Thursday, July 19, 2012

Shipping and Handling

                       “Learning to let go should be learned before learning to get. Life should be
                        touched, not strangled. You've got to relax, let it happen at times, and at
                        others move forward with it. It's like boats. You keep your motor on so
                        you can steer with the current. And when you hear the sound of the
                        waterfall coming nearer and nearer, tidy up the boat, put on your best tie
                        and hat, and smoke a cigar right up till the moment you go over.
                        That's a triumph.”
                                                                                       
                                                                                         Ray Bradbury, Farewell Summer


I have a pair of shoes I need to send back to a company right now. They're sitting in my closet. I have them carefully wrapped and don't know my next step because I've never done it with this company before. It got me thinking... do I have something ready to give to God, but can't because I don't know how? Maybe I've done it before with something else, another company, but not with other things. So, I'm paralyzed by my lack of information. As far as the shoes go, all I have to do is make a phone call and follow the instructions. Is that all I need to do with God?

This brought me to the thought that letting go of things is ever-changing. Each and every different thing we need to let go of in order to live a full life is separately and uniquely different, requires different things and different things from each one us. What it may take of you to let go of something may not be what it will take of me. How do we navigate this then when the rules are never the same and vary from person to person? I can make that phone call to one company who will tell me one thing, and to another who will give me a completely different set of directions. No wonder many of us walk around dumbfounded. No wonder it's part of the human condition to be stuck in situations that are long past their due.

We all have those moments. Moments seared into our minds we knew had changed us. Times where, as they were happening, we sensed an almost surreal significance. We sensed growth as time almost folded in on itself. Resonant, reverberant; a steadfast call of attention. The death of my father. The day I got married, then the day I signed the divorce papers. And then there's the first time I chose to stay sober on my own. These events have formed me into who I am now. They were all full of emotion. They all had that quality of stillness you get from being alone in the woods looking up at the night sky or seeing someone familiar do something unfamiliar, and seeing them for the very first time. How we choose to view it is what makes or breaks us. It's like the purpose of these moments is to clue you in that the choice you are about to make is life-altering; that it's not just like buying a lamp or writing on a chalkboard. It's God's right to expand your territory; his manifest destiny.

I'm going to call the shoe company and write down the instructions. I am going to follow-through and send them back. I am letting them go, moving on to a better shoe. The first step is always the hardest. Momentum is a very powerful key. What I have to remember is that there is not just this one pair of shoes in the world. I will never know what better fit is out there for me if I don't have the courage to give up one idea, prepare for the next new one and hold my breathe as my boat plummets into the water below. It is scary, yes, but you've got a life preserver...

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Giants

The messages we carry with us are so important. Those things we were told as a child make such a lasting impact on our lives. People do not realize how even the thoughts we have about ourselves play a vital role in how we interact with others and how we view the world around us. Our thought-life determines our behavior. Our thought-life is not something out of our control; what we think depends on us.

When we are faced with adversity, our gut reaction is to tighten up; to resist. Like at the dentist when you receive your first novocaine shot, you tense up, but if you relax it will be much less painful. Likewise, when difficulty pops up and we are able to let it flow on through while embracing what lessons can be learned then MOVE ON, we are happier people. Maybe not while you're IN it, but it ensures that once you do go through it, it is done, and lingering there is not an option. Staying in a space that has made its peace and exhausted itself creates problem after problem, inevitably compounding itself.

Talking ourselves through it is very productive, and enables us to see things more objectively than just feeling our way. Yes, we need to feel the feelings, but not stay in them. We need to wrap our arms around whatever uncomfortable emotions arise, but release our grasp at the end. And, we need to be our own coach as we go. In the movie 'Facing the Giants,' there is a very powerful scene.

During a drill exercise called 'The Deathcrawl," a student who is unknowingly the leader of the team, but an underachiever, is asked to perform this drill. Now, this is an exercise where they carry a teammate on their back while on all fours as they move down the field. Coach blindfolds the boy and tells him to get to the fifty yard line. As the boy approaches the fifty, what he does not know is coach is testing him; pressing, wanting him to feel his full potential. Throughout this whole exercise, Coach is there right down at his ear, at times screaming, encouragement. Finished, collapsing to the ground, the boy cries, "Fifty! It's gotta be fifty! I don't have anymore!" Coach tells him he is in the end zone.

YOU REALLY MUST WATCH THIS FOR THE FULL EFFECT!!!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iUn36mTEbfU          (copy and paste if no link)

I see God as Coach. As we travel through life, there are many times when we want to give up; it's too heavy, our heart burns with pain, our minds want to quit. God is there with us the entire time, even when we cannot see him. Sometimes he gives us a task that we would say is impossible if we were to see the big picture, so we must trust him and carry through on faith. We must listen to God as he whispers in our ear that we can do this and not to give up. Brock chose to listen to Coach as he internalized the encouragement and told himself to keep going. Sometimes God has to "scream" to get our attention; maybe through a divorce, an addiction or a death. If we listen, we will be better off for it. Brock chose to listen letting go of his fear, self-doubt and inadequacy. Instead of giving in, he let Coach believe for him. He finished a different man than when he started. When we complete what we've been entrusted to do, we can take our blindfolds off and see that we did far more than we thought we could. We must listen to that positive voice; not the negative, condemning one. Whichever voice we feed will grow stronger, so if we feed the one that says, "I can do this!," defeating the next giant will be easier. We will be glad we did not quit!


Friday, July 6, 2012

Beauty in Action

I want to be myself. I want to be free. I no longer want to apologize for who I am. Yes, there are things that my god has had to whittle away, prune, fine tune...and I welcome each and every opportunity... but, I need room to breathe!

God is love. God is grace. God is sanctuary.

God made each and every one of us as a unique being full of strengths and weaknesses, similarities and differences, individualized gifts and bonding commonalities. Our job is to share all these things; reach out, help. I have been through something that you have not, where I learned things you may need to know someday. You may know something that will help me in the future when I am struggling. This dance is the beauty in action that is God.

I'm a preacher's daughter. Dad died when I was eleven, tore the family apart and we lost faith. I spent my life trying to fill the hole; the one that gapes, the one you can never fill. I was the honor student, liberal-neo hippie-Ashevillian-new ager (and LOVED it!!!!) and later the elementary school teacher. What that time period in my life did for me was open my mind and realize that perception is everything, and there is not just one way to look at this beautiful life; that we must embrace the good and the bad. The pressure to perform, to be perfect, to please and be praised finally took its toll while taking my marriage and all my material possessions with it. The monster was called addiction, and it changed my life, after it almost ended it. This cherished little classical piano player, this eager learner of Latin and empathic extrovert ended up in strange places I did not even know existed, and scary places that I knew did. My god, however, was with me the whole time. He was waiting patiently, whispering softly in my ear sometimes telling me things I did not want to hear, and entrusting me with very painful lessons.

I am still recovering from the wreckage of my life. Over a year clean, I am picking up the pieces one by one, examining them with a ferocity. I want to tell my story of how god rescued me and showed me how to fly! I firmly believe something BIG is just around the corner. I am here to make a difference. The "peculiar-ness" or "unique-ness" I have felt since birth is ready to blossom into 'amazing.' I can't wait. It's not that I think I am better than you, or that I have a greater calling. It's just that I have a story, and I need to tell it.

I will always remember where I came from; it gets us to where we're going. I will always be open to new ideas; not afraid of the unknown. If something unfamiliar makes me uncomfortable, I will explore and ponder how I fit into it, or how I do not. I will strive to be compassionate, generous and tolerant. I will never forget what god has done for me. And in my quest for all this, I will not alienate or ostracize the people I want to help set free.

I will not let minds that are closed operate on my system. I will not bow down to minds who judge, or be a slave to a fraudulent captive mess. I will reach for god with hands out-stretched, heart open wide and all systems on GO!

Yours in grateful awe and wonder...


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