Wherever I Stand…

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

Wherever I Stand...

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. 

Wherever I Stand...

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. 

Wherever I Stand... 

One Decision Away

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. 

One Decision Away
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. 

One Decision Away
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. 

One Decision Away

• 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. 

One Decision Away

Sunset

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. 

Sunset

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. 

Sunset
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. 

Sunset

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. 

Sunset
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. 

Sunset
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.

Sunset

Day 209: Stroll Through the Butterfly Garden & Overlook in the Evening

Butterfly garden at evening e

I have intended to do this first for a couple of months now. The Butterfly Garden & Overlook, located in Cunningham Park at 26th and Maiden Lane, was dedicated and officially opened on May 22 of this year. I was there for that moving ceremony, along with my grandson Dayan and my sister Linda, and hundreds of others from the Joplin and Springfield areas. It was wonderful to hear the speeches and see so many turn up for the dedication. After the ceremony, I moved through the structures quickly, not able to see many of the features due to the crowd. That was okay. I planned, in the near future, to visit again and look at everything and spend time in that serene, beautiful space.

Two plus months later, the time for that visit arrived. Tonight, for my first, I visited the Butterfly Garden & Overlook, just after sunset, and spent time there soaking up the peace. I wasn’t sure how lighted the garden would be and if it was even possible to be there after dark. While the lighting was not overly bright, it was well lit enough to walk the pathways. The lower lighting contributed to the calming, restorative atmosphere of the space.

Butterfly garden at eveing fountain e

I enjoyed wandering around. There were four youth in the structures when I arrived but they moved on into the park, leaving tranquility behind. Greg, who had not seen the Butterfly Garden & Overlook, accompanied me and strolled around on his own, reading the plaques and trying out one of the benches. I was moved, as I was the day of the dedication, by the simple yet powerful design of the outline houses. Looking over toward where St. John’s Hospital used to stand, I remembered all that had changed in this area. Grief and disbelief welled up and I didn’t try to staunch those feelings. Tonight, I let them rise and flow outward from my chest area. I breathed in deeply and slowly released the air and the energy swirling around my heart. The sound resembled a sigh.

For the first time this evening, I sat on the bench with the journal beneath it. I held the journal, which was full, stories and sentiments and drawings on every page. I didn’t try to read the words. I simply held the journal and felt the emotions emanating from it. I let the sound of water from the nearby large fountain soothe me. Healing is taking place in me and in my city. I very rarely hear anymore in my mind, as I am trying to sleep, the sounds of breaking glass and debris hitting the house. However, a part of me acknowledges what happened each day as I live and drive and dine and shop in the tornado zone. I accept it and I release any need to explain what happened or question why. As I sat quietly on the bench, peace flooded through me, and peace filled that sacred place.

As I continued walking through the garden, I stopped to lightly touch a flowering lavender plant. The scent lingered on my fingers and I was refreshed, renewed. As I straightened, my eyes were drawn to a word, carved in bold letters, on the back of the fountain. A spotlight brought the word sharply into focus, a beacon in the darkness. HOPE. Hope for Joplin. Hope for me. Hope for all who live and work and play here. That one word promises so much. I am grateful.

Butterfly garden at evening HOPE e