Feb 20

Putting the world together . . .

skyline

 

Who? Me? Put the world back together?

Yup. You and me. One random act of kindness at a time. A thousand moments of sharing a little bit of love. It doesn’t have to be neat. It doesn’t have to be tidy. It doesn’t have to be obvious. It can be messy as hell, and it can even go completely wrong and backfire. But just a little piece of extra love, bringing a fragment of extra peace into your life, into the life of another.. it doesn’t take much… but you have the power to make the world just a little better. It all counts. And an awful lot of ‘a little better’? You don’t need me to explain the mathematics to you, do you?

Hugs and love…

Feb 20

Messy Love. Crazy Love.

labyrinth heart show up

“Dear Human:

You’ve got it all wrong. You didn’t come here to master unconditional love. That is where you came from and where you’ll return. You came here to learn personal love. Universal love. Messy love. Sweaty love. Crazy love. Broken love. Whole love. Infused with divinity. Lived through the grace of stumbling.

Demonstrated through the beauty of… messing up. Often. You didn’t come here to be perfect. You already are. You came here to be gorgeously human. Flawed and fabulous. And then to rise again into remembering. But unconditional love? Stop telling that story. Love, in truth, doesn’t need any other adjectives. It doesn’t require modifiers. It doesn’t require the condition of perfection. It only asks that you show up. And do your best. That you stay present and feel fully. That you shine and fly and laugh and cry and hurt and heal and fall and get back up and play and work and live and die as you. It’s enough. It’s plenty.” (Courtney A Walsh)

 

We are perfect. We may not always behave that way – but at a deep spiritual level, that’s exactly what you are. And so is everyone. Every single one of us.

And love? So pure, so perfect, pristine, neat? Nope. Love is messy, risky, clumsy, stupid, painful, out of balance, raggedy. And fabulous. And beautiful. Perfect in its imperfection. Because love doesn’t need to be done right. It doesn’t need to be honed and polished. It doesn’t need putting in a beautiful frame, or be photographed in soft focus. It doesn’t need to be photoshopped, cropped and edited. It doesn’t need rearranging, tidying, dusting.

Love just needs to happen. Love can stumble forward, incoherent, fumbling, tentative, clumsy – and it will still be perfect. Love can’t be any other way.

So love someone. You can’t ‘get it wrong’. You can only get it right.

Feb 10

Choose Only Love

consider loveOn Friday, Valentine’s Day will be upon us (just in case you hadn’t remembered – I’m just acting as a public service, particularly for the male members of the species who, if they wish to survive until 15th February, had better darn well remember).

Although movies and media have done their part to mythologise love, and we find ourselves under a deluge of hearts, roses and boxes of chocolates, battered by Hallmark card sentiment and the false dreams of a thousand romantic comedies, there is something about love that remains pure, untarnished, a space of radiant light when all around is darkness.

No matter how much we might choose to play it down, to put it into its own little box of ‘romance’, love is bigger than that. Because love is what is at the heart of creation. Love isn’t something we bring into a situation – love is already there. Hidden, discoloured by smoke and fire, tarnished by anger and hatred, by retribution and by unforgiveness, but it will always find a way.

Remember, stories are true not because the events necessarily actually happened, but because the core of the story reveals something about our humanity. And as any student of fairy tale will remember, “True love’s kiss will break any curse.” Metaphysically, we’re being reminded here that love, shorn of falsehood and untruth, stripped of sentiment, will break through any stuck situation, will destroy any hatred, any bias. Not because love is ‘nice’, but because love is the toughest, most powerful, most irresistible force on the planet. Darkness isn’t real. Darkness is simply an absence of light.

I see the effects of a lack of love all around me – in the media stories of war and of famine as well as in the individual lives of my friends hurt by thoughtlessness, malice and (sometimes) sheer stupidity. Yet I have faith that, no matter what, love will find a way to prevail. Because no matter what horrors we see, no matter the cruelty, no matter the thoughtlessness, the lack of sensitivity.. this thing called love is more powerful than we can possibly imagine.

Perhaps today it’s time to take love out of the box in which it’s been hidden and see it for what it is – the energy and vibration at the heart of the universe, the power that lies at the core of your being and my being, at the heart of our closest friends – and those we perceive as our enemies. We are all one – perhaps more deeply than we can ever know. Not because if we work hard at it we can become united and at peace with one another – but because when we let all that is not love drop away from our lives – we find that we already are.

 

TimSigWeb

May 10

Finding the big happy

jumpI have a friend who’s really good at finding pithy phrases that make me think. A while back she said ‘well, I guess we’re all just looking to find the Big Happy’.

And that’s what we’re all looking for, I think – ‘Finding the Big Happy’. But what is it? How can we find it? Does it exist, or is it just an unattainable and impossible dream?

We all know, I think, that some of the simplest things make us happy. One of my very very best friends, who had been having a bit of a tough week, texted me last night to tell me she couldn’t possibly be anything other than happy while cuddling her granddaughter. We all know the joy of watching a beautiful and incredible sunset or sunrise. or climbing to the top of a hill and seeing an incredible view spread out below us. Sometimes we will be surprised by an unexpected gift, or the words of a song.

The lovely and wonderful Hannah Brencher (www.moreloveletters.com) spreads joy and happiness by the simple but radical act of writing love letters to strangers and leaving them to be discovered. A hero of mine, Randy Gage (www.randygage.com) suggests paying the toll for the person behind, and reminds us that the simple act of smiling at a checkout assistant.. or letting someone in in traffic.. might just be the beginning of a chain reaction creating more happiness in the world. The movie ‘Pay It Forward’ (2000) helped millions to see that it’s possible to make the world a better place simply by making sure that one good deed creates another.. creating a flow of happiness in the world. Can you imagine the tidal wave of happiness that would happen if we each did two good deeds every time someone did something kind for us? The exponential effect would be.. well, very possibly ‘the big happy’.

smile2There’s two things I have discovered about happiness. The first is that we are happy to the extent that we are creating happiness around us. We are loved to the extent that we create love. What we give out truly comes back to us – it’s a law of the universe. “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you”, said Jesus (Luke 6:38). That applies to wealth, which has a habit of returning to you in the measure that you give it away.. as Randy Gage points out, you can’t out give the Universe. Love is the source of our power, and we manifest power in our lives to the extent that we are prepared to love.

Happiness is even more incredible – because it’s instantaneous! The simple act of choosing to create happiness for someone else will, I guarantee, make you happy. It’ll put a smile on your face, create warmth in your heart and put a bounce in your steps.

And the second thing about happiness? It’s a choice. We can, honestly, choose to be happy in any moment. We’re actually programmed to seek happiness, you know – to seek out the things that make us happy at the deepest possible level. And that’s perfectly OK. It’s why we’re here. The problem is that we’ve got it all backwards. We think that we have to HAVE certain things (money, love, freedom) in order to DO things (take holidays, buy a car, enjoy romance) so that we can BE happy, or content, or secure. And we’ve got it backwards.

smileThe secret is to choose to BE happy. Right now. If we choose to BE happy (or peaceful, or content, or joyful, or secure) – then the Universe responds by creating things to DO that flow out of that happiness (joy, peace, security, contentment) that create what we wanted to HAVE. But we have to let go of attachment to those things first. As long as we are expecting money or possessions or a romance or (fill in the blank) to make us happy, then we’re not going to get there. As soon as we drop that demand and simply allow ourselves to be happy for no reason. then happiness arrives.

Try it out. you’ll be amazed. Simply choosing to be happy. Or peaceful. Or whatever feeling you want. Here’s a secret.. create it the way you want it. Smile. Laugh (another of my friends teaches laughter yoga and points out that it’s impossible to stay miserable if you choose to fake laughter.. even if it feels fake, it soon becomes real). Put on some happy music that you love. Dance. Make someone else happy. Hug a tree. Cuddle a baby. Spread a little joy and happiness and see how it feels..

TimSignature

May 02

Outrunning the dark

Fenland sunset (3)A couple of weeks ago I was travelling back from a dance workshop with a friend of mine – racing fast across the Fens. Now the Fens, for those of you who aren’t aware, are a huge area of wide open and totally flat land in the east of England, land reclaimed from marsh and sea. The land is fertile, houses are few and far between. Drainage waterways run straight as a die and cut across massive fields, luring the careless car driver to a watery grave. Wind farms create stark sillhouettes against an infinite sky. The horizon stretches for miles into the distance while roads reach into the endless and unbounded sky.

The evening drew in, and sky blue changed to hues of orange and crimson, cobalt and indigo, etching fire across the canvas of never ending sky. As we travelled down one of the long and featureless roads, white lines reaching forward to draw us ever onward, my friend said to me ‘you know, it’s almost as if from here we could outrun the dark’. And it did feel like that.

Sometimes it does feel as if darkness is creeping up on us on all sides. At a global level we have war, famine and terror stalking the political map, while economic depression is woven into each decision. Bombs tear sport events apart while gun fire rips the hearts out of communities. Closer to home, the economy continues to wreak havoc on lives that were settled and comfortable. Once respected personalities fall from grace. The environment is under threat and the planet is running out of oil and energy.

And greater dangers lie even closer to home. Sometimes it feels as if we are the greatest failures – failing to provide for our families, failing to keep a job, failing to live life right. When we look into our hearts we see darkness and defeat, uncovering anger and lovelessness.

So can we? Can we really outrun the dark? Or is it inevitable that darkness will overtake us and drag is into the night?

In truth, the darkness can only reach us if we let it. Only if we choose it can the darkness wrap its fingers around our hearts. Because at our core, we are light. We are incredible, glorious, wonderful, beautiful. We are hope, and truth, and power. We are magical, capable, incredible, miraculous, strong beyond measure.

Like many of us, I’ve done things that I am not particularly proud of this week. Actions that do not live up to the wonder of who I truly am. Decisions that lacked love. And yet I know that those actions are not who I am. I believe I was made in the image of God – full of light, and love, and kindness, and hope, and truth. Full of tenderness, and passion, and wisdom. We don’t have to find some way to become good people. We don’t have to ‘see the light’ and be transformed. Goodness and love, light and truth are our real nature. We just forget it sometimes. For sure, we make mistakes. We get things wrong. But that doesn’t change who we really are inside.

The darkness can only overtake us if we let it.

darknessAnd yet, that’s not the whole truth. Because in truth, if we choose to face it, darkness has to run from us. If we decide to love instead of hate, to care instead of being thoughtless, to act instead of remaining passive – if we choose to bless rather than curse, to believe rather than lose faith. if we choose action rather than inaction, then darkness has to retreat from us. And it seems that we’re starting to find that. In the last century, it seemed that darkness threatened to consume the world. People had no power and surrendered to the authority of those in charge. Yet now, as the internet connects us in ways unheard of before, people are finding their voice. People are saying ‘enough’. People are turning and facing the dark. and the darkness must lose. Whether it’s making our voices heard when government or global industry get it wrong, or joining together to create hope and love in some famine torn part of the planet, we’re starting to find that we matter – that we can make a difference.

So today, let’s choose to live from love, to live from hope. It might be in the smallest things. It might simply be a smile to the checkout assistant, opening a door for a struggling mother with a pram, a kind word in the right place. It might be a word of encouragement, a small yet thoughtful gift. And yet that simple act could change a life.. and changing a life changes the world.

TimSignature