Like sound bites, they're brief and get my attention. It occurs to me this morning, as I lay in bed, that these are "flash bites." They grab me and shift me from smallness to expansion, all in the space of seconds!
For example, yesterday afternoon we are watching the movie, Henry Poole is Here. The central character struggles with a loss of faith. He depends solely on what he knows logically. He is challenged by neighbors whose faith and beliefs summon "miracles."
Near the end of the movie my flash bite comes. In my need to make the lives of my husband and two daughters "better," I am shown a different way of being. I am released from needing to control outcomes. I can let go. With my husband, my job is not to help him become more "spiritual" but to grow in my own faith. My job is not to fuss over my 26 yr old daughter in her present state of unsettledness, but to love her. She is much wiser than I was at that age, and will choose well. My job is not to obsess over my 23 yr. old daughter finding a job in Chicago when she moves there this summer (by the way . . . anyone need a talented graphic designer?). She's perfectly capable finding work, if past performance is any indicator.
As I read over the flash bite above, it sounds rational. But it did not come through that way. I felt lightened and free when I received this intuitive flash. I felt like a different part of me (yes, I'll call her the Divine One) was reassuring me that my job was done. I can relax. I can love. Translated . . . I can give up worry.
You cannot worry about someone and love them at the same time. Most people mistake the emotion of worry for the emotion of love. They think that worrying about somebody means that you love them.
In hindsight, I look back and see the pivotal flash bite that arrived last weekend, setting off this series of flash bites the past few days. It all starts with a visit to downtown Asheville, a 75 minute drive from our South Carolina home. We have made it a tradition on all of our trips to Asheville to make our last stop at Malaprops Bookstore. Street musicians play outside the doors. Stepping into the doors of this independent bookseller, I feel immediate pleasure. For book lovers like me it's an orgy of delight. Because it's not a chain store, even the coffee aromas smell more intoxicating. Walking on old floor boards that creak, I scan the colorful book displays and creative organization that draw me further in. I wander over to a shelf entitled "Banned Books" - all those books we are so familiar with that have been banned at one time or another, including Shakespeare's Twelfth Night. I feel myself losing sense of time. I acquaint myself with new authors, and check in with familiar ones.
Over and over again, I find myself drawn to another area with a book entitled Life is a Verb by Patti Digh. The subtitle - "37 Days to Wake Up , Be Mindful, and Live Intentionally." Why does the author's name sound so familiar? I soon realize that she is a blogger that I have read sometime in the past. Holding her book is a tactile pleasure in itself. The book feels so smooth and silky! Colors pop throughout the multitude of unique illustrations. As her blog proclaims, her book is not a self-help book, but a soul-help book. Without hesitation I buy the book.
After our friends head back to Ohio, I nestle my derriere on the couch to soak myself in this book for awhile. My flash bite shows up during a writing exercise. I become aware that I've put myself in a pissy funk by comparing myself to others who are better writers, better bloggers, know more than me, ad nauseum. I'm filled with a sense of mean smallness towards myself.
Simultaneously something else comes through - call it soul help. I feel a physical sense of warmth come from my heart. I feel my heart expand and open as I sense a loving, compassionate presence. I flip from holding myself with disdain to a sense of deep love and gratitude for being me. I do feel a regret for the wasted time, but make a contract with myself to do something loving or compassionate for myself each day.
The following morning, I decide to stop multi-tasking at breakfast. I don't check email while eating and watching Good Morning America before rushing off to Jazzercise. I give myself the gift of being present. The rest of the day unfolds without the typical sense of urgency and pressure that I inflict upon myself.
And so it goes . . . as I learn to be more present, flash bites find a receptive state as I move through my week. What I wish I had done, and will do from now on, is jot down my flash bites as they come through. I hope to capture as much of the essence of the message, and the feeling as possible. Later, when I fall back, I can turn to my written flash bite and "remember" again.
Forgive this rambling story. I tell it to myself to understand how the Universe supports me, tracing my steps back to Malaprops, and taking note of the numerous flash bites that have come through since then just this week. Take heart, Deb, you are never alone. And neither are you!
Photo Credits: Light in sky - Dimitar Tzankov; Malaprops Bookstore - Malaprops website