Divine Dissatisfaction

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Listening to my inner guidance while writing my latest book has led me down some surprising avenues. At times, I question my ability to fulfill its edicts. It has me pushing through a lot of self-doubt. Not long ago I came across this conversation between two of the greatest choreographers of the twentieth century: Martha Graham, a pioneer of modern dance and Agnes De Mille, whose choreography for musicals like “Oklahoma” revolutionized musical comedy theatre. Agnes was confused because work she did that she felt was very good was relatively ignored while other works of hers she felt were just okay received acclaim. The following is Martha Graham’s advice to her. I have a copy of it taped to the wall before my computer so I can remind myself what this is all about. I hope you also will find value in it…because we are all Agnes.

A Letter to Agnes DeMille : Martha Graham

There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening
that is translated through you into action,
and because there is only one of you in all time,
this expression is unique.

 If you block it, it will never exist through any other medium
and be lost. The world will not have it.
It is not your business to determine how good it is;
nor how valuable it is; nor how it compares with other expressions.
It is your business to keep it yours, clearly and directly,
to keep the channel open.

You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work.
You have to keep open and aware directly
of the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open.
No artist is pleased.

There is no satisfaction whatever at any time.
There is only a queer, divine dissatisfaction;
a blessed unrest that keeps us marching
and makes us more alive than the others.

 

 

What is Real?

Reality

A lot of new people have joined the community recently and I want to thank each one of you for sharing this journey with me. I don’t post as many original blogs these days as I am committed to writing my new book. It’s a bit of a surprise as I never thought I would write another book after The Art of Death Midwifery. Then this past winter solstice the premise of a book struck me like lightning. I’ve been writing every day since.

This book draws on all the various experiences of my life and yet…I am often stunned by what is evolving. Generally, I do not talk about a book while I am writing it but because of its surprising nature I spoke with my friend and mentor, Dr. Raymond Moody, about it. I have such deep respect for this work, his intelligence, his experience and his genuinely kind heart that I wanted to run it by him and see what he thought. He is a medical doctor and a psychiatrist in addition to being the grandfather of the modern near-death experience after all.

After I laid out what has transpired in the writing of this book thus far, I asked him, “Am I nuts?” Yes, those exact words. He very thoughtfully assessed what I told him and how I told it to him. “No,” he said, “Your voice is energetic and bright but I do not detect any signs of psychosis.” He also assured me that what I had described to him is not out of the range of possibility. In fact, he said with all the discoveries in science and our universe, with all the infinite possibilities we continue to discover, he asked, “What is real?” Or as my much-loved songwriter sang, “The real world is really unreal.”

As much as I wish I didn’t feel the need for validation, it was great comfort to get the Dr. Moody seal of approval, with his promise to read my book before publication.

This book is coming together in an entirely different way than my first and one thing I am discovering is that body chemistry plays an important role in my being able to sense the very subtle energies I connect with. A few months ago, I had to change thyroid medications. I had a choice of going lower than my normal dose or higher as the new medication didn’t offer the exact dose I was on. I tried lower and saw that gradually I began to gain some weight. So just recently, I tried the higher dose. That felt awful…sleep difficulties, feeling like being crushed in a vise…and an inability to sense the subtle energies required for my work to go forward. So…I had to make a choice: weigh less and give up the work or go down to the lower dose, gain a few pounds and restore the sensitivities needed. As much as I dread gaining weight, the choice is clear. I’m back to the lower dose and beginning to be able to sense the subtle energies again. Whew! It was a little scary when they left.

Vanity aside, it becomes clear that in order to do the work that is unique to you…and each of us have that work…the work that only you can do and that is very much needed by the world…you will be called to make sacrifices…large and small. It is my wish that the choice will be easy for each of you.

So…I’ll check in from time to time with an original thought but mostly I will send along quotes from Rudolf Steiner and others that touch in some small way upon the work I am doing. And if you are currently pursuing the work that the Universe asks of you, the work only you can do, I’d love to hear about it. Leave a comment on this page and let us know what that is…if you can.

Until then…

A giant step forward

When taking that giant step forward it may feel as though there is nothing but air underneath you but dare to take the step anyway. As I continue work on my book, this step is taking me places I never expected to go. It can be a bit scary at times but then, if one is not afraid of death…what really is there to be afraid of?

The great Rudolf Steiner Quotes Site

We are not separated from the dead at all in our life of feeling or of will. What is removed from our gaze is only hidden from our sense perceptions and our mental pictures. It will be a giant step forward in the evolution of the human race on earth, in that part of human evolution that we still must live through, if some day people become conscious of the fact that in their impulses of feeling and will they are one with the dead. Death can indeed rob us of our physical view of the dead and of our thoughts of them. There is nothing that we feel, however, without the dead being there with us in the sphere in which we feel; likewise, there is nothing that we will without the dead being there with us in the sphere in which we will.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA…

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But I Raise My Glass

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Today, April 14, 2018 marks the 19th anniversary of the death of Anthony Newley. As I write this, friends and fans of Tony gather in London to lift a glass celebrating his life. He was a truly unique talent – creator of musicals both for the West End and Broadway, songwriter, singer, actor, director and mime. He inspired so many young performers and writers. He inspires me.

Even with all my work and study with the dying and now the dead, I feel certain that consciousness survives death, I miss him. He died too young, robbing his family of a loving father, his friends of “someone who made you feel like the most important person in the world,” and his fans of so many more magical stories and songs he would have created. We all die with unrealized potential. He died with universes left to unfold.

The soul that was Tony Newley continues but we are no longer be able to “Look at that Face.”[1] See his hands sing. Hear that unique voice and wicked laugh. Feel the embrace his friends describe as “engulfing, the biggest bear hug in the world.” Those are gone forever.

But not Tony. Not the spirit who endured an early life of despair and privation, not only endured but then soared to the very heights of the entertainment world. And back down again. That complex and charismatic spirit discovered nineteen years ago that what we call death needs redefining. It is not annihilation as those trapped in materialism argue. It is transcendence to a different frequency, a different dimension no less real than this one, for the “real world is really unreal.”[2]

It is okay that we miss the dead but we should never dismiss them. Nor should we bind them with intense sorrow. For someone we love, it is the least we can do. So today, I raise my glass from this side of the pond, joining those who celebrate his life. And then…I continue to build the bridge where we shall meet and share and create…together. Tony built a mountain. [3] I’ll build a bridge.

[1] Song from “The Roar of the Greasepaint, The Smell of the Crowd”

[2] From the song “This Dream” from “The Roar of the Greasepaint, The Smell of the Crowd”

[3] “Gonna Build a Mountain” from the musical “Stop the World, I Want to Get Off”

The life of the dead plays into the life of the so-called living in many ways

After studying so much of Steiner’s work, I’ve felt myself let go…of all teaching…and discover a pure “beingness” with the dead. It is now a matter of listening deeply and trusting this “living feeling of being together with the dead.” I’m writing a book now to share what I am finding. I hope it will serve.

The great Rudolf Steiner Quotes Site

We are only separated from the so-called dead through the fact that we are not in a position to perceive with our ordinary consciousness how the forces of the dead, the life of the dead, the actions of the dead, play into our own life. These forces, these actions of the dead, continually permeate the life of our feeling and the life of our will. Therefore we can live with the dead. And it is indeed important to realize at the present time that the task of Anthroposophy is to develop this consciousness — that we are in touch with the souls of the dead.

The earth will not continue to evolve in the direction of the welfare of humanity unless humanity develops this living feeling of being together with the dead. For the life of the dead plays into the life of the so-called living in many ways.

Source:…

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Listening Deeply

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I wanted to check in after being silent for some time. It’s not that I haven’t been writing but my focus has shifted to a possible book. It is predicated upon all the work that I did first in death midwifery and now with the Community of Spirits. The idea ignited right around the winter solstice and has been going like gangbusters since. It is a project that, if it comes to fruition, will take a long time…so I wanted to check in and just connect with you.

I won’t speak of the topic. When I was a member of a Western Mystery school, when inspiration is hot, it is suggested to keep the vessel, the inspiration, tightly sealed, keeping things hot, holding the tension, allowing no leakage and therefore no weakening of the inspiration during the creative process. Writing is a fragile thing: it needs protection during its earlier stages. So I hope you will understand.

However, I would like to comment on something I am discovering about this particular process. In my journey to cross the threshold to the world of the “so-called living and the so-called dead” as Rudolf Steiner would language it, I have experimented with many different techniques: mediumship, the psychomanteum, the use of various brainwave entrainment music and various deep states of meditation. I’ve learned something from all of them.

Yet now…I find myself leaving all that behind and just sitting very silently and regularly, breathing deeply…and….listening. Just…listening. Then trusting what comes to me as having value. The source of this information, this dialogue? I am not sure. I do not know if I will reach a place when I do know for sure. Or perhaps the best attitude to take is that of a true skeptic as Dr. Raymond Moody would suggest. He told me that the classical skeptic never reaches a conclusion for to do that closes yourself off from any other possibilities. With your eye firmly on a conclusion you ignore your peripheral vision and therefore can miss miraculous things. That would be a great loss.

So…quietly I sit…listening more and more deeply as I sink down layer upon layer of…what? Mind stuff? The Higher Self? The Enlightened Dead? Yes to all? No to all? It is far too early in the process for me to tell if I ever will. But one thing I know is this: when I reach that place of connection with whatever this is, and we converse…it feels so beautiful…so loving…so safe. So…I must trust that there is purpose to this venture, that it will in some way serve.

I wanted to share that in the hopes that even this little bit of discovery might serve you…and just to connect with you for a bit…you who choose to read my little ramblings.

Thank you.