Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Beautiful Dreamers


I have a secret...

I am a veteran dreamer. From way back. When I was in second grade, I was seated in the rear of the classroom at a separate table & told to color with crayons while the rest of the children learned to read. My teacher deemed me "simple" & unable to keep up with the class because I frequently appeared lost in thought, as though I'd traveled to another realm. 


And she was right. 


I was in another world. But what she didn't realize is that I was actually quite busy.


In my mind, I was visiting new lands & holding conversations with creatures who had wings & engaged in fascinating adventures that stretched the limits of reality. I remember how difficult it was for me to focus on rote learning, particularly since my mind was always spooling at the speed of light. By the time I turned seven, I had my subtle daydreaming technique down pat--all I had to do was fold my hands in my lap, tilt my head a bit & let my eyes drift to the side, and my spirit could escape from the classroom entirely. No one could tell I was lost in imagination, because I kept a vague smile on my face to make it look like I was listening. 




This habit had negative consequences on my school work, of course. And you might think I would have become discouraged by the teacher's assessment of my intelligence. I knew full well she thought I was dim, because another student came up & informed me that I was seated at the "dumb" table. The teacher heard her words & didn't argue.

Cool! was my reaction. I get to color! Not only did I get to dream, I could draw whatever I'd imagined & then take it home to show to my mother.



Thank God I had the kind of mother who always told me I was smart & creative! It never occurred to me to internalize anyone else's assessment of my abilities. And what my mother gave me, along with her consistent & enthusiastic approval for creativity, was her undying faith in possibilities that bordered on magic. While others might have recommended medication or behavioral therapy, instead she saw a little girl whose soul was big enough to try and embrace all the beauty in the world.

Now, in middle age, after finishing several college degrees, holding jobs, and checking off many things from my bucket list, I still find that the creative dreamer in me--that girl who loved to look at the world as full of wonders--is what I like about myself best. And I actually think it's what makes me the most beautiful inside. Forget the fact that I adore makeup, have too many shoes, and love to snag retro-bohemian clothes on eBay. What makes me feel the most luminous within is viewing life the way my mother taught me: As a world brimming with light, beauty & promise, where nothing is impossible.



And I have a confession to make: I see people that way, too. I get so excited when I meet everybody. They're all so beautiful! Each one a spark of energy I've never encountered before! In truth, I'm the kind of person who has to sit on her hands to keep from hugging everyone in sight--even strangers. Over time, I've had to learn to reign myself in because I scare people. A couple of my dearest friends "get it" & are gracious enough to run around with me in the woods every spring, hugging all the trees & greeting the new flowers. My little boys, of course, enjoy it too, and we prance through the forest crying "Welcome!" to every blossom we encounter. They're only here for a short time, don't you know? And surely they deserve to be celebrated. Especially with a lovely picnic blanket & tea set... 



So call me the April Fool & I'll wear the crown with pride. For me, this dreamy tendency makes each day enchanting. Like you, I continue to do laundry, go grocery shopping, cook meals, and fulfill all kinds of household & career obligations. But I never fool myself for a minute that such activities help me "get ahead." In my heart I'm already where I want to be. If I can run my hand through a child's silky hair, listen to his or her fanciful stories, feel sunshine warming my skin, smell new blossoms & hear the gentle rustle of wind through trees, I've "arrived". And as spring temperatures warm the earth beneath your feet, I hope you'll be foolish enough to take off your shoes & socks once in a while & feel its stirring beneath your toes, maybe even letting it trickle down to your soul. When you do, I hope you'll lie back on the grass & take some time out to visit with the most beautiful part of yourself--that part of you that knows how to dream. How to revel in the wonder & mystery of life, & how to let your spirit soar to wherever it wants to go. You never know, you might just find that it carries you to where you've always wanted to be after all...



Photo credit note: All images on my blog are either my own or were gleaned from pictures in the public domains of popular social networks like tumblr, facebook or pinterest. If you own the copyright to any of these images & do NOT want them used publicly, please contact me & I will take them down immediately! : )

Saturday, February 28, 2015

March of the Cranes


Every March, a miracle takes place in the San Luis Valley of Colorado. The Sandhill Cranes return by the thousands, during early spring on their migration route north, to mate & create their nests. Considered a high mountain desert area & rimmed by the spectacular snow-capped Sangre de Cristo & San Juan mountain ranges, the melting snow from the nearby mountains is enough to create wet marshes in this temperate valley that the cranes especially love for their breeding grounds. 



Yet what lends an even more epic quality to this annual beautiful migration, beyond the return of thousands of cranes (as far as the eye can see), is the fact that this species of crane has been coming to the San Luis Valley in southern Colorado for millions of years.


The phenomenon of these lovers' return is so ancient that it has been preserved in petroglyphs etched by Native Americans throughout the Southwestern U.S. for thousands of years.



Now, anyone who's read my blog or my books knows that I am as sentimental as they come and a sucker for true love! So of course it captured my attention that these elegant birds, who mate for life, are known for having a lovely heart-shaped marking on their foreheads. If you've read my novel Twixt, and seen how much I love the mysterious raven, then you'll understand why the Sandhill Cranes made my imagination soar, and I just had to use them as a symbol for the ancient lovers featured in my new novel Mission Archangel--the magical sequel to Twixt in the Enchanted Outlaws Series that tells the love story of Rose's best friend, Amy Tinker.



So while researching Mission Archangel (which will be out this summer), I took a trip to the San Luis Valley where the novel is set to see the sights, sounds, and in particular, the beautiful arrival of the Sandhill Cranes against the back drop of the Great Sand Dunes National Park and the Sangre de Cristo mountains.



My only problem? They hadn't arrived yet! Despite the fact that I got up at dark-thirty in the morning & toted binoculars to the marsh areas of the San Luis Valley to see them in the freezing cold, there were no Sandhill Cranes to be found. Unfortunately, I'd hit the migration season a bit early in the year, so a little dejected, I went back to my hotel and picked up my husband & sons and took them out for breakfast. My children begged to go to a local skatepark afterwards, so I obliged them, and then I decided to take the long way back to our hotel on a remote country road to show my family some of the spectacular scenery of the area.



To my total surprise, and in one of the most magical moments of my life, the Sandhill Cranes began to arrive at that exact moment! I tear up just thinking about it--as my small family stepped out of our car and looked over the wetlands, the sky became peppered with the dark silhouettes of these elegant birds, arriving by the hundreds, to land in the marsh area. And I'll never forget their beautiful calls to one another as they began to arrive, with that reedy, haunting quality, as if to say, "We're here! We made it! Let the dancing begin!" Because what the Sandhill Cranes do during their mating season is spread their giant, 5-7 foot wings & leap & spiral & float in ornate dances that they spontaneously create for one another, which they began to do as we watched, spellbound, by this natural phenomenon.



My children were just as silent & mesmerized as I was as we watched these lovely birds move in almost a choreographed way for each other, with their striking white and red markings and long, elegant necks & legs.



And even though the cattails & marsh areas were still covered by frost, that didn't seem to deter the Sandhill Cranes as they gathered in huge flocks, sending out their lyrical calls that echoed over the wetlands to herald their annual greetings. 



Because this was a special "research" trip for me to stir up ideas & be inspired to write Mission Archangel, I have to admit I felt especially blessed to catch sight of these birds, and it made me feel as though my novel might have a very auspicious--and even magical--destiny. I hope this novel can measure up to this early-morning sacred moment I was able to experience,  and most of all, I hope that Mission Archangel will remind us all of the eternal beauty of the path of these ancient lovers & their enchanting return to the San Luis Valley.



Photo credit note: All images on my blog are either my own or were gleaned from pictures in the public domains of popular social networks like tumblr, facebook or pinterest. If you own the copyright to any of these images & do NOT want them used publicly, please contact me & I will take them down immediately! : )

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Ode to Taylor Swift & Her F-Bomb Valentines


I know what you're thinking: How could sweet Taylor Swift possibly utter the f-bomb anywhere near the delicate ears of her fans, let alone broadcast it widely (and rather bravely) in modern media? But this young woman who looks fabulous in just about any ball gown, and particularly wrapped up all in red like a sparkly valentine (see above photo), has indeed recently spoken one of the most ill-regarded words in the English language, and proudly so, to anyone who will listen.

No, I'm not talking about a 4-letter expletive starting with the letter "F".

I'm talking about a far more derided term: FEMINISM.



And quite frankly, after she did so, I folded my arms with smug satisfaction & offered a knowing smile (then applied a shiny lip gloss to match hers, of course).

You see, I've been professing for years that Taylor Swift is the greatest feminist so far in the twenty-first century, long before that very word escaped her lips. But that's okay, I could smell it on her...



Why? Because Taylor Swift has built her career daring to talk about women's feelings, regardless of who ridicules her (and they have been legion). Even better yet, she refuses to back down. She won't allow women's emotions & instincts for decision making to be minimized, trivialized, or "ized" in any of the slick ways people traditionally employ to make women feel small, marginalized, or downright dim.

And she's made millions of dollars doing it without once posing nude for Playboy. In fact, she wears lots of lovely couture rather nicely, thank you very much.



Even more bravely, Taylor Swift knows that LOVE is the biggest four-letter word to most contemporary critics & media pundits, yet she throws that word around with abandon. Far more than setting an electric guitar on fire or biting a dove's head off onstage, nowadays it's outrageously risky to admit that you have a tender crush or shred of vulnerability, and worse yet, to vocalize that you're aware that you might get swept away by your onrush of (gasp) new emotions. You see, in order to be taken seriously in current society, especially for women, you're supposed to be made of brick & preferably wear stiff shoulder pads on both your heart & your business attire, no matter how much money you make. Particularly since women began entering the workforce in droves in the 1980s, they were taught to suppress anything that made them seem like gushy, flighty or illogical creatures who rely on (horrors!) their feelings to guide their way. Such individuals are not considered "management material" nor "scientific" or "impartial" enough to fit into either academic or corporate culture (I have a Ph.D. folks--I've seen these arid environments first hand). Those few females who did manage to make it past the glass ceiling to the top from the 1980s until now often appear as dour as the famous figures in the American Gothic painting by Grant Wood. Scrubbed of the vestiges of softness or sensitivity, their emotions have been forced into an airtight box, and they allowed our culture to lock most of their traces of femininity into that box as well.



Well f--- that!

You can wear ball gowns, lip gloss, talk about your feelings, and make brilliant discoveries & observations about science & humankind, all while sporting a spectacular pair of heels! In fact, by using this part of your mind that embraces the entirety of human brain energy--including hunches & feelings--you can open yourself to the possibility of stretching human discovery beyond our current safe methods of measurement. As Albert Einstein once said, "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is its faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift."  



This truth apparently dawned on Taylor Swift at a young age that a woman's intuition & ideas & feelings matter, and matter very deeply. Despite her years, and regardless of all the enculturation in our society that for generations tried to squelch such wisdom, Taylor Swift discerned that feelings are precisely a woman's road map to her future. Case in point: When a boyfriend makes you feel down or strung along forever until you're either a basket case or so emotionally exhausted that you can't feel joy anymore, that's because he's MESSING WITH YOUR HEAD. And hello--when a boss makes you feel like that about your career, that person's a jerk as well. So are women who make you feel small or unworthy. In fact, anyone or anything that makes you feel inadequate, powerless or hopeless to dictate your own future is (drumroll please) a classic example of being an influence that's toxic and bad for you.


From "All You Had To Do Was Stay" by Taylor Swift

And you'd better well pay attention to those feelings if you want to lead an empowered & vibrant life. Because you can't ever create your own future unless you get in touch with what pulls your heart forward--or holds it back.

Seriously, how on earth are you going to figure out what's derailing your life unless you hunker down & do an emotional inventory? People who are afraid of their emotions are secretly ruled by them. And what Taylor Swift does is courageously take apart feelings one by one & examine them under her magnifying glass, no matter how beautiful or ugly they might turn out to be, and then she holds each one up to the light until she can make sense of it. 




This process is what many of Taylor Swift's songs so brilliantly represent: A young woman having the guts to look intensely at her life & do some profound self-reflection about how she feels in order to get a grip on the truth of her reality. For this Taylor Swift has been ceaselessly reviled as "lightweight" or "frothy". Yet she keeps bravely strumming her guitar & singing her valentines, not to old boyfriends as has been claimed, but to herself and to a heart that presses forward & keeps beating while looking unflinchingly at its own truths.



And that's exactly what makes Taylor Swift's love songs so feminist. Because she realizes that her emotional inventories don't distract from her empowerment in life--they add to it! So she chooses to Speak Now rather than shut up & just look pretty to make the emotionally constipated pundits happy. 


What's even more renegade (and you know how much I love those outlaws & artisans of the heart!), Taylor Swift openly professes that she hopes one day all young girls who enjoy her music will do the same thing to empower themselves & their own aspirations.



So yes, you could say that I'm a touch obsessed with Taylor Swift & her music and what it's doing for the next generation of girls & "girl power". I first took her music seriously when I was writing my young adult novel Robin in the Hood & I wanted to relive the emotional immediacy of teens & new adults. In my novel, the main character Robin is on the cusp of womanhood & is trying to sort out her feelings about what it means to be truly powerful & grown up. Okay, so she does (ahem) rob a few banks along the way--but that's all a part of her experimentation with good & bad choices! In order to do my research on Robin, I bought all of Taylor Swift's albums, thinking it would take me back to that vulnerable time late in high school or early in college when how you feel about boys or your next steps in life weighs heavily on your heart.


Robin in the Hood, the first novel in the Robbin' Hearts Series

Yet what I discovered is that Taylor Swift's songs are timeless. They speak to me now, in middle age, just as acutely as they whisper to the hearts of her youngest fans. Love, loss, longing & betrayal don't just affect the young--they affect us all. And what I realized is that this young woman is singing about life & validating the experiences of what everyone feels as he or she stumbles around trying to comprehend everything. Because of this, what I find the most beautiful about Taylor Swift's music is the fact that regardless of the ups & downs & heartbreaks & victories that she sings about, she has made a concerted effort to try and keep her heart tender & vulnerable, knowing that such softness & openness to the possibilities of her future are what make her the strongest in the end.

Because she's female. And Taylor Swift knows that understanding her feelings is where her power truly lies. 

And that's her feminist valentine to herself, to the world, and to all the young girls who dare to examine exactly how they feel, then use those feelings as their guiding light to become the very best they can be.

So rock on, Taylor Swift. Dare to feel & keep encouraging others to do the same. Because that big ol' heart of yours looks smashing on you <3

And it just might change the world...



Photo credit note: All images on my blog are either my own or were gleaned from pictures in the public domains of popular social networks like tumblr, facebook or pinterest. If you own the copyright to any of these images & do NOT want them used publicly, please contact me & I will take them down immediately! : )

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Sherwood's End is here! A New Adult Romance That Will Echo In Your Dreams



Magical greetings to you!

Sherwood's End, Book 3 in the Robbin' Hearts Series, is finally here! If you enjoyed Robin in the Hood and the sequel Stone of Thieves, you'll LOVE this spellbinding new novel where Robin and Creek return to Turtle Shores and Robin's former boarding school to find out the truth about Creek's past and his mother (with a little help from the ruby heart, of course!). Ghostly and enchanting, this is a novel that will grab you by the heart and echo in your dreams.


Sherwood's End is available as an ebook on Kindle 
and in paperback at Amazon

Description for Sherwood's End:

Sometimes a great love won’t let go…
until you believe 

The elite Pinnacle Boarding School for Girls is renowned for keeping away far more high school applicants from its hallowed halls than it lets in. But lately, someone has been lurking in shadows, writing cryptic messages on mirrors, and putting people’s lives in peril. When Robin and Creek begin to suspect that this otherworldly guest may have a connection to a tragedy in Creek’s past—and isn’t about to go away anytime soon—they return to Robin’s Alma Mater to try and uncover the truth behind the mysterious spirit’s rage. What they discover is a love story for the ages that leaves them breathless and inspires healing and hope for all those who dare to believe in miracles. 

Due to mature themes, readership is advised for ages 17+.


Creek's passion for Robin is jeopardized by his rage over the injustices of the past involving his parents. With Robin's help, love brings profound healing--
and miracles...


Caroline Gust is a scholarship student at a private boarding school. Her whole world turns upside down when she meets Sherwood Flynn (Creek's eventual father), and they begin a journey that will change both their lives.



Sherwood Flynn is a mad genius & a rebel who wins Caroline Gust's heart--and tries to rescue her from the dark forces that bring her down. His love for Caroline heals Creek when he discovers what his parents really meant to each other.



Sherwood's End is a timeless romance about a great love 
that won't let go--until you believe...

The Robbin' Hearts Series by Diane J. ReedThis edgy, young adult/new adult romance series follows teen heroine Robin McArthur on her magical journey as she reinvents her life from rich girl to gypsy outlaw and learns what it means to truly fall in love. Along the way, she discovers how precious her soulful friendships are in the enchanted trailer park of Turtle Shores, and that there's more than meets the eye in the backwoods when it comes to matters of the heart.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

New Year, New Blessings


Happy new year to YOU!
May this be the year your dreams come true . . .

I'm so excited about this year because soon I'll be releasing the third novel in my Robbin' Hearts Series, Sherwood's End, which ties up Robin's & Creek's adventures as they come full circle into healing, wholeness & lasting genuine love. (Look for Sherwood's End to debut on Amazon & Kindle shortly!) For me, this is a huge milestone & dream come true--I'll finally have finished a series! This event represents a big breakthrough for me. Why? Because writing books that are fresh, original, and yet deeply touch the soul is hard & requires the mental fortitude of a marathon runner. And this can be said of any big dream, right? When the going gets tough, and I feel like the end is nowhere in sight, I often have to remind myself that "Everything I want is on the other side of discipline."

And FAITH . . . 

Because to do anything beyond the ordinary "same old", you have to both envision the big picture & then take the small, often frustrating, baby steps each day to make it come true. Sometimes you have to contend with people who subtly hint that you can't achieve your goal--that you'll never be up to snuff. And sometimes (gulp) you have to confront the fact that you need to remove those influences from your life. Since I'm a group hug kind of gal, that's really hard (& often traumatic) for me. I naturally support others & love to see their dreams come to fruition! So I'm always shocked (& deeply rattled) when others don't want the same for me. But here's perhaps the toughest part about achieving what you want in life:


YOU HAVE TO LOVE YOURSELF ENOUGH TO MAKE YOUR DREAMS HAPPEN.




Which means, YOU have to be the one to take the lid off & allow your dreams to fly.

Yep. As hard as it may be, there often comes a point where you have to stare for a long time in the mirror & say to yourself "Is it really other people or circumstances keeping the lid on my dreams, or is it ME? Do I have the guts to put my dreams first, despite setbacks, enormous labor, and the occasional ridicule of others? Can I love myself enough to truly listen to the whispers of my heart & make this happen?" 

Because I hate to say this, even to myself, but sometimes I realize that the resistance outside of me is actually reflecting the insecurity & doubt I have inside of me. And it's fascinating that whenever I drum up my courage, and make the unwavering, internal decision that "This is going to happen come hell or highwater," suddenly the naysayers start to disappear! A dear friend of mine likes to remind me that "Crazy finds the cracks." In other words, when I have cracks in my spiritual armor, such as doubt, insecurity & low self-esteem, strange people seem to come out of the woodwork to put me down or throw bizarre roadblocks my way. But when I shore myself up and decide within me that I deserve this dream as much as anyone, and to hell with what other people think, all at once crazy goes a runnin'. . . 

Yet what that sometimes requires is the courage to stand alone. 



For me, one of the most challenging obstacles I tend to have toward achieving my goals is the long-standing wish to fit in. Ouch.

Hello? It's not possible! Most people don't run around writing down the intimate conversations of their imaginary friends, Diane! On top of that, in terms of Myers-Briggs personality types, I'm an INFJ, which means I'm something akin to 1% of the total population & my mental processes are by far the least understood by the masses. I am, in a word, considered weird. Some of my dear friends even claim that in another lifetime I would have been burned at the stake (& the verdict is still out for this lifetime, too ; ). But probably because I'm a twin & come from a large family of 5 kids, I always hold out this hope in my heart that my group-hug idea of the world can come true. Yet as I get older, I've slowly learned to become more content with my oddness--and the price required to write thoughtful fiction, which is exactly this: You must to be willing to observe & say what others refuse to talk about. Because beyond the norms, traditions, and comfortable routines of our society lie the real yearnings of our souls--our ache to be loved & truly known--which most of us artfully suppress for fear of encountering derision. And to give voice to those heartbreaking whispers in the dark that we're reluctant to let others hear is at times the most revolutionary & original thing you can do. And it will most certainly make you be perceived as "different."

That's okay with me. Finally . . .

Because after all this time, I'd rather be different and real than fit in. And being authentic is the only way I know to achieve my dreams. Here's a little secret: your soul won't tolerate anything less. I honestly believe that your own soul will throw roadblocks into your life until you get back on track with the real YOU. Your heart yearns to travel the path that only it knows, not the well-worn path of others, so be grateful for its guidance. You may not have a lot of company on your route, but the colors will be brighter, the music purer, the friendships more true, and the dreams far more satisfying if you take the steps you know your soul is urging your towards.

So here's to a grand 2015! I pray you will listen to your heart & experience huge blessings & breakthroughs this year! And most of all, I pray that your dreams will always light the way toward your true spiritual home


LOVE, MAGIC & MIRACLES TO YOU IN 2015!




Photo credit note: All images on my blog are either my own or were gleaned from pictures in the public domains of popular social networks like tumblr, facebook or pinterest. If you own the copyright to any of these images & do NOT want them used publicly, please contact me & I will take them down immediately! : )

Monday, December 1, 2014

Holiday Hush


All right, I confess--I tend to get a bit overwhelmed by the holiday season. As beautiful as the month of December is, all the purchasing of presents & wanting to make others feel happy & dearly loved can sometimes leave me bedraggled. I mean, does it really matter if my gravy's lumpy or I don't tie ribbons particularly well? Probably not! Like most of you, what matters most to me is that my family & friends are healthy & happy. So this year, I had a radical thought: what if the best gift I could give to others is ME? A sincere heart & joyful spirit who surrounds others with peace & kindness? Who loves others for their authentic selves--not for what they can do for me or provide under a Christmas tree? Yet to do that, I realized I needed to first find that peace & authenticity within myself. So rather than running around like crazy trying to make everything "perfect" this holiday season (& God knows, I'm guilty of that in years past!), I decided to take time out to truly appreciate the simple joys of December & to allow a hush to settle into my bones.  


For me, this means stopping long enough on a ski slope in Colorado recently to notice how the clouds look like Angels over the mountain tops. When I lifted my eyes, honestly, I could almost hear them singing! And I wondered if this wasn't just mental fancy on my part--if there really IS something in the universe that rejoices when we take time out to notice the beauty & wonder all around us.  


And a few evenings ago, while I was out jogging during a light snowfall, at one point, I simply had to stop, clutch at my heart, and gasp. Why? Because as the snow filtered through the sky, the setting sun shone through the spiraling flakes, making each one flicker gold. The sight was so heart-stoppingly beautiful that it brought tears to my eyes. Even though I tried to capture it here (rather badly) on film, nature's poetry still left its mark on my soul in the form of a deep peace. And that silence, that sacred hush, is the true gift that I think December can bring. Within its quiet chill are moments that allow us to pause & appreciate something I can't even quite articulate--but that I believe has something to do with the eternal inside the temporal. A beauty that is at once fleeting & yet so piercing that it can endure in our hearts for all time. 


If we can relax long enough to feel that "sacred hush" during the holiday season, and let it replenish our souls, then we actually have more to offer other people! We have the gift of ourselves that can truly love & cherish those around us.  So as you make your way through this happy, hectic, harried, & hustle & bustle month, I hope you can also give yourself the opportunity to take long walks, to gaze at the sky, to allow snowflakes to fall on your tongue or notice shapes in the ice & patterns in the snow. In other words, during the midst of the holiday rush, don't forget the hush. Because long after the lights come down & the decorative trees have been turned into kindle, it may well be that these quiet moments are what you remember most.


Like the sweet message from a precious child left for you in the snow . . . 


(Photo credit note: All images on my blog are either my own or were gleaned from pictures in the public domains of popular social networks like tumblr, facebook or pinterest. If you own the copyright to any of these images & do NOT want them used publicly, please contact me & I will take them down immediately! : )

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Gratitude



The holiday season, particularly Thanksgiving, often causes us to reflect on what we're grateful for in our lives. Health, family & good friends usually top that list, along with a roof over our heads & food on the table, and an overall contentment with how our lives are progressing. Like many people, I try to make it a practice to "count my blessings" during this time, especially to balance the near-constant demands of our material-driven culture that insists we buy every shiny new object & technological toy. But for this holiday season, I've decided to ponder a different nuance of gratitude that I rarely hear people talk about: Space.


"Space" of the spiritual variety is what occupies the gaps in our hearts when unexpected changes happen in our lives. We didn't get the job we wanted, or the romantic partner we'd longed for, or the house we had our hearts set on. Instead, we're left with our dreams still throbbing in our hands, struggling for breath, searching to find a new goal or object to pin our cherished hopes upon.

And what we suddenly have before us, whether we like it or not, is a blank canvas. An open horizon. A new path ahead with no road map to go by or compass to provide direction. 



And that, in itself, can be an extraordinary blessing, if we allow it. How often I have been grateful for the road less traveled by! Did I deliberately choose it? Heavens no--I can count many times when I was left dizzied & gasping after the whirlwind of change, wondering what the heck I was going to do with myself once the dust & debris finally settled. But luckily, there's always been an inner voice inside me that said, "Don't be in a rush to fill up this space too fast. Set your table and put out your chairs, roll out your best china & finest wine, and let the next things that are supposed to be a part of your life gently come to you. Be grateful for the space."


Could that have been the Angels talking? I honestly think so. Because my natural inclination is to be a "fixer." Like many of you, I endeavor to have all my ducks in a row, to stick with a plan, to envision myself the way I'm "supposed to be" at this point in my life, including all of my imagined goals & glorious achievements. But what if the universe has a more interesting & soul-enriching idea?


So for this Thanksgiving, what I'm most grateful for is the gift of space--those odd quirks of fate that disrupted my plans & directed me to new paths I never would have encountered, which made more intriguing & creative choices possible. They say where one door closes, a window opens. And I believe that sometimes those windows lead to miracles we might never have experienced otherwise. Moments of serendipity where all appears lost--only to discover that there is a far more fascinating destiny awaiting you. But only if you can take a deep breath, relax, and allow the space to demonstrate its special brand of magic. If you can let yourself be content that space will do its gentle work in your heart & in your life, that is exactly the horizon that leaves room open for where your soul might really need to be. 


Oh, and by the way, did I mention I saw 10 turkeys on my jog in Colorado today? Truly wild turkeys are well known as the "ghosts of the forest"--the most elusive game animals of all. Like the gentle space I've been speaking of, they don't announce their presence with harsh, "gobble-gobbles". Rather, they move quietly, swishing the grass with their carefully placed feet & beautiful feathers as they move with the precision of seasoned ballet dancers. Their soft chortles are more like rhythmic purrs than "gobbles", if you stop long enough to listen. And they'll only remain in your presence when you pause in silence & allow them the grace to occupy their special kind of space, for they are very shy & dignified birds. 

And quite frankly, I couldn't help viewing them as a unique omen for the state of being I was inhabiting, one where I actually gave nature the room to speak in profound, non-verbal ways that are perhaps richer than all my well-laid plans. Like me, I hope you can take the time out to reflect on such moments of wild beauty & soul-opening space. Something tells me that if we allow these instances to affect us, they just might lead us to where our souls long to be after all. And for that, we shall be forever grateful . . .

(Photo credit note: All images on my blog are either my own or were gleaned from pictures in the public domains of popular social networks like facebook or pinterest. If you own the copyright to any of these images & do NOT want them used publicly, please contact me & I will take them down immediately! : )