Thursday, October 31, 2013

Wednesday Wish (99); Placeholders

photo by rebecca gift via flickr

Fine leather shoes. Tailored pants. Even a scarf. It’s a New York cold so he walks fast. With coffee on his mind. And not just any coffee, coffee from his favorite cafĂ©. He listens to his shoes tap the cement, nuzzles his chin into his scarf, and anticipates that first sip like a seven-year-old aching for Christmas.

A few minutes later he is sitting inside near the window, people watching. He’s amazed at how many people walk by. On a cold afternoon when coffee is a necessity. He finds himself irritated. Irritated at the fools who refuse to indulge themselves. They are clouding his vision.

Until he sees her … the red convertible.

“I’ve always wanted a red convertible,” he says out loud, “and someday, someday damn it, I’m going to get one.”

“You are, aren’t you?” says a soft-spoken woman sipping on her own cup a few feet behind him.

He turns toward her. “Yep, I am.”

“Did you ever think of why you want it so badly?” she whispers, his eyes nowhere near hers.

“Me? The car? Oh hell, I don’t know. Just seems like me, I guess.”
“Seems like you? To shine?”
“Uh huh.”
“To be seen?”
“Ya. I don’t know. Maybe.”
“To be admired, even envied?”
“Guess so.”
“To be … loved?”
“You getting deep on me, miss stranger with a cup a' joe?”
“Maybe. Maybe I’m a messenger inviting you to realize that you ache for that red convertible so much because you have never been seen or admired or loved for who you really are. Maybe you unconsciously think that that particular car will help you feel those things.”

“You think so?” he says, not really sure if he is willing to show her he is listening.

She continues… “But you know something? You can feel those things, you can heal, without it. Once you finally reveal the feelings you need in life, whatever they may be, you can usually get those needs met without spending a dime. You can be loved. You can be admired. You can be seen for who you are and not just because you drive a red convertible, either.”

“Thanks, but I just realized I’m late. Good talking with you … Shrink.” He turns to say goodbye … but … no one is there. He looks around, expecting to see her, somewhere, but she is nowhere. Nowhere at all.

He re-wraps his scarf, reaches for his coffee, and in seconds he is walking outside, his leather shoes tapping the sidewalk again. But this time his pace is slower. In fact, it slows still more with each step. Everything about him seems to slow down. Way, way down. By the time he rounds the corner he is almost stopped and there, against an old brick wall, he crumbles into a heap, sobs riddling his entire body.

*          *          *

We are human. We need things. Things to keep us clothed and fed and warm. Things to make life easier and more fun and interesting. But sometimes the things we think we need aren’t really things at all. They are merely representations of feelings that are missing from our lives. Placeholders for emotional gaps.

*          *          *

This week my Wish is that you pull the cover off your achings for particular things, that you reveal to yourself, the feelings hiding beneath. Ask the why’s even when you are sure the answers don’t exist. Dare to peek beneath your carefully constructed lids, the lids keeping your emotional truths safely tucked away. Have the courage to own what you feel and to finally give yourself what you know, deep down, you have always needed … and, I dare say, always deserved.

And you know something? Maybe you will still buy the red convertible, but this way, you’ll understand why, you’ll have the emotional intelligence to buy it consciously and the wisdom to make sure it fulfills you on an emotional level. For the way I see it, our deepest emotions are threads leading us to the wisdom of our souls, souls that know exactly how to give us a life of happy, a life of beauty, a life that feels like ... magic.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Wednesday Wish (98); Nourish

in the morning
photo by emkingg via flickr

She is dressed in a suit and ready to leave for work, her head already spinning with all the emails waiting for her, all the phone calls to be had, all the attitudes in the hallway waiting to accost her. She breathes in through her nose and out through her mouth, slowly, like the book explained. But it doesn’t seem to help. Nothing seems to help. The whole work thing just feels wrong. But she has to do it. She just has to.

She grabs her keys and slings her purse over her shoulder, when suddenly, she is hit. With a memory. A scent. It’s her mama’s pumpkin bread. Every Fall, when the weather began to cool—cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger, wafting up like a trance, summoning everyone to the kitchen. She closes her eyes, imaging herself back there, in her mama’s kitchen, the scents her own again, as if she never left.

And a single tear lines her perfectly make-up’d face.

She takes a deep breath, in through her nose and out through her mouth. But this time it works. She exhales something. Things become … clear. She picks up her phone and dials, tells them she won’t be in today. She hangs up her purse and keys, takes of her shoes and puts on her apron. She is going back. Back to a time when she felt happy, back to a time when her senses were alive, back to a time when something inside her knew what nourished her soul.

*          *          *

The call to nourish is always there. And louder for those of us who ignore its call. Louder, but less likely to be heard. You see it in the eyes of the ignorers. They cover their longings with a thin veil, dulling the sparkles, muting the colors. You notice it in the way they walk. Stiff. Unsafe. Unheard. On the deepest levels. And those who do listen, who do remember to honor nourish’s call? Their body’s flow, sing, echo peace. Their eyes draw you in, their spirits soften rough edges. For they not only honor the need to nourish, they reflect that need to those who have forgotten, to those who so desperately need to remember.

*          *          *

My Wish this week is that you remember, remember to nourish. To nourish your body, your spirit, your soul. There will always be reasons not to, you know the dance. You can always deceive yourself into thinking there is something else that is still more important. But you can also admit to yourself that just like everything else in nature—thriving requires nourishment.

So how? How does one begin when the guidance is no longer heard? Tune in to your senses. Stare until something draws you in and gives you smile. Eat what feels good. Play the sounds that help you soar. Read the books that give you sparkle, that make your insides twitch, even a teeny-tiny bit. Spend time with others who know how to nourish, with others who dare to be vulnerable, with others who know the importance of honoring Self. Walk barefoot, let your skin feel new textures and softness and smooth. Cradle a stone, hold it until it warms in your hand. Go out in the rain just to enjoy the swooshing of the puddles as the cars drive through them. And when all else fails … bake mama’s pumpkin bread.

*          *          *

Mama Brynne’s Pumpkin Bread

1 can (or roasted equivalent) of pumpkin puree
4 eggs
5 ½ T. melted butter
2/3 cup milk (I use rice milk)
3 cups sugar (I use coconut sugar)
3 ½ cups flour (I use King Arthur, gluten free)
2 t. baking soda
1 ½ t. salt
1 t. ground cinnamon
1 t. ground nutmeg
½ t. ground cloves
¼ t. ground ginger

*Optional: crumbled, toasted walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 2 loaf pans.
Mix pumpkin puree, eggs, butter, milk and sugar until well blended. In another bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt and spices. Stir dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture until just blended. Pour into prepared pans.
*Optional: sprinkle uncooked loaves with crumbled, toasted walnuts

Bake for approx. 45 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Wednesday Wish (97); Soften

i am walking on the shores (of a different land)
photo by heather breighner via flickr

*Note: Please play the video below before you read. No need to watch it, just lose yourself in the music. Let it infuse you, gift you, with its tenderness. And only then, when you begin to taste a bit of softness in yourSelf, only then, begin to read. With the music and my words, together, softening you gently home, into your feelings ...

*          *          *

Wind carries the sea to her skin. She closes her eyes and lifts her head, her body longing. She listens as the salty air rustles the palm fronds, as they dance in their knowing, in their silent secrets. I’m coming, she whispers, I’m coming. Bare feet, toasted brown. Along a dusty dirt path. A silver toe ring already warm with morning sun. Long hair, messy and free. And a body ... aching for the sea.

She slips from her transparent cotton shift, leaving it draped across a rock, and turns to look back from where she came, her eyes wondering, expecting. When she finds no one, she returns her eyes to the sea. The brine, the warmth, the soft humid air—all of it, ahhh. She smiles. First her toes, her dusty brown toes, then her calves and thighs. She stops when she gets to her stomach. To feel the sand as it muds up between her toes, to feel the sea move her with its natural rhythm. She lets it teach her what she needs to know, lets it teach her what she has briefly forgotten. And when a wave comes that could swallow her whole, she dives.

He watches as she swims, as she rises up and dives back down, her body sleek, supple, graceful. He aches. Aches in a way he cannot understand. Maybe he aches to understand her connection to the sea. Maybe he aches to feel the passion she feels. Maybe he aches to love her, take her, possess her gently as his own. He doesn't know, but he trembles just the same, his own eyes closed now, rising up to the sun. Guide me. Guide me where I am meant to be. And his body walks his soul, further, deeper, into their sea.

*          *          *

To love. Deeply. With a passion and a sacred knowing. With that sparkle in your heart that you had to forget. With that tremble to your voice that inevitably reveals your soul. It hasn’t left you, that knowing how to love. It’s still there. Otherwise you wouldn’t have asked. Asked the universe to cut you open, to guide you to your sea. Did you not think I could hear? Did you forget your connection to me? To everyone around you that dares to see. Those threads are never cut. No matter how hard you try, no matter how cruel life can be, those threads are always there, between you and me, between everyone around you, everyone your heart dares to see.

*          *          *

My Wish? That you soften. Soften yourSelf amongst the trees and the hills and the birds and the sea. Meet a flower. Magnify its color, its gifts, the beauty that it is without it ever doing a thing. Invite it to speak to you. In a language that you feel. In a language that resonates deep down, ever so quietly, like a memory, buried beneath the sea. And if that doesn’t suit you, sense the wind dance upon your skin. Say hello to a bird. Walk where a tree points you. Caress its leaves. Swim in the clouds. Let the tall grass tickle your thirsty legs or the short grass cuddle your hungry toes. And all the while, with eyes closed to ugly and open to the hidden gifts, to the quiet treasures, to the beauty all around you, aching to be seen.

My Wish? That you surround yourself with other vulnerables. Not just in nature but among people and all things. Kind eyes, gentle words, tender touch, feelings from deep-seeing places—soften outside, soften inside, soften yourself Home, home to Love.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Wednesday Wish (96); Redefine Success

Playing marbles
photo by susan hardman via flickr

They play marbles in the dirt and I can hear their laughter from up the street—an entire family, together.

He cuts me off and somehow we end up at the same store. He gets out of his car and walks over to mine. “I’m sorry I cut you off back there, I wasn’t paying attention. I hope I didn’t scare you too badly.”

She is exhausted but she stays up rubbing her son’s back, to help him forget his pain.

I’ve never met him but still, he waves at me every day when I drive by, his whole body happy to see me.

The barista asks his patrons how they are, looking them in the eye and caring about their responses. And he remembers their names.

She does what she loves, even though it doesn’t make her any money.

He does what he loves, even though his parents say he is throwing away his future.

“I forgive you. Even though I never thought I could, I forgive you,” she says to the man who hurt her so badly. And together, they weep.

*          *           *

A life is formed with moments, with choices made over and over and over again. No secret formula. No hidden clues aching to be unearthed. Just choices. And moments. Waiting to be filled. By You. Your heart and your soul. Your You.

What brings you joy? What makes your heart sing? Or have you forgotten? If so, then what did you most love to do as a child? Go there, dwell there, uncover the treasures of your once innocent heart. And when you do, vow to stay there. Or at least some of the time. Because when we forsake our joys, we forfeit our success. Even with all the money in the world, without our joys, we have failed. Failed our heart and soul.

*          *          *

This week my Wish is that you redefine success, that you give new weight to the pieces of your life that truly bring you joy—connecting, caring, giving, loving, playing marbles in the dirt, spending time with those you love, rubbing your dogs belly, chasing pigeons in the park, visiting an old friend, painting pictures, reading books, dancing naked in the moonlight…

When we live from our hearts, that place where empathy and compassion and kindness are a given, we are always a success. No money or title or thing can give you that gift. Only You can give it to yourself. Only you can resurrect your joy and let it lead you, front and center, to a life worth celebrating, to a life that feels like success because … it is.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Wednesday Wish (95); See Beyond

Seeing beyond...
photo by carf via flickr

If I could, I would take your hand. Right now. Wherever you are. And I’d place it in mine. You wouldn’t shudder. You would just smile. Because I’m an old friend. That you forgot you had. Someone who loves you.

Just as you are.

And then, I’d lead you away. Away from all your worries. Away from all your fears. Away from all the things that make you sad. We would turn our faces toward the sun, toward the things that make you happy. And you would grow a smile. A deep heartfelt, natural smile.

There are so many things I’d like to show you, with your heart open and this softness about you. So I invite you. To see with me. And you smile a smile I remember from when you were seven. Awash with the wonder of the world.

We see trees and flowers and birds, and the beauty in stranger’s faces, tucked away, deep behind their eyes, hinting at who they really are. I teach you to see beyond, to read the stories of nature and people, to encounter the souls of every living thing you meet. And your tears flow again. Not in sadness anymore, but because of the magic. The magic all around you in the souls you forgot to see.

I show you what that man with the mean-talk is carrying, why he lashes out and why he hates. I tell you of the pain he carries, and that he can do no less than release his anguish onto those around him. You find a tear of your own. For the man who carries sadness. Like a halo around his neck. And you send him love, not hate, for you can do no less, especially for someone who needs it as much as he. And that tear? It dries right there on your beautiful face. From sadness into hope. Especially since I show you that he will return to love. Someday. When the time is right.

And then we walk on. Further into light.

You tell me of the blips of worries you often carry, of the things you fear, of the things that stop up the love that you are … and I remind you that I had already met those parts of you before you spoke, that your heart is open and your eyes are soul. I tell you that you have everything you need, that you are safe and held and loved by someone and something larger than your mind can see. And I show you your light. An energy between my hands and yours. As bright as the sun’s rays, as warm as a red-orange flame, and you, all you. In your rawest, realest form. You, your heart, your soul. You, pure love.

*          *          *

This week my Wish is that you empathize—with the trees, with the birds, with the people that you encounter every day. See beyond faces, beyond words, beyond image to the truth that is. But how, you say? How do I see the beauty in the midst of my pain? Here, let me remind you.

1. Slow your breathing down to gentle, down to peace. Find that place that feels like Center. No anxiety lives there. No fear can get in. Because it’s safe there. And it resonates with a solid, constant sound. To remember that space, play the ‘I AM’ meditation by Dyer and Twyman. It will remind you of your home. Of who you are at your core. This is You.

2. Look around. With eyes, but more with your heart. Feel externally for essence. Sense truths. Perhaps start with a tree. Or a blossom. Or a stranger passing by. Let that soul speak to you without words. Invite it to unfold itself into your hands. Share your resonance, share your peace within, give of yourself with no requirement of anything in return. Love. Outward. From afar.

3. Connect. Find a person you have never met or have never really talked to. Ask them how they are. Look at them in the eyes, with your own eyes vulnerable, open to receive. Look deeply. With the eyes of your Self, your heart, your soul. Sense who that person really is, beginning with who they are projecting, but then with who they really are. Don’t expect anything in return. Just love. Love them where they are no matter where that may be. Love them with the same love you feel for yourself in your deepest core. There is space there. I know there is.

When we truly empathize, with everyone and everything around us, life unfolds in our hands like a magical gift. It’s new and it’s beautiful and it comes wrapped in different pretty paper every single day. So here, take my hand, remember me as a dear old friend, and let me show you the way. Let me show you what seeing beyond, what love, can do.