Category Archives: Spirituality

Perfectly Imperfect

Standard

Photo on 2013-01-13 at 08.32 #2

“Wabi sabi nurtures all that is authentic by acknowledging three simple realities: nothing lasts, nothing is finished and nothing is perfect.” Robert R. Powell

Add an element of finding the mystery and magic in everyday life and it’s right up my alley, especially in my work as a counselor.

This Japanese art form seeks to honor and celebrate the beauty and perfection in what’s natural in pottery – drips, cracks, flaws and all. So, what if WE learned to prize the imperfections, cracks and mistakes in our own messy lives? Hmmmm.

On Misty Mornings in the Mountains- I Stand

Standard

IMG_2476

I look out my bedroom window early each morning. The trees are barren, like skeletons standing tall, a season of death, life is nowhere to be found.

The trees stand guard like soldiers, unwavering, holding true to their purpose.

A foggy mist fills the hollar and the trees are barely visible.

Each morning is different. Each morning I draw open the blinds, not knowing what will be laid out before me.

I identify with the trees

I stand

When the howling winds blow I can hardly endure the pressure. I feel weak

I cannot go on anylonger

yet

I stand

The icy cold, unbearable at times, I long for warmth, for protection

Where are the leaves that clothe me in fairer times?

Naked, alone

I stand

The fog so sick I cannot see, I am confused, disoriented, lost

yet

I stand

Until one day the fog lifts, the cold departs and once again

I bloom!

Bursting forth with life, I am stronger!

Thank you wind for strengthening me
Thank you cold for deepening my roots
Thank you fog, for greater clarity

I stand

Wisdom and truth my companions

On feeling the pain

Standard

33546_127352137320572_100001373582584_138465_6507835_n

For the past two days I have ventured deep into a place i rarely allow myself to go. I am hurting, the pain is deep. Very, very deep. I feel as if part of me has died, part of me is missing. There is a void in my heart and it is a feeling I am very familiar with. These feeling have triggered old painful situations, situations that I need to process and deal with once and for all.

Love is painful because it creates the way for bliss.

Love is painful because it transforms. Love is mutation. Each transformation is going to be painful because the old has to be left for the new. The old is familiar, secure, safe, the new is absolutely unknown. You will be moving in an uncharted ocean. You cannot use your mind with the new’ with the old, the mind is skillful. The mind can function only with the old’ with the new, the mind is utterly useless.

Hence, fear arises, and leaving the old, comfortable, safe world, the world of convenience, pain arises. It is the same pain that the child feels when he comes out of the womb of the mother. It is the same pain that the bird feels when he comes out of the egg. It is the same pain that the bird will feel when he will try for the first time to be on the wing.

The fear of the unknown, and the security of the known, the insecurity of the unknown, the unpredictability of the unknown, makes one very much frightened.

And because the transformation is going to be from the self towards a state of no-self, agony is very deep. But you Cannot have ecstasy without going through agony. If the gold wants to be purified, it has to pass through fire.

Love is fire.

There is no covering up the pain this time, no easy solution or quick fix. I simply must face it.

I’ve tried to run back to those things that used to offer security, but they feel shallow, empty, fake.

I desire so much more and the only way to reach that new level of freedom is to feel the pain, trust the process and leap from the nest

Leave behind safety, security and fly.

This is not about anyone else, this is about me.

I was reminded of this quote by Osho. I believe this to be true and I am learning to trust the process.

I am learning to trust God with my life, every aspect.

“Sadness gives depth. Happiness gives height. Sadness gives roots. Happiness gives branches. Happiness is like a tree going into the sky, and sadness is like the roots going down into the womb of the earth. Both are needed, and the higher a tree goes, the deeper it goes, simultaneously. The bigger the tree, the bigger will be its roots. In fact, it is always in proportion. That’s its balance.”
― Osho

But, my God does it ever hurt.

In the Longing

Standard

“A day out of season, stopping the monotonous count of summer days. Stopping, too, one’s own summer routine, so that, looking out on the gray skies, one says not only, ‘What time of year is it?’ but, ‘What time of life am I in? Where am I? What am I doing?”
― Anne Morrow Lindbergh, North to the Orient

Guardian_of_the_seasons__by_Kaylanna

About three quarters of the way through each season we find ourselves in a state of deep longing. In the throes of winters harsh, howling winds, bone chilling cold, forced stillness and muted hues of blues, greys and browns we find ourselves longing once again for the palette of soft pastels and warm, gentle rains of spring. When all returns to life, the earth bursting forth, new birth.

Spring, our senses awakened! The aroma of hyacinth, spring rain and new green springing forth from the warm earth. Songbirds announcing the arrival of yet another year, a new beginning, new opportunities, a beautiful gift.

The warm summer breeze blows in , life is in full swing. The earth is bursting forth with life. Fireflies illuminate the warm summer sky, a magical display. Barefoot walks in the woods, cool mountain stream a resting place for the weary traveler.

There is nothing mundane here. Sensory overload it seems.

Then autumn winds blow. A bittersweet reminder of whats to come, the blow lessened by the magnificence of golds, reds, yellows and orange. Like paint splashed a large canvas. Wool sweaters, gathered around the fire. Bright blue skies and crisp, cool days spent exploring. A beautiful transition into rest.

And finally, winter! That first snowfall. All is blanketed in white. So still, the world at peace. The silence at times is deafening, yet winter is a welcomed time of quiet contemplation, stillness, a time to reflect and recharge.

Just as each of the seasons bring a deep sense of longing, we too experience that same sense from deep within our spirit.

The longing seems to increase as the days go by, the sameness and seemingly unchanging world around us is a much deeper reflection of a trasformation within.

To find myself at peace, resting in the knowing that there is a new just on the other side of the discomfort and discontent, the knowing that I am exactly where I am supposed to be, there is a deeply relevant purpose in the here and now.

The longing continues and I realize that without the coldness and isolation of winter how will I truly appreciate the warmth and newness, the hope that spring offers? And that hope fulfilled as I am given the summer where all is alive! Thriving. And again back to autumn, the transition, where I am gently brought back to rest and quiet, the rich warmth of color softens the blow.

This is counting it all joy. This is flowing freely and lightly in the unforced rhythm of grace, of life.

So the longing? It will never leave, as it shouldn’t but act as a catalyst propelling us into new seasons of growth and change.

The Walking Dead

Standard

It always amazes me how we as human beings will return to something familiar, whether its a relationship, behavior pattern or abuse as opposed to venturing out into the unknown.

We are walking around, many of us like actors in a big production taking on our roles, dying inside but convincing ourselves that we’re alive.

Like zombies we get through another day, dead, only appearing to be alive. Losing all sense of who we really are over time.

We take the ‘safe’ road and protect ourselves at all costs. Thick heavy walls around us.

Sad thing is, we usually keep the very things that are destroying us in those walls with us. Masqueraded as safety, down farther and farther we go until we have almost completely lost ourselves.

Time to wake up and realize it’s an illusion, time to start living.

Letting go

Standard

As I was driving up the windy country road on my way home from dropping kids at school today, an image caught my eye. Through the foggy, gray mist we so often find in late fall/winter here in the Blue Ridge mountains, I saw a pop of red, a single red apple hanging on to a leafless, barren apple tree.

My first thought was… That stubborn apple, still perfect in shape and color does not want to let go why won’t it just drop from that lifeless tree to the ground like the rest of them? I actually started feeling a bit angry, as if this apple was mocking me in some way, trying to prove it’s strength to me, revealing my weaknesses. I actually started getting angry.

The questions flooded my mind. God am I like that apple? Afraid to let go? Do I desire to hang on to things that are dead? Do I choose the easy way out and simply fall with the rest of them when the strong winds blow? The rain, the snow. The fact that is was still perfectly intact angered me even more. Not only has this damn apple not fallen, but it’s maintained a perfect appearance through the entire ordeal!

Then papa said…The tree is not dead, only sleeping. This apple is hanging on for life. It is time to move on to greater purpose, but this apple is clinging to what is familiar. The earth below, grass still green the fallen apples being used in delicious pies, apple butter, sauce, turnovers, fulfilling their intended purposes, yet this scared, perfect little apple, refuses to drop into the soft green grass below, trusting that all will be well.

Wow, I am not much different than this little apple. During the spring and summer seasons of my life, times of rapid growth, when all appears well, a life full of blessings, fruitfulness, joy I flourish! Then comes fall! The ‘peak’ of contentment and happiness….Time to move into another season, after the leaves all fall there is a perception of bareness and I am scared to let go and trust the Father that this is a necessary process. Let go of the familiarity and trust that He is bringing me into a new season to be used by him, used by him to feed others.

The tree is not dead! The tree served it’s purpose. Our experiences in life do serve a purpose indeed! Holding on to yesterdays where there is comfort. Those yesterdays we’re relevant. But the todays have their own unique purpose.

I will not allow fear to keep me from His very best for me, and those around me.

Just a little lesson from an apple tree…..

Forgive

Standard

I have often said, “I forgive you,” but even as I said these words my heart remained angry and resentful. I still wanted to hear the story that tells me that I was right after all; I still wanted to hear apologies and excuses; I still wanted the satisfaction of receiving some praise in return – if only the praise for being so forgiving!
But God’s forgiveness is unconditional; it comes from a heart that does not demand anything for itself, a heart that is completely empty of self-seeking. It is this divine forgiveness that I have to practice in my daily life. It calls me to keep stepping over all my arguments that say forgiveness is unwise, unhealthy, and impractical. It challenges me to step over all my needs for gratitude and compliments. Finally, it demands of me that I step over that wounded part of my heart that feels hurt and wronged and that wants to stay in control and put a few conditions between me and the one whom I am asked to forgive.

Masks

Standard

“The deep truth is that our human suffering need not be an obstacle to the joy and peace we so desire, but can become, instead, the means to it. The great secret of the spiritual life, the life of the Beloved Sons and Daughters of God, is that everything we live, be it gladness or sadness, joy or pain, health or illness, can all be a part of the journey toward the full realization of our humanity. It is not hard to say to one another: ‘All that is good and beautiful leads us to the glory of the children of God.’ But it is very hard to say: ‘But didn’t you know that we all have to suffer and thus enter into our glory?’ Nonetheless, real care means the willingness to help each other in making our brokenness into the gateway to joy.”
— Henri Nouwen, The Life Of The Beloved


The great lie religion has taught us is that we must put on our masks and keep up an outward appearance of holiness, false joy in the midst of our pain and stuggles. We are afraid to show our ‘true selves’ in our brokeness, pain and suffering, not realizing this is all part of the sanctification process. There is a much deeper work taking place in our moments of pain. The pain we endure should only remind us that without Christ we are nothing.
Why do try so desperately to hide our struggles? Keep up a holy appearance in the midst of turmoil?

My grace is enough; it’s all you need.
My strength comes into its own in your weakness.

A mask of gold hides all deformities.
Thomas Dekker

The creation of the mask.

The “you” that you are willing to let the world see.
However it started and however it was reinforced – what we want to look at is how we can take the mask off and start to be real with the people around us.
Take off the mask? Why risk it?
This is how most of us think, at least subconsciously. We don’t want to risk letting people see the bad stuff in us. If we let people see just the good stuff – if we never let them see the bad stuff – we will be accepted and will be able to enjoy good friendships with others around us.
There is a major fault to this line of thinking!
Think about it. If you are being accepted by the people around you because of the false front you present – then deep down you know that it is only the false front that is being accepted – not the real you.
The real you will remain terribly alone.
And you know it. That is why so many women who we see as “picture perfect” are in reality struggling with deep insecurities.
Do not be satisfied with lukewarm relationships. Be willing to risk vulnerability.
What do you rob yourself of when you live life behind the mask?

David Danced!

Standard

David, ceremonially dressed in priest’s linen, danced with great abandon before God. The whole country was with him as he accompanied the Chest of God with shouts and trumpet blasts. But as the Chest of God came into the City of David, Michal, Saul’s daughter, happened to be looking out a window. When she saw King David leaping and dancing before God, her heart filled with scorn.


There is confrontation, brokenness, proclamation of what is true, forgiveness of sins, reverence and freedom in our worship.

The fact that we can stand in the presence of the Holy Creator God – all powerful and righteous King of Kings – and yet be honest before Him about our sin and our deep need for His grace – THAT is FREEDOM.

“It was before the Lord… I will celebrate before the Lord. I will become even more undignified than this, and I will be humiliated in my own eyes.” King David

David Danced-Michal Watched-by David Steele

Michal was loyal
To everything royal
For she was the daughter of Saul.
But her husband was boorish
So awfully boorish
With simply no manners at all.

It was her fate
To marry a mate
Who had grown up with chickens and sheep
How to bring charm
To this boy from the farm
Was causing his queen to lose sleep.

Oh, she had to confess
He was a success,
In the eyes of the world, Dave was famous
But of how kings comport
Themselves when in court
He remained a complete ignoramus.

David’s heart soared
And he danced to the Lord
In a manner more free than refined.
And his poor little wife
Got the shock of her life
So she gave him a piece of her mind.

“I don’t care a smidgen
About your religion
As long as it’s solemn and chaste
But the way you’re behaving
With arms wildly waving
Is shockingly lacking in taste.”

“If you must raise
Your spirit in praise,
Please see that it’s soothing and calm.
The Lord I am sure
Would really prefer
Something more like the 23rd Psalm.”

Then God’s anointed
Became disappointed
He knew he had nary a chance
Of ever persuadin’
This prim, regal maiden
That the Lord is a lover of dance.

Churches these days
Talk a lot about praise
And the Joy that accomp’nies Good News
But don’t tap your feet
Or get out of the seat
For Michal still lurks in the pews.

Excerpts taken from the Onething blog

Living in the moment

Standard

So often we rush through our days, striving to accomplish every task on our to do list. some great achievement, discontent in the present. Our eyes set on the destination, we miss out on the beauty you’ve given us along the way, on the journey. . To become like a child, savoring each moment..Observing the wonder and beauty all around us….a gift! He is with us in the little things if only we can learn to slow down and take it all in! This is where I long to be. God is with us in the now! Each day a gift, an opportunity to be in His sweet presence.
Help me daddy to live this day as a gift from you, an opportunity to share your love with a hurting world. Use me in the little things. Teach me and show me what’s really important. Your love radiating through me to a world searching for joy, peace and fulfillment. With childlike wonder reveal to me your love and presence in the little things.

Now you’ve got my feet on the life path,
all radiant from the shining of your face.
Ever since you took my hand,
I’m on the right way. Psalm 16:11