“Nature is full of genius, full of the Divinity;
So that not a snowflake escapes its fashioning hand.”
~Henry David Thoreau
I met a Sudanese refugee this week that immigrated to the United States for work. He is an amazing man. I’ll call him “Steven.” Among the many humbling and gracious words he spoke, what shined most is his deep faith in God and enduring love for ALL people. He said he “vehemently” believes in doing things that “bring greatness” to the lives of others as well as himself. Steven is thankful to God for granting him many gifts and abilities, especially using them for “doing right things for others.” This brave and radiant young man gets up every morning with a smile on his face, knowing that God is always with him.
Three powerful themes emerged from my conversation with this migratory, luminous messenger. From his own words, first, we are not restricted by anybody or anything except our own choices. Second, a loving gracious God exists and “resides in us, with us, beside us, around us, and among us,” no matter what our race, religious, culture, gender, or life circumstances. And third, serving the one human body of God and individuals in our local communities can bring abundant JOY!
After meeting this delightful new acquaintance, I headed to our lake house, which is a few miles from a community that has a significant new population of Sudanese and Hispanic immigrants. I stopped at the local big box “Super Store” for a few grocery items. When I arrived, I felt different. As I looked around, I saw “Steven” everywhere. I walked up and down the aisles and couldn’t get the smile off my face. I was beaming with the grace-filled lessons of Steven’s love and joy. My heart was expanded and with each and every immigrant I saw, it grew even more with love, compassion, and joy. And then, something amazing happened.
As I was gathering my items and looking around, a young Sudanese child made eye contact with me, smiled, and waved. With surprise, my heart leaped out of my chest and I felt the presence of our shared Divinity and joy. It felt like a deeply sacred moment. There were no words between us, just a profound, yet brief surreal connection. We needed no words. We saw each other. I walked off dazed and intoxicated with the lessons of Steven stirring in my heart.
A few minutes later, in the next aisle over a family passed by. Not paying much attention, I was looking at my list when a young Hispanic girl pulled her hand away from her mom, and shouted loudly to get my attention, “Hi!”. I made eye contact with her, returned a smile, and said, “Hi!”
Seriously? Again? It was as if both kids were reaching out to me to share a soul moment. I was filled with gratitude. There was a familiar knowing among us. Our brief eye contact felt like an eternity of deeper seeing and recognition. I began to feel a universal oneness with everyone in the super store. I looked around with gentle compassion and curiosity. What was happening?
When life couldn’t get much sweeter, a third young Caucasian child laying on her daddy’s shoulder, lifted her head just a few feet from mine, grinned from ear to ear, and with the light of recognition in her eyes, greeted me with an adorable and engaging, “Hi!” I was enchanted as I stood soaking in the mystery of this unbelievable experience.
I thank Steven. His palpable love, joy, and heart for service, created a beautiful resonant field that ignited something in me. I believe the same gracious God, and Divine spark, which resides within Steven, resides within me, and within all people, including the three children I met at the super store. Maybe, the three children simply recognized it sooner than I did, and reached out in remembrance to reconnect in a beautiful living experience of Namaste.
[The definition of Namaste (pronounced na, ma, stay) is both a physical gesture and a spoken spiritual salutation, which is the recognition of the divine spirit (or soul) in another by the divine spirit in you. The word Namaste translates simply to “I bow to the divine in you.”]
(Image found with SCiAF, Scotland’s Aid Agency sciaf.org.uk)
I haven’t written a traditional blog entry since my accident. Remember the blog, “Mirror, Mirror on the Wall,” where I talked about my freak accident and head injury? Well, life peeled back another layer that day and almost everything (and no-thing) changed. The veil between my body and consciousness thinned even more with that event, as I nursed myself back to the real world of life incarnate. Something shifted. I brought a deeper, richer, more integrated understanding of ME back to corporal life. In fact, the individual, ego-based ME, was knocked out of the ballpark. A soft, content essence of calm knowing was left. I was less able to be in my head, thinking, and surrendered to a state of total PRESENCE.
Since then, I’ve experienced a creative blast — painting, writing poetry, visioning, and downloading information from the universe daily, like never before. I am more free-spirited — moving with what presents in the moment and trusting that God and the universe support me. I am more passionate, sensual, and alive with a boundless imagination. I am more present. I am embodying a new consciousness, a divine presence, and integrating all of who I am. I’m tuned in, able to hear Source more fluently. Sadly, I literally had to get knocked out, and LOOSE CONSCIOUSNESS, to remember who I am in this visceral new way.
So what shifted? What have I learned?
I used to be “in my head” a lot! I mean, A LOT! Yet, I was out of my head and out of my body a lot, too. I have been a mystic since early childhood. I’ve had many experiences throughout my life that have, at times, transcended my human understanding, including a near death experience, regular out-of-body experiences, awe-inspiring moments of oneness with all of creation, journeys to other realms, visions, and intuitive gifts. Some believe those who endure great trauma in life open a portal to the other realms. If this is true, I get it — my childhood was peppered with adverse experiences and trauma. Others say that highly creative people live closer to the edge of other realities. I get that, too.
So when I wasn’t out of my body having profound spiritual and mystical experiences, I was in my head searching for more cosmic insight and trying to figure things out. I have spent incredible amounts of energy looking for ways to bring the two worlds together. I’ve exhausted countless hours trying to devise gentle ways to tell those in both religion, and medicine, that they’re missing something. I’ve consumed years of my career studying and training in Buddhist Psychology, mindfulness, Christian Contemplative Traditions, Centering Prayer, meditation, world religions, energy studies, holistic health, and Mind/Body Medicine. I was so wrapped up in my head wanting to unlock the mysteries of the universe and help relieve suffering from the illusion of separation, that I, myself, created more of the separation. Unknowingly, I was fueling a mind/body split, instead of fully embodying consciousness. Now, I get it! It’s NOT an either/or deal when it comes to consciousness. The universe literally had to knock me over the head to wake me up a little more.
Humanity has spent thousands of years “practicing” different paths to enlightenment in the same manner. We have created a myth that nirvana, or Heaven exists outside of ourselves, and we practiced leaving our bodies (or dying) to get there. We’ve believed in deities that are separate from ourselves, usually outside the universe, and created illusions of separation from God and our fellow wo/man. We’ve endured a hunger for the sacred and searched for intellectual answers from teachers, gurus, and drug-induced mystical experiences. We’ve fought over our definitions of “the one true religion” and killed in the name of Allah. We’ve created Theology by thinking about, and studying, God and we’ve believed the mystics were Saints from long ago or modern day “woo-woo” pagan crazy people. Yet, we still thirst for a divinity that mirrors more closely an experiential, knowing presence and fail to have language to describe it.
The good news is, we are waking up from the illusions of separation. We are waking from our perceived dualistic existence. We are evolving into beings that can fully embody divine consciousness. It’s a beautiful time to be alive on our planet and witness the evolution of the psyche! We no longer need to leave our bodies to discover bliss, Nirvana, or God. We can stop searching and dissolve completely into our BEINGness. It’s time to occupy our bodies more completely – staying present, staying grounded on the earth, and staying connected to Source. It’s time to remember who we really are and ride the wave of conscious evolution.
So, surrender. Knock yourself silly with bliss. Get out of your head and into your life. Get out of your “me” and into the knowing. Allow the veil between you and divine consciousness to thin even more.
Abundant Blessings, Julie
I had a freak accident last night. I went to the restroom in the middle of the night, fell, and lost consciousness. I don’t remember the event. My husband found me on the floor. The evidence suggests I fell, hit the right side of my head on the edge of the counter (small contusion), and then landed on my left side, hitting a blunt object and splitting the left side of my forehead open. This bazaar series of events landed me in the E.R., being treated for a concussion and receiving six stitches.
So, looking in the mirror this morning, I lovingly comforted the two inches of tender tissue. And, with complete acceptance, I intentionally looked myself in the eyes, and affirmed my innate beauty – bumps, bruises, bloody-messed-up hair, and all. I could do this because I was given a beautiful, incredible gift one week ago.
Last weekend, we went to our new favorite restaurant at the lake. I looked in the mirror while washing my hands. I hardly ever look up to the mirror – I usually look down at my hands. This is an old habit that was formed after years and years of self-criticism and self-rejection. I never really looked in the mirror much. However recently, I have spent considerable time and energy learning to love myself and love myself completely – just the way I am: flaws and all, perfectly imperfect. I have practiced self-compassion and have learned to re-claim the parts of me I had believed I needed to hide, reject, and try to fix. Self-compassion is a healing balm; self-love is a magic elixir. By reclaiming all the parts of me, I fell in love with my body – every wrinkle and age spot, my ankles, hands, thighs, stomach, breasts, my soft curves, every inch! I learned to respect the service my body plays in fulfilling my divine purpose. And, now I feel like a newborn infant, playing with her toes and giggling in delight of this thing called a body, a life. I love myself – all of me.
Back to the incredible gift from last week… In the restroom of the restaurant, when I was washing my hands, something sacred happened. You know how you “lock eyes” with someone from across the room? I did that. When I reached down to wash my hands, my eyes locked on to the eyes of my soul through the mirror, and I had a profoundly beautiful moment. They say that the eyes are the window to the soul. I get it. It’s as if the world had taken a timeout. Time stood still and the room disappeared. I was there with “my Self” gazing deep within my own eyes in the mirror. When the world stopped, a slice of divinity opened for a brief, magical moment. I literally could not move my gaze, as I witnessed “my Self” telling myself how beautiful I was. The warm gentle exchange was affirming. I felt a divine presence and relished in this sacred moment. I experienced the love of being my own “best friend.” It was as if the self-compassion and self-love clicked into a permanent place of celebration and infinite joy. I melted and softened even more as I stood gazing in that mirror. I passed a test, became whole again, and the love for myself, and ALL of who I am, became boundless, limitless, and immeasurable. It was sacred love.
Today, when I look into the mirror, I am aware of the nice scar that will line my forehead. I’ll consider it a “battle scar.” The self-limiting battle of self-criticism and self-rejection is OVER, and I won! I will wear the mark proudly as I have no room for self-limiting battles, vanity distractions, or ego blocks to divert me from this infinite, sacred love. I have divine purpose in this life and this experience has opened me to the fullness and greatness of who I am.
Fruit is supposed to be sweet, right? Well, sometimes. Red juicy strawberries are amazing. I love red juicy strawberries. But sometimes, they are tart. My mother-in-law sprinkles them with sugar. Actually, if truth were told, there’s no “sprinkling.” She slices them and covers them with lots of sugar!
Bananas always did well at our house when the kids were home. I like them firm and on the greener side. My husband and boys like them when they start getting brown spots. And, my daughter loves them ripe. I’m not fond of the soft, mushy, super-sweet bananas. But it didn’t matter, because if they got to that stage and my daughter wasn’t around to enjoy them, they would get put in the freezer for the next loaf of banana bread. Apples are the same. We all have different favorites. I like my apples firm and crisp with a juicy, sweet-tart combination. I used to think the redder the apple the better, but that just isn’t true. Again, I’m not fond of the soft, mushy apples.
I’ve been eating a lot of blueberries this summer. This past weekend, I mindfully observed myself reaching for the larger berries first. And then I would eat the smaller ones in descending order – from biggest to smallest. I learned a lot from the berries. First, the larger ones aren’t necessarily the sweetest. “The bigger the better” is NOT true. I found large berries that were tart, sweet, and variations between. And the same is true for the smallest berries. Some of the smallest berries were succulent and heavenly. Why do I reach for the large ones first?
Until this past weekend, I have never eaten a blueberry that was smashed or broken open. Maybe it’s partly because I don’t want to stain anything. But mostly, it’s the reason I mentioned: I’m not fond of soft, mushy fruit. Soft and mushy usually grosses me out! However, everything changed when I accidently put a soft and mushy, broken-open blueberry in my mouth. It was stuck to one of those big berries and I didn’t see it. Instantly, when I felt the soft and mushy texture, I wanted to cringe. However, something amazing happened. The broken-open blueberry captured my attention with its sweet, pleasurable “real blueberry” flavor. It was as if I tasted a REAL blueberry for the first time. Yum!
Sometimes life is like that. Some of our experiences are on the firm and green side. Some are tart; others are sweet. Some are big; others are small. But it’s those times when we surrender and allow ourselves to be broken open that show us what we’re really made of – our true essence. I’ve been broken open many times in my life. As I think back on my journey, I remember the times I tried to put myself back together as quickly as I thought I could. It never really worked. There were other times when I was disgusted at the “soft and mushy” parts of me. Similar to that of fruit, I would try to throw away the soft and mushy, broken-open pieces of me. Discard them. I was broken… I must be garbage… disgusting. That never really worked, either. And then there were the times when I left my broken open self un-attended, and the soft and mushy quickly turned to mold. Yuk. That just left an unpleasant odor in my life. It’s sad… I didn’t realize the sweet essence of ME that was begging to be tasted.
I’ve been broken open again, and the experience this time is so different. The sweet nectar of the real me is a delicious new experience. I’m playing in the soft and mushy essence of divinity expressing itself through me. It’s messy and mushy and sweet. I am delighting in all the new ways of being. There’s no form and I’m not “broken,” I’m just perfectly “broken open.” Drinking in the joy of my true essence, I experience the fullness of who I really am. Maybe I’ve never before been truly developed to the point of readiness for the harvest of my full, mature, rich life. But in this moment, the suitable time has arrived, and breaking open feels like the perfect gesture to honor the season of my soul’s ripe journey. There’s nothing to put back together – to fix. There’s nothing to throw away – no garbage. There’s nothing stinky or moldy – I’m not spoiled. It is just the pure, blissful essence of the REAL me spilling out and expressing itself in the world.
Life is sweet… Break open!
Yesterday, I was driving from Colorado to Nebraska and the song Beautiful Boy by John Lennon came on my playlist. The sweet voice of Lennon singing, “Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful… beautiful boy,” pierced my consciousness and I began to ponder gender roles. I recalled the “beautiful boy” I had the opportunity to share my weekend with. He had soft strawberry blonde hair, a creamy sweet complexion, and the most magnetic, enchanting blue eyes. His tender, shy demeanor was captivating as he tried to disappear from attention. Yet, his icy blue eyes and celestial grin demanded a second and third gaze. He was a beautiful boy!
Following our timid introduction, the rough and tough wild boys showed up and consumed the time and space. The sporty, cool elder boy was there to host his cousins and keep the younger lads in check. And the youngest of the bunch, with his frenetic energy, kept things moving in a fast and furious manner. There was an abundance of the “stereotypical” rough and tough exuberant boy energy, and yet this beautiful-boy-magic continued to demand my attention. English poet Robert Southey (1774-1843) wrote, “Frogs and snails, and puppy-dog tails and such are little boys made of.” He continued by saying girls are made of “Sugar and spice and all things nice.” When did we create this epic story of gender specific stereotyping and for what purposes, I wondered? Boys are to be tough. Girls are to be tender. Period?
As I continued to gaze into his beautiful-boy-essence with my eyes wide open in amazement and wonder, I felt a calming sense of hope and inspiration. The world is changing and as the new consciousness emerges, we are wrapped in a nurturing awareness that has room for new definitions, perceptions, and descriptions. There is room for the masculine and feminine energies to mingle, blend, weave together, and balance in an appealing, aesthetic tapestry of our oneness. There’s no need to fear. The shift in consciousness will not stamp out or eradicate either masculine or feminine. It simply makes room for the true beauty of our wholeness to shine in the fullest expression of our exquisite creation. We are both puppy-dog-tail rugged with a sugar-and-spice-nice twist. We are a beautiful blend of both… a curious amalgam of tough and tender. It is time to embrace the feminine and create a new humanity based on harmonious balance and respect. In the acceptance of our true nature, we are both the feminine and masculine expression of the divine. We are beautiful binary beings. My beautiful boy was not a stereotype or label. His luminous presence of radiant wholeness was mortal perfection in it’s fullest expression.
Thanks for the lesson, beautiful, beautiful, beautiful… beautiful boy!