trust and the threads of time, part 2

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about the first of two things that happened recently, both of which caused me to stop and think about the journey I’m on. Here’s the second one….

The same weekend I bought the rug (maybe even the same day), I walked out of my house to run errands and noticed that one of the terra cotta pots lining my steps and walkway was broken. All of my pots were currently “in transition”—the summer annuals pulled out, the pansies yet to go in—so all of them were sitting there with nothing but dirt in them, the four-packs of pansies waiting nearby.

The pot in question had clearly been knocked over and the potting soil strewn across the walk. I could see where someone had scraped as much of the dirt as possible back into the pot, leaving a thin layer of soil dusting the walk, and had then propped the broken pieces against the sides in an effort to hold the dirt in the now-destroyed pot.

I didn’t know what had happened, but my first guess was that a neighbor’s dog had seen one of my cats on the porch and taken off after it, knocking over the pot in the process. I turned back to the door and mailbox to see if there was a note of explanation/apology; there was none. I began to feel upset, indignant that the person/dog owner involved in the incident would just shove the dirt back in the pot, prop it up as though nothing had happened, and leave no note of apology for the broken pot—or knock on my door to explain/apologize. I leapt to judgment, thinking, How inconsiderate and irresponsible! Continue reading

post du jour – the crab bucket ~elizabeth gilbert

pathwriter’s note: Liz Gilbert hits the nail on the head again and again, whether she’s sharing her own thoughts or the thoughts of others. This is her Facebook post from yesterday (12/1/14).

THE CRAB BUCKET

Dear Ones –

A few months ago, I was on stage with Rob Bell — minister, teacher, family man, great guy — and a woman in the audience asked him this question:

“I’m making all these important changes in my life, and I’m growing in so many new and exciting ways, but my family is resisting me, and I feel like their resistance is holding me back. They seem threatened by my evolution as a person, and I don’t know what to do about it.”

Rob said, “Well, of course they’re threatened by your evolution as a person. You’re disrupting their entire world view. Remember that a family is basically just a big crab bucket — whenever one of the crabs climbs out and tries to escape, the other crabs will grab hold of him and pull him back down.”

Which I thought was a VERY unexpected comment to come from a minister and a family man!

Rob surprised me even more, though, as he went on to say, “Families are institutions — just like a church, just like the army, just like a government. Their sense of their own stability depends upon keeping people in their correct place. Even if that stability is based on dysfunction or oppression. When you move out of your ‘correct place’ you threaten their sense of order, and they may very likely try to pull you back down.” Continue reading

quote du jour ~l’engle – human beings are…

Human beings are the only creatures who are allowed to fail. If an ant fails, it’s dead. But we’re allowed to learn from our mistakes and from our failures. And that’s how I learn, by falling flat on my face and picking myself up and starting all over again.

~Madeleine L’Engle

trust and the threads of time, part 1

I’ve been juggling a lot since last spring. Some of the juggling has had to do with external, day-to-day stuff out in the physical world, but most of the juggling has been in my mind/heart/spirit/soul. I’m creating what is, at heart, a completely new life—saying goodbye to some things, hello to others, and trying to figure out how to tweak still others and keep them a part of the whole as I go forward.

To be honest, I’m a little worn out from all the changes in my life over the last few years, and frankly, I’d just as soon take a break. My faith and trust muscles have been getting quite the workout. However, a couple of things happened in the last week that have shifted my perspective, albeit in an odd, out-of-left-field kind of way. This post is about one of them.

Last Saturday, I bought a rug for my living room. Mind you, we’re not talking about a major purchase here. I have a small cottage, with a small living room to match, and I’ve never spent more than $100 on a rug. As a lifelong independent/freelance artist, my decorating budget has never been large, which has, shall we say, encouraged me to be creative in more ways than one when it comes to furnishing my home. Luckily, my taste has never run to “new” things, and I love doing DIY projects, so I’ve been quite happy to inherit furniture from family and friends and buy shabby thrift-store-furniture-with-potential, as long as the pieces suited my personal style. I’ve ended up with a home that I like and that visitors regularly call “warm and inviting.”

The rug I bought from Target six or so years ago was a perfectly nice rug when I bought it, and I received a number of compliments about it over the years. However, it’s lived through the usual pet accidents and incidents and a fair amount of general wear and tear during that time, and it’s been looking pretty sad for a while now—rips and tears and places where you can see through to the backing. In the last few months, it started to smell musty and old, like it had been slept on for many years by my dog (which, of course, it had). It was time for a new rug.

Before we get to the new rug, however, I need to back up and tell the story of the amazing Restoration Hardware chenille throw. (I know this post probably sounds like it belongs on a home decorating blog, but bear with me.) Continue reading

quote du jour ~khan

The first lesson to learn is to resign oneself to the little difficulties in life, not to hit out at everything one comes up against. If one were able to manage this one would not need to cultivate great power; even one’s presence would be healing.

~Hazrat Inayat Khan

excerpt du jour ~muller

Who do we think we are? Erik Erikson, the gentle sage of childhood development, was one of my most beloved teachers. He said, “The sense of ‘I’ is one of the most obvious facts of existence—indeed, perhaps the most obvious—and it is, at the same time, one of the most elusive.” What we call our “self” is elastic; it shifts and moves. The “who” that we are depends upon the way we see. If we believe we are a thief, we will act like a criminal. If we think we are fragile and broken, we will live a fragile, broken life. If we believe we are strong and wise, we will live with enthusiasm and courage. The way we name ourselves colors the way we live. Continue reading

quote du jour ~walker

Some periods of our growth are so confusing that we don’t even recognize that growth is happening. We may feel hostile or angry or weepy and hysterical, or we may feel depressed. It would never occur to us, unless we stumbled on a book or a person who explained to us, that we were in fact in the process of change, of actually becoming larger, spiritually, than we were before. Whenever we grow, we tend to feel it, as a young seed must feel the weight and inertia of the earth as it seeks to break out of its shell on its way to becoming a plant. Often the feeling is anything but pleasant. But what is most unpleasant is the not knowing what is happening. Those long periods when something inside ourselves seems to be waiting, holding its breath, unsure about what the next step should be, eventually become the periods we wait for, for it is in those periods that we realize that we are being prepared for the next phase of our life and that, in all probability, a new level of the personality is about to be revealed.

~Alice Walker, Living By The Word

black holes and stepping into the unknown

I don’t have a lot of brain power left tonight. Like millions of other procrastinators, I’ve been working on my taxes most of the day. But I was determined to post something (anything!) tonight before I went to bed, so here goes.

The last six months or so have been marked by many blessings and some unexpected challenges. If you’d told me 18 months ago that I’d be where I am, doing what I’m doing, I wouldn’t have believed you. The thing is, I have a pretty strong feeling that 18 months from now, I’m going to be surprised at where I’ll be then, too. Don’t ask me why. It’s one of those feelings. I’ve had them before, and (at least when I’ve paid attention and recognized them for what they are) they’ve usually been pretty right on.

Mind you, these feelings are pretty vague—not anything you can really hang your hat on. Which makes it a little hard to talk about them to most folks. When my husband and I split up, for example, I pretty much fell into a black hole when it came to knowing what to do next. It was the first time in my life that I didn’t know what was next. Up until then, I had always known what was next. Not that I had a plan or anything; the next thing just showed up (this is another story entirely).

But back to the black hole. Continue reading

quote du jour ~remen

Judgment does not only take the form of criticism. Approval is also a form of judgment. When we approve of people, we sit in judgment of them as surely as when we criticize them. Positive judgment hurts less acutely than criticism, but it is judgment all the same, and we are harmed by it in far more subtle ways. To seek approval is to have no resting place, no sanctuary. Like all judgment, approval encourages a constant striving. It makes us uncertain of who we are and of our true value. This is as true of the approval we give ourselves as it is of the approval we offer others. Approval can’t be trusted. It can be withdrawn at any time no matter what our track record has been. It is as nourishing of real growth as cotton candy. Yet many of us spend our lives pursuing it.

~Rachel Naomi Remen, Kitchen Table Wisdom

quote du jour ~star hawk

Community. Somewhere, there are people to whom we can speak with passion without having the words catch in out throats. Somewhere a circle of hands will open to receive us, eyes will light up as we enter, voices will celebrate with us whenever we come into our own power. Community means strength that joins our strength to do the work that needs to be done. Arms to hold us when we falter. A circle of healing. A circle of friends. Someplace we can be free.

~Starhawk