Category Archives: Uncategorized

Hate Judgments vs. Messy Truths

In Los Angeles at one point I was contracted to design and do a training on how to intervene and support those who identify as transgender. One of the first metaphors I used was that of switching the salt and the sugar. The first time someone uses the salt when they think its sugar they are likely to have a very strong negative reaction. They are not hurt, all that has happened is that they are used to one thing, and suddenly, something has shifted that they were not ready for. Surprise followed by anger is a common reaction (vs. say surprise followed by laughter). I would then go on to explain that if we left the sugar in the salt shaker and the salt in the sugar jar we would very quickly get used to this and it would no longer be surprising nor would it elicit a negative reaction. In regards to gender, while for the person who identifies as the other gender things are much more comprehensive, for the observer, essentially someone has changed the salt and sugar around. There is no reason to be upset, angry, etc…

I went on to explain that while sex is biological, gender is a social construct, there is no reason for a person who is male but identifies as female or vice versa not to take on the gender identification that is most natural to them.

One of my main points in the presentation actually came a bit later after a number of exercises which reinforce the negative impact of forced gender roles and identification and highlighting the many ways most people deviate from them. I talked about “Hate Judgments” and this is what feels most relevant here in the current post Trump elect environment.

I explained that a hate judgments are simply those thoughts that you carry about people. I asked people and I’ll ask you now – do you know at least one person that doesn’t like you? Can you take a moment to identify who you don’t like? The reality is that people know when you don’t like them. Often we think we are being clever and hiding our dislike, but the person in question observes our behavior – not just with them, but with others… and so it is clear that we dislike them. I the presentation I would talk about how for some people the moment I walked into the room a “hate judgment was formed” I was too short, bald, white, not dressed well enough, dressed too conservatively etc… and why on earth was a straight, white, male talking about how to support and intervene with people who identified themselves as transgender… what does he know? (by that time I had answered the lingering question people have when you do a presentation like that – is “he” transgender? However I would wait to answer that question until the workshop was about half way done and I had established credibility as an ally).

I talked about the small daily impact hate judgments have and how they escalate (those who identify as transgender tend to suffer the most brutal and horrific of attacks in regards to hate crime violence and at a greater proportion in the population). Specifically I talk about the importance of releasing the hate judgments they are currently carrying around. Van Jones recently released his meeting with a family of Trump supporters. There are moments as a liberal with years of education both taught and sought out regarding the oppression of others where it is tempting to dismiss what the family is saying – and yet Van Jones does a phenomenal job of ensuring the family is heard while assisting them in learning the other side. It is a true “walking to the center of the aisle and shaking hands” experience. It is tempting to say the other side is simply a bunch of “ignorant racists” – the truth is, as Van Jones helps us discover, messier. Yes there is an ignorance in play at moments – and yet I would state that ignorance is in play on both sides – in every situation it is that moment when we realize there is a story contributing to the current world view the other has – filled with their own challenges – that is the moment in which we can move forward to create solutions built on unified hopes and dreams based on the needs and wants of everyone in the situation – whether it is in a family, a work place, a community, or a nation.

Evaluation is important. It is important to know who carries hate judgments as an “active” part of their being and to “trust your instincts” in regards to who you can trust or not trust – and yet… especially in the current environment I would encourage people to yes, evaluate, but ultimately release the judgments for those you interact with on a daily basis. “Do not be upset by the doing or undoing of others”. Simply recognize with compassion what may be fueling the choices being made, take an active role in resolving what conflicts you can, and remember that all of us have judgments (I have a whole passel of them which have been shouting for my attention this week) however, those judgments do not have to determine the quality of our interactions with others. The other person may be salt in the sugar jar every day, accept that, there is plenty of sugar to go around, maybe you can offer them a spoonful of kindness and see what happens.
Link to Van Jones: http://www.cnn.com/2016/11/12/opinions/van-jones-messy-truth/

The Map and the Hammer: The Ego as a Tool, not the Self

Below is a writing I did one morning somewhere between 2 and 3 am. It is different than most of the things I write – more clearly spiritual in nature. It is simply a perspective. I make no claim that it is right. It is clearly influenced in tone by both Abraham and Wayne Dyer – as all things have influences elsewhere. Someone asked me if it was a “Channeled” writing. I don’t know. From the perspective of this writing I might say that “all writing” is channeled – just filtered to greater or lesser degree by the map and hammer…
At some point in your past, unbeknownst to you, your ego made a decision to hide your true identity. Your spirit knows that the ego was just trying to help. The ego was wanting to make sure that you, that it, would be safe from any threats. It wanted to try and prevent it’s self from being hurt in any form. To make sure it would not be shamed, blamed, abandoned, maimed, or in any other way have it’s existence threatened. And so your ego, the part of you that was given a physical fingerprint, decided to be less than it really was – believing that this life was everything. In that moment your ego convinced you to give up your power, to conceal it, to pretend to be a mere mortal in the hopes that you would never discover what you were truly capable of, never discover what the ego truly was… a simple tool to help you discover physical preferences in this life, a simple tool to be used to guide you to joy, in fact really, no more than a map that can be used to guide you towards positive experiences and away from negative ones. Your ego is your access to free will, however, your ego mistakenly believes it is your free will. The ego is designed to see the emotional geography of the world and is connected integrally to the physical brain – a brain designed organically to recognize and solve problems in order for us to develop our physical preferences. The ego as a result of this connection is vulnerable to fear and anxiety as it is connected to the physical mechanism that keeps your physical body free from harm. You are not your brain and you are not your ego. At some point the ego, the spirits tether to the body, meant to simply be one source of information for your existence, convinced you that it was the only channel of information you should listen to. It is important to recognize that the spirit is only a tool given to you as a way of receiving and interpreting information from your physical body. It is important to recognize that the ego is connected to a physical organ which is designed to create problems. It is up to you to access your spirit to filter the ego’s messages, which are really the brain’s messages, and to then communicate back to your ego, back to your brain, so that it will work on the “problems” that you most desire.
Your brain, in the absence of guidance, is like a sentient computer. In the absence of your spirit’s programming it will continually and constantly scan the physical environment around you for data that is focused on ensuring the physical survival of your physical self. Lacking physical dangers it will still take data it receives and find ways to interpret the data so that you will see “potential dangers”. The ego is programed to provide contrast for your desires. It is programmed so that you might identify your true desires and true passions and then map your way to them with your internal GPS.
However when you mistake your brain as who you are, instead of recognizing your brain is simply a tool for the manifestation of your desires, the data on lack then becomes your primary programming. If you have a hammer and do not provide direction to the momentum and force of it’s swings it will destroy everything around you creating holes in the walls and floors and possibly injuring you and those around you. When you provide clear direction for the hammer and put in front of it the proper materials you may build a cabinet to hold your desires, you may create a home to satisfy your desire for a place to live, you may even create buildings that can hold the lives of thousands of people or structures of great beauty. It is all in recognizing that the you are in control of the hammer. You are in control of its force, momentum, and direction. You are even in control of which side of the hammer you are using so that if you see that you have made an error in your current judgement as you are receiving information you may choose to pull the nail out you have just imbedded in order to make a correction.
This is your brain. This is your ego. This is its function. It is a tool. When you use the tool without direction, without conscious intent, it will cause destruction in your life. When you use the side of the ego that is designed to prevent you from the immediate and premature destruction of your physical form before you can carry out the purpose for why you chose to come to this planet as your only tool you evoke fear. You evoke anger. You evoke disappointment. When you use the side of the ego that is a constructive map of your physical preferences in this world and consciously provide it with materials – visualization, conscious choice of your thoughts, and intentional action, you remember your true self.
The ego is a series of spiritual nerves to your spirit to provide you information. It is nothing more and nothing less. When you have experiences that cause you discomfort if you allow the ego to overwhelm you with its messages you will experience fear. You will experience doubt.
If you remember that the ego is simply a tool. No more and no less, then you can communicate back down the pathway of your spiritual nervous system to provide it with direction. So that you can build your true preferences in this physical existence… on as Abraham says… the leading edge of thought.
To do this you must remember to choose positive emotions and positive thoughts. It is not that you should never experience sadness, anger, or discomfort. It is that in those moments where the ego is providing your spirit with information about the negative aspects of your physical existence that you recognize this simply as contrast. That you recognize this as simply information about what you have currently created in your life.
If you recognize this as your current creation, than you can choose to use the other end of the hammer. You can take the nail out you just imbedded and make a course correction. While you can always abandon the project you are currently working on – it is easier to build up momentum and positive thought. While each of you has the power to transform your lives instantly. Most of you in the physical plane believe it takes time to do so. Therefor it is easier, until you learn otherwise, to simply remove the nail and continue to build. If necessary discarding the piece of wood you have used, but not destroying the entire project you have built.
For your spirit it is no more difficult than an adult helping a child to build a structure out of Lincoln logs or legos. Your spirit can see the full structure clearly if you allow it to and can literally build the life you desire in moments. If you wish to the ego which is no more than the bodies tether to your divine self, your bodies spiritual nervous system designed simply to relay information, will respond fully and completely to the direction of the divine. In this way miracles may occur in a moment.
For your spirit is not just connected to the brain. Your spirit is connected to the entirety of the physical world. You may heal yourself or another instantly. You may rejuvenate the hearts of distant stars with a thought and a prayer. You may call the wind into your hair as easily as you call the divine into your heart. With a simple thought.
Do not mistake the hammer for yourself. Do not swing your hammer with your eyes closed, either ineffectually and without the power to make even the slightest impact, or forcefully and without direction so that you create holes in the structures you are building or injury to your physical existence.
While they may be repaired instantly – as was said before – for most of you – you believe that they cannot. So remember the ego, the hammer, has two sides. One was given to allow you to ensure that your physical being did not end prematurely. The other was given as a map of the physical preferences you chose in this lifetime to direct you to your purpose.
No more. No less. Do not mistake either end for who you are. Your spirit is not your ego. Your ego is not you. It is simply a tool placed within a physical body. A physical body designed to respond to your will. Like all tools, yes, it will wear out. Should you desire it another physical form will be available to you. Your existence is not the physical form. Your brain is not who you are. Your ego is the stream of coding between you and your spirit. Do not allow the ego to direct your action. Provide your ego with the programming you desire.
When you live in gratitude, faith, and follow your bliss – then the very world will, as Jung said, open up doors that only you can open
A final thought – Wayne Dyer stated that he did not feel the ego was worth defending. It is not. You do not defend a hammer. For you recognize the hammer is not you. You do not defend a map. For you recognize the map is not you. The ego is a tool. It is not you. It is not even that the ego believes it is you. It is you believing you are your ego. You have come to believe that you are the tool. The ego is just a constant stream of information providing information about the physical form you have currently chosen to take. It provides information you believe to be “bad” and information you believe to be “good”. The information is neither. The information the ego provides is simply information about how closely you are living to the path your chose before you took on physical existence. When you living in service to your divine self you will feel joy.
Even when bad things happen these events are simply information. Some of you as you read these words may even feel shame or guilt feeling that you have not been living into your divine self. These thoughts do not serve you. These thoughts are the way you swing the hammer to hurt yourself. You are a full and diving being who has chosen to have many different experiences. Some of these experiences will in fact be “bad” things. That is because you have chosen to live in a world of contrast in order to understand more fully many things that are important to your spirit. You have chosen to live in a physical world with many choices so that you too, may learn to create. You have chosen to live in a world of contrast so that you can learn to recognize the god in you. “All that I have done the least among you can do and more.”
You are a divine being. You are perfectly created. You are love with a map and hammer. And in this moment and in the next you can create any tool you need to manifest into being the doors that only you can open so that you create the life you have chosen before you took physical form.

Failing Forward

Fail Forward.
One of Jack Canfield’s Success Principles is to fail forward. What does this mean? It means to regard all events in your life simply as feedback. Yesterday I attempted to launch my first free phone informational series. One person showed up on the call. I was still thinking about failing forward and going ahead with the content of the call. I was using a new conference line that had the potential to record – but when I tried to start the recording nothing happened. And then, while I was talking to the one person who showed up on the call – I got disconnected. I got back on the call and talked with person who really just wanted to know more clearly what I was trying to create. It was great feedback. There was something missing in the messaging. People might not be getting on simply because they didn’t know what they were showing up for. Like being invited to a birthday party and not knowing whose birthday it is. I thought perhaps, maybe, even though the recording wasn’t working, someone else might show up. At this point I wasn’t really talking about the content I had intended – but it was still well worth anyone’s time in regards to understanding the importance of enrolling others in understanding the “Field of Dreams” you were creating. Then it happened. I got kicked off the call again. At this point my inner saboteur was having a field day!
Demoralized I got on the call one more time – the person on the call was ordering lunch, but still on the call! We agreed to talk privately and I ended the call. So I thought about all the things I knew going into the call. I was expecting maybe four people – with hopes that others would show. However I knew scheduling could be a challenge – so I had fully expected that people might try to tune in for the recording even if they could not make it in person. Once the recording technology for the website failed me – I realized that I could still record the content and make it available later. This would even give me an experience of creating my first “audio” program. Still a win. Somehow though, it didn’t feel like a win. Failing Forward felt like failing. Just failing. No forward at all.
So I reminded myself that to Fail Forward you have to take the lesson the experience offered and run with it. I also reminded myself that despite everything my “ego” wants me to believe – I am not my body, I am not my thoughts, and certainly not my successes or failures. So, if I was going to see a benevolent universe at work what would I find. What I found was that I believe in the content of the work. That the preparation for the call helped me solidify the concepts behind the Hero Factor. I also discovered that three other people had hoped to get on the call – two couldn’t because I had already stopped the call by the time they would get on, and the last one was hoping to listen to the recording. Then I remembered that a fifth person had also been intending to listen to the recording – having told me ahead a time she would not be on the call. What I realized, as was gently pointed out to me by a number of people who responded to my facebook post “The Skies Clear but my message was not” was that the message was clear enough to generate interest by five people… and that an audience of five is a place many others would love to have. In fact, an audience of five would have exceeded my own expectations. Simply because this was me trying something new. Doing something different than I have done before. Growing in the face of my own fears. Taking the risk to do something I have never tried to do before. So maybe failing forward isn’t really accurate. I was, in fact successful on many levels . I will be transparent in saying – it still feels like failing. The tendency to second guess – what if I had just stayed on the call longer. The way the brain tries to catastrophize – I’ll have lost my ability to get the message out because I didn’t stay on the call five minutes longer! That’s just the saboteur though. The one we all have. Trying to convince me that living in my safe zone is easier. It is, but it is also a space of emptiness. So here I go. Failing Forward transparently. Because fear and disappointment – those things don’t make H Factor Moments. However, if one allows them to, they actually can help fertilize the heart and fortify the mind for stronger and more well defined action. Being the Difference is not about getting it right. Being the Difference is continuing to do the work to provide yourself and others the opportunity for growth and transformation. Which also is how you transform fear and disappointment into a full speed failing forward H Factor Moment.

Four Practices of Happiness: When a Loved One Makes Painful Choices

I was providing group supervision when a therapist stated that one of her friends had committed suicide over the weekend. Over the previous four weeks I had been following along with Ruby Gangadharan and Amina Mahkdoom as they went over Four Practices of True Happiness on Amina’s Adventures facebook page. The four practices were friendliness, compassion, delight, and non-attachment. All of the four practices had a way of interweaving. Can you listen to another without having to contribute your own story i.e. fix things, persuade, cajole, advise and let go of any need to compare yourself to them or their experience. To simply let their story unfold in front of you. Can you assist others without needing to be right or elevate yourself or be faced with a feeling that their suffering has inconvenienced you or is less than and to offer that support without doing so to make ourselves feel better or to be recognized and validated? Is it possible to simply experience the joy of another person’s good fortune, excitement, or joy and to tap into that in order to celebrate their delight with them without having to “take possession” of it in any way. To be inspired without envy, to laugh with instead of be annoyed when someone is in the throes of delight that we have no direct part of? To simply recognize that we are one with them and have that be enough? Can we practice neutrality when someone takes an action that spurs us to dislike or even antagonism? Can we not only hold a sense of neutrality, i.e. allow ourselves to simply be as they are without having the “difference” between them and us be a reason for upset, but can we recognize that the frustration or anger or upset that this person is “causing us” is in fact the lesson in front of us? Can we see that their expression of the world is something we ourselves may be trying to disown or perhaps simply something for us to accept without having to make the other person bad or wrong? Could we go one step further and to fully accept the person. We do not have to agree with the behavior they are engaging in – however could we separate out the behavior from the person and provide unconditional acceptance for them as a fellow being with an expression of gratitude for them enabling us to evolve and expand our own consciousness and to close patterns within ourselves that otherwise would simply further contribute to a negative escalation? And in doing so perhaps even engage in a full transformation?
These were the practices we had been discussing over the previous weeks. The focus and practice of each of these four areas in turn over the previous weeks – friendliness, compassion, delight, and non-attachment were things – were very present when the disclosure was made. As such there were things I knew – I did not need to make the person in front of me feel better – I simply needed to be present and hear what she was expressing. I did not need to take her pain on inside of me – for it was her pain and her journey – better that I walk beside her. I did not need to have a “right” answer to validate or affirm my importance. She chose to disclose in the group – I simply needed to normalize for the group, permission for her to share what was needed so that if there were any lingering judgements in the room, they could be dispelled and everyone could affirm the importance of her disclosure knowing that the space there would also be present should, in the future, they too desire a space to express their story. I asked a few questions of simple inquiry. She shared what she wanted, shed a few tears and then we moved forward. The exchange took about ten minutes. At the end of it I affirmed who she was as a human being and asked if there was more she wanted or needed. She indicated that no, it was simply that because we had created mission statements the week before, she had a moment of feeling that she had failed her mission statement with someone close to her. The conversation shifted naturally as we talked about the importance of recognizing our own limitations – and that when someone is depressed the hardest thing for them to do is often to reach out. And yet, for their friends, it is not that they would not reach back – but that each of us is busy creating our journey. We will reach back to help another if we know it is needed – but ultimately we each have our own journey. We can choose to accept the choice of another – even a choice to end their physical journey and accept their choice, or we can perseverate on what we can no longer change. We have a choice to accept ourselves in that as well, or to focus on our limitations. The four practices interweave and dance with one another. They show us the importance of both offering support and love without the subtle price of being right or undertones of jealousy, and they also provide us with a way to step through the hardest moments of life – when another person we love dearly has made a choice that ends in their suffering or even death while we feel helpless. In these moments we can still engage in happiness. We can respect the unfolding of their story and its meaning with Friendliness whether they are alive or dead and trust that they are making the best choice for them. We can hold our hearts open in compassion and whether it is their heart or spirit offer up our prayers and blessing and even our actions should it be possible and should they want our assistance recognizing the strength both they and we ourselves gain in that moment of freely given support and open ended love. We can delight in their smallest victories as they move forward on their path and we can delight in the meaning of their life if they have passed on – celebrating all that they touched and provided no matter how they may have stumbled. For even their stumbles of headlong falls were simply opportunities for us to treasure them all the more. And finally we can step back to neutrality and accept that their journey, no matter what their current result is, even if that is death. We can be grateful that we walked alongside a reflection of ourselves and we can love their being without judgement. We can reflect on all the lessons of their life and bring those places unfinished in us to completion as we accept all that the person in front of us is or was. Namaste. I bow to God within you. Love. Joshua
For more information on Ruby Gangadharan go to: http://loacoaches.com/ruby-gangadharan For information on Amina Mahkdoom go to http://www.lunchwithcinderella.com/

Spirit Translation: Corners Unseen

Spirit Translations: A Spirit Translation differs from a Soul Translation in that a Soul Translation focuses on an individuals essence, values, and path through life. The Spirit Translation focuses on their own specific relationship with the divine. Below is the First Spirit Translation I wrote.

Corners Unseen

Attunement
They surround her pass by her
A glimpse of a Gryphon
Dragons Fairies
A Gnome – An Owl – A Panther
She feels them around her
As well as the ascended masters
The Goddesses
Morrigon and Kryon
Some are there simply as “sponsors” if you will
The others there inspecting her
Assessing her
There is really no question
It is more for her to understand
The gift she is being given
Not the gift itself

This is simply the recognition of it
The tuning of her own unique gift
To the universal harmonies around her

It is completed
And in a moment
All of them disappear
As energy shoots into her
Through her
Around her
Buzzing

Jagged as it smooths to the curves of her energy
She is tuned to universal harmonies
She is the key
Recognizing there was never a lock
Simply a misperception
That somehow she was separate
She stands now
Among the forty – the fifty – the endless
Healer and Guide
For those still not attuned
For those who have not yet realized
We are the key
To an endless universe that doesn’t have a lock

Beneath the Nightfalls
She moved into the farm house
There in the corners of a field with no corners
For empty grasses have no corners
Still yet they do
Stood the gnome

Wondering silently
At the gentle power now residing within
The house he rarely stepped into
A power not quite aware
Yet with awareness growing
In corners of a mind without corners
For minds have no corners
Still yet they do

He saw the owl hunting
Hunting for the hidden wisdoms
Beneath Nightfalls
When the waters of shadow
Rushed silently through his fields
He had watched for centuries

At times in the Nightfalls
As he watched he saw hoow the Goddess herself
Rode the owl
Now larger by far than an owl ever is
Now the goddess riding small between
The owls wings

Size and shape did not really matter
In a field with and without corners
A reflection now
Of the mind
Residing within the house

So the Gnome
Threw up a flag of parley
Between one Goddess and another
Coming to meet beneath the Nightfalls
On Owls and treading through invisible paths

For the Gnome
Tasked with a protection of lands
Tasked with the protection of the lands spirit
Felt the awakened spirit
Further wakening

Knew within was an ally
To the fields with and without corners
To the fairies large and small all at once
To those the fairies served
The Morrigan

So it was that Athena and Morrigan met
As they had done thousands of times
As they met for the first time
Athena seeing the Wisdom
Of unleashing power

Seeking to serve
Through a path
Through fields with and without corners
Beneath the Nightfalls

Where wisdom flowed seen and unseen
By Owls and Gnomes

The Divine
There is a place
Where Puff the Magic Dragon still frolics
Where Artemis dresses in purple
To inspire another generation
As the Huntress
Where the Gods and Goddesses
Go to play

This place
Among all the places of the sacred
Is where she goes
An incredible empty space
Filled with amazing entities
The Playground

It is here she has stumbled across gods
Whom had she looked down at their feet
She would have realized were playing hopscotch
Whom had she looked at their hands
Might have realized what they held were not
Lassos but jump ropes

Nontheless the Gods and Goddesses here
Are no less powerful
No less regal in their bearing
No less aweing, perhaps in fact more so
For here more than other places
Aspects of their eternal innocence
Can still be found

Here in a place of Eternal Power
They fill up the very air around them
Here the Morrigan meets with her
In the height of her power
For where else but the playground
Would you expect a Queen of Fairies

Here in the Playground
She was presented gifts
After adventures in places beyond
Completing tasks
To extend the healing
Of lands and spirits in this dimension and others

A Golden Ball of Energy
A Raven’s Feather
Things of wonder
Mysteries to unfold
Upon her return
From the Playground

The Owl
The Owl has always been with her
Perching above the doctor
Perching above the bed her mother held her in
Perching at the stairwells as she ran down them
The Owl has always been with her

The Goddess
Owls are the Eyes of Athena
The Owls do the choosing
Yet it is Athena who confirms
Placing within each
A filament of wisdom
As the Owls themselves
Burst from her thoughts
To seek their manifestation
She is a daughter of Athena
Born of a precious mix
Of desires and needs
To carry forth
A wisdom of ancients
In which the spirits
And gods
Are one
Not Divided
From mankind

Loki
He took her beyond the playground
To the places where the realms
Of Gods are not eternal
For he holds kindred with the Fey
In spirit
If not his spirits blood

That he shares with Giants
The giants were laughing as she entered his home
A Scandinavian Chalet
Large enough to house giants
Large enough by far
To hide in the dreams of corners

He saw her there
Standing in the Corner’s Dream
As she had learned to do long ago
Quiet and unseen
However Loki has always been a master
Of seeing things and beings Invisible

So as the Giants told their jokes
And laughed in ways that shook
Creating reverberations in the air
He took her to the window
In the part of the house
That left the Play ground

He pointed to a building that was crumbling
“They don’t believe anymore, can you help?”
And there
In a moment
The giants fell into silence
Their large bones falling into the gaps of the earth
beneath the crumbling foundations of the building
to fill them

Childhood: Before the Playground
Her mother an Italian Catholic
Her father a simple mechanic
Working six days of the week
More interested in being a good father
Than a good Catholic
Stating simply that he was not going to go church
The one day he had to spend with his family.

The Priest came by to speak with him
Leaving with his blessing
“Live a Christian Life
You don’t have to come to church”
And so the only services she found
To commune with spirit were her own

Listening to the wind growing through the trees
Listening to the rivers flowing through the grasses
Listening to sunlight coaxing shadow from its refuge
Listening silently in the unseen corners of fields
In the open spaces where no corners exist

The Owl and the Horse
As she turned to the fields
With no specific direction
The Horse emerged
From the open expanse
Always there
Yet unseen
Until
There
As the shadows grew longer
In her first winters
It was apparent
She would need
Support on her journey
A way to travel
Through the times of shadow
With safety
And when able
With speed
The horse lifting her spirit
Onto it’s back
The owl looking ahead
In the darkness
To guide their path

The Angel and the Owl
While the Owl perched above
Her Guardian Angel
Simply stood beside her mother
As she came into the world

The Angel and the Owl
Always beside her
At times flying besides each other
To see what was coming forward
Through time to met her

To prepare her spirit
To prepare her heart
For the journeys she would take
Both outside of the corners of her mind
As well as outside the confines of her heart

The mind and heart
Like fields
Open, endless, without corners or confines
When all is said and done
At least once the flight of Angels and Owls have been completed

So they prepared her
To move beyond the idea
That the divine was more than an inconvenience
That occurred on Sundays
A disruption to a happy family life of a working father

Calling an Angel
She liked to stand unseen in corners
It was comfortable
She was as good as it as any gnome
Still she was never unseen
By Owl and Angel

Her life coach was already well attuned
As she herself took her first steps
So with her Life Coaches coaching
Talking on the phone they made it a three way call
Adding her Guardian Angel

Her Angel spoke clearly to them both
She only caught glimpses of the worlds
Her connection still unclear
Her coach caught every word
Told her things about her life there was no way for her coach to know

Ariel
Unseen
Ariel
Unseen
Drew
Breath
With
Her
The
Moment
She
Drew
Breath
With
Wind
And
Water
New Zealand
Nine years in New Zealand
She lost the corners of her mind
Becoming instead an open expanse
Never ending
Always knowing
The Horizon was simply the beginning
Of the Playground
It was the Maori
That opened her mind and her heart
Allowing her to escape the confines
Of a Known World into the Unknown
Challenging her assumptions
Digging beneath her original foundations
Leaving large holes beneath her
To be filled with the bones of Giants
Waiting for their resurrection
Athena
Unseen
Fighting
Only
In
Defense

Goddess
Of
Reason
She
Inspired
Defense
Of a
Native
People

To
Open
Up
Pathways
To
Mind
And
Heart
Wisdom
The
Path
To
Spirit
Nurturer
She had first glimpsed the realities of corners
In hearts and minds in her role as a nurturer
She found herself intuitively seeking out
The unseen places
Where people hid themselves
Between the Shoulds of their upbringing
And the Coulds of felt expectations
She could sense how the students she worked with
Had backed themselves
In with the bones of giants
Slowly losing belief
In the myths and fables of their own lives
Slowly losing belief
In the power and possibility
Of an endless playground for manifestation

She knew these places well inside of herself
She understood the Brave Front so many of them presented
As they told their stories
Seeing beyond it
With the Wisdom of Owls
With the Compassion of Angels
Flying beside their spirits
She worked with them
To transform the shoulds and coulds
Into possibilities of their own choosing
Showing them the light
That always exists at the very center
Of the forest
Crossing the bridge
Into a rising sun
As yet unseen

Joy of Giants
Once she had lived a life
Once she had lived many lives
In which
All that was allowed to her
Was what was given
With no control
Or choice
Over those things that most mattered

In this life
Her foundations challenged
By the struggles of a people
Losing control
Over their lives

She felt her guides
Pushing her
To step beyond confines and corners
Created in other lifetimes

In this life
She has been charged
Not just with finding the limitlessness of her powers
Which she still defines as finding the limits of
She has been charged
With inspiring others
To find that they too are beyond the definition
Of a world which would bury giants
Instead of tell jokes
And laugh with them
To hear and feel the very air
Reverberate with their joy

12th House
She has never been attached to the realm of Midgard
She is the squirrel running through the branches of Yggdrasil
She is the very branches travelling through the nine realms
She is the Rainbow Bridge
Upon which the Gods and Goddesses travel

She is the light of the bridge escaping
Beyond
No longer distracted by a need to support
Even them
Instead leading the way to places still more fantastical

She is the manifestation of that light
In circles of trees and mushrooms
She is the portal to different dimensions
Beyond the nine known
As planets
Circling the light of a sun

Loki and The Morrigan
Each feared
For their purpose
To inspire
An Authentic life
For championing
The Sovereignty
Of the Soul
To believe in Giants
All that must be done
Is step into an authentic life
All that must be done
Is to Uncover one’s own divine gifts

This then is her purpose
To lead people
Along the invisible paths
To Unfold the Corners
within themselves
That do not exist
To find their own expression
Of an authentic life
Guided by the Divine Gifts
They as yet
Do not recognize
As being limitless
Within themselves

Triple Goddess
She was the maid
Hiding in corners
Wondering and Wandering
Seeking a playground when no one around her
Had any interest in playing

She has been the matron
Nurturing the hearts, minds, and spirits
Of others
Showing them that corners
Are also myths
That playgrounds are possible

She is the Crone
Stepping up and out
Of this Universe
Beyond care of reputation
Ready to play with whoever shows up
Dismissing those who don’t as simple illusions

Crone
The arrival of the Crone
Was one of joy
An opportunity to step into
Full Authenticity

She placed the gift of moonlight
The magic of tides
Of spirit, heart, and mind

She placed the gift of cards
The magic of patterns
Of spirit, heart, and mind

Into her hands

She placed the gift of Joy
To live could be simpler
Living in the moment
Letting things go by

Showing her

In this life
And those previous
She has always had control
Of what she needed control over
Her spirit, her heart, her mind

Shadow of the Crone
Understand
The Crone always has
What is needed
Yet often little more

It is easy to forget
The simple life
The Crone demands
Also has hidden gems
Left in places
Only she can find

There is never a wanting
In living with the crone
Unless one forgets
One always has
What one needs
Forgets the treasures hidden
Like a squirrel for the lean times

For even the Crone
Enjoys her luxuries
Turning to Fortuna
To allow her
To let go of the simple life
Time to time
To provide her
A fortune and comfort everlasting

Keys of the Divine
The Fairies entered her life
As she took residence in her house
Her mother’s influence
might not have left her a practicing Catholic
Still the fairies that came
To expand her work
Were Italian

The Italian Fairies
Lilly, Bella, Isotta,
Gabby and Galinda
Came both to expand her abilities
And as The Morrigan’s emissaries
To keep an eye on her progress
To influence her
Ensuring she continue moving
in the right direction

The Farm Gnome
He stands in the background
In the Corners of the field
Waiting to be called
Showing up to help with the garden
To keep the lands around her in order

He is an expert
In finding corners in the open fields
And unfolding them
Into open spaces
Expanses of the playground
As yet undiscovered

There the unfolded expanses
Dragons come to play
The Fire Dragon
Filling her with inner heat
igniting power
Inspiring her along her path

The Fairies continuing to build
With her
As she provides them with tributes
Building towards something bigger
With their Queen
The Ball of Golden Energy
The Raven Feather
Strengthening the limitlessness
Of the gifts within her

And all around her Owls

Her own owl
Always there
Her guide to her Akashic Records
To uncover with her
Threads of Athena’s Wisdom
To unlock the mystery
Of her path

One with keys
But no locks

Her Angel
With Her Grandmother
Bringing comfort
And love

Her Horse
The steadfast companion
For her to rest upon
While ensuring
She always
Moves
Forward

Unseen Angel

In this
Lifetime
Her Angel’s
First word
She heard
Was

“I’ve been Waiting”
She
Knows
Her angel has had to wait many lives
For Her Angel and her have been together now
Across lifetimes

Learning and growing
From one another
With her angel
Preparing her
For
This
Life
Time
And
More
To come
As each lifetime
Her power
Simply
Grows

Survive or Thrive – Fear in Every Day Life

I don’t consider myself to be one that is governed largely by fear. My father’s theme in the writing he has been doing on his blog is that of Survive or Thrive (http://www.potter-efron.net/SurviveorThriveBLOG.en.html) He has written in the area of anger for at least two decades now and provided workshops on anger across the world – Russia, Australia, China, and of course far too many places to name here in the United States. What is clear to me as I’ve grown older that fear shows up in a lot of forms – anger at someone who is leaving a relationship, excitement as a relationship is cemented in marriage, the daily stress of “not being able to get enough done” at work, becoming paralyzed with inaction as we begin work on a new project or come back from a vacation to two hundred emails. All of these are gradients of fear.
When I look through that lens I can see how fear influences my choices on a daily basis. A concern that I might not provide a service of high enough quality, putting off a phone call because I don’t want someone to tell me no. In truth in most instances that fear shows up though, it is the inaction, confusion, or delay that causes the compounding of that fear and strips me of my ability to take effective action. When I take the actions that are necessary and in front of me, I may feel tired afterwards, I may feel disappointment, in cases of having challenging conversations with those I love I may even leave feeling saddened – but I also come away with clarity and often a sense of great satisfaction that I was willing to take on the challenge or address the concern that had been bothering me.
It is easy to fall back into survival mode in the small actions we take on a daily basis – avoiding what feels overwhelming – forgetting that avoidance triggered by anxiety/fear doesn’t actually allow ourselves to be successful and will ultimately bring more overwhelm as the work compounds. Unfortunately while freezing can be effective for a deer being hunted at times, in the every day world of work the bear or wolf isn’t going to walk by us not noticing that we are not moving. In fact our superiors are quite likely to notice that we are NOT moving or taking action to get things done.
There are ways to overcome this overwhelm – techniques like the Rule of 5 – answer five emails, complete 5 documents, make 5 phone calls, thus breaking down tasks into manageable chunks or making lists with columns such as Must Do, Should Do, Nice to Do, Can Wait, and Delegate and then systematically starting at the top of the list with the Must Do’s (many people start with the items lower on the list as they cause less anxiety, this tends to create a snowball effect however as they are taking care of the things that can wait while thinking about the Must Do’s and Should Do’s, thus draining their energy even further.
All in all, what I recognize now is that in life, fear can be a constant that shows up in small things. This isn’t necessarily something we have to “fight”. It is helpful to recognize that this is because our brain, biologically, is designed to solve problems. To do this though, it needs to constantly scan the environment and create problems to solve. It has a habit of doing this by identifying threats to survival –physical, emotional, fiscal, even mental and spiritual. When we recognize this we can consciously let go of the fear response and take on the task in front of us as an active choice. Something we are choosing to do instead of something that has to get done or else we will face dire consequences. None of us has to work. We choose to for many reasons. Focusing on the choice is another way of keeping us out of fear. So Surviving or Thriving is an every day choice we make moment by moment in the day. I encourage you to remember that your choices are your choice, I encourage you to remember that fear and anxiety in our every day life is an option. Save it for when you really are in danger so that you can love the life you have chosen, and choose a life you love.

Maps to Heaven – A Soul Translation

I meant to post this yesterday: Soul Translation Sunday :). I was given permission to share this Translation I wrote two weeks ago and completed last week – but was asked not to say whose it was. It is longer than any other I have done I believe – still my hope is that this person’s soul translation will inspire you – to understand the power of choice you have in your own life. More information on my soul translations will be up soon at Beingthedifference.org

Maps to Heaven

Dependable

She is not one to take incompetence lightly
Especially when it is clear that the other person’s incompetence
Is a choice
As she considers it to be in most instances

Recognizing in others
When they act incompetent
Even with themselves
In order to avoid the possibility
Of being dependable

Counted on
The ground for others
Knowing that then they would have to give a hundred percent
Knowing that then they might be asked to take on things they would rather not

She is not that person
She has been a nurse for 30 years
Knows the importance of being the ground for others to walk on
Knows the importance of anticipating their needs before they do

Knows the high cost
Of those choosing to be incompetent
To play the victim
To embrace the role of victim

To create in others the reality of being a victim

Except she would not allow it
Not even at five
Not even when her mother
Wanted to blame her own incompetence for everything in the world on her

No she does not tolerate incompetence lightly
For she can assess with great accuracy what a person is capable of
Both in their capacity to create good
And in their choices to create harm

Caveat Empty

We could do a caveat here. We could take the time to understand that her mother was clearly a victim of mental illness and quite possibly systemic and pervasive abuse – most likely highly chronic, terrible, and with some of it sexual in nature. We could take the time to explore attachment models and see the high cost of that abuse both on her mother and her mother’s capacity to parent. Okay. We are. It’s important to understand though – it doesn’t excuse it. People have choices. People choose to protect others from the abuse they have experienced. Except her mother didn’t. Her mother did something else. Her mother took her own abuse. Took everything it created in her – the damage, the ugly, the horrible – and she chose to make her daughter the receptacle of her bad feelings. We can talk about how her mom may have been flooded under survival instincts except… no matter how you explain it. No matter what I were to say here. No matter what is said here. The truth is that her mother made a choice.

Impacted

She knows she has made hard choices as well. Choices that might have been different if she trusted had learned to trust herself earlier. Choices that might have been different if she had found a way to understand the world, and herself, as a place of safety for others. She recognizes those choices have caused pain in those most innocent in her life. Pain she wanted to spare them – which is why she made the choices she did. It doesn’t always make sense. It doesn’t always feel good. When one grows up learning that nothing in the world is safe. Not even your own intentions. When you can see the harm your choices cause. When you can see that those choices, at that time, were still made to protect others from even greater potential harm. It is important to recognize that at times we journey in the darkness of a midnight sky, cloudless, but with no moon in sight. We can hear our breath, see a glimmering of stars, and yet the way is still hidden. In those moments she chose to release the stars above her hoping they could find their way without her.

Choices

She made different choices than her mother.
She is not concerned about a person’s abilities.
If they are naturally incompetent she will work with them to learn to their capacity.
What she knows. Is that a person’s abilities do not determine who they are.
What shows the health of their spirit and heart is not what they know.
It is what they do.
It is the choices they make.
Especially when the choices in front of them
Are to avoid the difficult and inflict suffering on others
Or to be dependable, be your word, knowing that the only reward
May be that you know you have been your word

We may go for years before realizing
We have been pretending our choices are not choices
That our choices are habits we created at another time and another place
That now we can make a different choice
To be better and do better for the world and for ourselves
The moment always comes however
In that moment you must choose where your will place the allegiance of your spirit
Survive at the cost of yourself and others or Thrive and find another path – the choice is always there

Her Choice

One of the first choices she remembers was when she was nine
She was at the store with her shopping list
Not the typical shopping list
One created by all the kids in the neighborhood
Who realized that she among them
Was by far the best shoplifter and thief
She was holding a small deck of cards with butterflies
An item on her list
The one that held the dreams of children
Even if the means was less than noble
It was then that she thought she heard one of the only kind voices in her life calling her name
Her grandfather, she thought
Must be behind her
When she turned to look around no one was there

She began walking
Then heard her name again
Followed by a simple statement
That allowed her to make her first conscious choice
“Karen, if you don’t stop this now you will never be able to”
She felt the truth of it
Even at nine and assessed
She finished the day’s business
Then chose another path

A Moment of Contemplation

She was too young to know
The juxtaposition
Of butterflies and playing cards
Clubs, Diamonds, Spades, and Hearts
Symbols of potential transformation
Changes in Fortune
An opportunity to reshuffle the cards
That would lay the future before her
More to her favor
An opportunity pull the cards one by one
Transformed by the magic of butterflies
Into a Map to Heaven

Filling the Shopping lists

There would be other ways to fill the shopping lists of the kids around her
With things more important than those your typical nine year old asks for
She was on her way
To finding them

Dependable vs. Dependency

Her mother was not dependable
Rules changed on a dime
Depending upon her mood or the time of day
How much alcohol she had drunk today or later, how many pills
Or how much she was recovering from the night before

Her rules changed at a moment
With only one thing consistent
That no matter what the rule was
Her mother would find a way to say her daughter had broken them

Her mother took pleasure in telling stories about her daughter
That painted her daughter as creature unmanageable
Horror unending that could not be controlled
That could only be broken for a time
But which would inevitability rise back up again to terrorize her

The truth was her mother wasn’t there to manage her
She learned this truth at five
Her sister, 6 and ½, lay in the same bed with her and her broken baby doll
When she woke up she called for her mom
Her sister set her straight told her not to bother
Mom had already gone to the bar for the night
Didn’t she realize her mother always left once the children had gone to bed

The Observer: Over the years she has learned to see both sides. She is empathic so she can feel the inner forces within those she talks with. She can feel the authenticity of their pain, anger, and sadness. So she has learned to listen from a place of detachment. A self-observer that any therapist would feel grateful to have developed. Except for her the self-observer has always been front and center. It has been a natural way of being. At times this can be problematic – for while she has developed her own self-observer in conjunction with empathy – which allows her to see both perspectives of any problem set in front of her – she can forget that those she is talking to have not. She expects people to see themselves enough that when she makes what is unsaid transparent she can come across as less than diplomatic. Ultimately this is among the reasons she chose to stay a nurse although she had aspired to become a psychologist. For she realized that others not only did not have easy access to the observer, but that in fact they often preferred to stay in a place of ignorance rather than face the pain that would come with developing that observer fully. She realized that sometimes yes, people simply want to stay sick. She chose to keep her talents focused on nursing. Where still, at times, people who had choices did choose to remain sick. Yet where often, the sheer physical discomfort pushed most of those she worked with to find a path to healing when a path was offered.

Swimming in Dark Harbors

The greatest challenge for her came in staying in that place of observation in her own life. She could feel her early training in survival rise up when she left the structure of the hospitals and clinics she worked in. She could feel the predatory hunger at times in her relationships. The edges of anger that could cause harm. She would observe herself within the darkness. This was not unusual to her. The darkness that those that help others often feel. The willingness to swim into dark harbors for the good of others, and yet struggling to stay afloat within their own lives. The Wounded Children who step forth to do good, to be good, to make the world right often walk along the path of darkness waiting for the moon. Just a sliver to emerge, golden silver light to show them the way. This did not make her less than, it made her more. Dark waters at her ankles and stars dancing just beyond her finger tips. Butterflies swarming unseen; their wings a soft warm breeze signifying changes in fortune. Choices for her to make in her own destiny.

Mother’s Map?

Choices of Faith are important
She learned this over a lifetime
Her mother was raised in Catholic schools
Adopted from circumstances
That clearly damaged her faith in anything close to god
Choosing instead the path of substances as so many do
Channeling her loss of faith and pain as daggers
Against those who needed her spiritual guidance the most

So it was that as she grew older she chose to go exploring
Past the boundaries of her mother’s incomplete knowledge
Of religion and spirit that ended in a state of consciousness below god
Obtaining a state of Thoughtlessness
Instead of the place of conscious clearing of thoughts Ascetics of the spirit sought

The Journey to Heaven

Her Journey to Heaven started at three
She has spent her whole life travelling there
Heaven settling in her heart
so that it could enjoy the journey with her

Asking Questions

The typical child at three four and five
Well adjusted and confidant that they are loved

Will ask questions
Why is the sky blue
Where does rain come from

At six and seven perhaps they get more elaborate
Do dogs get married
Do cats always land on their feet

For her the questions stared at three and remained the same and constant
Why do you hate me?
What did I ever do to you?

Although they too evolved
Why do you treat everyone else nice and me so mean
Why do you treat me like I am worthless?

Still there was always a part of her that her mother could not touch
The part of her that was eternal
That at three also began to ask the questions

What is life like in heaven?
Can I get there?
How far away is it?
How can I take a journey to get there?

In the asking of these questions
unknowing
She opened a door

Angeles coming to rest beside her
To show her the journey forward
To live heaven in this life
No matter what hell might be around her

The Maps She Found Were all Incomplete

She went to several churches in search of the answer
The Nazarene as a child
The Jehovah’s Witnesses
The Lutherans as a teen
Then the Mormons
The Evangelical tide caught her for a time
She even studied Judaism

Before finally realizing that the paths others took
While valid for their hearts, their spirits, their paths
Never quite settled in her as The Path
She decided instead to simply talk to god directly
“You know what? If there is a god that wants to talk with me
I’m here. Talk to me. I’m Here. But for now I’m putting you
On the back burner”

Finding Her Map

Over time she came to realize that no name that could be put to a god would ever really fit her.

Yet with all that exploring
With all that is and was and had been she did know.
She knew that something was there.
Something always had been.
Something Dependable.

Simply there when you called on it.
There even if you did not.

Something.
That which is.

Probably actually

that which is

humble
no need to be recognized
yet dependable
as dependable as a five year old child who spoke truths to her mother
her mother did not want to hear but if listened to would have lifted her mother
into a realm beyond herself
as dependable as a nurse of more than thirty years who always heard the truths
said and unsaid
and spoke them into the room so that those who listened could make choices
to lift themselves
into realms beyond themselves.

Detours

Unknowing she set out at three
On a Journey to Heaven
Without a Map

Although many would be presented to her as she grew older
In between there would be detours
Things that would test her determination to finding passage
To a place three thousand miles past injuries of the heart
As the crow flies

At ten her spirit was injured deeply be another
The details here an unimportant
What is important is to understand
How the hurt tried to push Heaven from her soul

She decided to take the pain she felt
To use it as her mother had shown her
To plant the seeds of hurt in others
Watch the vines of pain strangle the spirits of those weaker

She stepped on bees and killed them
Crushed ants beneath her feet purposely and without mercy
She intentionally took a stance of meanness towards children smaller than her

For a time she allowed the lighted torch of her rage to light her path
Towards places darker than the silver gold of moonlight would have guided her to
Descending where the sun could never rise to meet her

Where her mother had settled in long ago and decided to stay
Rather than face the discomfort and pain she had created in herself and others
A place her mother told her she belonged by telling her bedtime stories
Blocking the moonlight
telling her that she was a goblin
a monster Undeserving of the sun

She was too young to understand this
In a moment where the rage dimmed enough for her to see the Heaven within her
She could hear the angels again
Hear their words

She understood her mother’s bedtime story in the darkness was not hers
The story she had been living within was not her own
The moon and sun were hers
Still showing her the way
Still acting as Maps to Heaven

In that moment of understanding she asked herself
Who am I Being?
Realizing and stating clearly for herself
“This is not who I want to be”

She changed in that moment
Back to the child asking questions
Back to the three year old looking for a way to Heaven
Wondering how far away it was

The detour was longer though
For her understanding was not complete
Our understanding rarely ever is
Another thousand miles as the Crow flies
For the pain had not vanished in that moment
Just transformed

Ensuring she would do her best not hurt others in her rage
Still not sure where the to look for the moon or sun
With no other direction she turned her pain within

Turning Inwards

To protect others she turned her pain inwards
Cutting with razors into skin
Affirming all the things her mother said
That she was horrible
Terrible
A creature of nightmares with no appreciable worth
She lived into the story her mother had for her
Punished herself for all the pain others had inflicted
A needle of potassium chloride against her skin
She finally made a decision
I will do this or I will never allow suicide and thoughts of it
To be part of me again
She put the needle down
Found in herself once again that place of dependability
Set out again with Heaven in her heart on another path

She would not harm others. She would not harm herself.

Reaching Outwards

There is more to the story
As the needle hovered there
She realized that was not a perpetrator
Even against herself
She was a protector

Months before
A mother cat had deposited three kittens
Near a tree in front of her house
Asking in the way that cats do
To take her children in and protect them

Three kittens that needed protection
She knew in her heart she could not leave them
For they depended on her
While she had not always been able to be there for others
Who depended upon her
The cats showed her something in herself she did not know
She knew how to see in the dark
So it was that she began to walk softly and carefully
Yet with growing confidence
On a path that would guide her to the moon and sun
On a path that would show her the Map of Heaven

A Moment of Contemplation
When asked to assist
Angels provide as needed
Sending her lives to nurse and protect

In that moment she made a clear decision
Not just that she would live the life she was given
While honoring the lives she was given to sustain, nurse, and protect

It was this was the moment
When she confirmed in her heart
As the Angels had hoped

That she would always land on her feet

Guides on the Road

She was going to stay with them for the summer.
She was sixteen or seventeen.
Her sister, lauded by her mother, had stayed with them
The summer before

This summer, the couple, friends of her mother
Had reluctantly invited her to stay with them
Perhaps they were just trying to help her mother
The penultimate victim of her terror
Her mother had told them all about the burden of evil that she was

The couple set her down after a week
Befuddled and uncomfortable
Perhaps worried about raising the beast from its slumber
Yet unwilling to ignore it

“Where is this awful monster your mother told us to expect?”
They asked with sincere desire to understand
They were the first to validate what she knew
There was no path to Heaven with her mother
No way of being accepted or loved

They saw it as clearly as she did
Offered to “shoulder the burden” for her mother
Knowing they could offer a foundation of love
Her mother needed two things from her
However

A place to put her self-hate
She needed her emotional garbage container
Her daughter served as a place to put all her negative feelings
So that she did not need to hold them inside herself
And the welfare check

So it was that her mother refused to let her go
And tried to keep the lid on the garbage can so her daughter would not escape
In this way she ensured the horrible monster the beast was never her
Instead her daughter would always be the one she blamed for her own ugliness

The First Milestone to Heaven

Somewhere around the first five hundred miles
Her father’s mother became a milestone
Letting her know Heaven was not a myth
It was a place she could reach
Her grandmother never taking sides
Yet always dependable and assuring her
Of her rightful place among the blessed
Grandmother
Her grandmother never took sides
She saw both sides of any situation
Always encouraging those she spoke with
To do what was right for their conscience

Heart and Mind
She knew she was her Grandmother’s child
Seeing beyond the words to underlying intentions
Showing people the truths if they were willing
With a heart full of compassion
Wanting only what was best for them
Yet never willing to compromise her ability
To keep travelling on her path to heaven
With or without a map

Mother’s Side

With her mother
There was always a side
In her world she was the only one that was honest about it

That people pretended that they were interested in service
They pretended to be good
No one really was

Most people were hypocrites
As far as her mother was concerned she was one of the few to be honest
I’m not a hypocrite so I do what I want

From her Mother’s point of you
There was always a side
Everyone who was not you was a threat

Your own daughter simply wanted things from you
Keep her down
Make her pay for anything she takes

For everything she takes
Make her pay in pain for each meal, each shirt
Each moment of your time

For her
It was never safe
At her mother’s side

The Sin of the Daughter

The voice spoke to her again
“Your mother has no idea who you are
Or what she did to you”

Her mother drowned in her own survival instincts
Self-absorbed as a way of being
Where you were either an extension of her will

Fulfilling her desires
Or an object thwarting them
A threat to her survival

Her sin – challenging her mother as young as five
Asking her to learn to thrive instead of survive
Asking her to be of service to her daughters
Instead of demanding that they serve only her

Travelling Back to Nine

At nine she had to know
Why do people do what they do?
Think what they think?
Act how they act?

At nine she began to observe herself
Observe how her emotions came in
Notice the thoughts connected to them
See how she acted because of them

At nine she prepared herself for things to come
By embracing the gift of her grandmother
To see from a place removed
To not takes sides even with herself

Simply to observe both herself and others
From those observations
Of feeling, thought, and action
To decide upon the best choice for her

One that was in integrity with her conscience

Freedom Machine

She learned to drive at 24
Got her first car at 33
Her Great Freedom Machine
She became a travelling nurse
Her first journey from Pennsylvania to Washington State
In a time before GPS

Having to plan for gas stations along the way
In places that had nothing for miles
She looked at the maps carefully
With the sun rising she set out on her way
From PA to WA
And from there to Phoenix, Then Cape Cod
She kept travelling over the years
Florida , Texas, Up to Utah
Southern California, Northern California
She found her freedom
And somewhere along the way
Now always aware of the position of the moon and sun above her
Even stopped looking for the Map the Heaven

Throwing Away the Maps to Heaven

It was reading the book the made her realize
That all the paths of religion would never provide for her
A Map to Heaven

“The Unknown Woman” encouraged her
Not to be trapped within the confines of any religion
She accepted that life was either meaningless
Or that the meaning might be beyond her own knowing

She made her own pilgrimage
To Cape Cod where the book had taken place
She didn’t call it a pilgrimage
May not have even recognized it as one
Nonetheless
There she did what pilgrims in search of their path often do

She threw away her mother’s shoulds
She threw away her own maybes
She took the time to ask herself
“How much of me is really me; how much is just for them to see?”

She walked the beach beneath the sun
With the freedom of the water flowing over her feet
With the foundation of sand and ground beneath her feet
Even when sand slipped away
when centered there was always a place for her to stand

She connected to her Journey to Heaven

Realizing the Map to Heaven
Was simply the Journey to her Self
She reached the heart of god
Reflected on his face

that which is
always there
the map to heaven
not a thousand miles or even one foot away
heaven everywhere within and without

She is learning more and more now
Becoming more essence and less body
Understanding
That this has actually always been so

Her Relationship to that which is

“This body is not me
I am standing behind and all around this body
That is who I am
Now this essence of me
Is relieved
That this part of me getting it”
Asking for god
We see this power as beyond us
It is not
It truly is our father
Its where we come from
With certainty and benevolence”

Her Freedom Machine

This body has been her way of journeying in this life
It has given her freedom
The more she has realized
That the body is the vehicle
Not who she is

She studied the body to find ways to ease pain
She studied the mind to find ways to ease pain
Somewhere along the way she realized
That for both the body and the mind
The goal is not to ease pain
It is to access freedom

She was told that she was not insane
Simply in pain
She was told the essence of mental health
Is to get your needs met without hurting yourself or others

These were the truths of her forays
Into the body and mind
To find the map to heaven

Nursing others to God
She knew in her own heart
That which is
God to others
Was benevolent

Providing us the vehicle
and the path
to freedom of heart and spirit
after all the roads she took
she knew to find the truth where it was
and let others find theirs
just as her grandmother had

Unrolling the Map the Heaven

He was close to death
Yet still struggling to find the Map to Heaven
He had been told to fear God
She asked if he might be open to hearing another point of view
He was so without a pretense of offering a truth

She opened a door for him
To freedom
Simply offering a view of god
As kind, benevolent
The father that we truly came from

He listened carefully
With heart and spirit
And somewhere in the night
He followed the Map to Heaven

The Nurse of your Spirit

She is a Nurse for the spirit
As much as the body
This is her calling
Her purpose

Not just to provide
Bandages for your hurt
Certainly not
Especially not for those of your heart

She doesn’t want people unwilling to heal
She experienced enough of that with her mother
Coming in as the Nurse to her spirit
Her most unwilling patient to date

She will tell you as she told her mother
What is
She will ask you most difficult questions

That is called compassion
When it is done with a full heart

Asking questions not because she enjoys it
Asking questions that are difficult
Because she knows they are critical for your healing

Her observations are simple
Yet often may land in the most difficult and ornery places of your heart
For she is there as a nurse of the spirit to lift you up and out of your sick bed

She is there to get you to walk twenty four hours after the operation
No matter how painful
So that you heal with full mobility of your soul

That is why she knows she must be one hundred percent dependable
For those truly wanting to heal
She knows it is possible

No matter what circumstance
No matter what your history
No matter what you have been through

She will be a milestone
She will be a guidepost
She will be a map to heaven itself

If you simply accept one thing

You have the power to get there
You are the only one who can get you there

So hop in your car
Travel the world if you must
She will tell you the travel is good for you
It gets you out environments you need to leave
So that you can see the lessons in them
And make choices to live where your soul can always hear the Ocean

The water lapping over your feet
The sand shifting yet always solid beneath them

You have the choice

It can be better no matter what you have been through

She was born with the map to heaven in her heart
that which is was always with her
she chose her journey consciously
she is in charge of her own life
she is writing her own script

If you are looking for a nurse of the spirit
She will be there
Living an hour from the ocean
Willing to be of service
As long as you yourself truly want to find

Your own map to heaven

Epilogue: Permission to be Imperfect
This is not a story of a woman without flaw. This is not a story of a person who has not hurt others deeply.
In truth none of us has that story. None of us has a story in which we do not both receive and inflict pain
This is the story of a woman who chose to the best of her ability to rise above it. Who listened to the guidance provided her and yet who still at times fell into the tides of darkness. This is a story of a women who now knows the Map to Heaven is always there if you simply look up to the find first the moon and then the sun
The moon’s imperfect face; which nonetheless looks down upon us with a dependable kindness each night as we go to sleep as the angels tell us once again the story that perhaps a grandmother told us that we came to believe. That there is kindness in the world. There is compassion. There is firm ground that can always be reached even when in dark harbors. And we are that ground. Realizing the stories of goblins and monsters are only true when we refuse to shine light beneath the bed. That if we choose to even if we have to drive ten thousand miles beyond the injuries of the heart we can discover a place for ourselves beneath the sun.

Soul Translations

I have been quiet in this space the last month – During that time I have been busy getting my daughter settled into college, transferring my professional license, and writing Soul Translations. The latter is what I wanted to talk about today. From the start my focus for Being the Difference has always been about taking control of one’s personal story in order to create change at a broader level. In the Hawaiian spiritual belief of Ho‘oponopono I was taught that when you clean up a “spot” inside yourself you clean it up in everyone in the entire world. In taking a course in Landmark many years ago they talked about personal transformation spreading to transformation in family, then friends, then the community, and then globally. In my work with Lauri De Julian there is the idea that each of us in our meditations act as node of sorts, and that we can connect with each other across the world to spread our intentions using each other as anchors. As always, the same concept may show up in slightly different forms – from practical “earth anchored” to aetheric and “sprit anchored” and everything in between.
The Soul Translations are a means to all of this. They are, in the words of Henry Nouwen a form of “Spiritual Hospitality” – a form of deep listening where the person I am talking with “becomes curious about their own nature.” When I do a Soul Translation my objective is to become an open space for another person’s heart and spirit. I will notice patterns in what they say and my own heart, mind, and soul work together to tap into the person’s internal language. The language of metaphor and symbol that resonates within them and within which their personal history that they are is combined to find their essence, their values, their own purpose and passion and to make all of this transparent for them.
I have been told that the Soul Translations have revealed to those who have received them aspects of themselves they were unaware of. That they were inspired by the person that they encountered within the writings. That the Soul Translations shines light on the darkness and shows the path they have taken and may still be on to be and live their highest self and purpose.
I have been honored to work with those who have opened their Akashic Records to me, the collective wisdom of their lives, so that I may, through my best efforts, allow the wisdom of their lives to be open both to them and to others that the Soul Translations are shared with. For the Soul Translations provide a collective wisdom of multiple lives and the gift I have been given and developed over years to bring them to the surface of this present world allowing the potential growth and learning for others to show up and resonate with those who read them.
Below is a “mini-translation” I did with Abigail Pansacola – a therapist in the Los Angeles Area – which I am sharing with her permission.

In her own words: Josh, this is so wonderful. Thank you so much. I realized that as I was reading it, I felt like I was reading about someone else — someone that I was in awe of. Then I caught myself and felt a little silly. I love the idea of a soul translation – because these may not be words I live up to on a daily basis, but through them you really captured the essence of my inspiration and joy. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I love it.

All I Needed to Know about Social Justice I Knew at Seven (The Capacity to Love and Grow)
Her push for Social Justice came early
At seven overhearing her father’s friend talking
Of his inability to express his love freely
Without fear of death or imprisonment
Born in the Philippines
Living in Saudi Arabia
Already having lived with the freedoms of the United States
She could not accept that just because on person
Loved another
That others should ever be able to decide that the love they shared
Should be punishable by death
And so at seven it began
A thirst to right inequities
While building the capacities of individuals, communities, and even countries
To be open for growth and change leading to the free expression of love
And the possibility for all to develop themselves as the unique individuals that they were

Dr. Hanning
Her parents activists
She learned from them
To seek mentors who would further her understanding of her own capacity
To act as force for growth, transformation, and infinite possibility in the world

She did not necessarily know this when she began to study with him
She just knew that what he taught, how he taught
It resonated deep within her, excited her,
Inspired her to take action

For in his teachings she recognized the truth of what he said
That there is Infinite Importance of a human being
Just because they are
A Human Being

In that she also recognized in herself
Her Infinite Importance
As a Human Being
To develop that knowing in others

 

Mission Statement: To Develop the Power and Strength of Individuals, Organizations, and Communities to Recognize their potential and Reach it

 

However, Her Vision Reaches Further Than This
She has the capacity to hold vision for others who have not learned to see themselves
She knows what each human being is capable of
However her vision reaches further than this

She sees the capacities of organizations to foster and develop positive change
She sees the gaps and imperfections
Recognizing within those organizations the possibility of so much more
However her vision reaches further than this

Writing a grant she developed the possibility of voices in a community
Not just any community, Skid Row
To begin the process of envisioning who they will be in 2050
She has the capacity to hold vision for communities who have not learned to see themselves
Forty years out
However her vision reaches further than this

Each day she strives to build her ability to see the capacities of individuals and communities
Further and further out
Each day she takes what she learned at Seven
Each day she sets forth to develop the possibility
for an individual and a community to see themselves in love
for an individual and a community to see others in love
And still her vision reaches further than this

 

Conversations
Understand
She has always taken her conversations of compassion and justice
To the places on the map where others fear to tread
At Seven the conversation was on the rights of others to love who they love
While living in Saudia Arabia
at a time where even those conversations could be dangerous
That was simply the first conversation
Femicides in Mexico
Service in action in Los Angeles Prisons
Community leadership with parents in impoverished communities
She is always creating conversations for change for justice
Creating conversations that build individuals, people, and communities

 

Breaking the Broken Window Effect
It started as a parenting group
She developed the group’s abilities
To see their own part in their families
To recognize their own roles as leaders to their children
She encouraged them to see themselves as more than just parents
More than just leaders to their children
She encouraged themselves to see themselves as leaders in a community
In which their children would grow
She encouraged them to see themselves and their children as she saw them
As human beings capable of infinite growth
As individuals worthy of infinite love
Simply because
They were human
Together, she and they fixed the windows of a community

Information about Soul Translations will be coming to Being the Difference soon as well as other testimonials regarding their positive impact on those receiving them – for now if anyone is interested in this service you can message me, Joshua Potter-Efron, on Facebook or email at jpottere@gmail.com. A Full Soul Translation consists of a 60-90 minute conversation and generally has a minimum of 8-12 pieces of poetry/story connected to them. At this point I am providing them for 120 dollars although this may be moving up to 150 dollars as the process tends to take 3-4 hours minimum including both the initial interview, the process of writing, and small edits/changes after the initial completion.

Values Define Boundaries

Values Define Boundaries. I stated this without thinking about the implications as I was providing group supervision to the therapists in my Associate Clinical Social Worker group. I had been talking about the concepts of differentiation – or the ability to have a clear and healthy sense of self that is not constantly at the mercy of the thoughts and opinions of others. A sense of self that stays solid even in the face of adversity, dislike, and disagreement. The moment I said it one of the therapists wrote it down in that moment of “AHA!”. This opened up a window for her, someone who typically accommodates to others when people get upset; she has been practicing setting clear boundaries with clear and assertive communication. The challenge is – that to be able to do this you need to know your own values clearly. I have many areas in which my own personal preferences are mild. These are areas where my own values do not generally “define a course of action”. You can call me names all day long and I will probably just think you need some support since your sense of self seems to focus on attempting to exert power by trying to dis-empower another person. However, if you were to start calling my daughter names my value of reputation might emerge and if my sense of self is diffuse I might then choose to attack you and call you names – to create a boundary by wielding a bigger stick. Alternatively I might find my value of “Family” and “Protection” rise up and rush my daughter out of there and focus only on escape – and to create a boundary through physical space. However there is a third alternative where, if I saw clearly you were no physical danger, I could then assess that you were no actual danger to any of my values or boundaries and I could use that moment to enhance my own daughter’s sense of self – perhaps simply noting that while others might try to degenerate her through out her life, she has the power to remember that who she is doesn’t change because someone else wants her to believe she is less. And I could set a boundary using the value of Self-Respect without having to force the boundary on someone else or attempt to create run by escaping. Values do define boundaries. What I just wrote is the tip of that iceberg. How do your values define your boundaries?

Our Community

My wife is looking at the faces of the victims.
I never want to look at the faces.
Colorado, Sandy Hook, Orlando.
I don’t want to look at the faces.
I listen to their stories even when I don’t look at their faces.
The stories stay with me.

On NPR they play clips, the sound of gunfire.
Each crack of gunfire is real.
Each crack of gunfire in the moment that this is recorded, is finding a target.
I listen to the stories.
The stories inspire me.
It reminds me to speak out.

I am a realistic optimist.
I believe that those young men and women died in vain.
They did not march out as activists, they were slaughtered in the midst of celebration.
I also believe that things of importance can still be created in the wake of their deaths.
A line of people stretch around the block in Orlando to give blood.
We must hold the stories of these young men and women close to us.
We must cradle them in our arms.

We must be inspired by their stories
As a group and as individuals to see each of them
As we see ourselves

I’m looking at the faces now because I know it’s important
It’s important to have a face to hold a story
Stanley Manlo Almadover III – who could change a bad mood simply by walking into the room
Juan Ramon Guerrero – a loving uncle to his niece and nephew who had just started college
Luis Velma – adjusting a bow tie and who lives on in his friend as “part of any good decision I will ever make”
So many others
A passionate dancer
A young woman who wanted to become a nurse
A young couple who just bought a house

A good son

Mommy I love you in the club they shooting

I reach out with them
I reach out with their stories to the communities most likely to be hurt.

We must reach out with love to the homosexual community.
We must reach out with love to the Latin community
We must reach out with love to the Muslim community
We must reach out with love to our own communities who ever the people in those communities may be

These people
Are
Our Community

Each and every one.
Homosexual. Heterosexual. Latin. White. Black. Indian. Middle-Eastern. Asian.
Muslim, Christian, Atheist, Agnostic, Hindu, Jewish, Spiritual,
We are
One
Community
Let us celebrate their stories with love.
Knowing that even their deaths
will not stop them from dancing in celebration
If we can embrace them and all of our communities
as one