Merton for the Morning

“So I stand among you as one who offers a small message of hope, that first, there are always people who dare to seek on the margin of society, who are not dependent on social acceptance, not dependent on social routine, and prefer a kind of free-floating existence under a state of risk. And among these people, if they are faithful to their own calling, to their own vocation, and to their own message from God, communication on the deepest level is possible. And the deepest level of communication is not communication, but communion. It is wordless. It is beyond words, and it is beyond speech, and it is beyond concept. Not that we discover a new unity. We discover an older unity . . . we are already one. But we imagine that we are not. And what we have to recover is our original unity. What we have to be is what we are.”  ~ Thomas Merton

 

Advertisements

PTSD and me


I used to be plagued by the standard symptoms of PTSD for years.  Despite knowing what was going on with me–my background as treatment provider made it impossible to not know–I didn’t begin any kind of treatment until my early 30s.  I went to therapist after therapist looking for someone who would ‘fit’ me, ‘get’ me.   There was the therapist that used our sessions for her own therapy, the one who never looked at me, the one who couldn’t understand me, and on and on.  I finally gave medications–several of them–a try when stress as a probation officer, lack of sleep fueled the desire to pull the trigger of my P 226 and finally be done with it.

The meds made me fat while giving me the shits, created mental & emotional side effects worse than the ones that led me to them, and led me to taste metal again.

I finally walked away from the whole therapeutic system after yet another therapist, while looking at me, said, “I can’t decide if you are PTSD or Complex PTSD.”  She was identifying me as my illness and it really pissed me off.  So, I weaned myself off my meds and threw myself into my work.   For whatever reason (there were several including ultimately leaving the 80 hr a week job), all of my symptoms disappeared and I moved through it all with something resembling grace.

I get it–the way of living (if you can call it that) with such a debilitating illness, the frustrations found in standard treatment, the effects on others around us and the desire to die.

I can help.  I want to help.  The work I do works.  It doesn’t require belief, faith or trust.  It just requires you being willing to work with me.  For free.  You’ve nothing to lose and everything to gain.

Symptoms just vanish.  Entirely and life goes on.  Life becomes about REALLY living.  With joy, with peace, with sleep, with healthy relationships, appropriate responses to drama and trauma.  With ease and grace.

Just get to me.

What if it really is “In Between the Stories”?

Inspired by Rumi, blog posts about hate, love and god; and 24 hours steeped in connection with all that is.

In Between Stories ~ Rumi 

Did you hear that?

It’s the man who was looking for treasure.

He wants me to finish his story.

You didn’t hear him?

Then, he must be inside me yelling, “Over Here! Come over here!”

Don’t think of him as a seeker, though.

Whatever he’s looking for, he is that himself.

How can a lover be anything other than the beloved?

Every second he’s bowing to the mirror.

If he could see for just a second one molecule

of what’s there without fantasizing about it,

he’d explode.

His imagination, and he himself,

Would vanish, with all his knowledge, obliterated

into a new birth, a perfectly clear view,

A voice that says, “I am God.”

That same voice that told angels to bow to Adam,

because they were identical to him.

It’s the voice that first said,

There is no reality but God.

There is only God. 

We humans have all sorts of habits.  Some we change.  We quit smoking.  Eat healthier, walk a little more, buy orange Christmas lights rather than white.  Our taste in music changes, our groups of friends wax and wane.  There are some things, though, we tend to hold on to for dear life.  As if they are our life.  Think about the current state of religious & political affairs to catch my drift.

There is another idea, a habit that many cling to that I want to ask about here.  Similar habits framed in a slightly different fashion, methinks. We seem to cling to the notion that there is something outside us that guides, chides, tests, taunts, aids, destroys, makes and takes.  We seem comfortable at some level, too, with using words like co-creator; phrases like Divinely-inspired. We’ll accept messages from aliens, atlanteans, metatron and michael but seem hard-pressed to consider that we are creator, we are inspired, we are our own messengers.

And, so I ask the following:

What if there is no other great orchestrator or observer?  What if there is no oversoul, higher guardian, a higher level of Godliness, an ascension to something, somewhere else? No intergalactic collective of whatever that we need to ask permission of?  Nothing or no one outside of us?

What if there is no one thing greater than each individual one of us?

What if we really hold onto the ideas and likenesses Christ, Mohammed, Abraham,  and other prophets because they chose to act as if they were God and we think we can’t or shouldn’t?

What if we really have all that power and grace?  What if we are that power and grace?

What if

We.  Are. God. ?

What if you are not an embodiment of something outside yourself?  What if you are not made in the image of something greater than you?

What if you knew you needn’t be saved or rescued?  What if you are that greatness you’ve imagined outside yourself?

What if, to know yourself & see yourself as god only took one breath? One thought? One experience?  Would you breathe and see?

Would you be able to look in the mirror and know? Would you be willing to know?

You. Are. God?

What if you saw in the mirror not just your face but all the grace, glory, peace, kindness, mercy, ferocity, love, compassion, strength, courage, and wisdom within you and all those you touch? And, those you will never know?

What if that one small thought led you to know every. single. living. thing as god as well?  Same as you but different?

Would you see your neighbor, lover, child;  prisoner, pensioner, plumber, trash collector, welfare recipient, jihadi, dog catcher and fighter as god?  Could you do that?  Could you hold them in the same regard as you do your heroes and other holy ones?  Excited for their life’s opportunities—the same as your own?

Would you do that?  Would you be willing to take that great leap in your own life to know yourself?

As. God.

Are you afraid of the greatness?  Of the responsibility for yourself? Others?  Are we afraid of that?  Are we afraid that it’s really not unknown to us?  That there is no real mystery or magic to it? That it’s really that simple?

What if we didn’t have to wait for anything?  What if each of us were already worthy and ready? Just as we are…

God.

What if it took nothing else but to just Know?

What if we really are the bees knees, all that and a bag of chips?  What if we are just singularly pretty freakin’ awesome human beings?  What if we all knew that and lived as such, recognizing that divinity in each other and every single thing?

Inspired Prayer for Today

Inspired by a local listserve’s back-n-forth about prayer–the belief in, efficacy of, purpose for, and belly-aching about it not being the ‘proper’ platform to discuss such matters–I felt this.

My Prayer for Today

That you hear the Divine both within silence and a child’s laughter,

That you see the Divine both in yourself and another,

That you touch the Divine both in a blade of grass and burbling water,

That you feel the Divine both in the sting of the wind and touch of a lover,

That you know the Divine both in action and stillness.

A Baby’s Hug

A Lesson on Judgement, Openness and Love sent by a friend via email and I thought it worth sharing!!  Thanks, Jackie!

We were the only family with children in the restaurant.

I sat Erik in a high chair and noticed everyone was quietly sitting and talking. Suddenly, Erik squealed with glee and said, ‘Hi.’ He pounded his fat baby hands on the high chair tray. His eyes were crinkled in laughter and his mouth was bared in a toothless grin, as he wriggled and giggled with merriment.

 

I looked around and saw the source of his merriment.

It was a man whose pants were baggy with a zipper at half-mast and his toes poked out of would-be shoes.

His shirt was dirty and his hair was uncombed and unwashed.

His whiskers were too short to be called a beard and his nose was so varicose it looked like a road map.

We were too far from him to smell, but I was sure he smelled. His hands waved and flapped on loose wrists.

‘Hi there, baby; hi there, big boy. I see ya, buster,’ the man said to Erik.

 

My husband and I exchanged looks, ‘What do we do?’

 

Erik continued to laugh and answer, ‘Hi.’

 

Everyone in the restaurant noticed and looked at us and then at the man. The old geezer was creating a nuisance with my beautiful baby.

Our meal came and the man began shouting from across the room, ‘Do ya patty cake? Do you know peek-a-boo? Hey, look, he knows peek- a-boo.’

 

Nobody thought the old man was cute. He was obviously drunk.

My husband and I were embarrassed.

We ate in silence; all except for Erik, who was running through his repertoire for the admiring skid-row bum, who in turn, reciprocated with his cute comments.

 

We finally got through the meal and headed for the door. My husband went to pay the check and told me to meet him in the parking lot.

The old man sat poised between me and the door.

‘Lord, just let me out of here before he speaks to me or Erik,’ I prayed. As I drew closer to the man, I turned my back trying to sidestep him and avoid any air he might be breathing. As I did, Erik leaned over my arm, reaching with both arms in a baby’s ‘pick-me-up’ position. Before I could stop him, Erik had propelled himself from my arms to the man.

 

Suddenly a very old smelly man and a very young baby consummated their love and kinship. Erik in an act of total trust, love, and submission laid his tiny head upon the man’s ragged shoulder. The man’s eyes closed, and I saw tears hover beneath his lashes.

His aged hands full of grime, pain, and hard labor, cradled my baby’s bottom and stroked his back. No two beings have ever loved so deeply for so short a time.

 

I stood awestruck. The old man rocked and cradled Erik in his arms and his eyes opened and set squarely on mine. He said in a firm commanding voice,

‘You take care of this baby.’

 

Somehow I managed, ‘I will,’ from a throat that contained a stone.

 

He pried Erik from his chest, lovingly and longingly, as though he were in pain.

I received my baby, and the man said, ‘God bless you, ma’am, you’ve given me my Christmas gift.’

 

I said nothing more than a muttered thanks.

With Erik in my arms, I ran for the car. My husband was wondering why I was crying and holding Erik so tightly, and why I was saying, ‘My God, my God, forgive me.’

 

I had just witnessed Christ’s love shown through the innocence of a tiny child who saw no sin, who made no judgment; a child who saw a soul,

and a mother who saw a suit of clothes.

 

I was a Christian who was blind,

holding a child who was not.

I felt it was God asking,

‘Are you willing to share your son for a moment?’

when He shared His for all eternity.

 

The ragged old man, unwittingly, had reminded me,

‘To enter the Kingdom of God , we must become as little children.’

 

What the…? How the…?

This note is in response to a few people asking me how all of this new ‘stuff’, this healing gift came to be. The question generally comes from those who knew me ‘way back when’ and the idea of who I was in the past meshing with the new just doesn’t seem to connect.

How did all of this come about? The short answer is, “I don’t have any idea.” Truly. I don’t know why I was chosen. I don’t know why now is the time I was let in on it. I’ve not been on a spiritual quest like so many others. I’ve had no desire to travel to far-off mountains to meditate with yogis, go to church (although I have). I have, at times, bought book (after book after book) looking for ‘something’. For answers to questions I didn’t really have and realizing, “Oh. Wait. I knew that.”

Like others, my now has grown from my story. Like many other folks called Lightworkers mine wasn’t particularly pretty. I walked through my fire early and often. And I dealt with the fallout in a myriad of ways. Some healthy. Some notsomuch. Bouts of depression, diagnoses of PTSD, attempts at therapy, burnout at work (more than once) coupled with some pretty amazing people in my life–some who only popped in briefly to lead me here–have, well, led me here.

When, despite hearing that I was ‘just damaged goods’ all too often, I decided there was nothing freakin’ wrong with me, there was, magically, nothing wrong with me. I took other people’s labels, gave them the proverbial finger, and decided “I’m not the next of them, I am the first of me” (line borrowed from Hoobastank). The timing of this coincided with a trip back to VA in September ’07 that ultimately opened the door to my permanent move back here a couple of months later.

That ‘trigger’ led to me “seeing” things differently. Amazingly more different than I’d experienced life before. My awareness of all things changed. I changed. Since then, I’ve just ‘known’ stuff. Amazing stuff. Stuff that I, well, don’t know. And, somehow, when I lost my job two Mays ago, a book crossed my desk. I’m not sure how I got it (outside of the obvious: Amazon!). I don’t know why I would have picked out a book called Quantum Touch and ordered it. But I did. I don’t know what led me to spend 250 smackers on a Quantum Touch class because I griped and moaned to myself about it. Others reminded me that I’d just been asked to resign and didn’t have an income. I mean, $250!! However, I did. And I was shown why I was led there. My ‘aha’ was an “OH!”

And then it all started to fall into place.

And answers, feelings, knowing, energy in a bazillion forms from outside of me began pouring in. Have you ever seen August Rush, the not-so-good (a stinker, really) movie about a musical prodigy who sees and hears music in everything–light, wind, leaves, sounds of the city? Well, that’s how it is with me. This healing energy, this connection to the Divine is like that for me; everywhere, every moment, every in-between breath where miracles live. And, as with the development of all things magical and odd in my life, I’ve no idea where it’s taking me. Or where it’s taking us. I just know that this is a Gift to be shared with everyone and that it’s what I’m meant to do.

I hope that answers some questions and I hope it’s a door to a wider conversation between all of us.

UnCommon Touch

It’s not New Age; it’s of the Ages. It’s real, not woo-woo. It doesn’t require belief or faith (although I’m sure it helps to not prefer a root canal). It doesn’t interfere with belief or faith. Its only magic is in its simplicity. I breathe, you heal. You change. You shift. You de-stress. You find peace. In fact, *I* don’t do much of anything. This is my Gift. For you. For everyone.

Young. Old. Child-like adults. Every shade of pink, brown, yellow. Man. Woman. Christian, non. Conseriberal. Libertive. (Yes, I did that on purpose!)

This gift is something I call UnCommon Touch, inspired by the book of the same title by Tom Harpur.   It is simply Divinely-inspired transformative energy  for which I am merely a facilitator and catalyst.  It is a shared connection to the Divine that brings about profound changes in everyone that comes into contact with it.  It is neither modality-based nor definition driven.  In fact, this is of that for which there are no words (bet you’re wondering why this post is so long, now, huh?). It is certainly ‘energetic’ but there are no symbols, rules, etc.  I simply breathe and place my hands on people.

Sometimes change is profound. Sometimes subtle. I’ve heard on more than one occasion, “I’m not quite sure what happened but I feel so much better!” People have experienced the instantaneous healing of physical wounds and chronic pain, relieved themselves of previously unresolved emotional pain, and found inner strength previously untapped. Physical and emotional symptoms of PTSD have disappeared (including suicidality), rotator cuffs have healed after 20 years, and spiritual gifts have been ignited.
Although each session is unique and everyone experiences the energy differently, there are some commonalities throughout. People “see” differently, they begin to experience life differently, the awareness of Self and connectivity to others increases, masks fall away.  While this process develops, healing occurs on the emotional level (generally preceding other changes) as well as mentally and physically.  It becomes easier to access that place of Peace and move more Grace-fully when handling all that which life tends to throw at us.
Here’s what a couple of others have had to say:

“Although being able to talk to my therapist has done wonders to clear my thoughts, I credit the session yesterday with you for allowing me to feel almost “new.”  In this lifetime, I’ve experienced NOTHING more powerful than the healing and enlightening energy the two of us were graced with yesterday.”

“I continue to feel clearer pathways to understanding-both sleeping and waking.”

“If you have not personally experienced hands-on healing of this sort, and you’re in need of physical, emotional or spiritual uplifting and/or healing – you may want to go outside your comfort zone a bit to take advantage of Ingrid’s healing presence.  She is indeed a wonder and has truly been graced with a gift to assist and heal others.  And to add even more to all of this – she’s an extremely entertaining, friendly, compassionate and sensitive human being.”

“She  can work on anyone, two legged or four.”

“No more night terrors. No more night sweats.  No more nightmares. No more. Period.”

“I found again what I thought I’d lost a long time ago. I feel reconnected to me.”

So, this is my Gift.  It is one of the Divine and although it flows through me, it is of all of us and for all of us.  I don’t know why I was chosen, I just know that I was. My educational and career background (criminal justice!) certainly didn’t prepare me for it. I’ve no connection to any faith, religious or spiritual practice outside of The Golden Rule.  Becoming unemployed last year is the greatest thing that ever happened to me because it brought me to this.

For a long time, gifts such as this have been held as outside of the ordinary for a multitude of reasons. It is time for healing like this to move out of the “New Agey-metaphysic-magical-mystery-tour-mumbo-jumbo” into the mainstream. The healing is my Gift. Getting this to everyone is now my job.  And I could use some help getting it done.  Ideas, suggestions, comments, introductions, anything constructive would be appreciated!

UnCommon flyer