Become a Follower of the Big Dude!

Meet the divine Dude in this blog. This Dude has had and seen his share of sacred shit. He's not afraid of it or of its language. I can't relate to a god that's been crucified, but I can relate to one whom my government has imprisoned and humiliated. I can relate to one who's been raped by his own holy men. I can relate to one who grew up playing baseball or soccer and who dated the Prom Queen. I can relate to the god who knows the working of corporate conglomerates, pimps, and teen-age girls who are pregnant. I can relate to the god who loves alcoholics and drug addicts just a tad more than wall street hotshots. This Dude thinks all of us are mortal particles in an ocean of sacred shit. This Dude recycles.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

And He Will Raise Me Up

Sometimes, our higher power or greater good comes through in unexpected ways.  We can choose to recognize those moments of grace or we can sleep walk through our days.  It's hard to see those unexpected and often tiny "ways" as miracles, but what if they are?

I've had such moments in the last few days and I've noticed them.  I was in Maine with family for the holidays.  I slept well every night.  Miracle.  It wasn't always easy.  Sometimes, I had to ask for divine intervention to keep all the inner demons in check. 

What does it mean to ask for divine intervention?  As I read somewhere, it's unlikely that the Big Dude or greater good is going to help your football team win, for example.  But it might help you or me have a gentler attitude when we watch that game.  Here's how I think of my higher being.  It's a "he" today.  He raises me up.  I rise to meet him.  Together, we become my higher power or greatest good.  That entity sees and accomplishes miracles.

That entity faces its less-than-helpful behaviors and tries something different.  Driving home from my brother's home in Maine, it was dark and there were predictions of a terrible storm the next day.  It occurred to me that I might get snowbound in my hotel where there was no restaurant.  Procrastination is one of my personal challenges.  My  higher self took charge.  It drove me into a convenience store where I filled my gas tank, bought bottles of water, granola bars, and yogurt.

The next day I was snowbound.  I was prepared and unafraid.  My higher power had seen to it that I had food and water.  Yesterday, the snow stopped and I went out to my car.  Snowplows had piled snow up all around it.  I took a deep breath and borrowed a shovel.  I shoveled for an hour.  When I was finished, my heart was pounding and I was shaking.  I wanted to go back in my room and not face the five hour drive home.  Truly a higher being took charge again.  Step-by-step, I carried my luggage through the snow to the car. 

Where are the miracles?  Two months ago, I would have worried all night about whether I should drive home and so I wouldn't have slept.  I wouldn't have filled the tank or gotten supplies.  I would have churned with guilt because I didn't go out to my brother's that day.  I would have blamed myself for everything and railed at the gods as well.

Instead, it was all in sync.  I was serene and living only this moment's challenges.  I did what needed to be done to be safe.  And, I was happy and grateful.  On the way home, I sang:  "And he will raise me up on eagle's wings."  That's how I felt.  How is that not a miracle?  Roxie

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Trailing Clouds of Glory

Last night, I dreamed that one of the first people to love me unconditionally died.  I woke up with a sense of urgency.  I wanted to contact this beautiful, evolved, spiritual man to thank him.  Upon further reflection, I realized that there have been several of these "spirit guides," if you will, who have come into my life.  I'm certain they come into all of our lives in various ways.

We start our journey as spiritual beings in a physical world slightly before we are born.  The poet, Wordsworth, suggested that as children we are still "trailing clouds of glory," bearing some memory of another, spiritual origin.  My childhood, as did so many childhoods, left me ravaged by loneliness, lack of love, and terror.  My child's understanding was that parents were supposed to love their children.  I believed for most of my life that my parents did love me; I deduced that what I received from them was love.  I lived my life with the understanding that "love" was defined by loneliness and terror.

In my home, there were occasional bright spots that I now think of as sent by a higher good.  There was my next door neighbor, a little girl named Terri, with whom I spent every free hour. She gave me the gift of imagination as we played out innumerable myths and fairy tales of our invention in the nearby woods. There was my grandmother who lived with us briefly. She taught me not to take my mother too seriously and that I was an angel.  There was Aunt Helen.  She taught me to ward off the threats of my brothers by ignoring them. There was Aunt Agnes, whom we affectionately called "Anya," who taught me that I was beautiful and had gifts and talents to give the world.  She taught me to appreciate the beauty of nature and she loved me unconditionally.  Finally, there was my dad, a workaholic for sure, who loved me as best he could and, over time, confirmed my perception that my mother did not love me.  "It's not you," he used to say.  "It's her.  She can't love."  This did help although it also sealed the coffin of my growing understanding that, for some reason, the gods had bequeathed a paranoid depressed mother upon me who played out her fantasies and delusions on my little psyche from the moment I was born until she died.

In high school, there were more such guides in the form of enlightened teachers and friends.  My best friend and lifetime ally, Joan, entered my life in a deeper way and we overtly explored new avenues of spirit life.  Two teachers, Dominican nuns, really showed me new paths.  Sister Michaelene, the math teacher, gave me two amazing elixirs.  She told her classes that evolution and creation were not mutually exclusive and she explained both scientifically and spiritually how they could easily co-exist.  That tool enlightens my journey to this day.  She also demonstrated to me my teaching gift.  I was failing Algebra II and she called me in and said, "Don't tell me you can't learn this stuff.  I know you better than that.  Here's the thing.  I have to have surgery and I'll be gone for three weeks.  You're going to teach the class.  We're going into negative numbers; go home and catch up and be ready to take my place on Monday."  This was a miraculous intervention.  What teacher does this?  I taught my peers Algebra II for three weeks, everyday.  I became a teacher because of her.

The other nun, Sister Amadeus, gave me the gift of creativity.  She was my senior English teacher, a young, passionate, rule-breaker, who forced us to write poetry.  I remember a poem I wrote for her called "Toast."  She showed me how it was a really good poem and made me see that I had the gift.

And then, in college, I met the man I dreamed about last night.  He was a priest of great influence and prestige in the Detroit arch-diocese.  I had a major crusth on him like every other girl I knew. There was only one difference.  He blew up my fantasy crush by actually falling in love with me.  For several months, I walked on air.  No one had ever loved me, ME, so completely before.  He would leave the priesthood, he said.  We would marry.  I dreamed of dark-haired babies with big eyes.  And then, I lost my nerve.  The memories of my mother's curses, her belief that I was evil, that I should not have been born rose up and I found myself, quite simply, suddenly and terribly unable to sleep at all and then ill.  I began losing weight and eventually I told this amazing man that I would die if I continued the relationship.  He knew it was true although neither of us really understood why.  I left him. His wisdom and love never left me.  He launched me on the next phase of my spiritual quest.

There are moments when we see our life in all its dimensions--its good and evil, its strenth and weakness, its love and hate.  This is such a moment.  A moment when I know I can hold within me the human condition and still be aware of my spiritual nature.  I came into the world trailing those "clouds of glory," as do we all.  Now and then, we catch another glimpse of them in later life.  They leave us warmed and shaken.  With thanks to my friend, Father Tom H.  Roxie

Friday, December 14, 2012

Enough!

Probably we're all having different feelings about the murder of 20 elementary school children and six adults today.  I'm a bit numb and maybe I need to be restarted.  I'm furious and despairing, sad, and despairing, despairing.  It's too much!  I know that the US has had fewer massacres than other countries.  I know that we are privileged to live in a relatively peaceful country.  And I know it's not good enough.

In recovery, they would say that life has become unmanageable and we need to surrender to a higher power.  I agree that life has become unmanageable but I'm thinking the higher powers that be, the Big Dude, whoever, are doing a terrible job!!!!  What bottom does the human race have to hit before we get rid of guns and begin teaching peace in our schools and our families?

You can say it's not guns and blah, blah, blah.  It IS guns.  It is guns everytime in the U.S.  I cannot bear another minute in which we foster a culture that kills the weak and the marginalized.  It has to stop. 

I'm thinking of the song, "Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me."  It comes back to the tiny drop in the bucket that is each of us and making peace with ourselves and with each person who comes our way.  This is my pledge:

I'm going to hug the next 26 people I interact with. 

Roxie

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Happiness vs the Other Shoe Dropping

Sometimes, happiness sneaks up on you.  And don't kid yourself, happiness is a spiritual quality.  Happiness is being aware of yourself doing well in the midst of circumstances beyond your control.  It's essentially noticing.  As the hero says in Joe and the Volcano: "99% of people are asleep and the other 1% are amazed!"

I've used that quote before in my blogs but it always bears repeating.  If we're on a spiritual journey, we want to be in that one percent, right?  We want to be awake and amazed.  That's happiness and beyond.

So, how do we become awake.  The first answer is yada-yada always meditation.  I'm not going to say that today.  I think the first answer is conscious choice for your own well being.  So often, we are on auto-pilot, zinging along and remembering our selves only when life catches us up short.  For me, that usually means that something painful happens.  Why is that?  Well, I tend to doubt the good things coming my way, to wait for the other shoe to drop.  Probably, I won't find myself in happiness while my eyes are on pending disasters.

All of this was brought home to me last week when I made a difficult, conscious choice not to act on an impulse.  I literally had to slam my computer shut and go to bed in order to make the right and good choice in that moment.  I did it.  The next day, I found myself really happy.  I talked with my son unexpectedly and with a lightness of being that surprised me.  I noticed my happiness at Thanksgiving dinner.  I caught myself trying to prolong it, trying to engage and participate.  I realized that, for once, I wanted to be where I was instead of rushing off to my hotel room.  The people around me seemed like blessings.  Instead of draining me, they were filling me up.

I believe it was the conscious choice of the night before that paved the way for me to be awake and amazed at dinner that day.  I confess that I have since been cringing occasionally as I slip back into waiting for the old shoe to come crashing down.  But, I'm aware that it doesn't have to and even IF it does, I don't have to be crushed by it.  I wouldn't say I'm exactly happy today but the groundwork is prepped, the bread is rising, and I'm waiting, not for the shoe to drop, but for happiness.  Wait, is that it?  Ahhhhh.  Roxie