‘Un-contained’

I’m going to let you all in on a little secret – are you ready? This has been an incredible year of transformation, healing and opening up for me. I pride myself on being someone who is true to what she believes, able to stand in it fully and not live a ‘double’ life behind what is shown to the world. And this year has certainly brought with it an excavation of places where that hasn’t worked, isn’t happening–or just simply can no longer exist. 

The secret? I’m not guilty that our children are growing up and leaving home. I’m not worried that they won’t be ok, nor am I feeling empty with two children gone off to college. I’ve started a new venture, and I don’t feel afraid of how it might turn out. What I have realized I AM worried about is saying these things out loud. So much of what is ‘right’ or ‘supposed to be’ has been stripped away this year. 

From the moment we are born, the world tends to have a
container already built for us to fit inside: A social security
number, a gender, a race, a profession or an I.Q. I ponder
if we are more defined by the container we are in, rather than
what we are inside. Would we recognize ourselves if we could
expand beyond our bodies? Would we still be able to exist
if we were authentically ‘un-contained’?
‘Expansion’ sculpture & quote by Paige Bradley

Our son struggled to get through his last year of high school, feeling he was ready to be independent, to move on and to make all his own decisions. I, in turn, struggled terribly with how to let go of trying to parent responsibly and force him to do it ‘our way.’ That’s what a ‘good parent’ would do. She wouldn’t leave it up to a senior in high school to determine how much of the usual ‘recreational activities’ he can manage for himself. A ‘good mother’ wouldn’t allow him to come and go all hours of the night as he chooses. The battle within myself was to try to figure out how on earth to get a handle on this situation before it railed out of control in all directions that fear could throw in our path. ‘What if’ and ‘what will people think?’ I had to let go of those fears. Mine was to step OUT of what I believed to be societal conformities and INTO what I have said is my truth: There is purpose to everything. With our son – even if those ‘what if’s’ came to pass – wasn’t the Universe still infusing purpose into each experience? Yes. So be still and know, Jackie. He is intuitive, intelligent and connected to something greater than ME. How on earth can I say at this stage in the game I’m the ONE who knows what’s best? So much of that was about ME, not him and his journey. 

It comes around again, now in a whole new way. As my vision for this next venture projects into the future in ways that amaze me, I find myself needing to step out of worrying how it will be perceived. Oh, yes, it’s ok to share it, to be excited about it, to open up to it fully in my ‘safe space.’ But now the call comes to allow the crossover. Some of the pieces of my personal, interior life are becoming larger and larger pathways of my exterior, more public life. Somehow, even now, it’s easier to tell you about what’s happened with my son than to claim out loud how much I believe in this work. To let it be known across a vast audience that I am fully behind this work. 

You see, I’ve very neatly kept my writing in this space and on its allocated FB share page. Rarely do I allow it to crossover to my actual personal FB page. Some of those people actually know me from different times in my life. What on earth are they going to think? Jackie the party girl gone all spiritual? HA! They’ll laugh me right off the page. Or perhaps, someone thinks I’m full of fluff – and what if I offend them? Oh gosh, doesn’t it even sound silly to say OUT LOUD? 

Well – here’s what’s true. As uncomfortable as it may be initially – I’m DONE with all that. I’m living OUT LOUD now. I am who I am. If 2011 was my year to own that truth, 2012 is my year to LIVE that truth…OUT LOUD. I’ve mastered it in my own private, safe spaces. (Well, perhaps ‘mastered’ is a strong word, but I’ve found a synergy with living it on an interior level.) No more ‘secrets.’ This is me. You can approve or not. That’s ok. I’m not my past, I’m not someone else’s opinions and I’m not what my own fear suggests I become. I hear clearly my own inner guidance, and THAT, my friends will be my compass. Up until now, it’s not been a conflict within myself to keep some of these pieces separate. But I don’t feel at peace with that anymore. Time to integrate, to be fully me – no apologies or ‘holdbacks.’ 

And let me just tell you – it feels so LIBERATING! (I have another story to tell you on this note, but that’s for next time.) It feels like twirling around in a field – like Maria von Trapp in the opening scene of The Sound of Music. The box has fallen apart…and no longer will I choose to live ‘contained.’ Bit by bit, the pieces have fallen away….and continue to do so. I’m answering the call that comes so clearly – I’m choosing to live ‘UN-CONTAINED.’ 

I invite you to join me, let it all go, share your truest, purest self. The desires, the loves, the fears, the dreams, the visions that define the way you’re living your life. Let’s come together in a voice that speaks OUT LOUD!

I’ll be sharing more here about the new energy in my life–Sacred Circle Retreats. Here’s just a short preview of the work we’re doing there: http://sacredcircleretreats.com/calendar-of-events/. Would love for you to join us for one of our events, sign up for our newsletter, or just stop in and say hello. xo 

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Call of the Divine Feminine

This is an edited version of my original poem ‘Essence of a Woman.’ It still moves me, and indeed is still moving within me. I find myself – and those around me – opening more and more to allow who we truly are. We are embracing the sacredness of our sensuality, the fire of what it is to be a woman in this time. We are reflections of the Goddess, and ours is to invoke healing on behalf of ourselves, all who came before us and will walk this planet after us. Much love, my friends. xo

Every woman is beautiful.

She is the embodiment of the Divine Feminine. A Goddess in human form.

A warmth emanates from deep within her being, seeking out those who need most the heat of Compassion, Nurturing, Love.

Champion of one who cries out, opening herself fully as Mother; arms outstretched to enfold and soothe even the subtlest of discomforts.

A call comes to her from the Cosmos, to remember who She is; to honor the sacredness of her spirit.

*

A woman is one who moves with effortless grace. One step can move the hearts of many, beckoning us to want more, to seek the Source of our deepest desires.

When she is confident in the fullness of her being, she glows with a fire that cannot be dowsed, igniting the spark in all who surround her.

She exudes a sensuality, breathing heavy beneath the surface of  normal routine. 

Moving through her day, honoring the tasks  before her, she gives herself fully to the world around her.

And yet, there is a longing, a deeper truth that defines who she is.

*

A woman treasures her own integrity above all else. When she speaks, each word holds her own truth.

She sees the light in others, understanding it is but a reflection of that which she carries within herself.

Because she understands we are ALL Divine, she honors all Life.

A woman lives in the power of I AM, allowing her inner sacred power to guide her way.

She whispers words of wisdom, received through connection with Spirit and self awareness.

Beauty to behold, her very presence calls forth the awakening of every sense.

With the marriage of softness and ferocity she is Lioness of her realm and pride.

Quiet subtlety moves her onward, lending to her the instinct of how to move next.

These are her qualities. This is her inherited place on Earth.

*

One cannot overlook the splendor of her form, for it is the gift bestowed upon her from the Heavens.

Vast oceans filled with promise can be seen in her eyes.

Kisses of the sacred flow from her lips.

Hair falls over her breasts  as though it is the arms of love reaching out and drawing us inward.

A beckoning comes through the swing of her hips, calling to us to open ourselves fully to the ecstasy that awaits.

Gentleness of her touch, felt as the heat of Divine Feminine energy.

*

She is unto herself, yet deeply connected to the ancient sacred energies of this Earth and the cosmos.

She stands strong throughout the course of time, even as history sought to bring her down.

She is strong, courageous, willing to stand firm in the beliefs of her heart.

She will fight to the death for those she loves and what she treasures most.

*

The essence of a woman is to serve as the chalice, the doorway and opening into a world unseen–yet longing to be felt to the core of one’s being.

Sexually, sensually, intimately she is the siren of Divine connection–medium uniting human and soul.

Object of our desires, the radiant being of our dreams.

SHE is the Goddess. The Feminine.

Voice of our soul, the relentless beckoning to go deeper, open ourselves fully and let the walls come down so that we may enter a space of sacred ecstasy and Divine Presence.

*

I AM Woman.

She is ME. She is YOU.

She surrounds you, calls to you, aches for you.

Will you answer my friends? Can you become THAT vulnerable?

Are you willing to stand naked with only your soul to bare?

This is the call of the Divine Feminine. These are the whispers of the sacred.

Authentic: With Emotions on the Floor

Being authentic. Deep in the core of my being, I’m desperate to live in that space. And yet, as I continue to move through my own journey and look inward at the truth of my whole self, the power of the mind becomes increasingly clear. It occurred to me suddenly that in my desire to be authentic, my cleverness has found a way to define what that should look like. (Feeling like I want to say something like ‘AHA–caught you!’ here.)

Authenticity doesn’t have an image. She carries no labels. You won’t find in her purse or wallet a list of rules to remember to live by. There wasn’t any formal training on the proper etiquette, being politically correct, attaining success, dressing in designer clothing or even being a good parent. Authenticity just IS.

One of the best words I found in the thesaurus for authentic is ‘genuine.’ GENUINE. Not ‘pretty, attractive, proper, kind, conscious, organized, generous’ or any of those other words we get ourselves caught up in. GENUINE. To be genuine is to be true to who you are, what you feel; to honor the moment for what it is rather than what someone else or your this-is-how-it-should-look-or-feel mind pulls it together. 

Captured this beautiful image while walking on the greenway nearby. Feels like love shining through.

I found myself in an authentic moment recently, and not the kind that makes one feel a swell of pride in who you are. In a moment of overwhelm–physical and emotional overload, my mouth spoke before my mind caught up with the words. They were out and there was not a thing I could do to bring them back. It wasn’t the words themselves, but the scorn with which they were laced. It was ugly–at least to me. And I felt horrible about it for a while. That voice inside myself went into overdrive trying to bring it all back into order. I apologized, I talked with my life coach about it, I was open with those close to me in my family. Guilt, angst, horror at the way I lost control of myself…all set in. 

But here’s what’s true my friends: being authentic is just that. I was fully authentic in that moment. If you’re reading this, then you’re likely someone who practices your beliefs, who takes seriously this spiritual journey, who craves connection to the sacred. We value consciousness. We strive to live with respect for all Life, to tap into BEing all of who we are. And we sometimes lose focus of what is true. We are all emotional beings. We will experience times in our lives when we feel turned upside down, when we don’t have the level of awareness we might have in another moment, when we simply CANNOT pull ourselves together. We forget: this is part of our authenticity too. It’s not just the ‘nice’ parts. 

I’m not sorry. I’m not sorry the strings wrapped so beautifully around my desire to live more consciously loosened enough to let Jackie’s feeling spill onto the floor in front of everyone. And like you–I’m not always ‘ok.’ I don’t have to be. But what is always true, is that beneath all that – is a space to which I can return where everything IS Divinely beautiful, sacred and at peace. I would love to say I live there, and I can say I am able more and more to get balanced and be in that space. Yet, I continue to be a human being whose job it is to live on this planet and experience the fullness of what She offers. As I allow myself to do so, I invite the sacred to enter more deeply into my being. I awaken my soul to the healing needed, I meet those whom I love on the plane that is this earth. 

This planet is our earth school. In school there are things to learn, ways to grow, relationships to navigate. Each one offers to us a mirror through which to see our full selves. We can either look deeply into the reflection, or we can close our eyes and see ourselves as we wish to see. 

I’m walking forward with eyes wide open. And when I walk into walls anyway, I’ll simply get up and take another step. Love to each of you. xo 

*I would also like to share with you a newly created space: Sacred Circle Retreats. Our first virtual retreat/soul workshop ‘Through the Looking Glass’ will be Sunday, September 23. We invite you to visit us on Facebook and through our website

Love or Survival?

I’m working on the choice to love. It sounds so cliche’ doesn’t it? The ‘l’ word is thrown around all too easily in our ‘evolving consciousness’ culture. But it’s true, my friends, I am. Sometimes it’s a real challenge, too. And I’m not taking this commitment on lightly. 

Recently, in the midst of some angst around and within myself, I’ve had an AHA! moment that comes repeatedly, but not the kind of AHA! I’m used to. There’s no light bulb going off that awakens me to some deeper realization. And yet – the depth and reality are there. It’s as though I’ve suddenly woken up to find myself in some alternate reality where what was once true within my psyche no longer is. 

What is occurring is that my ‘survivor self’ is taking less and less control of my responses and natural reactions to situations. The AHA! comes when a voice inside recognizes that surprisingly – I’m not feeling jealous, frustrated, angry, resentful over experiences that at one time would have certainly ruffled my feathers. It’s almost like I’m shocked to check in and not find the old emotions there, lingering, waiting to be felt. And a couple of times I really did go on a search for them, checking every room, every crevice, every cell of my being–‘are you sure? Really? There’s no electric charge to get us fired up over this? How can that be?’ Each time the reconnaissance team comes back empty handed. 

Our survival team, through years of professional experience, has learned how to rescue us from something unpleasant. Sort of like that ‘fight or flight’ response, only different. This team’s job is to seek out any alternate route to FEELING out of sorts, even if that means defensive posture and feeling angry, resentful, etc. But the key, my dear friends, to releasing those emotions is moving THROUGH them. We cannot sidestep what is true, or what we are believing as truth, while in the heat of it. The survival team has such skill, that we don’t even recognize what they’re up to until we’re deep in the heat of defending ourselves, or sometimes not at all.

I choose to meet this team head on, to assist in creating a new strategy for the work they are here to do. ‘Please alert me when the temperature’s rising in there. Let me know when you are feeling you need to arm yourselves and prepare for battle–be it loud and boisterous or silent, but deadly.’ Most of all, I’m asking them to step aside sometimes and allow my heart to respond instead.  

The results are miraculous. It’s been an absolute delight to take a quick scan and find ‘nope, nothing here. We’re all ok!’ How strange is it that I’m shocked to, at times, find things at rest within my being! By no means am I saying I’ve arrived, it’s complete. There’s still work to do. Choosing to love instead of survive means releasing the need to understand; letting go of the need to hold someone accountable, to point fingers, to divert the energy elsewhere. It doesn’t mean I take it all on as my own, nor that I ignore everything and am immune to being present and feeling emotion. What it means, my dear friends, is that I have chosen to step out of the fear of the what if, howcome, who, when questions, to put aside my desire for answers, for responsibility to lie SOMEwhere–and to instead tune into my own truth. 

Amazingly, it’s not as though this has been a hard and arduous step of my journey. What it is is a breaking down of old patterns. Opening to a new paradigm and way of reading my inner truth and the world around me. My survival team has an important job–alert me when the troops are moving toward the weapons room. Far too many of these battles haven’t needed to be fought. I think often of Gandhi and his peaceful means of achieving change. The survival team can assist me in that intention. We can work together rather than me being enslaved to their whims. 

And I must tell you, my sweet friends, the shift is a refreshing change of pace! I’m absolutely in awe as a neutral witness to myself. I choose love. And with that I release the need to know why, to secure accountability and retribution. I choose love. She has plenty of beautiful, Divine power to effect the changes I desire from within. ~ xo 

The Innermost Chamber

~ Prayer of the Soul ~ 

We are so far from esteeming highly enough

our soul in which God (the Divine) so delights.

Each of us possesses a soul,

but we do not realize its value

as made in the image of God;

therefore we fail to understand

the great secrets it contains.

If we reflect, we shall see that our soul

is a paradise in which

God takes delight.

*

Let us think of our soul

as resembling a castle

formed of a single diamond,

or a very transparent crystal

containing many rooms,

of which some are above,

some below, others at the side.

In the center,

in the very midst of them all

is the principal chamber,

in which God and our soul

hold their most secreat intercourse.

What do you imagine

that dwelling to be,

in which a king, so mighty, so wise, and so pure–

containing all good–

can come to rest?

*

Nothing can be compared to

the great beauty and capabilities of our soul.

However keen our intellects be,

we are no more able

to comprehend the depths of our soul

than we are able to comprehend God,

for our soul has been created

in the image and likeness of God.

It is our soul’s likeness to God

that makes it possible for us

to commune with the God in whose image

we have been made.

*

~ St. Teresa of Avila

 

 

The Cause of Our Suffering

The message seems clear as to the cause of our suffering: Us

It was when I first listened to Thich Nhat Hanh share with Oprah on her Super Soul Sunday series that a deep shift in my consciousness really began to take hold. Our ‘suffering’ is in direct response to what we think, believe and feel from within. And then within my own life it became abundantly clear. The last year of transformation in my relationship to our son–the pain and heartache I’ve felt have not come from him and what he has or hasn’t done–it’s in proportion to my own inner dialogue, my own grief of him growing up, becoming independent of me and making choices of his own that I wouldn’t ever make on his behalf. 

This has been such a year of deepening what I have felt and shared as truth. I find it now seeping into and out of this new space within myself. Realizing that how much or little I feel pain, grief, anxiety is truly emanating from the space within myself. The beliefs we take on as our own–be it through the nature of who we are or the social environment and programming we all undergo in some way–form the way in which we view our world. As a mother, if I am seeing through eyes of always wanting to comfort, love and nurture my children (as though they are young children rather than grown adults) on the one hand, and feeling I need to adhere to certain standards of being a parent on the other, either of these can lead to inner pain. The key to release is shifting perspective and looking through a fresh lens. I can love my nearly adult children. I must grow and mature as they are. And together, my husband and I can determine what OUR style of parenting is, setting aside what we feel is expected of us from society or our various tribal members. 

Yesterday, as we shared together in my extended family, yet another wave of this truth set in: it’s not what others do to us that causes us pain, it’s what we choose to believe about ourselves as a result. When something occurs in our lives–on either end of the emotional spectrum of happiness/sadness–there is a response we feel in that moment. Yes, there can be pain in THAT moment. But the lingering effects are born of what we take on and believe as true. We weave a new ‘truth’ into our belief system. In this case, a family member experienced abuse at the hands of his mother for telling the truth, and so decided that the most important thing is to look/be good rather than just be himself and be honest with his own inner truth. His truth took on the shape of whomever he might be with, in an effort to be pleasing to them. 

The pain experienced for him all these years is so much more about this belief system. The abuse he experienced from his mother is long gone, but the emotional, spiritual and psychological impact lingers on….until we are able to recognize it and transform it through our soul’s truth. The soul does not lie, my friends. And the soul is not in pain. She is beauty, sacredness, all things filled with love. She is the miracle of our very existence. When we are disconnected from her sacred truth, we experience pain and inner turmoil. 

How to heal the suffering? Evaluate a place in your life where you feel it. Go into that space and allow the emotions to speak to you. Listen to what they share. Ask what you have taken on as a result of your experience, and then examine its purity. We must then consider if the belief we’ve created within ourselves is one we wish to continue living and playing out. 

In THIS moment, the pain of an experience years ago exists only in what we carry within. That moment has passed. The event is over. Perhaps it’s time to let it go and form a new belief system. We are all pure in spirit. There is no need to ‘be good,’ to do the right thing and to try to keep those around us happy. Inevitably this results in stress, suffering, turmoil. We are already ‘good,’ loved ones. The struggle to be so is what creates the holes in our spirits. Time for healing, letting go, connecting to the purity of who we truly are: Divine beings. 

Sharing this meditation from Thich Nhat Hanh: ‘Humans are born as flowers.’ ~ xo

Seven Extraordinary Days of Grace ~ Caroline Myss Online Salon

What follows is a complimentary issue of Caroline Myss’s online Salon Newsletter. She writes once to the community of members, on the many realms of healing, mysticism, prayer and living a contemplative life in today’s modern times. I was so moved by the presence of Seven Extraordinary Days of Grace, I want to pass it along to you. Although the read is lengthy, it’s well worth your time. Caroline always provides such rich food for the soul….enjoy, my friends. xo 

Grace comes in many expressions. It intervenes in raging arguments, calming your anger so that you do not say what you can never take back. Grace whispers thoughts of hope in desperate times, giving you the stamina to hold on through the storms of life. And grace delivers inspiration, awakening creative resources deep within your being. The power of grace is endless, silent, and powerful.

A rare and rich but much too brief discussion of the activity of grace given in a graduate school lecture was brought to mind the other day while I was watching a program about the devotion the great opera star, Rene Fleming, has for assisting up-and-coming opera singers. It’s so amazing, really, how and when these flashbacks arise. You have no idea they remain hidden in the vast archive of memories that you are carrying around in your brain, like the words of all the songs from the 60’s that just pop into your head the moment you hear the melody.

First, I’ll share the long ago memory of this graduate class. I was in a class on mystical theology and while we were discussing something or other, the professor noted that one mystical phenomenon is that each person is given the gift of seven extraordinary days of grace each year. The grace given on these days is of the quality that it organizes the events of that day to transform your life – that is, redirect your life – in a most significant way. The rest of the class, as you can well imagine, was immediately devoted to the details of identifying that grace and the content of these extraordinary days. (I’ll get to that later – don’t worry.)

Anyway, I could not turn off this program about Rene Fleming, which actually intrigued me as I am not really an opera fan, but I have seen Fleming perform in person, thanks to my dear opera fan friend, Andrew Harvey. And she is beyond magnificent. During the program, you saw Fleming giving hands-on instruction to four lucky opera students, instructing them on how to advance their voices. She offered them the most interesting techniques that would assist them in perfecting a single note, a precise tone. Their devotion to the art of opera and to the art of their voice was stunning.

Later, Fleming was casually walking through the opera house with her four students when she said, “Remember, you have seven extraordinary days a year. You can’t waste them. You must be on alert for them.” As soon as I heard her say that, the memory of that day in graduate school flooded into my mind. How in the world did she know that? Why did she say that? Did she mean the same thing as my professor? And why don’t I have Rene Fleming’s phone number???

Immediately I dusted off my memory. What were the details of that lecture? I took a deep breath, closed my eyes, leaned back on the couch, and drifted back through the decades of my life to graduate school. I waited,waited,ah, yes. I remember,.

Your Seven Extraordinary Days of Grace

Let’s start with the obvious first question: Why seven? Perhaps it’s because there are seven days of the week, or seven days of creation, or seven chakras, or the scale of life is numbered at seven. Seven is a mystical number that notes a resonance to your soul. Let us, therefore, assume – though we have no proof as such – that this might be the reason and leave it at that. When it comes to mystical theology, we operate on observation, subjective experience, and the nature of law and order as revealed in the order of nature itself. A scale of “seven” is a repeated scale throughout mystical systems of order; therefore, it may well be that this scale functions within this phenomenon. (That was your first lesson in mystical theology.)

Next, in order to understand the nature and content of these seven extraordinary days of grace, you have to be very clear about what they are not. So, grace is not – repeat – it is not an obvious force. Grace is a silent breeze that enters into your essence, often to protect you from doing harm to yourself. Grace does not protect you from the consequences of your negative or foolish choices; rather, it seeks to prevent you from making those choices in the first place.

Now, let’s think about an ordinary year of life, beginning from January to December. During that year, you will plan or attend a handful of special occasions or trips that rate as extraordinary. Among these are: weddings, vacations, parties, dates with someone special, surprise events, holiday gatherings, birthday parties, spa trips, etc. What these have in common are the following:

· You know about them ahead of time;

· You will have expectations of how the event will play out;

· You will either exaggerate the good time you intend to have or the bad;

· In either case, your expectations will be disappointed;

· The event will not go as expected in some way.

· For all the above reasons, these days do not qualify as one of your Seven Days of Extraordinary Grace because you are fully convinced you are in charge of the event or you are directly influencing the psychic field with your attitude. In other words, you are exerting too much control toward wanting a certain outcome.

· Finally, days burdened with expectations translate to you having to get what you want, the way you want it. From another perspective, these are days that reveal a sense of loss of control and personal insecurities.

The Nature and Character of Extraordinary Grace

Yet another mystical theological teaching is discernment: to look through the eyes of your soul into a situation in order to see and understand the significance of what is unfolding in front of your eyes. Discernment is unlike judging a situation, which tends to be an immediate and reactive response. A discerning response is one that requires reflective thought. With this teaching in mind, we now proceed into the deeper waters of discerning the nature of extraordinary days of grace.

You have no authority over your seven days of extraordinary grace; that is, you cannot decide when these shall be given to you. They come as they come. They are considered “gifts of the spirit,” bestowed upon you at a particularly advantageous time in your life – the operative word being advantageous. Now, how would you define advantageous? If I had you in a classroom at this moment, I would stop the lecture and ask all participants to answer that question in their notebook as I have little doubt that none of you has ever asked yourself this question. What do you consider a spiritually advantageous moment? Are you even prepared to give an answer to that question? Or should I begin with this question: Do you even understand the significance of that question?

This is the type of question that is introduced in a class on mystical theology. Inevitably the discussion that it opens up is intriguing, to say the least. A spiritually advantageous moment is one in which the “agents of change” in your life come together in such a way that only one spark is required to set them off. You may have several change agents at work in your life, none of which has the potency to motivate you to a next step. One more is required. Perhaps all that is needed is one more conversation, or a delayed flight that would allow you to make one more phone call to exactly the right person, or running into an old friend who happens to be the link to exactly the person you need to meet. You are not able to calculate when you have amassed a sufficient number of change agents in your psyche. You are able to discern, however, that an event or opportunity carrying an extraordinary potential of power has just been introduced into your life. As a result of making that phone call or running into that old friend, something new was provided to you. Maybe it was a suggestion, maybe it was positive feedback, or maybe it was a new contact. But you are left feeling renewed, as if you’ve just been rebooted in your own skin. One spark of grace lighted at the perfect advantageous moment is all it takes and life feels good again. Your life feels good again.

Let us examine the characteristics of a day of extraordinary grace:

· An opportunity that requires a spontaneous response comes along. The ingredient of spontaneity is required, lest you begin to project fear and failure into the opportunity, thereby self-sabotaging the potential to redirect your life. While other opportunities come and go, one surrounded with extraordinary grace fills your solar plexus and not just your mind, making your “head swim” with greed and ambition. Grace goes to your gut, right into your sense of who you are and what you should do. It symbolically “grabs” hold of your identity.

· Another expression of an extraordinary day of grace can come through finding out that plans you had set in motion months or even years ago, which you had given up as failed, have been resurrected. The time wasn’t right and all of a sudden, the time is right. A day of grace is the day everything “fell into place.”

· Yet another expression of a day of grace occurs when you encounter a past love – only now both of you are available to be together. A day of grace is the day when life begins again.

· A day of grace delivers an unexpected path of healing, which could be in the form of a renewed inner resilience or hope, or meeting a person who knows exactly how to understand and treat your condition. A day of grace is day when the tide turns in your favor.

· Another expression of grace is endless delays, confusion, and chaos shattering all of your plans. You can only give up and survive the day, bit-by-bit, going wherever the road leads you. A day of grace is when all the wrong things deliver you to exactly the right place.

· Yet another expression of grace is the day you discover that somehow a great mistake was righted through something else that you did. Perhaps it was something conscious or maybe not, but on a day of extraordinary grace, the forces work in your favor and a mistake is made right. A day of grace is when the rules are somehow bent in your favor, just once.

· Another day of grace is when your life is saved, perhaps from a car accident or something exploding in your face or a random street incident. A day of grace is when your life is shielded from physical harm, knowingly or unknowingly.

As you can tell, you cannot coordinate these days. You cannot make them happen. They happen because of other circumstances you have set into motion. In other words, your extraordinary days of grace come into your life because of choices that you have made that have created gaps and needs – open spaces – that require filling.

Your challenge is to realize that you are experiencing a day of extraordinary grace and to appreciate the meaning, power, and significance of that day. Further, it is vitally important to act on opportunities offered to you on that day. Suggestions for your new business venture, for example, that came from a synchronistic meeting between you and another person should be followed up on. Merely telling friends about this incredible synchronistic conversation you had with someone is a waste of an extraordinary day of grace, to be direct. It’s up to you to follow through, to take action, to make things happen for yourself.

Remember, grace does not do work for you. It will not “heal” you if you are not doing your part in your own healing. Grace will not interfere with the law of cause and effect; that is, for every choice we make, there is an effect or a consequence. If we make a foolish or stupid choice, we pay a price by having to deal with the consequence of our choices. Grace does not compensate or erase our stupid or foolish choices, any more than prayer does. In order to appreciate the nature and power of grace, and the gift of an extraordinary day of grace, you have to grasp how the power of grace manifests in your life and how it does not. Grace is not a “fix-it” force. It is an inspirational, mystical power that awakens you from within.

As I thought about this subject, I queried a few friends on this question: Would you want to be in charge of determining when you received your seven days of extraordinary grace each year? We had such a fun discussion. One friend said, “I’m very frugal. I would hold on to them.”

Another friend determined that she would be very nervous about having that type of “wealth in a safe in her own home.” What a great analogy, I thought, yes? She was exactly right, as seven days of grace is exactly like having gold in a safe at home and you left to determine when and how to spend it. A third person said he would absolutely use all seven days in one month. He would “go for the gold” in one blast.

I asked each person, “Would you be more inclined to use a day of grace in the midst of a crisis or when you are calm and undistracted?” Would you see your days of grace as financial crisis solvers or a day of soulful renewal? Which is of more value to you?

Those questions ended up leading into one more fascinating area of discussion after another. It seemed like this subject opened a vast discussion. For that reason, I am carrying it over to the June Salon, which will be Part II on this topic. In the June Salon, I will explore those questions along with:

· A discussion of grace and prayer.

· What would most people do: take charge of their seven days or let heaven determine when they receive the gift of a day of grace?

· Merging the Seven Days of Grace with Your Seven Chakras, just for discussion

· Could each day contain this grace?

Let me encourage you to think about the days of this year – just this year – that have been game changers for you. They have contained certain ingredients that have motivated you to move ahead, to make positive changes, to do something you’ve been postponing, but on that day, you acted. See if you can identify the presence of grace in your life that day:

· What was it about that day that made it different?

· Do you remember how you felt that day?

· What types of choices did you make that day that you would call “out of character?”

· What results have occurred in your life as a result of those choices, and would you consider these results as special or surprising?

· Have there been any changes in your life that qualify as “beyond your expectations” as a result of acting on a grace that you identified?

I’ll close this Salon by asking you to reflect on whether you would want to be in charge of when to receive your Seven Extraordinary Days of Grace, or whether you would leave the wisdom of that decision to the heavens. We’ll continue with this discussion in the June Salon.

Meanwhile, Happy Summer,

Love,
Caroline

Our CMED Healing prayer for one and all:

Hold on to what is good
Even if it is a handful of earth
Hold on to what you believe
Even if it is a tree that stands by itself
Hold on to what you must do
Even if it is a long way from here
Hold on to life
Even if it is easier to let go
Hold on to my hand
Even if I have gone away from you,.

– Pueblo blessing
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