Thursday, November 22, 2007

To Be Thankful

There is so much to be thankful for. Wind. Rain. Soap. Tea. The list is quite literally endless. Or so it should be. In the darkest days, in the fullest days, in the days that test our capacity to be civil, in every moment there is something to be thankful for.

A happy life, a life that supports and nurtures us, is dependent upon our ability to notice and acknowledge the plethora of gifts we receive. A happy life requires thank yous for the unsung, often dismissed miracles of everyday living. Hot water for showers, electricity for cooking and lighting and blogging, mittens without holes and mittens that served us long enough to manifest holes, lettuce and beans and granny smith apples that somehow appear on market shelves and wait patiently to be purchased, cars that start, friends who support us. A thought or a soft whisper of "thank you" for each of these things and the million more that enfold our days will change the course of our lives. Always for the better.

It is not a matter of rolling our eyes and sighing, " I suppose I ought to be thankful for this shoelace that did not break while tying it", it is a matter of truly feeling grateful, in our guts, for the gifts of each moment. There is no fakery in thankfulness. We mean it or it doesn't count. Period.

And the test? The true test to ensure our continued happy lives? Muster up gratitude in the midst of grief, hard times, empty wallets, hurt feelings, misunderstandings that ruin relationships, floods, illness and general crap that gets under our skin. In all adversity lies golden opportunity and bounty waiting to be uncrusted. A sincere thank you, a thank you with the knowledge behind it that the mess we are in is meant to reveal our most beautiful essences, will shorten the duration of any hell. A sincere thank you unlocks and reveals the reasons for the messy seasons.

But, trust me, we need to start being thankful for the hot water and the mittens before we can move on to sincerely appreciating our hellish messes. We need to practice being thankful for the ordinary miracles. The more we find to be thankful for, the more buoyant our spirits will become. Let's change the course of our lives. Get happy. Say thank you.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

It Is Enough

Today, it is enough. It is enough to know the sun awoke. It is enough to know my waning cats stayed one more day. It is enough to know I am loved.
I lack nothing today. Money, food, praise, warmth. Large amounts of anything hold no meaning. The right amount, the balanced amount, the amount I can fully use today, it is all here. I lack nothing today. Tomorrow, regardless of my mood, I will lack nothing as well.
I am cared for and I care for others. I give and I receive. I speak and I am silent. Water flows. Leaves blow. Clouds roll in and out. It is enough.
There is no wanting. There is no yearning. Passion settles. Peace floats. My walk is grounded, steady. I am loved. And it is enough.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Her Marrakesh

Do yourself a favor. Click on this link: From there you will find the most tantalizing glimpse into the world of Morocco, from the design-savvy viewpoint of an American woman living and blogging in Marrakesh.
Maryam and her sweet family are building their dreams in the form of a guest house in Marrakesh. It will be known as Peacock Pavilions when the dream has fully manifested. I plan to be a guest in that realized dream because Maryam and her camera have enticed me to fall in love with a land I've never been to. A land filled with colors. A land filled with beauty. A land I can't stop thinking about. All because of Maryam. Her artistic eye and willingness to share the bounty of her adopted home keeps me visiting her blog on a regular basis.

Now, please do me a favor. Maryam's blog has been nominated as a 2007 Weblog Award finalist for Best Middle East/African blog. I want her to win. She inspires me and helps me dream in brighter colors. Votes are needed to accomplish this. Please click on this link to cast a favored vote for My Marrakesh. You can vote once a day, with voting lasting only until November 9th.
My fingers are crossed. Thank you for helping make a little bit of Maryam's dream come true.

Moroccan door photograph: copyright(c) 2007, Maryam of My Marrakesh

Monday, November 05, 2007

All Delightful Conditions

"Cherish your visions;
cherish your ideals;
cherish the music that stirs in your heart,
the beauty that forms in your mind,
the loveliness that drapes your purest thoughts~
for out of them will grow all delightful conditions,
all heavenly environment;
of these, if you remain but true to them,
your world will at last be built."

James Allen, As A Man Thinketh

Saturday, November 03, 2007

The Book Obsession

I am madly in love with books. I have spent most of my adult life, however, reading non-fiction. If I was going to spend time reading, I wanted to learn something. An occasional work of fiction would cross my path, but I always returned in the very next selection to non-fiction. Until this year.
This has been my year of falling madly in love with fiction. It began with the loan from a friend of The Expected One, by Kathleen McGowan, back in the spring. By the time I read the 7th Harry Potter in August, the madness had overtaken me. Since Harry, I am simply unable to be without a good work of fiction. Along with meditation, my book obsession is keeping my sanity intact and relieving the stress of 21st century life. I still sneak in some gems of non-fiction, though. Recently, I have been re-reading 2 brilliant, spiritually-based books, The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle and The Four Agreements, by Don Miguel Ruiz. But the best seller list for fiction has my full-bodied attention.
Water For Elephants, by Sara Gruen, was simply fabulous. Every adult should read it. Eat, Pray, Love, by Elizabeth Gilbert, (non-fiction) has more folded page corners to mark poignant passages than any other book I've read this year. I found it sacred and sassy and written just for me. But the book that infested my soul and caused me to shirk all responsibility one recent Sunday was The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini. It blew me away. Simply blew me away. It made me see how little I know and how blessed my life is and how deeply my soul wants to make a difference in the world.
I took a break after the intensity of The Kite Runner and read The Memory Keepers Daughter, by Kim Edwards. It was my least favorite read so far, but it evened my emotions out in preparation for the newest book I've been coveting, the one I bought today in hard cover because who can wait for the paperback with a book this dynamic and timely? Khaled Hosseini's next little masterpiece, A Thousand Splendid Suns. Do not call me tomorrow. I will not answer. Me and my full box of Kleenex will be otherwise engaged.
After the heat of A Thousand Splendid Suns, these are the tales recommended by my book-loving friends:
Beachcombing at Miramar, by Richard Bode
The Bone Garden, by Tess Gerritson
Pillars of the Earth, by Ken Fallet
Three Cups of Tea, by Greg Mortenson
A Long Way Gone, by Ishmael Beah
What books would you recommend?

Friday, November 02, 2007

For Sue

Dear Sue,

You are not lost. You are not alone. You are an Angel searching for direction. And you will find it. You will find the avenue, the location, the theater in which to shower your love. The tears are God's signal that your overflowing heart needs an arena to spread its pent up joy. Your heart needs a specific focus to unveil its larger-than-life capacity to offer love and support and hospitality.
When a generous heart needs more room to play, restlessness and dissatisfaction cast shadows over a life too small to contain it. When a generous heart feels the call to serve a higher order, the known life begins to shed its skin in preparation for something more. Something larger. Something that could not be imagined 2 minutes ago, but now calls the heart forward with magnetic urgency.
I do not know what you are being called to do, Sue. But I know for certain your brand of generosity has not gone unnoticed. God has a plan to use you. Love is in short supply around here and He needs all available hands on deck. You heart and your hands have something special to offer this world. Healing, love, faith in the human spirit and even warm cookies. Open your mind. Listen for the cues and look for the clues. You will find your direction, even if you are led by a trail of tears to its threshold.
Fear not. The Angel within you is emerging. Let her wings unfurl. Let her heart grow large. Let her love find its place to flow like a river.