Tag Archives: Higher Power

The Quest for Perfection

More Webs

“Who are you to judge the life I live?
I know I’m not perfect
-and I don’t live to be-
but before you start pointing fingers…
make sure you hands are clean!”
Bob Marley

I have been thinking alot about perfection lately. What I have been thinking about it would probably surprise you. At this ripe age of 57, I am relieved to find that I have very little interest anymore in being a perfectionist.

Why? Perfection is usually unachievable and based on perception. What I may think is perfect, you may not. And what you may think is perfect, I may not. To the degree that we differ, what lies in that gray area? (probably a big difference of opinion)

I will tell you this. I believe that only what is created by nature and the universe is rooted in perfection. When I look at the magnificent sky every day, a honeybee on my basil plant, the face of a new born baby, I know this is perfection. The sun, moon, and stars are perfection. The dew on the morning grass is too.

So what does this awareness do for me? It releases me from the quest of having to do things over and over, ad nauseam. It also gives me the permission to apologize- which I do fairly frequently- without guilt. After all, I am not perfect.

What this isn’t is an excuse. It is not a reason to not try harder; I must be alittle more diligent about my health, attentive to my family, and nicer and kinder to wait staff at restaurants. If I am to be a spiritual being living a human life, I need to not forget that all living creatures are deserving of unconditional love and respect.

Two people passed away that I knew in the last week. Yes, it was sad. I went to the funeral of Margaret (yiayia Teta) this past Monday. There was something at the luncheon afterwards that blew me away. Yiayia had nine grandsons. Seven of them were there. Before we all ate, they stood in a line and said their favorite yiayia memories. It was unforgettable.

I couldn't help taking this picture. Gorgeous- all of them.

I couldn’t help taking this picture. Gorgeous- all of them.

These were truly kleenex moments. What I loved best was each one of them said that yiayia told him he was her favorite. I need to remember that. It is priceless.

At the funeral before the luncheon, I actually listened to the words of the priest. He did most of the service in English and I don’t remember hearing SO much of it ever before. He said basically, you can’t take it with you. Wow, you really can’t.

I was reminded (again) this week how fleeting life is. It is over in the blink of an eye. Why waste another moment on the relentless pursuit of perfection, unless it’s the God created variety? My friend Shelly gave me a little plaque once that said “Good Enough is Really Good Enough.” It was the (haha!) perfect gift. I got it out the other day and set it on my dresser. It’s a good time to be reminded of it.

“I am careful not to confuse excellence with perfection. Excellence, I can reach for; perfection is God’s business.”
Michael J. Fox

 Don’t forget to check out my sharings on the Orthodox Christian Network.

Please follow and like us:
998

Spring and Renewal

DSC_0040

“Expect to have hope rekindled. Expect your prayers to be answered in wondrous ways. The dry seasons in life do not last. The spring rains will come again.” Sarah Ban Breathnach

Here in the Northeast USA, it is hard to tell it is Spring.

It has snowed every day this week- an amazing feat for Pittsburgh in late March. I can’t remember when it’s snowed so much, especially since the first day of spring has already passed.

I have been thinking about buds, new life and renewal. When spring arrives, we all have a chance to dust ourselves off, change up to more color and start anew. I’m feeling like a living testament to change…to spring….to new life.

DSC_0045Everything I have laid in place over the last two years is going to shift….again. My mother’s illness has been the catalyst. I am reminded of M. Scott Peck‘s ideals, documented in his famous book “The Road Less Traveled”. In it, he describes how we all have internal “maps” of where we go and what we do. Well, my “map” is about to change. I’m choosing a new path on my road of life.

Here’s the first change. I’ve put notice in at my job and am leaving in two weeks. Yes, I am trading my comfortable, secure, full time job for more time. Time I wish to spend with my mom, my family, friends and myself.

Change number two. I need some source of income so I signed up to be an independent sales consultant with a company that looks very…faithful. I am going to shamelessly self promote myself just this once. Check out www.faithco.net/joannecain to see my latest venture. (PS. That is not me at the bottom of the website!)

So whew! So much change. What inspired all this? Well, in addition to my mother’s long illness, time played a major factor in bringing me around . You have a lot of time to think when your loved one is in the hospital for an extended period. You have nothing to do but sit there, think, fill up glasses with ice water, think, watch mom sleep, think. It is life changing really; the shift that occurs in your thought process when you realize how precious, fragile and short life really is.

In all my pondering and all these precious blocks of time I’ve had lately, I’ve been wondering if God sometimes hits me over the head to get my attention. “What does it take” I imagine him saying, “to push you to your next level, to get on with it, for goodness sakes?”

Because I confess…I had been thinking for months about how to spend more time with my family and on the things I am passionate about (writing, non profit work). I had some ideas but I was holding back. I was hesitant to let go of the security within my life; a life comfortable and fulfilling, just not as deeply spiritual as I yearned it to be.

What does God have planned for me? Truly, I don’t know. My one friend likes to say, “God has a plan for us, but we are not on the planning committee.” If I am willing to turn my life over to a power greater than myself, I’m sure my purpose going forth will present itself to me.

DSC_0036Photos of “Snowdrops” by my daughter, Michelene Cain

Tell me…..Have you ever given something over completely to faith? What happened?

Please follow and like us:
998

The Stuff Dreams Are Made Of

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”
Eleanor Roosevelt

What do you dream about?

I don’t mean the dreams you dream while sitting still in traffic, or the lofty ones formulated while meeting good friends for dinner. I think of those as goals or aspirations. I am talking about the dreams you dream when you fall asleep.

My dreams have really gone through cycles over the course of my life. About seven years ago, I had finally begun to feel God’s unconditional love working in my life. Where formerly I had always feared wrath and judgement, my thoughts of God had become loving, calm and reassuring.

So during this time of reassurance there were (ironically) large monsters in my dreams. They were at times, ferocious and scary. But in my dreams I was always at a safe distance. I would observe the monsters and think, Well, I probably should get out of the room. Or better yet, They cannot harm me.

The closest I ever came to reading or hearing something similar to my monster dreams was when I read a book written by a little boy entitled, “Heaven is for Real“. When I read Colton’s description of the monsters in Heaven, and of his Savior Jesus’ triumph over them, I really got a chill. His description of the monsters rivaled those in my dreams.

The monster dreams have vanished for now. Lately, my dreams consist of people and places, interactions…. and bravery. I have had a few significant acts of bravery within my dreams. When my mom was ill last month, I had a two fold dream. In it, she was in her home looking out the window of her front door. I was standing next to her. A very large and powerful truck (yep!) came and swallowed her up. I briefly panicked. In the next moment, she was next to me again, we were both looking out the window and the truck was in the driveway, idling. Mom and I stood together and stared it down. It did not harm her again.

I took this to be another sign that mom would recover. Her illness had temporarily derailed her but she would fight back. This week, my mom finally returned home from the hospital. God is good.

One of the most significant dreams I have ever had involved a friend of mine. When Sue told me months ago she was pregnant, I had a dream about her that very night. The whole dream was tinted in pink. My sweet friend just had her baby this week. Guess what? It was a girl.

Do I believe dreams can foretell the future? Maybe. More, I think they are a mirror of our soul. Our fears, hopes and emotions can manifest themselves deep inside of us and dreams are perhaps, the way our soul expresses itself.

Do you believe in dreams? What do you dream about?

Please follow and like us:
998

On Heaven, Faith…and Love

DSC_0280

I’ve been reading a lot of books lately. Many books, mainly on Heaven and Faith. It has given me much food for thought.

In the last six months or so, I’ve read “Heaven is for Real“, “90 Minutes in Heaven“,  “In the Shadow of a Badge” and I just finished “Proof of Heaven“. Lest you think I am completely off my rocker, I’ve also read “Explosive Eighteen” (I love those Stephanie Plum novels!), just to give my brain a break. And…I’m in the process of finishing “Everything Matters, Nothing Matters” by Gina Mazza and “Help Thanks Wow” by Anne Lamott. Yep, I am steeped in Heaven and Faith lately.

Here’s the hodgepodge of thoughts running through my head about Heaven, Faith and Love.

DSC_00041. It’s all about Love- Unconditional Love. The Universe (God, your Higher Power) loves and cherishes you and me unconditionally. Literally, we can do no wrong. We are forgiven.

2. You and I can have a deep relationship spiritually with the Universe (again God, HP) if we but take some bits of time to connect and feel the spirit deep in our soul. Prayer and Meditation help with this.

3. At the very least, we can have a kitchen sink of faith; the kind that doesn’t answer to any real organized religion. It can be a belief system of our own creation. I think God isn’t really picky. S/He just wants you and I to be happy.

Now, this may not sit well with everyone reading this and that’s ok. I am not aiming to stir up controversy (well, maybe!) but I just want you to THINK a bit.

IMGThat’s what I’m trying to do. THINK a bit. And keep myself open to all that I can learn and feel about God and Faith. There was something I read recently, something that seems too well placed to be just a coincidence. Here it is:

“Once I knew that I wanted to be an artist, I had made myself into one. I did not understand that wanting doesn’t always lead to action. Many of the women had been raised without the sense that they could mold and shape their own lives, and so, wanting to be an artist (but without the ability to realize their wants) was for some of them, only an idle fantasy, like wanting to go to the moon”. Judy Chicago

What do you really want? Do you have the courage to ask for and then receive and accept your dream?

I am beginning to realize that I can truly dare to dream on a higher level and a wish can become reality. Or better yet, I can have no idea what would be right for me and dare I stand back and let God choose for me?

Yes, it is a huge leap of faith. And it is not about taking the bull by the horns. It is about stepping back, letting go and allowing Faith to step in and assist.

(Thanks again to my daughter Michelene and my sister Cally for these photos!)

What’s your brand of faith? Share it with me…I’d love to hear about it!

Please follow and like us:
998

Fear Not

Decide that you want it more than you are afraid of it.  ~Bill Cosby

Photos by Michelene Cain

I am afraid of a lot of things. I am afraid of success, failure, ignorance and embarrassment. I am also afraid of spiders, the dark and of being in situations in which I do not have control. If I stopped to let my fears take hold of me, I of course think they would do me some serious damage.

There has been so much in the news lately to make us afraid. People have been committing unreal acts of violence to innocent people, without motive. No wonder there is so much fear in the world. It makes me think twice about going anywhere in public these days.

Fear came up in a conversation recently with some friends of mine. We talked about our worst case scenario and what would we do if it happened. I think we decided that we would just get through it. We’d muddle about, figuring it out. There are people who would help us too if we needed it. To rely on one another is not a sign of weakness, but a sign of strength.

I heard a speaker once who said that when she is afraid she pretends she is a small child, and she runs and hides under God’s great robes. In there, she feels safe. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve used that mantra to get me through something scary.

A couple of years ago, I realized I was in a situation that was becoming more and more of a drain. I loved my job but the distance I was traveling had become a huge burden. It would have been easy to stay at that job until retirement but I wanted a better quality of life for myself. The fear of starting a new job all over again, at age 53, was scary.

I finally made the decision that I wanted the quality of life more than I was afraid of starting over. An opportunity opened up for me, close to home, that I had been hoping for. I took the job. A year later, Life is better. It hasn’t all been easy, but it’s definitely worth it. Courage is fear that has said its prayers.

Photos by Michelene Cain

Please follow and like us:
998

Magical Moments

English: Fireworks on the Fourth of July

Happy New Year!

How was your New Year’s? I spent mine differently this year. Usually I stay home with my significant other, have something special to eat then either go to bed early or watch the ball drop, then go to bed.

I belong to a church that had a New Year’s dance this year so I knew I had to go and support it. My mom wanted to come as did two other couples we know via the sobriety community.

We had a wonderful time. It is amazing how truly possible it is to have a good time without alcoholic beverages. The food was good, the music was great and it felt magical to be out celebrating a holiday with so many other people.

Two other moments happened on New Year’s Eve day. First, I sent a text to my husband about a friend of ours and in less than a minute, the friend just happened to call me. In another moment, I walked to my mailbox (it is down abit on our road) and while there, I saw my nephew about to leave for a three week journey to another country. I ran to give him a hug and kiss and wish him safe travels.

These small moments mean something very big to me. The timing of them suggests a spiritual connectedness. It makes me wonder: if I was less distracted by minor concerns, would I notice more opportunities that I may be currently missing? Could I be led along a more meaningful path if only I paid a bit more attention?

I am always searching for a deeper relationship with God and to my fellow human beings. Experimenting with different acts of loving kindness, surrounding myself with people who are also striving for meaningful relationships, and trying to live a less ME- centered life may make this happen.

In 2012, my goal is to slow down and listen for direction instead of forcing it. Who knows where I may end up? Happy New Year to you!

Please follow and like us:
998