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Old Ways

Sometimes, it's an epiphany that brings me back to Grace; other times it's the pain of doing the same thing while expecting a different result, that forces me to ask for Grace. I've experienced both this week, and no matter how I cut it, the old ways are lost. I am new in this world, and I need to catch up with that reality. Some inspired wisdom found its way to me again this week and I sat straight up and said,

"Oh, right. I almost forgot."

The wisdom is from my impeccable friend and Life Coach Tama Kieves. She left a prestigious law career to follow her passion too, and is doing mighty fine lighting heart fires, I might add. She wrote these brave words and I saw them like someone hired a plane trailing a banner to fly over my sky,

Everything you are is worth everything you have.

I sure didn't play full on in life before. I always had a stash of something for an emergency; a bottle when I drank, a prudent financial reserve when I thought money would make me happy, and a silence when I knew something that I should really speak out loud, but didn't because it kept me safe from your bad opinion of me. I was afraid to live, and trust life. I didn't know how. I lived in scarcity consciousness.

My conversations this week have contained a theme of transitions; maybe endings. Hilda is one of the finest friends I've known from my days in Marquette. A humanitarian, a wise woman and a gracious and generous host to all, she is also slipping away from us. She's had Alzheimer's for years, and was recently moved to assisted living. Fine friends took care of her for years, and took turns with the daily feedings and visits. Hilda lived in a lovely home on Lake Superior and told us all she would only leave it in a body bag. Moving her was hard for all of them, especially her children. But, it's time. My friends are grieving, as they take care of the contents of her house and arrange for their disposal. I've thought of the way Hilda loved me into trusting the process of life to shape and nurture me, even when I was almost too sick to appreciate it. She made me tea and reminded me to breathe deeply when my husband wanted a divorce, and I didn't. She told me to spend the night with her until I could stop crying. She came to my oral argument in Circuit Court when I sued the Catholic Church in a priest sexual abuse case, and told me that she was proud of me and moved by my presentation, even though I lost. She corrected my grammar when I ran for Circuit Court Judge because she wanted others to respect me the way that she did. I lost the election too. None of these loving gestures changed outcomes that I didn't want, but they sure helped me to return to a center that I know is real today. There's always a fragile and empty place in the space between worlds, and in the wake of change or loss, for all of us. At best some days, I am aware of this space of discomfort, and allow myself to live through it, as gently as possible, and without making rash conclusions about things then.

Hanging on to things that have served their purpose has left me stranded between experiences when letting them go would have given me an earlier freedom. I did that so many times before I recovered. I stayed in relationships, cities and a career that wasn't right for me, because I was afraid of this in between and uncertainty. I didn't have the courage then to take part in the in between spaces, and live into a better state of being. I've learned that "everything I am" is something I awaken to when I am loved. I find that love in God. Reflected in other people, but sourced by God.

There aren't really as many hard and fast rules about being human as I once feared. In fact, the way to God has been to really get to know myself. Who would have thought? It is a gentle or harsh process, depending on how I treat myself precisely when I am facing uncertainty. I used to do the spiritual bypass route by attributing some divine purpose to things that I couldn't understand. While there might be such a purpose, the trick to me is to stay a fully embodied person while I experience the transitions. Resisting painful emotions and experiences have cut me off from my relationship with God in the past. I can't abide in that separation for long these days, and it is by the Grace of God that I always return to a certain peace.

I've learned from some extraordinary women in my lifetime, and I'm in awe of how beautifully they nurture me too.

A book called, be love now; the path of the heart( this is the font of the title),by Ram Dass, was in my mailbox today. A gift from my dear friend Carol. Hilda spoke of Ram Dass often, and may well have met him. It's what Hilda would want me to focus on now, especially as she leaves. How lovely.

I chose the photo above because it reminded me of Colleen, and her beautiful butterfly women that she paints. Colleen has been a lifesaver and friend extraordinaire to me, and the butterfly is a symbol of transformation. We are changing, as is so much on this planet, and it is a very good thing. I found the photo on the website of Prayers for Madonna Badger, because a post mysteriously appeared on my news feed today. Madonna is living through the unthinkable. She lost three young daughters, her mother and father, and her new house in a Christmas morning fire. The loss is staggering, and really as unthinkable as I have seen. A group still posts there, and prays for her too.

Love isn't just a feeling; it's a way of being. So, I remember to breathe, take some tea, and a good night's rest when I am feeling really down or pained. Helping someone else helps too, and there are so many people that appreciate the simplest of gestures. I do that as often as I can, and am blessed. All things become old, and pass, but love does not. When I remember that, I don't hurt myself, or someone else. I stay alive, and open too.

My eternal gratitude to all of you who have taught me these important things. They make me new; everyday.

This song by Lorenna Mckennitt is the most beautiful one I could find tonight. She is magical, and so heavenly. Here's the link:

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