Tigger, from the Winnie-the-Pooh stories, is one of my heroes. This is why. He knows who he is and what he does best.
Tigger bounces. Bouncing’s what tiggers do best. Fun. Play. Creating happiness (and some chaos) with friends and family. Life is to be enjoyed. These are also what Tigger does best.
In one of the stories, Rabbit tries to unbounce Tigger. Not a good idea. When he stops bouncing, everyone else gets sad too. Bouncy Tigger is a necessary part of the family in these stories. He is the joy.
I want to be a tigger. If I could be a character from A. A. Milne’s Pooh stories, I would be Tigger. Not even a pause to think it over.
I want to be a joy tigger. I want to light up the joy in myself and those around me. When I am happiness and joy, I can hold in balance the life things that are not so easy.
A joy tigger. Me. I want to know who I am and what I do best. And then do it the rest of my life. I have a good start at it, here on this page and in this blog.
I have a new word in my heart’s vocabulary. Grace.
New to me, yet this is an old word. I’ve heard people talk about the ‘grace of God’. There, but for the grace of God, go I. The song Amazing Grace tells of being taught by grace, and saved by grace.
In this world, I see grace being beauty, being tenderness and mercy, being forgiveness and reprieve and absolution. Grace as a gift, given unexpectedly and lovingly, that relieves, rescues, saves.
I think grace is connection, a gift in the same way love is a gift. Always here with me. Always available and speaking to me. Always holding me in its embrace. I need only open my heart, and become grounded and present.
Grace is another word for love, another word for Source, for God.
I see the grace given in my life. Love. Connection. Forgiveness. Beauty. Gratitude.
Grace is what writes with me, these words on this page. Whispers in my ear, write this, then this, and this. Grace opens my heart to my life, all of it. Opens my senses to what is around me in this moment. Says to me, use everything. All is inspiration, when I am open to grace and vulnerable to life.
Letting myself become vulnerable.
The dictionary defines vulnerable as being available to injury. In other words, I am being advised to stay closed off. Closed is safe. Vulnerable is being in danger.
Surely vulnerable can simply mean open.
When I am vulnerable to all in my life, I learn and understand. I feel and do what could be difficult and painful, but I hold it and myself in love. And then grace holds me, and I find my way through. Nothing to force or fight, nothing to push against in anger or fear, nothing to close away from.
I think the dictionary writers got it wrong. Vulnerable is not being available to injury. Vulnerable is being available to grace and love. It is standing deep in my life, open-hearted and accepting all I experience.
Available to my life. Using everything. An open heart. This is grace. Given, and accepted.
I’ve been listening to Sonia Choquette on the Hay House World Summit 2015. Sonia talks about walking the Camino de Santiago across northern Spain. Eight hundred kilometers. Five hundred miles. A pilgrimage. She carries grief on the long walk. Deaths of a brother and father, the breaking of a long marriage, the certainty of failure in her life’s work. She walks and forgives, walks and lets go. Finds her way through to Santiago, balance, and home.
I am a pilgrim in my own life. Finding my way. The map is my heart. I walk with my map open, certain and sure of each loving, joyful step. I walk with my map closed, lost and aching, blind and stumbling. Refusing to see and feel. Refusing to take the single action that will save me—open my heart again.
Stubborn has been one of my words, and sometimes it fits me like a tailored suit of clothes. Resistant. Unwilling. Yes, those too. I’ll do it myself. Say this quietly. Pretend to go along with other people’s agendas, and then shift to the side and onto my own path.
Focused is the word I use now, rather than stubborn.
I need to learn things on my own. I can be told something, but I need to test it out, experience it for myself. See and feel all through me, the truth of something.
My heart is a map. Where I have been. Where I am now. Where I am going.
It’s not a paper map, identical each time I unfold it to find my way. It is simple to know where I am on a paper map. The roads and pattern are always the same. I see my place clearly, and mark it with an X. I am Here.
My heart is the map of my life. Like all maps, I must know where I am right now in order to journey to where I want to be. To find my way on this map, I open my heart, and feel. Where am I now? Is it love, excitement, anger, sadness, joy, wonder, jealousy? So many emotional places, I cannot name them all. Ah, here I am. Mark it with my X. Homesick.
Is this where I want to be, in this place of homesick? No, not really. It doesn’t feel good, and I prefer ‘feel good’. Don’t we all.
I have learned that clearly feeling where I am gives me information. This place on the map of my heart, homesick, tells me I am longing for something, a something not fulfilled by where I am in my life at this moment.
Edgar, my cat, is teaching me Extreme Happiness. He’s been on the job for three years, and I am finally getting it. Yes, I’ve been a slow learner, but that doesn’t bother Edgar. He keeps showing me the same thing, every day. Love. Trust. Play. Practice Extreme Happiness.
Our previous cat, Einstein, was a fuzzy grey Buddhist master who channelled Yoda. He and Edgar spent two summers together. Einstein passed all his secrets, and the job of caring for our family, to Edgar. Then he let go of life. Edgar is doing an excellent job. I am sure Einstein is proud.
Einstein the Cat was all about being and acting in the present moment. Einstein knew how to choose his moment. Edgar is showing me that Extreme Happiness happens in the moment, and it is a choice.
Extreme Happiness has always been part of me. It is love, trust, joy, play, and it lives in my heart all the time. Until now, I never knew it existed and didn’t understand I could have it. I could choose it. I could give myself permission.
I didn’t know. So what changed for me?
I learned what Einstein the Cat knew, and what Edgar shows. I can choose how I react to my life. More than this, I can create my life. Find what I love and choose that. Here. Now.
Choosing changes everything.
Edgar chooses to love. He chooses love first. He shows love and gives love. Right here. Right now. He doesn’t hesitate. He doesn’t stop and think, should I, shouldn’t I, maybe it won’t work, maybe it’s too scary. No. Edgar doesn’t try to figure it out by thinking. He figures it out by acting. He walks right up, and loves. This is what I am learning to do.
Edgar is a good teacher. He shows everyone he meets Extreme Happiness, whether he knows them or not. This is trust in himself and them. This is playing joyfully in the Universe. This is knowing love is always the action and the answer.
Love. Trust. Play. Practice Extreme Happiness. I choose this. Edgar approves. Prrrrrrrrr.
‘Edgar is extremely happy.’ This is what my son tells me in our phone conversation yesterday.
Edgar is our family cat. He is living with our son Bryan right now. Edgar thinks he belongs not only with our family, but with everyone. We call him the Love Kitty.
This is why.
Edgar loves everyone he meets, and he is sure that everyone loves him. He is so certain of this that it becomes true. He walks up to people he does not know, stares at them, unblinking, and purrs. It works. They stop, bend down, pet him. The Love Kitty in action. This is his job in the world. Spread Love and Extreme Happiness.
I have had seven cats in my life, beginning when I was a teenager. We have shared love back and forth. Each love has been unique, and each of my cats has taught me something about life.
This big, white-and-black fuzz muffin teaches Love and Extreme Happiness. He radiates it, all the time.
I have never had a cat quite like Edgar. Each time I pick him up, he goes boneless. Limp. A floppy feather pillow that purrs, loud. He looks up at me. Round, pale, jade green eyes. He is telling me in this moment I am the love of his life, and there is nothing better than my arms holding him against my heart.
This is Edgar’s Extreme Happiness: know my arms always support him; know I always love him; know that home and care and kindness are always my gifts to him.
His trust is complete. Edgar knows the Universe is a friendly place. His open heart calls to mine. Come and play with me and the Universe. Play. Trust in Extreme Happiness. Relax into Love.
Relax into Love. Edgar is a master at this. He gifts his Extreme Happiness to all who hold him. It is true that emotions are contagious. Edgar’s Extreme Happiness always rubs off on me. My body relaxes. My heart opens. I am happy, extremely. I know the Universe always supports and loves me. I know home and care and kindness are always mine.
Thank you Edgar, for teaching me Extreme Happiness. You are a treasure.
The Universe, Source, was nudging me all last week, singing to me. Ideas, suggestions. Then it pointed me to Julia Cameron’s book The Vein of Gold, and the task ‘Lullaby’. ‘For five minutes each day (five private minutes), hum or sing a lullaby to yourself.’ The task is on pages 164 to 166, if you are looking for it.
It is true, you know. The world is music. The world is sound. We are sound. Vibration. Nada Brahma.
My Mom sang to me, to herself, and with the radio. My Dad sang with me, my sister and brother, in his ‘own personal key of music’ as he would say, perfectly off tune. In the late afternoon heat of July, Dad driving us home after swimming in the lake, singing Jingle Bells all the way.
My chosen lullabies, the songs I sing to myself, might not be what you would expect:
I am eight years old, sitting in the back seat of my parents’ Volkswagen Beetle. It’s Friday night, November, and dark. My sister is curled into the far corner opposite me. I think she is sleeping. I am near to sleep as well, that place where thoughts float and my body releases the day.
I can see my parents in the front seats. Light from the dashboard lines the edges of their faces, Mom turned towards Dad as he drives. Their voices wrap around me, quiet and warm.
We had dinner out tonight, and then did grocery shopping. I can smell the bread, packed full in one of the brown paper grocery bags behind my seat. Ten loaves for a dollar.
The car tires hum against the road, and the engine chugs. Steady and sure. I know Dad is watching for the deer who sometimes step from the trees onto the road and into the light, and then stand, blinded. They and we are blessed. We always pass each other with space to spare.
In this memory, time and place, this is how I feel. Warm. Safe. Comforted and comfortable. Cared for. Loved. Belonging. Home. There is nothing more I need or want.
Here, now, times when my life does not feel warm or safe, not comfortable or comforted. When I don’t feel I belong, not loved, not home. When I only hear and see wants and needs demanding a piece of me, clamouring and noisy, I stop and let go.
I let go. I close my eyes. There, I see the night and my parents’ faces. I hear their voices and the car, humming. I smell fresh bread. I know my sister is near me, asleep on the seat. I breathe deep. Let my thoughts float, my body release the day. Feel just this.
Here, is love. This place, home, is within me. Warm, safe, comforted, comfortable. Cared for, belonging. All within me and created by me. I choose this. My home is within, my place of strength where I stand knowing who I am. I am love.
I open my eyes, return to the day and my life, carrying this within me.
Carry this into whatever I am doing. Make this part of my experience. I choose love, and I am home and safe.