Sunday, October 31, 2010

Sharing my experience? Yes. Preaching? No.

A good friend called me today, after reading last night's blog about meeting death. She understood what I was writing about, because last night she went through her own death, the final end of a marriage. She and her husband passionately love each other, but can't live together.

Rather than being her friend and just listening, I found myself being a "spiritual teacher" and telling her how she was creating this dramatic story and how she could change it. After we hung up I realized that I hadn't really been as present with her as I would have liked. Instead I imposed on her my thoughts about what she should or shouldn't do. My intentions were good. I want her to be happy. But the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

It's one thing to write in my blog about my own experiences and the lessons that I am learning. It's another thing to impose these lessons on others, because I really don't know what is best for everyone else. Hell, more often than not I don't know what is best for me. So sharing my experience is fine. Thinking that I know and preaching to others is not OK. My lesson may not be someone else's lesson. We all do not need the same thing. If I say something and it resonates, I am happy that I have supported you. But more often than not, I imagine you might read what I am saying and think, What the hell is she talking about? If that happens I invite you to comment on my blog and ask me your question. I promise I will answer.

Living in California, and in a spiritual subculture for over a decade, I may use language that is perfectly clear to my friends but not to someone in the Mid-West who has not been immersed in the teachings I have. Even my friend who understands me more than others, reads my blog religiously, and can relate to most of my posts, doesn't always understand what I am trying to say. What seems clear to me may not seem clear to others. But it's hard for me to gauge this without feedback.

So I invite anyone who has a question to write it in the comments. And I ask forgiveness from my friend for preaching to her rather than just being her friend when she called to talk about her pain.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

On this Halloween, an invitation to meet Death

When I checked my emails this morning, there was an invitation for a spiritual conference call to meet death. Oh, no, I thought to myself, it's too early to meet death at 10 am. I'm not a morning person. But it is now 9 pm in the evening and I am ready for death. It's the right season, as the leaves are falling and we are all preparing for Halloween and the Day of the Dead.

It would be a ride in the park if meeting death was about meeting vampires, ghosts, or zombies. The "meeting death" that spiritual teachers talk about is much scarier than that. It invites us to stop all the running around and the busyness, and face our deepest fears. It invites us to let go of the attachments that are causing us suffering. It invites us to acknowledge and accept our losses and to move on. It invites us to let go of our identities--the masks that we present to the world--so that we can discover who we really are.

My "meeting death" this Halloween season has to do with the loss of what I thought was my secure position with the hi-tech company I've been working for. I have had to face my survival fears. What if I can't get more work? How will I live? Where will I live? Etc., etc.

My meeting death also has to do with the loss of a relationship that has been loving, intense, and painful. This relationship has died over and over, but has been reborn like the phoenix rising out of the ashes, because we keep coming back and telling the truth. But this time I think the death may be final.

Losing a job or a relationship are two major losses, but death can show up in many ways--sickness, aging and loss of beauty, losing our home, losing friends, actual death--pretty much the loss of anything that we have been attached to and through which we have lived our life. While painful in the moment, this death is calling us Home to freedom, to joy, to more love, to being who we really are.

If we really tell the truth, what ever we are losing has been causing us pain. The job was probably boring or stressful, and we were just doing it for the money. The relationship was probably disempowering, painful, or abusive. What ever we are losing is for our own good, as it is freeing us up to have something new come into our life.

There can be no rebirth without death, and this is a time of death.

Friday, October 29, 2010

The source of my abundance is the Source, not a corporation

A few posts ago I talked about how precarious my financial situation was, having lost most of the income that came from the hi-tech company that I have been working for over the last four years.

I've been praying for a miracle to guide me. What am I suppose to do? Should I look for work? Should I move? No answer has been showing up, so I haven't been doing anything. Unlike our culture's edict that says "Do something! Beat the pavement. Don't just sit there!", my knowing says "Just sit there. When the time is right you will know what to do, and it will be easy."

Well, it just occurred to me this morning that little miracles are showing up without my doing anything. I will be fine financially despite the fact that I will be working only 5 hours a week for the hi-tech company that has supported me the last four years. All I have to do is stay open.

Last week the woman who sub-contracts me out to the company I have been working for, told me that she has part-time work for me for another large hi-tech company. It's not a lot of work; right now just 25 hours or so for November and December. It won't solve my economic situation, but it will help. And it will put me in front of another really good client and open up possibilities for more work.

Yesterday, a friend sent me an email asking if it was OK that he recommended me to an author to edit her book. Is it OK? I love editing. And while that alone won't resolve my financial situation, along with my 5 hours a week here, and another 5 hours a week there, it will help.

This morning, my accountant (and friend) who lives in Utah called me to ask if I was interested in working for him 4-5 hours a week, as a manager of a training program. This is the job I was considering when I thought I would move to Salt Lake City, but a much more scaled down version of it that I can manage. Of course I will consider it.

I see what's going on here. God is not sending me one big job or the lottery to solve my money issues. He is sending me a lot of small jobs that together will solve it. I will no longer have all my eggs in one basket, thinking that the hi-tech company I was working for is the source of my abundance. I will no longer be owned by any one. I will have freedom to live my life and choose what I want to do.

I finally really get that the the source of my abundance is not any one company or any one person, but the Source of all. The source of my abundance is God, and I will never be laid off from That!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Pimps and 'Hos

Last week a friend, who is a spiritual teacher, invited me to a dinner attended by other spiritual teachers who were speaking at the Science and Non-Duality conference. It was a lovely setting in Mill Valley. The food was delicious and the company fun and interesting. These spiritual teachers did not take themselves too seriously. One of the guests was a film maker. Not your run-of-the-mill film maker, his films helped promote spirituality. When the dinner was over, he showed a short film whose premise was that we live in a world of pimps and 'hos.

This was a tongue in cheek presentation of an unfortunate truth. It showed that the world, with all its power struggles, can be boiled down to the ghetto world of pimps and 'hos. Pimps are the people in control who use the 'hos: the CEOs, the politicians, the kings, the husbands, etc. 'Hos on the other hand are the people who get used: the employees of corporations, the citizens, the subjects, the wives. Think about the word "Human Resources". It confirms this fact that employees are resources to be used up, hence 'hos.

Of course the energy between pimps and 'hos in our world is much more subtle and sophisticated than the the energy between a pimp and his 'ho in the ghetto world. A pimp will slap his 'ho around if she doesn't produce for him. Employees will just get fired or their contract ended, which will leave them unsure if they can survive. Same difference.

I experienced this pimp/'ho energy last night with the same friend who invited me to the dinner. I invited him to dinner at my house. He showed up and barely acknowledged me. He went right to the TV and asked me where the remote controls were. He watched TV as I prepared dinner. When dinner was ready, it was clear that he preferred to stay in front of the TV, so I gave him his food and ate alone in the dining room. I felt no appreciation, no connection, no love, no concern for an issue I was experiencing. Just a sense of entitlement to get his needs met. This from a man who professes to be guided by the "Mother" and who supposedly sees women as goddesses. Last night I did not feel like a goddess in his presence; I felt like a 'ho.

This pimp/'ho archetype is painful, whether it is played out by spouses, lovers, friends, or employees and employers. I don't want to live in a world of pimps and 'hos.

The Course in Miracles lesson for today is: Beyond this world there is a world I want. Indeed.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

This world I see holds nothing that I want

That's the lesson today from the Course in Miracles, which can be misinterpreted in so many ways. Last night I spoke with a friend who had just found out that his son-in-law had committed suicide. His son-in-law had been depressed for years and on anti-depressants. He didn't even leave a note. He just kissed his wife and drove his car off a bridge. I can't imagine the pain he must have been in to kill himself.

Well, actually I can. There have been times when I felt that life wasn't worth living and would have welcomed death. But fortunately I'm too much of a coward to actually do more than wish myself dead. I imagine most people wish they were dead at some point, but no one talks about it. Most people are going around with a smiling face acting as if they have their act together, trying to hide their suffering from the world. We think we're the only ones who are suffering and that there is something wrong with us. The truth is most of the world is suffering.

To me the statement from the Course in Miracles--This world I see holds nothing that I want--is telling us to not be attached to anything in this world, as all things are temporary and eventually will lead to suffering. Are you attached to your romantic partner and think you can't live without him or her? Well, you're setting yourself up for suffering, because eventually your partner will leave or die. Are you attached to your beautiful house? You're setting yourself up for suffering because you might lose it when you can't pay the mortgage or if it burns down. Are you attached to your job? At some point you won't be able to do it, or someone will show up who will replace you. You get the idea. Anything you are attached to in this world will keep you in this world of suffering.

So what can get us out of hell and into heaven? Committing suicide won't do it, for sure. There is no heaven waiting for the tormented soul who leaves this world violently. What can get us out of hell and into heaven is the desire for things that do not belong to this world, but belong to eternity: the desire for freedom, truth, love (not to be confused with lust/need), peace, joy. So next time you think there is something in this world that you cannot live without, look deeper and see what it is you really desire. My guess is that your deepest desire will be for freedom, truth, love, peace, or joy.

Monday, October 25, 2010

We don't ask for too much; we ask for too little.

This past week I went through a period of feeling very lonely. Surprisingly enough it showed up while I was surrounded by many people. At one event, I felt dumped by the friend who brought me there. At another event, the Science and Non-duality conference, I ran into some old friends from my "spiritual" days who now live in Ashland. I remembered how much I loved them and how much I enjoyed being part of a community. The last few years I have been alone for the most part, working from home, at my computer, earning a good living.

I've been focusing on earning a living and not so much on living. This was clear to me as I attended the conference and saw people filled with passion over their work. There was a physicist who was able to clearly explain the theory of oneness through physics and equations. I actually understood what he was saying. And he was funny! Also I sat as my friend, who got me into the conference, gave a talk that helped the audience experience the oneness that the physicist and enlightened teachers talk about. My friend was doing his life's work, supporting awakening, and he was connected with everyone and having a great time. The contrast between how he is in the world and how I am was a major catalyst that brought me to a feeling of loneliness.

I haven't been participating with life. I haven't been offering my gifts, no matter how meager I deem them to be. I haven't been having fun. I haven't been connecting with people. After being broke for years and living in a spiritual community that fell apart, I asked to be left alone to earn money. And I got exactly what I asked for. It made me happy for a few years, but now I need to ask for something else. I need to ask for a life where I offer my true gifts (communication not data analysis) in support of awakening. I need to ask for a life that is filled with people--students, teachers, friends, a life partner, a community--and with love. I need to ask for a healing of this deep sense of loneliness which can only happen by living a fulfilling life.

Forget the "I need" to ask. This is what I am asking for: a life of joy, of purpose, of love, of connection. Is that too much to ask? No. This is our inheritance from our Father and Mother. The problem isn't that we ask for too much. The problem is that we ask for too little.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Only what you have not given can be lacking in any situation

Yes, this is something else from the Course in Miracles (p. 368) which to me is simple and profound. We are so focused on what other people aren't giving us. They're not giving us love, appreciation, gratitude, forgiveness--you name it. We almost never turn it around and ask ourselves if we are giving others love, appreciation, gratitude and forgiveness.

I remember a friend complaining about her husband a while ago. She was explaining how he didn't appreciate all the work that she was doing around the house. "Is it too much to ask for a little appreciation??" she asked me. "Well," was my response, "Do you appreciate what your husband does for you?" "No way!" was her immediate answer. She later shifted into a softer place of appreciating him and their relationship improved. You can't bully someone into appreciating you. But usually if you appreciate them, they wind up appreciating you as well. It's pretty simple.

I was very angry with a friend a few days ago, whom I felt abandoned me at an event we went to. My immediate reaction was to leave him and never speak to him again. That would show him! Then the witness part of me chimed in. So you are abandoning him because he abandoned you? Does that make any sense? This is how the war continues.

I needed a couple of days to cool off, but I emailed him today as we have dinner plans. When he called me back, I found myself talking to him as if nothing had happened. Oh, right. He's not the enemy; he's a friend who is going through some stuff on his own. Guess what? He's not always open-hearted, but he is most of the time. How many times have I shut down my heart to him?

So whatever we feel is missing in our life, let's focus on giving that to others. It will come back to us multiplied. I promise.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Miracles--from the mouth of babes...

An old friend who is recovering from cancer visited me for a week this month. I was so grateful to see her because for a while we all thought that she wasn't going to make it. She was in intensive care for a couple of months earlier this year. It was a miracle that she was able to visit me this month and that we had fun, the way we used to when we were in our 20s. Well, we had much more fun now because we were both aware of what a gift our time together was.

My friend has a 6 year old daughter (forgive me Nina if I made you younger than you are. Perhaps you are 6.5 years old?) She found her daughter yesterday trying to write a comment on my blog. The little girl was frustrated because she didn't have an email address and couldn't write her comment. So my friend left me Nina's comment on my voice mail. It is the most beautiful thing I have ever heard:

I believe in miracles. My mom is a miracle walking. I walk with Jesus everyday. I held his hand and I asked for a miracle, when my mommy was leaving this world but I wanted her to stay. He breathed air into her lungs and she is here. I believe that she will be here to see me grow up because I asked for another miracle. He will grant it to me because I believe He will. I believe He will reward you with a miracle because you believe in miracles.

The only thing people have to do is open the door. There is a whole world full of miracles there. Jesus is the keeper of the flame and grants miracles left and right. We just do not see them.

God said to his Son and all of us: You can change your mind anytime. I'm not changing my mind. I believe in miracles and I always will. Because I walk with Jesus and the angels and the fairies and all of our guides.

I believe, I believe, I believe, I believe in miracles. For me, for you, for anybody who is open-hearted and open-minded to accept them. I accept them. I'm grateful for them. And I shall be expecting them all the time because they happen.

I will pray for your miracle to appear soon. It will. You will see.


I know that it's hard to believe that a 6+ year old wrote this. I can tell you that I didn't write it; I don't write with so much heart and faith. I have read that the children being born this decade are enlightened masters who will guide us to a world which is a Heaven on Earth. This letter makes me believe.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Whose reality is real?

I've been enjoying writing in my blog lately--especially since I'm discovering new ideas from the Course in Miracles. These ideas resonate with my experience and so I share them in case they resonate with others. I realize that they are different. That's the whole point. We all know what the cynical view of the world has created. If we want to create a different world we need to think differently. Otherwise we will get more of the same old, same old: stress, exhaustion, illness, death, aging, plastic surgery, painful relationships with the opposite sex, work that we hate to do but do to survive, etc. etc. Ugh! Who wants to live in that world?

A good friend who reads my blog told me about an argument she had with a doctor over what I wrote in my previous post. The nice doctor seemed to go ballistic because he doesn't agree with what I'm writing. I understand not agreeing with something, but what I don't understand is the anger and hatred that goes with it. Something must be threatened to elicit such a response. That something must be their reality, or view of the world.

We all live in our own worlds. There is no such thing as Reality with a capital "R". Well there is, but those of us who are not enlightened saints don't experience Reality. We experience reality, with a lower case "r". This is the reality that comes from our beliefs. If we believe that people are not trustworthy, untrustworthy people will show up in our lives. If we believe that all men have affairs, then we will constantly be finding men who have affairs. And so on, and so on. We can all give examples to prove our point as we live in a world that is determined from our own beliefs.

If you don't like something in your life, check out what your beliefs are. That's the good news. It's much easier to change your own beliefs than to change the world. Or for a metaphor, if you don't like the movie that's playing you go to the projector and change the film. You do not go to the screen and fight with the images. Since we are all making up the story we live in, why not make up a story that has a happy ending?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The true source of sickness

I wasn't intending to make this blog about the Course in Miracles, but each day I am receiving a lesson that really speaks to me and offers me a new perspective. I have to warn that what I am about to write is not "common sense". But then again, I don't think that my views on the world are common to begin with.

So today's lesson is about sickness. We think that sickness is caused by germs, viruses, bacteria, etc. but it's not. Sickness is a defense against the truth, the Course in Miracles states. In other words we make ourselves sick because we don't want to face the truth of who we are and what we want. If we faced these truths we would most likely need to change our lives radically--possible leave our jobs or our relationships. These changes are too scary and so we choose to get sick instead, to keep our world from changing.

Better to stay in the world we know, even if we're unhappy. That's how most of us think. It takes courage to take a leap of faith and go into the unknown, even if the known has made us miserable. But these days if we don't make a change the suffering keeps increasing until we are in so much pain that we have to move.

According to the Course in order to be healthy we need to:
  • Stop attacking others, even in our thoughts. If we attack, the attack comes back to us and attacks our bodies.
  • Stop judging others, as this is just another form of attack
  • Stop making plans to keep ourselves safe from an uncertain future. This last requirement surprised me. Even though I know that "God laughs when he hears about our plans" I didn't realize that this focus on being secure in the future was a source of illness.

I have to say that my experience confirms the above. Last year I was very sick, losing my hair, and barely had energy to do anything. It was a time when I was being attacked on this blog, I was attacking, I was judging others, and I was working more hours than I cared to for a secure future. These days I am feeling much better. I have energy and the hair is finally growing back. People ask me how I got better. I can tell you it wasn't supplements; I tried and can't stomach them.

So all I can think of is that the Course in Miracles is actually working. I've been focusing on forgiveness, I've stopped attacking and judging (OK, not totally but much less) and I am living with uncertainty without making plans to fix it. This is working for me. Though I am not as comfortable as I used to be, I feel much more alive. Did I mention that I have a dancing partner and plan to take dance lessons once a week? Last year I could barely stand. So all in all, I have to say that life is good.

Monday, October 18, 2010

A healed mind does not plan

This is today's Course in Miracles lesson for me and it's perfect. I've been driving myself crazy thinking that I should be doing something, when I really don't know what to do. My next paycheck will be quite small, and there may not be another one after that. Should I look for another job? What kind of a job? Should I move? Where should I move to? I don't have a clue. And so right now I am doing nothing about the future. I am just doing what shows up each day to do. The next couple of weeks I will be busy with work as it is quarterly business review time. After that God only knows.

One thing that I have learned is to not take action if I am afraid, unsure, unclear, or doubtful. Nothing good ever comes of that. One of the first things I heard my spiritual teacher say years ago, is "If you don't know what to do, if you are thinking "Should I do this or should I do that?, then don't do anything. When it's time to move the decision will be clear." When I first heard these words I felt such a sense of relief. Whew! I could relax until I knew what I needed to do.

I have followed this advice since, and it's one of the hardest things I've done. Our culture doesn't support us doing nothing, especially in a crisis. Our culture cries out: Do anything! Just move! Don't just sit there! What horrible advice. It results in a lot of energy wasted and inevitably the wrong decision being made. If you hang in there at some point there will be clarity and you will know exactly what to do. And it will flow, and it will be easy. I know this from personal experience, though sometimes I forget it when fear starts showing its ugly head.

This morning the Course in Miracles reminded me that I don't need to plan my future:
A healed mind does not plan. It carries out the plans that it receives through listening to wisdom that is not its own. It waits until it has been taught what should be done, and then proceeds to do it. (p253)

What would the world look like if we stopped our frantic busyness and only did things when we were clear that it was time to do them? Life would flow much more gracefully and we would be much happier. I promise.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Do we have to be perfect to be loved?

A psychic told a friend that, in order to find a man, we needed to work on ourselves spiritually--be less angry, be more open hearted, etc. etc. When she told me I found myself getting angry. What's this? I thought. I've been working on myself for 20 years and still haven't met the One. I'm going to work on myself until I'm 100? I still won't be perfect.

This was an obvious but important realization for me. I know that my beliefs are always reflected back to me. When I'm angry or upset, I've usually hit on a belief that doesn't serve me--that doesn't serve my living a joyful life. The psychic's comment helped me realize that I've been holding the belief that I need to be perfect so that I can be in partnership with a man.

For years I thought that if I only looked beautiful enough--if I had the perfect body, the perfect hair, the perfect clothes, the perfect makeup--then Mr. Right would show up. Well, for a while I looked pretty good but nothing happened. At this age if meeting my partner depends on looks, it just ain't gonna happen. But I no longer think that's the key.

More recently I thought that if I was only enlightened enough--if my heart was open enough, if I was kind enough, if I was loving enough, if I never got angry--then Mr. Spiritual Right would show up. Well, I'm never going to be enlightened enough. I'm never going to be unconditionally loving all the time. I'm going to get angry some times. So I don't think that's the key either.

I have met women who are happy in loving, exclusive, long-term, committed partnerships. I can tell you that they do not look like they walked out of Vogue magazine. Nor do they look like enlightened gurus.

It's all about the beliefs you hold about yourself and your self worth. What if I'm worthy of love just because I am? What if I don't have to work hard to be worthy of love? What if I believe that love is available now to all of us imperfect beings? What if I just relax and enjoy the ride, and see if someone shows up who happens to like fiery Greek women who are fairly intelligent, communicate well, tell the truth, and look pretty good for their age?

Well, regardless of whether or not Mr. Right shows up, I know that I'm going to be a whole lot happier being myself rather than working hard to become perfect. How exhausting is that?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

And when things don't work out, don't be motivated by fear

It's been a month since my last blog and things continue to change. I lost one of the part-time positions and now I am not earning enough money to cover my expenses. Do I like being in this position? NO! But am I acting like a "normal" person and taking anything that comes along? Nope.

An "opportunity" showed up recently in the same company (thank God this company is huge) for some reporting (yes, that's what I do to earn a living.) At first I was excited. Then I had a meeting and learned more details. This was a project that would be very time-consuming. The amount of money offered would have probably made my hourly rate a quarter of what it is now. I told the client, in a very polite way, that I really couldn't work on this project for that fee. It's not likely that she will be able to get more money in the budget.

A friend who was visiting me was surprised. "Aren't you afraid to let this project go? It's not a lot of money but it's something" she said. Well, I refuse to be motivated by fear. No matter how worried I am, if something is offered that makes my stomach feel tight, I say "no, thank you." It's not that I'm not afraid at times. The idea of not being able to pay my bills is not appealing. But I know that any decision made from a place of fear will back fire. I can guarantee that.

So what do I do when the world is falling apart around me and I'm worried and I don't know what to do? I do nothing. I don't move until it is clear what I need to do. And clarity always comes in time.

Something will show up that will be inspiring or at the very least will feel good. I trust that because I know that I am not meant to suffer just to survive. And if nothing else shows up in this company, then I can let go with gratitude for the 3+ years that I enjoyed working there and for the abundance that this company provided. If nothing else shows up then I am meant to have an adventure.

Stay tuned... I promise to write more frequently.