Being Swept Along Is Not Enough
started weaving the pieces of my life together into story when I attended my first doctoral class. Michael Samuels and Mary Rockwood Lane, the teachers in that first class, say that connection creates transformation, which comes
about through sharing. When healers want to impart their experiences, they tell
a story. This way the whole village can participate in the creative power.
Often our lives can become clear to us only when we take the time to share our experiences with others. Similarly, others can see more clearly to receive when we share our process. I guess these blogs are an extension of my doctoral dissertation! In my Abstract I wrote that I noticed a pattern in the process one goes through to find a dissertation topic—most especially at Wisdom University.
First, there is a search for deeper awareness. This leads to a profound realization of the divinity or uniqueness within. An opportunity for one’s individual truth to evolve is offered in the environment of a larger community. That gives voice to a person’s longing, and is expressed in their story. That story, or dissertation, or actually life, is the gift we offer to the world. Sharing these stories creates an increased resonance allowing for a new paradigm to emerge.
Actually our stories are all around us. They are the myths, archetypes and cultural memes that are the foundation and pattern of all evolutionary creativity. Our own individual passion and voice give rise to new ways to envision that creativity, designing our own legacy to be offered to the world. In turn this becomes a source of inspiration and celebration for others.
My point was to encourage everyone to get a PhD in life. The purpose of education should lead to an uncovering of self. Thomas Moore wrote, “Education is an ‘eduction’, a drawing out of one’s own genius, nature, and heart. The manifestation of one’s essence, the unfolding of one’s capacities, the relation of one’s heretofore hidden possibilities—these are the goals of study from the point of view of the person . . . Education of the soul leads to the enchantment of the world and the attunement of self.”
For the god wants to know himself in you—Rilke.
Igniting the Divine Sparks Within. This was the title of my dissertation, with the subtitle: Weaving Stories of Connection. My passion lies in creating a healing wholeness that we can experience together by sharing our awe-filled stories. As we share each step of the process we begin to notice that our life has become a Sacred Journey. As the poet Basho pens, the journey itself is home.
More Musings on Tension
I'm looking more and more to nature as the reflection of alignment--nature quite naturally aligns with the greater universal template, the Divine Will, the Royal Road, The Tao. This blueprint of creation has many names.
Nature's creation is in constant tension. The tension of gravity acts on each living thing as it strives to grow, to stand, to run, to fly and gets worn away, flows away, or is blown away. The nature of tension has created the Krebs cycle, the cycle of mortality as well as symbiosis and inter-connection.
If you look at growth, it is a matter of resistance--pushing and pulling--not to find the balance, but to achieve the next level of growth or expertise. We can also see this pattern in exercise, in education and in friendship.
Don't confuse tension with stress. Stress comes when tension is not understood, or when all sides are not considered. Stepping off a roof thinking you can fly, and war, are two examples.
Consider the possibilities; explore them all; expand your perspective and be curious in the unknowing. There is a creative tension in patience as we gather information, or learn to wait for the answer or inspiration, or even experience mixed messages.
I've been thinking of autumn as a time of change and tension. It's a different tension than that seen in the growth of spring, which is outgoing and uplifting. Autumn is more a time of introspection, changes within based on shedding old experiences or beliefs. Now is the time of holding the center of my Self as I enter the underworld, slowly dying, patiently waiting for rebirth.
The Transformational Power of Tension
I have often thought that peace and fulfillment in life would come when balance is achieved. We often speak of balancing our work and pleasure, or our service and personal time. For a long time this balance was not really a balance at all but an either/or, good or bad, as a rush to defend our position or blame the other was the norm.
A higher consciousness has revealed that this duality is a cause of separation--keeping us apart from God (have mercy on me a sinner) from others (the grass is always greener on the other side) and from ourselves (as we live with guilt, shame and regret.)
This greater awareness contemplates a both/and scenario, as we strive to hold space for something larger to exist. Both/and is a connector, a source of freedom, allowing us to step out of the black or white box and acknowledge the variety and creativity of all the shades in between.
And yet, for myself, holding space for both/and still puts in my mind a picture of duality. My space may be larger to encompass a greater awareness, but both still exists, separate albeit balanced.
A step up from that--or I might say a more expanded view happens when the both/and create a tension in my life. A simple example would be that I hold a guilty pleasure for pizza on the one hand, while learning to buy and cook delicious healthy meals on the other.
Even holding space for both, in tension, leads me to look for a balance. As long as I don't overdo my guilty pleasure I won't have to fear for my health. The other side though, healthy eating, tends to give me a feeling of superiority. Watch me hold the tension; see me balance it with a treat now and then. Being able to balance the both/and can lead, I am seeing, to the same kind of moral superiority as knowing that my side of the either/or is the right side.
I am beginning to explore, not a holding of the tension in balance, not creating a space within which both are present to either side of me. I am exploring the concept that it is the tension itself that allows me to create a higher consciousness. The important part is not creating the space to hold both--although that is the foundation. Learning how to use the energy of the tension of both to be flung into the uncertainty of something completely new is the key. Using the tension as a bowstring to launch myself as an arrow into the next moment and the next, the tension of both holding taut inside of me.
Robert A. Johnson writes in Balancing Heaven and Earth: "Sacrifice really involves the art of drawing energy from one level and reinvesting it at another level to produce a higher form of consciousness." We've seen sacrifice in terms of giving up, an enlightened person as a bringer of peace.
Now I am looking at sacrifice as an offering. Not, what am I willing to give up; but rather what am I investing. How far back can I pull the bowstring of tension to allow the both/and to take on a new form--one that hasn't been imagined yet--or if imagined, not yet made manifest on this Earth. How do I pull that tension into myself and recreate a new me?
Defining who I am used to be the most important question in my life. I had a deep desire to be heard, to be understood, to be seen. Learning to hold the tension seems to have cracked that image and is letting in more light.
Breath of the Spirit
Without air our life would be short indeed:
From that first inhale upon being thrust into the world from the darkness of the womb
To the last exhale which releases our spirit to begin another mysterious journey into life
. . . and the winds moved over the water darkly . . .
Before the light, before the earth, the Breath of the Spirit gave direction to creation
The Breath of the Spirit asks the bird on the wing to surrender, leaping from great heights only to soar
The Breath of the Spirit asks my mind to expand, as flights of fancy create inspiration to manifest as reality
The Breath of the Spirit causes the trees to dance and the rains to twirl
The Breath of the Spirit shapes the dunes in the desert and the rocks on the mountain
. . . and He breathed into him the Breath of Life . . .
Each breath in allows us to become a little bit more a part of the Other, as we breathe in molecules of Stardust and all of creation breathes in molecules of me.
I was given a healing once. The focus was on the grief my heart carries:
for a mother recently passed
for a father not well known
for a relationship that had parted ways
The healer asked: What protection do you need?
I took a deep breath, and I realized my lungs were my heart’s champion. My lungs carry the Breath of Life—expanding my space—giving me room to grieve. My lungs supply the oxygen for my heart to be able to soar—buoying me up as I surrender, inflating me when I am down, and allowing me to choose Life over and over again.
My lungs are my own angel wings—something I remember as I remind others: “Don’t forget to breathe.”
Burying and Celebrating
I had a dream the other night. I was in a grand cathedral for a funeral. A young man, who turned out to be my brother in the dream, was dancing down the aisle. A friend said: “If it were my dream I’d be asking, ‘What am I burying? What am I celebrating?’”
I had written a column a few years back about burying. A friend was explaining to me about a ritual she had done. Each person had a stick which they decorated with what represented all their cares, concerns, and complaints. Then they went outside and buried them. I thought about that for a while and then I said, “I wouldn’t bury my stick, I would plant it.”
Isn’t that what we tend to do with our difficulties and dilemmas? We often bury them, hoping they’ll go away, or ignore them and pretend they don’t exist. No, I thought. I want to plant my problems. I want to use them as fodder for the future. I want to, yes, put them behind me, but in such a way that they are the foundation for something else to grow. They are the steps in the unlimited possibilities of the abun-dance of life.
What am I planting this season? I’m finding in my healing work that my clients continue to teach me, and reflect my story back to me. Most recently I had a client tell me that they felt they were meant to do great things. Ah, this was an ‘aha’ moment! How often had I felt this very thing, along with the shame and guilt that what I am doing now is not enough, that who I am now is not enough.
So I plant this guilt, this shame, this judgment, this comparison. And I celebrate my uniqueness, my individual gifts, my value and my worth at this moment. Today I choose the abun-dance of Life using all the steps I made to get here as my own beautiful creation.
I have always had a problem with being seen. In my family being seen meant performing, being perfect, getting it right, being in control. Who I was when I allowed myself to be seen was not perfect, was not right, was out of control.
The twist in my familial beliefs was that I never felt I belonged; I was never good enough. I had the courage to charge ahead, to meet obstacles head-on, to challenge myself, and my limitations, with a passion to get it right, to become worthy—and it never happened. Since I was never worthy, since I was never perfect, I never wanted to be seen.
Brene Brown, researcher and storyteller, says that connection gives purpose to our lives, and that to have connection one must be seen. She says that shame comes from a fear of being disconnected—to be connected one must believe that he or she is worthy.
I was talking to my daughter about God. She told me that she believes that God is the connection, the interconnection between us all. That would mean that all are worthy of connection. I’ve always felt that in the connection is the creativity. In every relationship is the opportunity, the potential for growth, for belonging, for creating something bigger than one’s Self.
Yet this connection, this creativity, this Divinity comes about wholly, sacredly, when we allow ourselves to be vulnerable, open to receive, to be seen for who we are in our glorious imperfections. This connection comes, as Brene Brown goes on to say, with a willingness that has no guarantees, no expectations or predictions.
So, today I am practicing being vulnerable to myself, being open to my whole heart and soul—no shoulds, or have tos, no numbing or pretending. Today I am practicing breathing in others and breathing out me. Today I am practicing being seen.
“The idea of practicing love is deeply appealing to me, because built right in is an acceptance of imperfection. There is an acknowledgment to myself that I am going to mess this up, an understanding that there is room to grow. Each of my failures just affirms the truth that we are all starting over and rising again.”
― Anna White, Mended: Thoughts on Life, Love, and Leaps of Faith
Rocky: I dunno, she's got gaps, I got gaps, together we fill gaps.
Angels Watching Over Me
The angels told me this morning: “Your actions have consequences.”
I had been thinking of something that happened the day before. I had to do something that I had agreed upon and yet I was tired and grumpy. So I got angry. I didn’t show it externally. I didn’t express it physically. But I knew I was angry and I immediately regretted it.
Actually, I did more than regret it—I felt guilty about it. Then there was the self-talk: “How can you deserve this relationship when you’re so bad? Anne, you are so selfish.” Fortunately I’m getting more aware of self-judgment, so I sat with it yesterday—this anger and my reaction to it.
When the angels told me this morning that my actions have consequences it all fell into place. When I get angry and take it out on another there are consequences I can take responsibility for—or not. When I blame myself, I’m not taking responsibility. I’m either judging myself, or expecting you to punish me—withdraw your love or shame me. Either way digs me a deeper hole.
When I was young and went to Confession my most common sin was: “I got angry at my mother four times.” I was always angry at my mother. Today I thought: Wow, wouldn’t it have been wonderful if the priest had responded: “And for your penance go talk to your mother about how you feel.” Instead he said: “Say two Hail Marys and one Our Father.” Afterwards I was still angry at my mom.
If my actions have consequences (and they always do!) let me look at those results. Let me take responsibility for those results. The judging and the blaming and the guilt and the shame are reactions to the actions. Owning the consequences by apologizing or forgiving or learning by choosing another action moves me, changes me and gives me a lot of hope.
Protection or Revelation
We so often see life as an either/or. Why can’t it be both/and? I want to protect myself—and—I want to open to new opportunities to grow myself without fear of being dependent. I want to take responsibility for valuing myself—and—I want to live in service to others without being manipulated.
Both scenarios require healthy boundaries; boundaries that support and protect me—and—are flexible and resilient in the face of life’s difficulties to allow for growing experiences that are sacred and revelatory.
Barbara Brennan speaks of the difference between the boundary of expansion and the boundary that we create in defense when “I” meet “You”. One holds the excitement of discovery, the other the separation and resistance to oneness or communion. One holds the uniqueness of a gift or invitation to love, the other a wall of anger, fear and pain. The one must encompass the other in compassion as we ground ourselves in our original nature, and learn to accept both as part of our worldly experience.
In a way, this both/and is a lot like the differences between men and women. We each have both energies—and—are healthiest when they are integrated within us. One day I was exploring my masculine energies and saw a magnificent Cottonwood tree. I took the opportunity to ask it: “You are an embodiment of focused power. What do you have to say to me?”
The Cottonwood replied immediately. “The source of my power and longevity is two-fold. It is in my rootedness and my nourishment. Ground down deep into Mother Earth, and drink up all you can from your network of support and words of wisdom. Keep an open mind to transform each situation into a new layer of growth—it’s not just your skin, your edge, that is of importance. It is your rings of substance that make all the difference.
“My growth is directional (masculine)—always toward the sun, or reaching deep below the ground. And yet at my core, my power is relational (feminine)—xylem and phloem bringing that nourishment, sun and earth, to the heart of my being. From there I flower and fruit to share with others. Your power to grow is masculine. Your power to love is feminine. And yet they are one and the same.”
Hmmm, makes me want to be human—and—be a tree!
Walking the Labyrinth
Every morning I go out to the labyrinth to pray and meditate. On the way in I recite what has become our family’s pledge. There are 8 points to it. The first speaks of reconnecting to the land and establishing a sense of place that is bigger than one’s self, encompassing this place and the whole of the universe.
The next point reflects the spiraling lineage through which that oneness becomes Oneness, as the individual connects to a family, community, nation, world and cosmos, always seeking to live for a higher purpose.
To accomplish this, the third point speaks of being able to see all people and all things as one’s relation. All of creation is a teacher, and what is being taught is true ownership — finding the essence of these aspects in our selves and in others.
Being responsible for contributing to a world based on freedom, peace, unity and happiness is the fourth point, while the fifth speaks of standing on the shoulders of our ancestors and passing on our inheritance and our legacy to others, as life moves beyond this moment and expands.
The sixth point speaks of using our gifts to enrich the community, embodying our thoughts and feelings so that the blessing can be shared. This action then becomes “rooted” in our culture, as we strive to recreate a culture of heart and oneness centered on love.
Lastly, our family’s pledge speaks of the Great Turning — that the time to act is now. Remember past hurts and failures only in order to learn from them and move beyond them. It is most important then to let them go, to release the past. Releasing opens the door to a new future, and liberating ourselves from the burden helps us take that step through the door into a new life.
With that I arrive at the center and place the offering I have found along the way. Sometimes the offering comes with a reminder to keep going, sometimes with a reminder that the path through darkness does indeed lead to a new day. Sometimes I am entreated to focus on a particular person or situation, or encouraged to keep up the work I've already started.
I always begin the journey outward with an intention for the day. Family and friends always join me on the way out as well. The labyrinth receives it all, offering back love, protection, encouragement and peace. And with that, I begin my day.
Fire . . . AND Ice
Fire . . . AND Ice
Today, even the spider webs froze . . . along with the drops that yesterday’s spring-like thaw provoked. Yesterday I could hear the water seeping down the hillside. Today the ground is alive with the crinkle and crack of ice contracting and expanding.
There is a curious thing I’ve noticed about this global warming experience. It’s allowing us the opportunity to become more flexible and aware.
I gave a presentation the other day to a group of intelligent, enlightened women. With this kind of group I’ve learned I can either be intimidated or curious as to how spirit will use me. I invited them to share with me a Beginner’s Mind—for even I am surprised by what I say sometimes!
The thing that made an impression on me this time was the other side of our blocks. Or perhaps I should say the “in” side of the block. We have an experience that hurts us, shames us, angers us, causes us to freeze, and we tend to block off that experience creating a wall of emotion that we don’t want to feel because we believe it is not safe.
Here I am, on the “in” side of this wall, investing so much energy into keeping myself safe. I’ve used my energy to create, block by block, a separation between this experience and myself. I’ve used it as a sounding board for other incidents that I believe are similar—ones that could hurt me, or scare me, or anger me.
And the amazing thing about this wall is that I built it! I built it—with my energy. The bigger the wall, the stronger I Am. That truly is a gift—my gift. Then I realize that gifts are for giving. I’ve got this incredible strength and I’ve hidden it behind this wall of shame, or fear or anger. Instead of devoting this energy to the story that I can’t protect myself, I can give myself the gift of connection and support, and give others my gift of compassion and forgiveness.
Without the ice, though, sometimes it’s hard to see the beauty and the strength that is the reality of our true selves.
The Fire of Transformation
I saw a burning bush today!
Ah, so that's how it was done, was my first thought. Then, so what is God's message to me today? Take my shoes off? no way; it's 7* out here with 6 inches of icy snow on the ground. No desert here.
Again, I am struck with the importance of awareness for being in the right place at the right time. The bush, the sun, the atmosphere, the season, the hour, my spiritual practice of walking the labyrinth, the woods that generously allowed a space for the labyrinth, my move to PA--I could go on! and, I still could have missed the burning bush.
Even in His loudest voice God's work is relational and in communion with creation. If we're not paying attention, even the miraculous is but a whisper of white noise in the busyness of our mind's chatter or our multi-tasking lives.
What was God saying? To Moses, He was promising a land flowing with milk and honey. God even told Moses His name: I Am. I wasn't looking for a miracle so I went back inside to prepare for my client. She has had a series of misfortunes from back surgery to losing her job; from a growing awareness of the damage incest has done in her life to a loving husband who has had a life-threatening illness.
Asking for guidance I was told to share these feelings with the client:
I am in pain AND I am grateful
I am afraid AND I am grateful
I am in despair AND I am grateful
I am angry AND I am grateful
I am speaking out AND I am grateful
I am letting go AND I am grateful
I guess that burning bush had a message for me after all AND I am grateful.
Big Enough to Hold the Now
I’ve always prided myself on my adaptability, on my flexibility. Today I am seeing this word: Resilience—bouncing back after a setback or surprise. That set me to pondering the difference between flexibility and resilience.
I’m flexible. I can bend and shift, stretch and shape myself to fit into many situations and relationships. I’m discovering that isn’t always a healthy thing. I see that by doing that in my life I have often given up my own shape to make room for another’s.
Being resilient, I am noticing, retains my own boundaries; my own desires and needs while taking into account what is happening around me. Being resilient is a response to the present moment, to the now. Adaptability looks at the past and takes that into account in shaping who I am now.
I’m not saying that one is more important or necessary than the other. This is a both/and situation. Yes, I can look at the past, but recognizing that the past is Not Now, my resilience in bouncing back to a balance and stability that can navigate the now gives me the opportunity to learn from the past and maintain those boundaries that serve me and my relationships in health and safety.
In energy healing I am encouraged to experience a container that is big enough to hold all the emotions present in the now, whether they are exacerbated by my own past experiences or are being expressed by the other and I am feeling them empathically. Having resilience makes it possible to take some of those “learned behaviors” from the past that have shaped my container in less than healthy ways and stay aware to the fact that I am big enough to hold the Now.
Building Sacred Space
When I turned 50 I was guided to build a labyrinth in my backyard. It was a 7-circuit classic Labyrinth. I outlined the path with small, white marble chips. Lo and behold, the earth rose up over those chips creating an embossed effect. It was as if the Earth embraced the pattern becoming one with it.
That labyrinth was green, moist and mossy. The one I am building here in Pennsylvania, exactly 10 years later, is brown, dry and dusty. There was a perfect spot for it in the woods next to my house—one of those wonderful glades I am attracted to. A little bit smaller than the spot in my backyard, this space will hold a 5-circuit labyrinth.
It’s like a magnet. Even as I create it, I am drawn to it. It’s like the land is thirsty for the water of my emotion. The labyrinth radiates peace and safety, and I find, as I did before, that my day must start grounded in this Sacred Space.
A Return to Wholeness
I was meditating on the prayer I shared with you last week. May I be “found by wholeness . . .” For me, the concept of wholeness is multi-faceted. I am whole when I consider my mind, my body and my spirit. I am whole when I allow myself to reflect the Divine. I am whole when the choices I make also reflect this connection to Wholeness on all levels.
Supporting this wholeness, and creating the environment to surround me is a life-long endeavor. My body needs light, air, food and water. But we are becoming more and more aware that it makes a difference if the air is pure and the food is organic and not genetically modified. It makes a difference if I can go out and relax in nature, relieving the stress of this modern-day life, if only for a time.
Creating a new choice for the environment within—one that feeds my mind and spirit is just as important. A positive attitude and a faith-based intention have been shown to heal. Doing good works and having integrity also creates an environment that is conducive to something new.
Carolyn Eberle writes: “Freedom comes when your wholeness is a consistent force you can tap in to for support.” When I find myself weighed down by patterns of behavior learned through pain, abandonment and betrayal, I re-member that letting down my defenses allows me, once again, to be open to be found by Wholeness.
Letting Go of Dead Certainties
It was foggy today; so foggy that I couldn’t even see the house next door. I was certain that it was there though.
I sat outside to do my meditation and that’s when I noticed the spider webs. There were webs everywhere—on the grass, in the plants, in the trees—bejeweled webs, made visible by sparkling drops of dew.
Curious that a limitation can be so revealing!
When Mom was dying, a friend gave her a prayer. Mom read it and gave it to me saying, “This sounds more like your kind of prayer.” She was right:
Into an unclenched moment,
A deep breathe,
A letting go
Of heavy expectancies,
Of shriveling anxieties,
Of dead certainties.
That, softened by the silence,
Surrounded by the light,
And open to the mystery,
I may be found by wholeness,
Upheld by the unfathomable,
Entranced by the simple,
And filled with the joy
That is you.”
The Space Between
I am always drawn to the space between. Whether it is a sunlit glade in the woods, or the stillness that lies between each breath, that creation has always caught me. That beauty, I have found, illuminates my soul.
Often these moments of stillness or clarity come when I am in nature. They can arise from poetry or artistic beauty, or relationships as well.
"One moment of your breath
Holds the emptiness of eternity
And I find the Beloved in the space
Between our lips."
This space between has the power to transform expectation into contemplation. It can turn my push into the gentle touch of I Am, and it is Enough. D.H. Lawrence writes:
"This is what I believe.
That I am I.
That my soul is a dark forest.
That my known self will never be more than a little clearing in the forest."
And it is in that light-filled opening that our greatness is called forth. It is here, in our stillness, that we find ourselves full of grace.
No matter how much my mind is paying attention, it is only when I am ready, when I am drawn to the right place at the right time, that the universe reveals herself to me. Hmm . . . So my focus is on centering rather than awareness or revealing. Secrets, no awareness, (can I say truth?) is here. When I am centered or vibrating in openness—this is what releases the awareness.
Standing at the doorway—and crossing the threshold. Liberation—and release. It’s not even about learning or growing or expanding. It’s about disappearing into the oneness—like the shadows disappear at high noon. Are there really no shadows? No, they still exist, only in this moment they are transcended.
This then supports the importance of a spiritual practice—a path, a place, an exercise in centering. Experiencing my core essence, the seat of my soul in every cell of my body. It is here that what is false is stripped away and I become honest in the face of my strengths and weaknesses. In this moment I open to trust myself to take the next step—the next breath—releasing “patterns of deception”, as Angeles Arrien would say.
I am noticing how limiting beliefs and experiences are. I just realized that I have always believed that being a grown up meant that you could drink and smoke. Since I have neither smoked nor drank, I must never have grown up. Now I have a place of my own and am responsible for everything I do or incur.
Most people, I imagine, would go through this phase during college, or shortly after graduating. I was a member of a religious community since I was 19. I had much responsibility, but not, as it were, for my life. In this way, I felt that I had never grown up.
Until now. This means, according to my beliefs, that now I can drink and smoke. Fortunately, going down that path didn’t last long, but what about all my other beliefs, especially the unconscious ones? How are they limiting me, putting a box around what I think I can or will experience? And, how can I become aware of these limitations? Certainly not by more thinking! This is what I meditate on—expanding my mind, my heart, my awareness and my sacred space.
Hmm . . . It just struck me that I am imagining, even believing, that limitations are limiting! Robert Masters writes in his book “Spiritual Bypassing”: “Real freedom, however, is not about having no limitations; rather it is about finding liberation within—and also through—limitation (as when the apparent constraints of committed monogamous relationship actually enrich and deepen the relationship). Real freedom does not mind limitations and in fact is not limited by them.”
My daughter reminded me yesterday that the universe does not seek independence, rather interdependence. It is within the limitations, or shall I say boundaries, of relationships, that we learn to grow up, or outgrow our limiting beliefs.
A New Move to Pennsylvania
I’m sitting outside. The wind is blowing this way and that—the clouds coming and going. Birds that were close are becoming quiet. They too are listening to the thunder rumble in the heavens. I listen to my self thinking. I love this place of mine. This is a new place—this home in Pennsylvania. I moved here less than a month ago. People have asked me, why PA? My soul was drawn here to this land, the rolling hills, farmland and woods. Underneath, it is old, and the ancients in my spirit connect deeply to this rhythm.
The house, small and white, has hardwood floors and polished wood molding. The first time I walked through the door I knew—this is it. I said to the landlord: “I want it.” I hadn’t taken more than one step inside of the doorway. He looked at me. “I’m serious,” I said. “I would like to rent this place.” Over the next few days as we finalized the lease, he’d always find me first outside in the back—under the maple tree, in the field, exploring the woods. Yes, my soul called me here.
That’s when I noticed the word “mine”—“this place of mine.” This place isn’t mine. It’s true; I’m just renting it, but that’s not what I mean. I was watching the sun set through the leaves of the maple. It is one of my favorite sights, these leaves turning luminous. Light and shadow woven together as sun and wind play with the leaves—no thought for right or wrong, good or bad, mine or yours. They dance in the wind and take turns being lit by the sunlight or hid by the shadows.
I am not here to lay claim to this place. I am here to be aware—to notice my connection, to witness God’s grace that allows me to be here now. The mine I must acknowledge is the kinship that honors this connection, and returns its love. I am here in PA to start a healing practice. This house, this land, the sun, wind and sky are all a part of it. I have invited all my relations to participate. I also welcome you!
The Real Treasure
I was talking with my friend this morning and she was expressing her concern that humankind is not evolving quickly enough to make a difference in the world as we know it. We are going the way of self-destruction, she declared, offering many examples of our lack of enlightenment, one of which was the Republican Convention that she had recently watched!
Don’t you agree, she asked. I’ve heard this argument before. I have, in the past, not wanted to look at that side of humanity, preferring to extol our higher virtues, embracing hope and faith. Now I come at it from a different perspective.I said to her, yes, I have to agree that we are doing our share of lying and killing and destroying, and I am curious how it shows up in my actions, in my feelings, in the perspective I have on the world situation and in my daily life.
I’ve become aware that too often I use the words ‘good’ and ‘bad’, or ‘right’ and ‘wrong’, ‘trying to become better’, or ‘working on changing’. Enlightenment in those terms seems to me to be a competition for who can get there, and who can get there the fastest.
For 40 years I’ve been a member of the Unification Church. The founder, Rev. Moon, is dying. I’ve agreed as well as disagreed with many things over the years that have been associated with the Church’s practices, but through it all I’ve respected Rev. Moon’s efforts and contributions. Last night I had a dream.
Rev. Moon was reading my journals. I had given them to him, and was busy explaining what each experience or insight meant. He said nothing, being a silent witness to my life. I realized that my reaction, even considering that these journals were a recording of what I had learned, and how I had grown, was one of fear. I was afraid that I wouldn’t be understood, that I hadn’t done enough, learned enough, grown enough. Here I was afraid that another would sit in judgment of me when it was me who was judging myself all along.
“Sometimes it takes a great sky to find that first, bright and indescribable wedge of freedom in your own heart.”–David Whyte, The Journey
Where Is Your Pearl?
“You tell stories about diving deep in to the ocean but where is your pearl?
There is some merit in the suffering you have endured
But what a pity you have not discovered the Mecca that’s inside.” -Rumi
Every morning I do a spiritual practice. Part of it includes diving deep into that ocean and letting my “pearl” as Rumi so elegantly describes it, the “Core Star” as defined by Barbara Brennan, shine forth.
I feel my physical body. “What’s here now.” “The body never lies.” It’s morning time, so I can definitely feel my physical body: where I’m holding, where I’m pushing, where I’m stuck. I use that as an indicator as to how my energy is connected and interacting with the energy around me: how my chakras are spinning.
From there I ground. I focus on my Earth connection, and trace it up through my body to find my Heart’s Longing, and reach up to find the contact point that connects Me to the Heart of the Universe.
This then is what creates the holographic link that is my Core Star, my proof that I Am. I feel it—this bigger than me-ism. It travels up through my intention for life, radiates in an ever decreasing spiral around me until it hits my physical body again and each cell explodes with purpose, intention, longing and life.
I remember an awe-inspiring time I felt this undeniable “proof” that I Am. My daughter had called me up to tell me she loved me. It was 5 a.m. and I went back to sleep afterwards only to experience this Unfolding:
“It was the exploding fireball, the uncurling fern leaf
the expanding of universes—pulling my soul apart.
I wrapped my arms around you to cradle and protect
And was burst apart by the power of the unfolding
(for you weren’t mine to contain)
and I joined in the flaring forth.
My small self, unable to contain your beauty and your loveliness,
Felt each love in my life bursting forth from each cell of my being
Truly, birth is a time of offering, and a time of connection—
Love creates new universes.”
And yet, even with this “proof” before me, in me, as I am reading Rumi I become curious. I ask myself: “You find your Core Star every morning—are you living like you have?”
The Space Between
has always fascinated me. Ever since I was a child I would feel the connection between essence, electrical, chemical and physical. We have a thought. It travels our neural pathways only to end in an abyss.
Synapse is the scientific term. At that point we must let go of it. It is supported however, by chemicals, neurotransmitters, ahh, and even the emotional connections of the body at that moment. This is the space between. The space between one thought and the next, between one moment and the next, determines the results of our physical action and creation.
The electrical impulses of the neurons jump the synapse bringing our thoughts into physical manifestation--seen as I write this blog and my fingers move across the keyboard as I contemplate what I am writing.
This space between axons and dendrites, nerve endings and muscles, this abyss that our thoughts must navigate is the same "space between" that we access when we meditate or when we do centering prayer.
This is the space between encapsulated by Michelangelo in his captivating painting of God and Man, hands both outstretched, fingers reaching--but not touching. The space between Spiritual and Physical--and the Word became Flesh.
Energy Cords That Connect Us
As you may, or may not, know we are connected to each other, as well as to all things through energy. The more we are connected the clearer and stronger the bond, creating pathways or cords of energy between us. Some of the strongest cords that develop are with our mother and family.
Having energy work done can clear, balance and/or reconnect torn, tangled or damaged cords. I am having some energy work done now on myself, and one thing I hadn't realized was that there are energy relational cords which also nourish and support the energy relationship I have with myself.
We are all relational beings. We see ourselves reflected in the other, and in the Other. Things give us joy when they touch that cord that taps into our own sense of well-being and happiness. Especially when we are young, we need the care and love of our family to reflect back our own love and goodness. This in turn feeds the energy that surrounds us creating a positive self-image and strong self-esteem.
So, now I am working on my own relational energy cords. The effect is creating a stable base in me, so that when others connect with me, I will better be able to receive the supportive and let go of the destructive. As in all energy work, that stability is resting on the connection I have with the Earth Gaia and the spiritual Source of Heavenly Parents.
gift we offer
Each breath in
allows us to
become a little bit
more a part of the
Other, as we
Stardust and all of
in molecules of me.