"Be yourself bravely. Be an original. Be quirky. Be magnificent. Be yourself with all your heart."
I felt a little like that owl one morning a few weeks ago. I woke up totally resistant to my usual routine.
I was feeling quirky and colorful. I didn't want to obediently check things off my list. I boycotted deadlines I had set for myself.
I played hooky and went for a walk at the Pelican Island Wildlife Refuge instead.
I talked to the big birds out loud and they completely understood my choice to seek beauty and to just ... well ... be for a minute. It was delicious.
And I've been doing that every day since.
Not that I can skip work; I'm actually buried in book orders (yay! thank you!) and the piles on my desk are denser than ever.
In addition to all of the moving parts of Every Day Spirit, I volunteer with hospice, I bring supplies and spend sweet moments with Tiny Guru, (my little mom), and life in general is very full.
But I'm making different choices now.
I'm listening to my heart more closely. I'm extending my morning spiritual practice and meditating longer. I'm asking for Divine assistance hourly. (Yep, setting the phone alarm.) And I'm opening to guidance with more surrender than ever.
Two important tools have surfaced as priorities.
First, is the listening.
Striving, muscling, pushing-through and swimming upstream are not working for me like they used to.
This moment in time is asking for a softening, a leaning into the quiet, a making space for the new creation at hand.
To this end I'm constantly asking for Divine guidance in all things, great and small: From what words to write to a suffering soul - to when is the best time pack books that day. From when to figure out how to put the snippet of code into the website header to track my Pinterest ads (that's when my brain explodes) - to when to write this note.
I'm handing all of it over. And I'm not making a move without being in the flow of grace.
As the little bluebird in the book taught us - sometimes when we just stand still, the grace finds us.
Second, is the choosing.
I want to choose love over and over again. Loving myself and loving others.
I believe we are here to give and receive love. So it makes sense to practice love.
We are always practicing, whether we know it or not.
We can practice complaining, or we can practice gratitude.
We can practice judging people, or we can practice blessing people.
We can practice stress and anxiety, or we can practice meditation, mindfulness and joy.
We can practice surfing our phones, or we can practice being in awe of nature.
We choose. Our practice is our power and our peace.
The thing about this soul work is that it requires slowing down, self-care, a little stillness. The same things that recharge our batteries and lift our spirits.
The very things that are calling us now. Like going to the park.
So I encourage you to create the space for rest and renewal, being and allowing, self-care and soul-care. Reorder your priorities if they are not serving this moment.
Revitalize your spiritual practice.
Listen deeply. Choose mindfully.
Be yourself bravely. Your magnificent, glorious self. Be yourself with all your heart.
Your heart knows what you need now. And taking care of yourself matters. A lot.
Because, as I'm learning from the beautiful birds, love and grace in the world begins with love and grace in us.
PS After I finished writing this piece, I walked out to get the mail and the following quote was among the letters. It's a gift for you:
"Live each present moment completely, and the future will take care of itself. Fully enjoy the wonder and beauty of each instant. Practice the presence of peace. The more you do that, the more you will feel the presence of that power in your life." -Paramahansa Yogananda