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I anxiously awaited the arrival of February 6th. I was going to the Sedona Yoga Festival. As a participant, but also as an assistant. A huge opportunity for me. And a huge learning experience.
Every experience in life offers these opportunities. We can choose to embrace them or simply ignore them. Ignoring them I have found only kicks the can further down the road and sometimes makes it come back with a bigger (aka HARDER) lesson. Best to learn early, learn quickly.
But first some beautiful pictures…
My mom came with me on this trip. We used to travel every once in awhile to Yoga workshops but this was the biggest trip we have ever made together. And since we haven’t done it in awhile, we were both super excited.
Our friend Kate Williams, a fellow yogini originally from Kansas, also joined us.
The first day we were there was rainy. Which might be even more beautiful than a sunny day. Or maybe not. It’s really hard to say. Sedona is one of those magical places in the world that is so beautiful, so breath-taking, in every direction, every view. The next is only better than the last.
We went for a hike on Friday – a free afternoon as the classes we had signed up for were cancelled.
I love the trees in this area. Their bare, stark beauty. Their bold lines and surprisingly elegant curves.
Learning experience #1) I need down-time. I think I knew this. Must have forgotten. Or thought that since I wasn’t traveling with my children it somehow didn’t apply to this trip. It does. I was exhausted. But I refused to slow down and take a little “me-time”. I kept pushing. And ended up sick. So Friday night I tucked myself into bed to watch the Olympics and recharge. I also ate a cheeseburger. Nothing sets you right like comfort food!
Saturday morning we woke up to SUNSHINE!!! Yes, that deserves all caps because if you read my blog a few weeks ago you’ll know that Boise has been seriously lacking in the sunshine department and that this was definitely in the top three of my “reasons to go to Sedona in February” list.
But first, Learning Experience #2…
I was asked by a dear friend and one of my favorite yoga teachers, Lori Tindall to assist her class at the festival. It was the whole reason I went. I’ve never had such an honor and honestly could not believe my luck. She also brought along the lovely and talented Sadie Babits (to connect with her on Twitter: @sadiebabits) to be in charge of photography and social media. She’s allowed me to use her pictures here.
Here is what I discovered. Even though I am very familiar with Lori’s teaching style, her flow, her way of adjusting, as an assistant I was neither the teacher nor the student. I was an awkward in-between. And boy did that bring up some sh!t. You see, when teaching a Yoga class, I get into this zone. I feel things, say things, do things, that I’m not always consciously aware of. They come from somewhere deep inside. That place in me that is connected to the Divine, the place in me that is infinite. That place that is connected to each and every student. A class flows from me. I do not plan it or forcefully shape it. It is organic and every class is unique. From that place when I walk around, talking and occasionally assiting, I know who needs help when. I feel when they need my words and when they need a hand. I intuitively sense when they need to be left alone to work on it in their own way.
As a student I am also deeply in tune, but with my own Self and my own body. Everyone in the room is completely shut out of my experience. It is as if I am alone. Same connection to Divine. Completely different experience.
As an assistant (especially a first-time assistant), I could not feel either connection. I came in all twitterpated. A jumble of raw nerves still pinching myself at my good luck for being asked by Lori to be there. So my debut as an assistant felt like a flop.
I was not connected. I could see and analyze in my brain what was going on with these people. But it was mechanical, thought-based. ”Tight hamstrings and shoulders. Possible knee injury. Big Ego wants to go too deep. Foot issues.” These things were going through my head but since I wasn’t the one actually teaching, since I wasn’t saying the words out loud, and I didn’t always know what Lori would say or do next, I would hesitate, hold back from helping a person find more ease in a pose. With the first hesitation, the disconnect grew and then my mind started to chatter, quietly at first, but louder and louder as the two hours went on, “What are you doing here? You call yourself a teacher? You don’t belong here. You’re not good enough to be here.” And once the chatter starts, it’s really hard to stop.
The class was wonderful. Lori is a gifted teacher with a wealth of knowledge of Yoga, holistic nutrition, and Reiki and Prana Chikitsa. (For more information on any of her teachings, check out her website: http://www.energyseven.com/ , follow her on Twitter @yoginilori, or Instagram OMgirlTRIs). But I left there with a heavy heart and my subconscious really enjoying giving me an ass-kicking.
The afternoon was open to us, the sun was shining so a hike was definitely in order. We donned shorts and t-shirts, sunscreen and sunglasses. Most of which hadn’t seen any use in months.
The remainder of the trip was mostly uneventful, but still very fun. We hiked to a Vortex – one of the energy centers that Sedona is famous for. We took many, many, many pictures of the red rocks. We did some Yoga. We ate mouthwateringly delicious Italian food.
Sadie and Lori also went hiking and they decided to do a Victorious Pose on the rocks as well.
Sunday night we met up with Lori and Sadie and their husbands, Doug and Nate for another mouthwateringly delicious meal – this time of the Mexican variety. I did my own version of Victorious Pose after finishing my margarita…
And then this guy at the next table thought it was cool so he wanted to do it too!! I love people’s enthusiasm and willingness to play!
We had great conversation, learned more about each other, shared our experiences of Sedona and of course had great food. Followed by the requisite group picture taken by our dear server, Angel.
Looking back on the weekend, I have realized a couple of key things about myself. I will sacrifice my own needs for what I think others want and expect of me. Instead of taking one hour to rest, ground my energy, and check in with myself, I kept pushing because I was there to hang out with my mom and Kate. I didn’t want to be rude or thoughtless. If I had just taken a little time, I would have been able to enjoy the movie with them and would have felt good.
Also, I’m really hard on myself. Really hard. I have huge expectations of myself and when I don’t live up to them, I am such a harsh critic. It’s time to stop that inner chatter and remember my gifts and talents. Or realize my faults and lovingly accept them. To not succumb to self-doubt, but to walk with confidence. Both of these lessons are about loving myself. Wholly and completely. Just the way I am. By loving myself, I can give of myself more fully. I can love others the way that they are. I can tap into the Divine, whose essence is Love, and allow that to flow into and through me. The light in me, will see the light in them. And that we are all ONE. And in this realization, we will all find VICTORY.
Lori Anne Yang at Mammasteblog.com is my favorite blogger. She’s funny. She’s SO real. Her stories are from the heart. Sometimes they’re sad. Usually they’re so full of JOY and Love that I find myself laughing and crying simultaneously. Please enjoy this one. Then go to her blog and leave her a little love note.
Originally posted on mammaste ~ divinity in the everyday:
Message from my husband, Alan: “Lori, could you pick up a book for me today? I had them set it aside at Half-Price Books. They’re holding it for you under the name Love Muffin.”
Me: “I think I’m going to try that teeth whitening place at the mall, where it only costs $100. But I wonder why it’s so cheap, what’s the catch?”
Me: “I think I’m going to try that teeth whitening place at the mall, where it only costs $100. But I wonder why it’s so cheap, what’s the catch?”
Alan: “I think they do every-other tooth, and then charge more for the rest.”
A word of advice I gave to my husband heading out the door to his first yoga class that caused him to make a complete 360 mid-stride as he ran back upstairs to change;
A few weeks ago Boise Public Radio posted a blog titled “Idaho Bucket List: The 75 Things All Idahoans Should Try (At Least Once)”. As a sort-of newcomer (3 years still doesn’t feel like a very long time), I decided this was a great way for us to explore the state.
There are so many fun things listed. Some we’ve even done. Number 58 is cut down your own Christmas tree in an Idaho Forest. Check. Number 70. Visit the Botanical Gardens. Check. Sixty-seven – catch an Idaho trout. Sixty-eight – see the blue turf in person. Check and Check.
There are a few others that we have done, but most we haven’t and many we’ve never heard of. So for the next year or two, this is what we will be doing. Click on the link above to get the full list – and notice they added 35 more to the original blog. If you think of something that’s not on that list, let me know and we’ll add it to our list of adventures.
To start such an undertaking, one needs a good map. I went to REI to procure said map, then headed down to Idaho Blueprint on Main Street to have it mounted and laminated. Plus, they have all the cool map pins – colored, flags, and numbered! I went for colored pins – red and green.
I got a nice big map, with lots of detail. Sadly, I have not yet had the time to hang it and actually stick the pins in, so here it lies. Maybe next week… Too busy adventuring!
Last weekend we had the opportunity to experience one of the items on the list – the McCall Winter Carnival. We stayed at a gorgeous house on Cascade Lake with friends and drove the 11 miles into McCall. From there we walked down to the lake, and back up the main road taking in all of the sights, sounds, and smells.
This first slideshow is the AWESOME ice sculptures that are scattered around town.
The lake is frozen solid and covered in snow. A perfect haven for kids – big and small. We found a sled left by one of the local businesses for all to share, and had a grand old time.
After walking in the cold and playing in the snow, we were of course, hungry. Just thinking about it makes me hungry. Actually everything makes me hungry… But I digress… Food was bountiful this weekend in McCall. Street vendors were selling hot dogs, burgers, fries, pizza, pretzels and all sorts of other goodies. We decided to see what this guy was cookin’ up in his giant wok over the fire.
Noodles! Yum! Teriyaki sauteed with tons of veggies. Ohhhhh soooo good. But this family also likes meat. So we got some.
No, that’s not Lucy’s arm. Just a regular old smoked turkey leg. The meat was so tender it nearly fell off the bone. We looked a bit like wild animals eating the thing, but decided it was neither the time nor place to care.
We had a wonderful time seeing the sights and playing in the snow.
Number 10. See the McCall Winter Carnival.
This post is about my baptism. Now, that may come as a surprise to some of you. Well, don’t worry. It won’t surprise you anymore than it surprised me. You see, I started out on this path (spiritually speaking) looking for God. With no idea where to find Him, I’ve wandered through Christianity, out, into Yoga, past Buddhism and Hinduism, around some new-agey no-name stuff, and back to Christianity. Why? Good question. I believe that the answer is because I asked for it. I asked for God to come to me, to reveal Himself (I think I’ve used words like Herself, Universe, Source, Creation, etc…but words are only words so to keep this simple, we’re going to stick with Him) to me and to let me know Him. I also specifically asked for a loving, wonderful group of people to help me know God and – more importantly – that are living the life God intended us to live. I wanted to surround myself with the people that I hope to become.
In answer to my my begging and pleading (prayer just doesn’t seem whiney enough to describe how I felt), I stumbled upon the wonderful people at North End Collective Church. (You can read about that beautiful synchronicity here.) I have felt a deep connection with everyone there and have witnessed people who truly desire to know God at a deeper level and who WALK that walk every day. So I said, “Sign me up!” And the rest, as they say, is history.
If you know me, you know I don’t just skim the surface of something new. I bury myself in it. Wallow around like a pig in mud. Taste, smell, and touch it. I dive in head first and go for it with gusto. And this has been no different. l went from never attending church to attending the Sunday service, the Thursday house church, volunteering on the hospitality committee and the child watch group, AND hosting a weekly women’s Bible study. Cuz that’s how I roll. And I love every minute of it. Every minute of my day (well, the free ones anyway!) are contemplating God, learning about what He wants for me. It’s fantastic. It’s given me so much inner JOY that I could sing. Well, I won’t because apparently loving God doesn’t mean you automatically sound like an angel.
So, life was going along just beautifully when one day Bill, the pastor, asked me if I’d be interested in getting baptized. Without much thought or hesitation, I said, “YES!”.
The questions came later. And yes, there were a LOT.
My main concerns were that as a new Christian I would somehow be telling anyone who was not a Christian that they are wrong and I am right, because let’s face it, the Church has been saying that for YEARS. I was assured that this was only a declaration of MY love for God and for Jesus and my desire and willingness to follow THEM. Not a church. This is an outward symbol of something that had already taken place inside.
Ok. I was totally cool with that, and with all of the other little things we chatted about. Then they gave me my homework. WHAT?! Julie (Bill’s wife) asked me to read every scripture I could find about WATER. The significance of it. The beauty and power. See what it means in terms of baptism, but also in other ways. So like the diligent student (read: NERD) that I am, I did exactly that. And this is what I came up with:
- It was there in the beginning.
- It is where first life came from.
- “No one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit.” John 3:5
- It is part of physical birth, then spiritual.
- “to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word.” Eph 5:26 (speaking of the church)
- Water cleanses.
- Jesus washed the disciples’ feet – showing how to serve.
- Water is LIFE to everyone and everything.
- It represents SPIRIT: “draw waters out of the wells of salvation”, “come to the waters”, “whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst but the water I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasing life.” (direct quotes from various Bible verses)
- THE SEA – represents restlessness and tribulation in the Bible. In Rev 21 it says, “there was no longer any sea.” Meaning there’s no more chaos and tribulation as we know now. In three verses Jesus calmed the sea.
- Destruction. Flood. Waves.
- And last, DEATH. Many people physically die in water. Through baptism, we can have a spiritual death, and also a rebirth.
I sent this off to Julie and Bill and then waited with some trepidation for the day to come. I wasn’t nervous about actually being baptized – I was actually feeling very at peace with my decision. I had spent more time questioning and researching for this moment than I ever did for my marriage. So I was ready. But I was going to have to speak. In front of everyone. AGAIN.
I decided to rib Bill just a bit when I began my speech – the topic being “Why Baptism?”. To begin, I said something like, “There are two things I REALLY don’t like doing. Speaking in front of people. And getting dunked in really cold water. And somehow Bill has managed to talk me into both of these things.”
I got a nice chuckle for that one.
I had made a list of the reasons I wanted to be baptized, but honestly, it felt like a grocery list. Go through, check it off one by one, throw it in the trash when finished. Repeat. It didn’t have any heart and SOUL behind it. One day Ivy told me she also wanted to get baptized and I asked her why. She looked at me as only a 6 year old can, with complete disbelief that you can be such an idiot and said, “Because I love God.”
Oh yeah. THAT’S the answer. And that’s the one I shared. The ultimate one. The reason for everything I’ve been doing. I love God and want to know Him more. Simple enough.
In my research and planning for my pre-Baptism speech I looked for a verse that combined Water and Light – to tie in my previous story with my current one. If you haven’t read that blog, just jump over here. This is what I found:
For with you is the fountain of Life;
In Your light, we see light.
~ Psalms 36:9
And while I was trying to find that, this word came up in the search as well:
Radiant: “to sparkle”, (from the sheen of a running stream).
That is why I got Baptized. To see the Light. To be cleansed and re-born from the Water. To be RADIANT.
A week or so later, Bill asked me if anything had changed. If I felt “different” somehow.
“Yes. I have actually,” I replied.
“How so?” he asked me.
“Well, it’s difficult to explain exactly, but I had set that day as a moment when I WOULD change, I absolutely EXPECTED change. And I got it. I feel more clarity, sometimes a verse will make sense that never has before, or I just KNOW that I need to do something. Our household has been more peaceful and well, everything’s just been better. Behind it all, I think that I have been living INTENTIONALLY, every single day.”
In Love and Light,
Every now and then God speaks so loudly and clearly that you can’t help but hear. Can’t help but pay attention. You may not understand – that’s a whole different thing – but you hear. And that’s a great start.
Back in June a group of ladies from our church spent the weekend in Cascade at a family’s cabin. The purpose was to have fun, fellowship, and food – three things I can whole-heartedly dive into.
As I was loading up my car on Friday afternoon, Ivy gave me a piece of paper. She gives me LOTS of pieces of paper. Sometimes with drawings. Sometimes with words. Sometimes both. Sometimes they make sense. Sometimes, well, not so much. But ALWAYS do I love them. This was no different. She had copied down a Bible verse that was on a craft project from a week or two previous.
I told her how wonderful it was – and that I would tuck it away in my journal so that I could think of her and that verse while I was away. Then I left.
On Saturday morning we spent some time discussing THIS particular verse – the one Ivy had given me. Jesus spoke these words during Hanukkah, at the Feast of Lights. So we spent time looking at the significance of this, discussing what this means in our lives. From there we went to a story about a child:
A child admiring the stained glass windows in her church one morning asked her mother about the people pictured in them. ’Those are God’s saints’, her mother explained. ’They are people who proved their love for Him.’
In her Sunday school class sometime later, the girl’s teacher asked the class to explain what a saint is. ’Saints are people the light shines through,’ the child wisely replied.
We then read through three verses that showed that WE are called saints. You. Me. We.
Romans 1:7 To all in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
Ephesians 1:1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, to the saints in Ephesus, the faithful in Christ Jesus.
Ephesians 1:18 I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints.
A saint is defined as “dedicated to God, set apart as holy or sacred”.
The question following this was: “So, if we are saints, children of Light, the light of the world…How then should we live? How are you currently living as a child of light? And in what ways are you still living in “darkness”?
Everyone shared, talked, and discussed these questions with passion and fervor. Everyone but me. I didn’t have a single thing to add. Honestly, it was a bit much for me. I was still trying to wrap my poor little brain around the first verse. So I stayed silent and listened.
When we broke apart for quiet time – to read, pray, and contemplate quietly, I internally sighed and thought to myself, “Oh great. Now I get to sit here and stare at my Bible and this piece of paper and pretend to have some enourmous revelation.” Not so psyched. I was looking forward to the hot springs and a nice long walk.
But, until then, I had to at least look like I knew what I was doing. So I flipped open my (GIGANTIC) Bible, and this is the page it opened to:
I read it twice. Maybe three times. Surely there can’t be that many verses on Light in the Bible yet I had stumbled upon a really beautiful one that wasn’t included in our (I thought) fairly extensive list. I showed it to Julie, the discussion leader. She was thrilled – thought that it said that God was showing me something, that He was speaking to me. Well, if that’s the case, He’s going to have to be a lot more clear because I still wasn’t getting the message.
After half an hour or so we re-grouped to share what we had found. As we did my journal fell open and the piece of paper that Ivy had sweetly scribbled the Bible verse on the previous day fell out. My jaw about hit the floor. I showed that to Julie as well. You can imagine the reaction. If the first verse was an obvious sign of a message from God, then this was just icing on the cake. I shared it with the group and they were equally amazed, but sadly, no one had an “answer” for me as to what this might mean. It was my puzzle to work out apparently.
We spent the rest of the weekend, talking, laughing, singing, soaking in hot springs, hiking around the mountain, eating and drinking, and I gave no more thought to my messages of Light.
Until I got home.
Johnny had left the day before for a flying job in Washington. Luckily, his mom and step-dad were in town doing a bit of house hunting so we had a place for the girls to hang out while I went on my girls’ retreat.
I arrived home to a quiet, empty house. I showered, unpacked, cleaned up the dishes that had been left in the sink. (Ahem.) A couple of hours later Susie and Roger brought the girls home, properly sugared up from a quick stop at Baskin-Robbins on the way over. They had been house hunting with a realtor that lives in Emmet. She has a small farm and they spent a bit of time there showing the girls the chickens and cows and horses. She was kind enough to send them home with a dozen eggs for me. Susie gave them to me and said that she always put a Bible verse inside the carton. Out of curriosity, I opened it. And about dropped the eggs.
Then it was off to church. We have a really wonderful band in our church. It rocks, literally. It’s a get up and dance kind of a place. No hymns here. Thank goodness – a soprano I am NOT. So, as always, the band is rockin’ and they played one of my favorite songs – “Marvelous Light” by Charlie Hall. If you’d like to listen, you can go here. We sang it loud and strong. Here’s the lyrics to the first verse:
Into marvelous light I’m running
Out of darkness, out of shame
By the cross You are the truth
You are the life, You are the way
As we’re singing, and I hear the reference to Light over and over and over, it’s almost as if I can feel that Light beaming down on me. I was sure others could see it. I started to cry, but oh I kept singing. Belting it out in my best off-key but loud voice. Then we sang this verse:
Lift my hands and spin around
See the light that I have found
Oh the marvelous light
We sang it twice and both times I just stood there, sort of swaying to the music. Feeling it but not truly allowing it to move ME. And after that second time, I realized I so badly wanted to throw my hands up – to really allow the Light inside, to feel it fully and express it outwardly. But the song started to wind down. I almost choked on my happy tears. In my head I said a silent prayer, “Please God just let them play that one more time and I will throw my hands up to you and I will fully express your Marvelous Light.”
And they did.
Now, please understand, this sort of jumping around throwing your arms up and practically screaming the words of a song I had always reserved for rock concerts. But this isn’t your normal conservative buttoned-up suit wearing kind of church. (Or, in my world THAT was the normal.) The music, as I mentioned, ROCKS. The feeling is utterly spiritual. People will speak out often with an “AMEN.” “Praise Jesus.” People put their hands in the air. They spin around. They are giddy with the Light and Love of God. And so was I.
Afterward, the smile on my face beamed. My eyes sparkled. I had felt the Light. I knew what it was. I knew what it FELT like.
The following morning, I started off my day as I do most, by reading in my book “Daily Om” by Madisyn Taylor. And when I opened the book, I nearly fell out of my chair.
This was the title of the day’s inspirational reading. How could that be??!! I was still high on the fullness I had felt the night before. I knew what it meant. I have that Light, we all do of course, but I had tapped in, and reached it, and now I had to start spreading it.
In Love and Light,
In preparation for this weekend, I’ve been reading about and meditating on water.
It’s significance in our life, as well as the symbolism behind it. It brings life… and death. It cleanses and destroys. Think of the many references to water in the Bible…
- It was there in the beginning
- It was where first life came from
- In John 3:5 Jesus tells his followers that “No one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit.”
- Jesus washed his disciples’ feet in John 13 to show us how to serve
- In the Bible the sea is a symbol of tials and tribulations. Uncertainty. Fear. Jesus clams the sea many times. And in Revelation 21 it states of the new Earth “…there was no longer any sea.”
- Death and destruction. The floods, the droughts. The power of the water is a frightening thing to behold.
As I was reflecting upon these ideas in preparation for my Baptism in the river this weekend, I remembered a post I’d written what seems like another lifetime ago. Here it is for you to enjoy.
I lived in Hawaii for three years. During that time, I traveled to Maui twice. On one of those trips I was on a scenic drive along the northern shore with friends. As with most scenic drives, parked cars and gawking tourists littered the highway. At one such spot, there were so many cars parked we could barely squeeze through, so we figured we should go ahead and stop too.
We pulled over and walked into the jungle. We had no idea what we were going to see. There were no signs. This location was not on the map. For all we knew natives could be luring in dumb tourists and throwing them into Haleakala, the island’s volcano.
As we clambered up the steep, slippery, single-wide trail, we passed many people headed the other way – soaking wet and grinning. Ahh… a local watering hole. Just the ticket for a warm tropical day.
When we arrived, there indeed was an enormous, clear, deep pool, complete with waterfall tumbling into the far end. A line of people hugged the cliff for a chance to dive off while many more splashed through the churning waters below.
We paused for a moment to watch the commotion and allow others to pass by us and a group of people walking down from an almost invisible path came toward us. ”Follow this path. There’s another pool and waterfall about a hundred yards up and there’s no one there. It’s amazing.”
So we did.
And it was.
I don’t think I have to describe to you the amazing tropical beauty, the lushness of the jungle, colors of the flowers, the clearness of the water. Just know that this place had HEAVEN written all over it.
So we jumped in, we swam, we splashed, we dove. The water was surprisingly cool and washed away the travel-weariness that had set in. After an hour or more, we all drifted to our own little nooks of the pool. I floated on my back, looking up through the canopy of the trees at the dazzling blue sky above. I didn’t move. I didn’t think. I just WAS.
And that’s when I heard it. Bu-Bum. Bu-Bum. Loud. In my ears – no – in my HEAD. I listened some more. Bu-Bum. Bu-Bum. So perfect and steady. A heartbeat. My heartbeat? No. Definitely not mine. Mine was going much faster from the chill I was starting to feel. Maybe it’s the beating of the waterfall against the rocks. Wrong again. That’s a giant unending WHOOSH that I can also hear. I listened. I strained to pick out and identify all the individual sounds that filled my ears and still this one beat on – Bu-Bum. Ba-Bum. Deep and loud and sloooow. And oh so peaceful. Finally I quit trying to locate it and just accepted it and that’s when it hit me. I was listening to the heartbeat of Mother Earth. Of the Universe. Of the Divine Energy. It was there all the time of course, but only in that moment had I been able to hear it, able to shut down my own chatter long enough to tune in….
With that realization came others over time. I understood that there is so much more to God than our little pea-brains can possibly fathom. I understood that God is not some old man in a chair passing judgements and delving out appropriate punishments. I understood that I was a part of that heartbeat, that so was every single other being, that we were all connected, all ONE. I understood that that heartbeat was LOVE at it’s purest and that all we had to do was stop and listen.
When I opened my email account this morning, this was the message I received from Tut.com – it’s a daily email service from “The Universe”.
Whatever you’re going to do today, dena, please, do it to the best of your ability. As if it was all that mattered; as if it was all you had; and as if your very happiness depended upon it. Because these are among the very truths you came here to learn.
This one really hit home. Quite frankly, most of Tut’s little tidbits of wisdom do, but today I felt this one at my core.
I have felt at various times in my life that I’m doing the exact OPPOSITE of that. That instead of doing everything to the BEST of my ability, I’m doing them as quickly as possible, or with my mind, one eye and both ears all focused on entirely different things.
To what end?
At the end of the day, I can’t always remember WHAT I did. And half the things I did were half-assed. Good enough. Instead of being present for each and every task, I was half a world away.
I may accomplish a lot in a day: for us a typical day includes swim and/or ballet lessons, cleaning and cooking, crafts, park or lake, errands, workout/yoga, meditation/reading, hanging out with Johnny, writing, and work. That’s quite a bit to squeeze into a day and really expect to do any of it well.
Imagine the times when you have done something to the very best of your ability. Remember the feeling of accomplishment, the pride, the wonder at your own ability – even if it was a mundane task. I remember a time only about 2 weeks ago when I decided I’d had enough of my grimey shower. I HATE cleaning the shower. Always have. Something about it makes me feel clausterphobic and mine always seems to be especially grimey because I put on oil after I shower. Good for the skin. Bad for grimeyness. But this one particular day I got in there and REALLY cleaned that sucker. I soaked it TWICE. Then I got out the scrub brush and got IN the shower and scrubbed – from top to bottom – until it SPARKLED. And when I was finished, I ran and got Johnny and showed it off like a masterpiece – a great work of art that I had put YEARS into. Because really, I had. For YEARS, I’ve had this conversation in my head about how awful cleaning the shower is. I’ve spent hours, days, weeks, months, arguing with myself about doing or not doing this task. I’ve thought about it, procrastinated it, chastised myself for procrastinating it, and then justified it HUNDREDS of times. And all of that effort amounted to – a REALLY clean shower.
And you know what? I was totally PSYCHED. I was happy with the work. I felt really good while I was doing it (scrubbing showers will give you pretty shoulder muscles) and loved the results. And all I did was clean the shower – really, really WELL. My BEST.
And if we did EVERYTHING with that sort of love, attention, and focus, with that DESIRE to do our very best; we would have those same results – again and again and again.
Imagine a day where everything you accomlished you felt REALLY good about. That put you over-the-moon with GLEE! Imagine what a day like that would feel like – the bubbly joy, the giddy smile, the jumping-up-and-down like a kid. Yeah, that would feel pretty good.
One thing I’ve realized though is that if I’m really going to do everything to that level, I’ll probably have to spend more – look out, here it comes – TIME on them. Oh, yeah. Time. The one thing I hear EVERYONE complain about and wish for. So where are we going to get MORE time to do these things?
It’s called PRIORITIES my dear.
You see, we all have them, they just may not be that clear. We do so many things on auto-pilot, without really thinking. I get up, make the bed, get dressed, make coffee, work for a bit, make breakfast, clean kitchen, head out for workout/swimming lessons/errands, eat lunch, do crafts, dinner, clean-up, bedtime, hang with Johnny… you get the drift. These are my days in a nutshell. When I can I squeeze in the yoga, meditation and reading. But honestly, I tend to rush through everything, not really doing a great job of any of it. If I had a magic “Effort Measurer” I would probably say I give anywhere from 50-80% of my ability to any given task. The low end represents anything to do with cleaning and the mundane “maintenance” of life. The higher end is anything people related, and I guarantee that most things fall to the lower side of the scale. Good, but not my BEST, and I rarely have any sense of satisfaction. I just feel like I can check something off of my list. Even the things that should be fun – just check-off. Then I move on to the next task.
I know people who give their best. I’ve seen it in action. Only in a few individuals, but it is there. They have a carefully crafted existence where every single thing they do is thought out and prioritized, and they CAN give 100% of themselves to each and every task. They don’t multi-task (there’s no such thing by the way). They do one thing, they do it well, and they move on. And there’s a really deep satisfaction to their days that can only be achieved by doing your best.
So that’s my goal for today. Whatever I decide to do – I’m giving it 100%. I’m going to do it to the best of my ability. I’m going to celebrate those little mundane things with a child’s enthusiasm. I’m going to be completely present – whether it’s for folding laundry or crafting with Ivy. Or doing NOTHING. That’s something most of us are truly terrible at – really doing absolutely NOTHING.
What things do you put your whole heart and soul into? What things do you skim over? What task can you bring your best to today? And how will you Celebrate???
Life’s a Party,
When raising children, there are moments that will shine in our memories forever. Something funny they did, or their ‘firsts’ as they’re learning to navigate the world around them. The feel of their tiny hand in yours. Their arms around your neck. A slobbery kiss.
At worship (the fun sing & dance part of church) in church last night, Ivy stood up on the chair so she could see the words. Then she leaned over, put her arms around me and her head on my shoulder for a from-the-back-hug and sang the words right into my ear.
She’s only six, so some of the words were above her ability, but she got most of them, and the ones that were repeated she belted out with the rest of us.
She held me tight. So tight I thought I would burst with Love.
When the songs ended, she grabbed her shoes and her bear, gave me a kiss, and skipped that little Ivy skip downstairs for Sunday School.
These are the moments, the moments we live for, the moments that let us know we are ALIVE.
Live fully. Be open. Be brave.