Category: Project 365: Gratitude Journal


English: Two teen is kiss

English: Two teen is kiss (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am grateful that I am finally learning the difference between being kind and loving and being a doormat!  I can seek to be forgiving and to understand why someone does something hurtful to me but that does not mean I have to stick around and allow them to continue harming me.  I may be one with humanity and the universe but that doesn’t mean I must be a personal friend with each and every soul at this moment in my existence.  Sometimes it is a matter of my own personal growth to choose to love myself enough to walk away.  And instead of making me a bad person that action will make me a better person.  As I get better at loving myself I get better at loving others.  And there are times when the most loving thing I can do for someone else is to show them by my absence that cruelty, unkindness, and extreme narcissism are not to be tolerated.   For the first time in my life, I am processing choosing to end a relationship or relationships which are spiritually, mentally, and emotionally unhealthy for me without guilt or shame  or self-hatred.  I am congratulating myself for personal growth and strength to say, “Enough is enough.”  It feels good to make a loving decision on my own behalf and stick to it.  I am thankful, so thankful, I am finally–finally–learning to let go of negative people and negative emotions on this journey of discovery into gratitude and love.

  • Love! (feetfirstbook.wordpress.com)
Struck in Series Whether these trees were ligh...

Struck in Series Whether these trees were lightning struck at the same time, I don’t know, but it would certainly be a coincidence if they weren’t! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today I am grateful for synchronicity.  Synchronicity is when everything seems to flow forward towards the same outcome.  It is when someone you don’t know begins talking to you about a particular problem you have been struggling with and gives you encouragement to overcome it.  It is when you are broke and find the exact amount of money you need on the sidewalk.  Some people might call it coincidence.  I don’t believe in coincidences.  There are too many of them.  I follow my path and know God leads me on in little baby steps.  Nudging me, inspiring me, encouraging me from one moment to the next.  The synchricity I detect is actually the plan for my life toward the goal of fulfilling my life’s purpose.  The knowledge that I am right where I am supposed to be gives me such a feeling of security.  I am confident in God’s plan and care for me and I can relax and destress because I know everything will work out just right.

The messages I receive from the universe around me encourage me.  I know I move within the grace of God in a place of the miraculous.  In a place of eternity, infinity, all possibilities.  And my view of who I am is both diminished and increased until my ego dwindles to nothingness and my spirit encompasses all that is, all that was, all that ever will be.

Mother and Child (Lady Shannon and Kitty)

Mother and Child (Lady Shannon and Kitty) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My mother passed a few years back but she lives on inside everyone who knew her. My earliest memories are of snuggling beside her as she read book after
book, chapter, after chapter, developing a life-long love affair with
stories in me. Later, she would read to herself page after page, paper
after paper, story after story of my work, gently correcting, guiding,
teaching me how to develop my own writing. After she was gone, when I
went through her things, it was my turn to read paper after paper, note
after note, the wisdom of her life scribbled on scraps, napkins, church
bulletin margins. She was such a quiet, strong presence, yet, larger than life, because she knew how to love. She poured out her existence for love and service of others. She was cheerleader, tutor, servant, comforter, adviser, counselor, Proverbs 31. She was better at keeping her tongue than anyone I have ever met. Most certainly better at it than me! But I keep trying. I strive every day to live up to the legacy of her life. I am becoming, every day, my best person, because of her gifts to me. I may not be able to touch her face again, hug her body, but she is still alive, vibrant, giving–in me, through me, for me.
" State Of Grace "

” State Of Grace ” (Photo credit: gmayster01 on & off …)

Today I am grateful for those rare moments of grace, when life seems to slip from its normal boundaries and rises to the heavens.  Blessings flow effortlessly and endlessly and there are perfect moments when life throbs with the heartbeat of God.  Peace overflows from my soul, flowing out to humanity, cascading on a wave of pure love-energy.  The divine vibrations flowing to me and back are almost iridescent, like heat visually rising from the pavement on a sultry day in July.  I am in sync with all the universe.  I know I am exactly, in that very place in space and time, where my Creator intends for me to be.  I have a purpose to all creation which I am fulfilling just as planned and I can neither falter nor fail.  I am in a state of grace and all my senses make me keenly aware that all of life rises and falls in the Creator’s perfectly orchestrated symphony, rushing through each successive movement until the final crescendo flings its song forth into eternity and I am lost in this music beyond my ears . . . my heart . . . my ken.  It is the music, the joyous, singing music, of the soul of all that is flung wide to the farthest star, echoing back to rest within my breast.  It is a single, perfect, blooming moment of unadulterated grace.  And it is ours.  It is mine.

Storm in Pacifica, California

I have fallen in love with the sea.  No man or woman has ever loved or felt more passion for anyone or anything.  Every time I am with her I think she is more beautiful than ever before.  She amazes me with her complexity, never the same twice.  One day, she is sunny and tranquil, glittering as a king’s ransom in jewels, another, she is raging, banging against constraints, crashing in turmoil and passion.  This day, she is gray and mysterious, cloaking her secrets in a shroud of fog.  Hoarding all her wealth, then carelessly tossing away treasures from deep within her, leaving them discarded in her retreating wake.  Uncontrollable power rising up, increasing, speeding, rolling to me, undulating in her seductive dance,  indifferently shattering, pummeling against me, then reluctantly, caressingly retreating.  I am awed, drawn beyond my power to resist.  She is my muse, my lover, my religion.  There is nothing I have ever known more like God:  vast, timeless, power beyond conceptualization.  Her waters cleanse my soul, renew my spirit.  There is no problem I have brought to her which she cannot shrink to nothingness next to her ancient, endless, fathomless magnificence.

Give me four sticks with a canvas sheet stretched between and I would live beneath it just to gaze at her in all her ever-changing beauty.  How humbling to see, hear, smell, taste, feel the magnificence of the Creator‘s artistry!  I am face-down in holy worship when I think how He could even conceive the idea of the universal sea composed of all this world’s waters.  Waters washing into one another, touching every life on this planet that has ever or will ever be; swirling, dancing around, over, under every continent, island, iceberg; covering massive colonies of life, mountains, deep abysses, hidden depths we have yet to plummet; and all the while kissing, blending, one with the endless sky.  My God!  I am overwhelmed to tears at the limitless gift of beauty you have given me!  Oh, Lord, I sing your praises with every cell of my being for your great love in giving me the sea.  If I never am with her again, I still will never have enough moments in eternity to express my gratitude for this chance to know and love her.   And through her, to know and love you!  I have seen your face reflected in the sea, magnificent, endless, containing more than my mind can grasp.  And new every day.  And new every day.

Crystal Room

Crystal Room (Photo credit: waving at you)

Sitting in my Crystal Room, I gaze about me trying to focus.  Sometimes it seems that the world can skew my inner vision more than my outer.  My “Spirit Vision” becomes blurry and I forget exactly what I am.  Spending time in my Crystal Room helps me remember.  I find a clear crystal and as I gaze into it, my reflection gazes back at me.  But this is not the ordinary reflection I see in my bathroom mirror:   the reflection colored often by my own insecurities and the lies I tell myself when I view the world with my pessimistic lenses over my eyes.  No, this reflection is true, eternal, and an accurate view of who I was created to be:  who God sees when He looks at me.

god

god (Photo credit: the|G|™)

I am a breathtaking creature of Light!  Being created in the image of God, being filled with His Spirit, I possess all the qualities of my Creator, just as Christ does.  I am Divine Love, Divine Joy, Divine Peace.  I am kindness, patience, understanding, wisdom.  I am good.  My unique personality is filled with the many gifts God placed within me.  To deny these gifts as I often did in the past, is to deny God.  Scripture tells me God places gifts in all his children.  Including me.  To refuse to acknowledge my gifts is to refuse to be who I am.  My light cannot shine if I continue to cover it in shame or false modesty.  God is so generous.  He has blessed me so richly with such amazing and wonderful gifts.  How can I use them for the good of mankind if I won’t allow myself to even acknowledge I have them in some misguided notion of false modesty?

When I study the scriptures and other holy texts, I can search and get an accurate picture of just who God sees when He looks at me.  The bible tells me I am the apple of God’s eye, God’s jewel, the fragrance of Christ.   I am His special treasure, a crown of glory, a Prince’s daughter, Christ’s ambassador,  a royal priest, more than a conqueror.  I have eyes like doves, enchanting tresses, am fair as the moon and clear as the sun.  I am a new creation, the beloved, a garden enclosed.  I am the perfection of beauty!

Yeah.  I especially like that last one too.   Wow.  That is exactly how God sees each and every one of us.  And not only is this how I should view myself, it is how I should view others.  It is how we should view one another.   Look at the people around you.  Look at your loved ones.  Look at the ones you struggle to love.  Look at the ones you struggle not to hate and the ones you are secretly or unashamedly glad to hate.  Now realize that they are the perfection of beauty to God.  The apple of His eye.  A royal priest.  Can we shave away all the junk and gunk from this world, clear away all that occludes their inner, hidden light to see that reality of what God made them to be?  God will give us those innocent dove-eyes to do so.  When we can look in the mirror and recognize the crystal-clear reality of who we, ourselves, are, we can begin to let go of others.  Let them walk their path without our input or judgement.  God is taking care of that stuff.  And let’s face it:  it is going to take all our energy to be our own lover.  Yes.  You read that right.  We need to be the lover we dream of someone else being– to ourselves!  We need to value, appreciate, nurture, and care for ourselves as we wish someone else would do.  That is truly loving ourselves.  And who better to love me than me?  I know my innermost needs and wants as no one else ever will.  Who better to love you than you?   When we can meet our own needs we no longer pressure others to do so and they are then free to be themselves.  Then we can truly learn to love and appreciate them for exactly who God made them to be instead of who we need them to be.  It is ageless wisdom that tells us that we can never truly love another until we have learned to love ourselves.  Unloved, we become desperate to find someone to meet our needs, constantly pressuring others to conform to our idea of who they should be.  Constantly demanding that they give to us what we should be giving to ourselves.  How did our vision ever become so skewed as to think it is wrong to care for our own needs?

Two mice; the mouse on the left has more fat s...

Two mice; the mouse on the left has more fat stores than the mouse on the right. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Learning who and what I am, knowing what sustains me, fulfills me, delights me, fills me with joy–and nurturing myself in a healthy, happy fashion sheds the weight from my soul.  As I have allowed myself to love myself–I find my appetites and cravings have changed.  I no longer cram myself with senseless, unneeded excesses.  I don’t have to stuff myself with addictive properties like food, sex, alcohol–whatever.  There is no longer an empty gnawing space driving me to shove anything into it just to fill it.  The sheer weight of that empty space was such a burden!  The only thing big enough,sufficient enough to fill it once and for all is love.  Real unconditional love that only I can truly show myself.  When I filled that space up properly, I sealed that gaping hole and the weight dropped from my soul.  Then it ironically dropped from my body, too.  I have lost over 160 pounds in the last year.  I believe I have been on just about every diet known to man.  I can look at a plate and calculate the calories, diabetic exchanges, grams of protein, carbs, fat, etc.  I know about brown fat and yellow fat and resting metabolism and cardiac exercise and toning exercise.  I have even had a gastric bypass.  Nothing worked.  Now, when I finally accepted the outside and turned my attention inward, I discovered my outside was only a reflection of the weight I had been carrying around in my soul.  I have discovered that, for me, the key was to lose weight from the inside out.

I have also discovered that the more I learn to love myself, the more I become the person I have always truly wanted to be.  And guess what??  Turns out that the person I have really always wanted to be is pretty much the person I have always been underneath the dirt and garbage of this world all along.  My true inner being of light.  I am the perfection of beauty!  And so are you.  If you don’t know that yet, it is time for you to spend some time in your own crystal room gazing into a clear crystal until your own image becomes crystal-clear.  Look in that mirror until you see the perfection of beauty, then turn those dove-eyes out upon a whole new world!

unconditional.

unconditional. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Photo of a cloud illuminated by sunlight.

Image via Wikipedia

There are days when I so miss my mother, my sweet, sweet brother, Scottie, my nephew, Jimmy, my grandmothers and grandpas, my dear friends and my soulmate, my two precious babies that have crossed the veil.  I was ten years old when I attended my first funeral.    I still remember the kick I felt deep in my gut when I saw my Grandpa laying in his casket.  That was the moment true fear of loss gripped me.  From then on I knew that everyone I loved could be ripped from me with no warning.  I never really feared death for myself.  But oh, how I dreaded and trembled at those heart-wrenching losses.   After that, death seemed to hound me.  Both grandfathers and my dad’s only sister passed away all in the same spring.  Then my dad’s mother, my great-grandmother, my brother, my soulmate, my first baby, my old boyfriend, my mom’s mother, my youngest child’s twin, my surrogate father, my nephew, my dear friend, Kay, my mother, and my best friend from college.  Others I knew had passed in between these major losses, including a six-year-old boy whose funeral tore everyone up.  The grief just seemed to compound, never really healing.  Just a wound that reopened and grew deeper with each successive loss.  Pretty soon it seemed I had more loved ones in the cemetery than in the world with me.

English: Visit To The Mother-In-Law Visitors t...

Image via Wikipedia

I do not know how others handle multiple losses.  The truth is I wasn’t really handling them.  My weight spiraled to a top known weight of 380 pounds on my 5’2″, small-boned frame.  Depressed, anxious, ill, confined to a wheelchair and a hospital bed.  I was certain I would soon die too.  It is really only in the past year that I have made my peace with death–learned to embrace it and not fear it.  I have been a christian as long as I can remember,  having accepted Christ at a very young age.  I have always been drawn to spiritual things.  But it wasn’t until my mother passed in 2006, that I began to explore further than the teachings of my local church.  I began to study the Qabalah, the third book of Moses.  My studies expanded to metaphysics, eastern religions and eastern medical practices.  I even delved into subjects like spiritualism, reincarnation–anything, really, that dealt with the Spirit.  Maybe I was trying to find some connection to all I felt I had lost.  I knew there were times I sensed my brother’s and my mother’s presences around me quite distinctly.  Was I imagining things?  Was it wishful thinking?  Was I going crazy?

English: sunlight on water, Bay of Skaill Desp...

Image via Wikipedia

But when I think of how grateful I am to have known them, loved them, been loved by them; I am overwhelmed with the goodness of God. I celebrate these fine saints who served mankind well. I celebrate their spirits, their lives here and hereafter. I celebrate the future when I will not part with them again, but will spend eternity as one. And I celebrate those precious moments when I sense them here with me still. I am swallowed by memories that live so brightly in my soul, for a brief chance of time I am transported across years and the boundaries of death to live with them again. I feel their energy surround me, sense their touch, their smell, the sound of them until I can almost see them before me. And that veil becomes so thin it is almost transparent and I know. I know. Eternity waits for me full of more love than I can comprehend because love never dies. It waits for me on the other side.

This Fulmar rode the wind of an advancing stor...

Image via Wikipedia

I spent a four- month vigil at my mother’s bedside, never leaving her day or night, watching as she faded from this world into the next.  It was an awful, most precious, holy, yet heartbreaking communion with her and God.    Yet there was a sweetness to each moment we stole from death.  We had all fallen asleep the night she passed, on the couch, on the floor, and in a chair by her bed.  I startled awake looking immediately to her bed where a nurse bent over her with a stethoscope.  She had just taken her last breath.  What was it that awakened me?  What awakened my brother just seconds after me?  I believe it was the spiritual being of our beloved mother, pausing to kiss us each goodbye before winging her way to heaven.  I remember leaning down the day before and whispering into my mother’s ear, “Do you see him, Mama?  Can you see your boy in his red sweatsuit?  I am sure he’ll be right next to Jesus!”  And I watched in amazement as her eyes panned back and forth behind her closed eyelids, searching some plane I could neither see nor to which I could  go.

Today, as I was walking through the surf  on the beach, I was reflecting on the sheer exhultant joy I feel to be up, walking, free of the wheelchair in which I sat for seven years.  What effervescent euphoria this freedom is!  The icy tide rolled over my feet as my toes pressed into the sand, the sensations welcomed by me to the depths of my soul.  I felt the same as I did when I was 16 and my parents handed me the car keys for my first solo drive.  Freedom!  I am free of that broken body that had held me prisoner all those years.  That is when it hit me.  This must be what death feels like.  Free at last from an earthly vessel that holds us back, we must fly heavenward in sheer joy at being set loose.  Suddenly, death changed for me.  It is not a losing, but a winning.  My mother must have soared to be unchained from a body that was so sick.  Her light shining full-beam, undimmed by flesh, unfettered by time or earth.   Stopping to kiss each of us, did she do cartwheels in the sky, zooming over like a shooting star?  As I watched the seagulls dance in the waves, I could see my loved ones dancing on the light-waves of energy eminating from their beings.  What a party must be going on next door!

English: Aurora Borealis (1865), painted by Fr...

Image via Wikipedia

Do not fear to lose your loved ones; they are always with you.  Do not fear for them; they wing their way across the heavens, liberated from bondage.  Darting to and fro with the frolick of a child splashing in a puddle of  water, they must course through time and space with a freedom for which our own souls must somehow long like some dimly half-remembered, fantastic dream.  And they fly through the love of every soul who has ever drawn breath, basking in the warmth and light, multiplying it with their own, and waiting joyously for the arrival of the hour of our change.  Death is not separation.  Death is union.  Death is not loss.  Death is love.  Death is not the end.  It is a new beginning.  It is the answer to every prayer every person has prayed since the dawn of time.  Death is true life in disguise.

I must apologize to my readers for my sporadic entries of late.  I am in the process of moving and will do everything I can to post as often as I can, but until I am done, please excuse my craziness!

You are Loved!!

Just a little something from me to you today!  Because I am grateful for all of my readers!

Trees

my tree at dusk

Image by joiseyshowaa via Flickr

God, today I have been admiring the gorgeous trees you have created all over our planet.  I am so grateful for your artistry and ingenuity.  There are over 100,000 species of trees on this earth.  Each variety unique in bark, branch, root, leaf, size, habitat and usefulness.  I cannot even begin to fathom the number of leaves that means.  Each leaf unique.  Exquisitely crafted and colored.  An individual pattern of veins and edging tracing a map on each one.  How magnificent!  How amazing!  This world you have created is mesmerizing in its detail.  The trees breathe in the waste of my air, carbon monoxide.  I breathe in the waste of their air, oxygen.  We are sympatico.  Yin and Yang breathing in an elemental opposition, yet in perfect compliment.

 

TaiJi

Image via Wikipedia

 

Nothing feels as wonderful when the sun is beating down its summer heat than finding the cooling shade of an ancient oak.  Laying on my back, I watch the breeze dance the leaves as glints of sun sparkle in the midst.  Flames of green bearing heat away.  The cooling freshness of the green canopy spreading its protective arms over me.  During a thunderstorm, this same canopy helps shelter me from the rain as I listen to the plop, plop of each drop beating on the drum skin of my tree.  I hide beneath the home of so many creatures, insects, birds, small game.  I praise you, God, and am so grateful for this free, found shelter.  No rent or mortgage here.  And in the winter, the stark bare branches line the landscape like so many fingers pointing skyward in silent witness to their creator.  Creaking under weights of snow, lined like shadowed drawings, they form their silhouettes against the land and sky,  connecting heaven and earth.

Original description:

Image via Wikipedia

But my favorite remains the painter’s brush of colors you pour onto the world in autumn.  Reds, yellows, purples, oranges, browns pulse with living colors against the cooling brilliant blueness.   The fire of the sugar maple is so vivid it almost hurts my soul to gaze at it.  Such beauty etched upon my heart as a riotous love letter from you to me and back again.  The colors pulling me inward and heavenward, soaring through joy in just existing in this magnificent place you have created.  Oh, God, what your hand has wrought is far too wondrous for my mind to grasp.  And yet you set me higher than all of this sweetness.  Thank you.  Thank you for each amazing tree, each leaf, each branch, each root which burrows deep into the earth.  This good earth.  I am grateful for trees and they are good.

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