Sunday, May 18, 2014

How to not get your car towed!

I love the early morning atmosphere when the world comes alive. It was early on a Saturday morning, when I parked my car in my usual parking spot along North Shore Park. I saw that the city had put up “No Parking" signs for the St Anthony’s triathlon race, which happens every year on a particular Sunday. Knowing that is was a Saturday, I walked towards the water and took a few pictures as I do every morning before walking on with my dog Joy. There were more people than usual at the park and I realized it was the children's triathlon that day. I thought briefly about my car and had the intuition to go back and check the dates. I “knew” though that my car was safe because the main event was the next day.
When the sun rose over Tampa bay, I stopped to watch, breathed a full breath and came fully into the present moment. It  was absolutely stunning and I was praying and thanking God for all the blessings in my life. That’s when my phone rang. I looked at the number and didn't recognize it. I thought about not answering it and letting it go to voicemail which I do most of the time when I don’t know the number. I even felt self righteous and judgmental that some stranger and very likely a telemarketer was calling me this early in the morning. After all, I was praying! 

But then I remembered the prayer “On the Telephone.” Somebody was on the other end of the phone and was trying to reach me. Even though I didn't know who it was, I knew it was a child of God. I picked up the phone and a woman's voice asked me whether I was Ms. Schuller and whether I had parked my Prius along North Shore Park. I answered affirmatively and she told me that she had just called a tow truck because she needed to clear the street for the children's triathlon. Hadn’t I seen the no parking signs? Yes, but I “knew” they were put up a day early like all other years. I told her that I could be there in 5 minutes and to not have the car towed, pleeeeaaaase. She said come quickly because the tow truck was already on its way. 

When I got there, I apologized and thanked her for calling me. I knew she didn't have to do that. I even gave her a hug, I was so happy.

The question I struggled with afterwards, was why had I not listened to my intuition and looked at the dates of the no parking signs? I had had the intuition to look closely at the signs but I overwrote the intuition with my rational mind. I “knew” that the triathlon was the next day. I had an uneasy feeling about it the whole time but every time that little voice in my head questioned my decision, I “knew” the triathlon was tomorrow.  

And why did I listen to my intuition and pick up the phone? I almost never pick up when I don't know the number because I have been disturbed too many times by telemarketers and I don't want to be rude to people who are just trying to make a living. 

I think the difference is that I came fully into the present moment watching the sun rise and listening to the “still small voice” (1 Kings 19:11-13) inside of me. I connected with the Breath inside my breath.  I didn't override the “still small voice” within me with the loud voice of my rational mind. I do believe that I know the difference between God’s voice within and my own voice but I have not learned to follow it at all times yet. I am also asking myself whether it is my intuition that is connected with the Higher power that sustains us all? When I listen to my intuition (look at the no parking signs for the date), it has always been the right thing but when my mind overwrites my intuition ( I “know” the triathlon is tomorrow) because my mind knows better, it has been wrong. Since my car wasn’t towed and I am a person who tries to see the good in everything, I am grateful for the experience and hope it has gotten me a little closer to listening to my intuition.

Practicing the Presence of God by consciously coming into the present moment as often as possible is the key to staying connected with God, ourselves and others-- and to not get a parking ticket!

Saturday, May 3, 2014


From the rising of the sun to its setting the name of the Lord is to be praised.—Psalm 113:3(NRSV)
The glory of a sunrise is beyond words, so praising God’s name while watching a sunrise comes naturally. I am blessed to be able to watch the sun rise over open water. Every morning is different and shows that beauty is in every circumstance. Some mornings the sky is clear and the sunrise is completely visible from it’s first red glow to it’s full round beauty. Other mornings it is cloudy and the sun peeks out behind a layer of clouds and goes back into another layer of clouds as soon as it is risen. Sometimes the sky is completely overcast and the sun cannot be seen at all, but I know that the sun rises every day whether I can see it or not.  

Can you imagine what life would be like if the sunrise looked the same every morning? We would not appreciate it as much or know the beauty in diversity. The sun rises without fail every morning and its beauty is available to all of us, but how often do we get up to receive this gift?                                                                                                                                                         The sunrise is a wonderful metaphor for God’s work in our lives. Sometimes we can see God’s work clearly in our lives, while at other times it is hidden behind a cloud of pain, to peek out again when we least expect it. As surely as we know that the sun rises every day, we can also be sure that God is present in our lives every moment—whether we can feel it or not.
This blog is about practicing the presence of God  in every circumstance in life and my hope is that you will remember the analogy of the sunrise when you question God's presence in some events of your life. If we practice the Prayers of Presence in our daily life, we will be more prepared to see God and beauty in all of life. After all, the most beautiful sunrise happens even when it is cloudy!
Anthony De Mello provides a beautiful metaphor for the above truth:

“Is there anything I can do to make myself Enlightened?”
“As little as you can do to make the sun rise in the morning.”
“Then of what use are the spiritual exercises you prescribe?”
“To make sure you are not asleep when the sun begins to rise.”