Showing posts with label Community. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Community. Show all posts

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

It Takes a Village


The Coffee House on Cherry Street, Tulsa Oklahoma (Feb '12)
Have you ever launched a personal aspiration out into the world? Or embarked upon something you’d planned for a lengthy period of time (a dream vacation, college selection, or committed relationship)? From personal experience, I’ve found it’s a lot like sending a child off to their first day of school or standing on the edge of a minuscule airplane platform preparing to fling yourself into the great unknown. You’ve prepared as best you can—read all the books, packed the lunch (or parachute or suitcase), gathered support from friends and family—and now it’s time to let go and see what happens. Such has been my experience over the last few months as I released my innermost reflections and introduced As I Lay Pondering: daily invitations to live a transformed life into the world.

Officially published on January 25, 2012, “Pondering” has made its way into over 350 homes around the world—including Australia, England, Canada, Hawaii, Alaska, and Florida. It’s a highly respectable sales number for a first-time, self-published book, but... hey, I have more friends than that on Facebook and this is my baby I’ve sent off to school which means I want the greatest success possible. Now to be perfectly clear, my definition of success is not by numbers. It’s about reaching people who may be touched, inspired, or personally challenged and transformed by its message. My belief is that “Pondering” is a life-giving book. While I know it’s not for everyone, I also trust there are way more than 350 people out there who will resonate from this message.

"Like Mark Nepo and Rachel Naomi Remen, Kayce invites us to learn with her day by day as she creates a handmade life. Her stories enlighten while her prompts tickle the heart's ear to listen with more clarity and self-kindness. A beautiful way to spend a few minutes each day." Jennifer Louden, best-selling author and teacher 

Book signing, Walla Walla, WA (Apr '12)
The foremost question people ask me these days is “what’s next?” My answer? Who knows!?! But in this moment, I am sharing these few thoughts. Perhaps you’ve been considering buying your own book. Fabulous! Today is a great day to do it. Maybe there’s someone in your life who could use a little encouragement and hope each day. As I Lay Pondering makes a beautiful gift! Think about it. Are you ready to embark on your own dream and would welcome some encouragement? Yes? Go for it! I’m here to cheer you on.

The term “it takes a village” has always resonated with me and now more so than ever. One way I see it manifesting is in how we help each other nurture our dreams, thus growing stronger villages in the world. Today, I’m sharing my ongoing dream with you. I hope you’ll consider being a part of my village in whatever way resonates for you. Send me a note... buy a book... pass along this message... say a prayer... invite me to your town/blog/interview/favorite bookstore... the possibilities are really endless once we start dreaming together!

And, please don’t forget to let me know how I can help nurture your dreams! Collaboration? Shall we? Remember... it takes a village!

As I Lay Pondering: daily invitations to live a transformed life by Kayce S. Hughlett Available here and at Amazon.com

Monday, April 02, 2012

10 Lessons Learned (& Affirmed) While Living Life

Hello, Love. I know I’ve been away for a while and I always miss you when I’m gone. Today, I’ve been reflecting on where I’ve been these past few weeks and what I learned (& affirmed) along the way. What bubbled up were 10 Lessons that I'd love to share with you.

Since we were last together here, I followed my heart’s calling and sailed high above the Arizona desert, experiencing the peaceful wordlessness of a sunrise hot air balloon ride. There I released floating dreams on behalf of myself and others (you, perhaps?) while sharing in the majestic silence with old and new friends. It was an experience potentially missed if a sprout of fearful discomfort had become overgrown. I’ve discovered the importance of learning to differentiate between fear and exhilaration. Fear holds us back. Exhilaration lifts us higher. When your heart sings YES, you can trust it’s moving in the right direction... even when it seems a little scary. Lesson #1 – Follow your heart.

Following the early morning balloon ride, 300+ of my cohorts gathered in Phoenix where I was able to explore the beauty and dissonance of life together as one big family. While we are all profoundly connected in unnamable ways, we don’t necessarily click with every person in the room (kind of like a real family). Expectations aren’t always met and sometimes they are exceeded when connection greets us in the most unexpected places and ways. Lesson # 2 – Be open to whatever shows up.

A highlight of the time in Phoenix was when my alter ego, “Sassy Girl,” sashayed onto the scene and whooped it up with fellow Sassy Cats during an evening of Cabaret. Our giggles and laughter resounded like a babbling brook after a refreshing spring downpour. Even “grown ups” have an amazing capacity and desire to pull out the over-the-top duds and play dress-up. Lesson # 3 – Put on your sassy and play, play, play!

Upon returning home, I hunkered down and added the final touches to my recent workshop, Exploring Archetypal Energies through the Expressive Arts. Simultaneously, I made space for some additional playtime with out-of-town guests and my sweet hubby as we became tourists in our own town. Lesson #4 – Make essential space for connecting with friends and loved ones, the rest will follow. (Refer to Lesson #1.)

Ready or not, off I went to St. Andrew’s House on the Hood Canal for a magical time of retreat and awakening. Surrounded by 10 amazing women and my fabulous co-facilitator, Christine, I was reminded of Lesson #5 - We are all teachers and there are lessons to be learned in everything. The bonus of being a group facilitator is that I am blessed with learning from the wisdom of other’s life explorations. During our retreat together, we danced, created art, read poetry, got quiet, and dug deep. The mountains peeked through the mist and the sun made a guest appearance as we walked the labyrinth. The moon did her dance alongside 10 royal queens who proudly stepped into their personal sovereignty.

My re-entry time has included snuggle time with golden kitty, Aslan, a delicious massage, fine wine and the darkest of delectable chocolates. I am, after all, a widely-proclaimed, self-care practitioner. Lesson/Affirmation #6 – Self-care is the best way to restore, rejuvenate and prepare to offer our gifts back out to the world!

And lest one might think that life is always easy and full of light, Lesson #7 arrives: Re-entry can be challenging! Somehow, I often manage to get blind-sided by that one! With all of these glorious adventures and soul nourishment, I was a bit annoyed to find myself overwhelmed and uptight as I looked at my week ahead... not to mention the Big Question: “What’s next for me?”

Lesson #8 – 'What’s next?' takes us out of the present and into the future. The question What's next? has a powerful ability to pop me into high alert mode if I’m not careful. If it’s too far in the future, What’s next? sends me spinning like a top (and I don’t mean the fun, colorful kind.) So, when the spin feels out-of-control, it’s time to pause and get off. (Easier said than done, I know.) Fortunately, Lesson #9 is available. Have a previously assembled tool box nearby at all times and use it! and remember this...

Lesson #10 – Sometimes it takes a full arsenal to pry yourself out of the spinning top, but with time, the spinning will stop!


This time my tools included...
1) Getting quiet... although today the noise increased.
2) Get something done (anything)... alas, confronting my to-do list raised the anxiety.
3) Distract myself... choose your distractions carefully – email and Facebook kept me spinning this go 'round.
4) Bring presence to someone else... helping someone else feel good feels really great! (However, please keep in mind Lesson #6 re: self-care.)
5) Name my stuff... “I’m overwhelmed and out of control” (even saying it begins to slow the spin.)
6) Take a walk (Move!)... feeling the ground beneath my feet is... well... grounding.
7) Witness the beauty everywhere... notice the sun on my face, blooming daffodils, a curious chickadee, warm java, a neighbor’s smile. Ahhhh.
8) Come back to the basics... Breathe.
9) Write and reflect... (This is my favorite ritual... What’s yours?)
10) Share your ritual with someone... Today I'm sharing with you, Love. Yes, You!

So that’s where I’ve been and a few things I’ve learned in the last weeks. How about you? I’d love to know where you go when the world spins out of control. What are your favorite life lessons? Do share, pretty please. A person can never have too many tools!

Friday, March 09, 2012

Come Fly with Me

If you can imagine it, you can live it!


Part of my practice for the year has been increased attention toward a quiet meditation practice. In her book, Comfortable with Uncertainty, Pema Chodron talks about “surprise mind.” You sit down and —wham!—a rather nasty surprise arises. So be it... Then—wow!—a delicious surprise appears. Okay. This part is not to be clung to but compassionately acknowledged... and let go. The surprises are endless.


I love “surprise mind” (although it does provide some interesting challenges in meditation)! Today’s “surprise” was the birthing of Come Fly with Me. Take a moment. Stop. Breathe. Listen. Pause right now and notice if you can imagine your dreams—yes, yours—spreading out through the world on gossamer wings... reaching and extending through the soft breath of whispering clouds until they permeate the universe. Now imagine this happening at daybreak over the Sonoran desert within a vast silence punctuated only by the generated heat to fill a multi-colored balloon and the delight of playful adults on a bold adventure. Immerse yourself into this landscape and imagine your personal dream rising with the balloon. Next hear your name being whispered into the crystal blue sky. Finally witness both dream and name gently released into the world with love, grace, and delight.


Sound good? Can you feel it? Yes? Then you are personally invited to join me as I embark on a magical mystery tour over the Sonoran desert where I will be releasing beauty, love, and OUR dreams into the world. Dorothy of Kansas never made it into her hot air balloon, but I have a reserved spot to climb into mine next week... And, the surprise is that my heart is compelled to take YOU along with me. A few spirited sojourners will physically join me, but since basket space is limited, I have created another way for you to come fly with me and simultaneously support our dreams!


Flying with me is simple...

· Between now and Wednesday, March 14 @ Noon Pacific Time, send me a note requesting that I share your dream. If you want to include dream details, please keep them brief as the ride is only one hour. That’s it! No strings attached.


If you feel compelled to join the dream-sharing fun, then read on...

· My dream is for my new book As I Lay Pondering: daily invitations to live a transformed life to spread around the world and touch countless hearts and lives in meaningful ways.


You can select a way (or two) and help spread my dream...

· Purchase a copy today (for yourself or someone else).

· If you already own it, tell 5, 10, 20 + new people about it this week.

· Invite me to appear as a guest on your blog.

· Feature the book in a Facebook, Twitter or other social media post.

· Contact your favorite bookstore, gift shop, or newspaper.

· Interview me or recommend me to someone else for an interview. (I have lots to say!)

· Invite me to your locale for a book signing, workshop, or speaking engagement... and help make it happen.

· Spread the word through your own amazingly creative ways!!

... and please, please, please let me know. Your support always fills the wind in my sails!!


Dreams grow and come into reality when we share them with others. This I believe to be true. So, are you ready to Come Fly with Me and watch OUR dreams grow?

As I Lay Pondering: daily invitations to live a transformed life by Kayce S. Hughlett Available here and at Amazon.com. Get your copy today!!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Pause before you Punch...

... or How to Deal with Mean People

My friend and colleague, the beautiful and talented, Deb Smouse, recently asked if I had any tips on dealing with mean people. Not knowing exactly what she desired, I decided to do a little journaling around the topic to find out what I know ☺.

Bottom line, no matter how hard we try and hope it isn't so, they do exist and well... Sometimes mean people are just plain mean. They get under your skin and make you feel like you want to lash out and be mean too (or at least I do.) When I feel my blood pressure start to rise and my chest begin to pound, I realize that’s usually the time to take a deep breath and pause for a quick look in the mirror. Stop. Look. Listen. Notice and begin to imagine where their nastiness might be coming from, because most often it doesn’t have anything to do with me. I’ve also learned that without the pause, I’m at risk of feeding their fire (or ire) by turning up the heat with my less desirable Lucy-girl tactics. While momentarily this might feel good, it typically feels downright yucky and both of us walk away feeling singed. If I can avert this quick response and gather my pause, I often discover it’s the perfect time to pull out my super-secret (wish everyone knew about it) diffuser: Compassion. Whether or not the other person is willing to receive it, depends on them. In any case, through compassion I can stay grounded and with much better-feeling results than trying to match their nasty attitude.

(Warning: If you offer compassion and kindness to someone and consistently walk away feeling guilty or at fault for their bad mood, you’re probably dealing with a narcissist. My advice is to steer clear!)


Grumpsters come in all varieties and curmudgeons are my favorites. They’re usually just big old teddy bears who lay on the mild end of the “mean” scale just before hard-to-love, prickly, but ultimately approachable people and far away from sociopaths or narcissists who can rarely be won over and always leave you feeling icky. My approach with curmudgeons (and I realize I’m now giving away trade secrets) is to tame them with kindness. I like to get playful and perhaps a little sassy with these growly bears while feeding them their own direct medicine. I truly love being their pal, and rarely let them off the hook, because curmudgeons typically enjoy a good jest and are usually just trying to stir things up.

In my experience mean people are always asking for something and while it usually looks like they want you to go away, the exact opposite is often true. My kids, for example, have perfected the nasty look or growling get-away-from-me grunt. They can trigger me faster than any living person, so it’s trickier with people you’re close to, because you’re often a lot alike and/or it feels like there’s more at risk than with someone you don’t know. Once I began to understand my own insecurities and hidden motivations for being mean, it became easier to stick it out with others and turn on the loving compassion. It also taught me to slow down and consider how things aren’t always as they seem.

If pausing, looking in the mirror and calling on compassion, doesn’t do the trick for taming a mean person, then my surefire, foolproof approach to not letting this person get to me is to imagine they are about four or five years old. I see them slightly past the terrible two’s (although it can be fun to think of them at this age), but not yet jaded by a world of should’s and should not’s. By seeing an offensive person as a tender child who only wants to be loved, I’m able to drop my own defensiveness and tap into unconditional love and compassion. If four or five years old doesn’t work, I drop the age even younger until I can only see them as needing care. I can’t even begin to imagine retaliating or hurting them. I try to envision what this child might need – a kind word, a grounded presence, a hug or pat on the back. Mentally offering it to them can be equally powerful when it’s inappropriate to do it physically. In some cases they may just need to be left alone. In the case of hard-core offenders (sociopaths/narcissists), sometimes we just need to walk away and take care of our own inner child (i.e. don’t add to the abusiveness by staying in the line of fire!) It’s ok to move away gently and acknowledge for ourselves where and how it hurts. Finally, I allow myself to remember sometimes mean people are just plain mean.

Be sure to pop on over to Debra Smouse’s To Box or Not to Box for another viewpoint on dealing with those mean-spirited people in your life.

You can also visit me at Diamonds in the Soul to learn more about me.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Start your own Drum Circle

The sound of drums calls through the crystal blue sky. Beckoning. Singing. Saying, “Come play with us. All are welcome here.” The message is clear. “Find a perch on the grassy knoll, soak up some sunshine and live your own rhythm. Welcome to the World Rhythm Festival. Welcome to life.”

Saturday was my first experience in a community drum circle, but not my first in finding my personal rhythm. If you’ve never participated in a drum circle, it’s quite an experience. From out of the silence, a lone drummer begins. Soon another joins in, percussion instruments follow and, if you’re lucky, a bass carries the heartbeat. It’s a magical experience as multifarious people of assorted talent levels come together to create music. Dancers step into the mix and uniquely sway to the emerging beats. All elements are essential to creating this life-engaging experience.

One dancer swayed on the outer perimeter of the circle and I wondered why he steered clear of the middle and whether he longed to be center stage. Later as we had a brief conversation, I realized his perfect rhythm was to be exactly where he was – nothing more or less. Many of us don’t listen that well. If everyone isn’t doing it (whatever “it” is), we draw back because it might not be acceptable. We choose to listen to everyone else’s rhythm and find ourselves out of sync, and thus missing out on our unique part of life's harmony.

My part in Saturday’s experience was to sit on the knoll and play my djembe. I didn’t need to be the one to start or stop the circle. My role this day was harmony, and in that I was perfectly content. I was grateful for those who brilliantly began each round of music and less appreciative of those who exerted an odd power to bring the circle to an unnatural close. In practicing our personal rhythms, it’s important to know when we must follow the beat of our own drum and when it feels best to play harmony. There’s magic in listening to the pulse and finding the simpatico places both within and without.

Take a moment and imagine leaning into your own grassy knoll and soaking up the sunshine of your personal rhythm. What instrument would you play? What role would be yours? Where would you dance in the circle? What beat will you choose to follow?

World Rhythm Festival 2011 © lucy
My djembe & my friend, Carole © lucy 2011

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Timeless Truth

Slowly, slowly I am revisiting my desert journals and bringing the pages to light. The following words were written the day after climbing Mt. Sinai while continuing our visit at St. Catherine's Monastery.

9.27.10 Early morning
Time does strange things here, and we haven't even gone into the raw wilderness yet. We lie wrapped in cocoons of comfort - warm beds, air-conditioning, a roof over our heads. We are wandering, yet... Something ties us here. What? What do I mean? Let go. I'm tied to my watch and the sense of a certain number of hours of sleep I need. I am tied to the group and the roommate who sleeps beside me. Tied to the convention of the world - the rhythms of others.

I awoke sometime during the night and thought it was morning - thought my roommate was already up and in the shower. I felt rested and ready to start the day. Then I looked at my watch and saw it was still the middle of the night, so I "knew"/thought I should go back to sleep. A similar thing happened the night before. I awoke feeling as though I had slept for hours and realized it had been maybe one or two. Am I so stuck by conventions of time and space? What does it take to let go?

What does all this mean? In Paris, I found my own rhythms - some nights I watched movies until the wee hours. Others I slept early in the evening. Yesterday, a quick nap after climbing Mt. Sinai felt like ten hours of hard sleep. Is that the timelessness of which we speak? Where the telling of a story days before combines with the clicking of hiking sticks to become weaver's needles and our pilgrims' steps of today merge with centuries of others' who have gone before? Did our climbing footsteps encounter the imprint's of Moses? Was my hand holding the palm of an ancient Egyptian or perhaps even God herself when I pressed my fingers into the stone inside the pyramid?

The messages are myriad. Can I decipher them or am I called to let the mystery be? What is truth? Truth comes in moments. It came when I looked into the eyes of the Sinai Christ and know he beckons me. When my fellow pilgrim hours later described the same experience and in one moment we know and we are known. Truth comes when I hear our prayer warrior describe her call for us to have the angels lift us up when we are weary and I remember and know those angels were there. Truth arises when our resident yoga master subtly mentions @ Camelot - "Do you know why camel pose is called camel pose? It's not only for the hump, but also for the kneeling," and then I share with her my "camel" journey over the past months - struggling, breathing,being curious and ultimately having two beautiful camel poses the week before this trip. In that moment, she knows why she said those words to me and not someone else. We are united in ways we cannot fathom.

"I want to hear, and I want to be heard,
I want to eat, and I want to be fed,
I want to be made whole , and I want to make whole,
I want to be united, and I want to unite." Acts of John - Christ Hymn - 3rd Century CE

The longings of our heart cross centuries - cross time. Some say there is no such thing as time. The weaving of the tapestry - the carpet laid out before us by Abraham in his tent at Camelot. We are being woven together in a new story. This sweet band of pilgrims.

Have you ever experienced that sense of timelessness? Those moments of truth where words are not needed to 'Know'? Yesterday, a friend asked me what was the gift I received in the desert. Timelessness was the word that rose to the top. Timeless Truth.

photos ©lucy:

view from St. Catherine's courtyard

Sinai Christ
Abraham's tapestry


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Surprise Tribute

Sometimes I wish I could plug a recorder into my brain during the night, especially those early morning hours just before waking. I swear some of my best ideas and writing emerge just before dawn, but once I open my eyes they drift away like ash in a windstorm. I also wonder – often – about this crazy universe and how much we can’t even begin to comprehend in relation to our thoughts especially. I’m talking about those goose bump generating moments when you think of a person you haven’t thought of in years and seconds later the phone rings and it’s him/her on the line. Or when a topic is bubbling in your brain and then you find three other bloggers have written about the same thing at the same time.

Early this morning, I was creating a post in my brain about being known (or not) by others. My thoughts drifted in and out through recent events. Monday night I was at a dinner honoring the faculty and participants of the transformational program at the Recovery Café (a place of healing for those in recovery – days, weeks, years, hours – from a variety of addictive behaviors.) Having facilitated a program there on deepening spirituality, I felt as though these people knew me in personal and meaningful ways that people I have known for years don't fathom. Last night, I was with friends I have journeyed with through child rearing, parents’ deaths, divorces and day to day mundane events for 20 years. They see me through a completely different lens. I doubt they would ever consider referring a client to me since they know so many of my personal foibles. In both instances, I am known and I am not.

So, imagine my surprise to wake up and find an e-mail pointing me to this tribute. Maureen at Writing Without Paper is indeed a skilled writer. I found myself perusing her words (my words, in many cases) and being fascinated by their arrangement. While I have never met Maureen in person, she created a unique profile of me that feels very intimate, accurate and revealing. Wow! I felt very “known” as I read her words. I also loved how she left space for not knowing me with this prose: "I figure I still have a lot left to learn before I can imagine saying I know her, even remotely."

Part of my story includes a tension of wanting to be known deeply and also carrying a layer of protection that keeps others away from my heart (sometimes intentionally and other times automatically). It is just one of the many paradoxes in my life. So, today I find myself feeling quite honored by Maureen’s tribute AND feeling a bit shy about pointing you in that direction. However, if you know anything about me at all, you know a little shyness rarely keeps me from taking the leap into new territory. So, please pop on over and read Maureen’s wonderful weaving of prose and meet me in a way I found quite fascinating. (I hope you will leave comments for her to acknowledge her amazing gift of Writing Without Paper.) Thank you, Maureen!!!

My question(s) for you today is: How do you feel about being “known”? Do you hold your own tensions on that subject? Do you leap or lay low? I’d love to know!

collages by and of lucy circa 2007

Friday, November 20, 2009

Blessed by Risk...

...a response to yesterday's post.

“It is not so much our friends’ help that helps us as the confident knowledge that they will help us.” --Epicurus

Words like Thank You, Yes, and Sally Fields’ academy award speech from years ago, “You really do like me,” ring through my head. I am wrapped in the warm words of others. We mirror each other and I hear myself in both the encouragement and the resistance. Your words are mine - “I read, but don’t always comment.” The overflowing sentiment (from you and for you) - I am here when you need me.

It has taken me a long time to learn to ask for what I want or need. For me, it can be a paradoxical situation. If I have to ASK, does it lessen the gift when I receive? The challenging thing is that when I get scared or lonely or angry, I can get pretty prickly AND by that point, I don't know how to ask - so I push. Thus, the initial response is for others to back away when what I really need is for someone to move in closer. I need a cocoon to hold me. I need to cry and weep and wail.

The other day I was so beside myself, it was pretty ugly and instead of backing away – my dear sweet husband leaned in. He wrapped me in a giant bear hug and held on. I cried – we cried – wracking, gut-wrenching, snot-slinging, unabashed tears. I pushed away ...surrendered ...and then cried some more. Somewhere inside my little soul, I was confident he was there to help me. And you know what? When I finally came up for air – I laughed. Yes, laughed! I felt lighter, better, more complete and real.

A similar thing happened yesterday as soon as I wrote the words “Would it make a difference if you knew I was sad”? Something deep inside me KNEW you would show up. And you came – lots of you – some I had no idea ever visited here! You offered much and it didn’t even matter what you said (although I loved every word). My heart lifted when the first comment showed up in my inbox… Really, I think my heart began to shift when I took the risk to ask. It was the sheer act (yes, sheer, as in transparent) of risking the ASK – risking to be real – even though I couldn’t definitively predict what might happen.

My heart overflows with gratitude and I want to sit here for hours basking in your wisdom. It’s hard – very hard, but I am going to push away the desire to spend the day at the computer responding to everyone's wonderful posts. I need to move and stretch and maybe go dance in the rain. Perhaps it’s a risk and you will see me as selfish – I certainly hope not. I have been, and continue to be, blessed by your words and presence. SO...I offer this in return:

May your day be blessed with risk,
May your fears be answered with companions,
May you know that you are loved, and
Experience the inseparable wonder of both grief and joy.

Peace to you, my friends.

"fashion risks" - dublin 2009 © lucy

Friday, November 13, 2009

Reflections from Ireland


Through days and miles, I close my eyes and see the wondrous faces of Noble Silence.

Dim lit room – candles flickering – features softened. Some weary from a day of feasting on the senses - others radiant upon reflection of the ancestors and saints gone by.

Silently – we form a circle – entering meditative prayer through reading and ritual. We bow our heads with soft-focused eyes until the words of the first bubble to the surface.

Palms together – gentle nod – the words flow. Some brief – others a longer story. They wash over me – absorbing me in the soft light – the dark of night surrounding us beyond.

A bow to finish and the silence rests upon us again.

castledermot graveyard ©lucy

Saturday, March 07, 2009

all are welcome at the table...sort of

Sitting in the lovely chapel listening to the priest read scripture about all being welcome at the table of God, I felt warm and at home. My eyes followed along with the bulletin to this place:

"Everyone is invited to come forward today. If you are in a communion of faith practice with the Catholic Church, come forward in the usual way to receive the Sacred Bread. If you are a guest, you bless this assembly with your presence. We wish to bless you in return. When you come to the minister, place your hand over your heart to indicate that you wish a blessing." (emphasis my own)

A blessing, but no elements. My heart and thoughts stopped to consider those words. The table is open to everyone and for everyone except when it's not. I was reminded of a child looking through a bakery window at warm fresh bread and delectable pastries– an urchin child hungering for sustenance who will be offered a kind pat on the head rather than a belly-filling meal.

Fortunately, I am not an urchin child. I am a child of God (just like you), well-loved who knows that Mother (or Father) God has fed me well and received me as whole. She will wipe the hunger away and I am no less special because the priest would not put the wafer on my tongue or the wine to my lips. Experiencing my inner smile, I laugh at the silliness of humans thinking they can control where or how God gets doled out. Hmmmm...

A few more thoughts about 'helping out God' can be found at Dreams and Visions.

Lastly, I realize that many of my readers come from a Catholic tradition. Please understand it is not my intent to malign any tradition, but rather to consider the impact of exclusionary rites. I hope all might ponder this alongside me. The service was quite lovely and the presence of God was palpable. I was indeed blessed - elements or not. And, this vision of standing outside the bakery did leave me feeling set aside and not so very welcome.

I wonder where in my life I leave others standing outside the bakery window. Again, I invite you to ponder this alongside me.

teddy bear table taken in Paris 3.08

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

meeting liberty

It is a picture perfect fall day here in the Pacific Northwest. The sun is shining. The leaves are just starting to turn and the air has that wonderful little nip to it. Over the past several months I have turned into a “destination” walker which means I am usually on my way to an appointment or errand during my morning stroll. This morning it was a visit to the chiropractor. I realized as I walked that I have been avoiding my camera lately—ever since I requested and received Photoshop Elements for my birthday.

This morning, however, I decided to push past my hesitancy and take some photos with the hope of spending time immersed in learning at least how to crop and tune my photos up a bit. Alas, the camera rebelled and the battery died in the midst of the very first photo. So, I was left with only my photographic memory to capture the details of the day.

On my return home, I found myself walking through the park behind an older gentlemen and his golden retriever. I picked up the pace to catch up with them, because I cannot bypass the opportunity to receive a little “golden” love since the death of Curry. My selfish tendencies were in high gear and this was all about me getting what I needed this morning.

I politely asked if I could love on his dog for a minute and then felt like I had come face to face with the reincarnation of my old sweet guy. “He’s thirteen,” the owner announced. A lump in my throat, I confessed that we had just lost our 13-year-old golden. What ensued was a gentle and kind retelling of the last days and moments of Curry’s life. The owner asked me questions like “How did you know when it was time?” “Was it peaceful?” “Did he suffer?” Somewhere in the conversation, I realized that this moment was not just for me. Liberty’s (the dog) owner was entering his own process of letting go and had needed some reassurance that they would get through it. I am so grateful I was there to be that reassurance.

Much of this meeting reminds me of my recent post, “life cycles.” There was something in this encounter that spoke deeply of emptying and filling. I have not decided yet how the process transpired. Who was filled and who was emptied? Does it even matter? What I do know is that I followed my heart seeking what I needed in the moment to help me with my own grieving process and in the midst I met another person who had his own sorrow to share. Oddly, both of us walked away comforted. I will remember Liberty and his owner for quite some time. At first site Liberty appeared to be the ghost of Curry, but now I am pretty sure he was an angel. Dang, I wish I had my camera! ☺

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Fellowship

Yesterday while doing a little shopping, I ran into a woman who I have known for many years principally through our children’s school and more recently by attending the same church (which some of you may recall is no longer the case.) I could hear the question before it was even out of her mouth, so I was prepared to answer boldly.
“Where are you fellowshipping these days?” she asked.
“No where” I answered strongly, because I refused to feel guilty about our decision. I then, of course, hemmed and hawed around about how “It is hard and we are looking, blah blah blah.”

Walking away I felt like I had just told a big fat lie…not the “we are looking” part, but the “no where” part. It felt like such a falsehood, because in reality I am fellowshipping daily with the world; with myself; with my internet friends; on the phone with my sister; with my husband as we talk about our faith journey; with anyone really who wants to be even a little bit authentic or at least listen to me as I practice my often feeble attempts ☺.

So, what is fellowship? In the way this woman asked, it felt so confining...like a single building in which to perform ritual on a specific day and time of the week. Now don’t get me wrong, I believe in ritual and gathering together in relationship, but fellowship feels so much bigger to me than something we just do on Sunday morning.

As I thought about this I realized that this week alone, I have made new friends in Paris, Scotland and a number of other places around the world. I witnessed an amazing sunrise through the sharing of a man’s childlike drawing he made to remember the red of the sky flashing in house windows…that is fellowship. Strangers and friends from all over listened to my heart and said, “Go! Go! Go!!” rather than scoffing at me like I was a naughty child…that is fellowship. When my heart connects with the beauty of nature; the moon, the sun, the cold air on my face, the flowers at the market…that is fellowship.

Fellowship is not simply held inside four walls with a designated group of “believers”. It is life. The homeless man on the street. The laughing infant in the coffee shop. The "stranger" in Paris. So, back to the original question: “Where am I fellowshipping these days?” EVERYWHERE! And it feels really good to say that and mean it!!! So, my friends, I leave you with the same question to ponder…

Where are you fellowshipping?

photo by lucy taken on a recent neighborhood walk

Friday, January 11, 2008

More thoughts on Love

Thought I would share a couple more thoughts from others on the topic of love. These two excerpts "sandwiched" the writing of my post on love and fear.

Maturity doesn't come with age or intellectual wisdom, only with love.
--Ruth Casey

We may have thought being mature meant being "grown-up." This meant acting rationally, showing good judgment, no longer exhibiting childish behavior. It's doubtful that we ever considered the expression of love as an act of maturity. However, we are learning that the key to sustained growth is the ability to love one another and ourselves.

It seems so much easier to focus on others' faults than on their assets. In childhood we learned to compete with our classmates, and this taught us to be critical of one another. No teacher tested us on how we expressed love; rather, we worked on spelling and multiplication tables, and we were pitted against other students for the gold stars.

Now we are discovering how much more comfortable life is when we all get gold stars. We are handling every situation more sanely now that we have realized the gift of serenity that accompanies our expression of love.

My growth, my maturity in this program, can best be measured by my attitude today. Am I loving, or am I still competing with the others?

You are reading from the book:

A Woman's Spirit by Karen Casey


This next quote is from actor, Val Kilmer. It appears in the January issue of O...The Oprah Magazine.
What if we made it mandatory to teach love in schools? It would be a subject you study, like algebra. You'd have to pass a test to get married or have a baby, after learning how to love. Our children would learn to be nurturing. It would be safe for boys to be loving. I heard a quote once: "Men have come and for a time made evil victorious, but they never win...Love always prevails." If we taught love, it would do more than prevail. It would manifest through our actions. Total love would liberate us all.
And here are those questions again: What if we taught love in schools, instead of fear and competition? What if we chose to act daily from love instead fear? What if we started right now with a hug instead of judgment? How would the world change?

In closing, here is one of my favorite videos that I have shared before. Think about it, please.







Thursday, January 10, 2008

Two Choices. Love. Fear.

Two choices. Love & Fear. We all live there. We make those choices daily in a multitude of situations, but we are usually not conscious that is what we are doing. While we would like to profess that most choices we make are out of love, I choose to differ.

One of the most profound examples of this comes from personal experience and the time my husband and I decided to send our son to Mexico to a therapeutic boarding school. Easily, we would say we did it because we loved him and wanted the best for him (which is, of course, true.) However, at the deep root of this decision was our terror (big fear) that he would not live to see another year if we didn’t do something drastic. So, truthfully the choice was made from fear disguised as love.

How often do we see that in the world today? This post began when a friend let me know she would not be allowed to teach in a Catholic church unless a priest “supervised” her program. I was reminded of another fabulous woman I knew in times past who spent 40 plus years on the mission field in Africa, but was not allowed to teach a protestant adult Sunday school class without a male partner. Personally, I was declined leadership in a women’s Bible study because I was divorced and might encourage others to leave their husbands (indirectly, of course ☹.) It would be tempting at this point to rattle on with a multitude of other examples such as war, prejudice, etc. but I shall not. I hope you can start to see in these examples where “well-meaning” people have disguised their fear in terms of what is best for others (so-called love.)

I am feeling close to being in over my head here, but I would like to pose the following: What would it look like if each day, each moment and each interaction we asked the question: “Am I acting out of love or fear? What is my motivation?”

This doesn’t mean that fear needs to go away (for there is no chance of that anyway). Fear can be very helpful and healthy and often keeps us safe. For example, I believe it is good to have a healthy fear of drinking and driving or having unprotected sex. (I am, after all, the mother of two teenagers.) Fear, however, can also keep us trapped inside a box—immobilized and stuck in old patterns of living. Stuck in fear!

We cannot change the past or the future which are both great feeders of fear. The only thing we can affect is this moment. The past is gone. The future will never arrive. All we have is right now. We have two choices in how we will live it. Love. Fear.

So, what might happen if each day, each moment and each interaction you asked yourself the question: “Am I acting out of love or fear?” How would your world change? I hope you will ponder that.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Mosaic

This morning I awoke thinking of the energy of the earth…of God…of humanity. Are we really all connected as one? Like a beautiful mosaic? I am surrounded by a community of seekers. Why and how do we find each other? Is it by accident? By choice? By a power greater than we can even imagine?

Surrounded by seekers of God…of creativity…of wholeness. Are they not one in the same?

Consider the following thoughts:

“As individual stones, we can do little with them
except compare them and judge their beauty and value. When, however, all these little stones are brought together in one big mosaic portraying the face of Christ, who would ever question the importance of any one of them? That’s community, a fellowship of little people who together make God visible in the world.”
--Henri Nouwen

“For as the body is only as healthy as its individual cells, the world is only as healthy as its individual souls.” --Mark Nepo

“The search for contentment is, therefore, not merely a self-preserving and self-benefiting act, but also a generous gift to the world.” –Elizabeth Gilbert

My creativity heals myself and others. There is a divine plan of goodness for my work. –lucy

And, last but not least…a repeat from yesterday’s post:

"Compassionate toward yourself, you reconcile all beings in the world" Lao-Tzu

"Across the centuries, we have this timeless medicine: Live directly, wait, and care for your soul as if it were the whole world." Mark Nepo

I am blessed to be a part of this community of seekers. Today, may you care for your own soul as gently as if it were that of another.

'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'
--Jesus - Luke 10:27

photo by bill ©