Off Duty

So, Lord, I think this new cloak of mine is going to take a lot of getting used to. I was just sitting here thinking I felt pretty good, had a decent day, because (drum roll) I got so much done! Sheesh. 

It’s not about doing versus not-doing. It is about with what attitude are you doing. How did you feel today, running your errands, doing your paperwork?

I felt fairly relaxed for the most part, except once or twice, when I looked at the clock and felt that sense of being rushed, or rather, not moving fast enough myself. I did try to think all day long about what You said yesterday. I wasn’t sure how to switch gears exactly, but now that I think back, for the most part I wasn’t revved up. I made a list so I wouldn’t forget anything, and actually did all but one thing–I would have done that too but it was raining too hard at that point for that particular errand.

So you can actually balance your life with your work and your chores. You see? You were able to reach out briefly to friends today. You did your errands. You made real progress preparing for your upcoming buying trip. And you did it all with much less anxiety. You even got a little extra sleep this morning! You tried to remember to drink more water and you took bathroom breaks. I would say, for your first day, you were a great success wearing your new cloak!

Thanks, God. I do feel good tonight. I do. I even noodled around with a new lyric, sort of, in the car. And Kaylee was more affectionate, more playful, than she has been in a while. I could almost believe she sensed the change too.

Almost? You know how sensitive animals are. If such a change makes such a difference in her behavior in just one day, imagine the benefits that await you long-term.

You know, God, at one point this morning, I caught myself slipping into those old familiar thought patterns and I literally interrupted myself to say, no, today is going to be an incredible day!

And was it?

I am sitting here right now, feeling–and I do mean that word, feeling, I can feel Quiet, I can feel Calm. Peaceful. I am feeling at peace. I am feeling at peace with myself. That’s huge. And yes, I would have to label that as pretty incredible.

And what is happening to the earth?

Ha, God, You are so funny. It is spinning, spinning on its axis, revolving around the sun, keeping its place in the Universe. And all without me having to worry about it, ha! 

I Am not making fun of you. But it is helpful for you to see for yourself how playful and joyous this life can once again be, as long as you are focused on Being, on Being your best self. Sure, go, do–but from a center of being. And what did I promise you? That you will be even more productive, accomplish even more, and operate from a position of even more energy. So how do you feel physically?

I know bedtime is coming and I think I will sleep, but I don’t feel that same overarching fatigue I have been having. AND…this is incredible…although I planned to drink coffee in the afternoon, I didn’t. Somehow I didn’t need it. I got along just fine without it.

And you are not feeling exhausted now?

No. I’m not. I am actually feeling pretty good. Guess that will go down on my gratitude list tonight. Thank You, Lord.

Yes, I guess it will. Thank you–for receiving My peace. You know, I have called you to be a peacemaker, and a peacekeeper. And that begins with days like today, days when you are at peace first with yourself.

Seedlings

Lord, thank You for growth. I just spent a few minutes reading this time of year from 15 years ago, and then 14 years ago. Fifteen years ago, I was still sick with pneumonia, gaining strength very slowly, and full of the same sorts of questions and drivenness I still sometimes am prey to. Fourteen years ago, Pete’s second sister, who had been ill for only a few weeks, died and that set off a whole storm of emotion, within and around us. What I realized, reading, is how my morning journaling times have changed. Now, I know to listen for Your Voice, Your input. Then, I craved it but I didn’t often stop long enough to hear You. But it was that practice, of taking that time in the morning, writing down everything I thought and felt for 30 minutes or so, that planted the seeds that eventually grew into the relationship I have with You now.

Yes, you were full then–full of grief, full of fatigue, full of fear about health in general, full of questions about your future. You needed to become emptier so that I could fill you with Myself.

I loved You then, as I love You now. But I think I had forgotten how much You love me, love us. And how personal Your Love is, how You really do enter into a relationship with us–if we will, with You. I had moved into focusing on social justice, on causes for peace in the human world and the natural world. I had zeal, and I had faith…but believing in something, even Someone, isn’t the same as nurturing a relationship with that person. 

You are a parent yourself. How do you feel when you hear from your son, or one of the grandkids, out of the blue, for no particular reason?

The feeling is joy, God. Big time joy.

You gladden My own heart with your attention, and with your commitment to staying open to My Presence. What would you say is your dominant emotion these days?

I guess I would have to say gratitude. Or maybe lovingkindness, although I can’t say I am always loving, especially when I am over-tired.

And what did you read as your dominant emotion in those journals from so long ago?

Gosh, God, sorrow, I guess. I was trying so hard to keep going, but there wasn’t any joy anywhere, really. I checked items off the must-get-done list, so there were flashes of satisfaction in tasks completed. There was genuine joy in the trip west to receive my college diploma, the degree Daddy’s life insurance paid for. His last gift.

So what do you think was the difference-maker?

I know gratitude as a practice helped, as I have shared over and over with folks. It really did change my life. But the real difference-maker, Lord, was You–this connection, like right now, knowing I can reach out with my mind, my thought, and You are here, right here. That changes everything in real time. Anytime I do get discouraged now, if I can just remember, I am not alone, You are here, God-with-us as a fact, it flips some switch in my consciousness. I mean, I can still be tired, or stiff and achy as I am tonight, or overloaded with more tasks than hours to do them, but I take just one breath thinking about You, about the immensity of the proposition that the God of the Universe is interested in us, in me, in this moment of what we call Time, and I smile, I can’t help it. It’s as if I am privy to the world’s greatest secret, only it is not a secret at all. It is hidden in plain sight, like the song says, Open the eyes of my heart. I just can’t get over all those pages from 2003 and 2004, and how different my journal reads now. Thank You.

I told you the other day, I want you to try to fast-forward in your thinking 20 or 25 years, as if you were as old as Pete is now, and what would be on your gratitude list from those years you have not lived yet. Why do you think I asked that?

I didn’t know–and I couldn’t come up with much. I mean, I couldn’t foresee anything in particular to add to a list. 

You just looked back at a snapshot of your life from 15 years ago. You are marveling most at your own growth in those years, your spiritual growth. Do you think your growing years are complete? What if I told you even more growth is coming, good growth, wonderful growth, and that you will look back at these conversations and marvel at how much closer You and I had grown during your 60’s and 70’s? What if you will look back with the same incredulity you are now experiencing, looking back, because our relationship will grow even stronger and deeper?

Lord, is that even possible? Is that what You are saying?

You are thinking of your life in Me now as a forest, in comparison with the tiny seedling it once was. I tell you, you will look back at these years and see a small grove in comparison to the mighty sequoias this connection, your connection with Me, your connection to this world you so love, will become. Mark My Words. So much growth awaits you. So rejoice in every day, every week, every month, and every year. Here is a little foretaste, a hint–this past summer, you were able to quit picking your fingers. No longer is that a stress response, after nearly 60 years. Now imagine no stress triggers, because you are essentially immune to them. Imagine no fear triggers, because they are no longer a part of your inner emotional or spiritual lexicon. You will grow into this life, just as you have grown into the woman you are now. And for every inch of growth, listen for Me saying, You are My daughter, I love You, and I Am so proud of you.

Emergence

Lord, some people fast. How can I prepare, or train, for what You are calling me to do, to become?

I’m not exactly calling you to Become. I Am calling you to Come, Be. Be who you are. There is a difference.

What about transformation? That is becoming; that is change.

Not at emergence. At emergence, the Butterfly Is. But it must come forth. It must emerge. At emergence others see—and say—transformation! Well, yes—and no. The Butterfly always was, within the caterpillar.

You saw the butterfly! You called it forth! Things that are not as though they are!

Here is the Mystery. The “are not” is in your vision—the “are” is in Mine. What I call forth is really Vision, is for you to see what I already see, and Name.

Butterfly?

Butterfly.

Fragile…

Resilient. Strong. Beautiful. Inspiring and uplifting. Gentle. Living only on sweetness, kept alive by joy. “Born in calm.” And passing on a legacy of beauty and freedom for generations to come.

So the transformation?

Is already accomplished. You are who I say you are.

Then why the word about waiting?

You aren’t waiting to become—you are waiting to be revealed.

God, I have so many swirling thoughts and questions, questions about the business, and being this, this other thing, this butterfly-thing. I don’t want my life with critters to be a schtik. You know? I want it to be real, so real.

Eve, it is. It already is. It is your doubt that makes you falter. The critters, as you call them—and yes, call them—know you. They recognize you. You are one who has been coming. They have been waiting for you. You won’t chase them, you will draw them.

 

Transformation

Lord, when I was writing about Love as a watchword for 2018, for the planet, the word transformative came to mind as well, for myself. I was thinking the changes I have already made, even starting this blog, were transformative. So is transformative a word for me, for 2018?

Transformation is a process. You are experiencing it personally and professionally on several levels, and 2018 will see the end of one era and the beginning of another. There are changes in store, changes that will free you to travel and be even more fully creative.

God, you say that and my heart lurches. Literally, my chest feels tight and my neck zings and my head is pressured and I feel like I can’t take a good deep breath.

I Am trying to re-birth your writer. What was the caterpillar transforms into the butterfly’s body, lifted by its new wings. Even more fully will word and imagery be united in you.

You’ve been very analytical. You’ve tried to reason your way. You’ve tried to calculate your next steps. You’ve tried to make sense out of circumstances. I gave you a very sharp mind but you are not using its full potential—and you are using it in the wrong way and for the wrong purpose.

I don’t understand?

I created your quick, sharp mind to be creative. You keep turning over stones of old ground. I created your mind to see forward and you keep looking over your shoulder. That creates the tension you feel in the left side of your neck, by the way.

Really?!

I want, right now, you to commit to East, to Vision, even more vision. This is the transformation I have in store for you. Walk, seeing. Light will become even more important, and your work will take on even more of an ethereal, other-world visionary quality. By My Spirit, you shall see and name things that are not, as though they are. The storyteller shall emerge in power within you. The poet and lyricist shall rise up. No longer shall you struggle to find the right words, for words themselves will come at your call, at your beckoning. As your planetary winter melts into spring, so shall you take this time to transform your house, your working space, your schedule—you are about to experience a life-shift, in which your ability to minister through your creative gifts will increase. Leave your analytical mind behind and come back to Vision. See, and then see. Hear, and then hear. Butterflies are East symbols. The Butterfly is your symbol for East now. It combines journeys, transformation, nectar-seeking and the golds and yellows of an eastern morning.

Whoa! Butterflies see color! So the concept of color…

Is a Vision concept.

My Voice will be louder, not softer; clearer, not vaguer. I don’t want you stumbling around in the dark trying to figure things out. That is a tremendous waste of time and energy. I want to illuminate your path. I want to give you wisdom.

But aren’t we supposed to work at it?

If by “it” you mean a relationship with Me, the work is to believe and receive. Say yes, and go, flow, know. Remember, My Light will refract through your life.

Watchword for 2018

So You know how I feel about New Year’s Eve, how I feel about rites of passage in general. I like them. I like assessing and planning. I like looking back, looking around, and looking forward. I like keywords and watchwords. God, do You have a word for our planet? For our country?

Love One Another. Everything falls apart without that.

Love is the oil that lubricates every relationship, that soothes every wound, that softens every scar. Love’s oil gives light, gives heat, gives fragrance, and transforms ordinary days into oases of great beauty and joy. It’s the one song the stars dance to, and the waves on the shore. You can never have too much love or give too much love. Love has the power to transform any situation, bring calm out of chaos, and give sight to the blind, especially those who are blind to others. Love is always in season, always in style, never grows old.

You say you want to change the world? Love one another. Begin and end with Love. End your year, start your year. Let love undergird every decision. Do all from love, with love, by love. It’s another way of saying, do all connected to Me. Just as a branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it is connected to the Vine, neither can you, unless you are connected to Me.

You want fruit? You want impact? You want influence? You want a better world? Choose Me. Choose Love.

Life Movies

Lord, we started talking last night as I was falling asleep, and I really need to re-start that conversation.

I was telling you not to close your heart off, but to stay open, and vulnerable.

Lord, someone gave me that same advice years ago. I heard it then as a command to endure.

That may have been that person’s meaning, but it is not Mine. I never condone or excuse abuse or mistreatment. But when you are hurting inside, for yourself or for others, you tend to wall yourself in and work harder as if that will help. It won’t. It will only add more physical fatigue to your emotional weariness.

The truth is, I didn’t create humanity—or the planet itself—for sorrow, sickness, loss or death. I created for life, for I Am the Giver of Life. I created for Love, for I Am Love. My entire nature and being is Love. Out of Life and Love flow joy and peace and kindness and goodness—which you call the fruits of My Spirit.

So when humans encounter the elements of life they were not made for, they react. Some become stoic, so nothing affects them. Some become narcissistic so everything affects them or revolves around them. Some become addicted to pastimes or to substances to numb or distract them from which is too hard, too painful, to bear alone. But you humans were not made to bear such suffering, not in the beginning, and certainly not alone.

You said recently when a situation troubles me, to surround it, to picture it surrounded, like effervescent life, I can’t remember exactly what You said, and I don’t know how to do that. And I need to. Right now.

Imagine you are a movie director. You can film the scene any way you wish. You have an unlimited budget and any props or costumes you need. You have the world as your set. And you have Angels as part of your extras in your casting of characters. How would you film the next scene? What kind of movie would you produce and direct? Set that as your intention and prayer for them.

Lord, aren’t You the Producer and Director?

Sadly, no. People assume so, and that assumption has led to much additional sorrow and misunderstanding. Each of you is your own director. I direct only where and when I Am invited to do so. Oh, I try to interject into the plot, to give warning about where the storyline is going, or to give encouragement in character development. But the human power of choice is always in your hands. That is why I ask you to pray My Will Be Done. It is not a given, in this world—only in the next.

So take a few minutes. Imagine the scene re-written. Then offer that, as prayer. I Am the God of Reconciliation. Picture a peaceful resolution to all that troubles you.

When The Tide Turns

Lord, it’s as if I have been hearing You say, “When the tide turns.” There’s a moment, right? When it changes? And it might not seem obvious at first but soon, very soon, you can tell it has turned? Are You saying this is it?

I AM saying the tide has turned. You are now in the phase where you are beginning to notice, to see the evidence of the shift. You were thinking just of the challenges of this year, the challenges of a couple years back. I’m saying, this has been a much longer period, financially, emotionally, spiritually. This period of difficulty really began six years, six long years ago, with Patrick moving in that December, with Pete’s fatigue not yet correctly diagnosed, with all that happened in 2011, with having to relocate Yellowhouse, with Pete’s other health challenges.

Here is what I saw, what I know, what I want you to know: in all of that, your heart stayed true and strong, and pure. Did you worry? Yes. Did you fret and fear? Yes. Did you mourn and cry? Oh, yes. Did you turn from Me, or Pete? Did you turn from Patrick? Did you turn from anyone who really needed you? Never. Not once. In fact, your light shone even brighter. Did you have some occasional grumpy days? Yes, but your overall nature stayed sunny and sweet. You did it! You came through the worst drought and low tide period you’ve been through since your early 20’s. Yes, there were blessings, which you received because you were determined to stay in gratitude and be as alert as possible for them.

So if you could receive all those gifts in drought–Meditation and Freddi’s kits, and Moonrise, and Currituck, and your sales increases, and trips west and to Florida and to Maine and to Connecticut, imagine what awaits you on a flood tide!! Think about everything you have received, everything, on an ebb tide. As the tide was going out, flowing away, look at what you received: Pete’s miracle. You reunited with family you thought lost to you. So look for amazing bonds and connectedness on the flood.

Part of flood for you will be the publishing piece. for now, create the body of work. Just create it. Write the stories, lay out the books. The music will flow in this era too.

 

Breathe In The Positive

Lord, I am scrolling through old journals, as You said I could, and I stop, astounded. I am reading entries from three years ago, and You said then words that are so fitting for today. Again and again I read something You said before the situation, preparing me for what was to come. And here You go. You have done it again. So I am going to share this, Lord. It is so timely, I am going to trust it will be as timely for someone else reading in the moment.

Every step of growth—personal and professional—is a leap. You feel unready and unprepared; that is what learning is for. I Am not asking you to be, yet. I Am asking you to become. To be, come. To Be, Come. Come, follow Me. Come with Me. Come, and see.

Today, Come to the Sea. Come to the Leaves. Come Outside to go Within. That is your personal paradox, the distinct definition of your calling. Outside to go Within. Then you fill the well to pour out, outside in your larger world, rippling beyond your circle. That is the breathe in, breathe out, of your life. Go out/breathe in; go in/breathe out. That’s the rhythm of it. Go out, take a deep breath; hold it in; release it out, transformed to nourish the very place you were nourished by. Take in the spiritual oxygen you need and trust that the carbon dioxide you release is exactly what you are meant to give.

You’ve been trying to do this backwards, to live as a tree: to take in the carbon dioxide and put out the oxygen. To absorb in your body the negative and push out the positive. I say to you, take in, be filled with the positive and you will release the negative, and your release of the negative will in turn create the transformation of negative-to-positive, just as the trees do. But you do your part by staying positive, absorbing the good, being on the lookout for the purest oxygen possible. Breathe that. Immerse in that. Let every word, every thought, every breath, be Love. You can change your world one breath at a time. Your love is changing the people around you. Don’t focus on change—just focus on staying in the flow of My Yes to you. Yes to opportunity. Yes to safety. Yes to health. Yes to peace. Yes to joy. Yes to love. Go outside and Be, Come—more of who you are.

Incubation

Dear God, before I jump into “do”—what would You say?

There is much within you, waiting to come forth. Some lies at great depth and some is just below the surface, awaiting only your attention to emerge. Incubation is all about waiting, but purposeful waiting. Waiting in the foreknowledge and assurance that powerful and wonderful changes are already underway and will soon be manifest, be visible. You are incubating now.

Incubation is not passive. A diligent mother turns her eggs, makes sure they are warm and sheltered. A diligent mother feeds herself so that when the babies hatch, she has the energy she needs to take care of both them and her. A diligent mother keeps knowledgeable about her own food sources. You are afraid that paying attention to the stirrings within will somehow harm them. This is a lie. You must heed the stirrings within in order to birth them, and in order to nurture them to their full potential.

Again I say, I did not give you this life to strip it from you How would you live each day differently if I told you that your nesting place would weather any storm and that you are destined for both wondrous migratory journeys and a stable home-base? That your calling is to combine word with image and bring hope and encouragement and healing to the broken-hearted, and encouraging vision to the newly emerging, and a sense of purpose to those seeking direction or lost in confusion? What if I said, beauty is your Bible? That your lens—your view of My world—is the Yes and Amen that I, the True Word, intend and need to speak through you?

Your eggs are hatching asynchronously: word gifts, visual gifts, and music gifts. And you have had earlier seasons of hatching, which you’ve assumed were to be your only times of bringing-forth. No, you have many seasons yet, many incubations to come. For now, pay attention to this season. Quit apologizing for what stirs within you, for those inner longings you keep trying to silence. They are trying to emerge—encourage them! They will soon have wings. Pay attention to every dream, every longing. If it is stirring within you, it is from Me. We are birthing together. Don’t let these become stillborn. Turn your eggs, feed yourself and incubate in joy.

Follow the Stream

So, Lord, what would You say, to my tired body and my somewhat stressed mind?

You keep laying an axe to your own growth. I Am trying to grow you in a new direction. Think of your life path like a compass. Think of people relocating. They are not trying to re-create the same look, the same experience-otherwise, why move? But that is what you have been trying to do. I have been calling you into new and fresh and you have been trying to survive on leftovers, on stale and in some cases spoiled leftovers. You want fresh but you don’t want change. But you need change. You—especially—need change. You are like an octopus; you need new experiences. It is how you thrive. You want Time to stand still or flow backwards and I want Time to carry you as a river, around the bend to new and never-imagined vistas. Maybe you have flashed hot and gone cold because you can’t reconcile how to grow and have balance while you stretch into new directions.

What directions, Lord? I am seeing a sort of sprawling live oak, growing where the wind has sculpted its path from behind.

The force of the river can be said to be from behind but we think of rivers as flowing towards. Think of the wind as blowing towards.

Towards what? Towards where?

Towards a life of Adventure and Experience. Towards a path that opens before you as you walk it. Towards a trail that you blaze, with your words and your work. You need time for words—your own and others’—and you need music—your own and others’. And you need beauty. And you need serenity. And you need vibrancy. And you need customers, paying patrons, for all of it.

And my part is?

 Your part is to keep walking. To follow the stream. To let the River flow where it will. To listen for My Voice. I do not drive you in a wilderness, I lead you through pastures of plenty, pastures of green. Stay in Psalm 23 a while. Stay in Psalm 23 until you see it fresh, every day, in your own experience.