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Saturday, February 19, 2011

Divine Discontent

There are two authors who have altered my life in such ground shaking, mind blowing ways, that I find myself constantly using their stuff to navigate the choppy waters of my mind. You will often hear me using quotes from Melody Beattie and Emmet Fox in my speech and writing.

"Divine discontent" is a phrase Emmet fox coined in his daily meditation book "Around the Year with Emmet Fox", to describe periods of uncertainty that precede major changes or the growth spurts in a mindful, contemplative, spiritual life.

Have you ever felt uncomfortable and experienced free floating anxiety that you can't pin to an actual cause? Something is bothering you but you can't put your finger on it? I used to panic when these "spells" of uncertainty and confusion descended. Old lies would surface "you're never happy" "what's the MATTER with you?" "Can't you stick to one thing?" "Just leave well enough alone!"

Since reading his piece on divine discontent called "Claim your wings" I recognize when something is being worked out in me. And although is in uncomfortable, I know something good is happening and panic is no longer necessary. He uses the analogy of a caterpillar experiencing strange stirrings within and how this caterpillar becomes moody and discontented. "He feels the need for a bigger, finer, more interesting life. His instinct tells him that where there is true desire there must be fulfillment" And of course we know this discontent he experiences happens right before he emerges as a beautiful butterfly and leaves his restricted life on a leaf behind and soars.....

February's Life is a Gift presents: Fabulous!, was just that; Fabulous! We were all silly and animated, with gut level honesty and everyone felt loved, heard and supported. One of the girls brought us the word : "fabulosity, a noun: the state of owning your self worth and fabulousness, though in no way, shape or form being boastful nor conceited while accepting your fabulosity. stating the facts and learning to believe them wholeheartedly." We loved it and I think it should be in Webster's.

We experienced a Ya Ya Sisterhood feeling and can't resist teasing each other with words and gestures we used during our meeting. Thank you girls!!

Life is a Gift Presents, is a work in progress. As it's creator and facilitator, I am certainly a work in progress. I had this feeling during our meeting; a feeling of divine discontent that was uncomfortable and that I couldn't put my finger on. I am still tapping into the feelings but I at least know this: I must find a way to make Life is a Gift non-exclusive, while keeping the integrity of small power circles in tact.

This monthly gathering was a goal I set to make my dream of inspiring people come true. The bonus for me is being inspired at the same time. The discontent is due to not wanting to leave any one out and this is difficult to do while trying to foster trust and intimacy at the same time.

Since I only want to live doing His will, (which is a constant struggle, trust me) it is His guidance I am adhering to. Praying is asking, meditation is listening, praising is thanking. That is the formula that works when I let it.

I am not yet sure what will happen next. I hope my friends allow me to continue to use them as part of my Life is a Gift experiments. I hope you let me do what I feel is right and you don't take it personally if I hear but don't take your ideas or suggestions. There are no mistakes, only opportunities for growth. 

Divine Discontent will be the theme for the next gathering. I have no idea yet when, where, how, who will be there. But start thinking about times in your life when you felt strange stirrings for change. Feelings that were nudging you to do something more, something different, something else.

Think of examples and stories of when you felt this and what you learned and where it brought you. You may have felt it and ignored it. It's never too late to listen and change.

There are many ways we can go back, look at what happened and try to make sense of it. However, Life is a Gift is about empowerment, about looking forward, about changing the future, not about going back. We may have to glimpse at the past, but this venue is about what is happening now that is going to make our tomorrow what it is intended to be. About fulfilling our divine purpose.

Positive power circles that lift and inspire, that is what I am after creating. So take pen to paper. Half measures will yield half resutls. Stake your claim! Recognize your Fabulosity and listen to your divine discontent. Life is a Gift; Open it!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

keep the dream alive!

     I'm reluctant to write this new post, especially since it's straight from the heart and leaves me feeling a little lost. But this is about uncensored truth and dreams and feelings and spirituality and questions, questions, questions!
     My meeting with P & C to crunch the numbers for South Mountain and the Galen Hall Rd house was eye opening. It is not an accident that these realistic women are in my life, dreamers like me want to wear ear plugs to block reality, not because I'm completely unrealistic, but because I believe in miracles against the odds. I still think this can happen. Actually, I'm having trouble accepting that it might not!
     I embrace and know from personal experience, that being divinely led, doesn't always lead us to where we think we're going. (yes, I do hate that, thanks for asking) That there are many new ideas and lessons along the way that can lead us to whatever our divine purpose truly is, in ways we never dreamed of. Nothing happens in God's world by accident.
     This is always a tricky crossroad for me. If I didn't have many points of reference, other experiences of being completely convinced of a thing being God's will, and in hind sight getting the "aha, thats why it didn't happen" I would probably be devastated right now. I'm let down, but far from devastated.
     Why did I happen to go to the meeting where I was introduced to the Caron Foundation? When I never made one of those meetings before or after? Why did I google Caron, find it's location, google real estate in the area and immediately find Galen Hall? Why was it that they happened to be holding a family weekend and mass @ Caron for me to go to, the real estate lady was available to show the house, I spontaneously booked a room nearby, drove to PA by myself for the first time in my life and while driving there, feeling like a complete compulsive idiot a bill board appears that said "When God guides, He provides" at the very moment of my doubt? Why is that house still on the market? Why were P & C available that weekend and so was the real estate lady and they both fell in love with it? Why did everyone I tell the story to from beginning to end fall in love with the idea? We all want to champion someone's dreams. Especially those based on being of good use.
     The dream of Life is a Gift, shop and Cafe will never die. Too much has gone into it and it's vision quality is still leading me. Wherever I get to use all my God given gifts to hopefully inspire others, doesn't matter. But for today I am asking for everyone to pray for a miracle. For Galen Hall to be mine, if it is His will for me.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Sacred Spots

     Last night I went to an anniversary meeting at my old grammar school, St. James in Seaford. The speaker told her amazing story of overcoming alcoholism and addiction, in a funny, spiritual and straightforward manner. She was truly an inspiration and a gift to us all. 
   Since my pig tail days of traipsing through the halls in a plaid jumper, white blouse, terrible tie and droopy knee socks, they have constructed a sacred spot honoring Mary, the Blessed Mother.
    My girlfriend and I had some catching up to do so we sat in the car with the heat on, talking, sharing, venting and bitching our heads off, F-bombs and all. (I know you can't picture me doing that at all) All of a sudden a National Grid truck pulls up along side us. "Are the doors locked?" she asked me. It was 10:00 at night, what's this guy doing here? The middle aged man got out of his truck, took off his hat, patted down his hair and promptly knelt  in the snow in front of the Blessed Mother and prayed. My friend and I were stunned with disbelief and admiration. Our jaws literally dropped and we were instantly chastened and humbled by our irreverence in front of this sacred spot.
     About 20 minutes later another vehicle pulled up. We looked at each other and laughed, "What is this, Grand Central Station?" A mother and her daughter glanced at us quickly and then bowed their heads, prayed and drove away. Our conversation now took a different path and we started talking about our Catholic grammar school days, how we crowned Mary every May etc.
    My friend told me when she visited her grandmother they would always kneel in front of her statue of Mary and say a little prayer and what a fond memory that was for her.
     When her grandmother passed and everyone was deciding what items they wanted to remember her by, she ran to the statue of the Blessed Mother and claimed it. She turned it over and saw a piece of paper in the hollow of the statue; it was a note she had written her grandmother many  years earlier. She felt her grandmother knew she would be the one to eventually have the statue. It was a poignant moment.
     Sitting in that spot with my friend and the sequence of events of that night reminded me of some important truths. That while its important for me to share and vent and get things off my chest, after a time it becomes counter productive. After awhile, recycling the same grievances keeps me attached to them and in the problem, not in the solution.
     My mom passed last March, and she had a deep connection to Mary, Jesus' mother. I wear the medal my mom wore every day and it keeps me feeling connected to her and reminds me where I can turn with certain situations that need healing, when venting to a human becomes counter productive.
     Statues don't hold any power, they are reminders. They are images that can slow us down sometimes and redirect our thoughts. This isn't a message for Catholics who believe in Jesus or Mary, it's a message about finding what re-directs your negative thinking, what can help you jump out of the problem and into the solution. It's about giving yourself permission to feel your feelings, releasing them and having patience with yourself while you wait to let them go. Everyone's timetable is different. You might need more help, professional help if you're holding onto something too long.
Discover your higher power, what works to help you work through the difficulties of life. Feel free to post your discoveries. I may not be able to post them all, but please know that I appreciate your feed back and am listening to all who speak.
With love,

Friday, January 7, 2011

Life is a Gift on South Mountain

January 6, 2011
I smell a burning fire, I think of Galen Hall. I think of mountains, I envision Galen Hall. I keep my thermostat low 'cause I can't afford a large oil bill, I get fearful of how expensive it must be to heat Galen Hall.
     What is this Galen Hall I speak of? It's really a house on Galen Hall Road, on South Mountain in Pa; one of the original buildings that was part of the infamous Galen Hall of 100 years ago, or thereabouts. South Mountain and Galen Hall were once known as places for healing and attracted the wealthy as a place for R & R before automobiles came to be. A train used to take them to Wernersville, PA and they believed the air and water had healing properties or "powers". I don't know about all that, but  I know I feel healed and healthy and grounded and hopeful and helpful when I drive up to this place, this house.
    Located on -- acres, mostly sloped, on the top of South Mountain, with an endless, breathtaking view of forever, this house speaks to me and to the healing potential it promises. The real estate agent contacted me the other day, giving me a heads up that the owners really want to sell and that they would be listing it in NY and NJ as well, shortly. And I got an email from the contractor who did an estimate for me. I forwarded the email to P & C and we are getting together Saturday to talk. (gulp)
     I was fearful for a minute, but I'm not much :p If I've only got this life, how can I justify living it safely, not answering a calling, because I'm afraid? If God leads us to it, He'll lead us through it. There is no guarantee of  "success", only of a life fully lived. I prayed for guidance and direction (whoops thah it is) and I keep smelling fires and visualizing views, imagining hikes and delicious breakfasts and fluffy beds and amazing books. The aroma of coffee blending with the wood smoke of burning pine, and workshops and 12 step meetings and unique gifts and homemade jam and garden fresh salads and healing. The healing of families who come to visit their sick loved ones at the Caron Foundation down the block. (A drug, alcohol and codependency rehabilitation, treatment center.) I can see me running retreat weekends for all who are affected by the disease of addiction. I see people checking in, and spending weekends golfing at the course next door (yes, right next door) and antiquing nearby. Is there a difference between a dream and a vision? This feels like a vision. I just put one foot in front of the other and marvel that this possibility still exits, years after I stumbled upon this house. I will save that story for later on in this ongoing story of my journey. I guess I'll learn how to make this blog site fancy with other links etc, but for now, I'm just writing from my heart in and unedited way. My excitement is hard to contain, so I'm not going to try.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Stake your claim!

Greetings friends!
This is a brand new venture for me. Your positive and constructive feedback is welcome. Not sure how often I'll be posting...but I was born to write and can't seem to stop myself :)
Sundays Stake your Claim gathering was a complete success! (The title and idea are borrowed from Emmet Fox) It's not too late for you to stake your claim for the New Year or to gather your own circle of people who empower you and are of like mind. We made it a pot luck gathering where everyone showed up with a brunchy type something or other to eat, and  a self addressed, stamped envelope.
     Many of us make this time of year a time of reflection for growth and change, creating "resolutions" or goal setting. I have never been that successful at it! We all chose one thing we were going to make happen this year and spoke about it. No comments or feedback was allowed during "circle time". Then, we wrote our intention (different from a goal) on a piece of paper and stuck it in the self addressed envelopes. A year from now I am going to mail these back to the women (which they will have completely forgotten about by then and will be surprised to see a letter from themselves arrive in the mail!)
     Next,we shared the first thing we were going to do immediately towards our goal. Starting this blog was one of my intentions (how do you like me now? ha)
     Finally, we wrote what we no longer wanted in our life on another piece of paper, burned it and dropped it in a  bowl of water. A ritual I picked up from Unity Church in Valley Stream. It was very empowering! There is something to be said for staking your claim out loud, among others. It makes it more difficult to not follow through with your intention.
     Marianne Williamson said on her blog this month; "Next year will bring whatever next year brings, but what we bring TO it will make all the difference. And the greatest thing we can bring to it is our love."
     Next month's theme is not for sissies or the weak of heart! Baby don't hurt me, Baby don't hurt me, no more...(I know you are picturing that SNL skit with Jim Carey!) This is about having a love affair with yourself. Stop limiting or hurting yourself with poor choices or by waiting around for love to happen!
     Valentine's Day is rife with expectations and leaves some people feeling lonely, left out and unloved. This is a year of empowerment at Life is a Gift! So gather some friends, make a circle and all of you  make a list of 5 fabulous things about yourselves and then....go around the circle and say them out loud with heads held high. (make eye contact)

     We've been conditioned much differently. In Around the Year with Emmet Fox, he suggests The Scotsman's Prayer which states; let us have a good conceit of ourselves. Most of us aren't boasters, many of us can't even accept a compliment! It takes a lot of work to turn that mind set around and this work shop can help you get started. After we make our list and say them aloud to the group,  tell each other what you think is fabulous about each other too. Don't censor yourself! There's a difference between being proud and being cocky. What the heck is wrong with loving yourself and feeling good about who you are? I promise you won't be conceited when you are through. I'm launching this post despite my fear, because I am fabulous to have the courage to do so.
This blog is a positive work space. Please be kind in your posts!