Along the way I have struggled with the challenges any journey of creating the life you imagine is really about; facing your fears. It’s about wresting that baton from the conductor in your head, the one that keeps playing the same song of fear, doubt and failure over and over, and giving that baton to the maestro of your heart.
Immediately I was pulled to the dining room as if there were a string attached to my heart, and I stopped in front of the dining room table. I noticed a slight wrinkle in the tablecloth and I suddenly knew. All the hair on my arms stood up and I slipped my hand under the cloth and felt . . .
And then she told me her story. She told me about preparing for the very real possibility of her death as she fought Cancer. Of meeting a man at a laundromat where she had to use the cart to steady her frail and weak body. He asked her to coffee. Later, she explained to him her dire situation and the futility of new beginnings in the face of a life ending. He told her it was not the end. He told her she would live and they would marry and have a daughter. Against all odds, he was right.
When my oldest was about four, she was trailing behind me into the bathroom when I turned to her and said, “Honey, could you give mommy a little privacy while I take a shower?” To my surprise she replied, “Sure!” and left.
As I stepped into the shower, I could hear her rummaging in the hall closet. Soon she returned, yanked back the shower curtain and announced, “Mom, I looked everywhere for your privacy, but I can’t find it. I don’t know what it looks like.”
As every mother knows, truer words were never spoken.
There is so much divinity in the everyday.
I like to imagine that during the short interval of days between her death and my son’s birth on the day of her funeral, they met each other in that mysterious place in-between this life and the next. I envision them together, with heads bent, foreheads touching, sharing the secret of the amazing gift that awaited me with his impending birth.
I smile and acknowledge ownership of the bag with a nod just as the woman reaches in and pulls out a huge pair of my old maternity underwear. She holds them up with two hands at arms length and tilts her head quizzically. They are so thread-bare and tattered that the elastic is exposed through the frayed waistband. She turns to me with a grin and says,
It is the one book on parenting I feel absolutely confident in recommending. It’s short, concise, relevant, spiritual and practical. A good parenting book, like this one, appears to be teaching us how to raise loving, balanced, well-rounded and grounded children but in essence it is teaching us to learn from our children how to become loving, balanced, well-rounded and grounded adults.
I have tiptoed across a dark courtyard at 2AM to spy on Greek Orthodox monks floating in black wool cassocks and high hats through a fragrant fog of amber incense. Chanting Vespers in the candlelit chapel of an Arizona oasis, voices carried to God on white smoke through a starry desert sky. My own soul seeming to rise closer to heaven on every note.
My sister Karen is a healer. She is a licensed Massage Therapist and Healing Touch practitioner who works out of a small office in the suburbs. In a recent phone conversation Karen told me about working with a client, Tim, who passed from Cancer. He was the husband of her dear friend, and the experience of his difficult death shook Karen to her core. “It’s been five months,” she says tearfully, “and I can’t move past it.” She is struggling with doubt about her practice she tells me, and she is questioning her ability to offer any real comfort to clients who suffer as Tim did.
As she is speaking, I suddenly remember something that happened to me while she was giving me a massage a long time ago. I had dozed off and dreamt I was being given a message about one of her clients. When I described it to her at the time, she said she did not have any clients by that name. We joked that I was a terrible psychic secretary and dismissed it at that. Now, while still listening to her on the phone, I rummage through my bookshelf to find the small journal I used to keep in my purse. Flipping through the meager number of pages that have any writing on them, I quickly find my scribbled note. I interrupt her to read aloud what is written under the date 4/29/06 (five years earlier). It says; “Message for Karen. “Tim” Your healing is making a difference-it is touching him, changing him. He has the hand of God upon him.” On the other end of the phone line, Karen is crying now, telling me this is what she needed to hear.
Our lives are filled with miracles and mysteries, folded and tucked lovingly into the everyday moments we so often miss, or, dismiss. In the past year, I have written about them often. They are not always the hair-raising, skin tingling events like the message for my sister was, but they are all equally sacred:
“Many years ago during my darkest hour, I held a small grain of hope that there would be days like today. A still, clear, quiet, sun-dappled morning, children sleeping in upstairs rooms, an old dog curled at my feet–a populated solitude. I am alone, but not lonely. A day, extraordinary in its utter ordinariness. I had faith, and I am here and I am grateful.”
They often whisper to us:
“Returning to bed at 4:30am after letting the dogs out, I slip gingerly into the space between husband and child that still holds my shape. I whisper a complaint about my cold hands as I fold them over my middle. Two warm hands reach out from sleep and cover mine. One large, one small.”
They are small, precious gems, easily overlooked if we are not paying attention:
“I walk past the home of a woman I do not yet know and I am deeply and inexplicably moved to tears by the spring bulbs blooming outside her picture window. Little blue Scilla flowers spell out the word “ALIVE.” Years later, after we’ve become friends, I learn she had endured surgery for breast Cancer and, facing chemo treatment, she had planted this beautiful message of hope the previous fall to celebrate spring’s arrival and her survival.”
They are holy moments, all:
“I wake up to a 7-year-old stowaway in my bed. She is cuddled next to me, gazing straight into my blinking, bleary eyes. ‘I think heaven is different for everyone,’ she says to me, ‘like Candy Land or a beautiful meadow. For me it would be just like my life now, here, with my family.’ I nod, smile and pull her close.”
These experiences do not happen to me because there is anything special about me, my life, or my children. They are there in your life too, all around you. I promise you this is true. You just need to be present and aware. It takes practice to quiet your thoughts enough to really hear, see, and feel these glimpses of divinity, but I know they are everywhere. I believe that you feel it too.
Divinity in the Everyday
I have consciously resisted “The Secret” ever since it was released many years ago. Not that I knew that much about it. It just seemed, I don’t know, hokey. But recently, on the cusp of starting my new business, MAMMASTE™, I’ve been filled with fear, doubt and anxiety. So I thought, “What have I got to lose by checking out the book’s message regarding the law of attraction?” I borrowed the book on CD from the library and threw it into my car so I could listen to it while driving.
A few days later, I was late for a breakfast meeting and I was rushing, driving faster than I should on the snowy, slippery Minnesota roads. The Secret CD was playing and the narrator was talking about how, if our inner dialogue is “I’m going to be late,” or ”There’s never enough time,” we are creating our own chronic lateness. The trick was, the voice on my CD was telling me, to start telling yourself, “I have more than enough time, I have all the time I need.”
I smiled at the coincidence and decided to slow down and change my inner dialogue. As I came around a curve in the road, a child darted out from behind a snow bank in front of my car. I hit the brakes and skidded to a stop in front of the child who froze, wide-eyed, just inches from my front bumper. He then turned and ran on. I sat there, my heart pounding, realizing that if I hadn’t slowed down a moment before, I would have hit him! “What a fortunate coincidence,” I thought.
Later that same day I was heading out to a lunch meeting for my new business. The Secret CD was again playing and the topic was; “You are a creator.” The narrator was talking about how if we think about what we want to create in a way that feels like we have already received what we want, we can create whatever it is we desire. The essence of the message being, “You create what you want in three steps: Ask, Believe and Receive.” I was thinking, “Okay, yes, it feels a little hokey, but I will apply this to creating Mammaste,” and then I looked up at the truck merging into the lane in front of me, and this is what I saw. My hand to God, this is a true story.
And that is all I have to say about that.
There is so much divinity in the everyday.
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