Posts Tagged ‘soul work’


It is amazing how the stories in Judges can sooo illustrate Gremlin-Saboteur work. It is the challenge as I have written about many times, rooting into yourself for that voice (s) that are tearing you down. Acting as the invaders in the land that chapter 3 opens with:

Now these are the nations that the Lord left, to test Israel by them, that is, all in Israel who had not experienced all the wars in Canaan. It was only in order that the generations of the people of Israel might know war, to teach war to those who had not known it before. These are the nations: the five lords of the Philistines and all the Canaanites and the Sidonians and the Hivites who lived on Mount Lebanon, from Mount Baal-hermon as far as Lebo-hamath. They were for the testing of Israel, to know whether Israel would obey the commandments of the Lord, which he commanded their fathers by the hand of Moses. So the people of Israel lived among the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. And their daughters they took to themselves for wives, and their own daughters they gave to their sons, and they served their gods

-Judges 3:1-6 (English Standard Version)

One can descend into an argument around the veracity and historicity of the stories in Judges. But when one is looking at post-exilic or during exile time, these ancient stories are there to reassure those in bondage that there is a way out. A pathway back to the Holy, it uses war language, because if they are historic it probably was war, if not, it is a metaphor that one understood in exorcising demons from yourself. The battle. The fact that your God is superior to the other God because, well, your nation one the war.

I point this as a story that speaks to the internal battle for wholeness and authenticity, because the enemy (demon) is named. Just like when we deny the Gremlin within us, we name it, we create its image, we write out the lies that it tells that we believed or did keep us safe, a thanksgiving for that period (an honouring and an honesty about what was truly happening); then making the decision to win the war, destroy the Gremlin.

In a way, in the short term work, what is seen is a life coach in the form of the short judge exercises in getting Israel back on track to their whole beings:

7 And the people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the Lord. They forgot the Lord their God and served the Baals and the Asheroth.Therefore the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, and he sold them into the hand of Cushan-rishathaim king of Mesopotamia. And the people of Israel served Cushan-rishathaim eight years. But when the people of Israel cried out to the Lord, the Lord raised up a deliverer for the people of Israel, who saved them, Othniel the son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother. 10 The Spirit of the Lord was upon him, and he judged Israel. He went out to war, and the Lord gave Cushan-rishathaim king of Mesopotamia into his hand. And his hand prevailed over Cushan-rishathaim. 11 So the land had rest forty years. Then Othniel the son of Kenaz died.

-Judges 3:7-11 (English Standard Version)

The coach was in. The coach was asking the powerful questions to seek out the true self. In this story, it is a battle to root out and destroy that which was holding back. In a coaching session, the powerful questions will help you drill down away from fluff, to what your actual goal may be, what you are actually seeking, or rooting out the Gremlin that is holding you back.

I also love, how it points out that there is a time when the work is happening, and there is peace. Peace does not always mean static, it means we are doing what is working for that time to keep us healthy and moving forward, but life is a long game and new experiences bring new challenges. Those new challenges bring new supports into our lives:

 And the people of Israel again did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, and the Lord strengthened Eglon the king of Moab against Israel, because they had done what was evil in the sight of the Lord. 13 He gathered to himself the Ammonites and the Amalekites, and went and defeated Israel. And they took possession of the city of palms. 14 And the people of Israel served Eglon the king of Moab eighteen years.

15 Then the people of Israel cried out to the Lord, and the Lord raised up for them a deliverer, Ehud, the son of Gera, the Benjaminite, a left-handed man. The people of Israel sent tribute by him to Eglon the king of Moab. 16 And Ehud made for himself a sword with two edges, a cubit[a]in length, and he bound it on his right thigh under his clothes. 17 And he presented the tribute to Eglon king of Moab. Now Eglon was a very fat man. 18 And when Ehud had finished presenting the tribute, he sent away the people who carried the tribute. 19 But he himself turned back at the idols near Gilgal and said, “I have a secret message for you, O king.” And he commanded, “Silence.” And all his attendants went out from his presence. 20 And Ehud came to him as he was sitting alone in his cool roof chamber. And Ehud said, “I have a message from God for you.” And he arose from his seat. 21 And Ehud reached with his left hand, took the sword from his right thigh, and thrust it into his belly. 22 And the hilt also went in after the blade, and the fat closed over the blade, for he did not pull the sword out of his belly; and the dung came out. 23 Then Ehud went out into the porch[b] and closed the doors of the roof chamber behind him and locked them.

24 When he had gone, the servants came, and when they saw that the doors of the roof chamber were locked, they thought, “Surely he is relieving himself in the closet of the cool chamber.” 25 And they waited till they were embarrassed. But when he still did not open the doors of the roof chamber, they took the key and opened them, and there lay their lord dead on the floor.

26 Ehud escaped while they delayed, and he passed beyond the idols and escaped to Seirah. 27 When he arrived, he sounded the trumpet in the hill country of Ephraim. Then the people of Israel went down with him from the hill country, and he was their leader. 28 And he said to them, “Follow after me, for the Lord has given your enemies the Moabites into your hand.” So they went down after him and seized the fords of the Jordan against the Moabites and did not allow anyone to pass over.29 And they killed at that time about 10,000 of the Moabites, all strong, able-bodied men; not a man escaped. 30 So Moab was subdued that day under the hand of Israel. And the land had rest for eighty years

-Judges 3:12-30 (English Standard Version)

Survival. Gold. Riches. Prestige. Fame. These are all stumbling blocks that can take one out of affirming their true self, and into the realm of denial. It can create cycles of self-harm, perhaps addiction, or other behaviours or illnesses that mask one’s descent into the shadow self. When our body is out of tune with our whole being, when we are living in dissonance between our values, physical life, emotional life, and spiritual being it has huge effect upon us. It creates a bad holistic system as we are disjointed, it is like driving a high way in a Red River Cart, or perhaps a vehicle unbalanced with 2 of 4 tires being spare donuts.

Has there been a time when you know you are not being true to yourself?

This is the story of Ehud’s emerging as a judge. Israel was not being true to who they were. They had sold out to what was the here and now. The short cut to who they believed they were meant to be, not wanting to do the work to ensure all came along healthily and were cared for. The fast pace of change that loses many along the way, causes pain, and in the end it may look glorious, but it is like a Jenga tower balancing on the precipice of the bottom centre block.

Ehud is the judge of deep soul work or psychotherapy for the person, the one that helps you delve back into your true valued self and deal with the B.S. that has torn you down.

After him was Shamgar the son of Anath, who killed 600 of the Philistines with an oxgoad, and he also saved Israel.

-Judges 3:31 (English Standard Version)

In case you need a refresher in relapse of the old life that was tearing you apart, here comes the sponsor Judge Shamgar, to aid you in cleaning up the new soul sludge.

This is the first three judges (life coaches, spiritual directors, sponsors, therapists) in discovering and renewing the authentic you when you slip back into the gremlin voices.

The stories of Judges remind us, that life is a process. It is about the process not perfection, for when we do reach the goal, we need to still believe in who we are.

 

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The back and forth one just has to ponder the questions and reports Paul got back from Corinth. He enters into a situation of basically bringing forth the ideal of not just speaking, but acting from the heart (2 Corinthians 4) . Paul uses a Platonic structure of spirit and mass being separated, but there is a deeper glean for us, as we look upon the light that emerges and shines forth. A hearer will know that it is about no longer compartmentalizing, entering into authentic relationship with self is the first step. Yes, that is the scariest sentence of authenticity ever, YOU AUTHENTIC WITH YOU. That is when the light bursts through the sludge and into the outside world.

This leads into the rallying cry of building upon personal wholeness to spread the word (2 Corinthians 5) of reconciliation with God. Now, many have heard this rallying cry and see it as a formula, a personal sinner’s prayer, a certificate, a check box and move on. This is not what Paul is putting out. It was not a quick prayer and check box that brought the light out of you (me), rather it was and is a continual journey of new discoveries of ways we are within and through the Holy Mystery, that some religions have termed God.

It is the true concept of Truth and Reconciliation. We know the life we have lived, we can share it, but should not focus on it, get the healing necessary in whatever form it takes, move forward in new life, new community (reconciliation) is the true rallying cry. Reconciliation of self, neighbour within the Holy Mystery and I wonder if this was the pursuit of the organization of Church Inc./Christendom, personal and communal health and wholeness, not numbers in the pews and dollars in the bank account if there would be a tectonic shift in the health of our world’s shared soul consciousness?

Working together with him, then, we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain. For he says,

“In a favorable time I listened to you,
and in a day of salvation I have helped you.”

-Epistle of 2 Corinthians 6:1-2 (English Standard Version)

Bridging into the journey further. Soul work is personal, and corporate. The journey of life recovery, healing, change, it all comes to what needs to be let go of (good or ill) and what is being welcomed in, prototyped, created and crystalized in the new reality (2 Corinthians 6). It is a simple message, be open to all, but invest in those that are showing a desire for growth and change. For it is intentional relationships that shape and change the hearts and souls, and aid folks in finding their wholeness in this life. In organizations, churches, we usually have an idea and then seek the person to fill it. It is a Protestant work ethic thing, but what changes if instead we discover the true vocational hearts of those who are engaged and see what emerges from that?

New living life for self and community.

But know you are not alone. It is not just empty words we speak, but words and actions that come from our newly reformed hearts. Paul enters the hard part of any enterprise, when some gatherings need help, and financial at that. He is touching upon collection for the struggling gathering in Jerusalem, it truly becomes a Franciscan moment for the ancient church in Corinth; true Jesus time to be of the mendicants (open hand), understanding where the blessings have come from and to share it (2 Corinthians 7-9). It goes beyond just money though, as these words can resonate a bit deeper into what it means to be part of a vibrant community sharing gifts. Yes, we default to the easiest in any enterprise that being money. But there is talents each person has that can be brought out to grow a better world, and sometimes the gift of time is priceless, still remember mentoring at risk youth and the simple stat that 1 hour a week given to a youth radically reduces their risk from high to minimum—having just one adult that put time into them. As well, in the dementia wards as a chaplain, with simple Bible readings, and listening to where they each were in their lifespan, and the simple gospel songs seeing the transformations of passion. Simple passions, talents, and time shared for a better piece of the world.

To Paul opening up the volley of the attacks directed to him. There is a power surge in Corinth is appears and the goal is to remove Paul’s oversight, but also to establish a command and control structure (2 Corinthians 10-13). Slander, gossip, media, false testimony (lies) all driven by love of power, position and money. Obviously by the third planned visit of Paul, the Corinth gathering is a powerful little gathering with money.

Paul is presented as a false apostle, and that which is driving the underbelly is what is put upon him as “truth”. When you look at false accusations in organizations it does come to pass that which is being passed off in the hatchet job of a person with a decent character is that which the person flinging the mud (or in this case group) wants to hide. Paul lays it out stating that it is time to go on the record, and produce the evidence and witnesses.

A put up or shut up moment. A moment that religions of all stripes need to have when looking upon leadership abusers, but also of predatory communities of wolves. It is time in the soul work, to put up or shut up. To move into authentic being, or simply fade away.

The hardest soul work of any journey for a person can be endings of tenures, times in careers, passing of loved ones, or health crisis. In communities there is also a life span that many miss, they assume eternal continuance. But really it does come down to need, health of the organizational leadership, finances, passion of the gathered, and overall health of the community—and purpose. A health purpose moves through most transitions.

The letters to the soul were the hard questions laid out by Paul to Corinth.

If you were to write letters to the soul to your organization, group or community how would they read? What would be your challenges, your persistent thorn in the flesh?

How would it look to live out the beliefs?

What changes when you connect to the heart-soul self and it shines out?

Are you ready to become authentic with you?


The canonical gospels and Acts of the Apostles shows the quick declaration of belief. It is a declaration that comes quickly for those who do not see themselves as complete. For those seeking value, and being seen as a complete human being, citizens wanting to embrace their inherent worth and not be trapped in caste by labels of religiousity, socio-econimics, culture or race to name but a few. The Epistles are like the Prophets and Wisdom literature of the Hebrew Bible, they shake out the nuts and bolts of the new life recovery journey. One of the key pieces in either harm reduction or abstinence approaches that is missed, is the social transformation that needs to happen. That is the way one lives, and those that are within their social circle changes to keep up the new healthier lifestyle. This is the work found within the Corinthian correspondence (1 Corinthians 2:1-5).

Paul opens up the conversation reminding of the journey’s beginning, and that they have tools at their disposal for the life challenges ahead. That is the grief cycles they will enter into, even if the life had not been affirming of their inherent self-worth, it would still be missed as the change takes one out of the normal:

Yet among the mature we do impart wisdom, although it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to pass away. But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But, as it is written,

“What no eye has seen, nor ear heard,
nor the heart of man imagined,
what God has prepared for those who love him”—

10 these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. 11 For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.12 Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God.13 And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual.[d]

14 The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. 15 The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. 16 “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.

-1 Corinthians 2:6-16 (English Standard Version)

Some would call this intangible wisdom the Akashic Records; some as we have seen in Alienbrews believe it is extra-terrestrial; or other understandings of the Holy Spirit (ghost, breath, cosmic dust, within the Holy Mystery and Holy Mystery within you). It is about the journey of wholeness. That is the wisdom that one ties themselves to, allows for the soul work to understand how and why you were created. What is the grander purpose of your being? This is the ongoing soul work of the life, once you have acknowledged the Holy that exists within, and denied the soul sludge that kept the light hidden.

It is this search you need to hold to as you enter into the exploration of the divisions in the church. Human divisions that are seen in many organizations (1 Corinthians 3), such as in academia we are this faculty or that, in religion this denomination or that, this career or that, within organizations and institutions this department or this level of hierarchy; all of them false divisions and ones that Paul was pointing out as folly as stating if they were of Apollos or Paul. The true wisdom is knowing to set aside the labels, and the positional leadership or prestige. It is entering into the journey of growth and discovery, like an infant to a toddler, moving from formula to solid food, and the slow addition of solid foods so one’s system can figure out likes and dislikes, tastes, digestions and allergies.

It is taking the emerging soul work on the grief journey and understanding it transcends outward labels to the most important inward labels of the transcendent Holy Mystery of Love (God); that it intertwines one’s love of self and neighbour. Once this becomes centered the petty squabbles begin to evaporate for the ego is removed, and the living falsity of only desiring money and power is gone.

This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found faithful. But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by any human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself. For I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me. Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation from God.

-Epistle of 1 Corinthians 4:1-5 (English Standard Version)

Soul Work. Some call it spiritual direction or life coaching or therapy. Perhaps all three, that bring daily practice into our lives that allows us to hear the still small quiet voice within. The Holy Mystery’s voice of guidance to true identity; as Paul writes to Corinth- purpose of the heart (1 Corinthians 4:6-21).

How different would our communities be if we truly knew our heart purpose?

And lived it?


Somewhere’s between 62 CE and 150 CE someone who may have been Paul or a Pauline disciple wrote to the gatherings in Ephesus.

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God,

To the saints who are in Ephesus, and are faithful[a] in Christ Jesus:

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Epistle of Ephesians 1:1-2 (English Standard Version)

The gatherings, young Timothy led for a time. The great port cities of the Empire in Asia Minor. When there was a rise and run of persecution executions, but mostly economic exclusions. It was not meant to address specific heresies or issues, but rather to expand the soul of the gathering in their faith lived.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places,even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us[b]for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known[c] to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ 10 as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.

11 In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, 12 so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. 13 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is the guarantee[d] of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it,[e] to the praise of his glory.

-Epistle of Ephesians 1:3-14 (English Standard Version)

I love how many read these words of predestination and have shaped it into this understanding that even before creation some have been selected to paradise and others destruction. I mean slow down your heart and think of that for a moment. A resonating of hope and love, and then a Creator that would create just to torment?

Uhm, No.

What is being expanded here in the soul work is the understanding that all have been created to be their true self. Through our own world of the shadows, through the gremlins and saboteurs our subs-conscious, ego and others have built into us…we are unable to connect. This is the guarantee though that all are able, and all will at one point or another whether in this life or the next.

For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love[f] toward all the saints, 16 I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, 17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, 18 having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might 20 that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. 22 And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.

-Epistle of Ephesians 1:15-23 (English Standard Version)

The life, death and rebirth of Brother Jesus becomes the allegory of the life of each of us. The symbol of Baptism (or other ritual honouring the end of the old, and beginning of the new) shows the path. That we are the new-old creation. The one meant to be. It is a shocking writing here, for it pushes through the exclusion attempting to overwrite itself on a religion struggling for survival. When in the darkness one has the drive to shutter away, whether it is grief, depression, anxiety or other even the ancients knew that you must find a safe place to step back into the light.

The writer was reminding the gathering of this.

And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body[a] and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.[b] But[c] God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

-Epistle of Ephesians 2:1-10 (English Standard Version)

Showing that existence outside of the Source is about the compartmentalizing of one’s being. That is when we separate the spiritual, emotional, physical and mental from other pieces. When we approach ourselves this way it becomes easy to loop into despair, and spiral into darkness. It becomes easy to supplant care and treatment, with addiction. It becomes easier for others to see the addictive behaviour as the source not the symptom. These are fallacies we still fall into.

It is about diving deeper. For where love exists is first in ourselves and discovering that. Silencing the voices and sludge energy, purging it. So our love of self can be shaped for others. This is the root of hope. It brings peace to the holistic self. It allows one to feel authentic joy. It is a step of faith to first achieve self love.

Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called “the uncircumcision” by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands— 12 remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility 15 by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, 16 and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. 17 And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father.19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens,[d] but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. 22 In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by[e] the Spirit.

-Epistle of Ephesians 2:11-22 (English Standard Version)

Hitting home that if we continue out of fear, then the darkness buries the light (like under a bushel). We may have work (toil), we may have housing (shelter) but we do not have purpose, and we do not have a home. For a home is where there is no false divisions. The writer in discussing the legalism reminds the reader of Paul’s own journey of acceptance by the Way. The Apostles were fearful that one who had once hunted them was now trying to work with them. Could he be trusted? Was there a change? How would they know?

These are the questions of one emerging from the darkness. Whether it is illness, addiction or despair. From a life of crime or of trying to fit the usual. That is of being what you were not meant to be.

Stepping into who you are meant to be, is stepping into the labyrinth that daily will take you to your core- the love heart of the Holy Mystery.

 For this reason I, Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus on behalf of you Gentiles— assuming that you have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace that was given to me for you, how the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have written briefly. When you read this, you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit. This mystery is[a] that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.

Of this gospel I was made a minister according to the gift of God’s grace, which was given me by the working of his power. To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in[b] God, who created all things, 10 so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. 11 This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord, 12 in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him. 13 So I ask you not to lose heart over what I am suffering for you, which is your glory.

-Epistle of Ephesians 3:1-13 (English Standard Version)

It is a beautiful image for any who have struggled for change in the world. As I wrote in reflections on 2 Thessalonians. It is about hearing from the margins, those that are forgotten by society and what it means for them to belong. This is what the writer is reminding the hearers of. The times Paul was in prison, that others say he was suffering, he is pointing out that sometimes being locked away becomes the strongest message to the world. This was seen with Nelson Mandela in South Africa, and Martin Luther King Jr, with his writing from his own cell.

The jarring nature when others here what is happening. Especially with Paul being a once celebrated citizen of the Empire, it shows how much he believes in the cause of equality and universal love. That he is willing to put his own reputation and being on the line to ensure the message gets out.

It also is a metaphor for our own chains we wear before coming into our true being. How we allow the usual world to shackle us, and we accept it as it is. Without question. Then there comes that time in everyone’s life when,

a question arises.

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family[c] in heaven and on earth is named, 16 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

20 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

-Epistle of Ephesians 3:14-21 (English Standard Version)

As the writer illustrates with this chapter’s closing, when the question arises we have two choices: ignore it, or live into it. Whether it is through contemplation, mulling, journalling, art, dance, prayer, meditation, energy work- the soul work is living into the question.

As we enter into 2019, when the questions arise:

will you live into it?


Psychologically speaking denial is the conscious or unconscious act of avoidance or locking away of the negative (or positive in some cases) experiences/emotions that will cause detriment to one’s mental, emotional or physical well-being. The extension of this denial can actually trigger unconsciously and systematically that which it is trying to avoid. Metaphysically and holistically denial in spiritual work is something different. And that is where the Skype conversation at book club (due to Calgary’s snow day) commenced. It is a practice many spiritualists already have if not named.

Rev. Linda Martella-Whitsett’s work is the pre-course to becoming a prayer chaplain in the Unity Movement. For anyone who does prayer work, energy work or holistic work I would suggest her 2011 How to Pray Without Talking to God: Moment by Moment Choice by Choice for its constant reminder that we are within the Divine (Holy Spirit) and that is where our identity and self is anchored. I will be more blunt than her eloquent words, but we are not the labels placed upon us by society. Contrary to many “money makers” of religion, spirituality or metaphysics– we do not manifest the negative in our lives. Well duh.

Which brings us into the conversation on denial in this context. It is not avoidance or suppression, it is cleansing, or in Martella-Whitsett’s words (p.83):

Constipation in the body is relieved by following a treatment plan. First, you ingest a purgative that rouses the organs of elimination. Second, you await the outcome in a supportive environment, however many hours it takes. Third, you sit on the pot, relax and release. Finally, you flush. 

This is the way we deal with a physical blockage in our systems. Spiritual denial is the same kind of process as she writes (p.84):

First, you are provoked by a niggling realization that you are filled with false beliefs. Second, you heighten your spiritual awareness through study, prayer and meditation. Third, you cultivate a consciousness of denial by your words, leading to elimination of false beliefs. Finally, you flush- it is finished- with an emphatic Amen.

Denial is doing the work to rid yourself of the destructive shadow. It is

bookthe gremlins-saboteurs laid bare and flushed out through laxative of the soul. It is the soul work that with other care (medical, mental health, spiritual) can create a healthy you. It is the system flushing that allows for authentic affirmation work. Not the trite- fake it til you make it- post it note to believably- catch all. Though within this stage the post it notes will be more real to you.

As the Rev. takes us through more soul work, this gem is found on page 94 in regards to affirmations (post system flushing or to have regular up keep on said system):

Feelings must be engaged. … If your intellect crafts wonderful words, but your heart does not believe them, your affirmation frustrates rather than supports. You experience inner conflict rather than inspiration.

For authentic denial is the flushing of the false shadow self, authentic (realization) affirmation (thinking) is tapping into our true Divine Self/Nature/Truth. It is the hardest soul work, for all these words must grow out of our whole being (heart and mind) not just an intellectual exercise.

When it happens it is beautiful, healing, and igniting of a (re)newed you. It can also reveal the new path the labyrinth of life is taking you too.

Or as Charles Fillmore (Co-Founder of Unity) would say:

I fairly sizzle with zeal and enthusiasm and spring forth with a mighty faith to do the things that ought to be done by me. (from Atom Smashing Power of Mind, 1949).

Where is the sizzle in your life to do what ought to be done by you?

When I Smudge…

Posted: September 13, 2018 by Ty in Belonging Pyramid, Spirituality
Tags: , , , ,

Today’s guest column is a proud Daddy moment. When folks always wondered why I believe in doing things inter-generationally- why our book groups, bible study, movie nights, political events are always all ages… it is for the discipleship by osmosis that happens. My daughter is a storyteller growing into her own Wisdom Keeper, and lover of Mother Earth. She will have the opportunity to share her wisdom later this month vocally, but I share it here, for as the younger generations learn from us, so we learn from them:

By Justina

Smudge 1

“I smudge my heart so I can feel good things”

Smudge 2

“I feel connected in my heart to the spirits that are visiting me, when I smudge”

Smudge3

“I smudge for the people I love and care about…”

People have asked what I mean when I say do the Soul Work… well when my daughter Smudge’s and reflects… Soul Work.


As we move through the Ancient Teaching, Modern Learning series it is quite easy to just look at the teachings and action items as an out there. An attempt to change our broader society and community. This is true, but it is only one part of the learning that must always be kept at the forefront. There is also the interior change. These teachings were challenging societal norms that did harm, and left communities and individuals in intergenerational trauma, only put value on a person for what they could amass as wealth, and anything seen as less than “perfect” as something to be expunged. It was these norms that fed the eugenics movement that would emerge out of what was meant as good with the Social Gospel movement, for it still created category of other.

This is not right. In the global world we must surrender the concept of other.

In our own interior castle though we must surrender other. That is the other rooms we refuse to enter: the dark basement, the attic, perhaps the wing that has been sealed off. Where must the light shine through? Where must we honour the blessings that challenge the norm? Where we hold in tension in change, and see what is true and right to move forward?

These were the unknowns when Jesus started travelling and teaching. He was nothing more than a general labourer from a small village, rumoured at the least to be  a bastard son, at worst half-Roman (due to the concept women were nothing more than receptacles and all non-Empire citizens were property, meant Mary could’ve been with child due to rape). Someone that was not meant to be seen as a messiah, or be as learned as a wisdom teacher.

Yet here was one in communion with the Holy Mystery. Open like many who do not fit the typical mold we state for “humanity”, that was able to speak and live outwards. One who was able (as many are) to recognize, neighbour, in not just those who were the same, but those who were blessedly different in the rainbow. It was this Hodge podge rabble that had begun to collect. Where men, women and children were called as persons. Many meals were shared, money and goods were shared from whomever made it, and whatever role needed to be filled was not fully defined by the gender (note the many times the women take the lead throughout Gospel stories? Including in going to the tomb?). It was here that they had traveled, and come to a Mount.

A mount where the Decalogue (10 Commandments) had been brought down by Moses to those escaping another unjust society, seeking a just society, but had interior work to do as well. Now Jesus, sat, ate, talked, laughed, I would say with kids around probably played. Let’s be honest his followers had families or not, there is a high probability Jesus had a wife and kids to at some point. This was a family picnic and a chance to begin to unpack what it meant to live in the Love Covenant. And Jesus opens up with what are seen as blessings (Beatitudes):

When Jesus[a] saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

“Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.

10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11 “Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely[b] on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

-Matthew 5:1-12 (New Revised Standard Version)

Who are the poor in spirit? And why is the Kingdom theirs? The Kingdom is not the next life, it is the world created here and now where everyone belongs. Who were the poor in spirit? The ones the religious stated were not holy—the disabled, the sick, the poor, the single parents, the widows, the orphans (any oppressed group)—basically the victims of a world that wanted the non “pure” wiped away. Sounding familiar? What soundtrack is playing in the poor in spirit’s mind if everyone around them is telling them hate? What happens when the action is turned, a community welcomes? We ponder how to extremism, gangs, addictions (the list can go on)…and it comes from a place of being welcomed, loved and accepted. Something society has always resisted as we resonate on the “other”. Living in fear not hope. Living in hate, not love. For to accept the other as a whole person, then in our own mind means we have to accept that there is diversity in creation and it is okay. Belonging is not about being homogenous, it is a heterogeneous mixture of all peoples, where belonging happens due to the complexity that brings into community.

Who are those who mourn? The ones that society says do not deserve comfort. It may be the citizens caught in a bombing run. A Doctor’s without Borders targeted hospital. It may be a criminal. Or it may be a child with disabilities that the education system says their staff and friends do not deserve the mourning journey because “that’s life”. It can be rationalized on so many levels, but being able to rationalize does not make it right. Those who mourn will be comforted…because all who have suffered loss, change, transition, death…deserve the embrace of compassion and equity of care. Your tears, as the tears of others, have value and should be honoured in your personhood.

Who are the meek? They are not the zealots, or the activists or the wealthy or those who are seen as the powers that be. They are the ones that keep plugging along, in survival mode, or just making ends meet. Those that we have stripped voice from because they have not “earned” the “right” to speak. These are the meek. They are not weak, or without intellect or without skill. They are the ones that are the untouchable, the poverty class, the working class… the ones the world ignores for it is not flashy what they do. Yet when their voice is heard change happens. Just look at any human rights movement—those are the meek.

WTF with Righteousness? We live in a world of the self-righteous build the wealth using religion as the opiates of the masses. Who twist religion and ideology in such a ways to create their own fiefdoms at the cost of the other (neighbour) and sometimes destroying their own interior castle if they succumb. The hunger and thirst, is the base desire of knowing something better is possible and needs to happen. That is the drive that allows the others. Remember there is many ways to build poetry and rhythms. Could the Beatitudes be that in seeing as those actions of loving self as you love neighbour, tying into this literary concept of righteousness that takes us into the next blessings.

The merciful? The reciprocity of actions being returned upon you. Not necessarily from the one you showed mercy too, but being able to ease the burden of your own guilt for not helping (the bystander effect) but also in a time of need there is always that synchronicity when help comes. Whether we are aware of it or not. This is a moment of discovery to become aware of gratitude. To know when there is good that comes into your life, no matter how inconsequential some may say it is. This part of the laws of creation.

Pure in heart? This is not some nursery rhyme or fairy tale concept. It is the idea of pureness of one’s own heart. What is still allegorically believed today to be the source of mercy, compassion, kindness, empathy and love (to name but a few). The pureness and ability to see God is simple. If we live our lives with our highest good and those of others (one simple act of kindness at a time) even in the darkest most stumbling moments you will know the cosmic dust that formed you. The energy that binds you to creation and creation into you. You will know the depth of L-O-V-E (the greatest gift) in your darkest time, and that light will shine through and confound the darkness.

Who wants to be a peacemaker? As then, so today, the mediator, the peacemaker, is the one in the midst of the conflict. Whether it is armed, domestic, civil/tort, or within self. You are in the middle holding the factions at bay. Using whatever means necessary from restraint to powerful questions to get to the core of what resonates for all sides to move forward. This is how healthy change happens. In the moment of conflict when one (or many) assesses what of the old needs to pass away, what of the new needs to be accepted, and how to bring the pieces together within the new reality. In “U theory” it is the prototyping phase of change. Trying out new concepts to see what works, but also have the prototypes implode/explode. This is in the outward world, but also inwardly when you journey.

It wraps up speaking about rejoicing in being persecuted. WTH? Jesus is reminding those gathered that a new path is being chosen. A path where the formally “non-person” was going to assert their “personhood”. In this assertion much was to come down upon them, but to know that this is the time to stand proud in who you are, and that this is what was supposed to exist.

The beatitudes like the concept of the Greatest Commandments, have been the basis of many “theology of the margins”, and this includes many monastic movements and the Social Gospel. Sadly, there is much darkness within those movements that also needs to be expunged for it took these pieces to create another concept of “worthy poor” and eugenics that too must be dismantled.

Within that dismantling though is the interior calling of these words for each of us. Where we are here to get the external home in order. What are we to do with our interior sanctuary?

Write out who you and others see you as today…then…

What affirmations are you going to take up to re-writer you internal dialogue from commodity to worthy person?

What acts of kindness will you share with your neighbour, but also show yourself?

Will you pick up the habit of simple time of gratitude no matter how mundane others may see what you are grateful for, it still is the good in your life?

Try for 30 days (time to build up new habits)…what is the new writing of who you are say?

Are you blessed?