Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Drop Who You're Not

I am intelligent, but not a scholar.  I am curious, but not a researcher.  I am devout, but not disciplined.  I am religious, but not orthodox.

For many years I expected myself to be all of the above, which means I am well acquainted with failure. Liberation came with accepting who I am and letting go of who I am not.  There will always be sufficient scholars, researchers, disciplined devotees and orthodox faithful to make up for my deficiencies.

I am impressed by your scholarship, but no longer intimidated.  I can admire your discipline without shaming myself, and gladly let you have your orthodoxy, with great relief. 

The freedom and exhilaration of letting yourself off the hook of unrealistic expectations is accompanied by the joy of embracing authenticity.

Speaking for myself, it means trusting my intuition more than fact gathering; trusting contemplation more than petitioning; rejoicing that outspokenness and extroversion serve a purpose; affirming my innocence and earnestness, and acknowledging that I am not everyone’s cup of tea.

Who do you know yourself to be?  Dare to share?

Friday, September 21, 2012


Last week my sisters and I moved our 91-year-old mother into a nursing home, the last place on earth she and we wanted her to be.

Our mother would welcome death, and says so frequently, but mightily resists decline.  Is it possible to embrace decline…loss?

What do poets know?
Writing rhapsodic about ebb and flow?

When your daily experience is that
You are weaker today than yesterday,
And there is no cure, and truthfully,
You want no cure,

When getting dressed is exhausting,
And bed feels like home, and
Though perhaps confused at times
You know who and where you are,
Who you once were,

Is it possible to say yes,
I succumb?
I embrace ebb?
Ebbing with little or no flow?

Or must I resist, pushing myself
To fend for myself,
Refusing to burden others?

Mother, show me the way.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Spiritual Travel

I am somewhat embarrassed to admit that I have never owned a passport because I have never gone anywhere that requires one.  I am not a world traveler.  A passport enables a sojourner to enter into countries and cultures that are foreign, unfamiliar and perhaps uncomfortable.  Stepping into unfamiliar terrain changes one forever; it opens doors of consciousness and awareness that broaden one’s view of our world.

Though I have not had that experience geographically, I have travelled, spiritually, miles and miles from my “hometown” Christian fundamentalist religion.  I find myself almost evangelical about the tremendous benefit I have gained from journeys into unfamiliar spiritual/religious territory.

Just as seasoned world travelers likely look at me, she who has never been farther than Hawaii, with compassion approaching pity I find myself having similar feelings for people who have yet to venture beyond their childhood religion.  I am convinced that thousands of such folk are perfectly content to remain rooted in a legalistic, fundamentalist Christianity, and I respect their choice.  On the other hand, I so want Biblical literalists to know there is an alternative way to embrace faith that opens doors and windows of consciousness and love, revealing an ever-expanding view of God and humankind.

When I was in my 20’s a psychotherapist asked me what I really wanted to do.  I heard myself saying things like, “I want to encourage other people.  I want to exhort people to never give up, to trust in a Higher Good, to believe in themselves….”  He looked at me and said, “You want to be an evangelist.”  I cringed and thought no, no, no.   He was so right.

I want to encourage people whose childhoods were similar to mine to find the willingness to explore, venture out, try the waters of unfamiliar religions, philosophies, and spiritualties until they land in the terrain of authenticity rather than orthodoxy, and then go deeper and wider.  I’m passionate about it.

If you should see me standing on a soapbox on the corner of the square, please stop and say hi, and then call my husband to come get me.