Daily I read from Jeff Foster’s The Way of Rest and am inspired by his poetic earnestness. It just so happened that today, Valentine’s Day, I read his “Out of the Ashes” and, as usual, was struck by the depth of his work. There are many layers to his writing if you are willing to open up to the deeper meanings. Even when I am not ready to open wide, his work is beautiful and moving but, oh, those times I am courageous enough to fling open the doors to my heart and soul and let the light stream into the dark places, Jeff’s insight caresses as gently as a mother’s kiss. Those places where fear and shame dangle like cobwebs in my being are laid open, sometimes still flailing, and I can hear God’s voice, full of compassion, reminding me of my true nature, my true being, and that I am made from Him. How could there possibly be anything wrong with me?
I am perfect in my imperfection.
What is not to love, then? What could there possibly be in this bit of God made human that is not delightful and lovable? Even my quick-to-judge ways, my moodiness, my tendency to interrupt, my rough feet that look more like a dog’s paw, my stretchmarks and crow’s feet and hail-damaged thighs, all these places where I want to be different than I am, I can look at with eyes of my soul and say, “Is that so?” And sometimes the compassion and patience that is bigger than me sifts down into this mortal and imperfect being and I take myself a little less seriously and a bit more joyfully and with gratitude for this very moment.
Sometimes I do love my Self so much that I laugh out loud with the joy of Being.
May you feel the deepest love and gratitude for yourself today, my friend. Start there, with complete love and acceptance for your own being, and see what happens.
Out of the Ashes
Do not despair if you are now feeling far from love. You are only seeking a reflection of your own heart. Love is burning even more brightly now, even if it feels like pain and longing, chaotic sensations in the belly, chest, throat.
If it is warmth you seek, if it is closeness you long for, begin by feeling the warmth of your own broken heart, reconnecting there at the very source of disconnection, finding presence in your own presence. Your loved one is near, for you are near.
When you feel like seeking outward for love, turn, come closer, get more intimate with yourself.
Even if you find yourself in ruins now, understand that even the ruined place contains seeds of grace and the fragrance of renewal. You cannot go back, life only marches on. Dignify its ever-onward movement. The power that was there at the big bang is still with you; you are undivided from the cosmos. There is power in your doubt.
Know that a new life can only grow from the earth upon which you stand. A new painting must begin with a canvas. Use the canvas that is given. Even old canvases can hold fresh paint.
If you dream of a new tomorrow, your dream appears now, held in your presence. Keep sight of the goal, yes! But never lose connection with the Origin, this moment, the lace from which goals are seen or not seen, held or released.
Being present is never in conflict with holding a vision of a more expansive future in your heart, for the holding can only happen in Presence. The present holds the future.
And then, out of the ashes of ground zero, that dark place associated only with death and destruction, a new kind of life may suddenly appear possible, and, with love and trust, begin to manifest.
Never give up on life, for it never gives up on you, even when you give up. And know that your heart is near, broken yet radiant. Allow it to be closed now, and it will open when it is ready, and not a moment before.