Saturday, November 12, 2022

ECHOES

The silence was as memorable as it was deafening.

And perhaps it was the deafening nature of the silence that makes it so memorable.

I was eleven years old when my father got lost driving home from church.

Eleven years of age.

My father had driven that route countless times. To church. Home from church. It was an approximately five-mile trip. Depending on the way we went it involved three streets.

Three streets. Five miles. Repetitive route. Over and over. Back and forth. Year after year.

It was deafening. Memorable. Life changing. Earth shattering.

The deafening, memorable, life-changing, earth-shattering event happened in the silence.

As I recall I was lost in my thoughts regarding the next days report cards. I knew where we were but was not giving that much notice until I heard her strained voice asking this question.

“Bill, do you know where you are?”

The question was followed by a silence that to this writing is deafening, memorable, shattering. The silence not only contained the answer. It was the answer.

I only vaguely recall a whispered “no” that came from a place so raw, so naked, so revealing that I never saw or heard my father in the same way again.

The silence between the question and the answer changed the trajectory of my entire life. It abruptly and violently ended my childhood. It was a reactive silence, yet somehow revelatory of something I had dreaded and anticipated. It was quantum, and it was oddly and irrationally familiar.

It seemed to be an echo of a trauma that had already somehow occurred.

Even at age eleven I well knew that my paternal grandfather had died due to an early onset dementia. This occurred before I was born. I also knew that two of my dad’s older brothers were exhibiting symptoms of the same disorder. And so, I knew that when my father got lost driving the oft repeated route to home that it would most likely be indicative that the familial malady was repeating in a nuclear way.

It was not long after that fateful and life altering car ride that our earth continued to shatter in practical and unmistakable ways. Echoes of memory loss became more and more frequent to the point where they became the norm. I became a caregiver before I departed elementary school. There were no more questions as to if my father knew where he was, or even if he knew who he was. And in less than five years he didn’t know who I was.

My father did not know who I was.

Yet it all felt familiar even as it was tragically happening. Like an echo of something I knew would happen. Maybe sooner. Maybe later. I knew it would happen. I somehow knew it would all happen.

The silence had told me so.

There is always a context of deafening silence deep within me. Shattered pieces of my broken heart are all around for me to behold. I hear echoes of questions that have no answers, yet the deafening silence is somehow still the answer. I still see the terrified profile of my mother’s face. I still hear the strained to breaking tone of her questioning voice. I knew as she asked, she already knew the answer. I already knew the answer. We all already knew the answer.

The deafening silence was the answer.

Echoes of that traumatic occurrence have punctuated my life experience. Circumstances present. Questions arise. Silence ensues. And the silence is the answer.

The deafening, memorable, life-changing, earth-shattering answer.

Repeating echoes of that childhood trauma arise, present, move within me and shake me to the core. Yet now I can relate to them as the echoes that they are. As repeating traumas. As patterns of grief that are seeking resolution. I am clear that I am not that eleven-year-old riding in the back of a Ford station wagon feeling my childhood being violently ripped from me.

That was then.

This movement I feel within me is an echo of the event. An emotional echo that I can now wakefully open to. Accept. Remember in an embodied way. Embrace. Allow the silence of my now presence to listen to the echo until it gently passes from my awareness. It may well repeat again. And with every repetition the silence becomes less deafening and more embracing.

Case in point.

In 2017 my husband Donald and I decided to ride to the nearby DQ to get an evening treat. More specifically, I was riding, and Donald was driving. On the brief ride home Donald began to drive more and more slowly as he began to navigate an odd route to get to our home. I felt an enormous emotional echo begin to fill my heart and churn within my solar plexus. I began to choke on the question that I knew I needed to ask.

“Donald, do you know where you are?”

Though I was in the passenger seat beside him I could clearly see my own profile from the back seat behind Donald. I heard the strain and terror in my voice. I felt the enormity of the experience. The pattern. The repetition. The trauma. The deafening ending and the terrifying beginning.

His silence was the answer.

Echoes of the past presenting in the present.

The eleven-year-old.

The now sixty-five-year-old.

The familiar echoes of a lifetime.

And yet somehow, I am new and so it is new. That was then, and I am now. There are echoes for sure. Yet I now know that I am the Silence and so the answers are within me. The silence is far less deafening. Less earth shattering. I know I can relate and to listen to the echoes and to pick up the pieces and move on whether I know where I am going or not.

I am very clear that while others may suggest it, I am indeed not going “through it again.” The emotions are as familiar as are the echoes. That is true. But I am not eleven and Donald is not my father. The outcome will be different for I am vastly different. I don’t even ask the questions so much anymore.

I simply listen and embrace the echoes of a lifetime.

And they are sweet and less deafening and tragic and beautiful and repeating and healing. And I am grateful.

Same echoes.

Different listener.

Saturday, October 29, 2022

STUCCO SPIRITUALITY

So, today I want to write to you about stucco.

Okay, I know.

Stay with me?

I am in the midst of some pretty major home renovations. It began with impact windows, the cost of which was a very major impact to my bank account! Sixteen windows, a patio door, and three standard doors.
,br> Wow. Ouch. And thankful it is done and paid for.

Our home is of CBS construction, except for an add-on Florida room. The original owners built the Florida room of wood sometime in the early 60’s. There was some minor rotting to the wood when I purchased the house almost twenty years ago. It has progressed to the point where it proved to be problematic to the impact window job. I knew it was time to have some serious work done on that part of the house. One section of the wood had to be replaced to be able to support the weight of the impact window. After some investigation and advice from others far more knowledgeable about such things I contracted someone to stucco the outside of the Florida room.

Stucco.

Still with me?

The general contractor brought a laborer to assess the situation. A job cost was given, which, while high, seemed tame after paying for the impact windows. As I listened to the gentleman describe his process details, I was internally troubled by what seemed to me to be a missing aspect of the job.

He kept speaking of applying stucco over the existing wood.

Wood which was noticeably rotting.

I politely thanked him and him that I would let them know.

I let my contractor immediately know: no way.

He confirmed my assessment and said he would find someone that would replace the rotting wood, and then stucco over top of it.

So, why am I sharing these details with you?

My early days of new thought spirituality were revelatory, radical, and extremely exciting. They were also largely about the externals of my life. While I did not realize it at the time, they were a lot like applying effectual stucco over rotting wood consciousness.

Are you with me?

I know you are.

Trying to fix and plaster over situations and circumstances without addressing the underlying causal consciousness will always be a temporary distraction.

Had the first laborer applied stucco over the rotting wood it most likely would have appeared to solve the problem. It could have been painted over and looked great.

Temporarily.

The wood would have continued to rot under the stucco, and, after a time period, the stucco would have fallen away. It would have revealed the unattended rotting which would have advanced under the surface of the stucco.

Can I get a witness?

When spirituality is primarily about the surface it is much like stucco. Conditions and circumstances are always effects of our underlying consciousness. We all have some level of unconsciousness which amounts to our own personal “rotting.” This results in a level of discomfort and discontent. We don’t like what is showing up. Especially when it repeatedly shows up. In earlier stages of spirituality, we then try and stucco over the conditions we do not want to see. We misuse affirmations and plaster our minds with vision boards while skipping the most crucial step in any transformation.

We must deal with the rotting wood of old limiting beliefs. Outmoded senses of self. Core beliefs that bind and constrict. We must attend to consciously what lies within our own unconsciousness. Otherwise, we will stucco over the rotten consciousness with something that appears better temporarily. It will appear shiny and new.

And then…

The underlying “rotting” will advance while we are entranced with the surface. At some point sooner or later the surface stucco will fall away and the causal consciousness, in all of its rottenness, will be worse than ever.

A house or a home is always metaphysically representative of a field of consciousness. If a home is not properly maintained problems begin to occur. Short term fixes can lead to long term problems. Pink painting over rotten wood is a very short-term fix. Plastering stucco over rotten wood may buy more time. And it does not address the real issue. The causal issue.

When there is something amiss in my experience, I now know enough to explore the interior first, rather than trying to only fix external conditions. If there is rotting and decay, it is first and foremost in my field. It is causal. It is in consciousness. Everything out there reflects something in here. Always. Every time. No excepptions.

Every external problem must be resolved at the internal level.

I did my share of stuccoing over rotten wood in my consciousness. It never lasted. The effects I thought would solve the problem and satisfy my longing always fell away. I am grateful to know that. Very grateful. Grateful enough to want to share it with you.

I have moved from stucco to foundational spirituality. It does not mean I do not address circumstances and effects. I just do it at the causal level. I do it beneath the surface. I address my own wood rot rather than blaming and damning outer conditions. I attend to the withinness and then I seek to make the outer as pretty as is possible. I like beautiful things. But I do not identify with them. I live by the admonition “as within, so without.” As I let the outer reflect my transformed interior my life and my “house” get better and better. More and more beautiful at the real and depth level.

And as a result, my inner house is solid and stable. Much of the rotting has been exposed and attended to. I am not seduced into believing that if I stucco over problems the problems go away. Denial and suppression are not healing. Covering over and pretense are not healing. The rotting occurs in aspects of consciousness that indeed need to be exposed and that ultimately need to die. Only sustained, unflinching, and compassionate presence can do that.

It is indeed an inside job.

I type these words to the staccato rhythm of hammering that is the sound of the workers applying new wood to my Florida room. That wood then will sustain the soon to be applied stucco. I am confident in that the causal problem is being addressed and corrected first. I am grateful to immediately recognize the bigger-picture lesson, and I share it in hopes that it will be helpful to someone else.

A stucco spirituality isn’t about hiding the underneath.

A stucco spirituality is about deeply knowing that everything occurs in consciousness first. If you want a different result, you must deal with what may be rotting underneath. Do your inner work first. Forgive. Pray. Look intimately within. Be courageous. Be diligent. Address the inner and then have fun redecorating the outer. The more you put into the interior the more stable and lasting will be exterior effects.

Impact windows. Replacing rotting wood. Stucco. And finally, a new paint job. I picked a color called Kind Green. Got to love it. All part of making a house a suitable and sustainable home. Strong walls and supports. Pretty, warm, and even “kind” exterior.

Just like in here.

Saturday, October 22, 2022

YOU CANNOT GET IT BACK

Date night by yourself is surely a different experience.

I have been questioned several times recently about what is going on a) with my husband’s health, and b) why I have not been more public about that.

Alright. I guess that is valid.

So maybe today is the day. And I guess this will be the vehicle. After all, I do call this blog RADICAL EXPRESSION.

In 2016 my husband Donald was diagnosed erroneously with Alzheimer’s Disease. This came less than two months after my mothers passing. To say that I was devastated is the king of all understatements.

I felt shattered.

Donald was emphatic that he did not want other people to know about what was going on in him and for us. While I honored his request, I also knew I could not cut myself off from the support of those closest to me. With his hesitant permission, I was able to slightly enlarge our circle of transparency and so support.

One person particularly close to us helped us get into a research center that was Alzheimer’s specific. While I am leaving out many details for brevities sake, Donald and I began an adventure in Alzheimer’s that lasted for over two years.

In most ways Donald received excellent support and care. And yet something felt off about it, at least for me. I noticed physical symptoms that did not coincide with the usual effects of that kind of dementia. I brought this to the attention of the head of the research center, who assured me I was mistaken about what I increasingly believed to be a misdiagnosis. I stubbornly pointed to what I saw to be an extremely different trajectory of the disease. Donald was not declining at the rate typical of an Alzheimer’s patient. While grateful for that I was also internally nagged that the doctors were missing and so not treating what was going really on.

At the end of a rather contentious session at the center a palpable dawning occurred for the lead neurologist.

His usually booming and assured voice dropped several decimals as he said, “I think I may have been mistaken.”

And so ended our journey with Alzheimer’s.

And so began our journey with Lewy Body dementia.

Donald was and is a genius. That has gifted him with a brain that compensates in miraculous ways for the losses the growths are neurologically claiming. The trajectory and prognosis for patients of Lewy Body dementia is always unique. Donald’s has been comparatively slow.

Until recently.

As privately as Donald wanted to traverse through this illness it is no longer possible. Many obvious physical symptoms telegraph not exactly what is occurring, but certainly that something serious is occurring. It can no longer be hidden. He now requires a level of constant care. While I am blessed to be generously gifted with some in-home care for him, it is mostly mine to feed, dress, and provide for his everyday needs. His opportunities to venture away from home are minimal at this point.

Subsequently, so are mine.

He remains the undeniably adorable expression of humanity that I fell in love with more than thirteen and a half years ago. He is cognitively still at a relatively high level of function, especially for where we are in the typical progression. He has moments of wit that still bring me to gales of laughter. His smile still melts me. His eyes still dazzle me. He is still Donald.

And the Lewy Body rheostat dims his expression slightly with every passing day.

He is still Donald.

And yet somehow, he is not.

Little, almost imperceptible parts of him are lost, and I cannot get them back.

I cannot get him back.

No matter how well I feed and dress him, I cannot get him back.

No matter how privately I go about this, I cannot get him back.

No matter how much I am criticized or praised for how I go about this, I cannot get him back.

As I have an aide who watches over him on Friday evenings, I have taken to allowing myself an evening away from home on that night. It is my version of a date night. Except it is without my favorite date.

Last evening, I went to an outside café in a busy public space. It is somewhere Donald and I had been together. As I settled into a table and awaited my dinner, I looked around at a bustle of people all going about their Friday evening activities. I recalled the last time Donald and I had visited this spot together. I pondered our level of engagement at that time. What we said and what we did not say. What we might have said had me known it would be our last chance to date night there together.

As I glanced about, I noticed a couple at a nearby table. They were busily scrolling on their phones, seemingly oblivious to each other’s presence.

I wanted to go to them. I wanted to grab away their phones. I wanted to implore them to look at each other. To listen to each other. To speak openly to each other. To be fully there for each other. I wanted to somehow impress upon them to relish each precious moment they had together.

I wanted to shout to them: "Be together!Be here, now! Do not lose this experience!Do not miss this chance! You cannot get it back!"

Dammit. You cannot get it back.

To you reading these feeble yet heart-felt words: you cannot get it back. Each wondrous, awkward, painful, joyful, heart opening-breaking moment. Once they are gone you cannot get them back.

And so I am here to tell you that date night by yourself is surely a different experience.

And I chose to be fully present to the experience that I was having, as I allowed myself to simply have it. All of it. The memories and the current reality. What I have lost, and what I still have. The man Donald was, and the man Donald is now. Even with the rheostat continuing to dim, he is still the only man for me. He is still warm, smart, adorable, and witty. No one has ever loved me like Donald loves me. And I have never loved anyone the way I love Donald. And while Lewy Body can take many things it cannot take our love. No diagnosis can rob us of that. The prognosis is our love is forever. It is undimmable.

This is long. This is not really the blog I set out to write. I suspect it is more than most of you will want to read, let alone digest.

Yet it is what my heart feels compelled to share. It is what is currently unfolding for Donald and I. When asked for transparency I will not veil it with filters for other people’s comfort.

When asked to be real I give you what is real.What is raw.What is authentic and vital. And once I share it I do so knowing I cannot take it back.

And so my words go forth.

And I cannot get them back.

Saturday, October 15, 2022

URGENCY

I have grown to deeply appreciate the sweet discontent of urgency.

For the past few years, I have been dwelling in a growing sense of urgency. While there is a certain tension to it, a subtle sense of discomfort, it colors my days and moments in a way that I have no desire to change. I has added significant meaning to how I make choices, and to how I choose my ways of expressing.

Urgency has become a dear and trusted friend.

In my youth I had many lofty goals and dreams. Many of the things I wanted to achieve in terms of career were largely time relative. While my singing and acting capabilities were less so, my dancing and modeling expressions had expiration dates built in. As age had its way with physicality, I knew one day that those aspirations would peak and fade. That fact had an intensity about it, yet it was decidedly different than the urgency I feel long after those dreams were laid aside.

Perhaps that is because the dreams of my personality self are vastly different than the evolutionary aspirations of my Soul. I am extremely clear at this point in my human adventure that my entertainment career was never about those expressions as ends in themselves. I was never a great singer, dancer, actor, or model. I had just enough talent to make me viable in the New York market at the time. I needed to be in New York not to set the stage on fire. I needed to be in New York so that an inspirational fire would be set in me. It set the stage for what I was truly to be about on earth.

I look back at my life from my current perspective and I see so clearly how each situation, circumstance, relationship, move, talent, encounter led me to the exact next right thing along the journey to now. I see it all as a wondrous map of awakening. And awakening is where the sense of urgency kicks in.

In my youth I thought I had time. In fact, time was a context for how I lived. Sometimes my sense of time worked for me. And often, my sense of time worked against my highest expression.

Now, I know that my time in this human realm is limited. I guess I always knew that. But it has a very different feel at 65 then it did at 35. The sense of a limited time span is not in any way scary to me. It sweetens my days. It adds color to my mornings and my interactions. I weigh what is most important. My priorities have never been clearer.

I live with a heightened sense of urgency. This urgency is directly related to the fact that I very likely have a limited time left on this earth. I live each day aware more than ever that it could be my last. That adds an element of not only urgency, but also passion and even enthusiasm. I want to live with as much clarity, certainty, understanding, and love as possible. I want to be intensely conscious of the energy that I am emitting in each moment. In what I am adding to the field.

I feel an urgency to leave this world a better place for my having been here.

I did not and will not take the entertainment industry by storm.

I do not regret that. It was never mine to do.

I will not leave a memorable mark on this world.

I have no attachment or sense of remorse regarding that. It was never mine to do.

My moment-to-moment urgency is all about my state of being. My state of awakening. The way in which I relate to and contribute to others and to my world. My urgency is about doing my own inner work so that I can be my very best and highest expression. That is what colors my days and raises me up.

I urgently want to serve the world. I urgently want to help alleviate suffering. I urgently want to bring tenderness, love, compassion, mercy to my every encounter.

When I fall short, as I so often do, I feel a discontent. I do not try and deaden that feeling. I move right into it. It is the sweet discontent of urgency propelling me to be more. To give more. To love more. To use whatever time I have left to urgently make my little piece of earth a heaven for all I encounter.

And it is urgency that prompts me to share these words. These waves within my heart. It is urgency that types these feeble symbols that could never really capture the passion of my desired expression.

But here it is. My little urgency-driven gift to you, dear readers. I pray that you will receive it as an act of love. And if I never write another blog, please know that this was what I was meant to share on this day. In this time-limited life span. In a way that only I can express.

I urgently pray it will touch your heart.

Saturday, October 8, 2022

THE DIVE

I cannot swim yet I know I will never drown.

And that is not because I choose to stay away from the water.

During childhood one of my favorite escapes from an often painful and turbulent household was the annual week I got to spend away at church camp. There were admittedly aspects of this experience that I did not relish. Anyone who knows me as an adult would not have to stretch to imagine I am not the camping type. That was already established early in life. This camp did not entail tents or cooking over an open fire. The facilities were, for the time, simple yet not rustic. The grounds were beautiful, and the property had a good-sized lake so for me it was several acres of heaven.

And I was away from home.

Everyday we campers were kept to a specific schedule with mandatory activities. Those included morning prayer circle and chapel, Bible classes, and evening vespers followed by yet another chapel service. This was, after all, church camp.

Three meals were shared in a large dining hall. Between lunch and dinner there were (mandatory) periods of athletics on the field and then swimming in the lake. I was as inept at sports then as I am now. I endured the time of field sports in order to get to my time in the water. There was only one caveat to the swimming experience.

I couldn’t swim.

I have never learned to swim.

I also have never held this as a problem. Well, almost never.

On the dock that jutted out into Round Lake there two diving boards. There was a low board. And there was a high board. As a child the high board appeared equal to the height of the Empire State Building. While the sight of it filled me with fear it also captivated my curiosity. I was determined that I would begin by mastering the low board as a precursor to conquering the high board.

Did I mention I cannot swim?

It never occurred to me that the fact I could not swim was a problem in terms of my diving aspirations. I was too fixated on a vision of me jumping high into the air like a soaring orca to worry about landing in a medium I had no idea how to navigate. I basically figured that I would deal with that post-splash. And I knew I had a secret talent that applied would make me a shoe in for the diving experience.

The camp personnel had a different idea.

In order to be permitted to use the diving boards each camper had to pass a non-negotiable swimming test. The test consisted of swimming from the main dock to a floating dock several yards away.You were then required to swim back to the main dock. As I pondered this temporary obstacle to my Mark Spitz moment I did so looking into the chiseled jaw and steely eyes of the lead lifeguard.He seemed to have no flexibility regarding his authority over the lake and the activities that occured in it. You had to know how to swim in order to be allowed to dive.

I knew this was not going to be easy.

I also knew that this was only a six-day experience and so I was going to either rapidly learn to swim in record time or hatch a plan to get past this Godzilla in speedos really quickly. The latter seemed the more viable choice.

While I knew for sure that I could not swim a lick I also knew that I was an expert floater. This was my secert super power. I have no recall of ever being taught this skill. It simply was something I could do from the first time I entered a pool. And so, it made perfect sense to my still optimistic childlike mind that this was a suitable substitution to the required skill of swimming in order to dive.

On Monday afternoon of church camp, I was in the group that had field athletics first. This torment was made durable by the mental planning I entertained as to how I would orchestrate my way around Mr. Lifeguard. I mentally rehearsed various approaches. As I missed catching the last ball from center field the whistle blew, and I knew my chance was at hand.

My stomach churned. My mind raced. My palms sweated. Though I was at a church camp with no less than six hours of Bible everyday my faith was shallow as I longed to dive into the deep.

This is where I should confidently report to you, my readers, that I mustered all the swagger available to an eight-year-old Olympic protégé bound for a gold in floating and dove into the portals of Round Lake history.

And reporting it would not make it true.

I caved.

Tuesday.

I approached, caught Godzilla’s notice, and then shrank away into the shallow end. I was literally and figuritively all wet.

During Wednesday’s touch football debacle, I knew this was to be my day. I changed into my mildew scented trunks and determinably approached my by then wise to me nemesis.

“I am ready to take the swimming test.”

One eyebrow raised. He smirked. I strode to the end of the dock and Godzilla loudly proclaimed “get in.”

Pointing to the floating dock I meekly asked “Does it matter how I get from here to there?” I then stuttered. “And back?”

His stare was piercing. Unwavering. I thought I had lost him and any hopes of the boards.

And then I saw a faint flicker of humor in his eyes. Almost imperceptible yet also undeniable.

I had him.

“Go ahead and give it a try.”

And so I floated my way to one of the sweetest victories of my life.

I did not attempt the high board that year. I belly-flopped off the low board unashamed and undeterred. I floated back to the ladder and climbed out of Round Lake and into a life-long realization:

There are many things that I will never be able to accomplish in this lifetime. Many hurtles I cannot leap over. Many mountains I will never climb. I am not a being of great physical strength or prowess. I am not a physical overcomer. I will never jump off a high, low, or any diving board ever again.

Yet I can float as well as anyone I know. I can and do go deep. I move with the currents of life. I naturally allow life to buoy me up. I have my own way of accomplishing, and my own standards of success. And when the odds are against me, I will find a way to both go deep and rise above. And I can charm my way past any Godzilla, even ones wearing church-inappropriate speedos.

So, in the lake of life, it is true that I cannot swim. And yet I know I will never drown. Because I was born with a natural ability to float. Situations can pull me under, and I pop right back up. I can’t catch a ball, but I can step out of the way of one. I am always teachable, usually flexible. I may fear the high board, but it doesn’t stop me from climbing and fearfully leaping.

I know that when I leap, I will plunge deep. I also know that I will rise to the surface. And I will float easily until I leap again.

A lot of time and experience have happened since my days at Round Lake. Yet I carry the lessons with me.

And I know if I can float I will never, ever drown. And I can always choose to float.

Saturday, June 25, 2022

KNOWING MY PLACE

“Know your place, young man!”

I finally do.

My paternal grandmother used to use that phrase when she was angry with me. She applied it in multiple ways, none that felt helpful or hopeful. She forcefully spit it at me to put me in my place, or at least what she determined that to be.

For most of my life I haven’t really known what my place was. I did not feel like I fit in from my earliest recollections. I did not fit in with family, education, and religious structures, or even inside of myself. It left me feeling alone, frightened, and disconnected. I also had a vague notion that while I did not fit in, and was left with the subsequent troubling emotions, I also was not meant to fit in. I was not supposed to be a part of my surrounding structures. While it did not make sense, I was quite certain this was true. And so began a quest to find my place.

I of course first looked everywhere around me. I looked outside of me. I looked to other people, organizations, geographic locations. If I didn’t fit in here, I looked there. If I was not to be a part if this group, I would try that one. Wrong school? Transfer. Troubling relationships? Disconnect and find another. Painful interactions? Push away. Run. Flee. Unplug. Try the next.

Grandma, where in the hell IS my place? How can I know my place when I can’t find it?

Today I am sixty-five years and sixty-five days old. Grandma is long gone. While I spent many decades trying to find my place, today, I am finally certain of and content with where my place is.

My place is right here inside of my own heart.

I was never meant to fit in. Of that I am certain. There is a place of truth within me that knows I was born not to fit in but to stand out. I do not mean that in an arrogant way. I simply know that I was born a leader. I have never been a follower. I am an introvert for sure. Yet I have always been put in leadership roles from the playground to the boardroom. I spent far more time on the stage or platform than I did in the audience or congregation. I have never been a devotee. I have never had a guru. My inner being has always been my primary guidance system. I have repeatedly been called to live by Its dictates and directions. That has been my place to live in and from. Very few exceptions.

My internal realm is my place. My Sourced presence. That is my unwavering place of power. Finding that place has been central to my purpose. It is where I abide and from where I serve. I have never been clearer of that. And never more grateful to know it.

I have never had a lot of friends. I never felt the need for that. The place in which I dwell cannot be crowded. I need room to be and to breathe freely. I am clearer than ever that my definition of friend differs from most people around me. I am good with that. I need a lot of space. A lot of alone time. A lot of air. I have never felt lonely when I am alone. You see, in my place I am never alone. I have lots of company. My angels, masters, guides are prolific. They never tell me to “know my place.” They know I am always in it. And they are always available to me in my place.

I currently am leading a spiritual community. It is my primary form of service. I know that for now it is the place I am called to be. I am married, and I have a few friends who are quality individuals that share similar values. My life is simple. Unhurried and not particularly busy. I direct it that way, so that I do not lose connection with my place. I am surrounded by many acquaintances, which for me is the appropriate perspective. I am not too drawn to social media, though I use it as I feel called to uplift others. Those sites are not my place. Facebook “friends” are not really my people.

Two and a half years of much social distancing and working mostly from home has made my place clearer than it has ever been. My priorities are crystal clear. My sense of connection and places of belonging are now beyond question. My values and boundaries are solid and provide me with incredible strength and stability. I have never been less attached to approval and outer accolades. The more centered and authentic I am expressing the less outer feedback I obtain. I have a deep curiosity and appreciation of that fact. I find it fascinating rather than humiliating. The more authentic my posts feel the less “likes” I get. It makes my autonomy increasingly steadfast. While I pray to be helpful to others I am no longer navigated by outer approval.

I am not shaken from my place by what others think of or say about me. It is not that connection is not important. It is. Yet it is my own place of unwavering connection and belonging that is most vital. That is the connection that I most cultivate and attend to. That is where I know I am to live from.

That is what I have come to know as my place.

So, I am preparing to take a vacation and an extended sabbatical from public writing and social media. I am dedicating some time to really being in my place. I am giving added space to my work schedule. I will be resting and renewing by giving increased attention to my inner place of being. I exhale more fully even typing those words. I will not be running from place to place. I will be sitting, staring off and within, breathing deeply and attending vigilantly to my precious inner place.

And I am profoundly grateful to finally know where that is.

Thursday, June 9, 2022

PRIDE?

It is “Pride Month,” and I cannot say that I feel pride.

Please do read on.

I moved to New York City from Ohio in the mid-80’s. It was in New York that I first directly experienced an LBGTQ+ event. Back then it was simply called Gay Pride. There was a parade and a festival. It was all very, well, gay. A bit overwhelming for an Ohio boy. I admit that some of the displays of “pride” behavior made me feel very uncomfortable. I knew that they were in the name of freedom. And I felt that the demonstrations were more alienating than they were harmonizing with the larger population. In a spirit of transparency, I still grapple with that. While I refuse to fit in and hide as a result of societal norms, I also question sabotaging connection for the sake of what can feel outrageous.

I “came out” at nineteen. Back then it was a courageous act that cost me family members, friends, and a felt degree of safety. Things were changing, but slowly and even dangerously. In retrospect I left the closet incrementally and with caution. I stepped out, and at times ran back in. People would declare their acceptance, and then betray that with side comments and thinly veiled homophobia. I exposed my authenticity only to have it trampled upon many times. It truly was a process with many hurts and many gains. And I freely admit that the same back and forth was happening inside of me. About me.

I did not grow up with any real experience of pride in general. My parents never once told me that they were proud of me. I never heard it from teachers or clergy. I just do not ever recall hearing it. I have no internal Velcro for it. I have never accomplished anything for which I felt pride. Never. It just isn’t a part of my wiring.

I do not know pride.

So, when I attended my first Gay Pride event, I really did not understand it, I did not feel pride internally, and I could not connect to the pride of the throngs of people parading, dancing, drinking, outrageously behaving. I suspected there was something wrong with me that I did not feel such jubilation. I felt added freedom. I felt like the door to the closet had been ripped from the hinges.I felt comradery with many if not all of my fellow LGBTQ+ expresses. I just had no sense of pride.

I also did not feel the same level of oppressive shame. I did feel as if there was power in numbers and in authenticity. In New York I could be my full self and really feel a sense of coming out. From my perspective, Ohio was the closet and New York was the land of freedom. There was some naivete in that for sure. Yet I felt a true sense of liberation even if it did not equate to pride.

The shedding of shame was also a process. There were layers of grief, fear, anger, and shame to feel my way through. There was a heavy armor to be removed. It has taken decades. I am certain I will never be completely clear. I have done enormous work. Courageous work if I may say. Tenacious work. And there will always be work to be done. I was told as a child that what I secretly knew I was, was an abomination. A violation against God. That was shattering to this being who always felt a deep and profound call to the sacred. There was no place for me at that table. I was relegated to back ally bars and once a year festivals.

So, with all that work that I did I wish I could say I was proud.

At sixty-five I have long left Pride parades and festivals behind. I simply feel no need or draw to them. Maybe its age. And maybe it is the enormous amount of internal work I have personally paraded through. I now leave to younger generations the events, festivities, and deliberate activism. I know that they get to express as freely as they do because of my work and the work of my and even older generations. I know there is still danger. Hardly gained rights are even now being threatened once again. My activism now is being true to my full expression. I am a gay man married to another man. I minister without a hint of hiding. I give kudos to the organization that hired me. It was a risk, even in a more liberal spiritual environment. They were brave. And so am I.

I have come a long way. Yet I still do not feel pride. I cannot honestly say I am proud to be a gay man. It simply feels like a part of my total being. It is an important part. Yet it is a part. As is gender. As is height and weight. Hair and eye color. I am a complex being comprised of so many aspects and parts. I am first and foremost a Spiritual being. I am here to be fully human and freely Divine. Being gay is an important part of my Soul adventure, of that I am clear. I have come to embrace it. It has come with many challenges and hurts. I could not honestly say I would choose it if I had the conscious choice. I never understand people who say it is a choice we make. I do not remember a time when my orientation was anything other than homosexual. I also know it is integral to my unfolding here in this incarnation. I accept and embrace it as such.

I just would call it pride.

I write this for those who do celebrate June as Pride month, and who genuinely feel their own sense of pride. It does not dismay me that I do not. I will relish and celebrate my sense of acceptance, freedom, transparency, liberation. That fills my heart. It fills me that I am writing this and will gladly and freely take the risk of sharing it with a world in which I am still not universally accepted. I do not feel the need to be. I get to live in my own sense of acceptance and even self-celebration. It has taken a lot to get to this. A lot.

I almost feel proud.

Saturday, June 4, 2022

BE MORE DO LESS

The older I get the more I appreciate efficacy. And that is the foundation of my prayer life.

While it is always true, I am writing this blog solely for myself. And I trust it will touch one other person.

There is a repetitious perspective that is being echoed seemingly everywhere these days.

“Thoughts and prayers are not enough.”

Every time I see and hear this admonition my gut registers the same response.

Thunk

My take on this, and remember that I am writing this for me, is that people who cling to that perspective are tossing off a few mental prayers and then diving into what is often excessive and ineffective action.

Someone recently said to me “my thoughts and prayers are with you.” I know this person well enough to be authentic in my response.

“Thank you. Keep your thoughts, and I welcome your prayers.”

I continually hear simply praying is not enough. I repeatedly hear that it is action that is needed. And I confess to feeling a double thunk.

For me prayer IS action! It is sometimes referred to as Divine Activity. It is the activity via Universal Law to our felt-prayer energy. It is quantum engagement. It is transformative energy. It is the most efficient of activities. It happens in the invisible realm. It attunes us to the vibration of Source. It allows us to very literally heaven earth.

The physical realm and all that is happening are effects of consciousness. Taking non-prayerful action simply rearranges the effects without accessing Cause. We are overdoing because we are first under-being. We are always being beckoned and beseeched to Co-create in consciousness first. To invite and then to court a vision of a transformed reality. To do so we need to spiritually detach from the effects of the manifest realm. We need to activate our Source-guiding Imagination. We pray into the feeling of that. It is not merely mental. Mental prayer has little power. The power is in the felt. It is in the Presence. It is heart centered. It radiates out virtually first. Then that radiation provides a clear guidance as to what needs to be done. To act without deep felt prayer is rearranging the deck chairs on the deck of the Titanic.

I know and appreciate that we all have programmed bias. The majority of people in our culture are of a doing bias. I am not framing that as somehow wrong. It does have its weaknesses, however. As does a being bias, which has become my personal mo. And, as the Buddha taught “there is nothing more ineffective as action without prayer.” I used to run around in what I now see as excessive and mostly ineffective doing. I now recognize that by praying first and deeply, my actions are fueled and imbued by the Inspiration within me.

And so, the longer I am treading a conscious spiritual way of living the more I appreciate the unparalleled power of prayer, of Divine Activity. I do less as I be more. I only take action from a place of prayerful consciousness. It is felt first, and then becomes thought and then action. In that order. I am crystal clear that prayer is the most important part of that dynamic. I do not diminish action. I simply keep it in perspective.

As I began, the older the get the more I appreciate efficacy. Efficiency. I appreciate accessing a Power Greater than myself. I attune and vibrate at that frequency. I glean a vision from it. I steep in it at the felt level. And then I act from it. I trust then that what unfolds is in service of the vision. Activating timeless spirit, I do have to wait on a manifestation. I let it happen as I continue to hold prayer space. It is a way of being that truly works for me.

Prayer truly works for me. In me. And so in the world.

Thursday, June 2, 2022

NO REGRETS?

I personally don’t understand the notion of not having regrets.

Perhaps I should have preceded that statement with a spoiler alert disclaimer.

I recently saw yet another meme posted by someone I respect that spoke of having no regrets. While I certainly have no need to argue with this person’s experience or perspective, I still do not understand it. From a clinical perspective it is five-year old’s and sociopaths who truly have no regrets. Regret, like guilt, is adaptive. It is healthy. It is guidance. Regret can be a master teacher if we let it be. It shows us when we are out of touch with our values. When we have mistreated others. When we are out of integrity with our word. It brings us out of our concepts and into our reality. Regret serves congruency.

I have regrets for sure. And I have used them. They have assisted and guided me. They have led me to forgiveness and amends. They have made me a better person. Having used my regrets, they no longer use me. So, while it may be culturally and spiritually-correct to claim no regrets, I have found them to be angels that got my attention and altered my attitudes and behaviors. They let me know in no uncertain terms that I have a conscious, and that I needed to change the way I was showing up. Uncomfortable does not equate to unbeneficial.

If I speak or act unconsciously my angel of regret points it out immediately. The more I have acted on the guidance the more friendly I have become with regret. I do not avoid it. I welcome it. The discomfort is a small price to pay for where it leads me. This part of our healthy humanity is precious to me. I do not make it a problem, and so for me it is not.

Let me just say this: not regretting regret is a great place for me to reside. I also do not feel guilty for experiencing guilt. Again; regret and guilt are adaptive. I am not five, and am clearly not a sociopath. I know that because I occasionally feel regret.

So, I personally don’t understand the notion of not having regrets. It is okay for you. Just not for me.

And that I do not regret.

Thursday, May 19, 2022

UH OH

Uh oh.

One of the greatest realizations I have ever had is that I lived much of my life in a state of uh oh.

Uh oh.

The realization was the beginning of liberation.

But just the beginning.

Uh oh.

Without sharing the gory details of why, my life story has unfolded in and from what I can best describe as a context of uh oh.

Uh oh.

Can you get a sense of what I am describing down in your body? It isn’t a concept or a thought, though I am using them to point to the experience. It is felt. It is vague yet somehow specific. It is fear-based. It is concentric and consuming.

Uh oh.

I bet you can get some sense of it if you allow. I think we all have some of it. I do not think it is unique to me. I can only claim my dose of it, though I frequently can recognize it in others. Especially those who want to pretend they don’t have or know it.

Uh oh.

Uh oh is a sense that something bad is going to happen. Something that I cannot ward off or handle when it occurs. It is mostly a sense that what I am is that something bad. That life is going to punish me in some way. That I will be hurt yet again. That I will be found out. That the sense of self that I have so tried to hide will be apparent to everyone. And that I will be left alone in the realm of uh oh.

Uh oh.

I bet you think you know how this is going to go. I realized I lived in uh oh, and in realizing it I made it go away. No more uh oh.

Uh oh.

That isn’t how it has gone.

The realization of the contextual uh oh has given me enough awareness that I no longer am ruled by it. Uh oh has not gone away, though there is less of it. The awareness gives me space to relate to it. I know I have a sense of uh oh, so uh oh almost never has me. I am far less likely to project it onto others and to circumstances because I know it is a part of my imprinted make up. It is part of my lens. My prescription. I do not deny or identify with it. So, uh oh is a part of me. It is not me.

Uh oh.

Should I be revealing this? Am I saying too much? Is it clear? What will you think?

All symptoms of uh oh.

Just symptoms.

Uh oh used to run the show. Shut me down. Hold me back.

No more.

Now I feel the uh oh as a familiar friend that is here, accepted, and even embraced. In that embrace, I feel it and I express anyway. I consciously turn the uh oh into an oh awe.

Should I post/send this?

Uh oh.

Oh, awe.

Post. Send.

Free.

Thursday, May 12, 2022

A DON BLOG

And the class of 1975 continues to get smaller.

I saw on social media this week that a high school classmate passed away last Thursday. The post contained the name of course. It also had what I assume was a recent photo of him. It took me a bit of time before I could reconcile the name with the image. Having moved away from my hometown more than forty years ago most of the people from my schooldays remained fixed in my memory at the age I last saw them. I am quite certain that if I had seen the photo without the name, I would not have recognized him.

After some pondering, I saw a familiar glint in the eyes, even if there were many wrinkles around them. I felt waves of sadness in my heart both because Don had passed away, and because I have no idea what his life had been like. I recognized that my day-to-day life experience will not be different because of this death. And yet the fact that he is gone leaves an inexplicable void from which I write this missive.

This missive is my feeble yet sincere tribute.

Don was in my graduating class, though I barely remember him from high school. My clearest memory of him is from the eighth grade. Don was cool. At least in my perspective. He was so much cooler than I was. He was more worldly. More confident. Sophisticated, though how sophisticated can one be in the eighth grade. Handsome. Savvy. He moved through the halls of junior high with swagger. Seeing him filled me with a combination of admiration and fear.

The memory that most stays with me most confirmed my admiration even as it would come to dissuade my fears.

Gym class was for me the worst of all nightmares. I was and am totally devoid of any athletic talent, at least in traditional ways. The only place that I despised more than the gymnasium was the locker room. I can smell it to this day. Irish spring and mildew.

Group showering was torture for me. I had major body issues. Major. I felt sick every day when I realized it was a gym day. Literally sick to my stomach. I just knew something terrible was going to occur. My athletic ineptitude would be on full display, as would be my shame-based body.

I had started being bullied in elementary school and it only gained velocity when I got into junior high. The playground had been bad, but the locker room was infinitely worse. There was no direct supervision, and the bullies had free reign over people like me. It was a study in vulnerability. Naked both emotionally and physically I felt like prey.

Now Don always swaggered confidently around the locker room. His self-assuredness was unsettling for someone like me. I didn’t understand it. I didn’t understand it, and I feared it. I secretly prayed he wouldn’t notice me on during my failed attempts at sports. And I wanted to remain invisible to him in the locker room.

He never did seem to notice me.

Until.

One day after gym class and after showering I hurriedly dressed, relieved that the torment was coming to an end. One of my choral classes was next and that was my safe zone. That was where I excelled. If there was such a thing as vocal swagger, I could have employed it there.

I was half-dressed when one of my chief tormentors approached me at my locker. He began to verbally threaten me as he had so many times before. He then got me into a headlock. He was inches taller and much heavier than was I. In my thirteen-year-old mind I was sure this was how it all would end.

Until.

With the smell of Irish spring pervading and the chokehold tightening I suddenly became in my peripheral vision of the familiar swagger of Don strutting by my impending murder. I saw him stop. I sensed him take stock of what was occurring. And what happened next was nothing short of shocking to me. It has stayed me these more than fifty years.

While I do not recall the words that he used I vividly remember the feeling in my heart. Don demanded that the bully let go of me.

Immediately.

Now.

He demanded that the bully let me go and do it now.

The boy that I had prayed would never notice me, noticed me. He took compassion on my suffering. He used his swaggering confidence to put an end to the bullying. And it was the last time I was tormented by outside forces on the court or in the locker room.

So, on social media all these decades I saw his name, and the experience came rushing back. The smell of Irish spring and mildew engulfed me. I felt the chokehold, and the humiliation of once again being exposed as the “sissy” I indeed knew I was. Yet bigger than all of that was the feeling of being rescued by the swaggering, confident, and surprisingly kind boy who became a man I never knew. A man that now is gone.

What a memory. It reaffirms for me how a momentary act of kindness can stay with someone for an entire lifetime. I highly doubt that Don would have remembered such an insignificant moment in time. Insignificant for him. Monumental for me. So very memorable at a felt level. As a bullied sissy I had felt seen by the swaggering, confident, sophisticated guy who clearly had a heart and the caring to use it for good.

I would not have recognized Don from the current time photo. I still see him as a junior high hero that spent one minute of his lifetime helping to release a known sissy from the grip of a not so brave bully. I don’t know how Don spent his life. I don’t know what held meaning for him. I do know how meaningful that one encounter was for me. It is a part of my fabric. I remember it vividly to this day. Someone saw me and intervened for me. I will never forget that no matter how many years I live beyond Don.

I never got to thank him. It felt too awkward at the time to say much of anything. I do believe he sensed my gratitude. And though we had little direct connection throughout the remainder of our schooling, and no interaction since our graduation, that act of kindness lives on in me today.

While I never got to thank him while he was alive, I am using these words to thank him now. It is most likely that no one from our shared experience will see this. I am okay with that. I write this for Don, and I write this for me. I remember, and I am grateful. It meant something then, and it means something now.

Thank you, Don. Swagger on in the cosmos. And know that this once bullied sissy still remembers what you did.

Thursday, May 5, 2022

ONE NATION UNDER GOD

“One nation under God.”

If only that were true.

I smile as I recall a controversy that erupted in the church that my family and I attended during my youth. The challenge was over how the congregation was reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. It was an issue over what amounted to an emphasis and a comma.

Right?

The minister admonished the congregation for reciting the pledge with a notable comma between “One nation, under God.” This had the effect of placing the emphasis on “one nation” as opposed to “under God.” His invitation, which felt way more like a demand, was to take away the comma and thus the pause and to declare “One nation under God.” From that Sunday on the pledge was recited with the desired and forceful emphasis in place. No comma. No pause.

This might seem slightly silly to address with those who comprise my readership today. And yet I still vividly recall the feeling of the controversy over fifty years later. It clearly had an impact.

On this National Day of Prayer, I ponder how much an emphasis and a comma might change the way we are living as a country.

From my perspective we as a country and a culture do not live as “one nation under God.” We do not really live as “One nation, under God” either. If truth be told, we live as a divided nation that has placed God under us.

Now, let me clear that even as a minister I am all about the separation of church and state. I do not relish having a pledge to religious conformity as something that all Americans must blindly adhere to. I do not embrace demanding that all American people have to claim a belief in a “God” whatever the emphasis and with or without a comma. I personally place liberty and freedom above conformity and oath. That for me is at the very heart of what remains a possibility for democracy. A possibility that is yet to be a reality. And that just might have something to do with an energetic comma that skews a rightful emphasis.

God is one name for a Universal Principle that is the Source of All that is. It is the One thing that is actually indivisible and forever united. Geographic borders and nationality boundaries are relative at the deeper levels of experience. When religious liberty is compromised and reduced to a national demand division can be the only outcome. When one or any religion is legislated it will be used against those who do not dwell in the majority.

Source is First. Source is Causal. Source is priority. The greatest potential is in Source becoming a priority. We clearly do not have that as a guiding priority. Unless you believe in a God that divides and demands that one religion be enforced for all people. That is not my Source and will pledge no allegiance to it.

Human beings, all human beings, are relative effects within the One Cause. We are “Godlings.” God is a name, one name, for what we actually, essentially, intrinsically are. Or more accurately, IS. God is One and we IS One within It. When we forget that and live out of integrity with that Truth no good can come from it. We are seeing effects of that One Source amnesia everywhere. We could recite the Pledge of Allegiance with commas, without commas, with varying and wavering emphasis, or even standing on our heads yet until we remember that we are called to live under the authority and governance of a superior Source we will flounder, and we will fight. All people will not have equal rights. All people will not be equally honored. A pledge will take precedent over a shared humanity. A flag will wave for only a privileged some while others are diminished and maligned. They are not in the right club and so do not count.

“One nation, under God.”

“One nation under God.”

From a macro and metaphysical vantage point it is a beautiful potential.

“With liberty and justice all.”

For all.

Not for some.

Not just for those who recite the Pledge of Allegiance without a comma and with the proper emphasis. Not just for those who believe in a Christian God. Not just for those who by birth and by race are part of a privileged race and class.

One shared humanity Sourced, sustained, governed, and guided by that Source. All living in a literal Reality that All is One. All ensuring that every single person is treated with reverence, dignity, and respect. All living under the guidance of “God” and not putting “God” under the confines of ideology and even bigotry. When ideology supersedes authentic spirituality, it obscures any true liberty. Division splits apart unity. What is divided will eventually fall. It must. And we are seeing that now.

So, while I would not personally call it as such, I am all about “one nation under God.” I am all about letting Source be my governing Force. I will pledge to that without hesitation. I will not allow false gods of politics, ideologies, race, class, gender, religions to split me off from what is Essentially One. I pledge to that today and every day. I commit to pausing, comma or not, before letting any false separation divide me from what is my One Source.

We will never agree to any one religious’ form. I do not think that is even desirable. Yet perhaps we can agree to common values, governing morals, unwavering ethics, and a high-level treatment of each other that is “God-like” in its expression.

And perhaps we can agree to hold a prayer, whether or not we agree to that term, that we will awaken to the Truth of Being that we are indeed One. That freedom and liberty are indeed the birthright of all people. That we can pledge allegiance less to a flag and more to a shared state of being. That we salute each other as Godlings within this great mystery that many call God.

On this National Day of Prayer and every day.

One nation under God.

A concept becoming a reality in me.

To this I pledge.

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

GROWN UP

“What do you want to be when you grow up?”

“Grown up.”

While the preceding exchange happened multiple decades ago, I recall it vividly. The question was directed at me many times during my youth. It seemed to be a kind of icebreaker between adults and kids at the time. With mostly little in common, it was a potential meeting place for connection. I,however, recollect the feeling of being put on the spot. I felt I needed to not only have an answer. I needed to have an answer that would be acceptable and even impressive to the inquiring adult. I had endured the question several times before this particularly penetrating exchange occurred.

“What do you want to be when you grow up?”

“Grown up.”

While I guess it was a bit tongue in cheek if not directly sarcastic, my answer has become truer than ever.

I want to be grown up.

More than anything.

I want Life to grow me up. I want Life to spiral me up and forward. At this somewhat late stage in my life journey, I want to grow beyond the past stories I have told myself about myself. I will to be a living embodiment of integrity, authenticity, and maturity. I am not content to just talk about spiritual principles. I want to live FROM Principle. To court Truth as an actualized inner experience. I am not satisfied with juvenile notions of what life and spiritual living are about. As we find in sacred literature, “when I was a child I saw, spoke, acted out from a childish perspective.” I intend to spend the remainder of my days seeing, speaking, acting out from a grown-up place in consciousness. I embrace being child-like. Being childish is something altogether different.

Childhood wounding is running the show for most of humanity. Until emotional imprints are felt-through, integrated, and thus healed they will continue to run the shows we call our lives. They fuel wound-based thinking, choices, and relating. We see examples of this everywhere. People in their 30’s, 40’s, 50’s, 60’s, 70’s and beyond are still battling it out in a sandbox of other wounded kids. This from my perspective is not to be judged or made wrong. It is to be compassioned and seen for what it is: unintegrated trauma playing out as repeated and habitual drama. Situation after situation. Circumstance after circumstance. Relationship after relationship. An emotional seven-year-old in a seventy-year-old body playing out patterns that never got resolved. And never will be resolved until some deep and mature and yes, grown-up inner work is done.

I can clearly only speak for myself, but deep and mature and yes, grown up inner work is my purpose and has proven to be my redemption.

The less time I realize I have before me the more urgency my desire to live as a grown up has become. While I am clear that maturity is not a matter of age, time in this regard has proven to be my friend. The time I have to remain on this planet and in this incarnation is far less than the time I have already spent here. I spent more time than I care to report in childish self-absorption. My personal diminishing imprints cried out to finally be recognized, accepted, approved of, and loved. The little boy who was repeatedly rejected, bullied, judged, made wrong struggled to grow up beyond that. The old stories of that wounded young boy were as experiential quicksand. My development was arrested, my growth stunted. The emotional body is ageless. The child can be in charge for a lifetime, regardless of the adult activities we also engage in. As I began to self-realize this, I at first attempted to rid myself of this often tantrum- driven child. Yet it was not until I learned to allow the grown-up part of me to deal with the child part of me that things began to change. I needed to bring the recognition, acceptance, approval, and love to that wounded inner child. Shaming what had been repeatedly shamed served nothing. I needed to be the loving grown-up I had always sought. The adult self-needed to be in charge of the show.

So, here I am at sixty-five. I am not all that I had hoped I would be at this point. Yet I have dedicated myself to a life of spiritual awakening and compassionate service. I constantly allow for and follow an impulse within me that I know to be Source seeking to grow me up. While way less frequently I can still find myself captured by an old imprint. I can feel an internal tantrum brewing. I rarely act out on those impulses at this point. I don’t have to because I have learned to deal with my child-self from a grown-up perspective. I have also learned to deal with other people’s “trauma-dramas” from a mature and understanding place as well. Not always. And it is a process. My child internally speaks first and loudest. And then my grown up takes the lead. My grown-up heads into prayer and response rather than tantrum and reaction. The pause between stimulus and reaction has grown substantially. And so have I.

What do I want to be when I grow up?

More grown up.

One of my favorite quotes from the Talmud is “above every blade of grass is an angel whispering GROW.”

Above and within me there is a host of angels always whispering to me “grow, Taylor.” Grow up, forward Taylor.” “Not just for you. For all beings.”

I love that. I listen to that. I move with that.

So, I guess that long ago retort has become my reality.

What I wanted to be is what I actually am.

Grown-up.

Wednesday, April 13, 2022

RADICAL EXPRESSION?

Do I live, love, and express as radically as I profess to? As I am called to? As I know I am meant to?

It is an ongoing inquiry that is far more a process than it is an answer.

I began writing this blog (in this form) in February of 2008. I was in the final months of a much needed and intensely revealing sabbatical. I previously had answered an inner call to cease leading an interfaith community that I had co-founded several years earlier. It was my passion and my sole source of income. I was taking a walk one beautiful morning when an inner voice clearly, unmistakably, and unequivocally told me it was time to stop doing what I had been doing. I was startled, baffled, and more than a bit frightened. And all of those feelings did not deter me from moving with thed guidance.

I stopped.

For me that was radical faith.

It made no earthly sense at all. There was no drama and no problems in my community. It was relatively small in numbers, yet it was vast in love and solvent in supply. And I knew that I knew the guidance was clear. It was as clear as was the guidance to begin the venture. As ancient wisdom teaches, for everything there is a season. The season began. And the season was ending.

After an extended period of sabbatical, it was clear that my heart and intuition were leading me to work independently at my vocation. I guest spoke at various spiritual communities. I did spiritual counseling, coaching, and direction. I wrote. I to this day do not know how I was able to support myself. It was a “loaves-fishes” dynamic that I do not feel the need to figure out. I always had what I needed when I needed it.

For me that was radical provision.

I truly loved working independently. I set my schedule and worked when it felt organic. I traveled some. I intensified my practice. I felt free. I followed my guidance faithfully. The faithful guidance was my provision.

It was for me a radical way to live and to serve.

It was not without its challenges. Lifelong patterns came into starker clarity. I have never had a confident personality. Early wounding and trauma could throw me into radical recoil which then blocked my intended radical expression. It was a dance for sure. And not always graceful. And yet in a different usage of the word it was always Graced. By grace the wounding could slow me down, yet it never stopped me. I felt an intense need to put my gifts out there, even though I knew that when I did, they would be evaluated and judged. Another lifelong pattern. People have always felt free to critique, define, and judge me. With my imprinting the last thing I would think I would do would be to pick expressions that set me up for scrutiny. And yet that is what I have done for decades.

For me that was radical courage.

So, since 2008 I have written a blog called Radical Expression. I have never really promoted it, and to say I have a modest following is generous. I know that I am not a great writer, yet that has never been my goal. I write about my experiences in hopes that my honest if imperfect meanderings might touch another heart. I have always placed authenticity above messages that I think will fit in. I write in much the same way that I lecture. I am not interested or governed by what I suspect people want to hear. I write and lecture about what I intuit people NEED to hear.

When I have really put myself out there, I often am met with a quick and cold feeling “unsubscribe.” I wince. I feel it in my gut and heart. I watch the commentary that says, “I will never write again.” I have sometimes taken breaks while I attend to my hurting heart. And then I feel and heed the impulse to write again. I sense an uncharacteristic bravery that risks expressing in the face of impending criticism. I trust the guidance. I trust I can sustain the minimizing commentary. I trust that I can become more when others seek to make me feel less. I have learned that often the more honest and candid I am the less popular the missives. I do not write to be popular. I write to be real.

For me that is radical trust.

When I stopped leading my interfaith community, I knew it was a critical demarcation. When I started working and writing independently, I know I was at another demarcation. When I stopped working independently to lead a Unity community, I know it was yet another Rubicon along my way. I made no attempt to figure it out or run it through my personal preferences. I said yes when my personality-self wanted to scream no! I knew and trusted it was the next right expression for me to give way to.

For me that was and is radical acceptance.

And as I rapidly approach a milestone birthday something radical is stirring within me. It is yet to be a definite direction. I am leaning into the stirring. I am embracing the impulse. I am confident with the current lack of clarity. I am surfing the waves of faithfulness, provision, service, courage, trust, acceptance. I know that when it is time to make a move, I will know it. I know that I will operate from faith even if there is fear. I will trust the orchestration that flows freely from a wholehearted yes.

Truth be told, I feel as if my most radical expression is yet to be. Blog or not, my greatest gift is yet to be given. Criticism or not, I will continue to stand up, stand out, and in my own unique and imperfect way radically express.

Radical expression?

Radical expression!

Thursday, April 7, 2022

REAL RETIREMENT

I am more than ready to retire.

I am two weeks away from turning sixty-five.

Please spare me the “age is just a number” pith.

I am two weeks away from turning sixty-five. I have not yet moved far enough beyond shock to know how I really feel about that.

Eons ago when I was young the vast majority of people turning sixty-five retired. It was mostly synonymous. The sixty-fifth birthday party was closely followed by the retirement party. Medicare and Social Security were both available at sixty-five. The age did seem to hold more weight in terms of being “old.” I guess culturally retirement and old age were achieved together.

So, as of April 1st I became a Medicare recipient.

Whoa.

I am not, however, eligible for full Social Security benefits until the age of sixty-six and six months.

I do not seem to have a particular feeling about that, though it may be in the same shock-container as is my upcoming digit.

I do not write until I am willing to be honest and authentic. So let me be real with you.

I have for the past few months seriously contemplated retiring, full SS benefits or not. I know that I have made prudent choices that would allow for a more modest yet secure living situation with or without a fulltime salary. My husband is retired, or more accurately, disabled. He does receive benefits that far exceed what I will ever qualify for.

Having said that, those facts are not the issue when I contemplate retiring.

I am currently employed fulltime. My “job” is really my vocation. It is clearly for me a calling. My quest for spiritual awakening is what is most important for me hands down. Leaving a legacy of love and compassion is my highest priority. The fact that I am paid to apply and demonstrate my highest calling has been and remains remarkable. I get paid to “God!”

I get paid to “God!”

That is crazy wild. Me. Imperfect, sometimes unconscious, often unskillful me.

Wow.

Now, there are aspects of what I do that I would prefer not to do. During these two long years of pandemic and distancing I mentally quit my job several times a week. I also knew I would never leave a congregation during such trying and tumultuous times. That would never have happened. It would have been so far from my integrity I could not have lived with a decision to walk away.

Now that Covid seems to be subsiding, and I am turning sixty-five, revisiting the option of retiring has more concretely surfaced.

I have made no definitive decision. Yet.

The inquiry is proving to be remarkably fruitful, even two weeks out from the leap to full senior citizen status.

I have reformulated what retirement means for me.

Whether or not I continue to remain in fulltime employment I am retiring from many of the stresses I have placed upon myself. I am clear that I have nothing left I need to prove. I am retiring from other people’s opinions and evaluations of me. Professionally. Personally. I am through with the” trying to fit in-be approved of” hustle. It exhausts me. Though I know it originates in me I also use the mirror of how others react-respond to my expression as a way of becoming more autonomous and self-referred. More inner directed. Stronger if not always wiser. I have reached a point which for me came with age that I know deeply that your opinion of me is none of my business.

I am finding a freedom with aging that I never dreamed was possible. I thought the opportunities would lessen. Physically I suppose they have. Not spiritually. Not emotionally. Not in my vocational expression. I am becoming more alive and more expansive. More vital and passionate. With less time left I am far more intentional about how I use it. And way more grateful. Grateful to still be here. Grateful to have expanding awareness and choice. My internal possibilities are soaring.

Foundational to what I do is what I am. The more awake to what I am the more passionately and directly I imbue what I do.

And I cannot retire from what I am.

So, I am not waiting until my birthday to retire the self-diminishing stories that remain. I am not waiting until after I blow out the candles to breathe in the breadth of what I am. I am not waiting to open my presents to give the gift of me. Full out. Out loud. Bold. Fearless. If not fearless not held back by fear.

I know the form of my vocation will change. It will happen regardless of Medicare, Social Security, age, or intellectual decision. I trust Life will show me when to end this current modality and flow into the next. I truly, deeply trust that.

And I also know that I am retiring from effort. From outer identification. From fitting in. From your opinions and more importantly from my own. You can tell stories about me and I remain free.

Not that ultimately, I need to, but I have earned the right to decide my experience. I have worked hard. On myself. Whether or not that was the wisest choice it has been the choice I repeatedly made. I have regrets for sure. Yet I am crystal clear that I have done the very best I could. And that is good enough for me.

So, consider me retired.

From the job of trying to be me.

Saturday, March 26, 2022

INSIDE THE EGG

So this morning I dropped an egg while preparing brunch. Hitting the tile floor it scattered everywhere. After exclaiming my favorite expletive, inherited from my mother for just such occasions, I had a couple rapid fire aha’s.

One that I feel compelled to share is silly and illogical. While exclaiming my mom-word I simultaneously had a fleeting thought of “why do eggs have to break?”

Duh…

This was immediately followed by the internal answer that eggs are like hearts. Our hearts are often encased by a protective shell. This protects the realness of what we are. It is there while the feeling heart grows stronger. While it develops what it needs to come forth and stand strong. This happens naturally and in an evolutionary way. When we learn we are strong and resilient, when we no longer need to keep a shell around our hearts, the shell cracks and falls away.

Sometimes this happens by seeming force. We are relationally dropped and we feel like we splatter everywhere. And all the kings horses and all the kings men cannot put us back together again.

So we exclaim and we rant. We look at the mess. And we cry and we grieve and we eventually forgive. We clean up the mess and we recollect the precious interior of what is most real. And we deeply know that the shell is not the egg. It’s the inside that is our true Being. We needed the shell.

Until we didn’t.

We must break open to let the realness emerge. It sometimes seems to have happened too soon. That is traumatic. And it is the path for some of us. I was dropped early in life. My sense of being scattered everywhere was as illogical as is this illustration. I developed a harder more unbreakable shell. Or so I thought. I tried in vain to become unbreakable. I tried to pick people who wouldn’t drop me.

It didn’t work.

It has taken me many decades to realize what was meant to protect me (shell) kept me from the realness of what I am.(inner egg) I still get dropped but I don’t confuse it with the reality of me.

I recognize that my heart doesn’t break. Only the protective shell breaks.

What is real and true and unbreakable is inside of me. What I essentially am is an ever evolving inner being. I may get dropped but my authentic Self doesn’t splatter.

Being dropped and seeing some splatter and hearing an expletive is a relative experience. It is part of the development of Truth becoming true.

I am the egg I am not the shell.

So grateful.

Wednesday, March 16, 2022

BIAS

Belief and bias have the power to move mountains and part seas. Perhaps to even raise the dead.

And it seems to require a lifelong quest to bring to conscious awareness what our beliefs and biases are.

If there is one thing I have grown certain of in this lifetime it is that we are always look at what we are looking with. Each of us was carefully and tribally programmed to see “reality” in a certain way. That programming is the prescription through which we see. I placed “reality” in quotations because reality is a subjective experience. Our beliefs and our biases are literally the lens through which we see ourselves, each other, and the world. This “seeing of “reality” does not mean that what we are looking at and feel so certain about is true. In fact, it rarely is. We are looking at the effects of our own programming and conditioning. We are always looking for what we are looking with. To be unconscious of this is to be captive to it. To not know that how you see is what is creating your suffering is to remain in bondage.

What we Essentially are does not change. What we Essentially are does not need to change. It is True. It is beyond belief or bias. It cannot be affected by the stories we tell or the perceptions we hold. It is Truth that is forever True.

What does need to be changed is our erroneous core beliefs and the biases we look through. It is bias and belief that evolve. It is how we see what we see. It is the prescription in the lens of consciousness. We all have a mostly unconscious sense of self that is emotionally imprinted and mentally programmed. We look through it and believe that what we see is out there.

It is not.

Alright, the forms are certainly out there. The meaning that is applied to them is in fact in here. It is how we meet the out there, in here, that is everything to our experience. What I say about something determines my experience of it. What I say literally goes. We were created to be self-determining. Self-referred. We are here to literally and co-creatively word our worlds. When we grow to a place where we can consciously name something we can then claim it. Tame it. The outer then has no authority over us. We get a clear sense of our beliefs. Our biases. We understand that we look at life through them. If something is bringing resistance and suffering, we don’t rush to judge and change the outer. We go immediately to the inner.

This is the foundation of authentic power.

We are designed to decide and to choose our moment-by-moment experience. Until we understand what our current prescription is we cannot change it. To understand our prescription, we must be willing to own our part in how we see. We must also have the courage to be willing to be mistaken. We must be willing to detach from the programming of our tribe, and to stand strong in choosing a higher and more expansive way. We must risk autonomy. We cannot fit in and evolve. It can feel frightening to challenge our beliefs and question our biases. It could cost us our place in the tribal system.

And that is what courage and bravery are all about.

I have never been clearer about how I was imprinted and programmed. I have never been clearer about my sense of self. I have never had such clarity about the fallacy of so much that I was taught. While it was not intended to hurt me my beliefs and biases have largely done just that. They disempowered me and kept me playing small for much of my life. I projected that sense of sense outward, and it became my world. My reality.

I suffered from me.

Now that I can distinguish the belief and bias from what I truly am and how I am seeing what I am seeing my world is radically changing.

Radically.

Discomfort and discontent are now internal sirens letting me know my prescription needs to be questioned. If I continue to run the program, suffering will be my equivalent reaction. I am invited to question what I am saying about what is occurring. I am implored to make a distinction between belief and reality. Bias and what is true. Cause and effect. Between my actual I am and the conditional me. Discomfort is an internal pointer to distortion. To gain clarity I must go to the projector, not to the screen.

Whatever is occurring externally it is my birthright to determine what I make it mean. And what I make it mean will determine my reality.

Now, I am not saying that disturbing things don’t happen in our world. I am not saying that people do not berate and slime each other. Life is always unfolding via Law, and that outpicturing can be painful and unskillful for sure. Yet the power to overcome is always in how we choose to be in response. How we see in a visionary way. How we challenge programs we are running. What apps we have open. How we name our experience is how we choose to claim authority. In this way we tame the wild lizard inside. Left unexamined it will wreak havoc in our energy systems. It will self-disturb and then unconsciously react.

From my former rather fragile sense of self I completely believed my own core beliefs. I saw mirrored all around me my biases reflected as situations, circumstances, and relationships. I believed the stories that I was streaming. I buckled under and identified with the web I was weaving. I believed your biases about me and hustled to change myself to accommodate and please you.

I rarely do that anymore.

Your beliefs and biases about me are not about me. And my beliefs and biases about you are all up to me. I do not need to change to fit your beliefs. And you do not need to change to assuage my biases.

That, my friends, is freedom. It is liberation in the truest sense. The clearer I become about my beliefs and biases and how they are my lens of reality the more wakefully I may respond to yours.

I am always looking at what I am looking with.

I am always looking for what I will always find. It is perceptual. It is the mystical meaning of “seek and you will find.” Change what you are looking with and you will change what you are looking for. And that literally changes everything.

I am aware that if you are reading these words, you are doing so through a lens of belief. You have a bias through which you experience this. Those are completely independent of what I am actually saying. You are reading through an expectation of what you think I will say. It may or may not be accurate. Your experience is most certainly colored by your lens of perception.

I am aware that as I intuit and as I type I do so awake to a lens of how I think this will be received. It is my self-belief made conscious. I see and feel it, and yet I do not believe or identify with it. My bias says not many will read, agree, and affirm this. That is how I was imprinted and programmed. That is a perception that is directly related to my sense of self. It disempowers me and limits my creative expression and my ability to effectively serve.

And I no longer am held captive by it.

And so, I continue to write, trusting the impulse from which this missive flows. An impulse that is transcendent of belief or bias. A creative urge that is vaster than my sense of self. Clearer than the lens through which I see.

Now that I have a clear and adaptive sense of what my biases and beliefs are they no longer have me.

And now my reality is truly up to me. I can move the mountains and part the seas that inside of me.

I can even raise the dead.

I do so by rising above the deadening beliefs and biases that kept me in a tomb of my own making.

Now what I call reality is what I decide that it will be. I am largely and increasingly free to determine my experience.

That is another way to say that I am free. And free is what I was born to be.

Thursday, March 10, 2022

SUNFLOWERS

I confess that sunflowers have never been my favorite flower.

Until now.

Without getting bogged down in the historical detail’s sunflowers have emerged as a symbol for what is occurring in the devastated country of Ukraine. Sunflowers had been planted decades ago on the site of a nuclear reactor by both Ukrainian and Russian defense ministers. They were planted to symbolize the commitment to never allowing a nuclear confrontation to occur.

Awe, that the planting could be recreated today.

Sunflowers traditionally also represent joy, optimism, peace, longevity, and devotion. Sunflowers are said to bring more joy to people than any other flower.

At the risk of being criticized for oversimplifying or minimizing I believe we could do well to plant more sunflowers. To cultivate the qualities of what they represent. To gift others with bouquets of sun-blossoms, especially those who may trouble us. Whenever we are tempted to lash out, we could give sunflowers instead.

Silly?

Maybe.

And maybe a little bit of silliness would do us all a little good.

There is something universally powerful happening now as embodied within the Ukrainian invasion. It is deeply tragic and personal to those living directly in it. It is ghastly in terms of what is being visited upon these people. I could never convey it in words.

There is also a level of courage, bravery, heroism that is truly superhuman. As devious as the authoritarian occupation is, the Ukrainian response is indescribably and almost overwhelmingly brilliant in its bravery. Everyday citizens are taking up arms and literally risking everything to protect their homeland. It is a perfect outpicturing of the David and Goliath dynamic. As massive as is the Russian military it is no match to the spirit of these courageous people. We are seeing a profound playing out of good versus evil. It is personal, yet it is also archetypal and universal. It is a lesson for all who choose to pay attention and learn. There is a force deep inside of me that is responding in ways that are as unmistakable as they are surprising. No, shocking. A suppressed warmonger has come out of hiding. My pacifist has stepped behind my warrior. Every time I see a sobbing child, a grieving mother, a bombed out home I feel grief and also rage. The torment of the Ukrainians tears at my heart. My empathy and compassion expand with every devastating news report. And so does my anger.

The last thing I feel like doing is planting sunflowers.

Volodymyr Zelensky is proving himself to be a master gardener.

Zelensky’s bravery, strength, fortitude, leadership are at least for me stunning to behold. He grows not more weary but more wondrous with every attack. A former entertainer he matches the worst of human impulse with the best of the human response. He is fiery for sure. The fire is an intense flame of justice that lights the way for his people and his country. Another surprise for me personally is the level at which he deeply inspires me. I pray and I root for him and his people several times throughout each day.

And so sunflowers are rapidly becoming my favorite flower.

I will plant some in solidarity with the Ukrainian people. I will look for opportunities to give bouquets in celebration of all they represent. I will embrace the profound feelings this invasion is evoking in me. I will allow the pacifist and the warmonger to coexist in a broadening responsiveness. I will pray. And I will pray. And I will pray.

I close with a news report that quite literally took my breath away. This may well be a bit too raw for some of my dear readers. Read on if you dare.

The report was about a Ukrainian woman who approached a Russian soldier who was standing guard in one of the captured villages. The woman gave the solider a handful of sunflower seeds. She calmly told him to put the seeds in his pocket, so that when Ukrainian forces killed him, and he was buried, the flowers would come to bloom.

Writing this description fills me with as many contradicting feelings as when I first saw the report.

I do not wish death upon the Russian soldiers. I do not lose sight of their humanity as despicable as I find the behaviors.

I do not denigrate or heroize the Ukrainian woman.

Yet I do find the imagery stunning.

It made me want to put sunflower seeds in my pocket. It made me want to live in such a way that even after I die beauty will flower as my legacy. While I will leave instructions to be cremated the vision of being buried so that flowers will grow from my deterioration is appealing. I indeed want more joy, optimism, peace, longevity, and devotion to grow in my stead. I want to be a garden now, so that nourishing others is my lasting gift to the collective humanity.

I never see war as an intelligent solution. Neither do I see warring against war as being a viable path to peace.

And right now, this is where we are. We are still at a level of consciousness where maintaining peace, liberty, freedom for all must be fought for. Oh, that it were different.

I send waves of compassion and love to the Ukrainian people and to the Russian forces caught in this mire. I do not wish death on any of them.

I send them peace.

And as I pray, I plant a patch of sunflowers.

May this tragedy be ended before my flowers have a chance to grow.

Tuesday, March 1, 2022

TENSION OF THE UNSPOKEN

I always thought that it was what I was saying that left me feeling exhausted.

Partially true.

I am finding more and more that it is what I am NOT saying that is the source of my disempowerment.

And disempowerment is exactly what it is.

I am going to try to keep this as brief as I can while also maintaining meaningfulness.

The Power of Life is given to us by virtue of our creation. The Power within us is always seeking to be made whole. It is co-creative, dynamic, and presents as the Word. This is not word in the traditional sense. It is Word as Co-creative Principle declared into experience. It is literally Word becoming incarnate. A felt-imbued Word is literally a Force of nature.

Humans possess self-reflecting consciousness and as a result can consciously word our worlds. That is awakened consciousness at its best. Having said that we each have a habitual commentary, a narrative that is constantly running through our minds. We are always commenting on what is. What we seldom realize is that our commentary determines our experience of what is. The commentary is never Truth and is rarely even true. We are meaning making machines. What we say, goes. Most of it is lies. Yet we think it is our truth. It is the nature of consciousness. It is meant to consciously flow from center to circumference. We are meant to use the Power of our words to co-create the best experience possible. “In the beginning is the Word” is a literal Truth within us. When something occurs that disturbs us, we are meant to meet it with an awakened awareness that knows it is a misuse of Word that can be changed. Not out there. In here.

Everything originates in here.

Almost all of us talk about things that we do not want to be true. Problem is when we describe we prescribe. To pour attention on something as you talk about it is a prophesy. What we focus on is a movie of coming attractions. As ancient Truth teaches our “words go forth and do not return empty.” The Word is a force of consciousness that goes forth, is acted upon by the Law, and returns as our experience. This is always happening at the individual and at the collective level. When many people talk about the same thing, we call it reality. It is, but only by virtue of our agreement.

Our opinion of that is irrelevant. It is Law.

While it is a point of triggering for many people the power of confession is a transformative part of this unfolding process. I do not mean confession in terms of entering a booth and talking to a priest. Confession is a conscious act of speaking of what is troubling or disturbing for the sake of redeeming the energy. It involves the acknowledgment that circumstances are in some way a product of our words. It shares with another the emotional reactions that are moving inside of us. It claims ownership for the experience. It allows a trusted other to witness this process for the sake of transforming it. We are called to share what we are thinking, feeling, experiencing. Not to make it more solid. To allow it to become more fluid.

Because an infinitesimal number of people are owning the power of the co-creative word it is being collectively misused. “Fake news” is running rampant. Our words are used to diminish ourselves and dehumanize others. We speak of what we don’t want and then blame the circumstances on others. This is the foundation of the disempowerment previously mentioned. We humans are making the messes, and then not owning that it is we who doing it. We project our unconscious word-stories on those we disagree with. It is the perfect scenario to perpetuate the stories.

Okay, this may not be so brief.

There is enormous Power in focused, collective consciousness. When “two or more are gathered” and put forth harmonic Words transformation must ensue. It is Law. What we are seeing as reality today is a critical mass of people collectively misusing the power of the word. The Law is working perfectly. The problem is in the words we are putting forth. The even deeper challenge is very few are choosing to forgive at a Causal level.

Part of the power of confession is to speak truthfully about the relative experience that is outpicturing. It is describing what is unfolding in honest and fearless terms. It is value based. It is using words in service of Truth. It is calling out lies. It is courageously speaking Truth which IS power. It is speaking up even when it is scary and conflict-inducing. It feels risky indeed.

And it is not nearly as risky as remaining silent.

I freely admit that I have misused words countless times during my lifetime. I frequently fall into the trap of prophesying what I do not want to flow forth. I am much more awake to this than I used to be. And I have room to grow for sure.

As the leader of a spiritual community, I am acutely aware of how I am responsible for how my words affect those I serve. There are many things I feel prompted to call out in service of what I see as a greater Truth. There are ideologies playing out that violate my personal value system. Our planet is being pilfered and people are being dehumanized. Rights are being stolen. People are being needlessly tormented and even extinguished. This is clearly from my perspective. And I have a right to live from what feels true and contributing for me.

While I love expressing my vocation as I am blessed to do, I also feel a growing tension between what I feel called to say and how that will land with congregants of dystonic perspectives. I feel an increasing dissonance inside of me between what I personally want to say, and the responsibility I have to minister to all people. I often feel a ball of energy sticking in my throat, a suppressed word that is seeking to come forth. I also know that what is true for me is only true for me. I do not speak for the board of directors, the staff, or the congregation. I can choose to try and only speak what is light, breezy. And that has never been my truth. I am a messenger of Truth to the best of my ability. And I am unmistakably called to speak about what gets in the way of that Truth.

This tension between free expression and community responsibility is the source of my tiredness. Not calling out what I feel needs to be called out is quite frankly, exhausting. I sincerely believe that we are to use Principle in intensely practical ways. We are to use our words to call out lies and to proclaim Truth into being. It has to be both. We are to convert “fake news” into Faith news.

And so today I am writing about this tension, knowing I open myself to public opinion and other evaluations. I am willing to take that risk. I know there is a part of me that is called to continue to serve a community while also feeling the inherent limitations of it. And I embrace the very clear part of me that longs to only be responsible for what I am called to say. To be responsible for my words. For the impact they have. For the contribution I can make. I welcome the tension, and beyond willing to learn from it.

It has been the words I have been withholding that has disempowered me. That I know for sure. My silence has been collusion. I am clear that I must find a way to internalize and integrate what seeks to express while also honoring if not always respecting opposing forces to my values and spiritual Truths. I am only here to speak for myself. And I am still called to speak to others. I trust that the tension between those dynamics is going to birth my next right expression.

Whether or not you agree with what I say I hope you will respect my right to say it. And if not, I bless you while continuing to speak my Truth.

Out loud. I always thought that it was what I was saying that left me feeling exhausted.

Partially true.

I am finding more and more that it is what I am NOT saying that is the source of my disempowerment.

And disempowerment is exactly what it is.

I am going to try to keep this as brief as I can while also maintaining meaningfulness.

The Power of Life is given to us by virtue of our creation. The Power within us is always seeking to be made whole. It is co-creative, dynamic, and presents as the Word. This is not word in the traditional sense. It is Word as Co-creative Principle declared into experience. It is literally Word becoming incarnate. A felt-imbued Word is literally a Force of nature.

Humans possess self-reflecting consciousness and as a result can consciously word our worlds. That is awakened consciousness at its best. Having said that we each have a habitual commentary, a narrative that is constantly running through our minds. We are always commenting on what is. What we seldom realize is that our commentary determines our experience of what is. The commentary is never Truth and is rarely even true. We are meaning making machines. What we say, goes. Most of it is lies. Yet we think it is our truth. It is the nature of consciousness. It is meant to consciously flow from center to circumference. We are meant to use the Power of our words to co-create the best experience possible. “In the beginning is the Word” is a literal Truth within us. When something occurs that disturbs us, we are meant to meet it with an awakened awareness that knows it is a misuse of Word that can be changed. Not out there. In here.

Everything originates in here.

Almost all of us talk about things that we do not want to be true. Problem is when we describe we prescribe. To pour attention on something as you talk about it is a prophesy. What we focus on is a movie of coming attractions. As ancient Truth teaches our “words go forth and do not return empty.” The Word is a force of consciousness that goes forth, is acted upon by the Law, and returns as our experience. This is always happening at the individual and at the collective level. When many people talk about the same thing, we call it reality. It is, but only by virtue of our agreement.

Our opinion of that is irrelevant. It is Law.

While it is a point of triggering for many people the power of confession is a transformative part of this unfolding process. I do not mean confession in terms of entering a booth and talking to a priest. Confession is a conscious act of speaking of what is troubling or disturbing for the sake of redeeming the energy. It involves the acknowledgment that circumstances are in some way a product of our words. It shares with another the emotional reactions that are moving inside of us. It claims ownership for the experience. It allows a trusted other to witness this process for the sake of transforming it. We are called to share what we are thinking, feeling, experiencing. Not to make it more solid. To allow it to become more fluid.

Because an infinitesimal number of people are owning the power of the co-creative word it is being collectively misused. “Fake news” is running rampant. Our words are used to diminish ourselves and dehumanize others. We speak of what we don’t want and then blame the circumstances on others. This is the foundation of the disempowerment previously mentioned. We humans are making the messes, and then not owning that it is we who doing it. We project our unconscious word-stories on those we disagree with. It is the perfect scenario to perpetuate the stories.

Okay, this may not be so brief.

There is enormous Power in focused, collective consciousness. When “two or more are gathered” and put forth harmonic Words transformation must ensue. It is Law. What we are seeing as reality today is a critical mass of people collectively misusing the power of the word. The Law is working perfectly. The problem is in the words we are putting forth. The even deeper challenge is very few are choosing to forgive at a Causal level.

Part of the power of confession is to speak truthfully about the relative experience that is outpicturing. It is describing what is unfolding in honest and fearless terms. It is value based. It is using words in service of Truth. It is calling out lies. It is courageously speaking Truth which IS power. It is speaking up even when it is scary and conflict-inducing. It feels risky indeed.

And it is not nearly as risky as remaining silent.

I freely admit that I have misused words countless times during my lifetime. I frequently fall into the trap of prophesying what I do not want to flow forth. I am much more awake to this than I used to be. And I have room to grow for sure.

As the leader of a spiritual community, I am acutely aware of how I am responsible for how my words affect those I serve. There are many things I feel prompted to call out in service of what I see as a greater Truth. There are ideologies playing out that violate my personal value system. Our planet is being pilfered and people are being dehumanized. Rights are being stolen. People are being needlessly tormented and even extinguished. This is clearly from my perspective. And I have a right to live from what feels true and contributing for me.

While I love expressing my vocation as I am blessed to do, I also feel a growing tension between what I feel called to say and how that will land with congregants of dystonic perspectives. I feel an increasing dissonance inside of me between what I personally want to say, and the responsibility I have to minister to all people. I often feel a ball of energy sticking in my throat, a suppressed word that is seeking to come forth. I also know that what is true for me is only true for me. I do not speak for the board of directors, the staff, or the congregation. I can choose to try and only speak what is light, breezy. And that has never been my truth. I am a messenger of Truth to the best of my ability. And I am unmistakably called to speak about what gets in the way of that Truth.

This tension between free expression and community responsibility is the source of my tiredness. Not calling out what I feel needs to be called out is quite frankly, exhausting. I sincerely believe that we are to use Principle in intensely practical ways. We are to use our words to call out lies and to proclaim Truth into being. It has to be both. We are to convert “fake news” into Faith news.

And so today I am writing about this tension, knowing I open myself to public opinion and other evaluations. I am willing to take that risk. I know there is a part of me that is called to continue to serve a community while also feeling the inherent limitations of it. And I embrace the very clear part of me that longs to only be responsible for what I am called to say. To be responsible for my words. For the impact they have. For the contribution I can make. I welcome the tension, and beyond willing to learn from it.

It has been the words I have been withholding that has disempowered me. That I know for sure. My silence has been collusion. I am clear that I must find a way to internalize and integrate what seeks to express while also honoring if not always respecting opposing forces to my values and spiritual Truths. I am only here to speak for myself. And I am still called to speak to others. I trust that the tension between those dynamics is going to birth my next right expression.

Speaking the Truth that is true for me both boldly and compassionately re-empowers me. It is my Word going forth to make a better world. It is speaking Truth which IS power.

Whether or not you agree with what I say I hope you will respect my right to say it. And if not, I bless you while continuing to speak my Truth.

Out loud.