Thresholds

Years ago, my husband and I completed a huge jigsaw puzzle entitled “Doors of the World”. It was a collage of doorways of different sizes, shapes and colors. I was drawn in by the colors, as color tend to be what always calls my name first. Yet as we tediously worked piece by piece, I found myself drawn in in another way.

As the puzzle slowly began to take form and the doors were coming into clearer view, I found myself wondering about what was on the other side. All of the photos were a street view….but what would the puzzle look like if all the doors were opened? Would we be able to glimpse into the homes, the offices, the secret world of what lies on the other side? What would we find? How much did the outside appearance of the door match the interior? What did each doorway connect?

Thresholds.

Look up from reading this, look around your room, and find a doorway. So much more than just a frame that supports a door, a threshold is a space between. Not quite here, not quite there, but rather a point of transition. A brink. An edge.

Physical thresholds have long been included in rituals and rites of passage. Imagine a strapping young groom carrying his bride across the threshold of their new home, symbolizing leaving behind single life and crossing over into the life of a new family. Many homes of Jewish inhabitants have a mezuzah placed on the threshold of the front door, believed to be a constant reminder that God lives there, and to leave the troubles of the outside world as you enter a holy space. You’d be hard-pressed to find a Southern home without a welcoming wreath decorating a front door, whether the home be modest or mammoth. Welcome, come on in, make yourself at home! Leave your worries on the porch.

Each example signifies the transitioning of time and space, the leaving of one form of existence and mindset into the entering of another. All of them represent that when we cross that doorway, that threshold, something new awaits. We will be in a new space, both physically and emotionally. A leaving behind, a moving towards.

And so, as I turn my calendar to 2021 and try to train my brain to write the correct year on correspondences, I find myself at yet another, though metaphorical, threshold.

We leave one space. We enter another. And if we are awake, alert, mindful of the brink we find ourselves on, if we take a moment for an intentional pause as we rush into our busy work-weeks and the stress of getting that post-holiday “back to normal”, we realize that as we step into a new year, we have the ability to leave behind and/or bring forward what we choose.

What will you leave on the 2020 side of the doorway? Hurt feelings? A lost love? A goal that went unaccomplished? What purging will you do to make your travels to the other side of the door lighter and more inviting?

And what will you bring with you as you step solidly into 2021? Hope? Optimism? Determination? What intentional soul-packings do you bring with you as you settle into the newness, the freshness of the otherside of the doorway?

May we savor the threshold moments this week, not rushing wildly from one frame of mind to another, from one space to the next. May we recognize the space between, the pause, the brink, and be conscious about what we carry forth with us into each and every moment.

Lessons from 2020

One of my favorite times of the whole year is the week between Christmas and New Year. With most of the bustle of Christmas is behind us, there is an almost mystical lull. It seems to be in these liminal days I become both reflective, sentimental, hopeful and forward-thinking all mixed together.

It’s probably the teacher in me, but I try to live my life in lessons. I try to make sure I can squeeze every possible message, every possible take-away from both the good and the not-so-good. So it seems natural that as I reflect on the year that is closing, I think in terms of what I’ve learned. And it’s been an astronomical amount.

1.) Death is life. My 2020 began on January 2 with an 8 hour drive to Ohio to spend the next month with my life-long best/sister/soul friend in hospice. Her 3.5 year journey with ovarian cancer was coming to a close. That month was most definitely the hardest, and most beautiful, of my life. To be with a loved one as she slips away, slowly, into a different form of existence can’t help but form a life vision that is forever changed.

Death is life. It is natural. It is guarunteed. It can be peaceful and beautiful. And it does not end a love, a friendship, a life together, but rather only changes it’s form.

2) Time is life. Of course, the losing of a loved one way too early in life can’t help but reframe one’s general world view. I now often find myself thinking in terms of “legacy”, of the gifts I want to leave behind. And for me, it all comes down to time. With whom do we spend our time? What are we creating with our time? How are we helping the world, or our family, a stray animal with our time? It’s really all we have. And when it’s gone, it’s gone. There are no do-overs.

We get one block of time to use purposefully and meaningfully. Prioritize it. Use it wisely. Make sure how you use your time is in integrity with what you hold most dear. It is our legacy, both while we live and long after.

3.) God is life. And He’s ginormous. As in HUGE! As in I simply don’t have words to describe how huge. I’ve always believed in a big God, but this year my relationship with this powerful source of all that is has expanded into the universe. It seems funny to me that for a year I’ve spent largely at home I now see God in the whole wide world in ways I never have before. I love this so very much. I will always remember 2020 as the year I untied God from the neat little “Sunday School” image in which I had confined him, and he burst into his full existence in my soul.

4.) Celebration is life. My guess is that 10 years from now when I look back on 2020, it will be a blur. I find that even now, in the midst of it, I can’t nail down if something happened in March or July. My mile markers are gone. I realize now that I anchor the passage of time by celebrations. This happened near a son’s birthday, that happened close to Mother’s Day, and so on. With a year when there were so few celebrations, at least in person and the way we’re used to, my sense of time seemed to collapse. It kind of feels like it imploded into one black hole of a year.

Celebrations are the fuel of life. They anchor us in community, purpose and joy. Celebrations are how we mark major life events, how we welcome new seasons, how we say goodbye. When they are minimized or neglected, even for reasons such as Covid, we lose our bearings, we miss the meaning-making moments that make our lives together so precious. We MUST celebrate. And often. And with love and joy. And hope. Always hope.

5.) Hope is life. There is magical power in hope. It is what keeps us grounded, it is what keeps us uplifted, it is what keeps us balanced. For so many this was a year of despair. Deep, gut-wrenching despair. Loss of jobs, loss of loved ones, social unrest, unknown personal, national and global futures. It brought me to my knees more than once, most certainly.

But it was always hope that made me get back up on my feet. The hope that we can take the lessons we learn, and pay them forward. The hope that love will truly trump all else. The hope that our loved ones, our communities, our world can be healed and healthy one day very soon.

It is hope that makes me rise each day. It is the hope that I can love my people well. It is the hope that I can do a little bit of good in my corner of the world. It is the hope that my words and my work can touch one heart. It is the hope that if we all have hope, we will all be ok.

My hope for you, sweet friend, as we move into a new calendar year, is that you will find the lessons meant for you, the ones that will help shape 2021 into a year of love and grace.

Creative Souls

I believe we were born to create.

I didn’t always believe that.  Just a few years ago, if you’d asked me if I was a creative person, I would laughed heartily while emphatically shaking my head  no. 

The “no” came quickly and adamantly because while I can spend hours mesmerized in a museum I cannot draw a stick figure, though I love nothing more than singing along in the car I can’t carry a tune, and I haven’t engaged in theater or acting since playing a mouse in elementary school. My great American novel remains unwritten.

To me, creativity meant being an artist of music, theater or medium. The Fine Arts. The stuff of the gifted few.

So no, I’m not creative, I thought.  I never painted beautiful murals in my baby’s nursery, sang in the church choir, quilted an heirloom blanket, or even decorated my home with flair.  So,  no, I was not creative.

But one of the things I love about getting on in years is the ability to call bull on old thought patterns.  Dropping my narrow perspective of creativity has led to an exhilarating new, expansive view: We were all BORN to create.

Think of this:  We were created by the ultimate creator, in His image, which means we were created to create.

Follow me?

Regardless of your religious or spiritual beliefs, or even completely non-spiritual beliefs if that applies, you have to admit you were, indeed, created.

And I believe a large part of our soul’s journey is to return to it’s purest form. 

Thus, that which has been created was created to create.

One of the first ways I acknowledged my newfound view of creativity was to broaden what I considered “creative”. I blew up that old, limited perspective and a sense of limitlessness took it’s place.

Certainly the fine arts are creativity in it’s most recognized form, but we can go so much deeper than that.

Anything that is original to you, comes from you and is stamped with the beautiful, divine individuality of your soul is creative. 

Anything that did not exist before you brought it forth into existence is creative.

Anything you imagine, bring into original thought, word or action is creative. 

Anything.

Problem solving. Expression of opinions and thoughts. Matching emotions with words to try to capture them. How you play with your puppy.

Anything.

I began to realize the way I taught my students employed creative and on-the spot thinking.  Parenting is the monumental act of creativity from conception to lullabies, to discipline and passing on lessons learned.  How we decorate our homes, cook our meals, play with children, laugh with friends, even the jewelry we wear and how we apply make-up are expressions of our uniqueness in the world, our statements of personal flair and .  The way we solve problems, the way we piece together ideas, the manner in which we connect meaning from multiple sources….yep, all acts of great creativity.

Every time you help your neighbor, you are creating an atmosphere of friendship, community, a sense of compassion and peace.

Each quick quip you make, each pun or joke, creates joy and laugher where none existed before.

Each act of temperance and patience, each angry word held on to rather than spoken, each time we put someone else first, we create space and openness for kindness to take hold.

Creation isn’t only positive though.  We also have within us the ability to create discord, animosity, stress and anger.  With great power comes great responsibility.

So, if we move forth on the premise that every soul is, indeed, a creative soul, it shines a floodlight on the immensity of creative opportunities.

Just as our fingerprints one of a kind, our creativity is also a source of individuality within the world.  Our creative way of engaging with Life, with the world at large, with our faith and fellow journeyers, are a huge part of our Soulprints.

There are things to be done that only you can do. There are ways of loving that only you can show humanity. There are ways of creating our lives to benefit the world. Without the active creation of a purposeful, unique life, you can unknowingly withhold your one-of-a-kind imprint.

I began a morning ritual this past year which includes prayer, journaling, reading, and a mindful meditation practice which ends each day in the question:  What world do I want to create today?

This isn’t a question about fantasy or wishes or imaginations.  This is a humble reminder, a sacred recognition, that with each thought, each action, each word we speak, each act of love, we change the world. We quite literally participate in the creation of the world of which we dream.

What kind of world do YOU want to create today?

Gravity

It’s the perfect Saturday morning. I have a hot pot of coffee by my side, a book in my hand, and I’m sitting on my deck, the steamy August air ripe with the anticipation of Fall.

Thunk. Thud. Thwack.

Amidst the sounds of cars in the distance and birds squawking above the pasture, there are heavy, hefty plops behind me.

The corner of the deck best for reading is sheltered by a scrappy old pear tree. Scraggly and lopsided, it shades the corner from sun and provides a cozy sense of privacy. The spring brings blossoms and fragrance, the summer bearing old branches heavy with fruit, feeding birds, squirrels and bees.

And as autumn approaches, unable to hold the weight of this year’s growth any more, the old tree drops the pears, one after another.

Thunk. Thud. Thwack.

Today seems to be a day of major releasing for the old girl. One at a time, the pears crackle loose, rustle through the leaves, and topple to the ground below. I watch, probably longer than such an event warrants. And I marvel.

Nature never ceases to inspire and teach me, always a lesson unfolding to those who slow enough to learn.

Today, I ponder the act of letting go. Nature knows so fully that letting go, releasing, yielding, is both freeing and necessary for future growth. I think about how transformative it would be if I, too, could easily and intuitively sense when something (a task, a relationship, a grudge, a worry) had reached it’s fullness and would benefit from release.

I watch as the old tree seemingly “knows” that the weight is now too much to carry, and in order to preserve order, strength and room for fresh growth, release is the only way.

I think about the things that I am carrying, many way past their prime and ready to be released, and yet I cling. And not only do I hold on to these, I gather more.

Hurts. Resentments. Grudges. Sorrows. Ideas and emotions no longer bearing fruit.

I close my eyes, listening to the plopping of pears, imagining the tree sensing relief with the release of each one too heavy to carry any more. I visualize my self dropping away worries, one by one, feeling liberation and spaciousness as each one breaks away and falls. I scan my mind, searching for the things that need to go, that have reached ripeness and are only doomed to rot if hung on to any longer.

One by one, I drop them. One by one, they thunk, just like the pears.

Release.

Relief.

Lighter, crisper, freer I feel. One by one I let go…. thunk, thud, thwack.

Gravity can be a beautiful thing.

Standing on Ceremony

white candles on black surface

When we think of a the word “ceremony”, the first thing that pops into most people’s mind is a wedding.  The white dress, flowers, elated bride and groom, tossing of rice or rose petals.   Actually, if you Google the word “ceremony”, the first several entries are, in fact, about wedding ceremonies.

But thinking just of weddings does a huge disservice to the purpose and importance of ceremonies in our lives.  Ceremonies are ANYTHING that intentionally mark a transition in life ( wedding, funeral, baptism), a special occasion (a birthday or anniversary), or a remembrance (think 911 Memorial Service).

Ceremonies have a unique and crucial role in our lives.  They mark the momentous as different from the ordinary.  They allow us to step outside of the everyday monotony and have a common focus. They are signs of respect for an effort, an accomplishment, a choice or a person.   And ceremonies allow us to connect and share an experience with others we love.

selective focus photography of woman wearing gray academic dress

I have always loved ceremonies…parties, celebrations, weddings, etc.  But it is only through my ongoing training as a life-cycle celebrant that I am learning the role they play in the human race.  If we do not mark parts of our life as special, important, critical, we risk moving through life without a sense of growth or change. 

Perhaps it’s never been as obvious to many of us as it has been these past several months with Covid in our midst.  Everything from weddings, graduations (high school, college, and even preschool), even funerals have been cancelled or minimized.  Family reunions, vacations, annual girls’ trips are all ceremonies of sorts, in that they separate an event out as extraordinary and different and special. 

I have seen some of the most creative and fun alternatives to traditional ceremonies these past few months, but what concerns me are the people who have ignored the need to celebrate or pay tribute, simply because it cannot be done in the “normal” way.  Graduation is a rite of passage for us today, not too unlike the walkabouts of other cultures.  Memorial services allow us to show our love for one who has died, to be a support to the family, and is often a crucial ritual in the path towards healing.  Without acknowledging these important transitions in life, we risk thwarting our ability to move through the change with a clear vision and purpose.

We don’t know how long this different life of ours will remain different. 

What we do know is this…ceremonies are created by individuals, not by institutions. 

If we are unable to do something the way it has always been done in the past, it does not mean we don’t still need to do it.  We must challenge ourselves to find unique, creative and alternative ways to mark the days of meaning for ourselves and others.  Now more than ever, we need to separate the special from the mundane, the extraordinary from the common.  Starting with our families, those closest to us, we can begin by making time for unique accomplishments to be recognized, for commemorating the little things (that once celebrated, become less little in our hearts).  

When we don’t recognize the remarkable, the uncommon, we risk living without the magic that is life.

There is so much in life to celebrate, so much about life that is far from mundane or boring.  Celebrate life by observing the extraordinary…it’s all around us, and we’ll all be the better for it.

bokeh photography of person holding fireworks

Bedtime Stories

My husband can fall asleep within seconds.  There have been times when he has literally fallen asleep in the midst of saying , “Good night”.  It makes me crazy!!!!  Truly, it makes me envious.

Sleep is often elusive for me these days.  It can sometimes take me an hour or more to fall into a sound sleep, in spite of observing recommended bedtime routines like no caffeine, no snacking, and limiting technology (although, I am absolutely guilty of a final Facebook scroll).

Laying still, in the dark, cozied up with the husband and the pups,  all seem to be the ingredients necessary for my brain to become fully awake and engaged with Life.  It’s the time when the stories begin.

These are not sweet, sleepy, lullaby-like stories of childhood. These are the stories of adult life. 

I wish I’d accomplished more today. 

I hope I don’t forget to do that chore tomorrow. 

Why did I respond to this work email with a “ok” instead of saying I was loaded up right now?

These bedtime stories are almost always centered around productivity, shortcomings, and frustration with myself.

We are all storytellers for ourselves.  We tell ourselves stories constantly throughout the day.  Stories about anticipating a day that will be too full (my husband, who sleeps so peacefully, is terrible about predicting how hard tomorrow will be….and yet he sleeps!), stories of how we didn’t produce enough, how we came up just a little short.

We tell ourselves stories of who we think we are, and our stories, honestly, are not always kind.

If I close my eyes for a second, I can conjure up the memories of my precious boys as babies and toddlers, snuggled close, the scents baby shampoo and toddler goodness filling the quiet night air. They are cozied up in the crook of my arm as we read one last book for the night.  It is always a slow book, a sleepy book, a book about how much they are loved and how perfect and just right they are. 

I always  wanted my babies to fall asleep knowing they were loved.

What if, just for a few nights, we could cuddle up with our deepest selves, the self that shows up when the house is still and the lights are off, and tell ourselves a good-night story of love and acceptance and gratitude?  A story of how who we are and what we do is exactly who we are meant to be and precisely what was meant to be done?  Stories of gratefulness for full lives and limitless opportunity for growth? 

What if, our bedtime story went something like this: 

I am exactly who I am meant to be. 

I am perfect in the present. 

I am not what I accomplish…those are things I do, but now who I am.  And I have done well today. 

I am precious, and loved, and sacred and full.   

 I am grateful for this day that I’ve had the privilege to journey through, and I am excited about tomorrow. 

I am grateful for being me.

Nite Nite, Self.  I love you.

Sweet dreams.

A Single Strand of Silver

This morning, as I was pulling my hair back into my signature pony tail, I found in my hand a single strand of perfectly intact silver hair.  Ok, you may call is gray, but isn’t silver so much more beautiful?

Why is this a thing?  Well, because I don’t really have silver hair yet.  Amazingly, given my age, I have very little silver.  A random stray here and there, sometimes covered by highlights but usually allowed to roam freely in my wildly thick long hair.  Yet this strand was perfect,  shimmering, intact and probably a good 14 inches long.  And for some reason it mesmerized me.

As with most of us in these crazy past few months, my hair has gone untouched by color or cut.  While I typically wear my hair long (shoulder length or a bit longer), the length of this hair made me stop and realize how much time had passed since we’ve done those “normal” things like haircuts.  It reminded me of how much our lives have changed in the past few months, and how we’ve learned to accommodate the changes.

But it was the shimmering silver that really captivated me.  It was beautiful.  For the first time, I really reflected upon being a woman who has long strands of silver hair,  who has reached this stage of life where the silver is as beautiful, if not more so, than the dark chestnut I’ve had since birth.  I pondered the transition that accompanies such silver strands and the life that has occurred during the growth of this solitary pearly lock.

It’s reported that hair grows an average of ½ inch per month.  That’s 6 inches per year.  This strand of perfectly glimmering silver had been with me for over 28 months. 

In the 28 months, I have had wild adventures with my dearest friend, traveling to NYC and packing in as many Broadway shows as possible between shopping, dining and romping through the markets.  I’ve created a new home with my husband on a spectacular piece of land which is my daily sanctuary and soul space.  I’ve had coffee and zoom happy hours with my beloved friends, and laughed so hard my belly still aches hours later.  I’ve had spectacularly long lunches and dinners with my soul sisters while we solve the world’s ills and dream up adventures we will pursue. I’ve spent countless nights drinking champagne in the gazebo with the love of my life, looking at the stars that sparkle in our semi-rural sky.  I’ve shared birthdays and holidays with my adult sons and the amazing girls they’ve invited to join our family.  I’ve worked hard, and lived my passion.

And yet, in those same months, I’ve also helped my dearest friend pass away from cancer.  I sat with her through her last breaths.  I’ve deepened my work with children in foster care, and had to face the realities and frailties of human beings, learning to not flinch or look away from what is raw and real.  I’ve watched the world shut down due to a virus, and turn upside down in it’s values.  I’ve held my sons through heart aches and growing pains, which, I’m learning, keep happening no matter how “grown” your kids may be. 

And so it is, these lives of ours.  A perfect tapestry of highs and lows, love, grief, fear, freedom and grace. 

The beauty, the pain, the realness of life, all lived during the growth of a single strand of silver. 

I’ll take the silver any day. It reminds me I’m truly living.

The Beauty of No

I tend to be a “yes” person.  Not in the sense that I’m a pushover, but more in the sense that I see limitless possibilities in everything! Therefore, in my mind, a life full of “yeses” means a light full of possibilities, right?

Wrong. 

There is definitely such a thing as too many “yeses”.   

The older, and hopefully wiser, I become, the more I relish my new-found skill of saying no.  Not a harsh, unkind, or aggressive “no”, but rather a, “No thank you, this doesn’t work for me at this time.”

There is so much freedom in that.

No thank you, this doesn’t work for me at this time. 

There is no door slam, no burned bridge, no sense of “never”.  It simply means that I’m weighing what I want and need and am responsible for, and this does not fit into it.  At least not right now.

When I was a kid, we loved a board game called Don’t Spill the Beans.  It was a big pot, precariously balanced, and each player would add a certain number of beans to the pot.  You tried to avoid being the one that made the pot of beans spill.

Wow, Life can so be like that childhood game!  We think we can fit one more thing, one more responsibility, one more favor, one more hobby, one more email or text…..until we find ourselves tipping and spilling and making a mess. 

I believe women, and even more-so mothers, tend to be over-yesers.  We try so hard to be so much to so many.  We love our people fiercely, and don’t want anyone to be let down or to have less than everything we wish for them.  And sometimes we sacrifice ourselves in the process.

But what if all those yesses we give everyone only water down our efforts and actions to the point of not truly giving much of anything to anyone?  There truly is such a thing as too much.

So the question becomes, how to we get to the beauty and space of “no”?

It’s a fairly simple process, but it does take some quiet time to really think through.

Take a good hard look at your life.  What matters most right now?  What are you trying to create, nurture, tend to in your life?

Then, ask yourself:

 Does what is being presented to you bring you closer towards or move you further away from those goals?

If we don’t keep first things first, then inevitably first things become last. 

A well-placed “yes” will enrich, and a guilt-given “yes” will detract.

A thoughtful, “No thank you, not at this time” is typically followed by a sense of relief and expansion. You know that feeling when it happens. There is no second-guessing.

Having a clear vision of what matters most, and only saying yes to those requests and opportunities that help solidify that vision, will help you stay on track, keep your energy for what matters most, and enjoy a deeper, more purposeful life.

Here’s to your next well-placed, “No” and the beauty that will follow!

Can’t?

But what if you could?

What would your Life look like if you did that thing you keep telling yourself you can’t do?

Ok, stop. 

Don’t just keep reading. 

Stop and think for a minute. 

Breathe deeply.

Read it again.

What would your Life look like if you did that thing you keep telling yourself you can’t do?

Sit with that for a minute.

Technology.  It’s a silly thing that comes so intuitively for so many, and yet this past week it was my absolute demise.  Even making posts for the Soulprints with Lori Facebook page can sometimes frustrate me to no end.  I KNOW it’s not that hard.  I KNOW it should really just be a click here, a delete there, and drag over and voila!

But it just never seems to work like that for me. 

 This week I was excited to move into planning my first online course.  I’m overflowing with ideas and excitement and energy, and then I had to do “the stuff”. 

I had to find a way to host it, I had to have widgets and hyperlinks and all these other foreign concepts. 

And so I quit.

I quit.  I got frustrated, I had a meltdown, I pouted, I commiserated with a friend, and I quit.  I spiraled into how yet another idea “failed” and would never reach fruition and what a mess I am, and I quit. 

That night, after venting to my husband, who’s stable and steady logic is so often the perfect balance to my exuberant emotion, he simply said, “So, once you figure it out, what will it look like?”

Wow.  Ok.  That wasn’t a place I’d gone. 

I’d just hit the wall and stopped.  But as an engineer, his brain is wired to see brick walls, and figure out how to knock them down, go around, or go over.  They never stop him.

Once I shifted my energy away from the brick wall to the other side of possibility, I lit up like Christmas Eve, full of ideas and vision, and plans for the Soulprint community. 

I felt excited again, back in my creative space, ready to put good out into the world.  It felt like opening the wardrobe into Narnia or opening the gate to the secret garden.  Suddenly excitement and possibility existed again…on the other side of the wall. 

I can promise you figuring out technology has not been the most challenging obstacle of my life.  There are too many times to mention when the wall felt too tall, too thick, too impossible to get around.  Starting a business, being a single mom, and having the faith and fortitude to make sure the said business could single-handedly support my kids and I was only one of them.  There were some walls even more challenging than that. 

 I can only imagine your life has been filled with some of the big, messy, thick walls, too. 

Compared to what so many of us have been through or are facing today, technology should be a cinch, right?

But is it really about technology, or is it about the power of the messages we give ourselves?

I don’t know when I began telling myself the story that technology was something I “can’t do”,  how many times I’ve called myself a techno-phobe, or how many self-depricating jokes I’ve made about my ineptitude.

 But what I do know is it’s a story I tell myself every day…here is something I can’t do, an obstacle that can make me quit instead of learn. The thing I allow me to stop in the middle of a dream.

What is the difference between quitting when you reach the brick wall and finding a way through, over or around? 

The ability to remember or imagine what waits on the other side.  The knowing that you can’t do without what lies there, on the far side of the brick.

We all have stories that we re-read to ourselves on a daily basis, almost ritualistically, like the nightly reading of Goodnight Moon to a child.

I can’t.  I can’t.  I can’t.

We are SO quick to tell ourselves what we can’t do, and SO slow to breathe deeply and remind ourselves why it’s worth the risk, effort and frustration.

 Why is it worth it? 

Because of what it will look like when you do it! 

I can’t lose those 30 pounds.  It’s too tough.  I quit. 

(But what will it look like when I do?)

I can’t go back to school, I have too many other things to do, it’ll take all my time.  I just can’t.

(But what will it look like when I do?)

I can’t quit my job and start a new path.  I’m too old, it’s too hard, what if I don’t succeed?

(But what will it look like when I do succeed?)

The difference between quitting and persevering is the belief that the end result will be better and more beautiful than the frustration of the struggle of getting there. 

The difference between quitting and persevering often lies in the realization that staying where you are is simply more painful, more soul-sucking than the energy required to push that brick wall over.

The difference between quitting and persevering sometimes involves having a little hissy fit, a moment of total self-doubt, a comin’-apart (as we say in the South), and then a pep-talk to get back up and keep going.

I don’t want to limit my Life with self-imposed can’ts. 

Life imposes enough things on me that I have no control over.

I want to live Life empowered and encouraged, knowing I can do hard things, even if those things aren’t hard for others.

I choose not to live with my self-imposed can’ts.

Because, really….what’s waiting for me when I finally can?  That’s the stuff I’m all about.

Namaste, Aloha, Peace

At the end of pretty much every yoga or meditation class, you will hear the instructor speak to the group, with hands pressed together and head bowed, the word, “Namaste.”

That word signals the end of class, and is typically followed by the rolling up of mats, sipping from water bottles, and heading back into cars, back into the world.

If you’ve had the absolute joy of visiting the Hawaiian Islands, you were undoubtedly greeted with “Aloha!”, believed to be the universal hello/goodbye of the culture. Said at airports as you arrive, hotels as you check in, restaurants as you dine, it becomes an integral part of the vacation experience.

In many churches of multiple denominations, part of each Sunday service is a greeting of your neighbor, often with a shaking of hands and the words, “Peace be with you.” And then the service continues.

Cultures and communities are often chocked full of ancient wisdom wishes, and yet most of us are so hurried, so preoccupied, so distracted, that we recite the words without thought or feeling of what we are truly saying.

Let’s take some time to sink deeply into words frequently found in our and other cultures, and contemplate how we can live in their spirit.

Namaste: A sign of gratitude for the students’ presence and the teacher’s teachers, the sanskrit word Namaste is a single word which represents a full prayer of acknowledgment, a true seeing of the other person, and a recognition of their soul.

My soul honors your soul.

I honor the love, light, kindness and beauty within you because it is also within me.

In sharing these things we are the same, united. We are one.

Think about that.

Sit with that for a minute.

I see the light in you. I see you, and we are alike. Our hearts, our light, our souls are the same. We are one.

Aloha: Far more than a simple greeting, such as “hello” or “hi”, Aloha is believed to refer to the deeper spiritual qualities that hold us all together. While it incorporates love, respect, kindness and compassion, Aloha digs deeper, into the core of the soul, and indicates a knowing of kindred spirits. It roughly translates to “the breath of life”, that which unites us all. It is the sending and receiving of positive energy, life force, and the expression of compassion and love….with no expectation in return.

With no expectation in return.

I wish you this because you deserve it. Not because I do, not because I want you to say it back, not because you have proved worthy of it, but because I see you, and I wish you well. I honor and respect you, just because.

Just because.

Peace: Peace be with you. I leave you Peace. So many ways of saying the same thing. Peace. Tranquility. Harmony. Freedom from suffering. A sense of ease.

Peace. A way of wishing one well, wishing one safety, love and well-being.

Deep within us lies a need to see and be seen, to be recognized for being, trying, doing. Everyone has it. Everyone needs to be seen, acknowledged.

Not because they’ve proven to be successful or popular or publically visible, but because they ARE. Because the ARE HERE.

Here is our Soulprints challenge for the day. Slow down.

WAAAAAAY down.

And see people.

Strangers, family, passersby.

Really look at them, and realize they are you. They share the same world, the same love, the same heartbreak. See if you can look past the fact you’re running late or the coffee they just served is cold.

Can you SEE them, just because?

The light in me honors the light in you.

My soul honors your soul.

Just because. Just because we are the same.