All that is good NOW in my life is as a result of anything that was less than totally positive in the past. My past has been my teacher and what lessons I’ve learned!
I have learned:
1. To use my own voice and roar if I need to
2. To live my life from a place where my boundaries must be respected
3. To know what it is to be cherished
4. To be loved for who I am – because I’ve also known what it was to be loved for who people thought I was
5. To be broken – and know what it is to be entirely humbled – but that I can rebuild beauty
6. To live from a place of compassion rather than judgment
7. To never to settle for less
8. That I’m a princess and that’s a given
9. Great passion, so I can love more
10. Great sorrow, so I can understand others pain
11. To no longer be always strong, so I could become a woman of strength
12. That crashing and burning can mean you rise from the ashes like a Phoenix
13. That taking the wrong roads leads to blisters, but you can still have adventures while you are getting back on track again
14. To take directions from my heart and trust that the Universe and God has my back
15. That no-one wants me to be perfect, they just want me to be real
16. To step up and into the gloriously wonderful uniquely flawed me
17. To see the wounded angel inside those I meet
18. That carrying the past around me robs me of the energy to step into my future
19. To appreciate the beauty in all the seasons of my life
20. That the fact “this too will pass”, and no one will talk about this in a hundred years always gives me perspective
21. That I have been blessed and seen the unmistakable touch of grace and mercy on my life
22. And that, ultimately, those who have walked part of my journey with me and left for whatever reason, have blessed me. I release them to walk their own paths and I wish then hope, peace, love and happiness.
I love these words of Sonia Choquette, in her book, “Grace, Gratitude and Gifts,” a book one of my dearest soul friends bought me last year knowing it would call me to read it when the time was right.
“…..help me look upon my life experiences with neutrality and appreciation for all the great learning experiences my soul has had. Grace me with the ability to remove all harmful negative filters of judgement, shame, regret, and guilty that I project onto my soul experiences, preventing me from deriving the genuine value each one has brought into my life, and please instead inspire me to review my past with the interest and objectivity of a co-creator student who is here to learn all that is possible from each life experience and condition to grow my soul…..
Grace me with deep understanding in my heart and Spirit that all unfolds in your supreme perfection and that in Divine eyes there are no victims, only students of life, having experiences.”
I believe in the power of words, and that certain books can change your life. I’ve learned that books call to me when I’m meant to read them, when I’m ready to sit with my journal and let the words inspire or teach me as I explore what happens next.
When Sonia Choquette’s book, “Grace, Gratitude and Gifts” attracted my attention, I could have dismissed it, as I’d tried to read another book by her but had ended up setting it aside. But I have learned to trust my intuition – and I’m glad it did, for man, did change happen, and here’s how!
1. Losses create space for the lessons your soul needs
The introduction explained how she wrote the books, through automatic writing. I ask God to bless my writing now, but this was a step beyond that – it was asking God to write through you. In my journaling classes and coaching, I sometimes suggest “stream of consciousness” writing, where you just put pen to paper and see what happens for a few minutes, without judging it at the time. It can be surprising what happens in three minutes. This, however, was a much more deliberate process – one that acknowledged and accepted outside help.
So for the first time ever, I did as she suggested – and asked my Spirit Guides and Angels to guide my writing, covering me in light and love as they did this. I had no idea what would happen when I started to write, and I didn’t expect to find it was the words that came were the story of the end of my first marriage.
A story that is all-ways my story in the same way all the other players have their story and version of events, but I can only tell my own story, with respect for theirs. The story poured out, but in a different way than I’d expected. It was still a story of three people in a marriage, invisibility, a dutiful wife on a lonely pedestal with lots of masks and lists of what not-to-do’s. A story of someone thinking they were living from the light but where all the light got snuffed out so all I saw was a tunnel with no light at the end, darkness. I was unseen, unheard, and unloved, a woman with no boundaries who was fenced in by her culture and beliefs but who found that a culture cannot box you in or stop your heart seeking love and appreciation, for it is love or fear that drives us almost anywhere. It was also a story of a darkness that was almost self-extinguished in despair, where hope could not be found and options could not be seen. It was a story that meant that appreciation was the spark that meant I’d lose my home, my job, my community, my church communities, and almost all of my friends – but as my youngest daughter said when I shared this all with her for the first time, it was a story where I had lost myself. It was a story that still defined me, as I was stuck there with the glues of regret and shame, guilt and anger, hurt and fear. But as I wrote, the story unexpectedly moved to the future – and I was grateful for losing all of these things as well as who I had been, because it created space for all that is so good in my life. I found that this gratitude and perspective gave me much peace.
2. Opening and Closing Doors
Yet that night, I couldn’t sleep. I wasn’t feeling well, but it wasn’t that – it was the really strong smell of faeces, like the toilet was blocked, and a feeling of overwhelm and heaviness. I was sure the others in the house could smell it, it was so strong, yet no-one commented on it, so I didn’t feel I could. When I’d put my head on the pillow, it was particularly strong, so sleep escaped me. At 2 a.m. in the morning, I googled it – and read that smells like this might suggest evil or negative spirits and at that point, this made perfect sense to me given how I was feeling.
So I prayed for protection and searched for an answer again, and found blessings/prayers to use to protect me and my family and house – and the smell disappeared and I slept. This happened again the next night, and I did the same and commanded whatever was there to go, as I was living in love and light and peace and joy and there was no space for it. I felt that in asking my spirit guides and angels to work through me, I had also opened an energetic door where things that were less than totally positive could enter. I needed to shut this door firmly, so I did.
3. A Profound Experience in Grace
The book is a series of daily readings, mantras, prayers and blessings. On my third morning, with my heart cracked open, I read this.
“I humbly ask you to bestow your all-empowering grace upon me this day so that I find the power to forgive those who have hurt or injured me in the past, even though I still feel the pain of their injuries to me. Allow me the grace to stop dwelling in the past, and to release all moments from my mind and emotions where I have perceived myself to be wronged and felt hurt, whether or not the events that passed were meant to personally assault me. I humbly ask for your holy grace to give me the ability to let bygones be bygones, and to free my mind permanently of any memory of wrongdoing, whether at my expense or caused by me. I ask for your holy grace to release me from all guilt or shame that is the result of my own wrongdoing or wrong thinking in the past, so that I may forgive myself fully and learn from my mistakes but not be held hostage by them.”
As I read on, I actually felt that prayer in every fibre of my body; it was a prayer from my heart. And amazingly, wonderfully, I found myself forgiving many of the key figure who had hurt me, and letting bygones be bygones. More than that, I found myself blessing them and asking that they would also all love, light, peace, happiness – and love. It was a profound experience in grace that I am still smiling at – and this too is my story. Namaste
A friend sent me this story and I’ve checked it out. It IS a true story. Call it synchronicity, or call it grace, it’s still pretty awesome!
All fifteen members of a church choir in Beatrice, Nebraska, due at practice at 7:20, were late on the evening of March 1, 1950. The minister and his wife and daughter had one reason (his wife delayed to iron the daughter’s dress) one girl waited to finish a geometry problem; one couldn’t start her car; two lingered to hear the end of an especially exciting radio program; one mother and daughter were late because the mother had to call the daughter twice to wake her from a nap; and so on. The reasons seemed rather ordinary. But there were ten separate and quite unconnected reasons for the lateness of the fifteen persons. It was rather fortunate that none of the fifteen arrived on time at 7:20, for at 7:25 the church building was destroyed in an explosion. The members of the choir, Life reported, wondered if their delay was “an act of God.”
Here is a link to the full article –
All too often, the only thing that stands in our way and prevents us from living the life we want is ourselves. It’s what we do (or don’t do), and it’s about what we think. In fact, it is what we think that helps us sabotage our success or happiness, because thoughts always precede actions. I know all of this. I know how our beliefs limit our lives, meaning that we hold on to what no longer serves us, or we simply fail to live out loud, shine and be the blessing we are meant to be.
I really DO know this! And yet today a good friend shared this poem, and I loved it so much I’ve copied it to the blank front page of my journal. I knew I had left it blank for a reason.
And do you know why I loved it? Because I actually sat at the end of it and went, “wow!” This is how I want to define my life! Yet what I’ve actually been doing is exactly the opposite. In my head and heart, I have been defining it by my failures, my roadblocks and my disappointments. I have been focussing on where I went wrong with love instead of what went right – or IS right. I’ve mainly kept looking at my own pain, and the pain I caused others, and at what went wrong in my past when life was “mainly normal” instead of seeing that all of this IS normal. And it’s all amazing grace, and love and adventure.
May these words also make you see life in a different way. Be free.
I do not define myself by how many roadblocks have appeared in my path;
I define myself by the courage I’ve found to forge new roads.
I do not define myself by how many disappointments I’ve faced;
I define myself by the forgiveness and the faith I have found to begin again.
I do not define myself by how long a relationship lasted;
I define myself by how much I have loved, and been willing to love again.
I do not define myself by how many times I have been knocked down;
I define myself by how many times I have struggled to my feet.
I do not define myself by the number of mistakes I have made;
I define myself by the knowledge I have learned from trying a new way.
I am not my pain.
I am not my past.
I am that which has emerged from the fire.
And they kept happening..
Miracle 5: Lighten Up
I’m struggling with the changes going on, that I know need to happen and my reasons for not doing them – so many things; in fact, I’m sure this mental confusion may have led to me getting the flu (thanks Diane!) Through Spiral Heart’s Billy Goats Gruff event I see it’s time to lighten up; I am often too serious, too conscientious, doing so much out of duty. But change is hard -.and then I read this, which makes me change my attitude to this:
“do whatever you can to make your transformational change a joy and a pleasure. Have fun!” Louise Hay
Miracle 6: Pilgrimage
I’ve already written about how this felt like a pilgrimage to me, and just when I am struggling with that idea, I read these definitions in Celtic Daily Prayer (daily reading):
A pilgrimage is “a journeying to a particular place, in the expectation that such a journey will have deep signficance”
Miracle 7: Relationships
I’m coming down with the flu and in a bad mood, so much so all I am focussing on is problems in any relationship I have, and that same day, Louise Hay reminds me that “relationships are a mirror of ourselves...” and I realise it’s ME that needs to change
Miracle 8: Surrender
I use Cheryl Richardson’s Grace cards (a phone app, though you can check it out here – http://www.cherylrichardson.com/wp-content/themes/crichardson/TwinkleStars_content.html) and the word I get is Surrender “the key that unlocks the door to grace” I vehemently react to this concept, having struggled to be independent and stand up for my life – but realising this means surrender to the Universe, to what is, changes my thinking and feelings about this. And a friend sends me a quote that says “I haven’t surrendered, I quit.” This just feels like a load is off my back; the struggle has ended
Miracle 8: Grace
The app generates the cards randomly. You swipe your hand backwards/forwards and it stops at a card. I get “Watch” – “believe in the power of grace. When one least expects it, a new door will open and the light of grace will illuminate our next step.” That’s why I call this Miracles of next steps – because since the 13 July, every solitary day since that, when I have opened the app, no matter what card was last pulled, it opens at Watch. I’m watching
Miracle 9: Goosebumps
I blog about the law of twice and go to work. The day before was my worst ever day at work, so much so I had to just go for a walk to clear my head as I had so much to do and wasn’t feeling well. On the Friday, it is a little bit quieter, and there are brief opportunities to talk to colleagues. A conversation starts about Jack Black, with one colleague saying they would have liked to hear him, and another said they had heard him. Sarah said she had really enjoyed what he said, but the one thing that stuck in her head was this law of twice. I looked at her and said, Sarah, you will never believe what I posted today – sent her it through, and she said that she had goosebumps reading it. Me too!
Miracle 10: Cycles
In some ways I feel at the edge of a void; scared, uncertain – not knowing what my next steps are, or who I might be. Pamela asks me “why do you need to know?” And in panic I react, saying “I just need to know. I’ve always needed to know what my next steps are, to have a plan.” She reminded me this wasn’t actually the case – and wasn’t I learning that all I needed was the next step, revealed when I was ready? That same day, I read:
“In moving through the difficult stages of our lives, we can leanr to trust our heart to these cycles and their unfolding as surely as we can trust roots to go down and leaves to push up through the earth of our garden.” Jack Kornfield. And he goes on to say:
“We can trust that whatever calls our attention in practice – our body, our personal history, the community around us- in or out of retreat, it will bring us what we need to live fully and genuinely in the timeless here and now.”
“We are learning to open in the timeless unfolding of our lives, being in greater and greater harmony with what is, with a greater inclusiveness of our heart to all the seasons of our lives.”
Perfect timing. Perfect
And still, they come…
The law of twice. If within a short period of time you get the same message, listen. Even if it comes from different sources or in different ways. So two people mention an unusual book? Perhaps it’s time to read it. One person mentions a new idea to you and you turn on the TV and there’s a programme on that exact thing. Over time, I’ve learned to be curious about this aspect of life.
I sometimes use Cheryl Richardson’s Grace App. I love the pictures and I love the gentle loveliness of each card. 50 cards and randomness mean the chances of you getting repeat cards are very low – but it happens. Particularly if you are not listening. The day I thought about this Project Me being a sort of pilgrimage I pulled a card. Haven’t done that in a while. It said Surrender. “Surrender is the key to open the door of grace.”
Hhhhm, I thought. Didn’t expect that one. Why do I need to surrender? What do I need to surrender? I don’t like the idea of surrender. It means I have to give up control – and as a recovering perfectionist, that’s an alien concept. So I dismissed it. I do that when I don’t like an idea 😉
But it seems to be something I must consider more deeply, as I read this today again, “by accident,”:
Very little grows on jagged rock. Be ground.
Be crumbled, so wildflowers will come up where you sit.
You’ve been stony for too many years.
Try something different. Surrender. ~ Rumi
You’ve been stony for too many years. Does this refer to my failure to nurture and care for myself? Things are getting shaken up – yet isn’t that necessary if things are to grow? My two favourite flowers are bluebells and snowdrops and last week in Inveraray we came across a fairy foxglove growing on the walls. What is more beautiful than a wildflower?
Try something different.