The Important Stuff

Some mormeditationnings (probably most mornings) I get out of bed with purpose. My list of things to accomplish is already organizing itself in my head (if you’re a Virgo, you understand…). Very methodical, but room for the unknown surprises. It’s really the way my life is.
 
Some mornings that list is lengthy and I begin to think about what can be eliminated or put off. This morning it was meditation….until I sat down to write.
 
As always, before writing, I start with one of my many books or podcasts (from the Bible to Kyle Cease) to help center myself. Lately, as you may have read here, it’s been Eva Bell Werber. There is very little known about her (at least that I can find) but she wrote 4 short books between 1936-1950. Lessons in how to live a life from within.  She is able to evoke feelings of peace within me through the words she channels.
 
Today’s lesson: “Fail Not To Meditate”.
 
…..Jaw dropped…eyes popped….and back to the cushion I went.
 
🙏❤️🙏
 
Start with gratitude, start with gratitude, start with gratitude.
 
From my heart to yours, Diane

Deepak Chopra!

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If you live in the Atlanta, GA area, I invite you to join me on Feb. 5, 2018 for an Evening with Deepak Chopra.
 
 
See you there!

Of Course

Deanna BluebirdPeople struggling is what is on my mind this morning. As I brought these folks into meditation with me and placed them gently on my heart I asked for guidance as to how I can best help. What is it that is mine to do to help those that I care about. I can be an ear, a shoulder. I can be strong words of warning or encouragement. I can be tough or gentle. I can be any and all of those things for the people I care about.
But I often feel it is not enough. So I asked – what is it that is mine to do?
No immediate response came, but tears did. I want everyone I love and care about to just be okay. I want them to be happy, to find joy in everything they do, to find peace at the end of the day. I am that person that will try to make you straighten up and fly right…and then want to be there to catch you if you fall.
But I can’t always be that person.
So after the tears flowed this morning and I continued to sit quietly, the words I spoke to a friend last evening and saw written this morning reverberated in my mind. I began to laugh. Of course, I thought, of course!
God’s got this. Of course, God’s got this!
There is nothing more I need to do but trust the process and know the journey of each of these people is being guided by the Power and the Grace that exists in all things. And I am grateful for the wisdom and the strength to know this truth.
From my heart to yours,  Diane
(photo credit:  Deanna Fleenor)

A New Landscape

Aquarius Cover Jan 2018Once again, I am grateful that my writing is being shared in magazines such as Aquarius.  This month I write about how we, as seekers of a new way of living, can live in a world of apparent chaos. Once we understand that there is only one Source – and that source is always and in all ways Good – what do we do? This article begins to answer that question. I would love to hear your thoughts on the subject. The dialogue is important. It is the first step in finding viable solutions and manifesting a peaceful world.

Here is a link to the magazine (and yes, that’s Deepak Chopra on the cover coming to Unity North Atlanta – the Spiritual Community where I work!  Flip to page 21 to read my article and let me know what you think (and if you’re in the Atlanta, GA area, go to http://www.unitynorth.org for tickets to see Dr. Chopra.)

https://docs.wixstatic.com/ugd/ee8f16_545fcb10dcc8454f9533eaf17c5f8495.pdf

From my heart to yours, Diane

 

Savor Moments of Kindness

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The doll in the lap of this little girl was purchased with cereal box tops. She was so excited to receive it and more excited when her Mom suggested that she put on her “matching” red dress so her Dad could take a picture of her and her beautiful new doll in front of the garden with the red flowers.

Simple joys remembered. Faded memories renewed. Maybe that comes with age or the turning of a calendar page into a new year. Maybe it’s a reminder to live a life that creates memories. What memories will you create in the next twelve months?

A resolution for the new year: As you close your eyes at night and your body begins to relax into sleep, think not a thought of despair, sorrow, regret or anger. Breathe into your relaxing body and think only of the kindness you experienced that day. Those are the memories worth savoring.

Happy 2018 from my little girl’s heart to yours, Diane

Changing Course

2017 CalendarAt the end of every year I like to take the calendar down off the kitchen wall and take a look back at what I’ve done throughout the year. Yes, I still use a kitchen calendar – in addition to my phone and Outlook calendars…if I miss something it will be because it never got put on a calendar in the first place! The kitchen calendar, however, is not a work calendar…

Now that the kids are grown and gone, there are no sport practices, chorus rehearsals, band practices, dances, after school work schedules, etc to fill it up. It is just “us” stuff. Coffees, lunches and dinners with friends, vacations, the necessary doctors’ appointments, and, of course, evening work meetings so that Dan will know when to expect me for dinner. All evidence of a life that is changing course.

But…it is still a busy one. The life of an extrovert being lived by an introvert. I wouldn’t trade my life because I love the work that I do. When I come home in the evening and close the door behind me, however, I do my best to leave my work on the other side of that wonderful red door. I deeply appreciate those that respect this, that allow me to have “my time”. Because we work together, it’s something that Dan and I truly honor. I can’t tell you how many times we have said to each other – “We can talk about that in the morning”.

On this side of that door, there is just us. The us that I write about on that kitchen calendar. The us that brings a deep sigh of contentment when we cross the threshold every evening. So, at the close of 2017, as I take down the kitchen calendar and put up a new one, I know I have so much to be grateful for. Mostly, though, I am grateful for this simple life.

A simple life. That is what I wish for each of you. Let 2018 be the year to fill your kitchen calendar with the things and the people you love. That is the essence of a simple life, a life that is changing course….

Have a safe and wonderful last day of the year.

From my heart to yours,  Diane

 

It’s Okay to Let Go

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My yoga and meditation partners.❤️💕❤️
I really needed them this morning. They sense that. One on either side of me: Lucy on a meditation bench and Turbo on the yoga mat as I sat in the silence.
Last evening I said a final goodbye to a sweet friend. When she was going through her treatments and unable to drive, I would occasionally take her teenage son to practices. He stood last night in gratitude for his Mom, so eloquent, so full of love. He seems to have been given the tools to stand on his own. My prayer for him and his sister is that they hold onto those lessons and that they know the heart of their Mother will forever be with them.Image may contain: cat
That is the best we can hope for as parents. We pray we have given our children the tools they need to stand on their own, to always treat others with respect and, most importantly, to think for themselves and make wise decisions that will spur them forward. There are times when we doubt the work we have done. It is at those times that we need to hear the voice within us gently telling us to Let Go. It is okay to Let Go. It is necessary to let them fly and stumble and fly and, yes, stumble again.
And when the stumbling becomes too much to bear, our Mother’s (and Father’s) heart will be right there with them. Forever.
The Light of God surrounds you
The Love of God enfolds you
The Power of God protects you
The Presence of God watches over you
Wherever You are God is.
                   James Dillet Freeman
From my heart to yours,  Diane

 

I Looked Down at My Hands

img_0660-editedIt’s been 24 years this month that my Mother left this plane. There is still not a day that passes that I don’t think of her. Yesterday’s talk by Rev. Richard, “You Want Me to do What?” along with the beautiful rendition of “Sending You a Little Christmas” performed by Julie Boniger and her wonderful ensemble, and then ending the day visiting a dying friend, brought back memories of the months that I cared for my Mom while she was dying.
When my mother was diagnosed with mesothelioma and given three months to live, she wasted little time in organizing her transition. First she sought a 2nd opinion from the top specialist in the country who happened to be at Sloan-Kettering in NY. Once he confirmed that this was it, that nothing could be done, she called together me and my brothers to lay out her plan.
Phil would be executor of her will and also her medical liaison since he was a Physician’s Assistant.
Dennis would inventory the contents of her house and begin the process of selling everything.
Charlie would arrange for the house to be sold.
And I would be her primary care giver since she lived with me and my family.
You want me to do what?
Okay…. No time for tears, sadness, it’s time to get organized. With a 3 year old son, 13 year old daughter, crazy 2 year old lab, a full time job and a truly patient and dedicated husband, I began taking care of my dying Mother. My best friend, my confidant, my partner in crime. Changing surgical dressings three times a day, arranging for equipment to be delivered and monitored, finding a nursing assistant that she liked, trying to get her to eat when she was rapidly losing weight, trying to manage her medications when she thought she could do it herself…the list goes on and on.
And then there was hospice. Of course, at first, Mom refused. Hospice meant she was actually, umm, dying. Yes, Mom, you are. The only way we convinced her hospice was a good thing was by telling her that more of her medical bills would be covered if she was in hospice. She was nothing if not frugal.
Having hospice meant periodic visits from their Social Worker. This particular day, I had just gotten home from work and was scurrying around trying to show the CSW how organized I was. I had the kids occupied, the dog outside, Dan was at work, and my Mom was neat and clean in her room.
“How are you?” asked the CSW.
“I’m fine. We have another O2 tank being delivered and I got them to pick up the wrong supply order and bring the right one.”
“Great. But how are you?”
“Fine. She has an appointment on Tuesday to check her incision..”
“Diane, would you like a cup of tea?”
“What? No. I’m fine. And I have a call into her doctor because she is complaining of being so tired and I’m concerned about her appetite.”
“Let’s get that cup of tea” as she walks upstairs to the kitchen. “Sit down while I put the kettle on.”
Silence. I remember that moment of silence and wanting desperately to fill it. She sat down, looked at me, and, once again, asked, “How are you? This must be very difficult for you caring for so many people at the same time.”
I could go on and on telling you how I continued to try and say I’m fine, I’m fine, I’m fine. I tried, but instead I looked down at my hands and the tears came. I had been holding it together for so long. If I let go, I was afraid I would never make it back and continue to do the job Mom had given me to do and to do it well. That mattered to me. It mattered so much – I just couldn’t let her down. I didn’t want to let go, but I did.
Me and Mom
And, to this day, I am grateful for a wonderful, caring, hospice worker whose name I cannot remember for taking the time to care for the caregiver. I needed to cry that day more than I needed anything else. She sensed that, she could not help but sense that.
Yes, I am so grateful and I am grateful for every hospice worker that does this work with love. They help define the phrase “dying with dignity”. They understand the caregiver more than the caregiver does. Through every step of the process, they were there for me. Every step.
It’s been 24 years but I remember much about that time. It was, strangely, the most magical time of my life. So, Mom, I’m sending you a little Christmas – from my heart to yours, thank you for asking me to care for you. Diane

In the Hour Before Dawn

December 2017 Snow

In this hour before dawn, it’s still snowing in Atlanta. This is the first snow in 23 years that really reminds me of New York. It is absolutely beautiful outside!

The power came back on in the middle of the night. As I walked around the house, putting candles back, I said a prayer of gratitude. We have a lovely little home with all the essentials available to us – even in an emergency. Blankets, wood for a fire, candles, games that were played by candlelight. Our loved ones were safe and our biggest concern was the ice cream that would melt (so we ate it). We are blessed and grateful.

Then I turned my phone back on and read the following post from my son, Danny. “Can anyone in Marietta open their door and heart to keep a gentleman off the street tonight? I would take him in but my dog would flip out, he’s a good honest man and no one deserves to be without shelter tonight.” One of Danny’s friends quickly stepped up and said yes.

And I remembered the story my daughter, Meghan, told the other day when she had a flat tire and was waiting on Geico to arrive. An employee of the restaurant she was stuck in front of came out and changed her tire. In gratitude, she gave him $20 to which he replied, “Thanks, I’d like to use this to buy dinner for someone here tonight.”

In this world where an incredible amount of attention is paid to what is wrong, there is so much more that is right. My deepest desire is that we all take time to recognize that – often. Recognize it, talk about it, write about it – share those stories instead of the ones we don’t want to read. The story is changing – so what role will you play?

For me, at this moment, I am grateful to be the Mom of children who recognize the importance of paying it forward. Yes, grateful for that and for candles, blankets, Yahtzee, Scrabble and ice cream that didn’t get a chance to melt.

Maybe we’ll build a snowman today. Be safe, be warm, be kind.

From my heart to yours, Diane

Maple dressed in Snow

(The same maple in the morning light)

 

 

Through These Eyes

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When I look out upon the world there is much duality: right/wrong, life/death, dark/light. It’s the lens through which we see our lives. On this plane, duality does exist and, in my opinion, it’s ridiculous to ignore it. Just look around. Hatred has been rearing it’s ugly head for a long time now even while love is the language many of us try to speak. Poverty is everywhere and appears to be getting worse even while we talk about those who make millions and keep it to themselves. Duality creates a challenging world – a world in which there seems to be no true solution.
However….
The world I look out upon changes dramatically when I look through the eyes of God. Through these eyes there is no duality. There is nothing but pure understanding that everything is happening exactly as it is meant to. I see the world in it’s ever-changing pattern and begin to understand that in all of what I see only one thing exists. As I look through the eyes of God, I no longer see anything as a problem or a solution. When I look through this different lens, the world looks and behaves differently. What I experience, while very real on the human plane, no longer disturbs me. Every time I open my eyes to the Spirit that lives and breathes as me, my world become miraculous. Only good exists through these eyes.
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Each step along this path brings me closer to this understanding. In my fully human state, mistakes are made, words are said that I wish to pull back and decisions made that, maybe, will have bitter consequences. In my fully spiritual state, these same things become lessons recognized and I take a step forward knowing that I am one step closer to fully seeing this world through God’s eyes.
A world in which duality isn’t even a word.
From my heart to yours, Diane