If there is one way that I think I can break through the Muse’s absence it is to share some wisdom from other writers. Perhaps surrounding myself with the written words from other’s Muses will help me to stir up my own words as I struggle once again in a sea of creative silence. So I gather up the myriad scraps of paper from around my desk and my bedside table and pick a few to share with you. And as I do so, I am hoping to open the flood gates of my own words which are momentarily locked away inside my heart.
“For those who believe in Jesus Christ, there is no sorrow that is not mixed with hope.” (Van Gogh)
“Guidance comes when you are feeling relaxed and peaceful. Gradually, you learn to trust the wisdom that comes to you in this relaxed, peaceful state, to speak the words you are guided to say, and to take
the actions you are inwardly directed to take, even if you don’t fully understand why you are being asked to take them.” (Paul Ferrini)
“Laughter is the sun that drives winter away.” (Anonymous)
“Do not walk behind me. I may not lead.
Do not walk in front of me. I may not follow.
Just walk beside me, and be my friend.” (Camus)
“We look forward to the time when the power of love will replace the love of power. Then will our world know the blessing of peace.” (William Gladstone)
“Millions of spiritual creatures walk the earth unseen, both when we wake and when we sleep.” (John Milton)
“Anxiety does not empty tomorrow of its sorrows, but only empties today of its strength.” (Charles Spurgeon)
“We are often so caught up in our destination that we forget to appreciate the journey, especially the goodness of the people we meet along the way.” (Anonymous)
“I love to think of nature as an unlimited broadcasting station through which God speaks to us every hour, if we will only tune in.” (George Washington Carver)
“It’s not just what we do but what we don’t do for which we are accountable for.” (Moliere)
I may just have to share some more wisdom from others for a few days in order to get my own creative juices flowing again. And, as I close this writing, I am just having a “ta-da” moment: supposing I asked God to help me instead of sitting in miserable apathy – light bulb. Maybe my soul is beginning to resurrect. See you on the pages!
The other day a friend called asking if we could get together. I opened my planner and started checking for my next available free time slot. As I shuffled through the pages I began to feel a hint of panic rising in my chest. I had nothing available until after Thanksgiving – at least a week after Thanksgiving!! Feeling guilty, I took a few deep breathes and managed to squeeze a small space of time for a cup of coffee together.
When I got off the phone, I took my planner and went and sat in the lanai and just breathed in God’s air for a few minutes. There is nothing calms me down quicker than sitting out there, surrounded by God’s creation, and just breathing. Then I slowly checked through my planner. Yes, it was very full but I could see that some chunks of time were carved-out-for-me (and husband Rich) time, and I breathed a sigh of relief and relaxed and enjoyed the outdoors for a few more minutes before I went on with my day.
I think the panic had come because somewhere inside of me there was this little voice saying, “so you still haven’t learned the Time Lesson yet?”. This has been one of the hardest lessons for me to learn on my life journey, to rest and pause and give myself some dedicated time to relax and restore. My life has been so much about doing for others and being busy and productive. I was a do-er, not a be-er. I was always taught not to waste time, and some of those lessons die hard, even when they no longer serve me.
This all got me thinking about how even more busy life seems to get around this Holiday Season, and I think that’s what caused the panic. I thought I had fallen into the old trap of getting ridiculously over-busy just because it was the Holiday season. However, a whole week of time is a mini vacation for me and Richard. Right now I’m also enjoying a sort of two-day vacation in Orlando as Richard is involved in a conference and I’m “along for the ride”. And on the way home from here on Friday he will drop me off in Sanford for my Audire program instructional weekend.
I have time slots marked down for Christmas card making, and other spaces for doing my Audire homework. I have some para-professional appointments with people and a doctor’s appointment too. Scattered in and among these appointments are my Pilates classes and a massage appointment; I have most definitely learned to take care of me even in the midst of busyness. There’s a concert with a friend and a Christmas party, even if it is an “official function” connected to Richard’s job.
I know I have written several postings about resting and pausing, sharing some of the reflections from the books I read each morning. Just a couple of weeks ago in the October Daily Word, I read:
When I am out of alignment, my body feels out of sorts, my mind races with thoughts of yesterday or tomorrow. I feel unsettled.
At such times, I have not lost my connection to Spirit, I’ve just become distracted. In conscious awareness, I pause, say a prayer and step away for a few moments in the silence. I immediately begin to feel the Spirit flowing within and through me.
I don’t think we can have enough reminders to “be still and know that I am God”. Fortunately I have a good husband, friends, and many tools that I use to remind me constantly of the need to give myself time, to just simply be. Thanksgiving and Christmas are times to be enjoyed, times to relax, times to give some thought as to why we are here in the bigger scheme of things. Frenetic shopping and filling our calendars with too many activities are not conducive to our inner peace or the harmony of our souls. I encourage everyone to make a commitment to plan some personal quiet spaces in the busyness of the upcoming Holiday Season.
In a previous posting, Musings- God and Chicken Soup, I mentioned that I had been involved in presenting a workshop about prayer and meditation. I use both of these activities/tools to help me through each day and to develop my spiritual growth through relationship with the God of my understanding. There are many people in my circle of friends who also pray and meditate and because we recognize that there is a growing hunger for the Spirit, we decided to put on the workshop.
We had an ordained minister, Amy, who agreed to talk about using prayer in every day life and to explain how powerful prayer could be in developing a spiritual life. We also had another person, Martha, who teaches meditation and who leads meditation groups. She agreed to “demystify” meditation and demonstrate how simple it is to practice. She also agreed to lead a guided meditation for the participants of the workshop. The plan then was to have a panel of three people, myself included, who would share their personal experience with prayer and meditation.
As people began arriving I was aware of a growing sense of anticipation. Our small workshops usually attract forty to fifty people. The room began to fill and I realized very quickly that we were going to have a bigger crowd than usual. This was more than exciting because the kind of people filling the seats did not look particularly “spiritual” (as if I could describe what spiritual looks like!!).
The room was almost full and, just before opening the workshop, one of the volunteers mentioned that he had given up counting heads after seventy five. I found this to be very heartening. This many ordinary working people wanted so much to hear about prayer and meditation that they were willing to give up a few hours on a Saturday afternoon to do so.
We began the workshop with an opening prayer followed immediately by a short, ten-minute skit. (We have learned that relaxing the audience with some humor at the beginning and feeding them some good food at the end is always a winning combination!) So after some good laughter, we then introduced Amy. Her talk on prayer was simple and straightforward. She shared from the heart, from her own personal experience, and from her perspective as a chaplain guiding her flock. She was well received.
Martha followed this with a basic but very dynamic talk about meditation and it’s use in every day life. As I listened I also glanced around to see how this “motley group” was receiving the information. Faces were focused in rapt attention and I was reminded of why we had wanted to put on this workshop. The average Mr. Smith and Mrs. Jones are seeking a relationship with God. They are on a quest to find a spiritual path that will satisfy the hunger of the soul and fill the void that all the material things in life just do not fill.
Martha segued into a guided meditation by first having the lights dimmed and then lighting a candle. She also played some very soft music in the background. Then in a quiet but steady voice she invited us into a place of quiet and led us on an internal spiritual journey. Even as I focused on my own spiritual experience in that moment, I was also very aware that there was an intense quiet in the room, the kind of quiet in which you could hear a pin drop. There was no uncomfortable shuffling or shifting in chairs. Just a total peaceful quiet.
I felt so joy-filled in the moments following the end of the meditation. This is what we had worked so hard for: the chance to give the ordinary man and woman in the street the opportunity to experience the calm, the tranquility, and the peace of mind, heart, and soul that comes through prayer and meditation. After a short break we returned to the room and ran our panel.
To illustrate my personal experience with making time for prayer and meditation in my life I shared from one of my meditation books that I use every day. The title is Quiet Moments in the Presence of God, which is published by Bethany House. As I read some of the reflections that were themed, Be Quiet, Rest Up, and Always More, I looked out at the sea of faces and realized that they were hanging on every word I was reading and saying. I felt the awesome presence of Spirit in that moment as S/He touched all those hearts. I felt humbled to be an instrument.
But the best was yet to come. After dinner was served and people went home and the room emptied out, I was sitting at table finishing my food when a woman came up to me. She was someone that I would label a “down-and-outer”. She was shabbily dressed and had grey stringy hair and it was fairly obvious that she was “not very bright”. She looked me intently in the eyes and said, “when you talked, I listened”, and she smiled. I was stunned into silence for a moment, then said, “I’m glad, thank you”. Continuing to look intently into my eyes, she then said, enunciating each word slowly and carefully, “I liked that book you read, I’m going to find that book”.
It is in moments like this that I truly feel the presence of God. It is in moments like this that I think, this is my mission – to bring a God-moment to this woman. And in doing that I experience my own God-moment. I may not be an international circuit speaker. I may not be famous. But I am rich beyond belief when I am given the precious gift of moments like that. I am completely soul-satisfied.