The Work was Worth It!

All the Love and Support We Need

“Forgiveness isn’t just the absence of anger. I think it’s also the presence of self-love, when you actually begin to value yourself.” ~ Tara Westover

“Self-love has very little to do with how you feel about your outer self. It’s about accepting all of yourself.” ~ Tyra Banks.

When I have a shift in how I see myself, or the world, I find it difficult to put into words just how different I feel. However, I’ll attempt to share with you an experience I had recently.

First I need to give you some background information. I’m sure many of you know what it feels like to dislike, or even hate yourself. Things happen that we perceive as negative and our response is, “Well, of course that happened. Everything and everyone is against me.”

I’ve been working for forty or fifty years to learn self-love. It’s been a profound struggle. For what seemed like forever, I was sure that I’d never have what I wanted out of life. Whenever I had a goal I wanted to accomplish, there were blocks in my head as if God didn’t want me to be completely happy. The universe or God had my back in certain areas of my life, but not all. I was sure that the obstacles were in the world outside, never considering that they might be internal.

Then something profound happened. I was complaining to God in my journal and I asked the question, “What am I supposed to be learning from this?” Immediately I began to get answers. Slowly two things dawned on me. First that events that I saw as negative were put in my way to shake me out of belief systems that were definitely wrong. Second that I was the source of my pain and suffering, and my healing. The choice was up to me. The answers to any problem I might face were inside me and always at my finger tips.

I began to read books by teachers like, Deepak Chopra, Neale Donald Walsch, Gregg Braden, Caroline Myss, Marianne Williamson, Riane Eisler, and many others. I read lots of ancient texts as well and that started me on a steep learning curve over a period of five or six years. Yay! I thought my work was finished. I drifted through life thinking I’d arrived at enlightenment. Boy was I wrong.

Some devastating events happened about fifteen years ago that shook me to my core and knocked me out of my smug complacency. There was a lot more work to do on myself. So, I went back to reading books by a new group of teachers, Elizabeth Gilbert and Brené Brown among them. I watched Oprah’s show Super Soul Sunday every Sunday and went back to my journal. The conclusion I came to was that I still didn’t love myself. I needed to clear out more really old beliefs, attitudes and perceptions that were deeply buried in my psyche.

The most profound lessons were about how to forgive all the people that I was still holding grudges against. And no matter what was happening, I needed to be grateful for the lessons. In fact, I needed to grateful for everything in my life, the big and small.

Over the last few years of deeper work, I’ve had moments of insight and have felt small inner shifts in understanding about who I really am and what my purpose in this lifetime is.

The other morning I awoke with these words in my head, “I’m proud to be a woman.” At first I thought this statement came to me because I’m doing lots of thinking about my latest novel. Morgan’s story, again, came rather easily. But writing Jenna’s has been difficult. Getting to the core of the personal changes she makes while trying to effect societal changes seemed too daunting. Having her say that she’s proud to be who she is was a huge breakthrough.

It wasn’t until a few days later that I realized the message was a personal one for me as well. Of course it was. Jenna is a reflection of me and I was just as changed by it as she will be.

The change was a shift in the way I felt internally. Almost all the blocks to loving myself have melted away. For the first time I can honestly say I love who I am. It’s a liberating feeling, one I never thought I’d come to enjoy.

I know some of you will think this is woo woo, but humans are changing as are our religious, social, financial, and political structures. If we look back at history, we can identify other times when humanity has gone through similar disruptive changes. People all over the world are feeling uneasy and uncertain about the future. Each of us react to these subtle changes in different ways none of which are good or bad. They grow out of who we are, and the lessons we came here to learn.

Since I now have a new confidence in who I am, I no longer feel afraid of the future. In fact, I’m excited to see what lessons I have yet to learn and what will happen next.

Thanks for reading, liking and commenting. I appreciate all of you who follow my posts and hope that what I share will benefit you in some way. Blessings to you all.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2019

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards. It’s a little bit like Outlander in that it’s a historical, time-travel, magical realism, novel. Except that Jenna’s life is shattered. When she finds old journals, she joins consciousness with her three-times great-grandmother, Morgan, rather than traveling physically. She is able to come back at intervals and apply what she’s learned to her own life situations.

The Space Between Time is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords and for Kindle at Amazon, or you can find the ebook at iBooks or Barnes and Noble. If you prefer a physical copy, you can find a print-on-demand version at Amazon. Stay tuned for news when the audiobook version is published. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.

Fear is the Mind Killer!

A Return to Love by Marianne Williamson

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” ~ Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of “A Course in Miracles”

The title of this post is a quote from Dune by Frank Herbert. It points out something basic. Fear robs us of our ability to think clearly and it keeps us from loving one another. For some reason we humans have chosen to live in fear rather than in love. And yet so many of us profess we long for a loving world. Living in fear flips everything we do to the opposite of what we profess we want. We act to protect ourselves in all kinds of weird ways rather than leading with love.

I see evidence of humans being ruled by fear on the news almost every day. Police kill unarmed people because they think they have a weapon, politicians create laws to control groups they fear, a gunman opens fire on innocent people, religious and ethnic groups are demonized, and on any given day you can find people venting their fear on social media.

If you look, you can find the opposite, people acting out of love, but it is harder to find those stories because fear sells.

As Herbert’s quote indicates, fear robs us of logical thinking and of feeling any tender emotions. It often rears its head as anger. Many people believe if they express their anger, they are strong. But that’s not always the case. There is a difference between expressing anger out of fear, and righteous anger challenging an injustice. We need to know the difference.

There are too many instances of people acting out of fear to write about them all in this post, though in reality, they are all aspects of the same problem. So, I will focus on what is perhaps the oldest manifestation of fear, men and women.

Since the Me Too movement began there has been a huge backlash all based in fear. This is just one in a long line of gains for women, that men then attempt to roll back. One of the big battles right now is abortion rights. For a few years now, mostly white men have been trying to scale back women’s reproductive rights.

First they tried to shut down Planned Parenthood so that women could not get free or discounted access to contraceptives. The message was, “Women are not allowed to have sex outside of marriage.” It’s a new version of the old double standard. Men can behave as badly as they want and not suffer any repercussions. But women are viewed as either pure as the driven snow, or they’re sluts. There is no in between. The pure women are controlled through fear, the sluts are censured and vilified.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, the continued attempts to overturn Roe V. Wade has resulted in nine states passing laws to ban abortion. These proponents in favor of curtailing women’s reproductive rights claim to be pro-life, but as Sister Joan Chittster says, “They are pro-birth, not pro-life.” If these people were pro-life they would support programs that help women and their children, or help women not have unwanted children. But they squash proposed laws to help women with the logic, women got themselves into this mess, now they must live with the consequences. In lawmaker’s minds, a woman’s dire situation is God’s punishment. Hmmm, I wonder what Jesus would do in this situation?

Men and women! I have often wondered why men try to control women. I have felt rage on more than one occasion when men have tried to control my decisions, or treated me like a piece of meat. Just who did they think they were to tell me what to do, or to assume that I was theirs just because they wanted me? The only answer I can come up with is that at some deep existential level, men fear women. Maybe men are afraid of the light in us. It reminds them of who they really are so they have to bully us. And it makes them write stories about how God created man first, and women from the man’s rib to convince themselves they are superior to women. Really? I have never bought that story!

I’m convinced that men are the ones who came up with the ideas that control is love, aggression is strength, emotions are weak, and men are the only ones who are capable of logical thinking. They convinced lots of us that we need to be afraid of the light that we all possess within us.

It’s an extraordinary man, and I’ve known quite a few, who can form a true partnership with a woman. They’re confident in who they are and don’t need to beat their chests to prove it. They lead from the back of the group, they are not afraid to show tender emotions, and they honor everyone. Spiritual teachers call this type of man someone connected to the sacred masculine. Jesus is one example of such a man. He embraced and integrated both masculine and feminine qualities within his being.

I just finished reading the book The Lost Sisterhood by Julia Ingram, a master regression therapist and spiritual counselor, in which she points out that many of the qualities we associate with Jesus are classified as feminine: gentleness, compassion, patience, caring for the sick and the poor, and the love of children. His mission was to try to help all human beings embrace these attributes. I find it interesting that so many men, and even some women, who claim to be followers of Jesus Christ, have rejected these traits as beneath them. They much prefer the aggressive, vengeful god of the Old Testament.

I think Marianne Williamson, who is running for president, is right. We all need to take a serious look at our spiritual and moral belief systems. We need to engage in serious discussions about what is wrong with this world, and what we can do to make changes for the better. If we want a better world, we have some adjustments to make in our thinking and feelings about each other. The assumptions we’ve made about God’s teachings are breaking down. We got it wrong. It’s a perfect time amid all this turmoil to take a step back and reevaluate the true principles of those teachers we have revered all our lives.

Almost all religions assert that loving one another is the highest achievement we can aspire to. Unfortunately, through the centuries, we got off that path. We became full of fear and to protect ourselves we created false separations. We grasped for power and possessions thinking those things would protect us. But they won’t. They are false gods.

It’s the energy of love that will save us. Learning to love is a very personal endeavor that begins with forgiving and loving ourselves first. I can speak from personal experience, it’s not easy to give up fear and learn to love myself warts and all. There are so many days when I fall into fear, or anger, or blame. But when I can let go of those emotions and just love and accept people for who they are, I feel at peace. Feeling that way makes me want to continue to strive to see every human being as precious no matter what their outer behaviors. It’s a process I’ve committed myself to no matter how imperfectly I do it.

Welcome to my new followers. Thanks for your comments and likes. I appreciate you being willing to share your thoughts with me.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2019

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards. It’s a little bit like Outlander in that it’s a historical, time-travel, magical realism, novel. Except that Jenna’s life is shattered. When she finds old journals, she joins consciousness with her three-times great-grandmother, Morgan, rather than traveling physically. She is able to come back at intervals and apply what she’s learned to her own life situations.

The Space Between Time is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords and for Kindle at Amazon, or you can find the ebook at iBooks or Barnes and Noble. If you prefer a physical copy, you can find a print-on-demand version at Amazon. Stay tuned for news when the audiobook version is published. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.

What I Believe

August Sunset

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” ~ Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love

This week’s lesson in Art & Soul Reloaded by Pam Grout is to write an essay about what I believe. This is one assignment I was excited to do because I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what it is I know for sure. I stopped writing because the way I was writing about what I believe to be true seemed to be fake, intellectual nonsense. So I had to sit down and do some thinking about how to share my outlook on life without sounding sanctimonious. I’m going to begin with what I learned from my dad.

He was a lot like me, a very private person. But, when I asked him questions about the news and what was happening in the world, his answers were thought provoking. The 60s and 70s, when I was in school, were a bit like now. There was a great deal of unrest and many of the protests were violent. When I’d ask dad about that, he’d say that wounded people do things to make themselves feel better, but it doesn’t work like that. He didn’t say “What we put out we get back” that I remember, but eventually I understood that the real problems in the world are not external, they’re internal.

Most of us are not taught good coping skills. We aren’t taught how to love ourselves, or that there is plenty of everything to go around so we don’t need to fight for resources. It’s not our parents, family members or teacher’s fault, they’re just passing on what they learned and believe to be true. But what if they’re wrong? What if the infinite intelligent force that created everything sees us as perfect and completely lovable. Wow! That would change everything in our outer world.

It took me a long time to accept this understanding after lots of soul searching and study. I’m finally learning to forgive myself for all the silly and stupid mistakes I’ve made in my relationships over the years.

Throughout my life I’ve had many spiritual experiences that have helped shape my current belief system. The most profound of these insights has been each time I’ve felt my connection to everything that exists.

I think it was Carl Sagan who said that we are all made of star stuff. When I heard that, I knew it was true because when I was a teenager I lay on the ground one night looking up at the vastness of the night sky with all the stars and my heart opened. It felt like the edges of my body were melting away and I was part of the ground, the air, the trees, the grass, the stars, my boyfriend beside me, the other campers in their cabins, the animals in the woods. The sensation lasted for only a moment, but it was profound and changed the way I saw myself and my place in the universe.

Another time I was riding in a car watching people walking down the street and that same feeling came over me, that somehow I had an invisible connection to everyone and everything on the planet. It brings tears to my eyes to remember that and to know that when others hurt, I’m hurt. When good things happen for other people, I get to feel a little bit of that joy too. It’s also sobering to realize that when I hurt others, I’m not only hurting them but myself and everyone else on the planet and the opposite is also true. Understanding that has made me take responsibility for my thoughts and actions.

Knowing all that helps me be more conscious of what I say and do, but I still fall into the trap of getting angry, calling someone an idiot and thinking they are the one who needs to change. Just yesterday I was driving to teach one of my classes and there were some really creative drivers on the road Someone pulled in front of me when I was traveling at fifty-five miles an hour, with not much space to put on the breaks. I was yelling that them, and nearly leaned on the horn. It didn’t feel good and I knew I was sending out nasty energy and that wasn’t helping me or anyone else. That energy wasn’t changing the situation in any way.

The truth is, my growth and everyone else’s is a process. The human race has been growing in understanding since we became the human race and that process will continue until it’s time for something else to happen. I know that I’m just one little drop of water in the big ocean, but every drop is important. Which means, I’ve got to keep working on cleaning up and letting go of all the errors in my thinking and feeling. I’m going to do that because something in my heart keeps urging me to do so when I wake up in the morning, when I meditate, when I sit to write, when I teach, when I read books, watch movies, and look at great art. I never know when I’ll feel the inspiration to keep going. It might be when I see someone doing something nice for someone else. But it’s there and I don’t want to stop working on myself.

What I believe is that every human being is inherently good, we just don’t know that yet. At least not all of us. Maybe more people are waking up to that fact, and that’s why this time the unrest feels different than when I was growing up. For one thing, the protesters are less violent and more dedicated to finding solutions to our problems. That feels good to me. I’m excited to see what happens over the next months and years.

Thanks for reading, liking and commenting. I appreciate it very much.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2018

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards. It’s a historical, time-travel, magical realism, women’s novel, and is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords, and print-on-demand at Amazon and other fine book sellers. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.

A Dish of Forgiveness All Around

Chapel of the Red Rocks
Chapel of the Red Rocks

“When we think we have been hurt by someone in the past, we build up defenses to protect ourselves from being hurt in the future. So the fearful past causes a fearful future and the past and future become one. We cannot love when we feel fear …. When we release the fearful past and forgive everyone, we will experience total love and oneness with all.” –Gerald G. Jampolsky

“When you know better, you do better.” –Maya Angelou

If you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time, you know I’m a fan of Super Soul Sunday on OWN. Last Sunday, Oprah’s guest was one of my favorite teachers and authors, Marianne Williamson. They began talking about Marianne’s campaign for nomination as a Congressional candidate, but late in the discussion their conversation turned to the violence in Ferguson, Missouri and what that’s all about. Oprah brought up an article that Marianne had written for the Huffington Post. You can click the link and go read it for yourself. I don’t want to rehash what Marianne has already written so beautifully. What I do want to write about is the mental and emotional journey I’ve been taking since listening to Marianne and Oprah’s discussion.

First of all let me state that I am a white person. I was raised to believe that EVERYONE deserves to be treated with respect, so some of the discussions that have been going on lately about how white people need to take a good look at their attitudes about racism, rubbed me the wrong way. But Oprah and Marianne’s discussion got me thinking about forgiveness. Slavery was one of the most horrendous episodes in our nation’s history. Another one is how we treated the Native Americans. White people, for the most part, were behind both of those terrible situations. I think Marianne is right, white people don’t want to think of the horrible things that whites did in our country’s past. Most of us think that we weren’t alive then, so it has nothing to do with us.

But here’s the thing, we’ll never heal our racial wounds if we don’t forgive ourselves for our impulse to ignore what happened. We can’t expect anything to get better if we don’t take responsibility for what’s happening right now. And what’s happening right now is, whites want to point to the Civil Right’s Movement of the 60s and 70s and say, “It’s already been healed. The laws have been passed, we’re all equal now.” As we’re seeing in recent events, that’s just not true. The discussion and practice to make everyone equal is far from over.

So, I take responsibility for my assumption that African American’s just needed to forgive us and move on, and for not forgiving myself and my ancestors for what they may have done. We as white people need to stop glossing over our discomfort with what has happened to African and Native Americans due to white aggression and greed. We need to look into those dark places and expose our true feelings about the differences of race and culture in this country. We need to acknowledge that we’re not the top of the heap, and in reality, never have been.

If we’re going to survive the myriad problems we face right now, we need to do some deep soul searching and forgive ourselves and then others. We’ve got to stop letting the past get in our way of creating a new future.

This blog is my public declaration that I’m committed to healing and forgiving myself for not acknowledging the deep wounds caused by white people in our country’s history. I’m with Marianne and support any efforts our government makes to make reparation to any group that we’ve wronged. Making reparation is our collective acknowledgement of what happened, and that we want to make it as right as possible and build a new future together.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2014

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Everything Has Changed

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love

I had a different post planned for this morning. It was going to be about books that have changed my life and I struggled with which books to include. There have been so many. I could write an entire book about the books, both fiction and non-fiction that have changed my life. But this morning I was blown away as I read Mastin Kipp’s blog The Daily Love. This is what I read:

“I’m so excited and energized right now!

It’s an incredible day for you, for me, for America and for the entire spiritual movement.

Why?

Because this past Sunday, my dear friend Marianne Williamson announced that she is running for the US House of Representatives.”

My life was changed in that moment because I’ve been feeling the call to become my authentic self and not continue my spiritual work all by myself. And one of my spiritual mentors, Marianne Williamson, has followed the same urge and stepped out into a new arena. The political arena, which most of us think is broken beyond repair. She’s someone who’s been broken, and found her way back to herself, and God. I can’t wait to see what her campaign is going to be like. She’s not going to be shouting about the problems we face, she’s not going to be tearing down her opponent. We’re going to see a completely new approach. She’s going to be suggesting peaceful, loving solutions to the problems we face. I’m so inspired by her willingness to be the trailblazer in finding new, previously unthought of solutions to our country’s problems.

As I wrote above, I’ve been feeling a call to get my message, if you want to call it that, out there to a larger audience. That’s why I started this blog. I’ve learned so much about myself and my relationship to the Divine over the years. I’ve been broken and built a new life and now it’s time to share what I’ve learned. And one of the people who has helped me on my spiritual journey, Marianne Williamson, is following her guidance and showing us all the way again. Only this time it’s not just by her words but also by her actions.

I have to say that I hate politics, because to me it’s all a bunch of posturing and a grab for power. Egos are at full inflation. At least that’s what it has been. The thing is we haven’t been able to get away from the old structure of politics, because politics play a part in every aspect of our lives. We’ve been taught that it’s bad to be the man or woman on the bottom. That’s why failure is so painful. We think we’ve lost our power. Marianne Williamson and so many other spiritual teachers, the list is too long to name them all here, are showing us that power doesn’t necessarily mean what we have traditionally thought. True power is knowing who we really are, and why we’re here. If we accept all of who we are, both the dark and light, and love ourselves, then we have authentic power. Nothing can shake us. Jesus knew that, Buddha new that, Lao Tzu knew that. Mahatma Gandhi knew that. Nelson Mandela knows that. The encouraging thing is that more and more people are waking up to that fact. And Marianne Williamson declaring her candidacy for the U.S. House of Representatives signals a shift from focusing on external power to focusing on internal power and changing the world using inner wisdom. When we connect with the Divine inside ourselves and look for solutions there, the solutions are so much more powerful and effective than manipulating the external world.

So, I encourage you to keep doing your personal, spiritual work to love yourselves and see where your guidance takes you. That’s what I’m doing. Who knows where it will take us. I know that if each of us follows our inner guidance, all the problems of the world will be solved, because we will each be doing the part for which we are designed.

© Lucinda Sage-Midgorden 2013