Monthly Archives: March 2015

Out on the Land

sedona full moon

It is like being awake in a dream.

The moon above cloaks the red rock in soft, ethereal silver light, and the junipers cast dark shadows onto the prickly pear and cactus outside the path. I stop and hold my breath, fully present in the deep stillness of the cold desert night.

For me, the hour before first light always brings the alchemy of bottomless peace and the breathless excitement of being in the womb with a new day that knows its birth is imminent. In the pause between breaths I am one with the stillness. Each slow breath draws with it the cool, calm presence of the night and the mystery of coming day.

And there is something else. You know that feeling when you become lucid in a dream state? When you realize to your delight that you are dreaming, and awake in the dream? The rush of excitement, of power…of possibility. I always feel that out in nature under the stars.

It is easy in this magical hour to drop in the waking meditation of full awareness. Thinking seems a noisy affront to nature, as nature is now in my mind. I continue to walk, letting the earth break up the morning stiffness in my feet. The pain seems the only thing keeping me in my body.

I walk and sit, then walk again. When I feel the chill of the night creeping in I knock out some push ups to warm myself up. I talk softly to myself, out loud, and offer a few prayers to the starry sky, knowing its infinite expanse is both out there and somehow in me. But it is not talking I am here for, but deep listening. It is moments of full awareness in a quiet mind that open the door to Spirit.

This communion with the sacred night here in Sedona is made more poignant by my coming departure, once again, from this place. There are precious few dawns left here, at least for now. This thought is both wistful and exciting, engaging my desire for the unknown and reminding me of the omnipresent nature of what I am experiencing.

Behind the red rock buttes to the east the horizon has been rising from black to blue, and now the first strokes of the unseen sun’s paintbrush gift the few clouds with hints of pink, orange and magenta. The colors brighten with each moment, and a gentle breeze stirs the dark calm of night, lifting its blanket ever so slightly. I hear a bird call out, and then a chorus of coyotes, first to my left, then to my right.

 The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you.

Don’t go back to sleep.

You must ask for what you really want.

Don’t go back to sleep.

People are going back and forth across the doorsill

Where the two worlds touch.

The door is round and open.

Don’t go back to sleep.        ~Rumi

Throughout my life the call of first light has often kept me from going back to sleep. The Sufi mystic’s words hold more than one meaning to me now. Sleep is not only when I let my body rest and dream, but when I let go of this world….the world of awe and connection to the Divine in the present moment. This connection electrifies my body and being, fills my mind with possibility, and brings a  song to my heart. Too much thinking, analyzing or trying in fear to control outcomes and the connection is gone.

Don’t go back to sleep.

This poem is in the first chapter of the latest in a series of best books I have ever read. The Bones and Breath: A Man’s Guide to Eros, the Sacred Masculine, and the Wild Soul, by L.R. Heartsong  has inspired me further in my return to the land. An incredible writer and storyteller, Mr. Heartsong (I’m thinkin’ pen name for sure) found much of the inspiration for this profound work out in the green fields and dells of Southern England, and he has deepened my remembering of the power and magic of the wild Earth, and it’s ability to stir the wild soul within.

After a few months of daily meditation with a focus above and outside of me, this book, just like the three before it, came at just the right time. I have been outside a lot during this winter’s travels, and out in nature even, but where we are and where our focus is are two different things. I have moved a lot of fear up and out of my root, my lower chakras, and it has been awesome. But what was I replacing it with?

I was happy and bathing in more bliss and peace than ever, but noticing a dearth of passion and drive to do much of anything. When I mentioned this to one of my best and wisest friends, he asked me if I was connecting, with my body, to the Earth. And I was handed this book by someone else the next day. Bam. Love when that happens.

What a difference getting out onto the land every day has made, either on foot or on my sisters purple girl’s mountain bike. (yeah, I’m that secure 🙂  I ride up the my own Alpe D’Huez, the road out of here, and celebrate my muscles working, my heart pumping. Then I race back down at breakneck speed like a wild-eyed kid in an amusement park. We were made for movement.

photo (1)

I walk and breathe. What is buried in the bones and the breath? I walk not for exercise but to allow the Earth to fill me up with her resonance. My phone is off…I don’t need that muckin’ up the works. As a mindfulness exercise I try explicitly not to think. I take in, in every way possible, all the walk has for me. The result is peace, passion and a rekindling of desire to fully embody all aspects of my life as a man.

I encourage you to empower yourself. Where can you go? Into the woods, out to the park or beach? I know it’s still winter in the north, but where there is snow there are angels to be made, right? That’s what layers are for, anyway. The cold may actually serve to sharper your focus, and make your time more purposeful.

“The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.”- John Muir

Find your way into the Universe. It waits for you.

Don’t go back to sleep.

 

 

Conversation with a Christian

eyes into the soul

I recently shared a video on Facebook in which a prominent astrophysicist speaks eloquently about how we are made of the same elements as the stars. Not only are we in the Universe, but the Universe is in us. This sparked the following conversation about the nature of God with a Christian friend.

My friend: “Nice. Completely compatible with faith in God.”

“Everything is compatible with faith in God, (my friend).  Glad it so happens to fit with your perception of God. Not everyone allows a 1800 yr old book, put together by men, 300 years after Jesus, that portrays a God no less egotistical any of us and far more judging than most of us, to dictate their perceptions. I understand that perspective but see God as so much more than that now, my friend.”

“Todd, somewhere along the line buddy, your concept of God got really screwed up. That is not at all the way I see God or the scriptures. God is my friend. Jesus is my friend. He died for my sins, my failures, my selfishness. He died so that I could have life. Is that not a friend? Who died for you? I know the answer bro. I wish you remembered.”

“What exactly do you want me to remember? I have a deeper connection to the Love that is God than I ever did within the construct of Christianity. Because you only allow your mind to consider God through the lens of the Bible, you mistake my opinion of God for my opinion of Christianity.

I do not see God as egotistical or judgmental at all….that is exactly my point. I see the notion of God as depicted in the Bible as that, for sure, and that is all I was saying. I see all you are asking me to see in the Bible, I really do. There is love there, and friendship, and grace. But to just look at that and ignore the very foundation is impossible for me.

The first commandment is to love God with all your heart. “Love me.” “Obey me.” “Fear me.” Are these not all statements of the ego? How does that reconcile with the description of Love as defined, ironically, in 1 Cor. 13? And what if, just for a moment, you allowed yourself to entertain the idea that no one needed to die for you, as Love “keeps no record of wrongs“?

I think you would agree the crux of Christianity is the Cross, no? The need to be reconciled to God, to Love, because of your unworthiness. Why??? How does being a higher consciousness, a more pure Love, necessitate separation due to “sin”?

You answer would be God is holy, and can’t abide anything but righteousness, would it not? It was mine back in the day. And I believed it. How is that possible?

How can a God that is more loving than you or I create a dynamic you could not possibly ever create with either of your children? What could (your daughters) ever do to cause you to tell them they no longer were worthy of a relationship with you, and they were gonna need outside help to get back in? Nothing. So how is it you are capable of a greater level of love than the God of the Bible?”

you are good enough

“To believe this means to somehow believe the notion that ‘Holiness” or perfection dictates judgement. It’s like we believe God doesn’t want to judge you, but he has to…because he is holy and righteous. What??? Is he bound by rules he didn’t make? Of course not.

The greatest and highest state of being is Love, as the Bible states, again, in 1 Cor 13. How is it possible that a Consciousness that embodies that, is that, can be made to be angry, and wrathful? There are over 2 million deaths recorded in the Bible, (mostly OT) attributed to either the hand of God or ordered by him and carried out by his servants/kings/whatever.

How can God be a loving God and a jealous God and still be without fear?  How can God/Love have any fear? This is impossible.

You are a smart man, (my friend), and you would see this clearly if your mind was able to entertain the idea that perhaps the Bible isn’t all Divinely inspired, and man messed with it.

Sigh…..so, my friend, if it makes you feel any better, know that I DO NOT see God not as angry old man in the sky, or any of what I inferred the Bible depicts him to be some of the time. What saddens you is that is that I have left a faith you see as necessary to my salvation. That is, if you still take the Bible literally.

Know that I am happier and more whole than I have ever been, free of the notion that my soul or yours needs saving, and both empowered and awestruck by the knowing that the Love that flows through my heart is in fact God, the Conscious Energy that is in all Life. Do yourself a favor and open your mind to the possibility that the Bible hasn’t cornered the market on God, and reread these thoughts. In any case, my friend, I appreciate the joy and humor you bring to the table…you always have. Love ya.”               ***

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.” – Marianne Williamson

You are in the Universe, and the Universe is in you.