THE MIRACULOUS GIFT OF GROUCHINESS

grumpyI used to be addicted to the opinions of others. I took my cue on how to feel about myself or what to think about my day, based on the reactions I got from everybody around me. If someone smiled at me first, I smiled back. (Nice person, upbeat day.)

If they frowned I took it personally, because I was sure it meant that either they were an asshole, or I was—depending on the situation. (Maybe you know what I’m talking about. Maybe you’ve responded to life in this same way once or twice.)

This despite a kick-ass spiritual life in which great wisdom and deep compassion flow quite naturally through me. I know people suffer. I know their responses to life say very little about me, and a great deal about how they perceive their own difficult circumstances. And I genuinely want to help ease that pain somehow.

But. Despite glorious light-filled meditation exercises in which I could feel all these things so clearly…go ahead and cut in front of me in the Starbucks checkout line and watch me go to that lightning-quick place of silent outraged judgment. I’m a jerk, you’re a jerk. Or vice versa.

But this approach to life has become too painful and too pointless to continue.

So lately I’ve been kicking the habit of looking to the behavior of others, to tell me how I should feel about myself, or my day. I decided I want to be truly confident about myself, exactly as I am. I don’t want to wait for anybody else’s approval in order to approve of myself.

Because actually that’s nuts. We all do it, we all take our cue from the responses of others—but it makes no sense at all to do that. Others are all wrapped up in their own forms of self-hatred and pain, and guess what: They are just as preoccupied with looking to the outside world on how to feel about themselves. Why would you want to base your own self-worth and happiness on that?

So I’ve taken serious steps to end my addiction to the reflections I get from others. I’ve checked myself into the most private clinic in the world, you might say—only one doctor, only one patient—and the therapy is to wear a Self-Love patch.

This is not some sort of self-esteem/affirmation thing. I’ve never found that kind of thing to truly work, have you? Not way down deep where it counts.

This Self-Love ‘patch’ goes beyond all that stuff. It releases little reminders of my own stupendously beautiful divinity into my bloodstream every so often throughout the day. Whenever I remember to do it, I pause in what I’m doing, and choose to feel my true identity as God’s love. I witness myself as being composed entirely of the sweetness of holy light. And I feel how fantastically right that feels.

I started doing this because I recognized it’s time for me to stand up confidently strong in my own being. It’s time for me to be of truly loving service to others, in the way my soul yearns to be. I want to be a beacon of strength and light for all.

And yet I know I can’t offer authentic love to others if I’m not feeling it for myself first. Because I can’t give it if I don’t have it—not really.

So I’m pausing to feel my own divine radiance a bunch of times a day.

And as my body-mind slowly gets used to this more truthful self-image, I’m noticing an interesting, unlooked-for side effect: The obsessive need to calculate my worth based on the random reactions of others is becoming far less powerful.

Like, far less powerful.

When somebody smiles at me first, I still smile back and automatically go to that same old happy-place: This is a good day. Nothing much has changed there yet. But here’s what is noticeably different:

Anytime somebody frowns, or is snippy, or in any way harshes my happy-buzz…I seem to bypass my usual reaction and go straight to the recognition that this person is composed entirely of God’s love. They are made of sweetly holy light.

This is not an exercise. It just happens.

(Well, sometimes I react first, and then it happens a few seconds later.)

But then the most heartfelt THANK YOU wells up in me. Thank you for reminding me of who you are in truth. It’s such an honor to hold this reminder for you…until you can remember it for yourself.

And that’s the part that blows me away. I’m totally touched and honored that this person entrusts me with the memory of their divinity on their behalf.

Think of it: Every asshole, every brusquely preoccupied person, everybody who treats you poorly…each one of them is only doing it to offer you the supreme honor of remembering their light for them.

In truth they don’t need the help. In truth, their light is self-evident and known by all. They’re just here to help you (and me) practice holding the reminder of it, so that our own light can shine ever more consciously and beautifully throughout the universe.

What a rich and joyous world this is.

So that’s today’s realization.

I can’t guarantee nobody will just plain piss me off, of course. That could happen. But for all the ones who spark this gorgeous recognition of holy light instead…my gratitude knows no bounds. Thank you.

A Tree Grows in Dorset

tree wingsActually, lots of trees grow in Dorset—England is a very green and beautiful place. But this particular tree sprouted only a few nights ago, and it may well be the first of its kind. This is a tree of freedom. A tree of safety for all.

••

Here’s one way of describing the human condition: Each of us lives in our own little fairytale cottage, and all of these cottages are set in a beautiful forest. We all deeply love the forest. Our ancient family roots are there.

But we’re each sealed up in our own little house. There’s no door to the outside. And the windows are coated with the grime of 10,000 years, so no light gets in. We long for a view of the forest, our true ancestral home—but we can’t see a damn thing out those windows.

So we spend all our time looking through magazines, tearing out beautiful pictures of forests instead. And then we tape them up over the windows and pretend the view is real. When those images yellow with age, we tape new ones over top.

It’s just what we do.

And yet it doesn’t satisfy. Magazine pictures don’t smell like a forest. Birds don’t make their home in them. Putting up pictures (an activity designed to alleviate the ache of homesickness) actually makes the pain worse.

I got bored with putting up pictures long ago. I wanted to be able to see the forest outside my window. So over the past few decades I’ve been persistently clawing away at the crackly, yellowed scotch tape that holds those magazine pictures in place. Layer after layer, the old faded pictures were removed. Every so often I would take a break from this activity, and run to a different window—the one in my office, say—and put a new picture up.

It’s a habit that’s very deeply ingrained. It took some concentration and effort to learn how to stop doing it.

In recent years, most of my windows were now no longer covered with magazine images. There was still sticky goo from mountains of ancient Scotch tape around the edges, and a few torn corner fragments still remained here and there. But the false pictures themselves had mostly been taken down.

This didn’t mean I was then able to see the forest outside. All I saw was the impenetrable grime that caused me to put up pretty pictures to cover it up in the first place.

So now I was severely bummed out by the view. Poor me. All that hard work for nothing. My windows were so dark and ugly, and I was no nearer my goal of seeing what was outside. Seemingly.

But of course that wasn’t true. The decision to stop wallpapering over the grime is itself a huge step in the right direction. Taking down old pictures is a necessary start. But what now? I looked around at all my grimy windows and sat down on the floor in a puddle of tears. After I stopped sobbing (a year or two later) I looked up to notice a beautiful, luminous, heavenly gift had been quietly placed by my side.

It was a mop and a bucket.

The window grime was my own. I put it there, and I was the only one who—with divine help—could remove it. It was time, clearly, to get busy and clean my own damn windows.

A funny thing happens when you start to clean your own windows. Even though you’re focused on washing the window glass, the outlines of a door start to automatically appear all by themselves, over there where only a blank wall had been before.

The door was always there. You just couldn’t see it, for all the shmutz on the windows. The light was just too dim.

••

So all this talk about grimy windows (and reappearing doors) is all well and good…but what does that actually mean, to clean your own windows? What does that look like in practical terms, and why bother doing it?

First off, this is why it’s important to attend to one’s own grimy windows before doing anything else: If the world outside my window seems to fall off its collective bicycle—yep we’re introducing yet another metaphor into the mix—gashing its knee and howling with shock and pain, it’s my own wound that actually needs attention first.

I won’t be able to correctly perceive anything about the world’s so-called knee injury unless I’m willing to address my own throbbing knee, right where I am. Because in truth I wouldn’t be seeing a bike wreck in the first place, if I hadn’t first pasted a picture of it on my grimy window. It’s me who needs the paramedics.

Those of us who want a clear window view, bless our hearts, we tend to try and scrub down the outsides of the windows first. Fix the problems we see ‘out there.’ But we’re not on the outside, so we can’t get at them. Besides, in truth the outsides of the windows are sparkling clean. They just look dirty from in here.

Everything depends on cleared perception. Because as long as my windows are grimy and covered with magazine pages, all I’m actually looking at is a picture of a bike accident.

But as my own injured knee responds to my loving attention and care, I’ll be better able to recognize what (if any) action should be taken to help heal the ongoing bicycle mishap that seems to be happening out there. Until my own knee is attended to, outward efforts to fix the pain of others don’t mean a damn thing. Not really.

So I’ve been patiently cleaning my own windows first. Taking responsibility for the distorted lens through which I view myself and my world. And here’s what that means:

I’ve been welcoming in my own stuff, my own uncomfortable baggage. Not necessarily to try and fix it. I invite it in so I can accept it, just as it is right now. All that stuff I dislike about myself—the stuff I judge, the stuff that brings me pain, fear and frustration—I’m not suppressing it, or wallpapering over it anymore.

I’m not fighting with it or denying it. I’m letting all those discarded, rejected bits of myself come back and be seamlessly reintegrated as newly remembered, newly loved and respected parts of my one indivisible self.

I’m cleaning and kissing that infected gash on my own knee, as it were, before even trying to bandage the giant, collectively wounded knee I seem to see out the window. And ever since I started doing that—instead of focusing my attention on the wreck outside—the changes have been profound.

••

It dawned on me not long ago, in one of those spectacularly mundane DUH moments, that instead of working hard to get my own needs met first, and only then helping all others—my spiritual and worldly method of operation up until this point—I could simply focus on meeting the needs of all beings, for the highest good of all.

Why? Because ‘all beings’ includes me. (DUH.)

When the highest good of all is my firm intention, my own highest and best needs for safety, survival, love and all the rest of it, are automatically met—just as everybody else’s are. Not only that… my own life is bound to be that much safer and more beautiful if everybody in it is happy and released from pain, too. Right?

So why wouldn’t I choose to live in this way? What the hell took me so long?

••

A few nights ago I was reflecting on the whole idea of fear. Recognizing that it all boils down to a simple desire for safety. All those terrible things we do, all the awful effects out in the world, are really just cries in the dark. We all just want to feel safe. I just want to feel safe.

And all of a sudden, a shaft of very clear light shone through one of my less grimy windows. And I realized: I can do something about that. For the highest good of all—and therefore for myself.

On behalf of all beings, I open myself to receive the fearful anxieties and terrified emotions of the entire world. All of the pain and misperception, all of the naked hunger for peace and safe harbor—including my own. Bring it. I welcome it all gladly. And let a heavenly recycling plant operate as me, through me, allowing all universal pain and fear to be dissolved, transformed and purified within. And let my smokestacks belch infinite pristine peace and healing back out into the world, for all eternity.

And you know what? When I set that intention, when I agreed to stop screwing around inside the cottage, and finally try my hand at stepping out the door to take on my true job description…my own remaining fears and anxieties melted away. And for that moment at least, I experienced myself as not only being outside in the forest—I was the forest itself.

I am the forest.

Or at least, in practical terms, I’m a single tree—quietly absorbing the world’s pain and fear, and allowing heaven’s divine essence to perfume the atmosphere via my branches, leaves and flowers.

Imagine what the world might be like if lots of people were doing that same thing.

I’m not actually ‘doing’ anything, by the way. It’s all done for me, through me. As me. My only job is to let the process take place. And that’s amazingly easy to do. It’s only the decision to do it, that seems so ridiculously hard.

The world can use a few million-billion more of this kind of tree. Don’t you think?

So let every day be Arbor Day. And if you feel inspired, consider this your invitation to come on outside and rediscover the forest. Smell the fresh air. Dance in the sunlight. And maybe decide to be the fantastically beautiful tree of divinity you were always born to be. For everybody’s sake. For the highest good of all—which definitely includes your own.

— Carrie is the author of 3 books. Her latest, Tastes Like God, will be released July 30, 2015.

A Year without Fear: (IM)PRISONER

open-cageI thought I was done with the war between the sexes. For me, that battle was so, like, 1975.

I am woman, hear me roar, and all that.

I’m not making light of the very serious and ongoing worldwide challenges women face at the hands of men, mind you. I’m just saying that, by and large, it hasn’t been my fight.

Over the decades of spiritual practice, my early gender rage and frustration have slowly given way to genuine empathy for the other half, the hairier half of the human race. Sure, as a global group, they make some seriously appalling blunders based in fear and anger. And the consequences of those actions are never pretty. But let’s face it—the stonefaced and steel-balled ideal of masculinity (as the world defines it) is a nasty bit of business altogether. And trying to live up, or down, to that code of behavior can’t be easy. Most guys, in my estimation, are honestly doing the best they can.

•          •          •

These days, I’m all about the attempt to go home to God with empty hands. And that’s an interesting process. You look down and notice all the useless baggage you’re carrying. The old grudges. The phobias, the various beliefs in limitation.

And as each one comes up for examination, you ask yourself: Would I rather remain scared of this spider, or hang out with God?

Or maybe it’s: Would I rather be disgusted with the banking system/oil companies/government corruption/insert your pet peeve here? Or would I rather spend quality time resting in God?

Because of course you can’t have both, you know. You always have to choose.

So I’ve been agreeing to drop the mismatched set of luggage, piece by piece. Because I’m starting to finally recognize that all the juice, all the peace I crave can only be found in God. And the peace of God is way better than any baggage I currently own, no matter how much I might enjoy carrying it around.

But after the hands are empty of readily visible suitcases…well, that’s when it really gets interesting. Because the other stuff—the bigger stuff—has to go, too. The opinions and behaviors that run so deep, they form your worldview. The ones that are so automatic, so unquestioned as truth that you can’t imagine who you’d be, or what your life would be like without them.

•          •          •

So I was surprised to find myself triggered a bit by all that old gender stuff again recently. Only this time, I was seeing it from completely outside my own frame of reference, as if my spaceship had just landed and I was viewing this aspect of humanity for the first time.

I saw and felt the vast scope of the world’s rage and hatred toward women. And it kind of took my breath away to notice how we, as a species, have all collectively agreed upon the idea that women, simply because we exist, are so scorned, so feared, that we are therefore legitimate targets of violence anytime the opportunity arises. That this is an unfortunate, yet unavoidable fact of life.

By ‘collective agreement,’ I don’t mean to imply that we all approve of this concept, by any means. I would guess that most men, and virtually all women, are appalled by it. But when we fight an idea—when we take karate classes, or choose a jogging buddy, or helpfully offer to walk a woman to her car, we reinforce the solidity of the very structure we rail against. We accept this hatred and control of women as a real and permanent condition, and we plan for it by fighting fear with fear. Rage with rage. And in doing so, we guarantee it will persist as a fact of this world.

I don’t really know why I found all this enmity so astonishing. It certainly isn’t news.

I guess I just personally noticed in full enormity for the first time, that I am not welcome on this planet. And in age-old response, I seem to have been sporting some hella thick emotional armor all this time. I also noticed I never go out walking by myself, and never, ever alone after dark, if I can help it.

So here’s the truly interesting thing about all this: I absorbed that hateful message way back when, without even knowing it. And only now have I suddenly recognized that, in response to this collectively agreed-upon belief in my own vulnerability as a target, I’ve chosen to live my entire life in a self-made prison. The armor keeps me in, a whole lot more effectively than it keeps anything out.

And I don’t go to the park by myself. I rarely walk alone at night. Hell, I rarely do much of anything alone at night, really. Because you never know who might be out there hating me tonight.

Why have I agreed to live this way? Why do so many women choose to live this way?

For every actual attack that takes place, ten thousand other women attack themselves every day by not going where they want to go. Not doing what they want to do. Not feeling free to simply exist, just as they are. Without airbrushing or apology.

We clip our own damn wings.

I suddenly noticed I’ve chosen to live my entire life in a cage that’s no wider than my shoulders. Clipped or not, I’ve never even bothered to raise my wings and try to fly. I don’t even know if I can.

•          •          •

So who might I be without this shoulder-width cage? No idea. It’s very hard to imagine a “me” who is unbound by these constraints. And honestly, it’s even harder to imagine a me who is free of the old, calcified fear and rage that make up the bars of that cage.

But really, who is there to be angry with? The jailer is me.

Nobody in the world has the power to do to me what I freely chose to do to myself. Men are certainly not to blame. And I’m not mad at myself for choosing the cage—not really. I know I did the best I could with the choices I thought I had at the time.

So…am I willing to open my hands and drop this rage I feel at nobody in particular, in order to hang out with God?

Yes, definitely.

Ok, then. Am I also willing to know myself in a completely different way—as somebody who is unconstrained and unafraid to walk the world in safety and confidence in my right to exist?

Ummm…sure?

Yeah. That one’s a little bit easier said than done. Because it’s hard to imagine that which is hard to imagine.

Meaning, the mind can only grasp what it knows from experience. And that kind of fundamental change in worldview is beyond anything this particular mind has ever known.

But I’m willing. And I’m pretty sure willingness is all it takes.

So. How to go about taking a leap beyond where the mind can go? The first step is to believe that you can.

No, seriously. I’m not launching into a song about ants and rubber trees, here. This is important. Significant change comes only when we allow the possibility for it. Prayer without believing that what you’re asking for is possible…is just aimless wishing.

Luckily, I’ve already learned that anything is possible IF I SAY IT IS. This world of dreams is infinitely malleable—and as the collective architects of this dream, we can change the rules on it anytime we choose to. I, as an infinite creator, have that power. And so do you.

So if I can manage to authentically believe it’s possible for me to experience myself as being free of fear, free of rage…hell, just plain free… then it is possible. Even if I have no idea what that freedom actually feels like, or how to go about it, I recognize that it’s possible.

So I’ve been choosing that possibility all week. Feeling it fully, believing in it completely. Claiming it as my own.

Step two: I’ve been stating clearly to the universe that it’s my choice to start walking this earth in confidence, safety and trust. Open and un-armored. And just by claiming the possibility and stating this intention, I seem to have broken free of the collective agreement for fear-based gender control.

(This doesn’t mean all worldly precautions should be ignored now. I still probably won’t lounge around in Central Park alone at midnight, festooned in my most ostentatious diamond jewelry. That would be foolish. But it does mean willingness to learn how to walk in trust and open-hearted forgiveness, seeing the world—and my place in it—with fresh, loving eyes.)

So the collectively agreed-upon structure of gender-based hatred has lost one pillar. I’ve stepped outside the building. Actually, I’m pretty sure it wasn’t me who did the stepping. My job was just to recognize that it’s possible to see another way…and then to make good on that recognition by choosing to release all crusty old fear and blame. That’s where the empty hands come in.

Step three:  Yes, I recognize that it’s possible to release my grip on fear, hate and rage. Because anything is possible. EVERYTHING is possible, including this. I can know myself without fear, without hate for my so-called oppressors, even though I can’t yet picture what that’s like. So I open my hands now, and because it’s possible to do, I agree to let these old beliefs and old protections slip through my fingers and be gone forever.

And once I’ve let my attachments to the old hatred slip away…hello, Step Four: I can then ask to be airlifted higher than my current perception would allow.

As far as I can tell, this method seems to be working. The view seems a bit different up here.

•          •          •

Yes, sometimes major shifts really can be that easy. Airlifting is my new preferred mode of travel.

But be warned: This method of release is accomplished without drama. Without plumbing the depths to revisit old pain. I let it all go without examining every injustice I suffered, every wound inflicted, in an attempt to find resolution and healing.

Don’t get me wrong, there are times when that kind of excavation is very appropriate. But take it from me, because I’ve done it both ways: Hard work and pain take a whole lot longer than simply letting yourself be lifted. And they’re way less fun.

WAY. Less fun.

So this is my heartfelt advice, if it interests you: Take the quick and scenic route. Let your liberation unfold in a way that’s free of agony. Stop rolling boulders uphill, and let yourself be lifted instead. Four easy steps. Really. That’s all it takes.

If you’re anything like me, and your wings don’t work so good yet…divine helicopters are standing by.

A Year without Fear: GOING STEADY WITH GOD

going steadyThere’s a scene in Private Benjamin where Goldie Hawn enters an army recruitment office and is shown a beautiful, slick brochure on the benefits of modern military life. She’s so impressed, she enlists right on the spot.

But when she arrives at bootcamp in Mississippi, she’s confused: Quonset huts. Latrines. What the hell? This is definitely not what she signed up for.

“I think there’s been a mistake,” she tells the drill sergeant. “I joined the other army. You know, the one with the condos, and the private rooms.”

•          •          •

Asking to know spiritual truth is a lot like that. The brochure looks great, and plenty of us sign up for it right there and then. But it’s never what we think it’s going to be. We imagine a perfected “spiritual self” who never gets upset, never has issues. A luminous, blissful peace-bunny spreading divine love and joy to a thankful world.

The truth, it turns out, seems so distastefully alien by comparison to our spiritual fantasies—so upside-down from everything we think we want—that it’s damn near impossible to stand still long enough to even consider it.

At least, that’s how it’s been for me. For years I’ve been patiently shown the truth over and over, and over again. I’ve seen it in videos, I’ve read it in books, I’ve witnessed it in visions. It shows up in my email inbox.

But each time I’ve brushed it away.

Because that’s not the truth I signed up for. I wanted the one with the condos.

•          •          •

I really want to know God. It’s been an unstoppable urge for a while now. In the last post I spoke of being in the goodnight-kiss-at-the front-door stage of my relationship with God—but the desire to go all the way, so to speak, is a craving that seems to emanate from the depths of my soul. It’s really my one great desire.

And that’s a fairly uncomfortable predicament to be in, when the only way to know God is to get with the program and agree to accept the irritatingly, disappointingly unacceptable truth of existence:

There’s nothing to fix. Nothing to teach. Nothing to learn, and nothing to heal.

Everything is perfect exactly as it is right now, because everything and everybody is composed entirely of God. Joined in perfect oneness with God. No matter what things look like, and no matter what disastrous effects those things may seem to be having on your life, or the world…innocence and safety, love, peace and joy are the only things going on in truth.

 There’s nothing to accomplish or do. You already have it, and ARE it. Stop striving to be better. Stop yearning to wake up. Stop trying to escape from your perfectly imperfect circumstances. Your job is just to be. Recognize you don’t know anything about anything. Refuse to judge anything you see. Have faith that it’s all innocent. Disbelieve everything your mind tells you, and instead walk through life snuggled deeply, blindly, trustingly in God.

 There is no “you,” no spiritual self who can heal the world. You can’t bring love into this world—bodies can’t bring love to other bodies. You can only see through the illusions this world of bodies presents to you, and find your one true love in God.

 

Needless to say, I had some wee issues with all that—particularly the business about there being nothing to heal or fix or teach. Also the bit about being just dandy, thank you very much, exactly as I am right now. Come to think of it, I’m not crazy about big chunks of the truth, to be honest. My mind is still spluttering its indignation.

But I got sick of seeing the truth gauntlet thrown down in front of me every time I turned around. And even sicker of stepping daintily over it, pretending it wasn’t there.

•          •          •

Last night, before falling asleep I finally agreed to drop my resistance to the truth (despite its distasteful appearances), and to try joining fully with All-That-Is.

But on one condition.

A prayer, of sorts: You know everything about me, my thoughts, my beliefs. You’re there when I fart. You’ve seen me have sex. But I know nothing, really, about you. Give me a hint. Show me how you see things. Help me know you better.

I slept as I normally would, dreaming about nothing in particular. But then I woke in the early morning with a strong sense that I was in the presence of a huge entity of some kind. It was vast, deep, powerful. It felt thoroughly benign. No…more than just benign: It was wholly suffused with God.

I felt I ought to recognize who or what this entity was. It seemed somehow familiar, yet I couldn’t quite place it. And then suddenly I realized:

Oh. My. God. This is the devil.

I was seeing Satan—as viewed through a completely sane mind.

•          •          •

Well, I asked for an example of God’s truth. That was a pretty good one.

Alrighty then.

A radiantly gentle, spotlessly innocent Satan is pretty clear testimony to the fact that I know abso-freaking-lutely nothing about anything. (Not to mention that my lifelong terror of the supernatural is a pointless joke.)

If the devil is perfectly, luminously innocent, you might ask…then what the hell isn’t?

That’s a very good question. Oops-a-daisy. I may have made a teensy mistake here, wasting my time judging and condemning everything and everybody, 24/7…

Because, apparently I’m entirely wrong about everything. I mean, like, ENTIRELY wrong. About EVERYTHING.

Which means my distaste for God’s truth is probably all wrong, too.

Probably. In all likelihood.

•          •          •

So it’s looking like God might be marriage material after all. Possibly it’s time for me to get serious, and stop playing hard to get.

I guess I’d better start picking up the phone whenever the truth calls, instead of letting it go to voicemail. Because I suspect we’ll probably be seeing a whole lot more of each other from now on.

 

A Year Without Fear: ME AND MY SHADOW

shadowConfession: Ever since the shadow-man’s nocturnal visit a couple of weeks ago, I’ve been afraid of the dark. Just like old times.

It’s a colossal flashback to a pattern I thought I cleared ages ago, and I’m a little bummed out to find myself seemingly back at this same scaredy-cat spot once more.

In the last post, I discovered it was necessary to embrace and accept the unseen supernatural world, because it’s an aspect of the self. Because I created it, and am therefore responsible for it. I learned that if I choose instead to remain terrified of it, shoving it out of my perception, perceiving it as something out there, then I’m choosing to stay separate from, and terrified of, myself.

And that’s not cool. That’s not acceptable.

In that last post I also learned that all benevolent entities, deities and protective forces are also me. And that’s fabulous news—in theory.

When both the dark and light aspects of the self are embraced equally and seen correctly through healed perception—again, in theory—my hope would be that they would balance out: The illusory dark would learn to make nice with the light, and eventually find a way to quietly melt together with it into oneness.

None of which does me much good at the moment, because of one teensy technicality—and it’s the same stumbling block that just about everybody bumps up against at one time or another:

Opposing beliefs are hardly ever evenly matched. So you experience the one you believe in most.

If you say you want wealth, for instance, but you’re way more convinced about the reality of lack than you are about the existence of abundance, then lack is what you experience. Not because you deserve lack, but simply because your belief in your own ability to be abundant is a pale, will-o-the-wisp yearning, compared to the muscular certainty of your expectation of lack. Lack kicks abundance’s butt every time, until such time as abundance firmly takes up residence as your predominant belief instead.

So …when it’s up in my face (as it is right now), it seems I believe in the scary stuff with every quaking fiber of my being. My longstanding terror relationship with the unseen world is way stronger than my newish trust relationship with those protective entities of love and light.

My unconscious mind is thoroughly convinced of the reality of the scary stuff. My conscious mind—the top 15% of the iceberg that sticks out above the waterline—has forged some delicately lovely new relationships with angels, guides and God, over the past few years, and it thinks those recent alliances are totally swell.

But those wonderful new relationships are still in the tentative dating stage. And the supernatural is a bitterly vindictive spouse that’s fighting the divorce papers with all it’s got.

Which relationship is more real to me? Which one brings more lawyers to the table?

You do the math.

So yes, it’s all me. But the terrifying ‘me’ who goes bump in the night is the one that’s in the ascendancy at the moment. And I can’t help but illogically, unconsciously believe in it 1,000%. I deeply trust it to do its malignant worst.

The joyously illuminated ‘me’ of much more recent dating history, (the ‘me’ whose parents I haven’t even met yet) is not particularly a comfort in this situation. I suspect it loves me but I’m pretty sure it’s seeing other people.

So I really haven’t committed. I haven’t fully learned to trust it or believe in it yet.

And if I don’t truly believe in that beautiful new relationship when push comes to shove—and I don’t, and it has—then it’s a fairly useless form of protection, and will be total crap as an evenly matched force for neutralizing darkness.

So that’s why I’ve been afraid of the dark ever since the night of the shadow-man: I’ve lost all protection, because I can’t be counted on to protect me from me.

•          •          •

It’s not like I’ve been passive about this retreat into terror. It’s not like the old days—I don’t ignore it or run away anymore. I don’t put healing off for some illusory future tomorrow. Every day and night I’ve indicated willingness to take that journey into darkness, to see what it’s made of.

I’ve prayed for a way in. I’ve poked at this supernatural terror repeatedly with a stick; I’ve put my arms around it and tried to love it open. But this thing has seemingly rolled itself up tight into an impenetrably armored ball.

It’s the Armadillo of Doom. The Hedgehog of Horror. And there seems to be no way of making the little monster unroll and show itself to me.

I’ve managed periodically to spend some quality moments dissolved into oneness with my highest wisdom Self, where all fearful stories are recognized, at least temporarily, as fantasy.

Yesterday, while joined with the Self, I said: “I know none of this is real in truth. I don’t care about the past-life stories or whatever else this thing holds—I’ll relive it all if it’s necessary for my healing, but I’m really just interested in accepting and releasing it, so I can know myself in wholeness. It’s incredibly uncomfortable, this crusty ancient fear—it doesn’t leave me alone. It feels like it’s clawing to get out. It seems to want to make itself known in my awareness, but can’t quite manage to come to the surface and show itself to me. What will it take for this thing to open up and reveal itself? How can I help? How do I get this process underway?”

The answer: You have indicated that you choose a quick and gentle path devoid of agony. Therefore, you’ll need to develop much deeper trust in your guides, angels and God. Before you go down this road, you will need to believe in them every bit as strongly as you currently believe in your fear. Otherwise, fear will overtake you.

 It’s all you; all the illusory beings of dark and light are aspects of the one great Self. And only Love is real. But you don’t truly believe these things yet. In order to walk through this seeming valley of darkness without experiencing great pain and fear, it’s necessary that you believe the two ‘teams’ are evenly matched. Your trust in light will need to be at least as strong as your belief in darkness. Then, as you witness the contents of your armored ball, you’ll be free to choose which interpretation to believe: The unfathomable horrors of darkness, or the unfathomable innocence of light.

 If you try to pry open that ball right now, you will find it very difficult to view its contents through the eyes of Love. Yes, the ball wants to be seen by you (for you have offered it welcome), but you must prepare yourself first, if you wish to view its contents correctly.

Give all your love and trust to those aspects of the Self that offer you their infinite Love and support in return. Forge a relationship that can’t be broken. And then we can revisit the armadillo after that.

•          •          •

It’s a bit of a Catch-22, or so it seems to me.

I’ve discovered that the story goes like this, inside the deepest crevices of my unconscious mind: Fear of the supernatural equals fear of the self…which equals fear of the one great Self…which equals fear of God. It’s all the same damn thing.

In order to trust fully in God as an ally in the release of fear, I need to first release my desperate fear of God’s supreme untrustworthiness as an ally. To stop fearing fear, in other words, I have to cozy up to God—whom I’m desperately afraid of.

Which is why God and I are still in the goodnight-kiss-at-the-front-door stage of our relationship. Right now it’s just a serious flirtation, but part of me believes I’m playing with fire.

If I invite Love in for a nightcap (whispers my darkest unconscious mind) who the hell knows what may happen?

Who knows what horrible death, what terrifying loss of identity would result if I give myself to oneness? It’s all fun and games, as the saying goes, until someone loses an ‘I.’

•          •          •

So which is worse? Being swallowed up by the devil, or being dissolved into oneness with God? To a deep unconscious mind, it’s the same thing.

I seem to be at an impasse, here. But the operative word is seem. Experience has shown me that a roadblock is only impenetrable if I say it is. All roadblocks are illusory; they’re made of smoke and mirrors. Which means there has to be another way of seeing this. I’m sure there’s another way through. I just don’t know what it is, yet.

Next time God and I get together for pizza and a movie, I’ll be sure to ask.

A Year Without Fear: WHO YA GONNA CALL?

ghostbustersI came into this life with a major chip on my shoulder toward the supernatural. And by ‘supernatural,’ I meant all things unseen, from ghosts and angels to demons and faeries, to chakras, auras, the devil and God. I was blindly terrified by all of it. Wanted nothing whatsoever to do with any of it.

Yet it all felt so alarmingly, threateningly close by. So I slammed and locked all possible doors of entry, fingers plugged securely in ears, eyes squeezed shut, my quavering solo rendition of La-La-La-La-La echoing tunelessly throughout the black, malicious universe.

But then a spiritual life started following me around. Licking my hand, gazing at me imploringly with those irresistible puppydog eyes. What’s a body to do? I brought it home to live with me. And with it came a gradual acceptance of unseen guides and helpers, and maybe (grudgingly) an angel or two. I even began to consider revising my opinion of God.

Old fears started to heal. I found I wasn’t afraid of the dark anymore. But I knew there was still a deep, untouched core of terror at the heart of this supernatural issue. And that was more or less ok with me. It could stay there if it wanted, down in the horrifying icy depths, as long as it promised never to come out and do its unimaginably evil thang in my presence.

•          •          •

But then I started regularly visiting England a couple of years ago. Home, seemingly, to a disproportionate number of the entities on that original supernatural shit list. Between the ghosts, faeries and ley line whatnots, ‘supernatural’ is the UK’s Middle Earth-middle name.

One day in April of 2012, on a drizzly park bench at the ruins of Glastonbury Abbey, I was suddenly shown an inspiration by my higher self that caused me to take a spontaneous vow: I agreed to stop hiding. To take my fingers out of my ears, open my eyes and stop blocking my own gifts of awareness. It was a vow to fully let in the supernatural, as well as my own true relationship with it—whatever that might be. (For the complete story of this event, see That ‘Ol Black Magic, written in May of that year.)

The vow itself scared the bejeezus out of me. But I knew it was the right thing. Even if I wasn’t ready to actually do what it suggested at that time, at least the intention for wholeness had been set.

•          •          •

These days I live on a farm in the Southwest of England. The farm property dates back to Georgian times, as does nearly every other building within a 10-mile radius. (That’s ‘Georgian’ as in King George, by the way. You know, the one who reigned during the American Revolution. 250-odd years of inhabitants between then and now, is what I’m saying.)

Uh oh.

Luckily, a lot has changed for me over the past two years, and one of those changes is that the supernatural core of terror has begun to melt of its own accord. So much so, that I’ve developed a sort of an unexpectedly fond relationship with a rather playful entity that seems to intermittently share the place with us.

Which doesn’t freak me out. Its antics amuse me (usually), and it, in turn, seems to enjoy my responses.

And in those times when it isn’t funny—when, for instance, the sat nav disappears from the table where Steve put it just moments before rushing out the door to an appointment, I chide the unseen entity as I would an 8-year-old. And the next time I turn and look, the GPS unit has been put back where Steve left it.

It means us no harm, this thing. I think it’s probably just bored.

But I wasn’t congratulating myself on the healing of the supernatural issue. Not quite yet.

Because even though I’ve been forming peculiar little relationships with, um, invisible friends, I knew full well that there was still an entire universe of unseen stuff that I was resisting.

And somewhere in there, the terror was alive and well.

•          •          •

A few nights ago I couldn’t sleep. I was physically uncomfortable, funny little electrical impulses running through my legs. I felt like I couldn’t get enough oxygen, like my body was compulsively demanding deep, rhythmic breathwork. (But I didn’t want to do breathwork in the middle of the night. I wanted to sleep.)

My mind felt like it does whenever the veil is too thin for comfort—scratchy, swirly, trance-y, with a feeling of old, stuck emotions coming up in the far distance. I watched as grief and terror showed themselves faintly before being squashed again, scolded like wayward children and sent back to their prison cells without supper.

I knew something big was coming up, asking for healing and release. I strongly suspected it was the supernatural thing. I got out of bed, not wanting to disturb Steve, and went to sit by myself in the darkened living room.

Uneasily, I reviewed my options. I could keep the whole thing bottled up for the rest of this lifetime; I could go on holding back the terror avalanche that pressed against the door of my conscious awareness. It had sort of worked thus far, and would probably keep doing the job for another several decades. Damn, except for one thing: That vow I made back in 2012…I promised. I swore I’d heal this issue.

Besides, much more recently than 2012, I signed an agreement with my higher self, to live a year without fear. There were no exclusionary clauses in that contract. I’m either all in, or I’m not.

But the supernatural is a special category.

No it isn’t. There are no special categories.

It was time to get at that silent-screaming core of horror. Time to see it, feel it and let it go, once and for all. (Assuming I did not drop dead of fright first, of course.)

So I went into negotiation mode.

Ok if I have to do it now, I’m the one who gets to choose how it goes down. I refuse to do it the hard way. The hellishly heart-attack-making, agonizing way. It’s either gentle and easy, or I don’t wanna play.

I must have dozed off after that. Groggy, I roused myself and shuffled back toward the bedroom. As I groped my way toward the door, I suddenly stopped, stepping back with a gasp.

A dark figure stood between me and the bedroom door. I could see no features, no gender, no clothing. Just a bald-headed shape of a slender human body, slightly taller than me. Standing there. Waiting.

At first I thought it must be Steve, passing me in the hallway on his way to the bathroom. But it did not move.

Was it a trick of the eyes? A shadow? I couldn’t be certain, but it didn’t seem like either one. This thing had…gravitas, for lack of a better word. A sort of weight, or presence.

I wasn’t afraid, exactly, but let’s just say I was very alert. Very.

I surveyed it as closely as I could in the dark. Its essence seemed neutral, empty of ambition or intent. I didn’t know what it wanted, but apart from its slightly forbidding appearance it didn’t seem to mean me any harm.

As we stood facing each other (less than 2 feet apart), I reached up to tighten the belt on my bathrobe. To my amazement, it reached up simultaneously and made the identical gesture at its own waist. Even though it wore no bathrobe.

In a flash I understood.

“OMG! It’s me!” I laughed out loud and walked right through it without a thought, opened the door and went back to bed.

•          •          •

I lay in the dark, thinking about that non-accidental proclamation, OMG! It’s me!

I knew it was a teaching. This was the easy, gentle lesson I’d asked to learn.

A couple of blog posts ago, in I Am $600,000 (and so are you) I had learned to accept responsibility for the creation of the whole 3-D world. I recognized not only that I had created it, but that I was it, for better and worse. And that felt like plenty to digest and accept at that time.

But let’s be honest, the 3-D portion of the cosmos is only a tiny fraction of all the vast stuff we creators create. The whole unseen world has to be accepted as my own creation—and my own responsibility—as well.

Through that slender, naked shadow-man, I had been gently shown the mind-boggling truth: Everything that seems to exist, whether seen or unseen, is part of myself. The good, the bad, the ugly. The supernatural. They are all my creations, and I’m responsible for them.

And if I remain in terror of them, then I remain terrified of myself.

This was a lot to take in. I started to call on Archangel Michael and various assorted guides of divine light and love, asking them to lead and protect me as I processed this alarming new information. (I also didn’t want to encounter any more shadow-men without beefing up my security detail first.) But halfway through the call for help I realized…oh shit…they’re all me, too.

They’re happy to assist for as long as I believe I need it, but they want me to recognize this: They don’t have anything I haven’t already got myself, because they’re not separate from me in any way. Their power is my own.

There’s only me, apparently. Only one of us in truth.

It sounds great as spiritual theory, this business of being all one.

But in practice, it’s a hell of a thing to stand still for, let alone embrace.

I decided not to resist the new information. And with this decision, I was shown a vision of myself, teeth gritted, grimacing with the supreme effort of holding back the wall made of self: The wall of unseen supernatural knowing and dread, which is actually nothing more than a part of me that’s begging to come home and be loved. I watched as I sagged, collapsing against the wall, exhausted.

To my great surprise, this act of surrender did not release the hounds of hell. It brought peace. The weight of eons, lifted.

•          •          •

I’m still afraid. I still don’t want to encounter things of evil intent (or even things of spooky demeanor), if I can possibly help it. I know I still have work to do.

But this was a biggie, this acceptance of responsibility for the supernatural. I have undergone the DNA testing to determine its parentage, and OMG, it’s me.

So there you go. It turns out that in the clear light of oneness, I am both the ghostbuster and the ghost. And the same, my dear, is true of you. Which makes that old question a surprisingly interesting one:

Who, indeed, are ya gonna call?

 

A Year Without Fear: LOVE IS A THING WITH WINGS, DAMMIT

thing with wingsIn my chosen spiritual ocean, I’ve spent many a pruney year dog-paddling in circles around the idea of unconditional love. It’s an authentically healthy love (I’m told), one that offers complete freedom and true healing to all who experience it. And all, apparently, are equally worthy of it.

It’s a beautiful theory. And to practice unconditional love feels totally great as an abstract exercise—always performed on my own terms, of course, and only when I’m in the mood for it.

But in real-life daily practice? Where it actually counts? I’ve barely dipped a toe into that pool. I’m talking about real, true, healthy unconditional love. I want to see how it applies on a blood-pumping individual, interpersonal human level—you know, the one where we actually live.

What does truly healthy love even look like? I mean seriously—I want specific personal knowledge of how it works. How it feels to do it. (This is where the spiritual books all scurry forward to fill the experience gap, flipping open to well-thumbed pages:

Healthy love, they inform us, is given freely and without a need to get anything in return. It’s a love that holds no creepy crawly strings or hidden clauses: I’ll love you IF. Healthy love is our true identity, they say. We become whole as we remember our own wholly loving nature.)

Yes, I know all that. But I’m tired of letting book-knowledge substitute for lived experience. There’s no liberation in it.

 

•          •          •

 

These days, I’m all about bringing my own interior darkness to light. Historically, some areas have always seemed darker and more persistently painful than others. They refused to go away, so I told myself they were beyond my power to heal or transcend.

But I’ve grown bored with telling myself the lie that I’m helpless to transcend my own crap. In fact I’m not the slightest bit helpless, and never was. (No one is.) In my mostly unconscious misuse of my infinite God-given creative power, I have created my own suffering entirely by free-will choice. I accept this truth; I own it, I take responsibility for it. And having recognized and embraced this unlimited creative force within, along with its unconsciously crappy effects, I am therefore free to un-create those effects anytime I choose.

So there was this black hole of self-hatred and unworthiness that I spoke about last time. I reported that it had miraculously healed all by itself. But I didn’t tell you that in the months leading up to that profound transformation, I had chosen to shine a light into that deeply unconscious black hole for the very first time, to see what was in it.

(A black hole is not a place that readily accepts illumination, by the way. And nothing can escape from it. Which was why I had never seemingly been able to touch its interior in all my years of trying. Until I finally recognized the black hole’s existence depended solely on my permission. I had created it, and my choice to let it endure was the only thing holding it in place. It behaved as a black hole would, in other words, until I saw I was bigger than it was. Upon realizing my own power over it, I found I was suddenly able to access its secrets, because I had granted myself entry.)

Upon examination, I saw that the black hole was a sort of a cosmic bucket without a bottom. And forever falling through that bottomless bucket was a tiny, terrified self in search of a worldly identity. A ‘me’ that was unable to offer itself the smallest crumb of love or compassion. A self that fruitlessly searched the external world for evidence of its own lovability and worth. But even when that evidence showed up, there was no ground to hold it. No matter how desperately the small self grasped at those bits of external validation, nothing could stay. It all fell right through the hole.

That black hole was the very essence of neediness and terror.

We are told in spiritual practice—and in every self-help guide ever written—that real love is within. And it’s clearly true. Real safety, real peace, real wholeness and real validation can’t possibly come from anybody but the self. Trying to get any of those things from another person (who, let’s face it, has their own black hole to deal with) is, in the immortal words of George Carlin, like trying to satisfy hunger by taping sandwiches all over your body.

It has to be an inside job. The external approach simply can’t cut it. But I knew no other way. I tried doing what the spiritual teachers said. I really did.

I looked very hard for a very long time, searching determinedly within for all that juicy good stuff.

But the black hole just couldn’t love me back.

 

•          •          •

 

I’m married to a gorgeous guy who is delighted to be married to me, and isn’t shy about telling me so. I luxuriate in his loving approval. I know exactly how lucky I am.

He and I find ourselves participating in spiritual retreats together fairly often, either as presenters or attendees.

Retreats are funny things. Due to the nature of the exercises involved, everybody wanders around with wide-open hearts. Beautiful souls who are often starved for true communion (with the Self!) gain temporary nourishment from the next best thing: In the safety of the retreat setting, we all let glimmers of our true beauty out. A bunch of magnificent open-hearted angels, holding up shining mirrors to one other. And everybody falls a little bit in love with everyone else’s light.

Is this a problem? No, of course not. It’s beautiful. It’s an honor to participate in it. But the needy Black Hole Troll has been known to have an issue with it now and then—like when the husband’s light gets admired a little too much, if you know what I mean. Or vice versa.

But how much is too much? Degrees of anything is a fool’s game. I know better. Trying to manage something by degrees is a slippery slope that leads directly toward suffering and away from liberation. There are really only two choices: There’s either healthy, authentic unconditional love (which has no degrees, and means total freedom is extended to the spouse, to give and receive love as he sees fit)—or there’s guaranteed darkness and pain.

I’m not talking about monogamy or fidelity, here, by the way. That is a closely related subject, only because we humans who are so starved for authentic light and purity of love, often confuse its beauty for the kind we’re more familiar with. And then complications ensue. But that’s a topic for some other blog post.

Right now I’m just talking about my own exploration of the perceived danger, the extreme threat that seems to rear its head when a loved one is allowed in fullness, as a sovereign being, to receive love or express open-hearted admiration for the light of others.

Last month, the husband and I attended a retreat workshop at a beautiful monastery in Israel. Our group took over the entire monastery. The only other person staying there at the time was a lovely woman on a personal silent retreat, who spent her days in walking meditation out in the garden.

She did nothing to call attention to herself. She wore no makeup, her hair was pulled back in a simple low ponytail. She wore plain white cotton shift dresses and flat shoes. She was the essence of humility. The women in our group (if they noticed her at all) saw her and smiled at her lovely simplicity, and then gave her no second thought.

The men in our group zeroed in on her like flies to honey, like moths to a candle flame. They obsessed over her, speculating about her, telling themselves and each other stories about her presumed state of elevated ethereal awareness. Some of them even followed her around and made general pests of themselves.

Observing her effect on all of the men, yet none of the women, I would ordinarily be inclined to call it a simple case of pheromones, dressed up in spiritual claptrap. Except for the effect she had on my husband.

The first time he saw her, he didn’t actually see her. He was facing me, and his back was turned to her as she walked quietly past our group. He nearly fell off his chair, swiveling to see who it was that possessed such a powerfully tranquil vibration of stillness and peace. Screw the workshop. He wanted more of that.

I didn’t like it a bit. And I wasn’t entirely sure why. What possible threat was it to me—I mean really? I did quite a lot of conscious spiritual work around it while it was all going on. But I admit it, I was not crazy about Stillness Girl’s effect on my darling spouse.

It wasn’t until days after we’d left the monastery behind that I realized why. Steve and I were playing hooky that day, relaxing on beach chairs beside the Sea of Galilee while everybody else was being carted around on a tour of the area. I was deep in thought on my beach chair, sitting with crossed legs as I often do, one foot swinging rhythmically in tempo with the noise in my head. Steve gently put a hand on my leg to stop its incessant motion, before sitting down on his own beach chair. And as he did it, a flash of insight showed me what the hell my problem was. What it had always been.

I am not still. I don’t exude profound tranquility. If I walked behind you, trust me, no swiveling would occur—not for that reason, anyway. So it seemed to me that the Lady in White had something I lacked. And that’s the part that felt so threatening. That’s the part that felt like a rebuke, a judgment, an accusation, whenever the spouse admired a quality in somebody that I believe I lack.

Stillness. Straight hair. A lyrical recording voice.

Whatever it might be that I think I lack, his innocent admiration or love of it in another felt like abandonment, betrayal and finger-wagging all at once. And that made it the worst possible kind of identity theft—it threatened my identity as the one who is loved. But that’s the black hole that was doing the talking. Not Steve.

Steve actually has never agreed with my troll-self in its unloving assessment of me. So he couldn’t figure out why I would find such a thing threatening. The way he sees it, his open-hearted admiration of the Lady in White (or anyone else) did not in any way take away from his love and admiration for me. And you know what? He’s right.

But I didn’t truly know he was right until the Black Hole Troll gave up its post a week or two after our return from Israel. I’m not 100% free of dark misperceptions about myself yet, but I am truthfully beginning to recognize myself as the Beloved. Yes, the Beloved, with a great big gorgeous capital ‘B.’ And that recognition is a breathtakingly short hop away from seeing everybody and everything else as that, too.

Case in point: The other day in the car on the way to the post office, I suddenly choked up and cried a little. Because the English countryside in bloom is just so fucking lovely, I became overwhelmed with joy.

It—and I!—were indescribably beautiful and perfect and whole. So much tenderly magnificent Belovedness all around, my lumpy little emotional system couldn’t cope.

In those brief moments of authentic Belovedness, I know without a doubt that inside where it counts, I am approved of to an unimaginable degree. And because of this, I now know my safety and my true identity can never be withdrawn. External events can’t touch it.

 

•          •          •

 

So how does all this Belovedness change things, in the neediness/jealousy/control department? I’m not sure yet what the changes will look like, but I’m guessing it will shift the landscape profoundly.

I still observe myself wanting to clip Steve’s wings, to limit his freedom, as a knee-jerk response to perceived threat. But I know it isn’t the way forward. I know it doesn’t lead to safety or happiness. So I immediately bring a “sun of illumination” into that dark desire for constriction. And as this gently brilliant searchlight streams its loving rays into every shadowy corner, I allow for the (terrifying? unthinkable?) possibility that my husband can actually be free to give and receive love as he wishes without it harming or stealing anything at all from me personally.

Gasp.

Is this really true? Am I safe whether Steve’s love is kept for me alone or extended freely like blown dandelion seeds? It’s mighty scary territory, even with the newfound knowledge that the Beloved is within. Because letting love out of the cage is just about the most frightening step imaginable for this tiny little ego self. And once love is out of its cage, I’m pretty sure there’ll be no stuffing it back in.

But I do know this: I have thoroughly clung to the alternative throughout my entire life. And for fifty-something years, my futile attempts to contain and control love have brought me only pain. So I’m setting aside the books and the teachings of theoretical unconditional love, and am finally taking my own shaky steps onto the diving board.

I hope to God I can swim.

 

PS, if it interests you, I have a free e-book that touches on some of these same topics. It’s called I AM THE LOVE OF MY LIFE (a field guide to unconditional love for self and others). Download it from my website or from Kobo.com

A Year Without Fear: I AM $600,000. (AND SO ARE YOU.)

prosperityAt the end of my previous post, The $600,000 Gatekeeper, I reported that the internal arbiter standing between me and limitless creative expression seemed to have permanently abandoned its mission.

Afterward, a friend asked, “So if the gatekeeper is gone, are you now able to feel you deserve $600,000?” I didn’t know. I said I’d get back to him.

When I first met the gatekeeper, it showed itself to me as a frightened figure trying singlehandedly to hold back all of creation. It didn’t seem terribly interested in whether or not I deserved a randomly large amount of money. The outsized request itself was the threat.

In general, I would say the gatekeeper didn’t much like or approve of me. But there wasn’t much it did like or approve of, frankly. It was a very tired and cranky young sentinel, and I didn’t know whether judging deservedness was even part of its job description. Now that the gatekeeper had left the building, did all disapproval go with it? I grabbed my lamp and merged with my highest wisdom self, to find out.

We went within to have another good look around. I made the same exploratory statement as before: I’m in the mood to receive $600,000. Then my highest wisdom self and I watched carefully, taking note of all feelings that arose in response.

The answer to the deservedness question wasn’t entirely obvious at first. Where a sense of constriction or limitation used to be, I found only silently peaceful expansiveness. Nothing inside there cared about $600,000 one way or the other. But if I wanted to have it, there seemed no clear, self-generated reason why I shouldn’t.

I shone my lamp more deeply into the question of what I deserve, or what I am worth. I wasn’t prepared for what I found.

A fundamental sea change had taken place. A shift so profound, I can barely find words to describe it. And I hadn’t even noticed it happening.

•          •          •

I need to back up a bit here, to put this astonishing transformation into perspective for you. Throughout this lifetime, in my deepest unconscious core I always believed I was a hatefully unlovable troll. An abnormal, unforgivable blight on the universe.

No amount of spiritual work has ever convinced me otherwise. Not down there, in the deepest slumbering places where the sun don’t shine. This fixed core belief in my desperate unworthiness and unacceptability seemed forever out of reach and beyond help.

Until this week. Until I got to experience myself as creation itself. The higher wisdom self and I brought our light of conscious illumination into that great internal vastness for the very first time. It became a wonderful, softly welcoming experience, very beautiful to witness, as our light made tracers in the darkness and gently awakened bits of my comatose creative self.

Apparently the hate-filled unconscious core thing had been watching this whole event. After it witnessed the spectacular movement of universal creation flowing through me, AS me—well, this core thing seems to have radically revised its opinion.

It’s actually starting to think I’m pretty damn cool.

•          •          •

Do I deserve $600,000? What a goofy, charmingly irrelevant question. How can I not deserve the limitless creation that I already am? I am $600,000, for God’s sake. And I’m Buckingham Palace and the Taj Mahal thrown in. Which kind of makes me want to start singing a Cole Porter song to myself:

I’m the top

I’m the Coliseum

I’m the top

I’m the Louvre Museum…

 

I haven’t mentioned it much yet, but it was fully clear to me as I witnessed myself in my spectacular universal function of creation, that you are that same identical thing too. You are every bit as vast, as grand, and as unstoppably limitless. (I know people say that kind of thing to you all the time. Books are full of it. But I’m reporting my own eyewitness account, here. And I’m telling you: Really. No shit. YOU ARE ALL THAT. And a bag of chips.)

•          •          •

But here’s the fine print on that contract:

If you want to know yourself as the limitless creation you truly are, you don’t get to cherrypick only the parts you like.

Yep, I’m the Mona Lisa and the Tower of Pisa (to go back to Cole Porter for a minute). But I’m also the slums of Rio. I’m the gas chambers of Auschwitz, and I’m every guy who ever drowned a sackful of unwanted kittens.

Write a song about that. I dare ya.

As I sat merged in meditation with the highest wisdom self and our lamp of illumination, I recognized I am responsible for all of creation. And my responsibility is to stop turning away from the creation that I am. I don’t have to like it all. But I must accept the whole package without resorting to the sort of schizophrenic denial I’ve been using since time began. I am required to know myself consciously and willingly as I truly am, in other words, or not at all.

The contract is to love without judgment. To help where I can. To step in and intervene if called to, but to do so without employing rejection or denial or a wish to find anyone or anything guilty–for those I would condemn are all very clearly parts of my own creation. Parts of my own creative self.

That’s what my creative self actually is. Its only function, its sole identity is constant, nonjudging, impartial creation. It couldn’t pause, take a breather from 100% neutral creating, even if it wanted to. And it doesn’t want to. In fact it doesn’t want anything. It already is everything. And it makes no judgment whatsoever about the unholy unconscious purposes you and I put our creative function to. It just endlessly creates, creates, creates whatever we ask of it.

So that’s what my larger self is. It refuses to judge its own constant creations. I know–I’ve seen it, felt it as me. Do I go on denying that nonjudging creative self? Running away from it? Being terrified of it? Blaming others for it? Hating others? There are no others.

And I’m done with that whole self-hatred business, really. The self-hating unconscious core and the vast creative self are the same self. There’s only one, you know.

I’m inclined to stop fighting City Hall. So I agreed to the contract as wholeheartedly as I could. And as I did it, I felt my spine gently slip out of alignment. All by itself. (Ow.)

Not all parts of me are equally on board with this, it seems. I literally do not have my own support. At least not yet.

How does this contractual agreement change things? Does it change things?

My chiropractor and I haven’t a clue. I’ll keep you posted.

 

A YEAR WITHOUT FEAR

victorian garden queen and suitorA 12-MONTH EXPERIMENT THAT ASKS THE QUESTION: IS PAINFUL SELF-LIMITATION NOTHING BUT AN OLD HABIT? (Breakable, like any other habit?)

And if a habit of fear can be broken, is it possible to cultivate a habit of joyous liberation instead?

I want to spend the next year finding out.

•          •          •

Like so many people do, I spent decades inside a self-created prison of emotional pain and unworthiness. It was life without parole, and that’s just how I wanted it. I liked it inside that tiny box. I felt comfortable in there, squeezing all of life’s delirious bounty down to a starvation trickle so as not to overwhelm myself with too much of anything.

I’m much freer now than I used to be, of course. But honestly, that isn’t saying a lot when you consider how infinitely free our potential actually is, in the grand scheme of things. Love it or hate it, the world has no boundaries or limits on what it can show us if we let it. So I’m still settling for tragic smallness, really. Most of us are.

Yet, these days I keep getting persistent glimmers that there are other ways to go about life. The rigid roadblocks I’ve habitually erected against my own happiness and fulfillment are sort of winking at me, shimmering like the transparent mirages they really are. Here’s the best way I can describe what’s been going on:

It’s as if lately I’ve been engaged in a sort of Victorian picture-postcard flirtation with what I’ll call Divine Possibility. A whole world of beautifully wide-open, potentially limitless freedom has been fluttering its eyelashes at me, lifting its petticoats to show me a delicate ankle, as it were, before skipping off with a giggle to hide behind the garden gate.  Or so it seems.

But I know it’s really the other way around. Limitless freedom is patiently staring me right in the face—it’s me who’s playing coy, peeking at it bashfully from between my fingers. (And then I take a break to duck inside the potting shed, because apparently I still like to stand in the dark with my face to the wall, now and then. Smacking myself in the head occasionally with a trowel. Just because.)

But hey. At least I’m finally aware—after so many decades of clueless confinement—that the unstoppable flow of Divine Possibility and I are actually occupying the same lovely spring garden.

You’re there too, by the way.

•          •          •

So here I am, in my peculiar Victorian garden metaphor, rubbing my sleepy eyes and only just beginning to look with keen interest at the lush tangle of blooms and weeds running riot this way and that, growing with wild abandon all around me. Which is to say, I’m starting to really notice how the creative force operates within us, whether it’s wielded consciously or not.

This is not theory, or an exercise in the Law of Attraction handbook. I’m coming to recognize firsthand, for myself, that I—we—are all infinitely powerful creators, engaged in a grandly orchestrated ongoing dance with all of creation. We are 100% responsible for everything we call into our experience in each moment. We attract it, we create it, we make it all from scratch. We can’t not create. Our vibration draws similar vibration; like attracts like. We routinely bend people and situations to our will, mercilessly insisting they behave as we feel we deserve, for better and worse. And then we deny responsibility for any of it. The bad stuff is somebody else’s fault. The good stuff is God’s doing. (Or vice versa, depending on your worldview.)

But we’re creating it ourselves, because that’s what we do. It’s what we are. I know this not because some teacher or some book said it, but because I’m finally paying attention and seeing creation openly in action everywhere. The evidence is all around, if you’re only willing to look. To really see.

•          •          •

A dear friend recently asked a seemingly innocent question: What is your deepest desire? (My immediate thoughts naturally raced to all those cherished dreams still unfulfilled: I want to awaken fully, to know myself as I really am in Truth. I want to be profoundly helpful in the world.)

But the right answer, the only possible right answer that’s true 100% of the time for everyone is this: My deepest desire is whatever is occurring in my experience right now, in this moment.

No, I’m not parroting something I think an enlightened person would say. I’m not going all Byron Katie on your ass. I personally do not often (ok, ever) walk around 100% immersed in the utter perfection of present moment beingness. I do not know firsthand from my own experience that if something is occurring, that fact alone means it is perfect. I ain’t there yet.

However. I did see with shocking clarity the cooly neutral truth of that statement. Why is this moment my deepest desire? There is actually never a moment in time that I’m not experiencing the fulfillment of my deepest desire. Because that’s how creation works, and I am an infinitely powerful creator. What I say goes, always.

But ask me to name my deepest desire, and my mind automatically skitters off into ‘what I haven’t got yet’ future dream-fulfillment territory. But that’s a lie. That’s just another game of Victorian peekaboo.

In truth I am an infinitely powerful creator, and nothing/nobody can override my free will choice. Ever. Period. I automatically create and attract into my experience exactly what I want, moment by moment. Whatever I’m experiencing is whatever I want most to experience in that moment. What I desire most. That’s how it works. It can’t be any other way.

Naturally we don’t want to hear that, because it’s very hard to accept the news that we freely create our own bondage and pain. I get it. I’ve certainly been there, bitterly arguing I would never cause myself (or others!!) unhappiness or injustice. Oh, but the truth is, I would. I have, through free will choice. Unconscious free will choice, mostly, but free will choice nonetheless.

•          •          •

So now I’ve clearly seen not just the marionette strings on my hands and feet, I’ve finally recognized the true identity of the puppeteer.  And I accept responsibility for both. Yet not a lot has changed, in my habitual daily decision-making process. But why is that? If the world is actually my oyster/lobster/seafood buffet, and creation is an ongoing inescapable fact of life in the world, I shouldn’t need to go on unconsciously choosing the same old starvation diet, right? I could be choosing all my future-based heart’s desires right now. In theory, anyway.

And that’s what got me wondering:

If I’m starting to know myself as an infinite creator, how come I still habitually make fear-based decisions? Why do I automatically play small, narrowing my own options, restricting my own freedom? And therefore the freedom of others?

So I’ve devised a very simple experiment. I want to find out fear’s actual role in the day-to-day creation process. For one year, I will stay alert to notice every time I make a decision, large or small, that is based in fear. (I know well the telltale signs when fear is present. I’m sure you do, too: A feeling of contraction or heaviness. Any sense of worry. Any desire to limit myself or others.)

As I consciously acknowledge the presence of that feeling state of fear, I will stop and ask: Is there another way to see this situation? Another solution or direction I can take that is not fear-based? And then I will wait to see what answers or insights might come. I pledge to walk down those unfamiliar new avenues in which fear plays no part. Maybe it will get less uncomfortable and strange each time I do it. Maybe the scenery will change a bit every time. Then as the months roll by, we’ll see what kinds of new vistas open up.

•          •          •

Freedom, (if you look at it closely) is actually freedom from fear. Freedom is feeling safe, peaceful and strong, expansive and loving in every moment, regardless of what is occurring around you. That’s true freedom. Inner freedom. It is not (to quote Janis Joplin) another word for nothing left to lose.

Yes, losing everything—and discovering you’ve survived anyway—is one way of moving beyond the fear of losing everything. But surely not the only way of attaining true freedom, true liberation.

I want to know myself as That. As One who walks the Earth in true freedom from fear. And yes, I’d like to be fully awake and ridiculously helpful to humanity while doing it. But right here and right now, I’ll start by holding my old habitual fear patterns up to the light. Not to battle them—just to gaze upon them with bemused curiosity. To put them aside, and then choose something different this time. And next time. And the time after that.

My current hypothesis is that fear is a habit. And therefore maybe the act of choosing fearlessly is just a muscle that needs to be developed. So, gym class starts now. I’ll be blogging my progress (both the forward and the backward kind) if it interests you. Personally, I can’t wait to see what comes of it.

 

 

WAKING UP. SMELLING THE COFFEE.

love me some coffeeThere’s been a lot of talk among God’s students lately about food’s perfect innocence. How it’s neither good nor bad for you, how it doesn’t make you thin or fat, sick or healthy. How (like every other aspect of this 3-D illusion), food is entirely neutral. That I’m the one who gives it all the meaning it has for me. If I say it’s fattening, in other words, then it is. If I say it’ll make me sick—or well—then it will.

I get it in principle. I’ll bet many of us do.

Well, forget the theoretical realm. I decided to test it out for real. And I had just the perfect test subject in mind:  Lately coffee disagrees with me in a big way. And you know how I love my morning coffee. That sexy siren scent wafts in from the kitchen and I either give in and have a cup—and then spend the morning wishing I hadn’t—or I deny myself a cup and spend the morning wishing I had.

So it was a perfect test candidate, then.

Today I wanted a cup, but decided to check in first to see if it was a good idea or not. It’s the first time I ever asked for internal divine wisdom beforehand, instead of just making the decision unilaterally.  The few times I tested this food innocence business in the past, I made my choice to eat or drink something, then after that I asked my Highest Self to be present with me while I ate or drank it.  Then I ate or drank consciously, together with Spirit, giving it my best attempt to enjoy those foods I thought were bad for me.  Doing my best to let them be neutral while I consumed them.

My results were always inconclusive.

•                •                 •

Today, when I checked in prior to pouring the coffee, I got schooled on how it’s really done:

By drinking coffee with your digestive tract in its current state, worldly laws indicate you will suffer for it.

 If you want to experience no ill effect from this coffee, you must withdraw all belief from your self-created universe of hate and rage (which is the only power that upholds worldly laws), and place FULL trust in me. Through me, you will be able to see and feel the coffee’s true innocence. Not a concept of innocence, as your thinking mind would generate, but a true knowing of its innocence.

I silently agreed to withdraw all belief from worldly laws, and to lean into holy truth instead.

The coffee is neutral. Do you feel this?

“Yes.”

Good. In its neutrality, the love of God shines through it.

I saw that the moment my beliefs about it were released, the coffee’s true God-nature was revealed: It was lovely, gently radiant in its ineffable holiness.

Now look at your stomach and digestive system. They, too, are perfectly neutral. They, too, are suffused with God. More than suffused, actually. They are composed of the God Self, as is the coffee in its cup. As is the cup.

 Can you feel your wholeness, dear one? All is the God Self. In this knowledge (which is always felt, and never intellectualized through the thinking mind), nothing in this world can ever harm you. You are just pretending to shuffle bits of your God Self from one spot to the next. It’s all you. It’s all equally innocent and harmless, and it all cherishes the infinite perfection that you really are.

I relaxed into the profound safety and joy of this simple truth. My world shimmered with God-awareness.

Now, in this peaceful certainty that coffee is your own love shining its holiness, you can temporarily reunite it with a dream of a 3-D digestive system which is also shining its holy God Self. By resting in this truth, coffee can have no ill effects. Nor could it ever want to. It has been reminded of its own perfect innocence in you. It has been liberated, dear one, and welcomed back into the one holy Self.

The awareness of divine gentleness, love and safety has persisted all morning, coloring every aspect of my perception.  And oh my, that cup of coffee went down easy.

I think I’ll have another.