Wednesday, December 16, 2009

MERRY MASS OF CHRIST

Jesus and Christ are not synonymous. These six words represent for me the power behind the Christmas holiday.
The Christ is not the domain of one religious tradition, and it is not another name for Jesus the historical man. Christ, though beyond what can be contained by words, is the Sourced I AM-ness that is at the heart of all of us, incarnated or disembodied. It is the Self that precedes the programming and conditioning known as the personality. It contains our body, mind, emotional body, history, and story, yet is transcendent of all of that. It is the Essence energy that enters time and space reality, yet is unchanged due to this entrance into density. It is the Sourced Soulful Self that comes to Know Itself as an emergence that is ever-expanding into greater and broader levels of Radiance and Givingness. It is the G-awed-ness that is here on earth having a human experience. It is Infinite in Essence, and limited in this realm only by the unbalanced karma of perception and perceived limitation. We are all, regardless of religious belief or philosophical terminology, here to become the Christed Presence while still in an embodied state.
This is the great demonstration and contribution made by the historical man Yeshua. He lived and died a Jew who tapped into his own inherent Christed nature, and made the decision to become that I Am-ness here on earth. He was not, despite what theology would have us believe, a super God-man who was the only son of the Christian God. He was an avatar that awakened to the depth and breadth of his Divine potential. He transcended the limited religious thinking of his time, and from that transcendence, became a great teacher and healer. He lived out the Christed Nature as a state of being that had the power to spread Light wherever he went. In his Sight, people could begin to see through their own stories of separation and disconnection. He embodied Christ. And that is the invitation of this season that celebrates his birth. Yes, we can appreciate the contributions he made. We can glean the metaphysical lessons present in the accounts of his birth, life, and death. But the true power of Christmas is to step into the example he left, and to decide to make our own demonstration of the Christed Presence here and now. He was most certainly a Master individual, but he didn’t have any more potential within himself than do you or I. Christ is a decision we make here in this earth realm. Its potency is inherent, and at that level, beyond choice. Yet as beings of free will, we must choose to Surrender ourselves into the Source from which we came, and In which we still remain. We must decide to release the authority of the personality self, with all of its attachments and aversions. We must declare that our lives are now a dedication to a Truth transcendent of time and space and preference and separation. We must grow beyond the stories we have lived, and give way to that something greater that is even now seeking to know Itself In and as us. We are called to embrace and love all of our humanity, and in doing so, shine forth as Source Divinity.
To truly celebrate the birth of Light this season is to embody that Light. By whatever name you want to call it, it is time to birth the Inner Christ that is within you. Every time you decide to live from that transcendent withinness, Christ is born. Every time you choose to see beyond the limitations of your own or another’s story of self, Christ is born. In the heart of the awakened Self, all of life is a great Mass of Christ. It is a decision and a declaration. And you don’t just make it once. You make it each and every moment of each and every day. You get up each morning with the intention and ensuing action of Being the Christ right here on earth. It is an intention that is a mission. It is a decision and a declaration. We are here to incarnate the Light, and to shine forth in the darkness of human unconsciousness. It is a demonstration we are all called to make. And this season is as good a time as any. You are already indeed the Christ. Shine forth brightly as an embodiment of that Truth. Become the Christmas message: the glory of Source made manifest here and now on earth. In that decision, the Christmas story is about you as much as it is about Jesus. And I am most certain, in his current transcendent state, he is celebrating your Christ birthing as much as anyone is celebrating his.

Merry Mass of Christ.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

DECEMBER RADICAL EXPRESSION


On this the first day of December, I am heartfully aware that this is the day set aside for world attention to the HIV-AIDS pandemic. This is by no means something that is theoretical for me in my own personal life experience. I have been active in the movement since the mid 1980’s, before the acronym of AIDS was even used. The first feature film that I appeared in was a film that looked closely and intimately at the lives infected and affected at a time when there was medically little hope. It is not my activism or my acting, however, that come to my mind today in my own observance of this day of remembrance. It is the countless colleagues, acquaintances, comrades, friends, and loves that have transitioned via this disease that tug at my heart and moisten my eyes. It is the number of beautiful Souls that I have sat with in their final moments, some for which I was the only one who was left to love them. While the stigma has lessened over the years, it still remains as does the irrational fear. The religious unconsciousness is still used as a battering ram for those who are already down, and the denial and suppression over the severity of the affliction are such that infection numbers are once again on the rise. While I could discuss here the meta-physical ramifications of this out-picturing of human consciousness at this phase of our emergence, it is not the center of my focus as I write this day. It is the love I feel in my heart for all of the angels who at some level are still with me as I look their way on this AIDS Remembrance Day.
I was blessed and honored last evening to participate in a NAMES PROJECT World AIDS Day Observance, where part of my contribution was to simply read the names of some of the people who have transitioned as a result of this disease as a central part of the program. These were names of individuals that though they had lived in Palm Beach County, I did not know. As I slowly read the names given to me, and as I listened to the names read by other participants, a sense of reverence and of unity filled my being in a way that transcends what might be captured by words. I could tangibly feel the interconnection, and I knew that part of our Soul enrollment was that one day, post-mortality; I would be able to speak their names with a deep Knowingness that their lives had mattered and that they were not forgotten. I could feel that though my relationship with HIV is not physical, it is intensely personal. I am here to Presence it in a way that does not deny it, yet also does not give it authority over me or those it has infected. I know that those who have transitioned are eternally spirit, yet their human experience upon this earth mattered greatly as well. They were and remain important to the totality of the human fabric. They are integral to the whole. They are still a part of me. As I speak their names, I speak my own.
This aforementioned observance began a twelve day exhibiting of the NAMES PROJECT AIDS MEMORIAL QUILT in the town I am blessed to live in. There are over 200 quilt panels, each representing and depicting a life lost to this pandemic. They are stunning to observe. The love, the pain, the celebration that went into the creation of these panels is palpable. They run from the simple to the whimsical to the flamboyant; as diverse and unique as the lives they represent. There are six new panels that have been inducted into this Palm Beach County collection. They will hang in this exhibit, and then go on to become a permanent part of the national collection of over 400,000 panels. There is one that I am particularly partial to. It represents a life lost that I was honored to be intimately and intricately a part of. I got to actually create this panel that memorializes and represents the life of the one I loved so dearly. The one that left an indelible imprint on my heart and in my life. When I speak his name, I am filled with memories of beauty, of laughter, of loss, of profound and eternal love. While his spirit moved on, his legacy remains for and in me far more personally than any panel could ever capture. And yet I am so thrilled to have his panel be a part of this wonderful mosaic of celebration and of love.
So you see, there is nothing theoretical or distanced in me as I open into this day of commemoration. I remain with all the feelings in my heart, even as I hold the possibility that the healing that has already occurred in the field of the Inner-realm will one day soon be made manifest here on earth. AIDS will become a distant memory, though those who have left as a result of its effects will not. They are and will remain a precious part of our global heart. They are a part of the human quilt, where every panel is a wondrous representation of a unique and magnificent life.

This writing is offered, as was the quilt panel, in loving memory of Rev. Richard H. Barnes.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

THE HEART OF GRATEFULNESS



This has been one of the most profoundly enriching years of my entire life. It has also been one of the least comfortable.

I am amazed to realize that as Thanksgiving is almost upon us, the end of the year is close behind. It leads me to recollect what I had intended to experience in 2009, and what has actually transpired. I remember beginning the year in the mountains of southern Oregon, where in fact I spent the entire month of January. I recall being there and watching in wonder as the very first African American president was sworn into office, and the feeling of profound possibility that it created within my entire energy system. I still feel the echoes of his invitation into a “new era of responsibility,” and how that challenge has guided me in many of my choices throughout this year. I look fondly at many of the things that have transpired since that inauguration, and I wince a bit at other circumstances that seemed to challenge the very fiber of my being. There have been losses, and there have been great experiences of love. I have fallen asleep at times, and the effects of my unconsciousness have shakened me into greater wakefulness. I have not accomplished several goals I had intended, and I have learned as many lessons from not accomplishing as I have from what I have achieved. I have most certainly met myself in every circumstance, and around every corner. I have recognized my reflections in most every interaction, and I have finally owned the projections that used to keep me bound. I have seen the myriad ways in which I try to escape myself, and I have grown into a greater appreciation for the miracles evidenced when I choose the more expansive choice to inscape. I am finally really getting to know myself: my whole self. It is now safe enough for me to go to the places I used to fear to tread. I have painfully learned that it really is me, and only me, that is telling the tale of Taylor. The discomfort of this year has come from a total devotion to feeling the emotional imprinting that has held me captive these fifty-plus years. I have only recently had the necessary spaciousness to face the depths of my woundedness and despair, and to allow a sustained and compassionate attention that is slowly and steadily transforming those life-long scars. This for me is the crux of an engaged and actualized spirituality. The loving attention that I am bringing to the whole of my withinness IS Source. It is the Light that is shining in and through the caverns of my darkness, revealing to me the Truth that lies even in that darkness. I ran my entire life from the shadow I so feared; who knew that stopping and facing it would lead to the freedom that so long eluded me?

This has indeed been one of the most enriching years of my entire life. It makes me profoundly grateful that I have been led to plunge into the inner-recesses of my unconscious, and to discover there, within the pain, the awakening I have so long sought. I do not kid myself that there will not be continued gaps in that wakefulness. I remain thankful even in those times. They provide the contrast that keeps me cognizant of true Grace. They give me the depth of compassion and mercy I have so long prayed to Be. To accept the wholeness and the allness of our humanity leads us to the taste of our Divinity. This is for me the heart of gratefulness. To be able to look at myself with love is a gift beyond measure. To resign from the “human fixer-upper society” restores me to the worth I so long over-looked. I am grateful to simply be who and what I am today: another pilgrim on the path. And that’s all I need to be. It is indeed a new era of responsibility, and I finally am able to lovingly respond to life exactly as it is. After all, the way life seems to be is actually how I am being. And so today I am living in a world of gratitude, for today, grateful I truly am.

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Tuesday, November 3, 2009

NOVEMBER RADICAL EXPRESSION

As I began to ponder the content of the November RADICAL EXPRESSION, the obvious choice of Gratitude was front and center in my field of my awareness. I have received in my own inbox several beautifully written missives on the virtues of practicing a grateful attitude, sentiments with which I most deeply concur. I have for many years kept a daily gratitude journal, and I suspect it is a practice that I will continue as long as I am able to hold a pen. I was also reflecting this morning on a perhaps less obvious contribution on the subject of thankfulness; the benefits derived when we realize and acknowledge that we are not feeling grateful. There are rare times when I am simply not feeling grateful at all.

My own individual spiritual emergence has radically changed in many ways during the past several years, changes for which I do feel a deep sense of gratitude. One of the changes that have made the most impact in a practical way is the deep felt-sense acceptance of whatever is arising in the field of my awareness and experience at any given time. My belief has become a knowing that when accepted and embraced, everything is used in service of our spiritual evolution. Every dark and uncomfortable emotion, so long my major nemesis, is merely a miracle in unfolding. Every challenge brings gift, and every obstacle a way through. There was a time when if I did not feel grateful during my morning thanksgiving ritual I would feel guilt and self-incrimination. I would then shove those feelings aside as I tried to force a thankful feeling from a place that was clearly momentarily closed. What I have discovered is that if I court the occasional feeling of ingratitude, and bring a witnessing and compassionate presence to it, it will reveal to me some wound that has not been attended to properly and lovingly. If I give space to the un-thankfulness, it will reveal to me something that invariably will lead me to a grateful realization. Rather than trying and straining to feel grateful from a space of ego-driven obligation, I am now in an inner-place spaciousness enough to trust in the natural clarity that acceptance always brings. This practice has also solidified the knowing that true and authentic gratitude isn’t dependent on outer circumstances. It is a way of being that in our humanness can be variable. There is no shame in that. Sometimes humans just don’t feel grateful. It is usually the result of a mental interpretation, yet that is a part of our experience here. We can try and manipulate the mind into thinking grateful thoughts. Or we may wisely choose wait a bit, go a bit deeper, and find the gold in why we are feeling the way we are feeling at any given time. Sometimes the most profound experiences of thanksgiving come from a place that was originally steeped in ingratitude. It takes some fortitude to go the distance, yet it is well worth it. In the process, wounds get exposed and hearts become healed. That is certainly a call for gratitude.

So in this month of gratitude and thanksgiving, perhaps you will take another look at times when those are not the authentic inner experiences that you are having. Take a curious look at those places within; a soft, compassionate look. See what hurt may be just below the surface, or what old programming may be behind the interpretation that is leading to dissatisfaction. Find the gift in the ingratitude, and you will feel doubly grateful. After all, it truly is all for good. Good isn’t the absence of bad. It is the inclusion of all. An open and embracing heart is a grateful heart. And that is what thanksgiving is all about.

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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

ENDING DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

The month of October is designated as National Domestic Violence Awareness month. I am blessed to live in a town that has encouraged its citizens to bring particular attention to this tragic phenomenon by hosting several free and open events, and by inviting us to place purple lights in the windows of our homes. Even as I prayerfully placed a light in the center window of my house, I recognized that awareness of this particular type of cruelty is only a beginning in the emergence of its healing. I feel deep within my heart that it is not just awareness, but the quality of that awareness that either propagates or transforms these manifestations of grief and rage. To remain in and take action from a place of judgment and resistance always energizes and attracts more of what we are focusing on and fighting against. To just say no never ended the proverbial war on drugs, and “Act Up-Fight AIDS” has never led to its cure. As paradoxical as it may seem, the termination of any unwanted effect must begin with a complete acceptance that the condition already exists. To fight what already is, is futile at the energetic level. To say it shouldn’t be is fruitless. There is domestic violence in our communities, country, and in our world. That is what it is. And acknowledging that it is already so, what is it that we may now be and do to contribute to its transcendence?

Domestic violence is usually framed in its most prevalent form: acts of physical, mental, emotional, sexual abuse against a woman by a man. This is by no means the only form of domestic violence. It occurs in all variations of human relationships; woman to woman, man to man, woman to man, parent to child, human to animal, etc. Many years ago I endured emotional and physical violence in a relationship to which I repeatedly returned. At that time, I unconsciously thought it was what I deserved. I had encountered it as a child, and so it was familiar as an adult. This psychological condition is played out with great regularity. Very often there is both subtle and blatant criticism of the perpetrated. How could they return after such horrid treatment? Without continuing with an analysis as to the particulars of these scenarios, it is the over all state of human consciousness that points to the origin of these and all acts of violence.

Domestic violence begins not in the home but in the self. The atmosphere within our own hearts and minds is very often demeaning and abusive. In an age of heightened analysis and sophisticated neurosis, we perhaps treat ourselves worse than in any time in human history. We often use psycho-spirituality as yet another way to beat ourselves up, and tear ourselves down. This inner rage cannot help but be reflected in the outer. The quality of our relationships mirrors perfectly the quality of our inner-attentiveness. Even our language is filled with violent images and abusive descriptivism. How often do we unconsciously use words that have underlying violent connotations? And how often do we speak tenderly and compassionately to the fearful inner self, terrified in a world of suffering, violence, and war? Violence will never stop in our homes until it ceases in our own inner worlds. It will never terminate in our communities until it stops occurring in our homes. We can fill our windows with purple light bulbs, and until we begin to bring a sustained compassionate attention to our own hurting hearts, it is just wasted electricity.

I know that I for one will never again place my self in a situation to be abused by another human being. I know this for I am devoted to treating myself with the caring, compassion, dignity, and love that an emanation of the One deserves. I commit to treat others with these same Divine qualities. I am a stand not for fighting Domestic Violence, but for being an internal space in which it does not occur. I will gladly stand arm and arm with those in my community who choose to say yes to humane treatment for all living beings. I know and celebrate that my attention is energizing and attractive, and so I use it wisely. I surround myself with the unconditional Love of my Source, and I let that Light radiate to all I observe. Domestic Violence stops here and now in me, and that is my personal contribution to a world at peace.

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Friday, October 2, 2009

OCTOBER RADICAL EXPRESSION


As I engaged in my daily G_awed walk this afternoon, I relished the unmistakable hint of autumn that subtly surrounded my steps. Walking beneath the south Florida sun, I smiled as I recollected the days of northern Octobers and harvest festivities. The crackle of leaves, the delectable scent of cinnamon steeping in warm cider, the cheery and robust orange of the perfect pumpkin within the patch; I love autumn! As I type these words, I realize that they will be read by people experiencing fall in many different locales with a myriad of geographies. And yet for me, this season has such a unique yet universal vibratory resonance. It seems even richer for me since I have undeniably entered into the autumn of my life experience. I tried for some years to elongate the image of late and later-still summer. And I have now relaxed into the inner-recognition that in my humanness, fall is here. This perspective allows me an increased spaciousness from which to look upon the harvest of my years and of my experience. I have sown many seasons of intentions, and I have let many potential crops be overtaken by the weeds of my distractions. There are regrets for sure. And yet they are softening in a heart made tender by losses and gains, disappointment and achievement. Scanning the landscape of my life, it has been full, it has been rich, it has been varied, and it remains ever an adventure.

As I contemplate this harvest time of year, I am reminded that countless tons of crops are left to rot every year, all across this country. It is common for farmers to harvest the most commercially appealing produce, and then to allow the remainder of the perfectly good food source to become fertilizer for following years. This is done primarily to save labor costs; to salvage what is absolutely fine in substance, yet less marketable in appearance. There is a practice I have long been drawn to called gleaning, whereby volunteer groups will converge upon the fields, collect the remaining crops, and then distribute it to those in need. Isn’t that beautiful? It makes me a bit teary even typing it. In a world of so much hunger, tons and tons of food is lost simply because no one will take the time and effort to glean the good, and pass it on. What a profoundly simple yet beautiful way of feeding those in need. Such a practice could certainly also lead to a deeper sense of gratitude and stewardship for all involved.

This process of gleaning also invites me to take another look at the landscape of my own field of consciousness. How many times in my increasing number of years have I only wanted to look upon the experiences that I found desirable, while hoeing under the parts that I deemed less than great? How many blessings have I experientially lost due to my suppression and inattentiveness? In grasping only the appealing and the marketable, how many lessons were left to rot in the furthest recesses of my unconscious? What could be gained by taking another, deeper look at the fields of my life, and by finding there a food for my self, supplied by my Soul? Anything rejected or resisted is good that is not claimed. There is good in everything. It is our choice to farm the blessing in all our experiences that leads to nourishment and to strength. And as we are fed by the fodder of our grateful and attentive lives, we feed others by virtue of the collective consciousness. We expand our sense of what goodness is, and where it may be found. We become conscious stewards of our Souls and of our earth. We are awake and available to glean the ever-present good. Our lives are a harvest that we look upon with gratitude and with glee.

As I look upon the harvest of this day, right here in the autumn of my life, I am grateful to include all of what currently is. With an illumined sight born of an expanded heart, I gratefully glean the goodness in it all. It is harvest time and replanting time both. And I am blessed to be the keeper of my crops. What blessing may you glean, dear friend, by simply embracing the day that is?

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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

NAKED AND UNASHAMED


On a recent stroll upon the beach, I happened upon what I surmised to be a family that included a naked little girl that appeared to be having the time of her life. There was something so simple and yet so stunning about the fact that nothing separated her from the sand upon which she played, or the tide that was lapping at her precious little toes. She was the absolute picture of glee, and as I greeted her, she readily grinned back at me, matching me in shameless, open, and innocent eye to heart contact. Her complete unawareness of her nudity gave me permission to simply behold her in all her physical beauty, and in so doing, the greater whole of who she is came shining forth. It truly was as striking a picture of freedom as I have ever seen. It tugged at the child in me that longs to be released from the bondage of all that covers my Innocence, my glee. Though I am hardly a nudist, there is a part of me that envies that level of unabashed exposure; that freedom of physicality reflecting the return to a spirit that needs hide nothing. Whether or not we as adults feel drawn to dropping our clothing in appropriate settings, the metaphor is one that certainly gives me pause.

The absolute lack of self-consciousness in that little girl demonstrated to me the openness and vulnerability that we are as pre-conditioned children. It seemed to me that her smile reflected a being that had yet to be told that who she is isn’t what she should be. She had yet to accumulate enough programming that would have her avert her eyes to someone who met her with a smile. She was so clearly in the experience of that day on the beach, and so not into a story of what should or shouldn’t be, and why she need cover her self from exposure to a bold and scary world. Though I could make a case for the karmic imprinting that had yet to be revealed in effectual circumstance, she was still open and available to the Innocence of her Sourced Self. She could still, though perhaps faintly, hear the angels singing of the sweetness of life. She glowed with the joy of simply being alive. She had no need to hide behind a self-image or an egoic pretence. She was there. She was truly there. And in her there-ness, she welcomed me right in.

I was taught early on that nudity was something that our family simply didn’t do. This teaching applied to physicality and to emotionality. I was taught to hide my feelings in the same way I was to hide my body. I am at a point in my personal emergence where I am blessing and releasing that tribal programming. I want to return to the innate sense of Innocence and defenselessness that my little beach angel was basking in. The pain of hiding and withholding is far too high a price for me to pay. While I may not be hitting the nude beaches of south Florida any time soon, I am committed to forgiving the ways in which I was imprinted to believe I have to cover and disguise the parts of me that were shamed and rejected. I am relentlessly going into the places within that I have avoided for years. I am devoted to feeling down through the layers of energetic veils that shroud my heart and hide my Light. I am being released, through simple intimate Presence, from the depths of self-aversion that has been my hell. I will to experience directly the Sourced beauty of who I am without the story, and then to allow that beauty to inform my earthly experience. I want to stand before the world naked and unashamed. I am risking it all in the name of Love. I am risking it all in the name of freedom. I am risking it all in the name of Innocence.

This is the very heart of forgiveness. This is at the very heart of my journey. Hiding no more in unconscious shame and aversion, I am free to love within the Love. And from that space of free, open Innocence, I give my gifts of Love. I no longer recoil in fear of rejection. I simply give. Here I am readers. Naked, unashamed, and finally free to love.


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Tuesday, September 1, 2009

SEPTEMBER RADICAL EXPRESSION



In the most recent studies of the frequency and efficacy of prayer, it was found that an estimated 90% of people world wide state that they believe in and actually engage personally in praying on a regular basis. That is an astounding statistic for many reasons. First, though the form, language, practice, and theology of this act of faith will vary among the many religious and spiritual traditions, as many as 90% of the world’s population are engaged in an active seeking of connection to the Source of their being. Perhaps even more than 90% of the peoples of this world believe that there is a Power greater and a Force transcendent of the appearances of the manifest realm. With all of the myriad differences between the races contained in our humanity, we are at the most spacious level in agreement regarding the Truth that there is indeed an All-Knowing Source of Life that is actively engaged in ongoing creation, and that this Source may be accessed through some form of conscious contact. I may also add that it continues to fascinate me that with 90% of all people believing in the transforming power of prayer, we are still experiencing the world of form in the often tragic way in which we are.
After spending the bulk of my youth heavily ensconced in the traditional Christian prayer techniques of talking to what often amounted to a far-off and disagreeable God out there, my current experiencing of active engagement within the vibrational Source of All that Is leaves me in a state of amazement, appreciation, astonishment, and awe. The before described belief in the power of prayer seems anemic next to the felt-sense Knowingness of the actual experience. Having been blessed with many opportunities to experience prayer with individuals and groups from many of the world’s religions, it seems more apparent than ever that an intellectual belief in the power of prayer does not necessarily result in the actual union that is the deeper promise of this ancient practice. I will only reverence any attempt to connect to Source by whatever lens you choose to explore it. It is often true, however, that there is a deadening in the practice that is most often ladened with words from the mind, and devoid of feeling in the heart. And that, my beloved readers, is the Power inherent in the Presencing practice of prayer.
Prayer may enlist words for the sake of evoking feeling, yet the depth of prayer is in the sensations generated by aligning within the One Source. Prayer is not mental, it is vibrational. When one is vibrating at the frequency of Source, prayer is its own answer. In the vast majority of the praying of the world, great attention is given to what is deemed to be wrong, broken, or missing. Some type of pleading is then engaged, imploring the God of current understanding to fix these supposed problems in such and such a way, and within this time frame. The vibrational content of the prayer is the frequency of the perceived problem. We are inadvertently creating more of what we don’t want; by focusing the power of our attention on what the mind thinks is wrong. Our feeling state is the power behind our ability to consciously co-create. Our feeling state, when plugged into Source, is what brings the manifestation of Divinity into the forms of this realm. Our feeling state IS prayer. When we are heartfully focused within the ever-Present, Already Isness, our inner-state of heaven becomes the reality right here on earth. If even close to 90% of the worlds population would tap into the feeling level of Source, the great awakening would be here and it would be now. It WILL be here, it WILL be now. It is the WILL of the One, and so it must be so.
I am devoting the month of September to saturating myself more than ever in the vibrational frequency of my Source. I am called more and more to the simplicity of Being. For me, the crux of the spiritual journey to now here is the direct relationship of vibrational prayer and experiential forgiveness. That’s it. I align myself within Source, and become a field of PRAYER that FORGIVES the appearances of the world in me. I feel deep within my Soul that it is for this that I came. That is my earthly mission. To deeply love all that is through the felt-sense Knowingness of a prayer that forgives back to One. That is the Presencing Power of Prayer. Feel Source deeply, and SO IT IS.

September 10th is the Unity World Day of Prayer, and I am excited to host an event on 9.9.9 all about the mechanics of prayer, and its practical application. I will end the month facilitating a workshop on Forgiveness. Information on these events is available on the site.


http://www.taylorestevens.com/calendar/index.php

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

AUGUST EASE, PLEASE

It has become my custom in the past few years to largely take the month of August off, dedicating it both to increased practice and lots of play. This year began to unfold differently before August even began, and it has provided me an opportunity to integrate a principle I have believed in theory for well over two decades. As I watched my calendar began to fill where I had previously intended emptiness, I realized that I truly am at choice as to how and who I BE, as I am doing whatever it is I am called to do.
I recognize that I am extremely blessed to be able to have my profession also be my passion. Whether I am lecturing, counseling/coaching, creating new programs, or writing, I am engaged in doing what I absolutely love to do. That being said, I am also a contemplative who needs a large amount of time being spent Souly in the Inner realm. When I have a prolonged period of intense activity, I need to stop and dedicate some time to simply being in Being. I always consider this as I schedule my self in the day to day doings of my life experience. I frequently take days dedicated only to meditation, prayer, and quiet. I take retreats and mini-vacations, for which I long ago gave up guilt or outer affirmation. That being said, it is not always possible to acquire the amount of inactivity I may be craving. There are circumstances and relationships that far outweigh my personal preferences. It is in these very times when I recognize that my state of Being always takes precedence over what it is I am doing. I can choose to resist the rigors of a particularly busy time, or I can tap into the flowfulness of a Universe that is always supporting me internally and in all I am choosing to do. It is a Universe permeated with Grace. And in Grace, there is ease. Awe yes, ease. There it is. I can do all that I am doing in these August days with a sense of ease and Grace that allow me to feel as if I am in a time out. Vacation and retreat, as valuable as they are, are inner states that I may choose at any point within my day. I literally may choose a vacation spent in peacefully breathing in between clients or in between Sunday talks. When I then act from that sense of peace and ease, what I do is permeated with the Grace in which I choose to consciously vibrate. In Grace and ease, there is flowful creativity and joyful givingness. In that, my energy regenerates, and I have ever more to give.
There are moments when the most appropriate and accurate prayer for me is simply EASE, PLEASE. The prayer brings me back into my alignment within a Universe that knows no struggle. I become a wave upon the sea of One, and breathe deeply of the Breath of the All Only Source. I will continue to claim my days of “pray and play,” and I will remain at ease when the level of activity amps up and I am on the run. Breathe deeply of your Being, my friends, and relax into the flow of the ever-present ease and Grace that is our Source. Awe, yes. Ease, please.


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Friday, July 31, 2009

AUGUST RADICAL EXPRESSION

The Hound of Heaven
Francis Thompson (1859-1907)

I fled Him, down the nights and down the days;
I fled Him, down the arches of the years;
I fled Him, down the labyrinthine ways
Of my own mind; and in the mist of tears
I hid from Him, and under running laughter.
Up vistaed hopes I sped;
And shot, precipitated,
Adown Titanic glooms of chasmed fears,
From those strong Feet that followed, followed after.
But with unhurrying chase,
And unperturbèd pace,
Deliberate speed, majestic instancy,
They beat--and a Voice beat
More instant than the Feet--
"All things betray thee, who betrayest Me."

Though the language seems distancing and perhaps a little daunting, the spirit behind the beginning stanza of this Francis Thompson poem ignites something within me that defies the intellect and stirs my very Soul. As much as I have longed to Know and re-unite within my Source, I recognize as well a place that has often fled It even as It experientially moved toward me in merger. It is so very difficult at the level of the felt-sense to know if it is me seeking Source, or if it is Source seeking Its Self as me. In my passionate longing for the One, I run towards the stirring within my heart center. It beckons, it beseeches, it stirs, and it calls me: ceaselessly and endlessly. I stretch toward this calling with every ounce and fiber of my being. As I begin to feel the mystical merging I have so longed to experience, something within me shutters, bolts, contracts, and runs. With an intensity equal to that of the internal stretching forward, the fearful self is “fleeing down the days and down the nights, down the labyrinthine ways of my own divided mind.”
I compassion the self that so wants to live within the felt-sense of my Source, but has also been theologically programmed to fear the very Life that is living me. I feel the painfulness within my heart, the home-sickness, the sacred longing. I acknowledge the teachings, so well intended, that speak of chosen people who are tortured and annihilated century after century. I look upon the endless symbols of a cross upon which a sacred Soul was killed to appease the Only Source of Love. I shutter at the images of the people surrendered into peace, who wage holy wars to maintain their stance. And this all festers within the unconscious of the same me who longs to give way into this One, this One unrecognizable in the tradition of my birth. And so I flee.
“All things betray thee, who betrayest Me.” My running, my fleeing is at the very core of personal betrayal. I cannot literally betray my Source. Yet I can and do betray my own commitment to the embodying of that Source. Even as I move through and past images of an ungodly G-awed, the experience of merging becomes so very intense, so richly intimate, so deeply felt. I have known pray little of that level, that depth of Love, here in this human dilemma. It is at once blissening and frightening. I have known love as loss here in this incarnation. It is through this fear of loss that I have looked upon love. This fear of loss has blinded me to Loves True radiance. I pray to see anew. As I begin to truly see, I realize that I am being seen as well. It is sometimes simply too much. I feel my body respond in ways my religion would flatly and rapidly condemn. I feel the breath of the One filling me, compelling me, caressing me. I fear I will feel too much. That I will be lost in the ecstasy of this Love. And so I flee. I latch onto the nearest thought, the most convenient concept. Anything to distance the intensity of the tryst. In betraying my Lover, I am betraying my love. I am running from the truest part of me. I am denying the very experience that I have come here to have. I am fleeing the hound of heaven, which is my very Soul.
I choose to flee no longer. I choose to allow my fearful self to be caught. I choose to move more deeply into the intimate embrace of my Soulful Self, and to embody fully the merging into One. I will no longer betray my Lovers affections. I will stay, and I will feel all the subtle intimacies of Its tender embrace. With no thought or concept to interrupt this Union, the running becomes the relaxing into the frequency of Love Its Self. “Yes my Love. It is I. I am here. I am Love. I am Source. I am You.”

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Friday, July 10, 2009

A BROTHERS BLOG


The scarcely perceptible ringing of the bell echoed both with possibility and probable disappointment. Grandma was no easy touch. What kind of a hoax would send the ice cream truck clanging so soon after dinner? The slightly watery jello couldn’t be considered in the same category with a dessert as scrumptious as Mr. Frosty. Excitement and anticipation won out over fear as my brother and I raced in doors to ask, as sweetly as possible, for the monumental sum of .25 each. To our complete wonderment, Grandma reached into her change jar, and handed my more responsible older brother the change we needed to obtain our frozen treats. Glory be! Our little legs raced as quickly as we could, afraid that we would arrive at the curb too late to flag down the truck. My brother, at the mature age of seven, ordered for us both. I can still feel the glee of watching the frozen concoction swirl into the awaiting wafer cone. The filling was completed by a masterful twisting of the wrist, resulting in a curly-cue at the very tip: that was my favorite part of the whole confection! My brother carefully handed his little brother the first of the cones, and I devoured the beloved curly-cue before my brother was even handed his. Oh, the simple pleasure of an ice cream cone on a steamy summer evening. Life was oh so good.
My brother suggested eating our treats in the backyard of my Grandmas place. With a mouthful of glee, I grunted my assent.

And then it happened. Not four slurps into a Mr. Frosty from heaven, I stubbed my toe and proceeded to throw the entire contents of the cone into the soil of a nearby flower bed. I stood, wide eyed with disbelief, staring at first the empty wafer cone in my hand, and then at my brother whose eyes were nearly as big as mine. In the heat of this steamy evening, the ice cream began puddling on contact. I almost immediately became aware of the now distant bell of the departing truck. All hope of devouring the rare treat was melting faster than the dwindling heap of vanilla that was rapidly becoming mud.

There are moments that you simply remember for your entire life. They are for most people not grand occurrences. They are simply times when something that happens seems to open something within you that will never again be closed. This was one of those moments in my life. Without a single word, my brother handed me his full ice cream cone, removing the empty one from my tiny quivering hand. I was completely shocked. The feelings I felt within my heart I feel to this day. It had so little to do with the sharing of a Mr. Frosty, and everything to do with the unassuming and splendidly generous act of one brother for another. In that moment, he became my hero of heroes. He gave to me something that no one could ever take away. He demonstrated for me, at the tender age of five, what it is like to give love with no thought of return or reward. I knew then that no matter what happened in my life, my big brother would always be right there for me. I knew that many people would come and go from my life, but that he would stay. He would truly stay.

Many things have happened to us both these many intervening years. I have figuratively dropped many ice cream cones into the dirt, and I have experienced many less than splendid acts at the hands of others. My big brother and I have led very, very different lives, and it has been many years since we have shared a geographic region. On the rare times when we are physically together, the bond of love always transcends our differences. He has remained my hero, though many might describe the surface of his life as far less than spectacular. While I have gone on to enjoy many adventures and accolades, he quietly went about his life in his simple and humble way. He has continued to give to others, even though many deemed his giving as foolish or insane. The accompanying photo to this blog was the result of the one plane trip he ever took. He came to visit his little brother, and to see the new house I had recently purchased. During that week, he even bought me an ice cream cone, which we shared as quietly as we had the one so many years before. It was perhaps more delicious than the first.

And now, something has been triggered in the brain of my hero, and he has begun to slowly fade away. Though I knew he would be the one to always stay, he has started the gradual descent from me and from this world. I miss him, even when we are together. So much is gone, and yet that fabulous big heart still remains. Though so many details are now fuzzy for him, the love in his eyes is as clear as ever. Even in the searing pain of watching him depart, he remains my hero. That one, simple act of loving generosity will be with me my entire life. The love of my brother will remain my forever embrace. One simple act. From one simple man. A stunning and stirring memory that I pray I have somehow paid forward.

Thanks, Craig, and Happy birthday, big brother.

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Wednesday, July 1, 2009

JULY RADICAL EXPRESSION

A tangible sense of longing has been my almost constant companion from the earliest of ages. I have continually been disturbed by a quiet yet unmistakable voice within that has prompted me to always seek for more. Not necessarily more of something. That would be easy. Just more of an indefinable “isness” that seemed to demand that I stretch the limits of who I thought I was to accommodate its urging. So much of my life was spent in trying to escape this longing: mental identification, self-improvement, trauma-dramas, higher education, relationships, addictions, and geographics. These were the mostly unconscious ways in which I tried to escape the discomfort of not living fully into who and what I was being called to be. As each attempt at denial began to wane, there it was one again; the felt-sense longing of what I now recognize as a Soul in search of expression. I had spent so much time and energy trying to rid myself of this enemy called longing that it never occurred to me that it was coming to me as friend. As mentor. As an energetic call to home. As nothing less than Source.

Though I recognized that longing and desire have in many schools of thought become spiritually incorrect, I decided to finally befriend this constant visitor that apparently wasn’t going to go anywhere anyway. I was graced with the awareness that spiritually incorrect or not, longing is a call that is crucial to our, or at least my, awakening. While many of what we call spiritual truths are at best concepts to be thought, the longing deep within my heart was a consistent abiding sensation to be felt. It was there, active, right in the core of my physiology. It was similar to the longing I have felt for a beloved that has passed away. The thought or the mental memory of the person does nothing to assuage the desire for reunion. It is the feltness of the person that is missing. As I deepened into the longing of my Soul, I felt a kind of homesickness for a place that has no object. I had so much information about Spirit, yet I was longing for a more intimate merging. I desired the embrace of What has Sourced me, and the feel of Who I am. I discovered in a profound way that the longing of my Source WAS indeed my Source. All those years of running from it, even in the name of Truth, had kept the real experience of Belovedness from me. I couldn’t cuddle with a concept. I couldn’t be intimate with an idea. The longing led me to place within my inner realm where I could finally feel the depth and the breadth of true intimate union. Longing was calling me to my purpose: to awaken to the felt-sense experience of Source. To merge into the Higher Truth of my Self. It is within the longing that all longing is fulfilled.

I am living now in a profound appreciation for the longing I so long avoided. It truly fills me with wonder, and also humility. I marvel that within the core of our withinness we are blessed with a sensation that may be at times deadened, but never lost. We may run, yet it is ever there. It is our Self seeking our self. It is the experiential place where Source meets Soul. I was longing for what I have always been.

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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

FREEDOM TO LOVE

I am so very grateful for the miraculous shift in my perspective that allows me to now see the experiences of my life and of my world in a more symbolic way than literal. It seems as though one day I woke up, and I had begun to see life through a metaphysical lens. It was nothing that I the personally self did or tried for. I did pray to see life differently, and the revised life-lens was the indisputable answer to that prayer. It doesn’t by any means disallow emotional triggering or past-identified projections. It does, however, grace me with the rapid recognition of what is happening, and with the now habitual inquiry into what situations are reflecting in the service of my Soul.

I have been watching with growing fascination the situation in the country of Iran, and the growing controversy and unrest in reaction to the resent election. Placing aside the particulars and the players for the purposes of this blog, my fascination lies in the out picturing of the unstoppable quest for freedom intrinsic to the human spirit. I know in my own life experience, there are few things more precious to me than the value of personal freedom. If I were to sum up my own personal spiritual venture, it would be the interplay between the quality of love and the value of freedom, as they inform the particulars of my human experience. I absolutely must be free, and I must live in love. I could also say that I must be free to love at any cost. With some of my own particular wounds and challenges, the living out of love has certainly been a journey from bondage to freedom. As I have faced my own inner shadows, it has felt at times like the cosmic election was rigged against me, and whenever I felt imprisoned by my own misperceptions, I ran. I RAN. Every time. I was either running from or running to, and usually both were active at the same time. But I thought I had to run away in order to be free. I felt as if I had my own Ahmadinejad dictating my life and keeping me bound. Of course it wasn’t until I stopped running that I began to taste the sweet taste of freedom. I had to elect to stop the avoidance strategies, and face the places within myself that I had so long avoided. No Moussaui or Ayatolla could save me. I had to elect to love myself enough to face my own inner dictator, and to take the necessary steps to free myself from the prison I had unconsciously created. It was my vote and only my vote that opened the way for an experience of loving freedom. When I finally stopped running, I found that there was never anything to run from.

I am so pulling for my brothers and sisters in Iran, and for all who struggle in the name of freedom. I compassion the situations in this world that still hold people captive, even as I embrace the larger Truth that only we as individuals can ensure our own freedom. However the particulars play out in Iran, a renewed quest has been ignited, and justice will win out. Love and freedom are the Source and so the birthright of all people, and it will be a Reality right here on earth. It will be accomplished one Soul at a time, as we begin to stop running and facing what we must face. Yes, it takes courage. But that courageousness is inherent in the human Soul. It will lead the way and shine the Light, and Love and freedom will indeed reign supreme.

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Monday, June 1, 2009

JUNE RADICAL EXPRESSION

As a long time ordained minister, I have often been blessed to officiate in at least one wedding/Holy union during the month of June. It has been for many years the most often selected month for this type of sacrament. Even as I breathe into this awareness on this beautiful June day, I find myself reflecting on the ways the formal institution of marriage has and continues to change. Divorce rates remain at an all-time high, even while peoples who have previously been denied the legal right to marry are rising up in record numbers to claim their equal rights. I personally believe that marriage as it has been defined is in great need of transformation, and that the apparent disintegration is in perfect order. It has never been steeped in equality of the genders, and so the inequity in terms of gay/lesbian unions is just a continuation of a long-standing challenge in need of righting.

Several years ago, while I was still leading a full time spiritual community, I devoted one Sunday service in June as a wedding day to self. As silly as it may sound on the surface, it was for me and many others a profound exercise in looking within to the places where we are not accepting, integrated, and congruent in our own self-love. People around the world seek romantic partners to aid in a sense of completeness and embracement, when in fact, until we are able to give those qualities to ourselves, we will never experience the unconditional love of our Source. I asked the community to write vows to them selves prior to the Sunday observance, and while five or more years have passed since this unusual ceremony, I still review my own vows with some frequency. I have found in a most felt-sense way that the more I deepen into an inner atmosphere of all-embracing loving kindness for my human person, the more I am then able to extend that compassionate caring to others. I have been striving for most of my life to connect within and live aware of the Divine Essence of myself, inadvertently rejecting the human aspects of who I am on earth. I have really dedicated my attention in the years since the self-wedding to merge the mystical and human parts of my self, allowing the Soul to embrace and encompass the personality that often struggles and strains in the earthly sense of separation. A true experience of inner intimacy must always precede any authentic union with another being. When we are not receiving the nurturing of self-love from our own higher selves, we will always seek to get that from another. This is always a recipe for consternation. Trying to get anything from another will always result in turmoil. We are here on earth to give first. Any receiving is simply the return dynamic swing of our own circular givingness. I have counseled many couples who did not understand this, and didn’t truly want to unite with the partner for what they could contribute. Coming from a sense of lack, the relationship was permeated with that energy. The result was an inevitable breakdown when expectations and demands that couldn’t be met, were not met. We also often want to unite with versions of people as we would like for them to be, not as they are. It is reflective of our pension for fixing what we perceive to be wrong with ourselves, rather than simply loving ourselves exactly the way we are. Unconditional love is the only atmosphere for transformation, acceptance the only vision that provides transcendence.

So in this month of Holy matrimony, I invite you to live in an awareness of how unconditional is your loving of the whole of your self. I encourage you to consider writing vows that you then court and keep. I beseech you to challenge the ways that your mind-programming diminishes the personality you. I implore you to deepen into the sense of merging and inclusion between the sacred and the human, and to realize fully that you will never be able to give more love to others than the love you give your self. Accepting, allowing, and embracing the whole of who we are is what true wedded bliss is all about. When we have achieved that internal state, we will recognize that everyone we meet is truly Soul mate, and that our purpose here on earth is to live within and give to all the Love we are in Truth.


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Tuesday, May 5, 2009

MAY RADICAL EXPRESSION

For the past several weeks, I have been rehearsing for a concert I will be performing with my dear friend Suzanne in mid-May. We have put together a number of really great arrangements, and are performing a variety of musical styles and genres. While I have mostly been enjoying this artistic and challenging endeavor, it also has been presenting me with a few lessons that have been impossible to miss and not to easy to digest. I actually have a deep and abiding appreciation for the fact that my life is always unfolding in just that way; everything I do brings with it a myriad of lessons to be learned. I realize that it is not unique to me. It is just that I am almost always paying attention, choosing to hone in rather than to zone out.
There was an extended period of time in my life when I must humbly say that I was a very fine singer. I was blessed with a natural ability that presented its self early in my life, and then was enhanced by a number of really gifted voice teachers. I was told often during the time I was living and performing in New York City that I would one day be performing on Broadway. That, alas, never happened. Perhaps I really did have the talent. What I did not possess was the confidence. Rehearsing for this concert has put me in touch with the part of my wounded self that actually diminished my own talent based on what I was saying to myself, about my self. I began early on in these practice sessions to feel some once familiar feelings in the pit of my stomach. As I chose to listen in to those feelings, I discovered that I had begun again to criticize myself for the way I was singing, comparing my abilities with those of Suzanne, and with the way I had once been able to perform at the height of my career. Beyond just recognizing the scrutiny I was bringing to this particular project, I also courted this awareness as it revealed to me that most of what I have done in my life experience has been done in the starkness of this same analysis. I have never really been on my side. For the depth of my mystical devotion and practice, I fall short when it comes to truly affirming my self and my abilities in terms of human expression. I believed early on that no matter what I did, it would never be good enough to win the approval of my parents, and specifically my mother. She wanted so much to see her children succeed, yet the only tools she had at her disposal were the criticism and judgment used so liberally by her mother. I adopted this quality of attention, and turned the volume up. I do not fault my mother. I truly and deeply know that these are my lessons to learn. I was gifted with the perfect messengers. I am so very grateful to be able to see this today, and to have the inner musculature to make a different choice.

And a choice it is. The quality of our life experiences will be directly equal to our quality of attention. During this month of celebrating mothers, I would offer to you that in terms of energetics, the father is intention and the mother is attention. Both must be in balance and harmony in order to co-create lives that are reflective of whom we are in Truth. While I had many intentions about what I wanted to manifest and to express in my life, I didn’t have the quality of attention to support it. I literally miscarried my dreams because of the way I was holding them. The constant scrutiny was a toxic environment, one that began to chip away even further at my habitual low esteem. It also began to affect my abilities to perform and to want to pursue what I was once so passionate about.

We are each, male and female, invited to create a nurturing and affirmative mothering inner atmosphere in which to live and from which to express. We must align with the Cosmic Mother in her infinite and unwavering compassionate embrace. We rarely if ever know unconditional love in this world. And yet we are not of this world. Our Source is Unconditional Love. It is Mother Attention and Father Intention, and It wants only to co-create and to joyfully express as and through us. It truly is a Love song waiting to be sung. Listen deeply to what you are saying to your self about your self. Is it Truth? Is it supportive? Is it affirming? Is it loving? Is it worthy of an emanation of the One? If you are not willing to bring this quality of attention to yourself, no one else can or will. It is truly an inside job. Remember: the quality of your attention will be the quality of your life. Sing a new song, and just feel what happens.

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Monday, April 20, 2009

A BIRTHDAY BLOG


As I begin this edition of RADICAL EXPRESSION, I am keenly aware of a profound sense of AWE within the center of my being. I have been riding on waves of APPRECIATION most of this day, though I have had a number of tasks to accomplish. I am particularly grateful to be connected to a sense of BLESSING at this venture of my life journey; tomorrow, the 21st, another numerical digit will be added onto this incarnation. I giggle as I recall a line from the play THE LION IN WINTER: “I am older than I ever intended to be.” Though the clich√© “age is a state of mind” has been parroted repeatedly to me during the past weeks, my humanness is perceiving fifty- two as a bit daunting. I am actually welcoming that feeling. I have no need to label it away. The fact is that I have entered the autumn of my life, and I want to experience all that my humanity offers in its fullest expression. Aging, when embraced, brings with it a myriad of lessons. I personally do not care to act as if I am not aging, or to deny how that may feel within the human realm. I recognize that I am not choosing to identify with all of the limitations that tribal thinking brings to this era of my life. Nor am I disconnecting from the embodied form that is changing with the passing years. I am indeed an eternal spiritual Essence, and I am housed now in human form. One is an eternal Truth, and one is relative. But both are to be embraced. My current level of consciousness is what is bringing about the sense of awe, appreciation, and blessing that I mentioned above. I spend great periods of my days awake to what is happening within and around me. I live in a perpetual state of Remembrance. That brings me great joy. At the same time, I am experiencing physical changes that are calling me to an increased level of compassion and Presence. They are not changes that are preferred, yet here they are. A much older man is now looking at me from my mirror. Things are not physically where they used to be. The law of gravity is at work, and the toning exercises that seemed to always give a lift are now resulting in more of a lag. So there is very evident spirit, and there is fairly visible sag. And all of it is a part of my life experience, so I am choosing to open to it all.

Even with the slight trepidation about turning 52, I have a great sense of possibility about my Nows. I am in a state of Being where I can look back at all that has been and smile. I can look upon all of the unskillfulness with compassion and with mercy. I am treating myself with more loving-kindness than ever before. That capability is expanding the givingness that is so much a part of my purpose. I awaken with a sense of gratitude for simply being here upon this wondrous planet another day. I live within the felt-sense Knowingness of Who and What I am, and why I am here in this incarnation. I open daily into the inquiries of HOW NOW SHALL I LIVE? WHAT NOW MAY I GIVE? Those questions have become my guiding stars, and I keep my sights upon them as I navigate through my days. I know that I am in the best time of my life, and that I have a great gift of love to give while I am still here in this slightly sagging, sometimes creaking body temple. And that is truly the reason I am here. To live into and to give from within the Love I am. I am truly grateful to be just as I am this day, and I have waited 52 years to be able to say that.
As I end this edition of RADICAL EXPRESSION, I do so with an even greater sense of AWE and appreciation: for you, my beloved readers. And for myself, the older yet wiser man in the mirror who continues to show up giving his gifts of love.


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Tuesday, April 7, 2009

APRIL RADICAL EXPRESSION



I am posting this April edition of RADICAL EXPRESSION a little later in the month than I usually do, as I was away in luscious Oregon at THE WORLD PUJA conference. It was a truly magical gathering, with fascinating speakers and tremendous musicians. The energy of the attendees was both uplifting and grounding, a combination I love basking in. I attribute it in part to the energy of the Puja steward, Maureen Moss. If you are not familiar with the organization, you may wish to give a look at www.worldpuja.com. There is an extensive library of interviews with many of today’s leading spiritual visionaries.
An added bonus of being in southern Oregon was that, though for this Florida boy it was a bit cold, spring was bursting forth in all its glory! There were too many varieties of flowers and blossoms to name; suffice it to say that Mother Gaia was resplendent in her creative birthing. I spent much of the time there in wide open awe. It was gorgeous beyond description. I even got to experience a walk in a snow shower: YES, YES, YES!
As an April baby from up north, I appreciate the old adage “April showers bring May flowers,” though from the looks of Oregon the flowers are a month early. As I experienced the magnitude of beauty all around me, it struck me once again how nature teaches us all we need to learn about how to live heartfully in this world. As someone who is a word-smith by trade, I am humbled by the profundity and simplicity with which the elements lure us forward in our spiritual emergence. There certainly would not be the overwhelming beauty of spring without the seeming deadness of winter, and the awakening rains of spring. The light is a necessary factor, but it is only a part of the totality of creation. As much as we humans resist the rains of our emotional landscape, it is from that rain that our emergent flowering forth opens us to broader and deeper levels of sacred experiencing. As the religious holidays of this month also demonstrate, there is no rebirth, transcendence, passing over, or resurrection without the darkness and the deathing that is a part of all creation. Comfort isn’t a determining factor in the earth’s ongoing cycles, and it can’t be a factor in a mature spirituality either. Rainy and dark seasons are a part of the sacred sojourners path. It need not be denied or resisted. The flowers have and will come again. It is our destiny to grow and to shine forth in all our spiritual glory. There is room in the open heart for all seasons. I for one love to walk in a pouring rain shower, and I am becoming more and more accepting of all of my inner weather patterns as well. I have come to know to the point of faithfulness that when I stay open in the heaviest of rains, the after-storm is that much more brilliant.
Though the spring season is much more subtle here in south Florida, it is present none-the-less. It is a cycle that is energetically a part of our soulful genetics. I invite you to call it forward, and to allow for whatever rain may accompany the springing forth of your next flowering. Just as Gaia is guffawing open in this time of magnificent creation, let your self follow the lead! Give way to what is seeking you, and allow your gifts to pour forth for all to behold. That is what makes the human garden so very wondrous to experience. Hold nothing back. Allow the rains to tender the places that are budding forth to flower. It is the very nature of nature to give its self in order to behold its self. It is the season, and you are the one.

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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

PRAYING INNOCENCE



I have been very consciously praying into the quality of Innocence during this month of March 2009, and I am witnessing a flurry of emotional activity such as I haven’t experienced in quite awhile. To the surface mind this would be a paradox to be resisted. In the context of mind duality, when one prays for or into Innocence, only an experience of perfect peace should be the result. If you look back at and feel into the preceding statement, a few fallacies will be apparent.

As challenging as it is to describe, surface mind duality is never really contextual. The content of the mind is what is dualistic, never the context. The mind is in essence one, with the capability of perceiving parts due to the belief in separation. This is often difficult to intellectually grasp, as the ego needs to remain hidden in order to maintain dominion. The one who is thinking, or the one sometimes referred to as I AM, is contextual as one. It has the capability to either watch the content of thought, or to be become identified with it. When I refer to I AM, I’m not referring specifically to Source, but to that I AM which is Sourced. The vast majority or humankind is identified with its thinking, and so has lost the experience of witness. As witness, all is One in Innocence. To pray into Innocence is to align you at the level of One. In the felt-sense experience of One, nothing is resisted, so content is embraced by the context of True being. Innocence is a quality of attention, and so is prayer. Perfect Peace is the result of prayer. Prayer doesn’t exclude anything, which is why the result is Peace. As I have been praying into Innocence, all of the unconscious mind content that needs to be exposed and integrated has been arising for just that purpose. If I were to choose to identify with that content, the result would certainly not be one of peace. As I accept the surface content chaos as the result of my prayer into Innocence, I remain peaceful with what is at a level beneath the surface. The key word to notice in the above ego declaration is “should.” The ego mind content always has a stronghold on what should or should not be. The I Am context has no impulse to “should-on” any situation or anyone. It remains ever mindful that it is the very context of Innocence, and as context, Innocence chooses to embrace all that is, as is.
Innocence as is. My heart sings at the very notion. I respond momently to the call back to Innocence. For that was I born. Innocence is all that is truly impressionable. It is why as children we are emotionally imprinted so easily. We must return to that Innocence through the felt-sense forgiveness of that imprinting. The more Innocent we become as context, the more we are then able to impression a world within that becomes our contribution to the Whole. As innocent children, we are imprisoned by impressions of guilt. As awakening adults, we are freed by the impressioning of Source Innocence. The result is an experience of a peace that truly passes understanding.

One of my favorite prayers, which I adapted from A COURSE IN MIRACLES, goes as such:
HOLY, INNOCENT, WORTHY I AM; ETERNAL FREE, WHOLE. I AM AT PEACE FOREVER WITHIN THE VERY HEART OF G-AWED.

I Am knowing you this day, dear friend, as the Holy Innocence of G-awed Itself. Be in Perfect Peace, in Innocence: as is.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

MARCH RADICAL EXPRESSION

I have upon my desk a photograph of a very cute and obviously gregarious five year old boy. This little boy is seated in a very grown up chair, with play reading glasses upon his nose, as he pretends to read a newspaper practically as large as he is. So gleefully unselfconscious is he that his underwear are staring out prominently from his summertime play shorts, and he has a make-belief pipe protruding from a smile so large he can barely keep it from falling out. I love this picture, and I have it displayed in a place where I see it several times a day when I am working at home. I am coming to love and appreciate this little boy more and more, and I am inviting myself into more of an experience of the obvious innocence that he conveys. I smile, sometimes tearfully, as I reflect back on all the times and experiences that have veiled so much of that five year old innocence. I wince a bit as I see the openness of that child, and realize how much vigilance it sometimes requires to maintain a fraction of that transparency. I compassion the number of times when that child showed up authentically, only to be rejected in the name of social or religious acceptability. I know this child well, for you see, this child was me.

Perhaps it is more accurate to say this child is me. I recently facilitated a workshop at which I had participants bring a childhood photo of themselves. We are each emotionally imprinted as children, and it is this imprinting that becomes an energetic container in which we live and by which we attract our life experiences. As much as I behold the innocence of my child at age five, I also painfully remember that there was already a sense of shamefulness that was beginning to shape my interactions in my world. The innate innocence of that child was already being shrouded by tribal notions that he, that I was not okay. This emotional imprinting stays with us and unconsciously governs our experiences until such a time as we are conscious enough to really deal with it, and release back into a state of Innocence transcendent of human programming, imprinting, behavior, or circumstance. It is a return to Innocence that is the great awakening, and it is the crux of the journey back to Self.

Because the emotional imprinting becomes a lens through which we see ourselves and our world, it takes great vigilance and dedication to develop an inner musculature to feel through this imprinting, while not believing or becoming its content. Until this data has been properly processed, it feeds the mental field with an endless commentary that we are hearing all of the time, but are rarely conscious of. Whatever messages we received as children are still looping through our just out-of awareness. These messages literally are coloring our world from the inside out. These messages must be confronted and exposed. This most often requires a sustained practice of inner stillness, in addition to the assistance of a trained spiritual director or counselor. We all need someone to bear witness to our pain- someone who will listen to yet not believe the imprinted versions of our wounded selves. We need someone to Presence our pain, until we are able to do that for ourselves. I have been so blessed to have a few people hold that space for me, and now I am honored to be that Presence with many others.
It takes great courage to face and to embrace these painful places. We are so addicted to feeling good that we really aren’t very good at feeling. The mental spin is the perfect escape hatch, allowing us to be lost in thought, and distanced from feeling. Yet that little child of long ago needs not to be distanced by story, but held in felt-embrace. We must listen to the scared little voices that have seldom if ever been heard. Most of us grew up in the “stop crying or I’ll give you something to cry about” type of parenting. There is no wronging that realization; it is what our parents experienced themselves. It is what they knew to pass on. But now it is time, regardless of our age, to re-parent your self. It is time to stop, to feel what lies just beneath the surface, and to stay with it in uncompromising compassion and acceptance. It is time to be courageous enough to return to Innocence. To hold that inner child for as long as it needs to be held. To stay. My heart so feels that to the core of my being. Our healing depends on our ability and our choice to stay with exactly what is arising in any given moment. And we must face the pain of our past in order to open to the possibility of our future. Otherwise, the imprinting keeps us hostage in its unconscious grip.

Will you be courageous enough this day to face your own imprinted child, and to love it back to the Innocence beyond the story? Will you bring Presence where there has been pain and acceptance where there has been habitual rejection? This is the awakening and the healing of the world. The only way for it to occur in the macro is for it to be embodied in the micro. Feel within to where that little child may still be hovering in fear, and take it into your heartful loving embrace. Stay for as long as he or she needs you to stay. Let the Innocence shine through. This is the true meaning of re-birth. Your Innocence is your birthright and your destiny. Have the courage this day to bring it forth. The world is in great need of the experience of our collective Innocence. Your choice to embody your individual piece of the Collective Innocence is your contribution to the One.

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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

A BLOG FOR LAUREN

It is February 18, 2009, and it is indeed a very special day. This is the day that my only living biological niece “comes of age.” That tiny baby I held just yesterday is now eighteen years of age, and will shortly graduate from high school, and enter into college. It seems impossible and incredible, and yet it is so. I have been breathing very deeply into this awareness since arising early this morning. So many feelings and images have been flooding my heart and mind, almost to the point of overload. I am sitting here at my computer, attempting to allow some of this emotional data to dance its way into this blog.

I will not know the profound gift of parenthood in the duration of this lifetime. I have come to peace with this fact, knowing that my procreations are of a different nature than flesh and blood and soul. The closest that I will come to know of this relationship is through my brothers only off-spring, Lauren. I recall so clearly looking into her infant eyes, and feeling a love beyond anything I had known. I knew instantly that there was something old-soul about her, and very, very special. That isn’t just the view of a proud uncle, though indeed I am. I could and still feel a vastness within her that transcends her current human story. I love this child…err….young woman with a love that is nearly painful. It is from that enormous love that an even deeper call has come forth from my own Soulful emergence.

I have a profound need to express my love for my niece in expanded ways of givingness. I am not necessarily speaking of material giving, though that impulse is certainly there as well. I purchased a life insurance policy some years ago so that I would be able to leave something to Lauren as my body left this world. I had never considered that before. I recently saw an ad for a different policy with a bigger pay-out, and I made a note to check that out. Even as I witness this unfolding within me, I also know that beyond leaving a life insurance policy, I want to insure that I leave her the legacy of a life fully lived. I want to demonstrate by example that so many of the limitations set by tribal thought have no basis in Truth. Since I turned fifty, I have been keenly aware of what I am called to leave for future generations, and this is personalized as I think directly of Lauren. I see how many of the challenges that she is facing today are challenges that I too have been called to transcend. I feel this passionate wanting to spare her the pain of loss, of limiting self-esteem, of the strangle hold of a world of no. And yet those are some of the very things that have contributed to the expansion of my own consciousness. I watch today as she endures the fading away of a father in the very way that I lost mine; and me at an even younger age. As painful as that was, it has been a profound portal to a life of greater service for me, and for many around me. I want to know at depth that as much as I want to protect her, I can’t rob her of her entry points into a life of greater depth, more profound meaning, and purposeful authentic expression.

As I watch Lauren growing into a wonderful young woman, I also celebrate her gifts, and pray that she will do the same. I quite honestly shed some tears this morning as I pondered some of my own gifts; gifts that I feel in many ways have not been fully given. I want more for her. I want her to realize earlier than I that we are gifted in order to be given. I want her to know deeply that she is indeed worthy to be given, an acknowledgment that has taken many years her uncle to know. It renews my commitment to expressing my Self freely every day, in new and meaningful ways. I want to give her that example. I am willing to step through the fears that blocked my way in the past. I want to show her that a painful childhood is not a limited future. In fact, it fuels our contributions even more. As I continue to expand in my own Self-love, I celebrate the love I have for her, a love that calls me to live more fully, love more freely, and give more completely.

So you see it is indeed a very special day. It is the day one of the great loves of my lifetime was born. And now she is coming into her own as an adult with infinite possibilities before her. My love for her inspires me to expand my own probablities, and to relentlessly pursue the possibilities before me. That is the greatest gift I can give to her. To not only say but to embody that we are each Sourced in and by the One Source which is ever seeking to live, to love, and to give Itself fully through Its creation. Any dogma that denies that is just fearful commentary.

So Lauren, honor what the past has shown you, but never be limited by it. Listen to the mind, and always lead with the heart. And never, ever let the world or its fearfulness define you. You are infinitely, all ways more. And never forget you live within the adoring gaze of an uncle who loves you beyond condition. That requires me to love myself more fully, in order that I have what I am wanting to extend to you. And even after I am gone, look for me in the every twinkling of a star. In the winking of a squirrel. Smell me in the fragrance of the lilacs, and the sweetness of a peach. I will be there even as I am here. In the love. The ultimate lesson of life, my dear, is that it is always about the love.
Happy Birthday.

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Tuesday, February 3, 2009

FEBRUARY RADICAL EXPRESSION



I have had a particular song looping through my awareness as of late, creating a kind of subtle backdrop as I move about in the activities of my day. It is a song recorded by the singer Whitney Houston a number of years ago now, and has subsequently been preformed and recorded by countless artists. It contains a phrase that seems to me to be at the very heart of the spiritual journey of unfoldment: LEARNING TO LOVE YOURSELF, IT IS THE GREATEST LOVE OF ALL.



As simple and as Hallmark as that may sound, I have come to see that process as the very quest of humankind. In the early lyric of that song, it speaks of showing children “all the beauty they possess inside.” I personally know very few people who were parented in that way. There is no fault to be found. It reflects the dominant teaching style of most of our modern day cultures; children need to be shown what is wrong with them, so that they will adapt to the tribal mold in which they are expected to fit and function. What arises easily and spontaneously in children is only acceptable in small and early doses. The free and unconditional spirits that are so enchanting early on are soon figuratively and sometimes literally beaten into submission, so that there is a conforming to the world at large. Those who escape or rebel against this programming are ostracized and outcast, and this rejection is woven into the fabric of the unconscious, just as any type of rejection is for all of us. Science tells us that by the time we are four years of age, we have taken in the message that there is something inherently wrong with us. This is the root cause of the pervasive low self esteem that plaques especially western cultures. Then we are told that God is love, and that we are of God, and the paradox of our programming and the theories of the Theo send us into what often is a life time quest to reconcile what ultimately is irreconcilable.



And so learning to love ourselves is indeed the greatest love of all, for without that, we cannot truly experience the loving Essence in which we live. It is not ultimately a love that is experienced as subject to object. That is the great misnomer of religious images. The Universal Source doesn’t love us per se; we are that Love. It is One Love that is containing all. It is the same with self love. As we access the depths of Sourced Love within our sacred hearts, we then may come to contain all of the supposed parts of ourselves in a love that has no need to fix or to correct. The unconditional love that we are here to embody is in and of Itself transformative. That is why it is the greatest love of all. In fact, as rare as it is in human experience, unconditional Love is the only love there really is.



As this is the month that is not only designated as Heart Awareness month, but also contains Valentines Day, perhaps you will join me in allowing the faint strains of that beautiful song to flow through you as you heartfully move through these twenty-eight days; LEARNING TO LOVE YOUR SELF, IT IS THE GREATEST LOVE OF ALL. Unconditional self love will be the transformation of our world. When you truly dwell in love, love will be all you live and give. It is the vibration of Source, and it is the destiny of the sourced. Love whatever arises, and feel your self being lifted to a whole and Holy level of living.

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Friday, January 23, 2009

A NEW ERA OF RESPONSIBILITY



It is a beautiful thing to behold America’s love affair with its forty-forth newly inaugurated President. Barack Obama has captured and captivated the hearts of countless people around the world. As impressive and inspiring as this incredible man is, he has thrown down a gauntlet to those who are perhaps still too enamored by the messenger to perceive the inherent message; the change that so many are longing to see is not the domain of one man, regardless of how impressive he may be. The hope and possibility that we are feeling is a hope that must be courted by the masses, and a possibility that must become practical within each and every one of us. The only way for this or any country to change is by the transcendence of its individual members. As another luminous being once said,” we must become the change we wish to see.”

President Obama is calling for a new era of responsibility, not in just Washington, but in the hearts of all who are ready for a transformation in consciousness, and so in our world. Responsibility is frightening to the ego thought system, and it has an entire empire of avoidance strategies with which to keep this empowering decision at bay. Let me capsulate what a new era of responsibility means to me: it is a state of being in which the interiority is primary, and that inner-state is independent of what is going on outside of ones self. The dominion of the Soul transcends the preferences of the ego, and it is clearly understood that the only empowerment comes through claiming ownership of the internal atmosphere in which one lives. There is no blame where projections are recognized, and the realization of consequence allows for a conscious courting of integrated cause and effect. Compassion for the plight of humanity expands as Presence, and experience is honored in softening and merciful attention. Victimhood pales in the Light of insightfulness, and vigilance replaces the trance of unconsciousness in our moment to moment interactions. We in short take responsibility for our experiences, and for how we choose to show up in each moment of our incarnation.

It is indeed a new era of responsibility, and personal responsibility is the only way the earth realm can continue to sustain itself now and for future generations. We now have a leader who is by example a being of strong integrity and actualized vision. He is, however, a way-shower and not a messiah. It is up to each of us to embody the message of change, hope, and possibility. Responsibility paves the way for moment to moment choice. We are being called not only by President Obama but by the impulse of cosmic emergence to stay awake! We are being called to a level of commitment uncommon in times past. We are being called to walk our talk, and to Be our Truth. The call is Universal and it is individual. It will not be silenced, though it is born of Silence. It is time to move beyond time, and to claim for ourselves a new, a now era of responsibility. Change has come, for it is within our very hearts.

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Tuesday, January 6, 2009

JANUARY 2009 RADICAL EXPRESSION

As I am choosing to experience the opening days of this new year in a more reflective posture than my be the norm, I am creating an abbreviated edition of RADICAL EXPRESSION as a way of heartfully connecting with those who follow my dharma, and also to let you know that I am holding a space of verdant possibility with each and every one of you. I am currently enjoying the chill and snowiness of the southern Oregon mountains, and I am so appreciative of the impulse this climate provides to tuck in, find the warmth, and nurture myself in an atmosphere of stillness and quiet expectancy. In contrast to the consistent sunshine of south Florida, the grayness of these winter days assists me in keeping my attention inward, and my awareness expanded. I am being renewed in a time not of resolution, planning, or goal-setting, but of reflection, contemplation, and prayerfulness. I very tangibly feel the waves of possibility that the new year brings, and I rest content in opening to how this possibly seeks to manifest in and as me. I am attending to the perceptions that are arising in my awareness for release, and I am doing so wakefully and compassionately. I am following the call to ease and tenderness, and am listening deeply to all that is coming to me in this time of relative inactivity. My devotion for the month of January is INTENTIONAL ATTENTION, and for me, that is only courted by conscious periods of stillness and heartfulness. Deep listening is my constant companion, and deeper connection the over-riding desire.

As many of you know, I have for many years prayerfully invited my Inner Presence to give me a theme for the year, one that may act as a star beacon for my inner guidance and outer expression. I often choose to engage in this in mid-December; this year, he theme didn’t surface until the last day of December, which makes it all the more delicious for me. I share my inspiration, faithful that you will hold this energetic space for me, and also with a welcome that you may adopt it for yourself, if you feel so called. I will be living this calendar year in the container of: THE WAY TO SHINE IN 2009! While the words may suggest the notion of a plan or formula, for me the felt-sense is more a way of being that directs me to an ongoing direct experience of my own Inner Light. That is certainly what I am opening to. I am clear that I am in need of no more information or goal-setting. I am faithful that everything I need to experience more of Who I am is already within my Soulful Self. I whole-heartedly believe that each and every one of us is indeed here to SHINE, and that there is no other time than the present moment that we are in. It does require vigilance, devotion, and choice. The entire Universe is poised and ready to radically respond to our willingness. We need only become still, and say yes.
I am profoundly feeling the waves of transcendence and potentiality that are lapping upon the shore of human consciousness. It is exciting, and sometimes daunting to be a part of these profoundly transformative times. And it is a privilege. One that I embrace with every wakeful moment. One that I know I was born for. I commit to staying open and available for whatever is moving in and through me. Will you join me in that commitment?

I am knowing for you a rich and fulfilling 2009.