Extraordinary

“Extraordinary people survive under the most terrible circumstances and they become more extraordinary because of it.” 

Robertson Davies

Yes, we are living in extraordinary times.

I began my day today by saying a prayer for our world while lighting a votive candle.

I was surprised at how much comfort this gave me.

Maybe it would be for you, too?

Memorare       

Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary,

that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection,

implored thy help, or sought thy intercession was left unaided.

Inspired with this confidence,

I fly to thee, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother.

To thee I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful.

O Mother of the Word Incarnate,

despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy, hear and answer me.  Amen.

I am…

B…simply being. 

~Peace~

 

Creative Reading

“There is creative reading as well as creative writing.” 

Ralph Waldo Emerson

My morning reading ritual is evolving very well and becoming a vital part of my day.

Exposing myself to several different authors at one setting seems to help me stay focused and adds another level of appreciation for the ideas presented by each writer.  Sometimes what I read seemed to be on the page especially for me.

Here are two examples:

From Suzanne Giesemann’s book, In The Silence:

“A strong prayer issued on one’s behalf remains in effect, for you have set it in motion. It gathers energy when joined by the prayers of others. You may add fuel to this creation as you wish, but there is no need to do so constantly. We say again, once created, so it is.”

From Deng Ming-Dao’s, 365 Tao Daily Meditations

“Worry is an addiction

That interferes with compassion

Worry is a problem that seems to be rampant. Perhaps it is due to the nature of our overly advanced civilization; perhaps it is a measure of our own spiritual degeneracy. Whatever the source, it is clear that worry is not useful. It is a cancer of the emotions–concern gone compulsive. It eats away at body and mind.

It does no good to say, ‘Don’t think about it.’ You’ll only worry more. It is far better to keep waling your path, changing what you can. The rest must be dissolved in compassions. In this world of infants with immune deficiencies, racial injustice, economic imbalance, personal violence, and international conflict, it is impossible to address everyone’s concerns. Taking care of yourself and doing something good for those whom you meet is enough. That is compassion, and we must exercise it even int he face of the overwhelming odds.

Whenever you meet a problem, help if it is in your power to do so. After you have acted, withdraw and be unconcerned about it. Walk on without ever mentioning it to anybody. Then there is no worry, because there has been action.”

“Any fool can know. The point is to understand.”

Albert Einstein

I am…

B…simply being.

~Peace~

 

Thank you, Kimberlee Salimeno. Once again you’ve allowed me to use your beautiful photo for my story. I love you. 

My 60 Minutes

“Prioritise self-care and incorporate a MINIMUM of 60 minutes ‘ME TIME’ into your daily routine. 

YES THERE ARE enough hours in the day. 

NO EXCUSES.” 

Miya Yamanouchi

I’m beginning to understand the value of making time for myself.

Since the beginning of this year I’ve been up early enough to have at least an hour to myself.

Today I started doing my morning pages. For whatever reason I thought I didn’t need to do them anymore.

I was wrong.

Initially I struggled finding something to say. I finally stopped trying so hard and began to write whatever came to my mind. It didn’t matter if it made a lot of sense or not. With each line the words came easier. I remembered how important these pages were to me and saw myself sitting at my desk in the wee hours of the morning, writing to bolster my courage to face hard days at work. As I remembered those days I realized I’d missed this type of writing. I felt as though I was sitting down with a friend I hadn’t seen in a very long time.

My morning ritual feels in order. My morning pages are back where they belong, I have my gratitude journal, and my stack of daily reading. Each element has found its own space and place.

Some of my hardcopy books have special bookmarks. My favorite is a card with butterflies covered with glitter–the perfect reminder of the person who sent me that note. She is such a positive light force in my life. Each time I move the card to a new page I see little pieces of glitter left behind–mirroring the impact Mary Lou has had on my life. Thank you, Mary.

A calendar of 2020 marks the pages of another book. Each day I read I mark off the date. I initially did this as a way of validating my commitment. What I hadn’t anticipated was the impact that little swiped line had on me. With one little swish I could see how quickly the days are flying.

“No one’s approval is enough to make up for a lack of self-love, which is really a lack of self-awareness.

When we feel a desire to be loved, it isn’t other people’s love we need. It’s our own relationship with love that we’re longing for, our own awareness of being interconnected with others, our own sense of the magic of our own interwoven existence. 

To seek the fulfillment of this desire in others’ approval is a losing battle. It will never be enough. No one can compliment you enough to supplement for the acceptance that you need from your own self, in each moment. Acceptance for your struggles and your talents. Acceptance for your humanity. Celebration of that humanity.

Love is an inside job.” 

Vironika Tugaleva

I am…

B…simply being.

~Peace~

Memorials

“When tea becomes ritual, it takes its place at the heart of our ability to see greatness in small things. Where is beauty to be found? In great things that, like everything else, are doomed to die, or in small things that aspire to nothing, yet know how to set a jewel of infinity in a single moment?”
― Muriel Barbery, The Elegance of the Hedgehog

I’ve written about rituals before because they intrigue me and I think we need to create them.

My friend, Glynis, reminded me of my questions about ritual when she sent me this picture of her morning cup of tea. This beautiful cup was one of the last gifts she’d received from her friend, Sherrie. Glynis had been saving this fragile little cup because it’d become so special after Sherrie’s death. Now, after re-discovering it, Glynis realized  life is to short to save special things for only special times.

Now, every morning, as Glynis savors her tea and alone time, Sherrie joins her–every single morning–so simple and so very special.

Even though my arthritis often grabs my attention, I do know aging is a privilege not given to all. It comes with a very difficult downside–the loss of family members and friends.

I’ve learned a way to lessen my sorrow by creating a visual memorial to each loss.

For me, it was an easy choice.

After my cousin, Donna, died I started my first flower garden. It was my Donna garden for years until it evolved into the Donna-Bethie garden. When we moved, I couldn’t take the garden with me but I could take some of the special rocks surrounding it.

When we moved into our new home on the hill, the garden was reconstructed and replanted. As the years have passed, I’ve created more gardens and named them in honor of others lost. Each special person memorialized in a personal and powerful way.

I’d always felt a ritual had to be something huge. I now understand a ritual can be as simple as a rock, a rose, or as grand as grand as a tree.

I’m pretty sure size does not matter to the soul.

“This is what rituals are for. We do spiritual ceremonies as human beings in order to create a safe resting place for our most complicated feelings of joy or trauma, so that we don’t have to haul those feelings around with us forever, weighing us down. We all need such places of ritual safekeeping. And I do believe that if your culture or tradition doesn’t have the specific ritual you are craving, then you are absolutely permitted to make up a ceremony of your own devising, fixing your own broken-down emotional systems with all the do-it-yourself resourcefulness of a generous plumber/poet.” 

Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love

I am…

B…simply being.

~Peace be with you, my friends.~

Special thanks to my friend, Glynis Walker Morse, for sharing her ritual and her photo. Love you, my friend. 

 

Morning Greetings

 

It’s your road and yours alone. Others may walk it with you, but no one can walk it for you.  Rumi

For the past month or so, I’ve added something to my morning ritual.

I like it.

“In our deeds we can structure our lives so that the simple things that we do everyday, from bathing to cooking, have resonance and ritual. –Ilsa Crawford” Louisa Thomsen Brits, The Book of Hygge: The Danish Art of Living Well

For years I’ve written morning pages which have evolved into an expanded gratitude list. I’d become very comfortable with this early morning routine–my very own ritual–pouring my coffee, selecting my music, lighting my candle, and writing my thanks.

This past month several of my close friends faced life changing experiences. Because many were grieving or feeling helpless and alone, I knew I needed to find a way to connect with them on a more intimate level.

The problem–I’m far away.

So, I decided to send each a text every morning as I wrote and gave thanks for their friendship. With these short messages I was able to reach out and give my support.

After a few weeks, an interesting thing started to happen.

My morning greetings became the focal part of my evolving ritual. My thanks begin with the words I sent to my brave friends. Each person had  shown in their own way what resilience looks like in action.

I am grateful to be here for them in any way I can–I am proud of them all. In a perfect world I would be there in person. Our world is far from perfect–being able to send my message across the miles instantly is incredible to me. In a flash, my words and prayers go where I cannot–

Thank you, God.

“Prayer is a path where there is none.” Noah Benshea, Jacob the Baker: Gentle Wisdom For a Complicated World

I am…

B…simply being…

God bless.

~Peace be with you~

 

 

My New Ritual

I began my day by writing in my new journal. It was my new, but very familiar, ritual. My notebook of choice is NOT fancy. I’d grabbed it a couple of weeks ago at the Dollar General store for $0.99. I added a bunch of old stickers to the cover so it wouldn’t look so much like some kid’s grade school project–my attempt at art may have made it look even more like that very thing. My writing instrument–a good old #2 pencil. It’s simple. It’s easy. It’s erasable. The added bonus–whenever my very sturdy and reliable pencil needs sharpening, I have a real reason for taking a thought break.

It was soothing giving my thoughts their freedom, allowing them to crawl out of my foggy morning head onto the paper. There was no scurrying about with each idea fighting with the one ahead of it. It took patience and some writing around the bush techniques. Slowly things came together. I found myself falling into my old routine of writing three pages–the number of pages suggested by Julia Cameron in, The Artist’s Way.  As I did many years ago, I ended my pages with thank you’s to God. My chosen number has always been five–and that is what I carried into my new ritual.

As I planned, I did all this first thing this morning. No news. No social media. Interesting, by my taking control, there was no internal struggle.

As I wrote this morning, I had a thought about the practice of Tashlich, the “casting off sins.” I am a gold medal champion when it comes to worrying. What if I used this beautiful tradition as a model for dealing with my own moments of uncertainty? Living on a hill, could I use the wind as my mode of transporting that type of negativity away from me and out of my future?

I like that.

I think I’m going to add that to my daily practice. I’ll save the walks to the river for special times.

I am…

B…simply being…

There continues to be a lot of pain in our world. Please pray for each other.

I love Y’all.

Peace