answered prayers

Life is funny. It’s also amazing and beautiful. I think that when we don’t focus upon beauty, it’s harder to notice it in all the nuance of living. To focus upon something is to notice it more often. And, just because you’re noticing something now doesn’t mean it wasn’t always there. Attention is a gift that we get to use as we wish.

I’m going through a phase of maturity. It’s funny how we talk about that with kids, but we don’t discuss it with adults. We love watching children mature and we expect it, but when it comes to adults, we expect the opposite. We expect stagnation. Long, long years of stagnation until, suddenly, the adult is “old” and we expect them to have gained wisdom worth sharing with us.

What is wisdom but the result of maturity?

I made two prayers in deep earnest this past week and I’m glad I have the clarity to see that they’re being answered. It used to be that I would pray and then spend time feeling despondent because I thought my prayers were being ignored. Back then, I didn’t understand that answered prayers don’t always look the way you want or expect them to look. I mistakenly assumed that if a prayer wasn’t answered the way I wanted to see it, that meant it hadn’t been answered.

Part of maturing is understanding then accepting that things don’t have to be the way you want them in order for them to be true.

I think our societies and cultures are going through a maturation phase right now and I’m not sure how we’re faring. There is a lot of pushback against progressive, humane ideas and there is also a lot of nonsense being promoted as progress. Diversity of thought is still one of the things I find most interesting about humanity. No one is creating these things we call thoughts or ideas; they just descend upon us. And, we nurture them and take their growth and assimilation very personal. But, they don’t even belong to us!

Maybe our maturity doesn’t belong to us, either. Maybe maturity is a function of grace. I can accept that all I’ve done is prayed to be a better person, to have more clarity. I just desired and asked and focused. I accept that I haven’t done anything wholly unto myself.

That is maturity. Accepting that we aren’t living this life by our power alone is maturity. It’s humility. I used to think humility meant thinking I am less than, but now I know it simply means knowing that I am not all there is, that I am not the most. And, not being the most does not inherently equate to being less than.

For years, I could not understand or accept that. But, through grace, I now understand (and I don’t mind understanding or standing under something, because I know the power of bridges) and accept that humility is about perspective, not size.

With that humility, I can see answered prayers with more clarity. When I ask for support focusing upon my business endeavors and an opportunity for community disappears from my life, I don’t have to lament the loss because I remember the prayer. I am humble enough to accept the rationale that the more time I spend in community, the less time I’m spending on my business endeavors. I can greet that shift (because it’s not a loss) with a “Hallelujah”.

With that humility, when I ask to more fully understand why something happened to me in the past and I keep feeling the urge to watch YouTube videos that touch on more fruitful ways to move through loss and purpose, I understand that my prayers are being answered.

Some would call it coincidence, but I’ve lived enough to accept that there are no coincidences. There is only grace.

In this moment, I appreciate the divine guidance of my life. I appreciate the prayers that have been prayed for and over me. I appreciate the clarity and insight and maturity and humility I have been able to apply to my vantage point.

What a beautiful lens grace and humility and maturity create. It reminds me of those oft-lamented rose-colored glasses.

If this is what wearing rose-colored glasses is like, I’m okay. I’m going to rock these babies!

Image source unknown.

permission to disagree

The internet is a fascinating space full of thoughts. Thoughts and ideas of all sorts abound on the internet, and nowhere is that more apparent than in the comment sections.

I love comment sections, but I have to be in the mood to peruse them. I have to know myself and be content within my current emotional state in order to handle the comment sections with any finesse and grace.

Comment sections are the canvas of your global asshole’s pièce de résistance. You can find so much underbelly in the comment sections. But, underbelly makes the best bacon.

Bacon is a great euphemism for how we all manage our cultural differences. Pork bacon is controversial on the global front. Those who live in their own cultural bubbles may not realize it, but a great number of humans have never eaten pork bacon. For those in those cultural bubbles, pork bacon is the standard. Until turkey bacon was a thing, folks who eat pork probably had no idea there were other sorts of bacon.

I grew up eating beef bacon and I maintain that pork bacon can never compare. Pork bacon is too salty and too wasteful. It’s mostly fat and don’t we all know that the body stores toxins in fat? And, that pigs are literally fed anything? Most pork bacon stinks when you cook it. I rarely buy it, but when I do, I only buy organic pork bacon. It doesn’t stink up my house and it tastes a lot better.

It’s also expensive. Turns out, treating pigs like living beings worthy of the best life has to offer (if you can obtain the best within captivity) is not popular among the folks who eat them. I have grown to see that you can tell a lot about a pork-eating people by the way they treat their pigs. If their pigs are used as corpulent dumpsters, you know what kind of value system you’re working within. It will tell you a lot about their society.

I don’t want that pork bacon to be the standard for anything. Do you?

Christians are not, technically, supposed to eat pork, but you can’t tell that by looking in most of their refrigerators. Then, there are cultural Jews, ethnic Jews, and religious Jews. They all have the pork conversation. (I don’t know what happened to the Hebrews.) And, Muslims, of course, don’t eat pork. Except when they hang around Christians too much. And, try to be too American.

Pork is an entire thing, is my point.

One of my favorite things about Zen Buddhists is that they don’t eat meat… unless it’s offered. Like, there’s an entire vegetarian expectation, but if you’re not the one killing or buying the animal flesh, don’t be too picky. Some religions would have you believe you’re going to suffer through all eternity if you don’t follow the dietary dictates. Zen Buddhists are like “calm your tits”. Around food, anyway. Still not okay for the monks to touch a woman.

So much disagreement among humans about what’s most important, isn’t there? Isn’t it beautiful?

I find it nourishing and humbling and gorgeous that there is so much variety of thought and behavior among human beings. “Harm none and do what you will” is a completely ridiculous notion, but it’s the guiding notion of many of us.

We are all harming someone. Most often, ourselves.

And, that’s okay. I think to accept that you, a human being, are a harmful entity no matter how much you attempt not to be can be a realization of freedom. But, that, too, is dependent upon personal stance. Some of us thoroughly enjoy being hard on ourselves. We don’t like giving ourselves grace.

As someone who enjoys freedom, I’ve come to respect restriction. I’ve come to accept that sometimes, expansion feels overwhelming and people need walls to feel comfortable and safe. The rules and strictures we apply to our lives are a skin. Some of us shed our skin regularly. Some of us remain small. Some of us simply add more skin as we grow.

One of my favorite lines in a song can be found in Christian rapper KB’s song I Am Not the One. He says, “It ain’t a thick skin, it’s a new heart.” I have found that the nuance of that line is where I have landed. In comments sections, in deli sections, in relative time and space, I have learned that the skin is less important than the heart. If the heart is calibrated correctly, the skin becomes less of an issue.

With that heart, disagreement becomes a pleasure, an example of how beautifully diverse we are. I don’t need or want your agreement; I want to know your heart.

No matter where we stand on the question of pork bacon, we all have hearts. I love to see even the closed ones. Don’t you?

my new religion

Once, I received a religious pamphlet. I looked at it, read it, and wondered how the world would be different if we pushed a different kind of religion onto one another. Rather than a religion that uses shame to mold us into a diminutive version of ourselves, a religion that uses truth to expand and fill us. I imagine the pamphlet would say something like:

1- You Are Perfect

Everything you do is for the benefit of yourself and others.
Every thought you think is wise and full of creative power.
Your heart is loving and following it is never wrong.
You are a righteous being, even when you don’t realize it.


2- You Are Strong

Every step you take, every move you make is the correct one.
It will take you where you want to go.
You can make all your dreams come true.
No one can stop you from being who and what you want to be.
Persevere when you feel challenged.
Rest when you feel challenged.
When you stop moving, that is the right time for stillness.
To recognize the desire for rest is strength.
To take a rest is strength.
To move is strength.
To not move is strength.
There is only strength.


3- We Are Here for Each Other

There are many of us here so that we can work together.
We are here to provide for each other.
We are here to comfort each other.
We are here because we all have needs 
and our number one need is for each other.
Sometimes we will be together in motion.
Sometimes we will be together in silence.
Sometimes we will be together in distance.
When one gets up, another sits down.
We create this world together and we are all vital to this life.


4- We Promise to Meet Our Needs

When one is hungry, we will provide food.
When one is cold, we will provide warmth.
When one is lonely, we will provide companionship.
Whatever anyone needs, we will provide.
That is why there are so many of us: 
to meet everyone’s needs in a variety of ways.
Together, we have enough to meet the needs of all of us.
We exist for each other.  

Rejoicing in our joy, not suffering over our suffering, is what makes someone a friend. ~Friedrich Nietzsche~

your mission, should you choose to accept it

Right now is an important time in our collective experience. This planet needs to be guided by those who are rooted in and growing in Love. There is a peace and an awareness that comes on the energy of Love, because Love is the only real truth. Love defies reason, has no explanation. Love simply is.

If you know this, if you live in this awareness, it is time to level up. It’s easy to level up in Love. Love does all the work.

Remember that you are simply a conduit in this world. You are the temple within which Love is stored and the point of storage is so that something is contained until the one storing it comes back to bring it back out, again.

Love stored is almost pointless. Love exists to spread like an invasive species. Love exists to cover and enmesh everything it touches. Love is like the most pervasive and contagious virus in existence.

But, it doesn’t make you sick. Quite the opposite. It heals everything it touches. Love is the healing vibration. Love is the awakening energy. Love is the clarifying touch. Love is truth.

Your job, as a contagious sort, full to the brim with this Love energy, is to spread Love far and wide. To fling it to the farthest reaches of the planet, of the universe, of the multiverse.

That’s your single job as a human being.

Here is a game to play, to help you realize the power of Love.

Sit quietly, holding someone else’s hands. Form a circle if there are enough of you. Everyone does the following:

Close your eyes and envision a white light coming from your heart and your mind. This white light represents Love.

Imagine that light spreading. It’s spreading within your body. Now, it’s leaking outside your body. Now, it’s surrounding your body.

Now, the light is spreading out into the space around your body. Think for a moment of everyone you’ve ever known, ever seen, even the folks you don’t remember.

See those people in your mind’s eye. See the web connecting you to them. Send the light into that web, into everyone connected to that web.

Send a message with the light: You are loved. Raise your vibration. It is time to raise your vibration and spread Love.

Hold that thinking for as long as possible or desired as a group. When you’re ready to stop, just open your eyes and go about your life.