A Course In Miracles teaches that capital L Love is the only reality there is. All else is not Love & therefore shadow & illusion. I have come to believe this because I have seen how it works in my own life & the results are amazing. The more I practice seeing God in others, the more loved, led & guided I feel.
This isn't a religious thing, it's more spiritual & a way of living that is incredibly empowering & liberating. It's not an easy concept to wrap one's head around - this notion of praying for one's enemies & seeing the eyes of the Creator peering out from others'. It's harder than I imagined when I first came to know of it. It's still difficult at times, especially when I watch the news & see some of the atrocities perpetrated on women & children around the world. It's nearly impossible then. But I have to keep trying because only light can cast out darkness & that light has to start with me.
Wow, it's been so long - I hardly know where to start. I had what I suppose could be termed a breakdown of major proportions & spent a month in the hospital receiving medication adjustment & ECT - [electro convulsive therapy]. While the latter was a rather uncomfortable thing, it seems to have been the answer my mind needed. Now I feel so much better & am doing so much better - almost like getting a reboot! As evidenced by my resurrection of Ye Olde Blog - I'm finding a renewed interest in the world around me. But that part took awhile & so I'm just now getting here. I'm cooking again & doing some light housework along the way & it just feels better & more like a real girl should.
On a sad note; Big G's beloved black Lab Dickens passed away about 1 1/2 years ago & my precious little Janiecat died about 6 months ago. We were indeed a pitiful household with no four-legged children & then LaLa arrived & stole our hearts. She's actually Big G's dog - I got her for Big G's birthday present last year. But she's crazy for both of her parents & has done no end of healing of our broken hearts. She has issues around other people & especially other dogs & will bite when she's scared by them, so sadly, her outings have to be limited.
We adopted her from a Dachshund rescue group, BTW - a procedure I highly recommend.
Somewhere in my travels, I've read that we should be grateful for all teachers, even those who cause us pain. I don't know that I'm evolved enough for that yet, but I do acknowledge there have been a few of the painful variety. Maybe right now it's enough that I be willing to be grateful for them.
There have been many more teachers of the loving varity though, for which I'm grateful. The main one is Maya Angelou. Though she's not aware of it, since I first read I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings in junior high, she's been a heroine to me. I thought if she could not only survive, but thrive & be fabulous, then I could too.
Any part of my path that has been successful, I owe in large part to this blessed soul. When faced with major life questions or even just everyday decisions in which my basic character is called upon to reveal how high or low I can go, it's her beautiful face before my mind's eye & me asking, "What would you do, Maya?" She's never failed to give me bold, audacious, kind & wise guidance. I don't expect to ever have the blessing of meeting her face to face to thank her for saving & enriching my life, so I'll say it here.
Beautiful Grandmother, wise & a little naughty, gentle & fierce, what would I have done without you? No doubt I would have lived, but in a cruder state. For all my faults, I do possess fine qualities which would probably not have survived to see the light of day. You taught me to seek the highest expression of love, you taught me to evolve. I owe you so much, a debt of love & gratitude. I pray that I may someday be able to repay what I owe by being a shining light for some young trembling woman as you were for me.
May the Universe continue to mightily bless & keep you.
I'm thinking today about gentleness & how the world seems in such dire need of more. But let me bring it back down from the world to me, since that's all I can control.
I'm in great need of gentleness & I know that this needs to come primarily from inside myself. If I can't be gentle with myself, how can I accept it or even recognize it from others? It suddenly occurs to me that a lot of what goes on inside of my head is abuse. A breakthrough realization - I would never talk to another the way I routinely think it's OK to talk to myself. If I berated Big G in the same manner as I do myself, she would in very short order - & rightfully so - pack my bags & dis-invite me from her life. If I did it to strangers on the street I'd probably eventually get my clock adjusted. Yet the habit of self-hurt is deeply ingrained in me, as it is in so many people. Since I can't banish myself from myself, I'd better get busy replacing this habit with another.
I don't think anyone is born disliking themselves. Somewhere along the way, someone we look up to says a hurtful thing to us & it goes right into the psyche along with all the other data we're inputting. If that hurtful thing is bad enough or is repeated enough, we internalize it. Then we take over the job of keeping us in our place. Because heaven forbid we think we're fabulous, right? Or, for some of us, even just good enough, OK enough to live. What a crime against humanity this is.
Can you imagine the world if everyone thought they were fabulous & thought that everyone else was as well? I can't picture an Iraq war in that world. This makes me think that if I hate, even myself, then I'm contributing to the sickness that seems on the verge of overtaking us all. It's not only myself to whom I owe greater loyalty, love, gentleness then - it's to each person who lives on the planet with me. If I abuse & hate me, then I abuse & hate you too. As the saying goes, "Let it begin with me."
So today I'm going to offer thanks for gentleness & a request to the Creator that I be gently reminded not to abuse myself any more.
You know how sometimes the 1,001st time you hear something, it suddenly slides into place in its very own brain groove & finally you get it? That happened to me yesterday in the PHP & I've been turning it over & over in my grubby little hands ever since. Just admiring the shiny new Pretty & murmering the occasional "Precioussss" over it's new-to-me reality.
I'm talking about feelings & finally grokking that it's ok to have every feeling I do. Not only is it OK, it's part of what makes me human. Seems pretty fundamental, right? A real no-brainer, hmm? Well maybe some of us are more sentient than others, because though I've been hearing this news for years, I can finally apply it to my own little self! This is huge for me. My feelings aren't bad, sinful, capable of harming me or anyone anyone else. They're just... feelings. I can sit with them, acknowledge them, own them, release them if I choose & they don't have to own me, they don't have the power to ruin me. Amazing what group therapy can do if you give it a chance.
Today, instead of fearing them, I'm going to be grateful for feelings.
Sometimes the most loving answer to our prayers is: "Wait." I've been learning this one a lot lately & it's not an easy lesson for one who so loves to order her own existence. But what the Universe repeatedly shows me is that the Divine's timing is so much more perfect than my own.
"Wait" doesn't necessarily have to be a completely passive option. I think we're meant to do what we can to plant seeds, but then we need to step out of the way & allow maturation of the plant. It's always been my tendency to peek too soon, before germination is complete & sometimes the new growth is yet too fragile to survive all my meddling.
So today I'm grateful for perfect timing & I ask that I keep this teaching in mind as I wait for all my garden's seeds to mature. Amen & amen.
This morning I'm grateful for having the courage to enter into a new & slightly scary place of healing. The PHP I began yesterday went well. It was a little nerve-wracking because it was an unknown territory, but I showed courage, went with an open heart & actually found some comfort there.
The staff are indeed calm & self-assured & that sets the tone for the program. The other patients made me feel welcome immediately, yet gave me plenty of space to adjust, not overwhelming me. So that's another gratitude, actually.
I felt a little threatened by just being out in the world, around people, surrounded by the sounds of other lives all around me. But a gentle rain fell all day, soothing & centering me, so those jagged edges were made more smooth. Yet another gratitude. When I can't find anything good about myself, I need to remember I am a woman of courage.
First order of business: Saying a big ol' thank you to tartx of Down the Rabbit Hole for the fabulous Blogging Without Obligation gift she's sharing. See the pretty Crow in my left-hand sidebar! Also, a shout-out to Angie of Moxie through whom I found the pretty Crow. OK, on to Gratitude Month fun!
I'd say yesterday's Word of the Day was consternation. I never made it to the partial hospitalization program because my nice new medical doctor panicked & shipped my surprised butt over to the ER for an emergency psych eval. Because I was suicidal. Well, friends, I've been that way for many moons & I'm still here, A. And B, Ms. Doctor wasn't listening when both Big G & I tried to explain to her that I was running late that very moment for PHP, where I would surely get superior mental health care than I would sitting on a gurney in an indifferent ER. Our objections were in vain & I was, what Big G called, "pink slipped."
Two very large but polite EMTs bundled me into the back of an ambulance then meandered lazily on over to the hospital while I tried to pretend I wasn't experiencing this. Oh, it gets better, because after what I considered a decent length of time being reasonable with zero results, I did indeed show out.
I didn't even mean to though - that's the thing. I only wanted to find a nurse & inquire how many more hours' wait might be required before a lab tech could be expected to materialize & draw my blood. I moseyed out the curtain & made my slow, careful way about 10 steps toward the desk, when the froggish-looking woman they'd posted to "observe" me squawked in alarm & I turned to confront her for speaking to me so only to find the entire ER galvanized & poised to tackle me. I was afraid to breathe, but I was also furious & embarrassed. Never a good combination for me.
Anyway, I just decided to go to sleep until it was all over. I assumed someday it would be. When in comes this crazy guy who poured gasoline all over his parent's home, them & himself. They're not real big on HIPAA regulations in this particular ER, because I knew as much or more about my other peers' diagnoses as well. At any rate, Mr. Petro was thwarted before he could start the happy conflagration. And boy! was he mad! Threatening to kill the cop, using most colorful language, just generally being a very loud nut job.
I was discharged about this time by a most sensible ER doctor who probably figured Fireboy was a greater threat to himself or others than I was. But at least I was humiliated, wounded (lab tech), hungry, traumatized & exhausted, so that's something, no? And I will start the PHP this morning, where no-doubt calm & self-assured mental health professionals will assist me in my goals to get better.
So today I'm grateful for perspective. I could be much, much worse.
It's a strange feeling to be the object of another's devotion. Today I'm grateful for my step-dog Dickens & the lessons he's taught me about devotion. I didn't know him when he was a baby, but there's something "old soul" about his eyes in this baby pic of him. His expression seems sad, too. It's probably just those diamond-shaped Labbie eyes, or maybe he's missing his mom. He is a mama's boy, no doubt about it & nowadays I am she. Of course his primary relationship is with Big G, but she fills another role in his little doggy heart. Pack leader, Protector, Provider, Walking Companion, Soft Touch.
I am Mommy, Giver of Snacks, Goddess of Pizza Crust & Meatloaf. Also, She Who Cries & Must be Comforted, She Who Cannot be Fooled, She Who is Stern but Quickly Forgives. All depending on how strong his
Coyote Medicine is in any given moment. He is surely a Child of the Coyote & uses his humor to teach us all kinds of lessons. What he mainly teaches me is about the foolishness of holding on to anger, because I absolutely cannot stay angry with him & thus have learned to relinquish many of my control issues. This lesson plan has been a long & rocky road because Dickens wasn't always the Good Dog you see before you today. He was very naughty indeed once upon a time & I didn't love him for many moons. I tolerated him (barely) as something I had to endure because I loved Big G.
But Dickens knew he could crack my tough shell & he just continued on his work of showing me how to love him. His manners improved, which helped, but he never changed who he is. I had to do the changing; I had to love him in all his contrary, crazy, upside-down ways.
Mr. Busy, as he sometimes is known, never gave up - he remained devoted to me & determined to use his humor & good nature to win me over.
And because he was so devoted, he finally succeeded. Now we're the best of friends & the pack is stronger for it, individually & collectively.
Today I'm grateful for risk. I've always been such a careful person. This isn't me judging myself, just coming to see myself more clearly. Even when I thought I was a daring, dashing figure, I wasn't. Not really. I always played it safe, hugged the coastline of my life. Daring was another mask I wore to fool the world & me.
In becoming grateful for risk, I have my daughter Megan to thank. I haven't said this to her before now, but of my children, she most perfectly embodies a picture of what risk can offer. I took a real risk in allowing my love for her to stretch past her toddler self. I feared she was most angry, most volatile, most bitter so in opening my heart to her I not only moved away from the coast, but gave the ocean permission to drown me if it so willed.
I sometimes think the Universe just wants us to be willing to risk it all. Because my risk has paid me more benefit than I dared hope. Megan just wants her mother, that's all. She has no need or desire to wound or attack me. Recrimination & judgment play no part in our interaction. She has simple needs, needs I can easily fulfill. She needs me to love her, to accept her unconditionally, to show her respect, to risk showing her my heart, to speak kind words to her, to believe in her no matter what.
For a woman as careful as myself, this at first seemed a huge task & one I wasn't at all sure I was up for. Because on the surface allowing Megan full access to me looked too risky. But somehow I was able to see past the mask she wears & what I saw delighted me as only a mother can be delighted by her child. She's soft in her core. She's vulnerable & doesn't hide that. She plainly asks for what she needs. Her agendas aren't hidden. She doesn't censor herself when she wants to tell me, "I love you," she just risks telling me. This child of mine makes me happy because every day I see, even when she doesn't, how she's unfolding into a more lovely & true Self. And this gives me hope for me.
Today I'm grateful for grace. There are many theories & notions about grace & how it comes to us. I don't talk about grace much, because I think my ideas about it may be pretty audacious. Possibly heretical, even. Not that I give a flip about that! I believe grace comes to us in times of dire need & without our asking for it. A freebie from God, if you will. And I also believe that we're so beloved by our Creator, that grace is available to us at any time we decide we would like to avail ourselves of it. I've experienced both kinds & the joy grace brings, for me at least, has nothing to do with how desperate I am or am not.
In a worship service once I felt very desperate indeed. I'd been too sick to work for awhile & was in deep financial straights. I was nearly frantic with worry because I had no money to buy cat food for my boykin. We all sat in a circle in this service & took turns requesting prayer. I asked that my financial burden would be eased & a $100 bill literally materialized in midair before my eyes & wafted to the floor to land on top of my purse. There was delighted laughter all around & I got my cat some food, but I was in a state of shock about it for quite a while. Joyful, but shocked nonetheless.
When I was 17 I was abducted at gunpoint from my job. I was alone, it was a frigid January midnight & my assailant wore a ski mask. He kept his gun pointed at my head during what felt like hours of driving, but was probably only around 30 minutes. My life did, in fact, pass before my eyes & I kept thinking of my poor grandmother having to identify my body. I asked that she be spared that & I asked for help.
When we at last came to a stop, we were in a deserted graveyard covered with snow. He removed his ski mask & now I felt he would surely kill me. I felt very calm & peaceful & I asked God just one more time to protect my grandmother. The silence in the car roared in my ears. Suddenly he looked up into the rearview mirror, his eyes wide, panicked, terrified. His head began to whip back & forth as he scanned the area all around my car. I got a psychic hit of my car being surrounded by angels which I could not see, but which he certainly could. Big, bad-assed angels with all sorts of interesting weaponry & itchy trigger fingers. Who knows, that's just the image that popped into my head.
He restarted my car drove like a bat out of you-know-where, took me back to civilization, got out of my car, couldn't apologize enough, begged my forgiveness & then it was my turn to drive like a bat. That's the kind of grace that snatches you from the jaws of desperation or mortal danger & there's no doubt in your mind that Whomever engineered it, it wasn't you. It's the kind where God reaches out & scoops you up & you'd no more kick & squirm & demand to be let go than you would cut off a limb. You want to save me God? You go right ahead, I'll just hunker down here & stay out of the way.
The other way I think grace comes to us is when we're so not in our own way that blessings flow effortlessly into our lives & affect matters large & small. It feels so normal & natural as to make one think this is the natural way God means for our lives to flow. I believe that with all my heart. I believe we were all born for joy, to learn lessons in gentle, loving ways as opposed to 2x4 encounters. The only thing that keeps us from the flow of creativity between ourselves & God is - ourselves. We really need to stop doubting ourselves & God, stop talking mean about ourselves, stop believing we're not so special. We deserve gentleness, forgiveness, second chances. Then we can access the grace that is already extended to us in the Creator's outstretched palm.
There is a concept I learned from Jamie Sams' writing called Tiyoweh, which means entering the silence. It's the space between God's heartbeats, it's the silence between musical notes without which music would be impossible. In Dr. Wayne Dyer's teaching it's the pause between the words of a prayer, what he calls Getting in the Gap. It's the moment of exquisite hovering before a trapeze artist's hands catch hold of the bar.
Whatever one's cultural affinity or spiritual practice, this concept of Tiyoweh seems applicable & valuable. I'm thinking of the space between the beads of a Catholic rosary or Tibetan prayer beads, the unfolding of intent captured between the notes of a shaman's drumbeat. There are too many examples to count of the sacred pauses that make up moments wherein the gods would speak to us if we were tuned in.
Right now I'm feeling like that trapeze artist - no longer rising, not yet falling, simply hanging by God's invisible breath, waiting to be in-formed. I'm starting a partial hospitalization program come Monday. This is my caregivers' way of avoiding inpatient hospitalization. It's how they plan to keep me safe. I'm fully surrendered to the fact that I need help & protection which I can no longer supply to myself through my own inner resources. So we're trying this & I'm trying not to be scared.
I am grateful though, for the silence between my thoughts, my version of Tiyoweh & I pray God can access me there.
Politically, I just can't get behind the whole celebrating the coopting of the New World concept AKA Thanksgiving. And yet I am powerless over cranberry sauce & pumpkin pie. What to do? I wave my magic wand & transform the "holy day" into Gratitude Day. In fact, since this is my universe & I can do what I want, I hereby decree that November shall be Gratitude Month.
My plan is to talk about a blessing I am grateful for every day this month. It was a close call, on this first day of Gratitude Month, between my significant other (pictured above) or the finest baseball team ever, so today will be a two-fer. I'm grateful to have such a fine Hobby to share my passion of Red Sox baseball with. Big G has taught me so much about baseball in general & the Sox in particular, so thank you, Sweetie. And the Sox are a constant source of joy. When they're not being a source of agony, that is. But those times are all forgiven now.
Now, baseball isn't the only reason I love my Big G so. She's just simply the best thing that's ever happened to me & I adore her & will always be grateful to her.
My boyfriend, Big Papi. In honor of the Red Sox being in, you know, the World Series & all. And so Big G's friend Erin won't worry so much 'cause it's been awhile since my last post. I didn't even know she was a fan! Just goes to show - bloggers should be regular in their posts - you never know who's reading. Maybe Erin should start a blog & then I could help her & that'd be something we could, like, bond over. *shrug*
As all the world must surely know by now, we've thus far kicked purple butt in the World Series. I have faith we shall continue with more of the same. Frankly, I'm just relieved I don't have to look at Schilling's sanctimonious mug anymore. Curt who??? Yes I know he's a great athlete & Sox member yadda yadda. I just can't personally stand the man.
I've been hoping for a while now to find a good spot for this little cowboy. Cowboys are not normally my thing, but his expression was impossible to resist. He just looks like he's a little weary wanderer to me. Not sure what inspired the text or what it means - it just appeared in my head.