Friday, August 26, 2011

Telling the truth about what we really want

We always teach what we need to learn. I believe that. And I tend to write about telling the truth and knowing what you really want. That's what my book is about. So I was shocked to discover, a few days ago, that I haven't been telling the truth to myself about what I really want. At least not recently.

My realization started when a friend asked me if I would consider moving back to New York. No, was my immediate reply. But as we talked I realized that while I didn't miss New York, I missed its sophisticated elegance. I missed being in a large city that has great restaurants. I missed wearing nice clothes. I don't like funky. I feel that the little town I'm living in is too small--asphyxiatingly small. And I don't fit in. I'm not a hippy type. I like nice dresses and I still wear make up. Finally, I came to the realization that I don't belong in this cute little town. That's why my friend had asked the question about New York. She saw that I was like a fish out of water here as well.

To my chagrin, I realize that I've been doing what I detest: a spiritual bypass. I have been putting a positive spin on something that doesn't work for me. "Oh, this is such a cute town!" Yes, but I need to get out of it. "Oh, there's such a nice community!" Yes, but it's not my community. It's not my tribe. I don't fit in. I don't care for gardening, or composting, or living with others in a communal setting. Even if that's the spiritually correct thing to do, it's not what I want to do. I've been imposing outside values on myself. Who knew?

So I had to tell myself the truth first, before I tell you the truth. I'm not happy in this life style. I am longing for expansive horizons. I am longing to feel at home somewhere. And I have to let go of the new age beliefs that the world is ending in 2012, and that we need to be near a food source. We need to be where our heart is calling us. We need to be with our tribe. So my question to God lately is, Where is my tribe?

Or as the Course in Miracles would say: God, what would you have me do? Where would you have me go? What would you have me say? And to whom? Since I can't trust myself lately, I figure I'll put my trust in God and pay attention to the answers that come my way. What excites me and gives me joy? It's been a long time since I felt this way and I don't want to wait any longer.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

From the Valley of Death back to Life

Things continue to open up, and shifts are occurring almost constantly, catching me by surprise--in a good way.

A couple of days ago I was laying in bed and realized how much time I spend not moving: I'm either sitting at my computer writing my blog or editing, or I'm laying in bed reading a book. Even with a very fast metabolism, my body certainly isn't what it used to be when I was working out. As I have been dealing with survival issues and other intense interactions, going to the gym has not been in my consciousness. But all of a sudden, a few days ago, my body said to me: time to get back to the world and to your body. Let's find a gym.

I have to admit that some of the inspiration came from having lunch with a friend I've known since my New York days. Twenty years ago we worked out at the same gym on Sixth Avenue and were both in great shape. This time, she looked great and I felt like the Pillsbury dough girl. When I commented on how good she looked, she confirmed that at 65 she's in the best shape she has ever been in. Apparently she had worked out and done Pilates by the time we met for lunch. I had woken up at 10 am, meditated an hour, and barely had time to get dressed to meet her. Hmmm...

In the past my incentive to work out was to look good, to fit into sexy little mini-skirts. Well, I gave away the mini-skirts years ago. This time, rather than looking forward to the results, I was looking forward to the process. I checked out three gyms yesterday and two of them have specials going on. A really great health club in Santa Rosa, Parkpoint, is giving a free week's pass. Today I got myself out of bed early (by my standards) and drove to Santa Rosa to sign up. I had my first yoga class in probably six months. In the beginning it seemed easy, but half way through I was doing more "child poses" than anything else. Wow. If you don't use it, you lose it.

Still, I felt glad that I was there, and that I was with other people, in an environment of relative luxury. I felt as if I were returning back to the world after a long foray into the Valley of Death. At the end of the yoga session the instructor said something that really hit a cord. She said, "The body is our tool for awakening. We need to honor it and take care of it." Hmmm...I have barely remembered that I have a body, except for feeding it.

I left feeling energized and happy. The sun was shining, it was 79 degrees, the convertible top was down, and country music was playing on the radio. I noticed the scenery around me and the smiling people. I decided to take myself to one of my favorite, and least expensive, restaurants, Papas and Pollo, in Sebastopol. While eating I called my mom on my cell phone, and had a long talk with her. Life. I was beginning to feel alive again. The death cycle seemed over--at least for now. And I was glad.

I'm realizing that being spiritual isn't about praying and meditating all the time. It's about honoring the cycle you are in, and what is giving you joy. It's all good, unless you are buying into somebody else's idea of what you should be doing. Now if I'm meant to keep working out, a way to pay for the gym will show up. We shall see...

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Those who have, will have more...

Yesterday I was reading a book, Practicing the Presence, by Joel Goldsmith, a Christian enlightened teacher who always rings true to me. In one of his chapters he explains something that has been happening to me. He discusses the statement, "He that hath, to him shall be given; and he that hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he hath." While this sounds like a cruel statement, I understand it and feel that I am finally living it.

Lately, despite the fact that to the outside world I have so little, I have been surprised to find myself feeling really abundant. My focus seems to be constantly on what I have. As I sit in this cute cottage writing this post, I feel so lucky to be living in this peaceful home with a kind woman. I can go to the grocery store and buy whatever food I want. How abundant is that, after having to weigh every bit of lettuce? I can go to a free Shakespeare concert in the park that's right next to my house. I have all the time I need to sleep, to meditate, to read, to edit, to write. I have friends who visit or call, who invite me to various events. I have. And as a result I find that more things are coming my way.

Unexpectedly, an aunt to whom I lent money decades ago can pay some of it back this month. This money will help me move. I received a card from my mother yesterday with some money in it to do something fun. I had forgotten it was my name day. A girlfriend showed up with some new delicious moisturizer she just concocted. The goodies keep coming, and I feel overwhelmed by riches. To say that I am poor right now is an outright lie.

Goldsmith talks about not connecting our work with getting paid, but just doing work that shows up for its own sake. I find that this is what I'm doing. Each day I have a project to work on. Today I'm editing a chapter, yesterday I wrote a story, the day before I worked on some excel spreadsheets. None of this is Earth shattering. It's just what's showing up, and I don't expect to get paid much for it. So I do the work, to the best of my ability, and my needs are taken care of in a magical kind of way.

When I was working for the high-tech company, I was well aware that every hour I put in meant $90 in my pocket. While that sounds like a lot of money, the mentality that the source of my supply was this corporation, was one of scarcity. When I lost the job, I focused on what I didn't have, and even the little I had was taken away. Makes sense.

At this stage in my life, God is the source of my abundance. While abundance may come through various people, I don't confuse these people as being my source. And rather than having the drudgery of putting in time to get a paycheck, I get to do work in each moment that I am inspired to do, and marvel at the miracles of abundance that constantly occur.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Outside the matrix: A new way of being

I apologize for not writing sooner. Strangely enough, despite my impoverished status, I am really busy working. Things are showing up for me to do, and despite the fact that they pay very little, I feel called to do them. As a result I am working as much as I did when I had a six figure income, and if I don't assign monetary value to my time I am being rewarded well. It seems that when you unplug from the Matrix, when life becomes simple, work shows up in strange ways, often through friends. And whether you are paid by them or not, your needs are met.

As I've mentioned before, my rent for the month is taken care of; in return I am editing my house mate's book. A friend who has a wonderful skin care line ( with the best quality essential oils and no preservatives--is supplying me with the best moisturizers, toners, cleansers, and serums that I have ever used. In return I am working on developing ROIs and a budet for her business. It seems that the skills I have developed over the last 35 years can still be used. And I am getting to try out some skills I didn't know I had, such as writing the story of Mary Magdalene for a friend's production. Woo hoo! How much fun is that?

Life has come down to the basics. I have shelter and food for me and the cats. Well, I also have the products that I like and need, such as skin care. It seems that I still get to color my hair by trading my skills there. Hmmm...I am not wanting for anything. Though I have had to let go of the idea of security. For example, I no longer have medical insurance. Apart from the fact that I just can't afford it right now, I refuse to bet that I will get sick. Let God take care of my health. And I am not concerned if my credit cards are getting paid right now. The banks created this mess that has me unemployed, why should I give my life blood to them?

Yesterday as I was walking up the street where I live, I saw a homeless mom with her young daughter asking for money. I gave her a couple of dollars and talked to her--really talked to her. Like many others, she and her family had lost their home. They were living out of a motel. They were doing the best they could to get out of the hole they were in, and they were struggling. My heart went out to her. I gave her another ten dollars--half the cash I have. And we hugged, for a long time. As the Matix--the old paradigm of corporate greed--is dying, those of us who are getting unplugged from it need to support each other. We will get through this, even if the economic system that we depended on does not.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

The end of the middle class

A friend sent me an email by Michael Moore that discusses the end of the middle class. Apparently it started 30 years ago when Reagan fired all the air-traffic controllers and the unions did nothing about it. Moore talks about an almost mythical time when only dad had to work, where mom stayed home with the kids, where the family owned the house they lived in and it was paid for, where kids went to college for free, where the work week was only 40 hours and people actually got a weekend off. Those days are long gone.

I used to be part of the middle class. Well, actually back in the 1980s I was part of the upper middle class. I remember attending events in New York that cost $5,000 a plate and spending thousands of dollars shopping for suits for work. Then I downsized, moved to California, and became middle class. At least I was middle class up until last year when my contract with a high-tech company I was working for ended. At the time I had medical insurance, paid my taxes, and could afford to go out to nice restaurants with friends. Well, those days are gone.

At this point I am living below whatever the poverty level is. I have sold most of my belongings and am living--at least this month--with a woman whose book I am editing. I don't know where my cats and I will be living next month. I don't remember the last time I bought clothes, and frankly I don't need any. Shopping seems absurd. I am on food stamps and feel grateful that I have shelter and food. It's gotten down to basics.

However the upside of this is that I am beginning to feel a sense of freedom that I didn't have before. I have so little to lose that I cannot be threatened, not by banks and not by the IRS. My life has simplified and I enjoy the little pleasures of living in a community: singing Wednesday nights at the local choir, participating in the production of a musical (I'm writing the story line), making dinner for a friend. Life has become more quiet, peaceful, and joyful, the way it was meant to be.

I'm not the only one losing my middle class status. Every day another friend loses her job or her home due to foreclosure. This, I feel, is just the beginning. As more of us lose our middle class status, we are not being asked to go back to the insanity of working 70 hour weeks for a corporation that just uses us up. I, for one, prefer the life I have now to that old paradigm. But we are being asked to show up and say "no" to the insanity of high taxes, of credit cards with 30% interest rates, and of working 24/7 to make some corporation rich. We are asked to show up as free beings who will no longer abide by the rules of an elite--rules that are not made for our welfare. We are asked to return to sanity in our lives.