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.

Journal: More Junk

I awoke early this morning; fear wanted to dance with me and since I couldn’t seem to stop my mind from racing, I figured I’d better get up. How do I open myself to possibility when I just want to see around the corner to where everything works out and I can’t? How I hate feeling so precarious! I hate being in uncertainty. I know it is ego that wants to reach for some solid place to stand on in a world that is constantly changing, but I am back to the same old, same old. This is why normal people have steady jobs and income they can rely on! It’s stressful to float in uncertainty all the time. It takes fortitude to rest there and convince yourself it’s all going to be all right.

Two days until my prayer is due for the church website. I’m thinking I should probably write it now.

One thing I noticed as I began writing is I feel like complaining, so I am going to complain because it’s 5:30 in the morning, I’ve been awake since 4, I need to be at church in a few hours and I am not feeling it. We are taught to refer to God as It in Religious Science. That feels impersonal to me and even though I recognize that God is both male and female, or greater than the two, I prefer He. It feels more loving to me. Part of my love for the Course is God is referred to as He and Our Father. I know God is greater than that but there is something comforting about the personal pronoun He. Just saying.

5:50 — So, I’ve finished the prayer.  Naturally, I feel better.  Not sure how anyone can dismiss the existence of God when it feels so good to crawl into that space of comfort from the Divine.  I’m sure some atheist would say it’s such a chemical produce by my brain by my thoughts.  Whatever.  One of my new favorite shows is The Ghost Inside My Child which is a show about kids who remember part of their previous incarnations.  I love the part where the kid says to their current parent something along the lines of, “God sent me down to you because you wanted a baby so badly.”  Or my all-time favorite, when the little girl looks at her father and says, “Daddy, remember when we were Japanese?”   

Which begs the question, have I lived before? If so, who was I?

Journal: Rambling My Way Back to Love

I am thinking that I need two blogs – one that can serve as tools for others and another where I just chronicle my own figuring out of things. I awoke this morning from a dream I don’t remember but I do know what it was saying to me: you can’t step into prosperity from desperation and I hear desperation knocking on my door. I know I’m at choice and I know it is up to me to turn towards faith and not fear, but I’m scared. The only thing I know to do is pray. The only thing I know do is give it to God. I must enter gratitude and allow the vibration of knowing how supported I am to be what lifts me. I can’t see how I’m going to get through the next few weeks and that freaks me out.

 

I almost had it yesterday. One of my investors thought she had found a buyer for the house she has under contract and wants to wholesale. It would be an awesome flip for someone with the resources and vision to turn it into a nice place. I have been through the house several times and we have mentally moved the walls and redesigned the flow of the house to make it work. It is in an area that would garner a nice ROI but my investor friend hasn’t managed to find someone for it and I can’t figure out why. Yesterday, I received a call, which I missed, from the guy she was trying to sell it to. He wanted me to explain the comps so he could decide if he was interested. I never did manage to connect but later my friend said he decided against it. I wonder if some of these guys aren’t just planning on trying to scoop it up at less money. I am thinking perhaps I can sweet talk one of my other investor friends, who is a contractor, to move forward with it. If I had the resources, I’d do it myself. Hell, I could probably make $100K on the place. Things like this make me crazy because I start to doubt myself. It reminds me of the last house I actually flipped which a couple of people told me was in a gang neighborhood. It wasn’t. I hate when gangs go through and tag stuff in decent neighborhoods and then everyone starts to freak out. I’ve seen one or two around the corner from where I live and I live in a very nice, quiet neighborhood. Anyway, I’m supposed to pull the plug on it. I haven’t yet. I could begin turning things around with a buyer for this house. Maybe that is where I should be putting my efforts instead of wasting my time and energy here. (Ok – feeling sorry for myself again – Stop It!)


Meanwhile, Jay helped me with figuring out how to put an Amazon affiliate button on my site so that if anyone clicks through from here, I have a few cents. I doubt it will garner enough cash to support this site’s existence much less my own, but it was/is a start. This is the area that I get a little crazy. I am grateful for having run a business, for my practical side but it isn’t the stuff that gets my juices flowing. That is the stuff that makes me comb through my list of friends to see who has might be up for helping me. I still haven’t started work on the tax stuff and I need to have it done in a week. I need to calm myself down and not enter full-on freak-out so I don’t drown myself. Lord help me. I just want to focus on the things I love and when I bump up against the need to figure out the practical things I need to get in order to survive, I start to veer off course.

 

Last night, my friend Alejandro called me from San Antonio. He was teasing me, pretending to pout that I had dumped him now that he has a girlfriend, since it seems we rarely talk anymore. We chatted for a bit, just catching up really. We used to constantly rely on each other for prayer. We still pray for each other, but not so much so that we are on the phone every week. Perhaps it is healthier that we learn to be more self-reliant and God reliant. My issues always seem to be the same (money) and I’m tired of whining about them. I hear myself sometimes and I just want to slap me and say, “Grow up!” (Or Stop it!) Perhaps I feel like he has healed so much of his stuff and I am still working on the same things. I know that is a lie of the ego but until I manage to shift my finances to include stability and let go of this paycheck to paycheck (without a steady paycheck!), I don’t know how convincingly I’ll shut the bastard up.

 

I remind myself that it is an evolution. Thank you Ernest Holmes He often talked about the evolution of consciousness and it helps me to remember that despite my studying this stuff, I don’t get to suddenly experience satori and be done with it. I am not where I was ten years ago, even though it many ways it feels like I have made little progress, but that is where goals and willingness to examine come in. If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there. And I must be willing to look at these things if I am ever to escape their clutches. So, I must set intentions and be prepared to own my failures; all stuff the ego hates.

 

Last night, Jay and I were snuggled into our places near each other on the couch as we hunkered down for a while in front of the TV before going to bed. It is odd, but on nights like last night, I am so aware that the couch ritual is not about watching TV. In fact the television was really just to distract me after a phone call from my son that left me feeling slightly bruised and battered. He called for an update on the status of the water being put in at the house. It was supposed to be done months ago and with this plumber at least a month ago. Next week, the plumber tells me and although by now I am wondering it myself, I haven’t pushed too much because once he completes the job, I will need another $8000 that I don’t have.

 

Anyway, MJ calls to tell me that he only has until the end of the month to move out of his friend Mike’s house and after that he will probably end up moving back east because he will be out of options. I’m not sure there are any more options back east and I don’t even bother relaying the details of the plumber’s excuse because MJ doesn’t believe a word I say at this point. I am frustrated and I want to cry by the time I get off the phone. I tell him that the house should be done by the end of the month and that if it is a day or two away from that he can stay with me until it’s done. Later, I realize he could stay in the house-formally-known-as-Nikki’s since the tenant will be out by the 1st, but none of it matters anyway. Part of me wishes he would move back so I can just finish rehabbing the house and sell it. After all the BS, it would still only be worth around $65K once I dumped another $10 or $20 thousand more into it. In another words, I might break even. He always threatens not to pay the extra it has cost me to get the water put in anyway so why even sell it to him?

 

These are the things that make me feel bad and then I have to claw my way back out of the hole I’ve allowed myself to get shoved into because I’m sure as hell as not about to lie there and wait for them to start throwing the dirt on top of me. I got off the phone and just sat there for a moment, perched at the edge of choice and wanting to reach for blame. I want to blame him for not understanding how the universe works; for making it harder than it needed to be by having faith that it couldn’t work out instead of faith that it is. I sat there and heard, “In my defenselessness my safety lies,” echo through my brain. Blame would not, will not heal the situation.

 

This is where I want to default back to, “this is why I couldn’t stay married to your father – he could never focus on the good in anything!” I want to teach my son that it is safe to have faith, but I’ve failed. I’ve failed because in January of 2012, I purchased a cheap little shitbox house in a sketchy part of town for $18 grand and it didn’t have water and sewer hooked up to it (long story) and I’ve been trying to get it straightened out ever since. Somewhere along the way, I allowed a shady plumber to dupe me into thinking it was being taking care of when in fact he was doing a half-ass job illegally, and ten grand later I was no better off than when I’d started. Meanwhile, I have another plumber who really is getting the job done, but probably has no faith in me to pay for the second half of the job (the part I’ve been trying to get done since December) and so here I am – with a severely damaged relationship with my son, a house that still isn’t completed, pissed off neighbors, and, and, and. I want to cry and feel sorry for myself. I want someone to rescue me. I want to give up and give in and walk away and all I know to do is fall to my knees.

 

It is times like these, I find solace in my relationship with my husband. He never asks anything of me. He never blames me or judges me. We are sitting on the couch watching American Pickers and in the episode we are watching, he exclaims over the couple whose property Mike and Frank are picking. “I like their energy,” Jay tells me. “They are like us. There aren’t that many couples like us. I like them.”

 

What he means is that we just allow each other to be who we are without imposing expectations on each other. There is never an idea that either of us should be other than who and what we are. We always see the good in each other. I love the man more now than I ever have. This is where I find gratitude. He demands hugs from me, telling me he needs to connect, and I wonder how this man who was such a lousy hugger when I first met him (he didn’t come from a family of huggers) has turned into such a love bug. I fall gladly into his arms. I snuggle into his energy knowing that as long as I have this, I am whole and life is good.

 

“There’s no ego.” I explain to him. “Neither of us needs to be right.” We just allow. Why aren’t I better at that with MJ?

 

So, there you have it. Today’s ramblings. Time to dust myself off and to what is in front of me to do and have faith that despite appears, it is all working out.   I open the Course, knowing it will shore me up, because it always does. Here is the prayer I find for today (the first ones my eyes lit upon):

 

3 To believe that a Son of God can be sick is to believe that part of God can suffer. Love cannot suffer, because it cannot attack. The remembrance of love therefore brings invulnerability with it. Do not side with sickness in the presence of a Son of God even if he believes in it, for your acceptance of God in him acknowledges the Love of God he has forgotten. Your recognition of him as part of God reminds him of the truth about himself, which he is denying. Would you strengthen his denial of God and thus lose sight of yourself? Or would you remind him of his wholeness and remember your Creator with him?

“The remembrance of love therefore brings invulnerability with it.” I choose love. I remember that I am loved and that love needs no defending. I demonstrate faith. I demonstrate compassion. I remember to see my son as whole that he might remember it himself.

 

The Conversation

Words do not label things already there. Words are like the knife of a carver.  They free the idea, the thing, from the general formlessness of the outside.  As a man speaks, not only is his language in a state of birth, but also the very thing about which he is talking.

– Intuit Wisdom

 

That quote launched the chapter we discussed in last night’s Sufficiency class.  It captures my imagination because it exudes possibility, and in a sense, it is the description of my thought process.  In writing, in finding the words that describe that is happening, I am awakening potentiality.  In pointing out what is, I am creating it.  It is here that I circle choice.  It is here that my awareness of choosing carefully comes alive.  Choose fear and the result will appear vastly different from choosing possibility, from choosing love.

 

We spoke of what tenses we use to carve those words.  Are we in the past, retelling the tragedy, breathing life into the very entity we are attempting to put behind us?  Or are we in the future, dreaming of what could be, shedding the limits of who and what we have adopted as our identities for something grander.  “Isn’t it important to be in the ‘now’?” the question came.  That is the point of power after all.

 

It is the point of power, yes, but it may not be the point of inspiration.  The point of inspiration lies in a greater reality than the circumstances we find ourselves living, particularly if those present circumstances feel constricting, particularly if they are colored by hopelessness or despair.

 

My son has a saying, “Tomorrow, we’ll have jam.”  Jam tomorrow – it is a phrase meant to fool the mind into diverting focus from the unpleasant reality of today, by telling it a story about tomorrow and the possibility there.  It isn’t meant to convey optimism so much as false comfort by fabricating an unlikely scenario.  He actually uses the phrase to express frustration over a future that never materializes.  (Think house that I’ve been trying to get water to for over a year and a half).  The problem with jam tomorrow is that it sets up failure.  From the get go it is tainted by the belief that things can’t actually ever get better.  “I’m hanging on by a thread here.”  “I’m just foolish myself so I don’t hang myself.”

 

This is not inspirational.

 

So where is the future born?  If ideas of the future are contaminated by despondence, how can one possibly hope to create anything good?  And if you never allow yourself to dream of what could be, if you’ve never allowed for the possibility, then how could you hope to create a better tomorrow?

 

Last night, I found myself wondering that the purpose of the blog is.  Is it just a dumping ground for the garbage that sifts through my brain?  Is it a place to right my path when I start to veer off course?  Why am I writing?  What am I offering?  Why would anyone want to come back and read it day after day?  Why do I want to write it day after day?

 

There in class, my answer came.  I’ve posed the question before, “why are you here?”  The answer, I realized, is that I am hoping you came to find tools for transformation.  That’s why I’m here.  I’m here to carve those words into something that wows me, something that makes me want to create a better tomorrow.

 

Yes, I’ve chronicled some of my journey.  Maybe that is interesting to people, maybe it isn’t.  I don’t know.  I think it’s comforting somehow to recognize that in many ways we are all on the same path.  We are all in this to help each other find our way, and even those of us who give the illusion of having our shit together only have it together some of the time, because our lives are an evolution of consciousness.  I always get the visual of a helix, curving backwards within its forward movement – two steps forward, one back, two forward, one back.

 

Back to Brene Brown and her talk on shame (see http://openingtothepossibility.com/2014/08/in-my-defenselessness-my-safety-lies/): “TED is like the failure conference. No, it is. You know why this place is amazing? Because very few people here are afraid to fail. And no one who gets on the stage, so far that I’ve seen, has not failed. I’ve failed miserably, many times. I don’t think the world understands that because of shame.”

 

If we are succeeding at all, we are failing along the way.  We need permission to fail.  I need permission to fail.  And I need permission to move beyond the desperate young girl waiting to be saved.  I need to move past shame.

 

So, with any luck, I will be transforming myself and you along the way.  You’ll come here to find motivation and inspiration.  I’ll come here to figure out what it means to become sufficiency.  I’ll provide tools for transformation.  We’ll both be enriched.  We’ll create a community where sufficiency is the norm.  You will know you are enough. I am enough.  You’ll blossom into the person God intended you to be and so will I.  We’ll help each other along the way.  We’ll actually have jam.  Today.

Journal: It’s Just Life Thursday, August 21, 2014; 5:06 a.m.

I am looking forward to the day because I am not going out to look at houses today and after several days in a row of running around, I need to settle into quiet space.  I have phone calls to return and homework to work on for tonight’s Living in Sufficiency class, but other than the dentist (and perhaps the bank, and, oh yeah, the grocery store  ‘cause if I don’t pick up a couple of things we will be hurting), I’m staying home.  I don’t intend to go see any houses.  My plan is to stay within a 2 mile radius of my house until my class at church tonight.  That’s 7 miles from my house.  My dentist appointment is at 10:30 (Jay has one at 9) and because of what the dentist calls “the red-headed gene,” they give me extra novocaine.  It makes me a little loopy.  Supposedly, folks who are redheads or have redheadedness in their genealogy require more anesthesia to numb them.  I guess technically it’s not novocaine since its use was discontinued over thirty years ago http://directionsindentistry.net/dental-mythbuster-4-dentists-still-use-novocaine/; whatever it is last week I needed a nap afterwards.  Deep cleaning part two.  Fun.  Still, I’m glad for an excuse to shove the world away for a while.

When I awoke this morning, I felt a little overwhelmed; being ultra-busy does that to me.  I had to remind myself to reach for gratitude.  The plumber for William (my son’s house) called yesterday though I never got the chance to call him back.  I need to connect with him and see if indeed the last phase for putting the water in will begin today.  I suspect he is checking to see if I have the other $8000 + I need to pay to finish the job.  I don’t.  I’m praying my father still has money in stocks he can sell that he is still willing to let me borrow.  I was hoping that I would close on something before it finished and that I would at least have some part of that money to help pay for it.  These are the things I end up stressed out over.  I’d sell my own stocks if I had any left to sell.  The truth is we burned through all of that when we lost the business.  I’m not going there right now.  I’m not going to beat myself up for surviving.  I need to find a buyer for the house formally=known=as=Nikki’s so that at least I can get that money back to him (my father).  After this month, I will be out a tenant.  A blessing as far as selling it is concerned but it means an extra $900 a month I’ll need to find from somewhere until I get the place sold.

I can’t focus on the figuring out.  I have to focus on what is in front of me to do.  I am tired of this tune and I want to play a different one.  I must have faith in how supported I am.  I can’t afford to enter fear or I will have more to be fearful about.

Yesterday, a guy I met four months ago called me to say he wants to buy a house.  I never had time to call him back yesterday (I was in Frankie’s car for the five hours we were looking at houses; I didn’t think it would be appropriate in those circumstances). I texted him once I got home.  I will phone later this morning.

Somewhere in the middle of my coming back from Rio Rancho to catch a quick bite to eat and going out to look at houses late yesterday afternoon (for privacy sake, let’s call them Sally and Frankie), I realized that I’d forgotten to cancel the termite inspection on a house in the South Valley that Sally had had under contract and ran from once she realized what an undertaking it would be.  The long and the short of it is that I needed to cancel the appointment for the inspection which was scheduled for Tuesday and which I couldn’t very well ask Sally to pay for since it was my responsibility to cancel it.  So I ended up calling them on my way home from Rio Rancho to see if they had done it (I obviously didn’t go).  They did.  Luckily, they gave me the $20 discount they give for paying up front, but I am still out $48.15 because of my own absent-mindedness.

This is the stuff that stretches me.  I ask myself whether I should publish this stuff or not.  I mean, who cares about this crap other than me.  It’s just life.

It’s just life and yet this is where the work is.  When I want to run off and hide inside games for hours on end instead of doing what I must but instead of running, I stay with it.  I have to work on my tax stuff so my bookkeeper and tax advisor don’t kill me (I really need to get this stuff to them in the next ten days and I haven’t even started).  Granted, there is much less to put together this year, but I still must do it and I don’t want to.

So there it is – my old friend Resistance.  Resistance is of the ego, I know that.  Willingness is the antidote and the only thing I know to do is crawl deep into the Course and allow God to soothe me.  I know that is where the answer lies, but my logical mind still wants to scream, “if that’s so true why can’t you figure out how to go to ministerial school?!?”  All I can do is have faith that I am being prepared.  I hate how that sounds – too Christian for my tastes, which is weird because in some ways I identify as Christian, but all the stereotypes come layered upon the term and I wonder how I ever got my Practitioner license when I still apparently have stuff I need to heal in that arena.  New Thought is different.  I love New Thought.  Conventional Christians don’t understand it though – I say that from personal experience.  I have had way too many conversations about religion with devout Christians.  That’s part of my love for the Course (and New Thought) – God doesn’t have a religion so the only thing that matters is finding your way home, not how you get there.

So I arrive at the question for myself: how do I find my way home?  How do I silence the ego/inner critic and reclaim possibility?  The answer for me is invariably the Course because it is where I feel loved and forgiven despite how screwed up I sometimes feel.  Why do I even want to go to Holmes Institute?  Because New Thought is so inclusive. I look at the curriculum for the upcoming year and it excites me, although I don’t know how I would ever fit time for studying it all into my life as it is right now.  Again, faith.  I must step into faith.  Prayer, I must step into prayer.

In New Thought, we are taught affirmative prayer.  I write two a month for our website for the church.  (I need to get my next one in within a few days).  It always feels so good to step into prayer, to connect with the divine. But when it comes to praying for me, I’m not as good at it, which is why my weekly Practitioner meeting (which is essentially a prayer group) is so important.

It’s times like these when my ego takes hold of me and shakes me around like a dog fighting to hold onto a meaty bone.  Some days all I feel like I have in me to write is crap that no one on earth cares about but me (and perhaps My Friend). File under rambling.  File under struggling.  Find your way home, Nanc; find your way home.

I have always used writing to do that: classic introvert stuff – like if I commit the thought to paper then I will spot the flaws in my own thought process and be able to call “bullshit.”  I will be in a position to witness how my ego, devious as it is, tries to tangle me up and protect me from stepping into my greatness.  This is where I hear my inner critic say, “What greatness?”  I become grateful to my friends and prayer partners for reminding me that I am more awesome than I usually give myself credit for.  And I am grateful for the Course for reminding me that I am no more awesome than anyone else.  God has no levels.  We are all equally amazing.

In our Course group last Tuesday, we discussed the “provocative” idea that there is no order of difficulty.  To God, ten dollars and ten billion dollars are all the same.  Healing a scraped knee and healing cancer, the same.  We introduce levels of difficulty.  Our ideas that some things are easier or more difficult are human ideas.

3 When you maintain that there must be an order of difficulty in miracles, all you mean is that there are some things you would withhold from truth. You believe truth cannot deal with them only because you would keep them from truth. Very simply, your lack of faith in the power that heals all pain arises from your wish to retain some aspects of reality for fantasy. If you but realized what this must do to your appreciation of the whole! What you reserve for yourself, you take away from Him Who would release you. Unless you give it back, it is inevitable that your perspective on reality be warped and uncorrected.

So there it is – my answer.  As always, I find it in the Course.  Money to pay bills, money to pay for the water on William, or pick up a handful of things at the grocery store: all of it is the same.  It is only my ideas that one is more challenging than the other than creates struggle.  Why do I think that I can’t take money issues to God?  Maybe because in my Christian upbringing I was taught that you don’t bother God over “stuff” (objects)?  For now, all I can do is release it to God and have faith that somehow it is working out.  I refuse to believe it is not unfolding perfectly.  I withhold nothing from God.  It’s all His.

I allow my perspective on reality to be corrected.  I allow myself to find my way home, in the arms of Spirit, where I am loved and supported and innocent.  I give thanks that all that is required of me is willingness.  I release my “issues” to Him.

Journal, Dreams and A Course in Miracles

I literally awoke sobbing from a dream of feeling hurt.  The dream:

I am in a group.  All the Practitioners are at Rev. Martha’s house for a slumber party.  We are in the living room and I am telling a story about something.  I am almost done, about to get to the point and before I can finish, Marilyn changes the subject to something else.  I say something about it and am shocked and dismayed that not a person in the room cares about the end of the story.  I acknowledge that I can ramble and get off track and the general consensus is that I ramble on and on so much that no cares about the end of the story; they just want me to quit talking.

I leave the room.  Back in our bedroom there are a bunch of people getting ready for bed.  Marilyn starts talking to me about something and I rudely leave in the middle of what she is saying, deliberately being hurtful.  I go to the backyard and someone from the room calls down to me and asks me to bring something back to the room.  I could easily do it and would normally answer yes, but I answer no.  They are shocked (all of this is out of character for me) and so they come down to retrieve it themselves.  I think someone tries to talk to me.  I ignore them, nurse my hurt instead and go back up to the room to get my things.  I live close by and I don’t have to spend the night.  I could go home to my own bed and sleep with my husband where I am loved.

When I get back to the room, Marilyn is crying and tries to hug me.  Like a vengeful child I make a point of telling her, “now you know how I feel.  It hurts when no one cares enough to listen.”  I gather my things to leave.  There is a line for the bathroom with woman getting ready with their evening routines.  I am glad I don’t have to wait in line.

Another woman offers to drive me home.  I get in the car and quickly realize that I had better fasten my seatbelt.  She is driving quickly in large swerves through the parking lot.  She tells me that she always likes to take opportunities, in a controlled environment, to bring people’s awareness to the dangers of reckless driving.  I fasten my belt and try to relax into her racecar antics.  I look down at my wedding ring and watch one of the diamonds fall out of its setting and we snatch it up before it is lost.  Then I realize, I’ve lost one stone out of the ring already and wonder if it might be somewhere in that same car.  That’s where I wake up crying.

I look at the clock wondering if it’s time to get up.  It seems like it might be.  It’s just after 6.  I am sobbing.  I feel hurt to the core.  I go to make coffee, tears streaming down my face the whole while.  I go to put water in the carafe and realize I am not being present. I am dragging the past (the dream) into the present and it has caused me to forget what I am doing.  I had already put the coffee into the filter basket, but I have no idea if I have put in enough coffee for a full pot or a half.  I stop crying long enough to settle back into my body.  I don’t want to forget the dream.  I dump the coffee back into the can and recount the coffee scoops.  Suddenly, lessons from ACIM swirl around my brain.  I’ve made a dream real.  I am sobbing over an illusion.

In real life, people do sometimes interrupt and no one ever asks the end of the story.  I always let it go.  I take it as a sign that I am rambling too much and I figure that if it were important to one person in the room, someone would ask the end of the story.  No one ever does.  I take it as information.  I never take it personally as I did in the dream.  Probably why I like writing where I can edit and pare away the extraneous to stay on point.

And even though I awoke feeling hurt to the core, I awoke sobbing my heart out, I also knew that in many ways, I was experiencing the Course.  From last night’s lesson: “You cannot really not let go what has already gone.  It must be, therefore, that you are maintaining the illusion that it has not gone because you think it serves some purpose that you want fulfilled.” (T.16.VII.2.10-11). That dream would have been forgotten, as dreams usually are, had I not focused on remembering it long enough to write it down.  In waking life, a moment is a moment and it means nothing outside of that instant unless I drag the memory of it into a future moment.

In real life, Marilyn is not a disrespectful person.  In fact, she is one of my champions; she frequently reminds me of how inspiring I can me.  She is a good listener and she would never purposely hurt me, nor would I her.  But if I were to make that dream real, I could allow it to be an excuse to create an imaginary grievance.  I could use it to create an illusion and then allow my ego to cling to it as a means of maintaining separation.  From last night’s lesson:


1 To forgive is merely to remember only the loving thoughts you gave in the past, and those that were given you. All the rest must be forgotten. Forgiveness is a selective remembering, based not on your selection. For the shadow figures you would make immortal are “enemies” of reality. Be willing to forgive the Son of God for what he did not do. The shadow figures are the witnesses you bring with you to demonstrate he did what he did not. Because you bring them, you will hear them. And you who keep them by your own selection do not understand how they came into your mind, and what their purpose is. They represent the evil that you think was done to you. You bring them with you only that you may return evil for evil, hoping that their witness will enable you to think guiltily of another and not harm yourself. They speak so clearly for the separation that no one not obsessed with keeping separation could hear them. They offer you the “reasons” why you should enter into unholy alliances to support the ego’s goals, and make your relationships the witness to its power.

So this morning, I let go of tears.  I let go of grievances over things that never happened.  I let go of all the stuff I cannot not let go of unless I continue to re-create them.  The ego’s goal is separation.  But I can choose peace.  I can choose God.  And I do.

Choice, Earworms, Dreams and Habits

I awoke with such a flurry of emotions flooding me and a Jewel song traipsing through my brain.  How does that happen?  A song you haven’t heard in forever lodges itself into your inner jukebox loop like someone stuck in too many quarters and there you have it: an earworm.

http://www.npr.org/2012/03/12/148460545/why-that-song-gets-stuck-in-your-head

I understand the phenomenon when you’ve heard the song recently, but often I have no conscious recollection of a recent encounter with the tune and so I return to my theory, which is that it is a message from my subconscious.  This morning the song is

 

“Who Will Save Your Soul?” and I spread out my mixture of emotions on the table before me and try to decide how I feel.  What does it mean?  I recognize I am at choice (as always) and suddenly remember the dream I was in.

I am a student in a school and I want out.  Several people are aware of my desire to leave and they are respecting my wishes, but it is still against the rules and so they are really just agreeing to look the other way.  I have my duffle bag draped over my shoulder and when the teachers ask me where I am going, I say that I have to get something out of my car.  I notice how easily I carry off the deception, acting as if I have a right to do whatever I am doing when I really don’t.  I notice how my voice sounds so confident that they are buying it.  Still, I keep finding excuses not to leave; I stop to eat lunch, an assortment of fried fish that is not very good but which my team made so I eat at least part of it.  All the while I am wishing I had tartar sauce or something to drown out the flavor, although I recall that the tartar we have on hand isn’t very good either.  So I scarf down a few bites without finishing it, and then go to leave except I’m having a really hard time locating my car in the parking lot.  It doesn’t seem to be where I left it.  Finally I realize that part of the issue is that I am searching for a car I don’t own anymore (the dark green Le Sabre that was the shop car for a while) and remember I need to be looking for my Prius.  Finally, I find it by using the clicker on my keyring.  Once I get into the car and start it, I escape easily and I head into town and stop at this not too friendly local drug store where there are packages everywhere. I knock over a bunch of them noticing how while they are all the same thing they are not all the same size.  It doesn’t make sense to me and I start to restack them and then leave when the manager finally appears because I don’t want to deal with him, so I walk out and leave him the rest of the mess to deal with.  I am just concerned with escaping from the store so I push past the delivery men crowding through the door; no one can get near the register.  Back on the street, I drive around the corner and see how many minutes I have left before lunch is over and I’ve sealed my fate as far as leaving is concerned.  At home, my mother won’t understand and I won’t know what to do with myself.  I think I return to school before I am missed, 8 minutes to spare.  There is a dance or something tonight, a talent show and I want to sing I think. (Eight is was pointed out to me yesterday is the symbol for infinity).

I am not up for dream analysis this morning.  Usually I find that if I write them down, when I reread the dream later, the meaning become apparent to me anyway.

Yesterday was such a hodge-podge of emotions.  I was such a teary mess yesterday morning, which dwarfed immediately in the presence of a friend dealing with a recurrence of cancer, as she spoke of sorting her affairs and a finite numbers of remaining days.  Fear seemed to be the dance of the day for so many of us yesterday and all I could repeat to myself was, “Nothing real can be threatened.”

One of our teens is being forced to return to his mother’s in Wisconsin.  I don’t know all the details.  But I do know that he turns 18 next week and now it is apparent that adults have the option to make choices.  He could stay if he really wanted, I imagine, but the edge of that sword is that he if he steps into the role of actively choosing his own fate, he then has the responsibility that goes with it; and how does a senior in high school support himself and finish high school and create a future that works?

Hello shipwreck!  Choice and options are such strange dance partners sometimes.  The issue, as I see it, is that we can’t always see it!  My brain cannot imagine what the thing I am seeking really looks like.  I know how it feels. I know what it isn’t, but ultimately I can’t fathom how all the components can coalesce into something that I want and that I will recognize.  All I can do is shift my habits towards stuff that will take me in the right direction.

I have taken the Briggs-Myers personality test: I am an INFP which, among other things means I like things open-ended.  (Also, the only strong indicator on that test is the F (feeling) part, the others, I am only marginally on that side of the fence).  Anyway, the point is goes back to mystery.  I don’t think it is important to define exactly what it looks like, only what it feels like.  It can’t feel good if the focus is on the fear, on the lack.  You can’t find your way to it by entering dread.

How do I find my way out?  I can only do what is the next thing in front of me to do and have faith that the Universe (God/Spirit/whatever you care to call it) is benevolent, is working in my favor.  The bitch here is that It always says, “yes!”  It doesn’t filter.  You say, “life sucks,” It says, “ok, here!”  Ask and ye shall receive.  God has such a bizarre sense of humor.

So it comes down to focus.  It comes down to choice.  It becomes crucial to make sure we are working in our own best interest.  Which come down to actions and choices and habits.

So today, I am choosing actions that work on my behalf, and yes, probably a good many of them are things I don’t want to do.  Get over it.  You can’t have a rainbow without a little rain (even if it never reaches the ground like here in New Mexico – dry rain is still rain).  No one else is going to save me.  I have to do my own work.  I have to take actions that work for me rather than against me.  And most of us only have a limited amount of willpower (which is turns out is like a muscle – use it too much and it gets tire and won’t support you), so it’s important to start small.  Set yourself up for success.  I need to set myself up for success.  So today I spend 15 minutes on figuring out the monetizing thing for my writing, and several hours on real estate because as of  this moment I have nothing in my pipeline and I can’t live on nothing!  I will focus on what I can do and let go of lamenting over what I haven’t figured out yet.  Who will save my soul?  Me.