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.
Today I received an incredible gift. Actually I received two gifts: I treated myself to a wonderful facial and during the facial I was gifted with an amazing vision.
I believe that visions come through in very spiritual moments in our life. Moments of grace that open the heart and the mind in a very unique way that allows a connection on another level. I have experienced a few of these as I have grown on my spiritual path. Today’s was very special.
I have mentioned my wonderful massage therapist, Michael, in previous postings. He and his wife, Elisha own a studio together. She is presently about seven months pregnant (and glows with it too!!), and has chosen to take a break from giving full body massage until after the baby is born.
However, she has started offering thirty minute cleansing facials which do not tax her so physically because for the most part she is seated. For me, receiving a facial is the next best piece of heaven after massage, so I lost no time in making an appointment.
Elisha has a soft, gentle, calming spirit and it was very easy to feel comfortable with her. As soon as she placed her hands on my face I knew the session was going to be very special: I felt a golden thread connecting us. My breathing deepened immediately and I was aware of being restored on every level.
Although I was deeply relaxed under Elisha’s touch, I was also very alert. I registered the different aromas diffused in each product that she used at the various stages of the facial process. I was very aware of the changing directions of the strokes she used on my face without interrupting the flow of touch and movement, as well as the slightly different pressure she applied from time to time. And how I reveled in the warmth of the hot towels between each stage of the facial.
Then suddenly, somewhere in the middle of the treatment, I became aware of a soft golden glow that appeared in front of me. It slowly brightened until it shimmered in an incredible brilliant sea of light. And there in the middle, floating contentedly was a baby, and I knew I was seeing Elisha’s son.
The whole vision was simply magnificent and I felt almost breathless. Then in the same way that it had slowly manifested, so it faded away. I wanted to cry out, “No, don’t go yet.” But the gift was complete and I felt so privileged to have received it.
As well as feeling greatly restored and full of peace after my treatment, I was also full of gratitude. Visions do not come along very often and I truly appreciate their God-given presence in my life. And how much more of a blessing this gift was as I was able, with great joy, to share it with Elisha.
What a joy true friendship is. I’m talking about the kind of friendship that is born in honest and open sharing from the soul, from the gut, from the heart, and from the mind. Friendship that allows two people to live hundreds of miles apart from each other and yet always feel very closely connected.
I am presently visiting with one of those friends. We last saw each other two years ago when she and her daughter passed through town and spent the night. Before that, we last saw each other when my daughter and I passed through town and spent a night with her back in June of 2004. Our previous connection had been in Naples, Italy where we met and developed our friendship over a period of a couple of years.
When we reconnect it is as though we have not been apart. We seamlessly pick up the loose ends of our relationship as though we had met for coffee just last week. There is a comfort and a power in this kind of friendship. There is no need to waste time in explanations. We look into each other’s eyes and we know where we’re at.
As we wrap our arms around each other in those first few moments of greeting, it’s like taking a warm, well-worn comforter off the back of the couch and pulling it snugly around our shoulders. Or perhaps like pulling that favorite old sweater out and pulling it on. It’s like sitting down with a cup of hot tea or coffee in front of a welcoming fire.
In friendships such as this we find strength and comfort to help us through those hard trials in life. We know that we can surrender and lean in without being judged or criticized. We can laugh together, cry together, pray together, and sit in silence together respecting each other’s presence.
I was truly not sure what prompted me to make this visit at this particular time. I arrived here late on Sunday afternoon after a seven hour drive. By bedtime, around eleven o’clock, we had talked ourselves tired! We had shared the rich and intimate details of “where we were at” as well as a wonderful home-cooked meal. The years of ups and downs, of joys and sorrows, of hopes and dreams – achieved and dashed – lay on the coffee table between us and spilled out across the carpet. We could see and feel the growth that had come to each of us through those experiences.
Monday dawned bright with sunshine and sparkling blue skies. I came downstairs full of sleep and found a note on the counter and coffee ready to go:-). She had gone to work for a few hours but was home by early afternoon. She found me sprawled on the deck of the pool soaking up some summer rays. She laughed delightedly at the picture I presented, content that I was so enjoying her beautiful home.
We spent the afternoon talking some more, getting into those kinds of details and clarifications that only women seem capable of seeking in their deep friendships. She is dealing with marital issues and so it is good to be there for her, to just listen and love her. It was an afternoon of joy and laughter and, yes, a few tears. We jumped in the pool a couple of times to refresh and restore not only our bodies but also our spirits.
Another wonderful meal later and still more talking. It’s as though we know we have this short time together and we need to get as much heart-to-heart in as we can. I introduced her to my web page and left her to read as I spent some time checking through her portfolio. She is an amazing interior decorator and creates incredible artistic finishes, including original murals, faux finishes, and awesome wall and cabinet textures in peoples’ homes.
And then the bomb drops. An email that shatters her heart. And in one instant I understand why I am there at this given time in her life. I can be sounding board and shoulder to cry on. I can offer support and some calming objectivity in the midst of chronic heartache. I can be the arms of God holding her as she cries. I can move in close and also give her space. I am friend.