Sunday, September 23, 2012

Overwhelmed To The Point Of Tears

It has happened to me more then once recently.  I know when it's coming, too. Before, I never knew how burdened I was until I got down sick.  Sick and tired, and then I got angry because I was sick and tired. Now when I'm coming to a breaking point because of juggling all the things I need to do within a day, I feel the tears behind my eyes getting hot.  So I stop, I let everything drop, and I cry.  Stop, drop, and cry.  That's my survival skill.

There is something miraculous about crying.  Something magical happens when you just let everything go.  It's not giving up, it's giving over to the moment, because you see, sometimes the moment knows better then you do what needs to be done.  And stopping, dropping the "to do" list, and releasing the burdens through your tears is many times your best and healthiest option.  Those closest to us never like to see this either.  It's not for the weak at heart, or for the "fair weather" friend to see.  It takes strength to cry.  And a box of Kleenex.

I cried last week.  I sat on my couch and cried from deep down within me.  It was the kind of cry every overburdened mother knows.  Throw in a hefty dose of single motherhood, and you've got a recipe for a cleansing cry that will release endorphins you didn't even know you had.  Then you feel better.  Then you get yourself up, you make some tea, and set about the business of reviewing and revamping your life.  And for many of us, this will be the umpteenth time to do so. But not to worry.

Just do it.

Get ruthless.  Make a list of all the "stuff" you need to do within a week, and then cross out half of it.  Say "no" to the extra things you willingly took on, call those you promised to lend a hand to and tell them, "I'm terribly sorry, but you see if I follow through and make all those cupcakes for the class party, on top of the project I took on for my church, (neighbor, best friend, spouse, family, community, whatever),  I will have a nervous breakdown and scare the living hell out of my child, let alone all my cats, and I don't look too pretty when when I lose it".  Or, something else along those lines that would be less dramatic.  Be diplomatic, but be honest.  Something like, "I believe I have overextended myself and I must bow out of assisting you this time around", might be better then spewing what is really on your mind.

Then let it go.  No guilt allowed.  There is no virtue in being a multi-tasker.  There is no honor in "playing the room" and giving people what they want from us.  But there is great strength in allowing ourselves to be vulnerable, open, honest.  And there is great self-love in saying, "No".

I offended a lot of people last week by saying "No".  Be prepared for this.  Get a tougher skin and let whoever would make you feel bad about your decisions own their own feelings.  This is not selfish.  There are times in our lives when we have to focus on ourselves, our own home, our own needs and wants.   I have crafted a whole new weekly schedule for me and mine.  I have simplified my life (again), and I have narrowed my intentions onto just a few necessary tasks.  The world will be forever tugging at our sleeve.  People will be forever thinking you can take on just one more thing.  But, look around you.  Is your home suffering?  Are your children missing the time you used to spend with them?  Are you falling into bed at night at 12:30am because you had to stay up that late just to accomplish the tasks necessary so your home can run smoothly?  Have you been able to simply enjoy your home lately?  No?  Well then, get ruthless and cut out the superfluous "stuff" of your life.

"But I can't do this!  I can't upset my friends or family"!

They'll get over it.  Stick to your intention to simplify your life.  Get far from the "madding crowd" and ask yourself what you truly need.   And if it's nap, then take one.  Then get on with the business of streamlining the things that have made you crazy.  You're worth it.  And it beats the alternative, babe.

Don't end up getting down and sick and angry.  Cut it off at the pass.  Put yourself first, for once.  This is spiritual maturity.  This is wisdom.  This will be supported by the Universe, and once you re-prioritize and get serious about restoring sanity to your daily round, you will find an ease and grace return to your days.  And if you're not familiar with these companions, you're in for a treat.  You'll wonder why you waited so long to honor your needs.

And get out into nature.  Let nature heal you, let it show you how to stay within the season of your life. Watch how nature tends to itself without much effort.  Watch a tree blow in the wind, watch the branches bend without breaking.  Just watch, observe and ask for inspiration.  But first you may need to cry...

And that's okay.  It's the beginning of strength.

Until next time...blessings upon your weary heart

Cindy











Sunday, September 2, 2012

Handling The Storms

Well, it's been an interesting year so far.  I've grown in so many ways.  I've been tested, challenged, ridiculed, adored, fallen down, gotten back up, made a hard decision, known great joy, saw my intentions fall into place, and been scared out of my wits. But, I was able to perfect the talent of landing on my feet...every time.

I prayed for peace of mind.  I got storms.  I asked for a smooth road.  I got potholes. Man, I thought, what gives here?  Is the trick to not ask for what you want?  Well...

You see, all of these things have been for my personal growth, even though I never saw it at the time.  They are a gift bestowed by a benevolent Universe to show me that I have the chutzpah, the grit, the talent, the grace to handle whatever comes my way.  And don't get me wrong, I have days on end that are exquisite in their simplicity and joy, but my outlook during the rough times is what I believe paved the way for the good times to come.  I've learned to never ask for a problem-free life, but what I have asked for is the ability to be at peace amidst the upheavals.  We cannot control anything in this life, nothing is guaranteed.  Nothing.  The day I realized this is what led me to seek a way to keep my inner balance during the times that spiral out of control.  But the thing is this....everything comes round right again.

Have you even noticed that?  Maybe not according to your time frame, or maybe not in a way you wished for, but have you noticed that things have a way of righting themselves?  Grace is always at work in our lives.  I have been taken aback by people's anger, especially when I do not live a life of drama and anger myself, and I've been saddened by a sudden change of events, or the things I never saw coming, things that go against the grain of my life, and I've asked, "Why"?  But I don't stay stuck in the problem anymore.  I now ask, "Where does this lead"?  "What good can come of this"?  "How can I best respond in the face of this troubling situation"?  Then the answers come.

When the very core of your life is threatened, when you feel shaken, when you don't know how you'll get through, I have found it helpful to know deep within my heart that changing my perception of a situation is usually all it takes to turn it around. Every single problem that comes arrives with the answer already in place.  Our limited vision and small outlook is what hampers the swift recognition that you will be alright.  What we perceive as a problem is simply an opportunity to rise above and restore peace to our lives.  Does this sound simplistic to you?  When I first started on this path I thought this was a load of new age crap!  But I was so wrong.  So many of us can't see the answer because we are so close to the problem.  Da Vinci once wrote about stepping back from what you are working on, from what is troubling you, and taking three days to simply not look at it.  There's something magical about three days time.  When you loosen your death grip on your problems you allow new energy to flow into the situation.  We can get so hung up on a certain outcome, so focused on the details, when what is really needed is simply letting it go.  Now if your situation is dire, if you are being put out on the street for instance, there are immediate answers available to you in the form of agencies and resources that can help you now.  But even then, allowing a shift in your perception to occur, from "What am I going to do" to "Let's see where this leads", you have actually signaled the Universe that you are open to new experiences.  And the loving, divine, benevolent, all knowing Universe will come to your aid.  So next time it all comes crashing down on your head....you lose your job, you lose your home, your best friend, your bank account, your very sense of safety and security....make a tiny effort to shift your perception of what's happening.  The most devastating things that we see as terrible and undeserved often lead to a whole new life, and if not that grandiose of a change, then they certainly lead to new opportunities.  We never know who's around the corner, what opportunity, person, friend, situation or event that will occur and change your life, and move you forward.  But it doesn't happen by just waiting for it to happen.   The work that is required is your baby steps.  Keep moving forward.

And the bottom line is this:  You are bigger then your perceived problems.  There is a center within you that awaits your acknowledgement, and it will empower you and show you the way.  In just knowing how magnificent you are, your innate brilliance and inner guidance will come to the forefront...and you will be able to handle the storms of life with grace.

I will leave you with this:

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."  Marianne Williamson 

Until next time....blessings upon your heart

Cindy      

Monday, July 23, 2012

Getting Through A Drought


Every life is going to experience a barren patch from time to time.  Those places where our inspiration and ability to keep growing comes to a halt.  A drought can come unexpectedly, one day you're fresh and green, and a week later your life is full of burnt grass and deep cracks.  This spiritual path I walk aways has me looking for the meaning in everything, and what I know for sure is everything that comes our way comes bearing a gift in it's hands.  So, in having to endure over the last few weeks a heat wave that had many days of triple digit temperatures, and watching my normally lovely oasis of a back yard turn into a dried up patch of earth, I had to pose the question to myself...how does this apply to me?  How does this apply to life in general?  The first thoughts I had were: nothing is dependable, nothing stays the same, and you really can't control anything.  This drought we just went through sucked the very life out of everything.  I had carefully and lovingly tended my garden, and I was thrilled I had one again for the first time in three years.  I had abandoned the idea of having another garden when my life turned upside down over two years ago.  I decided to forego gardening for a while until I felt the inspiration return, and it did this Spring.  So, after having healed to the point of actually wanting a lovely thriving spot in my yard, what happens?  Hundred and five degree temperatures that went on for days.

Are you experiencing a personal drought right now?  A creative drought, perhaps?  Maybe your finances have dried up?  Maybe a relationship has gotten parched?  Maybe your energy or zeal for life has just left you?   These personal droughts are part of an ongoing process.  The flow that was once our life can become stopped up with all kinds of debris, or, if we stop tending our garden...our mental and emotional state of well-being...before you know it we start dying off, bit-by-bit.

And here's another question: how true are you to your own beloved self?  I mean, really?  In spite of my own better intentions, I've been guilty of being the kind of person that I thought others wanted to see.  You know, to fit in, to not ruffle anyone's feathers, to not be "offensive" to anyone's sensibilities.  Over the last two years since my divorce I have become my own woman in many diverse and exciting ways.  I threw off the shackles of a persona that had shrunk to the size of a Who living on a piece of microscopic fluff somewhere in a field of much bigger and prettier flowers.  I was barely audible. I was terrified of owning my life, and I was certainly not unique in any way.  But even today, more then two years later, I had allowed my life to succumb to the insidious practice of hiding my true self.  My own genuine thoughts became simply "my own".  My opinion became that of a non-opinion in order to not upset the status quo.  I told myself I didn't need to be heard.  Truth was, I couldn't stand the big loudmouthed opinions that were around me, everyone had an opinion on absolutely everything, and I thought by being quiet, by living the motto, "Do you want to be right, or do you want to be happy", I would somehow show that I didn't need to be heard, that I was content just letting everything and everyone "be".  But I fell into a trap of not wanting to upset folks, especially someone close to me, and I started to become a lesser version of myself, I became that too quiet woman of my former life.  I caught myself very sharply recently when I realized this, and it took my breath away for a moment.  I let had myself down.  Not good.  Not good, at all.  I was experiencing a personal drought of epic proportions. 

So in the midst of the recent drought going on here in Kentucky, I could clearly see the parallel in my own life.  My personal sacred ground had been drying up and becoming seriously and deeply cracked.  You know when the flow of your life starts slowing down, you also usually know what the debris is that is causing things to become blocked.  It takes work to stay clear eyed and focused on becoming the best we can be.  There are days it just comes naturally because we have become accustomed to living at a higher frequency, a higher vibration, where everything just falls naturally into place and we move through our days with ease.  But then there are the times when we drop the ball, we get lazy and just let things get stagnant.  I had been guilty of that recently, but in taking a brave look at what had caused this, I changed the course of my life and the dried cracked ground beneath my feet began to receive the life giving water that my tears brought to it. Change always brings strong emotions with it, so cry the tears of pure release and then let them go.  The tears I shed recently were a blessing and they will continue to water the fertile new ground that is now emerging.  

What has dried up in your life?  What has stopped the flow of you standing in your glory and living joyously?  When the landscape of your own life will no longer support your growth, cut away the weeds (you know what they are), pull them out by the root (go to the source and confront it), rake up your ground (prepare the way), and then water it by making a renewed commitment to tend the ground you are walking on....because it's your life darling, and if you're not growing, you're dying.  Nature is my teacher, conflicts and painful encounters are my teachers, too. Both have shown me where I needed to let go, where I needed to cut away, and where I needed to clear the dam I had allowed to be built in the middle of my life.  Then, and only then, will everything begin to flow once more.  

The most symbolic thing that occurred for me in the last few days was the rain that finally fell.  A glorious, cooling, drenching rain.  I stood in it, hands wide open, my face turned upward, and I felt a renewed sense I was free to grow once more.  I was free of other's expectations, free of intolerance, free of false notions and indecisiveness, free of what was causing me to become barren and small and fearful....and the rain fell like a benediction.

I invite you to examine your own barren patches.  How did they become that way, was it an insidious process, bit-by-bit, (like I experienced), or was it the fact you let yourself down and played small, and became someone you didn't know anymore? Be gentle with yourself when the realizations come, and when you get to the source, dig it up and begin to water your ground again, and water it deeply.  Then watch the blessings begin to fall like rain!

Until next time...blessings upon your heart

Cindy

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Transitions

I have figured out that one of my big life lessons is change.Things change, people change, places change, lives change, perceptions change. Nothing lasts forever in this material plane of existence, but what does last is your "inner knowing". These are the things that are unshakable, and they are different for each one of us. These are mine: my deep abiding love of "home", the love of my daughters, my absolute belief that I am loved and cared for by a power far above this human plane, and I'm strong, compassionate, loving...I am enough, just as I am.  There is an unshakable core in everyone that knows how to deal beautifully with life. When nurtured, this centeredness will allow you to be calm, flexible, buoyant, and expectant of a good outcome, no matter what. It allows you to be at peace when everything around you is running amok. I realized one day after being down on my knees one too many times, begging that I get through this or that crises, that I just needed to stay on my knees, I needed to stay in a state of surrender. Surrender is not weakness. Surrender is wisdom and strength.

 Living in a state of surrender will ultimately allow you to live in a state of peace. Giving up the need to control, or to see down the road at what lies ahead, frees up so much energy within us. Once you become adept at letting go and trusting that whatever is happening right now, if you choose to use it as a catalyst, will lead you to a better place. Once you know this, the fear abates. This is not an easy process at first, my friends. I know all too well how hard it is to give up a stranglehold on life, especially when it doesn't go our way!  But time after time when my best attempts at outsmarting a Universe that knows better then I do what needs to occur in my life, I found myself becoming more and more frustrated. What I wanted was to become calmer, able to move through the events going on with a certain poise and clarity, and the assurance that, "I can handle this"!

 I've heard it said, when you are thrown into a transition, when your world is being disturbed, it's time for you to move to the next level. It's time for you to bust open some formerly closed avenues. It's a natural cycle to get through something, have a time of peace, and then to be moved forward once again. I feared the times when I had to move again. I thought, "Can't I just have a peaceful, uneventful life for more then a minute"?  Have you ever felt that way?

 Well, if you never go out into the woods, if you never get lost or fall down, nothing will ever happen to you and your life will never begin.

 Don't be a boring human being, instead, grow into your magnificence. Ask for the Grace to move through the transitionary periods of your life. Simply ask that you except the day for what it is, find something good in it, then move through it. Day-by-day, moment-by-moment, if necessary. It takes some practice, it's takes some guts, but you are not alone...never have been, never will be. Avail yourself of the unseen, the teeming Universe that stands ready to support you. Ask for the light to be turned on in your life so you can see where you're going.  Then get going.  Essentially, the authentic power that is you will come to the forefront and lead you out and onward. Never fails.

 Until next time...blessings upon your heart

 Cindy

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

When Your World Is Torn Apart

On Friday, March 2nd, our beautiful state of Kentucky, our beautiful Bluegrass region of the world, suffered terrible loss and devastation when an F3 tornado ripped through the state just after 5pm. All in all that day, seventy-nine tornados blew through. Nearby Indiana had small country towns wiped completely off the map. The videos posted have been heartbreaking, footage of the awesome, terrible power of the tornados have circulated widely by now. There is no way to explain or make sense of it all. My own fear was hitting hard at about 5pm when we knew Lexington was just about to be hit. Eighty-five mile an hour winds briefly tore through the city, large damaging hail fell fast and furious. As I was heading out the door with my five cats, my child and, would you believe, my Irish Bodhran drum, (funny what you think is valuable at such a moment) the hail started. I ended up staying put, I somehow felt certain, and thanks to the excellent play-by-play reporting of our local meteorologist, I knew a tornado would not be hitting my house that day. It's a totally surreal feeling to think for a moment though you might lose everything you own.

After the worst had passed us by, I started to gather a few more items that had meaning for me...pictures, my mother's ring, my bottle Lemoncello (yes, don't laugh) and I suddenly realized I could easily leave it all in a heartbeat and never miss my "stuff". I have become very unattached to "things". They matter not. But as I was musing over what I would carry out with me should another round come through, several towns within the state, many not that far away, were being demolished. Homes, cars, buildings that have stood for a hundred years, lives, loved ones, children, all being thrown around like they were nothing at all. Sobering. We were so lucky. It could have been us, it could have been our city. It could have been my neighbors, my pets, my children. I could have died that day. It was the luck of the draw.

Life will hit you with a wrecking ball sometimes. Figuratively and quite literally. Lives are torn apart on a daily basis. But how do we begin again? After the shock, and sadness, and anger, there comes a moment when you decide. Even amidst unbearable grief, you decide. Do I move forward, or do I give up? But grief needs to be honored. Grief needs a witness. If I could simply sit with each and every one of those who have lost their homes, or loved ones, I would sit and listen. I would let their anguish have a safe haven where it could flow without judgement. We need to hold one another up. And if you have to physically hold someone up, then do it. But let them go through their emotions. Lean into it with them. And if it's you who needs to do this, please, please, don't go through it alone. There are people and invisible forces ready and willing to assist your recovery. I have so often read that people think we need Jesus. What I would say is that people need someone to be Jesus for them...or a Buddha, or a Divine Mother. Whatever people call upon as their faith, whatever it is they reach out to....they need it to be here, now, tangible. Suddenly it doesn't matter who believes what, what nationality you are, what political persuasion you are, what you're sexual orientation is. What matters, (and how I long for the day when this is the normal state of our being, and not just when something terrible happens) is to see people reach out to one another because we are bonded by our humanness, our brokenness, and simply because we are flesh and blood.

In the worst hit community, a week before, a local denomination had made their collective prayer one that they wished to be used somehow for the greater good of their town. It was a noble and humble offering up of one's life. Yesterday their spokesperson said they felt their prayer had been answered. Amidst their horrible loss, they resolved to go out and give their all to help others. Their purpose in their community had been revealed to them. And while I do not personally believe the Universe rains down devastation on us in order to show us what we need to do, I do believe it is within our ability to turn absolutely anything around into a positive.

If your life's devastation has come in the form of a natural disaster...or a divorce, bankruptcy, illness, death, you name it, and you feel as torn apart as these small towns, then make a decision. Use this event in your life as a springboard. Ask for help. Cry out loud till someone listens to you, grieve what needs to be honored. Then start again. A simple "yes" to what is will empower you to create what is possible.

In the spirit of offering up what we have to one another, I ask you all to do what you can. Please help in any way you can. People are hurting everywhere. Your neighbor may be just the one who needs your kindness. Let's not wait until something terrible happens. The time is now.

Until we meet here again....blessings upon your heart.

Cindy

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Staying Fluid

I am always thankful beyond words for the little blessings that spring up in my day: The fleeting glimpse and/or feeling that everything is going to work out....whatever the current situation may warrant. Something someone says that is just what I needed to hear. (How did they know?) Or the way the sun falls dappled across the bedroom floor through the lace curtains, dazzling my eyes and welling them up with tears for reasons I cannot comprehend. The cardinal that perches outside the window for just a moment, sparking my life with a flash of vibrant red on a stark winter's day. The sudden warm embrace from someone close to me. You know what I'm talking about, we all experience our own little moments of grace. What struck me today was a passing comment from a lovely lady, a yoga teacher no less, so how perfect when she said we need to stay fluid. I wasn't even in her yoga class this morning, I was simply talking with her about the possibilities available for me to come work at her massage and yoga center. But it was such a beautiful comment from such a beautiful lady, and spoken in a way that went straight to my heart. We need to stay fluid. To me it sounded like a river, and that's the vision that came to me. The force of water is awesome to behold...just think waves, waterfalls, thunderous storms, floods. But I also think of serene mountain lakes, gentle streams, the water in the birdbath in the back yard, reflecting the humming bird hovering above it. Many years ago I remember sitting at a river's edge in my beloved Rocky Mountains, and being struck at how strong and fluid the current was. It flowed along and when it came to a boulder it simply went over it or gracefully around it. That's all. It didn't stop, it didn't divert it's attention, it merely flowed effortlessly over and around whatever was blocking it's way. This was the message I needed today. Stay fluid. Flow. Don't stress. Adapt. Keep moving. Rigidity will get you nowhere, toots.

These are the lessons that are hitting me square in the face this first week of the new year. The Universe drops clues in my path all the time. Sometimes I trip over them and then hurry on my way. But sometimes I receive the gift with grace and gratitude, and often when I feel most desperate there will be that one thing, that one word, or phrase uttered, or something in nature that will strike me, and there it is....the gift of grace. And the tears come involuntarily.

Stay fluid. It's such a lovely vision though, isn't it? I see a supple, languid, lovely woman, serene in her countenance, going through her life lightly. Gliding around rocks and sinkholes, laughing as she leaps effortlessly over a downed tree or simply floating above the chaos to calmer ground. When I hold the vision long enough, she begins to look like me, and I find my breath has become soft and full and easy. I relax. Try seeing yourself this way. When you get good at it, your own face will become apparent to you as the one who is serene in the midst of whatever is going on around you. Your brow will let go and your face will soften. Try it.

All of my preconceived notions have taken a beating recently. All of them. And most of my ideas and expectations have been good and reasonable, meant to simply bless myself and those whom I love and serve. But as soon as I get entrenched in how things should go.....WAM! For someone who likes to see down the road to feel safe and secure, I'm having to learn to expect the best, but allow for whatever may come up and toy with my plans...and to not freak out when things go awry. Flow with it.

Be the river on her quest to flow down through the canyon and out to the sea. Where I'm going, I have no idea. Where I belong, I have no idea. Where I will be in as little as six months, I have no idea. But if I remain fluid, if I ease my way around all the obstacles that are cropping before up, and if I remember to allow for change, to allow for human frailties, to simply let go of my need for a certain outcome, then, and only then, does my life shine with grace. But let me say, even when we don't allow for the ebb and flow, life still waits silently for us. She waits with Her soft eyes, simply loving us and our misgivings and hesitations, still bestowing grace upon us, whether we know it or not. She allows us to find our way back. So either way, babe, you're blessed, and grace sits upon your brow. There is no judgment here.

Being fluid does not mean weakness or indecisiveness. It doesn't mean you have no backbone. It means you have quiet strength and are a force to be reckoned with. It means you have the power to flow with purpose and intent. But when life's big and little wrenches get thrown into your path, you have a more expectant outlook. A perspective that says, "Let's see where this leads"! The rigidity that may currently exist will melt away and be replaced with acceptance and trust that maybe, just maybe, there is a greater force at work in your life that knows better then you do where you need to go. Every single thing that happens to us can be for our greater good, our growth and prosperity. Flow like a river with the strength that has the power to glide over whatever is standing in our path.

Until next time....blessings upon your heart.

Cindy