The Depth of Her Soul

Hello friends,

My first officially published written work has made it into print!! You can find my story, Stand By Me, as well as many other stories that may encourage, inspire, and uplift you in the recently released, best selling book, The Depth of Her Soul: Beautiful Stories of Faith and Empowerment.

The book is now available on Amazon and through Kindle!

amzn.to/1Tb0zVs

I am thrilled and humbled to be a part of this incredible book project. It is truly an international collaboration, bringing together people from all walks of life, from many different circumstances and situations, and from various cultures and countries. My co-authors have been a source of great inspiration and encouragement to me as we’ve made this journey together. I hope you will enjoy the book as I’m sure you’ll find something to lift your spirits amongst the pages.

My Crystal Vision is currently under construction ….

Thank you for stopping by my blog site. Whether you are an old friend or new to the site, you may notice that it’s been quite some time since my last post. Please forgive the considerable time that has passed since the last entry.

I am on a much needed hiatus at the moment but will be back shortly. The site will be experiencing a bit of a face lift when I return.

In the meantime, I hope you enjoy what you find here. I would love to make contact with you, so please feel free to contact me on Facebook at Crystal Cathell or via email at cathellcrystal@gmail.com

Thanks so much!

Gratefully,

Crystal

The Depth of Her Soul, 2…

Hello friends,

I am thrilled to report that The Depth of Her Soul: Beautiful Stories of Faith and Empowerment has been an Amazon best seller in U.K., Canada, and the U.S.A.!!! I am so thankful to all my co-authors, my dear friend and compiler of the book, Monica Kunzekweguta, as well to Anita Sechesky and LWL Publishing for making this not only a reality but such an incredible success!

I am looking at getting back to my blog in earnest within the next couple months. There is so much to share! I hope you are all having a beautiful experience of life.

Beginnings and Endings…

“The first act of creation is always destruction…the destruction (or transformation) of what was (or is) to make room for the new thing we are creating or allowing…every beginning is preceded by the ending of something else” (author unknown)…

This past year has been so much about endings and about beginnings…

Maybe they all are and I’m usually much less aware than I am right now. It just seems to me that this one has been so much more so than any I can recall in my recent history.

Within this one, there have been some deeply heart wrenching losses and truly exquisite soul stirring discoveries.

Crushing blows.

Divine transformations.

Resplendent revelations.

Naked vulnerability, exposed and expressed…

Truth unearthed and authenticity reclaimed…

It’s has been a year of living ‘all in’, and full on…or at the very least, as close as I’ve come thus far. At least I’m making my way there with passionate conviction claimed on my way through the fire and the flame…

Field of Fire...

Field of Fire…

So here I am. Standing in the expansiveness of having arrived in a elusive moment of pure unadulterated acceptance of all that I am and an unshakable assurance that I am MAGIC. That I offer magic in my smile, in my passions, in my tears and in my words. In my sighs, in my soul, in my love, in my dreams, and in the very essence of all that I am.

I finally realise I am worthy, so damn worthy of every dream in my heart. I deserve to express who I am and embrace myself for doing so, regardless of whether or not I am met on my journey by another kindred soul on their own journey to self discovery and inner truth. I am worthy, so damn worthy to feel, to think, to believe. To hope, to try, to desire, to create and to be. To love.

So are you. We all are. Regardless of the day, the week , or the year we may have had. We are all worthy of our dreams. We are all MAGIC. The key is believing it to be so.

In the midst of sorrows, in the face of horrors, we forget. Not only do we lose sight, we lose vision. The loss of vision is by far the greater loss.

We don’t remember what it was like to laugh, to hope, to dream. We cease to recall how it felt to love, to desire or to trust. We forget how to open our hearts fully and invite someone else not to take a little piece of it, but to take it all. We can’t conceive of giving our hearts without a shred of reservation, to entrust them to another, and to love with complete and total abandon.

Without vision, we become so afraid.. and it’s such an easy thing to do. We hear a small bit of ‘bad’ news and immediately fear the worst. We are scared to lose anything at all and so we cling tightly, stubbornly, fiercely, to what we deem ‘ours’. We hold onto what we think, what we believe, what we know because the unknown makes us so uncomfortable.

We’re afraid of being hurt, rejected, abandoned, unloved. We’re so frightened of feeling anything that seems remotely painful or uncomfortable and as a result, become stiff, brittle, untouchable. Unreachable.

We may want love, but turn away from it’s possibilities. We may love, but from our safe vantage point behind a mountain of defenses. We may fall, but only behind closed doors where no one can see or hear our muffled cries while our heart breaks.

We regret the past, diminish the present and become fearful of the future.

What if ‘it’ doesn’t work out, never mind what ‘it’ might be? What if we fail? What if he/she doesn’t feel the same? What if I lose this? If I lose that?

Well, what if??

In a year punctuated by many pointed losses and incredible highs, I can safely say that I’ve discovered most of us are far more resilient than we ever give ourselves credit for.

We can’t imagine it, can’t bear to consider it because we fear loss. Whether it be loss of a job, a partner, security, our families, a friend, the familiar.

We hold on so tightly to what IS right now, that the thing that could be/might be, can’t even begin to find it’s way through our resistance. The now slips right through our fingers…

Suppose we allow what IS to do what it will do, naturally? Suppose we cease and desist in our insistence to control or to know what the next moment holds? Suppose in doing so, we discover that what comes next is even better, even more beautiful, even more fulfilling, more life affirming than anything we’ve ever imagined or dreamed possible?

Suppose that ultimately what we’re saying ‘no’ to, when we refuse to let things change, grow, and evolve in natural order and time, is the possibility for our greater expansion? For the very abundance we dream of in the depths of our hearts?

Suppose it is only our willingness to loosen our grip on the NOW, on all that which we understand and find familiar, the opening of ourselves to accepting the unknown quadrant and embracing the uncharted territory, that we are brought into the deepest and greatest alignment with our purpose and our passion?

Suppose in our need to lock things down, enforce self-imposed limits and categories, we miss out on the biggest adventure of our lives? The LIVING of it!!!

Last December, I lost my mum. She was and still is, the most important woman in my life. I experienced the loss acutely, many, many times over again before she ever took her last breath. Even though I knew she needed to go and I needed to be able to let her, I resisted the impending loss as long as I feasibly could. When I finally stopped saying ‘no’ to the inevitable, stopped denying that the reality of it, something truly miraculous began to happen.

I started to become real in that moment. Far, far more real than I’d ever been. And, as in the case of the Velveteen Rabbit.. it didn’t happen all at once. Even now, it’s far from complete, but I am finally becoming.

Becoming myself and coming home.

In the throes of grief and despair, I learned to allow the pain to sit within my heart and to do so without excuse, judgement, pretense or denial. Without desperately grasping onto it, eating it’s ugly flesh and consuming the bitterness within, I could feel. Truly feel pain and the profound loss. I could hurt. I could cry. I could bleed thick salty tears. And I did ever. Over and over and over again.

As I became truly able to cry, to feel and grieve, an interesting secondary phenomenon took up residence alongside the pain of losing.

Beside the tears, I found laughter. I met joy and sweet peace.

I discovered surrender as a strength and allowing as a gift.

Fear of losing shifted gears and has gone from being the owner/operator/driver of so much of my life to being an occasional, albeit annoying back seat driver.

Instead of the heavy burden of bitter grief hanging in the air akin to heavy fog on a grey November day, I’ve watched the skies clear, seen the midst slowly dissipate the way spring dew disappears as it rises to greet the sunshine.

My heart began to lift.

With great and tender amazement, I am discovering a greater capacity for happiness than I’ve ever known before even though I’ve also fallen to my knees and found my heart lying next to me, in pieces on the floor.

I have experienced a heart broken wide open and found that it wasn’t fatal. In fact, it may be the very thing that brought me back to life.

While I have cried tears with no sound, creating a language only understood by another broken heart, I have also laughed until tears stream down my face and the echoes of that laughter can be heard in the spaces between my yesterday’s and all my tomorrow’s.

It lives in the spaces where breath becomes words, where words become truth, where truth becomes touch, and touch becomes love.

It is there that beginnings find their end and endings become the next beginning…

Written by: Crystal Lee Meadows
Written: May 16, 2014 Revised: November 12, 2014

Another Chapter, Turn the Page….

And so, here I am.

Turning the page on another chapter, maybe even an entirely new book of my life.

It begins, now.

NOW. In this moment.

It is not one I expected, anticipated, or even wanted as I’ve made my way in the living and the writing of the pages of life that have brought me here.

Nonetheless, here I am and it has come to me all the same.

Standing at this precipice the unknown stretches before me, it’s blank pages eagerly, anxiously await the pen poised in my hand, ready to capture my curious imaginings, my far flung dreams, and my crazy longings to create the richest, fullest, and best story I can from all that lies behind me, from the pieces that remain with me, and of what still waits in the open expansion of the life I’ve yet to live.

There is much to look forward to, to be excited about. It is a new beginning.

But, sometimes I look back in sadness, sorry for things that have gone awry. Sometimes I long wistfully for the days of yesteryear and for the moments and memories those yesterday’s contain. Sometimes my tears well and overflow as I grieve what used to be, what could have been, what might have been, and what ‘should’ have been.

Sometimes, I do look back. I look back, but, I don’t live there.

The past and all it’s experiences have helped make me who and what I am in this moment. I realize that although that past has brought me to this place and helped carve out who I am, it is entirely up to me and the woman I am now, to determine who the woman I’ve yet to become will be. It’s up to me to open to the new chapter of my life that begins now. In this moment, within this breath, with these words, I am taking the first steps.

It is with an indescribeable mingling of fear, excitement, daring and dread that I put pen to paper and offer up the opening lines to the newest book that is becoming my life.

Starting over in that awkward stage where nothing fits and yet, I still have to get up, get dressed, and go out into the world. Yet, even in this stage I am eternally grateful for everyone, and everything that has been a part of the book of my life thus far. I find myself being reminded of the song, My Thanksgiving, by Don Henley.

“For every moment of joy, every hour of fear,
For every winding road that brought me here,
For every breath, for every day of living,
This is my thanksgiving.

For everyone who helped me start
And for everything that broke my heart
For every breath, for every day of living
This is my Thanksgiving”

Between my yesterdays and my tomorrows, I stand in humility and gratitude for it all. Ready and willing to experience, embrace, express, and enjoy what comes next and to do so with an open mind, open eyes, open heart, and open arms.

I have fallen and I have failed. I have loved and I have lost. I have also dared and I have dreamed.

With each beginning, there was an end that came before it and for every ending, there is another beginning…

There are no parlour tricks and no magic mirror work to hide behind. This is the realm of the real and I am forced to face myself, perhaps as honestly as I ever have before.

I am frightened and I am fearless, and a touch of nearly everything in between.

And so, here I am turning the page on another chapter, maybe even an entirely new book of my life…

And it begins…

Now.

Written by: Crystal Lee Meadows

My Latest Lesson in Resistance…

Hello my friends,

It has been quite some time since I’ve written and I want to thank each of you for your support, encouragement and the generosity of your hearts as I have worked through this period of healing, discovery, and growth. I am grateful to and for all of you and the love you have shared with me. Thank you for your patience.

It’s time to begin again…

With love, thank you for being here…
Crystal

My Latest Lesson in Resistance…

Today I find myself torn. Let me explain.

I love writing. It is not just something I do, it runs much, much deeper than that. I write because it’s my release and my escape. It is my passion and as I have said so many times, it is the truest reflection of all that lives and breathes in the depths of my soul.

I write because I must, because I need to. For my sanity and my clarity. I express myself best through written word.

Sometimes the words need gentle coaxing and patience, while other times they come so fast and with such fierceness that I have little choice but to grab a pen and paper and bid them welcome, right here and right now.

I love writing. When I step away from analyzing and editing as I write, simply allowing the words their way, I come alive.

I find ‘home’.

And yet there are times I resist. Times I refuse to write.

When I close the channel from my heart to my pen and resist the call, the urge, the need. I shut down the creative juices and retreat into ‘life’.

This is why I’m torn this morning. I am struggling to understand.

WHY?

I am not a seasoned, officially published writer. I’d love to be, but I’m not. (Yet…) 😉

I have not been a terribly disciplined writer either. There has been no schedule or a plan. For me, writing has always been largely intuitive. I’ve written on a consistent basis for years, recognizing the mental/emotional benefits of being ‘in tune’ with where I am at a particular time and place within my life and I’ve done so whenever I have been inspired. I didn’t believe I needed a plan because I wrote regularly by default.

It’s not complicated and contrived. It must come first from my heart or it doesn’t come. If I don’t feel it or believe it, it shows.

And so, I write. But then sometimes, I just stop.

For all my introspection and reflection, I don’t recall ever putting much thought into the ‘why’ of it, I would just stop.

Since ‘why’ has been such a significant part of who I am, even that should have given me pause to wonder.

It didn’t.

Until now.

Here’s the thing. I have written as far back as I can remember. I have scraps of words thrown together by the 8 year old I once was. One of my earliest Christmas memories is of receiving a pale green typewriter and pouring myself into it and the ideas for the books I was sure I was going to write. (They aren’t done yet…)

I wrote steadily, if not consistently for years. For more than 26 years, I wrote regularly several times a week. I wrote in good times and bad. It was rare for me to let more than two weeks to go by without writing. I wrote poems, song lyrics, journals, and a host of other things too. Boxes of words.

And then suddenly, nothing. Not a word.

Eight years went by. During that time, an occasional spark and a little snippet of writing would break through but those moments were very few and very far between.

Occasionally, the question would surface in my mind,

“Hey, why don’t you write anymore?”

I would simply shrug, telling myself I didn’t have time to write about life because I was too busy living it…

It must have sounded like a good story… and I guess I bought it because I kept going like that for a long time…

A few years ago, I received some deeply disturbing news regarding a long standing very dear friend. The kind of news that demands deep inner soul searching on the quest to gain understanding and find healing.

I returned to writing. I wrote and wrote some more. Suddenly the entire world shifted. Other things in my life were filtered through the kaleidoscope of written words.

I’d write for hours.

It was glorious.

Last summer one of my dearest friends talked me into sharing some of my writing with her and encouraged the crazy idea I had about starting a blog. I wondered if I could do it. I wasn’t used to sharing my work with anyone. I didn’t believe what I had to say or offer would be of any great benefit to others and so, I hesitated.

She persisted. Thank God for sensitive and persistent friends who sometimes know more about what’s better for me than I do!…

That inner voice grew louder too. That voice, silent for eight years refused to be silenced again and was no longer content to be put into a box in the closet.

As apprehensive as I was of rejection and criticism, I launched my blog anyway. My Crystal Vision was finally born in the fall of 2013.

It was a tremendous step forward for me. I realized that even with my love of writing, I had never honestly embraced the idea or concept of being a writer. In my mind, I wrote words but was not a writer. A writer implied something other, something greater- more skill, more ability, and a caliber of success I didn’t believe I could (or should) attain.

Somewhere in the course of launching my blog, with the help of some truly remarkable people I finally made peace with calling myself a writer. At least, most of the time… 😉

In my heart, I know that I am a writer.

It’s not about what happens in terms of recognition or material success or financial gain that determines whether or not I am a writer. I know this to be true. It is not about every grammatical or punctuation rule being followed to the nth degree. I am a writer because it is truly my passion and my pleasure to write. I am a writer because my heart demands it. In order to be ‘at home’ with myself I must, and so, I am.

And yet.

Yet, I still sometimes find myself resisting. Refusing.

I lost my mum in December 2013. As of this writing, that was 6 months ago. Six months.

Today.

What I’ve noticed in that six months is that I’ve written far less. At first, I attributed it to the immediate loss and grief I was dealing with. Then I was afraid I couldn’t handle the level of pain that would come out in writing, especially sine the few things I have written since are about her, or us, or my perspective.

About six weeks ago, the writing just stopped. All of it.

I haven’t posted a new blog post since early April. I was at a writing high. My first guest post had just been published on Kind Over Matter and I was thrilled. I’d gotten some really good feedback from that. I’d received many very positive responses from my last few posts.

And then, the Silence. I had reasonable reasons and one excuse and another.

Writer’s block, you ask? Not by my definition. I didn’t sit and stare at blank pages. I didn’t struggle to come up with words. I just didn’t write. I didn’t even try. Period.

Remember I said, I’d never really questioned those moments when I stopped writing before? Well, maybe I’m a little wiser now…

Maybe it’s just one of life’s ways of calling me out…

Either way about 2 weeks ago I had the pleasure of chatting with a new friend who is also a writer. She mentioned challenging herself to write 200 words per day for a book project. I warmed to the idea and committed to a similar challenge.

I’m not used to the whole ‘schedule your writing thing’ so it has been a challenge to be sure. I have intended to become a more disciplined writer and really develop my craft so it’s a good start.

It’s also eye-opening.

That’s how I’ve come to be in the place where I’m wondering why I’m not writing.

Is it because I don’t want to do a blog anymore?

Because I should be doing something else?

Laziness, procrastination, fear?

I’ve realized it’s not just blog posts I’m not writing. Everything has stopped. Just like before.

It’s almost as if I pulled a plug…

Ah, but I did, didn’t I?

I short-circuited the channel from my heart to my pen and got in my own way.

Again.

Why?

That’s what I’m here to find out…

I’ve gone everywhere with this question.

Fear of expectations- be it mine or someone (anyone) else’s?

Fear of success or failure?

Have personal factors overwhelmed my life to such an extent that I don’t have the energy or effort to devote to it?

If so, how did I get to this point on the page now??

Gotcha. 😉

And the kicker,

How does not writing benefit me? Protect me?

All these questions have finally revealed a tiny sliver, the barest glimpse of an answer.

You may be surprised… I was…

I resist writing when I am most resistant to the growth or change I know the writing will help bring about.

Follow that?

I resist writing when I am resistant to the growth or change I know the writing will help bring about.

That feels…

Scary…

Powerful…

Transformative…

Illuminating…

As though a light bulb clicked on and now it’s glowing like a floodlight into the recesses where all my unresolved ‘stuff’ still lives.

It isn’t necessarily a particular written topic or type that prompts the change, but the act of writing and baring my soul in words that facilitates it.

By being that vulnerable and opening my heart to allow the truest reflection of my heart to be expressed, eventually I will come face to face with the issue or struggle I am resisting or avoiding.

Kind of like throwing ourselves into our work to keep from dealing with our issues. We have a host of ways to avoid, to deny, to refuse to take action or be accountable when we want to. Sometimes we don’t even consciously realize we want to avoid something, we just do it.

When I look back, I see the pattern clearly.

I resist writing when I am most resistant to the growth or change I know the writing will help bring about.

This is a HUGE revelation for me.

Now that I know this, it isn’t just key to figure out what I’ve been avoiding in this round but to be mindful the next time I put down my quill.

How does not writing benefit me? Protect me?

It keeps me from facing myself in ways I’ve deemed myself ‘not ready’ for.

It keeps me small. Limited. Safe.

How about you? Do you ever find that you do or don’t do something out of a refusal to grow or change in some way? Care to share? I’d love to hear your stories and thoughts! Please leave your comments or shoot me an email @ crystal.pash@gmail.com.

Thanks again for holding space for me to return. It’s great to be back. 😉

Written by: Crystal Lee Pash

I HAVE THIS MOMENT!

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about what we do with all these moments that make up our lives. I wonder how truly involved in them we are. Do we watch them pass by, like strangers in the street? Or, are we intimately and thoroughly involved in our own lives? Living, loving, and learning as they come and as they go?

How often in our musings do we ask ourselves “How did I get here?”, at this particular point in time or this specific circumstance/situation? How often do we wonder what to do now, as in how to get ourselves out of said circumstance/situation, how much time it will take to do so, or how much of that precious commodity we have wasted getting to this place?

It seems lament can often go a long way…

I’m here to take a different approach today. To drop the shame, the guilt and the doubt along with that need to run fast, furious, and far away, careening headlong from this moment into the next with barely even a split second of recovery time.

This is my truth I wish to share with you…

I deserve to be in this place in my life… to be in this moment and to wake up staring at the beauty, the blessings, the confusion, the mess, and the mayhem.

Why?

Because somewhere within me lies that part that needs the lesson this moment offers.

I deserve to be in the midst of all that I am, right here in the middle of this, whatever this is… I have created (or helped create) the circumstances and the situations to align my life in this direction.

How?

By my thoughts. With my actions. By believing I deserved or didn’t deserve. By leading or following. By giving in, giving up, or just simply, giving. Or not.

I arrived here by doing. Not doing. By deciding or not deciding and making the choice either way.

Now, get this…

This is not about beating myself up, casting blame or absorbing fault. Remember? I’m dropping the shame, guilt and the doubt and all the little monsters they all like to play with…

Instead, I’ve decided to look at it like I am worthy of being in this place. Of being honoured to experience these things and of knowing these moments intimately. That I deserve to see behind the curtain and into the real.

Worthy. Honoured. Deserving.

Heady bunch of words, aren’t they?

Indeed they are…but they certainly cast a different colour of light onto the situation don’t they? When I look at everything through the lens of honour and worth, it changes how I feel about all of it. I start to look at it and myself from a more respectful place. Seeking the highest good. Giving my best.

This life is exactly the life I need to have at this moment in time.

It is precisely the life path I have chosen for my growth.

The one that will lead me with love, with patience, in grace and guidance to a bigger, better place, both within myself and within my experience of the world.

There is no shame in that. No guilt. No blame. No fault. No ‘stupid’ choices or mistakes.

This is the path I needed to get here.

It is here that I learn that I am not made up of one day or even a combined series of days. I am not one event or situation, regardless of how all encompassing it may seem.

I am more.

I am all of it.

Each day, each experience and adventure, and every single moment.. the breath and the life within every drop of it is me.

So what if I now consider the possibility that I contain the power, the choice, and the creativity to orchestrate the life I dream of? That it is my challenge and great quest to pull inspiration from the ether to create the music that is my life? To find a way to fuse the tempos, the melodies, and the moods into a living, breathing masterpiece? An ever-changing work of art built upon the harmony and discord I have currently woven into being.

It is not accident or chaos that has brought me here, unless it is perhaps the chaos that lives within. Still if that be so, it is my own.

It is choice.

It is decision.

It is belief in or lack of belief that has cultivated the actions, sown the seeds, and reaped the harvest of my thoughts, my ambitions, my efforts, and my focus.

Life plays out for us what we carry within our hearts and minds. It offers us up to circumstances we create and continue to perpetuate until or unless we change our beliefs, our intentions, and our focus.

One of my all time favorite quotes by James Allen addresses this very thing:

The world is your kaleidoscope, and the varying combinations of colours which at every succeeding moment it presents to you are the exquisitely adjusted pictures of your ever-moving thoughts.

My world changes based on how I interpret it, view it, and interact with it. When my thoughts change, my world changes.

As my thoughts change, I discover that love brings me here. Love that guides me to growth, to expansion, to wholeness.

On this day, it is within that spirit of love that I choose to turn my focus to things that delight my heart, feed my soul and resonate with my spirit. I concentrate on being uplifted within my own soul in part by faith in a life of loving, learning, and living in fullness, with depth and with passion laced into every moment.

I commit my heart to my highest good and to helping cultivate the highest good in others. To living my highest expression of human experience. To reach out of myself to help others connect to the awesome abundance in their own lives and the magic inside their own hearts.

I choose to live life in conscious gratitude for the gift that I have been given to breathe this breath and live this day.

This is the revolution of my soul.

I HAVE THIS MOMENT.

I have this moment. It belongs to me.

It is mine to use, to cherish, to squander, or create, but it and it alone can be counted.

May I take this moment and breathe into it. Feel it’s weight and it’s power and it’s soothing balm against the stress of the day.

May I savor this moment and rest in awed awareness of it’s beauty.

May I smile in this moment. Smile as if it is the only smile I will give or receive today.

May I take this moment to remember I am connected to everyone and everything.

May I close my eyes and be thankful for something- anything, in this moment.

Then, may I open my eyes and dive into my life with outstretched arms.

Dive deep.

Make the most of this moment.

Make it count.

When my last moment comes and it’s time to board the train for my next adventure, it is my desire to be so deeply engrossed in my life- in the living it, the loving it, and the making the most of it, that I’m actually dead at least an hour before I even realize what’s happened. Must be just a little of my Irish heritage peaking out, I suppose… 😉

When it does happen, I hope my bucket list is pretty evenly split between all the things I did and did not do. A list chock full of discoveries, delights, and teeming with passion for my world. And as long as I keep growing, learning, doing, living, and loving my life, there will always be new things to add.

I want to live in my bliss. To savor the taste of life in all it’s forms and to get right in there in the midst of the messiness, misery, magic and mystery and to know each part of it like a favorite dog-eared book.

I claim my right to such a life and I claim it right NOW. This life, MY life, belongs to me.

I deserve to be in the thick of a life lived passionately, earnestly, ardently and with abandon.

And you know what? So do YOU!

While I write this, the sun begins to shine in what has been an otherwise grey day. I choose to believe that it’s life’s’ way of smiling down on my intention to live such a life. As the sun hits my window pane, a vivid beam of golden light streams in…illuminating the space directly in front of my desk.

It appears to me to be an invitation to step up… I imagine being called forward, to claim that life I just pledged myself to…

“Come. Come step into the light. The light of who you are meant to be. The light of the life you are meant to live. Step into your fullness. Your passionately pleasing journey begins here, begins now. Climb aboard.”

Before I give myself time to question or lose the moment, I surrender and do just that.

With eyes closed and arms outstretched, I open anew to the world and hop aboard for the ride of a lifetime.

1/13/14
Written by: Crystal Lee Pash

The Art of Miracles…

Dedicated to my Italian ‘Aunt’ Fran, with love:

There once was a time when I thoughts of miracles as those grand, exceedingly rare, wonderfully unexpected things of life-altering magnitude. Those things that swoop in and transform a dismal situation into a glorious one. Serendipitous moments that stand completely separate and apart from the people in them or the circumstances around them… Acts of God to be sure, translated as ‘good things’ or ‘happy things’ by our human understanding.

Of course, it wasn’t long before that idea became a very limiting view of a miracle…

What about all those small moments; unplanned and unforeseen things beyond our control, or those we so easily take for granted? How about that phone call or visit from a friend at just the right time, a cuppa hot tea on a cold evening, the unexpected generosity of someone we just met or those shared moments of laughter that bring us to tears?

What of things like sunsets, rainbows, that moment when a flower opens, the coming and going of the ocean tide, conception, and creation in all it’s forms? Coincidence? Circumstance? Maybe… But, I think not… Why couldn’t they all be miracles of a sort?

Why indeed? 😉

Rainbow's Edge...

Rainbow’s Edge…

Naturally, I’ve encountered those who believe that if there’s a scientific explanation for it, it’s not a miracle. Or if there’s a ‘natural progression’, it’s not a miracle. I’ve talked with those who believe life asks for and expects nothing from us; it simply is and then it isn’t. I’ve met with the mindset that we use the term ‘miracle’ much too loosely and without sufficient reverence.

There appear to be considerable schools of thought, each assured in their own reasons and validity, and that’s okay with me. I’m not trying to convince anyone of anything, I’m simply sharing my own school of thought on the subject.

I really love this quote, attributed to Albert Einstein;

“There are only two ways to live your life. One is though nothing is a miracle. The other as though everything is a miracle.”

Indeed. 😉

Wrapping all my ideas into a cohesive idea I can believe in; I do subscribe to Einsteins’ philosophy. I truly believe miracles exist, EVERYWHERE.

The question is whether or not we see them, and/or if we see them as such when we do.

Every opportunity, every false start, every fallen dream and broken heart bring moments of miracle.

Each time we wake to meet the glorious sunrise, watch the sun slip over the horizon at close of day, and every nightfall we close our eyes to rest, miracles exist.

They can be found in the loss and the win, within the death and the life, the end and the beginning. In the way things fall into place and even in the way things sometimes fall apart.

They dwell in everything we do and everything we don’t do because of the possibility these moments hold to teach us about life, about love, about humanity, and about hope. If we let them.

That’s the tricky part.

Perhaps that’s one of the greatest miracles of all…

When we sit quietly, give ourselves to the experience, and listen to the miracle as it’s being offered to us…

In every moment, there is possibility to move closer to who we are meant to be, if we are but open our hearts and our minds to let life in… And if we are open, it seems as though there are even more of them to be found…

It’s fairly common for us to think there is less miracle surrounding death than birth, isn’t it? And why not? Death ‘steals’ away those that we love. I get that, now more so than ever. But now that I’m more closely acquainted with the death of a loved one than I ever cared to be; I can honestly see a bit of miracle from either side… it’s in the way it touches our worlds and the way everything changes through the fulfillment of birth and death. It’s the cycle of nature, that circle of life.

I don’t mean to imply that tragedy is a miracle in and of itself. Please don’t misunderstand, that it not my point. I’m not happy about the loss or the experience. Far from it. I’m still going to wail and grieve, maybe even scream and rail if I need to.

But, it can be found in the lessons we learn, the ‘gifts’ we receive, the way we grow (sometimes willingly and sometimes not), and the way our lives transform in small and large ways.

Sometimes a horrific failure or tragedy will precede a stunning success or triumph. Sometimes death brings a greater appreciation for life for those left behind. Sometimes loss teaches us how to win. Sometimes what looked like a dream come true falls down around our feet and we find ourselves at the point of starting over, all over again. It’s not ideal by any means, but sometimes it’s what we have to work with.

It’s ALL miracle-making possibility.

Or, in the words of Rumi,

“The wound is the place where the Light enters you.”

I don’t believe that a chosen few are rewarded with miracles of ‘good fortune’ or that those are the extent of what miracles are about. Nor do I believe that hoping for a miracle to show up while we sit on the sidelines of a situation is an exercise in faith.

I do believe the ‘reward’, the good fortune, the faith to believe, the effort to try, even the willingness to quit and walk away… that it’s all the stuff that create miracles- the good, the bad, and the ugly.

It’s a bit like art in a sense. It can happen anywhere, but we have to see it to by changed by it.

If you find you’ve grown or changed for the better- I believe there is miracle involved. If you leave this world unmoved, untouched, and unchanged; that may be a miracle all it’s own, but it seems to me that you’ve missed so much of what this beautiful, amazing world is truly all about.

I’m learning that trying holding onto the way things are or to a particular outcome is the surest way for me to remain stuck and miserable. To miss the miracle of growth ahead of me. Personally I want to grow, I need to grow. To be better. I’d prefer not to do it under duress or unpleasant situations but sometimes that’s just the way it is.

Sometimes it is only through a hardship that our character is truly forged, or recast. This revamp, reboot, reconstruction, and reinvention can be difficult and painful things to consent to, to endure, to open ourselves to, or to explain. Sometimes the best we can do, is the best we can.

Sometimes I resist because it hurts, and I don’t want to hurt. But then again, what other choice do I have? Remember?

Either it all is or nothing is…

It’s scary, but I’d rather it be all, than nothing.

I’d rather give it all, go ‘all in’ than nothing.

I’d much rather feel the pain when it comes, knowing I am truly alive in that moment, and allow it move through me, than to blunt the pain and everything else too. Joy. Happiness. Delight. Passion. All of it.

I couldn’t bear that. To never feel alive.

Even when a situation doesn’t turn out the way I wanted or hoped, there is still something to be gained and to be grateful for. It might be a real stretch for me to find it, or take years before it becomes clear but I know it’s possible.

I’ve seen some amazing people survive nearly unspeakable ordeals and rebirth themselves in beautiful ways. I think they may be the miracle in those situations, and not even know it… 😉

As Ernest Hemingway said;

“The world breaks everyone and afterwards many are strong at the broken places.”

Practicing gratitude for each day and the things it holds assures me that it really is ALL a miracle, every last bit of it.

I do believe that.

Into the Blue Night...

Into the Blue Night…

Written by: Crystal Lee Pash

The Art of Making ‘Mistakes’…

Of Two Minds…

Sometimes life brings us to pivotal points in our lives by pulling our lives down around our ankles; leaving us exposed, vulnerable, and very, very unprepared for the changes it demands/requires/expects. We’re all pretty familiar with what I mean; the late night phone call, the letter left on the kitchen table, the empty bed at the hospital, that discovery, that decision that plunges us headlong into traumatic turmoil. That is a post for another day…

Other times, life offers us quieter, subtler, and much more easily ignored moments at the crossroads. Those moments when we can choose to re-evaluate, re-vamp, and select our path with more clarity, more wisdom, and make the so-called ‘right’ choices, or not. So, how is that we seem to miss these ‘opportunities’, and why?

Too subtle? Perhaps. Too gradual? Maybe. Too close to home? Denial? Laziness? Fear? Rebellion? Naivety? How about we just chalk it up to a bit of all of those things and a host of others as well, shall we?? That’s been my experience, at least…

Beyond that though, is my own personal truth about these moments… Regardless of all other factors involved; I can (and have) quite easily look a warning sign square in the face, nod in recognition and respect, and then simply refuse to actually see it…

I have managed an uncanny knack for reading a situation quite accurately, often even putting it down in pen and ink and then still selecting to jump in, only to wake up at some point down the road with the audacity to ask; “Why wasn’t I warned?” or “Why didn’t I know?”

Oh, no; I’m not joking, or bragging either… As a pretty regular journal keeper of many a year; it has amused, amazed, confused, and irritated me just how well I have done this from time to time…

I used to take quite the offense to this. Full of self regret and loathing for another wrong move, I’d berate myself with vigor. True to form, I’d eventually get around to asking; “Am I just stupid or crazy, or both??” (Okay, you– don’t answer that!!) 😉

Seriously though, I tended to be very hard on myself. How could I make that mistake? Why did I make that decision? How did I get myself into this situation? How do I get out of it? Why didn’t I heed that very big Red Flag as it waved high and loud above my head?? Hell, it wasn’t even one Red Flag; it was an entire ocean of them and I jumped straight into the deep-throwing every single precaution to the wind as I did so!!!

Sigh… Ever been there?

Now, I’ve come to realize that when I see the signs, recognize the warnings, sense the danger, and jump in headlong anyway; it’s not so much that I’m hellbent on disaster or being truly foolhardy (although I’m sure there are those who’d beg to differ-and that’s okay too)… Instead, I do it because my heart and/or my soul, sense a lesson I need to learn or an experience I need to grow from or in- a moment I need to be a part of and really feel so that it can bring more clarity, more wisdom, more understanding somehow. Someday.

I’ve found that the discovery of various patterns of behavior can offer some tremendously revealing insight…

I am apparently a hands-on learner…and a slow one at that, sometimes… 😉 Sometimes, I just learn best by doing…

The awareness that I make or have made ‘bad’ choices or decisions has begun to upset me less and less. It seldom sends me into the crucify/defend modes of old. Good thing too; because I am still finding behaviors and actions, decisions and thought patterns that are not for my highest good. In fact, I’m much more likely to muck around in the deep now looking for them, seeking them out so that I can work on them, through them and finally, release them.

Are they mistakes? Depends on who you ask. I’m not here to sugar coat it and BS is not my style. I have made and do sometimes continue to make less than stellar decisions, let’s be clear about that. Sometimes, it’s still in grand style too… But, I’m so very tired of beating myself up over them. They may not make much sense to you, or to me either for that matter; but I assure you there is a reason for them- even if it’s simply because I need/ed the growth experience provided.

A Colourful Mistake…

I must say, it’s rather amazing what happens when I take full responsibility for making a decision and refuse to throw myself under the mistake ‘bus’ when it doesn’t turn out. When I can calmly say; “Yes. Yes, I chose that. I’ve learned a lot from the experience.” -suddenly, the guilt falls away! The inner criticism recedes, the judgement slides right on past, and I’m left feeling pretty damn good! Not because I’m happy with the choice, or situation, but because I’ve gotten something from it and didn’t beat myself up over it.

When I give myself the freedom to LIVE and to grow, it’s positively exhilarating! Especially when I truly realize that it’s my choice to make the decision and to learn from it. 😉

Way back when, before I got so good at making ‘mistakes’; I didn’t understand others who made choices it seemed they really should know better about making. It was much harder for me to empathize or relate. I had trouble connecting to their plight, grasping the truth of their heart in peril. I sure do get it now… 😉

Perhaps that was precisely the point all along. To open not only my mind to the realization that mistakes are only truly mistakes if you believe that they are and you don’t allow yourself to learn from them; but also to open my heart more readily to the situations of others and get a glimpse of what it’s like to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes.

Releasing myself from the concept of making ‘mistakes’ and turning more towards the idea of ‘selecting my learning experiences’ has allowed me to open up and ask myself these questions;

Did I learn from this?”

What did I learn here?”

“What did I gain in/from this?”

“What am I grateful for in this?”

As I do this, life becomes increasingly softer and sweeter; one moment, one experience, one piece at a time. So much so, that even when I’m in the midst of a trying/stressful situation I am acutely aware I helped author; I know that I’m learning and I’m growing. Refusing to categorize it as a mistake keeps me present in the moment, keeps me active with it, and keeps me searching for the highest good. When I do that, I know I’m holding myself with loving kindness and I can in turn do that with the situation and others involved with it.

It’s not foolproof or an exact science. I don’t have it ‘down’. That’s okay though. My heart is willing and it stretches to greet the day with openness and possibility…

How can any of that truly be a mistake? 😉

Written by: Crystal Lee Pash

Pass on Permission and the Art of Self-Validation…

There are a lot of things throughout this life that we need permission for at one time or another. We need permission to do, to go, to have, to get out of, to be involved in a mixed array of things; depending on age, experience, culture, perhaps even gender or position.

We consider ourselves by and large a pretty autonomous people, and yet, we have devised society in such a way as to require permission from someone for so many things, from the beginning of life right up to it’s very end. Oddly enough, over time that list tends to get bigger, not smaller, as do the things we need permission for.

Tell me though, where along the progression of permission did we discover or determine that we need ‘permission’ to be ourselves? When (and how) did we decide that someone else could better gauge what is truly good for our sacred hearts more so than we? How did we get to the places where we allow someone else to dictate our futures, determine our fates?

I hazard a guess that for most of us who’ve ever struggled with that; that much of it steams from old patterns from our earliest days. Now, I’m not part of the ‘blame your parents, your environment, your teachers, etc.’ bandwagon. Nor am I here on the victim brigade.

I am of the belief, however, that we learn a lot about relating, interacting, connecting, our worth and how to express it, who holds the power, and who hides from the light; from within the experiences and exposures we have. I am also of the belief that it is up to us to choose how to use those experiences and exposures for our best, and to rise above when the need arises.

That being said; I learned a lot of truly amazing things during childhood. I learned to read and by the age of 4, could read at or above a 2nd grade level. I learned that it’s both celebrated and condemned to be considered ‘smart’; depending of who makes the call.

I learned that life goes on after trauma and divorce, even if you feel as though life has ended. I learned that good can come from bad, if you are open for it.

I learned that rainbows and dolphins, sunsets and rain, are all proof of miracles and magic, and that diamonds in the sky can only be seen by those who actually look for them.

I learned to smile when I wanted to cry. I learned to hid my feelings, my heart, and my light to protect myself from both real and imagined dangers.

I learned that even in this ‘modern’ world; it can still be considered unacceptable and even ‘devil’s work’ to be born left handed and to conform in order to avoid the isolation of being singled out or shunned, even by well meaning family members.

I learned to dance with my eyes closed and then I learned that those same family members did not consider dancing to be ‘acceptable action’ for a young girl.

I learned to run from bullies and how to ‘bargain’ with them to get away unscathed.

I learned to climb a tree, hang by one leg, and to revel in the gorgeous scent of rain on a dirt road in the height of summer. While I was climbing those trees, reaching ever higher; I also learned to build walls- tall, high, concrete, and convincing.

I learned it was better to distract others by being different due to funky clothes or musical choices than for being ‘too sensitive’.

And, I learned how not to be me. I learned to wear a mask, carry a shield, and wear full body armour. I learned how to defend, deflect, and pretend. I learned that to belong, to ‘fit in’ meant selling out my very soul.

Later, I learned that even into adulthood someone else still had the power to determine if and how much of me, I could become. Because, I gave away that power.

Now, at long, long last; I have finally taken a pass on permission. No longer am I sitting here waiting for someone to tell me it’s okay to be me, or to decide how much of me is enough for this interaction, situation, relationship, or circumstance.

I’m done with waiting for acceptance, approval, validation, and support to come from ‘out there’. Don’t get me wrong, I still want it. You bet I do. But I don’t ‘need’ it now.

I am becoming ME. It is the most fascinating, exquisite, awkward, amazing, intense, and quite possibly, the most impractical adventure I have ever experienced. It is a journey, a process. It does not happen all at once. It is not quick, nor is it painless.

BUT.

It IS incredible.

Breathtaking.

Earth-shattering.

Life-altering.

I have crossed over. Finally. I have given myself permission to be me. To screw up. To learn and to unlearn. To flounder and to fall. To make choices and to undo decisions. To shine and to soar. To say ‘yes’ with a full, open heart and to say ‘no’ with a soft voice, yet firm conviction and assurance.

I have given myself the permission to rock this life! To embrace it, honour it, and live it. To close my eyes, and dance!

I have given myself permission to tear down the walls and stand within the truth of my own heart, come what may. To cry and to laugh with equal abandon and to pursue passion for my life and for love with all that I am.

There is no stopping me now!! 😉

If I fall, if I fail now- or when I do, it is because I am out here in the arena of life- getting dirty and creating my own celebration of this beautiful gift; but I’m out here doing it.

I don’t need your permission, your acceptance.

I have my own.

Hard won and long over due, but it is my own.

Done are the days of scurrying around like a mouse hiding in the cloak of darkness, scrounging for bits and nibbles of cheese to call nourishment and fulfillment.

Oh no.

I am here for the royal feast my life is meant to be.

Written by: Crystal Lee Pash

If I knew, I…..

If I knew, I would be so much smarter than me. If I knew, I would have it all figured out. If I knew, I wouldn’t wait so long, try so hard, or give up so soon. If I knew, I; I would be amazing!! Full of life, passion, and success beyond my wildest dreams.

I’d follow my heart, follow my lead, and solve all the world’s problems…or at least, my very own.

If I knew, I; how different my life would have been! I’d say the right thing every time and I’d go the distance in the blink of an eye.

If I knew, I; I’d never be afraid, and I’d save the day looking good and standing tall. I’d land among the stars and stay for tea.

If I knew, I; I’d finally be ME and you’d be blown away- by the things I’d say, what I’ve done, the places I’ve been and how much I care. Or maybe you’d just be amused, but that’s okay.

I try to measure up to the vision in my head, the perfectly beautiful, brilliant, breathtaking image of a woman that burns in my mind…the woman I’d like to be.

Sometimes I think she’s glowing bright enough that you can see her and begin to expect her when you talk to me.

I’ve taken me and infused her with lace and gold, leather and bold, but what you see is not really me… ah but then again, everything you see is really a part of me or who I strive to be; which is all the same, isn’t it?

If I only knew, I.

I am the most and the least of these, everything and nothing to some degree. Aren’t we all?

Have I crowded the mirror with enough smoke and distraction that you don’t see the fire burning in my heart and the desire that pulses through my veins?

Have I poured enough concrete walls that we can barely meet on the outside and nod a curt hello? Have you?

Life is old and life is bold.

Drink it in, swig it down, and inhale it deep.

I am fear and fearless, fierce and fire. I am daunted, dreamer, daring, and determined. I am lowly and lofty, two sides of the same coin ; and here’s a penny for your thoughts…

An old soul with a childlike heart; I seem born of two worlds, living a double life, but child to none.

Grief in my pocket, tears on my cheeks, laughter on my tongue, and love in my eyes.

I am born at twilight and die at dawn. I see years ahead and pluck the past for all my tomorrows…

I am surprise, suppressed, surrender, serene, surreal, and sensational.

I lose myself with every step forward and find myself inside every breath. The more I learn, the less I know. The less I know, the more I understand.

The mask peels away leaving me naked in the street once again as I start the new day. I close each night with stars in my eyes and throw them into the pool of the midnight sky. I claim the dreams of tomorrow before sunrise and ride the waves of the evening breeze.

I live between the beats of a favorite song, wrapped up like a lullaby. I am there amid the space of a beloved poem and and visible inside the candles flame against a frosted windowpane.

I lose myself a hundred times a day, and find myself inside the softness of a whisper, the sigh that escapes your lips, the magic of every sunset, and within each tear shed by the sky.

I am broken before you and yet; will never be. I surrender and yet; never give up, never give in. I am reality; clouded by nostalgia, coloured with dreams and painted with hope.

I am an autumn night sky waiting to be born on the pages of a love story.

I am sunshine that licks sorrows face and warms a frozen heart.

I melt beside the lake and burn the mountains down…

I am torn… I am meant to fly and bound to crawl. I am of the sea and yet, made of sky…

My heart beats beside you and yet; it beats within the space of another time, another life. I belong in a world you do not see… a river of dreams keep it alive and I sense the tide coming in to gather me once more into the sky…

Secret sorrow is my companion, carried in the shadow of my heart. Alive behind this smile, stories untold and dreams unfold… Searching the skies, the world behind these eyes; my champagne dreams sustain me on the journey home…

Through the lens of the looking glass; there is a vision in the distant horizon of a companion heart. For today I walk here through this foreign land, a lonely traveller on the journey of a lifetime.

Filled with gratitude and grief, I reach into my bag of imagination and pluck the white feather of peace and with it; the hope of a promise… Held close in a heart’s embrace, I tremble in anticipation for the touch of love’s communion…

The long awaited rain washes away the debris of my broken heart, refreshes my spirit and my dreams. Winter turns to spring and the birds begin to sing. My heart lifts with the sound and I join in the celebration.

Stepping out of the shadows, I toss away the masks I’ve worn… I squint into the sun and reach for sky…

Filled with certainty that the road I’m on is the one I’m meant to travel… it’s the one we all must walk alone, seeking our own signs and soaking in our own possibilities.

If I know, I; it could be no other way.

Now that I know, I; the more I learn, the less I know. Now that I know, I; I finally begin to understand.

Written by: Crystal Lee Pash