I Have Not Arrived

I conducted an interview with a friend and well-known author/teacher the other day on my FB Live show, Egotrippia (www.facebook.com/egotrippia). He’s written an intriguing new book and I wanted to talk with him about it.

The interview went smoothly except for one thing: It wasn’t an interview.

Let me preface what I’m about to say by saying this: When I’m being interviewed about my book The E Word (or anything else for that matter) I have an agenda. I have a message I want to convey and deliver. The show host interviewing me can rarely get a word in edgewise as I do so.

Having the tables turned on me was a revealing experience.

After my introduction and initial question, my friend took the reins—which was fine. What he had to say was fascinating, and several points he made raised some interesting questions. But I couldn’t get into a dialogue with him. After the show was over, I even received a critical comment online from one of his fans about even trying.

This experience comes hard on the heels of the death of a dear friend, public speaking coach and fellow spiritual teacher, Robert Rabbin.

Robert was one of the fiercest advocates of questioning the spiritual status quo—especially the status quo of ones’ personal spiritual beliefs—I’ve ever met.

His life’s motto might well have been Onwards! Keep going! Don’t stop inquiring! If you’ve reached the point where you absolutely know what God is, what reality is, who YOU are, and what THE Truth is, stick some dynamite up your ass and light it.

Keep going.

The juxtaposition of Robert’s fluid spiritual example and my friend’s message-driven (and thus static) interview, has reverberated through my own message-driven (and thus static) life.

We all want answers … desperately we want answers. So, we turn to gurus and books, YouTube videos and spirit guides for inspiration, insight and guidance.

But …

Outside answers from outside sources—I don’t care how credible—are the fingers pointing at the moon and not the moon itself. They’re out there in the Storyland of Our Humanity. They aren’t deep enough, resonant enough, transformative enough, fluid enough, glorious enough, outrageous enough. Real enough.

When Truth finally reveals itself from within, it’s unspeakable. Universal. Unbelievably obvious and ever so humbling. When Truth finally reveals itself, all we can do is laugh … at the world, at teachers, at StoryLand philosophies, fingers, moons, and most especially, ourselves.

When Truth finally reveals itself from within, wonder of wonders, we realize there is even more to know and to discover. And more and more and more.

My own guru, Sadhguru, founder of Isha Yoga, after three Awakened lifetimes admits he has maybe understood 1/billionth of what’s going on in this Creation. One billionth!

 So, tally ho seekers of Truth! Let’s keep marching on.

New (Age) Dirty Word(s)

Language is limited at the best of times and downright crippled when it comes to certain topics—like God, existence, and Truth. If there were 10,000 times more words in the English language, we still wouldn’t be able to explain those “things.”

See what I mean?

Words, just can’t hack it. The finger pointing at the moon is not the moon.  Unspeakable is unwordable.

Which doesn’t keep us from trying. A lot of words have been used to explain God, existence, and Truth. Hell, I’ve used most of them. In the process, I’ve discovered that some words work better than others. And some don’t work very well at all.

Take the word, “spiritual.” Nowadays, if I say, “I am a spiritual person,” everybody I know nods in agreement. And yet they also nod when I say, “Everything is spirit.”

But if we really believed (or better yet, understood) what the statement “Everything is spirit” actually implies, we would never say things like “I am a spiritual person.” Why? Because, if everything and everyone is understood to be made of spirit, the word “spiritual” can no longer be used to qualify and distinguish one thing or person over another. It can’t be used to indicate that someone is better or more evolved than another.

It can no longer be used to divide us into separate camps. (Ahem)

And light. Ahhhhh yes … Light.

Going to the Light. Dancing in the Light. Praying to the Light. Beseeching the Light … it’s like taking a sword and cutting ourselves in half. And it doesn’t just cripple us. Bowing down to the Light is the ultimate in sexism!

The Light has long been associated with the yang, masculine element of Creation. Lauding the Light and spurning the Dark sets up the yin/feminine/Earthly aspect of life as the fall guy—the enemy keeping us from knowing God and walking through the Pearly Gates of Heaven.

It divides our Holy selves, pitting one aspect of God against another aspect of God, setting up and perpetuating the whole good/evil game: The Greatest Story on Earth. Now playing everywhere at a theater near you.

And then there’s the word “quantum.” Jeez … let’s not even go there!

You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know

Here I am, merrily tripping along on the coattails of 36 years of intense introspection, thinking I know where all the buttons and dead bodies lie.

Writing a definitive text about the ego, (and having a great agent and publisher to go with it) everything in my life was sewn up tight. What else was left to do?

Sell.

Get out there and SELL THE BOOK.

And yet I’d put everything I had into The E Word. What else did I have to give people?

I refused to simply regurgitate the material. BOR-ing. And I was revolted by all the frantic New Age sales hype surrounding the apparently endless flow of well-meaning-but-derivative vanilla pudding “teachings” that pass for wisdom being shoveled out to women and men desperate for substance and real change.

Which is why I’ve been on the road for over seven months, following the sometimes vague sometimes definite inner impulses opening me up to new ways of thinking and being re: my life and books, delving deep to see what I actually have to offer people other than, “Please, buy my book. I promise you’ll be glad you did.” Read More

Out on the Edge

So, I’m driving towards Phoenix. It’s late and instead of messing around with Airbnb I did the old-fashioned thing and stopped at a motel for the night.

Perhaps that’s what triggered the sense of insecurity and isolation this morning. Or maybe it was the first email I opened: the cancellation of a talk I had planned in November. Or maybe it’s simply the fact that I’m on the road with my ass swinging in the wind, unsure what I’m doing.

When The E Word came out I had the feeling that following the crowd doing the marketing fandango wasn’t for me. I had the feeling that teaching in the acceptable known way wasn’t for me. I had the feeling that I should hit the road and not settle in one place.

All these vague feelings lead me to this motel room this morning. I don’t even know where I am, geographically, except that I’m somewhere in the Arizona desert near Phoenix. (Isn’t that appropriate!)

There’s nothing physical in my life right now to give me a sense of security and support. No home (everything’s in storage) no blood family (everybody’s dead) no pets (it wouldn’t be fair) uncertain income (yikes!) and I quit drinking a year ago (my good friend vodka—I could always depend on you to make me feel better … oops. NOT TRUE! Booze was the good friend I could always depend on to stop me from feeling anything! Not the best pal when your goal is to be fully awake, dont ya know?)

This is not a boohoo – just the facts. (Don’t worry – I have a TON of amazing supportive friends!) The point I’m trying to make is, all the usual physical stuff a human can depend on for support is absent. Which means I’ve got to totally rely upon the felt sense of things as my guide.

And what was the felt sense of things as, filled with uncertainty, I looked at myself in the mirror this morning?

Dive into your new creation my inner being prompted. (My FB live show Egotrippia.) Go live. Right now! Do it! Expose yourself! Expose the fear! Expose your weak moment! Standing around on stage lecturing about the ego, aint the path! Standing on stage, people will think youve got your shit together 24/7 and that is just not the truth. Youre a human being, just like everybody else. Expose the whole deal—the greatness and the terribleness, the ecstasy and the agony of being human. Shy away from nothing! Thumb your nose at the shadows and then all thats left is the Light! Do it!

And so I did.

I went out on FB live and talked about feeling scared. (http://bit.ly/egotrippia) I invited the world in. And a fellow author from Ireland popped in for a chat. Then I ran across the poem below on FB and connected with the author, Fred LaMotte and asked permission to use it. I reached out and the world reached back. Connections were made. Who knows what actions will follow these connections … what the ripple effects will be? Sure as shit I no longer feel scared and uncertain! I feel empowered!!!!

This is life … and life is about choosing … moment to moment to moment, what you feel and how you’re going to show up. Nothing more, nothing less.

Stay tuned!

 

Poem by Fred LaMotte

Flowers of emptiness
in a garden of tears.
Gather them, they are real,
they have the fragrance
of awakening.
You chose this world,
but that doesn’t mean
there was any other.
Wanting to be elsewhere
is more painful than the bruise
of embracing sacred sorrow.
Friend, here’s the question:
how will you make
golden honey of it?
How will you walk
upon the one essential earth?
As a Victim
or a Lover?
Choose.

 

Fred is the author of Wounded Bud and Savor Eternity One Moment at A Time. Check them out on Amazon.com!

Going nowhere

Finishing up my yoga and meditation this morning I couldn’t help noticing how utterly present I was. No thinking. No direction. No needs. No “I better get going on that book or blog or email.” No need to run to the bathroom or the kitchen or the grocery store.

Absolutely no impulses in any direction.

So, I just sat, watching the dragonflies zip around as the light breeze riffled the leaves on the almond trees in the orchard. I don’t know for how long because there was no impulse to keep track of the time.

Eventually an impulse did show up and I followed it. Coffee! And my latest experiment with a new creamer, substituting almond milk mixed with a little organic coconut cream instead of using my usual whole milk … which I love. But having just finished editing a health book on gut repair and ketogenic diet—including a chapter on all the various reasons milk isn’t a good health choice for the vast majority of humans on the planet—I’d finally gotten serious about finding a different kind of coffee mate. And this particular combo was a taste treat success.

Bye-bye milk and half and half!

Then I followed the next silent internal impulse and wandered out to the back porch where I just sat, drinking my delicious decaf coffee blend.

Having just come off a six-year writing binge churning out four books (seven if you include two horribly long and depressing sequels to my memoir Unearthing Venus that I wrote following a disastrous love affair, plus my latest book—a very passionate spiritual romance novel called Apollo and Me) you have no idea how amazing and wonderful it is to have rediscovered the gear called:

Neutral.

In the midst of preparing The E Word for publication this year, I actually went through a phase where I believed that “I and my work are one” … that there was no separation between my writing and my work and the rest of me. My life was my work. My books were me.

I listened to friends with their own businesses talk about how they compartmentalized their work and social life, smugly congratulating myself on my spiritual advancement and profound life integration, not having the slightest clue that the only reason my life was integrated was because I had no life outside of my writing.

Nothing like writing a book on the ego and getting a little perspective. What’s the old saying?

We teach best that which we need to learn the most.

A radical new way of being

For the longest time, I thought “being” meant hanging out in a meditative-like state of quiet bliss—you know— totally calm and “present.” Compared to the frantic state of modern civilization and much of my life, “being” seemed like a haven of refuge.

“I’m just going to sit here and be for a while.” Ahhhhh … heaven!

But then “being” became a pursuit. A spiritual goal to accomplish. And I ended up laying the same sense of urgency and striving on “being” as I did everything else.

So much for “being!”

It wasn’t until recently that I had an “Aha!”

What if “being” simply meant being myself? Can you imagine what a relief that would be for a loud, easily-excited, exuberant Leo female? Can you imagine how much of a relief that would be for everyone?

Yes, yes, I know. I can hear the rebuttal now. “But that just means being your regular stupid old ego. And that’s not very advanced!”

True. Oh so true!

But that’s not the “being you” I’m talking about. I’m talking about the precious authentic “you” that gets excited about getting sweaty playing baseball on a hot summer day. The “you” that sidles up to a beautiful flower and takes a deep inhale as you walk past a neighbor’s yard. The “you” that likes to binge watch Agents of Shield. The “you” that gets off on collecting bottle caps, or old hats or antique telephones.

The unique “only you” you.

That’s being. At least that’s the kind of being I’m interested in.

And the best part is … it’s easy and it’s … fun.

Life always delivers

Waking up to blue skies the other morning, I sat on the deck nursing my coffee, totally aware that my computer wasn’t calling to me. My inner child, however, was making a huge racket.  The beach! The beach! Let’s go to the beach!

I didn’t even try to resist the Siren’s call.

The tide was out when I got there, and I settled up in the dunes amidst the sea grasses to have a better view and catch the light breeze. The sun danced on the water and I inhaled the tang of seaweed and salt, deeply content. I wrote for a couple hours, then got up to take a walk. Leaving my sandals with my notebook and car keys, I struck off towards the water across what I quickly realized was very hot sand. I increased my pace. Damn! It wasn’t just hot, it was scalding! Forget walking. I broke into a trot.

Another 50 yards and I broke into a run … but it was slow going. My toes are blistering! my mind yelped in disbelief as I slogged through the deep sand. The water and cool relief seemed a million miles away. It was so hot even the damp sand marking the old high-tide line where cars drive on the beach gave no relief from the heat. I kept running until I hit the waves, fully expecting a cartoon-like hiss of steam as my feet hit the water.

Yowza!

I walked for about an hour, wading in the cool water. But my feet felt like burnt toast. The whole way up the beach and back, I kept thinking How in the world am I going to make it back to my shoes??? Maybe I could soak my shirt in the water and stop every so often and stand on it for relief? That was about the best I could come up with.

I approached my start point, staring wistfully at the far distant pile of my stuff up in the dunes, calculating the closest distance between point A and point B. Then suddenly an old SUV appeared out of nowhere, chugging up the beach. It stopped a little ways in front of me at the precise spot between the water and my stuff.

A woman with long brown hair got out and started puttering around her vehicle wearing … yellow flip flops.

Can I do it? Can I ask a complete stranger to borrow their shoes?

I could and I did. Without a moment’s hesitation the woman smiled, saying, “Of course.” Bending down she slipped off her well-worn shoes. “Here.”

If she’d handed me a check for a million dollars, I couldn’t have been more grateful. I trudged to my stuff, changed shoes and headed back to the car, marveling at how life had delivered me such a small but precious miracle. There was a 20-mile stretch of empty sand beach to park on. And she’d picked the exact place where she could be of service.

When I got back to the car, the woman was standing at the water’s edge, holding her newborn baby girl. She looked tired as only a new mother can look, and the baby appeared a bit overwhelmed by the energy of the sea.  There was a story here—a long one. It wasn’t just the SUV filled with boxes and clothes. I could feel it radiating from her as I handed back the flip flops. But we didn’t go there.

We just chatted of small things for a bit and then I thanked her again and walked away

I’ll never do better than this

Ever had that thought?

I can’t leave my __________ (lover, husband, wife, job, school, home  … fill in the blank). I might never find one as good.

The other day I was thinking about moving to a new place (California!) and caught myself driving to town, soaking up the beauty of a marvelous Puget Sound summer day, admiring the sailboats silhouetted against water, sky and the snow-capped Olympic mountains, thinking: How can I find another place as beautiful as this?

This glum thought was followed swiftly by: How can I possibly find another hairdresser as good as Rhonda? Nobody cuts my hair like her!

It was all downhill from there.

How can I find another chiropractor as good as Dr. Dave? Or an acupuncturist as fun and effective as Dr. Mike?

Holy crap, I’d have to say good-bye to silver salmon fresh-caught out of the Nisqually River, sold by the tribe on the rez for $5/pound. And Willapa Bay oysters. And ferry boat rides (even though I haven’t been on one in years). And all the Bald Eagles winging blithe passage across sea and sky. And and and …

California has no qualified beauticians, chiropractors, eagles, oysters or anything else, apparently.

It’s just human nature to think this way. And all I can say to that is: Screw it.

More is my middle name—or it should be. Hell, it should be everyone’s middle name. It’s what we’re here for.

I refuse to believe at this point in my life, when I’m finally happy and feeling free because I’ve divested myself of enough of my ego’s Shit and Shinola (including all the spiritual BS), that anything but MORE and BETTER will arrive on plate.

Seriously!

As we feel more and more and include more and more and embrace more and more so we become more and MORE! It’s just how life works.  So if you’re up against the thought of change and it seems frightening, remember, this is how we grow! Go for it. As for me I’ve made my decision – California here I come (and Sedona too!) There’s no turning back now!

Cutting Loose

When was the last time you really let it rip?

Shattered the BS about “Children should be seen and not heard” – annihilated all memory of being told “Be Quiet!” you’re “too loud” or “Stop being obnoxious” or “You’re not being appropriate” etc etc and just let it all hang out?

?

As an outgoing LEO I heard that stuff all the time growing up. Apparently having Jupiter in Aries in the 6th house doesn’t help either. It took a LOT to shut me up and dampen my energy … but like water dripping on a rock, eventually my parents and teachers wore me down to (barely) acceptable levels of volume and energy output—until eventually I was deemed docile enough to let loose on society.

But if you’ve ever watched a bunch of little kids, you know they naturally make a lot of noise. They scream ear-splitting screams and throw themselves around with abandon, expressing themselves openly and excessively as often as possible.

It’s why we’ve got these amazing vehicles called bodies. Right?

Unfortunately, by the time we’re adults, self-expression is pretty low on the To Do list. By the end, most of us have literally shrunk in upon ourselves until there’s practically nothing left!

Self-Diminishment Disease (SDS) effects everyone—especially people who’ve wandered onto the Spiritual Path where dissolution of the self, soft-spoken, obsequious demeanors, and 800-count organic Egyptian cotton sheets are highly prized and sought after.

It never occurred to me that I might suffer from SDS. Despite writing a highly insightful book on the nature of the ego, mine is still relatively intact. After 35 years on “the Path,” few would call me soft-spoken. And, although I love high-thread-count Egyptian cotton sheets, I can’t afford them. On top of all that, my energy body, which has been serving me well for 65 years, has been kindly referred to as “big.”

So, it came as some surprise to me and my fellow participants in the Speaking Truthfully workshop lead by Robert Rabbin (www.robertrabbin.com) last weekend in Prunedale, CA, to discover that I indeed have SDS, and thus some ways to go in the “cutting loose” department where it really matters: CUTTING LOOSE THE AUTHENTIC SELF.

Nobody enjoys an ego parade. And cutting loose the ego was not on the weekend’s agenda. Speaking Truthfully is about finding and expressing the real self, buried deep under decades of rules and regulations, belief systems and other kinds of general rot comprising the repertoire of the ego self.

What shocked me most that weekend was how desperately I desired to express passion and glory. How much unexpressed ecstasy and joy was in me begging to be shouted to the heavens—how much unsung appreciation for life and living I contained—and how very much I desired to let it all out!!!!

So, I did.

I don’t remember much of what I said when it came my turn to speak. And because it was a speaking/coaching class where a modest level of conscious awareness and ability to control oneself for maximum impact and effect on the audience (my fellow workshop participants) was desirable, I didn’t end up impressing my teacher very much. But I didn’t care.

I had at last let my cosmic ROAR loose upon the world.

Everyone survived. No window panes shattered. The dogs didn’t run, howling. No one told me to shut up.

My ego, however, will never quite be the same.