TrueHeartWork | Neale Donald Walsch
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Neale Donald Walsch Tag

Ash and Clay

images7DLRNA8RIt emerges like the first shy blush of the dawn. It sparkles, pinned to the luminous breast of the new moon. It arrives quite suddenly and unannounced, concealed in a swirl of dry wind that scatters a shroud of ash over our life as we knew it. It blinds us in the glare of a nuclear sky.

After years of “quiet desperation” we encounter the One who makes us feel alive, young again. A new love, bright with promise. We laugh and we dream again. In the eyes of our Lover, in the sweet swoon of his kiss we relax and gratefully fall into the unknown.  And in the delicious freedom of our free falling, we swing the wrecking ball through the shiny veneer of our marriage and watch as it swings in slow motion across the boxed up hopes and black bags of  disappointment.

“Finding ourselves” may leave a trail of destruction as sharp and black as obsidian.  Many of us will confront a terrifying Goliath who darkens the sky, throws his head back and laughs at our puny efforts. Standing small in his giant shadow we begin to wonder and doubt. Will we even like this Self we seek? Will be brave and strong enough to slough off the old ways, leave it all behind?  Who are we, anyway? A chimera? An ever-changing evolving experiencing of change and flux, decay and re-birth?

Most of us will meet the ambiguity and paradox within ourselves as it is mirrored back at us in our relationships. Most of us will wander through a labyrinth of contradictions where nothing stays the same and the relationship to ourselves, to our world, is constantly recreated.dancing_feet_by_lucidcarbon-d303tqs

Experimental philosopher Joshua Knobe asks us to  imagine what things are going to be like in 30 years. In 30 years, there’s going to be a person around who you might normally think of as you — but that person is actually going to be really, really different from you in a lot of ways. Chances are, a lot of the values you have, a lot of the emotions, a lot of the beliefs, a lot of the goals are not going to be shared by that person. So, in some sense you might think that person is you, but is that person really you?”

Neale Donald Walsch cautions that we “avoid the tendency to catastrophize.” That we stop worrying about all that could occur tomorrow, things that may never happen. And yet as we stand on the precipice of a life-changing choice and our hands are shaking and our hearts flutter and beat against the cage of our lives like the wings of a trapped bird, we do worry. It is part of our humanness to fret and to worry. We are hardwired to ask,  “what if ?” The impulse to “find ourselves” to “become” more than we are is the antithesis to “being in the now.” It strains against the shackles of obligation. It chaffs and frets as it paces round the constricting circles of daily routine.

images3ROV0UJNThe Complexity Theory proposes that our lives will eventually erupt into chaos before they settle back into a state of equilibrium.  And the longer we have chosen to stay in the gridlock of statis, the more violent and powerful the volcanic eruption may be.  Often we cling to the flimsy remnants of what was. We may leave an abusive and painful relationship and yet grieve its loss, even yearn to go back to the way things once were. We may leave a job, move to another city, end a friendship, and in our dreams and in the heavy ache in our heart, we always go back. In our grieving we are flung into turmoil, we feel we may drown in ocean of tears. We behave strangely; we try to delay our evolution through bargaining. We repress our grief or anxiety with medication, distractions and substitutes. We find comfort in the immobilised state that embalms us in the numbing ointment of our unhappiness.  And the longer we resist the longer we spin in every decreasing circles into the vortex of our re-birthing.

!cid_E11569390AA840BFB034316893AAE6D5@bells3PCLeaving Home is an archetypal experience. In myth and fairy tale, the hero who leaves his father’s house to journey through the wild woods must slay dragons, endure physical and spiritual deprivation, must wear the shirt of arrows in his struggle to fulfil his Fated quest.  As we separate from the matrix of our society, or  our  family, or uncouple from a relationship that no longer nourishes our spirit, we will discover those parts of ourselves we have buried long ago: our feelings, our gifts. what it is that we truly value. Like our original separation from our mother’s womb we must all face loss of innocence as we gain new experience in this earthly life. We  will bask in the warmth of love and suffer in the wasteland of betrayal. We will experience conflict and we will struggle as we taste the forbidden fruit and swoon in its sweetness.

 

Psychology is only now acknowledging what the astrologers have known for eons: in our struggle to bring back the lost pieces of ourselves are lives are often fragmented into chaos. We are propelled into a maelstrom of grief which shocks, terrifies and awakens us, so that we may sail to new world. Our hero’s journey towards individualisation may take many forms and come at different  astrological cycles in our lives. Loss and patient repair work are the warp and weft of the rich tapestry of life.“Through failures, symptoms, problems, we are prodded to renounce attachments, redundant now. With the breakdown of what has gone before, the possibility of rebirth comes,”  writes Marilyn Woodman.

Our inner call to renounce old ways, old attachments, carries with it no guarantee. We will walk through the vale of tears  and perhaps never find our Belonging.  Yet as Socrates said unequivocally, “the unexamined life is not worth living.”  Our our soul’s purpose is to experience. And there are no Rights or Wrongs.  So often it is when we are sinking that we discover Who we truly are. When we can lift ourselves above the mortal realm and see our journey as a soul contract or an archetypal voyage of self – discovery we will be prepared for our journey. The sea will be dangerous. Clouds the colour of burnt bone will crush out the light of the sun. The  dark undertow will suck and pull at our little boat. And in the whirlwind and in the lashing rain we will meet our Divinity.

Australian poet andcartoonist, Michael Leunig, offers us the blessing of this poignant prayer:images2GSHA9GS

God Bless this tiny little boat

And me who travels in it.

It stays afloat for years and years

And sinks within a minute.

And so the soul in which we sail,

Unknown by years of thinking,

Is deeply felt and understood

The minute that it’s sinking …
Milk Carton Kids – Ash and Clay

 

 

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Torn

 

dancing_feet_by_lucidcarbon-d303tqsZen master Thich Nhat Hahn has said that “usually when we hear or read something new, we just compare it to our own ideas. If it is the same, we accept it and say that it is correct. If it is not, we say it is incorrect. In either case, we learn nothing.”

In the conundrum of our humanness we cling like drowning sailors to the life raft of stories that have worked for us for years. Some stories portray us as the hapless Victim: our mother was an alcoholic, we were bullied at school. Some give our lives a heroic dimension that lifts us above the rest and spurs us to remember our Greatness: the great grandfather who was the illegitimate son of the king. We were always daddy’s favourite child. We inherited our uncle’s business acumen. Tyra Nur Athirah girl on balcony

We can “Om” ourselves into the Power of Now, root at our past hurts and grievances during hours of therapy, affirm all we like that we are OK. But if our negative narrative is on the repeat button, we stay becalmed in a polluted sea.

Inner work requires the courage to strip naked. Our past will insist on a Full Monty – the meat and two veg – served up cold and often congealed, mostly unpalatable. If we are to understand why we stonewall our best friend, overreact in the workplace, shut down and exit  in our relationships, we are required to broaden our tunnel vision – to open our eyes as we trip over the dusty baggage from our past that clutters the hallway of every new relationship.

The one constant we bring to all our relationships is ourselves. Yet as the psychological model  proposes, much of ourselves is incarcerated in the unconscious – our orphaned  hunger for love, our shame, our worthlessness wander like itinerants in exile. Our relationships will mirror back our own “intimacy issues”. Birds of a feather will always stick together.  If we are out of touch with how we feel about ourselves we will say, “my husband cannot show his emotions” as we unwittingly diminish and confine him to the small airless box we live in ourselves.

Moving from a place of stuckness into a place of hope and new vitality takes courage and commitment, much like the decision to climb a high mountain. To look back or down the steep slope renders us wobbly, weak-kneed. Neale Donald Walsch admonishes, “Move forward with no second-guessing, no guilt trips, and no hesitation. Your purpose is to recreate yourself anew in each moment.”

Our subconscious mind accepts whatever we believe is our truth –  those limiting ideas about the world we have breathed in to our lungs and uttered in moments of fear. Our brains store our memories in files marked “explicit memory” which is all the conscious, intentional. The  who, what, where and when recall of our experiences, stored away in the hippocampus area of the brain. We store our misty, water-coloured “implicit memory” in the amygdala. The diffuse memory of the emotional climate, always unconscious and unintentional.  Science suggests that if we are not given enough time or space to process our experiences, our emotional resonances will remain locked in the amygdala, like unexploded bombs, activated in our daily interactions. That the unconscious clouds the present moment, drags our energy into the past, clutters our minds with circular thoughts, judgements, conditioning, so we shine like low-wattage light bulbs never fully present in the Now. When we still our minds and really hear something new from each other, we may find an echo within ourselves that resonates with a new way of being in the world.

It takes an act of will and enormous courage to be fully present to ourselves and to the Other. Says John Bradshaw, “when we are present, we are not fabricating inner movies. We are seeing what is before us.” We can make sacrosanct a space for ourselves each day. Commit to watching our thoughts and words vigilantly.  Commit to listening with empathy and compassion when our partner expresses a frustration or a desire. Commit to accepting our responsibility in the mess we find ourselves in and doing our bit to repair the ruptures in our relationships. We can heighten our awareness of our self-talk – the babble of criticism and judgment, the scaremongering. The knee-jerk response which says, “I’m not too bad,” that lodges the bad into our consciousness when someone enquires how we are doing. We can work at truly loving ourselves so that we are able to love another with all our heart. Scottish mountaineer W.H. Murray describes this gathering of intention and focus so beautifully: “Until one is committed there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation) there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that moment one definitely commits oneself, and then Providence moves too.”

May Providence move for you this new day.Mount Whitney, California

Natalie Imbruglia’s  Torn

Photographs by Galen Rowell and Tyra Nur Athirah

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Who By Fire

Fire-Hands-Screensaver_1One size does not fit all. Our bodies, our minds, our souls have a fragile grace that is matchless. We are beautiful originals, with a journey to take that will be uniquely ours. Yet so many still cleave to centuries of congested conditioning which has congealed our minds. We have learnt by fire, by water, by high ordeal, by common trial that it is very dangerous to leave the protection and the tyranny of the religious, social, corporate, familial tribe. One size fits all. New or unique thinking and behaviour have historically been brutally silenced.  We have learnt that it is death-defyingly dangerous to be the sacrificial scapegoat. We have learnt by someone’s command or by our own assent how very lonely it can be in exile. Our brave hearts, our strong bones reverberate with the burnings, the crucifixions, the be-headings, the stonings and the suffocating clods of damp soil that silenced our ancestors who were buried alive, expunged from memory. They did not fit the tyrant’s mould. Heresy, blasphemy, treason! They asked for too much. Too soon. They were cut down to size.

Still we lop off those parts of ourselves that do not fit the standard norm of what is good, physically attractive, socially or politically correct. Still we sit in silence. Afraid to speak. Afraid to ask. We squeeze through the eye of the needle to find ourselves in Dante’s circle of Hell as we dance in the searing flames of pretence.

Alt-rock icon Amanda Palmer has gained acclaim and worn the fool’s cap of infamy as she has dared to ride the sacred cow of her truth. Giving voice to her uniqueness as a performer, a woman, a member of this human tribe, she dares to question, to challenge, to expose and to open her arms and her heart. She raises the Art of Asking to a sacred exchange between herself and her fans. She speaks of a world where one size does not fit all. Where people live surrounded by strangers in a vacuum of isolation and  loneliness. And where it is possible to meet, to connect with a simple gesture and meet each other in a tender gaze.b16537922d8c4547e298fa8c6d5ea50f5dcda21b_389x292

So, as we silence our voices in the Medusa stare of self-doubt, fear of ridicule or reprisal, we must trust that by exposing our vulnerability, asking for what we need, exchanging what we can give, we will eventually find our flock of swans and learn to fly.

We must promise ourselves that we will keep an oracle eye on our own agenda. We must promise ourselves not to break our vows to ourselves or betray another when we lose congruence of head and heart. We must promise ourselves that we will try to speak our truth from that place in our heart which is generous and wise and loving.

 “Consciousness is tough work,” says Carolyn Myss. It is tough work to be awake, aware, truly in our authentic internal power. It requires an act of will and spiritual discipline to pulverise our past in the pestle and mortar that contains the mustard seed of hope for each new day.

We alone are the custodians of our integrity. The setting aside of one’s integrity is not required to win someone’s heart,” Neale Donald Walsch says. “But the setting aside of one’s anger may be. It is possible to make a point without making an enemy. It is possible to be right without being righteous.”

At the equinox today, let us celebrate another turning in the Great Wheel of the year, and dare to speak, sing, shout our own personal truth. Carpe Diem!fire-heart

 

Leonard Cohen asks at O2 in Dublin, And who shall I say is calling?… Who By Fire?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Miracles Happen

There comes a moment, and often many of them, in most relationships when one partner says to the other: “I feel no passion for you anymore; there’s no spark.”  Sometimes she adds: “And there never was!”  Often it’s said in anger, sometimes in despair.  But there’s no mistaking the soul-wrenching pain that lies beneath.  And beneath the pain…?

We tell ourselves deeply disempowering stories about passion, and falling in and out of love.  Scientists talk of neurotransmitters and pheromones, secreted and acted upon beyond our control.  Psychotherapists remind us of childhood wants and wounds that overwhelm us.  Even believers in “The Secret” hesitate, invoking the mysterious workings of the soul in this, the most vital of life’s callings.  Because, of course, very few of us indeed have never been either the pained sender or the unwilling recipient of this primal rejection.  And fewer still have been willing or able to recover a relationship when one of us has declared love dead.  Where are the miracles?

And yet, none of the mystics or visionaries has ever said “Faith can move mountains… except that one.”  Neville, for example, is quite clear: “Man’s chief delusion is his conviction that there are causes other than his own state of consciousness.”  (This was written in the late 1950s; woman was not being excluded.)  Neale Donald Walsch is equally unambiguous that thought is the sponsor of all creation.  So why do these miracles seem so seldom to happen?

Follow the pain trail.  Back to the very tip of its deepest tap root.  Can you recall that moment of tender or flaming passion when you said “I love you?”  And gently, ever so gently, can you touch the immediately following though, however fleeting?  Ah yes, there it is.  For so many of us it was “Does she love me back?”; “Does he love me less than I love him?”  And, on high alert, we find the evidence, however flimsy, to prove our case over days, months or years.  Slowly or rapidly, we count the wounds and the hurts.  Passion cannot long survive such enumeration.

And so, if you’ve lately said or heard the dreaded declaration, and you still believe in your relationship, your first task is to find the self-doubt, self-fear, self-hatred—whatever it may be—that caused you to believe you were not sufficiently loved.  For that single belief alone is powerful enough to derail any train of thought, however positive.

And then choose to believe that Miracles Happen.

The stream of passion and love
Flows both towards you and away
You alone decide which direction to look

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I Wonder

 “I know he still loves me,” my friend with the luminous green eyes declares, deftly lifting her sashimi with ebony-varnished chopsticks.

We can never know what is going on inside someone’s head. We can wonder. We can make up stories, soothe, or torment ourselves with assumptions and lies. The best we can do is to visit their world, invite them to share their thoughts and perceptions with us. Listen with our hearts; even though we may not agree with what they are saying, we can imagine what it must be like, living in their world. We can savour the fragrant dishes of their experiences, vicariously visit the library of their memories, and embrace the wonder of our uniqueness as human beings. Rupert Sheldrake, Lynne McTaggart, Bruce Lipton, Greg Braden, and other prophets of new consciousness talk of a new science of Life. Sheldrake talks of Morphic Resonance, Gregg Braden refers to a  “Divine Matrix” that surrounds us all. A  matrix of energy without beginning or end, no cause or effect.  On some level we all sense that field of energy when we enter a home, walk into an office or visit a sacred site. You may feel it between the couple you invite to share a meal with you. A field of energy that lies between them – warm and connected, or heavy with unshed tears, or seething with anger and the bitterness of betrayal.

So, if we come from a lineage of ancestors who lived in dire poverty in a war ravaged valley, we have a blueprint, a template, that life is hard and dangerous. Our sponsoring thought, as Neale Donald Walsch calls it, may be that money is scarce, strangers are not to be trusted, and we are unworthy of being loved in our totality. If we are unwilling to consciously shift this consciousness, we will keep doing what we’re doing, and keep getting what we’re getting. The story my friend tells herself (unconsciously) is that she is not worthy of Love. She seeks out the married man, the boy-man with Will Never Commit invisibly tattooed on his forehead.

I do not believe in the old model of Nature/ Nurture any longer. Too simplistic, as we cross the threshold into this new paradigm, this new awareness of our unlimited potential to change our perception of what we see around us. The Field where we meet each other on our journey through this life time is the Universal hammock where we writhe or lie, enraptured by the magnificence and Divine potential of each human being to Greatness. Says Neale Donald Walsch, “It’s time, in fact, to re-create ourselves anew – in the next grandest version of the greatest vision we ever held about who we are.” The astrological birth chart depicts The Field, and the transits and progressions, our evolving consciousness, if we choose to meet each other there, to truly listen, and take action.

As science converges with the wisdom of the shamans and sages, we now know that what we think is “true” is seen through a glass, darkly.

If we believe that all our relationships are simply our perceptions, that the stories we tell ourselves about the Other, and the thoughts that torment, or soothe, are our own imaginings, and that “life is but a dream”, then we can exhale. What we think about the other person may not be their truth at all.  

The Trompe-l’œil of relationships, the subtle ambiguities, the mystery of the human heart, continues to intrigue me.  What is real? It depends upon our perception. Did those doomed men and women of the Americas really not see the tall death ships of the Conquistadors as they sailed close to shore? Or were they great butterflies, harbingers of a new Messiah? We can wonder.  And we will never know what they were thinking, and like all of his-story, we can make up the stories that suit our perceptions, as well as those of the place and time we’re living in.

My beautiful friend knows he still loves her. I wonder, don’t you?

Sixto RodriguezI Wonder

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fMHdq4jm0oQ

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