Archive for the ‘New Thought Journal’ Category


I woke up the morning of December 19 for work with my shirt soaked with tears. It is not a normal occurrence, but my son had a rough night of emotional pain and crawled into bed and couldn’t stop crying. Why you ask?  Well that is an intriguing story that actually started a reminiscence for long time readers.

A few years back when I was editor of socialist paper, I had a column dubbed “View from the Pew” where I would ruminate on the crossroads of the spiritual and political. As those in Canada know (or may need to re-learn) that the progressive movements started over coffee and tea in church basements in trying to build our just society.

A society that a spiritual centre dubs in their Metro paper ads as “inclusive” and my son learned far to devastatingly that this was false on the morning of December 18, which led to the tears overnight.

It was a secondary response from a pulpit that was anything but inclusive, and sadly so different from what he, in his joy, was used to feeling/experiencing.  Our world is not comfortable with those blessed and experiencing the world differently abled, we like to sidebar or over see or exclude. As some may realize, my family is not like that, when we speak of an open door for anyone, and even to loss of spiritual homes we have lived this.

So a few years back, we were attending and about to join the Roman Catholic church (I know shocking with their conservative theology, but bear with me on this)…and my sons joyful noise was addressed from the pulpit during High Mass, and y’know what the Priest came back with?  Hallejuah that there is someone so alive with love and the Spirit here today, that is how we all should be in our faith and living of love.

A faith home, that also had leadership that essentially stated all were welcome, all ages were welcome, and those raising complaints would be dealt with by the leadership for not including all God’s children.

Fast forward a few years and we are a family in a spiritual centre that speaks of inclusion, that never raises any issue with my son’s joyful noise. One time, the av guy had to come speak with us, he was respectful needing us to move from the back to the front so the sounds did not overcome the recording microphone. We got it, and even though the stadium seating stair case at SAIT Orpheus Theatre are not easy for someone with Cerebral Palsy to move down, supported by me, that is not always the strongest of backs, we made it work.

Then as my son in his grief cycle of loss, got to the point he wanted to go back to “church” to hear music, and hear about Santa…we went.  The morning music was about Santa, he was rocking in joy, and excited with pics of his buddy (Santa) up on the screen…when it happened.

The Minister decided it was time to attack as he was taking a moment to gleefully calm down. Asking him to move to the back or not make a noise while she talked. My son said No. He knew there was no option to move to the back, and by asking he was being kicked out.  With the next noise he made in glee…my son and me left. It was a hard walk up, as he did not want to go, but I could not deal with any more spiritual assault from the pulpit to my little boy. Eyes were averted.

Of this great spiritual place that boasts 9 other “deeply trained” practitioners and ministers, none followed, no members of the congregation that always said how they enjoyed my son followed to see if we were okay…sorry check that…one loan lady came running out in tears pleading for us to go back in saying he wasn’t bad, but that’s all my son could repeat:

Santa thinks I’m naughty. I spent time calming him, soothing him, reminding him no he was not naughty, this is the ugliness of prejudice that he is far to young to experience.

A few members came out to use the washroom or get a drink, he would say hi, they would not make eye contact and hustle past completely ignoring him. We were waiting as I did not want my daughter to feel the pain of being cast out to by pulling her out of Funday early.

But as we waited,

I watched the sparkle leave my son’s eye. His joy fade to a pale facade, as each of these “holy” people ran away…

my little boy who a few years earlier when we became members thanked this place for loving him…looked at me and said, “Daddy they no love me.”

Was there an outreach for an apology? A feeble attempt of the, it was handled badly moments…made worse by the centre believing they could post the video unedited of the talk, so that I actually had to contact them to deal with it in a respectful way…because that act in itself tells me you saw nothing wrong with the actions as a community, and do not see him as a full person.

But it was the ringing silence that morning that struck me…one person whose heart is bigger than her, but no one else, and those that did averted like you think we had the plague. That is when it hit me. The progressive spiritual movements were in shock when someone like Trump road a wave of lowest common denominator to the presidency and in shock asked how?

Sunday Morning December 18 when my little boy was asked to leave a spiritual gathering over joy in Santa, and all but one person in a 100+ person gathering remained silent. Sat in silent solidarity with the most vulnerable being cast out…that is how a USA 2016 election result happens, you are now part of the tipping point to the opposite of love and inclusion.

This is my humble view from my pew (or in this case padded seat in an Orpheus Theatre to a wooden bench in the SAIT Student Centre).

-30-

 


It is true, to find a place where you can truly be the true you, takes time, and effort. Sometimes one falls effortlessly into a spot, other times the journey builds up a lot of open wounds, bruises and scar tissue to truly find respite and belonging.

My journey has been an in between, sadly some placed we thought availed of spiritual belonging attacked the youngest of us (still a certain Lutheran Church sadly my son cannot go by the parking lot of without having a meltdown) or a certain non-denom cult that the humour of being kicked out for a bible study invite still stays with the wifey…yet there is a spiritual home for everyone….it is just about finding the right hole to fit your peg, the right puzzle piece that connects…

And yes even with diverse family units such as ours there is a puzzle that can fit all our pieces. Currently I feel we are in such a place. One where the kids can grow, we can grow, and it is not necessarily because of what happens with each Sunday, or even all the courses/workshops offered at the Calgary Centre for Spiritual Living, although they help the curious learners within…

Nope, it is the type of puzzle that allows your mosaic to thrive, so not just fitting into an ideology or dogma, but a place where you can think and grow as you are meant to within the Spirit and the Spirit within. A place that allows for questions, diversity and evolution of the self and the whole. A holistic communion if you will.

For our family, it is that place to belong, for we can still be curious, we can still journey outside of the metaphoric four walls of the Centre and sample other things, grow in other ways (Nods to you Unity of Calgary and UCM Alberta)…and know that no judgment is held when we come home with new ideas to banter about.

It is through authentic belonging, that then authentic purpose can be realized for all within the family and community for there is no falsity in fitting in, or trying to be something or one you are not. Regardless of life lived, or being lived, or who you love, or what path you are one, or ability/differently abled there is always a way to realize where Spirit calls and a community to walk with in realizing that call.

Just thoughts that percolate in the work I do in aiding others in building home and coming to peace in my own self as I truly am at a place of Thy own self be true if you will.


It has been a unique staycation. It started with 3 days on my Dad’s farm, which actually allowed for a complete decompression before returning to the city to move forward into a new reality. Yes the art of relaxation is to create that space of release and renewal.

But what continues that? Part of it is the Shadow/Soul/Self-work to release the energy sludge that holds us back, and letting our Chakra’s renew and burn it away as it leaves our system. This renews the spiritual self.

But what of our physical world? We live in a world that tells us we desperately need the newest, best, brightest! That our drive is the accumulation of belongings, money and wealth in such away. Yet what is wealth?

It begins with wholeness of character, that starts with passion, and knowing what you are meant to do in life. Then from there it is looking at our physical surroundings, yes these things have been useful in our life up to this point. But what is being kept simply out of duty? Out of tradition? Out of not knowing what that space would be like without that there?

For the release of the physical of things creates space and peace in our physical environments that becomes contagious to our own being. The question though is are we willing to peel the onion of our own homes, briefcases, purses, to see what can be found when that we simply have because that is what has already existed is released whether it is garbage, recycled, given to a non-profit or a thrift store…what does the face feel like now? what is new space saying about whom you are and how to use it? How comfortable are you to release the old? To allow the space to sit empty when it hasn’t been before?

What does how we keep our homes say about our inner self?

What happens when both are brought into a healthy vibration with one another?

Are you up for the challenge?

This week off has been quite productive in continuing a renewed life of simplicity and watching things that no longer serve us in the now go forward into the flow to bless others.

Are you ready to renew?


quote

Slide from Calgary Centre for Spiritual Living on April 10, 2016

It was new member Sunday at the Calgary Centre for Spiritual Living and as such it was centered on what the quote above speaks to—Belonging. It was only last year that the family joined, and I still remember my son, through his spastic speech speaking clearly into the microphone after quite a few tumultuous and judgmental spiritual homes for him say, “Thank you for loving me.”

This is the heart of the Sanskrit word that title’s this post, belonging; it speaks Anthropologically to the idea of Tribe, and for the type of work I do, the concept of H-O-M-E.

So as one travels through life, there are a few things that shape us.

  1. Purpose-that is vocation something that adds meaning to our lives.
  2. Belonging-that place or places where we know we fit and are loved.

That is what spiritual centres, political parties, sports teams, book clubs, the list goes on and on in the area of face to face gatherings are about. It truly is like the Cheers’ theme song from the 1980’s to go to a place where everyone knows your name.

For our walk as a species though, do we create barriers for others that halt them being able to find belonging? Being able to find Home? Purpose? just because we would rather label? Or do we open up our communities for all, and see how the jigsaw pieces fit together for a true Sangha to be created…for it takes all types to flourish as a society.

Let’s be honest, it also takes many types of tribes together to build a healthy nation.

 


Okay I am prepped for the hate mail on this one, but in regards to the new Fantastic 4 (yes with the teen cast, and the African-American Johnny Storm) I need to go on the record that this was a true Fantastic Four adventure.I know in Marvel fandom it is a fun past time to pan all the Fantastic Four movies, much like one does Wolverine Origins or X-Men Last Stand.

However, I have viewed all 3 of the FF movies, and loved them. These are stories of family, science fiction and adventure. So I must admit I was a fan, loved the team growing up was saddened when Marvel made the decision to pull the plug on the series (although with their mega event to mega event one really can’t get into a series cheaply anymore).

However, back to the reason of this post. It was a re imagining of the origin of the Fantastic Four. Quite priceless tying in new scientific ideas and theories from physics, but also seeing how these super powers would come to be within the scope of science themselves.

It dealt with the idea family not being about blood, but about belonging. This was seen by the fact the Storm’s adopted Susan (Sue) from Kosovo. But the updates rung true in our New World Order.

Think of a wealthy foundation cherry picking the smartest kids to work on making inter-dimensional travel a reality. The American Military watching these experiments to see what could be weaponized. As well, how would the government react and try to usurp new youths with hyper skills tied to their personalities?

I do recommend this movie for fun to watch, but also as a movie for a discussion group. The topics that can be conversed around are?

  1. the should/could questions of science,
  2. what is family?
  3. what is home?
  4. what is belonging?
  5. What is one’s responsibilities in choices?

Once again the four colour world can raise ethical questions for our existing world today. The power of story. The power of family.


Reverberate the soul?

It is a staple in life coaching, that if you get the client to move their body they can shift their mind. It is a tactile use of oneself to move into the new reality. This can be done for rolling with resistance, shifting perspectives, or learning new realities.

Yet it is not some new age wonder, na, it is as ancient as well the ancients (aliens or otherwise). Within my monastic teachings and learning this is a reality. Think of the holy pilgrimage where you wander into new realities to discover a new vocation or call; same as the vision quest, or the labyrinth.

The Labyrinth is the most microcosmic look at this concept, one way in and one way out. As you walk towards the centre you hold onto your old reality; and in the centre sit with the grief of the release of the old, and welcoming in the new, then holding onto the new as you walk out and allow it to take root into your being.

So from the wisdom of the ancients to the knowledge of today, if you want to discover the true you…get moving 🙂

 

 


It is a funny question, and usually how we identify ourselves in new social settings. “What do you do?” It is not some deep existential question looking for validation of vocational calling, rather it is the question of what one does for work to earn money, and then based on occupation and how many spaces on the pay cheque before the decimal point one can assess if you “fit” their societal grouping.

Also along the lines if you mention an impressive job title are questions around your education.

Then there is the abnormality. I pride myself on being the abnormality, when folks here what I do, and the education I have they get the deer caught in the headlights, evil robot short circuiting eye glaze. It is one of the little joys of life. But isn’t bragging about oneself the point of Linkedin and not conversation of getting to know one another at beyond a superficial level?

My kids tell people I give people homes. Many believe I am in real estate, no that is buying and selling housing. An admirable role, but not mine. I believe in homes for everyone, and that is what I do. I walk alongside and aid my neighbours in becoming part of community and growing themselves a home.

I should say this is something I stumbled into, but really it was a path laid out that I chose from a young age. My parents taught me to speak out for what I believed in, to question and critically analyze societal issues, and to be welcoming to the other. I mean c’mon I grew up a child of `78 and was part of a peace march in elementary school to get Gorbachev’s attention to speak out on ending the Cold War.

I was a teenage journalist and activist challenging politicians and world leaders to understand that policy decisions were not just words on paper but affected people as a whole and individually. Yes I was one of those pains in the butt and even ran for office. I lived what the Creator laid on my soul by building communities of welcome for those we like to segregate by labels: homeless; youth; seniors; young adults; differently abled; mentally ill… think of a few more can you? The drive was a label-less world.

Follow your heart

-My Daughter, Justina, age 8, Calgary Centre for Spiritual Living

Some may read these words and say with a drive like that your home life growing up must have been perfect hell. That’s a nugatory. I had an amazing childhood with loving family, that encouraged my dreams and passions. Let us as children to develop into the adult’s we were meant to be, and to shape beliefs that resonated beyond the surface level. They showed us what a home was, and this is what everyone deserves regardless of situation and with proper supports it can be achieved.

See that is why I do what  I do…because it is part of my created being. I have answered J.S. Woodsworth’s over 100 year old question, who is my neighbour? It is each and every person I connect with in this world.

Discover your passion, then figure out a way to make a living at it.

-My Dad, Wayne Ragan, to me 16 years old in a Marketing Research Project at Lester B. Pearson High School.

So why do I do what I do?

Four little letter everyone desires, deserves, and I have been blessed to know deeply.

H-O-M-E.