Second Half of Life

She had found me overwhelmed and upset, but she remained calm and present. Today she appeared much closer in age to my number of seven decades. Her silver hair was pulled back smoothly, her face showing the appropriate wrinkles of someone who has been on earth for a long time. She had my own distinctive nose but her lips, unlike mine, were full and took to rouge quite well. She wore no rings this time, her only decorations were the tiny blue veins showing through the parchment skin of her clasped hands. The dress she wore had a narrow standup collar and the soft material was covered with a pattern of spring-like foliage.

I did not wait for her to speak first. I said, “I am very much afraid. Many times I feel much confusion and guilt. Then I am unsure of myself and I have my back up.”

Tears stung behind my eyes. My spine stiffened and I drummed my fingers nervously. “I think of all the nasty things family members have said to me in the heat of misunderstanding, rebellion, blame and ignorance. I can feel it in my veins, the pit of my stomach. I fear I will go to the bathroom on the floor right here. I have a desire to curl up in feelings of worthlessness and as usual, I long to disappear from this earth altogether.

A frown appeared above her nose. I thought she would scold me, tell me to get out of the victim mode and be grateful for what I had. Instead her deep blue eyes pierced mine with great tenderness and she encouraged me to feel deeply into these old wounds. “By being mindful of all of this you will arrive at an entirely new place and you open up new possibilities. Observe your many hurts with curiosity and you will not remain stuck there for long. You include the pain but you know you will transcend it. Your wounds can become the vehicle for liberating yourself and others if you stay present and simply observe what is going on. Do not judge yourself or try to be different than who you are right now. You came by your wounds honestly. As a young woman you were very generous and open-minded and you were often misunderstood and put in your place by those who were threatened by the deep wisdom of your soul. In time you have become somewhat of a battleaxe which was never your intention. You were naturally loving and caring, but you had to learn to stand up for yourself in this life and for that you needed to be aggressive and even bitchy.  If you had not learned to stand up for yourself and fight for your right to be here, you would have not flowered into the person who you are now. You might say that you needed to develop your masculine side which was not innate to you. Now, in the second half of your life, you must learn to be less combative and relax more into your natural wisdom and knowledge. There is no need to be so defensive anymore.

The tenderness in her tone washed over me like relaxing shower. Her face had become more luminous as she spoke. I studied the soft green pattern of her dress. Her shoes were more sensible than I felt at the moment.

I can never understand the value of revisiting the past, even though it is what keeps intruding on me.

Old people love to take stock of their past, revisit old memories. But you, you need to avoid traveling the path of rehashing old injuries. Instead bend over the child that has been so ignored, disappointed, made invisible. When you do that, the wounds do not become your story. You do not suppress them, but feel them fully. In due time, you will stop identifying with your wounds and you will begin to remember again the times when the child in you felt celebrated, mirrored, seen, admired, entitled and nurtured either by you or by others. One of the reasons you still tend to be combative is because you do not feel entitled to be happy and enjoy your life.  You think you still have to fight for every inch of life that you have. But I tell you, you can bend your sword into plowshares now and relax into simply being who you are. You can observe the interplay in your relationships with others without judgment.

I still feel critical of myself when I cannot be nice and accommodating all the time because I am able to see the big picture and I need to set firm boundaries.  I have strong intuitions and pick up vibes easily. I see beyond the surface of people and events, but then I also know how limited is my perspective and how it is still tainted by my own stuff whenever I feel judgmental and emotionally reactive. That is why I need plenty of time alone because I am prone to have a meltdown when I get in difficult situations. I fear that if I don’t protect my boundaries my life will become a train wreck, but if I do speak up I know I open myself up for unfair criticism.

Her eyes did not leave mine and the wisdom that shone from deep within her was balm for my heart. “That is an old fear; a flashback to the time when blending in was a means of survival for you.  But you must know that there is a difference between an attitude of loving kindness that can be directed toward anything or anyone, and love which is a verb, an action that calls for different strategies in a variety of situations. You will not know the strategy unless you have the ability to listen to others while at the same time listening to your own body and your own emotions and reactivity. Then you will feel deep down that your strategy is right for you and you will feel strong in whatever move you take next.

I tried to wrap my head around what she just said. Still there was a part of me that would not let go of the fear. “Yes, but do we as elders not have reason to fear. Our values are not those of the young generation. Now I am only a decoration in the family photos.”

A wistful smile appeared around her lips. She glanced sideways as if trying to remember something. I only just noticed how her voice was a bit shaky today. “It is the failing of your culture that it puts more value on exterior things than on interior riches. Still, you must remember that new times call for new gifts.  In the first half of life you discover your gifts, in the second part of life you understand that everything is pure grace flowing through you. You are not the owner of the gifts. The ego wants to own, but your True Self is free from ownership.  It is the ego that mourns the passing of the time and the losses of beauty, abilities, physical prowess, etc. But you know better and you also know that even interior values can become fodder for the ego. Now it is all about humility and letting go of ego so that you come to see and enjoy your whole life as the flow of pure grace.

Somehow, I still bristled at the thought of being an ego-less old granny who sat smiling in family photos, and easily overlooked. “But do I not need a strong irascible ego in order to negotiate the exterior world? It is not the kind of ego that makes me feel proud of myself. Rather I am constantly annoyed at myself for being slow, for aching all over, for having sustained so much inner damage in the course of a this lifetime. On the one hand I no longer need the securities, the validations, the illusions and prejudices of family and communities. I know I can stand alone. But on the other hand, my body is getting slower and my memory less reliable, so I seek out people who will have my back. I have a love/hate relationship with my family and my church, because I feel trapped in role expectations and there is no room to express my deepest, truer, more authentic Self.”

I looked down mortified as the blue-veined hand reached out and landed on my knee. “Can you see how everything is part of a process of inner transformation? Where once you fought against religious and political and educational structures you can now see that they were and still are containers that can provide structure for an immature young person. Yes, those century old institutions that have long and complicated histories are rife with imperfections and always in need of innovation, but despite their many shortcomings they have provided a container for me, your soul, through many lives. It gave you something to rebel against that is worthy of me. If there are no laws and rules what is it that you will push against that is a worthy opponent? When you kick off against the side of the swimming pool you gain momentum for the next lengthy lap. Likewise, when you kick against the rules you acquire speed and get to the essence of what it is true and good and beautiful. You can include laws and rules but you also will transcend them. Like a chick needs the egg and the butterfly needs the cocoon at first to protect it, later it presses hard against it and breaks it wide open in order to be set free. In the same way those old ways have served the development of your soul.

That’s why so many young people become radicalized today because they have never had a strong foundation to support the development of their ego?

The frown in her forehead deepened. “Yes, you cannot leave home if you never had a home that gave you roots. Young people need to be successful in order to build strong egos and self-confidence.  Allow them that. You may find that young people are often arrogant, aggressive and defensive, but do not see those qualities are bad because they are so necessary if they are to assert themselves in the world. You have to build an ego before you can slay your ego.

In my experience, success and failure have both been necessary in my life. I wish I could tell that to the younger generation.

You must remember that as an elder your task is not about moralizing and giving advice. Actually, it never was, but as you get older and you can see the value of falling and getting up, of failing and becoming more humble, of making mistakes and learning from them, you can now observe what goes on in the life of your dear ones with serenity and presence.

I need to accept that much of life is a mystery and that some people get away with immature behavior, or better, that many people prefer to get away with immature behavior. Then some part of me also wants to fall back into immature behavior. It is hard to always be the hero in a situation.

The hand on my knee patted me gently as she spoke again. “Then it is time to love the neglected child within you.”

I was beginning to think more clearly already. “I am torn between knowing that at some level I do not need anything or anyone because I am an immortal spark of the Divine with infinite possibilities, but I am also frail and human and that makes me very fearful in relationship to others.

Your deepest Self, that is I, has emerged from God and will return there.  The same Force, the Cosmic Christ that sent you into this world and that you consented to, the same force is also calling you back. That is why you are always homesick for the world from which you came. Meanwhile while you are still in this world, you must love it with passion and joy. It needs you.  

At first I could no longer see her hand on my knee. Then the pattern on her dress scrambled before my eyes like a faulty image on the television screen. I had not known she wore perfume until the flowery scent of it in my nostrils was all that remained of her. Was it my imagination, or could I detect a blue light all around the chair where she had sat only a moment ago?

Love this world with passion and joy. Those were her last words to me. I could do that even if my heart was homesick for the world that was her home, the home of my soul.

Second Half of Life

Dialogue with my Soul: Easter

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I had difficulty recognizing her in the smart grey pantsuit. The way she was dressed, the figure of my soul appearing in my living room could pass for a lawyer, a partner in a famous law firm. A fine string of pearls adorned her slender neck.

At first I had been feeling too morose to notice the silent figure who had slid noiselessly into the chair in front of me until the stiletto heels on her shoes caught my eye as she sat down and crossed her legs. I looked down at my clenched hands and my thoughts and feelings returned to the messiness of my own depths. They tell you that it is there that you find God, but all I found was closed doors at the bottom of the rabbit hole. I felt trapped.

Not without a tinge of hostility I turned to her and said, “You look like you are about to go to church.”

That upsets you?

When I was a teenager, fourteen or so, I sought attention and approval in the parish church. The divine in me was already so awakened that I sought confirmation in a community. I also liked the rituals of Easter Week.

Yet the community was not as yet so awakened enough to accommodate people like you.

Nor did I know what it meant that I was aware of these heavenly realities, the presence of the sacred that I could sense everywhere.

She fingered the pearls around her neck as she spoke. “You did not have the language to express that. And the God of the churches was not big enough for you, their intimacy with Jeshua insufficient for you. What they presented to you was a moralizing, dead from the waist down Savior, a false Jesus. As so often happens when anything becomes institutionalized, symbolic truth comes to be presented as literal truth with an overlay of human projections that have their origins in fear.” She looked wistfully into the distance as she spoke.

The shadow of that still looms over me. I feel a basic sense of wrongness and disorientation.

The tone of her voice dropped low and the sound of it embraced me with compassion. “How old do you feel now when you speak of this?

“Eighteen, nineteen. Missing the sense of belonging that my family could give me. Missing the feeling of belonging that a language and a culture could give me. By losing all of that I woke up more and more to the reality of who God is. Meanwhile, as I sought a much needed support of a community, the sermons went something like this: you can feel secure because Jesus died for your sins and he secured your entry into heaven. While the Bible exhorts you hundreds of times not to be afraid, this not being afraid is reduced to not being afraid to propagate what the church says about baptism and creed.”

She kicked off her heels and I could see her toes move as she grew more excited. “Not to be afraid means not being afraid to live fully, to be yourself, to explore life, and to make mistakes. It is not being afraid to challenge those old rituals and their meaning. What is supposed to serve as a gentle reminder of your inherent divinity as a human being, such as the rituals of baptism and confirmation, have come to be presented as a literal requirement.

She was shaking her head in exasperation, a feeling I shared. A God who is unconditional love does not hand out so many demands to his children. Nothing can make holy what is already holy. Nothing can make sacred what is sacred already, and that means the whole universe, the good, the bad and the ugly. Can you see that it is possible that it is all part of God’s game plan?

Sure, but don’t we all need community. No man or woman is an island, a truth to themselves.

True, God is a sociable God, so he/she can be found in community. But God also speaks to you in the desert. I speak to you your isolation. What many people pursue in the world is mere illusion. The real is what you discover in your longing for me. It remains true that everything is hidden from the learned and the clever and revealed to mere children, or those who approach God with the heart of a wounded child.

Did Jeshua feel so alone in the Garden?

Her face had become flushed with concentration and her eyes shone a liquid blue. “He felt alone the way you feel alone. There was a depth in him and a knowing of divine and human realities. He lived from that depth, from that inner knowing that the he and God are one. He taught that not a single soul, no element of creation is outside that infinite love that is called God. That is why the religious authorities and the purist who think in black and white felt threatened. It made him deeply sad that what he had lived and taught was so misunderstood and perceived as blasphemy.

I wanted to sink into the infinite blue ocean of her eyes to relieve my own sadness. “I can live with the fact that no one sees me, that I am invisible, not even a teacher like Jesus was. But if only more people saw God in everything and everything in relation to God then I would not feel so alone.”

Yes. It is not that Jeshua wanted people to see him as a wise and gifted teacher, or God’s only son, but he wanted them to see with his eyes, hear with his ears, feel with his heart the Presence of God in everything and his unity with all that is. He was so convinced of that that he dared to call God intimately his Abba and invites all to do the same. It is what the authorities saw to be blasphemous. The churches still have not come to terms with that, the reality of all of us being both human and divine.

Fragments of a sentence that I read once floated through my mind. Tell me what you long for and I will tell you who you are. I said, “To hear you say that gives me so much joy. I long to live my fullest possible humanity in the intimate presence of God. I want to see love in everything even when my human judgement recoils at suffering.”

Her eyes grew serious. She must have seen that I was still puzzled by this mystery of Jeshua’s death. She continued. “People found the crucifixion absurd. So they made it into the myth of a dying and rising god who atoned for the evils in the world.”

I thought of my grandchildren and how their toys representing magic heroes kill off the bad guys.”Isn’t such a myth much more exciting than the truth? You find a scapegoat who is to blame for all the bad things in the world. Then some powerful hero is victorious, and we have nothing left to fear?

Only if you are a child and you cure your fears with magic ad your guilt by blaming others. But you have incarnated to discover that love does not only include joy and pleasure, but also pain and suffering and a willingness to go the distance. I see that in your love for your spouse, for your children, your friends.

I was quick to chime in as I wasn’t entirely ignorant and I could teach my soul something too. “Jesus death was the result of the ignorance of his enemies, the purists, those who think in black and white, those who insists on separating evil from good. When you separate evil from good, you are in danger of becoming evil yourself because it is your judgments that kill.”

My soul smiled at my sudden outburst. “You have learned a lot in earth school. As earthlings you learn to judge, separate good from evil. But in the realm where I am, the realm of God, there is no judgment. There is no punishment in God, there is no judgment in God, only infinite patience and forgiveness. All God is waiting for is for us to return Her love with awe and joy.  It is the created world that is ignorant of God’s absolute freedom and therefore judges and separates and projects their judgements on God. “

I thought about all the wrong turns I had taken, the times I had given in to despair. ” Jeshua’s crucifixion shows that even the biggest losers–if they embrace the good and the bad in their lives as soul-making–are the ones who discover that nothing can check-mate God.”

You discover, as Mary Magdalene did, that failure and death are not the end, but a passage way to a new way of being.

Our conversion was becoming a true exchange of learning. “I discovered that this new way does not happen after you die. That too, is a misconception that I had for a long time, one that is spread widely. This new way of being happens all the time in this life already to those who have struggled heroically and often desperately with adversity. You resurrect many times before you die because you fall into your own greatness when you have faced and endured the unthinkable.”

My soul could not resist correcting me a little. Perched on the edge of her seat she leaned closer to me. ” Jehsua was conscious of his Father’s presence in all of it, while perhaps you are not. You lose yourself in darkness and despair much more than He did. His body suffered, his psyche suffered a dark night of despair and abandonment. Still he never left God’s presence even for a nanosecond. So he really knew then what he had been teaching to others all along was true. That he and the Other were one. That there is no Other when you united to the One.

I knew that she was right, that she was reiterating my deepest truth. Still, I sputtered, “Yes, but don’t you see. So many people feel alone and confused and they would gladly turn to false promises, a false Jesus to escape the pain of feeling guilty and abandoned. If they can think that Jesus suffered for them and ensured heaven for them, they feel less afraid.”

By now, the radiant figure who sat across from me knew my weaknesses all too well. She crossed her long legs as she moved away from again. “Of course you can fall back into that earlier stage of faith whenever you feel overwhelmed with suffering. Then you no longer try and figure out things for yourself and you reach out for the consolations, true or false,  that are out there and ready made. Still, you must know that when you feel alone and separate and you feel abandoned by God that this saddens God because He or She would never abandon you. God always sees the astonishing radiance of your being even when you longer see it yourself. Your life and its meaning is something that you and God need to figure out together. The solutions are never ready made out there, because each person is a mystery.  When you live the questions, you will find the answers inside of you.

In some ways I know that, but more often than not I get angry when I see so much misery in the world, even when people are the cause of their own suffering. How can a loving Creator allow people to suffer like that?

A rage born of pain. However, you have discovered by now that it is by embracing these impossible challenges to your soul that you become the person that you are. You find God everywhere, even in your deepest pain. It is where your faith grows through fierce grace.

There was a long silence between us for a moment as I thought about what she said. A new pain rose up in me and I tried to put my finger on it. “That gives me new cross to bear, if you pardon me the expression. Now I am angry with those who present a false image of God, a God who watches and judges the world from afar. One who demands atonement through the death of Jesus. God the eternal threatenor, and Jesus always critiquing and moralizing. I wish such fundamentalists would stop spreading so called “good news” that is actually very bad news,

She clucked her tongue soothingly at my outburst. “Look at it this way. How many people could give you an accurate picture of a loving relationship or of a friendship that you have? Even your relationship to your most beloved always remains somewhat of a mystery that is hard to penetrate let alone explain to others. The suffering as well as the pure joy that you endure in a loving relationship defies explanation. Likewise, the more deeply you enter into a relationship with God and with me, the more unique and mysterious that relationship becomes. More is revealed to you and still it is hard to speak about it, so it remains hidden to others. It defies words so you have to keep silent about such things. You cannot speak of it because mere words can never do it justice. You can only light up with the knowledge of what that relationship means to you, whether that relationship is between God and humans, or between another. Any” I and Thou” relationship is a miracle. So be grateful of the relationship between Jeshua and you because it is unique to each human soul and cannot be repeated.

Her musings were throwing me off track. “So what you are saying is that it is better not to despair of those who have a mistaken image of God and who present a false image of Jesus.”

Each human being needs to walk their own path. There are those who need the scaffolding, the support of a church. Pray that they will turn their face toward a greater mystery that can never be contained in words and rituals. The divine cannot be contained in any group, any church, any religion, any ethnic community.

Then there are those who scoff at anything spiritual and live only in the material world. So much pain is caused to others and to the Earth as a result of the ignorance of those who are less conscious or unconscious of that bigger Reality that remains invisible to those who do not have eyes to see it.

You and others like you have not yet been able to set down deep grooves and habits to support in word and ritual the Christ consciousness that is yours. Therefore what you do appears small and insignificant compared to what traditional institutions are offering the world. But do not let that discourage you. Jeshua is with you always.

Remember how Peter talked about Mary Magdalene:

“How is it possible that the teacher talked in this manner to a woman about secrets which we ourselves are ignorant? Must we change our customs and listen to this woman?”

Own that then. God reveals things anew in every intimate relationship with each and every human being and every human community that seeks sincerely to know him.

As my soul was about to disappear from my vision, I remembered the words of Jeshua.” I will not leave you orphaned. I will send you a comforter and he will be the spirit and truth.” Or something of that nature.

Grateful that my soul had taken the time to comfort me while allowing me to share myself with her in a truly cooperative relationship, I stared at the empty chair that only a few minutes ago had been filled with light. I was surprised how the darkness in my heart had receded and given way to that same radiance. Then I noticed that today was Easter morning.

Dialogue with my Soul: Easter

Chapter Twenty-Six: Readiness

Go to Chapter Twenty-five

Chapter Twenty-Six: Readiness.

Never had I seen an orange dress like this before. Burnt orange. It wasn’t my color, but my soul wore it very well. But then, what didn’t she wear well. The translucent white skin showed off beautifully against the silky fabric.  Her shoes were a shade of earth and her eyes the color of the sky.

Talking about death and disability had left me depressed. I wanted to continue our conversation from last time.  After my eyes had adjusted to her brilliance, I plunged right in. “I know you want me to sit with the unknown. But I cannot help but speculate.”

She looked at me with that dazzling gaze I had learned to tolerate a little. “Why is that?”

About to drown in her eyes, not to mention the melodious voice, I stammered, “Because I want to know what my attitude should be. Shall I prepare for my death, or should I prepare to live to be one hundred and twenty as the medical profession is predicting life-expectancy will be soon.”

You can do that.

Still trembling a little with the aftershock of finding her so nearby, I said, “But that would mean I could live another forty-five years in this body that moans and croaks already under the weight of too many lives.”

You can never have too many lives. Earth school is a great privilege and opportunity to learn. Angels fight over the chance to be here.  You are never so fully enlightened as when you know who you are and why you are here on earth. 

I had my doubts as to why angels would want to live on earth, but I wasn’t about to argue. Instead I shot back, “How many people even question why they are here and who they are at their core.  Mostly, they grow up, work hard, surround themselves with stuff and hope to retire eventually to a life of ease and comfort before they die. That’s about it.”

Yes. But if you were to retire at say, sixty-five years old, and you had another sixty or so to go. Then you really would begin to ask yourself who you really are, why you are here, and what your role is in this magnificent universe.

But that’s just it. When I was young I was told that the world was overpopulated and humanity was making a horrendous demand on the earth’s resources. In spite of those grave concerns, those threats have increased and not diminished in my lifetime. Now I am just tired and don’t know where to go from here. I would gladly check myself out from this planet before I have to witness a series of global disasters.

She raised an inquiring brow. “You are speculating now. But let’s go with it.”

She was on to me, so I lowered my gaze.  “I have learned that if I depend on my head to figure it all it, I either do not get it, or keep going around in circles, or I get it wrong and then I am surprised that things work out eventually for the best despite my fears.”

So at the ripe old age of seventy, you are still learning?

All the time. I cannot stand to be around people who are not open to new possibilities.

You do not like Pollyanna attitudes either.

New age optimism makes me vomit. Still, I have learned in my personal life that no matter how bad things get, something new and creative and unimaginably great comes out of it.

I could see that she was enjoying our conversation.  She leaned back and crossed her legs with a flurry of rustling silk. “You know how dying is often compared to the process of being born. You are told that you do not know what is out there while you are in the womb, but when you emerge you enter a world that you could never have imagined before. Well, it is like that even with the many little deaths that you experience during your life.  Each time your life falls apart and you let it, you come out into a new world that defies your imagination.”

A world that defies my imagination, I like that. If I were to live a few more decades I would like it to be in a world that blows my mind, literally.  But from the predictions of many scientists, what will defy our imaginations is the disasters that are waiting on us if we do not heed their warnings about the destruction of the natural environment.

The pitfalls of linear thinking. You notice how these scientists leave out the possibilities of love and connection and learning and wisdom, all qualities of the heart and of unity and linking. They do not see how thousands of lights are ignited one at a time in human hearts all over the globe.  Like when it gets dark in the evening and the lights get turned on one at a time until the whole city is dotted with lights. They do not see how individuals are transforming the darkness inherited from past lives into the gold of strength and wisdom and power. They fail to see the passion of men and women everywhere who seek humbly and walk steadily. If you leave that out, you cannot but despair about the future of humanity and of the earth.

A light bulb went on in my head and I could not wait to tell her. “I have come to see that the mythical idea that Jeshua came to save the world does not do justice to what he really came to do.  I now see that it is the new consciousness that he ignited along with Buddha and other enlightened ones, the consciousness that burns in the hearts of so many people. That will be the salvation of the world.

She nodded. “Christ consciousness.  But remember that no two people will be making the same contribution that process. Your friends may be on an entirely different track, as their gifts are as unique to them as yours are to you.

I get what you are saying. The reason that I am here, whether I live another day or another forty-five years is to bring my unique light to my little dark corner of the world, while honoring as best as I can the light of others whether what they do makes sense to me or not.

Yes, without judgment. 

I have learned that the hard way. I thought because I was on a spiritual track I was right and others were wrong. Now I realize that ideas of right and wrong are part of a dualistic view.

You need not fight so hard against old, entrenched institutions.  Old structures will either change for the better or collapse altogether. Just feel strongly about where you stand and do not waste your energy in battles that you cannot win.

One thing my life also taught me is that things change eventually.  For example, women have rights now that they could not even dream of a few decades ago. And those who do not have rights know that they are entitled to more than what they are getting.  Unfortunately, I also see how women are using their powers either to set themselves above men, or co-opt in structures that follow the norms set by men.

So what you have experienced is that you need to balance the masculine and feminine in yourself and inspire others to do the same. Isn’t that enough reason to go on living a few more years at least?

But don’t you see. It took decades before a difference in women’s rights or the rights of minorities were  noticeable, and we still have a long way to go especially in religious institutions. It also took a long time before people began to see the need to cherish their natural environment and in the meantime I see all kinds of excesses, such as putting the welfare of puppies and pigs above justice for the poor and exploited countries.

As I said, the agenda of others may not coincide with what you think is most important and everyone is on their own continuum of growth and development. Culture wars are real and will continue for quite some time.  Do not concern yourself so much with that.  Stand firm in your own values and be open to learn, even if it means to standing up for who you are.

What I am is vulnerable and afraid.  People say that death is a mystery, but to me it is life that is the most mysterious. Most people do not even know me other than my statistics, like what work that I do, to whom I am married and so on. The do not know the real me. I feel I do not even belong to this world.

Many people feel as you do.  Those who belong to an ethnic group, a church, or those who embrace a certain ideology or life style have a sense of belonging. But many more people have gotten in touch with their soul’s unique calling, as you are doing with me, and they feel as if they are strangers in this world. They often live in an environment where like-minded people are hard to find.  They still find themselves in  a pioneering role. They are willing to sacrifice their need to belong in order to find pathways to wider and deeper connections with many more people. That takes discipline. However, it is also what makes you strong and sure-footed despite the solitude.  Or perhaps because of it, because solitary people often have great depth and can connect to others with the same depth.

“That is it. That is where I recognize you,” I said, surprised that my voice had turned into a whisper.  I felt duly humbled.

From where I stand forty-five years is only a blink of an eye.  All these things that worry you so much,  a more extended life-expectancy, impending natural disasters, impossible culture wars, collapsing institutions, these things are just props in the process of soul-making. Remember the old saying, “Humans are children of Light and out of darkness they have found their inheritance.”

I love that. I want to believe it very much.  No, I actually know that it is true.

She had come to remind me of that, in her dress of burnt orange and eyes as blue as the depths of the ocean. I still could not look at her for any length of time.  Luckily, she never stayed very long.

But then again, it was not so lucky.  I always missed her when she left.

Like waking up from a dream and being plunged right back into a world where I felt like an outsider.

Chapter Twenty-Six: Readiness

Chapter Twenty-Five: Aging

Go to Chapter Twenty-Four

Chapter Twenty-five: Aging

I was aghast when my soul appeared to me next. The thin grey material of her dress could not hide the bony shoulders and bumpy knees. She had dark circles around her eyes and her usually beautiful face was lined with wrinkles. Her hair hung limp around her face. Instead of a row of pearly white teeth, she had only a few crooked ones protruding between her skinny lips. Her eyes were dull and there was nothing in them that reminded me of the way they were in her earlier visits.

I held back a gasp and when I found the words, they came out louder than I meant to sound. “You are free and unlimited. You find joy in emerging from the One and becoming visible on earth in a human body, but why would you come to me looking like this?”

I want to explore every kind of earthly form. For hundreds of elderly people life is burdensome. Many old people are overwhelmed by suffering and even if they believe in God, She seems terribly far away. By stepping into this wholeheartedly, I can feel your emotions, have your thoughts, and experience your attitude toward life in an elderly, failing body.

But I hate it.

So does most everyone else.

I wished I could feel your joy rather than to feel lost and confused and irritated and annoyed, always trying to be happy despite the infirmities, the pain and discomfort.

Persevere.  Never doubt God’s infinite possibilities. Human beings have a zillion chances to get it right.

What does that mean, ‘getting it right.’

It means creating goodness, beauty and truth wherever you are and whatever your state of mind.

Now you sound like Ken Wilber

She chuckled and her bad teeth were even more obvious. Still, I could detect some light emanating from her face despite the wrinkles.  Her voice was an attempt at dry humor. “Even philosophers hold up some aspect of the truth at times”

My sense of humor had been fading along with the rest of me. I felt ornery most of the time. “I had no objection to being elderly as long as I was decades away from it. Now when I see people with dementia and Alzheimer’s and I think, “Soon, I will be one of ‘them’.”

She ignored my whining and continued. “Living in a world of fear and denial of soul make it very difficult to hold on to that Light of goodness and beauty and truth. Still that is where transformation happens. It is a creative process of persistent faith and trust and love within the most difficult circumstances.  It is not as if  you haven’t been tested before.

I turned my face away so I would not see her crooked smile.  “I was taught that aging, illness, and dying are the result of sin. Some days it feels that way.”

When the body declines and you cannot be as active as you were before, some of your early childhood indoctrination rears its their ugly head.  It is harder to be true to your self and not buy into the lies that others have been telling you.  But I tell you this is the time to really counteract the false beliefs of your childhood not by outward actions but by revisiting those beliefs, seeing how harmful they were and surrounding them with your gentle light. 

When I was visiting people who were dying I would encourage them to feel safe in the arms of God.  Unfortunately, often some zealous chaplain would remind me that human beings were separate from God and sinful.

Freedom of religion often means that the moralist have the loudest voices. But do not despair. The humble shall inherit the earth. The moralists have had their day.

Modern science also tells us that illness and aging is failure to do the things that would keep us healthy and forever young.

The choices you face are more complex to be sure because the advances in medical science, energy healing and all forms of healing have to be taken into consideration.  People live and stay healthy longer than before.  That is why people who face health challenges often feel they have failed. They think they could have avoided a certain illness or there should have been a cure for it already. Still, you cannot wait for a culture obsessed with youth to cherish the elderly. When old people value themselves, when they keep evolving even if that transformation  is taking place in a way that the world often fails to  see, new grooves are put down for the next generation of elderly to follow.

I have trouble striking the right note. Disregarding the reality of aging and dying is one of the ways people lie to themselves. However, identifying with one’s aches and pains and weaknesses and creating stories around it seems to me to be a boring alternative.

When an illness and its symptoms take up so much of your attention, it is easy to become preoccupied with the symptom and you may lose touch with your higher Self.   Aging, like illness offers you an opportunity to reveal your unique character.  I find great joy in manifesting in your body no matter what its infirmities. I will marvel in you through the way you decline in the same way I rejoiced in the way you were born and matured into adulthood.

I was perking my ears now. “Knowing this makes me feel less of a failure.  The elderly so often seem sad and resigned or confused, or angry or bitter. I wished I could radiate joy in my old age the way I did when I was a child. It came so natural to me then.”

You also notice among the elderly the briefest of smiles, the quick exchanged glances between spouses or life-long friends that reveal in a flash decades of love and connection and loyalty. It is not the innocent smile of a baby, but it is the wizened expression of a love and light that has endured through the trials and tribulations of a long life.   Such a light in the eyes, almost imperceptible at times, reveals the knowing of a soul that has traveled another long journey through the human world.  Even when the eyes are filled with sadness, it is the expression of pain and disappointment and loss that needs to be treasured.  

Perhaps I, too, am buying into societies norms that everyone needs to be happy and smiling and enjoying life at all times. The elderly do not seem to comply with that. Their humor often seems contrived.

It takes courage to get old.  To find a balance between receiving and giving, between surrendering and struggling, between accepting help and being as independent as possible.  It is a wonderful challenge to me, your soul.

“I fail to find meaning in it, all these people supported by wheelchairs and walkers and bath lifts, when once these same bodies ran marathons or skated or danced, and now to be burdened by the extra weight from lack of exercise and mobility.” I stopped, noticing again her skinny appearance, then I added, “Or worse, to feel the painful chaffing when your bones press down against the bed.”

You will embrace it when you have to, knowing that the way in which I am old, wise, learned, and experienced has come through many incarnations into a human body. If I was brave enough to be born into a human body, I have the courage to be in it in an elderly form. 

I felt little comfort.  She was trying to show me what it was like to be a soul hidden in a human body. It need not always be all smiles and radiance; it was okay to be sad and depressed at times also.  Like the weather and the seasons, there was change and unpredictability.

What makes me depressed and fearful is my wanting to include every possibility, dementia, Alzheimer’s, serious stroke, diabetic failure, I have seen it all in people that I deeply cared about. Having seen all this, how can I surrender to the divine in trust and equanimity?

She looked at me tenderly. “You always do things wholeheartedly but you cannot know the future. Try to be more optimistic. “

I have experienced what it is like to be completely forgotten. I am not looking forward to having that happen as I get old.

But you do remember that those times when you felt the most lost and abandoned also happened to be the times that you felt the most found after you came through the  tunnel, the long dark night, and you were taken up in the feeling that all is One. Such times you knew that loss was impossible.  

A light bulb went off in my head. “That’s why it has been said by sages that Jeshua rose from the dead before he died. He experienced his immortal divinity during his struggle in the Gethsemane, and before he took up his cross.”

What happened next reminded me of a scene on Mount Tabor in which the disciples fell to ground when Jeshua ‘s divine nature was revealed to them.  As if my soul was shedding a coat, the skeletal figure dropped to the floor, and only the impossible to describe beauty of a dazzling young  queen remained. She was all translucent white luminosity.  I put my hand over my eyes to protect them against the powerful light that emanated from my soul. Here she was, my divine nature, willing to embrace all of the things that I dreaded the most. How could I ever have any doubts or fears when I was to remain aware of my own radiance?

When I found my voice, my tone was apologetic. “I will forget time and again, and then I will remember, however dimly.”

You will remember. I will remind you. And also think of this when you look at those struggling figures with walkers and in wheelchairs that they, too, fail to see the infinite radiance of their own being.

Now I really felt uplifted. I always tried to see the sick and elderly as manifestations of the divine. I just needed a little more support to keep up this attitude, especially now when I was getting there myself.

All was good and right with the world after all. I just needed a little shift in perspective.

“Thank you,” I whispered to the empty spot in the room from where my soul had disappeared from sight.

But then again, she was always still here. She was me, and I was her.

Go to Chapter Twenty-Six

Chapter Twenty-Five: Aging

Chapter Twenty-Four: Guides

Go to Chapter Twenty-three

Chapter twenty-four: Guides

Today, my soul was wearing a pencil-slim leather skirt that reached  high above her knees. I let my eyes travel down her long elegant legs to her feet. Her shoes consisted of straps and jewels.  I looked up to see a white silk blouse that revealed her slender neck and shoulders. A great array of bangles tingled around her arms. Her eyes shone as she returned my gaze.

You want to know who besides me is guiding you through life.

Yes, that was the question I had on my mind today.

There are many people surrounding you who are taking it upon themselves to support you, protect you and guide you.

I believe that in my mind, but it is often very difficult for me to sense their presence.  At night, before I go to sleep, I might succeed to feel the energy of Jeshua in my room, my deceased mother’s hand on my arm; old friends that have passed on seem to crowd my room with loving glances and tender gestures. Then in the morning, I feel anxious again because I cannot square that other reality with my everyday world.

It is difficult to live in both worlds and that is why you sense them less present in your daily life where you must make the decisions and choices that only you can make. They cannot choose for you as they are no longer restricted by the earthly sphere. Still, their energies remain with you even when you are less aware of them.  Trust that they are much more aware of you than you are of them.

Like I don’t always remember my dreams upon awakening, but the energy of the dream still affects my moods and my choices?

That’s why when you sleep on a problem it seems to be less severe in the morning. In your dream you enter into the causal realm of the uncreated where everything is born new in each moment.

I want so much to believe that the guiding spirits are always there: Jeshua, Mary Magdalene, Mary the Mother Goddess, my brothers and parents and friends who have passed on. But so often the only one that I am aware of is Clobber.

Who is Clobber?

My inner critic, my relentless judge who tells me that I am not good enough, I don’t do enough, I never get it right, I should have done better. He throws a thick cloud over the energies that my guides would give me.

Does Clobber even believe that you have guides?

Probably not. He overpowers them and I let him. He is intent on silencing everyone else. He wants me to believe that I am worthless even when I am constantly striving to be a good person.

That’s just it. You need to stop trying to be a good person for the simple reason that you already are whole and perfect. Your guides love you as you, just the way you are right now. God adores you as the apple of His eye. You live and move in God and have your being in Her.

I wish I could feel that more strongly.  It is not the way I was brought up. I was raised to feel unworthy, self-effacing and humble as if those traits were some kind of virtue.  It became my main defense mechanism as a child to help me avoid painful judgment from others. I felt safe when I acted unassuming and modest. Now I am still afraid of being judged and I am always angry and defensive because I am afraid of not getting it right, of being condemned even.  It helps me to become aware of that as I imagine myself crawling on my hands and knees begging for acceptance: from the cashier at the grocery store, from a pew friend at the church, from my husband, my doctor, my neighbor. Accept me please, pretty please.

Upon hearing this, my soul threw back her head and her laughter rung free and full. It was liberating to hear her lightness and joy fill my room. Then she became serious again.

But don’t you see. You stumbled on humanities deepest wound, the need to be loved and accepted just as they are. You cover up those needs by living up to social expectations, by gathering material wealth, by overachieving, by mixing with the right people, by hiding behind socially accepted roles.

My need to be accepted was greatly magnified when I was feeling abandoned for a very long period of time by everyone who was near and dear to me and by living in a different culture from the one where I grew up. At that time I realized that every lonely elderly person, every migrant worker, every refugee, every person with a disability, every minority experiences that deep fear of not being accepted and of being looked down upon.

Then you learned to reach out to people like that. But you also learned to pull back and concentrate on loving yourself more. Do not go back, however, to the earlier defense mechanism of self-immolation that worked for you as a child. You do not need that now anymore. They are old defenses that you need to let go off. God is not pleased when you bargain with Her with your humble demeanor. She is pleased when you are conscious of your greatness as a unique human person, and irreplaceable.  When the Sacred texts say that the humble will be exalted, it did not mean that it is a virtue to be humble; it means that God would not have any of his children humiliated and oppressed.  God flowers when every single human beings flowers. And it begins with you, stop being your own oppressor.

Tell Clobber to get lost?

She nodded her head and flipped back her hair with an easy gesture. “Thank him for protecting you as a child, but give him his notice now. You do not need those defenses any more. You can stand secure in your knowledge that you are a divine human being, an irreplacable daughter of God.”

You all make it seem so easy, but for me it is work.

To be conscious and enlightened does not mean only that you are aware of that other reality beyond the earthly. To be enlightened also means to shed light on the deepest shadows in yourself and look at them with compassion. In fact, your whole world is coming face to face with its deep wounds and shadows. Those who are strong and willing can bring their light to humanity, the light of understanding and compassion. They have the ability to remain steady within the tension and turmoil.

I still tend to avoid disorder and confusion. But it seems that the more I face it the shadows in myself, in due time I become more peaceful deep within.

That is the pearl at the end of your search, a peace that is not of this world.

Then I know that my guides are with me always. I have the same peace and joy that they already have in that other realm and I feel encouraged in my daily life.

“I guess I will leave you to your guides then,” she said as she uncrossed those long legs and got up to leave.

I had a last glimpse of her slender figure as she disappeared around the corner of the hallway. As usual, I felt a little sad when she left but I knew that, just as my guides were always there, so was she.

Chapter Twenty-Four: Guides

Chapter Twenty Three: Suffering

Go to Chapter Twenty Two

Chapter Twenty Three: Suffering

When my soul came to me next, I did not even want to look at her. I was too angry. Still, I could smell lilacs and hear a rustle of wings. I could feel her energy loom large around me.

I got straight to the point. “I understand that God gives us billions of chances to come to love Her and share the marvels of her being, but really did She have to go that far in allowing people their free will? I am so angry that God created a world where so much hardship and cruelty and suffering are possible.”

Without free will they cannot create and learn and explore and get to know how magnificent and divine they are. Of course that means making mistakes and abusing their freedom. And, I might add, heaping sufferings on one another in the process.

So I cannot be angry at God?

Sure you can. You can even try to forgive him for all allowing all of these things to happen.

Even the unforgivable?

Nothing can thwart God’s plan for you and that is nothing less than grand and marvellous beyond your understanding. It is your consciousness of your suffering that makes it so difficult. You can even relive the suffering of your past and anticipate more suffering in the future. Then you suffer fear and despair on top of what you already experienced.

I try to remember that every moment is new and filled with possibilities for the good.

You also need to remember that your free will is not limited to this lifetime. You have many things that you have not wished to happen to you in this life, but you still took on courageously before you were born. You decided to make the plunge into earth school and you knew why. Only now you have forgotten the reason and you just want to get it over with.

So I am mad at God because I do not understand why I came here in the first place?

Yes. It is hard for you to trust and simply be in the moment. Still, the Now moment is the only moment that counts. It is your opening into the Infinite. Then you are free and connected to the ever creative Presence that is pure love and compassion.

Is it not natural for wanting pain and suffering to pass and have the desire to be well?

I am not saying that you should not long for healing. That too is part of your now moment. But you need to be in the immediate moment completely and not focus on some future time that will be perfect. Embrace the Now as best as you can and when the pain is gone you will remember that this moment has brought you something of value. Things like resilience, confidence and compassion. These will be wired into your brain and you will help advance humanity forward to a better place where there is more love and less suffering. Is that not what you want?

Yes, it is what I want. But when I look around me I see fear and despair and anger and reactiveness and hate and selfishness.

Your world is filled with it. Yet, many people just like you are practicing to become more hopeful, more loving, more courageous, more trusting and compassionate toward each other. Not an easy process in the face of all the obstacles that humanity is facing. Still, it is the way God is born within you and instead of being angry at a God out there who allows all this suffering to happen, there is the God within that you are becoming and giving more attention to. That is what is meant by the Second Coming of Christ, the Christ consciousness that is born in the hearts of men and women everywhere. Notice that and celebrate that instead of listening to the fear mongers and becoming more fearful yourself. Remember, however, if this birth process is not to remain some other worldly idea, you need to face your fears, witness them, walk through them, but never be reduced to them. Be a midwife to the new consciousness everywhere and never forget your true nature that is part of the divine.

Refusing to identify with the fear and the anger? That is what is meant by removing the pointing of the finger and blaming something or other?

You blame God, you blame yourself, you blame people and circumstances, but rather than looking for something to find fault with, realize that we are all in this mess together and when we embrace earth school we make it a place for learning how to be gods in human form, sons and daughters finding their way back to their true God nature. Or more to the point, finding their way into their divine nature that is always creating and becoming and still filled with unknown possibilities. This is what I mean when I say that all God wants to do is love us, first as children but eventually as friends and beloveds who know the heart of the Beloved and are co-creators in ways that are yet mysterious and far in the future.

I cannot get my mind around that.

Your mind is only a tool to navigate daily life. When it comes to that other Reality, you need to abandon yourself to a mystery that is pure Love and pure Consciousness.

Still, when people suffer it is difficult to sense that there is any meaning to their pain.

Your tradition has so much concentrated on suffering and that has given you a false impression as if God wants people to suffer. But God does not want people to suffer; She wants them to overcome suffering. The desire of your medical profession to eliminate sickness and bodily suffering is a godly desire. So is wanting to overcome hunger and injustice and oppression. However, do not forget that people are more than bodies, even though the body is primary for wellness, there is also the soul. Do not forget about me, your soul.

Then how do we overcome suffering.

Again, in your tradition there is much emphasis on how Jesus rose three days after he died. But many others would say the resurrection happened the moment Jesus stood up from the agony in the garden and felt that he could face his enemies with love and compassion. His divine nature was strong enough to accept with equanimity and trust that everything would evolve according to the plan of Infinite love. Nothing can ever checkmate God’s love and that love includes all. Of course, in your world of time and space everything seems terribly slow, but remember that slow motion is the whole point of this world of time and space. In that other reality where I live, everything is easy, that is why I need you. There is more learning that way. You may suffer a few endless months but from my perspective, the view of your soul, you are advancing several lifetimes. So much insight has come to humanity since the Holocaust, for example, but in your eyes, these insights came to slow and too late. Still, thousands of humans have advanced lifetimes in wisdom because of it. Likewise, so much learning has taken place in the two thousand years since Jesus died, but according to you too much has gone wrong and it has all taken too long before even a few people began to understand Jesus true nature and message. But as I said before, God may be a little disappointed in us but She gives us billions of chances to get it right.

Sometimes I feel a little spark of equanimity and trust. But then my long tradition that taught me that human beings must suffer for their sins kicks in and the flicker of trust turns into resistance and fear.

People have only begun to heal that misconception about suffering in the past six decades. You are part of that transformation. It is slow but sure.

My soul apparition had moved to sit on the floor before me. Her ocean-blue eyes looked up to me from the white cloud of silk that was her skirt and the silver wings that spoke of her angel nature. She said, “I came here to Earth to learn courage and resilience and wisdom in the snail-like pace of time and space. You are doing just that for me. I am so grateful.”

For a brief moment, her energy flooded through me and I inhaled deeply. Then she was gone.

Tears stung in my eyes.

Chapter Twenty Three: Suffering

Chapter Twenty Two: Inner Critic

Go to Chapter Twenty One

Chapter Twenty Two: Inner Critic.

When my Soul appeared to me next, I wondered what got into her. Maybe today it was because I had actually invited her to come. In any case, she was wearing layers of colorful attire, none of it very elegant. Over a nondescript skirt she wore a long blouse that didn’t match.  The shawl that fell over her shoulders and reached all the way to the floor was an attempt to cover a figure become bulky. Her flat-heeled shoes had second-hand shop written all over them. Her hair was disheveled, her face pudgy.

“Don’t say anything,” she said as she noted how my jaw dropped in disgust.

“If you are inviting the critic in me to come to the forefront, you are succeeding,” I said.

We are beginning to know each other well.

I could never walk around dressed like that

It is not just about clothes and waistlines, though. Your Inner Critic really only got momentum when you began to think and speak for yourself. When you learned to make decisions from your inner guidance rather than by what was expected of you.

You, my Soul, you keep wanting to peek through and show up more fully here on earth. Just don’t show up looking like that.

You are filled with fears and old habits that go back to your childhood. You learned to feel safe by keeping quiet and being good. You learned to conform by dressing like everyone else. Children were supposed to be seen and not heard. There was a hierarchy that dominated, not a natural kind of hierarchy were adults nurture the younger ones but a hierarchy that will not tolerate any kind of self-assertion or being different from those it dominates.

So then the only way to feel secure for a child is to abandon their unique soul to their jailors, those that dominated them as children?

You do what you have to do to survive. Often, they themselves had survived through knowing who the authority was and by abiding to the rules.

Yes, and by being loyal to their kin. When I moved to another culture, I no longer knew where my loyalties lay. If I tried to fit in with the new culture, I felt disloyal to the way that I was brought up. I also opened myself up to the criticism of visitors, like my mother-in-law who came to stay with me for a period of six weeks. She did not want me to adapt to my new culture, she wanted me to follow the habits and rituals of her upbringing.

That was very painful. You wanted to be accepted and she could not see that you were trying to adapt to the values of your new country.

I also missed my own mother. In due course, I thought the hell with it. No matter how hard I am trying to be good, my family has abandoned me and I will find my own way.

That did not get rid of your Inner Critic. On the contrary, there was a backlash. You felt that the price for being yourself was to feel condemned. Your need to be accepted only increased.

Yes. I desperately wanted to have a sense of belonging. I did find acceptance with ordinary people who befriended me. But that meant I also had to keep much of my true self hidden.

So in some ways you felt accepted, but in other ways you felt you had to hide the person that you had become through the trials and tribulations during your twenties and thirties.

A few times I was able to show more of myself through my writing.  That helped me to wrestle with my Inner Critic. But I was reluctant to show myself to others.

Then when you began to write papers for academic courses, you went more and more into deep waters.

Yes, sometimes the professors were encouraging and other times they were very critical of my creativity.

Then you went back into hiding. Until years later, you discovered that you had been on to something all along and you had a right to be creative and be self-authoring.

I had the desire to have a voice of my own, but I often project my inner critic on others, always thinking that they are judging me in one way or another. I am still giving away my power many times. On the one hand I follow my inner guidance, on the other, the inner critic pounces on me and paralyses me. It is so very painful. I try to recognize it when it happens but the child in me still feels threatened by it.

Instead of fusing with your inner critic and allowing it to drain the life out of you, try to descend into your belly and feel safe inside your body where the Christ energy lives in you.

Does that not sound a lot like the same religion that dominated my early life and that of so many people?

Christianity began with an experience. It was the experience of God living within us. But eventually it became a culture and even a business in some countries.

So how can I experience that, the Christ consciousness within?

First you come to see that there is an Other, the way you see me as the other. When you begin to become aware and consent to the presence of that Other, the next step is that you sense yourself merging with the Other more and more. You see that you actually are me, your soul. You can also choose to become the energy of Jeshua in you, and you become that other Reality that Jeshua speaks about as his Abba. It is a reality that some call God, others Buddha consciousness, and still others Christ consciousness. And finally you sense a place where there is no Other because you are One with the Loving, Feeling Consciousness that includes everything.  You may only get short glimpses of that and you will never be able to grasp it or speak about it, but it will transform you nevertheless and it will change the way that you see everything.  That is what I mean when I say that Christianity began with an experience. It was a way of seeing and experiencing God through the eyes of Jeshua.  Much of the essence of what Jeshua taught became reified in dogmas and rituals when Christianity became a powerful institution. In some ways that could not be helped.  The masses were unable to understand as yet what divine consciousness was all about, so they rejected it. But that is changing now.

What really helps me is to think that it is painful to God and to Jeshua when I feel separate from that.  Then I can say, “I am sorry, I feel so far removed from you. Help me to feel One with you.”

A unity that has always been there. It has no beginning and no end. But that does not mean that it will not disturb you at times because it still is not your natural habitat. Just remember God wants to be everything at once, your deepest joy and your greatest pain. Everything is included. God gives humanity billions of chances to learn how to be love.

Sometimes I marvel at it, and sometimes it  frightens me. It helps when other people are willing to go there too.

But mostly it is you own journey. You can borrow a little from others who have traveled the path, but in order to walk beside them you have to find your own inner truth.

“Does that mean I will dress like you, in recycled shawls and tablecloths?” I was only half kidding.

Of course not. But it means you will no longer care if people look at you and judge you. It will bother you less. 

In order to make her point, she transformed in front of my eyes and became an angel so tall that I needed to look up to see her shining face. She swooped me up into her arms and guided me in a waltz around the floor. I was surprised at myself that I could keep in step with her flowing dance movements.

After she left I felt a bit more hopeful.

Perhaps I could get that  Inner Critic off my back after all.

Chapter Twenty Two: Inner Critic