Tag Archives: live now

Love Finds Me. Here.

On the kitchen island, sunflowers stand in a white vase. Their yellow heads are beginning to droop. Time is passing on.

In my studio, two cacti blossom. Life’s natural impulse to grow and flower is on display in riotous pink pressed against winter’s presence lying in pristine white outside the window.

In the trees that line the bank between our yard and the river, a squirrel scurries down. Winter is coming. There are preparations to be made.

It scurries towards the birdfeeder hanging along the fence at the back of our yard. It has become a squirrel seed depot.

The squirrel grabs at the tiny lip of the feeder and hangs on. Its body swings precariously from side to side. It steadies itself and opens its mouth ready to catch the seeds as they spill out.

Pouches full, it leaps back to the fence onto a tree branch, scurries up the trunk, sailing effortlessly from one branch to the next until, high up, it reaches a hole in the tree and disappears.

Another squirrel replaces it at the feeder.

I wonder if squirrels have a sound for gratitude?

Do I?

Is gratitude heard in the deep sigh of contentment as I sit in the darkness at my desk breathing in the beauty and wonder of the world around me?

Is it heard in the quiet hum of the furnace blowing warm air into the house?

Is it in the rustle of Beaumont’s body as he moves against the hardwood floor where he sleeps beside me?

Is it felt in the quiet, slow lightening of the day seeping across a nighttime sky ebbing into dawn?

Is it known in the halo of the lamp that lights my fingers as I type or the glowing of the candle on the desk beside me?

Is it tasted in the sip of my latte, foamy milk flowing warm and silky across my lips, down my throat and into my body?

Is it seen in the silent shimmery dark silhouettes of the trees dancing in the morning breeze outside my window, their not yet fallen leaves black against a not quite morning sky?

It is all here.

Filling me with gratitude.

This beauty.

It does not wait for the right season. Better weather. For time to flow from one moment to the next.

This beauty is here. Now.

And so am I.

And so is Love.

Namaste

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Someday is Not A Day Of The Week.

As human beings, we like comfort. We like the familiar. The well-trod path. Our comfort zone, no matter how uncomfortable.

We develop habits that line the walkways of our life like comfort food at a buffet. We don’t dare try the dish with the unpronounceable name. What if we don’t like it? What if it makes us sick?

And then, to keep ourselves feeling okay about our habitual paths, no matter how maladaptive, we tell ourselves it’s okay. “It’s safer this way,” we repeat again and again into the mirror. “It’s just the way I am. It’s just the way life is.”

And then, we play our cop-out card. “Someday.”

Someday, I’ll quit this job I hate and travel the world like I’ve always dreamt I would.

Someday, I’ll go back to school and finish that degree in art studies I started way back when.

Someday, I’ll stop…. [fill in the blank with a maladapted behaviour]. Drinking. Eating junk food. Hating myself. Having meaningless sex with strangers. Taking risks with my prsonal safety I secretly hope will kill me. Doing drugs. Lying. Cheating. Procrastinating.

Someday…

Years ago, when I first started working at a homeless shelter, I started an art program. Every Thursday night and Saturday afternoon, I’d invite clients to come up to the 6th-floor multi-purpose room and share the quiet of the space and the joy of painting, writing, creating in silent communion with others (Plus! The view of the river valley below was spectacular!)

There was one man who sat at a table on the second floor common area, an island of perceived calm amidst the sea of 500 people who used the area on a daily basis. He would lay his paints on the table beside him, prop a pad of watercolour paper on his lap and create beautiful images of the world beyond the shelter while all around him the room buzzed and vibed with activity and commotion.

“Why don’t you come up to quiet of the multi-purpose room and paint with us,” I’d ask him every time I saw him painting.

“I’m not ready,” he’d reply. “Someday. Soon.”

Finally, after one more repeated, “Someday,” I asked him if he’d chosen a date when someday would come.

He shook his head. “No. Not yet.”

“Then why don’t you just make it today? Why not make today, someday.”

And he did and he went on to paint amazing works of art, to write music and songs and poems and to become a valued and integral member of the Possibilities Project, an art-based initiative I developed at the shelter that incorporated the full spectrum of the arts to provide clients, staff and volunteers an opportunity to explore their human condition and shared experiences through visual and performing arts.

Someday is now.

Someday isn’t in the future. It doesn’t have enough clarity and substance to last that long.

Someday is now.

If you’re struggling with holding on, with not letting go, with not giving up on something that just isn’t giving you peace of mind or joy or laughter and love, ask yourself, “Am I holding on for someday?” “Am I hoping for someday to fix my life, change my outlook, move my perspective?”

‘Cause if someday is on your calendar somewhere, anywhere, make it today that someday comes true. Make today your release from holding on to waiting, wishing and hoping for someday to come and set you free.

Namaste.

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Thank you David Kanigan for the inspiration for this morning’s post!

The Future Is Not Now

Years ago, when I got out of a relationship that was killing me, my future was pretty grim. I was broken. The ‘me’ I thought I was had devolved into the puppet of his command. I had no voice. No sense of ‘I’. No future worth living for.

I had two choices. Stay traumatized. Heal.

Going through that relationship was hard. It almost killed me. Getting out of it, I had PTSD. I had no money. No job. No home. No belongings. Nothing.

What I did have was a miracle. He had been arrested and I knew deep within me, that was the miracle that saved my life.

I could not waste my miracle. I had to choose to heal. How was up to me.

Armed with my miracle and the belief I didn’t get it to live in pain and sorrow, I had to decide to heal. Me. Broken relationships. My life.

My number one priority was to heal my relationship with my daughters. By the time of his arrest, we were estranged. I wanted to be part of their lives again. To feel and share the love that had flowed so strongly between us, before I got lost in an abusive relationship.

To heal that relationship, I had to heal myself first.

To heal myself, I had to choose to let go of the things that did not serve me on my healing journey. Bitterness. Regret. Resentment. Hatred. Anger. Fear. None of them moved me closer to healing. Giving into regrets and bitterness only made me feel worse.

There were so many questions for which I had no answers. How could he have done the things he’d done. How could I have been so blind? So selfish? How could I do the things I did to cause my daughters so much pain?

I had to choose to let those questions and all the heavy, life-sucking emotions that went with them, go. Those questions could not be answered from a place of weakness. I had to grow strong enough to face them without losing myself in their seductive, self-annihilating web of pain.

I could not go searching for answers in the past if I was to build a bridge to a future where I could be myself in all my darkness and light, beauty and the beast, warts and wounds, wonder and wisdom.

The past was too painful a place to tread without the light of love to guide me and the future could not be conceived without Love being my constant companion in the now.

The only place I could find myself was in the now. And, the only thing that could sustain me in the now was Love.

So I chose Love.

Every moment of every day.

No matter how broken and helpless I felt, no matter how lost and afraid, confused or tentative. Whatever I did, I had to do it in Love – with me, myself and I. All of me. The broken down, beat up, worthless feeling me. The shattered me who included the mother who deserted her daughters in the final throes of that relationship because the only way she could conceive of getting him out of their lives was to give up her right to live free of his abuse.

May 21st is approaching. It has been many years since that day in 2003 when a blue and white police car drove up and gave me the miracle of my life.

Time has deepened and enriched my gratitude.

I am grateful for my family and friends who loved me through it all.

Grateful for my daughters whose love, even in their pain and anger, never deserted me.

Grateful for the beauty and joy and Love in my life today. For the wonder and awe I experience with every breath.

And I am grateful I chose to heal In Love.

My life today is a beautiful tapestry of light and love, beauty and shadows that shimmer in the dark corners of my life as well as the wide-open expanses of possibilities unravelling with each new dawn. It is woven through with threads of fierce courage, gratitude and grace, joy and soul defining oases of calm.

It is my life lived In Love.

I still have down days and dark moments. I still experience cloudy skies and murky waters. This is life. Beautiful. Complex. Complicated. Messy.

But, no matter the times or the weather, one thing never fades. The Love that instills this moment right now with such beauty it takes my breath away.

Living now doesn’t mean giving up on the future. It means choosing to fill this moment, right now, with so much Love, the future becomes all that is now.

Namaste

Let Your Heart Run Wild

Mixed media on water colour paper. 2 page spread for “Sheltered Wonder” Art Journal

Worry and being present cannot inhabit the same space. Worry is about future events. It focuses on obsessive thoughts of events that may or may not happen. Being present is exactly that – you are here in the now, free of worry, experiencing this moment.

Worry feeds your head brain with the illusion only it will keep you safe from the worst of what you think might happen.

The heart knows best how to stay present in the moment. The body becomes embodied in the present when your heart beats freely without fear clouding your senses and muddying up your peace of mind.

Listen to your heart. Let it run wild. Let it leap over obstacles. Dive deep into unknown waters. Soar high into cloudy skies and limitless blue possibilities.

When you heart runs wild worry falls away, fear subsides and life flows freely.

Let your heart run wild.

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Since Covid became a ‘real’ thing in our world, my beloved and I have practiced self-isolation. Always there has been a niggling worry at the back of my mind about what if…?

What if he gets infected? What if he doesn’t survive? What if…

I tell myself, that’s just worry Louise about future events over which you have no control. Breathe and be in the moment. Breathe into your heart, let it run wild with delight in this moment where you are both well and healthy and savouring this secluded time together. Let worry go.

Worry responds, “Go ahead. Try. But you’re gonna fail. I’m stronger than your heart. Remember. I live in your brain. I know everything.”

“Oh no you don’t,” the wisdom that breathes deeply within my belly responds, coursing with energy up through my body, into the far extremities of my arms, my hands, my fingertips that feel the air moving all around me. With effortless grace, the energy flows down into my legs, my ankles, my feet, connecting and grounding me to the earth.

“The heart sends more messages to you every moment of every day than you send to it, my belly informs my brain. “You think your way through life. The heart feels its way into and through every moment. It flows with life-giving blood that nourishes my organs, my cells, my skin. It breathes life into the essence of my being alive.”

My heart knows life, intimately.

My brain only knows what it thinks life is. It cannot feel it. Experience it. Taste it. It takes the whole body – head included — nourished by the heart’s blood-pounding ways, to do that.

The heart feels everything. The body joins it in communion with all of nature. The brain says, “Let me think about that.”

The heart and body respond, “Come, run wild with us through life’s forests. Come, swim with us in its seas of plenty. Let your thoughts rest within the delight of this moment right now. Let worry go.”

I breathe and heed the call of the wild.

My worry serves no purpose than to pull me away from the exquisite nature of this moment right now.

“The purpose of self-isolation is to stem the worry, Louise,” my heart whispers lovingly. “It’s the right thing to do for both of you. It isn’t about divining the future, it’s about building safe, courageous space to live confidently in this moment right now knowing, deep within all your being, that in this moment right now, you are alive within the precious, holy, sacred gift of life.”

In these exceptional times, as in all times, every breath counts. Every breath is precious. Anything that disrupts the flow has the potential to ignite my worry – if I let it.

Breathing deeply into the beauty of this moment, I let my worry drift away upon the river of life that sustains me.

I let worry go. And my heart runs wild.

Namaste.

What will your story be today?

I haven’t found it yet.

Not after cleaning and clearing out the back half of the basement and organizing my art supplies.

The Reading Corner

Not after clearing out the far corner of our bedroom (the reading corner) and organizing books and papers, clothes and paraphenalia.

Not after reorganizing the entire kitchen, culling dead spices and aged out dry goods.

And not after purposefully not filling my calendar with coffee dates and wine encounters.

I still haven’t found it.

My rhythm in the post-retired in the process of rejuvenation life.

And yes, I know. It’s only been seven weeks, four of which I spent away. But still… throughout my working life, my days were prescribed by the known of my routine; dependable, predictable regardless of unexpected happenings, crises and daily demands.

I feel adrift. Cast-away. Free-falling through time.

In the dissonance of my discomfort, I struggle against the flow and search for meaning in my life even in the presence of knowing, there is no need to search for meaning. The meaning is present when I am present in my life.

Ahhh. The ennui of taking myself too seriously!

Yesterday, Bernie at Equipose Life wrote about her search for her rhythm and I had to smile. I’d been wondering about the very same question since getting back from my month long trip and had been planning on writing/meditating on it today. Once coaching at Choices Seminars was over, I had this wide open playing field, and I was struggling to stay calm in the center of my life.

I think I’ve forgotten how to play in unscripted, unmarked spaces. To simply be in the moment of being rather than the rush of doing.

It’s possible I’ve spent decades forgetting.

And now, in the sudden onslaught of unscheduled time, I am peering too far into the future searching for some glimmer of what happens next.

I close my eyes and breathe deeply.

Patience grasshopper. Patience.

There is lots of time to figure out the future. There’s no other time than now to be present in today.

I take another breath, and the wise woman within whispers to my heart. “It’s okay. This unease will pass. Open your heart and bring your sights closer to home. Step lovingly into the space you’re in. Do not criticize yourself for feeling unease. Celebrate your willingness to be in its presence. And now, let go of looking into tomorrow. Today is calling.”

I open my eyes and smile. I am worrying about an unknown future when today is calling me to be present to its many gifts.

Outside my window the river flows past, the wind whispers through the leaves that line the bank. Through their filigree canopy I see the azure sky stretching out to the horizon.

I am in a land of new horizons. To be free of ‘what was’, I must stretch out of my comfort zone, lengthen the familiar muscles like the sky stretching out to the horizon and become present to ‘what is’.

Arms free, heart open I breathe into the possibilities, the joy, the wonder of being here right now. I slip into the river of possibility where life is inviting me to get into the flow of a new rhythm. When I quit figthing its pull, it will find me.

There is no need for me to crowd my time with a list of ‘important things to do’ or to worry about a yet to unfold future. Tomorrow will arrive soon enough.

I breathe into being present in my life right now. I open my heart and mind and greet the day. Life greets me back with its alluring invitation to release my fear and step into the flow of a new way of being in this world of wonder and possibility.

Namaste