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!!

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Let Love In

Each one of us has the opportunity to carry the burden of the injustice done to us. Some suffer in silence, some act out toward others in rage, some through cruelty and mean spirit. Some act it out in behaviors and habits such as lying, cheating and addictions. Some just shut down never to explore possibilities again. Some stuff it deep.

The adage "Shit happens" is how we superficially let it go if we are cool. Some exam and re-exam the event in question and find ways to simplify the meaning of it. We look to find understanding and the path away from the hurt. Some even get the lesson and can move beyond it to forgiveness and faith.
Terrible things happen in life, but so do unexplainable moments of joy, and yet we spend way more time on that injustice. Strange. Why not carry around that incredible moment when you first look into the eyes of a newborn? Or that instant when you know you have connected with the love of your life?

I have witnessed many marriages come and go as a witness to this weird phenomena. In the end of some of the happiest marriages, I have seen how both parties have absolutely forgotten the good times, the laughter, the magic moments, the joys of parenting, and focused only on behavior that has been blown up to enormous "injustice" which not only destroys the relationship but also the spirit of the children who believed in you.

Who teaches us how to handle "injustices"? Who can help to explain a death of a teen or newborn?How do we learn to find meaning in everything? The movement of spiritualism and return to faith has had a profound effect on many people in this arena. The search for understanding. The search for the strength to find forgiveness. The meaning in "letting go". Creating new meaning  from the old "injustice". Tiny steps toward gratitude for this moment as a result.

Sometimes I remind people that this life they live today, the one with those gorgeous children, or serenity that comes as they create their art, the sweet moments in the early morning light that bring peace, these are the gifts of those injustices. None of it could be possible without the strength you have to move forward from those moments. And when the dust has cleared, the pain lessened, faith returns, we can look back and forgive and let go the "betrayal" and find the gift. Seems a simple answer, yet it only takes a small step at a time until you begin to feel alive again. The sky is bluer, the view brighter and we can live in peace and faith again.

And as we shift the world around us shifts with us. Our peace, love and faith extends outward to others and we help them make this shift as well. And all the injustices of the world lose their power and influence on us.  Have faith, my friends and pray for loving peace in your families, your communities, our country and our world. Let love in.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Mother Daughter Love-Baby Steps

One year after my mother passed I would get excited because I could get two tasks done in a day. Before my mother died I could get five, six and seven tasks done in a day. I don't mean every day
tasks such as getting up, having coffee, cleaning house. But biking, shopping, visiting, gardening, driving. That first year, I could hardly get out of bed. I would wake up in the middle of the night thinking about all that had occurred during the passing of my mom, how much I missed her and whether or not I've done everything right. Had I been a good daughter?? Did she know I loved her? Did she love me?

It was a painful time in my life as it is in most daughters lives after their mother's pass. Suddenly our lives and our relationship with our mothers begins to pass through our minds. I think back to moments of being in her lap when I was just a little girl and feeling so secure. I remember my resentment as a teenager to her rules about how I needed to live my life. I remember how disgusted I
was when she gave me the Emily Post book on manners. I remember the day she stepped off the bus in Gainesville on a visit and told me that my friend Karen's dad passed away. And the instant I knew how much Karen was hurting. I remember living in the Caribbean and our late night skinny dips off the end of the boat. I remember all the fabulous places we traveled together. I remember laughing until my stomach hurt at our private jokes.

 Near the end I remember the magic moments. Those are the moments I remember now to get me through the night. I remember doing a Depok Chopra meditation together while resting on her bed. I remember brushing her hair and how much she enjoyed it. It reminded me of when she brushed my hair when I was a child. I remember how much she enjoyed having me scrub her back when she showered. And I know how much she appreciated it all and they were magic moments for her,too.

 I also remember all the exasperating moments. I remember how frustrated I was when she didn't understand what I was talking about. Or when she got angry for no reason. We had a very turbulent relationship being both of us goddesses. I felt the guilt of how I spoke to her at times. And her mean streak. Yet she was so smart. I was always amazed at what she knew about art and culture. To go to a museum with her was like being in heaven together. She was a talented artist. She had been to so many places in the world. And she was beautiful especially at the end. 

Today I hold her close in my heart. I look into my eyes in the mirror and I see her. And I'm so grateful now. Because of her I am who I am. And I want to emulate her in so many ways. She surrounded herself with outstanding people. She had many friends. 

It all took baby steps. Just taking one simple task a day and being proud of being able to do it. Maybe it was just to cook a meal. One simple task a day and being proud of being able to do it. Maybe it was just to take a small walk. Maybe to just to get out of bed. And to be kind to yourself when others don't understand. To give yourself a break instead of second-guessing everything. To know that grief is a normal process in life and drugs may not be the answer to it. Sometimes we just have to grieve. We need to feel it all the way into our bones because she is in there. Our mothers are everything about us and we have a right to feel the loss. 

I took great comfort in the shower. There I could cry and lament and let go of some of it in privacy. I could wash away my sadness for a little while. I talked to God while I was in the shower. I asked for his forgiveness and his guidance. I'd ask him "why can't I handle this"? Today I have so much gratitude for the learning and the love that has grown from this experience. I wish she was here to share it. I think she would be proud. In a world where we want answers immediately , grief is something that is overlooked and under credited. Take the time feel it, love it and let it go. This is how we heal from the loss of our mothers. We accept the pain and sorrow. We allow it so that we can move through it toward the light of living again in fullness.We just need to take baby steps.