The State of the World

The world hasn’t suddenly changed, isn’t spinning out of control, and it isn’t ending.  The kind of violence that has ignited recent fears has been around as long as we have. It’s grown to be part of our nature and entirely within our control to perpetuate it or end it. It’s so prevalent that we ignore it, forget long-term conflicts, and tend to be unaware that measures of violence around the globe show it is at some of the lowest levels in recorded history, though it feels like there is more.

We’re merely being confronted with ‘this madness’ up close and personal. By video and voices of those that we’ve been able to keep out-of-sight and out-of-mind until recently. We’re being confronted by the collective reflection of our individual ignorance and impotence; the choices we’ve made within systems that have brought us this far; to this place of grief, seeping rage and fear, confusion, conscience-bending and, if we’re fortunate, growth through consciousness & activism.

However, our intentional blindness and our unwillingness to be seen have created both visible and invisible barriers. Because we still see this as related to ‘someone else’, someone other than us or me.

Yesterday, someone mentioned ‘waiting for the Almighty to sort this out’. It’s not a God’s or the Gods’ job to sort this out. It’s our creation and our job to rectify it. And, frankly, it’s simple. Most of us have been taught the solution at some point in our lives. Love.

Just love. Why we’ve not collectively understood that concept, I’m not quite sure.  There’s fear and disgust of other, certainly. But, surely, mercy and compassion and companionship and grace and communion and common threads outweigh them, right?  If so, though, why has institutionalization of injustice pervaded? Why does exploitation of children flourish? Why do we still rape resources from the ground?  Why are there things still not of my business? Why do sources of non-violence grow as we remain fascinated with violence? Why do we live within feet of our neighbors but not know them?

These are questions with answers related to individual choices.

We get to decide. How we judge, speak or silence ourselves, act and serve  humanity. There are many, many resources to inform and assist us in making those decisions.

In and from a place of love, right where we live and stand.  Or not. That’s how we perpetuate or end the violence, not any version of an Almighty.

 

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Reflecting on Voices

Elie Wiesel died yesterday.

His passing led to my reflection on all the beautiful voices that inspire us, give us hope, and teach peace, forgiveness, and justice.  There are many. They were as wise as they were varied, speaking a singular message with different accents. And I smiled.

This morning I was watching a video about Brexit and read a plaque commemorating a manufacturer’s strike in Northern England. The plaque read “Never Forget. Never Forgive.”  And I cried.

We have had so many voices heard & lauded yet get lost in the void and noise and, though their words and movement touch the heart of many, do not seem to impact the whole. And I wonder why.

I wonder how, too, do we inspire those in our own generations and those behind us to make their voices heard–to shout and sing and wail to keep giving us hope and teach peace, forgiveness, justice and mercy. How do we let them know their voices will not be in vain? That we can both hear, be touched and learn from them?

How can we give them voice and usher them forward when we are so afraid to engage with those who have come before them or heed their progenitors?  When we are so afraid to engage our own?

Here’s one beautiful voice  reciting that of another, courtesy Maria Popova at Brainpickings.

 

Self Segregation and Subjugation of Other

For eons, we have sliced, diced and otherwise organized ourselves and the world in attempts to understand the same. We’ve adopted parlance, accepted philosophies, and constructed ways to structure our individual nature, each other and the systems around us.

Human, self, ego, soul. Super-human, super ego, over soul, higher or deeper self. Personality, intellect, intuition; weird, normal, spiritual or notso. Angel, evil; human and nature. Consciousness that separates that human-self, ego, soul from things and beings outside the boundaries of our skin. Others may have a consciousness but a complex schema of superiority of same keeps the Darwinian divisions intact. We want to ascend to something or someplace higher than we are now in the organizational chart of being someplace or someone else.

These mental construction projects and their language of separation of aspects of self and non-self–have helped maintain notions of subjugation from the rest of the universe, whether we choose to identify that as neighbor, demon or divine. We seek to explore spirit but deny ego or Godliness–keeping us below it or under his control or power; keep roles intellectualized, marginalized, sexualized, and, with some exceptions, diminish those connected to intuitive. As if we need divisions of each, marked like a measuring stick rather than a divining rod.  Holy enough, high enough, ready-or-not-nearer-to-God-enough.

I had a conversation with someone ages ago, who by his own identification, is quite the spiritual person. He remarked that when he wanted to get something from another person in a situation he felt certain would be denied, he spoke to the ‘Higher Self’ of the person he was with. The ‘higher’ self that was for the ‘greatest good’, of course. A slight of voice-mind manipulation of another.

We keep some aspects conveniently internal–intuition, soul, deepest and, others, external.  God is somewhere above, Earth is under our feet. A few weeks ago, Alan Haras shared a story about an interaction he had with one of his teachers, Shyamdas, where he asked about our separation of divine from body-mind & ego-self.  What he took from that lesson was that those divisions are,  “like saying, “Yes, it is all One, except me.  That must be extinguished.”  Or, except when it doesn’t seem right to me or help me make sense of the world around me.

In the conversation above, the person I was talking to had already in his mind subdivided the person he was talking to in a way to consciously manipulate toward a more desired potential outcome.  We do that subconsciously as well when we keep aspects of self and other divided. It’s part and parcel in current discussions of about changing political and socio-economic systems, civil liberties, race & class privilege, and other institutional systems change.

None of this is to say that organization as a way to  an understanding of self are not important because they are. It is in knowing ourownfineselves–fully, wholly–that we can enter into open relationship with those other godly things around us.  That relationship is a partnership that, in its finest expression, allows freedom to be for everyone. Freedom from judgment, control and manipulation comes when we recognize our own value, unique expression, ego and more that are all part of our true nature.

However, it’s difficult, if not impossible, to reach that state of freedom unless that organization and understanding of self bring you to the knowing that your soul is as much in your neighbor, lover, detractor, ancient rivers and aspen grove and that thing called God as you.. If one’s self-dissection does not bring it back to a state of union, then what appears is merely autopsy, not life-giving and love-bringing capacity to others. Knowing thyself is knowing another is not ‘other’.

Try cutting your ego some slack and allowing it to come home. Maybe trying seeing the soul without a leash and giving it room to play in the universal sandbox, and view self-dissection as universal kaleidoscope.

Martin Luther King’s Last Christmas Sermon

I was introduced to this after Christmas when I finally got around to reading an OnBeing piece I’d saved. I think everyone should read it.

Peace on Earth…

This Christmas season finds us a rather bewildered human race. We have neither peace within nor peace without. Everywhere paralyzing fears harrow people by day and haunt them by night. Our world is sick with war; everywhere we turn we see its ominous possibilities. And yet, my friends, the Christmas hope for peace and goodwill toward all men can no longer be dismissed as a kind of pious dream of some utopian. If we don’t have goodwill toward men in this world, we will destroy ourselves by the misuse of our own instruments and our own power. Wisdom born of experience should tell us that war is obsolete. There may have been a time when war served as a negative good by preventing the spread and growth of an evil force, but the very destructive power of modern weapons of warfare eliminates even the possibility that war may any longer serve as a negative good. And so, if we assume that life is worth living, if we assume that mankind has a right to survive, then we must find an alternative to war — and so let us this morning think anew on the meaning of that Christmas hope: “Peace on Earth, Good Will toward Men.” And as we explore these conditions, I would like to suggest that modern man really go all out to study the meaning of nonviolence, its philosoph.y and its strategy.

We have experimented with the meaning of nonviolence in our struggle for racial justice in the United States, but now the time has come for man to experiment with nonviolence in all areas of human conflict, and that means nonviolence on an international scale.

Now let me suggest first that if we are to have peace on earth, our loyalties must become ecumenical rather than sectional. Our loyalties must transcend our race, our tribe, our class, and our nation; and this means we must develop a world perspective. No individual can live alone, and as long as we try, the more we are going to have war in this world. Now the judgment of God is upon us, and we must either learn to live together as brothers or we are all going to perish together as fools.

Yes, as nations and individuals, we are interdependent. I have spoken to you before of our visit to India some years ago. It was a marvelous experience; but I say to you this morning that there were those depressing moments. How can one avoid being depressed when one sees with one’s own eyes evidences of millions of people going to bed hungry at night? How can one avoid being depressed when one sees with one’s own eyes thousands of people sleeping on the sidewalks at night? More than a million people sleep on the sidewalks of Bombay every night; more than half a million sleep on the sidewalks of Calcutta every night. They have no houses to go into. They have no beds to sleep in. As I beheld these conditions, something within me cried out:

“Can we in America stand idly by and not be concerned?”

And an answer came:

“Oh, no!”

And I started thinking about the fact that right here in our country we spend millions of dollars every day to store surplus food; and I said to myself:

“I know where we can store that food free of charge — in the wrinkled stomachs of the millions of God’s children in Asia, Africa, Latin America, and even in our own nation, who go to bed hungry at night.”

It really boils down to this: that all life is interrelated. We are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied into a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. We are made to live together because of the interrelated structure of reality. Did you ever stop to think that you can’t leave for your job in the morning without being dependent on most of the world? You get up in the morning and go to the bathroom and reach over for the sponge, and that’s handed to you by a Pacific islander. You reach for a bar of soap, and that’s given to you at the hands of a Frenchman. And then you go into the kitchen to drink your coffee for the morning, and that’s poured into your cup by a South American. And maybe you want tea: that’s poured into your cup by a Chinese. Or maybe you’re desirous of having cocoa for breakfast, and that’s poured into your cup by a West African. And then you reach over for your toast, and that’s given to you at the hands of an English-speaking farmer, not to mention the baker. And before you finish eating breakfast in the morning, you’ve depended on more than half of the world. This is the way our universe is structured, this is its interrelated quality. We aren’t going to have peace on earth until we recognize this basic fact of the interrelated structure of all reality.

Now let me say, secondly, that if we are to have peace in the world, men and nations must embrace the nonviolent affirmation that ends and means must cohere. One of the great philosophical debates of history has been over the whole question of means and ends. And there have always been those who argued that the end justifies the means, that the means really aren’t important. The important thing is to get to the end, you see.

So, if you’re seeking to develop a just society, they say, the important thing is to get there, and the means are really unimportant; any means will do so long as they get you there — they may be violent, they may be untruthful means; they may even be unjust means to a just end. There have been those who have argued this throughout history. But we will never have peace in the world until men everywhere recognize that ends are not cut off from means, because the means represent the ideal in the making, and the end in process, and ultimately you can’t reach good ends through evil means, because the means represent the seed and the end represents the tree.

It’s one of the strangest things that all the great military geniuses of the world have talked about peace. The conquerors of old who came killing in pursuit of peace, Alexander, Julius Caesar, Charlemagne, and Napoleon, were akin in seeking a peaceful world order. If you will read Mein Kampfclosely enough, you will discover that Hitler contended that everything he did in Germany was for peace. And the leaders of the world today talk eloquently about peace. Every time we drop our bombs in North Vietnam, President Johnson talks eloquently about peace. What is the problem? They are talking about peace as a distant goal, as an end we seek, but one day we must come to see that peace is not merely a distant goal we seek, but that it is a means by which we arrive at that goal. We must pursue peaceful ends through peaceful means. All of this is saying that, in the final analysis, means and ends must cohere because the end is preexistent in the means, and ultimately destructive means cannot bring about constructive ends.

Now let me say that the next thing we must be concerned about if we are to have peace on earth and goodwill toward men is the nonviolent affirmation of the sacredness of all human life. Every man is somebody because he is a child of God. And so when we say “Thou shalt not kill,” we’re really saying that human life is too sacred to be taken on the battlefields of the world. Man is more than a tiny vagary of whirling electrons or a wisp of smoke from a limitless smoldering. Man is a child of God, made in His image, and therefore must be respected as such. Until men see this everywhere, until nations see this everywhere, we will be fighting wars. One day somebody should remind us that, even though there may be political and ideological differences between us, the Vietnamese are our brothers, the Russians are our brothers, the Chinese are our brothers; and one day we’ve got to sit down together at the table of brotherhood. But in Christ there is neither Jew nor Gentile. In Christ there is neither male nor female. In Christ there is neither Communist nor capitalist. In Christ, somehow, there is neither bound nor free. We are all one in Christ Jesus. And when we truly believe in the sacredness of human personality, we won’t exploit people, we won’t trample over people with the iron feet of oppression, we won’t kill anybody.There are three words for “love” in the Greek New Testament; one is the word erosEros is a sort of esthetic, romantic love. Plato used to talk about it a great deal in his dialogues, the yearning of the soul for the realm of the divine. And there is and can always be something beautiful about eros, even in its expressions of romance. Some of the most beautiful love in all of the world has been expressed this way.

Then the Greek language talks about philos, which is another word for love, and philos is a kind of intimate love between personal friends. This is the kind of love you have for those people that you get along with well, and those whom you like on this level you love because you are loved.

Then the Greek language has another word for love, and that is the word agapeAgape is more than romantic love, it is more than friendship. Agapeis understanding, creative, redemptive good will toward all men. Agape is an overflowing love which seeks nothing in return. Theologians would say that it is the love of God operating in the human heart. When you rise to love on this level, you love all men not because you like them, not because their ways appeal to you, but you love them because God loves them. This is what Jesus meant when he said, “Love your enemies.” And I’m happy that he didn’t say, “Like your enemies,” because there are some people that I find it pretty difficult to like. Liking is an affectionate emotion, and I can’t like anybody who would bomb my home. I can’t like anybody who would exploit me. I can’t like anybody who would trample over me with injustices. I can’t like them. I can’t like anybody who threatens to kill me day in and day out. But Jesus reminds us that love is greater than liking. Love is understanding, creative, redemptive goodwill toward all men. And I think this is where we are, as a people, in our struggle for racial justice. We can’t ever give up. We must work passionately and unrelentingly for first-class citizenship. We must never let up in our determination to remove every vestige of segregation and discrimination from our nation, but we shall not in the process relinquish our privilege to love.

I’ve seen too much hate to want to hate, myself, and I’ve seen hate on the faces of too many sheriffs, too many white citizens’ councilors, and too many Klansmen of the South to want to hate, myself; and every time I see it, I say to myself, hate is too great a burden to bear. Somehow we must be able to stand up before our most bitter opponents and say:

“We shall match your capacity to inflict suffering by our capacity to endure suffering. We will meet your physical force with soul force. Do to us what you will and we will still love you. We cannot in all good conscience obey your unjust laws and abide by the unjust system, because noncooperation with evil is as much a moral obligation as is cooperation with good, and so throw us in jail and we will still love you. Bomb our homes and threaten our children, and, as difficult as it is, we will still love you. Send your hooded perpetrators of violence into our communities at the midnight hour and drag us out on some wayside road and leave us half-dead as you beat us, and we will still love you. Send your propaganda agents around the country, and make it appear that we are not fit, culturally and otherwise, for integration, and we’ll still love you. But be assured that we’ll wear you down by our capacity to suffer, and one day we will win our freedom. We will not only win freedom for ourselves; we will so appeal to your heart and conscience that we will win you in the process, and our victory will be a double victory.”

If there is to be peace on earth and goodwill toward men, we must finally believe in the ultimate morality of the universe, and believe that all reality hinges on moral foundations. Something must remind us of this as we once again stand in the Christmas season and think of the Easter season simultaneously, for the two somehow go together. Christ came to show us the way. Men love darkness rather than the light, and they crucified Him, and there on Good Friday on the Cross it was still dark, but then Easter came, and Easter is an eternal reminder of the fact that the truth-crushed earth will rise again. Easter justifies Carlyle in saying, “No lie can live forever.” And so this is our faith, as we continue to hope for peace on earth and goodwill toward men: let us know that in the process we have cosmic companionship.

In 1963, on a sweltering August afternoon, we stood in Washington, D.C., and talked to the nation about many things. Toward the end of that afternoon, I tried to talk to the nation about a dream that I had had, and I must confess to you today that not long after talking about that dream I started seeing it turn into a nightmare. I remember the first time I saw that dream turn into a nightmare, just a few weeks after I had talked about it. It was when four beautiful, unoffending, innocent Negro girls were murdered in a church in Birmingham, Alabama. I watched that dream turn into a nightmare as I moved through the ghettos of the nation and saw my black brothers and sisters perishing on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity, and saw the nation doing nothing to grapple with the Negroes’ problem of poverty. I saw that dream turn into a nightmare as I watched my black brothers and sisters in the midst of anger and understandable outrage, in the midst of their hurt, in the midst of their disappointment, turn to misguided riots to try to solve that problem. I saw that dream turn into a nightmare as I watched the war in Vietnam escalating, and as I saw so-called military advisors, 16,000 strong, turn into fighting soldiers until today over 500,000 American boys are fighting on Asian soil. Yes, I am personally the victim of deferred dreams, of blasted hopes, but in spite of that I close today by saying I still have a dream, because, you know, you can’t give up in life. If you lose hope, somehow you lose that vitality that keeps life moving, you lose that courage to be, that quality that helps you go on in spite of all. And so today I still have a dream.

I have a dream that one day men will rise up and come to see that they are made to live together as brothers. I still have a dream this morning that one day every Negro in this country, every colored person in the world, will be judged on the basis of the content of his character rather than the color of his skin, and every man will respect the dignity and worth of human personality. I still have a dream that one day the idle industries of Appalachia will be revitalized, and the empty stomachs of Mississippi will be filled, and brotherhood will be more than a few words at the end of a prayer, but rather the first order of business on every legislative agenda. I still have a dream today that one day justice will roll down like water, and righteousness like a mighty stream. I still have a dream today that in all of our state houses and city halls men will be elected to go there who will do justly and love mercy and walk humbly with their God. I still have a dream today that one day war will come to an end, that men will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks, that nations will no longer rise up against nations, neither will they study war any more. I still have a dream today that one day the lamb and the lion will lie down together and every man will sit under his own vine and fig tree and none shall be afraid. I still have a dream today that one day every valley shall be exalted and every mountain and hill will be made low, the rough places will be made smooth and the crooked places straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together. I still have a dream that with this faith we will be able to adjourn the councils of despair and bring new light into the dark chambers of pessimism. With this faith we will be able to speed up the day when there will be peace on earth and goodwill toward men. It will be a glorious day, the morning stars will sing together, and the sons of God will shout for joy.

Denial of

There is something unique about being denied by one’s father that cannot quite be expressed. It cuts differently than other pain. Or, maybe it’s not the cut itself. Maybe it’s the emptiness, the tangible void of a such a thing missing, that’s left after the cut.

I mentioned in yesterday’s post that I’ve recently been to see my father after not having any contact in five years.

On April 24, I was led to Philadelphia, Mississippi, to find a particular Choctaw medicine man. I didn’t miss the fact that he just happened to be within 20 minutes of where my father lives.  I stared at the google map in front of me, raised my right eyebrow and said something like, “Fuck. Me.”

On May 29, as I drove away from Helena, MT, to the ‘M’ state that is low on my list of likability, I wondered what the heck I was walking into. The medicine man bit? That’s easy. Dead Indians say, “Go there. Go to that person.” Stupidly simple.

The issue of the father-funk? Not so simple. This goes back 46 years.

I’m really not quite sure what I was born into when I slipped out of that 98.6 degree warm spot over four decades ago. I’ve been told that I was planned and wanted. That wanting changed somewhere along the current time line. My mother attempted to kill us both (information shared by my father about ten years ago during one of my own dances with suicide) before I was born, then spent 17.5 years attempting to complete the process physically, mentally and emotionally. There was a void of some type I dropped into when i drop of that womb, a chasmic disconnect that has never been bridged.

In previous conversations over the course of twenty or so years, with my father about the child abuse my brother and I endured, he fully admitted to not seeing any of it–except for the two times he intervened. One I don’t recall. As a youngster I apparently was getting a beating because in doing my first load of laundry ever, a red sock got into the whites and turned things pink. According to my dad, he told my mother her expectations were a little too high for my first time actually washing the clothes. He then added that I did it again and it must have been purposefully so he didn’t intervene. I don’t recall either event but I’ve since ruined a load of my own laundry as an adult doing the exact same thing without that purpose.   The second time he intervened, I was 17.5, just finishing high school and he stopped my mother from slamming my head into the linoleum covered concrete dining room floor.

My mother left bruises and scars across our bodies. Always visible.  Those that remain in our mind, of course, are not despite the fact that the patterns they left are repeated and re-patterned into another generation. The visible ones, though, were as silently treated as unnoticeable as the invisible. Denied and  obscured by fear.

When I finally worked up the courage to confront my father, I did so on his territory. In fact, I walked up to him while he was on his tractor bushhogging. I walked and waited for him to stop. He did and with a puzzled look on his face said, “Well, who might you be?”  So far removed from me that he couldn’t even recognize the one who said, “You used to call me your daughter. I’m Ingrid.” “I didn’t even recognize you.”  That alone spoke more than the words themselves can convey.

You know, it took me three tries to work up the nerve to speak with him. The first time I arrived, I saw his truck in the driveway and fled. The second time, I pulled on my grown-girl drawers and he wasn’t there. The third time was not-quite-the charm but also not quite what I’d rehearsed in my head or imagined in my heart as I drove those 2000 miles between Helena and hella-humid.

I couldn’t find much of a voice in that visit but I did manage to eke out a ‘So, what happened?”  I wanted to know why he didn’t show up the autumn of 2010 when he was supposed to, why phone calls and emails trying to connect with him them went unreturned. He didn’t remember the first and then said he didn’t know how to access his voicemail and never responded to emails. So, I reminded him of a phone call we had in March 2012, the last time there was any communication. I’d initiated contact because a friend had killed himself and I, frankly, wanted my dad. As a 44 year-old, I wanted my dad to reassure me that I and the world were okay.  In the brief, seven-minute conversation, my father asked me if I was making a living and said some other things that let me know that I was not okay and, to me, in that moment, the world certainly was not. Howie had decided he was just done and apparently so had my father.

So, two weeks ago, I just asked him what happened. What was it that caused him to walk away from me. He responded this way: “Ingrid, there was an aspect of you that showed itself early on…”  And, although the following quote isn’t verbatim because it has been a little over ten days, this is the gist:

You had been home from the hospital for a few weeks. And I had you in my lap and was trying to feed you. I noticed that when I tried to put your hands on the bottle, you wouldn’t hold it. You’d use your hands to grab mine and put them back on the bottle.

So I knew then that you were one who was going to think other people were responsible for you. I decided there was a way to fix that so I picked you up and put you on the floor with the bottle next to you and decided that if you wanted that bottle, you’d get it yourself.”

One of the first interactions I had with my father, as a weeks-old infant, created the judgment, the yard stick that he chose to measure me by as I moved into adulthood. It allowed, for him, the space to say, “I’m not responsible” and in that one motion of placing me on the floor, he created the separation and emotional disconnect that allowed him not to see me as who or how I was, the abuse laid upon me as I grew up, laid upon me as an adult when my brother attacked me in 2007 (“Well, you know, you like the drama.”  I wonder if he shared that same notion with my sister-in-law when he’d chuckle and say, “It tickles me to see him take the piss out of her.” ), and certainly kept him from seeing me as I was transforming into this way of being in 2010.

When I swallowed my pain and vomit at this comment, I asked him to skip ahead forty some-odd years and explain what that had to do with him saying good-bye and never hello again.  To which he responded, “I don’t really recall. I only knew that I couldn’t go where you were going.” He couldn’t offer up more other than, “I didn’t see how you could make a living as a healer” and a weak, “I didn’t know how I could help.”  Each of these comments were peppered throughout the two days I ended up staying with him.

Another layer of complexity was added when my father shared that he’d driven through the village of Flint Hill, VA, soon after he’d broken with me.  He was apparently wondering about my welfare in some fashion and heard a disembodied voice say, “Don’t worry. We’ll keep her safe.”  And after that, he didn’t worry–or wonder–again.. When I asked, “Did you ever wonder why they would tell you that?”  “No. The why isn’t and wasn’t important.”

I left that first evening with that in my head and on my heart. Said and unsaid was “you were not and are not important for me to wonder about” but ‘so precious to me’.

But I went back. I went back because behind my tight throat and nausea was something that needed to be said. It wasn’t what I’d rehearsed and it didn’t come tumbling out of my mouth until we’d been in the truck for hours together.  What provided the impetus for me to speak was him telling a story about that included: “And so I asked the Beloveds to not forget me.”

When we got back to his place, I began like this:

Let me state at the start that, despite my desire for you to believe me, that you not fall back into the ‘Ingrid just loves the drama’, what I’m about to say doesn’t require your belief. It is and I am whether you believe or not.

I asked you yesterday if you were curious as to why they, these disembodied voices heard in the heart, would tell you I was being watched over. You replied that you weren’t. I think you actually should be. You should know that what was evolving into this way of being when you chose to remove yourself from my life, to abandon me again, was my becoming one of those Beloveds.  I am one of them and I am here again as your daughter and as something much more. I am a woman who happens to be the steward for a holy energies that have re-assumed the position both as and within me. I am them and we live and breathe and move as one.

When you chose to place an infant on the floor because you thought she should be taught responsibility and used that as the lens through which you viewed me for over 40 years, was the thing that also taught me to not ask for help, to be ashamed for seeking help and to suffer in silence, to suffer to the point of suicide because it was unacceptable and I was unworthy of assistance, because I was supposed to be solely responsible.  Speerachul types who learned their interviewing techniques from Oprah occasionally ask something like: “So you don’t have any regrets, right?” expecting me to tow the expected response line.  And my response is invariably, “I regret that I did not come into this from a place of love.” Your abandonment of me as an infant, repeatedly as a child in terms of choosing not to see how your children were being harmed, and as an adult were repeated confirmations of my irresponsibility and unworthiness of assistance.

Can you imagine being brought into this magnificence I bring and am now with the support of at least one family member. Someone who, when I was told “Why can’t you just be a productive member of society?” after I’d cured osteosarcoma would remind me that being in service is just that. I can. I can imagine what it would be like to be believed and supported, to accept that as I struggled in a community that could not accept me, I was held close by someone of my own. I can imagine how I would be now.

My father tearfully apologized in what I believed was a sincere manner and said, “I will try not to ever hurt you again in that way. I will try my best to never abandon you again.”

And I stayed. I  don’t know why I stayed, really. There wasn’t much expectation of a renewed relationship because estrangement does, well, strange things. There’s no ordinariness to return to in this thing, either. I watched rather impassively as the phone rang one evening and out of his mouth came, “If it’s your mother don’t say a word.”  Because she could not know that I’d chosen to see my father or that he’d chosen to see me. Not much more need be said when those few words say so much.

And then, two days after sharing time, space and stories with each other, during which he let it be known that he actually believed me, he said, “Make sure you don’t write about this because there are people here who read what you write and then tell your mother. You might imagine that you’re not a popular person around here.”

My father asked me to participate in his silencing of me, his disappearing me from his life except in the shadow of secret.

The day before, when I discussed the challenges of being a steward for these energies I am, these Beloveds, and bringing our message forward again, my father said, ‘it seems the only way to do this, is to be absolutely, always open and honest’.

The dichotomy presented in that moment between us clarified so much for me.

My relegation to a continued secret as truth sayer of the family and as bringer of Other truths. Although precious, only in the quiet of no one else knowing. It’s a pattern that began long ago and is repeated through others and may have begun long before my father and I met.

When I drove away, I knew that he knew not what he’d done. He still can’t see me. I also knew that, this time, I’m the one making the choice to walk away. I’ve come to accept that the painful nature of that emptiness will lessen and that I can no longer participate in the silencing of myself–no matter how much I want my father.

Forgiveness is instantaneous. Grief will lessen and morph into peace.

And through it all, we weave.

 

Know ye not that ye are Gods. ~ Moses (the dude, not the dog)

Thomas Merton to Aldous Huxley during their discussion about genuine & pseudo-mysticism:

 What I would call a supernatural and mystical experience…has in it very essence some note of a direct spiritual contact of two liberties, a kind of flash or spark which ignites an intuition…plus something much more which I can only describe as “personal”, in which God I known not as an “object’ or and “Him up there” or “Him in Everything” nor as “the All” but as—the biblical expression—I AM, or simply AM…this in oth the kind of intuition that smacks of anything procurable because it is a presence of a Person and depends on the liberty of that Person.

I found the above passage when reading The Hiding Place of God: A Personal Journey into the World of Religious Visions, Holy Objects & Miracle  written in 1991 by John Cornwell.  I picked it up at the local library when I figured it’d only be polite to actually use some of their actual books while spending eight hours at a time there hogging their wifi.

This passage and learning that even Padre Pio pissed people off because he didn’t do things the way others thought he should were the only things I took away from reading the book.

I’m not really sure why I picked this title except that it’s probably got something to do with me looking for factoids and other niftiness to share with people when they ask questions of me.

I had the same thought when I recently re-read The UnCommon Touch by Tom Harpur, The Intention Experiment by Lynne McTaggert, and Mike Dooley’s latest.  It’s frustrating to find myself going back to the habit of doing things for other people—not in terms of being in service to others but in terms of trying to satisfy their ideas and ideals about how I should act, speak (that’s my next post! Oh.Boy.), clothe myself (seriously), identify or define myself, etc.  As annoying as it is, I keep going back there.

I think it’s not so much that I want to please people but that I feel I need to load up data & information to defend myself, my own ideals & my own knowing.  I keep trying to use social media as a way to create a real, honest discussion about stuff relating to healing.   Maybe I really am itching for a fight instead.  A way to say, “Listen to ME, please!!” “Hear me.  Don’t dismiss me.”  “See, Saint so-and-so/Christ/Mohammed/Granma Green did it, too!”   I don’t seem to feel quite satisfied to go about my business quietly, hoping that…hell, I don’t know what.

But let me regress six paragraphs and revisit Mr. Merton (do you call a Trappist monk Mister or Father?).  My “ecstatic” experiences are a veritable cornucopia of variety.  They occur with regularity, sometimes extend for an entire day (with an in-n-out of it quality), are sometimes visual and aromatic, almost always emotional & time-space warping, and, usually confounding (with a so-what-do-I-do-with-that-now? quality).

However, my experiences aren’t religious or “spiritual” (used loosely here) because nothing in my experience is religious or spiritual as others define it.  I still call it a Divine experience sometimes but I’m not connecting it to “something outside of me that is more powerful than me”.  I just don’t see God as other people do.  I don’t just give it another name like Source/Universe/Grid/flavor of the day term.

Are there things outside of us?  Absolutely!  Are there invisible things all around us? Yep. Powerful? Influential? You betcha! More than us?  Nope.

One response I’ve received from someone trying to argue that people couldn’t be god-like, godly, god recently was, “But we don’t create storms!”  Me: “Really?  Think about it for a bit and then get back to me.”  I was never gotten-back-to but my point was this:  We do create storms.  They may not appear as weather ‘incidents’ but our actions/inaction, beliefs, & judgments change the barometer around us and those we touch directly or indirectly.    Never mind the fact there are humans who create, move & manipulate climate-related weather all over the globe. Not a forte of mine because outside of being amused at dissolving a cloud or three, I can’t see how that is human business.  We already have interfered in a pretty heavy-duty way, methinks.

I think we’ve become so comfortable over the course of time gifting power and responsibility for life-stuff to something(s) outside of ourselves that we forget how powerful we really are.

So, uncomfortable with the idea of self-identifying with our own greatness that we will easily dismiss and denigrate one who says, “I see God in you.”  It’s all great and fine for India to sing it but that’s just a song, right?

I don’t see anyone made in the image of how they define their god or inspired by something outside of them. I see each person as the god that they see outside of themselves.

I see you as god.  You are God. You are the embodiment of all those things that you’ve connected to, associated with & assigned to that “Him up there”, the “Him in Everything”.  Within you is every iota of power, wondrousness, control, glory, beauty, destructive potential, love, mystery, holines, and, the kicker, responsibility for self and others that has been assigned to a Higher Power.

Can you imagine seeing another like that?  Try it.  Just for grins & giggles.  Today.  Really.  Start with yourself—go to the mirror when you get home and instead of being critical of the wrinkles and that stray eyebrow hair, look into your own eyes (not at your forehead as if to avoid yourself, mind you), and talk to yourself in the same way you talk to God.  Dare ya.

Does that mean that people are no longer annoying, irritating,?  Um…No. That doesn’t mean we lose our human-ness.  We just gain a different level of humanity.  It just means there is a level of respect, a conscious willing suspension of judgment, a heightened awareness that you are he, connected to him/her and others, an acceptance and love that requires no ‘practice’.  It’s effortless.

Yep, loving another, loving all others can be effortless.  Those in the “spiritual” frame of mind are famous for talking about the greatness of Source love, the exquisite Love of the Divine, infinite Love of the Universe, the I AM love from the Violet Flame, etc, etc, Uhhhh…heeeellllooooo?

What about the infinite, exquisite, greatness of human love?  The one to one human sorta love.  The love expressed between two human beings.  How ’bout you start practicing that, too.  It’s painless.  It’s fun. It’s free. It can even become comfortable!  Check out this community & share the love here if you’re moved to.  If not, start with yourself. Go back to the mirror and have a conversation with yourself.  Then with those around you.

So, YOU ARE god.  YOU ARE love. You are all the endless potentialities. You have no limits.

And I love you all the more for it!

If you could get

Rid of yourself just once,

The secret of secrets

Would open to you.

 

The face of the unknown,

Hidden beyond the Universe

Would appear on the

Mirror of your Perception.  ~ Rumi