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I always think of myself as generous and giving AND — guess what? I have found that my generosity is often tempered by what I think I can “get away with” and still look good, while protecting myself every step of the way. Last week, I got to see what true generosity can — and does — provide… an experience of Grace and Love…

Early in the week, I received an email from a friend – let’s call her Maddy — not someone so close to me, but more than an acquaintance – someone who is in the spiritual and transformational conversation with me, but not someone I regularly call or email. She was reaching out to her transformation “community” in order to find support around creating an opportunity for a plane ticket to a course in San Francisco that we are both taking together – in fact, we were heading there for the weekend last week. She found herself without a plane ticket to go – and, unless she was able to generate that ticket one way or another, it was now too late to get an inexpensive ticket – and she would not be able to come.

I read the email and my first instinct was to delete the message. “Not my responsibility….,” I thought.

Something stopped me.

What hit me is that I have often been in that very same situation – waiting until the last minute or thinking that money that I expected to come through would actually come in on time – only to have everything fall through and there I am left with no resources, no recourse – and feeling bereft and alone. As I looked at the email, I was inspired by how courageous she was to step out into the unknown and ask for help.

Yet, here I was, in not much better circumstances myself. Oh, I was going for the weekend, but it hadn’t been easy to pull that together. I had a reservoir of frequent flyer miles from which I had pulled in order to create my own ticket – and had not much more in the “kitty” from which to draw. I was saving what remained for my own ticket to the last weekend of the course in May.

That was two months away.

I called Maddy and offered to “create” a miracle with her. I told her that I had miles that I could give her in return for her working with me to generate my own plane ticket for May. We talked about it for a while, and she reluctantly declined. She didn’t want to put me — or herself, for that matter — in an uncomfortable situation in which she would feel obligated to “pay me back” for the free miles given to her now. We agreed to “stand together” in the space that anything could happen and that a miracle would arrive for her.  I hung up the phone.

I think of myself as someone who steps out on the power of the Word every day of my life – “God provides” is not simply an aphorism to me.   I put my faith and trust in God and He treats me like a “lily of the field” – I have never known Him to fail me.   So, you can imagine….. Miracles happen often in my life….

I couldn’t shake the feeling all day that I had something to give and if I really believed in my faith and trust in God, I could give what I had and really “put my money where my mouth is” and create my own miracle for the trip in May.

I called her back – and this time, I freely offered the miles. Believe me, my ego – that part of me that thinks there isn’t enough for everyone – was screaming inside me, “How could you do this? What will you do when you need to go in May?”

My ego was no match for what was there in the space for both of us: creating and loving and Being…

What was there was an amazing Presence – a sense that this was greater than either one of us. Maddy told me that a miracle had already happened – she had half the flight already and only needed the one-way ticket back… As we made plans for how we would work that out the next day, we both let our walls down to each other and allowed for that there would be a way to have this work. We surrendered to the love in the space and said, “This shall be.”

I went back and forth all night between ego – wanting to keep everything for myself – and Self, knowing that by being willing to surrender to whatever it was that was there for me to do would give me riches beyond what frequent flyer miles could provide.

“A Course in Miracles” speaks of giving this way: “To give and to receive are one in truth,” (Lesson 108). The fact is I would have felt that something was missing if Maddy could not be there – I was being generous for myself as well as for her — “All that I give is given to myself.”  The next morning, Maddy called to say that she had both ways on the ticket and that she didn’t need my miles after all – but – and this is a big “but” – we both knew that those tickets showed up in the clearing that we were being for her to come.

We are all powerful beyond anything we can imagine AND we do not walk this way alone. There is One Who is with us always… and it is easier to experience that when we stand together in love…

And…. Love is the thought that God is…

Deliciously yours in the Miracle of it all,  Linda

“For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”  Matthew 18:20

© Linda Ruocco and “Spiritual Chocolate”, 2009. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Linda Ruocco and “Spritiual Chocolate”  with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.  Thank you.

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I am so very lucky!  I have so many friends – younger than I am and older than I am, near to me and far away, men and women, people I haven’t seen in years and those I see every week, casual friends and close, intimate friends with whom I share the secrets of my soul…

 

I am so blessed…

 

It wasn’t always this way.  There was a long stretch during which I was a virtual recluse… weeks that I didn’t go out of my apartment, years when I had no one in my home except for the occasional visit from my ex-husband and my son, when my phone lay silent in its cradle.  I didn’t even know that I was missing anything.  I had a few old friends around the country with whom I kept in contact every now and again, but they were the exceptions in my life and not the rule…  Alone with my thoughts, safe and hidden away, I wasn’t very good company — least of all, for myself…

 

Fortunately, a series of events thrust me back into the world…

 

I had taken a job in Pennsylvania, and, shortly thereafter, just as I was planning to move there from Manhattan, I was told that the company was in trouble and the man who had hired me just a few short months before had left suddenly the previous day…

 

I didn’t know what to do – I didn’t know whether to move there anyway and try to make a go of it – a go at what?  I didn’t know anyone, I had no friends and no home – I lived in The Wayne Hotel during the work week, where the only person I spoke to every day, outside my company, was the hotel waiter.

 

 

Finally, I could take no more…

 

I lay in bed one night, sad and lonely, and prayed:  “Here’s my life, God. Please take it.   I have no idea what I’m doing.  Show me the way to make a difference in the world, make me a better person…. And, Oh — could I have some friends while you’re at it?”

 

Two days after that, a member of my “Course in Miracles” group called to invite me to an introduction at Landmark Education, an organization that offers transformation education to people who want to take their lives to the next step on the “power, freedom, and full self-expression” ladder.  I didn’t want to go, but Steve had been so sweet to me since I joined the study group that I couldn’t bear to turn him down.  I went.  I listened.  I registered into the Landmark Forum. 

 

The next day, I woke up angry at Steve.  I called him and complained – I suppose my ego felt really threatened.  Doing “this thing” was something new, something different – it felt like a violation of my invisibility that I seemed to treasure above all else.  I accused him of “coercing me” – he listened and said nothing.  At the end, he just loved me and stood in that I could choose…

 

Something wouldn’t let me cancel it.  I resigned myself to doing it, even though the moment of value that I had glimpsed the night before in the introduction was long gone and forgotten….

 

The weekend of my Landmark Forum was a blur of breakdowns followed by breakthroughs…  I don’t remember everything…  but, I do remember that, at one point, someone asked the leader, Sophie, why she did this work and she said, “As long as there is one child starving in Africa, I will be a Landmark Forum leader…”  My head said, “What do starving children in Africa have to do with the Landmark Forum?  I thought this was supposed to be about ME!”

 

Thankfully, my heart heard something else… 

 

When we raise our level of consciousness, the awareness of love increases.  When the awareness of love increases, compassion increases.  When compassion increases, we can no longer turn a blind eye to the sadness and pain in the world.  We leave behind simply worrying about our own little “self” – and step into putting our Higher Self out there in the world to be of service.

 

In the course of all the work I’ve done in Landmark Education over these past four years, my anger and impatience has become a thing of the past, my life is given by making a difference in the world, and — Oh, by the way, I now have so many friends that I’ve long ago run out of fingers and toes on which to count them….

 

In one of my leadership courses last year, as my ego was “burned off” in the doing of the work, I became close with a group of women in the year-long class.  We were united in that most precious of all endeavors – being there for each other as we revealed our deepest fears – those fears that we found out were similar to everyone else’s fears – those fears that keep us small and invisible and hidden away from the world, those fears that keep us from our own Greatness… 

 

In this group of women, all ages are represented: one in her 20’s, one in her 30’s, two  in their 40’s, one in her 50’s, two in their 60’s and one at 70 years old.  When we are together, you would never know the difference – there is no ego, there is no age, there are no “shoulds,” there is nothing there but love….  I call them my Magnificent Seven….  When I am with them, I feel like I can do anything….!

 

There is a passage in “A Course in Miracles” in the Manual for Teachers that speaks of the different stages one goes through on the way to a trust in God that banishes all fear and doubt.  In this passage, we are cautioned that we have come a long way at a certain point, AND there is a long way still to go: “Yet when he is ready to go on, he goes with mighty companions beside him.  Now he rests a while, and gathers them before going on.  He will not go on from here alone.”  

 

I am truly blessed…  as is everyone who takes on growing and creating and inventing and serving and loving ….  We do not go into Heaven alone….  We are meant to love each other… and to make the journey together…

 

To Anat and Raquel and Gretchen and Dale and Kate and Patricia and Verna… and to all my Mighty Companions everywhere….

 

I love you with all my heart…

 

Deliciously yours in the Glory of it all….  Linda

 

© Linda Ruocco and “Spiritual Chocolate”, 2009. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Linda Ruocco and “Spritiual Chocolate”  with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.  Thank you. 

 

 

 

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Last week, one of my seminar leaders, Kristi, wrote to me that her Corgi, Bella, had died… a lovely email tribute to what was so clearly a beautiful partnership between Kristi and her beloved dog…. her friend, really…  I loved how Kristi wrote, “Bella had me wrapped around her finger (paw)…”    Bella died on her own birthday after a long and happy life with Kristi  — and Kristi was communicating in celebration of Bella’s life and the contribution that she was to Kristi and everyone that met her – how everyone who knew Bella “fell in love.”

 

It reminded me of the night my friend, Suzy, had called me, frantic, to come quickly to the animal hospital on 61st Street, near the East River.   Her Corgi, Bart, was sick and the doctors thought he would die.  I’m a Reiki Master and she wanted me to come and offer Reiki to Bart. 

 

I ran over to the hospital and what a sight…!  My friend on the table, arms wrapped around her little Corgi, talking to him and singing softly in his ear, and he was lying with his neck up around her neck and he was so quiet and still, listening to her voice.  It was late at night and the hospital was quiet and still and all you could hear was Suzy singing to Bart…

 

For so many years, I had seen them together – everywhere Suzy went, Bart went, too…  She loved him with all her heart and I could see that that was only surpassed by how much he loved her… He trotted along behind her on his short little legs….  yet, sometimes, Bart could have quite the mind of his own and be off down the hill if he spotted a squirrel or an interesting human with a toy or a treat! 

 

Everyone loved Bart – children squealed when they saw him, and even adults could not resist his enthusiastic charm, not to mention how many men Suzy was able to immediately engage in intimate conversation because they, too, could not resist Bart – he was an instant icebreaker!  When I stayed with her, he would come up on the bed and sleep with us — and, even I, who was not Bart’s “Mom”, found myself totally enamored with this little lump of love.

 

It strikes me that dogs are a particular kind of pet….  while cats will choose the times they want to be with you – and often they don’t! – Dogs are most happy when they are around people.  I’ve heard many people say that dogs are “unconditional love” – and — if only we thought as highly of ourselves as our dogs do!  Never judgmental, never aloof, always by our sides, no matter what….

 

My family had three dogs when I was growing up, and our German Shepard, Toro, was “my” dog.  I could never sneak into the house late with Toro around – my father would come out of his room, awakened by Toro’s excited whimpering, lean over the upstairs banister and say, “I knew it was you.  Toro only sounds like that when it’s you – that’s his ‘love pant’!”  I could do no wrong in Toro’s eyes…  what’s even more important is that I didn’t want to…. Toro would lope into the room and my heart would melt… I loved him with all my heart, just the way he loved me.

 

So, here’s the question…  Why can’t we be like that with each other?  Love is the same – it just gets blocked sometimes.  We don’t block it with our animals, why do we let those walls go up with our fellow man?  We don’t have to be right with our dogs, we don’t have to prove anything to them, we are always “enough” for them…

 

Hmmm…  we are always enough for them…

 

When we are enough, we don’t have to be anything other than what we are – and that feels so good and we feel so lovable — we don’t feel a  need for protection and we can love right back – with all our hearts…

 

What if we could love everyone that way?  What would the world look like?    Just thinking about that possibility makes me smile…

 

So, there was Suzy, singing softly into Bart’s ear, “How much is that doggie in the window?  The one with the waggley tail…” – she said that was Bart’s favorite song… (what is so funny about that is that Bart didn’t even have a tail!).  I started doing Reiki on him, pouring all my love into his little body and, after about 10 minutes, he heaved a big sigh and passed over – I had never seen life pass from a living being before – it was a sight so beautiful… so peaceful…  I felt blessed to be there…

 

The nurse came in and took Bart out of Suzy’s arms.  As I waited for her to pack her things, I walked to the window and looked out to the East River beyond, the moon shining down on the water.  I knew Bart had died – I had my hands on his body when he breathed his final sigh – but I didn’t feel that he was dead… because he wasn’t… I felt him as strongly in that moment, looking out the window, as I did when I felt him breathe his last… 

 

When love is present, anything is possible — even in the face of death, love is always there – and love never dies…  

 

Suzy buried Bart’s ashes in her garden in the front of her house, under a big beautiful tree….  to this day, she calls it “Bart’s garden…”   She says that Bart was actually an angel, sent to help her learn about life… She thinks he did his job well….

 

This is for you, Kristi, and for you, Suzy – and for all my friends who love their animals….

 

Happy Birthday, Bella…  Sweet Dreams, Bart…

 

Deliciously yours in the grandeur of it all, Linda 

 

© Linda Ruocco and “Spiritual Chocolate”, 2009. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Linda Ruocco and “Spritiual Chocolate”  with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.  Thank you. 

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I’ve been looking at the things I’d like to transform in my life: those habits I have that may not serve me anymore — if  ever they did! — those ways of being that are not responsible and/or caring – challenging myself to question everything that might be a distraction from my purpose in life – and that purpose is making a difference while I am here on this planet….

 

One area that came up for me is this…

 

I am a night owl – I LOVE the late night, the hours way after dark, long after everyone else has gone to bed,  the quiet, dark streets of the city; stars in a clear, night sky;  moonlight on the ocean;  late night reading, late night television, late night EVERYTHING!  Sweet….

 

That’s not the problem…. 

 

What late-night living gives rise to is that I am NOT a morning person:  I love to sleep late, I prefer not to talk before 10AM  (Surprise! There IS a time when I don’t talk!) – I don’t even turn my phone on until after I’ve had enough time to meditate, set my intentions for the day, and have my coffee…

 

Still not the problem…

 

AND…  I live in a culture where “early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise,”  “the early bird gets the worm,” and  “The early morning has gold in its mouth” – two out of three of those quotes by Ben Franklin, no doubt a lover of the dawn.

 

You can see the conflict that sets up for me… because I’ve bought into that…. and yet I don’t do it.

 

And THAT, my friends, is the problem.

 

Not that I haven’t tried – putting an alarm clock across the room to force me out of bed, promising myself to go to the gym in the morning so that I have a schedule to live into, clearing my evenings so that I could go to bed at 10PM and awaken at 6AM….

 

All because I thought I “should”…

 

…only to be startlingly awakened at the dawn’s early light by the blaring of the alarm and immediately thinking that something was wrong, feeling like a lump in a lazy and lethargic work-out, and botching my schedule up every other day because I have so many late evening dinners and seminars that end at 10:15PM that I am disempowered before I even begin.   My brain gets the message that I cannot be trusted with my Word.

 

This week, I decided that it was time to get that flat, once and for all!  No one can be happy if they are living in marked contrast to what they think they SHOULD be doing….  And thinking of themselves as “less than” in the process… 

 

So, I looked at that…

 

Every morning before I start my day – and every night before I close my eyes – I ask God to use me….  I, like George Bernard Shaw, “want to be all used up when I die…”  AND get my 8 hours sleep while I’m at it…

 

What does that mean for my life?

 

Here’s what I came up with:

 

…Living, playing, and expressing myself in being Who I Am for myself and for the world, right here, right now… present in every moment….

 

…Living in my devotion to God by being an emissary for love and compassion…  in every moment….

 

…Living as a contribution to my fellow human beings, standing for their Greatness, even when they don’t….  and doing that…. you got it! –  in every moment….

 

Then, I looked at whether that is better done in the morning or in the evening…?    Or — what IS the appropriate and right time of day for that — exactly?

 

Every moment.

 

What I realized is that God doesn’t know whether it’s the morning or the night… Well, He does, actually, know that because He knows everything… He just doesn’t really care about that…  what He cares about is that we love each other, that we are compassionate with each other, that we contribute to each other….  In fact, that is what God is…. Love, kindness, and compassion…

 

I’ve made my peace with this.  I can choose:  I can be a night person or I can wake up early… it means what I make it mean….  and I’ve chosen to make it mean nothing, either way…   It’s all just a conversation… and we get to choose….. that’s what allows us to be free….

 

So, if you are a morning person, and the early hours are what call to you…and that is what honors your Higher Self…. Enjoy every precious moment of that!  AND please — tiptoe ‘til after breakfast if you’re staying with me, OK?

 

For me..?  Well, here I sit, at 11:30 at night, alive and aware and loving all of you, right now, writing my little heart out….  glancing out my window at the twinkling street lights on First Avenue and watching the snow falling on the silent city night, moved by what it takes for all of us to live while loving and laughing and being together…. And I look forward to those few times a year when I get to see the dawn, made all the more special and beautiful by its rare appearance in my life….

 

If you’re ever up late, perhaps you’ll see me….   I’ll be the one dancing by the light of the moon….

  

Deliciously yours in the moonlight….  Linda 

 

© Linda Ruocco and “Spiritual Chocolate”, 2009. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Linda Ruocco and “Spritiual Chocolate”  with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.  Thank you. 

 

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