On The Turning Away from God: A Round Trip

Turning away from God occurred at a young age for me. My father was an atheist and would not take me to “our” church that I was baptized in. So he suggested I attend church with a school friend. I didn’t understand why my United Methodist (UMC) Bible was so different from the Soutern Baptist(SBC) one. I was told at my friend’s SBC that mine was wrong; my God was wrong.

Enter in the Uber-Christian Church of Christ in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, where the Christians are more Christian than Southern Baptists. If you’re hearing “More Human that Human,” be afraid that you’re in my mind, take the first exit out before it’s too late! Ha!

This church was filled with shaming and judging; much like the SBC, yet worse. My grandfather helped to build this church with his own hands. Yet, my family was treated with disdain because of my grandmother’s mental illness. Sitting in the pew behind several of the “church ladies,” all I could hear from their mouths was hatred as they gossiped (isn’t there something in the Bible about NOT gossiping?).

So my early lessons from church were that My God is non-existent, wrong, hateful, judgmental and shameful, maybe even evil. Did I miss anything? I encourage you to write down a few attributes of how you see God before you go further, you’ll see why at the end.

God is a Four-Letter Word
At some point, I could no longer say the word God without feeling choked, even in my mind. I hated God. Why did bad things happen to good people? Why did bad people get away with murder, sexual crimes, financial fleecing, etc.? How could God create Hitlers and Mansons? It just made no sense. I hated God. I felt he hated me, particularly as a woman. Women, it seems according to the Bible were either mothers, liars, cheats or whores.

You can imagine it was a challenge for me when I married a Catholic man in said church (well, technically we eloped first and then got married by a priest in a museum on Fall Equinox. The fireplace that stood behind us was flanked by wooden carvings of witches and Buddha figures were everywhere; my attempt at balance.)

Enter Buddha
In 2002 I began studying the teachings of Buddha through Thich Nhat Hanh, The Dali Lama and Buddhist Nuns. This softened my stance on The Creator with the concept of lovingkindness or Metta. All sentinent beings deserve love and we are all connected. This study was perfectly timed with release Matrix II, too.

Enter Taoism
Encouraged by a good friend to look more into Taoism (I had read The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff in college after all), I picked up a copy of The Tao Speaks: Lao-Tzu Whisper’s of Wisdom which is a graphic novel format of the Tao Ti Ching. A great way to understand Taoism, IMHO.

Enter the Goddess
While in college I formally and informally studied Ancient Cultures that worshiped Goddesses. I was drawn to the Minoan Snake Goddess with her breasts exposed. Later, Sheela na gig, the Celtic Goddess with a graphically displayed vulva, came into view (some believe she was showing women how to deliver their babies…maybe it’s also about surrendering into the void?).

Then in 2008, I attended a workshop that was centered around awakening our inner Goddess. I was surprised to find Hera was chosen for me. Sometimes, I still resist this. Her equivalents being Shakti and Isis. All lovely strong mother-figure Goddesses. At this point, I could say Goddess to refer to the Divine. God was still a four-letter word.

Jesus Christ – The Son of God was also a “four-letter” word
Jesus Christ was also a name that would trigger me. I had so many misgivings based on the way I felt judged and left out as a woman by HIS religion and his followers.

Following the Goddess workshop, I read Magdalen Manuscript: The Alchemies of Horus and the Sex Magic of Isis by Tom Kenyon & Judi Sion. It helped me to see Yeshua ben Yosef and Mary Magdalena in a way that was appealing and balanced to me. I was beginning to soften my view of God through Christ, because of Magdalena and her relationship with Him. I have since read several other books about Magdalena, all worthwhile reads.

Enter in Meditation
Early in 2014 I began mediating with a group. We called the Divine the Supreme Being so as to not be triggered in the middle of our meditations. This was when I began a daily meditation practice.

A Return to God
Perhaps it was reading A Return to Love by Marianne Williamson, or maybe it was A Course in Miracles work that I did. I do not know. At some point, the word God was no longer triggering a desire to vomit nor a feeling of being choked.

Divine Union
Somewhere in the least year, perhaps even in the work I’ve done here, God began to become appealing to me. Now I can use the word God as all inclusive for both the Divine Feminine and the Divine Masculine. It was interesting when someone said “and Goddess” after I said God this weekend. For me, I had already said it! This was a really cool realization!

God was a Composite of My Parents
This past weekend, I attended a Oneness Blessing Giver initiation. It consisted of many hours of meditations with teachings in between. In the workshop we learned that our vision of God is based on our own parents. So going back to the opening of this piece: My God is non-existent, wrong, hateful, judgmental and shameful, maybe even evil. How do you see God, if at all?

Based on this, I could see where I was blocked. I could also see that truly my vision of God, though this was not said, was how I viewed myself.

Dancing with God
Within the last few hours of the workshop we wrote down the attributes of what we wanted in our new God. Then we went into a guided meditation where we met our Gods by opening the front door to our homes to Him. Here is an abbreviated version of my interactions with my new God. 

His body changed multiple times from the time I opened the door until he sat down on my couch, interestingly where I sit now. My God looked like a hipster Jesus in a sharp black dress suit. My God was flaming hot!

Usually intimated by people who are considerably beautiful, I felt so calm and comfortable in his loving and warm presence. He held my hands and said beautiful things to me that I’ve never accepted from any man. Then he stood up, walked me to the open floor and danced with me while I wore an all white gown. Later I realized it was as if we were just married. I guess in a way we were.

In dancing with My vision of God, he showed me where I have tried to lead; surrendering. He showed me my inherent beauty and my value to Him and the World. Tears of Joy and Gratitude cloud my vision as I type, blindly, yet with a vision I have never had before. He showed me where I can be accepting of man, by accepting myself as a woman.

Without words, he showed me that women wear white to represent their Divine Masculine, while men were black to represent their Divine Feminine when they are married. A question I had recently in doing the work behind Sacred Geometry.

Later, we were instructed to allow God into our bodies. I saw My God move with me into my heart, still dancing. While I do not always know the steps, He is leading me now. I also saw a vision of the heart with the Yin Yang superimposed on it. Divine Balance.

All along I was searching for God on the outside, in books, in workshops. All along He was waiting for me to invite Him in.

For the reader
I encourage you to feel your way through what YOUR God looks like to YOU. I am working on a guided meditation that I was being shown during meditation. God communicates to us everyday through images, through our feelings. Rarely through words. I am seeing this and feeling this now. If we feel God is not listening to us, are we listening to Him?

Metta. __/|\__

(C) 2016 tiffanybeingfree

Image: Google

Original Sin: A Theory

Take a journey with me for just a moment.
Attempt to put aside the social and religious constructs,
so deeply seared into our minds.

The first time I heard this theory myself,
the daughter of a self-described atheist,
and a Church of Christ Christian,
I could not fully grasp the concept.

Now, to me it seems so apparent…

Breathing in…please open yourself to a
new concept of seeing.

~~~

What if, just for a moment imagine,
what if Original Sin is the turning away
from the Divine Feminine?

Bear with me for just a moment more, please.

Let’s look not at the books of history.
Instead, let’s look to the world that we
know around us.

Everywhere, with very few exceptions,
the seed of man needs the womb of woman
to create.

Pressing a little bit deeper,
if sin is something against God
and God is Love,
and God created the ALL that is Us…

then how is the oppressive subjugation
of women and anything remotely feminine
seen as accepting of God and His Creation?

Her role is just as important as his…

So each to each, should they then be balanced,
like the Yin-Yang.
We now look upon the image of a
wheel. upon which to roll.
Balanced tires move so much
more efficiently on the pavement of life.

Now let’s partially deflate that
wheel just a little, not even a lot.

When taking the air out
of the side of darkness that
represents the feminine,
we are all now handicapped.

We have to fight so much
hard to move forward
in all of our endeavors,
with a partially flat tire.

Pressing further still,
In many ancient traditions,
the Divine Feminine rides along side
and balances the Divine Masculine.

Yet the closest Goddess to Jesus Christ
in the Christian tradition is his Mother Mary.

How is that right?

I will leave on that note,
for you to think,
and to most importantly to
feel this into your heart.

❤ ❤ ❤

Namaste.

Photo by thaikrit at Freedigitalphotos.net of Quan Yin, the Divine Feminine of Buddha

 

The Cusp of True Growth

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Here I stand, in the New Year with my toes hanging over the edge.

Faith tells me to jump, that my wings will work once I let go and soar.

Fear keeps my feet grounded.

This weekend, I watched my son fear a new playground experience. I held his hand walking him up the stairs. Once down the slide the seal was broken. After that he was inseparable from the slide. He joyfully climbed the stairs and slid without need of another ounce of intervention.

Where am I holding myself back in fear of something new? Holding back my experience of joy and open heartedness?

Where can I stretch my limits, growing into new, uncharted territories and expanding my horizons?

The only way to grow is to stretch, pushing myself to and past the edge of comfort. To expand is to create. To create is to love. An open heart expands into more love, pushing into new territories.

Perhaps the push off is blocked by the fear of feeling all alone. It is already a challenge to feel like I’m on the fringes, to actually take my feet off the ground and fly: Interstellar.

May we all be free of the fear that binds us to our smallness, and thus preventing us from realizing our Greatness.

Namaste.

Photo by prozac1 at freedigitalphotos.net

 

Meditation: Getting Started

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“The master has failed more times than the beginner has even tried.” – Stephen McCranie

Throughout my life, I have attempted and “failed” at meditation. Beginning in high school, I tried many times (or at least for a teenager, it seemed endless times) to still my mind in meditation. I gave up, more frustrated than when I began.

Then in college, I was introduced to a technique called progressive muscle relaxation. I found that when my mind was tense that my body followed suit. Progressive Muscle Relaxation can be a great way to calm the body while focusing the mind. By giving the mind a task, once can more easily begin the journey within. We spend so much time on external stimuli, that getting in touch with how our bodies feel can be a meditation on its own.

Even with a task to perform, know that the mind will most likely continue its chatter, which may distract you. Just keep redirecting yourself back to the audio instructions. Recognize that thinking is the mind’s job. Just as the lungs exchange air and the heart pumps blood, the mind’s job is to think.

This is a guided progressive muscle relaxation that I tell the vast majority of my patients about. It is hosted by The Cleveland Clinic. I hope you find it helpful in your journey within. If you do not like the narrator or the instructions, for any reason, I am sure you can do a Google search and find many other options (hint, hint). Just as we test drive several cars before deciding which one to buy, meditation can take several test drives before we find the right vehicle.

The beginning of understanding is knowledge.
Mastery is earned through understanding.
Between the two, there is much practice.
– tiffanybeingfree

Namaste.

Photo by dan at freedigitalphotos.net

Letter to The Creator: Leap of Faith

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Creator,

If You created Everything and Everything is You, then We are all You. We are ALL One. If You are Love, then to Be is to Love.

We are all cut from the same fabric, so although We can appear different and act different from One another Our origin is the same, You.

You created Us, and gave Us the ability to pro-create through making love (if You are Love, then we are Making more of You, is that not one of the best ways to connect with You?)

So tell me, please, why is it that so many find the body, Your Temple and pro-creation of more bodies as sinful, egregious and shameful?

If We are You, and You made Us in Your Image, and through making love We create more images of You, then how is this bad? How is sharing Love and creating more of You/Us a sin?

Better yet, what is sin? It would stand to reason that sin would be defined as anything against You, and You are Love, and we are You, then sin (by this reasoning) would be not-Love or Hatred of You/Ourselves.

So if Self-Hatred is the sin, then so are shame and guilt, and hating our bodies and what they can do and what they can create (both through making love and our life purposes). Sin would also be hating others, as You also created Them and They are Us (even though They are different versions of Us).

So for Us to live in peace down here, what We really need to do is learn to Love Ourselves, Our bodies and STOP the guilting and the shaming and the hating of Ourselves and Others, as these are the ways that we turn away from You.

Thank You for tuning in and helping me through this sequence.

Warmly,
Tiffany

Author’s note: This is addressed to You, the reader, for each of us is part of The Creator. (A great movie along this thread is “Nine,” you might find it interesting). Happy Creating!

Namaste.

Photo by suphakit73 at freedigitalphotos.net

 

Being Vulnerable to Accept Love

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When we armor up and protect ourselves, we actually shield against the very thing we seek: Love.

By removing the armor, laying down our shields and weapons we open up to receive and give love. In all actuality, the very thing we seek is already within.

Writing, meditation and creative expressions are our windows into the depths of ourselves. We can use them as tools to peek inside to see where we were taught and where we accepted the belief in not-love. The more we break down our own walls, the more we love ourselves and the greater capacity we have to love others.

Loving ourselves more reaps more rewards than looking for someone else to fill the void within. For no matter how much someone else loves us, if we cannot receive their love, it is the same as pouring water onto a rock. When we live behind our castle walls, we block against love and just as the water will flow away from the surface of the rock, we will not be able to receive this beautiful gift that we so desire.

It is by being transparent, vulnerable and open that we can love more fully, more deeply.

If you fear being vulnerable there may be several reasons. If the people in your life attack you for being yourself, then maybe it’s time to find new people with whom you can truly share yourself. Sitting with and immersing oneself within the feeling of vulnerability can also lead it to crest and then diminish. Repeatedly working through the feelings in the way will lead you to your freedom from its grip.

May we all learn to be free of the obstacles that block us from more deeply experiencing love within ourselves, so that we may freely give and receive love both for ourselves and others. 

Namaste.

Photo by Matt Banks at freedigitalphotos.net

A Deeper Look at Polyamory and Monogamy: What is our true nature?

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In the age of changing attitudes and behaviors about sex, the idea of polyamory seems to come up more and more frequently. While I believe that sexual behaviors should be ultimately determined by consenting participants, here I explore what I believe the evidence shows is our true nature as humans.

Historically & Religiously

Raised in the Bible Belt and having lived in the city that CBN calls home, one can acquire some rather idealistic views of sex and proper sexual behavior. Historically, the Christian religion has heavily influenced peoples’ outward expression of sexuality. According to Reay Tannahill in Sex in History, monogamy was a social construct reinforced by early Christianity. Monogamy was then the only way to determine paternal lineage for the inheritance of property. Basically, polyamory was deep-sixed because men didn’t know who their sons were to give them their rightful land.

Culturally

Raised in the 80’s as a product of the 70’s, I was going through puberty when George Michael was straight and implored us to view sex as being “best when it’s one-on-one” in his Top-40’s hit, “I Want Your Sex.” This propaganda was most born out of the then constant fear of AIDS; something that killed many people and was still largely misunderstood. The music video and song were widely controversial. Some radio stations went so far as to silence “sex” when the song played.

Now in the next century after AIDS is less scary, more and more people are exploring their sexuality in new ways and it is becoming more mainstream. I say with my tongue in my cheek that Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James brought BDSM from the fringes and into living rooms across America. While many of those in the BDSM community disagree with the discrepancies between actual BDSM practices and James’ book (particularly the recantation of consent), it did serve the function of opening many doors about sexual practices that were once very much hidden from public view. It seems cultural norms about sex are changing, as a result.

Spiritually

The further I travel down the spiritual path, the more I see the obstacles that I and others have built to love. From a spiritual and energetic standpoint monogamy seems based in lack both in its purported origin per Tannahill and in the stinginess beneath its thin veneer: “My companion does not have the capacity to love me enough, much less to love you, too. So I get to stay and you need to go away.” Polyamory, on the other hand, seems to support the idea that love is boundless and can be shared between many.

Functionally (physically)

As a physical therapist, most of the clients I treat are women with pelvic pain. Regardless of the client’s diagnosis, I screen for pain, as it can inhibit outcomes when treating other pelvic floor conditions. This means I ask many women across the lifespan if they are sexually active, as some have constant pain and others only during intercourse.

In hearing many responses over the years, I am often saddened to hear when one of my clients is celibate either due to her partner’s medical conditions or sexual dysfunction, or because she has  excruciating pain with sex. While it’s nice when I hear some women shyly whisper, “we have other ways of being intimate,”I cannot help but wonder if a polyamorous relationship would be more functional.

Functionally (mentally)

For myself, being faithful while in a monogamous relationship for half of my life, my eyes were never blind. Meaning that though I kept my body faithful, my eyes and mind certainly wandered. And I can tell you, I wasn’t the only one

This reminds me of the question posited in the film “Eyes Wide Shut,” is the fantasy equivalent to the physical act of cheating? My next question is: what if the two had already agreed upon having a polyamorous relationship?

The clencher: who honestly does not have at least one sexual fantasy involving more than one sexual partner? or someone other than your current partner?

It’s Evolution, baby!

Just as ants from different colonies fight, sperm from different men fight when they meet. In fact, some sperm act as guards to fight against and attack another man’s sperm entering the cervix. Given the Darwinian concept of the survival of fitness, this makes me wonder if we are genetically making our species weaker by missing out on the epic battle of the gametes? (Now go watch the movie “Idiocracy.”)

Personally

While I can see the phallacy of monogamy from more than one perspective, my heels dig in when I think past fantasy to the ins and outs of polyamory. Perhaps it’s a vestige of chastity, which is ironic given that sexual promiscuity is generally much easier for women to obtain than men, yet women bear the shame.

While I have broken many of my mother’s rules for “what good girls don’t do,” practicing polyamory seems to be a challenge for me.  Even while I’ve been in several non-committed relationships in the past year, I cannot seem to break through the idea of seeing them concurrently; weeks and months separate  the time between different lovers.

For me to begin to be accepting of polyamory for myself, I need to feel far less vulnerable physically and sexually. Oppressive levels of vulnerability slow down my desire to express myself sexually in such an open way. Oh, and then behind vulnerability is the fear of being the only person left behind at the party: enter rejection.

Even with all of these areas that support polyamory, it seems that serial monogamy is where I am most comfortable. For now, I leave it as something for me to explore further. So the jury is hung, hopefully well.

Note: each pun and double entendre was indeed intentional.

Here is a great article written by a fellow blogger  The New Sexy: Women Over 40. It gives some amazing insights into how women over 40 are, well, different.

Photo by t0zz at freedigitalphotos.net

How bad is it, really? Attention Seeking Part III

In reading through Parts I and II (one last time) the night before the series was to be published I was struck down by my own question: How bad is it, really, to seek attention? So here we are now, Part III.

In this post, I ask myself and you, the reader, where is the boundary? Here are my thoughts as they unraveled.

Are we all not here on this Earth to learn to be connected, interconnected, interdependent? If we were here to learn how to live independently, then why are there so many people?

Sex, a very basic need, is usually far better with someone else than alone. It is also as a cause for all of the people.

Is the problem then, in the need? As a society, we often turn our backs on those who are considered “needy.” Whether it’s from poverty or from “needing” too much: attention, affection, emotional reinforcement, and (fill in the blank).

It would seem more appropriate and more easily understood to say that my desire is for attention vs saying that I need attention. How strange that when we need something, that its acquisition is more likely to remain elusive. Need implies a lack of a necessity. Desire implies “nice to have.”

Doing a search for quotes regarding attention seeking, I found this:

“The hunger for attention is an enemy of self-love.”
Edmond Mbiaka

I can see how the word hunger makes this a “needy need.” Would the quote be just as true if desire were used instead of hunger, I wonder?

“Seek respect not attention.”
― Ben Bereng

Now this one confuses me, as I thought respect was earned; not sought. Maybe he’s beseeching the seeker to seek for what is “right” vs what is “wrong?”

Perhaps it is my desire for a male companion that can meet me where I am that is unmet, so I seek attention where it is safe? Or better yet, by seeking attention where it is safe, I can avoid the disappointment in still being single? Oh, I feel like such a young grasshopper now. (folding psychology arm-chair up and putting it away)

I’m still very much working through this one and not able to see above the duality. Please share any insights.

Namaste.

Photo by winnond at freedigitalphotos.net

Attention Seeking: Part I
The Fairy Tale of Storybook Romance: Seeking Attention Part II
Now I Begin to See: Attention Seeking Part IV

The Fairy Tale of Storybook Romance: Attention Seeking Part II

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At a young age, girls are sold the dream of happily ever after. We are made to feel that we are incomplete without a man.  Prince Charming saves Cinderella from poverty and her evil stepsisters. Sleeping Beauty is only awakened by the kiss of true love. All live happily ever after. Or do they? (Another post for another day; I believe these tales can be harmful to men, also.)

With New Year’s Eve, I found myself falling prey to the cultural belief that I was incomplete without someone at my side. Feeling broken following the finalization of my divorce and not dating anyone, I found myself desiring male attention. Instead of focusing on all the love around me and within myself, I focused on where it was not. I was puzzled by my own “seeming weakness.” It was easy to become disillusioned and I almost skipped the NYE festivities because of it.

Then the next day, while watching “Lava,” a short-film by Disney’s Pixar, I suddenly saw that my truth was being obscured by my belief in the mythology of happily ever after. Almost immediately, I dropped into the murky waters of my loneliness. Once “down in it,” I found a vast pool of feelings: betrayal, anger, sadness, abandonment and remorse (to name a few).

The waves of repressed emotions washed over, around and through my being. With each ounce of emotion that I felt, I gained a pound of the cure and lost another pound of fat from my waist. The icing on the cake? Filling the wound beds with validation and love.

I sat in the realization that my feelings of emptiness were a lie. Sinking further into gratitude for this awareness, I admired the moment. Enjoying the warmth of my light, no longer insulated by the fairy tale material that I once devoured. I am grateful for this new level of awareness, from such a seemingly innocent short film. One which I have watched, often longingly, for someone to “Lava” for several months now.

I stand alone again, this time, not lonely. I again feel whole and complete in myself. The Dharma wheel will turn once again and bring me back to a spot of loneliness, allowing me to see through the lies I have believed; allowing me to see the truth beneath it all: all that I seek is with-in.

“If you search everywhere, yet cannot find what you are seeking, it is because what you seek is already in your possession.” ― Lao Tzu

Tonglen Meditation: May we all be free of the beliefs that block us from the truth that we are all already whole and complete. May we see ourselves with the eyes of God: We are Love (therefore, we need not seek it in others).

Within days of this new awareness, I can see where I still seek and desire the fairy tale romance and to be swept off of my feet. How tenacious this belief can be!

Post press addendum:

Here are two well-researched posts by fellow blogger, Michael:

What is Ideal Love

Romantic Love: Hearts on Fire

In his posts, above, Michael differentiates the six types of love. These posts helped me to gain a better understanding of where I felt lost in seemingly contradicting desires within myself (and thus this series). Thank you, Michael for your work and allowing me to share it!

Namaste.

Photo by Idea go: freedigitalphotos.net

Attention Seeking: Part I
How bad is it, really? Attention Seeking Part III
Now I Begin to See: Attention Seeking Part IV

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