Friday, July 23, 2021
Saturday, July 17, 2021
Once there is this moment of connection -- the opening of her wings and stepping forward, uniting with the ever-present current of air (or thermal) she catches -- there is flight. There is a choreography that cannot exist without this unity. The thermal cannot be seen without the form of the eagle to give it visibility, and the eagle is motionless without the invisible current that lifts her.
I love this relational aspect of prayer. Yes, God is ever-present and always speaking, guiding, directing, protecting us -- and for this I am so forever grateful. But there is something so beautiful, and sweet, and powerful about the "dance" of opening my heart, and stepping into the "presence" -- of actively listening. This is not a petitioning, but a celebration of Soul. It is song, and dance, and poetry. It is the marriage of lyric with melody and movement. It is pure and refreshing. It is both comforting and inviting.
This kind of prayer isn't asking for anything. For why should we need to ask, when our all-powerful, Father-Mother God already knows all -- and loves us, so much. This prayer wants nothing but to be one -- to dance -- with the Divine. This is not the day-to-day "rushing about madly," while knowing that God is "in charge" kind of praying. It is something quite different.
I never doubt that the thermals of Spirit will be there when I step off the ever-crumbling ledge of human control or worry -- the undulating edge that my life often looks and feels like. Those moments when thunderheads blacken the horizon, and I think I can neither see a divine plan -- before or behind. When it looks as if lifitng my wings will put them right into the path of a lightning bolt. I do it anyway, and there is a rush of peace when I feel that invisible current under my heart -- lifting it above doubt and despair. It is not unlike the rush of love I feel when I look into my daughters' faces and remember that God trusted me with His precious child.
When it seems as if I'm falling out of grace. I pause for just a moment, and shift in this space of listening. And I can feel yet another current of God's love carrying me out of the descent.
This is what prayer feels like to me. I love riding these thermals of Love -- in joyful celebration of Her unseen ever-presence. It is how I remind myself that what is unseen is often more powerful than what is not. It is to be raised up, "on eagle's wings.".
Friday, June 11, 2021
Sunday, May 23, 2021
“Her discoveries have profoundly altered the world’s view of animal intelligence and enriched our understanding of humanity in a way that is both humbling and exalting. Ultimately, her work exemplifies the kind of humility, spiritual curiosity, and discovery that my grandfather, John Templeton, wrote and spoke about during his life.”
Humility, spiritual curiosity, and discovery. Aren't these the defining attributes of every great thought-leader.
My own spiritual heroes, Jesus Christ and Mary Baker Eddy, brought these same qualities to their desire to understand the law of Love and the impartial and universal application of that law in the lives of all conscious beings.
I am so deeply grateful for the progress that humanity has made in recognizing that although, on the surface, we might seem so different, we're really not that different at all. Spirituality dissolves the differences we define as race, gender, species, genus with the consciousness of God's All-in-allness.
I have learned more about unconditional love from our non-speaking family members -- the ones who navigate this experience on four legs -- than I have from most humans.
So today, I am deeply grateful for the legacy of respect and compassion for all creatures, that Jane Goodall has left to us as a record of our ever-evolving history of what it means to be conscious beings sharing the same spiritual landscape.
offered with Love,
Friday, May 14, 2021
God is Love,
if it's all I ever learn in life,
it's all I need to know..."
I was reaching for joy, but it seemed so beyond my grasp that night. I'd received a call earlier in the evening that shook me to my core. Sorrow and bewilderment circled like coyotes looking for a place in my heart. I was on full alert, but tired. I needed a companion in the watch. Mindy Jostyn's beautiful, "God is Love" was a friend in the dark.
I let her remind me through the night that if I took nothing away from this experience -- but an understanding of what it meant that God is Love -- it would be enough. The hope of healing was alive in me. But what that healing would look like seemed elusive. In some ways, I didn't even know what to hope for. Would I stop feeling sad? Would the pain disappear? Would my heart cease to ache? Would someone tell me that the call I'd received earlier had never really happened?
I'd been sitting in the dark for hours, when I suddenly felt an overwhelming desire to read from Mary Baker Eddy's primary text on spiritual healing, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. I had a long history with finding healing and comfort in her pages. It was exactly what I needed at that moment. I turned on the lamp and opened my dog-eared copy randomly.
My eyes fell on these words from a longer sentence:
"...the proof of healing,
a sweet and certain sense
that God is Love."
It washed over, and through, me like a dam breaking upstream. The proof of healing wasn't going to be seen in a changed physical picture. I wasn't going to hear different news, or wake up to a different report. But I would know this healing. I would have absolute proof of healing. I would feel it in a "a sweet and certain sense that God is Love" filling my heart -- filling my life.
I turned off the lamp and returned to the stillness of the night. I listened to Mindy's voice -- and I knew I was healed. I felt it. It started as a glowing ember at my core. I felt Spirit breathe upon its presence - all the hope, trust, and affection I held in my heart. Before long, I could feel that "sweet and certain sense that God is Love" radiating, warming, and filling every dark corner of the night. I was healed. I had proof.
Elsewhere in Science and Health, Mary Baker Eddy assures us:
"The depth, breadth, height,
might, majesty, and glory
of infinite Love fill all space.
That is enough!"
And it really was. It was enough, just to know that, "God is Love." I could actually feel that it was the most important thing I would ever learn in life, and that it was all that I would ever really need to know.
On the surface of things, nothing had changed. But deep within my heart I actually felt it -- that sweet and certain sense that God is Love -- and it was all the proof of healing I needed. I have returned to this experience many times since that night.
In fact, just today my heart was heavy. The news was overwhelming. One alarming report after another. One disturbing account immediately on the heels of the last. The information was coming rapid fire. It felt like I had been praying -- without ceasing -- for days. I couldn't even imagine what healing might look like when there was so much to be healed, and so many issues to be prayerfully addressing.
As I stood at the stove waiting for the tea kettle to boil, the strains of Mindy's "God is Love," washed through my heart like the soundtrack from a favorite film. I recalled that night, over a decade earlier, when I had felt so engulfed in grief. And I remembered -- the only proof of healing I needed to feel was:
"a sweet and certain sense
that God is Love"
I closed my eyes, quieting the clamor of the human mind. And there it was -- the feeling. That sweet and certain sense that God is Love filling my heart. It was all the proof I needed. It was enough.
offered with Love,
Saturday, May 8, 2021
Tuesday, April 27, 2021
"During a brutal study at Harvard in the 1950s, Dr. Curt Richter placed rats in a pool of water to test how long they could tread water.
Sunday, March 7, 2021
Friday, February 12, 2021
"farther along and further in;
I think I'm finally listening,
to some kind of spirit murmuring;
I've never heard before...
Mary Chapin Carpenter's new CD, The Dirt and Stars, includes a song that I've loved every time I hear it. "Farther Along and Further In" speaks to me in a very profound way.
The story (from 5 years ago) goes like this -- the Cliffnotes version: I was asked to give a talk about that scripture, but I just couldn't, in good faith, speak inspiringly about a citation that I felt forwarded a sense of reality that was filled with dualism.
Right or left, right or wrong -- it just went against everything I had learned through the study and practice of Christian Science.
As I drove the last quarter mile to where I was scheduled to give that talk, I turned to God with my whole heart. "If you want me to give this talk, you will need to inspire me - now."
With that God said to me, "what if casting your net on the right side, is not about right or left, but about inside..." I got it immediately. It is about casting your net deeper - in the kingdom within.
Within 10 minutes I knew exactly what I needed to share. But it wasn't just about giving a talk, it was about changing my life - my moment-by-moment responses to the call to decide, choose, respond. But also my professional life. To turn to the books that I love -- and that define my practice of spiritual healing -- not as the place where I will find Truth, but as encouragement for turning more deeply within for those answers of Truth.
Since then, my life, my practice of Christian Science, my every response to the call to live with grace, is about turning within. Entering the still space of the kingdom within. This is where I find the "I am..." of the I AM. This is where the Spirit dwells.
Not in someone else's inspired writings or words, but in the only place where real revelation, reason, and the demonstration of Truth is cultivated and takes root.
Does that mean that I don't read the Bible, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, and the other writings of Mary Baker Eddy? No. I love reading how others - who were seeking a deeper and more centered relationship with God -navigated that same path. But their writings, and the words of other inspired spiritual seekers, should be sending me deeper into the kingdom -- the only place i will find God - the I AM. Not drawing me out.
17th Century Japanese poet and Zen master, Matsuo Basho, once wrote:
"Do not seek to follow in the footsteps of the wise, seek what they sought."
I read their writings, not to follow in their path, but to find encouragement for staying true to my own path in seeking a deeper relationship with the Divine. To know God myself. My search is for God, not for a fellow searcher. I love the company on the path - but the journey is mine alone.
So, I go deeper. I go further in -- and in going further in, I find I am farther along.
offered with Love,
You set the captive free,
You lift the heavy burden,
and even now, You are lifting me..."
In Chris' Facebook post, he introduces this song of praise with these words:
"During times of trial,
we must retrace the steps of our journey
and remember, God has already done
the impossible in us through His Son."
Yes, we have the right to remember what we have already witnessed - and experienced - of His power. I remember an afternoon almost 20 years ago when I was feeling so overwhelmed I didn't want to leave the Borders Bookstore Cafe where I was hiding out from my life. There, everything was orderly, someone made hot chocolate that was the perfect temperature, no one spilled juice on my books, or started crying to be held -- the minute I closed my eyes in prayer.
I wanted to give myself ten more minutes before heading back into the storm that was our home with toddler twins. I stood up and walked over the the nearby magazine rack. The latest edition of Oprah's magazine was on display. I picked it up and returned to my neat little table. The last page was always a note from Oprah. I liked reading them first. This one was about the past.
Oprah explained that there had been many years when looking back at her life's journey was fraught with anxiety and pain. The timeline was punctuated with milestone moments. One day she realized that each of those moments was one of abuse, heartache, and fear. There were few, if any, good milestones on that timeline. So she resisted looking back. That didn't mean that the past didn't haunt her, just that she didn't choose to visit it with intention.
That changed the day that she discovered that her timeline was not something she felt in control of. She decided that she would draw out that timeline and put those milestones in place, but that she would go right back to those memories and find something good -- some indication of God's presence in each of those "chapters," of her life.
She said that it took almost a year, but she did it. She reclaimed each of those milestones for God. This so resonated with me.
I will never forget one of the examples she gave. She said that one day she decided it was time to revisit the sexual child abuse she'd suffered at the hand of a family member. It took her a very deep dive into that chapter of her life, but she finally found it, the presence of God. She realized that even in the midst that dark time, she knew that what was happening to her was not right. She had the wisdom to know right from wrong. It was enough to redeem that dark time. Her timeline was forever rewritten.
That was enough for me. I decided to do the same thing. I drew out my timeline and I placed the milestones along the way. And like Oprah, I discovered that mine were all hauntingly dark and negative. Then I took the next few years to go back and reclaim each one for God -- for good.
That chapter after my dad was killed and my family was so desperate for resources, became a chapter filled with creativity and care for one another. The moments that had haunted me with heartbreak became life pages filled with comforting friends and self-discovery.
In the book of Revelation, John promises that:
are become the kingdoms of our Lord,
and of his Christ; and he
shall reign for ever and ever."
Right where the world has tried to stake its claim on our hearts, we have the authority to evict the usurper, cast out the trespasser, and reclaim that real estate on our timeline for God. My timeline was like a volume of Grimm's Fairy Tales when I started -- ogres, demons, bad choices, and very few happy endings. Today it is filled with parables of intuition, testimonies to humility, stories of spiritual growth, forgiveness and grace. If I can do this, anyone can.
In each of our lives, there are moments we want to forget. Moments when we coulda, shoulda, woulda -- if only we'd known better. There are moments when we have felt helpless or hopeless. But these self-repeated false versions of our life story only ratify the world's claim that we are self-creators and that God is helpless in most instances and completely absent in many. So much for an omnipotent and omnipresent God.
We don't have to consent to this hi-jacking of our lives. We can take each moment back for God. And when we do so, we bring that moment back into our present conscious experience, and rewrite it forever. This becomes the current edition. And this is the one we can remember without fear.
Yes, God has done "impossible things" in our lives. Some of those impossible things might seem like life-altering events, and others may only seem like another day when the sun rose again in the east. But it rose. It was there. And you glimpsed its light, you felt its warmth, you were inspired by its constancy -- it was enough. You don't need to have dramatic miracles -- only those moments we you felt the presence of good -- however faintly -- and you knew you were there. The milestones have been set in order -- like cairns that stand the test of time.
Here, the timeline becomes a lens through which every moment is alive wth possibility for redemption and the promise of impossible things -- remembered.
offered with Love,
Sunday, February 7, 2021
Whenever I hear Joni Mitchell's "Free Man in Paris" I think of a story that was shared with me over a decade ago. It was related to me as a true story, that has led to more than a few healings since I first hear it.
As the story goes, there was a slave who was promoted to the position of valet. He served his confederate, industrialist master faithfully. He was quiet, elegant, and unassuming. When his master would go on business trips, he would travel with him. Because he was a slave, he didn't sleep in the hotels where his master stayed, but remained outside or in quarters provided for servants.
Soon he was traveling the world with his master. On a particularly cold Parisian night, he finished his duties and returned to the entrance of the hotel where his master was staying, expecting to wait till morning for his master's first call. Bundled up at warmly as he could be, he huddled out of the cold in the alleyway next to the hotel.
Soon the doorman wandered over to where he was and asked him what he was doing. He explained that he was a slave and that his master was a guest in the hotel. He went on to say that he would wait there until his master needed him the next day.
The doorman looked at him and said, "Sir, this is Paris. Slavery is illegal here. You are free." The slave, waking up to the reality of his freedom, walked away. He never went back. He accepted his freedom.
You see, slavery was still legal in the United States. But in France, slavery had been abolished in 1794. He was not in a place where laws of slave ownership would be enforced. He was -- quite literally -- a free man in Paris.
How often to we walk around thinking that we are in a "country" that has laws that we are enslaved to, and under the enforceable jurisdiction of? That we live in a body with laws of decay and decline. That we operate in a world where laws of socio-economic privilege and penalty prevail. That we are under the thumb of educational hierarchies and intellectual tyranny?
We stand huddled against the cold wall of a building, thinking we are slaves and that if we were to leave, we would be hunted down, shackled in chains, and imprisoned for life. When in fact, we live, move, and breathe in Him. We are not citizens of a land where "enslavement to the most relentless masters" is enforced, or enforceable.
We are citizens of the kingdom of God. We are free men, women, and children in this safe place where slavery has been abolished. We do not live under the tyranny of laws that say we must subscribe to heredity, caste, class, health-predictions, educational hierarchies, socio-economic predestination.
We are free. We can walk away without looking back. I promise.
Not long ago I was struggling with a physical challenge that seemed to make movement very difficult. I was mentally slammed with all the reasons why this was not only reasonable, but expected -- at my age.
One Saturday, as I started a cleaning project, I put a favorite Joni playlist on my iPod - and yes, I still have one of my daughters' old discarded iPods. The first song that came up was "Free Man in Paris." I immediately thought of the story shared above. At the same moment, I bent down to clean under a table, and felt an all too familiar pain.
But this time I didn't just keep moving through it. Or huddle in the cold light of acceptance next to it. I decided to walk away from it. I was not mortal. I did not live in a "country" where the laws of birth, maturity, decay, death were enforced. I was not trapped in a body that was defined by those laws - or enslaved to them. I was a free woman in the kingdom of God.
Every step, every bend, every swipe of the dust cloth was a step away from the feeling that I was waiting for a false master to tell me where I could go what I could feel, and how I could experience my life.
In Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy assures us:
"The enslavement of man is not legitimate.
It will cease when man enters into his heritage of freedom, his God-given dominion over the material senses. Mortals will some day assert their freedom in the name of Almighty God."
We answer to one Sovereign, one Law-giver, who is Love. This Love is omnipotent. There is no opposition to His supreme statutes of freedom and liberty. This is where we live. This is the country of our citizenship.
offered with Love,
Tuesday, January 19, 2021
I wrote the following post on the day of the inauguration in 2017. I was bereft. Clarissa's message of hope has given me courage and patience throughout the last four years. These were some of the hardest years of my life. There were times when I didn't think I would survive them. I have. We have.
I am sitting here at the kitchen table. It is well before dawn on the day of Martin Luther King's birthday. I just couldn't sleep. This week will make unique demands upon us for a deep spiritual poise. I could almost feel the heart of humanity pulsing in the quiet. I believe that many of us are wrestling with some hard questions about this moment in history. After hours of prayer, I opened my laptop, only to discover this remarkable piece. It was the perfect answer.
I can't remember -- in more than 700 posts on this blog, stretching over 12 years -- ever re-posting someone else's piece in its entirety. But Estes' article, "We Were Made for These Times," copied below, says it all so beautifully - and with such profound grace - that I needed to share it with those I love. I hope it edifies your hope, strengthens your resolve, and reminds you that you, too, were made for these times.
We Were Made for These Times
by Clarissa Pinkola Estes
"My friends, do not lose heart. We were made for these times. I have heard from so many recently who are deeply and properly bewildered. They are concerned about the state of affairs in our world now. Ours is a time of almost daily astonishment and often righteous rage over the latest degradations of what matters most to civilized, visionary people.
You are right in your assessments. The lustre and hubris some have aspired to while endorsing acts so heinous against children, elders, everyday people, the poor, the unguarded, the helpless, is breathtaking. Yet, I urge you, ask you, gentle you, to please not spend your spirit dry by bewailing these difficult times. Especially do not lose hope. Most particularly because, the fact is that we were made for these times. Yes. For years, we have been learning, practicing, been in training for and just waiting to meet on this exact plain of engagement.
I grew up on the Great Lakes and recognize a seaworthy vessel when I see one. Regarding awakened souls, there have never been more able vessels in the waters than there are right now across the world. And they are fully provisioned and able to signal one another as never before in the history of humankind.
Look out over the prow; there are millions of boats of righteous souls on the waters with you. Even though your veneers may shiver from every wave in this stormy roil, I assure you that the long timbers composing your prow and rudder come from a greater forest. That long-grained lumber is known to withstand storms, to hold together, to hold its own, and to advance, regardless.
In any dark time, there is a tendency to veer toward fainting over how much is wrong or unmended in the world. Do not focus on that. There is a tendency, too, to fall into being weakened by dwelling on what is outside your reach, by what cannot yet be. Do not focus there. That is spending the wind without raising the sails.
We are needed, that is all we can know. And though we meet resistance, we more so will meet great souls who will hail us, love us and guide us, and we will know them when they appear. Didn't you say you were a believer? Didn't you say you pledged to listen to a voice greater? Didn't you ask for grace? Don't you remember that to be in grace means to submit to the voice greater?
Ours is not the task of fixing the entire world all at once, but of stretching out to mend the part of the world that is within our reach. Any small, calm thing that one soul can do to help another soul, to assist some portion of this poor suffering world, will help immensely. It is not given to us to know which acts or by whom, will cause the critical mass to tip toward an enduring good.
What is needed for dramatic change is an accumulation of acts, adding, adding to, adding more, continuing. We know that it does not take everyone on Earth to bring justice and peace, but only a small, determined group who will not give up during the first, second, or hundredth gale.
One of the most calming and powerful actions you can do to intervene in a stormy world is to stand up and show your soul. Soul on deck shines like gold in dark times. The light of the soul throws sparks, can send up flares, builds signal fires, causes proper matters to catch fire. To display the lantern of soul in shadowy times like these - to be fierce and to show mercy toward others; both are acts of immense bravery and greatest necessity.
Struggling souls catch light from other souls who are fully lit and willing to show it. If you would help to calm the tumult, this is one of the strongest things you can do.There will always be times when you feel discouraged. I too have felt despair many times in my life, but I do not keep a chair for it. I will not entertain it. It is not allowed to eat from my plate.
The reason is this: In my uttermost bones I know something, as do you. It is that there can be no despair when you remember why you came to Earth, who you serve, and who sent you here. The good words we say and the good deeds we do are not ours. They are the words and deeds of the One who brought us here. In that spirit, I hope you will write this on your wall: When a great ship is in harbor and moored, it is safe, there can be no doubt. But that is not what great ships are built for."
I am so grateful to Clarissa Pinkola Estes -- author of Women Who Run with Wolves -- for sharing her heart, her wisdom, and her compassion with us through this piece. I will let it seep into my heart and refresh my holy purpose. We can do this hard thing, because we were made for these times.
offered with Love,