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!