Tuesday, June 30
Ruby said, "Mom, you cut the cord with Nigel!"
Knowing the clairvoyance of a 5 year old child, I looked at her and said, "What!?"
She explained, "When you closed the door you cut the cord with Nigel."
I asked, "Well, it can go back together, right?"
"Yep!" She said, "Just like a magnet."
"Can you see it?" I asked.
"No," she said, "It's like a computer."
I knew what she meant, the connections between us are like a computer, we cannot see the information travel but we know what it is when it gets there.
Then I thought to myself, "Oh, just like faith!"
Monday, June 29
--- M. Gandhi
And on the 15th day...I stopped trying to squeeze blood out of a turnip...trying to fit a square peg into a round hole...I remembered the part about the journey being the reward.
I recently saw the movie Enlighten Up! The guy, Nick, in the documentary was supposed to immerse himself in yoga and find enlightenment in the 6 month or so duration of the filming. He met with many of the top gurus, yogis and yoginis from here to Rishikesh asking them many questions. The answers seemed to make him more skeptical and more loathsome as the movie progressed. My favorite scene was when one of the yogis said to him--and I can't remember the context of the comment -- "Nick, go fuck your self!" Then he just cracked up, he started laughing and knee-slapping, "Go fuck your self. Hahahaha!" He said again. I could tell Nick was surprised to hear the word "fuck," jump out of his mouth. It definitely added a lightness (en-lightness?) to the room as it made Nick laugh too, even though he did look a bit confused.
I bring up this movie because the quick fix is what I as a human crave. These were my thoughts a few days before decided to blog for 60 days on faith..."I'm going to blog on faith for 60 days and at the end of 60 days I'm going to know exactly what faith means to me!"
That idea would work very well if we lived a static existence. Truth is, existence by nature is exactly the opposite of static. The faith that worked for me 10 seconds ago might not work for me right now. In my understanding of Gandhi's quote I can look back on experiences from the past where I did trust faith -- like this past weekend in Austin (see yesterday's blog) -- and link all of these experiences together to create a strong force for trusting and believing.
In what am I trusting and believing? Well, ultimately it's my self. It is the universal self as opposed to the self you tell your self to go fuck when you are filled with doubt, fear, confusion, and all those things we crave that isolate us and make us feel separate or other than.
Too existential? Then try it. Tell yourself to "go fuck your self." The part that thinks it's funny is your universal self. The part that takes it seriously or acts like it's confused by the comment is your ego. The "go fuck your self," quote is a real ego burner...and it makes me laugh. It's my new mantra when fear starts to fog up the windshield.
Sunday, June 28
I milked my, "faith that the heat won't last forever," blog yesterday.
Just drove home from Austin, a three and a half hour drive. I am en route to Jimmy's show this afternoon at Clark Gardens -- yes, an outside concert at around 4PM -- it's sure to be a scorcher. Perhaps the powers that be will be open to having the concert series happen a little earlier in the season, like May...even April! I must see about this. (Yes! Carol M. We must lunch soon and discuss this important matter...for our future...the future of Mineral Wells! For the sake of those beautiful nights and the magic of Clark Gardens.)
FAITH. Oh yes! Faith! My weekend in Austin was a huge leap of faith for me. I guess it's the elephant in the room. I'd rather blab on about the weather.
This past weekend I rented out space in two studios in Austin across town from each other on a wing and a prayer. I sent out flyers to people I know, the studios advertised with their people. My flyer title was, "Healing Breath Circle," a very ephemeral title in a world such as ours where logic and understanding play an overactive role.
For my Friday night breathing circle, I was aware of what my ego wanted - a room full of eager people waiting for me to guide them through the experience of their life! Beyond the desires of my ego I decided to be open to whatever experience presented itself. I chose to rely on faith -- that the universe is totally invested in me -- and just see what would happen. I had to do it...if only to report back on the blog.
To say that no one showed up would be the "glass half empty" experience. Indeed, Laura, the owner of Soma Vida, had invited a group of 17 women to her studio after their all-day training session in Somatic Experience. When no one showed up at 6 PM to my breathing circle, my very first instinct was flight. "I can just sneak out the back door and not talk to anyone, no one will miss me." Then I just laughed at that old familiar victim voice and went to find Laura. I offered Laura a session of the breath work so that she would know about it and then could share her experience with others. I realized that offering this would only enhance my visibility in the studio, even when I wasn't in Austin, as she could share her experience with friends and clients that she felt would benefit from the work.
Her response confirmed my ideas. She could not have a session in that exact moment as she was getting ready for her guests. However, Laura offered to make a space in their evening for me to share my work with the group. When the guests arrived, Laura showed them around the studio, open-house style. In one of the rooms she told the story about how the old house was built during the second world war for African American widows. She explained that the house was built as a healing center and continues to be a healing center. At that moment a wave came over me and I knew that I was in the right place at the right time. After she talked she gave the floor over to me and let me explain my work. It was a room full of women with a world full of gratitude to ourselves and each other that we have come together as healers, as midwife's of the awareness that is spreading over all the lands. I did not lead a breathing circle that night. Instead, seeds were planted by me, around me, and through me. Faith prevailed victorious.
Saturday, June 27
Knowing that sunset is coming at some point later today. Faith is believing in the lightness that comes with sunset as the temp drops a few degrees...maybe a slight breeze sets in...a pink sky brightens upstream as the South Congress bats leave the bridge and head out to dinner.
Sure. All of the previous statements are somewhat quantifiable because they are predictable. It is the feeling of hope that they give me, hope in the change -- that it's not going to be 114 degrees non-stop for the next two months -- that all is in motion, everchanging. There will be the occasional reprieve of temperature and that usually happens with the absence of the sun. If we are to generate feelings within ourselves rather than relying on our experiences to generate the feelings we feel then we must start with something we know.
Today I am starting with my trust in the circadian rhythms that will bring a cooling off period after sunset.
Are you able to discern all that is everchanging outside of you from that timeless rhythm deep inside of you that never changes? What is that thing that never changes? Is that faith? Is that where faith lives in you? Or is the seat of fear? What do you need to do to strengthen your faith? We could all use a little faith strengthening.
Can you persuade the perfectionist in you that all is as it should be and if you could make it any different you'd be playing God?
On may days, and today is no different, I want to be perfect. I want to have a perfect day. Then, something happens to remind me that I am not in charge here, I am an observer, a temporary resident in a human suit. That always makes me laugh. I laugh and remember, "I AM having a perfect day!" It might not meet my expectations though when I realign with the beauty and the humor in the everchanging motion that is life, it's like an ice cold glass of water.
Friday, June 26
These were the thoughts running through my head as I chowed on pizza with my daughter Ruby last night at Homeslice Pizza in Austin. With each MJ song I heard I sank deeper and deeper into a loathesome funk of my smallness. Ruby danced around the tables and I carried my funk even deeper as I thought about how she has the opportunity to feel that same worth and be just as lucky because she has youth on her side.
Then that little voice inside my head said sarcastically, "oh yeah, she's soooo much worth it than you, so was MJ!" My little inside voice is a sexy Catherine Keener that gets to do whatever she wants whenever she wants. It seems her main job is keeping me in line through humor and sarcasm.
"Michael Jackson was worth so much," I thought about those words again and the 3D picture inside of my brain came into focus.
Worth starts with a feeling, not the other way around. My evidence for that is the fact that no amount of money in the world could keep MJ out of debt. Sitting right there in that pizza joint watching my daughter moving the crowd with her sweet joy I opened to the feeling of worth. Worth, along with faith had been right there all the time, waiting for me to open to them...just like MJ's music had been in a loop, waiting for me to dance.
Thursday, June 25
Wednesday, June 24
How is faith showing up in my life today?
I've had such wonderful outpourings of feedback and comments since I began this blog ten days ago. Many thanks and gratitude for all of your responses.
When others share their faith with me, it expands the web of faith to feel much bigger, exponentially bigger, as if it is opening to an ever-growing spiral leading up and up and up.
Also as part of this connection with others is that the connection itself is evidence that we are all one, greater than the sum of our parts. Thus it is the connection with others which helps in a big way, to break the vice grip of the illusion that we are separate.
Pranasalara, the name of my company, means - Breathe through Illusions to Spirit. It is the illusion that even as I write this blog a trickle of the voice of doubt tells me that I am going to be alone the more I write this rubbish, that no one really believes this crap, that I'm fooling myself, and buying into the billion dollar spiritual industry just by using the word faith. I could go on and on with this voice of doubt, the voice that is the opposite of faith. The more I write about doubt the dizzier I get so I will stop now.
I began working with the ideas of Pranasalara with the commitment to breaking the spell of illusion and also to remind myself every day to practice breaking that cycle.
It is the people, the community that believes there is another way, a way other than doubt, one of faith, expansion,love, and endless possibilities that I link to in the ever-growing web of support. That expansion and oneness is at the heart of faith.
Tuesday, June 23
My faith is in trusting my work today as I step more and more into my power and my truth. Having been drawn to this work by a once-self-professed skeptic of things unseen - David Elliott, the reluctant healer -- I am in the space now of myself being reluctant. I am not so much reluctant in my call to this work -- the more I do it, the more my faith is confirmed in its healing power. My reluctance is in calling myself a healer.
Recently I heard Obama say to a group of doctors, "You are not bean counters, you are healers!" I think it's pretty revolutionary for a world leader, much less after the last eight years, OUR world leader offering such a grounding message. Hearing Obama say, "You are healers," I felt a wave of joy and awareness as I imagined him speaking to all of us.
The word healer has had so many negative connotations for me in the past. I spent many years shunning people who call themselves healers. I associated a healer as one who GIVES their energy to you. I wanted nothing to do with that! That is the part I am reluctant about, that by calling myself a healer I am perceived as one who uses my ego to make people feel better. And there goes my ego right there worrying about perceptions of myself. It is common for people to use their energy to help others heal, it is a very draining practice for the healer, a practice that leads to burn out or even worse, a loss of faith. By using their own energy these healers also become invested in the outcome of their clients, the healer's ego wants their clients to rely on them, they want their client's situations to improve at the risk of their own health and boundaries.
I ascribe to David's use of the word "reluctance," as it is his initial reluctance that taught him to beware of getting too invested in the outcome of his client's own healing. That is in turn what David teaches: staying neutral with clients, in not being invested in their outcome. That concept is different from having compassion for other's situations. Neutrality requires humility, the healer must become the keen observer of what's going on, of the energy -- of it's swirling in a room full of partiers, or it's stillness in a sea of mediators. Compassion for another's healing allows the healer to hold the space for other people to experience their own path and their own healing. Compassion for others allows for patience, faith and a whole barrage of positive affects to come into play. The healer's job is not to CHANGE the energy. It is to shine some light on the darkness, to call it out of the shadows. From my perspective the healer's job is to be a teacher, to lead by example, to question what is considered real.
Jesus was this healer, sui generis. We are all very clear that his ability came THROUGH him from his father. He did say in the scriptures that we are capable of the same ability.
And don't even go there with the phrase "faith healer," that just opens a whole can of worms. I'm visualizing snakes biting people and trances, lots of fear mixed with seduction of power.
So back to the question, Am I a healer? Yes. I am. I have faith that God/Source Energy/Universal energy works THROUGH me. I still have to remind myself of the oneness of "I am that source and that source is me." Do I feel comfortable calling myself a healer? Not yet. When I don't have to remind myself of my oneness with source anymore, when I can remember what Jesus said about me being a child of God just like him, when I identify less with my ego about who I am, when I can tell you "I am a healer,"and see myself in you - then and only then will I be able to call myself a healer.
Monday, June 22
With the chaos in the banking system and all the greed involved, I realized that these people had faith too. They had faith in their ability to make money, even at the expense of others. Faith did not step in and say, "I am holy, you cannot invest in me that way!"
That's where karma comes into play. The actions that you take DO have consequential action and WILL catch up to you. There is no bad or good, life is action and reaction. Whatever wave or vibration your action is on, it will come back to you in the same vibrational plane - boomerang!
The word con-man derived from the word, confidential. It is shortened from the word confidential-man. Confidential as a verb relates to giving someone your confidence and being deceived by them. I have been focusing on consistency as a way to experience confidence and was surprised at it's secondary meaning.
Faith is neutral. You do not have to be enlightened or holy or trying to achieve holiness by having faith. Faith just is. It is there to be activated at your asking, no matter how you choose to use it. The choice is yours. Karma is the outer reflection of that choice.
Sunday, June 21
I have a wonderful father. He is an amazing man. He's soft of voice and firm with conviction about his beliefs - they are not religious beliefs, they are universal beliefs about love, kindness, and patience. He was not the kind of father that pontificated about his beliefs over Sunday supper. He led and still leads by example, by showing kindness and equality to all people. He doesn't gossip or stir the stew by talking down about others. He works hard, he fishes, watches baseball, and reads voraciously. His simplicity has been a beacon to me throughout my life.
Ruby's father, my beautiful husband Jimmy, is also a wonderful dad. He's much more extroverted than my dad and they share similar gifts the revolve around having a generous and open heart. Jimmy and Ruby share the gusto of having enormous right brains that explode with ideas and possibilities. I'll leave these two in a room together for a couple of hours and they will have improved the space with superb art direction, songs, art work, and lots of laughter and joy.
Before I met Jimmy I had very little faith that there was a man out there that was single, not gay, and as sweet and gentle as my father. I did not let myself for one moment imagine that I could find those qualities in a man that would also be a good father. It was my mother whose faith held the space for that person to come into my life. I laughed her off, "maybe that happened to you," I would say to her, "times are different now, that just doesn't happen anymore."
I thought I was safer if I closed my heart off from disappointment. I told my mom, "It's okay if I find a man that I'm not in love with. As long as he's good with kids."
Mom told me, "You don't want to do that because your kids are only with you for a short time. if you did that you'd be left with a bunch of hollow memories because there was no love at the core."
About two months later I met Jimmy. Was it love at first sight? Yes. Could I dare admit the enormous explosion in my heart? No. The first time I saw him I felt like I'd been struck with a bolt of lightening. It still took us a year and a half to admit to each other that we were in love with each other and even longer to prepare ourselves for the awesome experience of having a child.
My point is that faith was always there. When I could not hold faith in my vision, my mom did. I knew in my heart, even when my mind blocked me from admitting it, that I desired to find someone who gave me the same sense of security and home that my father gave to me. The last thirteen years has been a consistent opening to the faith and trust of a lifelong relationship. The last five years, through Ruby, has been a constant flow of patience and learning, with the payoff of love and light and pure energy -- a heart-opening experience made even stronger when I watch Ruby and Jimmy dancing their father/daughter dance.
Saturday, June 20
Here's how I did it:
When I went to bed at mid-night I said, "Six hours is all I need. I'm going to wake up at 6:25 AM and be ready for my day. I went through every step of my morning and planned out what I would need to do to be ready for my workshop today which started at 10:00 AM. The more details I included in my plan, the more precise I focused my energy, the more precise was the outcome. I felt aware, focused, and energized throughout the day.
Conclusion, having faith requires an investment. The more I opened to and believed in my power of rejuvenation, the more rejuvenated I felt. The more I focused on the details of the workshop, the more smoothly it ran. Awareness, just bringing your awareness to it is all it takes to make it happen. And then to ask. Ask for rejuvenation. That is enough to make it happen. Ask a tree, ask a star, it doesn't matter. Deep down in the heart of it all - a tree, a star, us -- it's all the same.
Focus, discipline, and awareness put the wheels of faith in motion for me this weekend. Discipline has always been such a bad word to me. Right along with the "C" word - consistency. Consistency and discipline are my new friends in the playground of life. With them I am gaining a stronger sense of self and greater confidence in my abilities and possibilities.
Friday, June 19
Thursday, June 18
Robert Tennyson Stevens, Conscious Prosperity
I have to give a little shout out to R.T.S. in the quote above. I spent last evening in a very hot, small conference room at a Hyatt at the intersection of LBJ Freeway and Central Expressway in Dallas last night to see what he had to say on prosperity. I am blogging 60 days of faith this summer, I am also researching prosperity so when I heard of a seminar on Conscious Prosperity promptly signed up.
The Conscious Language work of R.T.S. brings language into the now...I am, I have, I imagine, I love, I acquire, I foresee...
The phrases "I want," "I need," among other overused terms in our vernacular - in Conscious language -- suggest lack by their very definition; they are things you don't have now that you plan on or might get in the future. Not only that, to get them you must rely on something outside of you to bring them or draw them to you. R.T.S. suggests that whichever words evoke passion and emotion in YOU, those are the words that will draw your desires to you.
Three hours of hearing and speaking from the heart charged the room with strong currents of electricity. Chakras were spinning, possibilities were imagined, and miracles foreseen. These ingredients are the seeds of action, of fruition - the faith of the mustard seed - when trusted they are abundant and infinite.
1. Close your mouth and breathe through your nose with the tip of your tongue at the place where the palate meet the teeth. Inhale.
2. Imagine thick black smoke leaving your body as you exhale through your nose. When the thick blackness leaves your body it dissipates into the air and you cannot see it.
3. Inhale. On the next exhale say to yourself, "I release all attachment" (anything that causes pleasure). As you say this to yourself imagine the thick black smoke leaving your body. Repeat three times.
4. Inhale. On the next exhale say to yourself, "I release all aversion" (anything that causes suffering). As you say this to yourself imagine the thick black smoke releasing from your body. Repeat three times.
5. Inhale. On the next exhale say to yourself, "I release all indifference" (anything that causes neither pleasure nor suffering). As you say this to yourself imagine the thick black smoke releasing from your body. Repeat three times.
When you are finished releasing the three poisons from your body and your mind invite in faith into your consciousness. For me its as if a barrage of kids being let out of school for the summer are charging toward me. Faith brings with her many happy faces -- abundance, joy, oneness, love, trust, intuition, and freedom. And with my house clean of all that black smoke there's room for everyone.
Tuesday, June 16
Grayson plopped down in the chair and breathed many oxygen treatments each day. This year, she said, her trip was more about resting than writing her latest screen play. The time away from her busy schedule running a non-profit for disenfranchised women made her realize that she needed rest.
We talked of the healing power of the body. She was very interested in doing sessions of the healing breath meditation I teach. I led her in private sessions and in group sessions with the other artists throughout the week. Grayson had been born with a hole in her heart and had been in and out of hospitals her whole life to repair it. In the breathing meditation sessions she became aware of the chronic fear she held in her body from a lifetime of illness and was able to release some of it.
Before she left the ranch, Grayson felt revived. She made plans to come back next month and write for a few days and do some more of the healing breath meditation. In 1986 the doctors had given her a few months to live and she made it another twenty something years before leaving this earth last Friday, a week after she left the Ranch.
Last year another artist in the group began a painting on a 2'x20' canvass. This year the canvass came alive as she added familiar faces from the group. Grayson's right-side Florentine profile rests in the center at the bottom -- a fulcrum between the elderly intellectual gentleman on the left side of the painting and the younger middle-aged novelist on the right. The head of a horse is tatooed on Grayson's right shoulder. I remember having a conversation about what that was, why the horse? She told me it was from her loving husband's family crest. We laughed about having your man's tatoo on your arm. (I have six male dogs here at the ranch who are always marking their territory so the idea of your man's mark on your arm is especially funny to me.)
That memory of our conversation brought me back to the question of what's it all for? Things we talked about, like when Grayson spent 45 minutes telling me the story of her screen play which now will forever remain an ephemeral memory. A life, in her 40's, gone.
Experiencing faith is like putting on 3-D glasses - you have to change perspective. Faith is found in the spaces in between, we laughed at being tatooed with a man's mark while at the same time we had so much gratitude for our the love of our husbands. Those are the ingredients of faith -- laughter, gratitude, love, and perspective. Grayson's defiance of the doctors' 1986 diagnosis gave others faith as we watched her persist against the odds. By the sheer act of being alive she gave those around her faith to overcome everyday obstacles.
Monday, June 15
Everyday faith presents herself to me as an opportunity to trust in a higher guidance. For sixty days I will report on instances of trusting faith and the miracles that ensued. These stories may be about a direct experience I have. They also can be instances of the faith of others that affected me in a way that strengthened my faith. These stories will weave together on my journey and I have faith that they will strengthen my picture of what faith means to me. Also, doing something for 60 days in a row will be a challenge to my consistency and my self confidence.
When considering my faith there are three distinct periods of my life. The first one began at birth and ended around the time I was five years old. I have faint remembrances of seeing light and energy around people, maybe their auras. I had heightened senses of smell and taste. I had a strong sense of intuition and acted on it immediately without forethought. The second period, before cancer (BC), lasted from six years old to age twenty eight when I got cancer. From six years into my twenties, I grew increasingly skeptical, fearful, and insecure until it culminated in the biggest fear of all, getting cancer. The seeds of change occurred at age twenty six, when I met Jimmy and had to face the truth about love -- that it existed, that it could happen to total strangers, and that I desired to experience the feeling of open-hearted love for the rest of my life. After cancer, I began to search for a deeper meaning in my life, to question my own skepticism. I knew deep down -- even though I was not yet aware of it in my consciousness -- that my battle was not with cancer but with the incipient fear and lack of faith with which I carried myself.
My report about faith on this day, DAY #1 of my journey, is in my prayers the night I found out I had cancer. I have never felt so scared and isolated as that first night I lay in bed in complete darkness knowing that cancerous cells inside my body were replicating themselves. I became very aware that I could not blame anyone for my cancer. If it had been a car wreck I could blame the other driver, a broken ankle I could blame the uneven pavement. I had no one to blame. I felt empty. I could hear my mother's voice saying to me as an angry teenager, "Oh ye of little faith."
I didn't believe that the HPV virus caused my cancer either. That logic did not hold up for me because there were so many people with HPV that did not get cervical cancer, that had unprotected sex and went on to carry healthy babies to term. During this time I focused particularly on Courtney Love. She was the premier voice of the loud mouthed bitchy sexually promiscuous drug addict yet she did not get cancer AND she had a child. If logistical research was behind who got cancer and who didn't, I reasoned, she would get it and not me.
That night I prayed to overcome the fear that swelled in my body. If it was my time to die, I prayed, to make peace with that. If it was my time to live I prayed for a way to strengthen my belief in a higher source of power. Praying felt silly, it felt forced and self-conscious. It also felt empowering, as if my prayers weaved a blanket that swaddled me to sleep.
Eleven years later my faith has brought me to a place where I have enough perspective on my fears and skepticisms to write about them and share them with others. In archaeology, excavation requires endless hours digging and screening the dirt, and filling out paper work. There are tools -- shovels, trowels, dental picks, maps, and compasses. The more I think about it, yes, archeology is about faith. Moving mountains -- whether dirt, doubt, or fear, happens one shovel load at a time.
Thursday, June 11
Memories, wonderful memories, come to shore with the waves. Memories of playing in the surf all day, of building sand castles and picking up a never-ending abundance of shells. Memories of a time before I knew the clock.
Today numerous pelicans and roseate spoonbills grace the flightpath over the dunes. I make sand castles with my daughter who is just now beginning to have a concept of time. The beauty of nature unfolds around us in a clear and simple way.
There is one thing about Texas beaches that continues to baffle me, it is that cars and trucks drive on the beach. A couple of years ago the Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) built a welcome center for the birders that come here. Matagorda Island is known for its birding. The LCRA partook in a little community planning, reconfiguring the roads around our small subdivision of 7 or so beach houses. Their original intention was to close a small portion of the beach to drivers and create a car-free zone for birders. This lovely idea never happened so the cars continue to cruise the entire beach. In Texas it seems that the right to drive on the beach is right up there with a right to bear arms, so I wrote a little poem last year that I will now share:
CARS ON THE BEACH
Rubber tires were not meant for this
Four round black weapons
At the base of two tons of steel
Breaking the fine bones
Of mollusks and crustaceans
Assaulting tiny grains of sand
As they tread
Trash piles up
Outside my house
Despite the signs, the
A half eaten flip flop
A Can of Spam
Sun marries water
At high noon
In a diaphanous cloud
Of humidity and humility
Overdubs seventies rock
And I watch
Shaded by the leaf of