An instrument of peace

“Lord, make me an instrument of peace.”

With that single line St Francis defined a life of mindfulness and loving kindness long before those terms were first used. Long before pop culture turned them into an industry. A t-shirt slogan.

He goes on to describe how that instrument looks. It is one of understanding and giving. A life in service of love.

“Lord make me an instrument of peace

Where there is hatred let me sow love

Where there is injury, pardon

Where there is doubt, faith

Where there is despair, hope

Where there is darkness, light

And where there is sadness, joy

Oh divine master grant that I may

not so much seek to be consoled as to console

to be understood as to understand

To be loved as to love

For it is in giving that we receive

it is in pardoning that we are pardoned

It is in dying that we are born to eternal life”

This is how I want my life to be yet I often fail in these intentions. Instead, I want to be understood. To be consoled. To wade deeply in my sorrow. To be loved despite my shortcomings.

When I find myself on the needy end of the spectrum that runs from giving to receiving I remember that I can not only offer these gifts to myself, I should.

My efforts to be an instrument of peace must begin with myself because to offer peace to others I must first have it within me. The good news is that inner peace is often gained in the offering of it to others. It is a beautiful, endless, self-sustaining circle.

This was my meditation this morning:

That I forgive myself and not beat myself up for being human.

That I keep strong the faith that brought me here.

That I keep the flame of hope ever burning within me to light both bright days and dark nights.

That I be willing to find and feed my joy, especially when it seems so far away.

That I love myself as I wish to be loved by others and that I share that love regardless of my pain.

That peace isn’t just something we feel, it’s something we practice.

I believe I need more practice.

Peace be upon you.

Numinous Experience

Here at the edge of the world, where men reach into the the sea with heavy line and glittering tackle attempting to join the massive Oneness of the ocean by removing from it those that truly belong, I find a sure and sudden calm as if sedated yet awake and aware. Fully aware.

I have spent so little time in my life by the ocean though I have always heard its call. A gentle tugging. It is the lure, I am the fish, and it is trying as hard to be a part of me as those men standing on the edge of this expansive pier are trying to be part of it.

In 1917 Rudlof Otto wrote Das Heilge, which appeared in English in 1923 as The Idea of the Holy. He suggests that while the concept of “the Holy” is often used to convey moral perfection It also contains another distinct element, beyond the ethical sphere, for which he uses the term “Numinous” and defines it as “non-rational, non-sensory experience or the feeling whose primary and immediate object is outside the self.” (Thank you Wikipedia)

I won’t go into the whole Jungian psychology surrounding the archetypes and Numinous because I believe I can sum it up in this one example: An artist creates a sculpture to give form to something that has taken life inside him. What he feels is Numinous, the influence of something “other” than himself. Years later I see his sculpture and literally feel the spirit he has put into the stone looking back at me.

This is the Numinous Experience.

I look into the ocean, this beautiful and powerful creation of the Divine, and see it looking back at me. Calling me. Reaching into me and igniting a spirit within me which I release onto the page of this blog where it lives and, hopefully, reaches into you and ignites the “other” that lives within you.

Life is truly a spiritual experience if we allow it to be.

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Image by JMGreff at the end of the Gulf State Park Pier in Gulf Shores, AL

Beaver Moon

There’s a full moon tonight. It is a moon of introspection. A time when impulse gives way to doubt. Doubt gives way to resistance. Resistance gives way to rebellion.

If, however, we are able to separate our feelings of rebellion from a need for change we open ourselves to new ways of communicating because it is also a time of inspiration, security, steadfastness, and loyalty.

If you find yourself ready to bolt today, from whatever it is that feeds that resistance, whether it be work or a relationship or yourself, then stand back. Take a breath. View the situation in its entirety. And be grateful.

I spent a couple hours at the beach earlier. I felt alone. Truly alone. I wanted to run. To hide. I was balled up tight and wondering why I would feel that way in the presence of such shear power and beauty.

I straightened up. Put myself in a meditative position; back straight, palms upwards in my lap, shoulders relaxed, jaw loose. I breathed in that amazing energy. Connected to those feelings of insecurity. Embraced them. Listened to them. Loved them.

In loving myself I released those feelings and found that sense of security that lay just under the surface.

I wish I could share this with you. The feeling that everything will be okay because I feel those same doubts coming from you.

Relax. Breathe deep. Feel yourself connect to the earth through your feet and the base of your spine. Breathe deep and long, filling your lungs from the bottom up. Then release the air, squeeszing it out from the bottom up.

Focus on a point in front of you. Just in front of your eyes whether slightly open or loosely closed. Imagine a white dot of light there. The light moves and when it moves it makes the slightest sound. Listen to it. Feel it. Let it expand. Allow it to envelop you. When your thoughts stray listen to them, release them, then return to that point of light.

That light is surety. Stability. It is the strength of the Universe that lives within you. It is your divine spark. It is you and it is telling you everything is going to be okay.

Tonight the moon is full and so are you. There’s nothing to run from.

Shit Happens

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There are basically only two Paths in life: Reactive and Proactive.

The Consequential Life is primarily an Unconscious Path. Shit happens and you instinctualy respond. How you respond dictates where the Path leads you. This is Reactive.

The Intentional Life is a Conscious Path. Shit happens and you choose your response. Other times shit happens because of your choices. Your intention and the choices you make that arise from your intent guide you on the Path. You guessed it, Proactive.

 

Either method is a choice. We either choose to be aware or we choose to go through life with eyes and mind closed.

Most people live a reactionary life. Here’s a few examples of living a reactionary life while on an unconscious path:

  1. A goat shits on your path. Step in in, rub it in your face, sleep in it, don’t wash it off. “Good things come to those who suffer.”
  2. A goat shits on your path. Make a shit sandwich and eat it in silent gratitude. “What good things?”
  3. A goat shits on your path. Its a sign! A goat has been here. Hang around and pray for its return so it can be sacrificed. “Good things come to those who wait.”
  4. A goat shits on your path. Its a sign! The path is unclean because you have sinned. “Sinners don’t get good things…until they die.”

I’ve known many people who suffered to the end and gained nothing. Known people who turn their backs on the good things in their lives because they can’t believe they either deserve them or that they exist at all. And I’ve never met a person who didn’t feed themselves…. something.

Personally, however, I prefer a proactive/conscious way of living:

When a goat shits on your path I say gather it up, mix it with sand and straw, and make bricks to smooth the path. Or mold menagerie from it, bake them in the sun, and give them as gifts. Or use it in a floral arrangement. Or turn it into incense.

There must be a million great things to do with goat shit and none of them have anything to do with moral causality or a reckoning of the scales.

What it comes down to is this; if you can’t find a good use for it, simply walk around it.

In the end, its a goat doing what a goat does. It shits. And shit happens.

Home

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If someone had told me several years ago that I would drive into a hurricane to be with the woman I loved I would have smiled at such a romantic notion but denied the possibility. I had, after all, sworn off love. I was not ready.

So I spent those years preparing myself. Learning what love is. How to express it. To share it. I took the time to learn what it is that I wanted from love and from life. To become the person I am now so if I ever had the chance to experience real love I would be ready.

Last week I drove into Hurricane Nate to be with the woman I love.

At the same time, I also drove out of the hurricane that was once my life. Hurricane James. I left the last remnants of that former life with the furniture and bed, still made, dishes washed and left in cupboards, keys left to a friend as a gift of my former home in North Dakota as I broke free of the chrysalis where I transformed.

I spread my wings and, for the very first time in my life, knew exactly where I was going and what I needed to do.

It took a long time to get here. A lifetime. It is a journey I would gladly make again because it has led me to a place of love and of hope.

My future, while still uncertain in many ways, feels more sure than it ever has. Every step I make is made with faith. With courage. With the knowledge that those steps are no longer made alone. Every step is made with “Us” in mind. It makes a difference.

My heart feels large. Expansive. Enveloping. Full. It has been joined with another, my Beloved, in ways I could only imagine before now. Ways I knew existed but had never experienced.

I have travelled a long way to get here and I have a long way yet to go, but I am, finally, home.

 

 

 

Timeless

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Time is as often friend as foe. It flows steadily. Never ending. We can tell ourselves that it is an illusion. That only “Now” exists. But that’s a half truth. Now is the only place we exist but we live in a progression of time. In our human form we have a beginning and an end. We are born, we live, we die. What happens in between is a combination of circumstances and events guided by will or careless indifference and interpreted by intention and understanding or misunderstanding.

I chose to embrace that knowledge some time back. To acknowledge that I had a beginning. That this body will at some point fail. That how I live now is entirely up to me. Not everyone gets that choice. Some are born into short and brutal lives. Some never get the chance to live at all.

I don’t know what tomorrow will bring. I see glimpses from time to time. Beautiful sunrises and sunsets in the arms of my Beloved. Compassionate days that flow into passionate nights. A flow of energy between us that builds and shares and expands. Perpetual. Timeless.

I want those things.

Time, however, often chooses the pace and, thus, can affect the quality of Now… if we allow it to. Plans made need to be shuffled again and again before they can be implemented and even then I must remain flexible to last second alterations.

This is where I am now: Making the best of unexpected changes. Unexpected changes making the best of me. Guiding the future with intention and understanding with one difference, mutual desire.

Not the base and often destructive sexual or sensual desire of immature love, though certainly that exists, how can it not? I do desire the physical connection of my lover. Intensely. More than that, however, is the desire to give and receive love. Physical. Emotional. Psychological. Spiritual. To create something together under the guidance of those intentions of compassion, connection, union, care, growth, and so much more that I so often describe as simply “love and gratitude” and through those intentions build something lasting. Eternal. Timeless.

Today the flow of Now across which time passes and at the edge of which I exist is both friend and seeming foe. It prevents immediate satisfaction of our goals. Blocks access to the woman I love. But every second that passes brings me ever closer to her and to Divine Union with her. In this it can only be considered friend.

I could focus on the obstacles or focus on the goal. The choice is made easy by these facts:

The obstacles are temporary.

Love is timeless.

I choose love.

 


 

Image: from the “Timeless” series by Moe Shirani

a moment in eternity

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you are in the kitchen
while I sit in silence in the other room
releasing my thoughts
and the energy that carried me through the day
soft music plays
a bluesy roughness
with hypnotic beat
that draws me near
I come up behind you
pull you close
kiss your neck
pull you close while touching you gently
with purpose
my hand raises to your heart
the focus of my attention
as I lightly caress the base of your spine
I offer the life that flows
from your heart to mine
expand on it
return it to each chakra
one by one
as I whisper love
reassure you
guide our energy with my hand
as I reach Vissudha
I replace my hand, now moved to your belly, with a kiss
then lower my hand to your pelvis
seeking pleasure and finding it there
I rest my head against yours
seeing Ajna light up
feel our crown, now joined,
freely pass our energy back and forth between us
a perpetual, growing light
as I breathe you in
feeling you fill me
and returning it
to fill you
with a peaceful calm
with life
with love
I hold you close
knowing
this is but a moment in eternity