Friday, November 24, 2006

Giving Thanks

Thursday, November 23 ~ Sedona, Arizona

It's Thanksgiving Day here in the United States -- a day, like others in other countries, set aside as a celebration of gratitude.

Even though I do my best to be thankful all year round, it feels appropriate to specifically add my gratitude today to that of so many.

Of course, I have so much more gratitude than I can catalog in a few lines: for my health, for my abundance in all its forms, for the journeying that has connected me with so many of you and with so much of this wondrous earth, for all the ways I have been taken care of and all the miracles that continuously flow through me, and for all other gifts with which I have been blessed.

At the top of the list, though, is my daughter.

I never planned to be married; I never expected to be a parent. And even though the marriage has ended and I'm only a part-time, on-the-road parent, my relationship with my daughter has only deepened with the passage of time.

For her enduring presence in my life, there are no words to express my gratitude, other than to say, Thank you, Guinevere. I love you.

Infinite Synchroncities

Tuesday, November 21 ~ Sedona, Arizona

A California friends sends me a link to the satirical publication The Onion and, just for fun, I click on my horoscope.

Dated November 15, this is what it says:

Libra: An attempt to describe the concept of infinity to friends this Thursday will succeed in spite of your nonsensical rambling.

In one of life's amusing synchronicities, that was the day I wrote this paragraph as part of The Wisdom-Keeper Training:

"[It's] not at all surprising when we consider that even the words we use [to describe what we are and where we're going] are defined in relation to what they're not. 'Infinite' is not finite. 'Limitless' and 'unlimited' mean without limits. The same with 'boundless' and 'unbounded.' How about 'never-ending,' 'fathomless' or 'invisible'?..." 

I hope it's not nonsensical rambling. At least if it is, it succeeds...or so my horoscope tells me!

Not Safe. Not Comfortable. But Right.

Sunday, November 19 ~ Albuquerque, New Mexico

My first stop, after I left Arizona two years ago, was California. My second was New Mexico. Ever since, I've felt pulled back and forth between the two states like the pendulum on some arrhythmical grandfather clock.

Live events aside, I've spent more time in California and New Mexico than anywhere else in the country.

It doesn't hurt that my daughter lives in Sedona, Arizona, midway between the two. But that's a convenience, not a reason.

Today, still haunted by yesterday's "safe and comfortable" revelation, I drive to one of the hiking trails in the Sandia Mountains that buttress Albuquerque's east side.

Through all my travels, the Sandias have always provided an anchor for me, a place to reground, realign and reset my compass. It's these mountains, more than Albuquerque, that keeps bringing me back.

"Okay," I ask the mountains, my spirit guides, God, the Universe and all other aspects of the oneness that, ultimately, are me, "what's going on for me with New Mexico and California?"

The answers stunned me, but shouldn't have, given, once again, what I wrote in The Wisdom-Keeper Training only days ago.

What I heard was, to quote The Beverly Hillbillies theme song: "Californy is the place you ought to be."

And, like for Jed and Granny Clampett back in the '60s, not just any place in Californy. Los Angeles.

"If you want to keep moving," I heard, "you need to be where the movers and shakers are. For you, that's L.A.. Safe and comfortable is for retirees."


"Of all the gin joints in all the world" (to maintain my Hollywood metaphor -- the quote's from Casablanca), I never, ever would consciously choose L.A.

San Diego, maybe. But not L.A.

Yet when I recover enough from my feelings of intimidation and overwhelm to look deep inside, I have to admit that it feels right. Not safe. Not comfortable. But right.

That's why my takes on the concept of choice, free will and reality creation are different from those of many in spiritual/metaphysical circles.

Others insist that all we have to do is call in what we want.

I say that my heart's highest desire may well lie beyond the realm of my human ability to want, know and imagine.

The choice I make in every moment is to surrender to the highest imperative, highest will and highest potential I can allow into my life and energy field.

After all, in creating the biblical world in seven days, God didn't manufacture, s/he allowed.

"The earth was formless and empty..." Genesis reports, "and God said, 'Let there be light,' and there was light."

And so, without knowing what it means, how it comes together and what it looks like, I surrender in this moment to the City of Angels and call on those very same angels to ease the way.

In this moment, because I also know that guidance and direction aren't always what they seem. We humans easily and unconsciously extrapolate incorrect or incomplete meaning and outcome from the guideposts that line our path.

Does this mean I will live in L.A.? Perhaps.

Does this mean I will make significant and synchronistic contacts and connections in L.A.? Possibly.

Does this mean something else altogether? More than likely.

Does this mean I'm done with New Mexico? Probably not.

All I can do is surrender in the moment and follow the highest path wherever it takes me.

Friday, it takes me for a few days to Marina del Rey, in the L.A. area -- the result of an unanticipated synchronicity. From there...???

You'll know when I do.

Top photo by Mark David Gerson: Sandia Mountains, Albuquerque
Art image by Mark David Gerson: "Unlimited Expansion" (Sandia Mountains)

Safe & Comfortable?

Saturday, November 18 ~ Santa Fe, New Mexico

I'm in Santa Fe for the afternoon, sitting in the organic cafe at Body, jotting down (yet again) my preferences for a new home.

I've done this frequently over the past two years of travel and have learned that nonattachment is an integral part of the process: detachment from the criteria I'm setting out, detachment from all conventional definitions of home, and detachment from all expectations of outcome...including the one that has me trading full-time travel for any kind of home base right now.

It's not always easy to surrender to the highest direction, without even knowing what it is (another of those irritating Wisdom-Keeper precepts.) But I'm doing my best.

My list complete, I do one of those public school compare-and-contrast exercises, using Albuquerque (for which I have gained a renewed affection this week) as my model.

Pretty much everything checks off, which would be cool, except for that nagging sense that something isn't quite right. Something is off.

And then I hear two words that send a shiver of dread pulsing down my spine: safe and comfortable.

"Albuquerque," I hear, "is safe and comfortable."

Now, don't get me wrong. Those are admirable characteristics in many contexts. Are they admirable in this one? For me? Can I wedge them into my preference list?

Parts of me would like to think that two years on the road have earned me "safe and comfortable." Other parts don't see "safe and comfortable" as much of a reward.

In this moment, I don't know.

In this moment, I don't even know what to do or where to go after Thanksgiving on Thursday, let alone where I'm going to live (assuming that my traveling days are, indeed, drawing to an end).

In this moment, all I can do is surrender to the uncertainty -- all of it, even as it feels neither safe nor comfortable.

The Power of Surrender

Friday, November 17 ~ Albuquerque, New Mexico

I'm pulling out of the post office parking lot on San Antonio Drive having mailed the first copies of my new Wisdom-Keeper Training program across the U.S. and overseas. I should feel happy, relieved, complete.

Instead I'm disoriented. It's as though the synapses in my brain are firing randomly in all directions at once and the car is responding accordingly: driving off, it seems, in all directions at once.

It's disconcerting, but I feel powerless to do anything about it. It's as though the hands on the steering wheel are not mine, have nothing to do with me. It's as though I'm on some theme park ride gone awry.

Finally, I manage to maneuver the car to the Whole Foods Market on Wyoming Boulevard and myself into the deli for a late lunch.

What's going on? I ask myself.

At first I think it's the postpartum kind of thing that happens to many writers and creators when they complete a project and then find themselves tumbling uncomfortably into the ensuing void.

No, it's something else.

Then I remember some of the words I wrote in The Wisdom-Keeper Training: something about not redefining oneself but undefining oneself. There's even a declaration that goes something like this:

I erase all labels, categories and classifications from my life and step free of all the boxes and bindings in which they have restricted and constricted me.

Clearly a disorienting concept.

And then I remember some of my other odd feelings and experiences since completing my work on The Wisdom-Keeper Training yesterday and realize the program is working....on me!

Old ways in my life are breaking down. The full-time traveling, for example, is definitely on its way out. I just don't know in this moment what's replacing it.

The boxes, labels and classifications too: Nothing I try to slot myself into feels right anymore. Whatever comfort zones they represented are gone, gone, gone. And it's not comfortable!

Suddenly, though, I feel better. I feel better because I know what's going on. Sort of. And I feel better because The Wisdom-Keeper Training is definitely living up to its sub-subtitle: Charting New Directions...for Yourself & Humanity.

My new directions are charting themselves out for me, a mapping that was not only activated but accelerated by my creation of this program.

Funny thing is, I really didn't know what The Wisdom-Keeper Training was even about when the first tidbits of information came to me a couple of months ago. Through the creation process, it charted first its own direction and now mine.

I'm awed. Not by anything I've done. I'm awed by the power of surrender, which never ceases to surprise and amaze me. Which never ceases to carry me, wonderstruck, into the unknown.

The Wisdom-Keeper Training: The Way of the New Medicine Wheel is available at an early bird special price of US$222 until December 2, after which the price rises to US$288.

The Wisdom-Keeper Binder includes a 45-page study guide, 4 CDs of meditations and guided visualizations, 7 Initiations and 5 Wisdom-Keeper/New Medicine Wheel Cards.

To order a copy, click here.

Friday, November 03, 2006

A Commitment to Higher Wisdom

Thursday, November 2 ~ Santa Fe, New Mexico

I wake up well before dawn, my head buzzing with words demanding a place on the page. Often when this happens, I struggle between the human desire to go back to sleep and the divine imperative to record what is pushing through me.

This morning there's no struggle. Not because my I’m more willing to surrender. No, I'm so tired from lack of sleep, there's no space for resistance. I simply reach over for the pad and pen I keep next to the bed and, eyes still closed, begin to scrawl.

What comes through over the next hour is a massive and powerful download of information regarding The Wisdom-Keeper Training: The Way of the New Medicine Wheel, the self-study program I described in my most recent newsletter.

When I'm done, I'm so wired it feels as though I've just downed a dozen cups of coffee. Needless to say, I can't sleep.

Instead, I ponder the information I've received, information that puts a new twist both on the program and on the commitments I've made to those who have already ordered it.

You see, my initial assumption was that this program would simply translate a canceled five-week tele-class into a self-study package of five CDs and energy drawings. To those who purchased it in this prepublication period, I promised five weekly Wisdom-Keeper installments, with the first to have been mailed this week.

I should have known better.

Earlier this year, I planned The Seven Initiations of Mastery as a Santa Fe retreat. Also canceled for lack of registration, it turned into a successful tele-class...a tele-class that, in the end, bore little resemblance to my initial vision for the retreat.

This morning, through my sleep-deprived haze and caffeine-like buzz, I realize that history is staging a repeat performance.

It's as though my initial vision is, at times, a teaser, a trick of spirit that commits me to a project that will be considerably different and more powerful than I first thought.

Perhaps that's why, as I felt Santa Fe's pull yesterday and recognized that here is where The Wisdom-Keeper Training would be birthed and anchored, I experienced a panic attack.

I remember saying to myself, in the midst of the waves of fear, that if I'm feeling this much terror, Something Really Big must be waiting for me.

It was. It is. And The Wisdom-Keeper Training is part of it.

I understand now what The New Medicine Wheel of the subtitle is about. I see now that farming out the material in five installments would be the antithesis of the new paradigm it represents, of the integration and self-empowerment it stands for.

I realize too that my original deadline for the first installment is as meaningless as the installment process itself.

And then I think about those who are expecting Installment #1 this week.

"Oh, God", I say to myself, "I have to finish the whole thing this weekend! People have paid. I've made a commitment."

The panic returns.

It heightens after I spend two and a half hours typing this morning's notes into my computer, only to discover that -- Mercury being retrograde and all -- the entire text has irretrievably vanished down an electronic rabbit hole.

Grateful that I still have my longhand scrawl, I ponder some more...the meaning of the experience...the meaning of The Wisdom-Keeper Training...the meaning of commitment...

1) The Experience: The energy underlying the words I was transcribing was so powerful that I could barely keep my eyes open through the typing. The act of typing those words was, itself, an that, apparently, needs to be repeated. Also, despite what I believe, there's no rush to get this done! (See #3, Commitment)

2) The Wisdom-Keeper Training: There are layers and levels to this material that I'm still discovering and that are transforming me through the discovery process (a process that includes this piece of writing). The tag line that just came through for the program now makes perfect sense: Charting New Directions...for Yourself and Humanity.

3) Commitment: My commitment cannot be to an artificial deadline. Rather, it must be to excellence and integrity: the integrity of the material and my integrity in communicating what's going on to those of you in the prepublication group.

It's long been clear to me that the moment someone commits to an event or session the activation process begins, and that their initiation continues to, through and beyond the actual experience.

The same, I realize in this moment, applies to The Wisdom-Keeper Training.

The moment I committed to it -- up at 12,000 feet in Rocky Mountain National Park on September 1 -- my Wisdom-Keeper activation began. It continued through my visits to South Dakota and the Midwest (where it was expressed in all events), into Canada (where it pushed my ghosts to the surface) and into this moment (where my newfound understanding of commitment allows me to surrender more fully to the material and to its implications in my life).

I thought those who choose to prepurchase The Wisdom-Keeper Training were getting a price break to compensate them for the wait. That may be true, but what's truer is that they are getting a bonus as, energetically, they travel with me through the birth canal of the new medicine wheel.

Rather than breaking my commitment (by forcing them to wait longer), I'm freeing them to make their own commitment: to all the transformations occurring right now as a consequence of this process.

Once again, I marvel at the higher wisdom playing out in my life. I'm grateful for it, even when it manifests inconveniently. And I find it fitting that all this has emerged in Santa Fe, a city whose name translates as holy faith.

A prepublication special price for The Wisdom-Keeper Training is in effect until December 22. Click here for details.

Photo of Santa Fe sky by Guinevere Rose Yoseyva

Family Lies, Family Ties

Sunday, October 29 ~ Mt. Sinai Subdivision, Dalton, Georgia

No commandment-inscribed stone tablets drop into my hands as I drive through this hilltop subdivision across the road from my hotel. Yet something drops into my consciousness as my thoughts wander back to my recent visit to Montreal.

Families are funny things. Growing up, my relationship with my older sister Susan, my sole sibling, was volatile, occasionally violent and often ugly.

From my childhood perspective, of course, she was the demon terrorist, responsible for many of my fears, scars and traumas. I'm sure that from her point of view, I was the kid brother from hell.

In a recent e-mail, Susan reminds me that our mother always swore one of us would end up in jail for the murder of the other.

Although it never happened, those childhood experiences -- and terrors -- stayed with me into adulthood. Not surprisingly, they colored my relationship with Susan, from whom I always maintained what I considered to be a safe distance.

We spoke rarely, except during our mother's declining health and subsequent death. And my physical departure, first from Montreal and later from Canada, didn't increase the frequency of our communication. Nor did the advent of email have much of an impact.

And so life continued as I maintained both my wounds and emotional shields.

By the time I crossed into Canada 16 days ago, some family business had produced more communication but no more closeness, at least not for me. In fact, the thought of seeing her for the first time in nearly a decade probably contributed to some of my resistance to the visit.

And then two things happened that began to shatter my decades-old patterns.

The first was when Susan told me she had freed up her entire weekend and would be taking Friday off from work to be able to spend time with me. I was stunned.

The second occurred as I drove into Montreal and, visualizing the next day's planned reunion, saw myself crying.

I did cry.

For the first time -- perhaps ever -- I was deeply moved to see her. For the first time -- perhaps ever -- I was happy to be with her and felt safe and comfortable in her presence.

My Montreal weekend was powerful for many reasons, some of which I wrote about in Ghosts I. Another reason, one I wasn't going write about until Susan encouraged me to do so, was our reunion.

What shifted?

I did.

Of course, Susan has grown and matured. Who hasn't over the course of a decade?

But I see now, on the slopes of Sinai, that even as Susan and I grew up, changed and matured, the put-upon little brother never did. At 25, 45 and 52, I was still always 5 or 8 or 12 when I thought about her, talked to her or spent time with her.

I'm stunned to realize that, for more than half my life, my relationship with my sister was built on a foundation that crumbled and dissolved long ago. It's been built on a lie, on an illusion, on a fog that was waiting for my breath to dissipate it.

As I celebrate and give thanks for a closeness I've never before felt with my sister, I feel a need to inventory all my relationships, past and present.

What other illusions am I living that prevent me from experiencing the openheartedness I now feel toward my sister? Which relationships are still stuck in a time-warp?

The moment I pose the question, one particular relationship leaps to mind. Ouch.

If there's one, there must be others. However many there are, it's up to me to fast-forward them into the present -- living and relating as who I am today with the present-day personas of everyone in my life.

As I wrote so presciently in The MoonQuest, "The past is passed. I let it go."

Photo by Robert Montgomery: Mark David & his sister, Susan, in Montreal