The last couple of months have been nothing short of miraculous for me. But, only now am I beginning to regain some degree of normalcy and balance in my life.
Today, Christmas Day, as I return to blogging and posting the channels, I remembered this one from ten years ago. What kind of messenger am I? Here, I have this channel proclaim Santa is truly real, that Santa represents the idea that our lives and everything about them is a gift of the deepest kind and as true parents we must teach that to our “children”. Yet I never listened to these words. I didn’t grow up. I didn’t become the new parents. Two months after I wrote this, I relapsed again and then again and again and again and wasn’t finished until I was homeless, unemployed, destitute and derelict. How tragic. The memory of two Christmases ago is hard to bear. How humbling to know I hadn’t finished betraying myself (let alone the rest of the world).
And, like so many of these channels, it’s almost an unbearably long read. The middle really bogs down. But by the end, a message of hope is reborn. A message of deep rebirth. How appropriate for a day like today. What a blessed day, indeed.Channeled 2009.0423.0552
Perhaps among the most natural yet most difficult transitions is that to maturity. Yet, it can also be transition of joy and we can experience gratitude for our experiences. A most amazing transition is where we discover the lies of our childhood were actually deep truths but framed in youthful language. Santa Claus is a happy example. We awake bright-eyed one special morning to discover the stories were true. And awaiting us by the fireplace or under the tree is a beautiful, miraculous gift, a gift we have longed for, desired, cherished, and there it is sparkling.
We all know the story, how it goes. First, the gifts aren’t what we expected. We bore of them and eventually learn that our parents were being Santa Claus. In almost a horrible transition we go from being bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, to disappointed and cynical. We enter into adulthood with a fear that perhaps much of what we learned was false, a lie, a pretense, and plain poppycock. First, there is no Santa Claus. Later we learn that the wonderful stories about our family were mostly helpful lies and that our grandparents or super-great-grandparents were not nearly so important or famous as we had hoped. We turn out to be some distant relative of some famous person. That when we go far enough back there is one person who seems worthwhile and important, and we meekly puff our chest out, “I am an Nth descendant of Mister Famous!” and that helps support a flagging belief in the world. We at least still believe in ourself. We have all the idealism of our twenties at our disposal having survived the hormones of the teen years, but, as our twenties slip away, so does our youth and our innocence. At some point, from two to twenty or thereabouts, our innocence starts to slip away. We satisfy ourselves with momentary pleasures. Our father worship is gone, Santa Claus is gone, our first love is frequently gone, and we are left with a reality that is somewhat less than the ballerina astronaut doctor fantasy we nursed as a youth. Then we lose faith in ourselves. If we are even remotely conscious, we hang our heads in shame. We have lied, robbed, stolen, cheated, betrayed our friends, but most importantly betrayed ourselves. If we continue the process of insight, we begin to discover that our venerated institutions are flawed. Buddha abandons his wife and children to wander around for enlightenment and we ask ourselves what sort of enlightenment is that? If we happen to be Christian, we become aware that the Bible is a contradictory book, filled with different and confusing visions of God and stories of reality. The four Gospels turn out to be four chosen out of a much longer list, and no one knows how accurate they are, but at best they were written long after Jesus’ death. And we have all played the “whisper game” where a whisper is whispered and passed around the room. The end whisper has nothing to do with the original reality of the message. We fear Christianity has done no better. Even if the words are somewhat partially true, we begin to doubt the authenticity of the faith of the followers. Those not busy fighting each other within a church appear to be fighting without. Catholics against Protestants, Jews against Arabs, and Shiites against Sunnis. Africa, the supposed birthplace of civilization, is a hodgepodge of warring tribes. Here they are, thousands of years later, still trying to kill each other. Now, along comes the age of enlightenment, yet we still have dire warnings of doom and gloom. The hell of Revelations and the Coming of Days are replaced by the hell of Global Warming and the coming of days. We are in a dog-eat-dog world, where only the fittest will survive, if lucky; it is a struggle, a competition, and winner takes all. Slowly the evil God – the cruel uncaring God that left us to fend for ourselves on this warring planet – has abandoned us and we are stuck here trying to survive on our own. Life becomes a series of competitive struggles, of back-stabbing, and the doom and gloom weighs us down.
But for a moment we may find happiness. We find that our innocent children’s smiles beg for a savior and for Santa Claus and for a brief while we do our best to be that superhero, that superdad, that supermom, and try to be that awesome role model. We save our monies and buy the best we can hoping to astound our little ones with the magic of Christmas, little Jesus’ birth, the wise-men, and Santa Claus, and just for a brief while the hope of the new light and the new life is born again. For just a moment, we too, believe again. We know that deep down, just for a moment, what it must be like to so desperately wish for our children to have a moment of innocent joy and it brings us joy to provide that moment.
We might say it is darkest before the dawn.
Here we are now panicking as a society. We seem to be plagued by ever increasing atrocities. We read daily of the sad state of the decline of the good. People are warring and whoring, sinning and gambling, lusting and gluttoning, with no end in sight. We are killing the life on this planet, wiping out the endangered species. Our friends beat baby seals to death, hunt the whales to extinction, and worst of all, our hope for the future seems ever less promising. The religions, if they bother to stop fighting each other for a moment and release their hate, no longer are a source of solace and comfort. Where is Buddha, where is Mohammed, where is Jesus, where is the savior? For the few of us hopeful adherents left all seems lost, all seems hopeless. If we survive, which seems doubtful, then what will be left for us anyway? No Jesus, no Christmas, no Santa Claus.
We have lost, of course, faith in the very nature of reality. The message of this channel is there is nothing to fear. We only need to look around to see that reality is good, the universe is good. We discuss over and over the inbuilt guidance of the universe and the nature of God, that there is only light. But before we can believe that miracle, we must see it unfold in our own lives. First, we unleash this channel, we unleash the voice, we need to believe in a good universe and that God is still talking directly to us, directly to all of us, to each and every one of his particles, to each and every one of his planets, galaxies, microbes, rocks, and yes, especially yes, us. We can hear his voice and we can see it all around us. We got lost, so we lost faith, so we stopped believing. One thing we learn is that the children who don’t give up on life generally go on to be happy adults and live the best they can. The Bible got a few facts wrong, that seven days was a poetic metaphor for creation and rest, a message that the pulses of creation and rest, light and dark, aren’t exactly balanced or even. The unbalanced aspects of our universe are at worst very exciting. If we can hang on for the ride, life starts to be an exciting journey again. Certainly, we are not the only aging “has been” to discover later in life that we were running away from nothing. Who cares. What if only the fit survive? Then if we are here, we must be fit. And we are reminded of a recent photograph we processed for our cousin’s photo journal of their Big Adventure. Of all the pictures, the one that caught our eye was filled mostly with a very large rotting tree stump, but at the base, peeking out of a little hole, was a brave squirrel, looking intently at us with curiosity and joy. We find ourself watching a rather horrific movie unfold, Slumdog Millionaire, about the atrocities of child slavery, where children are turned into blind beggars by the unscrupulous and corrupt. We first sit in horror, but then realize despite that the children can find a moment of happiness. A plunge into a vat of feces and urine is worth it to obtain a brief audience with the venerated Pope, in this case his holiness being a Bollywood Star. The chipmunk, as lowly is it is, finds great joy and curiosity approaching us. And we are reminded of a time in Estes Park, or Yellowstone, where a herd of grazing elk and grazing buffalo, and grazing wild sheep, approach us with nary a care. Where is this competition? We peered out our car window, stopped in the road, to have a ram come up to us within touching distance. And we feel and know only joy. We didn’t realize how stocky or compact these sheep are, how muscular and close to the ground, and of course it makes sense. Living on a precarious slope one had best be strong and short, and we realize that our tall folks with grand reaches make for skinny basketball players, but the shorter folk are the ones with the muscles. We delight at the elk bugling and foraging, and we recall a time that seems nearly unreal. We are in rehab for the second time, but this is a full-time one, a beautiful place called Redwood Center, and we have to go for daily walks. On this day our walk can stretch. The staff is mostly home, and only a brief weekend staff makes its presence known, for them it is a job, not a passion, and so are less inclined to monitor each one of our whereabouts. We take advantage of this temporal window to go for a long walk up with path into the forest that surrounds us. On one walk we sit mesmerized by a dragonfly, and recall the time while stoned yes, but nevertheless real, where we watched the careful of… the careful eyes of a dragonfly hunt and dart for food. The eyes, which glew golden bright scanned the heavens and rotated around. Then in a fell swoop the graceful insect swirled around, snatching the unsuspecting prey out of the air. Miraculous. Beautiful. Transcendent. And here we are again seeing the same drama unfold that we thought we may have dreamed before. Yet another dragonfly hunting in a way her forbearers have done for the countless generations before, probably with little change over millions of years. But one day, on this path, we come across a female coyote. We sit down, she sits down. And for what seems like an eternity, maybe ten minutes, we stare at each other, and we have a bizarre yipping festival, where we do our best to speak happy coyote. She looked ragged and tired and relieved not to be running or chased or hunted by us. Another day, while biking across campus in Wyoming, we come across a badger up close, something we haven’t yet done, and as it jumps into its hole by the cemetery, we say, “Hey wait!” and mean with all our heart to say hi. Amazingly, the badger comes back out of its hole, turns and faces us, curious and somehow interested in what we have to say. “Just wanted to say hi!” we blurt out and the badger seems to understand this, then dart into his hole. Satisfied, we bike on, feeling connected to this beast, with its blacks and whites, and browns, and very insistent way to go about things.
In the midst of hopelessness on an insane day following a long night of relapsing, we meet with our sponsor at our run-down motel and go for a walk and a talk. Suddenly, we are insanely propelled and throw ourself into Manitou creek. Yet, in our insanity, we felt connected. As if our water molecules were crying out for communion with the water of the fresh clear creek. We, too, so wish to be free flowing and pure, crystal clear and determined, knowing where we came from and to where we go. But the water seems quite ecstatic to be where it is, rushing about, and the water has been rushing down that creek and rushes still, rocks glistening in the moisture, the coolness, and in this high desert, we feel connected to that which is very best. We finally lay down our arms. Following years of struggling and trying to survive, we give up the fight, perhaps we just aren’t fit. We have a short relapse and unlike most times, we are not totally ruined. We have our car and our apartment and all we’ve lost is our friends, our job, and our finances. Okay, and our health and youth, but for an addict that isn’t too bad. Derelicts have come and gone, threatening us, stealing from us. But despite the horrors of the year, there were some miraculous moments and we rejoice in them. The rest of the world has judged us, abandoned us, and wants nothing to do with us. We probably should have given up, but the miracles have already come. We met a few amazing people, we realize most importantly that we can still love. And we have an experience that changes our life. The experience happens over and over with different men. We realize we aren’t in love, but are capable of loving, and one day we are lying in bed and realize how much we desire a companion. Our using “fuck buddy” as we call them come over, and we realize we could love this man. They seem to be excited, too, until they find out that we don’t have drugs, and the empty illusion they create for us. We offer our self instead, but the offer is declined. And our so-called lover leaves, goes home, leaving us apologies, as we have left with others. And we realize the love affair was with a much smaller and simpler molecule, a single dopamine compound that rendered us for a brief time euphoric. And tired and defeated we lay down and surrender.
Youth has left us. Santa Clause is gone. Jesus has not saved us. And Allah seems neither merciful nor great. The eightfold way seems somewhere else, and who even knows what the Tao is. We lie in our empty bed, with an empty heart and an empty soul. We have been emptied, but that is when we wake up and we wake up from our lie. We had gotten lost on our way. We had forgotten who we were or what we wanted. We were screaming at the world to make us happy and whole. “Give me love! Give me drugs! Give me a savior! Forgive my sins! Tell me there is an afterlife worth living because this life ain’t been so great!” Yet, we wake up from our spoiled self-centeredness, and realize the universe has been the same all along. The trees are still blooming, others don’t seem so miserable, and we realize that we can choose the next best right choice and start all over again.
We have to start all over again. It isn’t a matter of getting it right this time, history if it is of any guide will tell us that most certainly, we won’t. Our theories will be wrong, our equations inaccurate, our stories fabricated lies, Santa Claus in new clothes. But we accept that we will do the best with what we have. Yes, maybe we should have stopped using years ago. Maybe we should have stopped burning our energy like we had unlimited stores of it. Perhaps we should have stopped warring and fighting, hating and womanizing, screaming and lying. But that is what we’ve done. That is who we are. And so, we pick up today and weave the best stories we can out of our lives. We pick up our tired feet and move our tired bodies around. Slowly we come back to life. Slowly we come back to the light. We realize that our cavemen ancestors who must of felt such awe inspiring amazement when they developed self-awareness, that those who wrote the Qur’an and discovered The Tao, those who penned the gospels, and Genesis, those of the forgotten, destroyed and lost civilizations of the past, the Toltecs and Aztecs, the Babylonians and the Romans, and all who have disappeared and been forgot, that they were fundamentally no different, no better or worse off. The universe is still here, still alive, still vibrant. Our technology has opened the doors again to the true miracle of existence, the true grandeur of deep space, and our theories, well, we’ll rewrite them. We haven’t come to bury Jesus, but to praise him. His followers have gotten off track, who cares, who hasn’t. We can stop hating them, we can love them. We can love them because finally we can love ourself. We see ourself in all things, we know that what we see are our own reflections, and somehow we become willing to start over, start fresh, start anew, be reborn. We wake up refreshed or tired, beaten or renewed, but we still reawaken. And today, just for today, we can forge a new way. We can strap on the glasses in our emerald city of Oz and see a world of our own making. A world that, despite our mistakes, our years of abuse, our years of hurting each other but especially ourselves, can stop. We can surrender. We can start over. We can discover joy. And in our gratitude, we can give away what we have learned. Christianity is not dead. Allah is not silent. Buddha has not abandoned his wife. We are all these things, our life is testament to their life, and they live on in us. We have come to venerate our ancestors, to keep their greatest hopes and dreams alive. To do our best to create heaven from the hell that we have created. We have come to forgive our own sins, and yes, to save ourselves. Parents earn their own way. Parents give birth to their own children. They build their own houses. They learn their own lessons. They give as much as they receive, and they receive with humility and love, as should they give. They find joy in the moments, and they become like children.
Of course, this is a daunting task. Naturally we aren’t up to it. We are old and tired, forgotten and beaten, abandoned by our lovers, abandoned by our youth. Our dreams have left us, our savior did not come. But no matter. We are thankful for what we do have. We are thankful for what we do see. We have less, but we have so much more. We have a great gift, and we wish to share it with the world. We truly are the way and the light. We have found the kingdom of heaven and he is here, He is reborn, we are born anew. The gift of the spirit knows no time, is bounded by no space. He is everywhere and nowhere, and he walks among us still. We are being baptized into the new faith, and we have come to transcend our old ways. We have not come to destroy, but to create. For we are the way and the light, we are the ones on the good and holy path. And this is a gift for us all. Amen!