Monthly Archives: November 2009

There’s Seeing and there’s SEEING

“This is one of the miracles of love: It gives a power of seeing through its own enchantments and yet not being disenchanted.” ~ C.S. Lewis

I am, at times, guilty of taking the people I love for granted – not in the way we usually mean (to expect someone or something to be always available to serve in some way without thanks or recognition) but in not seeing them in all their splendor.

It’s not for lack of appreciating their wonderful qualities or talents.  It’s more like we work or play so closely, brain to brain, soul to soul, that I stop seeing them the person, and just relate to them the being.

Once, when I worked in a restaurant, I looked up to see this very attractive man looking at me from the end of the bar.  I smiled; he smiled and then I saw him…

He was my boyfriend… oy!

I loved him and I had stopped seeing his external self… seeing him where I didn’t expect to allowed me to see his physical self without the laser focus of my caring and concern for him.

It’s not just about looks…

This holiday, I spent some really lovely quality time with one of my sisters.  It’s been a while since we had the opportunity to just hang out and in the midst of the weekend I remembered how cool she is.

Being apart, in the midst of my daily grind, I always remember how much I love my family members, but it’s more like a “they’re my family; of course, I love them” kinda thing.  Then when we’re together, every now and then the veil pulls back, and I see THEM for who they are… some really amazing, interesting, caring human beings who each strive in their own way to make the world a better place.  I remember that I not only love them because they’re family, I genuinely LIKE them….

Sometimes I lose track of that, but it’s really great to be reminded.

“You can become blind by seeing each day as a similar one. Each day is a different one, each day brings a miracle of its own. It’s just a matter of paying attention to this miracle.” ~ Paulo Coelho

Magic is Afoot

“I believe that imagination is stronger than knowledge – myth is more potent than history – dreams are more powerful than facts – hope always triumphs over experience – laughter is the cure for grief – love is stronger than death” ~ Robert Fulghum

I’ve been watching holiday specials… I admit I’m a sucker for nostalgia, happy endings, the underdog saving the day, and anything in which people rediscover their values just in the nick of time. 

Being a “grown up” seems, in large part, to be earned when we have learned through hard experience to be wary, realistic, and concrete.  Yet, there is something in us that yearns to see the world through more trusting eyes, to experience wonder, and awe, and trust… I think we all want to believe in magic…

Beyond propagating the species, maybe magic is one of the reasons we have children.  Just like AAA can jump start your car battery, the belief of a small person can reboot our sense of wonder.  Watch Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer through the eyes of a 4 year old and you trust that right will triumph over might and that there is a place where every “misfit” will be loved and valued.  Miracle on 34th Street teaches us to believe in possibilities, and Will Ferrell’s Elf knows that belief is what makes everything fly.

As an adult, it takes much more courage to be open to magic… we’ve been hurt, disappointed, failed.  But, for most of us, there always remains at least a slim filament of hope that can be rekindled and relit – even if only for a short time…

And, oh, how gorgeous we are when we are lit with awe and anticipation!

So, I dare you this holiday season – whatever faith you do or don’t practice – I triple dog dare you to trust, to believe, to bathe in the miraculous…

Who knows what magic of your own you’ll create?

“That’s the thing with magic. You’ve got to know it’s still here, all around us, or it just stays invisible for you.” ~ Charles de Lint

Peace be with you (and also with you)

“It is the duty of every cultured man or woman to read sympathetically the scriptures of the world. If we are to respect others’ religions as we would have them respect our own, a friendly study of the world’s religions is a sacred duty.” ~ Mohandas K. Gandhi

I was told today, in a very gentle and kind way, that I was going to hell because of my beliefs.  This lovely lady wasn’t trying to scare me and, for the most part, she wasn’t really trying to convert me; she was just letting me know – in a very matter of fact, sure way.

My own belief system says that, so long as it isn’t hurting anyone else, everyone is entitled to believe whatever works for them.  I’m ok that she believes that a certain set of rules and regulations will lead to her own salvation after death; I just wish she was as ok letting me be me.

What is the right reply to such an assertion in today’s more flexible religious climate, where many of us are practicing what I like to call “salad-bar” spirituality, picking and choosing from various traditions to create something that speaks to our own sense of TRUTH?

I once dated a man who had recommitted himself as an adult to the faith of his childhood.  His faith was one of the things I loved about him, but my lack of belief (by his standards) became an issue. 

I tried to clarify, “For me, the Force in the Universe is like some great underground river with all these wells reaching down into it.  We choose the well that is closest to home, or which makes us feel most comfortable, but it’s all the same water.”

I was really pleased with this account, but then I heard the silence on the other end of the phone.  And in a flash of inspiration, I knew.

“You think all the rest of us are drinking muddy water, don’t you?”

“All I can tell you is what my faith says,” he replied.

We didn’t last much longer.

There are very few people I know who at the very bottom of it all don’t share pretty much the same values.  We love our families and friends and want them to be happy and healthy.  We want to do honest work for an honest wage.  We want to take care of our small corner of the planet.  For the most part, we do our best to do what we think is right…

 Why can’t we leave it at that, and save the afterlife until we get there?

“Tolerance implies no lack of commitment to one’s own beliefs. Rather it condemns the oppression or persecution of others.” ~ John Fitzgerald Kennedy


“You say grace before meals.  All right.  But I say grace before the concert and the opera, and grace before the play and pantomime, and grace before I open a book, and grace before sketching, painting, swimming, fencing, boxing, walking, playing, dancing and grace before I dip the pen in the ink.”  ~G.K. Chesterton

“Grace isn’t a little prayer you chant before receiving a meal.  It’s a way to live.” ~Attributed to Jacqueline Winspear

I have so much to be thankful for today.  I have work that I love, with people who are not just co-workers and clients but family.  I have amazing friends and a family that loves and accepts me for who I am, and whom I not only love but like… a lot.  I live in a time when my possibilities are practically unlimited and when change for the better is afoot.  I am open and curious and the world is full of things to wonder at and be awed by…

But today is no different than any other day; these things were true yesterday and they will be true tomorrow.  As much as I love and value that we take this day to mark our gratitude together, I wish we could move through our everyday life aware of our blessings, that we could say “thank you” with our every breath, that we could be as conscious of our “haves” as we seem to be of our “have nots.” 

So I’m making a Thanksgiving Resolution this year – this year I commit to being grateful.  There is grace in every moment and so very much to be thankful and I am resolved to seeing it.

Wanna join me?  ; )

“If the only prayer you said in your whole life was ‘thank you’ that would suffice.” ~Meister Eckhart

Morning Has Broken (a day late)

This is the blog entry I was supposed to post yesterday… I had it 3/4 of the way done at 8:30 AM because I knew the day was going to be a bit nutty.  If only I had known that holiday travel would have me arriving in Cincinnati at 12:30 AM instead of 10 PM -I think I would have gotten up a half hour earlier!  AH WELL… best intentions and all… with a sigh from my perfectionist self…


“I love the sweet smell of dawn – our unique daily opportunity to smell time, to smell opportunity – each morning being, a new beginning.” ~Emme Woodhull-Bäche

 I love mornings.

A few years ago, I had a boss who remarked, somewhat negatively about my morning persona.  “We all know what kind of morning person you are,” she said.

“But I love morning.” I answered, shocked, “it’s my favorite part of the day.” 

 “Yes,” she replied, “but you don’t like anyone in your mornings.”

It took about 5 seconds for me to go from being offended to quizzical to thoughtful, to AH-HA… she was right, I don’t like just anyone in my mornings.  My AMs are invited guests only.

There’s something about that soft, fuzzy, in-between space, when we rise with one foot in this world while the other still walks our dreams.  We are at our most naked; the mask we wear not yet in place, our inner light, unhidden, shines out.

Even as a small person, I loved the softness of my family’s morning selves.  I loved to spend the night at my grandmother’s house, just so that I could be with her when she was in her morning space.  I can remember sitting at the kitchen table, watching her make breakfast.  Her hair, just brushed, was a golden halo around her head, backlit by the sun shining in the windows.  There was a gentleness about her, and a willingness to be silly, and I was most clear in these moments that she loved me.

I remember waking up on vacation and wandering down to the lake to find my mother swimming in her nightgown.  She was like a mermaid or a silke from Celtic mythology; cool and slick and free.

The openness and willingness to be vulnerable, the casual way in which we reveal our inner self makes morning precious to me. I like to savor it, drawing the time in between spaces out as long as possible.  Even when I’m alone, I putz my way along, waiting until the last minute to slide into my “game face” and join the larger world.

 But every day, I work to hang on to the sense of flow, the feeling of connectedness, the off handed way I expose my own soft under belly… every day, I work to integrate a little more of my morning self into the everyday and to share that brave, gentle, goofy self with the world… and I think I am better for it.

 “Morning has broken, like the first morning

Blackbird has spoken, like the first bird

Praise for the singing, praise for the morning

Praise for the springing fresh from the word”

                                                                     ~ Cat Stevens, Morning has Broken