Saturday, December 17, 2016

God Everywhere. Even disease. Even Trump?

God Everywhere.  I know.  Its a stretch.  Its ethereal.  Where are the legs to it?  How does it ground?  How can we apply that here and now in our day?

That's just the topic of the book I've been writing since returning from Japan this past winter.  God, Jesus Christ Consciousness, Oneness, Eternal Indestructible Indomitable Love, showed itself to me in very powerful ways over there.  Even in the places I chose to stay for mere economic reasons, God showed up hardcore, holding up divine mirrors I could see myself in, making plain a love so grand no one can escape it, not even me in great pain of Lyme disease.  God is in disease.  God is in me.  God is seen in everything when the veils of fear are stripped away, when the ice on the heart melts and a brilliant Love/God/Jesus/Forgiveness/Welcome-Home-ness becomes mirrored in even the scariest of things. 

"Oh yeah?" you say!  Have I been hiding under a rock?  Do I not know the deeply unconscious and conscious oppression and murder of black families and other people of color have generally been sanctioned by this government from the founding of this country?  Do I not know theres a very odd outrageously offensively scary bloated infantile clown up for bat in leading the "free" world?  Don't I know people suck and only look out for themselves and their group?  Don't I know greed/ego/fear motivates most actions in this country, in the "civilized" world?  Don't I know I must fiercely protect what is mine lest I succumb exploitation from someone/something? 

Yes, I do mainly hide under a rock (by nature).  Yes, I do know and feel the gravity of the state we're in collectively.  And of late I oscillate on the pendulum, as you may also, between paralyzing fear and profound moments of Grace/Love coming from unexpected places.  And, also I know that when I tap into and see through the Jesus/God/Grace in me, the ride on that pendulum becomes more enjoyable.  The Love/Grace/Jesus is the still point of the pendulum, helping us to face those demons that are, dare I say, also God's/Love's creations here to stretch our hearts, stretch us into knowing the wholeness we always are.

Lets try this on for size (maybe have a pen and paper in hand to answer some of the questions or note what else arises):

-put in your mind's eye someone you love beyond anything
-imagine God in them, working through them, residing in them (Whatever that means for you.  Do you see God in them?  Do you feel God in them?  What does that mean to you?  What's your experience of them?)
-repeat exercise with others in mind that you readily love
-now put in your mind's eye someone youre having some mild to moderate annoyance with, some active daily/weekly trouble with
-imagine God in them, working through them, residing in them (What does that stir in you?  Are you able to imagine God in them? )
-repeat exercise with increasingly annoying/troublesome people and situations
(keep up the momentum from the other rounds of this exercise.  Do the same exercise envisioning Trump.  What does it look like for God to reside in and be moving through Trump as he is?  What does that stir in you?  What could that mean for the kind of actions to take in your rebellion and dissent of the election results?  How can you act, live, be in integrity with yourself and God and love in regards to a train wreck happening in slow motion?  What would it mean to face the incoming administration from a place of love and not hate/fear/panic?  How can we engage in a way where our activism, our words, our moves for deep change spring from a place WE LOVE DONALD TRUMP, RACISTS, BIGOTS, KKK, WHITE NATIONAL PARTY and not because we hate him/them (all the while paralyzing their destructive behaviors)?  How do we work with someone and his entire team of deeply ill and misguided beings from love and not hate?   HOW DO OUR ACTIONS AND EXPERIENCES SHIFT, FIGHTING THE SAME FIGHT, STILL DOING WHAT WE CAN TO EXPOSE AND STOP CORRUPTION, INJUSTICE, EVIL WHEN WE KNOW WE ARE ONE EVOLVING COLLECTIVE THAT MAY ONLY EVER REALLY SUSTAINABLY SHIFT IN ACTS AND POLICIES ROOTED IN GREAT LOVE?  How does your experience of loathsome people and practices shift when you see God in them?  What does/could that even mean? )

I have yet to answer most of these questions myself in regards to politics.  However, great headway has been made in doing this exercise in relation to what's been my more visceral and immediate "enemy" for seven years, severe disease. 

Will you join me in this adventure to let love motivate our actions, our being in regards to the scariest of our modern day demons?  Will you help me unveil the wholeness we are?  CAN WE HELP EACH OTHER SEE GOD EVERYWHERE?

I think so.

Thank you.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Dying to be Whole

Im telling you.  I just cant believe my dad died this summer.  Pastor Marvin Lewis Graham left his body on the rays of early dawn on summer solstice.  As much hospice support I was for others years ago, as much studying and reflecting and experiencing levels of death before, it feels like nothing prepared me for this.  Not a thing. 

Now still in the thick of both grieving and continuing body-spirit practices to keep my health optimal, Im finding some gems hidden in his death. 

If you were at my dad's funeral you would know a story I shared after my sister and I sang his favorite song.  I shared what happened the night/early morning of his passing.  Because I had maxed out my health and body energy in taking care of dad half of every week for three months, some deep chest pains and fatigue again arose.  My mother saw how worn out I was getting and she encouraged me to take a week off to recalibrate, get strong again.  Reluctantly, I accepted the encouragement and stayed home for a week.  Little did I know that was the last week my dad would be alive.

The last day of my week of rest, the morning of his passing I had an immaculately vivid brief dream:  I was at dad's bedside as I had been for many months.  His large pecan-brown heavy hand in my thin same color hands.  He lay there looking at me.  I said the words to him I couldn't bring myself to say in 'real' life, the words I know from experience in hospice that loved ones need to say for the sake of the dying.  "Dad, if you need to go now, its fine.  We'll be okay," I said from a still peace and cosmic understanding I only periodically know in non-dream world.  In the dream I gave him permission to be as free as he needed to be, do what he desired to do.  He looked at me, and with a childlike subtle ripple of joy, like he'd been given permission to go for a walk after being cooped up all day, said, "Okay."  Our hands let go of each others.  He swung his legs around off the bed toward the window.  Dad walked out of the room, like in the movies, but a little different.  He walked through the walls but was visible as he did so.  Everything was translucent, dad, the wall, me.  Dad died into a spacious whole state, out of the fragmented separate self. 

Dad died into wholeness.

A few hours later I woke up to a new message: don't worry about anything, theres not one thing worth worry.  Then I turned on my phone and got the text from my brother, "Mom says dad stopped breathing."  Was that dream real?  What's real?  Dad cant be gone because I feel closer to him than I did when I went to bed.  Dead?  What?  Just as in the dream, it was like the world was see-through.  Reality had shifted and I couldn't un-know what I then knew: even in death, there is something vibrant, full of life, a broadened sense of wholeness. 

And over the last month as I haven't been able to write very much or very well I wonder what good can come of ambitions dying, of the sense of purpose fading away, what wholeness can be had in the great void.  If I don't write, Im not a writer, right?  If I don't do Reiki, I cant call myself a Reiki healer.  But as my ambitions die, as my plans turn to ash, as the fog in my head only gets thicker, I've stopped fighting it and allow myself to experience wholeness unveiling itself in any circumstance.

The wholeness I speak of is very different than I had imagined it would be.  Instead of a firming up, instead of a sure solidity, Im finding wholeness much deeper and more alive in the void, in the nothing.  Its like what I imagine outer space to be.  While its a vacuum, its also the most fertile ground of existence.  Both the calculable, predictable and incalculable, spontaneous creations arise from this void.  The void births and holds all things, including this lush extraordinary gift of Earth we float around on through space. 

And what is the relevance to our ordinary extraordinary lives?  Who's got time for contemplating these things when bills need to be paid, mouths fed, cars repaired, education to be learned, a sense of security to be gained, diseases to be healed, lives to be restored, justice to be fought for, missions to complete.  All I can say is the more core desires die off in my life, including my cunning beautiful ego, the greater the sense of life, wholeness, connectedness.  But without an experience of it, these are just philosophies to twirl around in the head.

To move this from the head and into the heart, here's a favorite exercise of dying to/releasing our many identities that you may find helpful:
Imagine all your identities are articles of clothing youre wearing (black/white, woman/man, writer, healthy, healer, sister, daughter, lover, member, beautiful, ugly, scared, happy, sick, athlete, painter, weak, strong, human, etc).  Keep going.  Get down to your essential identities, your skimpy undies.  What are your core identities?  Imagine peeling them off and being naked without them.  What does it feel like to be a naked spirit/soul?  Who are you when all your identities have died off?  Who are you when youre not something/someone that can be described?  Do you still exist?  When whats most important to you dies, what is left of you?  (for similar assistance in things like this try

Of course you have to wear clothes to be a member of society.  Clothing/identities, theres nothing wrong with them.  Its fun and necessary to be creative to live a full life as well.  But no matter how much you wear, how fine it is, where its sourced, how much you paid for it, what those clothes symbolize and say about you, no matter the clothes, they do and will come off, as eventually will any identity you have.

I die/unveil daily as a practice to remember wholeness.  I practice remembering who I am underneath the clothing/identities and I know it is complete and whole without them.  This is a truth that sprang up while I was very ill in the body and helped carry me through my day in peace.  Now that the body is beautifully feeling well and functional again, Im finding the dying practice to still bring me closer to a fuller life.  My dad's death deepened and enriched this practice.

Maybe it doesn't sound that attractive but for those of us with whom illness has spent many years, with whom death and its many layers has paid us a visit for longer than we would've planned or liked, these practices can be a beautiful relief from the suffering that can cloud our very existence. 

Living to be whole is just as valid.  Dying to be whole is merely the other side of the coin, one we often deny out of fear. 

Whether you lean into life or lean into death, wholeness, love, being God's child, is not diminished.  We are whole with the stuff of life and we are whole without it.  These words guide my own heart back into my day without fear.  May it do the same for you.

Thank you, Dad, for dying into the wholeness that is you.  May we learn and follow even as we live.