Transparency

She’s frantic, running ragged in the tiny maze of corridors, stuffing all her tender bits of pain into the crevices and crannies, locking up in tiny lockers of her broken heart the things she’s sure that others won’t accept. She wonders how she fits into schemes, roles and scenarios instead of how she fits herself to be of maximum usefulness in a true and passionate life.  She nearly becomes open and true, only to furtively look over her shoulder for who might disparagingly see. The woman in this maze of secrecy, self-doubt and shame used to be me.

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On the outside I was confident, funny, wide-smiling, motivated and caring. But although I was able to be helpful to others, I had no clue how to help myself. Inside I was absolutely terrified. Being terrified of what others think is pretty common. I was also terrified of what I thought about myself. The scraping pain of knowing I was unloveable and unworthy ate at the depths of my soul. I had a sinking feeling that somehow I was broken. And because of that feeling, I couldn’t bear to be real. The lonely ache deep inside me, told me I was the only dysfunctional one and I had better hide the fact. I hadn’t the faintest inkling of how to even begin to be honest, transparent and true.

The amazing thing is that, even in my terror, latent miracles bloomed. I truly believe today that the amazing grace of love flows through us all, whether we are in our darkest hour or our shining reverie. That is the miracle of oneness. Paul Williams on a recent Super Soul Sunday spoke of this same miracle. He spoke of how his songs were a light in the dark until he had the courage to recover. I know this musical thread has not only saved my life but at times it’s been the only source of the hand and voice of God itself. Because of these experiences, I know in the depth of my heart, we can be a channel of light even inside our own darkness. Like Paul, this grace saved my life until I could find the courage to embrace who I was, and by doing so, embrace oneness.

I met a new friend recently who seemed a little surprised by my commitment to be transparent. I had to honestly admit that after all I have been through, the exhausting charades, the people pleasing, the melodrama and the unnecessary suffering, I couldn’t fathom being anything else. To me, staying alive directly depends on my authenticity. To be authentic, I must be transparent. I cannot afford to hide any part of myself any longer. I need the energy I used to use to manage my life to LIVE my life. I need that energy to BE. I need that energy to engage and feel and experience. For me, that means I’m no longer afraid of answering questions directly. “Yes, I’m writing a rock musical. Yes, I only have one breast. Yes, I’m single in my late 30’s after 2 messy divorces. Yes, I feel deeply connected spiritually and yes I believe God loves me whether I am GLBT, republican, democrat, straight, succeeding, struggling, or anything else.”

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The divine is our source of all love. The divine is our source of all beauty, and hope and faith. We don’t go out into the world to gain these things, We are born with them. To be loved and loving is every human being’s divine birthright. To follow our true callings in life and live our passion for the greatest good of the universe must be our focus. Anything that reinforces the ideas that we are unworthy or unloveable just wont do. It simply does not work.  Say no to “Not enough!” Refuse to drink that kool-aid any longer. I want you to know, honestly, from the depth of my heart and soul, and from the voice of the divine that you are worthy and lovable. You can feel divine energy all the way down to your bones if you just ask and you don’t need any human being to affirm that for you. We don’t need external validation for what we know to be true in our souls. For this gift we can be truly grateful. And as a result we can be fearlessly transparent.

Feeling Loved during Pain

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We all need love. Perhaps the times we are in pain, we need it the most. The nature of the human condition is such that we have a divine desire to give share and accept love. But sometimes, the circumstances of our life overshadow that. I have experienced a way out…

Before you complain about Meditation, let’s talk nitty gritty. Or TMZ. Seriously though, meditation has been embraced by enough celebrities! So, what more reason do you need? I mean, how weird could it be if Katy Perry, Sting, Hugh Jackman and Ellen DeGeneres all do it? 😉  Most 12 step recovery programs include meditation in their steps and daily practice of a spiritual program. I knew last year I needed to meditate. I tried to learn to meditate. I tried to quiet the endless spinning locomotive of tangled thoughts in my mind, to clear some space and listen. But I was still in resistance. I still didn’t really want to yet. What was blocking me? It’s not like I was trying to achieve nirvana or everlasting peace. I was just trying to sit quietly for a few minutes.

Perhaps NOTHING was blocking me. Maybe it wasn’t yet the right timing. Have you ever tried to force something before it was time? Honestly, that is the story of my young adult life. It’s exhausting trying to over manage and make things fit when you aren’t in the FLOW of the universe. But thank the beautiful heavens, the universe is patient. If something isn’t fitting, we can relax, breathe in and let our heart expand. We can get quiet and let the presence of the divine lead. It is truly amazing how patient the universe is to wait for the timing that would best enable our comfort and joy. It takes a lot of practice to trust that timing, but if we LET GO and ALLOW our lives to happen, they become so much richer and fuller.

My timing came at an “I Can Do It” conference, completely by surprise. I thought I was there to hear world-class speakers tell their story. The universe had decided my tree was ripe and the fruit of meditation needed to be plucked, and bitten into, until the juices ran down. I finally meditated successfully for the first time. Coached by Wayne Dyer, Panache Desai and Davidji, the stars aligned for my sun from within to finally begin to shine again.

Perhaps the most shocking gift of meditation is the paradox that follows. When I get quiet and take time to listen to ME, I become more deeply connected to YOU. We are of the same light, the brilliant light that connects us, that beautiful energy that holds you so that you know you are not alone.

For me, if I’m honest, God is not a bearded Jesus or a noble man sitting in the heavens on his white throne. Although many Christians take refuge and gain great spiritual help from the traditional teachings of the Bible, my path has proved different. The cross and the commands do not comfort me, but rather have been a source of deep shame I have had the courage to work through.

But this process of meditation is different. It connects me with a higher power that isn’t an idea, it’s an EXPERIENCE. It connects me at the soul level, at the heart level and through my entire body. It gives me a simultaneous peace and joy that I have never felt until now.

My struggles with relationships, work, fighting cancer, self identity, spirituality and the constant hope and search for a life path have all had the darkest of days. But from the other side of the tunnel, I am here to report that these excruciating moments in my life have paved the way for the road to beauty.

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Panache Desai calls it, “stripping the emotional density.” It’s painful to let go and to change. But this change and acceptance allows us to truly BE who we are called to be.

The only way I know to LIVE through these intense moments is to go within. To sob, to hold the space, to be in the moment, to be all that I am and know that I am not what I am feeling, creates a tiny crevice of light. Into this crevice seeps in the beautiful energy of the divine when I relax and surrender. I meditate; I heal; I breathe I surrender. I close my eyes and breathe deeply into a vibrational shift. I experience the vast nature that connects us all, and even in my pain I feel loved. May you find this sacred space in your own way and time, and experience the love that connects us all. Namaste.

Passion

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As far back as I can remember, passion has kept me alive. When I was a small child and I felt like there was something wrong with me because I was different, this passion comforted my heart and helped my know that somehow I was here for a reason. It started as a thread of hope, a glimmer of light, a sparkle that lit a sea of uncertainty, warming my soul, and allowing my fragile heart to begin to blossom safely.

This weekend, I was reminded so beautifully of what that passion felt like as a young person, as I was privileged to witness young people ages seven through fifteen perform music at our fall recital. For a young person to have the courage to stand in front of an audience of their peers and present a deep expression of who they are through music amazes me every time. I am humbled and honored to be a part of the unfoldment of these young musicians. In particular, I’m inspired by those students who step outside of the normal confines of a typical “music recital” and arrange a piece of music, write original music, or perform anything outside of their comfort zone. This fuels my heart and soul to continue to follow suit.

Learning to be vulnerable and to take risks in any arena can be daunting. But using the voice, the body and the energy of the heart to express deep emotion takes a special kind of courage. I’m not talking about talent. Although several of the students are “talented,” that isn’t the point at all. It’s not a contest nor is it a showing of the ego. A recital provides a unique moment in time, a snapshot if you will, as a venue for connection, vulnerability and self-expression.

Cultivating the courage we require as adults starts at a young age. What a beautiful opportunity these young people have been afforded by their families to take this visceral plunge into the depths of their soul if they so choose! For me personally, not just as a young person, but as a teenager, college kid, and adult, music kept my flame lit. At the times I wanted to curl up and die of shame, music caressed the very fabric of my soul. At the times I felt I was worthless, unloveable and a failure, music reminded me that amidst pain we find the richest beauty. In my most difficult trials and travails, music sang me awake again, gently weaving my heart into a place of comfort. In those moments, I truly lived. It was as if a chasm opened, a parallel universe where nothing mattered except my breath, my beating heart and the sweet swirl of melody running through my fingers. When I was in the music, I was truly in ME. Passion-And-Purpose

You know what your heart craves, what your body needs and how your mind most easily falls into the energetic and peaceful hum of passion. You know what stirs you, keeps you alive and feels like home. You know, better than anyone what makes your heart sing and your soul rest in the light of it’s own truth. That is your passion. It doesn’t matter what the passion is, or how you define it. It only matters that you honor the callings of the universe and pursue it anyway you can, as deeply as you can and as often as you can. When each one of us honors that beautiful part of our soul, ALL of humanity is blessed in turn. Be present to your passion.