Friday, April 16, 2010

On Love ...

Time, both a precious commodity, and an illusion, is getting away from me lately ... and so I'm resorting to sharing the words of another ... in this case, the words of Osho. Words which truly *must* be shared. Words I am internalizing, and words I invite you to taste for yourself ...

The Alchemy of Love

Love is divine. If anything is divine on the earth, it is love - and love also makes everything else divine. Love is the true alchemy of life, because it transforms base metal into gold.

There are ancient stories, many stories in almost all the languages of the world, that somebody kisses a frog and the frog becomes a prince. The frog had been cursed; he was simply waiting for some kiss to be showered on him. He was waiting for love to come and transform him.

Love transforms - that is the message of all those stories. The stories are beautiful, very indicative, symbolic. It is only love that transforms the animal into human; otherwise there is no difference between humans and other animals. The only difference, the possible difference, is love. And the more you live through love, as love, the more humanity is born in you. The ultimate, the omega point, is when one has become love. Then not only is the animal transcended, even the human is transcended. Then one is divine, one is God. The whole of human growth is love's growth. Without love we are animals. With love we are humans. And when love has become your natural being, your very flavor, you are God.


Love is wild, and the moment one tries to domesticate it, it is destroyed.

Love is a whirlwind of freedom, of wildness, of spontaneity.

You cannot manage love and control it. Controlled, it is dead. Love can be controlled only when you have already killed it. If it is alive, it controls you, not otherwise. If it is alive, it possesses you. You are simply lost in it, because it is bigger than you, vaster than you, more primal than you, more foundational than you.

In the same way God also comes. The same way love comes to you, God comes. God is also wild, wilder than love. A civilized God is no God at all. The God of the church, the God of the temple is just an idol. God has disappeared from those places long ago, because God cannot be imprisoned. Those places are graveyards of God.
If you want to find God, you will have to be available to the wild energy of life. Love is the first glimpse, the beginning of the journey. God is the climax, the culmination, but God comes as a whirlwind. It will uproot you, it will possess you. It will crush you to pieces. It will kill you and resurrect you. It will be both - the cross and the resurrection.

Breathing that in ...

Shalom, Dena

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Renaissance ...

Some thoughts on what I've been reading lately ... compiled and observed in several different reSources:

Most folks feel it ... some deny it ... some dismiss it ... many embrace it ... and no one can stop it.

What it it? A spiritual renaissance.

We who embrace it are a mixed group ... even a motley crew, LOL! We don't necessarily have credentials (though some do), and most of us don't wear the same labels ... in fact, most of us eschew the notion of labels at all. We're not known by being "against" anything ... we're open to pretty much anything, for we trust that all is good, and all is fodder for learning. We're drawn by something that's both within, and all around ... something irresistible ... something that some of us even formerly feared.

It's based on love. Not love defined by humans, not love that's limited, boundrified, confined, or shackled. But love that seeks to replace an old, repressive order. Love that breaks down barriers. Love that includes.

It's a love that leads humanity to seek it's Source. The center. For, living on the surface is just so not working anymore... at least, not for those who heed the music of the renaissance.

This love is God's love ... and as we receive it, fully, wholly, unreservedly and unconditionally, we respond to that love, and we can't help but impart it to others. And in doing so, we bring healing and repair to this world.

It allows us to look around, to take inventory, and to recognize that we have created a mess, in our collective way, and it allows us to take responsibility for this mess, by taking more seriously our individual contributions. In this way, we discover, perhaps to our shock and delight, that personal transformation can, and does, have a global impact.

It's not about looking for more ground to conquer, or more people to influence, or more doctrinal wars to win ... it's about finding a truer ground of being, within ourselves, upon which to stand. The post pivotal transformations of this time, are the internal ones. This is an inner drama, not an outer war. Even if our eyes are closed shut, and the Light isn't seen, it continues to work the magic of transformation.

People everywhere, in all walks of life, are heeding this renaissance calling ... men and women are allowing themselves to shed what doesn't fit, and to become more authentic and powerful. We are allowing for new perspectives, in a way that embraces both our human weaknesses, and our divine gifts.

We're learning to embrace that which is most truly essential: our passion, our intuition, our sacredness, our vision, our ability for true healing. We can no longer afford to let ourselves be controlled by our own thoughts, by institutions, and by all sorts of formerly-acceptable (and well-defended) illusions.

We see control for what it is, no matter how carefully crafted as "concern" or "wisdom" or "guidance." We rise up against that which tries to usurp our own innate authority, even as we resist the temptation to seize control over the soul of any other. We see how this society, this culture in which we live, is the most controlled society yet -- for we see how the soul, how autonomy, have been grossly peripheralized and marginalized ... and even demonized -- out of abject fear of who we really are.

We're waking up to realize that we're really not crazy after all ... no matter what's been previously put on us. We see that word-curses, and pronouncements, and declarations that were flung onto us, really have no power, except for the power that we allow. And we no longer allow it. We realize that all it takes to find our soul, is to begin the search ... and the finding is inevitable. And once we find it, we are Home. And no matter where we go, or what we do, in this material realm, we never leave Home.

We see that a game has been going on ... and the agenda of the game has been to keep us from searching ... to lull us into complacency ... to mesmerize us into accepting status quo. We were distracted, given insane busy-work, and it all served to invalidate our own personal radar. We learned, incrementally, to not trust ourselves. Yes, we had our birthright stolen, by those who had theirs stolen ... ad infinitim ... while thinking they were doing the best for us.

They were mistaken ... but we can wake up, and reclaim who we really are.

There's no one to blame ... but much to be responsible for.

Starting with this: HOW do I want to live the rest of my life? Who or what is stopping you? And why are you allowing that? Whose life is it, anyway..?

It's time to finally respect ourselves enough, at long last, to know that we know what we know. Down deep. Where it's Real. We can finally have the conviction that our heart, and not our mind, is the Light of the world. Have we not yet realized how the heart goes insane without the heart's guidance and foundation...? What more evidence do we need?

We are in the process of giving birth to the people we are truly created to be.

And trust me ... I know that transition sucks. I also know that it's critical. And precious.

We can declare our own emancipation proclamation, as we let go of that which is not us. We can sign our own declaration of independence from the ways of war and control. And we can discover, first-hand (oh yes you will!), just how treasonous Love is, to the way this world operates.

We always have a choice, no matter what the situation is, between love and fear. Always. All Ways.

Shalom, Dena

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Are You an Existensialist?

I don't normally do this, but really, what the heck is *normal*?!?

I think I gave it up for Lent, I mean Life...!

But a friend just sent this to me, and it screams "blog post"! It's beyond timely, and so, of course, I share:

Are You an Existentialist?

By Alexander Green

I recently received a letter from an Atlanta Falcons player who told me he quit the NFL not long after reading my book The Secret of Shelter Island.

"I realized I was living someone else's dream, not mine," he said. "The truth is I haven't enjoyed football since high school."

Some might be surprised that anyone would walk away from all that money and celebrity. But perhaps he's an existentialist. They recognize the dangers of living an inauthentic life.

Who, exactly, are the existentialists and what do they know? Existentialism is a philosophical movement that came about in the late 19th century. It is not some abstract set of theoretical truths. Rather it is a no-nonsense philosophy that encourages you to take a hard look at your life and ask two essential questions: Who am I and how shall I live?

Its goal is to awaken us from our slumber, have us grab life by the lapels and start living authentically. Unfortunately, there is no particular school that offers a systematic account of existentialism. Its founders were fierce individualists who avoided labels, detested "isms," and refused to be lumped into any group.

So there is no grand philosophical system here. Essentially, existentialism exists at the intersection of the essays of Friedrich Nietzsche and Jean-Paul Sartre, the novels of Albert Camus and Fyodor Dostoevsky, the religious writings of Soren Kierkegaard and Paul Tillich, and the plays of Harold Pinter and even William Shakespeare (particularly Hamlet and King Lear). Clearly, existentialism is older than the term itself. The philosophy is based on six general themes:

1. Acceptance of the Absurd. Each of us drops unexpectedly into this world, in a universe where time -- at least as we know it -- has no beginning, space no end, and life no pre-set meaning. It is an inexplicable mystery. This realization is hardly new, of course. Ecclesiastes kicks off with the words "Vanity, vanity, all is vanity. What does man gain from all his labor and toil here under the sun?" (Ecclesiastes 1:2-3). Existentialists believe that it's only when you confront the fundamental absurdity of life that you begin to live honestly.

2. Personal Freedom. Life itself may be meaningless, but you give it meaning when you begin making important choices. These, in turn, reveal who you are. With freedom of choice, however, comes responsibility. Taking ownership of your decisions means not blaming your parents, your spouse, your teachers, or anyone else for the shape of your life. More responsibility brings greater freedom. And with it: hope.

3. Individualism. Existentialists are keenly aware that society continually pulls us toward conformity. There are immense social pressures to go along, get along, and live pretty much like everyone else. Existentialists challenge you to buck conventional wisdom, express your true nature, and follow your dream, whatever that may be.

4. Authenticity. Most people are so consumed by desire, guilt, fear, or anxiety about what other people think that they find it almost impossible to follow their true calling. However, it's only when you begin to do what you want -- and not what others expect -- that you begin to live authentically. But expect resistance. Institutions want to mold you. Other people want you to go on their trip. It's far easier to live unthinkingly as part of the crowd. Yet authentic individuals are in control of their own lives.

5. Passion. Being passionate and engaged is crucial. This doesn't mean acting crazy or hysterical. Quite the opposite, in fact. Existentialists believe you should devote yourself to a cause, one that you're willing to organize your life around, perhaps even die for. For Kierkegaard, that passion was the pursuit of truth. For others, it may be artistic expression, healing the sick, or building a business that employs hundreds and serves thousands. In all walks of life, you'll find that passionate men and women are more purposeful.

6. Acceptance of Death. Life is finite. Yet existentialists don't see this as a reason for pessimism. Facing death is what forces you to take life seriously, use your time wisely, and make meaningful choices. It should invigorate your life. As the character Andy puts it in The Shawshank Redemption: "Get busy living or get busy dying."

Nietzsche, the philosopher most closely associated with existentialism, refers to it as the noble ideal. Your life, he argues, is an unwritten book that only you can write. Or, he says, visualize your life as a kind of artistic project, except that you are both the sculptor and the clay. This concept runs throughout existentialist works.

Martin Heidegger counsels us to learn to "dwell poetically." Kierkegaard says "to exist is an art." All existentialists agree that life has the meaning you choose to give it. Sartre even declared that man is "nothing else but what he makes of himself." This view is fairly widespread in the West today. But it was once considered revolutionary.

The Catholic Church, for instance, decided that Sartre's ideas were so dangerous that it placed his entire works on the Vatican Index of Prohibited Books -- including those he hadn't yet written! Ideas can be dynamite. And the proclamation that you should live your life on your own terms rather than according to the dictates of an institution was explosive. Perhaps that's why existentialism is called the philosophy of freedom.

No matter how things stand in your life, you choose how to interpret your situation. You choose how to respond to it. Even if you do nothing, you still have made a choice. There is no escaping the consequences of your actions -- or your inaction. This makes some people profoundly uncomfortable, of course. They don't like facing up to the world as it is. They don't want responsibility. It's easier to blame others, circumstances, or "the breaks."

Existentialism, however, is known as "the no-excuses philosophy." You may be old. You may be broke. You may be sick. But existentialists say you start from where you are and move forward.

How? By accepting responsibility and making choices.

This isn't always easy. Pursuing authenticity requires relentless self-examination. It exposes you to things about yourself that you may not want to know. It may cause discomfort or friction with others. But inauthentic lives, by comparison, are shallow, trivial, and unsatisfying. They are often marked by the dogged pursuit of material goods, social status, or the approval of others.

In many ways existentialism is a return to the roots of philosophy, a return to the ancients' concern with truth, virtue, and the art of living well. Existentialism offers a guide to the perplexed. It shows us not just how to live, but how to flourish, how to create meaning in a senseless world. Those who reject this philosophy often do so not because they don't understand it but because they can't face it. And that's unfortunate.

Existentialism provides a practical way of thinking about the world. It offers personal freedom and empowerment. It is a path to dignity and nobility. An existentialist doesn't live as though he has forever, frittering away his time and putting off until "someday" the things he really wants to do. He or she recognizes that each day, each moment, is precious and irreplaceable.

Are you an existentialist? Only you can say, of course. But perhaps you should be. Carpe diem.

Umm ... shall I let the cat out of the proverbial bag? Despite my innate distaste for labels, according to the above-description yes, I am an existentialist.

Shalom (& Namaste!) ~

Monday, April 12, 2010

Would You Believe This Post is About Suffering...?

First ... I want to thank everyone who has responded from such a place of love and acceptance. My heart is grateful ... In the past, I was certainly less than gracious and loving with those who I deemed to be "sinful". I'm grateful for who I've become (or who is being revealed, as that which is not-me is being shed). I'm grateful that we do indeed transform ... that we are here to learn ... and that nothing is ever, not *ever*, thwarted.

I'm watching a miracle unfold in my household ... and we're all, including Mark, astonishingly grateful for it. How the miracle manifests ... how this completely unfolds, remains to be seen. But we're trusting that we'll ALL be seeing together. Even in joy.

Meanwhile ... I'd like to get back to the book that I was led to read as this was happening ... and which Mark is now reading. And, I find it fascinating that the very next part of this book is about suffering ... coincidence? I think not...

Because much is going on here, and time is currently a precious commodity, I'm going to "cheat" and merely quote a bit from DeMello here ...

To what do you identify yourself? To what do you cling? You know what's going to happen ... you're going to cling to them, you're going to be worried that they may fall apart, and that's where your suffering comes in. "If you're suffering, you're asleep." Do you want a sign that you're asleep? Here it is: You're suffering. Suffering is a sign that you're out of touch with the truth. Suffering is given to you that you might open your eyes to the truth, that you might understand that there's falsehood somewhere, just as physical pain is given to you so you will understand that there is disease or illness somewhere. Suffering points out that there is falsehood somewhere. Suffering occurs when you clash with reality. When your illusions clash with reality, when your falsehoods clash with truth, then you have suffering. Otherwise, you have no suffering.


Taking this in ...

Shalom, Dena

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Labels, Schmabels...!

"Don't seek the truth; just drop your opinions."
(some old, and likely dead, Zen master)

Really, we can drop our theories now. Truth isn't something we search for ... it just is. And if we stop being opinionated, so infatuated with what we think we know, truth finds us. If we drop the labels, we run smack-dab into truth.

So, what's a label? Anything other than "human being."

What do you call others? Man, woman, child, idiot, beurocrat, infidel, heretic, Presbyterian, friend, lawyer, enemy...? Maybe you're aware of this ... maybe you see that you put labels on others.

And are you aware that you put labels on yourself?

What do you say, to yourself, following these words: "I am ..."?

I am what? What do you say to yourself? How are you labeling yourself?

Here are some of my own, from the past (that which was previously perceived as true, but that which I now know to be lies):

I am a failure. I am an imposter. I am a liar. I am depraved. I am inferior. I am overlooked. I am less-than. I am overbearing. I am an embarassment. I am worthless.

Yeah, it was a dark and hopeless world I once lived in ...

And now, here are some of the things that follow my "I am's" ~

I am happy. I am alive. I am irrepressible. I am curious. I am kind. I am enthusiastic. I am vibrant. I am valuable. I am valued. I am gifted. I am intense. I am awakening. I am loved. I am mySelf.

Do you see the power of those words, "I am"...? What follows becomes your reality.

So, tune in to your out-loud and inner-whispered self-talk ... what are you saying about yourself? Are you seeing who you really are, or are you choking yourself with labels?

Labels, schmabels...!

You really can drop your theories, now.

Shalom, Dena

Friday, April 9, 2010

Very Personal Update ...

The blog posts that have been coming out this week were written in advance, as this was a week of preparation for an art show.

However, this has become another sort of week.

And it's time to put words to what's happening.

'Tis time, to break this silence.

Something big, no, huge ... is happening in my life, and our family. Some people know, and others do not ... and others have heard bits and pieces, and may have been forming their own conclusions.

This, being a blog, is not the place for me to go into deep details ... but this, being a place where I do connect with others, is a place to share what I can, while honoring others involved.

This is a challenge, the biggest challenge, to this marriage. And it's by my doing. I make no excuses, justifications, or rationalizations -- there's just what IS. While I've not *done* anything ... my heart has become connected to another, in a way that brings me joy, and yet which brings great pain to my husband, to our children, and to those who know and love us. Yes, I feel deep love for another man. I have carried this a long while, denying it to myself ... and very recently, just this week, spoke out the truth ... the truth about what's happening to me, and about what has been painful in our marriage. I tried, with everything in me, to wait until after our daughter, Micaela's wedding next month. But I am not duplicious, and it was killing me ... if I had withheld any longer, it would've done physical harm.

Don't get me wrong -- this marriage has been magnificent ... it's all everyone has seen. But, there have also been deep places of pain ... in which both of us have felt very stuck. Hear me here: this is NOT about any failing on Mark's part ... anyone who knows Mark, even remotely, knows what an amazing man he is. I know NO one who knows him, who does not love and admire him. And that very much includes me.

Now, I know all the typical scenarios of how to paint "this" ... trust me, I spent years advising and counseling others in "how to deal with this." I know the normal course of action, and I know what others expect this to look like. We are getting all manner of advice, from people who are in a paradigm that we no longer live in. It is appreciated, knowing the intent behind it ... but it simply does not fit who we are any longer.

In case no one has noticed, this family simply does not do "normal". And, quite frankly, we are thrilled to be out of the confines of "normal." Without exception. We have been, together, walking out a path of normality-alteration. Everything, but only everything, that we formerly thought/knew/believed has been radically altered.

So, it would be a mistake for anyone to assume that the way we go from here, will in any way resemble normalcy.

This is day 5 of The Big Deal. Under normal circumstances, any other husband would've done the "tough love" thing. I "should" be kicked out, the locks "should" be changed ... the children "should" be protected from me. There "should" be yelling, and fighting, and defending, and accusations, and all manner of shaming and condemning.

There is none of that. Yes, there is pain -- immense pain. Yes, there was/is shock. Yes, there is uncertainty.

BUT -- whether anyone can possibly believe it or not, there is tremendous LOVE happening here, in this household. Mark sees me, deeply. He understands why this happened ... he does not blame me (and neither is HE to blame -- this is NOT about any sort of "inadequacy" on Mark's part!). This is not about "right/wrong" for us -- we are out of that paradigm. This is about "what works/what doesn't work."

Mark is tapping into a deep Source of Love, that is beyond comprehension ... this cannot be fathomed with the mind. This is not logical. This is not conventional. And it's absolutely undeniable. He wants me to stay, even while we are in limbo, about how this will play out, in the tangibles. He refuses to allow me to be shamed, condemned or even spoken-against, by anyone. He has made it clear -- if anyone wants to get to me, they have to go through him first. This is his doing ... this cannot be manipulated, and I lack that power, that ability. I don't do manipulation anymore ... it's not who I am, who I have become.

I have not asked for this ... I was prepared to leave. He gives me this, this total acceptance, love, and even protection, out of this reservoir of Love. Yes, he's in pain ... yes, I'm in pain, yes, the children are in pain ... but we're ALL seeing Something operating here ... Something Huger than all of this ... Something transformational ... Something that is simplifying life into the bare essential, of Love.

A love that excludes no one ... a love that includes all. ALL. A love that bypasses labels, and symbols, and concepts, and even understanding. A Love that is having It's way with us.

I recognize that, coming from me, from the one who has likely now lost all credibility with anyone who's reading this ... that this sounds uber-absurd. Ultimate rationalization. Selfish justification. I get that. I'm willing to let that be. What others think of me is really none of my business ... and I'd rather be loathed for who I am, than loved for who I am not.

Mark, and the children, and I ... are astonishingly coming to the place where we are not only accepting of what is, but are seeing the good in what is happening (each one in their own way, in their own timing). Even if no one else on this planet sees it, accepts it, or gets it (really, we've kind of gotten used to that ...!). No one here can deny the love we see unfolding ... and we are TRUSTing that the outcome of this will be good for all. ALL. We are walking this out together, one day at a time, trusting as we go, loving as we go, being enlarged by this Love as we go.

Mark was just here, as I was typing this out ... and he wants me to let everyone know that if anyone doubts where *he* is on this, how *he* sees this, and is experiencing this, that you can contact him directly ... his email is

Additionally, he wants to convey that this is what love does. He simply cannot fathom how love could turn against one who is loved. Guilt, and condemnation have no place in love. Ego is that which self-protects and attacks ... that is not possible with love. Love is that which is revealed, when the illusions are stripped away.

He just looked me in the eye, seeing me as I AM ... and said, "You are good. I see you, and you are GOOD."

That's what love looks like. And I am blown away by this depth of Other-Love.

For now, that's all I have to say ... on Day 5, as we walk this out. There is joy in this house. I am smiling ... Mark is smiling. The children are smiling. Love expands.

Uncanny, unlikely, even preposterous ... but nevertheless Real.

Expect the unexpected ...

Shalom & Namaste ~


I'm feeling the need to just share some snippets from Anthony deMello, in case anyone out there is so otherwise-occupied that they don't have time to delve into this book ("Awareness") ... and yet also be fed by some life-infused nuggets of spiritual food ... so feast on.

God would be much happier, according to Jesus Christ, if you were transformed than if you worshipped. He would be much more pleased by your living than by your adoration."

It's infinitely more important that you be waking up. That's spirituality, that's everything. If you have that, you have God.

In religion, worship becomes more important than love; the church becomes more important than life. God becomes more important than the neighbor. And so it goes, and that's the danger.

It is extremely important if you want to wake up to go in for what I call "self-observation." Be aware of what you're saying, be aware of what you're doing, be aware of what you're thinking, be aware of how you're acting. Be aware of where you're coming from, what your motives are. The unaware life is not worth living. The unaware life is a mechanical life. It's not human, it's programmed, conditioned. We might as well be a stone, a block of wood.

(& yet ... I find myself wondering if the stone, the block of wood, may not be more alive than we are aware ...?)

People go through life with fixed ideas; they never change. They're just not aware of what's going on. Well, don't listen to people who say to you, "Forget yourself! Go out in love to others." Don't listen to them! They're all wrong. The worst thing you can do is forget yourself when you go out to others in the so-called helping attitude.

What you are aware of you are incontrol of; what you are not aware of is in control of you. You are always a slave to what you're not aware of. When you're aware of it, you're free from it. It's there, but you're not affected by it. You're not controllled by it; you're not enslaved by it. That's the difference.

When I'm listening t you, it's infinitely more important for me t listen to me than to listen to you. Of course, it's important for me to lisent to you, but it's more important that I liseen to me. Otherwise I won't be hearing you. Or I'll be distorting everything you say. I'll be coming at you from my own conditioning. I'll be reacting to you in all kinds of ways from my insecruities, my need to manipulate you, from my desire to succeed, from irritations and feelings that I might not be aware of. So it's frightfully important that I listen to me when I'm listening to you.

(And that part made me go, "woah!")

Just take in what fits ... let go of the rest...

Shalom, Dena

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Two Things

Have you yet realized that everything (but only everything) boils down to one or two perspectives...?

Love or Fear.

That's it.

That's IT.

We can deny that, we can try to redefine it, we can even object ... "this isn't fear, it's prudence! wisdom!"

If it's not love, trusting love, then it's fear.

There's not a single evil on the planet that cannot be traced back to fear. No exceptions.

What about anger? Well, think of the last time you were angry ... and look deeply, what were you afraid of losing? What did you fear would be taken away from you?

Think of an angry person in your life ... someone who camps out in anger ... let yourself realize -- they're afraid. Let yourself feel the compassion ... which can help transform, if not them -- how you perceive them.

And, by seeing them differently, through these eyes of compassion, what if you could call them forth, into their own true transformation?

Would you do that for them?

Would you choose love, over fear...?

Shalom, Dena

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

How Happiness Happens ...

Come home to yourself. Observe yourself ... self-observation is such a delightful and extraordinary thing. After a while you don't have to make any effort, because, as illusions begin to crumble, you begin to know things that cannot be described. It's called happiness. Everything changes and you become addicted to awareness.
(Anthony deMello, in "Awareness")

We only change the things we understand ... and those things we don't understand, of which we are unaware, we repress. But, when we do understand a thing, it changes.

One of the goals for a human, who is becoming aware, is to lose fear. The time comes (incrementally for some, and more *whammo* for others), when we fear no one and fear nothing. We stop fearing the opinions of others, the judgments of others, the attacks of others .... we stop fearing either success or failure ... we cease to fear dishonor, disgrace, and the dismantling of a reputation. We stop fearing appearing the fool ... and it's a delightful state to abide in...!

(I have begun to taste of this!)

I know the joy of coming awake ... the joy of feeling more alive, more energetic, more focused, less demanding ... relaxed. No more driving with the brakes on, just in case.

As deMello puts it, "I'm an ass, you're an ass, so where's the problem?"

(that makes me snicker every time I read it...! Ahhhhh, the relief of it!)

It seems to be true to me that the three most difficult things about being human, have nothing to do with accomplishments or achievements ... as I'm seeing things, they are: returning love for hate; including those who are excluded; and admitting that we are wrong.

Can you imagine a world wherein all humans would practice those three things...?

As I'm experiencing this, happiness comes when I say "yes" to what is. "Yes" to what comes." "Yes" to what is given to me. You can call it awareness, or awakening, or spirituality, or freedom, or love, or whatever floats your boat. It's all the same thing, and "yes" leads to happiness ...

So ... "Yes!"

Shalom, Dena

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

About Dependency ...

So, here we are, in this 3D matrixy experience we call life ... this realm we inhabit ... and I notice that we develop dependency on others. Now, it's a given that in our current (yet very transient) society, dependency is about as necessary as money. We rely on others to do certain things to keep the machine going, and we all seem to want (really badly!) to keep this machine in motion.

That's one level of dependency, which is, for now, required.

But there's an entirely different level of dependency that's actually getting in the way ... psychological/emotional dependency. What this means is that I set up you to be my source of happiness. What a burden! What a trap!

See, once I do that, then I start demanding that you continue to keep me happy. Then comes the fear ... fear of loss/rejection/alienation/control ... fear that I will lose this happiness-source, that you will let me down, that you will do something that will sabotage my happiness, cut off my happiness, and then I, like any other addict, will attack you.

But (& we need to get this down-deep!), perfect love casts out all fear ... love has no demands, no expectations, no dependency. I cannot demand that you make me happy ... my happiness does not lie in you.

My happiness is something I own, within myself, and when I know that I own it, I can freely invite you into it ... I can give it to you, and watch it expand before my eyes ... a thing borne out of freedom.

What I really enjoy is not (my image of) you ... but something that's greater than both you and I ... something that I can only discover ... a symphony ... parts playing at times in unison, and at other times in harmony.

But, can I truly love you, if I cling to you, and do not let you go? If I won't let you be who you are? Am I loving you, or my image of you? And, is it love to demand that you fulfill my image? Is it love, if I need, psychologically and emotionally, for you to be my source of happiness?

Loneliness is not cured by human contact ... it's cured by contact with the deepest Reality.

Just some thoughts stirring in me today ...

Shalom, Dena

Monday, April 5, 2010

Rethinking Selfishness ...

If you, like me, spent any amount of time in Christian circles (& perhaps even in other circles I did not inhabit), then you got a regular, if not daily, dose of "thou shalt not be selfish."

Self was that thing that had to die. I mean, let's just slaughter the thing, and become this nebulosity of spiritual flotsom. Because, y'know, God really hates the essence of who we are (which is, by the way, what God created).

See if this little video clip puts it into perspective for you. (grr! Blogger is being snotty. Won't let me add a video to the text!)

Anywho ... how the heck do we, in human form, opt for selflessness...? Isn't that akin to saying, "I shall cease to be now"...? And, aren't we really all in this boat together, this boat of discovering who we are, the glory of becoming fully human, which includes every facet of our being...? Aren't we here to fully enjoy this material life? This emotionally-laden life? This sensation-infused life?!?

Or is it just me?

Nah, it's not just me...!

What if it's time to stop feeling bad about being human, about being selfish? I notice that Jesus didn't like hanging out with those who saw themselves as spiritually superior. Pretty much, he was hanging with those who were considered "sinners" ... and he didn't act as if he though he was better than they were. What if the ony difference between Jesus and us, is that he was awake, and we're not?

Yeah, I've come to believe that's true. Very.

This isn't about achievement, or trying harder than the next guy, or earning anything ... this is about self-discovery ... and that requires a bit of selfishness. A bit of "this is who I am, and while I invite you to enjoy me, I cannot, and will not, acquiese to who you think I am, or *should* be." There's a bit of becoming our own spiritual authority that's crucial, and so very overdue ...

As deMello says, "... if you achieved enlightenment, you would do so in the interest of self, and you would be lucky."

How many previously-forbidden words can be crammed into one short sentence, LOL! ;)

Shalom, Dena

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Life is a Banquet ...

... and the horrible tragedy is that most of us are starving to death.

All around us is joy, happiness, love ... but most folks are wholly ignorant of it, and immune to it. Why? Most are brainwashed. Hypnotized. Asleep. Comatose.

Anthony DeMello says,
"The first test of whether you've been brainwashed and have interjected convictions and beliefs occurs the moment they're attacked. You feel stunned, you react emotionally. That's a pretty good sign - not infallible, but a pretty good sign - that we're dealing with brainwashing. You're ready to die for an idea that never was yours."

Wonder how many of us would be stunned to see just how extensively we're influenced by our programming ... the conditioning, the hypnosis. The propaganda.

We don't want to look, to see, to listen.

If we do, we may change. We may lose control of the life we were clinging to ... the life we thought we needed. To wake up, we don't need energy, strength, youth, or even intelligence .. the one thing we need is the willingness to learn something new.

The chances that you will wake up are in direct proportion to the amount of truth you can take without running away. How much are you ready to take? How much of everything you've held dear are you ready to have shattered, without running away? How ready are you to think of something unfamiliar?

The first reaction is one of fear. It's not that we fear the unknown. You cannot fear something that you do not know. Nobody is afraid of the unknown. What you really fear is the loss of the known. That's what you fear."

Shalom, Dena

Saturday, April 3, 2010

About Waking Up...

Y'know, probably the first thing we need to know about waking up, is that we really don't want to wake up.

Might as well be honest.

And why? Because we don't want to be happy. We think we're not *supposed* to be happy. That it's some sort of self-indulgent add-on ...

Here's a snippet of Anthony deMello's comments at a retreat some years ago ... listen to what he has to say(& please read the delightful quotes at that link!):

"You don't want to be happy. Want a little test? Let's try it. It will take you exactly one minute. Think of someone you love very much, someone you're close to, someone who is precious to you, and say to that person in your mind, 'I'd rather have happiness than have you.' See what happens. 'I'd rather be happy than have you. If I had a choice, no question about it, I'd choose happiness.' How many of you felt selfish when you said this? Many, it seems. See how we've been brainwashed? See how we've been conditioned into thinking, 'How could I be so selfish?' But look at who's being selfish. Imagine somebody saying to you, 'How could you be so selfish that you'd choose happiness over me?' Would you not feel like responding, 'Pardon me, but how could you be so selfish that you would demand that I choose you over my own happiness?'

[A Jesuit priest opened each of his conferences] with these words: 'The test of love is sacrifice, and the gauge of love is unselfishness.' That's marvelous! Would you want me to love you at the cost of my happiness? So, you would love me at the cost of my happiness, and I would love you at the cost of my happiness, and so you've got two unhappy people, but long live love!"

We don't want to be unconditionally happy ... we want to be happy only IF we can have things a certain way ... we've been taught to hitch our happiness to certain things. Certain concepts.

But if we want love, freedom, joy, peace and spirituality, we need to become awake.

You want to know one of the first indications that you're waking up..? You look around, and you ask yourself, "Am I crazy, or are all of them crazy?" Well, we *are* crazy -- certifiable. We've got all manner of crazy notions about love, relationships, happiness, joy, and everything. Truth starts out with a minority. A minority of one, or two. And every truth first starts out as a blasphemy ...

It's challenging, this new stuff ... we humans hate the new stuff. We don't want disturbing new concepts, or change ...

And yet -- we need an openness to the truth, no matter what the consequences, no matter where it leads, and even when we don't know where it's going to lead us. That's faith -- not belief, but faith. Beliefs lead to "security, but faith is insecurity. We don't know. We're ready to follow, and open ... wide open. Ready to listen ... but not gullible. Not swallowing whatever we hear, whatever we've long been spoon-fed.

The first step to awakening is to admit that we don't *want* to awaken, and that we don't want to be happy. And we can face the resistance within us ...

The second step is a willingness to understand, listen, and to challenge or WHOLE belief system ... not just religious beliefs, political beliefs, social beliefs, psychological beliefs ... but ALL beliefs.

I can't speak to you, or anyone, of truth. It's not about agreement, disagreement, concepts, theories or even words. Truth isn't about words -- truth is sighted suddenly ... it comes upon us, wordlessly. It just IS. It comes when we're open, receptive and willing.

No theory covers Reality.

Words don't work here ...

I can't speak to you of the truth, but I can show you obstacles to truth ... and I can describe them. But I cannot describe the truth. I can share my own obstacles, my own falsehoods, so that perhaps you can see your own, and perhaps choose to drop them. I can challenge my own beliefs ... and perhaps yours, particularly if I notice that your beliefs are making you unhappy. I can choose to unlearn, and invite you to do the same ...

It's always about choices, isn't it...?

Shalom, Dena

Friday, April 2, 2010

And it Will ...!

Joy! What great fun it is, and so confirming, to stumble upon yet another-one who is writing/thinking/seeing as I am...!

Without further ado ...

What is this faithful process of spirit and seed
that touches empty ground and makes it rich again?
Its greater workings I cannot claim to understand.
I only know that in its care, what has seemed dead is dead no longer;
what has seemed lost, is no longer lost;
that which some have claimed impossible, is made clearly possible,
and what ground is fallow is only resting -
resting and waiting for the beloved seed to arrive on the wind with all Godspeed.

And it will.

~ Clarissa Pinkola Estes

After doing some research on this amazing woman, these other heart-leaping quotes came to my attention:
"We are all los inmigrantes, the Soul is The First Immigrant: The Soul cannot be held back by any imaginary boundary drawn against it; not by mountain ranges, not by rivers, nor by human scorn. The Soul, goes everywhere, like an old woman in her right mind, going anywhere she wishes, saying whatever she wants, bending to mend whatever is within her reach. Wherever she goes, the Soul brings new life." from 'The Dangerous Old Woman'

"As artist-in-residence in schools, I find that whereas children used to dream bear, wolf, tiger as both friends and foes, and often… now, so so many children are dreaming Machine; gigantic stomping splints and walking piers of glittering mutant metal.... " from essay "Wild Wolf/ Wild Soul" in Comeback Wolves

"Do not lose heart, we were made for these times..." from Letter To A Young Activist During Troubled Times

"The craft of questions, the craft of stories, the craft of the hands - all these are the making of something, and that something is soul. Anytime we feed soul, it guarantees increase." from Women Who Run With the Wolves

"Just because a woman is silent does not mean she agrees…" from The Dangerous Old Woman

"If logic were everything, all men would ride sidesaddle…" from Women Who Run With The Wolves

Annnnnnd ... my ABsolute favorite:
''If you have never been called a defiant, incorrigible, impossible woman… have faith… there is yet time." from Women Who Run with the Wolves

(Hmmm... methinks I shall be reading "Women Who Run With the Wolves"..!)

Shalom, Dena

Thursday, April 1, 2010

The Last Judgement...

The last judgment.

What images come to mind?

I know what I *used* to think ... world chaos, culminating in a final battle, which destroys most of the inhabitants of planet earth (those bad inhabitants) ... and then Jesus shows up and whisks the good inhabitants (which, of course, is "us") away ... and then, does a U-turn of sorts, so that we can rule over everyone else (never mind that they're now dead) for a thousand years of blissful utopian ... boredom.

But what if the last judgement is just the very last time we judge ourselves, or anyone else. What if it's the launch of a new way of life -- a way of accepting ourselves exactly as we ARE ("imperfections" and all!), and everyone else as they are, as well...?

What if the last judgment follows the inner-battle ... ushering in resolve and peace?

Check this out:
The masters are former warriors. They have won their personal war, and they are at peace. The dream of the masters is a dream of truth, a dream of respect, a dream full of love and joy. It's the playground of life; it's what we are meant to live, and only awareness can take us to that place.

When this happens, and I'm telling you, it's begun to happen for me ... we recover our awareness ... we awaken from the nightmare ... and we're no longer afraid to be alive again. We return to our real state of being, our divine self (yes, I said that!), where we feel a communion of love with everything in existence.

Then there is no difference or separation between you and all others ... you are connected to the stars in the sky, and the rocks on the earth ... if we can glimpse this, even for a moment, the whole edifice of our belief system evaporates ... and we enter heaven-on-earth (the kingdom at hand, in our midst, here and now).

We are all artists ... painting pictures with our words, our symbols, our thoughts ... and maybe this makes sense to others ... and maybe it doesn't. But maybe you can at least see my perspective ... whether or not you agree with me.

My desire, my goal ... is to discover who I am ... and to be an agent of contagion, so that you, too, can expand your awareness of who YOU are ... so that your perception, and experience, can expand as well.

And what is the goal of this expansion ...?

It's to know that you are a human manifestation of the very Life of God. You, alive as you are, are that force ... you are truth, you are love, you are real. Everything else (but only everything) is a mere symbol ... not real, an illusion. Yes, a beautiful illusion (do not despise it...!).

When you get this, when you really get this (& I'm in the delightful process of gettING this), you live your life in love, as love. Love is who you are. Read more:
"In that moment, you completely accept your body, your emotions, your life, your story. You respect yourself; you respect all of the artists [and we're all artists, creating our lives], all of your brothers and sisters; you respect all of creation. You love yourself unconditionally, and you are not afraid to express your love, to say, 'I love you' to others... you see your own love being reflected in every secondary character of your story, and you love every secondary character of your story unconditionally, just as you love yourself. You don't need reasons to love someone or not to love someone; you don't even choose to love, because to love is your nature. Love is coming out of you like the light from the sun. All of your nature is coming out of you, just as it is, without expectations. And your love has nothing to do with words in your head. There are no stories. It's an experience that we call communion, which means to have the same frequency, the same vibration, as love."

Can we dare to believe that we can get to the point where we can be wholly authentic, in this way? Without the expectations, judgments, "shoulds", rules, constraints of the symbols? Where there is nothing to justify, nothing even to believe ... just to BE, for no other reason. No mission other than to enjoy life, to experience all that is here to be experienced ... to be happy. To be real, authentic ... to be yourself. THAT's the main point. THAT's wisdom.

And ... there's nothing to search for ... nothing to find ... it's already here. All within you. No looking or waiting for heaven -- it's here, now. You don't have to search for God ... God never left you.

And ... it's ok if you don't understand. You're not here to understand, or to learn. You're here to UNlearn.


Shalom, Dena