Friday, July 22, 2011

The Buffet Line of Spiritual Transformation

The other morning I had a dream, which on its surface, seemed somewhat silly.  I always write my dreams down and, when they seem confusing, often times they become crystal clear when written on paper. 

This is one of those dreams...

I was at my spiritual community, Agape, after service.  This Agape didn't look like the physical one in my "real" world ("real" being used loosely here!)  It had a practice of serving a huge buffet meal after service.  It also had practitioners available for prayer after the service, as it does now.  The practitioners gathered outside in the warm sun on wide concrete steps. I was a new practitioner and I made my way to the steps.

Shortly, a women with long blond hair and a "first timers" purple ribbon approached me for prayer.  She began to tell me of a "galactic" challenge she was experiencing. I immediately knew this was beyond my scope of experience and began looking around for a more "seasoned" practitioner for her. 

I saw Rev. Michael approaching and thought I would introduce them and surely he might help or find someone who could.  Of course he was gracious and ready to speak with her once I explained the situation. He looked about briefly, explaining it had been a long day for him - and about to get longer - and said he could really use a cup of coffee.  He handed me his empty cup and I sprang into action and headed to the buffet to get it for him.

Once at the buffet I saw an old friend; one who has drifted out of my life in the past few years.  She was juggling a stack of books in her arms while trying to fill a plate w/food. 

I ran over to her, shocked to see her there! "What are YOU doing here?" (semi-judgmentally) "I've BEEN here for the past year or so. I work with the youth groups." "Funny, I've never seen you." "It's a big place."

We continued to chat as I accompanied her through the line, briefly forgetting my mission to get the coffee.  At one point I pulled a piece of meat from the fried chicken breast on her plate.

Eventually we parted ways as the sun was setting. OOPS! Coffee!!! I ran back to the coffee urns only to find them empty. I instantly felt guilty for not taking care of this simple task sooner and wondered if I could sneak past where I'd left Rev. Michael and to my car to race to Starbucks to get the coffee.

Another part of me thought, "He's probably finished talking with the woman and already home!" - I wished that was the case and that he would forget who I was and what I had promised to do.

I snuck down between the cars directly across from the stairs where I'd left him.  As I stood to get in my car, he saw me.  Our eyes locked. I immediately felt a wave of shame and disappointment wash over me. Then I woke up.

As I said earlier, at first this dream made little sense.  As I wrote it down, a perfect picture of my life began to unfold.

I learned a while back that, when one dreams of a spiritual mentor or leader with whom they connect, it is really that person's Higher Self. Hence, Rev. Michael is me. Easy enough to grasp.

I am me. No brainer

The blond, first-timer - also me.

The coffee - simply a symbol for WAKING UP! (To my knowledge, the Rev doesn't even drink the stuff!)

The coffee cup - my thirst for knowledge; to fill up on it

The buffet line - Ah! This is the BEST part of the dream: The path to spiritual transformation!

The friend in line - Well, she was one specific friend from my past, but in Truth, she is many.  And my shock at seeing her in line or, on a spiritual path? Well, that was my judgement of everyone that I have judged in my mind that do not believe how I believe or live how I live. (HUGE!!!)

So, to string the symbols together, I saw that I came to ask myself a question of "galactic" proportions, only to believe I did not have the answer.  I looked to my Higher Self instead (which, since all is ONE, is God- in/as and through me.)

My wish to WAKE UP to my Truth was represented by an obvious cup of coffee, which, for a time, I conveniently forgot about.  Instead, I ran into someone who, despite my personal judgement, was also on the Spiritual Path.  She was just on a different part of the path! (or, as my friend with whom I dissected this dream put it: "I was in line for the rice and she was over in the meat section!)

When I grabbed a bite of the chicken, it was me, momentarily forgetting who (and whose I am) - I gave up meat a while ago.

REmembering the coffee as the sun set was me, now, during these past couple of years and later in my life, waking up - and feeling shame, guilt & disappointment for waiting so long.

And finally, creeping away to get the coffee, and meeting my Higher Self in the form of Rev. Michael, in his familiar "locking eyes" way, feeling the guilt and shame rush over me.

This dream really has helped heal a part within me that judges myself too harshly and even more importantly, has seen others as separate from me.  My thought til now has always been along the lines of "Why doesn't he/she get it?"

In fact, we ALL get it.  There's no way to NOT get it.  We just get it at different times and places along the path.  And, like it or not, believe it or not, we are ALL on the path!  The buffet line is long and full of the most delicious morsels we could ever imagine, manifest - or dream!  Grab a plate and let's eat!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

To All the Men I've Loved

Along the road of spiritual transformation, there is much to learn.  One of the foundations is that all love begins with self-love.  When I hear again, with new ears, scriptures like "Love thy neighbor as thyself" I am invited to ask myself, "Just HOW much DO I love myself?"  If my love for my "neighbor" is the reflection, well, let's just say there is much work to be done here!

I know I am holding onto some stuff that no longer serves me, namely extra weight.  It has done an excellent job of keeping me protected while I journey on, making sure I don't stretch myself too far.  Keeping me out of the cute clothes in my closet that make me feel beautiful when I wear them.  Keeping me from enjoying activities that would bring new men into my life - and maybe a loving relationship! It has provided the perfect set of excuses for taking up residence as well: menopause + dissolution of my business partnership & associated stress + spiritual awakening = all combined, it made perfect sense to me. 

Yes, this was self-love in one form.  It allowed me the time and space for some much-needed reconnection with Spirit and I am eternally grateful for its service.  Now it is time to release it.

So I roll up my spiritual sleeves and get to work.  Along the way, Spirit has REconnected me with some pretty (& I say "pretty" because they are - inside and out) amazing teachers.  Each one of them has added a piece of my puzzle and once I was able to arrange the pieces in the right order, a perfect picture appeared.

I started by using my financial practitioner, J.'s, tool for examining resistance by simply asking "Where is the resistance?" in meditation.  Now, this got me into a bit of a health pickle last time I asked this question so I am careful now to ask for some "ease and grace" to accompany the answer!

H.  Oh! H!  High school bestie who shares the love of breaking down words with me: MIS-take, RE-member, DE-serve.  That last one's a doozy!  We use it so often as meaning something to which we feel we are entitled.  In reality, it is saying the same as UN-served.  We agree the better choice is DESIRE and to this day, I still sometimes catch me DEserving myself!

Then there's A.  We met once in this lifetime about a year ago & have stayed in touch through Facebook, sharing similar journeys in life, learning and growing from one another. She added the piece of the puzzle called "worthiness" and invited me to explore it from a new vantage point: past relationships.  This is where the work is for me now.

It's amazing to me how, no matter how much forgiveness, releasing and other work one does in a particular area of her life, there always seems to be more to bubble up, the deeper the practice goes.  This is most true for me in the area of relationship.  A. invited me to forgive the men from my past.  Forgive myself for my part in those relationships.  I checked her invitations off one by one, certain I'd done that step already. 

Then I meditated.

I was immediately taken back to 2 important relationships in my life.  Both in which I fell long and hard for the guy. And, both in which I have done extensive forgiveness work.

First was my First.  Literally.  First love. Childhood sweetheart for years but life and families didn't quite provide the needed guidance for us to know what to do in that space and time.  In the end, he married someone else and my heart cracked open in agony.  I didn't DESERVE to be treated this way! WHY wasn't I good enough to marry?  Why didn't he pick ME?  I spent YEARS thinking that someday we might actually end up together, sabotaging some possibly great relationships with that thinking, holding onto that thread of hope.

Then, there was a more recent one, several years back now. He was BEAUTIFUL in every way!  Smart, successful, drove a nice car, LISTENED to me! Funny!  Check, check and CHECK! Everything this girl could want in a guy.  And, he seemed to like me too!  I was so LUCKY!

I did everything possible to twist myself into what I thought he wanted me to be because I never felt like I completely deserved someone so perfect.  Oh, I guess he had flaws, (but not like MINE!) and I chose to see them as cute personality quirks instead.  Don't we all?

We had an incredible 10 mos. together by the time my birthday rolled around.  After a romantic dinner by the sea he presented my with a diamond necklace - a beautiful 3-stoned "journey" pendant (as in past, present, future).  For the first time in those 10 months, I relaxed into "He REALLY likes me!"

2 weeks later he dumped me, saying he loved me but wasn't in love with me. WTH?  I was crushed like I'd never been before.  Something in me told me, "Yep, you're not good enough for a guy like that.  Told ya! You don't DESERVE him."

Several weeks later we decided to become friends with benefits (his idea, not mine - but I did agree), or as I now call it, "A complete absence of self-love and self-worth on my part." We did everything but have a lawyer write up the agreement for us.  EVERYTHING was stipulated, from notifying each other if we were going out on a date to how we would indicate we wanted to see the other person.  As I write this I am appalled at how little I loved myself during those days!

That relationship went on for 2-1/2 more years, with him "breaking" the agreement twice with the same woman.  First time was financially disastrous for me -I read intimate text msgs between them on his borrowed phone while driving and crashed my car. Each time I forgave the indiscretion.

It wasn't until over a year after his last transgression, over dinner, when I told him I had googled this woman - back at the time of these events - that he completely went off the rails, screaming at me, promising to have her prosecute me (?!) if I ever tried to contact her, and thereby ending our "Agreement" once and for all, forever.

I tell this story, not to make him the bad guy. Not at all.  All along he maintained his lack of "being" in love with me. Trust me, I did check occasionally.  Didn't change my behavior, but I DID check! My lack of self-worth and self-love kept me sticking around with thoughts like "How will I ever find someone this perfect for me again?" and on a deeper level, "He doesn't love you because you're not good enough for him.  Maybe if you were thinner, more financially secure, more ______whatever, he would love you.  You don't DESERVE him."

After these two relationships replayed themselves at warp speed during my meditation, I saw them from a completely new perspective.  I didn't DESERVE them.

That's right. I didn't, then or now or ever, deserve to be in a relationship with, or holding a torch for, someone who doesn't share the same level of commitment and DESIRE as I do.

All of this deep soul searching, and digging up of memories, has allowed me to identify my resistance to my own self love & worthiness, which will allow me to release the "stuff" that no longer serves me, and to begin to love ME in the right ways. It's an ongoing process, but I have the tools to do the work. Only then can I begin to love my "neighbor" as myself, in the way God intended; healthy, whole and full-out!

So, to ALL the men I've loved before, I lovingly say:

You never knew how lucky you were to have someone like me love you.  As for me, I didn't deserve you.

PB&J til next time,

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Is there really any "bad"?

Last night I had a deep, soulful conversation with one of my soul-mates, Thalia, on the topic of good vs bad in the world.

I explained my belief that any perceived "bad" can also be seen as an opportunity for good to come forth. One example I used was that of Adam Walsh and his father, John Walsh, who moved by the abduction and murder of his child, started "America's Most Wanted".  Another could be the life of Betty Ford, whose funeral procession I had the timing to find myself behind this morning.  HOW many people have been and will be helped because of her personal battle with alcohol? Those numbers may never be known.

When good emerges from "bad" the question must then be asked: "Is there really any bad?"

Then, this morning, this showed up in my awareness:

"There us a story about a golden statue of a Buddha. An army was about to take over the town where monks had the Buddha so they disguised it, covering it with mud and mortar. The ruse worked, and many years later, when all the monks who knew the secret had passed on, a young monk brushed by the statue and some of the mortar fell off. He continued until all of the mud and mortar rubbed off. Lo and behold, there stood a golden statue!

The lesson for us us that no matter what life shows us, there is the possibility of gold hidden in the experience if we are willing to seek it out."

I believe that there is ALWAYS good to be found in everything. EVERYTHING. Not all will see it, but it is there.

From an expanded consciousness we all have the ability to see the gold. But not all are willing to wipe away the mud and the mortar to see it.

What do YOU see?

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Be Mindful of Your Pebbles

Just as a pebble dropped into a still pond creates ripples moving out to the banks beyond, much larger than the tiny pebble itself, so do we ripple out into the world with our words, thoughts and actions.

Each ripple of fear, paranoia, lack, limitation and hate expands with every eye that reads, every hear that hears and every heart that feels.

And so it goes with love, forgiveness and truth.  A little love ripples int greater love.  A little forgiveness heals its way into more forgiveness.  A small truth becomes Truth.

Be ever mindful of the pebbles you toss into that still pond of consciousness. 
The world is riding your wave.