The Day I Met God

Jim Sorbie

So, here’s the backdrop: I’m like 25 or so, and halfway through a European Summer Tour. There was relationship drama going on at home (when is that NEVER true?)

Anyway, I had found Shirley MacLaine’s book, Dancing in the Light, at an English bookstore in Amsterdam.

We’re on a bus traveling through a Swiss tunnel and I come to the part that says, if you want to know god, repeat the following mantra over and over again: “I am god in (blank,)” where blank stands for whatever it is you want god to show you.

So, I made a deal with god. Now here’s what matters about that: God was on my bad side. For “killing” my father when I was 11 and leaving me.

Now here’s the thing — up and until that day, I had been a big “god rejector.” Or actually, and more accurately, it wasn’t that I didn’t believe in god. It was that I thought god didn’t believe in me.

This was the first time in 14 years that I was giving god a break.

Here was the deal: “If you’re real, show me a sign by the time we make it to the other side of this tunnel.”

If you don’t, “you’re out.”

So, I begin my part:

I am god in peace.
I am god in peace.
I am god in peace.
I am god in peace.
I am god in peace.

<light at end of tunnel grows slightly larger>

I am god in peace.
I am god in peace.
I am god in peace.

<bigger light>

I am god in peace.
I am god in peace.

<bigger light, tears streaming down my face>

I am god in peace.
I am god in peace.
I am god in peace.

BURST THROUGH TUNNEL and – just as we hit the bright light – this shimmer of energy travels from the bottom of my feet – up – up – up – through and out the top of my head.

I am god in peace INDEED!

Hallelujah!

Lots more happened after that, things I never talked about. But this past weekend some new girlfriends convinced me that it is time.

Ever since that time in that tunnel nearly thirty YEARS ago, I have just known that I was a child of god, that there was important work to do.

And over the years, a deep and abiding mystical presence has made herself known to me again and again and again.

I see things.
I just “know” things.

But then I forget, and things get fucked up.
But she always comes back for me.

And we begin again.

So, if you think my work is soulful in anyway, that’s probably why.
Well, that plus a big dollop of Grace.

Do you have “god stories” too? I’d love to hear some of them.
If sharing feels right.

Love, Jen

photo: flickr, Jim Sorbie

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I Love You People

Martin

Dearest LAT Reader,

I haven’t told you this in a little while, but I’m completely in love with Beautiful You. I was away with some new friends on retreat this past weekend, and I couldn’t stop talking about you, about how much you mean to me.

Some writers love writing. And I certainly do.
But to be truly honest, what I love more than writing is being read.

It turns out that, energetically, I’m a Projector. This means that what I’m best at is taking what I see, hear, and feel, passing all of that through some thing in my body that is the seat of my art, and sending it back to you in the way that I do.

And then you take that and send back your take on life.

I really really dig this whole thing we have going here.

Life After Tampons is over four years old, now. That’s EONs in the Internet World. And we have built this world – this jewel of a community – together.

I’m really clear that I could not have done this without you, my beautiful cadre of readers. In the darkness, you have brought the light. In the light you have amplified it and brought it back.

You are such a blessing to me.

And I need you to know that.

Love, Jen

 

photo: Flickr, Martin

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Waiting on the Weight

Stephan Rudiger

So, I’m at this lovely lovely retreat with all these lovely lovely women and I’m up at o-dark hundred to write for Beautiful You and all that comes to me – amidst all this plenty and grace – is that I feel like the fattest girl in the room.

Probably because I am.

I’m working on it. But, for right now, I am.

So, please forgive me as I write to bring myself peace about the ups and downs of my feelings about my body.

I know it is deeply self-centered to be this way. But, for me, writing allows me to invite others to bear witness to my resolve to live outside of self and my deep deep desire to live at one with Spirit.

Seven years ago or so I was skinny.
Like, skinny, skinny.
Probably too skinny.
But at the time you couldn’t have told me that.

I followed a very organized food plan. I weighed and measured everything I ate.
I was skinny.
But I don’t remember being particularly happy.

Maybe giddy, but not happy – like guttural happy.

Most of the time now, when I’m happy, I’m happy in my gut.
My bigger, more expansive gut.

I could tell you about those first French fries I ate, the Forbidden Fruit that started the whole spiral.

I could tell you about medication changes and the astronomically fast weight gain that followed that decision.

And, of course, there’s Mr. Delicious with his Spaghetti Bolognese.

And hormones, hormones, hormones.

None of that matters. The WHY doesn’t matter. It’s the WHAT that I deal with on a day-to-day basis.

And the part that I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired about is the self-rejection that accompanies my bigger self.

I’m tired of the self-regret, remorse, self-castigation, and just plain meanness of spirit that crept in with the pounds.

I’m tired of trying – over and over again – to “get a handle” on this. I try something, lose a few pounds, get stuck, stay stuck, give up, wait a little bit, and try the whole cycle again.

I’m tired of the comparisons – where I always fall short – with other women. But even as I write this, I know there is another, truer truth.

And that is, that no matter what size I’ve been, I’ve always been brutal with myself with respect to others.

I want to reject my own self-rejection, but I don’t.

And now, as I write this with tears in my eyes, I wonder if the whole thing isn’t about keeping myself from others.

I claim myself to be an introvert. But I also have a little bitty fear of people that still resides in my heart of hearts.

The self-rejection is just another layer of protection. It is a barrier to True Intimacy with others and it is no longer useful to me.

Lord, save me from my fear of intimacy and rejection. Help me to be a sister among sisters. Help me to accept myself so that I may truly and truthfully accept the love of others.

I need these things because I am a person. And I seek to walk with other persons more and leave the land of self-imposed isolation.

There is nothing to protect myself from. I am safe in your spirit. Help me to find and embrace my true sisters of the spirit.

Help me discard the idea that I need to “measure up” to anyone else, that we are all worthy and equal in your eyes.

Help me listen without the veil of protection that self-rejection allows. I no longer need to make myself safe.

Because I am.

I accept myself, come what may. And I’m ready to love myself differently, to care for myself differently, if that is your will.

I’m tired of “trying” because that is just another mask for “self will run riot.”
Today, I let go and let God.

Today, give me the grace to be the size I am and to know that I have a place in this world no matter which pair of jeans fit this morning.

As it is and always has been;

Blessed Be

Love, Jennifer

 

photo: flickr, Stephan Rudiger

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Dear Jennie Ann

Jennie at 17

 

My kids are a wreck. College boys have just finished finals and Mr. High School has endured weeks and weeks of standardized testing. Each of them has come to me, stressed out.

I remember that feeling. That everything – you’re entire FUTURE — was dependent on how you did on this thing or that thing.

Of course I was wrong.

Now that I have a few decades of life behind me here’s what I know: Nothing matters and yet everything does.

There is nothing so devastating that it can’t be overcome. And everything is an opportunity to express joy and devotion.

I try to assure my boys that they get do-overs in life. But, somewhere along the way, the noise of others has drowned out my own.

I suppose they’ll learn just like everyone else does – the hard way.

Instead of focusing on them and their worries, I decided to write my own letter to my younger self. My boys don’t need me to “tell them” anything. They are skilled “figure outers.” But there is much I need to share with myself.

Here is the top of mind letter I just wrote to my 14-year old self. Perhaps you’d like to try it too.”

“Dear Jennie,

Your life is going to be both difficult and beautiful. Don’t worry, you’re not being singled out. Everyone is going to get some hard stuff and some beautiful stuff. There’s not a whole hell of a lot you can do to avoid the pain. Love brings it. Hope brings it. Joy brings it.

Fear not your sorrows. You will have what you need when you get to them to survive anything. And the good thing about sorrow is that it carves out a receptacle for joy.

Yep. Joy lives in the hollow sorrow creates.

Try not to become attached to too much. Life will go easier for you if you hold onto things and people and situations with a loose grasp.

Take exquisitely good care of yourself. Getting older is tricky and you will find an easier path if you stay fit in body and spirit.

Speaking of spirit, try not to be too hard on god. He’s not really in charge of as much as you think. For example, god didn’t kill your father, alcoholism did. You may wonder what value there is in a god that allows this, but what if I told you that god isn’t in charge of living and dying?

What if I told you that, instead, god’s job is to make sure you have the strength and courage to continue no matter what comes.

Strength.
And Courage.

These are the two things you are going to need. Don’t misunderstand me. It is not up to Beautiful You to bring the strength and courage to yourself in every life situation.

Some things that will happen to you that will be beyond your own strength and courage.

I know that is hard for you to imagine right now because you have made yourself so very hard.

But that is the miracle nonetheless.

Your god will see to it that you have all the strength and courage you need, but often, it will come through others.

So you’re gonna have to try trusting others a wee little bit.

It doesn’t take a lot of trust to succeed in the beginning. But you will find that your trust in others grows in proportion to your trust in your own self.

So work on trusting yourself. Decide you like yourself. You might as well go ahead and do that today — you’ll save yourself a whole boatload of trouble.

Although you don’t realize it, you’ve been given an incredible gift. I’m talking about your intuition. There will be people – lots and lots of people – who try and negate the idea that intuition is a real and valuable asset.

These are NOT the ones you want to trust, no matter how close they are to you. You will want to trust the people who reaffirm for you that you are strong in spirit.

There will be people – lots and lots of people – who demean your sensitive nature. Do not give too much of yourself to these people, you are already ahead of them and they have less to offer than you think.

Remember, just because someone is older than you does not mean they are wiser.
At the same time, discount no one. Everyone has something to teach you, even if it’s what NOT to do and how NOT to live.

You don’t have to announce this to them, by the way. They won’t ever get it and it’s not your job to make them see.

As a matter of fact, to a very large extent, how other people choose to live is really not much of your business. There will be a very few for whom you have charge, but remember you are not IN charge. Your higher power is.

And those to whom you will be given stewardship have their very own higher powers. You can rest easy in that even though it will be painful and difficult to watch them test and retest their own limits.

You, my love are a hope-bringer. But, more than that, you are a truth-teller. These two tasks will not always seem compatible.

But they are, and you will figure out a way to express both.

You’re going to figure it all out eventually. But you will flail about a lot before you do. You’re kind of a “thrasher,” my love, but as you get older you will allow yourself the gift of the truth sooner.

Eventually and again and again you will get sick and tired of being sick and tired.

Your impatience with yourself will cause you much pain. And you will be impatient with others as well. Kindness dictates that you allow people their own process, even if it seems like it takes forever for everyone to get to where you want to be.

One thing that will help is to accept that you are meant to forge on ahead without them, even though that seems the lonelier path.

All of it is okay, my love. You will come to see love in all things and you will spend the rest of your days finding ways to use your gifts to serve others.

That’s when you will know your greatest peace.

Since you will eventually know peace, why not begin to seek it today?

Everything doesn’t have to be hard. That’s the main thing to keep in mind.

Seek softness. Trust in the grace which abounds in and through you.

Give freely of yourself, but not to the point that you lose your own way.

Don’t worry, you’ll figure it out.

With love and devotion.

Your Older Self.”

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