I love you !

Just another traveler on life’s highway hanging out in the slow lane.  It’s quiet.  It’s peaceful.  Beyond the horizon is rest calling my name.  Green pastures, still waters, my cup is overflowing.

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When was the last time you arose in the morning, went into the bathroom, stared at your reflection in the mirror, and looked into your eyes saying, “I love you; you are worthy of joy, peace, contentment, happiness, prosperity, and fulfillment?”

Whaaat? You have never said that?  Aw, c’mon, surely you look at those big, beautiful eyes and say, “Hey there, good-looking, I love you.”  Must I also assume that you don’t believe you are going to do great things and become the man/woman whom you have always wanted to be?

So, let me understand the start of your day.  You just stumble out of bed, throw the spouse out the door, kiss the cat and pour a cup of go-go juice, sit down and read the newspaper, get pissed off and stagger into the bathroom hating the world.  You do your morning nature call, slather on some smell-good stuff and turn on the TV.  Your favorite morning hosts are interviewing the latest sex pervert, forecasting a 3 day torrential rain, and predicting the stock market is about to crash.  Your sister calls and screams you are a nitwit because you forgot her dog’s birthday and little Johnny across the street has just pulled your prized begonia to take to school for show and tell.  Wow, have a great day!

Now, back up.  Climb into bed, pull the covers up over your shoulders, and set the snooze alarm for 8:30.

Ahhhh! What a wonderful night’s sleep I had.  Thank you Lord for giving me another day in your perfect world.  Streeeeetch those legs and arms.  Ahhhh, deep breaths, fill those lungs with the glorious scent of the gardenia outside the bedroom window.  Look around the room.  The beautiful family photos on the dresser.  The lovely quilt which Grandma crafted 80 years ago.  The old wooden rocking chair in the corner.  Now, off to the bathroom to splash some cold water in my sleepy eyes.  Rinse my mouth with refreshing minty mouthwash.  Look into the mirror at the Lord’s perfect example of me.  Those beautiful eyes.  Stare into them, they are amazing, are they not?

“I love you.  You are worthy.  You are wonderful.  You are perfect.”

God says that to you every minute of every day.  So, who are you to dispute and disagree?  Oprah starts her day with that routine and we all know that Oprah has all her bases covered.  So, pleeeease, you have lost the argument.  God and Oprah cannot both be wrong.  You are worthy of love, especially from yourself.  And when you love yourself, others will find you interesting, attractive, and…..worthy.

There’s that word ‘worthy’ again.  For the first 35 years of my life I was the lowest scum on earth, the dirtiest of the filthy, the most sinful of the sinners, the vilest of the vile, the most unworthy of the unworthy.  And that was just my personal opinion of myself.  I didn’t dare venture out into the brotherhood of decent folks living happy, fulfilled lives.  Only the Lord knows what they thought of me.

Today, I am claiming the parables of the lost coin, the prodigal son, and the lost sheep.  (LUKE 15:1-24) The Lord of my life never gave up on me.  Patiently he swept the floors looking for his lost coin, he searched the fields for his errant sheep and when multiple addictions had beaten me to a pulp, God ran down the highway to meet me, threw his arms around my neck, kissed me and said, “Welcome home, son.  I have always loved you and I have been looking for you.”

“But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet.  And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat and be merry; for this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’  And they began to be merry.”  LUKE 15: 22-24

Loved – just as I am.  Worthy – just as I am.  Perfect – just as I am.  Today, the reflection in my mirror has kind, loving eyes looking back at me with optimism and hope.
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Oprah

“Create in me a clean heart, O Lord, and renew a right spirit within me.”

namaste rainbowWhat thoughts come to your mind upon hearing “Oprah Winfrey”?

Class, grace, soul, empathy, justice, survivor, wealth, power, elegance, intelligence, creativity, renaissance?

Recently when visiting with Ellen, her response regarding a character-diminishing tweet from a political figure resulted in a mere shoulder shrug.  The world understood what she was saying and with that simple body language, Oprah positioned herself above the callous, uncivil, and immature tweet passing itself as political/social discourse.  She trumped her detractor with grace, elegance and non-engagement.

She has been quoted to say, “I try not to give power to negativity.”

In these tumultuous times, I need to heed Oprah’s wisdom.  I am the first one to jump feet first into a political foray.  That usually results in heated conversation which resolves nothing more than declaring them the “idiots” and me the “thinker”.  My mind wins the argument every time.  But, that victory comes with a price tag.  With each successive news story capturing my attention, the need to respond becomes an involuntary commitment to always be in “combat” mode.  It’s not a healthy mental nor physical condition to carry through out the day’s activity.  It colors every potential peaceful moment with anger and disgust.  I am giving power to all the world’s negativity even though I know this is not my God’s intention for my life.

The Buddhist tradition reminds us to find the quiet spaces within, to freely allow thoughts, positive and negative, to flow effortlessly into and out of our minds.  Do not resist any but, also,  do not dwell on any.  That is the power within which shapes our seconds, minutes, hours, days in this path called life.  It is my choice to surrender that power to negativity or goodness.

Certainly this does not dismiss us from the responsibilities of social justice for all mankind.  I have not been called to retreat to hillside caves on a Greek island, baking bread for the brothers and chanting verses throughout the day, although this is often an extremely beckoning option.  I know who I am today, I know what political action I will support, I know what my vote will be in upcoming elections, but learning to embrace Oprah’s advice will allow me to be “who I am” in a peaceful, self-empowering, soul-nurturing walk through life.