A word from the wise via Ginny, my rite of passager

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I share with you today a wise and loving statement that my daughter has embraced as her own over the last several years. It gives strength, dignity, and a joyous realization to all of us about ourselves and our unique contributions to this world as we continue to “come of age” in youth or adulthood.  A quote by Marianne Williamson:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.

It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant,
gorgeous, handsome, talented and fabulous?

Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.

Your playing small does not serve the world.
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking
so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.
We are all meant to shine, as children do.

We were born to make manifest the glory of God within us.
It is not just in some; it is in everyone.

And, as we let our own light shine, we consciously give
other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our fear,
our presence automatically liberates others.”

You may have heard this quote before, but I find I can hear it again and again and find nourishment in its soul opening words.

How big will you cast your shadow today- the evidence of your large and lovely being?

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Standing on the Threshold of Now

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On the threshold of now.  A door is opening. I don’t know what is on the other side. I guess it is being open to all that is that counts. The possibility of pain, hardship. The possibility of release, relief, beauty, gratitude. It is all there. And I am here.

For a moment, I step out of my own shadow. Sometimes we look at shadows as the places of our own darkness, and that’s fine, but they are also the sum of the sun and earth- proof of our own physicality. My hair blows in the wind in the late afternoon, strands of shadow on the ground are the picture show of what is. We are here. A black silhouette of ourselves moving or standing still shows it.

If I can step outside of this portrait for a moment, what do I see feel in front of me? What can I see in the long stretch of shadow that feeds into the distance? Will it be a surprise gift? Good health? Strength? Or will it be illness, challenge, difficulty?

I don’t know, but I’ll standing in that outside place for just a moment. Looking on. Hoping to be open to receive the bounty beyond the door.

 

The Threshold of Negative and Positive

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I am looking at a line of trees. Sharp shapes in shadow, fringed and filled in with light. Negative and positive space.

When I look at the beauty of both negative space and positive space, I am taken by surprise. The darkness brings delineation. Line. Shape. In this case, trunks of tall, tall trees in shadow. The leafy tufts themselves are also part of the positive space, but add a tinge of color, a softness. It is the light that is the negative space. White with hints of blue. It appears to hold the space for the line drawings of trees. Both seem necessary. All positive space would lead to nearly pure darkness. All negative space would be formless light. I, too, am trying to understand, or dare say, accept my own positive and negative spaces. The parts I see, the solid, chirping fingers on the keyboard. The internals that sing when I move towards love. The open spaces in myself that I don’t know about yet. The lulls in wisdom. The terrible stillness that somehow leads to peace.

 

May I, this day, embrace my positive spaces, and accept, with open heart, my negative ones.

A Sky-full of Possible

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It is a grey flannel day in the Pacific Northwest- the sun once again decided to hide its head under a dark cloudy January blanket for the past few days. My body is creaking and complaining at the sounds of the alarm, the too-many steps, and the uncomfortably cold downstairs kitchen, also yawning its complaints. The mandate among the marinade of busy-ness these days always seems to be, “breathe”. I want to take this a couple of steps further. “Stop. Breathe. Say, ‘yes’.”

This takes an extra moment or two, but I find it extends the breath into the realm of the possible. And it could be a small “yes”- a very small “yes”, or a big one. “Yes” to whatever you can right in front of you. “Yes! there is a hot pot of coffee in front of me.” “Yes, this day, no matter in how many ways I have to give it away, is mine.” “Yes, I can take a minute out here, a small section of time there to find myself, and enjoy what I find.” Yes to a conversation. Yes to a short section of reading you’ve been wanting to begin. Yes to yourself. Since having surgery, I’m learning to have to say “yes” more and more. “Yes, I need to move.” “Yes, I need to stay still.” “Yes, I need this time for myself, so will need to call this person back later.”

You may find, as I have, that slowing down, and considering your “yes” can lead to a sky-full of possible.

Can you embrace your life right now?

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photo courtesy of Ginny Schneider

I’ve recently crossed the threshold of kidney surgery, wandering the strange and meandering road of recovery. Recovery sounds like such a positive word. You are recovering! You are getting better, and yet, it can be the most difficult part of the journey. Whether it’s in the physical realm, the soulful realm, the emotional realm, it’s where the shake-down happens. It’s where the questions arise. It’s where the open space of uncertainty and possibility remain open. It is where both pain and healing come to the surface. The whys, the wherefores, the what will happens are all out there wandering like lost children, bumping into each other, crying, crawling, and wondering when someone will pick them up and take them into that longed for lap of slow , motherly, rocking-chair solace.

In an act of spiritual direction toward myself, I asked myself a question this morning: “Can you embrace your life right now?”

I first had to think about what “embrace” might mean. I decided it doesn’t mean toying with myself and my situation at arms’ distance. It doesn’t mean  a quick peck on each cheek to make myself feel temporarily acknowledged. It means to hold myself during this time. To look outside my window and let life embrace me, too. For me, it’s a deep long, loving hug. It’s saying, “I fully hold you and love you at this time- hard as it is.” And I’m finding, as I embrace my life, life embraces me back.

It sounds a bit funny, but loving ourselves into the whole of our realities can be the very lap we’re looking for.

May you be deeply embraced today.

Considering the future . . . and planting a big one on its lips!

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Now that I’m standing at the bottom edge of the shining bridge called “middle-age” (a little bit tarnished, I must admit), I realize that before me are beautiful opportunities for more rites of passage, including my own. I look to the upcoming 21-year-old threshold for my daughter with excitement, smiling eyes, and hands rubbing together in creative scheming, but I also look ahead to my own fiftieth (only 2 years away) with rich anticipation.

When we honor ourselves, we pave the way for our children to learn to honor themselves as well. And I’m not talking about ego. I’m talking about honest to goodness self-realization- bursting onto the stage of the next milestone of our lives with bravery, not fear. Taking it by the horns, and then planting a big one on its lips and saying, “welcome!” Honoring is giving dignity and respect to something. And the turns in our lives deserve a little encouragement.

I hope you’re thinking about the upcoming milestones in your life with hope and anticipation. There’s someone standing behind you on the bridge watching, and he or she, daughter or son, is not only observing, but quietly urging you on.