Thursday, November 29, 2012

deep listening

"Every trouble wants to draw the best of you into this world."
                                                                                      Mark Nepo

If this is true, then perhaps the deeper the trouble or the more de-stabilizing the life experience, the greater is the urge to bring your best to the surface.  Some “troubles” are of such a size that they take all we have within us just to know and feel all that is in our present moment.  

One way to begin to open to this challenge is to listen more deeply. . . . to listen to your questions, to listen to the voice of nature that grounds us with its consistency, to listen to our cherished memories for all that they bring to the surface. 

Nepo says that we listen in 3 different ways.  We listen with our minds to absorb information so we can better understand . . . we listen with our hearts to hear the feelings that are embedded in our words . . . and we listen with our whole beings, with our very spirits, to hear the harmony that exists beneath everything else.. . . the Oneness, The Truth.    

Listening this deeply takes patience, intentionality, practice and vulnerability.  It is the work of the soul generated by the very best of who we are.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

a thanksgiving blessing

Spirit of Love and Light,
Deep Heart that gives life to us
          and to all the world,   

today, more than other days,
          we are consciously grateful,
          humbled by our abundance
          and uncommonly aware
                   of how good life can be.

We say this in the bright light of our losses
          and with hearts that often feel heavy.
But no amount of sadness or loneliness
          can obliterate our blessings
          and that is surely our greatest gift of all. 

So, give to us this day,
          around this table,
the grace to know deep inside
          the precious joys of our lives
and to live with hearts and voices
          that continually give thanks.

In the very name of Love that never dies, we pray .  .  .

let it be so . . . oh, let it be so

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

to lose our context

It is comforting for me to hear words that capture what I feel.  They  create windows into my inner experience and help me articulate what is going on in my heart.   Mark Nepo seems to do that often for me.  Recently he wrote about what it feels like to lose our context.  That hit home. 

The sudden devastation of losing a child is like being in free fall.  We lose the context of our lives.  As Nepo says, we lose "where we have come from and where we are going . . . clearly we are most comfortable when we think we are progrssing from here to there", but in deep grief our familiar surroundings vanish.  We land heavily in a foreign place with no history and no guide for negotiating our way. 

At that point,  our only choice is to slow down, to listen more intently to our inner voice -that part of us that speaks the unfiltered truth.  We relocate ourselves one patient step at a time, one fully aware moment at a time.  We learn to listen to what we need rather than what we "should" need.  We learn to trust those who can simply be with us without trying to fix us.  We discover a different context that feels authentic and profoundly simple. 

We learn  in deeper and wider ways  that  "now" becomes where we are and "love" becomes what we do. 

Saturday, November 3, 2012

to have a choice

One of my most precious memories of Matt is when he was a senior in high school and opened his second letter of acceptance from a college.   He picked me up off the ground and whirled me around saying, “All right !!!  I have a choice !”  

It always feels empowering to have a choice.  But, when sorrow invades our lives like some immense injustice, we lose that choice for a while.  Instead, we become victims to our own erratic emotions.  That is not wrong or weak, but rather the normal consequence of deep loss.  It feels like we will never feel solid ground again.  But, thankfully, that is not a given. 

Many things go into re-establishing our sense of calm, of living life with purpose again, instead of just trying to stay above the waters of grief.   One healing moment comes almost by surprise.  One day we discover we do have a choice.  After so many weeks and months of being tossed about by feelings, we come to a moment when there emerges a different path.  We realize that we can see what is happening either in the light of loss or choose to see it in a different way.  It feels like someone just turned on a light that we didn’t know was there. . . . our reality is suddenly bigger and wider.  Perhaps another name for this awareness is transformation . . . something new and unexpected unfolds out of something familiar.

And this is healing, not denial, because it doesn’t require forgetting  or pushing memories to the back of our minds.  Not at all.  Instead the newness includes the precious life we still carry. . . . embraces it, honors it and allows it to settle into our living hearts in a warm and peaceful way.
I can choose to remember his smile,
          even when I know he suffered.
I can choose to allow myself to experience the delight around me,
          even when my heart is sad.
I can choose to speak his name, to bring his memory into the “now”
          even when his physical presence is gone.