Thursday, September 13, 2012

Thoughts on Release


Something happened to me this week which has released a lot of pent-up stress within my body. I find myself happier, lighter, clearer-minded and generally, over all, more blissful.

Now, before y’all go jumpin’ in the gutter, it’s not THAT. It is something quite different. Something most would consider horrendous, shameful, and would qualify as an out-and-out failure. I assure you, I do not feel like a failure. For the first time in 3-1/2 years, I feel FREE!

What was this magical happening in my life that affords me the aforementioned bliss?

My car was repossessed.

My car, which I loved dearly; my car that I, for 3-1/2 years of the 4 that I “owned” it, struggled monthly to cover payments and upkeep; my car that I mentally released every time I was more than one month late – I didn’t own it; it owned ME.
Before you go judging, or feeling sorry for me, let me give you some back story. Perhaps then you too will see this as a blessing, not a curse.
4 years ago I purchased this beautiful, fast, brand-spanking new car, by far the nicest car I’d ever owned. At the time I was in business with a partner and our car expenses were covered by the business. Six months later, we (he) decided to split. Had I known this was going to happen, I most surely would not have made this purchase.  The expense of this car rivaled my rent and, because I worked from home, it sat much of the time in the garage. WAYYYY out of balance with its purpose in my life! Hind sight is awesome, right?
From then on I struggled.  The payment was high and the MPG not so great.  I also had begun to rebuild a business that I wasn’t completely certain I still wanted. But, it paid the bills. It was “good enough” for the time being.
I knew how to work the system with Nissan Motor Acceptance. Don’t answer the calls from the 800 number the first month because that was just a call center in India and they just wanted to bug me, reading from the script. No, wait until the call came from the 214 area code in Texas, and even then, wait until a message is left.  THAT call would be from the person who could really take the info, agree to the payment terms I was able to make, and more importantly, who could stop the repo man from showing up at an inopportune moment. This important call would come somewhere between the 2-2-1/2 month mark. 
Each time I eventually made that call, I was met with kindness and graciousness as we went through the list of “confirming-my-identity” questions.  One, of course, confirmed my address. I have nothing but positive things to say about the staff with whom I dealt over the years.  They were impeccable with their graciousness, understanding and respect.
And, I would be remiss if I did not mention the NUMEROUS friends – and strangers – who have helped me keep this car along the way. Some have drifted out of my life but I will always know that they helped me in ways that move far beyond keeping the car.  I doubt most will ever realize the measure of those ways, but in my heart, there is a deep and profound love always for each and every one of them.
It is also important to note that, just as I was purchasing this car, I began to take my spiritual life seriously.  Folks in my circles today refer to this as an Awakening.  My life began changing in profound ways – from the inside out.  Most around me at that time could not see the changes taking place; they could only seem to feel a distancing happening – as if we had less and less in common.  For me, I was experiencing a world I’d never known before. I liked it. I liked it A LOT!
This new world was not easy and much of the time, it was not pretty. One of my teachers likes to remind that “transformation is messy” and by GOD! I am a testament to that! Still, I do believe that what is left behind from all the mess is a beauty and grace like non other. If I must trek through the mud of my old life to get there, then trek I shall!
The first time I almost lost my car to the big, black tow truck, I was in a prosperity class (of all things!) One of my classmates, who did not know the level of my anxiety at being unable to pay my rent AND 3 months’ car payments at the time, shared his story with me. He said, and I am paraphrasing here, “Everything that is not in alignment with who I am now – HAD TO GO!  The possessions, the friends, the lifestyle – if it wasn’t in vibrational harmony, it will fall away.”
At that moment, I REFUSED to believe that God’s “plan” for my life included me and my 2 cats panhandling on a freeway offramp!
Gratefully, the waters soon parted and an angel showed up with a gift that helped me keep my car.  I offered the car in service to God repeatedly, praying, “If keeping this car is part of the plan, let me use it in service in whatever ways possible.”
Within hours I came across a Facebook friend’s post, asking for a ride to our Spiritual Center.  She lived out in the boonies and had a fairly large circle of “in-person” friends on Facebook.  As I read the post I said, “Someone else will help her.”  That still, small voice inside had a different take on things. It said, quietly,
Go get her.”
I waited. She posted her plea again.
“Surely someone else will help her.”
Again, the still, small voice replied,
“Go Get Her.”
The third time she posted her request:
“WHY isn’t one of her friends responding to her plea?”
With that, I sent her a message and the rest became history. She was the first answer to my prayer, and I, hers.  We became sweet friends and I am blessed to have learned so much about myself and love through that friendship.  Gifts received!
Similar opportunities to be blessed and in service continued, right alongside the struggles to pay for the car.  At another critical moment, I moved on another direction – straight from the still, small voice’s mouth. It told me to ask my Facebook friends for help – by asking each one to donate $5.00 to me.  I was flooded with paypal deposits and checks in the mail which more than covered keeping the car and paying the rent….AGAIN.
That experience also birthed a philanthropic venture for me, Microgivingworks.  Between the outpouring of support and the giving back of this venture, I received more gifts than there is paper on which to list them.
The last of the many opportunities for service came with my new roommate.  She was temporarily car-less and I gladly offered her mine to use.  Working from home and now living across the street from my Spiritual Center, I had random, little need for the car and that was easily worked around her schedule.
This worked great for both of us but eventually she wanted her own set of wheels so I took her to my car dealer and within hours, she no longer needed my car.
At the same time, my business dried up and I decided to trust that inner voice again when it led me to close the business – without a parachute or a plan.  It said,
“Wait. I have something better in mind for you.”
Man! Can I tell you how hard it was to take THAT advice?! That brought me to an entirely new level of faith that I am still leaning into and understanding.
With my car no longer needed in service to either myself or my roommate, I once again found myself in the “3-month” zone.  I made the call, gave them my new address, arranged the payments and then I did – or didn’t do – something I am still wrapping my head around.
I arranged to make one month’s payment  immediately – had the cash in hand – via Western Union. The balance would be made upon receipt of my final check from my final client in a week or so.  (That would bring me current – for now – but would also leave me with little left for the rest of my expenses such as rent and food.)  I went to the Western Union location listed that was closest to home and it was no longer there. Then, I went to one closest to a part time job I had.  At this one, the cashier was on a break and the store clerk that tried to help me didn’t speak English. I left without making the payment saying, “This payment is far too important to screw up. I’ll go somewhere else.”  AH! Irony!!!
But I never DID go to another place. Instead, I put the cash back in my nightstand drawer where it sits today.  I thought about it, saying, “I should probably call them or try and find another Western Union location”, but I did nothing.
Monday morning I was awakened by the sound of a car alarm going off. I knew it was mine. Soon after, I heard the chugging of a motor pulling out of our parking garage below my bedroom window.  There, attached to a big, black tow truck was my car. My heart raced and my body shook as I went to my roommate’s room to tell her what had happened.
And then, for what felt like the first time in ages, I took a deep, long breath. The mornings of waking with a jolt of anxiety, of running to the window to look for a tow truck, of not finding my car where I had left it, only to realize I had parked it in another row at the grocery store, those moments are gone.
I had, rather painfully, orchestrated the whole thing; all 3-1/2 years of it.  There were ways – which had worked in the past – which I could have put into action in order to keep my car. But, that friend’s voice kept repeating in my head. “Everything that is not in alignment with who I am now – HAD TO GO.”  It was finally the time: now.  It was gone, and I felt a tsunami of relief wash over me.
In a flash I remembered what I have known for a long time; that car is not in alignment with who I am.  And, in laymen’s terms, it was completely out of whack with my income and balance sheet!  That car cost as much a month as my rent! Completely unsustainable, no matter HOW much goodness and financial assistance I received.
It was also the last remnant of a life I am leaving behind.  Each time I thought of how to pay for it, there was a little piece of me that said, “It’s too much car for me” or “I never would have bought this had I known the business was going to split.” That last one led me to thoughts about my ex business partner and my un-forgiveness around him and that experience that still surfaced from time to time.  Granted, I could have done some prayer or energy work around this in order to release those feelings however, for me, that would be like treating the symptom, not the disease. I was exhausted, repeating that pattern over and over. It was time to let it go.
While I do not believe that one random, negative thought can change the course of my life, I do believe that continued energy placed in the direction of one thought or idea WILL eventually manifest.  I have just demonstrated this.
Thoughts, people, Become things!

So, where does all this leave me now?  I honestly have no idea! I do, however, know some things:
  • I know that my bicycle and I are going to get to know one another better and that some of the benefits of that renewed relationship are going to be seen in my dress size. 
  • I know that my financial burden is lightened in the very week that I begin my further education into becoming a licensed, spiritual practitioner. This is the most important thing for me right now and the lowering of my overhead by HALF is making a huge difference already in my ability to be fully present for my studies.
  •  I know that now I can take my cat to the vet for needed treatment; treatment that would have been delayed had I chose to make that car payment.
  • I know about ways to tool around the city, when needed, thanks to a little company called “Relay Rides” (as I said, I’ve been here before and as such, I’ve explored other options!)

And, most importantly, I know that I know that I know that ALL is WELL. I read something this morning about faith. “The faith OF God is very different from a faith IN God.   The faith of God IS God, and somewhere along the line of our spiritual evolution, this transition will gradually take place, where we shall cease having faith IN and shall have faith OF. Always in such degree as this happens, a demonstration takes place.”
I know there is a success story being written here.  I don’t know what it looks like but I am willing to be open to it in profound new ways. I look forward to using my experiences to teach others; teach them to find what’s important to them - and what’s not; what faith is and what real spiritual growth is all about.
Why share this with you? Because I KNOW there are those out there struggling to make it. Like me, there are some who hold so tightly in one hand what they are SURE they need, they are unable to open that fist – and those arms – to receive a better idea than they could ever hope for, dream, or imagine.
I share this with you because I know there are those who feel like the world judges them by their possessions and worldly “success”, and, for the most part, it does. By the world’s standards, I am a complete and utter failure.  By GOD’s standards, I am the child in whom God is well pleased. Not because of what I HAVE, but what I can GIVE.  Today, I can give you my story, in the hopes that somewhere within it you may find something that resonates with you; that you can know that your bliss and your happiness do not lie in things. These qualities are God-given and cannot be taken away by the world or anyone in it. 

I leave you with this profound comment found today on Facebook:
There are times when we do not recognize that it is time for us to move forward. When life is ready for us to move and we resist, life will move us by any means necessary. What may feel like a disaster is actually a graduation. Remain open to being guided, supported and protected by the universe.

Journey on til next time-







Saturday, March 17, 2012

Do You Have a Big BUT?

Do YOU have a big BUT?
Most of us do. In fact, many of us have more than one!

I am not referring to the backside, booty, derriere, tush, or junk-in-the -trunk. I am referring to that little 3 letter word that serves as a huge “CANCEL” BUTT-on in our speech. Some common examples of this are:

 “The concert last night was awesome BUT I’m going to be exhausted all day because I was out so late.”

“I had a great time on vacation BUT I will be paying for it for months to come.”

“I can meet you for dinner BUT I can only stay an hour.”

And, a personal favorite, delivered to me some years ago-

 “I love you BUT I am not in love with you.”

We tend to take this little word for granted; much of the time not even noticing its effect. I set an intention not too long ago to delete this word from my vocabulary. I even have journal entries where I have written the word, crossed it out, and reworded the sentence into an affirmative statement. Slowly, I am catching this less and less. It has become a bit of an inner game for me!  In doing this, I have found I pay closer attention to the energy behind & infused within my words, retraining myself to speak to myself and others in a more positive manner. I believe I am paying closer attention to WHAT I want to say; what I want to affirm as true, and what I want to create in my life.

Everything begins in consciousness.  Nothing manifests into the physical until it is first a thought.  That thought carries with it the energy of creation. What do I want to create? What AM I creating when I cancel one thought with another with a “but”? The language of the Universe is feelings and The Universe is always responding to our feelings, saying “YES” to everything we affirm.

Let’s use my first example above. “The concert last night was awesome” – affirmative, positive, probably conjures up great memories.  Then I add, “BUT I’m going to be exhausted all day because I was out so late.”  I don’t know about you, BUT I feel a letdown in my body as I read this second half of the sentence. I PHYSICALLY feel a shift from high to low.  Read it again. Aloud. How does it make you feel? And furthermore, what is being affirmed to the Universe? More “tired” please. “YES”!

That little zap of energy adds onto another zap and another until my “but” is SO big it keeps me from moving at all! It makes me tired.  It makes me inactive, uncreative, stuck on the same hamster wheel that I keep recreating of whatever it is I am backing up with that little word. My BUT can literally drag me to the floor!

Then I started to wonder….If inserting a “but” in between 2 statements replaces the energy of the first with the energy of the second…

Could there be times when a big “BUT” is beneficial?

“I hate this job BUT it pays the bills.”

“I don’t like where I’m living, BUT at least I have a roof over my head.”

These two statements still drag me down. How do you feel reading them?

So, then I decided to use the word “and” in place of my “but.”  Let’s see how that works.

“I had a great time on vacation AND I will be paying for it for months to come.”

“I hate this job AND it pays the bills.”

To me these two sentences just seem to contradict themselves and make me scratch my head. Huh?

I’ve also tried substituting longer conversational segues such as “however”, “in any event”, and “that being said” for “but” and still it seems to somewhat negate the initial positive energy of whatever I am saying.  So, how do I speak more affirmatively? How do I energetically charge my words and thoughts thereby creating more of the good in my life that I desire and that is my birthright as a child of the Universe that creates everything?

I do exactly that:  I affirm what it is that I wish to create more of and have manifest in my life.  I spend less time talking and thinking about what I do not want and more time with what I DO want.  It means working off that “but” by using my core muscles of truth.  It involves more words at times, and sometimes it means I must rework a thought or sentence midstream to construct it into positive form.  In doing so, I am reprogramming my mind to focus more and more on the positive.  I am working out.   (OMG! I AM WORKING OUT!!) 

I encourage you to take a few days and watch your thoughts and your words. See where your big BUT gets in the way of the magnificent life of your dreams.  Work it out! Build your core! Get your BUT off the ground and start moving!

Friday, March 9, 2012


Last month's blog and the previous month's financial challenge have birthed something new in these interwebs today! has launched!  I am so very excited to have been the vessel through which this idea came streaming!

Last Tuesday, as I was walking from my mailbox to my front door, I suddenly saw a (what I can only describe as a hologram)  website "building" itself. It was like those crime shows of today where the lead cop is running his finger across a large screen, moving perps & victims around. Or, some space age Star Trek technology where Captain Kirk can look into other dimensions or places through some magical screen. Come to think of it, I could also compare it to my favorite childhood afternoon TV host, Hobo Kelly, looking through her magical mirror and saying hello to us from the other side of the TV screen, somehow seeing all the world through that mirror. 

But I digress! Back to MY hologram!  I saw a framework for a website piecing itself together before my very eyes. I instantly knew what it would be called, what its function would be, how it would look, and all of the inner workings of it - even though I have ZERO experience in this field (as is evidenced by my use of the word "interwebs" above!)

I ran as fast as I could back to my apartment and starting writing down the details of what I saw, the domain name, and finally, tag line options. This all transpired in the space of about 5 minutes!

The next day, while visiting a friend, a conversation about my $5.00 God Experiment came up and I shared with her the vision of the previous day.  "You KNOW I build websites for a living, right?" she asked. Yes, I knew that but I had no money for such an extravagance at this point in time.  She would have none of that! She thought the idea had merit and we moved from her sofa to her computer and began work.  Within hours the basic idea had gone from my notepad to her computer screen.  Together our ideas came so rapid-fire it was, at times, hard to keep up!  It was an amazing experience of being absolutely in alignment with my purpose: to be a beneficial presence on the planet. be a PHILANTHROPIST!!!

Today with great joy, gratitude and enthusiasm, we have launched; grass roots philanthropy, $5.00 at a time!  Please visit the website, like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and join in on the absolute joy of making a difference in people's lives! Forgo that latte today and give to someone in need! We are all in this together! Let's take care of each other!

Til next time,

beth o'dell
grass roots philanthropist

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

SURRENDER: The $5.00 God Experiment

In recent years when contemplating the proverbial question, “What do I want to be when I grow up?” the answer has always been “Philanthropist”.  Now, that’s a tall order for someone who seems to struggle to meet basic needs from time to time.
Philanthropy couldn’t have been farther from my mind than some as-yet-undiscovered-galaxy this past January when I found myself at a financial bump in the road.
Self-employed for many years, I was familiar with the fits and starts of cash flow.  This time was different. The work that had been projected to begin on several projects was suddenly pushed back to February and beyond. Even if new work was to show up, in my line of work, the substantial payday for me comes at the conclusion of the project.
So there I was, stuck without a “cash cushion”.  And then I got sick with the flu. Bad-sick. 14 days of it.  I’m sure the financial stress added to what might had been a 24-hour bug to me normally. Part of me just wanted to sleep forever.
It is said that when all options, begging and pleading are exhausted, surrender occurs.
It was in the midst of a 103 degree fever, around 3am one night, when I first heard the voice – just as loud as if someone was at the side of my bed, speaking into my ear: “Ask your Facebook friends for $5.00 each. You have 591 friends. That’s $2955 – more than enough for rent and car payment for February.”
It kept on all night, calculating how many people at a minimum could give and meet my basic need of $1700.00.  All night long this continued, and I was convinced - until I began to feel better.
In feeling better my pride and ego took back the control. No WAY was I going to humiliate myself in front of friends I’ve known all my life, friends with whom I attend church, BUSINESS associates, strangers! What would they SAY about me?! NO WAY!!!
A week went by and “surprise”! I still had no money coming in.  With no option in sight I kicked my ego and his best buddy, Pride, to the curb and finally and completely surrendered.  I composed a heartfelt Facebook post, asking whoever read it for $5.00.  Further encouragement from a couple of close friends led me to send private emails to my friends’ list.  This email went out to about 150 on my list before I became frustrated with the “new” Facebook format and I gave up sending to anyone else.
I was not prepared for what happened next! Within minutes of the initial post I received $100.00 from a single friend.  $5, $10, $20 donations came flooding in through PayPal. I watched in amazement as people I wasn’t particularly close to immediately responded. Some had far less than I had. One was living out of his car!
2 days later as the money continued to come through PayPal, I went to the mailbox. It was full of handwritten envelopes – full of love and generosity. One, from a childhood friend that I haven’t seen in over 30 years, who had emailed me, saying she would send ‘what she could’, contained a check for $200! There were – and are - still are no human words for the feelings pulsing through my body as I opened each envelope and email.  I raced as fast as I could to send individual thank you notes to each gifter, either through the mail or email.
And still, it did not stop there.  A friend shared my post on his private group wall and I began receiving gifts from complete strangers.  At my spiritual community, people hugged me while putting money in my hand or pocket.  One woman, whom I met at a retreat the previous summer, was leaving one Sunday service while I was heading to the next when she spotted me, $20 bill in hand.  She said she knew she would run into me and hugged me and gave me the bill. 
Within a couple of days my immediate needs were met and I posted again on Facebook, thanking my friends for such assistance. “All needs met and exceeded!” and still the money came.  At first I thought about telling people to stop and then the voice returned saying, “Don’t deny them their blessing in being part of this.”  I know how true a statement that is: one of the greatest pleasures in my life is being able to give and it is truly one of the greatest gifts we receive at the same time! You get to KEEP what you GIVE AWAY.
(I think it was at about this time that I starting feeling like I was part of a bigger, God-Experiment.  Like I was the tiny rat in the maze and whatever findings were discovered here would be used for something bigger.)
In the end, my beloved friends, spiritual family and Facebook friends – old and new - supported me in such a way that I was lifted out of the frightening place of eviction and repossession.  But more importantly, I felt loved, not by just these people reaching out to me but by this big ol’ friendly and benevolent Universe!  I am not particularly happy that this lesson/blessing came in the form of money, but this is something I continue to delve into in my spiritual practice.  It’s obviously an area where there is much room for growth!
In these times we are living there are many experiencing temporary challenges of this nature.  Since the time of my initial posting, I’ve had 5 people follow my lead and make similar requests for themselves and loved ones. As promised in my post, I did the same for those who gave to me – and now even to those who did not.  Giving and receiving are part of the same circuit.  I intend to keep than connection of good flowing, knowing there truly is enough for everyone!
And I would be remiss if I did not mention the feedback received from some who gave and others who just observed, saying this experience renewed their faith in humanity or gave them courage to speak up in areas of their own lives.  Like I said….much bigger than just my experience.
Just after my post my spiritual leader instructed the congregation to “take care of each other”.  How do we do that, when many have so little?
I was told by one friend that I "could not go back to that well" once I had put out my request. But go back I will! Just this time, it will be for someone else. I believe one of the answers to this question is through micro-giving - exactly what I experienced: many people giving a little to help a lot. Grass-roots philanthropy. The ideas are bubbling up.
Maybe one need not be a millionaire to be a philanthropist?

Til next time,
hey! I am still getting used to the idea! J

Monday, January 2, 2012

The Tale of Two Brothers, Part 2

It was two days before Thanksgiving. The months in between the premier of “Discover the Gift” and this present moment seemed to flash by at the speed of light; the thought of repairing a brother-sister relationship now in the distant recesses of my mind, deep in the dark soil of my consciousness. 

I was gifted a session with Spiritual Intuitive Bonnie Silver. At the beginning of the call she asked me what my intentions were for the call. Since I really didn’t know what “spiritual intuitive” meant, or what service she provided in that area of expertise, I went to my “go to” goals: balance and clarity. I am always looking for clarity of purpose and balance in all areas of my life.

She also asked me to describe myself. In my best, spiritually-awakened manner I proudly said, “I am a divine emanation of pure Source energy love, the place of love.”
She began to talk, connecting with my thoughts intuitively, and asking questions. At first the questions and comments were sweeping and broad. In my mind she was on one end of a football field; I on the other. The more we spoke, the closer infield we both moved until finally, we were on the 50 yard line standing as one. (Weird, I know, but that’s what I saw!)
She said it felt like I needed to release something/someone from my life. Bonnie felt strongly that once this release took place, there would be greater clarity of purpose in my life.
There were several examples demonstrating her connection to me which I will forego sharing here due to time. Suffice to say that she is the “Real Deal”!
She continued...
She sensed that I was not sure who or what it was that I needed to release but that when I was sure, it would be without a doubt. Perhaps it was someone at my spiritual community, or a family member?
I mentioned that I was indeed considering backing off of a friendship with someone in my community. No, that wasn’t it. It was bigger.
She also sensed that I needed to do some forgiveness work; had I done any in the past? I assured her I have crossed everyone possible of that list! Still, she felt very strongly that there was something more here to do.
I could sense that there was something she was grappling with, trying to “read” or “see” as she spoke. She asked me to talk about my family. That was easy – and short! My parents were both long gone from this dimension and I quickly rolled out my “story” about my brother.
“He and I don’t speak. He lives a somewhat reclusive, paranoid life. He never was the big brother to me that I had dreamt of having so it’s no big loss for me.” End of story.
In an “AHA” the size of and Oprah AHA, Bonnie blurted out, “That’s it! It’s your brother you need to forgive! It’s your judgment of him that you need to release!”
In an instant it was if someone had cracked open my chest cavity and a thousand white doves flew out of it! A summer breeze blew through my body on a chilly November morning! This WAS it! I was surer than I had ever been in my life! Out of all the possible suspects I could think of to forgive, never in my wildest dreams did I consider my brother in that group-mostly, because of my "story" about him.
I had been judging my brother all my life for what he “wasn’t” to me while all the while he was living a life of which I had no knowledge. Bonnie also felt a very strong female presence which she was sure was my mom, guiding her now in this conversation.
Through Bonnie, my mom was very clear: “At the beginning of this call you claimed to be a place of love. Prove it by forgiving your brother.” WOW! I don’t know how much clearer a message I could need!
I instantly knew this was true; this was what I needed to do.
Bonnie went on, guided by my mom. “Your brother needs to know you love him right now; he always felt you had the easy ride and that he had it a lot harder. He has resented you for this.” She also got a very strong hit in the form of one word: Abuse. To Bonnie, it was so strong, it felt like sexual abuse.
Now I KNOW nothing like that ever happened in my family but because of the intenseness of it for Bonnie, it did cause me to flash back to a repairman who did work in our home when we were young.  He was later convicted of molesting boys.  That is not a road I am prepared to walk down just yet, if ever.
Bonnie was also was clear that I must SPEAK with him. Already in my mind I knew there must be a conversation, but I had planned a lovely letter version. Then, realizing that was not appropriate, I decided to write a “script” for my planned phone call so I wouldn’t leave anything out. In the next instant Bonnie says to me, “And it shouldn’t be SCRIPTED.” Was she in my head or WHAT?
I chose Thanksgiving Day for my phone call, to take place during my drive from volunteering in downtown to the family meal at my spiritual community. A call with a time limit, in case it should go awry.
With no script, no plan, no attachment to anything, I dialed the number. I simply breathed a tiny prayer, “Speak through me.”
When my brother got on the line, and after the shock of hearing my voice after so many years, I began to tell him that I loved him. I told him that I had been doing a lot of meditation and soul-searching and had come to realize how much I needed to tell him that, and that I was sorry for the way I have judged him and our relationship all these many years. I took responsibility for my actions, wondering if they had been instrumental in keeping us from having any type of relationship as adults. I also acknowledged that he had been perfect just as the big brother he was – it was my interpretation and judgment that was flawed.
He asked me if I was going to church. I asked if that was a prerequisite for having this type of conversation. “No, but I am a preacher. I like to ask a lot of questions so I know where the person is coming from.” (It is worth noting here, for those who may not know, we were raised Southern Baptist; my brother remains a fundamentalist Christian minister. While I still believe in Biblical teachings, I now embrace the New Thought/Ageless Wisdom teachings of Ernest Holmes, Michael Beckwith and more.)
I explained that I was (literally) on my way to church and described Agape to him as a place where all faiths are welcomed, all people are welcome, a place that is about love and celebrating this life we are here to live. He said he had never heard of a place like this before. ("Get used to it!" I wanted to say!)
What occurred next was nothing short of an amazing miracle. I met my REAL brother for the first time. In the process, I returned to my true self; the loving compassionate real me.
My brother told me how he has never trusted anyone in his life; how he began using drugs at a much earlier age that I was aware, causing him to close himself off from everyone; how he has been abused all of his life; how he would prefer to live off by himself somewhere in the mountains, how “narrow-minded” (his words, not mine) he has always been and how, as he gets older, the more narrow minded he becomes. This was more of a conversation than we had EVER had in our lives! I could not believe – but at the same time was so grateful to hear – how open he was with me.
When he used the word “abused” a chill ran through my body. He immediately followed it with “not physically but everything short of”. Again I felt my heart space crack wide open, seeing my brother for the first time through the eyes of love and compassion. I don’t know what happened early in his life that would keep him feeling like such a victim all these years later, and maybe someday we will have that conversation. More likely, a seed has once again been planted in the darkness, waiting for the right conditions for it to spring into the light; a seed of freedom from the past; a seed of release.
At the same time this flood of emotions was rushing through me, I could feel the undeniable presence of our mom, sitting in the passenger seat of my car, now parked in the lot at Agape. Her energy was so dense, I could almost see her. I felt compelled to tell my brother about her showing up during the call with Bonnie, as if mom was elbowing me to do so, but stopped short of letting him know she was eavesdropping on our call!
He listened without laughing – something I thought he’d surely do (another judgment on my part) and then we continued to talk - about the possibility of trying to build a relationship now. I assured him that I was not expecting anything beyond this call but was certainly open to one. We agreed that the slate was now wiped clean of any old emotions and that we would indeed attempt to rebuild from this moment forward.
With an “I love you” from each end the call was over. In an instant I was free in a way I had never known before. I really DID – and DO – love my brother. In an instant I had the clarity of purpose I had said I wanted on the call with Bonnie. In being the place of love as I described myself, I am living my purpose. In releasing the dead weight of an old story, I achieve more balance. What I asked for I already had! What I seek is already within me.  This is a fundamental principle of my spiritual belief system yet somehow I had not connected it to my personal relationship with my brother. It truly was a return to love.
It is fitting for me to write this today, as I reflect on the past year and wipe the slate clean for a fresh start tomorrow and release the old stories in favor of new truths. Everything is new again!
Happy, Blessed & Loved New Year! Tell somebody you love them!
Return to love, return to love,
With every breath, return,
End and begin with love,
With every breath, return.

Byars Beckwith lyric