Swinging doors and celebrate me home…..

So why,  in the wild, wild beauty of this sweet breath of God,
is church even a thing?

I remember the way my soul drew up taller when the couple climbed from their car
to meet us in the field where we used to play like banshees until the organ began to play.
They were our Sunday school teachers,  and had arrived to be here on a Saturday afternoon
for something that I don’t now remember.
It didn’t matter – they had come and we were together,
all the other kids and I,
and when the husband grabbed my hands and swung me playful like a ragdoll,
the music of that smiling gesture landed
firm that I belonged.

Here in this place where the music rolled out rich like Sunday dinner to call us all inside,
I felt more than bone and birthday and bottom lines
to the One who threw open doors that let me tumble giggling on the lawn.
We were -all of us – invited and so the belonging ran deep
like a river running through
and  i ran free for as long as believed it.

To have once belonged like this is a treasure stored and I hold it dear
even as the welcome mat seemed sharp withdrawn from the place where i felt my truest
and I have it always, the option to stay mad and serve up blame and why couldn’t they see
that my bad behavior was a howl of pain
and not a slot marked “damaged” where I felt neatly filed.

But I couldn’t see my own truth so how can I bring the gavel down.
The whole,  “So what if i don’t fit;  I still belong,
would take me decades to learn to hold.
Maybe they never held it for themselves,
and in the end I found the door and safer pasture.

Many doors later,  I find myself drawn still to those dotted,  grazing hillsides
for the very and only reason that I love the whole community thing.
Really,  really love it when it works  – when it’s inclusive
and supportive and accepting and come on in – the stuff of home
and togethering and chairs pulled up close around the table and celebrated joy
and circle the wagons in our grief and,  yes,  dysfunction because it’s family,
but fumble on and forward fall and figure it out because we’re for each other and we’re what we’ve got.
And there’s shared hilarity in even this.

Yeah,  it’s the shared part that I love,  even as my love for independence dances rowdy
on the graves of ways that have died.
To be curious together.  Vulnerable together.  Knitted together strong
and yet each thread celebrated
for it’s own unique flavor and shade.
This is the stuff of riches.

So i haven’t given up on “church” because I love so hard the hope of a local community
that is bigger and more diverse than anything that I could build alone.
The risk it seems I have to take to go there – to move toward connection,
is worth the pounds of fear I have to lose each time
I draw near and get real.

“A dysfunctional family is any family with more than one person in it.”
– Mary Karr

“There’s nothing that makes you more insane than family.  Or more happy.
Or more exasperated.  Or more…….secure.”
– Jim Butcher

If you follow along and read the words I write down here,   you have my everloving thanks!
I appreciate the time you take and hold that dear.
Thanks for coming along this Summer on this journey of a small-ish series.
I appreciate your company so:)

A little video I made for you…….

 

A trust-fall back into the flow…..

Sometimes,  when I barrel into a block with my writing,  I wriggle free
by doing this something that comforts loose the flow
and I wonder if it’s an odd quirk of mine,  or do you do it too:
list-making.
I love lists.
Sometimes the list becomes the thing.
Like today,  when I’m trying to back into a project I started in the Spring,
because I still can’t seem to find the front door.
These times I often go around back and see if there’s a little service entrance
where I won’t feel so conscious of my muddy-ness
and I can sit on the porch and leave my shoes to dry
while I walk on, barefoot,  inside.

I began a series back in March to explore the stories stirring in my heart
about my messy dance with God on this noisy planet,
rocking always,  this world,  to the strobe lights of scattered messages,
sweet and sullied,  soothing and strangling.
To discover more what really fits for me and who am I anyway
in the wide river of this mystery.
Yeah,  just a little tidbit to chew on.
Then life splintered down pretty hard and I pulled back for awhile.

So I’m offering up my list
as I do a trust-fall back into the flow……

Religion vs. Spirit
(when I speak of “religion” I’m not calling out specifics.  No disrespect.
I mean fundamentalism,  which can disease any set of beliefs or thoughts)

~ Religion dries;  Spirit is fluid.

~ Religion  is push;  Spirit is flow.

~Religion is strain; Spirit is release.

~ Religion is punitive; Spirit is creative.

~Religion is flint sharp and squint to balance scales;
Spirit is lightning strong and redeeming what is.

~Religion is pity,  for it stands above and apart;
Spirit is compassion,  for it identifies with and meets.

~Religion is strive for perfection; Spirit is permission to thrive.

~Religion accuses and shames; Spirit reveals and restores.

~ Religion is performance; Spirit is presence.

~ Religion drives; Spirit woos and calls.

I’ll be back around with my stories and songs as I bob on down this river and see where it takes me.
Thanks for being a place where I can share it safe in the borning.

“Everyday I wonder how many things I am dead wrong about.”
– Jim Harrison

“I’m here to be me,  which is taking a great deal longer than I had hoped.”
– Anne Lamott

Sharing below a little video I made for you;

Breath blowing free through the curtains of our being…..

Come ride this wind of my breath tonight,
fill up the hollows until I can sigh
smooth and untangled from the rhythm of the trouble
I seem to be borrowing from all my tomorrows.

Won’t you help me curl my breath around the smoulder
of some thinking overheated
by the worry I’ve been keeping,
secret fears grow unseen in the thick of my gray matter,
shut away from light like the mushrooms
my friend grows in the dark of her garage
and when she showed me how fast they sprung up we smiled proud
of her musty crop of fungus,
but my runaway assumptions are a tiresome sort

and I want to throw open windows to the truth,
to let the light slice through
until my own free breath
is blowing through the curtains
of all my shut down places,
filling up with nakedness and fresh supply and God.

God,  I’ve heard,  is in the breath.

Releasing breath into every place of need,
to you and for all that you love.

“Smile,  breathe,  and go slowly.”
– Thich Nhat Hanh

A breather of a video – a short shot of air for your heart
with love from me:)
(another little bite on free-breathing…..because my writing was always cobbled to be heard and not just seen)

 

 

A barefoot mercy…..



I wrote a post and hurled it up “on time” – my self-imposed deadline,
then took it down again for the love of you and I
and the scurry of words which needed a good bit longer to marinate.
Felt like I was forcing them through a sieve instead of letting them be
what they wanted to become.
So I’ve got lots of space here
that I’ll
just
let
breathe.
No fillers.
So interesting to sit with this discomfort.

Mercy – it’s what I tried to wrap words around.
Such an evocative word,
mercy.
Mercy and forgiveness.
Since the words aren’t crisp yet,  I’ll leave you with these brilliant ones:

“…we are always the ones
who need to be absolved,
taken back into our hearts.
I forgave myself for the fisherman’s words and behavior,
for taking on his ugliness and making it something I believed
to be true about myself.
His words had gotten on me and then in me,
and then I had hoarded them,
building evidence that I was right about being fundamentally wrong.”
– Anne Lamott

And I’ll share my first video (happy sigh)
on my fledgling youtube channel.
Come see,  if you like.

 

 

 

 

 

My father and the sea……

I cannot separate my love for my father
from my love for the sea.
They meet and merge like the tides.

Each year,  when we were young,
despite his longing to vacation in new places,
to satisfy his thirst to explore,
he would carve out a week to gather by the sea
with my mother,   my sister and me,
and lean into the rhythm of the wind and the waves
that smoothed back the furrows of his busy forehead
and I’d watch his eyes go soft
to the soothing of surf and sound.

They relaxed,  those deep brown eyes,
because there was room enough,
and space and calm and time enough
to hear the light
and see girls in the sand,
even ones that were hard to see.

That great wide sky
and vast rolling water
un-pinched and turned my father’s face
and sometimes his eyes would find mine
and stay awhile.

I lived for those moments
when the sea and he would look at me.

I wonder at the power of fatherlove
and breathe grateful thanks
for love that looks and sees and smiles
and believe that my father’s love will find me always
as sure
as the shore
meets the sea.

“Fountain of sorrow,  fountain of light,
you’ve known the hollow sound of your own steps in flight,
you’ve had to hide sometimes,  but now you’re alright,
and it’s good to see your smiling face tonight.”
– Jackson Browne

Gifts from a song-bird…..

I want to share some birdsong I’ve been grooving on,
some sweet shots of sanity
that sift  the kool-aid to the top
so truth can skim it off and toss it,
leaving clearer waters inside.

Because, geez, this world gets noisy,
so much hype and clatter
drummed down harsh on living things
and we seem somehow to reserve the cruelest prattle for ourselves.

Into the thick of some sludge and syrup,
God sent me a bird.
Mandy Bird.
I want to share some words from her perch.
Because maybe you need her healing music just now,  too.

“Something very beautiful happens to people
when their world has fallen apart:
a humility,
a nobility,
a higher intelligence
emerges just at the point
when our knees hit the floor.”
– Marianne Williamson

To this rich quote Mandy responds,
“This is the blessing of huge struggle……
don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
Pulling yourself up by your bootstraps is bullshit.
Putting on your big girl panties usually means avoiding your grief.
Those statements are designed to shame you for being so beautifully human.
Tell shame to kiss off.

Don’t fall for that numbed out bravado.
Let’s actually learn to be heart-awake and emotionally intelligent.
Be courageous by keeping your heart open.
Now that’s big courage!”
– Mandy Bird

I know,  right?
And this.

“Don’t lessen your intensity to make others feel comfortable.
Don’t pour water on the fire of your heart.
The world needs your fire and passion.
Tell shame to kiss off.
Be you.”
– Mandy Bird

I’m in the thick of writing and writing and more writing
so I wanted to share Mandy with you this week instead.
Because her voice is one of the ways I listen for God above the fray
and I love her humor and heart and way.

You can find her on Instagram @bird_mandy

“The Ocean says ‘quit pretending to be clear.
That pretense keeps you from receiving what I can give you.’ ”
– Rumi

Of curiosity and closets and the clothesline of things…..

I’ve been taking stock,
cleaning out the closets of what I think I am,
reclaiming some treasures and discarding what no longer fits.
It’s been carting off piles of what may have worked in seasons past
and infusing with sunshine fresh from the clothesline the ones I choose still to embrace.
There’s been sadness in the letting go
but this yummy, spacious joy in the after
and I feel so light about these roomy new digs that I want to share
what got refreshed and left behind to grow:

Who am I anyway.  A list:

~ I’m a friend.  A good one.

~  I’m a mother.  Not a great one.  But devoted,  wholehearted,  and I show up always
to the learning curve to discover,  listen and improve.
And I relish the climb.

~ I’m a lover of people.  Oh yes – love deeply and without apology.
I get caught up.  Smitten.
And I’m rarely disappointed.   People are mostly altogether
as beautiful as I first realized them to be.
Relationships may disappoint, yes,  and I’m learning to better navigate those,
but I think humans are almost always lovelier than even they seem.

~ I’m a codependent, recovering.  Always recovering.
But I feel the crazy like an old injury when certain triggers and fatigue wear me down
and I can stumble down those stairs so sudden
that I’m sleepwalking in the thick of habit before I’m fully awake.
I’ve wrecked a relationship or two this way.
Mostly,  though,  I reserve the lion’s share of injury for myself,
still often giving more than I can afford.
But I am in recovery, enthusiastically showing up to the work,
currently working a 12 step (CoDA) and getting some delicious freedom in the new.

~ Because, I’m a student.  Always.
Curious and unwilling to waste my living unexplored.

~ I’m a gardener.
It’s how I see the world.  I love the whole messy, unpredictable process;
– it feeds something deep inside.

~ I’m a seer…..empath…..intuit
– whatever you want to call a super-sensitive soul.
I feel places,  see songs,  hear hearts,
sense energies,  and sometimes touch the mystic.
I accept and often enjoy this,  and it also sometimes unravels me.
Such a paradox,  life.
(And,  yes,  so woo woo)

~ I’m a listener.
I love to know people.  To hear their stories.
And to be heard and known.
Assumption is the ugliest thing I know.

~ I’m a lover of nature,  lover of honesty,  a lover of God,
and a lover of words.
I’m a writer,
and diving deeper into the deep end of things I’ve carried
since I was only a girl full of dreams.

Someone recently handed me a box of darkness,  as Mary Oliver described,
and this indeed has been gift.
I’m getting clear about who I’m not,  that I am,  and what my own heart may be howling
above the music of the waves.

I’ll be back more now that our busy season is done and all the gardens growing happy.
So much that I’m bursting to share!

 “Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness.
It took me years to understand that this,  too,  was a gift.”
– Mary Oliver

“Over and over,  we are broken on the shore of life.
Our stubborn egos are knocked around,  and our frightened hearts are broken open
– not once,  and not in predictable patterns,
but in surprising ways and for as long as we live.”
– Elizabeth Lesser

A smidge from the middle of my own sweet lane…..

Serving up some sweet and simple from the archives today
because it so fits, this small smackerel.
Just a smidge – for your snacking pleasure:)

I want to believe in rest,
the kind that finds me when I’m true.
The sort of peace that soaks through honest
to the real of me
and it’s scary,  still,
because it can feel like stepping into fog on a ridge
that may give way if I step down the full of me solid.

Rest is so like trust,  that way.

But I want to believe in it,
especially when I’m feeling driven to please,
hungry for sanctuary,
my molecules charged with rush,
jarred to attention,
soul strings strung tight
and plucked too hard and fast.

Do you ever get like that?

Codependent.
I’ve re-learned,  healed,  developed,  and come a long way baby
but sometimes I get dragged back into that strange and strangling undertow.

When I remember what I’ve forgotten to love,
(do you sometimes forget to care for yourself too?)
I’m swept back into my own roomy lane
where there’s this rich and ridiculous grace,  and plenty of it,
with only one thing ever to do
at a time.

This creates some amazing space for remembering
how to keep right on breathing,
to wriggle free from the believing that’s been squeezing
and do some living of a life that’s true.

“Oh sweetheart,  love is kind;  it doesn’t stand still and do nothing
when it sees it’s own need.
I don’t need stress to do what I know to do;
that’s not efficient,
the way peace and sanity are.”

– Byron Katie

(ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.  happy breath)

 

Springtime and sprawling; the soup and the swirl ….

I started writing down a series right in the middle of Springtime,
the way you start something when you think you see the road ahead
because you’ve seen so many tomorrows before.
Then everything changes,
and it has, my world swift sprawling
and I’m in the swirl,  choosing to go loose in the waves
instead of digging in firm to my agenda and fighting the current.

I remember when my daughter was a river rat,  guiding whitewater tours
downriver and through the rapids.
She told me often stories of people dumped into the soup and having to be coached
to keep their feet drawn up high,  face the oncoming waves,
and just bob on down the river like a hat tossed overboard.
Struggling to plant your feet creates danger of injury and even drowning.
Go with the flow until you see a safe out,  she said.
I’ve remembered that a time or two.

So here I am,  wide-eyed and whooshing along in the might of waters
that I don’t need to control,  just to discover;
letting myself be shaken like a new leaf in a fierce wind,
open to the goodness in the going upended,
shaken loose from things been squeezing me
until all that remains is love.

To be a friend to myself in this place where I’m a little lost and gimpy,
to stop apologizing with my breath,
to tell the truth with my life
even when circumstances seem to scream that I should cover over the ugly,
this is rest.

I can totally dance with this tension.

So I’m gonna give myself a pass on that series until life goes Summertime gentle again.
Just pick you flowers and sing you easy songs:)
Because you’re worth showing up to
and it’s joy to be here
even when I haven’t much to serve.

“You will find peace of mind
If you look way down in your heart and soul
don’t hesitate ’cause the world seems cold
stay young at heart ’cause you’re never,  never,  never
old at heart.”
( Earth,  Wind,  and Fire)

I’ve had a story churning in my heart.
I went writing,  taking small bites (each post) to discover what my heart wanted to see
and learn and say.  Seems since I took off on that journey a few months back
that my sea got wild with big waves

that capsized my little boat until I’ve been sputtering on a few thin boards and adrift.
Maybe Springtime wasn’t the best time to set sail:)
So I’m drying off on shore but have my eyes to the horizon,  watching and listening.
I’m curious still about fundamentalism and how it played out in my own story.
I hope by going there that
maybe I’ll learn better how to live true and real and love in the heaving of our often troubled times.
Maybe I’ll find something to share that will heal someone the way Love seems to be healing me.
I’ll come back,  I will,  with a better boat:)
Thanks for your smiles.

Of music and musts and medicine…

The music flowed like medicine,   gently relaxing fingers
where my soul had become a fist closed tight.
Over my senses it came,  like springtime drifting through a window,
this invitation to the whole and small of me.
“Father,  I want you to hold me,”
the slow healing sound offered me words
to wrap around the lonesome inside.
“I want to rest in your arms today,”
sang someone who sounded tired like me.
Tired of hard trying and hiding
and making like I was fine.
Just fine.
There came a hush to my noise as the song ached low
and with it came permission here to be not quite fine at all.

“Hold me,”  I sang to this presence who enfolded me in a way that felt protective.
Here I sensed protection from judgement,  from evaluation,
from every driving, pushing, accusing thing i’d ever run from.
  Here was a love to run to,
and my voice dropped whisper-low as I sang the words,
“I bring all my cares and I lay them at your feet.”

This moved across my tender places so hard that I drew my breath in sharp
and let it go slow,
slow as a lifetime.
Here,  with this benevolent being,  this gently-there presence,
were no musts about another something else to do.
There was nothing here to earn.  No performance allowed.
And I heaved a tearful relief,  exhausted from effort,
from failure,
and from being angry over the notion that I had to try.

And so I began to show up to the music,
to meet with God there,
and so great was the peace of this place that I wondered whether I could ever
be moved to fear again.
Because this Love wasn’t impressed with me.
Nor un-impressed.
This freedom from evaluation felt delicious to me.

“I’m impressed” were words I’d learned to pocket
like tokens of my worth.
This had come with a hefty side of insecurity
because being impressive is such a random spark-of-brilliance kind of thing.
You never know when it will fire
or just leave you standing in the dark.
And I was tired of feeling exposed and having to hustle to cover myself.

Yet here I was,
all splayed out and weepy and unraveled and felt somehow safer still.
This began to heal the all of me
from every little bit of un-love I would ever know.
The relief swelled up inside and ran down my cheeks.
Here was a door only open,
a Love always there.

In those awkward places of pain,
those anxious parts that didn’t seem anywhere to belong,
in every tender, posing,  hard, off-putting,
game-playing,  humiliated place,
God was in the music and rocked me safe
in arms of Love.

“I feel your arms holding me,  I’m not alone.”
– Brian Doerksen

“The real ‘work’ of prayer is to become silent and listen to the voice
that says good things about me,
to gently push aside and silence the many voices that question goodness
and trust that I will hear the voice of blessing.”
– Henry Nouwen