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My Friend’s Mom Is Dying…

…Right Now.

“Nothing more we can do,” they say.  An ER nurse for years, the tables turn. They now discharge her to hospice care.

I grieve.  I hurt.

For my friend.  For his family. For the sense of powerlessness that I feel, confronted in his mother’s imminent death by my own sense of mortality.

Hopeless.  Such a devastating and powerful word–this illusion called hopelessness.

You see, it’s not true.  She has deep faith–the kind that’s rooted in the earth of her soul and spreads it’s branches high toward heaven.

redwood topsShe is not hopeless.  In these last hours, she rests against the breast of God, and I imagine she can nearly see God’s face.

Death is not a loss of life, but an expansion of it–true ETERNAL life.
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We grieve for what we are losing. But for her, death is passing through a door.  It’s finally arriving home after a long double-shift in life’s ER and slipping out of her old, cancer-torn scrubs.

I’m Jealous

Of her courage in life.  Of what she can see from there that I can’t.  Of what she now knows that I have yet to learn.

I pray that I find the same courage and grace to live.  

Fearless. Now. Today.

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Let’s Talk About God

Panache Desai and OprahThis morning I watched Super Soul Sunday and Oprah’s interview with Panache Desai.

“You are not broken,” said Panache. “Everything you need is within you.”

There is a universal force that we are all a part of.  It is Love.  Some call it God.  This is how Panache expressed it.

“Any words I would use to describe God would diminish God”
-Panache Desai (Tweet This)

[Read more…]

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Are You a Lazy-Ass When You Pray?

Take the Next Visible Step

Hidden Path

Hidden Path – Door County, WI
Take the Step You Can See…
The Next Will Be Revealed.

When there is no clear path,
life requires of us
the courage to take the next visible step.
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This quote comes from my bookAn Imperceptible Spark: Finding the Courage to Live a Life of Joy.

When I wrote this, I was confused, unclear and felt lost.  Everything seemed to be out of my control. Have you been there?

I hated my job. Life seemed to be going nowhere–fast! That’s when the breakthrough happened.

I’ll do what I know to do, I thought.

Clarity is Key

Often when life feels out of control, it is because you are unclear. I know I was.

My life sucked. My job was sucking the life out of me–almost literally, and I didn’t know what to do.  Or so I thought…but that is when I learned another valuable lesson: You always know what to do. 

A Prayer Worth Praying

I just finished Elizabeth Gilbert’s hit book, Eat, Pray, Love–for the second time.  In it, she talks about learning to pray at an Ashram in India.

Half the benefit of prayer is in the asking itself, in the offering of a clearly posed and well-considered intention. – Elizabeth Gilbert

There are times to throw yourself completely on the grace of infinite Love (God), but most of us are just lazy. (Tweet This)

We want to dump responsibility for our lives off on God’s door step and then we act hurt, betrayed and angry when life unfolds chaotically.

You are infinitely supported by never-ending Love.  The steps of your path are cushioned with grace. (Tweet It!) And the wisdom of your purpose lies deep within your soul.

You always know.

The Fear That Must Not Be Named

In the story of Harry Potter, the evil Lord Voldemort is referred to as “He who must not be named” because people fear that even speaking his name lends him power to terrorize the speaker of it. (What they fail to recognize is that by not speaking his name, they are terrorized by their fear).

The Fear that you dare not name is the fear of yourself.

You are terrorized by the fear of your own wisdom, power and courage.

You are afraid that if you get still–truly still–with yourself, you will be unable to maintain control of your life.  You are right.

The Fear that you live in terror of will obliterate you–the ego ‘you’.  But then again, control–like the security those in the Harry Potter world think they gain by refusing to name their fear–is a myth.

The Secret

The secret is stillness.

When you exercise the courage to be still, you begin to approach the power of your self.  This is the beginning of all true clarity and focus.

Be still with yourself. Learn at the feet of your own wisdom.  Pray accordingly.  (Tweet This Quote)

You got this!

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Note: This post is part of the 31-post Ultimate Blog Challenge. During the month of July, 2012, I will be posting 31 times. Since this is a lot of posts over a short period of time, I prepared a special page where you can catch any you may have missed.

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Facing a Crisis of Faith

Photo Credit: Ahmad Zamri

Faith In Crisis

Everyone faces it.

That point when your faith–what you know in your heart–comes up against the wall of your religious tradition and experience.

A traumatic incident or personal tragedy shakes you to your core and there is no way to move forward with superficially held dogmatic tenets.

This is the moment of truth–real faith seizes hold of you, or you abandon your spirituality, believing that it is synonymous with your religious tradition.

My Crisis

I was trembling.

The kind of tremor that is so profound it rocks your soul. So deep that the body is still and the eyes are dry.  Rage so intense that the soul burns, but the face is pale.

“Shoot the queers!”

“Get dem dar faggits!”

BANG!

The memory from fifteen years ago raced forward and enveloped my consciousness. I hadn’t exactly blocked it out, but I had completely disassociated myself from the experience.

At the time, I laughed just like everyone else. Now, I wept. I was raw and the tears no longer held back.

As a young teen, I had sat in a church sanctuary at a youth meeting. There was a skit on stage and two men stood there shooting blanks from large rifles into the empty balcony.  The concussion of the gunfire echoed around the auditorium.

Ka-Blam!  It sounded again.

About 500-800 teens cheered.  A roughly made, homemade dummy toppled over the edge of the balcony, falling to the aisle below.

They had “gotten” the faggit!

They were shooting ‘me.’  I realized.

Wrestling With Religion

I grew up a conservative Christian, and my religion had always provided a framework of structure and clarity for my faith.

But there came a day when it wasn’t clear. It wasn’t black and white. Maybe it had always been gray and I just hadn’t noticed before.

My religion (Christianity), my faith (what I believed) and my spirituality (who I was in connection to God) were all meshed together.  I had not recognized them individually.

A Great Divide

How do you reject bad behavior from those in the religious organization without simultaneously losing faith or rejecting your church?

The answer, for me, lay in recognizing and differentiating the three areas of my faith practice–religion (the organization),  faith (my belief system) and spirituality (my connection to God).

The reality is that nothing can separate me from my spirituality. The Bible says that nothing can “separate us from the love of God.” (Roman 8:38-39)

Therefore, my rejection of a specific portion of my religious affiliation or organization has nothing to do with my spiritual connection to God.

This is especially difficult when the organization is identified as the source and the way to God. It can be so hard to see the narrow separation between God and the Church.

You don’t have to fully reject either. Let me offer an analogy that I hope will help bridge that divide.

A New Paradigm

Photo Credit: Vancouver 125

Think back to the last time you attended a musical performance, dance or play that touched you deeply.  Remember how it felt to be transported with the power of the art?

Do you remember the feeling of timelessness? The tranquility? The expansion you felt within you?

I always feel this most deeply when I hear Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony or Handel’s Hallelujah.

God is in the music. The music hall becomes the sanctuary. We can feel it, but we can’t quite name it.  That is it, exactly!

The theater is our faith. Religion is simply the usher that leads us to our seat. It is merely the usher which brings us into the presence of God.

When you realize that you can experience God’s presence in every circumstance and in every place, then you can be at peace with the perfection of God and the imperfection of the usher.

God will be found, when we seek. (Jeremiah 29:13-14)

Your Turn!

Have you experienced a crisis of faith?  What insights or experiences helped you through it?  Did your faith grow stronger because of the challenging situation or did you separate yourself from your faith? Would love to get your perspective.