretty. It’s part of the process though. The moon calls the tide in. And with an enormous pull, it draws it back out, moving everything underneath. We are more water than anything else. So it should come as no surprise the tide pulls deep within us too. Only, it doesn’t feel as lovely as waves washing over the shore. 

Perhaps its because humans have their own agenda. We tend to fight nature. Often, we push and pull and fight. And those of us not prone to fighting find ourselves driving the coast in our Jeep Wrangler. And on those days, after having shared the deepest thoughts within me to the heavens above, and after carefully examining everything, I exited my Jeep saying the most spiritually sound thing I could say. Fuck it.

And that’s okay. There are times when that is what you have to say. Now, before anyone is offended, please realize that it’s a form of release. It means letting go of one’s hold. Often it’s the weight of knowing what needs to be done that causes the grip to tighten. Responsibilities. Being the lone person standing on the front line. Being the single parent. The single caregiver. The person who gives their all, because it’s the right thing to do. The person who knows they should feel differently, grateful, fortunate, blessed, but can’t. Not yet. Not now. Today feels the way it feels.

So, this was the advice I gave my friend. I told her it’s okay to let herself off the hook. It’s okay to disagree with life. It’s okay to say, fuck it, none of this makes sense. It’s okay to get angry. It’s okay to push back. It’s okay to not feel our best, to not be our best. And in giving ourselves that permission, we are being our best.

I can’t say if any of this helped her. It surely didn’t ease her pain. But, I hope it helped her to know it’s alright to be confused. It’s legitimate to feel the pain and wonder what it all means. Because I surely don’t have the answers. And right now, I don’t need to know. I don’t need to know anything other than I’m doing my best. 

If you’re like me, a kind person living in a turbulent, often unpredictable world filled with some pretty thoughtless people, just know that it’s okay to say fuck it. It’s okay to step aside from  your normal calm, cool and collected self. Life is to be felt. Feel the pull. Feel the push. Go with it. And what it brings up, it’s bringing up with purpose. Even the tears, dear reader. Even the tears.

Nature is good that way. It’s constantly cleansing. Our job, I’m guessing, is to ride the waves. You’re doing alright. 

Sane

To the Umbrella Seekers

Earlier today I pulled up to a four-way stop a second or two after the person to my left. We both paused. I waited my turn. Then, said car to my left, roared forward. She looked unhappy. She looked unfriendly. She looked put upon. Most of all, she did not look pleased with me.

Please know dear reader, she may have been none of these. But such were the thoughts I had as I slowly made my way forward. You see, I’ve always been one of those persons who smiles regardless. I keep my true feelings to myself. I share only with a tiny group. That is, if two or three constitutes a group. But even with them I don’t reveal what’s really going on within me. Maybe it’s because I’m a child of an alcoholic. One of which is usually assigned the role of fixer. That was me. Or maybe it’s because I’m a diehard optimist and romantic. By God I think flowers are there to be smelled, and love is there to be felt and honored. Even if not by me. Or maybe it’s because I’m a Libra. I’ve read we are the one’s who entertain our guests well, making sure everyone has a good time. Although, I’ve met plenty a Libra who couldn’t be further from such. Regardless the reason, I smile even when unhappy. Even when I feel unfriendly. Even when put upon.

Today was one of those days wherein my eye noticed the rough edges in life a bit  more than usual. I’ve worked hard to train my eye to see the beauty in most things. Even when life is like one of those puzzles we use to play as children, wherein we had to find the hidden object. Found the hammer nestled within the bark of the tree. Now the umbrella camouflaged within a potted plant. Found it. Oh God, where’s the boot. It has to be here somewhere.

The beauty of life often works like one of those puzzles. The problem is, once older, we don’t find the same joy in having to hunt for it. Instead, it sort of stinks. Or at least on days like today it does. But the hunt is a muscle. At first it exhausts easy. Over time, it gets conditioned. Pretty soon, we barely have to glance out before we pick up on all the little treasures. Things that were there all along.

That’s how life works. At least to me it is. There’s all this stuff constantly looming around. The weight of it can be absolutely crushing at times. And, oh dear reader, don’t even get me started on the pain inherent to life on this planet. It can be brutal. The pain done to us. The pain we see done to others. The pain of letting go. The pain of having to hang on. 

But that muscle, the one that helps us find the beauty, allows us to do more than simply scratch a word off the object list next to a puzzle. It helps us to weather the storm. It builds grace.

Most likely, I will always be the person who sees layers and layers into life. It’s just who I am. But that muscle helps me to see the beauty in that too. It helps me to see the beauty in tears. In a novel so deep it hurts to read. In a song so touching I ache when it plays. The way the waves share their secrets and the moon reminds us of our small size. But also in the laughter that erupts from nowhere. The twinkle in a person’s eye. The kind smile of a stranger. Or the simple nod from someone who also is just trying to find the hammer hidden within the tree. 

It takes great strength to be that person. Anyone can complain. Anyone can point out the tree. But I hang best with those who don’t. I tend to do best either alone, or with those who want to find the umbrella in the potted plant. Those are the one’s that can also see the beauty in me.

So dear reader, surround yourself with those who aren’t afraid to hunt a little for the goodness nestled within the cracks. They are the ones who will also take the time to hunt for it within you. There’s many of us out here. In that, you are never alone. 

Sane

Normally I’m working right now. Who knew building an empowerment company would be so all-consuming (please laugh at that). But I was contacted awhile ago by someone regarding my writing. And the words they shared have stayed with me. To them this post is dedicated. 

To Breathe Again

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I hadn’t expected to write tonight. But the stars shifted and the planets aligned. In other words, it’s a good day. I wouldn’t be surprised if my readers have all moved on by now. But always know this, eventually, I’ll be back. That’s how it goes when writing is your love. You never can ignore your love. It beckons you. You long for it. So, finally dear reader, I am here once again with you. Oh how glorious.

My world is just as it should be. All is dark and the music is softly playing with only the glow of my MacBook. I used to write to you while looking out on the vast horizon. I’d watch cars in the distance, miles away. Ever since moving from that one writing spot, I’ve struggled to write as I’d like. But its in my blood, it’s the one thing I always long to do. It’s what always feels right. I have to imagine its similar to how it feels when reunited with the one you love.

It’s that time again, isn’t it? We’ve reached the end of another year. I love this time. It’s as painful as it is joyous. It is the embodiment of who I am. The dichotomy of me. I am always caught between extremes. I am the one who loves to share laughter with friends, and yet, turns down side streets while walking her dog as to avoid others. I love silence. I love rooms filled with activity. I love the deepest parts of me that sit unmoved and steady. I love the parts of me that seem to stir at the slightest gust of the wind. I guess, this is why I’ve never truly felt as though I’ve fit in. Because I don’t. It took nearly five decades for me to be okay with that reality. I’ll probably spend the next few decades I have left helping others do the same. Because we should all feel good with who we are; whatever shape and style that is. It doesn’t matter. You are you for the reasons you are. Love it all. And perhaps once you do, then you’ll be less tormented and more peaceful. And isn’t that why we are all here – to enjoy the experience? If not, then why?

This time of year stirs up so much for so many. But the stirring isn’t bad. It’s a good thing, as hard as that is to believe. Do what I do, look at it. Don’t dismiss it. Don’t become it. Stay the observer. Allow the memories from your past, the good and the bad. Allow the grief of things lost. Allow the grief of things you never even had. That’s okay. Every bit of it reveals something about where you’ve been. Always good to see what’s been buried, because whether you realize it or not, you carry with you the stones you’ve tried to hide.

With every new year I take this motley mix that is me and think about who I am. I like the me that makes no sense. I’m not always sure what to do with me. But I like me. So I stand at the cusp of a new year owning every newly upturned stone, every quirky nuance, every soft emotion that sits on top of a very independent personality. I’ve gotten better at recognizing how God works through the personality that is me. And with every day I try to let the God within me show more.

For as soft-hearted as I appear, I am not such a passive player in my life. Instead, I like how it feels when I choose to trust in God; the God that moves the heavens; the God that resides within me; the God that finds its way into every song; the God that moves the seas; the God that lives within the trees. So to this new year, let us all be more okay with who we are.

I hope to be back more often in the upcoming year I will always be back, at some point. Because, eventually, I have to breathe.

Sane

To Feel the Sky

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To say that its been awhile would be quite an understatement at this point. I always miss these moments – where my words and your thoughts whisper and mingle as they do. Bliss.

This I know for certain, dear reader, Spirit lives and breathes through the world around us. And that brings me to what led to tonight’s writing. A friend asked if I had anything to write, about Northern Michigan. I thought on it for a moment, not sure what I would write. More often than not these posts are about that which heals.

Then, as It always does, Spirit waited for me to catch on. I finally did.

I’ve never felt more connected to All That Is than here; with my feet grounded and nature surrounding me. It heals. And that is exactly how I grew up in Northern Michigan.

While growing, Northern Michigan gave me continual communion, and it still does. When I need to be embraced, I look to the trees. When I need to hear the voice of God, it’s there within the wind that speaks through the pines. And of course, there’s the water. Often the water feels like that of an altar. It’s where I go to cleanse all that troubles me. Never has it let me down.

As much as I look forward to warmer climates, a part of my very being will only feel at home when smelling the leaves as they surrender to autumn’s call. I grew up with that distinct perfume. I also grew up with the smell of hot ferns as they collected on the foot pegs of my dirt bike. Something about that smell heals me. I learned to be reckless and wild on dirt roads that twisted and turned through the woods. To this day, a dirt road still makes me smile. But it was also here that I’ve healed a million broken parts within myself. Its been under a Michigan moon that I’ve howled in desperation, and also given thanks. Nothing beats the healing power of a Michigan sky. And nothing feeds the soul better than a Michigan autumn sun. Just as it signals the trees to let go for the season, it signals me to stay in harmony with the ever-changing cycle that is life. We are meant to let go. I learned that from the trees. I’ve never learned one thing from a preacher. But I’ve learned volumes from nature. No right or wrong, it’s just who I am. The water taught me to be who I am, all that I am, and I’ve never looked back since. The long Michigan winters have shared with me their truth, don’t hide your darkness. Michigan does it with grace, as well as fury. Its a time to explore that which can not be appreciated during the long days of summer. And so it goes with me.

There’s a line from one of my favorite songs, “Smell the sea and feel the sky. Let your soul and spirit fly into the mystic.” I know the smell of the water that surrounds me and the feel of the sky above me. And even though these stars accompany me wherever I go, I know, I’m at home here. There’s something primal about communing with nature. The trees absorb me. I absorb them. For me, church is when I look out and see water like glass. Or enjoy the sermon of waves raging on high and the willows that sway like a soulful gospel choir. It’s all there, if the eyes can see. And its bliss if the heart is open to feel.

So I will end this tonight with a thank you. Thank you for the invitation to write about Northern Michigan. And thank you God. You showed me, when young, that You can always be found within the trees and the water and the stars. A church to which the door is always open. All inclusive. Ever welcoming. Always answering, even my most difficult of questions. Thank you for that.

Sane

Drive Through the Night

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I remember once driving through the night. Honestly dear reader, I wasn’t just driving, I was escaping. I had everything I owned crammed into a Ryder Truck, my Acura in tow, my two year old son and mother beside me. I drove and I drove until the lights of Phoenix were far behind me. There comes a time for all of us when we have to take big steps toward freedom. Sometimes I think all I’ve done is taken big steps. At this point in the game, I’m an Olympian Pole Vaulter. But please know this, I wouldn’t change a thing.

We are all on a journey. Baby steps are just as valuable as pole vaulting. Actually, you can’t do one without having first done the other. So if you are finding yourself having to take big steps or baby steps to start something new, know that you are not alone. The one’s who don’t take those steps are those that will, most likely, be tasked with the same struggles throughout their life or perhaps in a different life. As for me, I try to stop the bad cycles when I recognize them.

One of the biggest cycles we all face is in learning to let go. Often, this means letting go of a relationship. Life is about relationships. We live an existence that is in relationship to what’s around us. Letting go of a steady paycheck can be devastating. Letting go of a much loved home is brutal. Letting go of someone you love is near crippling. Yet, there comes a time, when that is exactly what we are faced with doing. We must shift our direction, lift the energy, and in doing so, allow in something new.

And we know when its time, don’t we? In our core we know. From there, we usually fight it. I will say this, it does get easier. But I’ll also say that it never truly gets easy. Then again, I’m a tender heart. I feel things others don’t. Having said that, if I can do it, so can you.

Its okay if you notice you’re stuck. Its okay if you notice that those surrounding you don’t respect you. Its okay to realize that you took a few wrong turns along the way. Don’t judge yourself. Instead of viewing it as a set back, look at it as another step toward perfecting peacefulness. We almost never know what peace feels like until we are surrounded by the absence of it.

Its okay to take a stand. In fact, the best thing you can do for yourself is to fortify yourself with grace, look at yourself with Love and treat yourself accordingly. Often this means letting go of a few people, a few situations, a few habits. Every day is a new day to drive through the night toward making things right.

I’ve driven through the night both metaphorically and physically. Either way, it was filled with an indescribable ache, as well as an indescribable sense of freedom. With grace, let go of those things that no longer serve you. With a blessing, let go of friendships that have went beyond their season. And with a special prayer, release those mismatched loves. Both of you deserve something better.

I remember one night saying goodbye to someone that to this day I still love. As I sat in my Jeep, I felt the death. But I also felt the birth of hope for something better. Since then I’ve let go of people, places and things. It must be where I am in my journey. And I’m doing my best to move forward without too tight of a hold on anything. No map. Just my senses tuned to my core and the stars above. Now, if you’re needing to let go, do so with an open heart. Take a moment to look up and into the night sky. Breathe. Trust the Universe. It won’t let you down. Its time to shake it off and start again. Something better awaits. But it begins with you.

Sane

Night Driving

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Photo by F.C. Gundlach, 1954, Lo Olschner, ocelot coat by Berger, Hamburg.

There are days when I feel as though I’m driving through this world in the middle of the night on a road I’ve never traveled before. Truthfully, it feels like that a lot. I suppose however, that is the true definition of faith in action. I’m trusting that my desires rest just beyond my headlight’s beam.

Faith is a bit like walking through a pitch black room; trying to get to the other side one slowly keeps putting one foot in front of the other, trusting that with each step they will feel the ground. The ground isn’t visible. But they’re trusting it’s there. Really, anything else would not be faith. Anything less would not be utilizing inner Knowing, it would be utilizing a mind that has already seen the outcome.

As I continue to build this women’s empowerment clothing line, the more and more I realize that I am on a cross-country journey of faith in action. My inner self is elated. My mind, well, that is the part of myself I’m always training. Because my mind keeps wondering what is beyond the headlights. For all it knows, instead of road the earth could just drop off, taking me with it.

So when I get amped up and filled with anxiety, or worse, caught in a moment of utter self-doubt, I sit and remind myself – just drive. Keep moving forward. Don’t speed, as that kicks up the fear triggers. Instead, motor along and enjoy the ride. Look around more. The headlights are illuminating everything I need to see in the moment. So take in the moment. Stop wondering what is beyond my sight line. Perhaps what is just out of view is still being brought together by the Universe in honor of my continued belief and faith.

If the desire is within us, and the passion is there to fuel the desire, then it is meant to be. It has a purpose and my job is to honor the desire by moving forward Knowing that what is meant to be will be. I am not to expect a certain outcome. I am not to get weighed down in What Ifs. I’m meant to believe that the road will take me where this desire is meant to go.

Desire is what makes life worth living. And life should be a bit more fun than we often allow it to be. When we worry about what rests ahead we often fail to see and appreciate what is being given to us in the now. And there is usually always something of value meant for us to notice in the present. Perhaps doing that one simple act of appreciation is what helps to orchestrate what’s to come, what will soon fall into the range of our headlights. Perhaps faith is Divine fuel.

So dear reader, when getting where you want to go feels overwhelming try to let go of wondering what is ahead. Trust that as you move forward, as you keep taking the necessary steps to do all that you can do to keep driving, you will get there. People and places and experiences will fall into place. Most likely, they are waiting for you just around the bend. The headlights won’t show those things until you make a few more turns. Keep appreciating what you can in the now and keep driving. Life is a lot like a cross-country adventure. There are times when it feels as though you aren’t moving. There are certain states that seem to take a lifetime to drive through. About half way through you begin to convince yourself you won’t make it. But you will. Take your time. Try not to give up.

Sometimes the kindest thing you can give yourself is a release. Release your timeline, release your hard fast rules or expectations. And trust that All Is Well and everything is working – you just may not see it yet. Breathe. You’ll get there.

Sane