Broken Open

“The great wisdom traditions are trying to teach us that grief isn’t something to run from. It’s a liminal space, a time of transformation.” – Richard Rohr

Years ago, my neighbor’s cat, Scooter, would wander over to my garden and watch me weed. At first I was irritated with her, but I learned to appreciate her company when I found out she was taking care of the mice invasion in the garden. I looked forward to her visits. One day I realized I hadn’t seen her in a while. I asked my neighbor where Scooter was. She sadly informed me that she was hit by a car and died the week before. I remember being so devastated by the loss of this cat. It didn’t make sense; she wasn’t my cat. I didn’t feed her or take her to the vet or change her kitty litter. But the loss for me was overwhelming. What is wrong with me, I thought? Am I crazy? Why am I grieving the loss of this cat so intensely?

Isn’t that how we think about grief? Why can’t I get it together? Why am I so emotional all the time? Why doesn’t life make sense?

We are so misguided when it comes to grieving. Grieving is a normal, natural and necessary way to deal with loss. We tend to be afraid of our emotions. From an early time, we are told, “Don’t cry. Crying is a sign of weakness.” We want to brush grief under the rug. “You should be over grief in two to three months.” “Grief gets easier as you get older.” There are so many myths about how to move through the grieving process. The greatest truth about grief is to learn to allow the process.

I was interviewed this week by Georgena Grace on her Integrated Wellbeing podcast. I appreciate her explanation of grief. “You are not broken by loss. You are broken open like a seed to self-awareness and new connections.”

Grief is not something to get over. We learn to include the loss, the pain, and the sorrow as part of life. We allow it to open and expand our experience of love. Feel your feelings of grief. Attend a grief group. Journal your innermost thoughts, fears and loss. Find a grief counselor. Reach out to friends for support. Be patient with yourself.

In the Book of Hope, Jane Goodall writes, “The depth of our grief is a reminder of the depth of our love.” When we allow ourselves to grieve, we expand our awareness. We open ourselves to more love.

Illusion of Separation

“Forgiveness is not always easy. At times, it feels more painful than the wound we suffered, to forgive the one that inflicted it. And yet, there is no peace without forgiveness.” — Marianne Williamson

Have you ever held a grudge against someone? I did and noticed it was keeping me pretty occupied—avoiding them, trying not to think about them, trying hard to pretend they didn’t hurt me.  It was exhausting.

When we don’t forgive, we stay in the struggle. We are in bondage with anger, bitterness and resentment. When we don’t forgive, we find there is a wall that separates us from love and keeps us from moving forward.

Forgiveness is an opportunity to let go. Forgiveness puts an end to the illusion of separation. It takes courage to let go. And when we do, it is one of the most important processes that brings harmony to our life and peace to our soul. Forgiveness sets us free to express love into the world.

In “This Thing Called You,” Ernest Holmes writes, “It may seem strange that the law which now holds you in bondage can as easily give you freedom. But this is the truth.”

Who are you willing to forgive?

Affirmation: I am willing to forgive and allow love to be expressed in the world.

(excerpt from Soul Musings)

Rest Well

“Your tiredness has dignity to it. There is no shame in admitting you cannot go on. You have been on a long journey from the stars. Even the courageous have to rest.” – Jeff Foster

In this hurry-up, catch-up, keep-up world, we rarely take time to rest. Technology enables us to  work from anywhere, anytime. Which is wonderful and distressing at the same time. When do we take time to stop?

Several years ago I was on vacation, hiking in a beautiful state park when I answered my cell phone and took the call from a congregant wanting to know how to register for the class starting that afternoon. I was glad to give her the information, but when I hung up, I wondered why I was compelled to answer a call. The call took me out of the present moment of the magnificent scenery and the dazzling bright sunny day. Can you relate?

It takes dedicated practice to be present, to be mindful. Living in the moment can be a rest for the busy mind. Getting my mind to stop thinking can be a challenge, but I can pay attention to where I am and how I am feeling. 

When I take a break, I allow myself to stop, breathe and open to my awareness of Spirit. When I rest, I allow the Universal presence of good to come into being. I allow faith to be the guiding presence in my life. 

From Ernest Holmes: “The Spirit within me is in perfect rest. The center of my being is quiet and poised. I let my inner spirit fill my whole being with peace and stillness. With this word, I now relax in body and mind.  Let the Divine Tranquility fill me.”

Stop. Breathe. Rest well. 

Affirmation: I rest in the joyous presence of radiant Spirit.

It’s None of My Business

“Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking,

the whole world belongs to you. Lao Tzu

As a new Science of Mind student, I would passionately pray my spiritual mind treatment. Immediately I would speculate how my prayer was going to be answered. My prayers were usually about money since I believed that there wasn’t enough to go around. I would wait for the mail to show up only to find an empty mailbox. I would check to see if any clients called with potential business, but no one called.

When I complained to my practitioner, she reminded that it was none of my business where or how my good will appear. She said, “If you continue to look for it, you haven’t developed your faith.”

I discovered there are three steps to building faith: Hope, trust and gratitude. Hope is a sense of doubtful expectation. We hope something good will happen to us but underneath,  doubt and fears linger. Those doubts and fears produce a type of anxiety called waiting. 

As we release the doubts and fears, we begin to develop trust. We have a deeper conviction in the creative process of life and develop greater patience. The stress of waiting is replaced by patience and a sense of calmness that all is well.

Here was the important part for me: not to look for the demonstration of good but to give thanks that it was already done. Gratitude is the expansiveness of faith.

I learned it was none of my business how my prayer would be demonstrated but I now give thanks that it is already received. Lesson learned. 

Affirmation: I give thanks that what I desire is already received.

Are We There Yet?

“Impatience is a failure to trust in the universal intelligence and it implies that we are separate from the all-providing spirit. Impatience implies that our ego is the boss of desire.” — Wayne Dyer

Have you noticed there is an impatient four-year-old who lives in your mind? Are we there yet? How much longer before we get there? How much time is this going to take?

Time takes forever when we are waiting for an event to happen but disappears when we are living in the moment. Time seems endless when we want our goal achieved but vanishes when we release attachment to the results.

George Leonard shares in his book, Mastery, that in martial arts training, there is a moment when it appears the student is no longer improving. The skill level seems stagnant and stuck. Actually on the inside there is an abundance of activity of the mind, body, and soul all coming into alignment. The challenge is not to stop practicing but to continue, regardless of the outside results. Progress is happening on an inner level that we can’t see. 

Change happens, not always on our time schedule. This is the practice of faith.

Faith isn’t something we turn on or off. It is a seed planted in us. As we nurture and cultivate it, our faith grows deeper, stronger, and more profound. We build faith when we find something to be grateful for in the midst of a challenge or experience, a moment of joy in the midst of sorrow.

Faith expands when we appreciate each day as a treasure and every experience as a gift.

May your days be filled with patience, faith, and a sense of peace that you are doing exactly the right task, at the right time, with the perfect outcome.

Affirmation: I have the faith to live each day with patience and peace.

Excerpt from Soul Musings: Finding the Sacred in the Ordinary