Living and Working Out Loud

Love Note to April

“The world is full of poetry. The air is living with its spirit; and the waves dance to the music of its melodies, and sparkle in its brightness.” Unknown

I confess that April is probably my most favorite month.  There are so many reasons to love this 31 day period.  It is Poetry month and I receive a Poem-A-Day from Village Books.  I collect poems like some people collect rocks.  They feel good on my tongue, in the labyrinth of my mind and speak to my heart. Mary Oliver, David Whyte, Rumi, Rilke and Jan Phillips are my spiritual advisors.  What is your favorite poem or poet?

It is an intense gardening month.  I get to dig in the dirt and watch the luscious veggie starts try to outgrow the pests in my organic raised beds.  The flower and herb gardens are coming back to life, the trees blooming.  Gardening is a sacred experience.

It is my birthday month – and I’m always so grateful for another year of life.  It is the Tulip Festival in the Skagit Valley – after three decades  this still evokes awe and wonder for me.

This April (April 16th) my partner and I will be going to Brazil for two weeks of healing work with John of God.  We will be spending Holy Week(s) in the small village of Abadiania where we will experience the healing power of love for two weeks.  We keep running into folks who have been there and they all say it is a life-transforming experience.  I’m ready, eager and open.

Love Is. . .

More musing on love – after all, it is still February. . .

I heard a sermon last week that stated “Love should be our default position”.  Great.  Unfortunately, the word “love” was not, and is rarely defined – it’s one of those marshmallow words that people throw around, assuming that everyone knows what they are talking about.  Much has been written on this topic, but the definition of love that I keep coming back to is one I heard in my Context Associated days:  “Joyful acceptance”.  Now it is necessary to define “acceptance”.  Not easily done.  It’s easier to say what acceptance is NOT – it is not resistance.  It doesn’t imply “like” or “approve of”.  It is not passive resignation with the fire going out.  It is simply embracing what is, believing that it is perfect.  Connect an experience of joy to that and you have love. This definition allows me to know what I am NOT in a loving space, with my dear partner or anyone!  I get to watch myself moving in and out of joyful acceptance.  It is a choice.

What is your working definition of “love”?

Just Put A Little Love In Your Heart

Valentine’s Day is rapidly approaching.  All thoughts turn to chocolate, cards, chocolate, roses, chocolate – oh yes, LOVE.  This overly commercialized date on the calendar is supposed to be about love, a very complex, difficult concept that is often trivialized.

We throw the word around easily – especially when it comes to things:  “I LOVE my I-phone, my bicycle, skiing . . . “  (I really do!)

It’s harder to love people – specific people: the irritating co-worker; the adversarial committee member at church.   I could go on.  Mankind, the human race – that’s easy. Done.

Even though I have read many books on the subject, my anchor on the subject of love continues to be the Bible.  First Corinthians 13 pretty much sums it all up.

We often hear the phrase “love your neighbor as yourself”.  Wow – for many of us that would mean the neighbor would be the victim of abuse.  Most of us know well the self-hatred demon.   How are you doing on that loving yourself issue??

self-love heartWhat would be some acts of loving yourself gently, gracefully?  Here are some of mine. .

  • Eating healthy, nourishing foods
  • Dancing
  • Being still
  • Riding my bike
  • Running Whatcom Falls Park
  • News fasts
  • Stroking my cats
  • Wearing loose clothing and comfortable shoes
  • Reading
  • Focusing on my achievements rather than my mistakes

It all starts with us – that all-important relationship with ourselves.  Does that relationship need a tune-up?

A Year of Grace

Those who know me understand that one of my sacred rituals each January is to choose a word or phrase for the coming year.  This ritual is all about setting clear intention for the next twelve months and the word acts as a psychological rudder for making effective choices.

I take this exercise very seriously and found myself wrestling for two months – “What is the RIGHT word that captures the experience I want more of this year???”

As I observed myself wrestling (again), I realized that what I wanted is GRACE – actually RADICAL GRACE.  Grace is a word that has always felt delicious on the tongue – a beautiful word that has many meanings for me.  Webster defines it as “beauty and ease in movement.”   I’ll take more of that.  I do want to do more dancing this year.  Mostly I want more ease.  I’m good at making anything a bit (or a lot!) of struggle.  Maybe it meets my need for challenge – and if it’s difficult, it must be good for me!

Since my partner and I are full participators in Cancer World this year with more chemo and suspenseful blood work ahead, I want to do this journey with grace and ease.  Yes, beauty and ease in all things. . .

So, what is your word or phrase for 2011?  What experience do you yearn for – in  your life?  In your job?  Let me know!

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