Appreciating My Power

Life will give you whatever experience is most helpful for the evolution of your consciousness.
— Eckhart Tolle

I am a powerful creator. Unfortunately, I had forgotten that until my throat started hurting a couple of Fridays ago. I’d been dreading having to work until midnight at our Teen Summer Reading Kickoff Event. Sore throat–ticket out. Except there was no way I was going to actually bail on the event. I was the only one who would be there that night who had the magical power needed to open the media closet. I was going to be there, even if I had to be rolled in on a gurney.

The day after the event, I crashed. I was completely couldn’t-get-out-of-bed tired with a stuffy head and compulsive cough.

I’ve gotten into affirmative mind treatment over the past couple of years and have been really diving in the last couple of months. It’s the Science of Mind approach to prayer. I’ve been praying and praying–alone, with my cats, with friends over the phone. I love praying. I can feel the joy in my body when I pray. I can hear the power in my words.

So if I’m so good at praying, why was I lying there, sick as a dog? For one thing, God gives you what you pray for–and thoughts are prayers to God. I really didn’t want to feel this bad. Time to give up the belief that if I don’t get enough sleep, I don’t just get tired, I get sick. There has got to be a better way to get out of doing things I don’t want to do. It was time to use God’s power for good. If I was that kind of powerful–and I am–I had to get conscious about my thoughts. I started praying for perfect health. I prayed every day. I’d like to say there was a glimmer of improvement each day, but truthfully, I was not feeling discernibly better.

Affirmative prayer is about revealing the truth to ourselves–about God, about ourselves, knowing that we are perfect spiritual beings. Which does not mean that there is no illness; obviously, there is. But it does mean that illness does not have anything to do with the truth of who we are. None of us “deserve” to be sick. When we align our knowing with the truth, we experience it; when we align it with not-the-truth, we experience that.

Probably not many of us would dispute the notion that God is perfect, that illness is not part of God’s experience. It doesn’t make any sense to think that it is. If we are made by God, out of Itself, then it doesn’t make sense to believe that it is inevitable that we are going to get sick.

So here’s the gift of this illness. This crud has me focusing on revealing the truth of who I am–on demonstrating that truth. I was invited (some might say “forced”) to consciously proclaim the truth: that I am a perfect expression of God, that wellness is my natural state of being. Over and over and over. I really liked hearing it. And hearing it repeatedly, I started to get it. I am a perfect expression of God, no matter what.

If it’s taken me a couple of weeks to demonstrate that in my physical self . . . well, hey. It took me two to three to manifest the experience. I’m not sweating a couple of weeks to cancel it out. And just between you and me, there’d have been no denying what a spiritual freak I am if I went from sick as a dog to healed, whole, and healthy overnight. God’s got my back on keeping that little secret.

I Am Woman

During Science of Mind Principles class, Dr. Chris invited us to make enough room inside of ourselves to consider that the impossible dream just might be possible. He was talking about that dream that you can’t shake no matter how much you despair of ever realizing it.

I knew exactly what dream he was talking about. Simply put, my dream is to help heal the divisions between people that keep us separated from each other around race, religious belief, ethnicity, sexuality, gender, and gender expression. I also want to help heal the wounds we carry within that keep us isolated from others, that keep us from knowing the beautiful truth about ourselves.

So I gave it that little bit of breathing room Chris requested. I even shared it with a few of my friends. I actually opened to the possibility that it could indeed really happen–and I felt excited about it. Then I drifted back to the business of living my life, my dream still there breathing quietly, just not the center of my attention.

Our focus at CSL this year is on making change happen in “real life” through our spiritual practice. One of the women in our spiritual community was asked to give the talk at a Wednesday night Real Life service. Bruce Jenner had just done the interview on being transgendered with Diane Sawyer, and the CSL team wanted to start a conversation in our own community about what we could do to help make the world big enough to welcome people who are transgendered.

Madeline came and spoke about her journey to womanhood. The morning after she shared her story, I woke up filled with a new awareness (again) of the privilege the world affords me because I am a white woman whose body parts match up with the commonly held expectation for women. I was touched by Madeline’s story, by her openness, her deep presence, her hard-won self-acceptance. Her talk opened up a rich vein in me that I have been sifting through ever since.

One of the things that has surfaced is that I have realized that I, too, have struggled to embrace myself as a woman. I have not had to deal with having body parts that most people believe make you a man, but buried inside my struggle to accept myself as a lesbian, there has been this equal discomfort around embracing myself as a woman. I have stayed on the periphery, as if it would be presumptuous to include myself, as if being a lesbian disqualified me from participating in the larger tribe of women. When I really looked at it, I could see that I had been acting from a place of feeling that I needed to be granted permission (to whom do you even go to ask for that?) as if I were not already a woman.

And to claim my place within the circle without apology . . .?

Well, when I put it like that . . . (my whole face just smiled).

Ain’t I a woman?

Oh, yeah. Me and Madeline, too.

Prayer Control Freak

It has occurred to me over the last couple of weeks that two seemingly disparate phenomena in my life at the moment significantly inform each other.

In last week’s post, I talked about my tendency to take on the emotional care of other people–like I know what they need. So I’m working through that (once again) at the same time that I am immersed in a series of classes at CSL that have me looking at God and prayer. It strikes me that I’m just a jumbled mess around both of these things–in basically the same way.

I have participated in too many relationships as if I were God Itself–the wound savior; the source for people’s happiness. Sometimes I have taken on people’s pain because I could feel them wanting something that, quite possibly, they were not even aware of wanting, and sometimes I have taken it on because I wanted something from them. This was the only way I knew to be worthy of a connection.

So here I am grappling with all this stop-caretaking-people stuff at the same time that I am studying prayer. Damned if I haven’t fallen into the same trap with prayer. I’ve been going at it like I am responsible for making the thing that people desire to experience manifest for them, instead of just getting to the heart of it and holding my knowing on the truth that it is theirs already, just waiting for them to choose it.

I still haven’t gotten this all figured out: caretaking/loving in regards to people; knowing/willing in regards to prayer. But it occurs to me that one of the obvious lines in regards to people is listening. Just listening, no fixing. It is time to trust the people I am engaging with to find their way (or to find somebody else who is happy to oblige them by doing the caretaking they are after). Finally, there is trusting that my own value has nothing to do with how well I take care of other people’s needs, with how well I anticipate them so they don’t even have to ask. The truth is that all I could ever be is the band-aid that keeps people from really seeking out the healing that is available to them from Source.

So here’s the deal. I am going to get to the heart of both of these issues, and when I do, I am going to suck in the biggest breath of freedom you ever saw, and laugh and laugh and laugh.

Surrendering to the Pissoff Within

Don’t ask what the world needs–do what makes you come alive.
​​​​​​​​-Howard Thurman

I sometimes have to get really out of sorts before I realize I need to change something about the way I meet the world. A few weeks ago, I dropped into a pretty big funk before I realized how much I pattern my life around tending to what I perceive are the needs of others. I’ve run into this pattern repeatedly and I’ve done a lot of work to create a different one. Yet the old pattern snaps back into place like a stretched rubber band when it is let go.

Last week in our Science of Mind Principles class, I created a prayer to stop feeling responsible for other people’s emotional wounds, to stop responding to the pull I feel in my body when I sense someone wanting something of me that I don’t want to give. This is a messy process. I have to feel that people do not matter to me so that I can cut myself free from these patterns. I have to get all righteous about how I’m being invaded, how no one sees me (waa fucking waa) so that I can turn my focus to what I want. I have to get people off me psychically so I can breathe.

I pulled friends, colleagues and family into this movie even though they had no idea of the supporting roles they had been cast in. It didn’t matter if they fit their roles perfectly. It didn’t matter if they were speaking completely different lines than the ones I was feeding them. What mattered is that I surrendered to the chaos and anger swirling inside me; that I breathed through the shame, embarrassment and guilt that I felt; that I chose me; and that I made a change that needed making. For me.

Truth is I’m still walking through this, trying to sort it all out, figure out where the lines are between loving and care taking in any given situation. I’m determined to get free from this. Maybe someday I can do it more gracefully. I would love that. For now, I am grateful to my supporting actors. I hope you do not know who you are. After all, it ain’t about you.

Recognizing God

The Lord’s Prayer lost all meaning for me at an early age. Mindless repetition will do that for a gal. I eventually blew it off as not really having anything of value for me. Then Dr. Chris assigned us the task of rewriting it in the prayer class I took with him. Funny how this prayer fits so well in the spiritual tradition I have embraced as an adult.

We were also asked to formulate our current concept of God. As Chris stated it, “The most important decision for you to make in your spiritual life is to determine what kind of God you are praying to.” It will influence how you pray and what you pray for–and therefore the results you will receive. I’m not completely satisfied with what I have formulated so far, but I do know that I have a completely different concept than I did as a kid. And in truth, I’m thinking I’ve got a pretty good start on how I experience God right here in this prayer.

Lord’s Prayer
Sustainer of all life, source of all good, which resides within each of us, we recognize you with honor and love.
We express your essence, seek your guidance, love and serve as you, thereby manifesting heaven here in earth. As it is your nature to do, so it is ours, for there is no separation between us.
Provide us all that we need to sustain our life today.
Forgive the limitations we place upon ourselves as we forgive others who do the same.
Lead us constantly into what is right and most high for us and keep us focused on choosing our good.
You are our source and we depend on you alone. We do not make anything happen but hold ourselves open and receptive to the good that you supply as a matter of course.
And so it is done.