The Lion’s Den

Do you ever feel you are walking right into the lion’s den?

Source: via Julie on Pinterest

Driving in my car the other morning, scanning the series of turns I have made in recent years, I wonder: am I walking right toward the lion’s den? Here I’ve been, making several turns in my life, hoping—even at times full-heartedly trusting it’s the right turn—thinking perhaps I’ll avoid more suffering and gain more stability, thinking perhaps the ground will look clear and I’ll be on a new path. But, at each turn the road seems to get darker and this is when I wonder am I walking right toward my own destruction?

What if this is true? What if I am indeed walking right toward the lion’s den? If so, what is getting destroyed on the way to the den? What will the lion rip to shreds should I actually go right in to her den? I realize as this journey to, and perhaps in the den goes on, my heart feels like it’s breaking. But, it’s not. It’s actually opening. Expanding. Awakening. The lion, it turns out, is eating the thick flesh surrounding my beating, awakened heart. Not my actual heart.

This is the gift of the lion. Yet, in our minds we create schemes all to avoid this eating. But, the lion will and does have its way. As we avoid her prowess, we walk right into it. And it is not the eating that causes suffering, it is the hesitating, the resisting, the scheming and staying around the periphery of the den that brings the most misery.

But, so many of us have to do this. So many of us, for so long have to stay on the outskirts of this den or maybe even venture far away from it—but, we will all eventually end up in her den, being ravaged by her teeth. Our flesh will be eaten. It is also eaten while we avoid the den. It is eaten while we sit and stare and fear at the den. This slow eating of the flesh, of our small self is what prepares us for the ultimate destruction. The destruction of that small self. We are being prepeared for this encounter—all of us.

As I have moments of this awareness I welcome this and say: let her eat and skin me alive. For, it is the only way to come alive. It is the only way toward true intimacy and union with our higher self. It is the passageway toward truth and as a subscriber on my fan page said in response to my question: Do you ever feel you are walking right toward the lion’s den—? Only those who have the heart of a lion can do it.

It turns out the eating of what surrounds my beating, often aching, but alive heart is what makes me feel less afraid. It turns out the walking toward what will ravage me is my salvation.

Let me say this again: It turns out the walking toward what will ravage me is my salvation.


Source: via Alex on Pinterest

As I searched for a photo for this piece I realize the story of a lion’s den is in the bible: Daniel in the Lion’s Den. He was thrown in the den for praying, but was left unscathed because of his faith in God. It adds to what I am sharing here: the more conscious we become of this journey, the more faith we will have as we walk, and perhaps even the more we will want to be eaten.

The Soul Reporter


The Loud Sound of Quiet

There’s a quiet, which happens when the end of something comes. I heard it before and while my dog died. I heard it again a few nights ago. For once, the silence was louder than all the noise outside.

Louder than the traffic noise from the highway. Than helicopters buzzing in the skies. Dogs barking. The yellow utility fan blowing cold air inside the house. A week of homeschooling (child in house all day). Chatter in my head about money. All taking a muted back seat to the silence within.

This doesn’t happen very often. Usually I have to escape the noise and find an external quiet spot to get quiet and even then the internal noise is still too loud. But something is shifting, and I’m listening. In the silence of that moment, I heard the soul whisper, It’s over. The time of so much change and so little abundance. The time of so much pressure and so little peace. So much restriciton and so little freedom. The time of squeezing. It’s over. 

You might say (or truer yet, my Sergeant Williamson says), Nikki there is always abundance. There is always peace. There is always freedom. You just have to choose them. I could defend this, but I am going to let it be. No need. We go through what we must. Handle it as we do. And in time come through to another side.

On the other side of pressure. Restriction. Lack. Worry- is a space of silence and knowing, which whispers, It’s over. Not the kind of over that mimics former president Bush’s sign, ‘Mission Accomplished’ as he boasted an end of a war that was far from over, but more of an over where spring turns into summer and summer turns into fall and fall into winter. Where once summer occurs, spring can no longer be seen. Sometimes not even remembered, until of course it arrives again.

As we try to concrete our experiences here, we forget our life is cyclical. Our movement rhythmical. The darkest times carrying with them pressure and suffering seem to never want to leave. The brighter days, where are souls are happy and free we think will always last, or at least we want them to. During my dark days, I forgot what it felt like to love. I didn’t realize this until I got a text from my daughter- the same moment I was listening to the silence.

Earlier I was at Target, arriving much too late to look at my favorite designer Missoni, and their new wares. All that was left- a pair of black suede pumps. I don’t even wear pumps, but thought I might charge them. I sent my daughter a text with a picture of them, asking for her opinion. I didn’t buy the shoes and her reply came several hours later.

Unless you love them, I wouldn’t get them. 

When I had money, I was open to finding things I loved because if I loved it I felt I could buy it. Living within my meager means of the past several years, I’ve turned that openness off. Yes, I speak only of materialistic means- shoes, clothes, etc but little did I know I turned off my love valve everywhere else as well. I stopped loving my job as homemaker/parent. I forgot I loved to write. I stopped loving clothes because mine were ripping and sadly out of date. I stopped loving my hair that was falling out. I stopped loving the small things, like curling up with a good book or taking a hot, lavender scented bath. I stopped loving going out and participating. I stopped loving life, and then life sort of stopped. Or ran increasingly stale. This has been the cycle of the past several years.

The whisper says, It’s over…

So what does over look like? At present there isn’t a DJ playing Celebration outside of my window. I have yet to see a fat lady sing, unless I start. There is no amount of cash in my mailbox…yet. But spring usually doesn’t start with hot sunshine and cookouts on the beach either. It starts with the appearance of the first robin. A small sliver of grass. Wet patches of water and ice on the sidewalks, that were once mounds of snow.

Here are my signs: I laugh more. A man at 7-11 with a foreign tongue said to me while using a full circle hand gesture, I appreciate you like this. I am finally dealing with my 11-year old daughter- sitting down with her every weekday morning to help her learn the basics of life and school that she hasn’t received. I remembered I LOVE writing. I bought two Missoni items online that I do love. And I am learning Italian, the language of love. But the truest sign, is the silent sound within my soul, the truest companion I know, whispering to me, It’s over.

To hear the silence on the inside is the gift given when we survive being squeezed from the pressure of our dark days. To have the silence override the surface chaos is what it means to live from the inside out, and to do so in a conscious, direct way. To hear the silence on the inside means we no longer get as twisted and turned about by the winds of change, and S P A C E proceeds again for what we love. We hear the silence. We sense the rhythms. We know when one way ends and another begins. We grieve and we celebrate within the two, and we do it all while saying non mi dispiace (Italian for, I don’t mind).

Off to Big Bear for some (more) peace and quiet- and laughter. I will report again next week.


The Soul Reporter

Investigating (with slight irritation) Certain Spiritual Teachings

Teaching up for investigation: “It’s not up to you what you learn, but only whether you learn through joy or through pain.” ~A Course in Miracles

Upfront disclaimer: If you hear a charge in this post, you are right on. I’m irritated with certain spiritual teachings (I’ll get through it, but right now I am learning in a slightly painful way). I think some teachings are only useful in keeping us away from the real work, which in the long term is not useful. This one (above) for example has those markings. So, let’s investigate- if I believe in this teaching, that would mean I have no possibility of insight into my lessons. There is some being somewhere in charge of what I need to learn. It would also mean that I have a choice whether I learn through joy or through pain. I would agree, we have choice- and if I am using my strong will, I can will myself to choose to learn through joy, instead of pain. I mean who the hell really wants to learn through pain…..?

But, can we be honest? I can’t be the only one who has learned a lot of my lessons through intense amounts of pain. Pain, I was so immersed in I didn’t have the will power to choose joy, to even think that was an option. Does this then make me weak? Insufficient because I chose to suffer instead of jump to those lessons with glee?

To learn in joy is a certain kind of mastery I don’t believe I could even talk much about (I don’t like to talk about ideas without having personal experience). I’m not there. I think it’s possible for those who have worked diligently and intently on their path, and gone through lots of pain, but for most of us common folk, still ignorant to our True nature, this type of spiritual teaching might not be helpful. It keeps us in the superficial layer of our spiritual growth, where we think we can control how we feel by will alone. And where some of us who have gone a bit deeper than the superficial layers might feel bad because we aren’t choosing our lessons through joy. There were many times, as much as I was inspired by Wayne Dyer’s teachings, I felt like a failure because I wasn’t all happy, happy, joy, joy and maintaing my spiritual perspective through my shit, my hand on the trolley strap, so to speak.

To go back to this teaching that it is not up to us what we learn- this makes me feel disempowered. I know there is a soul, and I know contained within this soul are my lessons. I believe these lessons are universal, and we will all learn them as we are ready, which means we are the ones who choose to receive those lessons or to put them off. I also know we are given the extraordinary gift of insight, which can be used to look within and have knowledge into our lessons. I also trust, as we evolve into this soul, we will be able facilitate and consciously prepare and participate in those lessons. We may not know how those lessons will come to us, but we can know they are coming and will remain open and ready to receive. This may be the point in which there is joy- a sort of anticipatory joy, like YAY! Today I am going to be stretched and I can’t wait because I want to grow. But so many of us are unaware of this going on inside of us so how can we consciously participate, let alone joyously (therefore not knowing might be a more comfortable belief for those wanting to stay safe on the shore). This means the lessons that do come are probably going to hurt like hell because we don’t know what is going on or why and we are resisting them all the way.

Looking for the positive:

What this spiritual lesson does do is bring awareness that there are lessons we will learn and are learning. That is essential to know. It gives perspective. It also brings awareness to choice of joy or pain, but it doesn’t go deep or wide or guide enough to where many of us are right now in our evolution- not where we can choose joy in a pure authentic way while we grow (but we can pretend :-). Having only read bits and pieces of ACIM, maybe it does do this throughout the book. What I did read, the words inspired higher aspects, but it wasn’t very grounding for me. I am not content only with ideals. I want to be those ideals, and that is quite a process of unraveling and discovering. It’s work. Often painful- just being honest.

Lesson: The most helpful teaching/teacher for me inspires my true nature, while also holding the space of where I am with insight, guidance and compassion. 


>Everything has turned to water.

The Voice Inside says:  swim in it.

I told my father I feel lost.  Not only in the physical world, but also in the spiritual.  
“It is a new feeling,” I said, “especially spiritually.  I thought I at least found solid ground there.”
Everything has turned to water.  
The Voice Inside says: swim in it.

Perhaps this is my new spirituality.

>Small Thoughts Keeping Us from Big Things

>Today I wrote, and I wrote well.  It helped that I processed some of my doubt with my friends last night.  I told them of my recent blog- I am Not A Performer, and what happens to me each and every time I get to the page and today I began the process of birthing the head. I have been in labor for at least four long years with this book, and like a frightened mother with control issues, I didn’t want to let it g0- even though I really did. I figure once the head comes out and I am pleased with its face, the rest should slide on out with ease and become a fully formed baby, which I will be ready to share with the world. You do know I still talking about my book here, right?  

I am a much better mother to real children than I am to my books. I have been so controlling with them, not giving them a lot of space and movement.  I have held them still and stiff, trying to contain something that feels almost too big for me. I remember an editor telling me it is like I am trying to write the Bible.  I think anytime writers talk about spiritual things, like I am doing, it feels big.  The energy often feels like it is coming from some place else, the concepts seem huge and expansive and yet we have to filter it all down to a nice, pretty package of about 300 pages with chapters and sub-chapters. 
I am in the puzzle phase- where I feel like I am faced with a million piece puzzle on my desk and I have to sort through each piece and make the pretty picture that is already there.  Today I bounced around with the border pieces, trying to build the frame or in this case the foundation for the rest of the book.  
While talking to my friends last night, I told them the thoughts that come up when I sit down to write.  I watched one of them today: who do you think you are. You are not that smart, so what makes you think that you can write something so intelligent. You just aren’t worthy. 
Last night when my friend Theri told me how talented I was, immediately the presence of my father sat on my left shoulder and I could not take what she said inside of me.  Instead her words hovered around my outside and waited until I stopped listening to the words, apparently coming from my dad- You aren’t good enough. You aren’t special. You aren’t worthy of writing.

I love my dad. He’s great and has become a great supporter of me, yet now that I am doing what I thought I could never do, the beliefs and old energies of my childhood are coming through. But they are only small thoughts.  They are not worthy of me or what I am here to do.  In a sentence- they are not worth my time.  And before I write each day I tell them so, and then I observe them as they fly on by trying to get my attention.  But they won’t get it when I am writing.

>The Trickling Spring Stream

Two weeks it has been and I have not had any sweets- and here is what I continue to learn from the experience.  I hardly crave it at all and when I do it is okay.  Allowing.

The other day I ordered a glass of iced tea.  Usually I have sweetener, but on this day I didn’t. I drank the tea as it was and enjoyed its nakedness.  I see sweets for what they have been- a barrier between myself and raw substance- in this case tea.  Lesson.

This is a true metaphor for my spiritual life.  I want to be up front and real- up close and personal with all of my experiences and relationships. I don’t want anything to sweeten it up- because life, love, learning- none of it needs sweetening.  I want to look people in the eyes and see them and I want them to see me.  I want to feel the snow and rain on my face.  I want to smile and inhale the beauty surrounding me. I want to feel the experiences of my loved ones and be there for them in ways that allow them to be where they are.  I want nothing between me and you- me and us- me and this- me and that- me and everything- ever again.  
I remember tasting a bit of this when I lived in New Prague, MN.  I was walking through the neighborhood on a cool spring day, just as the snow was melting and trickling down the street. The sight of water made me want to reach over, bend down and touch it and I did. But I hesitated.  Why? Because what if someone saw me?  Wouldn’t I look ridiculous touching the tricking stream of melting wet snow?  I touched it anyway. It was cold. Raw. Real.  I saw how life is constantly giving us opportunities to inhale its richness, aliveness and beauty- and on the flip how we have been conditioned to believe to do so is childlike- weird- not normal and so we don’t.  When was the last time you stood in the pouring rain spinning in a continuos circle asking life to love you even more than it already does? Would you look ridiculous? Only to those who don’t see the pure joy in just being and allowing the impulse within us to move us to do the unusual, which is really the impulse inside of us to do what is usual.  Real. Raw. Alive.
I understand I do not need literal sweets to make my life sweeter. It already is. I only need all that is already surrounding me- life, love, opportunity and every once and awhile a trickling spring stream to relish in.