Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Sacred Father

One of my joys in life is watching children with their fathers. The other day I was at the grocery store watching a father patiently wait as his son climbed up a rather tall stool where he was going to sit to enjoy some pizza with his dad. His father listened intently and with shared enthusiasm as his son talked to him about something the little guy was really excited about.

A little girl raised her arms up for her daddy to pick her up. He did and you could see the ease in her body as she rode comfortably in her daddy’s strong arms. And another little one passed by sitting astride her dad’s shoulders, grasping his forehead with her hands.

The last one reminded me of my own girlhood, riding on my dad’s shoulders. The rides were great, but whenever possible I would test my limits. Knowing my need to see how far I could go, my dad would sometimes help me to my feet to stand on his shoulders, while my mother watched, cringing. Best of all was when he freed his hands from my ankles, and I was balanced precariously on his shoulders. There I was—standing on the edge of my ability with a greater view of the world around me.

My brother was a lot like my dad. Though he did not have children of his own, he knew that children love to test their limits and that is one of the divine responsibilities of fathers, grandpas, uncles and brothers is to create a challenging, yet safe environment for that exploration.

When my brother, Jim, visited our nieces and nephews, he instantly became Jungle Jim, with little kids hanging from his limbs. They knew Uncle Jim would let them test their strength against him, wrestling with him and clambering on him. Instinctively, he knew when to let them triumph and when to make them work a little harder.

One of the great gifts from the Divine Masculine is the encouragement to aspire to and take action beyond our perceived limits. There in the safe and encouraging presence of the men who love us, we stretch. How many of us, when we were young, said to our father or a father-figure, “See what I can do?” as we proudly demonstrated a new achievement.

This desire to become action is the Divine white light of consciousness streaming through the infinite, dark womb of the feminine. The Divine Masculine is the dream manifesting into form. It yearns, even demands, to become the adventure of life becoming itself.

Before my father died, I had a vision with him in which I was completely wrapped in his enduring love. I felt many flavors of his love over time, including experiences in which we played roles other than father and daughter. What touched me deeply upon reflection in later years is that he has been there for me over and over again, across many lifetimes and realities—stepping into the adventure of life.

Then after his death, he came to me again in vision. This time, I saw him pledge his love to me and with it I knew came a deep abiding loyalty. He would be there for me whenever I needed him. I may see him again in this lifetime or perhaps the next, but I know we will both manifest in physical reality yet again. The commitment of his love for me, and the choices he made in this lifetime so that as a child I could know the powerful love of the Divine Masculine, continues to ripple through my life today.

My father taught me to bring forth my dreams into physical reality. In my quiet hours, as I welcome my personal awareness of the Divine Masculine to merge as one with me, I notice when the meditation is complete how compelled I am to bring forth the unified love I experience into action in the world.

One of my Native elders used to tell a story about how in the old days when a young man wished to marry a woman, her father would tell the young man how many horses the man needed to acquire and give to the father in order to win his daughter’s hand. This was not done because the father or the tribe needed more horses, but because a man needed to demonstrate he was able to transform his longings and dreams in Spirit into physical reality.

Through this exercise, and before she left her home, he demonstrated his loving connection to the Divine and her through action in physical reality. After all, it would be his depth of spiritual connection, commitment and ability to manifest that the tribe would want him to pass on to his children through his modeling and teaching.

Because the Divine Masculine lives inside all of us, what I learned from these teachings and my own father is that it is good have dreams and desires. It is good to have profound, loving relationship in the spiritual world. And it is important to bring those dreams into physical action for the benefit of ourselves and those we love.

To every man who has embraced the nature of his Divine Masculine self through the sacred energy of father, whether by blood or by choice or both, I honor you today and every day for the Spirit-guided action you bring to the lives of the children and the world.

In Honor of Fathers

Friday, June 12, 2009

Holding Sacred Space for Yourself and Others

This week, we’ll be leaving for SpiritQuest, and as I have for the past 13 years, I’m getting myself ready to hold space for others in ceremony. Once again, I am asking myself some questions like, “What does it mean for me now to become the space I am holding for others?” “What internal space will allow us to awaken more and become the space we wish to be for ourselves and the planet?”

Each year, the flavor is slightly different, but the concept of holding space for each other is always present. In camp, we hold space by eating for our friends who are fasting during their quests. We hold space with peaceful and loving thoughts for our questers and everyone participating in our week of ceremonies as we tend the sacred fire that burns 24 hours each day.

We hold space as we listen to each other without judgment and hearts open in our daily talking circle. And we do it repeatedly throughout the day as we face the unexpected challenges that come up, with ears ready to listen and understand the people we are with. We hold space as we laugh together, eat together and meet each other in the dream-time.

Holding space for each other may be one of the great spiritual principles of awakening that is easily forgotten in our get-down-to-business days. And yet, it may very well be one of the great influential spiritual practices we can embrace.

The other day I caught myself saying to a friend, “If you want to be a millionaire, ask someone who has made a million dollars to hold space for you.” As I explained this concept, I used healing as an example.

As a healer, I recognize it is generally easier for me to hold space for someone else’s healing than it is for them, because I don’t necessarily share their fears and doubts. Therefore, as I hold space for them while I am singing healing sounds to them, I watch their fears and doubts rise to the surface where they can be released. Once released, they can then accept the greater reality of being fully healed, and their deeper yearning for health is manifested.

When holding space as a healer, I am not judging their fears or doubts. I am simply witnessing them as I hold the individual in loving, clear sounds. By holding them in their perfected state of wellness, it seems to be easier for them to shed their fears and accept their Divine nature as healed, whole and healthy.

Some years ago, in meditation, I asked a spiritual master to hold space for me so that I could work through some fears to become the expression of potential that I knew he already saw in me. A chuckle rippled through the universe as I heard, “That is how it works.”

As I prepare for SpiritQuest, I can feel the longing of those who wish they were joining us and cannot attend. I’ll be holding you in my heart throughout the week. I can feel the anticipation of those packing and getting ready to go. I hold you in my heart for safe journeys to the land. I sense the spirits of the land, animals, and ancient ones getting ready…They are holding space for us.

Universal Prayer for Holding You

Friday, June 05, 2009

Creating Lasting Relationships with Others

In our busy, get-to-the-goal world, it can be easy to forget how important it is to nurture friendships. Yet, friendships become the foundations of good business relationships, lasting partnerships, marriages and loving bonds that endure for a lifetime. In my past, there were times I attempted to establish significant relationships with others, by-passing the formative steps of friendship. They typically did not last.

As a business consultant, I watched many others attempt to do the same thing, as people tried to keep business relationships separate from their friendships. While objectivity is often a necessity in making wise business decisions for the good of everyone, without friendship there is little trust and little motivation to be invested in the success of others as well as your own.

The same is true in romance. The initial attraction between a couple can be powerful and it can be easy to lose sight of the importance of friendship. But as the first rush of lust wears off, it is through loving friendship that you find the desire to work through the emotional challenges and differences of opinion.

Many of us slip into patterns in our relationships, relying on the institutional nature of relationships such as marriage, parent-child relations, and employer-employee relations. Yet these roles become severely taxed without the underpinnings of respect and appreciation naturally found in friendship.

Even spiritually oriented relationships benefit from the strength of friendship. I have experienced deep spiritual connections with people that just didn’t quite translate when it came to day-to-day living. We could enter into beautiful states of spiritual awareness, but couldn’t quite pull it together when it came to emotional stability. The more solid the friendship, I discovered, the more adeptly we addressed emotional and physical challenges, in addition to enjoying mutually stimulated spiritual awakenings.

Some years ago I co-taught a seminar entitled Love, Lust and Friendship. As we created the content for the workshop, we had many long discussions about the value of love, lust and friendship in romantically-based partnerships. As we looked at the qualities of each of these energies, we concluded that regardless of which energy is most prevalent at the beginning of a relationship—absolute lustful attraction, deep romantic love, or caring, loving friendship—it is the quality of love found in friendship that is needed for enduring bonds. Friendship is the least emotionally volatile and the most emotionally stable of these energies, providing an appropriate basis for long-term appreciation of each other.

When friendships are well-tended, it is easier to make role transitions with greater ease—from friends to business partners—from lovers to friends—from friends to couples—from parent to friend—and so on. In friendship, it is easier to want the absolute best for the person you care about, whether or not what is best includes or involves you, or even enlists your perspectives.

When I began my consulting career, I had the privilege of being mentored by a very wise and successful business consultant. He encouraged me to engage in social activities with my clients, beyond business commitments. In the process, I discovered what he already knew. And what I learned in business applies equally well to all kinds of relationships. People who enjoy and value each other’s company tend to stick around with each other for a long time.

Universal Prayer for Friends — For the Friend You Are