Saturday, January 31, 2009

Serenity Prayer

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.—Reinhold Niebuhr

Now here's the version my Sponsor gave me.... and gee, what a difference a few words makes huh?

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, (which are most things) the courage to change the things I can, (which is only myself) and the wisdom to know the difference.—Reinhold Niebuhr

Now I remember the first time hearing this prayer, recited by a bunch of recovering "ics" of every kind.... and it seemed so simple, trite even, nothing powerful or life changing... boy, what limitations can't grasp, ignorance justifies! Who can conceed to such a simple prayer? What does Serenity have to do with any of this?? What do you mean I cant change MOST things?? WISDOM, WISDOM? What the f***?.....
The magic (LIES) of manipulation loses its spell once this prayer begins to seep in past the ego... sometimes eeking very slowwwwly, thus requiring it to be recanted a few thousand times --- as other practioners of this prayer have pointed out and I personally, have found to be True.
Once again, its the Simple things that keep my Life Free of the mental messes that self -centeredness or self will run riot can create.
An inexhaustible good nature is one of the most precious gifts of heaven, spreading itself like oil over the troubled sea of thought, and keeping the mind smooth and equable in the roughest weather.—Washington Irving

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Just when I think there are no more tears to shed over this INJUSTICE... I read Fr. Geoffs story on how the LA Diocese is "black balling" him and here comes the rain... I have struggled most of life with what Call it is that God has given to me. We are after all, Gods First and then we are each others, some would say that is the same thing... perhaps. However, if you are a GLBT person it seems the Call to Serve God is limited!! I was at a PFLAG meeting last month and heard an uninformed straight man worry that all his son is up to is "gay sex, sex, sex" (John Corvino has an insightful article over at the Independent Gay Forum in which he ponders: “Why are [the] opponents [of gay people and same-sex marriage] obsessed with ‘butt-sex’?”).... and then it hit me, thats ALL some people think about when they hear GLBTs speaking out in favor of Gay rights.... BUT it never has been about that for most of us. Is it not a basic human right to Love and be Loved and all that entails?... This is about Freedom to be that which God has truly called us to be!! Not who YOU think we should be because of some misquided theology or perceptions.
I am most grateful for the fact that my connection to God is not limited to any four walls... as I find "Church" in the most unlikely gatherings and community life. However, it is still deeply surprising to me how very much it hurts me, when Prophets and Truthtellers are being bullied by the establishment, that deems itself worthy of being called The Church...

Oh God, Mother and Mystery, ...that we may be Faithful to Your Call!!

Here is an excerpt from Fr. Geoffs blog:
These authoritarian churchmen are threatened by the free expression of ideas which differ from their own. They are even more acutely sensitive on this particular issue than on most others because they know that many priests (and bishops) are gay. They take it as a personal affront that threatens not only their power and position, but perhaps even more frightening, it threatens to unmask many of them as closeted gay men. The simple solution of granting gay and lesbian Catholics the practical dignity which they have conferred upon them theoretically is a non-option. This is true because of sociological reasons. Most Catholics live in the Third World and are not prepared to accept women priests, let alone gay and lesbian equal rights. I entered the seminary in 1978 because of a sincere religious conversion. I have been privileged to know many holy priests and nuns. I have meditated on the Word of God and have been inspired by the Truth of Divine Mercy. I know that I am imperfect and have fallen short in my life but I can honestly say that I have never acted out of malice towards others. I know that the truth cannot be destroyed by free discussion and that ultimately, free discourse of ideas serves the truth since, it reveals it. Those who would lead us spiritually must do so by the wisdom and reason of their argumentation and not by coercion. They must embrace and manifest love and mercy as central values which they manifest through their words and deeds. This is how our founder proclaimed the Good News.

The link below tells Fr. Geoffs story.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Fishing Trip

Sometimes, perhaps most times when I'm praying for direction the road seems unclear and foggy, without traffic lights or neon signs flashing "THE WAY!" Other times, its so obvious that its a bit unnerving and I'm almost sorry I asked !
This is the experience I've had recently regarding "G.ood O.rderly D.irection" I rolled into Corpus Christi Friday night and felt a calm wash over me as I drove alongside Ocean Drive... I got to one of my favorite places and met up with some friends for fine food and conversation. The original plan was to wake up and hit the early 4 hr fishing bay trip the next morning but one thing led to another and I crawled into bed way too late. Las Maria's woke me up and insisted I join them at the 8:30 am Centering Prayer Group. Now, if you knew what I knew about the Mary's, you'd know that back in 2000 when I started going, they were NOT INTERESTED!! Funny, how things change... with God doing the molding, sculpting, weaving... ok, ok, you get the idea. :) I agreed that I would go only if I could go in my calvin klein jammies and coffee mug.. of course, they did not care. We walked in just as it was starting... and the Lectio was on the mark! A real jolt that I could not deny or chase away from my consciousness. SOOOOO perhaps this was not a coincidence that I ended up there at that very moment... when all I really wanted to do in Corpus Christi was fish and relax.... (mission was accomplished). The fact is I've been given soo much to be grateful for!! The list of gifts and graces is long, all I have to do is receive them and "Accept the things I can not change".... and Life is pretty damn good ! :)

And when I do not trust the process of things... GOD can always be Trusted... God is"the focus of absolute trust, one to whom you can give yourself without fear of betrayal, the holy mystery".
(p. 4 She Who Is)

Friday, January 23, 2009

Less is More

Over the years some people have given me a hard time because I work for a corporation that supplies and meets peoples transportational "needs"... and this used to bother me... but I have come to understand that this thing we call a Spiritual Life is an INSIDE job... after all, Paul was a Tent Maker as my good friend Neil pointed out to me... and my old Buddy Bill W. was a salesman to his dying day (stock market)... still Bill W. allowed his Higher Power to use him in a way that reaches many lives, age to age. I best adhere to the philosophy "that we are not saints. We claim Spiritual Progress rather than, Spiritual Perfection!" This does not give me a license to do wrong, this just gives me permission to be human, because thats all I'll ever be, hard as I try in this Life....

I listen to people all day at work tell me all their troubles and concerns, everything from their car being broke down -- (which is for most of them a direct line to the rest of their hectic lives) to worries about their children, the economy and often times God pops up in conversation too. God does that a lot in my life and I have come to love it!! I have long ago given up the idea that I can change anything other than myself, which is hard enough, Lord knows... but I find comfort in listening to others... seems most people just want someone to listen with a receptive concern.

I still struggle to listen, depending on who is doing the talking... others are best served when I am able to be quiet... no small task, some will tell you. Thus all this socializing at work really drains me... and to get centered for me it requires effort. Here are a few suggestions that Centering Prayer guru's (just kiddn) recommend. It works for me when " I work it"... as much as I love people, solitude is the place where God does Gods thing. I have learned that the more God chips away at us... the better chance, we have at being at Peace with others and Ourselves... no matter, what is going on in the economy, our work life, etc.


Be still, and know that I am God. I am exalted among the nations, I am exalted in the earth! Psalm 46:10
“There is a narrow human need to concentrate on the notes in the music, the events of life, the foreground in the picture, until the larger canvas disappears and robs the foreground event of its significance, its rest and its breadth.. We are each surrounded by an enormous silence that can be a blessing and a help to us, a silence in which the skein of reality is knitted and unraveled to be knit again, in which the perspectives of [life] can be enlarged and enriched. Silence is like a cradle holding our endeavors and our will; a silent spaciousness sustains us in our [life] and at the same time connects us to larger worlds that, in the busyness of our daily struggle to achieve, we have not yet investigated. Silence is the soul's break for freedom.”-- Crossing the Unknown Sea: Work as a Pilgrimage of Identity by David Whyte

Watch your breath...Our breath is our most basic gift of life. “Watch” your breath by focusing your awareness on your breathing. As you breathe in, feel the cool air, say to yourself “I am breathing in…thank you for life.” As you breathe out, feel how the air has warmed within you, say to yourself, “I am breathing out…receive my living.”
Focus on a sacred word Allow a word to rise into your consciousness. Receive that word as a gift. When other thoughts arise, come back to your sacred word.

Slowly repeat a passage of scripture “Create in me a clean heart, O God.” or “Perfect love casts out fear.” etc.
Remember who you are and “whose” you are...Repeat the phrase “I am a child of God” or “I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” ----- from the CAC, Fr. Richard Rohr

Then there is my favorite form of meditation... not quite silence but a form of interior stillness.
Give yourself over to the chant so that the chant chants you. Let yourself be molded as the clay resigns itself to the strong sure hands of the sculptor. As if you were surrendering to the words and caress of your beloved. Just let go.”– Chanting: Discovering Spirit in Sound, by Robert Gass with Kathleen Brehony

Sunday, January 18, 2009

If one were to cease dreaming bold dreams, then bold and much needed actions on earth would also cease, for dreams are the primary fuel for the engine of doing. If it cannot be dreamt, it cannot be done. Thereby, protect rather than pre-empt the dreamer in your own soul.

---Dr. Clarissa Estes

Today is Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday. The celebrated day of Dreams and Dreamers!! It seems no small coincidence that this year it lands the day beforre the Presidential Inauguration of our first African American President in history!! What must the emotions be of those who marched along MLK that brilliant march of men and women of Color who dared to stand on principle that "all men are created equal". Emancipation is rarely achieved without a price, as the family of Martin Luther King Jr. knows full well. A price most of us would not even consider in the name of any cause... yet as a middle-aged lesbian, its no longer an option to sit quietly in the shadows anymore. We are not asking for anything any other American would expect... a right to pursue happiness free from prejudice and discrimination. Its all been said before... nothing I'd say could be more interesting or unique... except that I need to stand and be counted, like all those other people who walked along side of MLK. It seems fitting that the late Coretta Scott King was an advocate of LGBT rights. "Homophobia is like racism and anti-Semitism and other forms of bigotry in that it seeks to dehumanize a large group of people, to deny their humanity, their dignity and personhood," King stated. "This sets the stage for further repression and violence that spread all too easily to victimize the next minority group." - Chicago Defender, April 1, 1998, front page.

So, we march throughout our daily lives, no longer hiding, no longer afraid... no matter what the cost. We too have a right to love and be loved and with all the equal rights that heterosexual married couples and families have.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Saint of 9/11

In an enduring photograph of September 11, a team of rescue workers carry a Franciscan priest’s body from the World Trade Center.

The world came to know Father Mychal Judge, a Chaplain of the Fire Department of New York City, in death as a symbol of courage and sacrifice.

Saint of 9/11 presents the turbulent, restless, spiritual and remarkable journey of Father Mychal Judge. Compassionate champion of the needy and forgotten, a beloved Fire Department Chaplain, rousing Irish-American balladeer and iconoclast, Father Judge was a humble parish priest who wrestled with his own private demons while touching others in powerful and miraculous ways.

Throughout his career as a friar, he lived a life of witness, action and love. He provided hope, warmth, compassion, and acceptance.

Mychal Judge knew the pain of loss and suffering. He struggled with alcoholism and was an outspoken AA advocate. Through his own vulnerability, imperfection and fragile humanity, he was able to reach people in their pain, shame and fragility. Father Judge was a gay man who loved his priestly work.

---- Equality Forum

I doubt the Church will rush to have Fr. Mychal a Saint... after all he was an openly GAY Priest, (accepting his call to celibacy) and he was a very active member of AA, which spoke directly to his struggles and imperfections. He did not write deep poetry in the woods or climb the ladder of heirarchys... INSTEAD, he took a Firemans Ladder and devoted his life and in the end gave his life to that Ministry. He was 68 years young when he died... Fr. Mychal was not bitter towards the way things were within the Church he loved... he was HOPEFUL and that more than anything is what I think makes him a Saint! He was hopeful that this was our time. A time when Gay people would be no less accepted than any other people within the confines of a Church that promises to care for the oppressed and the poor.... Fr, Mychal knew full well, as most Saints do, that it is Jesus that calls us marginal folks. He LOVES us and has given us a desire to seek Him in all that is broken in our lives through others who are still oppressed and "Terrorized"... yes, it is fitting that Fr. Mychal Judge be the Saint of 9/11. He fought against Terrorists his ENTIRE life...

Friday, January 16, 2009


Sometimes Life is just like a series of continous low tides... mundane and soothing. Other times its like waves crashing against my face and its all I can do to keep myself from flying away with the trade winds. ... Its not the the storm that scares me... I know it will pass, they all do. What scares me is what damage will be left in its wake.. .. What do I do to shelter myself? Why wasn't I prepared for this? How many people are going to be devastated by the force of nature run amok? Why didn't I run when the clouds started to gather and darken? What in me runs to the edge of the Ocean to see it and attempt to embrace it? Yet there I stand along with all the other grains in the sand... at the mercy of the crashing waves and wind... blown from the place of comfort and stillness...

Or perhaps I can take a different view of it all... as my dream lover says: "pokito a poko entiendo que no vale la pena andar por andar, ques mejor caminar pa ir creciendo... volvere a sentarme con los mio, volvere a compartir mi alegria
volvere pa contarte que he soƱado
colores nuevos y dias claros
(Lamari de Chambao)

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

a soft burn

There is so much to do!! So much to learn and so much to see!! Keeping pace with the Movers and the Shakers absolutely exhausts me... no, defeats me.

I stand on my tippy toes of understanding and see the world a-glow with many colors... a soft blaze whispering to me, "to breath"... deeply... to be and to become.

Their gods of greed would take every last cent of accountability... they cant have me now, not ever. I delight from the light within and dance in the Truth that we are all just passing... through. This is not the promised land... fake gods, you are. Menacing forces depleting a Soul of true growth and Freedom... to love and to live for the sake of loving and living. Keep your coins of power and lust.

I will walk into that blazing glow within... still so much to learn... a soft burn, sweet and true.