Many traditions around the world have created delightful memories around the holidays. We have just passed a number of holidays on our calendar: Thanksgiving in the US, Christmas, Hanukkah, New Year’s, and Kwanza. And there may have been some I missed! Oh yes, the winter solstice, or summer in the southern hemisphere. These are often considered holy days, not just holidays. It is wise to see if we use these celebrations as opportunities to open up to the invisible, open up to grace, or to fall prey to our addiction to the past. Memories are not bad things. Allowing memories to be the determining factor for our experience of the present is dangerous and, as David Karchere recently said, it can be a time when we fall prey to our humanity.
People get excited about forms. As creator beings we are often creating forms. We may get trapped into thinking the forms are the source of our happiness or success, forgetting they are the manifestation of the flow of grace moving through us. Memories are often about forms that were either pleasant or unpleasant, and we can tend to want to re-create them or avoid them. If we are not moving in a state of grace, we create forms that then take an incredible amount of energy to sustain. Everything that comes to us, even if it is an old form, can be blessed when we are in that state. But if we are using that current to keep them alive, we will be consumed.
Here is a quote by Julie Redstone that speaks of my experience and understanding about the state of grace: “An inner sense of peace permeates one who lives in a state of grace, as does the feeling of abundant love which flows in and through the deeper levels of being like a river that has no beginning and no end. This is a river whose Source is constantly replenishing the life-giving waters which, as they flow from the point of origin, bring perpetual blessings to all parts of the self.”
Earlier I was drumming and participating in an invitation to offer an invocation. I am aware that most people think of prayer and grace as being something more like ballet than like tribal dance. I believe grace has a multitude of forms. We might not put the words grace and passion together, yet in that stream of love creation happens that carries grace. We have the chance to stop thinking about grace in a limited, old way.
As a woman I have taken issue with the word grace, just like my experience of the word sweet. I interpreted the expectation of being sweet and being graceful as being so delicate I couldn’t be fully myself. I have discovered that being in the state of grace and bringing my sweetness is the most powerful thing I can do. Sweetness is powerful. Grace is overwhelmingly powerful, because it heals all my human issues. All the things that are consuming me inside that feel like they’re not working come into a sense of relief and stability when I become one with the grace that is available constantly.
The movement of that river of grace does bring pressure. I walked this morning past the great reservoir at the end of our property here at Sunrise Ranch. It’s quite a large body of water that now has a nice layer of ice on it. If you go there and listen, it’s making a lot of noise. It seems very odd that a piece of ice would be moaning, but you stand there and there’s this errr, errr…aaarr…(Jane made sounds to imitate the sound of the ice). And then you hear a little cracking, and you hear the water under it—whoosh, whoosh, arrr… It’s amazing, the amount of music coming from this body of living and frozen water.
Why is that happening? If you can imagine, this ice is on a piece of moving water, and every time some water enters or leaves it changes what’s happening underneath. Everything has to shift to accommodate that. As the water moves, you’ve got acres of ice going errrr, arrrr… I’m sure the sun on the surface is also having its effect. I don’t mean to imply by the sound that it’s unhappy, because moaning could sound that way. It is an indication something is happening!
There has been a lot of attention given to the end of the Mayan calendar. There have been statements made about the Shift in humanity and the new era. However these cycles are named or felt, something is happening. Even the awareness of the possibility of change ends up creating change because we are open to it, paying attention to the subtleties of our reality. That change is occurring below the layer of “ice” that has been our current human reality. And just like the reservoir, as things change there is a groaning, a sound coming up from the human experience. The whole planet and all of humanity is goingerrrr… Not necessarily moaning in discomfort, though it can be incredibly uncomfortable when there’s change, but accommodating the change. We are one body of humanity, we are one planet; and as things are changing and people are becoming conscious of the fact that they can live in grace, everything is shifting for all of humanity, and we’re all feeling it.
I think there’s incredible power in being aware that it is happening. It may have nothing to do with what’s going on in your own mind and heart. It may not be personal. There is a larger reality and you’re participating in what is happening for all of humanity. Can you be graceful in that river of love while it’s happening? Can you not take it personally, and not be consumed by the things that might come up for you that feel really uncomfortable, such as why is this happening to me? Why are the forms I love changing? Why does the transition that I’m feeling feel so big, and I don’t even know where it came from? Being in a state of grace, regardless of what forms are changing, is very powerful.
I recently saw the movie Les Mis. I’d been longing to see it since I saw it on the stage. The full title isLes Miserables, which means it’s about misery, so don’t go expecting it to be a light-hearted musical. There is a song in it titled “I Dreamed a Dream” that many people know because Susan Boyle made it famous with her audition on Britain’s Got Talent. The video on YouTube went viral. “I dreamed a dream in time gone by / When hope was high and life worth living….” It’s a very, very sad song. “I dreamed a dream…” And the last line of the song: “Now life has killed the dream I dreamed.”Ugh!It’s a beautiful number, and when she sings it, some part of you feels it. If you listen to the words, it’s very miserable.
The reason I’m referencing it here is because that is a song that is sung about the experience of falling prey to your humanity. “I dreamed a dream, and the ice moaned so I couldn’t have my dream.” “I put all my energy into how it should be, and life took it away. I didn’t want things to shift and groan.” But guess what? It did. And instead of staying in the state of grace and receiving the new things that wanted to be included, you were consumed by your efforts to make life fulfill your human desires. There was a loss of the state of grace. There was a loss of relationship with life itself. Your dreams and your life will pass away when you remove yourself from that relationship. It’s your choice, not Life’s.
Life does not kill you or your dream. Dreaming or visioning is powerful. We can allow ourselves to fall prey to our ideas, our desires, and allow our life to be about fulfilling things according to the forms we have in our mind regarding how the dream should manifest. Or we can live in a state of grace and allow our dreams to be born as part of the larger movement of the universe. We are one body of humanity. We are backed up by the universe, not threatened by it. Life is longing to be lived through you. It is you. Whether you gracefully dance it as a ballet, hip hop, or a tribal Watusi, it is the graceful revelation of you through your human capacities.
“I dreamed a dream in time gone by,” and it brought me right here, as I lived into it. I’m living the dream, shifting with the water moving through me, the revelation of glory. That’s what grace looks like when it’s moving through a surrendered human being: radiant and glory-filled. I continue to dream and vision and live in a state of grace as my life is lived.