Heart Connections

The Personality of a Greyhound

IMG_2398Baylor came to live with us about a month ago.  His retiring wisdom and calm demeanor, especially learning to deal with Jazzy, the spit-fire Jack Russell, inspire me.

Baylor is a nine-year-old, former racing greyhound.

He is the epitome of adaptability and flexibility. To go from chasing rabbits around a track to urban loft living, via suburban homes in Houston and Austin, is quite a twist in his dog life.

But style and grace are in-bred. I used to say that my goal in life was to be as flexible as Gumby. Now I want to grow up and be just like Baylor.

His role modeling for dealing with change equals any two-legged I’ve known. In a month’s time, his whole world shifted, including his people (one remains a constant), his place, his perspective and his pals.

Gone are the days when a door would be opened for him to romp in the backyard freely chasing squirrels. Today his purview is floor-to-ceiling windows, orthopedic dog-beds and four-a-day walks along our canal or beside Lake Carolyn.

His social life has improved significantly. Just this morning he went nose-to-nose with a little terrier, smaller than those rabbits he used to chase. The terrier was curious about running into a horse and Baylor quietly acknowledged the sniff of greeting. He accepts the hellos of small dogs, pit bulls, labs and even poodles with equanimity, a character trait this person aspires to.

I’ve had other similarly dispositioned dogs step through my life. I’ve also had other high-spirited dogs that rival my Jazzy. I love them all and am grateful for their paw prints on my heart.

Each of them has modeled behavior I wish to emulate. But the ones who imprint my soul are the ones whose eyes hold the history and mystery of great love.

Baylor is one of those dogs.

We’ve Landed on WordPress!

It’s not quite a giant leap for mankind, but my writing life has taken a giant step forward.

As I write this at 7:30 p.m., there is a young man named Satish who may be just waking up on Thursday morning in India.  Satish and I have become Facebook friends, Twitter buddies and WordPress kin.

Two new hearts have connected in space and Satish’s heart is certainly generous.  In the course of four days (and the intricacies of time zones), he has transformed B Here Today from a hobby blog to a professional, “run-with-the-big-dogs” site.

I feel like the dream of linking hearts through shared stories of passion and presence has passed through a momentous growth stage.

And, B Here Today, even in its infancy, is accomplishing what I hoped it would:  creating loving connections that flourish in their focus on linking in the here and now.

I am amazed and awed by this venue of connecting one with another by clicking on words in the limitless blogosphere.  It’s a heady experience, a grand opportunity and a humble responsibility.

My own heart brims with excitement as I end this day that has been wholly different from yesterday.  Many thanks to Satish for implementing my inspiration.

To my readers, past, present and future:  come back often to share your stories of presence and passion.

The blog will steadily expand and shift–I’m always open to your suggestions–and my prayer is that connections will be made and lives will change through the sharing of our collective experience, strength and hope. 

B well on your journey!  To the moon and beyond!

Six Months Ago Today

“If we live by the Spirit, let us also be guided by the Spirit.”  Gal. 5:25

This scripture is a part of The Daily Word’s Guidance piece today and this post is a sort-of rubber-meets-the-road response.

How many of us can say that we live the by Spirit?  A good majority, myself included.  Most people I know in recovery have, in our lingo, “turned our will and our lives over to the care of God.”

In my experience, living by the Spirit and living by the Spirit are vastly different.  The first simply requires speaking the words, going about your life and when something devastating occurs, assume that God is punishing you.  

The second is a whole lot tougher because it means taking responsibility for my choices and my actions.  While God is responsible for creating everything, I believe He abdicates responsibility of my choices. 

However, if I embrace the second half of the scripture, “let us also be guided by the Spirit,” and I place all my meditative focus on those words, then what I get increases exponentially.

I get the gifts of being sober, of being of service (my friend Angela reminded me that this blog is a kind of service), the gift of being present to the circumstances of my day, the gift of smiling and the gift of feeling peace in the midst of a personal crisis. 

Today is the six-month anniversary of Mom’s death.   While I still miss her intensely, as I told Dad earlier today, when I think of her, most times I smile in my heart instead of feeling overwhelming sad.  He agreed and said, “It’s better.  It will never be good, but it’s better.”

Well said, Dad.  It looks as if the rubber not only met the road, the tread gripped the pavement and we’re rolling along, with peace and even joy flashing by the open windows.

Let it Be Christmas!

“Seize every day as an adventure and your spirit will soar when you discover the wonderful surprises life has to offer.” This little ditty comes from a beautiful note card left in my hotel room in Columbus, OH.

As I sit in my writer’s chair this morning, feeling the presence of Christ deep in my marrow, I continue to ponder and meditate on this thing called Christmas.

I say “thing” because that word to me summarizes the commercialization and consumerism of Christmas. For many, Christmas is a business and quite a money-maker.

Unity has provided a spiritual tool for me—the Advent booklet. This is the year that I am really examining what Christmas means to me. I was really in no condition to undertake it last year, having just left everything familiar to me a few months prior, my home, family and friends and my most significant relationship.

This is the year. I’m not going to my childhood home, for the first time in my life I won’t be celebrating Christmas with my family of origin. And yet I will because of my realizations about Christmas.

Rev Ed Townley writes in his article, “A Metaphysical Interpretation of the Christmas Story,” “Metaphysically, what we celebrate each Christmas is . . . the birth of Christ awareness. What Jesus brought to us was a spark of new light, new possibility—light that shines through the darkness of human confusion and illuminates, the spiritual truth of who we are.”

I am growing in my belief that Christmas is a deeply personal experience. It is ceremonial in nature, I think, as it involves placing my soul—my truest of selves—on the altar of my inner being. From there, in the parts of me I’ve laid down, space is created for a re-birthing to occur. The Christ child’s birth symbolizes my new birth into a new way of existing.

The entire concept goes back to the quote from the hotel card—Am I living fully? Am I embracing my God-self? Do I feel the unity and connection to all the other God creatures I encounter today?

In this moment my heart whispers a prayer of thanks for this spiritual awakening, for the expanding understanding of the universal life purpose—to grow in love of self, each other and every hidden and revealed source of life.

Let it be Christmas.

(photo courtesy of freefoto.com)

Survival and Spiritual Contentment, Part 3

Courtesy of Salvatore Vuono

Mindy Audlin, professional speaker, author and radio personality, suggests that we make our own Santa list and write out in detail our heart’s desires. She writes, “Mail it to the North Pole with the expectation of a child and allowing the Spirit of Love to provide all the wisdom and resources we need to delight ourselves this year.”

Mindy’s words are a perfect accompaniment to my approach to Christmas this year. I am bringing it inside—into my soul. All the outer trappings can stay as they are and I’ll accept the crazy commercialism. I can even feel a sense of appreciation for the lights and pageantry, although I do pray that the harried ones will eventually find relief from the frenetic pace they endure during the holidays.

This week of Advent is focused on Joy. It feels good to really bring that concept inward, as it relates to the meaning of Christmas.  I’m reminded of the old church hymn refrain, “joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart.”

It is possible to feel joy and grief simultaneously and frankly, I’m relieved by that realization.  Shortly after Mom died in July, I remember thinking, “My God, we can’t celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas this year!”  Now I know that grieving is a process but joy is a state of being that can co-exist within the process.

When I think of joy and try to describe the feeling, the phrase “child-like wonder” always comes to mind.  Mindy’s point of allowing our adult selves to find delight in Christmas is the difference between misery and comfort for me this year.  Delight and gratitude are like the chicken and the egg.  Who cares which comes first so long as we get to eat? 

So it is with all the emotions of Christmas.  My letter to Santa asks for peace and joy for those who struggle with the holidays.  And I fully expect my wish will be granted.  What is your greatest wish this year?