Oh My God

Dearest Readers,

One of the things I enjoy most is having meaningful discussions. Small talk is okay but I’d much rather have Deep Talk. Why chit-chat about the weather when we could be talking about the Meaning of Life?

My all-time favourite subject is God. Whether we talk about ‘God’ as a word that soothes or rankles or ‘God’ as a deity who exists or doesn’t, everybody is going to have something interesting to say on the topic.

On a recent outing with a friend, he mentioned a phone call he’d had with his mother, a spiritual person who relies on God for guidance.

“She’s always talking about God and I’m like, Mom, I don’t believe in God.”

I’d previously had all kinds of spiritual conversations with this person so I was curious as to what he really meant. Did he mean he didn’t believe in a man with a beard directing human activity? Did he mean he didn’t believe in religion? As I’ve written here before, language is key, and finding the right language can open the door.

“You don’t believe in God and yet I’m wondering if you experience the Universe as participatory,” I asked him.

He thought about it for a while and then said, “It’s my experience that sometimes it feels like I’m getting kicked around and other times I feel like I might be being guided.”

At that moment we passed a church with a banner that read, “What about God and Science?”

“I think it’s worth noting the appearance of that banner right now,” I said, pointing up at the oracular question looming above us. Hmmm…

Another conversation with a friend who identified as a ‘militant atheist’ in one breath and a ‘very spiritual person’ in the next prompted me to interview him to ask him more about his dichotomous stance. During the interview he ended up saying, “I am God. You’re God.”

I knew what he meant. He didn’t mean that he’d made the world or that I had but rather Whatever Made The World was currently operating in us, present in us. We aren’t It, per se, but we are of It. The Quakers have an apt way of putting it: “There is that of God in Everyone.”

Later, the friend who’d said he didn’t believe in God but did feel, to some extent, that the Universe is participatory, texted me his appreciation for our conversation.

“I think it’s cool that you are constantly expanding your definition for the human journey beyond any spiritual/religious lexicon,” he wrote.

He’s right about my ‘constantly expanding’. There was a time when I was positively evangelical in my views, which made having any kind of meaningful spiritual dialogue near impossible. Coming up against my own rigidity has forced me to move beyond language and labels because I’ve learned the hard way that the more I cling to my own beliefs as ‘right’ and my own labels as ‘true’ then the less any kind of real connection can take place.

And that is what I am looking for. Real Connection. Yes, it is much easier to dis-connect. To hide away and disengage. Even when I’m in the presence of others I can cut myself off. Because it takes real effort to make a Real Connection. Being Present requires a certain amount of letting go and a certain amount of waking up. Either way, it’s work. And sometimes I don’t want to do the work.

But I do it anyway. And I keep on doing it. Because if the Universe is participating in my life then I’d like to participate right back. We are still evolving here. Our current experience is just a blip in the Evolutionary Time Span. If the God conversation lands us in a debate about religion or embroiled in a dogmatic argument then we have missed out on an opportunity to find our Common Ground.

What is our Common Ground? It’s pretty simple. We all belong to one species: Homo sapiens and we are all made up of trillions of atoms. All of us. We are all made of the same stuff: Energy.

What is Energy? Why does it exist? We don’t know. But we all get to decide our own answer. We all get to interpret Energy or God or That Which is Beyond the Intellect however we darn please. And as long as we don’t get caught up in thinking we have the right answer or the best interpretation, then we should be able to unite in our Common Ground and move forward together. I can think of nothing more pressing in today’s world.

From the fires of love,

Celia

Speaking Words of Wisdom

Dearest Readers,

It’s been a while! Thank you to those of you who have told me how much you miss the blog. It is welcome praise. Knowing that the Inspiring Message of the Day has had an impact  really means more to me than I can say.

I’ve been working steadily on GITA and it’s been going well. Well, “well” might not be the best choice of words. It is not an easy play to write. I am exploring The Big Life Questions and it’s definitely affecting my psyche.

In the play, Corporal June Wright is suffering from PTSD after experiencing war trauma. She is being counseled by Padre Givin, a Canadian Forces Chaplain. June has lost all sense of meaning and the Padre is accompanying her on her journey back to hope. It’s a light comedy. I’m kidding.

June has lost all faith in humanity and God. She is torn between finishing her contract with the Forces and pursuing her art. She doesn’t see that there is any point to living when death is the inevitable end. She is desperately trying to understand why atrocities happen and how any kind of God could exist when such horror does, too. She is lost and faithless. Hopeless and despairing.

Naturally, this is wreaking some havoc on my own spiritual life. June is asking the questions I would like the answers to as well. I, too, have found myself losing faith and gaining anger. “Yeah! What’s up with all this sh!#?” This is nothing new. I’ve spent most of my life asking these questions. It has been a true journey of faith to learn how to trust in a Loving Power Back of All Things despite “the horror, the horror.”

The other day I was speaking with the woman who accompanies me on the Healing Path. She is a Spiritual Director and her love, insight and wisdom have helped me enormously. With her I move through difficult times, walk through fear, overcome shame, forgive myself and remember that ultimately I do believe God is Love.

So I was telling her about the anger that was coming up because of GITA. Does God make bad things happen? What the hell is it really all about? Why do those who rise up against injustice get crucified? Shot? Beaten to death? One of my greatest fears lies at the root of these questions: If we stand up for what is right we will be killed.

“There is no Life Insurance,” she said. “There is no Safe Passage.” None of us is guaranteed immunity from death. There is no reward for being a Good Girl. Indeed, she added, “Bad things happen to good people.” And then she suggested I read that book. (I did get it from the Library and have begun to read.)

Her point triggered another realization. I have an Old BS (belief system) that tells me that if I am very, very, good, which unfortunately translates into “perfect”, I will be safe. I will be rewarded. I will be protected from harm and even death, as ridiculous as that sounds.

Not so, Celia. Just. Not. So.

Alas, I am returned to the place where I have been before, many, many times: Embrace the Mystery.

You see, I want answers. I want a formula I can work out. I want to know that A+B=C. I want Life Insurance. I want Safe Passage. I want the Big Guarantee. And the more I want it the more I suffer. Because I’m not going to get it. No matter what I do or say or how I act or live, I will not make it out of here alive.

So when I find myself in times of trouble I remember that there will be an answer. I just don’t get to know what It is right now. So I have to do that thing, that difficult, painful, necessary, healing thing. I have to Let it Be.

Inspiring Message of the Day: There is nothing wrong with asking the Big Questions. This is Human Nature. But I must be satisfied with not knowing the answers. Today I will trust the Great Mystery and embrace the simple and humble experience of letting it Be.

Circle Up

Dearest Readers,

Yesterday was a Full Circle Day. A day when something which once had a beginning is now given an ending and the chapter is closed.

In January 1997 I moved to Edmonton, AB, after a 15-month stretch in Ireland. The fantasy was to move there and start a theatre company with a “friend” but the reality was that I was addicted to a doomed and destructive relationship. Four months later I was outta there.

Despite the insanity of my predicament I did make some attempt to get involved in Edmonton’s theatre community. I called a number of theatre companies and artistic directors to set up meetings and introduce myself. Out of all the people I called, only one responded with enthusiasm and actually agreed to meet with me in person. I was ever so grateful at the time.

Thirteen years later I got to meet this man again. Just yesterday we got together here in Whitehorse for a cuppa tea. He is in town working with Nakai Theatre and we hooked up to chat about our respective theatre projects. We laughed about the fact that we were getting together 13 years later and compared memories of our first meeting. They were similar but different.

He remembered me coming to a rehearsal of a play he was directing. I remembered coming to see the show but not being in rehearsal. It didn’t matter much but it was interesting for me to hear that I’d actually been somewhere I didn’t recall being. Memory is such a strange thing.

My memories of Edmonton are a mix of the good, the bad and the ugly. It was a pretty dark time in my life but I was also receiving abundant gifts from the Universe including the realization that if I didn’t stop drinking I was probably going to stop breathing. It was a life-changing trip.

Meeting with this man yesterday gave me the opportunity to reflect on that time in my life and how far I’ve come both in my personal life and in my work life. There I was, at the beginning of my career, looking for support in an unknown community. Here I am, mid-career, surrounded by love and support in a community I hold very dear to my heart. Total one-eighty.

Did the progress I’ve made come from hard work? Partly. Did the success I’ve had come from luck? The Chinese couple I worked for at the Good Taste Restaurant in Edmonton might think so. I, however, must give all credit to the Great Mystery, to the Benevolent Life Force Energy that woke me up in that fair city and started me on the Healing Path.

The dictionary on this computer says that coming full circle means to “return to a past position or situation, especially in a way considered to be inevitable.” I like to think that coming full circle is when a past position or situation returns to us, especially in a way considered to be mystical.

Inspiring Message of the Day: When I come full circle I will recognize it as a chapter in my life coming to a close; a specific healing that needed to take place has just occurred and I will acknowledge and give thanks for it.