Jean Anne Costa
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How to Get Ready for End Times

12/1/12
Affirmation: When I stay focused on the present my life is richer and more peaceful.
The world is about to end, again.  It’s true.  It must be.  According to the Mayan calendar the last day is December 21, 2012.  They have a calendar that’s 2000 years old and their last date is 12/21/12.  They were an extremely intelligent race.  Some have even speculated that they were helped either by visitors from another solar system or another spiritual realm.  What must be done to get ready?
Prophets and seers have predicted the end of the world since its beginning.  You’ve probably seen one or two doomsayers standing on a city street corner wearing a placard or shouting the slogan “Repent, the End is Near!”  The Apostles, especially Paul, were sure the Second Coming was to take place in the near future.  John wrote about his visions of the world’s demise in Revelations.  Nostradamus the world renown seer from the 1500‘s predicts quite clearly the path of our destruction.  There’s a special about his predictions that’s been aired for years on the History channel that I find be quite unsettling.  Edgar Cayce, the “Sleeping Prophet” from the early 1900’s also had some predictions about end times and Jean Dixon an American actress and famous astrologer was pretty sure she too knew when we would disintegrate. There have been too many willing to tell us when we will destruct.
One of the movements that is preparing for Armageddon is called the “Preppers.”  They have shelters, stocks of food, water and weapons.  They rotate their supplies so that they are always fresh and ready.  They say it’s a way of life, being ready for the inevitability of the end times.  In the 1960’s people were preparing just like today.  Many built bomb shelters with the same sense of doom that’s presently exists.  I wonder if some of the Preppers are using those same shelters for their preparations?  When I was a child we use to have air raid practices where we would have to hunker down under our plastic school desks.  I can’t imagine how that would have saved us from anything especially from something as destructive as a bomb.
I’m the queen of prevention.  Tell me something that might help keep me safe and healthy and I’m all over it.  I brush and floss, moisturizer, exercise, pray and meditate.  I’m ready!  I take my vitamins, calcium and keep a bottle of baby aspirin next to the bed and in my travel bag.  I’m ready!  I go for my yearly physical, dental exam and mammogram.  I’m ready!  Give me some guidance about how to stay strong, healthy and safe and away I go following the rules.  Recently I signed up for a class that’s being offered by my town about “disaster preparedness”. I want to know what needs to be collected, ready for instant departure should a hurricane, tornado or a tsunami threaten us even if I don’t live anywhere near the ocean.  One cannot be too careful.  Edgar Cayce has predicted that large parts of the United States coast line will fall into the ocean and those of us living inland will have prime beach property.  It doesn’t matter that it was suppose to happen in 1998.  A prophet can get their time lines a little skewed.  If the apostle Paul could be off by a few thousand years, Edgar can be forgiven for missing his target date by a few decades.

When we experienced the terrorist’s attack on September 11, 2001, I know I was not the only one who thought the world was on the brink of destruction.  Just like Alan Jackson’s song mentions in “Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning?” I found myself in church, holding hands with strangers.  I needed the comfort of my faith and my belief system took me to Mass.  I periodically attend daily Mass and usually we have about twenty people present.  On September 12, 2001, the chapel was full.  Father Bill Schmidt said the Mass that day.  His sermon was very powerful.  He shared that no one knows when the end of the world will take place, no matter what they claim. 

I am here, however, to tell you the prophets are right.  The world is going to end.  Our world as we know it will one day be gone.  Certainly, we will all at some time forfeit our personal space on this earth.  Each of us will at some time in the future no longer be here. Perhaps too, our earth as we know it will also no longer be here.  I’ve read where plans are being made for the creation of colonies on other planets in case we may need to evacuate. Life as we know it will change. 
I am, however, not joining the Preppers.  I’m not sure how I would react should I be faced with Armageddon and I’m hoping I won’t find out but I don’t want to believe I would be someone who would want to survive at the expense of my friends and loved ones.  I can’t imagine my having food and shelter and denying it to those in need.  If I did, who would I be?  Not someone I’d want to know or someone of whom I’d be proud.  I’m sure that would not be what my Lord would want of me either.
We all leave our mother’s wombs reluctantly.  We have no desire to leave the warmth and comfort of our known existence for the cold, new world we are destined to enter. For most of us it’s so much easier to stay in our comfort zones but just like the child at birth, we are thrust out into the new, into the unknown.  Every ending has a beginning.  If our global world as we know it does end, what will our new world be like?  Perhaps, as many are saying, we are on the cusp of a new age.  Perhaps, it will be a world that is kinder, gentler, more loving.  Perhaps!  Personally, we too will move on.  I believe we will move from this life into another and that too will be a place of comfort and peace and love.  I am, however, not going to focus on the future and the unknown.  That was part of Father Bill’s homily on September 12, 2001.  He reminded us that our responsibility was to live each day as if it were our last.  We get to choose to focus on living life to the fullest each day, each moment.  We can choose to focus on our relationships, our gifts and the preciousness of our existence and not to spend our energy futility preparing for the unknown.  By choosing to focus on the present, with a rational awareness of the future, we can live lives that are richer and calmer and more compassionate.  I’m ready!
“Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.”
Mother Teresa

Perfecting Christmas

Affirmation:  I let
go of perfection.

As of this writing the Christmas season has officially begun.  Today is the first Sunday of Advent. My
entire family will be here, all our children, all our grandchildren, all the
in-laws and my 90 year old mother. There might even be a few coming of whom I’m not aware. I feel blessed to be surrounded by so many loving
people and the really good news is everyone usually likes everyone else. I am
also blessed because I have the good health and the energy to do everything I
like to do for Christmas.

I love to decorate the house. I would like to leave my Christmas
tree up all year long. I love having red sparkly and gold glitzy things all
around. It makes me feel warm and enlivened. I love to put together the
Christmas cards and I love to snail mail them out to all the people on my list.
I like recalling the memories associated with each one as I write their names
and try to take enough time to say a small blessing over each envelope. I usually
send a photo card and I love to go through the year’s photos, re-live the memories and choose the best picture of each
person. I also like to do a photo family calendar. I was so excited the first
time I saw such a thing. I knew it would be something I would try. The first
year, it took me days to get it done. The good news is now it only takes hours.
I’m sure someday I’ll be even more efficient
but it’s OK either way. I love
going over the year’s photos and putting
different memories on each monthly page and then putting my loved one’s photos in the date box of their birthday.

In the South Christmas starts the day after Thanksgiving. Yes, it
starts much earlier in the stores; earlier and earlier each year and some of my
neighbors have their houses decorated before Thanksgiving. But, for many of us
here in North Carolina, at least in the area I live in, the decorations go up
Thanksgiving weekend. I love that too. I get to enjoy the festive sprit in my
home for about a month.


But, even though I am crazy about all the activities involved in
our celebration, I can stress out. Yes, there is good stress and there is bad
stress but stress is stress and it can be exhausting. Most of our traditions
seem to be activities that I have taken on as my responsibility. I purchase
most of the gifts. I plan the menu. I buy most of the food. I wrap most of the
presents. You can probably add to the list. Most women reading this probably
have many other items for which they feel responsible. I usually handle most of
our activities fairly well unless life happens. You know about life. Life is
what happens in between all our plans.

I like order. I like things neat and clean. There are times when I’m sure my desire for order borders on obsessive-compulsive. But,
the truth is there is only so much time and energy and money and at some point,
I have to let some things slide. It’s a requirement to
maintain my mental and physical health. I have several artist friends and they
occasionally speak about what happens to their art work when they strive for
perfection. They add one more dab of paint, one more stroke of the brush, one
more line to the drawing or one more turn to the potter’s wheel and they have ruined their work. From them, I have taken
the lesson that while I strive to do my best, I cannot always expect perfection
from myself. When I do that, I will consistently ruin my work and ruin the
enjoyment I take from the process. I must tell myself, “I let go of perfection.” The more I practice releasing myself from unrealistic
expectations, the more joyful I am. The more I practice letting go of going for
the gold, the more relaxed I am. And, when I can be centered and calm, my
Christmas, my life and the life of many of those around me is filled with the
things that are truly important to me and to the world; peace, love, joy,
compassion and gratitude.

May you and your loved ones have a Blessed Christmas, a Happy
Holiday season and a Happy New Year.

 

Answered Prayer

Affirmation: 
I believe in answered prayer.
Faith, what does that look like to you?  My husband says it’s “trust on
steroids.”  It has also been said the
opposite of faith is not doubt but certainty. 
I am not certain.  I have listened
to others talk about their faith and their relationship with God or for Christians
like myself, with Jesus.  I have heard
the stories of the “born again.”  Many
times I am filled with envy and always I am filled with quite a few questions.  My faith journey has been slow and steady,
climbing up, slipping down, ever hopeful that I don’t slip below my last
starting place.
I have not found it easy to be faith
filled.  I have to work at it every
day.  I appreciate being told, “It’s the
work of a lifetime.”  I hope, too, that
my lifetime is long enough to get me to a place where I can fully trust in
God’s love and care for me and for my loved ones.
I love to read and hear the sermons about
God’s bountiful love and care for us, His or Her children.  There are many preachers who see God as this
entity that only wants what’s best for us. 
And, they lead me to believe that His/Her best is also my best.  There is where the difficulty lies. I keep
wondering where martyrs fit in this picture of divine love and care.  On February 22, 2011 a group of four
Americans were captured and killed off the coast of Somali.  They were
sailing around the world since December 2004, on the yacht of Jean and Scott
Adams.  The Quest was their home, this couple from California.  The
two other Americans on board were Phyllis Macay and Bob Riggle of Seattle,
Washington.  When I first heard about Jean and Scott, they had been
captured by pirates and were being held hostage.  They were then
surrounded by the US navy and other helping vessels but, before they could be
rescued, they were shot dead.
I
was truly inspired by their adventurous spirit when I first heard the story of
their mission.  I know there must be many
people who have the same spirit and I just haven’t heard about all of
them.  But, Jean and Scott were in their 70s and they were sailing to
remote parts of the world to share the word of God.  Yes, I know a lot of
people are missionaries and I am usually in awe of anyone who lives a life so
far out of most people’s comfort zone.  They were not what I consider
young and here they were so far from their support systems.  What would
they have done if they got sick, or injured, or needed a dentist or as a friend
commented to me, “If Jean needed a massage, or a facial?” 
Obviously, their mindset was very different than most people.
But,
if they died doing God’s work, as have so many martyrs, why should I believe
that Jesus will take care of me?  Oh,
yes, I would like to believe that.  We
don’t get everything we ask for, sometimes it seems like someone isn’t’ even
out there.  Thankfully, sometimes we get
something even better than we could have imagined.  I can recall several specific times in my
life when I was praying in general for one thing and something so much better
came along.  It can take my breath
away.  When my oldest daughter, Melissa,
was a single parent we, her father and I, prayed daily for her well-being.  We didn’t know exactly what that would look
like but we knew we didn’t want her and her children to endure undue
hardship.  We were there for them in
every way we could be but we wanted her to be able to care for herself and her
children.  We wanted her to be
independent and self-sufficient in every way possible.  Our prayers were answered beyond our wildest
expectations when she met Larry.  Not
only did she find someone amazing to share her life with but along with him
came two wonderful new grandsons.
One
day I was overcome with worry about my mom. 
I was at a loss about how to help her and she was not capable of helping
herself.  I was so overwhelmed with the
responsibility that I simply turned it over to God.  I prayed, “Lord, I do not know what to
do.  Please send help.”  Then, I waited.  It wasn’t long before the phone rang and
right after that my family arrived, called and accompanied me to my mom’s
home.  A new “on call” physician arrived
and before I knew it, mom was feeling better. 
I hadn’t even had time to stop and thank God for His/Her response.  As I reflected later, I began to see the
blessings that had been sent and then I had to choose.  Was it just the universe stepping into
support us?  Would it have happened even
if I didn’t say a prayer?  Maybe, but I
did pray and it gave me great comfort to believe the help we received was
answered prayer.  I want to believe in
answered prayer.  I know I will never
understand it but I believe with every fiber of my being that prayer makes a
difference.  If I can tap into the belief
that my prayers are always answered, in a way that only benefits me, think of
the peace that can be mine.  It has been
promised, you know, Mathew 7:7 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you
will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”
I believe God never leaves me, if I ask
Him/Her to be with me.  It is I who comes
and goes.  I believe that through my
faith, I will be able to deal with whatever life throws at me.  And, that whatever that is, through faith, it
will be miraculously transformed into something good, maybe something great,
something beyond my wildest imagination. I need to believe.  I have chosen to believe.  I have chosen the theology and doctrine that
I grew up with.  It’s not perfect but it
enables me to live life with less fear and anxiety than I could without
it.  I believe it because I want to
believe.  That’s what most of my affirmations revolve around, what I want
to believe.   Yes, a loving caring God.  I know this question
has been asked and examined many times around topics even more horrendous than
what Jean and Scott endured.  Topics like:  war, famine, child abuse,
cancer and other life threatening or debilitating diseases.  Perhaps, it’s
not what happens to us, no matter how difficult; perhaps it’s how we perceive
what happens to us?  Perhaps if we practice trusting God, we can go to our
death with dignity and grace regardless of the circumstances, knowing that this
life is temporary and because of our faith, because of my faith in Jesus
Christ, I will share in the glory of heaven.  My faith and trust in Him,
will secure me life everlasting, with Him and all the Saints and Angels. 
That’s why I believe and why I am still working on it.   

The Path to Health; Forgiveness

Affirmation: I freely forgive myself and others.

What does it mean to forgive someone?  What does forgiveness look like?  Does it mean you must now become the
offender’s friend?  Does it mean you must
forget whatever happened that unsettled you or brought you pain?  Is forgiveness an emotion or a conscious
decision?  Once you make that decision,
are you done or is it a process?

Have you ever had something happen in your life that you
could not let go of? Something that seemed to haunt you? Something that you
were sure you had “gotten over” that kept appearing? Something that
kept coming up even in your dreams?

Forgiveness is a topic that appears in all spiritual
teachings and in many writings about improving one’s physical health. Of
course, one can’t really separate the two. Forgiveness is a letting go of
resentment and hurt.  It offers one the
opportunity to let go of perceived or actual injuries and move forward.  It does not demand that you dismiss someone’s
poor behavior or that you and your offender need to continue a
relationship.  It is not an emotion, it
is a conscious decision and it can take a lot of work!

I can be fascinated by my own reaction to what I think is a
“done deal.”  I’m sure I’ve put that
issue behind me.  I’ve prayed about it,
I’ve journaled about it and I’ve made a conscious decision to not hold onto
whatever it is that has caused me pain, whether or not it was intentional.  “I’m good with that,” I tell myself and then
something happens, there’s some recollection of the event and whoosh, I feel
like I’m starting all over again and I probably am but if I’ve worked on it,
I’m probably starting a little further up the spiral than in the
beginning. 

The Buddhists say when you don’t forgive someone it’s like
holding a hot coal in your hand and expecting it to burn the other person.  Christ’s main message was about love and
forgiveness.  Even after he had been
tortured and humiliated, He asked his Father to forgive His persecutors.  “Father, forgive them for they know not what
they do.”  (Luke 23:34) The one prayer he taught us, The Our Father, says, “…forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against
us.”  One of the church studies in which
I have participated, focused on forgiveness as a tool to bring one closer to
God and at one of the yoga workshops I attended which was taught in the
tradition of TIch Nat Han, the focus was also on forgiveness.

The Mayo Clinic has a whole web site devoted to how
forgiveness promotes health and healing. (www.mayoclinic.com/health/forgiveness) There’s also a healing movement that encourages people who have lost
loved ones to violent crimes to connect with the criminal and to offer an olive
branch.  I cannot even imagine the
fortitude and stamina that such a process must take but there are those amazing
people out there who accomplish such a monumental feat.  

My book group read, The
Girl in the Blue Dress
by Gaynor Arnold Catherine Taylor. It’s the
fictional story of the wife of Charles Dickens. It created a great deal of
conversation, which is one reason I am part of a book group. In the story this
woman went about healing herself of every shred of animosity she had with
regard to those who had mistreated her in her life. And, she was very poorly
treated, even, some would say, abused. Her husband disowned her, made her leave
her home and 6 of her 8 living children. Her sister took over the household and
kept the family from contacting her. Her husband had what everyone thought was
a mistress. Even after her children were grown, they did not connect with her.
She had a lot to be angry about. She had a lot of justified reasons for
resentment and she had quite a bit, as you can well imagine. But, after her
husband died, she openly accepted those people in her family who wanted to make
restitution. She didn’t demand a thing from them, other than an open mind and
heart. She even took herself to her husband’s rumored mistress and made peace
with her.

What do you think? Was she a weak, desperate person or was
she wise and strong? Was she so used to being used as a doormat that she no
longer knew how to stand up for herself, or was she so relieved to let go of
years of loneliness and shunning? All I can tell you, is that I found her
actions to make peace with her pain, inspiring. Oh, it’s so easy to hold onto
resentments, to work them over in our minds until we know we are right and our
nemesis is oh, so very wrong, perhaps even evil. But, truly, when I do that,
those emotions, those conversations I have with myself, don’t disturb that
other person in any way. The only one who is unsettled and disturbed is me.

One of my daily readings comes from a book called, Spiritual Insights for Daily Living.  I’ve discovered that some things have longer
“tails” than others.  They can be
draining and unsettling. Sometimes, I can’t even imagine why these thoughts that
keep coming up, have become so insistent, so obsessive. The reading from
January 21st helped me with this issue. “I am now ready for a
cleansing–getting rid of debris that I have harbored much too long. Anyone who
at any time may have contributed to causing disharmony within me, I bring into
consciousness and I see them clearly and honestly. As I visualize them, I say
with feeling and complete sincerity: “I fully and freely forgive
you.”  

We are called to forgive “seventy times seven.”  (Matthew18:22)  One of my studies called the injuries we
carry with us “wounds of the heart.”  We
were encouraged to carefully look back on our lives and make note of every
wound that had been inflicted upon us. 
Certainly, I’ve been very lucky and didn’t see any reason to pursue this
line of healing.  But, I would
participate simply because I was part of the group and this was our
assignment.  Once I cracked open the box
that held all those wounds, I was stunned to see just how many were still in
there.  I had things hiding in that box I
hadn’t thought of in years!  Once the
list began, I actually found some pleasure in making it.  Not only were old acquaintances on that list,
but my church was there and once in awhile, God’s name came up.  Then too I found way down in the bottom, my own
name.  So many things of which I had not
yet forgiven myself. 

Wounds of the heart take up space, space that can be used
for love and for compassion.  What to do
with them?  Now that I could see them
clearly, it was time to turn them over to God, an angel or two, maybe a
spiritual guide.  I visualized my taking
the list and folding it and placing it in a new box.  I closed the lid, locked the lock and placed
it way up on a shelf that would take a lot of effort to reach.  I am surprised when I find it has popped open
on its own and I have to reseal it. There are other more tangible techniques
that you may choose.  One would be to
actually burn the list. Do whatever it takes to begin the healing.  Yes, it takes me longer to let go of
somethings than others. But, it really helps me to tell myself;  I freely forgive myself and others. I know by putting this affirmation into practice, I am
happier, I am more peaceful and I am healthier. Truly, there are no justified
resentments. Let them all go, especially, I repeat, especially the ones you
hold towards yourself.

Blessings & Friends

I accept my friends as they are, fully appreciate the ways they bless
my life and hold them in my daily prayers.

There has been much written about how a social support system can
bolster one’s immunity.  Not only do they
increase our proclivity towards good health but they can increase our chances
for a long, fulfilling life. 

Relationships take work. 
Two people can meet and experience “love at first sight” but,
if that relationship is to survive, better yet thrive, it usually means it
needs to be nurtured.

Some friendships are low maintenance and others require a lot of
effort.  Friendships can wax and
wane.  How many people have you had in
your life that seemed to just disappear? 
It’s all a natural part of life although sometimes it can be hard to
understand. 

I’ve lived many different places and found myself almost
completely on my own many times, especially those initial days after my husband
and I had just moved.  When we moved to
Norwich, NY, a town of 7,000 people in 1971, I spent my first day in a motel
room with our six week old daughter while my husband began his new job.  The following weeks weren’t much easier but
this little town had a Newcomer’s Club with child care that saved my sanity, if
not my life.  Some of those women (yes,
we were all women) are still in my life and we, my husband and I left there in
1976. 

One of our moves took us to Cincinnati, Ohio.  I felt like I’d landed on the moon.  We arrived there with two small
children.  One of my first calls was to
the local Newcomer’s Club where I was informed I couldn’t join; I wasn’t living
within their accepted boundaries.  And,
such a club did not exist in my area. 
Goodbye!  As I stood there
wondering what I should do next, I saw someone standing at the backyard
gate.  She waved and entered my life, a
new friend.  Thank God! 

While in Cincinnati one woman shared with me that she noticed
some newcomers moving in down her street. 
I asked if she’d gone to meet them. 
“No,” she replied “I don’t have time for any more people
in my life.”  I was glad I hadn’t
moved by her.  That’s when I realized
many of the people in our neighborhood felt the same way.  It made me sad.  It still makes me sad and that was many years
ago.  When we moved from that community
one of the neighbors said to me “Moving again, honey?”  We had been in our home almost ten
years!  The interesting part of this
experience was that those neighbors who maintained a more open, adventurous
approach to new relationships were truly remarkable people, many of whom became
very dear friends and who to this day we still consider dear friends. 

We have now lived in North Carolina for over twenty-five
years.  We’ve been very active in the
Triangle community, supporting, joining and working for many organizations.  We’ve been mostly blessed by the
relationships and friendships we’ve forged. 
I once heard a woman proclaim that once she stopped going to her
children’s school bus stop, she stopped making new friends.  I haven’t been to a school bus stop in over
thirty years but by embracing life, trying new things and staying committed to
those I enjoy, new and wonderful friends keep appearing.  Both my husband and I embrace those good
folks who open their lives, homes and hearts to new relationships. 

We need those relationships. 
We need to have people in our lives, other than family, who care for us
and for whom we care.  Each person in our
life brings a different blessing.  One
may be someone you can go to with health issues, another someone with whom you
play.  Another may be of a similar
spiritual proclivity, while another may not be and cause you to question and
grow.  One may be someone who likes to
take a walk and another who likes to sit and talk.  One may live close by and share in several of
your activities and another may live far away and connects only
periodically. 

Sometimes we choose to end a friendship and at other times that
ending is chosen for us.  When there is a
clear reason for the dissolution of the relationship it can be easier to let go
and move on but when it remains a puzzle, it can be much more difficult to
disconnect.  This rift can create a wound
in the heart that may require a healing balm; prayer, counseling or both.  There is not always a clear vision of why
someone has chosen to drop out of our lives. 
We can find ourselves wondering what we did when many times it had very
little to do with us.  I had a longtime
friend who dropped me very suddenly and no matter how I reached out, there was
absolutely no response.  I couldn’t
imagine what I had done.  Several months
later I ran into a mutual friend of ours and was told she had stopped
contacting him too.  Eventually, we found
out that she was suffering from severe depression and had disconnected herself
from everyone.  It reminded me of calling
someone and having them hang up on me as I stood there wondering what in the
world I had done to cause such a reaction only to find out there was an
emergency taking place.

There are times, however, when it is essential to end a relationship
especially when that friendship has become toxic; when the friendship saps your
energy and is causing you to become unwell. 
When you have done all in your power but to no avail to sooth the
distress this relationship is causing, it is probably time to walk away.  I feel it is best to let that person know you
wish there was another way but for your well-being you need to separate.  It’s never easy, although the other person
probably also recognizes there’s a problem. 
But, even in our difficult friendships there are blessings to be
found.  Even those people who drove us
crazy added to the fiber and the color of our lives.  Perhaps they are the reason we are as strong and
resourceful as we are; by dealing with them we learned how to care for ourselves
without holding onto any ill will.

My favorite friendships are those that develop because of similar
interests and scheduled activities.  They
always seem like the easiest.  These
remind me of baking a cake.  Once I’ve
mixed all the ingredients and poured them into the pan, I simply have to put it
in the oven and watch it rise.  But, not
all relationships afford us with those easy opportunities.  Many of my friendships must be carefully
nurtured to make sure they are sustained and continue to grow.  I may have to do this by setting aside
specific times to share a meal; perhaps it means an email or even an old
fashioned letter.  I love to send
snail-mail birthday cards.  

My goal is to maintain healthy, enriching friendships while also
keeping enough energy to care for myself. 
It can be a very thin line especially with the availability of
connecting via all the latest technologies; email, Facebook, Twitter etc.  It seems every day I decide how much energy
is going into my relationships and how much I must reserve for myself.  One way I do this is by praying daily for my
friends, those far and near, those dear and daunting, those easy and
challenging.  I believe that my prayers will
bless their lives and that way, even if I’m not actively contacting them, they
are in my thoughts and in God’s hands. 
My intention is to value each friend for who they are and what they
bring into my life.  I’m not here to
judge them.  I am here to simply accept
them and whenever possible to love and support them.  It helps me to remind myself “I accept my friends as they are, fully
appreciate the ways they bless my life and hold them in my daily prayers.”
 

Learning to Love Your Life

Affirmation:  I savor life.  I glory in life.  I love my life!
I love my life. 

I haven’t always felt that way but I wanted to feel that way and isn’t that what affirmations are for, to empower us to create our own reality?  
I can remember very clearly the first time I heard someone say, “I love my job.”  I was a teacher in a rural middle school.  I’d been teaching for several years.  The gentleman who spoke those words was the English Chair of this very small school, three people in his department.  How much money could he have been making?  I knew that wasn’t the reason for his happiness.  I didn’t ask him why but over the years, I listened for others to say the same thing and I very rarely heard it.  How often have you heard such a declaration?  
Then, one day many years later, I heard a woman say to me, “I love my life.”  She had shared with me in the past how unhappy she was, so this time I asked why.  She had made some very conscious choices and some very drastic changes.  She had moved to Italy, took up painting and dancing and fell in love with life.  Was it necessary to make such drastic changes in order to love life?  Were there other tools she could have used to find happiness without moving to another continent?  

Our dear friend Oie Osterkamp is the director of the Ronald MacDonald House here in Durham, NC.  Most of his life has been dedicated to helping other people.  His writing is all about making the lives of others better, richer. 

His first book is called Sharefish  (the opposite of selfish.)  He then went on to create Sharefish Int’l (http://www.sharefish.org) an organization dedicated to “bringing  hope to the hopeless” in Honduras.  I don’t know the exact number of people who interviewed for the directorship of the Ronald MacDonald House but I remember it was a very large number.  My husband and I were with him right after he received the news of his appointment.  Of course, he was ecstatic.  He told us “I was born to do this.”  What a gift, to be employed doing something you love.

At the time of this writing, Earline Middleton, Vice-President of Agency Services & Programs for the North Carolina Food Bank (http://www.foodbankcenc.org) has worked there for many years.  I came to know her through the Young Women’s Christian Association.  She and I sat on the board together many years ago.  Then, my mom, Margaret Grolimund, became one of their dedicated volunteers when she moved here.  One day, Earline shared that she had when she first took the job at the Food Bank she had no idea she’d be with them for so long.  She said she was “lucky” she had taken a job and found a passion.  

We’ve read about them, we’ve met them, perhaps we are them, one of those people who knew from an early age what they were destined for, what they were created to do.  Patricia Sprinkle, prolific writer and teacher shared with our class that she picked up a career brochure one day when she was fourteen which defined “writer”. She finished reading it and thought, “Oh, that’s me.  I’m a writer.”  And, so she is. Her passion for writing is palpable.  It truly is a gift, don’t you think?  When someone is born with a talent that presents itself to them at any point in their lives, but especially at an early age. 

I have always been fascinated by Dale Chihully, the famous glass blower.  His works are stunning, massive and he has exhibits all over the world.  He once created The Tower of David exhibit in a section of Jerusalem.  It was one of the most remarkable things I’ve ever viewed although I had to imagine the full effect by relating it to the exhibit I actually viewed at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens.  I can’t imagine how he discovered that he was to be one of the best of such an unusual talent.  I think if most people had been born with such a rare gift, it would go unfulfilled.

Have you ever heard an adult say “I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up?”   It seems to me, that’s most of the population but it’s never too late.  When I facilitate Artist Way workshops, we use Julia Cameron’s process to discover what it is that brings us fulfillment and joy.  What nurtured our creative spirit when we were children; what nurtures it now?  What is it that we get lost in doing?  I have watched many people come through the program with a sense of awe when they discover what they have set aside and almost lost in the name of surviving only to see their passion for their gifts is still there.  It’s just been lying dormant waiting for a little sunshine to bring it forward.  

Sure, if I moved to Italy or even went to visit for an extended period maybe, maybe I would feel like my friend.  But, maybe I can create, here and now, a life that I can claim to love.  I am the author of my own life.  I am the sculptress of what I want my life to look like.  With some soul searching, prayer and a supportive community, I can shape a life I love.  One of the most powerful tools to us is to come up with an affirmation affirming how one feels about their life.  Can one change the way they feet about life by simply stating “I love my life?”  I decided to try.  So, I created the affirmation,  “I savor life.  I glory in life.  I love my life!”  And, I claimed it, I wrote it, I read it every morning.  Then, it happened.  I realized, I did love my life.  I have surrounded myself with love, love of God, family, friends.  My life is really cool and I feel wonderful about it.  This is what I believed happened.  By the power of my affirmation, I slowly began to change.  I became more conscious about my decisions, about what I chose to do and not to do, about who I chose to be with and who I did not want in my life.  The affirmation worked just like affirmations do.  It slowly permeated every fiber of my life and without struggle I was off “living in Italy” painting, dancing and loving my life.  

Reach Your Full Potential

Affirmation:  I encourage my loved ones to reach their full potential.

This week I am sharing what my husband of many years wrote about his 2012 experience at the JCC Folk School.  I am so excited to know he has decided to use his hands more often to get in touch with his creative self.  I usually have a whole list of things for him on the weekends, all of which involve some sort of “hands on” activity.   I can’t wait to tell him my affirmation and encourage him to reach his full potential.  I know he’ll be so excited!

“Look at what I made!” The Hand Teaches the Mind Many Useful Things

Last week I made the wooden bowl pictured here. Crafting this bowl is one of my most satisfying accomplishments in quite some time. It’s also a surprise that I could actually do it, adding to the pleasure and humor of the thing. At this point you may be saying to yourself, “This poor guy has lived a pretty shallow, uninteresting life.” But hear me out. The point is that I made the bowl with my hands.
Jean Anne and I have just returned from our annual pilgrimage to the John C. Campbell Folk School, at Brasstown, North Carolina, in the Blue Ridge Mountains, far from the city. The school is one of the most creative learning centers in the country. Based on the Danish folk school model, it was founded in 1925 by John Campbell’s wife, Olive. Today it provides year-round weeklong and weekend classes for adults in craft, art, music, dance, cooking, gardening, nature studies, photography, and writing. As the school’s literature says, students’ experiences “in non-competitive learning and community life are joyful and enlivening”–exactly what we needed!
Folk schools are non-competitive, allowing students to learn at their own rate. As the website explains, “The folkehojskole (folk school) had long been a force in the rural life of Denmark. These schools-for-life helped transform [the people of] the Danish countryside into a vibrant, creative force. The Campbells . . . establish[ed] such a school in the rural southern United States as an alternative to the higher-education facilities that drew young people away from the family farm.”
This year I took a course in wood turning. I was taught by two highly skilled instructors how to carve a bowl out of a quartered log, a piece of wood in all ways similar to countless pieces of fuel I feed to our wood-burning stove with nary a thought. Another thing that was so remarkable is that at first I couldn’t imagine where the bowl “resided in” the piece of wood. Slowly, by starting out on the project though feeling I was working somewhat in the dark, I learned to see. And I recalled that after Michelangelo had completed his “David,” he was asked to explain how he’d taken a raw block of marble and carved the elegant yet strong figure of the young man. “He was in there,” the sculptor replied. “As I carved the marble away, piece by piece, I simply set him free—and there he stands.”
I chuckled to myself at that thought, knowing my 3-D imaginative gifts were far from the Italian master’s. But as I worked on the lathe, learning patience and focus, slowly finding the bowl’s best nature and adapting my hand and eye to what in nature that might be, I found myself becoming engrossed in the activity. I was soon completely caught in the moment. And I started to see, too, how therapeutic it is to work with your hands, bringing your own hands and eyes, your own energy into harmony with nature’s energy.

There is a frequent match play—a verbal game, where we fence about unanswerable, and in most cases highly impractical, questions—“What is more difficult, more trying, to work with your hands or be making a living in a manner that is less physical, more brainy?” My answer is who cares? Particularly because there is a cultural elitism that believes folks who work with their hands are a notch below cerebral wage-earners. Rather, I suggest that a more rewarding exploration would be to reflect on which type of work is more nurturing? And, following on that, how can we make the other type of work, the head-centered kind, more nurturing too?
Understand that I am not suggesting that we slide out of our current vocations and apprentice to a blacksmith or a cobbler or a wheelwright. What I am suggesting is that instead of relying on the latest self-help book to right a teetering psyche via reading the book, a mental activity, let’s think about making a quilt or binding a book—really! When Charles Darwin was worrying over a difficult issue, he would go into his garden and weed the flower beds. Winston Churchill built stone fences when his decisions and responsibilities were weighing too heavily. Surely you know countless individuals who have been eager to retire into a more intensive study and practice of their favorite hobby, often one that caused them to create things with their eyes and hands in concert.
The fact is that working with our hands is one of the most powerful forms of meditation I can imagine. When you turn wood as it spins on the lathe and your cutting tool unearths the layers of cellulose fibers, you see a constantly changing symphony of rings. Colors appear against a background as you discover embedded knots and imperfections. Can you imagine a more magical way to employ your hands and your mind! And all of this benefit is without even mentioning the obvious: at the end of the project, you have made something new, something fine that wasn’t there before; and since you are now an artisan, not an artist, the new creation is beautiful and useful.
Because of my experience at the folk school, I’ve come to see that the best way to flourish at your thought-work daily is to make sure you take time daily, or perhaps for a good part of the weekend, to work with your hands. If your business has a mission of understanding more closely the world or some aspect thereof while improving the lives of others—and whose does not?—then work toward completing that mission by sculpting, building, making something every week. Here’s why: J. Bronowski, in his 1973 book The Ascent of Man, writes that “Discovery is a double relation of analysis and synthesis together. As an analysis, it probes for what is there; but then, as a synthesis, it puts the parts together in a form by which the creative mind transcends the bare limits, the bare skeleton, that nature provides. . . . Thus, we have to understand that the world can only be grasped by action, not by contemplation” or intellectual problem-solving at our desks or in conference. “The hand is more important than the eye,” Bronowski concludes.

As I turned the lathe and carved my bowl last week, I was practicing bringing together analysis and synthesis of sensed data—wood, carving tool, force, motion, my hand in time—to make and do something—learning a practice that will help me to do a better and healthier job daily in what some people call my real work. But now I know that there’s more to preparing for that work than I thought. Plus, Jean Anne and I have a light-filled wooden bowl to use in our house.

May All Your Dreams Come True

Affirmation:  By pursuing my dreams, I help to make the world a better place. 
The newspaper article was about an organization called Wish of a Lifetime.  It explained it isn’t the only organization of its type.  There is also The Twilight Wish Foundation, The Bucket List foundation, Forever Young Senior Wish Organization and S.H.O.W. (Seniors Having One Wish.)  They all have the same goal; to grant a wish to an elderly person who is in desperate need of a morale booster.  The article’s photo was of centenarian Miriam Krause.  She was shown in the basket of a hot air balloon.  She had requested a ride for her 100th birthday.
 
 How do you feel about seeing dreams come true?  One of my prayers for my children is for “true dreams.”  My husband’s philosophy regarding a parent’s happiness is, “On any given day most parents are as happy as their unhappiest child.”  When he first shared this with me our children were teenagers.  Now, they are adults and that philosophy is as true today as it was then.  Therefore, it is my best interest to pray that their dreams come true.  Now, I have added my grandchildren.  Actually, my daily prayers request God’s “favor and blessings” on everyone I pray for, those I pray for by name and those in the world “who most need Your mercy.” 
Do you have a bucket list?  In case you need help putting one together there are all sorts of web sites that have lists on them to help you along.  One such site is Bucketlist.org.  It actually offers “10,000 things to do before you die.”  The first time I became familiar with the term, Bucket List, was from the 2007 movie by the same name starting Jack Nicholson & Morgan Freeman.  As of this writing, Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman are still going strong and I would imagine there isn’t much on which they have missed out. 
I was surprised that it’s fairly common for teenagers to have bucket lists.  My granddaughter has one.  So far, I think the fun for her is discovering those things she wants to add to the list.  Certainly, I hope she has as long as Jack or Morgan to work on checking off her dreams. 

Our dream list can be very different at different times, just like our prayer list.  In times of peace, our dreams can be very specific, like a new house or a vacation or perhaps time to enjoy our favorite activity.  When my husband and I went on a tour of the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville we were paired with another couple.  The Ryman is the original home of the Grand Ole Opry.  As we were escorted into Johnny Cash’s dressing room, I noticed the gentleman on the tour with us became very quiet.  He almost looked like he couldn’t catch his breath.  I looked at him with concern when his wife spoke, “This is his dream come true.  He has always wanted to see the Ryman and where Johnny Cash had his dressing room.”  I loved being in this place with this man when he realized one of his dreams. 

In times of strife, our dream list can be more universal.  Our dream may be for a world filled with peace, good health and safety for all.  For me, the greatest dreams are those that will improve the world’s conditions.  Of course, one cannot deny that when an individual makes his or her dream come true, the world does become a better place.  But, when I see and read about those people who dream really really big and bring them into reality, I am awed.  In the same newspaper issue that had the Wish of a Lifetime story, there was also a story about Hunger in the USA.  It highlighted several organizations that glean food. “Volunteers descend on farm fields and reclaim some of the estimated 7 billion pounds of fresh produce left in the fields or sent to landfills each year, recovering it for the plates of millions who can’t afford it,” according to Chuck Raasch of USA Today.  Many of the volunteers are school aged children.  Gleaning is not something new.  It was practiced as far back as biblical times.  I like to imagine, however, that the modern creation of gleaning was someone’s dream.  They saw the waste and decided to gather it up to feed the hungry. 
My church, Saint Michael the Archangel in Cary has a sister parish in Honduras.  Each year we contribute to the needs of the people in that parish.  We provide books and clothing for children, build buildings, provide medicine and the ability to acquire clean water.  A team of parishioners travel there each year to do whatever they can for the sister-parish.  My daughter in law, Belen Baca Costa and her family have an organization that raises money for the poor of Ecuador so the children will have presents at Christmas time and those families, therefore, won’t be forced to beg on the streets (http://hotelcotopaxiecuador.com/NoBeggingProject/tabid/333/Default.aspx)  When I was at the John C Campbell Folk School, my teacher, Patricia Sprinkle, author and creative writing teacher, shared the story of her journey to India to teach creative writing to the “untouchables” and of her work in the Church of the Brethren with whom she had recently led a group to help children in Louisiana after hurricane Isaac.   Thank God, these are just a tiny example of the good people who are doing by pursuing their dreams.
Of course, one need not look to or go to a foreign country to make a positive difference.  Every day people walk out their front doors and head off to help others.  Our volunteers can be found in hospitals, homeless shelters, food banks and schools to name just a few.  I myself had the dream of creating a yoga retreat for breast cancer survivors and from that dream came the Pink Ribbon Yoga Retreat (.org)
Organizations that are born from the dream of someone who wants to make a difference in our world must also be part of God’s dream.  End abuse, cure cancer, bring solace to suffering, food to the hungry, shelter to the homeless; the dreams of a higher order and each individual who steps out to add to the comfort, to bring “favor and blessings” to another are part of the vision our world so desperately needs. 
There are so many dreamers in our world.  What’s one of yours?  So many dreamers have made their dreams reality.  Whether it’s a trip to a far away place, a new charitable endeavor or a ride in a balloon, it’s important to pursue our dreams. Yes, each time a dream comes true, the world becomes a brighter place and isn’t that exactly what the world needs, more joy and more light?

Put on Your Glasses, Change Your Vision

Affirmation: I am a lifelong learner.

Our vision is a gift, one of our most valued senses.  How we see the world colors our whole attitude.  Have you ever heard “It’s 10% aptitude and 90% attitude?”   What about the difference between an optimist and a pessimist?  “A pessimist is right 100% of the time.”  We get to choose moment to moment whether or not we will see the glass half full or not.  What if we could simply put on a different set of specs to help us change our perspective?

There are people who want to expand their view of the world and then there are those who want to stay in their safe places.  Unfortunately, it’s easier to stay “safe”  especially as one ages.  If you’re not careful, your world can become smaller and smaller.  You may start making choices to stay safe which begin to limit your experiences.  One must make a conscious choice to continue to learn and to grow.  I once heard it said,  “You can be green and growing or ripe and rotten.”  It’s our decision.

It’s helpful to be able to see when we want to move forward.  Sometimes, however, it’s more important to look back, to see where you’ve been and what you’ve learned from the road previously taken.  No matter in what direction we are looking, or from what vantage point, high or low, we can use our vision to enhance our experiences. A top ten Toastmasters speaker used the topic “The Click that Sticks” to talk about his life experiences and how instead of trying to capture everything on a camera lens, he chose to imagine his eyes being the camera and recording the event onto his brain, making it “the click that sticks.”

I wonder if people’s height has anything to do with how they see the world?  I know I love being up high.  I love it when I have the opportunity to look at the world from a plane, a mountain or a even a hill. I’m 5 feet tall, so usually my vantage point is upward.  One day many years ago at a NCAA basketball tournament I left my seat during intermission to find a pay phone (many,many years ago) and call home.  The sign for the phone was several yards up ahead at the end of this very long line. My view was so limited that I could barely see the top of the sign because of all the tall men in front of it.   I was surprised so many people needed to use the phone, until I got closer.  I was in line for the men’s room.  My vision had been so limited, I waisted time waiting on the wrong line.

At some point in our lives most of us find ourselves wearing glasses to help us see.  Some need glasses at an early age, others not until they are older.   There are many different types of eye conditions that require some help to allow people to see clearly.  Sadly, for some glasses can’t help at all, they are blind. 

Have you ever been in complete darkness, no little LED lIghts anywhere, no moonlight, nothing but blackness?  I once participated in a smoke lodge ritual.  The rocks were heated for several hours before they were placed in the center of the makeshift tent.  Once the inside of the lodge they reached a sauna like temperature, then we were invited into the session.  The heat enveloped us and began to immediately sooth any aching muscles.  Then, they closed the flap.  I couldn’t breathe!  Suddenly, the heat felt like I was being wrapped in a heavy flannel blanket, from head to toe.  “Deep breath!”  “Deep Breath!” I told myself.  Then I noticed there was a tiny bit of light seeping in under the edge of the flap.  I was saved!  I found my breath. 

Helen Keller was blind from birth.  Not only blind, but also deaf.  Her story so well know as The Miracle Worker tells the tale of a young girl completely isolated from society because of her disabilities.  But, with the help of a gifted and dedicated teacher, Anne Sullivan, she became a world renown author, political activists and lecturer.  She was the first deaf-blind person (man or woman) to earn a Bachelors of Art degree.  She had “vision” even though she did not have sight. 

One of my efforts to stay green involved going to a writing workshop at the John C Campbell Folk School.  There Patricia Sprinkle, our teacher and gifted author asked us to write a description of a familiar place.  Seven students sat in the cozy “writing lab” overlooking the green meadows and tree covered mountains.  It was the beginning of fall and the trees had just begun their colorful metamorphosis.  We all wrote about some place we knew well and then we shared our stories.  But, we had left things out, things like the doors and the windows of our familiar places, things that we saw all the time but had stopped noticing.  Patricia suggested we put on our “writer’s glasses” to enable us to see things in a new light.

One of my study groups in my church is working on how we can improve our relationship with God.  The lady who does the DVD lecture told a story about wearing her “blessings from God” glasses.  She said she imagined them to be rose tinted and enabled her to more easily see the gifts God bestowed on her on a daily basis.  Now, our writing instructor was telling me to put on “my writing glasses” to enable me to see the world differently than I was use to seeing it, to help me see it from more than one vantage point or to renew that which had become familiar to me. 

I like the idea of putting on different lenses to see different things in my life not only more clearly, but differently.  Perhaps, that’s what it was like for Helen Keller.  Even though she couldn’t see and she couldn’t hear, she put on the “glasses” that Anne Sullivan created for her and she was able to see the world in so many different ways, perhaps more clearly than many of us sighted people. 

Shakespeare wrote “The eyes are the windows to the soul.”  What happens to our souls when we put on different glasses?  Anything?  Does it expand and grow?  Does it change color, become kinder, warmer?  Does our expanded vision bring us closer to our spiritual self, to our God?  The answer is, it’s up to you.  You get to choose what you want to see and how you expect it to impact your life.  My newest pair of glasses to don are my “writer’s glasses” and I’m very curious to see what my new “glasses”, my new vision will reveal to me.  What about you?  Is there anything you’re interested in seeing from a different perspective?  It doesn’t have to be a new subject for which you might need different glasses, perhaps it’s a relationship or it might be a philosophical perspective.  Put on your new glasses, change your vision, broaden your horizons.  It may just be the tool you too need to see your dreams or concerns in a whole new way.

Time is My Friend

Affirmation:
Time is my friend. 

Many
years ago, while I was waiting in a shop for service, there was also an older
gentleman waiting.  When the time came for the next customer, he motioned
for me to go ahead of him.  I protested, even though I was in a
hurry.  He insisted.  Then he said to me, “Time is my friend.” 
This was my first affirmation and I have been writing it, reading it and saying
it to myself ever since I began practicing positive affirmations.  I must
say, it is one of my most challenging. 

I
try to live in “divine time,” as my dear friend and healer, Valerie
Kelly, called it.  Divine time is where I simply go through my day knowing
that everything will simply fall into place, not worrying about when I leave,
when I arrive or if I’m late or early, but that’s a very rare event.  Most
of the time, I am struggling with getting it all in.  I want more
time!  I believe Valerie’s healing touch began before I ever arrived for
my appointment.  My appointment was
usually sometime around 2:30 in the afternoon. 
Many times, I arrived and Valerie wasn’t ready to see me.  At first, I was annoyed.  This was just not how things are done in my
world.  You choose a time and a place and
then you arrive at that agreed time or close to it.  Truly, I have been in knots most of my life
trying to be on time.  I usually begin
getting tense just knowing I have a destination to which I am supposed to
arrive at a particular time long before I’ve even begun the journey. 
 
But, Valerie didn’t get it.  She lived in her own space.  She began her massage sessions when she was
ready and she never ended them until she felt you were complete, not when the
clock reached a certain point.  As the
years went on I found myself responding to her sense of time.  If I was going to be late, I wasn’t the least
bit worried.  I’d usually text her and
tell her when I thought I’d arrive and she’d let me know, without fail, that
that was just fine.  If I was early,
she’d sit me in her lovely living room and let me just rest or we’d chat while
she finished lunch or settled the dog down. 
I know she had clients that couldn’t adjust to this approach but I so
valued her healing skills that I decided to make it work.  For me, I was so relaxed when I arrived that
my body was completely receptive to her gifts. 
And, one of her gifts to me was the gift of my not having to watch the
clock and in return, my gift to her was accepting her exactly the way she was;
a radiant being who wouldn’t let the world confine her.

As
I get older, I am finding time goes faster and faster.  Have you had that
experience?  As I write this, it is the fall of the year and I can’t
imagine where the year has gone.  I heard a poem once:  I woke up,
turned my head and when I looked back, it was 30 years later.  After sharing
this with a friend, she added, “or 40 or 50!” 
There’s a very old movie called “Stop the World I Want to Get Off.”  That’s how I feel most days.  I want time to stop.  I want to savor each and every moment.  I want more time, today and forever. 

I
have another friend who lost her daughter and her husband to cancer.  One
day she told me she knew we all had to die; she just didn’t expect life to go
so fast.  We cried!  How do you make peace with that?  I know
time is a manmade tool.  I know there are all kinds of theories about how
it doesn’t really exist; that it’s supposed to be more like a layer cake, one
field lying over another.  I use to tell people “Time is not my
friend.” 
 
I read once, where a man from a tribe in a foreign land
told an American: “You have so many watches, but no time.  We have no
watches, but plenty of time.”  That’s how I want to feel, like I
always have plenty of time.  I want to treasure each moment.  I don’t
want to worry and rush about.  I don’t want to think about tomorrow, when I
haven’t even gotten out of bed, today.  I hope that by believing time is
my friend, life will be easier, richer, and more joyful. 
 
How do you make
peace with time?  Can part of it be believing this life is not going to
end; we will live on in another dimension, maybe one of those layers the
physicists write about.  In the mediation book “God Calling“ the opening
reading is about how God only designs humans to live one day at a time.  I wonder if God didn’t design us to live one
moment at a time?  Ah, there it is again,
the call to meditate.  The call to stay
connected to exactly what is happening right now, not planning for the future
or ruminating on the past. 

Sharon
Salzberg, one of the founders of the Insight Meditation Center in Barry, Mass.,
tells the story about an intense training session she once underwent with a
mediation master.  She was to report to
him daily about her mediation practice. 
She said the first time she showed up with her notes, he didn’t’ let her
speak before he asked her “Did you brush your teeth today?”  “Yes,” she replied.  “Did you pay attention to the
experience?”  She had not.  The next time she arrived he again spoke
before she could begin to share all her insights she’d learned during her
meditation session.  “Did you walk here
today?”  “Yes”, she answered.  “Did you pay attention to the
experience?” 

Perhaps
that is part of the secret; paying attention, not rushing about, not being
pre-occupied with the business, many times the trivia, of life.  My dear friend Valerie knew this and she
gifted me with her concept of life, time and love.  It’s a good thing she knew how to stay in the
moment and live each day to the fullest because she lost her life at the age of
53.  I have many emotions attached to her
memory, but one that makes me smile is thinking about my arrival at her home
for my appointment; calm, centered and knowing that whatever time I arrived was
the perfect time.  What about you? 
Is time your friend or your enemy?  May
you too discover the gift of living (at least occasionally) in divine
time.  May you discover the gift of
joyfully living in perfect time.