Stardust

We’re made of stardust.  No wonder.
No wonder we shine so brightly, and burn so fiercely.
No wonder we sometimes implode and yet in our very collapse,
a new beginning.
And no wonder too that we’re all so achingly familiar with distance –
the space between us.
But having once, just once, crossed the boundaries of our heart,
we circle endlessly in rapt belonging.

The first time I learned that we carried within us the very elements of the universe, my heart leapt with joy.  That I could be formed from something as timeless and romantic as stardust!  And that I need never look further than my own being to wish for all my heart’s desires… Others are troubled by the knowledge of our shared becoming as if it somehow refutes the existence of God and our lofty beginning.  But I believe more fervently than ever in a God who, in the very act of our creation, showed us that we are part of something larger, something more, something infinite and endless.  A part of all that ever was and ever will be, and that we carry within us the beauty and magic of the stars.

Looking For My Tribe….

My Heart sit only with those
who know and understand you.
Be with those who help your being.
~Rumi

Oh the heart like a whale has no choice but to surface. Or we die. And having surfaced, we all must dive. Or we die.  And more than books or flowers or thoughtful gifts that show I know you, the dearest thing I can give is to surface with the sheen of my spirit before you.  And so I look for the truest friendships, watching the deep for spirits to surface all wet with soul.
~Mark Nepo

I was watching TV a few weeks back; Oprah’s Master Class. This particular episode had world-renowned surfer, Laird Hamilton on the show, and he said something that has really stayed with me.  He said, “You have to find your tribe”.  By that he meant, you have to search out the people you belong with.  It struck me so strongly because, for such a long time now, I have felt so out of synch with most of the people I know.  My circumstances have altered my life, altered me really, and as a result I’ve watched most of my friends sort of drift off, with me all the while blaming my peculiar situation for the distance. But that explanation always felt wrong somehow, too simple, too narrow, and now I know it’s because it’s more profound than that.  Thanks to Laird, I now understand that it’s because we no longer belong to one another.  No longer speak the same language. In his words, no longer belong to the same tribe.

Some life experiences just change you.  They do, even if you don’t want them to. My life experiences forced me to find a new way of being in my body and in the world.  For me, it was either adapt (transform) or die.  So I set out on a new path and although I never intended to wander off on my own or leave anyone behind, I see now that’s exactly what happened.

And since there is no going back, I must wander ahead and search out a new tribe; like-minded souls I might journey through time with.  To aid me, I’ve decided to borrow an ancient ritual from the nomadic peoples of old.  Something I first learned about in Mark Nepo’s book, Facing the Lion, Being the Lion. He writes, “For the Bedouins and gypsies the custom of reaching out and befriending one another began with three simple questions: Who are you? Where are you from?  Where are you in your journey?” And I think that’s about as good a way to start as any.

Resolutions & New Beginnings

I swear I will not dishonor my soul with hatred,
but offer myself humbly as a guardian of nature,
as a healer of misery, as a messenger of wonder,
as an architect of peace.
~Diane Ackerman

Each night, when I go to sleep, I die.
And the next morning when I wake up, I am reborn.
~Mahatma Gandhi

Help me to be aware of my selfishness,
but without undue shame or self judgement.
Let me always feel you present,
in every atom of my life.
Let me keep surrendering my self
until I am utterly transparent.
Let my words be rooted in honesty
and thoughts be lost in your light,
Unnameable God, my essence,
my origin, my life-blood, my home.
~Psalm 19

I’m a big believer in the power of a fresh start, perhaps because my life has been full of missteps and failed attempts.  Even on those occasions when I manage to get it right, I’m always cognizant of the fact that there’s a deeper realization awaiting. So the idea of starting over, of second chances and renewed opportunities is so promising that I find it irresistible. There’s just something so hopeful about beginning anew.  So luckily for me (and you), the first of something is always just around the corner: The first of the week, the first of the month, and yes most especially, the first of the New Year!  There’s no better time to look inside and imagine the possibilities.

So, in that spirit….I promise to practice kindness and reverence for all of life.  I promise to see what’s beautiful and true and to give thanks for all that I’ve received.  I promise to choose love over fear and indifference, to grow in faith and  be a reflection of God’s great mercy.  I promise to live from my heart, casting my light into the darkness that others may find their way, just as I have found mine through the luminous souls of those who have come before.

Two Lives

When we come to the edge of all the light we have,
And we must take a step into the darkness of the unknown,
We must believe one of two things: Either we will find
something firm to stand on, Or we will be taught to fly.
~Edward Teller

I feel as though I’ve had two lives; the one before I became ill, and the one that followed.  They are as different as night and day.  I am as different as well.  Serious illness is a strange thing; a monster that comes raging into your life and strips you of everything inconsequential and a few things that aren’t (inconsequential, I mean). It takes away your independence and sometimes your dignity if you let it.  It leaves with you with pain and isolation, oh, and fear.  Let’s not forget the F E A R.  And if your illness is chronic, as mine is, you will never be free of it.  Never again move through the world in the same way.  The beginning was the worst.  But then, I think all beginnings are scary – all that not knowing.