Gratitude

On this July 4th, I am deeply grateful to all the men, women and families who have sacrificed, and are sacrificing, so that our country can be free. May some day our universe live in full peace and harmony in which no such sacrifices are needed. Melody

Remembering with a prayer

On this Memorial Day 2021, I am remembering all the men and women, and their families, who have sacrificed for our free country, including many with the ultimate sacrifice of their lives. How grateful I am, and will always be, including for members of my own family who have served in our military. Often I envision and hope for a truly peaceful world with no fighting on any land. Concerning our service men and women, no doubt they felt, and feel still, overburdened and stretched beyond measure at times. Here is a wonderful prayer for this day by Henri Nouwen which I re-post in honor of all our members of the military and their families. May we all be led by that loving voice for more peaceful times ahead.

Blessings, Melody

A Prayer
Dear God,   Speak gently in my silence. When the loud outer noises of my surroundings and the loud inner noises of my fears keep pulling me away from you, help me to trust that you are still there even when I am unable to hear you. Give me ears to listen to your small, soft voice saying: “Come to me, you who are overburdened, and I will give you rest . . . for I am gentle and humble of heart.” Let that loving voice be my guide.   Amen.
Henri J. M. Nouwen

Serenity

As I write this brief message on a beautiful Tuesday morning in Austin, Texas, I am reminded of the deep and wide value of the Serenity Prayer which is a foundation of Al-Anon. This is a prayer I try and say daily and frequently. Today I put it in writing on this blog: God, Grant Me the Serenity to Accept the Things I Cannot Change; Courage to Change the Things I Can; and Wisdom to Know the Difference. Amen.

To Begin

Today on this Easter Sunday the followed appeared in my In Box, and it spoke to me. Perhaps it will to you as well. Easter Sunday Blessings. Every single day blessings. Melody

  Seen A Blessing for Easter Day   You had not imagined that something so empty could fill you to overflowing,   and now you carry the knowledge like an awful treasure or like a child that curls itself within your heart:   how the emptiness will bear forth a new world you cannot fathom but on whose edge you stand.   So why do you linger? You have seen, and so you are already blessed. You have been seen, and so you are the blessing.   There is no other word you need. There is simply to go and tell. There is simply to begin.   —Jan Richardson from Circle of Grace: A Book of Blessings for the Seasons

Maria Shiver’s ‘Live in the Light’

Every week I enjoy reading Maria Shriver’s ‘Sunday Paper’. She is one of my favorite authors and individuals although we’ve never met (my loss). This week’s ‘Live in the Light/I’ve Been Thinking‘ touched me deeply. On this Super Bowl Sunday and well beyond, may we all continue to ‘keep getting worse’. Melody

From Maria Shriver:
I heard from a lot of people about my essay last Sunday. Many of you wrote me to share the lies you have told yourselves over the years and how, like me, you are ready to release them and move forward. Bravo to you.   Several friends wrote to tell me that my column was so deep that they had to read it several times. That made me happy. Others told me they gave it to friends, adult children, and partners to talk about, which was great to hear as well. But it was my friend Tom’s response that made me stop and smile the most. His was so unique that I figured I would share it with you this morning.   Tom is a beautiful writer. He’s also a deep thinker and a spiritual teacher. Now, he wouldn’t say he’s a spiritual teacher; he would say he’s a student. But good students are also good teachers, and that’s what Tom is to me. He always generously shares what he’s learned along his path to the open field.   Here is what he wrote to me:   Maria! I have completed my exercise in finding a lie in my head and questioning it and laughing at it. My lie came to me minutes after I sent you my last email, and I burst out laughing as soon as I said it. It is… I need to keep getting better.   I want to find and punish the sadistic and tyrannical bastard that put that lie in my head, because it invited me into a life of subtle self-loathing!
I thought of it many times yesterday and today, and laughed each time. But I didn’t really get into loud laughter until this morning when I made it the subject of my practice of asking myself Byron Katie’s four questions of self-inquiry:

Is it true?

Can I absolutely know it’s true?
How do I react—what happens—when I believe that thought? (Ha! Tension, anxiety, pressure, irritability, a tendency to overlook wonderful moments and opportunities that don’t lead to “getting better”… a tendency to lie to myself and others that I am getting better.)
Who would I be without that thought? (Oh my God. Free! Kind! Relaxed! Forgiving! I would be DONE DONE DONE!)
Then I turned it all around on myself. Maybe I don’t need to keep getting better. Maybe I need to keep getting worse! HA! That’s the moment I exploded in laughter. I need to keep getting worse. I have to find a way to get just a little bit worse every day.   I flipped around a Louise Hay affirmation I learned almost 40 years ago and told myself, “Every day, in every way, I’m getting worse and worse and worse!” Go me! Get free! Then I said to myself, in a very “solemn” way, “I don’t know how many days or years I may have to live, but I want to make sure I use them to the utmost to become the very worst self I can be in the time I have left.”
Maria! What’s happening?   I’m rebelling against my tyrannical inner scold. There is a mutiny going on inside me, and every molecule of the kid I used to be—the bad boy who would ring the doorbell of the grouchy old man on my street and run away giggling—is rejoicing and rejoicing and rejoicing. Wow, what an experiment: giving up the tyranny of self-improvement (while secretly making huge gains!).
Tom’s note made my day, and it definitely made me laugh. It reminded me that it’s important to laugh at the lies we tell ourselves. It’s a completely different approach, one which I find liberating. It also reminded me of the power of laughter and how it can take down our most toxic thoughts about ourselves.   “Lies need darkness to survive,” Tom said to me. “They need to trigger anger, fear, hatred. If the lies don’t stir up anger, fear, and hatred, they will lose their energy and die.”   He also shared with me something Viktor Frankl wrote in his best-selling book Man’s Search for Meaning about the importance of humor in dark times and places. Frankl, who was a neurologist, psychiatrist, philosopher, and Holocaust survivor, detailed his experiences in Nazi concentration camps and the role humor played throughout.   “Humor was another of the soul’s weapons in the fight for self-preservation,” he wrote. “It is well known that humor, more than anything else in the human make-up, can afford an aloofness and an ability to rise above any situation, even if only for a few seconds. … I practically trained a friend of mine who worked next to me on the building site to develop a sense of humor.”   I share all of this with you because I know life is challenging for millions of people right now. There is nothing funny about losing your job, living paycheck to paycheck, or living in a divided country where everyone feels mad at everyone else. It’s not funny to live during a time when you find yourself yelling at people in our nation’s capital for the lies they are spreading. It’s not funny when you find yourself mad or beating yourself up because you don’t like who you are, or don’t think you are who others want you to be.   This past week, I’ve been practicing what Tom wrote to me. I’ve been practicing Byron Katie’s four profound questions. I’ve been practicing laughing at the lies in my head. I don’t want to trigger anger, rage, or hatred. I want to shift the energy in our country. I want to activate light, love, and generosity of the spirit because I believe we can all be vessels of light.   I want to elevate your voice and mine. I want you to shine and hear your truth. I want it to move me. I want to understand your journey, and my hope is that you will want to do the same for me. In my experience, when one feels loved instead of shamed—accepted instead of judged—then and only then can their light shine.   Psychologist and Wharton Professor Adam Grant’s new book Think Again, which we excerpt below, is all about questioning your opinions and opening other people’s minds as well. Helping each other open ourselves to new ideas and hearing each other’s truth is important at a time when so many feel closed off.   As Tom said, the light is what kills the lies. So this week, let your light shine by laughing at the lies in your head. Smile at someone else. Listen to them, seek understanding, and watch their face change and their body relax. As my friend Craig said, giving someone a break allows you to give yourself a break as well.   Fighting hatred with hatred isn’t going to get us anywhere. Fighting rage with rage isn’t going to help people. Laughter, love, and light…that’s how we are going to inch our way closer to one another. That’s not a lie. That’s my truth.   So, what did Tom think when I told him I wanted to share his thoughts with you this morning? “Yes, please do,” he said. “The tyranny and vanity of self-improvement, it’s a beautiful paradox, isn’t it? That our efforts to keep getting better can make us more self-absorbed, which keeps grace from seeping inside of us, which is the only thing that can really change us.”
Grace, light, love. Give the lies in your head those three things and watch them vanish into thin air. At the end of the day, what will change our conversation, our politics, and our relationships is our ability to banish the lies and live in the light.   Love,
Maria

New Year’s Blessings/Resources

Recently I was privileged to do a podcast on grief and loss with the terrific folks at Faith and Grief in Dallas, Texas. My understanding is that the podcast is available on Spotify, Apple & Goggle. Below is more information in case you want to listen in. Happy New Year! Melody

Episode 6 – a conversation with Melody Chatelle on Spotify

Apple Podcasts

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/episode-6-conversation-melody-chatelle-pr-consultant/id1521957038?i=1000501067690