Categories
Straight Wait

Trust

Me and my dog on a walk alone at a local nature reserve getting some down time. Photo taken by myself, Diane Woodrow, mid July 2022
Llanfairfechan taken by myself July 2022

I don’t normally fill my posts with bible verses but for the past few days these Bible verses has been buzzing about in my head. Firstly –

Trust in the Godhead/the Universe with all of your heart, lean not on your own understanding. Acknowledge God in all you do and God will make your paths straight

Proverbs 3:5-6

There has been some stuff going on, and still is, that I’m not 100% sure about. But this verse, one that gets handed out regularly to those who are just starting out on their journey with Jesus, keeps buzzing around. And I have realised something …. It doesn’t mean just acknowledge the Godhead in the Christian activities you do, the things you think are “good” things, but it means acknowledge God in EVERYTHING YOU DO.

So that means in work, in family life, in church life, in therapies, in sport, in walking the dog, in making meals, in talking with people, etc, etc, etc. Now that doesn’t mean dropping God into all things, or even trying to be “holy”, whatever that means. I think it just means remembering and knowing that God is in all that you do – almost whether they are acknowledge or not. But it makes a huge difference when they are acknowledged.

For for instance I was somewhere and things were not going as I would have like and I was feeling a bit tense, but once I took myself off, did some deep breathing, did some remembering of the QEC things I had done and making sure I placed my whole trust, not just a bit of it, in God’s hands I felt so much calmer.

From there I acknowledge God in all that was going on and let go of what I thought was right and proper [my understanding] and from that moment things just went smoother. And things can only go smoothly if the path is straight and level.

Ok I had to keep coming back to that point of breathing, of remembering the QEC stuff and placing my trust in God not in my understanding, but each time I did I felt more at peace.

It did not change the situation but it changed my heart, changed my direction, changed what I was thinking and feeling.

Now I stand at a place where I feel I am waiting for something to happen. I can either wait for doors to open or I can volunteer for things and fill my time. Whilst pondering this another bible verse came to mind

Stand at the crossroads and look, ask for the ancient paths. Ask where the good way is and walk in it and you will find rest for your soul

Jeremiah 16:6

And I feel like as I am trusting God with all my heart and acknowledging them in all my ways so it means I have to stand and look and ask. I don’t know what my ancient ways are, but I do know that I’d love to go and do whatever gives my soul rest.

And I don’t think rest means doing nothing. I think it means doing what we are meant to do, doing what keeps us in flow, what gives us life.

So volunteering might be the right thing, waiting for doors to open might be the right thing, getting my writing out there might be the right thing. But for now I am going to stand, wait, ask and trust with all that I am, that God will let me know and give me peace as to which way to walk; that I will see those straight paths.

Categories
gratitude hospitality

The Wild Hospitality of God

Pensarn beach, near Abergele. Photographed by myself Diane Woodrow
Taken this morning on my walk

I walked on the beach this morning, powerful waves pounding the shoreline [this picture does not do that sound justice at all], strong wind whipping my hair, images from the James Webb telescope in my brain, pondering the wild hospitality of God, because that is the latest topic on Godspace and I’ve been trying to write a post for it.

It amazes me that God gave us this earth to do with it as we wish, and it often looks like we have just trashed it, tamed it, worked it how we want, abused it. How often have we been disappointed when we have given someone, be that family member or friend, something special of ours and they’ve not down with it as we would have hoped? Don’t know about you but it makes me reluctant to give again. Yet God knows the beginning from the end because they are outside of time and place and yet still gave us this amazing earth. Now that is wild hospitality. But God also gave us the whole universe; too far away for us to trash, change or abuse yet there for us to marvel at and enjoy.

HOSPITALITY the act of being friendly and welcoming

Letting us, even once we have abused the gift we were given, be able to hopefully restore it, but also to be able to marvel at those awesome pictures from the James Webb telescope, sunsets and sunrises, a new born – whether human or animal, trees growing and changing, insects, I could go on and on. So much to wonder at, so much to explore. So much to show how friendly and welcoming God is.

I know if I was God I would stop giving good gifts because of the way my gifts had been mistreated, but God just keeps on giving. And for that I am going to marvel at the wild hospitality of God, the awesomeness of God and the forgiveness of God.

And as Jesus finished talking to the man who asked who his neighbour was I will try and go and “do likewise

Categories
Flexible trust

Flexibility

Photograph taken by Diane Woodrow
View from a walk taken by myself

I had a plan on Friday. Sarah from Everyday Words had just started her series of prompts for Write a Poem a Day in April because April is National Poetry month. My plan was to write from her prompts each day and post them through out April on both this website and my website, Barefoot At The Kitchen Table, which I use to promote my writing workshops to get a bit of footfall through there. Well as you can see that did not happen.

Instead I got a job!!!

A friend of mine works in a local pub and is going to be off work for 4-6 weeks for a much needed operation. I’d been pondering about asking if I could do some shifts whilst she was off as things are quiet with regard to writing workshops, and was hoping maybe if my time was more focused I might just write more. Anyway I never got around to asking. But on Friday morning her and I were off out for coffee. She was having a quick chat with the landlord of the pub about something else when I turned up at her house and said “need to go as Diane and I are off for a coffee”. She was on speaker phone and he shouted “Diane, do you want a job?” So instead of going for coffee we went to the pub where I had a quick interview and started work that self same evening.

It meant that my head was in a bit of a different place and also I had to get done those things I wouldn’t have time to do. But mainly it was because I was really nervous about starting.

Funny isn’t it how I’ve been doing all this trusting in God/The Universe to sort things out for me and yet when they do it all of a sudden I go into a bit of panic – adrenaline. But also I did not go into sorting out my autonomic nervous system [ANS] but just allowed myself to be in freeze mode for a bit.

What this has showed me is that one’s ANS goes into fight/flight/freeze/fawn mode over change as much as over good/bad things. It is always there to protect us from the perceived dangers out there – which is great because I don’t want to be eaten by a lion – but also don’t want to be in high alter mode just about starting a new job.

Some of the panic was also because I had already planned what I was going to do Friday night and had to change that. No matter how much I talk about having flexible boundaries, of being aligned rather than set in hard stone, of trusting and going with the flow, I still like my safe routines, my knowing what is going on.

So once I had worked that out I was then kind to myself about how I felt, let expectations go and was able to really enjoy Friday night – even though some very drunk man decided to kick off and I got a pint of larger poured all over me.

I so love that life isn’t settled, that it is a learning curve and as Beth commented on another post “we are only human after all”.

So I shall enjoy learning, enjoying being human, enjoy making mistakes, enjoy knowing that I don’t have to stay in a state of anxiety and can more on.

Also with this job I am going to have to learn to go with the flow because it is Sunday morning and the landlord still hasn’t sorted the rota out for next week so I will just have to trust that it will all be fine 🙂

[Post for the Everyday Words prompts will start coming as from tomorrow 🙂 ]

Categories
Castle Security trust

Castles!

A castle in Gwynedd, North Wales, photographed on my husband's birthday in June 2018. Taken by Diane Woodrow
Dolbadarn Castle. Taken by myself June 2018

Last night I had two dreams with castles in them. I have looked up what “dreaming about castles” means and there are many different interpretations. Then I journaled around and about castles for myself.

I’ve had a few things going on recently that have left me a bit insecure and I think that might have been the reason for the dream. I want something safe and secure – for myself and my loved ones. But being a medieval historian as well as a writer I know that castles aren’t as secure as one would like. It is a perceived security not a real one.

A castle could be besieged; wall dug beneath and weaken or surrounded and wait for the occupants to stare or throw in contaminated meat and poison the occupants. Castles weren’t as safe as one would have liked them to be.

So I wonder whether sometimes we try to build things like castles – boundaries, walls, barricades – in our hearts, lives, work, relationships – to try to keep out the things we perceive to be bad and keep in the order of things we perceive to be good. And it is our order we can contain within our castle walls – when not being besieged. But all we are doing is exerting our control because of our fear and lack of trust in ourselves, others, the Universe, God. But all of these things need lots of maintenance and effort. And all can be destroyed.

Even though I think in my heart I want to build strong castle walls to keep myself safe and to exert my control on the things I know, even though it looks strong that it is in fact fragile. Instead I need to be in the open, be free to the changes of the seasons, trust in those around me, trust in God/the Universe, let go of fear.

If I do this I can be free to run in open meadows not trapped within castle walls. It may seem more scary out there but in fact, if I can trust then I can be free

Down on the Abergwyngregan coastal path. Photographed by Diane Woodrow
Categories
Courage faith

Role Models

Picture of a path through the woods with the sunlight peeking through. Taken by Diane Woodrow
Picture from my morning walk – 14th March 2022 – taken by myself

I was reading Jon Kuhrt’s blog on Herd Immunity this morning – [and I know I use parts of his blogs often, but that is because what he writes resonates with me. I would suggest everyone sign up to follow him.] It was the part about Courage and Faith that I pondered as I was dog walking this morning, and of how to be able to live in Courage and Faith we need to have role models to help us walk it out.

The picture above is of a walk I used to do regular but then, for some reason, I got nervous climbing up the steep track to get to it. Everyone who climbs it says they get out of breath but for some reason I decided it was beyond me. Also there are loads of lovely walks around me that I could do so it wasn’t a great hardship. Then on Friday I met up with a friend for a dog walk. She lives at the bottom of this hill so suggested going up there. And we did. And I realised why I loved going so much – the trees, the light through the trees, the peace, being above the town – and so this morning my dog and I went up there. And we loved it. But we needed that supporter, that role model to encourage us back up.

But that was what got me thinking about living in courage and faith and not getting caught in herd immunity. If one has always been brought up with being fearful, of not stepping out, of not disagreeing with people, of believing what is taught or told from the media, of believing the world is dangerous, of deciding that God only answers prayers if they go a certain way, even that God isn’t quite to be trusted, to never say No because you need to be a “good girl”, to always need friends around you whether they enlighten you or drag you down. All those things encourage people to live in fear, anxiety, distrust, doubt, and feel safe agreeing with their herd, their tribe, their group.

But if one doesn’t have a role model to help your live in courage and faith one can swing in the opposite direction. So when one has been told not to disagree and wants to breakaway then one can swing to being angry and argumentative and always defending their point of view. If one wants to breakaway from being brought up not to trust God or others, and that the world is a dangerous place, one could swing so far the other way that it becomes a blase, “Pollyanna” way of life. If one has been brought up never to say No and wants to change from that, one could move into always saying No even to good things. If one been brought up not to be courageous then one can step out and take too many risks and get hurt or hurt others.

So we need to have role models to help us walk courageously along the path chosen for us. We need to have role models who model true trusting faith in a mighty creator who loves us unconditionally. To find them we need to be bold. To find them we need to test if they are what they say they are. To find them we need to not follow the herd to next big name, the next big issue, the next big thing.

We need to test the waters. We need to be bold enough to look within ourselves. We need to be healed from the need to follow the herd, to be safe with a crowd. That is not to say we need to be on our own but we need to be with people we can be ourselves in all our fallenness and that we can accept their fallibility.

We need to not be swayed by the waves of media which feed our fears but be bold enough to really listen to what God/the Universe is saying to us. Then we too can be role models to others.

Categories
change Flexible

Flexibility

Photo taken by Diane Woodrow walking by the sea at Rhyl, of birds flying into the air together over the incoming tide
Rhyl Blue Bridge Feb 2022

Flexibility or the ability to go with the flow is so important in this journey towards being aligned.

Things to change. Nothing stays the same. As someone said “the only thing we can be certain of in this world is change”. But if we are flowing in alignment then we do not need to fear change because we are not being pulled by others, by media, by fears, by circumstances.

Take these birds. When I got my phone out to take a photo of them they were all calmly sitting on the sandbank, but at this point the incoming tide had sent a wave over the sandbank so they took off in flight. That is because they are flexible. Yes they have moved with the circumstances of the incoming tide. They have not got boundaries so fixed that they will remain on that sandbank no matter what, but are willing to go with the tides.

Interesting keeping on the subject of birds being flexible and staying aligned with what is going on. Very early into lockdown, when people were not getting takeaways or going to the office and eating the park, the seagulls here took to fishing back out at sea again. But now that people are out, that there is more food litter, they are back in the parks, on the sea front – and one even swiped the top off my husband’s ice cream on Sunday afternoon. They are not working on fixed boundaries but are aligned with what is going on in the wider world.

But to do this one does need to slow down a bit, to listen to one’s heart, to wait and see. When one is reacting rather than flowing with each change and event, and not listening to the bigger picture, there is a lot of tension, a lot of boundaries being put up but very little flow. And very little peace.

Also, I believe, that each of us needs to listen to what God/The Universe is telling us which could be different to what someone else is saying. Whether it is to do with personal situations or world situations we need to slow down, wait on the bigger picture, and then move.

Interestingly waiting doesn’t need to take long. Like with the lockdown seagulls they soon understood the change and knew how to stay alive.

We need to listen to what God/The Universe is saying to us rather than keep being drawn into what the media tells us.

Categories
Alignment boundaries healing

No More Boundaries

A wall sheltering a shingle beach with rocks and seaweed on it, looking across to Anglesey with t he tide out. Taken by Diane Woodrow
Abergwyngregyn nature reserve taken by myself on 19th January 2022 at 9.15am

During my QEC session we talk a lot about not having boundaries but being in alignment to the world around you and your energy. I’ve been pondering a lot about it because it is counterintuitive to a lot of what one gets taught. How often have we all heard about “having clear boundaries” or even about “having boundaries that are flexible“. I attended a lovely workshop once around looking at boundaries – a fallen down fence, a brick wall and a wall with a gate in it, with the wall with the gate in it being what we should aim for. All sounded really good. Then I get this spanner in the works and because I trust so much else of what I’m doing through QEC I have to work this through.

As you can see from the wall above when a storm comes, or when it isn’t cared for, it falls and the sea rushes in. This is what we’re encouraged not to do – not to let the sea cascade in because …. because we could come to harm. So we spend a lot of energy working on those walls, even making sure the gate is in the right place and is well maintained. But alignment is a totally different thing.

I had gone through a bit of an issue with someone I was working with where I felt out of alignment with them and felt I was not getting the justice I deserved. Whilst pondering around this I was also doing some meditation around focusing on Jesus and the Cross and Healing what came to me was that “healing is once the pain has gone and the wound is clean” But how does that happen?

What I realised was that to get that healing I had been coming at it from a “your will be done” but wanting God’s will to actually match up with mine. So it was much more “my will be done. This has caused me thinking about my boundaries and what I wanted rather than what would being peace in my world.

As I let God/The Universe take over my niggles and need for my justice I felt myself calming, felt myself coming into alignment with God/The Universe’s peace for me. And that is the only word I can use to describe it – “peace“. I would say I got “healed of needing to know the bigger picture”.

So I may not look to the cross every time I feel discombobulated by something but I will learn to relax into alignment with a bigger will than my own. Once I can do that then there is no need for boundaries; no need to know what comes next; no need to even know why. There is peace. There is freedom. There is trust.

I know this will be an on going thing because I have been brought up for too long thinking I’m only safe if I’m behind a boundary but in fact I am safer when I am aligned to God/The Universe’s bigger picture and trusting God has it covered.

Categories
Blown by the Spirit freelancing

Blown By The Spirit

a canal towpath, barges on the canal, trees picking up the early morning sunshine. Taken by Diane Woodrow
Bradford on Avon canal at sunrise August 2021 taken by myself

There was a phrase that I heard many times when I first committed to walking out the Christian faith which was about being “blown by the Holy Spirit”. The way it was taught was that God would send the Holy Spirit which would take us wherever God wanted. In my thinking that meant to other countries, off on mission, etc, etc. But now, as I progress in this journey, I wonder if it is much more an internal things – that I need to let God’s Holy Spirit guide me in my thinking, my ways of doing things, and just the general day to day.

Each moment of my day I should be “blown by the Spirit” [and I wish I could find the actual bible verses that this is from] not just in the big things of life. In fact I do now wonder if too often many of us have missed out on the ordinary because we have been waiting for the extraordinary.

This came to me the other morning as I was pondering about things for this new year. I wanted to be true to my Freelance calling. So, as I do each morning, after doing yoga with the cat [who is often more enthusiastic than I am about it], I sat calmly on my mat and held my work projects in my open hands, along with the rest of the year. I gave up these projects, and all future ones, to God/to the Universe to do with as they willed, and without thinking asked God to blow them as the Spirit willed.

Oh my word! It was the most releasing of experiences. Suddenly I was freed from any burden of them. Suddenly I was free of having to “get them right” and was able to just let them go, to sit lightly with them.

There have been one or two issues with them since that day and at times I have forgotten that I’ve given them to be “blown by the Spirit”. But each time I remember that these projects aren’t mine to hold tightly but are gifts to use my talents in executing I am able to let them be “blown by the Spirit”.

There is such a freedom in that and I am seeing as well as a peace coming from that, also doors opening.

Categories
Lord's Prayer Trust God

All About Titles

maize field in the foreground, a row of conifer trees then rolling hills and onward to Snowdonia national park. Sky is cloudy with patches of sunshine. Taken by Diane Woodrow
Looking into Snowdonia. Taken by myself on 16th August 2021

So I will end this run of four thoughts on The Lord’s Prayer at the beginning “Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be your name” I’d love to do a straw poll and find out how many of us cringe a bit when we feel we have to call God Father. I know my hand would go up. I’m not just thinking of my own father but of many other fathers I know who struggle along trying to do the best for their kids but carry so much of their own baggage that they don’t really know what “Father” actually means.

So I start my prayer by saying “To the all loving being who inhabits both the heavens and the earth, who made it all, and all that it is in it, whether the created acknowledge their maker or not. To the connected universe that holds all together and lets all move freely. To you I open my heart today because you are immense and amazing.”

Ok so it is a bit more long winded than the words we read in the Bible. But again I think that is because, for the gospel writers, it was obvious who they were connecting with, and obvious what they and others believed and expected.

In my journey with God I have come to see prayer more and more as not an asking thing but a connecting thing, and so I have to ask myself “what or who am I connecting with?” which is why I have the long opening. It is for me and not for God. God knows who God is. God doesn’t need telling, but I do need to realise the enormity and amazingness of God.

I think often our prayers are for ourselves. So we pray for those we love because it helps us cope with what they are going through. Yes I do know and believe that God answers prayer and intervenes. I also believe that God intervenes without our prayers too. I know prayer is important. But I think we often do it for our peace of mind too. And I believe that when we connect with God, the Maker of the Universe, through prayer or mediation or centering, or whatever we want to call it, then we connect with something higher, wider, deeper, more all knowing than we are.

To gain the real amazingness of prayer we need to also trust that we connect, that we are heard, that we are part of something, that we are co-creators of the outcome. Even if the prayers aren’t answered as we would like.

I like stories to confirm things so … I offered to pray for a lady in the park because her father had been taken ill. Her father died two weeks later. She told me that she knew I was praying because she felt such peace through it all. I didn’t give her peace. I didn’t stop her father dying. But what I did was connect her and her father and her family with The Amazing Power and Peace of God and let things flow as they were intended.

The outcome isn’t my call. My call is to prayer, connect with my Heavenly Savoir, and trust that things will go as the Universe believes to be the right way with peace.

I have to end by saying I think prayer is amazing and I need to remember to do it more often during the day as it changes me and my energy as much as it changes things I pray about.