Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Grieve This Well!

Grief is an odd thing. At one moment, tears are running down my cheeks, at another I am smiling as English queer folks vogue in the street at a vigil 'cause we're folks who celebrate LIFE and do so fabulously, at another, the tears flow and I laugh at the same time. But my heart is heavy, and I want the heaviness to end, but, then feel guilty that I am somehow disrespecting the dead.

As time passes, the tears tend to dry and the heaviness lightens, but we can never, never forget that 49 mostly Latinx queer and straight folks were gunned down and over 50 injured by a man who had deep conflict over his own sexuality. Each of us needs to grieve in his or her own way and each of us needs to respect the way others do.

And we can't let anyone tell us how to grieve or how long to do it. No, most of us didn't know anyone personally who was killed or injured at Pulse, but we feel it viscerally. Our peeps were gunned down for being and celebrating who they were.  

Know that we are in this together; you are not alone in your grief. Reach out to each other, even if via a private message or email as people have done in my case. We are FABULOUS and we will overcome! <3

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Let us be love and peace...49 dead/53 wounded, Orlando

Many thanks for a kind comment from my friend, Aaron, who said I should blog or preach. I've decided to restart this blog. It's a shame that it has to start on such a horrific day: the day my queer sibs were gunned down in Orlando, Florida at Pulse Night Club. I respect that some dislike "queer" but I feel it is a term of radical inclusion.

That a troubled person could walk into a dance club full of people just wanting to feel safe, free from the pressures of family, possibly faith, or even being out at their job, the one place of sanctuary for many of them, and just shoot them dead, is beyond belief. 50 people dead; over 50 injured. The inspectors had a terrible time because the cell phones of the dead kept ringing with frantic calls from friends and loved ones that would never be answered.

I want to hurt the now-dead attacker. I want to hurt those elected officials who have the nerve to offer prayers while failing to require checks on prospective gun buyers. I want to hurt those religious officials who slobber and stumble all over themselves to pray for the dead, while they won't even let the living be members of their church or, if they do, ordained within it. I want to hurt those who celebrate these deaths with "it's only a bunch of gays" or "less pedophiles" and the like. I want to hurt because my heart is absolutely broken. But I can't.

My very being cries out in rage, but also, once again, in love, for love, to BE love. Inflicting pain solves nothing, but only brings more of it. My spiritual path is about love and if I am for love I cannot be about violence. Eventually, I must rise above the baser nature of my being and radiate love.

The Beloved, as I choose to call God, is intimately in this, suffers this as we do. No sweeping in and making it all right, however. The Beloved nudges us to make for justice, to love any way, and to not be afraid. And eventually to forgive. Yup, you read that right.

We must forgive, not right away; but we must do so in order for us to move forward. We need to let the rage go against this shooter, Omar Mateen. We need to be vessels for peace as well. We must stand in solidarity with our Muslim sisters and brothers for they are already reaching out to us. We must be peace.

Om shanti/salaam/shalom/peace

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Update 2016: It was an amazing day, but, sadly, OUnI no longer exists. Too much drama to go into here. I still regard myself as an Interspiritual minister, though delighted to be 30 lbs. lighter than I was here.

Amazing! A ceremony that took all of 16 minutes really packed a spiritual punch. Wow!

It is truly difficult to put into words what has taken so long in coming. Those who know me best, knew this would come, even when I doubted it. Had a couple of false starts, but yesterday I became an InterSpiritual minister with the Order of Universal Interfaith (OUnI), founded in the tradition of the late Br Wayne Teasdale, among so many other amazing interSpiritual pioneers.

And this is an ordination, not a coronation. An intimate group gathers in a circle, of which I, too, am part. No one above anyone else; we are equals. No special status was bestowed on me.  The spiritual energy, though, was palpable.

What made the day extra special is when several of my dear friends came up to lay hands me, regardless of their faith tradition or none. They affirmed what they saw there and claimed me as a ministering presence among and for all people.

This ordination is not about titles and robes, but about presence and service. It's about living the interSpiritual vision, not about tearing down any religious tradition. It's not about me; it speaks to the interconnection of all sentient and nonsentient life.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Just Being

Before I am anything, I am just a human being; I transcend labels, particularly religious ones.  I love the God who dances between, above, under, around, and in, our beings.  It's truly all about love; the rest is commentary.

A dear friend says that I am all of the traditions which feed me, yet none of them.  Spot on.  I don't mix "religions;" I don't believe as much as I simply experience it all anew each day. God IS.

I don't have to go to church, synagogue, or temple because I or others think I should. But, if and when I want to do so, I will. This is not flighty in the slightest; it simply is the way I dance in the love of God.

It has been, and continues to be, a blessing, to be fed by Christianity, Judaism, Sufism, and Buddhism.  They speak to me, but do not contain me. 
Though I have been initiated in each of these traditions, I no longer say that I am a Christian, a Jew, a Sufi, or a Buddhist; I simply am a fallible child of God walking the Way, dancing with the mystics of each tradition.  It is by so doing that I see that of God within all Life and am compelled to live compassionately and make for justice...

Monday, June 3, 2013

Faith in the Mean Time

It's interesting just letting go and letting be what is.  Often times, simply standing still in the middle of the storm invigorates. In the words of an old Quaker hymn: "No storm can shake my inmost calm while to that rock I'm clinging. Since love is lord of heaven and earth, how can I keep from singing?"

A sense of equanimity pervades my being; not much riles me now. But I also find that I am deeply passionate even more than before about issues in which I believe. This is a deeply-felt feeling that is balanced by the spiritual.

Life is truly a sacrament--all of it--not just the neat and tidy, but also the dull and grimy. Living in the present moment reveals such freely-given grace in the darndest of places. It's breathtaking.

Birdsong and car horn's blaring, my psalms of praise to an unknown God. Being present to all beings, sentient or not, my communion of love. Graffiti of wall and heart, my scripture. Tears of gratitude or frustration, or both, falling...my baptism. A smile of acceptance, my absolution.

Let me, then, be a minister, not of creed and ordo, but of hope and silliness, of comfort and compassion. Let me know that I may not have all the answers other than to be deeply present.

Monday, May 20, 2013

The Circle of Life

Death, where is thy sting?  Right in my heart, thank you!  How can a cat, or a person for that matter, be alive one minute and dead the next? It really is that quick.

It was surreal to wrap Lucy the cat's lifeless body in a cotton towel, dig her grave, and bury her. I have done this before with other pets and I will do so again. What once was live, lives no more.

Loved ones, whether animal or human, die. It's that simple. And when they're dead, no life force is present.  My hope is that we will meet again; my heart tells me that this is so.

This beloved cat was only seven years old; she died as the result of an accident in which she most likely slipped, while sleeping, from the kitchen table and cracked her neck under a heavy chair that fell with and on her.

Her brother/litter mate, Ricky; her cat sister, Gidget; and her dog sister, Ginger, as well as Jim and I mourn her. Grieving is another form of letting go; it sucks, but is necessary in order to go on. The Circle continues.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

An Empty Fullness

It is amazing the twists and turns that my spiritual journey has taken. I have gone over bumps, been jostled to and fro, hit brick walls, and have had any sense of God disappear completely from my life. I have also been to the depths and heights of ecstasy, feeling as if God embraced me completely. I wouldn't change it for the world.

Undoubtedly, most of those looking on simply don't get it--especially the ones who think they do. They mean no harm. Each of us has different ways of God-awareness.

It seems I have come to the place where Meister Eckhart's prayer has been totally realized: "I pray God rid me of God." There simply is no God there. Hell, there's no there, there. Unlike when I hit the brick wall known as the Dark Night awhile back, no terror this time. A sense of total peace pervades my being.

The challenge of this awareness is that church doesn't feel right. I feel completely disconnected from it. Again, I am not unsettled about this, merely grieving its loss. This is an amazing liminal space in which the Divine has led me.

Furthermore, I need to let be what is. No need to fight it or run from it. Just accept. Patience and faith.  

At this point, I don't know whether God exists or doesn't exist. Methinks the emptiness must even include this: total letting go of all that went before. I do not know where I will end up, but I'm in this for the duration.

Chogyam Rinpoche supposedly once said of the spiritual journey, better to have never begun. Oy! He was onto something here!

What I can do is be in the present moment, mindfully. No more; no less. What a trip...