Thankful Tides…

Gratitude bestows reverence,

allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies,

those transcendent moments of awe that change

forever how we experience life and the world.

John Milton

DSCF6143

art of life..

         ” All the art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on.”

DSCF3603

testimony…

My Nana once told me, “if you’re gonna give a testimony, then you’re gonna have to endure the test.” She was so right.  

And as  sometimes happens when I’ve got my eyes focused solely on the prize up ahead, plugging diligently away, a huge tree fell, unexpectedly, smack onto my path.

Barely escaping with my body and spirit intact, I was forced to stop and reevaluate my direction, my purpose and my dreams.

Stunned and standing in the shadow of the tree’s drooping and broken branches, I was at a loss as to what to do next, and I was forced to stand in the eye of the storm, with little to no protection.

Like all good tests, I would have preferred to study the lessons first, and to try to anticipate what questions would be on the test so I could prepare my answers, and pass the test. But life, well it just doesn’t work that way, while I was planning and strategizing , BAM, I was forced to pull up, stop and take stock.

At first, I couldn’t move or think, didn’t know what to do and I started to let doubt and fear creep into my soul and the darkness seemed to engulf me, surround me, stopping my creative flow and devouring my ability and determination to carry on.

As I took a deep breath, looking around at the damage, I am gratified to know that I have the best friends in the world. They have rallied to my side, supported me, (and if you know me you know I have a hard time letting that happen), talked me through the madness and helped guide me around the tree and back to my path. No judgement, no lectures just a few quiet reminders of love and support, and they guided me safely back to the road, to my purpose and to a new and improved dream. 

As one of my friends pointed out, “it won’t be the same  path but it could be a better path.” I have been tested, again, and I have endured and resurfaced better and stronger, and gratefully more equipped to take the test and get an A+.

I didn’t prepare for the test and I didn’t know the questions ahead of time, but faith and friends brought me home and here is my testimony. I am like the willow tree that loses a few branches in the wind, whipping rains pounding ceaselessly, scattering leaves and debris all around.  Yet, like the willow tree, I am snapping back with my roots still intact, grounded deep into the dirt, bended but not broken.

So, I’m back on my road again and although it has been dark for a few weeks the light is beginning to shine through and I am basking in its glow once again. This test is behind me and I don’t fool myself into believing there won’t be other tests, but I have the tools and the tribe to help me find my north star, should I lose my way again, or if a tree should fall in my path.

One step at a time, gingerly and slowly rebuilding my confidence, my spirit, and my committment, this testimony is complete and I am stronger for the test.

fear’s sunset….

Four years ago my father passed away and he gave me the greatest parting gift ever, only I wouldn’t understand its value for at least another year. Urgently, during one of his last days, he said to me, “Don’t let fear rule your life!”

In my grief and misery I was unable to hear the treasure those words imparted, but a year later as I began waking up, I asked myself;  is fear ruling my life? Am I making life decisions expecting the worst outcomes possible and therefore I don’t try anything new at all? The truth, friends, was staring me right in the face, fear had settled comfortably in my heart, soul and spirit. 

So I set out to find my version of happiness and to challenge my arch enemy, fear. I would need clarity if I was to find my life’s purpose and I so I embarked on a quest for the true meaning of happiness. I devoured religious books, self-help books, books about the laws of attraction, how to find your inner artist,  and books that asked the eternal question: who am I? It all boiled down to one thing, no one but me can define what happiness is and happiness has to begin with me, within me.

First, I had to think about my aspirations and then I had to take a leap of faith and start living without looking over my shoulder for the ominous, ever-present, dream-stealing nemesis, you got it, fear. Secondly, I had to be quiet, get still and become an observer of my thoughts and align them with my actions and surround myself with friends that support my dreams and are also reaching for their own stars in the sky.

My friends did not disappoint, when I stepped outside of the shadow of fear, my friends became my greatest cheerleaders and fear fell further back, its reach extended but not quite touching me anymore. I found my courage and suddenly I recognized the bravery and courage of the people around me, artists in their own rights, molding, re-shaping and creating their own life’s dream and I was heartened, fear would not dare rear its ugly head here.

I found a whole community of artists who shunned fear in favor of boldness, they exuded a certainty that they have something to contribute to the world, and their confidence bolstered my own. I thank each and every one of you who embarked on your own creative journey to find your inner artist and share it with the rest of the world, I know that takes guts and fearlessness, and I am in awe of each one of you.

My father gave me a gift that cannot be measured and that I am, only now,  just beginning to understand its magnitude and scope. It is simple really, if I allow fear to be my life’s guide, my life can only be small, my dreams and aspirations unfulfilled and I am only half of the person I came to this earth to be.

So I traded in fear for faith and instead of misery, I get to live a fulfilling,  joy filled life, with my most heartfelt dreams coming true and I am going to leap higher than I could ever imagined before, thank you Dad.