"Follow your bliss and the Universe will open doors
where there were only windows." 

- Joseph Campbell


This path of following the heart is an interesting one. Mr. Campbell is right in that when we commit, fully commit, to a path, the Universe does have a way of opening doors where there were only windows. Unexpected circumstances and opportunities come out of essentially nowhere, paving the next step in our journey.

And sometimes we reach a point where it's easy to feel like all doors are closed and windows have been boarded up! That's the part of the process I've come to know as rest and renewal. During this time, it's so easy to become impatient, feeling like the Universe and it's magical door-opening abilities has abandoned you. I'm learning to be gentle with myself. Instead of becoming frustrated and depressed, I'm learning to rest and trust. It's a time to adjust to this new version of self and develop a new "normal" from this fresh level of perspective. Of course, this doesn't mean I don't feel the restlessness...that intense sense that something is coming, something is about to change (again!), although I have no idea what. I've been here many times before, and it still catches me a bit off guard. This time is especially intense.

So if you're wondering why I've sort of disappeared lately, now you know. I've needed some time to step back, find my center, and sit in the meditative question, "Now what?". And when the answer is ready to reveal itself, you'll be the second to know!

Wow! What a night....what a journey!

Now that my feet are back on the ground and the exhaustion is starting to subside, I would like to express my gratitude:
- To all who came to the show Saturday night
- To all who helped support the show financially through donations
- To all who sent well wishes from near and far
- To my "loving fans" (per the card on the delivery)....for the magnificent bouquet of beautiful roses! 
- To the fabulous team of musicians: Randy, Jeff, Joel, Brian and Barb
- To our lounge dancers: Tyrene, Bob, Randy, Ginny, Richard and Catherine
- To the amazing backstage crew: Lynn, Rob, Sam, Tristan and Pete.
- To the Elsinore crew: Greg, Sharon, Jay and the ushers
- To Marie and Bekah for helping Barb and I look and feel beautiful
- To Randy for photocopying the playbills (that was a lot of work!)
- To Garth on video (still doing lots of work!)
- To Dad and Aliyah for prop work
And one more
- To the circle of friends (you know who you are) who gave me the courage and support I needed in the final hours to break through the remaining fear and doubt and give it all I had. Thank you for "shining your lights" for me to see!

I hope I haven't forgotten anyone! Each one of you were an instrumental part in helping this dream take flight. Thank you! I am truly blessed!

This is an experience I will be savoring and learning from for quite sometime. It required every ounce of courage I had. It demanded more of me than I thought I was able of giving. It solidified my faith and trust in letting things divinely unfold. And it allowed me the freedom and space to discover what I am truly capable of. Since I can remember, I've always felt like I was capable of accomplishing something BIG, and yet as time went on, I just seemed to get smaller and smaller. Saturday night I told Spirit I would bring everything I had to that stage, and then I would step aside and be a vessel. I was amazed at the results! And so I ask you this question again: When was the last time you amazed yourself?

Are you willing to stretch, to embrace, to grow into your dreams? I can assure you that while the road is a bit rocky at times (ummm... that may be a slight understatement), the rewards far outweigh the challenges. It forced me to remember that the end result is never the point. The most important thing is how we are being, and who we become, in the process. Now did I do it perfectly? Absolutely not! I kept forgetting, and then with love and support, I would find my way back "home" to the process once again. This dream building was a constant journey of forgetting and remembering, much like the process of living life in general. And what did happen with the end result? If you were there, then you already know. And if not, well, it took care of itself, so beautifully in fact, that it was even more incredible than I could ever have imagined. From the moment I stepped onto that stage, I knew you were with me. I sensed you feel my pain. I heard you share my laughter. I was deeply touched by your responses, and I hope you left touched in some way as well.

For those of you asking some details, here are the final numbers: We ended up with 226 tickets (though with your enthusiasm it felt like a full house!), and after paying all expenses and cutting a nice check to the designated charity, Peace Village, it looks like the financials will break even. That is good enough for me. Doing this was never about the money. It was about the willingness to say YES... to a dream, to myself, and most importantly, to the calling of Spirit within.

The morning after someone was already asking me "What's next?" Well I don't really know yet. I do know that standing on that stage, I felt like I was doing what I had been born to do. So will there be more? You bet! When? I'll have to get back to you on that one.

Perhaps it's time to start that second book, the process of building a dream, which for me was The Melody of Flight, but for you could be anything. I am considering it, not so much the specific details, although that would be fun to share, but more about what it means to grow into our dreams. What it's like to discover when you really need all those spiritual tools you've spent years gathering, suddenly it seems the tool box has gone missing! You know, stuff like that! We'll see.

For now, I take a nice deeeeeeeep breath and savor and celebrate the experience!

Another year, another holiday season. Sometimes this time of year is filled with joy, and sometimes it can bring a mix of emotions. I used to be very particular about celebrating holidays. The celebration had to be on the actual holiday, not before or after, or I'd be disappointed. Things had to be done a certain way. We developed specific traditions for how we decorated the tree, how we hung the stockings, what decorations went where, when we made the popcorn balls, how we baked and arranged trays of goodies for the neighbors, how and when we read the Christmas story, and when we opened gifts. After the divorce, I was at a loss. Nothing felt the same, nothing looked the same, and all I did was cry. This went on for several years. Sharing joint custody meant that, every other year, I spent the holidays alone. Nothing seemed to have any meaning anymore. I was angry, bitter and depressed. The constant barrage of ads on radio and tv advertising gift and feast options seemed like a societal conspiracy meant only to remind me that I had nothing and felt like a failure. I was forced to reexamine the holidays from a new perspective, to define their meaning for myself, and to create new ways of doing things. The pain, I've discovered, comes not from things being different, but from trying to make them be the same. Once I let go of the disappointment and pressure, a sense of freedom began to grow.

This year I spent Thanksgiving alone. My kids were with their dad and my parents in Arizona. I knew I was welcome at various potluck gatherings, but I chose to stay home. I wanted to see if I had grown enough spiritually and emotionally to be able to make it through without feeling those old, familiar twinges of negativity. After lunch I decided to take a walk and enjoy the beautiful day. As I ventured past various driveways filled with cars, I imagined family and friends around tables, laughing, sharing, maybe enough arguing. As I pondered those scenarios, I felt not one twinge of bitterness or anger. I was genuinely happy for those gathered together, and grateful that I had no expectations or obligations weighing on me for the day. I was content. A sense of awe and wonder for life overwhelmed me, and though it was a chilly day, a divine peace warmed me from head to toe. I was ok. No matter what.

Because my life looks so different from how I imagined it would be, the loss of that dream still causes a sadness to rise now and then. When that happens I acknowledge the presence of that visiting emotion by simply saying, "I feel sad." That seems to be enough to help it dissipate. Right behind it I find gratitude, reminding me of all I have to be thankful for, and the many different ways to celebrate holidays. Gratitude gives way to joy, and that inspires me to get on with embracing life. Whether I am surrounded by family, with a few friends or alone, the enchantment of the holidays will always exist in the way I choose to view them. The magic of expressing gratitude, living peace, experiencing joy, and being love is a practice I now cultivate every day of the year. It helps take the pressure off needing everything to be perfect for a few weeks in December, and frankly, just makes life more fun all year round! I remember to breathe, knowing all is well. Always and in all ways.

 

In the movie Back to the Future Part II (1989), Marty McFly and Doc Brown traveled to the future date of October 21, 2015. I remember watching that movie while in college and thinking 2015 was a lifetime away, and yet here we are. Allow me to take you on my own back to the future sort of journey. This one resembles more of the first movie, where Marty goes back to the past in order to change his future. While I can't change anything, it's interesting to reflect on days gone by knowing now what I didn't then.

This picture of me and my son was taken 11 years ago, and today we celebrate his 15th birthday! He's grown so much, no longer a boy, now standing almost 5'10! That pile of small footwear that always accumulated by the front door whenever friends were over has become a heap of very large shoes!

I remember well when this picture was taken. It was Christmas time and I had recently fallen off a ladder at the roof line (thus the wrapped wrist, and other injuries not visible in the picture). I had also started singing again, having earned a solo with a local Christmas Chorale. It just so happens that the afternoon of the accident was also the first evening of our many performances. There was no way I was going to let down my fellow singers, so I bypassed the hospital and hobbled onto that stage instead. Barely able to hold my music, I mustered everything I had to ignore the pain and sing from the heart. "
People need the Lord. At the end of broken dreams, he's the open door." That emotional melody calling to a higher power was about to become a very painful reality. Unbeknownst to me, one year later I would have my fifth child and life would begin to unravel. I'd finally find my way to that Divine center that could and would sustain me as every human definition I had for myself fell away. I had no idea at the time, but the determination I used to show up for that performance would serve me well in the future when I needed to pick myself up and start over.

So now 11 years later, I marvel at my son's growth and mine. Because I have learned to fully embrace all of me, I am able to fully embrace all of him. I don't need him to be anything in particular to please me, I only want him to be authentic. This realization leaves me feeling grateful for everything that has happened since that picture was taken, for without it, I would not be the person, the mom, I am today. 

The Spiderman pajamas my son is wearing reminds me of the line: With great power comes great responsibility. We all do have a great power. It's a quiet, gentle power that comes from within and can't be taken away by anyone or anything. It's called love. And once we are in touch with this power of love, we have a responsibility to bring it, to be it, in the world. I'm sure Marty would agree.

This awakening and healing process is a curious thing. It’s not a single-time occurrence as one would hope. It happens in levels and when we are ready, a deeper level will be uncovered. Not all of our experiences require this, but some do. Those happenings that go way back and  have impacted our life significantly, well those levels just keep coming. I have one such issue that keeps reappearing. As I’m working with an alternative healer to address my facial pain, I know without a doubt our last session together has opened something in me. How do I know? For no apparent reason, I began to cry. I forgot that I had asked for this. Not long ago I proclaimed in my quiet moments, “I am ready to be healed.” As Marianne Williamson says, “Once we have asked to be healed, then our unhealed places are forced to the surface.”

It’s a very familiar feeling from days gone by: moving through normal day-to-day activities, trying to hold it together, when on the inside I feel like I am completely falling apart. Why now I wonder, when I have so much on my plate for the next several days? I don’t have time to feel this pain. And yet, God’s timing is not always mine. As if yesterday’s events weren’t enough of an indication, then today’s surely are. This morning I picked up my book to read a page I haven’t seen since publication. As I did, a new insight jumped out and practically slapped me in the face! Then I was commenting on something to my daughter and she daringly said, “What’s with you mom? Lately you seem to hate everything.”  Whoa! That got my attention. Here I am preaching love and growth to the outside world and obviously there is some discrepancy happening when I enter my own home. And then in case I hadn’t gotten the message, I’m sitting in the stoplight line at the grade school parking lot and BAM! Somebody slams into the back of my car! No damage was done and no one was hurt, but the jolt was unsettling. Third time’s a charm. The Universe was saying, “Wake up! Do NOT go back to sleep!” Which I admit, is exactly what I want to do when the pain reoccurs, go back to sleep. Ok, ok.

And so here I am. Dealing yet again with that unpacked bag I mentioned at the end of my book. It’s been two years since I wrote that, and I’ve done exactly what I said I wanted to do, coast along enjoying and watching my career opportunities expand, even though at the time I didn’t know how that would look. It’s also proved to be correct when I said, “It (the bag) will walk a parallel path with me and continue to wedge its contents between myself and any potential lover.” I must have needed to grow into a new level of confidence and belief in myself before I could see it from another level. And now I have, and here it is.

I’m scheduled to give a talk on Sunday about Cultivating Contentment, when all I can find right now is seething anger. I’m developing a class about nonattachment, when all I really want is to find someone or something outside of myself to blame for the unease and make me feel better. And so it goes. Life gives me the opposite of what I plan to talk about. In the contrast, I learn more fully about the upcoming subject and, as a result, can deliver it from a place of deep authenticity. I believe that’s what my teachers call direct practice and the world calls walking your talk. And so it is.

“Loving can heal. Loving can mend the soul.” This is a song lyric that catches my attention. Yes indeed, isn’t that the truth? So what do I do? I love myself while I’m feeling on top of the mountain, which I was just a few days ago. And I love myself as all of those old emotions come roaring out, which they are now. I love all those fears, the terror, the trauma, still hiding in the corners of my heart. I love my kids for having the courage to speak what they see. I love those teachers in my life who constantly challenge me. I love those friends who are always here to support. I love those acquaintances who bump into me to see if I can really live what I say I want to. I love it all because I am suddenly reminded of what I frequently speak about when talking with others: in the resistance is the pain. And so I embrace instead of run. I love instead of fear. And all the while I know, this too shall pass.

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