Today has been busy as I've tried to navigate techie stuff, avoid getting swindled and other things outside my comfort zone.
Day 14 of 30 Paintings In 30 Days leads me right back here to Captivated. Sigh!
Today has been busy as I've tried to navigate techie stuff, avoid getting swindled and other things outside my comfort zone.
Day 14 of 30 Paintings In 30 Days leads me right back here to Captivated. Sigh!
"She work up every mooring with the option of being anyone she wished. How beautiful it was that she always chose herself. "
I love this quote by Tyler Kent White,
This may sound easy, but when we've learned adaptive behavior that's caused personas, we might not even be aware our what is true on the inside. Another wards, we may think we feel one way only to discover below the surface another reality.
Through the process of truly, deeply listening and owning what is being conveyed on the inside, though it may have been previously denied and pushed down, we begin to come into congruence.
We aren't a bunch of pieces walking around. We are whole beings, but until we welcome the parts of ourselves we've orphaned, we will feel fragmented.
Practice giving yourself permission to listen and respond to the depths of what you hear. Be sure to stand in your own corner. Be sure to choose yourself!
Day 13 of 30 Painting In 30 Days, She Chose Herself
Worry is the biggest time waster if ever there was one and what one of us hasn't been a little too familiar with it? If you're like me, you don't want a close association with worry. In fact, I have de-selected my friendships status with worry!
Worry is the worst date in town! Like a plate full of carbs, it's a nutritionally empty snack that leaves us feeling bloated and unsatiated. I have discovered that the more I take my attention away from the problem and fix my vision on the present eternal Love surrounding and embodying me, I instantly return to peace.
Day 11, 30 Paintings In 30 Days, features, Worry Less.
Sometimes it's hard to sit out, while the other kids look like they're having a blast on the playground. Sometimes it's hard to give ourselves the rest or reconfiguring that we need, but truly we are the only ones who can.
I've spent some long seasons of rest where there simply was no grace to push and strive and make things happen. I had dents in my forehead to prove the futility of pushing against the wall. After a while I learned to flow with the river and to let things happen organically. This really drove the strong willed, 'take action' types crazy!
I could hear the voices saying, "Just get up and do it!" But my heart knew the utter betrayal it would have produced, because there was another kind of work that needed to be done. It was stilling myself to listen. The work was below the surface, hidden from sight, but I knew it none the less.
This is the work that most of us avoid for as long as possible. We might not know that we are avoiding it, until you get called up to sit! Although I kicked and screamed and threw tantrums, because I couldn't get out on the playground of seeming "importance" this gift that I didn't understand for a long time was truly one of the best gifts I've ever received.
It brought me to discoveries I would not have uncovered otherwise. It brought me to a kind of ease and rest and grace and peace that I had not encountered to this degree, previously. It realigned so many things and brought me to a rumble with identity. Masks, gold metals and even gold stars that we like to wave around and plaster on ourselves began to fall off. It brought me to the reckoning of the beauty I possess without adding one outside voice of praise or commendation to validate me.
When all of the folks that didn't know how to stay, couldn't handle the vulnerability of looking themselves in the mirror faded away, I found within myself an undeniable fully adored identity, apart from anything I will ever do.
So if you get called up to sit awhile, remember you must crawl before you can walk and you must surely walk before you can run. Give yourself the gift of being loved-on-complete, in your solitude, because when the time is right, you will not only run, you will fly. You will have a clear voice and it will be seasoned with love.
The piece above is: First You Crawl for Day 9 of 30 Paintings In 30 Days. www.30paintingsin30days.weebly.com
You have to crawl before you can walk.
Like jumping rope, some new ventures, seasons and years begin by taking a few awkward and seemingly spasmodic jumps to get into the rhythm of things. That is why I've challenged myself the last few years to do 3o days of creative expression. Although as an artist I will continue creating long after the 30 day mark, I still like to give myself a jumpstart.
Research has proven that creativity is a powerful means to process what's in our head and to move it to our heart, through our hands. It also jumpstarts and inspires greater creativity. That is why I incorporate art into much of the workshops and retreats I do with women.
Some people flit around like a bee in the charcoal drawing above (not a painting at all) for Day 8 of 30 Paintings In 30 Days. They jump from one thing to the next without focus. Been there done that, which isn't always a bad thing. It is actually a great way to learn what things you actually want to continue and develop and what things you want to discard.
However, adding intention, direction and planning takes flitting into focus. Although I am a creative, one of my top strengths defined by the Strength Finders Assessment, which by the way I have all new clients take, is focus. If focus were not in my profile, I would want to team up with someone who had that strength. Instead, I have other areas where I lack particular strengths and try to add others with those strengths or skill sets to my team.
What ways are you being intentional about your New Year? Are you giving yourself permission to awkwardly jump into something that you might feel uncertain about, so you can explore the territory?
To follow along this month come back to the blog everyday for a new painting and post and see the art that others are posting from around the world at: www.30paintingsin30days.weebly.com
There are big surprises wrapped up in joy, because carrying a joyful heart means you've chosen to see things differently. You've chosen to see beyond the obvious into another realm. In fact, in my assessment, realms of glory couldn't be incased in anything other that the Father's joy.
Joy then is a kind of portal that awakens the hallowed within, allowing us to laugh when the world's dark prognosis is pronounced, because of a supernatural interpretation of God's unending goodness. Some might think this is foolishness, but I rather think of it as other worldly.
It takes no special skill to be fearful, but being at peace and carrying joy takes a sight and perspective adjustment. It takes a faith that is divine rather than human. Our greatest defense is joy! But this is quite different that the insincere, inauthentic saccharin off-loading behavior Brenè Brown calls, The Umbridge. This nice southern, church going behavior, also exhibited in cultures other than the south, is often deflecting a greater truth. Brown writes about this behavior in, Rising Strong.
"It's present when light and dark are not integrated at all. There's almost something foreboding about overly sweet and accommodating ways. All that niceness feels inauthentic and a little like a ticking bomb." Brown named The Umbridge after the J.K. Rowling character Dolores Umbridge in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix who wears sweet pink suits, cutesy pillbox hats and tortures children. Brown tells us that those that claim to never feel angry or upset, and are always positive, are often masking true pain and hurt. These are red flags.
It's taken me a darn long time to recognize that their is always more beyond the words that might appear lovely, but whose behavior defies it. There is always more beyond the obvious. Getting curious about our real emotion is where we reckon with it, rather than off-loading it. This is where we give ourselves permission to feel, get curious about what we are feeling and be uncomfortable with it until we see what it wants us to know.
A few years ago I awoke to the New Year hearing the word, Incongruent in my spirit. The next two years that followed introduced wave after wave of discovery, unearthing "good girl" behavior that greatly conflicted with what I knew to be true for myself. As if I was a bystander watching my behavior for the first time, I was astounded at the things I found myself doing and participating in that my heart was protesting against, but the disconnect and off-loading of emotion had allowed me to continually betray myself.
After the initial heartbreak of realizing how much I had dishonored my own wellbeing in rote, approval seeking behavior (definite joy robber) I began to experience absolute joy and bliss at the awakening and freedom of choosing how I would best care for myself.
Last night as I launched a new Rising StrongTM Group, as a certified facilitator of Brenè Brown's work, amazing women shared about present hardships and rough realities in their lives. I was struck by the fact that they had courageously chosen to show up, be seen and learn new ways of speaking about their emotions and pain, so that instead of coping they could learn to truly care for themselves. We each wrote permission slips that helped us begin the journey of defining for ourselves what we needed to feel safe and successful in the group and practicing wholeheartedness to move beyond the swampy ground known as the Delta to rise strong.
It's only when we get curious about our inner world, own our pain and darkness that we can truly and authentically experience joy. Joy is not something we put on, but a deep living reality available when we choose to be courageous. The more we honestly acknowledge the truth about where we are and get curious in the discovery, we can return to joy.
There is much discovery hidden beyond the obvious. While many coaches focus on goal setting, every goal winds its way back to a deeper inner reality. Every disappointment, expectation, relationship difficulty, and career launch, though often seeming to be outer issues, interesting leads its way back to how we handle life and the illusive stuff beyond the obvious.
Day 7 of 30 Paintings In 30 Days is entitled: Beyond the Obvious. To follow daily posts by artist around the world visit
www.3opaintingsin30days.weebly.com . And come back for this months daily posts right here!
is entitled, Excitement Stirring. This is done in acrylic on Bristol paper and is all about the excitement bubbling up on the insides as the New Year commences. You can join the fun, or check out all of the great work being posted at www.30paintingsin30days.weebly.com
This week I begin a Rising StrongTM group with wonderful women excited to dive into Brenè Brown's wonderful material that I am certified to facilitate. I have also been diving deep into planning the first retreat by The Delta Sisters this April, entitled, Untamed Creative.
This is along awaited dream for my sister and I to hold retreats at our family farm in rural Arkansas, 40 miles outside of Memphis. This first retreat will be a wonderful mix of art, great food, ambiance and powerful life coaching inspiration. I have been getting so excited just reading through the material and format. I hope some of you will be joining us for a great investment in wellbeing, body, soul and spirit.
Tomorrow begins the first full week of the New Year and I am rearing to go, booked solid and finally recovering from my holiday jet lag. I hope you all are as excited about the New Year and if not, you need to schedule a coaching session with me and lets get your hope and vision renewed!
I’M FINE, read the journal heading, but like the line crossing out the well-worn phrase, I knew I wasn’t fine. When your body shuts down it is because it has been sending you messages that you could not understand, or recognize previously and the only way it could get your attention was to stop you in your tracks.
Even before this shut down, I knew something was wrong when after being a songbird that sang, played guitar and wrote songs my whole life, I stopped singing. You don’t just shut down without reason. Then a few years later when the writing stopped, too, I knew I wasn’t fine.
I’ve been through some difficult transitions, disappointments and losses and so it’s understandable that I might have been affected. That’s is why when I decided to get trained in Brenè Brown’s work a couple of years back, I knew it would be vital for me personally if I were to rise strong and dare greatly and boy I was right. It’s taken time, five years to be exact, of slowing down, letting go of forcing life, and sitting with myself for my off-loaded and stockpiled emotions to surface like bobbers, so I could truly identify them.
Five years might have been the same amount of time it took me as a child to slough off my tender carefree skin and take on a world much too big for me to manage. That might have been the time I said goodbye to my untamed heart and decided I would bury it and instead perform and please all those around that never talked about their hearts and take care of those of us that were gaping for care. That’s when I chose the hero role.
When you’re a “feeler” and you decide to disregard the thing in you that feels, you’re in trouble. And no matter how hard you try to perform and ignore it, it’s just not going to work. Things will get jumbled up inside.
Even though my childhood gypsy costume expressed my untamed heart like my mother, what was modeled for me by the “respectable folks” was the antithesis, so it’s no wonder I choose to follow the acceptable crowd instead of the black sheep on the crazy train. Sadly, my heartbreaks for haven chosen wrongly, but I was a child lacking skills and grasping for survival, not meaning to orphan large parts of myself.
This recent five years have led me on my own train of re-discovery, recapturing the orphaned pieces I left off at previous junctions. The parts labeled cast off, I have now come to welcome, seeing that the crazy train isn’t all crazy. And now I’m even a little endeared to crazy, because all real courage and creativity often looks a bit mad.
A Safe Place
In the 80’s my husband Bill and I facilitated a group named, The Safe Place Group. I never knew then that that would be a reoccurring theme for my life. It’s only through connecting with safe people and making ourselves a safe place that we will be able to welcome the deepest parts of ourselves, such as our creativity and our own brand of crazy.
Breaking with the Pack
It’s from this safe place that we can break with the internal and outer packs that keep everything looking nice on the outside, while the inside decays. It’s where we learn to break with other’s rules, rhetoric, and dogma, because the law doesn’t speak heart, grace does.
It’s not a bad trade off, to finally give oneself permission to let go of being the hero and turning those hero antics in our own direction. It’s amazing to climb into the nurture that’s always been needed when we kindly give it to ourselves.
We can get a second chance to pick straws, slough off hero,ghost or black sheep, and show ourselves some self-respect. And amazingly there will be plenty of volunteers to rush in and carry the platters the hero throws down, earning the dubious accolades that keep the hero performing! However, one will never be feed by more duty. It’s only when the inner light is alive and we show up true that we will feed anyone, but first we must feed ourselves.
What I’ve found on this journey is that there are very few who are willing to show up, really show up to reveal the truth below the veneer, where there is a little child needing to be heard, seen and loved. I think that is largely, because few of us are truly safe places.
And there are few that recognize that I’M FINE is a lie and will sit across the table and speak about it, hold the space for others to show up and be seen. There are few with enough shame resilience to listen without spiraling into their own pile of shame, fixing, or offloading emotions with every tactic known to man and even when doing all of the above, circling back around to revisit the fall.
Those courageous enough to face their inner worlds are the people worth noticing. They are the ones that are learning how to stand tall in their own stories and how to become a safe place for themselves and others. They are the ones welcoming their breakdowns spiritual awakenings and honest enough to speak, reclaim and welcome their own kind of crazy. They are the ones that have returned home.
Sometimes we need a break from the current scenery to see things differently. Sometimes we need to get away and go the road of one extreme to the other to find the value of balance. But the truth is that you can get as far away as possible from the things that bug you, while the triggers are still back at home where you are!
It’s really no secret that the faith community (that I love) has also often been an irritant to me. I don’t mean to offend anyone, but to stop stepping in all the “shoulding” this community has flung on the sidewalk, I had to define my boundaries and life on my own terms, without worrying about the fear mongering or perceived wrath of God this might insight others to hurl my way.
Giving myself this permission (which was already mine for the taking) allowed me to get beyond group think, parroting and evolve (still discovering) into the person I was always meant to be. This growing up has resulted in a love awakening that has allowed me to see the world and all its irritants with new eyes. And why wouldn’t it? Love transforms everything it touches.
Imagine if your destiny was tied to the very people that irritated you the most, but you couldn’t recognize it until you fell in love with the very stone in your shoe. What if this people group would be one of the greatest means for your expansion into new depths and in turn you had something they badly needed as well.
“Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this, too, was a gift.” Mary Oliver
None of us can get where we are going alone and certainly we aren’t meant to. When the reality of being in this thing together and the powerful elixir of love crashes into our world to soften and awaken all the brittle places, we just can’t help but love.
My friend Blaise Forte said, "You are free to LOVE unconditionally, to walk confidently, and to judge NO ONE (even yourself) by their past or present circumstance or decisions" and here comes my favorite part, "You are free to manifest love freely because all have been loved unconditionally."
That’s the amazing thing about God’s love. Although man tries to define restrictive borders and barricades of should and shouldn'ts, grace poo-poos it. Ultimately we will become powerless to resist love’s coursing wave that crashes though our defenses and changes everything in its wake. And although Love will change those around us, it will always, always do its work to first change us, using every stone in our shoe as a gift.
My dentist said that when he was 6 years old he knew he wanted to be a dentist and by twelve he knew the exact spot he wanted to live and start his practice. Although that is amazing, it is extremely rare. Most of us need some time as adults for self- discovery and self-permission.
As a life coach I work with adult client after client that is redesigning, refiguring and rediscovering themselves and their lives. Redesign is a natural part of life’s transitions. Instead of shunning the notion, we should eagerly embrace it, because life has a way of throwing us into new experiences that cause us to shift and recalibrate our direction.
My friend Robert Ricciardeli said, “You don’t need to change who you are to become successful. You just need to live in the authenticity of who you are for success to find you.”
Recalibrating is often about leaning into your natural, God given passion, gifting and bent and seeing the design process emerge. For some this is highly specific, but for many this is the equivalent to throwing stuff on the wall and discovering what sticks, while being unafraid to try various possibilities. When you feel inspired, grab a chunk of life, give yourself permission, throw it on your wall and see what happens.
I’ve sung my whole life. For forty years I've written songs and even been awakened in the morning with new songs on the tip of my tongue, until about five years ago when the singing stopped.
I knew that something shut down inside, because for the first time in my life melody wasn’t bubbling up from deep within. Previously I sang when things were good and I sang when things were bad. I also knew I couldn’t "fix" the gift that I didn’t initiate in the first place, but I suspected that my trouble was mistakenly basing my outlook only on what I could see. That kind of perspective would dash anyone’s hope.
Hope is a powerful thing. In fact, hope has a lot to do with how we interpret circumstances, how we look at the future and define things that do not yet exist. I’m typically a Pollyanna, but sometimes when the manifestation of hope wanes, the lack I perceive through my natural sight causes a feeling of deficit. That’s when the opportunity presents itself to choose how I will interpret what I cannot yet see.
Even though I hadn't entirely recognized it, there had been tremendous fruitfulness in my life over the last several years. I only needed to recalibrate how I looked and what I saw. And that's when I heard, “This is the year of singing.”
My hope has been popping off the charts over the last year. It’s not that every circumstance in my life has fallen into place, but rather that my hope and faith perspective have recalibrated. Hope is the substance of things yet to be seen.
Hope is consistently singing over every single one of us if we will tune in to hear the new song. This is the year of recognizing and embracing hope. This is the year of the songbirds returning.
This morning I was thinking about the times I’ve been parched, but wouldn’t draw near to a water supply (wouldn’t get up off my *** to go the kitchen, turn on the faucet and drink!)
It’s said, you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink. It’s a sad reality to be in the middle of an oasis, but not see it. It’s a sad reality to be gifted another day to live and be in such despair that it’s whittled away.
What might be the difference between those that have so little and yet live with full abandon and ecstasy and those that just can’t quite grasp their goodness portion?
I’ve had seasons were I remained in drought, because of my blindness and hard heartedness. I’ve had seasons where joy escaped my grasp, as I camped out in the mindset of lack. And then it happened! I began to recall the goodness I’ve experienced, the joy and elation from seasons past and joy couldn’t help but over take me. Then I started to build on that joy in every moment looking for pieces of beauty, whether in the garbage heap or the morning sunrise. It's there and if you look for it you will find it in every circumstance.
What might be keeping you from your oasis?
The sales clerk announced that the over priced organic tomatoes that I snapped up (majorly on sale) were actually on the house. The register rang them up at the regular price, so the sales clerk said the store was covering the tab for any inconvenience this might have caused me.
What? Someone actually wants to step in, take responsibility and shoulder the offense? That never happens! Although this was hardly an offense or inconvenience, what if she could take some of the rotten tomatoes thrown in my face, the real painful doozies and eradicate them too?
This experience got me thinking. I had already seen some very significant reversals in this shiny New Year and even leading up to 2015. And I believe there are going to be a lot more reversals of things that have been miscalculated, wrongly charged and even stolen from our lives. Things are being recovered in 2015 and I am already witnessing grand reversals at rapid speed.
I am also noticing the need to set my heart to receive them. After one such reversal, I found myself excited about the change, but also grieving over the pain of what I had lost. Acknowledged my very human feelings of grief, I then choose to shake off the old pain and disappointment and catch up to speed with the new gift I was receiving, recognizing that the only things that have the power to hold me, are the things I hold on to.
Letting go of the injustice of the past and choosing to move forward in forgiveness is key to being able to receive the new. Gratitude is the means to accept and receive all circumstances. Every good and perfect gift is from above, so with open hands and a heart of gratitude just imagine what we can receive. Who would want to hang onto the old when presented with the new?
Get a glimpse of the breathtaking reversals showing up and the grand reversal that has already taken place to right things on our behalf. This righting of wrongs (yours and mine) has been displayed with fervor and generosity. Our slates are wiped clean and all we have to do is receive.
The new highlight reel that is being run in each our lives serves as a glorious reminder and demonstration of the off the chart generosity that never stops giving, never stops loving or moving on our behalf. God is into recalibrating, reconciling and dandy reversals. If your like me, it may take a moment to adjust to the new, but having set my heart forward, I am wowed by this constant gift of grace that is beyond imagining.
I painted this butterfly, because I needed to be reminded that the butterfly wouldn’t always be a caterpillar.
Today, I’m saying to myself, “hold on butterfly. It’s gonna be okay!”
I call myself Butterfly and other endearing names like, Beautiful and Sweetheart. In fact, some mornings the first thing I hear when I wake up is the greeting, “Good morning beautiful! This is your day!” I know God is excited to spend the day loving me, and I get another day to love Him.
Today, I needed to be reminded that I am a Butterfly. I needed to remember. And boy did I remember. With a goodness kiss I got a healthy reminder and I will share about it tomorrow. Come back by for a visit!
Do you ever wonder what stops the flow of inspiration? Why does the well dry up and you feel parched and dry when the water supply is within and not out of reach?
Sometimes I put myself through mental gymnastics thinking I am isolated and alone, much like I felt as a child. That is UNTIL I realize that even if I feel alone, I've never ever been alone, except in my perceptions.
I know its popular to talk about perception, mindsets and shifts these days, but its because we are waking up to a reality that has always existed, but we've failed to see. We’ve had the wool pulled over our eyes, while in actuality the veil no longer exists.
We’ve looked outside of ourselves for the mirror image that exists within. We’ve looked for inspiration outwardly, when inspiration is busting at the seams with breath and life, hope’s meter tapping away love's melody, wooing and including us in the passionate dance and resonance of life.
When I bump up next to you I feel the spray of breath, inspiration filling the air, new and alive, bumping up against the life of inspiration within me. It’s the patter of little feet, the baby in the womb stirring to the sound of the Father’s voice and likeness in each of us.
It’s asking you what you carry, what joy you're pregnant with and what life you have to deliver? Grace announces that lack has been rescinded.
Starving while the table is set, this gap forgetting where there is no lack.
Swallowed up in Trinity glory, friendship of fullness, ache subsided.
Wrapped in over-loved goodness, caressed and lavished inexplicably strong.
You are not far off as some might be. You are not a wonderer, not like me.
You are steady and sure and constant devotion, like the ocean overflowing the beach.
Lapped up in embrace, no morsels of rationing,
no short sale, no barter for goods. Love completeness, flourishing full.
This morning I woke up with the images of a dream still lingering within my reach. I dreamt that my family and I were in a helicopter. This was not your average helicopter, but rather one that seemed more like the size of a cruise liner.
On this helicopter we were able to ask for anything we wanted and were catered to, making sure we got whatever we asked for, as if we were known and highly revered by the staff. All the while the staff was ready and waiting to respond to our every word and need, protecting and providing care and support as we floated up above the world below.
What if there was a realm of peace and rest high above the clutter of the hustle and bustle below? What if in this realm there was the ease of maneuvering in and out of daily life as a helicopter maneuvers through tight spaces?
What if there was angelic staff assigned to support and help us in our journey, not only to protect, but also to grant our every need and wish? Would that alter the way we lived? What if instead of holding out, coping and trying to make it on our own, or piously choosing to resist making waves or demands because we imagined God to be a stingy Father, we instead availed ourselves to what has been given to us from the benevolence and generosity of an over the top giver?
In my book, it would be foolish to refuse such support, to refuse such opulent, loving grace, yet how many of us do merely by our ignorance and independence?
When I was a young women I suggested to my generous grandfather that I did not want to be included in his will. I did this because I wanted him to know how much I loved him with no strings attached. Being the generous and loving man that he was, he refused my request. Imagine if he decided to withhold his generosity and love towards me betraying his character. It just wouldn’t have happened, even to the degree that those family members that failed in love and kindness towards him still found generosity and favor as a member of the family. The gift came from his nature and not the nature of the recipient (even though as part of the family I mystically carry with the giver within my DNA.)
I certainly want to enjoy the heights, depths and lengths of this kind of generous love, to be favored and thought well of by God, not only for the effects that this kind of love has in me, but so I can demonstrate generosity of nature to others.
I don’t want to forfeit the ride of my life, because I refuse the giver the generosity of his nature. I want to enjoy being a helicopter mama on every level, not merely for my sake, but on behalf of the others that may benefit from this grand generosity.
“For He will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways.” Psalm 91:11
“Praise the Lord, you his angels, you mighty ones who do his bidding, who obey his word.” Psalm 103:20
I really don’t like it when people of faith shove their faith like a bitter cold slap in the face of others. I don’t like it when rather than love; there seems a need to prove something or to win an argument. When faith is expressed in mere words, instead of through love in action I find the reality incongruent and lacking.
That’s probably why I don’t generally push my faith outwardly onto others. I’ve been stung by religious pontificating as much as the rest of the world. I’ve disliked the faith community’s elitism that harmed my family and often continues to be threated by our lack of interest in rule keeping and many things that fly in the face of everything about Christ and the Trinity’s love for mankind.
And yet how do I live from a place that is authentic to me, my faith reality, my often struggle with this community and my love for the world in or out of my faith inclination? That has been the dilemma for sometime and so in 2015 I hope to embrace more love for myself in this space and for others who are willing to stand with open hands declaring that they do not know it all, or have the corner on the market. In my book, relationship is paramount (yes messy and imperfect) but without it I am not interested in any gymnastics that may seem spiritual but lacks the reality of love. Activities without relationship are usually counterfeit, or lacking depth at the very least.
The fact still remains that some thirty years ago I had a life encountering, rearranging divine appointment that took me from a suicidal mess, overcome by bulimia and uncontrollable binging, to being instantly healed of a six-year eating disorder that controlled and almost stole my life. Its one of those encounters that really can’t be explained and most certainly can never be stolen, because I know the impact of this divine intervention in my life. I also know the reality of the continuous daily divine intervention I receive, not to mention after being a 36-year-old widow with four small beautiful children carried through the difficult transition with love and grace. And then after seven years of single parenting miraculous being given a brave man to love my children and me when at the time it seemed like an impossibility, because most men ran for their lives.
I know the miraculously reality of coming through many a devastation with a settled sense of worth and identity and more love and joy than I could have ever anticipated. And I know that the joy in my life is no longer contingent on my successes, my circumstances, others opinion of me, or anything other than God’s faith and outrageous love that carries me and is alive within me. This bountiful love is still constantly being demonstrated toward mankind.
Having had such experiences has altered the way I live and see life. It's the reason I experience life as a joyous celebration. So as I look to 2015 from a place of belief, and a joyful and exuberant creative welcome to the new, I'd say its time to step into the abundance of freedom! Today's art journaling image above is not new, but I felt it calling to me, reminding me of the freedom and joy available to us should we choose to recognize it. Day 3 unspeakable joy is on my mind. What does unspeakable joy (even in hard times) mean to you?
So today for Day 2 of my creative journaling (somedays more play than art) 30 Days of Creative Expression exercise, I just can’t stop thinking about this too good to be true news, this ridiculously lavish grace that grants such outrageous entitlement that flies in the face of finger wagging, bemoaning of entitlement! It’s such good news we really don’t know how to receive it. We collect our add ons and our “buts”, because we fear being like those in this generation that we judge (walking in their annoying entitlement) as we spout, “Who do they think they are?”
But what if this generation with all its quirks (like the rest of us) is actually a blazing billboard, a burning bush pointing to the truth of this complete, grace-given life of Christ running through us? What if this generation was a trumpet declaring our very own entitlement! Are you thinking: heresy?
This grace gift is certainly not because we deserve it, but more likely because most of those that are broadcasting the good news have taken all of the good out of it and so this generation with its flamboyant finger grasping demands is actually a better broadcaster of this ridiculous free gift of grace!
What if we were to reconcile with the Life that has reconciled with us and let it fill our lungs completely. You didn’t think you had any part in acquiring your breath did you? What if we expanded the entitlement we’ve downplayed and let it open up more and more into the recesses of our being with its glorious goodness filling grace?
To have a change of thinking we have to completely disconnect from the old belief even when we don’t fully understand the exchange. We have to stand with open hands of faith willing to receive something better (rather than defend our blind spot) even when we can’t begin to comprehend how the exchange is possible!
We have to be willing to say, “I don’t understand this too good to be true gift of grace, but with every fiber of my being I say, Yes!” I will stop the rule keeping and miserly watching with tit for tat eyes, doling it out to those defined as worthy and instead jump in full depth, lap it up in every corner and splash around in this audacious tidal wave of love grace.
You can be an older brother keeping guard if you want to (I’ve been you and that’s why I’ve had to steer clear of you so I could instead float in the exuberant waters of refreshment!) Yes, that’s right, I’d rather drown in the intoxicating joy of this unequal exchange, this preposterous grace that I am somehow entitled to than hangout with the unbelieving righteous towing the line for the rest of the world. Honestly, it makes me gag!
Today I am joyfully reflecting on this over the top gift, this basking in the presence of love’s overflow, not off in the rafters of holiness, but alive within me. What glorious beautiful news! What do you think about this grace?
Once again I've chosen to start the New Year with open hands, not agendas, but the ease of grace rather than forceful self-will. It feels natural to start each day with a creative exercise or intuitive play, as an extension and expression of the creative Life within, as a process and experience, rather than a goal to be completed.
Each day this month, I will start the day with the idea of effortless, joyful connection, rather than reaching outside of myself for an encounter. I merely experience the Life indwelling within, singing onto the page or through the materials I choose.
This first day of 2015 expresses the creative journey of Believe (in the image above) that I sense evolving this year. This is a natural unfolding that comes easily as I choose to walk in the unforced rhythm of grace.
If you too want to resist the zealous thrust of self-will and move easily and organically into the New Year, you might also choose to spend the next days listening, creating or journaling what arises within you. Let this be the beginning of your road map for this glorious year of possibilities ahead.
Let it ring in with newness and color and joyful ease, instead of frenetic, forced striving.
Should you choose to engage in this fun creative expression let if evolve in your own way and by all means please share your new inspiration and creations as you go.
Wishing you the ease of grace and the overflow of love in your journey. Happy 2015!