The Celtic understanding of friendship finds its inspiration and culmination in the sublime notion of the anam cara. Anam is the Gaelic word for soul; cara is the word for friend. The anam cara was a person to whom you could reveal the hidden intimacies of your life. This friendship was an act of recognition and belonging. When you had an anam cara, your friendship cut across all convention and category. You were joined in an ancient and eternal way with the friend of your soul.
– John O’Donohue
Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity and change.
Imperfections are not inadequacies; they are reminders that we’re all in this together.
Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable.
Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.
– Brené Brown http://www.brenebrown.com/
Yeah – there are weeds and disappointments and seeming failures. There are days that tear out still-beating chunks of your bare heart, whole seasons that feel like every breath is through burning smoke. There is always hope. The real essence of the universe is endless grace – which is the theological term for surprises. As long as there is still time –there will be surprises.
Apparent failures can be the way your Father births a successful faith.
Shalom and I fill vases with wildflowers.
“See? Doesn’t matter if you didn’t get to plant sunflowers this year, Mama. God was growing something else to fill things up.”
And I swallow hard and nod. God is always growing something to fill the empty places up. And it’s always possible – joy is always surprisingly possible. You can have joy any moment you turn hidden greed for more into honest gratitude for now.
No matter the prison, you can be Freed by Gratitude.
Joy isn’t about how much our lives have, but how much we enjoy our lives.
Joy is never made by Having More. Joy is always made by EnJoying More.
– Ann Voskamp
I realized a long time ago you can’t force anyone to do, or see, anything. The old sayin’ ‘you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.” is very true. I learned the hard way, you can’t ‘help’ anyone else, you can’t choose for anyone else, you can’t make someone love you, you can’t give someone something they don’t want – even if it’s the best gift ever. Force never works, only grace can change our hearts and lives. Falling in love with unconditional love is the only process to real change.
The only thing we CAN do is create an atmosphere for that to happen. Create an open space to inspire. Starting with myself – I seek to inspire people to think about these things. To think about life and to realize we are continually making choices and those choices matter for the short term and the long term. Our choices determine who we become, how we create, and how we inspire.
I’m beginning my week thinking about new ways to inspire, about how to make choices to be the best I can be, about how to love more and better, how to let go of the things that hold me prisoner and soar into the freedom of unconditional love, how to create good in the middle of difficult circumstances, how to better reflect light into my own darkness.
I am not sure where these thoughts, prayers and meditations are leading me this morning, but they feel good, as my friend, Jana, described yesterday, they are leading me to a feeling of triumph. Good stuff for a Monday morning in August!
Mary Oliver reminds me
to let go of any need, that might linger within,
to, even try, to impress anyone,
least of all,
just stay alert to the extravagant impressiveness around me,
puddling at my feet,
drowning my life with goodness.
To be easily astonished,
easily filled with wonder,
to allow life to boggle my mind.
To stay a child of joy and nature,
a collector of abundant miracles,
never taking one of them for granted.
To stay in awe of sunsets
Bears and ants.
To gasp every time I get a view of the ocean,
to be breathless at the view from a mountaintop road at sunset.
To thrill when I see a leaf change color.
To crane my neck, every single time, to catch a glimpse of sunlight on water,
and the curve of a babies cheek.
To get a chill of macabre delight
at gnarly, old toenails,
and bats hanging upside down
in a dark damp cave,
or flying around a street light as darkness falls slowly through the air.
Such things keep me alive.
These are the true riches of our living.
Extreme miracles everywhere around us.
We are here to witness,
here to share descriptions of such beauty,
even our feeble attempts are so amazing
they boggle the mind.
Thank you, Mary Oliver, for this reminder,
with your lovely vision
and every beautiful, glorious word.
We are each here to do our part,
to record our miracles
in our own way.
we make up this tapestry,
record the blazing glory,
of this masterpiece we live in.
We each add notes to the grand symphony of life,
or accidental people.
Only I can tell you the grandeur of my living space,
it is mine alone,
until I share it.
As I share,
I allow the singing of the rocks to be heard,
but also to stay a silent mystery
at least for those
who don’t choose to hear
this exquisite, out-of-this-world music,
playing with such brilliance, light and passion,
everywhere we go.
After one month, 4718 miles, 12 states, 11 beds, and visits with 19 family members, we are home. And what did the bear see on the other side of the mountain?
The world goes on. And on and on. Beyond every road, every ten-lane turnpike and two-strand wagon trail, runs another road. Every place you go, and beyond, there is another place, another town, or space between towns, a teeming metropolis or an isolated farmhouse, and people live there. Or something else lives there. For someone, that is home. From where I live to the desert and the tundra, from mountain top to dark sea bottom, there is life living its life, in all its uncatalogable variety. And there are people being beautiful in a million different ways. And there is God’s grace, in all its even greater variety, doing its thing. Whatever is, is in God. And as I look up into a night sky far from cities where I can actually see the stars, they, too, in their silent, mysterious distances, are still in God.
Whatever your day brings, whatever new or familiar experiences come your way, whether you find yourself in a great throng or all alone (or both), know that the One is with you, that Blessing upholds you, that the Presence includes you. No matter where you are, in space or in mind, you are not far away. You are at home in God. Welcome.