In Honor of Cracks

Ring now the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in
Leonard Cohen, “Anthem”

 

This week a friend of mine gave me a real scare. Marc sent a message that he was losing the will to live. I know that place. I really know that place! As soon as I was able, I went to see him. He told me he felt “cracked.”

I laid a hand on him—thinking about it now, I realize my hand covered the back of his heart—and said, “The cracks just let the light in.”

[Speaking of blessings in disguise.] When the air conditioner’s running, along with the washer and dishwasher and ceiling fan, turning on the microwave blows the fuse. If, however, the circuit breaker hadn’t tripped, the overloaded wiring could have started a fire that would burn down the house. And cracks in sidewalks—did you know they are deliberately designed stress points that protect the concrete squares from cracking? [Quantum God, Part Two: 9.We accept things as they are (but make them shine brighter).]

The Japanese make beautiful artwork of things with cracks. They call this technique Kintsugi (golden joinery) or Kintsukuroi (golden repair), and mix lacquer with powered gold or silver. They believe the piece is more beautiful for having been broken.

Kinsukuroi—Repairs—photo only

Though battered, bruised, and cracked, we are all works of art! May we allow the Light to shine in while our light shines out.

love, chelle

How Can I Help?

So many angels walk this earth, sharing kindnesses
as naturally as the sun shares its warmth. (Quantum God)

 

I cracked open a fortune cookie and read its message: “Service is the rent we pay for living on this planet.”

Nowhere is this more ideally illustrated than by my brother-friend, Mark. I called him and told him at length about the recent family crisis. When my breath ran out, he responded.

“How can I help?” he asked. Short and to the point.

A simple “How can I help?” No blame, no shame, no dilly-dallying. Mark’s question touched my heart and, in itself, was a  solution in that moment for my emotional upset.

All things contribute to the progression of an unfolding Creation, even the things that seem bad. Unconditional love helps, accepting the less-than-ideal without condemning it. Unconditional love does not say, “I’ll love you, but first you have to act like this.”

A Hindu swami once told about spending a day alone with his nephew: “It was a hard day for the swami and the three-year-old. We messed up the house. He threw a tantrum. Finally I took him in my arms and just held him . . . I realized that’s all the world wants, to be held in spite of it all.” (Quantum God, Chapter Nine)

Oh, how terrible our lives would be without the finest quality of life, compassion, and the desire to help! We are surrounded by angels, from friends and family to loving pets and kind strangers.

May we notice and appreciate these blessings in the coming week, while we also “pay rent” in service. And thank you, dear heart—I appreciate you.

love, chelle

AngelsInFlightMasthead

Calling All Angels

Worrying is praying for what you don’t want.
Barnie Henderson

Imagine you’re a pebble thrown into a body of water . . .
Effortlessly, you as the stone sink through the turbulent surface waters . . . Unattached to anything, you fall until you find perfect rest at the stillness of the bottom . . .
Having let go of everything worrisome, you now are not pushed or pulled by anything, and you are at peace.
Thich Nhat Hanh, The Miracle of Mindfulness (Quantum God)

A family crisis has left me wishing I could spend the next month? year? in bed. Just sleep through the coming storms. That would not be very Quantum Godish of me, though, would it?

So…slow, deep breathing. Unknot stomach. Relax muscles. Be supportive. Do whatever is constructive. Pray. Envision the best outcome. Remember to eat. Remember to practice gratitude. Remember to laugh.

But I get off-track. So…slow, deep breathing. Unknot stomach. Relax muscles. Be supportive. Do whatever is constructive. Pray. Envision the best outcome. Remember to eat. Remember to practice gratitude. Remember to laugh.

No matter how rough the storm or how battered we feel, we are glowing, showing, divine lights!

Surrounding you, dear heart, with light and love,
chelle

Karen Drucker singing “Calling All Angels” at

Hoping for a Wonder, Love Rushes In

Jill Marie singing “Love Rushes In” at

Marc lost his friend, Meredith, last week. He’s going to have to spend time grieving, but he can also focus on the people who love him here and now. I, too, had bad and good news: The bad news is, I have an ulcer. The good news is, I know I have an ulcer. Now I can eat foods and drink liquids that won’t hurt my stomach so much. (And, having been pregnant, I know the value of saltine crackers and flat 7-Up!)

So here is personal accountability again—doing what will help us feel good.

Any time we get rid of negativity, we create a vacuum where more compassion, love, and understanding can rush in. (Quantum God)

Positive actions run the gamut from 7-Up and saltines, to asking for a hug, to speaking to ourselves with kindness instead of scorn.

At one point, I derided myself for letting my family’s traditions down. My great-grandparents took people in and fed them during the Depression. My mom’s parents paid for children’s operations at the Shriners Hospital. My mom was a friend to all.

What had I done? I found some comfort when I realized I’d given homeless friends and strangers a place to stay, helped with prescriptions, and shared food and love, at least.

But sharing is only one side of the cycle. I once taught my mom that we need to allow others to minister to us so they, too, experience being generous and warm-hearted. Moving bullies out of my circle these last few years has brought kind people into my life and given me practice in receiving—with great gratitude.

It is a humbling experience to know people who are as generous and caring as the family I grew up in, a wonderful testimony to the abundance in this universe, and evidence to support my belief that goodness and kindness runs throughout humankind.

This week shall we take responsibility for our own happiness, allowing love to rush in?

love, chelle

Jo and the Dudes and Friends singing “Give and Take” at

Putting the POW in Power

NOW puts the POW in power.

Why? The present moment is where our power lies.

Too often we live in our heads, in the past (regretful) or the future (fearful).

Quantum physics says that we can move backwards and forwards in time. So, during this three-month-long flu-like illness, I took a note from Chapter 17 of Quantum God and, at the edge of sleep, repeated, “Already gone, already gone,” like the Chinese doctors who shrank a woman’s fatal tumor to nothingness.

I also worked at getting my body to remember a time when it was absolutely healthy, but even better was experiencing a respite from nausea for a right-now feeling of good health.

What really worked, though, was figuring out what was wrong—a lack of beneficial beasties in the intestines—and cultivating them on a physical level, right here, right now. And I had a lot of help from people who were praying for me, and sending healing energy. Energy not for the body, but for the mind that finally latched onto the problem and the solution! (Thank you, dear hearts!)

Our power lies in every now moment. Every love-centered moment.

CookieMonsterInTheMoment

May you reap the rewards of your power this week!

love, chelle

Too Tense to Smile?

[S]miling is…beneficial to the person doing the grinning. Facial expressions do not merely signal what one feels but actually contribute to that feeling. If we smile even when we don’t feel like it, our mood will elevate despite ourselves.
(http://www.snopes.com/science/smile.asp)

Coke commercial, “Smiling Faces Around the World,” at

Lately I’ve been noticing how often I tense up, hold my breath, and frown—and the lines on my face are reflecting those frowns. No matter that I’m concentrating on driving, or reading, or just thinking—none are good enough reasons to mar my face.

For decades I waited for my hair to turn to the salt-and-pepper my grandpa Rusty had worn, the grandpa I loved so much. Now silver adorns my head, trophies I earned across the space of half a lifetime. I wear them proudly. Here, too, are the crow’s feet I’d waited for. These laugh-lines at the eyes are a welcome sight. But the lines at the corners of my mouth—where did they come from? Where is that smooth, full face of the twenty-year-old woman I feel like? Did marriage change it? Child-rearing? Struggling and trials? What created the harsh-planed landscape of the face I wear now? (Quantum God, Part Two)

What is the alternative? Remembering to breathe deeply, unfurrow the brow, and smile. Simply smile.

Shall we work on creating smile lines on our own and others’ faces this week? Smile and the world smiles with you!

Sending you loving smiles,
chelle

Tips from Tom Wolford, Prairie Village, Kansas, at

Flying with a Broken Wing

Many of us learned that unless we put others first,
we would become egotistical and selfish.
We were taught to “love your neighbor as yourself.”
But did we ever learn to love ourselves? (Quantum God)

One of the first spiritual guidelines I learned (from Deepak Chopra) was that we must love ourself.

An organization for plastic surgery has been running a television commercial in which one of its customers says, “I feel pretty,” and every time I hear her say, “I feel pretty,” I respond out loud with “Good for you!”

Although a lot of this lifetime seems spent in letting go of what isn’t working well, I’m not endorsing plastic surgery. It’s the woman’s view of herself that I rejoice in. She feels good!

BelieveInYourself

Feeling good isn’t always easy, and trying to fly with a broken wing difficult but not impossible.

Spirit (with a capital “S”) supports life as long as spirit (with a small “s”) trusts that lifeline. How do we deepen our trust? By what the Sufis call remembrance of the soul. Quiet time. Prayer. Believing in ourself. And noticing moments of grace that happen every day.

This week, shall we make an effort to notice every instance of “what’s going right” and be grateful?

I am grateful for you.

love, chelle

Natalie Wood singing “I Feel Pretty” from West Side Story at

Opening a New Door

One Saturday when I was a teenager, my mom needed a can of stewed tomatoes for the meal she was preparing, and we ran over to her parents’ house. Da and Grandpa had gone out, but Mom found what she needed in the pantry closet in the basement, then sat on Da’s red stool at the kitchen counter to write a note. Both thoughtful and grateful, Mom said she had taken a can of tomatoes, added a thank you, and signed the note with love.

At that moment, Da and Grandpa came home, and Da began to chide Mom—this may have been when Da was trying to quit smoking—but Grandpa motioned us over to the other side of the room.

“Honey, come with me,” he said. He led us downstairs and crossed the cement floor to a doorway I’d never noticed before. Beyond that door was the part of the basement where “cold storage” ran the whole width of the house, under the front porch. “Look, Sandra,” Grandpa told her, his mouth curving into the lop-sided grin we loved so much, “here is where you need to go shopping.”

I felt my eyes go wide. Before us lay boxes stacked upon boxes, all full of canned goods and delicacies (like Smucker’s jams in all flavors). Mom and I drove home with a case of stewed tomatoes and more.

How often we limit ourselves to the places we know, the experiences we’re used to, the smallness we have learned to accept as ourselves. That “small me” feeling is so pervasive and so detrimental to our being! In Quantum God, Part Two, “We are willing to change,” I quote Marianne Williamson, who wrote, “Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure….[But] as we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

This week, let’s remember to shine. How? By being kind to ourselves; by thinking well of ourselves. With this simple act, we allow our whole Self to shine out, and we tacitly encourage those around us to do the same. That is when we are, as Rev. Karyn Bradley used to say, a beneficial presence. A blessing in the world.

More power you, dear heart, and many blessings as you walk through new doors.

love,
chelle

Trist—This isnt real

This Isn’t Real

A Taoist parable tells about a man who dreamed he was a butterfly. Upon waking, he asked himself, “Am I a man who dreamed he was a butterfly, or a butterfly dreaming it is a man?” (Quantum God, Chapter One, “Will you have the soup?”)

With a recent gain of 12 pounds—which amounts to 12% of my normal body weight—and everything swelling up to (but, unfortunately, not including) my bustline, I thought my death was imminent. Blood clots in both legs. Failing heart. Or failing kidney. After spending much of my life wishing I were not alive, I found I was not ready to die.

Ha! Always a late-bloomer, am I finally getting “into” life? Everywhere we turn, we can see injustice or abuse or greed that needs our attention. Our efforts. Our compassion. “No rest for the weary,” my mom used to say.

Kurt Godel, however, had another viewpoint: One part of any system cannot make a judgment about that system. Or, as Bernie Rhodenbarr in Lawrence Block’s Burglar series observed, “It’s hard to see the picture when you’re standing inside the frame.” (I’ve been reading with my feet above my heart a lot, lately.)

The movie, Divergent, contains a fascinating scene where Tris realized she was dreaming and took control of her fear and, indeed, her dream.

Is this life a dream? Although we know there is a divine realm from which we made our field trip to Earth, this life certainly feels real. Whatever it is, we’re smack in the middle of it! And if, like me before, we’re not really engaged with living, what kind of experience can we hope to create?

My friend, Chuck, calls life an adventure. Sounds a little scary to me, but he’s on the right track. We’ve got a lot of living to do!

love,
chelle

Getting Out of Bed

 The day was perfect! The sun was shining, the flowers blooming, all was right with the world…But then I had to get out of bed. ~ Anon.

 

bedAnother day came yesterday—a new day, yes? A day in which to do anything, to be anything we like?

A day dedicated, I decided, to finding joy and not indulging in fear. What’s there to be afraid of? Well, the supposed altitude sickness that affected me in Denver followed me back to Kansas, and I am still parched and puffed up all over, feet and legs and hands and face swollen, and scared. Was I dying? And it costs what, $200 just to walk into an Emergency Room? What a nightmare!

Our mother is having the greatest difficulty feeding herself, with hands misshapen from arthritis and senseless from neuropathy, and unable to transfer to assisted living quarters unless she can feed herself.

And do I still have any sort of job, any income and interaction with my Alzheimer client’s family since hospice is now visiting Pam?

These fears left me keeping company late with my pillow yesterday morning. The day, however, is what we make of it.

HopesNotFears copySo I put aside my fears and got out of bed. And do you know what? With some smiles, food, love and friendship and work, the day-gone-by looked pretty good. I was feeling grateful, which is so much more productive than feeling frightened, yes?

Today is a new day, and it is upon us! May we focus on our daytime dreams this day and every day, dear heart! And know that I leave you with

love and blessings,
chelle