Gratitude

The small and the large. The significant and the insignificant.   I am thankful to be witness to the little things, and to the big things in life.  The Metta Sutra says, “Wishing: in gladness and in safety, may all beings be at ease.  Whatever living beings there may be, whether they be weak or strong, omitting none, the great or the mighty, medium, short or small, the seen or the unseen, those living near or far away, those born and to be born-May all beings be at ease…”

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Wildflower, Northern, CA 6/2016 CMG

I started writing just gratitudes, in letter form, to the Divine, in April 2016.  I had a regular writing practice, my Morning Pages, that I had been doing for 5 years.  Morning Pages are Julia Cameron’s invention from her book, The Artist’s Way.  Morning Pages are 3 full pages of spontaneous, flow of thought without too much thinking.  Morning Pages morphed into Gratitude Pages.   They worked really well for me for years and they removed the sludge that had to be auggerd to allow a clean, direct connection to My Creative Self, which is my True Self.  Now that that is relatively cleared (it does need auggering now and again), I have this direct path to the Divine which was and is my birthright.

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Redwoods, Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park, Crescent City, CA 6/2016 CMG

These pages, 2-3 each morning, are in letter form.  “Dear Divine Beloved”, they say… “Thank you for this glorious morning.  Thank you for these eyes that see the rain clouds, the ears that hear the rain fall to the ground, and splash the leaves, my nose that smells the wetness in the air, mingled with the moist grass, dirt, and leaves, my skin that feels the damp and shivers as it takes in the wet wind.  Thank you for another day, a new day, with new choices, new awarenesses, new possibilities.  Thank you for your Divine plan, whatever that may be.  I know only this moment, this is the only moment that I can be in.  Thank you for the grace to let go when I need to let go, to accept when I need to accept, reject when I need to reject.  Thank for love in all of its forms.  I am loved and I am love.  I am forgiven and I forgive.  Thank you for the strength, the intelligence and the humility and the insight to know when I need to use them and which one to use.  Thank you for being a mother.  I am so blessed with two beautiful children who have taught me so much.  Thank you for allowing me to teach them.  Thank you for our deep connection, our ability to be open, honest and accepting of one another. Thank you for the love between us that never goes away.  Thank you for my insight and clarity in all that I do to make good decisions that benefit the highest good of all.  Thank you for the people that I connect with daily.  Thank you for all that I learn in my interactions, all that I give and all that I receive.  Thank you for my talents, skills and abilities that are unique and allow me to do good work, in a good way and for good pay.  I am blessed to always have food in my belly, to have choices about what I want to eat and to be able to make delicious, healthy meals for myself, my family and friends.  I am so grateful for my loving, supportive family .  I am thankful that they believe in me, and that we have healthy ways of communicating our needs.  I am thankful for music in my life.  I am thankful for my healthy, strong, fit and youthful body that enjoys dancing freely to the sounds of music.  Thank you for this body that is able to do all the activities I love doing. Thank you for the woods, the forests, the beaches, the fields, the sidewalks and the country roads that my body moves so freely in and through.  I am blessed with so much abundance in my life!  Thank you.  I release these words into the Universe as Law, let them be so.  With love and gratitude, Carrie”

The idea of the gratitude list first came to me through a 12-Step program.  The letter to the Divine came to me via May McCarthy’s book The Path to Wealth which led me to the book, The Game of Life and How to Play it by Florence Scovel Shinn. Thank you for the path that led me to them and to here, where I am.

Feeling Love

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It was in my twenties when I realized that I was looking for love in others because I felt incomplete. I was looking for love from others to help me to feel whole. This realization didn’t just come to me. No, I had to go through great suffering first. Time after time, it had to be shown to me – how the love that I knew could be hurtful, jealous, critical, shameful, conditional.  It was something that I was spinning in, unable to tell top from bottom.  Love was my favorite roller coaster that would take me to the very exhilarating top and then drop me so hard and fast that my stomach was left somewhere in space.  I lived for the highs and rolled in the mud of the lows. I got dirty and soared- AND… MANY OF THE FEELINGS I FELT WERE BASED UPON HOW SOMEONE FELT ABOUT  ME!  The wall I was banging my head against was hard.

Finally, bloodied and broken and down on my knees-  I found it…the answer.  It wasn’t outside of me, it was INSIDE of me.  I AM LOVE!  My true self is perfect.  I am part of an amazing energy that I call The Universe.  The Universe is divine, therefore so am I.  As this realization came so did the teachers, Marianne Williamson and her book A Return to Love , Deepak Chopra, Timeless Body, Ageless Mind, Gary Zukav, and Clem Chang who taught me Qi Gong.

Since then, the teachers have been far too many to name.  The practice continues.  I am human.  I forget easily.  Through my meditation and mindfulness practice, regular affirmations and surrounding myself with positive people, I can see and feel the love that I am.

 

Take time to play – celebrate your uniqueness!

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How do you play? What things bring you joy? For you, it may not be grand or outlandish things that fill your spirit but then again, it may be. Think back to when you were a child. What things were you drawn to? How did you fill your days with play?
Carrie, Jessie and Jennie dressed up Oct. 1973
For me, it was dress up and putting on plays (that is me, age 6, on the left). I loved to entertain people, talk with people and pretend. I loved to direct, to lead. If we played school, I was the teacher. I loved to climb trees and run. I danced. I played and listened to music. I rode my bike and explored different places. I loved the coolness of a cave in the summertime. I loved running through a sprinkler on a hot summer day. I loved libraries. I loved the smell of them and the feel of books in my hands. I loved to read.

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These activities are still me. I am a teacher today. I do love to run, ride bike and dance. I love books! If I listen to my child self, I know what fills my soul and what I need to do more of in my career to share my given talents and gifts with others. My gifts are unique to me as yours are to you. There is NO OTHER YOU ON THIS PLANET! You are special!

Today – do something that celebrates your uniqueness!
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Of letting go…Surender.

cropped-dsc_04441.jpg Life is a struggle from the beginning.  It takes all your energy, all of your letting go to allow what needs to happen to happen.  And in that part of the sentence, lies the key.  If a baby were to struggle, fight (which maybe they sometimes do), things don’t get easier, they become more difficult.  The baby might have to be taken with forceps or C-section which is much more traumatic for the baby.   But if the baby naturally goes with the contractions that are meant to ease the baby out, it is less traumatic…difficult, yes, but a necessary process.

I have been fighting a process. The process of the dissolution of my marriage. I sooooo wanted it to work. I was going to fix it- all by myself! I laugh when I say that because that is crazy thinking. How am I suppose to do THAT when the definition of a relationship is the state of being interrelated, connected? I need the other half to connect to and that other half needs to want to connect with me.

So, I have been struggling, resisting, clinging to what I know…the womb. I don’t want to come out! I don’t want to face the unknown! I KNOW what the womb is like…I know how my husband’s arms feel around me. I know his quirks, his routines, his likes and dislikes. I know what to expect and not what to expect. Yet something was moving me. A force bigger than myself that was pushing me out, making me experience the unknown; this grief, this black pit called despair, bringing me to my knees (literally), sobbing uncontrollably.

Through this I am finding that the only way I can survive is by surrendering. Because every time I struggle, things get worse. The noose gets tighter and I fall harder. So I surrender. I have been brought to prayer, meditation, and yoga. And as I surrender, more things come to my aid; a phrase, a kind wish, a thoughtful phone call, a cup of tea, a shoulder to cry on. I have found through surrender a Power Greater Than Myself. I have been standing on the edge of a bridge many days and something gets me off the ledge. That makes me wonder: would I have found such faith had I not been given these struggles?

Someone said something that resonated with me this week. She said, “There is a possibility that things could get better.” I thought to myself, ‘Yes, there is. They could get worse BUT there is the possibility that after divorce, things could be better.’ I am scared. I am not always so hopeful when so much is coming at me all at once but in THIS moment, and this moment is the ONLY moment I can be assured of…THIS moment is good. I am open to the possibilities.

“The reason why many are still troubled, still seeking, still making little forward progress is because they haven’t yet come to the end of themselves. We’re still trying to give orders, and interfering with God’s work within us. ”
― A.W. Tozer

“Something amazing happens when we surrender and just love. We melt into another world, a realm of power already within us. The world changes when we change. the world softens when we soften. The world loves us when we choose to love the world.”
― Marianne Williamson

“God had brought me to my knees and made me acknowledge my own nothingness, and out of that knowledge I had been reborn. I was no longer the centre of my life and therefore I could see God in everything.”
― Bede Griffiths

Why do people lie, yell or steal?

I am re-reading “A Return to Love” by Marianne Williamson.  I read it almost 20 years ago and it changed my life!   Years went by, at times living life unconsciously, forgetting that in order to maintain my connection with SELF, my connection to the Divine or All That Is, I have to consciously work at it.

Marianne says, “When someone has behaved unlovingly – when they yell at us, or lie about us, or steal from us – they have lost touch with their essence.  They have forgotten who they are.  But everything that someone does, says the Course (she is referring to The Course in Miracles), is either ‘love or a call for love’.

This resonated with me.  This is ME!  This is my family, the people who I love.  I have behaved in ways I wish I had not.  But that action, that CRY for love, not love from someone outside of myself but for that love INSIDE, was my awakening.  The negative behavior from others was a cry for love.  Now the awakening didn’t happen overnight… but it comes around.  Right now, the awakening for me has come at a price of loss.  It is a struggle with my ego on a daily, no minute by minute basis to choose love and not fear.   To forgive others for wrongful behavior instead of condemning them.  To forgive myself.  Back to Marianne’s words: “When we are shaking a finger at someone, figuratively or literally, we are not more apt to correct their wrongful behavior.  Treating someone with compassion and forgiveness is much more likely to elicit a healed response.”

I choose LOVE. I choose to forgive. I choose to BE the change.

I imagine that this is what Essence/Love looks like.
Photo by: Carrie Garcia- 7/4/13 Circle Pines, MN
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Get SuperBetter!

Get SuperBetter!

I have started to play this game on-line.  It is a way to help me meet my goals, stay in the moment and appreciate life.

I found out about this game by watching a Ted Talk called “Life Hacks”.  The speaker that inspired me the most was American gamer Jane McGonigal. She gave an engaging speech that included research about four core areas that we need in our lives to stay engaged, and feel good about living.  They are: social, emotional, mental and physical.  SuperBetter sends you on quests to use these four areas and employs “allies” (friends that you can count on) to help you fight the bad guys and reach the next level getting closer to your goal every day.   

I highly encourage you to join me and play.  What do you have to loose?

Freedom is…being yourself

I am reading “The Five Levels of Attachment” by Don Miguel Ruiz Jr.  If you have read “The Four Agreements”, the name Don Miguel Ruiz may look familiar to you.  His son has written this book which helps you to gain awareness of the agreements you have been making with yourself for years and how to let go of the attachments to the person you think you have to be so that you can be the person you REALLY ARE.

Here is an excerpt from his book that begins to describe how we attach on to certain ideas and images of who we are throughout our lives.  From there, awareness sets in and we can choose to accept and love ourselves for WHO WE ARE- RIGHT NOW!

The Five Levels of Attachment

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