Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Truth is One, but sages call It by many names

I'm borrowing my dad's truck for a little while so I can go out to work before Hammy gets home at 6:00. His truck only has a cassette tape player so I went to the library and got a couple of books on tape. I started listening to one of them. I thought it was going to be a simple love story about a Turkish rug weaver but it turns out that it will be about a search for the original mother goddess! What a delightful surprise!

I think I've written before about my understanding of God but my post with the lyrics to "Praise Ye the Lord" has kinda made me want to write more about it.

I believe that God is big enough to be whatever each of us humans, with our limited understanding and perspective, need God to be. "Truth is One, but sages call It by many names" so says a Hindu adage.

I don't think God is male or female but contains elements of both genders. I believe that we are all made in God's image. That no matter who we are, where or how or when we live, we are made in God's image. God, Goddess, the One, Divine Energy, Grace, Love: It doesn't matter much how we perceive or address God because God is big enough to be all of those things and so much more, if we allow ourselves to be guided by the still soft voice within.

I use the name God because I am comfortable with that name. Other folks, because of cultural or religious baggage, are not. I fully understand being uncomfortable. I spent a decade as a confirmed agnostic-bordering-on-atheist. I was very cynical about any talk about Spirit that came from a Christian perspective. I wanted nothing to do with the god of my childhood. It wasn't until I found the voice of the loving and nurturing God speaking softly in me, that could I begin to reinterpret the things I'd been taught as a child.

Back to the lyrics "Praise Ye the Lord". That song came unbidden to my head that morning but I can't say I care for the name "Lord". It smacks too much of hierarchy and male privilege. I always think of the royal "M'Lord". I don't think of God as a "king" or lord, preferring the gender-neutral "Ruler". I prefer to imagine the "realm of God" over "kingdom of heaven".

I tend to think of God in gender-neutral terms except when I'm in my "moon-time" and imagine God the Creator, who is the Divine Mama, creating and nurturing and loving everything. My mind is never still and I am full of creative energy (but oddly lethargic, at the same time) and I can relate to Big Mama God on a wonderful creative jag, full of amazing ideas for centipedes and butterflies and kangaroos!

That's why I find the exploration of and awareness of the original Goddess so interesting. I know how people have worshipped God in many of human's interpretations of God's male forms. I want to know how people interpreted God in God's female forms. What was society like when God was known as female or as an amalgam of both genders?

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Memorial Day Musings

Yesterday was Memorial Day and Hammy and I spent it SHOPPING! OK, we're not that typical of Americans; we just bought groceries. I was going to work 4-8 but blew it off (I didn't have anything scheduled, I was just going to knock on doors). We went to buy the bulk of our groceries at Kroger, came home and cooked kebabs on the grill (I had grilled mushrooms and fish-yum!). Then we picked Zee from his friend's house and went to do the organic food shopping at Wild Oats, came home and snacked on watermelon while I made sushi for dinner. Hammy, Carmac and I took the dogs for a walk after dinner, which was nice, and then it was bathtime for the boys. All in all, a very nice day.

But, it was Memorial Day and I've sort of been struggling with what it means to me.
Last week, the boys and I were downtown. Carmac had an ice cream cone that was drippy. We were walking past the sculpture of Chet Atkins in front of a bank building. There's a second, empty, stool in the sculpture (you can see it to the right in the photo) so I sat Mac on it while he ate his cone. A man walked up to us, grinned at Mac, said "that's the reason I go to work each day" and walked away. For a moment I didn't think anything about it because people are always smiling and saying things to and about Carmac when we're downtown-small children being a rarity in the rushing world of the business suited. But this man wasn't wearing a suit; he was wearing fatigues and carrying an army-issue duffel bag. He was a soldier; a fact that didn't register with me until he was halfway across the street.
Ever since then, I've been thinking about how I would respond to that man if I'd been more alert. The unthinking response would be to thank him for his service. I do respect the sense of duty and honor and the bravery of our service people. I think it takes great courage to join the military and to be willing to die for one's country. But I have so many other feelings. I don't want anyone to be willing to give his life for my life nor that of my child, especially not in abstraction. I think that couching this War in Iraq in terms of "American Liberty" and seeing "freedom" in the face of my child is false. My child has nothing to do with why so many people are fighting and dying in Iraq. My child's life is not, nor will ever be, benefitted by the war, in any way. I understand why a person would need to believe that he was fighting for a just cause and to put the face of innocence and purity on it, but to me, it's a lie. I believe this war is strictly about political and monetary gain and our service people are pawns.
But I couldn't very well say that to the kind soldier smiling at Carmac, could I? How could I respond honestly and with integrity but especially with compassion to him? What could I say? How can I honor his sacrifice while remaining true to my heart? "Thank you for what you do. Please stop." is certainly not respectful. I don't think I know how to be honest and respectful about this in a momentary encounter. Maybe saying "Thank you for your courage. I pray for peace." I don't know. I'm not sure that I can even say "thank you for what you are willing to do" with honesty because being willing to fight in a war means being willing to kill and I can't support that. I don't mean to be disrespectful of a person's choices, but joining the military means being willing to kill, if instructed to do so. I understand that there are many reasons for a person to join the military (Declan has friends who have already signed up because they can't afford an education any other way). But, going to war is about fighting an enemy. I can't, in good conscience, thank someone for being willing to kill another human being. Which is not to say that the kind soldier smiling at Carmac has or ever will have killed anyone, but what if he has. What if he thinks I'm thanking him for doing just that?
WWJD? I don't know. Did Jesus ever stand on a busy streetcorner helping a 4 year old eat a melting ice cream cone and respond with compassion to a soldier who was making a symbol out of a child? What would Jesus do? What could he do? The encounter was brief. Jesus had the ability to transcend the moment and touch the heart of the people he encountered. If I can live nearer my center, I may be more likely to respond in a Christ-like way, with honesty and compassion.

Monday, May 28, 2007


It's just the end of May, the time of year when everything should be verdant and lush. Yesterday, as I was walking through the front yard of one of my respondent's houses, I noticed that the yard was beginning to have the sound that grass gets in driest August; the sound of brown, dry grass. Yipes! And today, as I was feeding the dogs, I saw that birds have been in the dog's water. There is a creek across the street from our house; a couple of days ago I saw that it is dry, an event that doesn't usually happen until much later in the summer. I guess the birds are getting water where they can. I can't imagine what it will be like in August and September if we don't get much rain by then.

We're so spoiled. We turn on the tap and water comes out. That never ends: as long as we need it, water will be there for us. (I'm talking middle-class Americans here). We never have to really consider the impact of a drought beyond not being able to water our lawns without fear of a fine. We believe that true adversity can't touch us; that technology will save us from nature and from the cumulative impact of our collective actions as a culture and nation. Acid rain? Global warming? Floods? Droughts? Hurricanes? No worries: I'm safe in suburbia. I stand with my President and I know he will protect me (those people in New Orleans chose their fate when they decided to stay).

Here's a map of last week's drought conditions:

Saturday, May 26, 2007

This Phase

(I wrote this in my journal this morning)

I'm sitting on the wall between the garage and the dog's yard, next to the area that will become my flower garden when I become a woman who gardens. I'm out here eating my breakfast and drinking my chai in the blue pottery mug because:

a) it's a beautiful morning-summer weather perfection, with the birds atwitter, low humidity, a light breeze and sunlight filtering through the May-green trees.

b) Declan's friend Seana is asleep on the couch-bed.


c) When I tried to let Zee sleep in (he's awake now, anyway) by getting up to take the dogs out, I noticed that the orange tiger lilies are in bloom and I wanted to spend some time with them. I brought my fiestaware bowl out and discovered that the orange of my bowl and the orange of my journal are shades of the lilies. How nice; now my morning cereal will remind me of the lilies abloom, long after their blooms are spent.

I've been thinking about how I have rarely ever, in my whole life, been content where I am. I have spent almost my entire life wishing it away by anticipating the next phase.

When I was a child, I could not wait to be a teenager. I can distinctly remember sitting in my classroom in 6th grade counting how long it would be until I was 16 and could drop out of school (in my defense, I hated school because I frequently failed and was subject to great humiliation, which is as good a reason to "escape" in my head as any I could imagine). When I was a teenager, I couldn't wait to be an adult and have my own apartment. When I had an apartment, I couldn't wait to be married. When I got married, I couldn't wait to have children. When I had a child (a foster son, Timbo), I couldn't wait to end that marriage. And etc., up to the present.

Here I am, 42, married to a wonderful man, with 3 amazing sons, a decent house, all my needs met and many of my wants, and, day-to-day, I can't wait to get to the next phase so I can begin to live my real life. WTF?! If this isn't my real life, who's is it? I chose to marry Hammy. I chose to have each of my wonderful children. I encouraged them to be outspoken individuals (and drummers, to boot!). I found this crazy little house and talked Hammy into buying it. I decide each day that I'd rather do about anything than clean, so I've no one to blame but myself for the clutter and mess. Our house is disorganized, chaotic and noisy. I am assaulted by sound and demands almost constantly. But I created it. And it's wrong of me to wish it all away. This is my real life. Someday it will be gone and I will miss it as much as I long to see Timbo, probably more.

Each day of my life is sacred, a gift from the Divine. I don't treat it as such. I act as though each day, each hour, each moment is something I must endure until something changes and things begin to go my way. How utterly selfish. My children are a beautiful, unique gift. Yes, I can't wait to see them grow up because I know they are gong to become interesting and dynamic adults and I look forward to knowing them then. But yes, I can surely wait for them to grow up because I lose
who they are at this moment. I miss each phase that has already passed with each of them and I know I was too busy, too self-centered to fully appreciate the day-to-day joy each one brought to my world.

by Russell duPont

I am going to try to slow my desires down, to live in and savor each moment and appreciate it for what it is: A divine gift.

Today, we're going to a park for a luau potluck to celebrate the 16th birthday of a friend of ours. Most of our old homeschooling friends will be there. Somehow I'd like to find a way to communicate to each of them that they are special to me. I'm probably getting a little "over the top" with this, but I'm thinking that if I were to feel intense sorry at some one's death, that suggests I care for them deeply in life and maybe should find a way to communicate my feelings. Today, I will try to be with whoever I am with; to truly focus on what she is saying-to hear and feel her words.

One moment at a time.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Spiritual Development and Direction

Penelope participated in "School of the Spirit" a couple of years ago. When she told me about it, and as I have learned more, I feel this is something I would very much like to do, but not at this point in my "householder years". I couldn't afford the time, nor the money. I feel drawn to a commitment in community to deepen and develop my spirituality. Maybe in a few years when the boys are more independent.

A few months ago, she also told me about Spiritual Formation Groups (a name I don't like, by the way. I would call them Spiritual Development Groups). A few Friends Meetings (and other denominations, as well) have hosted SFGs. SFGs are year-long, twice-monthly commitments to meet to develop and encourage individual and group spiritual discipline practices. Generally, the group does a weekend retreat together at the beginning and then commits to getting together once a month as a whole to discuss a book or other reading about spiritual life. The large group also divides into smaller groups of 3-6 people to also meet monthly to check in with one another about spiritual disciplines each has chosen to follow. The individuals and group commit to encouraging spiritual development and maturation. The SFG lasts about 9 months and then gets together for a closing retreat.
I'm very drawn to the idea of participating in a Spiritual Development Group. I've been thinking about this for a few weeks and was getting ready to call the clerk of Ministry and Council to talk with her about organizing a group for next fall when I discovered that at the FGC Yearly Gathering there will be a workshop on just that very thing. Sigh...

I'd been wanting to go to Yearly Gathering. Marcus Borg is going to be a speaker on Thursday and I know I would enjoy hearing him. I'm ready to learn more about the wider Quaker world and get to know others in it. I want to get out of my Nashville Friends Meeting comfort zone and move into new, larger space. But, I'm working. And we're broke. Broker than broke. Gathering is really expensive. Even if I got a scholarship, I'd still have to pay to travel. And there's the kids. Declan will be in summer school but the younger two won't be. And I'm working and can't really afford to take off for more than a week, time- or money-wise.

This is one of those times in which I believe that if I am supposed to go, way will open. I'm not even going to pursue it. I trust that God will point me in the direction I'm supposed to head. I may go to Meeting on Sunday and talk with Carolyn about organizing a Spiritual Development Group. I'm willing to do most of the work if a more seasoned Friend will work with me, particularly in choosing the reading materials and facilitating the meetings.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Nice Visit with a Raging Granny

I had to stop back by the house of the first person I interviewed for this project, last night, because I did not have the respondent fee form with me at the end of that interview and I needed to get her signiture/initials (to prove she received the $20). It had taken me almost 3 weeks to get back to her town because I have so many cases that are really spread out and her town is pretty far out. This woman is 82, had polio as an infant and is slightly disabled, although that has never stopped her from doing whatever she set her mind to. She defines feisty! She was glad to see me and gave me another potholder that she'd made. I got to meet her granddaughter, who I'm almost sure I used to know when we both worked at a mall 16 years ago.

This elderly woman lives in a very small, rural town. She's lived in that area her entire life. She surprised me when she went off on a rant against Bush last night. He husband is a decorated WWII vet; wounded at Iwo Jima and the whole patriotic she-bang. She's very proud of his military record; talks about it every chance she gets. She's not counter-culture in any way and she HATES what GW has done. She came close to crying when she talked about all the "boys" being sent to die overseas. I can't identify as affiliating with any political leaning as a representative of the company I work for, I have to remain completely politically impartial, but I was with her in spirit!

I guess because so many of the "common folk" around here (including my parents and all my aunts and uncles up in Indiana) are devout, God-fearing, morals-voting, "stand with the president" Republicans, I begin to assume that everybody is. I'm always so happy to meet wonderful voices of dissent in the "red state" zones.


"Blood and Oil"
Janet Kurjan

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Creative Chaos? Yeah, right...

(by Deborah Koff-Chapin ) I've cycled around to chaos-mind again. The couple of days just prior to and the first few days of my "moontime" are days when I seem to have no attention span and need a lot of down-time. I am unable to focus well on things; my mind flits from this to that. When I think about reading, I want fiction. I can't learn anything except intuitively; my brain does not retain new information but my heart feels and learns. I don't much feel like writing. I feel crafty. Today, it occurred to me that I could incorporate my craftiness into my spiritual practice. I went out and tried to find my embroidery stuff but couldn't find it (this house, especially my craft studio are in such a mess).

I was just looking at some beautiful embroidery on-line. I'm inspired to create, to express my journey in a right-brain way through art, rather than strictly through writing. But I need to get a little left-brain and start straightening and cleaning and organizing my stuff. If I can't find what I need when I need it, what's the point of having it? My chaos hurts me as much as it irritates my family. That whole "feng shui clutter thing" makes sense to me. I read a self-help article in the magazine Body+Soul (it's probably the least offensive of the consumer disguised as spiritual seeker magazines. I was given a subscription to it and have, on occasion, been pleasantly surprised by articles in it) about getting rid of stuff. The life coach or therapist or whoever she was began any coaching relationship by instructing her client to get rid of huge amounts of stuff: 50, 100 things in a week, some crazy number of things (and a stack of magazines only counted as 1 thing, not the individual number). My initial reaction to reading things like that is to run away clutching at my stuff. I am a pack-rat. I NEED my stuff.
And there you go.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

"Let the Eternal Light search you"

My last post had the title of "My Sin", which, at the time, I thought I titled ironically. I've been mulling this over since I wrote it. I was raised in a evangelical fundamentalist household and church community in which sin was emphasised as something evil that must be overcome and which was clearly defined. Things were either "Godly" or "of Satan", good or bad, right or wrong (pass or fail).

Years ago, I rejected the god of my youth, the one I was taught to fear and adore in equal measures, and with him, my concept of sin. Several years later I found God, quietly but most assuredly within me, and around that same time I read a description of sin as an archaic archery term meaning to fall short of one's target. That definition resonated with me and defined for me the idea of not "living up to my Light"-not listening to my intuition/to that of God in me.

About a year ago, in the last Quakerism class, reading the book Silence and Witness by Michael Birkel, I was very uncomfortable with the descriptions of being cleansed of sin-split open by God and transformed.

From the book: "Early Friends' experience of the Inward Light was not as a cosy fire but rather a relentless search beam that showed them their sinfulness. The Light at first exposed their capacity for evil but then led to the victory of good over evil within them. A sense of inward peace followed-often after a lengthy internal conflict-and a deep sense of community with other Friends who had been through the same harrowing experience. This sense of victory energized them to labour to transform the social order into a godly society."

Margaret Fell said this, "Let the Eternal Light search you, and try you for the good of your souls...It will rip you up and lie you open, and make all manifest which lodgeth in you...Therefore all to this come and by this be searched and judged and led and guided."

I couldn't get past the ideas of sin I'd been taught as being judgemental and black/white. I was uncomfortable with the word "sin" until I had the intuition to put the word "ego" in place of sin and then the passages spoke very loudly to me.

Sin equals ego.

But, in pondering my most recent post I have come a step further to understand sin as being anything that I allow to come between me and God. My ego does cause me to allow temporal things to become overly important, but needs can take on more weight than they should, if I allow them to: Relationships with other people, for instance. And resentments or hurts I harbor rather than letting go of and forgiving. Anything that keeps me from living up to the light God is giving me is a sin.

I don't know how to lay myself open to this Holy Searchlight. I don't know how to let the "Eternal Light" try me. I can only keep praying that I remain open to God's will for me. If God wants to search me, I pray that I can have the strength to allow myself to be opened.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

My Sin

I know, I know, non-attachment and all that, but I've seen folks riding around on scooters 3 times in the last week and I'm wanting one so bad! The last sighting was a guy about my dad's age tooling around on a Kymco People (above picture). Wow. Even with his blue jeans, white socks and black "New Balance" sneakers he looked cool (ok, maybe I'm projecting). I saw a mint green Vespa that looked quite nice and a Metro (which is a cute scoot that's not big enough for my needs-only 50ccs).

Man-o-man, do I want one. My current daydream is that Scenic City Scooters will open a "Music City Scooters" and I'll get to run it. Bliss. Scooter people are funny, intelligent, march to their own beat. Scooter people are my kind of people.
But then, this is my little nudge from the One (with an amazing sense of timing) in the form of today's horoscope:
"You know better than to go shopping on an empty stomach. Likewise, distinguishing want vs. need is tricky. Staying well fed on all levels is one way to deal."
Ah-hem, yes, I hear you.
Wanting a scooter is definitely an ego trip for me. I am not sufficiently grounded in what is eternal for me to not be totally distracted and "ego fed" by having one, no matter how I could justify it as environmentally right and economically sound.
I don't believe in Satan but I have to say that I feel real temptation when I see examples of the source of my longing all over the place. I'm wrestling with the devil (my own ego) over a scooter. How appropriately ironic.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Outta My Head-back in a moment...

The Kid

I'm the kid who ran away with the circus.
Now I'm watering elephants.
But I sometimes lie awake in the sawdust
dreaming I'm in a suit of light.

Late at night in the empty big top,
I'm all alone on the high wire.
‘Look, he's working without a net this time.
He's a real death-defier.’

I'm the kid who always looked out the window,
failing tests in geography.
But I've seen things
far beyond just the school yard —
distant shores of exotic lands.
There the spires of the Turkish empire.
It's six months since we made landfall.
Riding low with the spice of India
through Gibraltar, we're rich men all.

I'm the kid who
thought we'd someday be lovers,
always held out that time would tell.
But time was talking.
I guess I just wasn't listening.
No surprise, if you know me well.

And as we're walking toward the train station,
there's a whispering rainfall.
Across the boulevard,
you slip your hand in mine.
In the distance: the train call.

I'm the kid who has this habit of dreaming.
Sometimes gets me in trouble, too.
But the truth is,
I could no more stop dreaming
than I could make them all come true."

These are lyrics to a song by Buddy Mondlock. He's a Nashville based signer-songwriter whom I've enjoyed for 20 years.
(He has a song, can't remember the title but the chorus says "She would kick up her heels on Michigan Avenue, and she would dance all night" which reminds me of my mother's mother. I saw him perform at Bluebird Cafe a few months after she died and cried, sitting at at table in the front, for the whole song. Just thinking about it and her is making me cry. My grandma was a fabulous woman.)

I've always been a dreamer. I've always had a place of escape in my head. Usually, it's some business scheme, like a coffee shop or craft studio, or about living in some other place, like an off-the-grid utopia, or France. Rarely, when I have a moment and especially when I'm stressed, have I not drifted off into my reveries.

Lately, because I've been trying to be aware of being "in the moment" I've been trying to notice when my thoughts drift, but truly, what a herculean task! This chihuahua mind of mind is seeming more like a monkey with a lion on the prowl, of late. It seems like when I try to still my mind it goes into emergency thinking mode in which it has to think as many thoughts in as possible. Whew! I try to center down and pray and almost immediately my mind begins to wander. After a few minutes of random chains of grocery lists, work plans, daydreams, memories and idle drifting, I notice, pull my thoughts back, apologise to God for having a short attention span and begin the process again. After 3 or 4 times of doing this I'll find that 15 or 20 minutes have passed and all I've accomplished is to feel frustration. If the road to hell is paved with good intention, I am there.

I guess the beauty of this whole thing, the grace, is that there's no test. I get to start over how ever many times as I need. The only one judging me is me. God is just waiting patiently for me to get where I need to be, leaving signs of encouragement and love along my path.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Praise Ye the Lord

I awoke with this song in my head. It's one we sang when I was a Baptist youth.

Hal- le - lu , Hal - le - lu, Hal- le - lu , Hal - le - lu - jah

Praise Ye the Lord!

Hal- le - lu , Hal - le - lu, Hal- le - lu , Hal - le - lu - jah

Praise Ye the Lord!

Praise Ye the Lord,
Hal le lu jah!

Praise Ye the Lord,
Hal le lu jah!

Praise Ye the Lord,
Hal le lu jah!


I found this image from a Google search. Here's what the caption said about it:

"Wall-painting illustrating David's psalm 'Praise ye the Lord with stringed instruments and flutes', in which women with timbrels are depicted dancing and musicians playing popular instruments, 18th century, Great Lavra Monastery, Mount Athos."

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Eternal Light

I worked 8 hours yesterday and spent 6 of them in my car. My body is screaming from pent-up energy. I had a slight headache when I got home at 4:00 yesterday which developed into a full-blown migraine within a short time (almost all of my migraines are food induced causing me great discomfort for 2 or 3 hours then I vomit and then I'm fine. Yesterday's migraine was tension induced so it didn't go away until I'd slept a good while).
I've got to take walking breaks every couple of hours when I'm out. It's pretty hard, though, when I'm in strange neighborhoods, sometimes in towns that are unfamiliar to me, to find a park or somewhere (other than the ubiquitous strip malls) safe to walk. Then I have to deal with my laptop (which, because of the sensitivity of the information in this survey, we're never supposed to leave in our cars-not even locked in the trunk) and try to keep from getting too sweaty out in this pre-summer in Tennessee heat and humidity.

I got up at 7:00 this morning, took the dogs out and went for a walk. Just a mile around the block but it felt really good to be out in the golden haze of morning light with the birds all asong, feeling my blood move and my muscles loosen. I thought about this world-it's impermanence. This material realm is not illusion, it's real. My physical body is important; it has it's own truth which I must honor and which includes healthy food and exercise. But my physical body is temporal; it will pass away, could do so at any time. My soul is my greater truth. That of God in me is my essence. This material world will pass away but the Energy, Love, the Divine Light that infuses all things will continue to shine like this morning's golden glow. The tricky part is learning what is temporary and what is eternal and honoring each as appropriate. I must attend to my physical being almost all the time (proper hydration, bathroom breaks, healthy food-but not too much, exercise, physical affection and intimacy of my loved ones) or I become unwell. As I've said, I want my life to be a reflection of God, to pray without ceasing. Learning to be aware of what is of God as I live this physical life is so hard: Remembering, even in the midst of a migraine headache, that it all comes from God and will go back to God.

Friday, May 11, 2007


Today will be my 4th day going out in the field. I've gotten 3 interviews, which is good. I did 2 yesterday, one in person at the respondent's business and the other last night, on the phone. I have one scheduled for next week. I had one firm rejection yesterday but I didn't get stressed over it; the man was cranky and rude but it's his right to be...he's not there to make my life easier.

Living in God is so hard for me. The problem is to let go of all these years and layers of habit and learned response to know and feel what is really real. I know God is the foundation under all my life but often it is so difficult to be aware in the minutia of day-to-day life. Can I see God when my children are bickering or when I'm stopping to get gas or cleaning up messes? Yes, but remembering to do so is the thing. I do think I'm speaking less from my ego, of late, but it's baby steps. There's certainly no step-by-step guide to enlightenment with a checklist I can tick off as I go. It's more a matter of me becoming aware of God infusing all of my life-all life. I ask God to help me be open to awareness, today. I want my life to be a reflection of God's love and compassion.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

All Things Pass

Yesterday was my first day "in the field" for this project. I spent 5.5 hours driving around a town I'm unfamiliar with. Because it was daytime and the neighborhoods were mostly made up of young people (as opposed to neighborhoods full of retired folks), I only encountered a couple of people at home. When I left my house, I stopped by the library and picked up a few books on tape. I began listening to a book co-written with the Dalai Lama which helped me with perspective. I actually remained pretty centered. I did not allow myself to grip anxiety as I pulled up in front of my case households. Only once did I feel tension as I stood on a porch waiting for the door to be answered and as I felt it, I let it go.

Attachment to an outcome is centered in my ego. Centering on God, on that which is eternal in me, helps me to be aware of my ego and refocus. But what is this job without outcome? When I stand on a porch, I do need to have a goal or what is the point of being there at all? I am attached to this job simply because I have the job. I'm working because my family needs my income. But if I trust in God, God will help me (through my intuition) meet my and my family's needs. If I fail at this project and am replaced, my family may have a more difficult time paying bills which may force us to do even more serious consolidating of our expenses. Comparing ourselves with most of the people in our lives, I can't see much that we could eliminate. Comparing ourselves with most other people in the world and throughout history, we're wealthy beyond belief. If I can let go of attachment to our "things" (including our house and the one car we have-both of which our society would deem necessities) then I can let go of attachment to any particular outcome for this job in general and for each individual case. I am striving to see 'that of God' in each individual and, especially, in myself.

Monday, May 7, 2007

home again, home again

...jiggity jig.
I'm spending the day at home, organizing my supplies and waiting for my laptop to arrive via FedEx.

Training went well, or at least not any better or any worse than usual. I'll be working with a new (to me) manager. She seems tough, although competent. I get the impression that she does not have children and will have no sympathy for childish interruptions during our weekly reporting calls or needing to reschedule for DR appointments. We'll see.

I already have enough of a work load to make me feel overwhelmed. I don't have my full case-load and I currently have 66 cases in 3 counties. I have at least twice as many cases as anyone else I talked to (I'm guessing they couldn't get another FI to work this project so gave me everything). I have no idea how I'll be able to juggle that amount of work with a lack of transportation until 6:00 each weekday evening.

When I think of making contact with my cases, parking my car and walking up to a front door, I begin to feel a great deal of tension. I could easily get overwhelmingly stressed. I keep needing to stop and remind myself that none of this really matters; like I have to hit the emotional/spiritual "reset" button.

The thing is that I really do believe that the purpose of my job is beneficial to society, if I didn't, there's no way I could do it. Each survey I've worked has been important, but I think this one may be the most important. The agency of the Federal Government that oversees economic policy relies on the data from this survey to create the policies that impact all of us, so it's really important to get honest, accurate information about real Americans. I'm good at my job. I conduct each interview professionally and impartially. I try to help each respondent understand just why it is so important to have his or her opinions and experiences represented. But it's still incredibly stressful to approach a stranger's door and have no idea what will happen if and when the door is answered -kind of like that scene in the "Yellow Submarine" in which two of the Beatles are trying to find the others and Fred and keep opening doors to be greeted by tigers and clowns and what-have-yous.

I'm finishing this post up the next day-Tuesday. I spent hours yesterday organizing my supplies and trying to set my laptop up to transmit (which it still would not do as of 10:00 last night. I'll be calling tech support in a few minutes again. Because the confidentiality on this survey is so important (I'm legally bound by 3 federal laws) we have increased security on our laptops and I now have so many passwords that I can't remember them all. When I go to log in to this blog I can't remember the password I've been using for months.

I'm trying to not let the stress of this moment eclipse my awareness of God within. I'm trying to remain aware of Spirit flowing through me; trying to allow myself to be a channel for Spirit so God through me can speak to God in those I encounter-on the job and off. I am trying to let my life be a prayer so that I reflect God in my actions and speech. But it is so hard to know the impermanence of each moment when I'm feeling such discomfort. Reset. God. Tension. Reset (breathe). God.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

C Ya

I will be leaving in a few minutes for the airport to fly to training in Chicago. My best friend from high school will be picking me up and we'll be hanging out for the afternoon. I'll be out of town until Saturday evening, so I won't be posting until Sunday, at least.

I have many things running through my head but no time to write. My practice for today is to be true to my center. I will attempt to be aware of, to speak and act from "that of God" in me.