Wednesday, February 7, 2018


While I have never considered myself to be a strong personality type I also recognize that there have been times in my life when I was extremely strong willed. If there is indeed a cosmic truth to be revealed in the qualities of the horoscope than I am for sure a classic Taurus. There have been more than a few situations in my life in which I have felt compelled to really dig my heels in.

I remember being a four year child and refusing to eat the yams my mother put on my plate for dinner. My mother was formidable, and she decided I would sit at the table with those yams until I ate them. I decided I was not going to eat those disgusting things. When they got cold I told her I couldn’t eat them at that temperature. She reheated them. I sat and stared at them until they once again got cold. She was not going to be outdone by a four year old. Added salt. An additional glass of milk. I wasn’t having it. As the eleven o’clock news came on the yams were tossed in the trash and I was tossed in bed. I had won.

With many years of spiritual practice and a strong dose of recovery and emotional fluency my relationship to will and to willfulness has changed for sure.

I remember early in my twelve step work becoming paralyzed by the desire to know and to follow the will of God. I had a deep and a compelling desire to turn my will and my life over to the care and to the will of my Source, as prompted by the third of those twelve steps. At that time I was very confused as to what that greater will might be. I didn’t want to be willful as I had been in the past. I wanted to clearly know what I now call the Will of the One.

I agonized over it. I searched my mind, fearful that I would do something that would be out of alignment with God’s will. I often discounted my wants and desires, putting them aside as if my desires couldn’t possibly be the desires of the Universe coming forth in me. I was at times paralyzed.

I hold a deep appreciation for that time in my emergence. It taught me so much, and was an instrumental part of my acquiring what amounts to a totally God-experience. I now live in the awareness that God’s Will is always What God is. God’s Will is love in all of its expressions. God’s Will is kindness and compassion, justice and equality. It doesn’t matter so much where I live, what I do, or what kind of car I drive. It does matter how I live, how I do what I do, and how I behave while I am driving.

I am clear that there are feminine and masculine aspects to will, and both are within me. I pray each morning to be willing to will the will of the One. I am soft and open in willingness, and strong and convicted in what I know the will to be for me. I balance them throughout my day. I no longer see willfulness as an enemy to be conquered. It is a force to be harnessed. I am indeed stubborn for what I know to be right for me. I am unwavering in my values. I will go to the mat to hold the line for what is right and true and just.

I also no longer make my desires or wants wrong. There is an Infinite Universe of Goodness to be experienced. I seek every day to expand my personal goodness quotient. I now know life is for me. The One Will is for my highest good. That is what I seek to open to.

And I still refuse to eat yams. So there

Thursday, February 1, 2018


Someone else’s bad behavior is never justification for my own.

While we as human beings are hardwired for defense and for retaliation we are also cosmically destined to rise above and respond beyond those primitive automatic reactions.

I don’t recall the last time I had to defend myself against a physical attack. It was most likely forty years ago. It has not been nearly that long since I went into a defensive posture because someone didn’t agree with me or because I was personally offended at something someone said or did. It could even be the look I am seeing or perceiving on someone’s face. Perhaps it is the tone of someone’s voice, or the perceived slight of not being acknowledged properly when I entered a room. I feel the mechanics click into gear, and a dividing wall sliding into place. I readjust my armor, and I am girded and ready to defend in a battle that isn’t even really happening, except upon the battleground of my own reptilian brain.

And so I recoil, I withdraw, and I start to spin the tale of the justified retaliation. As a person of so called non-violence it will most likely be some version of the silent treatment. You know, the attitudinal deep freeze. Far “too spiritual” to ever apply a full and frontal attack I will register my displeasure with an icy look and an edgy tone. I will throw virtual daggers and perceptual spears. And I will do it because of what you did. It is a justified reaction to your bad behavior. I am right in reacting thusly to your wrong. You deserve it and here it comes.

And yet, someone else’s bad behavior is never justification for my own.

Though I am hardwired for defense and retaliation I no longer have to choose to employ them. They were strategies I used until I learned to do know and to do better. After years of prayer, meditation, and spiritual-emotional practice there is now space between the reptilian reaction inside and the automatic expression of those impulses. There are still instances when I feel slighted, offended, confronted, and disrespected. Spiritual practice doesn’t kill brain cells. There is, however, a clear gap between the internal reaction and the outer response. I now know that whatever may be coming at me isn’t a license for me to come from the baser levels of human reaction. I have choice. I now have a choice.

I cannot choose what you are going to say or do. I am not here to control you or others, though I tried for decades to do just that. My consciousness and my way of being are of primary importance to me. The staying true to my chosen values, regardless of what anyone else is choosing, is how I am evolving and growing into more of what I am meant to be. If I justify my unskillfulness and my reactive bad behavior I in fact become less. I revert to lizard-like automatic reactivity. I can blame you for that but it only serves to reinforce the parts of me that I am meant to move beyond.

Though it is not much evident in our current culture we are meant to evolve beyond the eye for an eye mentality. While it is never appropriate to stay in an abusive situation people are terminating long-term relationships over a single and simple disagreement. I am the first one to affirm and honor healthy boundaries. And that doesn’t mean for me putting people out of my heart because we do not share a common ideology. There are times when a break in direct connection is perfectly appropriate. I have done it. But I do it from a centered place of clarity and not from a place of disturbed reactivity.

I wholeheartedly seek to release retaliation from my personal repertoire of how I respond in life and in relationships. I quickly deal with resentments, and I warm up as readily as possible when I find myself tempted to deep freeze. I really am not doing so for some noble or altruistic reason. I am doing so because to stay in defense, retaliation, unforgiveness, and reactivity is just too heavy a burden for me to bear. It is too contrary to what I know I am meant to be and to how I know I am meant to respond and relate.

So your bad behavior, real or just perceived, is ultimately just a chance for me to be more of what I truly am.