Thursday, December 31, 2009

Three Answers

God has three answers to our prayers, yes, maybe, and I have something better for you. There are many paths up the mountain and just as many ways to come into conscious contact with a Divine Source. Some people believe that we should pray in a certain way, that we should not make personal requests or pray for specific outcomes. Any prayer brings us into contact with God, even the prayer for new violet suede boots. Although I admit this might not be the best use of one's time while in the presence of God, it is actually bringing the supplicant into relationship with Her. God can say yes, maybe, or I have something better for you, say health and heating oil. We might not know exactly makes us happy, what is best for us, but like a child making a list for Santa, we will get what we need. When my marriage first started to fall apart I remember asking God for help in repairing the relationship. I didn't receive this; however I did receive a new relationship a few years later that is fulfilling and healthy. I don't always know what I need, because I don't really know how incredible life can be. The gifts that I have received from my Higher Power have been better than I would have been able to imagine. I have so much gratitude for my life today, for my relationships, my education, my apartment, and my sobriety.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Winter Gratitude

I am reminding myself, as temperatures dip way below zero, that winter in the Berkshires is an amazing time of year. The snow coats the trees, icicles shimmer in the sun, and bright red berries create art against a backdrop of snow. Winter is the season to look within, to retreat to a warm cozy place, maybe next to a fire, with a cup of cocoa and good book. It is also a time to immerse oneself in silence and the stillness of the mother. Nature slows down and rests up for the arrival of spring, with blossoms bursting and new life emerging. Spring is a time to create, a time to grow, but winter is the season to quiet, to sit and gather energy for the upcoming months. I find myself wanting to get more accomplished, run further, and work harder. Then the bitter cold steps in and brings me indoors to the fireplace, to the curled up cats and warm comforter. I find God in the stillness of the season, when only the sound of chickadees interrupts my reverie. Today I will absorb the strength of my silent oak tree and the beauty of the pristine white snow in the field behind my home. Today I will thank God for a season of rest, of contemplation and stillness.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Winter Arrives


If I were to place a frame around joy,
it would be gold gilt, snow piles, fresh, white
and sparkling in the light from the streetlamp.
Snow dogs leaping through the powder, noses buried
into cold blue gloss. A sigh, a snort, another leap,
after fresh rabbit tracks. Now inside beside the fire,
ice melting from boots, forming puddles, they sleep,

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Embracing the Inner Brat, oops I Meant Child

I don't know if it is the time of year (likely excuse) but I have been acting like a child. I am not a child so this poses a problem. Toys R Us had a commercial, years ago (maybe still) and the jingle went like this: "I don't want to grow, I'm a Toys R us kid." I feel like that sometimes. I don't want to grow up and be responsible for a household, an education, a child, my animals, and all of the other details (those bill collectors) that go along with being an adult. The semester is coming to an end (I should be writing an essay right now) and I am in desperate need of some sleep and some help. Have I asked Spirit for help yet? No. But as I was in the midst of a temper tantrum, or mental sizzle, I was offered help from a very close friend. I said I was fine, that I didn't need it, I would be ok. That was a lie. I am not ok, I do need help. So why is it so hard to accept it? I watch Christmas shoppers filling carts up with gifts, toys that will be forgotten by next Tuesday, after the garbage collector hauls off the bags of ripped wrapping paper and yet another pair of slippers that have been shoved back under the bed. How is it easier to give than it is to receive? What is it about accepting help, or gifts, that is hard to do? Is it the fact that if I accept help or a gift I will be expected to return the favor? I know that is not true. For me, it could just be that if I accept help I am actually admitting that I am not Wonder Woman, capable of juggling household, fulltime education, single parenthood, check book balancing, grocery shopping, meal preparation and riding a unicycle while drinking a can of soda and reciting the alphabet backwards. Who am I if I am not Wonder Woman? Am I, gasp, human? I think this calls for a little Divine Intervention and a whole lot of humor. I can't do it all. I can't accept help graciously. I could do with that help. Time to give my inner needy child a little compassion, she's not a brat, she is in need of a little TLC, and a big cup of cocoa with mini marshmallows.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Returning to Darkness

As snow settles on the ground in the Berkshires I am reminded that the solstice is right around the corner. Every morning at the same time, after a brief meditation I swing in my hammock chair in front of a picture window and write. Each day when I sit it is a tiny bit darker. The transition from July to December mornings has been gradual, and I no longer see the old oak tree silhouetted in the distance. The sky now appears inky black, with just the faintest hint of light peeking up from the horizon. This is my first time observing this transition in the morning light. This daily shift reminds me of my spiritual growth, which is as gradual as the change of the seasons. I do not notice either my spiritual changes or light changes as they occur. I only see shifts when I sleep in for a few days and return to my writing chair, the days having gotten shorter during my absence. I look forward to the time when I will see my oak tree and hear the songbirds, but for today the dark reminds me to go within, to spend a few extra minutes in the quiet morning nestled in my cozy apartment. Even if I feel that life is not moving at the speed I wish it were, it is still moving, I am still growing up, day by day. This morning ritual has allowed me patience and an understanding that although it may not seem that my life is changing, if I can step back for a bit, the transformation will become apparent.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Jumping Through Flaming Hoops

I just had to jump through hoops to receive a little help from our government. These were not merely ordinary hoops, mind you, they were flame encircled ones. I don't ask for help often, but it seems that when I do, it tends to come with a price tag. This is just normal human behavior. I scratch your back, you scratch mine. My intention in the writing of this post is not to blast our government, or the bureaucracy that is part of the package, but to remember that my God doesn't ask for a back scratch. So why is my Higher Power usually my last alternative when seeking answers? Maybe I am just so used to having to work for a return, but with Goddess it is different. I say a prayer and receive guidance. Pretty simple. I don't have to send three months of bank statements, or the blood of my first born. All I have to do is ask for help, and then shut up and listen for the answer. And when it comes (usually as the next step or piece of work I need to do) I just need to follow. If my intuition guides me to email someone, I email them. The next piece of the answer will await me after the email is sent. For me, Grace seems to take place in increments. I see the next step, take that, and only then the next one will materialise. In the Twelve Step model, each of the steps are numbered, and for a reason. Attempting a ninth step before a fourth can lead to disastrous results. One step at a time, with my Source. Maybe I will try to use this model when dealing with my governmental buddies. Jump one flaming hoop at a time. I will eventually get to the human sacrifice, don't worry guys.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Gratitude for a Winter's Day

I attempted the drive to school today, but the New England weather forced me back home after twenty minutes of sliding sideways in my little car. My feelings about winter, along with the precipitation are mixed. But right now, nestled under a blanket with a fire blazing and three of my cats curled up at my feet, I am content. Instead of trudging to classes at the only school that doesn't cancel them, I am finishing up an essay on Billy Collins for Verse Writing. My Siberian huskies are both asleep and blessedly quiet on their respective beds, and I feel that I could be transported into a Norman Rockwell painting at any moment. These are the gentle moments of winter, when I am tucked away, napping, reading and catching up with unfinished work. This is the part of winter that gets overlooked and undervalued when I am shoveling my driveway or waiting for my dog to find the most perfect spot to pee when it’s twenty below and the wind is whipping and my feet are cold. The weather here in New England is always a topic of conversation, in the store, walking down the street, or waiting in line at the bank. Most of it is negative, "It's going to snow, again" gasp. We bond in our mutual loathing of all things not mild, sunny and 70 degrees. I am sure the words, "please no more winter," will come out of my mouth at some point in the near future, but for right now I would like to bask in the warmth of all things wintry and cozy, the hot cocoa, the fireplace, and the falling snow which coats the trees, and makes the world sparkle. Today, my personal snow day will be a physical act of gratitude for this season, and the turning within that is a necessary contrast to going out into the world. This quiet time and space will allow me the energy needed to face my day tomorrow, with the papers due, the driveway to be shoveled, and the groceries waiting to be purchased.