Writing for Inspiration - a Challenge ?

“We teach what we need to learn and write what we need to know.” ~ Gloria Steinem

It just isn't the right time. Who's going to read it anyway? Why spend the energy? I just don't feel inspired at the moment, ok? I'm tired. I have other things I need to do. It's just not flowing. So what? I am going to write anyway, no matter what. I will be a word warrior if need be and just start writing not caring what happens. Just to overcome the excuses, the reasons, and the feelings why I should not write in this or that moment. Then as I start to write it just starts moving the energy. It may "take on a life of its own". I write when I was not planning to. I also don't write when I planned to. At any time of day or night.  I wrote more in this paragraph after I had written five more below. I decided to add roses to this blog as a symbol of my love of writing. I recall the valuable lessons of Steven Pressfield in his book The War of Art about overcoming resistance. Sometimes there is just a stream of consciousness about writing : when, how, what, etc. Resistance can always be present as an invitation to overcome it. 

I have started novels in past years only to abandon the project and move on to something else. When I finished the book 333 Keywords to Change Your Life it was a combination of writing what I need to know and a commitment to discipline myself to write every day, even if it was one page for one keyword in the book. Since there are 333 keywords in the book the goal was easy to set. It took about a year to write it. About a  month after completing and publishing the book I started writing inspirational blogs and it's been about a year that I have written about one blog every two weeks. I usually have several that are in process or draft form, and work on them at different times. Then one seems to "stand out" and be ready to publish. I review it and have others look at it for their feedback. My main focus or underlying theme for my inspirational blogs is - can you guess? - inspiration. I have another blog titled Likes, Tweets, and SEO which is marketing oriented and has had over 100,000 views in the past six years or so that I have been writing it.

So let's revisit the question that is in the title of this blog.

Is writing for inspiration, either for yourself such as journaling, or for others, such as in Facebook sharing, or blogs, or books a challenge? The answer will vary of course between individuals, and within each person as challenges can appear any time that we want to write.

With my own writing, it varies as the challenge may take on different forms. Deciding on when to write, what to write about, what to say, letting things flow versus over thinking a bit, and letting go of the outcome are all challenges. The creative process sometimes takes on a "life of its own", right? We just can't control how Spirit wants to move through us, or when an inspiring idea comes up, or what words may stream though our mind next. This is the beauty of inspired writing for me, that inspiration seems to be the basis, and the foundation for whatever the topic is that comes up.

Sometimes just starting to write is the biggest challenge, and once you start, you have overcome that challenge, and words may start to flow. The challenge is to start even when you don not feel like starting. Like a subtle test, by starting you have passed the test, and are ready to receive whatever words start flowing into your mind and heart.

I received the idea of writing this blog about my inspirational writing a while back. It sort of simmered like a slow cooking soup, until I decided to start. I stopped after the next sentence, then started again another morning. So do I write for inspiration? Or from inspiration? To hopefully inspire others? Yet not be attached to the outcome? Whatever ways we spin it, for me writing is a joy, even with the challenges. It has enriched my life experience as I always wanted to write more than I did through the years. Now it seems to be flowing, and for that I have a ton of gratitude.

Let's explore some reasons or ideas why I think that writing for inspiration can be a rewarding process, and why it may seem to be a challenge in various ways.

Writing can be rewarding to see how words will come to you in ways you did not expect. It can be rewarding to overcome challenges or obstacles or writers block. It is a joy when you get positive feedback and when the writing enhances another person's perspectives, or opens up new ideas.

Writing is rewarding when you receive feedback that someone was really moved by your words, or the words that came to you, and which you wrote and created in sentences and paragraphs. Even without receiving feedback, you may not be attached to the outcome or impact of your words, yet they are put out there into the universe, and were created through you for a purpose, the full extent of which we may never know. One year after you have written something, someone may read it, and have an insight or new realization that changes their life. It is the mystery of life, and of writing, that we do not know all the subtle effects and things that go on behind the scenes, and for me that is in itself very inspiring.

Reading others words,whether in a non-fiction format or fictional story, can be an inspiration for my writing. I have favorite authors, and am open to discovering new writers, new stories, and new ways of how words can express the many diverse and multi- experiences of life. However taking time to read is a challenge for me. I enjoy it, yet do not spend as much time as I would like to. So at this moment I have three books that I am reading that interest me enough to stay with them. 

One of the books is from the son of a family friend, and is in a genre that I do not usually seek out for reading (young adult dark fantasy). I have tremendous respect for this author, Derek Murphy, his research, his living his dream of writing and traveling the world, living in castles where he sets up writers conferences, and sharing the process of how and why he writes. Although I have not read most of his books, the most recent really grabbed my attention with his own cover design. Then I read an excerpt, and rejoined Kindle Unlimited for $10,00 a month on Amazon to read it for free in the Kindle Unlimited program. The book, Orpheum - Gods of Music and Madness, has the following description on Amazon:

Orpheum is a young adult dark fantasy romance based on Eastern European history, the myths and literature of Orpheus and Pythagoras' theory of the music of the spheres. Readers who loved This Savage Song and Strange the Dreamer will love this hypnotic mythological thriller."

I finished this book within days, and it was well written and full of surprises and supernatural mystery that starts developing after a more "normal" beginning of the story. A good read!

Another book that I am reading is The Yoga of Money by Edward Vilga.  It has a different approach, a yoga approach to personal finances and from what I have read so far I can see some very good content developing.

A third book that I am reading is 
This Thing Called You by Ernest Holmes. It is a classic in the New Thought movement and speaks from the concept of oneness with the Divine Spirit.

A fourth book that really grabbed my attention is Mindfulness - an Eight Week Plan for Finding Peace in a Frantic World. The scientific research on the effects of meditation in this book are inspiring and I have seen some of the benefits described after meditating twice a day for over a year. I am starting to include their ideas in my own meditation practice.

Then there is Isabel Allende. I have started to read the free samples from her novels and am very impressed with her writing. Yet I do not care to pay $11.99 for a Kindle edition! 

For me, reading can definitely be an inspiration for writing, or getting inspired ideas to write about. 

Writing for inspiration can be a challenge, as well as writing from inspiration. When we turn it over to the creative Spirit within, maybe the Muse, maybe our heart and intuition, or all of the above and more, then we can truly celebrate how words can have an inspirational effect on us, whether we are writing or reading.

When it starts to flow it is not a challenge. The challenge seems to come from our own resistance to letting it flow, or doubts about what words will come, or whether they will be the rights ones, and many more reasons. An interesting exercise is to write about all the reasons that are coming up and that are "holding you back" from writing. Would writing about them cause them to dissipate, even disappear, giving the confidence that maybe your ability to start a creative flow is more powerful than your resistance? Overcoming the challenge of resistance is like a small battle won in the greater "War of Art" so well described in Pressfield's book.

The process of writing can be a reflection of life; your insights and experiences, wisdom and breakthroughs, as well as your dark moments, challenges, fears, and loves. For me , inspiration is the keyword that motivates me to write, enhances my life, and allows me to give my gifts of writing to the world. I welcome both the challenges as well as the rewards of writing, and in gratitude and love, acknowledge the Divine Spirit that is my source of inspiration. 

================== from the book 333 Keywords to Change Your Life ====

"The invitation of the keyword “Writing” is to acknowledge the amazing legacy of scribes and writers in all cultures and traditions. It is also to appreciate the magic of the written word in poems, stories, legends, myths, and holy books, and enjoy what has been written. We are invited to write, even if it is a private journal with our private thoughts. Writing can be therapeutic, healing, and transformational. Writing or reading what has already been written is a journey in itself that has many paths, many discoveries, much joy, and vicarious adventures in living and learning." - 
David Lawrence Brown. 333 KEYWORDS : Affirmations to Change Your Life (Kindle Locations 8900-8907). 

A Sublime Healing Adventure in a Loving Oasis Meditation

Let's go deep into the mystery of life, where living in the depth of Spirit is only answered by subtle experience rather than words.Yet some words, metaphors, images, and allusions can open up possibilities of vicarious experience.

Let's go where mountain peaks and canyons and rivers and seas are metaphors for the journey of our soul. Where the eternal Divine Spirit dwells, even in a dark cave where the is no visible light. Where the desert can be a metaphor for a profound and deep experience. Where an oasis calls to us.

One metaphor that has been a recurring memory in my life is an oasis. Years ago, a part of my spiritual journey included being focused on one particular teaching as if it was the only path. When I was ready to leave that teaching it was like I was in a desert, and the teaching became like dry bones behind me. Then I entered into a spiritual oasis, and had a spiritual rebirth experience as if I was drinking living waters within the oasis, and my soul was filled with the Divine Spirit. It was more than a metaphor. It was an actual experience. The experience was profound and like an initiation, where I crossed a threshold into a new level of being, of consciousness, and of my relationship with the Divine Spirit in my life.

A Visualization and Guided Meditation
The following is a guided meditation that I wrote based on this experience. Join me on this healing adventure in a loving oasis meditation. You are invited to also close your eyes when and if it feels right during this journey, and visualize the metaphors and scenery and experiences described.

First we visualize a vast desert behind us which has been our life up until now.  It is a panoramic view from above. There are dry bones, piles of bones at certain spots behind us and we know that these represent the challenging times, the hurts, the pain, the limited beliefs, and the frustrations, anxieties, fears and relationships that ended and in which we learned lessons from.

Then there are verdant green areas and a number of oases which represents the joys, the spiritual awakenings, the cherished memories, the experiences of Divine Spirit, the teachings and various teachers that have inspired us and helped us on our journey. We let go of the piles of dry bones. We forgive anyone that we are still carrying a memory of that we have not forgiven in love. We forgive ourselves in love for things we said or did that did not serve our higher purpose. Even though we have been on a spiritual journey for some years, there have been times when we may have had a dark night of the soul, times where we lost our way, and times where we fell into a deep dark cave that seemed to have no bottom.

Then we cherish the memories of each oasis in our past that produced joy and inspired feelings of love, peace, happiness, and transformation. Then we turn and look ahead on this journey across the desert of our life. In the distance we see a large oasis that seems have a subtle glow under the stars. To our right in the distance there is a coastline, with waves breaking on the shore. We see the ocean as the infinite Divine Spirit and our individual and collective soul as waves breaking onto the shore of life yet still a part of the ocean. To our left in the distance we see tall mountains rising, like the snow-capped Himalayas.

There is a bright shining star at the top of one of the peaks. It seems to be shining light right into our hearts. Then we look up and see the vast display of stars across an immense sky and think of the billions of years and light years of the universe, and how amazing creation is out here and within us including the micro-universe of DNA, cells, atoms, electrons and subatomic elements. It is all connected and all part of the eternal Divine Spirit-Creator. We experience a oneness with all of creation.

We look ahead to the oasis as we sense that there is something very powerful and special there. We open our eyes in the visualization as we are still in meditation, breathing slowly and letting the visualization take on a life of its own. It is night and yet under the starlight we approach this oasis ahead. Palm trees and date palms surround it. A cool breeze is blowing and it is early morning, bringing light to the silence of the night.

The oasis is surrounded by rocks and boulders, palm trees, and plants of all varieties that thrive in the desert. It is on an elevated plateau, and as we approach and climb up the plateau, we began to see how it is sunken inside of this ring of boulders, allowing for spring waters to feed into it with waterfalls created by the heights of the boulders. 

As we step inside the edges of the oasis we see a wide variety of vibrant plants and flowers. There are colorful bees and hummingbirds flying around them. Trees of lemons, and flowers of all colors and sizes. We feel a bliss opening up inside our chest that is greater than we had ever experienced before.In the middle of the oasis there are bubbling springs and a beautiful blue-green colored pool. A subtle sound of bubbling water beckons us to come and drink. As we drink this water we are overwhelmed with more bliss and even ecstasy as this is the living water of life that is described in the in the ancient scrolls of wisdom.

As we sit next to this pool we close our eyes and go into a deep meditation. We feel a powerful presence in front of us and hesitate to open our eyes. Then we get a subtle nudge from deep within to open our eyes and we see masters from different traditions including Buddha, Jesus, Yogananda, and the Dalai Lama sitting next to each other in bodies of light on the other side of the pool.

They are smiling at us and we are filled with joy, bliss, and love beyond description. No words were spoken, as Spirit just guides us to step into the center of the pool and sit there as it is shallow enough and we are closer to them. They raise their hands in a namaskar or prayer in front of their hearts and we do also. They smile and we feel immense love pouring out from them into our hearts and soul and we are smiling back. We close our eyes in gratitude and awe. Then they walk into the the pool, reach out and place their hands over our head.
In that moment time ceases to exist. We are immersed in a brilliant, bluish-white light – a living light – so powerful and effulgent in love and peace. We are one with this light as it is the living light of our soul. There is no awareness or separation of thoughts – just pure Being. We know that this is the living light of God and that this is the light of life described in many traditions. We have no awareness of how long this lasts as time does not exist in this experience.

There is only eternity, beyond time, or a time so different that it could not be noticed in our normal consciousness.  It is endless, deep, and powerful. Then we also experience the peace that passes all understanding along with this love, and know why it is referred to as “passes all understanding” as it is experienced rather than described in words. Only afterword are we able to remember what happened with our thoughts and feelings. We know that we felt love so divine and so powerful that it was like we were in the heart of God and realized that this love is there all the time.Then we realize that it is still here now even though the conscious experience of it had ended in the pool.

The next thing that we remember is sitting near the pool, breathing deeply but slowly, and reflecting on the experience that we had there. The holy ones are no longer there, yet they have left their blessings with us.

Then we feel that this was a sort of anointing or baptism into the living light yet it really didn’t matter how we try to describe it. It was complete in itself, and the type of experience that cannot be described fully in words. The visualization and experience ends when we feel our breath, and our awareness shifts to come out of the deep meditation, slowly, and we are filled with joy and gratitude.

We went deep into an oasis, drank the living waters, and were anointed with the living light of the Divine Spirit. It was a sublime healing adventure in a loving oasis meditation.
Om. Shalom. Shanti. Amen. Namaste


Love - the Keyword for 2018?

"There is a 'love tribe with a love vibe' that is a network of conscious people from all faiths, religions, and spiritual journeys that are opening up to even more awareness, more spiritual growth, and more love at this time. There is no one centralized organization or belief system with love. It's just happening now. Can you feel it ?"
- David Lawrence Brown

The Source 
What is the source of love? If you believe or acknowledge that there is a Divine Spirit within the universe, a creator of all things, an intelligence that is also the source of love, then Divine love can be seen as infinite, powerful, and present within and around us at all times. We are one with this source. Imagine being in a meditation, and suddenly, unexpectedly you are immersed and one with a brilliant white living light, so full of Divine love that your only experience is that your soul and spirit are one with it. Imagine that this is happening all the time, and that you don't need to be in meditation to experience it or know it. 

The Journey
The keyword "Journey" is used frequently as a personal journey referring to what we may experience individually in our spiritual practice, our goals, and our life. There is also a collective journey, where we have the sense that we are on a similar journey with a smaller or larger group, or tribe, or close friends or family, or all of them simultaneously. In fact we are most likely on several overlapping journeys within ourselves and with others. Is love the journey, or a part of the journey, or empowering the journey? If love is a keyword for your journey or our collective journey in 2018, what does that mean to you?

An Invitation
The invitation of this blog post is to embrace the keyword "Love" as a collective journey that we are on individually and together, however we are connected, and to amplify it this year - 2018 - as a powerful focus to neutralize and dissolve fear and to open hearts for healing and joy. If there is one keyword that can be embraced for this year 2018, could it be love? If so, why? If not, why not?

Love Dissolves Fear
It has been said that love is one of the most powerful words and emotions in human language and experience. For what it represents on many levels, it is not hard to see why. One of the most powerful emotions on the planet is also fear. It has also been said that love dissolves fear. This is why the title of this blog is in form of a question - "Is Love the Keyword for 2018?" and why I answer and affirm that yes it is. There is so much fear out there, fear of world changes, world leaders, the future. Fear as food that is fed to millions every day, every hour by the media. You are invited to live in the question and experience your own answer to whether love is an important keyword for you this year.

Love Heals 
The healing power of love is well known and documented throughout history in stories and sacred texts. Love can heal the past through forgiveness in love. Love can heal relationships, illnesses, broken hearts, fears, and melt away resistance, addictions, violent acts and thoughts. It seems that there is nothing that cannot be transformed by love. It is that powerful. 

Is the Vibe Shifting in 2018?
Last year I chose inspiration as a theme and published a blog post about it  - Inspiration - the Keyword for 2017 - as it seemed to be needed with all of the divisiveness and negative vibes going on around politics. This year that vibe may be changing, even if only a small amount. I think many people are realizing, especially those involved in personal growth and spiritual practices that love disables fear, can heal it, and dissolve it. Much of the hysteria out there seems to be based on fear. Much of the media seems to be serving up fear on a daily platter of negative news. If love dissolves or neutralizes fear, as the most powerful keyword and emotion on the planet, then what if love were amplified dramatically this year? This year in particular may witness even more fear than the prior two years, and love is needed now more than ever before. Are you ready for the journey?

There is a 'love tribe with a love vibe' that is a network of conscious people from all faiths, religions, and spiritual perspectives that are opening up to even more awareness, more spiritual growth, and more love at this time. There is no one centralized organization or belief system with love. 
It's just happening now. Can you feel it ?

Imagine Love as oneness with the Divine Spirit, our bodies and hearts like crystals, and love shining through our hearts and being amplified in ways that we cannot imagine as the quantum physics of the "love vibe"  transforms us, and transforms the world. 

The Tribe Vibe

The quote to the left has an anonymous author, yet when you read it you are also invited to participate in it, to be around others in person, on social media, or in whatever ways work for you to open up to a tribe vibe. It has subtle levels as well as obvious ones. For example, if millions of people did prayers and meditations at the same time around the world with love it would be a powerful vibe for positive change. We may see more of this happening in 2018-2020, and beyond. 

Imagine.... Compassion being amplified in your own life and collectively. Imagine the love vibe increasing the amount of compassion worldwide. Forgiveness happens. Imagine fear and anger dissolving on a large scale. The world shifts. Momentum builds. Love keeps expanding. The media starts to catch the vibe. Imagine Divine love shining more powerfully through millions of hearts worldwide. Imagine Love becoming the keyword for 2018 and beyond. Enjoy and love the journey. 

Love is the Most Important of 333 Keywords

"The invitation of the keyword “Love” is to recognize it as one of the most important keywords in our life for fulfillment, happiness, joy, and spiritual growth. Loving ourselves is just as important as loving others. Loving our life as it is, as well as what it is becoming, can empower our days to be magnificent, amazing, and full of deeper experiences. Love is a journey in itself, and our journey can be filled with love. We can send love to strangers through our eyes or our smiles. We can also love the divine presence in our hearts, shine our love into the world with our minds and hearts, and share love with our families and significant others. Love is a deep expression and need of our soul to connect with others and with the divine."
- 333 KEYWORDS to Change Your Life

A Special Tribute to Mile Hi Church

Ministers at Mile Hi Church

This blog post is a tribute to the spiritual community at Mile Hi Church, which isn't a church at all in the traditional sense of the term, but an all-inclusive, positive spiritual community experience that welcomes all denominations, all religions and spiritual paths. Many have the experience of "Welcome Home" when they attend their first service that usually has over 1000 people attending at the 10am Sunday event.

I am so grateful for the inspiration from the Divine Spirit to have broken through the resistance to writing and to have the gift to share inspirational topics. Inspiration is the focus of the topics in this blog, and my experience with Mile Hi Church in the city of Lakewood in the Denver area has been one of the catalysts for inspiration in my life on many levels. The video below (at the end of this blog post) is from the Mile Hi Church YouTube channel, and provides an excellent overview of their mission and vision. They are the largest New Thought Community in the country, and the people there are an amazing diverse group committed to spiritual growth, healing, and prayer. The Works of Heart bookstore is a vortex of fascinating books and sacred art. I loved being a part of this community, and am still connected although not there physically. I enjoy watching the 10am service streaming live from their website.

Besides the weekly services, one source of inspiration for me was taking my first class "Beyond Limits" with Rev Barry Ebert in Oct 2016. I had originally planned to just get the book and self study it in the summer, but then thought that a group experience would be a more rewarding form of study as I had enough solitude in my life as it is. In addition to many insights and enjoying the sharing of others, I had a breakthrough in my desire to meditate twice a day. Everything else always seemed to get in the way. The breakthrough was the insight that "well who is the one letting everything else get in the way?"! It may sound simple, but it changed my life in that I have meditated twice a day ever since with a few exceptions.

Another source of inspiration for these blogs was a Mile Hi Church class entitled The Power of Your Word that I took with Reverend Shannon O'Hurley in Feb 2017. I had started this blog just before the class started, and it provided me with some powerful tools and insights that contributed to the flow of writing that has happened.

I also want to give a huge shout-out to the Mile Hi Church choir, and the amazing choir director Stacey Landes, M.M. Choral Conducting. I sang with this amazing choir in 2016 and through December of 2017. It has been such an inspiration to sing with this group of souls who are like a family, and together offering their voices as one voice to the Mile Hi Church community. Singing in the  Christmas Candlelight services in particular has been one of the special times in my life and if I do not return for another season, then it is a cherished memory that I will never forget. I miss the choir family and am glad to be still connected to many of them in Facebook. View one of the choir videos below "Read My Name"....beautiful lyrics.

Thank you Mile Hi Church, the ministers, Music Ministry and choir for the inspiration, insights, community, classes, and great people!  Even though I have moved out of the state on December 30th, I am still connected to this amazing community, through live streaming of services, friends, Facebook, and on all levels.

And so it is !

The Winter Solstice, Tree Symbolism and Sacred Inspiration

During the season of the winter solstice, evergreen trees have special significance, symbolism, and provide sacred inspiration.

Oregon Evergreens
When I first moved to Oregon, I could not help but notice that the State remained very green even through the winter years. Of course this was because evergreens are densely populated throughout the state.

Driving on each of the three highways between Portland, Salem, and Eugene to the Oregon coast was like driving through a sea of green on the way to the ocean of blue.

My Denver Evergreen NeighborsThe photo to the left are two very large silver tip evergreens next to where I live in Denver, about 20 feet from my front door next to Bear Creek trail. They are majestic, thriving, and an inspiration every time I walk past them.

They remind me of the symbolism of the holiday tree during this season that has ancient roots that predates Christianity. The image of a tree of life or world tree  occurs in many mythologies and traditions.  J.R.R. Tolkien developed tree symbolism in his writings, drawing from ancient traditions and myths. These trees are living and stand year round in their majesty and beauty.

Our Modern Culture Holiday Tree

For some, the traditional Christmas tree name has been replaced by the name Holiday Tree. Another name could be Sacred Tree. Whatever name you choose freely to call it, the evergreen tree as known in our modern culture can be very inspiring, without even knowing the ancient roots. The warmth of a lighted tree decorated with ornaments, special items, small gift cards, and an assortment of things that are meaningful to us and our families can be a centerpiece in the living room for all to enjoy. Gifts are placed under the tree, so it represents a very special place of giving and love between family and friends. It is like an altar for the sacred season, and can be like an object of worship for what it represents. Almost everyone loves having a evergreen Tree in the living room.

However, just as holiday trees are cut and separated from their roots to be placed in a living room, has our culture been cut off from the ancient symbols of the evergreen tree? Have we been cut off from a connection to the roots and the living energy of the Earth?

Ancient Roots of Tree Symbolism
Pre-Christian roots of tree symbolism, especially at the start of winter are connected with the Winter Solstice celebrations and traditions that are thousands of years old. These roots are still active in the astronomical and astrological significance of the Winter Solstice date, on December 21-22. . In the Southern hemisphere the Winter Solstice is exactly the opposite and occurs on June 21-22. The Summer Solstice in the Southern hemisphere occurs on December 21-22. The Earth has both going on at the same time, as opposites, similar to the balance of the circular Yin-Yang symbol. Just like a full moon, the solstices represent a powerful shift in astronomical energy, the darkest or lightest day of the year depending on which hemisphere you are in.

When we connect with ancient traditions and symbolism of anything sacred, it can empower us to feel inspired that we are connected with the stories, the myths, the metaphors, and the archetypes of ancient tree wisdom in our DNA, our bones, our collective memory, and our souls.

What is the symbolism of evergreen trees during the Winter Solstice season that can provide us with reflection and inspiration?

> The evergreens represent eternal life, that goes on even in the midst of winter when all the other trees seem "dead". Egyptians viewed evergreens as a sign of victory over death and brought greens into their homes during the Winter Solstice.

> The evergreen trees also are connected to the Green Man mythology and archetype, which honors the Earth, especially the plant kingdom.

> Trees in general and evergreens during the Winter Solstice season not only are symbols, but contain their own spirit connected to the Divine Spirit within all things.

> Holly and mistletoe are also evergreens that thrive in Winter, have their own traditions, and are associated with using evergreen trees during the season.

Beyond symbolism, evergreen pines have been used as sacred medicine for thousands of years by indigenous tribes. In an article titled "A Winter Shrine to the Sacred Pine", different parts of the tree are described as having medicinal properties and provides some basic recipes such as pine needle tea. http://www.thesacredscience.com/a-winter-shrine-to-the-sacred-pine/ 

In this sacred season, I am paying more attention to my evergreen neighbors, knowing that they are living trees that have deep symbolism, and when I touch their branches, and silver-tip pine needles, I am connected to the Earth in a different way. They remind me to celebrate life, with love and gratitude within this season and all seasons.

For another blog post on trees, see "The Ancient Redwoods Spoke to Me".


The Green Man and the Sacred Masculine

A Profile of a Native American as a Symbol of the Green Man Naturally Formed at the Base of a Redwood Tree
photo taken by David Lawrence Brown, Jedediah Smith State Park, Boy Scout Trail, 2013
And Technology Was ...
In the recent years we have experienced technology becoming more dominant with cell phones and other devices as an extension of our bodies, minds, and emotions. More communications are becoming digital. The pace of life seems to have accelerated, in part due to technology and speeds of information processing. Has the Internet taken over our lives?

What Does Nature Say if We Can or Cannot Hear the Message ?
Yet Nature also has her say in all of this. Since the total eclipse of the sun on August 21st 2017 , we have seen numerous disasters in Nature, including fires, hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, record sized solar flares, and changing weather. Some or all may be attributed to global warming, and some may be the result of the eclipse, or other natural and unpredictable happenings of the Earth and Nature. Whatever the causes, Nature speaks with weather, storms, hurricanes, Full Moons, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, floods, tsunamis, and fires. Some call them acts of God. The Earth is what it is.

The Hidden Spirituality of Men and the Green Man
A book came into my life recently as a gift from a friend. The Hidden Spirituality of Men - Ten Metaphors to Awaken the Sacred Masculine. The author is Matthew Fox, who was a member of the Dominican Order for 34 years and the founder of the creation spirituality which was considered heretical by the Catholic hierarchy and he was expelled from the Dominican Order and the Catholic college where he was teaching. This book focuses on ten archetypes or metaphors of authentic masculinity, a sacred masculine that is not always openly acknowledged in our modern culture.  The Green Man is one of those archetypes.

Yin-Yang in Balance
In the circular symbol of  the Yin (feminine) and Yang (masculine) in Taoist philosophy, the two halves of the circle - the Yin and Yang - are in perfect balance, which is a message in itself ; the sacred feminine and the sacred masculine need to be in balance to fully reflect the divine metaphor of the unity of two as one. In theory this is inspiring. In reality we have a different experience.

The sacred masculine is connected to the Yang energy of the circle, and yet how is this Yang energy channeled, or used? It is more than obvious that in our history and culture it has been channeled as the "profane" masculine rather than the sacred masculine, as a general rule with exceptions. Fox describes how we need a "relationship of equality between the Yang and Yin powers within ourselves and within our cultural institutions". We are still a long way from that in our individual and collective experience. Yet we also know that things are changing in ways that may increase this relationship of equality.

Metaphors, Myths and Archetypes
Metaphors, myths and archetypes are still there deep within our instinctive memories, both individually and collectively. They are covered up by our busy lives, technology, cell phones, computers and the frenetic pace of modern culture. "Ultimately men are not 'problems to be solved', but deep, impenetrable mysteries. Each one carries many stories, many ancestors, many metaphors, and many archetypes in often hidden places." Do we need to discover more of the mystery of the sacred masculine in our lives?

The Green Man Archetype
The Green Man is one archetype that has come to the forefront recently with the dramatic natural disasters of 2017. Fox refers to another book that is a classic on this topic - "The Green Man: The Archetype of Our Oneness with the Earth" by Clive Hicks and the poet William Anderson. The Green Man is all about oneness with Nature, relationship to Nature, as opposed to the archetype of the modern era of "mastering Nature". What is the wisdom that we received from the natural disasters in terms of the Green Man archetype?

The Green Man is about wisdom in our relationship to the Earth, and a prime example is from Native American traditions that celebrated and respected the plants and trees that are the "green" life of the Earth. It is interesting to note that in the stories and traditions of many cultures as well as religious traditions, plants and trees have been used as metaphors to describe the sacredness of life. The tree of life, branches, seeds, vines, forest, fruits, and roots all strike a deep resonance within us if we are open to the wisdom of the Green Man and the sacred masculine.  It is no coincidence that the modern green movement uses the same color as the archetype. It shows a more conscious integration of the wisdom of honoring the Earth with recycling, preservation, and justice for protecting the Earth, oceans, and forests.

The Green Man archetype is also connected to the silence of Nature, as in silent seeds that contain the potential to become active in creation with a certain catalyst, or in the deep forest such as the redwoods where silence has its own language. The green man represents the yang in balance with yin in Nature. The sacred masculine in balance with the sacred feminine. The oneness of the two as shown in the circular symbol with a curving line between both.

There is a connection also of the Green Man archetype to Father Christmas, and ancient portrayals of him wearing a green suit, and with the tradition and symbolism of the Christmas Tree and the Winter Solstice celebrations.

How is a man's wisdom in relationship to the Earth an important part of spiritual practice, mindfulness, and daily conscious focus? Is it to celebrate the oneness of Nature and ourselves as a sacred and holy part of the creation? Is it to become one with the Green Man archetype in which we can love, support, enjoy, and respect the Divine Spirit in Nature, especially the "green" life of the Earth? Is it to acknowledge the balance of the sacred feminine or Yin within Nature, the Earth, and also as a part of ourselves? In a prior blog - The Ancient Redwoods Spoke to Me - I describe a profound experience of discovering a profile of a Native American naturally formed at the base of a redwood tree and the experience of silence in the redwood forest. It is the photo at the top of this blog. It also is a perfect example of the Green Man not only as a metaphor, but as a "living symbol" of the sacred masculine.

The Green Man is just one of ten archetypes or metaphors described in the book  The Hidden Spirituality of Men - Ten Metaphors to Awaken the Sacred Masculine. The others are Father Sky, Icarus and Daedalus, Hunter-Gatherers, Spiritual Warriors, Masculine Sexuality - Numinous Sexuality, Our Cosmic and Animal Bodies, The Blue Man, Earth Father: The Fatherly Heart, Grandfather Sky: The Grandfather Heart. Maybe some or all are calling to us now in new ways, waiting for us to listen, respond, and become more aware of their presence in our lives.

On some level we already know the messages being sent from the sacred archetypes, since we carry the stories, the DNA of our ancestors, and the metaphors of life hidden within our sacred masculinity, our individual and collective memory, our sacred rituals, and our souls.


Towards the One - Henosis

"The invitation of the keyword “Oneness” is to explore the concept of unity and “find the reality of oneness.” In the classical ancient Greek language, “Henosis” is the word for mystical oneness, union, or unity. The concept has been applied to the unity that we have in spirit with the Divine Spirit, or God, that has been experienced by mystics and sages throughout the ages. There are many theories and paths towards oneness – as an isolated experience or as a permanent shift in consciousness. As Einstein so brilliantly stated, and as the ancient teachings in many traditions describe, we are already in a reality of Oneness. We just need to break through from our perceived duality and separateness from all of creation. We can have compassion to honor this process in ourselves and others."  ~ 333 Keywords to Change Your Life

The concept of oneness or the unity of all things and within all things is more than a concept when it is either experienced or celebrated on various levels and lived as a vision, an intent, a realization, or a joyful moment.

All of our life we are engaged in so many distractions, and rarely do we have time or create time to go within, deeply, to commune with Spirit and experience, even for a moment, a taste of eternity, of a divine moment, or of the oneness in all things. And yet it can happen in any given moment, when singing, listening to music, being in nature, making love, seeing hubble telescope images of the universe, dancing, doing yoga, or being inspired by wisdom, stories, and the resilience of the human spirit.

If there is a past behind us and a future ahead of us where are we going in Spirit? Towards the One?
What does that mean? It must be different for everyone, even if the same keywords are used.

What if the One is already here and now and there is no where to go? Yet we know where we have been and we are definitely not there anymore in our consciousness, our experience, our knowledge, and our world. We are here now, and in this moment, if we are mindful and conscious of our experience, then there may seem to be movement or progress towards something. Maybe that something is elusive, as we don't really know what it is or how it will manifest. Maybe we have a specific vision, idea, or intent of where we want to be.

It would seem that to move towards the One in time could also mean moving towards the One within the present moment. Like layers of an onion that are peeled off, we may experience the underlying Oneness beneath everything else piled on top of it.

How big can that pile be? Could it include some memories that we cannot seem to shake off as they had a deep impact on us? Could it include memories of people who wronged us or the wrongs that we did to others (imagined or real?). Could it include the changes in families, relationships, lost loved ones, births, marriages, and the blood that has been spilled in wars and violence in the history of the  world that we may carry in our collective consciousness, our DNA memory, our souls? If we watch television we feed ourselves a daily diet of this type of news and though we may think we are immune to it maybe there are subtle effects beyond our comprehension. It may seem to be a distraction of moving towards the One, if that is something that we care about.

There are many layers of the onion and maybe they will never all be peeled off and we will really see so much more about what reality is really like from the other side. What if we already are on the "other side" at the same time we are on "this side"? What if there are no "sides"?

The other side...imagine the possibilities of many different worlds and communities of spirit beings that are working together to help each other and those still here on the Earth plane, and who are still learning and evolving towards the One on the other side. In these places the colors and sounds and music and food and experiences are much more profound and rich than on the Earth. It could be as if the Divine Spirit reveals even more of the immense beauty of Creation at various levels of spiritual awakening on the other side. The concept of heaven and hell as a two story building just doesn't fit into the reality here. There are possibilities beyond our imagination of many mansions, millions of communities, all dedicated to the One, and all experiencing the Oneness in various ways and levels, beyond our Earthly experience.

If this possibility exists, and there are many sources that describe it, then we are on an eternal journey, and the Earth is only a part of the story. This journey towards Oneness could be an eternal one, as we experience Oneness in a million ways, and levels, and realize that the levels never end.

So when we are engaged in mindfulness and affirmations and prayers and thoughts about oneness and moving towards the One, let's remember to honor those who may be helping us from the other side, who are also still moving towards the One, and experiencing the One in ways that we may have not yet. Let's honor those who do not care or know about oneness, as they are also one with us on many levels. And with this reminder, maybe we can think of life as a dance with the One as well as moving towards the One, while at the same time being in the oneness of life every moment.

Written on July 13 2017 and just now updated November 18 2017, these are only a few thoughts that are streaming through on this Thursday summer night (July), and early morning (November). My hope and intent if you have read this far is that you will be blessed on your journey, and share those special moments of the journey with others who are also seeking oneness and deeper spiritual awakening in whatever ways works best for them.

David Brown