Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Be like water flowing...

Water. My word for the year. I began 2010 by taking solo winter walks along the shore not so far from my house. As the year draws to a close, I find myself nestled into a friend's seaside cabin with my beloved husband. Water has greeted me with her fluid mystery and manifested in ways I could never have imagined. My winter vacation included a lesson in surfing and a mesmerizing experience with a sea turtle. Who would have thought that my annual trip to Bermuda (an island surrounded by Caribbean sea) would be traded in for a journey to the Sinai desert - especially in the year of water? I've learned throughout the year to "go with the flow" and as 2010 sails to a close, having rushed by like a flash flood, I find myself grateful for the seas I have traveled this year.

A favorite story crossed my path a few days ago. It is the tale of a man who has the choice between a map and a boat to accompany him on his journey. Choosing the boat, the grand master offers these words - "You are the boat. Life is the sea." Wherever we find our center (our boat), we have the ability to go with the flow, weather the storms and enjoy the immensity of life. My boat has carried me well this year. I've patched it when necessary and provided a new coat of paint or two to spiff things up - always remembering it's very important to care for my vessel! New journeys are on the horizon for 2011 and I look forward to cracking the champagne across the bow as we embark for the new year.

My word(s) for 2011 have already bobbed to the surface. However, today as I watch the mighty wind push the waves across the Sound, water deserves its honor. Stay tuned for the 2011 word announcement!! My prayer, for now, is to continue to be like water flowing and see what fills my cup in the days and weeks to come.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Bullies in Disguise

Layers and layers of discovery. I move. I rest. I pause. The layers shift and morph. Refining my way toward freedom. Awhile back I had a memory arise and while I’m not sure it’s an actual event, I don’t know why I would have made it up – unless, of course, I needed it to help me with something else.

The scene is pretty precise. I’m 6 years old and in the first grade. I’m in the narrow cloak closet at school and we’ve just come in from recess. I can smell the damp coats and feel someone behind me pressing my face into them. It’s another child, I’m certain. I can’t breathe. A vise-like grip deepens on the sides of my throat – pudgy fingers, I think. My fear tightens as a knee or elbow presses into my spine, stuffing my face further into the darkness of the fabric. The bully tells me to “Stay quiet, or else.” My nostrils fill with the acrid smell of wet wool. I want to scream, but my mouth is buried and the words won’t come. Suddenly, there’s a flurry of activity and the grip releases, the pressure comes out of my back. I’m alone and disheveled in the closet. No real harm, right?

The metaphor to my life is immense. The internal struggles over voice, aloneness and importance are core. They are battles I’ve been peeling the layers off for years. They move and shift and morph. Recently, I’ve had a grown-up bully attempting to put the vise-like grip on my authentic self. (S)he came disguised as someone who wanted my help (which is very seductive for a caregiver.) How long would I allow the knee to press into my back and stifle the scream rising in my chest? It wasn’t until I invited this person to leave that clarity came and I felt the relief of speaking up for what I wanted and needed. The pressure released and I was not alone.

This week in my Advent retreat, we are pondering what it means to say, “Yes.” What is the risk? Will you say yes to your longings? For a moment just ponder the danger of continually saying, “No” to your heart’s desire.


What does it mean to ask for what I want?

I asked and I received.

Writing. Reading. Creating.

Say Yes!

I asked and I received.

Don’t limit.

Say Yes!

The shadow is the bully.

Don’t limit

My writing, reading, creating.

The shadow is the bully.

What does it mean to ask for what I want?

Sunday, December 12, 2010

My Advent Prayer

Allow me to see the face of this day
Let me enter into each space with intention
Crossing the Holy thresholds
Touching the Ancient stones

Let me enter into each space with intention
Do not allow me to cloud my own vision
Touching the Ancient stones
I will be the face of this day

Do not allow me to cloud my own vision
Crossing the Holy thresholds
I will be the face of this day
Allow me to see the precious face of this day

© Kayce Stevens Hughlett

Monday, December 06, 2010

A Winding Journey

As I read today's Advent reflection from Birthing the Holy including a poem by Linda Hogan*, I was reminded of a SoulCollage® card I created awhile back. Pulling it out, I began to write and noticed the weavings of this season begin to take shape and offer me this message:

I am one who stands at the threshold.
The cave of death surrounds me - death to past.
The Ancient bones beckon me and tell me to follow my dreams. I am in good company.
If I will raise my eyes to the heavens, I will see the light ahead.

It has been a winding journey - and will continue to be,
but the Ancients are with me and the river is flowing -
"It doesn't look back to where it's been or wonder who ahead of it has polished the rough stones.
It is following the path in its fullness"
And it's time for me to do the same.

Don't look back.
Raise your eyes and see the expanse before you.
The Ancients are with you. God is with you.
Lift your eyes to the heavens -
to new life.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Anyone There?

Themes of birth, awakening and mothers float through my mind. Vivid dreams invade my night and wake me like a whisper from my sleep. I roll over, turn off the alarm and sink into that space where dreamland meets dawn. The space between past, present and future cannot be delineated and my earliest memory drifts into now. I am older than one and younger than two. Standing in my crib with an earnest look on my face, I am not crying or distressed. I appear to be reaching, perhaps not with my arms, but only with my eyes. Anyone there? My eyes stretch into the room beyond the recesses of my barred bed and beckon, Anyone there?

Isn't that the question I still ask today? In times of lament, I turn to the ancient lie I tell myself. I am not important. I will always be alone. Was no one there? Sharing my 10 year old brother's room, I wonder if he resented my presence from the beginning. I recall the black eye my mother received when she bumped the door jamb during a nightly visit to me. Would she return again?

So odd, these memories. So very interesting. Anyone there is what I continue to ask today. Will you read my work? Hold my hand? Laugh at my jokes? Kiss my lips? Notice my hair? Anyone there? Are you paying attention? Do you see me? Is it possible I still carry the look of a one year old standing in her crib - reaching and searching for connection. Anyone there?

What are the questions you ask yourself or the lies you whisper when past & present merge?

photo - Paris