Tag Archives: awakening

Enough For Today

14 Dec

Moments of clarity come, falling into my heart like snow, covering the dust and dirt, the anxiety and confusion, creating a new landscape of white.

I am thankful. Deep down in my bones.

My boot-covered feet crunch as I walk across our lawn to the mailbox, making new footprints in the white powder. I inhale deeply, let the cold in, let myself rest in the fleeting stillness.

I am here.

I am alive.

And it’s a beautiful thing.

The sky is already darkening, even though it’s only 3:30. I forgot how early it gets dark in the north. But I don’t mind it. The twinkling lights shine bright all over our neighborhood, a symbol that never gets cliche. My daughter points them out as we drive, never tired of the magic.

It’s hard to believe still, this is my life.

Lately I’ve been trying to get out of my head. To stop and take it all in, without the distractions, with all of my senses. My kids are brilliant at this. It’s all they know. Now, here. THIS moment.

I don’t want to miss it.

But I don’t want to obsess about not missing it either. Anxiety is sneaky and takes many forms. I am beginning to recognize the start of that spiral, when I back myself into a corner and refuse to see what’s right in front of me. My head takes me on an nightmare-ish ride.

I forget that I can stop the car anytime. I can get out and say,

“Not today. Today is a gift. Today is mine. Today is Yours.”

When the worry piles and piles in heaps till I feel like I can’t breathe, I stop and shake myself off and realIze I always had the breath, I just had to find it.

There is no lack.

This truth comes often lately, piercing through anything in my flesh, breaking open things to let the light in.

I have everything I need: physically, emotionally, spiritually. I am not waiting for the elusive one day, that day is here, now.

Even when the old familiar stresses push their way into my day, and I feel that urge to distract myself out of it, I know the only way out is thankfulness that puts me in the center of the present.

There is honey in the rock.

I take a moment to count my blessings. Because it’s anything but cliche.

It’s life.

Surprising friendships. Good people. Music that heals. A warm kitchen: nourishing food. My son’s sloppy wet kisses (heaven meeting earth.) Conversations with my daughter that leave me astounded. When she makes her brother belly laugh. My husband’s steady, faithful, unwavering love. Not dreading the holidays. New traditions. Coffee, always. Remembering why we celebrate: a baby born in the humblest of places, a moment in time changing everything forever.

Knowing we are home.

Really we don’t need much

Just strength to believe

There’s honey in the rock,

There’s more than we see

In these patches of joy

These stretches of sorrow

There’s enough for today

There will be enough tomorrow

(Sara Groves, Enough)

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How the Babe Stole Grinchness

23 Dec

It’s been a really hard year. The kind of year that sinks it’s cold teeth into you and chills you all the way through. A year filled with moments of darkness, feeling hopeless and asking God difficult questions. Moments of waiting, endless waiting. Silence when I just want a comforting voice.

At times I’ve felt tested and tried and slightly heroic through it all, seeing the purpose in everything and the warmth of my forced bravery. Mostly, I just feel like I am tattered and tired, stuck in a perpetual tumble dry cycle hitting the edges with a loud clank.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s been the best year of my life.

The bundle of joy currently talking to herself from her crib in the other room, on this Christmas Eve eve at the magic hour of 3am is my game changer.

Everything about my life has flipped on it’s head, and I can’t even write a personal, self-aware blog without feeling a little silly.

A few years ago while I was still fighting that early-mid 20’s reality check of getting “old,” a women who had a good decade or so on me said something that rattled me.

“Your 30’s are so much better than your 20’s, because life is no longer about you.”

As I am currently living the last half a year of my 20’s, I couldn’t be more relieved.

I used to make a big deal about how I wasn’t really into Christmas. I couldn’t stand the annoying music or get into the traditions. I blamed my “Grinchness” on the pull of materialism and the lack of real meaning in our culture. Now I find myself changing the radio station not to avoid, but to seek out those familiar songs.

grinch

As old and tired as Mariah singing about all she wants for Christmas and hearing another butchered rendition of Oh Holy Night are, it’s the first time my daughter gets to hear any of this.

It’s not even so much the fun of toy shopping, but the awe on her face when seeing a Main Street twinkling with lights, her smile reminding my tired heart how All Things Become New on Christmas.

So I am exhausted. But it doesn’t matter. I don’t have any answers. I am tired of waiting. But there is a grand scheme of things and she reminds me.

I am so glad life isn’t about me.

I sing her those songs sang a thousand times, those words that were once soaked in meaning from telling The Greatest Story, and as I do they become rich again.

I know as a writer and lover of metaphors there isn’t one more powerful than the stark, mad pain of pushing a human being out of your own dark body into the light. It’s the closest thing to hell and heaven in a moment and it changes you deeply.

And I think of a young girl, bone-weary and aching, still reeling over the scandal of her swollen belly, laying in the dark in a barn, questioning if all the angel told her was true or if she was just insane.

(How could God use me to carry this dream for the world, this perfection, this miracle? How will I do this? What will become of us?)

Then the waves of pain came, the sweat and screams and the dark, dark red vision.

And then a searing white and a head first dive into the coldest waters.

Suddenly warmth.  A system-shock of the most undiluted love in tiny human form.

Joy, to all the world, in her arms.

And a weary new mother rejoices.

Because she knew every ache and pain, every tear and sickness, every moment when her body couldn’t move right and she had to keep her eyes open when she just wanted to drift off to sleep, was all worth it.

The world was anew and life was no longer about her, but God’s seemingly insane and backwards plan to bring redemption to all the humankind.

And so we sing and celebrate and eat and give and count it all joy when we go through hard times.

Because light always trumps darkness, good and love always win. 

And sometimes it takes a baby to remind us.

Divine Unknowns

2 Sep

In the stillness of the morning
I close my eyes
and feel covered by a peace
that warms the sensitive
skin of my soul
fragile and yearning for comfort
a warm cup of obsoletes
in a room of shivering uncertainties

I don’t have a clue
but I’ll stay inside the mystery
this land of unknowns
it’s wild and open and free

I’d rather be here then the bleak, cold bus station
thinking I know my destination
riding in circles to fake conclusions
living half-awake with no anticipation
drifting into a monotonous drive
where everything looks the same
all is safe and colorless

I’ve forgotten how to be alive:

be here
where I don’t have a clue
inside the mystery
the land of unknowns
where it’s wild and open and free

I’ve been down this road before
a clear map in my imagination
pale faces line the highways
and I don’t turn to see
I am too focused on my destination
I forget the point of the journey

there’s no time for ignoring humanity
no room to fall for the same old spiel
lies to fake what’s inside of me
fear is a traffic jam in my head
and the noise is unprecedented

but love is the driving force
love makes room
for the swirling apprehensions
and the deafening doubts
love doesn’t fear them
love resists forcing a hand
or controlling a plan
loves steers off the wide road
and brings me home

so right now
I don’t have a clue
but I’ll stay inside the mystery
this land of divine unknowns
where It’s open and wild and free

I Know You.

28 Jun

I know you.

You think you are the only one who wakes up from a disturbing dream, and sinks back into the feeling that you don’t really want to be awake today.

You feel crazy when you start crying when fresh coffee cascades all over the counter. There is some kind of leak in your french press and you can’t find it.  This faithful friend is suddenly your enemy, determined to ruin your day.

You hate it when you get the urge to check your phone, but you do it anyways. Sometimes you do it so many times you feel sick. You tell yourself you are just making sure no one is trying to reach you, a text or even a simple “like” giving you a split second thrill, only to be replaced with loneliness.

I know you get online to try to drown out the unanswered questions in your mind.  You scroll through hundreds of pictures of colorful home decor and genius healthy recipes because you feel like you are lacking something.

I know you’re just around thirty and feel like that means your life should look like something else.

Like children in school, a mortgage and a career.

Like creating successful art and living independently in a beautiful, foreign city.

Like not constantly second guessing yourself.

Like not still being afraid to talk to people.

I know you look at old photographs of yourself with both a loathing and an envy, remembering the time you were so:

Naive.

Free.

Insecure.

Passionate.

Messy.

Then you shake your head, because even though you feel like a completely different person, the old one is in you, buried beneath experiences that have left you jaded.

But you are still yourself. You can’t escape that.

You think you are the only one who has let their dream die,  just watched it shrivel up in front of you. You could have resuscitated it, but fear got in the way.

“No… it can’t be mine. It can’t be real. It will never happen anyway.”

Sometimes, you feel the ghosts of those dreams hitting your gut from the inside, a pregnant flutter that comes from a line in a TV show or a billboard from a travel agency.

You know resurrection is possible, but not yet.

I know what you’re waiting for:

The Next Best Thing. 

Emotional Healing.

Marriage.

Moving.

More Money.

A Spiritual Awakening.

A different situation than the one you’re in.

I know you believe 90% of the time that’s where your happiness lives, and I know that the other 10% is spent with your internal eyes open, screaming at the rest yourself to WAKE UP.

I know you don’t want to spend your life distracted. You want meaningful relationships, you want to make a difference, you want to love yourself, love others and love God.

I know you’re tired of the formulas to achieve these things, the step-by-step instructions from people who seems to have all this and more just dropped into their lap.

I know your  jealousy for these people keeps you from seeing what they are really saying. You either vilify them or put then on a pedestal.

But in the end, it does nothing but drive a wider rift in your “us vs. them” mentality.

There is NO “us vs. them.”

I know you, because you are me.

You are all of us.

The greatest lie is that you are alone, that what you are experiencing is unique to you.

We are conditioned  to think of ourselves as separate, and so become emotionally vacant.

But this.

This is the human experience.

We grow up, lose our wild eyes and become slaves to worry.

We always want what we don’t have.

We compare, we criticize and we think we are different and alone, not good enough, too emotional, too fat, too weak to kick our addictions.

We search, we run away,  we stay put out of fear.

We love, our hearts break, we question God, we stop faking it.

We’d do anything to see our dreams come true, if not in our lifetime then our children’s or grandchildren’s.

We want our time on earth to mean something more. 

More than our years spent here. More than our words. More than numbers or old photos.

And somewhere in-between all of our experiences, all our pain and joy and “figuring things out,”

We come to see,  Life itself is grace.

and when we are really awake, that becomes enough.

listen

A Field of Empty Pages

19 Jun

 

some mornings

certain words

try to press into me

and  I can barely feel them

 

I shake off their outlines

like they never meant anything

though once they were air

now I choke and splutter

 

It’s always scary and amazing how

that which once felt like life

seems like death

and some of what I had mistaken

for death

is a lot like life

 

just a bit of it

enough to get me past

the raging feeling that

all of this is for naught

 

vanity, vanity

 

and I don’t have the energy

to disassemble

and interpret

the complex

mixed-up

stories

that repeat

over again in my head

 

with no understanding

lessons gone unlearned

headlines unheard

screaming warnings unobserved

 

poetry forgotten

I drag myself into a

field of empty pages

desperate for some awakening

aching for an exclamation

 

yet

when words fail me

I know I put too much hope in them

they are empty without

the meaning behind them

a heart with no blood

bones with no skin

love with no risk

 

you can’t read in the dark

so I must let the light in

Rebirth Certificates

25 Apr

I felt a poem coming at 2 am

accompanying a bright moon

dramatically revealing herself

an unearthly moment

crashing into a mundane one

 

as my dog relieved himself

on the scrubby apartment grass

 

I vigorously shook myself off

like a mutt coming out of water

all the while thinking

 

This must be rebirth

happening again.

 

and all the things I’ve fought so hard for

fall to the ground in droplets and evaporate

I feel a pulsating heat

rush out from the inside of me

cascading over my tingling skin

 

“What if waking up is the only thing worth pursuing?”

the moon posed a question

as the clouds swirled around her

showing off her talent

in visual effects

 

I want  to live in a certain world

I think

but faux certainty turns magic

to numbers and weather forecasts

 

I want so badly to know what comes next

yet I get mad at spoiler alerts

and bored when the ending is obvious

 

my lists and play-by-plays

settle my weary churning mind

only for a moment

before it rudely demands

the next thing

 

“What if the timeline doesn’t matter because

Real Life waits outside of it?”

the moon interrupted my musing

as my dog tugged at arm

 

and that’s when I saw it:

here and now

there and then

bleeding into one brilliant piece of art

hung on a starry wall

between a row of

my rebirth certificates

and this poem

 

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