The Dog Days of Waiting

Summer Wings

Summer Wings

Hope deferred makes the heart sick,
but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.
Proverbs 13:12 (NIV)

The air is heavy with waiting. This is the hot breathless time of soaring summer temperatures, Bermuda highs, and killer humidity. It is a still time, when no breezes blow, no rain falls, and the sun beats down with its highest intensity. You can almost hear the plants growing, and you see daily development in the garden. But it is too uncomfortable to stay out very long. The minute you walk into the outdoors, your clothing sticks to you, clinging to a body that is instantly covered with sweat. In this weather, only the bugs seem happy and comfortable.

This is the time of waiting. You may be a gardener waiting for the plants to produce. Or you may be cultivating your own life, waiting for projects to come to fruition and dreams to come true. There comes a season in every life where the heat is on and all you can do is wait.

Serenity in Seasons of Waiting 

Kitty Emma on a Dog Day Afternoon 

Kitty Emma on a Dog Day Afternoon 

Sometimes it just takes waiting for the right timing. And during the season of high heat, timing is often not in your favor. You have to sweat it out. Do you have a project you’ve been working on that suddenly seems blocked or stopped? Are you waiting on someone else’s necessary decision, only to find out they’re on summer vacation and won’t be back until next week? Do processes feel like they’re being dragged out and results few and far between? Does your spiritual life feel meaningless, your prayer closet like a sauna, and a breath of fresh air seem as far away as a dream? Welcome to the dog days of the summer heat wave.

Daisy  Inspiration 

Daisy  Inspiration 

St. John of the Cross talked about the dark night of the soul. Other spiritual masters talk about the silence of the senses. The humidity of a soul sweating out the work of time and the timing of the Creator is like a heat wave, deadening the senses into numb misery. It seems like an endless spiritual desert. Yet it is in the desert that saints and monks have purified their souls and found spiritual insight and clarity. If you are in a season of difficult waiting, perhaps God is developing the fruit of the Spirit in you. Just as a sweat breaks a fever and releases toxins, so this travail of the soul and body could be releasing impurities that keep you from spiritual health and well being.

Trust the Process

A time of waiting is part of life’s process and there is no way to avoid it, no shortcut around it. We have three possible responses: we can fight it, we can whine about it, or we can accept it as a necessary time for spiritual development.

Sometimes in the early stages of a heat wave, we fight it. Angry that our vacation plans don’t include avoiding this discomfort and that circumstances demand our presence in this unpleasant weather, we are anxious, frustrated, and trying to figure a way out—any way out, at any price, as soon as possible. When we realize there is no way out and that we have to just slog through the heat, we grumble and complain. But whining can make the atmosphere even more unpleasant than the muggy humidity of waiting. We make the hard times harder with a negative attitude.

Then there is the way of acceptance. Sooner or later we come to the time when we must make this choice: will we accept the circumstance, adapt to the situation, and wait out God’s timing? If we choose the way of acceptance, there is no guarantee that the heat will lessen or that the weather will change any sooner. What we do discover, however, is that we can cope with this waiting in the heat, perhaps even learn from it.

Accepting What Is 

Ducking the Heat

Ducking the Heat

Here in the South, you learn to hibernate in the heat and choose your times of emergence into the outdoors wisely. You turn up the air conditioner during the day, wait till evening or early morning to do your hard work, drink plenty of water, take it easy during the hottest part of the day, and wear comfortable clothes you can sweat into. You don’t just have to hibernate in the refrigerated indoors, however. You can also embrace the heat and immerse yourself in things as they are, rather than putting your energy into wishing for what isn’t. Spending time outdoors, embracing the heat, actually helps you cope, as your body adjusts to the temperatures and builds strength to endure.

In the southern summer I have learned take long early morning or twilight walks in clothes that I plan to sweat in, carrying bottled water to keep myself hydrated. I move slower and take time to look and listen to what nature is doing. There on the banks of Lake Radnor, I listen to the call of the bullfrog, watch the deer and geese feed in the green pond goo, see the waterbugs dance on the surface of the lake, making patterns like raindrops across its surface. I feel the silky warmth of the humid evening on my bare arms, become aware of the sensuousness of the misty night. I plan on cool showers when I get home and a long tall iced tea or lemonade. I eat more lightly, adapting to my body’s diminished appetite in the heat. When I am battened down in my air conditioned office, I disperse essential oils into the atmosphere to remind me of the mountains and cool breezes I long for: tree scents of cedar, spruce, juniper, pine, and fir; and herb scents of spearmint, peppermint, lavender, thyme, and marjoram. I listen to my body and take naps when possible. I allow myself to be more sluggish and respect the power of the heat and humidity. People die in these conditions when they don’t adapt or take care of themselves. And I wait, doing what work I can, but also knowing that the change in the weather is in God’s timing, not my own. I practice the difficult art of patience. 

Allow Time for the Fruit to Ripen 

When you are in a waiting time, it is time to let go and let God. It sounds simplistic, but there are seasons when we as creatures need to work with the rhythms of creation and wait on the timing of the Creator, whether we want to or not. Fighting it only makes the inevitable more difficult. Surrendering the ego, letting go of your own agenda, opening to a wider, wiser unfolding of events—all of this can bear fruit in the long wait of the summer heat.

The hot humid weather will eventually pass. The time of waiting will be over. You will discover that during the time of waiting, through the long hot days and humid nights, the garden was still growing and the plants were developing toward the days of harvest. The wise gardener is patient, whether he is waiting on the weather or the development of his own soul.

Just Being with What Is....

Just Being with What Is....

Words of Encouragement 

The secret of waiting is the faith that the seed has been planted, that something has begun. Active waiting means to be present fully to the moment, in the conviction that something is happening where you are and that you want to be present to it.

Henri Nouwen

 

Behold, the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient over it until it receives the early and the late rain.

James 5:6 (RSV)

 

I believe that there is a subtle magnetism in Nature, which, if we unconsciously yield to it, will direct us aright.

Henry David Thoreau

 

Still Evening 

Still Evening 

The seed of mystery lies in muddy water.

How can I perceive this mystery?

Water becomes clear through stillness.

How can I become still?

By flowing with the stream.

Lao Tzu


Every time something difficult and challenging has happened to me it has marked the beginning of a new era in my life.

Kimberly Kirberger


A streak of toughness combined with optimism is a good passport through life. The winners are the ones who get on with it.

Maeve Binchy


Any man can work when every stroke of his hands brings down the fruit rattling from the tree… but to labor in season and out of season, under every discouragement… that requires a heroism which is transcendent.

Henry Ward Beecher


One day at a time—this is enough. Do not look back and grieve over the past, for it is gone; and do not be troubled about the future, for it has not yet become. Live in the present, and make it so beautiful that it will be worth remembering.

Ida Scott Taylor

Summer Pink 

Summer Pink 


Whenever a mind is simple, it is able to receive divine wisdom; old things pass away; it lives now and absorbs past and future into the present hour.

Ralph Waldo Emerson


If you let yourself be absorbed completely, if you surrender completely to the moments as they pass, you live more richly those moments.

Anne Morrow Lindbergh


With all our philosophy, with all our grand and enhancing ideas, we cannot escape life as we live it. Star-gazers are still walking on the solid earth.

D.T. Suzuki


In walking, just walk. In sitting, just sit. Above all, don’t wobble.

Yun Men


O God, grant us the serenity to accept what cannot be changed; the courage to change what should be changed; and the wisdom to distinguish one from the other.

Reinhold Niebuhr


One act of thanksgiving made when things go wrong is worth a thousand when they go well.

St. John of the Cross


Centennial Park Summer Sunset

Centennial Park Summer Sunset

Life only demands from you the strength you possess. Only one feat is possible. Not to run away.

Dag Hammarskjold


There is a kind of release that comes directly to those who have undergone an ordeal and who know, having survived it, that they are equal to all of life’s occasions.

Lewis Mumford


O Lord, thou knowest that which is best for us. Let this or that be done, as thou shalt please. Give what thou wilt, how much thou wilt, and when thou wilt.

Thomas a Kempis


Meaning, moods, the whole scale of our inner experience, finds in nature “the correspondences” through which we may know our boundless selves.

Kathleen Raine

Mother Knows Best 

Mother Knows Best 

21 Free Audio Affirmations

I am excited to announce that my audio production is now happening, and I am making my first Audio Affirmations available to those who join my emailing list. There are more audio products in the making. I even created the background music with GarageBand loops. What fun! Two minutes of instant inspiration will arrive in your email inbox every day for 21 days, starting the moment you sign up.

Here is a link so you can listen to sample Audio Affirmation: 

Seattle Summer Rose 

Seattle Summer Rose 

Offer Your Best Gifts

candypaull-330-100_7368.jpg

Offer Your Best Gifts 

Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive!
Howard Thurman 

Do what you love and more love will unfold. By offering the gift of your time and talents to others, you multiply the good you have already received and generate more positive energy for all. 

Your enthusiasm contributes as much as the actual work you do. If you are already doing what you love and have a special skill to share, be generous with it. If you can’t do what you love, learn to love what you do. Give enthusiastically and count all loving service as an act of faith that sends a signal to the Universe that you are open to unexpected opportunities and new ideas. You never know when a simple loving act can lead to something greater than you can yet imagine. 

Be generous with your time and talent. Don’t be afraid to pitch in and help. You can help build a home, volunteer for a food drive, teach others a craft, or pick up litter on a stretch of highway. Find a need you can meet and give the gift of yourself. 

• Volunteer your time and talents for a good cause. Throw your whole heart into what you do. 

Affirmation: My gifts and talents are received with joy, making a better world for all.

Trust the Process

Spring Unfolding

Spring Unfolding

In a society focused on results and end products, it is easy to forget that you can’t create without going through a process of creation. You may say you have a certain goal or end result in mind, but often the actual work may take you in another direction. And many times a seemingly messy detour becomes the path to something unexpected and wonderful.

Sometimes the process includes unexpected time out. That time out may be a business setback that plunges you into deep waters as you work to survive and pay your bills. A layoff or hiring freeze means that the bright career plans are put on hold. The collapse of the music industry or tremendous changes in the book industry can mean that even successful writers and performers find themselves without a livelihood, having to reinvent not only their careers, but who they are and how to offer their gifts in a chaotic marketplace. Sometimes it’s a family emergency, and you may find yourself in the role of caretaker, putting your own life on hold while you walk with a loved one through the valley of the shadow of death. It might be a mistake you or someone else made, a change in market conditions, an unexpected emergency or health crisis. It could even be as simple as a creative project that didn’t come out the way you hoped, leaving you wondering whether you should try to salvage it or start all over again. 

Take it one day at a time. Instead of trying to second guess the future, look at what you have right now. What can be accomplished today? Concentrate only on what you are able to do today. Do what you can and let go of trying to control the outcome. All you can do is do your best and leave the rest up to God. In most of the important things in life, we are dependent on the nature of creation and time, the grace of the Life Force flowing in us and carrying us through the events and processes of living.

In the larger perspective of life, eternal lessons teach us that trust and patience are required for the things that are really important. It takes time to raise a child, write a book, nurture a relationship, grow a career, and create a community. Think of a farmer patiently waiting for seed, soil, sun, and rain to do its work. The field must be plowed, the seed sown, the land fertilized and watered, the soil weeded, and the crop tended before it comes to full fruition. So it is with us. 

Trusting the process is a form of letting go. You can try to predict and control life, but life is larger and more gloriously complex than the calculating planning part of the human brain can comprehend. When some plan or project is on hold, trust that it, too, is part of the process. It has been said that we make our plans—and God laughs. So why not laugh along? Or at least stop resisting and open your mind to receive new insights. 

Trust that the goodness of life itself will lead you if you keep going. Trust the process of its unfolding. When a butterfly is working its way out of its cocoon, it is no kindness to cut the cocoon to make emergence easier. The struggle itself is an essential part of the process. When a human hand interferes with the process, the butterfly’s wings are undeveloped. It cannot fly. It dies. When the butterfly’s struggle is done in nature’s time, the emergence may last longer than our impatient hearts can stand. But when the butterfly finally emerges from this birthwork, it spreads its wings to dry, and then flies into its destiny. When you are stressed because your own process seems to be one of struggle and delay, remember the butterfly. Trust that a greater process is happening; that all this is working together for your good and your growth. 

Whether you are creating a work of art or a life, trust the process. Let go of your expectations and let what you are doing lead you from one step to another. Do your best and leave the results to God.


Trust God from the bottom of your heart. Don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go.
Proverbs 3:5-6 THE MESSAGE

By going a few minutes sooner or later, by stopping to speak with a friend on the corner, by meeting this man or that, or by turning down this street instead of the other, we may let slip some impending evil, by which the whole current of our lives would have been changed. There is no possible solution in the dark enigma but the one word, “Providence.”
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Sometimes providences, like Hebrew letters, must be read backward.
John Flavel

One’s philosophy is not best expressed in words; it is expressed in the choices one makes. In the long run, we shape our lives and we shape ourselves. 
Eleanor Roosevelt

• Do a creative project, such as building model airplanes or knitting, and watch the process unfold. Meditate on the processes unfolding in your life.

Life on the farm is a school of patience; you can’t hurry the crops or make an ox in two days.
Henri Fournier Alain

I find that it is not the circumstances in which we are placed, but the spirit in which we face them, that constitutes our comfort.
Elizabeth T. King

Flow with whatever may happen and let your mind be free. Stay centered by accepting whatever you are doing. This is the ultimate.
Chaung Tzu

Man is the only animal that laughs and weeps, for he is the only animal that is struck with the difference between what things are and what they might have been.
William Hazlitt

The greatest and most important problems in life are all in a certain sense insoluble. They can never be solved, but only outgrown.
Carl Jung

The chief pang of most trials is not so much the actual suffering itself as our own spirit of resistance to it.
Jean Nicholas Grau

Teach us, O Lord, the disciplines of patience, for to wait is often harder than to work.
Peter Marshall

Nature magically suits a man to his fortunes, by making them the fruit of his character.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

On every level of life from housework to the heights of prayer, in all judgment and all efforts to get things done, hurry and impatience are the sure marks of an amateur.
Evelyn Underhill

The Only Reality is Love

Old Masters' Rose

Old Masters' Rose

If we choose, we can keep our heart alive and be fully in life at any age. Lived correctly, the curtains of our heart continue to open like the petals of a flower as our life progresses. 
Alan Cohen

I have been planting seeds of faith on this Valentine’s Day. I’m preparing applications for training in new skills, signing up for a webinar on self-publishing, listening to a friend share a personal crisis, doing home things like laundry, writing this blog, researching career options, and spending much time in prayer and meditation. I also had the pleasure of working on my deck in the sun, getting planters cleaned up and prepared for spring, sweeping the litter of fall’s dying away. It feels like a new beginning. 

After a long snowy winter, today’s warm temperatures (60 degrees) and sunshine have made it feel like spring. I just came in from my sunny deck after trimming back all the dead sticks leftover from winter’s cold. Though it is too early to plant, there are still living surprises waiting beneath the dead leaves and naked sticks. I didn’t expect anything in my planters to survive this coldest of winters, yet there is a marjoram plant with tiny green and white leaves showing, a green sprout of mint and Vietnamese coriander peering out from under the dead sticks of last year’s luxuriant growth, and even the chives are greening beneath that mat of dead chive that hung like tan hair over the side of the planter. Now things are cleared, clipped back, and swept around. It’s still naked, but the clarity of line has returned, and it truly feels like I’m getting ready to welcome spring.

This is an act of faith and love, believing that by summer’s high sun and green glory I will still be here in my little house on the hill, still be able to pull a bit of sage or basil for pasta or salad, still able to enjoy a spring of mint in my iced jasmine tea. It is a statement of belief that no matter how stark the landscape is today, tomorrow will bring a renewed greening of my life. I know that I can make a home anywhere, but it would be a precious gift to be able to stay here, in this miracle Casa de Suenos (House of Dreams). That will take another miracle of growth as I reinvent my writing career and create a more sustainable financial support system. For those of you who have been buying my e-books, an immense gratitude to you, for those sales are gifts to me, and a sign of a better and more prosperous season getting ready to unfold. 

On this Valentine’s Day, I wish you love, for love is the only Reality there is. Wealth can disappear, health can be compromised, and talent, position, and pride can be brought low by unexpected devastation. I know of few people whose lives have not been touched by sorrow or loss in the last two and a half years. Friends have faced terminal illness, job losses, financial reverses, foreclosures, bankruptcies, health crises, career dips (or call it career “cratering”), and dark nights of the soul. We have said goodbye to the world as it was. Now the long winter, though still hanging on for awhile longer, is going to come to an end. A new season of growth will one day fill in the barren places of winter’s loss as the seasons change, as they inevitably will. Today is a good day to remember to plant the seeds of love in your life and in the lives of others. 


Affirmative prayer

I read this prayer treatment in church this Sunday (Center for Spiritual Living, Nashville). It is a comfort to read this truth aloud, a sign of spring in the long winter I have been through recently: 


In the true meeting of hearts and minds there is scarcely even the need for words. I know that in the one Mind there cannot be any misunderstanding; in the one love, all are included. I have absolute faith in the principle of life, the law of love, and so I now permit love to express through me, to radiate from me. 

Love transcends all other manifestations. I am filled with confidence that love is a law, and as I embody love and express it, every situation is filled with harmony and every relationship becomes beautiful and worthwhile. Love rules supreme in my life.

by Ernest Holmes (page 103. Creative Ideas by Ernest Holmes, © 1973, 2004 Science of Mind Publishing) 
website: http://www.scienceofmind.com/store


Introducing an inspiring friend: 

I have pretty good “shopping karma” when I’m on a roll. A combination of skill, serendipity, and a light heart often bring me to the perfect dress, book, or even a house or car. It’s all a matter of the right attitude. Well, my dear friend J.M. Kearns has a new book out and it is the perfect Valentine’s gift for you, if you’re a woman who wants to connect with the right man for her. It teaches you to use your good “shopping karma” in the pursuit of love. 

J.M. (or Mike, as his friends know him) offers a wry and witty take on the dating game. It’s a much more personal book than his first, Why Mr. Right Can’t Find You, with some great stories of his own experiences included. It’s fun to read the back story on his search for love, because we got to know each other at songwriter nights back before he met Debra, his partner the love of his life.

Of all the myths that discourage you from proactively shopping for a good mate, the premier one is this: True Love only happens to the woman who doesn’t seek it out. If she will just wait, the perfect man will ride into her life. (Or if he doesn’t, she never could have found true love anyway.) It’s all a crock, and it gets in the way of good shopping. You know how to shop, how to make the fine distinctions and look in the right places. But maybe you haven’t always approached mate-finding that way.

Kearns offers a shopping advisory for every woman who’s looking for the perfect mate. He says, “It’s time to step into the twenty-first century and enter the final frontier. We’re not just talking the shopping talk. It’s time to walk the shopping walk. The few, the proud, the shoppers.” He shows you how to use the quintessential “feminine” skill of shopping to find Mr. Right at last. 

Even a good shopper needs a guide. J.M. Kearns is your coach, encouraging you to come from your strengths, not your weaknesses. He helps you focus on what you’re really looking for and maximize your chances for a love that really lasts. 

You’ll discover where to look for a man and how to connect, whether in person or online. You’ll learn to see beyond the packaging to the quality inside and to be bold about your own desires and needs. After you find your beloved, you’ll find out how to make sure you’ve made the right choice and ways to nurture a relationship that can grow into a satisfying long-term partnership. 

From understanding how a man ticks to what makes a man a keeper, Shopping for Mr. Right shows that your finely honed shopping instincts can empower you to find—and keep—the rarest treasure of all: a lasting and happy relationship with the right man for you.

Why shopping, why now?
Kearns says, “In both my previous books, I tried to yank mate-finding out of the hands of "destiny" and put the reader in charge. This book delivers the knockout punch by invoking the power of shopping. You know, as I say in the video, shopping is sort of mystical. It's an interaction between the person you are now and the person you want to be. But it's also very practical: it calls for you to be discerning, realistic, proactive, and to project into the future, to see how a thing will perform down the line. All this is also true of the search for love -- or should be!"

Quotes from the book:

You already have something special that will attract your dream man if he gets a chance to experience you—something that won’t register the same way to other men. Namely that you are you, and he is he. Given access to you, he will appreciate your soul and body—all of you—in a way that isn’t attainable by most men. And it will happen as naturally as breathing. You won’t need to use special tricks to trap him. Because being with you will set him free, and he will be at home with you in a way that most other men couldn't be.

The sexes are different, in delectable ways we all instinctively understand, and in mysterious ways we may never fully fathom. But far from being aliens, a man and a woman together are one of the most invincible forces on the planet.

Excerpt from Chapter 26 on testing out a potential relationship:

Test love by trying love: 

Good fortune comes to those who are willing to take risks and test their dream. So it’s time to find out what you and Mr. Possible have got. Here are twelve exciting diversions that will help focus the trial period and make it productive.

During the first six months to a year, try to complete at least seven of the following items, preferably more. (Many of them may happen naturally; a few are diabolically designed to take you out of your comfort zone.) If you don’t get through seven of them in six months, that’s fine—you just need a longer trial period. Like baseball, love is not a timed game: it takes as long as it takes. The right moment to commit is when you’ve learned enough about each other, not when you’ve logged x months together.

If any of these assignments scare you, make them mandatory.

Here they are:

1. Go on a road trip to a place neither of you have been before, for at least three days—just the two of you. Take turns driving, map-reading, and so on. If possible, get lost at least once.
2. Whichever of you is less versed in cooking, make a meal for the other.
3. Visit his parents (and yours) and stay overnight if you can. If parents aren’t doable, visit another close family member. Try for a dinner with a wider group. If convenient, talk to some of his family members without him present. 
4. Throw a party and both invite your best friends, so they get a chance to mingle. 
5. Each of you tell the other about a major challenge you’ve faced at work, how you handled it, and what the outcome was. 
6. Buy the book and find out the rest—they are intriguing and fun!

Check out this website for more books and music from J.M. Kearns: 
http://www.jmkearns.com/
The video on the home page is a hoot!