Occasionally a quote catches my attention and gets snagged within my soul, rather than passing on through. When that happens I sit with it for a few days, or many days, and reflect on it, drawing from it what is intended for me.
Such has been the case with a Rumi quote that crossed my path several weeks ago.
“Wherever you stand, be the soul of that place.” Rumi
Those words resonated with me. Soulfulness has been an important part of my recent journey. As my heart has found freedom and my creativity has been unleashed, my soul has expanded.
Thomas Moore, author of Care of the Soul, suggests there is a strong connection between creativity and soulfulness. He wrote, “Creativity means making something for the soul out of every experience.” That has been an important aspect of my journey the past three years. I write about those experiences. Inspiration is my guide this year. I recognize that this is soul work I am doing.
What does it mean to me…wherever I stand, be the soul of that place? First of all, it means that I must be aware of my soul, I must be soulful. I must be connected to my deep feeling and emotions, and have a heart that is open and unattached to expectations. A heart in hiding is shut down, closed off. I lived for many years with such a guarded heart. Fear closed it down, fear and disappointment. My soul wasn’t free to express itself nor was it expansive. Moving past fear and letting go of expectations were the first steps toward greater soul awareness.
Being the soul of a place is easier for me in spaces such as my backyard garden. There I feel the deep connection with the earth. I am grounded there, rooted. I can feel my soul respond to the beauty around me by enlarging and moving outward.
However, being the soul of a place means living in that state of awareness, that expansiveness, in all the places I find myself, whether I am surrounded by peace and the extraordinary, or chaos and the ordinary. I can be the soul of a place standing on a riverbank or in line at Walmart, at the park or in the office, playing with my grandchildren or listening to an agitated client. My ability to feel with my soul, to inhabit a space by expanding my soul into it, is not determined by how receptive that place is to me but rather how deeply connected I am to my own spirit.
Today, I had another realization about Rumi’s words. For months I have been experiencing a heightened sense of joy. I know part of that is the feeling of renewed health in my physical body. I feel good. I feel strong and healthy. This afternoon, experiencing that wave of euphoria, the assurance came on a whisper that the deeper truth is that I am feeling my soul express itself, with great delight. I see the connection between improved health and an ecstatic soul. The body houses the soul. A healthy body creates a better place for my soul to live and thrive…and yes, express itself.
I am still feeling my way into Rumi’s powerful quote, just as I am still feeling my way into a more present, mindful, soulful existence. Wherever you stand…be the soul of that place. What a beautiful truth to guide my journey.
I have been captivated the last few days, by a quote I read.
“You’re always one decision away from a totally different life.”
I couldn’t locate the source of the quote but the words resonated with me and took root. I woke up thinking about how true that sentiment has been in my life, which prompted reflection today about the power of making a decision.
We all make decisions throughout our lives. Often the major ones begin with words such as “I do.” “I’m done.” “Yes!” “No!” “Hello.” “Goodbye.” “I can do better.” “I must stop!” “Never again.” “From now on…” “I love you!” “I love me!”
And sometimes decisions are made for us. During those times the choice we have is how we will respond, which is a powerful type of decision making, in and of itself. We can refuse to be defined by circumstances beyond our control.
Knowing that I am always one decision away from totally changing my life empowers me. That knowledge keeps me from blaming others for where I am in my journey and frees me from victim mode. If I want things to change, I am responsible for making decisions that bring about change, even if I can’t see exactly what the ultimate outcome will be. Trust is involved. If I make a decision and then take actions in alignment with that decision, I can trust that the Divine is moving to meet me, bringing the right opportunities and people into my life, at the right time.
Thinking about my journey the last six years, I can identify several key decisions that have profoundly shaped my life. They include:
• Choosing to face my fears about my intuitive abilities, in 2011, which allowed me to fully embrace who I am, gifts, quirks and all. Living life without fear unlocked my creativity in ways I never could have imagined.
• Deciding to write every day, in 2014, and move beyond my comfort zone, led to a daily blog that is now in its fourth year. I have learned so much about myself, about how life works for me, and about Divine guidance, through that decision. My growth has been phenomenal the last three years.
• Choosing to take responsibility for my health and well being has had an enormous impact on my life. Last year, on July 1, I switched to a plant based lifestyle. One year later, I am the healthiest I have ever been, fit, strong and very connected to my body. I am acutely aware of what I need to do to maintain optimal well being.
These milestones are very encouraging to me as I see how my life has shifted, in positive and remarkable ways, from decisions that were made, one at a time. I can see the progression, the changes that have occurred, from decision to decision. Such a journey allows me to remain open to all that is unfolding now, moment by moment.
What decision are you ready to make, that will totally change your life? Is it around your health? A relationship? Your career? Your destiny? Change begins with a decision, your decision, something you choose apart from the expectations of others. Paulo Coelho says that a mistake repeated more than once is a decision as well. Are there decisions you are unwittingly making, that are defining your life?
Five years ago, my grandson Dayan and I made a decision. We decided to go to Italy immediately after his high school graduation. That decision, and the actions that followed, resulted in an extraordinary trip earlier this month. And that decision has inspired another one for me. Travel is very much a part of who I am. My bohemian spirit desires to wander the earth and experience new places and new things.
I’ll be packing my carry on again at the end of August, off on the next adventure. And beyond that…there is a wide world waiting for me.
I wake up every morning with a song playing in my head. Sometimes the same song stays with me for days. Most often, the songs change with the sunrise. This morning I hummed along with the tune only I could hear, recalling a few of the words from the chorus.
Curious why this particular song was with me today, I pulled up the song list on my iPhone. I knew I had this one saved. From the Prince of Egypt soundtrack, I actually had two versions of the song, When You Believe, one from the animated film, and one performed by Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey.
I listened to both versions…and was moved to tears. And forget trying to sing along with the song. I choked up and no words could flow. Out running errands today, I must have played When You Believe at least a dozen times…and I teared up every time.
I have never been one to cry easily. When my emotions are close enough to the surface to inspire teary eyes, I pay attention. It is more than a Divine tap on the shoulder. Tears are a strong invitation to slow down and look deeply within.
After a day of reflection around the When We Believe lyrics, and my response to them, I’ve realized that the song mirrors aspects of my journey, and in particular, my healing journey.
I’m adjusting the lyrics, changing them to the first person. Otherwise they are directly from When We Believe.
Many nights I prayed/with no proof anyone could hear/in my heart a hopeful song/I barely understood.
I have a daily, ongoing conversation with the Divine. More than prayer, it is a share and listen kind of communication, full of signs and synchronicities. I do have proof I am heard. However, the part about having a hope in my heart that I barely understood was the first line that caused tears to flood my eyes.
I am a positive, hopeful person. However, as the pain in my legs increased the last few years, I felt like the hope I was clinging to, that I would somehow get better, was slipping away. The song I barely understood was the act of healing.
Now I am not afraid/although I know there’s much to fear/I was moving mountains/long before I knew I could
These words reminded me that fear no longer grips me as it once did, even though there will always be fear inducing events going on in the world. It is faith and trust that move mountains, or obstacles, out of the way. Part of my recent journey has been learning to trust deeply, and let go of any need to control life and outcomes.
There can be miracles/when I believe/though hope is frail/it’s hard to kill.
Who know what miracles/I can achieve/when I believe somehow I will/I will when I believe
I have experienced miracles in my life, in my health and well being, the past 10 months. It began with a belief…and not just believing that I could get better. It started with the belief that there was an answer out there for me. I stopping asking for relief from the pain and healing for the deteriorating condition of my legs. Instead I asked where to look for answers to my questions…and remained open to all possibilities, both conventional and unconventional.
In this time of fear/when prayer so often proves in vain/hope seems like the summer bird/too swiftly flown away.
Yet now I’m standing here/my heart so full, I can’t explain/seeking faith and speaking words/I never thought I’d say.
One year ago, I felt fear trying to crowd into my heart and mind. I had been walking with a cane for more than six months. When I woke up in the mornings, it took half hour of slowly stretching out my legs before I could stand, and several more hours of using a cane before I could move well enough to leave the house.
18 months ago, the cane with me so I could walk. I was on pain meds, so I could keep up with my granddaughter and great niece. I was also 60 pounds heavier.
On my worst days, I wondered what was going to happen next. And when I would no longer be able to walk at all. Hope seemed fleeting on those days. My choice was to resign myself to the seemingly inevitable loss of mobility and severe, ongoing pain…or ask the Divine what I needed to do to bring about healing. Doctors had told me my condition would only continue to worsen.
And yet…now I’m standing here…my heart so full I can’t explain… Those words from the song evoked the greatest emotion. Because… I am standing. I am walking, without a cane. I am pain free. I am the healthiest I have been, in more than 22 years. My heart is, indeed, very full.
They don’t always happen when I ask/and it’s easy to give in to my fears/but when I’m blinded by my pain/can’t see the way, get through the rain
A small, but still, resilient voice/says hope is very near/there can be miracles/when I believe.
Beautiful, powerful words. I was nearly blinded by pain and despair wasn’t far from overtaking me. Hope was very near, however. That still small voice guided me to Anthony William…the Medical Medium…a man very connected to Spirit, who happened to have a post on Facebook about neurological pain as a result of the shingles virus attacking the nerves after a trauma. A trauma such as a car accident.
There in that article, I found answers.
In 2013, my word for the year was Believe. I learned a lot about my old beliefs and about seeing in a more expansive way. The next year my focus was on living Beyond my comfort zone and stretching and growing. Then I had a year with the word Journey, as I continued to move beyond what I had previously known. Last year was all about Surrender. I wasn’t in control of where the Journey was taking me. I only had to decide if I would go with the flow…or watch life flow by while I stood still. My trust and faith deepened incredibly last year.
While in that surrendered state…open and unattached, in pain and unsure what my future held, but believing, hoping, immersing myself in the flow…that still, small voice guided me to the answer I sought. I see the progression now, the unfolding of my journey, each step vital.
My healing journey continues, as I experience greater health. My heart is full…of wonder, gratitude, love, compassion and boundless hope. My desire is to share publicly about my journey, and the benefits and improvements that a healthy diet and a positive attitude can bring. Someone else may be asking for answers to their health struggles. Someone else may be clinging to the hope that they can heal.
There can be miracles, when you believe. Though hope is frail, it is hard to kill.
Late this afternoon, I was in a car heading west. My destination was a funeral home in a small town in Oklahoma. The family was gathering for an event commonly called Visitation, a time of remembering and sharing about a departed loved one, a time for friends and associates to pay their respects. The man being honored tonight is my Uncle Rex. I’ll share more about this sweet and kind man tomorrow, after his memorial service.
I was in a reflective mood as we drove. Greg graciously chauffeured me, due to a threat of severe weather, which allowed me the freedom and opportunity to gaze out the car windows. Clouds were indeed gathering in the sky, as the sun sank toward the horizon.
I love sunsets. Although they are a daily phenomenon, no two are ever quite the same. I appreciate the beauty of sunrise as well. But let’s face it. I am not an early morning person. I don’t see the sun appear in the eastern sky nearly as often as I see it dive in the west.
I am perfectly okay with who I am.
And so sunsets stir the magic in me. They draw gratitude from my heart and my lips. They fire up the sky and my imagination.
The sky was so beautiful as we chased after the sun, that it created an ache within me. Although it is difficult to capture that splendor accurately, I felt compelled to try, snapping pics with my iPhone camera, capturing the day’s last gift.
I thought about my uncle, for whom the sun has set for the final time here on earth. Sunset can be symbolic of the end of life, of the closing of the day and a chapter in the book of life.
However, what I love most about sunset, in addition to the sheer beauty of it, is this…
Sunset teaches me about trust. I trust that when the sun disappears, it’s not gone forever. I trust that even when darkness gathers, the light will appear again. I trust that there is a time for endings, and endings signal new beginnings.
I trust that life is a series of sunrises and sunsets, and the sun may go down for the last time for a soul…but a new sun rises, in a new realm, and that soul lives on. How beautiful and mysterious are sunsets…and life.
John Ruskin wrote, “At sunset, nature is painting for us…day after day…pictures of infinite beauty.”
I am grateful to behold her majestic art, displayed on grand canvases. I am undone by that infinite beauty.
I have been deeply enjoying art journaling, using my altered book. (Read more about Art Journaling HERE) I’ve discovered that whether I am writing or coloring or creating collages in my journal, my thoughts and feelings flow freely as energy onto the page.
This afternoon, during a quiet moment, I worked on another page in my journal. Surrounded by colored pencils and gel pens, I was delighted that on this day that focuses on love, it felt appropriate to draw heart shapes on the page. The words I had highlighted spoke of my heart’s journey, from adolescence to womanhood.
I pierced the representation of my heart with an arrow. We all possess such wounded hearts, energetically at least. And many things can pierce us, including pain and beauty. I am learning to allow both to pass through while I keep my heart open, refusing to close down.
It was as I was coloring in the larger heart, my heart, that memories surfaced. I recalled that sixteen years ago I attended a retreat in Colorado, interestingly, a Captivating event led by Stasi Eldredge, whose book I was now using as an art journal.
My desire during the retreat was to reclaim my heart. I recognized that over my lifetime I had given away many pieces of my heart…to people, to causes, to situations. My heart was not only fragmented, the pieces were scattered. I intentionally began the process of gathering those fragments, restoring each one to my heart.
During our solitary times at the retreat, I made lists of all the people I had consciously or unconsciously given a part of my heart to. The list was long. My intention to live from a whole heart was strong. One by one, I gathered up those broken pieces, thanking the person I had given it to for the lessons learned, releasing the past, welcoming that part of me back. It was the beginning of wholeness for me.
Today, as those memories stirred, my heart stirred as well. Thoughtfully, I reached for my gel pen and transferred the tender memories to my drawing, creating an image of a heart lovingly pieced back together.
The gathering of fragments was ongoing. Six years ago, I recognized that I had cut away the largest portion of my heart, while still a child, and hid it away. I embraced my other half, my intuitive heart, and vowed to live wholeheartedly as my true self.
As I completed my journal page, it occurred to me that it had been a while since I checked my heart for missing fragments. What a beautiful invitation, to go within and seek wholeness. I found pieces and slivers that I had once again given away. I spent time gently retrieving them, releasing the past, expressing gratitude for lessons, and bringing those fragments back to my heart.
How healing, once again.
For those heart fragments that I gave away were never capable of giving or receiving unconditional love. Cut off from my great heart they were small, needy, faltering, seeking, easily bruised.
Restored to the whole, back where they belong, the pieces of my heart lack nothing and expect nothing. My restored heart can love freely, and receive love, without grasping or clinging or needing anything. It is whole. It is full of light.
The simple act of creating and coloring ushered in an equally simple invitation to remember, and then go within for a heart check. I am grateful. I am being love…from my beautifully scarred and whole heart.