But before I get further into that, let’s get to the point of this blog. Yes, this blog does have a point, and that is, that I’ve realized there are two ways I’ve gotten things done over the years.
The first was to decide what I wanted to do, make a plan and then rush through it to completion. I was motivated by fear, most particularly the fear of not enough. Not enough time, not enough money, not enough energy, not enough ability to create whatever it was the way I really wanted it. The result being that I often settled for “good enough” in what I created.
The second way was to decide what I wanted to do and carefully do my homework, researching and planning. This process was akin to priming the pump. Once the pump was primed, I released my hold on the process and allowed the project to move at its own speed, unfolding one step at a time. A little bit of guidance received here, a synchronicity there and the end result often looked very different from the original plan. Yet I was delighted with the outcome everytime.
The two processes are not unlike traveling on a river in a boat. You can paddle furiously along, not understanding the current that carries you, believing you won’t move unless you work hard, and exhaust yourself with your efforts. You arrive at your destination tired and anxious. You don’t appreciate the journey or enjoy the process. Or, you can trust that you will be supported, put the paddle away and allow yourself to be carried along on the current. You arrive energized and calm. You enjoyed your journey and the process of it. Either way you get to where you are going. The experience however, is very different.
In the past, I held several office jobs in which I remember taking the first approach. I felt pressed for time, worried that I wasn’t doing a good enough job. I couldn’t stop paddling furiously, the results were predictably mediocre, though I didn’t understand why at the time. My response was to paddle harder and harder until finally I was exhausted and quit.
Recently however, given a project to do, I’ve taken the second approach and it’s worked a whole lot better for me. The results not surprisingly, have been successful.
The difference is working from fear and lack of trust or working from love and trust. So simple, and so profound in its implications.
Anyway, I’m trying to figure out what to do with five or six of those tentacular cable things. I think they’re breeding back there behind my TV. Worst are the baby ones. They haven’t grown long enough, so there are enormous plugs to be dealt with half-way to the wall outlet. Grrr…
OK, enough ranting. I’m breathing deeply and relaxing now. I’m approaching this part of the basement project one step at a time, priming the pump with research and planning, allowing space for intuitive leaps of guidance, taking the next step that feels right, then some more research and planning, a synchronicity or two, and taking the next step after that. Allowing the process to unfold.
I’m right in the middle of it and even with all my planning, I can’t see what the outcome will look like because I don’t know where the current will carry me. I’m going to trust in the process and take my time. Sooner or later I will be successful, and my TV set-up will be neat, take up minimal floor space, and blend in with the décor, because I'm going to allow that to happen. That’s how I roll nowadays. 😉
What does it feel like physically when your heart is full? For me it feels expansive in my chest, in the area around my heart and lungs. I want to breathe deeper and deeper, like I want to take in ever more of what feels so good. Sometimes I’ll experience the sharp, warm sensation of the blood vessels in the skin over my heart suddenly expanding and more blood pouring through.
It happened like that recently…
I invoked heart coherence first thing in the morning right after waking. I lay still in my bed, hands over my heart and just breathed, visualizing the breath going in and out of my heart. Inwardly I chanted, “Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.” After a few minutes, even though I woke feeling a bit grumpy, I felt a shift, and a sense of gratitude welled up from within. My breaths got deeper and I felt appreciation for the new day.
Then, I was up and out of bed, tossing on a bathrobe and wandering out to the kitchen to make some cocoa. Because the weather was beautiful, I took my cocoa out to sit on the patio in my back yard. Holding the steaming cup in my hands, sipping frothy, cinnamon topped, cocoa deliciousness, I gazed out over the bright blanket of grass and the multi-hued greens of the surrounding canopy of leafy oaks and cedars. The sky hovered overhead, turquoise blue. The hummingbirds buzzed back and forth at the feeder just to my right. The cardinals and their offspring alighted on the ground beneath the suet feeder, plucking up a seed and flitting off into the branches of the juniper tree, to consume their breakfast. A noisy family of blue jays chased each other around the spreading branches of the oak tree before me, and a single bright yellow gold finch sang a lilting melody.
My heart filled with appreciation almost sharp in sensation, and I felt such gratitude for the perfection of the moment. My heart felt full.
Sometimes it happens like that, a perfect moment. It might be triggered by something as simple as seeing someone you love, or hearing a child’s delighted laughter. Often though, it is something that must be intended, the way you intend to fill your stomach with a nourishing meal.
Our bodies hunger for food and we feel it in our grumbling bellies. Our hearts hunger for nourishment as well. Only what nourishes our hearts is love and all its attendant feelings.
One of the gifts of nourishing your heart by intending appreciation and gratitude, is that the moments that might seem less than perfect can transform and become perfect even in their imperfection.
Children are often our best teachers, and my grandchildren are no exception. I find it is the chaotic moments, the times when I haven’t slept well the night before and my patience level is not what I might wish. The times when the house is a mess, toys scattered everywhere, when the kitchen is filled with the detritus of multiple meals and snacks. The times when the children pick up on my emotional state and the boys play wildly, crashing and throwing toys around. The times when their sister is caught in a loop of worry over something and refuses to be distracted. Those are the times my thoughts may spiral into my own loop of negativity.
Perhaps then, it is with divine intervention or maybe just plain desperation that I will realize that I have a choice. I can take a deep breath, and then another. I can choose to focus on all that I am grateful for, grateful for these beautiful children, doing what kids do. I can invoke a feeling of appreciation as I focus on all that is right in this present moment. There is so much to feel grateful for. Then my heart expands, filling with the love I feel for my precious gran’s. The moment transforms. It is perfect, even in all its chaos.
It seems that chaos is a regular part of all our lives right now. With so much chaos going on, and worry over what the future holds for our country and the world, it is more important than ever to remember to nourish our hearts. Nourish our hearts by focusing our thoughts on all that we appreciate in our daily lives. There is so much to feel grateful for if we will just shift our attention.
We can feed our hearts with nourishing feelings even as we feed our bodies with nourishing foods. You don’t have to wait for that perfect moment to allow your heart to feel full. You can intend it any time you like. Most people eat a good meal once, twice, three or more times a day. Our hearts need daily feeding too. The reward is a heart that’s filled with perfect moments, even those that didn’t start out that way.
That’s when a small, potentially biting fly appeared and buzzed around my leg. I could have trapped it between my hand and my leg and killed it. I thought about doing so for a millisecond. Instead I waved it away. It dawned on me then, that tiny decision was a choice between love and fear. If I had been less aligned, I might easily have taken my negative feelings out on the hapless fly. I had done so out of irritation in the past. But this morning I pulled myself into positivity. I was feeling relaxed and appreciative of my yard and the morning by then, and so I chose to allow that fly to buzz on its way.
Every day in our lives is composed entirely of small and large choices. Every second of the day we are making choices from a place of fear or a place of love. It’s no wonder that Spirit is interested in the tiny details of our lives. Every one of those details involves the foundational choice between love or fear. Every detail asks, Will you choose to act from love or from fear?
The choice between love and fear is not a new idea. Yet understanding that our days are composed of countless choices between love and fear takes this wisdom to a deeper level. Your every thought is a choice.
For example, I walk through the kitchen intent upon some project or other. My husband is sitting at the kitchen counter chuckling over something he is reading. He wants to share it with me. If I am out of alignment my initial reaction is often irritation at being held up. Sigh… Does the irritation feel good to me? No. Why is irritation my kneejerk response? I’m focused and don’t want to be interrupted in what I’m doing. What am I afraid of? I’m afraid I don’t have enough energy and/or time and/or support to do all I want to do. What’s the loving response? Stop for a few moments and enjoy a positive interaction with my husband, knowing that Spirit has my back. I can believe that I have everything I need to do what I want to do.
My day is filled with small, seemingly unimportant decisions like this one. Yet, when I make the choice to respond with irritation or negativity, not only do I miss an opportunity for a loving and enjoyable interaction, I choose to believe in lack, I choose to believe that I am not supported by Spirit. It is a much bigger decision than I might have thought, because one choice based in fear ripples outward, creating more choices based in fear, and more and more.
Fortunately, the same is true the other way around. If, given this same situation, I make the conscious choice to know that Spirit is supporting me in all I want to accomplish, I can relax and enjoy a moment of pleasantness with my husband. The enjoyable experience of that choice ripples outward and I am more likely to make subsequent choices during my day from a place of love and trust.
I do understand that a person could be paralyzed if they felt they had to analyze every tiny choice made throughout the day. Am I blowing my nose now because I’m afraid I’m going to sneeze and make a scene during this meeting or because I’m lovingly taking care of my body? There is such a thing as overanalyzing. Just blow your nose already.
Still, assuming what we want is to make our choices from a place of love, how do we do that without getting all mental and driving ourselves crazy over every little decision? Here are some ideas.
What do you think? Will you choose from love or from fear today? It’s worth pondering.
The sweet peace is surprised by the loud, hooting call of a Barred Owl, and answering call from the yard next door. It is long past their bedtime. Do you suppose it is an illicit treat for them to call, questioning to each other from their beds like disobedient children? “Who cooks for you? Who cooks for you all?” The first caller dares leave its bed and fly on silent wings, off to visit its partner in crime no doubt. They keep quiet now, probably whispering clandestine owl secrets to each other in the morning light.
This is a precious moment, timeless and fleeting. Soon, the day will begin in earnest. There is work to be done after all, appointments to be kept, preparations to make. Life to be pursued with the single-minded devotion that believing in the gravity of our individual lives inspires.
Yet the breeze still carries its message, waving from treetop to treetop, rustling through the branches. “Stay with us,” it whispers, “stay.” Then all is quiet and my thoughts return to my lists and the clock, email and texts. A hummingbird appears, hovering, magic on wings, dipping into the petunias in my planters on the porch steps. Flitting from flower to flower, never landing, never lighting, an iridescent fairy creature in plain sight.
What is this magic that calls me to stay? Persuading me to allow the wonder, convincing me with the touch of a breeze softly brushing my arm. It sways me to listen for the swishing, rustling, chirping, twittering, hooting, seeming quiet of the morning, the ever-changing green surrounding me and the wings that flutter from tree to feeder and back again. It fills me with the sweetness of the rain-washed air, and I stay. For it is love made manifest, magic indeed.
Life is full of spiritual lessons. Some feel good, some not so good. All support us to grow. This blog is about my life lessons. Perhaps you'll find yourself within these stories.