Dare boldly

Inspiring acts of grace in everyday living


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The Art of Becoming What You Hold On To

In the Soul of a Pilgrim course I studied during Lent one year, course moderator and Abbess of Abbey of the Arts, Christine Valters Paintner, asked in one of the lessons, “What if I truly believed the path before me was blessed?

And the muse answered — There would be no misstep. Only beauty. Only the perfection of each step, in darkness and light.

It was a scary thought. To hold true within me the thought that each step before me was blessed. For, if I truly believed each step before me was blessed, I would stop striving to ‘become me’ and fall with grace into being me. I would dance on my path. I would sing loud. I would laugh and spin about and not fear the path beneath my feet. I would embrace fearlessness in each step. I would not fear falling away from being me. I would fall into being all of me.

The Path is the Way, I wrote in my journal. Trusting in the Universe I find The Way to trust in me on the Path where each step unfolds as a blessing before me.

When I let go of my need to be…. seen, heard, known. When I release my desire to be…. somebody. A writer. An artist. An advocate. An executive…  my need to seek approval, acknowledgement, recognition is released. Free of my desire to be more, better, other than who I am, I become that which I do not need to seek, because that which I seek is always present, always within, around and about me  — Love.

In Love, being Love, I sink back into that place where I know, deep within me, that all my seeking for understanding is just a way to keep myself busy seeking ‘The More’ I tell myself I need to become to feel fulfilled, worthwhile, present, valued, valuable.

When I let go of seeking, ‘The More’, my heart has room to breathe freely, my mind has space to open wide and I become my light shining fiercely in love.

And in that space where I breathe freely into letting go of becoming the ‘being’ I think I need to be, I become, all that I am.

May your day be filled with being all that you are when you stop trying to become all that you can be. May you be Love shining brightly in all your being you.

Namaste.


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Take Action | 52 Acts of Grace | Week 49

The world is full of people with good intentions. Good intentions do not make a difference to our journey. Action does.

Years ago, sitting in a coffee shop by myself, I saw a young woman seated by herself at another table. She wasn’t doing anything in particular. Just sitting there, staring silently into the distance, occasionally wiping away a tear that had escaped her eyes and was running down her cheek.

I thought of going over to offer her a kleenex. Or to at least ask if she needed anything. Could I help?

I remember feeling uncomfortable. What if she got angry with me for my advances? What if she told me to mind my own business?

I did nothing.

I have carried my sense of regret of having done nothing in that moment with me since that day.

More recently, while walking at the park, I met a woman walking without a dog, who stopped to get her ‘puppy fix’ as we passed. I noticed she was crying.

Carrying the memory of that moment from long ago, I asked her if there was anything I could do. “You look sad,” I said.

“I am”, she blurted out. And she told me of the divorce she’s going through with her husband of many years. “I just feel so lost and lonely,” she said.

She shared a bit more and then, as we parted I asked if she would like a hug. She began to shake her head from side to side, and stopped. She nodded her head up and down. “Yes. Please.” she said quietly.

And we hugged. As we parted ways and walked in opposite directions, she called back. “Thank you!”

It was just a moment. But in that moment, we connected as humans connect when they take time to see one another, and stand together, heart to heart.

If I had noticed her tears and only thought about how sad she looked, and not taken action to create more of what I want in the world around me — peace and harmony — then I would have felt the regret of doing nothing.

That woman still had to face the sadness of her divorce, her sense of loss, her fears of being suddenly alone in her mid-life. But for that moment, she felt a sense of ease. Less alone. More connected.

Taking action doesn’t mean we change someone else’s path. It just means while on our own path, we do not have to carry the regret of doing nothing.

 

 


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Shed a little tear | 52 Acts of Grace | Week 48

Yesterday was a tough day.

It began with an issue that left my heart feeling raw as my CEO and I worked together with members of the team to navigate the turbulent waters of the media’s need to ‘get the story’ and our responsibility to address the needs of staff, board members, all our stakeholders and the public.

I wanted to cry, in sorrow and dismay and confusion. Why did this happen? Why is there no avoiding the devastation and brokenness left behind in the wake of what has been brought into the light?

At the end of the day, I spoke with my sister who had gone to the doctor with my mother that afternoon. Turns out, the ‘something pulled’ in my mother’s hip/knee was actually the hip joint coming out of the socket. Her pain had been real and excruciating and no one figured out why until two weeks later.

I wanted to cry, in frustration and dismay and confusion. Why didn’t they see it on the x-rays two weeks ago? Why did they have to leave her in such pain without doing anything?

My mother has to make a decision. Have the operation to repair it, an operation they are not sure she will survive. Or live with the pain. Challenge is, no matter what they do, the cause of her hip coming out of the socket will continue to be an issue. Her bones are soft and fragile. A replacement hip, or simply putting the hip back in its socket may still result in the bones shifting.

I wanted to cry some more. After her surgery in December, my mother stated she wanted to live to see one hundred. And she really meant it. I think she still does but her options are limited on how she will get there.

Not ready to give into tears, I went into the studio and created. Not one of my better pieces, but it satisfied my need to breathe through it all, to find my centre again so that I could remember, now is not forever.

And the tears still waited, lurking behind the shadows of my doing.

The universe delivers the time and space for what we need to do, even when we resist.

Just before bed, I decided to take the recycling out as today is garbage day. I wanted that last breath of fresh air, especially as the temperature has warmed up enough to go out without a coat.

I carried the big blue tub that sits by the back door out to the recycling bin, emptied it and on my way back through the backyard, caught my feet in the netting that holds the vines up against the garage wall. The man who clears our snow had inadvertently caught some of it with his shovel and it was lying on the ground. In the dark, I forgot it was there.

I went flying.

Splat!

On my rear, in the wet, melting snow-soggy dirt beneath the crabapple tree.

I sat for a moment, stunned, not sure if I’d broken something.

And I started to cry.

In frustration. Anger. Sorrow. Sadness.

I let the tears flow.

For a moment.

And then, C.C. came out and helped me up.

And life moved on.

Sometimes, when faced with life’s inexplicable, all we can do is shed a tear or two for the chaos and angst.

And then, we get up and keep moving.

Tears do not resolve the issues. But they do give release to the pain we carry in our hearts.

And when our hearts are lightened of their load, it’s easier to keep moving forward, doing the things we know that create better in our world.

I feel better this morning (other than my knee which hurts like the dickens! 🙂 )

Time to leap into another day.

 

 


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Speak softly. Step gently. | 52 Acts of Grace | Week 47

 

One of my mother’s favourite sayings when I was small was “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.”

She held her own counsel, seldom vying from the path of kindness towards others.

Yesterday, my sister and I met with my mother and a transition worker to talk about next steps.

Since her fall and subsequent operation in December, she has not recovered well. She started out strong, defying the doctor’s predictions for her recovery.

And then, she had a set-back. Something pulled in her left hip/leg where she’d had the surgery to repair the break, and now, the pain is constant and she can barely move that leg.

The trauma of losing her mobility, of having to move from her current residence which is a light assisted living situation to a more intensive long-term care model, is heart-breaking.

And still my mother persists.

She continues to speak softly. She  still has only sweet words to share with everyone.

We could all use a page from my mother’s playbook.

Speak softly. Step gently.

Namaste.


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Express Yourself | 52 Acts of Grace | Week 45

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I am amazed to see that I am already at Week 45 with this series!

Thank you for those who follow along and encourage me.  It can be easy with a project like this to lose ground, give up, stop before it’s completed.

I am grateful that I have chosen not to. that I have chosen instead to persevere. Persist.

Writing, creating art, doing the things I am committed to doing to create ‘better’ in this world are all expressions of my true self. They are out-pourings of my divine nature looking to be seen, heard, known.

We all share this urge. We all possess a divine impulse to be seen and heard and known from the heart out.

It can be easy in this materially driven western culture to reverse the flow. To believe that my ‘worth’ is expressed in what I put around me and on me.

Don’t be fooled by expressions of material wealth.

That is all they are — an outward manifestation of how much is in your bank account. Not how much you carry and know within your heart.

Be happy for your material wealth.

Be generous with your inner beauty.

Express yourself so all the world can see, and know, what is possible when we live from the heart out.

Namaste.

 

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If you follow me on FB or Twitter or Instagram, you will have seen my series of art pieces with words:  #ShePersisted

I am posting each piece as it’s created on my website — HERE.  I’d love to have you join me in this exploration of what is possible when times are tough, when people want to shut us down — and Nevertheless… persist.


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Take Care | 52 Acts of Grace | Week 44

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There are so many opportunities in this world to not, take care. To tell ourselves, “Ha! I can do what I want because everyone else is.”

Fact is, doing what we want to create happiness, joy, wealth… cannot be at the expense of someone else’s happiness, rights, happiness, joy.

We are inter-relational. We are inter-dependent. Like the butterfly wings disturbing air in Africa, creating a windstorm on the other side of the world, the small things we do here, ripple out to create impacts in the world all around us.

Take care to ensure every action, thought, word, idea you create is a ripple that creates better. Take care to ensure having what you want does not mean someone else is harmed.

Namaste.