Purpose Decoded

January 5, 2013

Discipline isn’t a virtue. It’s a neurosis.

It’s a way to exist peaceably in fear.It’s superstition rationalized, normalized, sanctioned.

We miss things, details, miracles, being hypnotized by routine. We’re blind to magic, we discard the moment and embrace our lists and ladders. We’re convinced that we don’t know ourselves, like there is something to know. We’re certain that we are sabotaging our lives when there is only the story of sabotage that we observe.

We struggle with our perceived failure to have accepted ourselves, our alleged incapacity for loving ourselves. But the self that we would love is a hologram, an illusion and its purpose is to amuse. It was not meant to last. It was not meant to be known or understood.

When we abide in wonder, we are witness to the whole point of this. When we can laugh at the ridiculousness of it all, we are actualized.

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The Age of Aquarius

December 31, 2011

The new age is dawning. We are the ones who will usher Aquarius in. This is it. The end of the Mayan calendar.

It isn’t just the end of another year. Those of us who are living through this, are witnesses to a very special time in human history and evolution.

I know you feel it too. The unrest. The intense dreams. The changes in your sleep, diet, consciousness.

Right?

There is instability ahead, and chaos, and heartbreak. But everything we’ve been through, everything we’ve survived until now —has prepared us for this transition. Wake up!

Wake up!


Currency

November 12, 2011

I received a credit card receipt recently on which the patron wrote:  “Currency is Love. Thank you!”

This reminded me of of a point Robert Scheinfeld made in his book “Busting Loose From the Money Game.”

He explains that if money were taken out of the equation in the exchange of goods and services, what remains is gratitude for receiving a good or service.  If you’re not actually  bartering, paying, or exchanging any thing, you would still express appreciation for whatever you have received. Right?

I’m trying to be aware that when I write a check, charge a purchase, or hand over cash for something, that I’m not spending, wasting, giving away, or losing anything. The act of ‘paying’ money is in fact how we receive something we want or need. It is the symbolic way of saying ‘thank you’. Thank you, Pacific Power & Electric, for illuminating my home and keeping it warm. Thank you Chase, for loaning me funds for vacations, dinners, and other things. Thank you Comcast, for the entertaining and education programming you provide.

Perspective is everything. Spending money is receiving.

Receiving is providence.

Currency is Love.

 


127 Hours…and Counting

March 6, 2011

I finally  saw 127 hours, and it was as stirring as I had imagined. Only a few hours into his predicament, Aron Ralston (James Franco) had tried to free himself by scraping  away at the boulder which had pinned his arm against the rock wall.  It was an inferior tool engaged in a futile task, but it gave him hope in the moment that it might be the solution. He dropped the tool, and had some difficulty reaching it to resume his work. He now had to devise a way to retrieve the knife in order to continue to scrape away at the rock. With his foot, he lowered a branch, and after several attempts, finally hooked the knife. Franco conveyed a sense of accomplishment and joy that belied his character’s dire situation. His face lit up with excitement, like he had just won the lottery, he exclaims, “Sweet!”. His stay in the canyon would be marked by a number of minor triumphs, and dismal failures.

At the time, he couldn’t know how that knife would the instrument o f his liberation. But at the time, he had an idea about how he could extricate himself with the knife by chipping the stone. Then he had an idea about using a pulley. Then got an idea about how to stay hydrated without fresh water. All these things were tiny victories throughout his ordeal.

What am I pinning my hopes on? What is my salvation? Is there a tool within my reach that will eventually set me free, but in a way I cannot, or dare not imagine?

He realized at one point that his whole life had been pulling him toward this rock, and that this rock had emerged in all of creation, placed on a trajectory  moving towards this meeting as well. This was Ralston’s destiny. This was the boulder’s destiny. He understood that he had arrived at this place from choices he had made. He never blamed anyone. He got there by himself, and was determined to get out under his own steam.

In the end, he wasn’t freed from the rock. He had never been pinned by the rock. His arm was pinned. He wasn’t. He chose to leave that part of him behind. His arm wasn’t him, and wasn’t necessary in his moving forward.

Ralston’s story compels me to wonder what do I need to leave behind? Is there a part of me that is more detrimental to me as long as it’s attached, than it is useful?  Cutting this thing away is never easy or painless, but it is always an option. Ralston’s willingness to experience pain is what ultimately released him.

No matter how things appear, there is a way out.


Dangling Part-Disciple

September 27, 2010

This isn’t the return of the prodigal blogger, by any means. I’m just trying to make a token effort in fulfilling my mission, which is to transmit information to whomever is listening (reading), and receptive. None of my ideas are mine, purely. They are little bits of of a bigger picture that my receiver is picking up.  Much of it pertains to my particular experience. Some of it is information I will never put to use- even though it sounds like I’ve actually done it.

For instance, the issue of faith. I tell people all the time that the universe will support them in their endeavors. They just have to step off the edge and see what happens. The universe is a friendly place, and why wouldn’t things turn out ok?  Stop living in fear, and follow your heart.

Sounds good, right?

I have no intention of stepping off that ledge. Do I look stupid? There are no guarantees. There are better, purer, more deserving souls on this planet who will never catch a break.  So I will not be tempting fate, not with my shitty karma.

Here is my dilemma. And truly,  it’s only a dilemma if I entertain the possibility of actually choosing one option over the other, and I’ve made my decision, but the thing is, I hate my job, and should have quit two years ago.

I have no respect for my bosses, and my workplace is a source of tremendous and overwhelming stress, frustration, rage, and fear.

All indications – making mistakes at work, adrenal burnout, nausea, contempt and that scoured-out empty feeling one gets when one’s soul has been filleted from their being–all are signs that I need to vacate the premises.

But I’ve stayed and put up with being treated poorly, having my modest raise taken away, enduring insults and condescending remarks, having to work under impossible scrutiny, and wondering if I’m going to be fired.

I’ve realized this year that the fewer things I have, the fewer things I have to worry about losing, this includes my job. But this is a hard economy, I don’t have a college degree, I’m 40 something, and have lots of debt. Without a solid backup plan, it would be imprudent to just walk away from a job that at least pays my bills.

As a pilgrim whose job and mission it is to test the friendliness and resources of the so-called Source, I just can’t bring myself to follow through on this assignment. I understand, wholly, that this is the point of my arriving at this juncture. But I’m so fearful that if I follow my heart and just depart from this situation I would be left dangling – jobless, penniless, and would lose my home, belongings –everything.

I know what I’m supposed to do.  I just  don’t believe that I’ll be ok.


Sweat Lodge

April 17, 2009

I am transformed here, and stripped bare.

…now when I think of all the red inside me,

I understand that I don’t bleed; I burn.”

–Cindy St. Onge – “Poems From the Grotto”

I participated in my fourth Inipi cermony yesterday. The number 4 is important in Lakota ritual, and my life path number happens to be a 4.  I should have been prepared for something auspicious.

I hadn’t drunk enough water during the day. That probably partially accounted for how miserable I was into the second round. But as that round got underway, I thought to myself, “this is never as bad as people say it is. what is the big deal? I’m fine. I can handle this. It’s a piece of cake.”

I could hear the arrogance in my own thoughts. The Inyan Oyate , or Stone People in the center of the lodge glowed red hot, and I thought about their suffering, their sacrifice. I was humbled.

This isn’t about how tough I am,  I thought, or about how much pain I can endure for the sake of endurance. It’s about being vulnerable and open and flawed and ultimately purified. I thought that if creatures as sturdy as stones could suffer the sacrificial fire for the sake of my transformation, the least I could do was admit that I was uncomfortable.

And that was all it took. By the middle of the second round, I was nauseous, light-headed, and felt like I would pass out. How hot it was in the lodge wasn’t even an issue by this time. I was at my limit. I was on the verge of asking that the door be open so I could leave.  But this is the purpose of the Inipi ceremony, to inhabit these borders, to push beyond what the body can endure, and to challenge what your mind has always defined as possible and impossible.

When I closed my eyes to try to think of something besides how dizzy I felt, I wanted to go to sleep, but I was afraid I wouldn’t wake up. So I struggled against the heat, and wanting to throw up, and almost losing consciousness. This is where and  how the heat and the prayer transforms the pilgrim. The lodge was pitch black, but I kept looking in the direction of the door, a way out I couldn’t see, but knew was there.

The second round was mercifully divided into two mini-rounds because the heat was excruciating. After I had cooled down some, I realized that I had only experienced external discomfort in previous sweat lodges. This was the first time I had felt that misery on the inside, viscerally.

There were still two more rounds to go, each hotter than the last. At some point during the third round, which I’ve always called the  Skin Searing Round, ancestor spirits present in the lodge were sucking me into Lakota folklore as I envisioned the Great Mystery and Tunkasila playing tether ball with the planets.

This was the spiritual ass-kicking I had always believed the Inipi ceremony to be, but had never experienced until last night.

I am humbled and grateful.

Mitakue Oyasin


W. Was a Decider; It Can’t Be That Hard.

February 21, 2009


We agonize over which direction to go, which step to take first, because we want to make the ‘right’ choice. As we mull over our options, we get bogged down  in the emotional language of ‘right’ and ‘wrong’. In the process it becomes difficult to sense what we wanted to do in the first place.

I think that in many cases, we’ve  not asked the question we really want answered. If we haven’t asked the question, we can’t get the information we’re seeking.

When we say we want to make the ‘right’ choice, what we really mean is that we want to make the ‘easy’ choice—the decision that will have the fewest ramifications and require the least amount of work, hassle, and explaining.

There’s nothing wrong with that.

So if what we really want is to make the easiest choice, then we should ask that question  to get the answer we need in order to proceed. There is nothing wrong with wanting to walk the path of least resistance. It’s efficient, clean, and direct. No judgment there. When we ask the question this way, we’re not cluttering the decision making process with our ideas about right and wrong, and about all the different  consequences with their attendant judgments. If we want to proceed in the direction that will get us to where we want to go the fastest, with as few obstacles as possible, then we must ask that question specifically. “What is the easiest thing I can do now?”

I’m trying to eliminate the word ‘right’ from my vocabulary. True ethical dilemmas aside, this word is rife with judgments and baggage, and part of the baggage is the word wrong.

We move forward or don’t based on our judgment of pain and failure, versus pleasure and success. Both success and failure are temporary, so why judge them and make the feelings associated with any experience linger long after it naturally passes? This again requires diligent presence and awareness of the moment. This is what the energy of the number 5 (in numerology) teaches us. To remain emotionally supple and open, letting experience pass through us instead of closing around it, blocking off possibility.