BEGIN AGAIN…

We are SEVEN Days into the New Year 2015. A friend of mine shared that it feels as if there isn’t any difference, just another day as life continues. For some of us, we may feel this to be true, too. But for those of us who’s been dealt with difficult circumstances and painful losses at the start of the year, we may wish this is true.

But for ALL of us, here’s what is true, as well: Whatever we may be going through, there is New Grace for each New Day.

The question is, what is Grace? That’s my question coming into this New Year. I’ve decided to make it a personal journey of discovering for myself what GRACE means in each and every day, in all that happens, in everything that is unfolding, and in all that I do—in the heart of Life. So far, I am learning that Grace is a huge part of being Whole and Wholeheartedness.

“To live by grace means to acknowledge my whole life story, the light side and the dark. In admitting my shadow side I learn who I am and what God’s grace means.” – Brennan Manning.

Whatever life stories you may have been living, experiencing and carrying forth from the past into the present, may Grace awaken you to a New Wholesome Story—your WHOLE-STORY—not just the light side or the dark, but the gentle and gradual integration and acceptance of both. It is a process. It is a daily thing. It is to be lived.

And one way to experience Grace, is to simply Begin Again. Being present in the Present.

I leave you with a beautiful and timely reminder I received on the 1st day of 2015: “Don’t let Tomorrow, rob you of Today. Don’t let what you want to do in the New Year, rob you of Today. Don’t let a poor ending to 2014 or years past, rob you of the Blessing. Begin Again,” Rinda – www.listeninginn.org Wishing you New Grace for the New Year 2015 and So Much Love, Mish — The Love Culture www.facebook.com/theloveculture www.theloveculture.wordpress.com

**** “Fear less, hope more; Eat less, chew more; Whine less, breathe more; Talk less, say more; Love more, and all good things will be yours.”- Swedish Proverb The Love Culture on FB: https://www.facebook.com/theloveculture

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“Come out of hiding… If we conceal our wounds out of fear and shame, our inner darkness can neither be illuminated nor become a light for others.” – Brennan Manning

“It is one thing to feel loved… when our life is together and all our support systems are in place. Then self-acceptance is relatively easy. We may even claim that we are coming to like ourselves. When we are strong, on top, in control, and as the Celts say, “in fine form,” a sense of security crystallizes.

But what happens when life falls through the cracks? What happens when we… fail, when our dreams shatter, when our investments crash, when we are regarded with suspicion?

What happens when we come face-to-face with the human condition?

Ask anyone who has gone through a separation or divorce. Are they together now? Is their sense of security intact? Do they have a strong sense of self-worth? Do they still feel like the beloved child?

“This [brokenness] is what what needs to be accepted.
Unfortunately, this is what we tend to reject.

Here the seeds of corrosive self-hatred take root. This painful vulnerability is the characteristic feature of our humanity that most needs to be embraced in order to restore our human condition to a healed state…” – Nicholas Harnan

…Yet as soon as we lose our nerve about ourselves, we take cover. Adam and Eve hid, and we all, in one way or another, have used them as role models. Why? Because we do not like what we see. It is uncomfortable–intolerable–to confront our true selves…

“And so… we either flee our own reality or manufacture a false self which is mostly admirable, mildly prepossessing, and superficially happy. We hide what we know or feel ourselves to be (which we assume to be unacceptable and unlovable) behind some kind of appearance which we hope will be more pleasing. We hide behind pretty faces which we put on for the benefit of our public. And in time we may even come to forget that we are hiding, and think that our assumed pretty face is what we really look like.” – Simon Tugwell

…come out of hiding. No amount of spiritual makeup can render us more presentable…

“Over the years I have come to realize that the greatest trap in our life is not success, popularity, or power, but self-rejection.

Success, popularity, and power can indeed present a great temptation, but their seductive quality often comes from the way they are part of the much larger temptation to self-rejection.

When we have come to believe in the voices that call us worthless and unlovable, then success, popularity, and power are easily perceived as attractive solutions.

The real trap, however, is self-rejection. As soon as someone accuses me or criticizes me, as soon as I am rejected, left alone, or abandoned,I find myself thinking, “Well, that proves once again that I am a nobody.”… [My dark side says,] I am no good… I deserve to be pushed aside, forgotten, rejected, and abandoned.

Self-rejection is the greatest enemy of the spiritual life because it contradicts the sacred voice that calls us the “Beloved.” Being the Beloved constitutes the core truth of our existence.” – Henri Nouwen.

…To feel safe is to stop living in my head and sink down into my heart and feel liked and accepted… not having to hide anymore and distract myself… no need to impress or dazzle others or draw attention to myself, a new way of being in the world… calm, unafraid, no anxiety and what’s going to happen next… loved and valued… just being together as an end in itself.

…If we conceal our wounds out of fear and shame, our inner darkness can neither be illuminated nor become a light for others. We cling to our bad feelings and beat ourselves with the past when what we should do is let go.” – Chapter 1, ‘Come Out Of Hiding’, Abba’s Child, by Brennan Manning. 

Love,

Mish.

****

“Fear less, hope more; Eat less, chew more; Whine less, breathe more; Talk less, say more; Love more, and all good things will be yours.”- Swedish Proverb

The Love Culture on FB: https://www.facebook.com/theloveculture

To Be Alive Is To Be Broken

“I want to be like you,” she said. I know what it’s like to be like me, so I said, “No.

Be yourself. If you get to know all of me, you might be disappointed.”

The ever so subtle inflection in her eyes, from bright admiration to the darkening clouds of questions and doubt were not lost on me.

But that’s the truth–both my response and her reaction. 🙂

“A third characteristic of the tilted-halo gang is honesty. We must know who we are…

Once we accept the gospel of grace and seek to shed defence mechanisms and subterfuges, honesty becomes both more difficult and more important.

Honesty involves the willingness to face the truth of who we are, regardless of how threatening or unpleasant our perceptions may be.

It means hanging in there with ourselves and with God, learning our mind tricks by experiencing how they defeat us, recognizing our avoidances, acknowledging our lapses, learning completely that we cannot handle it ourselves.

This steady self-confrontation requires strength and courage….

…Many of us do not want the truth about ourselves; we prefer to be reassured of our virtue.

To be alive is to be broken. And to be broken is to stand in the need of grace.” – Brennan Manning.

Just the other day, a girl said, I’m the one person she looks up to when it comes to confidence. Again, if she got to know all of me, she’ll see how sorely insecure I can be, with the same self-esteem and self-worth issues.

My blogs are positive, because for most of my life, I’ve been so negative. I know what it’s like to live with so much self-negating thoughts. I live and breathe positivity for the very fact that I also live and breathe negativity.

“When I get honest, I admit I am a bundle of paradoxes. I believe and I doubt, I hope and get discouraged, I love and I hate, I feel bad about feeling good, I feel guilty about not feeling guilty. I am trusting and suspicious.

I am honest and I still play games. Aristotle said I am a rational animal; I say I am an angel with an incredible capacity for beer.

To live by grace means to acknowledge my whole life story, the light side and the dark. In admitting my shadow side, I learn who I am and what God’s grace means.” – Brennan Manning.

The same girl who looks up to me for my confidence said, “I always love reading all your quotes and things you post, it always brighten up my day when everything is going bad! And you’re a life saver!”

Who would’ve thought?

That my own darkness could brighten up someone’s day?  That hearts are beating for what makes my heart bleed and ‘die’ and come alive?

This is the beautiful thing about honesty and opening up to share our life’s story. Along the way, you discover that your story is my story and my story is your story. That we’re not alone. And that together…

…we can make His-story (no matter how messed up we can be).

I guess this song’s been ringing in my head the past week for a reason:

Love,

Mish.

****

“Fear less, hope more; Eat less, chew more; Whine less, breathe more; Talk less, say more; Love more, and all good things will be yours.”- Swedish Proverb

The Love Culture on FB: https://www.facebook.com/theloveculture

Dead–Now I’m Alive. Lost–Now Am Found. Blind–When Will I See?

In all the sea of words, in all the swell of pages, in all the hours poured out–this is it.

This is my life’s story in 3’s.

1. Dead–Now I’m Alive.

2. Lost–Now Am Found.

3. Blind–When Will I See?

So my question is, where do I go from here?

After FOUR hundred AND ninety ONE drafts, I

am, once again, wandering… in… darkness.

A paper fell. A hurried scrawl: Ezekiel 34. “Read this,” she had said,

one evening, one December. Had I read it? Can’t remember. Then the

words seemed so familiar. I have been here months ago. But tonight,

it speaks to me, “I myself will search… for my sheep… and look

after them.” I am listening. “I will rescue… from all… the places

they were scattered… on a day… of clouds… and darkness.” 

Thank God.

“I will search… for the lost… and bring… back the strays.” He

responded, to me. “I don’t know how You’ll do it God, but I need

You NOW…”

And there… was… Silence.

I reached out, to the book, that was lying, on the far, end, of my bed, by my journals. For its cover, a ship, can be seen, in isolation, beneath, a brewing, storm. Its clouds, as black, as night. Its seas, as calm, as day.

the

furious

longing

of

God

– brennan manning.

“I’m Brennan. I’m an alcoholic.

How I got there, why I left there, why I went back, is the

     story of my life.

But it is not the whole story.

I’m Brennan. I’m a Catholic.

How I got there, why I left there, why I went back, is also the

    story of my life.

But it is not the whole story.

I’m Brennan. I was a priest, but am no longer a priest. I was a

      married man but am no longer a married man.

How I got to those places, why I left those places, is the story

    of my life too.

But it is not the whole story.

I’m Brennan. I’m a sinner, saved by grace.

That is the larger and more important story.

Only God, in His fury, knows the whole of it.” – intro, page 17-18

I laughed. My heart wept. The Lord, had answered, a silent plea, my desperate cry. I have struggled and am struggling, to share, my life’s story. But there in, is the whole point, and the whole point, is just this:

I’m a sinner, saved by grace. That is all. Through it all. LOVE is all. 

“The men… and women… who are truly… filled… with light… are those… who… have gazed… deeply… into… the darkness… of… their own… imperfect… existence.” – Brennan Manning

I know now, I must finish, the project We began.

In need of Love, in awe of You,

Mish.

****

“Fear less, hope more; Eat less, chew more; Whine less, breathe more; Talk less, say more; Love more, and all good things will be yours.”- Swedish Proverb

The Love Culture on FB: https://www.facebook.com/theloveculture