The new year is a once-a-year opportunity to share our endings and new beginnings with so many others at the same time -- whether in-person or virtually. For many of us at this moment in time, however, saying goodbye to 2016 also includes a little, if not a lot, of trepidation about the coming year.
I was blessed to spend this New Year's Eve with extended family who I dearly love. As we sat around the dinner table for several hours in animated conversation, thoughts and concerns about the near future of our country -- and thus our own interests, passions and livelihoods -- emerged. The beauty of our little company last night was that as we shared our fears and disappointments, we were also exploring different perspectives with each other for greater understanding. While it may seem that the ideals of our country's founders, and the "higher angels" of our personal strivings for love, compassion and "goodness" are being trampled upon -- there are other, bigger-picture ways to look at what is happening in our country and our world. For example, that there is a gift of opportunity in EVERY happening. And that bad acts have a shorter shelf life when we meet them with love and understanding. And that hurts which have been too long ignored, pushed down and buried eventually must come to the surface so that they can be addressed and healed. For we cannot fulfill our utmost potentials as individuals, communities and nations until they are.
You would think that my goddaughter, who is graduating from Amherst this Spring with credentials, experience and an upcoming Fulbright Scholarship for climate change research, would be especially concerned. And so she is -- but she also sees the sudden climactic change of government in our country as an opportunity to work at local ground-root levels by educating ourselves and our neighbors about simple, doable Earth-and-humanity-friendly initiatives and committing to actions that can improve not only a seemingly far-off future, but our present daily quality of life.
There is a comfort in our personal strivings and even seeming setbacks at times to feel that we live in a community or country where our ideals, dreams and desires always have second chances. But when we cannot look to our governments and institutions to uphold our ideals or address our most basic needs, then we must certainly look to ourselves. If "they" are not going to hold our light, then we the people, as collective individuals, must hold it for ourselves, our children and our neighbors near and far. In the willingness to be accountable to our personal values and ideals, we can create change that will enable all of us -- not just a few -- to not only survive, but even thrive. Love, compassion and creativity, after all, are not creations of a government, but of the human heart.
And so, as we enjoyed a delicious vegan cheesecake ("the best I've ever had," the non-cheesecake lover among us remarked), we talked about the common urges we've all been having recently for "random acts of kindness," as the patriarch of the family called it. Kindness. Both the giving and receiving of it. There is probably nothing that dissolves our fear, resentment or attitudes more quickly and sweetly than kindness. Kindness has no ideologies -- it is simply an emergence of heart. And as we talked about the challenges of civic education, especially in an environment when facts often seem to be overcome by emotionally clung-to fictions, I recalled something that was given to me inwardly and is an ongoing powerful life lesson for me: "whatever truth we may think needs telling, what wants to be heard is love."
Love is the best education, and it has the power to transform anger, resentment and even willful ignorance. CNN journalist Van Jones recently traveled the country talking with people who were "tired of being unheard and ignored." Not only tired, but angry -- and other things that are sometimes hard to fathom. Their votes brought about a radical change in our upcoming government that upset so many others of us in ways that we have not felt in our lifetimes. But our best defense and offense, Jones concluded, is not to fire back our own brands of arrogance, anger, resentment and hate, but rather to create a "love army." For love is the only force that truly unites.
In the space between endings and new beginnings are always moments for greater-seeing of ourselves and each other. We are each a seed of humanity. Who we are is what the world becomes. And if we don't like what our world has become, then we must cultivate better seeds of ourselves. It all starts with a softening of heart -- and a choice to be a seed for something love-and-life-affirming in the encounters, events and interactions of this day, our daily bread. And especially, we must do work we love, or come to love the work we do. For in all our strivings, if we bring to the world what we love, then surely the world will be more loving.
I wish for myself and each of you that our harvests in 2017 and beyond may be not just the crumbs of life's potential, but the whole loaf!
Adapted excerpt from Volume 4, Birth Angels Book of Days (2 JELIEL ~ Love and Wisdom), by Terah Cox
"...Love is not only about feelings. Love is the ‘prime-mover’ of our evolving truths, our powers as a human being and the light in all our relatings. And yes, feelings are the compelling compass, and sparkle, in the wonder of love. By love’s guidance system of feeling, we are drawn to romantic partners, friendships, creativities and endeavors that are most true for us. But though it is the feeling of love that makes us cherish and seek it out, it is love’s multifaceted nature that makes it so valuable and necessary to the fullness of our life and our relationships. Indeed, love is like water – taking the shape of whatever it fills -- and also filling the invisible and seemingly impenetrable spaces where love has been forgotten, not only within us but also in the space between oneself and another.
The values of love are seeded by compassion and forgiveness of self and others. From these are harvested kindness, mercy, wisdom and well-being at the expense of no one, including the Earth itself. Without love, anything or anyone may be broken and infringed against. And when brokenness occurs between us, only love can make us whole again. Because love is the author of wholeness, it is love’s nature to be inclusive in order to show us the underlying unity that connects us to each other – even while we express the diversity of the Divine Itself through our own diverse beings, paths and ways.
It is love which transforms the knowledge and experience we bring to it into the wisdom of greater knowing and seeing. Despite anything we may think we know about another, love’s wisdom fills out the rest of the story with a more whole truth. For love sees not only what is visible, but what is still evolving in the unseen realms of heart and soul. Thus love’s wisdom within us sees not only who others are, but who they long to become. And love’s understanding knows that there is an essential goodness in each and all that is love itself. Thus, when we allow the wellspring of love that shimmers inside us to rise up and flow, it naturally seeks itself in the other.
Love knows no gender and yet includes all gender expressions as the diverse possibilities of incarnation. As our interior aspects of Sun (masculine) and Moon (feminine) are explored within, they find their outer reflections and expressions in relationships. For many of us, it is only when we leave behind our forms and return to our soul-bodies that we will leave off our fears and judgments and realize that life is Love manifest – and that there is nothing or no one that is not more truly seen, known and increased by the all-inclusive diversity of Love.
Finally and ongoingly, love is the revealer and reconciler of all life paradoxes, the alpha and the omega of existence and all that is possible between and among beings. Love is God’s creation energy, the verb of all that is Divine (and there is nothing that is not!). As such, love is the prime and quantum mover of creation, essence, matter and the ever-evolving truths of all souls, beings, bodies, minds and hearts – that even when seemingly immoveable long to soar. It is only with the powers of love that anything or anyone can begin, and it is love which transforms all endings into new beginnings again. Only with love may our relatings be renewed and restored. Only with love may the truth of a being, a relationship, a community or world be fully revealed and expanded, even into a new truth.
...Each and every soul, without exception, were conceived and brought forth by love. And thus, it is love we must return to in order to fulfill the truth of ourselves in relationship with each other. And though...our job is not to change others, but to change ourselves – here is this most fertile quantum potential in our relatings: others will be changed, in their own way and time, if we each allow love to change us first. For from the blossoming of love within will come the scattering of love's light-seeds unto all we encounter.
Thus...while we may sometimes see ourselves and others ‘through a glass darkly’ in any moment or season of life, it is always Love we are looking at – on its way to becoming more and more the Truth of itself. To know this is the ultimate wisdom.
"Who are you that tells me these things? What is your name?" I asked.
"I have infinite names. Which name would most interest you?"
"How would I choose from infinity?" I replied.
"The same way you choose who to be in this lifetime. But if you must have a name,
I go by the name of any who has the heart to hear. What would you ask of us at this time?"
"Who is 'us?'" I asked.
"You and all of me, of course."
"I want to know about what some of us call the 'Second Coming,'" I said.
"So you want to know if there is such a one, who it shall be, and the name it shall carry?"
"Well, yes, I guess so, though to hear you put it like that seems perhaps a little, well, limiting."
"Exactly right! But that's what your life on Earth is about, you must know -- the magnificent challenge and opportunity to experience the eternal even in the limitations of time and place. That is the great creation experiment here -- to see how much of your soul and its purposes you can bring into physical beingness. How much of the seemingly impossible you can make possible. What of the unseen you can make visible. How to find the sameness underneath change and in all that seems different from you. How forgiveness among you can transform the past and release you into the present, where time and timelessness meet. And where all your power lies."
"So the 'second coming' is irrelevant, then?
"Ah, well, as to that, it's of UTMOST relevance -- in truth -- your salvation. For the second coming shall come from within. And its name shall be called Love."
"Wasn't that essentially the message of the 'first coming?'"
"Exactly. We have a merciful saying here too, 'if at first they don't succeed...' That said,
you are at a time now when the numbers of people on Earth who are most awake to love are greatest, while those who aren't are most destructive. The good news is that, at this time when you most need love -- is also the time when individually and collectively you are most capable of it."
Excerpt: From Within ~ Inner Tuitions from a Not-So-Small Voice
(in progress, 2017 release)
When I moved from the noisy concrete and steel canyons of New York City to a small Hudson Valley village with its serenely-forested highlands, I was stunned by the radical change of scenery. As late summer turned into fall, my favorite season, nature’s magic began its work on me. From one of my first autumn walks along the wooded mountain path behind the old Victorian house that was my new home, I was introduced to the uncanny voices of the natural world.
My first encounter with what I call “Earth-Speak” was nothing less than phenomenal for its impact on my life and sensibility. As I came around a bend at the top of the mountain, the lush goldenness of maples along the trail nearly took my breath away. They colored the very air around them. As I stood transfixed, it seemed that all the flora of the woods began to sway toward me. The dramatic red-orange-gold hues in all shapes and sizes were pulsating with light, sounds and scents so intoxicating that I wasn’t sure if I was breathing or drinking. Suddenly, I “heard” a whispering of words that I will never forget: “Ah yes, the very things you humans love about us – our different colors and shapes and smells and languages – are the things you often hate about each other. Alas, you have lost touch with your beauties because you have lost touch with us.”
Having just moved out of a city teeming with the tensions that densely-populated diversities of culture, creed, economy – and yes, race – too often provoke, this message was stunning and timely for me. During that first year of “life in the country,” I became unusually acquainted with this sentient world. In my daily walks with pen and paper, the presences of nature enfolded me in their lushness while I chronicled their wisdom-teachings. As these “inner tuitions” invited me to consider some of life’s most paradoxical mysteries, they required only one thing of me – to be utterly present and receptive. I didn’t know to call it that at the time – I was only aware that I felt light and free, as if all the space around the trees and the flowers and blades of grass was also around, and even inside, me.
During one spring afternoon forest-walk, I received the ultimate present that awaits our being present. As I came upon a multi-colored field of flowers that surely had not been there the day before, I suddenly experienced a palpable wave-force come at me. As it hit, I felt a kind of energetic “hello” – and instantly a sense of being deeply recognized and known. And then an incredible feeling of being loved washed over me. As that feeling surged, I was startled to realize I was being shown what it would feel like to love myself – not merely self-acknowledgment or self-acceptance – but to actually feel an emotion of love for my own self, as a particular beingness within all being.
As I stood there in the middle of the path that would lead to the end of loneliness, I felt that all-encompassing love wind its way through and out of me – but without leaving me behind. Rather it held me in its flow as it traveled to and through everything around me. And it was the same love loving me that was loving everything else too.
In that spectacular moment, I saw and knew and felt the perfection in our simultaneous urges for individuation and unity. I was shown how in our seeming separateness we are each given the opportunity to blossom into ever-expanding renditions of our unique beauties, talents and gifts. And I was given to understand that as we each “go forth and multiply," the Energy of Creation that brings us forth also gets to experience what more might be made of It through each of us and our own unique creations. Perhaps this is why when we are individuating with the love and truth of who we are, we feel the eternal destiny-nature of our purpose.
And it is then, paradoxically, when our true selves are emerging and expressing, that our purest urge for community and service also emerges. For as we are becoming who we truly are, we not only have the most to contribute to a higher-conscioused unity with others – but the greatest urge to do so! Ultimately, in the heightened quality of cooperation that is inspired by what can be given rather than gotten, the final stage of fullness that individuation seeks is attained. In the paradoxical language of Earth-Speak: “the more vibrant and beautiful the single flower, the more magnificent the field – and in the magnificence of the field, the single flower is justified.”
Things of the natural world inherently participate in both individuation and unity; but human nature must offer its own “free will” to allow these seeming opposites to co-exist in order to experience the fulfillment within the paradox. As my time-built walls of self-protection melt in the commingling of the natural world with my own human nature, I am shown again and again the gifts of shelter and interdependence that living things and creatures can offer to each other… “Observe our formations, the ways in which we group together and stand apart. We are not so dense in our togetherness that we shut out the light, for then we could not nourish ourselves and our saplings into our unique blossomings. And we are not so separate that we cannot share our nutrients and shelter each other in a storm -- lest we all one by one perish.”
I have learned that every thing and presence in the natural world embodies a message that corresponds to the seasons and cycles of our lives, our dreams and challenges, our individual and collective choices. In everything we feel, think and do on this planet, we are all participants in the dance between individual and community, separateness and unity, you and me and us. Beyond the illusions of a humanity that has forgotten its inner divinity, there is no “they” or "them" – there is only “we.” And we can come together to contribute to the preservation of wildlife and natural resources, development of eco-friendly energy sources, and the rich purposes of diversity on all levels – or we can continue to ravage our resources with the non-humanitarian effects of acquisitional politics and power. If we choose the latter, we must know that we are at a point in our technological evolution when we “cannot make a stink in one part of the world without smelling it in another.”
When we listen to the language of Earth-Speak, the secrets of life are revealed to us. And whether they come rumbling, roaring, thundering – or gliding like a butterfly into the heart of any who are willing to listen – there is not only a global but a deeply personal resonance in the messages. We are shown how to become willing partners in the rhythm of seasons and cycles…how to revel in our fullnesses and recover from our losses…how to balance too much and not enough. And how to see our sameness of heart beneath our multitude of expressions, so that someday, we may come to not merely tolerate or accept – but delight in – each other’s diverse beauties. Then we might collaborate, all of us together, with the Earth herself, as allies in the continuation of life on every level.
And so what is this thing called life for, really?, I asked the wind and the water and the expanse of mountain sky. An old question we've been asking likely from the moment time was born out of timelessness.
In the pregnant silence, I stood looking out at the sensual rippling of highlands on the other side of the river. Suddenly the letters “E-A-R-T-H” appeared across the treeline. Then the “H” jumped up on its legs and hopped to the front of “EARTH” to spell “H-E-A-R-T” (!) It rested there long enough for me to see it – and as my laugh echoed across the valley, the “H” started jumping gleefully on its two legs back and forth between the front and back of the word. “EARTH–HEART–EARTH–HEART...,” it danced! And then the rest of the message appeared: “...where Love comes to put down roots.”
How often have we heard each other say, to excuse some imagined failing or falling short, "I'm only human!" The irony is, however, that we're not. It's just that when we feel that way or say those words, we have in that moment forgotten all the rest that we are – the soul-stuff on the inside that we can't see but which makes all the difference to our humanity and to our time and purposes on this Earth.
Every one of us is composed of both an inner and an outer – essence and form, the unseen and the seen, feeling and fact, soul and body. Our whole life we are in a continual exchange between these. Our original primary “directive” comes from the inner – our soul-urges and purposes – which are broadcast into our heart as intuition, longing for meaning and purpose, and what we might call our personal heart-truths. These are always striving to be acknowledged and expressed outwardly, even while inviting us to bring our outer experiences inward to make sense and meaning of them.
However, we often forget or suppress aspects of our softer, more diffuse, inner nature in the demands of our daily lives and the needs and preoccupations of the physical vehicle that is our interface with the world. As we become consumed by the responsibilities, pleasures and challenges of the visible outer world – our inner realms can sometimes seem like a swampy soup of feelings, thoughts and desires that we often put off sorting out.
The thing is, we're not here to be perfect. We're here to use our so-called imperfections as creative tools to explore how much more we can do with the seeming limitations of flesh, bone, matter and time when we tap into our built-in Divine power-source. This is the great paradox of being human – that the more we awaken to and engage with the inner divinity that is our own soul, the more "super-charged" our humanity can become.
Why are we here? We have been asking this since at least humankind began to record thoughts and feelings. Why are we here in this foreign outpost where we have to walk-not-fly, with eyes veiled, inner ears deafened, true self muffled and mostly forgetful of everything we already know – to muddle through this quicksand-like obstacle course of becoming who we already are and trying to remember what we already know!?"
As this question lingered within me, one Spring morning I was walking through a Hudson Highlands forest in upstate New York admiring all the newborn life around me when I began to “hear” these words. I sat on a stone wall to capture them on paper….
As the retelling here takes me back to that moment, I am flooded again with awe and humility. We are not ever “only human.” On this Earth we are the all of it, both Divine and Human! Divine-Human beings expressing howevermuch of either or both of these we choose to express in any moment of time. What an amazing paradox we are!
And so yes, Earth life does pull us toward the denser vibrations of matter – but it is the heart and soul within us that shows us which matter really does matter to us! And it does seem that the more we allow our inner to weigh in with our outer choices and expressions, the lighter and more fulfilled we become. And the more of ourselves we become, the more of ourselves we are able to give away and still keep!
And ultimately, as our relationships and creations flower with more and more light and meaning, the more love and wisdom is rooted within and among us. And surely, hopefully, the greater our world can become.
Partial excerpts from
Birth Angels Book of Days
Daily Wisdoms with the 72 Angels of the Tree of Life
March 21 - June 2
Relationship with the Divine
Messages that illuminate and amplify our true soul nature as a spark of the Divine Itself, and help us to bring soul-awareness into the details and doings of our daily lives.
I was having breakfast in a diner one morning when I noticed a woman intently discussing a situation with her companion. I couldn’t hear the details, but suddenly she said, a little louder and with more emphasis, “truth be known….” Since I have a particular liking for the word "truth" and its often colorful applications and appropriations, it immediately set me to wondering what truth was being made known in that moment. I kept thinking about it after I left the diner and went walking in the woods, ruminating on those very common, even cliché, words and all the different kinds of things that happen when a truth is made known – especially if it has been long unexpressed, repressed or ignored.
Sooner or later, truth will have its way with us. Sometimes it makes itself known slowly and quietly over the course of days, weeks or years. Sometimes it bursts forth epiphanously and joyfully, or scandalously and unwelcomingly. In my own history, I've seen how untold truths in families can fester for years, causing some family members to become estranged, some to be in a perpetual state of anger or illness, and some to act out in extreme and hurtful ways toward him/herself or others. All because of a truth unspoken, a secret harbored, a lie perpetuated.
And if as individuals we are "seeds" of our collective humanity, it isn't a far reach to understand where our societal trends originate. Lots of truths have infamously emerged in the media over years of journalistic and tabloid tell-alls about sexual exploits, power-and-greed mongering, ponzi schemes and other financial frauds and more – and most of them involving elaborate cover-ups sometimes for years.
But when the truth is finally told – does it really “set us free?”
I have observed time and again the interesting dynamics of that famous Biblical phrase, “the truth shall set you free.” The rippling effect of a truth-telling can be vast, sending catalystic (if not cataclysmic) ripples out into our relationships with family, friends and community, and sometimes the world at large. So no, it is not always freedom we feel at a truth’s first revelation. A truth expressed can turn lives and organizations upside down and inside out, wreaking havoc on “life as we knew it” the moment before the truth was told. But while the effect of a truth-telling may initially be one of chaos, sooner or later the transformative gifts of truth emerge if we let them.
However long may be our stubborn or grief-stricken focus on the damage a "truth told" has seemed to create, ultimately it yields an enormous and even miraculous potential for relief, acceptance, closeness, joy and new life. Furthermore, when we let truth have its purifying way with us, it seems to beget some truth in everyone around us. When one person speaks his or her truth, there is a kind of invitation in the air for others to express theirs. And in the end, we discover that it is only the covered over truths and the untruths – the lies – that leave scabbed-over festering wounds. Truth may hurt at first, but it always heals us if we let it.
And here’s a paradoxical step further with “the truth shall set you free.” One of the miracles about truth-telling is that a truth expressed sets truth itself free. For the nature of truth is not static – but fluid. And as soon as we allow a truth to flow and do its healing work, we find that there is another truth just around the bend that has been waiting for the expression and release of that which came before it in order for this new truth to be realized and expressed.
For example, have you ever harbored a thought or feeling about someone, only to realize after you finally expressed it that you suddenly didn’t feel that way anymore? Or you’ve fought and worked for something that at one time you desperately and truly felt and wanted – only to discover when it was finally possible that you didn’t really want it anymore? Something had changed – YOU had changed – and you didn’t know it because you'd been fixated on that old unrequited truth for so long that you had actually outgrown your need or desire for it. Somehow it was only in finally expressing it that you got to see and feel that it was no longer true – and surprise! – a newer, truer truth begins to emerge.
There is much truth-telling to be told in all our lives. Telling and living our truths – and allowing those truths to change with us – is part of the daily wonder of truing up our lives at every level. For truth-telling is about coming out of the closets of our hearts and souls and daring to give wings to what lies within. To express and be more of who we are, and to invite others in our lives to do the same. For the truer we are with ourselves and each other, the truer and more whole we might all become.
So I invite you if you’re so inclined: tell me your own truth-telling story – perhaps a long-harboured truth finally expressed? Or maybe a truth you tried to tell your whole life, but you were not believed…..until finally you were? How did you feel, how did others feel? What/who changed? What ended, what new thing began?
Lover of words & music, mountains and meaning, good friends and food, co-creative talk, travel and timelessness!
Words are like gates. They can open us to each other's hearts and minds and show us those sacred places we can only go without them.