A couple of weeks ago, I started my day off by calling someone a jackass — not behind his back but right to his face. He seemed unfazed. Me? I regretted it immediately because it was a sign that I lost control of myself. I couldn’t even remember the last time I resorted to name calling. I had grown beyond that or so I thought.
I’ve been loving writing full time and have taken up dancing — in the privacy of our kitchen anyway. Still, some things in my life continued to feel out of order. Business has been extremely slow and things at the office just haven’t seemed on track. When you are self-employed, you are responsible for your paycheck, as well as the paychecks of others. You can walk away from it to write or do whatever, but when duty calls, if you are like me, you must walk right back in to help. So, I’m back to the business world while writing when I can. I’m a very good juggler it seems. Who knew?
Years ago I read a book called The Circle by Laura Day. It was life changing. I was so shifted by what I read, that I went out and bought 21 copies and gave them to others — sometimes complete and total strangers. I was convinced then and am convinced now that God puts people, places and things (in my case books) in our lives to help us along the way. I read it many times through the years and found that when I practiced the principles, my life changed in incredible ways. Like all practices, from prayer to making our beds, we have to make the effort.
Still, I became lazy and forgot that life is meant to be a LIVE experience, not a going through the motions kind of one. When it becomes just a going through the motions kind of life, we find ourselves out of sync and calling people jackasses or struggling to pay our bills. Since I was experiencing both, I began a search to rediscover what I was doing or not doing that was causing the discord. As is often the case, I asked to be shown the way.
One evening I looked at my only remaining copy of The Circle on my nightstand. I was almost dismissive, but something called out to me so I picked it up and dove in. Flooded with prior memories and feelings almost the same as I had the first time I read it, I took one chapter at a time and allowed the words to flood my soul. After a conversation with a skeptical friend, I decided that I wanted to go back and find out what happened the very first time I read it. I wanted to know what made it so powerful and what had happened before and in the months that followed. I didn’t doubt my experience but my friend’s doubt made me question if my memory had been through rose- colored glasses.
It was January 2004 and life was full of chaos.
One of our dearest friends had just killed himself. Challenged to deal with such a blow, we were also struggling financially at work, which also meant financially at home. Our checking account was overdrawn on a regular basis and my daily journal pages filled with worry and grief. I felt surrounded by people who saw the world from a completely different lens than I did. It was like I could see that life wasn’t meant to be like that, but I didn’t know what to do to change it. I wanted to be closer to God, financially secure, and find my path in life. I wanted to write a book. Imagine that. I was searching high and low for a way to figure it all out.
I’m not sure how I found it but I had just ordered a book called The Circle by Laura Day. I wrote in my journal that it was supposed to be one of those “life-changing books”. As soon as it arrived, Lee and I began spending our evenings reading it together and practicing the principles. As March 2004 arrived, I felt closer to God than in a very long time. Out of the blue, we received an $87,000.00 order to build fitness equipment for a university. Before I realized it, life sparkled a little differently. It felt wonderful to actually have money in the bank and not to be getting daily calls that we were overdrawn. We spent the next several years with some ups and downs of course, but for the most part, I found life to be blissful and filled with peace. It wasn’t just because of the security that having money brought, but because I had a whole new mindset — that my thoughts were more powerful than I had ever realized. I didn’t think about what might happen. I trusted that God had a plan and as long as I minded my thoughts and had Faith, things would work out and they did.
I changed my thinking but I continued to surround myself with people who didn’t understand this newfound way of living I had come to know. I guess the truth is maybe I didn’t completely understand it myself. Some of those closest to me were telling me that I shouldn’t get too comfortable because “the other shoe was going to drop” or “something bad was bound to happen”. Some went so far as to say, “Life was meant to be filled with misery and suffering.”
We tell our children, but sometimes forget that the people we surround ourselves with can either make or break us. To be fair, we have to be responsible ourselves. If we KNOW something to be true — like say God loves us — then we should never let anyone make us doubt that. I knew that God didn’t want us to be miserable and that life wasn’t meant to be filled with angst or worry. I was holding firm and on cloud nine when the visit came from Daddy at 4:30 a.m. on May 15, 2007 that Griffen was gone.
We had more work than we had ever known and life was just amazing. And then we had LOSS that hurt like HELL.
Griffen’s death tested me. Grief broke me and I temporarily forgot what I had learned from The Circle. I found myself doubting the goodness of others and hearing those little voices whisper that we can’t really be happy. I found myself telling the story from a victim’s point of view. Poor Griffen! Poor us! Poor me! It took me awhile to see that my viewpoint wasn’t serving anyone and I knew I had to shift things into a positive perspective. I had to get myself together and think about what good could come from the tragedy that lay before me.
Soon I was able to find the peace and joy in loss. I began to write and speak. Things became good again on all fronts. I could sense my brother’s spirit, I was close with God, money was no object, and life was grand. Before I knew it, there were the little voices. I found myself again surrounded by naysayers and fearful thinkers. It was only after some deep soul searching I realized that even though I had found happiness, I had fallen back into the fear and worry place. I got lazy. Even though I thought I had moved past those kinds of thoughts, I was afraid that if I got too happy, something horrible would happen. Someone I loved would die. If I didn’t get too comfortable, then things would be okay. Wrong!
We experienced financial loss so severe that we weren’t sure we would make it. Again, I found myself telling the story from a victim’s point of view. Poor us! We had been taken advantage of. The whole truth is, we allowed it all to take place with the choices we made or in some cases didn’t make. I now OWN that without any kind of need to be the victim. We managed to survive and have been surviving ever since.
But, surviving isn’t really living — it’s going through the motions.
WE are meant to LIVE our lives, not fall into the place of just going through the motions. I believe that if we live that way for too long then we stall or we fall — whether financially, personally, or business wise. Even if we don’t have a major life crisis, we miss out on the bliss that life can bring us. I know that in a different kind of way now. The Circle was an answer to a prayer and God’s way of reminding me that I can either live this life or I can struggle through it. I can be worried about making my house insurance payment or I can get back in the practice of living life by Faith and not fear. I have consciously stepped back into the Circle.
The struggle grows easier each day as I take responsibility for my thoughts and my choices. I’m more mindful than ever of distancing myself from those who are cynical and looking for something bad to happen. I recognize in a whole different way that time is Sacred — that my time is Sacred and my space is Sacred. I’ve taken charge and am owning the power God has given me to learn, grow and LIVE. I will keep you posted on my Circle journey and invite you to join me in the Circle too.
We are even more powerful when we work together and I would love to have your company as I practice moment by moment living life as it is meant to be lived. It would be an honor to walk in your Circle with you. Life isn’t supposed to be a struggle. Whomever said that it had to be, didn’t understand how it really works. I know from past experience that our thoughts are more powerful than we know and that God works in mysterious ways. I’m so grateful that I looked at my nightstand and didn’t dismiss the little book that changed my life in big ways.
I’ve been thinking about having a Circle support group. If any of you are interested in an end to the struggle and some change for the better, private message me and let’s see what we can figure out. Maybe we could meet once a month at Parrish House. For those who are not close we can still be in the Circle and work out a way to walk in the Circle together from wherever you may be.
I hope life is good for you. I have missed you!