The total eclipse touched something in me I didn’t even know was there. It was a physical, mystical experience where science and the sacred met – like there was an opportunity to feel deeper into how some things really are. So please read between the lines here for what you already know in your heart - that the Sun, Earth and Moon are beautiful celestial bodies in a life-giving dance. There's lots of math and science behind that and at it's core, it's also spiritually beautiful. It's a both/and, not an either/or. It's timely for me to more deeply appreciate that dance and it’s participants rather than keep taking them for granted. My guess is that I am not alone in that.
To speak poetically - which seems wisest after yesterday - there was a stark yet holy darkness to the Moon during the total eclipse. Part of me felt sheepish when the Moon's beauty struck me, like I should have asked her permission before staring. I had a sense of why the ancients associated her with goddesses of love, beauty, fertility and the rhythms of life. It's like the eclipse revealed the sacredness of the Moon’s usually unseen, underappreciated role in the relationship – like the nature of a womb that creates in the dark and the unforced, graceful rhythms that give life. The Moon was both black as night and radiant at the same time. Caressed by the corona of the Sun, her darkness felt sacred.
Please do not misunderstand what I am saying as I speak of the sacred in this way: I am not diminishing the Great I AM as the most high, most extensive, most fundamentally revealing image of God. I am speaking in the spirit that inspired St. Francis in his Canticle of The Sun where he spoke of Brother Sun, Sister Moon and the beautiful divine dance revealed in nature - in particular, how the dance of life expresses the divine in form. The dance of life in our solar system begins with the dance between the Sun, the Earth and the Moon. You and I are but some children of that dance. Our dance is completely dependent on them and their moves. Understanding that brings humility, gratitude and the opportunity to grow in wisdom. They're in the groove much better than we are. In particular, the Moon guides much, from the ocean’s tides to women’s cycles.
The Moon represents the more mysterious of the life-giving rhythms. As a sister or daughter to Mother Earth, she expresses something holy that is most often experienced at night. Because of other things we associate with darkness, she has often been seen as suspect, when that is the last thing she deserves. She represents the unjustly repressed feminine. We have a complex attraction to what she represents - both wanting and being suspicious of the power she wields in our lives through things like sexuality and primal, kundalini (life-force) energy. In particular, patriarchy has had a love-hate, push-me-pull-you relationship with the divine feminine which isn’t good for anybody. It undermines the healthy, creative interplay of the sacred in all of us. Respectful harmony between the complimentary and sometimes contrasting masculine and feminine energies is the way to go. Just ask those who saw the wonder of the eclipse. There was grace in this dance where one stepped in front of the other in perfect symmetry.
The bottom line is that you and I and every single other sentient being on this planet are born from and sustained by life-giving relationships. Science and spirituality agree on this. These relationships all start from the Great I AM, the Living God from which everything is born for the sake of holy, redeeming relationships in form. To redeem is to re-value, or to reveal value that may have been devalued or gone unappreciated. I hope the experience and memory of this eclipse helps redeem us as humans in those areas where we have lost a sense of who and what we really are spiritually and physically. The Sun, Earth and Moon are beautifully expressing themselves in a life-giving dance. They are giving us life and invite us to move in sync with them in how we live our lives. I want to live gratefully and live accordingly, with as much appreciation as possible for what gives life. That is what brings out the sacred in us.
Thanks for journeying together!
“Watch the world argue, argue with itself. Who’s gonna teach me peace and happiness?”
Dancing on the Jetty, INXS
So I was doing emails, listening to this song and thinking about our country when I heard a crack and a “thud” that shook The Center (thecenterec.com). I looked out to see the rest of this branch crash to the ground. I went out and realized that it had to be dealt with soon because it blocked the drive down to the Pottery Studio. So, I grabbed it by a little branch sticking out and started pulling it down the hill. I was wondering if the little branch might break right before it did, sending me rolling down the hill like a 2-year-old with no sense of how things really work. (Thankfully, I was aimed at the grass and not the asphalt). After I realized that nothing was bruised but my ego, I laughed and considered a new approach.
We are somewhere like this as a country. Going back to the branch, I think it broke because it had become unbalanced. In pursuing growth, it went in a wrong direction. It bent over too much to get it's leaves in the sun. The weight of the rain simply made it too heavy to stay connected to its roots.
It was weird for me to watch people I otherwise admired bend what I took to be core values to vote for Donald Trump. I listened and thought I understood - They were sick of the establishment. They wanted “our country to take care of itself. Get our house in order.” I get that thinking and the feelings behind it, but what is at the heart of America if not a sense of respect for people as people? What good is any democracy if a sense of respect is not guiding it? Without respect, no house is a home and no country is at peace.
Nazism and the Confederacy were built on one group saying “it’s all about us” and “to hell with so and so.” That’s the problem with their philosophies and it’s a fundamental problem. Those philosophies are selfish and narcissistic to the point of dehumanizing others. That’s why they are so dangerous. At the very least, they lead to not caring about your opponents as people, and at the worst, they lead to things like slavery, death camps and genocide.
From the very first debate, it was clear that President Trump did not value a sense of respect for others. That’s fine for him as an individual. It does not make him evil, but it does make him unfit to be president of a democracy. If he changes his philosophy, I’ll gladly change my feelings on him being president, but unfortunately, his philosophy still seems to have the same bent towards selfishness and narcissism. We cannot keep bending in that direction and expect things not to break, branch after branch. Barring doing something illegal, Trump will probably remain president, but reality will be right in correcting things if we as a country keep going in fundamentally disrespectful directions.
If we re-center in things like valuing love and treating others the way we want to be treated, we will head in the right direction (remember, God is Love, and things like respect and fairness are fundamental aspects of love). Love is the way and truth that leads to life. That’s why Jesus lived it and why both God and history raised him.
I got drenched today but it turned out to be fun. What helped most was taking a minute to pause and be present when I started to feel frustrated (about the rain). As I settled in with the reality of how good the creative forces of life are, and simply felt the goodness of pure awareness - of being alive - I was no longer frustrated but able to really enjoy the rain.
The rest that works is an approach to being present. It's about giving fears and distractions a rest so we can settle into the moment with the creative forces of life in us and work from there. It enables us to let go of expectations and accept what is, so we can work creatively in whatever way works best. It has a lot in common with mindfulness practices.
Maybe listen to what I say and then if you want to, replay it and follow the meditation on your breath, feeling for the creative forces of life in you. They feel good. That's always a good place to work from.
Thanks for journeying together. More power to you in your adventure!
The most important part of the rest that works is trusting and settling in with Our Creator's Love. I just finished a book that has some great insights on how to do that - Live Your Happy by Maria Felipe. It’s an excellent, short introduction to the main ideas of A Course in Miracles.
When I say “Our Creator,” I mean the God within us, between us and beyond us - the Creative Spirit Behind and Within all of Life who is always loving us. God is Love, and as such is a noun and a verb. The Great I AM is a Mysterious State of Being and a Holy, Healing movement of Spirit - something we can intuit and feel. Until we learn to listen and feel for the Holy Spirit part of God, we don’t tend to experience much of what we find ourselves having to call divine. But as we experience and settle in with God, the ego's fears get blown away, we start lovingly accepting all of who and what we are, and we are better able to create our lives out of love. That always feels better than any other approach. I use the process of the rest that works to do that. The first step is trusting the goodness of God – the Great I AM in Whom we are – Whose most fundamental nature is love. Working that faith muscle enables us to trust loving and living from our hearts. Miraculous things follow from there.
A Course in Miracles sums our challenge up by saying:
"Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it" (ACIM, Ch. 6, Section IV).
While true, that is easier said than done.
Maria Felipe helps us remove the barriers with insights like:
Keeping our hearts in the love of God is kind of like keeping our feet in a river. When they come out, we can mentally take steps to get them back in – the River of Life is always undergirding our existence either way. The key is to let go of the kind of personal judgments that might keep us from loving ourselves or others. Being in love is the key. It’s not about being “in love” with the “right” person or even people. It’s about staying spiritually open to the Love that gives Life - the love at the heart of who we are. We can feel it in things like the graceful rhythms of our breath and heartbeat. By practicing ways of feeling for the love that gives life and moving with it, we can be at home anywhere because we are at home with ourselves and life itself. And it's important not to worry when we feel lost, The Great I AM and Holy Spirit recognize that we all get lost much if not most of the time. We aren't judged for it. We are simply beckoned home. “Salvation” is coming back into the Love of God and moving with it. That’s the secret to feeling alive wherever we are.
The good news is that our ever-present desire to be in love comes from God and is of God. It is the internal well-spring Jesus spoke that leads to eternal life - a fulfilling life forever. Another way Maria points to this is in saying: “What helps banish fear is the willingness to remember that we are in the mind of God” - technically, we're already home, it is more a matter of waking up and living awake. As we tap into that truth, we place our hand onto a valve that unleashes miracles, first from within as it changes our mind and how we see things.
Maria covers a lot of deep territory. She sometimes writes things a little too simply for me, probably to keep things brief (The Manual on A Course on Miracles is 1333 pages). Because of that, I sometimes found myself having imaginary dialogues with her, clarifying this or that. But that’s okay. This book presents a great opportunity to think through some big things along with some tools that can genuinely improve how we are engaging our lives. That’s a pretty good accomplishment for any book, let alone a short one like this (118 pages). I heartily recommend it. If you're interested, you can find it at www.newworldlibrary.com/BooksProducts/ProductDetails/tabid/64/SKU/84533/Default.aspx#.WVZ4EohuJPY.
More power to you in your adventure with God – in us, between us and beyond us. Thanks for journeying together!
Okay, so I got a little blinky at then end after being kinda preachy (sorry, occupational hazard from the past ). I hope it still encourages you in living from your heart.
More power to you in your adventure with God - within us, between us and beyond us.
Thanks and blessings,
This was such a fun way to start the day! (Sorry about my cheesy commentary. She was just so sweet). I summarize my thinking about it in the next blog, but the main thing is to feel for the love and grace at the heart of who we are. It's kind of like a deer within. Often, we have to come to rest with a sense of trust in the goodness of our hearts to even perceive it. If we're putting other objectives first, like getting somewhere fast, we can miss it.
The movements of love in us feel a lot like moving water or energy. Settling down into our heartfelt desire to love and be love puts us in touch with love like we might put our foot in an internal river. That's why Jesus called it a well-spring. It is an active, creative feeling rather a destructive thought.
As we feel for love, we can stay in love or get back to loving as we do other things. This approach, this way of living, fills that empty place in us that has been carved by living out of too much fear and anxiety. It replaces a shallow, scared way of living with one that runs much deeper and feels a lot better. That's what the rest that works is all about.
More power to you in your Adventure with God (Love). Thanks for journeying together!
(P.S. Make sure and go to my next blog because the next video was shortly after following the deer and expands on this one. Thanks!)
The context for the following little synchronicity is that I just finished making a Genogram yesterday. (It's like drawing out your family tree but with a feel for the emotional energy in relationships with friends and social organizations as well as family). I included images for The Divine in mine. It was a very helpful exercise. Then today, I get up after prayer time, go outside with a cup of coffee and here's this wonderful little web . . .
More power to you in filling your spot in ways that honor you and the Web!
Thanks for journeying together!
Someone asked me about how the rest that works helps us with God, and here was my quick response this morning. Hopefully it helps sum things up:
Kind of like the Ocean is the Ocean, God is God. The Great I AM exists and will always continue to exist in its fundamentally creative, life-supporting, relational, energetic and mysterious nature no matter who or what approaches He/She/It in whatever way.
Through selfish efforts to gain security and power as humans, early humanity lost an essential quality of faith and trust in God that is the basis of living in the flow of divine love with ease (that's really what the Adam and Eve story is about).
The different faith-oriented religions began with individuals who earnestly desired to have an aligned, love relationship with God. These religions have struggled as much as people struggle and find correction in reformers who try to stay true to the effort of harmonized alignment with God as Love.
The continuing key to a religion helping or hurting a person or society is the intent active in that person or society. If the real, underlying intent is to gain self-centered power as humans, the effort is already out of alignment. If the intent is to repent of anything out of alignment with divine love, feel for and re-align with God as Love and love with God, Our Creator responds appropriately either as Elohim (taking forms to relate to us as the Divine) or through heavenly agents or loving people and beings. These experiences can come in dreams, visions, signs and likewise but the main thing is the love and deep-felt resonance that comes with them. Seek that love and resonance, and when it’s there, pay attention and move with it. ("Seek ye first the kingdom of God and God's righteousness . . ." Mt. 6:33).
The rest that works is a way to practice seeking, paying attention and going for a lovingly aligned relationship with the Great I AM Whose fundamental character is Love. We know when we are experiencing it because of the love we feel, for ourselves, others, our world and God.
More power to you in your adventure with God and love.
Thanks for journeying together!
These are crazy times, I know. I'm struggling too. Critical, condemning movements of spirit are making gains in many areas. They are getting stronger and getting more and more associated with things that should be led by love (like Christianity). It’s extremely hard to witness. It's hard not to feel intense anger, and maybe even some hate, no matter what side you may be on in any debate. It's difficult to not let fear and negative feelings take over in one’s heart and start governing one’s thinking and ultimately, one’s life.
But today I read a great line from Matt Kahn's book, "Whatever Arises, Love That" - ". . . the true benchmark of spiritual maturity is how often your words and actions are aligned with love."
The really good news is that we never have to get stuck in negative emotions like hate. Never. The way out of hell is to follow the way and truth of love out.
Whenever you feel intense negative emotions - like hate, anger, despair, fear, etc. – pause and come to rest with the part in you that feels them. Love that part of you. Love the one who is struggling. Have compassion for that aspect of yourself. See why it feels that way. (It's probably very understandable). Rest regarding all other debates and simply allow the feelings. Make space for them with understanding and compassion. Give every part involved to God, including both the person/situation you struggle with and the part of you who is struggling.
In particular, if hate is active, notice the pain. Feel the anger behind it. Feel the yearning to lash out and say something hurtful. Accept it as simply the way you are feeling (because you are). Have the courage not to deny it (denying it will lead you to project your part in the situation onto someone else, which will probably lead to hateful activity). Simply rest and open your heart to Divine Love. Know that God can handle you and the situation.
Then, after calming down, gently notice how the burning coal in the hateful hand is burning it (and you). If a Christian perspective speaks to you, hear Jesus saying, "Father, forgive them they know not what they do" from the cross. He knows how to handle the anger that can lead to hate. You can ask him for help in dropping the coal. He will help. Do whatever it takes to see yourself relaxing your grip and dropping the coal. Again, give the people involved to God asking God to love them in whatever ways you can’t yet. Feel the relief in doing so. Feel the even greater relief that comes when you genuinely want them to be loved too so they can heal too. (This is how Jesus and God heal).
The rest that works is a way to re-align with love as we go. It keeps saving me by helping me let go of whatever takes me out of love. It safeguards my heart from being governed by spirits other than a spirit of love for very long.
Keep remembering - God's Character is Love (it doesn't really matter if anyone acts or says otherwise). Pray and ask for God's help to feel the grace that gives life. You can feel what gives life as you settle in with your breath. Let me invite you to take a moment to do so now. (It will only take a couple of minutes).
Feel how good it feels as life is created in your body, moment by gentle moment. In your exhale, feel the letting go of the past that makes space for what creates life in the present. Feel your body center itself as it comes to rest. Then feel the trust that welcomes the creative energy that accompanies your lungs expanding. Trust the Spirit at work in your breath. Open to the Living, Loving Creator Behind it - behind and at work in you! Live creatively with God as you seek to love whatever arises the way Our Creator loves. There may be correction, but there will not be condemning hate. Trust that any effort made to love with God is worth it.
You may feel a strong need to take a stand on an issue, and if so, DO, but you will not feel a need to hate anyone no matter how lost they may be. You do not have to go there. When you do, you do not need to stay there. Be free. There is no need to live in hell or participate in the condemning kind of hate that spreads its borders.
Thanks for journeying together. More power to you in living free.
(P.S. I'm offering a new rest that works 2 class in April for anyone who went through the first class or has read the book. Here's more information: http://www.therestthatworks.com/events-calendar.html)