The triumphant success story of Susan Boyle is not new, but my thoughts about it are.
This week I was in the audience, as Kevin Hall, the author of the book Aspire spoke to us about the life lessons he has written about. He made one of his points more powerful by showing us the video clip of Susan Boyle’s breakthrough moment on stage. As I watched, I felt the same euphoric experience as I did the first time I saw her succeed though what all of us expected to be a pathetic audition. The tears welled up in my eyes the same as they have every time I’ve seen her boldly sing, I Have a Dream, flawlessly and profoundly. This time however, that quiet voice was whispering for me to notice more about this story.
The gentle whisper suggested I think of whether this woman was any different in that moment after she sang, than she was when she first walked out to the stage. The audience and the judges apprehensive some snickering and rolling their eyes, who was she? She awkwardly made fun, as she was asked questions, as this style had been built up by her to protect herself from people’s reaction to her, over many years. My tears welled up again. It whispered, “What are you emotional about?” I searched my heart…Her break through? Her bravery? That she got her dream? That the words to the song were exactly her story? I was trying to answer. The whisper came back.. “It’s beautiful yes. The lesson is much; more…there is more to learn. Look deeper. Look at her before she sang.”
I began to think of what I had not considered before. This woman was not even a tiny bit different as a human being. In a moment she transformed from being ridiculed and rejected to the immediate cheering embrace and love of the world as our newest hero and success story. YET she herself, was one not one bit different in her being alive, not in the moment before, and not in the moment after. Our thoughts of her changed, yes, but that is all. We saw something new in her, something that we could love and even champion.
So we respond with: “Well, she showed us what she could do” “She was brave and went on stage and made the world see her! And we accept her, and we embrace her brilliance, and we love her now as the underdog who won!”
We are such a fickle people.
What in this world is being lost on us, because there is no beauty that our eyes can see, or our ears have been able to behold? If we don’t see it, right away, is it not there? Maybe the bravest among us, are those hero’s who have to face a world that does not, or will not see them. Maybe they are here to test the world that does not accept them. Maybe they are the brilliant light sent to challenge our own shallowness, that does not value anything but the right package. Maybe these people carry their beauty differently. Are they the angels God gives us to look deeper into ourselves, to become less prejudice about what beauty really is, to be better than we are now? To embrace, without the right conditions in place? To be powered less by the crowd, and more by the soul? I wonder how we are doing…
The whisper asked me to see more again this week…I am learning.
Big hugs and love my friends…
Adventure #2: Saturday, October 13, 2012.
My daughter Miranda and I went to a Beth Moore event in Long Beach. I haven’t known very much about Beth Moore except that she is a good spiritual teacher, is VERY funny, and is my mentor Mo Anderson’s spiritual Mentor. My daughter and I went to learn more.
We waited at the Long Beach Arena as 9000 people streamed in…mostly women. Fortunate to have found seats about 8 rows from the stage, with a seat, just one, between me and the woman on the other side of it. I looked at it a few times, and told my daughter that someone who was all by themselves would surely find a seat there, and it would be “meant to be” for them, since they came alone. Mostly optimistic, not really in faith, at that point.
Time went on, the event music began..yet no one was in that seat. A little intuitive thought came to me that I needed to go out to the lobby, and find the person who was meant to sit there…I almost dismissed it. I mentioned it to my daughter who confirmed I needed to go if that is what I was thinking. So out I went.
Well, I stood out there in the mass confusion of everyone coming in, and I felt a bit stupid, well really stupid. Just standing and looking at groups as they walked in. How in the world was I going to find someone all by themselves as everyone was laughing and chattering with others..this was another one of my dumb ideas I thought. Remembering that I always have these adventurous romantic notions of being called to something. “Here you go again…”
After a while of questioning myself..it came to mind..(I am sure now, not unprompted) ”SO….this is where faith comes in I guess..when you feel unsure because you listened to a little call..just do it. Stop thinking of yourself…this is about faith, so now have some!”
Soon, I decided I needed to go to the door where people where still coming in..”she isn’t in here yet” I was thinking. So I waited which seemed like a long time, because the music for the event had started, and I was missing it!”
Then..there she was..it wasn’t any big old shiver or dramatic feeling or anything else like that like I just walked up to this older woman who walked in alone. Without even thinking I said “Are you here alone?” She nodded, saying she was. I put my arm around her shoulders and said with a big smile “I have been waiting for you..I have a seat for you with us, right up front.”
We walked in together, as she happily expressed her delight and surprise. “This must be what it feels like when you get to heaven and an angel says…”I have been waiting for you….” (So cute). I still wasn’t sure this was any big deal, as I walked in with her, in fact… with a new lack of faith I thought…”What if I got the wrong one!!??” …..Sheesh Beverly…really?
When we had time to talk, she shared some of the difficulty she was going through, how it had come to a pinnacle in the past few days, and how she had felt so isolated going to this event alone. She was sweet and positive with a wonderful spirit, yet she expressed what a difference it made to her to have us there with her, with tears in her eyes.
Just how perfectly planned this was, didn’t resonate with me fully, until today. I received an email from her, which included her saying:
“You are my Angel. As I reflected on my experience on Saturday, it became so much clearer how God worked thru you, Beverly. I walked in feeling alone/depressed & you immediately made me feel included & loved. I will remember your kindness, compassion & healing love forever, but especially when I feel excluded from the mainstream of life.” -Gloria
Faith is not always clear. It seemed like I was just coming up with an idea..and yet..this wonderful lady really needed a friend that day. There were no bells or whistles or chills, or revelations or visions. Just going with it, and questioning the whole way..feeling unsure. Then finding out it was all perfectly orchestrated.
I wonder how many times I have dismissed, and missed the opportunity in the past?
My daughter had a similar situation happen at that the same event with the girl next to her. Same urging, same reluctance…yet completely clear after she moved forward.
Confirmation….Small things matter in big ways sometimes. When you feel stupid acting on the idea, or like you will be rejected as you try…just do it..cause that’s what faith is.
What will be our Next Adventure…? I’m having faith we will know soon. Join me when you can…
Big, Big Hugs and love my friends..
Life on Speed
Life. This Life. Our life.
Our precious personal time on this earth is getting louder, busier and faster as information comes at us from every direction-Intense, unending streaming motion, commotion, and emotion. There are “Have to’s”, “want to’s”, “need to’s”, and “can’t do’s” all piled up, filling every precious minute we have. Is it enough?
Deep beyond all of that noise and intensity, in a small-undefined place in our soul, is a hollow echo that is often not filled. Most everyone I talk to knows exactly what I mean when I describe it, and they feel it too. It doesn’t leave us. What is our purpose we say?
We have Stuff. Lots of it! Everywhere. We store it, organize it, display it, stack it, rotate it, wash it, paint it, rearrange it, pile it, sell it, repurpose it, and shop for more of it. It “completes us” we say with a wry smirk. And yet, it’s not filling us up. That hollow echo continues to haunt. It doesn’t leave with more stuff, it always comes back, and we always know it’s there. What is our purpose?
We get home, and the words stumble out “finally we can relax”. We really need to zone out. We decide to take time for mindless entertainment, and there it is, waiting for us: “Reality TV”. An entertainment package designed to spotlight the other human beings in the most adverse situations. Designed to bring out ego, jealousy, shallowness, anger, and delightfully, so much more, all for our viewing pleasure. We get to become voyeurs into the stupidity, and weakness of other human frailties. A very purposeful selection of situations and people, all combined, will frame humanities worst traits beautifully. Producers become the crafty bully’s for profits, and so we will watch. We laugh and shake our heads in disgust, and yet, boy do we continue to watch. We snicker and gasp and discuss, and we try to feel better.
Yet all the while…our precious minutes on this Earth are ticking away wasted…and that hollow echo is standing by right in the back of our spirit. It doesn’t leave when we watch others in pain, or make fun of them, we know it’s there, and it gives no peace, even when we try to mask it.
It feels deep; it feels like a hunger that wants to be filled. It’s calls us, almost aches at times. Do we need to find our purpose? Calling us, but we don’t not know what to? Should we work more? Do we need to have more? Do we need to be more?
We can ask ourselves. Could this be the place from where God beckon’s? Is this hollowness where God lives in us and says “I am here my child, this is the place where I await you” Is this where he wants us to learn that we cannot be completely fulfilled by anyone else or anything, other than his pure love? Does he call us, quite simply, to find our purpose there, in his grace, and in his light? Is that the call of the emptiness…the way he planned for us to find him all along?
We must decide, we always get to decide. We might check with in by asking ourselves some questions.
When I am at odds with another person, do I feel unsettled and sometimes in pain? Do I feel the weight of the anger, as my burden, when they are angry with me? Does that stay in the background of all that I do? And then, do I feel light and happy when it is resolved and all is well with everyone. Is that my mirror for grace and forgiveness?
Do I feel the most fulfilled and happy when I have done something for another simply because it helped them, though they could not repay me? Especially when it is a stranger that I do not know? Is that unconditional love? Is that like paying forward in gratefulness for all that has been given to me?
Do I feel most at peace in the quiet moments when we are reflecting on how blessed my life has been, and how grateful I am? When we hold a baby that has just been born? When I learn of a story of survival against all odds? When I look into the eyes of an animal that only knows love unconditionally? When I hug a child. When I listen to a beautiful song? When I sit by the ocean in silence just to hear the words spoken to my heart? When I pray? In those times is there any trace of feeling empty or a hollow ache. In any of those moments do I taste how pure peace, and love feel?
Life might be simpler than we guessed. And in the simplicity, just might live the brilliance.
Bless you my friends on your journey of discovery.
The Power of Vulnerability…every single one of us could probably learn from this…grow from just watching this brief talk, and then think a little, about what we can do with this information..
During my morning walk, I listed to “I’m not lost, I’m not lost, no, no just undiscovered…” the words to a really good song by James Morrison, called “Undiscovered” and it goes on to say, “I’m just waiting for you to find me”.
I had a man say something like this to me once, in an interview. After being tough to deal with, I decided to ask him deeper questions, instead of kicking him out of my office. He softened up, and then I asked why he put on the tough front. He said he wanted people to find him, as the tears welled up in his eyes. A little test of sorts, to see if anyone cared enough to look deeper I guess.
Making an assumption that others are going to find you might be quite optimistic. If we are lucky, really blessed, a person will show up here and there to assist, and the rest is up to us. Movies and books give us the impression, and even hope it will be so, yet at the end of the day, the lights go on, and here we are.
- If you push people away, you can be safe. Yet without deep interaction, true growth is hindered. When you don’t learn to care unconditionally about another, stepping up is not needed for being alone. So, it’s not a heroic choice.
- Good looks may let you believe more about yourself than you have personally developed yourself to be. Others might support you in that illusion…be more.
- Excuses are really just lying to yourself about your own intentions.
- Believing that you’re less, will make you less.
- Gossip about others may help you feel like more, but will expose you as less.
- Personality is outward appearance; person is inside reality.
- What you read, listen to, what you watch and how you speak will etch your path. Your mind is obedient.
- The consistency of the habit is the mold for what arrives in the future.
- Time matters.
- Doing the right thing matters.
- Set down whatever you wish you would or wouldn’t have done. Forgive yourself. Then change.
- Set down whatever another did or did not do, forgive. Let them change. (If they don’t its not your issue.)
- Do good, be good and believe in good. It is not un-cool.
- Don’t put anyone on a pedestal. God is God and that’s it.
- Pray every day for help, and then have faith that you’re getting it.
You are not yet, who you will be…
Under the Overpass: A Journey of Faith on the Streets of America is a book about two young men named Mike and Sam who decide to live on the streets of America for more than five months. They decide to do this because they want to know if their faith is as real as they say it is; if they can be the Christians they claim to be, the Christians that Jesus calls us to be.
When will you know what your potential and what your destiny is?
What we commit to matters.
What we do matters more.
Each kept promise we make, if “only” to ourselves, sets up for the next. Keeping or breaking our word can become habitual.
What we SAY we really want, if meant, is supported with action.
Without action, it’s just a wish.
Check in: Is your plan for yourself really important to you?
“Sow an act, and you reap a habit;
Sow a habit and you reap a character;
Sow a character and you reap a destiny.” (-George Dana Boardman-)
- What is your destiny?
- What is your potential?
- When you talk about your plans, do you light up? Does your energy dramatically increase?
- What is the next step? (Can’t just keep talking about it)
- Who do you need help from?
It starts with what you believe…so what do you believe?
Climb, my friends, your destiny is calling,
As we head into 2012, a few people have asked me for my vision for our company.
In thinking about this, it seems that any vision we have for any of our businesses should be equally in line with the vision we have for ourselves.
My vision for myself in 2012, is to continue to learn and to be be better as a friend, mother, partner, mentor, teacher, and especially better as God’s servant.
To do something good as often as I can, to live up to my word, and to always help others find their way.
To speak up for what is right, and for that which needs a voice, to let go of what is not important, to give love more, and do the right thing, to see beyond the surface, and to look for the good.
So my vision for our company must be the same.
It is that our associate partners, and staff continue learning to be better in all of their relationships.
That they will especially attend to their faith and their spiritual connections.
That they will continue to to do something good, as often as they can, and will always be examples of outstanding service to their clients, and their communities.
That they will live up to their word, and will always help people find their way. I see them speaking up for what is right, and for that which needs a voice, and letting go of what doesn’t matter.
They too are learning to give love more. I see them doing the right thing, looking beyond what seems to be, and looking for the good.
All Together we will all work closely to have careers worth having, business worth owning, and lives worth living.
What matters is what matters. If we focus on these things, I believe we will have great success, all of us.
I am looking forward to the great journey we will all be on, as one great team in 2012!