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.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Spiritual Guides

The other day I was talking with a friend about the money-related details of my life like selling my house, building a business and so on.  I caught myself saying:  "I don't know how to DO this shit.  I need a coach or something."  Later I was  watching TV and noticed that a man, working with a movie star, called himself a "sobriety coach."

I began to think about spirituality and the complex simplicity of being in its flow.  I realized that many of us need or want a guide or coach for various things.  It's like having a good friend or fellow traveler.  In some cultures and in some eras, people HAD medicine men or women.  They were drawn to those who could help them and it wasn't shameful.  It was honorable to have a spirit guide; it was part of life's normal process.

Several years ago, in a Reiki session, I had a past-life experience and saw myself as a medicine woman living on a lake at the edge of a Native American tribe.  Since then, I've been doing everything I can to prepare myself for that role.

What IS that role?  It's giving voice to the inner wisdom of others.  In our culture, the closest thing to it is the life coach function or calling.  The spiritual guide, like the life coach, does not tell you what to do or what path to follow.  The spiritual guide listens with an open heart and hears the voice of your soul.  The spiritual guide highlights "soul moments" as they appear in your sharings and helps you see the spiritual path unrolling in front of you.

I offer my service as a spiritual guide to you, my readers.  Please contact me and accept my offer of a complementary phone session.  Email me at anneclarice1@gmail.com or go to my website beyondyourfearcoaching.com

Roxie

Friday, November 15, 2013

Mayhem and the Big Dude

I tend to think feelings are truth!  I've learned to check myself and notice they are a passing show and often have no relationship to facts or truth.  For example, someone tagged me on Facebook and made what seemed like a judgmental comment.  I felt outrage!  I wanted to blast this person back, skewer her with sarcasm.  What's up with that?  Where are feelings in the bigger picture of spirituality?

Another time, my brother noticed that I was bashing the Michigan State football team (being a Michigan fan) and just below that I had posted a Buddhist statement about accepting all comers, something like that.  My "fan" feelings seemed to contradict my Buddhist beliefs.  Why IS that?  Why were we even given feelings?  What is their spiritual purpose?

Checking out the cartoon I posted just below, I wonder if the Universe has a wicked sense of humor.  Can't you just hear some minor god begging the Big Dude as follows?  "Oh, c'mon.  Let me stir things up a bit.  These humans think they're so important and smart; let me give them, I don't know, some kind of inner gadget that messes up their thinking and makes them do ridiculous things.  What d'ya say, Big Dude?"  Obviously, the Big Dude said yes and here we are stuck with the ebb and flow, face it, sometimes the MAYHEM of feelings.

As a result of feelings, I tend to think I'm in a state of grace when I feel serene and connected.  Most of my friends see it that way too.  What if feeling serenity has nothing to do with my overall spiritual health?  I'm pondering this because 10 minutes later I can be livid at my dog because it ate my ham sandwich.  Serenity and anger are both feelings, right?  Why is one considered "better" in the spiritual world?  I think about the Course in Miracles staple that you can't feel love and fear at the same time and, of course, its belief that love is the greater state of being.  Is that true?  Or, are feelings just the passing show and pretty much unrelated to spirituality?

When I look around me at the Universe, I see diversity which runs on a spectrum from decay to birth.  Even black holes are now shown to spew creative elements back into the universe whereas they were previously seen as only sucking energy our of the universe.  Everything seems to be on a cycle of decay, death, rebirth.  So, one is not greater than the other, just another face of the whole.  I wonder if feelings are like that.  They, too, seem to cycle around from serenity/joy to fear/anger and everywhere in between.  Our human need to judge and compare makes us decide that one set is better than the other

Somehow, we get from there to equating positive emotions with spirituality and "negative" emotions with chaos that ought to be gotten rid of.  Yet, the Universe seems to encompass all with equanimity.  Possibly emotions of all kinds are gateways or lessons to spirituality and are not to be confused with spirituality itself.  Serenity feels wonderful but it isn't the God.  Fear feels terrible but it isn't some demon to be exorcised.  Maybe I could see my ever-changing feelings as elixirs on the spiritual journey.  A flask of serenity now and then can renew my commitment to the spiritual journey.  Truth be told, a bit of terror in the old wineskin can renew it in a different way.

This needs more thought.  Any ideas, my readers?  Roxie

It's a Re-Mix, Baby!

Photo: Sounds about right.

Thanks Doghouse Diaries and Free Your Mind and Think for the photo!

Seriously, need I say more?

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Particles, Waves, Tide, The Ocean, Baby!

I've always had a mad jealous streak quite at odds with my theories of spirituality.  I felt like I had been dealt a raw hand by the Big Dude or whatever.  This feeling that I had been cheated allowed me to covet what others had and also to cut corners myself.  I figured since no one seemed to have my back, as the saying goes, I had to do whatever it took for me to survive.

Fast forward many years.  Last week, I faced my jealousy head on.  I was visiting my best friend for several days.  She has a perfect home, the perfect modern family, a successful marriage, and abundance in every aspect of her life.  Grandchildren!  Grown children who are happy and successful and who come to her for cozy conversation.  A job she loves.  No major health issues even though we're about the same age.  Need I go on?

So, there I was ensconced in that picture-perfect home for a few days.  I felt loved, protected, and richly engaged by her spirituality and intelligence.  It came time for me to leave and I was sitting in her picture-perfect family room surrounded by at least a hundred pictures ranging from grandchildren to grandparents.  I felt like an outsider and a big, fat LOSER.  As I sat there quietly, things began to rearrange themselves in my awareness.  Suddenly I saw her as another soul in the universe.  I remembered her origins. I saw her striving to go beyond her family.  I saw the little girl who had to grow up fast and didn't get a chance to play.

I stopped comparing my life to her life and realized I was obsessed with the trappings of life.  The bottom line is the same for both of us--to wake up to the God or whatever that is manifest in our very own selves.  That's it.  That's all.  When I am jealous and lonely, I am like a drop of water in the ocean.  I'm only thinking about that drop.  Once I realize I am part of the ocean, I'm amazed.  My friend is a drop of water and so am I.  It takes many drops of water to build an ocean.  All of us moving in divine harmony make up the tide and waves.  Wow! Roxie

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

God by Any Other Name

I started this blog as a spiritual quest.  I wanted to explore or figure out or invent or find a god that I could relate to.  Over time, I've drifted far afield, as I suspect we questing souls tend to do.  I read something yesterday that said:  "Reflect on the fact that we may not understand God."  Duh.  You'd think I would have known that, right?  I didn't.  I have assumed all along that my intellect could apprehend or know god.

We may not understand God.  This is stated as a FACT.  It became obvious immediately: I don't understand God; I cannot understand God.  It's way beyond my comprehension.  You'd think that might be depressing; actually, it's a relief.  I can quit trying to figure god out and just let go and assume that it's beyond me (intellectually).  Going one step further, the ego rejects the very notion that there is something out there that it can't control or manage.  So, inside of us, both the intellect and the ego are struggling to hang on to the idea that they are in charge.  They're not. Huh!

At the same time, I do believe that (if there is a God, says my egolect) that we CAN know God although not in those ways of knowing.  How then?  In time-honored fashion, we must still the ego, quiet the intellect, and seek God in silence, in rhythm, in art, in nature, in our bodies when we are aware of them.  God lives in everything (if there is a God, says my egolect).  Why do we work SO HARD to not believe it?

Come to think of it, why bother deciding at all.  Belief and unbelief are a continuum and we're on it somewhere whether we want to be or not.  Let it go.  Be silent.  Turn off the TV, silence the smart phone and put it away, turn off the computer.  Walk in rhythm with the heart beat and the movement of waves on the shore.  Breathe in the same rhythms.  God is beyond intellectual knowing.  Fact.  God is love and rhythmic motion in the universe.  Join when you can.  Roxie

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Into the Woods

I've been away for awhile.  I went "into the woods" of soul work.  It was dark there, moldy, and full of strange sounding creatures.  When I'm stumbling through the woods, too often I'm looking at my feet--watching for roots and brambles, rocks and bogs.  I'm worried where to put my feet.

If I stop to look up, what I see is a "green cathedral."  The enormous trees arch upward to form a ceiling; the densely packed forest shuts out less necessary parts of the world.  I am uplifted by the power of silence and the lift of the enormous branches.  I hear squirrels jabbering away, birds coming to roost, the wind so far above as to be almost beyond reach.

I grew up on the edge of such a woods.  I spent as much time as possible there.  As a pre-schooler, I got up in the morning, snuck out the back door, and whistled for my neighbor friend.  Her return whistle was a sign that we should meet up in our special place.  I'd head to the woods and she'd be there.  We'd spend hours riding our imaginary horses, slaying imaginary foes, sweeping our imaginary capes in front of imaginary hordes.  Later, as a teen, I snuck out with a book and climbed a favorite tree to read for hours.

Today, I live at the edge of a different forest.  The ancient trees still speak to me in the wind high above.  Out my window, some trees are a brilliant orange while others remain green or have chosen to be a bright yellow this year.  It's a feast.

Alas, in the last month or so, I've not been partaking of the feast.  I've been afraid of falling, consumed with watching my feet and where they're stepping.  This is the sacred shit of soul work.  Putting one careful foot in front of the other not noticing the call of the Universe in the perfect architecture of the trees, the astonishing palette of colors, the orchestration of sound and silence.  Not noticing my body, at home in this divine arena.  Obsessed with safety and self-protection.

Where is the little girl who jumped out of bed to meet her soul-mate and roam the woods fearless and unfettered?  She's here.  She lives in this sixtysomething body with arthritis limitations, balance issues, and worries.  She's the reason we went into the woods.  She's the one who will find a way out of it if she must.  She's also the one who makes us look up at the Spirit moving in the high branches.  She's the one who loves the woods wanting to stay and play until goblins or glory snatch us away. Roxie

Monday, August 12, 2013

Child of the Universe

What the heck does is mean to be spiritual?  Does it mean to have some kind of faith in another realm?  Does it mean to be sensitive to or aware of forces that seem to be irrational?  Maybe it simply means to exist.  I am; therefore, I am also in spirit.  What the heck am I talking about?

I don't know.  My life seems to be a constant wavering between something like faith and something like judgement. The judging part of us, ego, intellect, can't really comprehend the irrational.  Intellect thinks it would be nice if there WERE a good, loving god or a good, loving flow of life. That's as far as it can really go.  The capacity to make a judgement based on information and reason stops at the end of physical reality.  Immense intellects like Einstein's have come close to understanding and explaining the magnitude and simplicity of creation.  They liken this to understanding the mind of God.  I find that comforting. My intellect is comforted that there is some kind of bridge in great minds from this reality to other ones.

On the other hand, the faith part of us is willing to believe without the intellect's input.  It leaps across the divide between physical reality and spiritual reality.  The closest I can come to that is occasionally letting grace seep into my awareness so that suddenly I am residing in an alternate reality.  It's kind of like time slows way down and I see and hear with an acuity that is not part of my normal life.  I look into my dog's eyes and I see a soul.  I step out the door and I hear the wind in tall trees or see mist rising off a river.  I am present.  I am IN life.  The question of faith or judgement ceases to exist.  There is only this moment when my body seems to merge with the universe.

Some part of me knows that's where it is.  That's enlightenment.  That's grace.  That's salvation.  Whatever.  When I'm consciously part of it all, the ego/mind/judging part of me disappears. It's irrelevant.  I know with certainty, in those moments, that I'm a child of the universe.  I'm home.  Roxie

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Treyvon

Ouch.  What's a spiritual response to this seeming injustice?  I say injustice because in the end, an armed man admits to having shot an unarmed teen-ager.  I say injustice because a person with money and resources brought a better defense than the state could bring an offense.  It brings me to the Biblical question:  "Who is my neighbor?"  To me, that's the essence of the spiritual dilemma.

Treyvon is  my neighbor and (although I wouldn't want him living down the street from me!) George is my neighbor too.  A black teen-ager on the streets of a gated, wealthy community should not be at risk just because of his existence.  A weird dude with a gun who has designated himself the "neighborhood watch" guy should have retreated from stalking the teen when the police requested that he stand down. Again, I ask myself a Biblical question:  Who is the lost sheep here?

I don't know the answer.  Both Treyvon and George are children of the universe.  In the end, I know I'm powerless over this act and this outcome.  That doesn't mean that I can't feel that something went terribly wrong not just in that neighborhood but also in the courtroom.  So, I'm just giving a shout-out for Treyvon.  R.I.P.  Roxie

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Sacred Shit: Just Another Name for Compost

After 9/11, it seems that many spiritual leaders issued a statement that re-affirmed the foundational principle of The Course in Miracles that there are only two responses to life:  love and fear.  They believe that you can't hold both states of mind simultaneously and suggested that 9/11 was a failure of love.  Other spiritual and psychological writers critiqued this point of view and I find myself agreeing with that critique.

It sounds so good and clean and simple to say:  Choose love or fear, people!  I don't think such either/or approaches really fit the human condition.  As my last posting indicated, I think evolving humans move away from black/white, either/or, love/fear thinking and move towards some middle ground.  Our task is to be vessels containing both the sacred and the shitty.  This holding of both or multiple impulses at the same time results in unimaginable unfoldings.  Compost fuels roses and weeds, aloe and poison ivy.  We might WISH that our human condition produced only roses and other "good" things, but it doesn't.

It produces fucked up humans as well as enlightened ones.  The grace of it all is in knowing that the enlightened ones are no greater than the fucked up ones in the eyes of the universe or the God.  Love, in other words, is not more valuable than fear.  Each is needed and each needs the other.

This topic is really personal for me.  I have faced so much fear in my life and haven't always had great amounts of love.  This is true for many of us.  In fact, it's a rare person who in the dark of night would say that they have more than enough love. The human condition is pretty dysfunctional.  It is full of corruption, wars, despicable acts by one human towards another, exploitation of the weak for the good of the strong.  But, hey, this is what we have, our sacred shit.

The miraculous thing is how LITTLE love it takes to leaven all the fearful, painful ingredients of life.  That one teacher who recognized your value!  That one man who saw the good in you!  That grandmother or aunt or music teacher or coach.  Those few who knew you as worthy and beautiful and strong--those few turn flour into bread, arid soil into fertile land.

With this awareness in hand, we can KNOW that our own tiniest gift to another is valuable.  Our smile, our helping hand, our NOTICING of another are things we ALL can bring to life.  In this way, we are miracles.  We are grace.    Namaste, Roxie

P.S.  One way that I can notice and give to others is by listening and sharing intuitive responses.  Please email me at anneclarice1@gmail.com for a complimentary coaching session.  

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Meet in the Middle

There's a line from a country song that goes something like this:  "You come from your way; I'll come from mine.  We'll meet in the middle at that old Georgia pine."  Meeting in the middle is sometimes a spiritual challenge.  Some days we taste the bliss and serenity of oneness with all of creation.  Some days we spiral away into isolation and loneliness.  While there is spirituality in all of these experiences, finding some balance between extremes is a useful spiritual goal.

Let's look at those extremes.  Bliss.  For me, that happens in a heartbeat when everything slows down and I am present in the moment as if time has stopped.  It happened once when I was saying good-bye to a friend while standing in the doorway of my home.  It was late evening and raining.  I became conscious of the mist, of the cool air, of the sky behind my friend's head, of the street lights shimmering, of the vast darkness beyond.  It also happens sometimes when I'm sitting in my yard after a long day.  In my case, I'm noticing, these moments of bliss occur most frequently in the evening. Maybe there's a "certain slant of light" (Dickinson) coming horizontally through the darkening trees.  Maybe the complete silence suddenly filled with evening birdsong brings it.  Anyhow, that's one end of the spectrum.

At the other extreme is isolation and desolation.  Many of us experience these more than we experience bliss; certainly, that's true for me.  First, let's distinguish between loneliness and isolation (C. Moustakas).  Loneliness is a healthy, creative time of fermentation.  It's being alone with our selves and being content with that.  Isolation is the feeling that we are separated from the human community and the creation, cast aside perhaps, and it comes with fear, shame, and sometimes despair.  So the other extreme of bliss is isolation, not loneliness.

While both extremes bring opportunities for spirituality and while we are still connected with the God, Big Dude, or Universal Good; in the isolation phase, we aren't aware of our connection.  It's there but we don't experience it.

If the divine is present in ALL experience, then why seek the middle as part of our spiritual practice?  There's  an ego-hit that comes with the extremes.  We are self-conscious in an extreme way that can be as addictive as a drug.  The "high" of bliss and the "low" of desolation can become ends in themselves.  We begin searching for bliss, craving it, are disappointed and feel like failures if we can't score it.  Likewise, we become comfortable with isolation and desolation.  They expect nothing of us.  We don't have to DO anything about them.  Poor us.  We're so alone,  ahhhhhhh.  There's a sedation in that state that we find ourselves attached to, preferring it over the slings and arrows of everyday life.

So, we seek the middle.  We seek to live the everyday life.  At first, this may seem incredibly hard or incredibly boring.  Do it anyway.  We ARE in the middle between our spiritual and physical natures.  We live in the sacred and the shitty all the time.  It's the nature of our human condition.  To cling to one side of our experience more than the other may seem safe or wonderful, but it's not whole.  It's not you experiencing the nature of your current life.  It's rejecting the gift of being spiritual beings in a PHYSICAL world.

Wise friends have told me, bring a little of one side with you when you're in the other as a way to start moving into the middle.  When feeling bliss, consciously remember the desolation of another day and bless it.  When feeling desolation, visualize the serenity of those blissful moments.

Meet me in the middle, baby!  Roxie

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Free Coaching Sessions Available

I'm studying to be a life coach and I need to do some sample sessions.  My specialty is:  Fears Are Your Next Spiritual Path.  If you would like a 30-minute private phone session that begins to support your movement down your next path, please notify me in the comments section and we'll set up an appointment time.  Thanks so much.  Roxie

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

All That I Have Met, Or?

Wordsworth wrote:  "I am a part of all that I have met."  For many years, I was reading that to mean:  "All that I have met is a part of me."  Weird, I know, but there it is.  Today, they're both true for me and I'm pondering how both fit into spirituality.

Wordsworth seems to see his connection with the universe as one of being "part" of it.  I tend to agree but would go beyond that and say that I am a manifestation of the universe, a microcosm, if you will.  What are the ramifications of these two ways of looking at our connection to the universe or the sacred?

If you see yourself as a part of the divine plan, the universal energy flow, or whatever, then you are a kind of a pawn.  A universal intelligence plays the chess game and moves you here or there.  If you see yourself as containing the universe--if you see that every molecule or neutron contains the whole shabang, then you are more of an agent of the universe.  If the agency for how things play out in the classroom we call life is partially in you then YOU have a role to play--how your specific metaphysical presence orchestrates itself matters in the bigger picture.  We are both, aren't we?  Yes, there is a Big Dude or higher order that is orchestrating; at the same time, we are expected to create our portion of this picture.  We are co-creators as well as actors in the universal unfolding.

As I'm writing this, I'm thinking:  This is so intellectual!  I realize that I'm being influenced by one of my wonderful readers who has been carrying on a profound dialogue with me in the comments sections of two entries.  It's great to engage with someone and parse out the ways we think and respond to our existence!

Getting back to the way Roxie sees it--sacred and profane or sacred shit.  I've just had several moving and inspirational days with a good friend.   Our togetherness which goes back to my childhood anchors me in my connection to the human community.  Living alone, I can get lost and isolated all too easily.

One of the things we always do together is engage in a spiritual process.  This time we did an exercise from Barbara Marx Hubbard's book Emergence.  A couple of things emerged for me.  Hubbard talks about a kind of chaotic fermentation time that precedes each new evolutionary development not just in the universe but also in the individuals who are growing towards the next phase of growth which she calls the "universal human."    I took about six months off from work to intentionally engage in recovery and growth opportunities.  This time has been terrifying, chaotic, boring, unstructured, and lonely.  And, it's also been profound.

In the exercise with my friend, I realized that I NEED what I'm calling a "no-fire zone."  I need to find an inner safety zone or, in recovery lingo, a strong adult voice inside that grounds and protects me.  This no-fire zone is something we all need.  It is a spiritual, quantum element not bound in space or time.  It protects us from internal, unnecessary pain and negativity; it also protects us from external, unnecessary slings and arrows.

In the exercise, we looked at three elements--need, want, and inspiration.  So, I need a no-fire zone.  I want to give my words, presence, creativity, intelligence, vision, and love to the world.

Best of all, I became inspired.  I am now inspired to showcase MY understanding of the human condition, the spiritual being in a physical world stuff.  The sacred shit aspect of my blog is core to that.  So, here's the total inspiration I came to:  I am inspired to showcase my understanding of the sacred shit/human condition as a source for the accelerating evolution of the human family towards its unfolding potential.  Heady stuff, right?

Specifically, I want to increase my writing on this blog and publish it as a digital book.  I want to finish and publish my novel which narrates the evolution of a human towards her greatest potential.  I want to make You Tube videos featuring Roxie and a more visual/musical/artistic expression of human spiritual potential.  I want to develop a series of workshops that engage other humans in an awareness of the importance of both the sacred and the shitty in their individual and collective development.

I love reader feedback.  What am I overlooking?  What would you add or delete or modify in this vision?  Namaste.  Roxie

Sunday, June 9, 2013

The Big Dude by Any Other Name

Fundamental to a spiritual life in our human frame is a belief.  Call it faith, as some do.  Call it an inner sense of something that goes beyond our physical experience.  Call it anything.  A spiritual life for humans sits squarely on an uneasy sense that there is something greater than me.  What you do with that certainty or reluctant truce determines your spiritual life.

When I look at it that way, it seems obvious that there is much that is greater than me. Some things I've learned to trust as greater are:  the wisdom of some recovery groups, the power and peace of nature, and the voice inside that seems to be both me and not me.  Oh my gosh, this sounds so analytic and intellectual.

Let me try again.  I'm what you might call an experiential intellectual!  I have to experience a concept and, indeed, the universal energy (Big Dude, God, or whatchamacallit).  I have to feel it.  Like doubting Thomas, I come to the higher realms with an oh-yeah?-prove-it attitude.

If you've read my blog from the beginning, you know that I waffle and worry and occasionally wax eloquent with inspiration.  It comes and goes.

My earliest sense of the sacred came from nature.  I grew up in a physically stunning geographical setting.  My home was on a river at the edge of a forest and the whole of it was surrounded by water--almost like living on a particularly verdant island.  My home life was a bit chaotic and so I spent as much time as possible in the woods or in the water.  Nature spoke to me already when I was a preschooler.

Eventually, I found myself in groups that seemed to have a magical quality to them, to be places of safety and insight.  I came to seek out such groups and eventually found myself drawn,more recently, to recovery groups.  What are the qualities of the spiritual groups that teach and nurture me?  First, they have rules and guidelines that create safe communication (no cross talk, one person shares at a time, the good of the group precedes the needs of one individual).  Second, they have a framework or set of spiritual principles that all members accept as valuable and aspire to achieve.  Finally, they have a leader whose task is simply to assure    the framework and guidelines are upheld.  Much like a Quaker meeting, members of such groups find themselves moved to speak with an honesty and power that seem to transcend what they could say in other conversations.  As a member of such groups, I find myself experiencing a power greater than myself.

Then, there is that inner voice I mentioned earlier.  This week and maybe one other time, I have found myself able to join my will with a higher power (Big Dude, God, or whatchamacallit) and to literally change my own perception and behavior.  To get real about it.  I was struggling to let go of an unhealthy attachment or false god, you might say.  I had spent the better part of a month worrying over it, crying, sharing with friends and groups, reading, praying, and NOTHING was working.  Finally, in desperation, I decided to take a vacation from thinking about the situation.  I wouldn't let myself worry about whether that was the right thing to do because, hey, I was "on vacation."  Every time a thought or feeling about this thing came up, I would flick my fingers and mentally say, "on vacation."

What happened was amazing!  Soon I found that I could join my intention with Intention, the higher version of my own will.  I began to "hear" a strong voice inside of me saying things like:  "not your problem," or "don't go there" or "not today."  The voice morphed into more profound offerings like:  "You have choice here and I recommend . . ." or "You really dealt with that well; you were detached and loving."

In recovery, people might say I was building a strong adult or reparenting myself well.  They also might say that I had accessed the "higher power of my understanding."  I love what is happening.  I feel like a co-creator of my experiences in league with a higher energy and understanding.  I am in league with the Big Dude!  Call it what you will--a rose by any other name would smell as sweet (Shakespeare). Namaste. Roxie

Monday, May 27, 2013

When You're Weary, Feeling Small

Enlightened people tend to scare us off sometimes.  They seem too good.  They've reached a place that seems unattainable at times.  That's why I like the writings of Pema Chodron who has books with titles like When Things Fall Apart.  She's my kind of enlightened.  Enlightened means to bring light to the human condition.  That's why in meditation, you put your feet on the ground or you sit in such a way that the power of the earth and the power of the universe can both flow through you.

Anyhow, back to the human condition.  I used to post only when I was inspired and that meant long periods would go by between postings sometimes. There's another way to look at spiritual writing, though; you could think of it as an awareness of today's human dilemmas in the light of universal truths.  That's where I'm going in this blog so aptly titled "sacred shit."  Some days it may be mostly sacred with a little bit of shit and some days it may be mostly shit with a little bit of sacred.

In spiritual practice of any kind, it doesn't do to soar above the immediate.  You start with the immediate and become increasingly aware of yourself contained by that.  Eventually, universal forces join you and you experience a harmony or vibration from the union of today's dilemmas with the eternal good.

So, I'm sitting in Maine by the ocean.  I'm feeling particularly lonely and guilty.  I'm feeling guilty of not being "good enough."  Not good enough as a daughter, mother, sister, writer.  This is where true spirituality begins.  As the Simon and Garfunkel song says, "When you're weary, feeling small, when tears are in your eyes, I'll dry them all.  I'm on your side."  And, voila, the God joins the human.  The universal good is on our side!

When you think of it that way, it's amazing.  When you cherish the human condition as the starting point of co-creation, when you realize that the divine word, any divine word, becomes real in you, you're on the path.  I can feel that integration as I sit here.  However small I may be feeling, I contain the universe.  Namaste, Roxie.


Saturday, May 25, 2013

When in Doubt . . .

When in doubt, go to the ocean.  Any ocean will do.  Go where the deep, deep water stretches farther than the eye can imagine.  Where the waves pound on the rocks even when the wind doesn't blow.  Go where the land ends.  God, by any name, is there.

Here I am on Bailey's Island in Maine sitting on a deck in the rain staring at the sea.  The sky is grey, the ocean is grey.   It's a feast for the soul in muted tones.  The sound of the sea can keep me there soaking wet.  Its unbridled passion swirling and pounding making human illusions of power fade away.  It takes me there on the deck or the rocks or wherever I find it and tosses me into the universe, my soul meeting its Soul, mating, mating.

And yet the ocean's mighty roar and rush to pour itself into any willing container is completely contained by the land, isn't it?  It rushes up and preens itself, giving everything it has to knock over those defenses.  But the land, stands.  Making it safe.

The dragons of life can rear up and howl their ferocious howls.   They seem to tower over us for a moment only to recede with grace, bowing to the steady nature of the earth.

Spiritual life is like this.  Doubt and terror assail us with mysteries beyond our comprehension.  We stand our sacred ground, breathe our universal breath, and the union is complete.  When in doubt, I go to the ocean.  There my soul takes its stand on land.  It takes a knee to the sea.  Roxie

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

If I Give My Will To You, Will You Handle It With Care . . .

Almost every spiritual practice seems to ask that you surrender your human will or perhaps ego to some higher being or another.  I seem incapable of doing that.

Oh, I say the words.  I pray and meditate.  I recognize that I can't "fix" my life by myself.  I try to "let go and let God" as the saying goes.

Alas, I'm clueless how this would look, what I would do, or what I would feel.  I got nothing!  I can be devastated, overwhelmed, terrified and yada yada, but the best I can do at those moments is say:  "Help!"  That doesn't feel like surrender.  It feels like I've been taken hostage by life.  I'd like to be more willing to trust some universal good.  I want to do this; I don't know how.

I sometimes have fun with it, playing my guitar and singing the old song: "If I give my heart to you" only substituting the word "will" for heart.  So, I can read about it, pray about it, joke about it, sing about it, but I can't really do it.

Yes, I'm working the 12-Steps and I have no problem admitting I'm powerless over lots of things and people.  I've got the first step down cold.  Then, we get to the second step where you recognize that maybe there's a higher being that could restore some clarity.  I get that.  At the third step which is actually turning your will over to this alleged being, I'm stumped.  Did anyone once feel stuck like this and then find ways to let go?

A friend of mine said that he started out by letting go of little things like having to control the family remote!  Another friend said he gives his will to God when he gets up in the morning and spends the rest of the day trying to get it back.  So, I know it's not the easiest thing for many, many of us.  Please post your ideas in the comments section for the benefit of all those, like me, who can go through the motions but secretly know it's not for real.  Roxie


Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mother

Mother's Day can be a tough time for the many, many people whose relationship with mom is painful or non-existent.  Additionally, some mothers are grieving for their children who died before them or who are distant either physically or emotionally.  Some moms have children in harm's way today.  This is a tribute to all these women and men.

I also want to salute the non-traditional moms who bring love to their "children--foster moms, dads who also serve as moms, grandmothers who are raising grandchildren. mentors who "mother" young people, teachers who mother the lost children in their classrooms.  A day in honor of mothers is a great idea, but mothering is a principle or an energy that transcends gender.

Why am I writing about this, you wonder?  Alas, I had a troubled relationship with my mother.  While I am slowly making peace with this reality that permeated my life from my early childhood until my mother's death and beyond, there will always be a wound where I wish my mother had been.

Share your mother stories in the comments section.  I'd like to hear them.  Roxie

Saturday, May 11, 2013

This Little Life

It's what we have.  This life.  When things get chaotic around me or in my brain, if I can remember to stop and check in, I can sometimes return to a serene place.

Checking in starts with taking a breath to slow me down.  Then I do a little scan of my physical self noting where there is tension or pain in the body--often it's in my gut or lower back. Then, I do an inner scan to see what thoughts I'm obsessing over, what emotions are overwhelming me or are just out of reach.

Finally, and this is the coup de grace, I say these words:  This is my little life.  This is my house. This is my yard.  These are my friends.  This is my doggie.

This small exercise makes me feel safe within my own container.  I feel grounded in my life.

When I was in college I wrote a poem that I never forgot.  It had a line that went like this:

"My little loves, crickets, night, and death's surprise" tell me that I'm not in charge and neither are the laws and rules of this world.  It went on to say:  "They crucify. Christ and friends who understand and you and I, die."  Kind of bleak, you might say, but it doesn't feel that way to me.  To me it says that this world and all of us within it are, to use today's term, dysfunctional.  It's part of the human condition, of being an innately spiritual being in a physical world.

How do we, all of us, begin to manifest spiritual principles like love and compassion in a physical world that values being the best over being together (to put it nicely).  Survival of the fittest instead of the well being of the least fit.  Oddly and counter-intuitively we do it by honoring our little life first.  By seeking our own enlightenment first.  Only then can we honor the lives of others and support their enlightenment.

So I start each day saying:  This is my little life.  Namaste.  Roxie

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Baby's Breath

In your arms
with fearless sleep and waking
fear becomes feather
and rises
divine currents
free falling into grace.

Roxie

Thursday, April 18, 2013

What If It's NOT a Beautiful Morning?

I'm not one of those people who wake up energized and ready to face the day. Unfortunately, my biological system doesn't seem to know that and it insists on waking up the minute the early morning light seeps in around the edges of my window-darkening shades.  IT is energized while my mind is full of less-than-enlightening thoughts.  It seems like there should be a way to use some kind of spiritual practice to open my soul to the day.

I've tried various things.  For example, I used to say at bedtime:  "God, let me sleep well, have happy dreams, and wake up joyful."  Since I now have a "higher power" who's supposedly in charge of my life, I am loathe to ask for anything that specific.  I feel compelled to accept whatever the higher power doles out even if it's insomnia and morning dreads.  As I think about this, maybe that's not quite right.  Surely, a higher power would want me to sleep well and wake up joyful?  Maybe I should join that loving intent and go back to that bedtime ritual. Hmmm.

I've also tried energy exercises as soon as my feet hit the floor and saying the Serenity Prayer as soon as I'm conscious.  Nothing seems to alter the discomfort and dread that a new day evokes.  It has to do with living alone because when I have overnight visitors, I do wake up excited and ready to be with them.  As I think about it, I always liked to see my ex-husband's face in the morning even when we were near the end of our marriage.  I like to go to bed alone but really would like to crawl into someone else's bed when I first wake up.

So, what spiritual practice might ease me into the day?  Here's my brainstorming list:
(1)  Start singing!
(2)  Fake laughing out loud until you really start laughing (a Buddhist practice, believe it or not).
(3)  Breathe deeply and say the Serenity Prayer until you mean it.

Do any of you, my readers, have any ways that work for you?  Please share them in the comments section.  I'm desperate!

Here's what actually does happen and it's not spiritual.  I wake up and briefly hate the light coming in around the shades.  My stomach growls and I have to go to the bathroom.  I stall for awhile and then grudgingly surrender to urinary needs.  I crawl back in bed and turn away from the window.  I think about whatever is worrying me and eventually I drift off to sleep again.  I wake and go through the same process probably 3 times before I'm willing to get up.

Notice the theme of light juxtaposed with words like hate and grudging.  I was at a spiritual workshop yesterday and at the end, ironically, I drew the card that said "light."  Among other wise and wonderful things, the reading that went with it said, "lighten up!"  It said to reduce the clutter around me and in me including reducing negative thoughts.  I'm quite sure that hating the morning light falls into the category of negative thoughts.  More than that, if "light" is my spiritual mantra for this part of my life, then that light that I'm hating is my teacher, is a grace, is a gift from the universe.  I need to find a way not to spit on a spiritual gift.

Here's what I'm going to do:  Post a sign on the window that says--"Welcome Light."  Then, I'm going to raise the shades and open the curtains.  Well, maybe I'm not going to do that second thing.  I'll start with the sign and see what happens.

Other experiences and ideas out there?  Roxie

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Spiritual Evolution: Hard Work and Grace

So, I've been reading a book called Emergence by Barbara Marx Hubbard.  I am struck by how similar her concepts are to those in other spiritual discourse.  She speaks of our wounded children or ego or the parts of life that are the common suffering of the human condition as our "local selves."  She speaks of the higher power or our essence as "Essential Self."  She goes one step beyond to what she calls the "Universal Human."  She thinks we are, as a species, evolving towards this universal humanhood.

Our local selves are the many voices within us that speak from the locale and timeframe during which they dominated within us.  For example, my teen-age local self burst out the other day when I was being pressured and corrected publicly by a peer in the name of spirituality.  She said, "No!  So, back off!"  That outburst, while completely understandable given the circumstances, was not what my essential self might have said.  My essential self might have said, "I don't choose to respond to that question."  The little girl in me might have looked to the moderator of the session to protect me.

Interestingly, the other women in the spiritual circle, resonated with my teen-age voice and felt it spoke the truth.  How hard it is to do spiritual work whether we couch it in Hubbard's terms, the terms of recovery groups, or the terms of organized religions!  It's hard to discern when a local self speaking from the pain and challenges of teen years still is speaking a necessary truth in our adult life.  This is where Hubbard is really helpful because she believes in the integration of all those inner truths and voices.  She sees the Essential Self as shepherding our inner family towards the higher good.  To do this, she must gain credibility with the unruly inner children or local selves.

How does this happen?  Her truth, her loving kindness towards all those parts of the self must be so compelling that, over time, all the parts want to follow her, to be one with her. She becomes the loving mother that we may never have had.  Hubbard asks us to journal about a time when our mother failed us significantly.  She has us write what actually happened and then re-write the story imagining our mother as HER essential self, responding with loving kindness.  We relive that moment with our essential mother and a couple of things happen:  (1) we see the gap between what was and what could have been; we recognize what we missed and can assess the depth of our loss; and (2) we feel the moment reconfigured as a healing moment instead of a trauma.  For example, I wrote a story of my essential mother, the evolved Lucille, as getting up in the morning happy.  Just writing that line, I realized the depth of HER unhappiness and that I didn't know a happy mother.  That realization settled within me in a different way than my intellectual knowing of that fact has in the past.  Somehow, I FELT her essential goodness and love along with her failure to manifest that in my childhood presence.  It felt better to know that she, too, had not evolved to her essential self yet.  I felt re-mothered in a way.

Another thing that Hubbard presents us with as do 12-step recovery systems is the dysfunction of the evolving human condition.  We are hurt and dysfunctional and imperfect in our physical selves because we live in a world-wide culture that is dysfunctional.  The culture doesn't value love or kindness.  It doesn't take care of the weak or the sick in systematic ways.  It values a hierarchy of intellectual, financial, racial, gendered dominance and weakness.  It's useful to imagine our culture reconfigured as one that honors each and all with the same respect and love.  It's staggering to imagine this and to realize the depth of our cultural loss.

The hope is in the evolving.  I think of de Chardin here and his sense that we are evolving as a species towards the Christ, evolving as a species into god.  I think of the Buddhists who believe that no one person is fully enlightened until the species has achieved enlightenment.  What does this all mean?  On the one hand, each of us must work towards our personal evolution, enlightenment, recovery; at the same time, we must give a hand to others in their movement towards the same.  Additionally, we can support cultural efforts that support the dignity and growth of all.

And so, I apologized to the fellow traveler who had attacked my local self from her local self.  Loving my inner teen that defended herself, defended the current state of our evolution in a sense, I also reached beyond when I could to a higher state.  Spiritual evolution is happening.  We're in it.  It's both hard, hard work and grace.  Roxie

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Not my life, not my problem!

I've been battling a back problem for almost a week and yesterday I pretty much cussed out the higher beings that govern my life.  I slammed doors and muttered as I picked up my doggie and fed her.  At the first slamming, she jumped and slunk off to her crate to wait until the storm passed.  I called to her and told her I wasn't mad at her.  She received my petting and assurances but went back into her crate anyhow.

Later, I was pondering her behavior and I realized suddenly that her moods are governed by mine--that everything about her little life is governed by me, not unlike how my life is governed by the gods.  There's more to it than that though.  I also remembered being a little person in a chaotic household and slinking away when my parents fought, trying desperately to please them and make them happy when things were calmer.

I concluded that Emma Jane came to me as a gift from those same gods that I've been cursing.  She models the profound connection between each of us and our higher power or god, if we prefer.  She turns her life over to me every morning and considers it a joy if I look her way.  How I wish I could do that with god!

So, this morning when I woke up discouraged and lonely, I did turn my life over.  I said, "It's yours, God."  And then I added, "Not my life, not my problem, Dude."  I came downstairs and the day looked different to me.  What did my god, despite my chronic lack of trust, have in store for me?  I wondered that with hope and anticipation, not dread.

Like Emma Jane, I await further developments with patience and good will.  Roxie

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Where, Oh Where, Is God?

So, it's hard work to be spiritual, alas.  You'd think it would just be a part of our DNA and we would just incorporate it daily like brushing our teeth.  Not so.  If it is part of our DNA, it's often deeply buried by the time we reach adulthood.

No doubt we are born "trailing clouds of glory" as Wordsworth says, but as we develop, too often religion squelches the curious glory and creativity that are the hallmarks of our spiritual nature.  The Unity Church, among others, calls us "spiritual beings in a physical world."  And so it is.  We are perpetually torn by our dual natures.

How do we become one physi-spiritual being?  I don't know but I think that's the challenge.

Recently, I've embarked on a 12-step journey towards spirituality.  Once skeptical and even scornful of this process, I now see it as my best way to enlightenment.  The third step of the journey invites us to turn our will and our lives over to the "god of our understanding."  I'm stuck at this spot.  Every day, I meditate and pray to have the courage to surrender my will to some higher life force.

At the moment when I'm about to turn it over, I get a frisson of fear and I stop.  I've examined this fear and what comes to life for me is a wounded part of myself.  Authority figures in my life used religion and god as the ultimate punishment.  I find that's true for many people who grew up in strict religious families.  In my case, my mother had god in her pocket.  She would pull him out to support any stricture or punishment that she wanted to hand out.

One of her favorite ploys was to invite me to confide in her.  "Tell me about your date," she would say to my teenage self.  In a burst of hope, I would share.  The words would barely be out of my mouth when she would slam the door on my happiness and declare me to be evil and going to hell.  Then, she would tell me I couldn't ever go out with this or that boy again (the worst offense I can remember was holding hands).

So, at the moment when I'm about to surrender to the will of a higher power of my understanding, I freeze.  Will that god also slam me into worse circumstances than those I create for myself?  My history with the god of my mother's understanding is that he will.  He belongs to her.

I am seeking a god of MY understanding and hoping THAT being has my best interests at heart.  Namaste, Roxie

Sunday, January 13, 2013

The Word Made Flesh

I've heard it said that we are "spiritual beings in a physical world."  What does that mean, really?  Where do the spiritual world and the physical world come together?  They come together in me!  In us!

How hard we strive to be good people, to understand the human condition, to help others, to pray.  We cry out for wisdom and sometimes it comes out:  "What the F-- does all this mean?"  Why do we hurt emotionally and physically?  Why do "bad things happen to good people?"  Who's minding the universal store, so to speak?  Somehow we think that by striving and seeking, we can make a difference. 

Well, we can't.  Tennyson was wrong when he wrote about the human condition in the final line of Ulysses, "to strive, to seek, to find and not to yield."  No amount of trying and of effort is needed. 

The principle is simple:  Love yourself.  It flies in the face of all the spiritual do's and don't's we've learned over time.  How can it be that loving ourselves IS the answer?  That is the answer because each of us is "the word made flesh."  We are the meeting place where the spiritual manifests itself.  Not the church or the holy books.  No one said, "The word is in churches and holy books."  No, the word was made flesh in a person.  In Jesus, in Buddha, in Mohammed.

The word is made flesh today in me. 

So the edict to love myself, just that, begins to make sense.  I start to wonder how to do that.  How can I love myself, how can I be my own best friend?

Some moments of enlightenment have begun to occur.  I was reading and working with my inner teen-ager the other night.  She was crying over the loss of her mother.  I began to ask her about her feelings and, finally, to tell her that it's a different time and place and that, today, she is loved and protected.  All of a sudden, a different voice took over and said:

"I have been trying to tell you all your life that I LOVE YOU.  Not because you're good or bad, not because you try hard or have suffered.  I love you because you're mine.  Yes, you have been brave and survived great hardships.  You know what, the hardships came because you didn't hear me saying I love you.  You are a vessel containing and expressing the God.  I love you with the tenderness of the good mother, with the protectiveness of the good father, with the passion of the good lover, with the loyalty of your best friend. I. LOVE. YOU."

In that moment I was swept up into the joy and peace of the universe.  Enlightenment.

This morning, everything seems in slow motion.  I am IN my body.  I feel the oneness of spirit and flesh in this slightly overweight, arthritic, aging body.  That's the best way I can describe my moments of enlightenment.  Time disappears.  Everything slows down to this moment.  Turning on the bedside light is an act of tenderness.  Enlightenment.  Roxie