Road trips are at once intensely personal and universal. Universal -- twizzlers, road atlas, rest stops, etc. Personal -- where you go, what you see, who you visit. Here are a few photos from my first road trip of the summer to Westport CT and NYC. Happy Summer!!!!
We can become so caught up in praying for what we want that we miss it when it arrives. This happened to me recently. I had been praying for calm settings with people who were present and not focused on technology. More being and less doing.
I arrived at a spring solstice drumming event, and I didn't know anyone. I stood around for awhile and feeling a bit awkward I decided to go outside by the fire. There was a man standing there, tending the fire. We stood there silently for awhile. I wondered if I should go back inside, make a move, escape. It felt uncomfortable to stand silent with someone I didn't know. Then I realized, this moment was exactly what I had been praying for. Just being with people. Not having to talk or do anything or explain. Just dwelling together outside in nature.
If I had let fear take over, and left the scene, I would have missed the answer to my prayer.
Some time goes by and the fire tender asks a question. I answer. Some more time goes by, and I ask a question and he answers. Then we don't talk. We are interested in the fire, in connecting with nature, in being, in dwelling, not planning or fulfilling an agenda.
Standing in the awkward silence made me realize my prayer was being answered. But I had to be willing to navigate the initial uncomfortable feelings.
The answer to our prayers may not always come with bells and whistles and riding on a white stallion. The answers may arrive awkwardly at first, because we don't recognize what we have been missing.
Once I realized that I was standing in the midst of answered prayer, I relaxed into the slow evening of drumming and enjoying the fire, and the night fulfilled something deep inside of me.
Let's pay attention and receive our answered prayers. Think of some things you are praying for and ask yourself if, in fact, they have already been answered and just need your acknowledgement. Prayers are always being answered.
It occurred to me the other day that I have lived above the trees for the past 8 years of my life, first in Florida and now here in Cleveland.
Living above the treeline creates a fascinating existence and a fresh perspective.
When I wake up, the first thing I see is sky. Blue, gray, partly cloudy, mostly cloudy, foggy -- call me -- I'm your local meteorologist.
I can see storms coming from very far away, great cloud walls swiftly arriving and leaving. The moon, the sun, the stars in amazing display.
During hurricane Sandy, I saw Dorothy and Toto fly by. No joke.
Just yesterday, I realized the buzzards are back. So beautiful with their amazing wing span. Why do we value bald eagles (which also fly by) more than the buzzard?
There is the resident hawk, so beautiful, so focused. This morning, two red tail hawks are soaring right above me with some brave little birds chasing after them. Just to my right, a sparrow is perched with branches ready to build a nest. I am tempted to supervise -- letting God's winged child know they better think again about their choice.
During the winter it looks like Rekyvek from up here. I can see frozen lake for miles and miles.
In Florida, I could see large sea animals swimming dangerously close to unknowing people who floated far from shore. Is it a dolphin? Or a 200-pound bullshark? I move away from the balcony.
This treehouse perspective got me thinking.
How can we rise above our circumstances, get above the treeline of our life so to speak, in order to see things fresh and anew?
I think being close to nature is key. We are so caught up in this crazy fast-paced concrete world. We forget the language of the trees, the sky, the stars, the planets. The language of the birds.
Above the trees, I have learned that nature maintains its same steady pace. The birds repeat their daily patterns with ease. No striving, no worrying. Awake at the same time, asleep at the same time. They rest at night and joy comes in the morning.
How can you rise above the treeline in your own life to gain a fresh perspective? Have you climbed a mountain lately? Do you have a unique view and perspective from where you live? Are you enjoying it? We want to hear from yoU!
(Written by Jane Hart, copyright 2015)
The concept of hope has eluded me as of late. Perhaps this is because for much of my life, I have equated hoping with wishing, "I hope this happens, I hope this doesn't happen". Turns out this stance leads only to the fact that some things do work out and other things do not work out. As you age, in fact, you realize that many things you hoped for didn't pan out. As one author said, "hope disappoints".
However, before you stop reading this...have HOPE!
A radio announcer significantly helped change my perspective on the idea of hope this week when she said, "Hope Requires Action".
Hope Requires Action.
Now THAT I get!
We offer hope to others and to ourselves, not by wishing for certain outcomes but by demonstrating what will stand in the gap when life disappoints.
For example, you are grieving so I offer you hope. I do that by letting you know that although you have lost a loved one, there are many here for you, right now, caring about you and your well-being. I will stand in the empty space for you. Or, when you let someone who is going through a difficult time know more about how you survived something similar, you bring them hope by sharing your survival, coping, and thriving skills.
When hope is equated with WISHING there will be FAILED outcomes. But when hope is attached to ACTION it can only serve as GOOD.
Saying, "I hope you have a good day" to someone is sort of an empty statement cuz what if they don't?! On the other hand, helping someone to have a good day brings hope to that person!
To me, this is an exciting new outlook on hope! This means that we don't have to passively and anxiously wait around for hope to deliver, but rather we can actively participate in hope to brighten the lives of our own and those around us.
HOPE REQUIRES ACTION! Amen!
Any thoughts? How can you take action to bring hope to someone today? We would love to hear from yoU in the comments section below.
In hope for loving action today,
I woke up this morning with a painful foot.
Being a good doctor, I went online and typed in "painful, red, foot"!!
It appears that I have a case of plantar fasciitis.
I considered what to do, what to take, and whether to go and see a foot doctor.
I took some Tylenol and moved on with my day.
Later, not even thinking about my foot, I was sitting in a chair and looked down at the tile floor. There on the floor, I saw an image of a woman doing a downward facing dog yoga pose. I can't explain how the image was there, it was not a photograph or an actual tangible image, but rather it was as a drawing or painting might appear. The image left as quickly as it arrived.
The yoga image gave me a suggestion. So, I got up from the chair, went into the living room and did a few rounds of yoga sun salutations, focusing on the downward facing dog asana.
You know what is coming next right?
Exactly. After doing this my foot pain was more than 50% better.
I went back online and did a little more research and found that, in fact, downward facing dog helps to stretch the calf muscles and fascia. Internally, I must have already known this, as I gave myself a visionary prescription for health.
In the past, I would have thought nothing of the image. Over the course of my life, however, I have learned that we are always being guided in this great universe, and we can learn from our inner, outer, God-given and universal wisdom if we are attentive to the cues.
Now, this doesn't mean I won't go to the doctor or take an Advil. What it does mean is that for now, I am grateful for my tile floor vision and where it led me for symptom relief.
If we pay attention to our inner and outer imagery, conversations, and cues, we will see that we are always being led in a direction of help, peace, and health. Being attentive to our inner life and environment helps us to catch this guidance when it arrives.
Have a beautiful vision or thought you would like to share? Please share with us in the comments section, we want to hear from yoU!
Have a visionary day my friends!
(Written by Jane Hart, copyright 2015)
I was standing in my home in Florida reaching for a necklace when all of a sudden the necklace exploded into what seemed like a million pieces. All of the beads disconnected from the strand and were all over the floor, the counter, the hallway.
For some reason, the occurrence stopped me. I sat down for a few minutes and was just silent, looking at all the beads strewn everywhere.
It was a rough time. My friend Audrey had just passed away at age 42. She was one of my best buds and confidantes.
While sitting there, I just kept staring at the beads. Frustrated by so many things suddenly exploding in my life.
I felt like the broken necklace had meaning though, and in fact, as I sat there it suddenly occurred to me that while my necklace was gone, I could make 20 pairs of earrings out of the beads and give them to all of my friends! In the breaking there had been a multiplication of sorts.
I reflected on the necklace as metaphor...
The one had become many, and in that, there would be a blessing.
There was one necklace I was cherishing. Now that was gone and instead there were many beads to make something from. I was losing Audrey, but maybe in the loss of that one friend I would develop many new friendships....and I have, with so many of you who are now in my official posse. I am so grateful...thank you.
Sometimes things have to break apart in order for our lives to flourish. The breaking can be very difficult -- much more difficult than losing a silly necklace. But sometimes, the breaking leads to more abundance than before.
When we turn our sorrows, our losses, our grief over to God, blessings will result. It is a guarantee. I know, because I have experienced blessings in every tragedy that has occurred in my life. This alone is a reason that we should not fear so much in life. We should know that life is, in fact, conspiring to bless us.
What can you do with the pieces of something that has broken apart in your life? What beautiful thing can you create from the shards, the bits, the beads? I promise you that, in time and with patience, you can build something beautiful from the pieces that are leftover...promise.
(Written by Jane Hart, copyright 2015)
I attended a holistic medicine conference a number of years ago, and one of the classes I signed up for was taught by an experienced and well-known Shaman in the medical community. I signed up for the class eager to hear about his wisdom, travels, and knowledge.
When I got to the class we were each immediately handed a small rattle that looked like it was purchased at a drug store. We were then instructed by the Shaman to stand up and shake our rattle and dance around the room in a circle chanting words like "HO" and "HA".
When I heard the instructions, I thought, is this a joke? Where do I exit?
About 20 of us started in on the process of what we were instructed to do -- extremely well educated adults now chasing each other around the room with rattles and chanting and listening to the instructions that were called out to us throughout the session, "Turn right, go left, head straight..."
At one point, the Shaman said, "Don't judge the process".
I thought, "Hmm...he's listening to my mind." Don't judge...good idea since my head was not in the game.
Caught up in my judgement, I was thinking, "This is ridiculous, you want me to use a rattle? I came here for knowledge. Turn left...for a refund? Go right...out the door? Head straight...to the next class?" etc. etc. etc.
I tell you -- and this is so like the trickster side of a Shaman to pull this off -- I have no idea what happened in that room at a spiritual or soul level after that, but something was significantly changed in me from that rattling experience.
AS SOON AS I SUSPENDED MY JUDGEMENT, I had a BLAST for the rest of the time. I got out of my head and into my heart and soul.
In fact, all of the participants eventually started laughing and smiling, and I felt a connection with them even though we never spoke a word to each other.
That, my friends, is powerful medicine.
How often is it that you get to chant and rattle and laugh with your adult colleagues? Rarely. The Shaman knew just what this group of intellectuals needed, and the experience was totally liberating. Things happened during that session that I will never understand.
Rob Brezney, the genius of Freewillastrology, tells us that "the world is conspiring to bless us". If only we could see this. He advises, "Act as if the universe is a prodigious miracle created for your amusement and illumination. Assume that secret helpers are working behind the scenes to assist you in turning into the gorgeous masterpiece you were born to be."
Good Shamanic advice.
Try that on today! Shake your rattle, share your own brand of medicine with the world, and see how the world blesses you!
Have something you want to say? Please do so in the comments section! We want to hear from yoU!!!
(Written by Jane Hart, copyright 2015)
Visited the Museum of Divine Statues today. So beautiful. I love this quote: "In dangers, in doubts, in difficulties, think of Mary, call upon Mary. Let not her name depart from your lips, never suffer it to leave your heart. And that you may obtain the assistance of her prayer, neglect not to walk in her footsteps. With her for guide, you shall never go astray; while invoking her, you shall never lose heart; so long as she is in your mind, you are safe from deception; while she holds your hand, you cannot fall; under her protection you have nothing to fear; if she walks before you, you shall not grow weary; if she shows you favor, you shall reach the goal."
Me: I didn't sleep well
Mom: You look good, you don't look tired
Me: It's Laura Mercier
Mom: It's the Lord's Mercy?
Me: Same thing
Hahahaha...for you savvy chicks who are in the know and in need, you know that Laura Mercier is a makeup brand. While I don't wear too much makeup, Laura Mercier's foundation is a miracle. It's a very thin cream that gently smooths out one's complexion. She can take you from ok to flawless in one application. Obviously...mom had never heard of Laura Mercier!
It's funny though Laura Mercier sort of is like the Lord's Mercy -- gently covering us and our blemishes, our faux pas, our regrets. Always ready to take us back with open arms and smooth things out.
I was thinking about mercy this season. I was thinking about how I hate it when someone dents my car, leaves a blemish and doesn't leave a note. I was thinking of the times throughout my life that this has happened. Some big dents some little dents...no note. I did not feel mercy.
But yesterday, I was thinking of a different angle and about the mercy I have received when hitting someone else's car. In fact I was kind of astounded as I thought back on a couple of incidents of mercy.
One time, I was at a red light, and I was multi-tasking in the car....don't ever ever do that. But out of the corner of my eye I saw a light turn green, so at full throttle I hit the gas pedal and slammed into the car in front of me. Turns out the green light was for the turning lane, not mine. The guy I hit pulled his car over, and I apologized profusely. His car was kind of scratched and beat up a bit, so my dent kind of fit right in. Still, I was responsible and ready to pay. He looked it over and said, "Oh, it's not so bad...don't worry about it." I couldn't believe it. I called him a few days later to see how he was, and he said he was OK. Then I saw him later that week at a store, and I said (drumroll please) "We keep running into each other..." He smiled and told me to stay away from him. Haha
Another time on a VERY windy day my car door flew open and really bashed the door of the car next to me. I left a note on the windshield apologizing and asked the owner of the car to call me. A very upbeat woman called back and said, "Thanks for the note! It's not that bad, don't worry about it!" Huh? I had put a huge dent and really scraped the paint on her car. Wow.
Who needs your mercy this season? Who needs your forgiveness?
Here's to Laura Mercier and the Lord's Mercy...sometimes you need a little of both.
Love, love, love to all of you. May you have sweet dreams, sweet treats, happy holidays, comfort, and lots of fun!
I pray a lot.
Prayer is my connection to peace and eventual clarity. It is my plug-in to the Source.
It's not that prayer is a means to get what we want, rather it is a way to gently shape our interior lives, which impacts our external lives. It's a way to come into deep relationship with a loving God.
This is a prayer I say when I am feeling calm:
“Let me keep listening to you, God. Let me hear your thoughts and words that are much more comforting and clear than any thoughts or words I create on my own. Let me hear your sweet voice of clarity. Every time I start to stray, obsess, or ruminate about worries, concerns, or issues that may not be resolved in the way that I expect or in my timing, please bring me back to you and your loving guidance. Thank you for the abundance and blessings in my life. Bless and heal us.”
This is a prayer I say when I am upset:
“Where are you God? Where have you been? Why would a loving God allow all of this? You must not be as all powerful as people say you are because an all-powerful God would make things automatically better for those who are suffering so much. I don't understand. Who are you really?”
The latter is a painful but honest prayer. It is a prayer that leads me to further exploration of who God actually is. Often, it leads me back to biblical verses such as “For God is not the author of confusion but of peace” (1 Corinthians 14:33 KJV), or "The Lord is on my side...I will not fear" (Psalms 118:6 KJV). Ahhh...the Lord is on my side -- not easy to remember sometimes.
While there are many things I don't know, what I do know -- as a result of prayerful and soul-searching times -- is that God is love, and this love is available to all of us at any time. Prayer leads me right back to this fact.
I remember seeing the video story of a man who was 70 years of age, and for the first time he was entering the first grade – yes, the first grade. He looked into the camera and said:
“My mother’s prayer has finally been answered – I am going to get an education.”
I thought, now that is faith. How many years did that mother's prayer take before it was answered? Yet there he was, getting his education and starting out in the first grade at 70 years of age.
We will never fully understand the mystery of prayer.
Do you pray? If so, keep praying dear ones, no matter your style of prayer, the words you choose, your level of experience in praying, whether joyful or discouraged, or whether you pray alone or with others. Don't worry about the outcome of your prayers. Just keep praying.
If you haven't prayed you might try it. Persistent and honest prayer will change your life. Prayer helps change our lives for the better as we find our true center.
Has prayer helped you? How do you pray? Please let us know in the comments below. We would love to hear from yoU!
(Written by Jane Hart, copyright 2014)
All content on this site is copyrighted. Please do not copy or reproduce. Thank you.