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.