Monday, April 30, 2012

Writing as My Life Teacher

I've been doing a lot of writing lately. It's an infinite joy for me to be in the flow of the words. I've come to learn how it feels when the words are flowing freely through my heart from a place of all, and when I'm trying to shape them with my mind.

The process of writing is a wonderful teacher for the rest of my life as well. I strive to live each day in the flow of life, not attempting to shape my days through my mind, but allowing my days to flow from my heart from a place of love.

Striving is the key word of course. If I could notice as quickly as I do in writing, when my mind is attempting to push its own agenda, my life would be much simpler. It’s not that my mind is bad; it is a wonderful and miraculous gift. It is simply that my mind holds on to all the old patterns and ways of seeing the world and living that I find no longer serve me in living a life of love.

There is hope though. My mind has learned to let go and trust in the writing process, it has learned to surrender control to the heart and the infinite wisdom found there in my connection to all. In that moment of being open to the words, my whole being in is a state of joy, my mind feels no loss of control only the exquisite bliss of being in the flow. Now I have only to find a way to live that way each moment, to allow my whole being, including my beautiful mind, to live in the bliss of the flow, that bliss of moving with the loving flow of the Universe, rather than attempting to wade upstream against it. 

I am closer to this each day. Each moment that I write reminds my human mind of the joy of remembering and living in connection with Spirit.

What is it in your life that reminds your wonderful, human mind of the bliss of being in the Divine flow of life? Whatever it is, I wish you have every day that reminder in your life which allows you to be in the flow of life, which allows you to move with life each day with grace. 

Me and My Shadow

When I was a child I had a little, portable record player that I kept in my closet. I could play 45s on it. I used to listen to one record over and over, Me and My Shadow. “Me and my shadow, my shadow and me. We’re always together as close as can be…” It was a little Peter Pan voice singing, which I didn’t remember until I looked it up just now. I find it interesting now that I used to sit on the floor of my room with the record player going in the closet and make shadow puppets and sing it over and over.

I was thinking about the song because I was thinking about shadows on my walk one morning last week. I was looking at the shadows cast by the trees and a thought occurred to me. Depending on the light, sometimes shadows make something look much bigger than it is. You’ve seen the scenes in the cartoons where the shadow is big and scary and then you see its cast by something small like a mouse, right?

Seeing the shadows that morning made me think about it in the opposite way though. My thoughts weren’t about how maybe the things that scare us aren’t as big as they seem. My thoughts were, maybe we linger in our shadow sides because it makes us feel bigger, more protected. Perhaps we are the little mouse that feels bigger when it creates a big shadow.  The trick is that of course the big scary creature created by the shadow is just an illusion.

Maybe those two thoughts go hand in hand then. Shadows are all about illusion. The source of our fears is usually much smaller than we allow our fears to get. And dancing with our shadow side only makes us feel bigger. 

Friday, April 20, 2012

A Time for Learning About Love

On my walk this morning I was thinking about teenagers and what an important time it is in their lives in relation to learning about love.

I’ve thought about teens as I pass them on my morning walks and notice whether they smile and say hello or ignore my greeting. Most often they smile. I’ve often thought to myself, they are just like anyone else, they simply want to love and be loved. Maybe they have been more on my mind lately because of Trayvon Martin. That sad story really has made me stop and think about how we view teens and the preconceived ideas we have about them and even how they present themselves. Have you ever been walking and come upon a group of teens? What was your reaction? Did you smile? Did you think about crossing the street? Did you instinctively wonder if you had your phone on you? Did you remember being a teen yourself?

I think that is vitally important, remembering what it was like to be a teen. I sure was one once and I absolutely had a way of presenting myself to the world and it didn’t include worrying about what the world (outside of my high school, of course) was thinking about me. You could ask my family, they certainly remember. They even at one point gave me a t-shirt that said, “I (heart) my attitude problem.” I’m sorry to say I loved that shirt!

I’m not sure though that anyone ever stopped and thought, “Hey, I bet she is just a person who wants to love and be loved.” I wonder if that would have changed anything. I bet it would have changed things for Trayvon that night. He might still be alive.

But my morning reflections were not about violence, they were about love. It struck me what an amazingly confusing and powerful time it is when you are a teen or even pre-teen. You are learning so much about love and sometimes with so little guidance and often without even knowing that is what the learning is about.

You are learning how to love in so many new ways. How do you love your parents and yet become independent of them? Is that possible without pushing them away? I know it is and have seen it happen but it takes partnership and a remembering of love. You’re learning whether or not your parents are capable of loving you while at the same time releasing you more fully into the world on your own. That I have found is both a struggle and an immense joy.

Can you love your friends even as you watch them make unhealthy decisions? Will they still love you if you choose differently? What does love even mean in friendship? Does it mean not crushing on the same boy or girl as your best friend? Where are the boundaries of love?

How do you moving into a loving (hopefully) romantic relationship without losing yourself? How do you love someone and still honor who you are in relationship? How do you love and not obsess? What if someone you love doesn’t love you back or stops loving you? How do you love in confidence and without fear? How do you love someone and want to be with them, but also be comfortable with whatever limits you might have on the sexual aspect of your relationship? Heck, does love even have to be related to sex? Yes, I think young people know more about sex than I did at their age, but I found myself wondering, "Oh my, do they know more about sex AND as little about love as I did at their age?" What a challenging combination that could be. Though I also have seen that the younger generation may also know more about love than I did. That gives me great hope for our future.

Most importantly though, how do you love yourself? How do you love yourself in a world so full of thoughts and images about who you should be or how you should be? How do you maintain that inherent sense of fairness and compassion you were born with when it’s not always reflected in the world around you? How do you look in the mirror with love and then look back at the TV or magazines? How do you be the truth of who you are whether or not others think it’s cool? How do you love yourself enough to even begin to know the truth of who you are?

The sheer number of questions that were raised in my mind as I thought about teens and what they have before them in terms of learning about love was staggering. And all these things they are learning or beginning to learn during that time, they will carry with them into their adult life, whether it is as joyful experiences or painful ones, happy memories or scars. 

All those possibilities provide learning of course, but how much would it help with their learning if we met it with our love as an example? What impact would it have if we remembered that teens are people, just like you and I, who want to love and be loved, and then we interacted from that knowing? What difference would it make in the kind of adults they become? What impact would it have if we remembered more often, that they can be OUR teachers about love too? I’d like to think it would help create a more loving world for them and for their kids when it’s their turn to learn and teach about love. 

Monday, April 9, 2012

Hole in the Sky

There is a new hole in the park near my house. It’s not where you would expect it to be. It’s not a sinkhole, or a gopher hole, it’s not even in the ground. There is a hole in the sky. There was a mighty sycamore that stood in that park until last week.

A few years ago an equally mighty thunderstorm rolled through. We saw a flash of light and heard what sounded like an explosion! We knew the lightning had struck something. After the storm had passed we ventured out to see what had happened. The sycamore had been struck. A streak of fire from the sky had reached down earthward and she had reached back to absorb the strike. There was a deep gash down one side of her, pieces of wood lay in the street as if she had exploded from inside. When I looked closely though it looked more like someone had taken a giant chisel to her side. I was awed by the power she must have absorbed. Feeling saddened by her wound I picked up one of the pieces from the street and took it home with me to honor her sacrifice.

I have walked past her many times since that day and watched her closely that first year especially, to see if she would live on. She did, though I could see her struggle. A few of her branches died and her skin didn’t look as healthy, losing pieces here and there. Yet every year she produced leaves and seeds, continuing to grow and stand tall.

Until last week. I suppose it was because she is in a park where children play. Though I’m not sure why they waited as many years as they did. They cut her down. One day she stood there and the next she was in pieces on the ground.

I sat with her today. They left the pieces there. I was fascinated by the shape of the gash in her side; it looks just like a flame.  It was incredible how I could sense the immense weight of her only until she lay in three segments on the ground. I don’t think I could have moved those pieces one inch! As I stood with my hands on her I could see the rings and feel the power and density or her form. I think she would have stood many more years so great was her strength, but the saw’s blade was more powerful even than lightning. I knew I had to just be there with her, to let her know her passing didn’t go unnoticed.  

I bore witness to the death of a locust tree years ago too. They stand so silently, our tree friends, and provide so many gifts without thought of thanks. I gave her the smallest of gifts in return by just sitting with her, touching her, being with her. She was indeed mighty and beautiful beyond mere words.

As I walked around one end I noticed a small piece of wood sticking out at the bottom. I thought at first that it was stuck underneath that length of trunk, but as I reached down it came free in my hand. I don’t know what they intend to do with her now but I will always have two small pieces of her greatness to keep in a place of honor.