Tuesday, May 20, 2008

It Only Takes a Moment

Tuesday, May 20 ~ Albuquerque, New Mexico

As I drive home from a lunch date with someone I haven't seen in a decade, a song from the musical Hello, Dolly! insinuates itself into my mind. The song, "It Only Takes a Moment," is a paean to love at first sight, but it reminds me how a single instant can precipitate an earth-quaking, life-shaking change in direction.

One of the most profound examples of that in my life occurred ten years ago, just before my last encounter with today's lunch partner. It was May 1, at a Beltane bonfire in Sedona, Arizona.

It was at that bonfire that I met my former wife, a meet-up whose sparks rivaled those that leapt up from the fire pit that night. A week later, we moved in together; six weeks after that we were married. The six-plus years that followed were filled with love, joy and a cornucopia of unexpected miracles, not the least of which was my daughter, who made her own spark-filled appearance at 9:11 a.m. on 9/11/99.

It only takes a moment...

The song and the accompanying memory take on particular significance for me today, during a period in my life filled with uncertainty and flux, a time when doubts about my path creep into any opening they can find, a period of fear, anger and confusion, a time when inner guidance is unclear and seems to shift from moment to moment.

There are energetic reasons for these experiences, experiences that I know are not unique to me at this time. But, for me, the reasons are less important than how I choose to respond to all that they have set in motion in my life in recent weeks.

When I woke up on that life-changing May morning ten years ago, I was angry and frustrated. Little that I had felt guided to expect had come to pass. Here I was in a new country, uncertain why I was here, unclear about how to proceed, unnerved by the seeming disconnect between inner knowingness and outer manifestation.

In a single instant 12 hours later, my life was thrust into a new direction and nothing was ever the same again. It was as though I had been reborn into a new world that bore only a passing resemblance to my old one.

It only takes a moment...

Today, I remember that instant and others like it and I know that one moment -- one breath -- is all it takes for the miracle that changes everything to appear unannounced.

I remember, too, that the key to receiving that miracle is to stay present in each moment, moment-by-moment. For unless I'm present in the moment, I may not notice the miracle that is its fruit. If I'm locked in worry and anxiety about the future -- and even the moment after this one is part of that future -- I may not be available to the angel who delivers the miracle.

Not every life-changing moment is a happy one. The human journey is filled with miracle-filled moments masquerading as bad news. The instant when my marriage ended was one of those, as was the moment I learned that my mother had cancer.

Yet even those moments brought with them wondrous gifts that I could never have predicted, like flowers blooming among the desert cactus.

And so as I move through the challenges of these times, I try to stay present in each moment, remembering that a moment is all it takes -- for worlds to topple, new life to birth and miracles to bloom.

It only takes a moment.

Photos by Mark David Gerson: Sandia cactus flower, Albuquerque, New Mexico

Your Voice, Your Muse

Monday, May 19 ~ Albuquerque, New Mexico

Apparently, one blog in my life (this one) isn't enough. A few weeks ago, to help support all you writers (and aspiring writers) out there, I felt moved to create The Voice of Your Muse, a new blog filled with tools, tips and inspiration designed to help get you writing and, more importantly, keep you writing.

Posts include tips for staying in the flow while writing on the computer, for birthing your book and for staying in the moment (and out of judgment). You'll also find inspirational quotes from other writers and a handy list of writing do's and don't's. As well, news from Canada about a self-published author who won the country's most prestigious (and lucrative) literary humor award is guaranteed to encourage all you DIY folks out there.

The blog already has more than two dozen posts and I'm committing to updating at least weekly (generally Sundays), so be sure to check in regularly or add the blog to your blog newsreader.

If you're a subscriber who gets these posts and my newsletters via e-mail, you won't automatically be getting posts from this additional blog. I don't want to overwhelm you with extra e-mail. (If you're not a subscriber, you can subscribe here).

However, I'm considering sending out an e-mail notification when new Voice of Your Muse posts are added. If you'd like to be on that separate list, drop me an e-mail or contact me using this link and I'll add you to this new list.

Although some posts will be adapted from my book, The Voice of the Muse: Answering the Call to Write, many will offer new or updated information. So don't ignore this new source of inspiration just because you have the book.

But if you do have the book, please check out the new Voice of Your Muse Google Group I've set up to help you connect with others working with The Voice of the Muse book or CD.

Regardless, please visit the new blog and add your comments!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Holy Faith II

Saturday, May 10 ~ Santa Fe, New Mexico

It's 2 pm. I'm sitting at my table in The Village at Eldorado shops just outside Santa Fe, exchanging sadly sympathetic glances with my fellow authors and publishers at this day-before-Mother's Day book fair, wondering, as are they, why I'm here.

Billed as a great opportunity to sell books to last-minute gift-givers, this event has been a bust, with few browsers and even fewer buyers.

Although the fair ends in an hour, I'm already starting to pack up. I'm not the only one.

I mutter under my breath as I refill my boxes and bins and load the car. After a week of financial setbacks, I had hoped for a breakthrough day. It's not even a break-even day.

A few hours and several errands later, I'm back on the freeway, heading home and still decidedly cranky. Then I see it: a sign for Santa Fe.

I don't believe in tests and I avoid describing any aspect of my experience here on earth as a "school." Tests can be failed and schools can be filled with bullies. For me (most days), there are no failing grades and no one trying to trip me up. I prefer, instead, to see life as a series of portals and initiations, each leading to higher levels of awareness and consciousness.

I realize as I see the highway sign that it's no accident that this particular initiation has taken place for me in Santa Fe, a city whose name translates as "holy faith."

My journey through this lifetime has largely been about trust -- trust that I'm on the right path...trust that my inner guidance is authentic...trust that, as I write, the next word will come...trust that as I surrender more completely to the highest imperative, I'm always taken care of.

Yet, each time I reach a plateau of trust, it doesn't take long before I'm thrust into a situation that calls on me on to trust more fully still.

That renewed call to trust always comes just as I'm about to step up into a new level of mastery and empowerment. And it nearly always challenges me to transcend my fear and continue to live a life wholly in faith.

In my novel, The MoonQuest, such a mirror for my own journey of trust, the main characters are reminded at a moment of great risk that there is no partial trust. "You either trust or you do not. There is no halfway in between," they're told.

I, too, need that message repeated. Frequently.

I, too, need to be reminded that each call to trust is a divine call, a call to deepen my faith in the power, passion and potential that is the Divine living in, as and through me.

I, too, need to remember the holy faith that guides, supports and prospers me. Always.

On a side note -- and in another reminder of the spirals of life that continue to carry us to higher levels of mastery -- I just discovered that I wrote the blog post titled Holy Faith I a year ago, almost to the day...also in Santa Fe.

Art by Mark David Gerson: #77 The Cathedral of St. Francis, Santa Fe, New Mexico

Monday, May 05, 2008

She's Called Nova Scotia

Saturday, April 26 ~ Albuquerque, New Mexico

She's called Nova Scotia
And she so makes you feel
You've discovered a treasure
No other has seen
- Rita MacNeil

It's late Friday night. I'm on the phone with a close friend in Toronto, talking about my projected road trip east this fall.

"It would be great to go all the way to Nova Scotia," I say, "but it's so far. It just doesn't make any sense."

A point of clarification: I lived in Nova Scotia on Canada's Atlantic coast for fourteen months in 1994-95. That's where I wrote most of the first two drafts of my novel The MoonQuest, and it's one of those places I've lived (along with Hawaii, New Mexico and Sedona, Arizona) that has lodged permanently in my heart. I've only been back once, in 1996, and often dream of returning for a visit.

My friend hesitates and his late-night, fatigue-slurred words suddenly become clear and precise.

"Maybe," he says, "you need to go back because of The MoonQuest. Maybe you need to go back to trigger something that will take you and The MoonQuest to the next level."

I jerk up in my seat. I had never considered the MoonQuest connection when thinking about going back to Nova Scotia. It feels right, but...

An hour later, I'm lying in bed. With so much in my life in flux these days, I decide to ask for guidance -- about Nova Scotia and other aspects of my road trip, about the relationship that is still too distant to touch even as I feel it edging closer, about whether the house I'm renting will sell before my lease is up, about whether to store or sell my furniture... In short, I ask for guidance about everything, hoping my nighttime dreams will offer some clarity.

I toss and turn all night, never sleeping longer than an hour at a stretch, and wake up frustrated and exhausted, no wiser than I was at bedtime.

By the time I'm done with breakfast, I can barely keep my eyes open and so return to bed for a nap. Two hours later, I wake up from the kind of illuminating dream I had been seeking.

In the dream, I'm telling my ex about the phone conversation with my Toronto friend. As I recount the story, I get emotional and begin to sob.

I don't feel the same emotional charge when I wake up, but I have learned over the years that my conscious self is not always as open as it could be, that I sometimes require dreams and others signs to tell me what my heart desires. It's clear in this moment that, whatever the reason, my heart desires to re-experience Nova Scotia and the places there that so deeply fed me and The MoonQuest.

Whatever else this journey east from New Mexico is about, it's clear in this moment that Nova Scotia is part of it. As for the rest, all I can do -- yet again -- is trust and surrender to the higher wisdom that guides me...in every moment that I'm open to it.