Oprah Laughs Like My Aunt Lois

Silence.  That's where I've been residing.  Not that I didn't want to write or hadn't missed it.  There was just an empty hush to be quiet, to not expound, pontificate or even create.  I didn't fight it really.  Other things just seemed to take precedence.  

Slipping into silence came really without warning.  It too left about the same way it came - like a switch. 

Words came back and my mind screen fired up. It rebooted I guess. The first thing I remember thinking again creatively and having the burning compulsion to write down was, "Oprah laughs just like my Aunt Lois!".  What an odd thought to bring me back from my writing coma.  I stopped on my walk while listening to Oprah's podcast, "Super Soul Conversations", to type that phrase into my phone.  It was followed by my own incredulous laugh at what marked my inaugural re-entry of writing thoughts on paper.

Just like that I was back inside myself once again. The silence scattered like fog exposed to sun. Words came alive in my head without warning, conjure or knowing exactly how they magically reappeared. My creative soul returned.

I had forgotten the sweet and magical feeling of words to paper that resurrect from a spark of a thought, a smell, a feeling, a memory, an internal battle being waged, or sometimes, from thin air.  Mostly though, I had forgotten the call deep in my soul that was there from my earliest memories.  That call we all carry to be who we were designed and created to be - the space that we flourish in.  Doing that thing is like oxygen to our spirit. It's like wind atop a mountain.  And, not doing it, feels like changing a tire in the rain, touching a baby chick with latex gloves on. It leaves us parched, disconnected and clunky.

I had no desire to feel parched, disconnected or clunky.  It didn't matter if I made the New York Times bestseller list, or if Oprah discovered my written treasures.  I just needed to be the person in the space I was designed to be.  Writing was that space.  What comes out is just a propelling need to empty on paper the dark places with some irreverence, and a hope that calls others to feel loved and free.  That last part though was also part of my calling, my imprint to bring to the world.  I needed to write to connect people to who they are, to their humanity, to find freedom, to give words their own hidden thoughts, and to see the light that is bigger than themselves.

After that moment, the thoughts came more and more.  My walks and runs were riddled with explosive thoughts, stops to write them down, joy they were returning, and perplexity about how to corral them into something readable and tangible.  Did I want buck shot writing -  so much to say about so many things but no real concentration on any one thing?  I felt like I was about to explode with all the trains of thoughts and where they could take me on paper.  

I had already done the exercise of writing every day for about 5 years, practicing a skill while getting out random thoughts and subjects.  Some writings were better than others.  A few were brilliant and poignant.  And more times than not, they were stagnant. Which I suppose mirrored how life is as well!

My pseudo monk non-writing silence jag had been filled with a lot of journey into the deep parts of me.  If writers write from a pure sense of needing to get the thing out, whether read by others or not, then what did I need to start with getting out?  What had I learned in my monkish hiatus? What did I need to say that resonates with the sometimes inarticulate parts in all of us?

When I was a kid, my only point of reference for what occurred in my head - in my thinking, was myself.  That is a good marker, and ultimately the one we need to be ok with it - ourselves and our own path.  But, it creates a tilted view of how others operate and assumes that everyone has the same experience in their head that you're having. I've since learned, after asking my two older sisters if that was how it was for them, thinking excessively, that it was not.  

Research experts estimate that the mind thinks between 60,000-80,000 thoughts a day. That’s an average of 2,500-3,300 thoughts per hour.  That just sounds exhausting.  Those stats show how hard it is to "turn off" our minds as well, a practice I was presently working on.  Now those 60,000-80,000 thoughts a day aren't necessarily Nobel Peace or Pulitzer Prize winning thoughts, but minutia like; isn't that cool my light on my desk turns on with almost no hand pressure, I don't like that color, listen to the birds, I gotta get the dry cleaning, slow driver, Oprah laughs like my Aunt Lois!  They happen rapid fire, both consciously and unconsciously.

My guess is I exceed that average.  Which to create an average someone has to exceed the average to create the average to begin with. 

And honestly, Oprah really does laugh like my Aunt Lois. 


A Step Back From Chaos

Inside me resides a handful of chronic health conditions, some of which date back to childhood. There is a bigness, scariness and ever present-ness to unwelcome things that take up residence in your life and don't leave. There’s a balance, a tight rope walk of a life like that. The responsibility I hold in managing those conditions daily can feel daunting. Realizing I’m not in control of anything, while fostering I’m more than these conditions, can be tricky at times. I have found myself there over the years as I’ve not always been on the winning side of the mental and emotional part of chronic health issues. 

The current COVID 19 pandemic has reached a point where we are consumed by it. Indeed we all have a responsibility to be wise, informed, empathetic of others pain, mindful of its spread, and offensive in our fight against it. There is though, a saturation tipping point we have reached with thoughts, life, conversations and news. Disruptions, grief and fear flood our worlds holding us hostage, mentally and emotionally paralyzed and swirling with negativity inside and out. 

It is definitely negative. None of us would ever think a pandemic virus is a positive. Knowing that, negative energy can sustain and grow a life of tentacles all on its own. You are more than this horrific virus, we are more than it, your life and family are more than it. There is a grave somberness in the death, pain and havoc it has brought to people, communities, states, countries, and ultimately the entire world. Life indeed has been draped in a cloak of heaviness, defeat, sorrow, despair, blame and fear for the future.  There is though something that though unseen, lies parallel.

Opposites have co-existed in our world since creation; light and darkness, good and evil, birth and death, sorrow and joy, pain and pleasure. It is possible to have two distinct lines in our lives; chaos and peace, despair and hope, fear and hope, loss and growth, scarcity and abundance. We are called and designed to keep living, seeking the opposite of those negatives. They need no fertilizer as they as spread and grow exponentially unless we choose to halt them and contrast them against their opposite.  

Living cannot be done perpetually in a state of panic, fear, and never ending grief. In never abating chronic illness one has to eventually forge a new way, to dig deeper to a purposeful reinvention of yourself on a solid new base of faith, hope and joy. Beautiful gems lie on that cathartic path to who we are really ordained to be.  

We don’t control much in life, though we choose to live through a false belief that we do. We can though be the kingpin, the czar of our own thoughts, beliefs and emotions. That's all we hold sway over. When we look to someone, something beyond what we can control, we take back and hold captive beliefs and thoughts that do not serve to create a flourish in our souls and spirits.  

God, in His great love for us in our creation, knew our heart tendency to micro focus on the big, the scary, the uncontrollable.  He made a decree that He is I Am.  It is not COVID 19, chronic illness, the loss of a job, failed relationships.  God is bigger than all things seen and unseen, all things in our control or out of it. He is the positive to our negative charge. 

All of creation is a crazy swirl of chaos and order.  Our human life mirrors that at times. There is something special to be found in living just one day at a time without leaving its boundaries to make up the fearful future or to be in sorrow for the past.  For those that find themselves here with me, think of what you know to be good, true and excellent.  Ponder them daily and how much Jesus loves every piece of who you are.  And, if you don't know those things, the God who made you exactly you wants to be in your world, heart and mind.