The Garden Hose

We see it as something that just lies on the ground dispensing water to vegetation, humans or animals that are thirsty.  It doesn’t get to choose where it lies…Garden Hose. Sometimes it is stretched through thickets of sharp thorns or burrs, sometimes over jazzed, hard rocks, sometimes over soft, velvety grass.  It lies willingly where it is placed.  Never does it struggle to move to softer ground.  It lies baking in the hot sun, its relief coming when cool water flows through it.  In the deep cold of winter it lies frozen and stiff awaiting the relief that comes when warmer water from the source flows through it once again.

  • Oh my Beloved Lord!  Make me as the garden hose!
  • Give me the strength to surrender to where I am placed be it on the soft grass or the painful terrain.
  • Give me the willingness to remain there without struggle until I am moved by You.
  • Give me the courage to bake completely in the fires of Your purification.
  • Give me the patience to endure the cold, dark illusion during those times I feel forsaken by you.
  • Give me a loud voice to proclaim Your praise when I feel the warmth of Your Presence and Love flowing through my being.
  • Give me a loud voice to proclaim that You were there all the time and that, in truth, I was not nor have I ever been forsaken by you.

Oh Lord, Allow me to be Your garden hose. 


Allow me to surrender to where You place me so that I may dispense Your Love to Your thirsty creation.

Reaching for Salt

Often times it is not the big things that will bring you to your knees in a sobbing, blubbering heap…. It is the little things that folSaltlow as a result of those big things.  I was stupid.  I did not evacuate my home when the firemen told me to leave.  The Bastrop fire was in front of me.  The winds were blowing the fire AWAY from me.  “I” decided, (it is always those “I” things that get us in so much trouble), that it would be better for me to stay and pray… pray for the safety of the firemen, the animals, my neighbors.  Unbeknownst to me, there was a raging fire barreling down on me from behind. 

It is only by the Grace of God that I made it out alive with my two furry, four legged children driving over burning asphalt through a corridor of black smoke.  The way was marked only by the orange glows on either side as the flames illuminated the dense smoke.


My home, the Sufi Center and all I owned now lies in a pile of ash and yet I am one of the fortunate ones.  Thanks to wonderful insurance coverage, I will be able to rebuild my life, my home and the Sufi Center.  Many are not so lucky.
The shock is now wearing off.  Sounds of sirens or strong breezes are enough to create the stirrings of panic deep within my belly.  A passing dark cloud is too reminiscent of the smoke.  The orange glow of dawn reminds me of the flames illuminating the night sky.  Eating dinner, I reach for the salt, but it is no longer there.  It isn’t just the salt that is no longer there, it is 100’s of other little things that are so imbedded in our daily lives that we don’t even think about them much less realize they are missing until you reach for them.  I stand in the middle of the store not knowing where to even start.


All this said, I am fine.  I am sustained by my Lord.  I see His deep blessings in the movement of His Essence as well as His Loving, Merciful Hand behind all that is unfolding.  Many people ask what they can do to help.  These suggestions hold true not only for those affected by this tragedy but for all those struggling not only in our country but throughout the world.  It matters not if it is a wide spread crisis or a crisis that is individual and purely personal.

  • Have compassion and patience.
  • Realize that the big things are usually being dealt with in some way.  It is the little things that incapacitate us and bring us to our knees.
  • Be of service to others in simple ways like making some necessary phone calls for us.  It can make the difference between whether we continue to function or go into a complete overload and breakdown.
  • Just sit with us for a little while and hold our hand.  There are no words that need to be said.  The touch of your hand is enough.
  • Love us… just love us.

We know that all is in God’s Hands.  We know that everything will be perfectly fine in the long term.  We trust in the end result because we know and understand the deep reality that there is only Love.  For now, we just need someone to pass us the salt.

Puzzle Pieces

There are times when I feel like my life is a jumble of fragmented pieces.  Reflecting back on those 1,000 piece puzzles I used to “play” with and the frustration of not knowing even where to begin gave me some huge insights to life in general.puzzles, uncertainty, life, decisions


The edges of my puzzle are already in place.  I am female, a mother, a grandmother, a homeowner, a “mommy” to two miniature Schnauzers, a guardian to a wide variety of wildlife, a spiritual teacher, a life coach, etc.  Not only are the edges of my puzzle in place, all of your puzzle edges are already in place too.  Usually these edges aren’t the issue because they are things that are not easily changed.


The real issue is all of the other puzzle pieces that are dumped in a pile.  We put these pieces together to get a particular “picture” only to find that for some reason we just don’t like it or it just doesn’t work the way we expected it to.  It isn’t what we thought it would and it doesn’t give us the peace and happiness expected.  We step back looking at the picture wondering where and how we got the pieces all mixed up.  Stepping back into the puzzle of our lives, we furiously begin changing things around, moving the pieces to other locations, throwing out some pieces while gathering others.  Our entire lives actually revolve around constructing, de-constructing, and re-constructing the puzzle pieces of our lives.


Sometimes we get ideas from others on where we’ve messed things up.  Those are the “oughts” and “shoulds” we encounter from various people.   Sometimes these suggestions are worthwhile and helpful but more often than not, they only bring us greater frustration and grief.  There are times when we even try to make our puzzle pieces look like other people’s puzzle pieces hoping for greater happiness.  We have nose jobs, tummy tucks, face lifts, we copy how someone laughs, walks and talks.  All of these antics actually do nothing to help us construct our lives in a way that brings joy, peace and love. 


The solution: 

  • See life as a game
  • Resolve to have FUN constructing, de-constructing and re-constructing your puzzle
  • Embrace ALL of your puzzle pieces
  • Become comfortable with the fact that the picture of our lives is ALWAYS changing
  • Release the frustration and embrace the challenge life offers us
  • Know that you can always make changes and create an entirely new picture at any moment
  • Know, in truth, that Love is unfolding
  • Realize that nothing is truly appreciated unless it is something you put effort into
  • Create your picture with intention each and every moment
  • Let that intention be guided by Love, Peace, Joy and Harmony.

Where's God?

We look, yearn, pray and cry out for our Lord.  We watch events unfold around the world and wonder, “Where is God?”  Sidi al-Jamal answered this question in the most beautiful way whgoden he recounts the story of Moses.  Sidi writes:

“When Moses, may peace and blessings be upon him, asked to see God, he was told,, “You will not see Me, for I am not outside the world, and not inside it, not a part of it and also not separated from it, for I am every one of you, but you are not aware of Me.  If My nearness to you were made proof to you, you would become distracted.  So, look inside yourself and return to your senses.  Look at the place where you are standing, which is the mountain.”    When God revealed Himself to the mountain and removed the veil of  Moses’ true existence, the mountain and every other place became as rubble before his eyes.  Moses fell down unconscious.”


May we not become unconscious as the mountains of our existence crumble, but Lord please, PLEASE allow this existence to crumble so that I may live in the consciousness of You.  May we remain awake to the Divinity that is flowing throughout all of creation, flowing throughout all of our brothers and sisters, all the animals, plants and minerals.  Recognizing the flow of Divinity throughout all of creation, may we treat each other, the animals and all of creation with love and respect. May our hearts be at peace as we rest in the arms of our Lord. 

May we love,

May we love,

May we only love!


The Bird

birdOnce upon a time there was a teacher who loved one of his students more than all the others, which spread envy amongst the others.  The teacher wanted to show them why he loved that particular student more, so he called them all and said, “Each of you shall go and catch a bird, and kill that bird in a place where no one can see him.” 

Every student went out, caught a bird, killed it and came back.  Yet that one student came back with a live bird.  The teacher asked him, “Why didn’t you kill him just as I had ordered you?”  The student replied, “Wherever I tried to kill the bird and looked for a place where no one could see me, this sentence came into my heart:  ‘God can see you.” 

On hearing those words, the students saw why the teacher loved this student above all.

Oh Lord, please make me as the student who always remembers Your Presence in my life at every moment and may my actions and words always bring peace, love, joy, mercy and light to all Your creation.


(story of the student was reprinted from Fawzia ar-Rawi’s manuscript The 99 Divine Names)

Toy Soldier

Once upon a time there was toy soldier, love, wholeness, repaira dashing toy soldier.  He remembers a time long ago, before he was taken out of his display box, when this shiny wind-up key could be turned and off he would march.  As he marched, pride and joy were displayed in his swinging arms and kicking legs.  But... that was long ago.  Now the once shiny key is broken off somewhere in his back and so he sits in a room full of other broken toys.  He searches high and low engaging with one toy and then another, always looking for that perfect other toy that can make him feel whole and complete once again.  There is a vague memory of his perfection which spurs him onward in his search.  Each time, with each different encounter, he becomes exuberant with what can be, what he is sure, will be.  Alas… it always ends the same; always deep hurt and disappointment that his dreams of becoming whole, feeling whole, could not be realized.  Sometimes, in his desperation, he even pretends to be something he is not.  He thinks that if he were a fireman or a policeman instead of a soldier, this new attempt at wholeness with yet another toy would end differently.  Even pretending to be something he isn’t doesn’t help. 


One day, his eyes desperately searching the room, he made a startling realization…. ALL of the toys in the room are broken!  His eyes widened with this new found discovery as he questioned, “How am I ever going to be complete through other toys that are just as broken as I am?”  He also made another startling discovery.  He realized that he was not discarded after all.  There was a tag of some sort hanging from his foot! Pondering this prior unnoticed tag, he suddenly felt something picking him up, lifting him high above his shelf.  He was being carried gently yet lovingly to a bench where some tinkering was going on.  He heard a loud “clink” as the broken piece of key fell from deep within his back and onto the floor.  There was a familiar shape being inserted in his back and a turning began.  He could feel this cranking stirring wonderful memories as his limbs suddenly began to move.  He was whole.  He was marching once again.  He was complete.  He was loved.


How many of us are guilty of searching for our wholeness and completion in a world full of others searching for the same thing?  We desperately do everything we can, pretending to be one thing and then another in an attempt to achieve wholeness through someone just as broken as we are.  How many of us realize all the ways we repeat the toy soldier’s search for someone or something to make us feel "all better", happy, and complete?

Whether we realize it or not, we each have a tag on our toe.  We each can be returned to wholeness, joy, and completion through the One Source that can "make it all better".  We each have the opportunity to turn to the One who can truly fix us, to turn to the One who can return us to feeling whole and complete.  Our Lord is waiting to pick us up, waiting to lift us high above the shelves of our every day existence, waiting to return us to the Love that is patiently waiting for us to turn and lift our arms. 


Monolith

Monolith, alone, abandoned

It is the grief of longing and the pain of not having anyone that can truly be depended on.  I am the town square ablaze with activity, buzzing with all of the comings and goings; ultimately picked clean like the carcass of some dead animal stripped bare by feeding vultures.  The moment a need arises within me, I become, in the twinkling of an eye, the single standing monolith, battered and carved by wind and the past raging rivers long gone from millions of years past.  Barren, no human life forms in sight.

So I weep.  I weep from loneliness.  I weep from despair.  I weep from the deep need for love.

But I, the monolith am earth.  Earth, the prime feminine element.  Earth, the representative of all that is life, of birth, of that which gives life, and of that which receives life back when it’s time in this realm is complete.  I, the monolith, embody all things possible, all things visible, and all things waiting to become visible.

As my tears fall, the awaiting earth eagerly gobbles each one, ferreting away each drop of moisture to some unknown place.  With great delight and absolute glee, the Divine, like some master chef, is mixing, stirring, shaping this muddy mixture of earth and tears. 

I know not what is being created from this concoction of earth and tears.  I feel the stirrings deep within my being.  Something is shifting.  Something is changing. 

And so....  the transformation begins!

The Bigger Picture

garden, faith, bigger picture

If you looked at a speck of dirt under a microscope, it would look pretty scary. If you switched and began looking through a magnifying glass instead of the microscope, the view would be less frightening but it would still probably be a bit unsettling. As you move to a position of looking at it with just your eyes, then sitting up, next standing, then progressing rung by rung up a ladder, you would begin to lose sight of that particular speck of dirt and it would just become part of the whole landscape. You may even notice that the, under the microscope scary speck of dirt, is really a contributing part of a beautiful, lush, fragrant garden.

Our lives are exactly like this. We tend to take one thing, person, situation, conversation, relationship… anything… And see it’s totality as we examine it, feel and react to it like the speck of dirt under the microscope. We are so caught up in a microscopic view that we can’t even begin to see a bigger picture much less even consider what another perspective might be.

When people talk about having “faith”, they TALK about believing that their scary speck of dirt is part of a bigger picture, they TALK about knowing there is something more, TALK about the beautiful, lush garden but all the while, their emotions and thoughts are not living from the top of the ladder. Their emotions, thoughts and reactions are caught up in that microscopic view.

Faith that the speck of dirt is part of a beautiful garden has a large aspect that exists in unseen realms. Take wind for example. We can’t actually see the wind, we can only see the effects of the wind. Since we have a word for wind, we can talk about how hard it blows, what direction it is coming from, the effect it is having on other things, etc. But what if we didn’t have a word for wind? We would see the leaves of the trees moving around and probably think that their movement was an aspect inherent in the trees themselves as opposed to something outside, another force interacting with the trees.

Faith is like that:

  • It is living with the awareness that the unseen realms are interacting with this creation in ways that we can’t directly “see”.
  • Faith is believing in the unseen.
  • Faith is learning to read and follow the signs in order to climb higher on the ladder to gain a bigger, more complete understanding of what is really there.
  • Faith is trusting in the unfolding of the process.
  • Faith is the willingness to continue climbing the rungs of the ladder regardless of what you feel or think.
  • Faith is actively looking for the bigger picture, the garden.

Webster’s dictionary says the word “faith” is a noun. I beg to differ. Faith is a verb! When you actively live and bring your awareness to your everyday life, when you are willing to see a bigger picture and climb that ladder one rung at a time, when you are willing to follow the signs that tell you to go against all logic, you actually move from the scary speck of dirt and live in the garden.

Faith is action.

Faith is doing.

Faith is movement.

Faith is a verb!

So let go of your microscope and begin your personal journey from the scary to the garden. Baby steps... It is a process… so enjoy and be imbedded in the process of your personal growth and unfolding.

Do you have faith? Then live that faith as a verb!

Obstacle Course

If I were to build a obstacle, brick wall, difficultygrueling, and I do mean grueling, obstacle course in my backyard and promised that everyone who completed it would spend the rest of their lives experiencing only complete joy, how many of you would do it?  Wow… everyone!  Before we get started I want you to realize that this obstacle course will rival any that the military boot camps have devised in both difficulty and intensity…. Is everyone still in?  Since you are all nodding your heads in agreement, let's head off to the back yard.


We don’t need any pushing or shoving so let’s start with Cara. I know she’ll want to be first.  Cara attacks the course with great gusto and enthusiasm.  About midway through, she begins to tire just when she needs all of her strength to maneuver over the wall.  Huffing and puffing, bending over with hands on her knees she begins shaking her head saying that she just doesn’t think she can continue.  She laments that this is much, much harder than she ever thought.


Lisa breaks through the crowd and laces her fingers together whispering encouragements.  “Take the boost, I know you can do it!”  Cara places her hand on Lisa’s shoulder and accepts the boost.  It was just what she needed.  With renewed enthusiasm and determination Cara sails over the wall and sprints to the tires.

The obstacle course is real.

It is called life.

May we always remember to give each other boosts.

Risk

risk, games, conquering, winning, success, loveMy favorite board game of all time has got to be Risk.  It is a game of conquering the world.  Everyone has their armies and the object of the game is to gain world domination by rolling dice against your opponents.  The person with the low number on the dice looses one of their armies.  You also collect these cards along the way which you can trade-in for extra armies, the number of which continues to increase as the game progresses.


This game comes to mind not because of recent world “events” that we’ve seen or read about but because I noticed how this old board game mirrors our personal development and movement toward the One Lord.  We move toward our Lord by:

  • Conquering our worldly appetites and desires
  • Conquering the pull towards worldly “things”
  • Conquering the desire to feed our egos instead of our souls
  • Caring for ourselves in a loving, healthy way so we become strong enough to be victorious against the struggles of this world
  • Being strong in our Lord, we are less likely to be attacked by “other  forces”
  • Being strong in our Lord, we are able to successfully defend against these attacks from “other forces” when/if  they come
  • By using the “cards” (gifts) we have been given, God graciously bestows even more on us
  • The more we turn to God in all things, the more of this world we conquer
  • Conquering this world means we are victorious over the world of “other”.

Life is a game. Life is risk. Ask yourself with every thought, with every word, with every action, “Is this going to lead me deeper into the world of “other” or deeper into the Love that is The One?”


Love is NOT a game.


Love is NOT a risk.


LOVE IS VICTORIOUS OVER ALL!

"When you find the love, you find yourself. The secret is in the love. You are the love, not another. Everything is in the love, and everyone needs the love. When you have the knowledge of the love, you feel peace in your heart. The jewels are inside you. This is the Holy meaning. If the Muslims, Jews, Christians, and the people of any other religion knew their religion well, there would only be one religion, the religion of love, and peace and mercy."
- Music of the Soul
by Sidi al-Jamal

Are you…

  • Burned out
  • Stressed
  • Lack vitality
  • Feeling trapped
  • Desire change
  • Seek new spiritual tools
  • Looking for inspiration
  • In failing health
  • Needing guidance