Sunday, June 4, 2017

"A Rose By Any Other Name..."

The power of words. This quote from the play" Romeo and Juliet" was written 400 years ago. It is still quoted today for how powerful it is. These were words that Juliet said when confronted by the fact that because Romeo was a Montegue, she should shun him and her love for him. His name mattered not to her, what mattered was the love they felt for one another. "A rose by any other name  would smell as sweet". What infinite wisdom did this young woman have. She knew that a word/name had no meaning to the power of Love. She was willing to die for her Love. Imagine having that much faith today.

I relate this to my faith. My long search for meaning. I have been a traveler for truth. I have always known I was guided. I have always known there was a power greater than myself. I have known It to be named God, Goddess, Spirit, Universe, Buddha, Allah, Hu, Angels, Jesus, Yahweh, Creator, the Divine, Father, Mind, Soul, Life, Grace and more. God, by any other name, is still God. A Power beyond ourselves.I care not which one is used. I am open to that Voice inside me now.

We are guided. He is the tiny voice inside us that says, 'Yes' when we are unsure. She is who affirms our right decisions with a swish of sweet feeling in our hearts. He is who we called to in those events when we think we cannot take another moment and we cry out His name and ask for help. And are answered. If only we would ask more often and sooner and avoid unneeded  fear, sadness and pain. 

In the depths of sadness after my Mother passed, in the middle of a snowstorm with my heart filled to the blink with confusion, fear, sadness, resentment, blame, anger, I stepped out into the storm and raged. I cried, I screamed, I asked the universal question , "WHY?!?!?" until I had no more in me and I asked for help. "God, help me", I said, "please help me, I cannot do this anymore, I cannot go on this way, with this burden of unhappiness and misunderstanding. Help me, please God". I walked inside, I took off my clothes and I went to bed. I slept as though I'd been through a storm and I woke cleansed. I felt that a great weight had been lifted and that I was finally seeing Light in my darkness. Within the week, I was introduced to the opportunity to begin The Course in Miracles. She'd heard my prayer.

Maybe I have told this story before. It is important in so many ways. Miracles happen. We have to be open to them. If we carry the burdens of the past along with us everyday, we are blocking all the possibilities today. We can say the words, we can remind ourselves of the past  to pretend that we are getting the Now, but, ultimately, to be healed and whole we must let go. I had to let go of the grief, the misunderstanding, and see past the behavior to the true essence of the Love in all of us. At first, it took tiny steps. Looking at small grievances and looking for understanding there. Trying to see each situation through someone else's eyes. How would my mom look at this? How would a friend advise me on this? How would Goddess want me to see this? What if how I was looking at it was wrong?

There is a purity that came from this time in my life, what I call my three years of grief and growth. The studying of The Course in Miracles brought understanding. The connecting to the Divine through prayer, contemplation, study and yoga were the steps. The re-examination of past events and finding the Grace in them, showed me what I missed by being attached to the meanings I gave them. And then forgiving myself or the others and moving on. I would ask myself, "why should I forgive them?????' and the answer would come. "Because it is time, the weight has been much to bear and it no longer serves." It reminds me of the fabulous pictures of the people of India releasing the flower and candle bouquets to the Ganges River. Or blowing a Dandelion to the wind. Or writing a letter and then burning it and burying the ashes, like old lovers, in the yard. Creating ceremony for the past and letting it go so I can make room for a more peaceful approach to my Life. 

Roses are in bloom here. I smell them and find the small differences in their scent. I see the beauty and light in them as part of God's plan for salvation and peace. I stay away from that which does not serve the greater good. I pray for the children. I pray for Love to overtake those in need. I send Light and Love to everyone who reads this blog. And to the million of women who walked their talk in Washington in funny pink hats! God Bless!!

Sunday, May 14, 2017

My Mother's day

Happy Mother's Day to my Goddess friends! 

I hope that you are surrounded by love and light from family and loved ones  or, like me, you are infused with the love of all the women in the world loving you from near and far.  I send out love and light to you all. As I sit here at my computer in Hood River I look through the eyes of love to every family I see walking by. 

I think back with enormous gratitude for all the beautiful births I witnessed and the power of women that were becoming mother's for the first time as well as again. What a gift!!!! Every single person I see came from a mother, a Goddess, a believer, a saint, someone who looked down upon them at their birth with awe and love and connection. In thirty plus years I rarely saw anything else. Those magic moments being present to the Goddess in each one, I am eternally grateful to each woman for the courage and strength it takes to give birth to another human spirit.

Motherhood evaded me, it was not my plan, I thought I'd have a bucket of kids. Not that I did not love a bundle of them, oh yes I did. I thank my friends and family for sharing their babies with me. I learned so much from these sweet children, I learned about the love of a child. I learned the preciousness of a tender hug, a sigh of release after a tearful tumble, the sweet smell of a tired child in my arms. Yes, I loved me a few!!

 And life happened, I moved around the country,  I had freedom to travel and see the world. It was what I worked for, to see, to learn, to experience life in other countries  and through books, each countries history. I admired art in every country from museums to street art, beads, etchings, paintings, tiles, pottery, jewelry. My home a collection of my memories and experiences. I followed a path to spiritual awakening, and I began to understand the world I inhabit. I shared this all with my mom. We shared many things.

She was a risk taker, too. She courageously met and married a man who lived in Central America, he was a pilot (as was her stepfather and stepbrother) and she moved to Nicaragua. Brave! For the next fourteen years she lived and brought to this world four children. And when it was not enough, she left him with her four children and moved home to Miami, got a job driving a school bus and soon became the first woman realtor in Miami. She pursued her love of art taking oil and acrylic paint classes at night. 

My mom had secrets. Unhappy events that molded her. It gave her a rough edge, which showed up in her child-rearing. It was difficult to understand her as a young woman and the result was conflict and alienation. 

Yet, looking back she always got me. She was hard on me, but she was  my "go to" shoulder to cry on. She was so smart. Yet, she was the product of the events of her life and unlike me she developed a strong shell. I was always transparent and "sensitive", as though this was a dis-ease. It wasn't until later in my life that I saw this "sensitivity " for what it was. A Gift. The ability to feel deeply. But, in the beginning nothing but shame was attached to it. And fear, as I was also very sensitive to other peoples feeling, even when they weren't.
From as far back as I can remember, I felt bruised by words and actions of others until I embraced this gift. I realized that in my sensitivity was my strength.

I see now that she did the best she could. And I couldn't be more grateful for the good times. And through my spiritual learning there is nothing that ever happened that was beyond forgiving. Nothing. It just was what it was. My mom was brilliant, she was funny, elegant, an artist, someone I always admired as did many other Goddesses. And I miss her deeply.

So today I celebrate my Mom! May she rest in Peace and Love. May she live in my heart forever. May she know that I loved her to the best of my ability and I thank her for bringing me to this earth at this time. I thank her for my looks :), my travel addiction, my Art background, my strength and whether she likes it or not, my sensitivity.
 Love and Light to you Mom! Happy Mother's Day!

Monday, March 27, 2017

The Stories....

"Spiritual growth involves giving up the stories of your past so the universe can write a new one. You are not denying your childhood; you're simply transcending any of its negative aspects."
 These words are written by Marianne Williamson in her book "The Law of Divine Compensation". I was moved by them this morning.

 So many of us think we have this huge bag of rocks of events that happened to us in our past that are responsible for all the things that are happening to us today when in fact they are just stories. They no longer have any real meaning other than the meaning we have attached to them. And we convert meaning into feeling.

There comes a time in our lives when we must set aside the bag of rocks-maybe create a rock garden, maybe bury the rocks but at some point we need to let go of the stories and move on into our real life. this is a difficult task, I know I've done the work. But the outcome is the whole opening of our hearts. The freedom to feel the love that is around us. The freedom to extend the love within us to others. Every event and every story that we create about our past is a brick in the invisible wall that we surround ourselves with. It makes it difficult for love to flow in and to flow out.

Sometimes it takes baby steps, yet every step towards love is huge. Learning to have compassion and love for ourselves and others even in the face of diversity and anger and resentment changes the world. And each time we remove a brick from that invisible wall the wall becomes less powerful. And as we take each brick and look at it and examine it and find the goodness in it we can set it down. The wall becomes weaker the love become stronger. The strings that bind our hearts begin to break and we begin to let go of the stories, take the gifts from the events and move forward in our lives. We see the miracles. It might be at the grocery store, it might be with a new friend but we see the miracles because we've let go of that which no longer serves. When we are open Love flows, when we are closed Love is blocked. This is the origin of pain, these blocked places in our bodies and souls. Miracles can only occur through the eyes of Love.

So, open up and open out. Spread your arms out to the Universe and God and let it flow. Feel the sun on your face, the breeze brush your cheeks and be open to the flow of Love now. Be in Gratitude for all the Miracles in your life. Be the Miracle in someone else's life by flowing Love their way! Amen!

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Our Republican Sisters

A friend called me recently. She was very upset. She was almost estranged from her family because of her views on politics. She was almost angry but more than that, she wanted to understand how and why they could not see what so many of us see in the present president.

I remember waking up the day of the election. I didn't know the results yet, but somehow I felt so heavy. And of course when I found out the weight of me could hardly get out of bed. But what I found fascinating was how many other people, many my women friends, felt the weight of it as well and somehow felt it was our fault or responsibility. Imagine the power we have in sensing our sisters this way. We were united in this feeling.

Suddenly there was rumbling among the masses. Protests by high school students and the LBGT  community, women were marching in the millions. People of all races were standing up. Something in our great country had changed. The question is- had it changed for the better or the worse.

The cries that call to me the most is how do we talk to our Republican sisters. How do we make sense of it. One thing is certain- sometimes we do not get to understand why people think the way they do. That does not preclude us from understanding that by loving them and allowing our differences to just be, we can get closer to them. Just because other people don't like what we're saying doesn't mean it's wrong. And that goes both ways. Our reality may not be their reality. And judging them invites them to judge us and that create separation.

If we want to reach our sisters we must let go of judgment. For judgment is separation. How do we do that? By coming from a space of love regardless of our conflict and ideas. Be the love you want to see in them. Communicate from the spiritual depth of who you really are. Know that unkind words and actions are of the mind of a body in pain. We cannot reach them by attacking them. We can only reach them by being respectful and having faith in their journey.

"We do not heal by pointing outward we heal by the pointing inward. To recognize where we ourselves need to atone and be made aware."- Marianne Williamson.

What does that look like? Sometimes by simply saying "I'm sorry you feel that way" can lead to opening communication. Sometimes by just agreeing to disagree and loving anyway can lead to a better understanding and an openness to listen. We are not at war with our sisters so put down your swords and open your hearts and love them. Accept that you may not agree with them but we are not at war with our sisters. It is our job as women to love one another and to be respectful and show them the way by our actions.  In so doing we allow them to open their hearts as well. And so the world is healed.

Have faith my Sisters and Goddesses!

Saturday, January 14, 2017

My Path all along

I can't say how long I have known that my path has to do with God. But I have known this for a long time. I called it many things; Spirit, Oneness, Goddess, a Higher Power and more. But I have always known that there is a path and I wanted to be on it. Where it got difficult was how others felt about it. Because, I thought that what others thought about me mattered-for years. And so I veered off the path here and there. I questioned my beliefs, my thoughts, my reality. I wondered, "am I wrong, am I fucked up, why does this seem so wrong to them, what if I am wrong, what if God does not exist?" But, I keep coming back to the Path.

Why didn't I just put the gauntlet down? Why didn't I get it, what others told me about what to believe or not believe? What have  I been searching for? From when I was a child in Miami at The Little Flower Catholic Church where I received my Holy Communion. I was fascinated  by God. I wanted to be a Nun for a time, then I wanted to be an Astronaut. But when I committed my first documentable sin, I was lost. It was a simple thing, I was walking along the sidewalk one day and I saw this beautiful Hibiscus and I plucked it off its limb-just like that. And suddenly, I thought, "oh no, I have broken the seventh commandment "Thou shall not steal". What do I do now? Do I throw it away? Do I keep it? Do I hide it? I remember it so well. I was 7 years old. I was a sinner. I was going to hell.

Catholicism mattered to me. I loved going to Mass and being able to recite it. When we lived in San Juan I went to Catholic school (Spanish speaking) and I learned to recite it in Spanish as well as Latin. The churches were so beautiful there with life size statues of the Virgen Mary and the Christ Child. Each week the Christ Child would be dressed in the same robes as the Priest. The windows streamed with color and light. The statues bled. I felt the connection to God there.

But something changed when we moved back to the states. The church there in Naples seemed so sterile. St Ann's was a round church and the Cross of Jesus was just a big gold cross, there were no bleeding figures or baby Jesus statues. It did not feel right to me. So, I played hooky, hung outside through  the service and got caught. My parents did not attend, my brother and I just walked to church on Sunday mornings by ourselves. We would just hang out outside until the service was over and walk home. One day a priest came up and asked us what we were doing. He was really nice and not threatening. We told him it didn't feel right here. He asked us , "what would you like to be doing to celebrate God this morning?" We said, " Go to the beach"? "Then go, celebrate there and be in gratitude of His gifts".

When I got to college much about what I knew about the church had changed. The Catholic church had rules that I did not think that God would really send down. Not the God I knew. I stopped going except for holidays. I asked questions, I got "Spiritual". I Read "Be Here Now".  I listened to the Beatles after they returned for India, their music moved me with their sitars and psychedelics. Yet I was trying to make my way in the world and conforming became the norm. So I sucked in my curiosity and followed the fun. I moved away from God for a while, but not from the search.

I hung with cool people who said, God is dead. I bought into it. I let go of the traditional God. I learned about Buddha. I fell for the 100+ Gods of the Hindu. I searched the Inner Child. I listened to Wayne Dyer, Depok Chopra, Marianne Williamson. I got curious about who I am. I read Byron Katie, more Marianne, Ekard Tolle, Carolyn Myss, and so many more. I was looking for the God/Goddess in me.

I became involved with the Oneness movement. I became a Deeksha giver. Now there was a feeling of Godliness. Suddenly, I started to feel alive in a different way from Martini's and good food.
I felt like I had been given the privilege to channel God's Light. Something in me cracked open. I did not know if I was seeping out or the world was moving in. But, God mattered now.

When my Mother passed I nearly died.No matter how much I prepared for this inevitable event, no matter the hardship we had been through as mother and daughter, nothing prepared me for the overwhelming sorrow I experienced. And the loss. Not just of her but of what had been my family. What had been my friends. It was a crushing and numbing blow. I could barely stand up. I had none of my power, my strength, my gumption, my get-it-done.  I had and was -nothing. I was alone up in the hills of Mosier. Fulfilled  to get one thing done a day.

And I was still searching. I read my Marianne books and decided that I wanted to find A Course in Miracles and six months after mom passed a class became available. I jumped in. I did my lessons each morning before I left the house. And slowly the pain eased. I felt able to connect to others, in particular my yoga group of Dudes. I felt as though I was coming up for air after a long, deep dive into murky waters. The simple gift of kindness demonstrated by my group was amazing in simplicity. And the course was opening my heart to forgiveness.

The Course changed me, it opened me up to love and forgiveness and faith. After my mom passed, I did not think I could ever survive the betrayal I felt. But the Course taught me that to hold all that, would never free me and that only in asking for atonement would I ever be at peace. And  by surrendering my unhappiness and disappointment and fear, would I ever be present to the love available all around me. I have looked back at my life and know that this has been all I have ever wanted. To love. To love the beauty in the world, in all those babies I witnessed being born, to all the sweet laughter of children, to love people just because I can. I was never wrong in this, just off the path. I thought that what other people thought about me mattered. I thought I was too sensitive, when I was just gifted with sensitivity. I thought I was not like other people, I was different in a bad way, when all I was was just like them in search for a more profound meaning in my life.

As a child I wanted to be wise, like my father, and now I am. I own it, my knowledge about many things is endless and available. I did not live this life with my eyes closed, with my hands over my ears. I have been awake all along. I have been paying attention. And it all brings me to the now, the present that which matters, that which I have control over. This is all there is in this lifetime. And I am loving it and every other person, sight, sound I can. Just because-I can.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Turning back Time vs Letting Go

Turning back time is the equivalent of living in the past. Turning back time is like inviting back the lessons we refused to learn. Play that experience over and over until we get it. Living in our past beliefs. By living from the past, by reference or constant reminders, we cannot be present to the moments we live in the NOW. We see all things through the eyes of our past experiences  rather than the clear eyes of the present moment. The rose colored glasses thing. But here is something to think about, the pain of the past has no place in the present. It is over. 
Have you every met someone who constantly brings up stuff that happened in the past. The conversation might start , "yeah, I know what you mean. When I was seven, I fell off my bike, broke my arm and I decided, that's it, I am never going to get on a bike again. Yeah they're dangerous!!" Or, and this is my favorite, "ALL men are jerks. And I should know, I've dated a lot of JERKS." Or how about, "I've learned my lesson on trusting people, you need to be worried that people will take advantage of you." 
In our search for meaning in the world we have short circuited reality by constantly going into our past for answers. And, sure, if you put your hand on a hot stove and get burned your lesson is "don't put your hand on a hot stove". It is not , "never go to the stove for warmth, to make dinner, to bake cookies". The lesson is that you must not put your hand into the fire. You learn it and you move on. 
When I was 10 years old, I went to school in a Spanish Catholic school in San Juan, Puerto Rico. One day while I was running along the sidewalk to school, I ran by a dog who promptly, in his fright, bit me. Not hard, but it was frightful to me and I decided that I did not like dogs. I was not so much afraid of them, I did not trust them. I could get bit again. That belief worked for me until I was in my thirties and I kept meeting people with these lovely dogs and I could not hold on any more to my past concept of dogs as being mean, scary or constant biters. I had to let go of that past experience and just love dogs, who, for the most part would die for their masters/mistresses. These creatures of unconditional love!
So the pain of the past that creeps up on us when we are in fear, anxiety, depression, anger, or resentment  really serves no one, it causes only self induced unhappiness. It is of the Ego mind, the committee of monkeys, that silly voice that says things to you that hurt. Reminds you of your downfalls. When we find ourselves in pain in the present, most likely it is due to the burden we carry like a bag of rocks on our back from events, thoughts, unclear understandings of the ego mind of our past. Some days we just need to put that bag of rocks down a while and walk around without it. It is what one means when we say, "Let it go".  It is what the Course means when it says, "Surrender it to the Holy Spirit". 
My mom passed away three years ago around this very time. The event was an painful one, not because of her, but because of the effects of grief on a family. Although I thought myself to be prepared for her passing, I was not prepared for depth of my loss and the guilt. I had not remembered the strength of our relationship, that she was my closest confidant and I could not talk to her about this, that she was no longer a phone call away. I remember I was living at a friends vacation home in Mosier, Oregon. I was alone there. I could not sleep for more that a few hours a night so I was exhausted all the time. And my mind was so mixed up that the Ego mind had filled in the void with negative thoughts about who I was and how I was as a daughter. I lost weight, I cried a lot, I had no appetite, I drank ,I kept asking "why, why do I have to suffer so, why did my so-called family fall apart over this, why can't I handle this". One exceptionally sad night, the snow was blinding outside, I went out in my pajamas and let lose on God. I raged, I screamed, I begged to understand and finally, I let go. I surrendered to God. I cried until I was empty. I went inside and for the first time in the three months since her passing, I slept solidly through the night. It was a turning point for me. I was willing to look at all of it differently. I took little steps forward and some backward, but I knew that I needed to look with an open heart at where I was in each moment. I needed to be in gratitude for the awesome lessons I'd learned from my mom and I had to be present with my sadness. I did not want to fall into the false security of pharma. I wanted to grow from my sorrow. So I had to be present with it. I called what it was, be it sadness, pain, guilt,or sorrow. Some days, I could barely get out of bed and my goal for the day might be to walk around the property once. The deep snow helped and some days I'd cry all through my walk. I kept giving myself permission to just be with the sorrow of the moment. And I began to heal. And I began to open up and let others into my sadness and I was surprised at the people that shared with me their understanding and their strength. 
Today, I am stronger for this. Today we say, No Pain No Gain. It is kind of scary to think about it, but, it is through our trials and tribulations that we grow and let go. Letting go of what does not serve us. It is where we learn to get more out of the where we are. 
Take a moment now and step outside. Get present with the beauty that is available to you and get present with it. Breathe, smile, feel the air, smell the world, listen to the trees. Just be there.
   Dear One,                                                                                                                                        
Today I surrender my doubts, my sorrow, my resentment to You.  I ask that you clear the way for me to see, hear, feel and know the beauty of this moment. Please remind me often of this gift                                    so that I may be present for myself and for others.
                                                                   I surrender!
Love and Light,  Cis

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Understanding a conflicted sister

The mind of God has no conflict. It is of Love. So, what happens when we find ourselves in huge conflict about loving someone we can't forgive?

Family conflict and marriage conflicts seem insurmountable. We say, "how can they have done that, how can I ever forgive that". And from that moment on we define the culprit by that particular action. We forget every bit of love, kindness, laughter, fun, compassion they ever showed us up until now and we condemn them forever. Funny.

I remember speaking to a friend a few years ago as she was reaching the end of her marriage. She was bitter and angry as many of us are at infidelity. And I asked her, "what about the other 23 years, was he a good husband and father? Do you remember that moment when he looked into your eyes when your first child was born? The love that he had for you?" "Can you really negate all of that because he created a way for you to be free ?" My experience had been that her husband was fun, pushy, but he kept her safe for so many years and he was an outstanding father. And though I do not think infidelity is a smart move in building a family, I do not think it warrants hate and bitterness and an ugly divorce which can have repercussions on the whole family. I think she got it, and as she proceeded through the divorce she realized that his behavior had nothing to do with her, that he made choices that only he had to live with and that she was free to be who she was-a goddess of love and kindness. That he would walk away from that was not her problem. And she was able to let him go-to forgive him. She did not have to like him she just had to see that it was okay to let it go. For the good of all.

People are defined by their behavior more often that by who they really are. Where we feel conflict we are not seeing the love. It seems hard sometimes to see this, I know, but when we look beyond a person's behavior we will see that we are all alike, we all came into the world hungry for love. I birthed babies for over 30 years, not a one of them came into the world looking for trouble. They came in awe, little sponges of love. What they became is what they were taught or what they witnessed. And it is not who they are at the core. People are not their behavior and when we understand this, we can see through their bull shit and see the pain, the sadness, the cry for love.

Lately  I have noticed that the media is linking love to Oxytocin as though that is the only thing that creates love in a mother, "she is filled with oxytocin". Really? So, it is a chemical that makes us feel love and now we can get a dose from our doctor?

Love is of God and the Spirit. And the more you Love the more you receive Love. If your oxytocin levels elevate when you feel love, which came first-the love or the drug?

Love is not a chemical. It is a complete mind/heart experience, a connection to a higher power, to God, Spirit, to the All. And the more you find to Love in the world, the more Love will find you. Think about it, you love your partner deeply (where is that?), you love your babies (unfathomable how deeply), you love the smell of roses, the skin of your lover, the sound of the ocean, the feel of soft sand under your feet. Love is available everywhere you are, whenever you want it. You only need to set aside your ego mind and be present.  And in doing so, we open up to the ability to find the good in others, even in their bad behavior moments. You don't have to like their behavior, their bitterness, anger, resentment or pain, but in order to create change you must look to their deeper self, the child in them and know that there is love there waiting to be recognized. You chose to be more open to Love and be loved. Go out there and look for it in everything. Look at strangers, the grocery cashier, the gas station attendant. Love is there. And the more you recognize it, the more love you will attract into your life. God Bless!!