Musings for a New Year
Upon picking up my pen in the New Year, the words that came were: first thoughts are best thoughts.
On the first day of the year, I recall the verse from John 8:12: When Jesus spoke again he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
These words are with me in the realization of what life really is. In beginning a New Year, there are resolutions and consideration for what I envision in a personal sense. But more importantly, I choose to follow a path of light. The true life is one in which God’s word shines through us—whatever the task, wherever we are.
The path of light is one of daily communion, an innermost place of giving and receiving. It is one of staying true to oneself, regardless of what goes on. It means “being in this world but not of this world.” It means time alone with God, though people and situations enrich us.
When we stand in light, following the way, we are guided each and every moment. Momentary existence may be for better or for worse, but there is a constancy that cannot be denied. When we find that inner vibrancy, there is joy.
The New Year means to me:
1. That I embrace the child within with love and devotion.
2. That I turn my life over to be used as only God can.
3. That life is not about searching but about following.
4. That the wish for myself extend to others: Goodwill and Peace, no matter the trials and tribulations.
The New Year brings hope and renewal. May a beacon of light guide your way.
The True Life
The moments of being fully alive become treasured keepsakes for the years. Though the circumstances vary, the experience is the same—a joyful sense of immediacy and awareness—occasions when life rings true. But we do not have to wait for such precious times; the true life can be for all times.
The conditions of life change for better or worse. But the true life is an unconditional quality of being, steady and faithful. It is when we connect with that source that we are truly ourselves—when life is most deeply felt. As Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
The true life is a place of ageless intimacy—an inner matrix of receiving God’s gift and giving thanks—dynamically interactive and devotional. When we live as if life were somewhere else, we lose the only true anchor we have.
The true life enables every heartbeat and expression. When it is my chosen path because I value that space above all else, sooner or later it spills over into the transience of daily affairs. It becomes the transcendent spark in every situation, the keepsake I take to bed each night and to the morrow, if God permits.
Rungs of Truth
Each sunrise presents a glimmer of new awareness, a tiny rung of truth in an ever-ascending partnership with God.
Today God tells me to be content with what I have; to be carried forth in faith, not to reach for what is denied or not yet manifest. Otherwise, I may follow the fate of the fallen angel, who perpetually plummets and scrambles back up.
It seems that awareness is always coming into being, and what I knew yesterday may not be enough—that learning is continual, requiring attention. If I am wise, I’ll be with the dawning. I’ll stay with the emergence—life in the making, still uncertain. When a new rung appears, I’ll step up to the offering.
From where I stand today, I hear: Go with whatever uplifts your spirit and makes you happy, regardless of what goes on. Share your gifts with those who can receive them and have something to give back—like a smile. Don’t worry about what happens here on Earth—disappointments and twists of fate. Go forward steadfastly.
Sometimes the truths I glean are uncomfortable—such as insubstantial aspects of life I’ve held onto. Other times they bring comfort or joy, as missing pieces I’ve needed for some time. If I receive God’s offerings, without grasping for what remains veiled, life will be more than I imagine. In partnership—at God’s pace—there will be treasure at each rung to carry to Heaven.
With first light, I rein in this errant mind to engage the “here and now.” In the remembering of that exquisite place, I float down, down, down—to receive God’s offering.
There is nothing so redeeming as the moment at hand. Wistfully, I wonder if I can be within its protective fold forever. Perhaps it can accompany me into every corner of life. Ultimately it may be all that counts, when all else falls away.
I don’t need to “make life happen” so much as replenish reserves, to be refreshed in the “fountain of youth,” an immutable source where time dissolves into an ever-flowing grace. From that position, I gather the means to be present for the unfolding.
By taking the time to be with myself this way, little by little it becomes the Way. The Way becomes my life, taking precedence over content—the events of the day, where I’ve been, and where I’m going. It relieves me of preoccupation and gives life back. To awaken onto this moment is to receive God’s gift—in the rendering of joy, love, peace on Earth prior to Heaven’s calling.
Tapping the Wellspring
I step out for a walk, longing to share my love. Around the corner a stranger crosses my path where, through smiles of recognition, our love intersects, uplifting our spirits.
When we tap the wellspring, we come to life—blossoming with the love that has been there all along. This earthly journey is nothing if not a chance to express in the physical what is genuinely ours. In this way, we gather friends and family, including those encountered serendipitously, the light of which burns on.
Love is most gloriously fulfilled in closeness with God. God whispers what I need to know, while I withhold nothing. When I can’t seem to endure, God shows me how. God knows my strength and teaches me to use it. Through daily communion, I learn self-love.
I feel, God, you know what it means to be human, that you are not impassive, but walk this path with us—as Jesus taught. Through your Presence we become balanced, open-hearted, grounded in faith. In truth, we are comprised of thy substance.
In the midst of tenuous life, when we tap the wellspring we fulfill our humanity, before returning from whence we came.
To learn about my book, Freedom To Fall, click on “Morning Song Books” above—a true story about healing through love, after my son dies in a rock climbing accident.
Stream of Experience
Today I hear: Don’t make too much of circumstance. Allow it to be what it is without attaching importance. In that way I can access the eternal—the flow of experience connecting me with God.
I want to make the best of this time to cultivate a life that allows movement with grace. I want to fill life in many ways—not making life about any one way. I’d like to enter the stream, where experience serves a purpose.
Each day I can attend to a myriad of happenings, while acknowledging this very soul—an equalizer where all moments count, the giver of life, throwing out before me a daily course. Living this way takes the impetus off of what is going on and puts it where it belongs—on the gift itself, a shimmering passage inviting exploration.
There comes a time when you stop working on problems and simply follow, receiving life for the blessings and the lessons. The day comes when circumstance no longer dominates but is a contributor to the eternal aspect of our character in this brief encounter with Earth.
To read about my book, Freedom To Fall, the story of a young man who achieved the sense of the eternal through rock climbing, click on “Morning Song Books” above.
The Past in Witness
It is possible to live in the clutches of the past. It is also possible to step away to view from a distance what once played a role. By the cool, impartial grace of Witness, I close one door and open another to a life on the brink of unfolding.
It would be possible to live the whole of life in places already visited, never realizing another design. But within this same space of inner life sits a farseeing essence—steadfast, serene, light-filled—ready to surround prior times with love, honoring them as building blocks to the present, and to move on.
Fetters of the past circle my field, and I pull away in witness, freeing myself from olden dreams. The path through yonder hills gleams in the sun. Not knowing where it leads, I am willing to follow.
Faith on the Spiritual Climb
When you have outgrown certain ways but can’t readily overcome, it is like being stuck on an incline, too wearied to step away, the next step out of reach.
All through life patterns that served earlier simply no longer serve. At times God puts unforeseen events in our paths to encourage a change of direction. Other times we simply ask for help. Or we decide to learn a skill or discipline, such as a craft, sport, or meditation—which calms the mind, bringing refreshment and clarity.
We are each handpicked for a mission that will allow the soul to grow. God waits patiently, nudging us forward, to take the steps that will free us from bondage. When I know what I want but lack resources or confidence, faint words come: Keep the faith.
The spiritual climb means returning time and again to the path towards fulfillment. Having a vision is an achievement, but the work remains. There is no worthier task, especially where the road is steep, uneven, uncertain—the places where we falter. With faith as an anchor, we become willing to take the risks that render new perspective and help turn life around.
Each day I return to the drawing board. There is always something to discern, some inkling of how to proceed, fostered by the settling down that comes with practice. Usually it means allowing life to unfold as it will so that I can remain true to the mission.
There comes a point when evolution has nowhere to go but up. God reclaims each of us—one at a time. The truth is the closer we come to God the closer God comes—as a door opening to let in light. Sooner or later there is no choice. The old way has become too frayed or painful. We learn to keep the faith and climb.
To learn about my book, Freedom To Fall, the story of my son’s spiritual journey through rock climbing and my struggle to survive his death, click on “Morning Song Books” above.
With the New Year and the heart of winter upon us, thoughts turn towards home.
A couple years ago, I set out from my Denver home with the goal of learning to be at home, wherever my journey may take me. With the spirit of a vagabond, I traveled to towns in Colorado and other states, interspersed with short stays with friends and relatives, finally landing for a long interim at my mom’s in Louisiana. During those months with Mom, we renewed our relationship and took it to a new level.
This fall, when the trees were turning gold and birds gathering, I returned to Colorado. Gingerly, I stepped through the threshold into the old dwelling place and set up camp. Little by little I made it my home again, culminating in the festive, magically lit, hushed days before Christmas.
There is no more special place on Earth than home, where joy, love, and the spirit of creativity reign. And though we may create surroundings that reflect who we are, truly, home is within. Each morning I ask God to help me set all concern aside to tap that inner space, for the comfort that it brings.
Home provides a context for the winnowing of experience. It allows us to release what is lost or no longer serves, to be with life as we find it, and to move on. It encourages us to surrender through the sense of being grounded. It is a place of communion where faith is born.
The cultivation of this sanctum comes through self-love, in the way that God loves—unconditionally, with recognition and attendance. Ways of attending are as varied as there are people, but the object remains the same—the nurturance of that which belongs to us and cannot be taken away—a cozy refuge when we need it and an encourager of change. It is an essential aspect of survival for a lifetime of experience. When all is said and done, it alone remains—our home, a treasure—for the journey to Heaven.
May your home be a source of joy and renewal in the New Year and beyond.
This Christmas morn, in the hour before dawn when all is hushed and candles burn brightly, I pause to give thanks.
I am grateful for having a day to celebrate the birth of Jesus. I am thankful for those who wrote the gospels so that we have a remembrance, if not quite historical, at least essential. I marvel that Jesus could have lived among us and that his Presence glows as brightly today as it did then. Like millions, I wish I could have known him personally.
In Mark’s gospel, when Jesus begins his ministry, he calls to the fisherman who would become the first disciples, “Come after me,” and they come, leaving their prior lives behind.
Today I am thankful for my children, one in Heaven and one asleep in her cozy home. I am grateful for Jesus—the calling to a higher purpose—reminding us of our origins and of the gift of life.
Christmas Draws Near
Today I feel the stirring of Christmas—a time of rebirth, when I ponder the meaning behind being a loyal follower.
According to the gospel of Luke, Jesus once denied a rich man discipleship because he clung to wealth, even though he freely followed in every other way. Truly, following means the willingness to begin anew, to go wherever and however you are called. The miracle of Jesus’s life is that he was sent not only as the messenger of good news, but as the Way into God’s ever abiding presence and love.
How many times have I lain in snow looking up at stars, wondering? Could I give up things and aspects of life most precious to me? Could I listen to the one true voice, day in and day out, and reverse course whenever God asks? How can I even know when God is speaking? Through devotion, I learn to discern.
Being a follower suggests taking active steps. Through action, something new may be ascertained, something more—as a seed awakening. You step outside the usual bounds, sensing that you are being led.
Christmas is near, stirring into wakefulness deep gratitude and celebration. Dusk descends early, casting a surreal hue over the landscape. Sacredness pervades the still winter air, as Jesus comes among us.
I dedicate this piece to the memory of Dawn, my teacher of many years, who opened my eyes to the living reality of Presence.
Today I sense God, not as someone who demands and judges, but as a loving Presence allowing free choice.
How can we best fulfill ourselves as purposeful human beings? When I look in the mirror, what do I see—a product of habituated patterns of thought and action or a life present for the unfolding?
When it comes to the daily task of living, I realize that it really is up to me. God gave us this gift, without strings. But when I act in ways that free me from bondage, God does take notice because I access a door into His light.
At our core lies a sacred space which houses the soul—a vital presence that witnesses life from beginning to end—the eternal flame which returns to God, hopefully more illumined for the journey. For the love of God, it behooves one to live in the best way possible. The true path is without compromise.
When old, unbending patterns cling, the soul remains an unspoken potential. But it is possible to walk straight through those stories—as though your life is about something else and you’ve decided to go there—which alas, encourages new growth and perspective, allowing this inner-presence to find a way towards light to become a true voice and guide—in partnership with God.
The soul is not some lone quality but exists by God’s grace—is God—God’s seed and love—patiently waiting its day in the sun, while we live.
To read about my book, Freedom To Fall, click on “Morning Song Books” above.
I begin each day speaking with God about whatever is uppermost in my mind. What ensues is daily communion, within this sacred space.
Today I am interested in the notion of detachment. To nurture a sense of the eternal, by way of Earthly detachment, is not aloofness. Rather it is a zeal for living, accepting with grace the happenings along the way, with the awareness that there is more.
Living with detachment is an experience of peace and stillness within a whirlwind of activity. It is the nurturance of the preciousness within, the work of a lifetime—the pursuit of freedom, a process of “letting go.”
I feel as though I’m trying to know something, and I’m very close, as if freedom is mine for the taking. There is a sense that this day can be a clearing up of a dilemma; I know not what. I feel the stirring of antiquity—as fresh as a winter breeze—as though the answer lies there.
This morning I hear: To dwell in the land of freedom, you don’t have to go anywhere or plan anything. All that is needed is this place of intimacy, with God’s abiding Presence. When God is present, you yourself gain presence; life is imbued with light. It simply doesn’t matter what you are up to or the problems that prevail. You can live with detachment. Your life can be an expression of gratitude—for the gift of time.
When God is with you, you can go about the tasks of the day with a sense of fun and simplicity. You can toss life away as you live it. What remains is the spark of creative Grace, engendering a sense of the eternal.
Click on “Morning Song Books” above to learn about my book, Freedom To Fall.
Today I want to celebrate Silence—an interior place of love and guidance, beneath the vicissitudes of existence. It is a place where one can cultivate ascendance over the mundane, while moving towards the sublime.
Silence encourages “receiving,” all receptors alive. This morning I am listening to a whisper: Life is the creative act of God, so be humble and quiet. In that way, you can keep going; you are taken.
Silence is the antidote to a temperamental mind, with a clarifying effect. It takes devotion to rise above the tenuous plane of emotion, where lives often play out. Through the practice of silence, it becomes possible to keep love flourishing, allowing all else to fall away. Through silence there comes a rectifying of the raw data of experience in harmony with the movement of the soul.
There is no need to search for meaning or to scramble for advantage. Dreams may be dashed, but a burgeoning inner silence fosters true spirit—a dream come true—the saving grace and wellspring of faith.
Click on “Morning Song Books” to read about my book, Freedom to Fall—an inspirational story about my son, who died rock climbing, and my journey towards healing.