Category Archives: Journeying

Change Isn’t Easy and Healing is Hard Work — Part I

November 24, 2016

INVITATION TO THE JOURNEY OF CHANGE

I have lain here in the dark before dawn morning after morning. I awaken in these early hours with a weight in the trunk of my body–as though someone had opened me up and filled me with stones while I slept. It takes me some time to breathe through the panic, to move through this murky mud of despair. I focus on the threads of light woven through this dark. I bring to mind the goodness spreading through the world–the heroic actions of so many people determined to act with compassion in a world filling up with hate and fear. I bring to mind the beauty of the Earth where I live. I offer gratitude for the many blessings, the privileges and the comfort that I experience everyday: I wake up in a warm and comfortable home; I have healthy food in my fridge and cupboard; I have hot and cold water at the flick of a faucet–water that is safe. There will be no bombs falling on my city, no military marching down my street, no blockades impeding my drive across town. I do not fear for the lives of my children or my sweet grandbabies.

Finally I am able to get up. To sit on my couch and watch the dawn slowly melt away the dark.

Last evening I watched a documentary that briefly summed up what is happening to our Earth around the globe. The massive dead spots in the oceans. The rate of ice melt in the Arctic and how that is effecting the currents in the Atlantic Ocean–the North Atlantic Deep Water (NADW) circulation that effects the Gulf Stream–which regulates the temperatures in Europe. Scientists are concerned that the NADW will stall and shut down, an event which  within a matter of a few years would plunge Europe into an ice age. The deforestation happening around the world is screwing up our oxygen levels, as well as causing droughts and deserts and death and suffering to millions of species of life. The plankton being killed in the oceans lowers (and in some cases eliminates) oxygen in parts of the ocean, which suffocates to death all the marine life in those areas. I watched footage of the atomic bombs we set off repeatedly in the not so distant past, both on land and in the oceans, and was reminded of other testing that has gone on more recently deep inside the earth and oceans. How can anyone think that this does no harm to the Earth? The film showed the increase in volcanic activity around the globe; the increase in earthquakes even in places where we have never experienced them in modern times. Some of this is thought to be the result of the explosive weapons experiments and also from the fracking we have been doing; our incessant drilling and mining and exploding of the Earth to get at what we want to “support our way of life”.

The film also showed the natural phenomenon that is contributing to the environmental upset the Earth is experiencing. We are moving into a new region of the galaxy which is exposing us to new levels of energy; the magnetic field around the Earth has been shifting and the Sun is dramatically increasing its solar activity. While it is true that this is disruptive for Earth and contributes to environmental changes, it is made clear in this film, and in other documentaries and relevant articles, it is what we have done, and are continuing to do to the Earth that has weakened her. We have made her vulnerable to destruction in a way she would not be if we hadn’t messed things up. When we are warned of an impending hurricane, those living in the target area prepare. They do not ignore the warnings. Preparing well will hopefully see them through the storm safely. Similarly we have been warned about what our reckless, irresponsible treatment of our planet would do…and we have denied the warnings, lied to ourselves that it couldn’t be true despite the evidence. We’ve continued our abuse of the planet and those that live here–plants, animals, birds, insects, marine life, soil, water and air. And people. All for money and “our way of life”. And that mostly for a very small percentage of the 7 billion people who live here.

I have heard some Christians say that the chaos and the destruction of our planet is  evidence of “the end times” as laid out in Revelations in the New Testament. If this is so, why, when it has always been within our power to choose to be responsible with this planet we have been entrusted with, why would we think it is “okay” to do what we have done despite the warnings and evidence of the destruction it has caused? Why do we think it is okay to continue to do it and then blame the results of what we have all chosen to do on God? Shifting the consequences of our irresponsibility onto those deemed immoral, those who do not honor our idea of the “true God”–saying it is “God’s judgment”? What we and this Earth suffer will be the consequence of our own collective choices to do what we have done to the Earth we were given, our own greed and irresponsibility, our own refusal to fully embrace and live in accordance with the greatest commandments outlined in every religion and spiritual practice on this planet–to Love our Creator, His creation, and to Love one another. If the end of this world as we have known it has come upon us–it has been by our own hand. We always have had a choice. We still do.

In the book of Micah in the Old Testament, chapter 6 verses 7 and 8 it is written: …“Does the LORD take delight in [the sacrifice of] thousands of rams, In ten thousand rivers of oil? Shall I present my firstborn for my rebellious acts, The fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? No, He has told you, O man, what is good…And what does the LORD require of you? To practice justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God.” Which brings to mind a well-known passage in the New Testament: 1st Corinthians chapter 13 verses 1 – 13. Here we are admonished that if we do all the “right things” that are considered by us to be righteous–from speaking in tongues, to studying all the holy texts, to having faith to perform miracles, to helping the poor and doing many good deeds, even sacrificing our comfort or our very life for what we believe–but yet, do not embody love, do not know love, do not open the flow of love to others and all that God has created…we are nothing. The passage goes on to describe to us what exactly this love looks like in action: patient, kind, not envious or self-seeking. It does not dishonor others in how we treat or speak of or to them, or even think of them. This love does not anger easily or hold grudges. It does not delight in evil, or the pain of even our enemies. This love always protects–everyone and all things created. This love always trusts, hopes and perseveres. The passage ends by saying that faith, hope and love yet remain–but the greatest of these is love.

A long time ago I began to wake up to how arrogant my “righteousness” was–how bereft of real love I was. My heart was closed. I wasn’t able to allow love to flow…like a garden hose turned on full strength, but twisted and kinked so that the flow was cut off, the water unable to make it through to give itself to the thirsty ground. Love was something I had a mental construct of and worked to behave in accordance with–but it wasn’t something that filled me, or flowed from me freely. I was the “noisy gong, the clanging symbol” of 1st Corinthians. I made a commitment at that time that I would take myself on a journey to learn this love. To open the flow and heal my heart .

I thought it would be easy. Just a series of decisions and choices.

The journey has been rigorous. Like climbing a mountain. Like deciding to walk across America for a cause with only a few necessities in your backpack, trusting that your needs will be met along the way. It brings to mind Jesus’ description in Matthew 7 of such a journey: “Enter by the narrow gate, for the gate [path] is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction and those who enter by it are many. For the gate [path] is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” Or as I wrote recently to some friends, “Change isn’t easy, and healing is hard work.”

At one time I arrogantly thought that verse referred to the “few” who chose to be Christians–“born again”. But then I finally had to reckon with something else Jesus described in this same chapter: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ In a later chapter he describes judging the nations and he welcomes into his kingdom many who are surprised and amazed because they had not even known his name (in other words, were not Christian nations?) But he says, “whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” But those who are being sent away cannot believe it–they consider themselves the ‘righteous’. But he says, “you did not help those who were hungry and thirsty, you did not care for the stranger in need, or ill, or in prison–and thus you did not do this for me.”

The tricky part is reconciling the good deed with a true flow of love from the heart. It’s all about motivation, I guess.

If the will of the Father–the Creator–by some referred to simply as “Source” is to Love, is to care for one another and for all things that have been created–why do we spend our energy and money and time fighting about whose dogma, whose vocabulary, whose story of creation is “right”? Part of my awakening those many years ago was noticing how truly loving and kind, merciful and humble were many people I knew or knew of who were not of the same religion that I believed at the time was the only one that was “correct”. There were so many who were far more “godly” than I was. I began to see how foreign really living the tenets of even my own religion was to me, and to many who I knew within my church.

And so I left the familiar shores of my life, and set out on my journey–to become this Love that I saw written into the very fabric of the world. This Love to which every spiritual practice calls their followers.

I have watched this call to Love going out from all corners of the world. I have read of children and young adolescents starting programs and movements to practice Kindness and Compassion. I have watched a group of people from many nations and from different religions craft The Charter For Compassion and gift it to the world, beginning a movement within the Faith community to create unity and peace. I have watched as hundreds of blogs and other internet sites have sprung up to post quotes and articles ranging from the esoteric to the scientific about the effects of kindness, of positive thinking, of compassion, of joy–all things that we’re admonished to practice within the texts of all the major religions. I have watched the movements to protect the planet and all its creatures grow in strength and numbers. I am watching the increasing awareness of how interconnected everyone and everything in this world and throughout the universe truly is. I have watched what used to be obscure information about the science behind this interconnection and the power of our thoughts and words to create become mainstream information. I have read with hope and relief of the inventions and experiments going on that can not only replace our unhealthy sources of energy, fuel and food with those that are healthy, but also ways to heal the damage we have done.

And yet, despite all this Light, we still are bowing and acquiescing to the Darkness–to war and separation and greed and “the way it’s always been done”. We are still renting rooms in our hearts and minds to Fear–and submitting to his bidding.

Each of us have experienced situations where we have had to struggle through a personal challenge to choose the way of Love and Compassion. Of real, true forgiveness. [And, by the way, by forgiveness I do not mean ‘acceptance’ or letting the one who has done harm think it is ‘no big deal’, or that ‘it’s okay’; it’s about letting go of the hurt that we’ve nursed, releasing the debt we harbor.] But now we are being confronted collectively as well as personally with choosing the way of Love and Compassion and Kindness and yes, Forgiveness, on a local, national and global scale.

How do we do this? This is what I wrestle with in the dark before dawn.

To Be Continued…

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HAPPY NEW YEAR!

January 17, 2015

LET’S MAKE HAPPINESS THIS YEAR

2015. OMG…we have indeed made it all the way around the Sun again. Joni Mitchell is singing in my head…
“And the seasons, they go round and round
And the painted ponies go up and down
We’re captive on the carousel of time
We can’t return we can only look behind
From where we came
And go round and round and round
In the Circle game…”

The New Year has risen over the horizon, flooding the skies of our lives with rose and purple and apricot and gold; a gazillion potentialities wait to be selected and woven into the life we are creating.

The choices we have made in the days and weeks and months and years that trail far behind us have left their mark and set us on courses that would be difficult, some even impossible to alter at this point. But even in the middle of the story in which we find ourselves, we have the beautiful gift to choose what we want to experience this coming year. We have the power to create how we will experience life and even what we will experience to a degree most of us can barely comprehend.

For several decades now I have been running around trying to make sense of an idea I kept stumbling upon. I would hear it in a presentation, read it in a book, find it buried in a story, have it leap off the screen in a movie, find it cropping up in online conversations, find it winking saucily from quotes-of-the-day in my inbox, hear it on TED Talks. It is this: I am always choosing and constantly creating my experience of life–even most of my circumstances. I kept hearing that life doesn’t just happen to us and isn’t orchestrated by some other Force, benevolent or otherwise, nor by other people. “How could this be true?” I would ask. But slowly, as I focused and allowed myself to set aside my defenses and open up my mind and heart, understanding began to bring focus and clarity.

I began to understand better the mental constructs we build as individuals, communities, religions and cultures. Because they “are” doesn’t make them true or even real except to us who built them, or inherited them, and have continued to live within them.

I began to understand that everything is energy and everything exists in its particular form because of it’s vibrational frequency. It took awhile, but I finally wrapped my brain around the fact that “like attracts like”–that the magnetic resonance of an energetic frequency attracts to itself other things of a similar vibrational frequency.

I started having more Aha! moments and fewer WTF explosions. Now I can say with absolute certainty that even when it seems like I have no control over my life and am simply subject to the whims of others and the will of the gods, if I look at mySelf honestly and look deeply inside, I will find that my mental constructs and the emotional resonance that my energetic vibration has allowed has called to me what I am experiencing, including that which I do not want to experience. I am reminded of the Native American story of Rabbit, a creature who can teach us much about fear. Rabbit would see Eagle soaring high above the woods and fields and terrified that Eagle would swoop down and gobble him up, he would run out and holler up to Eagle, “Eagle, please do not eat me! I don’t want you to eat me! Did you hear me? Eagle! Eagle! I’m talking to you! Don’t eat me! I really would not like to be your dinner–I have a family to take care of, you know. Did you hear me, Eagle?” Eagle ignored him for awhile, trying to enjoy his afternoon soaring on the thermal updrafts. But Rabbit only grew more frantic and continued to run about the field hollering up to Eagle, “Don’t eat me, Eagle! Please don’t eat me!” Finally, completely distracted and exasperated, Eagle swooped down upon the silly Rabbit and yes, ate him for dinner. Rabbit’s incessant fear and focus on what he didn’t want brought it soaring down upon his head. I love this story.

I recently listened to a presentation that addressed the Universal Laws that govern when and how benevolent help from those Spirit Beings we might call Angels is allowed. The speaker intimated that help and interference is not permitted unless we humans first ask, and then allow that help to come to us. Unfortunately, he said, most of us don’t ask. When we do, we often don’t let into our experience the help that comes in response, either because we have a misplaced sense of our unworthiness, or we don’t like the form the answer comes in. We know the joke about the person who prays, “God help me be more patient, more loving, more compassionate, more forgiving!” and then suddenly is confronted with opportunities to practice these virtues. In the New Testament Jesus said, “You receive not because you ask not–or you ask amiss.” I used to think that meant that I could only ask for spiritual things, lofty things. But now I realize that asking amiss is more about asking for things or experiences that are not in alignment with what we are vibrationally in resonance with. If I ask for money to pay my bills, all the while figuring I don’t deserve it or that this kind of request is wrong or that of course, a miracle like this couldn’t possibly happen to me–well, I’m not exactly in energetic, magnetic, vibrational resonance with receiving the money, or the opportunity to earn the money that the Creator might well wish to provide me with. I have set up a roadblock.

A roadblock is a great image to call to mind when we feel that our prayers are unheard and definitely not answered. All the provision and answers have been sent our way when we first asked, but due to the roadblocks we’ve put in place, the supply train can’t get through. It’s stalled out, parked on the side of the road, waiting…waiting…waiting… Are we willing to examine what these blockages are that we so habitually set up? Will we have the courage to remove them? They can be pretty insidious. Like the creeping charlie and snow-on-the-mountain that can take over a lawn or a garden, the roots of our old and often unconscious beliefs can run deep and develop sophisticated root systems that spread underground for acres. We yank them off at the top, even dig down beneath the soil a few inches, chopping and hacking and pulling. And then, a few months later, or next season, there they are, smiling evilly at us. I once dug up a six foot section of my garden, 18 inches deep, to finally, permanently remove all the roots from my snow-on-the-mountain. Similarly I have had to dig down deep inside my psyche to find and expose the roots of beliefs that do not serve me, beliefs that aren’t based in truth. I have had to look in the mirror everyday for many months and tell myself what is true  in order to cut off life to the lies that lived inside me.

My journey of discovery and learning, of awakening and transformation has been long and arduous. I feel triumphant. I have stayed the course. I stand here now just inside the threshold of this new year–2015–and I am so excited. The winds have shifted; new adventures are unfolding. Looking at my goals for the year I wrote:

  • Choose, CHOOSE, CHOOSE everyday to be happy and offer gratitude for the rich and beautiful life you inhabit!
  • Enjoy your life! Consider each day to be a pearl given to you to thread upon a silken cord–precious, rare, never to be repeated in your 3D linear dimension of Time/Space.
  • Whether you have little money or loads, enjoy today and do the things you love that fill you up with joy and love and light. Sometimes this will require discipline to achieve the result you want; it may even be painful or require sacrifice–but if the end result is beautiful and delicious fruit, then stay the course and find joy in the experience.
  • Give no place to the Dark Energies of Fear and Despair–there is no place in your life for Dementors and Bogarts. No matter how you feel in the moment or what appears to be manifesting or not manifesting in your life, give them NO PLACE. Stay the course of gratitude, love, faith and joy.
  • Allow the sorrows of the past, the regrets, the harm you caused and the hurt you endured to become the stuff of alchemy–rich threads of gold and purple, iridescent blues and greens, woven into the tapestry of your life. Look upon these experiences with compassion and grace-filled tenderness. Forgive yourself and others and release those scenes and chapters as a dove into the blue of a summer sky.
  • In humility and gratitude and with joy and delight work diligently every day to bring forth the Gift hidden inside you that you came here to give. Write. Just write. Write your way to the answers and straight into the River of Life and into everything that has been holding its breath awaiting your arrival. Write.
  • Oh yeah, and did I say, “Be Happy!”?