“It sounds like you are talking about a church focused on social justice,” one member of the meeting offers up.
Another member contributes his perspective, “What is interesting about the issue of social justice is that you can work it from both a progressive and/or conservative position, which almost cancel each other out politically, though the theological information you have provided makes it sound like your childhood church was progressive.”
While attending a meeting, I happen into the roiling sea of words. At home and around most of the edges of my life, there is a full and beautiful silence through which clear guidance charts the course of my days. At the moment, my head is swamped with compound word choices, which only partially describe what I observed and experienced in the church of my childhood.
Social justice? No. Social action? Closer. Social service within community-at-large. Better. Yet, we are still not there.
Then, later in the evening, the first speaker continues, “The problem that I have with ‘social justice’ is that I lose,” there is a long pause in search of the best descriptive words, “I guess—the sense of piety that I enjoy in most other circumstances.”
At home, I contemplate all of the possible labels I have been presented with, which are like a drawer full of inadequate stickers for the way in which my life has been unfolding. I feel a tremendous amount of compassion for my pious friend and something of an answer percolating through about three hours after I have arrived home and dumped out my word bag.
When we are securely seated in the space of our highest Light and our leadings come through for us to move with the support of the Spirit, there is no absence or loss of piety when we engage in spiritual service. Spiritual service affirms life, compassion, forgiveness and Grace again and again.
The spiritual path is neither a linear walk nor a vertical climb but a meandering trail we may choose to walk on a daily basis. Whether or not we are “on the path” is contingent upon the choices we make moment by moment. How respectfully can we become hosts to our own highest Light? How thoughtfully and inclusively can we behave toward that same Light in our neighbors or people we perceive as Other? Can we stop blaming? Can we forgive? Are we making decisions consistently from the seat of our integrity?
The ability to listen and respond accordingly—to whatever guidance may be provided—grows when we begin to operate more consistently from the Light deep with our hearts, moving away from our individual stories and personal concerns and toward universal service. Receptive silence is perhaps the most reliable way to listen and respond to the world from the holy seat of our Universal Being.
Sometimes, when I am preparing food in the kitchen, my husband comes in with a book and sits down to read to me. If I am not being read to while preparing food, my husband might read to me over a hot breakfast or while we are riding together in the truck on a long road trip. We usually have two or three books going, so there are subject options depending upon the place we find ourselves.
As it turns out, this tradition of reading together is a key component in building a sense of continuity and thematic commonality within the passage of our days and the context of our relationship. Reading and being read to is a habit which developed early in our being together. And, finding the appropriate parameters for receipt and extension of such a gift took time.
One morning, very early in our relationship, my husband trotted innocently in to read to me while I was in the middle of a steaming bath. Not very skilled at setting boundaries in this new relationship, I rudely sent him packing with his stack of books and several words of frustration. It was a moment of learning. The first thing I learned was that my solo bath time is sacrosanct. Ablutions are much more than a matter of physical cleanliness; ablutions are a gateway to spiritual preparedness for an entire day. Thus, bath-time needs to remain private and free from words.
Each of us possesses a space or an activity that is somehow sacrosanct—whether it is working in the wood shop on Sunday afternoon, a private yoga practice or a solo walk in the woods. Individual, internal communion grants us the ability to become intimate—with ourselves. And, it is only when we have achieved intimacy within that we are able to move forward in wholeness toward a relationship of intimacy with someone else.
“I am in too much pain to lie down. May I just sit here in this chair for the session?”
“Yes, but I think you would be more comfortable on the working table,” my response comes from experience. This is a new client with several physical issues. The session is well outside of the established parameters of my normal practice. “Why don’t you tell me why you are here, and I’ll start working with you where you are seated.”
Words spill into the quiet space of the room as I connect to begin the process of restructuring the man’s field for the receipt of Grace and to release the reservations he holds toward his own Light and body awareness.
Breaking the stream of his own words, he says, “I see what you mean. I do need to lie down.”
Moving carefully from the chair to the working table, my hand travels parallel to his shoulder some two feet away. Quiet settles in the room again.
Once he is settled, I ask, “Are you going to be okay there?”
“Yes, I’ll be okay.” The response comes through that blessed brilliance of Light. “Feel free to shift your legs if you become uncomfortable,” I invite, continuing to create space around him for his own Light to flow.
The session progresses normally.
“I think we are almost done,” I say while closing out the session. “Do you feel okay?”
“It was nice to be almost without pain—if only for one hour,” he observes.
“I normally work with clients wishing to change professional or personal circumstances; so, this is something unusual for me. Be sure to avoid the consumption of alcohol for 24-48 hours. Some quiet time built into the context of each day will help you. Listen to your body’s subtle cues. The work will take ten to twenty-one days to play out. It has been a privilege to serve you.”
Sitting outside of the grocery store in my vehicle, collecting myself after moving through a crowd of frenetic shoppers, I look up from balancing my bank account to see a young girl riding in a shopping cart. She is about four. Her tongue is out as far as it can go. She faces the wind, checking the cold air with her extended tongue.
And, I think, “That’s just it. As adults we have forgotten how to explore the world with all of our senses—how to taste nature’s freshness.”
Be present to the earth’s elements this week—with all of your senses, appreciating all that there is to taste.
While out walking, I ran across a parked car with a bumper sticker admonishing “healers” for charging money to do what Jesus did for free. I thought to myself, “Even though I do not refer to the work I do as healings and I do not call myself a healer, the person who put that bumper sticker on that vehicle would most certainly put me and the work I do in the camp of reprobate ‘healers’ who charge money for sessions.”
And, quite frankly, this same question about spiritual alignment, money and universal Light used to occupy my heart as well. This is what the past many years of working with people on behalf of their highest Light has taught me about sessions, clients, money, unconditional Love and universal Grace.
Everyone has a pattern—their own unique pattern—that, if they were connected, fully grounded and following it, would allow them access to their highest Light. This is what heals. (Thus, I personally do not heal you. I ground you in your Light. Your witting, consensual alignment with your highest Light guides you through your own healing process.)*
Sometimes we need help rediscovering, recovering and/or grounding our highest Light in the context of our individual bodies and current circumstances. Family and social obligations can keep us from attending to ourselves as we should. I often assist clients in “sorting themselves out” so that they can reexperience their personal Light.
Money is energetically neutral. It is what we do with money that “charges” it energetically or spiritually. Are we using money to help or injure, to support or deride? Many of my clients go on to distinguish themselves in the realm of being able to care for others more efficiently because they have taken time to care for themselves. Solid self-care leads to service. I am compensated in the form of money payments for the unique service I provide.
Working with the Light, in a formalized session, is potentially transformative because “we” (you, I and the Light) are all working in concert to create positive, lasting changes. With a clear agreement in place, changes tend to occur and unfold in positive and productive ways. Clients committing to a formalized, paid session prepare very carefully and thoroughly to receive Grace. This level of commitment and preparation supports the work in ways that less-formalized healings lack, except among the truly devout. Thus, an appointment supports changes in behaviors, habits, efforts and intentions.
Finally, as someone who works with the Light, it is easiest for me to maintain my own physical frame with a good healthy, clean lifestyle and whole, organic foods. I am able to assist more people by being able to purchase my own organic foods products, rather than by growing and putting aside such foods from my hobby garden or by bartering for other goods.
*The body is designed to be self-repairing. Individuals facing the greatest health challenges are those with genetic predispositions, auto-immune diseases, situations of exposure to unrecognized environmental toxins or those who engage in repeated self-injury.
I am uncertain by exactly what mechanism I was given the gift of second sight; but, in 2001, receive it I did. It may have happened as a result of my redoubled commitment to my yogic practices, because of a prolonged physical illness or simply because it was time for me to see the world from a more consistently spiritual perspective. Whatever the reason or reasons for the addition of this gift to my toolbox-for-living, it altered and continues to inform the manner in which I interact with the physical world.
With second sight, one of the first things that you notice is that the physical plane possesses a spiritually or energetically visible and parallel component. Thus, in my worldview—when I am observing with second sight or “on” and quite often I choose to be “off” for ease of social mobility—the world is comprised of an enhanced array of pure color which varies in intensity and luminosity.
For example, taking into consideration the issue of a person’s health, if someone has a knee problem, the area around the knee in their spiritual field is usually dull in color or, in severe cases, may be completely non-luminescent. And, we may work to instigate a change in our physical bodies by working from the inside out (proper nutrition, healthy movement, allopathic medicine, acupuncture, massage), the outside in (energetic work, meditation, healings, prayer, spiritual work) or by approaching an issue of concern from both directions.
In my experience, the most efficient path to tending the body addresses areas of concern from both the inside and the outside. This is why, what I have termed “drive-by healings” do not usually hold or stick—because without a person’s consent to work, spiritual intervention, granted to an unwitting recipient provides no conscious, physical support for the spiritual gift that was granted.
Consider this when your mind is lolling about. Bring the full weight of consciousness to bare in matters close to your heart and your long-term health. Choose to care for yourself, from both the inside and the out. You may be amazed at the difference it makes.
Walking toward me, a man with a serious limp asks, “Hey, do you know where the Salvation Army is?” He has barely finished crossing five lanes of traffic before the light changes and everything and everyone starts moving at forty-miles-per-hour.
“You are just one block away,” I answer raising my voice above the wind. “You cannot see the sign from here because of the curve in the road.”
“Whoa, it’s cold up here,” he exclaims rubbing his ungloved hands together.
“Where are you from?” I ask, noticing an absence of scarf and hat as well.
“San Antonio,” he shoots back with a broad smile crossing his face. There is a significant scar along the edge of his left jaw.
“And, you left that warm weather and sunshine for this?” I counter. We have started to walk together in the same general direction.
“Yeah, I came up her for truck driving school. And, then, all of a sudden-B A M. I’m homeless. I need me a clean shower and a shave. Hey, are there any good jobs around here? For twenty dollars an hour? Like a forklift operator? [He does not yet understand how different the market is in this region.] I see it now. I got it. I got it,” he gently dismisses me.
“I hope everything works out for you,” I say in parting.
Emerging from a serious Beach-Boys binge recently, during which I listened to albums, read books and watched biographical films, I was amazed at the revivifying impact my short sojourn with summer, surfing, California, road tripping, fun, lucid tones and Brian Wilson’s favorite or “pet” sounds had on my countenance. The world was good again.
The Beach Boys hold a special place in my heart as theirs was the first vinyl album I was allowed to drop and spin on my parents’ brand new Zenith all-wood, stereo console when I was three-years-old. I prepared for these sound and motion events by strategically placing three jersey-cotton. Buster-Brown skirts—in tiered formation— down my little-girl, string-bean body. Stepping onto the living-room rug, I would spin, dance and jam under the intense sound of the beating, California sun, singing along with Brian, his brothers, one cousin and a good friend—mashing motions with their incredible harmonies.
“You’re so good to me. / How come you are? …La,la, la, /La, la, la… And, I looove it, looove it.”
Then, with all of that rocking, spinning and singing, at some point, I would land in a sweaty heap next to one set of wood-encased console speakers with my lungs still working to wail about the pain gained and love lost over Wendy. We had come to the end of the second side of that album. (And, yes, vinyl is still better than digital; and, yes, wood is still better than anything for conveying a smooth, mellow wave of sound.) These whirling events were shear sound-movement bliss—my ecstatic quest was always fulfilled.
Until the British invasion, The Beach Boys remained unsurpassed on United States pop charts and in American hearts. And, as it is with all people who create, there came a tipping point in the creative process for Brian Wilson, when he really wanted to express—in both lyric and score—a more nuanced vision for Beach-Boys sound. The recording-studio executives hiccuped and coughed about and over titles like “God Only Knows”. But, how else can it be expressed— what it is like to be in awe, in gratitude, in wonder and truly in Love?
I think about this sometimes, when I break up my sedentary, quiet writing spells with a little in-home, Beach-Boys mania. What would I write about in an ecstatic state? I fear it would come out in seed phonemes—like scat singing, or it would appear to be some Dadaist poem. This spiritual ecstasy is that T H I N G from which “words turn away”—as it is discribed in The Upanishads.
Thank you, Brian, Carl, Dennis, Mike and Al—and everyone who has ever sung or played to make the Beach-Boys music. Your work remains—always—in our hearts.
“Can you read this bus schedule?” a woman asks me as I pass by a bus shelter on my walk home.
Stopping to help her, I bend to squint in the low light of evening at the impossibly small print. The only light filtering into the bus shelter is from the street lamp. “No,” I answer. “I can’t make it out at all. Where do you need to go?”
We have a brief conversation about her destination over the two rolling suitcases she has with her. A nondescript handbag in basic black rests upon the larger piece of luggage as we talk.
“I need to get to the House of Refuge’s pick up point in the next two hours. I’m in from LA. I lost my job,” she reports matter-of-factly. “The past two days have been awful. There was no fresh food or fruit or juice or anything like that to eat at the shelter for the past two mornings. It’s all pancakes, biscuits and bread. I know it’s awful to complain. This being homeless sucks. Have you ever been homeless?”
“No,” I answer. “We have been really fortunate. I think the bus you want may not stop here. I think it stops a block-and-a-half from here—just over there. Your pick-up point is only six long blocks from that location. Do you want to walk? It is safe. I could walk with you?” I offer this option.
“No. I am all in. I was in a car accident and my whole left side is a mess. I walked all over today,” she explains. Her grey hair moves across her face with a gust of warm, night wind. “You know, I called my mother to try and stay with her when I returned, and she wouldn’t even let me stay two or three nights. Isn’t that just sad—when your own mother rejects you?”
“Do you want me to roll your suitcases to the other stop for you?” I offer not wanting to simply abandon her.
She continues, “Maybe if I just wait here. I can ride the bus around the loop and get to the pick-up point in time? The bus comes every half-hour, right?”
“I think so, but I am not sure that the bus you want stops here, though I am no expert on the local bus schedule or the routes.”
“Well, okay,” she sighs with resignation, grabbing her purse to swing it onto her shoulder with her one good arm.
She talks all of the while, as I grab the two rolling suitcases and follow her, allowing her to set the walking pace.
“I used to work at the Children’s Emporium here—years ago, when I still lived in the area—before going out to LA. It was so much fun—the activities, the families…the laughter. I’d like to do that again. Do you think that they will take me back with my injuries? I don’t like being disabled. There’s no dignity. People don’t treat you with respect.”
We crawl along, walking very slowly. I realize why the bus ride was preferable to walking. The pace she has set is about one-quarter of my own. Just then a city bus goes by—the city bus—the one she needed. I see her whole body respond in one large crumpled, slumping gesture ahead of me.
“I am so sorry,” I offer from behind her, thinking to myself “Why did I interfere?”
“Oh, it’s okay. The trip will be shorter from the next stop,” she offers me absolution as we continue to walk slowly down the block. She continues talking about her recent experiences as I observe the difficulties with which her body moves.
“I am tired of not having anything positive to look forward to—not having any fun. Nothing has been fun lately. I am going to get a job so that I can have fun again.” The resolve in her voice is pronounced.
And, I think, imploring the Powers That Be, “Please do not let her down.”
Finally reaching the second bus stop, I roll her two suitcases next to one another, leaving the handles extended for her convenience.
“I’m sorry about the other bus,” I issue another formal apology, knowing now how difficult the simple act of walking is.
“Oh, it’s okay. I’ll be okay. I’m getting a job. I can’t live like this,” she tells me and reassures herself at the same time.
“You take care,” I respond in parting, turning to walk home. Half a block away, I remember the loose bits of change in my pocket, picked up in the road from my walk to the library. Pivoting swiftly, I run back to thrust the insignificant change into her good hand. “Here. I’m sorry this is all that I have. It’s not even bus fare.”
“Thank you,” she accepts the collection of coins kindly. “Thank you for walking with me.” And, we part company.