What Will You Do Now?

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I have much on my mind this morning. As I opened my personal Facebook page to write my thought for the day, I was struck hard by the cover photo I changed yesterday morning. In the midst of everything going on, there are people who matter who feel alone, others are struggling with health issues, and many are dealing with storm damage and loss from the recent hurricanes. In the last several days I have learned of the passing of three more souls.

Humanity.

The thought of being of service to humanity can be, and is, overwhelming at times. If only all souls could feel loved at all times whether someone is speaking the words or not. If only there were five of me so that I could be in those five places to help with the clean up. If only I could sit by the side of each person feeling loss or going through chemo or seeing four health care professionals in one day.

I can’t but we all can. We can all do better, We can all do a little more. And we can all pray.

I won’t wallow in what I can’t do – that party has ended. I will do what I can, when I can, with what I can. I will stay centered in the knowing that in every area of every life, God exists. And that God is always willing, always able and always available. Always and in all ways.

Do what you can, when you can, with what you can and do it through the light of God.

From my heart to yours, Diane

Hurricane Irma

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Hurricane Irma 2017

Our annual girlfriends vacation was cut short. We may have had a finite amount of time but they were wonderful days with many funny stories.

  • Like sandpipers stealing Yvonne and Christy’s sandwiches right out of their hands.
  • And Yvonne who attracts people. “Hi Heather! Is your husband still fishing?” Who’s Heather, you ask?  Someone Yvonne met while we were cooling off in the Gulf. Within five minutes she knew Heather’s family tree, where she’s originally from, and her dream for the future. I’m not kidding (exaggerating a bit, but not by much).
  • Then there’s the alligator. He was a rare experience for me and Christy loved my reaction so much that she would use it to scare me – again and again… You can see a little bit of him here.
  • And walking to the pool for a quiet day close to home only to be entertained by screaming kids (and me trying to be all zen: They are just kids doing what kids need to do…while silently wishing they would please. just. be. quiet. ). Then another torrential downpour….and the walk home in it. Squish, squish, squish…..
  • Yes, I love these women. We are who we are when we’re together. No barriers, no pretense. What a joy for all of us.

But Hurricane Irma is making her way towards Florida. Predicted to be one of the worst in our history.

Florida 2017 Leaving Irma

People leaving Florida 09/06/17 to avoid Hurricane Irma

It’s supposed to hit land this weekend but by Tuesday water and gas were already sold out.  We decided to leave yesterday (Wednesday) to avoid the traffic that was predicted to be heaviest on Thursday. Yesterday we pulled into a rest stop on our way back from Florida and were a bit shocked at how many cars and people had pulled in to take a break. As we waited in line for the ladies room I began to process my shock:

We were grateful to be heading home, leaving Florida to avoid Irma. These other folk were leaving their homes to avoid Irma and the fear and stress of that was written on each of their faces.

Perspective.

Please join me in prayer for all those that must evacuate Florida; continue to hold in prayer the people of Texas and Louisiana; and surround in gratitude every person who is reaching out a hand in whatever way they can. Most importantly, Sweet Spirit, let each of us understand the lessons you so desperately want us to learn.

And so it is.

From my heart to yours,  Diane

Will You Listen?

September 2017

The Age of Aquarius

Article Number 2 for the month of September. Please click on the link below and flip to page 25:  “Without Restraint” is about our kids. They have something to tell us.

Will you listen?

https://docs.wixstatic.com/ugd/ee8f16_d57485aad4ec4591abcd1bb2df29f313.pdf

Beach, Baby!

odesmar sunrise

Every year for the past four years, my girlfriends and I have scheduled a week of beach time. It is very precious to us and it is never dull…  As proof of that here is a recap of the first 24 hours of this year’s trip….

When we arrived in Odesmar on Friday afternoon it was a little overcast, but the sun was peeking out a bit. We explored our new home for the week – absolutely adorable with a screened porch out back overlooking a lake. After unpacking we headed out for a late lunch and some grocery shopping. It began to rain as we headed to the store but nothing too serious. It graciously stopped as we parked the car.

That was the last gracious moment of our expedition.

In the grocery store, the power briefly went out. An ominous sign, for sure, and we could hear thunder rumbling overhead. At check out Yvonne’s bill was really high. She had a few of my items in there by accident but she unwittingly had bought those Canadian cherries – you know, the ones that are $12.99 A POUND! They should cure major diseases for that price.

We go to leave and it’s a downpour. Flood rains. Torrential. Christy gets the car and this man standing next to us is hollering and complaining about the rain. Christy pulls up and he starts yelling at her to pull up on the sidewalk so we won’t get so wet. In the noise of the rain she couldn’t hear him, could only see hands waving all over the place. She gives up trying to figure it all out, pops the hatch, and we load up the car. Even with three umbrellas, we were drenched. She goes to get back in the car…she had left the door open and, her seat was also drenched. Squishy, saturated and sucky to sit on.

Made it safely home, very wet but very aware that we were just that – safe. Unlike our friends in Texas and Louisiana. Our experience lasted a few minutes – theirs will continue for months. We were grateful to walk into a beautiful, safe haven and change our wet clothes.

But it’s not over. Oh no, of course not.

As I’m changing my clothes, I look out the window at the lake and I see an alligator. Umm, yes, an alligator. I choked out the words to Yvonne. She turned and Oh My God, there’s an alligator in the lake……an alligator in our back yard. A.l.l.i.g.a.t.o.r.

Ok. Breathe. It’s out there and we’re in here and we’re fine, but seriously….how bizarre… It just went on by, bopping in the waves caused by the heavy rain. Jesus, Mary and Joseph….(Sorry. I tend to revert back to my Catholic roots in moments of terror.)

We settle down and get into a fit of laughter over our experiences in the first 4-5 hours of our vacation. Then the croaking began. Very loud croaking. Like it was really, really close by. Please don’t let it be in the house. Oh, please. I just saw an alligator – having a frog in the house….that would just not be good for my heart…

After about 20 minutes of searching, Christy found it. A tiny frog with a huge voice was stuck between the screen and the sliding glass door. Christy, bless her heart (and I mean that with sincere, absolute gratitude for her bravery), went outside to open the screen and let him out. Only he didn’t want to go. I think we scared the shit outta him and he kept going higher as if to get away from us. Another fit of laughter followed as we yelled at this poor little frog to get off the screen and go home.

Sigh…you can’t make this stuff up.

Day two – Beach! Watching the weather carefully we head to Honeymoon Island Beach in the morning. Anticipating that first long walk in the sand and the first scent of salt water….

But no, not for us. Oh no. Nope. What we got was a whiff of rotten eggs. Yeah….it was more than a whiff.

The shore was lined with seaweed and long puddles of foul smelling water. I’ve read up on this (very complicated and scientific stuff) and I am hoping it’s temporary and caused by the storms across the Gulf stirring up all the phytoplankton floating around. We found a spot that was less smelly than others, took our beach walk (it was much less stinky at the water’s edge) and relaxed for a while until the clouds rolled in.

We made it safely home and after a lovely dinner on the water, we had a peaceful, uneventful (thank you God) evening at home of football for Christy, online shopping for Yvonne (Andrew, beware…) and a jigsaw puzzle for me. Each of us in her happy place.

Yes, that was the first 24 hours…what, in heaven’s name, will today bring???
More of the same, I hope. I love these women. They are truly priceless.

From my heart to yours,  Diane

yvonne and christy

Conscious Life Journal – AGAIN!

CLJ SeptOct-2017

The journey continues. Once again, I am beyond excited to be included in this beautiful magazine. Just beginning it’s second year, Conscious Life Journal is a magazine for today. Easily read from cover to cover, the articles and the writers are passionate about learning to live peacefully in this chaotic world. I, and many others, are grateful to Founder and Publisher, Hope Merrill, for her vision, her passion and her dedication to the belief that we are all one.  I congratulate her and her team on their first, very successful, year of sharing that passion. Please visit their website Conscious Life Journal

This is my fourth article for CLJ and, again, I am grateful for the opportunity to write about my passion – learning to live as God intended for me to live. For us all to live. Many of us are finding our way to the Spirit of our being, but often can’t seem to “live” there. When we recognize, even fleetingly, that there truly is a space within our hearts, our souls, where this incredible energy lives and breathes as us, we are often overwhelmed by the experience.  We loose our breath for a moment, shake ourselves and ask, “What was that? Was that IT??

Then it’s gone.

We go back to our lives and the memory fades only to be touched again and again so briefly that we are never quite sure if it was just imagination at work.

My suggestion is this:  Spend more time there. Make it part of your every day, just like brushing your teeth. Just like breathing.  Here, read the article….

Garden of Your Heart pg1 CLJ

Garden of Your Heart pg2 CLJ

Keep trying…God is there. Really. You have my promise.

From my heart to yours,  Diane

I would love to offer you a free copy of Conscious Life Journal.  Please click the link below. 

Receive 1 FREE copy of the Print Edition: Conscious Life Journal Free Issue

 

 

 

 

Softness

nothing but peace

Yesterday, in my morning reading, Emilie Cady mentioned a little book called “The Practice of the Presence of God”, by Brother Lawrence. I went to Amazon, purchased it and began reading it while I walked the treadmill yesterday.

Last night prior to the weekly meditation service within my spiritual community, someone mentioned the same book. Synchronicity?

Here is the quote from Dr. Cady that enticed me to buy it: “Learn to sever yourself from those around you. Practice this, and soon you can be as much alone with God in the street or in a crowded room as you could be in the wilds of a desert.”

For me this does not mean becoming isolated, but, instead, it simply means becoming more aware. Over the years I have spoken and written about it often, this need for quiet. It is only lately, however, that I am beginning to feel the effects of the silence.

It’s not a silence where no words are spoken. Nor is it a silence where no thoughts are thought or work is done.

It’s a time of softness.

Each day we live this life, we fill it with things to do, places to go, meetings, errands, family, deadlines, lists, have-tos. The internal noise level is deafening. Our bodies react by becoming so wound up that the idea of letting go means disaster. To make matters worse, we neglect that body. We fill it with food “to go”, consider running errands and cheering kids at the park to be our exercise for the day and a weekly one hour trip to church on Sunday to be our spiritual fix for the week.

Here’s my words of wisdom for those of you that I have just described: That is not a life enjoyed. I know, I’ve been there.

Some days, I still am.  I will look at my schedule for the day and realize that I won’t be back home again until 9 p.m. or later (and my day typically starts at 5:30 a.m.).  Realizing this I have a choice as to how I will react.

  • I can begin to tense up knowing the amount of work I have ahead of me, often starting the next meeting before I’ve had a chance to absorb and understand the first. Trying to find time in between to complete a never ending task list all the while knowing that this day will take me, once again, away from my cherished home life. Yes, this could make anyone tense. I’d be lying if I said it never happens to me. It does.
  • On the other hand, I can use that tension as a signal to begin differently. The items on my calendar are not likely to change. If anything, it may get busier because, well, you never know “what a day will bring”.  So I begin with me. Meditation, writing, reading, walking. Me and God. Bringing those two, seemingly very different, entities into one space.

This is the work that is most important. This is the work that will bring peace in the midst of chaos.  This is what will bring softness and grace to the every day. And, yes, this is what brings a gentleness to my busy world. In the moments of great tension (because, let’s be honest, they do exist) this practice provides me with the tools I need to more easily return to my peaceful center. The momentary lapse does not cause me to mentally beat myself up for stepping out of alignment. The lapse is simply a moment of realization that old ways no longer serve me.

Many of you will say “I have no time for that”. Oh, my sweet friends, yes, you do. It’s a choice, nothing more, nothing less. Schedule it if you have to.  What I mentioned above can be done in less than an hour a day. You’ve got 24 of those. Your life – the entire life – needs it. It can’t wait for “some day”.

And the gift you will receive when you begin to bring quiet to your day?

Nothing but peace….

From my heart to yours, Diane

What a Nice Surprise!

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Sundays are busy days for me. I (along with my business partner and Minister, Richard Burdick and a whole lot of other folks) run a church. Sundays are definitely busy and don’t lend much time to write let alone respond to emails. Typically on these days, after morning meditation, I will check my social media accounts, write my Thought for the Day, give a quick look at my mail and go get ready for work. Yesterday, however, in my mail I was surprised to find that I had been nominated for “The Unique Blogger Award”. Well, that stopped me in my tracks for a moment!  How exciting!  As someone new to blogging, to receive recognition from a fellow blogger means something. It means a lot.

I write because I love to and I write because I think I have a different perspective on life than many. I am grateful whenever the two connect with those that read my pages. Being awarded for it has never crossed my mind. So this is a very nice surprise! Thank you, Lacy!  Please check out her site – Adventures of a Busy Mom ! It has great stuff for everyone and it’s a site that I keep going back to learn the “how-tos” of blogging.

So, here’s the deal:

The Rules:

  •  Share the link of the blogger who has shown love to you by nominating you.
  •  Answer the questions.
  •  In the spirit of sharing love and solidarity with our blogging family, nominate 8-13 people for the same award.
  • Ask them 3 questions.

Here are the questions Lacy asked me:

  • What is your goal in blogging? Who do you hope to reach?

I believe that many people are on a journey to understand their place in this universe. We try to understand God (or even believe in God) and wonder why this life is so challenging at times. My writing is my quest to go deeper into that spiritual journey for myself. Doing so, I have found, touches something in others. We are all in this together. Maybe, through my writing and your reading, we can learn together. So those that I reach are those that have questions, those that want to live this life more peacefully and are willing to keep learning.

  • What is your favorite past time outside of blogging? What defines you?

I have a very busy, time-consuming, full time role as the Executive Director of my Spiritual Community, Unity North Atlanta.  Much of my passion for service is based here in this place. So my free time is spent writing or with my husband, Dan, and/or our (grown) kids or my girlfriends. Movies, books, walks, long talks, meals – being together with people I care about and am comfortable with is what matters most. Oh, and the beach. I must have at least one beach trip every year. Yep, must have that.

What defines me is my need, also, for quiet. I actually call it “going quiet”. More than spending time in meditation, I need silence. Closing off the world for a while brings me back to center. Those that know and love me understand my need for this. I am grateful for that.

  • Share with us your favorite inspirational quote

This quote is painted on the wall of my office. It was given to me by a friend when I first accepted the role. I believe it captures who I am.

Tagore quote

I am a relatively new blogger, so I seek out blogs that help me to do this better. I also like writers who are on a journey and have a love of humor. Here are my Nominations:

The Phil Factor

Scale It Simple

For The Interested

Mind Over Meta

E. Denise Billups

Suzie Speaks

But I Smile Anyway

You Can Always Start Now

Thinking Clearly

Here are my three questions:

  • What is the best part of blogging for you and, the most challenging?
  • What inspires you and what makes you crazy?
  • What advice would your heart offer to your mind?

Well, this has been fun! Again, I am grateful for the recognition and grateful even more to share with you the work of other writers.

From my heart to yours, Diane

Tagore quote painted by Sonia Osio

 

Dramatic Dips

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A simple touch on the shoulder, a sideways glance, a crucial conversation. Moments of connection that say I am You. We are in this together. God is in “this” house as God is in every house.

It is not easy to stand in my power – God’s power –  when all around me there are these explosions of discontent. No, it is not easy. At times it feels as if I am all alone and at a breaking point.

A breaking point. Yes, it is time to break open again. Time to open myself deeper still to my own vulnerability.  To my own imperfection. To the realization that my work is never done, and that’s okay. My quest for knowledge is never-ending, my curiosity always driving me to new heights.

I learn from you. From watching you grow along side me. A journey different yet so much the same. We watch each other stumble and we help each other up.  We walk through these days tripping and falling and, then,  jumping up and down with joy. It is a roller-coaster, no doubt. But there you are, watching from the sidelines ready to reach out a hand, jump on board, and scream through the dramatic dips in the course with me.

It can get very loud sometimes.

We do this for each other and that’s the way it should be – for all of us. Never leaving anyone in the gutter. Never saying there is no value here. Even as the explosions of discontent continue, a touch on the shoulder, a sideways glance, a crucial conversation says to me, “I’ve got you”.

And I have you as well.

From my heart to yours, Diane

photo courtesy of Pixabay

 

 

Reflections

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Each day, on and off, for many years, I have written a “Thought for the Day”. Some of the more recent ones are under the “Thoughts” tab here and others are saved for that day when I finally decide on whether to put them into book form.

These thoughts often reflect where I am in my life, what’s going on right now. It’s a way for me to flesh out what it is I need to do to become more deeply aligned with my spiritual being. Living a human life from a spiritual place.

Here is my Thought for today:

In the midst of this busy, busy world with all its pressures and demands there is a point at which I let go. A point at which I say, “Spirit, I give this to you. I can handle no more.”

My deepest desire is to never have to speak those words again and to live so deeply with the Spirit of my Being that my human life is a mirror of the Spirit within and not the world without.

In recent weeks I have found myself reflecting the behavior of someone I do not wish to emulate. It has been interesting to observe this from both a human and a spiritual perspective.  My reactions to this person’s behavior have been strong and negative. What is being said and done is so contrary to what I believe and yet, by my reaction, I am in some ways emulating that behavior.

I had to sit with that for a while. (Yes, my meditation room has gotten a really good workout lately.)

The wondrous thing about living and breathing spiritual work is that when situations like this arise, I have the knowledge to recognize it much sooner.  With some chagrin, I released the anger, hurt, disappointment, separation, frustration (yeah….there was a lot of releasing going on….a lot).

Bit by bit, peace returned. Amazingly (I say with some sarcasm), so did clarity. This was simply another lesson of comparison. Life lived outside of Spirit is a life lived in turmoil. I had been reflecting the work that others are in the midst of, as a means of showing me what no longer serves me. It is why it felt all wrong to experience this now. It no longer fits with who I am. A loud, clear message to me that I had stepped back into a world I had left behind. A message that said the work you need to do is before you.

The work I need to do is to learn to be peace in the midst of turmoil – no matter what memories are brought forth.

And, so, my work continues. I return within to the Spirit of my Being and use the tools I have been given to live this life peacefully.

Reflecting Spirit, always and in all ways.

From my heart to yours,  Diane

photo courtesy of Nancy Rohrig

 

 

Moments of Awareness

No automatic alt text available.You are what you allow into your life.  Those of us on a spiritual path to understanding our purpose on this planet have heard that line, in one form or another, many times. In the midst of everything we usually don’t recognize what we have brought on ourselves and begin to easily point fingers.  This disease is my parents’ fault, or the air I have been breathing for 30 years has messed up my lungs. This nasty relationship is a disaster because my partner is so selfish. That friendship failed because that so-called-friend is such a gossip.

It’s easy to do, this blame game. The facts may show there is some truth to the blame I place but what I do with that truth will determine what my life will be like. It’s a tricky path and one that I am constantly learning how to navigate. Some days it’s like a carousel that won’t let me off.

I have said lately that I am not in this life to compete with anyone. I will, and do, walk away if you want to compete with me. One-upmanship is not a game I am willing to play. If you want to show me how much better you are, okay. You win.

I am here to serve, not fight.

There are moments (that sometimes last days) when I become stuck in the mire and cannot pull myself up. I find it fascinating, given my many years on a spiritual path and my daily meditation practice, that I still get stuck.

I have so much to learn.

Back on the cushion I go. In the solitude I breathe and I listen. I hear the breath moving in and out. Slowing down as I settle in. Music gently, softly, quietly playing in my ears. The spicy-sweet scent of oil on my skin.  My hands turn up on their own with no thought from me. My shoulders drop, my spine relaxes and softness begins to flow through me.

I am home.

In this stillness I am whole. I listen in peace and peace envelops me. I am no longer competing, I am no longer looking for cause. I am home.

As I return to my desk and look at the sun rising outside my window, I smile for the first time in days.

Moments of total awareness are rare. I recognize the peace in my heart and wonder if it will be there at day’s end. I have no answer except this:

This is the only moment that matters. I make the choice to make this moment peaceful.

Each moment matters, each moment is a choice, each moment begins with peace. I am grateful for the lesson.

From my heart to yours,  Diane

photo courtesy of Nancy Rohrig