What if today is the day you’ve been hoping for?

 How would you choose to live it out?  You opened your eyes to a new sunrise, a new display of nature’s magnificence. You’re included in God’s master plan for humanity.  How will you choose to spend it?  I first thought seriously about this concept as a 17 year old high school senior.  I was chosen to play the lead character, Emily, in the play “Our Town” by Thornton Wilder.  Little did I know that role would change my life forever.  Even now, I could cry as I recall the moment.  Emily was a young woman who died giving birth to her first child.  There was a scene after her death in which she pleaded with the Narrator, who was the God character, to live once again.  After some deliberation on his part, her desire was granted; to come back to earth for just one more day.  “Make it an insignificant day”, said the Narrator, “for it will be significant enough”.  Emily was thrilled and spontaneously blurted out, “My twelfth birthday!”.  She began to relive this ‘insignificant day’ with her family in the scene, just as it had happened.  Suddenly her eyes were opened as she tried without success to get her mother to stop and truly listen to her.  From her new vantage point, she could now see the beautiful gift of life in the simplest moments.  “Mamma, look at me, really, really look at me.”, she said, as her mother busily scurried about trying to prepare the meal.  As the scene unfolded Emily could not contain her feelings any longer.  Turning to the Narrator, she burst into tears crying out with deep sadness, “Doesn’t anyone realize life while they’re living it, every, every minute?”  He wisely replied, “Some poets do, I suppose”. Thornton Wilder, in his great wisdom, unveiled the meaning of the play and life in that one sentence,  “Doesn’t anyone realize life while they’re living ?”.  

Will you realize life while you’re living it?  I ask myself once again, that same question; will I realize life while I’m living it?  While I still have breath?  As you’re reading this, turn inward and notice that yearning you feel right now as it emanates from the deepest recesses of your being.  It is the desire to live fully, authentically, deeply connected and engaged.  To know God and be known by God.  To love and be loved.  The spiritual journey is the foundation for all of life, for it is life and life is the container for relationship, first with God, then with self, others and the world.  How will you choose to honor this day, to receive the gift of this day?  Don’t let another moment go by, another breath leave your body without your awareness of the magnificence that is your life.  Don’t wait until your moments are numbered before you wake up on the inside and cherish each one, for even the most insignificant of days is significant enough.  

Freedom Comes From Within

God is Relentless. Love will never stop pursuing you. What you desire and have longed for your whole life…what makes you cry quietly in your pillow…what would cause you to move a mountain…is already available to you.  It is the Presence of Love, the Living God in the core of your being and Love will not let go. The culmination of your deepest desire dwells so profoundly within you, is so intimate and immanent you can not be separated from It; not in sleep or wakefulness, in life or death.  Yet, to deeply connect with It comes with a great price.  A price that not many are willing to pay. The price of letting go of the ‘you’ you’ve come to know.  The price of turning off and identifying with the loud voices of the world regardless of where they come from and who is speaking. The price of shutting down your need to be right.  The price of being willing to turn from the direction you’ve been traveling for a lifetime. The price of turning from the feelings, emotions, thoughts, behaviors and ideas that you think will make you happy. (Which never seem to work anyway.) The price of making the Sacred Turn that will save your life from ebbing away into unfulfilled dreams, hidden sorrows and private suffering. So I ask, are you willing to pay the price to receive the Love you seek? To connect authentically and deeply with the God you desire?  Are you willing to awaken to the Presence that is sustaining your life?  That is keeping your heart beating and lungs breathing?  Are you willing to be stirred from your slumber, awakened by the Most High Spirit?  Are you willing to receive and believe that your God has already made a way for you in the desert of this world, to be happy and to live in peace and freedom?  Then it is time to receive and believe.  For true freedom comes from within.  True peace is given by God regardless of external circumstances.  I invite us all to let go of our personal agendas, to embrace the intention of our hearts and celebrate Freedom in the Silence of our souls. 

I’ve Fallen Into Negative Thinking and I Can’t Get Up!

What is that one nagging, critical thought that keeps you stuck and has you believing you aren’t meant for an abundant whole life, inner peace, freedom and purpose?  
 
I’ll share my big one today with you and then you get to share me yours. To think I’m not even halfway through my day yet! Here it is…drumroll please…”You’re so lazy”. Yes, that’s a big one for me. Probably because I heard it as a child. As an adult I can look back and realize it wasn’t true, I wasn’t lazy at all.  (Listen to me defend myself.) I was just a young contemplative!! I always did what I was supposed to do, told to do, expected to do. However, my mom didn’t understand all those hours spent alone in my room, praying, thinking, reflecting or reading.  I’ve always had a contemplative nature. Yet, after all these years you would think that thought wouldn’t even be on my radar screen.  Well, it is.  Especially on a day when I’m not up dressed and out of the house early.  It is a thought that can hook me. It can sidetrack my attention and worse yet my intention.
 
Sometimes I notice the false thoughts and am able to do my Prayer of Turning. However, there are those times that I fall for the lie, usually because I’m tired or feeling a bit overwhelmed by responsibilities or both.
 
When UNABLE to turn away from the critical story line what do we do?  Here are FIVE important things that really work.
1.  Don’t be afraid of the thought.  Notice it and recognize it is not of God.  There’s nothing holy or humbling about self-critical thinking because God never accuses or condemns.  To merely engage the thought with more thinking isn’t effective.  Movement is necessary.
 
2.  Sit in Centering Prayer either more times during the day or longer periods of time. In this case more is more and more is best!  Yes, Centering Prayer is movement.
 
3.  Talk to someone.  I call my bestie soul friend who knows and loves me.  Her compassionate listening and loving input always puts me in a place of acceptance.  I confess to her my negative self introspection.  Just hearing the words come out of my mouth I start to feel the shift within me and the thoughts dissipate.
4.  If there’s a recurring thought, remember to bring it to your next Spiritual Direction appointment.  Unpacking it as your Spiritual Director holds you in the Light of this sacred space, is transforming.
5.  Remember God is in the movement.  I’m not talking about frenetic busyness or pressured action but movement.  Sometimes just putting your attention on making a good meal can be enough.
 
So right now, breathe deeply.  These self critical thoughts can sneak in on anyone, like dust floating in the air.   The next time one of ‘those’ thoughts floats across your mind, remember to be gentle with yourself.  Remember thoughts are not reality they just are and remember transformation, inner peace, freedom and purpose is possible through The Deeper Connection.