Living in the Uncertainty

“Have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and 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.”

- Rainer Maria Rilke, 1903, in “Letters to a Young Poet”

Recently, I caught myself complaining to my friend, Alejandro. I was lamenting my current circumstances; frantically searching for some place to park blame. I wanted to be able to know how to fix my problems. I wanted him to reassure me and tell me everything was going to be all right. I knew better than to be complaining. I’m a metaphysician. I know that energy follows thought and that the quickest way to mire myself even deeper into the untenable was to focus all my energy on it. It was habit – me looking fearfully at my situation and not knowing how my problems could be resolved. I wanted to know how it could work out. The habit of fearfulness was rearing its ugly head. “Learn to live in the uncertainty,” he told me. “That’s where the infinite possibility lies.”

Rev. Patrick always used to say, “How is none of your business.” This is about that. It’s about how I claw my way back from fear to faith. My job was never to work out the details. My job was always just to know that the solution was at hand.

But that habit is insidious. I swear my whole spiritual practice has been about learning to overcome that habit. As a metaphysician, I was taught to “turn away from conditions.” Appearances are but a reflection of past state of consciousness. They tell me where I came from but that’s not where I have to stay. Still and all, I find that the springboard to resolution often begins with acceptance of what is. In that way, I can let myself off the hook. I’m not wrong. I’m not judged. I’m just this fucked-up human on par with every other human – accepted for the imperfect being that I am.

Recently, I’ve found myself examining my relationship with money, which somehow has led to looking at my relationship with food. We are all one. It’s all connected.

A Course in Miracles reminds me,”…the ego believes in “solving” conflict through fragmentation, and does not perceive the situation as a whole.  Therefore, it seeks to split off segments of the situation and deal with them separately, for it has faith in separation and not in wholeness.”

“When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.” John Muir

To treat only the symptom (lack of money, hoarding, whatever) is to treat the effect and miss the cause.  Wholeness demands a more holistic approach; holy reverence for the interconnectedness of everything.  It asks for patience.  It begs to be loved, despite the imperfection, despite the less than ideal circumstances.  This is where forgiveness enters.  This is where gentleness with ourselves is necessary.

Learn “to love the questions themselves.”  Find delight in the imperfection.  This is your journey.  Honor it.

 

 

 

All In

“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They invent. They imagine. They heal. They explore. They create. They inspire. They push the human race forward. Maybe they have to be crazy. How else can you stare at an empty canvas and see a work of art? Or sit in silence and hear a song that’s never been written? Or gaze at a red planet and see a laboratory on wheels? We make tools for these kinds of people. While some see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.” — Steve Jobs

Today, I woke up happy, listening to sermons, meditations, and then music.  The music lingers and I find myself wondering why I forget how easily it flips on a happiness switch in my soul.  Today, I am all in.  I am going for happiness.  That means there is no room for hesitation, for second-guessing, for playing small.  It means not caring what others may think.  What you think of me is none of my business.

The challenges arise when I think I’m supposed to see how it all fits together.  How silly is that!  You can’t see how it fits together in advance.  To quote Steve Jobs again, “Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.”

So today, I am no respecter of conditions.  Conditions are temporary – a mere snapshot of one of those dots and when you’re in the middle of these things you can’t see why they are necessary; you just have to trust that they are.  If my back is against the wall, then I must need my back against the wall for it to all come together.  But today, I remember the many times when I was stressing at my old business thinking we needed to shift something to get more customers in the door and then discovering that the only thing I ever needed to change was me.  I’d ignore the part of my brain (the fear talking) telling me I better lower prices so I could snag new business when all I need to do was get myself into a better space, a space that focused on helping the customer.  We built our business on customer service and that is what I love and what I am good at.  Want to get me excited, filled with passion and feeling good? Let me teach, let me educate.  I just want to help people figure out the systems, show them how to make it easy.  Show them the possibilities.

So here’s to all in.  Here’s to loving every moment and finding the stuff that makes us spill with love, makes us happy and crazy and leaving behind the status quo.  I’m a round peg skipping over the square holes.  I’m free-falling into trust! I can’t see how the pieces fit, but I can rest assured that do.

Journal: Exploring Possibility and Choice/The Life that Want to Live You

5:53 a.m. I can’t actually believe I am up and journaling.  I don’t think I went to bed until after midnight, but my body is used to arising at this hour lately and frankly the day I’m anticipating is busy enough that getting up seemed like a good idea.

So there it is –  laid out before me like a banquet of possibility.  One of the things that I love about my life is that I regularly take time to notice that I am at choice.  Getting up or staying in bed was a choice.  Everyone is at choice, of course, but I notice it.  Sure I get swept into other people’s schedules at times, but even then, I recognize my part in it.  I recognize that I agreed.  I don’t always agree.  In fact, I’m so used to stopping to really consider choices that I once upset a very good friend of mine, who chastised me for ability to say no.  I was so wrapped up in considering whether I wanted to partake, that I failed to notice that she was in crisis.   I didn’t say I was perfect.

Choice is part of the reason I love being self-employed, but it is also one of the things I am asking myself to look at.  I have financial obligations that I am not presently able to meet and so I must ask myself is this commitment I’ve made to myself to write every day one that serves my greater good if I can’t generate income from it?  I spend a good three hours a day writing most days (it could be longer if I am being particularly self-indulgent).  Most days, if I’m doing it properly, writing for me is self-nurturing.  It is sacred space to allow myself the evolution of my path.  It is claiming for myself what I have always wanted – to be a writer.  I’ve been circling around this for forty years.  Wow.  That made me want to cry.  What program did I buy into that said I can’t support myself through writing?  I have made attempts to figure it out many times – every time I’ve been unemployed that is where I’ve always turned.  But I’m not very good at the figuring it out part.  I need synchronicity (God) to help me because logistics aren’t my strong suit.  I seriously need some friend to take me by the hand and say, “Ok, Nancy, this is what we are going to do.”

Oh dear, I am rambling again.  On my list of things to do is to reach out to some of our local writers (and by local I really mean Taos – I nearly moved to Taos when I moved to New Mexico – think Natalie Goldberg and Julia Cameron).  Anthony Robbins says if you want to learn to do something, find someone who is doing it and emulate them.  This is why part of my strategy is to reach out to people that inspire me.  Hell, years ago I probably could have done that with Jean Houston (file under missed opportunities) when I got to know her a little at a seminar Jay and I attended some fifteen years back.  At the time, Jay and I were both huge Jean Houston fans having read many of her books.  One book that she wrote with her husband Robert Masters was Mind Games: The Guide to Inner Space and it demonstrates what a master Jean is at creating possibility, stretching individuals to become a greater version of themselves.  It inspired us to consider attending the seminar she was putting on.  We both really wanted to be at the seminar, but Jay was having back issues and he doesn’t do that well in crowds; attending was a stretch for him.  He was recovering from recent back surgery and feeling challenged by a). sitting for long periods of time and b). being asked to share with strangers.

So, there we are in some conference center on the outskirts of Boston, driving in each of the three days from my father’s house on the North Shore because it is closer than driving in from our place in western Massachusetts.  My husband has stepped outside his comfort zone in being there but is in serious pain.  It’s late morning on day two (the first full day) of the seminar and we are in jeopardy of needing to blow off the rest of it because Jay can’t deal with it. Jean Houston somehow notices and takes us outside during a break and shows me how to alleviate his pain by sweeping it out of his energy field.  Jean and I are then buds the rest of the seminar.  This was pre-Facebook but I know she told us she was online every night communicating with people.  Seriously, missed opportunity.

So how often does life bring me exactly what I am needing/wanting and I fail to notice because it doesn’t show up looking like I think it ought to.  I am so good at attracting what I need but am still mastering the part where it actually gets fleshed into something.  I notice this constantly with my real estate business, where the possibility emerges, it starts to become something and then falls apart.  What is that?  And more importantly, how do I change it?  This living in sufficiency stuff demands that of me.  I must allow myself to be supported, for I know I am supported, by expecting that it is okay to receive.  Somehow that habit of acting as if I have no right hasn’t been healed yet.

How can I have a right to choose, to be at choice each and every day, but not have a right to live in abundance?  I think it is simply the habit of allowing myself to be distracted by the fear.  Last night, one of my classmate from the Sufficiency class posed the question, “How do we go from faith to fear?”  My response was that part of it was recognizing that fear is a prayer for what you don’t want.  You have to catch yourself and then stop yourself and focus on remembering that you are so supported that the universe always says, “Yes.”

In E=squared, Pam Grout explains how we are all selecting from the reality we see and then condensing it down into a mere fraction of the available information because we can’t process it all.  We decide, based on previous programming, what all of it means.  (Lesson 2 from A Course in Miracles.)   We literally create what we see because how we see it is a function of the neural pathways we’ve created in our brains through use.

On Grout’s website, under Creativity Exercises, she suggests this: “** Look through the want ads and find a job which you clearly aren’t qualified for, but might like if you were. Compose a cover letter, tell your future employer why you’d like the job. Stick it in the mail with your resume.”  My idea is to find a job for a neuroscientist and apply for that.  I’m not likely to get the job because of course I have no training in neurobiology but the mere idea of it excites me.  Imagine what possibilities it could create.  Imagine what conversations it might spark.

So how do I take possibility and free fall into it?  I must get past the fear of being seen (which runs a little counter to my purpose to say the least!) and step into boldness.  When presented with speaking up or taking action and it feels risky, I must move forward.  I must do the thing I don’t want to do to get to the life that wants to live me.

I arrive back at an article I wrote several years back, last time I was trying my hand at this blogging stuff:

 

The Life that Wants to Live You

What if, instead of living the live you wanted, you lived the life that wants to live you?  Is there a difference?  I think there probably is for most of us since so few of us seem to live up to our full potential.  Sure, it may be a subtle difference, but even those of us who attempt to live the life we want to live still aren’t living the life that wants to live us.  At least, it feels that way for me.  I can’t speak for anyone else, but I can say for myself, that there is definitely a difference and I think the difference is worth pondering.

For if I were to live the life that wants to live me, I would have to discard so much hesitation.  I would be required to toss fear into the trash and move boldly and certainly into a greatness I don’t really feel ready for.  It’s not that I am trying to live small, but the life that wants to live me has a boldness to it I don’t really recognize.  It drags me out dancing in the wee hours of the morning.  It never keeps its mouth shut in deference.  No, the life that wants to live me doesn’t know how to hold back in fear.  It is bold and saucy.  It is fearless.

If I kept my eye on that way of being, how would I be different?  Can I try it?  Can I enter like I own the joint?  Can I claim it; wear that life like a new set of clothes and go out for a spin on the town?

I can try.  It most assuredly doesn’t hurt to try.

Journal: Finding Inspiration

“You can never change things by fighting the existing reality.  To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” – Buckminster Fuller

 

So this morning I awoke in gratitude.  It’s always good to awaken with thankfulness in your heart.  Today is the day my son’s house finally gets water to it and although I have no idea how to pay the plumber once he completes the job, I am just going to have faith that my father will somehow have the last $8000 needed to do the job (although I would prefer that the money magically appear in my bank account).  I haven’t called him up yet to ask him for it but I will.  I do know that I need to start earning money here soon or MJ is going to end up with roommates!   (Then I remembered my old affirmation my friend Joy Lynn taught me, “People love to give me money!”)

I’m not focusing on lack this morning, I’m focusing on possibility. I wonder what it would take to become a life coach.  That thought just came to me.  I am good at being champions for others.  I see the light in them.  Actually, I see the light in everybody.

Anyway, my excitement this morning is born from a book I got from my friend, Brandi,  called E-Squared: Nine Do-It-Yourself Energy Experiments That Prove Your Thoughts Create Your Reality by Pam Grout

I’m not sure how she came across it but she was telling me about it the other night after our ACIM class and my first reaction was “this will be awesome to do with the kids at church!”  But then I started reading it and I realized that I need to start doing this with myself!

I think the author may be my new hero.  I love her.  What hooked me to go get it off my google drive and download it to my Kindle is that Brandi mentioned the magic words, “She talks about the Course.”  I visited Pam Grout’s website.  I love this woman.  She is motivating.  She is funny.  She is about to help me turn my life around.  But to do that, I do need to get off my kiester and go write that list I’ve been talking about for the last two days == the one where I spend two hours using the hack I learned from How to Get Off Your Ass and Accomplish Your Life’s Dreams: The Lazy Procrastinators Guide to Massive Success [Kindle Edition] by Charlie Millan.

Millan says that we should clear our minds to eliminate procrastination.  It requires a two-hour block of time (uninterrupted by the outside world):  you do a brain dump for 50 minutes straight, followed by 20 minutes of self-indulgence, and then a 50-minute power session of organizing all the crap you wrote down.  Four categories: Quick Tasks, Long Term Tasks, Ideas, and Other.

One thing that became immediately clear to me once I started reading Grout’s book is that I am not that good (up till now!) at defining what I want.  I need to do lists, but sometimes my track record with them hasn’t always been historically impressive.

So I have a brain dump to work on, a book that is calling to me to finish reading it, a contract to write, a list of houses to put together to look at with Anne tomorrow and hey, wait a minute – this isn’t where I’m supposed to start the brain dump!  Time to get moving!

No More Meandering

“If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll probably end up somewhere else.” David Campbell

Some days it is good to meander.  Just being present to the next thing that comes along, following that with curiosity can be a good practice for de-stressing.  There is something to be said for it.  It is a good way to practice being peaceful in this world.  It is a good way to be mindful.  It is good for retreat but for everyday living such practices are best reserved for the retired, or perhaps for those who have the luxury of “no time,” as in all the time in the world.  It can be a relaxed way of being, but it probably doesn’t suit most of us.  It suits me in terms of enjoyment, but it is vastly impractical when it comes to making a living.

Like most people, I need to know where I am going.  I need goals.  I need a list of tasks I must attend to so that I will attend to them and not watch deadlines slip past me like unpursued opportunities.  Otherwise, I end up someplace else; I don’t end up somewhere I want to be.

Maslow described self-actualization as “Intrinsic growth of what is already in the organism, or more accurately of what is the organism itself…self-actualization is growth-motivated rather than deficiency-motivated.”  To become ourselves, we need goals.  We need to explore the essence of who and what we are and it’s hard to get there through simple meandering.  Sure, meandering is a great way to discover surprise but it doesn’t do much for promoting a positive self-image.  For that, we need goals.  We need to set our sights on growth not just on hanging out to see what we trip over.

So, it is time to return to list-making, for I cannot endure endless days of meandering.  Meandering is good for a short while, but eventually I find I am itching to figure out where I want to end up.  Eventually I can’t procrastinate any longer; I need to take the necessary steps to get there.   Some days ending up somewhere else isn’t an acceptable option.  Steven Covey would be proud.  Sometimes you just have to put first things first.

Choosing Peace, Choosing Faith

Last night was our weekly ACIM class.  I love the class, reading the words of the Course, finding solace there where I can be as imperfect as I am and still know that who I am is just fine.  I always feel a little nervous before the class, especially if it’s been a hectic day and I am not as centered as I’d prefer.  Sometimes I trip over the words as I read.  Sometimes I wonder what the heck to comment on.  I don’t want to just read.  People can just read at home.  I want those in attendance (myself included!) to feel like they got something out of being there.  I love the passages – the rhythm of the iambic pentameter, the way love filters through all the words, like some comforter there to soothe my frightened inner child.  I love it and yet I feel a certain responsibility to move the discussion along, so I usually interject some comment after we finish reading each chapter (we started last night at T-17.IV.1-9—The Two Pictures).  I repeat a phrase I love.  I explain what it means to me.

I am nervous because the part of me that is still fearful whispers that I don’t know anything.  It is only once I am able to shove that aside and allow the message of love to come through that I remember why I am there.  I am there to be used.  I am there to remember who each and every person there is.

Last night, a shortcut was revealed.  Set the intention: Peace.  That’s all I had to do?!?!?!  Choose peace.  Now, on some level, I knew that.  I know that in any situation: I could see peace instead of this (Lesson 34).  The part that escaped my notice was how often I forget to set an intention.  I just meander.  I observe.  I like to observe.  I find it useful.  Except that somewhere in last night’s reading I made an important discovery: by waiting for the outcome (let’s see how things turn out), I was essentially saying, I will look at the effect of my thoughts and expectations and then figure out how I feel about them (basically disowning that I had any part in any of it).  Instead of recognizing that the life I am living is the direct result of my ideas about it, I was choosing victimhood.  Darn.  No wonder things weren’t turning out the way I think they should!  I was basically waiting to assess the situation to see whose fault everything was.  Except I know better than that which meant that it was always MY fault.  Oh dear.

2 In any situation in which you are uncertain, the first thing to consider, very simply, is “What do I want to come of this? What is itfor?” The clarification of the goal belongs at the beginning, for it is this which will determine the outcome. In the ego’s procedure this is reversed. The situation becomes the determiner of the outcome, which can be anything. The reason for this disorganised approach is evident. The ego does not know what it wants to come of the situation. It is aware of what it does not want, but only that. It has no positive goal at all.

3 Without a clear-cut, positive goal, set at the outset, the situation just seems to happen, and makes no sense until it has already happened. Then you look back at it, and try to piece together what it must have meant. And you will be wrong. Not only is your judgment in the past, but you have no idea what should happen. No goal was set with which to bring the means in line. And now the only judgment left to make is whether or not the ego likes it; is it acceptable, or does it call for vengeance? The absence of a criterion for outcome, set in advance, makes understanding doubtful and evaluation impossible.

4 The value of deciding in advance what you want to happen is simply that you will perceive the situation as a means to make it happen. You will therefore make every effort to overlook what interferes with the accomplishment of your objective, and concentrate on everything that helps you meet it. It is quite noticeable that this approach has brought you closer to the Holy Spirit’s sorting out of truth and falsity. The true becomes what can be used to meet the goal. The false becomes the useless from this point of view. The situation now has meaning, but only because the goal has made it meaningful.

Does this mean I need to give up observing?  Well, probably to a certain extent.  I mean, I like to extract the truth but the truth really can’t be extracted.  The truth just is and I can be in harmony with that or not.  If I am in harmony, then I chose love.  If I am not, then I must have tried to separate out what cannot be fragmented, I must not have chosen peace as my goal.

T-17.VI.5.5-9 Truth comes of itself. If you experience peace, it is because the truth has come to you and you will see the outcome truly, for deception cannot prevail against you. You will recognize the outcome because you are at peace. Here again you see the opposite of the ego’s way of looking, for the ego believes the situation brings the experience. The Holy Spirit knows that the situation is as the goal determines it, and is experienced according to the goal.

So, I choose again.  AND (and this is probably a biggie for me!) I begin with the goal in mind.  The Course reminds me that “The goal of truth requires faith.”  It goes back to understanding that I really don’t know what anything is for so how in the world could I know if I am on point?  Oh, peace.  If I am on point, I am at peace.  If I feel twisted and tormented about it then I haven’t surrendered anything.  I am still trying to be a backseat driver.  The Course tells me, “Had you not lacked faith that it could be solved, the problem would be gone.” (v. 1.5).  It’s basically telling me that I haven’t relinquished it to the Holy Spirit because, for whatever reason, I wanted to keep it for myself.  Maybe so I could continue to blame someone; maybe so I continue to prove I’m not worthy, or that I don’t trust God or that God isn’t trustworthy.

But I can shift it in a heartbeat.  I give it to the Holy Spirit.  I choose Peace.  I am willing.  I choose Peace.  And I don’t have to beat myself up over it.  I was just doing what egos do, just as children sometimes choose mistakenly until they learn a better way.  I am learning a better way.  “There is no problem in any situation that faith will not solve.”   Nothing real can be threatened.  Why wouldn’t I have faith?

Journal: Fear and Faith

So for the past few weeks, I have been journaling directly on my laptop rather than filling my 17-cent Walmart back-to-school-sale notebooks. It does make posting things easier because although I am a patient person, I hate transcribing. I can barely read my own handwriting and although I purchased 20 notebooks (and then donated 10% of them), I probably don’t need more notebooks filled with chicken scratch. I have a dozen of them lying around just in my office and it makes it that much more challenging to locate the ones that have actually information in them.

Still, I may go back to it. Writing long-hand is supposed to connect the heart. Yesterday I found myself feeling blocked and incapable to expressing myself so I sifted through some of my posts from when I had this site up a few years back and reposted them. I never did figure out the monetizing things back then and I suppose that this where judgment and self-doubt and all that good stuff crawl in and demand to be the center of attention. It occurred to me this morning that my friend Kathy’s daughter makes her living blogging and that maybe she might be of help. I combed through the job posts yesterday and came to the sad realization that the reason I sell houses for a living is that at least when you finally sell something you tend to make a decent paycheck (as opposed to working for $10/hr, giving away all your time and still not having enough to pay all the bills). Of course, there are countless hours that you spend with people that you never get paid for. Some clients get that, some don’t. The really funny part is when they want to become a realtor (it is incredibly common). I guess running all over town looking at the houses that are for sale strikes people as a fun way to make a living. Plus most of them seem to know that the commission for a buyer’s agent is 3% (sometimes it’s 2.5%; on rare occasion there is a bonus or it’s 4% — minus the portion you share with your boss, of course) but on a $200K house, one sale is generally enough to get caught up on the bills. Of course, if you only sell a few a year that puts you below the poverty line. Dang – I don’t want to go here again. It’s one of those things that makes me crazy, because the number that should have closed and then fell through is more than twice the ones that did close. Hell, in the last couple weeks, I’ve had three that fell out of escrow. I have a real talent for going from a rosy projection down to nothing in a heartbeat. If I didn’t have faith, I’d have killed myself a long time ago; it’s hard to face an empty bank account and dwindling larder and stay rooted in optimism.

It is the sort of thing that makes me question everything, especially on the days where I know I must take action and all I want to do is curl up on a bed and read. A friend of mine is very into Feng Shui and I am thinking I need to have her come over to my house and give me a few pointers.  The energy flow is obviously set up for harmony in relationships (I just looked it up http://www.msfengshui.com/feng-shui-bagua/relationships-love-marriage) – our bedroom is in the proper corner of the house; we have things in pairs, and although it isn’t at the moment, usually it is the tidiest room in the house.  But the career thing and the money thing is obviously not set up for success.  Actually, I have often thought that; I even checked out some Feng Shui books from the library. Then got overwhelmed trying to figure it out and I let it go.   Maybe it is time to revisit it.  It couldn’t hurt.  I might want to look at what overwhelms me too.  (Is it strange that I tend to inundate others with information sometimes when people seek out my help?  Is that a way of trying to give away my own tendencies to go into overload?)

Yesterday, as I sat in my prayer meeting and listened to each person share and ask for prayer, I found myself in the surreal position of witnessing the conversation in silence and wondering what I would say when my turn finally arrived (I went last). I was very aware that my very words were, in fact, carving my experience, that in a bizarre sort of way, I was at a crossroads, deciding which path I would take. Habitually, I have, it seems, chosen victimhood. I’m so clever about it that often folks don’t notice (or clearly, I’d have stirred up enough sympathy to get some random stranger to give me thousands of dollars! Or at least a dollar or two! There is a donate button on this site, folks!). I used this analogy, “Sometimes I feel like I’m locked inside a room, whining about how hungry I am, and someone with food is knocking on my door but I’m too wrapped up in my own complaints to notice, so I never get up to open the door.”

I left the whiny bitch behind and stepped forward from a place of strength. I shared from the Course. I chose faith over fear. That felt good, but I noticed how much I wanted to revert to the “please feel sorry for me” role.

Will I ever get over it?

It is strange this writing online thing because in some ways, it feels quite vulnerable: owning my issues (which always seem to be about money) all the while recognizing that there is really only one person reading this stuff so why am I even worried about being seen? I oscillate between fear and faith, reminding myself daily that I am creating it all. I am choosing how God will answer, which prayers will unfold because I recognize that allowing fear to be the dominant thought is basically the equivalent of saying, “I’m not done feeling sorry for myself yet. I need to generate more sympathy here.” (Like that works!)

At what point did I decide that stirring up sympathy was a good survival strategy? Isn’t is basically the same as saying, “I don’t trust my own ability to support myself so maybe I can get you to love me enough so that you want to help.”? Fuck.

“Make offers,” Maria tells us in Sufficiency class. Put out what it is that you have of value that you want to share and then invite others to buy.

“If you don’t value yourself enough to think what you are doing is any good, why would anyone else?” says one of the students. I go home and ask myself what I am offering here. What is it that I want to accomplish? Why would anyone (other than my one friend) come to this site? Why do I waste my time on it every day?

I’ve taken to labeling these entries “Journal.” Advanced warned – you get what you get. If you came to watch a train wreck, here is the place to enter. If you came for wisdom or inspiration, you may find some of the other stuff more palatable. Two sites, I understand the impulse for two sites. I also know that I can’t hide parts of myself away like they are too messed up to warrant exposure – that’s the stuff I really need to heal. That’s the stuff my ego wants to keep hidden. I go back to my childhood and the “Leave It to Beaver” environment of the late fifties and early sixties, where the patina created a perfect shine. Keeping up appearances was important: those on the outside looking in should be stirred to envy by what they see. Yeah, this may not be the place to visit if that’s what you are looking for. I’m not that good at creating the illusion of perfection.

But yesterday, at my Practitioner (prayer) meeting, I chose faith over fear. I awoke this morning and consciously named the things I am grateful for. I told God, “You know, I have no idea how to make this all work out by next week, but I’m just going to have faith that you do.” There is no order of difficulty in miracles. I’m calling on the spirits of those who surround me daily (spirit guides, my family that has already transitioned, the ancestors, the Holy Spirit). I’m trusting that there are those who know how to do this stuff who can and will help me. I don’t know how to figure it all out.

I look to my friends to remind me of my value. That’s why community is important, I always say, “so others can remember the truth of who you are when you can’t remember it yourself.” I’m sure that some people don’t understand what that means. It means that you are a beloved child of God, precious and good. You carry within you the Divine. The part of you that is connected to that is who and what you really are. It is the truth of who and what I really am.

As always, I return to the Course, “Love, which created me, is what I am.”  Love, which created you, is who you are, too.  To remember that is to enter peace.

One-pointedness

One-pointedness is the concept of focusing on one thing only, quieting the mind in such a way that the extraneous falls away.  It is in this manner that awareness surfaces.  Free of labels, of preconceived concepts, of thinking, the mind is immersed in experience.  There is not thinking, there is being.  At that point, stories disappear.  There is no need to explain, for the explanations muddy the present moment with ideas from the past, hopes for the future.  I’ve often thought this is the allure of strong silent type of man.  It may be fantasy, but every woman hopes that the reason he says so little is that he is just so in the moment that words detract from the ecstasy of living in the now.

As a person who enjoys writing and playing with ideas, one-pointedness is seldom my strong suit.  My mind is busy analyzing and extracting stories.  I am chewing on ideas.  I am attempting to wrap my mind around concepts that frequently end up shattering the constructs I’ve built, rather like the twist in some great movie – just when you think you’ve got it all figured out, you’re blown away.  Truthfully, that is what I am mining for.  I want the deep end.  I want to go beneath the surface and explore, which is why I find is somewhat ironic that I’m not better at it because one-pointedness gives you new eyes.  So I am repeating T.S. Elliot again, “We shall not cease from exploration and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.”

Within that one-pointedness stretching occurs and as Oliver Wendell Holmes said, “A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.”  For by shedding my ideas of how things are or should be, I arrive at the sacred.  I don’t have tons of experience in staying in such a state, but I’ve kissed it a few times.  To be there is to be in bliss.  In that moment, I understand the phrase, “I live and breathe and have my being in God” for the experience is unification with the All.  It is tender.  It is sweet and unfortunately all too fleeting.

I write of such things to remind myself that I know how to do this.  I know how to slip into the pocket of God and ride a wave of rapture, as my body buzzes and appreciation swells within me.  I know how, but yet I rarely do for there are bills to pay, the house to be cleaned, people to talk to and a host of other activities.  This may be why I generally prefer solitude to community – it’s easier to become poetry when life isn’t blowing up in your face.

So here is my goal: to stay in the poetry even when life is blowing up in my face.  That’s the thing about life, when you think you’ve got it, something will come along and show you all the places you still need to heal.  Whenever I am foolish enough to think I have evolved into something special, life will bring me humility all gift-wrapped, usually as a pile of flaming poo.

So here’s to those piles of flaming poo.  Perhaps when I have learned to love them as much as I love the apparently beautiful, they will stop showing up on my doorstep.  Perhaps when I have evolved enough to love it all fiercely I will live in the one-pointedness that sheds the labels of good or bad and just sit with the moment.  I will invite whatever is happening in and bless its presence. We’ll fall into each other’s arms.  We’ll be fierce friends.

The Brick Wall

Persistence, perseverance and passion are the ingredients for success.  So why is it that I am sometimes hard on myself for not getting it – that is not succeeding – right away?  Two of those three ingredients indicate that these are not instant gratification activities.  Still, like most Americans, I seem to expect a certain ease and truth be told, I can get a bit discouraged when I actually have to work to get my results.  There are going to be brick walls.  That’s life.  Sometimes you run into brick walls.  The question is what do you do when you find yourself standing in front of one?

Brick walls are the stuff that tells you how committed you are.  It’s the reason that there are so many self-help books and CD’s out there.  It’s the reason we spend so much money on stuff that’s supposed to help us and still manage to fail.  Secretly, we are hoping that the purchases will be enough.  They aren’t.  Ultimately, when you come face to face with a brick wall you have to decide what you’re going to do.  Will you pack up your toys and go home?  Or do you scale it?  Do you blast through it?  Do you find a way to go over, around, under or through or do you just forget about the whole thing?  It’s easier to go home, to go back to the way things were, until it isn’t any more.  Until you want more than a Groundhog’s Day life.  If you want more, that’s where the passion comes in because if you’re passionate enough, then the brick wall doesn’t faze you. The brick wall only serves to show you what you’re made of.  It lets you know you are committed.  It wasn’t just a passing fancy.  It wasn’t just something to distract you for a bit.  If you passionate about it, the brick wall doesn’t matter.  In fact, you welcome it.  You welcome it because that brick wall weeds out the people who weren’t serious.  The ones who thought it would be easy give up when they come to the brick wall.

Sure, sometimes you have to make adjustments.  Being committed doesn’t mean you don’t get to refine your techniques, it just means you keep going even when you fail.  Failure is not a destination; it’s a means of refining.  It’s just a step on the way to success.  One more step, one step closer to the goal.

There are going to be brick walls along the way.  So what!  Let those who don’t understand what it takes be deterred by them.  Meanwhile, I’m practicing the three p’s – persistence, perseverance and passion because I know where they lead.  I know what’s on the other side: the payoff.

No Alibis

(An old piece I wrote and came cross — as witnessed by my discomfort with the word “God”):

Arriving to this space where there are no alibis, I am stripped naked.  Nothing to cling to.  No excuse I can reach for.  I shed the impulse to create a story about “why.”  Now, this is a challenge for me and so undoubtedly I will find myself back in storyland, weaving reasons into explanations, creating a new alibi.  It’s not that I am trying to shirk responsibility or buffer myself against criticism.  I have an analytical nature and so I easily slip back into seeking reasons as I try to wrap my mind around concepts.

I am not a Buddhist, but I have long been attracted to studying it, however loosely, if only because I used to listen to lectures by Alan Watts and found his teachings quite fascinating.  Direct pointing is the act of pointing towards that which cannot adequately be described, only experienced.  It is the birthplace of art, of music, of poetry.  It is where I am seduced in bliss as I attempt to enter into divinity and hang out in the space that can’t be clung to.  No alibis. The ego gets left at the door, as I enter a place where judgment is suspended and ideas of right, wrong, good, bad are recognized as the constructs that they are.  This is how I create my reality.  I invent a label to slap on experience and file it away in my brain under whatever words seem appropriate and then, having done so, immediately deprive myself of my ability to just be in the moment, free of preconceived notions.

In Religious Science, we pride ourselves on personal responsibility.  We own our stuff and so there is no one to blame.  But even claiming my stuff hints of ego.  If it’s mine then it’s not yours and somewhere in that formula I have created separation and eliminated God.  The concept of wholeness is a tricky one because in attempting to be inclusive, I’m still trying to find edges, and the moment I am reaching for a border, I am trying to shove infinity into the concrete and finite.  If God is everywhere, in everything and everybody, then the moment I try to conjure an exception, I’m off the mark.  The human mind can’t grasp the ungraspable, and so here I am, back at direct pointing.

The part of my brain that insists that I must be pure to enter the temple is the part that doesn’t want me to go in at all because then I’ll realize I’m fine just as I am and simultaneously, I’ll never be good enough.  That’s why I need God.  (God, how I hate saying that – my brain still screams religious zealot – but that is the thing, by using the word God, I’ve attempted to shove infinity into a box.  Apparently my concept of “God” isn’t large enough or it wouldn’t make me cringe so to use the word!)

Anyway, at the risk of sounding fanatical, I believe that the Divine resides within each of us, loving us, guiding us and carrying us if we will but allow.  I just have to get over my hang ups over the terminology if I am ever to clear the way for allowing myself to settle into the passenger seat and let God (how I hate that word!) do the driving.  I really thought I had done enough work to be over the stuff that using the “G” word brings up.  How odd.

From A Course in Miracles, “you will never lose your way, for God leads you.”  I can’t find it anymore.  I give up.  I give up what I thought I was, what I thought it should look like, all my ideas.  I give them up.  Again, I return to the Course, “Where would You have me go? What would You have me do? What would You have me say, and to whom?”

Lead me.