Thursday, September 29, 2011

When spirituality becomes twisted

Perhaps it's time to leave California. Signs are showing up that I no longer belong here. One of the signs is that when ever I attend anything "spiritual" I find how spiritual concepts are being misused. Like the friend who considers himself a guru and is seducing and being seduced by his "devotees". He is one with everyone and feels unconditional love and is free. That's what he tells himself. From my perspective, I want to vomit. That's a sign to me that something is off.

Well this morning I found myself yelling at a woman because I had had it with her new age concepts. (So much for the Course in Miracles.) Anyone who knows me, knows I love my cats--and really all cats. I saw Max, my alpha cat, looking out the window at a red cat in the garden. The red cat seemed lost and scared. I went out to check on him, but he left. Five minutes later a woman drove up asking me if I had seen a cat. Yes! I was so relieved, this cat wouldn't stay lost.

Apparently she was driving from Forestville to Lake Tahoe, and had the cat in the car without a carry case (mistake #1.) The cat jumped out of the car. Her main concern seemed to be that she had to be in Lake Tahoe at 4 pm to celebrate her birthday. She didn't really have time to look for the cat. She spent five minutes calling to him half heartedly and then gave up. "I can't do this to myself," she said to me. "I'm too upset." Hmmm...This seemed to be about her and not the cat.

Then she handed me a can of tuna and asked me if I'd give it to her cat if I saw him. She wouldn't be back for two days. "So you're going to leave your cat lost, thirsty and hungry, for two days?" I asked her. "I assume you'll be coming by to find him on your way back?"

"Well, I might, if I'm not too broken hearted over this," she replied. OK, that didn't compute. She would be broken hearted over losing her cat, and so couldn't come back to look for him??? At this point she wasn't making any sense to me. Then she started telling me how her cat was doing this to punish her, describing the cat's astrological signs, and saying that she trusted he would be fine.

OK, I had had enough. "Enough of this airy fairy new age bullshit!" I yelled at her. "This cat is lost and frightened. You put him in the car without a carry case. You let him escape. And now you can't take the time to find him? You committed to take care of this being. How about taking responsibility??"

She looked at me and asked, "Are you from New York?"

Despite my anger, I had to laugh to myself. "Yes, I am," I said. "And I am so tired of this California spiritual bullshit way of not taking responsibility."

"I'm from New York too," she said. And as she got in the car to leave, leaving her cat behind and homeless, she said to me, "Perhaps you need to be in California longer."

"I've been here 14 years," was my answer. And I would need a lobotomy to get to the point where you are at, I thought to myself. And perhaps it is time to leave Northern California and find a less "spiritual" place where spiritual concepts aren't used to justify indulgence and self-centeredness. Or perhaps I just need to see reflected in this gross projection, what I have bought into for so many years that I need to let go of.

Monday, September 19, 2011

A fond farewell to a little Crystal

This blog is humming with activity lately, and I appreciate everyone's input. But today, rather than address any of the questions being asked, I need to write about a heart-break that one of us is experiencing--the death of her seven year old daughter in a plane crash.

Yesterday morning I was getting ready to go to my version of church (the Center for Spiritual Living) when I thought I'd check my emails. A close friend who reads and participates in my blog, had sent me an email with a subject line that pretty much said her life was over. A little dramatic, I thought to myself, until I opened the email and read that her estranged husband and her seven year-old daughter had died in a plane crash that morning. She had received a call at 3:30 am with the news.

Oh, my God! I forgot about the church and called her, hoping she would answer the phone. She did. All I could say was "I'm so sorry," and cry. She cried with me. I never met the little girl, but she had touched my heart in many ways. Last year, she wrote one of my posts on miracles (October 21, 2010.) She was a miracle walking, and I called her the little Crystal, as she clearly was one of the wise crystal children who came to this world as an enlightened little being. I loved hearing her remarks. Once, when her older brother asked her, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" she looked at him as if he was stupid and replied, "What do you mean? I am." Who needs to sit with gurus when you have a child like that?

I hoped that I would meet her one day, and imagined the kind of woman she would grow up to be. Stronger and more beautiful than her mother (and that's saying a lot) and wiser than her dad. " You are wise," my friend asked me on the phone yesterday. "Why do you think this happened?" I have no idea. I won't even try to figure this out nor will I offer any spiritual platitudes. All I can over my friend is the space for her to have her sorrow, and the knowledge that I love her and am here for her. I can't possibly understand her pain, though I can cry along with her.

A friend told me that in some villages, at times like this, the entire tribe gets together and wails along with the mother. This blog, in a way, is one of her tribes. So please feel free to share your love with my friend who is in pain.

I love you, my sister, and I am here for you.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Is it possible to have an intimate relationship that is joyful?

I haven't written for a while, because I seem to be going through my own process. I no longer seem to have answers, as much as I have questions. Usually my questions revolve around money and life purpose. But the last few days, to my surprise, my question is about relationships between men and women. Is it possible to have a committed sexual relationship that does not cause suffering, but instead is joyful and supports spiritual growth?

That seems to be my question these days, because it has become clear to me that I have never had a joyful intimate relationship with a man--except perhaps for the first couple of months. No matter who the man is, my issues of abandonment always come up, which then cause him to shut down and leave. That's my painful pattern which has repeated over and over again. I have friends who have other painful patterns: they get abused, or they get suffocated from attention. I so can't imagine that. I just get ignored, never making it on his priority list.

Whatever our relationship pattern is, it is calling us to heal. I get it. So I have worked on issues I've had with my father not having any time for me or with God abandoning me. It seems to be the same issue. And still, I find myself involved with men who profess to love me, if and when they remember that I exist. Recently many of my illusions have dropped away and I'm clear that this non-existent relationship is not a partnership.

If the kind of partnership exists that is loving, supportive, and joyful, I would really like to be in one. If, on the other hand, all sexual relationships are about painful ways to learn lessons, then I'm done. I'm too old and no longer hormone-driven to suffer in order to be with a man. The Course in Miracles talks about such "special" relationships being based on hate rather than love. I have seen how easily love turns to hate, so I believe this. The only hope that the Course offers is that these special relationships can turn into holy relationships, which support our finding our way Home.

I'd love to hear from others, as I truly do not know the answer to this question. Is there such a thing as a committed sexual relationship which is joyful and supports truth?

Thursday, September 8, 2011

No longer answering questions, but questioning answers

Earlier this year I attended a wonderful workshop by Donald Epstein ( called the Ultimatum. One of the first things he said to us was, "I'm not here to help you answer your questions. I'm here to help you question your answers." Truer words were never said.

Lately I've been questioning my answers. Yesterday I was at my health club sitting by the pool (yes, I'm back in the world, and I love it!) I started talking with a gentleman who was probably a little older than me, and surely a bit wiser. My conversations are rarely superficial, as that bores me to death. So he asked me what the word "choice" meant to me. My reply was something like, "At any moment when I am making a decision, I have a choice--between self-betrayal and freedom." He smiled at me and gently said, "Wow. So black and white. Do you have any shades of gray in your life?"

Well, that gave me pause to think. It seems that I don't have much room for the gray areas. So my lessons come in extremes. I'm either earning a six-figure income or I'm totally broke. I'm either feeling the perfection of creation or I'm in hell. Whew! It's not easy being me. An astrologer once told me that I was born during a full moon. That means that I experience life in extremes. Hmmm...Can there be another way?

I also realized in talking to this gentleman, that while I think I want to be a speaker, I am no longer passionate about delivering any message. What the hell do I know? I'm just trying the best I can to evolve. And what is medicine at one point in my life--a spiritual teacher for example--can be poison later on. I don't want to preach to anyone. I don't know the Truth with a capital T. All I know is what is showing up for me in each moment. If I'm suppose to be speaking at some point, then it will happen organically. I cannot force it. Whatever gifts I have to offer, I can let God decide how they will be used.

Last night I came to this conclusion. I really don't have to figure things out. If God wants me to speak or write, He will create a venue for me. Otherwise it's just my ego, as an old friend once told me. This morning when I opened the Course in Miracles at random, I received the following: I need add nothing to God's plan. But to receive it, I must be willing not to substitute my own in place of it." Ok, God. I got it. What a relief. I don't have to have all the answers or really any answers. But perhaps I can ask some good questions, or help others to ask their questions.

So I invite you readers, to start asking questions in my blog. I'll write my own (most likely extreme) perspective and then we can open it up for discussion. But please don't ask questions that come from the mind. Let's up the ante. Ask questions that come from your heart, your soul, or even the deepest darkest depths of your despair. It's all welcomed here. You are welcomed here.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

A new model for women

If you read the many comments on my last post, you will notice that some of them are, shall we say, far from loving. While I was happy to have some interaction going on in the beginning--I always wonder if anyone except a few close friends reads my blog--towards the end I found the comments to be painful. A friend was being attacked, and while I value freedom of speech I could no longer sit by and watch.

I stopped writing in my blog a few years ago for the same reason. Some unknown guys were attacking me every time I wrote. They weren't discussing the issues, but instead were telling me what an old hag I was, how I was flat chested, on and on. I was surprised to find that these comments really threw me off, that they hit the core of who I believed myself to be. I believed myself to be attractive, desirable, etc. The comments served to wake me up to the fact that I had given my life force to maintain that image, but it was time for the image to shatter.

Since then I have noticed the misogyny that exists in the world. I didn't notice it when I was young, looked good, and men were after me sexually. But I started noticing it in my mid-fifties. I noticed that men had stopped smiling at me, and that I had become invisible. That was the best case scenario. The worst case was that I was being attacked for speaking my mind.

So what to do? Do I shrivel up into a corner and keep quiet to stay safe? What kind of a life is that? Or, like Shandi, do I say that what you think of me is none of my business, and go out and live a full life speaking my truth? This culture seems to have only a couple of role models for women: Being sexy, gorgeous and young, in which case you can say any absurdity and everyone still adores you; or being motherly, loving, safe, and quiet. Personally it would be stupid of me to try to be the former, that's a losing battle. And motherly, loving, safe and quiet just aint my type.

So time to create some new role models for women. One of them is the outrageous, older woman who is outspoken and doesn't care what others think of her. I'm not there yet, but I'm working on it.