Saturday, March 28, 2020

There is no going back

"I can't go back to yesterday; I was a different person then." 

- Alice in Wonderland

"Going somewhere?" my grandmother asked me.

"Yes," I replied clutching a sack lunch close to my six-year-old pounding heart. "I'm going back to Daddy's house!"

I had lived a short five years of early life in a fairy tale. However (sigh), just like all fairy tales, it came to an end. When I was young, it was like living in the clouds being the only child born to the prom queen and the football captain. Living in a sleepy little farming town in the deep south where love of family, farm life, food rituals and the Episcopal Church were deeply ingrained into our psyche.

One day, when I came home from visiting my grandmother, I found my mother crying. She was packing items in the house. This day had begun just like every other day, filled with sunshine, cousins, aunts and uncles, and the smells from a kitchen only the south can produce. I didn't understand what was happening, but I wanted to help. I walked across the uneven wood floor to my father's chest of drawers. With all my might, I opened the heavy bottom drawer and reached to begin packing his clothes.

"What are you doing?," mother asked.

"I'm packing Daddy's clothes too," I said.

My mother walked over to the chest to close the drawer, look straight through me and said, "He isn't coming with us."

Did the fairy tale just end? Did Alice just fall down the rabbit hole? As an empath, I felt the effects of intense emotions pour through my little five-year-old body. It was true, this part of my life was over. In the coming years, it would prove to be nothing more than a distant memory. The happy times didn't last, but the emotions and the effects of those emotions would last a lifetime.

Thank goodness God provided a soft landing, a safe place for us to go, a time to heal with my maternal grandparents. I believe many of my adult choices have been overshadowed by the longing to go back to the fairy tale. One that was not there anymore. One that can be written about but not lived again.

We can never go "back." We can't even go back to yesterday, so why spend a lifetime trying to reproduce what was and can never be again? I spent too much of my life doing that very thing. Spirit put this on my heart to offer you a different perspective.

Have any of these thoughts crossed your mind?

Go back home
Go back to a relationship
Go back to eating a certain way that doesn't work
Go back to a job
Go back fill in the blank.

With free will, we can go back, but life guarantees it won't be the same energy as when we left. People, circumstances and surroundings are always changing. Even today, as we face a global virus, structures and the way of being that we grew up in are changing.

We live in a global society. In my heart, I believe the coronavirus has impacted our planet in many ways. As this pandemic subsides, and it will, I believe our lives will be changed in ways we cannot imagine. The lazy summer days of safety and sameness are forever altered and changed. I believe we will emerge with grace and goodness finally tipping the scales in their favor.

We are being called to stand up and be counted in our humanity. To serve others and understand that no one is a "throw away" person. All are worthy of concern and care. This is not to say the darkness has disappeared. It is part of our experience on this planet. Simply know it's there and, on occasion, will rear its ugly head. Fear will feed the darkness and I for one, don't want to participate. We are children of the highest God and He will prevail.

You may wonder if I ever think of the fairy tale? Yes, I do. When I can't sleep, I go into my heart and visualize Grandmother Coleman's home, where I would take a nap on the floor, on one of her homemade quilts in front of a big grey box fan. The memory never fails to comfort as I drift into sleep in peace and safety with a smile on my lips.

What is a place of safety and solace in your mind? Please share where you go in your mind to relax.

I'd love to hear about it.

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Just when you think you know it all...

Midlife had arrived and I was ready for new adventures. My husband's business registered him for a personal growth experience, and I was put on the waiting list. It was three months before I knew I was accepted. Thrilled and utterly unaware of what was to come, I signed a notarized legal document releasing the workshop facilitators from any liability. That should have given me some idea of what could unfold.

But it didn't...When I was young my nickname was "Pollyanna," meaning I only saw sunshine and rainbows no matter what happened. So without a clue, I walked right into the lion's den of personal growth and development. I would leave this childhood persona far behind in the desert and would never see her again.

We were picked up from the airport and drove for several hours down a long, isolated road. The dust swirled up and around the van as it bounced across the potholes carrying a global group of seekers who would spend ten days together off the grid with no outside contact. It all sounded exciting until I was in the big middle of this ten-day adventure. I was soon catapulted out of my comfort zone with my inner child screaming for something familiar.

Suddenly, through a dusty view, an oasis appeared. The elegant retreat center was in the middle of a desert and had once belonged to a Japanese businessman. It was equipped with beauty, detail, and opulence - right down to the rock swimming pool built into the side of the mountain surrounded by unforgettable views.

I was sure I knew a lot about most things in life when we all arrived at the oasis. After all, I had raised my sons to be fine young men. I'd even run barrels in a rodeo and been bucked off a horse! In high school, I was in a movie, now a cult classic, "The Legend of Boggy Creek."  I mean, not everybody has those experiences, right? Yet, I felt like a wide-eyed spiritual infant when the retreat director asked me this straightforward question, "Who are YOU?"

I look a deep breath, proudly ready to recite all about my husband, children, accomplishments and the church where I was christened. I was smiling my best southern girl smile when he stopped me before I could exhale the words of my story. He stated, in front of forty-seven more retreat attendees, "Don't tell me about your husband, don't tell me about your children and for God's sake, don't tell me your parents were divorced."

My heart dropped into my stomach. Could I be that transparent?? In one statement, he had taken my entire story away.  That's precisely what I told the group as laughter rumbled through the circle of people who sat barefoot and crossed-legged on a beautiful lilac carpet. After that, I didn't speak up much (ok, at all) in the group meetings again. However, I watched, observed and participated in "energy" activities that would leave an imprint on my soul for the rest of this life.

It was here, strangers from around the globe became friends and had gathered for a holy and life-changing experience. It was here that I saw the truth of humanity. The truth behind all the worldly trappings and how we present ourselves in life.  We all have the same basic wants and needs - no matter where you are born, what you believe, or how you show up daily.

The experience in the desert awakened my understanding of the spirit, soul and heart connection. I left the desert forever changed by grace, soulful relationships, and new values for spiritual prosperity in life, love, and leadership. Surely this was the be-all and end-all of growth in spirit. I truly felt like I had arrived. And very slowly daily life began to settle in again.

But wait. Could there be more? Where did those thoughts come from and how could I even go down that path? What more could possibly be out there to discover? God, in His infinite wisdom and grace, will answer prayers. He responded to my question and my prayer in one of the allegedly most dangerous places on planet earth... Jamaica! YAH Mon'

Oh! My aching southern belle. Yassss, there was more to come. I soon learned God does not exist in any box or only in a physical structure. He is truly omnipotent, and He never stops revealing the "MORE" to those who are open to knowing. My adventures were not over just yet. What began in the desert oasis was just a beginning to what would occur during a recent trip to the jungles of Jamaica.

Roots run deep for women in the south. I was raised surrounded by beautiful souls who were strong and long-suffering. I was raised to be an iron fist in a velvet glove. This strength carried me through just about anything life handed my way. What it didn't prepare me for was stark isolation in nature and the rawness of a jungle experience.

I was walking through history past structures undisturbed for centuries. Nothing made a difference on this day but climbing up steep, uneven slippery rock steps carved out by sugar cane plantation slaves in the early 1700s.

I had to remember to breathe the hot air on this sweltering tropical day. When I found myself deep in a remote jungle well past my physical limits. It was "gut" time, and I was entirely out of options.

I heard the words, "Dear God," a whisper from my lips as I began to fall into the black void of unconsciousness.

I would, for the first time in my life, surrender complete control. To be face to face with the Light, the Divine,

to "meet Jesus in the Jamaican Jungle."

NEW RELEASE! BOOK coming in 2021!!!