Awakening The Spirit (Part II!)
“God is inside you and inside everybody else. You come into the world with God. But only them that search for it inside find it.” - The Color Purple, Alice Walker
I know that blog posts are about personal musings. But this second one about my spiritual path strikes a part of me as being so self-centered. (This is a continuation from my previous post where I talk about how it unfolded - and of course, it’s still unfolding).
Dealing With My Threshold Guardians
Presumptuous, even - who I am to think any of this is worth sharing? Spiritual? Who gets to say they’re “Spiritual?” (Wow - is that a Threshold Guardian talking or what? See my previous blog on those “helpful” journey partners).
I offer all these musings up in the spirit of transparency and authenticity. I offer it as an opening, albeit a vulnerable one, of what’s important to me in the hopes that there will be something in here that connects for you, helps you - wherever you are on your path. (And for those of you who’ve talked to me about Imposter Syndrome. Yep. I’ve got that going on, too. But, we keep moving forward, right?).
Awakening The Spirit (Where It Starts)
In Part 1, I wrote about how my divorce was a big catalyst for shaking me out of my slumber and getting me to really dive into connecting with Spirit.
There’s a lot I’ve left out but want to be sure that you know that my attendance at that time in Al-Anon meetings made a big difference to how I was “seeing” and understanding God.
That program was one of the biggest influences in my spiritual life. That’s where the big thunderclap of understanding came to me that God is within, not a “big man up somewhere outside of us” dispensing or withholding gifts, but within.
All my experiences built on each other and helped to strengthen my belief that I’m not alone - ever - and that God could be felt and experienced. I began to call upon God much more frequently for assistance.
What Is It?
I didn’t always think of it as a prayer, but I know now I was praying - whenever we’re focusing our thoughts and intentions we’re praying. I’d get quiet and have the intention to connect with "Something Greater” and I’d ask - for the right relationship, for the perfect home for my new family, for the best job, for my cat to find her way home. And I always would tack on, - thy will be done, - knowing that God would know what was best, - not me.
And then the prayers were answered, the marriage, the home, the job. Something was at work here and it wasn’t just me. I believe we’re co-creators with God. God lends assistance, but we have to ask, be clear, and believe. We have to grab hold of that subway strap! I like to use the cook in the kitchen analogy.
The Kitchen Analogy
When you place your order at the table at a restaurant you have to be clear about what you’re ordering (your prayer), then you have to trust that the cook (Something Greater, The Universe, God…use whatever word is meaningful for you.) will prepare what you’ve asked for and that it will be delivered to you (answered prayer).
If you just sit at the table in the restaurant and expect your meal to show up…well, you’ll go hungry. You’ve got to interact with the staff! Don’t go hungry…ask, connect, believe. And be sure to ask for what you want. And what if you send the waiter off and then kept calling him back to say:
“No, he’ll never cook that for me.”
“No, I’m not worthy of that meal.”
“No, what if this happens or that happens - and that guy at that table’s got a better order than mine.”
“I don’t believe he’s really in the kitchen cooking!”
Are your negative thoughts to the cook in the kitchen, sent by the waiter, your prayers, getting in the way of the cook understanding what you truly want? I believe that the Universe is a loving Universe and wants to give us what we ask for (or even better than what we ask for.) You’ve heard the admonition "be careful what you wish for.”
You Receive What You Give
If we’re sending out a litany of woes and worries, then the Universe hears that and sends it back, giving us just what we ordered - more woes and worries.
Some clients come to me so focused on what’s wrong and then that’s what they keep getting… more of what’s wrong. One of the best remedies for this cycle of negativity and complaining is gratitude. Start listing (writing in a small notebook works well) what you’re grateful for, - every night, before you go to bed, or whenever works for you.
Those are prayers, too - prayers of thanksgiving. Doing this switches your negative focus to a positive one - and starts a gratitude engine attracting more of the positive to you. Here’s an example from a client who put this into practice:
“I just wanted to let you know that around 70% of what I put in my Intuitive Visioning Plan for the next three years, has already come true. You told me to have a mantra involving faith and letting go and it worked! I am eight months pregnant (by anonymous donor insemination) and living in a little house I love. I am getting ready to go back to teaching once my son (it’s a boy!) Is around a year or so old. So, thank you for helping me understand that you have to really think about what you want and need instead of wondering why nothing you want ever happens to you.”
I forget on a regular basis to plugin, turn on the switch, or hold onto the subway strap and to pray for assistance. (I firmly believe one teaches what they need to learn - well, here I am - forever learning!) My Mother took seriously ill a few years ago and needed caregivers. I thrashed around myself for about two weeks trying to find her good care: agencies sent people who got lost, who didn’t show up, - advised me to give up and send my mom to a nursing home.
And then I remembered - I can ask! I got focused on what we needed - I prayed. And the next day, delivered to my door by a neighbor who knew the perfect person for us, was Tanya. I think God is always there reminding us about how life can work for us but we aren’t open and don’t hear.
Are You Listening?
Certainly, our society is hugely distracting - drawing us away from the spiritual and into the material. But if you look for the signs of God speaking to you, if you start paying attention - they’re there.
God’s messages can be found in words on the side of a bus, or in the refrain of a song, or on the page that your book happens to fall open to, or in leaves falling into your path lit by the sun in autumn, or by the deer you come upon standing silently in the middle of the road. In Beauty, Music, Art, Poetry.
If you start thinking of the Divine being in everything, then everything can be speaking to you. There’s that bible story of God speaking to Moses in a burning bush. I think God speaks to us in every bush and through everything. If we are open to hearing.
What It's Like To Awaken
Awakening the spirit to me is about seeing God in everything, - understanding that God is everything. Once we wake up, we see God everywhere and everything is changed.
Alice Walker’s character, Shug, says it perfectly in The Color Purple:
“Here’s the thing, say Shug. The thing I believe. God is inside you and inside everybody else. You come into the world with God. But only them that search for it inside find it.
And sometimes it just manifest itself even if you no looking, or don’t know what you looking for. Trouble do it for most folks, I think. Sorry, Lord. Feeling like shit.
It? I ask.
Yeah, It. (It just manifest itself) God ain’t a he or a she, but a It.
But what do it look like, I ask.
Don’t look like nothing, she say. It ain’t a picture show. It ain’t something you can look at apart from anything else, including yourself. I believe God is everything, say Shug. Everything that is or ever was or ever will be. And when you can feel that, and be happy to feel that, you’ve found It.
Shug a beautiful something, let me tell you. She frown a little, look out cross the years, lean back in her chair, look like a big rose.
She say, My first step from the old white man was trees. Then air. Then birds. Then other people. But one day when I was sitting quiet and feeling like a motherless child, which I was, it come to me: that feeling of being part of everything, not separate at all. I knew that if I cut a tree, my arm would bleed. And I laughed and I cried and I run all round the house. I knew just what it was. In fact, when it happen, you can’t miss it.”
Having My Awakening
I still go to church, dear readers, and I am finding God there now all the time - in other people. Where before I might sit there and think how can I have a real connection with Spirit in this one hour service?
I realize I needed to reach out to others and then I found God in those relationships, in the people. If I put God, Spirit, first in my life, then love shows up a lot more: more love finds its way to me and I am more loving. By the way, that was always my mother’s definition of God. “God is love.”
Are You Ready?
I think if you have the intention of connecting with God, then She meets you at least halfway, usually more than halfway. It can feel risky - what if I reach out and nothing reaches back?
All I can tell you is that I started searching - I asked for help - I put out my hand - and God moved right into my life. Actually, it was more about me and “my seeing”, I finally saw how God had been there all along. Spirit is very much awake, closer than your very breath - ask for the switch to be turned on, for the connection to be made…hold onto the strap - and your life will never be the same. You’ll be waking up.