Friday, April 28, 2006

Present Perfection

Last night we went to hear a band concert at Christopher's school. A variety of different ensembles played the pieces they performed at the state band competition two weekends ago. Some groups--and some players within those groups--seemed more "on" than others. I sat in the darkened auditorium, enjoying the music and the kids, caught up in the swells and patterns (and sometimes squeaks) in the music filling the space.

Suddenly I had an image of the music in my mind, and I thought about all the groups through the years that had played this piece by Grainger, or Bach, or Sousa. These musicians were looking at notes on a page--the same notes dozens (if not hundreds) of ensembles had played before them. Some of those musicians had good days; some not so good; but the music was a constant, always finished, always perfect, always the base of possibility.

I thought how much like that the laws of God operate in our lives. We have the notes--we know it's possible. Creation exists; truth exists; love exists; perfection exists. How open are we to that completeness flowing through us? Some days we are fine instruments, completely in tune, present and willing for the Spirit of God to flow through us. Other days we are worried, or tense; our valves need oiling or our reed is worn out. We are fatigued and fearful. The Spirit through us may sound squeaky or small or miss a few notes (or make an entrance at the wrong time); but the essence of being--the music on the page--is always perfect, always complete, always eagerly awaiting the next musician's loving focus and willing heart.

May we each have a sense of God's perfection within us today, as we yet again sing another day to God. :)

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Prayer Chain

I received this wonderful poem by Tim Nolan in this morning's Writer's Almanac and wanted to share it with you. Keep those prayers going! :)

Prayer Chain

My mother called to tell me
about an old classmate of mine who

was dying on the parish prayer chain—
or was very sick—or destitute—

or it had not worked out—the marriage—
or the kids were all on drugs—and

all the old mothers were praying intensely
for all the pain of their children

and for life—they were praying for life—
in their quiet rooms—sipping decaf coffee—

I bet they've been praying for me at times—
so I'll find my way—so I won't rob a bank—

I'll take them—the mystical prayers of old mothers—
it matters—all this patient and purposeful love.

Enjoy your day! :) k

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

In Harmony with All

I think there's a bullfrog living somewhere in the woods behind my house. Or maybe he's closer, up by the fish pond outside the sunroom window. But wherever he lives, about 5:00 am the last two mornings, I hear a low, burpy sound "brrrrrrrrrrrr--upt!" repeated twice, three times. Then silence. It's as though he's warming up for the beginning of the summer season, when the females will be within hearing distance and he can show off his vocal chords for all they're worth.

Our natural voices are funny things. We all sound so different--we have different squeaks and laughs, our singing voices run a range from the highest high to the lowest low. We sneeze, we giggle, we exclaim (my mother's made-up expletive used to be "Oh, Piffle!"), we (sometimes) snore. We make all kinds of sounds to let each other (and ourselves, and God, perhaps) know we're here, we alive, we're participating in life, we're making noise.

I wonder whether God hears all this as a kind of wondrous, joyful harmony--all his babies creating something good, moving energy (that's all a sound wave is, after all), enjoying this garden he designed. The bullfrog doesn't hide his voice or worry about other animals sleeping (not even me!). He just assumes there's a place for what he does and he sings what comes naturally.

It seems to me this morning that we could learn a lesson from the bullfrog--trying out our voices, getting ready for the season. God gave us something to sing and something to sing about! Whether your sound is a snort or a giggle, a whisper or a shout, remember God with your vocal chords today. I imagine God thoroughly enjoying the great symphony all his creation sings to him moment by moment. And don't think that with all this hubbub, your voice won't be missed, because it will--until you sing your part, the rest of us won't sound complete. :)

Thursday, April 20, 2006

First Thoughts

I ran across this wonderful quote this morning in a newsletter I receive from the SCBWI (Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators):

"First thoughts have
tremendous energy.
The internal censor
usually squelches them,
so we live in the realm
of second and third thoughts,
thoughts on thought,
twice and three times
removed from the
direct connection of
the first fresh flash."

~ Natalie Goldberg

Isn't that interesting? It makes me wonder whether we'll be able to hear any of our own First Thoughts today--you know, the ones we share with God. Let's listen together, okay? :)

Monday, April 17, 2006

Time is on God's Side

If you're a child of the 60s or 70s, you'll get a kick out of this reflection. This morning, for some unknown reason, the song, "Time Is On My Side," (by the Rolling Stones) was playing in my head over and over. (At the time, I didn't remember who sang it, but it was playing loud and clear.) As I exercised, as I made coffee, I kept hearing this song. I wrote the phrase in my journal during my meditation and prayer time. When I came up to my office to begin work for the day, I decided to Google the lyrics to find out who wrote the song and discover what the rest of it said.

I thought maybe I was picking up a "time vibe" because I am feeling pressured in my work to catch up with several writing deadlines that are running on ahead of me. :) But as I read the lyrics (which you can read by clicking here), it occurred to me that this is the song God is continually singing to us! Time is on God's side. We can claim our freedom, go off seeking our heart's desires, but eventually, we'll come

running back

running back

running back

to God! Why? Because God's got that "real love--the kind you need, baby." What a fun way to start the day! Who knew Mick Jagger was a prophet? :)

Friday, April 14, 2006

Let There Be...

I read a quote from a woman writer somewhere once (and it's in my journal but I'm not sure where) that said, "Whenever you say, 'Let there be...,' something happens." This morning that idea is floating around in my mind and heart. The power of creation is something I believe God shares with us--as the Ultimate Creative Being, God has given us a share in that amazing ability to create what we choose with our days, our thoughts, our lives.

Sure, we can argue that something "out there" resists or rejects what we create. But maybe we create that too, by envisioning the resistance to begin with.

If you had total power to create something that was important to you today, how would you use that power? Imagine that nothing can hold you back; no one will laugh or criticize you. Your gift will be totally accepted, gladly received, and unreservedly successful. What will you create?

Here are a few possibilities that pop into my head:

    "Let there be peace."

    "Let there be love."

    "Let there be abundance."

    "Let there be health."

    "Let there be passion."

    "Let there be JOY!!!."

What do you want to create today? Roll the rock away and let it out. The world is waiting. :)

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Energy & Light

I awoke this morning with more than the usual energy. Elliot the kitten (he's the one on the right in the photo) was purring and pushing at my head, trying to do anything he could to wake me up so I would pet him. This is a fairly regular occurrence lately; I think he realizes sometime close to sunrise that he is just dying to be petted. He's gone so long--all night!--without someone telling him how wonderful he is. :)

Some mornings this really gets old. I gently push him away, or hide under the covers, or just hide my hands under the comforter so he won't keep trying to make me pet him. Eventually he gives up and goes away for a little while. He's an interactive alarm clock with a loud, purring motor.

But this morning Elliot's antics struck me as funny. Maybe I was just ready to get up, but I gave in and cuddled him and scratched his head. He was so appreciative. I got up, got dressed, and took the dogs out, feeling cheerful. Not dragging; not wishing the day could start a little slower; not wondering about how much I can get done today and how in the world that could possibly be enough.

I'm not sure why some days have one kind of energy and other days have another. It might be my diet the night before; it might be my dreams; it might be angels that visit me through the night--I don't know. But I know when the energy is high, when I feel humor and compassion and a sense of gratitude for the day, I feel that I'm in tune with God; and when I drag and grumble and feel too small to face the responsibilities before me, I am somehow out of sync and feeling like a separate little me and forgetting my source.

I don't know why I wake up one day feeling connected and another day feeling not. But I'm grateful for today! And I'm noticing, God. Thanks for the energy and light, and for being always the source that shines throughout my life (whether I'm feeling it or not).

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Sharing Our Soul's Stories

Emma Curtis Hopkins says, "The soul doesn't need saving; it needs to be made visible." This really resonates with me because I've discovered that as I grow into self-acceptance, all those places where I judged myself before have become filled with life and energy--they are now a source of healing and joy; a miraculous resource I missed when I was unwilling to explore them!

Sharing our stories helps our soul become visible. We learn to meet ourselves with compassion and welcome back all the pieces we've missed, forgotten, or rejected along the way. I have written a book with my co-author Mike Torres about a program that makes it easy--and free!--for people to begin sharing their stories, their experiences, and their lives with each other. If you've been thinking about blogging but haven't given it a try, come visit our MSN Bookspace and read excerpts of our book. You can use it to begin to express those places in your soul that haven't been welcomed out in a while. They need love too, you know. :)

[No worries about privacy issues--with MSN Spaces you can set up your space to be completely private so no one else--or only the people you specify--can read or see what you post on your space.]

If you aren't sure how you can use blogging (or our book) to tell your stories, drop me a note. I'm a good blog coach! :)

Friday, April 07, 2006

Themes of Temptation

This morning I find myself thinking about the story of Jesus being tempted in the desert during that 40-day vigil. It's interesting to me that he was tempted three different ways--to use the power God gave him to sustain himself ("tell these stones to become bread"); to save himself ("throw yourself down"); or to choose what (or whom) to worship. The key here, it seems to me, is to not be fooled into thinking that our care and protection comes from anything or anyone except God. We may think our own efforts in our career are guaranteeing our success (which brings food for our table and shelter from the cold), but who provides the talent, creativity, opportunity that opens the way for our work? Sometimes I get so caught up in working so hard that I get stressed and fearful when I fall behind. When that happens (like earlier this week!), I have to ask myself--what am I afraid of? Who sustains me, protects me, cares for me? When I realize that my work, my health, my support comes from God alone, I begin to relax and return to my work with less force and fear. I work with focus and integrity. I enjoy what I do. And I thank the One who brings all good things into my life for bringing my mind back to the place of peace and green pastures.

Happy Friday, everyone!

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

What's the truest thing you know?

What truth is rattling around inside you this morning? Maybe it's something like "It's a beautiful morning." No matter what truth we claim, we can see God in it by looking a little closer: (1) We feel Joy when we encounter beauty. (2) Beauty is a gift given freely to us--we do not earn it (like Grace).

See? There's God, right there. Not even two steps away. I love that. :)

Whatever is true for you today--whether you enjoy a smile, or a sweet moment of peace, or a warm hug, or anticipating a fun evening--say it out loud and give God a wave at the same time. Because if you're enjoying something, God's there. He's in the JOY part. :)