Become like a Child

Yesterday I went for a bike ride to the seaside. It was a blue-sky day and the sun was giving off gorgeous heat. The wind was up and whenever I turned east I had to ride hard against it. I’m living near Dover, in the UK, and the coastline is made up of the famous White Cliffs, which jut out of the sea with magnificent sharpness, their top-edges carpeted with soft, green grass.

As you come inland the topography continues to undulate making for hilly roads. I was beginning to get hot riding up and down the steep streets and I noticed my mind had jumped ahead to my arrival at the beach, my ride home and the refreshments I would have when I got back. My trip to the sea was over before it had begun. Everything in front of me now, the cheek-by-jowl housing typical of English towns, the leaves flashing silver as they danced in the breeze, the puffs of white cloud drifting over Dover Castle in the distance, was invisible. I was missing it all.

The good news is this: I noticed.

I actually became aware that I wasn’t where I was. I realized I was not in reality and had bought in to the fantasy in my head and been seduced by it. With this awareness I could change.

Bringing myself back to the present I felt my body riding the bike. I remembered suddenly what it felt like to be a kid riding my bicycle on a hot summer day. Would I have been thinking about the future when I was seven years old? Maybe. More likely I would have been seeing the world around me, being with it as it happened.

I passed a sleeping white cat curled up on a concrete block. It looked so warm and so content I could actually feel its interior pleasure. If a cat is allowed to curl up and sleep away the afternoon why aren’t we, too?

I rode on, feeling the breath in my lungs and my heart working hard as pedaled. I sensed the wind kissing my face cooling the sweat on my forehead. I heard the rocks pop under the tires as I neared the the sea.

The beach was empty save for two young fisherman and a couple playing in the waves. I found my spot and parked the bike marveling at the way the sun was hitting the cliffs making them glimmer the brightest white imaginable. I lay down and curled up like a cat. Deep rest. Body settling into smooth stones heated warm from the late-summer day. Diamonds on the water. France at the other side. Whispers of prayer to give thanks.

Inspiring Message of the Day: When I realize that I have engaged with my thoughts so as to disappear from the reality before me I will remember what it feels like to be a child and experience the wonder of my existence as it unfolds.

Willing to Live

Dearest Readers,

This post is for you if you are feeling overwhelmed, run down by life, paralyzed by fear, stuck in a rut, cynical, helpless, hopeless. I would like you to know that you are not alone.

Before I go on, I would like to preface what I am about to say by telling you that I have a great life. I am young, healthy, talented, loved, and pretty cute. AND I struggle with anxiety and fear. So despite the fact that I have enormous amounts of abundance and opportunities for joy in my life I go to bed some nights and wake up some days in cold, naked, fear.

Last night was one of those nights and this morning was one of those mornings.

When I went to bed last night I told myself that when the cat pounced on me at 5:30 the next day I would not go back to bed after getting up to feed him. I would do the morning routine and embrace the day. I was determined because I knew that if I didn’t, if I let the fear plague me it would end up driving the bus of my day and I would sink deeper into the mire.

So this morning at 5:30 a.m., right on schedule, “Pounce!” The cat jumped on me and began his mournful sing-song to waken me. Guess what? I ignored him. I pulled the covers over my head and stuck a finger in my ear.

Fear: 1, Celia: 0

Now because I am aware of my shortcomings, because I am aware that I rebel against my Highest Good, because I well know that I get in my own way more often than I care to admit, I did not stop there. I did not let the fear win.

Despite myself, I began to ask for help. Buried under those covers with a finger in my ear listening to the cat cry for his breakfast I began to pray like a motherlover.

“I don’t want to get up. I don’t want to face the day. It’s too much. Please help me. Please forgive me. Please give me the strength and courage to pull my covers off and sit up and get up and feed the cat and start the morning routine and live the day. I don’t want to because I’m afraid but I’m willing. Give me the courage, please, I need strength, please help me.”

I kept on like that for some time. I just kept on. Then out came the finger. Off came the covers. I sat up. I got up. I fed the cat. I splashed water on my face and drank water. Life-giving water. I felt relief.

Celia:1, Fear: 0

I began the morning routine, entering into deeper prayer and meditation. I did a yoga practice. I WENT FOR A JOG. IN THE RAIN. When I got back I picked raspberries from the bush in our yard for breakfast.

Miracles all.

Somewhere around the five-minute mark into the jog (those of you who have been following this blog since the beginning will be most impressed for I began hauling myself up an outdoor staircase two years ago to build cardio activity into my life and nearly had a heart attack) I began to feel better. The fear began to lift and I could feel my energy changing. Hallelujah.

For a person who is gripped by fear or anxiety the most difficult thing in the world to do is to get up off the proverbial couch. And yet it is the absolute solution to the problem. We must get up off the couch and step into our lives for the fear to lift, for things to change, for the miracle of thankfulness to overtake the dread. And yet how? How do we do that when we are paralyzed?

Ask. Ask for the strength and courage. Beg for it if you have to. It will come. It. Will. Come.

Inspiring Message of the Day: I am willing to live despite my fear. I am willing to move forward with love in my heart. I’m terrified of what lies ahead and life feels too big for me to handle. But I’m willing because I trust the shift will come and when it does I will be returned to thankfulness and inner peace, which is my true state of being.

The Anxious Man

Dearest Readers,

Yesterday I heard a man tell a story and I’m going to re-tell it for you because it is powerful testament to what Marianne Williamson calls “the miracle”. The miracle is the Shift in Perception.

One day a man left his office feeling very heavy. The weight of the world was on his shoulders. He was a newspaperman and stories of oil spills and murders and mayhem crowded his mind and held his thoughts hostage.

As he walked along the street he could feel his anxiety increasing. All around him was pain and despair. He clenched his fists and tightened his jaw against the air around him, which felt oppressive and thick.

He saw ahead of him on the sidewalk an old lady. She was tiny and frail and she used a walker. “How sad,” the man thought. “How terrible. A lonely, old woman who has no one. She can barely walk. Her bones look as though they might break at any moment. How tragic.” He sighed heavily with the sadness he felt for this woman’s situation.

As the old lady approached him she looked up at the man, raising her head high from between her stooped shoulders. The man expected to see a hollow, empty face. Instead, she was smiling.

“Isn’t it a beautiful day?” she said to him, beaming radiance and great warmth from deep within her fragile frame.

“Y-yes,” the man replied, barely able to speak.

The old lady continued on and the man stood watching her slowly push her walker down the sidewalk. It seemed as though a light had suddenly been turned on outside. Everything was brighter.

The man looked around. The sun was shining. He had not noticed this before. It was a beautiful day after all.

Inspiring Message of the Day: When I look around me what do I see? Do I see the darkness or the light? The Light is everywhere, all around us, all the time. Today I will look for it no matter how I am feeling.

No Bull (Durham)

Dearest Readers,

“When a defining moment comes along, you define the moment, or the moment defines you.”

Who said that? Abe Lincoln? Barack Obama? Susan B. Anthony?

No, it was Kevin Costner, movie star.

I came across this quote while I was preparing to do a speech for Toastmasters and I like it. The meaning is rich and it speaks to the choice that we all have to see the glass half empty or the glass half full.

For example, Costner may be a multiple-Academy-Award-winning filmmaker but he’ll forever be remembered as the guy who made Waterworld. Does anyone remember that film as being anything other than a major bomb?

But how would the Man Who Dances with Wolves remember it? Kevin himself, if we are to believe that he truly walks his talk, would probably choose to define the moment rather than have it define him.

He might tell us that Waterworld made more than $242 million worldwide (and it “only” cost $175 million to make). He’d definitely tell us that it was nominated for multiple awards including an Oscar (okay, it was Best Sound but still…). By focusing on the positive, he would then be defining the moment rather than have it define him.

During the speech I gave I shared a few stories from my past that I consider to be defining moments. Not because they were particularly glorious but because the circumstances surrounding each of them could easily have defined me, if I had let them. Instead, in each scenario, I made a decision to turn the circumstances around. I chose to see the positive.

This kind of decision-making is being presented to all of us every day in myriad ways. It takes great courage to continue to define our moments rather than have them define us, to say “I did this” rather than “this happened to me.” Shifting our perception isn’t easy. We’re twisting the brain, so to speak. But by doing so we’re participating in our lives rather than passively going along for the ride.

Just like Kevin Costner, Hollywood success story.

Inspiring Message of the Day: How can I take a more active role in defining the big and small moments of my life? How can I see things in a more positive light? Today, rather than feeling like my moments are defining me, I will choose to define my moments by looking at the positive outcome rather than the negative.

A Clean Page

Dearest Readers,

The other day I heard someone use a great metaphor for the trap of negative thinking. Imagine a clean, white piece of paper. Imagine a black dot is then printed on the page. What do you stare at?

Sometimes I find myself staring at that black dot when all around me is purity and light. I just can’t take my focus off the blemish.

Recently I did a performance of a spoken-word piece for a public audience and I asked a friend to record it for me so I could either post it on the website or on YouTube. A couple of days later I showed it to some friends who had been unable to see the piece live.

After watching the clip I said, “Now that I hear it played back I realize that my delivery was too slow. When I’ve done it in the past it’s been much faster.”

One friend agreed. “It needs to move along,” he said. The other friend didn’t think so. “I liked it,” she said. “I need to hear the words so I can process what I’m listening to.”

Aside from the fact that this proves we performers can never please everyone, I became suddenly aware that I was again focusing on the black dot. I didn’t see what I had done, only what I hadn’t.

This was not a profound revelation. I’ve been working on this for some time. The good news is that even though I focused on the black dot I didn’t beat the living daylights out of myself for what I’d done “wrong”. I simply observed it and committed to doing it differently next time.

This is progress and progress is something to celebrate. It is vital to recognize these little victories in our lives as we move more and more into the White Space of self-forgiveness.

Inspiring Message of the Day: Am I too focused on the “black dots” in my life? Today I will shift my vision away from the blemishes and concentrate instead on Progress and Positivity.

Seeing Anew

Dearest Readers,

Don’t you love it when you’re given the opportunity to see something old in a whole new way? It’s as though a crack appears in the space around you and a pair of hands reaches through and pries open your surroundings. The next thing you know you’re standing in a new place where everything looks the same.

You’ve arrived in a new realm of understanding.

Last night I spent the evening with a woman who is currently struggling with some pretty heavy issues. She’d reached her breaking point and the dam had burst. She was crying and I was bearing witness to her grief. She told me this emotional pressure had been building for a while but she hadn’t really been aware of it.

Having experienced numerous situations such as this I said, “It’s good to have a mini-nervous-breakdown every so often.”

“No,” she said. “It’s not a breakdown. It’s a break through.”

This is where that crack appeared in the space around me and I was suddenly transformed. For years now I’ve been calling these times when I’ve had to lose it “mini-nervous-breakdowns.” And yet every single episode has brought me relief and some kind personal growth.

I’ve been giving myself the short shrift!

Admittedly, the “breakdown” moniker was somewhat facetious, a little joke to ease the seriousness of the situation, but it also framed the grief in a rather negative way. Why not see the glass half full?

The dictionary on this computer defines “breakthrough” in this way: “A significant and dramatic overcoming of a perceived obstacle, allowing the completion of a process.”

I love this! The obstacle is perceived, which means “to become aware of” and the process is allowed to be completed by the breakthrough itself. How great is that?

Having looked at something in one way for so long this new perception feels monumental. And yet it’s also kind of “duh”. Like, of course.

Amazing what one little word can do, isn’t it? From down to through. That’s a pretty good Direction to follow.

Inspiring Message of the Day: What emotional process am I currently negotiating these days? What obstacle is in my way? I will ask for the ability to perceive the obstacle so that I may experience a breakthrough, allowing for the completion of this particular stage in my Journey.

Real Belief

Dearest Readers,

In 1997 I began working on a play called cityzenjive about a rock ‘n’ roll couple whose marriage is breaking up because of addiction and grief. It’s a surreal play with sparse settings, cryptic dialogue and characters named Doggerel, Trade and The Bobber. I wrote it while I was wrestling with my own addiction and grief issues, which, at the time, necessitated answering a deeper call to explore the Spiritual Life.

At one point in the play, Earle, the addict-husband is having a conversation with Real, the father of his wife Doggerel. They get to talking about having faith and hope and Earle is basically saying he can’t since their two kids were murdered in a school massacre.

Here is an excerpt of their conversation:


Doggerel and I have been experimenting with the notion of turning the tragic into the triumphant. Imagine that everything that happens is ultimately for the good. Even the blackest and most sinister. I’m not a religious sort of fellow, Earle. But I like this idea that out of the horror is good forced. Therefore the occurrence.


Yeah, well all that keep-trying jazz don’t-ever-give-up it’s-worth-it-to-fight shite is just not my religion. It’s like, I’m telling you, if I ever got my legs cut off or something man and had to be in a wheelchair? I wouldn’t join the handicapped basketball team, you know what I’m sayin’? And there’s guys that would. But I’m glad as hell there is guys out there like that ‘cause it means I don’t have to be. And it’s fine to me, okay? I live with it perfect. Nothin’s missin’. I don’t feel the need to fight.


Did you once?


I’m livin’ selfish. That’s what you think.


I think you would find the strength to live in that wheelchair, son.

At one point yesterday when I was feeling particularly sorry for myself and focusing solely on how this burn has limited my lifestyle I remembered that conversation I’d written all those years ago. I see it now as a dialogue between the two sides of the person I was at that time. I so wanted to believe in the inherent Good of Higher Guidance and yet I was stuck in the despair of the Old BS (belief system: negative).

So there I was standing on the street overwhelmed by It All and letting the dark thoughts have their way with me. You know exactly what I did, Dearest Readers. Yuppers. I prayed. Help me. I’m f&#ked. And you also know what happened next. A miracle.

Out of the corner of my eye I saw a woman I know slip into a nearby shop. This woman just happens to be a Mystic. She just happens to be someone I used to visit with at the very beginning of my Healing Journey for strength and solidarity. Uh-huh. Yeah. I followed her into the shop.

Our encounter was intense, which was to be expected. This woman lives on a plane which is not entirely of this Earth. Meeting her gaze zapped me right back into Right Thinking sending the Old BS flying and giving me the strength I needed to to move forward.

To live in the proverbial wheelchair.

Inspiring Message of the Day: I will continue to shift my thinking from the negative to the positive. I will continue to look for and see the Good in everything that happens.