Risking Evolving Perspectives

7 05 2016

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Sometimes I forget.

I become very comfortable with my life perspective and my daily living – routines; nuances of habit; and the galvanizing of my view of the world, of myself, of you.
I feel safe and secure. I am content (or is it I am too fearful?) and would rather not move. “You come to me. I’m good where I am.”

I imagine I am not the only one who forgets.

Yes, what bliss it is to live in the realm of limited consciousness – defending defined borders along unknown lands; staving off responsibility that protects us from the depth of who we are.

Here, we live in complacent simplicity –
separating and dividing;
categorizing and generalizing;
delineating between “us and them”;
coveting absolutes not ambiguity;
allowing the container of who we are to become the content – no more, no less.

Fear, in this storyline, is the primary plot device.

The ego is driven to manufacture a god for our own comfort – holding tight to the wardrobe keys so Narnia will remain undiscovered . . . seeking self-preservation.

We work so hard. We deceive ourselves.

But maybe . . . maybe living fully is not viewing life always from my own ground. Maybe it is about moving – that first step away from “home” is always the hardest.

There is always an invitation to explore the Limitless: in the truth that all of who we are, light and shadow, is loved already – no strings attached; in faith that we can risk journeying into the unknown and the doubt of uncertainty; in trust that we can embrace blurred boundaries; in hope of discovering the depth of who we are created to be; and

in the joy of living into the bliss of new dawning horizons, awakening us to a new way of being in the world; to a new way of being with others.

Risking the comfort of my own perspective is scary – even opening a paper-thin crack in the door. But what is the cost of staying where I am?

May you know that you are not alone.

May you be given grace enough to lean into the One who is the genesis of our seeing.

May you be granted courage to take that first step into new horizons.

And may you dwell in the bliss found in the community of evolving perspectives.

 

Tallulah Gorge Bridge





Skimming Along the Surface

27 02 2015

foggy morning

Skimming along the surface of who I am;

tension balanced on that thin line between above and below…

So much energy exerted on my need to control –

trying not to sink beneath;

trying to keep my head above – just to breathe;

trying not to be wounded further;

trying to siphon off “your” approval to satisfy my needy ego –

needing “your” validation for my worthiness,

my gaze focused on earning “your” blessing;

trying to convince you of my competency;

trying not to drop my mask while shaking your hand;

trying to conform to the image I perceive you expect of me;

trying to secure my ration of love from you

or any one passing by;

trying to control you so that I may live in the illusion that I am in control…

Still not enough.

Still not good enough,

needing more – always…

Wasted energy?

From the perspective of my pre-occupied ego I would speak, “no.”

So what lurks in the depths that scares me so?

That keeps me skimming along the surface of who I am?

What discovery am I so fearful of?

That I am a vapor?

That, “I’m not lovable”, is a truth?

That I do not love myself?

What if I took a deep breath?

 Filled my lungs with the air then plunged into the depths –

exploring the world that scares me so?

 What if I risked opening my eyes?

maybe it is in the depths where I will see most clearly;

see myself most clearly…

 What if I come to know an undiscovered freedom in breathing beneath?

What if I allowed myself to sink beneath the surface

into the space where the True-self dwells –

created in Love by Love…

I skim along the surface of who I am, asking “do I risk it?”

The Kingdom is close…

Smoky Mountain Reflection





Hidden Rooms…

3 09 2013

Eastern Shore 105

 

 

 

 

What is it we hide in the secret rooms of our soul?

And What would happen

– not listening to the beckoning of fear –

if we disclosed what is closed?

Forgiveness?

Judgment?

Creativity unleased?

Failure?

Freedom?

Fear?

That we are truly loved?

 

What are we willing to risk?

How do we want to live?

What is our spirit’s longing?





Dwelling Beneath the Surface…

2 03 2013

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our spirit’s deep thirst – to move toward Light…

odd, the comfort in dwelling beneath the surface of our life;

dare we risk?

dare we ascend into whom we have been created to truly be?

 

(down in the ice house at Hampton Mansion, Baltimore)





A Conversation Begins…

1 05 2012

 

 

Drive-by images spirit away my schedule-chained attention;

And a slowing anoints me . . .

In this place . . .

at this time . . .

a conversation begins . . .

 

“Who do You wish me to be?”

“Where do You wish to lead me?”

“What are You calling me to bridge?”

Loneliness to intimacy?

Wounds to understanding?

Noise to solitude?

Emptiness to faith?

Brokenness to wholeness?

Depression to play?

Joy to joy?

 

Then from within I hear,

“Come Greg. Whisper your deep desires . . .

Will you risk abiding within a Love-formed foundation?

passing from scared places to Sacred spaces?”

 

(photo: York Road in Baltimore County over the Little Gunpowder Falls River)





A Road to No Where?

28 04 2012

Image

A road to no where?
Barren land?
Maybe possibility…
Maybe sacred space…
With openness; a first step…
Dare I risk myself? 

This taken at Shiprock in New Mexico – a sacred place for the Navajo people.





Dare I Go In?

15 04 2012

Image

Dare I go in?

I’m already standing in light . . .

Now invited into darkness?

Do I risk the hope of Light on the other side?





Horizons – On the Edge

25 08 2011

I woke at 5:40 a.m. – another early morning at the beach. My body wanted to stay in bed – my spirit dragged me to the window. Like opening a gift that contained the thing you want most in the world, I pulled back the shades to reveal the rays of the pre-dawn sun barely illuminating the horizon – a deep blue sky above; darkness still swimming across the waters below; but that thin place in between – a deep, warm red-orange glow lining the horizon. I grabbed my tripod and camera, and soon found myself wading in sand.

 

With feet and tripod dug into sand, I looked over the Atlantic, snapping pictures, standing in awe – then somewhere in between the two, Light began to illuminate what was within. From the distant horizon in my soul, Truth exposed a spiritual desert within. I couldn’t seem to find my center – the Center. Somehow the Center would need to find me. Instead of standing there on the beach, my soul felt like fleeing to the mountains – my sanctuary…to nestle into coves and hollows; to lean against foothills; to rest in the shade of mountain peaks; to stroll along high ridges; to soar from lofty vistas.

 

Yet, there I was, on the edge of a vast ocean: openness; uncovered, nothing to nestle into; nothing offering midday shade; no lofty terrain to soar from; nothing to lean into except breaking waves. Open and exposed…just me, an empty lifeguard chair, and the burning horizon illuminating whom I really was; illuminating the truth as to where I really was – no place to hide from me.

 

But it was okay. Underneath the restlessness…within my soul’s desire to take sanctuary in higher elevations…in the midst of feeling lost – there was a peace. There was an opportunity here – an opportunity to be found. A transformation was in motion (and still is).  As I stood at the ocean’s edge, struggling to comprehend its vastness, I was brought to the edge of trust.

 

I have to trust that the waters continue beyond the ever-brightening horizon…that they continue beyond the reach of my eyesight. Isn’t this the way of faith? Some things I can see…but I can only see so far. I can only know what I know up to this very moment. Because of my limitations, I cannot know it all. It comes to the point where the known meets the unknown…when I cannot step into the future with full certainty. Here, at the edge, I have a choice – I can choose what is safe, what I know, what has already been lived; or I can choose to risk and step toward what is before me, toward the unknown, toward the horizon God holds for me. I can choose to step into what I do not know for certain – letting go of pre-conceived notions…using fear’s fuel as energy to propel me toward adventure…letting go of who I think I will become and trusting that God is creating me to be more than I can image. This is an opportunity to go deeper…deeper within ourselves…deeper into others…deeper into God – stepping up to edge of and then into what we fully do not understand or know. With faith we trust the Spirit goes before us preparing the way…preparing us.

 

As I stood gazing over the beautiful painted horizon, I was reminded of a quote by Andre Gide:

 

We cannot discover new oceans

 

unless we have the courage to lose sight of
the shore.

 





The Tuesday after Easter

26 04 2011

So what difference does Easter make – this Tuesday after the most Holy day?

I got up this morning and made lunches for the children just as I have done on past Tuesdays? Creation seems the same –flowers blooming, trees budding, critters scurrying like last Tuesday. The schedules of people around me seem consistent with pre-Easter schedules – busy. Could it be that Easter is just another day? Just another day set aside for eggs, bunnies, and stories? Could it be just a blip on our annual calendar? I mean…we’ve heard the Easter story plenty of times. Maybe it becomes just another story. It’s just a story isn’t it? Just a blip?

But what if…what if we believed this story? What if this story is true? What if this story is more than a blip? What if Jesus experienced a “passion week”: died and resurrected?  Would this make a difference in our living…really? Would we see each other in a different light? Would our appreciation for life be affected? Would the way we go about loving others and creation be transformed? Would the way we love ourselves include more light and less darkness? Would the way we accept love take on a new perspective? Would we view ourselves as lovable?

It’s easy to vote for the “blip” candidate…routine is easier. I know what to do…I know what’s expected of me. I don’t have to change. Keeping the Easter story at “just-a-story arms length” seems less risky…safer. The question is am I willing to live with all this choice means? Am I experiencing the fullness of all life has to offer? Am I really living? Do I want to be loved fully and fully love?

It seems like more often than not, we try to go in the back door to grasp onto love…to make sure we are loved. I’ll say what I think you want to hear…I’ll do what I think you want me to do and in return you will pay me in “love.” Deal? Let’s not talk directly but in oblique conversations…just in case. Too, we believe we must give something in return for what someone gives or does for us. We feel we have to pay for the love someone bestows on us. Some of us believe that we are loved because someone is supposed to love us…the other has no choice. Always some kind of string attached.

But if this story is true about Jesus, then a new reality of love is suggested. There doesn’t have to be any bartering…no back doors. This reality says we are loved not because God is supposed to love us but because God wants to love us. No strings attached. There is freedom here…no chains of shoulds and ought tos.

And if love implies relationship, let’s then take a look from the other side – in what form does God desire our love? Does God want our love in the form of “supposed to?” Does God require our love because God “does things” for us? If we are truthful, I suspect these are our modes of loving God most days. But I imagine that God would desire from us the kind of love we most long for – unconditional…(we are made in the image of God).

Radical, isn’t it, how the Truth of a story can challenge us…invite us…Love us…on this Tuesday after Easter…everyday after Easter (which eventually becomes before Easter too).





Losing Your Life…

19 02 2011

It calls to me like a stranger. Yet, somewhere…somewhere deep down, it sounds like a voice calling me home – “let go”. It’s a scary, risky offer. If I choose this path, for real transformation to occur, I know it’s not a one-time decision. It’s not like getting an immunization shot – once and your good for life. This will be a process…a journey…a pilgrimage. I will struggle…I will get frustrated…I will fail…I will feel I am on my own – alone. But, there will be times of pure, unspeakable joy; times of deep freedom that no dictator could suppress; times when I will feel at home in my own skin – peace; times when I will know, without a doubt, that I am loved to the core, with an authentic love that continually pursues me. All through life, these times of shadows and these times of light will mingle – creating a rhythm…a dance.

As of late, this invitation to let go has been persistent, presenting itself in many forms, in a variety of places and spaces – often surprising me. Its echoes pursue me from familiar text heard as a child:

For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. Matthew 16:25 (NIV)

It seeps into the ordinary routines of life like checking my email (a daily quote, Daily Faith, I receive from Well for the Journey):

“To let go means to give up coercing, resisting, or struggling, in exchange for something more powerful and wholesome which comes out of allowing things to be as they are, without getting caught up in your attraction to or rejection of them…. It’s akin to letting your palm open to unhand something you have been holding onto.” -Jon Kabat-Zinn, Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation In Everyday Life

and

“[I]t is essential to learn ways to free ourselves from the artificial and unnecessary limits we impose …This liberation involves recognizing and letting go of old structures and boundaries …”-Thomas Plante and Carl E. Thoresen, Spirit, Science and Health

The invitation saturates the air as musical lyrics and notes play in songs like Get Up Early by Maggie Sansone (Dance Upon the Shorewww.maggiesansone.com) and Let it Go and Vista by David Wilcox (Vistawww.davidwilcox.com)

It interrupts my thoughts as I walk through the day – a mixture of Mary Oliver’s poem, The Summer Day, with the whispers of the Spirit within me: “Greg, let go the reins of your wild wonderful life.” It haunts me as I watch loved ones slowly and unwillingly let go of themselves…loose themselves, to dementia and Alzheimer’s – where the present moment is the most important moment.  And I experience this invitation as a fire deep in my gut – a desire to…a movement toward…a welling up of – letting go. “Lose yourself Greg…loosen your grip…hold things lightly.”

My response more often than not?: ”What? Lose myself? But I’ve worked so hard to find my self…all that therapy…all that confrontation…all that struggle…I’m just finding myself – now I’m being asked to loose myself?”

But I’m learning…slowly…through daily struggles and by loosening my grip (one finger at a time) – letting go of all I think I want or need. And, I am learning that this kind of loosing myself is not the same as before…when I had no sense of self. With this losing, there is a gaining…there is a discovery of my true God-created self. I’m finding my life…abundant life. It’s like giving myself away only to receive myself back again…a little closer to wholeness.

So this is my struggle – do I accept this invitation…today?  Do I want to find – save – my life by losing it? Are the stakes that high? (I’ve lost myself before…to the point I wasn’t sure I existed). Some days I’m just not sure it’s worth it…other days I want nothing more…I want to take deep gulps of the freedom this path brings. It’s like hitting that one, sweet golf shot among all the bad ones…that one shot that keeps you coming back. It’s like among all those botched recipe trials, creating that one perfect dish that drives you to get your hands messy again.

Today, I hit a good shot…the recipe was a success. Tomorrow another invitation will be waiting for me when I awake. We’ll see what tomorrow brings.

What invitation is waiting for you?