unexpected paths, part 1

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

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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

synchronicities

I’ve mentioned in previous posts that, earlier in my life, I used to “daydream” (for lack of a better term) about things I wanted to do or people I wanted to work with. This was before I’d ever heard about visualizing what you want. Shakti Gawain’s Creative Visualization was way off in the future. And yet…a lot of the time (enough that, in hindsight, it was uncanny), the stuff I daydreamed about came true. The person I admired or wanted to work with would call me a few weeks later, or I would run into them at a party.

Then I went through a difficult period that made me doubt myself in a lot of ways and temporarily short-circuited my daydreaming/visualizing mechanism. It’s been a long road back, but along the way, I’ve learned that the daydreaming I used to do—with no real expectation of things coming true—is something people have been doing (and teaching) for years, whether they called it “The Power of Positive Thinking” or “The Law of Attraction”…or whatever. I still have my moments of doubt, but then there are times when some crazy little synchronicity happens, and I think, “Okay, okay…I get it. It works.”

So…here’s the story of the latest of these strange little harmonic convergences. Continue reading

quote du jour ~kubler-ross – learn to get in touch…

Learn to get in touch with the silence within yourself, and know that everything in life has purpose. There are no mistakes, no coincidences, all events are blessings given to us to learn from.

~ Elizabeth Kubler-Ross

traveling mercies ~anne lamott

pathwriter’s note: Anne Lamott has become one of my favorite authors in the last couple of years. I find her honesty and vulnerability, her willingness to lay herself bare—“warts and all”, as the saying goes—breathtaking. (She’s also pretty funny.) Some months back, I was delighted to learn that she is on Facebook (!), and she shared the story below in her New Year’s Eve post. It’s a piece she wrote for Salon.com 15 years ago. I hope you enjoy it, though I’ll warn you that (1) it’s a little long and (2) it contains (as Lamott’s writing often does) some colorful language. I hope neither of those things will keep you from reading and receiving a lovely message.

Broken things have been on my mind as the year lurches to an end, because so much broke and broke down this year in my life, and in the lives of the people I love. Lives broke, hearts broke, health broke, minds broke. On the first Sunday of Advent our preacher, Veronica, said that this is life’s nature, that lives and hearts get broken, those of people we love, those of people we’ll never meet. She said the world sometimes feels like the waiting room of the emergency ward, and that we, who are more or less OK for now, need to take the tenderest possible care of the more wounded people in the waiting room, until the healer comes. You sit with people, she said, you bring them juice and graham crackers. And then she went on vacation.

“Traveling mercies,” the old black people at our church said to her when she left. This is what they say when one of us goes off for a while. Traveling mercies: Be safe, notice beauty, enjoy the journey, God is with you.

Besides the big brokennesses in people’s lives this year, I’ve noticed all sorts of really dumb things breaking lately. Since Advent began at the end of November, I’ve had a dozen calls reporting broken cars, water heaters, a window, even a finger. So I was on the lookout for something wonderful to happen, because of this great story I heard recently about dumb things going wrong: Carolyn Myss, who writes about healing, went to Russia a few years ago to give a series of lectures. Every single aspect of getting to Russia that could go poorly, did. Continue reading

quote du jour ~de lint

I do believe in an everyday sort of magic — the inexplicable connectedness we sometimes experience with places, people, works of art and the like; the eerie appropriateness of moments of synchronicity; the whispered voice, the hidden presence, when we think we’re alone.

~Charles de Lint