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Broken Bowls and Homes for Souls

My soul is looking for a place to live.
It doesn’t always feel at home in this body; this body that cannot be controlled and will not obey. My soul is looking for a new place to live.
Inanimate objects work for soul-housing. They stay where you put them (well, unless you have kids) and you can choose what they look like. We do purchase all kinds of things that represent – in the tangible world – how we would like our inner worlds to be known. 
I really liked the bowl I had bought to represent my soul. It was a soft, weathered teal. The color of the sky on a mild day above tropical waters. The circle of the rim was 16″ in diameter, felt cool and smooth, and, while not perfectly formed, the small imperfections were just the right size to give character without looking defective. I got it at Target years ago so it wasn’t too expensive – thus, I felt smart and frugal when I looked at it. In it, I would put items I wanted to admire: leaves, Christmas ornaments, a well-wrapped present due for a party. But the bowl itself was soothing just on its own. My soul enjoyed projecting onto that lovely bowl to rest from the chaos of life.

That bowl died today. 
A large rolling backpack, too stuffed full of books to think straight, fell over and knocked my bowl onto the cold, hard tile. 

And I can’t find anything else to project myself onto that feels as relaxing and complete. My soul wants a place to be that is outside this body. This body is under renovation and it is difficult to live here all the time. It’s nice to find a […]

Loving Yourself

“Loving yourself” is a weird phrase.
Doesn’t it make you think I’m going to talk about masturbation? I’m not… yet. I’ll warn you before I do.
(Here’s an interesting article, including a piece by a friend of mine, Tara Owens, on that subject.)

Loving yourself is worth your time – even if it’s weird.
When it comes down to it, what I hope I remember and what I hope you remember too is  that …
Cultivating love for your own self is worth your time.

Low self-esteem is like driving through life with your hand-break on.
-Maxwell Maltz
“A human being always acts and feels and performs in accordance with what he imagines to be true about himself and his environment…For imagination sets the goal ‘picture’ which our automatic mechanism works on. We act, or fail to act, not because of ‘will,’ as is so commonly believed, but because of imagination.”
― Maxwell Maltz, New Psycho-Cybernetics

You will survive believing you are not lovable or beautiful, but it is like driving through life with the hand-brake on: slow, harder than necessary, harmful. If you are like me, you are so accustomed to the hand-brake that it feels wild and uncomfortable to release it.
But, let’s do it, Love.
It will be weird and wild and too-free-feeling, but do it anyway.
I spoke to a fantastic, beautifully diverse group of women last week at a MOPS gathering in Southern California and this is what we talked about:
No matter your story, no matter the shape or size or even functionality of your body, the possibilities are always open for love and confidence.
There’s enough grace for that.
If the God of Genesis is real …
The One who made LOVE made YOU so He could love you. 
This should change the way you feel […]

Glass Half Full

This magic moment a man had with his grandfather may just change your life. It is changing mine. Watch this scene from a movie called HUMAN by filmmaker and artist Yann Arthus-Bertrand.

 
Is the glass half full or half empty?
For our series, Body and Soul, this has real implications. 
When we struggle to see ourselves as beautiful…
When we are having a hard day…
When our bodies and souls are not lining up or getting along…
It’s still a beautiful glass. 

Life is beautiful. So are you.
Don’t spend so long a time trying to see the good in yourself that you can’t see the beauty in your entire being. 
We’ve been trained to “find the good” parts. Locate your strengths. Highlight your best features. 
“At least I have pretty eyes. At least my hair is shiny. Too bad about my thighs… BUT it’s ok, there’s more good than bad.”
But…
“All beautiful you are, My Darling; there is no flaw in you.”
You were knit together in perfect love and power. You are made for this beautiful life… this beautiful cup. You are Beauty yourself. 
Let’s stop looking at ourselves in the mirror trying to see the glass as half full. Let’s stop looking at each other to assess and inspect what is good or bad and just see the beautiful glass. 
You are a beautiful woman. No measuring. No tests. Just gratitude and appreciation. 
 

 
Read more of the Body full of Soul series and find yourself reconnecting every beautiful part of you. 
 

Get over it

Get over it.
Those are words I hate.
Get over it.
 
They undermine every molecule of my being – my ENFP personality.
Empathy. Therapy. Conversation. Process.  These are priceless values that bring humanity and love to every relationship. Basically, my friend, you would almost never hear me say “Get Over It.”
Until NOW.
If there is something in your way, GET OVER IT.
Maybe it’s my age. Maybe it’s how much I want us all to be the vibrant, powerful creatures I know we are meant to be. We can get over this. 
Whatever it is that is standing in your way, get over it.
maybe… just maybe…
You are a victim of your mindset. You let your thoughts and fears and fixed beliefs stop you from being really alive. You do not act with passion or dauntless fear because you do not think you can handle the reactions of other people. You fear the looks on their faces or the words formed in their mouths. You would do it, but then there would be consequences in their judgments and confusion so you do not do anything but the same old quiet thing.
maybe… just maybe…
You don’t know what step 2 will be so you never take step 1… you fear the awkward and ugly moment after step 1 when you’ve got nothin else in your scared brain and don’t know how to get out of the situation. You’ve backed out of enough weird moments with people to know you don’t want to do THAT again. 
So you never say HI to someone cute. You only dance ironically. You change your clothes without ever getting naked. You don’t remind your boss how awesome you are at your job. You walk right by the opportunity for BRAVE […]

Life is a freakin miracle

(this post has sound. scroll down to pause it if you want)
We are toddlers in our eternal lives. We’re just getting started.
Sure, it’s hard. We fall and cry and throw things. We want our way, right away.
But, it’s also hilarious and wondrous: This discovering as we learn. This loving and being loved.
Good God. It’s all a miracle. A difficult, scary miracle.
Breathe and listen as I read to you one of my favorite creation stories ever. It is an adaptation of the Jesus Storybook Bible – a Genesis One Reading. Let’s fall in love again.
 

 

 
Life is a freakin miracle

 

 
Read more of the Body full of Soul Series.

Prayer for Love

A prayer for love and seeing. Of black cats and clean forks. A life full of Body full of Soul.
*****
Take a moment to notice your surroundings. Relax your jaw and your tongue. Feel the earth support your weight. Feel God support your spirit. 
*****
God, when I sit in this room, I can feel both alone and the opposite of alone.
I can be aware of the table and my coffee. I can feel the air moving in and out to my nose. There is a chair beneath me and a black cat walking back and forth around us all. My fingers still feel wet from washing breakfast dishes. 
I can choose to be aware of sensations. And in the choosing they are either a nuisance or a wonder. 
I can choose to be aware of You, too: The I Am, The Presence.  The One who is always here. I can choose to feel you in the air and in my bones. 
God, when I sit in this room, I can feel both alone and the opposite of alone.
I can choose to see you as separate from me. In this way, you are here and yet different from the “Me” I know. You are a loving relationship that requires space between us.  I pray and you come. I request and you give.
I can also choose to see you as essentially IN me. In this way, you are here as surely as I am here. You are a loving Presence in my cells that requires the connection with my own mind. Here, to love myself is to be loved by you. Here, to accept the body I am in, is to accept that this body is Us. Here, to pray for peace […]

Pique Your Curiosity

“The soul is like a wild animal — tough, resilient, savvy, self-sufficient, and yet exceedingly shy. If we want to see a wild animal, the last thing we should do is to go crashing through the woods, shouting for the creature to come out. But if we are willing to walk quietly into the woods and sit silently for an hour or two at the base of a tree, the creature we are waiting for may well emerge, and out of the corner of an eye we will catch a glimpse of the precious wildness we seek.” – Parker Palmer
*****
Inside of you is a wild animal. A wild animal is not, by default, violent or vicious. She is unpredictable, mysterious, earthy. Her body gently holds her. Her body fiercely molds her as she lives each challenging day.
Your soul is like a wild animal.
Perhaps, for you, your body is a forest and your soul lives somewhere inside. The forest has a history and a feeling. Your wild soul lives here, difficult to locate, but undeniable. This is as it should be. You are not a puppy. You are a fox. You are a wild horse. Your strength is yours. Your body and soul are yours.
How do you coax a wild animal into view?
Pique its curiosity.
Through thoughtful sounds, movements, smells, and patience – a wild animal will be intrigued enough to emerge and be seen…and to see. When she feels a combination of safety and curiosity, when her senses are piqued, she will come out to play.
If we are brave and patient enough, we can nurture the wild, loving soul in us.

Is there an activity you do where you allow your […]

Good night’s sleep

Body full of Soul is a series about life. Let your body and soul flourish.

 
Let’s get a good night’s sleep, shall we? There are endless tips about how to do this, but here are two things you can do anytime to help relax.
Our minds are so much more capable of self-care than we realize. Relaxing and focusing in on certain parts of your body will tell other systems to let down their own guard and rest. We all need rest.
There are small things you can do even at work… even while taking care of wild children… even at the grocery store or in a stressful meeting that will relax you. These same things can help you enter sleep more quickly and with more intentional beauty.

First Try This:
Relax your tongue and jaw.
Let your tongue lay low in your mouth and let your lips part slightly.
(^^That part you can do anywhere. No one will know you are practicing relaxing in their presence^^)
You can take it further and…
Rub your fingers firmly from the inner edges of your eyebrows, along your brow line, gently through your temples to your hairline, and then firmly trace along your hairline, past your ears and against your jaw.
Relax. Breathe. Focus on long exhales.
“Relaxing your tongue and jaw sends a message to your brain stem and limbic system to turn off the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol,” says neuropsychologist Marsha Lucas, PhD (from Prevention.com)
Do this to remind your body that you are safe and can relax.
*****
Second Try This:
If you are looking for a more complete connection between body and spirit before you enter sleep, try a Body Scan Meditation with a Prayer twist.
A great example of a recorded Body Scan Meditation is here at NPR.com.
The purpose Body Scan […]

Imagination and Kissing

We cannot force ourselves back to life all at once like a sudden combustion, but we are never past hope. The wick is still in your heart. You can burn with passion again.

 

*****
Force of will
turns nothing on.
Candles are lit
like women.
With fire
and focus
and melting.
*****
It’s that magic combination of body and soul that comes with focused attention, but the soul must be included.
 

 
“There are two ways to reach me: by way of kisses or by way of imagination. But there is a hierarchy: the kisses alone don’t work.”
-Anais Nin
*****

Keep up with the entire Body full of Soul Series HERE.
We are talking about reuniting our bodies and souls and finding the passion kindled when we do. 

Touch me

I’m here. In here. 
not body or soul
but both – Both
skin and nerves
sewn to love and fears
touch me, please
so you can touch me

We are neither angel nor animal.
We can live for days as if our minds are the endless, beautiful, infinite space of creativity and spirituality. We can live for days as if our bodies are the magnetic, focused, sensory playgrounds of indulgence and physical exertion. We can choose to live on either side of the divide, but only so long as we can keep up the illusion that there IS a divide.
We cannot live long or well without realizing the mental effect of our physical actions.
We cannot live long or well without realizing the physical needs and effects of our mental obsessions.
You are imagination and skin.
The goal of this series is to remind you and me, everyday, that every part of us is made well … and not just made well, but somehow precious and important.
Skin is holy. Spirit is holy.
If we are living for the day that we are finally done with this body and can be the spirit we were always meant to be, we are missing the goodness and holiness in Life. It is in and through our bodies that we love and are loved.
 
*****
Last night, my littlest daughter asked me to cuddle with her. She loves when I gently run my hands up and down her legs as she lays in bed. Her soft body glides under my warm hands and I pray for her as I slowly make contact with each inch of her tired skin. Being alive is exhausting, especially when you are doing it well. So, I pray for her health and for her legs – that they would be strong and sure. I […]