Tuesday, November 17, 2009


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.


Tuesday, November 3, 2009


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.