Archive for February, 2013


“Listen to your life. See it for the fathomless mystery it is. In the boredom and pain of it, no less than in the excitement and gladness: touch, taste, smell your way to the holy and hidden heart of it, because in the last analysis all moments are key moments, and life itself is grace.”  ~ Frederick Buechner

I believe, in between the pages of all of our lives, is invisible Grace.  Undeniable grace is at work always.  It doesn’t need our belief or faith in it to be made visible … but be made visible, it surely will be, if you are willing to see it.  

There was a morning I was shook awake by a loud bang.  I eventually made my way downstairs, opened the front door, and found a car on my porch.  I would come to see there were three cars spilled out like so many colored dice across my lawn.  As dawn broke, I would hear the songbirds herald the day – that was Grace.  

One day just before I started this blog, my son was in an ambulance racing to the hospital.  I hurriedly followed along in my car, rounded a bend, and saw Mt. Rainier in all her rapturous glory.  I wept with true gratitude in that moment.  That was undeniable Grace.

Look back on your life and see how it’s always held you, guided you, and somehow … against all odds … picked you up and set you down on the shores of calm water.  This is life’s golden promise and gift to you.  

Grace, simply is and always will be.

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We can let our lives be directed
by the same force that makes
flowers grow.  {…}

To trust in the force
that moves the universe
is faith.

Faith isn’t blind it’s visionary.
Faith is believing that the universe
is on our side, and that the universe
knows what it’s doing.

Faith is a psychological awareness
of an unfolding force for good,
constantly at work in all dimensions.

Our attempts to direct this force only
interferes with it.
Our willingness to relax into it allows
it to work on our behalf.

Marianne Williamson
A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of A Course in Miracles

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“We wind up on the shores of our own subconscious and we are not sure what is real.”  ~ from the movie Inception

I viewed Inception for the first time this weekend.  What a fabulously brilliant, complex, multi-layered movie.  I could watch it again and again and come up with a new insight every time.  Here, I’m only going to speak to what seemed to me the most glaring, the most obvious point it was making.

“…building a dream based on memory is the easiest way to lose your grip on reality…”  That’s a direct quote from the movie.  Let’s change the wording slightly: building a life based on memory is the easiest way to lose your grip on reality.  How did you color that memory?  Was it a pleasant memory or a not so pleasant one?

Let’s take the movie for instance.  One character believes: I am a disappointment to my father.  Or is he?  Perhaps he is a source of pride to his father.  How will he know which is true?  He will know by the seeds he plants and waters, nurtures and visits often what will be true for him.

It’s the same for all of us.  The seeds of thought we plant in our minds, the ones we visit often, the ones we take to be real are the ones that will take root and appear to be very real.  They may become the seeds that ultimately define us.  Yet none of us ever wants to, in our heart of hearts, define ourselves by limitation.  Kahlil Gibran once said – “we are the sons and daughters of life’s longing itself”.   And I believe we are also the sons and daughters of a Love that can never fail us.

The main character in the movie is plagued by guilt.  In the end, he has circled the globe and now faces the man who holds his final and ultimate freedom.  Yet, ironically, the man who holds his true freedom is really … himself.  The redemption he has been seeking has always been within.

As St. Francis once said – “we are what we are seeking”.  The truth that’s been locked up, that some chose to forget, until now … is that we are always Love seeking to know and experience more of itself, more Love.  We are the flower always leaning into and naturally drawn toward the light.

In the end, what remains, what eternally remains is — Love.  Love is the pure oxygen sustaining us.  We only know love, we only know joyful pride, we only know beaming appreciation.  Perhaps everything else is the dream we are dreaming.

We are already that which we are seeking and when we wash up on those shores, the world is “too full to talk about.”

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Well, it’s almost Valentine’s Day and despite the title, I am not going to talk about Cupid.  However, I do want to touch on the concept of two arrows.  This is based on a Chinese proverb:

There are two arrows in life.  The first arrow is the one that hits you from some painful experience.  Perhaps it’s something you did or said, or something someone else did or said.  It’s that initial hurtful sting to the heart, that’s the first arrow.

The second arrow is the one that we keep shooting at ourselves again and again, re-living that pain or hurt.  One could say there are infinite second arrows, but not when we choose to live life consciously.

I took the proverb “to heart”.  Wrote it down on one of my homemade well being cards, and now I keep it in a prominent place.  I can go long periods where I don’t re-visit a painful event, and then suddenly there it is again — another shot to the heart.  Guess what?  It doesn’t feel good.  It’s not supposed to feel good!

Yet, there’s another way of being and engaging with life.  The shot to the heart comes, and rather then staying there and swirling in the pain yet again, I can say: ah, it’s the second arrow on a continuous loop of re-runs!  I choose now consciously, lovingly, kindly … not to go there.

It’s a simple — no, thank you.  Then turning back to my passion, my life, all that lights me up, and affirming — yes, thank you!

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Bethie’s back!  I have just returned from a several day training in Carlsbad, California.  This is the third year in a row that I’ve trekked down to Carlsbad for workshops.  I absolutely love it there!

I am ever so busy plunging myself back into life.  So, indulge me one more time as I re-post below, “Buddha Goes Surfing”,  the inspiration that came from my very first visit there…

I just wanted to briefly share how much I loved watching the surfers at Carlsbad beach.  I found myself quite entranced by the whole dance of surfing.  I watched how they moved in towards a wave and I began to see how surfing moved in stages.  It seemed first there was the anticipation of the wave and then choosing where to be with it.  I noted the expectation, the planning, all the way through riding the wave.  What one might call the stage of fruition or in some cases non-fruition.

It struck me how this is really a metaphor of how everything moves and develops in life.  The stages of anticipation, the planning, then carrying out the plans, the doing and finally culminating in fruition or non-fruition.  This is how we buy a house, those new shoes, that new car.  These are the stages in how we accept a new job or even interview for one.  It’s the cycles of that project at work.  This is how a garden grows and so much more.  It’s essentially how everything is created and developed.

In light of that, fruition or non-fruition doesn’t really matter because there is ALWAYS another wave!  And knowing this we can move in the flow and let the current carry us along; we don’t have to buck that current.

By the way, didn’t you just love the title of this piece?!  Yup, tell your friends you read the news here first: Buddha Goes Surfing and his message to all — all is well, no worries, go with the flow because there is always, always another wave.

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Yes, I’ve gone and done it again.  Another found poem.  This time instead of contrasting two poets together, I have taken one poet: Mary Oliver and pulled pieces from 8 different poems to bring together a brand new poem.  I’ve taken no more than two to four lines from each poem.  Each verse is from a different poem and in a few cases a pronoun has been changed.  After this found poem, I cite the poems that were used to create it.

Every morning I walk softly and with forward glances
down to the ponds and through the pinewoods.

I have gone every day to the same woods,
not waiting, exactly, just lingering.

I have thought sometimes that
something – I can’t name it –
watches as I walk

Around me the trees stir in their leaves
and call out, “Stay awhile.”

Later, lying half-asleep under
the blankets, I watch
while the doe, glittering with rain, steps
under the wet slabs of the pines

These are the woods I love,
where the secret name
of every death is life again – a miracle

Someday I’ll live in the sky.
Meanwhile the house of my life is this green world.

In the book of the earth it is written:
nothing can die.

~Mary Oliver~

The Place I Want to Get Back To
When I Am Among the Trees
Clapp’s Pond
Skunk Cabbage

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what will you do…?

when the worry is gone
when the self condemnation is gone
when fear is not your bedfellow

what will you do with that new wide open space

lay down in it
breathe deeply
close your eyes
you are home


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