Stepping Out, by ~Teshah on DeviantArt

Why is it so hard to let go of the insecurities we wrap ourselves in and step up to Life?

I can only speak for myself, of course, but it must be a somewhat common weakness among we humans to untangle ourselves from the comfort zone of familiar defenses and trust that there will be something solid underneath our soul’s feet when we do. There are literally tomes written throughout our recorded history and across a variety of cultures – from religious teachings…to fundamentals taught in preschool… to lifetimes of research in psychology – all consistently telling me that the struggle is universal.  In the hearts and souls of men and women. Or at least those who own up to it being a struggle.

Now, I realize that everything I’m saying is just my opinion. That’s alright. This is my place to throw it out there and just by the sheer act of doing so, things change. In this little life’s heart and soul anyway. 😉

I think there is always room for growth. I say it here often enough, don’t I?

I am constantly given opportunities, in ways obvious and subtle. What I do with those opportunities (note: usually the mistakes I make and hopefully learn from!),  now THOSE are the touchstones that propel me forward.

I claim that I look for these opportunities, pray for them even! And when Grace grants me these situations, what do I do? *Ahem* I move gracefully through stumble over myself and react instead of respond, using the same old unconscious, self-protective, puny finite child-like measures instead of trusting an Infinite way towards growth.  And when I keep doing what I’ve always done, I’ll keep getting what I’ve always got. ::Sigh:: I-n-s-a-n-i-t-y! With chagrin, I try to use hindsight in an effort to learn a better way.

One of the promises I have heard literally thousands of times is that,

“we will intuitively know how to handle situations that used to baffle us. We suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.”

This promise has shown itself to be true in a myriad of different ways and places in my life. When I keep practicing stepping out and up, of letting go of expectations and all it’s micro-managing, and invite the Divine to orchestrate the outcomes, over time it BECOMES almost intuitive.

I sincerely believe that I can (to borrow from Gandhi) be the Love I want to see in the world. So in situations and interactions where I feel overwhelmed or unclear, instead of falling back into an automatic reactionary stance, I have to consciously seek a Higher ground. Those reactions, while having served a vital purpose during a time in my life, have become a stumbling blocks on the road to being that evidence of Love in the world.

Drawing from the collective experiences of others, I can strive for better:

  • Looking at my motives: what is it I’m expecting?
  • Prefacing each moment with: what good will come of it?
  • Tapping into the moments of clarity experienced by people who inspire me:
    • May I become at all times, both now and forever
      a protector for those without protection
      a guide for those who have lost their way
      a ship for those with oceans to cross
      a bridge for those with rivers to cross
      a sanctuary for those in danger
      a lamp for those without light
      a place of refuge for those who lack shelter
      and a servant to all in need.
      ” (Buddhist Prayer of Peace)
      Begin to see yourself as connected to every person you encounter (Dr. Wayne Dyer)


    What if Love were always moving through me? (Don Miguel Ruiz)

      In the words of St. Francis of Assisi (my patron saint,no less), aka:

      What Would Francis Do?

      Lord, make me an instrument of your peace,
      Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
      where there is injury, pardon;
      where there is doubt, faith;
      where there is despair, hope;
      where there is darkness, light;
      where there is sadness, joy;

      O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
      to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love. For it is in giving that we receive;
      it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
      and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

      It seems to me that maybe … just maybe… to foster intuitive strength, I need to be more consciously aware of where I hesitate to move forward with these principles in mind. Huh. Recognize and acknowledge that fear of stepping out of my comfortable place onto unknown ground and then ask for Divine guidance. Ask myself “WWFD“, praying for the strength to then DO it. And to continue to do it with the peace in knowing that I am where I’m meant to be.

      Maybe if I tatooed WWFD? onto my wrist to remind me until it becomes in line with intuition? Maybe it can eventually evolve into my own automatic response. Stranger things have happened!

      What about you? What are some tools you have that help you keep in line with Grace?




      “…growing up in front of you…

      She is turning into herself in these little ways.  She is like stepping into the garden every day, when you know something is new, different from the day before.  That’s how children are, growing up in front of you the way they do.  Sometimes its a barely noticeable thing, like a stem that’s slightly taller.  Sometimes it’s a blossom that’s burst forth, obvious as a Vegas showgirl. WOW, you think. I’d better not miss a day. I’d better be here.

      (Elizabeth Berg ~ Range of Motion)

      In the blink of an eye..



      Light the Sky


      All this time
      The Sun never says to the Earth,

      You owe me.

      What happens
      With a love like that,
      It lights the whole sky.”


      Handle with Care

      They say there are no accidents, those that throw such weight behind limited wisdom. Maybe so, maybe not. But today, sitting in a bookstore whiling away the time, I ran across this post I had saved in draft mode a while ago. As fate would have it, it is exactly what I needed to hear.
      Today. Funny how that can work. 😉

      Thank You.



      The life we forget to live is our own.

      The craft most urgently needed is to attend life’s unfolding with the same care as one has for the borrowed lamp on the living room table.

      It is priceless and must be returned in a while.

      It is a beauty (born the same day love was conceived) that stops the eye,

      even as nicks of time appear–

      a devil wind spilling it,

      overzealous polishing,

      a child’s ball.

      That craft finds a way to love what comes, with joy or sorrow.

      Never forced or contrived, it remains in a fluid state.

      Never consumed, it is deprived of nothing, but rather increased, by its object.

      It remains forever in the background, a penumbral glow to the dawn and dusk of experience.

      This craft, of love, of urgency, is that of real desire.

      Desire lives in the absence of its fulfillment and grows fuller.

      Since what it seeks can never be won, desire moves restlessly about,

      “a mighty hunter, and a master of device and artifice” (Plato, Symposium).

      Most energetic in a still moment of existence, its ceaseless pursuit of that which lives beyond–Life–nourishes the world.

      Its transit of the space of its longing opens a heart to what there is.

      A faintest glimpse of its object intensifies yearning, loosening bonds of petty thoughts and vain appetites.

      What is this craft, and how does a householder practice it?

      He carefully wipes dust from the window each morning to let the sun in. Shining through, the sun illuminates the care with which the home is kept.

      — David Appelbaum Everyday Spirits

      Door to Door Soul Salesmen

      **Reposting from July 2008**

      RANT alert!

      True story.

      The phone rings and I check caller ID. Hmmm… I don’t KNOW the person listed, but it IS a local number.


      “Is this Miz Fencepostings?”


      “Hi. This is SomeRandomName and I’m a Jehova’s Witness and recently while in your neighborhood we stopped by your house, but you weren’t home – so we’re calling you instead. May we talk to you about some scriptures important to the salvation of your soul?”


      What makes them think that they hold the answer to my soul’s longevity? If I’d not ever been Soul Solicited by them through the years, I would have answered the door to begin with. I’ve listened before, when caught unaware doing some gardening in my front yard on a weekend. To be polite. Maybe I would learn something, who knew?

      I’m not opposed to soul saving. Really. I just don’t want someone coming to my home and trying to convince me of their point of view…especially when they feel as though everyone else requires “saving” and they are just the ones to lead the way.

      And how did they get my phone #? Isn’t that just a little presumptuous? I mean, I have to give them kudos for their tenacity, but really? Seriously? Could it be that the fact that there were cars in the driveway and obvious signs and sounds of occupancy present when they knocked (not once, but three times! Yes, I saw them through the window coming down the road), yet nobody answered the door -could it be a sign? Is a literal sign on the door saying “No Solicitations” really going to be necessary?

      If I were a different person, or if I gave in to my baser nature, I could EASILY imagine a scenario where I call the number that called me and say something along the lines of

      “Hi! My name is FillInTheBlank and I’m with the Southern Branch of the Souls Without Borders(sort of catchy, no?).

      I’d like to talk to you about privacy and respect of people’s personal beliefs. How about if me and several of my fellows come by your house, oh, say right around dinnertime? Maybe on a beautiful Saturday while you’re trying to catch up on yard work or spending some time with your family? We’d like to enlighten you as to the error of your ways of believing – SAVE you from your current state of spiritual ignorance.”


      I get the idea. I really do acknowledge all the people who so loudly have an opinion about this subject which they’ve seemingly done so little to try to understand. An “open mind” doesn’t come from one source you draw all your knowledge from. An open mind comes with realizing that the universe is full of countless ineffable things that defy our limited understanding, as everyday people.

      And an open mind implies a somewhat open heart. Maybe outside of the boxed and neatly tied package? How can so many just walk around, spouting that they know the truth about all of it?

      I do sincerely believe that the Bible is full of eternally relevant thoughts, beautiful teachings, and spiritually valuable lessons. So is the Torah. Metaphorically, it allows for a vast range of interpretations, like many other similar religious and faith-based tomes. Yet so many have used it to divide, to ridicule or criticize, to justify a reason for their way of life, without considering the possibility of an alternative being just as right, sometime even to the point of war. My understanding is that is not what that book, or any of the books, were meant for. I’m not arguing the things many people say are aimed to “save” their fellow people. Really. But is it possible that it may be more helpful to listen than to speak over? Or to live by example according to the principles laid out and be a LIVING example of your beliefs?

      To be humble is to know that you know nothing. To realize that even though your beliefs say you are somehow superior to the person beside you, you are the same, made of flesh and bone. And you can keep your faith without espousing it to the people you have not begun to try to know. The Truth, however well you think you may know it, is too far beyond you to fall from your lips. It’s too simple and infinite for we mere mortals.


      Keep it simple.

      Listen rather than convince.

      Respect rather than besiege.

      Live and let live.

      Accept people as they are, knowing you can’t know everything.

      Be open to possibilities.

      And finally,

      Treat them as you wish to be treated.



      Moving Through Molasses

      Update (January 19, 2012):

      Since the time that I posted this back in August 2010, and the subsequent REpost of it recently, a few changes have occurred:

      • He is now a senior with less than 4 months until graduation
      • He was evaluated and approved for a specified number of “social skills training”  hours via a professional consultant with AASCG through Voc Rehab.

      We were so excited about the prospect of help! While we know its not a “fix” for all the issues he has, it was at least a step in the right direction!

      I’ve been working with them to set up a solid schedule for him to begin since November of last year, but I got a phone call this morning from his ADRS case manager that she had made a mistake and that he “wouldn’t be eligible until after graduation” for the approved hours.


      I don’t know whether to laugh at the absurdity of that proclamation, or cry because of it! I’m thinking maybe both.

      By the time he graduates, all the opportunities for social skills work in a structured, social peer-driven environment will be lost to him forever. College cannot afford him such a fertile ground for laying the groundwork to better relating with the rest of the world. In high school, he can emulate what he sees happening around him. He can try, with some guidance, to learn HOW to carry on a conversation with kids his own age. He can attempt to develop and maintain relationships both inside and outside of the classroom with the same kids he sees every day. He may even be able to find a date for Prom!

      If he had some guidance and instructions from a professional qualified to teach him how, he could be practicing on a daily basis the art of building new relationships, giving voice to his uncertainties and asking for help, learning what is appropriate and inappropriate in casual conversation and how to recognize when he has stepped on the toes of his friends. He possibly could find some relief from the anxiety he experiences every single day from knowing that he’s “not getting it” – that all of these people he’s grown up with since grade school are dating, getting  jobs, hanging out, and having fun together as they prepare to scatter in all different directions – and he gets so frustrated trying to figure out how to do what he sees everyone else doing with ease. How do they get the job after school or how do you ask the girl if she wants to go out this weekend or how to become part of the conversation about upcoming plans, graduation, or college?

      To know that for a brief few weeks there was the possibility of some training, only to have it yanked out from under him this morning, disappoints me immensely. I am so not looking forward to this afternoon after school! When he comes in and pours out all the frustrations and anxieties of the day, like he does every school day, I get to be the one who breaks it to him that the training he was counting on as part of the solution is no longer going to be happening. “One more thing wrong”, is what he’s going to say.

      ::SIGH:: …

      (**REPOSTED from AUG 20,2010**)

      I don’t know why there are some things that prove to be so difficult when others just fly on past, but moving through molasses is what seems to be the case when it comes to such things as getting a scheduling mistake worked out for my son at school. Or finding him a mentoring program. Or asking for help in any way with his social understanding deficit.Slogging through. An uphill battle. Exhausting.

      The schools do a good job with his academics. Don’t get me wrong.  They make small adjustments in the classroom to increase his chances of success – sitting closer to the teacher, allowing him to type any handwritten work, sending a copy of assignments via email.  Little things that add up to honor roll and advanced placement class success. And we really do appreciate it!

      But academia was never really his main problem.

      It is staying engaged in his day. It’s knowing how to ask for assistance in class. Its about not understanding subjective thoughts that are grey instead of black and white. Its not being able to empathize.

      Its about not having anyone to sit with at lunch. Or to talk to in between classes. Or having a clue as to how to carry on conversations.Its about not understanding innuendo. Or not recognizing sarcasm. Or not knowing when the laughter is at his expense, but feeling the burn of ridicule. Its not being able to read facial expressions or body language or voice inflection as part of communication. Its recognizing not being a “part of” and feeling “apart from”, but not knowing how to make it different and being utterly frustrated and defeated by it.

      Its about believing other kids when they tell him they’re his friend and doing what they tell him to, without understanding its not a good thing to do – until it hurts him. Its about bullying. Its about how to act in social situations – like football games and pep rallys and concerts – how to act like all these other kids his age who must have been given the instruction manual, because they all seem to know how to act.

      That’s a pretty significant gap that I, as a parent, can only do so much about. I can’t go with him throughout his day. And realistically the best time to work on these things is now, while he’s still in school. Because once he leaves high school in another 2 years, the opportunities for social development drop off alarmingly. College is much less structured, relying instead on the kid to initiate social interactions. But what if he doesn’t really KNOW how to initiate? What happens to him then?

      So I’ve been searching for some sort of program – one that can pair him up with a mentor or peer buddy. To help him navigate some of these unfamiliar places while he still has an entire population of kids who have structured activities to attend and socialize in. This article echos much of what I’ve been looking at and trying to find a solution for.

      And it makes me wonder.

      We live in an area lovingly dubbed “Dilbertville” for all of the engineer, rocket scientists, physicists, and other geeky types of that ilk who are concentrated here. And many of them have children who fall in the high functioning autistic/Asperger’s Disorder spectrum. The schools are inundated with a variety of these kids, but the one common thread among them is lack of social skills. So wouldn’t it make sense for the area schools to recognize that to fully educate these kids, the social aspect of their lives needs to addressed? Particularly in the school setting, where so much of their waking hours are spent? Imagine if, in all those situations there was a kid with him who could suggest what to say, how to approach a group, what not to do and how not to act…one to sit with him at lunch and go to the fall football games and winter basketball games… to hang out with him after school and include him in the activities that kids their age do on weekends. Probably a pipe-dream, but it happens in other cities and other schools all the time. Why not here?

      I’m just saying.



      What’s my legacy?

      *This is a re-post from 3/08*


      I was driving down the road today and passed a clump of bright daffodils. It wasn’t really that they were extraordinarily bright;

      its just that they were in stark contrast to the overgrown weeds and trees that still wore their winter browns.

      And the sight made me feel…well, melancholy.




      characterized by or causing or expressing sadness; “growing more melancholy every hour”


      grave or even gloomy in character; “solemn and mournful music”; “a suit of somber black”; “a somber mood” [syn: somber]


      1. a feeling of thoughtful sadness

      I know, I know… flowers usually brighten up my day, but these were all that remained of what was once someone’s homestead – their home. The house was long since gone, the trees and underbrush stretching themselves into the void.

      But the flowers kept growing where somebody once intentionally planted them, multiplying each year. They were unaware that the hands that dug them a bed and placed them there by the road no longer lived in the world around them.

      I doubt they would have cared, if they had the capacity to. They were just doing what flowers were intended to do.

      I really do have a reason for all this introspection. I’ve been going through boxes. Boxes of memories. Of pictures of a young girl, dressed in her best Easter dress with a basket of eggs, squinting into the sun … of notes scrawled in childish writing professing things important to them in that space in time…of ribbons won on long, hot afternoon swim meets decades ago … of dolls given by family no longer living, that sat on bedroom shelves, reminding me of the smell of my grandmother’s house at Christmas … of love letters written 20 some odd years ago by the man I still wake up and go to sleep with each day. I think you get the picture. Sitting there amongst WAY too many boxes, I think of the person who planted those flowers, however long ago it was, and wonder,

      “What will be MY legacy?”

      It surely doesn’t lie in a box. Comforting and nostalgic as all these things may be to me, in 50 years will they still matter? More pertinently, if I died today, the task of going through all of these would fall to someone else. Would they find value in things tied to the past? Probably not in the same way I do, probably not at all. All of my things will pass away with time, just like my grandparents and great-grandparents before me. I can’t imagine what I would do with memorabilia from my parent’s high school years…why would I expect anything different for my children? If these things are SO important that I’ve kept them all this time, then why are they in a box that hasn’t been opened in years?

      At least the flowers lived.

      So I try to look at it from a different point of view. As I judicially choose what I just can’t part with (today) – and I’m not exaggerating about being judicious – I try and think of what my family would find in these boxes. If I can’t find permanence or a piece of personal history, I chuck it. I certainly can’t take it with me! I look for opportunities to plant the the same type of memories that these THINGS represent to me instead. Moments of laughter, tears, music, and love that will live on in the souls of those that I love when time has warped the papers, faded the pictures, and age has rendered fragile the things that were witness to them.

      I think I will plant myself some flowers by the road ~ daylilies, peonies, freesias, and irises – all in a clump together.

      And of course, some daffodils.