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Reiki: Realigning the Spirit Body and the Physical Body

Reiki: Realigning the Spirit Body and the Physical Body

Every person, indeed every living thing on this planet, is surrounded by an invisible energy body. (Actually, you can train yourself to see this energy, the aura, through your spiritual eyes, but most people still rely only on their physical eyes). This energy body also surrounds the spirit body, connecting the physical realm and the spiritual realm.

I am often asked, what is the spirit body? The spirit body is our invisible consciousness, our higher thinking self, the body we exist in both before and after our earthly journey. Too many people foolishly waste too much energy focusing on their physical bodies, chasing after youthful looks, and even undergoing surgeries to try to look more beautiful, which is itself only a definition invented by one’s society.

Although you should take care of the health of your physical body, you are wise to focus your energy on nurturing and developing your spirit body. This is the consciousness and wisdom you will take with you when you cross over to the other side. Through meditation, prayer, reading, listening to and viewing the works of spiritually wise artists, and communicating with other spiritual seekers, you will develop spiritual beauty, and you will find true wisdom.

When I conduct Reiki healing sessions over people, I sometimes have the impression that the person needs to reclaim their space, to make themselves “bigger.” This has certainly been true for me personally, as I grew up in a family that constantly degraded my physical achievements and mocked my spirituality, saying it was “of the devil.” Consequently, as a young child, I learned to hide, keep my imaginary friends locked away inside, and try to make myself small. This crowded my energy body, and caused wounds in my spirit body.

I believe that most, if not all, chronic pain exists in the spirit body. That is why Western medicine has a hard time healing chronic pain. I see these issues constantly with people seeking Reiki healing. I am glad that they discovered Reiki, because I believe energy healing holds the key to realigning and spacing out the entire energy body for healing of both spirit body and physical body.

I knew one woman who struggled with headaches so severe that she could not work or even get out of bed for days at a time. She had visited many doctors who had given her many drugs and even recommended delicate surgery. But still, she struggled with pain. As I worked with her through Reiki, she shared with me some of her past, dealing with parents who belittled her intuitive spirituality and her love of art.

I cried when she told me of the poetry that she wrote as a high schooler that is still locked away in her dresser drawer, unseen and unheard. She needs to write, our world desperately needs her voice. No wonder she has headaches. Her spiritual voice is constantly struggling for release, but her energy body is misaligned by the damaging words of others. I used my hands to smooth out the disturbances I felt, and I encouraged her to go home and write. She did so, and slowly her headaches began to get better. Today she is able to work most of the time, and she only takes minimum pain medicine. The Holy Spirit is wooing her in love to come out with her voice. I think it is amazing.

Friends, if you are struggling, meditate on making your energy body bigger, taking up the room in the world for which it was meant. Create art and release your voice to realign your energy body. Flow in the love of the Holy Spirit and seek Reiki healing. Your life will surely change.

Picture used royalty-free, courtesy of k vohsen on sxc.hu

The Journey of Holy Spirit Reiki

The Journey of Holy Spirit Reiki

Reiki is a journey.

Reiki is a healing practice, but Reiki is also a lifestyle change. Reiki is an invitation into a healing dance with the Divine, a gentle tango with the Holy Spirit leading each step.

I so often see Reiki advertised as a quick solution to pain, like taking an aspirin, or, even worse, as a weight-loss method. Reiki is not a flippant “New Age” healing modality. Reiki is a powerful divine energy, the ancient practice of the laying on of hands. I believe Yeshua used Reiki as he healed the masses of people. But he didn’t just give them a quick fix; he often preached about the hard road, the lonely road, the trials to enter the kingdom. Reiki brings healing, yes, but Reiki also brings spiritual responsibility.

A Reiki session is just the beginning of the divine journey. If you contact me for a session, I will lead you into the dance with the Holy Spirit and leave you in her loving embrace. Your earthly cares and pain will melt away as you learn to flow in the healing dance.

I am a Reiki master, so I have followed this path for a long time. As a born healer, the Holy Spirit taught me this dance from a young age. As a child, I explored the world in wonder, learning secrets from the buzzing of the bees and the whispering of the trees. I have also felt the pain of others from a young age. I am an empath with a heart wide open to experiencing the pain of others while I lead them on their own path. I also learn new things from my Reiki clients and friends every day. The journey is eternal.

I believe that YHWH created us with a deep need for each other. This is not a popular idea in our individualistic, ego-driven Western culture. Compassion, sacrifice, and empathy bind us together. That is the power of Reiki healing, the Holy Spirit Reiki journey. Competition and ego drive us apart. When Reiki is sold under the spell of this energy, the result is dangerous. There are many people who tell stories of harm from negative Reiki energy. My heart cries for those wounded souls.

I invite you, friends and strangers alike, reading this blog to join me on the healing journey of Holy Spirit Reiki. It is a mystical, wonderful path, full of joy and sometimes heartache. But the end is true healing and true enlightenment.

Work Stress: Meditation as Medication

work stress graphic
Picture used under Flickr creative commons license by GDS Infographics

I had a few tough days at work last week, and I am mentally preparing myself for the beginning of a new work week tomorrow. I know many other people are struggling with the same stress of work, whether they see their job as a fulfilling career unto itself, or as a day job to pay the bills while they pursue deeper interests. There are some startling studies that show the high level of work stress around the developed world. If you click the picture I posted, you can find a larger view of this information. This post is for all of us.

I see myself primarily as a writer, healer, and spiritual teacher and student. To support these interests, I work a day job as a preschool teacher. I love the children, and I have fun playing with them, learning with them, and trying to see things through their imaginative gaze. Young children are close to heaven, and I learn new things from them about the spirit realm, a place of carefree imagination and playful child-like understanding.

My job is with a corporate early childhood center, and the business side is hard for me. There is so much pressure from above to try to perform long lists of rules which conflict each other, and to create a quality program out of less: less money, less time, less staffing. Everything is about The Bottom Line. All the normal corporate heartaches created by foolish human hierarchies.

I want to succeed, and I want to create the best environment I can for each of my children and their needs, but the pressures create a lot of stress and sometimes even depression in my life. I am learning how to overcome this. I think the key is to live a life of meditation. When the conflicting rules and confusion feel like dark storm clouds suffocating the atmosphere around me, and when the lack of support and recognition make me feel like an egg boiling in hot water and about to crack, I need to recreate the picture and imagine the peaceful still rivers living deep within my soul.

Meditation is my hiding place. Meditation is my medication.

When most people think of meditation, they imagine a yogi sitting for hours in lotus position, eyes closed in blissful stillness. They think that meditation is a specific activity to be scheduled and practiced at a certain point in their day. This is not entirely wrong. Indeed, scheduling a time to sit in meditation is a good practice for anyone’s health and sanity. Meditation is taking our gaze off our physical surroundings, problems, stresses, and refocusing our gaze to the inside, our spiritual surroundings. This does take practice.

But meditation can happen anytime, anywhere, as a relaxing, dreamy hour, or as a second of peace in the middle of the chaos. Meditation is more than a practice; it is a lifestyle. When I am surrounded by stress and pressures and human strife, I need to remember, if only for a moment, to refocus my gaze to the inside, the spirit realm that transcends all of these temporal concerns. Meditation is a great antidote for stress.

I have also been exploring recently how to use meditation as medication for my body. My job is physically demanding, so the constant lifting and walking cause my tendinitis to flare, especially when combined with the stress. I have so much chronic pain that sometimes I turn to pain drugs to calm the fire and help me get through the day. Sometimes this is the only way I can work my day job at all.

I don’t like these medications, though, and I don’t think they have great long-term effects on my body. I am learning to meditate for a short moment every time the pain strikes. This lessens the sting. In these moment-by-moment meditations, am also learning things about the origins of my pain and how to let go through my spirit and energy body. I believe that much, if not all chronic pain, exists in the spirit body as much as the physical body. I will explore this more in a future post.

I invite you to join me on this journey of learning to live a life of meditation and using meditation as a medication for your stress and pain, physical or emotional, at work or at play.

Victims, and Victory Through Perception

Victims, and Victory Through Perception

The snow falls around me,
snowflakes kissing my lashes,
tickling my nose.

I stick out my tongue
to taste the cool wetness on my lips,
and I remember the taste of peppermint
in the candy cane hot chocolate
of childhood winters.

I scoop a wet snowball
in my softly-mittened hands,
as the fast-falling flakes
circle my warm jacket
in an intimate embrace
of white.

I meditate on the moment,
knowing that, for this fleeting gesture,
this silent tick on the forward march of time,
I am at peace.

###

The snow falls around me
in a dizzying blaze of white arrows.
Sharp icicle darts,
are thrown from gray clouds
with angry, thunderous faces.

I duck my face
and cover my head against the storm.
Ice stings my eyes
as blood pounds against my reddened cheeks.

I shiver and curse the wind
that blazes through my coat and scarf,
to wraps its icy fingers around my veins.

Time ticks forward one more agonizing second,
and I wonder if I can last.
I rush forward,
blindly seeking a warm shelter,
a comforting friend,
in the frigid storm of white.

###

Victims, and Victory through Perception

This is my second Minnesota winter. I am still amazed by the vast amount of snow that falls here during the long, frigid winter months. As I watch the snow falling yet again, I am struck by the power of my thoughts.

To illustrate my point, I wrote two poems about the snow. The first is full of joy and wonder at the delights of winter; the second is full of agony and fear in the face of a winter storm. The snow remains the same, but the experiences and thoughts of the onlooker change.

Psychologists often say that your perception is your reality, and I believe this is true, for the most part. Now, some people take it so far as to say there is no such thing as a victim, there is only a “victim mentality.” I vehemently disagree with this; as long as evil exists in the world and people choose to commit evil acts, then there will be victims of the evil. I also don’t particularly like the teachings of the “The Secret.” I don’t believe that a vision board and simply thinking positive thoughts will always bring us prosperity, wealth, and happiness. YHWH, the Divine, is more interested in your spiritual prosperity, and sometimes that involves molding through the fire.

Still, when we find ourselves to be a victim of another, or of our circumstances, or even simply in pain from life’s many storms, we do have a choice how we frame the challenge in our mind. Please do not deny the pain; you must feel your emotions and listen to your heart, your inner voice, all the time. When this voice is a hurt and crying child, listen with patience and nurturing. Feel the pain, acknowledge the pain, and love yourself.

At the same time, try not to stay in the pain. With gentle words and slow, healing touches, coax that little child out to once again face the world. Re-frame the evil events in your life, the times you were victimized, and turn them into a positive. Meditate through the pain, dance over the injury, and come out victorious.

When the storm clouds gather, and the snow falls out of your sky, can you find the courage to somehow change the white daggers piercing your heart into gentle flakes kissing your eyelashes?

Peace, love, and healing, my friends.

Photo used freely, courtesy of ak-girl on stock.xchng

The Bodhi Fig Tree Journey

The Bodhi Fig Tree Journey

Legend has it that the Buddha sat under a fig tree on the day that he attained enlightenment. Perhaps this is too broad a saying; I don’t think enlightenment can be fully attained in one earthly lifetime. I believe full enlightenment will take a human soul thousands or millions of years and journeys through multiple spiritual dimensions. At any rate, meditating under the fig tree was an important part of the Buddha’s spiritual journey. This particular tree, ficus religiosa, now bears the name “Bodhi tree,” Bodhi meaning enlightenment in Sanskrit.

500 years later, another of the world’s greatest spiritual leaders had an encounter with a fig tree. Yeshua cursed a fig tree on his journey to Jerusalem during the end days of his earthly ministry. Matthew 21 and Mark 11 both tell this story. In both accounts, Yeshua saw a fig tree that was not bearing fruit, and he cursed it. During the same journey, he went to the temple and overturned the money tables.

At least that is the way the story goes in church. I think it was more like this: Yeshua became very angry at the sale of sacrifices going on in the most holy of places. Yeshua could not stand to see the oppression of the poor and the merchants turning the sacred into a sale. Coins flew to the ground like a hail storm, and doves flew overhead, confused at their sudden freedom from smashed cages. Goats ran out of the temple and down the street, somehow intuitively aware that their lives had been spared. People screamed, and the money changers cowered and cursed under their breath. Someone ran to get a priest to come help.

At the same time, something magical happened. According to the gospel of Matthew, the blind and the lame came to the temple and Yeshua healed them. I am sure the religious leaders were very angry at the destruction of their property and the disturbance inside their kingdom. But, somehow, they did not lay hand on the great healer while the sick flocked around.

What does all of this have to do with the fig tree? I believe that Yeshua was making a prophetic sign when he cursed the tree. He was saying that Israel had turned from her spiritual roots and become a fruitless tree. She no longer had the fruits of compassion and spiritual wisdom, the two greatest qualities that the Buddha also taught as the path to enlightenment.

See the connection? There is much debate as to whether Yeshua knew Buddhism or studied in India or any of these other intellectual questions. No doubt Buddhist thought, as well as many other religious and philosophical thoughts, permeated the Judean atmosphere of the time. The writings of Paul as well as world history readily demonstrate this. But whatever physical connection existed, there was certainly a spiritual connection between the ideas of the two great teachers.

So, the Buddha sat under a fig tree, and learned deep spiritual truths on his journey to enlightenment. Later, Yeshua cursed the fig tree on his journey to justice, as a sign to the people to turn back to the spiritual truths, namely the truth of compassion toward the poor and oppressed. On this same journey, Yeshua made the ultimate sacrifice of his life for the sins of the people. Maybe that is partly why he was so upset to see sacrifices both cheapened and made inaccessible by the money system. Money, and the oppression it brings, cannot exist alongside the holy, and caused the fruit of Israel’s tree to die.

Interestingly, Yeshua later told another parable about a fig tree (Matthew 24:32-42). He told his disciples to watch the sign of the fig tree, that when the leaves come out we know that summer is near. In the same way, we should watch out for the coming of the Son of Man, the establishment of true justice, and the end of earth as we know it now. Yeshua preached over and over that the greatest use of a person’s life is to inwardly prepare for the kingdom of heaven. Similarly, the Buddha taught that we must journey inward to the state of nirvana, overcoming ego, desire, want, and pain on the way. Similar teachings, deep spiritual truths. Both framed by a lowly fig tree.

Welcome to the journey of the fig tree, my friends.

 Photo used freely, courtesy of adrahon on stock.xchng

Stroller in the Snow

Photo used courtesy of Sharon Mollerus on flickr.com
Photo used courtesy of Sharon Mollerus on flickr.com

The wind howled furiously around her, like a pack of ravenous wolves ready to devour the first living thing who dared to venture out in the bitter cold. She struggled and limped through the piles of snow on the sidewalk. Her husband walked beside her, mightily pushing their three-year-old son in his stroller, wheels catching and bowing to the pressure of the flakes, hardened by wind and footprints into biting balls of ice.

The young family decided to try to walk on the street, where snow plows had helped clear a way. Almost immediately, cars veered dangerously close to the child, and drivers angrily honked their horns. “Why don’t you get a job?” one driver yelled out as he hastily rolled his window down and back up. The woman bowed her head deeper as she thought about the years of schooling, her carefully crafted thesis, her pride when she walked across the stage to receive her master’s diploma. All for what? A low-wage, low-respect job with little opportunity for advancement. But “get a job?” She did work 40 hours a week already!

Indeed, she felt lucky to have any job. On a brighter, warmer day, she had owned a car and a better job. She had just married the love of her life, and the future looked hopeful as the bright morning sun. Soon, too soon, threatening storm clouds crowded out her sun, and the rain of life circumstances stole away her job.

A year after the wedding, she and her husband joyfully welcomed their new son into the world, but the pregnancy had destroyed all of her job interviews, and the bad economy winked at the selective racism discriminating against her dark-skinned husband as he struggled to find work. The mounting bills forced the family out of their heat and then out of their home by the time the infant was only three months old. They found friends to live with for a while, and then their car become their home.

That car was good to them and took them on a journey across the country to finally find a job and pay for housing once again. Life was getting better. But then the car, creaky and cantankerous as any soul who has lived past the fullness of her days, finally breathed her last, sputtering and sighing gently into death on the side of the road.

So here they were now, battling a snowy sidewalk, empty refrigerator mocking the hollow pain in their hearts. They finally made it into the warm air of the grocery store, festively decorated with holiday trees surrounded by the sounds of Salvation Army bells and piped-in songs proclaiming Merry Christmas and peace to all. As she stomped the snow off her boots, she thought about another mother long ago. “No room in the inn or in the hearts of men,” she thought. “Maybe nothing has really changed.”

They walked the aisles of the grocery store, carefully selecting items that fit into the carefully-planned, bursting-at-the-seams budget. They were grateful for the food, though, thanking God that their stomachs would be full tonight. They brought their food to the checkout counter and pulled out their food stamp card. They felt the angry stares bore holes into their backs and burn yet another scar into their hearts. “You are not welcome here. You takers. You just take and take from those who truly work hard.” The unspoken words thickened the air. She was suffocating, drowning in their hatred.

They left the store and turned back home. The cold wind sucked the air out of their lungs, and their small child began to cough. She reached down to pull the blanket up around his face, and a tear escaped from her eye and dropped glistening on her child’s forehead. She bent down and kissed him. “I love you so much.”

A divine voice whispered in her heart, “I love you so much, too.” She stood up and looked at the sky as the sun suddenly appeared from behind a snowy cloud. A beam of warmth landed on her face.

“But, God, life was never supposed to be this way.” She sniffed back tears and struggled hard against the depression, the hopelessness that threatened to engulf her life and snuff out the sunbeams.

“I know, my child. I see the cold hearts of people, I see how they’ve forgotten their oneness and their Creator and have become evil and oppressive to each other. I see it, and I will remember. Have hope. I am coming soon to restore righteousness on the earth. One day all will be well.”

She took a step forward and the air felt a little less cold, the wind a little less strong. She smiled. She thought about how healing begins with the least of these, and, somehow, she had been chosen by the mighty Creator for this journey.

Photo used courtesy of sskies on stock.xchng
Photo used courtesy of sskies on stock.xchng

Insomnia: A clouding of the crown chakra

Insomnia: A clouding of the crown chakra

I look forward to resting at night. I want to enter the dream world, to visit the place where I put my physical body to sleep, and to awaken back into the spirit realm from which I came and to which I will someday return.

I have vivid dreams in colors beyond the grasp of human words. I dream of myself in the future, with children around me, souls I will guide and teach and perhaps babies I will welcome into my family. I dream of myself in the past, meditating under iridescent trees, staring into lakes mirroring depths of never-ending wisdom. I dream of fighting epic, fantastical battles of good and evil, scaling walls and jumping over roaring fires to rescue people from demonic forces. I learn secrets and explore worlds that I struggle to hang onto when I awaken once more.

But sometimes I have trouble accessing this place. Maybe I am too connected in the physical world, worrying about too many things. Is my life going the way I imagined? Am I happy here? Will I be able to pay my bills? How can I make my world better when I constantly bump up against a societal matrix that clips my wings and cages my freedom-longing soul?

I struggle with insomnia and sleeplessness, as do many people in the United States. A quick Google search shows that pharmaceutical companies rake in $2.7 billion dollars per year in sales of drugs to treat insomnia. There are many, many websites offering helpful advice to fall asleep. Much of this is good advice: keep your sleeping quarters pitch-dark, as any light can affect your sleep, turn off electronics an hour before bed, keep a normal sleep time and routine, use warm baths to calm down. I follow these tips. My favorite routine is to practice mediative yoga and drink chamomile tea before bed to calm my mind and prepare myself for a restful state.

But I think that there is another dimension to insomnia, a spiritual dimension. I believe that insomnia has to do with the clouding of the crown chakra. Our crown chakra connects our physical body with the spiritual dimensions “above” us. Physically, the crown chakra is located immediately above the pineal gland, which (among other things) regulates the sleep cycle. Some people argue that the pineal gland involves the third eye chakra, and I believe there is some involvement with that as well. Both chakras are necessary to access the spirit realm. Our souls connect “up high” through the crown chakra, and we “see” the mystical realms with our third eye. We close our physical eyes in sleep and open our third eye.

For right now, though, I will focus on the crown chakra. If there is a clouding or a closing of this chakra, then it will be hard for the person’s soul to access the spirit realm. I think this affects sleep, which is a journey into the spirit.

I personally sometimes struggle with a clouding of my crown chakra as I battle worry and worldly concerns. One of my greatest heart concerns is social justice in my neighborhood, my country, and on the whole planet. I carry in my heart the stories of struggle and injustice of friends and strangers everywhere. When I dwell too much on this and lose my awareness of the perfect peace and justice of the high dimensions of the spirit realm, my crown chakra becomes cloudy. I believe that Yeshua struggled with the same thing, and he spent long hours in mediation to reconnect with YHWH and the Holy Spirit to refresh release all of the stories and human suffering he saw and carried in his spirit.

I have the most issue with insomnia on Sunday evenings, going into Monday morning and the new work week. I have a day job as a preschool teacher. I love the children with all their raw energy, enthusiasm for life, and developing imaginations, but the job itself has many frustrations and difficulties inherent in working for a corporation. I tend to worry about this on Sunday nights as I go to bed, and the worry closes off my crown chakra causing sleeplessness.

Furthermore, I believe the Sunday night experience is compounded by group-think. We are all connected spiritually, so we feel each other’s thoughts, concerns, and pains. On Sunday night, many people are worried or upset about the end of the weekend and returning to their jobs the next day. This lack of contentment in the face of the work week is a serious problem in modern society. We have traded spiritual truth and oneness for greed and competition to the point that everyone, no matter their personal outlook, is forced to play the game. I am sure that many people toss and turn in bed on Monday night, feeling the weight of society and losing spiritual connection through the crown chakra.

If you are struggling with sleeplessness, try to calm and quiet your mind before bed. Meditate on unblocking the crown chakra and establishing a strong connection to spirit. Meditation is a great tool to open all of the chakras and balance the physical and spiritual parts of your existence. Here is a meditation for restful sleep that I will be using right along with you.

Sit or lay in a comfortable position, preferably in a darkened, cool room.

Put your hands over your heart and feel the warmth and love emanate from your heart throughout your entire being.

Slowly close your eyes and focus your vision inward and upward. Place your hands gently over your eyes. Feel the healing energy soothing your eyes to rest. Feel the energy prepare your body for sleep.

Imagine your crown chakra opening up. Soak up the brilliant moonlight, as all the clouds gently float away. Your reception to spirit is wide-open and full of light.

Now imagine your third eye opening and gazing on the beauty and wisdom of the spiritual realm. A place of peace and understanding awaits as you gently drift away from the weight of the physical realm. Let go of your grasp on the physical world, all your worries and concerns about your life. Embrace peace and love.

Let go of the past with its cares and its mistakes that were your tutors and companions on the journey.

Let go of the present with its cares. Do not worry about provision. The sacred Father looks after the sparrow. The holy Mother nurses the universe at her bosom. You are a beloved child and you have all you need.

Let go of the future with its cares. The future will bring hope and understanding, one step, one day at a time.

Now slowly move your hands up and rest them on the top of your head. Allow the healing energy and love to fully open your crown chakra and release any lingering cloudiness or misconception.

Feel the deep sense of peace, like a vast, untouched ocean, asking in the last dusky rays of the closing day. Allow your mind to stay in this place of peace. If you begin to see visions of the spirit realm, allow them to unfold. Imagine the vivid colors, the wisdom, the peace, the love. Stay there and play for a while.

When you are ready, slowly bring your awareness back to the present. Feel the heaviness of your body, the slowing of your thoughts. Slowly, slowly open your eyes and prepare for bed in your personal routine. If you are doing this meditation while you are laying in bed, you can keep your eyes closed and allow the visions of the spirit realm to carry you away to the dream world.

Enjoy the meditation, and I hope it helps to bring you sleep and restful dreams.

Photo used courtesy of milan6 on stock.xchng

My View on Santa Claus

Picture used freely, courtesy of marczini on stock.xchng
Picture used freely, courtesy of marczini on stock.xchng

Yesterday, a friend asked me what I think about Santa Claus. I have a three-year-old son, so this question is on my mind as we approach the holiday season.

I like the story of Saint Nicholas of Myra. He was legendary in his concern for the poor, bringing them gifts to lift their burdens. Legend says that he even paid the dowries of some poor young women so they could afford marriage and not fall into prostitution. This is amazing, and this is the kind of lesson I want my son to learn.

Unfortunately, the Santa Claus of today bears little resemblance to the saint of old. Our Santa Claus has become the happy, bearded patron saint of commercialism and corporatism. His tightly-run, efficient North Pole toy factory is a marvel of modern industrialism. His elves are willing workers who, much to the jealousy of managerial staff everywhere, never seem to gripe about hours or higher pay. To his credit, Santa Claus does provide his elves with all guaranteed basic necessities: food, shelter, health care, all in the comfort of his magical snowy village. This is far more generous than corporate America.

But his promotion of greed, and the idea of getting the latest and greatest gifts from Santa Claus, is the primary reason I choose not to promote this myth with my child. My husband tells stories of childhood Christmases in which Santa did not bring very many or any toys to his poverty-stricken family, while Santa reigned lavish gifts on his richer friends, who promptly flaunted their new treasures at school as soon as Christmas break was over. This is tragic and not a lesson I want my son to learn.

Unfortunately, I know I will have many teaching moments like this in the future, whether I teach him about Santa Claus or not, because I am raising him in a culture that is driven by ego and greed. I am already struggling with the best way to show him how to deny his ego and learn to care for the needs of all those around him. I want him to understand our human connectedness and the importance of his soul journey, both paths that are treacherous when mixed with greed, holidays or otherwise.

Another problem I have with Santa Claus is his stereotypical perpetuation of a cultural superiority. 99.9% of the time, Santa Claus is portrayed as a white man who visits children who live in nice, big suburban (or, maybe, country) homes by sliding down their chimneys. Now, I realize that this image has come down through the centuries from a European background and a time when most people probably did have chimneys, or at least fireplaces, but this image today is that of a middle-class or wealthy white family. That is not the face of my family; that is not even the face of America. What message am I really sending my mixed-race child by telling him that a White Man is responsible for Christmas presents and holds a list of all the naughty and nice things my son has done?

Considering the point of naughty and nice, this is another conflict I have with Santa Claus. No child, and no adult for that matter, is purely naughty or nice. The world exists in shades of gray. Even if Santa Claus puts all the naughty and nice acts on a scale to find out who is worthy of the gifts, who gave Santa the authority to determine the meaning of naughty and nice in the first place? If little Jimmy grabs a toy from the shelf while he sits in the cart at the store because the toy appealed to him, does that go on the naughty list, or is it simple immaturity? What about if little Jaleisha grabs a cookie from the deli and runs out of the store with it because her stomach was growling and her parent’s food stamps had run out for the month? In America, I know which child would get the most blame. Does Santa Claus think the same way? I want my son to learn how to grapple with situational morality, not lists of black and white crimes. Santa Claus does not fit very nicely with this life lesson. To that note, there is a children’s movie, Fred Claus, that I enjoy immensely that confronts these very questions.

Another children’s Christmas movie that I like with Santa Claus is Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. I’ve watched that movie with my son before. We talked about how Rudolph was special, and a very important reindeer, even though the other reindeer made fun of him because he looked different. I also talked with my son about the Isle of Misfit Toys and how there are no misfits on earth. Everyone is special and made to be loved by someone. We all must learn to love and accept each other. Rudolph is a great lesson in this.

Now, some people believe that it is wrong to lie to children about Santa Claus, to lead them to believe in supernatural myths. I actually don’t mind that part. I want my son to believe in the imaginary, see all the possibilities of the supernatural realm. I encourage him to make up stories, have imaginary friends, and believe in unicorns, dragons, fairies. How can we know whether these realms exist or not? I believe they do.

So my take on Santa Claus is that he is a cultural icon that surrounds us this time of year and my son will learn about him whether I want him to or not. I just use these moments and his questions as a springboard to teach him about the greater truths of loving and caring for each other during the holidays and all the time.

Who Am I?

Who Am I?

Who am I?

I am a lover
and a dreamer.
I am a writer and poet,
a musician,
a seer of the unseen,
a knower of the unknown.

I am free,
but I feel the bondage of
the unlearned souls
who try to shackle me
and make me follow their way.

I want to fly free as a bird,
but I am a worrier and a carer.
I feel the pain of others,
their griefs, their sorrows
and their stories
ground me to solid earth.

I am a learner,
learning to overcome fear,
fear of not having enough,
fear of no place to rest my head,
fear of no voice for my swirling thoughts.

But in the calm untouched sea
of my deepest being,
I do know.
I understand that the Creator will provide,
like a father giving good gifts,
and a mother nurturing her little ones,
not even a little bird wants
under the Creator’s watchful eye.

There are those
who live in greater fear than I.
They inhabit the passions of gluttony,
greed,
and the darkness of
Power.

They do not know who they are.
They have blinded themselves.
The do not understand
that in harming another
they perform the greatest violation
against themselves.

Photo used courtesy of milan6 on stock.xchng

Gaining New Sight

 

Photo used freely, courtesy of Brybs on stock.xchng
Photo used freely, courtesy of Brybs on stock.xchng

I have often said that I am a healer in need of healing. All of the best spiritual healers in the world have suffered many ailments. It takes deep empathy to learn the art of healing. I often pray to walk a mile in another person’s shoes so I can change my world.

Right now I am in great need of healing. I have developed a cataract in one eye that is progressing very rapidly. The diagnosis shocked me, because I am only 32 years old. As much as I know about medicine, I always thought of cataracts as only a disease of advanced age.

I have been near-sighted most of my life, so, ironically, my problem started when my eye suddenly got much better and my glasses were uncomfortable. I went to the optometrist, and she had to change my glass prescription three times in a month, ultimately cutting my prescription in half.

Unfortunately, with each prescription change, I noticed a cloud starting to descend on my vision, like looking at the world through the spreading fog of a bathroom mirror after a hot shower. I also started to lose my near vision, even as my far vision got better. This hurts me because I love to read and write, and it is becoming increasingly difficult to do so. Working on my websites has also become a challenge.

I have an appointment with another opthalmologist, but they have already said that surgery may be my only option. I do not want to follow that path right now. I had a horrible experience with ankle surgery, and I am not eager to have surgery again. I know that Western medicine has its place, but I want to pursue holistic healing first.

I am practicing Reiki and meditation with my vision. Maybe this is a life lesson for me on my spiritual path. Perhaps my spiritual vision is affecting my physical vision; a temporary foggy patch as I ascend the clouds to another level of the mountain. I also think I need to learn to rest my eyes more, just rest in general. I have a high-stress day job, and maybe resting my eyes is a way to help me learn to calm down more and let all my worries fly away.

I am also learning to empathize with those who struggle to see in any way. I have thought often lately of the story in the Bible about the blind man whom Jesus healed (Mark 8). When Jesus first put his hands on the man’s eyes, the man said he saw “people looking like trees walking around.” Jesus then put his hands on the man a second time and he was healed completely.

I always thought this story was a bit odd. Why did he see people like trees? Now I can empathize, because the blurriness and fogginess that I am experiencing looks somewhat like that description.

This story also reminds me that healing takes time. The miracle may not happen completely or at all on the first attempt, even for the greatest Healer of all time. Maybe the man was not quite ready to see. Maybe he still had fears. After all, if he had been blind for most or all of his life, learning to see, although a great gift, would completely change his identity.

This principle is also true of the first week, or the first year, or the first decade of the healing process. Healing is a soul journey as much as a physical one. I want to participate fully in this journey. I believe that I will come out the other side with my vision restored, and even better than it was before.

I bless you on the healing journey, friends, and I would appreciate if you could send a little Reiki and healing energy my way as well.

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