What if?

What if

Questions have the ability to seek requests, to gather information, to guide us to a destination, to offer more questions, to give us answers.  However, sometimes the questions we ask ourselves take the form of lashing and incessant badgering of not enough.  They might begin like this,

What if I were just better, a better person, a better …
What if I were a different person….
What if I had more….
What If I was more……
What if I had less of (in my case it would be fat!)
What if I could find…..
What if only God had given me…….

What if we a stopped? What if we used questions to ask something greater? What if we used them to meet the needs of others?   What if we took a risk and listened to the words we desire to hear, to our longings, to our gifts.  What if we found some way to give what we so desire or what we have and offer it to someone else?  What if we asked a more beautiful question? 

I suspect these more beautiful questions sound of wind chimes, of laughter, of sighs of relief, much lighter than the constant pounding and darkness of the badgering. They move us out of living in lack.  They move us to a place of praise, gratitude and hope. They are easy to answer right at the moment, no waiting no wondering, and no agonizing. They create relationship and generate compassion. They might sound like this:

What if I took time to listen to God’s calling?
What if in my next conversation today, I was absolutely present?
What if I could teach someone something they had been requesting to learn?
What if I stood up and did a dance right now and celebrated life?
What if I practiced my hugs today?
What if I shared my gratitude with someone for something specific they did for me to meet my needs?
What if I could listen for the bid underneath someone’s words today?
What if I took a risk and created something to share?

 

What is your more beautiful question?

 

 

Love Fest

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My mom’s cedar chest sits in the back of my closet, a large piece of furniture, heavy, dark and lonely.  I opened the rounded top and listened as it reminded me of its age.  The aroma of cedar mixed with old paper and piles of birthday cards rose from the chaos. Cards, one after another were read until my hands, coated with dust smelled of the big box of memories.  Lovely words written on each card shared like a thanksgiving dinner. It was an invariable love fest. I continued to investigate what was so loved that it was honored in the cedar chest.  Old baby shoes, worn to the fringes and wrinkled track ribbons, everything was a celebration of someone.

A black shoebox, which looked rather new, still remained , pieces of paper and a button or two lay near it like confetti.  The box was mine.  I opened it and lifted a packet of pictures from within the pile of my own cards received over the years.  Slowly I raised one picture, sliding it behind to gaze at the next.  They were all of Beau.  Photos of silliness, smiles, laughter and love flooded the moment.  My smiles blended with the constant threat of tears mirrored the pictures.  The happy, healthy adolescent in the pictures did exist within the young adult I saw last year in bondage with shame and it’s sly fixer, addiction. Throughout the years our family had tended to both, all of us, growing some days, wilting the next.

After the slideshow of pictures had been viewed many times over, I was reminded of what I had forgotten. I realized that what we focus on grows stronger. We often make gigantic the causes of pain and slowly forget the smiles, hugs, silliness, laughter; the small things love is made of.  We replace gratitude with griping. Insidiously our world begins to shrink taking with it possibility and dreams. We look inward instead of upward, sideways and backwards instead of forward. We see our faults or the faults of others and lose track of the soul. So today, let’s switch our focus.  Look up to God.  Remember who you are, fearfully and wonderfully made.   Gaze at yourself or others gently, remember to notice the beauty of things done, things said, things shared, feel the tenderness.  Notice too the acts looking egregious but sowed in love, pain or frustration.  Be sensitive, caring, loving to yourself and others today.  Open the treasure chest and have a love fest!  What might it look like for you?

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Traveling lightly

Traveling Lightly

Today my bathroom is partially painted.  My bedroom is fairly bare except for a bed and two nightstands.  So where is the “stuff”?  It usually travels like a nomad throughout my house.  Today, its in the den and of course the garage…..argh!   Stuff. We all accumulate it and it weighs us down, not just in our homes but also in our hearts. 

This recent feeling of weight prompted me to pick one room in the house I didn’t like.  I chose the bathroom. I took out the items that didn’t reflect me, the person I am or want to be. I felt immediately better. Lighter. Space has been created for me to bring my heart and soul into that room in whatever way you do that in a bathroom!

So, in my physical life I’m definitely traveling more lightly.  Soon my garage will be as empty as possible and my bathroom well, more inviting. However, I don’t want to live lightly just in my home.  I want to travel each day lightly in my heart.  Forgiveness has been the key.  Although God has forgiven me for all my transgressions in life, I sometimes struggle to forgive myself.  Now, the dark, webby places where I have allowed shame to live are being cleaned out with forgiveness.

Forgiveness……..sometimes we forgive others, but we often forget to forgive ourselves.  Or maybe we have accepted God’s forgiveness but continue to believe we are less than worthless or are deserving of punishment instead of grace. In my experience when we forgive ourselves, we receive a gift and at the same time give a gift to others.  In order for me to love you more, to serve you, to help you in your suffering, to celebrate with you, to be kind to you, to treat you with compassion, I need to have forgiven myself.  I must accept forgiveness and forgive to give my best. Daily I remind myself that I am forgiven and that I need not hang on to the “stuff” that clutters my soul.  Let’s toss it and bring in what truly represents us, livens our soul, pleases God and walk more lightly through life.

My goal this year is to travel more lightly. How about you?

 

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Navigating Sadness

On Sunday, I woke to sadness.  You have probably been there too in your life.  The heavy sadness that causes you to drip, robbing you of energy and snitching the last bit of clear thinking that you own.  The sadness that raises questions like “Why am I feeling this way on this day?” “Can I control it?” “Will it ever go away?”  That day I rolled with it, appreciating and accepting the emotions as they moved through me uninvited.  I wove my way through the pain like a maze, following it, yet being cognizant that I can usher it out

My life had slowed down and with that, the scary space to feel.  I have been practicing this dance of rolling emotion and I’m getting better at it (most of the time).  I wish that a long time ago I had understood that God had given me this wonderful brain and could use it to better help myself in life’s struggles. It’s not always easy, but I can do it.  Here is what I practice (over and over again):

1.     Don’t fight the emotion, thank it, but that doesn’t mean throwing in the white towel!

2.     Welcome confusion and questions and realize that you don’t have to have the answers; just be willing to embrace what is next in life. 

3.     Find something fun to do!

4.     Sounds cliché, but be grateful.  Grateful for the emotions God gave you and   the blessings in your life in their simplest form.

5.     Redefine what you might call loss to something that is hopeful and beautiful to you.

6.     Be willing to learn.

7.     Remind yourself that you now have a way to give to others that you would have never had.

8.     Make a decision that is good for your life. God wants you to be you, the best you, you can be.  So what can you do that will lead to the fulfilling life God has planned for you here on earth? 

9.     Be confident that joy is around the corner.  Picture the beautiful moments yet to come and pull them to your heart, literally.  Begin to notice them.

10.And at the center of it all, God is more than enough so we are enough.  Jesus was sent to earth to understand the lives of people like you and me. To Him I give my love, thanks and praise.  He gets it!

The Bnote family is here for you and to support you through your navigation. 

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