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.

Thursday, February 17, 2022

DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER

While I did not realize it at the time, I used to seriously confuse quantity and quality.

Take diamonds, for instance.

I have always loved diamonds. My birthstone is diamond. I am drawn to light, and I am attracted to sparkle.

For much of my life I could not afford to buy diamonds.

To adorn myself with gems of light and sparkle, I treated myself to the alternative I could afford.

Rhinestones.

While embarrassing to admit I wore too many rhinestones, while when asked, professed that they were real.

Stay with me.

I pretended to myself that they were real. When I discovered cubic zirconia, I was thrilled, as those gemstones appeared even more genuine. There was an unconscious equation between worth and the sparkle that adorned my physicality. I pretended to believe that I deserved diamonds, and so I bought large quantities of fake adornments just so I could flash and shine and appear to be appropriately accessorized for a person of my caliber.

Oy.

Rhinestones and cubic zirconia do not have the strength or durability of diamonds. They cannot sustain time, wear, or chemicals. They can not stand up to the rigors of authentic gemstones. They would eventually discolor and lose their luster. Stones would loosen and fall out. As the years went by, I began to prefer no jewelry to artificial jewelry.

I began to prefer no jewelry to artificial jewelry.

My first real diamonds were gifts.

I still could not personally afford diamonds, which made the gifts even more precious. They represented to me objects of love and generosity. They were real, as were the relationships from which they were bestowed. Or at least they seemed to be. The jewels outlasted the relationships, and I eventually sold the gems. They still had plenty of sparkle, yet they also represented plenty of pain.

Now I can afford a few diamonds, though most of my jewelry remain gifts. I have real diamonds, and I admit to loving to see them shine. I do not have the volume of diamonds that I did rhinestones. Yet the diamonds are real and can sustain any amount of time, wear, and chemical.

The same is true of my relationships.

Though I am a lifelong introvert I went through periods in my lifetime when I accumulated acquaintances that at the time, I called my friends. In my younger days I especially courted so called important people, thinking it somehow gave me clout and gravitas. Now I see I was collecting rhinestone relationships, cubic zirconia’s that I called my friends.

Let me be clear that I am not referring to the depth of people. I am not describing what is Truth. I am describing a certain level of relationship that I thought would add sparkle to my life. I frequently suspected that they had no depth or reality. I at the time could not “afford” the process I would have to endure to be authentic and open to more priceless relating. The cost of meaningful, sustainable relationship is high. And it is the most priceless of gifts.

Over time, wear, and challenge these rhinestone relationships lost their sparkle, and proved to be unsustainable. When I needed them most, their artificiality was revealed. The quality was revealed, the shine was lost, and the relationship passed on.

Now I have perhaps fewer real friends than I do diamonds. I no longer pretend that people are friends when in fact they are not. Friendship is precious and indeed priceless to me. I do not confuse quantity with quality. I do not equate social media acquaintances with real, sustainable relationships.

I have a few high-level friends who are genuine and that have sustained the tests of time and wear. They really are of the best quality. They are multi-faceted. They add shine to my heart and to my life.

I feel no need to accumulate more friends, anymore than I feel the need for more diamonds. What I have are real. They are beyond carats that can be measured. As I think of my diamond relationships, I know how truly rich I am. They are my true birthstones, and I am grateful beyond measure. And I am clearer than ever that as I have become more real and genuine so have my connections.

These few diamonds are forever. I pray that I will add sparkle, durability, and sustainability to their lives as well. Our love will outlast time. And our challenges only add more beauty to our shared experience. Because that is the truth of diamonds. And that is the truth of my few priceless gems I call friends.

Wednesday, February 9, 2022

BEST OF BAD BEHAVIOR

We are better than this.

Clearly not.

I have heard the declarative statement with which I begin this missive any number of times in just the past two years. No matter how many times I see or hear it the assessment continues to give me pause.

We are better than this.

In order to concur with this perception, I need to do some serious internal massaging. I have seen some really bad behavior in these many months of pandemic. Racially. Socially. Politically. Medically. Individually and collectively. Some really, really bad behavior.

I watch repeated examples of bad behavior and I hear the characterization that we are better than this.

So, if we are better than this than why are we behaving so badly?

I wholeheartedly agree that our potential is better than the bad behavior being exhibited. I also strongly believe that difficult times bring out either the best or the worst of our human nature. Each and everyone of us has the potential to shine brightly or to project strong and corrosive shadows. I am sure you have witnessed this in action whether or not you would frame it the way that I am. It is easier for me to see the scope of human behavior as evidence that indeed, we are better than this. And I am seeing how different individuals react very differently to the same outer circumstances. A pandemic has ravaged our world for nearly two years. Countless people have showed up courageously, selflessly, heroically in ways that have humbled and inspired me. There seem to be an almost equal number of people who have reacted to the collective tragedy with self-interest, indifference, and rebellious or righteous contributions that have left me seriously questioning whether or not we are really better than the behaviors are indicating.

One if the myriad gifts of these observations is that I really do want to show up as my best self. I want to be better than so many of the objectional behaviors I am seeing. I pray to understand how and why people react at their worst. I seek to emulate those who become stronger, more resilient when facing individual and collective challenges. I dedicate myself to living and giving and loving fuller out during these very trying times.

I want to be able to not say but to consistently demonstrate we are indeed better than this and this is what it looks like.

While it is frequently minimized hope is a superpower in difficult times. And I remain hopeful. I am hopeful that at the level of our potential we are indeed better than this unskillful and unfortunate behavior. I know deeply that belief fuels behavior, so beliefs must be changed in order to make any substantial change in how people act. Even while I question the validity of the notion that people are better than the behaviors they are exhibiting I hold hope that it will become a lived reality. I allow myself to learn from what I have been seeing. I learn from aversion, and I learn from inspiration. I am more than willing to see people as better than their behaviors. I am willing to lend compassionate response when I see what appears to be the worst in people’s attitudes and actions.

I am willing and even passionate about allowing the worst in others to bring out the best in me.

I guess I really do hold a hopeful place in my heart that we are indeed better than the ways we sometimes show up. I know contrast to be a diligent teacher. These times of collective darkness have been a perfect context for a demonstration of the light. That light has shined forth as the best of human potential. Those demonstrations continually give me hope. They repeatedly motivate me to be more. To respond with more understanding, compassion, tenderness.

The bad behavior I see is bringing out the best in me. And for that I am deeply grateful.

Thursday, January 27, 2022

FOCUSED LIGHT

I feel an impulse to share a prayer with you today.

While I actually rarely use words in prayer outside of my vocation this is one that has resonated in my heart for years.

“Focused Source Light: Useful as me now.”

I will not elaborate much, except to say that this is a practical, transformative prayer that I seek to live out and from on a daily basis.

The words ask for nothing. They align me in what is already true. Source Light is already What I Am. I am here to fully realize Source Light as my Life, my Being, my expression, and my contribution.

Source Light is Essence consciousness. It is my original Beingness. It is always seeking to become my practical expression. It is What I Am and why I am here. When I am awake to that dynamic I feel at peace. I feel a sense of useful joy. I feel a rightness and a lightness.

“Focused Source Light: Useful as me now.”

Light is Understanding. Not intellectual understanding. Intuitive understanding that Knows and Knows that It Knows. It moves out from me as Presence. As pure Beingness. It transforms all that It shines upon. Transformation is Its usefulness. This Light sees beyond current appearances or circumstances. This Light knows the distinction between Absolute and relative. Vertical and horizontal relating. Light knows that focus energizes. Light knows that intention transforms by Being Itself. Focusing intentional Light is the greatest Force3 in this world.

And the Force of Light is already within me. As me. Now.

The impulse to share this prayer is Light within me seeking to shine. Seeking to stream. Seeking to share. Seeking to be useful.

Maybe you will feel compelled to join me in being useful Light this day.

Together we become even more useful by our joined focused Light.

And so It is.

Saturday, January 22, 2022

FREE TO CHOOSE

I have never been clearer that I incarnated largely to learn the power of freedom and of choice.

I am here to be truly free to choose. To choose my own inner experience and how my choices will always affect the whole.

As I have written and spoken about the profound symbolism of the time of Covid I will not dive too deeply into those specifics again. I truly believe that this is one of the most significant demarcation periods in human history. We have everything that we need to either destroy the planet and all of its inhabitants, or open to a quantum awakening that will result in a world of profound peace, connection, harmony, and love. I deeply believe that this is so. One of the unmistakable lessons from this pandemic that continues to be reinforced is that we really are all in this together. We are inextricably connected. Each choice that we make affects the whole.

The whole.

Every choice that each of makes affects the entire Unified field at some level. Each and every choice has consequences. It does not matter whether or not the choice is conscious. The effects are equally as powerful. We are all being beseeched by current conditions to begin to own our Inner power and to make conscious choices that benefit all beings.

May I ask you to read that preceding paragraph once again?

Every choice that each of makes affects the entire Unified field at some level. Each and every choice has consequences. It does not matter whether or not the choice is conscious. The effects are equally as powerful. We are all being beseeched by current conditions to begin to own our Inner power and to make conscious choices that benefit all beings.

Because humanity had unconsciously reached an unsustainable level of disconnection and divisiveness, that consciousness outpictured in ways we could not ignore. Our critical mass consciousness went literally viral. Our collective consciousness manifested contagiously in the physical realm. Because we did not choose to own the reality of the “Innernet” and what that means in terms of individual choice, we had to learn via disease, distancing, and death. Record numbers of individuals died because of unconscious, and tragically, even conscious choices in terms of how we related to what was happening. The simplest of heath recommendations were weaponized and politicized. Conservative estimates state that well over fifty percent of the ensuing Covid deaths could easily have been prevented. But vast numbers of people turned the effects of divisiveness and disconnection into amplified manifestations of divisiveness and disconnection. Refusal to distance in the name of safely coming back together were met with obstinance and rebellion. Suggestions were demonized and messengers were dehumanized.

Every choice that each of makes affects the entire Unified field at some level. Each and every choice has consequences. It does not matter whether or not the choice is conscious. The effects are equally as powerful. We are all being beseeched by current conditions to begin to own our Inner power and to make conscious choices that benefit all beings.

One of my most treasured values is freedom. In my youth it presented as the long-sought after freedom to do what I wanted. Not only what I wanted to do, but when I wanted to do it. I grew up in an extraordinarily strict household. I had very little personal liberty. I vowed that one day I would be free. Personal, individual, autonomous freedom. No one was going to limit my free will ever again.

Freedom remains my most treasured value. It has, however, grown from a desire for personal freedom to do what I want to an urgency for freely making choices for the good of the whole. Freedom for me remains an internal sense of autonomy, for sure. But that autonomy is in service of Something far greater than my personal self. I seek daily to question my choices, mindful that my every choice will either benefit or detract from the Greater Good. Freedom for me is being free enough to live an awakened life that sees beyond just personal preferences and desires. I desire to live in such a way that embodies the Cosmic Truth that All is One. That there is in Truth no separate self. I cannot make choices that only affect me. It defies Truth and it defies Law.

There is one of us here, and we IS it.

So, almost two years into a time of pandemic and unprecedented loss my freedom to choose has been repeatedly tested. My every preference has been triggered. I have made choice after choice that I personally did not want to make. I often feel as if my personal liberty is violated by the opposing choices of others. The temptation to fall into the deepening divisiveness has been so seductive. The allure to dehumanize has resulted in many inner battles. The impulse to throw off the mask and to drop the distancing has at times felt insurmountable. And then I remember that those temptations, allures, impulses have nothing to do with authentic freedom and choice. My essential Self will always confront the surface desires in favor of higher choices. Higher choices that benefit the All.

I freely admit that this pandemic has become beyond exhausting. It is but one effect that we are facing that disturb and challenge me on a daily basis. Though an extreme introvert I am tired of distancing and isolation. It is tormenting to witness such extreme suffering on a daily basis. I never dreamed I could survive so much death and loss in my lifetime. And yet I am clear that I am stronger, more resilient than I was when all of this started. Fortitude has become my superpower. And while not perfectly I have developed the freedom to make conscious choices. Choices that are made for the benefit of all.

Every choice that each of makes affects the entire Unified field at some level. Each and every choice has consequences. It does not matter whether or not the choice is conscious. The effects are equally as powerful. We are all being beseeched by current conditions to begin to own our Inner power and to make conscious choices that benefit all beings.

Every choice I make is consequential. Coming to know as factual is confronting and also equally liberating. Staying awake to the energy behind my choices is my most cherished freedom. While I always thought freedom was doing what I want I have learned that authentic freedom is being what I am.

Freely choosing to be what I am for the benefit of all beings.

That is what freedom and choice are all about.