Live What You Know

Learn, Grow, Accept, Appreciate, Realize, Love…Truly Live It All! Make Every Day A Masterpiece and Live Each Moment In Joy! —or— You are Divine. You are All. We are One. Let us Be still. Let us Listen with an open heart. Let us Live what we hear. Let us Love with All of our heart. BE. YOU. I AM. —or— wherever you're at and growing from now.

Category: A Well Lived Day – Your Masterpiece

Nice to Meet You and Me

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                               -Hafiz

Whenever I go out and feel alive as I share my true energy and spirit openly, I love, like and enjoy whatever and whomever I come into contact with!

I give and receive back exactly what I put out. I meet ME in the world. We meet ourselves again and again in everything we encounter.

If it ever seems as though I meet someone or something that is anything less than pleasant, I must shine brighter to receive any light back. There is abundant light within. I can shine light on everything I see and it will shine back on me.

It’s nice to meet you and me.

Sending love and joy…hopefully everywhere I go and in every thought I create! If I don’t send enough, what reflects back to me will show me the opportunity to send more.

Always give what you think you lack.

Smile!

Your Truth

YOU Decide!

Truth has no path, and that is the beauty of truth, it is living.

Krishnamurti

I’ve been hanging out with ‘me’ for quite some time now — in fact, as long as I can remember :-). However, what that feels like and what it means to me has changed, and continues to change, in a myriad of ways across the time I might call my own here. As I look back, I can remember countless small moments I decided to change this or that and plenty of huge “aha” moments that guided me towards something much larger than myself. Of course, there were also those times I wished I could do or be something and didn’t quite know how. Until we know how to follow the signs and accept the blessings that await our reception, we aren’t truly Living.

Never under any circumstances ask “how.”

When you use the word “how” you really want someone to
tell you what to do,

some guide, some system, someone to lead you by the hand so that you
lose your freedom,

your capacity to observe, your own activities, your own thoughts,
your own way of life.

Krishnamurti

We Know much more than we think about anything worth Knowing. There is never anything we cannot answer from within. In this busy day and age it is easy to let others tell us how, browse the internet for the “answer” or just bump along from one distraction to the next. There is much more to Life than that. There are no instructions, only a constant and ever-present energy that wants to come forth and Live through us. It is patient at times and urgent at times; but, it is always there.

We must learn to trust that energy and listen to what it Knows and is constantly trying to show us. Once we can see, we then figure out how to go on listening and eventually how to experience it All. We are never stuck anywhere, only right where we belong to receive the messages meant for us. Each day we decide what we will do and who we will be. There are so many options. There is something deep within that pushes, pulls, nudges, guides and above all, Loves us enough to try to get our attention each and every day. If we can’t see, hear and feel it today, it will still be there tomorrow, every tomorrow until our last and still forevermore after that. We decide when we are ready to listen and “how” that will look, feel and be for us.

There are many ways to spend our time doing today; never one way, just our way. There is a lot of doing across a lifetime.

“ING”

Listening to the voice in the head.
Allowing the voice to push us around.
Suffering from the constant chatter.
Realizing that voice isn’t really us.

Shifting perspective to the one who hears the voice.
Quieting the voice to hear more from the listener.
Opening to the world around us.
Stumbling from time to time.

Accepting miracles beyond anything imaginable.
Sharing Love and joy.
Creating Blessings.
Being.

I would never want to suggest one way or another to go about your doing today. I would only hope and pray that we all, including myself, honor the Being that is within us all as we go about choosing, forgive ourselves when we fall short and love all that we see around us as we respect one another’s truth.

It is worth noting here that just because you are led to something doesn’t mean you will easily understand it at first. All Knowing unfolds at its own pace. All that is required of us is that we never cease trying to understand more than we do in our current now; simple healthy curiousity and trust in one’s self will do. I recently picked up a book that was a real “aha” for me many years ago. I thought it was the most difficult read ever back then. Much of it I couldn’t really understand, but I stuck with the instinct that it was True and in my hands at the perfect time for me. I stumbled through that first read, doing my best to take it all in and experience it from a deeper place. Sometimes I read a sentence ten times just to try to grasp it, all the while relishing in the unfamiliar waves of wisdom opening my mind in new ways. After that I read that book every couple of years. Each time it was fresh and familiar in different ways. As I skimmed through it just the other day, it read like the most simple thing in the world. It was comforting in so many ways; yet it struck me that the excitement it once held over the ways it challenged me to grasp my unknown was no longer on those pages. The unknown cannot stay so forever. While I miss how thrilling it once felt to read those words, I love how it feels to Know those words and find myself ready and willing to Live them more fully and find, read, hear or uncover new ones that make no sense at all to me…yet. 🙂

Everything I wrote here may seem strange, unfamiliar or nonsensical to some and easily understood and simply a collection of reminders to others. Both are true. But, if you read any or all of these words, then you know they are meant for you. Whether to remind you or provoke you to journey towards understanding more, they are in your life today or any day you find them at just the right time and for just the right reason…your reason…your truth.

Wishing us all the courage and ability to Know “how” to decide well what we will do and who we will Be today and always.

The Very Best Will Come to Be

BE comfortable with whatever that is!

The part of you that doesn’t need to worry over situations is the part that can really look at Life and see a clearer sense of reality. That part of you is at home with the Flow of life, but it can also see when true conscious action is called for. Living the balance of Flow and Right Action can only lead to the awakened state we are all meant to call home.

“When you become comfortable with uncertainty, infinite possibilities open up in your life. It means fear is no longer a dominant factor in what you do and no longer prevents you from taking action to initiate change.”   —Eckhart Tolle

“The desire for safety stands against every great and noble enterprise.”   —Publius Cornelius Tacitus

“If uncertainty is unacceptable to you, it turns into fear. If it is perfectly acceptable, it turns into increased aliveness, alertness, and creativity.”   —Eckhart Tolle

There truly is nothing to fear. Fear is an illusion that keeps us from seeing clearly, from hearing truth and from experiencing reality. There is always much more going on in any given situation than meets the eye. There is no one way to look at anything. There are a multitude of ways to see everything before us. Our collection of  Life experiences, level of consciousness while we look, ability to see clearly and/or choice of filter or emotions we look through and much more determine how we experience any given situation. By far, the worst angle we can choose to look from is fear. The ability to live from the energy source that KNOWS All is well is a place with no fear; it is filled with abundant love for All.

Of course, it is easy to “say” all these things. But, when something happens that pokes our fear of the unknown, makes us uncomfortable or has us believe we may experience a great loss, it can seem almost unbearable and crazy to just roll with it. In the places and with the people we love the most, embracing the unknown can be the hardest and scariest. In my day-to-day life, I can usually feel that presence in the background that Knows All is well. I can see a grumbling thought start to form and release it before it gets hold, simply by knowing whatever it is will pass, it isn’t as it seems, it’s All good or whatever thought I may replace the lower thought with. That energy is there in the background, we just have to lean back and think and feel from there, rather than the little thoughts that try to take the forefront.

On larger issues, it isn’t always as simple as that. I think we have certain hot buttons or deal breakers that take us to another place when the stakes are higher, or seem to be. Lately, I’ve observed myself dealing with a big unknown that seems to have the ability to affect my life and my children’s lives in big ways. Nothing earth-shattering, just the seeming loss of a place we spend a lot of time, have a lot of great memories at and certain hope for a wonderful future at…one of those local little place gets bought out by the giant corporation and everything is changing kind of things. I won’t bore you with the details, but to us, it is a really big deal. We’re a tennis family, so I’m talking about our tennis addiction here. “Losing” a place we love so much and spend so much time at has been interesting. Vacillating between the optimistic thoughts, excitement for some much-needed positive change and the fear of things changing so much they just won’t work for us anymore has been interesting. I’ve found myself searching for all the great things online that would comfort me about the changes one minute, then thinking of where we should move, what I should do or what major change I could make to ease my discomfort the next. The unknown has been looming for many months with how long these things take. Now, we’re right in the middle of the big transition and it all seems escalated. The great news is, the plans in place for change at this place I have called my second home will take over a year to take shape, so I can work on this comfortable with the unknown thing for many months.

The truth is, things may work out great. The other truth is, they may not. Even though I have had many silly moments with this super important issue for my family, I always come back to knowing All will be well and it will work out just as it is meant to. If we love the new place, that is great. If we don’t feel at home there anymore, we can move on. There are many moving parts to the situation with all the other people involved. There are some really important people in our lives who’s lives are also affected. When the stakes seem high, the ground for practicing all we Know gets much more fertile. We are blessed to have these things come up to show us where we are really at in life. Challenges that really push us to a higher consciousness are such a gift.

A deep trust in All allows us to go with the Flow of Life as we are meant to. However, the Flow includes Us and our Knowing from the still space inside. We can access our place in the Flow and when necessary, take conscious action from there. Sometimes there are certain things you just know and feel you should do or take action on. The Flow does not always mean totally accepting and being okay with whatever happens. Sometimes, we are called to stand up and take action. In that spirit, I do have a meeting with the new management on Monday to share some concerns, discuss some situations, ask for what I need and listen with an open mind. I want to do my part to follow the action I feel called to while listening deeply to the Universal Flow and acting from the depths of my Soul. That is probably just a more complicated way of saying being comfortable with whatever happens and conscious enough to hear what is asked of me and where I am being led.

In the scheme of life, the example above of our recreational emergency, is a rather awesome problem to have. Of course, Life has many layers. I used this example because is sounds better than discussing the removal of my gallbladder three weeks ago and all the fun listening to life and conscious action that involved. Icky! I figured tennis was a better topic to digest in the morning. It is amazing how many things we all juggle at once and how hard it could all be if we don’t trust that the very best will always come to be.

Wishing you a sense of peace that is hard to imagine, impossible to describe and energizing to be around. Sending love and joy!

Your Life Is a Canvas

“We all need this quiet unfolding: the passion to paint what we dream, the honesty to only paint what we know, the courage to stop and live into what we don’t know, the humility to return years later, and the courage to use the blood of our life as the colors needed to finish the embrace. This is the unfolding of the human flower. Until the face of our soul and the face we show the world is one, the same.” —Mark Nepo, from
Seven Thousand Ways to Listen, Staying Close to What Is Sacred


Paint Your Life

Use strokes of ambition, truth, peace and love.
Cultivate the courage to create in new and unfamiliar ways.

Realize what you know.
Expand what you know.

Use colors that make your heart sing.
Sing the song of your heart.

Let your masterpiece make eyes sparkle, smiles spread and hearts warm.
Continue the painting, keep learning, add new dimensions.

Look from every perspective and listen with all your senses.
Love with all your heart.

Live open enough to grow.
Strive to live all that you know.

Ask for more.
Give thanks.

See the masterpiece each day.
Be the masterpiece in every way.

Be gentle with yourself along the way.
See the love around you.

Smile!
It’s your creation!

We truly are creating our lives each and every day with each moment and how we choose to live those moments. We can only create that which we can imagine for ourselves. We must stay alert and be open to the wisdom that wants to guide us to all there is to imagine. There is always much more to imagine.

Wherever we place our attention, allow our thoughts to take us or have our minds rest, will surely become our experience. Imagine all that you can in ever-expanding ways and make it so!

As I lean back and look at the larger picture of my life thus far, it is obvious how it works. Much of it happened without me knowing it. Now that I know it, what will I paint? It will be so much fun to Live the question!

Wishing you love, joy and the courage to show the world your soul face.

NOTE: I’m returning after a bit of a break. I am so happy to be back. 🙂 For anyone interested, I’ve updated the “About” and “My Story” pages for more information about that.

Intention

Each day we receive a wonderful, miraculous, amazing gift called a new day.  As we receive this gift each morning, we can decide how we will use it well.  We can pause and consider how to honor this gift and use it to the best of our ability.  This gift we receive each morning is too awesome to take for granted.  It is too much to accept without realizing the magnitude of it.  If someone gave us a large sum of money, we would surely take the time to consider what to do with it.  The gift of a day is worth far more than any amount of money could ever be.  There is nothing more miraculous than a day to turn into your masterpiece.  All anyone can ever do to honor this Life we are given is to get up each day and do the best we can with our day moment by moment.

We can set a clear intention for ourselves each day.  At the very least, knowing our intention will help us make better choices to match our truest desires and best character aspects as we navigate various situations and circumstances.  At the highest level, setting our intention clearly each morning is like sending out prayer filled instructions to the Universe.  The Universe hears our instructions and then begins arranging things to perfectly match them and bring us the circumstances that will allow us to live our creation.  We are constantly sending out instructions whether we realize it or not.  Things are arranging themselves according to our intentions.  We can see the miracles and create beautiful things or we can miss the magic and stumble around accepting what comes without realizing we ordered it.

A few months ago, I gave the kids intention journals and encouraged them to write down their intentions each morning.  We have had lovely discussions about their various intentions and how they can remember what they intended for the day as they make choices and deal with situations that arise.  It is helpful for them to take responsibility for their actions and remember what they really want to do with their day and their character choices in general.  My writing here is really about my intention to live what I know and help others as I go.  When I gave the kids their journals, I thought I didn’t need one because I write about my intentions here.  I recently changed my mind and got me an intention journal too.  I am joining them in the practice of clearly stating my intentions in writing each morning.  I love it so far.  I learned about intention years ago, but I can see the power and supportive Universal energy in stating my intentions clearly each day.  I am grateful for this practice, it will help me create the days I am meant to and hopefully send Love and abundant blessings out into the world through me.  That is my dearest intention.

Wishing us all the courage to intend well and bless abundantly.  Sending you love and joy.

 

Spiritual Simplicity

To become a happy person have a clean soul, eyes that see romance in the commonplace, a child’s heart, and spiritual simplicity. —Norman Vincent Peale

I came across the above quote in my morning reading recently.  The idea of spiritual simplicity struck me deeply.  I instantly loved that notion; the deepest part of me knew exactly what it meant when I came across it.  That idea stayed with me all day and carried me through my choices of love and non reaction.  Simply put, it helped me stay firmly in the moment and accepting of all that each moment brought with it.  It is a very helpful thing to remember first thing in the morning, so I want to share it here this morning.

Spiritual simplicity means loving all that we encounter.  It means accepting and truly living each experience as it comes.  It means knowing that whatever circumstances we are experiencing, they are the perfect ones for us at the exact moment the Universe has created them for us.  It means listening to Life and flowing with it in the rhythm that our spirits know.  Living in acceptance doesn’t include feeling like we don’t want to or cannot change things.  It empowers us to know the impulse of the Universe and give our attention and energy to changing things that are ready to change.  In some cases, our mere acceptance of things allows them to change before our eyes; like how a hug or loving smile can melt the anger, sadness or frustration of a loved one.  Other times, our acceptance of what is allows us to hear the Universe/God/Life telling us about what it would like to bring to us or through us.  Resisting anything is a force that does not allow listening, it makes hearing Life’s messages impossible.  Spiritual simplicity is love and listening.  It is only found in the sacred moment we are in.  It isn’t found in the thought stream and stress of daily life.  It is in the flow of our spirit.  Our spirits flow together.  We are all connected and we can flow through our days in spiritual simplicity.  Let’s listen and love.

As for the rest of the quote above:

  • A clean soul — we all have that.
  • Eyes that see romance in the commonplace — we can do this by opening our eyes and truly seeing all the amazing miracles that are constantly around us.  I like to think of it as seeing the unfamiliar in all things and never assuming we know how things are going or how they will turn out.  It is staying fresh and alive to each moment.  Love is all around.  We can choose to see it.
  • A child’s heart — we all have that.  We must remember what it feels like to live from it.  Be amazed.  Be present.  Expect wonder and excitement.
  • A very important note — the quote begins with the idea of “becoming” a happy person.  We don’t need to try to do that.  We already are that.  We came into this world with that intact. We simply choose when we are ready to remember it.  “Happy” becomes peace and joy and is accessible in every moment.

Let’s set our intention this morning and feel how well it will serve us.  Today, I choose to live spiritual simplicity and I intend to spread it to as many lives as I can touch and as many places as my energy can visit.

Sending you love and joy!

A Life Well Lived

My Beloved Granny

Granny side by side

On August 5, 2014, my dear Granny left her physical form here on earth.  I have always had my Granny in my life.  Now, I am figuring out how to proceed with her spirit form and live with the void in our lives as we find our new normal without her here in physical form.  We know her spirit is with us and we are grateful she isn’t suffering anymore.  Those of us who loved her so are figuring out what to do with our suffering and how to carry it well.  Granny lived a full and wonderful life.  I had the honor of speaking at her funeral.  My heart is so grateful that I did.  These are the words that I spoke on August 9, 2014 at her memorial service.

—————–begin speech

Hi everyone. It is lovely to look at such an extremely fortunate group of people. Each and every one of us have been so very blessed to know the wonderful woman I call Granny. One thing was for certain about Granny — to know her was to love her… and — to be loved by her. Granny lived with a completely open heart and throughout the whole of her life, she humbly and graciously taught everyone who knew her just what that choice looks like and just exactly what love really is.

Knowing someone like Granny through the whole of your lifetime is the most precious gift. Throughout my life she has been a shinning light to me in various ways and for abundant reasons; sometimes for the laughs, sometimes for the tears, sometimes for the wisdom and always for the love. I have known many versions of my dear Granny over the years as well as loved her through many versions of myself. She always took the time to share openly and authentically just who she was and how she was changing over time as well as to know just exactly who I was and what was important to me at the time. She never ceased amazing me with all that she was. Until her last days, I found myself astounded at her wisdom and, of course, delighted by her spirit.

Over the last ten years I have been reading every spiritual master or great thinker I can find, trying to learn all the best ways to honor a lifetime and fulfill my purpose here on earth. Repeatedly, no matter how various teachers have presented the secrets to life or the best spiritual wisdom around, I found myself thinking, “Granny lives like that” or “Granny knows that one” or “Granny used to say that in her own way.” I am not even sure she knew how much wisdom she possessed, but that is what made being near her so special. She just oozed great things out in a beautiful aura around her. She didn’t have to talk about her wisdom and she didn’t feel identified by it, she didn’t place expectations on others, she simply lived each day the best she could and chose happiness and joy as she shared those choices with everyone around her.

Granny followed her heart; she didn’t follow others. Link Frank Sinatra says, she did it her way. She chose to live a happy, positive life. It was her choice and she made it again and again each and every day. She wasn’t one to tell others how to live, but her life was a lesson for us all. She showed us how to live and love and fill a life with meaning and joy.

Today, I want to share a few of the big lessons from Granny’s life:

Acceptance – Granny lived with utter acceptance of life. Over all the years, all the battles with cancer, or suffering and deaths of loved ones or even just the day-to-day stuff; I never ever heard her wish things were different. She didn’t waste energy wishing things were other than they were. She accepted things as they came and made the best of every situation. Granny was in the flow of Life. If that were the one lesson we took away, it would be enough to lead a beautiful life.

Compassion – Granny loved everyone through everything. She didn’t spend time telling people how they should be living or what they were doing wrong. Even though she always wanted the very best for us all and certainly had to bear with us through interesting choices at times. She never judged. She loved with utter compassion and non-judgment. She had her opinions and could state them when asked or when the mood struck her, but she didn’t push and we never had to worry about disappointing her. It didn’t seem possible. She just knew that things work out and she loved patiently though all things.

A favorite maxim around our house from a beloved teacher is — Don’t Whine, Don’t Complain, and Don’t Make Excuses — Granny lived this so completely. She never ever did whine, complain or make excuses. I love the matter of fact attitude she had at times. As a child, and even as a young lady, during our girl talks, I would question her about things from her past or ask why she hadn’t done something else or made a different choice. She always said, “Stac – that is just the way it was.” She didn’t add reactions and drama to things that had happened or make excuses for any choices ever. She just lived her life the best she could and made no apologies or complaint along the way. That is just beautiful! I must admit that I do love to picture her when I was super little and she still swore and smoked…it comforts me somehow and makes me think there is still hope for me to sort all these things out. Perhaps I’ll get to a place where I truly live all these teachings some day. With her spirit around me, I am sure to succeed. Or at least, get up and try my best again and again and again.

Presence – In all the teachings, said in so many ways, the ultimate truth is always there — the present moment is all there ever is. Granny had a lovely presence about her that was infectious. She had this because wherever she was, she was completely there with all her heart. She didn’t have a lot of distractions about her. She didn’t speak of regrets from the past or worries about the future. She was completely in the moment and happy to be with whomever was with her at that moment in time. This gift she gave to everyone was truly amazing. When we are fortunate enough to spend time with others who are completely present, we can find that presence in ourselves and share it with others. Granny surely did that for everyone here today and throughout her life in so many ways.

Perception – The life we make is created simply out of the one we choose to see. We experience exactly what we think we see and all the details we give our attention to, to go along with that story. We choose. Granny knew this. To say that Granny’s cup was half full is an understatement. She just had that way of seeing the best, expecting the best, forgiving the less than best and helping others see life that way too. I remember when I was little telling her, “Granny, I’m mad!”…in every case, no matter what the cause, she would reply, “Well, you’ll get glad again.” She was right. I did. Thank goodness she didn’t commiserate with me. She taught me a lot through that choice of non-reaction. She allowed me to be as I was and she created the space for me to make a better choice. How very wise of her! What a wonderful gift she gave me.

Love – All the great teachings lead to love. It was life changing for me when I learned that all things are either fear or love and that people act out of those two choices. All those other things that aren’t love are simply fear. When we realize that people are just scared, we can forgive anything and spread love. I think Granny knew that. That is why she was so full of pure love; she understood the alternative and the source for other things. That is how she knew all would always be well and people would figure things out just as they are meant to. We all find our way back to love. I spent a lot of time with Granny over the years and in these last years kept up with my Mom to hear just how things were going.   I am sure that Granny felt fear on many occasions. The thing about her is that she never let it get to her. She knew how to handle things and not let them get the best of her. She kept her heart open to let love come in and chose not to allow fear to close things up. In her last days, she knew how to ask for help from her dear children who were there for her in the most amazing ways. Once when I was little, I remember sitting in the truck with her and my dear Grandpa. They were trying to back the truck into a tight spot. She was nervous at the time and the mood was tense. It took awhile, but they got the job done. When Grandpa got out of the car, she told me, “Stac, it is just terrible when you get old, you get scared of everything. It is awful.” Then off we went to do errands and any trace of fear was impossible to see. She returned to being the fearlessly amazing woman she always was. To that little girl with her, she was just the most wonderful thing in the world. I’m glad she shared those feelings with me that day. I was really surprised. She wasn’t even old yet. She had been so authentic with me and shared her vulnerability with me. She didn’t dwell in it or let it get the best of her. She had the choice to make, and the way I see it, her choice was always love and her life was never lived through the heartbreaking veil of fear.

Granny new much much more about Love and I think that 1 Corinthians 13: verses 4-8a sum it up best. I think Granny would love to hear these verses now and she would be glad to have her loved ones thinking these beautiful thoughts.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.

Granny was all of these things; she was Love and hers will live on through all the lives she has touched. One of the best ways I ever heard the sound of love in my life was when she would exclaim, “Stacaroo, I love you!” as she would embrace me and delight my soul. As we all know, to be loved by Granny was a truly blessed experience. You didn’t have to know her throughout your entire lifetime or be someone particularly special to her. I believe that we were all special to her. I believe she knew just how connected we all are and just how much love we actually have to give. Thank you so much Granny for sharing your Love so beautifully with so many.

Granny’s life was full of wonderful examples of how to live. I could go on and on here about many many more virtues Granny completely lived in her life…kindness, gratitude, forgiveness, generosity, encouragement, hard work, friendship, determination, loyalty and so much more. She was a living example full of so many wonderful lessons; it is impossible to capture them all here. But, one virtue that she took very seriously and that cannot be left out today is her devotion to and complete and utter passion for fun.

Fun — My favorite spiritual teacher says that if it doesn’t feel good, it isn’t working. Granny knew this. You can’t talk about Granny without talking about having fun.

Where to begin? Perhaps first with her smile. I am sure that if we close our eyes and picture our memories with dear Gran, we will notice the beautiful smile that always lit up her face and we will remember the quick and easy laughter that sprung from her Being so frequently. Oh, how many times she got tickled and taken over with a big case of the giggles – that was truly living. To be near it was to feel alive and well.

To know Granny as a child was just the coolest thing in the world. Granny was timeless; she didn’t treat children like the number attached to their age. She was smitten with children of all ages (even 37) and she always made you feel like your opinion mattered, like you had a voice, that you really knew something and that you were worth her time and attention. She was interested in really getting to know all the little ones in her life and she treated us all with respect and adoration. She made it so easy to give those things back to her. I had so many wonderful childhood experiences with her. Throughout all the years of my adolescence, the thing I remember most of all as I look back now, was that she really listened to me. Her listening continued throughout my lifetime and I know that she gave that same gift to everyone she met and all that she encountered. That listening gave us our strong bond and led us to buckets of fun together.

Just a few fun memories to share:

  • Taking bubble baths together – when I stayed with my dear Grandparents, it was a given that Granny and I had bath time at the end of each day. That was such a special time when I was a tiny girl. Those talks we shared, those giggles too, it was just like she had produced an “everyday” kind of magic that was filling my spirit. It felt so normal, but so magical too.
  • The dancing and singing – oh the memories of Granny ironing away and shaking her hips and singing out her favorite songs while she worked. She definitely knew how to make work look fun.
  • Driving with her – whenever it was just her and I in the car, she belted out the songs so gregariously, it was such a hoot and it gives me the giggles to this day. She was really something back then.
  • Swimming at the lake. She was always up for a dip. Just don’t splash her hair! How lucky we all were to have the cool Granny who swims with the kids.
  • Playtime – Granny loved my imaginary games I played during my many visits. She was so cool at acting out whatever I had going on. She could be the bank teller, office worker, restaurant customer, whatever I needed; she was in and happy to play along. No matter how busy she was or how many things she needed to get done in a day, she had time to play with me.
  • Board games and cards. It is almost like “enough said” on this one because we all have our own memories of playing games with Granny. She loved it so much when she could get a game going. She taught us all so many games over the years. Starting with Candy Land and working our way up to Hand and Foot, we were all so blessed to sit at her joyful tables of games.
  • Entertaining – I had so many fun childhood memories helping Granny with her parties and potlucks with all her various friends when they lived out in the country. She loved entertaining and she was so good at it. People were thrilled to be her guest. I loved the square dance potlucks the most! To see her sparkle and delight her friends was truly something to behold. It never seemed like I was the tag along kid, I felt like the luckiest guest. She always created the environment that allowed me to be embraced by all who loved her so. She shared the love so graciously.
  • Open house – her house was always open to whoever wanted to visit her and over the years and in various stages of life, she was never ever short on visitors. It was fun to see people so excited to see her and so happy to be in her presence. So much fun was always had by all! That open heart of hers kept her house open and full. She loved it!
  • Reading time – Granny loved to read. When we would settle down together in the afternoons to read a bit and take a break before preparing dinner, it felt like absolute peace and joy mixed into one. This tradition is something that I have carried on with my children. We settle down and read together each day and it feels like heaven.
  • Everything was fun with Granny; even watering the trees…I could go on and on about so many fun things here and no words I could ever choose would do the memories justice.
  • These memories I have shared are my own, but they are mixed with the love and laughter she shared with all of her grandchildren, loved ones and friends. They belong to us all.
  • Thank you so much dear Gran. I hope I can remember to laugh as much as you in the remainder of my days. Thank you for showing me how!  My husband says I am much more pleasant when I laugh, so here’s hoping it works.

Almost done….hang in there with me.

As I mentioned, I have been on a bit of a spiritual journey for years now, listening to great teachers and reading everything I can get my hands on hoping to take steps toward the best version of myself. I quickly realized along the way how hard it is to truly Live all that you know and learn through even the greatest wisdom out there. Knowing things and living them are two completely different things. Granny lived what she knew. Sometime within the last year, my Mom and Granny shared with me that Granny too had read a book in her twenties that had changed the course of her life. That book was called, The Power of Positive Thinking. My mom recalled her reading it and sharing it with many. Granny lit up at the memory of the book and the opportunity to tell me about it. I smiled at the news. It all made perfect sense. That is so Granny to read one book on the secret to a happy life and then to live it so completely for the rest of hers. She showed us all how it is done so very graciously and with such beauty of spirit and heart.

We have quite a task ahead of us as we learn how to get along without Granny’s form and embrace living with her spirit. We can do it well for her and because of her. We can honor her life by making some of the great choices she made and looking at life and all its circumstances the way she always did. Remembering Granny’s joy, wisdom and positivity can help us choose to be happy and help us to choose it again and again each and every day.

To everyone here – thank you for receiving Granny’s love and loving her back so abundantly – I am sure it was a comfort to her to be so loved by you all. I am sure your love for her confirmed that her approach to Life had been a good one. I love you Gran. I’ll see you and be with you everywhere I go.

——————– end of speech.

I am reading that book Granny loved in her twenties now.  As I mentioned, it is called The Power of Positive Thinking.  It is an absolute blessing to me at this time.  I am so grateful to share the experience of reading it with her now.  I am sure I will share many miracles from it here with you soon.  We live in a miraculous Universe.  There are blessings all around us.

Wishing you the courage to love with your whole open heart!  Sending you joy and love today and always!

I Am My Breath

Smile, breathe and go slowly. ~Thích Nhất Hạnh

Breathing is the greatest pleasure in life. ~Giovanni Papini

Good morning!  Today I wake up feeling utterly blessed and grateful.  There are infinite things to be grateful for in Life, but today, and I sincerely hope, for each and every day for the rest of my days, I am in awe and complete wonder of my breath and it fills me with absolute joy.  As always, I have been trying to stay more present, feel more of my moments and live more of my life through all that I have learned.  Lately, something has clicked with my breathing; of course, it was right there under my nose all the time :-).  For quite some time, I have known the power of adding more breath, taking a deep breath before reacting, focusing on the breath during meditation, etc., but something even more profound has taken hold for me lately.  Perhaps the practice of it, reading about it, writing about it, etc. has finally allowed the path for me to live it more consciously and consistently.  The idea that the path to live what I know has presented itself makes me smile in peace.

As I shared previously, I have been exhausted lately and my body has been in a bit of a broken down state.  I knew relief would come and that all would be and already was well.  I was able to feel peaceful even in the midst of my worn out state.  I was allowing my circumstances to be as they were and see what Life was trying to show me.  That felt like progress to me for sure, considering that I used to only feel “happy” if I was doing everything “well.”  That path leads to a lot of stress, pressure and wasted moments trying to arrange things on the outside in order to feel good on the inside — a never-ending circle that doesn’t allow the true joy that lives inside us all to come forth.  In my allowing things to be as they were recently, I noticed my breath silencing my thoughts often throughout the day.  I noticed that I was, in fact, leaning back and allowing my breath to ease everything that wanted to bring anxiety or tighten my grip on life.  My breath was the gateway to joy and the force that was grounding me deeply in the true gift found in every present moment.

After a few days of truly enjoying the breath that was at the forefront of my interactions, the thought popped into my head, “I Am my breath.”  I heard it and I felt it deeply.  I smiled.  My daughter appeared by my side to tell me something and I noticed my breath as I enjoyed her lovely soul face and heard her sweet voice more clearly.  My breath allowed me to truly be there so much more fully.  I Am my breath much more than I am my body or my choices or my reactions.  My breath feels good, no matter what and it allows me to BE my true self.  It helps me choose well, speak kindly and Love deeply.  Our breath animates this form we have.  We are more our breath than any other thought, action, reaction or emotion we could ever have or feel.  Our breath is more of our essential self than we can ever know.  Someday, when our breath leaves, we will go with it.  We can live with our breath more fully now and bring joy to everything around us.  The deep pleasure that comes from our breath is truly amazing.  There really aren’t the proper words to describe it.  Just breathe and you can feel it.

Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky. Conscious breathing is my anchor. ~Thích Nhất Hạnh

What we call ’I’ is just a swinging door, which moves when we inhale and when we exhale. ~Shunryu Suzuki

Today, I am wishing you the joy of realizing the pleasure, peace and astounding gift of your breath.  Sending you joy and love!

 

Happy New Day…The One That Happens Each and Every Day!

So, it’s January 1, 2014.  It feels like a new beginning, a fresh start…full of possibility.  The newness of the first day of the year is a wonderful gift, but it only comes once a year.  The truth is that we have the opportunity to start each and every single day fresh and full of possibility.  We get to decide each day who we will be, what we will do with our day and what we will bring to the world.  We get to choose what we will see, how much love we will spread, how much joy we will live and how much peace we will feel.

We’re all doing our best, working towards becoming more of ourselves and showing up more authentically in the world; whether we know it or not, that is what we’re doing.  Some days it works well and some days we struggle and cause suffering for ourselves and others around us.  Each day and each moment, we have the opportunity and the ability to choose to start fresh and choose love.

“The human emotional system can be broken down into roughly two elements:
fear and love.
Love is of the soul.
Fear is of the personality.”

~ Gary Zukav – from “Seat Of The Soul” ~

This year as I continue to work on closing the gap between what I know and what I am living, and then expanding to a new gap as I learn more (I’m figuring out that life is lived in the gap and there will always be one), I do have one main goal in mind.  I hope to live from a place of love that leaves no room for fear.  I will use this space to share how that will look in my life.  I want to live with an open heart in each moment, allowing me to assume nothing, take nothing personally and listen to Life deeply as it continues to guide me to more of myself.  I want to choose more of the soul and less of the personality.  I want to spread love wherever I can.  I want to use all that I know and embrace the unknown as I continue to build habits that will support my growth, always turning away from fear and towards love as I push through to the essential me.  I will fail, I will try again, I will start fresh a lot.  I will share openly with us all here.

I am grateful for this space.  Every time I hit publish on one of these posts, it feels like a fresh conscious moment to choose who I am.  As part of my love, not fear, open heart, lived moment by moment year, I am opening the site up for comments.  I am ready now.  I welcome the idea of connecting with my readers more.  I feel ready to hear how others are living what they know and I hope to build a nice space for us all to learn and grow.  Thank you everyone for sharing this space with me.

Wishing us all the courage and presence to awaken every single day to the possibility that we are.  Sending you love and joy!

Cultivating a Poetry Practice

As detailed in my previous post, after learning all about Coach Wooden, I read and studied all of his work with a voracious appetite to learn and a grateful heart for the spirit and gift I had discovered.  The thing that Coach expresses first and foremost in most of his work is his great respect, love and admiration for his father,  Joshua Wooden.   As you read Coach’s work, it is quite something to hear about his childhood on the farm and the many life lessons he encountered there.  His parents were a great example of exemplary character through hardships and all life brought their way.  It was quite meaningful to have a glimpse into another time with such amazing people working so hard without complaint.

One of the great things Coach shared was about his father reading to his children at night.  He grew up with no electricity, plumbing, or conveniences.  For their entertainment, his father read to them by the light of a coal-oil lamp.  He read them a lot of poetry and Shakespeare and more.  In Coach’s own words he says, ” The poetry Dad read to us when we were kids instilled a love of reading, English, books and knowledge.”  He also recalls, “Dad reminded me often, ‘Johnny, you’ll never learn a thing that you didn’t learn from someone else.’  Good books help us do that.” 

When Coach graduated from grade school, his father gave him what he called The Gift of A Lifetime...it was a little card that had a very special verse on one side and a list of “Seven Things to Do” on the other side.  He eventually called the seven things “Dad’s Seven Point Creed”… When his Dad handed him the card, all he said was, “Son, try and live up to these things.”  In Coach’s humble way, when sharing about these things, he says he wishes he could say he lived up to them.  He says he tried.  I think we can all see how he more than tried, he soared.  He lived up to his father’s Seven Point Creed and he brought it to so many in a time when it is so needed.

Number four on the list was, “Drink deeply from good books, especially the Bible.”  Coach certainly did that.  His love of books and reading started those nights listening to his father reading.  When I learned of this in his various retellings of it, it hit me deep and it changed me.  I thought of my own little ones and my heart tugged and I remember feeling, “Oh, how I wish we lived in a time when we could do this.”…next thought was something like, “Duh, we can do this now.”  Mad dash to the computer to order poetry books and our family poetry nights began…

We have kept with family poetry nights over the years and we have practiced in various ways.  At first we would rotate turns and let each family member lead the reading and discussion.  Whoever’s night it was would read the poem and then we would all discuss what it meant to each of us.  It was delightful to hear how we would each interpret things in our own way.  It also helped us to understand each other better and see things through the eyes of our loved ones.  We went through a stage of everyone reading each night, as we discussed several poems or at least listened to several.  We began to crave going deeper into just one or two poems again, so we returned to assigning nights.  Sometimes the kids are so enthusiastic, we read more.  We are going with the flow of it now.

Our family poetry practice has been a great gift in our lives.  Poetry cannot be read quickly, you must slow down and give it your full attention.  It speaks to the soul.  It brings meaning to our days.  We are by no means poetry experts, we simply follow our hearts toward what speaks to us.  It has led to so many wonderful works, discussions and experiences.  Often when we’re out in the world, one of the kids will see something that reminds them of a poem…they will begin reciting it and excitedly experiencing life in a deeper way.  It is miraculous.  The poetry doesn’t just stay in the house with us where we practice it…it lives with us all the time and blesses us constantly.  We love reading poetry from all corners of the world, it connects us to more than our lives here.  We have been blessed by poetry in our lives in countless ways.

As the years of our poetry practice are adding up, I can truly see just how much it has added to our children’s lives.  It makes them willing to look deeper at things and try to understand that which isn’t immediately obvious.  It has also developed their love of reading and learning in so many ways.  For my husband and I, it has been equally amazing.  Cultivating a poetry practice was new for us both and it has been the most delightful gift.  The poems have a way of finding us.  We have been exposed to so much more than we expected.  We will keep this family practice alive in our home and hearts as long as possible and continue to cultivate it and go deeper and deeper into our practice.  We are grateful for this gift!

Wishing you a life full of poetry!

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