Presence and Peace

Trust the Process

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Sunday was an exciting day for me; two of my friends who are Unity ministers as well as a married couple, debuted at the major church near where I live.

The husband in the duo is the former minister of my old home church in Missouri; he’s also a trusted confidante and dear friend.  I have a huge amount of respect for his wife, although I don’t know her as well (something tells me that’s fixin’ to change).

We had a terrific reunion today, lots of hugs and grins and you-look-greats.  As we chit-chatted a bit before the service, Rob mentioned the title of Aliza’s talk:  Trust the Process.

My insides went mushy, my face contorted and I heard myself groan, “Ewwwww.”

Rob said, “Just wait.  You’ve gonna love this.  It will blow you away.”

I did a mental toe stub.  Okayyyyyyy.

An overused phrase

Trust the process.  Geez, it seems like that’s the default phrase for every self-help guru and masterminding group on stage today, not to mention the mantra-like repetitions of people attending 12-step groups.

I mean no disrespect, but as word strings go, this one has jumped the shark.  I believe it’s lost some of its punch simply because people say it in response to everything.

Had a flat tire?  Trust the process.

Can’t decide which running shoes to buy?  Trust the process.

You’re going to have brain surgery?  Trust the process.

Praying for strength and wisdom, for God to lead you?  Trust the process.

See what I mean?  When someone tells me to trust the process, I have the same regurgitating reaction as when someone shrugs and says, “It is what it is.”  Don’t even get me started on that one.

Because I love Rob and Aliza, I decided to trust the process on trusting the process.

I listened and I heard.

Not surprisingly, Aliza’s church talk had a twist.  She told a story about a guy telling God that he wanted to do something of significance, so God said, fine, go outside and push that rock.

The guy happily pushed the rock for days and weeks and months until, in frustration he cried out, God, I’ve been pushing and pushing and pushing and nothing has happened!  I quit.

The poor guy mis-heard God.  God said push the rock.  The guy heard move the rock.

The process that he failed to trust was realizing that he couldn’t take all his steps at one time.  In other words, the guy needed to get really good at being in the presence of pushing the rock (or any other singular activity) before he could move the rock even one inch.

During Aliza’s talk, I sat there thinking about my most recent life challenge.  I lost my job then decided the time was right to launch a freelance writing and communications consulting business.

The time is right.  But I keep pushing the rock expecting it to move.  Like the man in the story, I want to meld a whole bunch of steps into one giant leap instead of being with one step at a time.

Why?  Because I need to feel secure.  I need to have financial assurance.  I need to blah, blah, blah.

Aliza spoke about putting aside our needs aside and trusting the process of being where we are.  I listened and I heard.

Today, that is enough.  Today, I’m going to trust the process and commune with my rock.

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Just Another (Birth)Day in Paradise

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I’m grateful that I excel at a few things in life because I really suck at body-surfing.

The above photo, taken just outside our resort in Cancun last week, shows some pretty high waves; even the pelicans struggled to fish.  Thankfully, they have more experience in the Caribbean than I do.

Here’s what I wrote in my journal the day after my big crash and burn in these same waters.

A bit bruised . . .

It’s so very early on this Monday morning but the sea calls and since my sweetie upgraded us to a balcony, ocean-view room, where else would I be at 6:25?

Still waiting on the sun’s entrance–she sent her minions to brighten the high clouds while I wait.  Pelicans glide by in ones and twos; hard to say how good the fishing is when the surf is so high.

The waves crash hard, as I did yesterday.  It began innocently enough and then my sweetie left to get an alcohol-free fruity drink.  I became like an unsupervised child who wonders what will happen if she wades into the water.

First the toes go in and the next thing I know I’m slamming around with waves slapping the back of my head.

The rationale was good, as preconceived, ill-fated notions go, but I didn’t think it through.

History told me that if I waded out far enough, the roughness would abate.  So I tried.  I’m lucky the wave breaks didn’t damage my hearing and pop out my eye balls.

I didn’t get it.  Others were jumping and diving with impunity.  I was a flailing great white shark.

Finally, blessedly, God tossed me on my a**, a little too hard for my taste but at least He threw to the left and not dead center, otherwise we might have a bigger problem this morning.

My a** would still be planted in the sand.  So I’m grateful.

But far from broken

This trip celebrated my 52nd birthday; each year feels like a rebirth of sorts.  I believe a renewal of birth necessitates a new attitude and belief about oneself, a sense of humble new beginnings.  The rest of the day in which I wrote the words above was spent in deep contemplation while we walked the beach in our roles of sun worshippers.

My rebirth may not be as wide and vast as the captivating ocean, but in proportion to my smaller stature, it feels pretty huge.

The rest of the trip held more delights:  a day trip to Isla Mujeres–the Isle of Women; snorkeling with barracudas and a candle-light birthday dinner complete with classy singing waiters delivering tiramisu, and on our last morning, finally, a real swim in the Caribbean.

You know the vacation is good when you return home and resume life with no feeling of anxiety or getting-back-to-work-blues.  We talked about that very thing on our flight home.

When you enjoy every day–live it to its fullest–you don’t mind when a vacation ends.  My birthday, as terrific as it was, didn’t feel any better or worse than any of our other days at the beach.  Consequently, there was no birthday or vacation hangover.

Blessed be.  It’s so good to be me, even at 52.


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Birthday Greetings From the Beach

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When you read this, my dear friends, my sweetie and I will be celebrating my birthday on the beach in Mexico.  The Birthday Girl sends you sunny white-sand and turquoise water greetings!

Two other things I’d like to share with  you today:  First, it feels a little crazy to fly to Cancun so recently after my job lay-off.  Although I’m having a blast developing my freelance communications business, the money isn’t exactly flowing on streets of gold . . . yet.

Since the business is brand new and ripe with opportunities, I’ve decided to have fun growing it.  I’m also trying an experiment:  For the first time in my life, I’m looking at this new chapter like it’s a Fun and Fabulous Game.

Why not?  Mom always said I could do anything I wanted with my life, so why not create this portion without worry and fret, free from doom and gloom and an “oh-my-god-what-if-this-tragedy-happens” mindset?

We’re going to play the penultimate game of Act As If.  Have you ever played the game?  You’re welcome to join me if you like!

The second birthday share

Since my mom passed away nearly three years ago, springtime and my birthday are kind of bittersweet.  Mom’s birthday is exactly four weeks after mine and this year, Mother’s Day is two days before her birthday.

I vividly recall April 16, 2010, the last year of her life, when we spoke.  I was in Key West and read aloud the birthday card she and Dad sent while we talked on the phone.  I’m sure she said to me what she said every year, that I was her beautiful little girl.

Mom died two months after that birthday greeting.

In honor of the woman who gave me this Fun and Fabulous Gift of Life, I’d like to share with you a poem that my sweetie sent me a few days after Mom’s death.  It was originally published on this blog in late July 2010.

Please enjoy. I’m taking the rest of the week off and will see you back here next Monday.

Your Mother is Always With You, author unknown

Your mother is always with you…

She’s the whisper of the leaves
as you walk down the street.

She’s the smell of bleach in
your freshly laundered socks.

She’s the cool hand on your
brow when you’re not well.

Your mother lives inside
your laughter. She’s crystallized
in every tear drop…

She’s the place you came from,
your first home. She’s the map you
follow with every step that you take.
She’s your first love and your first heart
break….and nothing on earth can separate you.
Not time, Not space…
Not even death….
will ever separate you
from your mother….
You carry her inside of you….
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God is Everything, Even Goat Poop

 God is Everything, Even Goat Poop

“We had to fearlessly face the proposition that god is either everything or else He is nothing.  God either is or he isn’t.  What was our choice to be?” ~ Alcoholics Anonymous

At my regular Monday night 12-step meeting, the topic was every-day gratitude.

The meeting leader began by asking everyone to consider the good in their lives.  She said that she (and we all related!) can have a great day filled with positive, enjoyable experiences, but if there’s one thing that is the least bit-negative, she obsesses on that thing.

That one thing–whether it’s a phone call, an exchange at the grocery store or, heaven forbid, goat poop in the living room (true story, see my friend Julie Langdon Barrett’s post)–spins a sweet day 180-degrees until it becomes sour.

What do you do when a goat poops on your day?

Do you: A)  Share an evening beverage with your sweetie while relaxing and sharing the joyous moments of your day, or, B) When you lay eyes on your sweetie, exclaim, “The friggin’ goat pooped in the middle of the floor!”

That was certainly me a few days ago.  Metaphorically, I had a huge pile of goat poop in my living room.

My recent trip to Kansas City was peaceful and affirming in every way but one.  Several gatherings of old friends, a much-needed massage from Missouri hands I miss in Texas, a 12-step meeting at my old home group, my beautiful niece’s wedding were rejuvenating for me.  Then there was the goat poop thing.

It took days to get the goat poop swept from my mind.

The topic of gratitude

So back to my recent Monday night 12-step meeting.  People shared about expressing gratitude for the good in their lives and really feeling it moment-by-moment.

Someone mentioned focusing on the assets of his day, rather than the defects.  He spoke about learning from the defects but realizing that it’s the assets that buoy him so that he knows his day is good.

Another person in last week’s Kansas City meeting said, “I take care of the possibles and let God take care of the impossibles.”

I particularly like that last reminder because it brings me back to my center, back to God.

God (or whatever you choose to call your Higher Power), is everything or nothing.

I prefer choosing “everything,” don’t you?  Everything is everything, even goat-poop things.

Who knows why goat poop happens (still being metaphorical!)?  You don’t have to know why; but in order to live peacefully, you do need to accept that do-do has no power over you-you!

And that is something to be grateful for every day.

Photo courtesy of taliesen.

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The Great Escape

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When I was a kid, Bewitched was a television show about a suburban wife and mom who was normal in every respect except one.  She could twitch her nose back and forth and alter time, space or circumstances.

She also spent a lot of time undoing the spells her mother cast on her husband, Darren.

I loved the show for two reasons.  The main character had a cool name–Samantha–and she could wiggle her nose and poof! a problem was quickly solved or surroundings were swiftly adjusted to protect other characters.

Sometimes all I want is for someone to use their powers to set me free from my problems or my surroundings.

You alone hold the key

Let’s take a look at a hypothetical situation.  You spend several days with family or old friends; people you don’t see often since you moved away from your old stomping grounds.

Once back home, you reflect back and think that mostly, you had a great time, but there were several situations that didn’t feel right.  Maybe someone said something hurtful or you were in awkward circumstances.  Maybe you were slighted or ignored.

You may have, in frustration, said or did something that isn’t usually part of your demeanor and you’re feeling a little guilty.

I’m betting that we all have times when our present is preoccupied with moments described above.  I know I’ve asked myself why certain scenes continue to replay in my head.  Why do I feel so messed up in my head?

Why do I feel this way–after the fact–and why do I feel so imprisoned by my feelings?

Sometimes, after a not-so-great situation (we’re still playing hypothetical what-if’s) you spend days worrying, fretting, feeling guilty.

Here’s the thing:  No one but you holds you prisoner in the cell of you mental obsessions.  You alone hold the key.

Confession time

Here’s me ‘fessin’ up.  The scenario described above isn’t completely hypothetical.  You probably already guessed that!  I just returned from several days of circumstances that found me honestly struggling.  I spent a good deal of the time compulsively obsessing about one aspect of the circumstances.

There wasn’t anything I could do about it then, nor is there anything I can do about it now.  Yet, the obsessing continues.  I could have, should have, would have or ought to have . . . (My former therapist once told me I should erase all “o-u” words from my vocabulary.).

So how do you release yourself from obsessive mental imprisonment?  By the way, “to obsess” means to haunt or excessively occupy the mind.

First, admit that you did the best you could and there is no changing what occurred in the past.  Solution:  Let it go!

Second, realize that your obsession is probably the result of allowing someone else’s needs to come before yours.  Solution:  Do your best for YOU!

Third, accept what you cannot change.  Solution:  Practice the Great Escape!

As cheesy as it sounds, you can escape the grip of your obsessive mind just by wiggling your nose back and forth.  Go ahead and try it.  At a minimum, you’ll chuckle at your own silliness and in that moment, you’ll break the obsession’s spell and become free to move about the universe.

Be careful, though.  Your actions might bewitch others.

Photo courtesy of genieslot.

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