Remembering 9/11

September 11, 2017

 

“If we learn nothing else from this tragedy, we learn that life is short and there is no time for hate.” -Sandy Dahl, wife of Flight 93 pilot Jason Dahl, in Shanksville, Pa., in 2002

 

The night before 9/11 twenty-four Ireland travelers, registered for my first tour, convened at O’Connor’s Pub in Portland. The excitement was palpable as we made final plans to depart Portland on Friday, Sept. 14. I went to sleep that night with a big smile on my face, knowing everything was in place. The next morning the smile was replaced by a face that registered shock and devastation.

My stepson, 12 years old and about to start middle school, phoned us from his mom’s house. “Turn on the television,” he whispered. Together we watched in horror what unfolded over the next hour or so. At one point I asked him if he was okay. He replied, again in a whisper, “Is this the beginning of World War III?” I told him I didn’t know, while reminding him that he was safe. I asked him if he wanted me to come get him. “No,” he said, “I want to go to school.” That’s when I remembered I had to be at a Waldorf school at 9:00am for my weekly Life Lessons storytelling adventure with a group of second graders. I hadn’t a clue what I was going to say.

I somberly entered the classroom to find the children gathered around the feet of Mrs. Johnson, all with looks of devastation on their innocent faces. “Pastor Kate is here,” she cried out. “She will help us.” Suddenly I had my own little nest of baby chicks gathered around me, looking for guidance and meaning. My story went something like this.

Far back in time, when the first babies were born, the Creator gave each of them a heart. It would be the place where Love lives. (I invited the children to place their hands on their hearts.)

Like a drum, the hearts would beat, making a thump, thump sound, so we could hear them and remember Love. (We made the sounds together.)

At first the heart beats came at different times. But soon they came into rhythm. All hearts beat together, from the North Pole to the South Pole, from America to Africa, reminding us that we are one human family, created to express Love, together. Now, let’s close our eyes and feel the love coming from our hearts. (At last, smiles began to return to their little faces.)

But over time some grownups started to tie strings around their hearts. (In a pretend mean voice I asked the children to pretend to tie up their hearts, making mean sounds as well.)

Like a ball of yarn, soon some of these hearts were nearly covered up and invisible. And so was their Love. It was replaced by fear and hate. Show me what fear and hate looks like on your faces. (Imagine their expressions.)

And that is what happened this morning. Some grownups, with fear and hate in their hearts, caused great pain and sadness for many, many people, us included. I know I’m feeling sad, and a little bit scared. (At this point I invited the children to quietly say aloud what they were feeling.)

So here’s what our job is today. We must un-tie the strings of our hearts. Ready, get set, go! (Chaos ensued as the boys and girls ran and tumbled around the room, pretending to let fly the many invisible heart strings. Eventually we came back into circle.)

Now feel the Love in your heart. (Another round of thump, thumps.)

Can you feel the love again? (Cries of yes, yes, yes echoed through the classroom.)

This is what we must remember today. Most people are good and they let their love shine. But some tie up their hearts with fear and hate. Fear of people who are different than they are. Hate because of skin colors unlike their own. Or fear of different languages from around the world. Maybe hate because of different beliefs about presidents, countries, or even God. But what’s true is this. Every human has a heart, even the people who did the bad things this morning. The Creator intended the human heart to be where Love lives. Let’s make a pact today to let our Love shine, even if we feel sad or afraid. How about we all connect pinky fingers. Look around our circle. Are we one family? (“Yes,” they shouted in unison. Slowly I began to sing “This Little Light of Mine.” The children joined in. We separated that morning with big smiles on our faces and young hearts once again at peace.)

It wasn’t until I got home that morning that I wondered if the horrific events of 9/11 would cause the Ireland tour to be cancelled. As 9/11 unfolded, and then 9/12, I realized on 9/13 that the 9/14 tour departure would not happen. It was declared an international day of mourning. I felt horrible knowing I had to phone the twenty-four travelers with bad news. That’s when it occurred to me, my own Life Lesson. We were merely inconvenienced, while millions were devastated. We would not go to the airport on 9/14 and demand our flights to Ireland. Instead, I would encourage my travelers to join the world in prayer, reflection and contemplation.

On 9/11/01, and every 9/11 since, I remember that it’s a choice whether to see through the eyes of love or the eyes of fear. To remember that it’s not all about my needs or desires. To always pursue the deeper truth. Missing a tour date was an inconvenience. Loss of thousands of lives was devastation. True to the generous hearts of the Irish people, we were able to move the tour to spring, at no extra cost. The vendors in Ireland took the loss out of respect for their American anam caras, their soul friends.

My plan for today is to sing, whistle and hum “This Little Light of Mine” whenever and wherever it occurs to me to do so. Like the Waldorf second graders (now young adults) I will visualize the joining of pinky fingers, with skins of many colors, reminding us that We Are One, and that we’re all in this together.

Listen to the voice of children singing!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QzmdNDf14Rg

Kindness

September 6, 2017

 

“Be kind to one another.” – Ellen DeGeneres

Remember the popular bumper sticker from the 1990s?

Since then it’s been a fun spiritual practice for me. At first it was adding coins to a nearly expired parking meter for the car next to me. On family vacations, we loved paying the bridge toll fee for the car behind us. We’d watch with eager anticipation to see the reactions. In traffic, I get joy by waving an impatient driver into my lane. Lest you think I’m perfect, I can get annoyed when someone doesn’t let me merge into their lane. Where did my kindness go, so easily and so quickly? For kindness to elevate from the occasional good deed to a way of life, it takes focus, willingness and commitment. Both receiving kindness and giving kindness.

Receiving Kindness: A few years ago I popped into a pizza place to get an ice tea to go. I gave the fellow my order, who in turn called it out to his co-worker. I asked the price. The man said it was free. I laughed. “Seriously, how much?” His reply, “Seriously, it’s free.” My reply, “Are you teasing me?” His reply, “Nope, just passing along the kindness someone extended to me.” I said thank you as I walked away smiling. I almost passed up a Random Act of Kindness extended to me. It made me wonder how much good I overlook when my focus is on what’s wrong in the world.

Extending Kindness: Last week I purchased a 2-quart container of Tillamook Vanilla Ice Cream to go with the fresh blackberry pie my husband had baked. I noticed a sale sign that said, “Two for the price of one.” I hate to pass up a bargain, but it’s not safe to have two containers of ice cream in my freezer at one time. As I started to walk away, I noticed a sweet young family in front of me. A dad, obviously pregnant mom and a 3yr old boy. I asked them if they like ice cream. All three sets of eyes lit up as they nodded in unison. I explained the “two for one” deal, and said that I wanted to gift them the second container. The little boy shouted, “Yes!” The parents paused and gave me a quizzical look. “Seriously?” they asked. “Seriously,” I nodded, wearing a big smile. The only down part of this encounter is they got coffee almond fudge and I came away with boring vanilla. I suspect we all stepped away with joy from this simple act of kindness.

With all that’s swarming around us right now—hurricanes, floods, wildfires, nukes, immigration, wars, cancer, you name it—I can easily slip into worry and despair. I allow myself to visit there, but I refuse to take up residence. And so I ask the Universe: What can I do to add kindness to the world, on this day, at this moment? Opportunity is everywhere, if you remain focused and willing, and then take action.

What will your next Random Act of Kindness reveal, as giver and/or receiver?

 

A meditative song for the smoky air and falling ash as a result of wildfires. Bring on the rain!

“I Dreamed of Rain” by Jan Garrett & JD Martin

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=muTABuD0ngA

It’s Just Numbers

August 6, 2017

 

“11:11 is the Universe knocking itself out to give you evidence of your alignment.”
~ Abraham Hicks

 

A few months back my beloved stepdaughter, who had just turned thirty, asked what number birthday it was for her paternal grandmother. I said that Oma had turned eighty last fall. Justine was stunned. “Eighty,” she gasped. “Really? EIGHTY?” I answered with a simple, “Yes,” and then added, “In fourteen years I will be eighty.” Again, she gasped in shock and awe. To which I replied, “Yep, and in fourteen years you will be forty-four.” This was met with absolute silence. And then we both laughed. It’s only numbers. Here are some “number moments” from my life story.

Weight – I remember the first time the number on a scale influenced my self-esteem. We were in 7th grade and getting weighed in P.E. class, in front of dozens of other girls. For the first time my weight went above 110 pounds. In fact, I weighed in at a whopping 117. I remember the shame I carried when another Kathy’s weight logged in at my previous number of 110. It was that day that I gave my power over to numbers on a bathroom scale. Fast forward several years to when I participated in Weight Watchers. They required a weekly weigh-in, with privacy. I recall the facilitator saying that the number on a bathroom scale is information only. Just feedback. It is up to me whether I give that number power. This revelation allowed me to release the story from the 7th grade weigh-in. I also released from mental bondage the P.E. teacher and the other Kathy, and every weight I’ve ever weighed.

Age – A friend in Ireland is so fascinated by my age, in her mind thinking I appear much younger, that she often asks her friends to guess. In front of me! You can imagine the discomfort this causes in the other, especially men. Usually they guess about ten years younger than I am. Then we all have a good laugh realizing that because I look younger than my age, I have a secret. The secret is that I am old. Suddenly, unbeknownst to those present, the joke implodes and I start to feel old. The real corker was a few years ago. My friend introduced me to her sister. They were both in their forties. I found out later that my friend grilled her sister about my age. She guessed fifty. I was at the time sixty-three years old. When the sister learned that she said, “Oh, I bet Kathleen was a fine looking woman back in her day.” This was, I believe, meant to be a compliment. All I could do was blink my eyes and smile, says she who is now sixty-six.

Numbers have been related to spirituality and religion since the beginning of time. Think of the Ten Commandments, the Twelve Stations of the Cross, the 8-Fold Way of Buddhism, plus the 12-steps of recovery from addictions. We humans resonate and align with numbers. So why not have fun with it?

If you’re on Facebook with me, then you know I occasionally like to post numbers. It’s become a spiritual practice. I type 8:11 when I see that on the digital clock. It was my house address growing up in Ames, Iowa. It always brings me a smile. When I see 9:11, I prayerfully pause to remember that fateful day in 2001. A friend, a night owl, likes to post in military time, like 22:22. Other favorites are 2:22, 3:33 and 4:44. And the best of all is seeing 11:11 on the clock and posting it.

The next full moon is Monday, August 7th, precisely at 11:11am, Pacific time. I’m going to set the alarm on my clock to remind me to notice. It might be a good time for me to step on the scales or starting planning for my 67th birthday. It’s just numbers.

Check out this website for information related to number sequences.

Number Sequences from The Angels
by Doreen Virtue, Ph.D.

https://spiritlibrary.com/doreen-virtue/number-sequences-from-the-angels

Mary Magdalene

July 21, 2017

 

“A ministering priestess with a deep understanding of the thresholds of the spirit world.”
Jean-Yves Leloup, The Gospel of Mary Magdalene

My first conscious awareness of Mary Magdalene was in 1971 with the debut of the rock opera, “Jesus Christ Super Star.” Shouldn’t it have been about Mother Mary instead? I mean, a prostitute gets a starring role in the life of Jesus? Little did I know that two years before that the Catholic Church quietly deleted references to Mary Magdalene as a prostitute, probably because it’s not mentioned anywhere in the Bible. In 1969 she was restored as Saint Mary Magdalene. Where was the fanfare for this monumental shift?

Fast forward two decades. At that time I was in my first year of ministry studies. I recall the teacher of our metaphysical bible class speak of Mary Magdalene in a new light. In the Gospel of Matthew, “…a woman came to him with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, which she poured on his head as he was reclining at the table.” The apostles were appalled, saying the money could have been given to the poor. To which Jesus replied (Matthew 26:13), “Why are you bothering with this woman? She has done a beautiful thing to me. When she poured this perfume on my body, she did it to prepare me for burial. I tell you the truth, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”

Those last four words found me speechless – IN MEMORY OF HER. I have shared that bible verse with many others who have been equally stunned. In memory of HER? Yes, that’s what the bible says. HER!!! Look it up.

About that same time I was introduced to Margaret Starbird’s ground breaking and controversial book: The Woman with the Alabaster Jar: Mary Magdalene and the Holy Grail. A staunch Catholic and military wife, Starbird set out to prove that all the hoopla around Mary Magdalene was false. She was a prostitute. No way was she married to Jesus. It didn’t take long for Margaret’s research to reveal just the opposite. It is her belief, and mine, that Jesus and Mary Magdalene were married, and that Mary Magdalene was the Holy Grail. Consider the following:

  • Bible scholars call Mary Magdalene the Apostles’ Apostle. That implies that she had an elevated position, closer to Jesus than the traditional apostles we know about.
  • It was Mary Magdalene who first saw the resurrected Christ. It took convincing for the other apostles to believe her.
  • Within the four gospels-Matthew, Mark, Luke & John-there are only five nearly identical passages. Four of them are about Mary Magdalene being the first to encounter Jesus post-crucifixion. Given the patriarchal writers of the bible, it tells us the she must have been very important in the life and story of Jesus.
  • It was Judaic law that young Jewish men must be married. Jesus remained a Jew, therefore he would have had to follow the law.
  • At the time of Jesus, only a High Priestess would have had the power to anoint, especially for burial. Perhaps Mary Magdalene was later called a prostitute because men would come to her in order to encounter the Goddess. These were holy rituals, not sordid encounters in the back seat of a car.
  • Take a long look at da Vinci’s famous image of the Last Supper. Who is that feminine figure sitting to the right of Jesus?
  • Look up Song of Songs in the Old Testament. The passion and erotic love component has been attributed to Jesus and Mary Magdalene.
  • In 1896 a papyrus book was found in Cairo. It contained what is believed to be the Gospel of Mary of Magdala. Her message affirms the teachings of Jesus to be a path to inner spiritual knowledge. In 1917 another 3rd century Greek fragment of Gospel of Mary was found in Egypt. In 1955 the first printed edition appeared in German. Her gospel is empowering, reminding us that we are all children of the one God.

With the traditional Christian hymn, “In the Garden,” the writer imagined that he was present with them (Jesus and Mary Magdalene) in the garden. More than a million recordings and printed copies of it have been sold. Here’s just one version.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DAhsVqbV3pg
Joey+Rory – In The Garden (Live)

I find it interesting that both of my parents requested that this song be sung at their funerals. At the time I imagined them walking with Jesus in the garden of the afterlife, although neither parent was religious. It was only later that I heard In the Garden as a love song between the lover and the beloved, Jesus and Mary Magdalene. Metaphysically, each of us is the lover and the beloved. Divine Union is trying desperately to emerge. Perhaps that’s a reflection of the discord with our current administration’s approach to women. The last vestiges of patriarchy?

Saturday, July 22, is the Feast Day of Mary Magdalene. What does her life and ministry mean to us today? I suggest that she, with Jesus, is modeling the union of the Divine Feminine and Divine Masculine. Together they are birthing the second coming: The Christ Consciousness. By that I mean honoring and following the principles modeled by Jesus. Love, compassion, respect, acceptance, forgiveness, connection, etc.

On this Feast Day of Mary Magdalene, I will walk in my own garden in the company of like-spirited women. We will wear red and carry with us an egg, both symbols of Mary Magdalene. The woman who will channel Mary Magdalene will anoint us with spikenard oil, what Mary Magdalene anointed Jesus with. We will do all of this In Memory of Her.

Interested in reading more about Mary Magdalene? Or perhaps host a book group in your home and learn about her in the company of others? Email Rev. Kathleen for suggestions: katheenverigin333@gmail.com

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Blessing

In recent months my prayers for people with cancer has grown to the point of needing a list to make sure I’ve covered everyone. My practice has been to say a prayer for each person, as requested, specific to their illness and desired outcome. With the ever expanding list, I realized I needed to pray differently. When I discovered that the July full moon is sometimes known as the Blessing Moon, I decided to simplify my prayer practice. I now bless each individual by name, within a general prayer for healing and wellness. It has brought me relief without lessening the intention of my spiritual support for others.

According to the late John O’Donohue, author of Benedictus: A Book of Blessings, released in the States as To Bless the Space Between Us:

“A blessing evokes a privileged intimacy. It touches that tender membrane where the human heart cries out to its divine ground.”

When I bless someone, it takes me out of my head and into my heart. I no longer struggle with saying just the right words. “Bless ____” becomes enough.

“In the ecstasy and loneliness of one’s life, there are certain times when a blessing is nearer to us than any other person or thing.”

When I bless someone, I feel closer to them. This is especially important to me when the one asking for prayer support lives far away.

“In the parched deserts of post-modernity a blessing can be like the discovery of a fresh well.”

When I bless someone, my image of them blossoms and blooms. I more easily see their perfection and magnificence.

“Whenever you give a blessing, a blessing returns to enfold you.”

When I bless someone, I am reminded that we are all children of The One God. Every blessing I speak echoes in return. How can it not?

“May we all receive blessing upon blessing. And may we realize our power to bless, heal and renew each other.”

Singing is a great way to express a blessing. Here is one of my favorites. Enjoy. And, before I forget, God Bless YOU!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5uz4h3nBToY
Blessed Always – Donna De Lory

Getting & Having

“Life is not a having and a getting, but a being and a becoming.”
― Matthew Arnold (1822-1888) English poet, sage writer and cultural critic

 

A friend recently posted this on Facebook: Life is the waiting room for death. Sounds morbid, I know, but it did get me thinking. How has my life unfolded as I move closer to my own inevitable passing? I said to my Facebook friend, “Seems like I spent the first half of my life in fear of getting something, and now the second half of my life in fear of having something.” We both laughed, and then drifted into a sobering silence.

Getting

From childhood through my 20s, fear came in the form of “getting” something. I was afraid of getting polio or TB. From early church teachings, I was afraid of getting leprosy, or, as a virgin, getting pregnant out of wedlock. Who would believe me? My sister and I couldn’t go barefoot until after our dance recital in early June. This was because we were afraid of our precious feet getting hurt. At least that’s what our ballet teacher said. When I started my moon time, I was afraid of getting blood on something. I wore a girdle because I was afraid of getting too much attention for my feminine curves. In high school I worried about getting a date for an important dance. The idea of getting a prominent zit for the dance was appalling. In college I was again afraid of getting pregnant, but now for good reason. In my late twenties I was afraid of getting left behind by the married and/or mommy club. Once entering my 30s, in a job with a promising future, I was afraid of getting laid off. In my 40s, I was afraid of getting diseases I heard about on TV. In my 50’s the getting was about making myself get up and go.

Having

Two summers ago, at the ripe age of 64, I started receiving daily mail with ads about having aches, pains, ailments and diseases. Some ads were for having pre-paid burial plots or cremation. I recall saying aloud to my husband, “Oh, I get it. Age 65 is when you get ready to die.” Recently I started having fear around a lower back ache and leg pain. Maybe I was having discomfort because of osteoporosis or osteoarthritis. Or, like friends having hip replacement surgery, maybe my sore left hip was slowly disintegrating. Then I read an article about Olivia Newton-John who is having treatment for cancer, from which she was seeking relief for lower back and leg pain. OMG, I thought, am I having what she’s having?

From somewhere I just heard, “Step away from your thoughts, Kathleen, step away. In this dimension, you get what it is you have and you have what it is you get. It is your Being that transcends this dimension so that you might enter the Temple of Becoming. It is your birthright and your eternal home. Now, and forever more.”

Where’s My Zip?

June 9, 2017

 

The problem with lethargy is that doing nothing validates the fear that nothing can be done.
-Bill Crawford

 

STUFF I KNOW © Kathleen McKern Verigin

The Zip in my Doo Dah has gone missing. It’s an odd place to be for someone known as a bright and shining Light. Lethargy has been dogging me for a while now. By definition, lethargy means “…the quality or state of being lazy, sluggish, or indifferent.”

  • Am I lazy when I don’t jump out of bed in this morning?
  • Am I sluggish when I don’t want to tend to the piles of clutter in my office?
  • Am I indifferent if I don’t watch every Breaking News event on TV?

Or, when I’m feeling lazy, sluggish and/or indifferent, am I in truth being True to myself? This is how I feel, like it or not. As I often say, all feelings are holy. It’s what we do with the feelings that matters. I call upon my three “bodies” for guidance. Can you relate?

PHYSICAL – What is my physical body telling me?
When I dwell in a slack tide, I recognize that fear is keeping me at bay. Until a few weeks ago. I finally dragged my behind to see a new doctor. Through blood work it was revealed that my Body Temple was seriously deficient in Vitamin D and my thyroid level was extremely low. Thanks to meds and supplements, I’m at the starting line, anticipating the Zip to return. I’m at the “ready” stage. “Get set” and “go” will, I strongly believe, follow quickly. I can feel it, and it feels good.

MENTAL – What is my mental body telling me?
When I think about the state of the world, fear arises. Is any place safe? I’m learning to give myself a break from trying to figure out what in the world is going on—quite literally. When someone says to me, “I can’t make sense out of the atrocities we are facing, at home and abroad,” my reply is, “Because these are senseless acts. We cannot make sense out of the senseless.” To still my monkey mind, I return to the breath. It’s amazing how one cycle of three deep breaths can restore my sanity.

EMOTIONAL BODY – What is my emotional body telling me?
I’ve never felt this level of fear, for my country and her people, and countries and people all over the world. Since last November’s election my feelings have been all over the map. I’m talking a 3-D globe and not a road map. It seems that my emotions swirl in a circular motion, without a starting or ending point. I can barely understand how we arrived at our present state of government, let alone dare to vision a future for our beloved United States of America. Staying in the present moment is what’s called for, because that’s in truth all that we have. At this moment? I’m feeling some Zip, and that’s a good start.

I believe it is my spirit that weaves through all three bodies. Although I separate them out, they are all part of the whole that is uniquely me. No one “body” has power over the other. When I acknowledge and bind the three together, my true Self returns. Fear no longer has power over my Zip. It’s okay for my Doo Dah to return. Ask yourself right now:

  • Where is fear dwelling in my physical body?
  • Where is fear dwelling in my mental body?
  • Where is fear dwelling in my emotional body?

When the three become one I am restored to wholeness. My feelings will continue to travel around the globe in a circular motion, but I can determine if it flows like a gentle breeze, or if it swells into a menacing tornado.

Remember my friend lethargy? The origin of the word relates to being forgetful. Today I remember to treat my physical body with respect. I remember that I control my thoughts. I remember that it’s important to feel my feelings. Only then can I address what is happening in and around me. Only then can I truly sing Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah while getting on with this thing called Life.

Listening to this Disney song brought a smile to my face. May it do the same for you!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6bWyhj7siEY
Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah (Original)

The hit song from From Walt Disney’s “Song of the South” released in 1946 was “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah”, which won the 1947 Oscar.

Religious Assumptions

April 10, 2017

“You must stick to your conviction, but be ready to abandon your assumptions.”
Denis Waitley, American motivational speaker, writer and consultant.

 

STUFF I KNOW © Kathleen McKern Verigin

Someone told me that there are fifty churches in our new home town of McMinnville, Oregon. That’s a lot of worship centers given our modest population of 33,000. Upon our arrival last September, I thought it would be easy to find an open, inclusive and liberal congregation to join. This because our county skews conservative while the town of McMinnville skews liberal. After some research, the community that stood out was First Baptist Church. Baptist? Eeegads, I thought, I wouldn’t be caught dead in a Baptist church. But then I kept noticing in our bi-weekly newspaper events that FBC sponsored. Like the former mayor of Silverton, a trans woman, speaking last September about LGBQ rights. At a Baptist church?

As I began to meet spiritual women who share my passion for earth-based and feminine respected spirituality, I again heard positive things about First Baptist Church. One woman said, “If you’re looking for liberal church, go check it out.” I was hesitant and put the idea on hold. Until I met my new chiropractor.

I noticed on his bio that his wife is the pastor at First Baptist Church. A coincidence? As I got to know the doctor, who himself seemed open minded and open hearted, I mustered the courage to inquire. He had all good things to say, reminding me that FBC is American Baptist, not Southern Baptist. I had no idea there was a difference! I thought all Baptists were holy rollers and conservatives, with closed minds and hearts. Wasn’t that loving of me?

 

Comparison of Southern Baptist & American Baptist Beliefs

By Janet Mulroney Clark

Southern Baptists follow a statement of beliefs contained in “The Baptist Faith and Message” as a guide for following Christ’s teachings. American Baptists embrace individualized worship not bound by creeds or statements of belief. They encourage diversity of thought in allowing a Christian to interpret scripture and develop a relationship with God.

The next Sunday found me at the First Baptist Church, sitting in a pew at the 11:00am contemporary service. It felt good to be there. Nothing offended me. Believe me, I tried to find reasons to be offended to confirm my righteous condemnation of all Baptists. It was then that my mind opened and my heart softened. I’d lived my whole life believing Baptists were bad, separate from My Loving God, and not worthy of my presence.

The word Baptist means “…one who baptizes.” At that first service I attended, I left feeling baptized, cleansed and forgiven for my error thinking. I was made whole again. My judgment was gone. I’ve returned a few times and each time my heart softens more. Palm Sunday was beautiful. I greatly look forward to Easter Sunday. Bottom line, I love and respect all beings who pursue a spiritual path that embraces and practices the religion of kindness, love and inclusivity. I don’t care if it’s Baptist, Buddhist or Bahá’í.

In closing, I apologize to all Baptists, and Christians in general, whom I have judged. I forgive myself for my assumptions. This Holy Week, may we all remember that We Are One, and we’re all in this together.

Want to learn more about the difference between American and Southern Baptist? Check out this website: http://classroom.synonym.com/comparison-southern-baptist-american-baptist-beliefs-5797.html

Ambivalence

Ambivalence is a wonderful tune to dance to. It has a rhythm all its own. –Erica Jong

 

STUFF I KNOW © Kathleen McKern Verigin

We’ve all been there. Caught between yes or no, stay or go, do this or do that. Wafting between sensing and knowing. Between listening to the voice within or the calling from the outer world. Some say this is ambivalence, what the dictionary defines as “simultaneous conflicting feelings.” The origin of the word ambivalence comes from Latin: ambi- “both” + valentia “strength.” What if both yes/no or stay/go is where we find our strength? Not in the polarities, but in the third aspect that draws the two together? This is the core teaching of The Anam Cara Journey whose pathway is the Triple Spiral. For example…

A mentoring client once came to me confused and distraught over a long-time relationship. She was caught in the tug of push-pull. Push him away or pull him closer? Is this relationship right or wrong? The ultimate question was: stay or go? Her ambivalence was intoxicating, fueling the monkey mind to keep spinning a story of confusion. No wonder she didn’t know which way to turn. I felt dizzy just witnessing her inner turmoil. This is where the Triple Spiral became the teacher.

For this exercise, I asked her imagine a triangle. One point represented go, one represented stay, and the third represented ambivalence. I gave her 3 tissues with the instruction to place on the floor, one at each of the 3 points. Then I asked her to identify which point was which—go, stay, ambivalence. From a distance, we observed the dynamic that was spinning in her head. But what shifted the spinning was when I asked her to stand at each of the 3 points. To step into her monkey mind.

GO – Stand in that place and look at Stay and Ambivalence.
STAY – Stand in that place and look at Go and Ambivalence.
AMBIVALENCE – Stand in that place and look at Go and Stay.

She did this, at first in a jerky kind of way, almost marching between points, scowling the whole time. But soon her face softened. The movements between became a dance of sorts. Eventually jerky eased into flow as her frown softened into a smile. It was a joy to witness, reminding me of my own monkey mind when I’m dwelling in ambivalence. We are not caught or held hostage by any of the 3 points. So why not bring them together? Invite ambivalence into the dance. Do this with curiosity and wonder, letting go of any outcome.

We purposely didn’t process what happened. I wanted her to embrace the dynamics of the experience. To integrate what just happened. No one spiral holds the power. It is the three spirals together that hold the power which will ultimately lead to an informed decision.
A few months later she did leave the relationship. She believes the Triple Spiral exercise helped her come to that conclusion. Both parties flourished after the breakup. “Why didn’t I leave sooner?” she wondered. Haven’t we all asked that question, whether about a relationship, a job or a move?

So today, on the New Moon, I ask–Why didn’t she leave sooner? Why didn’t you leave sooner? Why didn’t I leave sooner? Perhaps because we find an odd comfort in ambivalence, “…simultaneous conflicting feelings,” because it’s known. By making a decision, stepping out of ambivalence, we make ourselves vulnerable. And remember this. We cannot flourish without being vulnerable. Love, of the other and/or self, requires vulnerability. What supports us is being rooted in our Truth, and living from that place of knowing. We all know what we want and don’t want. What step are you willing to take today?
Check out this short YouTube video of one of my favorite songs from childhood. Do you see the three trees, and how lassie and laddie roamed? Crazy!!!

Did You Ever See a Lassie? | Song for Kids by Little Fox
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z4uWfs3sH7s

Spring Cleaning

March 12, 2017

“It’s time for a spring cleaning of your thoughts, it’s time to stop to just existing it’s time to start living.” ― Steve Maraboli,  Speaker, bestselling Author, and Behavioral Scientist

STUFF I KNOW © Kathleen McKern Verigin

Years ago in a metaphysics class, we were studying the scientific principle that “nature abhors a vacuum.” It is also a spiritual principle. If we want something new in our life, we must make space. When we create the open space, we must be vigilant about what we fill it with. Because it will get filled, either by more of the same, or something gloriously new.

In the spring, our class assignment was to clean out a closet, a junk drawer, a messy glove compartment, or whatever area in our life where there was serious clutter. This sounded silly to me, but I was willing to do it.

The assignment arrived at a time when I desperately wanted to be released from my long-time job producing a live morning television talk show, while longing to write and produce documentaries. I had taken a summer off to write and produce a documentary on child sexual abuse. It was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life, including an Emmy Award nomination. Bitten by the documentary bug, I begged and pleaded with my bosses to allow me to work on documentaries full time. I created a proposal that demonstrated why this would benefit the television station, and not just me personally. Still, my bosses said no. I was growing despondent. Doing the cleaning out ritual couldn’t hurt.

I chose the closet of my guest bedroom. It was small, and had a built-in chest of drawers. It was my expanded version of a one junk drawer. All drawers were stuffed to the gills with stuff. Random clothes were hanging on the rack, while a waist high pile of junky items cluttered the floor. It took a good half day to complete this project. I took a load of stuff to Goodwill, and put much of the other stuff in my garage for a future garage sale.

Once the closet was emptied, I then cleaned it–sweeping, dusting, and wiping it down. In its empty and clean state, the closet looked huge. My voice echoed in the emptiness. Throughout the rest of the weekend I would step into the cleansed closet from time to time, wanting to feel the good vibes. As Sunday evening approached, I remembered that I would likely face again a rejection regarding my desire to be a full-time documentary producer. In utter despair, I stepped into the closet and closed the door. There I stood, alone, in the dark, in a totally empty closet. I said aloud, “Okay, Universe. I’ve done my part. Now you do yours. Provide!”

I went to bed that night and slept very well. At the very least, I had cleansed my negative thinking. Early Monday morning, arriving at work at 6:30am, the first person I saw in the Channel 2 hallways was another early morning producer. He knew of my desire to leave the morning talk show grind for wider pastures in the world of documentaries. His eyes brightened when he saw me. He walked fast towards me and said, “Have you heard? Channel 8 has an opening for a documentary writer/producer?”

Ah, the Universe had provided, I inwardly chuckled. Not only did I eventually get the job at Channel 8, I also enjoyed the satisfaction of a clean closet. Note that this guest room would eventually be a bedroom for my young step-kids, with the closet drawers filled with their clothes and toys. An even bigger dream had manifested!