Monday, July 23, 2012

The Wrong Thing for the Right Reason?

As we gather ourselves up and trek toward the light beyond the veil, toward the depths of the mystery that is beyond time and space, we all -- every single one of us -- face many ups and downs.
            Ins and outs.
            Throughs and arounds.
            We endure seemingless endless tests of mind and heart; of strength and endurance as we now feel it; of love, honor, friendship, integrity, and truth as we now know it.
            And the consequences of these tests -- spiritual dilemmas -- reverberate throughout the corridors of all of the dimensions that we ever have, or ever will, traverse.
            It is the essence of these dilemmas that move forward with us as all else falls away into the dust of illusion that it so basically is.
            Little esoteric?
            Okay, how about an old movie I saw once; one that will haunt me forever.
            It was about a guy, an average, hard-working, primarily na├»ve (in that he thought that truth, honor, and justice were the American Way) guy.
            Not a real hero kind of guy, but a nice guy.
            The kind of guy who always tried to do the right thing for the right reason -- and that, in itself, was his core truth; the central essence of his identified being.
            Anyway, and I’ll spare you the details, but he ends up getting dragged into an inner-government interrogation room -- for questioning.
            Locked building. Guns.
            He thought he knew what it was all about when they called him in -- just some questions about a small project he’d done many years earlier for the government.
            And, although his friends and family said he shouldn’t go in alone, he didn’t listen.
            Because he knew that all he’d ever done “wrong” was -- well, this guy didn’t think he’d done anything wrong.
            He was that boring.
            And he thought that was enough.
            But you, in the audience, know that there is more to it than this guy can see.
            And you are terrified for him.
            Because you know what happened to him when he was a child.
            Because you know what this might do to him.
            But, for him, at first, it’s no big deal.
            And they do start with questions about his project, which he answered.
            No big deal.
            Then, they started asking about a guy he’d worked with, and even roomed with, on and off, for a very long time.
            Our guy didn’t have many friends, so this friend, technically, was his best friend.
            As soon as they asked about his friend, our guy knew -- and you knew as well, thanks to that track of the story -- what this was all about.
            Appearance and innuendo (another blog topic for another day).
            So, they started in with the relentless barrage -- this guy’s friend was under investigation; his friend was in big trouble; his friend had been lying to him.
            His friend was a drinker. A gambler. A druggie.
            His friend was a monster.
            His friend and thrown him under the bus and, if he was to save his reputation (and maybe more) he had better pitch his friend under a bigger one.
            To make a long story short (something I’m obviously not good at), they told him that in order to save himself -- to differentiate himself between being a suspect and a victim -- he had to call up his friend, and as they taped the conversation, get him to confess.
            At least the guy had the courage to say he wasn’t a victim.
            He knew his friend hadn’t lied to him and that this was all a twisted mistake.
            His friend wasn’t a drinker. A gambler. A druggie.
            His friend would have never thrown him under a bus.
            But, you knew, watching it, because of the barrage, and the threats, and the innuendo, and the locked building, and the sadness and remembrance of terror that was creeping into his eyes as he was told of his revolting “choice,” that the nightmare was being triggered deep within him.
            He tried to fight it.
            You can give him that much.
            And you hear the strength and truth in his narrative thought.
            That he knows to the core that his friend hasn’t done anything wrong, except perhaps make a clerical mistake that looks, granted, pretty bad.
            That because his name is on that project, he, by appearance of association, looks pretty bad too.
            That this can’t be happening.
            That it’s not real.
            That he’s in…
            Uh oh. He’s slipping down…
            But then he pulls himself up again.
            He bottom lines it for himself.
            He has two choices.
            Choice One. He stands up, indignant that in this country this type of hellacious torment can occur. He asks if he’s under arrest, and if they say no, he leaves.
            That’s his right.
            At least in the real America.
            Choice Two. He makes the call and can, in full deceit, tape his friend.
            Seems pretty easy.
            And, I admit, when I was watching it from my safe couch, I was yelling what I would do.
            Choice One. The right thing to do for the right reason.
            But I wasn’t in that situation.
            Theoretically, he was.
            Then you continue to hear his thoughts.
            That he knows his friend is not guilty.
            That, talk about appearance -- which is what this is all about -- he’d make them both look guilty if he refuses to make the call.
            That if he makes the call, he can find out the truth and prove that innocence.
            Isn’t that what everybody wants?
            The truth?
            Makes sense.
            So now, where Choice One (leaving, not taping his friend) is the right thing to do for the right reason, Choice Two (taping his friend so that all can hear the truth) is the wrong thing for the right reason.
            So, what did he do?
            He lost it.
            Unfortunate timing.
            During that pivotal decision moment a man walked in with “taping” equipment -- and a very large gun.
            Oh no.
            You see it.
             In the guy’s eyes -- his fixation on that gun.
            As large as the room.
            As violent.
            And, yep, just like you feared, our guy, our ordinary-not-much-of-a-hero guy is ripped right back into that blood-curdling, power-raping nightmare of a childhood; he’s right back in that hell that you’d witnessed at the beginning of the movie.
            Oh God.
            Stripped naked yet again. He’s now just that same six-year-old little boy standing in that barren basement before his almighty father; utterly humiliated and degraded; sobbing like only a child can sob, fully sucked back into that cage of learned helplessness that had been his entire childhood -- so he did what he was told to do.
            He makes the call.
            He deceives his friend.
            With tears streaming down your face as you watch this unfold; sharing his pain; feeling the outrage that these people had so callously destroyed what he’d spent his lifetime trying to overcome -- you watch him make the call and ask his friend for the truth about this stupid little project that meant nothing in the scheme of humanity that is the truth of our reality.
            But you know it’s over.
            You don’t hear what he says.
            You don’t even hear what his friend says.
            You already know they’re both telling the truth.
            But that’s that.
            For the guy. For the movie.
            I mean, it goes on after that, but it was too painful to watch.
            He knew deep down that he’d done the wrong thing for the right reason -- the truth.
            But, he never got over the feeling that he, like some minor Judas, had betrayed his friend (deceiving him) and had violated to the core his sense of honor wrapped up in his belief that he must always do the right thing for the right reason.
            It’s all in definitions.
            He believed that he had sacrificed his honor (at least in his own mind) to get to the truth.
            He believed that in his trauma-induced reversion to a helplessly degrading childhood he had lost his power to choose.
            And, for some reason, lying in bed, that movie has flashed through my mind over and over again.
            It wasn’t real.
            Yet the question -- the human/spiritual dilemma -- resonated.
            What was the right choice in such a situation?
            Of course, I wanted to call that guy up (knowing full well that he wasn’t real) and remind him that he had made the decision to tape his friend (the wrong thing) to prove that his friend was innocent (the right reason) BEFORE the last straw of powerlessness (the gun entering the room) thrust him backwards into a trauma no one can ever fully overcome.
            I’ve wanted to tell him that it’s all about the personal definition of right and wrong.
            If he knew his friend was innocent, then maybe to get up and leave without trying to prove would, in actually, have been the wrong thing to do? What if, plunging in, based on his faith in his friend’s veracity, and taping the call was, in actuality, the right thing to do -- for the right reason?
            I’ve wondered since that day what decision I would have made under those circumstances.
            We don’t all have the extenuating circumstances this character had -- the brutality of a childhood designed in the darkest corners of Hell coloring and flavoring his entire life and every choice he made.
            We do, however, all have our own backstory -- events and memories and experiences that shape what we do and how we do it.
            And why we do it.
            What is the right answer?
            Is there a right answer?
            What would you have done?
            Not from the safe spot on a couch as you watch a piece of fiction.
            From that chair, in that locked building, under that stress and terrifying duress?
            With that gun.
            Choose wisely.
            Knowing that it is the consequences of the decisions we make when faced with these types of core spiritual dilemmas that travel with us as boon and baggage as we ascend into the mystery.
            All part of the ups and downs, ins and outs, throughs and arounds of our trekking.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Promises in Trade

Perhaps it’s a natural instinct. To make promises to the Light in return for a favor.
A big favor.
Somewhere in the middle of a summer night in my sixth year here, I made my first promise.
When the stabbing light and explosions of thunder exploded closer and closer, shaking the walls around me in a house I didn’t know could tremble -- I knew it was coming for me.
Because I was a bad little girl.
There was no running to mom and dad in my house. In fact, I’m pretty sure that never even crossed my mind in way of comfort.
Why was the sky mad at me? What had I done so wrong?
There was also no going to church in my house, and the only time the word God was mentioned, it was usually followed by a four-letter word.
Maybe that was it.
Maybe it didn’t like that.
“I’ll never say bad words again,” I cried out into the walls clattering in fear at the onslaught of a fury I couldn’t comprehend.
Right. I would give up swearing.
Right. I was 6 years old, it wasn’t like I went around swearing like a soldier, but it was all my tearful mind could come up with in trade for safety.
I said it over and over again; softer in the silence in between strikes; louder and with more tears when it came again to rattle my bones and question my veracity.
Fortunately, somewhere along the way, the storm passed.
Eventually, I fell back into sleep.
I don’t remember if I stopped swearing for a minute, an hour, or a day.
I don’t remember when I broke my promise.
I don’t remember when I rationalized that the storm hadn’t passed quickly enough to warrant my honoring the promise.
But I did, finally, remember the promise.
Somewhere in the middle of a hot summer day in my teen years here, on a playground behind a school with a group of friends, I remembered.
Maybe because dark clouds were approaching.
Maybe because I was swearing like a soldier.
And when I did remember, I sat down on a swing for about a tenth of a second and considered the promise.
Then I started swearing with attitude.
Maybe it was because I remembered that the storm hadn’t passed quickly enough to warrant my honoring that promise.
Maybe it was because I remembered that thousands of more earth-bolting ground-shaking thunderstorms had passed over to terrify me since that night.
Maybe it was because I didn’t believe there was really anything up there to promise anything to.
Or worse.
Maybe it was because I thought that maybe there was; but that something so big that it could rattle houses like tin cans should be doing something better than rattling houses like tin cans just to terrify little girls into searching for something to promise in trade for their safety.
I had a long way to go before I could see the Light.
And, sometimes, sitting on a swing on a playground behind a school all by myself but never alone, I still believe that I have a long way to go before I can reach the Light.
Or better.
I know that I see and consider and understand exactly the facet of the Light that I am ready to see and consider and understand at this point in my spirit trekking journey.
We all do.
And it’s perfect.
As long as we keep trekking.
And remember our promises. To ourselves.

The promise I made in my late teens was really a doozy! Have you ever made a promise to the Light in trade for something? An “I’ll never do that again…” or “if you do this for me, I’ll do that for you?”
Have you realized that you’re worth keeping your promise to?

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

All Hypnosis is Self-Hypnosis -- The Truth is in There

All hypnosis is self-hypnosis.
That was one of the first gems of truth I had to give to all of my clients as their Clinical and/or Medical Hypnotherapist.
I couldn’t make people cluck like a chicken or bark like a dog -- unless, of course, that was something they wanted or needed to experience.

Nope, as a trained guide, my job was to simply teach them how to journey down into the relaxing, restorative, healing place deep within all of us.

Call it meditation; call it prayer; call if self-hypnosis -- but call it! It is exquisite.

Trek on down to your core and experience the colors, the textures, the sights, and the sounds that enable you to lose the weight, snub the addiction, heal the trauma, gain the confidence, win the job, embrace the love, embark toward the light, and find the truth.

Your truth.

Because the truth is in there!

Had an experience with hypnosis? Have a question about self-hypnosis? Want to know what part this glorious and quite necessary self-indulgence plays in a successful spiritual trek?

Monday, February 20, 2012

Trees of Mystery

Walking in the trees is always a spiritual experience for me (I am, a Woodall, after all). Several years ago, however, it was more like an awakening.

I was engaging in a grounding meditation where you focus only on the present (the colors of life around you; the texture of the air; the scent of a blade of grass) and whenever a thought about a past event disrupts the flow, you simply say “past” and re-focus; whenever a thought/worry about a future event disrupts the flow, you simply say “future” and re-focus.

It’s a very cleansing meditation/self-hypnosis experience.

Anyway, completely within the moment, I noticed the most beautiful silky white aspen in my path. Unable to resist, I went to the tree and placed my palm on its bark.

Eyes closed, deeply relaxed and full of respect, I saw (within a few seconds) a single large eye looking right back at me. Perfection. Large. Beautiful. Clean and full of life.

Thrilled, I moved to another tree and to another…and found that if I remained still and in the moment, I could always see an eye. Sometimes, depending on the species and the age and the state of the tree’s health, it was darker and more full of cobwebs and…yes, different emotions…but an eye. Sometimes open wide. Sometimes partially closed. Sometimes looking right at me. Sometimes looking away.

Since that time, I have been quite the tree toucher (always honoring the space) and have found again and again that there is far more to a tree than meets out external vision. You have to be able to see within, to be in the moment, and to respect the gift.

I’ve shared this with friends, family, and clients -- and it amazes me how easily people can connect with the trees and with their beautiful mystery -- and see the eye.

Next time you’re near a tree that calls to you, place your palm on its bark and, with respect (or it won’t work) close your eyes and open your inner sight.

Then come back and share what you see, feel, hear, taste, and know as a result of your ability to be still, respectful, and in the moment on your spirit trekking journey. 

Friday, February 17, 2012

A Rose by Any Other Name

I sometimes have a very hard time praying to God. That is, when I seek out for the Light and call It “God” I feel more distant, more formal, and more fearfully subservient (thanks to some dark childhood experiences with that name) than when I nestle down into meditation/self-hypnosis/prayer and reach out for “Abba” or for “Spirit” or “Great Spirit” (following my Native American roots). I feel a distinct emotional difference in the ways I seek, and receive, the Light that I am trekking toward when I use different names.
When I’m happy, and I know it, I trek toward the Great Spirit (and feel the warmth of the sun on a golden autumn mountain meadow). When I’m distressed and seeking guidance, I hike up to Abba (and feel the safety and protection of a comforter). And, when I’m grateful for the beauty that I see all around me, it’s just one big, “Thank you, Pumpkin!” (And how fun is that?)
But, no matter what name I use, I know I am simply reflecting a different facet of the diamond.

When you reach out to the Light, what name do you use? God? Abba? Holy One? Father? Mother? The Universe? The Source?  
Does it make a difference in your trekking?

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Annoying Line -- Glorious Light

Many years ago, standing in an insanely long and slow check-out line at a grocery store in the mountains, I was one cranky person. Mad about the line, mad about how slow the clerk was, mad about how slow the customers were -- I was just plain mad about everything. Didn’t these people know that I had places to go and people to see and, for heaven’s sake, mountains to climb (because, after all, it was a Saturday)?

Fuming to the point of steam escape, I suddenly felt a stillness settle in all around me. Then the time-space continuum shifted (or I went temporarily insane) and I saw the most glorious light moving in and around all of the people I could see. What I thought separated us was just an illusion. The people around me were not, in fact, flesh and blood, white and black, large and small, American and European -- they were all just light. Luminescent light. It was as if, for a second, I was given a glimpse of our true nature and our true connectedness.

It wasn’t the first time in my life I’d had such an out-of-the-normal experience, so instead of freaking out I was very, very still and drank it in. And smiled. Big time.

All of the annoyance filtered away and I understood in that moment that we are all the same; we are all of the same -- spiritual light. I was intensely a part of everyone around me and even though we were on separate journeys to discover our own distinct amazements, we were all one.

We are all one. On a spirit-trekking journey to climb high and fall low; to love and to hate; to learn and to teach; to grumble and to cry; to wonder and to ask why.

And this, my fellow spirit-trekkers, is a place to share our stories, our experiences, our fears, our doubts, our dreams, our nightmares, our highs, and our lows. This is a place where we can travel together and support each other on the journey.

So, let’s be off -- to the edge of the mystery and beyond the veil that separates the illusion of cranky and slow and mad about nothing to absolute pure perfect joyful luminescent light!

Post a story, an experience, a dream -- and let’s muse the Mystery!