What If Today…You Chose to Serve?

“Mommy, you have to come with us! It’s so fun. Please!”

We lived on Shady Lane, and the shade  was profound. I was making it through the days as best I could but truth be told I was struggling.

I needed light desperately. Sunlight.

Read the rest of the post at Jayme Soulati’s today, HERE. It’s running as a guest post. (BTW, Jayme is accepting submissions for her Happy Friday series!!! So, leave a message with her over there if you have a post to contribute..)

What If Today…You Knew That Love Was the Only Answer?

 

“Where there is love there is life.” ~Mahatma Gandhi

I was walking and thinking yesterday, searching for answers and trying to sort things out.

Out of nowhere came a picture in my mind of a star. The meaning was clear and brought a smile to my face and peace to my heart”

Shine brightly.

Love.

Nothing changed except for my focus. Looking “up” instead of “down”. Understanding settled in that I am the only one who has the power to extinguish my light or to let it shine. After that decision is made, all I have to do is continue to gravitate towards more light. For me that means seeing the goodness and love of God in everything and everyone, and sharing my goodness and love as well.

That is my answer.

What If Today…You Forgave?

The ineffable joy of forgiving and being forgiven forms an ecstasy that might well arouse the envy of the gods.” ~Elbert Hubbart

When I think of forgiveness I think of children. Young children. When their feelings are hurt, especially by a parent, they automatically run towards the offender, hungry for a hug and re-connection. They instinctively want to shift the energy and imbalance created by fear and anger back to love.

Then the veil of innocence gets thicker. They know too much, and become aware of  other people and the hurt that can be inflicted in a way they hadn’t before.

The struggle to avoid pain shows up as a reluctance to re-connect until.

Until they are heard.

Until they are understood.

Until we feel the depth of their pain.

Until they feel safe.

Until they believe someone is really sorry.

Until they feel in control again.

But until never comes. It waits. And it spends our moments for us.

Until is like a doorknob to our hearts. We decide when to turn it and to experience love completely, with no strings of control or promises that hurt won’t show up again at our doorstep.

Forgiveness to me is like stepping back into life because it’s here to be lived now no matter what the risk. It has nothing to do with the other person. It has everything to do with  the degree to which the world will be exposed to your radiance.

It really is simple and simply beautiful. Isn’t it? And that’s what some of us find so difficult.

Because we know too much. We think too much.

Our hearts want that hug- that re-connect, that smile and joy in the moment. But we might be addicted to hurt and don’t like the thought that it’s possible that we’ll never be understood. We want the depth of our pain and suffering to be felt by the world so that “it” won’t happen again.

But life is full of joy and pain, none of which is predictable unless and until we choose to live fully with that understanding. We will hurt and be hurt.

Maybe today we could be more like a child and notice how much better it feels to live and love than to close our hearts until….

One forgives to the degree that one loves.” ~Francois de La Rochefoucauld

What If Today…You Focused on Desire?

” The key to success is to focus our conscious mind on things we desire not things we fear.” ~ Brian Tracy

I walked into the studio’s waiting room with my Dunkin’ Donuts over-sized chocolate chip cookie, and soda, stripped down to my leotard and tights, and sat down on the couch and wiggled my feet into my wrinkled slippers. It had been months since I’d taken a class. I missed the sweat and well-deserved fatigue.

I also missed feeling healthy. I’d taken up running when I first came home from college, but I’m not a runner. Running is lonesome work to me. It never ignited my soul to do great things. So, to compensate for the lack of stimulation I’d found from ballet, I’d become addicted to food that tasted really good and made me feel something. I don’t think I can describe the “something” I felt, but it was good enough to keep going back for more. It worked for me.

But the self-imposed guilt was gnawing at me every day. I’d studied nutrition as a teenager, and I’d taken exceptionally good care of my body for years. Honestly, I was addicted to poor health and  had tried eliminating the sweets and adding activity to my life, but nothing stuck.

In other words, I was focused more on my fear of  the effect my eating habits would have on my health than why I was craving those foods in the first place; I wasn’t dancing and I was driving myself crazy!

And then I found “The Dancer’s Place.”

The studio was within walking distance of my home, and I was thrilled to find it. I’d calculated how many classes I could take without going bankrupt. I knew that one a day was never going to do, but it was a start.

The dancers from the class before mine exited the studio and the rest of us traded places with them like race horses let out of the gate. I  found an empty place at the barre and waited for the teacher to give us the first set of exercises. Two minutes in and I knew I was in trouble. I was exhausted and feeling sick.

Needless to say, that was the last day that I felt like eating cookies and drinking soda to wake me up. I wanted to dance without throwing up!

But this post isn’t really about health. It’s about knowing what you desire and doing “it” instead of defining your fears and running from them. Doing anything less leads us to self-help books, diets, gurus who’ve “been there done that”, and scratching our heads at the absurdity of what it feels like to be a grown up.

Where did all the fun go? Does everything have to feel like a battle against our desires? What if we worked with our desires? My experience is that most of what’s “bad” for us would slip out of our lives if we were being true to ourselves.

One last quote for you to ponder today as you assess whether you are running from fears or being true to your desires and living a life that knocks your socks off:

Desire is the starting point of all achievement, not hope, not a wish, but a keen pulsating desire which transcends everything.” ~ Napoleon Hill

 

What If Today…You Relaxed?”

“We can be so demanding of what we think will make us happy

that we totally miss what really will.

For today just relax, and let IT find You!”

I like the lessons I learn from rubber bands. Today they remind me of how much time I spend thinking about how I can serve. How can I be useful today? When I’m serving I feel happy. I like to feel happy. I want to matter. Don’t you? Isn’t it a great feeling to know how you are uniquely needed in the world?

Sort of like a rubber band.

Rubber bands are meant to hold things together, to be stretched but not too far, and aimed and released at the right moment at an unsuspecting target.

A rubber band lying around isn’t fulfilling the measure of its creation. Right?

I feel like I’m too busy thinking about being a rubber band. I stared at the quote above when it came through my email from SimpleEncouragement and smiled. 

My daughter, Madeleine is having a party for her eleventh birthday tonight. We’re going to tie-dye t-shirts. We need rubber bands to wrap around strategic places on the shirts to create the designs.

So we’ll be in search of rubber bands. Madeleine said that she has rubber bands in her room. Hundreds of them. Unused.

I’m grateful for those rubber bands that are just hanging around relaxing, waiting to be used.

Today we can know that we are needed, wanted, and loved for who we are.

We do have a choice on how we fulfill the measure of our creation. We can’t always be running, searching, doing, and thinking.

Today we can relax. Today we can believe that is the most important thing we can do and resist being busy for the sake of being busy.

We can be available.

We can simply enjoy what it means to be human – our kind of human.

Imagine a day just enjoying who you are, feeling joy, being your own kind of lazy rubber band.

Try it. It’s harder to do than you think. It’s a challenge quieting the mind and finding that still place inside that knows that we are needed and are attracting something or someone that’s searching for us simply by radiating the joy of who we are.

Try it.

What If Today…You Just Let It Go?

“Incredible change happens in your life when you decide to take control of what you do have power over instead of craving control over what you don’t.”
~Steve Maraboli

I breathed in deeply with my eyes closed. Nothing. I don’t know when I started to cry, but the tears had made it to my cheeks by the time I realized that my dad’s clothes didn’t smell like him anymore. He’s only been gone for 48 days.

On the morning that he’d passed, my best friend Lisa and I went to his room and filled bags and boxes of his things from the closet, window sill, and bedside table. I don’t know what possessed me to go through my front hall closet yesterday morning. But it was time to address the clothes that I’d hastily hung there before I left the house for the meeting at the funeral home that day.

I used to be a collector of things. Anything. Not anymore. So many moves, packing boxes, loading moving trucks, and storing things that weren’t ever used has broken me of that habit. I get rid of things very easily. I have no emotional attachment to stuff anymore.

Or so I thought.

It’s hard to let go of physical memories of my dad. But I need to. It makes my memories of him more real, if that makes sense.

After the closet was done I felt lighter, somehow energized. I spent the next few hours rearranging my living room, office space, and dining room, making a space to work on my artwork. I feel like I’ve been holding my breath for years and am finally ready to get back to drawing and painting.

Funny how the simple act of letting go of my father’s unusable clothes (by us) was the trigger to create that special place for me. It was as if my heart needed permission to keep living and growing. I don’t know how the two are tied together really, but I know that they are. I felt it. One would not have happened without the other.

One last thing to do…

Every day I look at the beautiful blue box of his remains. I have to send it to my brother Michael who lives in Washington State soon. He’ll spread the ashes on the Spokane River because that’s what my dad wanted. I know how to mail a package. And I know that my dad isn’t really in that box. But sending him off is so hard.

But it’s time to let go.

All except the red flannel shirt of his that now hangs in my closet. 🙂

What If Today…You Understood the Need for Touch ?

“We need 4 hugs a day for survival.

We need 8 hugs a day for maintenance.

We need 12 hugs a day for growth.”

Virinia Satir

I’ve been blessed with nine children. The oldest is married. The youngest is four. Yesterday I sat behind a father holding his baby and missed all of my babies. Emotions flooded in as I watched him walk to another one of his sons, squat down, and comfort him with whispered words and a hug that completely enveloped the boy.

Ten minutes later he bent down and wrapped his daughter in his arms.

“I love you,” he said. She nodded into his chest as her tears welled. She needed both- the words and the hug.

I spent the rest of the day thinking about touch, how we might not know how much we need it or take it for granted.

I held all of my babies from the minute they were born until they could sit on their own without toppling over and hurting themselves. Even then I’d follow their lead and carry them if they wanted me to. My arms would ache, but I got so strong! I remember feeling overwhelmed with each child as I looked months ahead, realizing that they would be attached at the hip and then the backpack for at least 18 months.

I also recall vividly the struggle I had inside as well-meaning friends and family would tell me, “Put him down! You can’t hold him all the time!” Believe me, there were times when I had wished for more time with no touch from anyone because I was always sought out for a hug, a wrestle, or as a comfy place to sit on or next to.

But I know I did the right thing. And I’d do it all over again because it brought so much peace and happiness and security into my life and the lives of my children.

These days I’m aware of how precious a hug is. I stood in the kitchen with my 14-year-old son last night and saw a depressed soul. He was just tired, but he really looked like he needed a hug. So, I bridged the gap between us and pulled him to my shoulder and told him,  “I love you.” “Love you, too,” he quietly answered. Seconds later he hit me in the arm signalling the need to provoke me to wrestle or chase him.

I’m watching my children grow up and out of my home. But they will never outgrow the need to be touched. That realization brought me to contemplate all of you who have nobody who needs you to pick them up, to comfort them, or to wrestle or play with them.

There’s so much research that validates the need to touch and to be touched. In her article,Do People Need Human Touch?“, Nori Soriano lists a few of the benefits”

  • survival
  • proper development
  • peace
  • to avoid creating a vicious cycle of neglect

But I don’t need the research really because I know how it feels and I know what I’ve seen as I’ve watched my children get their needs met. I understand the criticism when I hug anyone and everyone. I get it that it makes some observers uncomfortable. But the recipients never complain when they get touched. Sometimes I give arm punch or a teasing shove when a hug is too intrusive.

Be courageous and kind today and reach out and touch someone. 🙂

I came across this video last week on Facebook. It says a lot. Enjoy!