6/29/19

My Road Less Traveled

When I took this photograph I was walking with a few women that had come together almost twenty years before to celebrate my 40th birthday.  After several years of solitary inner work I desired a community of like-minded/like-hearted women centered on introspective sharing. They were the gift I gave myself in the form of a sacred, introspective sisterhood.  

We would continue to gather one weekend a month for the next four years. Following that, in the face of death, divorce, marriage, motherhood and widowhood we have continued to gather. In spirit if not in person, most of us are never far from one another.  The losses have been difficult but the impact on the lives of those of us left to gather have been profoundly blessed.  Lessons that can only be learned through losing those you love are often the biggest gifts anyone can receive. This is true for those that pass away as well as those who embrace a path focused elsewhere. This sisterhood and the individuals who formed it has been the greatest gift in my life.

We called ourselves Journey Women because we knew it was the journey, not the destination that mattered.  Together we traversed the inner landscapes to unimaginable depths and heights. Introspection and shadow work was our process. Holding up mirrors for one another without judgement was our commitment.  In taking up the inner journey we each found our personal 'road less traveled' and helped one another put one metaphorical foot in front of the next.

The Third Eye Operations blog is about navigating an inner journey. It's my way of giving back and paying forward the incredible gifts I found by simply looking inward and embracing all that I found there. Having a small circle of introspective, nonjudgmental sister-women willing to drop all masks, explore deeply buried wounds and share failures as victories is no small thing.  I know that we live in a world where that kind of safety simply isn't possible...'out there'.  But it is completely possible within ones own heart and mind.  

As an extremely introverted, introspective, intuitive woman, intrigued by the meaning of life, I simply began on my own.  For several years I read and explored and questioned the meaning of life...in general and my life in specific.  As science, philosophy and religion failed to adequately answer the questions I carried, I simply began to ask existence itself.... Who are we, where do we come from and what are we doing here?  I also held a mantra of sorts within me, "Lead me into all truth."  The old saying, "Be careful what you ask for." has proven a great warning.  Thinking I was simply on a esoteric quest, I was not prepared for the truths about this world which have been revealed as well.  

I have taken the time to write several of my life experiences in both story form and poetry.  I share them because they provide the best glimpse I can offer into a life built around introspective curiosity and questioning.  My goal in publishing these along with occasional posts is two-fold. First, to lay as breadcrumbs for anyone wondering what an introspective journey might look like. Secondly, and probably more important, as a shout-out to introverts everywhere to take up the life they came to express.  As introverted individuals we are capable of deep thoughts and long periods of inner searching that others simply aren't built for.  Our extroverted, socially obsessed, consumer driven world desperately needs the balancing we fail to bring when we introverts measure ourselves against the masses.  The resulting social anxiety and feelings of inadequacy fall away as we journey inward, embrace the truths we find there, and then share them with those who ask.... having simply noticed that we walk to the beat of a different drummer, along a road less traveled.  "...and that has made all the difference." as Robert Frost expressed in his poem The Road Less Taken.

6/5/19

0- An Introduction To My Stories

0 - An Introduction To My Stories
My identity has never been tied up in career or achievement.  While I have primarily worked as a counselor, educator, and artist, these professions actually came out of my true passion; what I would call my life’s work; personal/spiritual alignment. For more than thirty years I have consciously and actively worked toward aligning my conscious awareness with my spiritual essence.   This, I believe, is the definition of choosing love.  The previous thirty years were filled with riotous self will.  This was primarily due to the fact that I made poor choices based on faulty beliefs along misguided paths that I was unknowingly conditioned to follow.  Today I am grateful for each and every one of those choices.  Retrospect fosters understanding and relieves guilt when viewed with a sincere heart.  I have realized that forgiveness and compassion for oneself is the first step toward the compassionate non-judgement of others. Compassionate non-judgement has become my spiritual tools.  They were the result of a sincere desire to truly understand the meaning of life.  Who we are, where we come from and what we are doing here were questions born of life bringing me to my knees…..and the desire to stand on my own.  

“Lead me into all truth.” became the mantra I live by.  As a result I have, over the last thirty years, been spiritually guided to explore the origins of spirituality, world religions, eastern philosophy, traditional and energy psychology, various energy work modalities and other studies too numerous to mention. The masks of religious, political and educational systems designed to foster unimaginable agendas have fallen to the degree that I am no longer misguided by the powers that be. Revelatory metaphysical, intuitive and mystical experiences have peppered themselves along my path.  These have informed my journey from an esoteric perspective and awakened me to the nature of duality.  I have come to see through the illusory worlds of matter, energy, space and time and touched those realms where Self-realization truly resides, beyond the concepts of karma and reincarnation.  And while all of this was more than I could have imagined at the onset of my quest, the close of 2012 ushered in a shift in my personal reality so life changing that I am continually amazed at every turn. 

The shift I am referring to is the unexpected and sudden passing of my husband of 22 years, the day following my Dad’s transition from his long struggle with cancer.  And, if the combined loss of the two most important men in my life wasn’t enough, the terminal diagnosis my husband received and suddenly succumbed to in a matter of weeks, was also given to my girlfriend of more than 20 years, only one week following his diagnosis.  I alone, had been with each of them, in the same building, in the same post-exam room, only a week apart as their respective doctors pulled me aside, to the exact same spot in the hallway, to share the exact same cancer diagnosis that I would then share with each of them.  Their reactions could not have been more different, nor could their journey’s, not to mention mine as their primary caretaker.  

While it’s easy to imagine the ‘Twilight Zone’ surrealism I felt surrounding the events I just described, not even I could fathom the revelatory experiences I would encounter. These heightened experiences led me to reflect upon all of the extraordinary, mystical, and life altering experiences scattered across my life.  As one who had sought the meaning of life most of my life, I often marveled at the profound navigational assistance I received as I followed my intuition…. and the devastating results when I didn’t.  I wondered about my insatiable appetite for understanding the nature of reality and my purpose in it, and I was perplexed that everyone wasn’t drawn to explore this ever unfolding mystery we call life?  The desire for deep, introspective awareness follows me through life and greatly informs my journey.  With my father, husband and girlfriend suddenly removed from my everyday experience, I found myself questioning life from an even deeper perspective, which resulted in even more profound experiences and revelations.  

Apart from religion, philosophy, psychology and science I discovered a thread woven into the very fabric of life.  As I tugged at it, my life and the world as it had been presented to me came undone while knitting itself back together, revealing that we are each the mystery we came to solve.  When I embraced my personal responsibility to awaken to the truth of my individual soul, my soul extended itself to me in unimaginable clarity.  My intuitive abilities naturally heightened as I aligned them with my quest for truth and my physical life became a metaphorical reflection
of the distance between who I thought I was and who I truly am. I believe this revelation awaits any who desire it and are willing to step into an adventure where the traveler and the journey are one and the same.


The stories I personally share in this writing build upon one another as they are read in the sequence offered.  Primarily chronological, it is my hope that they reveal the guidance and opportunity that is equally available in the depths of dysfunction as in the heights of awareness.  I have learned and hope to share that the degree to which we choose to embrace the darkest aspects of ourselves, is the degree to which the light of who we truly are is revealed. 

6/4/19

1- Beyond Baptism

1- Beyond Baptism
This experience rendered me free from the fear associated with any idea of death.  I have also  personally resolved the question about the existence of life beyond death.  This is because I know first hand of the freeing experience it can be to leave the body and maintain Self-awareness.  I believe if we were raised with the truth of our infinite nature we would not fear death or experience such intense levels of grief when a loved one dies.  If we understood that this thing we call death is really the trading in of one perspective for another, we could better understand and navigate our journey through this physical experience we call life.  This awareness might eventually lead to a mainstream understanding of the higher realms that lie beyond those governed by matter, energy, space and time. In this we could all embrace the importance of connecting deeply to the intuition from our own non-physical aspect of consciousness.


It was a warm summer day and my mother and her friend had piled their kids into the car for a beach trip.  A man made beach, that is.  Today it would be referred to as a water park, but in the mid sixties there was no such term.  As the oldest of the kids I remember sitting on the blanket in the sand as the younger ones splashed near the edge of the water in front of our moms.   There was a huge slide just down the beach with a long line of kids waiting their turn to climb to the top so they could fly into the water below.  This was my destination!  I remember asking and pleading and begging to join those in line, but my mom was reluctant.  Keeping us all close was easier and it was a very high slide.  But, like any self-respecting oldest child I had learned the path of least resistance when it came to getting my way: annoyance!  As mom and her friend chatted away I kept interrupting her for this, that and then another thing until she told me to go play in the water with the other kids.  That was when I hit her with the slide request again.  Much less pleading and begging finally resulted in acquiescence and I was off in a run down the beach toward the slide.  

I stood in line for what seemed like a long time with kids that were much older.  I remember looking up at them and feeling awkward on my own as they talked among themselves.  But the adventure ahead over-road any self conscious anxiety and I excitedly waited my turn as the line inched forward.  Finally on the ladder leading to the long awaited top, I climbed rung after rung as they were vacated, just as those in line behind me did the same.  A vertical line of anxious kids now inched its way upward.  This is an important aspect of my story because as impractical as it was, there was a lifeguard at the top of the slide making sure height requirements were met by those of us in line.  As it turned out I was told that I was too young and too small to be on this particular slide.  With a perplexed look at the crowding children hanging on the ladder beneath me, the lifeguard told me to go ahead and slide, but not to get back in line afterward.  Delighted, I agreed and scooted myself onto the water drenched area of the large metal surface.  Pushing myself off I flew down the slippery silver slope and hit the water with a force so powerful it pushed the air from my lungs as it thrust me deep into the water.  Time stood still.

Breathless, I began struggling against the depths, clawing at the water toward the surface.  The next thing I knew my consciousness was focused outside of my body, above the entire scene.  Back and forth, my awareness moved between the panic ridden, struggling, oxygen deprived physical ‘me’ that was in the water, and a non-physical self-aware ‘me’ that floated high above the entire experience, free from all panic or concern!  While consciously ‘inside’ my body, the struggle to survive was fraught with panic and absolute terror.  The deafening silence from being underwater further disconnected me from normal reality, intensifying my fear.  I was alone and drowning and I knew no one knew.  When consciously focused outside of my body, I was still myself but completely detached with little or no concern about any of it.  I simply watched in complete awareness of what was happening.  Like a somewhat removed spectator, I simply observed, emotionless.  At one point, upon realigning consciously with my body, I clearly remember the words “This is how I die.” calmly coming to me. It was as if my physical and non-physical aspects merged in a moment of peaceful communication.  A profound acceptance of impending death seemed to calm the drowning me even as I continued to make my way toward the surface.  Then, consciously separated from my body again, high above the scene, my non-physical awareness seemed to access a future scenario.  I experienced my mother at the edge of the water, panicked as she searched for her missing child.  Her palpable distress filled my consciousness as I knew she would soon learn of her child’s death.  I literally saw and felt her anguish at the waters edge as she was told of her daughters drowning.  In that instant I experienced complete conscious integration with my body and I surfaced near a buoyed rope that I instinctively latched onto.  Gasping for breath and grateful to be alive, I clung to the rope trying to recover.  The lifeguard, completely unaware of my harrowing experience, hollered from high atop the slide that the ropes were not for hanging on and motioned for me to ‘move along’.  Initially ignoring her I gradually inched my way along the rope to the shore slowly catching my breath.

Eventually I made my way to my mother. She had apparently remained on the blanket talking with a friend throughout the entire event, completely unaware of all that I had experienced.  Exhausted I sat near her on the blanket, quiet and reflective.  After a bit I explained to her that because I was allowed on a water slide designated for teens and adults which emptied into the deep waters, I had nearly drown.  I clearly remember her not understanding the gravity of my experience; dismissively saying, “Well don’t go over there again.”  I knew she didn’t ‘get it’ but I had no energy or ability to explain what, at my age, was clearly unexplainable.  

The rest of the day is lost to me.  The years in between were not filled with this memory and in fact it wasn’t until I attended a NDE (near death experience) meeting more than twenty years later that the event even came to mind.  In the meeting, as I shared the surfacing memory, every detail was vivid and clear.  It wasn’t however until the facilitator said, “You had a near-death experience.” that I even had a name or a label for what had happened to me as a child.  Now, many years and countless expansion experiences later I have a better understanding of what truly happened to me that day.  


I simply experienced that my consciousness perceives through, but is not attached to or limited by my body.  I have learned that who I truly am is infinite and limitless with countless perspectives, in and beyond the worlds governed by matter, energy, space and time. Either my surfacing, or a possible timeline connected to my mother’s devastation at losing her child, realigned the two aspects of my higher and lower self.  I don’t know which ended the conscious distinction between my higher and lower awarenesses.  I just know that not only didn’t I die at the beach that day, I would in fact, never die!  I am a conscious and consciousness is alive!

5/31/19

2- Laura and Laurie

2- Laura and Laurie
Long before I was consciously aware the multi-dimensional nature of reality or how it was operating in my life, I encountered it, as had my mother some twenty or so years before me.  Due to the fact that we are conditioned away from seeing metaphysical experiences as a normal part of everyday life, we unknowingly limit them.  But, as has been proven to me, when this aspect needs to really get our attention, it does!  I have experienced a non-physical aspect of myself that has a much better vantage point than my limited physical counterpart  If we just understood the fullness of our being, I believe we could be guided in every moment by this aspect of ourselves.  Then, instead of bowing to some seemingly separated external deity granting miracles, we could each tap into the truly miraculous nature of  who we truly are and utilize our infinite potential.  Perhaps we are moving toward experientially realizing this way of life.

When I was four years old and my sister, Laura, was two, I remember a panic that ran through my family.  Laura was missing.  Imagine my parent’s frenzy as they frantically searched for her.  It was 1960 and we lived in a small mainland town in Galveston County, Texas.  My parents had built a home on some property given to them as a wedding present from my grandparents.  Apart from one next-door neighbor and another at the end of our little road we were surrounded by vacant lots.  Our little family of four had been outside when my parents suddenly realized they didn’t see my sister.  Our property wasn’t fenced and when a frantic search didn’t produce her they feared someone may have driven by and taken her.  They called the police and worriedly  continued to search.  To this day my mom vividly recalls standing by the detached garage behind my dad as he spoke with the officers.  She reports that, without warning an “invisible something”  literally took her by the hand and pulled her across the backyard to an old quilt lying in the grass.  She said she was physically pulled down by this guiding presence to explore the quilt, which to her looked as though it had simply been tossed in the yard.  Having kicked at it earlier in her search she was amazed to discover that deep within the quilt my sister had rolled herself tightly into a ball.  Playfully hiding, she had fallen asleep.  

I recall my parents relief as my dad later sat with my sister on his lap, all of us gathered around her.  As he talked to her about never hiding from them like that again I can still hear her say, “Next time I will leave my feet sticking out.”  Everyone laughed at her seemingly reasonable two year old response, as my dad shot down that idea in a heart beat.

To this day my mom recalls that moment as clearly as the day it happened.  She told me that was the day that she truly knew there was more to this world than meets the eye.  My mom had been raised with religious teachings, but until her own revelatory experience, none of it was tangible for her.  As my friend Theresa always says, information is not revelation. Personal revelatory experiences awaken us deeply to the true nature of reality.  My mom has gone on to have many more mystical experiences.  None more profound than those after my father’s passing. But for now let me tell you how my own daughter, my sister’s namesake, was also saved by a guiding presence.

Laurie was my first child and when she was just an infant I had taken her with me to help a friend pack up her house for a move out of state.  She had a daughter a couple of months older than Laurie and motherhood had bonded us. I tucked my baby girl into the crib my friends daughter used, and went about packing.  Later, as I was working in the bathroom I got an image of my daughter in the crib with a blanket tightly wrapped around her head from the neck up.  At twenty-one I simply considered this a foolish thing to imagine and almost brushed it aside.  Fortunately however, I decided to peek in on my daughter anyway.  As I looked in from the bedroom door I couldn’t see over the bumper guards around the crib so I walked over.  There she was, just as I had envisioned her; on her back, the blanket tightly surrounding her little head.  I scooped her up, removed the blanket and she gasped for air.  Her hair was soaking wet and her face bright red.  Acting on the vision I had received had saved her life.

To this day I don't know how she managed to tangle herself up in that blanket but I have never left a blanket in a crib since!  Also, I have never discounted any vision or premonition since.  And, like my mother, I have never forgotten the intervention that aided me in rescuing my daughter.  My mother was pulled as an invisible presence literally took hold of her hand.  I was more subtly guided by a vision in my mind that I almost regarded as an over active imagination.  However guidance comes to us, following it can be life saving.


Intuitive awareness is so interwoven into our daily experience that it goes without recognition most of the time.  Unless catalyzing events, like those I have shared here happen, most people are not even aware of how much access they have to these abilities.  Identifying them in the ordinariness of everyday living taught me how to cultivate and build upon them without being enamored with them. or considering them “miracles”.  Tuning into my own higher-self aspect is all the guidance I needed to experience this for myself. My limitless nature was only obscured until I came into the realization of it.  Coming into that realization as a society begins with sharing stories like these and starting to pay attention to the multi-dimensional nature of the world around us.  It is everywhere and it is awakening in us as we exchange such stories.  It is for that reason alone that I write about my experiences.  Not so anyone will follow in my footsteps, but so we will all move deeper into our own inward path, awaken to our intuitive nature and embrace the individual and highly personal guidance that extends from beyond the realms of matter, energy, space and time.  There is indeed more to this world than meets the eye….and we are that more!

5/30/19

3- Wake-Up Call

3- Wake-up Call
When we combine soul-searching and the desire to understand the meaning of life with creativity, we open a type of portal between our physical and non-physical self. Without realizing it, as this story demonstrates, I had done just that.  Though it would take another profound creative experience some years later to anchor this as an ongoing practice, I’d like to share the first of these ‘wake-up calls’ as I have come to see them.  I was in my late twenties, the single mother of two, and my life was once again coming undone! Thank goodness!
The first half of my life was a train wreck.  It was not until my late twenties that I began to truly find direction and purpose.  And even then, there was so much residual dysfunction overlapping my newfound revelations that it took a few years for my outer circumstances to begin to align with the internal changes I was experiencing.  As a single mom of two young children, I lived in a house that a relative was remodeling.  Because of the ongoing construction, I paid a reduced rent for a large home on the outskirts of town.  While it wasn’t perfect, it was affordable….and in the countryside, which I loved!  Construction on the house took place while I was at work and the kids were at school or daycare.  Evenings and weekends it was quiet and peaceful. 

The house was a very old, very large two-story which was built in the early 1900’s.  It had fourteen foot high ceilings, large handmade glass windows, shiplap walls and hardwood floors.  But before you get a beautiful HGTV vision in your mind, let me point out that the place had never been updated or remodeled! It was solid and strong but it was not a testimony to modern renovation.  The living room was divided by two massive pocket doors and this allowed me to use one side as a bedroom for myself while the kids slept on the second story.  My ‘bedroom’ was huge and the high ceilings and large windows gave it an added feeling of expansion.  I often left the pocket doors open at night in case the kids needed something, because it was easier to hear them call from upstairs.  I had a dresser and a full size antique iron bed in the corner and not much else in the space.  It was in this room, in this bed, that a wake-up call unlike anything I had ever experienced got my attention.

During this period of my life I was doing a lot of soul searching; exploring religion and questioning the meaning of life.  The phrase “Lead me into all truth.” was a constant as I sought to know and understand a God that religion had yet to adequately reveal and philosophy failed to interpret for me.  Therefore, introspection and spiritual contemplation were the norm for me.  This pre-occupation spilled over into the kind of things I chose to read or study, and made up many of the conversations I had with others.  Having always been an artist and a writer, each night after the kids were in bed I would sit up and paint or write until I got tired.  Creativity had always been a large part of my life.  It was a constant and fulfilling aspect of my being and I truly indulged myself.  At this time in my life I was completely unaware of the powerful portal we open when we combine creative contemplation and soul searching.  It is profound to say the least!

Each night after putting away my notebook or paint brushes I’d crawl beneath the comfy covers and snuggle in.  I loved this old house and I loved living in the country.  One night as I was drifting off to sleep I heard my name called out from a distance, ever so faintly, but clear as a bell.  I opened my eyes and lay perfectly still as I waited, listening.  When I heard nothing more I wrote it off as being tired and simply ‘hearing things’.  When this happened again the next night, I was a little more perplexed because I knew I wasn’t imagining anything, nor was I dreaming.  For the next couple of weeks, as I lay down each night, I intentionally stayed mentally alert.  Night after night, in the dark stillness, just before drifting off, one brief utterance of my first name, seemingly called out from a short distance, filled the room where I lay.   Slightly louder than the first night, it left me more and more anxious until I couldn't take it any longer.  One night in response, I sat up and yelled as loud as I could into the empty room, “What?”

As the echo of my frustration faded, the room grew silent.  I never heard the voice call my name again, but I didn't need to.  It had gotten my attention and anchored my curious journey even deeper into the mystery of life.  I made many positive changes during this time and have always considered this experience a pivotal point...a wake-up call of sorts.  Yet this was not to be my last clairaudient experience.   As I share in the story Stillness Speaks, the next one would so profoundly awaken me that religion could not contain it nor could philosophy explain it, though it stemmed from both.  I say this to emphasize that it doesn’t matter where we are on our path.  Religious, atheist or somewhere between the two, if we are seeking truth from deep within ourselves truth will find us.  This is because we are the truth we seek.  Not our personality self, but our divine, limitless, eternal self!  It will quite literally call out to us if that is what it takes to get our attention!  

I learned that the quickest way to connect with this truth is to drop everything I had ever been told about what it is or how to find it.  I learned that there is no ‘one truth’ in a world of duality and perception.  There is however my truth….waiting deep inside of me to reveal itself.  Deeper than I had ever been taught to look!   I learned that this is how it works for each of us, and this is why truth, what most call ‘God’ can’t be contained, experienced or explained communally. Unbeknownst to me at the time, creativity had operated as a sort of meditative space that expanded me; opened me up as a receiver and made me more sensitive to the frequencies which were not typically on my radar.  I wouldn’t fully understand this until years later but once I did, creativity became fundamental to my spiritual journey of realization and awakening.


Eventually I abandoned the paths others had given me to follow and introspectively tuned into my own questioning heart with sincerity and integrity.  I then simply followed the synchronistic breadcrumbs that showed up, unraveling the mess I had made of things from being outwardly directed.  Today I know I came here to explore my own book of life, not read from another’s.  I didn’t come here to do anyone else’s plan for my life.  I didn’t come here to look good, fit in, or win approval.  I came here to come undone!  To free myself from ancestral conditioning and experience myself as an infinite being.  I now understand that I am my own self-help manual.  All I have to do is un-do the things that keep me from reaping the rewards of this great design.  But thankfully I don’t have to do this all at once.  That would be impossible.  I have spent the last thirty years consciously un-doing the previous thirty years of conditioning, so this I can promise..…  it gets easier and easier, until it becomes a joy ride of unimaginable proportions revealing the true, eternal nature of our lives in palpable clarity.  

In the years since this experience I have come to realize that the calling of our name is sometimes a precursor to the nightly out-of-body excursions we all take as our physical body sleeps.  This, or a vibrating sensation, which I have also experienced, is how we sometimes disconnect from our physical ‘container’.  The expanded, multi-dimensional awareness that we truly are is not confined nor is it limited to the dense nature of our physical experiences.  Hearing my name called out in the dark of night was just the metaphysical nudge I needed to begin to explore the fullness of my being beyond the limits of all I’d been told and taught about who..…and what, I am!  


Today I realize that I am an infinite being experiencing a limited framework. This framework expands beyond its limited nature as I follow my intuitive nudges with curiosity and introspective wonder. It is this ever unfolding journey that has my full attention, and informs all that I engage.    My art, my work, and my play is born from and returns to this endeavor.  Not because I am rigidly trying to become more, learn more, experience more, but because I have realized I am more….more than I was led to believe by the conditioned outer directed world.  And it is a great joy to play in the depths of this more-ness that I am!

5/29/19

4- Stillness Speaks

4- Stillness Speaks
Life handed me just enough dead end roads and starting over scenarios to break me open.  Fortunately, through the tiniest crack in my head-strong, sure-fire approach to life, just enough illumination got in to ignite a passion in me for more.  The expansion of consciousness that spiritual insight offered in the way of heightened intuitive awareness is, for me, compelling, to say the least. However, when I speak of spiritual insight, I’m not only referencing palpable revelatory experiences that, in and of themselves, are quite captivating.  The ‘experience’ is not what compels me.  It is the expansion of consciousness that accompanies these mystical experiences and then continues to teach and guide along avenues of new awareness that I  am called toward.  It is the realization of my infinite nature, ever unfolding as I align with it.  Connecting deeply and sincerely to my core with one consistent mantra or prayer was my avenue!  Lead me into all truth’, was the foundational request beneath all I sought to know.  The sincere expression of that request brought about my second clairaudient experience; a mystical experience indeed! 

As a daughter, grand-daughter, niece, cousin, friend and significant other to countless alcoholics in my life, my choice to go into the field of counseling, intervention and education was well foreshadowed.  However, it was my own co-dependent approach to helping those I loved, long before my career choice was made, that landed me in 12 Step circles.  The third step in The Program reads: “Made a decision to turn my will and life over to God as I understand Him.”   While I longed to turn my will and life over to anyone who could do a better job, it was the “God as I understand Him” part that gave me pause.  I vividly recall my immediate innermost response to this step being…’That’s the problem…I don’t understand God… at all!  Meaning, I don’t understand how God could let the things that happen, happen.  If God is all knowing and all powerful why then, do good people suffer?  And how does evil even exist if God is in charge?  I wasn't alone in these perspectives, and such questions turn many away from all manner of spirituality.  But not me.  I didn’t believe there was anything I couldn’t know if I sought diligently enough. 

I was raised and confirmed in the Lutheran religion, so I was taught about God. But even the Pastor couldn’t satisfy my 13 year old questioning mind during catechism class, so I was never that impressed with church, doctrine or conventional spirituality.   As I reflected on this whole “God as I understand Him” reference in the 3rd Step, I figured getting an understanding was as good as any place to start.  

It is funny now to reflect back on my naiveté but, thinking outside of western religion was not even on my radar. I called my Uncle David, who, as a Pentecostal preacher was about as far from traditional religion as I could imagine in those early years.  I kid you not,  I was seriously reaching out to what I believed was the highest spiritual authority I knew.  We didn’t have a personal relationship that extended into adulthood, so reaching out at twenty-eight years old was a stretch for me.  I loved my childhood Uncle Punk, and my relationship with his boys had always been close, but he and I didn’t really know one another anymore. In fact, it was a sincere talk with his second oldest son, Michael, many years before,  that even prompted my call.  Mike and I had stayed up late one night talking about life and faith.  He had said that regardless of how off track his life ever got,  his last breath would be to reach out to Jesus, so I figured he must have gotten something from his church that mine wasn’t offering.  

For the next three years I was front and center at the local Pentecostal church.  Not only was I there with my two young children in tow every time the doors were open, I was also tuned into Christian TV, bible study, and Christian music, which had replaced much of my ‘secular’ choices.  I was on a quest, to say the least!  I frequented Christian book stores.  I bought tons of reference books and spent all my free time studying like a biblical scholar.  Apart from crashing my life on the rocks one too many times, religion on turbo-charge was my starting place.

I felt good during this time and my life truly opened with possibilities never before imagined.  I was lighter and happier and the havoc that had spread itself across my earlier years began to fade even from memory.  I was indeed made new.  Then it happened…. almost three years into this journey I was sitting in church one day listening to a sermon when I realized I didn’t agree with what was being interpreted from scripture.   The pastor was going on and on about something that my heart of hearts was completely at odds with.  This had been happening more and more as I moved deeply into my own spiritual study and understanding.  That’s when my mantra/prayer practice kicked in.  I slightly lowered my head, closed my eyes and began silently asking to be “lead into all Truth”.  So deeply sincere was my desire and so profoundly dedicated to truth was my request that I received an other-worldly response.

From the center of my being, rising upward from within, a powerful voice filled with clarity and direction, loudly spoke the words, “Be Still And Know.”  So jolting was this experience that my head snapped up and my back became ramrod straight against the hard wooden pew.  Eyes wide and stunned, I looked around the sanctuary to see if anyone else had heard the powerful directive.  The preacher was still preaching and the congregation was still nodding and amen-ing along with him as I realized I alone had been given a brief, yet all encompassing, four word sermon.  

Along with the words, this mystical clairaudient experience came with a revelatory expansion of consciousness that imparted much more than the words themselves could convey.  It would be the first of many communication experiences of permeating revelation.  Like an infusion of complete unwavering understanding, I was instantaneously made aware that the nature of Truth waited for me deep within stillness, not in books or religions or anything outside myself.  But what was stillness apart from non-movement?  This was my new quest.  

I embraced stillness as the next pearl of wisdom cast before me in a never ending series of lessons that have marked my spiritual journey.  I didn’t attach my experience to church or religion, or to the man preaching the sermon that morning.  Instead it moved me beyond all those things; indeed beyond all religion or philosophy.  It was very clear that the directive I had received that morning was telling me that in order to understand God, I would have to move beyond all of the structures man had made to define God, and move instead deep into the core of my being.  That was the place that now held “God as I understood Him.”  The God I followed, the aspect I asked with sincerity to “lead me into all truth”, was not in that or any church….it was, quite literally, in me! 

I came to realize that stillness is not the same as non-movement.  Stillness is a palpably alive awareness that has no division within it.  It is an all-knowing oneness that contains whatever it is I seek to know or understand. All that ever blocks it is my belief that I already know something.  Stillness birthed a conversion reaction in me so strong that I dropped everything in search of learning more from it.  It became both my practice and my place of rest.   I find it more and more as I free myself from the limited world of perception through the practice of compassionate non-judgement toward myself and others.  Stillness continues to find me and surprise me as I surrender to it with all that I am.  It is the most profound way to live that I have ever experienced, and within it truly lies the peace that passeth all understanding.  Undoing what I think I know and stepping moment by moment out of the limiting boxes I create for myself is my ongoing journey into the ever-expanding wisdom within stillness.  This is my spirituality!


Creative energy is the vehicle I most use to tap into this stillness! As the desire to create comes naturally to me, I kind of stumbled across it as a path into stillness.  Where many use sitting meditation to tune themselves inward, I use creativity.  I find it is a great tool for both detaching myself from the snags and tangles of distraction, and expressing the revelations I find beyond those limitations.

5/28/19

5- Easter Orchids

5- Easter Orchids
We are all more than we believe ourselves to be.  It is this inner essence that cries out for unconditional love.  Giving this to ourselves and others is the journey we have embarked upon in this experience we call life.  It is why we are here.  If we can come to know this essence within ourselves and embrace it, we will see and embrace it in others.  We will know peace and the unwavering power of love.  Compassionate non-judgment is the path I have consciously chosen to take me there and I can honestly say the experience I share in this story anchored and expanded my dedication to this choice.  


In the last years of my grandma’s life she needed someone to stay with her around the clock.  While my aunt was her primary caretaker, occasionally I’d go spend a week or so with my grandma to give my aunt a break.  My uncle would drop off groceries from time to time so I could cook for us, but other than that we were pretty much on our own.  Grandma’s growing dementia prevented very much conversation.  She mostly watched TV soaps she could no longer follow, slept in her chair and drifted from time to time into some distant daydream she was having.   This woman, who had been the backbone of our family for almost a hundred years was coming to the last stages of her journey here.  She had taught me so much about life through example.  Compassion, dedication, unconditional love and acceptance were as natural to her as breathing.  She had also taught me to cook, crochet and sew.  Every creative bone I have I got from her and I knew that once she was gone from the family, the family would lose it’s center.  I also knew that it was largely because of her, that I had found mine.

I had a lot of free time to read on these visits so I always brought some esoteric material I was studying.  I would often read late into the night and throughout most of the day as I sat with my grandma.  This focused my mind and informed much of the things I pondered about life and the meaning it held.  Watching the woman I admired so much near the end of her days, magnified my introspective inquiries.  Being one who has experienced time and again that we do indeed find answers to the questions we seek, I sought to further understand the soul’s journey.

On one particular visit I had been reading from The Book Of Enoch and pondering the mystical type of experiences the text is centered on.  This is not reading for light weights, and as any serious spiritual student will tell you, old Enoch had himself quite an adventurous time!  Enoch’s  travels to heaven in the form of dreams, visions and revelatory experiences were very profound.  I didn’t study esoteric material just for the content shared or the lesson’s taught.  I believed I could have the same revelatory experiences these teachers shared in their writings.  Having been proven right in my assumptions time and again, I always sought first hand communications with my own higher mind.  However I wasn’t at all prepared for the revelatory experience I awaiting me on this visit.

My grandma perked up whenever my uncle visited.  I never really had a relationship with him even though his wife, my mom’s sister, was my favorite aunt.  The truth is he was never around much in my childhood.  He worked shift work and most holidays, so while I was with my aunt a lot, this was not the case with her husband.  As an adult I didn't see very much of either of them due to geography.  He was a fastidious man, starched and pressed. He had very strong opinions and the way we viewed the world was very different.  He was a conservative, a republican, and very outspoken on his opinions.  I was so far away from anything political there was not even a category for my views.  He freely spoke his mind and sometimes displayed a prejudice I just couldn't warm up to, but I had grown up being taught to respect my elders so, for the most part, I didn’t engage his comments.  Besides, he loved my aunt and was good to my grandma and I figured that was all that mattered.  I had no way of knowing this man was about to be the conduit through which one of the most profound spiritual lessons of my life would flow. 

It was the week of Easter, and not being religious, I hadn’t celebrated any of the holidays in more years than I could count.  But because my uncle didn’t know this, when he went grocery shopping for us and saw the orchid corsages being sold for Easter, he kindly bought one for both grandma and me.  As grandma opened the kitchen door to let him in, his tall frame filled the small room.  I sat at the kitchen table as he reached in the grocery sack he carried and presented my grandmother with a corsage.  I remember thinking what a sweet gesture it was, when he surprised me with one as well.  As he extended it and our hands connected on the small package, I was literally catapulted into a profound mystical experience.  

Time stood still as I experienced my uncles spirit expand from his being and fill the room.  His divine essence merged with mine and communicated the pure energy of unconditional love. I was suddenly caught up in the most profound realization that this is the substance around which we are all formed.  In a moment that I am quite sure only I experienced, I was transported into revelatory awareness and clarity.  I felt as though I had been given a glimpse through the veils Enoch had pierced, and never again would I mistake the personality for the essence of a person.