Heart Connections

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?

Survival . . . Part 2

I recently asked the question about what Christmas means in a person’s heart and I received really great replies! In this season of holiday giving, I’d like to share some of the wisdom that the loving people in my life expressed. They’ve taught me that the biggest gift of the season is one I give to myself—self love and appreciation.

My friend Carol responded that Jesus is the reason for the season. Truthfully, the old me would bristle at those words. That’s a phrase that made me cringe. I’m now at a place in my life where I know she’s right. Actualized love was born into human form on that night so long ago and is in fact living on in each one of us.

Unity folks call it Christ consciousness. They’re right too.

For me, this consciousness is love so that Christmas in my heart is centering and focusing on love no matter the circumstances or situation.

Everything that is not contained within this vessel of heart love is man-made and probably way too stressful for my preferred level of peace and comfort.

Jesus was the ultimate love shower and my example. Much of his love was pronounced through prayer. That is the way it will be for me this Christmas time—prayer and letters of love along with phone calls to wish Christmas cheer.

I’m doing my best to keep my spotlight on love and off the differences in my present relationship with Christmas. There are obvious losses, but to dwell on them creates unnecessary agony. I strive to find a healthy balance between letting my wounds fester and honoring my sacred memories and traditions. The latter are all a part of me, a part of the love that is me today.

“We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it.” I embrace the past as love, wrap it up as a Christmas gift and give it to myself this year.

Heading into Christmas

A synopsis of the last 16 months:
  • By choice, relocated from Missouri to Texas
  • Ended long-term relationship
  • Left dogs, home and family behind
  • Mom diagnosed with lung cancer
  • Job intact after six months of probation
  • Lots of work travel (TSA encounters, delays, cancellations, screaming kids, rude people, etc)
  • Joyous personal travel (Galveston, TX; Park City, UT; Las Vegas; Key West, FL & Cozumel via Carnival; San Antonio, TX with 65,000 like-minded folks
  • Dallas the Cat died
  • Mom died
  • Extreme family emotion
  • Sold my house
  • Adopted Jazzy the Jack Russell
  • Highs and lows of new relationship (now evolving into life love)

The 2010 holiday season is in full swing and I’ve made the decision to honor my needs (based on the chaos described above) and go to the beach for Christmas instead of returning to my family home.  I know the decision will rattle a few bars and windows as I am cussed and discussed (or maybe that’s my ego talking) and I also know that other peoples opinions are none of my business.

After all, I carry a coin in my pocket with the inscription “to thine own self be true.”
Several days ago, I polled my Twitter and Facebook friends with the question, “What does ‘Christmas in your heart’ mean to you?” Since my Christmas holiday will contain no childhood or even adult traditions, no reminiscing with family, and most significantly, no kissing the fuzz on my mom’s chemo-d head, I needed some help in formulating a new Christmas plan, one that initiates in my heart.
Friends and family responded (Diana, what would I do without you?) with great answers, as I knew they would.  I’ll share in my next post.  In the meantime, please chime in with your thoughts on what Christmas in your heart means to you.