Category Archives: acts of grace

The Rainbow Chasers Guide to Changing the World through Loving Self-Talk

You can be hard on yourself or kind to yourself.

Either way, you’ll get things done.

The hard way will be harder. The kind way will be easier.

The hard way, or the easy. Which do you choose?

I know, it sounds so simple. Just be kind to yourself and it will all work out.

Being kind to ourselves isn’t all that easy when the habit of being hard on ourselves takes up most of our inner conversation.

Many years ago, I kept track of the number of times I gave myself negative self-talk versus positive. I carried around a little notebook and for one week I made a check mark in either the negative or positive column on the page.

It kind of made me want to cry to see how much the negative outweighed the positive.

It was definitely an eye, mind and heart opener.

I sure wouldn’t want to hang around me if I was constantly shedding negativity into the world.

Oh wait! I was. And I was holding it all inside me. Ugh.

Hanging around with myself wasn’t a choice. The choice was, what was I willing to do to make the experience of being with me more enjoyable?

Right.

Change my relationship with me.

I’m not saying it was an easy transition, moving from always talkin’ sh*ttalk to myself to being a voice of gentle loving-kindness. But it sure made a difference once I made the decision to stop the sh*ttalk and get with the “I’m okay. I’m human” talk.

For me, it meant ensuring the ‘Positive’ column in my notebook was filled with more check-marks than the negative side. My consciousness of that goal kept me aware of my inner talk. Every time I caught myself saying something negative to myself, I had to find one positive to match it. That way, at least the negativity didn’t grow into the longer column!

Eventually, I moved from one positive to two until, now, when I do say something negative to myself, like ‘how could you be so stupid?’ or, “Seriously? What were you thinking?” I quickly breathe in (deeply) and give myself grace. “It’s okay Louise. You made a mistake. Your job is to be accountable for your mistakes, not give yourself a life sentence of grief.”

See, sometimes, when I do make mistakes, like say something that hurts someone, or do something I’m not all that proud of, I want to revert back to that place where my mistakes are worthy of my being whipped, tarred and feathered. In those moments, I must surrender my need for punishing myself by making myself ‘not okay’ and call on grace to love me through it.

We are all ‘okay’. It’s our behaviour that can be optional. And when our behaviour gives evidence to our not being as okay as we’d like to be, then we work on our behaviour.

Changing behaviour isn’t about working on our essential goodness, our inherent human magnificence. Those are givens. They are universal in all humanity. Remember?  We are born magnificent and then… life interferes and gives us reasons to doubt our magnificence. Our job then becomes remembering what we forgot so long ago, we worry it no longer exists.

That’s our universal human journey. Returning to love and our inherent magnificence.

What’s not so universal and not such a given is that we treat ourselves, and each other, with dignity, respect, kindness, Love.

And that’s where the work is — in shifting our behaviours to be a reflection of the values that make this world a better place.

We can make it hard. Or do the easy.

The easy begins with talking nicely to ourselves so that our hearts are at ease, our minds calm and our spirits lifted up by our generosity of spirit.

From that place, well let’s just say, changing the world becomes a cakewalk! (Okay maybe not quite so Pollyanish but if we’re all talking nice to ourselves, we’ll be talking nice to everyone else too!)

See, the Rainbow Chasers Guide to Changing the World through Loving Self-Talk! Easy-peasy!

The Age of Grace

 

I am sitting in meditation when a question slips into my mind as effortlessly as a leaf falling to the ground, ” I wonder if a rose resents its petals for losing their bloom?”  Or the tree for that matter. Does it resent the leaf for dying and falling?

I am getting older. I know. Amazing right? But wait. So are you. We all are. It is the inevitable drawing of time that began when this sacred journey of our life was first conceived.

And the fact is, while I may sometimes look askance at the evidence of time’s weathered marks etched into my skin, resenting it is like the tree resenting the falling leaf.

It makes no difference to the leaf (nor to time for that matter) how the tree experience’s its fall. Just as it makes no difference to ‘life’ how I weather my journey. It does, however, make a significant difference to me and my experience of life, how I navigate the inevitability of aging.

Holding myself in a sea of resentment at all I tell myself I’ve lost, I lose precious time to sing and dance, laugh and play, create and learn, Love and be loved.

Holding myself in joyful acceptance of all I learn and experience with every passing moment, I gift myself time to live joyfully with grace in this moment right now, dancing and laughing, spinning about, leaping for joy and embracing all of life’s wondrous gifts at every state of my journey.

Sitting at my desk right now, looking out the window at the trees that line the river, I watch a golden leaf release its hold on a tiny branch and drift slowly to the ground.

It does not rush. It does not plummet. It dirfts, effortlessly, enraptured by its timeless dance with gravity and air. Light. Joyful. Grace in motion.

The leaf will fall. The seasons will turn. Time will pass. Life will continue to evolve and each of us will continue to age until all that is left are the memories we leave behind and the Love we knew, the Love we shared, the Love we embraced.

We come into this world through an act of Love. All we can carry with us when we leave is Love and all we can leave behind is Love.

How we fill in the pieces between the Love is up to each of us.

It’s my choice whether I fall through time resisting gravity’s pull, or let gravity hold me in its loving embrace as I fall through time joyfully dancing in a sea of grace.

 

Namaste.

 

 

 

You are needed in this world.

Yesterday, I had the gift of lunch with my beautiful friend Kerry in her backyard sanctuary. After 3 hours of chatting, savouring time together and sharing the delicious meal she’d created, I realized I’d better get running as our two daughters, as well as my sister and her husband and my daughter’s partner, were coming for dinner.

The plan had been to sit out on the deck for appetizers and cocktails but the weather had a different idea in mind. In fact, right after the two girls and TW stepped through the front door, the heavens opened up and rain poured down followed by a brilliant thunder and lightening storm streaking across the sky.

Needless to say, we made indoor plans.

And that’s the thing about the weather. It will always do what it wants. Thinking you can control it, or even being disappointed in its seeming disregard of your plans is futile. With the weather, and with life, you need to be prepared for the unexpected. You also need to be prepared to change your plans when the weather does what it wants.

Like life.

You can plan all you want, but life takes its own course. The secret to happiness, joy, and contentment is to be willing to embrace what life brings with grace and ease, while always remaining true to your path and yourself, without apology.

On this beautiful day, may we each celebrate who we are in this world and all that we bring to make it a more loving, kind, creative and grace-filled place. May we each stay true to our values and beliefs, and unasbashedly embrace all that we are when we walk in the integrity of being our authentic selves.

Namaste.

 

 

Treasure the gifts of life.

We are in the final stretch of the year. Those last days that move us closer and closer, here in the Northern Hemisphere, to the longest night.

It is a time of reflection. Of savouring what light appears on the horizon. Of gentle contemplation of ‘what was’ and ‘what can be’.

A question I like to savour throught the final days of the year is, “What have I learned this year that has enriched my life?”

Recently, while chatting with a friend about age and the relentless marching of time, she shared something she’d learned about treasuring ‘beautiful moments’.

Like me, she became a grandmother for the first time this year. For her, it is bittersweet as her granddaughter is in another country. Much further away than my beautiful grandson.

Distance doesn’t matter, she said. I treasure the beautiful moments. The time spent with her granddaughter earlier this year when she was born, and the moments in between the next time she’ll see them at Christmas. She spoke of the FaceTime calls, the late night calls with her daughter, and the early morning ones too when her daughter calls to ask for support.

And she spoke of the past. Of watching her daughter grow into the incredibly beautiful woman, mother and wife she is today.

As she spoke, I imagined a beautiful string of pearls encircling her neck in a circle of love that is her life. Each pearl represented a moment worth treasuring — and her necklace was full and heavy for she is treasuring every moment.. And yet, sometimes, we miss so many moments of beauty, she said.

“If I had known the last dirty diaper was the last one I would change when my daughter was little, I would have seen the beauty in that diaper,” she said.

There is beauty in every moment. If we knew that this was our last moment to treasure, how would we see it?

From where I sit at my desk this morning overlooking the river, I can see headlights crossing the bridge. Unseen drivers speed towards downtown and destinations unknown. The sun has not yet appeared above the tops of the trees that line the riverbank just outside my window yet the sky above is slowly lightening. My paintings cover the walls surrounding me, their vibrant colours the expression of my creative core that I have cast upon the canvas. Beaumont the Sheepadoodle lays sprawled out on the sofa behind me. Mark Bordoni plays his classical guitar softly in the background to the quiet hum of the morning. I am surrounded by softness, light, colour, gleaming wood and the streetlight casting reflections that dance on the water passing by beneath the bridge outside. I am surrounded by beauty.

If this were my last moment, this is what I would see.

But it’s not and I continue typing, grateful for the time it took to appreciate the beauty all around me.

When my father had a heart attack in 1995, we had two days to reach his bedside and say good-bye. When my brother and his wife were killed in a car accident one and a half years later, we never had the chance to say fare-thee-well. We didn’t know our last conversation would be the last. In the wake of that fatal crash, all we could do was gather together in a distant city with the people they knew and share in the memories of everyone who came to their funerals. In those memories of strangers, I saw a side of my brother I didn’t know. A man who was a good friend, a generous neighbour, a caring father. Through their eyes I saw the beauty of my brother and was reminded that I was blessed to have called him brother.

We do not know what the next moment will bring. Yet, when we fill this moment with beauty, we create a foundation of beauty upon which the gift of the next one can unfold.

I am so blessed in this life I live.

Last night my beloved returned from a four day ‘football marathon’ he takes every year with a friend. He came home filled with stories of his adventures. We laughed and shared stories of his travels, even though the hour was late.

My home, my heart, my life is rich with love and beauty. I treasure the beauty of this moment and breathe into the possibility of the next. With each breath, I am filled with the gift of life.

There are so many gifts and moments that have taught me lessons of loving and living this year. But the most treasured is the gift of life. My grandson taught me that.

Namaste.

3 Things to make the world a better place.

I have been contemplating 3things.

In particular, what are 3 things, of all the things I’ve learned in my life, I want to share most with my grandson?

It is not a simple process to discern these 3 things. I don’t want them to be about ‘doing’. They are about ‘being’. Present in this world. Aware. Conscious. Thoughtful.

This contemplation is a deep examination of my values. Of what is important to me to create value  in the world around me and an understanding of what I feel is my unique expression of Divine Grace in this world.

These 3 things are not like teaching him how to say the alphabet or count to 100. They are deeply personal, deeply impactful to the quality of my life and my being fully present to and within my life.

This morning in meditation, 3 things floated into my consciousness as gracefully as a leaf drifting down to rest upon the surface of the river on a warm autumn morning. I held them for a moment and like the leaf, let them drift quietly away as I sank deeper into the silence.

Yet, when I came back into awareness, there they were, 3 things I seek to carry with me as I journey through this world. 3 Things I seek to share with my grandson to add value to his world.

These three things are not shared through teaching, but through being who I am and how I am in this world. Somedays, I live from within my 3 things with grace and ease. Other days it’s a struggle. But always, when I let my 3 Things be my touchstone, my world is a better place for me and everyone I meet.

And that is what I want to share with him. The beauty and fragility of our human condition and our capacity to be forgiving, loving and compassionate with ourselves and everyone in our lives when we live from a heart-driven place where love, compassion and kindness are our guides..

My 3 things are unique to me. They are universal qualities. They mine come from that place deep within us where we rise above our impulses and ego-driven motives to hear our heart and soul calling us to be in Unity with the Divine Grace of life within and all around us.

My 3 Things bring my deepest desires into alignment with the desire of the Universe for me to know life in all its beauty, wonder and possibility. They free me to live at peace in that grace-filled space where I am One with divine love and compassion for myself and the people around me.

  1. Be kind.  In all things, all ways, be kind. Treat people and this earth gently. Tread lightly. Speak softly. Act respectfully. Do not let your thinking interfere with your being who you are. Do not let your anger pull you away from the path of kindness. Ask yourself, is this [whatever I’m about to do or say] kind? And let your heart answer.
  2. Listen to your heart. No matter what is happening in the world around you, your heart knows the answers. Listen deeply. Strive to keep your heart soft and your mind open. Let your heart inform your thinking. Let your heart lead the way. When angry or feeling hurt by the actions of others, when you feel frightened and alone, when you feel unsure and confused, ask your heart what it knows. Your heart will always tell you the truth. Listen deeply. Trust in Love. Trust in yourself. Believe in your heart.
  3. Live joyfully. It can be tempting to fall into the trap of thinking life is a serious business. That making a difference means focussing on what’s wrong in the world, not what’s right. There is a great deal going on in this big ole’ world that makes your heart beat faster, your eyes open in wonder and your thoughts take flights of fancy. Let the wonder of it all keep you seeking the path of joy. No matter what you’re doing, where you’re going or how you’re travelling, let joy be your constant companion.

I want my grandson to know that as we travel through the world, we can sometimes lose our way. To find ourselves again, all we need to do is come back to our hearts by living within the truth of our 3 Things.

We all have 3 Things, even more. For me today, 3 Things are what I need to travel lightly so I can share with my grandson the beauty I see in the world around me.

What about you. What are your 3 Things?

Giving into Grace

Franciscan scientist and theologian, Ilia Delio, writes that, “We are in the universe and the universe is in us.”

An old boss of mine used to say, “Everything is connected to everything.”

What I breathe in. You breathe in. What I breathe out. You breathe out.

What I do matters to you. And what you do matters to me.

It matters to me that people are treated with dignity and respect. That kindness, compassion and tolerance prevail.

If I beat down my opponents, criticize and condemn those who go about creating their kind of “better world” in ways that do not match my idea of ‘better’, than I am contributing to discord not peace. In my harsh condemnation of another’s way, I am creating an environment where disrespect and intolerance prevail.

And that matters. Because whatever I do, someone else is impacted.

What I do matters.

What you do matters.

How we do what we do matters.

Because everything we do has an impact. It’s circle of influence may be small. It may be large. But it all has an impact. It all has a ripple.

Recently, while out shopping with my daughter and grandson, a man waited at the mall exit and held the door open for us.

It was a small act, but it, created a ripple of gratitude.

And gratitude has a way of passing itself along and becoming bigger.

All things are connected.

Yesterday, his act of grace reminded me of our capacity to be grace-filled in a moment when I really just wanted to be difficult.

I was stuck in a long line of traffic creeping into the downtown core. The left lane was closed ahead and cars were zippering into my lane on the right. As I reached the spot where the construction started, there were no more cars beside me. They’d all managed to slide into the right hand lane.

Except one driver.

He ignored the signs advising people to move into the right lane and drove right up to the construction area, turned on his right hand blinker and tried to edge into the lane.

I was about four cars back. Like the cars in front of me, I thought about making him wait for someone else to let him in. You know, teach him a lesson and all that jazz.

And then I remembered the gratitude I’d felt when the man held the door open for my daughter and me.

I chose to let the driver in.

It was better for my heart and soul.

In giving into grace, I got to free myself from the inner chatter about how the other driver was acting like a jerk. How I’d already let someone in. Yada. Yada. Yada.

All things are connected.

Small things make big waves. When I choose the path of peace and let go of criticizing and condemning, I am contributing to the creation of a more peaceful world.

When I give into grace and choose to create an environment where peace, love and joy fill my heart and soul, my ripple becomes a wave of possibility in the ocean of life all around me.

Namaste.

_______________________________

Photo Source