I invite you into my mind, poetics, sermons and spiritual meanderings. May these words prompt your own words as we pay attention to life all around us.

The single story

I had an experience once. It was impacting. It was great/amazing/life changing. It involved this person.

It is a true and valid story.

You had an experience once. It was impacting. It was hurtful/life changing/painful/destructive. It involved this same person.

It is a true and valid story.

***********

I am a double Libra. I was told this one September afternoon in 1994, by a close friend who does astrology. She was paying for my officiating at her wedding by doing a natal chart based on the position of the stars at my birth. Now, I knew, as most of us do, that I had an astrological sign and that it was Libra. But double Libra? Crazy. I asked what that meant and her reply was “It really really really really matters what people think of you.”

At that point in my life, that was a true and painful statement. Yet, to be Libra, well, to be ourselves, is a complex and layered thing. Beauty. Through growth, personal exploration, and deliberate maturity, I have grown into other characteristics of being a double Libra. Namely, now it is really really really really important to me to see all sides of a story.

A few years back I had the pleasure of taking a two week intensive course with the gifted writer, Barbara Brown Taylor. It was a class on pastoral writing. In it we also focused on the writing of memoir. Barbara had us read several books in this genre and pushed us to accept that our recounting of a story is valid and perfect, even if all the people don’t recall it the same.

One of her students in another class, was aiming to write the most accurate memoir of her family. She painstakingly interviewed siblings and parents on key moments in the family life. She finally came to Barbara, crumpled in an editorial heap because the stories were not lining up. In fact, family events which to her were formative in family dynamics were barely remembered by other family members. Quotes that were emblazoned in her memory were told differently by other family members. What to do?! In the name of accuracy, dear God, what was she to do??!!$#*!

She was to write her single story.

For her memory of the event, of words spoken, of import are valid. The sibling’s memories of events and words spoken, while different, were also valid.

Because it is our own story.

There is much given to the idea of the danger of the single story. When we hear one person speak their story about a larger narrative, and we then believe that it is emblematic of all stories related to this narrative, we go forward as though our fingers are stuck in our ears and our mouths are lalala-ing so as not to hear the other side. We may discredit a person’s story if it conflicts with something we’ve heard before from a credible source. We may turn our perspective from a previous understanding because of the next single story.

Ultimately, there is no single story.

In the first photo in this writing, of the sassy pink high heels, their are stories. The woman could go out with a single shoe on, but would be out of whack, tippy, unbalanced.

A single story, told by one person, can be listened to deeply, respectfully, even reverently. It can be all we need to hear to determine our own engagement with the ongoing story.

However, without the other shoe, we simple have a lopsided knowing. With both (shoes) stories, we begin to see the layers of truth and experience. We then can bring our own experience in from similar situations, and create a larger screen of knowing. As we add to the story telling with perhaps news reports and photos, our single story perspective which once was compelling now seems flat. For the reality lies more in the hologram of 3D compilation of all the stories, news items, photos, personal reflections.

But there is the single story. You have a story. It is valid and true.

You deserve to be heard and believed all the way through the telling and beyond.

As a professional listener (best job in the world, I must say), I am only interested in hearing your single story……

Until….

…YOU are ready to explore the complexities of human interactions that might be at play. That may mean that you tell me your single story again and again and again, until your own trauma or celebration gives way to the larger story, and your soul understands it is now time to widen the view, the scope, the reflection in order to move forward, to heal, to grow.

I believe that this is in part what Jesus, that masterful man of heaven on earth, meant when we are told to love our enemies, to forgive 70×7, to pray for those who persecute us. No one can do this with authentic realness immediately. Not until they are ready to let their single story enter the larger story. If we push too soon, we do more damage to ourselves. If we never do it, we do damage to ourselves. If we hold tight fistedly to a belief that I have the only real story, we do damage to the cosmic interweaving of all of creation.

But if we allow our single story of success, failure, joy, sorrow, trauma, damage, violence to be told and it is heard (this is perhaps the most important coupling  of actions), we are then able to move into that place of deliberate maturity that owns our own viewpoint and experience while understanding there is a larger one that impacts our own. It might even change it.

Our success, may ultimately be on the bent backs of another. Our experienced violence may be the newest link in a generational chain of violence. Our loving relationship may be sweeter because of previous soured stories. Our failure may stem from choices we have made and have unwilling to admit.

Back to being a double Libra.

I automatically hear the space of the other stories when I am listening. I may not know those details, but I hear that space. I feel that space. I know that space of the complex hologram of 3D layers of something bigger. I won’t press you into that space, however. It will unfold when you are ready to move into it. And that will be a good day.

Find someone to tell your story to: a couple of friends huddled at a hightop at the local cafe, a bible study group, a support group. Make sure there is at least one person who gets that your single story is valid and true. Get it, yourself, that others may move quickly into the wider, larger story of opposite possibilities and explanations because they are uncomfortable with what you’ve just said. Let them know that you may one day get there, but for now, your single story is sacred. (an argument for choosing friends wisely).

O Story Receiver

O Cupped Hands to Land In

Live our lives alongside of us

in the particular and holy

in the achingly personal

in the Oneing that you already know

but we are not quite ready to embrace.

Hear our prayers

Hear our cries

Feel our tears

Feel our ripped souls.

For that is all that is needed today.

Tomorrow will take care of itself.

(thank you for the larger story, even when I cannot step into it just yet).

In the name of the Now and the Not Yet. Amen.

 

To your story,

Amy

 

images used from google are licensed for reuse.

Full

Full of coffee and then regret

Full of anticipation and then wait

Full of possibility and then more time requests

Full of joy and then peace

Full of the sacred moving in the deepest reaches of my awareness

pointing to the sacred moving in the deepest reaches of my unawareness.

Like fiber lurking in my oatmeal or hand holding the phone preparing a text I have yet to receive or the dog on the bed running in her sleep.

 

 

 

 

To the movements behind your awarenesses,

Amy

 

photos snagged from Google

As you will

 

This new month of the new year, our threads are full of sayings about growth. Some say that to grow it will be hard. Others say that to grow just think good thoughts.

Both are true.

I love the broad reach of a sacred created universe that allows for multiple realities, and simultaneous truths.

So, lets go with our own today.

Your growth will be as you will.

If you need it to be hard, you can will that. If you need it to be sweet and easy, you can will that. You get to decide.

How Amy? How????

For the answer, let us now turn to nature. She is magnificent in her teachings. And her teachings most often point to dichotomies and multiplicities and overlapping truths that seem discordant.

So, it takes pressure and friction from water to create the fissures in the earth that become canyons and ditches. It takes an enormous push for an egg to come from the hen (I won’t post that picture, but you can see the video here. Amazing. Truly not for the feint of heart in this close up view). It takes forest fires to create the extreme heat needed for some dormant seeds to come to life.

And it takes the warm, passive reach of the sun to grow the grass, to deliver vitamin D, to change a mood.

Look back over your most personal periods of growth. Take into consideration all of the players: family members, lovers, self, teachers, children. Take into consideration the circumstances. Now, take into consideration the narratives, the stories, the presumptions that you enacted in the midst of the circumstance. What drama did you create out of choice?

That is a tough one. First appearances seem like we are finding blame. Our culture always wants someone to blame. Unless it is me. You. Ourselves. Then we want exceptions because we know the goodness inside of us, and the REASONS we did something. And surely we did not bring this calamity upon us. Surely not.

Surely we did. As you will.

We make choices everyday

  • to stay in relationships that are over
  • to remain in jobs that are dead end and drain us
  • to participate in old behavior patterns between people
  • to remain blind to truths
  • to look the other way
  • to not leave
  • to not tell
  • to blame another
  • to point the viewpoint in the other direction with our little fingers

But, we are the creators of our lives. Sure, for those of us who believe in Sacred Source/God we trust that there is a bigger force impacting our day to day over our lifetimes. To those who believe in the potential of humanity without the need for an external godhead, there is a thought that life is what we make it.

But both parties would really like  it to be someone elses fault when it comes to trouble in our lives.

But it is not. As you will.

Our life is for owning and releasing. Each tense drama is often made up from collections of small choices that we make knowingly or unknowingly. We determine the stories we will tell in the midst:

  • I was abandoned as a child
  • my sister hated me
  • the kids picked on me
  • she is prettier than me
  • my spouse will leave me for a younger/prettier/stronger/richer/smarter person
  • my boss will fire me if I stand up for myself
  • I can’t afford to leave this soul sucking job because I have a house, car, clothes, lifestyle to pay for
  • I have to control every aspect that is in front of me or someone might make a bad choice that I’ll have to live with
  • I get sad at Christmas
  • If I tell them how I truly feel, I’ll get hurt
  • God will punish me if I ………

As you will.

Your life is your life. Not to control, but to live. Your life is your life that intersects with a thousand people and things you’ve drawn to you over time. So, it stands to reason that your growth will go exactly as you believe it must. Troublesome or graceful. Or a million other options.

What do you believe?

Here is a new year possibility.

Each day, make a conscious choice to choose differently. A different way to work, a different morning attitude, a different presumption about what some other person is going to do, a different and detached viewpoint on something that has been meaningful to you.

Let go of presumption, scripts, narratives…and see what happens.

Each day. Let something go that you believe can only be this one way. I think that what we’ll find is that nothing is as it seems. We’ll find that we are making things happen…even the very things we don’t want to happen.

Don’t believe you can leave that abusive spouse? Women do it every day and live.

Don’t believe you can move on to another church? People do it all the time for many reasons.

Don’t believe you can wake up/get up ready for the day? You have to pee, so you’ll get up…stay up.

Don’t believe you can approach your boss with requests for more respectful interactions and keep your job? The high road of maturity is sweetly filled with rarefied air.

Don’t believe if you lose your job because you stood up for your dignity that you’ll be able to make it? It will in fact likely be hard. But so was that conversation.

What is it that you are married to, wedded to a belief that life must roll out this way or that way? Make one change to your belief systems/myth making about your living, and see what happens.

Let’s get back to the initial question about growth coming via hard work or passive joy. What do you believe?

I know that in my own life, it took the extreme push of my kid’s health to create the space of ultimate questioning for me. I have also grown in such warmed up spaces that I didn’t even see it happening. So, in my own life, they both are true. I also know that it is true when I am passively living, a bit on the sleepy side, my life doesn’t do much. But opening my eyes can do it all. I also know that a whole lot of cosmic stuff is happening behind the portals of my eyes in the deep recesses of my being without my front-of-me self even knowing (and I love it when that stuff is ripe and falls into my cupped and waiting hands).

As you will.

In order to know what you will, you must be aware that you, we are sleepwalking to a certain degree. And we need to wake up.

But you don’t have to wake up. You can continue sleepily through your life, assuming culturally appointed norms as real, and silver plated narratives handed to you as your life’s meal for the day.

As you will.

As I will? I will continue in a mixture of growth that comes from clear moments of personal choice that slaps that gilded tray away and rewrites the menu, or I can say “oh, this is comfortable for now, I’ll take what you give me for now.” Maybe I’ll come back to it later, or maybe that thing is doing no harm as a norm in my life and I’ll tackle the bigger things.

I have currently been without a spiritual director for several months. I am relying on my own wits for reflection, and the help of friends. One choice I’ve made is the careful selection of those I entrust my reflections to. I don’t want just anyone giving me advise or suggestions or listening to me. No way. But I am missing that every 3 weeks connection to reflect out loud, hear what is within, and have a skilled and thoughtful unbiased listener hearing what I cannot yet hear and helping me clean out my ears.

As I will, I guess. I am picky, and I had a tremendously good spiritual director. I’m convinced that there isn’t someone out there that meet my standard. Guess what? I’m not finding anyone out there that meets my standard. So, I’m changing the paradigm. I want to find someone who will open the drawers of my soul that I haven’t even discovered that I have. Now, that is something to will. What will be pulled out? Oh the glorious mystery and discovery to come!

As I will. As you will.

Forward,

Amy

 

 

Pesky Neptune

Hello Friends!

The skies are talking to us again. Well, everyday, the fantastic cosmos are in motion…..as you read this and are rolling your eyes (omg, Amy, astrology again?)…..let your vision follow the eye roll on out into space…..

The cosmos do nothing to us. We are already part of the cosmic dance. There we are…can you see earth? Can you see you? You are stardust and spacial reality. I don’t ever question the nature of planetary impact on our human condition (just as I don’t question gravity, the necessity of the sun, the power of the moon on tides) but I do wonder what the Creator had in mind with the orbits.

And that wondering and unknown makes me just smile.

The orbits are misshapen circles…oblong ellipses, moving slow, fast, eternal….round and round they go, everyone (us included on our ball of earth) dancing around the Sun. As they dance, they square, align, ascend, conjunct, oppose…they move in and out in orbital precision.

Just as metals and minerals have known affects on our human bodies (ok, ask a chemist about this, all I can do is google it) why would the interaction of two large bodies of mineral and gas, feldspar/magnesium/aluminum (Mars), helium/water/hydrogen (Jupiter), iron (earth), NOT produce effects upon the human condition?

Not magical thinking. Spiritual thinking. Kismet thinking. Interlocking Interlinking thinking and feeling. It happens when we meet someone that we fall in love with. Two bodies in orbit, feeling the pull and push, the synchronicity. It happens when we fall into friendship (this is perhaps a more universal experience). It happens.

What is happening now?

Saturn and Neptune.

The last time Neptune was a major player for me was back in 2002. I had talked to a delightful friend of mine who is an astrologer, and she was reading Neptune in my house of home and family. She saw a change of place, illuminated by the other planetary players and there was Neptune. She described the energy of Neptune like watching a movie on a fog bank. Solid enough to impose an image onto, but ephemeral enough to walk right through. We thought it meant we were moving houses. We found out later that we were indeed moving houses, and towns, and states.

Neptune is a big player this time for all of us. As is Saturn. For months to come. Those of you who ignored my writings about Uranis and Pluto, well you will have a harder time with discernment as you create your magnificent life but it won’t be impossible ….(Uranus and Pluto danced in major ways for years to get our closets cleaned out. Those who cleaned their interior closets might still need to dust off a shelf now and then, and those who just closed and locked the door will discover that the lock has broken, the door has fell off the hinge and the stuff we stuffed is tumbling out)…..so lets pay attention now.

So, Saturn is about getting to work straightening the linens on the bed, polishing our shoes, ironing the wrinkles just so we can now get started on the real work. Lining things up. The equations are written on the board to show how you get from point A to point B to point (X)10. The work is karmic in nature. Discipline and responsibility are the energetic impulses.

Couple this with Neptune. Oh sweet Neptune. Neptune is the archetype of the ocean, the seas, the watery world. It is the archetype of the subconscious. Neptune in astrology brings an energetic impulse of obfuscation, fogbank nebulousness, blurring the lines.

Imagine Saturn coming along and setting everything to rights, orderly, in rows. Sloppy and saucy following behind is Neptune who is erasing the carefully drawn work, puts a flower in the lapel, tips the lined up soldiers hats to a jaunty angle, blurs the borders, erases the leveled boundaries….Disappearing in the sass.

This image is what I want to impress upon us as we continue to create our magnificent lives.

It won’t be easy. We will seek to get it all lined up. We’ll work hard to figure it all out, to find meaning, to make choices….only to have someone say “Have you looked at it from this perspective?” “Have you considered this other job?” “Have you thought about just letting it all go and living day to day?” We won’t know. There won’t be definitive answers. There will be options of varying degrees of rightness. That is how it is. Perfect clarity will be an illusion.

Trial and error will be the theme, try try again will be the mantra. Oh yes, it sounds like unnecessary redundancy  and perhaps we should just hunker down, do our jobs, and wait for Jupiter to move into a favorable house…..but thats not how it works. That is what got us into trouble with the stuffed and locked closet door.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Seeking perfect clarity is illusory ambition in these days. The point is within the desire to straighten, and within the blurred lines. The unknown is the point, pushing us to create what has not been created, to think thoughts untended, to find inner resources that have been dormant. What is within you that you’ve not yet tapped into? That is the point of this Saturn/Neptune square.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The cosmos and us are intricately woven. Their movements are for our well being. Our well being is the joy of these non-human-living balls of matter. The joy of the spheres. The singing of the universe. It is all part of a beautiful plan.

I want to be part of that beautiful plan. There is a perfection in allowing it all to work. Just like we simply allow gravity to work without having to believe in it, or to figure out why it is and if it really affects us. It is going to do its work with or without our belief. And we are going to benefit from it.

So, bring your eye roll back where your eyeballs are more comfortable…the view right in front of you. Who is talking to you? Who is changing right before your eyes? What is taking place and what is your role? What have you goofed up out of fear or insecurity? What can now be changed through an apology or determined change of course? What gloriousness can you play in today?

As a person of faith in the Sacred beauty of God, I will claim this to be God’s glory. It is also our glory. Lets all walk together. Lets explore where you are right now, clean out those closets, dust off the top shelves where you’ll find the last little treasures of the life you’ve lived thus far. Let’s open the door of our life and clear space so that new goodness for a new day can enter in.

 

Psalm 148

Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord from the heavens; praise him in the heights!
Praise him, all his angels; praise him, all his host!
Praise him, sun and moon; praise him, all you shining stars!
Praise him, you highest heavens, and you waters above the heavens!
Let them praise the name of the Lord, for he commanded and they were created.
He established them forever and ever; he fixed their bounds, which cannot be passed.

We are co-creators with God, within the very elements that God ordained. Work with it, find your own unexplored stars, enter the dance that is already happening within you.

To your highest good, always.

Amy

 

credits: images from google images, scripture is from the NRSV translation of holy writing that is likely unable to be accurately translated so allow the Spirit of God to guide your understanding. Let me tell you my sources: elsaelsa.com, divineharmony.com, planetwaves.com. Real people with real wisdom, reading the real stars and not computer printouts.

 

Because it is 2015

Justin Trudeau, Canada’s new prime minister, responded to a reporter’s question “Why have you created a cabinet that is 50% women?”….”Because its 2015.”

Right on.

My own son gave me this correction when I asked if one can smoke in a local diner that he frequents (I don’t smoke, but am on the looking for hipster places to smoke a pipe). “Ma,” he says, “Its 2015.”

Indeed it is.

And in 2015 culture is still fighting for God to be a male because any feminine references for God are somehow beneath and insulting to the Divine.

In 2015 women are still making their way into the work force with unequal pay for equal work, and are grossly under represented on the Supreme Court, in Congress, in the White House, on faculties, in presidential positions, and in the church clergy.

In 2015 we are still concerned about the primacy of Christianity in America rather than doing/living the gospel.

In 2015 we continue with a modern mindset in a postmodern world that allows for a negative group think of us against them and my group is the best group (school, town, race, gender, nationality, etc)  based on nothing more than because I am in that group.

In 2015, husbands can divorce their wives, retain their higher income, not only get new credit cards but can buy land and new things while a newly divorced wife who has worked in the home as the family manager cannot get credit, even to puny department stores like Kohl’s.

In 2015 the culture still think Jesus is white.

In 2015, guns have more rights than people going to see a movie, attend elementary school, walk to a college class. White gunmen are seen as mentally ill rather than as terrorists. Patriarchy still rules.

In 2015, the collective generational passing down of genomic memory actually does make it my problem that whites enslaved blacks, and that I have a responsibility to work toward the honor and respect and well being for my black neighbors.

In 2015, the church as we know it is morphing and we who love the gospel and don’t want to live in the past must get on board or die out.

Not my usual “you are great” writing. But YOU are great, and so is the next person who reads this, and those who don’t read this, and every person skimming through blogs or the unemployment line or crossing the treacherous desert in search of work to support their families, piano teachers, retirees, social workers, women striving for their place and men at the top. Greatness abounds.

It is time to live it.

 

Making the change right now,

Amy