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Archive for June, 2013

Heart

A Piece of My Heart – Acrylic on Tile by Glenys Currie

For the past week, my family has been hosting a couple from New Zealand as part of a Friendship Force International exchange program. Last Sunday Brian and Glenys Currie were strangers. This morning, I will wave goodbye to friends. Two more pieces of my heart have been given freely to travel halfway around the world–and down under.

We have been hosting visitors for nearly three decades, welcoming new friends from Russia, Germany, Brazil, Peru, New Zealand, Jordan, and Japan. We are blessed to have friends all over the world.

It struck me this week just how natural this process is for me, how easy it is to open my doors and my arms to travelers. I am eager to learn about their lives, their perspectives, their joys and their sorrows. I revel in showing them our area and talking about global concerns. I’m grateful to make connections that I hope will last the rest of our lives.

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I was thrilled to share my cottage with Glenys and encourage her as she dabbled with acrylics for the first time in her life. Brian became my running partner along the river as I trained for an upcoming 5K race. All of us cried at the Light Opera Guild’s production of “The Civil War” and again afterward as we celebrated West Virginia’s 150th birthday (born of the Civil War). My new friends were awed by the fireworks over the capitol building and sang along as the band played … “Almost Heaven … West Virginia!”

My heart is heavy as my new friends prepare to leave … and my soul is singing with gratitude for this amazing opportunity.

Our new friends from New Zealand: Glenys and Brian Currie

Our new friends from New Zealand: Glenys and Brian Currie

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Here I am during my teenage years … I really thought I had life all figured out. The pieces seemed to fit together so very nicely back then:

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This is me in my late 20’s, married to a great guy, starting a business, things were really coming together. There had been some bumps in the road, but I was pretty sure I finally had it all figured out.

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Here I am in my roles as wife, mother, business owner, and spiritual seeker. Life was feeling settled, like everything has fallen into place.

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During our son’s teen years, I felt so scattered! I was so confused, looking for answers in the four corners of the world. Maybe from the outside things looked ordered. Inside, I was definitely searching!

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When mid-life hit, it all fell apart! I was disconnected, uncertain, and lost. Not only had I lost the answers, I was losing my grip on the questions.

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Here I am as I began to look inward for the answers, and even though it seemed like there was a lot missing, I started to feel my inner world coming together for the first time.

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This is me during the Coach Training Program. Pieces I had never really gotten to know were beginning to line up. I was asking some good questions and starting to see new possibilities.

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This is me starting my day in prayer and meditation at the cottage, feeling whole and connected to the universe.

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And here I am on a typical day: connected, scattered, clueless, and yet certain. Certain that I can rearrange the pieces without losing myself. Certain that there is still so much to learn. And certain, finally, that I will NEVER have it all figured out. And that’s okay.

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Spring Garden Painting

Collaborative effort with Jean G. Farmer
(Acrylic on Canvas)

Three weeks ago I pre-registered for a 5K race being held on June 29. I quit running last year after I hurt my foot, and my attempts to get back into it haven’t amounted to much. I would run maybe once a week and then justify reasons to do other things. Gradually I lost my ability to run any significant distance.

Finally, I found myself disgusted at my own lame excuses and decided it was time for action. Signing up for the race and paying the entry fee was my way of making a commitment to a training program. It’s a great example of using one of my known shadows to actually support me in doing what I want to do. Let me tell you how that works.

One of my shadows is “wasteful.” I really HATE the idea of wasting anything, but time and money are at the top of the list. There are good sides and bad sides to this shadow. On a good day, I’m an efficient multi-tasker, happily finding bargains, turning leftovers into creative meals, and washing my Ziploc bags.

On the bad days, I won’t allow myself to relax because it would be a waste of time. I work too hard and pinch every penny, withholding affordable pleasures because my shadow tells me they are a waste of money. I become joyless as I plod through the hours with frugal efficiency.

Working with this shadow taught me to love and accept my wasteful self. I now know how to enjoy wasting hours doing nothing. The other day I actually threw away half a bottle of shampoo because I really hated the way it felt in my hair. There was a time my shadow would have kept me from such a wasteful extravagance.

My new freedom to choose also includes the choice to USE the shadow to support myself in a commitment, like signing up for the race. I knew once I sent in my money, there would be a part of me longing to get my money’s worth. I know that barring a major illness or injury, there’s no way I’ll pay for a race and then not attend. So I’ve been using that shadow to keep me on track with my training schedule. All I have to do is think about the money I would be wasting if I weren’t ready for the race, and voilà! I will accept no excuses. I simply plug in my iPod with its “Couch to 5K” podcast and hit the road. Haven’t missed a session yet.

I like that I can trust that shadow to keep me on track. I like that part of me that doesn’t want to waste the money. It’s probably the only thing strong enough to get me to run, rain or shine! It’s a powerful force, and I’m glad it’s finally working FOR me.

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