Tag Archives: spirituality

comfort and joy

Holiday Fear… I Meant Cheer…

It is December. It is the season. The season of FamilySpendingStressWorshipandTonsandTonsofFood. I believe that’s the official name of the entire season. But really, I don’t want to talk so much about the holidays. I want to talk about you. And me. And living life in a brilliant way.

I recently read that in order to have successful New Year’s Resolutions, one should start 6 weeks in advance. Technically we’re already past that date, but today is the last day of November and, let’s be honest, if we start working on them today it’s way sooner than we’ve ever done before.

“But it’s FamilySpendingStressWorshipandTonsandTonsofFood season,” you might say to me. “How am I ever going to have the time and energy to focus on anything but that?” (Let’s call it what it is, you whined that part.)

Yeah. I get that. But recently I had an epiphany. It was in mid October when my mind rankled me out of an autumnal bliss and reminded me that the holidays were nearly upon us. “Rude!” I screamed to myself, but then I remembered: Whatever experience I’m having, I am choosing to have it. While circumstances, like holidays and viruses may come and go as they please, the way in which I experience them is all me.

Booyah!

It is nearly December and holiday cheer is sidling up to each and every one of us like a cuddly kitten that may or may not scratch us without provocation. We can ease our holiday anxieties with too much food and an attitude of simply getting through it all, or we can focus on creating goals for the coming year and experiencing the holidays with gratitude and humor.

I’ll take a second helping of the latter if you don’t mind.

selene

What Is Your Essence?

Sitting across from me at my kitchen table is a beautiful, young Latina. Her eyes are dark and round and her hair is shiny and lush. She is struggling to say something to me. I believe I understand what she intends but she remains frustrated. Not long after she excuses herself to go to the pool house where she is currently living.

Throughout the afternoon we sat together at the table, she, a young college student, and me, an incredibly youthful life coach. We had a lot to talk about. The learning and teaching baton passed back and forth between us as the hours passed. I love when that happens.

I cannot help but put on my Life Coach hat. I love what I do. It lights me up and inspires me to make bigger choices when I am teaching others. So when I have a college student in front of me. Poor girl…

It’s not entirely based on ego that I believe I taught Selene a few things. After all, what’s the point of living all these years if I have nothing to show for it? A conversation about daring and stretching and believing in oneself was just the order of the day.

In return, Selene taught me things about the Jewish household where she worked for a time, mixed right along with her observations about life. After all, what’s the point of living any amount of years if you have nothing to show for it?

Selene cleaned out my unkempt refrigerator and I did some work at my computer. The afternoon wore on and we dabbled in philosophy and Spanish and the absurdities that constitute a proper English sentence.

I imagine it was more than 30 minutes later when Selene returned that she looked far less troubled. Almost the moment she walked in the door she enthusiastically explained what she’d been trying to say.

“It’s not the cape you wear or the things you say that make me like you. It’s your essence that draws me to you.”

This is, perhaps, one of the kindest compliments I’ve ever received. Not only does it surpass the superficial, but it makes me wonder about the essence of other people, of circumstances, sentences, neighborhoods and ideas. It reminds me of the quote from the children’s book The Little Prince, “It is only the heart that can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to they eye.”

It is always a pleasant reminder that wisdom has no age and that our lives are simply teaming with all that is essential to joy.

selene

bill murray awesome

Why You Matter

One time Mr Dreamboat took his hand off my back and I thought I was going to die. Literally, not figuratively.

I was in that super-cool, super human state where my body was expelling a completely separate human and was practically turning inside out to do it. Because of the intense concentration it required of me to keep from howling at the moon, the floor and anyone within a 27 mile radius, I hadn’t stopped to mention, “Hey, your hand on my back is tethering me and without it I will most certainly float into the Abyss of Agony and never, ever return. Thanks for that.”

When he removed my connection to our reality I focused with all my might and said just that in the most precise words possible, “Put. Your. Hand. Back.” Not my most poetic work, but it did the trick.

Look! I created this perfectly lovely human being!
Look! I created this perfectly lovely human being!

I come back to this story often when I am doing something I don’t necessarily want to do. Not convinced it makes any difference to anyone if I show up to a party, support a friend’s child’s fundraiser, make a phone call or offer a smile on a day that the energy expense is considerable, with this incident firmly planted in my labor-traumatized mind, almost without exception, I do the deed anyway.

Maybe it wasn’t the incident that continues to remind me to matter, but our conversation after the fact that impacted me so completely.

“Why did you move your hand when I needed it so much?” I asked Mr D.

“I didn’t think it was making a difference,” he explained.

Too many times I’ve said harsh things thinking it didn’t matter, decided my presence wasn’t of any real import and thoughtlessly pursued the voices that drive my own needs. Though that conversation took place almost 17 years ago (Can it really be almost 17 years ago?), I continue to make those same mistakes, though I certainly try not to.

We are so fragile. Almost none of us are immune to the need to be understood, loved and supported. Try as we might to “first, do no harm” like the Doctors of Love we most certainly are, no one gets by without offending someone at some time.

Whether we realize it or not, our kindnesses, reaching out and gentle touches tether our loved ones as well as strangers to a  world in desperate need of more kindness. We need to remember that. Remember that our omissions can sometimes do harm and that goes against the Oath of The Universe. I’m sure there is one, we just don’t remember taking it.

We will harm each other. It’s what we do. We’re human. But when we remember that we matter, our presence matters, the words we say and the things we do, they matter, then we’ll do a better job of doing good, healing hearts and tethering one another to a more beautiful world.

flirt

I Am Shameless & You Should Be Too

I practice a weird sort of magical thinking. It’s kind of a belief system cum superstition a la religious practice. If you will.

Whether it stems from my own delightful form of mental illness or from the smorgasbord of my various interests, the “program” runs constantly in the back of my mind. My religious/philosophical/life coaching convictions can be summed up in four, simple words;

Flirt with The Universe.

Mercilessly.

To flirt with The Universe involves nothing more than a sassy attitude, a genuine smile and a belief that when we make ourselves available to the good things that inhabit life, they likely will come to us; somewhat like the phone number of a highly desirable partner, written on your hand while he looks meaningfully into your eyes.

Who doesn’t want The Universe to do that to them?

love hugTo Flirt with The Universe is to wake up every morning in possibility. It is to believe in real and meaningful connection and to consider that every interaction is possibly the most important one of your life.

To Flirt with Life requires a willingness to see the beauty that is inherently in every moment, whether that beauty is obvious or not.

Each day is another opportunity to start dating life.

While I may have deftly named my practice ~ if I do say so myself ~ if I’m being honest Mr Dreamboat has made this ideology his custom for many years. His every transaction is with an important person, every conversation matters. Regardless of whether he’s buying a soda or a piece of property, my Dreamboat is engaged with life, so life engages with him. That’s so hot.

When we Flirt with Life we believe in Possibility, we Hope for the Best and we pull our shoulders back like the pretty girl at a middle school dance. When we are certain the very best partner has his eye on us, he does, he will, we are, we win.

May we each put on out very best, brush our teeth (for The Universe loves good dental hygiene) and look to life like it has everything to give us, every day of our lives.

Because of course, it does.

michelle and mary

Join Us For Michelle Church In A Soulless Hotel Room

As I write this I am sitting on my comfortable bed in a Marriott Hotel in California. Maybe it’s something about the soulless hotel room that somehow robs me of the words I love so much. Who’s to say?

What I know for sure is that over the last three days I’ve set at the feet of master teachers and communed with like-minded individuals. It is for further training in my career that I am here, and though I miss Mr Dreamboat, there’s no other place I’d rather be. I feel both full and empty, full of love and light and possibility… and empty of coherent thought.

Or maybe that’s just the soulless room talking.

These last three days have taught me things I never knew and reminded me in a powerful way of things I already did. Perhaps what’s come most clearly into focus is that knowing a truth is quite different than knowing about it. If I am not living it, the depth of the knowing is of little worth.

If I preach judge not and yet I judge, I don’t know it’s true. If I say kindness is the best of all attributes but I am miserly and mean, what is it I really know?

It is of little concern to me to what particular religion you subscribe. What it is I’m far more curious about is how you live, how you love and what beliefs are so deep in your soul that you don’t just know about them, but you breathe them into your life and the lives of those with whom you cross paths.

This week I’ve been reminded of the things that I know about and the things I wish to bind with my DNA in a way that is everlasting. I want to live in such a way that when we meet you feel cared for and loved.

These days I concern myself less with “the great mysteries” I’ve yet to divine, and more with the simple things that really matter to me. I gather these things along the way and with a little luck and a lot of perseverance, they won’t just be a few nice thoughts in my collection, but they will equal a life of knowing the things that really matter.

Whatever your truth, live it. Whatever your beliefs, share them with others by living them. And whatever you know about, be about.

Like, share, comment, tweet and can I get an amen?

Of Three Year Olds, Reverence & Snacks ~ How I Do Church

I’ve been asked to teach the three year old children at church today. I really like the three year olds, especially because I only teach them on occasion. Keeps it fresh, you know? My job, or “calling” as it is known in my religion, is to be the permanent person on call to help out with the children if someone is out of town or otherwise indisposed. This calling suits me just fine. It allows me to stay somewhat unaffiliated, if you will. I go ~ most of the time ~ I observe, I leave.

What I like best about the three-year-old “Sunbeam” class is that they’re prone to do whatever the h*!! they want and without apology. Regardless of how often you tell them it’s not appropriate to take off your shoes at church, pick your nose or perhaps even attempt to disrobe entirely, they’re gonna do what they please, probably under a chair, either with a mischievous grin or a power-struggle grimace on their faces, depending on how harshly they’ve been reprimanded in the past.

Image
You can only keep this up for so long.

There is little risk of a harsh reprimand from me. I totally get it. Shoes can be uncomfortable, even unnatural. Sometimes the floor is more relaxing, it grounds us really. And honestly, couldn’t we all use a little snack time and a little lie down after hours of trying to be upright citizens in the Kingdom of God? I know I could.

After affirming that I am indeed in town and am happy to teach the Sunbeams, I asked what lesson it is I am to teach. It’s all on-line now and a mere tap of the keys will get me the lesson material. I was informed I would be teaching Lesson 38: I Can Be Reverent. Sure, we can do that. No problem.

Okay. We’ve got something to work with here. I’m all over it. As a matter of fact, sometimes I think this is my calling because it’s about my spiritual speed; About every 6-ish weeks I get a call asking if I can teach. I may or may not be in town. When I am in town I happily agree to help. And truthfully, I prefer the childish atmosphere and teaching style over the adults’. Hands down. All day long. Every time. A child might get a little snotty sometimes, but they don’t really mean it. Adults can be, well… I like kids a lot.

I’ve come to a place in my life where I understand things aren’t black and white. There’s not really good and bad. There’s not a line in the sand. That said, there ARE choices that make us happier or sadder. There are actions we take that have negative consequences and thought patterns and behaviors that will bring us joy and peace. But the variables are many and life is an individual event.

There is no team in the word DIE. There is, however, a single “I”. We’re on our own.

What I know for sure is that being kind, sitting on the floor and eating a cracker with a three year old is a good way to spend one’s time and I am looking forward to it.

At the end of my brief text conversation about teaching today I had just one thing to add, and this is an exact quote, “If you don’t mind, I’ll amend the lesson to be; “I can be reverent, but that’s just one of my options.”

Fortunately, I got the okay.