Betrayal without Bitterness

‘A man never rises so high — as when he knows not whither he is going.’ ~ Oliver Cromwell

And learning to trust over and over and over and over and…

On July 23, I was invited to come live in Sonoma, California, at a retreat center.  I met the owner of the place during the  journey of reconnecting an adopted Navajo man with his birth mother.  She was apparently taken enough with me and the unfolding story that she immediately arranged a session for a friend, gave me a turquoise necklace and healing gown that were her mother’s (who was also a healer), and said, “We have a vacant rental at the ranch.  Come. We have a place for you and the community will support you.”  Conversations over the next day included her habit of being the ‘mothering, nurturing type’, the importance of being open-hearted & following the path that is often laid out right in front of us.

It took me a couple of weeks to make the decision to get rid of what wouldn’t fit in a Mini Cooper and move those things that meant the most to me across the country.  At the time, I’d been homeless for just under a year.  After making the choice to be so in October 2013, I’d been wanting a place where people could come to me and to try being me in a community that supports this kind of work.  And it had shown up on a silver platter.  Helllllloooo, honey!  A retreat center no less.  In a supportive community?  Wooooooooo!

I timed the move to coincide with a four-day Native ceremony in Helena, Montana, and scooted across the Continental Divide with a sense of excitement, hope and an awareness that the ‘vacant rental’ had morphed into a ‘we’ll just find a corner to stick you in’ during a string of email communication.   I arrived in Sonoma on October 2nd after 5 weeks on the road spent in spare bedrooms, no-tel rooms, and 4,225 miles in the driver’s seat.  But I’d made it ‘home’.  I was introduced to friends, employees, shown the space where ‘you’ll be doing workshops’, and given a very comfortable corner to stay in.  Energies were weird, intentions vague, and possibilities endless.

I was informed a few weeks later, though, that ‘since you’re only 45, there’s plenty of time to get your shit together instead of following these guides and spirits around’.    You know those moments where you really don’t register what the heck has just happened until later?  Yeah.  That was one of those.  The comment came during the course of regular dinner & wine conversation and I didn’t have the wherewithal to say something nifty in the moment like, ‘Can you tell me what you mean by that?’.  Especially after I’d been the body for her deceased mother two days before.

We people have bad habits.  We smoke, drink, pick our nose, ceaselessly tap out In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida with the pencil in our hand, chew with our mouth open, mostly unaware of how we impact others with those habits.  Sometimes, though, the habits and their impact are much more than annoyances for others.   When the habit is to offer home and hope to others, using the same bait-and-switch tactic, followed by discarding them and dashing those hopes when they’ve been used just enough?  That’s a what I call a prollem.

This prollem was becoming evident through conversation with people who have been around her for years. “You’re lucky, though.  You’re self reliant.  So-and-so wasn’t even from this country.”  “Oh, yeah.  She does that.” “Yep, that’s how she operates.”  However, whether I couch my response in eyebrow up curiosity or an openness to watching things unfold (all while unpacking what things I didn’t need to do work on the Navajo reservation), I did what I do and went wide open.  I let the ground pull me into her,  I saw a few clients, I met the Apache connection to the First People’s work and signed up for local yoga classes.  And the night before I left for New Mexico, I was informed that the ‘vacant space’ would be waiting for me when I got back.  I’d have a place of my own, paying rent and all that, until I left for Australia in February.

Then I arrived in New Mexico and one recent morning was greeted with the email very politely dismissing me and rescinding the invitation to live there ‘with love and big hugs’.  After I’d left the few, most important belongings to me over 1200 miles behind.  And, that kids, that is a prollem.

Those of us whose formative years were comprised of regular, repeated and systemic abuse each have developed a way of feeling safe as we move through adulthood.  Some develop great skill at creating order & control of behavior.  Some channel those survival skills through artistry and working with others who share similar backgrounds.  Some escape all the baggage that comes with it through self-medicating in a number of ways, some learn how to trust incrementally and others choose not to.

I learned long ago that I was never going to feel safe in the way that most people define it.  Whether I consciously chose particular paths, I don’t know, but I created space for others to feel safe, I put myself into jobs that let others know they were not alone, I wrote about the disappeared as if I could reappear them,  I fell into the criminal justice system and found myself surrounded by guns and uniforms and strength of character and courage that wore off on me, that grew into my own badge of integrity and honor for all that around me.  All the while being led to this very particular in-spirit path in spite of the attempts at escaping through the alcohol, the suicidal bouts, the triumphs of responsible adulthood and creating meaningful change in a system that often chooses to ignore that option.

The knowing that I can move about with something resembling freedom despite not feeling safe is because I have both a sense of curiosity, a crowd of invisibles around me, ancients within me, and a Ruger P95.  I’ve also been in a position to know the cruelty that people do to one another.  I lived it for eighteen years, I feel it in the bodies & emotions of others when they cannot, watch it evolve around the world and usually know when it’s headed in my direction.  This prollem was one that I didn’t feel coming.  What I felt was welcomed, safe and actually invited to lovingly connect.

Until I wasn’t.

That sent every aspect of my nervous system & psyche into a tailspin of epic proportions and left me with a short inventory of choices.   Where there had been physical security & potentiality of community, there now was none.   Where there was possibility of income and a way to engage that with giving more freely, there was none.  Where there was home, there was none.  Yet again, I’d been disappeared.  Just like I had been for my first eighteen years. Just like I’ve done myself this past fourteen months.  Stay in a place and leave no visible trace of my being there.  Like camping but not.

A couple of the things I teach others are: move even if you don’t trust and then trust even when you can’t move.  Finding myself again in that position has been a strange one.  I’d been made homeless as quickly as I’d been rehomed.  It’s no longer part of my being to be bitter and anger serves no purpose here. I’ve wondered if that’s because I’m so numbed to it all, so detached or just so bloody used to the fact that humans can be shits and that all this may morph yet again when the wind changes direction.   I can’t get to bitter but where I do go is to second-guessing everything. Second-guessing my own need for community, trust of others in the skin and not; questioning the guidance to people & places, the intentions associated with them; doubting the inner voices of mine & the outer voices of others.  All while my mind and body are trying to dance through the inner conflict.  Broken heart, broken spirit, and a bull terrier nature seem more tangle-d than tan-go these days.

I try to remember and share with others, always, that we’re in this together–to behave and engage as it is the only universal truth there is.   I find myself, though, wondering how true that really is or how it can be when folks don’t know how to do this ‘thisness’ together.  Or, frankly, if I want to be part of it if I’m merely an independent agent floating through the universal flotsam of humanness.  Or why I want those few things–my elephants & Buddhas & baskets & African art–tucked into the back of my car rather than in a garage 1200 miles away. Why any of this is important or if it is at all.

At the end of it all, we have the same capacity to love & welcome as we do to cause harm.  And we get to choose.  It’s a short menu.

Choose wisely.

 

 

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A Taste of my own Medicine, Self-Worth & Pissin’ People Off

Every now and again, I feel the need to get a taste of my own medicine.  When I do that, I click around and find out when and where Panache Desai is going to be.  This time it was Black Mountain, North Carolina.  What’s little road trip?  Only seven hours between here and there, right?  Yup.  Something like that.  Seven hours to drive for an energetic ass-kicking.

Let me divert a bit with a little back-story. I first saw Panache about a year ago.  He ‘accidentally’ showed up on my computer screen.  Riiiiight.  You know how I feel about ‘accidents’, right?  I knew in less than an instant that I needed him like I needed air.  I drove like a bat out of hell for 14 hours to St. Petersburg, FL, to the Unity Church there to see him.  I sat. Looked around at the eclectic crowd and tried not to fidget (remember how I have to practice patience?).  When he began speaking I almost fell over.  He was using the same language, the exact same words I did while working, the language that others thought I channeled.  I was brilliantly relieved and tickled that I wasn’t alone.  Then, he started doing his thing.  He wandered around the room touching folks and when he finally got to me, I was just ‘struck’.  That’s the only way I know how to describe it except to add that in one moment, in less than a second, I just ‘knew’.  I knew everything.  I knew that what I’d begun doing a few months beforehand had little to do with healing torn rotator cuffs and a lot with changing the world.  All in a flash of light (although that doesn’t quite describe it) and presence that moved in and through me in a split second.  And, then, it was all I could do to not interrupt the still, meditative manner that others had settled into without laughing hysterically!  Guffawing, snarfing, snorting…the whole shebang.

The mystical experiences clients had been describing to me finally made sense.  Those may have made sense but the “holy shit” factor remained at the forefront of my brain all night.  The 14 hour drive back to Virginia was filled with self-conversation that went something like this: “Oh. Shit.”  “Holy CRAP!”  “HOLY crap!” “Whatthehellisthatallabout!”  “Crappity, crap, crap, crap!!”  “Damn, there’s responsibility here!” “Now what the fuck do I do with that bit of information?”   Enough that the chatter sent me straight to the computer before the bathroom (after 14 hrs on the road, no less) to send an email that said, essentially, “Holy crap.  Now what the hell do I do?”  The response, bless him, was, “Just keep doing what you’re doing.”

Moving back on track to this summer’s trip.  Only 7 hours, not 14. And I knew what I was getting into.  Didn’t feel the ‘need’ but wanted to feel what others feel through me.  A reminder, really, of what we’re about. As far as I know, he and I are the only ones that work in this strange and usual fashion (odds are, though, that if there are two of us, there are bound to be more around the globe).  What’s a state line or two between us, I thought?  So I went.

Hauled ass (safely, of course!) through the heart of Virginia into some of North Carolina’s finest spaces.  The two-hour session on Friday evening was nice.  I was tired and it was a great way to end a day of travel.  Just a nice energetic high of the warm, fuzzy kind.   On Saturday, though, initially it wasn’t.  I found myself annoyed.  Annoyed that I was listening to myself. Really annoyed.  Remember, we really do speak the same language–damn near word for word.  It was only toward the end of the day that the smack upside the head occurred.  The universal, “Yeah.  You.  You big dummy.  You ought to listen to yourself!”

A week or so before I made the run to NC, I met with a really awesome woman from Northern Virginia.  During the course of our time together I looked at her and said, “Quit being a pussy.”  (Yes, I really did. I don’t have to make any of this up, kids. These aren’t therapy sessions.  And, seriously, wouldn’t you love to hear your therapist say that?).  After listening to what Panache had to say toward the end of Saturday, I realized I’d been speaking to myself as well. I’d been settling for being a pussy.  Preaching on one hand while my other hand chose to hold me back.   Although in some respects I have behaved fearlessly, in one key aspect I had chosen not to.

Because I am ridiculously  human, I’d held onto a couple of key beliefs about myself that others had sold me on.  The primary of those (the one addressed now) was that I didn’t have value. Grounded in years of ‘stuff’, I’d held onto that notion.  And, subsequently, have lived recently as if I was of no value, as if my needs and desires, and, yes, my Gift, had no value.  I’d dealt with it at one relational level but not at another.  Silly girl.  Don’t know what I was thinking.  Actually, that’s not quite true.  What I was thinking was, “Oh.  I can’t do that. They won’t like me/come to me/value me/want me (think Sally Field) if I do …”.  In this case, ‘it’ was if I charge for my services what I need to have my own needs met.  As if it were perfectly okay for me to provide what I do for others and martyr myself in the process.

It is no longer okay for me to suffer.  It’s no longer okay for me to choose between putting gas in the car and going to the dentist. It’s no longer okay for me to be afraid of what others think of my need to take care of myself.  It is not okay for me to be afraid of every noise my car makes.  It is perfectly okay for me to want underwear that fits.  So, I’ve raised my rates.  I’ve raised them to help support both me and those who can’t afford me at any rate.  I do a lot of work for no fee at all and when I do, it’s done with love.  I choose to do that for those in need who have limited or no income because I fully believe what I call the Gift is of all of us and for all of us.   I have previously set myself up and created limitations that needn’t exist because I was afraid.  No mas.   I have desires to work with veterans groups, pay for advertising, develop a retreat center, and live on my own again.  And there’s nothing wrong with that.

There are those who will say, “Oh, there she goes. Just like all these other healer-types.  All about the money.”  Others have already come right out and said, “You can’t do that!  You can’t charge so much for something that people don’t understand!” “You can’t expect people to pay you for miracles.”   You can’t, you can’t, you can’t.  And, we all know how I feel about that.  So be it. That’s their problem, not mine.  It is up to others to decide what the value of the Gift is for them and to find the courage to say things like, “I really can’t afford more than the $60 I used pay you.”   Those who don’t pay me do that every day and, then, pay with loving kindness, chocolate cake, garden goodies, and the willingness to be open to themselves & others.

A good part of what I teach is grounded in deciding (see above). Deciding how we want to feel.  How we want to experience life.  I’ve finally decided that I want to live freely, without self-imposed limitations.  I’ve got plans and am creating a way to make them happen. I am worthy.

Spiritual Naivety?

There are those who think of me as ‘merely’ naive when it comes to things of spirit.  Here, I ask they consider their own limitation of expression that appears bound by others’ ideas & ideals. The string of logic posed by quite a few is that I’ve not studied spiritualism, metaphysics, any aspect of any religion, and not living/speaking/healing/BE-ing within the bounds of someone else’s playbook.   I’ve not sought out sages or saddhus, not read from mystics and mages, not worshiped at or made an altar,  I’ve not done enough things or read enough of stuff  to know of what I speak and certainly not enough to know Truth–neither my own nor that that is Universal.

So what if I get my inspiration from Dean Koontz as much as I do Rumi?  So what that I don’t have Lama so-and-sos books as reference guides?  So what that I picked up all those books you have on your shelves, read a few pages or chapters and said, “Nope. That’s not it.” So what that I can say I don’t know?  I don’t care to know.  I have no need or desire to understand.   I don’t need to read someone else version of how my life should/might/could be.   So what that I can say I Know more than has ever been forgotten of that for which there are no words to be written in a book?  So what that I don’t assign any more significance to a crystal than I do the chair that supports my ass, the friends that feed my hunger, or the wind that tousles my hair?

So what that I don’t give a crap about past lives, Akashic records, 2012, 11/11/11 or future-&-fortune telling?  So what that I’m not afraid of and cannot explain how or why I go formless; how or why I can feel more heartbeats than my own; how or why my vibrations intensify sometimes so that furniture and the air move around me? I just not afraid and just don’t care.

Why does it bother anyone that I can say with certainty that I am enlightened?  Why? Why does it bother you so that I don’t couch any of this in terms of ‘spiritual’ but consider it merely living.  Not a separate part of me or anyone/thing in the Universe?

With some frequency, I say to as many people as I can, “Forget what you think you know.”  That bugs a lot of folks.  Annoys, confuses, angers and frightens.  There is always one or a few someones who believe they know everything. Can recite left, right, upside down and backwards biblical & kabbahlistic texts, A Course in Miracles, Eckhart Tolle’s latest; carry around with them photos of their gurus, pocket angel cards, and other accoutrement; wear their crystals and white; repeat “peace and light”, and still live in a state of unawareness.  Unaware, unopen to change or other avenues of experience and expression.

Generally speaking, when I ask folks to forget what they think they know, I’m not trying to challenge the ideas they hold (although, sometimes, for grins & giggles that is my entire point).  We connect to and engage with those things that resonate with us, interest us and excite us.  I get that. I want, though, to push people past their limitations.  I want to push people past the ideas & attitudes of others that they hold so dear, onto so tightly that they cannot see their own.  There are a lot of people saying the same thing and slightly different versions of the same thing for a reason. I don’t know what it is and don’t care to.  What I do know and care about is people remaining comfortable and complacent in the ‘same thing’ in the same manner we, as humans, have done over the course of our existence.  The ‘same thing’ that leads to dogma, doctrination, discrimination of the negative sort without the discrimination of the discerning sort.

I have the unique ability to see in ways others cannot. Or, more pointedly, in ways others choose not to.  I can see through the veils, the stories, the fears, the mirrors, the cloaks, the stuff-n-stuff that holds people back from their potential. I see the essence.  It has nothing to do with form, fashion, or finessing of words. When I can see it clearly and they cannot fathom because of those limitations, I, quite frankly, get annoyed.  Because of this stuff is so ridiculously simple. Because if you can’t actually practice it, why do you preach it, and hold onto it–that thing–so hard that ?

Let go. Open yourself up. Entirely.  It’s not enough to say, “I’ve got an open heart” when the rest of you is shut down and shut out of the simplicity of the mystery of the Universe.  You don’t need to ‘figure it out’.  There is nothing that needs fixing. Nothing that needs to be rescued or saved.  Sure, tools are good.  As are crutches.  However, when you allow your tool to become the crutch for too long, you forget how to walk on your own!

Breathe. Be. Know.  Know thyself and be true.  And live fully, openly.

Inspired by Fucking-Sharing a Twitter experience of Being Ing (Get it? Be-Ing?)

Unknot the knickers, unpinch the panties; it’s not in the nikked sense of the word, it’s in the George Carlin sense. Not exactly rated-G but not porn.

So, I had an inspirational experience this morning on Twitter.  Because it’s one way I communicate w/ the world and because I believe in putting all of me out there in every way, I posted, “I’m fucking frustrated!”.  Oh. My. Yup, I said it. Folks seemed a little taken aback that a “spiritual” (whatever that really means) someone , one who posts about love, light, tranquility, peace, God, being God, knowing all things Godly dropped an F-bomb.  Oh. My.

One of the things I continue to find so amazing about this mysterious life that is Me is people’s response to all things Me.  I make an effort to explain that I’m not going to fit into any box that you’ve created as a way to make me ‘fit’ into the world-order as you see it.  Combine that with what seems to be an entirely different standard of living related to ‘being spiritual’–makes me wanna pull a Bill-the-cat and  ACK! As if, because we’re different, special, on a higher level/plane/playing field, we don’t do things like live ‘normally’.

Here’s the deal: I am freakin’ special and, get this, absolutely, brilliantly, fuckedupedly, fandamtabulously, ordinary.  I put on my pants and drop them the same way you do, my shit stinks, I curse, love, like brilliant sex, burn toast, shrink laundry, change the world, curse, shoot guns (Oh, for Pete’s Sake–really?! Again, unknot & unpinch), don’t like some people; drink red wine, beer, bourbon; overeat, under-sleep, befriend, unfriend, enjoy cigars, wash dishes, smoosh stinkbugs, rescue bees & turtles; all the while bringing the light of God, the Love of the Universe to every, single being I can connect with.

I may move through, see, and experience the world in a very unique way but I am a human being (Really. Not a ‘spiritual’ being having a human experience. I’m human!) and I live fully.  I am complex, beautiful, annoying, course & crass, unafraid, hungry for more than I need, more than I ever could want, more than I could ever imagine so that I can do the Work I’m brought here to do without limitation (back to why I’m frustrated!).

I love my Ruger (P95 for those that want to know),the smell of the gun range & cow manure, Neil Diamond, & strong coffee. I miss my dog, hate panty hose & shaving my legs, know that I am loved and Blessed by the seen and unseen, and breathe for all that live.    I am grateful beyond words that I  allowed to live the way I do because there are a few amazing people in my life who love me for being me, truly do believe I have a special Gift and need to share it with the world.  And, again, I am no more extra-ordinary than you, the grass, Christ hisself, the people that I don’t like, the Chopras and Oprah’s of the world (and, oddly, enough, despite the power they’re given, they ain’t all that extra-anything either!).  That’s the whole point, really, people.  To recognize that we are all unique and of the same.

I express my passions, emotions and connection to all that exists by moving energy in a way that is tangible & palpable. Sometimes that includes saying: Fuuuuuuck, Holy Shit, Hot Damn & Hallelujah, HolyMaryMotherofGod, Shitfire, Batman in Hotpants (really, I don’t know how or why I conjured that one!), Holy Christ, Great Day, crappity crap, OOhhhhhh Hell, WOOOOHOOOOOO, Quitcherbellyachin’, SHUT it, and a variety of other words that act as exclamation points better than anything on a keyboard.  My use of & the meaning behind the it is defined solely by ME.  I don’t apologize for it.

Especially when I say: “I love you.” Without condition, without expectation, in its purest, simplest form.  I love you.

I love George Carlin, too!

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.

On being childlike

This post is inspired by two events last week.  The first involved a session with a new client; the second, a reminder from Panache Desai to play like a five-year old.

On Saturday, a new client came to see me for a number of reasons–some shared, some not.  He happens to be an older gentleman, who during the session fully admitted he didn’t want to grow up (although wanted some adult action!)  and, in fact, had a temper tantrum while on the table.

Also on Saturday, Panache put it out there play and enjoy the day. Responses to Panache’s Facebook call to play in a child-like way ranged from the creation of mud pies to brilliant artistry.  Funny reads, inspiring art, and a reminder to me.   Not so much to play in the sense of, well, playing like a child.  But more of what being child-like means (or can mean).  Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m all about mashed potato mountains, Tonkas, Tinker Toys, Centipede, air guitar, Twister, and Barbie’s head on GI Joe’s bod (What? You never did that?).

I think we forget, though, that the most amazing bits of being a child are never lost or even grown out of (we just play differently as adults, don’t we?  Tequila and Twister, anyone? Trade in your Tonka for a Yota yet?).  We just forget how to see as a child sees. Seeing the wondrous nature of the world and people around us:

  • without judgement
  • with an openness not veiled by fear
  • knowing the care and responsibility we share for others
  • with awe
  • with curiosity
  • with gladness and grace
  • with a grin

Reliance on particular aspects of “child”, those that resemble deluded clutching in otherwise grown folks,  hold us back by keeping us afraid.  “I want, I Want, I WANT, I WAAAANT” is one in particular. Think the kid in the grocery store with the embarrassed parent.  We’ve all seen it.  Would you do that now?  Another is the, “No. No. NO. NOOOOOO!!! You can’t have it (or her or him!)!” Imagine me not giving my brother back his Tonka truck with the Barbie-headed GI Joe! We think they work for us.  We think that if we wear down another person or the Universe by saying “I want”, we’re getting our way.  We’re really getting in our way.  When we don’t want to share it/her/him as an adult, we shut ourselves off to everybody–including ourSelf and the thing/person we’re trying to cling onto.

So, yes, Breathe and Be child-like but in the way of seeing the wonder of the world with freshness, curiosity, grace and a big, fat, Cheshire-cat grin!