Belonging to one another

street sleeping

Mother Teresa tells us to find the divine in each person, the divine in all its distressing disguises.

“If you really want to do something,” she said, “go out on the streets. Find someone living there who believes they are alone and convince them that they are not.”

I remember the first time I saw a homeless person sleeping in the street in New York City. I was a child on my way to a Broadway musical with my parents, when we literally stumbled over someone.

“Dad stop. There’s a man that needs your help. We’ll have to go to the show later. Look at him. He’s fallen to the sidewalk and is staying there.”

My father shook his head, giving my hand a tug. “We can’t stop for every bum in New York or we’ll never get anywhere.”

“But how do you know he’s a bum? Maybe he’s a good person who just fell down and got dirty? It’s getting dark and cold. What will happen to him?”

Father’s well groomed hand shown in sharp contrast to the crusted skin of the man on the ground.  “It’s the way of the world, Karen. Get used to it.”

But I never did get used to it and doubt I ever will. How easy it is for us to react and judge, and how different life would be if we stopped to tend our brothers and sisters. How often I have heard words like, “They’re just a bunch of street people, losers and drug addicts. They’re not contributing to society. You can’t help them because they don’t want to be helped. They could work if they wanted to. They’re just a bunch of stinking vagrants, thieves and boozers. They should  get a job like everybody else.”

So, let’s back up a little. None of us comes into this world as a dirty drugged out homeless person. We come in as innocent beings full of light, dependent on those around us to feed, comfort, house and nurture our spirits.  When that doesn’t happen, we go into hiding, and when hiding isn’t enough and bad things keep happening over and over again, we become smaller, fearful and broken, finally believing that life and all the beautiful things in it belong to someone else.

The solution is rarely a question of providing a disadvantaged person a job, rather it’s a matter of slowly building trust, so they are able to overcome self-loathing, beliefs of not deserving, and fears that have been rooted in physical and emotional trauma. Wounding that manifests in self-sabotaging acts, like addictions and bitterness need to be addressed before life can be successful. Because all healing is first a healing of the heart.

One late evening in my thirties, I was riding around the streets of Portland, Oregon in a shopping cart. Yep, that’s what I said, a shopping cart. I no longer remember who was doing the pushing but know there must have been a few glasses of Merlot involved. We’d come from giving a late night performance at Storefront Theater and needed to let off steam. I was sitting on my coat, balancing a bouquet of roses I’d been given at the end of the show and acting silly and loud.

“Look at me. I’m the queen of the grocery cart, the queen of the city. And all I survey is my kingdom.”

I saw a woman sitting against a storefront window as we rounded the corner on airborne wheels. “Over there,” I said. “Take me over there!”  I was a tad too trapped and tipsy to leave the cart, so I bent over the front.

“Here, these are for you dear lady. Now you can be the queen of the city.” She stared up at me, confused. “Take them,” I said. “I’ve come all this way to give them to you.”

“No.”  She cast her eyes down. “I don’t deserve them.”

“Oh, but you do. You most definitely do.”

She refused, so I tossed the long green stems and blood red blooms near her blanket, where they surprised me by scattering against the cement like garbage. That’s what burned into my senses, the way a symbol of love and celebration in my reality transformed into trash when they landed in hers, like they’d passed through an energetic field that changed all meaning and relevance.

We create different realities by our thoughts and beliefs but we are not really different: the homeless person, the housewife, the corporate president or bus driver. We like to think we are because of our station in life and all we’ve achieved but inside we’re the same.

“If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to one another.” Mother Teresa.


street with lightAre you feeling restless and ill at ease?

There is a great stirring now to put away the small version of ourselves so we can open and allow the brilliance of our inner being to have voice.  Friends describe the process in conversations, clients seek guidance through the discomfort of the birth canal and I am pulled in the very same way.

It feels like our souls are trying to burst from confinement, so we can wear our purpose and passions on the outside for all to see.

I believe this is the revolution the Mayans foretold, the great ending and new beginning of civilization.

And since my feet are in the fire with everyone else, and my granddaughter thinks I’m older than God, I thought I’d offer a few insights for the journey.

First, pay close attention to the connection between your thoughts and actions, for it’s your thoughts that direct your life and mood. The phrase, whatever we think about we become, is absolutely true. Is your head filled with the beliefs and opinions of others or past hurts? This is a good time to sort all of this through because it’s yourself you owe. No one else.  If you feel stuck, invest in therapy or a shaman or whatever works to move you beyond limited vision.

Trust your intuition! In your heart you know where you should be and what you should be doing, so learn to trust that voice. Listen to your impulses, urges and inner guidance. That voice knows what is right for you and will lead you to your best realization.

Next, imagine what it is you want and know yourself capable of, then project it forward with emotion, desiring it with your whole heart. Think about what you can do and forget about what you can’t do, because everything is what you think it is, no more and no less. Everything you have ever imagined you lived, so put a picture in your head of whatever you want to become. It’s your thoughts going ahead of you that become your present, thoughts that always bring precisely what you expect.

Notice the creative force in all life, the divine part of everything that lives. This creative force is in the earth and every plant and flower and every creature that walks and flies. This divine force is in you, awaiting your instruction. It wants you to succeed and come forward in the fullness of your best self, because the world needs you be seen, present and living your gifts.

And last, appreciate the visionary in you. Because you can set things in motion there is often impatience, thinking that because you saw it as already done, that it should be manifest. It’s difficult to allow the passage of time necessary for dreams to become physical, and with waiting comes doubt and fear and thoughts that perhaps your inner voice was wrong. Well, its not. The best way to deal with that is to create a fearless confident self who refuses to have anything to do with fear and doubt.  The old you might feel overwhelmed but the bigger you can hold steady, knowing that what you want is on its way.

Case in point:  Years ago, as a young therapist, I worked with a woman from Science of Mind who affirmed every day that she was going to receive a huge inflow of money, I forget the amount but it was very large. I thought privately that her time and energy would be put to better use tending the poverty of her life than fantasying an improbable future. But she proved me wrong. It took nearly ten years but a distant relative died and left her the exact amount she’d asked for. A strong lesson for me in the ability of our minds to create our reality.

Express Train

I am a quiet person. I keep my beliefs, politics and opinions tucked away and private, nobody’s business but my own.

My husband, Gib, is the opposite. He loves to broadcast these things, whether or not you want to listen. When Gib begins to talk politics he becomes someone I stand away from.

It’s as if my gentle sweet man becomes possessed by the spirit of a zealous dictator. He is convinced that others will see the world exactly as he does, if he only talks loud enough, fast enough or long enough. Gib gets bigger and bigger in his mission, then for no apparent reason, the spirit that possessed him leaves, he returns to the room, to himself and finally to me.train

Did I do it again? he asks. Did I get too loud? Did I run over them like an express train?

The waitress delivers another beer. Let’s just say, Gib, that there is no one here tonight who does not know exactly where you stand on the subject.

There is no listening when he enters these outer dimensions of himself. There is only reporting and a sincere belief that he can change anyone’s mind if he talks long enough.

He is naive in this way and determined. This is the same self who will sincerely lecture on the downfalls of sugar and carbohydrates, while going to the dessert table to refill his plate with apple pie, brownies and carrot cake.

He is a good man though. Kind and gentle beyond measure. This new president is teaching him about unity, allowing and embracing diversity, while I am learning to accept my relationship and the world as they are and not as I want them to be.