beauty in the desert and light in the broken bottle

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beauty in the desert

Joshua Tree National Park, December 2014

Farewell 2013. What a mix you were — the frustration of odd symptoms, the relief of a manageable diagnosis, quiet hours in my studio, the lightness that comes from releasing limiting beliefs, the last good-bye to my father, new friendships, a change of focus.

And while I practiced more gratitude, I confess all was not thankfulness and sunlight.

Last week I saw my neurologist for a routine check-up. He’s been changing my meds and the last two months or so have been frustrating. Mild fatigue. Intermittent issues with speech. Occasional difficulty keeping my eyes open. Trouble flashing my full smile.

You know, there’s something to the time honored practice of denial. To keep things light I like to think of my diagnosis as this auto-immune condition. Not as this disease. Never disease. But a casual comment by a friend, revisiting Joshua Tree National Park (where Ken and I went while waiting for a diagnosis), and the neurologist assuring me that I’ll be taking meds from here on out, left me feeling very sorry for myself.

Just when it looks like my turn to fly, I face a life of limits. My children, those lovelies, are grown at last. Ken and I share a sweet and satisfying intimacy. I no longer live from a place of scarcity and scramble for any job that pays. Then along comes myasthenia gravis. Insert cursing here. How could my body do this to me?!? Breathe. Regain composure. How do I live large with these limits?

I sat in my self-pitying question for a day or two. Then I read this:

The further I wake into this life, the more I realize that God is everywhere and the extraordinary is waiting quietly beneath the skin of all that is ordinary. Light is in both the broken bottle and the diamond, and music is in both the flowing violin and the water dripping from the drainage pipe. Yes, God is under the porch as well as on top of the mountain, and joy is in both the front row and the bleachers, if we are willing to be where we are.” Mark Nepo

Life with limits is really all any of us has. Those limits may be external or self-imposed. But we all have them. The amazing good news is that in spite of limits we can live beautiful and meaningful lives filled with light, music, and the presence of the divine…if we are willing to be where we are.

Strength made perfect in weakness

Pointing out and fixing the flaws and weaknesses of their children was a given with my parents and many of their generation. Ironically, they also espoused a wisdom tradition that claimed strength of the divine is made perfect in weakness. I didn’t realize this glaring dichotomy for years. After reading Brené Brown’s books The Gifts of Imperfection and more recently Daring Greatly, I’ve realized that what my parents saw as flaws are my unique gifts. Instead of continuing to edit myself and change my feelings, I’ve decided to embrace who I am and believe that I’m wired this way for a divine reason. My sensitivity, intensity, idealism, trusting nature, and longing for creative expression do not need to be changed and do not set me up for disappointment; they are channels of deep connection, service, and joy.

My choice list for 2013 is little changed. I still choose the same things. And this year I choose to

  • love my life
  • love my body
  • and live large right where I am

What will you choose to embrace in the new year? Please comment below!

May 2014 brim with joy, abundance, integrity, health, love, and light.



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