Jack Kerouac Quote: No fear or shame in the dignity of yr experience, language & knowledge
BOS Political Correctness
When I mentioned in mid-paragraph how frustrated the Spanish signs in the subway made me, the silence was deafening. Awkward, in fact. “What?” I said. “Doesn’t it drive you crazy when every sign in New York City is in a foreign language, or the customer service recording answers in Spanish asking you to hold on?” “Or what about tech support in India that’s no help because you can’t understand a single word they say?”
Nothing. I could hear a pin drop.
This wasn’t happening. “Don’t tell me you think I sound bigoted? Tell me that’s not true.” I offered up to break the silence to, hopefully, get people talking about this. I wasn’t sure what I’d said wrong. Not really. Only suspected someone took issue with my Spanish comment.
Amy spoke up first. “Well, yes. What’s wrong with Spanish? Why not be a bi-lingual country like parts of Canada?” Well, she had a point, I thought. After all, being bilingual myself has been a great blessing and I’ve often felt sorry for people who can’t speak more than one language. I also remembered how Montreal had a distinct flavor, an ambience, that felt more interesting, colorful, and dare I say, multi-cultural than most American cities I’d been in. Not for one moment did Montreal feel like its cultural identity had melted and morphed into itself transforming into a mass compromised reflection of its now assimilated population. It had cultural and historical integrity, and vibrancy as well. It takes what’s best about cultural identity and honors it.
Then she added, “And it’s good to give people in India jobs. Have you seen the poverty there? We’re doing the right thing by helping them strengthen their society economically.”
“Perhaps,” I thought to myself.
This conversation took place a few years ago when we could talk about anything under the sun. If someone disagreed with something I said, I paid attention. I played the role of the facilitator, the peacemaker, if there was one. Seeing both sides is at the core of who I am. Listening was my passion. When words tumbled out with any charge to them - or if the response felt reactive in its tone, my emotional self snapped to attention. I became fully present instantly. I knew I’d missed something, or not anticipated a hot spot. There were nine of us. Nine women who engaged in an ongoing daily conversation on Facebook for years. Most of us knew one other group member in real life, but none knew more. There was little opportunity for triangulating or stacking the odds in a controversial or heated discussion. Most of us had lived long enough and were smart enough not to play the games women did when they were younger. We didn’t, for the most part, talk behind each other’s back with a negative spirit. We didn’t gossip. We were civil most of the time. Under very polarizing circumstances, we tried.
We lived in San Francisco townhouses, on rural Indiana farms, San Diego duplexes, Salt Lake CIty suburbs, rural Idaho ranches, and urban Idaho homes, New York City apartments and Connecticut estates. We were Mormons, Christians, atheists, New Agers, agnostics. Pastor’s wives, librarians, homemakers, farmers, government employees, saleswomen, entrepreneurs, artists, medical professionals, teachers, writers, addiction counselors, programmers, strategists, software developers, and public lands ranchers. We ranged in age from 25 to70.
We crossed the political divide on every end of the spectrum. Our diverse political ideologies fueled the dialogue, and our shared humanity nourished a new kind of friendship for over three years. Two were bisexual, and none of us was gay or a minority, which disappointed me. We came together organically, we were not strategic and didn’t hand-pick people. We allowed the energy to bring us together.
Two were part of an inter-racial family. One was married to an African American man, a pastor, and all four of their children married caucasians, repeating the inter-racial family with their own families. I was always on the lookout for a gay or minority friend to add to the mix, but she didn’t surface. The timing had to be right because the conversations were now so intimate, so telling. It could get so raw that someone would ask to be removed from the thread, and we’d start a new one when they were ready for re-entry.
My mind began drifting back to the apartment on Parrot Place in Brooklyn, Tante Tonny was helping me get my boots on, I think I was six. She bent over in her cotton, light blue flowered housedress and tight rollers secured themselves atop her head. I said, “Tante Tonny, kan du hjelpe meg med disse stovelene?” I didn’t live with her. I only came to her house on Thursday evenings - I lived for these evenings with her and Onkel Ivar. I could get away from my sister, and have real conversations, conversations that felt real and honest. She was seventy something and my best friend. “Now Linda,” she answered firmly but lovingly, “When in Rome, you must do as the Romans do.” She’d stumped me now. I was asking her for help with my rubber rain boots and she was talking about Italy. I knew Rome was in Italy, but I didn’t know what it had to do with my boots and getting myself to school this morning. I sure hadn’t heard anything about going to Rome. I gave her a look like I didn’t understand, and she added, “You live in America now, even if everyone around you is from Norway. It’s important to speak English here.” Now I understood. I’d just started first grade, and my English was spotty. They were teaching me in school along with the other immigrant kids in my class. I liked learning it.
I felt safe with her. She was my ground. As in electricity. When I was with her, I knew who I was better. Even at six. If she didn’t agree with me, I knew why. If something was bad or right for me, she told me. Mostly though, she was always fully present when we were together. She was all there. Mom wasn’t like that at all. She was so worried about what kind of impression I’d make. When I walked out the door to go to school each morning, one of my parents would say, “Linda, remember that you represent Norway!”
What a responsibility. I took this assignment with utmost seriousness. I became extremely concerned about the impressions I made. For God’s sake, everyone I knew was Norwegian. What if I screwed it up for the whole country. What a disaster, and I’d disgrace my family.
But not Tante Tonny. She never said that. She said ‘When in Rome…,” but I quickly figured out it meant this place we lived was important, and it deserved respect and honor. Becoming citizens of this great country was a privilege and speaking their language was part of the agreement to be here. It’s what we signed on for when we chose to live on American soil. It made total sense to me. Then I looked up at Tante Tonny and said questioningly, “BOOOOTS?”
Every man I’ve been in a long term or married relationship with has unexpectedly and randomly teased me about how I pronounce the word, boots. I had no idea why it was weird, or that I said it differently at first. One day, out of the blue, it occurred to me. It was my first English word! Of course, it made complete sense. It must have required real concentration to say it correctly and I probably didn’t want to make Norway look bad. Boooots. That’s how I say till this day.
When I left the east coast in 1989, signs in Spanish were seen occasionally but they were random. Media buyers probably placed them only on subway lines that went through Spanish speaking neighborhoods. The conservative women in the group chimed right in, in full agreement with my opinion about Spanish signage. They also thought it disrespectful that immigrants don’t honor the language by learning it. Amy’s words rang in my head, however. I felt I was missing something. There was something I couldn’t see, but what?
Somehow, in my experience of reading only Spanish speaking signs, I’d introduced my personal history into the decision making process when forming my opinion about them. My upbringing and subsequent values said those who didn’t learn the language didn’t respect America, or me. They were taking advantage of our kindness, and rude. But in thinking about what Amy said, I began to see it differently. She lived in an urban area where Latinos were prevalent. She loved these neighbors and co-workers, and had come to value their culture and traditions. She also valued what their culture brought to ours. I saw her point. “Why exclude them?” seemed like the right way to see it all of a sudden.
On the other hand, the immigrants weren’t learning the language. Why not? It’s said their culture is just that way. The women, in particular, are very attached to their native language as part of their homelife. This made sense because, after all, we’d spoken Norwegian our entire lives at home. It had eventually become a new language…half english and half norwegian. But this would surely happen in Latino homes as well. Perhaps it was simply part of the assimilation process. The children of these people would speak English, and Spanish, because they spoke it at home. This couldn’t be a bad thing.
Next, it occurred to me that these people didn’t make the recordings for tech support, or buy the advertising space on the subway. Companies did. Even though my conservative friends were strongly opposed to the signs, they were a direct result of a free market economy, which they waved the flag high for.
This conversation had perfectly blended the vision, values, and unintended consequences of all of us under one silly topic. To this day, it strikes me with wonder that a deeply held value from my childhood, which I saw as respectful and politically correct had, while I was gone out west, become the cruel perception. A sense of nationalist pride had been set aside, and replaced with immigration rights. Wasn’t this out of balance? Amy reaction to my comment made me feel like she saw me as an extreme conservative. I was shocked. I never come across like one of them.
I think she was shocked it had come from my mouth too.
I’d missed the last twenty years in NY city, and things had changed in all urban centers. This had slowly evolved as attached to the liberal view. I was genuinely confused. The language issue seemed a world apart from the immigration issue. I was all for immigration and immigrants rights. We’d recently swayed far to the right, and my son’s friends who were barely adults, and born, raised, and schooled here were being sent off to a strange country where they didn’t know a soul, with no resources. This was a much more severe crime than the alleged crime of being born to illegal immigrants, or brought to America by adults who had control over you. Sheesh, it wasn’t their fault.
Learning the language still seems to be the appropriate choice to become a citizen. I’d certainly feel a responsibility to learn French if I moved to France - I’d want to. But should it be mandatory? Perhaps not. It is their choice in a country whose branded identity is freedom. If corporations are part of a free market economy and their market is Latino, well - they have to meet them where they are, right? If they want to turn a profit that is. This is letting the chips fall where they may. The unintended consequences of these actions will reveal themselves as we move forward in time.
This was a case of me thinking the bad guys were good guys, and the good guys were bad guys. Our perspectives are skewed by our values and history and culture. But it doesn’t mean we’re right in either case.
We’re only right by our own admission and our own standards. The idea of right and wrong, outside of a fundamental recognition of good and evil, are subjective as it relates to most subject matter.
This is true in religion too.
AA and GOD and Doctrine
THERE IS RELIGION AND THERE IS…
Sam and Idaho Wolves.
I’d never seen the range like this. I felt like I was in a Mad Max movie alone. We stepped through the sagebrush one foot at a time, only hearing the snap of the dry sage under his feet.The sage’s unmistakeable smell was released as the mortar and pestle action of Jimmie Bill’s hooves hit the ground. I loved this feeling in the fall. The mountains were desolate. Only a few hunters were left who hadn’t yet filled their elk tags, and the cows had headed for lower ground. Salty, Tonka, and Elvis followed close behind taking turns at being chief cow dog for the journey. Jimmie Bill seemed relaxed today, not spooked like she’d been last time we took this ride alone. We were headed out towards Big Mountain Bluff where the light would be perfect in an hour. I wanted to get a shot of it with the eastern sun hitting it from a new angle.
The two year drought had depleted the land of its life. It almost felt dead. We rode for three hours. Not once did I spot an insect, frog, or anything that indicated there was life. I’d never seen the land this thirsty. It was eerie.
Jimmie Bill was a godsend to me. His sure-footedness and calm disposition was like being carried by an angel on days like today. We reached the foot of Big Bluff and the canyon dropped immediately below me. My heart gasped as my stomach did a flip at the beauty before me.
I couldn’t wait to get the camera out and stretch my legs for a bit.
I stood there stretching and moving about eyeing the right angle for the shot I wanted. The dogs got still. Motionless still. It scared me. I’d never seen them stop dead in their tracks like this - especially with no bull around to stare down. Then it started.
It came from behind me. The sound moved around my body as if it was composed of matter. It was like a cloak that spoke. First one, then another. For a minute I thought it was a sound that could come from heaven because it was so outer-worldly. But then their harmony began.
It was both beautiful and frightening at the same time. They harmonized as one by one, as if in slow motion, the hairs began standing up on the back of my neck. Like dominoes. The chills that ran throughout my body reminded me of the waves in a lava bottle. I didn’t dare turn around. There was no real way to measure how far away they were, and if they were close I didn’t want to know. I slowly moved towards Jimmie Bill, who also stood motionless. When he was within arms reach, I grabbed the saddle horn firmly and practically glided up him until I could lift my left leg over the saddle. I wanted out of there.
I gave him a gentle squeeze with my calves, making sure to keep the spurs far from his flank. He leapt forward. He was clearly scared too. I pulled back on the reins, sat deep in my seat and clicked. He began walking slowly. The dogs followed behind, yipping and yapping, but never making a sound above a certain octave. There was a language I couldn’t hear between them as they walked along beside us.
The wolves continued to howl as the sound grew closer. At one point, the howling turned into a hollering like a touchdown had just been scored. I wondered if there was a ritual when the killed something, or one of them had gotten a little. Didn’t know. All I knew then was I’d give anything for a cell signal or a gun that could protect me and the dogs if I needed to. Wolves will rarely attack a human in the wild, but dogs are free game. Knowing human consumption wasn’t their norm didn’t make me feel any better right then - mostly because the land told me all day how little it had to give. This would mean the wolves didn’t have much to eat either. Middle aged flesh was sure better than nothing. Especially with the marbling I could offer them.
Night was falling now and Jimmie Bill was threatening to trot. He wanted back to the trailer, and the dogs had started chasing each other more, romping in the sagebrush ahead. Their fear appeared to have lessened. I took a long and deep breath in and exhaled.
The howling lessened and hadn't inched any nearer to my ear. The hairs on the back of my neck were beginning to soften and lay back down. It wasn’t long before the trailer’s roof glistened in the setting sun up ahead, and I thanked God for the wonder and awe of this day, no matter how scary it had been.
That’s the thing about creation. Even it’s terror is astounding. I hadn’t been threatened in any real life way, but the knowing that I could be and the stark awareness of how vulnerable I was alone in the wilderness against a pack of wolves was akin to a spiritual awakening in ways that are hard to describe. It’s the contrast between beauty and violence that stunned me. My imagery of the wolves capacity to tear away at our flesh was vivid and potentially real; juxtaposed against a sound so eerily beautiful it made the hair literally stand up on the back of my neck while I listened, mesmerized by it’s glorious and ethereal harmony. Their voices blended into one at times, traveling through the thin mountain air until it entered the face of Big Bluff and the mountain sent their echoes bouncing through the valley high and low, as if alive.
It wasn’t long ago I’d tracked the valley below for miles to find the 30 or so dead calves that one lone wolf had annihilated in a joy kill. The fresh kill spots spread across the sagebrush marking the last place their mother had felt its mouth against her skin. The ground around these dead calves was so disturbed, it looked like there’s been a war. And there had been. The most disturbed ground was where the mother cow had likely tried to fight off the hungry wolf to no avail. Looking at the soil and the bloody kill spot near the snacked upon, ravaged newborn was proof that good and evil, light and dark live within all of us in a shared space.
This wasn’t the first wolf I’d have a close brush with.
There’d been another one summer long ago.
SUMMER OF SAM
Meeting all the criteria but one was a relief, even if no guarantee. My blonde hair meant I was probably not in danger if he kept to the same pattern. Betty had shoulder length brown hair though. We agreed not to stay out too late since he’d struck the weekend before. The police warned this might be an indicator that his behavior was about to change. But what did we know. We knew nothing.
Four women had been killed in the last __ months by an unidentified serial killer in our neighborhood. The women had been in some of the same bars we frequented on a normal weekend night. He’d killed them near the closest freeway exit to my house, even if that wasn’t as close as it could be, thank God. All girls our age were on alert, and frightened. Each time he hit, we became more frantic, yet didn’t want to stop living because of a crazy killer. New Yorkers are another breed. The more threatened they are, the braver they are. I’m convinced of it. It’s not that they don’t think it can happen to them. They know it can. It’s that they know if they don’t stand up in its face, it will eat them up first. It’s instinctual. An animal instinct in the urban wilderness. The fascinating part of it is it’s collective.
Over the years i’ve wondered about this behavior and how it gets instilled in us. When I moved out west to a new environment, it disappeared, and was replaced with different instincts that protected me. It drained out of me when my feet touched soil and sagebrush. Perhaps concrete and steel’s hardness reflected it’s strength into us, but I don’t think so. I think city people don’t really feel alone. Not in situations that threaten their freedom. They probably feel more alone than most people in a crowd, or at a noisy restaurant. But if they’re attacked or threatened, the herd mentality takes over and the strength, courage, and fortitude seems collectively harnessed, transforming communities. It’s magical. Powerful too.
Looking back, I stand amazed that we still went out at night. Or that we were allowed to. There must be a denial filter that protects us, and our parents, in times like this. When my son’s father abandoned us during pregnancy, I was filled with a new calm and serenity after a few days of being in shock. One day, my soul clicked into gear, and this baby and I were a team, and I knew we’d be fine. I’ve had a similar feeling most of my life since as I step in to meet each new challenge. A reassurance filled me from the inside out that knew we’d see our way through anything together. I knew all was well with my soul and my baby’s soul. Although my faith wasn’t particularly religious at the time, I sensed God was near. This steadied me - and surely moved my feet, from time to time, when I couldn’t even crawl forward another inch. I’ve had this sense of calm ever since. Free floating anxiety that plagued me in my twenties lifted for good, and what felt like substance within calmed me, lifting my heart and filling it with hope and vision for whatever lay ahead. I’m grateful I didn’t see what lay ahead - I might not have believed it was good.
That’s what’s wrong with our mind. We don’t know what we need. We think we do. We make our lists, and draw our pictures of the perfect life, the perfect man, the perfect house - and end up with something different. Or exactly what we want. Some of us will be hellbent on creating our exact vision because, for some reason, we think we know what’s best for us. It takes some of us so much longer to learn.
Idaho Changed Me/Okie
Idaho changed me. Every picture of how life would be was trampled and destroyed in Idaho.
The empty generic beer cans tumbling out of the truck were my first hint. The deep fried diet was second.
ANNIE KARSH and WINDHORSE
(TEMPORARILY SETTING DOCTRINE ASIDE)
FOR MY OWN WORDS
As life moved ahead, the deep connection I’d had with Christianity remained part of me on one level, yet waned on another. Life’s distractions, responsibilities, goals, and experiences tugged at me harder and louder than the tedious and limiting life of a Christian in a traditional church. I no longer resonated with the limited language they used, or the list of rules for living that seemed to be growing with each visit to church. If I didn’t hear it there, I heard it in the media. Studies were cognitive and felt contrived. Nothing felt authentic or honest, but I wanted it to.
I’d try a new church from time to time, hoping to draw back to me that connection that joined me to my past Christian experience. But I came up empty.
Almost like clockwork throughout the years, the Bible would whisper to me. The memories of being filled with something I couldn’t explain, but that I knew was good, returned to me. This unexplainable thing would immerse me in itself and I knew it was of God. I’d come to call it the Holy Spirit since the day in the Harlem revival tent, even though it changed from time to time, as I grew older and experienced more of life. The more time passed, the more I longed for it but felt completely out of sync with the way church people were explaining or teaching scripture. It was just words with no life. I didn’t want words. I hungered for life.
Nothing on earth was clearer to me than the most sincere desire to follow God. But the path others took in following God wasn’t the one I was supposed to be on, even though I always wanted to honor them on theirs. I knew we were talking about the same God. It was the same Jesus and Spirit too. I got all that. But they didn’t always get that. Being a Christian was all wrapped up in their idea of what a Christian was and did, not how we experienced God, how we heard God, how we lived God.
Their version was packaged in Christian wrapping almost exclusively. It was on mission trips, in Bible studies, singing with the worship team, and at the Christian day school.
Mine was wild. It was drumming in caves high above Utah’s red rock canyonlands, and dancing to the beat of God’s heart in the drums at the fire below. God soared through me like a backdraft flame set free in these wild and open spaces I was led to.
The little Bible was usually packed snugly in the corner of my backpack, or in a sock somewhere in my bag. It was there to quench me if I wanted it, and lift me when I needed it. But I rarely did. If anything, I’d want to open it for the Spirit that sometimes brought the words alive from inside the page. There was a sacred mystery lying within the pages that waited to be activated at its own choosing. It never happened when my heart or mind weren’t right. The power was off when I showed up for the wrong reasons, or I was longing for God but I wanted a temporary fix or a selfishly indulgent high from the Spirit. The page never jumped to life then.
I’m so glad.
God’s the man.
And the woman.
I knew it wasn’t the often empty words I yearned for. It was the life inside them that spoke to me. But explaining this to someone else was next to impossible. Few understood.
Scripture is sacred to those who have been touched by it. This is true for Christians, Muslims, Mormons, and Hindu. Anyone devoted to a holy book of scripture will find a personal and supernatural connection to the sacred within in if they’ve had a deep connection to it and through it. But when someone touches God, and in my case it’s through Christ, scripture provides the initial understanding and paints pictures needed for context, history, and depth.
As a follower of Christ, the stories show me the continuity, even if my connection or experience varies from my neighbor. His relationship with Christ may be deeply embedded in a black and white framework that fills his soul with joy. That’s good, but not my experience at all. It’s that kind of view that makes me squirm even though I hate to admit it. Mine is framed in the experience of feeling those who came before me, and listening closely to the red letters of Christ’s words to convey their meaning out of my own heart and understanding, hearing the experience of Paul to sense his soul and heart as a prophet, reading every scholar I can find for the sheer joy of seeing the diverse multitude of meaning and wisdom that people with different world views and experiences glean from it all.
This is inspired. That any book can bring so much varied meaning to so many people over so many years is a sure proof that it is inspired and alive. For it to dance with the beat of the Canyonlands drums and sit in the hand of my 90 year old mother as she struggles to know where she is and who I am, is a miracle. The sacred is hidden in nooks and crannies of many spiritual objects that we place importance on, or have experienced the holy with. This is a timeless practice of the ancients and ours as well.
Following a deep spiritual path includes discipline, prayer, mystery, the holy, the supernatural, and the mundane. We bump up against ourselves all the time along the way when all we really want is to bump up against God. Sometimes it’s wise to just let the words in the book be words until God gives them to you supernaturally. Allowing the one you follow to enter in another door and ignite you that way can be a life-changing.
Thought and words can take us in the opposite direction if we place too much importance on them. Granted, we were given brains to think with, and it matters. We can’t process or retain anything without our thoughts. Yet the ability to release them from being all powerful is part of the spiritual journey in Christ.
This is also true for our shadow self, our false self, that lies in wait to sabotage us or block our path with logjams and detours when we stop paying attention. The only way to deal with our shadow is to acknowledge it, to give it center stage and set it free. Putting it in the light strips it of its power because it only has strength when it’s in the shadows ready to pounce.
My experience as a Christian was only alive when I remembered the breadth and depth of God within, around, beneath, above, throughout all of every living breathing thing which included me.
When I remind myself that I had a real and living spiritual experience that no one can ever be take away from me, or talk me out of it. It was also the experience of becoming more attached to the words than the spirit in church life, that led me away from church and into the world. Wherever I went, Jesus met me there.
As a child, I’d given Jesus authority to become my teacher. Even if it was a childish idea of God, it was real to me. He represented love and goodness. His spirit wanted my spirit to shine. He told me not to hide my light under a bushel. I’m not sure those are his words or the pastor’s but either way, it empowered me to be more. Until I became a woman and church said, I’d have to snuff that light out or hide it - but that’s a different chapter.
When I had a spiritual experience in my teens, my entire sense of self transformed in a myriad of ways. It still required the understanding of concepts, ideas, and thoughts to frame what happened within me, but I always knew I’d had a full heart opening that allowed me to touch and experience the reality of another dimension, for lack of a better word. A spiritual dimension wasn’t something I saw or touched though, it was something that was activated in my - my own experience - that received the capacity to be teachable on this new level.
In order to be teachable, the Christ spirit which takes up residence in humanity is acknowledged and surrendered to as a teacher, guide, savior, whatever words fit your experience. When we allow this dimension to be part of our living human reality, we are showing up for the unexpected.
Some think Christianity is a way of life, which it may be in some respects, but more than that, it is a way of being. This ‘beingness’ readies itself to have its life turned on its head, and led by the spirit. It remains open, as much as is humanly possible, to be used by God in ways that might be inconceivable to you now. If you think life will be more secure and stable because you will be living right, you are likely mistaken.
Logic and reason turn into interesting ideas for consideration, but the way is the way of the spirit and it doesn’t understand logic and reason. It does understand beingness however.
When you say yes, and… to the teacher, you are saying yes to the awareness and acknowledgements of the polarities of life. Living and dying is one and a full cycle. It is reflected back to us symbolically through the choices and life of Christ, but it is also expected that you die to self, that you become willing to give up at various times when called, what your false self holds on to as valuable in exchange for your true self and the full experience you are capable of expressing.
You will wake up one day and realize what you thought was white is black, and what you thought was black is white. Your relationships will suddenly appear inside out and backwards, not knowing how to sort them out with the help of your guide, master, teacher, savior. In time, the spirit of Christ and your relationship with God that is connected by the spirit will become so much a part of you that it will feel almost as if there’s a blending of you and the Christ in you. Your connection is in union, and you’ve begun to develop an authentic and comfortable being-ness together. Your awareness shifts from a sense of separation between your ego and your true self, to a practiced and conscious experiencing of living from a state of non-dualistic thought more often every day.
The secret is always in the surrender to Christ through your inner center, your heart. This is not a religious surrender. Nor is it a religious commitment. Things of the church and other institutions can come when you choose, when you are called to put yourself into community to grow yourself and others along the way.
But to walk on the path, you might find a door that fits your learning style, or perhaps, on some level you will know you are being called by God at this time. You’ll feel like your heart and soul are restless and it’s time to do something differently. Or you might feel a longing in your soul that can’t be satisfied, and this seems like the the path you’re being led/called to. Or you’ve hit the bottom of something you struggle with and you’re ready to surrender to something that’s bigger than you because you cannot do it alone anymore.
When we bump up against these spots on the road, some of us resist because we’re scared we’ll lose control, or afraid of what it will ask of us. Anything that touches the sacred mystery can scare our ego into trying to convince us it’s a bad idea. This is normal. But how can allowing yourself to be receptive to the spirit of love, to someone who knows what it is to live and die, know weakness and to stand in strength and conviction, to suffer and be whole, to have the power to heal and to lead.
But it’s only in this experience of full trust that we truly allow the supernatural to participate with us. It’s here that we come alive with the Trinity, the three in one. It’s not through a religious, word intensive set of rules or study, but through the heart’s opening and surrender to Christ Spirit and the willingness to move beyond your current reality into a transcendent one with God. This is not religion, this is spirituality.
God gets it. God gets that all these people who identify as Christians in the world today and wear pink together are still Christians. But God also gets that that’s not you.
God knows you prefer a drumming circle to a worship and praise group. A meditation practice to a prayer meeting. Silence to prophecy one week, and tongues to stillness the next. Burning sage and anointing oil to passing the peace. It’s all good, and your preferences are all good too.
Being-ness is a powerful walk in the God of the Most High. Touching even the outer edges of this reality and opening to the Spirit in surrender and trusting what lies beyond yourself is one of the most exciting adventures in a life.
The greatest awareness I entered into during these years was the willingness to stop thinking too much, and remembering my wholeness was within where my soul and God met. The obstacle to being able to live there all the time was my mind, my ego, my false self that would rather find fault, or division to keep me separate.
This doesn’t have to look like a holy, holy roller thing. Although it feels pretty awesome on the inside, but nobody would know it about me. Bottom line is it’s just a pretty awesome way of life, a new awareness that makes everything else feel trivial in some ways - but in good ways. The things that really matter to you , like your children or your passions, being there for others like your friends or family, being of service, etc….transform an average life into one of awe, one that, for some people, can take on whole new dimensions that make life feel like its popping, and in full living color in ways you’ve never known.
It also might be a quiet path. One that revels in unity and calm. Your surrender takes you to a place that is filled with peace and a knowing. This is another type of gift that God uses to live out your purpose. It will heal and comfort others, while bringing you a joy and inner peace you haven’t known.
None of us know what turn the path will take and when. The only thing we do know is it requires our willingness, our whole hearts participation to move into a spiritual surrender and trust that is open to all that is good, and who we can be.
We decide we’re willing to acknowledge the spirit of God be as much alive in us as we have the capacity to receive. We take a risk and jump off into a surrender to the Spirit, to the Christ spirit in us, and to allow the Holy Spirit to flow through us like the living water of Jesus Christ himself. This kind of authentic surrender, even if we have to continuously surrender to it over and over, day after day, is what will bring our spirit to life and lead us into an ever dynamic life in God.
It is a practice. Practice is something we do over and over again until we get it right. Knowing we never get it fully right, we make ourselves available to be a living participant in the journey.
MY PATH IN GOD PART TWO
We were getting married in a few months. It was exciting and everything about my life looked like it was supposed to look. We’d get that great apartment in Hoboken - like the one i’d lived in with Joyce the year before. It was the most beautiful place I knew in our price range. We picked out the SAAB, and now a baby was on the way. Life looked just like I’d planned.
Who could’ve guessed that five years later I’d be in the middle of the Idaho mountains driving an beat up old pick up and filled with a passion that could not be stilled to help people on the land find answers to the conflicts and logjams that kept them from being sustainable. Everything I’d included in the picture of my life as a professional, mother, and wife flew right out the window, and had been replaced by images that I’d never even conceived of, never mind, imagined.
There was something