Archive for June, 2012

Suspended Reality

Posted: June 30, 2012 in Adventure, Faith, Joy, Skydiving, U2
Tags: , , , ,

 Suspended Reality

Suggested Listening: “Beautiful Day” – U2  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0vncOE5JICc 

      Go!  And out you jump!  Can you even imagine what that first five seconds feels like when you take the plunge out of an airplane—willingly?  Oh sure, back on earth the decision may have felt totally sane when you were contemplating another item to cross off your bucket list.

Now you’re here.   No time to back out.  You may have traces of fear or you may be totally consumed with it.  No matter.  Your name is called. You and your more than capable instructor, who is attached in tandem to you, stand at the open door and prepare to take the leap.  This leap of faith; you own it!

     You’re OUT!     Wooooooowwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww!  Your heart is pumping so hard; it feels like it might explode!  The earth is so beautiful from out here.  Sure you’ve flown before, but you were never part of the atmosphere like this.  You’re falling at speeds over 100 mph and cherishing every second of it!   Your mind is a movie camera as it tries to memorize your descent at multiple frames per second.     You redefine status in the Mile High Club; don’t you?!

Your mind is in a state of suspended reality.  You forget that down below babies are being born, wars are being fought, marriages are taking place, people are at desks working, or they’re driving vehicles, or riding on subways, or carrying water while walking  dirt paths, and a trillion other events simultaneously.   How could you?  You are here now.  The earth is silent, save the loud wind that pulls your face back–a temporary face lift.

Your falling, safely, at speeds over 100 mph.  You are at One with your partner that is attached to you and you are at peace with who you are and the world in which you inhabit down below.  This is the moment that you knew you were destined to meet up with.  Your fear left once you saw how beautiful it all was! 

You trust.  You are braver than most people who only tread the earth.  You know family and friends back on earth love you; oh sure they do!  You were always a risk-taker; but never without calculation.  The risk that you took is completely eclipsed by the grand reward which God gave you today:

Life!  It is Magnificent!  This Beautiful Day!

     Your trust in the instructor is required and is repaid a million times over the moment your parachute is pulled.   Like a flower that shoots up, you’re  temporarily pulled back and begin falling slower now, as you return to the gravity you’ve always known.

The moment your feet touch ground, you already know you’ve changed.  You did it!  You carry a new appreciation in your heart.  These pictures that suspend you in time and space will make your heart sing every time you remember.  When you feel the most alive; you truly live.

For Chelsea—So proud of you, my beautiful niece who always walks in a spirit of joy, courage, and faith, knowing that life always turns out for the best!  You are indeed your mother’s daughter!

Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said,

“why did you doubt?”  Matthew 14:31 (NIV)

 

Advertisements

Today I woke up and realized something profound:  These days, I’m living:

All over the map!

Life seems to be a continuous itinerary of places to go, chores to accomplish, jobs to do, and people to interact with.  Yet, is there joy here?

Today I am blessed yet again to not have to work my my “real” job.   I work P/T and set my own schedule.  Still, my daughter has a friend over, then works until late this evening.  My six year old is about to wake up and will want to play and be entertained.   I am making a dinner to take to a neighbor who just had a baby.  My mother in law is coming to eat dinner with us for her birthday, but hopefully my daughter will be making that dinner.  She’s a fantastic cook, better than me!   The house is a wreck.  There is a tornado of papers all over my office.   I owe people letters, replies, and need to follow up on work and personal commitments.  I need to call relatives I’ve lost touch with.  I need to clean the crud off the bathroom mirror for Pete’s sake!

Where to start?  What to do?    I know!  First, I’ll write.  It doesn’t have to be good.  It just needs to happen.  Plug into My joy first I hear my soul whisper to me.  It will all come together, somehow.  It always does.  Let go (not reduce) your expectations.  Just let it go!

I am learning how to write, and in so doing, I am learning how to let go.  I am learning in order to follow my dreams a few side effects are going to result:

  • The house will be messier (than it already was)
  • Others will have to step up (thanks daughter for making so many dinners)
  • People will need to be patient!  (Citibank, Water Company–the check really is in the mail, just as soon as I have time)
  • I need to pray more, not less.  (God, PLEASE help order my day.  There is so much I want to do, but now I’ve added something huge:  I’ve got so much I want to say!)
  • I need to be patient.  (Good things really do come to those who wait and above all leave the results to God!  This is not the time to quit, give up, or demand results from others or from God.  The gift is to go with the flow!)

The last item is the hardest.  I am a “list” person.  Scraps of paper numbered in priority have always dominated my life.  Do this.  Pay that.  Call her.  Explain to him.  Complete every errand.  Spend “quality and focused time” with my son.  That one I sometimes feel I fail at miserably.

But today, I choose not to beat myself up.  I choose not to give up.  I choose to be joyful and to be an encouragement to anyone around me.  I choose to see distractions as divine appointments.  Most of all I say a prayer that God give me love today.

Please give me love to season the food with.  Please give me love to speak with.  And certainly love to set the house as a warm and welcoming place for friends and family, especially my own to reside.  Give me hands to do; yet let me use them by reaching out and doing things in the spirit of love, not in the spirit of “I have to do these 3,687 things or I’m falling down on the job as a mom/wife/daughter/friend.”

Let me bask in love and let me be love reflected.

Praying today if you’re addicted to doing, you can simply be.   If you are addicted to anything, that U2 (you too!) can let it go.  Just let it go!   You too are loved!!    U2areloved

This desperation
Dislocation
Separation
Condemnation
Revelation
In temptation
Isolation
Desolation
Let it go
And so fade away
To let it go
And so fade away
To let it go
And so to fade away

“Bad” – U2

Trust is letting go of needing to know all the details before you open your heart.

~Author Unknown

Sunset in Raleigh 6/26/12

 

 Sometimes we get lost because it’s so easy.  We skip from one distraction to the next and in so doing we lose sight of The Big Picture of our life.  We are without compass and have lost our sense of direction.  We rarely have a moment of quiet or peace.  All we really want is to find our way home. 

I can remember when I was a very young child being lost in the woods.  Or at least I felt like I was lost.  I was at the total mercy of my father to return me safely to civilization, my known world.  He did, thankfully.   By middle school I participated in Girl Scouts and enjoyed my first camping trips without parents.

I learned to use a compass by day, but at night we hunkered down in our tents or shelters.  We never once explored the deep dark woods at night.  However, when  I was trying to fall asleep outside under a full moon with crickets chirping all around, and strange movements that could be detected close by, I was more than a little tempted to explore on my own, though my better judgment always kicked in.  We were young girls after all, alone yet together, with den leaders who also were young women–just a slightly more grown up version of ourselves.

It seems I was have always been hungry for adventure, and generally one to travel with relatively little fear “for a woman” some might say.  But I didn’t know then, what I do now.

 Sometime between childhood and adulthood, I learned I had better always be able to find “True North”.    Even “True North” is of limited use, if you are not sure of your arrival destination.

Today we are literally surrounded by a 24/7 onslaught of endless digital media, our old friends the TV and radio, and of course advertising everywhere you turn!  We go out shopping and we sometimes can’t even clarify our own thinking, save for the monitors at the end of every aisle subliminally reprogramming our decision making process over which products to consume.  Go online; it’s way worse!

Our daily travels and errands are constantly bombarded with noise, images, music, sound effects, giant paper billboards, and flashing neon and enormous LED displays that have fourteen different crawls scrolling across.   Times Square makes the Zoo TV Tour look like it was little more than a stationary backdrop.   We get to and from our intended destinations, but we miss 99% of the journey.

We are direction-less wanderersWe’re always in motion, but seem clueless as to where we are actually going.    We are in this space and time but for an infitesimally small fraction of eternity.

U2 was ahead of its time twenty years ago, because their tour foreshadowed the continuous wallpaper advertising and multi-media distractions that we’ve since incorporated as daily routine.  For a concert, it was amazing entertainment!  Now, we seem to live in a state of constant distraction with random or no focus, and no sense of where home (where our heart truly resides).  It’s just too much!

How many of us leave the house with one or more TVs just on?  Perhaps you fall asleep to the lull of “comfort noise”– the conversations of people both real and fictional characters, none of whom know or care for you and vice versa.  We interact with faces on screens more than faces on people!  We’ve silenced our inner voice by a bombardment of noise and lights, and wonder why do we feel so alone?

It’s time to leave it behind!  We need to get back to simple.  We need to leave our cubicles and get engaged in the beautiful day that is all around you.  Unplug from the pod and hear the earth as it actually speaks to you.  Feel the variations of the ground beneath your feet.    If you’re in the city, I hope you can carve out a regular time to visit somewhere that has tall trees, an absence of concrete, and vast amounts of silence.

Once thoroughly embedded in a night forest, begin traveling my friend.  (Bring a buddy of course, safety first!)  Look up!  Look around!  Do you know where you are?  Can you find True North?

It’s easy.  You’re looking for the North Star.  Her real name is Polaris, she’s also known as the Pole Star or Lode Star.  She’s not the brightest star in the sky, but she is bright.  Here’s how to find her:

  • Find the big dipper.
  • Look at the two stars (top and bottom) farthest away from the dipper’s ladle.
  • The one on the bottom furthest from the Big Dipper’s handle is called Merak–which for some reason makes me think of meerkats!  Whatever!
  • The one on the top furthest from the handle is called Dubhe –go ahead, call it doobie if you’re so inclined!
  • Anyway—while looking at Dubhe, in your mind draw a line that starts at Merak, continues on to Dubhe,  and in the same direction look until you see the top of the handle of the Little Dipper.
  • The very top star of the Little Dipper is Polaris.  Congratulations, you’ve found the North Star!

It’s easier to find Polaris by starting with the identifying the Big Dipper first since the Little Dipper isn’t always easily recognizable in the night sky.

Hopefully, now you know how to find your way home geographically.  But what about your heart?  Where is home?  Who or where is your North Star?  I hope you find it.   You already know this:  In life, there are plenty of black holes, most of them super massive!    At the “event horizon” of a black hole, is the point of no return; it’s where the pull of gravity will irrevocably take you down.  You can’t escape, even if you are traveling faster than the speed of light.   You’re sucked in, stretched thin, and shredded to pieces.   Sound like anyone you know?

So find True North.  May this be your moment of surrender.  You may think I’m not easy on my knees.   Look up—do you see what I see?   North Star.   And may your heart sing A New Song (40) as you journey home.

‘Cause there’s only one light that can guide you
Guide you home, home

Say it, say it, say it, say it
I can’t wait any longer
I can’t wait any longer for your love

“North Star” – U2

Suggested Listening:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LuUsn3Ck9bU

Image from: http://allu2allthetime.tumblr.com/

One of the Best U2 Fan Sites Ever!!!!!

Witness Venus In Transit Here:  http://vimeo.com/43563394

Suggested Listening:  “Window in the Skies ‘ — U2  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cK_q7tEOPA0

 Dang it!  I missed it.  Do you know what solar phenomenon happened on June 5, 2012 that will not be repeated in our lifetime?    It’s not an amazing meteor shower, or even a comet, such as the beautiful Hale Bopp comet seen all over the world in 1997.    It was the solar event known as Venus in Transit.  Here’s how it played out:  Venus passed directly between the sun and the earth, but appeared as a black dot traversing the length of the sun on a journey just shy of seven hours.  For anyone that would have witnessed this event at an observatory, a museum viewing, or with eyes shielded by welder-grade sunglasses, they would have witnessed a black dot slowly making its way across the sun for approximately seven minutes from their specific location on earth.

 This Transit of Venus happens every 243 years, with pairs of transits eight years apart that part company for about 105.5 and 121.5 years.  Another words, the next paired transit, won’t happen until 2117 and 2125.  This means, we won’t have a chance to witness this phenomenon again, at least not in our resident earthly body.

Wikipedia informs us that this event is both predictable and rare. Predictable in that it has a proven historical track record, but rare in the fact, you have only a two-shot chance of witnessing  this spectacular paired journey eight years apart.  So if you missed it on June 5, 2012 and also June 8, 2004 then you will only see it now courtesy of cyber space, not celestial space.

I’m sorry I missed this because I still remember Hale Bopp, not because of the freakishly strange cult suicides that resulted from its presence, but because like a diamond in the sky, it possessed the quality of brilliance and extreme rareness.  I remember seeing the comet as it blazed across the sky, as a vivid light breaking through the darkness, gently hinting there is so much more here than meets the eye.    Looking up, it appeared to be a window in the sky that alludes to something beyond what our mind can surely grasp.

Strange as it sounds, when I saw it from our front porch, my first thought was how it reminded me of the Polar Express train of children’s  literature—this magical train that breaks through the night, full of excited children, crossing space and time boundaries to deliver more than just Christmas gifts, but the gift of belief!

This I know to be true in life:  There is no such thing as coincidence!  I will repeat that until my dying day.  I am a firm believer that life is not random, but intentional.  We are created to witness some great mysteries and miracles in life, but they will mean little more to us than coincidence without the gift of belief.

I’ve always been enthralled by the mysteries of deep space.  It humbles me, because I know that in the grand spectrum of the universe, my allotted space and time is absolutely microscopic.  Think about this:  Look at all you have witnessed and experienced in your own life, if only up until now:  Moments of rare beauty, moments of extreme pain, birth, loss, dreams, obligations, music, love, oceans, mountains, sky, animals, and people—just a small millionth of all you’ve experienced, endured, heard, tasted, witnessed, and touched.    Considering the vastness of our universe, is it mere privy that you’ve had the luxury of experiencing so much?  You are not like the stationery planets that sit still, changing only on the surface.  You are so much more!

You are like Venus in Transit.  You are given a mind to assimilate knowledge, belief, events, faith, and experience.  Are all these things just random coincidence in your life?  Or will you use it and connect the dots in your life, just as surely as a master Creator has an order for the stars and planets that dot our view of sky?

Venus is named after the Roman goddess Venus that represents love, beauty, fertility, sexuality, prosperity and victory—not much–just the pinnacle of our enjoyable side of human existence.

So when I found out I missed Venus is Transit, as I read old unread emails from my museum memberships this morning, I was more than a little bummed.  You see, witnessing that would have been another event I know I would have categorized as witnessing a miracle:

Love Passes By; The Sun Keeps Watch

For me, I already believe this.  Love passes by.   Bono knows this.  In fact he wrote a book called “On the Move”.  He states that love, and mercy, and God are all on the move.  Love is never static!  It grows legs and walks into adversity and suffering.  It extends arms and hands that provide sustenance, aid, and the potential to hold someone.  Love is a cureBut it is not without cost.   It puts hearts on sleeves and security on the line and makes us give out of what we’re not even sure we possess.     See love knows we’re going to suffer.  It knows we’ll see things we’d rather not.  Love marches forward anyway.

I keep a pocket full of miracles in my head and heart that no person can ever take away.  Though most days I live life with feet planted firmly in terra firma in my town, my heart travels, and in in doing so, it keeps changing.  It’s as though a puppet master is pulling the strings of my feet, arms, and heart, as He says, “Over here, child.  Over here.”  I don’t know if I want to go, or if I’m prepared.  I do and don’t want to go.

But like Venus in Transit, a rare and brilliant love capably pulls my orbit across and around the Son’s light.   I don’t have to know the future or my exact destination as I journey across the universe.  I wish you the same:  Let the power of an eternal and regenerating love and light sustain you as you move through life.

Read This Book And Be Changed:

Available on Amazon for under $3

LMFAO! (Live My Faith; Accept Others!)

Posted on June 21, 2012

What this world needs is a new kind of army – the army of the kind.  ~Cleveland Amory

The other day I was having a lovely lunch with my young son and mother.   Though my mom is an extremely youthful octogenarian, she amused me when she asked, “Liz, tell me something, what does LMFAO mean when people comment with that on their Facebook page?”  Oh boy!  Not one who enjoys cursing in front of my mom, I told her what the acronym’s letters stood for and assured her that I never use it with the middle letter attached when someone tells me something funny.

Long after I answered her question, I was still thinking about what it could stand for.  You see, in the deep cranial cavities of Liz Logic, I am kind of an acronym aficionado, if there is such a thing.  When I see unfamiliar acronyms, I love to see if I can figure out what they stand for based on context of a website or article etc.

At church, we have sermon notes, with blanks left out for key words that will be divulged during the sermon.  Pastor, I’m one step ahead of you; I got this one I always think to myself.  I like to think I know my bible well enough, that I can guess the key words before he teaches us with an amazing sermon.  And you guessed it, I often get it wrong.    I see an L__________ (fill in the blank) and go ahead and put LOVE!   Only to find out, the answer was Live!

It’s a mental game I play with myself, seeing if I can decipher answers before sitting still long enough to receive the answers from someone who just may possibly know more than I do.

Get to the point Liz!  OK, here’s the thing.  So I was pondering a better answer I could have given my mom for the off-colored acronym for a response to a humorous comment one makes on Facebook.   EUREKA!  It just came to me, like this, in a Liz-Flash of inspiration.

Live My Faith; Accept Others

It seems like the last year of my life has been one of the best years I’ve ever had.  But it’s not because every situation in my life is hunky dory all the time.  Far from it!    I don’t know if it’s because the sands of the hour glass are heavier on the bottom side of my life, or God has just graced me with more wisdom, but this message just keeps ringing true these days–repeatedly!

Here’s why.  I have been involved in a neighborhood bible study group with the loveliest friends I have ever known for the last fifteen years.  Some of us leave for a season and come back; some simply move on to other things in life, but the core friendships remain the same.  We are a platoon of moms, wives, daughters, sisters, and friends and we have seen it all and been through it all in our own lives.  We’ve been through multiple deaths, births, and struggles with our families and deep within ourselves.  We’ve laughed and cried together all these years and probably wouldn’t have had the strength to face some of the things we faced, had it not been for one another.    Sometimes we look back, and think, how in the world did we even survive that?    Only one answer rings true, but for God.

Something one dear friend said, especially grabbed me last night.  She said, “You know the answer in life is just so simple.”  Impossible at times to execute, but so simple to understand:

“Just love one another”

 If we all could just truly love one another, and accept one another, we wouldn’t be at war within our families, or within the world, and even within ourselves.  You don’t think you’re at war within yourself?  Think again.  Do you ever participate in self-condemnation?  I’m so fat or I’m so stupid?   Do you ever participate in pride, or judging others?

See, this truth is the heart of our faith–to just love one another!   Where do you feel the most free in life?  It’s probably in the friendships and relationships where you feel totally accepted in life, despite what they know about you, or your quirks, or your flaws, or your areas that you are working on.

We’ve learned some other things in life too.  It’s not enough to just love each other in our little “holy huddle.”  There is a hurting world outside just beyond the smell of our fresh coffee and raucous laughter.    We know!  That’s the world we always go back to when our time together is up.

Our personalities, political persuasions, professional choices, and how we school and parent our children vary vastly.   Yet we are in agreement on this bedrock principal.  Just love!  We don’t have to beat the others in our family or in the world with bible verses.  It’s not our position to save, but our privilege to share.  We can share our testimonies and our faith as we understand it if asked, but ultimately it is our kindness or love (or sadly, lack of) that tells the truth of who we claim to be.

Sometimes I personally feel like I’m the worst as far as being an effective ambassador or servant of Christ.  I’m so full of inconsistencies!  I’m full of pride sometimes!  I still sin, not only as defined in the bible, but as that voice in my head that says this doesn’t honor God.   Yes, I struggle!    I’m real!    I think we’ve all taken turns passing the self-condemnation ball around but I also know that this is a tactic from an enemy who wishes to see us destroy ourselves, and NOT the wrath of an angry God.

At the end of the day I know God is a mighty big God.  He has a sense of humor and strength that far surpasses mine.  After all He’s God!  He knows my obsessions, my fears, my tears, and my confessions!  (Whoa…that rhyme just tumbled out!).  But He does!  He probably laughs and says, “There, there my precious child.  You’re going to be okay.  I’ve got it covered.  I know ALL about this, but I love you anyway.  That situation that’s making you nuts or you’re totally afraid of?  It’s all going to be ok.  Trust me.  Be patient.  Have faith.  Don’t be angry at others; just love.  Yes, grow in love.”

I’m still growing up.  But the love comes easier these days.  I don’t have to stay confined to this group or that group of people.  I don’t have to put people in a category.   It’d be better if I ignore any splinters in my neighbor’s eye, considering I have enough planks in my eye to build a deck, quite possibly on a ship.

Though I still get mad, and frustrated, and lose it sometimes, I’m learning I have a place to return.    It’s the heart of our creator.  Proverbs 4:23 teaches us “Guard your heart; for it is the wellspring of life” has never been truer than now.    I’m pretty sure God doesn’t want us to build a fortress around it, as to not contaminate it, but to build bridges from it and let the love spill out into the world.  I think this verse is misunderstood as to not let anything corrupt us.  This is true, but I think it also means to not fear those that believe differently, those who have a different opinion of truth.    I think of it as guarding your heart from falling prey to fear, cynicism, judgment, condemnation, or categorizing.  Just breathe life-affirming love into others.  Let God worry about the rest.

Is our faith so fragile, we could lose it by loving those that are different?  I hope not.  That’s not what Jesus did and it’s not what I want to do either.  Though I’ve certainly been guilty of that, it’s not who I am anymore—at least I’m trying not to be that person!

For me, Jesus was perfect and I’m so not, and honestly neither has anyone who speaks in His name for the last two thousand years or so.   I think He would be a lot more popular if the world could see more love from those that claim to follow Him.

Love is not to be contained, or given to only those we deem lovely or loveable.  It is not reserved for the deserving, or folks like us.  It’s so much more than a cliché too; it’s actually a commandment…to love God with all our heart, soul, and mind, but don’t forget the second part—to love our neighbor as our self!

The world and its inhabitants have always and will always need more love and peace.  Just start with you.  Start now.  Where is the love?

Suggested Listening:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cdt9kE58uww&feature=related

“Love and Peace or Else” — U2

I’m going to deviate from writing about my life today and put out a plea for any and all U2 fans to help me with a simple request.

I’m looking for other fans, bloggers, music enthusiasts, people who have met or been helped by,  and people with faith and love in their heart that have been influenced or changed as a result of listening to the music of U2.

If this has happened to you, please send me your story, any concert or personal pics (all appropriate credit given to pics, so please let me know if you or someone else took them) and whether or not you would mind if I share your story with others.

I am ultimately hoping to write less about me and connect with other fans and hear their experiences in more detail than Facebook currently provides.  I see lots of picture and video sharing, but I’m really interested in how U2 has inspired other fans.

Has their music inspired you to make changes in your life, join the ONE campaign, get involved in charity work, etc? 

Really hoping to hear some comments or stories!   This site is in it’s “infancy” so please be patient; I will be sharing!

Thanks U2 fans!  Thanks U2!   U2ARELOVED!

Image

I took lots of pictures 2011’s 360 tour when I saw them in Baltimore, MD and Philadelphia, PA.

This was taken in Baltimore.  I was inside the circle and very close to where they walked around.  Of all the pics, this was my favorite.  Bono really does seem to walk in a very special light indeed.

Please send any stories, pics etc. to lizlogic@yahoo.com

Spider-Man at Madame Tussaud’s Museum -NYC

But your strength will be a vision, beyond visibility

And the gift you have within, will give you new eyes to see

“Rise Above 2” from  Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark – Music by U2

Suggested viewing/listening:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9-k02MIT4eU

Spider-Man is by far my favorite superhero.  I’ve repeatedly watched Spider-Man movies and especially love  the Broadway play “Spider-Man:  Turn Off the Dark”.   The whole concept of Spider-Man totally resonates with me.  Here’s what Spider-Man has taught me:

You need “vision beyond visibility” in order to see things as they actually are.  Anais Nin said, “We don’t see things as they are, but as we are.”   The more negative and cynical one is, the more a person will find in this world to complain about.  The more positive, outgoing, and loving one is, the world can seem like a pretty sweet place, until sooner or later, someone totally takes advantage of your better nature, and then you’re left hurt and betrayed.  To see the world, as it actually is, you must know this:

You have to acknowledge you live life daily in the battlefield.  Good and evil exists.  People will cheat, rob, humiliate, and harm you just because they can.   Though I tend to believe what goes around, comes around, even the kindest people can have their karma and/or their psyche shattered when they suddenly find themselves the unfair target of cruelty or evil.  Though you know it’s not you, or anything you deserved; it doesn’t diminish the pain inflicted.

Trust your “Spidey Sense.”    Your intuition is actually you’re best friend.  The more you learn to trust it, as opposed to rejecting it, the safer you will feel in this world,  whether it be in places or in relationships.  The best book I ever read regarding intuition is by Gavin De Becker titled The Gift of Fear.  The one concept I took away more than any other from this phenomenal book is something I taught all three of my kids:  Don’t be afraid of strangers; but learn to identify strangeness.  Respect your fear regarding behavior or language that sets off your alarms and know how to respond to it.

I believe in praying for the best, but I also am a firm believer in preparing for the worst.  Always have an exit plan in a room, a building, a plane, a boat, and if necessary,  a relationship.  Respect your fear, but don’t feed it.  The goal is to be intuitive, not paranoid!

You’re going to have to scale some walls in life.  Not only are obstacles going to come your way faster than you can say, “Angry Birds”, you’re going to be cruising along just fine sometimes, and then BLAM!  You hit a wall.   After you recover from your shock and awe moment, you have to choose whether or not you’re going to stay stuck physically, and especially emotionally, or are you going to start finding a way to climb over that wall.

Rehashing the past is almost counter-productive.  Should of, would of, could of are the triplets you‘ll always see in the rear view mirror known as 20/20 hindsight.  Best advice?  Get over it.

Sure, you need to talk and mend your broken heart or vent your less than stellar choices, but are you going to stay stuck or are you going to step out in faith?  To take the proverbial leap of faith means you will have to:

 Take risks!  Even Peter Parker knew Mary Jane needed to hear the truth from him.  You can’t assume someone knows you love them.   You may need to find the courage to tell them.  You can live in your safe corner of the world, or you can risk rejection, and take a chance.      Fleetwood Mac sang it best in a song titled “Affairs of the Heart”  in the lyric that states, “It’s better to have loved and lost, than to never have loved at all.”

Same is true of anything worth risking.  You could start a new business, compose a beautiful symphony, write a best seller, meet the man or woman of your dreams, or make a new plan for your life.  But you’re going to have to take some big risks.    Relationships, security, and the status quo are hard things to put on the table.  We all like to stay in our comfort zone.  But to really get to where you want to go, you’re  going to have to walk as far away from the comfort zone as you can.  Not to sound super cheesy, but if your living in the CZ, you’ve got it too EZ to ever expect different results.

 Don’t quit your day job, but…..     Peter Parker didn’t quit working as a photographer at the Daily Bugle, but he didn’t let it stop him from being who he truly was—Spider-Man.  How cleverly he introduces the person he actually is through his job as a photographer.  Is there a way you can use your passions, or gifts, in your work?  Try to find ways to incorporate them.  If not, make a commitment to yourself, how to structure your time, so that a consistent, specified amount of time will be used each day and week to hone your skills and to just focus on doing what you love.  You will most likely have to schedule this into your calendar, or it will never happen.

Use your gifts carefully.   Spider-Man could use his web slinging capabilities to fly between buildings, knocking out and entrapping criminals, and swooping down to save people.  But it could also be used to entrap him.  Do not let darkness, such as the need for revenge, to enter your heart.  That is when we lose our power for sure, when we allow the words and actions of others to overtake our sensibilities and alter our plans.  Spider-Man understood that in order to completely utilize his gift, he could not allow darkness to reign in his heart.  He had to “turn off the dark.”

Somebody somewhere needs you to be their superhero.    Know that God, the giver of all gifts, is watching you to see what you do with yours. Remember, you do not walk alone.  Do what is right, and good and noble always; resist evil.  Defend the week and assist the poor. Live a life of integrity.  Love truth and seek justice.  Live your life in such a way as to fulfill your dreams and impact the lives of others.  Go!  See!  Believe!

If ever in NYC (Foxwoods Theatre) this is one of my favorite plays of all time!  I could easily see it a dozen more times!

 http://spidermanonbroadway.marvel.com/

Where there is no vision, the people perish; but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.  Proverbs 29:18

ImageIf a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?

      Sometimes we fall.  Down, down, down, gravity pulls us to the abyss.  Helpless and hopeless doesn’t even begin to describe our plunge.  Falling fast into a vast pit of darkness; we sometimes succumb to the depths of a horrific hell of our own making.   With each passing second, we shrink further away from reality, from those we love and from those who surely love us.   Most of all we fall away from God, from the truth that would surely save us, if only we could reach a hand up.

Sir Walter Scott said it well:   Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive.”    A wise pastor I once knew said it even better, “Anyone who lies to themselves, will have no problem lying to others.”   What is it that you hide?  What bitter secret brings you further down with each passing day?  What is this thing you think you keep telling yourself you can handle but deep down you know is consuming you?   What is it that causes you to lie in the worst ways to those who love you most?

Truth is found in so many places.  Some find truth in the Scriptures.  Some find truth in music.  Truth is found in people who care about you, and don’t ever believe for one moment, there is no one who cares for you at all.  That is the biggest lie of all.   Some find truth in the written word, much of it floating in the atmosphere, awaiting you to find it, click it, and use it!   I think you can find truth, answers, and help in all of these.  Yet the best place to start with truth needs to be in the mirror.  Look at yourself for an entire minute.  Don’t flinch!  You owe it to those you love and are loved by, but especially yourself,

Who are you really?

Are you willing to get real?

 

You can stop running, hiding, lying, and using right now.  This is the moment that could change everything!

This post isn’t for everyone.  But I have a feeling you already know if it’s for you.

Defy gravity now.  Reach a hand out brother or sister.   Do the hardest thing you’ll ever loveChoose to change.  Choose life, your real life. 

You can do this.  You can Rise Above!     Just because I don’t know who you are, doesn’t mean I’m not praying for you.    Believe, believe, believe!  U2areloved!


There’s so many websites available regarding addiction.  I’m only sharing two of my favorites from friends who went way beyond recovery, and really used the experience to make something magnificent out of their lives.  I hope you will too!

http://freefromhellblog.com.s144903.gridserver.com/?p=2312

http://thebeggarsbakery.net/2012/05/23/shame-is-a-parasite-and-other-suprises/

You can change your mind
But you cannot change your heart
Your heart knows what you’re hiding
Your heart knows where you are
I’d be myself if I knew who I’d become
You don’t have to fly too high
To get too close to the sun
See the boy fall from the sky

(Theme from Spiderman: Turn Off the Dark – Music by U2)

Listen at:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3A0g-_8ptAA

Image

Try to find your deepest issue in every confusion and abide by that.  D.H. Lawrence

 I have such a fickle muse.  This muse who always shows up uninvited when I’m busy working on anything in real life other than writing, and who arrives fashionably late or sometimes not at all when I most desperately need her.    She is like the invisible friend one has in childhood, but you get teased by older siblings if seen talking to her.

She is fleeting.  She rides the wind currents of air and rolls in and out with the changing of the tide.   She’s entirely unpredictable and unreliable, and yet I love her so.  I never know if this is the day she’ll show up.  If I could contain her, I would trap her so she would stay with me just a little while longer and whisper those things she wants only me to know, and even less she allows me to share.

She laughs at me when I’m frustrated, and sits oddly still, giving me the silent treatment, when I tell her I have all the time of the world to spend with her for now.  When I perceive pressure and deadlines, she is always out partying no doubt.

My muse, yes, he is a strange one.  Constantly changing form, and swirling all around me.   I carry a secret happiness knowing only I can see him sometimes.   I smile during inappropriate moments and places because he tells me things he doesn’t share with anyone else.  And then he says the magic three words, every writer’s heart longs to hear:

Write this down.

On nights when all is right in my world, the tasks of the day are done, and I’m about to shut my eyes for what will surely be a rare night of deep sleep, he hovers just inches over my freshly closed eyes.  I can barely feel the fluttering of him, but still I do.  WAKE UP!  Did you know about this?  What are you going to do with this news?    No, I think, not now.  I don’t need you right now.  Yes, my fickle muse is sometimes an annoying little pest.

If I’m in the shower, I sometimes can faintly hear him singing.  But if I try to sing with him, he quickly vanishes.    Sometimes he’ll write my memoirs when I’m not looking, and when I find them and read them, I’ll shriek, “Hey!  That’s not TRUE!” and then I compose myself, because when I try to recall the past, sometimes, I’m not sure.

Like a cat, he sometimes taps across my keyboard leaving a trail of misspelled words, misplaced and excess punctuation.   The ultimate revisionist, he sometimes substitutes made up words for real ones.  He’s a prankster too.  Sometimes, when feeling particularly devilish, I’ll be nearly finished writing a post, a page, or an outline, and I will hit “save” as he simultaneously deletes what was surely my best work.  Finito!

She certainly contributes to a mild case of crazy.  Sometimes she’ll brighten the room with such a huge flash of inspiration.  I’ll get two or three sentences written.  Amazing!  I think to myself.  Then, faster than the flash of words she just gave me, she runs off with a band of her bohemian friends, leaving me stranded for days without capability of follow through.  I look back and don’t even know what we were talking about in the first place.

Sometimes when life is unbelievably complicated, and writing feels like a chore with no joy, she’s suddenly sitting beside me, my biggest cheerleader.  You can do this, you know she whispers.  I always knew you would, how come you didn’t?  She sees my tears I cry in secret, and carries them to painters who need vibrant water to mix with their duller colors.

My muse, I love him so.   When I feel lost and alone, he’ll stop and sit beside me when I pray.  I sense a calmness just knowing he is there.   When I’m out and about mixing with all the people of the world, he always leaves me be, because he knows that I know deep down, I am fine without him.

Together we form words ex nihilo!  We create beauty alla prima!  After the creation is finished, he leaves.    I know why.  I’m not his only one.

Yes, she leaves me, not because she’s selfish, but because she’s generous.   See, she has to help the other artists too.  There are poets also struggling to find the perfect word, painters who go to the ends of the earth searching for the truest blue, the ballerina who strives for the perfect grand battement, the singer who aches for the melody that will complement the lyrics, or the pianist who seeks to arrange a composition to perfection.    My muse is not faithful to me, but is full of faith in me, and for that I’m grateful.

Yes, sometimes I see the calling card of my muse in others too.  It’s the secret glance of other artists.  It’s the question within a question that they ask.  Or it’s the connection one’s soul has when meeting another like-minded person.   You see, a muse always leaves their mark.  You know it; the bumper sticker that states “Practice Random Acts of Kindness and Senseless Acts of Beauty”.   That’s the reaction many a muse has caused.

Tempus Fugit!  Our time together is finished.  I leave here, only to set foot out into the world, searching, always longing to find my muse, and bring her safely home.

Suggested Listening:  Cosmic Love by Florence and the Machine

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2EIeUlvHAiM

Image

There is a crack in everything; that is how the light gets in – “Anthem” – Leonard Cohen

       I’m having one of those days.  You know, a day where your brain is firing on all synapses simultaneously.  All the areas in life scream at you for attention!

“Mom, have you seen the…”

“Hey, where’s the….”

“We still don’t have any milk?”

“Dad, I need about $200 for…”

“Honey, I forgot to tell you, but by noon today, could you…”

Did you take care of this?  Did you call this person back?  Did you pay for this?  Register for that?   Finish your work project?  Mow the yard?  Pay the bills?

There’s something about forty-something, that makes you long for your own dream, a shiny new dream, especially if you have spent a long time responsibly meeting your obligations that largely orbit around other people you love.    There’s a name for this affliction of what some call selfishness.  The old MLC (mid- life crisis) comes itching, and all you want to do is scratch it.   It could be a new sports car, a prettier wife, a bigger boat.  It could be a shopping spree that would make the Kardashians seem thrifty, taking a trip where your family is not invited, or that delicious man on the side.  The depth of your shallowness astounds you when you ponder these thoughts.

Then suddenly–they pass.  Because thankfully for you, you’re just old enough, and though it bums your conscience, just wise enough to not do something really stupid.

But it does make you think about defining what your dream is.    When you start dreaming up life in a whole new way, well it causes this electrical storm in your head.   You don’t seem as “present” as you used to be in conversations and tasks.   There is a riptide that is carrying your soul to uncharted territory.  You feel yourself moving in a new direction.

This creates friction with the objects and people around you.  When you start operating other than the status quo, you’re often met with resistance.    When asked why there’s no milk, and you say because I didn’t want to go buy it, suddenly things start to fall out of orbit.   Negative and positive ions collide.    Electrical storms now reign in your world.

These are the words I sometimes say and yet can’t stand if they’re fired at me:

You should….

You never…..

You always…..

So I’m going to try harder to just button my lips, and quietly focus on my dream this week.   I am going to write; come hell or high water, come cliché or original flash of inspiration.    I am going to write if I’m joyful, or sad, or frustrated, or mad, or awed by something so magnificent that nobody else even sees.  I am going to write my truth as it is made known to me.   I’m going to play with word craft because I should.  Because you never and because you always…..  For all these reasons, and more, I’ll write.

Like loose electricity I feel words that are rushing to the surface to discharge.  But there is something beautiful in the process of craftwork.  It’s this:

Everyone knows in the eye of the storm is where the calm point is.  It’s where the pressure plummets, and the view in the sky is brilliant and peace just beams into your soul.    It’s the nerve center of inspiration and clarity.

So while the winds of change are unsettling, and the dark skies appear threatening to your stability; keep leaning into the storm.  Get to the core.  Look up, way up!  How cool is that?  Now brace yourself; it’s time to endure the rest of the storm so you can get to the other side.

Suggested Listening:  Electrical Storm – U2    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K0adFYuNuns