How A Full Journal Can Change Your Life

I keep a journal, as many people do. I write in it as the spirit moves me. Sometimes it’s a few times a week, sometimes I don’t sit to write for a month. But journalling is a helpful tool on the spiritual path.

Usually, my journal looks like this:

 

journal open to a full page laying on a blanket

Nothing special. My own musings and brain drain.

 

You know something is starting to boil when my journal looks like this:

journal full of other papers, full of ideas and confusion

 

When I start shoving papers, printouts, and other stuff into my journal (here, I have actually stapled shit in) then you know I’m going through something.

I’m confused. And you can see the confusion in my journal.

Bits and pieces of the map shoved in amongst directions and wisdom and guidance from other people.
And wisdom and guidance from my own heart and soul.

This is always what my journal (and inside my head, pretty much) looks like when I’m figuring something out or on the verge of a breakthrough.

I write it all out so I can follow myself. I leave these letters as breadcrumbs on the trail through my journey. Sometimes I have to find my way back, so I can find my way out, like a maze doubling back on itself.

 

Then, on rare occasions, my journal looks like this:

journal filled with other papers and texts, amongst notes on large pieces of paper

 

So fucking full it spills out onto other sheets of paper.

Large sheets of paper.

The ideas are so big to me, the energy of them – of what’s in my head trying to find its way out – is so big that they have to be scrawled out into a bigger space.

Tiny pages with small pens just won’t do.

 

The last time I wrote things on big pieces of paper like this, I ended up in the ICU for 10 days.
I had pneumonia that didn’t want to be cured.

I had been to a retreat and drawn an outline of my body on a piece of paper. Large paper.
And I had filled it in with the colors and textures and images that made me feel most myself.

I ended up sleeping under the Paper Me for 10 days or so, when I had a cold.
Only the cold turned into untreatable pneumonia.

My doctors weren’t exactly sure what to do with me. Weren’t exactly sure how to fix it.
Which was pretty fucking scary.

The pneumonia didn’t want to be cured, but it did want healing.
Healing is different than curing, you know.
My pneumonia healed me by showing me that I could no longer go on with my life the way it was.

The career I was about to enter was going to kill me.
And my soul knew it. And my body showed it.

That small hospital room became a sweat lodge- pulling out all the toxicities in my life.
I made a choice, in that hospital bed, to take the better path.

When they finally figured out what was wrong (and I started coughing up the infectious goop),
I knew what was going to be right.

 

Big pieces of paper. They have changed my life.

Perhaps I should be scared of these pieces and what is written on them.
But I think not.

I think they are directions to a new life.

– – – – – – – – – – – –

I was going to stop the post there. Leaving it with some Pollyanna-feeling, intellectual and emotional half-truth.

But you know what? Changing your life is fucking scary.

Changing it on purpose, or even supposing that it might take a new turn all on its own…that shit freaks me out.

If all the ideas on those journal and other pages begin to come alive, my life will change.
Hopefully it will be for the better, but….who…fucking…knows?!

 

I think a lot about what change will mean.
How will these changes affect my children?
My marriage?
My personal persona?
My professional persona?

If I build the things on those pieces of paper, yes- they will be a map to a new life.
But what that new life might contain has yet to be seen. 
And that’s scary.

I’m risk averse.
I like to know the outcome before I start.
Which is ridiculous, right? But, still…

It’s in these moments of fear and ignorance that I wish I had my own cheering section.
Giving me a thumbs up and some clapping and happy faces.
“Go! This will be awesome!” they would say. (And I would believe them.)

So, I feel vulnerable and scared.
(Could someone just hold my hand?)

But, when I step back and take a look at it from a bit higher up, I realize:

  1. There is a lot of cave-lady brain in there. Risk aversion- that’s her territory (she seeks safety). She can be soothed and calmed (with an orgasm or three- yes!). Calming and reassuring her in my own mind, and in the arms of my lover, will help open her energy and direct it towards my changes.
  2. It’s probably the most embodied, sensual, feminine thing I can do to be vulnerable. To open myself and be real. To feel it. Later, I can move to (or get help for) the more masculine “doing” part of the project. But, right now, feeling what’s going on is important. (And, strangely, let’s me rest. What is, is. And I can fight it or go with it, even if ‘it’ is fear and vulnerability.)

So, big pieces of paper and what’s written on them can change your life.
But you can’t really know what that change will look like.

I can only accept that change is happening (a.k.a. freak the fuck out)
and stay with myself as I take each step.
Knowing that what will be, will be.
And that the only thing I can do is bring my best at any given moment,
even if my best is worry or fear.

Maybe this is another emotional half-truth, I don’t know.
I do know that it allows me to both be and do.
And that is helpful.

 

 

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An Open Letter on Facing Your Fears

Yesterday morning I woke up at my usual time (rather early) and lingered in the edges of that ‘dream/not quite dream’ space.

I don’t dream that often. Rather, I don’t remember my dreams that often. There are certain times of my cycle when I am more likely to remember them, so it must have to do with hormones, in part. But, anyway…

As I lingered in the ‘not quite awake’ space, I felt someone, sensed them. For me, my intuition seems like a dream mentally, but I can usually feel things physically.

This is not entirely weird for intuitive people. Some intuitives see actual events, some see auras or energies, some feel things in their own bodies, others hear messages or talk to energies in other planes of existence. There are lots of ways to receive ‘other’ information.

(I know, some of this gets too woo-woo for me, too, but still…I believe there is so much we don’t know, it would be dumb to dismiss what we don’t know just because we don’t know. I accept the woo because I have experienced its strange, unexplainable power in my own life.)

My intuition is typically in seeing things. I see colors when I do meditative dance. I see symbols and pictures when I talk to clients – often those symbols and pictures mean something to the client, or take them to a new idea or deeper experience when I share them.

So, when I see things, I pay attention.
Especially in that dream/non-dream space of early morning sleepiness.
That space is a special place between worlds. 

This morning I felt someone- someone I have felt before.
A friend from long ago, I think.

As I lay there, I put my attention, my energy, into his space. 
And two things happened.
One: I sensed that he felt very scared and frustrated.
Two: I saw something out in front of him; a symbol of his fear.

 

adult man holding his hands in front of his face, as if fearful

 

Because I care for this person, I opened my heart and sent him the energy of calm. If the phrase, “It’s going to be okay,” had a feeling, that is what I sent to him. It emerged from my heart almost like a hand calmly petting his head.

Then I went and looked at the symbol. It was a fire, on the edges of his life, or awareness, or consciousness. It was a fire like you see on an oil rig- blowing out the top of a huge smokestack. Fearsome and hot, but contained. Although, if the fire wasn’t contained, it would take the whole rig down. I sensed that this fire could destroy his family and he was frightened.

[I also clearly know and understand that these images may be from my own psyche. They might be figments of my own imagination. They could be anything but intuitive info. I know that. But I also know I have to trust myself and my own experience. So, here we are.]

As I have gone through the day, I have thought about what I would say to him, were he available to chat. Because, when something frightens you that much, when it is that loaded with fuel to hurt what you care about, what do you do?

This is what I would say to him.

Whatever it is you fear, that fire on the edge of your life, it will hurt you (and what you love) if you don’t go look at it. 

It will hurt you because unexamined fear has permission to grow. Fear multiplies all on its own. One of my Social Work professors called this The Ladder of Anticipation. Whatever we fear will drag us around, deplete our energy, and keep us worried and dying if we get dragged around by it.

Fear will rule your life if you let it.

The only way to not let it rule your life is to go look at it. 

The Ladder of Anticipation exists because we imagine what might be.
Rung by rung we climb up our imaginative fears and tremble and scream and gradually cease moving.
Fear has us by the short hairs, then.
By facing our fear, we see what is.

It is true, What Is might be fucking scary. But at least What Is has boundaries. It has edges and it can be known. Only our fear about the What Is is unbounded.

So, go. Look. See what it is exactly you fear.

When I was afraid of my own desire, I was fucking scared of it. I was afraid that looking at it, giving into it, would mean losing my marriage, my family, my idea of myself.

I climbed up the Ladder of Anticipation, over and over again. And it wrecked me. Only when I honestly sat and looked at that fear, felt the entirety of my desire, did I understand what it could and could not do.

How do you look at your fear?
A quiet place helps.
A good chunk of time.

And, in my own case, it was incredibly helpful to tell my heart and mind that I was just exploring.
Nothing had to be done.
No decisions had to be made or actions taken.
I was just looking around at this thing in my life that felt huge and scared me to death.

Because if you’re just looking around, you can pack it in later and no one is the wiser.
Your psyche won’t bolt.
Your heart can have its say.
Your mind can be calm.

Take your mind and heart to a calm place, long-ago friend, and let the thing you fear come close to you.
Get a good, long look at it.
Go to the edges of it. The depth of it.
Let it drown you.  If only for a moment.

And once you do this, you will be free from the fear.

Because once you know the fear- where it goes, what it feels like, how big it seems – you cannot be ruled by it anymore.

You will know, for sure, what to do with the thing you fear once you go look at it.
Whether and how it can be changed.
What part of you it exists in, what part of you needs to be healed or explored.

You will know if the fear is true or not.
And whether it can actually destroy what you care about most.

Looking at your fear is worth the time and effort because it will bring clarity, and thereby, release.
You will know what to do.
Which part of yourself to listen to.
And then you can begin to take action instead of sitting and waiting, in the dark morning hours, afraid.

If you (reader, or…anyone) need help, I’m here.
Helping you look at fears or sort stuff out is what I do.

Take care, long-ago friend.
I wish you well.

Eleanor Roosevelt quote about fear - you must do that which you think you cannot do

 

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Sex and Healing

I’ve been thinking about the healing powers of sex for a while now. For both men and women, there are some experiences of sex (whether it be lovemaking, fucking, or just having sex) that bring healing of some sort.

I can think of my own experiences, where the safety of my lover’s body – bigger and stronger than mine – meant I could let go and relax. And when I fully relaxed into sex it made me cry, or helped some fear release, or quilted some part of my heart back together.

When my grandfather died last year (a dear, close connection for me) I found relief from my grief in slow, close, calming sex with my husband.

When I first had my sexual-spiritual awakening, I felt very deeply…no, I wouldn’t say I ‘felt’ even…I knew all the way through myself, deep into my bones, that my body was a gift of healing. My presence – just being near someone who needed me – was healing. And that my sex was healing.

(Which is all very confusing if you’re married and wanting to stay married and yet also share this sexy healing thing. The spiritual path…ugh!)

So, I found this poem, and it truthfully (in beauty and authenticity) expressed this kind of healing sex and relationship.

I wish I could be the woman in this poem.
I long to be her.

And as I open myself more to my sensual side, to deeper and different aspects of my femininity, I think I might be able to.

I want to be this strong.
This vulnerable.
This sensual.
I want it so much, I am willing to practice. Let us just say that.

Here is the poem.

 

If You Want To Change The World, Love A Man

If you want to change the world love a man; really love him
Choose the one whose soul calls to yours, clearly who sees you; who is brave enough to be afraid
Accept his hand and guide him gently to your hearts blood
Where he can feel your warmth upon him and rest there
And burn his heavy load in your fires

Look into his eyes, look deep within and see what lies dormant or awake or shy or expectant there
Look into his eyes and see there his fathers and grandfathers and all the wars and madness their spirits fought in some distant land, some distant time
Look upon their pains and struggles and torments and guilt; without judgment
And let it all go
Feel into his ancestral burden
And know that what he seeks is safe refuge in you
Let him melt in your steady gaze
And know that you need not mirror that rage
Because you have a womb, a sweet, deep gateway to wash and renew old wounds

If you want to change the world love a man, really love him
Sit before him, in the full majesty of your woman, in the breath of your vulnerability
In the play of your child innocence, in the depths of your death
Flowering invitation, softly yielding, allowing his power as a man
To step forward towards you…and swim in the Earth’s womb, in silent knowing, together

And when he retreats…because he will…flees in fear to his cave…
Gather your grandmothers around you…envelope in their wisdoms
Hear their gentle shusshhhed whispers, calm your frightened girls’ heart
Urging you to be still…and wait patiently for his return
Sit and sing by his door, a song of remembrance, that he may be soothed, once more

If you want to change the world, love a man, really love him
Do not coax out his little boy
With guiles and wiles and seduction and trickery
Only to lure him…to a web of destruction
To a place of chaos and hatred
More terrible than any war fought by his brothers
This is not feminine, this is revenge
This is the poison of the twisted lines
Of the abuse of the ages, the rape of our world
And this gives no power to woman, it reduces her as she cuts off his balls
And it kills us all

And whether his mother held him or could not
Show him the true mother now
Hold him and guide him in your grace and your depth
Smoldering in the center of the Earth’s core
Do not punish him for his wounds that you think don’t meet your needs or criteria
Cry for him sweet rivers
Bleed it all back home

If you want to change the world love a man, really love him
Love him enough to be naked and free
Love him enough to open your body and soul to the cycle of birth and of death
And thank him for the opportunity

As you dance together through the raging winds and silent woods
Be brave enough to be fragile and let him drink in the soft, heady petals of your being
Let him know he can hold you, stand up and protect you
Fall back into his arms and trust him to catch you
Even if you’ve been dropped a thousand times before
Teach him how to surrender by surrendering yourself
And merge into the sweet nothing, of this worlds’ heart

If you want to change the world, love a man, really love him
Encourage him, feed him, allow him, hear him, hold him, heal him
And you, in turn, will be nourished and supported and protected
By strong arms and clear thoughts and focused arrows
Because he can, if you let him, be all that you dream

If you want to love a man,
love yourself, love your father, love your brother, your son, your ex-partner;
from the first boy you kissed, to the last one you wept over

Give thanks for the gifts; of your unraveling to this meeting
Of the one who stands before you now
And find in him the seed to all that’s new and solar
A seed that you can feed to help direct the planting
To grow a new world, together

Anonymous

 

I originally found this poem on the Facebook page “Message of the Rose” which is lovely, and you should go check it out.

 

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God Is Not Dumbledore

(But Dumbledore could be your god!)

The big news in religion, last week, was that Pope Francis said that both evolution and the Big Bang theory were actual fact and not in conflict with Catholic theology.

His exact words were:

“The Big Bang, which today we hold to be the origin of the world, does not contradict the intervention of the divine creator but, rather, requires it.

“Evolution in nature is not inconsistent with the notion of creation, because evolution requires the creation of beings that evolve.”

To which I say, “Right the fuck on, Pope!” Science and religion can co-exist.
(I would, in fact, argue that they are two faces of the same thing…)

His predecessors, both Pope John Paul II and Pope Pius XII, opened the door for this statement. They both expressed acceptance for the scientific theories, starting as far back as 1966.

Pope Francis also stated:

“When we read about Creation in Genesis, we run the risk of imagining God was a magician, with a magic wand able to do everything. But that is not so…”

So, God is not Dumbledore.

I would have to agree.

 

One of the things Pope Francis also said was that “God is not a demiurge or a magician…” Demiurge was the manual laborer who created the physical world in Plato’s origin myth. Some people translated Demiurge as “divine being.” (The sentence then becoming, “God is not a divine being or a magician…”)

I posted something about this on Facebook and a conservative Christian connection said, “I just can’t believe you could be the Pope and not believe God is divine.”

I’m not familiar with Plato’s origin myth, but it would seem that ‘divine being’ and ‘manual laborer who created the physical world’ are different. Whoever fucked up that translation…fucked up that translation.

Not to mention that an origin myth is an explanation for the divine, not the divine itself.

Anyway…

This brings us back to the idea that God is not a magician. I think my Facebook friend had a problem with that, too. That if we cannot have a God who can ‘wave a wand’ and make things better, what good is God? Isn’t ‘magic’ – the unexplainable – the realm of faith and the divine?

 

I will say that unexplainable things happen. You can’t explain why I see colors when I do my dance meditation. Nor can you explain why some people are suddenly cured of cancer. Or why forgiveness happens.

But then, you also can’t explain how black holes work (just theories- we haven’t gone there yet!). Or the fact that, in 2010 – by looking at Saturn from a different angle – they discovered more rings. Or how to cure cancer.

There’s a whole lot that can’t be explained.

But it doesn’t mean God has magical capabilities just because stuff happens that we don’t understand.

 

dumbledore at a lectern, looking like god

You really can see why people would get confused.

 

I strongly believe that seeing God as a magician or wizard able to ‘wave a wand’ and fix things is a very immature experience of the divine.

That perspective also begets a shitload of problems that stem from the “I don’t need to fix this, God will make it work” belief. People have died because of this belief, and a whole lot more decide to behave as victims because of the idea that God is a magician.

I call bullshit.

 

In the mental health field, when people identify another person or relationship in this way, we call it immature- because the person is behaving as if the other is their parent. “I don’t have to take care of this…my parent/wizard will!”

It’s not healthy.

It’s not healthy primarily because it denies what is called ‘agency’ – meaning a person’s ability to act on their own behalf. Acting on your own behalf is pretty important.

Acting on your own behalf is also way more complicated than believing in magic.

 

Mature relationships with anything – God, people, jobs – are complicated. Mature relationships take into account so many more variables and options than parental or magical ones.

I think we often assign God a parental or magical role because it’s what we’re taught, but it also puts the Divine in a knowable container. (Which is very handy and calming.)

And, by definition, the divine is unknowable and infinite.

Relating to something unknowable and infinite can be a tough thing to do. It can be very confusing.

Is God a parent?
A masculine figure?
A feminine figure?
Dumbledore?

My personal belief is that God is all of these things. And we can relate to God in any of these ways.

If relating to God as a woman helps you feel spiritually nourished and connected, go for it!
If relating to God as the Lord and the Lady brings you healing, take it!
If relating to God as social service or planetary sustainment helps you be compassionate,
then right the fuck on! Do it!

Finding a way to relate to God is important.

But we must also remember that how we relate is just one way.
Just one facet of the unknowable.

To say that God is only masculine, only Protestant, only magical, only whatever denies all the other infinite possibilities.
And that is the opposite of divine.

 

I think it’s very helpful that Pope Francis is taking this aspect of the divine off the table. It may still help some people (a lot of people) and I’m fine with that – you gotta start somewhere.

But by taking this facet of the whole down for a while we get the opportunity to explore what might be more true about God.

That God might be more complicated, contain more, offer us more depth, self-understanding, and connection to the universe that we thought possible.

It’s tough stuff to grapple with, but I hope it will lead to more complex and more mature perspectives of the divine.

 

 

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Just Another Ordinary Miracle Today

I was talking with someone on Facebook a couple of days ago and was reminded of this song. It’s by Sarah McLachlan.

Just Another Ordinary Miracle Today

It’s not that unusual
When everything is beautiful
It’s just another
Ordinary miracle today

The sky knows when it’s time to snow
Don’t need to teach a seed to grow
It’s just another
Ordinary miracle today

Life is like a gift, they say
Wrapped up for you everyday
Open up, and find a way
To give some of your own

Isn’t it remarkable?
Like everytime a raindrop falls
It’s just another
Ordinary miracle today

The birds in winter have their fling
And always make it home by spring
It’s just another
Ordinary miracle today

When you wake up everyday
Please don’t throw your dreams away
Hold them close to your heart
‘Cause we are all a part

Of the ordinary miracle

Do you want to see a miracle
It seems so exceptional
That things work out after all
It’s just another
Ordinary miracle today

The sun comes out and shines so bright
And disappears again at night
It’s just another
Ordinary miracle today

It’s just another
Ordinary miracle today.

 

What has felt the tiniest bit miraculous for you today? The fact the the sun rose? That your watch or phone works? That your kid is healthy?

Find a small miracle and enjoy it today.

 

 

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