A Blessing for a New Day

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Inhale.
Breathe deep the life of a new day.

As energy surges through all that has rested in the darkness,
May the light of morning awaken you to hope.

May grace find its way to your heart,
Releasing you to an expansive love,
Unprotected and free.

May love make its way to your brain,
Breaking open your thought loops of not-enough-ness,
With the deep knowledge of your cherishedness. 

May your cherishedness travel to your hands,
Allowing you to embrace others
In the same way you have been held.

May peace go to your gut,
Calming the churning insides of fear,
And creating space to feel the difficulties of life
Without letting their acids get the best of you.

May wonder grab hold of your ears,
Opening them to the delight of laughter
That is dancing its way around this world. 

May courage push through the tired muscles of your legs, all the way to your feet,
Giving you strength to turn from the regrets of yesterday
And walk expectantly towards new challenges,
Bringing all of yourself along for the ride.

May desire reach your eyes,
Giving you vision to see past the illusions of what you think you want,
To the inmost longings for that which really matters.

May beauty journey to your tongue, 
Giving you a taste of eternal contentedness
And a hunger to create more.

May the Spirit who hovered over the beginning of all things
Like a mama bird protecting her young,
Speak new life to your soul
And carry you into the future.

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I have been reading the lovely book To Bless the Space Between Us: A Book of Blessings by John O'Donohue. In it he says,
 "Despite all the darkness, human hope is based on the instinct that at the deepest level of reality, some intimate kindness holds sway. This is the heart of blessing."

It is a beautiful work that is inspiring me to speak words of blessing to those around me. Whatever your day holds, in some small way, I pray these words of mine remind you of the intimate kindness of the Divine. 

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It is okay.

It is okay.

Can you hear that? Do you know that?

It is okay. 

It is okay. 

It is okay when you drop a ball you've been juggling because your hands aren't able to hold what they once could. You can pick it up later, or just let it lie there until someone else leans over to grab it.

It is okay when you don't know what to do. When you can't figure out what kind of discipline to use with your child, or how to get a project done, or how to find and keep up with friendships, you're not failing. None of us really know what we are doing.

It is okay to not follow through on a resolution. You can try again tomorrow. Or you can decide to let it go. Either way, you can choose what is best for who you are today, which might not have been what was best for who you were yesterday.

It is okay when other people are successful at something you've been dreaming about doing. What they have accomplished does not diminish your abilities or potential. When we work and create, we are not fighting over table scraps, we are growing a garden. More seeds planted and more ground cultivated means more life for everyone.

It is okay when you are not good at something. It does not mean you are not good at anything, it just means you are not good at that thing. Let someone else do what you can't do and bring the gifts you have to offer without shame or regret.

It is okay to get to the end of the day and choose Netflix or chocolate or wine or a bath or whatever else brings a smile to your face and relaxation to your body. Sometimes just making it to the end of a day with hair still on our heads is cause for celebration.

It is okay to ask for help. It is okay to receive help. It does not mean you are needy or can't handle something you should be able to handle. It means someone else sees you and wants to love you. Let them.

It is okay to change your priorities. New challenges, opportunities, and relationships may pop up and shift your schedule out of whack. You don't have to keep doing everything you were doing for the amount of time you were doing it and add more. You don't have the ability to stop time but you do have the ability to rearrange your commitments.

It is okay.

You are human. You are more than okay. You are a wonder and a masterpiece, just as you are.

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My Word Had Something Left to Teach Me

In the last days of 2014, posts about #oneword365 took over my Twitter and Facebook feeds. Everyone seemed to know what they wanted to focus on for 2015. I, on the other hand, was stumped. A few words had come to mind, but nothing with staying power. I wasn't sure why. I thought perhaps it meant I should refrain from choosing a word this time around.

Turns out my word paralysis wasn't about 2015, but 2014. I couldn't move onto my next word because my current word still had something left to teach me.

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I chose be as my word for 2014 because I knew I had a lot to learn about being the true me, not the people-pleasing me. I also understood that the shadow side of my achiever nature meant I sometimes thought my value was based on what I did, not on who I was. I wanted to learn how to fight that.  

That idea sunk into me so fully that when I took a strengths-finder exam in 2014, I received a false result. Achiever has always shown up as a strength or personality trait for me when I take these types of tests, but it was absent this time around. It surprised me at first, until I thought about my response to the test questions. Everytime there was a statement about feeling worth based on what I accomplish, I answered with whatever response was closest to, "No! My worth is not based on what I do but who I am!" 

Interestingly enough, my efforts to lean into being me meant my personality test didn't fully reflect who I was. Pendulums swing from one end to the other before they settle down into a calm center.

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After a year of difficult lessons and even harder choices, the last few days of 2014 were upon me. I was ready to move on, longing to get into the space of new life and growth God has for me next.

But instead, I was sick. Nothing severe. Just a sore throat and tired body, weary from fighting off whatever virus was trying to make its way in.  

It wasn't what I would have chosen. But it turned out to be the perfect classroom for one more lesson from my word. 

To be honest, I'm a little embarrassed to share this as a post about a new lesson learned.  Many of you may read it and think my revelation quite obvious. For other people, and other personality types, this would hardly require reflection. It's just what you do. 

But for me, this was a new epiphany, about myself and about the world.

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While I was feeling sick, my husband was asked me to help with someting around the house. I did it, but only while grumbling and playing out an argument with the imaginary voices in my head.

All I wanted to do was take a nap, and there I was, painting a bathroom wall instead.

Why couldn't I ever be the person who struggled? Why couldn't I just be sick? When would people let me take a break? 

It felt ridiculous to type that last sentence, and I am bewildered that it took me so long to notice the problem as I thought through the sentiment.

My final lesson of how to be was one that has been written on posters and bumper stickers for decades: that I was free to be me. Free to embrace who I am when that means success and when that means failure. Free to be me when it means helping others and when it means taking a break.

No one needs to let me lay down. When my body tells me I need it, I just have to let myself lay down.

Learning to be sometimes means learning to be sick and still be okay

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These first days of 2015 I'm feeling healthier in more ways than one.