SAFE CRACKER (SAFE part 2)


I’ve been thinking quite a lot about this business of safety, trust and surrender, because my life has changed so radically ever since I put all three of these into action last month in Sedona. In fact, I barely recognize myself these days.

A number of things have happened over the past few weeks that would’ve previously sent me spinning into waves and fits of anxiety and fearfulness. But now…nothing.

From car breakdowns a thousand miles from home; to stolen credit cards; to computer malfunction and potential loss of income; to howdy-do visitations from ghosts (or possibly angels, I don’t know – one invisible entity is much like another in my book).

Anyway, my point is, it’s been a cavalcade of what used to be code red anxiety-producing events.

But apparently there’s nothing that presses those fear buttons anymore. In fact, I’d go so far as to say the buttons themselves seem to have been permanently dismantled. And strangely enough, I would actually characterize the events of the past month or so as peaceful and enjoyably stress-free. Because I didn’t really blink an eye at any of it.

And there’s more.

In addition to the total lack of fear, I seem to have unexpectedly acquired a brand new ability to differentiate between the actual facts of a situation, and any stressful story I would’ve told myself about it in the past.

For example, when my credit card information was stolen, I was fully aware of the same old stories I might have chosen to attach to the event: Oh no! I’m not safe. Oh no! What will be stolen from me next? Oh no! What if my replacement card doesn’t arrive before I leave the country tomorrow?  But I clearly saw they were optional embellishments, not the reality itself. And so I wasn’t tempted to indulge in them anymore.

Instead there were only simple facts: My credit card was used to make two purchases. The card company reversed those charges and cancelled the account.  My new card would either arrive in time or it wouldn’t. Because no stories were woven around the facts, there was no anxiety – indeed, no suffering of any kind, associated with the incident. There was only joy. And gratitude. And profound peace.

After a lifetime of habitually anxious hand-wringing, I cannot begin to tell you how new and wonderful and utterly bizarre it is to live inside this unrecognizably serene new version of myself.

•          •          •

And so I wondered: What was so incredibly different about the trust and surrender I offered up at the Sedona cabin, versus the hundred thousand-odd other times I’ve tried it? I mean, I’m sincere as hell when I pray. Why did this particular set of prayers cause such deep and fundamental shifts in perception?

I took a long, careful look at this question, because I wanted to crack the code. To tease out the primary catalyst for the miracle I’ve experienced, and hold it up to the light so that I – and you – can get a good look at it.

The nucleus, the core difference between the Sedona Cabin prayer and all preceding ones seemed to be the fact that I was at the end of my rope when I offered it.

I guess I have a hard-ish time fully letting go of ego control under normal circumstances. (Perhaps you can relate.) But these circumstances were hardly normal. I accepted the possibility that surrender might cause my death and then surrendered anyway, because I couldn’t stand to be tormented by my own fears for one minute longer.

And so, I completely and fully surrendered my imaginary “control” of the situation to Spirit for the first time, I guess. Even though it felt like I was putting my life in extra danger by doing so. And I managed it despite being unable to trust even a little bit at that point.

And that’s the tricky thing about trust and surrender. The ego mind so dearly wants it to happen in just that order: Prove to me that I can trust, and THEN when I know it’s safe, I’ll surrender. (Maybe.)

 But unfortunately that just isn’t the way it works. Surrender comes first, and then the trust floods in afterward, along with the beautiful miracle of prayers answered.

Having to surrender before we trust isn’t some kind of twisted test set up by God to doublecheck on our worthiness, by the way. That’s not how God rolls.

Our inability to trust in advance is just a hurdle set up by our own ego mind as a means to protect itself.

Yes, it’s kind of a bummer that it works in that seemingly backward order. And your ego mind might want to convince you that surrendering first is some kind of dreadful “lady or the tiger” trick: be suckered into surrendering, and then discover too late that you’re worse off for having done it.

But that’s honestly never the case.

In my experience, anytime we manage to surrender, there’s a guaranteed jackpot waiting in the wings. (The jackpot is always there either way, of course. But surrender seems to enable us to accept it.)

•          •          •

So is “end-of-rope” suffering necessary in order to surrender deeply to God and accept all the good stuff that comes as a result?

Strictly speaking, no. Of course not.

We just tend to vastly prefer the suffering (i.e. hanging onto ego “control”), wrongly believing it’s the road to peace and freedom.

Oh honey. Au contraire. You want peace? You want freedom? Freedom is having a sense of peace and safety no matter what kind of stuff arises in your 3-D world.
If what you truly want is peace and freedom, then what you truly want is surrender.

Great big gobs of it. Run toward it with open arms. Ask for it with joy and gratitude, even if it feels scary as hell while you’re doing it.

You won’t be disappointed. Trust me.

 

SAFE


Being female in this world, I’ve always held certain unexamined assumptions about How Things Are. I believed the story that I’m weak and vulnerable. I believed my gender made me an automatic target for crime, and therefore I must be constantly on my guard against theft or bodily attack.

And so, like many women, I developed behavioral responses to my environment:

Never walk down alleyways at night.

Always check the back seat before getting in my car.

Listen for footsteps. Be aware of any cars that might be following mine.

Paranoia, in this case, seemed the smart and rational response to a dangerous world. And this hyper-vigilance gave me some illusory sense of control over my environment.

Despite ongoing enquiry into the nature (and trustworthiness) of my own beliefs, I had never seen fit to question this particularly far-ranging and pernicious set of fears.

I’d spent decades feathering my nest and arranging my life into the reassuring picture of comfort and control, you see. So my fears rarely had the chance to parade themselves in full.

Out of sight, out of mind, right?

Uh…no. They festered ever-present just below the surface of my consciousness, oozing low-level anxiety into every corner of my life instead.

•          •          •

So it’s been an interesting several months.

After 21 years as a comfortably married lady, I moved out of the house June 1st and gratefully spent the summer at my dear friend Kathy’s place. While there, my primary hobbies including staying awake nights and obsessing about lack of safety, potential loss of steady income, and fears of destitution and/or homelessness.

The theme was survival – was I capable of taking care of myself? And that age-old unconscious question at the base of all things: Did I really have any right to thrive in this world?

I discovered all my buried fears now had ample opportunity to come out and play: How would I live? Where would I go? Could I run my business without Kurt (I.T. Guy Extraordinaire in the next room), ready to bail me out of any technological jam?

There was more: Without a home base to call my own I’d be traveling around with all my worldly goods in tow, having no permanent place to stash my valuables. How would I protect myself from the constant threat of theft? I felt utterly vulnerable and unsupported in the world.

(Interestingly, I was surrounded by beautiful people on all sides who were offering huge quantities of loving support. But this frightening and pervasive lack of support was an inside job. And it welled up in me unceasingly, no matter what anyone around me said or did.)

•          •          •

At summer’s end, I packed up my little car and drove it across the desert to Sedona. I had no idea why Sedona, or what I might do there. But I had eventually gotten so bored with torturing myself over questions of where to go and what to do, that I surrendered the whole scary bag of worms to Spirit.

And Sedona it appeared to be, so now I was just uneasily following the prompts that seemed to point me toward red rock country.

One of these Spirit-inspired prompts was a Sedona house-share rental that I had taken sight unseen from Craigslist. It was a massive three-story log cabin in the woods, with broad balconies on all sides. It had spectacular views of Thunder Mountain.

So far so good.

This place was quite a bit more expensive than other house-shares I’d seen, but sounded a hundred times better than any private apartment I was likely to find for a similar price. So I took it.

I would have the whole second floor to myself — a huge bedroom with office area; balcony; sitting room; a closet big enough to park my Mini inside (if only I could’ve gotten it up the stairs) and a large separate bath. And there was a very spacious loft area at the other end of the second floor that was also mine – except for Wednesdays, when that space would be used for New Age chiropractic sessions of some sort.

All of that sounded fine, and the pictures looked good. But then I arrived, and saw what the photos hadn’t shown:  There were no doors on my room…just a bunch of curtains across an open expanse. No window coverings in most of the house, either, including my bathroom.

And when I asked for a key, I was told they didn’t use them. None of the locks worked on the house’s several exterior doors, apparently. Which didn’t seem to trouble my roommate Maurice (or any of his friends) because he never locked the doors anyway.

Okaaaaaay….

And then three days after I arrived, Maurice left town for two weeks and I was all alone in this giant, exposed, unlockable cabin in the woods. All alone, that is, except for the fifteen or twenty strangers who converged on the place every Wednesday to have their chakras tuned up and spines realigned.

Not only did this place push every safety fear button I had, it seemed to invent a half-dozen new ones.

I was especially terrified of coming home alone after dark to an empty, unlocked house. As I entered, I would turn on every light, methodically checking every room, every closet, under the beds and behind the shower curtains – investigating every potential hiding place to assure myself no unseen attackers were lurking.

I was also afraid that some of those chiropractic patients would surely recognize this house for the easy mark it was; over and over in my mind I’d picture them casing the joint and coming back after dark to steal the aforementioned worldly goods.

Or worse.

Every night in bed my mind ran obsessively through all the horrifying scenarios of What Might Happen. And I couldn’t seem to stop it. The heart-pounding, sick-making terror of it.

Oh yes. I knew these were all just ego stories I had invented.

I knew these fears weren’t real.

I knew I was One with all these horrifying “others” who populated my feverish imagination. And I certainly knew they were innocent in Truth.

But knowing all this didn’t make it a damn bit better. Not when it felt like my very survival was at stake.

•          •          •

But here’s the thing: These days I’m in a period of consciously examining all my deeply buried unconscious pain, fear and general gunk, together with Spirit. Just the action of witnessing all this hidden crap – just agreeing to bring my awareness to it and be with it unconditionally – this is powerful stuff, and it causes huge leaps in healing.

So whenever dark, difficult emotions crop up, I see it as a gift, and I welcome the emotional turbulence as a prime opportunity for transformation. And back at Kathy’s place, I had prayed to be able to witness my deepest fears and surrender them to Spirit once and for all, for total healing.

Hey, prayer answered.

Or the first half of it, anyway.

So I knew it was no accident I had come to stay in this funhouse of the damned. Besides, even while it made me sick with terror, funnily enough there was something about the house itself that felt like a big, warm hug. On some level I knew this cabin was a loving, gentle laboratory for working out my fears.

A safe place to feel howlingly unsafe in.

But. The obsessive scenarios of violent crime still played out in my head every night and refused to go away. Upon deep examination, I realized my pain stemmed from being helpless to control the situation. (Had the doors been lockable, I could’ve maintained the illusion of control. But in this wide-open vulnerability, I had no choice but to rely on those terrifying “others” – hoping they’d choose not to target this house. But clearly I would never have control over that.)

The truth, of course, is that none of us has control over such things, ever. But we whistle past the graveyard, and we buy alarm systems or firearms or life insurance policies; we build up savings and retirement accounts so that we can stop being afraid. So that we can sleep at night. So that we can give ourselves the illusion of control. But outside forces are outside forces, at least here in the 3-D world of illusion. And outside forces simply aren’t controllable.

The only way to be free of fear once and for all is to meet it where it actually lives:

Within.

After awhile, I found the pain of trying to control the uncontrollable was even more unbearable than the fear itself. So it became comparatively easy to surrender the whole awful situation to Spirit. And that’s saying a lot, because when push comes to shove, we all unconsciously believe surrender to God leaves us completely unprotected and vulnerable to attack.

In that ass-backwards, upside down logic of the ego mind, hanging onto the fear seems to offer some measure of protective armor. Some scrap of control. So if I was going to hand over my last scraps of protection and control, it meant I had to get to a place where I felt willing to die. Where surrender actually seemed a better solution than hanging onto the agony of “control.”

Like: I might as well agree to possibly be murdered in my bed, because living with this kind of mental pain – the endless imaginary future enactment of that murder – is worse than that.

So I surrendered and I trusted, mainly because I saw no other viable options.

 

Relief was not immediate.

It took days or weeks. I’m not sure exactly when it happened, but one day I turned around and realized the fear had gone away completely.

The house was still the same.

The people, God love ‘em, continued to come and go, treating the cabin like a benevolent frat house.

It’s me that’s changed. I’m totally comfortable now.

•          •          •

Here’s a related subject: The other day in the late afternoon, Fran and I hiked Cathedral Rock. It had been years since I’d done it. Cathedral combines elevation hiking with a substantial amount of rock climbing, so it’s not a hike that can be rushed through. It takes some time.

I wasn’t thinking. It was sunny when we started out, so I wore my prescription sunglasses.

The sun had dipped below the horizon by the time we reached the top. By halfway down it was getting quite dark, so I had to choose between two less-than-ideal options: Make the rapidly deepening dusk even darker by wearing my shades? Or take them off and be as blind as…some kind of blind thing with its eyes closed?

The dilemma made me recall my first “midnight hike” in Sedona. (If you’ve read Long Time No See, you know about that hike.) How terribly anxious I’d been. And how astonished I was to emerge from that pitch-black wilderness experience entirely unscathed.

The lesson that night had been about trusting in Spirit, which was something I was unable to do back then. Then some time later, in another nature setting surrounded by towering Sequoias, I found myself once again worrying about dangerous predators and other safety hazards. And a lesson from Spirit emerged, which referenced that previous midnight hike:

“…The truth is that the bears and the ice are One with your holy Self. In perfect gentleness they support you and keep you safe within this dream world – just as the cactus and coyotes functioned to keep you safe during your pitch-black Sedona hike. Your One Self (which includes all bears, coyotes and prickly desert plants) supports you in your lesson plan as it lovingly awaits your awakening.”

At the time, it was too much to take in. Oh sure, I understood it intellectually. But it wasn’t until the other night, as I shimmied down a mountain in near total darkness, that I got it. I was entirely calm, without a shred of fear or anxiety, filled instead with a sense of total safety and trust in Spirit.

And, just as Spirit had described it back then, I could really feel the rocks and cactus and crickets and sky as my One holy Self, lovingly supporting my progress every step of the way. I felt our mutual gratitude. And our mutual joy.

In fact I felt like the richest, luckiest, giftiest person alive. And pretty much every minute since then has felt like Christmas morning.

•          •          •

The most extraordinary thing of all: So much more seems to have been healed than just the particular set of fears I thought I was handing over. These days I find myself striding through life in wholly unaccustomed ease and safety for the first time ever.

I have no concern for my personal security or the safety of my stuff. Yes, I remain mindful. I don’t leave my things unattended, or take foolish risks. But fear is gone. I am truly comfortable wherever I find myself.

And even more miraculous than that: For the first time in my life, I now know I have a right to be here. I mean, really know it.

I am safe in My own embrace. And I am Loved. Very, very Loved.

And it’s all an inside job.

I leave this crazy log cabin in a week or two, headed for my next adventure. I will be forever grateful for the things I left behind here. And for the new riches I carry with me, wherever I go.

 

 

 

The road less traveled

I’ve been planning the cover for the next book, The Enlightenment Project. After viewing dozens of shots of empty roads in lonesome landscapes, I chose an image of the Southwest. An empty highway heading toward some red rock formations.

I could’ve picked any background shot but this is the one that spoke to me, the one that seemed to best hint of the “road” to enlightenment.

Today I got an email from Fran (of InnerVision 12 fame), she was poking around on my website to see what was new, and commented that she loves the computerized image of Monument Valley.

At first I had no idea what she was referring to. And then I just started to laugh.

A few years ago, she and I took off together and did a 5-day InnerVision journey throughout the 4 corners of the Southwest. Lots of mind-boggling spiritual experiences in lots of locations like Spider Rock, Mexican Hat and Valley of the Gods.

But the one place I HATED was Monument Valley. I expected to love it, of course. Who doesn’t love Monument Valley? But it creeped me out, and I thought it was hideously ugly.

To me, it looked strip-mined. A ruined wasteland.

In Fran’s words, “Monument Valley is a powerful energetic reminder of truth. It represents  ‘in your face, here I am, no apologies’ presence… It holds a message of ‘stand raw and naked, hidden by nothing.’ Just as the monuments themselves do.”

Well no wonder I hated it.

Fran commented at the time that my extreme negative reaction to the energy of Monument Valley clearly represented something in myself that I’d have to face sooner or later.

I said yeah, whatever, and we headed for the next powerful site. I never looked back.

Pretty funny, then, that I singled out this photo to describe my own journey.

Even funnier: Fran tells me there is no such bright, shiny highway. Somebody photoshopped it in.

And both of these things seem very appropriate. The discomfort I originally felt in Monument Valley was due to very deep fears I hadn’t yet faced in my own life. This book is all about uncovering and facing those fears.

And the fact that the road I picture doesn’t actually exist …

Well, that’s perfect.  What could be a more accurate way to talk about enlightenment?

Double vision

What do you do when you and somebody in another part of the country have the exact same vision at the exact same time? Well, if you’re me, you sit up and pay attention.

I’d been praying recently for guidance on what’s next. And rather than trying to figure it out with my thinking mind – which, experience has taught me, pretty much always comes up with the wrong answer – I just say to Spirit:

Show me.

Point it out to me in a way I’ll understand, and I swear I’ll head in that direction. But I’m flying blind, here. I need to be told which way to go.

So I’d been praying that way for a week or so. Then on Thursday morning, out of nowhere, I woke up that day knowing clearly what sort of book Fran (of InnerVision fame) and I should write together. I understood wordlessly the book’s format, what it would be about, and how I would write it.

And then I clearly saw the book’s cover. Or, more accurately, I saw the bottom third of the book’s cover. The title and cover artwork were hazy, but I could read the bottom part, plain as day. The background was a dark chocolate brown, and I could even describe the typeface for you, although I’m not going to.

It said: By Fran Duda, with Carrie Triffet.

Fran was flying that day (in an airplane, I mean, from one city to another), so I made no attempt to reach her to tell her of my vision. I wasn’t sure how she’d respond, anyway. She’s always known she’s supposed to write a book, but the idea has seemed far too daunting for a variety of reasons.

I’ve always been pretty sure I’m supposed to help her write that book (since I’m the translator she trusts to put her ‘beyond words’ experience into language). But I also always suspected the project was likely to be a hugely frustrating pain in the ass.

Fran is a brilliantly gifted intuitive; so gifted that it’s always been hard for her to blend into society and ‘pass’ as normal. (For more about Fran, if you haven’t already read about her in my book, see any of the previous blog posts under the topic heading of ‘Sedona’s spiritual connection.’)

She’s always been terrified of going public. And especially afraid of going public through the written word.

She’s fine when speaking one on one or to groups of people, but when it comes to writing things down and letting those statements be set in stone and seen by the world, she freezes. When I first knew her, she would spend weeks obsessing over the wording of a single sentence. These days, she’s far more trusting, much more surrendered and willing to let the connection flow as it does, from Spirit through her and through me simultaneously, so that I can put the essential meaning behind her ethereal experiences into words for her.

So the collaborative writing process would be far less torturous now than ever before, but I also knew it could still have its very sticky moments because she would be writing down her deeply personal stories. The desire to endlessly edit might still rear its head if the information in the stories got too close to home.

Yet Spirit’s message had been perfectly clear, so I knew I needed to put aside all my own doubts and just agree to do it.

But Jeez Louise, I already have one book in the works and another in the hopper. And little time to work on either one. So although I accepted this vision as an answer to my request for Divine guidance, let’s say I wasn’t altogether on board with it.

The next morning, Fran called out of the blue, apologizing for the short notice and asking if she could come here for a visit the following day?  We sometimes go months without talking, so I knew this request was purposeful. And she’s a delightful houseguest, I always love having her here. So of course I said yes.

After she settled in, our first activity together was a walk on our favorite beach. While walking on that beach I told her of my vision that we would write a book. She stopped walking and turned to stare at me; I could tell she was having one of those time-stop moments of recognition.

I told her the book would be a series of recorded conversations between us, in which she verbally tells me the story of her extremely fascinating life, as well as a full description (language limits permitting) of her gifts and the nature of her InnerVision work. And that I would then fashion those audio conversations into a written book.

And then I reported what the bottom third of the book jacket would say, reading the words off to her.

And she told me then that she had had the identical vision of the book cover on Thursday morning, and I had spoken the exact wording that she saw on that bottom third.

So that’s it, then. I guess I’m writing a book. It’ll be by Fran Duda, with Carrie Triffet, and it’s bound to be a barn burner.

No idea when it’ll come out, I just know that it will. And I’m good with that.

Learning to live without commercial interruptions

This past month or so has been an extraordinary time for me. My book is released and is becoming a bona fide hit on Amazon; my speaking career is in the process of revealing itself to me. (As in: what the hell might I say to a roomful of listeners? And in what sorts of venues might I say it?)

I’ve also informally partnered up with an amazing producer type guy and we’re collaborating on film and book projects; and in general I’m bowled over by the outpouring of love and support from all sides as I step forward and try my hand at this crazy public messengering thing.

So naturally, it was time for my ego mind to weigh in on this beautiful turn of events. Because that old ego’s been with me a long, long time. It knows me better than anyone else. And it knows with absolute certainty that all this success is just some cosmic mistake – I don’t deserve it and soon we’re going to have to engineer some kind of drastic monkey wrench in the works, something that slows my progress to a crawl.

Because a little love and success is fine, but enough is enough. It’s time to reestablish the natural order of things.

I woke up today very painfully aware of the deep down rage-filled workings of my ego mind. Which was ok with me, because lately I’ve been asking to see (and heal) the entirety of that unconscious mountain of mud. So while I was excavating down in angry, fearful Mudland, I took a good look at my firmly held belief that I can’t tolerate sustained success – and then chose to release that firm belief.

I handed over that very mistaken idea to Spirit. And then got out of the shower and got dressed.

A minute later the phone rang. It was Fran, calling from Sedona. She said she’d been trying to email (bad internet connection) but Spirit said, “Call her.”

She said she wanted to tell me how richly deserved all my success and momentum is. That she’s so proud of me, and feels like I’ve waited my entire life with the ‘pause’ button on, but now for the first time am stepping forward to tell my story with the voice of my true authentic self. (It feels that way to me, too.) And that Heaven can’t help but shower me with its joyous outpouring of ongoing love and support as a result.

Well that took my breath away. Spirit often speaks to me through Fran, but somehow the fast turnaround time really caught me off guard this time. I told her what I’d been wrestling with and she laughed and said:

“Well, those kinds of things will continue to come up from time to time. Think of them as commercial interruptions from the ego. So when it happens, just say you’re not interested in buying the product!”

Well I’ve been laughing with gentle joy ever since.

Sure, there’ll be ups and downs along the journey. How could life in this dreamworld be otherwise? But now I realize I don’t have to watch the commercials anymore.

Kind of like getting a spiritual DVR. Goodbye to unquestioned ego beliefs, and hello to the 30-second skip!

Past-life murder and present day forgiveness: The ultimate do-over

I remember bits and pieces of some of my more colorful past lives. I never get the full story, though – just quick, disconnected flashes lacking any kind of meaningful context.

I know I was once the leader of a secret religious order called Lamb of God. But I only see images of torchlight flickering on roughhewn walls; of long white tunics and heavy crosses worn around the neck. It would be nice to know a little more, but that’s all I have.

And then there’s a shamanic episode a couple of centuries later that took place on Navajo land: I see images of a black horse galloping at me, its rider silhouetted against the sun; I’m raising my arms, and wearing a long cape that seems to be made of shiny black feathers.

In general, I’m not all that fascinated by the idea of past lives, so I haven’t gone out of my way to find out more. I don’t know, maybe that’s because I tend to remember less about past lives and more about past deaths.

I’ve been burned at the stake. Shot in the back. But before I talk about past death, I want to go back a minute and tell you more about that shamanic memory. It took place at Spider Rock in Canyon de Chelly, during an amazing 5 day InnerVision journey I did with Fran in 2008. (if you don’t know who Fran is, see any of the blog entries listed under ‘Sedona’s spiritual connection.’)

We toured a great big loop through Arizona and Utah. It was amazing – someday maybe I’ll write the whole story as an epic 5-parter. We hit lots of well known sacred spots on that trip: Valley of the Gods, Monument Valley etc., as well as some lesser known areas like Mexican Hat.

Fran had long been telling me about Mexican Hat. She was afraid of that place; she knew she had a deep connection to that very troubled land, and that she was supposed to do something powerful there but had never felt ready. She told me the land had been raped – mined for uranium which was then processed at nearby mills, leaving the area with permanently polluted groundwater.

InnerVision journeys are never planned ahead of time. Fran just goes wherever Spirit leads. As we approached Mexican Hat, her description of its painful history grew more heated and angry. I was expecting to see a ravaged landscape, but as we got out of the car the place struck me as astonishingly beautiful, a study in red rocks and green (don’t drink it) water.

Suddenly she stopped in mid-rant. She was remembering she’d been ‘told’ long ago that she would one day bring someone there who would heal the land. And she just now realized that someone was me.

Time stopped and I watched myself out-of-body as I said to her: “To heal the land, we need to love the rapists.”

I wasn’t entirely sure at the time what I meant by that. But the other night I realized that this episode actually connects to another one, a past-death memory. Here’s that past-death story as it’s told in my book:

…The next thing I knew, I was in three places at once. Part of me was reliving my own murder from a previous lifetime, a brutal rape and strangulation. Yet it wasn’t nearly as scary or disturbing as you’d expect, because a second part of me was peacefully watching it unfold from a detached bird’s-eye viewpoint and the third part of me knew I was safely lying in my own bed the whole time.

I’m being shown this for a reason.’ This was the thought that filled my mind, and I knew it was the truth.I’m supposed to forgive this guy.’

Yet it didn’t seem to require forgiveness in the usual sense of the word. I didn’t get that I was supposed to be saying, “Oh, there, there, it’s ok that you’re murdering me.”

It seemed I was being asked to remain open-hearted and peacefully present while he did this awful thing. So I did. And as I made the choice to do it, I dimly sensed that this decision to stay loving in the face of hatred was having a big effect, shuffling the deck on my own past or future timeline, although I couldn’t begin to say how.

This past-death experience occurred shortly before I was introduced to A Course in Miracles. Now I recognize that it was asking me to practice forgiveness as defined by the Course: To completely overlook the imagined transgressions of this world – no matter how evil or terrifying they might seem – and to respond only with love.

And what’s the payoff, you ask, for responding with love instead of attack or defense? The payoff is huge. Probably more awesome than you or I can comprehend, in fact.

When I made the choice to offer only love and peace to that rapist-murderer (instead of responding with terror and rage as I had done the first time around), I felt a massive shift that I described at the time as ‘shuffling the deck.’ But it really felt as if time itself was collapsing, shortening my journey immeasurably. I had the strong impression, in fact, that it was rewriting my past or future to leave out certain painful portions because those lessons were learned now.

A Heavenly do-over, if you will. Pretty powerful stuff.

So, back to Mexican Hat. Could that ravaged land really be healed through the simple action of choosing to love its ‘rapists’? I’m thinking yes. If time and destiny fall like dominoes when love is chosen over fear, surely the Earth can be healed by that same gently loving choice.

After all, that’s another of the Course’s basic tenets: We’re all One with everything that is. Which presumably includes every rock and stream. Heal ourselves as we heal the rapists, and in that simple choice the land is automatically healed too. So can you imagine just how powerful love really is?

I don’t know; something to think about.

Holy Dirt part 2 – The awesome power of the Travel Channel

I never forgot that church docent’s enigmatic invitation (‘YOU can come back anytime…’) so when Kurt & I returned to Santa Fe 7 years later, in the fall of 2006, we made a point of trekking back up to Chimayo.

To say the place had changed would be putting it mildly. In the years since our last visit, Santa Fe and its environs had been featured on a number of cable TV shows, the kind that focus on travel and the unexplained. ‘History’s Mysteries,’ that sort of thing. And those shows put Chimayo on the map in a big way.

We didn’t even recognize the place as we approached, and had to drive back & forth past it several times before assuring ourselves this must be it. Half a block away we found the parking lot expanded to 5 times its previous size to accommodate the scores of tour buses and cars driven there by eager pilgrims.

Sadly, on approaching what was now a huge complex of buildings and vendor stalls, we could find no trace of the Holy Chile or the shop that once housed it.

In the church I could find no sign of that docent. And I was deeply disappointed to discover that there was now no folk art.

Oh sure, the 19th century pieces were still there. But all the sad, funny, wildly tacky and heart-breakingly sincere stuff contributed by local parishioners had been swept away and replaced by shiny new plastic Kmart treasures, bland and mass-produced and completely without character.

I couldn’t help mourning the loss of the winking Jesus and the papier mache rosary and all the rest. http://twitpic.com/qe4pd

But oh, that Holy Dirt. The Holy Dirt sits just beneath a smallish hole in the church’s floor. On our first visit the hole was cordoned off on 3 sides with a sign warning not to step in it. (Again, oops.)

But this time the hole was thronged 3 deep with devotees patiently waiting their turn to scoop out buckets of that Holy Dirt into baggies or jars or Tupperware containers to take home with them.

OK now, really. If that were truly the original Dirt in that hole (the very foundation the church was built on)…at this rate of removal the Santuario would have collapsed in on itself long before this. Besides, while the Dirt looked like dirt on our first visit, this time it bore a serious resemblance to clean, commercial-grade sand from the hardware store.

I’m just sayin.’

It may sound like I’m mocking the faithful who scooped that Dirt, but I’m really not. I was serious when I named this story The Awesome Power of Belief. In 1858 one person had an authentic revelatory experience at Lourdes, but countless others who later heard her story have also experienced miraculous healings there. Why?

I don’t doubt the initial revelatory experience that happened at Lourdes (or the one at Chimayo). I can say from personal experience that revelatory experiences can and do happen anywhere. I’ve had some of my best ones while driving an offroad jeep in Sedona; in a Parisian clothing shop; and in the ladies room of Wuksachi Lodge in Sequoia National Park, to name just a few.

And I’m not saying it’s the power of suggestion that makes the Healing Waters or the Holy Dirt work for all these later people. It’s way more than that. Belief is a truly awesome (and underappreciated) force.

Let’s consider this for a moment: That we are all One infinite being of unlimited creative power. But that’s a very tough concept to take seriously while we still believe we’re separate minds housed in separate bodies, living in the 3-D world of form.

When we’re awakened to the memory of our perfect Oneness, then together we’re able to exercise our divine creative powers. But we can’t access that unlimited creativity if we believe we’re not One. As separate individuals, our unlimited creative abilities can’t be used properly, so instead we funnel all of that awesome unused power into belief.

If we believe something fully, in other words, it becomes 100% true for us. (All those fans of the Law of Attraction out there would no doubt agree.) And if all us individuals believe in something together, then that thing becomes collectively true for all of us. Sickness is real only if we believe in it; spontaneous healing becomes real exactly the same way. Regardless of whether your Holy Dirt comes from the Santuario de Chimayo or the hardware store.

So I guess the moral of this story would be to always take a good close look at what your beliefs are.

Awesome, powerful you.

Adventures in One-derland

I was going to tell you about my visits to the church at Chimayo with its crazy little patch of miracle dirt – I’ll save that story for next time, it’s a good one. But today I have something better to talk about. (Yes, even better than miraculous dirt. I know, hard to imagine.)

I was meditating this morning, trying as usual to put the principles of A Course in Miracles into action. Meaning, in this case, that I was attempting to overlook the illusion of separation by merging my own mind in Oneness with the minds of others.

These others were chosen more or less at random; my husband, because he was wandering through the bedroom at the time, looking for clean socks; Baxter the hellcat, because he was yammering about nothing at all, having just been fed. To these I added a friend many thousands of miles away, and, last but not least, Spirit (who is always included in these Oneness exercises – being the only expert in the room, so to speak, at how it’s done).

Now, I should back up & tell you this, if you’ve never tried the Oneness thing: You won’t like it. Your mind will fidget, your body will twitch, it’ll feel like sandpaper is roughing up your last nerve.

That’s because our ego minds have quite a lot invested in our belief in separation. And it takes some serious effort to retrain the mind to start accepting the idea that we’re all One. (Oh, it might sound good as an abstract Bob Marley-esque concept – One love, One heart. Let’s get together & feel all right. But now try putting it into actual practice and see how it really feels. Not all right. Sandpaper City.)

Long Time No See tells half a dozen stories on the subject of minds joined in Oneness. 3 years ago, when Spirit first proposed that I try joining, (in a story titled, “If you let me, I’ll show you what you are”) I did everything I could to avoid becoming One with Spirit. It was only when I realized I had no choice in the matter that I finally gave in. And I wasn’t what you’d call gracious about it, believe me. See for yourself in the following excerpt from that story:


…“This is a very powerful spot,” Fran informed me. “By sitting in this round opening with one foot inside the cave and the other foot outside on the rock ledge, it’s possible to straddle two dimensions at once. Go ahead and try it,” she suggested, climbing out the hole to meditate on the ledge overlooking the canyon.

I positioned myself in the opening, yet couldn’t relax. Although seated very securely with my back supported against the curved opening and both feet planted on solid rock, every time I closed my eyes I had the uncomfortable sensation of falling sideways out the hole, jerking myself upright over and over again. I tried and failed to meditate for at least ten minutes before giving up in exasperation.

This is a complete waste of time, I thought crankily, I don’t know what we’re supposed to be doing here. I climbed out the hole and joined Fran on the ledge. This felt a little better.

Closing my eyes, there came an immediate invitation:

If you let Me, I’ll show you what you are.

I considered for a moment. Even though the offer was plenty frightening, I probably did want to see what I was.

“Yes. Ok.”

Soon we were flying along hand in hand over the canyon, me on the left and Spirit (a vague and non-specific entity) to my right.

What are we supposed to be wearing? I fretted. Shouldn’t we both have some kind of white robes or something, flapping in the breeze?And a moment later we did.

Looking to my right, I saw Spirit’s free hand dissolve into a shower of shimmering light, like a gentle, glowing birthday sparkler. The ball of light climbed up the right arm, dissolving as it went, across the body and down the left arm until only sparkling light remained. It paused where our hands met, asking wordless permission to continue. I could see where this was going and didn’t like it a bit, yet after a long hesitation I agreed.

The light dissolved my hand, arm, body, other arm, hand. I jerked away reflexively and we became two individual balls of glowing, sparkling light. My ball sped crazily around the other, repelled yet drawn like a maddened bug to a candle flame. As my ball zigzagged its agonized orbit, the other ball remained absolutely still, waiting patiently.

I knew what was being asked of me—I just didn’t want to do it. The game wore on for another excruciating minute before I finally hit my limit, unable to stand the discomfort of resistance any longer.

“Oh, all RIGHT,” I said testily, pausing at last to allow our two balls of light to merge gently, softly into one…


It ain’t easy, getting used to that ‘joining in Oneness’ thing. At first blush it feels like the complete loss of individuality, & who among us would sign up for that?

Well, those of us who want enlightenment would sign up for that. And it’s taken 3 years, but my mind is getting sort of used to the idea of Oneness now. Sort of.

Except I’ve been so wordy that I see this story will need to be continued another time. Join me then (!), won’t you?

The Philadelphia experiment

Do you ever get that feeling, when life is changing at a blinding pace, that what seems like a year has only, in fact, been a couple of months?

Yeah. It’s been like that.

It all started in mid-May, with a workshop Fran was putting on back in Philadelphia. Her very first one. Naturally I had to be there.

(If you read the Sedona posts, you’ve met Fran as the intrepid Southwestern rock climber. The other half of the story is her previous East Coast society existence on Philadelphia’s Main Line. If forced to sum up Fran in one sentence, I’d probably say: Half trophy babe, half mountain goat. Don’t tell her I said so.)

Anyway, this workshop was a big step for her, for a couple of reasons. First, it took place entirely inside a downtown office building, with a whole bunch of people sitting in chairs and waiting expectantly to hear something spiritually helpful. That’s quite different from what she usually does out in nature.

And, second, she was forced (well, I forced her, to be honest) to admit to a group of strangers what she really does. She’s never done that before; has always been terrified of trusting others with that potentially dangerous information.

She began the day with an overview and a lecture on quantum science and spirituality – and it was a fascinating lecture, beautifully given – but we both knew she wasn’t really connecting.

During the lunch break she kept asking for my honest assessment of how the workshop was going, so I finally told her: You need to be authentic and tell these people who you really are and what you really do.

After lunch, she resumed the lecture but right away she began to be dragged to one person’s thoughts, someone who seemed to have unspoken questions that needed to be aired.

And I was so pleased, I felt like a proud mama to see her make the decision to interrupt the lecture and tell everyone the truth of what was going on.

In that moment, it all came together. The information flowed, it caused beautiful healing experiences for several of the workshop participants, and when it was over everyone present that day knew they’d been a part of something extraordinary.

What does this story have to do with me and the past 2 months? A whole hell of a lot, as it turns out.

But it’s longer in the telling than I realized, so I guess this’ll have to be the first half of a two-parter. So…

To be continued.

(Spoiler alert: nobody dies, although there are a certain number of explosions…)

Sedona’s spiritual communicators – (direct conduits to Spirit)

It’s true that Sedona’s vortex energy exerts a big influence on me, making it much easier to absorb messages from Spirit.

But in the interest of full disclosure, I should tell you that I really don’t do it alone. I’m blessed to have others who act as very powerful spiritual conduits for me.

One Sedona resident in particular does this for me in the most profound way imaginable. Fran and I first met when she came and found me at my house – which is nowhere near Sedona, by the way. As we sat chatting in my dining room, she facilitated an event that is now known as the Dinnertable Awakening of 2005. It marked the end of life as I had known it, and the beginning of another.

This is the description of Fran from my book. The conversation begins immediately after the awakening:

“What is it you do, exactly?” I inquired faintly, wishing I could go lay down.

She hesitated. “It’s hard to explain. All I can tell you is: I know I’ve done this many times before; I always go first; and I’m very good at what I do.”

I nodded. I had no idea what she was talking about. Then, as if this would clarify things, she made an infinity symbol with her hand, beginning the loop at herself, sending it out towards me and then back to herself.

“I do this.”

“Uh huh,” I said.

Fran confessed then that she’d been delaying the launch of her company for months—years, even—afraid to set up her website for precisely this reason. She felt it was completely beyond her ability to describe or explain the spiritual experience to anyone. To put that which transcends words into words.*

“Oh! Piece of cake,” I said, “I’ll help you write your website. That’s what I do.”

She looked at me as if I had just offered to lasso the moon.

And so began a most unusual collaboration. Our relationship is not quite client /vendor, not exactly teacher/disciple; nor are we precisely friends or sisters, although it holds elements of each of those. Fran’s description comes closest: Bookends. Opposites in nearly every way, yet two indispensable halves of one mystical whole.

(*Now after a few years of seeing her in action, I can better describe for you what Fran “does” when she takes people on her InnerVision journeys.

Like most deeply gifted spiritual intuitives, she’s sensitive in a variety of ways; information and experiences are seemingly always coming at her from all directions. She might surprise you with a message from your dead uncle Phil, for instance. She’s also a synchronicity magnet, routinely drawing profound spiritual connections into her life, which then manifest as divine coincidence in the physical world.

These are useful talents to be sure, but there is another way in which Fran is of invaluable service to others: She is able to receive messages from the highest Self of the person she’s with, then tap into her own aspect of that same highest Self to relay the messages back to the person in the manner most appropriate to him or her.

Here’s what that InnerVision thing feels like when she does it for me: It’s as if a vast, mighty bridge opens up to another realm, and then waits in patient non-judgment while I decide whether or not to cross. Most of the time I accept the invitation to cross that bridge, and whenever I do, it’s an absolutely awesome experience.)

Fran is brand new to the Twittersphere; I’m sure she’d love to hear from you. If you’re on Twitter and you’d like to get to know her, go introduce yourself @innervision12.

And be sure to say hi for me.