Wednesday, April 30, 2008

beginnings and endings

Anyone who has been reading here recently will know that dreams have been very present in my mind these last several days. Dreams to me represent a kind of beginning. A change of the wind. A longing of the heart. And so it seems a bit ironic to me that in this time of new beginnings and wondering what comes next, I have found myself in the midst of endings. As I ponder more, however, I realize it is not so ironic after all, because in order for something new to begin something else may need to end.

I have spent the last two weeks ending with students who I have watched transform over the past eight months. They came in as caterpillars, wrapped themselves tightly into cocoons and now I have the honor and joy of watching them spread their wings and fly away. It has been harder for me this year than last, because I now know from experience that many of them I may never see again. And so even with the best intentions of “I’ll see you around” or “We’ll get together for coffee,” I know that we are ending.

So, how do I sit with that? Knowing we have done good work together and we cannot help but be changed because of our time together AND we may never find ourselves face to face ever again. Longing. Sadness. Congratulations. Well-done & wanting more. Can it be enough?

In addition to students, there were also good-byes with colleagues who I have come to love deeply. The beautiful part is that we marked these endings with remembering, laughter, tears and holy communion. This feels so different from other relationships that have simply drifted away.

And so I sit this morning filled with possibility for future dreams as the season changes AND also a longing for the things and relationships that have come to an end. Dreams. Beginnings. Good-byes. Endings. Will I dream well today? Will I allow space for longing? Will you? What do you think of beginnings and endings? I invite you to come keep me company today, I have a feeling I may need a little help letting go ☺ .

lucy's photos from puerta vallarta

Sunday, April 27, 2008

spreading wings

I love the beautiful "randomness" of the world; the universe. Having written and thought about dreams over the last several days, I was not at all surprised to see this "random" computer-generated thought appear in my inbox today:

"It may be those who do most, dream most." --Stephen Leacock

So what of dreaming and following our heart's desire? Do those who dream more do more? Or do they simply enjoy more of what they do? This all reminds me of another favorite quote of mine by Howard Thurman. Some of you might recognize it:

“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

In my last post, I used the word "calling" in association with returning to graduate school to pursue a degree in counseling psychology. Having been a traditionalist, a conformist, whatever you want to call it, most of my life, I was used to functioning by practicalities like, Get a degree that is marketable. (I chose accounting.) Believe in God. (I found myself in a fundamental-based tradition.) Practical car. (Toyota mini-van.) House? (Two story, white house with room for children.) Get the picture?

Now please don't get me wrong, because I am not knocking any of those things. I chose them, after all, and they have been a formative part of my life. My point, however, is that it was not until I allowed myself to dream & listen (step out of "practical" patterns perhaps) that I ever began to really hear the call of my life. And, Now, the possibilities seem endless where before they felt quite finite. I began to spread my wings!

While at Mars Hill Graduate School I heard the word "calling" used often during my early years. It sounded good and began to stir something inside me, but it was not really until last week when I heard my supervisor say, "Listen to you! What a wonderful time of your life. You have found your calling!" Did I find it or did it find me? Somehow it was through the words of another that I started to understand that MY dream and MY calling are uniquely intertwined.

Random? Created? Unique? Those three things also seem intricately intertwined with each other as well as with dreams and calling. Where will they all lead? Who knows, but it is exciting to ponder. I find it amazing to see what happens when I can let go and quit trying to guess what is practical or acceptable or marketable or even possible...

So, what does the universe hold for you? Are you open to the possibilities that lie ahead? Will you allow yourself the chance to dream and listen today? It is often hard to know what the call may be or from where it comes, but one thing I do know is that a bird must spread its wings in order to fly ☺.

lucy's photos from puerta vallarta

Friday, April 25, 2008

fragile dreams

what is it about dream sharing that is so fragile? pondering some of the comments to my post, when dreams and reality collide, many thoughts ran through my head.

it feels so naked and exposed to put my dreams out into the world. it feels so presumptuous to consider some of them could possibly come true. even now as I write, I find myself holding back from sharing specifics. so I ask again, what is it about dream sharing that is so fragile? are we afraid of failure or are we afraid of success?

yesterday while driving to hood canal for a delightful afternoon with a dear friend, I found myself behind a huge red Ford pickup truck from Alaska. On its bumper was a banner that read,

“those who abandon their dreams will discourage yours.”

so I wonder, is it the discouragement of others I fear or is it my own resolve that if I state a dream out loud, one of two things will happen…1) the dream will seem ridiculously foolish or 2) I will now be “on the hook” and have to do something to make it happen--opening possibility for either success or failure. scary!

it seems that my most incredible dream fulfillment has come with surprise. in other words, it was not something planned. for example, 'I never dreamed I would go to graduate school', but when the “calling” came, I followed it and found myself experiencing a “dream come true.” wild, huh? it was a similar experience I relayed in Wednesday’s post. I never considered that writing and leading a couples’ workshop would be fulfilling a dream, but there I sat, at the end of the workshop, absorbing the experience and knowing something unexpected had played a part in making my heart a little more whole and full.

so is that what dreams are about? moving toward our heart’s desire? maybe that’s why dream sharing is so fragile, because it is a heart thing. hmmm…is sharing our heart the same as sharing our dreams?

I think I’ll ponder that one a bit more. how about you? what stirs when you think of dream sharing?

starfish - hood canal

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

where dreams & reality collide

“For it is in giving that we receive.” St. Francis of Assisi

wish lives. dream lives. what is next? what is past? there is so much to consider as I sit here this morning. last week my “wish” life collided with my real life and it took my breath away. in god's perfect way, it snuck up on me and I didn’t even realize what had happened until it was nearly over. how often is that the case in life?

last saturday night, I sat next to my dear husband in front of four couples who had just completed the first soltura couples’ workshop (that i had the privilege of co-writing and co-facilitating.) the couples snuggled. they glowed. they danced...hope filled their eyes. they had worked hard. they had discovered a “third way”. during the course of our four days together, they had indeed fled. they fought with each other, with themselves, with me. but in the end, they stayed. they were present. willing. open to possibility. it was miraculous to watch.

and what of my personal “collision” you might ask? as I addressed them for one official last time, tears filled my eyes and my heart welled with joy and gratitude. “thank you,” I said. “this is a dream come true for me.” even then I wondered from where did those words come? I sensed deeply that they were not just sentimental ramblings, but words that felt whole and true. it was not until the next morning as I was talking with another facilitator that I remembered the prophecy I received in the spring four years ago. in it were the words, “follow your dreams. find out what they are. do them with bill. save the families.” there was much more to that story, but even as I write this morning I realize that even now I am overcome by amazement at God’s grace and I feel the beauty and power of that collision of dream and reality.

I did not know I was on a path to dream fulfillment. I was just following my heart. the twists and turns were many. the road was long. the goal not even in sight. it snuck up on me and I didn’t even realize what had happened until it was nearly over. how often is that the case in life?

what dreams are brewing for you today? will you be open, willing & present to see them? will you be open to the possibility of a new way?

may the god of grace be with you today. peace.

photo by h3images

Monday, April 14, 2008

fight, flight or a third way?

We are slowly discovering what many of us are calling "the Third Way," neither flight nor fight, but the way of compassionate knowing. Both the way of fight and the way of flight fall short of wisdom, although they look like answers in the heat of the moment. When it's an either/or world you have no ability to transcend, to hold together, to be creative.
I read the above quote this morning and it really resonated with me. As is often the case, many different thoughts and ideas started swirling around in my mind and fighting for attention. I thought of my recent post, feel your feelings as well as Sunrise Sister’s post here. The other topic that ran through my mind was the Couples Workshop that I am leaving to facilitate tomorrow.

As I reflect on these three topics, I realize that they cover relationships with ourselves, the world and committed personal relationships—as well as our overreaching relationship with God which always shows up (I believe) when our eyes and hearts are open ☺.

Limited on time this morning, I cannot delve into this as I would like, however, here are a few thoughts that worked their way onto paper.

Will the couples (will we as people; I as a person) choose to fight or flee or will they decide to try something new in relationship? We must be risk takers in order to be peacemakers. They go hand in hand. It is sometimes risky to seek peace. To seek a new way of looking at things. To do something different when the old is not working.

In living each day there is always the urge to fight or flee. Sinking into depression and not considering options can be a form of flight. Immediately going to outside sources for cures, saying “Nothing is wrong” or merely treating of symptoms is a form of fight. Feeling the pain, being in it, wrestling with it, resonates of the "compassionate knowing" of which Rohr speaks.

There are so many ways to look at this, but for now these are the bubblings of my brain. I am not sure if I will be back here over the next week or not. I hope you will ponder some of these thoughts along with me. Also, if you are so inclined, please say a prayer, send special thoughts, warm feelings, whatever it is you may do to the brave men and women who will be participating in Soltura’s first couples workshop. I am one of the facilitators and I am excited, encouraged AND nervous as can be!

May each of us consider choosing a “compassionate knowing” rather than fight or flight as we enter this new week. Peace! ☺

Saturday, April 12, 2008

feel your feelings

“The fastest way to freedom is to feel your feelings” -- Gita Bellen

There is a post bubbling around in here, but my aching neck demands attention. Some would say I must immediately go to a doctor and that might be true. Others would recommend I take an aspirin and rest. Personally, I can most easily justify it by knowing that I slept scrunched up last night, had a glass of wine and popcorn for dinner and spent yesterday dusting, vacuuming and cleaning dog fur from my house (a very good thing ☺). The feelings I refer to today, however, are not the aches and pains in my body, but the ones that held me in the emotional dump this week. It was amazing how once I wrote those feelings down—articulated them—really sat in them awhile---that I was able to release them…or at least begin to feel some freedom from their hold on me.

The heaviness began to lift even though circumstances had not really changed. It was like lining them up to look at, placing them on a boat and watching them float out to sea. The “problems” where not gone, they were now simply seen from a different viewpoint. In other words, I still have the same amount of work facing me. My house still needed cleaning. My children are still teenagers, etc. etc. One thing that has changed is the skies are not so gray--both literally and figuratively. (I also realize this is the place where some of you may be quick to diagnose me with seasonal affective disorder, but that is not the point here and it kind of is ☺.)

I think about the complexities of life and all of the choices we can make to help us feel better. We can pop a pill, numb ourselves, put on a happy face, and hurry to fix things. I am not saying that action does not need to happen, but I am suggesting that we not overlook the power of actually doing as Bellen says and “feeling our feelings” rather than stuffing them down, looking for the quick fix or anesthetizing them away. Because, guess what? Feelings don’t really go away.

Believe me, I have all sorts of little tricks to get myself out of the blues. I know deep in my heart that my nature is one of light and joy rather than darkness and gloom. But both are part of me. Sometimes to get back to wholeness, I just need to sit in whatever feelings are coming my way—irrational, justified or uncomfortable as they may be. It is all so paradoxical. For example, I know that my daughter does not really hate me and, of course, at some level she does. After all, she’s 15 and that’s part of her job to differentiate from Mom. My son is 36 days sober today which is wonderful AND it terrifies me that the number could go back to zero at any moment. I have checked things off my list AND the list continues to grow. There is much to manage and experience and this post could go on forever. And in reality, that is what this blog is about. It is about my experiences and feelings. It is about where I am today…right now…this very moment. It is about my feelings and thoughts as long as I allow myself to let them flow.

So, today, the sun is shining. My heart is filled with gratitude. My gentle readers rose to the occasion and allowed me to “feel my feelings.” Thank you. We’ll see what happens next.

So, how will you feel your feelings today? Boldly? Gently? Wisely? Not at all? Or maybe today, you will simply choose to feel the sun on your skin or the crunch of the snow under your feet or watch the rain through your window? I’d love to know.

photos by lucy --yelapa, mexico

Friday, April 11, 2008

a little space

Come near, that no more blinded by man's fate,
I find under the boughs of love and hate,
In all poor foolish things that live a day,
Eternal beauty wandering her way.

Come near, come near, come near--Ah, leave me still
A little space for the rose-breath to fill!

--William Butler Yeats

the sun is shining
the fog is lifting
words of beauty speak again
my eyes have opened
my heart is grateful
friends have drawn near &
still left me space for breath to fill.

blessings to all who read here today. peace.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

emotional dump

warning: this is NOT a feel good post...

how long is it o.k. to stay in a funk? what is socially acceptable? personally acceptable? I feel like sh.t. my head has hurt for several days and I have felt nauseous too. if I didn’t know better, I might think I was pregnant. yikes! maybe that’s the issue. I am experiencing the pains of pregnancy and childbirth, but right now it is with nearly grown children…loss of dreams…loss of hope... when can hope return? how many times must we experience "death" so that we may be "reborn?" the dying is getting tedious. I don’t want to do it anymore. I signed up for Italy and I got Auschwitz where I am one of the "able-bodied" who must continue to work and work and work and feel the pain rather than the more swift alternative of certain death.

when does the "living death" lift? when will the clean air start to fill my lungs again? and the original long is it o.k. to stay in a funk, because everyone seems to want to pull me out of it…occasionally even myself…but more than not wanting to be in a funk, I am tired of the yoyo…the pendulum…the highs are too high and the lows are too low…swimming with the dolphins…high…bitter words and stalled relationships…low…sitting on a sailboat, listening to classical music, surrounded by blue seas...high…watching your children self-destruct…low. I am tired. really sick and tired. can I pull the covers over my head and wake up in a few years like rip van winkle? is it better to just hang out at the bottom of the pendulum? numb, but safe? my friends say, “drink a margarita”. “go for a drive in the sunshine.” “don’t try so hard.” “breathe.” yea. whatever.

sorry for the funkiness...don't say i didn't warn you...where do you hang out on the pendulum?

Sunday, April 06, 2008


Oh it is hard to re-enter the "real" world. Why do we have to? Can I not just stay in that moment-to-moment glorious, watch the sea waves, feel the sunshine, sit with friends glory?

It is gray and cold here. Volumes of e-mails await me along with a huge project for work. My kids demand attention in a detached sort of way. There is dog fur everywhere and the house needs a good cleaning. All I want to do is sit on a boat and listen to the waves lap against the side.

I have tried for two days now to catch up on e-mail and look at what has been happening in the blog world, but it has been to no avail. I have decided to say “hello” for now. I am back and I am not. Returning to Seattle feels more like a foreign country today than either Mexico or France. Am I a stranger in my own home? Where is home? Home is where the heart is. Hmmmm...I think I will sit with that for a while today.