Remembering How to Live is The Great Work of Our Time

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The reason why the universe is eternal is because it does not live for itself.
~ Lao Tzu

You can feel the lineage of love as you read these words; a lineage to the future. Life is always in flux, always becoming, always giving birth to itself and then dying away.

Maybe, just maybe, this is why we humans are facing extinction. Too many of us live for ourselves – solely for ourselves… and maybe for our immediate loved ones.

When we live this way, we are not living the eternal Tao.

We are not living The Way.

We are not living in harmony with Creation.

 

The Creator created the People of the Earth into the Land at the beginning of Creation and gave us a way of life. This way of life has been passed down generation-to-generation since the beginning. We have not honored this way of life through our own actions and we must live these original instructions in order to restore universal balance and harmony. We are a part of Creation; thus, if we break the Laws of Creation, we destroy ourselves.

~ from the Council Statement at CaretakersOfMotherEarth.com (the Spiritual People of the Earth, of North and South America, working in unity to restore peace, harmony and balance for our collective future and for all living beings).

 

I have found myself with my ear to the ground over the last several years…sometimes literally, but mostly metaphorically. I’ve found myself drawn to listen deeply to the Earth.

I’ve found myself in odd places at odd times because I heeded the call of intuition and guidance: an early morning labyrinth walk during a full-moon eclipse; a pilgrimage to Ireland where I walked on sacred land and sat with the holy flame of Brigid (and arriving to be with this flame only happened because of a dozen synchronistic moments aided by at least six other human beings); a muddy walk up the side of Haleakala, the dormant volcano of Maui; praying at the burning ghats in Varanasi, India.

Each place on our Earth has its own song. Each place has its own rhythm and cadence. Each place can guide us to remember our place in the Family of All Things.

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Look up into the autumn sky.
Lay your hands on your heart and attune to what is really happening here:
There are yellows coming into existence that have never made their way into this dimension.
There are oranges, reds, and purples that have been sent to remind you of
how rare it is to take birth within the particles of love. ~ Matt Licata

 

I am blessed to have had the resources to listen and go. I know this. I also know this is part of what I am here to do – to reconnect deeply with our Mother, to find, once again, the roots of my indigenous connection to Earth, the beautiful being who is the source of my life.

None of these things were for me. It’s taken me some time to come to know this. I’ve lived as if they were. I see clearly now that anything given is not for us to keep. Just as the Universe does not live for itself, it does not give to itself to keep for itself. Everything given is given to be given again.

I know I am privileged to  have done these things, and with this privilege comes responsibility to live what I’ve been shown and given. Many of us find ourselves in this place right now. It’s the nature of the time in which we live. We have a deep responsibility to not live for ourselves, but to live for and serve all of life.

In listening, I’ve come to see that what is truly holding us is not the culture or institutions that we humans have created. What truly holds us is the fabric and flesh of life here on Earth. Mother Earth does not live for herself. She lives for her children. But, she is struggling mightily right now trying to support us. We are, and have been, tearing down the very fabric that gives us life.

In my own life, I fight the learned, conditioned reaction I have to live for myself – my wants, my desires, my way. I have to be truthful about this. There is a strong, conditioned, trance we live in that reinforces this as THE way to be. But it is just that – a trance…a trance of the ego.

This trance is leading us to our own demise. Why? Because ego doesn’t really want to get…it wants to want. It has a voracious appetite because it does not want to be satisfied. That is the nature of ego – to want. It’s why when we are mired in ego we feel like we have a hole inside of us the size of Jupiter – a hole that cannot be filled no matter how much stuff we stuff into ourselves and our lives. In our culture, we want unlimited and unfettered growth. Our institutions will do anything to prop up this unnatural never-ending growth. A cycle of growth without death and decay is unnatural – it is not in accordance with Creation.

Instead, when we live as the Universe does, we’ve remembered our rightful way of living as a part of the Whole. I see ‘remembering’ our rightful way of living in Creation as the great work of these times for so many of us who have forgotten what it is to be a member of the Family of All Things; remembering what it means to not live for ourselves, but to live for life.

When we are ‘wanting’ we aren’t really happy, no matter what the ego tells us, because behind the whole setup is the mechanism to never get that which we believe we want. What is real is the longing that is underneath all of this wanting. It is the longing to remember that we have taken ‘birth within the particles of love’.

It is indeed rare and when we live the wonder of this rarity, we live the eternal Tao.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Gift – Women’s Sacred Power of Creation

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This past weekend, I led a retreat for a remarkable group of women. It was a church sponsored retreat. The women were courageous in their willingness to look within, as well as their willingness to consider the beauty, power, and profound sacredness of living life in a female body. It was truly an honor to midwife such rich and courageous experiential exercises, which brought forth this deep wisdom of the feminine.

My childhood was not filled with religious teaching. My family lineage holds a wide variety of religious traditions, but the day-to-day of my life didn’t contain these traditional teachings or stories. Instead, I was invited to question what life, love, death, and even re-birth were really about. As someone who has reached a point of life where I am coming to understand the wisdom of a life deeply lived, I am grateful I was taught to wonder.

How beautiful true wonder is…childlike wonder…wonder that causes the eyes to sparkle and the heart to open and embrace.

True awakening is a destructive process…so my teacher, Adyashanti, says. And, I can vouch for that. It isn’t becoming anything. It is unbecoming, undressing, undoing. It is shedding beliefs and veils and faces – those faces we pretend our ours, even though somewhere inside we know they are just masks to hide what we believe is the ugly, ugly me that nobody would want to know or love.

As I sat in circle with these women and shared what I know about the sacred feminine and what it has to do with a woman’s spiritual journey, I was, once again, filled with awe by the beauty, tenacity, fierceness of womanhood.

The layers of veils have been heaped upon us through conditioning and socialization.We’ve internalized them. For me, they aren’t necessarily veil-like. They’re more thick and gnarly in how they hide my true and very human humanity.

Every group of women I have led over the past eleven years has been filled with beautiful women that question, deeply, their worth and value. Whether they were groups of women directly affected by 9/11, or women in business, or women who are the web of connection within their church communities, I’ve been struck by how deep the conditioning runs that tells us a number of made-up stories about who we ‘are’, how much ‘space’ we get to take up, and how ‘loud’ our voices can be.

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Yesterday, on the spur of the moment as I was traveling on the bus from downtown back to my place in the outer part of San Francisco, I hopped off and entered into an hour within the gorgeous walls of Grace Cathedral. I walked the labyrinth, lit candles for friends who are in the thick of cancer and chemo, and sat in contemplation and prayer. Again, I am not well schooled in churchly ways. Yet, when I walk into this place, something deep and old and vast comes forth, something that knows all on its own the way of the sacred.

We don’t need to be taught how to be sacred. We are sacred. Perhaps the teachings could simply lead us back to knowing this within… Perhaps this is what they were meant to do all along. 

As I sat, I remembered a beautiful stained glass window I had seen last time I was in the church. So before I left, I went to see it. And, again, I was struck by the juxtaposition of this image alongside the more traditional religious images of the Christian faith. Here, way up high, off in one of the transepts, is this exquisite window named, The Gift, by Narcissus Quagliatta. It is a gorgeous piece of art, and it is offering a different point of view than the traditional stained glass windows of Grace Cathedral.

While I know the point of view I see expressed here is mine, I’m going to share what I see. It’s a point of view that offers us a window into the sacredness of women and of the feminine. This window shows us the sacred creativity that is at the heart of creation, the big vast void out of which everything is birthed. And, this vast void is the very same vast void that is within each woman’s body. It is the place where life comes into being within a woman’s body. It shows us, clearly, that all women contain this. The woman is shrouded for she is all women. All women are one woman.

This IS the gift. Our bodies are not objects. Our bodies contain creation.

Take a moment to consider how your life might have been different if you had grown up with this image as part of your learning. Consider how your life might have been different, as a woman, if you knew your female body was holy and sacred.

This is the power of woman, the power of life and death and rebirth. It is the power of creation. It is the power that has, and still is, feared. It is why our species has tried so hard to dominate and control life…and women.

What matters is that we LIVE this. That we live what we are, consciously. This power is within each of us and when we become conscious of it by seeing through the veils that have kept it hidden from our own awareness, we live it. We embody it. We come to know we are it.

 

 

 

 

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How will you be in your Womanhood?

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Womanhood. The Sacred Feminine incarnate.

For so long, a story of womanhood as less-than has been told, repeatedly, in almost every language. Tongues of both genders have spoken words of feminine degradation. These stories have been woven into the institutions we have to interact with on a daily basis.

They are stories that have been told for many centuries. And yet, that doesn’t make them true.

In life, there is no better-than or less-than, there is only what is…what shines out from the depths of your eyes, what loves from deep in the center of your heart, what moves in the belly of your soul. It is only our minds that want to compare and judge.

The mystery that is creation, will always be a mystery, no matter how doggedly man pursues the ultimate unveiling of creation by way of rational reason. At the heart of the heart, is a sacred mystery, at the center of the womb, a divine purity.

What if the very thing you hide, or try to deny, or apologize for, about being a woman is what ultimately will free you to be all that you already are?

What if the embodied awareness of this pure mystery in every woman on the planet is what is needed for our very survival?

What if?

How would you be with your womanhood?

How WILL you be in your womanhood?

I’d love to know your thoughts to these questions by having you share them in the comments. I feel we all benefit from knowing what is going on deep inside of women. It is time we share.

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I Write and the Words Weave Beauty

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There is an impetus in creativity that is of the creation itself.

Creation is life.

Creations are alive.

I am finally putting together the chapters of my book that I’ve written so far…printing them out on paper. Touching them in real life. In reading the words, they weave beauty back into my heart.

I read the words I’ve written about the life I have lived and I am touched by the beauty woven through the words…and through my life. I am touched by the life in the creation itself.

It’s been hard to reconnect with this book that has languished on my hard drive, yet in printing the pages out and reading the words, I can now see that the work has a life of its own. Of course it does…how could I have ever thought this was my book, my work?

I write and the words weave beauty. The words themselves weave a tapestry of something greater than my mind and will.

Perhaps the most important ‘thing’ I could share in all my years of facilitating creativity is exactly this:

The creation is alive. We are simply the stewards, the gardners, the midwives of the creation. Tap into the life inherent in the creation. Feel it in your bones. It will infuse you with the love needed to midwife it into reality.

Every creation is alive.

Feel the aliveness in the creation that is you. Follow that aliveness. Give breath to it. Give expression to it. This is why you are here.

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This song and these images move me deeply. They sing to me of the life that is inherent in our creative urges. Feel the life in this creation – these words, this music, these images. Know that this same creative force is within you.

 

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Erotic Visionary: Following the Instinct of Love, Joy & Creation

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Connecting with life.

I’ve just returned from a beautiful weekend retreat at Ratna Ling retreat center, near Cordoza, California, a spot in the coastal mountains of northern California. The land is so beautiful here. The retreat time was short, yet filled with so much wisdom and learning. I learned so much about myself, how I hold back from a truly fulfilled life of truth and transparency, and ways to access my instinctual self more readily. All of this so amazingly fits in with my last post on being an erotic visionary. I thank you for sharing that post, and also thank those of you who shared yourself in the comments of that post.

At the retreat, I loved the exercises we did to discover ways in which our instinctual selves are so accessible and so ready to be expressed more fully. In one particular exercise, we were asked to go exploring in twos. Our explorations were to notice and follow our instincts through our senses.

It’s amazing what happens when we allow our instincts to guide us. My partner and I spent thirty minutes exploring the land around Ratna Ling center through our senses, allowing ourselves to follow our instinctual impulse.

We climbed into the center of huge redwood trees hollowed out by fire. We stroked moss covered bark and the insides of charred redwood trees turned silky over time. We found the tiniest red flowers sprouting from minute lichen. We delighted in a Yucca plant in full flower. We took turns sharing with each other what we were immediately drawn to.

What was I drawn to?

Beauty, Color, and Life.

Contrast, Joy, and Tenderness.

The intense color contrast between sunlit orange Tibetan prayer flags and the bright blue skies that canopy the hills of northern California, just miles away from the Pacific Ocean. When I had first arrived at the center, I was delighted by these flags. In giving my full attention to this delight, I gazed at this contrast and realized how much I LOVE color, light, and contrast. This love has been with me from as far back in my life as I can remember.

The tenderness of flower petals, how the light shines through them, and how they so fleetingly exist in a world where everything dies, where everything in creation eventually dies.

The experience of the impulse itself and the very simple, yet oh so important, joy of discovery what life is displaying just around the corner… discovering what lies at the other end of the instinctual impulse.

Eros

We have these impulses all the time, yet how often do we allow our eyes to simply land on what they want to see, our hands to touch what they long to feel, our ears to listen to that which they long to hear?

We are so strongly socially conditioned to inhibit our instincts. Yes, some of that conditioning is a good thing; AND, some of that conditioning inhibits the soul from freely expressing itself in the world, of following the instinct of love, joy and creation – eros.

When we follow this instinct, we connect with life and with the earth. When we trust our instinctual selves, we rediscover an aspect of self that we buried so long ago.

Learning to trust this instinct, and guiding others to trust this instinct as well, is where my work is leading me. My work is shifting in a direction not yet fully formed, which is exhilarating. I’m following the trail of where my soul is calling me, where the instinct is leading me.

And, you?

If you had fifteen minutes to follow your erotic impulse with a friend, where would your instinctual self lead you? Take fifteen minutes today to follow this erotic impulse, whether with a friend or alone. Notice the feeling of the impulse, the pull of what you are drawn to. Notice where you stop yourself. Just notice what it feels like to follow the instinct of love, joy and creation.

Then, come back and share with us what you discover in the comments. I look forward to learning from you!

 

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It Is Going To Be Led By Women

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This is Larry Merculieff. He speaks  on indigenous elder wisdom and modern day personal to global challenges.

I feel this is one of the most important videos of this time. It is over fourteen minutes long, and it is worth watching many, many times. From this talk:

“Most men and women, and even many spiritual leaders, have forgotten why women were considered sacred. Because, like a hologram inside of their bodies is the direct and exact sacred condition as the womb in the center of the universe, that is physically manifested in their womb.”

“Women, now, are being called to restore their own center of power, because even with all of this violence that has been done to women for thousands of years, you still hold this sacredness in your bodies…in the womb.”

“There is a sacred vibrational field inside of the woman that we have forgotten to honor that is the place of all the things born. Nothing new can be birthed without woman.”

“There is a way out of this and it is going to be led by women.”

“Without restoring the sacred feminine, nothing new is going to occur in this world. Nothing. We can’t think ourselves out of these problems.”

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Please share with me how this video moves you, as a woman, as a man.

And, please share this with others.

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Kissed by Creation

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Close to the Earth.

Full and ripe.

My body is cooking something up.

She’s been with something unseen and unknown.

She’s been kissed by Creation.

Supple and supine, she dances in the dark.

With quivers and shivers, she responds to an unseen touch.

There is something I know, but don’t yet know.

Something moves within her,

silently waiting to bring forth great light into the world.

Receptive and soft, my heart places trust in

that which knows of things to come.

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the Note of Love

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Sunset Light at Lands End
Sunset Light at Lands End

Spring is here. At least it feels like Spring is here, even if it is February 8th. St. Brigid’s Day, or Imbolc, is thought to be the beginning of Spring in Ireland…and maybe here, too, judging by our weather.

The beginning of Spring does something to me. The lovely bits and pieces that I’ve kept warming by the fire during the cold and wet winter months come alive with the first warm rays of the sun.

It was a beautiful 72 degrees here, yesterday. We took a walk out at Lands End, the line of coast that wraps around San Francisco’s northwestern outermost tip. The light was amazing, as evidenced by the colors and shadows on these trees, above, just prior to sunset.

We had dinner out at a wonderful Thai restaurant, finishing it out with Hot Coconut Cake, a specialty recipe from the owner’s Mother-in-law in Thailand. The owner told us this cake is not sold in restaurants in Thailand, but is only available as street food.

Yesterday, was a day filled with so much life. And,

This past week, so much of my focus has been on dying, on being with, along with many others, someone I loved and respected deeply as he let go into death. Sitting in his room at the hospital, I could smell the blossoms just outside the window. The warm temperatures invited the trees to blossom, and blossom they did. The moments were a bit surreal.

In today’s walk, I could see signs of life springing up again.

I came home to find this very important video by Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee, a Sufi Sheik I quote quite often. He is a mystic who sees what is coming, and shares profound guidance as to how to be of service during these times.

I can’t share the video here; but, you can watch it here. Please do. In fact, watch it a few times. He is sharing such important information for us all to know.

In the video, he asks,

“Do you work with what is dying, or do you work with what is coming into being?”

A powerful question, indeed.

In Llewellyn’s video, he shares that the note of love that hits the bell of creation has changed, and with that change, “life will begin to manifest in a different way.”

As I sat with Emmett, last week, it was so important to me to love him, deeply. In those moments, it felt so totally clear that what I could offer was love and letting go. I could be with, in the state of love, without trying to save, fix or change things. For if it is really time to die, then the greatest gift is to not interfere, but to let go.

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The Seed in Upheaval

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Amidst the death, upheaval and chaos of destruction in Egypt, Tunisia and other places around the world, something new, something not yet seen or known, is coming into being.

Like a seedling pushing up through the ground, this new way is strong and resilient, not because of its size, for a seedling is tiny, but because of its strength, tenacity and resilience. These come from the very source of life that is midwifing a new way. The ever present energy of life is pushing forth and through.

Life encompasses the totality that we see held in the opposites, and everything in between along the continuum they create: the masculine and the feminine, death and birth, light and dark, hardness and softness, destruction and creation.

This morning, I came across this post by Filiz Telek, a woman who is passionate about “awakening the presence of sacred and possibility in human heart and spirit”. I love what she writes about and how she writes it. In her post, she shares this video, and the words she shares with it are quite beautiful. She holds this video with such tenderness and honor, in the same way she holds life and the sacred feminine. In Filizat’s words:

Listen to her, she’s saying “I am the meaning in the middle of chaos
As the old system falls apart and chaos unfolds – and it is very likely that it will touch us and our loved ones too – we will need these heart songs, we will need to ground ourselves in her calling for wisdom and courage. I remember Neda, the young Iranian woman who was shot dead in front of our eyes as she was demanding freedom during Green Revolution in Iran. She was silenced, but now Amel is singing for her too and for all of us:
I am free and my word is free.
May our heart songs bring the freedom and unity consciousness that for so long, we have been waiting and longing for.

I, too, feel compelled to share the video here, because it is such an indication of what I wrote about yesterday, that being human is a vulnerable proposition. And,

This video spoke to me so poignantly of what is happening all over the world, and what is happening in my own being: something strong, and fierce and beautiful is pushing up through, trying to be born. It has to push up through so much of what has been in place for decades, so much of what has been created to keep things the same. Yet, the force is powerful and I know it is relentless, and that it will not be denied.

Upheaval is here, both within and without. I also share it too, because the woman singing, Amel Mathlouthi, is a symbol of the courageous soft power of the Feminine, standing in the middle of chaos, singing of new life.

Watch and listen and feel what is stirring within you, what new life is pushing through you to come to the surface and grow. It is so evident, that we are one. Like our brothers and sisters in these places, we, too, feel something stirring, something coming, something new. May it come with peace, may we begin to trust Life, that Life itself is change.

Thank you, Filizat, for sharing this with us.

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Life is Erotic

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Yoshino Cherry Tree Blossoms

I want to do to you what Spring does with cherry trees. ~ Neruda

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I’ve been contemplating Neruda for days now. Discovering this one simple quote, above, led me to this poem of his. And I melted. Oh, my, what this poem exudes.

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I posted a few lines:

Let me spread you out among yellow garlands.

A long time I have loved the sunned mother-of-pearl of your body.

on Facebook and Twitter, and what came back was rapturous delight from women. Gasps. Oohs. Aahs.

I didn’t receive pithy statements about the beauty of the lines, but rather short exclamations of feeling.

Feeling. Something wakes up in us when we experience these words.

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Life is erotic. Life re-creates itself, over and over. Life is an impulse, a continual impulse to come into existence. Life is birthing itself in every moment.

“What does God do all day long? God gives birth. From all eternity God lies on a maternity bed giving birth.” Meister Eckhart

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Most of the lessons we’ve internalized about ‘what Spring does to cherry trees’ isn’t about life or God or ooh and ahh. Think of a nice big fat cherry pie. What we’ve been taught to believe is like taking that cherry pie and cutting the tiniest sliver out of it, then serving it up as the whole pie. The slice is so small, it can’t even stand on its own. And it doesn’t even taste like cherry pie anymore.

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Pleasure, Eros, Sensuality, Sexuality. These themes are woven into Neruda’s works, but he speaks of life, of earth, of people, of longing, of creation, of love.

And in these lines, he wraps the oh-so-humble elements of this human earthly existence in robes of divinity:

Every day you play with the light of the universe.
Subtle visitor, you arrive in the flower and the water.
You are more than this white head that I hold tightly
as a cluster of fruit, every day, between my hands.

Oh let me remember you as you were before you existed.

We are sensual beings. We live in one big erotic field. Life is pulsing through our veins. Life throbs. Life longs.

In spring, we are in the outward, pulsating part of the cycle of life. Just as in the cherry tree, we feel this pulsing, this desire, this longing to create.

It’s actually really practical, too. When your creations and actions flow from this inner impulse, they come from the intelligence that is life. They are vibrantly alive and captivatingly juicy.

This impulse is a guide to truth and integrity. It is a guide to aliveness and to joy. It is a guide to feeling all of what life offers, even those feelings we’ve pushed away for so long. It is a guide to pleasure and the land of the unknown.

I could feel this in the women who responded with alive oohs and aahs. Our power lies in our bodies, in waking up to and living in the divinity that breathes fire into each and every female cell.

Do I dare live, love and create from this place? Do you? Do we?

Image by Cliff1066 under CC3.0

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