The End of the World. And Beyond

Course in Miracles quote

I know there are many elated with the election results.  But most in my circles are despairing.  Or fearful.  Or both.

There’s an End of the World feeling.   We – naively – thought the world was slowly becoming a better place.   And suddenly we wake up to the fact that roughly half of our population defines “better” in a stunningly different way:  more angry, defensive. More reactionary.  More hostile and racist.  More anti-minority of every sort.

In my mind I try to grasp… how can this be better?   How can this be “great”?

In the middle of the night on election night, I had seen the direction things were going as I went to bed.  I was trying to sleep anyway, pray and think positive.   No success.

In my semi-awake state, the thought shot through me… “I’ll hear fireworks.  And it will mean Trump has won.”    NO!  I screamed inwardly and rolled over once again.   Sure enough, about 90 wakeful minutes later, I heard the loud boom of fireworks in our suburban neighborhood.  With fear in the pit of my stomach I climbed out of my dark bed (still no sleep) to check my iPhone for the results. Yes, he had passed 270 electoral votes.

Back in bed I sorted through my options… we could move to Canada.  We could move to the country – somehow, somewhere.  I began to sort through friends who might let us move there and build on a piece of their land.   I considered whether I might prefer to die, than to watch the next few months and years unfold.  Maybe the arc of history bends ever toward justice but I’m not sure I’m strong enough to wait for it.

Course in Miracles quoteThe end of the world. My mind was racing with end of the world thoughts and terrors.

But a couple of nights later, with the end-of-the-world cycle still spinning, I remembered I had been here before.   I had experienced events as a personal – or even global – end of the world.    Still, here I was, alive, and up until now, pretty happy.

To be honest, there were several over the course of my lifetime.  Someone close to me had died, and other losses and barriers.

Here is one of my most painful end-of-the-world stories.  After being single almost 10 years, I had married a man I had known only a couple of months.  My children thought he was great, and my friends were happy for me.  He was brilliant, talented, funny, colorful and really loved me.

Two days before the wedding he unexpectedly raged at me and threatened to call it off.  I was a wreck, consulted with a friend, decided to apologize and beg forgiveness.  We married.   That cycle became a pattern.  Within 6 months, under pressure from him, I had sold my home of 18 years and was living in temporary housing with him. I had closed my business and had no income because my customers were farmers, primarily men, and he considered that inappropriate.   By the end of 12 months I was living with emotional violence constantly and was afraid of physical violence.

We were living in a used RV on my business property, on a road travelled by my community daily.  My circumstances were very public for my neighbors to witness.  After weeks of prayer, tears, and a very public exposure – – I left.

I was homeless.  Jobless.  Emotionally devastated and physically sick.  Completely defeated without a clue to my future.

Humiliation was my word.  I was humiliated.  Privately.  Publicly. I took refuge in my mother’s home while she was away for the winter, left lights on 24 hours a day, and cried.

For me, it was an end-of-the-world experience.

I won’t detail the path from there to here, but I will tell you that 15 years later, I owe my joy, my spirituality, my community, my life and my wonderful (current) husband to that end-of-the-world experience.

Without that profound loss I would not have left that rural area.  I would not have met my husband Stan a few years later.  I would not be singing harmony with Stan and my dear friend Judy.  I would not know or be part of Unity and my community here in Kansas City.  Most of what I cherish now is a result of that loss and my moving out and up from there.

On my refrigerator is a faded scrap of paper that I posted in1994.  From A Course in Miracles, it reads:  The end of the world is not its destruction, but its translation into heaven.  

As I lay in bed fearing the end of the world the first nights after the election, I remembered all my own personal end-of-the-world stories, and how they played out over time.  Then that quote came back to me as well.

The end of the world is not its destruction, but its translation into heaven. 

As the winner’s victory sunk in, I imagined the next few days, weeks, months, years, and was terrified.  I read news accounts of hate crimes and hate slogans boldly splashed on walls and streets in these few days since the election results.   End-of-the-world.

But then, as my tears continued to fall, I saw other things.  I saw many friends hugging each other through tears in public places.   I saw a woman speak of her mixed race 12 year old grandson waking up terrified of what will happen to him – through her own tears.  I heard another woman speak of her child with cerebral palsy and that in her mind the video of the pres-elect’s ridicule of a handicapped person keeps playing like a bad movie.  More tears.  I heard women encouraging each of us to be where we are emotionally – to feel the despair and the fear and the anger.  I witnessed people wearing safety pins everywhere, before I even understood what they represented.  I heard of one young woman university student wearing a hijab who was verbally accosted and went back to her room fearful.  At that same university, following this incident, an administrative request for volunteers to walk students who felt afraid to class and work was answered by a hundred volunteers.

I read stories of a young man, Derek Black, heir to the white supremacy/white nationalist groups, who publicly left his father’s group and teachings, in favor of diversity and connection.

And so much more.

I woke this morning with joy in my heart.  Not joy that I was pushing myself into, or doing as a conscious spiritual practice.  This joy is the loop based on what I’m seeing in the world and feeling in myself.

I’m going out on a limb here.  If you are, like me, on a conscious spiritual path, and you have been working for, praying for, the world to wake up, to become more loving… if you are on the progressive spiritual side of the spectrum – I offer that (though I could not see this a few days ago), the progressives had to lose to answer this prayer.

The progressives had to lose for the prayer for an awakening world to be answered.

Why?

Because many of the progressives – like me and my friends – are committed to spiritual practices of consciousness, much needed-shadow work, forgiveness, meditation.  In the face of a tremendous loss, we will turn to these tools and hopefully merge them with activism.  For the most part, those of us who “lost” will not take guns or bombs and blow someone or something away.

For humanity to progress, the progressives had to lose, to recommit to the practices that will raise consciousness on the planet.  To do the work that Love must do to make the changes needed.

Perhaps even to give the hard-right the reins and see what they do with them.

My eyes must be changed to see this, but it’s really there.

The end of the world is not its destruction, but its translation into heaven. 

Election Harmony (or “Who are you?”)

Moses-Ascended Mater Card by Doreen Virtue

Election Harmony?  Well, that seems impossible.  Just the title is enough to cause scorn.    I have friends who just want the election season to be over because of the angst it is causing them.

Me too sometimes.  But I keep asking for a higher perspective.  And here’s what is coming:

Mr. Trump has unleashed the shadow side of our people.  At his rallies and in his arena it’s okay to hate, to put women, minorities, handicapped and many other groups down.  If you are not white and male you are in trouble.  Physically sometimes.

I’m appalled.  I grew up in the after-shadow of WWII and heard and read stories of the Nazis’ gradual rise to power.  I get cold sweats when I tap into the similarities with Trump’s hate-campaign.

I realize many of you don’t like Hillary, and I’m not a huge fan either – too much corporate influence.  But I would far rather have a corporate-influenced capable and kind woman, than a hateful, ignorant, trigger-happy man. His platforms have no policy content… just racism, misogyny and lies.

Her, we can work with.  Her, we can hold to the fire.

Mr. Trump?   Don’t bet on it.

The hatefulness is appalling, but in many ways, that shadow side has been underground in our country for as long as we have been a nation.   Now – it’s out in the open.

The shadow coming out into the light asks you – and me – a big question:

Who are you?

Are you the hater?

Are you the scorner?

Are you the “Make America white again” voter?

Are you the head-in-the-sand ostrich?

Are you the worrier?

Seeing the Shadow appear in this prominent a way triggers the Shadow in all of us.   Fear.  Finger pointing.  Judgement.

What I find when I answer the question, Who am I?  is my voice.  I cannot stay silent.  Whatever I care about in this land and this world is at stake. 

When I watched the Arab spring via newscasts a few years back I was moved to tears by the courage of the people who knowingly risked – and sometimes  lost – their lives for this movement towards freedom and justice.  As if, their own personal life was less important than the greater cause of justice and freedom.

We are raised on such stories, as Americans.  But are we living it?  Don’t make your politics party-line.  Pray about it.  This is not a year for stubbornness… this is a year to ask Who Am I?   What is really at stake here and what am I to do about it?                        Moses-Ascended Mater Card by Doreen Virtue

Personally –

I choose to invite, via prayer, Jesus and the angels to guide each of the candidates and each of the voters.

I choose to stand up to bullies, whether it’s in my personal world, or in the larger world.

I choose to repeatedly turn my fear about this election season over to Jesus, and ask for faith in a joyful outcome instead.

I choose to say – out loud and in writing – you, Mr. Trump and your supporters, cannot take our people back to hate and injustice.  I refuse to go and any power I have I will use.   I will use my power with respect, but not with timidity.

My hero, Bernie Sanders, fully understands the gravity of the situation. To any of my Bernie-supporting friends I would ask you… if you respect him enough to have wanted him to be President, then respect him enough to take his advice on this choice.  He is fully supporting Hillary and asks us to do so, then go on to create and demand progressive policies with integrity.

 

To vote 3rd party will give Trump an edge that may cost us our democracy and who knows what else.  The stakes are high.

The hatefulness that Trump inflames is deeply reminiscent of Hitler.  But we, the American people, are not 1930’s Germany.

We are diverse.  We are loving.  We love justice.  We can be kind.

Are we easily led, easily fooled by the media?  Are we ignorant and uncaring?

Are you willing to let Mr. Trump run over handicapped people, just because you are not handicapped?   To let him ridicule women, because you are not a woman?   To let him scorn people of color, because you are white?  And more?    He already has enough power to create waves of hatred and fear, to command the media.   If you vote for him, or let your vote mean nothing because you refuse to acknowledge the system we are in – right now – you are in agreement with his intentions by default.   You are giving him more power.

Ask yourself the hard questions this election season: Who Am I?

And please, invoke the angels and your highest spiritual teacher in the name of Love and Light.  Choose your words and your vote in the name of Love.

I’m called to speak.   Writing this brings me greater harmony.  This is part of Who I  Am.

—- Linda Chubbuck, September 2016, on RadicalHarmony.com

 

The Journey from Shame to Accountability

We are just home from a trip to England, where for various reasons, we rented a car and drove across the southern counties.  Yep, on the left side!  I was the navigator, Stan was the driver, but we were both involved in safety, directions, etc.

One thing we noticed is that – except for the time when we had a tire blowout and needed help – we never saw a police car.  None.

As Americans, we are used to the quick braking when we spot a radar trap or cop car on the overpass, or just over the hill.  Where are the cops – or bobbies – in Britain?

Instead we saw road signs with speeds posted just above a camera image.  And “HUMP” signs followed by a very large bump in the road – all over, especially around dangerous areas.

After several days we asked a British friend about the no-traffic-police thing.

He told us that in Britain, the belief is that society is best served when police are building relationships with the community, not “policing” the people – rather assisting the people.   As to traffic and safety, country-wide speed limits apply everywhere except when marked lower speeds.  To enforce the speed limits – rather than radar traps – are a mix of speed “humps” (which absolutely require a driver to slow down or destroy the vehicle), well-marked camera zones, and occasional one lane narrowing where only one driver can pass through at a time.  The opposite driver must wait.

Then there are the famous roundabouts, which, after 30 or 40 of these, actually made sense to us and worked well.  With only one exception, drivers were polite and safe passing through these.

The license plates are twice the size of US plates, yellow with very large black letters and numbers, and placed on front and back.  Easy to read (or photograph) from a distance, when needed.  Tickets are mailed to violators, who are held accountable.

How well do these systems work?  We cannot say for sure, but we experienced courtesy amid fast-moving but not aggressive traffic.  The British traffic system and signage are accountability focused  – not shame-based, with an authority figure watching for us to make mistakes.

Shame researcher and author Brené Brown describes the shame cycle this way:  the incident, then the loop which encompasses denial, rage, punishment, revenge, resentment, numbing, then repeat behaviors.

Nowhere is there accountability in this.

Stan and I have had many discussions the past year or two about the journey from shame to accountability.

Here’s an example:  a 10 year old takes a chunk out of a cake sitting in the kitchen prepared for an event.   If shame is the prevailing family dynamic, there is an accusation by Mom or Dad, denial on his part, more accusations and threats, perhaps eventual punishment for him.  Shame can settle in with thoughts such as “I’m a bad person, a sneak, a cheat.”  With the shame comes resentment and an impulse to alleviate the shame by doing something that “feels good.”   Eat cake?   Other addictive behaviors?   It’s a vicious loop.   Acting out, confrontation, denial, punishment, shame, remorse, resentment, followed by another shame-based acting out.

What’s the way out?

The courage to confront behaviors – within ourselves and others – that are wrong or out of integrity, with courage, backbone, and Light.   Then to hold ourselves and/or others accountable, rather than shaming.

Here’s how the Cake-Theft incident might go with parents committed to accountability:  child takes chunk of cake.  Parent discovers and calls him in.  Did you take the corner of the cake off?  Child denies.

Parent applies pressure with reminder of values – integrity, honesty are more important than lies and escape.  Did you eat the cake?   Parent may also apply Love and Connection with the child.  Child crumbles and admits to doing it.  Parent maintains calm and explains what the purpose of the cake was, and presents problem now – for child to find solution.   Or at least to be part of solution.  There may be consequences as well, but first priority is to solve the issue of what to do about the event the cake was destined for.

Child is left with perhaps a feeling of responsibility, accountability, partnership, and maybe a little appropriate guilt – “I shouldn’t have done that” – that can help resist next temptation.

No shame is applied.  Nothing is said that makes the child feel like a bad person, but merely a person who has made a mistake.

Much of what is destructive in our world is locked in the shame-based loop. Unconscious behaviors and acting out.  Revenge.  Dishonesty.  Denial.  Rage.  Resentment.  Punitive behaviors.  Numbing (so we don’t have to see this loop).  Self-righteousness.

Accountability on the other hand fosters honesty, partnership, integrity, solutions, compassion.   Where needed, protection.

The journey in each of us and our world from Shame to Accountability involves maturity, courage, and clear-seeing.  We must resist the temptation to shame ourselves, and others, and yet, at the same time, hold each other accountable.  Like Britain’s HUMPS and traffic cameras hold drivers accountable.

In ourselves, we must remember to face the consequences of our choices without going into shame.  Then we have all the resources of Love and Light to assist us in finding healing solutions that create peace and harmony within ourselves, and the world.

 

The Myth of Redemptive Violence

We are, as a culture, so caught up in a myth that we cannot see it, and here it is again, this week, following the Paris massacres.

That myth is the Myth of Redemptive Violence* – that somehow, by offering violence back in the face of violence, everything turns out well – that goodness triumphs and everything is safe.

Our movies are filled with this myth, our sci-fi books, and certainly our news media and many video games.

The myth goes like this:  in the face of violence, or hatred, or aggression, we respond with GREATER violence, hatred and aggression – and we win.

Blindfold Muslim Hug ParisBut this is not football or even hockey. This is our world.  And any public school classroom teacher with an ounce of wisdom has learned this:  in the face of violence and provocation, a violent response (even if it wins for the moment) is almost sure to provoke greater violence in the future.

In fact, basic psychology can predict that the original perpetrator of the violence is actually HOPING for a serious push-back.

Any parent or teacher who’s ever tried to use wisdom in being with young people knows this.

So why are our international leaders so full-throttle-ahead to do what any smart junior high teacher would resist doing?

Here we come to the Myth of Redemptive Violence.  Somehow, by offering violence back in the face of violence, everything turns out well. The problem is, it doesn’t work.  Ever.  Even in the case of the “good guys” winning, the hatred simply goes underground and pops back up a few years later, with more resentment, more recruits (easy to recruit after the violent push-back), and more sophisticated tactics.

The worst part is that much of this Revenge-Politics-Warfare is justified in the name of Christianity.

Are you kidding me?

Jesus taught the opposite of Redemptive Violence.  His very death was a demonstration of non-resistance, of love and forgiveness overcoming violence.

The redemption Jesus taught was love. Compassion. Forgiveness. Even surrender in some circumstances.

I’m not a foreign policy expert and I don’t know the right response.  But I wonder – how would things play out if there were no declarations of “war to end all wars,” no battle cries?  What if there were prayer circles everywhere for those lost and their loved ones?  What if those in power gave up the rhetoric, but quietly used all channels available to them to track down the actual persons – the individuals and the group – responsible for the killings to bring them to justice?  What if there were no bombing of nations to cause civilians to cower and eventually hate the bombers – and then join the terrorists?  What if there were think tanks of the most brilliant and loving people on the planet called together to break the hold that terrorism has on the planet?  What if startling and outrageous loving actions were put into place to shake the grip of the terrorists?  What if multi-cultural and multi-faith groups stepped up with plans to work locally on reducing the power of terrorism?

A little film came across my Facebook feed today.   A Muslim man stood blindfolded in the Place de la Republique in Paris.   At his feet are two signs, saying:  “I’m a Muslim, but I’m told that I’m a terrorist.”  The second sign reads, “I trust you, do you trust me?  If YES, HUG ME.”  Many Parisians did, often with tears. He stayed until dusk, when he spoke, saying “A terrorist is … someone willing to kill another human being over nothing.  A Muslim would never do that.  Our religion forbids it.”    (Search for BLINDFOLD MUSLIM HUG if you want to see it)

We live in a time when people of many religions are using the mask of religion to justify murder.  It’s time to recognize this dynamic for what it is.  It’s time to call the terrorists “murderers” and nothing more. It’s time to slow down our reactive fury and grief.  It’s time to consider wisdom in our response.

Here is a young man who did just that – Antoine Leiris’, who lost his wife and mother of his son that night in Paris.   This is what greater wisdom looks like.   Here’s a reading of the letter he posted on Facebook just a day or two after the massacre:  http://on.aol.ca/video/i-won-t-give-you-the-gift-of-hating-you-519258337    This is one way to break the cycle of never-ending violence.

*Thanks to the Reverend Sallye Taylor for speaking on the topic of the Myth of Redemptive Violence.

Cry for Love

Do you see the news somewhere?  Even if you don’t watch TV news, headlines and big stories show up on FB and in conversations.  If we are wanting more love, more harmony…well, love and harmony are pretty low volume at the moment.  What’s making the noise and the news? Here are some recent voices, my thoughts on what’s behind them, and what we might do.

Donald Trump on Mexican immigrants: “They’re bringing drugs.  They’re bringing crime.  They’re rapists.”

I don’t even want to quote the racist comments being made by people with a public platform.  Or hateful remarks made towards the gay community.  Or the trans community.   But they cross my desk/screen/awareness all too often.

I’m into positive thinking and “looking for the good.”  I truly am.   My heart starts to hurt when I see the hatefulness, the efforts to control or shame or ostracize others “unlike us,” as it were. We, in this country, have been heating up the hatefulness these past few years.

Much of what is being spouted in hate lately masquerades as some “right” or other, loud voices shouting about rights and pointing fingers.

My dad was a thoughtful man who did his best to live an ethical life. One of many things he often said about freedom and human rights was this:  “My right to swing my arm ends just a little short of your nose.”

I call it the Disease of Oppositionalism.  Many people are eagerly engaged in finger-pointing, blame, judgment and other forms of hatefulness.  How are we different from the hotspots of the world that have suffered for years with warfare and the inevitable poverty, displacement and destitution that follows war.

Researcher and author Brené Brown learned in her extensive interviews with people about issues of worthiness, joy and shame, that the research proves this: we are inclined to judge others most harshly in areas where we feel unsure of ourselves.

To see someone doing “worse than we are,” in an area that we don’t feel very secure in, is a perfect opportunity to judge. Add in hatefulness for good measure – to further distance ourselves from “those people.”

This explains why someone like Josh Duggar, while lecturing others on family values, gets caught in a commercialized affair through Ashley Madisondotcom.   Oops!  Maybe he was feeling just a bit uncertain of his ability to remain faithful and honest with his wife and family?  So, hey, let’s just find someone/some group to judge and “Take a Stand for Clean Living!”

Like the minister’s note-to-self:  “Your point is weak – POUND the podium here.”

Who amongst us is not a bit timid about having a real conversation with someone we disagree with?  About abortion rights, immigration, guns, gay rights, trans-sexuals, even religion?   Do we feel safe or are we afraid we’ll be shouted down?  Or shamed?  It’s easier to talk about something inconsequential, like the weather, or sports, or…  Then everyone goes back to their own safe corner and stews in their own opinions.

Watching our world through the screens of online news and Facebook, it’s painful to see that isolated hatefulness simmer and stew until finally it boils over into a desperate act of some sort.  Or in some cases, a really foolish and inflammatory remark made by a newscaster or a public figure.

If you are thinking I’m coming to some sort of awesome answer by the end of this blog, sorry to disappoint you.  I dreamed last night of watching a news story of a group of gang members, including a young boy, with bombs strapped to their bodies, who blew themselves up in the street because of the chronic anguish of living with violence and hatefulness.  I was grieving to watch it.

Just a dream, I know.

The Course in Miracles says that everything is either an act of love, or a cry for love.   NO one does not want love.  But so many of us are walking through life so immersed in shame and self-loathing that we must find someone else to dump it on.  To blame.  To hate and demonize.   Only creating an enemy can make us feel one-up, a bit better about ourselves.

I don’t know the way out.  But I have a hint of the direction.  And I’m doing the best I can to move in that direction.  Here are my suggestions to turn the cries for love into Love itself.

  1. Confront bullying wherever you find yourself facing it.  Your spouse?   An encounter at the store?   Politics?   You may or may not be the target.  Especially confront it if you are in a position of power/influence and someone without that power is being bullied or shamed (white privilege can be useful… use it for good).  WARNING – don’t risk your life or injury to do this. Be smart.  
  2. Expand your heart.  Love bigger. The bullies are doing it to deflect or numb their own sense of shame and fear. Love them too. But don’t let them get away with exercising their “rights” while denying rights to others.
  3. Forgive someone you need to forgive.  In time, forgive everyone.  Don’t stay in unhealthy situations.  Sometimes you need anger to get out, like rocket fuel.  But once you are safe, set about the business of forgiving.
  4. Watch your own tendency to judge others.  Might your temptation to judge be concealing an issue you could stand to do some healing work around?  Ask for help from trusted people.
  5. Talk with safe people about these issues and develop language that you can use when you need it.  We must speak out against hatefulness and oppositionalism.  Dissolve it.
  6. Lastly, watch for opportunities to connect and have respectful, honorable conversations with people you disagree with, first maybe on neutral topics, then eventually on the hotter topics.  Find a way to build bridges.

My rights should not take away your rights, nor vice versa.  These are hot topics and need to be discussed by people who are not afraid of knowledge, truth, and honoring each other.  Our country was founded on principles of respect, freedom, cooperation and responsibility.   Also knowledge.  Hiding in corners nurturing our grievances and nursing our prejudices until they explode into the light in pain and judgment is doing nothing good for our world.

Everything is either an act of love, or a cry for love.  Find a way to build bridges.

Why You Should Ask Your Angels for Help Getting Your Groove Back

I know divine help is available.  I’ve had my share of miracles and interventions.   And I never forget to ask in crisis situations.   “Help, God!”  is an intuitive reaction in me – I’d say it in a milli-second if I was sliding on ice into a semi, or if I was being mugged, or worse.

But you know, I have a lot of trouble with to-do lists, computer problems, housecleaning, problem solving, etc.   This stuff wrecks my peace on a regular basis.  I probably had a past life as a monk meditating on a mountain top. I didn’t HAVE to-do lists and email and phones ringing and text messages coming in.

So the last few weeks I’ve been practicing bringing these two worlds together – divine intervention with ordinary life challenges.Angel in stones

I forget a lot.  But today I remembered. Here’s the story.

Last week I connected with a client who wants me to photograph his place of business.  On one condition – that his duplicate Google+Local pages be corrected and the old one deleted.

Well, that’s easier said than done.  I know how it is supposed to work, but…

So, we’ll call him Greg.  Greg told me when he called Google Support for the last year, he was repeatedly disconnected – “hundreds of times!” he says.

Strangely, when I called on his behalf, so was I.  Four times in a row.  Next I was unable to complete the form, asking for support to call me – the blank-to-fill-in wouldn’t fill.

I put out a call for help from other Google photographers, and got a lot of great suggestions.  The best one was “Go to the business, walk him through it, let HIM talk with support and you support him.”

I put it off for a week.  Me?  Solve a tech problem?  For someone else?  You’re kidding… I was afraid we’d get disconnected again, or they would deny his request.

But today, I set up a meeting with him, and prayed all throughout the 30 minute drive asking for divine help.  I saw it going well, felt the satisfaction, and thanked God.

So together we filled out the form asking Google Tech Support to call us.  Immediately his phone rang.  I held my breath – would he be disconnected?  I was praying.

The call held – from India, or somewhere exotic.  Greg explained.  The guy listened and they had a real conversation. I stood nearby while he talked, for nearly 30 minutes.  Gradually, Greg became more and more verbally grateful, even chummy with the tech guy.   The call held through all this.   I was quietly elated!   Problem solved.

Now he is ready to do the photoshoot, happy with me, with the situation and immensely grateful.   We shake hands, and I walk out into the sunshine with that same gratitude.

My leather soles hit the tile walkway and send a vibration through my body.   I am happy to be alive, to be me.   I am thrilled that this client is happy, the problem is solved, and I have another job to do.

All things work together for good! I’m in a groove.  And it was my angels who helped me get it back.

I’ll be asking for help with my accounting now.  Oh, and housecleaning… and kitchen cleanup… and…

Maybe this is what Presence is all about?

Seduction of the Downward Spiral

Yesterday  Stan and I participated in the Great Password Challenge.

Not that we signed up for it.  It sort of snuck up on us both.  He was changing his POP email accounts to IMAP, in honor of getting a new iPhone 6, to synch his devices, if you know what I mean.  (If you don’t, don’t worry about it… read on.)

By mid-afternoon, I heard his frustration in his neighboring office, and offered my assistance.  He had been changing the passwords to try to meet the demands of the system. By then, his email accounts had all quit working, giving him error messages.

In periods of frustration and problem solving, Stan often goes into a sort of shut-down, while I usually remain calm, if inwardly irritated.  Yesterday, using our highest spiritual practices, we made it through 3 hours of password hell, without intense anger, language, even irritation with each other.  A downright miracle.Garden statue with Columbine

By half-past suppertime (I declared Chinese take-out) we had his 3 primary email accounts all functioning again, both incoming and outgoing.

We high-fived!  We congratulated ourselves and each other!  We thanked God/the Universe for the Angel Tech helpers we had asked for.  We also noted the great sense of accomplishment that comes when we overcome a challenge.

But then… as I sat down for supper I felt really grumpy.  I wanted something – actually someone – to blame.  I became – after the fact – angry at Stan for his part in getting this all tangled up.  He in turn became self-critical and defensive, then angry at me.

The seduction of the downward spiral was pulling us both, right there over Chinese hot-sour soup and crab rangoon.  I really wanted to slip over the edge and make it His Fault.  Man, so tempting!

It’s the lure of the Dark Side, the vortex of suffering and blame.  A Course in Miracles talks about the “attraction of sin and guilt.”  There’s something in me that, sometimes, even with all I know, wants to go there.  To put my tongue where the tooth just came out.  To play “ain’t it awful?!” or “it’s his fault.”  Or the ever popular, “Poor me… look what I have to put up with!”

But it seemed kind of a waste.  We had both made it through a really challenging time without sinking in vibration, dropping in mood.  Why would we spoil it now, when we had the option of enjoying a sense of accomplishment and a peaceful evening ahead?

As I sipped my hot-sour soup, I spoke of how tempted I was to blame.  Stan dipped his crab-rangoon in the sweet and sour sauce and told me of the pull he felt to beat up on himself.   We looked at each other with awe.

“We don’t have to go there, do we?”

By the time we we got to the Hunan Shrimp, we let the Downward Spiral’s gravitational pull move on past us both.

As John Milton said, “The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven..”

 

Limiting Thoughts

I’ve spent some time trying to rid myself of Limiting Thoughts.   A lot of time actually.

But in my bath 2 days ago I had the most amazing revelation come to me.

All Things are Limiting Thoughts.

Water is Water and not Ice.  Feather is Feather and not Coal.   Blue is Blue and not Purple.  I am ME and not Someone Else.

But the Life Energy – which is the same thing I call God – is unlimited and everywhere and forever.

For reasons beyond my comprehension It packages itself in a Gazillion forms to create this diverse Universe.  To play and experience.

And what I actually, really, am, IS That same Life Energy/God.   I’ve limited my Self into this particular body, for these several years, and this particular spot on the planet and these particular companions.  And here I am.

If I were Unlimited, truly, I must be invisible and everywhere.  But I have chosen Limiting Thoughts to make myself here and now.

Are my thoughts Big Enough to love well?  To live fully?  No?  Then I will stretch them, stretch the limits.

At the moment, I’m profoundly grateful for the part of God that has limited Itself into the shape and form of my MacBook Pro.   As well as the Table underneath it.    And for the part of God that has limited Itself into my husband.  And my children… and my grandchildren.  How amazing is that?!

I love Limiting Thoughts.  How colorful, how rich we are to experience the diversity of Limiting Thoughts in our world, in our circle.

Never again will I curse a Limiting Thought.

But I might push those Limits out now and again.

Feedback

You know how it feels when somebody’s sound system is not right and there’s a painful screech?   Ouch!!  That’s how much I like feedback.  Not just in music performance. In my personal and professional life too.

[custom_frame_left] fireworks[/custom_frame_left]See, when I was young, I was surrounded by people who knew what was best for me, and regularly told me so.  More than my parents, it happened with my friends, who were quick to inform me of what I was doing wrong and what I should be doing instead.

I grew up anyway.  Surprisingly, I didn’t become a card-carrying hippie/rebel/bra-burner.   At least not openly.

But I went into the closet.  I didn’t want to know what anyone else thought of me, or thought I should do.  If they tried to tell me, to give me feedback, I flinched.  Then I left.

Oh sure, by the light of day, I know we are all connected, we are all one (spiritually, energetically, even biologically).  But hey, this is my life here!  Don’t try to tell me what I could do differently.  Or better.  I can do it myself!

This morning I’m wondering.   As an entrepreneur, how do I know what my prospective clients want if I don’t ask for feedback?    As a mother, how do I know how what my kids need from me if I don’t ask for feedback?   As a wife and partner, how do I know what is working and not working in our relationship if we don’t ask each other for feedback?

Feedback was tied up in a package with shame when I was young.  I survived, determined to shut out that shame and manage on my own.Fireworks

Now, to live connected, I’m guessing I must open the door and learn to take the good with the bad.   Aaagh!!    Can I hear what people want, what people think, and sort it out?    Can I be sturdy enough to withstand the occasional shame trigger,  to sift through to the gold of interacting at a deeper level with others?  To move into partnership?  Community?  Interaction?

The feedback screech tells me something is wrong, out of balance.  With help, the problem can be solved and the result is something powerful and beautiful.   Maybe it’s worth it.

What do you think?   🙂

 

So you say you want a man……

lovers, in love

So you say you want a man?   A partner for your life?  Or a woman, a lover, a wife?

You’ve tried match.com, greensingles, maybe even harmony.com, not to mention taking classes you don’t really care about, going out when you would rather stay home, and writing in your journal until your hand cramps?  You’ve tried prayer, you’ve tried visualizing, you’ve asked your friends to set you up (this last one you’ve given up on after one too many lousy blind dates)… and still – you are alone?   So you want some help, some key that will unlock the door to blissful wedlock or at least long-term significant-other-ness?   And somehow, you’ve come to me?

I’m honored.  I am happily married (5 years now, plus 4 of togetherness before that), and getting better all the time.  But my answers, my suggestions may surprise you… and you may not want to hear them.  I’m going to suggest an inner harmony that precedes the harmony of partnership.

If you were really willing to listen, here’s what I would say to you:

1. Stop looking.   Now.

Instead, take your journal and write.  Write what kind of a person this wonderful partner-to-be is.  Physical characteristics are okay, but don’t spend much time there.  What you want to write about are the qualities of this person.  In detail… things like honesty, courage, focus, authenticity, transparency, kindness…. or the lack thereof.  Make your own list.  Take a few days if you like, but be thorough.  Allow your intuition to guide you.  This is a portrait of the person you want to attract. [custom_frame_left]lovers, in love[/custom_frame_left]

Is it complete?  When your character description contains all you hope for,  review it and ask yourself – with great honesty – am I the kind of woman (partner) this man deserves?   Do I measure up to my ideal partner?  If not, where do I fall short?

It is quite common to long for a partner who is more mature and evolved than you are ready for.  I believe this is one of the key reasons nice people sometimes don’t have the partners they want.  They could settle for someone who’s at the level they are… but their standards are higher.  And either they don’t see what’s happening or they don’t want to do the work to be ready for that other partner.

So step one is to prepare yourself to be with the kind of person you truly want as a partner, in every sense of the word.   Which leads to step 2.

2.  Face the possibility that you might never have a partner.  I know, I know, positive thinking and all that…. but Other People are amongst the most challenging things to manifest from our little human perspective and you just have to be honest about this.   So get on with it, face it and make up your mind that you will be as happy as is humanly possible Even If You Don’t Ever Get A Partner.  For some of you, this may involve the loss of a dream of children of your own as well.  Still the process is the same.  Face it.  This is critical.   You may have some tears, some deep grieving about this, and it’s important not to resist this.  Just cry, sob, play sad music for a day or two and face this possibility head on.

Next, with that grieving behind you (or sneaking up now and then to haunt you), decide what – other than a partner – makes you happy and fulfilled and content?  Owning your own home?  Deepening your friendships?  Developing a talent you have long ignored?    Whatever it is, begin it.   Fill your life full, step by step, with the activities that make you happy and make you feel connected.  Don’t stop.  (If you should be blessed with an opportunity to date someone, above all, do not give up these same activities for him or her.  Very Important.)

3. Study and adopt the principles of healthy relationships.  Practice with each friend or family member in your life:  Being authentic.  Taking care of yourself.  Saying no when you need to say no.   Being kind.

Find a therapist, a coach, great books, and be willing to look at yourself honestly.  Have the courage to look at any annoying or unhealthy habits you may be unaware of.  Change.  And keep changing.  It will feel strange at first, but will gradually feel absolutely essential.  You will look back and wonder how you could have ever been any other way.

4.  Become the most beautiful woman (or man) you can be.  The most glowing, the most brilliant.  Find role models you admire and post their pictures to remind you.  Recognize your own inner beauty and become even more beautiful.  Beautiful in every sense of the word…shining, loving, creative, caring, strong, no-nonsense… and more.   You are beautiful from the inside out.  Let that beauty, your inner harmony, show.

5.  Do your own healing work, which can in turn leave the door open for a partner.  Were you abused in any way?  Sexually, emotionally, physically?   Prepare for the possibility of partnership by doing your own healing work with the help of a process and people you trust.    Deepen your spiritual practice, not as a means to get a partner, but for the sake of your peace.

Tips:  *When that voice in your head says, “You’ll be alone for-EV-er!”  you can respond with something like, “That may be, but dammit I’m going to be happy anyway!”  And find the ways to do that.

*You don’t have to be perfect, or do these steps perfectly, to attract a partner.  But there are also no free passes.  Do these steps, then repeat. Continue.

And lastly?  *Pray for this prospective partner that you want.   When you feel tempted by longing and self-pity, flip that emotion, return that longing to the god-of-your-understanding – and deeply, earnestly, pray for this person who may become your partner.  While you are at it, pray for yourself, that you may become worthy of this amazing being.

Above all, recognize your own inner value at this moment.   Then work to make that visible.   When you do that, your life becomes astonishing and inspired. You are in harmony with yourself.

You may even forget you wanted a man.