Each Breath

This message really grabbed me so I felt that it was my responsibility to share it with you.

“Your next breath is your most important breath. Take it. If you didn’t, you wouldn’t be here. That’s really living now. Each breath lifts you to a new level. From that new level, as you watch your next breath, you can slip away from everything extraneous to you. Then it becomes so joyful to take that next breath. You realize that the breath keeps the body going so that the Soul can reside in this temple and express on this level to all other manifestations of the Beloved.”


– John-Roger
(From: Living the Spiritual Principles of Health and Well-Being by John-Roger, DSS with Paul Kaye, p. 184) via Cynthia Occelli

Please, don’t let the spiritual reference distract from the message if that part does not resonate with you.  Just be aware that your next breath, and every breath after that, brings you to now and now and now.   Now … always the most precious moment of your life.                                                

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Blue Ribbon

Oh, the frustration at the turtle pace of healing … grrr!  Lucky for you and me my good friend. Lisa Adams, a beautiful and wise woman, shared the image below.  It reminded me to be patient with myself and to allow my life to unfold at its own pace.  Such is the natural order of the Universe no matter my attempts to hurry up the healing process, to berate myself for not getting things done, and to worry that, even when I do accomplish something, it is not good enough.

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So be easy on yourself.  Mistakes are not fatal, speed is relative, and that you are trying is worthy of a blue ribbon.

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Junk in the Trunk

Still recovering here and can’t type much but I had a thought I wanted to pass along today.  There is no greater block to feeling healthy and joyful as that trunk we drag behind us everyday filled with: resentments, should haves, grudges, jealousies, what ifs, negative self judgements, and old or recent hurts no matter how painful and deep.  (No doubt you know of a few more items that are stuffed back there as well.)

It’s time to drop the rope.  So much of that cargo is habit and we don’t even realize we still carry it. And, yes, it is especially hard to let go of the hurts that to this day can bring us too tears.  But none of those things are helping us.  They make our feet stumble, cloud our vision, and choke off our breath.

Decide today to leave that old trunk behind.

As Louise Smith said in plain-spoken fashion, “You can’t reach for anything new if your hands are still full of yesterday’s junk.”

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Thought for today

“A good laugh and a long sleep are the two best cures for anything.”
— Irish Proverb

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Wise Words

Rotator cuff surgery means that I’ll be off-line for a short while. But here are some wise words for today:

“GIVE but don’t allow yourself to be used.

LOVE but don’t allow your heart to be abused.

TRUST but don’t be naive.

LISTEN to others but don’t lose your own voice.”

— Author Unknown via thehiyL.com

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Giving One’s Gifts

Below is a response to the Creativity blog.  Though it reveals a slightly different angle, it is a delightful story that I thought worth sharing.  Thank you to my friend, Mark Allen, for permitting me to post it here.

“I have to chime in on this. My grandfather used to ALWAYS sing his heart out in church service every Sunday. He would just stand there in the congregation and sing along the entire time. The only problem was: He was AWFUL! I do not mean a little off key, here, I mean HORRIBLE. never on pitch, rarely on tempo, and really had a difficult time even trying. However, he always sang at the absolute top of his lungs. He would suffer glares & raised eyebrows from those around us, and snickers from the littlest church-goers on a weekly basis.
Now, myself, being raised singing all the time and lacking the decorum and tact that come with age, I decided to inquire about his reasoning behind this practice… Was he just completely tone deaf & thought he sang beautifully? Was he even aware why people kept turning around in the pews to stare? So I asked one day: “Papaw, you love to sing so much, why don’t you join the choir and sing up there with everyone else? Mamaw is up there, and so is my other Mamaw & Papaw… why don’t you join them?” His quite startling reply really took me by surprise…
“Well, Mark Allen, I’m no good at it. I can’t join the choir because I sing so badly they wouldn’t want me up there.”
“Well, then Papaw,” I followed up, “If you know you’re so bad, why do you sing so loud in the pews?”
My grandfather, never one to not have an answer, did not disappoint…
“Well you see, Mark Allen, everything the Lord gives us is a gift. Some people get amazingly beautiful gifts, and sometimes people get gifts that others don’t find beautiful. The Lord gave me my voice as a gift, and so every Sunday it is a great pleasure for me to give it right back to him – whether he likes it or not!”

So – all creativity is a gift… whether you think it is good or beautiful or not is not really yours to decide. So you take whatever gift you were given and give it right back to others! Whether they appreciate it or NOT! =)”

 

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No! No! No! Oops.

It had been a difficult night … more like a series of fitful naps than normal nighttime sleep.  By early morning the back pain was so intense I had to get out of bed.  I wanted to cry out, “No!  This can’t be happening!” The pain was so severe I could barely walk or even sit.  I wanted to scream, “No, no, no! I’m on vacation. I don’t deserve this especially while I’m here. It’s so cruel and unfair!!”

 I had been looking forward to this trip for six months, carefully planning and packing for four weeks due to an ailing back which would allow only 20 minutes of activity before I needed a break.  I had felt certain that, once I reached my destination, I would experience much-needed relief beneath the healing warmth of the Mexican sun.  How was I going to relax while in so much pain?  I felt like the Creator had abandoned me.  I was frightened and sad, so, so sad.

Oops. Wait. I had been in this dark place before.  I knew what to do … look for the good, look for the good.  I needed to find some “good.”
In the midst of the pain, anxiety, and fear, I forced myself to look out the window at the sky … a stunning blue that I have seen nowhere else but here.  I quickly looked away.  It’s beauty seemed to mock my ugly pain.  But I knew that I had to look again and really see that glorious sky, the white-white sand, the gently swaying fronds of the palm trees, and the countless diamonds sparkling on the water in the morning sun.
Yes, my pain was intense but I was here in a paradise and this was exactly where I most wanted to be.  What a gift!  I then realized that my whole body was taut and folded in on itself.  I was barely breathing.  So, I sighed and started breathing, slow deep breaths … a prescription that I had given you such a short time ago.
The back pain began to ease a little. The more I breathed the more calm I became.  The despair lifted and clarity returned.  My vacation was not lost.  I had brought a little medication that might take the edge off the pain. Maybe by taking it and going down to lie on the beach, I could salvage this day.
It was not easy to turn myself around. Focusing on the good repeatedly and calming my breath were difficult at first  but those were my only tools in that moment.  The pain, at a lesser level, stayed with me all day.  But I had robbed it of its power and that day turned out to be one of my best ever.
When you are going through an especially scary patch, remind yourself of your own power.  Look for the good.  Breathe.  And never, ever give up.
“Pain is no evil, unless it conquers us.”  Charles Kingsley
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Be You

I will be away from my computer for a day or two but wanted to leave you with something to ponder.

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I can’t breathe!

You know those days when you have so much to do that by the end you say something like, “I didn’t even have time to breathe.”  Well, indeed you didn’t … breathe, that is.  Having worked full-time, been a stay-at-home Mom, and also worked part-time outside the home while being a stay-at home Mom (worst of both worlds) I became a master of no-time-to-breathe.  How many of you are masters as well?  No matter if you’re a man or a woman,  single or married, with children or without, commuting or working from home, we all have breathless days. Did you know that while so engaged we actually do not get enough air?  We breath shallowly from the upper portion of our lungs? This makes us more tense as the body goes into flight or flight mode. The result – we end up more tired and stressed than we need to be because we’ve been starved of oxygen.  (Although I’d like to explain this and the other biological processes involved, it would take too much space here and you would be better served by contacting the appropriate sources. If you feel so inclined, do research the medical facts.)  In any case, fear not, there is a way to feel calm during those hectic breathless days. It takes only minutes and you don’t even need to get out of your seat.  Before you make the next call, open another pressing email, back out of that parking space, while you wait at the stop light, or sit in a waiting room become mindful of your breath.  Is it shallow, maybe a bit too fast? Drop your shoulders, uncross your legs, put down the phone or magazine, raise your head to a comfortable position, close your eyes (if you’re at that stop light please, keep your eyes open but try to relax the space between your brows),  and then just sigh.  Next take in a long slow breath all the way down to your abdomen, hold for a few seconds, and then slowly sigh it out.  Repeat.  Do this as often as you can throughout the day.  You may get in only one or two cycles with your first try but be patient with yourself.  You can get into the habit with practice.  I’m still in the learning phase but I’ve noticed a delicious ease that comes with, ahhhh,  breathing.  

“When you own your breath, nobody can steal your peace.”  ~Author Unknown

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Creativity

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“Creativity” … now there is a word that has always made me cringe since I see myself as missing even the tiniest sliver of a creative gene.  I thought that only “artists” could claim to be creative.   People tell me that I am creative but I still don’t know what they are talking about.  I’m not a writer, or a cook and I don’t draw, sew, paint, sculpt, act, dance, etc., … you know, all those things that come to mind when one hears the word “creative.”  (I realize that the definition of “creative” that I am using here is a narrow one but that’s a discussion for another day … soon, I promise.)  Early on I learned that the creativity was a word that did not apply to me.  I remember the crushing disappointment every time I saw that  over sized “C” next to Art Class on my report card.  The grades in other classes responded to harder study … not so with Art.  I could not color inside the lines nor form anything identifiable out of clay no matter the effort.  Even my  handwriting was worse than that of the boys which in those days was about the most embarrassing thing one could say about a girl’s penmanship. But wait! Despair no more!  Just a few weeks ago a wise soul told me that we are all, each one of us,  creative my nature.  Though one’s art may be, by one’s own judgment, less than exhibit fair, or one’s  poetry seemingly too poor to share, it is nevertheless Art!  Your creations have value simply because they are yours.  You are unique in all the world so no one can produce what you can.  When my granddaughter was younger we enjoyed coloring books.  Coloring with her was more fun more than it was when I was her age and to her my pages were always perfect.   My dear friend, Wendy,  told me that she takes coloring books wherever she goes … for herself!  Thanks to her liberating statement I, too, bring coloring books with me especially when travelling.  So today do something creative be it doodling “abstract art” in the margins, drawing  bold strokes of color with markers, writing a few lines of poetry, tweaking a recipe or engaging in whatever mode feels good to you.   Most important … have fun and suspend judgment.   Carl Jung wrote: “The creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect but by the play instinct acting from inner necessity. The creative mind plays with the objects it loves.”  Happy play time!  Let me know how it goes.

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