Friday, February 24, 2006

Surrendering to the Uncertainty

Santa Fe, New Mexico

In September '94, in an earlier version of my current odyssey, I left Toronto with all I owned in the back of a Dodge Caravan and moved to Nova Scotia on Canada’s Atlantic coast.

I thought, in my naiveté back then, that I had found a new place to establish a new life — sort of like the Pilgrims must have felt when they landed at Plymouth Rock.

Nineteen ninety-five was still in its infancy when I received guidance that not only would I be moving again — this time to a different part of Nova Scotia — but that I would also be returning to Toronto some time after that.

I was stunned. Startled. I felt betrayed. Fear mingled with anger in my gut as I swirled both prospects around in my consciousness.

As a postscript, let me add that I was in the midst of the first draft of my novel, The MoonQuest at the time, and that I had no clear idea yet what the story was about or where it was taking me.

I’m reminded of that confluence of circumstances today, 11 years later, as I probe my emotional response to the information contained in my two previous posts: that it’s time to work on The MoonQuest’s sequel and it will soon be time to move on from this Santa Fe casita.

As I lie in the tub, scratching these words on a water-splattered notepad, I’m struck by the similarities of then and now, by how the spiral of my life has butted up against a higher vibration of my Nova Scotia experience of a decade ago.

I can still see myself, standing in the wintry wind on a rocky Atlantic point as I received this higher guidance. I remember being so upset by the news that, obsessive journaller though I was, I refused to dignify the guidance by committing it to the page.

Today, stronger and wiser, I’m able to write about what’s going on and share it with you. It’s in the writing of it that I see what I didn’t see in yesterday’s panic — the link between the two circumstances that have come together at this time: the need to move and the call to write, specifically on The StarQuest.

In an e-mail to a friend this morning, I described the combination as a 1-2 punch, without really understanding why I was using that metaphor.

Now, through the act of writing about it, I do.

Both relate to uncertainty and the discomfort that can so easily generate, even as that discomfort lies alongside a seemingly contradictory exhilaration.

You see, I don’t know what I’ll do when I leave this casita in five weeks, any more than I knew what moving back to Toronto would be about for me in 1995. I don’t know whether I'll stay in Santa Fe, move on to someplace else or hit the road again.

The StarQuest, too, is an expression of uncertainty.

Like The MoonQuest before it, I am writing it blindly, knowing little from one word to the next what will happen in the story, trusting that each word will lead to the next and to the next and, ultimately, to a satisfying conclusion.

My next five weeks — and what lies beyond them — leave me just as blind in this moment.

All I can do in my life as in my writing is surrender not only to the unknown but to the unknowable, in the only certainty and knowingness that counts: that in my surrender and commitment, I am supported, guided and never abandoned.

Everything else is (as it should be) out of my human control and in the full and loving control of my highest and divine self.

When I return work on The StarQuest, it will be in much the same energy as when I left Arizona in December 2004, not knowing where I was going or what my life would be about. That same energy informed an earlier adventure: the three months on the road in 1997 that ultimately led me (in ways I could have never predicted or controlled) to Sedona, a marriage and a child.

The StarQuest’s story, like mine — like yours — will reveal itself moment by moment, word by word, in the writing and living of it.

In the short term, that’s not a comfortable thought. But it is a powerful one, for what I cannot in this moment see or imagine is undoubtedly more wondrous than what I can.

I can’t see the ending of The StarQuest yet. Nor can I see the ending of this phase of my journey.

Both will reveal themselves in their time, in the being, in the surrendering, in the trusting.

Until then, it’s important to feel all the fear and anger that rise up around the uncertainty. For moving through those emotions is the portal to the next level of my mastery, and yours.

I know all this. I have written about this. As do we all, I still need the reminders.

Final postscript: Nine months after that traumatic Nova Scotia moment and a month after having completed a second draft of The MoonQuest, I was uncomplainingly on my way back to Toronto.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

The Journey Continues

Santa Fe, New Mexico

I’m standing outside my casita talking to one of the owners.

“What are your plans?” he asks.

“I don’t know,” I reply. And it’s the truth.

Apart from working on this book, I’m not sure why I’m here.

As we chat amicably, it becomes clear that, come April, he and his partner will be ready to rent this unit at its full vacation-rental value.

Which means that I’ll be out.

Even as we continue to talk about this and that, part of me is ready to explode in full-blown panic.

I just got here, it shouts. I just emptied the last crate out of the car! And now you’re plunging me back into insecurity, back into the void!!

I hear the inner screams even as I continue my conversation with my landlord.

I hear them when I come back inside.

And yet I know that the panic will pass because there is not a single moment since beginning this particular phase of my journey over a year ago that I have not been nurtured and supported.

Whether or not I remain in Santa Fe, this will be no less true on April 1 this year than it was on April 1 last year.

And so the journey continues...

Tuesday, February 21, 2006


I-25 between Santa Fe & Albuquerque, New Mexico

What’s next? I ask on the drive to Albuquerque to do some errands and attend a blogging presentation at the SouthWest Writers organization.

I’ve been in Santa Fe for 21 days now. The car is finally emptied. I’ve set in motion a weekend retreat for next month. I have teleconferences set up through March. My daughter has had her first Santa Fe visit with me. This newsletter is largely done.

Now what?

I’ve never been certain why I was drawn to Santa Fe or what being here is about for me. At first, there were all kinds of teasing cosmic synchronicities that offered up the promise of a local base for my work.

Having got me here, many of those appear to have dissolved.

And so I ask again, What’s next?

The StarQuest, I hear in response.

In contrast to its predecessor novel The MoonQuest, its first two drafts completed in a year, this sequel has been an on-again-off-again presence in my life for nearly eight.

It’s clearly no coincidence that my most recent private session was for someone resistant to working on the book she was being guided to write.

That’s the thing about this work: there’s always as much in one of my sessions or events for me as there is for the client or participants.

And so it’s not surprising to me that those two words, The StarQuest, fill me with as much dread as exhilaration.

Is that why I’m in Santa Fe? To work on the book?

The dread come from my fearful self, afraid to discover what the book has to tell me, reluctant to open to the transformation all creative acts birth. The exhilaration is the song of my heart, grateful to be heard, ready to be expressed.

I’m in Albuquerque now, stopped at a traffic light behind a silver Chevrolet pick-up. In this moment, dread is in the ascendancy. And then my eyes wander down to the Chevy’s license plate: GUTS it screams out at me in bold red capitals.

That’s what it takes to be creative, to live creatively, to create. That’s what it takes to be authentic, to live your heart’s desire.

I’m not being told I need guts, I realize as the light turns green and I follow the pick-up onto Wyoming Boulevard. I’m being reminded to access the guts I already have.

My mind does not want to write this book, even as my heart cries out its desire.

That’s a common tension on the human journey. My personality self wouldn’t have chosen to end my marriage 15 months ago, for example. But my heart knew what was in my highest good — what was in everyone’s highest good — and orchestrated the circumstances and situations that would bring that outcome to pass.

While I wait for my lunch a few moments later, I overhear an impassioned conversation about Jesus a few tables away.

In the beginning was The Word, the young woman proclaims.

And the word was with God, I hear in my heart. The word was God.

The StarQuest story, I’m reminded, already exists within the God That I Am. It’s simply waiting for me to hear it.

That’s the basis of my philosophy when I teach writing. Clearly, this teacher is still learning.

Monday, February 20, 2006

A Parent's Job Description

Gallup, New Mexico

I have just dropped my daughter off with her mother and watched their car turn out of the Denny’s parking lot. I sit in the car for a few moments feeling the gathering emptiness before I turn the ignition and shift into gear for my long drive back to Santa Fe.

That particular emptiness provokes the same questioning it always does: What is my life about? Am I doing the right thing with my life? With my daughter?

After I sang my daughter to sleep last night, I lay next to her and cursed the heavens for ripping her family apart.

It’s been 18 months since the threads that held us together in one home and one town dissolved, yet the rawness still lives on in moments — for each of us.

Like all parents, I want ease for my child. I don’t want her to feel pain. I don’t want her to suffer. I want her to know nothing but the joyful, loving embrace of a life without struggle.

Yet even as we believe that to be an integral part of our job description, it’s not even in the addendum to the appendix to the coda.

My job is to love. My job is to provide the physical security and emotional sustenance that will buttress my daughter against all the things I want to protect her from. My job is be present in all the ways that have deepest meaning.

Even as I curse the broken family, I know it is what each of us called in for ourselves and for the highest good of all of us.

Even as I question whether I’m doing the best for her as a father, I know that the best I can do for her is to model a life lived at the highest possible vibration.

Even as I wonder whether the life I live is in her highest good, I know there is only one highest good. It is not possible for me to follow my highest good and not have it be hers as well.

It’s not my job to fix things or make them easier, even as I long to. My job now and in the future is to honor her choices — from whatever level of consciousness they emerge — and to be as present for her as possible in the living of those choices.

My job is to model the highest choices I can and to surrender the rest to Spirit.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Love Beyond Love...from a Place Beyond All Understanding

Santa Fe, New Mexico

As I hang up the phone from talking to my six-year-old daughter, who will be making her first visit to see me in Santa Fe today, my memory tape rewinds back nearly a decade...

It’s September 1996 and I have just moved to the small Ontario town of Penetanguishene, a few hours north of Toronto on the shores of Lake Huron’s Georgian Bay. I’m living in a one-bedroom granny flat that I’ve rented from a young couple with a nine-year-old son named Jeremy.

I’m barely moved in before Jeremy adopts me and claims me as his.

Having had few friends at his age and no younger siblings, I don’t know what to do with him or his attachment.

More importantly, I don’t know what do with the feelings he awakens in me as, in that unconsciously methodical way kids have, he quickly drives a wedge into my closed heart.

My heart opens because of spite of me.

Somehow, without either of us knowing it, he is preparing me for the parenthood I never anticipate experiencing.

Now, nine and a half years later, I have a child of my own — a radiantly beautiful daughter, a daughter who loves me more than it sometimes feels as though I can bear.

If her birth and, five years later, the end of full-time parenthood with the end my marriage, stretched my ability to love to new levels, the days leading up to this weekend visit are stretching my ability to receive love.

Like Jeremy, yet even more so because she’s of my blood, Guinevere is forcing open my heart to its next level. Like Jeremy, yet even more so, she is forcing me to accept and experience the unconditional love only a young child can offer.

Through this simple, brief phone call, I realize I have never felt her love for me as fully as I do in this moment.

Yet as priceless a gift as that is, she has given me an even greater one. As full and complete, as broad and unconditional, as deep and abiding as is the love I feel from her in her excitement to see me, what is being opened within me is greater still.

All religious and spiritual leaders talk about God’s love, of the love of Spirit, of how beyond any conception of human love that is, of how our call is to open and be the vessel into which that love is poured.

What I have experienced with Guinevere these past few days of phone calls leading up to today’s visit is a piece of that.

Even as I feel it from her, there are moments when it’s difficult to accept, when it’s hard to receive.

Yet if I can’t receive the love of my child, how can I accept the love that is even greater...the love from which all flows?

What holds me back?

What holds any of us back when love comes knocking on the door of our beingness and we choose not to hear it? When we choose not to open the door to see and receive it?

What holds us back is our fear. Love is the ultimate tool of transformation, the absolute force for change, the central key to our freedom.

Parts of us would prefer the enslavement of the known to the risks of the unknowable. Parts of us would rather not be free, would rather feel unworthy of all that love would bring.

As wondrous as is the love of a partner, mate or spouse, this love transcends that, for it transcends the limiting emotions of our humanity.

It carries a frequency so pure and unsullied that it can only be transmitted by a child or by that which is not embodied, by that which we choose to call God, or Higher/Divine Self, or soul or spirit.

As I accept the love of my child, I also accept God’s love — that love beyond love from that place beyond all understanding. And as I accept that, I am able to receive all the Go(o)d carried on that love, whatever form it takes.

When we talk about claiming our birthright to abundance or activating our heart’s desire, what we’re really talking about is opening ourselves fully to the pure love of the universe, to the infinite love of our higher/spirit self, to the eternal love from which all is formed and upon which all is carried.

It’s one of the miracles of the universe that simply by allowing myself to more fully receive my daughter’s love, I open to all the riches and richness of life’s potential

And as I free myself to receive that love, my ability to return, share and spread it is then multiplied, multiplied and multiplied again

Today may be three days after Valentine’s day for everyone else, but it’s definitely Valentine’s Day for me.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall...

Santa Fe, New Mexico

My home these days is a one-bedroom Santa Fe casita that has been renovated as a vacation rental but is still being furnished and equipped. One thing that has been missing since I moved in 16 days ago is a mirror.

It took me a few days before I realized that there wasn’t a single reflective surface in the entire house, other than the tea kettle, which distorted my image beyond recognition.

For two weeks I’ve left the house not knowing if my hair is neat, if I missed a spot shaving or if what I’m wearing sits right or looks good.

For two weeks I’ve faced the world not as who I want to be or how I want to look, but simply as who I am.

I’m now so accustomed to it that it’s a shock to come home this evening and find a mirror hanging over the bathroom sink.

I’m almost afraid to look. Have I changed in two weeks?

It’s almost a disappointment to discover that I haven’t, that I look pretty much the same as I did on January 31 when, in an Albuquerque hotel, I last looked in a bathroom mirror.

I realize it’s not about how I look, changed or otherwise. It’s about who I am.

When I hold the highest possible resonance, when I’m in alignment with my Divine Self, I’ll always appear in my perfection, regardless of whether my hair is mussed, a few stray beard hairs poke out of my chin or some aspect of my attire is off.

I’m glad to have the mirror. I don’t know that I’ll ever look into it in quite the same way again.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Chicken Soup for the Soul

Santa Fe, New Mexico

Since moving into my Santa Fe casita, I keep thinking about how nice it would be to have a pot of homemade chicken soup.

Even though a year on the road has eliminated any desire to cook, chicken soup is easy. And I make a pretty good one.

So every day I resolve to buy the ingredients. And every day I don’t.

Chicken soup is on my mind again this morning when there’s a knock on my door. When I open it, I see one of my building’s owners bearing a plastic storage container. “I thought you might like some homemade soup,” she says. It’s chicken soup.

Once again I’m amazed at how easy it can be to bring into the physical what we desire. Once again, I’m in awe at how wondrously I’m taken care of...when I allow it to be so.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

The Basis of All Creation

Santa Fe, New Mexico

I wake up in something of a panic, for I have neither title nor contents for the Santa Fe retreat I’m facilitating in a month. And today’s the day I must create a flyer for it.

I remind myself to breathe, and my breathing centers me enough to recognize that it’s not up to me to figure this out. It’s not up to me to figure anything out. My job is to call in what I require and then surrender.

Okay, I say to whatever higher parts of me are on morning duty, if you want this retreat, tell me what I need to know.

Moments later, standing in the shower (with no way to write anything down!), the title comes: The Road to the Top: Ascending to Your Mastery.

How perfect, for the retreat center sits atop a sacred mountain!

I would shout Eureka, but I’m too busy repeating the title over and over again so that I can rinse myself off, get out and write it down.

Slowly, the panic begins to edge back. I know the title, but what does it mean!?

A walk, I hear. Go for a walk. And so I do.

Like showers, walks for me are powerful ways to dissolve my obsessive “need-to-know-right now” behavior. I walk. I observe. I open.

I breathe.

Ten minutes pass and suddenly it’s Eureka, The Sequel.

I switch on my voice recorder and it all begins to spill initiations...what they are, what they’re for, who they’re for.

Once again, it’s all about getting out of my own way, about realizing that the Me that doesn’t know doesn’t need to know. It simply has to surrender to the part of me that does know...and let it flow.

That’s the basis of all creation. That’s how we open to the Heaven within us and bring it to earth. That’s how we live as the Divine. That’s how we allow the Divine to live in, through and as us.