On Boxing Day I immersed myself in the creative process. It has been awhile.
What with moving and Christmas and busyness at work, being creative has not been top of my list. When my studio got packed up when we left our old home, I kept telling myself, there’s nowhere to be creative in this rental place, I’ll just have to wait until the renovations on our new home are complete to begin creating again.
What we tell ourselves becomes the truth we believe.
And then, I realized that no matter what I was telling myself, the truth is, I was feeling out of sorts, off-centre, unbalanced. To find my centre again, to feel balanced and calm, I needed to create.
One of my favourite parts of hosting Christmas dinner is making the placecards for each guest. This year, I told myself there simply wouldn’t be any, or alternatively, if we had placecards they would be store bought.
I believed myself until I got out of the trap of my own mind.
Placecards don’t have to be painted, and I can do a lot with a glue gun and some holiday glitter. Add in a little space, and the time to create, and presto! Centredness and balance restored! And individually unique placecards for each of our 22 guests created!
And in the process, I got to delight in the thing I love to do — being immersed in the creative process.
Yesterday, as I set the table for our dinner tonight, my thoughts wandered into the wondering terrain of why I love to do dinners like this. In all the craziness of this world, and the busyness in my life, why do I find so much joy in gathering people I care about together in celebration?
It is my unique expression of my love, gratitude and appreciation of those people near and dear to me who create such richness and bring such joy to my life.
We each have our own special way of expressing ourselves, and when we give into speaking our own special language, we come home to our heart. From our heartspace, we are free to express ourselves, and our Love, creatively and freely.
Creating memorable moments is my love language. Being creative is at the core of who I am. Creating time and space to immerse myself in the creative process is my road back to myself where I am free to express my love in my own special way. In love, I delight in gathering people together to share a meal, good times, laughter and fun.
What’s the unique love language of your heart? How do you create time and space in your life for your unique expression to be seen/heard/known/felt? How do you find your balance amidst the craziness of life? How do you express your Love?
All that is present is the greatest teacher of all that is within me.
When I ask myself, “What is yearning to be known in this that is here right now?” I open the door to my own growth and understanding.
When we deny ourelves the asking, we deny ourselves our own truth. And when we deny our own truth, we stumble blindly in the darkness seeking answers in all the wrong places.
PS — the internet in our rented condo is intermittent. This morning, it took a break and now, I must run off to a meeting to get the keys for the community hall we have rented for tomorrow night’s festive feast with family and friends. The nice thing about unexpected interruptions is it gives me pause to reflect — and write brief! 🙂
Wishing you a wonderful, awe-inspired day.
It is Christmas night and we are on our way to a dear friend’s home for dinner.
Our Uver driver is very talkative. He tells us about the job he lost last April. About the boss who was unreasonable. About the pride he took in his work and how he still appreciates running into old customers who tell him how much they miss him. He tells us all about his Christmas. About his girlfriend of five years who works security and walks 40,000 steps a day and how they celebrated Christmas on the weekend as if it was the actual day. About their thought process around possibly moving to a bedroom community soon and about his girlfriend’s 19 year old son who is mostly too busy to spend time at home.
In our 15 minute drive to our destination, he told us lots about his life, and his heart. It is a beautiful heart. Kind. Caring. And still, there was a sound of yearning in his stories. A sense of wanting more, or perhaps a feeling he is missing out on something he can’t quite define. He’s been in Canada fifteen years. It was a woman who brought him here. She had a ‘spending’ habit he told us. Left him five years after he immigrated for a man who didn’t try to curtail her habit but was willing to pay to keep it going.
Yesterday, while paying for the things I needed to make my Christmas dinner nametags for our family and friends feast on Friday, the woman at the check-out told me how she spent her Christmas. How it was just her and her cat and a neighbour who dropped by for a cup of cheer on his way to friends. She wished she had a dog – I’d been at the park and forgotten Beaumont’s leash was strung around my neck when I ran into the store. She wanted to know what kind of dog I had and told me how she used to have a Bichon mix. She cried for a week when he died, she told me. And now, her landlord doesn’t allow dogs. Just cats. She loves her cat, but she’s not the same as a dog, know what I mean? she asked.
As I gathered up my bag, she pulled out a multi-coloured feather duster from underneath the counter and started to sweep her counter space clean. “I can’t wait for this season of glitter to be gone,” she said as she dusted away the gold glitter that had fallen from the decorative branches I’d bought with the deftness of time sweeping away memories of Christmases past.
Stories of the heart. They shimmer in the light of accidental encounters, of fleeting conversations with a stranger, of quiet murmurings with loved ones and kin. They stretch across time’s unending passing connecting us heart to heart. As long as we are listening.
They bubble up in words salted with longing, dripping with regret, sighing under the weight of yearning, soaring on the wings of hope and possibility born in the heart’s murmurings for more. Connection. Belonging. Knowing of one another.
And always, they tell of what is true within us. What is important. What weighs our hearts down. What sets our spirits free.
As you go about your day, listen for the stories of the heart of everyone you meet. Listen deeply and honour their telling with your presence.
In your presence the stories will shine and the world will be a little brighter, and every heart will feel a little less alone in its shimmering beauty.
This has been a Christmas of letting go and letting in (and letting out of waistbands too!).
It was the first Christmas for both C.C. and I to not have any of our collective four children with us on Christmas Day. Ever.
As a friend suggested when I mentioned this unusual circumstance, “Get used to the new normal”.
Along with our children not being here, there were lots of other differences this Christmas. Most of them came about because of changes in our living space — we are in an ‘in-between’ home as we finish off renovations to our new home. In the flurry of selling and moving out of our old home, finding temporary accommodations and figuring out what we’d need for the two months of temporary displacement, I lost track of time and dates and all sorts of things. To find my balance and my way, I had no choice but to be present with whatever came my way — either through mistake, planning or happenstance!
For all its differences and unexpected delights and pre-planned pleasures, it was a beautiful Christmas.
That’s the thing about tradition. You don’t know what else awaits until you let go of what always was and open the door to what’s possible.
And that’s the thing about beauty. It is always present. In the familiar and unfamiliar. In the old and the new. In the well-worn and the untried. It is always present.
We tired a new way of doing Christmas this year and while there was not the comfort of the old, there was joy.
And along with joy, there was laughter, good times, good friends, and Love. And still more to come as we prepare to gather around the dinner table with our four children, family and friends on the 29th. It may be four days after Christmas, but it will still steeped in the comfort and joy of being together with so many special people.
Wishing you and yours a restful Boxing Day and a week of good tidings of comfort and joy as you prepare for the new year waiting just beyond the horizon.
Busy-ness consumes me. My list is long and I am scurrying to keep up.
And then I remember. Breathe and Be. Breathe and Be.
It is so easy at this time of year to think ‘the list’ is more important than savouring each moment and taking time to delight in the beauty all around.
It is so easy to forget that presence does not come from how many gifts are under the tree, but from being present to the gifts that fill our lives everyday through the loving connections we make with everyone we encounter.
Breathe and be and always remember, your presence in this world is a gift of Love that keeps on giving when you dance to the song of your heart, sharing the best gift that you can give the world – your true self unwrapped for all the world to see the wonder, beauty and magnificence of who you are shining bright!
We are all born magnificent, Divine grace in action.
And we all have a choice. No matter our beginnings. No matter the happenings that have drawn us into darkness and driven us away from the divine essence of our magnificence, we always have a choice. To act with grace. Or not.
In, The Sacred Art of Lovingkindness: Preparing to Practice, Rabbi Shapiro writes, “I made the choice for heaven and, having done so, I went in search of tools for living it.”
Years ago, a family argument drove me into exploration of who I am, why I am, how I am the way I am. At the time, I wasn’t too happy about it. Angry recriminations and questions of How dare they? Why me? peppered my thoughts as I fought the gift of awakening that opened up before me.
I had a choice. To run and hide or face my demons and blame ‘them’ for my confusion and unhappiness, or to choose the gift of awakening. I chose to take the hero’s journey.
I am grateful.
Awakening has become a lifelong journey. It began with a deep dive into my psyche, ferreting out mountains of hidden hurts and pains, and frozen lakes of discord that were keeping me spinning out of control, continuously re-enacting limiting beliefs that did not serve me well on my journey but instead, drove me into the darkness of believing, I was not worthy.
In discovering lies I thought were truths, pains I thought were mine forever, I discovered Damocles’ proverbial sword was not hanging above me by a thread of someone else’s making. I was the one holding sword and thread above me. I was the one holding onto the past and in the process, killing my own joy. My own freedom. My own magnificence.
I had to make a choice. I could no longer live beneath the imminent danger of believing the sword was poised to fall upon me. I had to either decide to cut and run and hope the sword missed my head. Or, acknowledge the thread and sword were not real. They only existed within my mind.
To choose the first kept the past alive through the lie that I deserved to live a life of fear, of always believing something or someone was out to get me.
To choose the latter, to choose to face the lie of the thread and sword and imminent danger always waiting to cut me off, I could be free.
I chose freedom.
Every morning when I awaken, I choose freedom.
I choose kindness, not cruelty. To believe in abundance not scarcity. To trust in the universe and not give into distrust, resentment and self-fulfilling prophecies of doom parading as truth.
I choose grace over anger. Love over fear.
This morning, that choice lead me to these words by Franciscan sister and scientist, Ilia Delio:
“Heaven is earth transformed by love when earthly life is lived in love; the suffering of earth is transformed into a foretaste of heaven when one sees and hears from the inner center of love.”
And my heart beat wildly in recognition of truth shimmering in the quiet of this morning where darkness begins to retreat into the night and the days grow longer as light returns to the world. I breathe deeply into the truth.
Love is always the answer.
For today and everyday, may we all choose Love. May we all choose to let grace be the path we walk in peace. And on our path from one moment to the next, may our thoughts, words and actions transform the suffering of the world around us so that together, we use our power to choose peace, not war; joy, not bitterness; grace, not anger; Love, not fear.
This post is inspired by Richard Rohr’s morning meditation: Choosing Heaven
The drive for perfection is the killer of joy.
Focused only on the perfection of the outcome I seek, I miss experiencing the wholeness of the moment in which I live. I cannot be attached to ‘the perfect way’ or outcome if I am to be present to all that is present.
This Christmas, our traditions are all a-tumble. My beloved and I are in a temporary home, surrounded by unfamiliar furnishings with all of our Christmas decorations, baubles and bows packed away. Our children will not be here on Christmas Day and our annual dinner will not happen until the 29th — and it won’t be in our home. I haven’t spent days joyfully immersed in crafting artful name-tags and festive centre-pieces in my studio. I haven’t even done any shopping. How will I know it’s Christmas?
And move into the quiet.
Softly, gently, peace descends and I hear the loving voice within me whisper, “Your heart always knows.”
I breathe again.
There is no rush to get it all done. No need to have it all perfect. My heart always knows where love lives fully.
I release my need to have it ‘right’ and move into being present.
In the sacred space of being at one with the moment, there is only the call to move deeper into the mystery and wonder of this time of year. This time when the whole world holds its collective breath in anticipation of the moon’s journey around the sun becoming one of greater light rising above the horizon along the northern hemisphere, or of beginning its journey into the dark in the south. When Christians await the birth of a child and Jews light candles for the festival of light and Muslims, Buddhists, Pagans and Zoroastrian celebrate their own spiritual traditions.
And all humankind prays for peace.
For a world without war. For an environment without stress. For an earth without fear, poverty, famine, abuse, homelessness.
No matter where I am, or how I celebrate, let my thoughts and all I do and say and create be about Peace.
Peace. For all humankind. For all living beings. For all earth.
Christmas will be different this year. But it will still be Christmas.
There will be song and laughter, joy and love. There will be family and friends gathered around the table and gifts exchanged and hugs shared and moments shimmering in the light of love.
It doesn’t matter that the nametags may be store-bought or that the decorations may be sparse of that the day for our festive meal may be other than the 25th. What matters most is that we will be together. Family and friends, old and new, sharing in what makes this time of year so very special — Hope. Peace. Joy. and Love.
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