following the path you can’t see

IMG_7082Umstead State Park, Raleigh, NC  – Photo by Viki Atkinson

There’s a quote that’s been around for years, something along the lines of “growing old ain’t for sissies.” I’d like to propose that living your life by following (or trying to follow) spiritual guidance ain’t for sissies, either.

That stepping out in faith thing? A lot of the time it’s like that scene in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade in which he comes upon an impossibly wide bottomless abyss that he has to cross to continue his quest—only there’s no bridge or Tarzan swing or anything that might help him do that. His only option is to take a step out over the abyss and hope like hell something will happen to help him across. When he finally does step out (spoiler alert!), his foot lands on something solid—invisible, but solid. So he takes another step, and he makes it all the way across on an invisible bridge that never would have shown itself if he hadn’t taken that first trusting step.

For five or six years now, I’ve been feeling as though I’m being led to and prepared for some…purpose…and yet the specifics of that purpose remain elusive. Continue reading

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note to self (7)

Do not fret over the places where you don’t “fit in” or the people who don’t accept you or connect with you. These are indicators of your path as well, showing you where you are not supposed to linger or expend your energy. Love these people and places while you are with them, but allow them to flow away, to recede, when it is time for you to move on. Take with you the learnings they bring you, but do not cling or wonder why they do not stay.

~pathwriter’s guidance journal

post du jour ~lamott

pathwriter’s note: I count myself among those who grumble at Facebook when they change the format of the newsfeed or choose which of my friends’ posts I’m going to see. However, Facebook has also reconnected me with far-flung and long-lost friends, for which I will forever be grateful, and it allows me to connect with the brilliance of some of my favorite authors, like Anne Lamott, on a regular basis, without having to wait for the next book. I love Anne Lamott for her flawed, oh-so-human faith and doubts, her railings and rantings at God and the unfairness of it all (sometimes), her crazy-raw honesty. She says the things we all think and feel but wouldn’t dare say out loud, and she hasn’t been struck by lightning yet, which should make us all a little braver about saying some of those things ourselves. Her language is peppered with less-than-holy words, which I think a lot of us also think, even if we don’t say them out loud. I hope the language won’t put you off, that you will see through it to the heart of her words.

*******

Every morning these days, you have to ask yourself, What the hell IS it all about, Alfie? Or you pray for a sign that you absolutely cannot miss or misinterpret, the tiniest hint of direction and assurance.

Well? I got one.

It has been one of the worst week in years, and that’s saying something. You know exactly what I’m talking about, no matter how much you love your life and your pit crew; no matter how hard you strive to present a good face. It is so hard here. It’s like Old Yeller meets the Hunger Games; plus the parking is terrible.

Under the best circumstances, we are a nutty and sometimes violent species, on an extremely dangerous piece of land.

But one of the saddest things happened. We had to put my darling old dog Lily down. She died peacefully at home in my son Sam’s arms on Wednesday.

I think she was the closest I’ll come, on this side of eternity, to experiencing the direct love of the divine. You may know the feeling.

Through this love, Sam and I came through. We cried a lot, but agreed to let our hearts stay broken for awhile, because that is how light, grace and healing can get in, through the armor.

The next morning, I took Lily’s beloved ne’er-do-well husband Bodhi for a walk. I adore him, but he has tiny mental issues, such as aggression, and having eaten entire chickens, and 24 muffins once. Then, too sad to stay at home without Lily, we went out for a bite.

After eating sandwiches in the car, we headed home. I was disoriented, and so far behind on my daily life, after a month of Lily in decline, that Sam frequently consults A Place for Mom online. But a block from home, I got that Holy Spirit nudge, a tug on my sleeve, which urged me, as it often does, “Stop.” It’s given up on nuance. Continue reading

excerpt du jour ~nepo

. . . Can we hear the sound of light being folded in a river passing under a bridge? . . . Can we listen for truth like music to come out of silence and return to silence? . . . Can we listen in the way a cloud receives light and lets it through? . . .

~Mark Nepo, Seven Thousand Ways to Listen

quote du jour ~rumi – everything you see…

Everything you see has its roots in the unseen world.
The forms may change, yet the essence remains the same.
Every wonderful sight will vanish, every sweet word will fade,
But do not be disheartened,
The source they come from is eternal, growing,
Branching out, giving new life and new joy.
Why do you weep?
The source is within you,
And this whole world is springing up from it.

~Rumi

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