Tag Archives: Free Choice

OPEN THE DOOR AND COME ON IN…

OPEN THE DOORS, AND THE WINDOWS, TOO

Open the door and come on in
I’m so glad to see you my friend
You’re like a rainbow comin’ around the bend…
– Judy Collins – “Song for Judith”

It was the summer of 1972 and I was staying with my aunt and uncle. I was struggling with severe depression at that time in my life. Home alone one day, I put a record on the stereo that had been sitting out; a singer named Judy Collins–I’d never heard of her. I sat sipping lemonade listening, watching a boy and his dog playing in the parkway across the street.

Judy sang Amazing Grace and I began to cry. Where indeed was this God, this Being that I’d grown up hearing loved me so much? Was there any grace in my life I could call amazing? I was indeed lost…yet to be found. I was certainly blind to whatever goodness there might be in my small world.

I remember shooting an arrow heavenward–one of those “Is anybody there?” requests.

And then Judy began singing another song. She was putting words to exactly how I felt:    Sometimes I remember the old days
When the world was filled with sorrow
You might have thought I was livin’
But I was all alone
In my heart the rain was fallin’
The wind blew and
The night was callin’
Come back, come back, I’m all you’ve ever known…

Suddenly “reality” shifted, and although my physical human eyes could not see them, I sensed the Presence of what I will call Beings of Light…maybe Angels…and I felt waves of love wash over me as surely as if I’d been standing in the ocean with waves of water rolling over me. I felt joy bubbling up from somewhere deep inside me–

And Judy’s voice filled the room and my heart:
Open the door and come on in
I’m so glad to see you my friend
You’re like a rainbow comin’ around the bend…
And when I see you happy,
Well, it sets my heart free
I’d like to be as good a friend to you
As you are to me.

I played that song over and over again. I remember tears streaming down my face. I remember standing up and opening my arms wide. I remember twirling around, lifting my face upwards. I have known all these years, that something started that day. Something shifted inside me. Something opened up to that Force that I have never known what “name” to call It–God? Goddess? The Creator? The Source (of Life and Light in the Universe)? Spirit? Father? Mother? That song, that moment, was like the kiss that awakened Sleeping Beauty; my deeper consciousness–my soul–my spirit…was awakened that day.

Like the Israelites who wandered in the desert for 40 years, the journey that began that day would take me a little over 40 years. One morning this year I woke up and knew in every cell of my body that something had shifted. Some part of me had opened up that had not been so before, like a dam that had only allowed trickles of life and love, light and grace, understanding and strength, suddenly gone. Nothing remained to obstruct the flow other than my own choices at any given moment. I could argue that this was always true, it is always about our choice. But there is a difference between fumbling for the door in the dark, and standing in front of  that same door in the full light of day knowing you only have to reach out and throw the latch and turn the knob.

Each cell in our body is surrounded by a membrane to protect it and to help give it form. I recently learned that even within our cells, there are membranes surrounding each part of the cell. What I understand is that these membranes, in addition to providing some protection and form, are the connective tissue that allow communication throughout our body. Think of it! These connective tissue membranes within the cells, surrounding the cells, layered then around our bones, our nerve, energy, and blood pathways, around our organs, around the outer most layer of muscle, beneath our skin…every cell, from the microscopic level to the fact that our skin is itself a connective tissue membrane on the outside of our body! Micro to macro.

But these layers of connective tissue membranes have to do something in order to pass along communication, nutrients, hydration, and all the myriad of functions our cells are responsible for: the membranes have to choose to “open”. They have to allow the information, the nutrients, the hydration, or the literal “electric” energy to come inside. They have to let down their defenses and become permeable to the process. Surprisingly, I am also hearing more frequently these days that our own consciousness–our own will–our own thoughts have much to do with whether these membranes will open or remain closed.

Yesterday I listened to someone share from both a spiritual and scientific perspective that there is also a membrane of consciousness that surrounds us energetically. He said that only through our “faith”, our “belief”, our “intention”/”will” can that membrane open to receive energy that is sent to us, or that we have called to ourselves through prayer or intention. When we ask someone to pray for us, or we ask for grace or healing, or we set intention to receive guidance or wisdom or perhaps, provision of needed resources–do we expect to receive? Do we have faith–“the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” standing in the gap between the time of the prayer or the setting of intention and it’s manifestation? Do we believe we are loved, that the Creative Source of the Universe is benevolent ?

Belief, faith, trust–I am discovering that it is these that open the door. These make the membrane of consciousness permeable. This allows the flow of the Energy–the Light–of the Universe to flow into and through my life. This allows the flow of Love to well up from the Eternal spark of Life (or “God Inside”) me and to flow through me and out from me.

I have a planter whose soil has become compacted and hard. I water the plant, and the water runs right through–the dirt remains dry, compact, hard as cement. It cannot absorb any of the water. The energy of Love comes to us, often, but if our heart is hard and closed, that Energy disperses and flows off somewhere else.

Someone prays for us–the Energy of Grace, or needed guidance, or maybe healing comes to us in response. But if the doors are locked, the windows shuttered, the Energy disperses…and flows off somewhere else. I once asked a group of young students with whom I was working what they thought being “open-minded” meant. A ten year old girl raised her hand and said, “Well, it’s like having a door in your brain. If the door is closed and locked, nothing can get inside. But if it is open, then lots of new ideas and stuff can come inside.”

Open to receive help from someone instead of thinking we have to do it all by ourselves. Open to receive a gift, or a compliment instead of deflecting it. Open to receive someone’s love, however rough around the edges, instead of shielding ourselves from it because we are afraid we will be hurt or disappointed.

I have come full circle. Like the day in my aunt’s living room singing with Judy Collins with my arms flung wide, I often now will lift my arms and say–“I open, I open, I open…like the flowers to the sunlight, I open to the Light that is pure Energy that creates and sustains Life. I open, I open, I open…like the Earth to the rain I open to Love flowing from God Inside me, through me, out into the world around me–with grace and kindness and compassion. I open to Joy. I open to wellness and strength. I open to all the blessings that can possibly fill up my life today!”

Open the door and come on in
I’m so glad to see you my friend
You’re like a rainbow comin’ around the bend…

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WHEN YOU ARE ENOUGH

WHEN YOU ARE ENOUGH

February 17, 2015

I am holding you, says the Creator. You are surrounded by benevolence. You have been given the great gift of choice—it is no wonder that your desire for freedom and the power to choose for yourself what you experience in life is so fundamental to your existence.

Why then do you deny it to others?

When you have the opportunity, you build yourself a house, or purchase one that suits your needs and your aesthetic preferences. Because of this gift you were given, this freedom of choice, you are free to also build “mental houses”, mental constructs in which to house the World in which you live. You fashion your experience of what you call “reality” into constructs that make sense to you based on your culture, on what you were taught as you moved through childhood, on things you’ve read and the places you’ve visited and the things you have seen. For some, this house you’ve made for your World has remained much the same as when you first put it together. For others, your World-houses have undergone many renovations and remodels. But there is not one person on the Earth that does not have a World-house that he or she has built, or was given and complacently agreed to inherit without question.

Just like the neighborhoods in your cities, the mentally constructed World-houses are as varied as the people living on Planet Earth. But here is the problem. Most of you cannot see that those mental constructs of human, Earth-bound understandings of reality that are different from your own are just as beautiful and legitimate as yours. You tend to think that all the World-houses should be just like yours because too often you think that yours is best, or the only one built correctly.

The new word buzzing around the world is “one”. “We are one”, you sing. You are awakening to an ancient truth—that you are all interconnected and have been created from the same fabric; we are one, we are all related. Yes, you are part of the Earth and made of star stuff. Humans and animals and all the plants and the fish in the sea—you are all the children of Mother Earth.

This is true.

But, be careful.

When you look at your brother’s face and see yourself in his eyes, you must also see that he is different. You must look through his eyes and see the House of his World. You must listen to his heart. You must receive the gifts and the knowledge he offers you with joy and grace and gratitude.

You are all individuated drops of the Sea of God…flung upon the shores of this world to live and journey through many experiences until you are returned once more to the Sea. You are one—you are all drops of water from the Sea.

But you are each preciously different—a different cell from the great Body of God. The cells in your feet have a very different experience of the world than the cells in your hands, or the cells in your stomach, or the cells in your lips, or the cells in the memory banks of your brain.

Embrace your brothers and sisters for they have indeed come from the same substance as you. And  do not take away their gift to choose to see the world differently from you—to construct a House for their World that is nothing like yours. Do not assume that you understand or experience the world the same as they do. Offer your gifts and your knowledge and your ideas, and receive those shared by your brothers and sisters.

Listen to the hearts of the wounded ones—especially those whose ancestors were wounded by your ancestors.

Listen to the hearts of the wounded ones—especially those who have been wounded by the people who live in World-houses similar to yours, who peek out from the windows of your mental constructs of the world and are afraid of what does not look like what you have built together.

Listen to the hearts of those you have wounded.

Listen.

Receive what they tell you.

Open your minds to the possibility of creating a world together that will thrive; a world based on honor and integrity and compassion and respect.

Open your hearts and allow the Love that fills the very air you breathe to flow through your lungs and travel your bloodstream and fill your hearts.

Do not be afraid any longer. Fear has no power in the presence of Love and Compassion, no more than the darkness remains when we turn on the light.

Do not be afraid.

Do not despair.

If you do nothing more of consequence in this world than to do what you must do to allow Love to flow through you, for Compassion to be your automatic response to others, and gratitude to be the joy that lifts your heart each morning—you have done enough.

You are enough.

You are the Light of the World.

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!”?

ON REMAINING LOYAL TO ONE’S SELF

December 21, 2014

ON REMAINING LOYAL TO ONE’S SELF

“Commitment means REMAINING LOYAL to what you said you were going to do long AFTER the MOOD you said it in has LEFT you.”

My friend shared this quote on a social media site I share with a Circle of women. It struck a chord in me that resonated for several days. Even now, returning to it, I feel the resonance sounding even deeper down.

We are rapidly approaching the close of the year, trailing its well-worn days behind us.  A brand new year of days stretches out ahead like a new journal or a fresh canvas with no mark upon its pages or spill of paint upon its surface.  Traditionally it is a time when, knowing it is one of those “fresh start” seasons–a time to change areas in our life that don’t serve us well–we make promises and resolutions and vows, mostly to ourselves. Typically, we soon lose sight of them, defaulting back into our comfortable ruts.

That’s where the quote at the beginning of this post comes in. What is it you wish to change in your life? What promises to yourself have you not kept? Why is it okay to break the vows we make to ourselves but not okay to break our promises to others–(even though we do that as well)?  Is it indeed because the mood we were in when we made the promise is gone? Ugh, I don’t feel like taking my walk or getting up to meditate or eating vegetables instead of bread or cooking instead of eating junk food or spending 30 minutes making my art today. I don’t feel like choosing the path of love and to check out my assumptions because my emotions are in cahoots with my Ego and I’m boiling over with defensive rage. I don’t feel like telling myself something as ridiculous as “I’m happy!” and smiling like an idiot when it feels like the entire grey, drizzly sky is sitting on my head.

I made a commitment to myself three years ago: to keep my feet on the path of Love and Joy. It has not been an easy path. Especially when changing means I have to confront my own twisted beliefs about myself and others. Old stuff rooted in another time and place but still radioactive. Stuff I have to let go of if I really want to change. Sometimes I just don’t want to scrabble around on that rutted, rocky, slippery trail. But as I have kept bringing myself back, the easier it has become to remain. The more old stuff I’ve released the smoother the trail has become. Gradually I have begun to see others and life and myself differently than I once did. I’m looking more often through lenses of love, joy and gratitude. It is a little like when I got my first pair of glasses when I was ten. Evidently I had been quite nearsighted for a long time without anyone realizing it. I remember being amazed at all the things that I could see that I had never been able to see before.

Five years ago I made a commitment to myself that I would finally honor my gift and calling to be a writer. It is a commitment I have struggled with–in part because some part of me barely dares to believe that I should be so blessed–me, a “real writer”? The other part is because it is damn hard work and I get stuck and yes, lose the mood. Lose my confidence, forget that I really do have the guts to make it through. But I keep returning. Little by little it has become easier.

Recently I renewed my commitment to meditate, journal and walk every day, seven days a week. I need to do this for my mental, emotional and physical well-being. I also made a vow to myself that I would do a 15 minute writing exercise every day for a year working only on description. I so admire author Terry Pratchett’s superb command of metaphor and simile and just plain old description–I want to be able to write like that! One day I was thinking this when I “heard” the man in my head. “Do you think I could always do this?” he asked. “I had to practice–for years! It takes work, my dear.” So, I wondered to myself, how would my ability to describe things improve if I worked on it a little everyday for a year? So, I made this vow to myself.

A few days later I broke it. I was busy and then I was too tired. The next day I was traveling. Then I forgot.

But I regrouped. I decided to honor myself and keep my commitment. A year stretches out too far…but I can do it a day at a time. So far I’ve made it 20 out of 26 days. And going…

I wrote in my journal, “Stay loyal to your Self–even when you’re not in the mood. Especially when you’re not in the mood!” The Sun never stops shining–alive and brilliant, giving light and energy and warmth to the Planets in his care. The clouds in our world can pile up and try to block the Light. They never totally succeed as even the darkest of stormy days will still have more Light in it than the dead of night. But, eventually the clouds dissipate, or we have the special thrill of rising above them in an airplane to find the brilliant azure sky and the blinding yellow Sun up above–still there.

I’m still here, too. I’m always creating my experience of life with my thoughts and my attitudes. Will I be faithful to shine, faithful to my vows and commitments even when the clouds come with their grey blankets, their drizzle and their storms, pressing down on me until sometimes I can barely breathe? The Sun is not hiding or on vacation. The Truth is still shining inside me: I am Love and Light and Joy. The ability to be happy–still shining inside me. I can keep my vows and commitments and I will be the happier for it. Healthier. More peaceful. More comfortable in my skin. More accessible to others. And when I break my promises to myself, I can forgive myself and get back up and back on track; much better than just giving up on myself.

This Gift of Free Choice we’ve been given is at once the most precious and the most terrible of Gifts. It is a privilege and a curse. For as much as we love to shift the blame for all the misery in our lives and in the world to our mothers or our fathers or our exes or God or the devil or the liberals or the conservatives…the truth is that ultimately we are responsible for how we experience the world, and what we give to the world and what we take from Her. We alone are responsible for whether we remain loyal to ourselves long after the mood to do so has passed.

WE CAME HERE TO THRIVE

October 10, 2014

WE CAME HERE TO THRIVE

“I did not come here to this Earth to struggle or suffer.  Nor did you.  I came here to thrive.” 

Someone I greatly respect wrote this some months ago.  It has set me to thinking deeply about my own suffering and that which I witness daily around me; to reflect on what I have been taught about struggle and suffering.  Because, whether it is our purpose to suffer or not, we do struggle and we do suffer.  Some of us wear our struggles and suffering as a badge of honor.  I know I have at times.  But if we are here to thrive, if we are here first and foremost to experience love and joy, happiness and abundance, then we have to own that our suffering and our struggles are messes we create.  If we are here to experience love and create a world where all can thrive, then the suffering is the dross to be cleared away.

We are living on a planet in a dimension of duality, where all things have their opposite and we have been given the ability to freely choose between those opposites.  Even the teachings of so many Wise Ones and Religious traditions aside, we see the evidence before our own eyes that all of the Universe conspires to create Life–and where we see life thriving, whether it is a body of water, a garden or a child, we find plenty of what will nourish that life, including love.  Love in all its forms seems to be at the heart of Life itself.  Doesn’t it make sense that we came here to learn what Love is?  Where could it be better understood and experienced than in a place where we can also experience it’s opposite?

So, I agree.  We did not come here to struggle and suffer even though we will experience these.  We came here to thrive.  We came here to Love.  We came here to contribute good to this world.  We came here to be Light.  We came here to be filled up with joy and happiness.  We carry within us the essence of the Creator of all things– the pure energy of Life.   Why would we ever wish to choose to be miserable, filled up with anger and hate, to radiate energy that weakens and destroys?

Criticism creates an energy that does not feel safe, and those experiencing it instinctively engage their “fight or flight or freeze response”.  The energy of criticism and judgment is destructive.  I have suffered the fallout of this kind of energy, and I have too often turned it on others.  It has never once helped to nurture life.  What we are drawn to are those who radiate love, compassion, kindness; it is within this kind of energy that we are able to grow, to change if need be, to become our best selves.  It is within this kind of energy that life is able to thrive.

Love, kindness, joy and gratitude, these are the badges of honor to seek.  This is what I am here to experience, what I am here to do.

I am learning that it really is a matter of choice.  And I have been given the amazing gift to do so–to choose.