> Me

Lost health.

Lost friends.

Lost family.

Lost jobs.

Lost loves.

Lost trust.

Lost expectations.

Lost hope.

One thing I haven’t lost? Faith.

I don’t believe in me. I believe in a power and purpose greater than me. And this power isn’t one that protects me from feeling pain, fear, scarcity, lack and so on. It’s a power that uses the unfortunate things that happen to make me a better person.

If I listen, I’ll learn. Even if that means the bad thing that happened to me was of my own stupidity . . . and NOT the devil.

How am I here?

The hard way.

I’ve never been one to read a book or listen to sage advice and course correct. No . . . hell, no. I have to learn through skinned knees, a bruised chin and a bloody nose that if I hit my brakes and slide on the gravel the road wins. Road: 1, Bike/Brandy: 0.

So, through a series of painful, personal experiences, I’ve learned to lean on the Bible. Especially in times of trouble – aka: I thought I knew better and acted on my own, now I’m on my knees. Help me, please.

Some of my favorites?

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13

“Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” I John 4:4

“The Lord will fight for you; you need only be still.” Exodus 14:14

“God is greater than our hearts.” I John 3:20

And, then, there are the times when my doubt and insecurities start to scream. When the ghosts of boyfriends past start to chant, “What if he cheats?” And the ghosts of bosses past hit the hook, “What if your new boss acts inappropriately?” And friends past sing the refrain, “What if she stabs you in the back?”

I simply sing louder:

“Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?” Mathew 6:27

“The TRUTH will set you FREE.” John 8:32

“He will BE your peace.” Micah 5:5

“The Lord is near to the brokenhearted.” Psalm 34:18

Greater Than crossDoes it always work? No. My mind is a vicious beast that’s slow to taming. But, it works more than it doesn’t. And, in those times, when I spin myself up, I know who to call to bring me back down.

Would I rather skip the pain to learn to trust in a power greater than me? Absolutely. But, life doesn’t always work that way. So, I’ve failed, messed up, got up, dusted off, prayed forgiveness, began again, rinsed and repeated – because, I’m human.

Pain and difficulties will come. They always do. And, in those moments, I try to remember to let my light shine in the storm. Sometimes, that feels like I’m being Pollyanna Prissypants – but I know that being positive in times of trouble feels a lot better than despair.

I know that God is a source of love and light greater than me, greater than my problems. He is NOT a force field that prevents bad things from happening to me.

So, yes, I will forget to fill my car with gas. I will release a string of swear words that’ll blister the ears of children in 5 counties and feel guilty about it. I will forget 87 things at home and have to go back 3 times before getting on the road.

But, most of all, I WILL rejoice – or attempt to rejoice – because “Jesus replied, you don’t understand now what I am doing, but someday, you will.” John 13:7.

 

Jesus Take the Wheel

My brain misfires sometimes . . . often, in the form of old song lyrics, loud and off-key, while performing mundane tasks. Read: cleaning, taxes, trips to the grocery store. (Much to the chagrin of other shoppers.) During my latest outburst, I channeled some good ol’ Carrie Underwood, “Jesus take the wheeeeeeeel, take it from my hands, I can’t do this on my own.”

And it hit me – it doesn’t matter if Jesus takes the wheel if I don’t get my foot off the brake.

Sit with that for a minute, because I’ve been sitting with it for a couple of weeks now.

Now, I know that my friends don’t procrastinate. I mean, my friends are ON IT. But, me? Well, I’m a bit of a dawdler. Especially when it comes to my “real” work. (Which, I’ll admit, I’ve yet to absolutely define, but know it has nothing to do with a 9 to 5. That’s why I’m asking for guidance from above.)

I believe we all have the capacity to hear what the Bible calls the small, still voice. In I Kings, it says God isn’t in the fire or the earthquake, but in a gentle whisper. But, in my life, sometimes it’s a hurricane of whispers. Mostly because I have trouble listening the first time. (What child actually listens the first time?!?!? “If I have to tell you one more time, I’mma come over there and . . . )

So, what’s a girl to do when the whisper is with me?

Yogi Bhajan’s second Sutra for the Aquarian Age says, “When the time is on you, start, and the pressure will be off.

So, I start. I lace up my sneakers, I sit down at the keyboard, I go to the grocery store to buy veggies. I start. And, I start. And, I start again . . . because, I stop.

That’s why the hurricane of whispers and inklings and desires – because they’re all pushing me in the right direction. They’re all serving to steer me to the right path if I’ll stop, process and act on the divine guidance I receive.

You see, Jesus always HAD the wheel. He always steered me towards the right people, the right places and the right circumstances to get me where I need to go.

The trouble is that in the times I made the least progress, I’ve had my foot on the brake!!!

Today, I’m beginning again, and again, and again. I listen for the small, still voice and inch forward with tiny acts because I believe there are far better things before me than behind me.

If you want to go on this journey, hop in. Jesus has the wheel . . . and I promise I’ll try not to clothesline you with my arm if (when) I slam on the brakes again!

 

K.I.S.S.

In grade school, we used to seal our notes with acronyms . . . LYLAS (love you like a sister), K.I.S.S. (keep it simple, stupid) and so forth.  We were 8 – side eyes – I don’t know how much simpler we could’ve made it. Get up, go to school and let someone else make your decisions, do your laundry and put dinner on the table. (Now that I think of it . . . can I go back?)

Anyway, this idea of keeping it simple haunts me. Yes, we have bills and jobs and kids and responsibilities – but shouldn’t it be . . . simple? Maybe effortless is a better word for the synchronistic flow I’m attempting to describe.

Haven’t you had those moments when everything just seemed to go effortlessly along a path?

I find that when I’m in those moments I’m most connected to God/Spirit/Source. When I’m tapped into that Supreme Power, things seem to go a little smoother. However . . .

In conversation with one of my best girlfriends from college about maintaining a spiritual mindset, she said that she just doesn’t have time to devote to a spiritual practice.

So, I started wondering – can our everyday lives BE a spiritual practice? Can’t we walk and talk and breathe and BE the light? And if that’s a possibility, what would that life look like?

During a completely different and unrelated conversation with a different friend I had an Oprah “a-ha moment.”

She was lamenting some relationship troubles and I asked her what she thought about ending things with this particular man and she said, “That doesn’t feel good.”

That doesn’t feel good.

The words rang through my soul and vibrated every nerve ending in my body.

What if I were to apply this concept to everything in my life? How revolutionary would that be!

The scratchy sweater? Get rid of it.

That relationship that leaves me drained? Part ways.

The job that doesn’t fill my soul or my bank account? Upgrade.

Simple.

And, yes, there are certainly things that we simply must do even if they don’t feel good – like a pap smear. But, if we can tip the scale to a 51/49 way of being, that would be nice, right?

Now, I’m practicing this super simple philosophy and smiling that, sometimes, our most insightful moments come at unexpected times from unexpected people.

That doesn’t feel good.

That does feel good.

And if God is good, doesn’t it make sense that living in a state of “feeling good” means I am in connection with the Greater within? Perhaps it’s an oversimplification. But maybe . . . just maybe . . . it’s a gentle reminder of something I think we all already knew in our souls, long ago, and chose to forget.

K.I.S.S.

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

One step forward, two steps back.

It’s not just a fancy little cha-cha-cha – it’s the way I live.

If I’m really honest, I feel more like a plate spinner. And, on particularly cruel days, I get all of my plates in the air and God/Universe/Spirit sends a hurricane my way. I can’t even find my damn plates – much less piece them back together. (And, if you’ve been following along, you know I lost my plates in July.)

So, I’ve been reading, churching, praying, cursing, meditating, walking the beach, cursing, going to yoga, writing, cursing, riding my bike and generally trying to figure out a different way. Because, I feel like I’m losing the same plates over and over and over again. I want to learn the lesson so I can pass the test and keep the plates. (And get my gold star on the awesome chart.)

Does that resonate with any of you? Do you feel like you keep getting the same test . . . and failing? And, Lord HELP, I’m not even a good test taker!

I’m reading Marianne Williamson’s “A Return to Love,” and she shares an idea from “A Course in Miracles” that “it’s not up to us what we learn, but only whether we learn through joy or through pain.”

Well, hot shit and hallelujah . . . I choose joy, because I’ve had a gut-ful of pain. Can I get an Amen?!?!?

Now, as lovely as that sounds – it’s not so easy, right? I mean, HOW do you actually engage the joyful learning experience? (That’s not rhetorical – I REALLY want to know because I’m tired of the cage match smack-down.)

Mastin Kipp talks about reframing life’s experiences in a way that sets the expectation that life is actually rigged in our favor. Now, that’s a delicious nugget!

Perhaps the lost plates weren’t really MY plates – and the hurricane freed my hands. I mean, I didn’t particularly like that color or pattern, anyway. Now, I have the opportunity to paint my own pottery! (Ladies, grab the wine.)

BUT, to make that connection, I have to be able to trust both path and journey.

Or, at least that’s what everyone keeps telling me. “Trust that you’re on the right path,” they say. (Never mind I’ve skinned my shin and have a bump on my head from falling over tree roots on the path. Can one of y’all bring a saw out here?!?!?)

Or, do I have to trust the path?

Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”

It sounds to me like I should trust the path maker – not necessarily the path. And, it just so happens that said path maker is also the potter we read about in Jeremiah.

So, if God is FOR me, he is a loving teacher. And, according to James 1:2-3, we are to count it all JOY when you fall into various trials knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.

And, if I am his clay, then He can help me fire and paint and glaze gorgeous new plates . . . IF I can trust and hand over my life to him.

Trust, again . . . my Achilles heel.

So, here I am, limping towards the throne, grasping my mustard seed size faith, wondering how I’m actually going to lay down my problems and pride in order to learn my lessons. Because, I really, truly and with my whole heart want to start spinning spectacular, shiny new plates!

*sigh*

I guess I’ll just do it the same way I’ve done everything else  . . . one step forward, two steps back, cha-cha-cha.

What Will You Do?

One day, you’re going to stand at a crossroad. To the left, the life you know: the safe, the comfortable, the familiar. To the right, the life you might live: adventure, possibility, unknown.

Maybe you’re standing there now. Maybe you’ve stood here before and made the choice that ultimately brought you back around to the same crossroad. Nevertheless, here you are.

And it doesn’t matter if you’re a stay-at-home mom thinking about going back to work and presenting a new model of motherhood to your children or if you’re a business person trying to decide if you want to leave the safety of corporate to build a business on your own. The choice is really: Will I choose to continue on with good? Or will I roll the dice and gamble for great?

The problem with this choice is that great isn’t guaranteed . . . or is it?

Yes, you could lose your life savings. But, are you saving for fun or familiar?

Yes, that new relationship could leave you heartbroken.  But, is being single truly satisfying?

Yes, that trip abroad might not be as fun as you imagined it would be. But, wouldn’t you rather be enriched and enlightened than stay home and be bored?

What does that mean for your decision?

Does it mean that it’s better to wrap yourself in the comfortable conformity of life? I think it’s worth considering whether or not your life is really yours . . . one of your own choosing.

Your routine, your day in and day out, the spouse, the house, the job . . . are they all things that you actually want for yourself? Or are these the things that other people told you you should want? Did you buy into their dream or are you living your very own?

If you’re not really living the life that you want and you’re just going through the motions, how great would the loss really be if you rolled the dice and sought a life to love?

Let’s say you take the gamble and fail . . . exquisitely fail. It really wouldn’t be that hard to recreate mediocrity. I mean, look around you and take note of all the people excelling at ho-hum. It seems like you could rebuild a vanilla existence in about 15 minutes, 30 if you’re deliberately minding the details.

Now, all of this isn’t to say that your life is a waste if you’re not living in a mansion along the California coast. Your dream is distinct to you and different from everyone else’s. What it is to say is, “Are you awake in your living or are you sleepwalking through someone else’s dream?”

I ask this of you, because these are the questions I am asking of myself.

You see, I am once again at the crossroads.

Brene Brown writes about Theodore Roosevelt’s “daring greatly” quote and I know one thing for sure . . .  I want to be IN the arena, “face marred with sweat and blood.”

I want to wake up every morning and chase a dream with eyes wide open and heart beating hard. I want to breathe adventure deep into my lungs and run full speed into the unknown.

What I do NOT want is to die knowing that I rode shotgun in my own life, “knowing neither victory nor defeat,” because someone else was driving my car.

And, perhaps, this is how great IS guaranteed.

Yes, I have cried 1,000 tears, been beaten, bruised and pushed around by life. But I have also been fully supported, lifted up and encouraged. I have laughed from deep within my soul and let my light shine on friends and strangers. And, even when it felt bad, it felt good . . . because I’m living out loud and not just going through the motions, keeping a safe and friendly distance.

This is why I dare to stand at my crossroads today and say, “I’m hanging a right.”

It’s frightening to set out on an adventure without a map. To journey towards an idea that’s on the horizon without knowledge of the terrain that stands between. And, while I am certain that I will roll my ankle and meet with snakes . . . I am equally certain that I will keep the company of angels and dance among fireflies along the way.

Will you join me in the search for adventure? Will you dare to lead a bolder, brighter, happier life? I need a good travel companion or two.

So, take a moment to envision your best life.

What do you see?

What’s your dream?

What will you do?