Saturday, July 28, 2012

Banishing the nots

Listen to post:

It hit with a thud the other day, though it's been rattling around awhile forming. Probably even an unexpressed thought at some point, that's how it works with me. Now it's starting to sink in, taking root. I am supposed to live based on God's direction in my life; not my own, or worse, not in comparison to others.

The comparing is killing me. I don't even know when it started and am so entrenched that it's hard to spot. Our culture insidiously promotes it, creating a source of anger, jealousy, self doubt and host of other evils. Awareness, however, is a great detective. 

I don't drive a Mercedes like the guy at the gym. Or have a skinny body like the woman next to me in yoga. I don't rush to a cushy, prestigious corporate job or possess a degree beyond a bachelor's and minute of ministry [let me tell you, that was hard earned!] I don't live in a McMansion. I'm not famous, beautiful or particularly confident ... when I make those comparisons. I am not successful by material, or the usual American, cultural standards.

I'm not, I'm not, I'm not.

I am tired of living with a deficit and ready to embrace abundance, gratitude and my gifts instead of the shiny allure of so-called Western success.

I am often reminded that choosing a creative life [well, it chose me] forces one into a realm apart from the cultural norm. It's a special place not for the feint of heart or unimaginative. The path can be difficult and lonely; much like the spiritual path. They are one and the same for me. Creating as the Creator. Is there a better role model? Frankly, I don't understand how one can live any other way. I, apparently, can't. I felt chewed up and spit out after joining Corporate America once. Now it's time I honor this life, my life.

I am experiencing abundance, though not in the form I or society would have expected: not by my own hand. Instead from the generosity of others: two Quaker organizations funding my creative-nurture studio and under-served kids' art exploration and, more recently and closer to my heart, the 173 packs of crayons so many neighbors, friends, members of my faith community and, even strangers, donated. They will be distributed to the 150 kids who live in the complex where we'll offer an arts sampler program registration. I wanted to give each one something, a gift for creative expression, even if I can only accommodate about 16 in the arts program, nurturing them all academic year. I smile when I recall the giant box an older couple in my Quaker Meeting walked out to my car. It contained 60 packs of crayons! The generosity is astounding.

In a time when I would have expected to be taking on a job and stashing money away for my girls' college, I find myself knee-deep in developing an arts organization with no salary. This is where God wants me and I have no fear that I will receive whatever it is that I need. I have so far, including a rousing example of living into the Mystery of Spirit. A dear friend and mentor recognized her business was consuming her and opposing the very reason she created it. When regular channels broke down, she gave it away. Gave it, I said ... to people who needed it and she walked away RELEASED. I felt the power of Truth when she related the story.

She's helped me re-set my barometer, turning it away from financial gain and toward happiness and being right with God. I am re-penting, re-directing and setting my compass toward Spirit. And, right now, my heart sings of all the things I am and can do. The "nots" are banished.

• How do I let God direct my life?
• What tools do I use?
• How am I swayed by cultural norms?
• Where can I find a mentor, example or support?
• How can I make my heart sing?

once again,
sitting in my steamy
prayerbox of a
sauna after burning
off the anxiety

by letting the
water turn
my heart over

there is
room for God

and my heart
speaks up,
the brain's
busy comparisons

distilling my
life to deficits

and the
bulb beams
on, strongly

I will walk
the path
toward God


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