How to Love YourSelf

Relationships have been my greatest teacher in this life. The Divine has used relationships to help me see myself more clearly. It could be argued that the reason for this is because I’ve always been in one!

As I felt this one winding down, I wondered what a relationship with mySelf would look like.

Immediately, Walt Disney took over and I started thinking about rings and ceremonies and honeymoons. Where would I take myself? Should I tattoo my ring on to signify the permanent commitment I was making to myself? And the vows! They were going to be awesome!

The thing that happens when I veer off track like this, is that God distracts me. Or maybe Mrs. Beigh was right in first grade and I just really do have a short attention span. In either case, I lost interest in my upcoming wedding to myself.

But the magic of offering it all to the Divine, is that She can very artfully and gracefully bring it around to the back of the house to introduce it in a whole new way. This time by whispering to me through dreams about an inner child I had totally abandoned.

This dream is recurring and has really freaked me out. I am always just realizing I left a child or a pet somewhere and forgot to take care of it.

I had a version of this dream twice in one week. And the thing is; once you offer something, it’s kind of important to pay attention to the answers you get.

So, I acknowledged the message. Even though I didn’t really understand what to do about it. My prayers are usually pretty off the cuff, so it was something like this…

“Okay, Divine. I can see you’re giving me this message about abandoning my inner kid. Thank you for being so persistent. And thank you for it being dreams. You know how I love dreams. But, if there is something specific I need to do, please make it clear to me. I’m so available for this growth. Use me for the Highest Good.”

Then the little signs started showing up. Little synchronicities that alone don’t mean anything, but if I’m paying attention, mean everything…

I found my second grade silhouette. And I thought “I really want to remake that and feel the Light I know is in that girl.”

My nieces were on my mind… I kept thinking I wanted to let them know I’m always here for them as they enter high school. Mostly to let them know that even though there will be many opportunities for them to feel like they’re not enough, that is an illusion that if they call on me, I can very quickly dispel.

One of my daughters felt “off” to me. I thought “In those instances, what would I have wanted my mom to say to me?”

I know what you’re thinking… these aren’t signs, they’re thoughts. Yes. And no. Our brains get a bad rap these days. We’re always encouraged to get out of our heads; and I agree. I spend a lot of time out of my head.

But if you’re living a life where you’re offering it all to the Divine, to the Universe, to God, to Whomever you embrace as your Higher Power, then a thought isn’t always a thought. Especially when the “thought” feels spacious and creative and full of Love.

 

These nudges from Spirit all fell within a week or so of each other. Another important aspect of it for me is that I acted on some of the nudges. I re-painted my seven-year-old silhouette; found the Light in her. I reached out to my daughter. I made a plan to reach out to my nieces. Following the Guidance keeps you and God talking. It keeps the conversation from being one sided. This is how I see it.

 

The next thought was ~  “I haven’t posted anything about this life of offering for a long time.” And as I looked at my last post and remembered what was happening when  I wrote it, I remembered the relationship I wanted to forge with myself.

But this time, all of the inner kid dreams had happened. And the reaching out to my own inner kid and some real kids in my life.

And it was clear.

This relationship with myself isn’t about what I need as a fifty-three year old woman… at least not exclusively. It is about that inner kid I’ve locked in a room for safe keeping and forgot to come back for.

When I asked God this morning “Which kid? Where do I begin coming back to myself?”

I just knew. “You come back to the first time you felt abandoned. The first time you felt less than Loved.”

When I closed my eyes and reached for her, this is who I found…

Day One Week Old

 

“Dear One,

I am so glad you’re here. I’ve been waiting for you for a hundred lifetimes.

You are my deepest Love. More than that.. You are Love itself.

You are the most Sacred of gifts, and I am so grateful you’re mine.

I love the weight of you, the way you feel against my heart. It is the feeling of coming Home.

As I look down at you nestled peacefully in my arms, I see the magic of God in your eyes, and I am filled with wonder.

You can rest in me. You will always have me. You are mine as I am Yours.”

Advertisements

The Life of Offering…

She was thirteen when she realized she was pretty.

She was fifty-three the day she was overcome with a sadness she recognized but couldn’t name.

She wept. Right there in her living room while brilliant, warm sunlight poured through the giant picture window.

She was unafraid of drowning.

This is how a life of offering is unfolding for me.

It seems to come with a presence of soul. An ability to allow whatever comes up to just “Be” as fully as it is intended to be. So, when sadness bubbles up, I’m unafraid of drowning. And when Michael Franti sings “Hey, Now, Now” ~ I dance. With all the joy, no matter where I am. That, to me is the best of a life of offering. All the feels. Without fear of drowning in any of them.

As I’ve been making my way to and through the ending of a marriage, I’ve offered the situation to Divine Love every day. Sometimes in every moment of every day.  It might not be the ritual that one would expect of offering. I’m not so much begging for help, although that does happen, but I’m offering mySelf to the Divine. My Whole Self.

While I have been all stages of desperate for answers about how this will unfold, I’ve also yearned in a very real way for the Highest Good to come from this experience. I don’t just say “Divine Beloved, I offer this whole sticky mess to you to deal with. Free me from this situation. Thank you very much.”

My prayers have been more.

“Divine Beloved, please change me into One who can trust Your timing in this. Let me rest in this sea of not knowing what is to come. Let me be kind, truly kind to myself and to others. Change me into One who remembers to breathe and stay present so I can see the path when the time is right.”  And all kinds of shorter, prayers like “Let the Highest begin to occur in this life…”

I knew without question this relationship had something to show me. It has always been one of my greatest teachers, but I could feel change coming like a locomotive. I knew it would be big change, but I wasn’t so bold to believe I knew what it would be. You can never turn your back on change thinking you know how she’ll present herself.

When things in our house would get so tense that I would beg God for relief, beg for the next step to be shown, I was always given the “caution”, “wait”, “slow” sign. It was so frustrating at times. But the signs were always so clear. I couldn’t ignore them. Once when I said “Okay God, this is unbearable. I’m taking this to mean that I should go. I’m leaving this house. I’ve made a decision. If I’m about to do something stupid, please stop me.” Thirty minutes later, I’m shopping and every aisle I turn down is blocked. No joke. Blocked. By people who don’t even seem to notice me, let alone make room for me to pass. After a solid ten minutes of this, I just laughed. “Okay. Point taken.”

The way things finally unfolded between us was so much more than the beginning of the end of a marriage. It was like a bright light was being shone on my entire life. It was an instant “knowing” of all the ways I’d orchestrated this very moment long before we had ever met.

The things I decided about myself when I was thirteen were visiting me today. So were all the ways over the last twenty-three years of our relationship that I put space between us without meaning to. Or, maybe I did mean to.  There’s also an incident of immediate karma that I’ll share when it stings a little less. When I can more readily see the humor. Because it is actually funny ~ in the most humiliating way. This immediate karma is, I believe, one of the big reasons it was important to wait.

I am resting in the unknown right now. Waiting ~ mostly patiently for a clear path to appear. My cat and me in an upstairs room in a chateau in magical McDonald Forest. All I know for sure right now is that I feel a deep and abiding faith that even in this sad ending, scary unknown, all really is well.

The Last Place I Saw God

When we misplace something, the first thing we usually do is trace our steps back to the last time we remember having it. But, what if you don’t remember having it? Like our seemingly unending search for God; it’s not as if we lost Him.

Or did we?

Tosha Silver leads her students through a meditation to reclaim the Throne of our Hearts. The first few times I relaxed into this meditation, I so wanted to reclaim a throne.  I mean, who doesn’t want to sit on a throne? When I closed my eyes,  I could easily see a throne… it just wasn’t my throne. I think it may have belonged to the Empress on The Neverending Story. I tried many thrones from many movies, but none of them felt right. It was forced. Fake. I was trying. And in meditation, when you’re trying, nothing happens.

But, when Tosha said “It will feel like plugging into your power”, I knew exactly what this throne looked and felt like.

It was the last place I remember knowing God…

I’ve been visiting this place pretty often these days. It began as a memory, because it is an actual place. I realized not long ago, that the memory of being there had more depth of feeling than other childhood memories. So, out of curiosity, I visited the place in my mind’s eye ~ slowly approaching the yard gate… a gate that has appeared in many recurring dreams over the last fifty years. Interesting, right?

I entered the front yard of my earliest childhood memory. I felt the warmth and rough solidity of the sidewalk beneath my bare feet. I saw the rectangular, white house with its daffodil flower bed acting as a protective threshold.

And I saw the three year-old girl in the shade of the elm tree that reached its lovely branches over the front step. She sat on the bottom step, her knees falling to her right as she faced the screen door.

This is her Throne. As I held her in my mind’s eye, I could feel her. The whole yard was held in the invisible Divine. I felt encompassed by the Love she was bathed in.

She sat, completely immersed in conversation with Spirit. No doubts. No fear. No sadness. Utterly connected to Heaven. As if she was still as much there as here.

She is the One who has been patiently awaiting my return. My three year-old inner kid who knows God. She’s been here all along as I have traveled the path of forgetfulness ~ now and then reminding me with dream images of a yard gate.

Now I visit this place not as a memory, but as the place within me where I am always with God. Where God and I are One. The Throne of my Heart.

Sometimes I bring another of my inner kids to this magical place to be bathed in Divine Love. To a place of remembering their Divinity.

 

 

1965

The sun is hanging low in the brilliant blue October sky. The air, just crisp enough to make him pull on his denim jacket as he leaves the house. With his short legged, brown dog at his heel, he turns to wave at her as she stands watching from the kitchen window.  She had started to pull on her boots and come with him – for the first time in weeks.  He had told her to stay. Even though she said she felt better, he wasn’t convinced.  To him, she appeared a bit tired – and more than a little green around the gills as his dad put it.

Besides, he’s old enough to do chores on his own.  He started 6th grade this year. Next year, he’ll be bused to a bigger school than the community school he’s gone to for the last six years, and in just a couple of weeks he’ll go on his first real hunting trip with his dad. Yes, he’s definitely old enough to feed a few cows by himself.

As he turns the faded green John Deere tractor onto the county road, he laughs at the sight of the brown dog bouncing through the sage brush, hot on the trail of a jack rabbit. “You’re never going to catch one!”, he yells.

When the tractor crests the small rise in the road between the house and the barn, he slows slightly and lets his eyes take in the beauty of Autumn.  Red Winged Blackbirds huddle together on the telephone line that stretches down the dirt road ahead of him.  Soon, they’ll join a larger flock and fly south.  The canyons that creep up the dry, brown hillside are lined in brilliant shades of red and yellow.  Haystacks, square and tall, dot the countryside; proof of the summer’s efforts.  He pulls in a deep, cool breath and sighs with contentment at the sight of his world.

Suddenly, in front of him, the little brown dog. Instinctively, he steps on the clutch and stands on the brakes. The tires skid.  The dog is too close. He cranks the wheel hard to the left.

There is sun and sky, a swirling of dust and the sound of a hundred blackbirds taking flight.

*************************************************************************************

 

 

A vague back ache. Or a damn painful back ache made vague by a perpetual  Valium fog. It had been hanging on for the better part of a day; an irritation mostly, but insistent. And now, at the dinner hour, it begs to be addressed.

This oppressively rainy March day was only the latest in a string of soggy days that had effectively turned the babbling brooks of the small town into raging rivers;  and took what will to live that was left and washed it away.

As the rain smattered the kitchen window, the wind whistled and the cheery yellow and blue valance danced ever so slightly, even though the window was closed.

This house was aged. Single pane windows quivered against the weather.  The wooden floors creaked under the slightest weight; even the svelte brown cat affectionately called “Coffee” as he patrolled.

This house was shelter at best.  It lacked the warmth and comfort necessary in order to feel like a home. It’s true there were braided rugs, house plants, the faint smell of lemon Pledge and a television set that was on more often than not; a source of noise to mask the emptiness that threatened to suffocate all who lived here. But it hadn’t been a home for a long time.

This back ache. She leans against the kitchen counter and curves her belly in toward the small of her back. Only minor relief. As she stands in her kitchen, listening to the wind blow the rain into the window, she lets go the tears again. They fall to the floor unchecked. They never fail her.  The tears need no prompting, only permission to fall. After a few moments of silent crying, she is openly weeping.  Her body wracked with sobs. And the back ache is suddenly more.  More than an irritation, it’s angry and demanding.

She straightens herself, wipes her face with a dish towel and runs a glass of water from the kitchen faucet.  She pops the top off the small, brown prescription bottle that is never far from reach and shakes out into her palm a small, white pill that will end this pain. And maybe the back ache.

Valium helps her sleep. In sleep there is an escape from this unbearable void that has become her life.  Without Valium, the sadness would consume her. There would be no escaping the guilt and agonizing truth that she is to blame for the death of a boy; a boy with blue eyes and blonde hair; hair that was darkening with each passing year so that at the age of eleven, she thought it the color of dirty dish water.  He brought to this house, practical jokes, salamanders, a love of trains and toy tractors – and joy.

He’s been gone for six months now. Sometimes even with the Valium, she sees him in her dreams. It’s worse to dream of him. Waking is to experience the loss of him all over again. It’s dreamless, drug induced sleep she seeks.  But today, this gray day in March, she wakes on the rough, green couch just as a flash of him enters her mind. He is walking away. But pauses to look over his shoulder at her and give a smile and a wave.  She opens her mouth to stop him from leaving; to say “Don’t go.”

She’s awake. A single tear making its way down her cheek. The house is dark except for the blue glow cast by the television. As if on cue, a small, brown dog with sad, brown eyes rises from his position on the floor in front of the couch.  He is now eye to eye with her. His tail thumps the floor twice and he smiles as only dogs do. He lost his boy, just as she did. And after all this time, it’s hard to tell who’s grief is deeper, hers or this little brown dog’s; who still sits and waits for the school bus every day at 3:30 PM.

She doesn’t reach out to him. Doesn’t stroke his head; only swings her legs over the edge of the couch and reaches to turn on a lamp. A stabbing pain grips her low back.

The back door opens, letting in the sound of March.  The dog’s tail thumps twice more and he rises to greet his master.  As the door closes, no one calls out. No words break the silence of the house.

Before the accident, they were a married couple like any other married couple. This was their home. This is where their life played out; when it was good, and when it was less than what they expected it would be. Since the accident, they are trapped here.  Each trapped by memories of the past, and an inability to leave this house where he was alive. Neither has a reason or the strength to speak about the past, or the future they didn’t ask for or want.  She feels his questions sometimes, in the moments that he sits quietly, watching her. He never asks her to talk about the future though, and she’s grateful for his silence.

He uses pot holders to get his dinner plate out of the oven.  He sits alone in the kitchen to eat; only the sad eyed dog quietly sitting vigil at his feet. The sounds of  rain and wind compete with the quiet monologue of the evening news on the television in the next room.

As she does his dishes, he shares the day’s news. It consists of rainfall in inches, a quickly melting snow pack, and how many dollars worth of grain he sold to the local cattle ranchers over the course of his ten hour day. He leaves out the hour he spent unwinding at the bar. He leaves out the stop he made at the liquor store to replenish the brandy supply he keeps hidden at the feed store.

He does not ask about her day. The dark of the house as he drove into the driveway, and her tear stained face tell him that for her, today was the same as yesterday. The same as every day since their boy’s death.

He had disagreed when the doctor wanted to prescribe Valium.  it seemed like a bad idea, insane really. In the end he hadn’t fought it too hard. She had been inconsolable, overcome with anguish. Valium offered her sleep- and him freedom from her steady weeping. So he had relented. And it has numbed the both of them.  Their pain is still there, but dulled for the sake of survival.  he suspects she takes more than anyone knows. He suspects but doesn’t ask.  That would open him up to the hard questions, too.

The rain gets louder on the roof. She turns from the sink and their eyes meet for the first time since he got home.  He can see that she’s in pain. More than heart break; real, physical pain.

He stands so suddenly, his chair topples over backward, sending the brown dog scurrying out of the way.  As he reaches her, her knees buckle and she lets him hold her up. He  so rarely touches her, she feels like a feather in his arms.  He’s startled at her lack of weight. His heart races as he eases her onto a kitchen chair. She says “We need to go to the hospital.”

The rain drenches and the wind whips as they slosh from house to car. The world is absent of light. No moon, no stars, only blackness holding her in its wet, cold embrace.  She lays curled like an infant on the cold blue vinyl of the car’s back seat. With each pothole hit too hard, and corners taken at too high a speed, she takes in a ragged breath. As she tries to steady herself with one foot pressed against the car door, her mind replays the last time she made a trip to the hospital. In the back of an ambulance with her blue eyed boy. She trembled as she held his lifeless hand in hers. She had wanted to light a cigarette to calm her nerves. Too much oxygen. It wasn’t safe. So she had ridden with him, silently willing him to live.

This ride- in this dark cold car bumping down dirt roads with a faulty heater blowing lukewarm air at high speed- this ride was a necessary lie. She knew there was no help at the hospital. She wasn’t meant to survive this. Couldn’t survive this. God wouldn’t ask this of her, too. These moments spent listening to him tell her of river surges, washed out roads and detours, trying to reassure her, all with a tone of suppressed panic… she takes in these moments as her last. Before this dark, stormy spring night is over, she’ll have cried her last tear and breathed her last heartbroken breath.  And she will see him again.

 

He drove through the hundred year flood of that March night, bathed in the blue glow of the car’s instrument panel. He talked to her about the water, about the roads they would certainly find still passable. He talked into the silence. He asked her questions when the silence became too much, just so he would know she was still conscious. Every now and then she would cry softly when she was in pain.

He didn’t usually let himself ask the unanswerable questions. But this night he wondered how they got here. What was the point of all this?

A year ago they had the life they’d wanted. They’d been married twelve years and had a child; their freckled faced, confident, fun loving boy.  When faced with questions from friends and family about when they were going to have more children, she had always answered that their family was perfect just like it was. What more could they want?

Were they being punished for only wanting one child? What kind of god would create this living hell? He wondered bitterly if the doctor should have put him on Valium.

Unanswerable questions should not be asked. He cleared his throat as if doing so would clear out the horror of the last six months.  “We’re here” he said to her as they pulled up to the Emergency Room door. “I’ll get some help.”

As the car door slammed shut, she turned onto her back and stared up at the headliner.  Tears ran from the corners of her eyes into her ears.  She put her hands over her face and wiped her eyes hard.  Just before the orderlies opened the door and helped her into the wheelchair, she whispered into the darkness “I’m sorry I wasn’t strong enough.”

As she disappeared through the double doors, he paced the short waiting room twice and sat down in an uncomfortable and all too familiar chair.

They had waited here. Together with family and a few close friends; they had paced, sat, cried and made promises to an unkind and unjust god.

He had sworn to be a better dad, to be there for his little family. Promised not to sit on a stool at the Office Bar every night after work while his eleven year old son fed cows and chopped fire wood.

That’s where he had been that day. On a bar stool as his son lay dying under the weight of a tractor overturned in a ditch; a little brown dog sitting at his side.

The call had come in for him to meet the ambulance at the hospital. “It’s bad. Don’t waste any time.” his sister had said.

When he’d gotten here, his pale and anxious wife was outside the door- not waiting for him, but greedily smoking a cigarette. Her hands trembled. She paced quickly and was quietly repeating “Please, please, please, please, please…”

 

All of the begging, all of the bargaining fell on god’s deaf ears. It had been too long.  Too long under that weight while his parents had gone about their lives. Too long before help had arrived.

She had collapsed. Had been hysterical then catatonic in a relentless, repeating cycle until the doctor gave her a dose of Valium and sent her home with a renewable prescription; an unending supply.

Had that been a good idea? He wondered again as he sat here waiting for the news that would define his future.  Would it have turned out differently if Valium hadn’t numbed her to the point of apathy and constant sleep? Would she have chosen the future? Would she have chosen a new life?

Just like before, the double doors swing open, revealing a tired looking doctor.  This time he says  “Congratulations, it’s a girl.”

************************************************************************************

Tbis is the story of my birth; my entrance into this world. It seemed so unfortunate for a lot of my life. But as my relationship with Divine Love gets deeper, my entire crazy childhood seems so amazing.

Finding God at the Laundromat

shutterstock_119307400

 

July 9, 2018

In the flow of Divine Love, inspiration is all around. As if I’m swimming in an ocean of possibility and Is-ness ~ a feeling or knowing that everything is already in motion, being created, is already created. Everything just is. In the most reassuring way, even to the point of making faith unnecessary. It feels like Heaven on Earth…

I’m writing this as my clothes are on the spin cycle at my local laundromat. A thing that I intermittently see as a burden and a joy.

I put off coming here because of dread~until I have nothing left to wear. This week I even bought a new pair of jeans because I avoided the laundromat so long. And some days, it’s a zoo in here and I can’t wait to get out. But a lot of days it’s actually great. There are  “Regulars” whose company I enjoy, even if we don’t interact beyond greetings and see you next times.

There’s an older, Hispanic gentleman who I swear is Divine Love Herself. In the brief moments we share our thoughts about the current weather, I feel seen in the most loving and gentle way. The smile that crosses is face when he looks up from his word-find to greet me, holds pure delight. And something that feels like deep recognition. If he looked up one day and said “I know you”, I would have to respond “And I know you”. And nothing more would need to be said.

As I sit with my legs extended on this bench, watching my sheets wad up in the huge dryer, I have never felt more alive, at peace and on fire in my entire life. The deeper I go into offering, the more I understand that often, the situations I offer are transmuted.

When I was first learning about offering and it was more of an intellectual understanding, I felt like if I offered something I was struggling with, that thing would change. For example; the fact that I have no indoor plumbing and have to use a porta potty and the local laundromat. My intellectual understanding told me that if I offered it, Divine Love would orchestrate a plumbing miracle and I would much sooner have indoor plumbing.

I still believe that could happen, if that was the Highest outcome. But what has happened already is that I’ve been changed in such a way that I am able to ~ I even want to stay present in these moments of “in between”. I don’t want to miss a single thing. Even the stuff I dread. Maybe this is one of the joys of a life of offering during a retrograde summer. Maybe I am more patient with what’s happening (and not happening).

I will tell you that before I learned about living in a state of Outrageous Openness           I would have gritted my teeth and “gotten through” this summer, instead of feeling absolutely held in Divine Love even sitting at the laundromat. And really, what could possibly be better than that?