Cold Hard Facts

Well, today just ain’t been pretty! I’ve been digging through my partner’s inbox trying to get up to speed on the half of the business he oversees and my head is a hurtin’ and my tummy is a turnin’ at what I’m a finding. We’ve got ourselves a toy business that barely turns a profit. In fact, once I figure in all the expenses, it’s a major loser. It has been sucking the profits out of my marketing company and that just isn’t cool, but them are the cold, hard facts I’m a facing.

The good news is that we have a ton of inventory. I’m hopeful that we can sell it all over the next few months–esp. during Christmas. The bad news is, Christmas is still 5 months away and the storage fees for our goods are NOT cheap. When I think about what this all means it makes me want to cry. But I’m not gonna cry because I trust that the universe already has what we need in store and in fact, that it is already on its way. God is good like that. Plus, we do great work, and we have created some most excellent products. We’ll have a lovely Christmas, and then I will decide whether or not to keep the toy business. I can sell it, or heck, with the way I’m feeling today, I may just simply give it away! haha

The cold, hard facts are never fun to face, but tackling them head on feels quite empowering.  I’ve been so slammed consulting and selling that I left this part of the business to others. Not a wise move Mrs. CEO. So, lesson learned, and now it’s time to get this train back on track.

It will be a good challenge for me to try to come out ahead of the game because right now we are super cash poor and inventory rich. I’m not okay with that. Like it makes me super sick. Alas, I’m not going to worry about it yet. Instead, I’m off to dream about a more profitable future because the cold, hard facts are: It can only go up from here!

What You See

What you see is what you get! I love this story that Jack Kornfield told in my morning meditations. He spoke of a man traveling to a new town. Before entering the town he met an old, wise woman on the path. He asked her what the people in the new town were like. The woman replied, “What were the people like in the town you are coming from?”

The man replied, “Oh they were liars, cheaters, downright no gooders!” To which the wise woman said, “Oh you will find them much the same in this town.”

Moments later another man crossed her path on his way into town and stopped to inquire as to the nature of the citizens of her fair town. She asked, “What were the people like from the town you are coming from?” And the man replied, “Oh, they were the most wonderful people! kind, loving and doing their level best.” The wise woman smiled and said, “You will find them much the same in this town.”

And so it is, what we see is what we get! I will choose to see the good!

Michelle and Dave

Dear Michelle and Dave, thank you for being at the McDonalds right before Wendover. Thank you for reminding me and my family how blessed we are. Thank you for allowing us to serve you.

May the Lord continue to provide for you and may you both find help along the way until you are both able to once again provide for yourselves. Sharing our dinner and some of our time with you was truly sacred.

p.s. Dave and Michelle were a homeless couple we met. Michelle was sitting outside McDonalds on the curb. I felt impressed to ask if she had already eaten. She said, “no.” I asked if she were hungry, to which she replied, “yes.”

I invited her to join us and place her order. She walked hesitantly up to the register, I asked her if there were anyone else she was with that might need a meal too. She replied that her husband had walked to the gas station and would love something to eat as well. She simply ordered a burger. I told her to get more than that and when I could sense her reluctance, I told the cashier to make both her and her husband’s burgers into value meals. She was grateful and my joy was super sized as well.

While we waited for the order, my children and I were able to visit with Michelle and hear somewhat of her story. She was permanently disabled. She has suffered over 6 mini strokes, leaving her left hand and speech slightly impaired. Her family life as a child was rotten. She met Dave (her husband/partner) and they live on the streets together. She told me how wonderful he treats her. She had the most wretched shoes that hurt her feet abominably and he scrounged up enough money and went without food to buy her some new tennis shoes. She lit up as she showed me her new shoes. They were beautiful. But what was more beautiful was the story of his love and her love for him.

I LOVED Dave before even meeting him. I loved him for loving her. She hasn’t known much of love and I was grateful she had Dave. And then Dave walked in. He was grinning from ear to ear. Beaming is a better word. I hope I never forget what he looked like. Frizzy hair under a red ball cap. Mustache and beard with nothing but these pearly whites revealed in his massive grin. And his teeth really weren’t that white, but only appeared so against his dusty, sunburnt skin. His left arm was mangled. An accident that happened as a child that he is not sure what really happened, but was some kind of child abuse. He didn’t let his handicap get him down. His happiness was contagious. I LOVED him!

He works hard to support himself and his wife and his in-laws who all live on the streets in their broken down car. He paints fences, repairs houses, begs and bums money and does whatever it takes to keep everyone together. They are trying to make it back to Missouri. Buying them a meal felt like such a small thing in their ocean of needs. As I write this now I’m thinking of how much more I could do. No matter, I met a need that night and we were all blessed.

Thank you Lord for the giving me eyes to see. Meeting others’ needs is one of the most fulfilling things I ever get to do. In fact, there are two things where I feel the most like God or the most near to him and that is whenever I’m creating and whenever I’m meeting others’ needs. Thank you God for sending Michelle and Dave.

Falling Into Grace

I just finished another incredible book by Adyushanti called Falling Into Grace. I loved so many things about the book and since I just barely finished the last chapter, one concept is particularly fresh and poignant in my mind and that is my expanded understanding of grace.

In LDS theology, grace is defined as:

Divine means of help or strength, given through the bounteous mercy and love of Jesus Christ.

Mirriam-Webster supplies a superabundance of definitions for the term grace and if you’d like to read them all click here.  The definitions that stood out to me in light of this post were:

  1. a :  unmerited divine assistance given humans for their regeneration or sanctification

     b :  a virtue coming from God

    c :  a state of sanctification enjoyed through divine assistance

  2. a : disposition to or an act or instance of kindness, courtesy, or clemency

Basically, we, as divine beings, can be manifestations of grace to our fellow human beings. We can be that unmerited divine assistance who reaches out to humanity in their time of need. As we follow our Master’s example we can be a divine means of help and strength to our brothers and sisters. We are grace just as we are love and divine and all that stuff I’ve been writing about here.

Adyushanti shared a story of a great Zen master who watched a small boy in India being shunned and teased because of his deformed face. The suffering of the young boy touched him deeply and he wept in the street. He wanted so badly to help the child, but did not know what to do. As he stood there in his “unknowing” his heart opened and he found himself taking the small boy by the hand and walking him across the street to an ice cream shop. There he placed coins into the young boy’s hand and told him to go buy ice cream for himself and the other children. As the boy did, he became the hero and experienced a moment of acceptance from his previous attackers. The Zen Master had “Fallen Into Grace.”

And that is when it all clicked for me. You see the entire book Adyushanti has been teaching about the power of “not knowing.” I could see glimpses of wisdom throughout the book, but it wasn’t until the end, when he illustrated how this Zen Master allowed his heart to show the way to serve that the whole concept of me being an agent of Grace and “Not Knowing” clicked. If I am open and willing, and not afraid of “not knowing” what to do next, the divine in me will move me to act in that moment. The moment will supply what is needed to fill the need. That enlightenment is an act of grace itself that further leads to the divine unfolding of my act(s) of grace. It becomes one eternal round. All things truly are one. And all truth and grace can be circumscribed into one great whole. WOW! It’s literally blowing my mind.

I thought of how many times I go to visit someone and as I’m sitting there and they are pouring out their souls to me, I’m silently praying for inspiration and wondering what to do and say next. My entire life I have been trying to orchestrate inspiration or pull down answers from Heaven, when in reality I simply need to sit with the person and allow the divine to unfold. Sitting in the “not knowing” allows my heart to break open and provides the opportunity for me to fall into grace. . . better yet, allowing the divine unfolding allows both the giver and the receiver to fall into grace. Grace is a divine supply always available. The unfolding comes in the not knowing. We must be open to it, comfortable and completely at peace with not knowing.

I can’t wait for my next service moment. I am going to embrace “not knowing” and instead of trying to figure out what to say or do, I’ll allow the divine to unfold so we can both fully experience Falling Into Grace.