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Thursday, May 24, 2012

Crime and Punishment VS. Much Ado About Nothing

In my not a-typical, pendulum-swinging fashion, the days of Sweet Peace following my "no flat tires in Heaven" epiphany have  slowly tapered off.  Little niggling thoughts and feelings have wormed their ways back in to my Mind.  That is the ego's m.o., or, as I like to call it, the ol' "boil the frog" approach.  That means, the efficient frog boiler/ego does not grab its prey in a violent obvious way and hurl the little guys into a boiling vat of water which would risk the outcome via inevitable and passionately performed get-away attempts.

Quite frankly, if the ego did that, we'd be much quicker to see it for what it is and give it up.

No, instead, the crafty frog boiler/ego lures us into a vat of cool water/complacency.  What's worse, the ego whispers to us the whole while about how well we're doing (flattery) and how much we really deserve to take a mind-watching vacation. About then -- when we're feeling a "Wow, that is so true! I have been through so much and deserve a rest!" and we are off to get a bottle of wine to celebrate, the ego turns up the heat ...just a smidge.   "For comfort...to take off the chill... and help you feel more 'settled'," the ego hurriedly reassures us.

Maybe we have a thought like "look at those fingerprints on that glass door -- every time I turn around, there's something new that needs cleaning. And I'm sure it will be up to me......again!"  We notice the thought vaguely but shove it under the mental rug (which is not the same thing as forgiveness, by the way) and sip our wine.  We try to remember "there are no flat tires in heaven," just so we don't forget that Sweet Peace feeling that we were really enjoying.  But it's kinda diminished somehow.

The hours and days and nights seem to pass.  It gets warmer and warmer.  If we're really honest, we see our Sweet Peace is becoming, well, more just a memory now, not an experience.  But let's give ourselves a break, ok?  (The ego was just saying that we are too hard on ourselves as it was putting away the wine opener).  We are doing our best, and besides....we're too busy to think about that right now.

All these problems need to be dealt with!

The problems at this point are "tiny" (in our ego-ordered hierarchy of problems, that is) and somehow worthy of our attention, yet not our Vigilance.  Daily schedules, chores, aches and pains...they all present various "problem" scenarios. Kids are rich sources of "problems;"  work that we do for money is another.  Relationships -- especially the ones that live with you, although that is not a requirement, nor is it key that the favorite problem relationship be with a still-living person -- offer an endless supply. Or you find house problems, car problems, computer problems, pet problems, yard problems, economic problems, political problems......yadda yadda yadda.

Ever so slowly, the ego turns up the heat.  Sooner than we'd like to acknowledge, we are back to simmering in our guilt and fear and blame.

But that's nothing to feel bad about.  Nope.  You see, "feeling bad about feeling bad" is just another trick the ego uses on us. The best a student can do is just to notice and then go back to the mind for a chat with that other Fella Who's always right there waiting for us to remember to turn to Him.

Me:  "Okay, Jesus, now, this time you have to admit it -- I really tried!  I was trying to think with You when Costco didn't have my tire and my kid got a D and I got frustrated at a meeting at work and I had all those judgment thoughts about myself --  but I still can't find my Sweet Peace spot again. IT'S NOT WORKING!"

Jesus:  "HEY Sport!  I LOVE You!"   **tousles my hair like I'm 8 years old**

Me:  ::sigh:: "Yeah, yeah, I know...I love you too, Jesus.  But did you hear what I said?  I need you to tell me what I'm doing wrong.  I'm taking notes.  Just give it to me straight -- I was doing GREAT, and then I was doing Okay.  But now I have the fear/guilt feelings up..and compared to Sweet Peace, they really...well.....suck."

Jesus:  "Yes, yes, good, good....but I gotta say I LOVE it when you are this way!"   **tousles my hair some more and offers me a lifesaver....I take cherry**

 (Quiet pause as we suck -- in the cherry-lifesaver sense --  for a while.)

Jesus:  "See, what you need to remember in times like these --and bully for you, by the way, that you noticed so quickly how miserable you are and turned to me -- is Faith."

Me:  "Faith? Jesus, are you going all religious on me all of a sudden??"

Jesus:  "Actually, let me rephrase -- you need to look at what you have invested your Faith in and see if it is giving you the results you want."

Me:  "I'm guessing you are being rhetorical in that last part...and that maybe that's a hint?"

Jesus:  "YOU are GOOD today!  I need a HIGH FIVE!"

Me:  "Wait, I need more help because I really GET that there are no stuck kitties or flat tires in Heaven.  Or kids with D's or dirty dishes or ...well, all that stuff.  But I am not FEELING it...so tell me what I'm doing wrong!  Please, I mean."

Jesus:  "See, behind each of those 'problems' you cataloged so thoroughly there's a secret 'problem' the ego has you believing in.  And because you put your Faith in that dime-store crap story, you just keep generating more proverbial flat tires. And, more importantly, bad thoughts which lead to bad feelings."

Me:  "Jesus, you've shocked me...I feel a bit speechless. I've never heard you say 'crap' before."

Jesus: "What can I say...I'm a straight-shooter." (mutters a sideways comment near my ear) "With your vocabulary?  'Shocked'?"

Me:  ::giggle:: "Okay, no not shocked...I guess I just liked that you said 'crap'...like maybe You aren't the Perfect One all the time....makes me feel closer to you somehow."

Jesus:  "Ah, but you see that's where you've got it wrong!  I am the Perfect One all the time.  And so are you.  Which is a good segue into the crap Ego story, which is essentially this --


You committed a crime against God.  
You are a sinner. 
You must be punished.
Be Very Afraid.
Joining God will mean YOUR DEATH!

Me:  "Okay, yeah...I think you've mentioned this before in different ways.  But isn't that actually kinda sorta..er...correct?  Like, don't I lose 'me' -- the 'me' I think I am -- if I join with God at Home?"

Jesus:  "You think that's a question -- but really it's an argument for the ego.  Let me ask you this:  Could this so-called losing of your 'laura' identity really be all that bad if being 'laura' makes you feel so (in your words) sucky?"

Me:  "Not feeling it, J...try again."

Jesus:  "To put it another way, oh Grumpy One, how can you lose what you never had?  Or try this one:  When will you be ready stop torturing yourself with various forms of suffering?"

Me:  "Okay, you had me at 'suffering.'" 

Jesus:  "That's my little reformed martyr!"

Me:  "I'm feeling better...I think you are having that Effect on me again."

Jesus:  "That's because we are healing Cause."

Me:  "Okay, but one more thing bothers me.  There are all these things -- responsibilities, chores, tasks, etc. -- that I just don't want to do.  I try doing them.  I try NOT doing them.  Either way I feel bad -- either resentful or miserable/bored."

Jesus:  "Yes, it's that whole Time drudgery...a common trap, even among the jet-setters, if you will believe it.  Here's a trick, which is actually a fast-track to Truth:  Approach each task, each moment, as though you have never done that thing before and never lived in any moment than the one that is NOW."

Me: "Huh..."

Jesus:  "Time is another ego device -- surprise.  And it can be a worse form of suffering than the hair shirt or bed of nails.  Save yourself the pain, and drop the past and future.  I swear to you once you are a Present Moment-er, you'll never go back. And let me add one last note....

The whole sleight-of-hand parlor trick of Time  keeps you believing in Crime and Punishment, instead of God's story about the whole thing -- Much Ado About Nothing.  Don't look back in the rear-view mirror, and don't worry about the map of the future.  Keep your eyes on the road in front of you.  And crank up the good tunes!  I love it when you do that!"


I love You when I do that, too, Jesus.  I love You.

So...in short:

Vigilance for Heaven must be my only Purpose now.  Whereas I've become a master at 911's, I need to stand guard of my mind ESPECIALLY when there are no crises to jolt me out of complacency.

Ego thought and I are in the match of a lifetime...it doesn't get any more Karate Kid than this.  If I don't watch my p's and q's -- the thoughts floating in my awareness -- and if I don't use all the so-called little stuff to Forgive the world in exchange for Heaven Now, I suffer.  I need to be especially sensitive to any Time thoughts that creep their way in....shoulda/woulda/couldas or what if's are always red flags for the ego.  As are feelings of anxiety about future, regret about past, boredom in the present.

When they appear, I can remember the Truth.  I am Innocent. My Home is Joy.  When I am with you and you are sharing your story/calling for Love, I can remember YOU are INNOCENT and Happiness is your due...and that we have the same desire for Knowing only that.

Ego thoughts seem so much worse when I can compare the feelings they create with the Sweet Peace that remembering Truth brings.  It's like before I experienced them as daily nuisances --like an annoying hang nail.  Now what they induce in me feels like a bad case of the plague.

And that's just all the more motivation to be Vigilant.... reminds me of the old joke:

*patient/me slapping his/my head*  says, "Doctor/Jesus, it hurts when I do this! What should I do?!"

Jesus:   "Have a lifesaver."







Friday, May 18, 2012

Vigilance Part 2: "There are no flat tires in Heaven"

I didn't know the last post about "stuck kitties" and vigilance was going to be a two-parter.  Actually, as I write, it occurs to me that everything else must be a sequel to Vigilance, isn't it?

I'm always Choosing what to see FIRST.  Then I look with my eyes, but I see nothing unless I chose Truth/Love.  Assuming I've Chosen the Right Teacher, then no matter where I am and what I'm looking at, all I see are Purple Unicorns and Rainbows and Utter Silliness that often results in fits of those unstoppable Truth Giggles.

So, yes, I got that one good this time.  And the kitties and I are on friendly petting terms again,  Ray isn't hiding from me (at the moment), and I'm back to my normal self.

Wait, no, I'm better than normal. Let me explain, but I have to go back a few weeks.

I've said it before that sometimes Jesus uses the strangest ways to talk to me -- I've seen his work in billboards along the freeway, movies, passages in books, tea leaves. He often uses my kids to speak to me -- they are veritable "burning bushes" at times.

Which is why I should have known a big SHIFT was on its way when my just-turned-13 year old made this statement:  "Mom, I'm Happy all the time now.  I just decided to be -- and now I am.  And nothing bothers me at all...ever."

The darnedest thing about this is that I've SEEN the change in him with my own acute mother-eyes.  This kid's nickname since he was old enough to cast us his first and peerless "world class scowl" as his Grandpa named it (which I think was when he was 2) has been "Contrary Larry."  He's bright (always) and sweet (at times) and adorable (often), and yes, I have always felt very close to him and love him dearly.  But for 11 years since he figured out how to show displeasure, he's also had "a dark side."

It's hereditary. Like his mother, he wears his heart on his sleeve.  Unlike his mother, he's had no need for masks to cover up his moodiness and has instead announced every variation in his mood to the world, as in --

"WORLD, I'm feeling very ANGRY right now, and it's YOUR fault and I'm NEVER talking to you again!  We're Finished!!"

But a few weeks ago, something clicked.

Since the night of The Grand Declaration I see him NOT be bothered by his older brother (miracle!), or by Ray (when his inner 12 comes out) or by me.  I see him writing things down in a notebook he keeps with him always that he wants to remember. Little things he wants to share with me, big things he needs to remember for school.  He even wrote it down when I asked him to remind me to take the chicken out of the freezer to thaw...and then remembered, but just quietly, without mentioning it, did it himself.

Oh. My. God.  Anyone with a pre-teen/teenage boy will know this is a freakin' MIRACLE!

And I see him not taking things people say as hurtful criticism. Get a load of this:  I got an automatic alert email from the school system that one of his science projects had a sub par score, so I turned to him and gently said (before I braced for the reaction of an overachiever-wannabee-butnotquiteis-abee), "Hey Paul, I see you got a 20% of your [whatever it was] assignment."  He paused for a brief second and then threw up his hands victoriously, and said, "YESSSSSSSSSSSSS!  Twenty Percent! WooHOO!"

And even as we both acknowledged it was humorous, the Joy did not seem faked.  The Joy was real.

It's like he's in on the Big Joke -- "the tiny mad idea at which the Son of God remembered not to laugh" -- at a deep level, even though he doesn't consciously know it.  And I doubt seriously (ok, doubt? red flag for myself to look at later, but I'll continue) he'll live his life from here without a bad day or a problem or a fear.  But something has changed.

It's like Jesus is shining through that face I thought was my son's all these years.  Oh my goodness...Jesus, is that you?

Yes, in fact, It is.  Jesus is in every One of us....we ARE Jesus.

Whoa...this is getting heavy...or Light....or MIRACULOUS!

So anyhooo...back to me.

One of my big pleasures and life-long hobbies is playing guitar and doing a bit of singing/songwriting. For decades I have put on great concerts for my cats and house plants.  Recently, however, it has been signaled to me through various "burning bush" stand-ins that my classroom needs to change.  In other words,  there is a great hunk of Guilt lurking in the fear that I experience around performing, and Jesus has been saying in so many words -- "Hey Doll...how about dealing with this particular form of your silly fear/guilt thing with me at last?  I promise it will be worth the effort. No?  Okay, how about now? No still? Okay, I'll wait...Okay, how about NOW?"

Of all people, I've been invited to perform at a music festival in the summer. It's for A Course In Miracles types, so I know they'll all be "forgiving" and everything, but still. I have been absolutely paralyzed at different points as I have contemplated a crowd listening to/looking at me. I feel the fear as though it were happening right now -- my throat closes, my larynx fills with phlegm from nowhere, my hands shake so I can't hold the guitar, and my mind immediately blanks on the words, chords, or even what the hell I'm supposed to do next.  And this is all when I'm just thinking about the future as I try to go to sleep for the night.

But over the weeks and months since the invitation, things have started to shift a bit.  I've seen the ego behind the curtain of fear:  The "look at me!" demand at God (who looks right through us and never sees the individual "self" we want to be) at war with the "I am sinful!" belief.  Back and forth, the ego tugs the rope, so we'll stay off balanced and never notice The Truth of how there's no one here but Ourselves.  There's no one to fail or to impress.  Only One Self to Love.

Along with these deeper insights of old intellectual ideas, since the shift started, connections with beautifully supportive and talented people have been made, opportunities have occurred to play for 1 person at a time (and not die), etc.  I have felt each little "miracle" and "holy encounter" chip away at the seeming bedrock of fear.

Most recently, through a great Facebook connection with an old music friend/teacher/amazing performer, I found out about a regular "open mic" for a wine bar where he manages the music. I tried to go there a few weeks ago. The few days leading up to The Night I was fine, but the night before I didn't sleep at all, and the day of I was sick -- I even manifested a sore throat and mild temperature.  Then the skies opened up and absolutely poured rain like they were never going to stop.  I still contemplated making the 2 hour trek over there, but in the end, I bailed.

Score  -- Ego:  1   Me:  0

But this week was another chance.  It was after my "stuck kitties" lesson, and I was feeling the Love.  I'm still feeling great.  Not because anything great is happening, but because I can feel so clearly that there's nothing between me and Joy except what I put there....it's all MY dream.  This whole thing is a big, silly dream, and if we Choose Love, we just row our boats merrily, merrily, merrily along.

So I get in the car to go row my boat merrily merrily merrily down the freeway.  I'm singing all the way to warm up, the sky is clear as a bell, and the ambient air temperature is a comfortable 70.  Everything is perfect!  I get a little confused driving but I'm told "keep going" and after 9 miles or so of hoping I took the right turn, I see a sign that confirms that I had -- "YES!!!"  I yell aloud to no one and everyone. "Thank you Jesus for yet another Beautiful Reflection of Your Support!"

The words have hardly left my lips when I start to hear a funny sound.  And then it's a funny LOUD sound. And I notice a strange vibration -- ooh, and that funny dash light that looks like an exclamation point inside two parentheses turns on...the one that means I have a flat tire.

Oh wow!  I have a flat tire on the freeway!

I knew it was the old ego rearing its head again, trying to get a good battle going, trying to get a chance to sink its ugly teeth into my weak spots.  But I was not fooled.  I saw it, smiled at it, and continued feeling the Love.  The ego had no chance at winning this time. I did a mental inventory of my thoughts -- I found "disappointment" "fear" "doubt" "I told you so"  and the sneakiest one -- "Thank You, God, for saving me from embarrassing myself by 'giving' me a flat tire to prevent me from making it to the open mic" -- trying to skulk away and hide as I shone my Light in my mind.  I quickly gave them the boot, at which point the space they left was quickly filled by a new mantra that floated in from Some Inspired Source:

"There are no flat tires in Heaven."

I was in Peace again!  I rolled off the exit, turned on my emergency flashers, and floated into a driveway where I found a nice wide-open  "no parking...for emergencies only" space where I could stop. I had only a sketchy idea where I was, but in another turn of great "luck" I was directly in front of a restaurant.  That and my hunch that I was in Puyalllup were enough for the AAA dispatcher and tow truck driver to find me.

There were so many holy encounters -- people going in to eat, the dispatcher at AAA who lived right where I was stuck and knew exactly how to get where I was, my musician friend who encouraged me to come whenever I could because I was so close and we could still have a lot of fun.

I waited in the glorious sunshine after I'd made all the phone calls that needed to happen and basked in the Peace.  I had let go of the outcome, but still had this feeling of certainty that I would make it to the open mic.

The tow truck driver arrived, and he and I didn't stop sharing and laughing the whole time he fixed my tire.  It seemed to take only a moment, I was having such fun.  He had the little "premie" tire on the car lickety-split and I was ready to hit the road.  From the first hint of a funny noise to getting back on the boat to row merrily some more, it had been only 45 minutes.

The rest of the evening went pretty much like you'd expect.  I had some nerves, but, man, I'd had so many Miracles and Gifts of Insight by now that I just mostly ignored them.  I let'r rip.  I had the chance to play a whole set with my favorite dear teacher, who is also an amazing professional performer.  I made new friends.  I had so much fun it's hard to describe.

And I kept something in my mind the whole time I was on stage that made the difference -- it had come to me a few days earlier while I was having an excruciating experience practicing alone with my new amp and mic:

"You are Supported in Every Move ....and Every Note.  
Feel how Supported You Are by the Instrument, the Amplification, the Notes, the Vocal Chords in your neck, the Song as has been Crafted by your Brother.  

Feel How the Universe Supports You Always, Including Now." 


And I did.  And I was. And I am.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

"There are no stuck kitties in heaven" or "Vigilance for what again?"

One morning not long ago, I woke up to a vision of death and destruction so technicolor in its gruesomeness that I was shaken to my core.  Unable to contain the flood of emotion that arose like volcanic lava when the full gravity of the situation hit me, I burst into tears before I knew what came over me.

It seems that Claire and Francis (brother and sister, yes, but saints, no) had been very busy during the night.  As I stumbled out the bedroom door to make my way to the kitchen coffee pot, a trail of dead baby blue jays, their barely formed (but surprisingly large!) bodies splayed out before me, made a trail of tears down the hallway.  The darling "kitties" had evidently used the back door in our room -- the screen door with the hole that they had carved out for themselves so they wouldn't have to disturb us to let them in and out -- to haul in their victims/loot all night.

What was worse was that "mom" and "dad" blue jay were no strangers.  No, they had been like members of the family.  We watched them work together as a happy domestic couple to painstakingly create their nest out of little scraps and dried up plants from last year that they scavenged off our deck.  We, the cat keepers, watched them make it, we did, right in our rhododendron -- right in front of the dining room picture window where we could admire their nesting business like we were watching a Wild Kingdom episode on t.v.  Right where Claire would sit in her kitty scratching post and enjoy the show.

This morning, we knew "mom" and "dad" had lost their poor helpless offspring...and probably watched the whole gory murderous attack without being able to do a thing to stop it.  Their poor babies!   These babies that were the sum total of so much labor and attentive sitting and responsible feeding and hope for the future....these poor babies who never hurt anything and had no chance to live!

All of that beauty -- murdered!  What's more, we, in our failure to at least try to thwart the inevitable by taking apart the nest or keeping the cats indoors or doing something/anything to avoid what I could see now was an inevitable baby bird massacre, were complicit to the crime.

But, no, I had been in denial. I had thought it was "cute."

As I was trying to pull myself together on the couch, Francis swaggered out, licking his lips. He had this "what are you looking like that at me for....I was just the look out" expression, but we were having none of his act. It should have been coffee and petting time, but all we could see was a murderer.  I, for one, was going to give no affection to this very bad cat -- in fact, I was imagining taking him and his unsaintly sister to the pound.

Punish the guilty ones!!!

I should probably stop saying "we" as though there were someone here sharing my confused, ego-induced perceptions.  It was really just me.  Ray, who decided to make himself scarce for a while, thought I had temporarily gone insane.  Ray was right.

What's more, I knew I had gone insane, too.  A part of me was sitting back watching myself think, feel, act, and speak like a lunatic.  I was shocked by the force of the anger and grief and guilt and desire to punish within me.

As I tried to pull myself together on the sun room couch, all I could see out the window -- in what is normally a lovely panoramic view of the best of Pacific Northwest nature -- was murder.  Even the cute little hummingbirds were in on the evil, bullying each other and trying to horde the food.  Birds elsewhere were murdering worms and bugs, cats were murdering birds, hawks were murdering cats, coyotes were murdering deer, neighbors were murdering deer, deer were murdering our young apple trees, trees were  murdering the grass, grass was murdering garden flowers, garden flowers and the "special love" they induced were inviting people to murder the "weeds".....

You get the picture.

Just now I can't really find the words right now to describe how completely horrifying it was to take in that scene in that moment.  Just then as I watched myself really getting freaked out  -- like the entire world had become one giant Psycho Shower Scene in my mind and there was no way to turn it off and nowhere to hide -- I turned to Jesus in my mind.

Me:  What the hell!?  HELP!

Jesus:  Yep.

Me:  HELLO?????  I said, "HELP!"  I'm NOT KIDDING THIS TIME.

Jesus:  Nope. Yep.

Me:  What is wrong with YOU???? It's like a horror picture down here!  Everyone's killing everyone else!  Even You said that a freakin' (okay, you didn't say "freakin'" ...actually that was just me) annoyance is just the same as murder.  SO????? GET ME OUT OF HERE!!!!

Jesus:  *sigh*  Maybe you need a another cup of coffee. ::smile::

He was right.  I did actually need a cup of coffee just then, if only to switch my mind into doing something gentle and helpful.  I ground the beans, did some deep breathing while I waited patiently for it to brew, took out the customary two cups, filled Ray's and brought it back to our office as a Peace Offering. He smiled cautiously, looked at me carefully, thanked me for the cup, and stayed right where he was, busy at his desk.

I returned to the couch.

After I sipped my first cup and poured my second, I tried again.

Me:  Jesus?  You there still?

Jesus:  Always.  Feel better yet?

Me:  Yeah.  So what is all this about?  Right about now -- boy, do I want the Peace of God.  What I really can't figure out is how I could get this upset over something so trivial. Me, after all these years of forgiveness and mind training!

Jesus:  Actually, back up there ... you are getting ahead of yourself.  Say that first thing again....

Me:  You mean the part about how I want the Peace of God?

Jesus:  BINGO.  Good... let's just rest there for a minute.  Sip your cup.

Hmm.  Okay, I followed the instruction, although it seemed a bit lacking in "fixi-ness" for lack of a better word.  I thought "I want the Peace of God."  I felt the words echo through me. I felt how true they were.  For Real.  I hated the feeling of horror.  I wanted more than anything that feeling that all is taken care of, all is safe, all is comfortable, all is accepted, all is blessed, all is welcome.  Scratch that -- I wanted to feel those ways about myself!  I wanted to feel taken care of, safe, comfortable, accepted, blessed, welcome!  Yes, Yes, Yes!  That's what I really really want for me, the birds, all the baby whatevers everywhere...everyone!!!

*after a pause*

Jesus:  mmmmmmmmmmmm...... doesn't that feel nice?  So now that you are clear on what you want, let me tell you a big secret -- I think you are ready for it.  In fact, I think you are begging for it.  So here it goes:


You are still looking for Love in the illusion.  This is the equivalent of Seek but do not Find.  You will only Find Love where it is -- In Your Mind.  Once you Choose it in your Mind, you will never see anything in the illusion as anything else but 
Love or a Call for Love.


Wow.

I let that sink in.  The sinking is still happening, as a matter of fact.  I can feel that a by-product of the sinking business is a further sloughing away of the the need/desire/inclination/compulsion to judge.  It's feeling impossible to hold on to both, as it, in fact, actually is.

Judgement, I'm ready to drop you like a bad habit. Because you are. And you never brought me anything I Want.

Never. Not once.

Why is it I can hear the same things over and over and yet they seem brand new on days like these?  It's like before I read them as bumper stickers on the car ahead of me -- they catch my attention, I chuckle or utter a knowing "oh yeah!", I share them a few times, and I think I really have it.  But then the car drives on and so do I.  We go our different directions and the idea fades.

Or maybe I just shelve it in favor of my own ideas.  Yes, that's it, actually.  That's honest.

But it never fails that there will come the day when the pain of choosing the wrong teacher has my motivation in Olympic Athlete Condition.  I feel the same bumper sticker line -- "out there" on the fender someplace ahead of where I am in this moment --like a tattoo on my heart that couldn't possibly be more present-moment with me, more internal, more permanently etched.  Then I know I will never forget.

I can never "find" love in the illusion.  I will never find it in the mirror -- the one in the bathroom or the one that is the "world" that reflects back to me.

We don't find love.  We Choose it.  Then whatever we see shows up as part of the Kingdom of Heaven, as it were.  What seems to be anti-Love is only something we put there.

"Great!" we learn to think and really mean when we run into the next thing that scares us, ticks us off, tests our patience, has us comparing ourselves to others or feeling insecure. "That's my next opportunity to remove the barriers that I have put in my mind to God's Love.  It has to be that, because there is nothing else Real out there.  And I know what I Want."

Back to the kitty saga, a few days later, Claire -- who may have been/who-am-I-kidding-probably-was up the tree hunting more baby birds -- got stuck (for the 5th time, by the way...) in a nice, tall fir tree behind our house.  For days and nights she sat up there howling for help.  Too high for a ladder, she found her cries only generated episodic spurts of ineffectual "Are you still up there? Come on down, Claire!"'s.

I've been watching my mind since this chapter started.  It's secretly wanted to revel at the justice, then has panicked at the thought of death by dehydration (especially on day 4 during the 84-degrees out there).

Back and forth, the mind flops trying to find a solid place to rest.  But there's no solid place "out there."

This morning, after 30 minutes of fighting blackberry vines to get close enough to maybe hopefully coax her down (like if only she could see how close I really was and how much I REALLY wanted her down now, she'd put her head below her butt -- a cat's biggest nightmare -- and climb down the right direction), I found myself on the aforementioned couch, sans stuck kitty, sipping the regulatory morning cup of coffee.

I thought about my thoughts about the tree-bound Claire.  I did an honest assessment of my judgments and realized I actually thought this was Cat Karma --

A part of me was saying: "Oh you who think you are so immune!  Slaughter defenseless bird babies for fun, eh Sinner? Mother Nature will send your biggest nightmare to teach you a lesson -- The Tree and death by dehydration....or worse!"

I noticed the thoughts and then went to my Mind for some help from You-Know-Who.  Jesus was quiet for a change.

After coffee, Ray and I read our A Course in Miracles section like we've been doing for a few weeks every morning.  Our new method is to take turns opening the book randomly.  Today it was my turn.  I opened a page that was all about Vigilance.

Nicely played, Jesus.

You can do a search yourself to see how many times Vigilance is discussed by Jesus.  It's a theme actually.  Basically, He's saying we need to be Vigilant FOR the Kingdom of Heaven and nothing else.  That's not a religious idea, even thought it's a religious-sounding phrase.  He's telling us we have to constantly -- and He means that literally for a change -- be Choosing Love over everything else we think we might be seeing (with those eyes that can't possibly see looking at a world that isn't there....remember that!)

Ken Wapnick might remind us that instead of "trying" to Choose Love constantly, we can simply notice how often we're NOT Choosing it.  Ultimately, it's the same thing, except Ken's twist maybe means we spare ourselves the agony of creating yet another spiritual mask we have to undo.  At least that's my take on his take.

So we finished our reading and we closed our eyes like we do to meditate a few minutes.  I thought about "Stuck kitty in tree" and "the Kingdom of Heaven."   The two ideas seemed contraindicated, because, well, they are.  You won't find stuck kitties in Heaven.  Or bird murderers.  Or sinners of any kind. Or the guilt I feel daily that shows up as insecurity, frustration, anxiousness, excitement.  You just don't find those things.

And that's a good thing.

I remembered what I wanted, and I said to myself, "Self, there's no stuck kitties in Heaven, and I want the Peace of God."  I knew for a moment Claire's fine, I'm fine...ultimately we aren't even here.  We're totally blissed out, loving endlessly in Endless Love.  And I can be there now, too.  And I was for a while.

A few minutes later, I was at my desk checking work email, and Ray came up behind me.  I was not really wanting to be distracted just then, but he persisted in trying to get my attention, so I turned around.

"I thought you might like to say 'hello' to someone.  She was climbing up the hill to the door when I went to check on her."

Claire!!!

There are no stuck kitties in Heaven.

Or in my mind, which is where Heaven is.  And all the Love I Want, too.  It's right Here.

What's delicious weirdness is that Claire seems totally confused about why we keep fussing over her.  She shows not the least sign of needing recovery time from any "ordeal." She did last time she was stuck this long for sure.  It makes the mind boggle... but those are unimportant details about the dream that don't really lead anywhere helpful, I've found.

Instead let's focus here.  Every moment is a portal to what you and I always Wanted but were afraid wouldn't Want us back.  Or it's what we don't want because it means we don't get to keep our idea that we're separate. Oy.

Either way, when we want It more than the illusory 'it' -- no matter what kind of "problem" our wanting shows up as in the moment - It (the Answer, the Solution, the Love) is Right Here.  It's too good to be true almost, yeah?

Yeah, almost -- almost for sure, in fact, if you and I try to find it where it's not.  

But exactly True when we Choose it where It Is.

On Waking Up is back: A New Beginning

I started sharing ideas at On Waking Up in 2010, almost 7 years ago now. Prior to that I'd studied A Course in Miracles for many years...