Aim high. Ride easy. Trust the Universe.

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Living long enough we each find ourselves surrounded by an old way of being, thinking and loving that is going up in flames. In an unexpected moment I read the words, of my one-word wonder, that said 'You'd don't share, I'm not sure if you realise or not..'. In that moment I was stuck in fear, feeling trapped by an old way of life coming in on me.

It's understandable to stall at the wall of flame, not wanting to face all that is burning around us; yet old ways can burn forever and waiting for the flames to go out seldom works, we can waste years in waiting. Like a frightened man in a burning boat, in that moment, I chose to trust her, to believe that the greater sea I was about to jump into would douse whatever caught fire as I moved through it - this is what faith is all about.

Without trying to be brave and with great fear I have stumbled and jumped through many walls of flame. The first time, I think, was in leaving home - needing to go, burning at the edge, afraid I wouldn't survive beyond the flame of anger in which I was raised. Buoyed by youth the wall of flame seemed to burn brightly and in my favour but all too soon I had to move through the flames of utter despair in death and lost love.

Here the broken part of me was almost willing to be burned alive. I felt certain there was nowhere to go and nothing that could soothe me. I more fell through this wall than jumped, it seemed the entire sea was on fire. Even, once overboard, drifting farther and farther from the flames I thought I might drown. How could I know that the greater sea was the womb of a deeper life. But and, of course, once in the sea of life beyond myself, the world continued and I healed.

But the subtlest ring of fire, it seems, is that self-centered way of thinking that starts to suffocate us with smoke. For we carry the smouldering self-centered everywhere we go. It lives off us and eats up who we are. Being a commitment fence-sitter was hard to hear and I struggled with the reality of the words she gave me but she has shown trust in me with such boldness I realised it was about time to look her in the eye and love her, in that way, in return. 

So how to jump from the burning boat of me? I think it's about jumping from the boat of ego into the sea of spirit. Finally, perhaps, I feel I can find the courage to surrender my stubbornness and dreams of control, let the edge of my ego burn and jump through. I will do more than survive I will be carried to an unimagined shore.

 

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in Thoughts 27

I've lived a transitory life. It has its moments - I've seen and been things, I've grown up and into those places but it has its jaded edges and one of those is that you don't necessarily lean into the experience and fully embrace it.

We moved house - again - and because it's the nature of my beast I kept moving; things don't and can't gather under my feet - perhaps another conversation with my one-word wonder.

It's a wonderous thing arriving at a point and it's not really the point at all - it's just another brick in the wall. It's a beautiful brick but just a brick. 

On we go.

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in Thoughts 17

Hard as it is we cannot shrink from our relationships or we simply become an audience. I have struggled this with my whole life, being fearful of what might happen if I actually voice my concerns and needs, surprised that in doing so, whilst not always easy and pleasant, always enables me to be myself more fully.

The philosopher Martin Buber believed that God is more deeply known through relationships and he spoke to the heart of this paradox.

He said that before there can be a true relationship there must be two separate beings who can relate. Most of our life experiences bear this out. Unless we work to be ourselves we can never truly know others or the numinous world we live in.

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in Thoughts 21

I've grappled with self-doubt my whole life. My reward for being recognised and loved was based on a performing monkey basis, that was my motto until the cage became too small and the falling down meant staying down.

The deeper my cry the more my choices became clear. And this cry makes those of my loves more distinct.

My one-word wonder is calling into question whom she should love and, with it, opening a field of complexities - life quickly becomes an endless consideration of possibilities and allegiances. What I've come to understand is that all decisions to be made about who and where and when were really heartfelt distractions from a deeper cry. Underneath all the painful ambiguities and assessments, her very soul is sinking out of reach of the feel of life.

Once we hear the deeper cry our choices become very basic and straightforward - how do I regain my wonder at being alive? Time and again we are shown, by the quiet courage of others, that if we can let the deeper cry through the next step will come plainly into view.

Our falling down but not staying down reinstates the trust she seeks out and speaks of, ours is deepening.

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in Thoughts 32

I have a deep and rich home with a person whose cells are connected to mine and, in which, the fabric of our life forms a tapestry, a cosmos of colour which is both complicated and simple all at the same time. 

My soul mate, however, is someone quite different and that realisation has both startled and settled me.

I glimpse at the context of her story; in the moments she reveals them to me, and only briefly do I turn around to see her face because, in that moment, there is a perfect beauty in our staying anonymous.  It's those times, simply and deeply, without us ever knowing, the moment of pointed and unexpected truth, when we're more at home together than in our own skin.

The life of spirit is everywhere - in dust waiting for light, in music waiting to be heard, in the sensations of the day waiting to be felt and in our eyes that, together, finally see.

Being spiritual is much more useful and immediate than the books about books would have us think.

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in Thoughts 23

Unintended hurt is as common as branches snapping but it is unacknowledged hurt that becomes a wound. What causes hurt to each other? It's hard to say really but, it seems that - being human - we are subject to many ancient and powerful opposites found in life. Light and dark, yes and no, fear and peace.

It is out of fear that we feel the need to isolate ourselves and control others. When not afraid, when in a moment of peace, we feel quite a different need. We feel a need to connect and belong to other living things and it is then, in the act of true embrace, that we love one another.

Still, we're not exempt from both sleeping and waking, feeling both fear and peace, being both hurtful and loving. But the world is kept whole by those who can overcome their fear, however, briefly. 

Even if our awareness of being hurtful comes after delivering the hurt, the smallest word or gesture - owning what we've done - reopens the heart.

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in Thoughts 27

An old feeling settled into my cells over the past few days - I even felt a little comfortable with it, like an old pair of shoes your feet slip naturally into even if you don't like how they look on you anymore.

Fear has been a constant companion in my life and, over the many years of trips around the sun, I've both shunned and befriended it. This love-hate relationship has threatened to define or defeat me as I've realised that, the only way to stay close to the pulse of life is our ability to change, to shed off whatever we are carrying that is no longer alive. To cast off our dead skin because dead skin can't feel. Dead eyes can't see. Dead ears can't hear. And without feeling, there is no chance of wholeness, and wholeness remains our chance to survive the pain of breaking.

This fear encompassed and encased a deep fear that I wasn't, as my true self, enough. Whole enough, strong enough, rich enough, wise enough and, in showing my authentic self, in casting off the layers that no longer served me, would leave me exposed to the elements and the deep sense of abandonment would finally be realised.

I understand that this dead skin takes many forms, a dead way of thinking, seeing, relating, believing or a dead way of experiencing. In essence, shedding opens up to self-transformation. Those of us who refuse such renewal will, sooner or later, be forced to undergo transformation anyway as a result of being broken or eroded by the world. Very often both occur at the same time, we shed from within whilst being eroded from without. 

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in Thoughts 98

We were discussing what made us good listeners, or perhaps what made people come to us with their Hamlet questions. Sometimes I'm stretched thin by it but, for the most part, I'm deeply humbled because I think listening comes from a deeper place and it seems we can only hear the living to the extent that we have truly lived, only understand pain and joy to the extent that we have allowed ourselves to be touched by life.

I have heard so much in my life but it's only after the fact that I've felt their pain and even more their true joy in caring for things. To be sure we do not have to experience the same things to receive each other but we do have to experience what is ours to live through before life will show its roots.

What does it take to truly listen? The breakdown of everything that parades between our hearts. If I dare to hear you, I will feel you like the sun and grow in your direction, and you in mine. For when we hear each other, it all becomes a garden, it all becomes edible.

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in Thoughts 35

These big Hamlet questions play in my head sometimes and, despite the day to day activities that keep me running, these questions are my real purpose.

Why are we here? Why did I eat what I ate? Drive that way to work? Smile that thought? Say that sentence? And why did she saunter into my contained life? The big why?

I think this is the trick to life, to staying well, isn't it? To feel the sun even in the dark. To grow just the same. To know there is love even when we're lonely. To know there is peace even when we're in this uncertainty. And then it shifts. Then I know.

The stubborn persistent truth is that we don't get to choose who we love or who loves us - the big why is that we're all here to connect. I am powerless to her and her to me because we are within each other. There is a profound connection to everything and love is the only way.

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in Thoughts 28

"Did I show you love... because your silence never says ...." This song echoes in my head when I speak to her. My one-word wonder.

I know that over the years, through fear and expectation, my mind has gathered and hoarded places I needed to go, things I needed to have, selves I needed to be. But here I am, without most of them, the goals and wants all used up in learning how to love. But love I do - deeply.

How frequently do we search for a song of guidance that can only come from inside us? The search continues.

 

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in Thoughts 34

My very best friend said, just the other day, she thought that words were 'meaningless sounds that fill the spaces between'. Her reference showed her insistence that actions are what really move life forward and the endless talking is just unnecessary.

It didn't sit well with me, lover of words and creator of stories that, in my mind, were nothing if read as meaningless. But, as with everything she says, I sat with it and watched her play out in my life.

"How can you follow the course of your life if you do not let it flow"? Often the pain of resisting makes us rust like iron and in order for us to re-enter the flow of life we need to be scraped back to our original surface.

Like windows filmed by weather, I wait on her loving hands to be rubbed clear. For human beings, the process of living stains us repeatedly, with pain and disappointment, action and inaction, which can sicken us if harboured or make us whole again if released. Again and again, more than any other life form, we have this majestic and burdensome power to harbour or release the impact of our words but more importantly our actions.

Experience in, feelings out. Surprise and challenge in, heartache and joy out. In a constant ride life rushes in and in constant release, we must let it all backoff.

My words, her actions, symbiotic and stretching, for this is how the earth was made magnificent by the sea and how humankind, how we, are carved upright - again and again - with a collective spirit that sets us free.

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in Thoughts 81

This cycle of producing troubles and then preparing against them is very much like pulling a thread that really should have been left alone - the more I pull the more the fabric unravels.

A more subtle form of this revolves around the struggle to accept that, much like a moth to a flame, some relationships burn brightly only to burn out as quickly. Feeling unworthy or insecure we create a goal in the hopes that achieving that will make our love more secure, more equal. Then we're off scheming, preparing against failure, stirring the water in the hopes that it will go clear.

All the while the very deep resources of heart and spirit are being misapplied. Isn't this how we enter relationships that really don't embrace us? The mind is a spider that, if allowed, will tangle everything and then blame the things it clings to for the web it wants to be free of.

I have done this recently, in the hope of love, wanting so badly to see myself clearly in the water while I kept stirring and stirring. Perhaps the hardest thing I've learned and struggle with is that I don't have to be finished to be whole - I just have to turn away from the flame.

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in Thoughts 37

We are all frail, we all make mistakes, we all fall prey to a thousand emotions and exaggerations. But these things make us rich not weak, if we are willing to face them squarely. In truth it is not the tissue of our humanity that defeats us but rather our refusal to accept who we are and to live accordingly, limitations included.

Underneath it all, this blindness, in its many recurring forms is the cause of most cruelty. For it is during those moments when we think we see so clearly that we break things that are irreplacable not even realising they were precious.

After breaking many things in my life, hearts and heirlooms, I am humbled to admit that the only differene I see on Earth between being strong or weak is the honesty with which we face ourselves, accept ourselves and share ourselves, blemishes and all.

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in Thoughts 38

I believe that each of us is born with a natural leaning toward looking or not looking - unsurprisingly I lean towards the looking and in that looking she cracked me wide open.

This keeper of secrets and discoverer of truth makes me feel like sunlight. I catch her looking at me, hear my name on her lips and in come the rays. But, like staring into the sun too long there are times we musn't, to preserve our sight; more often I look to stay alive.

Like all of us I struggle; though no one can tell me how. We have to work this battle again and again, to leave the underworld, to not harden, and to make our way to back into the land of the living - into her light.

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in Thoughts 40

Perhaps this friendship is a methaphor for another kind  - that of our lifetime kinship with truth and love? If so, does the inner task become how do we make a lasting friendship with the unities that are larger than us? How do we keep their light in our heart when no stars appear in sight?

These words resonated 'What is the use of talking and there is no end of talking. There is no end of things in the heart.' How can fear and love sit so comfortably inside such a small space? Is she a star in my constellation, a brief but enduring point of light, that forever flickers in my deepest fears?

The difficulty then has always been how to make it across the dark; from point of light to point of light? Is this the province of faith, the preservation of presence when we are not light hearted. She, my point of light.

 

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in Thoughts 103

We've opened up to each other and been hurt in the process - the distance between us seemed easier - and now it appears we're in the corners of our minds - quietly huddled in safety - wanting to reach, wanting more, but within the constructs of our consciousness and within the safety of not being hurt again, or more.

But the reaching and growing doesn't offer us that comfort. The nature of the reaching and growing offers us nothing but the promise of freedom because, just as fish can't see the ocean they swim in, we can't see the spirit that sustains us.

In life, as in water, when we curl up we sink but when we spread and go still we are carried by the largest sea of all; the sea of grace that flows steadily beneath the turmoil of events. Again and again the onset of pain makes us cluth and sink. But life has taught me that how we first open after doubling over is crucial to whether we heal at all.

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in Thoughts 112

This morning, in that half awake half asleep space, I dreamt that our days were starting together. We rolled into reality with banal discussions on the smallest details of a life being lived and, in time, she pulled up a chair to sit right next to me. In that movement and moment the space between us was barely visible.

My deepest desire wanted to move my hand to touch hers but the invisble line of her emotional connection was, for now, stretched to it's core and that is the understanding I have come to breathe in.

"Everything in the Universe is inter-connected. Within each is reflected." I think this explains why we are so drawn to certain things. Why, of all the fallen branches I will choose the one that most resembles the way I have had to bend all of my life. Why, of all the places you could return to you choose the lip of a cliff featureless by wind because it lets you choose the worn lip of your heart that you show no -one.

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in Thoughts 118

A theme keeps coming up for me - I was alerted to this a few years ago by a well meaning friend - and since then a special someone keeps pushing me back to it - relentlessly but lovingly so.  Showing up, really showing up as yourself, that's harder than it looks. It made me think of these words;

"Mining the moment for something that feels good, something to appreciate, something to savour, something to take in, that's what moments are about. They've not about justifying your existence. It's justified, you exist. It's not about proving your worthiness. It's done - you're worthy. It's not about achieving success, you never get it done. It's about 'how much can this moment deliver to me?'. Some of us like it fast, some slow, no-one's taking score. We get to choose. The only measurement is between desire and allowing. And our emotions tell us everything about that."

I have a busy life, blessed by a work and home life that never ceases to amaze and push me into more and more. This past weekend was no different - every waking moment crammed with busy-ness and it seems, at times, that I'm speeding along a track laid down by others, going so fast that I'm passing everything by in a blur.

But I was also pulled into a stark reality that I need to slow it all down, to really be present, for myself and the people I love. That is where the real growth, the real life is. So I'm not going to do that - blur anything - anymore.

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in Thoughts 54

My very very very best friend got hijacked yesterday and it took that to make me realise she's my very very very best friend. I don't want to be that person - the one who has an ephiphany because of a shock but in this instance I am.

I've always fought against titles, famously saying 'Just call me Alex and pay me double' when someone else was responsible for my salary. The title of girlfriend, best friend, any friend always seems to rub up against me. I've bucked against the idea that a relationship needs to have a definition in order to give it the space needed and I still believe that.

But all at the same time there comes a time when you need to just pick - something, someone, some direction and throw yourself all in. And this is that time.

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in Thoughts 85

"...Life is such a curious dichotomy. I don't think I understand it any more clearly than I ever did I just ride the storm a little more gracefully; feast and famine are part of the patchwork that is slowly sewing the quilt that will, I suppose, tell my life story.

I get it wrong, stumbling and falling with the "getting up" often messy and awkward but I'm up again. All the while my loves are running their own race and, more often, I find myself falling into their footsteps, running every so calmly with them until one of our paths digress and we're running alone again.

Living your own life is frightening and most of the time, if we're honest, we're lost. But here's the thing - living any other way is a wasted life. I am who I am because of the loves in my life. The people who see all of me and love me anyway"..

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in Thoughts 222