In the past 72 hours, with the actions of a man who I won’t glorify or glamorize by writing his name, countless lives have been changed; some by death and some by needing to live with the consequences. Unless you are on a complete news fast, you are aware that a 20 year old young man entered the Sandy Hook Elementary School in the neighborhood of Newtown, Connecticut and cut a swath of destruction that swept away 26 lives including his own. The details are still not completely clear and we can only take wild guesses at the motivating force behind the act of violence. Attempting to wrap our minds around the loss of the wee ones who were the lights of the lives of their families, as well as the courageous teachers and principal who did their best to protect them and lost their own in the process, is an exercise in futility. As a therapist over the past 30 years who has served mental health consumers; some with paranoia, some with extreme anger issues, I have theories about the darkness that consumed him before he made a choice that sent ripples world wide.
We can debate about what snuffed out those innocent lives; weapons that were owned by his “gun enthusiast” mother, that this mentally imbalanced man had access to those which were used to kill her as well, or the fear and anger that had him pulling the trigger multiple times for each of his ‘targets’. We can cast blame on the system that allows for weapons of mass destruction to easily get in the hands of people bent on devastation; we can feel helpless when those with psychiatric illness don’t get the treatment they so desperately need. Or we can additionally heal our own hearts and the violent thoughts that permeate our collective psyhche’s and make peace with our own destructive mental meanderings. We can use our rhetoric in anger with clenched fists or we can join hands in unity and extend them in healing.
As do all tragic happenings, this one shook us to our core. Anyone with a heart, can feel it symbolically breaking. Even the most stoic or steadfastly spiritual among us, have had some emotional response. A few days prior, many of my friends have reported varying levels of anxiety with no direct or obvious cause. Keep in mind, that they tend toward the intuitive/psychic. I have noticed the same, with rapid heart rate, a sense of hyper-vigilance, sitting and staring for moments at a time. So not me, since I like feeling productive and purposeful. Maybe just re-calibrating is what it is or preparing for this horrific event. My heart is with the families who will not see their children grow up or their classmates whose memories will be forever be imprinted by what they saw and heard. The good news is that people are rallying around them, as prayers and therapeutic interventions are swirling around them. I’ve read articles by mental health professionals, clergy and first responders who have ‘what to say’ advice to children who question what happened, as well as those who are grieving, regardless of age.
The gist of the articles is about comfort and not dismissing feelings, allowing for them to flow in healthy ways. Reassuring them that their emotional reactions are ‘normal’ and not a sign of illness. Spending more time together as a family. Supporting them in taking care of themselves physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. Not spiritualizing away their feelings with statements such as “God needed another angel.”, which could frighten a child.
“How could God let this happen?” is a question that hammers at many people. I’m not convinced that God prevents or causes ‘acts of God’ as we humans are wont to refer to them. I believe in ‘life happening’ and sometimes these events are painful and inexplicable. They are like a spiritual colonic that flush us clean and shake us to our core. May they make us better and more loving people. And may we join hands in unity, rather than clench them in anger.
In the depths of winter, the stars scatter across the pitch black expanse
Dancing with abandon, solo and in overlapping soul-circles
Like so many pirouetting, leaping, cavorting, frolicsome rhythmaticians
Beckoning earthbound journeyers to hurl their corporeal forms skyward
To join them in celestial celebration
Festivals of Light, ancient and abiding
Heralding the annual call of Pacem in terris
Candles aglow from the nine limbed menorah speak of limitless miracles
Star of Bethlehem welcomes the anointed one, who echoes that we are each that
With the Solstice, God & Goddess dance as one in the forms of the Great Mother & Sun Child.
Matunda ya kwanza-first fruits are honored as the seven candles of the kinara become luminescent
Held in an ever growing circle of illuminated hearts
A primordial human desire to heal rather than harm
To merge rather than separate
To celebrate rather than desecrate
To practice tikkun olam-repair of the world
Planting the seeds in fertile soil
Whispering “love only”
http://youtu.be/wSHSzGzqwfs Wizards in Winter-Trans Siberian Orhestra
This is the first time I have written about a book that I have not yet read, but I felt moved to comment on a link I followed to an interview with author Paul Young who penned the runaway bestseller called The Shack. Although Young’s spiritual orientation is Christian, my impression is that the metaphors in the book are universal. The storyline features Mackenzie (Mack) Phillips who is the father of five children. He takes three of them on a camping trip and his daughter is abducted and murdered. He then receives a note from someone called Papa who invites him to come to the shack were his little girl’s body is supposed to be. What ensues, has him meeting three emanations of the Divine which totally defy his previous beliefs about God.
Y0ung never in a million years expected for the book to become a phenom. He simply wrote it at the prompting of his wife Kim, for their six children so that they could read his take on his religious beliefs and world view. It was initially self published and his friends spread the word and it took off from there. I heard an interview on All Things Considered on NPR that aired recently. I was moved by the candor with which this man shared his creativity process, since writing is my life blood.
“I had this experience — and this was early when The Shack had just begun to take off — and I woke up in the middle of the night — and it’s never happened to me before and it’s never happened since — and I was literally caught in a waterfall. It’s like I was sitting up in bed in a waterfall of creative ideas. And about an hour into this I thought to myself, ‘I need to get up and write this down,’ and it all stopped. And I really felt “the voice.” You know, to me it’s the Holy Spirit, who just said, ‘Isn’t that what you always do? You don’t trust that creativity is a river,’ and I said you’re right, I don’t trust, and I said I’m not going to live like that anymore. And immediately the waterfall started again for an hour until I fell asleep. So every time I go to write, my first thought is: I trust, I trust that this is a river. And part of this is that I finally — I am 57 years old — I have finally got to the place in my life where I want to live just inside the one day’s worth of grace.”
I do trust the creative process and immerse myself in this waterfall daily. It has become friend and companion as I splash about, drink it in and allow it to flow over me. That same ‘voice’; quite gender neutral whispers in my ear as well and guides me with words, images and ideas. There may not be many things I know for certain in this lifetime, but one of them is most assuredly that I am guided toward the Highest Good. I have dwelled in my own shack of contemplation, solace, revelation and renewal. It is where I find my peace and grace as well.
Guess I gotta get the book now.
A few weeks ago I was leading a retreat for a group of people who were looking to manifest major life changes. For five days, we gathered together to share our dreams and desires, as well as support each other in seeing them to fruition. At the end of one the evening modules, we were all feeling pretty elated and I would daresay ‘God Intoxicated’; filled with the spirit of Love. One of the participants took a photo of some of the group. This is what emerged. Keep in mind that there were no colorful lights in the room. The Christmas tree was beautifully decorated with white lights. The walls were bedecked with silver. The same camera took pictures before and after this one without the circular objects commonly referred to as ‘orbs’. I have seen them in other photos over the years but have never been surrounded by them in this way. As I look at this picture, it is as if Spirit was laughing with us, feeling every bit as silly as we all were. This picture was sent to Gene Ang who teaches on the subject since they began showing up in digital photos worldwide. His response was that they were “off the charts”.
Dr. Klaus Heinemann and Dr. Míceál Ledwith are experts in the field as well and in their book The Orb Project they describe:
After literally stumbling into orbs appearing as bright as light bulbs in photographs he was taking at a spiritual retreat, Dr. Klaus Heinemann immediately sensed that he was onto something profound. There was no choice but to convince himself that his notion was on solid grounds. Heinemann looked at thousands of pictures he had taken earlier, and thousands more would be taken to test the hypothesis that these light circles are nothing less than emanations from Spirit beings.
Dr. Míceál Ledwith had a similar experience after the orb phenomenon was first made known to him through the teachings of Ramtha. He began an intense and systematic study of orbs in all sort of situations, day and night, and in all sorts of atmospheric conditions, in order to discover all he could about their nature, the situations in which their presence could be most easily detected, and what implications they might have for our understanding of our own place in the cosmos. To date, he has amassed a collection of well over 100,000 images.
Shayne Traviss 2012
This image was taken outside at Grail Springs as my friends Shayne Traviss and Ondreah Johnson and I were strolling through the soft white fluffy stuff. Just like the previous image, the ones before and after this shot were orb free.
As I enlarged the rainbow hued photo, I could actually see little faces that looked as if they were having just as good a time as we all were and even now, weeks later, I have this sense of delight as if whoever it was that was joining in the party on that snowy winter’s night, is still with me and all of those who were in that room.