February 2023 Musing

Happy New Year!

New Year’s Eve is my favorite holiday! As a young girl, my family would travel to my grandparent’s house for the festive evening. The night would begin with my grandmother holding court at the head of the table in the formal dining room and my quiet grandfather on the opposite end. I would have on my very best dress, use my impeccable table manners and listen in on the worldly conversations taking place. I thought it all very thrilling and sophisticated! My grandmother would ring a small bell and Mildred would whisk in to clear the plates and bring the next course. Then we would gather in the long elegant living room. The interesting conversation would continue as the champagne flutes were being filled in anticipation of the ball that would drop in Times Square; while we counted down the seconds that would flash before us on the television. There I would excitedly make my New Year resolutions. Many years later, long after my grandparents had passed and their New Year’s Eve parties ceased, it was only fitting that on my still favorite holiday my eldest son would be born, right at midnight just 15 seconds after the clock struck. It was such a joyous and festive time and every year it feels that way as we ring in this very special birthday.

As I welcomed 2023 I thought not about New Year resolutions but rather what is my purpose? What does God intend for me to accomplish during my time on earth? What does He want to create through me and what does He want to co-create with me? What experiences are left to be had? Coincidentally, my youngest son was asking himself these same questions at the same time. While 36 years apart, we both were asking the same age-old questions! I believe our big overarching purpose is divine and contributes to changing the world in big or small ways through our unique gifts, and that it unfolds over our lifetime. Equally important though is the day when our purpose is simply to get out of bed, empty the dishwasher and get kids to school, only to wake up and do it all over again. In those instances, our purpose can change every single day. Today’s purpose could simply be to get my house in order and go to the gym, period. However big or small, I do believe man fulfills his purpose with ease when he allows God to flow through him so completely that he acknowledges he is simply the vehicle.

In the book of Hebrews 12:1, the author, widely believed to be St. Paul says, “And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” What race am I running? Answer: the race marked out for us. I take that to mean my race, not my neighbors, not my family’s, but my own very specific race. What does the race look like? Quite suddenly the answer became very clear to me. The race is the one that makes me happy and fulfills my purpose. Intrinsically, we know what makes us happy but we don’t always do it. We get conditioned by society, we feel guilty, we deny our feelings, we make excuses and even play the victim. When that happens the race becomes very hard. It’s no longer fun. It takes a toll. Paul reminds us we must run the race with perseverance. We must stay true to ourselves and our divine purpose regardless of outside influences trying to knock us off course. Perseverance is the key, vigilance is its aid.

The first time I came across the word perseverance I was quite young, around 2nd or 3rd grade. I was asked to do a reading in front of my entire elementary school. I practiced every night for weeks with my mother and every night I stumbled over the pronunciation of the word perseverance. Eventually, my mother broke it down phonetically as well as drawing a picture of a purse to represent the “pers” part of the word which I kept stumbling over. I often wonder if that was a sign from God nudging me to get a grasp on that word at an early age. Like, hey Ailsa this may be a big part of your journey, learning the word, understanding the word, living the word. I couldn’t have possibly understood back then the large role perseverance would play in dealing with heartbreak, death, finances, relationships, raising children, reparenting myself, and many other things I faced along my journey. Yet, all the while, I had Paul’s advice: “to run the race with perseverance” playing in a loop in the background, like a spectator on the sidelines cheering on a marathon runner. Perseverance is a tool that can get us through some of the more challenging or confusing times and lead us to the light. We must be vigilant though; we must be true to our own race, don’t look to the left, don’t look to the right instead look to your heart.

I wish each one of you all the best in running your race no matter what it looks like and persevere in running it so that you may live your truth and express your purpose which in turn brings about a peace that surpasses all understanding.

With love and deep appreciation,

“Do not allow your fire to go out, spark by irreplaceable spark in the hopeless swamps of the not-quite, the not-yet, and the not at all. Do not let the hero in your soul perish in lonely frustration for the life you deserved and have never been able to reach. The world you desire can be won. It exists. It is real. It is possible. It is yours.” -Ayn Rand

December 2022 Musings

Hi friends! It’s been a while! I am very happy to be back as we wrap up 2022! Naturally,
thoughts turn to the new year and the excitement of what will unfold. Simultaneously, I find
myself thinking of things that didn’t unfold as expected. I read an interview with the actor
Jennifer Aniston in Allure magazine recently where she talked about her inability to have a child
and how hard that was for her. Upon reflection about having the baby, she longed for but
ultimately couldn’t conceive she succinctly said “the ship has sailed.” That got me thinking
about what “ships have sailed” for me. I could count several. While it’s an emotionally hard
exercise to do, it is without a doubt very valuable. Mostly because the next step is to surrender,
to let go. It’s OK if I missed a few things that I thought were for me. Maybe it opened up other
avenues that would not have occurred otherwise.

We all have those things that we thought would happen or that we thought we would
experience, yet they just didn’t come to fruition for one reason or another. Who knows, maybe
those dreams can still come around. Maybe the fulfilling job, the long dreamt for the house, the
great relationships you’ve wanted, and even a late-in-life baby are all still viable just maybe not in
the way you thought or the order you expected. Maybe Jennifer Aniston adopts a baby, maybe
she becomes a foster mother or maybe she’s made peace that this dream of motherhood was
not for this lifetime and that’s OK. My son wrote a poignant song recently and the refrain is “It’s
OK”. I love that message. The missed opportunity is OK, the life you thought you would have
but somehow turned out differently than expected is OK. With that wisdom in hand, we are free
to move on! We are free to live in the now and think about the future. There is no life in the past.
It doesn’t exist anymore. I admit it can be a bitch to let go, especially if you’re a can-do,
stubborn woman like myself; but then I remember the peace that follows after letting go. As a
result, I make it a point to surrender to peace constantly. It’s the mantra that runs through my
head all. day. long. I surrender to peace, I surrender to peace, I surrender to peace. I like to
hold my hands up and say out loud (especially at stoplights) I surrender! Eventually, it becomes
a habit, all this surrendering.

The author Judith Orloff says there are three types of surrender: forced surrender, learning to
surrender and accepting what is. Forced surrender occurs during a crisis that causes
change. In this change which is often very difficult is the opportunity. Learning to surrender is
an exercise in focusing on the positives in your life while leaving the fear and anxiety behind.
Judith recommends storing positive images as a way to combat the fear and anxiety and
malaise. For me the easiest way is to focus on the exact opposite of the fear or loss I am
facing; therefore inducing the positive as the favored outcome. And lastly, accepting what is.
That’s an absolute choice. That will involve some trust, a dash of hope and a modicum of going
with the flow. When I’m looking for that acceptance I focus on letting happiness in and
surrendering to joy. Again, it’s OK. Everything works itself out eventually. There’s always light!
With that, I wish you all the very, very best this holiday season and always as you surrender to
all that is yours in 2023 and beyond.

With love & gratitude,

Episode 04 – Interview with Jennifer Fulwiler

Emily talks Jennifer Fulwiler, author of One Beautiful Dream: The Rollicking Tale of Personal Passions, Family Chaos, and Saying Yes to Them Both.

“The book is a humorous memoir that chronicles what I learned about work, family, and pursuing personal passions in the midst of having six babies in eight years. It’s an intimate look at the struggles I went through while trying to find some way to use my God-given gifts while still putting my family first.”

Catch the Jennifer Fulwiler show on Sirius XM, weekdays from 2-4 PM EST on Channel 129.

September 2022 Musings

Redemption Song by Bob Marley ran through my mind all summer; and more specifically the lyrics: Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery None but ourselves can free our minds. That may be easier said then done. I pondered these lyrics, as the events of the summer unfolded.As fate would have it, I would be led to a healer in Ellsworth, Maine where things would begin to crystalize.

I arrived at the healer’s address, an old victorian house, where upon entering a sign read please take off your shoes. I neatly parked my Birkenstocks by the staircase. I wandered in calling out “hello, anyone here?” I entered the living room and ran into another client who said, “Make yourself comfortable, someone will come to get you for your appointment.” I did just that, plopping down on to an overstuffed sofa. My appointment was for 11 and by 11:15 no one had come to get me. Going with the flow, I continued to peruse my phone. Eventually someone came in and he said, “You’re not on the schedule.” After some back and forth we determined there had been some sort of mix up; but as luck would have it he did have time for me. We headed up to a light filled room in the turret of the victorian. The healer asked, “Why are you here?” I said, “I don’t know.” He was bemused as he repeated my answer. I said, “A friend thought I should come see you and I followed her prompting.” I awkwardly mumbled something about my right shoulder and back being sore, maybe we could work on that. Then the most amazing thing happened as we started on these areas; mostly through talking, we came upon the reason I was there! It turns out I was looking for clarity! Honestly, who isn’t these days? It could have been a lucky guess but in my case it was absolutely true.

There was a nagging question on my mind all summer that I would think about on my long walks with the dogs or when sitting in my favorite cool stream in the Maine woods and that was, what is the difference between judgement and discernment? I live in a very judgmental world; I guess we all do. I don’t like that feeling. I don’t like judging people, it make me feel physically sick as in pit-in-stomach sick after I do it or when I hear others do it. So what’s that all about? I casually asked that question in my session and that turned into a half hour discussion which resonated deeply, as well as relieved the pent up pain in both my shoulder and back.

I learned there is a big difference between judgement and discernment. One is toxic (judgement) the other helpful (discernment). He also said that when we judge someone it stops any other alternative scenario. For instance, if I judge that someone is unkind and decree it so then there really is no way for that person to grow or change in my mind. I have made a judgement and that’s it. Now, if I can discern that the same person is being unkind in that moment and I can then discern even further through talking that that person has just lost a family member; than I can see that although the behavior is unacceptable to me, I can understand and then forgive and also give that person the chance to grow and change in the next moment. That’s a big difference than declaring an irrevocable judgment!

Further in my session because of my interest in judgment vs discernment the book Steps to Freedom which we have as our September read was recommended. There’s a lot of good information in that book with the intent of unpacking the road to true freedom which is what we crave at our very core. I have touched on one aspect of the book regarding how the mind can be enslaved in the context of judgement. There are obviously more obstacles to true freedom.

However, as we chip away at the conditionings of the mind, we can begin to set free who we really are! We uncover that we are in fact a direct channel for God to experience the world. We soon see that all the ego stuff of confusion, envy, fear, greed are just petty things in the way of our true self and that ultimately we are free to experience an exciting world that is at our finger tips. Add to that, if we can let God flow through us through service to others we could live lives way more fulfilling than we can ever create in our small, fixed worlds of who we think we are or should be.

I saw the movie Elvis this summer and there is a scene where Elvis is being manipulated by his manager to do a cheesy Christmas show and he just can’t do it, so instead Elvis writes a song presumably inspired by God called If I Can Dream. The words are so powerful and true:

But as long as a man
Has the strength to dream
He can redeem his soul and fly

I think that dreaming is God’s call to us. He’s saying come along and dream a great dream with me. Let go of the shackles of your mind that sound like: I should do this, I am that, this is what’s expected of me, because all of that is made up. It’s all made up by us and whatever conditioning was pumped into us starting at a birth. It’s equally important not to judge ourselves but rather use discernment. We can do that by trying to figure out what we want, what we’re hearing. Listen for the whisper that brings excitement and joy. It may not be what the world wants for or from us but it’s most likely what God wants. I guarantee it sounds and feels like freedom!

So the natural questions are, what is freedom and how do I attain it? The short answer is freedom will be personal to each and every one of us. In Steps to Freedom Reshad Field writes “freedom is the flow of all that is. freedom is expressed by the interchange of energies passing through all the Kingdoms of God.” He goes on to say, “We have not tasted our true freedom because we are overcome by the tyranny of the mind.” If you believe that to be true then the next question is what shall I do? The answer is very simple yet takes immense training, SURRENDER! That means giving up the identity I’ve created, negative habits of the mind and judgement. That sounds like a tall order! However, without putting pressure on ourselves, as we take small step to surrendering, changes can occur. “If you take one step towards God, He takes ten towards you” – Hadith of the Prophet

A whole new life can blossom as a result of surrendering and letting the Divine flow through us. You may be thinking this is a lot of hippie stuff; after all she did mention Birkenstocks! Yet, I can attest from my own experience this to be true.

I’ve always thought that God wanted to experience life through humans and then I read this quote “I was a hidden treasure and I longed to be known, so I created a world that I might be known.” – Hadith of the Prophet

It hit me so powerfully! What a beautiful way to think about God and don’t we think that way about ourselves as well? We create our worlds so that we are known, we join teams and clubs and form deep relationships all in order to be known. It’s a beautiful, beautiful thing, and in being known, truly known, discernment is necessary and judgement has no place.

Sending true love always,