Sunday, April 28, 2013

Mending Fences

Last fall a couple of our fence posts started to give way.  Hubby put some braces in place to keep the fence standing through the winter and yesterdays weather gave us an opportunity to take a closer look at what needed to be done to fix the posts.

As my husband began to dig, I found myself daydreaming about a yard without a fence.  The way it used to be when I was a kid.  An entire neighbourhood without a fence in sight.

Ahhhh, the memories of being able to run from one end of town to the next, through the backyards of folks that have known my family for eons.

I wanted to run over to the neighbours house right then and present them with the idea of 'open concept' backyard living.  Imagine the cost and time savings (lets be honest we're going to have to start replacing ALL of those fence posts sooner or later).  No more long grass growing up under the fence and not being able to fully see the person you are speaking to on the other side.  I even imagine sharing gardens; helping eachother cultivate, weed and harvest the bounty.  I envision our dogs playing with one another and creating an extended family of their own.  Neighbours helping eachother.  Without fences to keep us separate you can see what your neighbours are up to and what they could use a hand with. 

I feel like we're too preoccupied with barriers and boundaries these days.  About how to keep people out of our business.  Keep our privacy private.  Fences keep us from engaging with one another. 

Without fences, your neighbours become a part of your family.  You hear the arguments, you hear the love.  You co-experience their grief and their joy. 

The thought crosses my mind when I see a house that has been abandoned and taken over by the banks.  I wonder if we took down the fences, welcomed our neighbours onto 'our' land, became connected if houses would stop being abandoned.  If we could somehow create an energy in our communities that enabled even those who struggle to make ends meet to create more abundance in their life so they could stay in the house and neighbourhood that they loved.

Back in the day you never heard of anyone losing their home.  It may be because we were better with our money but it may also be because back in the day we lived in communities, not just homes.  We lived amongst friends, not strangers (and if you were a stranger you weren't one for long).

What if we lived in a world where there were no fences?  I wonder what life would look like if we lived with open concept backyards again.  Connected and conjoined instead of separate and boxed in.

I wonder if we would all start feeling like we belong instead of like we are being 'kept out'.  I wonder how many people dream of 'open concept' backyard living like I do? 

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

I'm so very sorry.....

When I went to see Neale Donald Walsch speak a couple of months ago he did something that made my heart leap.  He approached a woman in the audience who was ethnically diverse, raised in a Baptist church and whose race had suffered much ridicule within society.

I remember he approached her, held her hand, looked her right in the eyes and apologized for the insensitivity of humanity.  He, on behalf of those who had persecuted her and her race, apologized from the depths of his heart.

It was a beautiful, moving and powerful sight.

Imagine taking on the responsibility of humanity and apologizing.  We don't think of doing this do we?  We are always caught up in whose fault it is and who is responsible for making it right and apologizing.  Mr. Walsch didn't need permission from others to do this.  He didn't seek a reward or prize for his efforts.  No.  He simply offered what was in his heart.  What really I believe is in every one of our hearts if only we could find it underneath the clutter of pain we have built up.

His words and actions were brought to mind this week and particularly this morning as I spoke with a friend about finding the courage to disengage from a relationship that was toxic to her.

We want so much to be accepted and loved by others.  And sometimes when we don't receive that acceptance and love we become angry; sometimes we become driven to prove people wrong in their assumption of us and almost always we seek to find others who will support us in our pain.  In all of this inner activity of the mind we can forget where we ARE accepted and loved in our lives.  We can forget to check in and see where it is that anger is coming from.  In cases like relationships often our anger is based in fear of rejection and abandonment.

Anger seeks to change circumstances, control others so that we get the outcome that would make us feel more comfortable with ourselves.  Acknowledging that there is a fear associated with the anger creates a space for healing and understanding.  It is much easier to forgive from a place of understanding than from a place of control.

I believe it's a beautiful idea to offer love and apologies on behalf of humanity as a whole.  For most of us in our journey through pain it would not matter where the apology or the acceptance came from, just that it did!  And so here I offer just that.  For those of you who have been begging for an apology from someone who is unable to offer it at this time, please accept this as a bridge to take you to the next step in your journey.  Please know that you are loved and valued beyond anything your imagination could come up with. 

"I am so very sorry, from the deepest depths of my being that you have had to endure pain and suffering at the hands of another human being.  I am so sorry that anothers words and behaviours have been hurtful to you and caused you emotional, mental or physical pain.  You are a being created of love, just as all beings are.  One day there will be an opening and pouring out of that love, we will one day understand the reason for all of this pain.  For now I offer you this apology and the love that I send along with it so that it may heal your heart and show you that you are not alone, that you are accepted, you are worthy."

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Divine Recipe

Want the secret divine recipe to a happy life?

Of course you do.

Here it is.

Forgiveness & Gratitude.

Mix the two together liberally and what you get is a divine recipe for happiness and authenticity.

Oh!  This might not be what you were hoping for.  Unfortunately, botox and liposuction aren't the recipe for happiness.  Neither is winning the lottery or marrying your soulmate.

Years ago I would have never thought that I could forgive someone and then be grateful for their presence in my life.  It would have never occurred to me to forgive something or someone immediately for any action 'against' me.  It certainly never would have been an option to be grateful for them!  That would have been an incredible stretch for me.  I used to believe that I was doing the best I could and that anyone who had a problem with that was trying to bring me down or damage me in some way.

Over the last few years though I've had excellent opportunities to use forgiveness and gratitude together on larger relationship issues and lately I've come to use them on every tiny issue that creeps in that has the potential to be blown out of proportion and land me in victimville for a week or more. 

I'm here to tell you that without a doubt these two gifts are something no human being should live without.

What I find so magical about them is that they are the kinds of things you can do even if you don't feel like doing them at first, even if you don't think there is going to be a 'payoff'. 

We know that with reactions like blame, shame, resentment and anger we get an instant payoff emotionally.  There is a rush of adrenaline, we rally the support of our friends and get them on board with the story.  These are all instant gratification reactions.

With forgiveness and gratitude the payoff is more subtle.

The reason why you don't have to actually feel like you are in the forgiving or grateful mood is because just by setting the intention to forgive and be grateful you are opening your heart to the most Holy Love.  And when we open the heart to the most Holy Love things start to happen magically.

I remember at first using forgiveness without gratitude (I didn't know they belonged together).  It took me a long time to feel forgiving on a conscious level even though I was aware that somewhere in my being I longed to be.  Then I started using gratitude.  This is when things started to get really fun.

I actually have had moments where I've asked myself "What is wrong with you?  Why aren't you reacting to this?"  I am also very surprised when someone apologizes to me for something they feel they did wrong because...well...the thought doesn't usually cross my mind anymore. 

I didn't consciously set out to erase any need to react.  I think what started to happen was that my inner need to forgive and be grateful began to overtake my need to be right or to be heard or even to be loved.  I believe that when we offer forgiveness to another and then we flood ourselves with gratitude for having had the experience we are an open channel for Holy Love and so then acceptance, love and connection are automatic.

I believe that forgiveness and gratitude are the divine recipe for erasing fear.  Whether your fears are surrounding finances, career, relationships or health.  Forgiveness and gratitude are the healing forces that take your current circumstances, whatever they may be and turn them into something greater, impactful and positive.

Monday, April 8, 2013

My Biggest Challenge

Sometimes I think my biggest challenge is accepting Gods love.

This might sound like no challenge at all but in a world where we are bombarded by messages of 'not good enough' or how we need to change ourselves to become attractive and loveable or that we need to set goals in order to achieve something grander than what we are and what we have now; you can see that something as simple as receiving Gods love becomes a little more complicated.

How can I trust that He really loves me despite how broken and flawed I am?

I mean can't He see that I flub my words and I forget what I'm supposed to say almost every time He gives me an opportunity to speak (whether I write it all out first or not)?

Doesn't He know that I hate to cook; that if I had it my way I'd nap every afternoon and pay someone to do my housework if given the chance?  Does God love the lazy me?

Does God love the me that sometimes wants to shout out 'What the  F*ck?' when I'm frustrated?

Does God love the me that sometimes becomes jealous of what another has or upset that someone has broken my heart?

Does God love the me that doesn't know what the hell she is doing here?!

Does He?

I believe He does.  In fact I know He does because for the last few months and especially the last few days God has been whispering His love in my ear, bringing me to tears and embracing me with His love.

And He is doing this, not because something has happened to me but because He knows how badly I want to receive His grace and how badly I fear I don't deserve it.

He's been working tirelessly around the clock to ensure that I reach the point in time when I will trust His love for me, sooner instead of later.  Not because He has to but because He wants to.

And I know the same thing is true for anyone else with this same challenge.

Here is my message for you.  Put down the perfection, step away from the control freak attitude.  Take a deep breath and know that God is standing in your corner before you say a word.  Before you need Him, before you think to ask Him for anything; He is there for you.  His love for you is overflowing. 

If you are seeking Gods love know that Gods love is also seeking you.  I believe it is in the moment that you release the guilt of feeling 'not good enough' that that love flows into your life in a tidal wave of power you have never experienced in your lifetime and you will never experience again.