Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Madly gifted

Liminal space – I was introduced to that concept when I attended the School of the Spirit from 2004-6 for spiritual-nurture ministry. The term oozed attraction. I know that space, but never had a name for it.

Literally, it means the sill of a doorway, a point of entering or beginning. Scientifically, it suggests the point at which stimulus is intense enough to produce an effect, such as the threshold of consciousness or the threshold of pain.

I discover it to be the in-between place, when one thing has ended and another has not yet begun. For me, it is usually a sacred place, the time and space in which I especially tap God's help because I don't know what is next or yet to come. A place of rest AND trust.

My best friend recently teased me that I always like the transitional times: in life, the change of seasons, between sleep and wakefulness, the plane between spiritual and material. She is right. I tend to live there more often than not.

And I am there right now ... as I finish moving my studio, hope to wind down Artsy Fartsy and, perhaps, begin a job. Some projects seem VERY done, others still have loose ends and there is much I don't know. So, I focus on what I do know and staying nearer Spirit.

Liminal times are often frought with new growth  for me. I have rebirthed in this time and worked to re-pattern my brain and nervous system from being fear-based to rooted in the security of God's constant love. My shaman has a bumper sticker that says "LOVE < FEAR." I had't quite understood that until recently because I denied that I was living a fear-based life. Our world often pushes us to that brink.

In the midst, a week or 10 days ago, I just said to God "Ok, you do it. Whatever you want, help me to know it." Pieces seem to come one at a time and that is all I need.

A friend's Facebook post this morning caught my attention:
"Is the seeking to live a life of integrity day by day a sign of mental illness? I've been told that so many times by people who have jettisoned their own attention to a moral center ... determined to pursue what the Bible calls "mammon."
That is the struggle: to live faithfully in a world that is, essentially, faithless. Living there is truly a liminal space, dependent upon Spirit's movement and guidance. it's all to easy to be swayed from without.  I enjoyed some of the responses:
"It depends if the person you are pissing off by choosing a life of integrity instead of money has the power to diagnose you or get you diagnosed."
 "I, by the way, identify am madly gifted."
"Some ... believe that they must sacrifice their integrity and make ethical compromises for 'the greater good' ..." 

"Never lose yourself because someone who is lost bids you to follow."
"When one loses the moral compass of the minds, heart and soul we are well and truly lost. Hold fast to that piece within you that gives you peace."

Another Facebook friend – incredible that I am getting deep direction from what I typically think of as a superficial medium – has been posting daily about the beauty she sees each morning and God's hand in offering this day, this time to us NOW.

I believe the liminal spaces are times the veil thins, when we must wait and trust, turn inward and live with spiritual integrity day by day ... and feel free to tell others that we're madly gifted. God would certainly understand.

• When have I experiences liminality?
• What are qualities of those times?
• Did I experience God's closeness?
• How do I experience daily integrity?
• What choices must I make?

cut off

we are
by the


and choose
to live

from within,
the stirrings
of the
Inner Teacher

learning to

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Have I been faithful?

The luxury of time to move and sort, pitch and remember has been a gift. A gift of solitude and gratitude.

After a rambunctious and unusual Artsy Fartsy session Saturday, I am taking down the big stuff, shifting packed boxes into moving positions, no matter where that happens to be in the room, and very much aware that the room is disappearing. I didn't want the kids to witness this piece. I'd packed most of m personal possessions and things tucked and squirreled away, leaving the objects that have come to define my studio and to which the children have responded: the meditation tent, theater seats, art tables and Ikea stools, my desk, posters and their art on the walls, streams of colorful fabric draped from the ceiling and the full bulletin boards.

Our memory flag created for leaving Milford Main
Today, however, the gloves are off and my mission is to smartly pack, move and store. I am relentless in pitching and recycling and may become more obsessive as I get everything into a box and see how much there truly is. I am already figuring a two-person system of getting my large garbage bags into the dumpster: having one outside on the ground below a second-story window and the other tossing down the bag, which should land only a few feet from the trash bin. The recyclable I may have to transport somewhere else.

I've been darting back and forth, packing this and that, adding to unfilled boxes with similar items. Before desiring a break to blog, I carefully folded 15 man-sized striped and plaid shirts the kids have used for paint smocks. It was almost like putting away my daughter's baby clothes. I could picture the kids in these enormous shirts and unrolled several sets of sleeves.

As I was rolling up posters, I opened what I thought to be an empty mailing tube. Tucked inside was a poster of two children holding hands and the caption: Companionship: those who bring sunshine to the lives of others, cannot keep it from themselves.

It opened some emotions as I drifted back to 14 years ago and the wonderful Neighbor-to-Neighbor group I organized. That was a three-year stint just as Artsy Fartsy has been. And the Neighbor-to-Neirghbor still meets! All of the touching and personal thank-you notes on the back became an echo of what I needed to hear about Artsy Fartsy ... the words I don't actually hear from families, but know they carry:
"You're a jewel and an inspiration.
Thank you for all you do.
God bless your caring spirit,
Thank you for your energy and compassion.
Thank you for following your heart and getting us all together.
Thank you for your hard work and inspiration.
A big heartfelt thank you for initiating and following through with Neighbor to Neighbor."

Saturday was tough. After reminder post cards, phone calls and volunteer drivers, only three kids were out and about waiting. I knocked on many unanswered doors and was told kids had other plans. We eventually ended up with 9. We've had as many as 17 at once. I really wanted them to be here to say goodbye. That was my projection.

One dad asked if I'd stop by and pick up a pizza for his wife. "No, David," I replied not very graciously. "After I drop your boys off at the school, I need to head up to Oakbrook for kids, run back and run the program." Little Caesar's is a five minute walk for him.

During our session, I pretended not to hear one of the girls say she and her friend needed a ride that night. She aimed it at me.

I was feeling under appreciated until I ran across the poster and those words that helped me see they are as appropriate now as then. Thank you, Spirit!

• How do I handle times of transition?
• Can I find reflective moments within those times?
• Can I find Spirit in the bittersweet space?
• When has Spirit provided something I desperately needed?
• How did I express my gratitude?

just because I
have spent time

I expected the
kids to want
that as well

to recognize that
this special
thing we've
been a part of
was changing

but, they're
just kids
in their
and to

God sent
me a special
years ago

yet in the
hearts of
those I serve

helping replace
my question of
"Have I been
successful" with
"Have I been

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Losing the path of shoulds

The last of four workshops aimed at creative entrepreneurs ended yesterday. I discovered the series serendipitously, signing up last-minute. Something spoke to me. Possibly that as I sort and move my studio, I am sorting myself. Clearly, I see this as a period of endings, beginnings and re-shaping.

Branding expert Darla Kirchner suggested several times that we name or hone our mission, define our ideal client, look at our target audience and ways to connect. And then she dove in deep to collaborating live, virtually and via social media. She really de-mystified it for me. Much of her charm is that she has learned this the old-fashioned way: by doing it herself.

©Tad Barney photograph/www.tadbarney.com
While I have been exploring my business, I have also been probing myself. It has become quite apparent that before I can connect, I really to need to know who I am in this moment and where I intend to head. When I showed Darla my crazy map of all the projects I have in the works, she said "Pick one – the one that's in your heart."

So, after the last workshop, I took my notebook, map and computer and plunked down outside with an iced coffee to do just that.

A rather large grant, due next week, has been hanging over my head. I am discerning if I really want to do the project attached to the grant or am only doing it because it can draw funding. I really have been attempting to distance myself from what seems projected on me (by myself and others)  and listening to my heart. That's not so easy in normal, everyday, busy life.

In the past, when I felt this way, I scheduled a retreat in a quiet, safe place. Those have always been so productive. I don't feel the urge right now.  I am supposed to do this work in the here and now, in my normal, busy, everyday life. Somehow, organizing, packing and pitching is meditative and offering a shift in perspective. As If I can take the longer view.

A recent re-birthing with my shaman is very much a part of this. I have released the anxiety of not knowing what's next and giving myself the space to be prayerful and discern my path through Spirit. I have many pieces, but no clear picture of how they fit. The workshop has been a tool to help me piece them together; especially Darla's advice to look deep within.

I read Richard Rohr's meditation today about the Desert Mothers and Fathers and their apart-ness that allowed them to live in solitude and silence. Rohr writes:
"They recognized that they had to find inner freedom from the system before they could return to it with true love, wisdom, and helpfulness."
How true is that? Very, I believe. I am tasked with locating that inner freedom while living alongside the system, much like being in the world and not of it. I have never really understood how to do that, until now. Making peace with the word, for me, is necessary. Unwounding myself, such as in the rebirth process, is key. Through all of this, I have been painfully aware that I am confronting my real self. Rohr spoke to that today:
"Solitude is a courageous encounter with our naked, most raw and real self, in the presence of pure love."
Barely a handful of very precious times, Spirit has let me see myself through her eyes. I traveled there again during my re-birthing. In a flash, I experienced myself at birth, my daughters and a car accident I have let over-define who I am. I learned that I am filled with light, as are my daughters and all children of God. Also that the accident changed my path, my course in life and I should be joyful, not angry.

I am joyful that I am privileged to live out of the mainstream, yet alongside it. I am grateful to Darla for showing me how to look into my heart in a practical way to allow me to be more of how I am and show more of that light-filled self to the world.

I am ok living in the cloud of unknowing.

• When have I disassembled myself?
• What were the results?
• What helpers surfaced?
• How can I live apart from the world?
• What spiritual practices support me?

I've been
the path of

as if I

by a code
that has
fit me

to measure
up, while
my real

when I let
the heart lead,
instead of the

I get back
on course


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