Aug 13

Looking after number one

I actually found going to Great America theme park a bit of a guilty pleasure – I think I had been so focussed on finding meaning in my travels, and spending time trying to get my head together that the thought of some mindless fun was a bit beyond me.   So I made an agreement with myself that this trip was going to have lots of FUN in it from here on in.  Sure, there are things I want to do – and yet there’s a place for simply enjoying myself.

One of the real fun things was the chance to ride the coasters up front – I queued for a few minutes longer to get a front row seat on all the rides – but I did observe an interesting internal response to this – a reluctance to put myself first.  It was almost as if I didn’t belong up front.  Now, intellectually I know I can ride up front – but somewhere, deeper in my psyche, something was yelling ‘no, you need to hide at the back’.  I’m hoping I learnt a lesson – that it’s part of my divine right to be up front.  In fact, it’s part of my divine calling to be up front – visible – on stage – out in public…. And I hope I’ve finally got hold of that now!

Riding Grizzly up front

Aug 13

Loneliness

A friend of mine posted a quote to Facebook the other day that got me thinking.. she said

“Language… has created the word “loneliness” to express the pain of being alone. And it has created the word “solitude” to express the glory of being alone.”~ Paul Tillich

Now, I thought that was a beautiful way of expressing it… by choosing the words we use, then we create a different meaning to the feeling.  We can choose to be lonely – or we can choose to enjoy solitude.  I am actually quite a solitary being – I love being around people, and I love interaction, sharing, laughter, joy…. and also I love time on my own in solitude.  And sometimes, sure, I feel lonely.  Sometimes I don’t feel as if I am choosing solitude – I just feel as if I have been dumped in this place called ‘loneliness’.

Look at what I said above – I contrasted ‘be lonely’ with ‘enjoy solitude’.  it feels to me as if ‘loneliness’ is something that happens to me, whereas ‘solitude’ is something I choose.  And, to be honest, we do have that choice.  On Facebook, one of the replies spoke about going to the supermarket so as not to feel lonely.  And why not?!  Why not use that feeling to catapult you into interaction with someone else?  Go to the supermarket.  Smile at people.  Chat with the cahier.  Resist the urge to pelt the supervisor with grapes.  Oh, go on, if you must….

One of the powers that we have as human beings is the power to name.  Adam was given the opportunity to have dominion over the animal kingdom by naming each animal – having the name gave him power.  Even to this day in many cultures, having someone’s name gives you spiritual and psychological power over that person.  Look at the story of Rumpelstiltskin – which is an echo of a deeper truth.  Once the king named Rumpelstiltskin, he had power over him.  It is the same with us and the words we use.

Consider the difference between ‘being depressed’ and ‘feeling melancholy’.  Broadly, they are the same feeling of sadness… but with depression, we are ‘stuck’ whereas with melancholy we are making a choice.  And isn’t it vageuly romantic to be a little ‘melancholic’ from time to time.

If you look at the language, it seems that ‘solitude’ is something we have control over.  We choose our solitude – we can move into it – or out of it – as we wish.  Loneliness, on the other hand, seems to be something that happens to us.

The truth of it is that these feelings never happen to us – we choose them… or, more accurately, we choose the response that we have to a certain situation.  When confronted with being on their own, some people will decide to feel lonely.  Others will decide to feel a sense of solitude, an opportunity to breathe in this life, to take stock of the situation.

Choose the words you use carefully – not because we have to fear using the wrong word (which seems to be a curse of the New Age and of the Law of Attraction “be careful what words you use, or they will come true”) – choose your words because they give you power over the situation that you are in.  Find a better way to describe it.  Take back control.  Use language to support you rather than slow you down… in fact, play with the language you use, have fun with it… and use it to step outside of the worlds we create

Jun 09

Do we need teachers?

I’ve spent a lot of my life in some sort of ‘religious’ organisation of one form or another, mostly within the Christian Church. Some of them felt more ‘religious’ than others, sure… but all of them had one thing in common – adherence to doctrine.

Each group had their set of core beliefs, and to stray outside them could lead you to either being reprimanded or excluded… or at the very least, people would worry that you were ‘not quite part of the church’. Sometimes it was amazingly trivial things that caused the greatest fuss – smoking, for example, was definitely frowned on, although I couldn’t find an admonition against it in the Bible!

I can remember one day at University when we found out that (horror) someone was sleeping with someone else – immediately one of the leaders was despatched to talk to the culprit and gently lead her back into the flock.

It seems that the distinguishing factor of all these faiths is that we need a teacher. Someone to set out the rules. Someone who tells us what to believe. Someone to follow. And then we find out that these people have feet of clay. They lose their temper. They make mistakes. They forget things. Or ‘worse’….

I remember when the pastor of a church I had been a part of for many years ran off with a member of the congregation. The stunned congregation stumbled on for a while, but eventually the church fell apart – because its leader had gone.

And I have been struggling with this one for a while now.. looking for a teacher, a leader, someone who can tell me what I should be doing, someone to guide me, someone to tell me what was important, someone to advise me. No-one seemed to appear. I was pretty aure that the student was ready… but the teacher didn’t appear!

And suddenly I realised…. I don’t need one.

You see, there’s a new world coming – a new freedom, a new truth. The amazing thing is that God is speaking to us individually. It used to be that revelation came through the religious leader, through the voice of the chosen one. But it was never meant to be like that. We each have our own personal connection to God, to the Divine, to the Universe. We don’t need a mediator. We don’t need someone to interpret. We can hear God ourselves. And, yes, I meant that. ‘Hear God’. Prayer isn’t just us talking and God listening…. it’s a conversation. Expect it, and God will speak.

So, we become our own teachers. We hear the voice of God ourselves, speaking into our own circumstances. We hear God’s voice through the books we read, the teaching we hear, the TV we watch, the newspapers we read. I hear God speak through the lyrics to songs, through the words of movies… and often I publish the ones that really seem significant on my other blog, Touching Zero.

Aug 23

FROM MY JOURNAL – The Spirit of God

This morning I woke, slowly…. and yet with longing burning in my heart. For some days I had been conscious of God calling me to a new place – and of a deep inner longing that wanted me to step into a new relationship with the awesome power of God.

Inside me there has been a hunger, a longing , almost howling, roaring, unstoppable desire for something to change. And it’s not in my personal circumstances.

Sure, I would love to move from my current financial situation to one of true abundance, prosperity and financial freedom. Sure, I would love to find someone to share my life with, discovering our destiny together. Sure, I would love a new car, a lovely house to live in, adventures, excitement, fun – all the things that are in my dream book.

And yet, continually threading through my mind is the longing for something to change, something to shift – and for me to step into true power, and the power of God. I feel a little like Jacob in the book of Genesis, when he wrestled all night with the angel of God: and finally the angel said ‘Then the man said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.” But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” ‘ (Gen 32:26)And the angel DID bless Jacob – and also touched Jacob’s hip, causing him to limp. And if there’s a price to be paid for God to touch my life, then so be it.

It all goes back to many years ago when I was ‘baptised in the Holy Spirit’ as a member of a charismatic baptist church, a church that believed in ‘the gifts of the Holy Spirit’. In the book of Acts, the disciples received the power and the gifts of the spirit of God – descending like tongues of fire.

It feels in some way like that’s what I have been called to do… to bring that experience back to others. To see the songs of God come into their inheritance. To move beyond the ‘nice’ world of New Spirituality into something that has power, that has dynamism, something that has ‘balls’, if you will pardon the expression. Not so that we can all sit around enjoying these experiences – but so that we can go out and DO something in the world. So that we can shake it up, bringing the power and the authority of the Creator into government, into social life – challenging our social inequality, the status quo, our lack of feeling…

And that’s what I am longing to experience right now. That’s what I want to see… to feel, to know deep in my gut – that God is with me to demonstrate the power of the gift of God.

And so I pray “reconnect me to the awesome gift and power of God. Touch me with God’s Spirit, and bring me to a new level of Her Divine creative energy”.

Jul 28

OBSERVATIONS – Letting Go

One of the things I became convinced of recently was that I needed to start to let go… and various things conspired to teach me this.

One of my all time heroes and favourite teachers and authors is Neale Donald Walsch.  Neale has an incredible connection to God, and his daily inspirational newsletter ‘On this day’ is usually spot on for the challenges I am facing, or imparting some learning that I need.

The other day, Neale wrote:

On this day of your life, Tim, I believe God wants you to know…

….that yearning for a new way will not produce it. Only ending the old way can do that.

You cannot hold onto the old all the while declaring that you want something new. The old will defy the new; the old will deny the new; the old will decry the new.

There is only one way to bring in the new. You must make room for it.

And for me, that was huge.

You see, there are two principles going on here – the first is simply that we need to create a vacuum in our lives in order for things to happen.  We need to let go of what we have in order to take hold of new stuff.  We need to let go of the riverbank in order to set off on our journey down the river.  We need to clear out stuff that’s no longer serving us in order to move into the new.

And secondly, we need to create movement.  Without movement we become stuck, unable to create, unable to change things.  Without some movement in our lives… well, nothing happens.

For me, right now, it’s quite draughty.  The wind of change is blowing round me, and sometimes it’s quite unnerving – like walking along a cliff top edge when the wind is gusting, and you feel that at any moment you could be blown off that cliff, and crash to the jagged rocks below.

There are things changing for me in financial terms, as I consider how to deal with various financial challenges that I face, and do that with integrity and yet with a desire to move on.  There are things changing for me in relationships – new possibilities, new friends, new romance, maybe.  I’m moving home, from my nice comfortable 3 bedroom house into a flat (or a Winnebago… the whole idea of being in constant movement appeals to me).  My eldest son is moving out – and my youngest is going to be going back to university.  My moving home brings new friends and leaves other precious friends behind.  I may let go of my business, of my plans, of my career.  I may let go of my business, and the investment that lies in that.  I may let go of my calling, my purpose – to discover something new.  And there are some things that I am deliberately changing – the music I am listening to, the clothes that I am wearing, the books I am reading.  I am changing my behaviours, my beliefs, my attitudes (more on that soon!).

And I am letting go of the need to behave a certain way, the need to BE certain things:  The need for faith in God.  The need to be a good dancer.  The need to be in a relationship.  The need to be a good father, a provider.  The need to grow, the need to own a business.  The need to lead and to teach.  The need to have money.  The need to be free.

I’m starting to hold these things loosely, recognising that they don’t really matter….

It’s a little bit scary… and yet exhilarating.  It creates freedom, it creates movement, it creates the opportunity for new life.  Anything could happen – and probably will!  And THAT will be very, very cool.