It’s been a long time since I’ve done anything but post quotes du jour here, and I haven’t done even that with any regularity. Of course, if you’ve followed this blog for awhile, you know that I’ve been dealing with a cancer diagnosis since last June, so my priorities and energies have shifted dramatically to say the least. I don’t want to go into it all here, but if you’d like, you can go to my Caring Bridge site and get the details on the ups and downs I’ve been through, especially in the last six months.
With illness—and the definite possibility of my life ending from it—being front and center for me, I nonetheless continue to search for meaning in my life as it stands now and in my life that has gone before. What have I contributed? What do I/can I contribute now? Continue reading
Only to the extent that we expose ourselves over and over to annihilation can that which is indestructible in us be found.
Inner peace is impossible without patience. Wisdom requires patience. Spiritual growth implies the mastery of patience. Patience allows the unfolding of destiny to proceed at its own unhurried pace.
~Brian L. Weiss, Muchas Vidas, Muchos Maestros
Be soft. Do not let the world make you hard. Do not let pain make you hate. Do not let the bitterness steal your sweetness. Take pride that even though the rest of the world may disagree, you still believe it to be a beautiful place.
You have power over your mind—not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.
~Marcus Aurelius, Meditations
A few months back, I wrote about the challenges of following the spiritual path, which more often than not involves long stretches of not being able to see where you’re going or why, climbing and climbing an uphill route with no idea what you’ll find when you get to the top and can finally glimpse the next leg of your journey. Sometimes when you get to the top, you’re no more enlightened: you may find yourself standing at the top of the hill looking down at a fog-filled valley, unyielding and inscrutable.
The curve balls (lessons?) along the way can be jarring and disorienting, making it hard to keep one’s footing and stay on the path—especially the big ones, like divorce or the loss of a job, the ones that really turn your life on its ear and make you wonder, How the hell am I going to get through this, and what is my life going to look like when I do? Continue reading
Going beyond fear begins when we examine our fear: our anxiety, nervousness, concern, and restlessness. If we look into our fear, if we look beneath the veneer, the first thing we find is sadness, beneath the nervousness. Nervousness is cranking up, vibrating all the time. When we slow down, when we relax with our fear, we find sadness, which is calm and gentle. Sadness hits you in your heart, and your body produces a tear. Before you cry, there is a feeling in your chest and then, after that, you produce tears in your eyes. You are about to produce rain or a waterfall in your eyes and you feel sad and lonely and perhaps romantic at the same time. That is the first tip of fearlessness, and the first sign of real warriorship. You might think that, when you experience fearlessness, you will hear the opening to Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony or see a great explosion in the sky, but it doesn’t happen that way. Discovering fearlessness comes from working with the softness of the human heart.
Whatever is happening, whatever is changing, whatever is going or not going according to my plans—I release my hold on all of it. I leave behind who I think I am, who I want to be, what I want the world to be. I come home to the great peace of the present moment.
~Elizabeth Lesser, Broken Open: How Difficult Times Can Help Us Grow
You may have noticed that I’ve been mostly in absentia for the last month or so. It’s been quite the series of events, and I’m still getting my footing, but here I am, with some beginning thoughts on recent events.
The condensed version is that I’d had a persistent cough for a while and had begun to be short of breath doing things like walking up the basement steps. (I might not be dancing full-time anymore, but I walk the trails regularly with my dog, and I still choreograph the occasional musical theatre production, so I’m in relatively good shape, so this was not not normal.) I finally went to an Urgent Care, where they took an X-ray and saw a bunch of stuff in my lungs that shouldn’t be there. The thing was, no one could agree on what it was. Fast forward…again, condensed version…it took three weeks, a lung biopsy, and a week in the hospital to finally diagnose me: Continue reading
You were born with potential.
You were born with goodness and trust. You were born with ideals and dreams.
You were born with greatness.
You were born with wings.
You are not meant for crawling, so don’t.
You have wings.
Learn to use them and fly.
Do not lose hope—what you seek will be found. Trust ghosts. Trust those that you have helped to help you in their turn. Trust dreams. Trust your heart, and trust your story.
~Neil Gaiman, Fragile Things: Short Fictions and Wonders
Umstead 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