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Thursday, May 23, 2013

The Unloved

(I found this beautiful image at 101doves.com/?p=113)
     Yesterday, I was sitting with two of my best girlfriends killing time while our girls were in gymnastics class. (I say killing time, but really its precious time because with our busy lives it's often the only time during the week that we get to sit down together.) My friend's father-in-law passed away this week, and the typical family drama ensued. We were talking about this one particular person who creates drama and brings toxic energy that has caused division within the family. My friend Ally said this, "Those who are hurting hurt others." No truer words have ever been spoken.
     People hurt other people all the time. Sometimes intentionally, and sometimes unintentionally. More often the hurting is not intentional, but a result of the hurter being lost, confused or acting out of fear. As I wrote in a previous post The F-Word, (Forgiveness) we all have lessons to learn. If you look at a situation objectively (from God's perspective), each person in the situation has a lesson to learn. The end result may be down right tragic. And if either party doesn't learn his lesson, they will each be doomed to repeat the lessons again and again until they find their way. Now you're thinking, If someone else has a lesson to learn, and is causing harm to other people as a result, why do I have to allow him to hurt me so that he may learn his lesson?" Well, you don't. I didn't say you have to accept another person's hurtful behavior. You should not allow anyone to harm you. If someone you love, even if it's your own child, is hurting you, physically or mentally, you need to find your strength and remove yourself from the situation and avoid contact with that person. That may be your lesson. Forgiveness is not about giving someone permission to do anything, it's about accepting that we are all flawed and a works in progress. Forgiveness is really about moving on and letting go of the pain. That said, today, I am focused on the hurters of this world.
     We pray for victims all the time. When we hear tragic stories on the news or in our lives, we grieve, we weep, and we pray for victims of abuse. How often do you pray for the abuser? What? Why would I pray for that monster? I know, it seems outrageous to even think about. But think about this: Why is that person a monster? What happened to her that brought her so far from God, that she cannot see or sometimes even understand that she is causing pain? She is lost. She is confused. She is in a very dark place and has lost her connection to the light. That is precisely the reason she needs your prayers.
     If we are to reclaim this world in the name of love and light, we need to give our attention to the evildoers. Yes, they need justice. They need to receive consequences for their actions. That's a given. But they also need your prayers. Look at the person as a fire burning out of control. He is in pain and burning everything in his path. When you think about him, it is with hatred and anger. You wish something bad would happen to him. Your thoughts are not harmless. You are throwing more negative energy his way. This just increases the darkness. It's like throwing gasoline on the fire. Now he becomes darker and moves further and further away from God.
     What if you could throw water on the fire instead of gasoline? What if instead of saying, "I hope he burns in hell," you say, "I hope he finds his way back to God." What if you pray, "Help him to find healing?" What if you ask God to shower him in light and love hoping to penetrate the darkness? The only way to fight darkness is with light. Pure divine light of God's love. Again, this doesn't mean you are saying what he did is right or okay in anyway. It is saying, "God, this person has lost his way and is hurting other people. Please heal him and bring him back into the light so that the hurting of others can stop." 
     When we let ourselves become so angry and hurt that we wish evil on evildoers, we are serving evil. When we pray that all humanity be healed in God's love, no matter how evil a person is, we are serving God. We are doing His work. Think about that. Think of three people right now who have hurt you so much that you avoid them. Now imagine a giant bucket filled with God's light and love filled to the brim and overflowing. Now dump it on their heads. Do this every time you think of them. You don't have to go see them. You shouldn't. They are still going to be toxic. But maybe, if we pray for them enough, they will start to find their ways back to God. And, at the very least, we can know for sure that we are serving God in our thoughts and actions and no one else. It's a small way that we can fight the good fight against evil.

Sending you all love and light from the bottom of my heart. May you be healed and find peace in your hearts and souls today and always.
 >3!     

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Lessons From My Rosebush

     I have a thing for roses. Many of you know that I love daisies, and I do, but there's something about roses. Roses have a divinity about them. They are dicots which means they have flower parts in multiples of 5s. 5, 10 or 15 petals, 5, 10 or 15 stamen, 5, 10 or 15 pistols and so on. 5 is a sacred number. The pentacle, or 5 pointed star, represents the communion and balance of the forces of nature (earth, wind, water and fire) with the 5th element, the divine energy of the universe (God). The perfect pentacle has a perfect pentagram at its center. It exhibits divine geometry in the ratio of its parts. 5 is the number of change, journey and lessons learned in life. It can be associated with loss, conflict, growth, and perseverance. There is a reason why Catholics pray the Rosary to venerate Mary. 5 sets of 10 Hail Marys. It's called the ROSary and Mary often communicates her support through the changes in life with the appearance of roses. The reason I grow roses is to honor Mary, Queen of Heaven, who has supported me through all of the 5's in my life.
     This past Sunday was Mother's Day here in the US. I celebrated with brunch, went to church, spent time with my family (the uz), but there was some time in between to do whatever I wanted in the warm sunlight of a perfect day. I decided that I needed to prune my rosebushes. Nobody bothered me, it was bliss. (What most people don't realize is that is that the best gift on Mother's Day is not having to feel like a mother.) It was just me and the rosebush. I am not usually a pruner. I tend to let things just grow the way they grow, and let nature do its thing. But there were some dead branches and I figured, I should clean them up a bit so that they looked a little better. I put on some gloves, grabbed the pruning shears and got to work.       
     I started off haphazardly, just chopping away at anything that looked brown. The more I cut, the more I realized that this one particular bush was a mess. There were a lot of dead branches underneath. They were obstructing the growth of living branches causing them to get twisted and tangled. As I got deeper into the plant, my arms began to get scratched up. I could hear Brett Michaels crooning in my head, "Evvvvery rose has its thorn..." And I began to reflect on the rosebush and I started to notice the WAY it grows, and I felt like it was communicating a lesson to me.
     Rosebushes are perennials. Each year, they grow bigger, flower and fruit. Then they lose their leaves and go dormant for the winter and in the spring they begin to grow again. They grow bigger and spread their branches further out and roots deeper down every year. What I noticed was that wherever there was dead branch from last year's flowers, there was a place (at the node) nearby where new life was growing in a different direction. I realized that I needed to just trim off the dead part right up to where the new growth was branching off. Last year's dried up flower stems were useless to this year's new buds, and in some ways were taking up necessary space and resources preventing the new growth from meeting its full potential. The rosebush's past growth was inhibiting its future growth.  How true is this in our human lives.
     When we grow, we experience pain as well as beauty. Life gives us lessons each day to shape us and teach us. When we learn those lessons, we blossom. Then, we branch off in new directions and leave the old behind. The problem is, we don't always prune. We hold on to our dead branches. They no longer serve us, but we keep them there. Those dead branches bear no fruit, but they are still covered in thorns. They obstruct our growth, and unless we cut them out and release the thorns of our past, we will never grow to our fullest potential. What are you holding onto? Scars from mistakes in your past?  Anger? Sadness? Shame? Guilt? Did you learn your lesson, but still hold on to the thorns? Are those thorns causing you to repeat the same mistakes obstructing your growth? Did you so love something in your past, that you hold onto the dead branches so tightly that you cannot branch off into new directions? Are you stuck? Are you tangled up?
     This is what I learned from the rosebush:
You cannot grow to your highest potential if you hold on to the pain, loss, regret, guilt and unforgiveness left over from the lessons, the 5's, of your past. You need to release the old so that new life can manifest. It doesn't mean your new lessons will be easy. I guarantee you, they will not. New growth is full of thorns as well, but you cannot be productive unless you let go of the things that were and begin focusing on the things that are, and the beautiful blossoms that can be. 
     Take some time to be alone with yourself. Quiet your mind. Thank God for all of the lessons in your life, past present and future. Thank Him for helping you to prune the rosebush of your life.
Thank You, God for allowing me to release the pain, fear, guilt and unforgiveness of my past so that I can branch out and grow to the full potential that You have intended for me. 

As always, I wish you love and happiness. Know that you are loved infinitely for all of your imperfections and weaknesses as well as for your triumphs and talents.  May you grow and blossom this spring without the thorns of your past holding you back.

>3!