Two Corinthians Walk Into A Bar

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I’ve felt uninspired this week to create new content for my blog, mainly because I’ve felt more like reading.  There is a time to speak and a time to listen.

A few weeks ago, Marianne Williamson said, “If this is the religious right, we need a religious left” in response to the religious right’s lack of morality.  Growing up in the Bible belt, surrounded by the religious right, I’ve always thought that we need stronger voices from the left as spiritual teachers because a lot of compassion, tolerance, love, and beauty is missing from the political and religious right.

I admire spiritual teachers who come from a place of great love for all people, no matter their beliefs, and try to unite us all through love.  Love does awaken great compassion for all beings.

Though I aim for that ideal, I’m also an English professor who analyzes language, and I cannot find love in the rhetoric of the current administration or in the religious right for anyone except white males and fetuses.   

The God-consciousness I experienced during my near-death experience included everyone.  This God consciousness showed me a greater love, acceptance, and compassion than my human brain could comprehend.  I couldn’t bottle that astronomically powerful love force of God and take it back with me, but I remember what it was like to be in the presence of an all-knowing, all-loving God.

I can share what it is and what it isn’t.  God-consciousness was instantly enlightening, and it is my belief that the division between all people can be instantly dissolved in that light.

How do we get there though?  It is easy and instant on the other side.  It takes a lot more time here, and sometimes it isn’t achieved in one life-time.   Perhaps all we can do is work to enlighten the minds of those we encounter.

The God consciousness that awoke inside of me at a very young age taught me to care about the children in other countries, to care about the poor children in my own country, and to look deeply into the struggles of those who face racism, sexism, and homophobia and work to create a safer world for all people.

This work is hard.  This isn’t “snowflake” work because what a person does when he or she stands up to a bully or someone deeply established in patterns of hate and ridicule is the most difficult work on the planet.  To be a loving person capable of transforming the hate of the world makes you a superstar in the moments of your life when you succeed.  John Pavlovitz says this perfectly.

During my near-death experience, God didn’t say bulldoze sacred lands and pollute all water ways.  Instead, God said, “Go to nature for wisdom, for healing, for energy, and release of your worries.  Treat nature as sacred.”

During my near-death experience, God informed me that I needed to turn on the light of knowledge in others through education.  I’ve always believed that enough facts and logic can change the minds of people.  Logic is part of the light as much as love is part of the light.

It is logical to care about all people, and I am tired of defending “people.”  Love doesn’t need a defense.  Love simply is and accepts everyone where they are and tries to lift them up to a better place.  Through the eyes of love, we see that all human beings suffer, and we want to lighten that suffering for all beings. We shouldn’t have to first see their suffering to wish for their healing.  We shouldn’t have to first see their pain to wish for their joy.

In many ways, creating a more loving world is tough work, but love calls us to rise above our own wounds, educate others, and protect ourselves and others.   And through it all, we should love our own brave hearts more not less.  Whatever the life journey takes out of us, we love ourselves more when we choose to be on the side of love.

That said, shock value has its place.  It wakes us up from a sleepy day, energizes our system, and often makes us chuckle.

This is a time for belief systems to be shaken up, not stirred.

Two Corinthians walk into a bar and grab women in inappropriate, illegal ways. They get away with it because they are rich and powerful.  When told that they are wrong, they scream, “An Eye for an Eye.” (The Newly Revised Trump Standard Version of the Bible.) Later, they swear on a book they’ve never read and go out and destroy the earth for the almighty dollar.

Some spiritual teachers will disagree with me and not want to alienate anyone or make anyone wrong, but I am an educator first, and a woman with a spiritual message secondly.  The angels I encountered during my near-death experience were intelligent beings, and they did not traffic in lies and misinformation.  What they knew was clear, sound, healing, and solid.  It doesn’t take a master’s degree to intuit that our president does not speak based on solid, intelligent facts and traffics in hate.  I do not defend hate.  I shed light on it.

I said what I needed to say in an earlier post, and I have nothing more to say today.  I’ll let John Pavlovitz say it for me.

Sexism and the belief that women are inferior is fully exposed from the religious right’s point of view now.  Hopefully, the majority of Americans, no matter their vote, will not be silent in the face of hatred.

Fear is a lousy religion. 

I wish you were really pro-life.

We are not sore losers.

We have our reasons. 

This  is why we grieve.

And, most of all, when did compassion become partisan politics?

Finally, here are fifty more reasons to keep going, fighting, loving, and resisting.

And, if you like TED Talks, this one is interesting about how the political division is growing and how it could heal.

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Happy Valentine’s Day 2017: Wanting For Nothing Else Other Than This Moment

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God’s Love:  Ask a near-death experiencer about love, and we are liable to talk about the best love of our lives which is God–the divine all-encompassing light, the filler of all empty spaces and sadness.  God is the true love who finally made me want for nothing else, the one who gave me undivided attention, care, concern, and compassion.

The presence of God during my near-death experience washed away all feelings of insecurity and of not being good enough.  There were no flaws or negative thoughts in the presence of God.  There was only I AM LIGHT & LOVE.

I was a part of God and God was a part of me.  God was also inside everyone else, so I felt a part of everyone too.  This divine intelligence was a love much better than the best romance.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a good love story, especially ones like Wings of Desire, Bridges of Madison County, Before Sunrise, Amélie, The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Silver Linings Playbook, How Stella Got Her Groove Back, Annie Hall, and even The Notebook, but these stories always contain struggle and yearning.  In the presence of God, all yearning is filled with love.  There is no wish for anything because everything is complete and every desire sated.

Earthy Love:  Perhaps as spirits we choose form in order to celebrate the moment when our own spark of God is ignited again and we remember that connection.  Sometimes, we see a spark of God in another, but the real challenge might be to learn to see the spark of God in ourselves and in every moment of our lives.

Maybe we have to ask ourselves if we can we hang on to the beloved even when the spark isn’t visible and wait for it to ignite again?  Can we love someone through their own darkness until they find the light?  When do we need to love ourselves more than the desire for a relationship and separate from someone?  Abuse is a sure sign that a relationship is over.  Let that sink into everyone’s head and stay there permanently.

Chronic cheaters are also not a great gamble, but there are the random stories of reformed wild men and women.  And, oddly, some people I’ve met feel comfortable in open relationships; there are many ways to love and be with someone.  If abuse is not in the picture, consider what you both can do differently to have the love that you both desire.  Even small changes can make life more enjoyable.

If you have no pressing questions about your romantic life, don’t stress and enjoy the now. We are not promised forever.  Love your loved ones deeply.

Divine Purpose:  If you are at a true crossroads in a relationship, ask yourself what your divine purpose is.  Then ask yourself if the person in your life helps you fulfill your divine purpose.  Do they support your goals?  Do you learn how to love more because this person is in your life?  Do you learn how to communicate differently and understand how someone else thinks?  Do you give each other peace?  Are you becoming a better person because this person is in your life?

Most of all, no matter your romantic status,  love yourself immensely.  Imagine the love of God  is with you at all times because it is.  When you love yourself this way, space opens inside you to love others better and with a more open, joyous heart.

Occasionally, I get questions on my YouTube channel from people who feel despondent about the lack of love in their lives.  I don’t have many answers for these viewers, but I can say that the more peace and love I feel within myself, the better my relationships have become.  

As Langston Hughes said in the ending of the poem, “Life is Fine”, it is important to remember that life is indeed fine, grand, and wonderful in all of its seasons and expressions. Romantic love is only one part of the expression of love and definitely not something to make you want to die when you were so clearly born to live.

....I could’ve died for love—
But for livin’ I was born

Though you may hear me holler,
And you may see me cry—
I’ll be dogged, sweet baby,
If you gonna see me die.

     Life is fine!      Fine as wine!      Life is fine!

Your primary and most important relationship is with yourself.    Think kind thoughts about yourself and others, and love will be who you are not something you are searching for in another.   

What I think is the best part of being back in form is the attempt to love others in small and large ways as God loves us.  We fail, but when we try there is nothing better that we can do for this world.

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Problems with Manifestation Theories

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Manifestation:  I’ve always had some trouble with the idea of manifestation.  Though I know manifestation of things that we want is possible with some effort and in the right state of mind, I also know that we live in a chaotic world and bump up against the free will of others.  Surely, we are not manifesting everything in our lives.

One of the most damaging ideas that ran through my head after my rape was the thought that somehow, I had manifested this occurrence.  That thought made me feel great hopelessness and despair, and I lost a lot of my connection to a loving, abundant God because of manifestation theories.

A better explanation is that rape is common in the U.S. and other countries and women are widely abused around the world.  I’m a woman and live in that world.  Even other women, like my roommate at the time when I was raped, are systematically taught to victim blame and dislike other women, especially the ones who shine.  Many times as women, we even blame ourselves before looking outward at the problem that needs to be addressed in society.

I’m also not sure that I came into the world with a soul contract to experience rape, but if I did then my purpose surely must be to bring more awareness and healing to this problem. If believing you have a soul contract brings you to a point of greater forgiveness, then that theory might benefit you.  What I felt on the other side during my NDE is that pain is simply not important and not what we take with us.  Our mission is one of love and remembering our connection to the divine, and what we encounter here is not planned out in full before birth or when coming back after a NDE.

What I am certain of is that what defines our soul is how we react to the situations of our life and the world.  When we respond with forgiveness, we create a better life for ourselves.

Possibly if I never left my room at night, never interacted with the world in friendly open ways, married early, stayed behind my husband in supporting roles, never traveled alone, never flirted, never wore form-fitting clothes, never insisted on equal pay, never called men out on sexism, never voiced an opinion different from a man, never earned a wonderful education maybe I wouldn’t have been raped or targeted by a stalker.

But, there is still a chance that I would have been abused by my husband and not have the power or funds to leave him.  There is still a chance that a neighbor, acquaintance, stranger, or friend might have raped me in my house as I hid from the world, and what a tragedy that would be to lose out on the whole world because of fear.

Women deserve to walk through this world safely, and we can only do this if rape culture changes.

I treasure my moments of travel around the world and all that I learned about other cultures.  On a basic level, I remember reading newspapers from Australia years ago and realizing how nationalistic and myopic our focus is in the U.S.  Seeing the U.S. from a foreigner’s perspective is eye-opening.

I don’t tie all the wonderful memories I’ve experienced as a free, curious soul to the trauma I’ve experienced.  I see trauma as simply an unfortunate part of living in this world.  What are we going to do about it is the bigger question?

I hope that we are going to transform this darkness with our love, forgiveness, and instance on change.

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Forgive Everything with Every Breath You Take

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For fans of healing geometry, here is a link to an artist, Ann DeRulle, who works in this medium. 

Forgiveness:  Many spiritual teachers talk about the necessity of forgiveness.  The sooner we can get through the stages of grief and get to forgiveness, the better of our inner worlds become.  I know we don’t take pain and trauma with us when we die.  I know it is washed away.  Bringing the light of the heavens, the love of the heavens into our own hearts to heal all that we have experienced is important.

In a sense, this kind of focus does bring more success into one’s life.  Although there is a basic truth to manifestation, the theory doesn’t explain everything about living in this complex, unpredictable world.  However, a positive focus, no matter one’s difficulties, makes for an easier journey.

The Now:  My near-death experience taught me to live in the moment and treasure each moment.  Forgiveness can be accessed quicker simply by switching one’s focus to all that is beautiful about the world whether this is a meal with friends or family or a walk in a beautiful park during your favorite season of the year.

To deeply access a place of forgiveness takes courage; forgiveness doesn’t mean that you continue to hang around people who harm you.  Forgiveness simply means you choose to love and appreciate yourself and your life, no matter what occurs before, behind, or beside you.  You are the embodiment of love.

Try to remember that when you are near death, you don’t want to yell at those who have hurt, shocked, abandoned, abused you, or otherwise wronged you.  Instead, you want to be surrounded by the people who love you.  You want to tell everyone you love how much you love them and how much you want only goodness and happiness for them.  And when you die, love is what you take with you.

The lesson you must learn during your earthly experience is to refuse to populate your mind with the people who have wronged you.  This kind of focus can rob of you of precious time and health.  Forgiveness of others grants you a wonderful, blissful life.

Your forgiveness lets others fly free, and most of all puts you in touch with the love of heavens.  Your hope that others might live better lives works to create a better world.

Our legacy eventually becomes how much we were able to love and forgive despite the conditions of this world.  So, forgive it all as if every breath might be the last one.

Death and Dying:  Even those who have the power to heal both themselves and others will eventually die.  We all die.  We don’t necessarily manifest death.  Death is just part of life.  Nature teaches us this.  You’re not losing the game by leaving the world early.  No one is losing by dying; it is just part of the life experience.

You are only losing out on the joy of life when you refuse to love deeply and forgive everything.  However, even if or when you are consumed by bitterness, try to remember that you are loved more than you can imagine. This might open your heart to forgive others.

A few years after my NDE, I remember meeting an older gentleman who had also recently experienced a NDE.  He decided to sell everything, retire, and live way out in the country in Montana.  His family freaked out and kept asking him what he would do if he had a heart attack out in the middle of nowhere.  He replied, “After making the 911 call, I would simply walk out into my gorgeous backyard, lie back on the ground, look up at the stars or the clouds, and send my love to this earth and everyone in it.  If I died there, I can’t think of a better way to go.”

I can’t think of a better way to go either.  Since you will probably send your love to everyone in the end, you might as well send your love to everyone in every moment of your life.

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This art piece by Ann DeRulle is called Ascended.