Category Archives: A Course in Miracles

and if you find a new way…

Standard

Friends often hear me say, “On the road to enlightenment, I’m taking the local.” Recently I told someone that I was not interested in spirituality. Least of all in “spiritual” people. They’re so screwed up. Everyone wants to talk about listening to your intuition…living authentically…living your truth. News flash: we all hear our intuition all the time. I am so much happier when I’m not trying.

Pablo Picasso said “Artists live out loud.” They do. They really don’t have much choice. You ignore the direct line God put in place to communicate with you, you’re gonna get unhappy fast. Or dead. They live with their heart on their sleeve, raw, because the process of creativity requires being present…and it creates it…and it requires it…it’s a way of life. All artist’s are making a living. Some of them even make money in the process.

In The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron recognizes that “going sane feels like going insane at first.” She is acknowledging that when we finally decide to honor our child-LIKE need for expression, people react badly to our being less available to their needs. ¬†This is all the same thing, folks: we are a culture so enmeshed in the HABIT of being co-dependent that we are driving ourselves nuts. We are people-pleasers. We make decisions out of fear and need. Damn we are needy! I’m right there, every day, asking myself what I really want. That’s the pivot point where the healing occurs, what A Course In Miracles calls the Holy Instant. Split second, yes to this, no to that.

“The space between your heart and mine is a space filled with time…” – Dave Matthews, Space Between

God is not someone separate from you trying to lead you or guide you or trip you up if you don’t comply. That way of thinking will mess with your head, make you old before your time, or at least miserable today. It will keep you constantly dealing with poverty and disease. Stop asking to know God’s will. It’s hard-wired in. Really, stop trying to figure this out.

Just BE. Make mistakes. Rant and rave. Sob uncontrollably. Breathe deeply. Scream like a banshee. Play like a kid. Make art. Never mind if it’s good or bad – that’s none of your business. Just BE already. That is how we practice loving ourselves.

“God has no secrets. He does not lead you through a world of misery waiting to tell you at the the journey’s end why he did this to you.” – ACIM

Happy Mother’s Day to Me…

Standard

“Instant karma’s gonna get you, gonna look you right in the face…” – John Lennon

Those close to me often hear me kid, “I must have done something very heroic in a past life to be so blessed in this one.” Actually, I don’t believe in multiple lives. I have Buddhist friends who do. The majority of the world population is Hindu; they do. Oh, I believe in karma! You get back what you put out – and I don’t know about you, but mine seems to show itself almost instantly…darn it. I can’t seem to get away with anything.

My son has the same experience, and I have always told him that it means we are living a blessed life – that God put us exactly where he wanted us and needed us to be. There isn’t space for messing up, no margin for error. God is always nearby, paying attention, and has your back. That’s not to say we don’t have fun; it’s to say we get to be aware of it all being a privilege all the time, “good” or “bad.”

Having Doris as my Mom was a privilege. I wonder if her sweet nature didn’t just skip a generation and show up in her four grandchildren, my son, and my niece and two nephews. Man, they are sweet kids.

Having Steven as my son is such a privilege, too. Big time! And I know it. It makes me question what I could have done to deserve such love, and hence the statement about earning it in another life! But there isn’t actually anything such as deservedness. Karma is a paper tiger. As is all dis-ease, come-uppance, guilt, sin, wrongness by any name. Not one of us is wrong. That’s a big concept for me to grapple with some days. Especially if I turn on the television or read the political posts on Facebook. We are all innocent here. My Mom used to say, “I’m just rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic,” and we would laugh! If you can grasp that, or to the degree that you can feel that, that you are MADE IN HIS IMAGE, you can free yourself of guilt and shame and fear. ‘Cause we all shine on…

F = false E = evidence A = appearing R = real

“God has no secrets. He does not lead you through a world of misery waiting to tell you at the journey’s end why he did this to you.” – A Course in Miracles

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY.

We Will Walk It Out…

Standard

“We’re all just walking each other home.” – Ram Dass

It is a glorious sunny morning, albeit chilly. As I sit in my beautiful new home high overlooking the sand bluffs and treetops of northwestern lower Michigan two of my close friends are fighting for their lives. One is fighting a physical cancer, the other a mental cancer. Both potentially deadly. I can’t help but wonder why them, why not me, or anyone else for that matter? It all seems so random, the blessings and the curses. There is one thing that occurs to me: there is no such thing as deservedness. No one deserves any more blessings or suffering than another. This immature notion must be allowed to wither away from our collective consciousness as a culture. It was a bill of goods someone sold us, and it needs to go the way of our ancestors.

As it happens, I have just been through a week of my own hell bedridden with debilitating migraines. I had fooled myself into thinking I was going to do a nice liver detox this week, and then had to resort to taking migraine medication when the pain became frightening. There is a (not so funny) meme circulating on social media that says, “When the head and the heart clash, the liver suffers.” It has a different meaning to me now! Intellectually, I certainly know that migraines come as demons in the night when I have succumbed to spending too much time in my head, disconnected from my heart. And there is grieving to be done.

But there is equal joy to be found in “falling apart at the SEEMS” and re-membering myself, my sweet life. And that I am not in charge here…as The Indigo Girls sing, “the less I seek my source for some definitive, the closer I am to fine.” Today is the first day in over a week that I can stand up straight and the nausea has subsided. It is the first time I remember to look at my daily lesson in A Course in Miracles: “By grace I live. By grace I am released.” For some reason it feels like Christmas.

 

“It’s Space. It Doesn’t Cooperate.”

Standard

If you would please indulge me here, Dear Reader, it seems that I do have a story to tell after all. And I am only now figuring that out for myself; perhaps beginning to glean some worth in the mess, some reason to tell it. All of my adult life people have said that I should write my story, and all of my adult life I have dismissed this suggestion as frivolous, egotistical, and frankly, boring.

But let’s begin anyway by noting that the most recent blog post here was September of last year, nearly ten months ago. Shortly thereafter I “went south” (sounds like I’m on vacation) – my personal term for sinking into depression and withdrawing from all but a few close soldiers. This recent willingness to risk sharing again was sparked, as inspiration is, by the funniest little thing…a photo in a magazine article about a cottage restoration. God works in mysterious ways. Actually, I think God works in any way available, whenever there is an opening.

There I was, reading my favorite blog, drinking my morning coffee, looking at pretty pictures…the blog, Content In A Cottage, (wish I’d thought of that name!) is an almost daily hit of inspiration about life in a small space. Rosemary Beck is a realtor, a middle aged woman like myself, and has shared the huge recent losses of her Mom and her beloved dog, Webster. But she has found a rhythm that suits her in posting often and briefly, sometimes by simply sharing what someone else has already written. Today it was a picture of a cute house with a link to an article in Gardens And Guns Magazine. Well! First of all, I would never subscribe to a magazine with the word guns in the title. It made me laugh right off though, thinking of Will Thacker in Notting Hill, posing as a writer for Horse and Hound.

This article is so well written by Allison GLOCK (God has such a great sense of humor) that I want to read it again. I think it would have been delightful even if it hadn’t been about my favorite subject. The transformation of the house is inspiring, the result altogether enchanting. But, (and isn’t there always a but for me?) frustrated and grief stricken by over sixty years now of not being true to myself, some of the photographs brought tears of sadness and disappointment. Everything that interests me seems bittersweet at this stage of my life. And there – in that split second where delight and discouragement co-exist simultaneously and rises up to shock and surprise us – THERE is the crux of any meaningful story. There, for my son and all the others who live in that juxtaposition, is the gift I will continue to explore in my writing. Because only there do we have a choice to make – that can, and does, effect our future.

One photo showed “freshly cut olive branches” in a vase on a table. That was all it took. The tears could not be denied. My olive trees are gone. I still miss them. Years ago now, my then husband and I drove up to a house we were looking at to buy, and five twisted old olive trees bowed noble along the drive, the stubborn survivors of a long ago orchard. They were FULL of Cedar Waxwings. I knew immediately this was my next home. It was magic. I fell in love with those trees the longer I lived with them. The leaves were soft green on one side and silver underneath. Thomas Jefferson said “the olive tree is assuredly the richest gift of heaven.” That quote, cut from a magazine years prior, was glued into one of my notebooks. I had always wanted olive trees.

One day I drove home from work to find the olive trees gone, leveled by my husband and a chainsaw. Stumps. “Messy old junk trees,” he called them. I was devastated. I couldn’t talk, and went straight to bed. I had no inkling he didn’t like the trees; never knew they were in danger. Never had a chance to defend them. I knew the Waxwings would not come again. But the real tragedy took hold slowly over time. To this day, my now former husband doesn’t know I loved those trees. I couldn’t tell him. I couldn’t trust him with my heart. I knew he would become defensive and angry, telling me how ridiculous and unreasonable I was being over stupid old trees. It was, of course, also about more than the loss of the trees. It was about not being considered in that decision. I knew then that they were never our trees. They were his. This wasn’t our home, it was his. It took a dozen more years, another move, and many more heartbreaks before I would leave. It took my greedy silence and selfish denial a lot longer to surface before I would come to realize this path of stoic silence was a death trap for my soul, and that I was worth saving.

In the movie The Martian, there is a scene when astronaut Mark Watney must launch himself into space without a ship or any safety mechanism, and soon he will either be rescued and go home, or he will die. Either way, he will never be the same man who left the earth on this adventure. He can’t go back. After fighting for survival all this time, you watch the dawning of this realization move across his face – that this has all been immeasurably precious, each terrifying, hard and painful moment he has endured. Precious. And he cries. Seldom has a movie caused such a response in me. I, too, experienced the moment with him, of despair and terror and elation and hope – all at once. The crux. The “bleed through”, as Nadine calls it, between life on earth, and the Kingdom of Heaven. The Holy Instant, A Course In Miracles calls it. Whatever you may call it, know that these precious moments will come again and again until we live in the “bleed through.” Because life, like space, does not cooperate.

For Faith.

Falling Apart at the SEEMS…

Standard

Yesterday was a great day. Circumstances have been pretty hard here lately…my father has become quite ill and is fighting for his life. I have had to cut off most communication with my abusive siblings throughout this process, while still maintaining contact with my Dad. A lot of letting go is going on…

My dog and I slipped on the ice about a month ago and are still dealing with our injuries. It remains to be seen whether or not he will walk again, and whether or not I can keep him alive much longer. A second offer on the purchase of my home appears to be falling apart now. It’s looking like we can’t give this thing away. My finances are a disaster. A month’s worth of income runs out after a week…

Wow, I need some relief. It came yesterday in invisible form. I fell into bed late morning utterly spent – mentally, emotionally, physically…and the healing began. Spontaneous healing is not strange to me, it has occurred all my life. “Psychic surgery” is not a new or strange concept; I have experienced it. This was similar to previous “sessions”, but with a bit of a twist. I could HEAR them as well as feel them. Invisible beings were working to restore my well being.

It sounds crazy – no one knows that more than I – because being thought of as crazy has been one of the biggest fears of my life. It just is what it is. I just report what I experience. Imagination? WHO CARES?! Einstein said “Imagination is the language of the divine.” At this point in time I’m in no position to question any blessing I receive…

While I don’t wish to share all of the things that went on over the course of nearly an hour, I suddenly felt a pinching sensation in my back where I had hit my scapula on the pavement when I had fallen. It was far more acute than the pain which had become a general ache in that area, and when I focused my attention there, it felt like I was being STITCHED…I said “I feel like I’m falling apart at the seams,” and I heard, “No, you are falling apart at the SEEMS.”

What the heck does THAT mean?! And then the images…Dad, the dog, myself splayed out on the pavement, the house, it all began to dissolve…and then come back together in a new way…Vibrant. Healthy. Happy. Alive.

Now, I am more blessed than many with inexhaustibly supportive friends. Smart friends. I am a student of A Course in Miracles. And I belong to a community committed to the path of joy through meditation, Bright Path Ishayas. I have received guidance from all over the country. I know I am loved. Now I know I am loved by many beings, and deeply. We all are. I don’t know why we matter, but we matter. Greatly.

The Course teaches “Salvation is my only function here.” Salvation means joy. This world is NOT what it seems, or how it appears to the human eye…Thank God. Couldn’t we please learn to be a little more compassionate with ourselves…and let ourselves fall apart at the seems.

For Nadine and her infinite patience…and all of you. You are my light.

 

Growing Up is Hard to Do…

Standard

This happens to be one of my favorite scenes from one of my favorite movies, the very romantic comedy, The Holiday:

“You’re supposed to be the leading lady of your own life, for God’s sake…” I think it’s one of my favorite movie scenes because I have spent thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours in therapy trying to learn some common sense – the common sense that says: if you are trying too hard, stop. Just stop. You checked your self-respect and integrity at the door of Narcissist Land. Pick them up on your way back out – running!

My life has been changing rapidly these past few weeks. In transition now for the past couple of years, I hope to be able to settle soon into a new home in a new city, and begin a new life…it is terrifying and exciting. With the impending move, an acquaintance is becoming a friend, and she is going through a painful breakup.¬† We are examining our addictions to emotionally unavailable men, and reflecting on our co-dependent behaviors. Blah blah blah…there’s THAT ugly subject again.

But I am more intensely -and consciously- dealing with my loneliness as I distance myself from close proximity to the alcoholics and addicts I LOVE…some of my closest family and friends. According to Melody Beattie of Codependent No More, I am not an enabler…I am a Master Enabler. And having just celebrated my sixtieth birthday, it is time to grow up…insert here Neil Sedaka singing…but replace the word BREAKING with the word GROWING! That’s a gas, man…

“It is not easy to find happiness in ourselves, and it is not possible to find it elsewhere.” -Agnes Repplier, The Treasure Chest

“The light has come.” -ACIM, Lesson 75

For my darling women friends, and my dear new friend…she knows who she is!

Daylight Come and We Wanna Go Home…

Standard

Life in a human body is pretty terrifying much of the time, isn’t it?! I woke at four a.m. this morning in a state of terror, as I often do. I am talking physiological adrenaline rushing hot nauseous get to the toilet my life is being threatened terror. Not panic – this is not your run of the mill anxiety attack. Xanax won’t help this.

Is my life being threatened? Only by stress. I will spare you the tedious list of accumulated problems, but in fact, I am not in any immediate danger. I do not have any life threatening disease. I am not going hungry. The wolves at the door are virtual…my brain and body, however, are taking the information fed them daily from the onslaught of difficulties, and creating an emotional swamp of harmful interpretations…

Pardon me, but fuck this shit.

At this rate the miss-interpretations themselves might kill me. At four in the morning there isn’t anyone to call…and so, I do the only thing I can do: I turn on the light, sometimes several – and chase the demons by reading from The Course in Miracles. I know some people can get solace from reading the Bible. It doesn’t work for me. This does. Something in these pages seeps in through the heart pounding terror and the tears blurring the pages and slows the effects…even though, most of the time, I don’t understand a thing it is talking about.

The itchy hotness becomes a comforting warmth…my heart rate steadies…I begin to notice clues in my immediate environment that would indicate danger is abated – like my dogs are snoring. And slowly my body begins to relax, and then finally I am in the world…but not of it. Love wins.

This is freedom. The goal, of course, is to live in this state, whether danger is real or imagined…whether pain is physical or psychological, whether the words make sense or nothing does. It takes practice…and it’s the only game in town. This is the science of magic! Sometimes, I even get my sense of humor back…daylight come and we wanna go home…