Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Gifts’ Category

 

Winter

For many of my friends this is a “First Christmas”  First Christmas without their dad, first Christmas without a significant other, first Christmas for a variety of reasons… and tonight as I am thinking of them I wanted to send a little prayer/letter out to anyone who might be experiencing their “First Christmas”

Dear one,

This complicates things so much.  It wasn’t the plan, it wasn’t the way it was supposed to be, and yet… here we are.

You may wonder how you will get through the day, how you are ever to smile again, much less be “Merry”.

Just don’t.  For one Christmas just don’t.  If you don’t want to put up a tree, don’t.  If you don’t want to send out Christmas cards, don’t.  If you can’t bring yourself to read other people’s Christmas cards, don’t.  And by all means if you want to do it all exactly the same as you always have done, do it!  But, perhaps, for this Christmas, you will give yourself a pass.

Let your expectations drop, focus on the love that remains, focus on the memories, and pay attention to the pain.  Don’t hide it, don’t shove it underneath a strained “Merry Christmas”, don’t drown it in too much liquor or lull it into a sugar coma with too many sweets.  Your pain is inviting you to pay attention.

Your heart has been through so much, it has been torn, bruised and battered this year.  It is time to rest, to repair, to heal.  But in order to do that you must be willing to pay attention to the pain, which we so often avoid.

I remember sitting on the bed crying, holding my heart wondering if it was possible for my heart to literally break, it felt like there was more pain than my heart could hold.  And now I know, yes, the grief manifests itself physically.  But at the time, I wondered if I was going crazy.  Dear one, you are not going crazy, you have loved much and this loss runs deep.

I didn’t know what I know now, that our hearts are amazing, they are far more powerful than we even realize, and sometimes when it feels like it is breaking it is breaking- breaking open to allow more room for more love, more joy, more gratitude, the the process can be painful.

You are allowed to grieve, to have your time, to have this Christmas be a jumbled mess of everything.  Joy, sadness, gratitude, love and perhaps even a moment where it the grief doesn’t feel quite so heavy anymore.

To the extent that you can “don’t anticipate, participate”.  Anticipating when grief will hit is like trying to catch a wave in your hand, it just doesn’t work.  You will sail by moments you thought you weren’t going to make it through and then something else will hit you that you never expected.

Grief isn’t linear and can’t be treated as such, it is a wild mess of jumbled things that can’t be anticipated, but if you participate.  If you allow yourself to fully feel it you will gain trust in yourself again that yes, you can ride this wave, you can do this.  You may not know how, but you can.

Pick a phrase, something that will get you through, something for those moments that you need to focus.  That first Christmas my mantra was from the Amy Grant song “Breath of Heaven”

Breath of heaven
Hold me together
Be forever near me 

Here are a few things I know…

You will be held.  In the midst of your darkest night, there will be someone, something that will remind you that you are not alone.

You will make it through this day, it may not be pretty, it may not be what you anticipated, but it will be over. Hour by hour, minute by minute, you will get through this.

You have the right to say their name, to bring up memories, and you have the right to know if that is too hard, if it is too much right now.  And it may happen in the same day.

You have the right to turn down invitations, to decide what is healthiest for you, without buying into other’s expectations or guilt.

You have the right to listen to your own grief journey, to listen to your heart.

Know there are others who understand, who have been where you are…

I am waiting in a silent prayer
I am frightened by the load I bear
In a world as cold as stone,
Must I walk this path alone?
Be with me now 

Breath of Heaven- Amy Grant

Know that my heart is outstretched to yours and I am holding a candle to light the darkness.

May you be held, may you be loved, may you find peace wherever you are.

With all my love,

Erica

P.S. If you liked this piece here is another post I wrote about dealing with the Holidays. The “Merry” Dilemma

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Unfolding

The internet is full of little gems like this article down below.

I like to think of myself as a cultivator of gems, sifting through things, pulling out little shiny pieces of goodness cupped in my hands, offering pieces to others to admire, to turn over in their hands and hearts, and see if they want to take a piece of what I have offered into their own lives, to tuck a piece of it into their own hearts as I have done.

There are so many gems, so much to be discovered, remembered and shared. And in that spirit I offer this gem that I am tucking away to ponder as I move through this day.

In many Muslim cultures, when you want to ask them how they’re doing, you ask: in Arabic, Kayf haal-ik? or, in Persian, Haal-e shomaa chetoreh? How is your haal?

What is this haal that you inquire about? It is the transient state of one’s heart. In reality, we ask, “How is your heart doing at this very moment, at this breath?” When I ask, “How are you?” that is really what I want to know.

I am not asking how many items are on your to-do list, nor asking how many items are in your inbox. I want to know how your heart is doing, at this very moment. Tell me. Tell me your heart is joyous, tell me your heart is aching, tell me your heart is sad, tell me your heart craves a human touch. Examine your own heart, explore your soul, and then tell me something about your heart and your soul.

 “The Disease of Being Busy” by Omid Safi

Read Full Post »

 

 

 

 

“Children’s book author Jarrett Krosoczka shares the origins of the Lunch Lady graphic novel series, in which undercover school heroes serve lunch…and justice! His new project, School Lunch Hero Day, reveals how cafeteria lunch staff provide more than food, and illustrates how powerful a thank you can be.”

Precious

These precious little ones that I love headed to back to the classroom, and along with the classroom and friends they make there there will be lots more people who have an influence on their lives.

Having went to the same elementary school as they are my prayer is that as many people who cared about me will care about them.  I grew up knowing that the Principal knew my name, that I was welcomed to class with a huge hug, that the lunch ladies were always there to scoop up a smile in addition to the lunch fare.

This year I am committed to looking for the everyday heroes and making sure that I thank them, to remind them that their presence in my life matters.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

I write about silence a lot, it’s healing power, why we need more of it in our lives, ways to find silence in the midst of our hectic lives.  But as with so many important truths, there is a paradox.

Silence is vitally important- but so is speaking out.  As with so many things it is using discernment and wisdom to determine what the situation calls for.  There is a time for silence and a time for speaking our truth, for using our voice and breaking the silence.

Watching Ted talks is one of my favorite pastimes.  I always find something interesting and it helps to give me new ways of looking at things.

I recently watched this Ted Talk by Clint Smith who is a teacher and a slam poet.  There were so many times where I wanted to stop the talk so I could write down some of his wisdom and to take a moment to let the wisdom sink in.

 

One of the things that struck me was this:

I have four core principles posted on the board that sits in the front of my class, which every student signs at the beginning of the year: 

Read critically,

Write consciously,

Speak clearly,

Tell your truth.

What a different world it would be if we followed those core principles.

The recent events in Ferguson and the ensuing discussion have reminded me that we all have different experiences, we all walk through lives with our own filters, our own perceptions of how the world is and should be.  It has reminded me that silence about our experiences doesn’t serve anyone and that we have much to learn from each other.

I have determined that life is much better when I recognize my sphere of influence and begin with me, so in that spirit I will recommit to reading critically, writing consciously, speaking clearly, and telling my truth.

And one thing I can trust, beautiful things happen when you take risks.

 

 

Read Full Post »

As Annie Dillard says,

“How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.”

Flower5

Flower6

Flower7

I choose to spend mine lately seeking beauty, with the lens in the tangible world and in the in the middle of heart-filled encounters with friends in the more intangible world of sacred listening.  And when I saw this little gem it resonated deeply.

Become Beauty

 

Since delving deeply into photography I have discovered that beauty is so much more abundant than I ever realized. We are taught that beauty fits into a certain mold, reminded by advertisements, and our culture in subtle and overt ways that beauty is this rigid, definable thing… and yet, our souls know differently.

Seek beauty, let it become you.

 

Read Full Post »

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I found this little gem of a poem on Heather Plett’s website on the page Connecting With the Sacred.   Part prayer, part invitation it spoke to me and I couldn’t stop thinking about it.

Every time I stumble across Mary Oliver’s poetry it is like connecting with the Sacred for me, it causes me to sit up straight, allows light to flood into my being and it invites me to breathe deeply knowing this moment is enough.

Her poetry is simple observation, combined with deep wisdom and an expanse of stillness that fills me up every time.

Praying

It doesn’t have to be
the blue iris, it could be
weeds in a vacant lot, or a few
small stones; just
pay attention, then patch

a few words together and don’t try
to make them elaborate, this isn’t
a contest but the doorway

into thanks, and a silence in which
another voice may speak.

~ Mary Oliver ~

 

My prayer for you today:

May you seek what fills you.

Read Full Post »

Flower

Sunflower

Flower3

Peacock

Sometimes I need only to stand wherever I am to be blessed. ~Mary Oliver

(thanks to Amy from the Messy Middle for that gem from Mary Oliver)

My prayer for you today…

Wherever you may be, may you trust in the little moments of grace that sustain us,

may you take a moment to soak in all of the beauty that surrounds you,

may you seek beauty in the midst of your life,

and may you stand where ever you are and receive the blessing that awaits you.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »