Tuesday, December 28, 2010

IMAGINE, THEN RE-IMAGINE!

The morning after Christmas I sat in the Newark, New Jersey airport; weather threatening; my flight to Asheville delayed one hour. I have been on a wild ride the last two weeks that began with an earth-shaking training event in Sedona with the Venus Rising Institute.

In my breath-work journeys this time I saw dogs. I’ve not had dogs before. I had a memory of my mixed-breed cow-dog, Roxanne, who died recently. And I saw myself as “The Fool” from the traditional Tarot ambling down a clear trail with a fluffy white dog at my heels.

When I described my journey, I said I did not know if I was, if I am the Fool or the dog. At one point the little fluffy white dog morphed into a dominant German Shepherd who shifted from following to leading the traveler. At that point, I was confident that I was that solid and dependable force that would lead others to giving form to their own dreams; that would lead others away from scrambling purposelessly on the wheel.

At another time there were three coyotes (wild dogs) outside the building where we were sitting with our teachers. And on my trip from Phoenix I was seeing dogs everywhere. Maybe it is common for folks to travel with their pets over the Holidays, but I’ve never noticed so much canine activity before.

I am happy to have the spirit of the dog before me at this time. The dog is faithful and loyal, and I have been called on to be a protector these past few weeks.

But it is critical for me to remember that I may be true to others while I am faithful to my own truth. The dog demonstrates unconditional love but I also see the critical importance of setting boundaries and not giving up my integrity. In this way I may grow into the teacher that so many others see me to be.

I am breaking free of the conventional ways of seeing, doing and being. It is time to think outside of our boxes. Dan Bern sings that some vegetables are bred to be able to fit more easily into boxes – and some people come out square so they can fit in boxes.

Whatever vestiges of the old ways, the former ways that are pulling on you still, you can wriggle from those clinging vines and propel yourself into an existence that only you could imagine. Imagine, then re-imagine. 

I see a creeping tiredness in my friends, family and associates. We are tired of doing the same things and getting similar unsatisfying results. We are tired of being tied to expectations and mores that keep us short of our hopes and our dreams. We want to finally experience our highest imagining. Imagine, then re-imagine.

I see a deep dissatisfaction with work that is unfulfilling and which keeps us small. I will not be small anymore. We will not any of us be small anymore. We are born for greatness, and we will not settle for smallness.

As we move into this new time, the Via Creativa, I urge you to pay attention to the world around you. You can expect new insight at this time, but do not follow me. Follow your own guidance away from the guilt and shame and tiredness that holds you to the old forms.

The leader you have been waiting for is rising in your own awareness; follow him; follow her. Imagine, then re-imagine.


ANNOUNCEMENT:    Buy the first printing of “The Tower Card” at the discounted rate of $10 per book plus shipping.   Just click on the image of the book above to use either your credit card or paypal account.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

It’s Christmas in the Tower!

I am so full of joy to be releasing my novel, The Tower Card, just in time for Christmas. I am grateful to the board at Unity of Sedona for giving me the time and space to sign and make the books available for sale.

Christmas in the Tower
Book Signing and Mini-Workshop
Sunday, Dec. 19, 1:00 – 2:00PM
Unity of Sedona
65 Deer Trail Drive
Sedona, Arizona

As I was talking to Brenda about scheduling the event, It occurred to me that it might be a stretch for most folks to make a connection between the Tower Card, which carries dark symbols of death and destruction, and Christmas, which is all about light and good will toward all.

But it came to me quite clearly that the Christmas story is more about the darkness than the light. Indeed the Holy day is set in the depth of the “bleak mid-winter” to make the coming of the Christ more profound and dramatic.

There is a cloud of dreariness over Mary and Joseph as they "slouch towards Bethlehem" to be counted, so they may then pay oppressive taxes to a government that holds their country captive. This is on top of the discovery that Joseph’s intended is suddenly pregnant and by a most unlikely rival. She is knocked-up by God.

Can you imagine how that conversation went down? I hear Joseph asking, “You’re what? And by whom?” The story tells us that Mary is immediately dumped, and it is only through divine intervention that Joseph is compelled to remain by her side.

Then, in Bethlehem they don’t have a reservation at the Hyatt. They are reduced to camping out in the stables and the birth is witnessed by sheep and cows and no-doubt smelly shepherds, fresh from the hillsides.

It is in the midst of this darkness that the light of Christ is revealed. And the darkness is essential to the story because of the contrast it provides. In fact the light of the Christ cannot be seen without the contrasting darkness. And the darkness must be honored and appreciated for what and how it serves.

So Christmas in the tower is about appreciating the times that try us and challenge us and empty us out. Without the yin-time we would not be able to be subsequently filled up. So we give thanks for the bleak mid-winter and the times that carve us deep with sorrow, because they create a reservoir that may then be filled with abundance and joy.

PS - The novel will be available for purchase on and around the 19th of December for $12.95 plus $3.00 for postage.  Just click on the book.
.

Monday, November 22, 2010

THE SPACE BETWEEN THE THUNDER

Now, in the light of day after the land has been blessed by the fullness of the moon, the sky is full of promise. Now, comes the evidence that the act of emptying our selves has made room for fullness and abundance.

We do not need to wait for the season to change; we choose the cycle of emptying out and filling up, and we choose the velocity of the process. The planets are moving faster and the Earth’s rotation is accelerating so I choose a personal evolution that matches.

We are in haste, but still we honor the season of the Via Negativa. We do not forget in our joy that we are moving in the Yin time, the sacred feminine, fluid and soft. A piece of this honoring involves the act of noticing. My situation calls for me to notice small things – the little things that speak to our hearts and souls, that at other times we may not acknowledge.

Recently, I went out onto my rocking porch in the morning to have a little cigar and to connect with Oneness. On this day I was sending up my prayers with the smoke for a loved one who has taken on a rigorous curriculum.

On the railing there was a lady bug. I've been seeing the red ones but this one was yellow, which asked me to face the east. I couldn’t see what it was pointing me toward; the sky was dark and cloudy and there were no sounds except for a dog in the distance and the caw of a crow.

All I could see was a vast and desolate emptiness but I continued. I didn’t know where the sun should be because of the dark clouds, and then there was a tiny spot of light against the dark canopy. The spot grew to show the whole circumference of the sun; it did not light up the earth, but it let me know it was there; it is always there behind the clouds.

Suddenly the trees, mostly bare branches, became alive with the movement and sound of tiny songbirds (one of my spirit animals). The land that had been so silent and bare was unexpectedly alive and vibrant – in spite of the darkness. I knew my friend would be alright and even thrive.

I am learning to pay attention and the Universe is speaking to me; sometimes quite softly and sometimes with thunder. The winter is literally the time between the thunder, so it is time to pay attention to the little things. God and Goddess are always speaking to us and they say, “We are always here . . . behind the clouds.”

I wish you all a time of plenty at Thanksgiving. Take the hands of your family and loved ones around the table and notice the abundance of small things coming to fill up all your empty spaces.

John Berry Deakyne in Asheville, NC.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

I GIVE UP! I QUIT! YOU WIN! I SURRENDER!

My visit to Isis Cove last week, home of the Venus Rising Institute for Shamanic Healing Arts, was extremely transformative. It was great just to be on the land, to visit the sacred sites, tour the facilities, and spend time with my soul-brother Brad.

When I sat down to dinner with Brad and Star Wolf I did not know what I was in for. It came up in conversation some mention of the Tower Card from the Tarot, and Star Wolf remembered that I had drawn the Tower at the onset of my first breath-work session with her several months ago.

I remarked that it felt like I was still in a “Tower” cycle of death and rebirth, and that it was becoming tiring. She looked straight into my soul and said I had been in the fire for a good long time, and if I was going to fully embrace my soul’s purpose I would first need to surrender. I was not surprised; I knew she was right, but I did not exactly know what I needed to release or what might receive me.

Complete and utter surrender, which is a touchstone of every major religion, means you allow to come to you whatever will come, without any management or willing on your part.

It became apparent to me on my drive home that night exactly what I had to surrender. It was my attachment to another, to circumstances, and to desired outcomes. I needed to surrender my attachment to my desires. So, the previous week that opened for me the Via Negativa ushered me now into my literal “dark night of the soul”.

I lay on the bed in my Airstream, because the house still smelled like wet dog, and stared at the ceiling until the sun came up. I tried to sleep, but that is not part of the process. I came to learn in the light of day what the night had told me. It was time again to set my desires on the fiery altar and hope for abundant ashes.

Then I stepped into Jubilee services on Sunday and the theme was: “letting go”. I laughed out loud.

I need to frame this by explaining that in the last year I have learned to cry. It has been part of my own breaking and opening and it has been extremely cathartic and beneficial. So during my “dark night of the soul” and the following day I had tried to gather up the tears I knew would greatly assist my surrender, but all I had was kind of a dull empty feeling, and dry eyes.

Then at the beginning of the Sunday service, when they call in the directions, the dam broke. It wasn’t blubbering – it was just little man tears that I could dab with my fingers.

Then there was a song about letting go and I closed my eyes and saw my beautiful beloved floating away from me on Oak Creek dressed in a burial gown.

All the mucus in my head became quite liquid and my hands could not soak up all the moisture. Just as I had deposited a copious amount of mucus from my upper lip to my hand, Pastor Howard said, “Take the hand of the persons next to you.” I thought, “God has a sense of humor.” I wiped my hand on my pants while the lady next to me looked on quizzically, with hand outstretched.

Keep in mind – I don’t know these people. Even when I don’t open my mouth I think they can tell I’m a Yankee. I’m new here, and I want people to like me. Oh well.

Even though I have been in this position before, this is a big one.  And whatever follows will be big.  I don't know what it is, and accepting the "not knowing" is key. 

Sometimes it seems that I won't take the big steps unless my ass is kicked.  The lesson is:  move before you get pushed; take a running start and jump naked from the tower window before the lord of the manor flings you from the parapet.  It's time to let go; it will be okay.

By the way, I plan to wring the last drop out of the Via Negativa before the season changes on the Winter's Solstice, even if some people think I'm morose.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

THAT'S WHAT THE LONELY IS FOR

In Asheville we received a cold front that brought freezing rain and snow flurries. The downy flakes were beautiful against the backdrop of still turning leaves, scarlet red oak and the last orange and yellow of the maples. And all I can say is, “Holy shit I’m freezing my ass off.”

This new moon has spun me into a bout of dark moodiness. Grey clouds are hugging the ground and from the back door of my new townhouse I can see mist rising out of the distant valley like smoke. The weather calls for introspection and I have dropped my remembrance of the vibrant summer like a stone into a very deep well.

And for my first trip to church in Asheville the theme for the service was “The Via Negativa”. Are you kidding me! It’s all about the Yin aspect of the Yin/Yang; you know, those happily spooning opposites representing the eternal in and out, up and down, light and dark.

Pastor Howard calls us to go inward; to pay attention to our inner life. No more sun and summer; now we are of the moon and winter. The Yin is feminine, fluid, and soft – sometimes dark and cold. And if we did not have the emptiness of the Yin we could not experience it being filled up.

There’s a song in my memory by David Wilcox called “That’s what the lonely is for.” He suggests that we have empty rooms on purpose that call us to begin their filling. Pastor Howard rejoins with, “Without the doo, you ain’t got no Whoop-de-doo.” This guy cracks me up. I’ll be back.

The Via Negativa comes originally from Thomas Aquinas but is brilliantly re-imagined by Matthew Fox (not the “Lost” one).  He explains that it is often at our lowest points, in the darkness and the silence, that God speaks to us most profoundly.

So I am primed for profundity. I miss my friends, and I received news this week that one of my best friends has breast cancer. The prognosis is good, but I am devastated to be unavailable to her.  I can send her words of love and encouragement; I can float my prayers to heaven on angel’s wings; I can project love and light; but what I really want is to hold her in my arms.

And my friend is the inspiration for this blog. She was the first to recognize the call to go inward; to be quiet; to become soft and fluid in opening to the learning. My feelings of loneliness are miniscule in comparison, and she becomes my teacher once again.

So, today I embrace the Way of Emptiness and Longing. And I will be quiet and wait for guidance. The weather forecast promises warmer days ahead, and I will take this cold-spell as early preparation for the long winter yet to come.  Adyashanti says that in this life “struggle is not optional, but suffering is.”

So we move into the cave because we are called to do so; but we will not loiter here; we will keep moving and step through the darkness into the promised light of a new day.

At the end of the road, in Asheville, North Carolina.





Thursday, October 28, 2010

TOTEMS & RECLAIMING THE LOST CHILD

I am still in Portales, New Mexico, soaking up the hospitality of my friends, Penny and Carol. I am very much at home here because their home is imbued with loving energy. They brought me here for the Holidays on the first Christmas after my divorce when I was feeling unloved and unlovable. And they have participated in my subsequent healing.

I have spent every Christmas since then in their welcoming embrace. And it is interesting to be here now without the need for healing. Today I feel like a whole person and while I enjoy their food, and their hospitality, and their Wi-Fi; this time it feels like I contribute as much as I take.

They have also seen my transformation, in snapshots, once or twice a year, and it is humbling to see myself through their eyes. Today I am thinner (if not thin), tanned and sporting longer hair and a measure of self-assurance. My gifts of insight, and Shamanism, and breath-work have been heartily received and appreciated.

Let me say a word about the length of my hair. It feels good and it came to me when I embarked upon my summer of joy that I should “let my free flag fly”. I am connecting myself back in time, to the 1970’s, when I was in my twenties. My hair was long and the world was open to me; anything was possible. It was only after that point in time that I came to limit myself and shut down and shut out many of my own personal gifts.

Just lately, I am hearing from others that there is a point in each of our lives when we have have felt free, and powerful, and unlimited. A friend talked to me about remembering the time before she entered junior-high and how it felt to be completely secure and fearless, before learning about the roles she would be required to play; before the world imposed its ideas about separation from each other and the whole of creation.

Since time is merely a man-made construction, that other personae is still alive somewhere living life to its fullest, full of joy and freedom and creative energy. If we each have this suppressed part, I think today you and I can reclaim that lost piece and use it to give us new life.

So, just a short while ago I was going through some boxes when I chanced upon a photo of myself when I graduated from Indiana University.  It was 1976 and I wore the assurance and hopefulness of youth.  I am carrying that photo with me on this journey and it has (to me) an uncanny resemblance to the Osho card that keeps coming up for me entitled: The Rebel. 

The photo and the card are my traveling companions; we commune with each other and I am reminded of the things I have lost and now re-found.  These two items are totems, sacred objects that witness my progress along with some other objects:

There’s the beautiful piece of raw turquoise from my friend and teacher, Karl; a chunk of white quartz given me three decades ago by my friend, Cheryl; the potted grapevine from my house in Healdsburg; a rock from Dean and Kelly’s “sanctuary”; the tie-dyed sarong from this summer’s mini-Q; the abalone shell from my teacher, Lloyd; the pipe, blessed in the lodge of Dawson No Horse; a stalk of living bamboo and the beautiful painting of "awakening", both gifted me by Meredith.

Sitting in the Airstream, I am surrounded by totems and gifts of the heart. I am truly blessed, and living in grace; preparing to launch myself into the expectant arms of another new moon; another re-imagining.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

STANDING ON YOUR OWN TWO FEET

It is storming in Portales, NM this morning like the sky is heralding the end of the world. The lightning and the thunder are a contrast to the calming and grounding energy of the place and I am happy to be resting in this slower and healing vibration.

 From my camping spot in Santa Fe I was able to take in a 360ยบ view of the sky and the surrounding high desert. The sunsets were amazing every day and I was able to watch the movement of thunder storms sweeping into and out of the area.

One morning I was awakened early by a huge gust of wind that threatened to tear my awning away from the Land Yacht. When I went outside into the chill morning air to rescue the awning, I was greeted by a sky full of misty clouds colored red and pink by the still un-risen sun. The whole canopy of the sky was lit up and vibrating.

While I was in Santa Fe I also experienced the nice synchronicity of being able to sit with Adyashanti for an evening Satsang and then a half-day Intensive. This felt like the completion of a sacred circle for me, since I had personally worked with his book and his teachings to a great degree over the past year. I have employed his suggestions for using “self-inquiry” to notice and dissolve the conditioned thought patterns that have kept me from experiencing the fullness of my true Self.

So I felt like I already knew this teacher, and sitting in the auditorium with him felt like coming home. Something he said made an impression: He suggested that one way of looking at spiritual enlightenment is “standing on your own two feet”. One piece of this idea involves releasing your dependence on teachers and gurus and workshops, in order to discover your own inner guru.

This idea echoes the teaching of Linda Star Wolf of Venus Rising who tells me to discover and nurture the “inner-Shaman” to direct my own spiritual journey. And the process of shamanic journeying involves tapping into the riches of the inner self to heal past woundings and to propel me into the truth of my being.

We are all on the edge of exciting new ways of seeing and being. I am grateful for the teaching and direction of others and for the support of a wonderful spiritual community whenever I land. But it is clear that I am responsible for my own work and for my own well being. So standing on my own two feet feels like an appropriate call for this time.

While I am in the process of working on my books that feature prominently the use of the Tarot in the stories, I draw an occasional card for myself from the Osho oracle deck. I recently drew “New Vision” and sensed immediately that this is also a card for all of us as we move into our next imagining. The card shows a vibrant and strong being rising out of a crippled and beaten down figure that is rooted to the ground. The new self is growing wings and preparing to shoot himself into the heavens; the tip of a pyramid points the way upward and forward.

“New Vision” partners with the card, “Guidance” which also shows two different figures. One self is reluctant and afraid to pay attention to the clear guidance that points to the light. The other figure is a winged angel that launches itself toward the light without any reservations.

This is who we are. We are turning away from the old patterns that do not serve us anymore, and we are becoming our own guru, our own shaman, our own teacher. We are standing on our own two feet.

Thank you to all the dear souls who have given me their blessing for my journey.

On the road in Portales, New Mexico with Penny and Carol.

John Berry Deakyne
The Sedona WordSmith





















Friday, October 8, 2010

BACK ON THE ROAD!

Dear Friends,

I hardly know where to begin. Some of you have expressed concern that I haven’t blogged for two months. Let me just say that I have been mightily distracted by the warm winds of summer and the intoxicating touch of another.

But the advent of autumn opens a new portal for me and the disappearance of the Moon points me toward the resumption of my journey. Yesterday I pulled my Land Yacht out of the Rancho Sedona RV Park after at least three days of oppressive stormy weather complete with thunder, lightning, hail, and tornado warnings.

I was greeted by blue skies and white tufts of cotton candy clouds as I headed up the mountain to Flagstaff. The white tops of the San Francisco Peaks confirmed the abrupt change of the season, so I pulled onto Interstate-40 and headed for Santa Fe. Some of you already know that I am on a pilgrimage to Isis Cove and the Venus Rising Institute outside of Asheville, North Carolina. I have already started the Ministerial training they offer and I am anxious to experience the energy of the community of like-minded folks that have gathered near their headquarters in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

One of the highlights of the summer was the first installment of the Shamanic Breath-work training which was held at the Sanctuary of Sedona in Cornville, AZ. The teaching and ceremonies and exercises presented by Brad and Star Wolf were truly transformative.  Our hosts, Kelly and Dean, provided an energetic and healing space for each of us to do some heavy lifting.

I also had the extreme privilege of co-teaching a six-week series of workshops this summer with my beloved friend, Meredith Star Raven, entitled “The Earth School for Souls”. We had a remarkable gathering of co-journeyers who created safe space for each of us to undertake a chunk of our own sacred curriculum.

So I haven’t been inactive this summer, I just haven’t been writing.

I am stopping in Santa Fe now to finish up the publishing pieces of my first novel, “The Tower Card”, and to begin the revision of my second novel, “The Devil Card – The Redemption of Lucifer.”

On the eve of the New Moon I gathered with a group of dear friends in the living room of Sig and Sarah. I made my good-bys there and they all laid their hands on me and gave me their blessings for my journey. Fifteen months ago I pulled my Airstream into Sedona not knowing a soul. I sat in classes at the Unity Church for three months before I ever spoke in a group. Today I am overwhelmed by the unconditional love and high vibration of the souls I have pulled into my awareness at this time. I pray I have given them a small piece of the great gift they have given to me.

So I have been asked, “Why would you leave such a place of light and comfort for the insecurity and scariness of the great unknown?”

That is hard to answer. Sometimes you just have to trust the part of yourself that seems to know something you can’t quite put into words. We call it guidance, and sometimes it shows up in bold letters on the wall, and sometimes it’s only a “still small voice”. Either way, it’s important to pay attention.

And I’m reminded of the lyrics to the song by Cat Stevens that inspired the name of this blog in the first place: “There’s so much left to know, and I’m on the road to find out.”

More to come – and more often. On the road in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

John Berry Deakyne
The Sedona WordSmith

Monday, July 26, 2010

I AM JUST THREE DAYS OLD

I am reborn. Just when I think life cannot get more profound, it does. I spent three days recently participating in what was previously known as chaplain training for the Unity Church of which I am a member. I say “previously known” because it could not be compared to any chaplain training you would imagine.

On Thursday night I participated in a heart opening ceremony. The power of love in the room was tangible and transformative and purifying. Our teacher, Mark Pope, invoked the final 225 Cathars who were burned at the stake (by the church) because they would not forsake their conviction that there is no teaching higher than that of the transformed heart.

The heart represents, within the world of form, the direct point of contact with the divine. When we touch our hand to our “heart center” we may be reminded of who we really are; of our birthright to the gifts and the power of our creator.

The opening of my heart on Thursday was a prerequisite for undergoing my death on Friday. The transformative cycle of death and rebirth has been a recurring theme in these pages, but the recent ceremony brought it blazing into the forefront of my awareness. My last blog spoke of my personal experience with the “Tower Card” from the Tarot, and the actual drawing of the card by myself and my dear friend certainly predicted our immersion into this process.

We put on the black clothing and solemnly and slowly walked against the movement of the sun and the stars as we unscrewed our attachment to our lives.  In the last two hours of my life I placed all the disparate pieces of this existence on the altar, finishing with my will, my plans and my desires. I gave them up freely and watched them burn. I felt as though my mind had completely dissolved, and I was quiet for a long time afterward. Still, I could not resist reflecting for some time with my co-journeyer.

Meredith and I had already scheduled our six-week workshop entitled, The Earth School for Souls. Then on the second day of our new lives we stood up in church and welcomed all others to join us on this extraordinary journey. The timing is beyond our comprehension, and we simply attempt to accept and enjoy the overwhelming inflow of grace.

We are energized and excited to bring this opportunity to our beloved community. We will be using many different tools such as guided meditation, automatic writing, ritual and ceremony to step through our individual stories of hurt and pain into the light of our own truth and power.

If you are in the Sedona area, the workshop will be offered on Mondays starting August 2nd for six weeks; 6:30 – 8:30PM in the sanctuary of Unity Church, 65 Deer Trail Drive. $10 suggested donation per session, $50 for the whole six weeks. We will be reading the book, “A Hit of Heaven – a soul’s journey through illusion” which we will provide at a discounted rate of $10 a copy. We will likely cut off pre-registration when thirty persons have signed up.

Today is just the third day of my new life, or I don’t know, it could be the first day again, I’m losing track. It is coming clearer; as my willingness to love myself increases, my capacity for loving you seems to know no bounds.

P.S.  Roger Wyer and I facilitated a mini-workshop on Sunday afternoon focused on expressing awakening moments through writing.  We had a beautiful group of folks willing to experiment with us, many of whom had never written a poem and today are amazing and talented poets.  Roger's website:  http://www.bizworksstudio.com/index.html

If you have questions about the workshop or would like to pre-register call me at (707) 799-7662 or e-mail at jbdeakyne@yahoo.com
Link to Meredith Davis’ blog, “On Raven Wings”: http://starravenblog.blogspot.com
If you are interested in the book, "A Hit of Heaven" by Andrea Avari, and cannot make the workshop, it is available on Amazon.com or at her website: http://www.andreaavari.com/_index.html
Link to Unity of Sedona:  http://www.unitysedona.org/index.html  for more information on the workshop and other special events.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

WE ARE IN THE THICK OF IT!

You will remember that the title of my first novel invokes the “Tower Card” from the Tarot deck. The lead character in the novel draws the “tower” and proceeds to lose everything he thinks matters, only to discover that loss is the prerequisite for being reborn into something transcendent. It is his story and it is my story.

My work on the novel required me to study and contemplate the “tower” archetypes at length and in depth. And although I have lived the “tower” experience, I had never literally drawn the “tower” for myself . . . UNTIL TODAY! This is one more wave of an energetic ocean I have been immersed in for the past several weeks, and it feels just right.

When I drew the card, I laughed out loud and then I flashed on the advice given by Mark Pope during the class where I first started learning about the Tarot. He said if you draw the Tower Card, “Immediately – get on your knees.” I did. I set my heart to receive, and very quickly got a piece of scripture from II Corinthians: “Old things are passed away, behold all things are become new.”

I got off my knees and looked up the verse in my father’s tattered old King James. He had portions underlined, and the page was book marked by a 1960’s mimeographed bulletin for the Quincy Baptist church where he was pastor. I had an overwhelming feeling of a “presence” across my shoulders and down my back, causing goose-bumps to pop out on my arms and legs.

The bulletin announced the coming of Christmas and the promise of the birth of the Christ. I was six years old when it was printed. 

We are in the thick of it. Nothing old can stand against the awakening of spirit. I called my good friend and co-journeyer, Meredith, to tell her about my latest renewal, only to hear that she had also drawn the “tower” for herself this morning. I hear Walter Cronkite saying, “And that’s the way it is.” This cycle of death to the old and diving into newness has become “ordinary”.  It looks like the nature of our existence from now on.

Later on this morning I caught sight of myself in the mirror. I looked harder to see if I could detect the latest change; or the abundant changes that have washed over me this year. I looked to see if this really was the character in my book which has to lose everything in order to save his life. I heard this: “You don’t have to lose everything.” I repeated the phrase and felt a presence that I have experienced only a few times, but is now rapidly becoming the everyday.

We are integrating what we have known and what we have experienced into this journey. We open our arms and our hearts to the thrust of grace. We accept the gifts and we bring them into our lives, our work, and our walk.

I have had another piece of scripture floating through my awareness, one I have carried around for decades. My friend reminds me that the prophet, Jeremiah is the author of “Lamentations” which is a long commiseration about being abandoned by God. The one high point speaks to me now. It says, God’s love never ceases; it is reborn at every sunrise and never ends. The verse concludes with the well known phrase, “Great is thy faithfulness.”  Hear this with your new ears: God is faithful to us!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

BUY A BOAT!

There are no neutral actions; no neutral words; no neutral events. In the world of form we learn that every action produces an opposite and equal reaction. Everything that occurs within our awareness, on the wide screen of our life experience; everything is there to instruct us. It may be slight, or it may be a hammer to the head.

Can you believe that sometimes I notice the subtle events and the gentle lessons, but miss the ones that explode in my face? Still, we are learning to pay attention. We are learning to honor the changes that occur within our line of sight that have come to temper us and make us fit for the time before us.

I made an informed prediction last month that the summer months would bring us all significant challenges and energetic shifts. It would be a rollercoaster ride with ecstatic highs and earth shaking lows. I said:

“It looks like the summer is going to kick our collective asses, and June is a MF. Hold on tight, looks like our circumstances might take a good shaking.”

I can’t speak for anyone else, but June certainly delivered for me. And in spite of my preparation, it was a huge surprise that knocked me down like ten-pins at the bowling alley. Now, remember, there are no neutral words. Did I draw this reality into my experience with my words? Since it was my own construction, it was a true rollercoaster ride, so I built in some impossible heights and more than one “loop-de-loop”. And, because I was the engineer, I put in a predictable dip into the dark places: fear, self-doubt, and worry.

I do hear from others that our circumstances are taking a shaking. And we are avoiding the fluidity of the ground in favor of the sure embrace of the current. I don’t like to give advice, but recently a friend was talking to me about the feeling of being tossed about, and her first conditioned response was to dig in and get rooted. I told her to abandon the seeking of security, and to buy a boat.

For myself, I feel guided to give up my comfortable house in favor of placing wheels beneath my feet. I am a little in awe of my own lack of fear. It is simple. I am just waiting, and I have no doubt that if I make a place for knowing in me, knowing will come.

Now what am I to make of the rest of the summer? It cannot be finished with me yet. I have been promised experiences of childish fun and great joy, and I have been too long without those three-letter items. My path has been pretty serious up to now, and the fourth of July weekend was my gate to joy and a greater lightness of being.

Here’s my last illustration: I burned myself twice this weekend. Once was from boiling hot water from one of those pump pots for making hot tea. The other one was from the edge of a tray I had pulled from a 500 degree gas grill. The round tray left a long graceful burn on my upper arm that did not hurt at first, and now is morphing into a “special effects” gnarly scar. It will not go away quickly and when I consider it, I feel like it is trying to tell me something. What do they say about “twice burned”? Could it be that simple? Okay, I’ll be more careful when I pull a tray off a hot grill. And now I look at the word: “careful”. I need to be full of care, not just for others, but for myself.

And you need to care for yourself. I have been working with the image of a rose this week which I imagine growing from my heart. Two different wise women told me to place myself into the center of the rose. You will do the same. It is not selfish. Care for yourself first, so you are able to care for others. First place the oxygen mask over your own nose and mouth, then attend to others.

Yes I know it wasn't my last illustration (paragraph 9); I had two more.  Don't you just love a metaphor?  Thanks to my friend Tricia for this weeks photo.

Monday, June 28, 2010

MY GOD WHAT A JOURNEY WE ARE ON!

I am so happy today for my friend and teacher Meredith,  who has just put up her first blog:

http://starravenblog.blogspot.com/

She is a remarkable spiritual teacher and guide who has been reluctant to put herself out into the blogosphere. I can relate very well to this hesitation and I look out on you all and see an abundance of talent and ability that is covered up and hidden.

The writer in me was hidden for years and years. I always knew he was there, and he would venture out from time to time to lay down a few lines, then he would quickly scurry back to the security of some dark and secret place. I was keeping it all to myself, and now I see that I was not only cheating myself, I was keeping myself from you. I have been guided in the last months to realize that it is a grave error to hoard you gifts. When they are shared with the world, that action stands to bring you personal joy and abundance.

What an amazing thing it is to make yourself available to whatever is blowing your way. For me, my hidden personas could not fully emerge until I had undergone a radical opening. The opening made me so vulnerable that taking the next steps did not seem so scary.

It bears repeating here, that at the time I was feeling so enthused about emerging as “the writer” and feeling confident that I had finally realized my true self, I met with my teacher, Mark Pope. He leaned across the table and said tenderly, “You know, John, the next one you’re going to have to wake up from is the writer.” I leaned back in my chair and thought to myself, “Oh shit!” Because I knew in a flash that he was right.

“The writer” is not who I really am. But I had fixated for so long on that goal, that when I had achieved it, I thought I had arrived. Now it is just a funny story. When I understand who I really am and stand in that truth, “the writer” is available to me at any time. He is not an elusive mystical persona; he is an aspect of me that I can utilize. He is the hammer, but I hold the tool in my hand. Every realization is another opening.

And just when I think I cannot be any more open, something else shows up and points me further down The Road to Find Out. This last week I participated with some beautiful and masterful teachers in what they called Shamanic Breath-work. I had heard about the process and frankly was a little frightened of the practice. The work involves placing yourself into a trance state, and I was not sure my active mind would let me go there.

They instructed us to practice the breath up to the point that we were surprised. And I wondered, “Surprised by what?” I found out. The months of work I had done in Sedona prepared me for this moment, just at this time. I went into the altered state quite easily. That was the surprise! And I journeyed. I flew through the air, I swam in the ocean like a fish, and I even tunneled into the earth and was reborn as a tree. I don’t remember encountering the element “fire” but when I came out, I felt like the whole experience could be called “standing in the fire”.

I was brought out of the trance by a soft heart-beat drumming and the gentle voice of Linda Star Wolf:. http://shamanicbreathwork.org/  I was reluctant and slow to return. At the end of the process my body had become quite heavy and felt like it was sinking into the floor.

But I was brought back by the soft touch of my co-journeyer, Meredith, who welcomed me home with an embrace. I was overwhelmed by what can only be called divine love for her and all the others in the room, most of whom I didn’t even know. “You, the white-haired guy in the black shirt, ‘I love you.’ And the couple from Cornville, ‘I love you too.’”

Today I praise the summer, and embrace the joy and fun that the season promises.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

BOYS WILL BE BOYS

Today, my body is a jumbled mess of sensations and vibrations. I have the post partum feelings of birthing a novel. I have the stimulation of all the synchronistic encounters I seem to have daily within the magical city limits of Sedona. I have the pure joy of spending time with friends who seem to know my soul and who reveal themselves to me without shame. I have the bottomless well of surprising and transcendent experiences.

Today it all adds up to ecstasy and bliss, and I am of no use to the world, so don’t ask me to look under your hood or to untangle your illusions. Praise God, I am of no use to you today!

And I don’t know where this writing will take me, because I am sitting down with no plan, no preconceptions, and no agenda.

I said I would say something about the men’s group I frequent, so let’s do that. I have mentioned here before that a critical movement in my own spiritual awakening was the experience of what might be called an emotional break which led to an opening. The form that delivered the opportunity for breaking appeared to me as a woman, and that is fully consistent with my past patterns and history with women.

I told my friend and teacher that I had a history of giving too much and giving in too easily to the will of women in my life. She said, “Yes.” So I asked, “Can you see that?”

And like the fragile flower that she is, she delicately replied, “Ray Charles could see that!”

I knew she was being sarcastic, because Ray Charles is . . . dead.

So it is fitting and appropriate that a woman showed me where to break. But when I needed a safe place to land; a place where I could put my opening on display without fear. That was provided by the men in my Sacred Circle, the gratitude circle I attend on Saturday mornings. I had permission to be vulnerable there, because so many of them had opened already and showed their soft underbellies, something men are conditioned to avoid at all cost in our culture.

It bears telling, that the women in the circle were the ones who first showed us the advantages of being open and defenseless. And being men, we quickly co-opted the practice as our own.

So that brings us to the small group of men who have just started meeting on the deck of Mark’s cabin on a jagged bluff overlooking Oak Creek. The 360 degree vistas are of rolling, high-desert tundra, mountains, and endless sky. We grill meat, and tell off-color jokes, and belch and scratch our asses when they itch. I said I wouldn’t tell about all the swearing, or the farting, or about peeing off the side of the deck. So I won’t.

It seems that although we are men who are attempting to embrace our own feminine energy, the adage still holds true, that “boys will be boys.”

We also played flutes and softly beat a drum. We sat quietly and absorbed the blessing of the setting sun, and we watched the stars come out, one by one. We marveled at the brightness of Venus, and discussed the movement of the planets, the stars and the constellations. And I thought, “All these gentle men.”

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Tower Card - It's the End of Your World

I am in a writing workshop this week giving birth to the second novel in the Tarot Series, and it is trying to come out breech.  My lovely niece just gave birth to a beautiful baby girl, so she might disagree that my process is similar. The first book will shortly be available in both hard copies and as an E-book, so I am going to print a small sample here, so you can get a taste of the style and the content.  These are the very first paragraphs of the book:


PROLOGUE - THE TOWER CARD

This is the story, the journey of Adam, who here will move from deep sleep to blessed awakening. He is me – but he is another seeker. Like me, his whole world will need to fall into shambles before he can become his true Self.


It started downtown on the plaza – it was a fundraiser for the town museum. There was a scattering of homemade booths selling baked goods next to the farmers’ market. She, Cherie, was busy as usual making the rounds. She would chat up every wealthy person – man or woman – she could spot. At some point she would laugh and throw back her head full of thick yellow hair, laying her hand softly on the arms of silver-haired gentlemen who would delight at her touch and her attention, cementing her into their memory next time they wanted to buy or sell a house. Or, they would send her their friend from the city who needed a wine country retreat and who expected to be treated with due deference.

She would not surface for hours, and the husband, Adam, would be reduced to amusing himself with looking at fresh Bing cherries and tables of pottery. At one point, when she had completely focused her attention on another, Adam saw his opening and pulled away from her considerable gravity.

He was moving to the center of the plaza when he noticed a small child, a little girl about three years old, looking all around for what must be a missing parent, just on the brink of tears. Adam conducted a quick search of the area looking for any potential owners, and then he squatted down to engage the small being. She was a cherub with beautiful red curls falling over her eyes and onto her red tinted cheeks. She was on the edge of exploding. He said, “Where is your mommy?”

At the word “mommy” she roared with overwhelming fear and desperation. He had kicked open the floodgates and now the tears and wailing poured out. Adam was quite startled by the sudden show of emotion, still squatting, and afraid to touch the poor child, but wanting to comfort her. He held out his arms to her, hoping to lift her to some official table where they would be able to locate the mommy. Suddenly, the mommy was over him, hovering, like a raptor. She swooped in and swept the screaming child into her arms. Mommy quickly transported the tiny being out of reach, glaring at him with eyes full of fury and reproach.

A small crowd had gathered around the spectacle and Adam finally rose to a standing position, the onlookers still gazing at him with suspicion. He brought up both his hands, palms to the sky, and said, “What?”

He escaped the mob before they could gather torches and pitchforks and continued his move to the center of the plaza looking for a refuge. “What’s that, a chair?”

Monday, June 7, 2010

PUSHING OFF INTO THE FLOW

Today, I am on day six of the “Master Cleanse”. I am taking the cleanse to prepare myself for the upcoming writing workshop where I plan to write the whole first draft of my second novel. This will be the second in the series of “Tarot” themed books, and it is currently untitled.

When I heard about “the cleanse” I looked at my calendar and saw that I had exactly ten days to the retreat, and the recommended time for the process is ten days. It felt just right, so I started immediately. My diet is limited to pure water with fresh lemon juice, maple syrup, and cayenne pepper. I can also have unflavored water and herbal tea. No food, no coffee, no caffeine at all, no beer, no wine, no hot dogs.

Yes, it is extreme – and extreme is exactly what is called for. My friend is also doing a cleanse and we are giving each other support and encouragement during this time. She explained that this should be approached as sacred ceremony. We enter this experience with reverence and respect. We are witness to the body doing what it was built to do. We are witness to the symptoms of detoxification. It is a wonder to behold.

This process forces me to go into myself. There is time freed up from eating, and food preparation, and thinking about and planning meals and snacks. Now is the time to go inward; the pieces that need to be noticed will rise in my awareness and now will be the time to give them my attention. If there is one predominant purpose for this fasting, it is for the gaining of clarity. I need that for my writing, and even more so for my living.

I won’t say that every moment so far has been painless; but right now I am not hungry, my mind is clear, I feel calm and at peace. The world is vivid; the sun graces the lawn and the tree tops. A bunch of daisies outside my window have just opened this morning, to promise me my daily delivery of grace and rebirth.

We are all in the process of being transformed. My process is aided by frequent visits to the creek. It has been transcendent to sit on the smooth sandstone and dangle my feet into the clear, cold, cleansing flow of water. I have set there with a friend and the most profound moments have been the silences between speaking.

We have seen a pair of young Golden Eagles dancing in the tree tops. We have watched the wild ducks and ducklings ride the quick water. We have watched the sunlight play on the surface of the undulating flow, causing a myriad display of impossible colors and textures. We have sensed the presence of unseen beings floating through; we have merged with them and recognized our unity, our oneness.

I am reminded of the story of the Buddha, who dangled his foot into the stream and was overtaken by the sudden understanding that his stretch of water was connected to all the water everywhere. In an instant he sensed the river into which the stream emptied, and the delta and the ocean, and all the seas and oceans and rivers and streams that were connected to this water. He sensed the swampy headwater of this stream and the mighty mountains that fed the flow. In an instant, he was connected to all that is, all that has been and all that will ever be.

So I will return often to the creek to plunge my feet into the everlasting. And I will take its lesson that now it is critical to stay in the flow of spirit. I will push off from clinging to the stable rocks along the water's edge, and cast myself into mystery and adventure and the sure push of divine love.

Monday, May 31, 2010

WHO WOULDN'T WANT TO LIVE IN A COCOON?

It’s Memorial Day in Sedona. There is a possibility that it is also Memorial Day somewhere else – but I cannot speak to that. A friend recently told me, “You live in a cocoon.” And that sounds true. I understand that elsewhere, folks are concerned about elections and the performance of the president; funny.  I have heard about the oil well disaster but most of my contemporaries simply shake their heads; of course that would be next. Could it be otherwise?

Do not misunderstand me. Just because we live in a cocoon, does not mean that we are exempt from the deluding insanity that is the everyday existence of the collective consciousness. We are you, and you are we and we must all take responsibility for the fantastically beautiful and horrible mess we have constructed. One difference may be that many of us here are attempting to vibrate at a new and unheard of frequency. We understand that we are all amazingly creative beings, and we have no choice now but to begin the transformation of the planet.

Sometimes it feels like we live at the epicenter of the New Earth. I actually hope that is not true. I pray that these centers exist all over the planet and that the energy we create is like a ripple on still water; ripples that radiate outward and connect with the ones that are also spreading across the planet.

Let me speak to the mindset of my dear friends and family who embrace traditional Christian practice. All this talk of the New Earth should resonate with you. It is a reference to the thousand year reign of Christ that is ordained in the book of Revelation. Open yourself to the possibility that the prophecy has been misunderstood or misstaught over the last century. Christian churches are constantly separating themselves from each other because of their different interpretations of “end times” scripture. Why do we quibble about the order of events, the timeline, and the logistics? It just seems silly, now that we are here.

If we look at the track-record of Jesus the Nazarene we will see how we could easily miss the obvious. Why was Jesus not accepted as the Messiah by his own people, from his time to the present? It is because his entry onto the scene did not match their preconceptions or their interpretation of scripture. They were expecting the sky to open and for their savior to appear in form holding a terrible sword, riding a white horse, and wearing a countenance full of wrath. Sound familiar? Where they wrong? Are you?

I’m not sure if the disciples were really as stupid as they appear in the gospels or if that was just a teaching technique. But Jesus is constantly repeating to them that the essential elements for experiencing the Kingdom of Heaven are things that are subtle and unseen. They did not even fully understand the second coming of Christ that literally hit them over the head when they received the baptism of the Holy Spirit as described in the book of Acts. This event was the foreshadowing of the third, fourth, hundredth and thousandth coming of Christ that most of us also did not notice, because we were blinded by belief.

I am as certain that the Christ walks this planet crust at this time, as anything I have ever known, because I have seen him. I have seen him in the eyes of the others who sit with me in the sacred circle. I have felt him in the gentle touch, freely given, that heals my broken heart. I have seen him in the mirror.

This evening I will sit with friends and enjoy hot dogs and potato salad and a good micro-brew. I know you were thinking: sprouts and tempeh loaf and wheat grass. See, maybe we really are “One.”

Memorial Day is for remembering, so let us remember who we truly are and why we are here.
Now . . . everybody vibrate!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

I AM HERE BEHIND THE WOUNDED ONES

I yearn. It is an activity that is beyond hoping and beyond trying. It is an ache combined with desire. The objects of this existence will not line up nicely for me, though I set them in order again and again. So I must tear the world down repeatedly and undertake its reconstruction.

I yearn to be complete again. The knowing of the perfect one I am is just outside my remembering. The conditioning and the constructions that separate my awareness from my perfection have not all slipped away. Still it is “I” who peek around the ones who shelter me from your gaze. You may not see consciousness when you look at me unless you look with perfect eyes.

I am here, behind the wounded ones; behind the broken ones; behind the chained ones; behind the ones with shattered hearts. There are so many pieces of me to look past, but won’t you try?

And in my quest, it has proven mandatory that I be made completely open to the rampant hurricane breath of the divine. My opening has not been gentle, but so poetic that it be delivered by a loved one.

She was the rock I leaned upon when there was so much turmoil in me. And when the support was taken away, I was taught how to stand. Yet I misunderstood the metaphor. I misjudged that rocks were only for support; something to hold onto in a storm. But ships are wrecked upon the rocks, and a rock may be a deadly weapon in certain hands. This one, applied just right, cracked me open.

I am grateful for the opening, if not for the breaking. But there is no opening without breaking, so I must humbly give thanks for that as well. It is the opening that reveals how closely lie the peaceful grassy hillsides and the still, quenching waters of tranquility.

It is the opening that informs me that I need not bother trying to manage circumstances or relationships. My own management of these matters has been found lacking. But surrendering them is no easy task for Capricorn Rising. He likes to have a hand in things.

It is the opening that reveals to me the heartbreaking existence of so many of my other expressions, and my love goes out to you full of joy and tears. We will all find our own way, in our own time.

Today I laughed and danced, lifted my voice to the rafters. I kissed my partner on both cheeks, and in saying good-by, kissed the beautiful reflection of my best self – the Beloved on the mouth.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

IT'S ALWAYS HERE!

My previous very bad week steered me on Monday morning toward a Sedona Method support group. I got involved with “the Method” last summer and have continued to use many of the techniques I learned, but it had been some months since I had been to a group. I felt a bit like an alcoholic who has been skipping meetings.

I was happy to see Elizabeth was facilitating the meeting, having met her some months before. And when the only other person to show up was my friend Debi, I felt very safe and at home. When it was my turn to be taken through a release, I presented a condensed version of the external challenges I had been facing. But the part that was most on my mind was a profound feeling of sadness that I surmised to be some deep wound that I could not exactly name.

Even though I did not present that piece at that time, it is exactly what came up for me during the question and response cycle. Elizabeth kept asking me questions and I kept saying yes. I said yes to allowing the hurt to enter my awareness, and I said yes to letting it leave. I felt what I would call a nice normal release, and then she asked me what I was feeling now.

I said I was feeling calmness. Then she asked me if the calmness had just arrived, or if it had been there all along. I answered without thinking. “It’s always here.” I could not get all the syllables out without choking up. This emotionality was completely unexpected and the tears rolled out of my eyes though I was not sobbing.

I don’t know how long it lasted. It might have been just a flash, but for that instant I was not separate in any way from the others in the room, or any others anywhere for that matter. It was a glimpse of Oneness, and when Elizabeth asked me now what I was feeling – the only word that came to me was “gratitude.”

It is easy for me to understand the presence of God, intellectually. And I embrace the suggested solution to suffering of just stepping into the One Presence; the true self. But the honest experience of this awareness cannot be achieved through effort. This one came as a great gift when it was completely unexpected and there was no effort on my part to get it. It was grace.

Now this is a good example of non-abiding awakening, because I could not maintain this level of awareness indefinitely. But the experience buoyed me for days because of my understanding that peace is at hand and available. And this knowledge still lifts me, even though I have returned to a comparatively mundane existence.

Let me recap. It was difficulty that brought me to this point. And it was absolute surrender that opened me. It helps that I was guided by a conscious gentle being. And I was ready. It was a prophet who once said, “You don’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you get what you need.” Join with me this week in opening to the welcoming of grace in our lives – undefined and unrestricted.  It’s always here!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

With a Cherry on Top!

I am celebrating my 10th month in Sedona, and if anyone asks, I say, “I’m from here.” This is my home. It is not bragging for me to say I have not had what could be called a "bad week" since I arrived here last July.

That is not to say, I have not been challenged – I have. And those challenges have required a tremendous amount of inquiry and processing – if not effort and labor. Because the bulk of that work has been internal does not lessen its importance. In fact, it is the internal demons that most stand in the way of our peace and happiness. And it is the internal work that most promises to deliver us from suffering, both inside and out.

So, why did I choose this week to pull an abundance of external challenges into my awareness? I still don’t know why and I may never know. I am okay with not knowing. I have faith that it was all needed for my development and that it is also all in divine order. Though, it occurs to me that I needed to have something more in my awareness for comparison purposes.

I will not detail you to death, here – let me just offer you a slice. My computer crashed on Monday. Okay, the machine is four years old and on its 2nd hard drive. Though I commiserate about the disposability of this technology, I accept it. The laptop had seen me through the most tumultuous years of my life, and it was worn out.

So, when I took the notebook to the Best Buy tech, he tells me there’s nothing on the hard drive to retrieve. Now, I know that can’t be true, because I personally placed over a hundred poems on there . . . and a novel . . . and two screenplays . . . and all my banking. So, don’t tell me there’s nothing there.

The resolution of this challenge was not impossible, it simply required time and attention I had scheduled for work I actually wanted to do. After this event, there was a piling on of external difficulties, including a home visit from a Coconino County officer who wondered if I had forgotten to respond to that photo speeding ticket I had received from them some time ago. I said, “yes.”

Then, the culmination of the week was an unexpected return of a now familiar piece of “shadow” connected to an ancient and deep wounding in me. When it arrived, I said aloud, “Thank you, God!” Because I needed a cherry to sit atop this shit-pile. It seems there was one more layer to this particular point of pain, and the good news is – it feels like the last installment. We will see.

Now, on the first day of a new week – I don’t have hope, I have assurance – that all is well. I am kicking off from the side of the stream and I will let the current take me where it will.

For those of you in the greater Sedona area, I will be reading a new performance-piece poem this Thursday, 5 – 6:30PM, at Java Love Coffee House. It might be good and even have a laugh or two.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

The Dreamer and the Medicine Man

Something one of my teachers, Timothy Buzzard, said today sparked a focused remembrance in me. He said, we can all remember the awakening moment in our experience that changed everything – that mandated that we never be able to see or understand anything the same way again.

It took me about two seconds to place the event; for me it was a series of events, but at the time I had no frame of reference for understanding what had happened in my awareness. It took years for me to really understand, though I knew I had been changed.  I knew nothing would ever be the same.

It was the late seventies, and a friend of mine invited me to go with him to the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota to sit in some ceremonies put on by a rather obscure Medicine Man named Dawson No-Horse. At the time I was working in an urban Indian Center in Lincoln, Nebraska and was fascinated with everything Indian. I had already set in on a Native American Church ceremony – listened to the songs, heard the prayers, and even took some peyote. I found the experience empty and uninspiring. The peyote made me sick and I had to leave the ceremony halfway through.

The Lakota ceremonies provided a different insight. I participated in the Inipi (sweat lodge), the Yuwipi and numerous Chanupa (pipe) ceremonies. The details are not needed here. I was a young man, in my early twenties and still attended a traditional Christian church. I was raised in the church, and though I was tolerant and even curious about other religions, I was a true believer.

The Lakota ceremonies did not contradict any of my beliefs, but they surely showed me that the narrow traditions in which I had been raised could not possibly hold all the mysteries. I was forced to question absolutely everything I believed to be true. Up was down. In was out. Black was white. My religion, the belief system in which I had been indoctrinated since birth, was insufficient. There was more to man and God and the Universe, and I was just on the brink of discovery.

I have heard it said that for those who have had a profound supernatural experience, they are of no use in the conventional world. That certainly felt true for me. I could see that I was smart enough and industrious enough to manipulate the world of form in such a way to get money and things – but I could never fully believe in the value of doing so.  I went to work – to get more stuff – but my heart was never in it. All my success in the material world was fleeting. This was often disconcerting to a partner who could also see those possibilities and could not understand that the rewards I sought lacked substance and texture.

The other piece that Timothy provided today is this: once a person has given himself to the process of awakening, the only practical function left for us in the world of form is to be of service. We may be of service to others, or we may purely be of service to Awakening itself.  We are witness to spirit, source, soul, consciousness; whatever you want to call it, waking up to who and what it really is. This is our sacred calling. This is our function on the New Earth.

I am finding that being of service to Awakening can be rewarding, even within the world of form. Maybe a dreamer, a poet, a seeker really can be of use on the planet.

Imagine.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Update on Smokey - the Needy One

I have gotten several requests for an update on Smokey’s progress. As I mentioned before, the dog had many challenges. It is no coincidence that he could not find a home he could keep. I was prepared to deal with all those challenges, including electrifying my gates to try to keep him contained. What I did not foresee was his great dislike for my roommate.

Smokey had a violent reaction to this man from their first encounter. I personally tried to get the two of them together on three different occasions and the dog’s reaction was the same. He wanted to eat my roommate’s face. This situation was puzzling to me given the fact that the dog was so affectionate and friendly toward me. He even warmly greeted the stranger next door who happened by to borrow a yard rake.

The bottom line is this: I returned Smokey to his previous home where he had already closely bounded with Linda. She and her husband have agreed to keep him indefinitely while they attempt to condition him to tolerate their two other elderly dogs. So, Smokey got a nice outing to red rock country and has been returned to a place that will keep and nurture him.

When I returned to my dog-less home, I lit some sage and blessed every corner and hallway. There was a palpable negative energy left behind by Smokey’s deep wounding and the roommate’s misplaced anger. I wish I could say that I had enough personal strength to lift this dog out of its darkness. But, that is unknown to me. All I know is that I was willing to try.

So, now, what do we do with the roommate? The dog gave him a gift; an opportunity to face whatever darkness the dog could see that the rest of us could not. I was blessed during the days I lived with Smokey, to visit with my new friend, Belle, who provides help for humans with the use of her horses. She told me the story of her gentle, docile horse who responded to an individual by laying its ears back, baring its teeth, and charging the person. It sounded very familiar.

It is not evident to me that the roommate will see this as an opportunity for growth and learning. And it is not my responsibility to force the issue. Sometimes we do a disservice by trying to help someone before it is their time to heal or otherwise awaken.

Maybe the lesson is this: absolutely everything that comes into our awareness is invited; the good, the bad, and the ugly. I still have learning to do. I still have growth to experience. I still have a need for loss and rebirth. So I release the wounded dog and the troubled roommate. They will find their way.

Monday, April 19, 2010

We Will Have To Go On Breathing

I have a new dog in my home. Smokey is another rescue dog and we are deciding if he can stay. He has some problems – like jumping six foot fences and attacking other dogs. One of his greatest problems comes from the insecurity he feels for having been shuttled from one temporary home to another over his brief three years of life.

It becomes clear to me that we are both wounded animals. We have both suffered from neglect, rejection, disappointment. Both of us imagine humans have let us down, so we are both healing. The dog needs love, attention, structure and a secure unchanging home life.

For me, it is not so simple. When I feel wounded for experiencing too much loss, I think I must let the hurt rise in my awareness – I think I must go through the entirety of the fire even if the result is to become so much ash. We all know the story of the Phoenix, and I rest in that assurance.

And what of the hurt that rises from giving too much love? Kahil Gibran says that as “love crowns you so shall he crucify you.” He gives you the sustenance to rise to great heights and he descends to the roots of your being to “shake them in their clinging to the earth.”

One of my favorite movies is Castaway with Tom Hanks. I have seen it several times and have watched the ending of it many more times, because it speaks to me. I chanced again upon the ending scenes of this movie yesterday, and I could not look away. Tom’s fiance has remarried and had a child while he was cast away and presumed dead. He reconnects with her and there is a moment in the film when we believe she may leave her family and run away with him, her one true love.

When Tom knows for sure that this reunion will not happen, he accepts it and admits to his also wounded friend that he had also seriously considered suicide while on the island. The thing that saves him in both instances is summed up in the quote that graces the ending.  He says, “I will have to go on breathing, because tomorrow the sun is going to rise, and you never know what the tide will bring you.”

So the jury is still out on Smokey, and it is still out on John Deakyne.  Once again, the experience of loss carves us deep so we may hold more blessing. I cannot imagine what the tide will bring me, for I have been so overwhelmed with wonder and surprise over these last several months. And I am still overwhelmed that I am swimming in a sea of unlimited potential and need only open my mouth and my arms and my heart to receive its gifts.

I will continue to open myself to love’s "enfolding wings" and love’s wounding – and we will see what the next new day will bring.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Coupling On the New Earth

Men and women – women and women – men and men – how are we to be on this New Earth? It seems apparent that all the old patterns no longer apply. They supplied us for a time and their usefulness is done. And, especially for those of us who are starting over, what can we construct that is better than the tired institutions of traditional marriage – traditional relationships?

Many of us are anxious to not repeat the mistakes of the past and to engage with others in a way that supports and blesses. This should not be a new concept, but it is. It is ironic that we hear folks clamoring about the sanctity of traditional marriage when that institution has its roots simply in the transfer of ownership of women from one man to another. Not a great foundation for so-called family values.

And just because Jesus made wine at a wedding does not mean he sanctioned the institution. I’m thinking he was probably so distraught because they sang “Oh Promise Me” that he needed a stiff drink.

I believe there are some relationships in our awareness that are grounded in unconditional love and deep and sacred affection. And many of us, who have failed in the past, are now not willing to accept anything less. We have settled for bits and pieces; we have settled for the half-serving but now we require the greater portion. Nothing else will do.

We do not seek to alter the other who brings us too little – that would be contrary to the value of loving unconditionally. But, here’s the thing: You can still love that other, yet not be willing to remain linked with him/her. It is better to be alone than to be with someone who brings you too little of their time, too little of their affection, too little of their attention.

So we boldly go where none have gone before. We are not seeking our significant other. We are not looking for our soul mate – that is one of the traps that kept us in relationships that did not bless us. We are not in search of someone to complete us – we are complete already. The whole process of coupling takes on a different complexion when we are fully aware of who we are – we are already whole and perfect, so connecting with another does not make us better.

Then why do we couple at all? I have to say it is for the pure joy of sacred union and the blessed heart to heart relationship. We recognize our own unique divinity but we have been dropped into the world of form for a reason – and it seems one of those reasons is to enjoy and appreciate the company of the other. This may be the highest example of love – the recognition of “oneness” in each other. What a beautiful experience it is to look deep into your lover’s eyes and see yourself looking back at you.

Those of you who are maintaining traditional relationships – I challenge you to nurture unconditional love between each other and to view your coupling as a holy sacrament.  I challenge the rest of us to be courageous and to make room for others to appear in our awareness. When you surrender to the undefined appearance of grace in your life, prepare to be “startled by God.”

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Wishing You a Happy Death, I Mean Easter

It’s called the Passion of the Christ – this whole week before Easter. It starts with the triumphal entry on Palm Sunday, and then quickly moves into all the imagery, and lessons, and mysteries about death. So, it is no coincidence that this week would focus my awareness upon the individual deaths that must occur within us all – so we may each rise again – reborn.

This week – I have undertaken a personal shift that involved releasing my hold on some of the things in my awareness which I value and desire the most. I will confess that the hardest piece of this journey has been releasing my hold on another person who appeared in my awareness – a significant other – upon whom I have become quite dependent for support, love, and direction.

She is perfect – but, if she would just make this tiniest adjustment – it would make all the difference in our relationship. She is wonderful, but, if she just did this instead of that, we would both be immeasurably happier. Do you see the trap? And can you believe that after all this lifetime of learning – I would still bring in the “monkey-mind” to muck this up. Today, I have to bless it all – even the contracted little self who imagines he can improve on perfection.

This process of self-inquiry and releasing has generated a startling emotionality in me this week. Many of you know that while I have been the “sensitive-new-age-guy” for years, I have not been particularly emotional about it. I can generally sit through a tear-jerker movie and analyze the specific techniques the director and the editor are using to elicit an emotive response – all very tidy and clinical.

So, now cut to the teary guy who gets emotional listening to the heartfelt stories of other folks, and who tears up in his big-ass pickup truck just thinking about a poem or a made-up character in a book. I need to be careful about giving this new entity too much space in my awareness. He is not me, either. But I must need him at this time, to get through this stretch of the journey. When I come out the other side – and I will and soon – I will let teary guy melt away.

My teacher, Rev Mark, reminds me that the one watching all this drama unfold is the one true Self, which is uninjured and unaltered by it all.  He nudges me toward bringing Consciousness into my awareness.  There is an indescribable peace here, and I am grateful for remembering.

So, what does all this have to do with death and Easter week? It is an old idea that is little understood. We must die to our old selves to become our True Selves. This is the basis of being “born again” or re-born; twice born. On a practical level I must release the things I most want to keep – whether that is a relationship or my identification with being one type of person or another.

The story that comes to my mind is of Abraham going up the mountain to sacrifice, read: to kill, his son. It was his giving up the thing he most wanted to keep, in order to be in correct alignment with his higher self – his God. Of course, I want Abraham’s experience, where once his faithfulness is adequately tested – he is rewarded with getting to keep the object of his affection. That story foreshadows the Jesus story, where he must give up the thing he most loves, his life, in order to move into his glory. What are you or I willing to give up, to become our best expression of the Christ?

I have experienced deep loss over the last several years – and I had come to believe all that sacrifice would be rewarded with no longer needing to die. Surprise! It is a continual and constant process. The reward is entering into the grace of discovering and living in your own strength – your own truth. This reward I speak of is of our own resurrection on Easter Sunday.

So my wish for you this Easter and all the Sundays to come – is to be resurrected early and often.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Shifting Out of Suffering

I was witness recently to another piece of a remarkable personal transformation taking place within the being of a dear friend. You won’t read about it in the paper – but you should. It would read:

Local Woman Finished with Healing – Moving into her Power

The reason you should read about it in the paper is because it is so rare – it is one of those “man bites dog” stories. And it was only with later reflecting on this simple truth that the enormity of it hit me.

I accept the reality of this shift because I know her, and it sounds and feels true. So it took me off guard when I mentioned this fact to another friend and it was greeted with disbelief – “How can you ever be finished with healing?” This person was almost angry that someone would make that claim.

Of course, when you or I are down in the depths of our being, seeing only the truth of our deep wounding, it feels unlikely that we will ever be finished with this work. Lately, I have been extra-sensitive to the reality of the suffering that occurs within the multitude of those who enter my awareness. I hear it in their voices; I read it in their faces – their eyes; it cries out to me between the things they say. And all I can offer is compassion and encouragement.

What if I could also offer the assurance that the suffering will end? That there is a light at the end of the tunnel and it is not an oncoming train? What if you just got tired of the darkness – and simply moved into the light?

 One of my teachers, Rev. Mark, reminds me that the root meaning of Suffering is: to allow. The suffering he refers to is the self-inquiry that brings us into a greater awareness of our true being. This is not to be confused with “wallowing” in the muck of the sadness, regret, and self-pity we have unnoticeably pulled into our lives.

 We have been conditioned to enjoy the drama of the dis-ease. This reminds me of another Unity pastor who would periodically get down on one knee and implore his congregation to – “Stop being Stupid!” Many of those in our awareness choose illness over wellness; choose sorrow over joy; choose the chains of depression over the liberating power of moving into our destiny – realizing the reason we were born.

 So, I celebrate my companion who is moving into her strength – her Truth. She is exercising an understanding of the mysteries – the teachings of the master – who says – “Don’t you see? Heaven is in the midst of you.” Your reward is here and now. It is your birthright as a child of God, to move into this before you die. The Almighty has given you a precious gift, and you must not leave it unopened.

 I have no doubt that for my friend, from time to time old patterns will arise and thoughts of fear and self-doubt will return. But, I am also sure there will be no wallowing. She will “notice” their arrival, greet them with compassion – like an old friend, and send them on their way. She is teaching us to be gentle with ourselves, and courageous about accepting the gifts that have been given us.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Emerging Man

If you are like the majority of human beings, you only occasionally catch glimpses of your True Self – the part of you that is inextricably connected to the Divine – that rests behind that complex construction of what you call your self. This construction is the part of you that was given a name and imagined itself to be a mother or father or daughter or son.

This construction is not who you really are. Your true self peeks around this other being and knows that it alone is the eternal part of you – and none of your pretending or imagining will ever harm it or diminish it.

The spiritual journey is often characterized as moving closer to God, but it would be more accurate to say it is moving closer to the eternal part of you that is permanently connected to God. That is your access point to the Divine – and no one enters the Kingdom of Heaven but through this “anointed” passage way – it is the Christ in you.

You have encountered your True Self when you have had moments of extreme peace and comfort. You have felt it when your fear and worry have melted away and you are unexplainably courageous and confident. You have felt this Self when everything is falling apart but you have the unknowable assurance that everything will be alright. You have felt this Self when you have attuned yourself to hear that “still, small voice” that rescues you from the fear and despair you have invoked.

Maybe you thought it was God extending her grace to you – and in a way it was. More accurately, it is the piece of God you carry around with you – that is available to you at any moment. It is your key to the Kingdom.

This last week, at the writer’s retreat, I had a close encounter with my True Self which I have named the Emerging Man. This occurred when I entered my heart space and let the book that was in me – pour itself out. This man is not a stranger to me, though he has not been prominent in my awareness for some time.

This Emerging Man is the one who writes the books; he is the one who writes most, if not all, of these posts; he is the one who stands up and delivers a surprising performance at the talent show. This man is fearless and courageous; characteristics that were quite foreign to the beaten-down man he is replacing. I have love and compassion for that former self; the old man, but he has stood in the way for far too long. It is time for him to go.

Those of you, who know me well, have seen both of these entities. And the most intuitive of you have been able to see the True Self even when my projection of the beaten down man was at its peak. I love you for that.

Let me make it clear that I have not fully emerged – it is a process. At the writer’s retreat I came down with a case of Bronchitis – I was literally trying to cough up – to purge – the old man. I have shared with some of you that I think I still have maybe a leg and a foot left to expel. So I am far better off than at the retreat, when the alien was trying to break through my chest.

In my quest for transparency, let me divulge the inner workings of the writer and the blogger here: I am quite happy with the concept of the Emerging Man and know it will somehow end up in a later book. Now, although the “beaten down man” accurately describes my former self, I am not happy with that label. It is too long, it is too narrow, and it is way too sad. And though I have already assigned a friend to find a new title for him – now I am thinking he might simply be called “the alien.” If you think you can do better than that – post a comment with your suggestion. Kindness is not required – I have no particular affection for the former self – even though for many years I mistakenly believed him to be me. With that in mind, know that “the Dirty Smelly Bastard” has already been considered and eliminated.

Post Script: The first draft of the novella, “The Tower Card”, was finished in about five days. We are working on the revision and hope to have something ready to publish in just a few weeks. I have started writing the next novel in the series which has the working title, “The Lovers.”

Friday, March 5, 2010

Do Not Let Me Forget

Dear Friends,

This is my birthday blog; I glance absently out my study window toward the east where I know the sun will rise momentarily over those red cliffs; a robin lands on the dead Juniper outside my window heralding the arrival of spring and absolute newness; the sky is a “blue ovule ready to hatch.” I have logged 56 years in this body.

This is the first time in many years that I have observed or celebrated a birthday, because this year I am not marking time, and I am not filled with regret. I cannot reclaim the lost years and the missed opportunities; I can only move forward fearlessly claiming the immeasurable gifts that come with being present and available. I can’t remember being this happy, ever!

Tomorrow I begin an eight-day writing workshop that promises to help remove the blocks to my creativity and ability to complete and finish my novel. I am so ready for this I am giddy.  Yes, this is me . . . giddy.  And I put myself on notice, with you all as witnesses, that I will complete the 2nd and final draft of my novel before the end of the year. You may inquire about my progress and lift me should I falter.

I have made some wonderful new friends here and I have taken measures this year to try to reconnect with many others I have either lost or neglected. No one I have reached out to has turned me down. You have stretched out your arms to me and said, “John, where you been? Welcome home.”

As I begin to understand my connection with Solitude and peacefully accept it, I have a new appreciation for friends and family. That is why I said to my dear friend, “Do not let me forget, because in the past I have been wasteful.” I will no longer be wasteful of love and friendship.

I am taking many things into the workshop for my assistance. I will take in the understanding that I had to sleepwalk through many of my past years so that now I can more fully appreciate my awakening. And If I grow tired and run out of words, I will touch my hand to my heart center – because I carry you there – and you will give me strength.

This workshop requires the writer make an opening in his heart to allow a connection to the Divine and to facilitate the free flow of creativity. That has been my work here in Sedona these past months so I am more than ready. I am hearing the line from Groucho Marx, “If I was any closer, I’d be behind you.”

One more point about this part of the road. In his class on “Abundance” Mark Pope asked us, as we wrote down the items that encompass our heart’s desire, to move toward the things that scare us. Today, moving into my role as a writer is not so scary. What is more scary is leaving the other stuff behind: the busy-ness of life that kept me so long from being true to my Self no matter what the consequences.

So, do not hesitate and do not fear. Consider the lilies of the field. And seek first the kingdom of Heaven (surrendering to the reason you were born), and everything else will be added unto you. The sun has risen as predicted. Grace is upon us. Happy birthday to me!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Dirty Smelly Child

We all have work to do. An old friend once famously proclaimed, “Hey, we’re all f****ed up.” It is all too human to doubt, to fear, to judge. These voices that come to unwittingly sabotage our happiness we have called The Ego, The Little Me, My Parental Tapes, the Wounded Child, and now – The Shadow. Shadow because this part of the self is mostly hidden, and often operates on a subconscious or unconscious level.

It is helpful for me to visualize and name this shadow-self. To me it is a "wounded child", and he is no longer dark to me. We have been in the process of releasing, forgiving, and blessing, starting with the most obvious items: those others whom we have imagined to have wronged us. I have been working to dissolve the outer layers, and every time I make a breakthrough, I discover something else hidden underneath.

At the bottom of the heap, I find the dirty smelly child. This is the culprit who has caused me so much pain throughout this lifetime. In the past, when he has raised his head, I have shoved him back down. I imagine the “Wack-a-Mole” at the amusement park. Repeatedly I have successfully pressed this presence down so it would not contaminate my conscious self; my thinking.  I did not realize I was pushing him out of my consciousness into my unconsciousness where he could do as he pleased without constraint. OOPS!

How much better it is to hold the dirty smelly child in your consciousness (however disgusting he may be) where you can “notice” him and not be “ruled” by him. This part of me was born in my early childhood when I lived in a house full of women, Mother and sisters, and a Dad who did not have the capability of playing with me. I wanted someone to throw a ball, or wrestle, or play army games. No surprise that my dainty sisters did not oblige. I felt like they excluded me, but the truth is I wanted them to be boys; it’s not their fault they were so girly. And I did not have the intelligence as a little boy to even understand it; I was just hurt – wounded. This seemingly small thing morphed into a force that would negatively affect my relationships with others for years.

It is important to remember that children are stupid. Too harsh? Sorry. Yes, children may be wise beyond their years, but still we would not trust them to make adult decisions or even care for themselves. Yet we allow this force, developed in childhood to rule our lives. And we all have one of these. Even if yours is not so dirty and grimy as mine, you still have one. It’s not my sister’s fault that I felt lonely, or my parents fault for not noticing. I created this reality on my own and it exists ONLY in my awareness – between my ears – never outside of myself – and I have ultimate power over it. You would never leave it to an ill-informed, irrational, illogical child to make major adult decisions for you – but we do. Those are the fears that keep us in jobs we don’t love, in behaviors that rob us of our peace; that keep us in toxic unions and out of relationships that bless us; that keep us chained to patterns of belief that prevent a vital soulful experience in this life.

Today I know it does no good at all to push down the wounded child; to suppress it, to ignore it. I have to let it rise into my consciousness; into a place where it can do no harm. It will not go away if you simply ignore it.  This is the hardest part, because this entity has hurt you mightily over the years and it does not love you; it cannot love you because that’s not where love comes from. True love comes from the divine through your conscious self, and this is the secret weapon you have that might start to “dissolve” the influence of this shadow-self. My friend recently described this action as holding the shadow close. Mine is dirty and smelly, but I hold it close. Little by little he becomes less disgusting. He is calmed by this attention; and the action of my loving and blessing here is transformative.

This kind of work is what Mark Pope calls alchemical. You transform yourself, and you begin to transform the world you perceive. In reality you are constructing a world that is kinder, more peaceful, more loving, and dog-on-it fun! Do you know this is the stuff we have in common with the Divine?! This creative potential and ability. That is exactly how we are created in the image of God! So why not create something amazing?