I was part of a Garage Sale this weekend. Myself and 3 other women joined forces to create an opportunity for others to find value in the things we no longer needed or wanted.
Day 1 was fun (long and tiring and I did completely forget about a dinner engagement C.C. and I had that evening which was not a good thing!) We got rained on for a bit but by afternoon, the sun broke through the clouds and we promised those who dropped by to visit that we had lots of free things to give away, especially laughter.
Day 2 was cold, cloudy and while it was great to chat and laugh with my lady friends, standing there waiting and hoping for people to drop by was not as much enjoyable as the day before — NOTE TO SELF: when doing a garage sale, do it one day only.
One of my co-conspirators and I had some of our art for sale. As I told one person who commented they liked the inclusion of art in our event, “I had no choice. My studio walls are full as are pretty well all the walls in our house.”
Sometimes, the lack of space is a good inspiration for clearing out. And, as I only decided to be in the sale on Wednesday, I didn’t have a lot of time to think about what I would, or would not be willing to let go of. I just had to decide and do it.
And in that decision, opportunity for creating space for possibility appeared.
As I walked around the house, pulling out things that were tucked away in closets or taking things off shelves that only served as dust magnets, I felt the rush of letting go wash over me. I am decluttering, clearing out things, I told myself, because I want to simplify my life, create order and calm by having less and doing more with what I have. It feels good.
What also felt good was at the end of the sale yesterday afternoon,loading up my car with all the things I hadn’t sold and taking them down to a local shelter. Dishes, candles, towels, kitchen gadgets, books and knick-knacks, all went to the Calgary Drop-In & Rehab Centre. Along with providing emergency services and shelter for people experiencing homelessness, they operate a furniture and household distribution centre for those exiting homelessness. When an individual or family have housing, they can go to the warehouse, pick out everything they need for their new home… for free.
It’s a win/win.
I didn’t have to bring the unsold items home.
Someone else won’t have to pay to furnish their home.
I like the balance in that equation.
It can be daunting to fly above the fray. To keep your sights set on the limitless possibilities of the sky above. Especially if the weight of the world feels like it is dragging you into the mud.
Regardless of what is happening in the world around us, we have the choice in how we respond. We can decide to get mired in the grit and grime of fighting for every step on the path, or, we can choose to focus on the possibilities of the sky above and keep soaring higher and higher.
When I was healing from a relationship that almost cost me my life, and everyone and everything I loved and held dear, I was very, very broken. Every day, I would take my trusty Ellie, the Wonder Pooch, for a walk in the woods up the street from where I was living. I would walk along the path, deep into the woods and the worry and woes would invade. I was broke and broken, I felt lost and afraid and I was terrified I would never heal, never be able to reclaim my life and repair the damage and hurt I’d caused in my daughters’ lives.
I wanted to stay stuck, to not take responsibility for my life, to not move forward. I was so scared.
And still, I knew I had to make a choice. I had to decide to live or be the walking, breathing dead.
I had to decide if I was going to let the worries and woe weigh me down, or allow myself the grace of healing in Love with every step I took.
And so, I chose to look up into the sky high above the treetops. I chose to listen to the wind rustling in the leaves, the patter of Ellie’s paws as she raced amongst the deadfall along the path. I chose to hear the birds, and to see the blue sky and light high above.
Looking up and believing in the infinite possibilities of the sky above didn’t change the challenges I faced.
It did change how I felt, how I stepped, how I saw my situation.
I could see myself as locked in on a path of darkness, surrounded by deadfall, fearing ‘what comes next’.
I could see myself surrounded by limitless possibilities spanning the horizon, fearlessly opening me up to the anticipation and mystery of “what comes next”.
I held the key to the choices I made.
To fall, crawl or fly free.
We are each of us born with unlimited potential to shine bright. We are each born into the of possibility of our life enriching the world just because we are alive. And, we are each of us made of stardust born to be a light for all the world to see in the dark.
Yet we sit, and wait, and lurk behind limiting beliefs, hoping someone might see us cowering over there, in the corner, waiting for someone to turn on the lights.
No one can turn on your light.
You have the power. You have the heart. You have the soul to create a light so bright in your life, there is no darkness deep enough to drown it out.
And all you have to do to start shining is believe. Believe in yourself. Believe in your dreams. Believe in your right to live out loud.
Sure it can be scary. It can be downright terrifying to step out from behind the curtain of your uncertainties to claim your place at centre stage of your own life. But risking is better than living inside a numbed out, nullifying shell of a life that’s been left on the shelf, gathering dust behind the cracker jack box that’s already out of date.
Risking it is better than living with the weight of believing you do not deserve to shine.
Risking it is more life-giving than staying stuck in the dark.
You will never find the edges of the darkness around you if you do not step through it.
What if to find your light you just need to start stepping through the dark?
What if your light is that tiny spark of hope that flickered, for just a moment, when you held onto the possibility of light at the edge of the dark?
It is easy to forget the power of words. We hear. We feel. We hurt. We react.
And in between the hearing and our reaction, there are but milliseconds to make a choice. To strike out from our hurting feelings, or make room for our feelings to be heard in a way that creates possibility for deep listening between us and another.
How often have you responded to hurtful words with something like, “You make me so angry.”
In the ‘you make me’, we give away our power. We are holding someone else accountable for our feelings and responses.
What if, instead of giving the other person the power of ‘making’ your feelings, you took a breath and replied, “When I heard you say [that] I felt diminished, invisible, unheard…” Or, “I want to talk about [that] but I can’t hear you when you (yell) (speak with such a harsh, criticising tone) (call me names)… Is there a way you can say what you want to say so that I can hear you? ”
If in that moment it is not possible to speak respectfully, take a break. Walk away and agree to come back at a later time when you are both calmer.
It is never okay for someone to call you names, yell or berate you.
It’s not okay for you to do it to them either.
Creating space for each person to be accountable for their words, and how they speak them, opens up the possibility of communicating at deeper, more respectful and constructive levels.
Our words have the power to pierce like a sunbeam in the dark, illuminating the heart of what is keeping us apart with their power to reveal our truth. When we use our words to stab like a knife, we are cutting away the heart of what brings us together. In the pain of each cut, we grow further and further away from the heart of what is true.
And the first step is to take care with our words. Once spoken, they cannot be unspoken.
When I am in the studio, splashing paint and throwing colour onto a blank canvas or journal page, I feel free. Alive. Like a child dancing in a mud puddle. I don’t think about ‘the outcome’. I don’t focus on ‘the process’ or how paint smeared my fingers are or how splattered and unkept my apron looks. I simply do. And in my doing, I trust in the process and trust whatever the outcome, it will be a reflection of my creative expression.
And I am never disappointed.
When I am ‘in’the world out there’, that grown-up space beyond my child-infused wonder of creating, that place where obligations and duty and responsibilities seem at times to be weighing me down, it is all too easy to forget about the abandon of the child. It takes but a blink of my eyes, a slip of my attention to let go of the willingness of the little girl to simply be present in whatever I am doing without fearing outcomes and measurements, balancing acts and bank balances.
My dream is to be ‘in the world out there’ as I am in the studio. Free. Uninhibited. Honest and present, part of the flow of whatever appears before me. Fearless in my pursuit of my dream of giving voice to what is calling itself into creation from within my heart.
And so, I come back to the studio, again and again, to connect with the wonder and awe of my creative expression so that I am reminded, again and again, that I can create ‘in the world out there’, as I am in the studio.
That is my dream. To nurture and nourish my creative expressions into becoming a reflection of my life lived in a garden of life filled beauty and love.
What dreams are calling you? What are you doing to fill the garden of your life with the beauty and wonder and awe of your dreams?
We are human beings who often do things that hurt the ones we love the most. Many years ago I was released by the police from a relationship that was killing me. At the time, my daughters, in their mid teens, did not know where I was for the final 4 months of that relationship. Because of the darkness surrounding me, I wanted desperately to die and waited daily for him to make it come true. And then, the police drove up and took him away and I got the miracle of my life back.
Healing my broken spirit and heart was vital to creating space for my daughters, my family and friends to heal.
It has not always been a straight path, nor an easy path.
There have been times when I have wanted to run from the pain and regret, the sorrow and sadness at having hurt them so badly.
To run away would be a rejection of the miracle of getting my life back. It would be a betrayal greater than his abuse because I would be the one consciously choosing to turn away from the light. In those dark moments when I desperately want to turn my back on the present and return to the past I cannot change, I return once again to forgiveness.
It is my choice to live in the light. To forgive myself so that I can continue to create space for love to flow freely in today. In that space, I find myself breathing easily again, allowing compassion to flow and heal the still broken places I do not see within me and around me.
Healing is a constant journey of love and forgiveness, love and forgiveness. The ancient scripture of the Bhagavad Gita expresses it beautifully. “Curving back on myself I begin again and again.”
May we all continually curve back on ourselves to begin again and again in forgiveness and love as we find compassion and joy in our daily being.
May we all know we deserve to live in joy and love and peace. May we all have the courage to take the path, no matter where we are in the world, that begins with forgiveness of the things we do to harm each other and block ourselves from knowing love.
In the world around us, may we all allow the grace of forgiveness, so that we can create a world of possibility for love to flow freely between us and all around us.
Outside my kitchen window, a covey of doves sit on a telephone wire, cooing.
I imagine their conversation. Imagine what it is that has caused them to sit morning after morning on that particular wire.
And in my imaginings, I find the essence of my showing up at my kitchen window every morning.
My job is to pay attention so that I am present to the day unfolding, the world outside my window shimmering beneath the soft grey light of an overcast sky. To smell the coffee brewing and hear the click click of Beaumont the Sheepadoodle’s nails on the hardwood as he wanders into the kitchen in search of his breakfast.
Showing up means being present. Being present requires my attention — and in my attention is the essence of bringing all of me into the moment.
My truth in that moment is I am filled with gratitude. For the doves cooing on the wire. The softness of the morning air. The garden flowing with abundance. The sound of the water in the fountain splashing outside the open window.
I am grateful for the moment of reflection. The smell of coffee brewing. The hot milk steaming in the espresso maker. I am grateful for the cow who gave her milk. Grateful for the ethical farmer who raises and cares for her.
I am grateful for the resources to purchase ethically without worrying about the impact of the cost on my budget.
I am grateful for my husband sleeping in our bed. The dreams that stirred my imagination during the night opening doors to possibility.
I am grateful for Marley the Great Cat winding his warm body in and out of my legs as he vies for my attention. I know he is very attached to the outcome of his admonishment to me to pay attention to him. I feed him so he can get over his anxiety at seeing his dish empty when he awoke.
Outside my kitchen window this morning the doves cooed, the garden was filled with bounty and my heart over-flowed with gratitude.
I have no expectation of this day other than that I continue on my path filled with a sense of wonder and awe, seeking to see the magnificence in all I meet, intent on speaking my truth in love and acting with integrity in all I encounter.
I do not know the outcome of what will happen. I do know miracles await in every breath.
I am blessed.
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