Tag Archives: GLBT

RIDE ON!

This week I visited Cedar Point, my favorite amusement park. It was great! If you like roller coasters Cedar Point is certainly one park you have to experience. After every ride on a roller coaster one of the workers says: “Ride on!” – inviting the people to keep experiencing thrill after thrill. Upon my return I was struck by how much I didn’t want to “ride on” with everyday, ordinary life. I wanted to experience another thrill! I wanted to “ride on!”  

 

How often we want our lives and relationships to be thrilling – and if the thrill isn’t there or wears off – we think something is wrong. But it is in the experience of day to day rhythm where life is lived and peace experienced. It’s certainly good to have peak experiences in our lives and relationships – BUT, if we begin LIVING for these experiences we will find ourselves sorely disappointed. Instead finding a “thrill” in the everyday rhythm, spiritual practice and disciplines of life is a good thing. For me, it is my spiritual practice that is the life blood of who I am. It enriches my life far beyond any thrill! Thrills are fleeting, temporary. A grounding in meditation and prayer is like an eternal, ever present flow of energy. It is not a temporary thrill.

 

This is the way I want to “ride on” with life. Who knows? If I do, maybe life’s ups and downs won’t feel so much like a roller coaster!


Limited

What one of us is not? Constrained by society, family, church. My mouth is taped shut – but my spirit here finds wings and a way. I once heard that “God makes a way out of no way.” I am at a point where I feel there is no way – no bright promise of a free future, even though I have held on. Although I would love to use my gifts of speaking to help, to free, to connect it is doubtful that I will be able in this lifetime. Perhaps this is the only way – reaching you who read this. Although I so desire to speak freely, I am grateful for this “way” and pray it helps someone along their way.


UNLIMITED

In the musical Wicked, Elphaba, the “wicked” witch sings a song called “Defying Gravity.” In it she sings a wonderful line: “Unlimited, . . . My future is unlimited!” Later in the play she sings that line again, but instead of singing “unlimited,” having experienced some hard knocks, she sings “I’m limited.” However, despite the fact that she is feeling limited at that moment, she holds fast to her original vision of being “unlimited” and life is transformed for her.

How often we get bogged down with thoughts and feelings of our limitations. Instead of keeping our focus on our dreams and visions, we so often focus on the day to day things that we all must do to live in “reality.”

Does living in “reality” preclude us from feeling unlimited and keeping our focus there?

It is those who have not allowed themselves to be bogged down, or held down by the way things are that have been the movers and shakers in our world. It is those who have constantly stretched the limits imposed by “reality” who have created new spiritualities, new cures, new technologies and new ways of being. Where would we be without such unlimited thinkers?

I was reading Wayne Dyer’s new book Excuses Be Gone. In chapter 4 he reminds us that we are unlimited. “Know that you are a soul with a body rather than the reverse” (p.75). That is, our souls are from eternity and are eternal – where there are no limitations. Remember this! If I could be or do anything I would want, without any current limitations imposed on me – what would it be? Ask yourself this question. And when you get the answer, this is what we need to keep before our eyes – not the limitations of “reality!”


I DON’T WANNA!

I have so NOT been into my zazen sitting/meditation practice lately! The sweetness has disappeared and sometimes it takes everything for me to stay with the meditation and not bolt! I simply don’t want to do it! I’m not feeling anything. It doesn’t seem like I’m getting anything out of it.

It’s precisely during times like these when I should stay with it.

Developing any kind of disciplined practice is countercultural. We live in a culture which basically says: when ya stop feeling it – move on to something else. That’s why we live in a “throw away” society, where we see much brokenness in relationships.

Whether it is in my job, my writing, my meditation practice, my relationship/s, my music practice – it’s precisely when the going gets tough, boring or unfulfilling that I should stick with it. Just because I’m not “feeling” it doesn’t mean that nothing’s happening. Just become I’m not “feeling” it doesn’t mean I should stop my practice or acts of love toward another. Something magical actually happens when we stick with it.

In the book Benedict’s Dharma: Buddhists Reflect on the Rule of St. Benedict Norman Fisher, a Zen priest, married man and co-abbot of the San Francisco Zen Center for five years says this: “After going through a time when you don’t enjoy your practice (add here job, relationship, exercise etc), you learn that the tough time is always where the reward comes in.” Somehow in the process of sticking with something or someone a greater depth, fulfillment and freedom is developed within us.

So, even though I don’t wanna, . . .can I keep trudging along and discover the reward that exists on the other side of boredom?


THE MOST AWESOME ORGASM!

NOTE: I AM FINDING IT DIFFICULT TO POST EVERYDAY, LET ALONE A FEW TIMES A WEEK. FOR THOSE WHO READ THIS BLOG, I WILL TRY TO POST EVERY SUNDAY, THEN PERHAPS SOME DAY OR DAYS DURING THE WEEK, BUT AT THE MINIMUM I WILL TRY TO POST EVERY SUNDAY. Enjoy the journey!

We all chase after it, in one way or another. We somehow expect that in this life we will find total fulfillment and happiness whether it be through our spouse/partner, that “perfect someone,” through our work, our house, our car, friends, our children, our church, synagogue, temple or mosque, our guru – our favorite self help writer, our minister, priest and the like. Somehow all of us expect perfect happiness on this side of life, whether we’re aware of it or not.

Think about it. We place high expectations on our boyfriend/girlfriend, our spouse, friends, spiritual path, church and even ourselves to bring us happiness and fulfillment. Somehow we expect that one day we will arrive, we will find perfect serenity, perfect consummation, perfect happiness – the perfect orgasm through one of these means.

We all feel a fundamental sense of disconnection – from our Source and from one another.. And this very incompletion makes us continually reach beyond ourselves to find completion, be it in a person, place, thing or philosophy/spirituality. And this is good. But the sooner we realize that none of this will EVER make us FULLY complete, connected, happy, etc – the more peaceful we will ultimately be. Our expectations of one another, our spouses, of possessions and even of our spiritual path become realistic.

Ronald Rolheiser, in his book The Holy Longing: The Search for A Christian Spirituality, has a great chapter on sexuality – this Divine energy which drives us to seek completion and fulfillment outside of ourselves because we all feel a sense of incompletion. Yet, he says, the truth is, we all live with the “frustration of a lifelong, unfinished symphony” (c.f. p.205ff). On this side of life we will never find the perfect orgasm, the perfect person, or constantly live in a state of total fulfillment. The good news is, the sooner we accept this, the sooner we will stop expecting people or things to bring us the total fulfillment that only Divine fulfillment can. And, consequently, the happier we will be. Much pain and sadness in life comes from disappointment born of dashed expectations that this person or thing will completely fulfill us.

So face it, we’re never going to have the perfect orgasm. Ironically, when we realize this, the more connected and fulfilled we will feel.


NOW!

Today is Wednesday.

Wednesday is like my “Friday.”

I came home from work, took a jog and meditated – relaxing into the thought of my “weekend” ahead. Instead of staying in this NOW moment, my thoughts quickly shifted to Saturday, which is my “Monday,” and what I will have to do when I return to work. Gratefully the next thought that came to me was: “It’s not Saturday yet. It’s Wednesday 7:30pm. Stay in this moment!” I remembered a spiritual guide that I once had who, when I would be fretting about some future task or event, would say: “It’s not here yet. Live this moment.”

How often I live life focused on the next thing instead of this moment. And in so doing, am I really living?

I am convinced that it was my meditation that brought me to this little awareness this evening. Meditation focuses us simply on the NOW. 12 Step Groups often talk about “one day at a time, one moment at a time.” Simply living THIS moment. When an addict is focused on not ever being able to use in the future this hinders recovery. But when an addict focuses on simply not using today, or this moment it, makes recovery much more manageable. In the same way, when I am focused on the future, this hinders living. When I am focused on today, or this moment, life unfolds.

I imagine that my friend who had a stroke right before Christmas and his partner can easily get paralyzed when they begin thinking about the future, when various stages of recovery will come and what will happen in the weeks to come. Sanity or some peace of mind must come from simply focusing on today’s progress, instead of a whirl of thoughts about the future. I can only imagine how difficult this must be for them at times! I know how very much and how very quickly I want to see my friend recover. I can’ only imagine how much more they want the same. I will pray that, with a focus on today’s progress, life will unfold for them in good and positive ways, as indeed it already has these past 12 days!


IT’S COMING!

As I write this I am sitting in a coffee shop, on a beautiful spring-like day. It’s amazing how a bit of good weather in the midst of the cold we’ve had can lift the spirit to new life. And new life will ALWAYS come after the cold of winter. It’s in the cold of winter that I need to remember this!

No matter what the “winter” of life is, whether it be illness, a broken relationship, loss of job or even death itself, we are promised the advent of new life beyond it. I just need to mentally remind myself of that fact, even though I may not be “feeling” it at the time. Sometimes it’s simply a matter of looking for small hints.
Last night, as I left the hospital I looked up and noticed that there was still light in the sky and it was 6:10pm. The light of Spring is coming! But right now, it’s just a hint, barely noticeable. But it’s there and it points to the warmth and light to come.

As my friend shows signs of improvement and communication, so may this point to his full recovery to come. May healing light and warmth surround you my friend and brother Mike.

Happy New Year!


GOD IS WITH US???

I recently heard a sermon by a bright young priest at an independent catholic church. He began with a story of his Mom, in her mid 30’s huddling her 6 boys and 1 girl together in her arms, . . . at their daddy’s funeral. He said that as she held them close, she kept repeating, almost whispering “God is with us, God is with us, God is with us, God is with us . . .” What struck me is that he said that these words, normally heard and spoken in happiness this time of year, came from a place of deep fear, uncertainty and sadness within her.

When I think of the reality of what many in the world will celebrate in a few days, it is far from the pretty, warm cozy picture that we try to create. It was cold, dirty, smelly, bloody and fearful. Joseph was perplexed by his pregnant wife to be. Instead of a warm, cozy home, they had to leave home and when they arrived in Bethlehem there was no room for them. The child was sought after and almost killed.

“God is with us, God is with us, God is with us, God is with us . . .”

Sometimes our lives can be messy, dark and cold; but the reality that we shout these days is “God is with us!” To some in difficulty, such words might ring hollow. But as sweet and sappy as some of this season can be, perhaps we need this time of year when we are reminded of what is good in the world, what is good in the human spirit and when our thoughts turn to “peace and goodwill toward all.” I can’t help but think that since a lot of us are thinking such thoughts, a little bit of it might actually manifest itself in our reality.


I’M LOOKING FORWARD TO IT!

As I continue “Just Sitting” – my Zazen practice – I remain intrigued by what it’s doing, yet at the same time trying to be unattached from expectation that anything will come of it. This simple (and not so simple!) opening of the body, spirit and mind connects us directly to Source Energy, God, Spirit and when you think about it, that’s freak’n amazing!! I find myself more aware, looking to see what this silence will bring.

Most of the time I find it difficult not to think, and simply concentrate on my breathing. The mind, the ego will not easily shut up. It does NOT want to give up control! Yet, what a relief it is to stop the incessant chatter within! I can only imagine what this must do to the brain. I can’t help but believe that in the process of this silence of the mind, the brain is literally making new connections. I am convinced that in this silence I am more lined up with Source, and Divine will becomes my will. In this silence the ego is shut up and I somehow feel more directly connected to God – I let go of control. I get out of the way. Maybe that’s what “let go, and let God” means. Normally when I give up control, I find myself, at least apprehensive, if not downright fearful. Yet as a result of this silence I find myself looking forward in hopeful expectation to see what will unfold in my life – and that of the world (because it‘s not just about my life, but affecting the world). Instead of a problem to be solved, life is becoming a Mystery to be lived. I look forward to the journey!


SEDUCED

The other day I was made aware of a movie called “Into Great Silence.” It is a documentary film directed by Phillip Groning which portrays the lives of the Carthusian Monks of the Grande Charteuse Monastery high in the French Alps. It’s known to be one of the most austere monasteries. I imagine that many people might be bored out of their minds by this movie, as it definitely takes one “into great silence,” as its title suggests. The movie is around two and a half hours long and most of it is silence. It simply shows the monks in their day to day lives – without offering commentary or explanation. These monks do not talk, except when they are in common prayer and once a week after a meal on Sundays. So it’s quiet! Disturbingly so! Yet, . . . Refreshingly so. Talk about counter-cultural!

After watching this movie I wondered how much we may all be seduced away from the silence by the incessant, and sometimes, unnoticeable noise all around us. I wonder if all the noise that surrounds us, or that we choose to be surrounded by – lulls us into a dull sense of living, and ultimately – in our society – a crisis of meaning.

When I enter into the silence, which is initially disturbing, I am lead to a greater sense of myself, a more peaceful place and, in the process, I become a more compassionate presence in the world. It is nothing short of hard work to stay with silence, but I am becoming more and more conscious of the tremendous difference it makes in my life and work. I feel as if I am slowly being seduced by it. In entering the silence I give up control to a Higher Power, which is initially disturbing. But now I am intrigued by it, curious and interested to see what happens. And something is happening. I don’t quite know what it is, but I know it’s good.