"No despair of ours can alter the reality of things; or stain the joy of the cosmic dance which is always there.."

I love this quote from Thomas Merton about all of us being part of God's dance!  I can let go of trying to understand it all and just get carried along by the Dancer and enjoy the Dance!  Life is so precious, so beautiful..something to treasure and savor, not analyze and categorize.  Life is meant to be lived, a Gift is meant to be enjoyed, a Dance is meant to be danced!  I love the carefree abandon of the Grace Dance we are all caught up in, whether we are aware of it fully or not..yet when the light of Grace breaks like dawn upon our hearts, how wonderful to let go of our works and thoughts and struggles and just watch ourselves flow with the Dancer in HIs beautiful Dance!  It's always so playful and light with Him, all earthbound heaviness somehow rising in the lilting buoyant arms of the Dancer as He holds us, swings us high, laughs with great laughter like bells ringing, and twirls us around in LOVE!
Here is Merton's wonderful quote to savor:
"What is serious to men is often very trivial in the sight of God. What in God might appear to us as "play" is perhaps what he Himself takes most seriously. At any rate, the Lord plays and diverts Himself in the garden of His creation, and if we could let go of our own obsession with what we think is the meaning of it all, we might be able to hear His call and follow Him in His mysterious, cosmic dance. We do not have to go very far to catch echoes of that game, and of that dancing. When we are alone on a starlit night; when by chance we see the migrating birds in autumn descending on a grove of junipers to rest and eat; when we see children in a moment when they are really children; when we know love in our own hearts; or when, like the Japanese poet Bashō we hear an old frog land in a quiet pond with a solitary splash--at such times the awakening, the turning inside out of all values, the "newness," the emptiness and the purity of vision that make themselves evident, provide a glimpse of the cosmic dance.
"For the world and time are the dance of the Lord in emptiness. The silence of the spheres is the music of a wedding feast. The more we persist in misunderstanding the phenomena of life, the more we analyze them out into strange finalities and complex purposes of our own, the more we involve ourselves in sadness, absurdity and despair. But it does not matter much, because no despair of ours can alter the reality of things; or stain the joy of the cosmic dance which is always there. Indeed, we are in the midst of it, and it is in the midst of us, for it beats in our very blood, whether we want it to or not.
"Yet the fact remains that we are invited to forget ourselves on purpose, cast our awful solemnity to the winds and join in the general dance."
Thomas Merton, New Seeds of Contemplation

Wonderful Quotes on Our True Self

I love these uplifting quotes on our True Self that I recently read in a devotional by Richard Rohr, and so I wanted to share them here.  It is such a comfort and joy to know that our True Self at our deepest core is Spirit of His Spirit!  Christ in us, making us who we are, Christ in us, the hope of glory - glory already in us, one day to be fully revealed!

"I have the immense joy of being [hu]man, a member of a race in which God Himself became incarnate. As if the sorrows and stupidities of the human condition could overwhelm me, now [that] I realize what we all are. And if only everybody could realize this! But it cannot be explained. There is no way of telling people that they are all walking around shining like the sun. . . [This realization] was as if I suddenly saw the secret beauty of their hearts, the depths of their hearts where neither sin nor desire nor self-knowledge can reach, the core of their reality, the person that each one is in God's eyes. If only they could see themselves as they really are. If only we could see each other that way all the time....We are living in a world that is absolutely transparent and the divine is shining through it all the time."
Thomas Merton

"At the center of our being is a point ... which is untouched by sin and by illusion, a point of pure truth, a point or spark which belongs entirely to God, ... which is inaccessible to the fantasies of our own mind or the brutalities of our own will. This little point ... is the pure glory of God in us. . . . It is like a pure diamond, blazing with the invisible light of heaven. It is in everybody, and if we could see these billions of points of light coming together in the face and blaze of a sun that would make all the darkness and cruelty of life vanish completely."  
Richard Rohr

How Can I Love and Forgive Myself?

I'm posting this as something I wrote in response to the question:  "How can I love and forgive myself?  What do we do when we don't see that change that we hope to see, and have trouble loving and forgiving ourselves for our messups?  Here are some of my thoughts, for this is something I have struggled with so much throughout the years..

I know this may sound crazy, but one thing that really seemed to be a turning point for me was when God showed me that all will be well for all people, that ultimately all will be with Him in heaven. This happened during a time of personal crisis when both my dad and grandma were very ill (and my grandma passed away)..God just spoke to me within in such a deep and wordless way, letting me experience eternity somehow.  I can't explain it.  But I just knew that everything was okay and that everything will be okay for everybody. It was like a glimpse of heaven.  I can't explain it!  But it was a very powerful thing and went along with some things God was teaching me about His true character and about how He sees people, about our true character or nature.

I know a lot of people don't believe that everyone will be with God eventually, and I was brought up to believe in a eternal conscious torment in a literal fiery hell...but I really believe that the God I've experienced has shown me otherwise.  Once I experienced this from God, this inner knowing that everything will be okay ultimately for me and for all people, it was like I could finally relax.  I could finally trust God, trust His love for me, and somehow that opened me up to love myself.  Because I was seeing that we are all His children, all created by Him, loved by Him, and yes we've wandered from Him in our thoughts and deeds, forgotten the Father who gave us birth, but He'll bring all of us back to enjoying our place of belonging in His arms..we're all His kids, always were, always will be...and just like any good Daddy, He wouldn't ever turn His back on His children, wouldn't ever be happy till all were safely home with Him enjoying life in His palace!

And this is the other big thing for me - since we're all from God, we're all good deep down, not bad..we are all in His image of love and goodness..we're good-natured, naturally kind and loving..our deep down character as God created us is love, since we are children of Mr. Love Himself and take after our dad!  We've just forgotten where we came from, forgotten who our Father is and thus forgotten who we are.  We've been so confused, 'alienated in our minds' from the truth, not being able to enjoy the relationship with Him that was always ours for the enjoying.  But Jesus came to dispel the lies, to free us from them, most of them caused by religion, and set us free by showing us the truth - that He sees us all innocent, and even when we do the most heinous acts (like killing God's own Son for instance!) He just says, "They don't know what they're doing."  We're His good little ones, He sees no wrong in us, and there's no wrong in Him, no angry or vindictive or punishing side, just pure love.  Love that brings everybody home.

It makes everything so wonderful and has helped me so much!  But that is just my story.  And that's only part of my journey.  Also, everybody has their own journey and I don't know what means God will use to bring you to rest.  But I do know He will take care of you.  And that it doesn't matter what you do, or if you ever change, or even if you are ever able to consistently love yourself all the time I just know it is okay, we can let ourselves off the hook, we are not our thoughts or actions..we are who we are deep down, in our spirit which is one with God's Spirit..we are His pure innocent good children constantly under His loving care!  Everything is okay, and everything will ultimately be okay!  I just know that is true now, I can't explain how but it has made a big, big difference for me.

I feel like we are all on a wonderful journey together!  Wonderful too that there is nowhere to go on this journey, it's simply a journey of discovery as we discover where we already are - in Christ, and He in us! 

One thing I do want to add is that in the past I've had the idea that if I just believed in grace right or loved myself enough, I'd see my actions all line up with godliness, overcome my hangups, and have victory.  But now I see that is performance thinking I am having.  I want to not think about performance at all, not worry about change at all!  Sure some things about me would be good to change.  But that really isn't my concern.  My eyes are to just be on Christ and I am to just enjoy life knowing all is well, that all is complete and I am fine.  Change is the business of the Spirit.  My business is just basking in His love!  Being a branch is so easy, I love it! It has nothing to do with religion, change, performance, getting better, or getting some victory.  It's not about finally 'getting there' spiritually.  The whole point is we are already there, lol!  What a relief! 

It's like I've been shown that I can separate my actions, thoughts and feelings from my real and true Self..that my mind and body aren't my true Self, my true Self is Spirit, which is my core and the deepest part about me. This core needs no improvement.  This core does nothing wrong, just IS LOVE!  This core is one with God, is Spirit of His Spirit, one Spirit!  I can thus see my acts and thoughts to be the products of mind and body, which to me are like the house that the real Me lives in, or the machine I use to operate in this visible world.  I don't have to get mad at the mind and body, just see it isn't really ME and love and sympathize with it as it reacts to things in this world based on whatever input its received, whether the input is truth and loving experiences or whether the input has been pain, rejection, lies, or performance teaching.  This has freed me so much.  It has helped me see how I can say I'm perfect and everything is all right, even if the outer shell/outer life looks like an absolute mess, lol!  The goal has changed somehow.  The goal isn't to get the outside to 'look right and act right' all the time.  The goal is now to just enjoy life, to live!  To just BE!  For everything really IS okay deep down, and I can live out of that reality, for that IS what is truly real!!

Someone told me once when I was in the middle of a crisis time, "Just remember, everything is perfect."  It stuck with me so much.  There's nothing wrong with me or my life!  All is well deep down!  That has freed me so much to be able to give myself a break and be able to talk to my mind/body so kindly and say these words:

"Hey, it's okay you just blew it.  I love you and I'll stick with you.  I understand why you acted that way.  You've had a lot of hurts in your past and heard a lot of religious lies.  I care about you and just want you to know I"m here for you and accept you as you are.  You are safe and you are known and you are loved.  I love you just the way you are!"

I love being able to say this to myself, to my hurting mind, for the first time ever!

So these are some of my thoughts on letting go of wanting change and just being able to love myself..

And I want to say that if you believe differently, hey, that is great and I am respectful of everyone's beliefs.   I hope I have not offended anyone by what I have written here.  These are just expressions of where I am in my understanding right now and I could be wrong.  I want everyone to know how much I love and respect and honor you all, whatever your thoughts and beliefs are!  We are one in Him and filled with His love, and all the differences of opinion fade into nothing in the light of His Presence in us!  Sending love to one and all from Sparrow!

On finally being able to love myself..

How do we get to the point of really letting go of performance thoughts and being able to love and forgive ourselves?  How do we get to the point where we stop seeking change and are finally okay with ourselves and find that life is okay?

Well, I don't have many answers, and as the years go by, I have more questions than answers!

And yet, as the years go by, I find it is okay to have questions and I am more okay with having them and not having to know all the answers...lol..

But back to the question of how do we get to the point where we really 'get' grace and see it make a difference in our lives, stop struggling and start loving ourselves and living by grace?

First, I don't think there's any goal to reach for really.  We are already fine.

But we don't see that sometimes and we live in heartache.  I've been there, been there for years, for decades really!

But God shows us the truth!  He brings our hearts to rest.  "The Spirit led them and brought them to rest."

To be honest, what brought me such relief was going through the valley of my grandmother's passing away.  God just held me through it all and it was like He showed me eternity, let me experience eternity, deep within with Him.  I can't explain it, but after that I just knew everything was okay and everything will ultimately and finally be okay, and I was able to rest and be.  I just disconnected from all mental thoughts and struggles about grace and law and religion and love and just lived my life.  I talked to God if I wanted to and didn't talk to Him if I didn't feel like it.  I just lived.  And there was such healing in that!  But it was something God did, by grace.  I didn't make it happen.  It happened to me. God happened!  And I believe He is happening to you and will bring you the peace you desire and the love for yourself, the forgiveness of yourself that you desire. 

I have struggled with loving and forgiving myself.  But somehow I love myself!  I think when God just brought me through that valley with my grandma's passing into eternity, it was just me and Him and I was outside of religious thoughts, and I found myself in the real world, not the fake one of religion.  I was my real Self.  Innocent and simple and with God.  And I could look onto my mind, my thoughts and feelings and feel the pain of that 'self' and know it wasn't the real, deep Me.  And I could see it as the hurting little child it was.  My poor mind just got beaten down by religion for so many years, I have such pity on my mind and its thoughts.  When I react poorly or irritably, I can know that is because I was told I was 'bad' for so many years, I was told God was 'bad' (not in so many words, but you know what I mean, I was told He was watching my behavior and would punish me if I messed up, so He seemed fearful and angry and 'bad')..all my crazy thoughts and behaviors come from those past lies of believing I wasn't loved or even lovable.  I can pity my poor mind that was brain-washed like that, I can hold my little thought-and-feeling self and rock that little one back and forth and comfort her in her fears and anguish.  I can tell her it's okay, that I love her and that everything is all right, she is okay, she is innocent, she is loved, she is not alone, she'll never be abandoned or forgotten or hurt.  She is safe.  She is home.  Our hearts need to hear that message, don't they? It helps me just to say it to my mental self, just to tell myself it's okay and I love you and I won't leave you.  That's God word to me and that's my word to me, to my mind.  My real self is Spirit and my real self talks to my mind and calms it down.  I am not my thoughts and feelings.  I am spirit/Spirit.  I am eternally okay.  And I can love myself, the one that thinks and feels and goofs up.  And I can just let that little one just BE, let her make mistakes, rant and rave, cry and howl or laugh and dance, let her live.  She won't ever 'act perfectly' or 'think perfectly' as long as she exists in this world with her set of memories, past experiences, outside influences, etc.  But that is fine.  Life here is messy, turbulent, crazy.  Yet it is crazy wonderful!  It is precious and great and beautiful and wild!  It is worth that pain for all the glory that is being revealed right here in the midst of this time and space world, this place where heaven keeps bursting through the cracks of matter and glowing from beneath our skins!

Heaven is touching earth from within us.  There is an infinite spring of love within us.  An infinite Being of love.  We are part of Him, and He is part of us.  Relationship. Union. Belonging. Fellowship without trying to fellowship.  Love without trying to Love.

Wow!  We can just live, just be, just enjoy life for once!

Life is precious, Love is precious, God is precious, WE are precious!

Thank You, Papa!

I love life, I love You, I love others and I love myself!

Jesus Came to Shatter the Lie of Religion

He came to shatter the lie of religion and He did it by His loving act on the cross, calling us innocents when we aimed our worst behavior at Him, calling us beloved and bringing us with Him into a new kind of living where the illusion of religion doesn't exist, only love.

Reality is what He brought our confused minds into!  We had been mentally living in illusions and He woke us up to reality - we are loved, we are innocents, we are God's children, we are part of Love Himself and Christ is in us, in us, IN us!

We are Spirit, not flesh!

There's eternity in our hearts, always has been, always will be!

We are IN Him, and therefore safe, always have been, always will be!

We are good little children of God, good and not bad, for God 'made man just' not unjust!

We are vindicated, proven to be in the right, exonerated, proved innocent, proven to be beloved of the Father Himself, His very own children, with His Life coursing through us, with His very Being as our core, His own Spirit as our spirit, the Tree of Life within us, within us!

We take one bite of that delicious Spirit within us and we just LIVE that life that has always been us, we just ARE the people we always have been, we just EXUDE the God-life that's always been in us, as us..

This is Eternal Life, just to know and experience Him within, where He's always been, as the deepest part of us, an infinite sea of Love that has always been at our core!

To swim in that sea of Love and Life and BEing and Grace..
To float in those liquid arms of Love, to be buoyed up by that current of Grace..
To just BE is so rich and wild and free because to BE, to LIVE is Christ, and to die is simply to gain infinitely more experience of that which is already true within - we are alive in Him, and He is alive in us..
This is the true life, life eternal, rich and and boundless and free!

We are Outside of Religion..We are Inside of Grace..and Everything is Perfect..

I don't know much, but I do know that nothing is wrong with us or our lives.  There is not some magical thing we need to finally 'do' or think or some hurdle in understanding we need to finally get over and then we'll be different and better and changed.  We are fine right now.  Right now we are complete.  Right now we are perfect!  This is a relief to me.

Outside of religion, there are no demands.  No standards to measure up to.  No judgments on us.  We are outside of religion.  We are always in the realm of grace, for that's really and truly the only REALITY there is!  Grace was always reality, religion was the illusion, the lie!

There are always things I may need to change about my behavior.  But there is nothing wrong with me as a person!  Isn't this wonderful?  I am so tired of trying to improve and change and get to the next level.  I am so tired of wondering when grace will finally 'work' for me and I'll be victorious and 'better.'  But what if grace has been working all along?  What if I'm already perfect and have been all along?  Haha, it is such a sweet relief! 

I have seen myself as needing to overcome something bad within me, some bad nature or whatever..but what if all along I've been good?  What if I have only needed to realize this, and then I can enjoy living?

Let's separate ourselves from our thoughts.  We are not our thoughts or feelings.  We are not our body or mind.  Those are like computers that work for us, taking in data and putting out responses, based on whatever is stored in the memory and based on neural pathways set up in the mental system through years of experiences.  But that is not ME, that is not YOU, we are spirit..always were and always will be.  We are beautiful and holy and perfect and complete children of God with perfect and loving natures.  We never had a bad thought, never did a bad deed. We are pure LOVE, just like our Father in whose image we were made and from whom we came forth.  We have always been pure love. 

There has never been a law upon us.  There has always been love upon us, understanding and sweetness and light.  We ARE light!  WE ARE understanding and love and kindness!  Made out of Love, we ARE Love! We proceed from our Father like branches from a vine and have the same nature, same character, same beauty and splendor and grace in us!  We are part of God and therefore can't be bad, don't need changing or improving,  are perfect and lovely and good.  

We can turn around and love our mind, our feelings, our thoughts.  We can love our body when it does wrong things, based on years of living in fear and religious thoughts.  We can sympathize with the mind even if it continues having the wrong thoughts.  Even if the mind and body keep on playing out the same dumb ideas and actions, borne from years of believing lies and putting ourselves down as 'evil sinners that deserve punishment'..we can sympathize and take pity on our poor minds that have been so confused by religion, that have been taught performance-based acceptance or no acceptance at all..that have been fed a picture of God that is so two-faced it would drive anyone mad, a god who is called 'Love' but hates those who cross him, is constantly judging and criticizing, and vindictively punishes anyone who does not come up to an impossible standard.  No wonder we have problems with believing in unconditional love!!  Anybody would!  Especially those of us raised in the church!  We can just hold and love and caress our poor distraught minds because they have been put through so much! 

The best thing we can do is get away from religion, as far as we can, as much as we can.  And just be.  Just let ourselves be.  We are just where we are meant to be with God.  We aren't needing to change.  We aren't needing to believe more.  We don't have to wish for some future day when we'll be okay.  We ARE okay.  Now.  Always have been.  Always will be.

God will speak to us, is speaking to us.  God has been in us all along.  There is a secret place in us so full of beauty and light it would take one's breath away to just glance at it sideways!  There is an infinite ocean of love and beauty within us, and it is heaven in us, God in us, the Spirit in us, our true Self!  We are in touch with God always.  We are part of God, a wave on the ocean of the Eternal, rising and falling in sync with His great breath, looking out on the world through His eyes, one in Spirit with Him, one heart with THE Heart of Love that beats for this world in complete, utter, beautiful, terrific GRACE!

Even if we don't get over that bad habit, that addiction, that fear.  Even if we never seem to love ourselves enough.  Even if we can't understand grace, or God, or earthly relationships, or how our own minds tick.  Even if we blow it, never 'amount to something' in this world, never make an earthly friend, never 'produce' anything down here.  No matter what, everything is perfect.  Everything is okay!  We are home, we are part of the infinite Love that made the universe, that beats within us, that never has let us go and never will because we are part of His very own heart, part of His sweet gentle breath, part of His own Being of Life! 

We can't be anywhere else but in Him and can't be anyone else but His own children. Religion can try to tell us otherwise but we know we're just not part of that.  It was all a lie and is now exposed as the illusion it was.  We have always been in Grace, part of Grace, living in Grace, exuding Grace, supported by Grace, carried along by Grace, even BEING GRACE!  We can't be anything else BUT the gracious, loving, good and perfect onces God made us to be as part of His very own Self, His kids, proceeding forth from the Father, His beloved children in whom He is well pleased, for as Jesus is, so are we in this world!  We are 'little Christs' and have in Christ the picture of ourselves.  The cross and empty tomb stand as testaments to the fact of God's love for us, proving forever that we really ARE His beloved children in whom He is well-pleased, with whom and in whom He is pleased to dwell, on whom His favor rests, innocent ones who 'don't know what we are doing,' justified (exonerated, proved innocent, proved to be in the right) against any charge made by religion about us at all!!  The alienation was in our mind but never in reality.  Union was always reality.  Law was the lie.  Grace was always the truth.  He proved it to us at the cross by grace and He shows it to us in real time by grace.

When it comes right down to it, God loves us.  He loves us into rest.  He loves us into experiencing His love.  He loves us into loving ourselves.  He loves us into healing.  He loves us into waking up from the nightmare of religion.  He loves us into experiencing the reality of life in His garden of grace.  He does it all.  It's all grace and always was.  Grace has always been carrying us along, getting us to whatever experiences of God we need, bringing us through whatever life throws at us, pulling us through to the other side, bringing us safely home at the end. Everything is deeply okay, and everything will be ultimately okay.  God makes sure of it.  We are safe and always were.  He just IS Himself in us and we know it and all is well.  All is well!  Every day is an adventure, every day is a precious gift, to be enjoyed, savored, relished, celebrated!  We are free to enjoy life.  We are free to finally just LIVE it!  Life is so precious.  People are so precious.  God is so precious and wonderful.  This is the life, this is grace!
May the amazing grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the extravagant love of God, and the intimate friendship of the Holy Spirit be with all of you. 2 Co. 13:14