Monday, February 6, 2012

Journey of Joy

A woman once asked me, “How can you be so happy after all you’ve been through?”
So profound was this question, I’m not sure what my response was or if I even had one.
I thought about this question a lot for weeks after it was asked of me. What struck me most was the word ‘happy.’ Happy is not a word I would choose to describe the things I’ve been through. Yet, oddly enough, it is what this woman saw in me. Or is it?
During my thought processes I determined happy is based on happening. Just look at the words; happiness, happening, happy; it seemed to me that happy is a root of happenings and many of the happenings in my life haven’t been happy. Many of the happenings in your life, the lives of others aren’t happy happenings. So what could the woman who asked the question be seeing in me? I decided it had to be joy. For joy, I believe, is ever accessible even in the yuckiest of life’s events, joy abounds.
From the time the question was originally asked, and while there were plenty of happy happenings, the years progressed bringing more difficult times, more challenging life events for me. And these events, occurrences have reinforced within me that what this woman saw, all those years ago, was simply, joy.
Of course I had discussed this topic with my family, even brought it up several times in motivational talks I have given. A few years ago my sister said to me, “…well, at least you have joy.”
This comment was as profound to me. When she said it I heard it in a way in which joy was somehow given to me and not to her, like it missed her genes. As I began to ponder and study this idea of joy, I realized the perception of joy being given to some and not others, is a misinterpretation, a misunderstanding like the misinterpretation of happy actually being joy.
The creation story, told within the Hebrew Text aka the Old Testament, while it is told twice with some differences, it does express the importance, the intensity, and balance of masculine and feminine via a few simple yet impactful verses, “So God created…in the image of God...male and female…God saw everything that He had made…it was very good…God said, the man is become like one of Us, to know good and evil…” (Genesis 1:27, 31 & 3:22)   There is a Latter Day scripture which reads, “…men are that they might have joy.” (2 Nephi 2:25) In Galatians (5:22) joy is given as one of the ‘nutrients’ of the fruit of the Spirit (notice it is fruit singular, not fruits plural so by partaking you ingest all the nutrients of the fruit of the Spirit). More recently I have learned, or I am still learning would be the better way to phrase this, that joy is a ‘lesser’ or ‘minor’ Universal Law  aka Spiritual Law.
I bring this up here, now, because I have been approached many, many times since the original question and my sister’s comment, about how do I ‘bring’ or ‘have’ joy in my life. For the next several weeks it is my intent to touch on this, to offer to you some insight and tools of the things I’ve learned, I am learning, on my journey of joy.
Joy isn’t just in the journey it surrounds the JOurneY. Joy abounds in my life and it abounds in yours as well, really, it does, I promise.
Here’s a little token towards one of the tools. I believe this quote to be spot on correct. Take in every word, let it absorb into your being; believe it, yes, believe it…

“Believe in Loves infinite journey for it is your own, for you are Love, Love is Life.” Rumi

Purely, truly, simply Love Life and you will begin to purely, truly, simply experience Joy.
From my Joyful Heart to Yours!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Simply Serve

There’s always something, as moms, we do which annoy our children. Something I did, really still do but I don’t get ‘the look’ so much anymore, is volunteer my children to do something. For example I’d see a need at a neighbor’s house, maybe they just got home with a car load of groceries, I’d say, “Go over and help carry those groceries in.” Or the garbage men would be making their rounds on a scorching hot Las Vegas summer afternoon, I’d say, “Take them out a juice box.” Often I’d get the ‘are you serious’ look which, in return, I’d give the ‘yes, I’m very serious’ look.
My children, who are now all adults, just shake their heads whenever I say, “Oh, my kids will be happy to help.” The fortunate thing is I really don’t have to ‘volunteer’ them as volunteering or acts of service are second nature for them and for this I am deeply grateful. I witness my children from varying vantage points and I am continually awestruck by their gracious hearts, their impactful actions, the positive influence they emit to the Universe, and their continued inspiration.
As I share a bit of my children’s actions which I’ve recently observed may you, as I have been, be inspired. Also, may you notice anew, that service comes in many, many shapes and sizes, degrees of depths, can be fortuitous or purposeful.
My oldest daughter is an amazingly devoted wife, mother, business owner. Her commitment to her family reverberates into community, society, or as John Paul II said it best, “As the family goes so goes the nation and so goes the whole world in which we live.” We don’t have to look much beyond our own front doors to know this is true; nor to know the truth and contribution to our economy of good, solid, hard working business owners. Service, at times, is being devoted in your roll as a mother, father, child, sibling, business owner, employer, employee. Simply being the best you can be within the four walls of your own home or place of employment is a great act of service in and of itself.
My oldest son, who is in his first year of graduate school working towards his doctorate in physical therapy, seizes the many opportunities to serve which come to him through school. He doesn’t have to go out searching as well organized opportunities abound, if you simply be aware. This isn’t all he does to serve. I often have people approach me when they ‘catch wind’ that I’m Chris’ mom and tell me sweet little stories of something Chris had done for them. Actually, it isn’t just the act but the authenticity of which the act was done that made the greater impact. Going through the motion of an act of service is one thing, but doing it from a true, authentic place takes things to a whole new Universal level.
My youngest son is so unexpected. He sees, he does, that’s it. There’s no fanfare, no preplanning, no searching, it simply just is. I have neighbors come up to me and say, “Did you son tell you what he did?” or “Your son did the most amazing thing for me…” or “Did you read the letter your son wrote for such and such cause?” No, I didn’t know, is almost always the case. He simply sees, does, done and the Universe responds to such clear simplicity.
My youngest daughter, an amazing woman; she teaches school and works part time for her sister. She never uses her busy schedule as an excuse not to serve. She volunteers for Habitats for Humanity, she makes sandwiches, drives to homeless areas, and passes them out, since my accident 14 years ago, even with her dislike of needles, she is a constant blood donor, and her recent volunteer adventure which requires training and screening is for one of the local hospitals, selecting the Intensive Care Unit as her first choice. When I was in the hospital I was in ICU and then isolation. As a young teen, the experience of having her mom there could have left a negative impact. As a young adult, watching her daddy fight for his life and crossing over after 2 ½ months in ICU could have left a negative impact. Instead, she has chosen to face her fears, seek the positive, and then simply make a difference.
My middle son shared a sweet story with me last night. He has a ritual of waking up reading a few scriptures, going on his knees to pray and within the prayer he always asks, “Let me be of service to someone today.” He tells me the opportunity doesn’t usually arrive for him. But, on Wednesday after the prayer he’s thinking about what he should do before going to work, take a walk, go to the gym, watch television. While he’s tossing the ideas around, his intuition tells him to take the garbage out.  Without thought or question he heeds his intuition and grabs his garbage. He no sooner does he get out the door when he hears a woman say in an elevated, frustrated tone, “Fuck!” He asks, “Are you okay?” She responds, “I have a flat tire, can you help me?” Okay, God, Goddess, the Universe, Creative Source, whatever name you associate with doesn’t often use the “F” word to grab your attention. However, you should begin to attune with your intuitive-self and know, every now and then, you simply must step outside your front door.
I am very proud of my children, truly, wholly, as much as any mother could possibly be and, having said that, I take no credit for their fabulousness. The Fab-Five would be as fabulous as they are with or without me in their lives. They are divine children of the Universe, sons and daughters of God. And so are you, SO ARE YOU.
I share these stories with you because I have a firm belief in acts of service as well as acts of gratitude. May these simple stories inspire you; remind you as I said in the beginning that service comes in many, many shapes and sizes, degrees of depths, can be fortuitous or purposeful. Just simply, purely serve one another.
If you are looking for a service project to be involved in, I’m assisting a friend of mine with collecting items for the VA office in Las Vegas. If you are interested, leave a comment here, email, or send me a message on Facebook. And remember, there’s no reason not to keep it so simple.
With deep gratitude, Sat Nam.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Wacky, Wondrous, Whatever, What If Wednesday

Isn’t it a bit ‘wacky’ when from out of the blue a memory surfaces? For no apparent reason, nothing occurring which would summons the memory and yet there it is, clearly before you. Yes, you guessed it, it happened to me last night. Doing my normal ‘wrap up the day’ stuff, a memory silently, beautifully surfaced…
In the late 80’s I was an exhausted single mom, working two sometimes three jobs. After my two beautiful babies were tucked in I’d force myself to stay awake a few extra moments to read. Often it would be the Bible because typically whatever novel I was reading I had to reread to remember what I had just read and some evenings that took too much effort. Scripture was easy as I could randomly open it, read a few lines and call it good.
This one particular night I had just settled in opening the ‘good book’, when I heard my little boy’s tiny-quiet whimper and crinkly-diaper- toddler walk approach me. As I set the book down it struck me odd, albeit I was a bit annoyed, how the pages seemed to flitter about, falling and settling open at its own desired place, losing mine.
With a little tear in his eye, my son stood over the book. Before I could scoop him up and give him a mommie hug, his nose began to bleed, not bad, in fact it was one drop of blood which landed smack dap in the middle of the page where the book chose to land open. I gathered him in my arms, made sure he was okay, and whispered mommie things in his ear as I carried him back to bed.
After tucking him in, I decided to skip the reading thing, hell, I didn’t even know where I was now that the book decided to fall open to another place. This was a Red Letter, New International Version, the single blood droplet landed on a page where the book spread had only one red letter sentence, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9…
While it’s ‘wacky’ this memory came from nowhere last night, it isn’t ‘wacky’ that I have recalled this memory often. This scripture, which by the way, my son used years later as his missionary scripture, has been a source of inspiration and comfort during difficult times. The memory appropriately surfaced several times while I was in the hospital losing my legs, often during the long rehab, of course while Jeff was in the hospital and several times after losing him and my dad and our business and not getting close to grand babies and not feeling enough and wearing the noose of guilt, and, and, and…but last night there wasn’t an and…so after the memory came I closed my eyes, found my center, and listened. It didn’t take long, although I expected a discourse, to powerfully hear, “Surrender.”
This morning I ponder the memory and the single word message. As I do, one more thing continues to surface, that being, it isn’t all about me. So I offer my intimate memory and power word to you, those whom the Universe sends my way. Whatever name you associate with, be it Christ, Creative Source, God Goddess, or all as One, hear the message, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
We are not alone. We are all connected. We are so much more then we can even begin to comprehend. Seize and Surrender to it! And, make it a wacky, wondrous, whatever, what if Wednesday.