Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Warriors of the Inner Battle

Have you yet come to the place in your life where you've declared war on your lies...?

Are you aware of the subtle/powerful pull of those lies ... those lies-masquerading-as-truth ... which lull and seduce you into remaining in their trance?

And ... are you yet aware that the entire world, the vast realm all around you, is part of this seduction...?

Do you yet know that most of what you see, hear, experience, and *know* ... is a lie?

Do you want to know? And, once you know, are you willing to let your life be shaped around the truth ... however that may unfold?

Basically: do you want to remain asleep -- or do you want to awaken?

Be prepared -- for if you commit to awakening, to living, to discovering who you really are, and then living out your life in an authentic/integral way ... the world, and most who are in it, will come against you.

It's a given.

It's even the price of admission.

Can you then live with the labels, the gossip, the people turning on/against you? I promise you -- it will happen. And a good many of those who continue to love you, will love you with the secretly-hoped-for condition, that you will "return to your senses."

It all starts with a doubt ... "maybe all that I've learned is not true ... maybe I've been duped."

And, if you begin to see the specific dupednesses (that will definitely trigger spell-check!) ... and you realize that if "they" lied to you about "that" ... well, sheesh, what else were you lied to about...?

Now, "they" will think, and even say, that you're rebelling. And you are, but this is a rebellion against the Matrix ... a rebellion against the false-realm, and even the false "you" that has been projected onto you (even by well-intentioned-yet-blinded-by-fear folks). This is the rebellion of recovering our authenticity ... self-integrity. It's why you're here. Don't miss this.

It's about recovering personal freedom, after years, and decades, and eons of shackling. It's the freedom to be who we really are. The freedom to live the life we *came* here to live, before we forgot ... before we got caught up in domestication, in conventionality, in conformity in the name of "safety and appropriate acceptability."

Yes, this is a war ... but it's *not* against people (anyone who knows anything about me knows that I abhor the warfare mentality)! That's the outside dream/illusion. This is an internal war ... it's in our own mind ... the war against the part of the mind that has chosen to create a personal hell on earth (the only sort of hell there is, btw ... all else is metaphor). It's the war between the authentic Self, and the tyrant ... the judge, the law, the egoic belief system that saturates this realm.

And, like so many wars -- this one requires a sacrifice -- something has to go, so that you, the real you, can live.

Do you see the various human sacrifices? The violence, the crime, the prisons, the wars? The institutions of school, business and religion (yeah, all that, too). All the "have-to's" that squelch and suppress the deep desires of our hearts ... can you see that we're all doing this to ourselves, inside ... and that what we see outside, is just a projection of that...? Do you see that we've created all of this?

Can you see...?

"This is how it is. Life has to be this way. Don't rock the boat."

Oh, really?

Do you know that you have a choice? That you (yes YOU!) can create heaven, or hell, for your life, here and now...? Do you know that you're responsible for your life? How do you want to live it?

Do you want happiness? If so, then BE happy, and ENJOY your happiness...!

Why pretend? Why try to be what/who you are not? Can you accept yourself as you are ... even if you are changing (& do you know that changing/growing/evolving is the point of being a human?)? Can you like yourself? Can you enjoy who you are? If you can't -- how can anyone else?

We're here to "write our own story" ... we get to decide how it goes. We don't have to write the story against ourselves ... we don't have to take on anyone else's version of our story. We don't have to take anything personally ... nor do we have to make assumptions ... we can be skeptical, but learn to listen.

Wouldn't it be wonderful to learn to trust ourselves? To trust our own innate instincts? To follow our intuition? We were born with these gifts ... and we've unlearned them in the process of domestication. We've allowed the fears of others to permeate us ... and to force us into the constraints of conformity ... but why?!?

What if we trusted life, and took whatever was presented to us? What if we trusted that everything, absolutely everything is GOOD, and a GIFT (no matter what we *think*) ... and that everything is going to be just fine. Wouldn't life become simple, and easy...?

We make life so complicated and difficult when we try to sacrifice ourselves for someone else ... for their notions of how we *should* be. I am not here to sacrifice myself for anyone. I am not here, in this life, to satisfy the opinions or points of view of other human beings.

Perhaps the biggest fear to overcome, is the fear of being ourselves. Our REAL selves. Our Real Self. This takes an inordinate amount of courage ... though there comes the point where we see that the fear-based reasons simply never existed. Fear = False Evidence Appearing Real. Phantoms ...!

Ahhhh, the sheer relief of finding out that it's far easier to be who we are, than to try to be who we are not. Though, expect the resistance from others ... who will want, and try, to get you back into what they thought you were, or what you should be.

But again, this battle is resolved within first ... and only. When we realize that others are merely looking at us through their projected lenses, that they do not have any power over us, that they do not have rights over us ... then we can smile, and let them be where/as they are. We can even love them where they are, for when we see, we can see past their illusions, into who they really are. We can love them forth ... invite them to discover awakened authenticity for themselves ...

Now, let's remember that we re-enter the Matrix on a regular/daily basis ... we are here in this realm, and we're meant to use it, now that we see and understand it ...

Yes, that tyrant (the ego) will pop up again, and again, and again. 'Tis ok. 'Tis part of the plan, the purpose, of this life. It's for context.

But, once we *see*, we are able to make agreements/choices that support life as we see it, that add to our joy, that add to our happiness, and add to our freedom.

So ... enter the awakening with me ... question your beliefs ... dare to let go ... dare to find out who you really are ... look beyond the veil.

Shalom, Dena

Monday, March 29, 2010

Be Skeptical, But Learn to Listen ...

Three days of no blogging ... wassup with THAT?!?


Saturday was spent at an art show ... which, despite being "non-productive" (sales-wise), was still a delightful way to spend the day ... as connecting with people remains my favorite activity...

I'm in the thick of a marvelous little book, that's messing with my mind (uh-oh! actually, these things I read only serve to show me what was always, already there). It's written simply, and yet manages to go deep ... zeroing in on yet-more unquestioned assumptions in my life ... things I've imagined to be "firm" and "resolute" ... and I find myself asking, "is it true? who says?"

And, as always, whenever I find myself mid-shift ... it's uncomfy. Even conflicting.

This too, I know, shall pass ... resolution will come, and all will be good. Because all IS. It just always, and in all ways, requires a perspective-shift, to SEE the good ... change, I'm discovering, is the inevitable. We cannot chain ourselves to what we once thought was truth ... nor can we be tethered to who we once thought we were ...

So, in order to process some of this, I'll share snippets (been at least 3 weeks since I've used that word!) of what I'm reading ... may it serve another, as I'm exploring this myself ...

The book, btw, is "The Fifth Agreement" by Don Miguel Ruiz, and his son, Jose Ruiz -- by way of reference, they're Toltec (ancient Mexican) shamans ... which is just a native American term for "wise one", or "awakened one" ... or "mystic" (don't let the words through you -- they're just symbols -- go deeper).

Yes, of course, I do recommend it. ;)

Might want to start with the prequel, "The Four Agreements" ... though this one can stand alone. And, rather than take everyone through my typical "guided tour" of the book, I'd rather just share what's speaking to me ... and if you're so led, you can read the book (or whatever reSource you discover, in your own life).

So, here, itself, is the "Fifth Agreement":
Be skeptical, but learn to listen.

Why skeptical? Because most (if not all) of what we've learned, assumed, heard, believed, and lived on ... is not true.

Pausing ...

Humans are creators ... and what we've created, in our ignorance of our creative abilities, is a skewed realm ... even an experiential hell. A sense of separation from God, from our true Self ... and separation from all that is ... and from each other.

We use symbols, and think that these symbols have foundational meaning ... but in focusing on the symbols, we lose the meaning of real reality.

LOL, cryptic enough for you? ;)

Anyone tracking yet...?

See, we humans tell ourselves, and each other, stories ... and when we believe these stories, collectively, they become myth, and then doctrine. And then Absolute Truth. And we build reinforcements, to keep these symbols, these agreed-upon-beliefs, in place. We use inordinate energy to do so ... thinking, falsely, that this is our bedrock, our security. We erect rules, and boundaries ... thinking that we're holding it all together, but we're really just putting ourselves, and each other, in shackles.

We don't trust. We don't know who we really are. We don't know why we're really here, having this material/physical experience. We're afraid to experience this realm fully ... we fear being obliterated by it ... so, we domesticate it, restrain it, suppressing who we are.

We live in a world of lies... masquerading as truth. And we fight to keep these lies in place, believing them to be true. We don't see what we're doing to ourselves in the process ... and to each other. The lies require a great deal of maintenance ... but truth just IS. It exists whether we're aware of it or not. Think the movie, "The Matrix" ... everyone blindly going on with what appears to be reality, but is really an illusion ... some see beyond the veil ... some see past the illusion ... and get to experience the much more. They can then re-enter the Matrix ... to show the Way, to share the Light, to BE Light. Unfortunately, the way it is right now, most who are in the Matrix are defending it ... resisting seeing the much more ... and those who see, throughout the ages, have been maligned, and worse.

Something happens when you finally see that most of humanity believes lies ... that we are distorting truth ... that we are dreaming, imagining the dream to be reality. It gets freeing to realize that everyone just believes their own story, believes that their version of the story is THE story ... and we don't have to force our perspective ON them ... we can let them be where they are, and love them as/where they are ... and live out our own life ... discovering who we are, and why we're here.

It's not personal ... we don't have to agree or disagree ... we can just listen. We can understand the words they use, knowing that they don't really affect us.

I am responsible for what I say ... but I'm not responsible for what you understand. That's YOUR responsibility. What you do with the words, and what you think of me, because of your understanding of my words, is not my business. :) Freeing, really...!

We're here to experience life! We can take what works for us, and use it to "modify the dream" we're here to have, and let go of what doesn't work. And, maybe something works at one point ... and then it no longer works. So, let go.

I'm seeing, more and more, that I'm not meant to believe in all that I've learned ... but to believe in who I am. Yes, as humanistic and scary as it sounds, I am to believe in myself. My Self, is what is connected to, and even manifesting as, God, in human flesh. The real me is connected to all that is ... the rest is illusion.

The cool thing about lies, is that once we see them, we don't have to believe them ... and the cooler thing about truth is that it doesn't come with knowledge ... or with words. The truth is silent. Something that we just know ... something we feel and experience without words.

And this! "If you're suffering, it's not because anybody is making you suffer; it's because you obey the tyrant that's ruling your head".

This spoke to me:

Once you realize that you create the whole symbology to communicate with your own kind, then you find out that the symbols are not really good or bad or right or wrong. You make them right or you make them wrong with your beliefs... when you go beyond symbols, what you find is a world of perfection where everyone and everything in creation is perfect.


What if it's time to unlearn the lies, and relearn how to follow the truth by following our hearts ... undomestication.

Let me close with this:
"Wherever you go around the world, you will hear all kinds of opinions and stories from other people. You will find great storytellers wanting to tell you what you should do with your life: "You should do this, you should do that, you should do whatever." Don't believe them. Be skeptical, but learn to listen and then make your choices. Be responsible for every choice you make in your life. This is your life: it's nobody else's life, and you will find that it's nobody else's business what you do with your life."


It's taken me (almost) half my life to learn this (I'm living to 120, at least, so I'm not even halfway there yet!). It's all been preparation for this. It's been context. Training.

Can we dare to surrender to life..?

Be skeptical, but learn to listen ....

Shalom, Dena

Friday, March 26, 2010

Truth or Fiction? Do You Want to Know...?

I'm nearly bursting to share this one ... got all fired up from my reading this morning ... feeling passion ... wanting, no needing, to share...!

First, this must be watched (& yes, I know I use the "must" word a lot ... trying to not be all naggy and bossy, but when truth hits me smack-dab in the face, and screams "SHARE ME" -- I must heed). My friend Kevin Beck shared that (& his quote is featured in it) ... this lifts my heart ... I've so long feared the abusive power of men ... but this perspective allows my heart to adore the way men really ARE... and I believe that it will make the men I know rejoice!

Along with that, watch this video ... as the message is the same ...

Annnnnnd, along with all that, I want to share what got me all excited this morning..!

We've heard it all our lives ... we read it in every book ... we see it play out in every movie (at least, the good ones) ... we hear it in every sermon (don't get me started!) ... it's everywhere: the belief that we're in a "battle" of good vs. evil.

Don't believe it.

The reality is, we're in an awakening of truth over lies. And, it's not a battle at all ... just as darkness cannot resist the Light, and does not fight back, but is absorbed by it, so too does truth permeate lies, showing them to be the fluff-figments that they are.

Now ... our *minds* fight back ... that's what the drama-addicted ego does. It can't help itself. We can know this, and even use it. We can know that there is only conflict in the human mind -- which is virtual reality -- there is no conflict in the rest of nature ... nature shows us that all is One, and all is in harmony. It's when we think something *should* be a certain way, or that rules *should* be imposed, that we have conflict.

ALL conflict is the result of lies ... because there is no conflict in Truth. Truth doesn't need to prove anything ... it just IS. We accept it, and live in the resulting joy, or we resist it, fight it, deny it ... and create our own living hell.

Don Miguel Ruiz, in his brilliantly-simple little book, "The Fifth Agreement" (but first read, "The Four Agreements"), says this:

"Hell is nothing but a dream full of lies. Remember, our dream [this life] is controlled by what we believe, and what we believe could be truth, or could be fiction. The truth leads us to our authenticity, to happiness. Lies lead to limitations in our lives, to suffering and drama. Whoever believes in truth, lives in heaven. Whoever believes in lies, sooner or later lives in hell. We don't have to die to go to heaven or to hell. Heaven is all around us, just as hell is all around us. Heaven is a point of view, a state of mind, and so is hell. It's obvious that lies have been running every show in our head. Humans create the lies, and then the lies control the humans. But sooner or later the truth arrives, and the lies cannot survive the presence of the truth."

Here's a whopper of a lie that most of us have been conditioned into believing:

Nobody's perfect.

Oh really...?!?

What if every human in this world is perfect, but that we've believed propaganda? What if we've been judging ourselves, and everyone else, against a false image of perfectionism [grasp the difference here, between perfect, and perfectionism]?

What if everything in creation, including humans, IS perfect...? What if you believed that, and realized, with joy, that it included YOU...?

To see that only perfection exists is a critical step in our human evolution (yeah, that dreaded "e" word -- sensing some lies at work there, too...? ;) ). If we say otherwise, we are saying that we are yet-unaware of who we are. Don't just acquiesce to saying you're perfect ... believe it. Do what it takes to get there (yes, I am preaching to myself here too...!).

Face this: we live in a world filled with superstition, much of it all gussied up in the straight jackets of religious dogma.

Imagine going back a few centuries in time ... when it was believed that the world was flat, and that bathing was dangerous (oh thank You, God, that I was born in an era where bathing was seen as good!). Close your eyes (OK, just mentally, or else you can't read any more...) ... let yourself feel what it would be like to be surrounded by ignorant superstition ... which was enforced by odious threats. Feel what it would be like to know that everything you believe threatens everything that they believe. (Some of us don't have to try too hard to know THAT one!)

How long would it take before you'd be labeled a heretic, a witch, a blasphemer...? How long before someone would threaten your safety, or your life?

Now, how easy is it for *you* to see that they were believing lies, were immersed in superstition, a figment of their ignorant imaginations...? From their perspective, they thought (or "knew"!) what they believed was true...! That way of life was their "normal" ... they didn't know better.

What IF what you believe, what our entire culture/society believes, and is even so SURE about, is just as full of superstitions as what they believed, then...?

And what if we are maligning the ones who see beyond the surface, in the same way they were, back then?

Here's another lie: there's something wrong with our bodies.

Who says?

Our bodies are gifts ... wonderfully and awesomely made ... works of art ... completely loyal to us -- but we judge our bodies and berate them, and treat them as if they were the "enemy". We abuse our bodies, with our thoughts, with our neglect, with our judgments. Our culture tells us what attractiveness looks like, creating false images superimposed with air-brushing and photo-shopping, and holds up these standards tauntingly, EVERYwhere we look ... and we cannot, nor should we, attain such a standard! The ceaseless message is that we do not measure up ... that we are not worthy (as IF our worth was dependent upon what we look like!).

I know this pain, all too well. I didn't spend 21 years of my life, enslaved to bulimia, because I liked my body. I bought into all those lies ... I tortured myself relentlessly, nearly depriving myself of life, in order to fit that image I had been force-fed. Trying to fill up the emptiness, and then rejecting it, out of my assumed unworthiness ... trying to cleanse what I believed was my inner-filth. I know the enslavement of that "this is beauty, and you didn't make the cut" mentality.

It's a LIE...!

How many other lies do we believe ...? And would we know them, if we faced them? When we refuse to be puppets any longer, we start to see that our lives have been guided by lies and superstitions. Do you want to know? Do you want to see them? Do you want to be set free to live out the love and joy and bliss you're here to experience...?

I don't know about the rest of y'all, but I've been a knowledge-accumulating-junkie. I seemed to have been born with an insatiable desire to know ... to explore, to understand. And this would've been fine and dandy, if I hadn't been domesticated, "tamed" ... forced into conformity with the "standard and approved" data. So, yeah, I accumulated a heap of knowledge ... at least, the pre-approved fare ... and was slapped down when I ventured behind the curtain, the veil ... and what's happened is that all of that knowledge has been nothing more than a fog ... a thick (yet illusional) fog that hasn't allowed me to perceive truth, what really IS. I've only seen what's "safe" to see ... what won't rock the boat ... what won't get me in trouble ... the leash of fear has let me go only so far.

I don't think I'm that unique here ... I think that most of us are this way. Most of us only see what we want to see ... hear what we want to hear (that is, what's "safe to hear/see"). Our belief system is like a mirror... only showing us what we believe. Which is a limitation. There is MORE.

But we make assumptions that what we believe is truth, and is all there is. It doesn't occur to most of us that our "truth" is just a relative truth ... a virtual truth.

We humans make a boat-load of assumptions ... but assumptions are (mostly) lies ... not the truth. Fiction. Making assumptions and then taking them *personally* is a form of hell. Assumptions are just the lies we tell ourselves. The "story we tell ourselves," according to Byron Katie (a prophet of our day). And y'know what? We can tell ourselves a different story! We can keep trying on different stories until it measures up with what we know INside ... until it resonates. Rings true.

When the truth arrives (& it's always arriving, if we're open to it), the lies are dispelled ... and we can see that we were torturing ourselves for nothing.

Here's some truth: we get what we need when we need it. Gifts arrive ... but our pre-conditioned thinking (based on assumptions, based on what we believe) can get in the way, and prevent us from receiving the gifts. We may think we don't deserve the gift, or that it can only look a certain way, or that some gifts are "good and others are "bad" ... or, we can receive them, with gratitude, and let them be what they are. We can let them unfold ... and teach us. They come to show us who we really are.

We don't need to live in assumptions ... we can ask, and be open to a deeper understanding than we had fathomed was possible. If we don't make assumptions, we can let ourselves see truth ... rather than what we thought was the truth. Then we can see life as it is ... rather than how we think we should see it.

What if we could harness all the energy we put into the assumptions ... and instead used it to create a new dream -- our personal heaven.

What if ...?

Shalom, Dena

Thursday, March 25, 2010

New Revelations...?

Can we be open to the idea that new ideas, and even new revelations, are being brought forth ... including through us? Even you?

Is that an alarming thought? A challenging thought? Does it seem *wrong*...?

Why? Why do we have the belief (or assumption) that God stopped talking long ago ... and that God only talks through some...? Why not you? Why not me?

It's my belief that God never stopped communicating directly with human beings ... that this has been going on from the beginning of time, and is still happening today.

Here's how it's put in "The New Revelations":

"It is my function to glorify you, and so, to glorify Me. For only in the glory of you will the glory of Me be found. Only through the wonder of you will the wonder of Me be made known. Only through Life Itself, expressed in its next grandest way, can Life Itself be experienced in such a way."

Of course, none of us is the *only* one able to do this ... each of us is special ... but no more special than anyone else is (though we can know the delight of being drawn to ones who are experienced as uniquely special). None of us thus has to feel burdened, or overly responsible to bring the messages to the waiting world ... everyone everywhere is capable of bringing the message, in whatever unique way it needs to be transmitted.

It should go without saying, but must be said, that we need not listen to any human who declares themself to be more special than anyone else.

If a self-proclaimed "holy person" puts themself into the focus ... run! We are all made in the image of God, therefore all holy, so you can instead listen to those who encourage you to follow the God who is within you ...!

This quote (by Neale Donald Walsch) really speaks to me:

"Never confuse expression with experience.

Outer expression can lead to inner experience, but it can never substitute for it. Yet when inner experience leads to outer expression, the circle is complete ... and this is the purpose of Life, and the function of the World, and of the entire Universe as well."


A true teacher is not the one with the most knowledge, but one who causes the most others to have knowledge.

All shall know God not as the unattainable, but as the unavoidable.

(I just *LOVE* that..!)

Namaste ~

Shalom, Dena

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Have We Failed Religion, or Has Religion Failed Us?

So, how long have we had religion, anyway?

How many thousands of years?

While many of us can make a case for how religion has touched many personal lives, what has it done to improve society as a whole? Aren't we still dealing with the same problems we've always had (at least for the last 6,000 years)? Greed? Still there. Envy? Still there. Hatred? Still there. Inequity? Still there. Violence? Still there. War? Still there.

It's apparent to me that religion has not only not led us away from these behaviors, but has actually influenced us into them ... and has even encouraged and justified such behaviors, by living-color, larger than life examples.

We do not experience unity, as a result of religion, but separation. We don't feel secured by love, but driven by fear.

But the true message of God is not shame, exclusivity, intolerance, separation and fear. The real message of God is joy, unity, freedom, acceptance ... and UNconditional love.

For those who think that love is weak ... they haven't yet experienced that love. It IS overwhelming...!

When you observe people who adhere to religion - are they people at peace? Do they manifest joy, kindness, gentleness, self-control, love? Or are they angry, intolerant, judgmental, rigid, and even abusive and fighting (or supportive of fighting)? What language do they use? Is it inclusive, or exclusive?

Why is it that religion has failed to bring about any significant change on planet earth? It's not for lack of effort! Is it perhaps due to a lack of understanding? And perhaps for a lack of growth/change?

I find it fascinating that there has not been a significantly new idea in religion in hundreds, and even thousands, of years (& really, if they got it right hundreds/thousands of years ago, where's the evidence of transformation?).

In fact, those who bring up new ideas are the recipients of labels: heretic, anathema, blasphemer, deceiver, anti-christ, infidel, new-ager. Once upon a time, and not that long ago (& still ongoing in some places), such new-thinkers were killed.

Our religious institutions, and the leaders therein, simply cannot seem to acknowledge that there may be some aspect of life that they do not know ... and are unaware that the knowing of that something could change everything.

Have you noticed that the religions that insist that they possess all the answers, actually don't provide any?

Have you noticed how so many religions seem to be crumbling from within, even as so many are joining a mass exodus?

I see that we each have a choice ... we can cling to what we think we know, to the black and white words, and the literal interpretations/applications ... (and receive more of what we've always gotten) ... OR, we can dare to explore a new spirituality ... one that doesn't trash everything about the old, but which seeks to explore what's true in the religion, and also what's true outside of the religion.

If you go for the latter, are you now willing to be a force, a reSource, in your own unique way, wherever you are planted or beckoned, to be an agent of change? Can you let everything you do, say and even think, be an act of self-definition? Can you show the world who you are? Even if they reject what they hear you defining?

I'm pretty convinced that we can't change the world by changing the world. :)

I'm seeing that it begins at Home. With the self. Change the inner world, and the outer world is affected. As we go through our lives, changed from the inside, everything we touch is transformed. Think of ripples on a pond ... we never know how one gesture, one smile, one word, even to a complete stranger, can set off a flow of beautiful transformation ...

If not now, when?

If not you, who?

Maybe we could start with "humility theology" ... it would be a theology that would own up to not having all the answers ... it would be a theology willing to continue asking questions, and to even question the answers ...

Shalom, Dena

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Choosing Our Overwhelm ...

More and more, as I look around me, I see that pretty much nothing about our civilization is working.

In fact, it doesn't much seem civilized to me. Pretty primitive, really.

Religion isn't working, politics/government isn't working, the economy isn't working, education isn't working, business isn't working. It's all smoke and mirrors, and the emperor, looking into that smoky mirror, doesn't even realize that he's naked.

All these societal pillars are upholding ... what? Our illusions? Our beliefs? These beliefs don't reflect reality ... and they aren't serving anyone.

So, we need to get rid of them.

No, I'm not advocating for plowing down what we call civilization (though I'm often fantasizing about that, and if it would take that ...). It's the beliefs that need to be gotten rid of.

It seems to me that we're being invited, and encouraged, to examine what we believe ... and to open ourselves to new ideas, new thoughts, new concepts ... and even to be open to new revelations of spiritual truth.

Because pretty much everything needs to change.

I know -- it sounds overwhelming.

But, really, aren't we overwhelmed, regardless? Isn't it really a question of *what* we choose to overwhelm us?

Here, as I see it, are the choices:

~ To be overwhelmed by the current conditions which could destroy life as we know it (and even life in general)... OR

~ To be overwhelmed by the incredible notions that could re-creat the world we now live in.

By what do we now choose to be overwhelmed...?

Just a thought ...

Shalom, Dena

Sunday, March 21, 2010

"Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us"

GOT to plug another book here (yes, even in the middle of sharing about another book -- my blogging just can't keep up with my reading!).

The title of this blog post is the title of the book, written by Daniel Pink, who also wrote "A Whole New Mind" (about how the right brainers are going to "rule" the future, and save the world).

Here's the synopsis from Amazon:
According to Pink (A Whole New Mind), everything we think we know about what motivates us is wrong. He pits the latest scientific discoveries about the mind against the outmoded wisdom that claims people can only be motivated by the hope of gain and the fear of loss. Pink cites a dizzying number of studies revealing that carrot and stick can actually significantly reduce the ability of workers to produce creative solutions to problems. What motivates us once our basic survival needs are met is the ability to grow and develop, to realize our fullest potential. Case studies of Google's 20 percent time (in which employees work on projects of their choosing one full day each week) and Best Buy's Results Only Work Environment (in which employees can work whenever and however they choose—as long as they meet specific goals) demonstrate growing endorsement for this approach. A series of appendixes include further reading and tips on applying this method to businesses, fitness and child-rearing. Drawing on research in psychology, economics and sociology, Pink's analysis—and new model—of motivation offers tremendous insight into our deepest nature.

I found this book to be uncannily "on" and quite in sync with all that I've been reading, studying and realizing/remembering ... it applies across the board, whether we're talking about business, art, fitness, marriage, child-raising, or world problem solving. Humans need autonomy (freedom to self-direct), meaning/purpose (we've got to see the point, and we *must* make a difference for good, to be happy), and the creative thinking that comes from being in "flow" ...

Our entire institutional systematized world, from business, to school, to higher education, to church, to government -- it's all INeffective -- it ain't workin' folks...! But, you knew that.

Daniel Pink tells us why ... and what we can do about it. Each individually ... and all together.

Now, I could take several blog posts, to disseminate this book ... but I'm going, instead, to just share a video, of Daniel himself sharing his book with a TED audience (I love TED!). I'm watching it myself, to figure out whether there's a part II, or III, but in the meantime, start here with this video:

If it doesn't embed properly, go HERE.

As Daniel says, science is just telling us what we've *already* known in our hearts...!

Let's start inquiring within, and listening!

Shalom, Dena

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Five Fallacies About Life ...

So, what are we humans believing falsely about Life, that's led to crisis, violence, killing and war...?

~ We human beings are separate from each other.

~ There is not enough of what we humans need to survive, and to be happy.

~ To get the stuff we humans need to survive and be happy, we must compete with each other.

~ Some of us human beings are superior to other human beings.

~ It is appropriate, and even necessary, for us human beings to resolve our differences (which are created by the other fallacies), by killing each other.

When we combine these fallacies about life, with the previously-mentioned fallacies about God, we create a recipe for chaos in this world ... deep anger, brutal violence, terrible loss, unending sorrow, and unfathomable terror.

We THINK we are terrorized by other humans, but we're really terrorized by our beliefs...!

It's time for the humans to awaken from this insane dream, and to heal our world. What needs healing are the wounds caused by our beliefs. We claim to want peace, but we continue to promote chaos.

No wonder we are stressed...!

But see, we can't *do* peace ... we have to *BE* peace ... it starts with each one. Beingness is a manifestation of the soul and mind -- doingness is a manifestation of the body. We get to pick ... do we go with soul/spirit, or ego/mind? Our bodies will manifest our choice. In order to find peace, we have to be out of our mind, and into our heart...

When we choose the mind, we are affected by the constructs of the mind, and the body will manifest that.

According to Neale Donald Walsch (writing as God):
If the mind is discouraged, diminished, restricted, frustrated, angry, wounded, or agitated, the body will demonstrate that. If the mind is excited, enlarged, unlimited, exuberant, joyful, healed, whole and peaceful the body will behave in an entirely different way.

You are rushing around treating the symptoms, rather than the cause, of your worldwide disease.

You are seeking to bring about, for humanity as a whole, excitement, enlargement, unlimitedness, exuberance, joy, healing and peace. But you are attempting to do this with politics, with economics, with education, with social programs, and even with bombs.

It cannot be done that way.

You are trying to fix everything except what needs to be fixed. You are trying to change everything except what needs to be change: You are addressing everything but your most basic beliefs. Yet it is your most basic beliefs that are creating the problem.

I didn't know what I was diving into, when I began to question all of my basic beliefs ... I didn't feel that I had a *choice* -- they were pulled out from underneath me, and I had to question to survive. But I know that I am committed to continue ... that I will not stop questioning ... and I will not stop learning to trust That which is in me, leading and guiding me, and revealing all manner of "much more" to me ... as I can bear it.

I invite you to join in ... for the ride of your life...! For the PURPOSE of your Life ...!

Shalom, Dena

Friday, March 19, 2010

What Do We Believe *ABOUT* God...?

Everything depends not on whether we believe in God, but in what we believe *about* God. Our belief about God is crucial.

In fact, the condition of life today, filled with crisis, violence, killing and war -- is due to what we believe about God. ("We" meaning collective humanity, particularly those in exclusive religions -- not necessarily each and every individual.)

So, let's look at some of the beliefs about God that create crisis, violence, killing and war:

~ We believe that God needs something.

~ We believe that it's possible for God to fail to get what God needs.

~ We believe that God has become separated from us, because we have not given God what God wants.

~ We believe that God still needs what God needs so badly, that God now requires us, in our separated state, to give it to God.

~ We believe that God will destroy and torture us, forever, if we do not meet God's requirements, by giving God what God needs.

Given these beliefs, we think it's both appropriate and commendable to treat others AS we believe God treats us. So, crisis, violence, killing and war are being done to meet God's requirements. We think we are helping God get God's needs met.

For all of human history, disasters, wars, crises of all kind have been called "the will of God", or "acts of God". We believe in a God who does bad things.

For millennia, mankind has imagined that the powers that be were angry, and had to be appeased ... rites and rituals were created to placate and appease the gods, and to get them to bless us. Myths were created to make sense of the inexplicable events of life. The myths became true for them ... and when myths become true, it turns into organized religion. Most religious humans today continue to believe that God is angry, and must be placated, appeased and worshipped - or ELSE!

The wrath of God seems to be the one thing that most religions can agree upon.

But ~ what if there is no such thing as the wrath of God..? What if it's just one of our most pervasive false beliefs about God? How much damage has been done, human on human, due to believing that God is wrathful, and therefore, we must be, too ...?

Quoting Neal Donald Walsch:
It is your understanding of God that is the main problem ... You do not understand who you are. You do not understand who God is. You do not understand how the world works. You do not understand that love is the basis of all of life, nor can you comprehend a love that is unconditional.

You imagine that God is a small, petty, jealous deity who says to people bowed in prayer, 'Sorry, it's my way or the highway. Your prayer I hear. Your prayer I don't, because you didn't do it right. You did not please me. In other words, you turn me into a replica of the worst of humanity.

You claim that you are striving to be God-like in your lives ... and if this is the God you are striving to be like, you have succeeded brilliantly.

You may thank organized religion - the ones that teach a doctrine of exclusivity ('Our religion is the only true religion') - for teaching you how.

Next - five fallacies about Life ...

Shalom, Dena

Thursday, March 18, 2010

How Beliefs Create Behaviors ...

Lets start with this: All behaviors are created by beliefs.

But, only ALL.

Yeah, I can hear some of you ... "wait a minute, what about automatic reactions?"

Even those ... they're based on what we believe is happening, about to happen, or could happen. Many of our beliefs are fear-based.

Basically, we can't make any sort of change in behavior, without addressing the beliefs that are foundational to the behavior. And, after we change a belief, the behavior will take care of itself -- it will naturally flow out of the belief.

And, because so many of our beliefs, particularly about God, are insane -- so is our behavior. Now, most of us aren't doing this on purpose ... "we know not what we do." Most of us aren't aware that our beliefs are false ... we've received what was handed down to us ... we've believed what we were taught ... we've assumed these things to be true. And so the "sins of the fathers are visited upon the son, even unto the seventh generation."

We have believed that God is intolerant, and so we condone (& even reward) intolerance in our children ...

We have believed that God is angry, and so we condone (& excuse & justify) our own, and our children's outburts of anger.

We have believed in a vengeful God, and so we condone actions of vengeance (the theme of so many of our movies).

We have believed in a God of separation, and so we condone actions of separation from anyone who is "not like us and our God".

And yet - we're all doing the best we can, given what we believe ... insane beliefs create insane behaviors.

We are mirroring life to our children, and to all others ... and others are our mirrors too (they show us our blind spots -- what we do not like in another, we can be sure we *have* in ourselves).

So, what did the mirror say to the other mirror?

("It's all done with people.")


Next - exploring some of our beliefs about God ...

Shalom, Dena

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Goofy Stuff We Believe...!

OK, so we've got these holy books ... and they're filled with revelations from God ... and we've believed that they were inspired by God, and that therefore these folks were *special* ... after all, we believe, such inspired experiences were reserved for the very FEW.

Our religions have told us:

~ that we are separated from God,

~ that we are distant from God,

~ that God is angry with us,

~ that God must be appeased,

~ that we are hopelessly depraved sinners,

~ that we cannot trust ourselves,

~ and that we are entirely too UNworthy to be spoken to by God, BUT that a very few special ones among us somehow were chosen to be inspired directly by God, and it just so happens that all of those folks are dead.

What IF Divine inspiration is the birthright of every single human being? What if we're ALL that special? What if God is *still speaking/revealing/leading*...?

For some reason*, religion tells us that this is wrong, dangerous, blasphemous. Religion says:

~ If it's old, it's good; if it's new, it's bad.
~ If it's old, it's true; if it's new, it's deceptive.
~ If it's old, it's right; if it's new, it's in error.
~ If it's old, it's trustworthy; if it's new, it's dangerous.

(Of course, we do this in the opposite extreme, when it comes to humans -- if they're young, they're worthy -- if they're old, they're unworthy, but that would be another blog post...)

We humans cling to the old and familiar, WAY past the time when it's been proven ineffective/incomplete/harmful. How long did the church cling to the notion of flat-earthed geocentricity? How long did doctors resist washing hands? We have a most stubborn tenacity to cling to what we think we know, what most folks believe, and to refuse innovation or new thinking until some sort of PAIN forces us to do so ... and this has been slowing down our progress for many millennia ...

So, as we look around at the current messes that are evident in our world, amongst humanity, we have a choice. We can toe the line of status quo ... or we can dare to imagine that we are here for such a time as this ... that we are here for a divine *purpose* ... and that we CAN turn the tide of our self-destruction, and actually change the world.

IF that resonates with you, IF something rises up in you as you read this, consider the following five choices we can make NOW, in each of our own lives, in order to be, and thus invoke, the change we want to see:

1. We can choose to acknowledge that some of our old beliefs about God and about Life are not working any more.

2. We can choose to acknowledge that there is something we do not yet understand *about* God, and about Life, which if we understood, would change everything.

3. We can choose to be willing to receive a new understanding of God and Life - and understanding that could bring about a new way of life for all.

4. We can choose to be daring and courageous enough to explore and examine this new understanding, and if it resonates with our own inner truth/knowing, to enlarge our current belief system, so as to include it.

5. We can choose to live out our lives as exhibits and demonstrations of our highest and greatest beliefs .. rather than as denials of them.

These five steps to Peace are modified from the book, "The New Revelations" by Neale Donald Walsch (a very engaging and easy-to-read book).

We've tried and tried and tried to make a difference through changing behaviors -- after more millennia than we have left to waste, it's not worked. We need to go to the root of behaviors -- to BELIEFS.

We need to examine, and change, our beliefs ... because beliefs create behaviors.

Next - examining HOW beliefs create behaviors...

Shalom, Dena

*OK, so the reason is that if we learned to trust ourselves, to follow God's leading for ourselves, to be as autonomous as is our birthright, then why would we *need* religions...?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Can We Talk? We've Got a Problem Here ...!

The soul is the perceiver and the revealer of truth.

We know truth when we see it, let skeptic and scoffer say what they choose. Foolish people ask you, when you have spoken what they do not wish to hear, "How do you know it is truth, and not an error of your own?" We kow truth when we see it, from opinion, as we know when we are awake that we are awake.

We distinguish the announcements of the soul, its manifestations of its own nature, by the term Revelation. These are always attended by the emotion of the sublime. for this communication is an influx of the Divine mind into our mind. It is an ebb of the individual rivulet before the flowing surges of the sea of life.

(Ralph Waldo Emerson, from his essays)

So, can we talk? Have you noticed that we've got a problem here? I'm talking a global, worldwide, humanity-planet problem. Hunger, wars, recession, earthquakes, famines, abuse, widespread psychological struggles, diseases, rage, suppression, misogyny, scape-goatting ... I mean, surely you're noticed.

Now, I'm not making a case for despair here -- despair is what got us *into* this mess, y'know. I'm no longer a pessimist (I was for about 4 decades, and it's just no longer working for me anymore) ... I enjoy life to the fullest I can, and I expect it to continue to get better and gooder (I enjoy making up my own words, too!).

Nope, I'm not advocating for despair -- but for being aware, and for repair.

We need to face where we are, and how we got here ... we need to look squarely in the eyes of whatever has caused us so much despair that we would seek to destroy ourselves.

Obviously, we humans have tried long and hard to fix what's wrong ... and we've tried to solve our problems at *every* level except the level at which the problem(s) exist(s): Our Beliefs.

Our notions about spirituality are destroying us.

We humans have sub-divided along lines of group-think, and we have doctrinalized, dogmatized, and divinized our beliefs, and we have demonized those who dare to believe differently.

This is spiritual arrogance. And it's caused more pain and suffering than any other aspect of life. We've suffered personally over what we believe, and we've caused others to suffer, due to what we believe. Our ideas about God have caused suffering...! We've twisted the Source of our greatest joy into a tool of our greatest pain!

It seems that we humans will give up everything for our beliefs ... we will give up love, peace, health, harmony, happiness, safety security and sanity...

But the one thing we seem to not be able to give up is this: Being RIGHT.

We've proven that we will sacrifice everything we've achieved, everything we've desired, everything we've created, in order to be "RIGHT".

In fact, we'll even give up life itself ... in order to be "right".

And we're terrified of being wrong.

What if it's not about right or wrong..? What if it's about what works, and what doesn't work?

And what if, while we need to question our beliefs, we don't need to *destroy* them? What if, instead of destroying them, we need to transcend them. Transcending means "larger than" more than "other than". The new usually contains some of the old ... it's even sometimes built on the old. We needn't reject all that we've believed ... but we certainly need to see it from a new, higher, deeper perspective, in order to find out what's really true -- experientially, revelationally.

(And no -- contrary to ecclesiastical opinion, those are not multi-syllable curse words.)

The really cool thing, is that we don't have to declare (to ourselves, or to others) that we were *wrong* at all... we just didn't have a complete understanding before (& really, completion/perfection comes incrementally). We needed more information, more experience, more revelation. I mean, a wise 6 year old doesn't think he was *wrong* to have been 5. The point is growth ... and to not resist the inevitable change that comes with growth.

Next - I want to look at some of the goofy things our beliefs have told us ...

Shalom, Dena

Monday, March 15, 2010

Self-Limiting Beliefs ~ Self-Fulfilling Prophecy...?

I had an "*Aha* Moment" last night ...

Recently, I've gotten in touch with some of the women I knew in high school (gotta love FaceBook for that!) -- we were all in the "advanced" singing group together.

Lots of talent. Great fun. But, I carried a secret ...

It's fascinating to see how their lives have unfolded - one of them now performs & cuts records, another is teaching voice lessons to folks in the commercial industry (as in making commercials, and theatre stars), and another is in the music biz.

They were all "A's" ... but I was always a "B" (I mean quality of voice - not grades -- don't get me started on grades ... though I'll be blogging on how we corrupt creativity with external/extrinsic rewards, but I digress).

Here's my secret: I always believed that they were naturally talented, and had earned/deserved to be in the group -- on the other hand, I had dishonestly snuck my way in there -- I was there, vicariously. I rode in on their talent. I was only pretending to belong ... I felt like an impostor, even a hypocrite, and I was afraid (no, terrified!) that I would be caught, exposed, and catapulted out of there. If they knew ..! So I spent inordinate energy trying to keep them from seeing the "real me" (the me I feared I was), and projected a more acceptable me, instead.

(& I have the profound hunch that I'm not alone here ... that many of you, perhaps even most, or all of you, can relate to this feeling ...)

Yeah, I could sing, and I even did some solos, and I took voice lessons for a few years ... LOVED musical theatre ... but I always felt second-rate, talent-wise. Singing-wise. I was good, but not *really* good. I was always the friend of the girl who was *really* good...

Like I was faking ... like I had to fool folks. Had to distract and dazzle 'em. Like my voice was not reliable ... at times, I could surprise myself and others with what came out of me, but at other times, it would be so ... well, second-rate.

I've always had voice-envy. (My mother is profoundly talented in singing -- my father is untrained and has less-accurate pitch -- I am the combo.) It's like I've had good-voice days, and bad-voice days ... and I'm never quite sure what will come out. It's always a risk, a gamble.

Once, singing for a wedding, we were performing, "All I Ask of You" from "Phantom of the Opera" ... the guy was FABulous (an old friend), and he asked me to join him (it was for his sister's wedding -- so I felt honored -- but again, I had to fool folks). The range was higher than I'm comfy with (I'm a first alto - this was more mezzo soprano).

I had a couple of drinks, to relax, and then cut loose, in that more uninhibited state -- what came out of me was astounding ... maybe I need to just lose the fear ... but I confess that the fear/limitation is still there ...

I felt it again last night, after finding these women on FaceBook, and reading about their lives ... and felt a profound sense of sadness ... & I even got angry, that I have allowed a *belief/thought/feeling* of being feeling "second-best" to create a second-best experience. That I have robbed myself.

If I'm seeing this, I wonder what's about to unfold ...?

Of course, I'm aware, and perhaps you are too, of the wider application of this awareness. I'm confident that each of you reading this is aware of an aspect of your *own* life, wherein you've labeled yourself "second best" or "less than", and have thus CREATED that limitation-reality in your own life.

We have created this for ourselves -- we have chosen this. We're creating, either consciously, or unconsciously ... why NOT do it consciously...?

Shalom, Dena

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Life 101 ~ More Thoughts ...

What if you found out that your thoughts have a life of their own..? That they are "alive"... and active. What if thoughts become things...? ("As a wo/man thinks in her/his own heart, so is s/he.")

What if you're meant to find that out?

I know this sounds a bit woo-woo to some folks, but have you ever talked yourself into, or out of, being sick? And have you noticed that negative thinking seems to lead to negative circumstances, or relationships? Why not try it the other way?

What if this is happening all the time, only we just don't know it?

What if we're creating things regularly, unconsciously? How much better to do so consciously? And, how much more responsible would that be?

We, created in the very image and likeness of God, are creators (fish beget fish, dogs beget dogs, cats beget cats, oak trees beget oak trees, God begets ...). Most of us just haven't realized it yet ... but, if we look at the current chaos (which has arisen out of our own chaotic thoughts), perhaps it's time, if not beyond time, to come to this realization, to get responsible for our thinking ("take every thought captive"), to create for good, rather than for harm.

We've had 6,000 years of harm -- methinks we've nearly perfected it. Let's try another option now, yes?

Here's another Life 101 tidbit: Life (which includes God, consciousness, energy, ourselves) is eternal. I notice that my awareness is independent of my body ... (this is realized every time I go to sleep and dream). I believe that life existed prior to when I got my body, and life will go on after my body reaches its expiration date. I am not my body - I have a body. I'm a spiritual being having a physical/human experience.

And another: There is only Love/God. As I look at this realm of reality, everything I see around me and beyond, it seems so very uber-obvious that it's all about love. If God didn't love, why bother with this? Why create physicality and consciousness, if it's not for the purpose of love? And what is all of creation watching us to see, to learn, but that love wins over the ego...(& that it was never even a contest, LOL!).

And that leads to: Everything is precisely as it "ought" to be -- right here, right now. (I can hear some of you objecting ... some of you, loudly.)

Granted, to "get" this, one has to go higher/deeper than what is appearing. Judge not by appearances. From God's perspective, which includes all the infinite possibilities for growing into unfathomable realms, growing and learning from everything that happens, and yet remaining One/connected with God throughout it all, nothing was left to "chance". It all matters -- it all serves a purpose, if "only" to show us the insanity of our (or another's) thinking. There's no room for mistakes with God, because God took everything into consideration, way before this life-adventure began. All of our choices lead to our learning, growing, developing, enlightening. It's blessedly inevitable. There are an infinite number of roads to God, but all roads lead to God -- for there is nowhere where God is *not* ("where can I go from Your presence -- if I go to the abode of the dead, You are there..." ... "nothing can separate us from the Love of God").

It just seems to us that bad things happen, for we haven't yet seen the fuller/bigger/deeper picture. Remember, we are not our bodies, and we are not even our thoughts ... we are Spirit ... and what can harm Spirit?

As Mike Dooly says, in his book, "Infinite Possibilities," ~
Taking into account that we are pure God, pure energy, eternal, living in an adventure-dreamworld of our own creation, and that no matter what happens in this adventure we all return to our celestial source, wiser, whole, enriched and all powerful. The only conclusion that exists is that it's truly all good."

A few thoughts about these "Life 101's":

~ These truths exist and operate, even if we don't believe in them. Just like gravity.

~ We awaken in order to be set free from self-imposed limitations.

~ We are limitless in every way we can fathom, unLESS we *believe* otherwise -- and then, suddenly, we will experience limits, rules, restrictions, conditions.

~ Our thoughts create things ... and our thoughts are sponsored and governed by our *beliefs*. Anyone else besides me aware that we can believe lies (especially those told to us by "external authorities"...? And they will *seem* like truth?

~ Beliefs are like lenses ... they color how we view the world, ourselves, each other, God. And if we "try on" another set of lenses, everything can/will look different. What if we're each and all wearing different lenses? (and we are) Each of us is seeing uniquely, and each of us firmly believes that what we see, through the lenses, is "reality". Think about it ... does what each of us thinks we're seeing, through our lenses, truly affect reality, or just our *perception* of reality? I find it fascinating that I can always spot another person's lenses, long before I realize that I'm wearing a pair, too..! (Deal with the log in your own eye, before you go trying to fix the speck in the eye of the other.)

~ Beliefs create our own personal "matrix"...

~ Beliefs don't define the world -- beliefs define our thoughts and perceptions of our world ... and then, those thoughts create *more of the same* (so that we can't even SEE anything that doesn't match our beliefs).

~ Here's an example: if I believe that we are all separate from God, that God is outside of us, and far away, and that God judges and punishes humans, then every time I see "misfortune" I will see that as conclusive proof that my view of God is true. I would unthinkingly filter all my experiences through this belief about God, not even considering that there could be any other alternatives. I would thus judge myself, and judge all others, believing that I was *right* to do so (because of my belief that God is this way). And then I would live with a fear that I wasn't measuring up, and deserved to be punished. Further, every time I'd encounter contrary evidence that actually refutes my belief, I would then dismiss it as ridiculous (or wrong, or evil, or demonic, or new age...), and then shrug and say, "*Sigh* ... God moves in mysterious ways" ... never mind that I sometimes would notice that I'd feel more compassionate than my own God, but I couldn't "go there" as it wouldn't mesh with my belief about how God IS. (Yeah, I know, a wholly *wild* concept that would never occur to anyone, right? How hyperbolic could I be?!?)

~ No matter what our upbringing, our background, our past experiences, we are NOT stuck with our thinking. Our present, and our future, are dependent upon the thoughts we choose for ourselves *today*.

~ What if our beliefs aren't formed by our reality, so much as our reality is formed by our beliefs...?!?

~ The world merely mirrors back to us our thoughts, beliefs, and expectations. We can *learn* from whatever is presented to us.

~ We can/must pay attention to our thoughts, words and actions .. they will show us what's really going on inside. If we have limits, they will appear in what we think, say and do.

~ Don't focus on what you're currently seeing in your life -- dwell/focus on what you *want* to see in your life...!

~ We are not passive in this life - we are powerfully participatory ... we are creators of our own reality. We need to take responsibility, and enjoy this gift/life we've been given, to the fullest...! (Accepting responsibility gives us back the power we've given away ...)

~ God gives us the desires of our hearts -- this means we get what we most believe we desire... AND, God *puts* the desires *in* our heart. So, get in touch with what you most desire! It is automatically aligned with what God desires (for you are One). It's the egoic thinking that gets in the way, but that's not the real you -- that's the impostor. The real you longs to do that which blesses everyone -- for we're all one. It's win/win, rather than win/lose. You achieving your dreams dos *not* detract from someone else ... there is no shortage of dream-fulfillment in the kingdom of God. So, g'head, dare to visualize what you MOST want ... and leave the "how's" and "when's" to God ... that part is not our business, being above our current pay-grade...! ;)

~ Question everything that doesn't make sense, 'til it *does* make sense, because it will -- we are meant to understand. Ask, seek and knock... and KNOW that the door will be opened..!

Shalom, Dena

Friday, March 12, 2010

Life 101 ~ We Are One

One of those dash in-and-out-the-door days ... dragging Mark with me, so it'll be fun (we smooch in the aisles of stores!).

BUT - this is something I've been wanting to blog on ... so I want to delve into it a wee bit, before the dashing commences (got 3 minutes - use them wisely!).

Here's a bit of What I'm Coming to Believe About Life, or "Life 101" -- take what resonates, let go of the rest:

~ We are all One. This is perhaps ground zero for me ... that which all else has been leading/drawing/wooing me to see. It seems so stinkin' obvious to me now ... where've I been?!? Ok, so "one of WHAT?" Fill in your own blank: God, Source, the Divine, the Universe. God works for me (though God is All that Is for me, rather than a Male Sky God - up there, somewhere, watching us from a distance ... nice song, lousy theology).

How could I be anything BUT God...? How could any of us? And, rather than being arrogance to see/proclaim it so, saying that I'm "NOT God" or "apart from God", as if I'm something ELSE from God -- well, that smacks of supreme arrogance to me.

I see God as all that is, all that has ever been all that will be ... all that is seen, all unseen, all realized and all yet to discover -- is God. Unlimited Love. Unfathomable Light. Unconditional Acceptance. Un-missable Inevitability! God IS. Not limited to what I can see, but included IN all I can see ... God IN everything, yet not limited/contained-by/defined-by what I can see. No limit at all.

It's just our exclusive reliance upon our physical five senses that tells us that we are separate, that we are alone, that we are doomed, that we are rejected, that we are not "good enough". We see everything in the duality of right/wrong, good/bad, black/white ... but this is not our normal state of being ... this is the overlay, the lens if you will, of the ego.

Think of the sun -- it is *always* shining. Always. However, our experience is that the clouds appear, and block our awareness of the sun ... it *seems* as if the sun is gone, far away ... and yet, the clouds are transient ... they shall pass, they are ephemeral, ethereal ... vapor. So, too, with what we see as "reality" ... it's an illusion. Your dreams seem real while you're dreaming ... and so too is this life we're living a dream of sorts ... just as illusional -- yet *purposeful* -- it matters, it has great meaning -- or else we wouldn't be having it.

As nature teaches us, nothing is wasted. Nothing. Transformation of matter occurs, but nothing is "lost".

Let's not allow our dualistic thinking fool us into thinking that God has an "opposite". There cannot be an opposite to All in All. Think on that.

Imagine that you see islands appearing above the water line ... the water line demonstrates the level of conscious awareness ... you are aware, above the line, that the islands are separate. But this is only an illusion ... for, in reality, below the water-line/consciousness-line, the islands are all *connected* in the foundational reality of the sea-floor, which is the Whole Planet. They are One. So too, is it with us ... we think we are isolated little islands ... disconnected from each other and the Whole. But -- we are one.

The knowing of this, which would lead to the living of this, would change everything.

But, only everything.

Shalom, Dena

Thursday, March 11, 2010

A Recent Conversation ...

Thought I'd share a recent conversation I had with an old friend ... we go way back, and he "knew me when". Like many of my old friends, he's quite concerned about my shiftings ... the direction in which I've grown. And, like most Christians, he seems to have a desire/need/obligation(?) to set me straight ... to bring me back to that which I was led out of (ignore that-thar dangling preposition ... 'tis not the root of all evil!).

I know where he's coming from, as I was once there ... and there exists here in the wild world of the Internet, pu-LENTY of proof that I was once as traditionally-fundamental in my thinking, and as doctrinally-bent on getting others to see the errors of their ways...! (just for fits and giggles, check out my posts on Psycho-Babble Faith, where I got banned for over a year, due to how I was pushing Jesus, in an unkind/exclusive way! Check the archives for fun!)

Back to the conversation ... this was in response to one of the many things I send out "for consideration" ~

Friend: Sorry Dena. I love ya, and have many fond memories of the short
time we spent together, but philosophically, we could not be further apart.

Me: 'Tis ok. I'm quite in a different place from where I once was. If the me of even 6 years ago met the me of today ... I'd have to disfellowship myself...!

Friend: And I believe that what you are teaching is completely wrong and quite dangerous.

Me: Yes - I understand. Was a time I would've agreed -- and did -- and argued passionately against folks like me (got the website posts to prove it, too).

Friend: For me personally, it came down to 2 views being true. Either the God of the Bible was truth, or that evolution (in some form) and humanism were the only truth, and that there is nothing out there.

Me: Interesting ... I don't see that there are only two black and white options. I see all manner of paradoxes operating within God -- certainly a biblical concept.

Friend: You live, you die, you cease to exist.
If that's the case, then I would pursue hedonism with every fibre in my body, which actually would be the MUCH easier choice for me personally.

Me: Interesting ... so, only the sense of fear of punishment is keeping you close to God? I guess you've not yet discovered the incredible power of love. Love is *the* most powerful force in the universe. I don't want a "god" I'm forced to be with out of fear ... I want a God who loves me so utterly and completely that I can't help but respond back with complete devotion and love in return. Fear doesn't inspire love, either for God, or for other humans ... and makes a terrible way to live.

Friend: As difficult as it is to believe in the Biblical teachings at times, when compared to Hinduism or Buddhism or some of the other religions out there, it seems quite tame and completely believable. I absolutely could not buy into most of the ideas in the other religions. I felt you had to be a borderline idiot to buy into many of them.

Me: Oh, I don't follow/believe in any religions. They're all manmade, including Christianity. Though, I find that there is plenty of truth to be found in all places ... I see God *in* all things ... and I'm no longer afraid to use the truth that I find, wherever it happens to be, however it happens to be packaged.

Friend: In the end, I decided to put my faith in the God of the Bible. Though I don't pretend to understand it all, or have all of the answers, it has made more and more sense to me as I have studied it.

Me: I certainly see God in the Bible ... though I also see much of man's ego, attempting to understand/define God (and often projecting onto God). God created man in His own image, and we've been returning the favor ever since. I had to fire the "god" of man's creation, so that the real God could reveal Himself to me. I've learned that I've got to go with the God I'm experiencing, rather than the god that man has told me about.

Friend: Please don't take this in the wrong way, but you remind me of something my grandfather used to say. "Some people are so open-minded that they have become flat-headed!"

Me: LOL - I've also heard "so open minded that their brains fall out" ... both good ones!

So far, got my brains ... and my head remains round. Oh -- and God remains close. Closer than I've ever known, actually. Kinda defies the explanations of man, but then God never did stick to what man thinks, anyway, LOL!

Blessings to you ... may you come to know how utterly you are loved, and may it transform everything for you!

Much love -

Shalom, Dena

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

How I've Come to Understand the Bible ...

A few things that have helped me to understand the scriptures ...

- Much of it was written from the perspective of the ego (carnal flesh -- human mind) ... which is limited. Inspired by God, yes, of course ... but aren't we humans also inspired (God-breathed)? Since when does inspired mean inerrant...?

(I notice that the Bible nowhere calls itself "inerrant" or "infallible" -- humans, who egoically want to control others, say that -- and if we hear a thing often enough, by enough people, we assume it to be true -- that's how propaganda works.)

- Scripture was written by man, added to by man, translated by man, interpretted by man, and put on a pedestal by man. It was never meant to be a member of the "Godhead". It's not meant to be our authority ... it's meant to give us a glimpse of God ... the Spirit within us is our authority. How much easier it is to rely on static rules, and to live vicariously through the lives of others in the past, than to take the personal responsibility to tune in to the ever-leading spirit, and to live out a relationship with the One who says "I Am"! (God is *not* the "I Was", nor the "I Will Be.")

- In places where Paul *seems* to contradict himself (i.e., "women be silent" and yet "when women prophesy ..." -- as IF that means women must prophesy in sign language!), we have to keep in mind that Paul was quite often *quoting* what others had previously written him. These were written as *letters* - not "books of the Bible". There was no punctuation ... the translators imposed their own (egoic and often harshly patriarchal) views upon the text. There are places where Paul quotes those who had written to him, and then says the Greek equivalent of "B.S!" -- refuting what he'd just quoted! As in "we have no such laws in the church". He had to quote them, for the sake of clarity -- we do the same thing in emails we've just received-- how much more did he have to do so, when months would go by between letters...?!?

- Many (OK, all) of the verses about destruction/judgment were about the soon-pending events that THEY (in the first century) had to face, but which WE (now) do not face. Jesus warned them that the events of the "end of the age" (the old covenant age, not the "world") were to come upon them during THAT generation -- while some of THEM were still alive ... and so it happened, just as Jesus had warned them, when Jerusalem was sieged by Rome in 67 AD, and then utterly destroyed in 70 AD (interestingly after 42 months, or 3.5 years of horrendous torture), destroying the city, the Temple, and the old covenant.

We are in (& have been in) the new heaven and new earth (synonymous of the new covenant, New Jerusalem, Kingdom of God/Heaven) for a very long time now ... but most of Christianity has clung to the old covenant, complete with the sin-focus, and all the rules ... the very things Jesus came against, the very things which the prophets of the OT said would "pass away" with the old covenant (as in sin and iniquity would be no more -- for sin was *always* about infractions against the legalities of the old covenant Law).

We can let go now. We can live in the Kingdom now (which is at hand, in our midst, within us -- here and NOW, but spiritually, not physically, discerned -- for the spiritual reality *always* trumps the perceived physical realm).

Christianity/Church was a first-century-only phenomenon ... meant to help THAT generation transition from the old into the new covenant. We don't need it ... in fact, it squelches our awareness of the Kingdom-at-hand ... it ties us to the old/obsolete/GONE old covenant, nullifying all that Jesus taught.

Nothing is hanging over our heads (except the results of our own skewy/insane thinking -- as a man/society thinks in his own heart, so IS he). BUT - we get to question our thinking, and question our beliefs ... we get to ask, "is it true?" and trust the Spirit within to lead us into all truth. We do *not* have to heed the traditions of man. We *can* (& must!) trust the One who is in/as our hearts.

There is no more judgement ... just choices, and consequences which are meant to *teach* us about how to "choose again". It's all about learning, not shaming ... it's all about healing, not punishing.

We're *all* saved (& the only thing we ever had to be saved from was our wrong thinking - we need to have our minds renewed).

It's *all* fulfilled.

We're *all *One.

We need to wake up ~ and then be "agents of contagion", helping others to wake up, too.

THIS is my passion.

Shalom, Dena

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Gleanings from "Dance of the Dissident Daughter" (Part II)

I'm discovering that just because I've understood something in my mind/intellect, that doesn't necessarily mean that I've realized it in my soul. And, there are also (many!) times when I grasp something deep in my soul, which my mind has not yet processed.

In exploring the evolution of patriarchy and God's image as male, I discovered, as did Steve Taylor (in "The Fall"), that the original concept of the Divine was feminine. Now, I'm not tempted, or even desiring, to worship the ancient, neolithic images of goddesses ... I'm intrigued by the consciousness of the people who made them. What *they* saw and experienced about life. My goal is not to suggest that we go backwards, "back to the Garden" or beyond ... back to the era of matriarchal consciousness. But we can learn from them ... while they weren't Utopian (and utopias are always exaggerated myths), they *were* egalitarian and non-violent (with no one in "charge", there was no one to fight against). Neither do I desire to throw out all the evolutionary progress we've made during this time of seeing God as male. My desire, and what I believe we need, is to combine the best of the masculine images *with* the lost feminine images ... and yet transcend them, allowing a fuller *new* consciousness to emerge. I'm looking for the Wholeness of Divinity ... nothing missing, nothing broken, nothing left out. All-Inclusiveness.

Back to those gleanings:

~ El Shaddai, an OT term for God, is feminine ... it means "Many-Breasted One." (& really, when you think about it, how better is the phrase, "this is My Body, given for you" manifested, than in a pregnant and nursing mother...?).

~ The root concept for compassion is the womb... suggesting that the God of compassion/Mercy, (rechem in Hebrew) is the womblike God.

~ Jesus likens Himself to a Mother Hen.

~ (There's a ton of female imagery in the biblical text, which has been obscured by translation -- the vast majority of translators have been male.) Deut. 32:18, in Hebrew, reads, "You forgot the God who gave you birth."

~ The term for the Holy Spirit (God's Spirit) is feminine. Ruah in Hebrew, and Pneuma in Greek, are both feminine nouns.

~ Wisdom is not just a concept, but is personified as a female ... Sophia, or Hokhmah. Sophia is describes as she who was preexistent, with God, who participated in creating the world ... she permeates all things ... a teacher, one with all things ... She guides and reveals God's will ... She is also referred to as a tree of life. Further, according to John (in his gospel), Sophia became the Christ. But why did the translators switch the term Sophia for the male term Logos..? Interesting.

~ Many early Christians understood God as "dyad" - a being consisting of both masculine and feminine elements ... God was both divine Father and divine Mother ... and the Secret Book of John (declared as "non-inspired" by the patriarchs), John writes, "a unity in three forms came to me ... it said, "I am the One who is with you always: I am the Father; I am the Mother; I am the Son."

~ If a religion speaks of God as warrior, using militaristic language ("crushing enemies", "soldier of God"), then we become a culture that values military and aggression.

~ If a religion speaks of God as a male king, we become a culture that values and enthrones men and masculinity.

~ Feminine love reunites us ... connects us to all that is. With God, with each other, with the whole of creation. We come from the same Womb -- the "body parable" of pregnancy shows us this interconnectedness. During pregnancy, the distinction of me and not-me becomes divinely blurry. Perhaps women can grasp this more easily than men, once we carry and deliver "another."

~ Love-making is another divine parable: anyone who has experienced a tender orgasm has experienced something of the Divine ... a connecting with another in a way that is beyond words, even beyond images.

~ I found this quote of Kidd's to be profoundly powerful:
"In Christianity God came in a male body. Within the history and traditions of patriarchy, women's bodies did not belong to themselves, but to husbands. We learned to hate our bodies if they didn't conform to an ideal, to despise the cycles of menstruation - "the curse," it was called. Our experience of our body has been immersed in shame.

"Waking to the sacredness of the female body will cause a woman to 'enter into' her body in a new way, be at home in it, honor it, nurture it, listen to it, delight in its sensual music. She will experience her female flesh as beautiful and holy, as a vessel of the sacred. She will live from her gut and feet and hands and instincts and not entirely in her head. Such a woman conveys a formidable presence because power resides in her body."

~ This is the divine dance ... and part of the dance is to forgive what we can, as we can. There is no healing without forgiveness; there is no forgiveness without love ... Love is EVERYthing.

~ Each woman (& indeed each man), must do what their heart tells them.

~ When we see patriarchy for what it is, and realize that it is killing who we really are, then our only option is deviance. We can choose to be loving dissidents.

~ What we need is a living, forceful power that is also compassionate -- a force that enables others to transform as well.

~ A mystic is one who has had an inward experience of the divine, one who finds ultimate authority within that experience, rather than in a source outside of themself. Prophets are ones who speak this energy out into the world. Conscious women are BOTH.

~ When women truly speak, we speak subversively ... we refuse to be uninvited ... we find surprising ways to invite ourselves. We heed the unheard cry of the one within, rather than the slamming door of the ego on the outside.

~ What does the true soul do? It loves, and it creates.

~ We must ask ourself: What is my deepest passion? What moves me profoundly? What am I here to be, and thus to do? What can I not *help* but do?

~ Notice what arises to keep us from beginning, and keeps us from following through ... that must be faced, questioned, understood, and absorbed by Truth.

~ Do not make the mistake of mistaking recycle patriarchal power for authentic female strength and authenticity.

~ Realize that status quo will resist ... it will call you a "bad mother" ... it will try to put you back into the box from which you have escaped. When this happens (and it will), keep in mind a line from the (female) Indian poet Mirabai, "I have felt the swaying of the elephant's shoulders and now you want me to climb on a jackass? Try to be serious!"

~ When we find our own inner authority, he who *thinks* he is your authority will rise up in protest. Remember: a life lived in fear is a life only half-lived. Refuse the fear (it's optional, you know). Dance your dance!

~ Consider these words of Walt Whitman's:
"Re-examine all you have been told in school or church or in any book, and dismiss whatever insults your own soul; and your very flesh shall be a great poem, and have the richest fluency, not only in words, but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes, and in every motion and joint of your body."

~ We *are* the change the world is waiting for.

Again, if anyone wishes to join a book-study/discussion about this rather remarkable book, email me, brehmites @ aol . com (remove those spaces first), and I'll be happy to send you the invitation to join the list wherein it's happening).

Next ... exploring "A New Revelation" ... just for consideration...!

Shalom, Dena

Monday, March 8, 2010

Gleanings From "The Dance of the Dissident Daughter" (Part I)

In my (rarely humble, but why should it be?) opinion, I do believe that this book is a must-read for all women, as well as for the men who are ready for it. And I am honored and wildly excited to know SO many men who are indeed, ready for it. You know who you are -- and you are called to such a time as this.

I would like to wrap up my synopsis of it, however, as I've read 2 other books since this one, and I'd like to TRY to get *current* in what I'm seeing, as it unfolds ... though it often feels like keeping up with a whirlwind, LOL! It's hard for me to get all fired-up and enthused about something I just read/realized/remembered, and then have to waaaaaaaait 'til I get caught up in blogging what I read a few weeks back! (where IS my clone, and how do I get a few of 'em?)

So, I'm going to hit the highlights of how this book enriched me, and trust that those who would benefit from reading it, will be led to do so. And so, in no particular order (that I'm aware of), I'll share the gleanings:

~ In the traditional rendering of the Genesis/creation story, woman is blamed for bringing sin into the world ... because of her association with the serpent. Her punishment, tradition says, is that she would now suffer in childbirth, and be subservient to man. HowEVER - in ancient times, the serpent was not seen as evil, but as good ... in fact it symbolized feminine wisdom, power and regeneration. The serpent was the main symbol of sacred feminine energy. How did the serpent, out of all the creatures, come to symbolize the epitome of evil, in Judaism and Christianity? Why was the snake selected to portray the "devil/satan"? Is it possible that the patriarchs in control sought to intentionally downplay this former symbol of the feminine divine? Was the point to put "enmity" between woman and the source of her innate wisdom? What has it done to women, to have separated her from her source...?

~ Women have long been forbidden to express anger. "Be nice." Even if it kills us. And it does kill us ... anger turned inward is depression... the bitterness of depression is the root of many diseases. If the emotions are not expressed, the body will take them on. And since we never deal with the *root* of the diseases, merely managing the symptoms that physically appear, we keep ourselves entrenched in the diseases ... imagining them to be "real". We need to face the injustices, and even get angry about them. We need to honor the awareness of the damage done. And THEN, we need to use that anger-energy to do something constructive. Anger doesn't have to manifest as either depression or destruction ... we needn't either deny it, or lash out in it. We can use anger to challenge and question patriarchy. We can use it as a means of finding compassion ... to move from exclusion to all-inclusion ... to move from fear to love.

~ The Bible is not our ultimate authority. Do not allow anyone to enslave you to this unbiblical notion...! Contrary to the traditions of man, our ultimate authority is our Self... our Higher Self ... that union of God-and-Us -- the Divine Voice within our own heart. And nothing else. The Kingdom of God is within -- THAT is our authority. Settle for nothing less. (& don't expect Christianity to back this up -- it knows that once you know your True Authority, it has lost all control over you ... in fact, it becomes superfluous, unnecessary ... which has always been the truth -- we don't need training wheels -- we only THINK we need them.)

~ The female soul resides in the *gut* (intuition), not the head (logic).

~ We must be true to our own spiritual unfolding ... and trust that our example will one day help others (including our own children) be true to theirs. We each have an internal guiding Spiritual wisdom ... we must each hear it, heed it, and trust it.

~ We have sole responsibility for our spiritual lives. There is NO one, and NOthing, between us, and our Divine Source. Don't allow anyone, or anything, to be an idol.

~ As women, we have to come to understand ourselves as central, not peripheral. We have to depend on ourselves/Selves (keep in mind our always-real connection to Source/God/dess). But this cannot be done *against* men ... this is collaborative, NOT competitive.. Women must find their way with or without men ... but never *against* men.

~ Why do we prefer the security of cages, rather than the challenges of freedom...?

~ When we cannot go forward, and we cannot go backwards, and we can no longer stay where we are without killing off a real and vital part of ourselves, then we are on the edge of CREATION...! Joseph Campbell says, "The familiar life horizon has been outgrown; the old concepts ideals and emotional patterns no longer fit; the time for the passing of a threshold is at hand."

~ Sue Monk Kidd writes, "In some ways, spiritual development for women, perhaps unlike that for men, is not about surrendering self, so much as coming to self." Perhaps, because of men's propensity to a stronger ego, men have to "die to self" ... whereas women, who have long suppressed self, must re-discover self..? Something to ponder ... it rings true for me.

~ When we're in a significant juncture of transition, the outer events, circumstances, meetings, conversations, dreams ... are often overflowing with meanings that need to be heeded. Listen. Pay attention.

~ We come to an unimpeachable knowing: Who we are, what we are experiencing, is Okay. Good. True. Real.

~ Pay attention to "sensory intuition" ... when the body quickens with a knowing truth ... tingling, vibration, waves, goosebumps, warmth, or your own variation of sensation, may indicate that the soul and body are realizing (or remembering!) something that the mind has not yet grasped ...!

~ Awakening precipitates awakenings ... we are agents of contagion. Live it, be it ... it spreads like a beautiful virus!

~ Patriarchy wounds men too ... and men must make their own spiritual journey for healing ... for freedom ... to discover Who They Really Are. It's delightful to make this distinct-yet-connected journey *together*.

~ Read what Naomi Wolf says about men's healing choices:
"The world of men is dividing into egalitarians and patriarchalists - those men who are trying to learn the language and customs of the newly emerging world, and those who are determined to keep that new order from taking root. The former group welcomes these changes, seeing that though they are painful in the short term, over the long term they provide the only route to intimacy and peace. But the latter group sees only loss ... The patriarchalists' world view, shared by women as well as men, is battling the emerging egalitarian world view, which is also shared by people of both sexes."
(I see this resistance to change in *every* discussion forum I participate in ... and it's institutionalized in religion, which must retain patriarchal status quo in order to survive ...)

~ Any marriage, or relationship, is meant to be created, and then endlessly re-created. As we change (& we must, or die), so too do our relationships change ... they are living, not taxidermied monuments to what was. All good marriages are re-marriages...! ;)

~ Growth-fostering relationships share five characteristics:
1. Each person feels a greater sense of vitality/energy.
2. Each person feels more able to act, and does act.
3. Each person has a more accurate image of themself, and the other person.
4. Each person feels a greater sense of worth.
5. Each person feels more connected to the other person, and a greater motivation for connections with others beyond those in the relationship.

~ Synchronicities: Those times when an outer event resonates mysteriously and powerfully with what's happening on the inside. Synchronicities are more prevalent while we're mid-shift ... we can let them show us what they symbolize, and what they reveal. They will illumine the way for us.

~ Labyrinths are fascinating! Originally, they were a symbol of the Divine Womb, and they were walked in a ritual of rebirth, transformation. As the initiates moved to the sacred center, they were surrendering to a symbolic death, shedding old, unfitting, non-working thoughts and beliefs, and mindsets. IN the center, they became centered ... they intuitively received/realized/remembered truth. As they walked out, they manifested rebirth. (Here's the fascinating part for me ... long before I read this book, I woke up one night with a clear image of a spiral ... the background was a blazing riot of vivid colors ... superimposed over it was a black and white "path" ... I saw this image clearly, and even told Mark about it ... I knew I had to paint it. And I painted it onto two stools. Then I read this book ... and then, yesterday, at an art show, I had the two stools with me ... and people were drawn to them -- 3 different women exclaimed, "Look! A labyrinth!" I looked, and all the dots immediately connected in my mind -- I almost choked on the pear I was eating! I had received the vision of the labyrinth before I'd read about them, before I'd painted them ... and I saw that the black and white represents the superimposed mindset of rules/religion/regulations that I thought represented God ... and I walked that path to the center ... then, I walked out, on the colors that had been there all the time, but I was blind to them..! BTW - both of those stools sold yesterday ... and I *shall* be painting more!)

~ This shedding process happens continuously, over and over - rarely (if ever) is it a one-time-and-it's-over deal. And it happens both outwardly and inwardly ... externally, we confront patriarchal patterns in our marriage, religion, career, culture ... internally we must confront the patriarchal patterns and voices we've internalized. The voices that censor, silence, devalue and criticize, demanding perfectionism and unrealistic ideals that were never our intended identity. Etty Hillesum wrote (while in a Nazi concentration camp!): "Each of us must turn inward and destroy in himself all that he thinks he ought to destroy in others." What we see is our mirror ... and the destruction is more like absorption ... Light absorbs darkness ... Love absorbs fear.

~ Sue Monk Kidd writes about how she dreamt of a "bishop" who forced her to eat when she wasn't hungry ... she needed to vomit, but he wouldn't let her ... she was trapped in the bishop's house. She writes, "I woke up nauseated, depressed. I came to realize that my urgent necessity to vomit symbolized my need to expel the whole patriarchal ideology that I'd swallowed and that was now making me sick." This struck me "in the gut" ... all the years that I was bulimic ... two decades of it ... after years of being force-fed patriarchal rules and restrictions ... being told I was less than, and I needed to accept it and "be nice" (get in line). I have to wonder ... was my body manifesting my need to purge myself of all that sickened me? Was I trying to rid myself of that which was denying/choking the life out of me? Did I misunderstand the body's message for so very long...?

~ In freeing ourselves, we free the world...!

~ Entelechy: the scientific name for a goal-directing energy we each have ... that which seeks to bring the "seed" of our being into fruition ... that which pulsates and vibrates within us, seeking to complete who we are uniquely meant to be. It will not be denied ... it is inevitable. Most of us ignore it, or thwart it ... and we pay for it ... our entire culture is testimony for HOW we're collectively paying for it.

~ We can find our inner-wisdom again ... we can be still, and remember Who We Really Are (it's there, under the noises of distraction) ... we can listen again to our heart, to our inner wisdom ... we can give ourselves permission to follow it ... and if that's too hard right now, then we can find someone who will *give* us permission to do so, until we find our own permission again. We each need at least one "permission-giver" in our lives ... and then we can become a permission-giver for others! (Great fun!)

~ In this awakening journey, we can feel like a *shocked observer* at times, when we question what the HECK we're doing/thinking/believing...! We can hear the voice of our father/mother/pastor/teacher/other, wondering how in the "name of good sense" we got HERE! But the deeper/knowing part of us will know that we've been led here by All that's Good, and that there's no going back to numbed-out blindness.

~ We must BE who we are discovering ourselves to BE! We cannot act in ways to please others, to sell something, to get success, or fame, or money, or anyTHING else of the ego ...! We must simply and purely express what is true for us, AS it unfolds. We must write out of our Self. The Deep and True place. Just do it! (Fascinating how Nike chose the Goddess of Victory as their inspiration!)

~ Those of us who choose this route (& really, it feels more like a shove off the cliff, than a "choosing"!), must prepare to be called "dangerous women". And those who spew the words, do not intend them as a compliment (even though they've come to sound sweetly powerful to me!). It's real to me that the world will one day owe its very survival/thrival to subversive and dangerous women, who have all found their voice, and will no longer shut up ...! ;). Until women have discovered their sacred divinity, they cannot be whole, and the world cannot be whole. Yeah, it's *that* important.

~ God is she, he and neither. Why this insistence that God is male...? Do we really think that God has a penis...?

~ As humans, we cannot conceive of the formless ... in this state, we need forms and images. This is our current reality. And YET - we have allowed these forms and images to become idols to be worshipped...! When only one image for God is allowed, THAT image becomes idolatrous ... it comes to be viewed not as a symbol, but AS God. No longer a mere helpful description, it becomes a god to be defended. That which is transcended (as "God" is), always transcends all the symbols used to describe it ... including the term "God". That which said, "I am that I am" is neither male nor female exclusively, and yet is both in a way that transcends the physicality of either gender ... in order to comprehend God more fully, we must no longer assign only male attributes to God, but must *also* embrace the Divine Feminine. As long as the feminine is missing in the Divine, men will continue to imagine themselves as deserving entitlement, and women will continue to be prone to self-doubt, and dismepowerment. And we, as a people, will continue to suffer from paraplegia (paralysis of half the body).

~ If we are BOTH made in the image and likeness of God, then shouldn't God be referred to in BOTH male and female ways...? Is it not so plainly obvious?

~ Have you ever heard this one? "God isn't male or female. He is Spirit!" Sigh ...

~ So where does this leave me? Perhaps you? I find myself going through the gateway of "beginner's mind" ... approaching everything with a mind that's receptive and free ... ready for anything to unfold, open to everything, trusting in the leading of the Divine. No more mandates (from without or within), saying, "don't touch, don't think, don't explore" ... no more heeding the "Danger-Danger-Danger" clamoring of the ego. Approaching all of creation, of all of reality, with wide-opened eyes ... permission to go wherever I am led.

And y'know, it's taken me in some pretty wild places so far ... I can barely fathom what else I'll discover ...! :)

Shalom, Dena