Tuesday, December 12, 2017

The Divine Dance in the Donut Shop

I was having a hard time emotionally yesterday.  I went to Mallory's school in the morning for a program and then I had to return in the afternoon for another program.  On occasion, I have been blindsided by feelings that come up when I go to campus as Riley is no longer there.  When I see high school uniforms, I immediately think, oh, where is she? And then I remember... she's across town.

Anger, resentment and sadness bubble up and sit on my chest.  With ten years under our belt, I never planned to change schools but it was an absolute necessity.  I am resentful that it did not work out. I am sad that she felt like she didn't belong.  (And on a deeper level, it's about me feeling like I didn't belong)  She and I have discussed it any amount of times to understand it just wasn't a good fit for her.  Her personality didn't mesh with her particular grade.  Yet I want this energy of anger and sadness to GO AWAY but I know I have to allow them to flow through and not fight it.  I asked one of my bests friends, to please tell me that I'm not crazy for feeling this way.  (Even when I know, feelings are just energy and they will flow through)  I was lucky that she happens to have a friend in a similar position that has expressed similar sentiments to mine.  But the unwelcomed energy still sat there.  I broached the subject with Riley on our ride home and she, of course, knew where I was coming from.  She at fifteen is growing up, maturing and now that she is in a better place, our relationship is more mature and we can communicate better. (of course it still has it's moments!!)

That afternoon, I walked with my neighbor and the movement and conversation helped my spirits but heaviness still sat on my chest.  It is grief, not as deep as losing a loved one but it is grief nonetheless and as the case with grieving, it shows up in waves when you least expect it.

This morning before school, Mallory and I took a very last minute detour to the donut shop to bring some for a school party.  It was very off the cuff last minute decision.  We ran into several school acquaintances who were doing the same.  I asked one friendly acquaintance how she was doing.  And then she inquired how Riley was doing at the new school.  I answered that she was doing well and it was working out so far. She said some schools are just not a fit for everyone. And then, I took a big risk and mentioned my resentful feelings.

And this is where the God wink begins.

My risk of vulnerability paid off, and she acknowledged my feelings. I don't even remember exactly what was said, but I  felt heard and she understood the quagmire of one child leaving a school and one child remaining there.

It was music to my heart.

Side Note: It is very important to save heartfelt emotions to share with someone who deserves the right to hear it. Otherwise, you walk away feeling worse. All people need and want to be heard and have their feelings acknowledged. 

After I dropped Mallory off at school, I texted this friend  to thank her for her insight and understanding.  And the God wink continued when she texted back and said that anyone should understand the situation and that she missed seeing Riley's smiling face on campus.

Whoa. Cue the really ugly cry which I needed to have so very much.  I cried immediately and deeply and the energy moved through for the most part.  It was the right timing. It was divine timing.  It was the right moment, right person to show a bit of compassion for it to flow.

I see a God wink as the holy spirit doing it's thing.  I have learned to attribute these types of interactions as a divine interaction.  I understand the "dance" of the Trinity.  Father, Son and Holy Ghost.  I acknowledge a divine flow.  It's the practice of continually learning to let go, and things will not necessarily happen as I want them to, but my needs are answered in unexpected ways in their own time and I feel a peace for a short time that is indescribable.  And I work again, to let go.  It's a continual progression.

I am so very grateful for that Divine flow and these God winks.

(Another side note: I was able to hear Father Richard Rohr discuss this very topic in New Orleans two weekends ago.  His book is the Divine Dance: The Trinity and Your  Transformation) It was an incredible talk.

Namaste

Monday, December 4, 2017

Welcome Home True Self by Joyce Rupp

In preparing for the Joyce Rupp book study I facilitated in the fall I found this beauty that she wrote.  I have found that this type of spiritual poetry is a balm to my soul.  This one is so very truthful of my journey inward.  Hope that it resonates with you as well.

Preface
the persistent voice of midlife
wooed and wailed, wept and whined,
nagged like an endless toothache,
seduced like an insistent lover, 
promised a guide to protect me
as I turned intently toward my soul.
as I stood at the door of "Go Deeper"
I heard the ego's howl of resistance,
felt the shivers of my false security
but knew there could be no other way.
inward I traveled, down, down,
drawn further into the truth
than I ever intended to go.
as I moved far and deep and long
eerie things long lain hidden 
jeered at me with shadowy voices,
while love I'd never envisioned
wrapped compassionate ribbons
'round my fearful, anxious heart.
further in I sank, to the depths,
past all my arrogance and confusion,
through all my questions and doubts, 
beyond all I held to be fact.
finally I stood before a new door:
the Hall of Oneness and Freedom.
uncertain and wary, I slowly opened,
discovering a space of welcoming light.
I entered the sacred inner room
where everything sings of Mystery.
no longer could I deny or resist
the decay of clenching control 
and the silent gasps of surrender.
there in that sacred place of my Self
Love of a lasting kind came forth, 
embracing me like a long beloved one
come home for the first time.
much that I thought to be "me"
crept to the corners and died.
in its place a Being named Peace
slipped beside and softly spoke my name:
"Welcome home, True Self,
I've been waiting for you."
---Joyce Rupp

Friday, December 1, 2017

Taking People Off Pedestals

For all of four days, I have been wearing mono vision contact lenses for the first time ever.  I have lost 3 pairs of prescription glasses since 2014.  Something had to give because they are expensive so I'm trying out contacts in a trial period.  It's a new world and my brain is adjusting to seeing up close with my left eye and distance from the right.  I have had a few headaches and my vision is slightly blurry but I know that this could be a really good thing.

I am very squeamish when it comes to eye issues.  But I am plowing ahead and perfecting how to hold the eye open without fail and look directly at my finger while I poke myself in the eye.  And that's the only way it seems to work, is going directly in.

With Sunglasses
Which also means I can't use my regular sunglasses that have readers in them.  I have been trying to use old pairs of George's, the girls, and now a new pair from Target.  Each pair exposes my world in a slightly different hue.  And it seems at this place in time, our South Louisiana trees are changing colors as they very subtlety do. And I have noticed that the red color is much brighter wearing particular pairs of sunglasses.  They are magnificent and bright and flawless.  Even just a touch of yellow to a green tree, can brighten it and make it seem golden.  I love to see a bright red tree.

But what is real?

Just likes these trees, I have had to adjust my vision to see myself, people around me and institutions.  Over the last years, I have had to learn to take people off of pedestals that I placed them on.  They didn't ask to be put on them, they just were.  (In some instances, they might like it though)  Some of these people or institutions had a power over me, which I then had to examine.  I expected perfection from them and from myself. And I was trapped waiting for something that would never happen.  

Without Sunglasses
I had to take the sunglasses off, and see the person or thing for who they are.  I had to look at myself and accept me for who I am, warts and all (and good things I couldn't see.)  I have to hold my eye open and look directly while I poke myself in the eye.  It is uncomfortable and unnerving as I dismantled old belief systems.  When I lost these old systems, I felt rudderless, angry, and discombobulated at times,  but there is such beauty and freedom in acceptance and authenticity.   The divine is there in authenticity or at least that is what I have found, but also what I have read from so many different sources.  Running around trying to be perfect is draining and disappointing and kept me in place not moving forward.  Waiting for people to be whom I wanted them to be, was so disappointing. Accepting what is, allows me to try new things that might actually give me what I was looking for in the first place. The tree without sunglasses may not be as bright, and you see the leaves that have fallen but there is still magnificence.  And in this very moment, I'm just noticing, how bright the sky is, in the picture without sunglasses.  ( I did have to wait for the right lighting though)

Wow, I didn't even plan that. I always thought the sunglass picture was more beautiful because of the brilliant red.  But now with examination,  I see the contrast with the beautiful blue sky instead of dark grey.  The best colors are brought out in authenticity.  The divine is in the very heart of authenticity.  Your light shines the brightest in authenticity.

Namaste.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Pelicans Are All That and More

Since Friday, I have been under the weather. I stayed in bed all weekend.  I caught what Mallory had but she seems to recover from it more quickly than I.  For the first time this morning,  I feel like I'm coming out of it (or I'm taking the right combination of OTC meds, thank you cough suppressant medicine!) I still felt bad yesterday afternoon, but I was beginning to get stir crazy. Over the weekend, George had kept up with the girls and their activities, but Monday was here and it was my turn again. I knew Riley would want to get out the house.

After a morning of resting with the strenuous activity of cleaning out the DVR,  I saw pictures of pelicans at the LSU Lakes on Facebook and knew, this was it. I want to get out of the house and go see the pelicans.   I adore seeing the pelicans.  A few weeks ago while attending a meeting on campus, I exited the interstate at Dalrymple and unexpectedly  was overwhelmed to see many of them gathered.  It's an amazing sight.   I was planning to see them when I left the meeting. I was drawn to them and the quiet.  I was having anxiety over my upcoming Boston trip, and my to do list.  Sadly, they were not in the same location when I left the meeting.

Over the years, coming home after church, we have stopped a time or two to drive around and find them.  At least one time, it was quiet enough to see them and hear them even with the complaining.   The girls did not want to be there at all but I soaked it all in as quickly as possible.  I remember it being spectacular.  What was fabulous was to see and hear them fly.  It has stayed with me and I wanted more.

The pelicans are nature in all its glory doing it's thing. And it's a quiet activity.

And I adore the quiet.

I have learned I really need and am energized by the quiet.

I am an introvert and it is the only way for me to recover from being with people and all the noise of the world is to be alone, still with my thoughts.  I know this about myself but still try to deny it and fit in with others until I start to lose my mind.

During that recent Boston trip, my friends and I went to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum near Fenway Park.  It is four stories of art that Ms. Gardner collected over her lifetime, but in the middle of the museum which was her home is a magnificent atrium.  Each floor as I gazed at the art, I was drawn back to the open windows leading to the atrium in the center.  The atmosphere was hushed, I longed to go and sit and just take it in.  I don't know why I didn't listen to my intuition and do it.  If anybody, this group of ladies would completely understand my ducking out to sit and take it in.  I'm still learning to listen to my intuition and not do what I think I am supposed to do and do what I want to do.



Yesterday afternoon, Riley was willing to go see the pelicans.  I had to promise Mallory a treat and I didn't care how terrible it was that I was bribing her.  In the end, she agreed to go without a bribe because that's who she is. And we set off.  This could go really ugly really quickly because my near teen and teenager do not hold back on their displeasure if things don't work out.  We are learning though, that is life.  That is one of my missions, to teach them to roll with life and embrace what is.

I didn't know which way to go and that didn't matter.  We just went.  And we found them!  They weren't all in one place but I saw them.  I maneuvered a bit around the lakes to get more up close and personal as they moved themselves.

They do not stay in one place.  Why did I think they would?

I got some pictures, but I was really trying to take them in, into my consciousness just as they were.  I tried to do it quickly before the squawking started.  You know the kids, not the birds. I parked in a stranger's driveway which made the kids uncomfortable but I did it anyway. And I was able to take the picture below.  It was spectacular to watch the birds fly in and land on the water.

I am taking an oath right here, right now, to listen to my intuition as I'm steered to the healing quiet.

It is where the divine is.



Namaste.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

I Have Something in Common with Trump

I have something in common with DJT.  We both want to be zen. I heard a news report that he wanted to project zen after the two indictments and the guilty plea on Monday.  I was incredulous that this was the word used.  I have longed to be "zen" for a number of years and have wanted to write a blog for a few weeks now about the fact that I am not zen.  And bam, there it was, that word used in connection with Trump?!!

I am not zen by nature, and I really, really want to be calm, focused and not have my feathers ruffled. (i.e.. no anxiety!!)   But I'm just not.  Donald wants to project this as well, or at least he did three days ago.  Mr. twitter "every thought and feeling with no filter" wants to appear calm.  Maybe somewhere deep in his consciousness, he wants to rise above but it seems in this instance it is more about brand management. I'm not sure with his obvious Narcissistic Personality disorder(s) that he could rise above.  He would have to acknowledge and have awareness to begin.

It just hit me, what is zen?  What does it really mean, what is the definition?  My Google search definition said this:

  1. zen: a Japanese school of Mahayana Buddhism emphasizing the value of meditation and intuition.

    Wait, I am all about intuition!!! (Intuition is listening to the most undervalued part of the Trinity: the Holy Spirit) 

    Another definition from Zen.buddhism.net: Zen meditation, is a way of vigilance and self-discovery which is practiced while sitting on a meditation cushion. It is the experience of living from moment to moment, in the here and now. 

    Are you kidding me??  

    Oh my gosh, I do practice zen!! The key word being practice.  Years ago, the first book that I read of this nature at church was Eckhart Tolle's "A New Earth."  Tolle's premise is about living in the here and now. I had no idea what he was talking about when I started, but it was about being in the present moment: not dwelling in the past, nor the fear of the future.  In Psalms, it says "Be still and know that I am God."  What this means, is to stop fighting, surrender and be quiet in God's presence and to the Divine's ways.  Basically the all knowing, who is present everywhere, has got your back. (It may not look like what you want though) 

    The difficulty in that is learning to let go.  Ha ha!  That infamous letting go.  Why can't we let go?  When we sit still, what comes to us?   Big thoughts that don't stop, and scary feelings or energy as I have learned to call it. I have been diligently plunging into this notion in terms of addictions and compulsions.  This is why we are the most compulsed nation in the world.  The list is endless, we all know them:  Alcohol, drugs, food,  gambling, shopping, exercising, electronics, etc. etc.  Any behavior that helps us avoid our life right in front of us and numb out. Some of them are healthy actions but when it is taken to the extreme, that is avoidance and can interfere with relationships, and career, etc.

    And this work to be "in the moment" is the hardest of anything that I've embarked on.  For example, I am about to get on a plane by myself and fly to a large city and meet a few friends that I know intimately but yet, I've never met in person. (I've met a few of them)  I am claustrophobic as all get out.  Planes, elevators, and now root canal DO ME IN. The last time I flew in late July, I woke up to a panic attack about flying DAYS BEFORE we left.  My hands are shaking as I type because I have great fear of enclosed spaces.   And fear of going it alone.  But I'm doing it anyway.  

    Another example is when a study group of mine decided to meditate for 5 minutes after we listened to an audio.  I have not practiced meditation.  I have practiced mindfulness which is focusing on my thought patterns but not actually sitting still cross legged. My intuition told me to get up from where I was sitting because I was too close to the person whom I adore next to me.  I didn't listen it though and as soon as I closed my eyes, and we started, I felt panic.   I was claustrophobic and needed my own space. My anxiety rose but I stayed with it and the panic slowly dissipated.   And this is how I practice meditation.  Ha ha, it starts with anxiety about having anxiety. LOL!!  Good times!

    I am learning to be with these energy and I have learned that it is okay, to take medication to fly, but I want to embrace new practices to calm myself.   

    I have to trust the Divine One and let go.  I have to practice staying in my body. Breath is the key to staying with the body.  Breathing and using all of my lung capacity.  Focus my wayward thoughts on something else not scary.  I have downloaded...guided meditations to listen to.  The Hamilton soundtrack takes me away too! 

    Zen is the value of meditation and intuition.  

    Why I misunderstood what Zen was, is because I want SERENITY NOW especially right now!!!  But it's a practice and not a state of being.  I want it now, now, now.    

    It's not about being zen, it's about practicing zen.

    I have thought many times about the reason why DJT gets under my skin so very much and it's not just about his political ideology.  And I can learn from this.   I can clearly see what his personality is and what his motivation is and it is all about his ego.  He has very poor ego structure.  There is an AA saying, "If you spot it, you got it" and this applies here.   What I recognize in others so readily is actually one of my own issues.  It touches a nerve.  I don't believe Trump sits with his thoughts and feelings at all.  He acts on them when he shouldn't ALL THE TIME.  He says he can do everything and do it better than everybody. He is soothing his ego when he does this.  How I'm different in responding and soothing my ego, is that I have told myself I can't do anything.  We both have poor egos, we just project it differently. 

    Yet, I have been slowly and methodically proving myself wrong on this.

    I can do many things that I thought I couldn't or wouldn't ever try.

    Yet I have to sit and be still with the most uncomfortable energy to do so.  In this present moment of fear, I am having a hard time knowing what it will feel like after this wave passes, but there will be calm on the other side and the awareness of the Divine presence within.  This is what awareness and going within is all about.  When you catch that Divine flow, you want to stay forever but it just a glimpse that keeps you coming back and being still over and over.   

    Namaste

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Spiritual Poetry From Joyce Rupp

This is from Joyce Rupp's book, Dear Heart Come Home: The Path of Midlife Spirituality.  I am leading a study of one of her books and I came across this and used it in class as a lectio divina. I could tell it resonated with some members as much as it did with me.    I find that my soul is soothed lately by beautiful poetic writing that speaks of God's love.  A friend introduced me to Dr. James Finley, a contemplative teacher (and Merton scholar) in video form a few months ago and he speaks in much the same way.

Hope you enjoy.  I will comment with what called out to me.



Preface

the persistent voice of midlife
wooed and wailed, wept and whined,
nagged like an endless toothache,
seduced like an insistent lover, 
promised a guide to protect me
as I turned intently toward my soul.

as I stood at the door of "Go Deeper"
I heard the ego's howl of resistance,
felt the shivers of my false security
but knew there could be no other way.
inward I traveled, down, down,
drawn further into the truth
than I ever intended to go.

as I moved far and deep and long
eerie things long lain hidden 
jeered at me with shadowy voices,
while love I'd never envisioned
wrapped compassionate ribbons
'round my fearful, anxious heart.

further in I sank, to the depths,
past all my arrogance and confusion,
through all my questions and doubts, 
beyond all I held to be fact.

finally I stood before a new door:
the Hall of Oneness and Freedom.
uncertain and wary, I slowly opened,
discovering a space of welcoming light.

I entered the sacred inner room
where everything sings of Mystery.
no longer could I deny or resist
the decay of clenching control 
and the silent gasps of surrender.

there in that sacred place of my Self
Love of a lasting kind came forth, 
embracing me like a long beloved one
come home for the first time.

much that I thought to be "me"
crept to the corners and died.
in its place a Being named Peace
slipped beside and softly spoke my name:
"Welcome home, True Self,
I've been waiting for you."

---Joyce Rupp


Sunday, September 24, 2017

But Really Who Should Be Fired?

Trumps latest tirade while at an Alabama campaign rally*, is aimed at NFL athletes, the sons of bitches*, who take a knee and should be fired.

But really who should be fired?

I guess NFL players with their peaceful knee protests are not nice people, whereas neo-nazis and white supremacists marching under the cover of night, with KKK like torches, chanting "blood and soil", and "Jews will not replace us" and inciting incredible fear in Charlottesville are nice people.

One group wants to exterminate persons not like them and harken back to a time where millions were murdered, while the other is exercising a first amendment right to shine a light on injustice.  Wars were fought, soldiers have died for this right, and for our democratic values.  They are risking their livelihoods for the arc of justice.  Martin Luther King and many others died for equality and  did so by peaceful protesting.  Kaepernick lost his job, so if you side with Trump that can make you happy.

This is the main issue: what is more important, the flag/anthem, or the people and the constitution whom it represents?  The flesh and blood of humans who die because of the color of their skin or are incarcerated at an alarmingly disproportionate rate?  Protesting has been what has brought needed change and justice and there is more work to do.

"For the land of the free and the home of the brave."  Or does that mean, just those with white skin.

These are not black and white issues. One can be for police and for Black Lives Matter at the same time.  This is called both/and. It is an evolved way of thinking. You can Back the Blue and want to weed out those who don't follow the very laws they are enforcing.  There is systematic institutional racism that needs to be addressed and there are no easy answers.  Evidently peaceful protesting and 45's discomfort with free speech has gotten our attention.

But really who should be fired?

Forty-five's comments show what he is really worried about as he does in his tweets. His poor self-image and ego comes out against other people when it is really about himself and his weaknesses. The Russian chokehold is getting closer and closer to him and those around him.    Trump is going to be more aggressively acting out to divert attention.  If there is nothing to hide, then let the Russian investigation move forward without any more obstruction.  Mueller has been lauded on both sides of the aisle as the straightest of shooters with impeccable integrity and credentials.

You can't say that about Trump, but I digress.

So far the actions, allegedly, of 45 and/or his team are:  his campaign team did meet with a Kremlin linked Russian lawyer with the enticement of getting dirt on an opponent (collusion), 45 helped draft the statement to lie about said meeting(obstruction),  Manafort offered campaign information to a Russian oligarch in Putin's inner circle (collusion, treason?),  Trump fired the FBI director because he was investigating him (obstruction of justice),  Flynn was working for other countries best interest's and didn't report it (treason?), the multitude of lies and lack of transparency such as lying a about revealing the Trump/ Russia business overtures during the campaign and then there is the emoluments clause. That is so far on the back burner but one area that needs attention. These are the incredible damning issues that Trump has created, right off the top of my head.  And that is not touching business deals of Trump and Russian oligarchs, the Steele Dossier, how to handle nuclear threats, and just plain moral deficits. Thank goodness for the free press.

Who really should be fired? 

It is very telling that 45 can forcefully and passionately admonish NFL peaceful protestors, but has never had one, not one harsh word for a hostile foreign power who tried in various ways to undermine our democratic election. It is an act of war and he doesn't care.  He does nothing about it but deny it and degrade our Intelligence agencies, because his ego can't handle that the legitimacy of the election is in question and/or was he colluding?  The truth will come out eventually.

He's so worried about himself that our democracy is left hanging because he doesn't want to get to the bottom of it, to work to prevent it again or stop it as it is ongoing.

And he is our President.

Who really should be fired?

Not speaking out is not an option any more.




 *(and can we talk about the constant need for  campaign rallies in the first year of office to stroke his ego) (and that a President is using this language)

(And I didn't even address the issue of him wanting more violence in a game that is already deadly to it's players and their brains.)

With a very deep breath, I end with my customary 
Namaste.
(the divine in me bows to the divine in you)


Followers