Tuesday, March 25, 2014

My Lenten Journey: Stop Asking For Permission

I am noticing that when I am fully paying attention to my life, I can see where I have stopped myself from walking out on faith merely because I didn't get the permission I was seeking to do so. What? Who's permission do I need? Exactly.  That is the answer. I don't need anyone's permission to create and live the life of my dreams.

And yet... permission was sought...without even realizing I was seeking permission.  Permission seeking looks like fear.  Permission seeking looks like making everyone around you comfortable with your decision to move forward. Permission seeking looks like going back and forth with a decision that you already have the answer to. Permission seeking looks like indecision, doubt, and scarcity.

I never felt as though I didn't have the permission to move forward.  But in reality I sought the permission of of my audience... not my close friends and life cheerleaders.  I wanted permission outside of my circle. I wanted a seal of approval to validate and give me legitimacy. What will "they" think? What will "they" say?

I know better now.  But there are moments when I play to the audience without realizing it. In those moments I have to redirect my energy.  God has granted permission to every good positive thing that works to my benefit. The minute permission seeking shows up, I immediately get to my questions... What am I afraid of?  What is at the heart of this fear? I feel my way through the questions to get to the heart of the matter.

In the end, the only opinion that matters is mine. I have to stand in my courage to believe that I know what is best for myself moving forward.  My intellect, emotional maturity and spiritual growth are amazing tools to create and execute a plan that brings me to the life of my dreams.

I give myself permission to dream, to ponder, to fail, to succeed, to try again, and try again some more. The permission I seek is a smoke screen, a mask, an illusion. Seeking permission is really code for fear, uncertainty and doubt.

The work continues. Prayers open me to share this with God. This Lenten Journey is very much about getting my spiritual garden ready... turning the soul, like soil, over for new plantings.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

My Lenten Journey: Sirens

Everyday since last year, each time I drove somewhere I would experience a siren.  A siren... an ambulance, firetruck, police car, EMTs. Sirens.  Sometimes a few times a day. Every day. Now at first I thought, OK I live in a city of course there will be sirens all the time. No big deal.  No big whoop.

I would pray each time a siren passed me by... dear God take care of the rescued and take care of the folks doing the rescuing, amen. After awhile I began to get annoyed, the sirens seemed endless, it just felt so frequent... like all the time!. I took it all so personal without understanding or knowing why.

I happened upon a passage somewhere in a book or maybe a magazine (escapes my memory) the author said she began to experience sirens as a metaphor for her life.  God was speaking. That once she started paying attention and tending to her life. her life changed for the better.

And so I started to notice... the sirens were alerting me to what was happening in my life.  My life was trying to get my attention.  God was speaking.  The sirens were clues.

 I began to understand that it wasn't prayers for others I needed, but prayers for myself. I needed deeply selfish prayers... asking God to direct me. And if that wasn't enough.  I recently came across a piece posted on Facebook about the 22 Habits of Unhappy People.  It was profoundly sobering and accurate and sad. And so dead on for me. Not all 22 habits but enough of them to sit me down in prayer.

So all of this together in my life forces me to confront what I am seeing and experiencing, that I am not dealing with my unhappiness, that I can and must make some big changes and that I must be kinder and gentler to myself. The beginning of the Lenten Season got me refocused and recommitted to examining and changing things in my life. Here I am making sweeping changes yet again. The man I thought I'd build a family with left at my insistence, I bought a new car---it's been 7 years since I had a new car (used---new to me), I am reconnecting with community in a public way. I am looking at how to best grow and nurture my ministry. And of course the issues of weight and a real commitment to fitness.

Last week I noticed for the first time in a long time, I did not experience any sirens and the one siren I did encounter was driving away from me.  Thank you God, I feel as though I am turning a corner. Oh there is so much to do and achieve and accomplish and do. But the lessening of the sirens is a sign that I am moving in the right direction. I gotta deal with the sadness that I have been living with for all of my life. I have managed the sadness like a chronic disease... now it is time to cure it.  Or at best manage it so that there are next to no traces of it left in my blood stream.

This Season of Lent is truly one of renewal and wonderment and preparation. I am living my resurrection story with each breath I greet the new day with. I am the holy one and the holy one dwells within. A new plan of action emerges. I am ready

I am ready. Even if I am not... I am.  My life has been preparing the way thus far, even in my resistance and disbelief. The sirens weren't warnings... they are clues and guideposts to pay attention.  To notice where God was directing. My pain and sadness is not with the world. It has always been internal... with me.

Monday, March 10, 2014

My Lenten Journey: Choosing To Be A Beautiful Woman

“A mode of conduct, a standard of courage, discipline, fortitude and integrity can do a great deal to make a woman beautiful.”
Jacqueline Bisset

Being deliberate about Lent and the discipline of fasting, I am gaining a greater awareness of moving through my life with more ease and joy.  I was all primed to post about a conversation with someone I just ended a relationship with.  The conversation got under my skin... so much so that I had to call my Sister Lo and talk it out with her.  She said You can't be with some who calls for you to lose your vibrancy. If you have to change who you are in order to be with them, then who are you? She is without a doubt right. I was spending my time trying to find some truth in the criticisms hurled at me on a daily basis, rather than examining the source and trusting my own self. Then I stumbled upon the quote by Jacqueline Bisset... and just like that I understood.  God was not criticizing me. As a matter of fact God was waiting for me to get a clue and move on from foolishness and mess.

God reminded me that I live and conduct my life in such a way, that I look for the magic and miracles all the time.  I am not driven by fortune or fame.  I am however striving to be authentic and true to my own heart.  I want to convey that to my children.  Discipline yes, fortitude, integrity yes! Don't be afraid to go beyond what you think your limits are, but do not hold to rules, people, or out-dated ideas that constrain you... make your bed most of the time, eat well all of the time.  Be kind. Never let anyone tell you when the right time is... the right time to do anything is now.  If you can dream it you can do it.  Never take advice from people who criticize you. And keep the faith.

So here I am choosing to be a beautiful woman. I am not allowing the world and the people in it to determine my worth.  I have unimaginable courage, I am no longer telling myself I am not disciplined. I am resilient, and regardless of my past, I have integrity. My circle of friends, men and women alike reflect all that I hope to be and all that I am.  Fakes and counterfeits who have used me have left the building, left my circle.  I am grateful for their lessons, they have given me more tools for the journey ahead.  In choosing to be a beautiful woman I am standing in my truth.  I am celebrating my breath and I am honored for the responsibility of this life.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

My Lenten Journey 2014: Prayer. Fullness. Joy.

There is so much I can be freaked out by.  I have a shit load of shit to deal with and yet I am taking real time to be in this season of Lent.  Prayer. Fasting. Finding joy in the ordinary.

I have been thinking a great deal about my personal life... my love life and what may be on the horizon.  Lent is clearing out the cobwebs and allowing me to turn my attention away from what I lack and desire, to  moving me toward what I have. It is funny how I think and believe I don't have enough. Or the  believing the "enough" I have will disappear. Damn. Really?

There is a great deal of mystical element to my faith now.  I have no interest in taking anything literal... not the bible nor other sacred scripture.  I think the blessings lie in trying to unearth the meaning... what is this scripture/passage/words saying to me? I am for the mysticism... the magical... the surprise.

As a Christian, I don't want the bible to be a whipping stick or a weapon that stunts and stifles my faith walk..  I want to take the bible as a source of inspiration filled with maps and guide posts for the journey ahead. I am not interested in condemnation or self beat-downs about sin.  I am all about how to grow in my faith without hurting and judging others. I want to dwell in forgiveness. I want to release past wrongs and stand in the light of doing what is right.

I've tasted what real joy feels like. I want that on my lips and under my skin always. How do I get that joy for always? I understand now... quit settling for bullshit.  Stop selling myself short AND quit going back for more where there is only less.

Joy exists in waking for the sunrise. Joy exists in providing good lunch and snacks for my kids. Joy exist in where I choose to see it. I gotta choose to see it all the time.

I am realizing that what I am hungry for is not food or drink... like the woman at the well, I want water that is eternally a thirst quencher.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

My Lenten Journey: Fasting to Slow Down

I have fallen in love with the Season of Lent. I have been Christian all my life, but I paid very little attention to the Season of Lent. Of course I would celebrate Easter! But I never embraced Lent. 

A few years ago my Church started doing specific programming around Lent. It started with creativity... arts and artistic expression.  That along with my studies at the School of Spirituality ignited a sense of interest in me learning to pay better attention to Lent. So here I am focusing on this journey...a sacred walk... my life as I seek to draw closer to God... The Beloved.

The prevailing thought around Lent is to give up something...sacrifice. Though not required, nor taken from anything in scripture we all believe that by sacrificing we get closer to God.  I read something the other day that said rather than take away...add something. That resonated with me. Whatever I give up won't feel like a "real" sacrifice, I mean giving up TV? Wine? those are not "real" sacrifices but they are good places to start.

I've decided to fast. From sun up to sun down. For the next 40-46 days. I am going to read scripture and sacred text/books for the next 40-46 days. I am going to listen to more sacred music.  I am going to treat everyday with a deliberate focus on peace and joy. I am going to behave my way into my faith more fully.  I am giving up fear. I am giving up things that are a hindrance to my personal development. Things that block blessings, dim my light and keep me from fully expressing and receiving LOVE.

I am fasting to slow down. I am putting greater attention on savoring my life. I plan to add more laughter, more artistic expression, more music and singing. I believe these things bring me closer to the Beloved.

As I move through this holy season I pray for change and shifts and miracles. Shedding fear and embracing the Beloved. Unafraid of the perceived darkness, allowing for the warmth of light and lightness of being.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Lupita My Love.

You are every Black Girl the world has ever known. Our beauty, grace and talents are what we have always given the world. Today you have dared to raise the bar higher!  I am in awe.

I see me, my daughters, and sister, in you. You have given us a gift for sure. Oh Lupita my love!