Monday, April 22, 2019

IN THE WAITING

I have learned to appreciate and even relish a level of uncertainty, unknowing, and confusion.

I do so because of the number of times I have felt these uneasy energies, stayed with them, and then saw what miracles have flowed forth from them.

In anthropology this is often referred to as liminal space. It is the time and perspective that is in-between what has been, and what is not yet coming into being. Something has ended or died, and nothing has yet to begin or be born. This space is, in essence, empty. It is void. It is a vacuum.

It is also, like we are learning about black holes, filled with endless possibility. It is limitless potentiality. It is brimming with a cosmic genius.

For this genius to come forth we must be able to tolerate seeming emptiness. We must give space to this spaciousness. We must mature to a point where we do not rush to fill the vacuum.

This is, for most people, easier said than done.

This potentiality reads as a kind of tension. It is a subtle kind of stress that many seek to subdue and deaden. The tension comes from the intolerability of a deep level of unknowing. The surface mind wants to know. In fact, this level of mind knows itself by what it thinks it knows. It is content identified. To not know is to not exist.

The subtle but disturbing fact behind this is that if the mind must know it is always depending on the past. On what has already been known. Even if the past knowing has been painful at least it is thought to be certain. There isn’t ambiguity. Memories are known objects in the mind. As objects we think we have control over them.

The problem is that they have control over us.

So, over the years I have come to experience times of great unknowing. I have allowed myself to settle several times into liminal space and the result has always been fruitful. I have grown increasingly friendly with unknowing and uncertainty. This friendliness has eased the tension I once felt and resisted. For me this ease is equal to an overall sense that life is for me. That when I can loosen my grip on the past and the demand to know what will happen next and when something begins to stir and grow and unfold that is greater than what I could have made happen.

I also call this liminal space waiting.

Not waiting in the typical sense. I am not waiting for anything in particular. It isn’t time-related. There is no impatience. It is more a sacred waiting for something to move and to emerge. To be made clear. To unfold from me. If I can stay and wait, I know good will come forth. I have no need to know what that will look like or when it will occur.

I am content in the waiting.

And so as I have shared with my readers I will be having open heart surgery the latter part of this week. I have been winding down my work responsibilities and have been spending time handling the logistics that demand attention before I am forced into a certain level of liminal waiting come Thursday.

I have never experienced this kind of medical adventure, and I am not at all drawn to research what may or may not occur. I am clearing space in my calendar and in my life-details so that I may be become quiet, watchful, and curious. I have been experiencing sometimes severe symptoms, and a certain level of health and vitality has died for me. I have no idea what lies on the other side of this somewhat radical surgery. I assume I will survive, and I do not know that to be the case.

There is a lot of unknowing.

I am all about making room for that. I will be signing off email and suspending my social media accounts. I want to make ample space to simply sit in the waiting. I want to notice every nuance that happens for me. I do not want to miss what is seeking to get my attention during this process. I am seeing this as a somewhat forced health sabbatical.

While I am not at all looking forward to the physicality of what is going to occur, I am hopeful about what I will find when I make space for a new unfolding. What I will find in the space between illness and health. Anxiety and emergence. The unknown and clarity.

And so I am dwelling peacefully in the in-between. I am waiting and I am curious. I trust that this waiting will become knowing. And so I breathe and I allow the liminal to become luminosity.

Everything is possible in the waiting.

Friday, April 19, 2019

SUFFERING AND LOVE

Sometimes an impact is so sudden, so unexpected, so jarring, so severe that the automatic closure of the reptilian brain seems somehow to be circumvented.

This has occurred for me only a few times in my life. It has taken two predominant forms: great love, and profound suffering.

I have found that both of those energies are equally as scary. I know that most would argue with the validity of that statement. But in my experience, we humans are as afraid of deep, intimate love as we are uncontrollable, profound suffering. And the two of those are far from unrelated. Deep, intimate love can lead us to uncontrollable, profound suffering, and in fact, often does. Anyone who has loved deeply and lost that love suddenly certainly knows that. Therefore, we fear them equally.

Inherent in loving fully is the risk of suffering deeply. For me, the love is worth the risk. Not that I don’t flinch. Not that I am not tempted to close or to withhold. Not that the temptation is to timidly wait until the other ventures first into the vulnerable expression of “I love you.”

Not that as a result of choosing to love you I won’t suffer. I well might. But I have learned to take and to even welcome that risk.

So, the current sudden, unexpected impact took the form of a diagnosis. It was for me both jarring and severe. While I am surrounded by a chorus of “you’ll be fine” I am committed to entertaining all the possibilities. A curt “fine” does not feel open to me. It feels far more like a subtle form of closure. And one of the gifts that has already flowed forth for me is that the impact of the news has not led to sustained closure. It is one of those miraculous moments when impact leads to expanded awareness and inexplicable openness. And I am fully committed to maintaining that state of openness throughout this adventure.

I feel vulnerable and sensitive. I feel defenseless. I sense a great unguardedness. I feel the likelihood that I will live, and the possibility that I could die. And I feel a deep willingness to welcome it all.

I lived so many years armored up, unconsciously expecting to be hurt. What I am about to face will in fact hurt. There will indeed be pain. There well may be suffering. I am facing those realities not with dread, but with acceptance. I am not looking forward to this. I am not a masochist or a martyr. But as the day draws nearer, I am devoting myself to staying open and undefended to whatever course this may take. Whatever pain will be involved. Whatever complications may or may not arise.

I am willing to meet this suffering with great love.

This health challenge is not an enemy to be conquered. It is not a dragon to be slain. It is not a call to suppression or denial either. I am meeting this face to face, and quite literally heart to heart.

There are many who simply do not deal well with suffering. Theirs or someone else’s. I so totally get that. And I ask you to stand back. I appreciate you remaining still about how I choose to move through this. If you truly care about me than let me be. I will welcome you back when this storm has passed.

Those who want to move a little closer I ask you to hold me in your heart and know that I fear not the suffering. I fear not the pain. Say little and hold me in great love. I am someone who in times like these does not want people in proximity. I do not want a stream of visitors. It is just not who I am. Interpretations of that are not helpful.

While I am in suffering simply hold me in love. I am pained, but I am open. My body is weakened but my spirit is strong. I will come through and out of this more open and honest and giving than I was when it began.

And that increased openness is worth any amount of suffering that may occur.

Friday, April 12, 2019

LETTING MY TEARS BE SEEN

The room was astoundingly bright and bone-chillingly cold. There was banter and chatter, some directed at me yet somehow not to me. I was told to move from gurney to procedure table. In doing so I went from being me to being an object to be examined and explored. The words coming at me became less and less personal. I could feel myself disappearing among cloths, wires, instruments, and tubes.

The medical personnel in the room were friendly yet detached. I was moved about and positioned and poked and I was prodded. As the outer became less personal my interior became more and more intimate and alert and spacious. I remained centered in a compassionate awareness of what it must be like to do this critical and even dangerous testing day after day. To be faced with people in fear and in trauma. People with vast histories and storylines and loves and with losses. People who do not know whether this is just the beginning of the end. People who do not know whether their entire life experience will be changed in the course of a short and devastating diagnosis. Delivered with an equal amount of deference. Of subtle indifference. Of survivable detachment.

I was exposed both emotionally and literally. Lying naked under the bright cold lighting, with only a far from private privacy towel held precariously in place, I was as defenseless as I have ever been. I had not been medicated and so I was left to feel that defenselessness, the exposure, the objectification. The raw, complete nakedness.

The nakedness.

Even as the banter continued, I knew this experience was going to be all about how I chose to talk to myself as I was in it. How I chose to either remain open or to armor up. How I internally attended to those who were at least physically attending to me. How or whether I would choose to stay open in a situation I so wanted to close to. To run from. To scream at. To escape.

As a second IV blew in my arm and the third was being attempted I could feel something rising within me that was like a tsunami of something that absolutely needed to happen. Searing pain coursed through both arms which were held down by restraints. My entire body was anchored down so that there could be no movement to interfere with the delicate testing. While there could be little physical movement the flow that was seeking to happen could not be avoided or suppressed.

I began to cry.

For a moment I was horrified. I was embarrassed. I wanted to hide the tears, mostly for the sake of those attending to me.

It could not be stopped.

For the first time the room grew momentarily silent. There was hushed talk regarding the unstable vitals of that person on the table. The objectified became in a Nano-second personalized. The 9:00 a.m. scheduled heart-catheterization became a person that was in pain. A man that was in tears. A fellow human being to be compassioned. A heart to be entered and consciously, tenderly attended to.

I shamelessly allowed the tears to flow. I opened to let myself experience the totality of the experience. I held my own heart and leaned into my own pain. The more I allowed the internal flow the more I was able to consciously relate to the others in the room. I was sensitive to their pain as well. To the rude awakening of another’s tears being a radical call to increased sensitivity and mindfulness.

After the test there was a systematic undoing of all that had been done in preparation. It is likely that it was mostly me, yet the quality of activity seemed somehow different. The interacting more direct and personal. The touches more tender. The nakedness more respected. The person more seen and experienced.

I write these words and describe this experience very aware that it will be read and interpreted in a myriad of ways. It will be commented on from various levels of consciousness and from varying levels of comfort with pain. If you have difficulty with your tears mine will be intolerable. If you cannot endure your own pain, you will discount and minimize mine. If you fear defenseless, exposure, and nakedness you will recoil from what happened for me.

And yet I write. And yet I expose. And yet I allow my deeper being to be real and raw and true. I am grateful to express for the pure experience of letting myself freely express. Of letting my tears be seen. Of letting my heart be felt.

Just as in the glaring and stark coldness of that impersonal sterile medical procedure room I am no longer afraid of being freely and fully seen. I am not afraid to cry. I will not be shut down in fear of being judged or commented upon. That cost has grown to high.

And if my transparency encourages just one of you to let down your guard and let your tears flow then the pain I moved through will well be worth it.

Saturday, April 6, 2019

ODE TO THE OPEN HEARTED

There is spiritual theory, and then there is spiritual reality.

In order to have theory become reality there must be direct experience. A spiritual concept will live in the head and have no real impact. When life in some way pushes a theory will fail you. Every time.

When life is pushing and the theory fails, in that failure is a glint of possibility. Depending on what you do with that failure it will either be buried in denial or integrated via direct experience. Leaning away the lesson is left to be recycled. Leaning in, a vague theory becomes a felt-reality. What you suspected to be true becomes a living truth. It becomes real and vital and sustainable. Every time.

For over twenty years I have talked about and deeply practiced the supremacy of the open heart. I know it to be the portal through which Source flows and our Souls flower. When spiritual theory is literally dropped down into the heart-center that theory becomes, via direct and intimate experience, a living reality. It is no longer a theory. It is a certainty.

Perhaps the most challenging part of developing the capacity to live with an open heart is that is requires a deep and consistent level of defenseless and vulnerability. Much like the rhythm of the physical organ every closure of the sacred heart is but an invitation for reopening. Sustained energetic closure will prevent the openness needed for the spiritual flowering to occur. The heart becomes congested and emergence becomes stifled.

What prevents a persistent level of heart-openness is unresolved emotional wounding. The fear of repeated hurt results in defensiveness and closure. This wounding is largely precognitive and is not integrated by repeated story telling or increased theory. This woundedness is healed and integrated in one way: it is felt.

This feeling process takes courage and it takes patience. It requires a level of simple staying presence that is uncommon in our culture today. This is not a cognitive process. You cannot integrate what is precognitive by repeatedly talking about it. This is pure, felt-sense, compassionate exploration. This exploration becomes the direct experience in which spiritual theory becomes spiritual reality. Like it or not, our spiritual reality is just on the far side of emotional fluency.

This is not accomplished with the head. This is indeed an adventure of the heart.

Which brings me back to the supremacy of the heart.

One of my chief spiritual practices for many years now has been to remain keenly aware of my heart center and to the degree of openness or closure that is happening in my present moments. Heart-centering has radically transformed my experience of prayer and of relationship. These practices have taken me deeply into my interior. I have faced the pain and darkness of a lifetime. While it has been far from comfortable it has been remarkedly rewarding and liberating. I have learned what leads me to closure and I have been led to courageously choose reopening. I am a different person as a result of this work. It is the foundation of my life and of my ministry.

And now life is taking me even more deeply into the adventure of wholeheartedness.

Contained within the portal of my mostly open spiritual heart is an organ that is increasingly and dangerously malfunctioning. In order to restore my physical heart, I will soon face the reality of open-heart surgery. Part of what the surgeon will be doing is replacing the aortic valve, restoring the natural flow of blood in and out of my heart.

While this is relatively new information the effects of the disorder have been increasingly difficult to deal with for quite some time. I cannot with any level of authenticity say that I am okay with what is about to happen. I am not. Yet.

I am approaching this with the same level of heart-devotion that I have been practicing for all these years. I am staying attentive and non-attached to how others are reacting. I am leaning into all the nuances that are moving within me. I am asking deep and personal questions of myself. I am not interested in why this happening. I am only interested in the fact that it is happening. I am committed to learning everything I can about myself in this process. I am devoted to gleaning every bit of good from this adventure. I am dedicated to being more on the other side of it. To living and loving and serving more. To being even more of a heart-troubadour. This will be an expansion of my platform and my ministry.

The success rate of these procedures is high. And it is not 100%. I am taking time these days to lean into that possibility. If these were to be the final days and weeks of this lifetime how will I choose to show up in them? What am I most called to express? What is it that would be left undone, ungiven? Who would it be hardest to say good-bye to? What have I yet to forgive? What do I want my legacy to be?

What do I want my legacy to be?

This process is leaving me to feel incredibly sensitive and vulnerable. I go through weepy moments. I feel even more open than usual. I am grateful for that, and I am employing nothing that would deaden or disengage me. I am truly pondering all these things in my heart. It may be physically leaky, but it is spiritually engaged, open, and perfect.

There isn’t a lot of theory left for me. God has become a living reality. It is for sure a direct experience. I live It imperfectly for sure. Sometimes there is a slush-back of my attempts to flow forth as love. Sometimes my closure is more prolonged than at other times. But reopen I do.

Reopen I do.

With every heartbeat that is remaining, I devote myself to being the reality of love. Being anything else is just too painful.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

ABOUT LIFE

For most of my years I thought life was about me.

I asked questions that came from that perspective.

What do I want? Where do I want to live? Who do I want to be with? What is my deepest desire? How do I want to serve?

I was missing the mark.

I am no longer consumed by a perspective that life is about me. I can fall temporarily into that trap for sure. I do not dwell there for long.

My questions have changed as has my vantage point. Life isn’t bout me. I am about life.

I am about life.

What does life want from me? Where has my path led me to live, and how may I be content here? Who is in my life, and how is our engagement serving our souls? What is life most deeply desiring in and as me? How am I being called to serve?

I spent so much time trying to construct the perfect life. I missed that I was already living it.

My personal desires are often not met. There is frequently discomfort inside of me. I sometimes think I should be somewhere different, doing something differently, sharing life with different people.

It is all a hoax.

This is perfect. Life is perfect just as it is. There really isn’t any such thing as my life. There is life, and there is my experience of it. When I remember to cooperate with life as it is, there is peace, contentment, and fulfillment. There is connection, harmony, and ease.

So here is my personal theology.

God is life. Life is love. Love is light.

Life isn’t about me. I am about life. I am about loving life as it is. And when I love life as it is my way is lighted.

I am cooperating in the One Life that is living me.

And so it is and so I flow.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

GUIDING PULLBACK

I have long been criticized for what others deem to be a certain level of aloofness. I have been accused of withholding, and even pullback. Caring people have told me that they perceive in me a tendency to isolate.

Guilty as charged.

What others have called aloofness is for me an earned level of discernment. What some would deem to be withholding is for me a healthy set of boundaries. If I am pulling back there is almost always good cause.

I have done enough inner work in my life to be on alert for my own triggering, distortions, and projections. I am keen on staying alert to those, and to wakefully dealing with them. I also lived years of my life trusting and disclosing to people who quite frankly had not earned the right of entry to the deeper levels of my being. This was a pattern that ran and cut deep for me.

I rarely make that mistake anymore.

I now send my energy forward and test the receptivity of people before I move to the deeper levels of communication. I try diligently to be a trustworthy person, and I seek that same quality from people who are potential friends. I do not expect that everyone shares in that desire. There have been enough betrayals in this lifetime to teach me to pause before speaking, to presence before sharing. I have constructed an internal safe zone for myself, but I do not kid myself that acquaintances of various levels are automatically safe.

And so, yes; I proceed with caution. I carefully choose those who I have deeper sharing’s with. I am more forthcoming with those who have proven they will receive me as I am. I practice the art of response in my relating, and I seek to be an open and safe space for those who choose to confide in me.

So, if you care to glance back at the opening paragraph perhaps you will get a sense of why I relate in the ways that I do.

Your criticism of my discernment does not open me to letting you in further. Your accusations of aloofness do nothing to foster a deeper intimacy. If you perceive that I am in pullback, and perhaps I am, look at what interaction just occurred and what your part was in it. I assure you I will.

It took me decades to claim and to nurture my own personal interior space. It took me decades to recognize the warning signs of people who should not be granted full access. I erroneously thought that as an awakening spiritual person I should be open and disclosing to all. Premature opening would result in hurt, and then I was left scrutinizing myself for the cause of another’s bad behavior. I left people in my sphere years after they should have been released.

So, if I have shared with you and you evaluated, corrected, spiritualized, or in some way critiqued what I have shared do not expect further offerings. And accept it or not my discernment is not defense.

Empathy is not commentary. And only empathy is the bridge to true intimacy.

We all have unconscious moments. We all behave and speak unskillfully. But we all do not choose to own that unskillfulness, apologize, and amend our way of showing up. And so those are the folks that get my compassion, caring, and even love without access to the deeper realms of my being.

I fully accept that I inadvertently taught people how to treat me by virtue of what I would tolerate. I have radically adjusted that. I am taking full responsibility for what I allow, and for how I show up in relationship. I am clear that I would far rather have a few true intimates than I would a slew of surface negotiators. I do not confuse social media contacts with friends. And, when I do choose to call you friend, I commit to showing up fully and accepting you freely. If I show up unskillfully, I will own that, and I will amend my ways.

Pullback isn’t always a bad thing. It taught me a lot. I needed to withhold. It was in effect for me guidance. I needed to pullback. And in knowing when to pullback I am free to choose when to fully open.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

REPENT!

It seemed I had waited my entire life to escape the too-tightness of my midwestern upbringing. Conservative, religious, simple, confining I wanted out of Ohio and into New York City! I knew it was the place I would finally fit in. I knew possibility would be beckoning on every corner. I viscerally longed to get to the place where I could finally and fully be the real me.

And so, I talked my mother into letting me go to New York on an opera tour my sophomore year of college. She rightly suspected my motives as I had no previous interest in opera whatsoever. Shortly after landing into LaGuardia a couple like-spirited friends and I headed into Times Square to sell the opera passes and acquire tickets to some much more desired Broadway productions.

The first sighting of Manhattan and Times Square is forever seared into my memory. I was mesmerized. Dazzled! I felt as if I was born to walk those streets. I chose to pound the pavement in a carefully selected ensemble that I would never have had the nerve to wear in my native Columbus Ohio. In my mind I was totally styling, and no one would ever guess I was just off the plane from what I then considered the wasteland.

And then I heard it.

“Repent, sinner! Repent!”

What???

“You there! Repent or burn in the fires of hell!”

There was no mistake he was looking right at me and my equally styled group of newly christened cosmopolitans.

“Repent I say!”

He wasn’t just saying it. He was bellowing it. He held a well-worn Bible in one hand and a microphone hooked to a small speaker in the other. He was shouting so passionately that his face was literally beet red. He resembled someone straight out of an old-time revival meeting. In yes, you guessed it, Columbus Ohio.

I would come to know this itinerant preacher as a fixture in Times Square. Though that first day it felt as if he had singled us out specifically, we were indeed not that unique. He was in fact an equal opportunity screecher. He was also a perfect mirror for how my perceived liberated and authentic self was met by my own shadow beliefs. I came to know that I was indeed in need of repentance. Not from God or from Times Square preachers. I was in need of repentance in terms of the way I saw myself. The things that were too tight and too confining were my own perceptions. My own rejection of my upbringing, and the lack of strength to be who I am wherever I am.

While years ago the word repent carried a sting today I value it as a caring and compassionate friend. I feel repentance as an internal process that allows me to look courageously at my own sense of self. It allows me the possibility of evaluating where I may be tormenting myself with my limiting storytelling. It reveals to me where I have disowned my power and relinquished my right to choose and to respond. After practicing deep-level repentance for many years, I have found that the only fires of hell that exist are self-generated. Repentance has allowed me to lessen the self-flagellation. It has gifted me with a greater awareness of what I truly am. Repentance allows me to life from that.

And so the Times Square preacher is long ago a thing of the past. As is my own tenure of living in my beloved New York City. No one has screamed “repent” at me in decades. I grew past my assessments of my Midwest heritage, and I no longer define myself by what I wear or where I live. I even sometimes go to the opera.

Yet occasionally, while momentarily caught in an internal drama, I hear my own inner-preacher sweetly but firmly say “repent.” And I smile, and I interrupt the story that could send me into my own version of hell. And I send my red-faced friend a silent but sincere blessing. “Thank you.”

And all from the day I heard him say “repent.”

Thursday, February 21, 2019

ALONE ISN'T LONELY

I can honestly say that I have never been lonely.

When I was alone.

I have had a few people share with me lately that they are experiencing loneliness. Life circumstances have shifted, leaving them in some ways alone. As they shared with me I internally did what I always do when interacting with someone’s feelings: I went into my own depths in order to directly relate and empathize with what was being shared. It was that direct inquiry inside of myself that reaffirmed what I have long known.

I have never been lonely when I am alone.

I have indeed felt lonely in relationship and sometimes even in crowds. I feel lonely in relationships where there is little actual relating. When vacancy is premium and intimacy rare. When I felt myself quite literally talking into a listless void. When regardless of how I tried I could not find a connection. When I have been with people who are rarely with themselves, and so are incapable of being with me. There is loneliness when I cannot for the life of me feel myself landing in the experience of the other. When there truly isn’t any there, there.

Then I feel a loneliness. A sadness. A longing to connect. A deep desire to feel atone rather than alone in company.

I see you there, and yet somehow you aren’t.

In a world of photo ops and endless selfies I long to see deeply and to know that I am seen. To touch and to be touched. To fully and freely let you in and to feel myself happening inside of you energetically and relationally. I care little about having a virtual record of our encounters if I didn’t feel like we were even really there.

My empathic exploration within reaffirmed for me that I am good company. I like spending time with me. I pay attention to myself. I listen. I feel freely and openly. I laugh, I cry, I take life in and I let love out. I relish my moments and my inner-activity.

The one thing I am not when I am alone is lonely.

So maybe you would like to spend a little time with me? Together? Not to avoid loneliness but to celebrate true togetherness.

We could take a walk. Have a chat. Listen deeply and respond authentically. Or we could sit and do nothing at all. Not even speak. Just sit and silently share space. Heart to heart. Gaze to gaze. Two people who enjoy their own and so each other’s company. It would be lovely.

Or if that doesn’t work, I will be content to sit alone and listen and feel and gaze and wonder and simply be.

Alone, and not a bit lonely.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

HURT BY LOVE?

I have always had a tender, sensitive heart. From the earliest age I loved fully and easily. I loved everyone, much to my parent’s consternation. A tenderhearted, sensitive, loving boychild was sure to be hurt.

They were right.

So I decided sometime in my mid-twenties that I was going to pull back. That I was going to toughen up. That I was not going to traverse the earth as this sensitive, open, loving easy target. I had been hurt enough times by then. I knew it was time to put on the armor. To replace sensitivity with a bit of sarcasm. Tenderness with toughness. Love with aloofness. The hurt had to stop. I would make it stop. I would keep you at bay. If aloof meant alone than so be it.

What I didn’t count on was that toughening up was even more painful than tender and open.

It seems sometimes like it has taken longer to disarm than it did to armor up. I have faced and refaced a lifetime of hurts. A seeming million rejections. An ocean of abandonment. I have reheard every voice that told me I was not enough. That I was a mistake to be rectified. An abomination to be abolished. That I was doomed to be dropped repeatedly.

The closure that I thought would keep me from this litany of lovelessness actually locked me in it.

You see, I was not born to live defended. I am not meant to hide. For me and my sensitive heart closure is suffering. I must consistently be less than I am meant to be. Love less than I am meant to love. Show up with armor when my nature is to show up as an embrace.

And so I have reclaimed my tender, open heart. I have unleashed the love that seeks a free and flowing expression. The pain of closure is far greater than the pain that sometimes accompanies a tender, giving nature.

So, I choose to love. Sure, I know that I may well be hurt. Being what I authentically am is so worth the risk. A sometimes-hurting heart tells me that I am open. It tells me that my sensitivity is engaged. Hurting shows me that tenderness has triumphed over toughness. It tells me that I am human. That I am plugged into my shared humanity and my common Divinity.

Ultimately, God cannot be known by a closed heart. Mysticism requires openness and defenseless. God-Love needs entrance through a willing open heart.

And finally that is what I have.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

ARE YOU HERE?

“I can’t make it tomorrow. But I will be with you in spirit.”

“I know I said I was going to be there, but I’ll be there in spirit.”

“Gosh, I can’t make it again tonight, but I’ll sure be there in spirit.”

After repeated vacancies excused by the promise of terrestrial presence I finally needed to speak up.

“No thank you. Keep your spirit with you. You’ll need it.”

A prolonged silence was followed by a nervous giggle.

Things happen in life that truly do prevent us from being where we have committed to be. In my experience these occurrences are rare. It is more common to make a commitment to be somewhere and then just decide we really don’t feel like following through. Maybe we had said yes when we really meant to say no. Maybe we have gotten what we perceive to be a better offer. Maybe we are a bit tired or are feeling overcommitted. Maybe spirit is the one excuse no one can argue with?

And so, we pull the “there in spirit card.”

So, let me be clear that I know you will be with me in spirit. There is nowhere else for you to be. We are all together in spirit all the time.

That is not the same as being physically present where you said you would be.

There is nothing evil or ill-intentioned about this framing. It just isn’t helpful. I for one would much prefer the honest and in my face approach. “I know I said I was going to be there, and now I am really not wanting to do that. So, I am sorry. I won’t be there.”

Period.

No reaching for the spirit realm out clause. No excuse or even regret. I said I would be there and now I am saying I won’t. Clean. Concise. Honest. Done.

Then we are clear, and I still know we are forever together in spirit. And I know that you are someone that occasionally, or even repeatedly, does not keep commitments. I can file that information away, and maybe even extend invitations accordingly.

And I can know without judgment that your spirit is ever-present, though sometimes you simply are not.

Saturday, January 26, 2019

CRASH

The premise of the Academy Award winning movie Crash is simple yet profoundly difficult to take in: we as human beings crash into each other in all sorts of violent and chaotic ways as unconscious and ill-advised means to connect and to touch.

It doesn’t make logical sense, does it? And yet as I watch this violent and chaotic world unfolding before me, I ponder if indeed it may be true.

In times of tragedy, terrorism, and natural disaster human beings often rise into their most magnificent expression. When looking at demonstrations of the worst of the worst of what humans are capable of there are almost always contrasting acts of heroism, generosity, kindness, and compassion. Superhuman feats of transcendence happen in the middle of terrifying acts of darkness, violence, greed, bigotry, and hatred. It truly is as if unconscionable darkness calls forth the supremacy of light. We see it over and over again.

There are a number of scenarios in Crash where people are thrown together in tragic and terrifying situations that are admittingly difficult to watch. And yet in each of these scenarios people touch and are touched by both violence and tenderness, greed and generosity, bigotry and equanimity, hatred and love. When the characters find themselves in what seem to be insurmountable situations something within them lifts them up and sets them free.

People crash together and are changed by the touch.

With all of the social media and instant internet access we as a culture are less connected than ever before. We mistake virtual access with intimate connection. We have hundreds of “friends” we have in actuality never met. We say things virtually we would never say in actual proximity. Cowardice masked as courage is rampant on all forms of social media.

Perhaps we are more divisive than ever in an unconscious attempt to at least engage. To feel the life force within us meeting the life force in someone else. To feel felt. To be heard and acknowledged, even if it is with reactivity and rebuke.

Perhaps in a world of so much unconsciousness and distraction I would rather crash into you than to never touch you at all.

It is unfortunate to me that many tend to gather with others in a mutuality of against. We dislike and disagree with the same people, so let’s start a club. Let’s paint signs and gather on the street and shout and make news. It won’t feel good or peaceful but at least we will be together and perhaps touch and sense some sort of comradery.

If there is any validity to this thesis, and I personally believe there is, I for one am choosing to consciously touch without the unconscious need to crash. I want to listen to you without requiring that you scream to get my attention. I do not need to wait for tragedy to happen to fully show up and to be my highest self. I do not choose to cluster with others in disagreement and protest. I willingly gather with others who choose to energize what we are indeed for.

I choose connection over protection. I choose intimacy over illusiveness, I choose to open myself to the depth of the human condition. I am willing to risk the hurt in order to feel the love.

The more open I am to chosen connection the less likely I am to require the pain of crashing.

There is a tragic level of disconnect in our culture today. Far more than in 2006 when the movie Crash was released. We feel it. We long to connect and touch. Our shared humanity calls to us to listen. To see. To connect. To touch.

Let’s not wait for the next tragedy to do so.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

BUT, IS IT TRUE?

There was a time when not only did people believe the world was flat, they made decisions based on that fact.

This is not only evidence of the power of belief. It is also evidence that as beliefs evolve and change, so do the subsequent decisions.

The beliefs that governed my life a few decades ago are largely not the beliefs that govern my life today. That is because for me many beliefs become like shoes that are too tight. If I really like the shoes, I may still wear them for a while. I may choose situations of short duration to sport them. I may need to wear band aids on my heels. But eventually the pain becomes too great and I change what shoes I am choosing to wear.

Many of the beliefs that I was programmed with by family, church, and culture began to feel too tight and too ill fitting for me as the years rolled by. As I grew in Spirit and in awareness the old beliefs and perceptions began to cause me pain. They were too small for my expanding consciousness. They no longer fit who I was becoming.

But as those perceptions were familiar, I continued to keep them as a lens even after they began to cause me pain. I defended the beliefs because they were bonds to my tribal system. I walked through my life in and from those beliefs. They fed the way I thought. They framed my experience of who and what I thought I was. They kept me fitting in. And fitting in is encoded as survival. If I took off those beliefs and went out on my own, what would happen to me?

Slowly and often not so gently I began to free myself from my own painful perceptions and erroneous beliefs. I learned that doing so was not a simple mental process. I needed to go down into my emotional body, and address what underlie the beliefs. Relationships began to change and, in some cases, become turbulent, as our perceptual systems were no longer resonant. I had to move through the discomfort of supreme not knowing. Releasing one thought system, and not yet forming a new perceptual matrix, I floundered in the in-between.

I began to find evidence that indeed my beliefs were faulty. Many things I believed I could never do I found myself freely engaged in. Many perceptions that kept me defended against others crumbled and I found myself in a greater degree of connection and union. The world I thought was flat was indeed round. I wasn’t who I thought I was, and the world was not as I had framed it.

The evolution of my consciousness has blessed me with increasing internal space. An expansion is happening, and I relish it. So when it begins to feel cramped in here, I question how I am thinking and what I am believing. I ask myself “but is it true?” That simple question brings me back to center and gives me the opportunity to take off the cramping shoes. Then I can walk about freely and with clarity. And gratefully. Oh, so gratefully.

And for you, dear reader; are there any tight-fitting beliefs in need of release? Any perception you may question in the name of freedom? “But, is it true?”

Thursday, January 3, 2019

WHAT WANTS TO GIVE?

I have long loved the feeling of possibility that comes during the transition between two calendar years. I have shared before regarding the energetic trajectory that is accelerated when many people are focused on intentions, goals, and resolutions. The critical mass consciousness is amped up for around 21 days surrounding the new year. It is palpable to me. I sense it, I feel it, and I personally choose to join in it.

The transition into the opening days of 2019 is no exception. While I am finding it to be a bit more chaotic than in years past, the sense of increasing potentiality is unmistakable. I find myself with equal parts of excitement and uncertainty. I am very clear about what I am internally called to. That is my priority for certain. And yet there is a pull regarding relationships and current life circumstances that is far more opaque. I cannot put it into words or bring it into view.

Something is calling for change. Something is stirring in not so gentle ways. I have always been highly intuitive, but this burgeoning impulse is not coming into clarity. I rarely fear change, so I do not believe that it is fear muddying the waters. There is a core of discontent in my solar plexus that simply won’t break through into clarity. It won’t reveal itself to me. At least not yet.

It is uncomfortable for sure, and I am good with that. This impending change or changes does not feel foreboding, though I do sense it could be major. Something needs to give. Something maybe even needs to die. There is a chain that is seeking to be broken. What that chain has held in place I yet do not know.

There is something or perhaps things that I need to let go of. Things that are standing in the way of a greater good. Situations and circumstances that have gotten too small. Relationships that are far too shallow. Withheld expressions that are crying for release.

Though uncomfortable I trust what is happening within me. I am clear how I spiritually, emotionally, artistically want to show up in 2019. My service to the world and my commitment to love is unwavering. My reason for being has never been clearer. With that as my foundation I can patiently wait for the changes to be revealed. As long as I am clear about what I am and who I am choosing to be the rest is placement.

And so, I wait. I explore my internal terrain. I look for clues. I curiously and even excitedly contemplate what is about to be revealed. I ride the waves of the collective even as I stay true and faithful to my autonomous self.

It is a rich and fertile time. I am grateful to be where I am, and I am staying wakeful for where I am being led next. For what is next in this great adventure of life. Amped up with possibility I am saying yes. Yes to whatever it is that wants to give way.