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New Year’s Eve and other cycle end markers such as birthdays have never had as much importance to me as this one. Why? In some ways I can’t wait for it to be over as if it is simply the end of a story and I get to start a new one in four days.

What if the end of the year (or a month or a week or a day or any cycle) were like the end of a movie? Would we turn it off, go to bed, and wake up to another day as if the events in the movie were just a story, a blip of memories floating around? Would we bother to watch the credits and thank all those who contributed to the making of it? Would we reflect and allow the recollections to stimulate our emotions again? Would we consider the ways it has impacted us—our beliefs, perceptions, assumptions, and choices?

A quick peek at some “2009 year in review” articles revealed lists of happenings with some judgmental commentary. I’m more curious about how these things and those events in our own lives have impacted us—changed us.

I want to bring this year to a close by acknowledging all the people, events, places, ideas, and things that made it possible, including my own ability to perceive as I have.

I want to acknowledge the impact–the changes in me, in my perceptions of myself, others, and the world.

Through this process I want to ring in the new year by using what I’ve learned to re-perceive a few things and drop a few assumptions—maybe write a re-vision…not like a do-over or a take-two, rather an updated version of the beliefs and assumptions that directed the 2009 movie.

I could probably use some wise soul guidance here.

Love you,

 

Lately I’ve been hearing people comment that we aren’t really in control and reciting the Yiddish proverb: “Man plans, God laughs,” that they’re being asked to have faith. Faith in what, I wonder. Don’t we all have faith in something…a lot of things? I realize the term typically refers to having a belief in God or something that cannot be proved, yet don’t we also have faith, without thinking about it, in things such as that the floor will be under our feet when we get out of bed?

Do we look at our unsuccessful attempts to create specific desired results and our illnesses as a sign that we’re not in control, therefore God must be, because we have faith in God? And then tell ourselves we must have faith…that God has a better plan for us? Or, when we succeed, thank God for giving us what we asked for? I know I’m simplifying this, but I wonder if we’d be better off to ask ourselves what we really have faith in and answer the question honestly. Is it a stupendously strong faith that keeps the ground under our feet? That allows us to witness our current perceptions of the physical universe? Is that stronger than our faith in God and his plans for us?

I know I’m stretching out there…

I recently had a conversation with someone and referenced something he’d talked about. He then told me he hadn’t said anything about that, but that it was true, he just hadn’t said it. Wait a minute! Don’t mess with my perception of reality—that I can tell the difference between a thought and a spoken statement. It’s pretty cool to be able to know things beyond the spoken and the physical, but it’s really helpful to know when it’s a “knowing” and when it’s a shared physical experience.

So, what do you have faith in? Your talents and abilities? God? That the sun will come out tomorrow? That the devil tempts us? If you treat others well, they will treat you well? That the other shoe will drop…eventually? That there’s more to our world that what we can see, hear, touch, taste, or smell? That there’s not?

What do I have faith in that I’m not aware of?

       Some things are best kept private.

I’m aware of that.

Yeah.

Love you,

Sometimes I wish I were a caterpillar…

each cell going about its business

knowing without knowing

no need for faith

simply living

simply living

no need for faith

knowing without knowing

the business of change, of transforming,

becoming what the heart always intended.

While contemplating the idea of pain influencing me to shrink away from others or to feed confusion about feeling loved, I thought of the lyrics to Bette Midler’s “The Rose”. This and innumerable other songs and poems explore the many causes lying behind pain and its influence on how we interpret love.

My own questioning began in earnest when my marriage to my high school sweet heart disintegrated. I thought love conquered all! But I was wrong! And I decided that love wasn’t what I thought it was…and, in fact, I didn’t know anything about love, let alone being created to be loved.

Tell me about love and being loved and shrinking away. 

Like the first time you touched a hot stove—you pulled away. The next time you came close to a stove you either shrank away or you reached out to see if it was hot. If it was, you pulled away, if it wasn’t you learned that stoves aren’t always hot. If you shrank away, you associated the stove with pain, hot or not. Love is simple like that. People are not.  

When love has strings attached, you experience pain. When love expects nothing in return, you experience love. This applies when giving and receiving. When you love another with an expectation of how they’ll be, or what they’ll do, or what will happen next, or that they’ll love you in return, you’re likely to experience a staggering set of emotions ranging from disappointment to resentment and anger or even hatred and cynicism. 

Sounds simple…and maybe easy if I was Peace Pilgrim, but I’m not. So now what?

How do you know when you are loving simply?
How do you know when you are being simply loved?
 

Do that.
Receive that.

Learn to recognize the strings—starting with your own.
If you are honest with yourself, you’ll know what to do next.

I wonder if the journey is really about learning how to love simply and to be simply loved.

Love you–simply.

Ah hell. Who said life was supposed to resemble a perfectly pressed square of finely woven Japanese brocade made only of the finest spun silk? Certainly no intelligent philosopher I’ve read and yet I’ve pressed and ironed and added new threads, the best I had at the time, and kept the tension of the warp threads and the weft threads as even as possible. And I’ve stretched it and squished it and dyed it and boiled it and scrubbed it and, yes, I’ve even tried removing a few rows. You laugh because you know how true it is.

Now the shape of my fabric resembles nothing but me. How sweet is that? A lumpy here, smooth there, colorful, multi-textured, unusual piece of life, ironically just like all the other unique quilts of life, for which I thank God. Isn’t she brilliant?

It’s interesting how all of our beautifully unusual pieces of life come together in the big quilt–overlapping here, blending beautifully there, bunching up in places, sometimes stretching to meet, sometimes barely touching, sometimes shrinking away.

Why do we shrink away? William P. Young, in The Shack, writes: “Pain has a way of keeping us from feeling loved—and if left unresolved too long, can leave us forgetting that we were created to be loved in the first place.”*

More on that later…

Love you.

*This sentence is in the notes I took while reading the book, which I gave to a dear friend, and may not be exactly how Mr. Young wrote it. You can find it on page 97 in the 2007 version.

In a funk today. Not the wonderful groovy nature of funk music. That would delight my spirit. No. This is the in between here and there funk–a disconnection within and without.

When things pop up in front of me, for me to say yes or no to, and I say yes then later wonder about the rightness of my involvement, I question you because I trust your guidance and I think you will put in front of me those things that will “work” and flow smoothly, easily. And I remember being described as a hummingbird, here to taste all the flowers.

Bittersweetness causes pause.

A pause between here and there to digest the yeses. To reconnect heart and mind in a space impervious to the passion of others; supported to choose to stand authentically in the fire of your soul.

The bittersweet pause is soul’s nudge to remember your own fire.

Love you.

R1-24After receiving the name “Rainbow Fire” in Eugene, I was delighted to see this rainbow rising out of the Columbia River on the way home. Thank you for the beauty and wonder of this world.  

June 2017
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