Pulled by the Vision

On Mondays, I begin my day in prayer with my prayer partner.  At 6:00 a.m., we begin and invariably, I feel high following our sessions probably because I always feel high when I am connected to the Divine.  I enter this slightly altered state.  It’s like a sign saying, “Yes, you are on track.” That sign was how I knew that my husband Jay was THE one.  Back when I first met him some 28 years ago, every time I would have a conversation with him, I’d feel high.  Of course, we were speaking of metaphysics and I felt as if my consciousness was being stretched, but still, I always felt it was a good sign.  On Saturday, we mark our 22nd wedding anniversary and I’m still grateful every day that we are together, so we must be doing something right.

We were pulled by vision back then.  It is the secret to ease.

As I got off the phone with my prayer partner this morning, I was struck by how good it feels to do that, to allow the vision of my destination be my focus, rather than paying attention to the problems.  I’m not advocating an ostrich philosophy; problems require the energy that problems require.  They do need to be dealt with.  But there is subtle difference between doing what needs to be done and allowing it to become the focus.  The problems are not the focus.  The problems are just the problems – the stuff of strengthening resolve and awakening creativity.  They are necessary building blocks and when you know that, they don’t throw you.  When you recognize that the problems are the blessings, you can relax and enjoy them.  The cancer that forces you to adapt the lifestyle you’d been wanting to get around to where you eat healthy and take care of yourself – a blessing.  The cutting back of hours at your job that forces you to re-prioritize and spend less time shopping and more time with your family – a blessing.  This is, if you take the time to love what’s happening; if you have faith that there is perfection in all of it; if you take your focus off of resisting what is happening and look towards the vision.  What were you saying you wanted in your life?  Could it be that the problems are the answer to that prayer?

What I know for myself is that my present circumstances have forced me into changing a lot of stuff.  I can’t make myself crazy over how I think things ought to look.  They don’t look that way, at least not at the moment, so I must be wrong about how they ought to look.  They are what they are.  The last three years have strengthened my faith, and trimmed out the extraneous, and shifted my priorities and made me more grateful than ever that no matter what else is happening in my life, I have a home filled with love and acceptance and respect; that my spiritual community is the cornerstone of my life.   It is clear to me that I am more interested in teaching spiritual principles and helping others become the person God intends them to be than I am in selling houses.  Don’t get me wrong, I love selling houses, but I think there is a reason that I’ve had so many deals fall apart on me.  I’m definitely interesting in helping people realize their dreams of home ownership when they didn’t think it was possible (that whole opening to the possibility thing) but the pull of it is more about helping others become a better version of themselves than the actual house sales.  The house sales are just a by-product.

And maybe that is how it is when one allows oneself to let the vision be the focus.  Twenty-three years ago, when my husband and I first got together, our purpose was to allow ourselves to do that.  It was easy to do with each other; less so with our professional lives.  At the time, I can reading a book called, Do What You Love, the Money Will Follow: discovering your right livelihood but I guess I had to grow into the concept.  Intellectually, it felt right, but my practical upbringing didn’t really support actually doing that.  I had to give myself permission to claim my right to such an audacious undertaking.  I’m not rich and famous yet so I guess I’m still growing into it!

What I do know is that despite the financial challenges over the past few years, I am growing into the person I want to be.  I literally lost my business the day I passed my exams to become a licensed Practitioner.  I’ve never thought that was a mistake.  I wanted to make my spiritual life my priority and God said, “Okay, so let’s get rid of this distraction.”

I believe that when the vision is the focus, then the things that happen along the way are always in support of that vision, even if they don’t look like it on the surface.  Even the things that cause shame; even the stuff that makes you feel bad – it makes you feel bad because it’s asking for your attention!  What was it you said you wanted for yourself?  Well, why aren’t you doing that?  The trick out of feeling bad about it is to listen to the pull of the vision.  It can energize you.  When you are focused on the pain, you just spiral down into more pain.  That’s the stuff of depression.  That’s the stuff of beating yourself up.  Stop that!

Turn towards the light,” my friend Brandi and I are always repeating.  It’s a line from A Course in Miracles.  It is really another way of saying allow yourself to be pulled by the vision of a greater version of yourself, of the person you are aching to become.  When you allow that to be your focus, when you let go of the inclination to beat yourself up for not being further along the path, then you will enjoy the pull.  When your focus is the vision, great things can happen along the way.  Follow that.  It’s a much gentler way of being in the world.

Choosing Sustenance

The awesome thing about being an adult in America is choice. I am always at choice.  I get to choose everything.  My husband just left on a walk.  I got to choose whether or not to accompany him and although he didn’t ask if I cared to join him (because he knows I have been lazy as of late), I could easily have opted  to go with him.  The question I am pondering today is am I consciously choosing or am I falling back to my default position?  It’s so easy to live life by default.  Not choosing is still a choice.  In the default position, I don’t actual consider my choices.  Now granted, this can be a good thing because the default position is the stuff of efficiency; the brain knows the route, no learning curve involved so it travels quickly and easily.  I tend to like quick and easy at least some of the time, so I have a keen appreciation for efficiency.

But there’s a downside: living life by default means I’d better have developed some good habits along the way (we’ve already established that at this point in time exercise isn’t one of them!) otherwise I may not have a very long life.  If my habit when I’m stressed is to eat myself into comfort in front of the TV than that’s probably not the best default position.

I am contemplating all this today because I find that I have arisen earlier than usual.  My present habit when I awaken and am having difficulty getting back to sleep is to turn on my iPod and start listening to sermons because I figure even if I don’t fall back to sleep, at least I’m have programmed myself with some good messages either consciously or unconsciously.  But this morning, I couldn’t determine where my iPod was and yesterday, I was thinking about how I am most productive before noon but that since I don’t usually get up until after 6:00 or so that I have already wasted a good portion of my peak efficiency time. Years ago, I used to get up every morning at 4:00 and write.  I still wake up most days at 4:00 so why not slip back into that old habit?

The question for me – and I do love the questions – is: am I living consciously; am I living the questions? In college, one of my professors quoted Rilke to the class from Letters to a Yong Poet, “You are so young, so much before all beginning, and I would like to beg you, dear Sir, as well as I can, to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer” (emphasis mine).

What is my default position?  I question that now because I am noticing that not all of my habits are good ones and when I don’t know what to do, I slip into habit.  I want to learn to choose sustenance by default.  I want sustenance to be my habit.  It isn’t always.  This morning when I awoke at four something a.m., I lay there for a moment remembering bits of a dream and that dream contained horrid remnants of the previous evenings television diet and it wasn’t sustenance.  It was some mindless cop show – the type whose main goal is present a mystery and solve it in 45 minutes while playing off the sexual tension of the two main characters.  Over the years, I have gradually given up more and more of this type of entertainment because my brain regurgitates the horrors in my dreams.  My psyche objects to violence in the same manner that my body rejects too much sugar or fat.  Perhaps that is part of learning to live my way into the answers.  Moderation becomes my default position because I can no longer stomach excess.  I don’t generally endorse intolerance yet I am finding that my body’s innate intelligence is expressing that way.  I can no longer tolerate overeating, or excess anything including bad TV.  My body is nudging towards conscious choice.  If I listen to it, I will choose sustenance.  If I don’t, it will rebel and I will pay the price.

I recently heard Emerson’s essay on Self-Reliance summarized as man learns by one of two ways – either by intuition or tuition. We learn to listen to our intuition or we pay the price. In the end, maybe that’s what learning to live the answers is: listening to my intuition. Einstein said, “There are two ways to live your life – one is as though nothing is a miracle, the other is as though everything is a miracle.” My intuition says everything is, if I choose consciously and notice.

 

Quantum Leap: How to Step Through the Wormhole to Where You Want to Be

How do you take a quantum leap?  What does it mean?  Merriam-Webster’s defines it as “an abrupt change, sudden increase, or dramatic advance.” I spent some time researching it on line and as best I can tell, it’s akin to stepping through a wormhole.  It feels that drastic and because of that, it’s important to be prepared.

The thing about dramatic change is that unless it is accompanied by a corresponding shift in consciousness, such changes tend towards the temporary.  I’m not trying to be negative just realistic.  There is a reason why lottery winners frequently end up just as poor if not worse off than before they won the lottery.  It’s the same reason that sudden weight loss is more likely to be temporary than gradually shedding the weight.  It has to do with embodying the change in circumstances.  It’s been said that if all of the wealth in the world were distributed evenly among all of the population that within a not so long period of time, most of the money would find its way back into the hands of the previously wealthy.  Why?  Because that’s who they are.  It has to do with consciousness.  In the case of the redistributed wealth, likely the only poor people who would retain the wealth would be the few who were mentally ready to now be rich.  Mentally they are changed how they thought of themselves.

For some reason, I seem to know a lot of alcoholics.  The ones who don’t struggle with it are the ones who don’t think of themselves as alcoholics.  They think themselves as someone who chooses not to consume alcohol.  There’s a difference albeit a subtle one.  They have removed the stigmatism and placed themselves in a position of power.

So how do you take a quantum leap and stay where you’ve landed?  Gandhi said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.”  That probably sums in up better than anything.  Mother Teresa got it. She said,” I will never attend an anti-war rally; if you have a peace rally, invite me.” You can’t focus on what you don’t want to get to where you do.  Sprinters don’t win races by looking over their shoulders at the competition.

As a person who has done plenty of intellectual work around these questions, I can tell you that grasping it with the mind is not the same as being it.  The only way to truly become it is to love it.  Deeply.  Passionately.  Unabashedly, with wild abandon.  The way it is, right now.  Let me repeat that: the way it is right now.

That, of course, is where the challenge arises.  We want to love it in the future, after it conforms to how we think things ought to be.  We want to hold onto our judgments and our condemnations and dictate how other people and circumstances need to shift to our liking so that they perfectly suit our preferences.  Once that happens, life will be good.

The problem is it doesn’t work that way.  I know.  I want it to be different, too.  I want it to conform to my ideas.  The thing is that as long as we are doing that we are divvying up sides.  We are making one person right and the other one wrong and creating separation.  Once we’ve done that, love can’t thrive.  Love has been expelled from the room and that quantum leap we long for so desperately can’t happen.  If we do manage to force it somehow, the effects won’t last, because they weren’t born from love, they were birthed from ego, from separation, from good and evil, right and wrong, someone wins, someone loses.  That’s not love.

If you want to lose weight, get in shape, create a healthy body, the easiest way to do that is to start by loving the one you have.  Louise Hay used to work with gay men with AIDS back when the epidemic first hit and so much of their work together revolved around acceptance, around loving their bodies, loving themselves.  She did a lot of mirror work with them because she found that to be the most effective.  If you want to gauge how truly accepting you are of yourself, try looking yourself in the eye in the mirror and holding that gaze, tell yourself you love yourself.  Tell yourself you are perfect just as you are.  It’s harder to do than it sounds.

Find the people who poison the hallways of your mind with hatred and love them.  Of course this is a tall order.  The people who push our buttons are the ones we want to exclude from the Oneness.  “God resides in all people except that one!” we tell ourselves.  We’ll leave out Hilter, Osama bin Laden, Sadam Hussein, plus anyone who’s personally wronged us, of course.  But no, no that’s not how it works.  You don’t get to exclude anyone.  You don’t have to pretend to love them unabandonly.  You just start by finding something about them that’s not so bad.  For the Hilters of the world, I always think what a huge shift in consciousness they have created.  I’m not condoning the behavior, but I am saying that when other people do things that we deem intolerable, it tends to raise awareness and shift what will now be deemed acceptable.  In a twisted way, it was gift.  Fifty years ago it was acceptable for people to beat their kids to put the fear of God into them.  Now you can go to jail for that sort of thing.

My struggle lately has revolved around money, but I can feel it’s shifting.  Why? Because I am telling myself I am so fortunate to live in the best country in the world.  America is still the land of opportunity, if you’re willing to work for it.  And I am.  So I am loving where I’m at.  It will take me to new levels.  It is taking me to new levels.  Become the change you want to see in the world.  Be Love.  Be Happiness.  It will come and find you.  It will change you.  You’ll find yourself taking a quantum leap.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Courting Unstoppability

I awoke this morning with small things threating my peace and then decided I wanted to be pulled by the vision instead. So what if none of it looks the way I’d prefer!  The return to elation springs from gratitude, from stopping to breathe into the goodness that surrounds me, from appreciating what’s right rather than focusing on what’s wrong.  Only my ego cares about minutia that means nothing.  Spirit knows it is just as important to play to an audience of one as it is an audience of a thousand.  If one life is changed as a result, isn’t the effort worth it?  And who’s to say that the lineage from saving that one life doesn’t change the history of the world.  One never knows what small kindness might ripple out into outrageous peace.

So today, let’s court the unstoppable.  The audacity that thinks it has the right to happiness, the right to stamp the world with acute love and tear down the walls of differences.

If I settle into knowing, where I am scandalously supported, I come upon unstoppability.  The you-can-knock-me-down-but-you-can’t-keep-me-there energy.  Terrible-twos energy that refuses to acknowledge “no” as it pushes past the boundaries of acceptability.  The who-cares-what-the-other-humans-think, “I defer only to my own inner guidance and if I fail I did it my way” energy.

Even this small declaration carries strength.  Just this shift into determination could move mountains.

It doesn’t look the way I think it should.  Oh well.  That happens sometimes.  It happens a lot actually.  Get over it.  Unstoppability doesn’t care about the skinned knees or the bruised egos.  It cares only about the vision.  Can you see it?  Good, let’s go.

What Would You Do if You Knew You Couldn’t Fail?

What would I do if I knew I couldn’t fail?  Well for one thing, I’m sure I would be more confident about my ability to attract what I need into my life.  If I can’t fail, then everything I need just comes to me.  Maybe that isn’t a fair assumption because it makes it sound like I don’t need to work my ass off and I’m not sure that is true, but maybe all such prerequisites are the product of belief.  I only need to work my ass off if some part of me needs that to legitimize everything – make me feel like I earned it.  But if I knew I couldn’t fail, then what would there be to be afraid of?  Why deal with any sort of trepidation or dread?  You just do what you need to do without apology.

I look at my own tag line and realize I need to grow into it.  I’m here to be inspired, to jumpstart my life into awesome, to show the world I’m a force to be reckoned with, not drag my butt through the day worrying about how I’m going to pay my bills.  Sure, I still need to pay my bills but it might help if I started by acting like that’s a given, like of course I am paying them because I always pay them.  I’m a person who pays my bills, that’s who I am so of course that means there must be money coming in.  At the moment, on the surface, if I were to judge according to appearances, I know where very little of that is coming from.  Did I forget that how is none of my business?

Just remembering that small piece helps.  I’m a person who pays my bills so the money must be coming in from somewhere.  It’s an important piece for me to remember because in the past few years I’ve started to feel like I‘m not someone who pays my bills, which is a very odd feeling. Not one I like.  There is this area where rules exist and some people pay attention to them and adhere to them and some don’t.  Now, I happen to be of the opinion that it is good to examine the rules and see if they make sense so there is conscious choice involved rather than just adhering to them because its expected (we won’t go into by whom).  “Should.”  So much of what I do arises from “should” rather than conscious choice.  But things like paying my bills and my taxes, these are things I not only should do but I want to do.  I am a person who does those things, even though in recent years it has begun to feel less and less like that is true.

Like everything, it starts with a decision, an “I am” statement.  Most every week in my Course in Miracles study group, I say, “the game is rigged, you can’t screw it up.”  What that means is that God/Spirit/the Divine (whatever you care to call it) loves us so much that He would be lonely without us.  The Course says, “Whenever you question your value, say: God Himself is incomplete with me.” None of us gets to get left behind.  None of us.  The universe is conspiring in your favor.  It is also conspiring in everyone else’s favor which is why love is the answer.

“Pain pushes until vision pulls,” says Michael Beckwith.  What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?  Live from that knowing.  Live from the vision.  It is so much easier than focusing energy on the stuff we are trying to escape.  It’s hard to feel good when your energy is sucked up by the stuff you hate.  It’s so much easier when you stop paying attention to it and just focus on where you want to end up.  What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?  Do that. 

Imperfection

So what does it mean to be on this spiritual path, seeking perfection in a world that reflects back to me my flaws?  Somehow in the mélange of life, I find myself daily courting further comprehension of what it means to be on this path.  Most people mean to use their iPods to listen to music; I use mine to listen to sermons.  Occasionally, I might listen to a meditation or something related to real estate, but 99% of the time, I listen to sermons.  Now, when I listen to sermons, it is not the hell and brimstone variety because frankly new thought religions don’t believe in hell or any of the usual Christian BS that preaches repentance and sin and whatever else it is that such religions espouse.  I must be careful when I speak of such things because it illustrates to me the places where I still carry judgment and I’m apt to sound somewhat less than tolerant.  The thing with new thought religions is that we do preach tolerance and oneness, inclusivity and the perfection of life.  Having said that, part of the fun is noticing where I’ve yet to attain anything close to sainthood.

It is my understanding that the Japanese teach reverence for the flaws, for the natural order of things and non-interference with what is.  It is for that reason that I have long been attracted to such teachings for there is calm to be found in such acceptance; peace to be gleaned from such understanding.  I wish I was there all the time.  I’m not.  Life continuously brings to me the places that need healing.  The more I think I’ve got it, the quicker those places rise to the surface.  That’s called humility.

So today, I am humble.  I am humble because I am embracing my humanity, noticing the places I’ve yet to heal. I’m humble because it helps me to notice that I know nothing of another’s thought processes.  I know nothing of another’s pain, but noticing where I screw up, I find it easier to cut another slack.  It’s not that I want to provide a place for excuses because I don’t.  Lord knows I’ve heard enough excuses to fill several lifetimes and since I am keen on accepting responsibility, I don’t think excuses are useful.  But having said that, it doesn’t hurt to be compassionate while holding others (and myself!) accountable.

See, that’s the thing.  I like to lay it all out as if it was all black and white, easy to hold a value up and stick to it, but the truth is I am as guilty as the next guy of disappointing myself.  I don‘t always live up to my own expectations, but I’m willing to try.  And I’m willing to own it when I screw up.  In the end, maybe that’s all I can do.

If God is omnipresent, but this world is dream, is God in the dream?

The weekly email to last night’s ACIM group:

Dear Beings of Love,

Thank you to all you who were able to make it last night, and thank you to Maria for taking the time (on only 4 hours sleep) for stopping in to study with us during your trip in from Dublin.  As usual, the conversation rocked.

Last night we began with T-18.VIII—The Little Garden and only managed to get through the rest of Chapter 18, which was only one more section T-18.IX—The Two Worlds.  That’s what happens when there is lots we want to chew on!

Here are some of the highlights of what we discussed:  paragraph 2 of The Little Garden stirred up a lot of discussion and even some respectful disagreements as we mulled over the idea of God being in everything yet, as Jim pointed out “God cannot come into a body, nor can you join him there.”   Being a Practitioner, I am taught that God is everywhere and in everything, a position I quickly postulated.  Part of what I love about our group is that we aren’t afraid to gnaw on the seeming impossibilities of what the Course suggests is true.  If God is in everyone, and we cannot truly be separate from Him, then is the Course suggesting that God is not in this world?  That, of course, spawned discussion about reality and whether or not we are all part of an elaborate dream God is having.  What is reality, what is illusion?  Is it helpful to believe that none of what we think we are experiencing is real?  In the end, even if you accpet that this life we experience is in fact an illusion, there are still bills that must be paid while we are here.  We still have to deal with the consequences of our choices.

From the Courses perspective, only the Love is real.  The rest we made up.  I still am of the opinion that everything is God, and that what this paragraph says isn’t incongruent with that belief.  Remember, Chapter 18 is entitled, The Passing of the Dream.

The body cannot know. And while you limit your awareness to its tiny senses, you will not see the grandeur that surrounds you. God cannot come into a body, nor can you join Him there. Limits on love will always seem to shut Him out, and keep you apart from Him. The body is a tiny fence around a little part of a glorious and complete idea. It draws a circle, infinitely small, around a very little segment of Heaven, splintered from the whole, proclaiming that within it is your kingdom, where God can enter not.

From my perspective, I believe that what the Course is saying here is that this kingdom that we created (which is perhaps the wrong world) is limited and God cannot be limited.  God cannot enter into the ego constructs because they are not real; they are not the Truth of who and what we are, or of who and what He is.  The passing of the dream is, in my opinion, the awakening to that truth, that we are all connected and all part of the One Life of God, that cannot be separate and is always whole.  That doesn’t mean that God is absent in all of it (in my opinion), it means that the parts that aren’t love have no real basis is reality. Lisa spoke of the truth of a bottle cap, which is NOT the idea we have of it.  The issue here is, least in part, is that we are trying to use language to explore that which cannot be contained in language.  To return to the bottle cap, its truth is that it is not the solid object that we think it is.  On some level, much of what it or anything else is composed of is empty space, of the ethers,  and that in actuality, it is our ideas of what something is that creates them; which is why the first few lessons of the Course are devoted to helping us reexamine our ideas about things.

I have given everything I see in this room
[on this street, from this window, in this place]
all the meaning that it has for me.

Beyond our ideas of what things are, beyond language, there is simple “isness.”  A place where limitation falls away and creativity is born.

And what of the intelligence found in the body?  Are we suggesting that if God isn’t in the body, then there isn’t an inherent intelligence?  How does it know how to beat a heart or heal a cut?  If the body’s intelligence is part of the expression of the Divine, then how does that idea jive with the statement, “God cannot come into a body, nor can you join him there”?

I would suggest that the body is the physical expression created by the ego, but that the truth of who and what we are is much greater than that.  AND that there is an inherent intelligence found within it because we are all expression of the Divine, of this One Life which is God.  God is in all of it, but is not it because God cannot be limited that way.

All that was just the first few paragraphs!  We then went on to discuss this idea that although we are part of God, we are not God, any more than a sunbeam is the sun.  Part of what I so love about the Course is how loved it makes me feel6 Like to the sun and ocean your Self continues, unmindful that this tiny part regards itself as you. It is not missing; it could not exist if it were separate, nor would the whole be whole without it.   Nor would the whole be whole without it.  Despite the lies are egos tell us about not being good enough, or whatever, the Course tells us “God Himself is lonely when His Sons do not know Him.”

10 You are the Will of God. Do not accept anything else as your will, or you are denying what you are. Deny this and you will attack, believing you have been attacked. But see the Love of God in you, and you will see it everywhere because it is everywhere. See His abundance in everyone, and you will know that you are in Him with them. They are part of you, as you are part of God. You are as lonely without understanding this as God Himself is lonely when His Sons do not know Him. The peace of God is understanding this. There is only one way out of the world’s thinking, just as there was only one way into it. Understand totally by understanding totality.

The Course invites us to “walk into the garden love has prepared for both of you.”  We all go together because we are all one.

The next section we discussed was The Two Worlds, another meaty section that took us back to the question of what is reality. “From the world of bodies, made by insanity, insane messages seem to be returned to the mind that made it. And these messages bear witness to this world, pronouncing it as true.”  And again, language, while helping us gain a deeper understanding, could really only point in the direction to look.

11 This course will lead to knowledge, but knowledge itself is still beyond the scope of our curriculum. Nor is there any need for us to try to speak of what must forever lie beyond words. We need remember only that whoever attains the real world, beyond which learning cannot go, will go beyond it, but in a different way. Where learning ends there God begins, for learning ends before Him Who is complete where He begins, and where there is no end. It is not for us to dwell on what cannot be attained. There is too much to learn. The readiness for knowledge still must be attained.

So, as much fun as it is to analyze and try to figure all this stuff out, in a sense, the mere examination is playing in the ego’s arena.  That is okay.  We can recognize that and return again to the reason we come together.  Each week we review the introduction and return to our purpose: the Course’s aim is to remove “the blocks to the awareness of love’s presence, which is your natural inheritance.”

But here, the Course reminds us, “Love is not learned, because there never was a time in which you knew it not.”  And so I return to gratitude, where I can surrender my ideas that I need to understand anything perfectly or that any of us is right or wrong (which are constructs of the ego!) about our interpretation.  To go there is to miss the point.  We are only there to return to the awareness of love’s presence.  To reconnect with our natural inheritance.  May we remember who and what each of is: Love. 

Namaste,

Nancy

P.S.  This is a self-study course, so do whatever works for you.  We are where we are and since the Course basically says the same thing over and over in different ways, it really doesn’t matter if you’ve been keeping up or not.  You are an innocent child of God.  Guilt is of the ego.  We have no use for it.

Here is the link to all of the lessons:

http://acim.org/Lessons/toc.html

 

If you were on schedule according to the calendar you would be doing the lessons as follows (http://www.circleofa.org/lesson-text-reading-calendar/?prm=04&yr=2014&chm=1)

Extinguishing Fear

Some days it is easier than others to court the divine.  My guess is that the question is the same as always – am I rooted in love or fear.  On the tougher days, fear is winning.

It shocks me sometimes how fear-based I am.  I mean, it’s not like I run around in this acute state of paranoia, but if I stop to look for the underlying emotion behind my feelings, I inevitably find fear.   It’s subtle, quiet even.  I’m never standing there trembling in terror, but I hold back. A lot!  It presents primarily as oblique shyness; a discomfort around putting myself out there but only in situations where I don’t know enough to feel confident.  I find myself wondering why I am bothering to prattle on about such things and I think the reason is that I like understanding why things are as they are so that I might have the power to change them.  At heart, I am an educator because knowledge is power.

So what holds me back?  A Course in Miracles pegs it as the ego, and while I believe there is truth in that, I want a better tool for transformation that mere recognition. Recognition is great but without movement towards the truth, it won’t change anything.  In Religious Science, recognition is the first step of treatment (affirmative prayer) and we begin by recognizing Truth (capitalized because it is synonymous with God).  We then unify with that Truth, realize what that means, give thanks for that and then release it into the Law of Mind (which does unto us as we believe).  I suppose in a backdoor sort of way, I’ve just pointed out that I have the tool I was seeking (isn’t that always the case!) but forgot to use it.

“Only what YOU have not given CAN be lacking in ANY situation,” (AMIC , Ch 17, Sec 8).  I find myself steeped in mild dissatisfaction but it was I who failed to bring that I needed.  This the key to personal responsibility and it simultaneously sucks and is awesome.  It sucks because it means I must shift if I want things to change and it’s awesome because it means I have the power to change it.  Still fear stands in the corner hoping to seduce me into sitting this dance out.  Why is that?  I need to be trained out of this hesitation.  It is a lack of faith and it is unsavory and destructive to my purpose.

I chalk it up to bad habit and it persists simply because humans are afraid of the dark – will choose the dissatisfying known over the unknown almost every time.  Almost.  We can be trained out of it.  We can notice the fear and move forward anyway.  We can learn to consciously choose again.  There is this lie of perfection that persists, this lie that we tell ourselves to keep from moving forward.  (I’ll start the diet tomorrow; I’ll be more responsible with my next paycheck).  It’s always some future goal that we never start because first we must groom perfection.

Perfection is now.  The lie is that it is in the future, locked away in some moment we haven’t gotten to yet and (if we believe the lie) won’t ever get to because now is never good enough.  But now is good enough, in fact NOW is the only moment there is.  And it’s perfect just as it is.  Awaken to it.  Taste it.  Savor it.  Love it now.

 

 

 

 

Journal: “Find Me”

There is a difference between hoping and believing, and it can be located in the underbelly of feeling.  When I am hoping for something, I can, inadvertently be keeping it from finding me.  I begin to suffer from “watched pot syndrome” where I am constantly checking to see what is happening.  This is not faith.  This is fear.  A good illustration of this is an incident that took place when my son was a toddler.  We were at the park and it was time to go home.  No matter how many times I called him, he wouldn’t come.  It was not until I started driving off without him that he came running.  I had faith he didn’t want to get left behind, he was afraid I would actually leave.  I knew I wouldn’t actually leave him behind, but he wasn’t as certain.  Had I not acted as if I knew he was coming, had I stopped to keep checking his progress in getting on board, he’d have known I wasn’t really going to leave him behind and we’d have been there until he was ready to go.

In a similar way, I have been playing chicken with the universe.  It is the whole being seen but I’m afraid of being noticed thing.  I’m out there, but not in a way that anyone could really find me.  My friend Marilyn told me yesterday, “You need to stop digging up the seeds you’ve been planting.” How the hell are they supposed to grow into anything if I keep digging them up?

Of course, intellectually, I understand how spiritual principles work but my proclivity for manipulation speaks directly to a lack of faith.  What it means is that I somehow think that I can’t really trust the universe to bring me what I need and must manipulate circumstances for the outcome I am seeking.  “It must be fear,” another friend said.  I told myself it wasn’t.  I don’t feel fearful the way I used to and yet….

Hello Mr. Bugaboo.  I knew you were in here mucking things up!  Constant checking is not faith.  How do you get from fear to faith, a fellow classmate asked me a few weeks back.  You turn away from conditions.  You focus your energy where you want your energy what you want rather than what you fear.  And you listen to your intuition.

I look at my son and I know where he learned that, “hope for the best but expect the worst” stance.  He is steeling himself against disappointment.  As we struggle to scrape together the $200 needed for materials to repipe the house, I get it.  It’s been three and a half months since the water was supposed to be connected and we still don’t have it done.  Even if the water meter were on (which it isn’t), the copper piping throughout the house needs to be replaced and although I have sweet-talked my friend Mike into doing the work for me with the promise that I will pay him once I close on the house I have under contract in a few weeks, there is still the issue of materials.  Since we no longer have credit cards, it’s not like we can buy the materials now and pay for them later.  He has a friend who could put them on account for us except the friend isn’t returning any of his calls.

But the certainty that “it can’t possibly work” works against us.  It is faith in things falling apart and I am tired of it.  I’m tired of the uphill battle.  The only good news is that at least the plumber isn’t bugging me for the rest of his money because he hasn’t finished the job.  We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.  In the short term, my job is to know that this can and will get done and that the money to get the materials is here.

I must turn away from conditions.  I must focus my energy on what I want not what I fear.  When that doesn’t look like I think it should, it’s hard.  Yesterday was a challenge because my tax preparer was upset with me.  I checked in with the bookkeeper and she informed me that she wasn’t in the office that day (although last week she’d told me she would be) and to call the office directly.  I knew she would get it filed and that was probably a good thing because if I had known she wouldn’t it might not have been filed on time.  Why she hasn’t kicked me to the curb is beyond me.  But the whole thing stirred up guilt and shame and I found myself in a dark hole with an intense desire to just curl up in defeat.  Sometimes it takes me a while to pull my big girl panties back on and get back up.

“Find me.”  My friends remind me that I am trying to do all the work all by myself because I am not having faith that my God is big enough to handle it for me; or that I am somehow not worthy enough or something.  The “find me” line comes from a story about a woman who was lost and trying to figure out where she should go to find her way home; she was looking for a spiritual community so she would feel supported and loved.  She needed to find God.  The story goes like this: she was sitting on a hillside, feeling like she couldn’t do it all herself, so she looking up and demanded what she needed, “Find me.”  She didn’t know where to go and what to do so she told God that was going to have to be His job.  I don’t know all the details of what happened next but I know it was just after that that she ended up at our center.

How is it that I forget to ask for what I need?  When help tries to show up, why do I resist it when it doesn’t look like I think it should? Find me.  Tell me what do to.  Help me to listen to my intuition and follow it.  Last night, as my husband and I watched TV for a while, I was shocked when at one point the contestants on the show were choosing sides and I knew which name was going to be called next.  I knew.  There was a certainty to it, but notice, I wasn’t attached to the outcome.  I wasn’t trying, I was just noticing; noticing how the information was coming to me in advance and that I knew the answers.  I didn’t know who was going to win (we were watching Masterchef) because I was attached to who I wanted to win, so that colored my ability know.  I probably did know, but I couldn’t hear it because of my attachment.

The thing is, we always know.  The thing I frequently end up reminding my friends of is that all minds are connected so we can’t really hide how it is that we feel.  On some level, the other person gets it.  Which is why falling into peace is so important, which is why choosing love is crucial.  We always know, but can we hear it?

Yesterday, I needed to amass $200 more to be able to pay the mortgage on Prairie Falcon without imposing a late fee.  I didn’t make it, but then again I didn’t really think I would.  So the question comes, was it my lack of faith in making it happen that prevented it from happening?  If I hadn’t been so attached, would I have managed to sell the server that I’ve had on craigslist for the last week?  Or collect the money owed to Jay for website maintenance? I could feel myself slipping into depression yesterday as my fear gradually escalated throughout the day; the later in the day it got, the more certain I was we wouldn’t make that deadline.  I couldn’t seem to remember to be clear.

“Find me.”  Tell where I should be going, tell me what I should be doing.  And oh by the way, let me be clear about what it is that I want.  That being clear part is not always my strong suit.  I’m still learning to ask for what I want.

I’m going to put together a lesson in audacity.  I was taught it wasn’t polite to be audacious.  And I guess I wasn’t really taught to rely on God.  My friend Vicki regularly lines up hosts of angels to help her with jobs that she needs to have taken care of.  The concept comes from the book, Hiring the Heavens.  I’ve read the book, but somehow I forget to put out the roll call.

But what would it mean if instead of adhering to the mandates of polite society, I boldly chose what works for me?  What would that look like?  What if, instead of thinking I need to figure it all out myself, I just told God that it was up to Him to shove me in the right direction.  What if I decided to be clear?  What if I made my list and demanded that it be taken care of?  I was taught you don’t demonstrate such gall.  That to do so was arrogance.  We ask nicely.  We aren’t pushy.

But there is a fine line between clarity and impudence, and I sometimes err on the side of spinelessness. I’m not always good at pinpointing my desires.  If I waffle, then the universe can hardly be faulty for not giving me what I want.  God always says “yes,” but the yes is indiscriminant; it applies to fear as much as to faith. I have to know what I want to be able to get it.  I have to focus on that more than I focus on the lack of it all.  Sometimes, that is tricky, because after all, who am I to think I can get everything I want?

So let me be clear.  Find me.  I want to be well-known and make ton of money and be revered for my teaching skill and my inspirational message.  I want to be known as a great metaphysician.  I want to be a famous author.  I want to provide skills to others to be able to get what they want out of life.  I want to be found.  Find me.  Show me how it’s done.  Tell me what to do.  Help me to surrender each and every day to a higher power, a purer calling.  I’m on fire when I’m helping others “get it,” but who is going to listen to me if I can’t even model it in my own life? I want to be well compensated.  I want the struggling and the acting like I’m not good enough to be over.  It’s not that I need my ego stroked.  I don’t care about any of that, but I want to reach a wide audience.  Yes, and I realize that some of these ramblings are crap and who cares and on and on.  Oh well.  I’ve noticed that being perfect isn’t a prerequisite for being rich and famous.  Sometimes the person that wins isn’t the better competitor, it’s the one who wants it more.

So, I check my Paypal account and suddenly they tell me I have reached my limit and can no longer send, receive or transfer money.  After three transactions this month!  What?  So why do I have things listed on eBay to sell?  Why am I trying to set up my website to be able to book spiritual counseling appointments?  What?  I’m not fighting it.  I don’t understand it, but it must be trying to push me in a different direction.

Ok, God, I need some guidance.  I’m listening.  What would you have me do?  Find me.

Making It All Up – It’s Easy!

We are making it all up.  Some days I arise and I act like I don’t know that.  I act like there are things I have to do.  Of course, in a sense there are.  If I want to continue to enjoy the luxury of electricity and water and gas, I must pay those bills.  If I want to continue to have a roof over my head, I must pay my mortgage.  I must earn money to do those things.  Most people have a regular job they’ve secured in exchange for a regular paycheck.  The tradeoff for the stability of dependable income is time and freedom, but even those are choices.  Stability is so attractive to most people that they go around acting as if they have no choice with regards to the job thing, but the truth is we are all making it all up.  We get to decide whether we stay or whether we go.  A job is just another relationship and like all relationships, each of us has the freedom to decide if that relationship is serving us or not, and if not to make another choice.

I bring this up because I recognize that how I spend my days is a choice I make.  Yesterday, I had expected I would be out showing houses all afternoon but when I didn’t hear from my clients, I ended up hanging out with friends instead.  I could easily spend the rest of my life that way but since they don’t pay me for the pleasure of my company it’s probably not a viable option.  When I didn’t hear from my clients, I didn’t pursue them and that was a choice; hopefully, not a bad one.

What I am noticing is that my restlessness and anxiety are born when guilt and uncertainty around the future rush in.  As much as I try to live in the mystery and allow myself to be surprised, the truth is that when I want to accomplish something and I’m struggling to figure out how it is done, I find disquietude. I don’t know how to make it all up and that not knowing gets in my way.

Now, theoretically, it should stir creativity.  I’m making it all up!  I get to do it however I want!  But sometimes, the logistics smack me in the face and threaten to give me a couple of black eyes.  This is where I find myself envying those who seem to tap easily into the flow.  I don’t feel creative enough or have faith in my ability to be lead to where I need to go.  I forget to solicit help from beyond (even though I constantly remind others of that) and go around acting as if God couldn’t possibility be bothered with little old me.

I am in the very bad habit of assuming the role of the victim.  Now, I don’t think of myself as a victim and it feels like hyperbole to make such a statement, but what I mean by it is that I often forget how capable I am.  I forget to give myself credit for how resourceful I can be.  I get bogged down in the details of figuring it all out and end up feeling like I’m swimming upstream. “God is easy.” I have to remind myself.  “There is no order of difficulty in miracles.”

Yet too often I don’t act that way.  I act like I’m the kid who is doomed to be picked last by the team captains choosing classmates for dodge ball.  I act like I’m the unwanted orphan.  I act like I have no right.  I am still shocked sometimes when others seem to want to be around me, because some part of me is still the shy, introvert loitering near the edges of the room, waiting for the party to end so I can go home and end the misery; even when I am enjoying myself.  Even when I am far from a wallflower – the wounded child still haunts me – she hangs back, unsure and scared.

The wounded child doesn’t believe God is easy.  The wounded child doesn’t remember she is worth it.

I think this is why like working with kids – I enjoying having the opportunity to remind them of who they are.  I want them to know the truth of who they are.  I didn’t know it.  I don’t know why.  I didn’t have bad parents, but like many parents they didn’t have the skill set to nurture my brilliance.  My parents were fairly hands off and so sometimes it was a challenge to me to figure out how to do things.  One time when I was in middle school, I asked my father to help me explain how different tools (pulley, level, fulcrum, etc.) worked and how they helped make more efficient use of energy.  It was the only time I ever remembered asking my father to help me with my homework.  I remember being astounded by how easy it was to understand with his help.  I also got an “A” on the homework.  He didn’t do it for me, he just explained it to me as one by one I went through the different tools.  My father had a degree in mechanical engineering so it was right up his alley, but it is odd to me that I never before or after asked for his help.  I never asked for help with things.  It never occurred to me that it was an option.

So why bring this all up?  Maybe I am trying to figure out why I make things harder than they really need to be.  Why I sometimes forget to ask for help, why I feel crippled by my inability to figure out how to do things.

I guess maybe I am trying to get to the place where I remember how it, life, making money can be/is easy.  I awaken in the morning and I’m scanning my thoughts to see how I feel, to see what I think I should be doing.  I don’t often wake up and remember to saturate myself in feeling blessed.  Even when I remember to feel grateful, which is often, I still forget to allow myself to be blown away by the beauty of my life.

So this morning, I remind myself of the ease of God.  I am reprinting a prayer I wrote that brings me back to that remembrance:

How good it feels when I remember that there is so order of difficulty for God.  In this moment, I remind myself, that God is ease, omnipotent, all-powerful, executing everything effortlessly.  I watch nature and see reflected back the easiness of God, as the sun rises and sets predictably, the geese fly in formation, and leaves fall from the trees to hunker down into the dormancy for winter.  Witnessing this, I know the ease of God.  Stress-free and easy; peaceful and calm.  This is the pulse of Spirit, the Truth of how Life is meant to be.

And recognizing this Truth, I remember that it is who I really am.  That I carry within me this ease, this guidance that brings me present to the blessings before me.  I align myself with the Presence of God and slip into the grace of Its being.  It blesses me.  It caresses me.  It guides me to the remembrance of my Divine inheritance – the ease of God.

And during this season when the hustle and bustle heightens, I remember that this is the truth of each and every person.  I bless them with my remembrance.  I provide a space where they too can claim this peace as their own.  I know that the Light of God burns within each of us, blessings us, guiding us, aligning us with the ease that comes from surrendering to that alignment with Spirit.  I know who I am.  I know who you are.  I remember it clearly and in so remembering, claim for each of us the peace that was always there.  Life is easy.  Life is effortless.  Things fall into place just as they should and I marvel at the seeming synchronicity.  Smiling, I am pleased by the knowingness that it was always thus.  I am grateful, so very, very grateful for how very good God is.

And I allow.  I allow this surrender to unfold.  There is nothing to fight, for it is already done.  I let it go as I step fully into my remembrance.  How easy it is.  How good it feels to be the Ease of God.

Namaste.