Forgiveness

I was fortunate to have spent two years in relative solitude at a lakeside cottage nestled   into a wooded hill. I had plenty of time to contemplate my navel and all sorts of things from the minute to the cosmic. Those Thoreau years were blessed with many opportunities to “Know Thyself” more intimately.  One day the word “forgiveness” wafted through my thoughts. I let the thought pass, but it left me agitated. I had already forgiven my parents for “ruining” my childhood. What more did I need to forgive? In those days I didn’t yet realize that agitation was a harbinger of an “aha” moment.

During my stay at the cottage, I developed a close relationship with my soul, a tender and compassionate being called Domini. We had frequent dialogues from which I learned to trust Domini’s guidance. I also discovered that Domini is quite a rascal, a trickster, and a hard task-master. Domini relentlessly poked and prodded me to expand beyond my conditioned perceptions about myself and the world. When I got lazy or resisted opportunities to expand, Domini delivered blessings disguised in grubby packages.

One day in late August, when the mornings in the mountains can get quite cool, I was contemplating my need for wood to heat the cottage in winter. I am proud of my ability to think ahead and develop strategies to achieve my objectives. Brilliance struck! “I’ll trim the dead branches from the trees surrounding my cottage. That’ll save me from having to buy so much firewood.” I retrieved my trusty chainsaw from the shed, checked the spark plug and starter rope, tightened and oiled the droopy chain and fired the sucker up. It worked perfectly. I planned to begin cutting and storing the wood the next day so it could dry out before temps and snows fell.

The next day all went well until late afternoon. I was feeling tired and drenched in sweat that glued wood chips to my skin. I was ready to quit for the day, take a swim in the lake and have a cold beer. Then I spotted a dead 20-foot-long limb. It was perfect: four inches thick, and when cut into sixteen-inch lengths, it would fit neatly into my wood stove. When I positioned myself on the sloping ground, I found that even on my tiptoes, I was a few inches shy of being able to cut the limb. I retrieved a ladder and placed it against the tree trunk. I climbed the ladder and balanced awkwardly on the top step. The chainsaw quickly ripped through the limb. But when it finally broke free from the tree trunk, it kicked back, knocking me off the ladder. The chainsaw flew out of my hand. The next thing I knew, I was lying on my back on the ground gasping for air. The limb had landed across my chest, pinning me to the ground. My first thought was, “Well that was really DUMB. I could have been killed!”       

Somehow I lifted that limb off my chest. It didn’t take long for me to realize that my earlier dismissal of forgiveness had provided me with this experience to learn to forgive myself for doing really dumb things. Oh well, I guess l just learn some things the hard way.

From this event and the lingering pain in my ribs, I learned to pay attention to seemingly insignificant thoughts and to honor my body. When I don’t, I can push my limits and get careless, even reckless, and do dumb things.  The dialogue with Domini continues. I think I’m getting wiser about the use of my thoughts and feelings because I’m having to forgive myself less frequently.

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Joy

One day, deep in the clutches of despair, I dragged myself to Maria’s. A petite lady, she was eccentric and a most unlikely mentor, but I credit her with saving my life. She could always tell when I was vulnerable. I fondly called her studio the torture chamber. On this day she had me stretch out on my back over a padded barrel, then she placed ten-pound weights in each of my hands. She pounded her fists on my chest. I felt my defended heart opening.  Maria’s tactics were unorthodox but led to emotional breakthroughs. She looked at me and said softly, “Al, the way out of grief is through it. Feel it in every cell. Acknowledge it. Welcome it. Come to know it intimately. Make it an ally. Consider it to be the rich black soil out of which will grow the greatest joy you will ever know.”

“When will I feel joy, Maria?”

When you relax your willfulness and allow your life to unfold naturally.”

I could have continued spiraling down the rabbit hole of despair, but I trusted Maria. Her methods were part psychological, part shamanic, part dance and always in my best interest. Above all, they were loving. She introduced me to the idea that my psychological agitation can be the prelude to profound “aha” moments. She taught me to use my mind, my body and my emotions to open my heart. She helped me see my battles with dualistic rights and wrongs as opportunities to know myself more deeply. Maria assured me that as I did this inner work, joy would come to reside in me one day.

Maria was right, of course. One day joy did arrive. I heard birds singing. A child in his mother’s arms smiled at me. I thought of my sons at that age. The cloudless blue sky and sun embraced me. I felt alive.  My heart overflowed with joy. My body seemed too small to contain it, like I might burst.

Friends who have known me for a long time have asked, “Al, what happened to you? You used to be so angry, but now you seem mellow. Did you take a miracle pill or a potion? Did the cosmic kaleidoscope shine a special light on you?” I tell them that I’ve been working to  discover a sense of neutrality within. That requires me to be mindful and honor all things. I’m less swayed by the turmoil of external events. I trust in my authentic self, my soul’s guidance and the divine nature of all people and all things. I explain that these practices have begun to dismantle my sense of separateness so that I’m more open to seeing Creator everywhere.

Sometimes I smile for no apparent reason all day long. I’m discovering joy even in my challenges. They present me with opportunities to see the silliness in incidents of separateness, mine and others.  Whenever I see this illusion being played out in my life and in the human drama, I can laugh now. Not at it, I will not mock it. That would feed it energetically. I honor it by seeing its folly and saying, isn’t Creator amazing! 

Maria once said, “When you feel joy, share it with others.” I’ve learned that joy is abundant, and when we share it more will come. I promise.

Grief

I had ignored her call last summer and my body suffered for it. A stiff neck, pounding head and sore throat hounded me for months. I can always sense when she’s about to call me again. What does she want from me now? It’s always something I value. Will this be the time she devours me completely? Then she whispered into my heart: You can turn the page onto the best chapter of your life only after you grieve. Damn it! Do I have any more tears to give her?

For months I had anguished over closing my architecture firm, ending a relationship, leaving dear friends behind, losing homes I’d designed and built and most of my material assets. Would I ever get out of the financial hole? The ocean between me and my beloved sons was unbearable. And yet, I had chosen two decades earlier to embark on a path to discover my authentic self. I had no idea then what this path would cost me. After meeting every challenge she presented me, could she still want more?

If she wants more from me then I demand to know: Why am I here? What is mine to do? Where do I belong? Enraged, I demanded my old life back.

I fought with her! Then I remembered that going into her darkness, as scary as it has been, I emerge with more clarity. This was the incentive I needed to defeat my terror and answer her call to enter her emptiness yet again. I chose to surrender my body and my mind to the Void of grief. With the holidays approaching, I went to my old recipe for grieving.

 One comfy chair                                                                                                                                          

One pair of baggy sweat pants

One hoodie                                                                                      

Seven parts sap from holiday season Hallmark movies                                                              

Four parts CBS’s Steve Hartman “On the Road” segments                                                      

Hourly mugs of brewed thyme tea laced with a dollop of honey

The perfect medicine! Decades of encrusted grief dislodged from my lungs. It was not pretty! In fact it was downright unmanly. My defenses fell like heroes on the battlefield. Relentlessly, I wept. Tissues flew in every direction and fell to the floor, soaked with tears and yellow-green snot. Grief’s departure was palpable.

In the wake of this release, all illusions of my aloneness evaporated. Lighter now, rising on love, once again, she embraced me. Then she handed me the key to unlock the door to the expansiveness I crave. Will I ever learn without the rituals of pain and fear? Will I ever look forward to her calls? When I return from her darkness, I always forget the preceding terror. Afterwards, I can’t wait to share all that she has taught me.  I honor and respect the creative power of my emotions. They are great gifts. Oh, this wondrous Void! She’s teaching me to empower my intentions with love. What a process! Why was I so afraid of her anyway? Good Grief!

Humility

My early relationship with my father was often combative. From a tender age, it seemed to me that his purpose was to make my life difficult. His criticism and quips made me angry. “Your temper is going to get you in big trouble one day!” he’d say to me. I experienced my father as a self-righteous militaristic dictator of arbitrary rules. As a teen I fought him and accused him of being the cause of all my problems.  His stern warning about the birds and bees and countless other lessons added fuel to my anger toward him. He seemed unable to see me and accept me as I was. To his harshness I retorted, “Were you never a child, never a teenager? Did you never rebel or make mistakes?”

My relationship with my father taught me that men were my adversaries. I was motivated by a need to prove my value to others. Architecture was the perfect profession for me. Although I loved the creativity, working from the big picture of designing complex public buildings to the minute details of door knobs, my competitiveness began to disturb me. Architects are often called upon to pit our skills against each other. Sometimes it gets real nasty. Battles for our commissions can seem like gladiator competitions over talent, time and money. It can bring out the worst in people otherwise devoted to making a better world.

Then I began to question these competitions and the way they left me feeling degraded and demoralized, even after winning. Oh, Wow! It hit me. I was feeling about my profession like I did with my father.  I began to realize that all I ever wanted from my father was for him to see me, believe in me and support my dreams. They both had me feel separate from others and what I craved was connection.

When I learned that at the age of twelve my father had been blamed for his father’s death, I was shocked. I realized how emotionally wounded, how mentally tormented and burdened with guilt and shame he must have been. Did he blame himself for the deformity of my hands? Was that why he was so hard on me? My heart opened. I felt compassion for my father.

I always knew my father was a brilliant and learned man, a philosopher, an engineer and inventor and a self-taught speaker of several languages. But now I felt for him and his pain. I wondered about the contributions he might have made to the world had his inner demons been conquered.  I realized that in his own way he had applied his Naval Academy training to me. He was pushing me to find inner strength and confidence, to pick myself up when I was down.

Recently, I found a photograph of my father. It was taken at my graduation from Columbia University, the only event of mine he ever attended. He was absolutely beaming at me  with loving pride. When I saw that light in his eyes, I realized how deeply he loved me. Now I see and feel his contribution to my life. It was when I delivered his eulogy that I finally realized he had been the perfect father for me. Our Souls had chosen well. By presenting himself as my adversary, he was actually coaching me to be resilient and resourceful. It takes a very wise Soul with unconditional love to do what he did for me. He taught me the value of adversity. I can at last look back at my father with deep honor and humility. I love you, Dad!

Dad

 

  Albert C. Moore                                                                                    (Nicknamed, “Curley” by his fellow Midshipmen)                               United States Naval Academy                                                                                 Class of 1943

As I matured, our relationship turned very cordial, handshakes, man to man. We sometimes even greeted each other with genuine embraces. One of my favorite memories of my dad is of us watching a ballgame together, drinking beers and eating his favorite sandwich, peanut butter and onion.

Expectancy

I used to set intentions to achieve a goal, like I’m going to be an architect. I expected my goal to manifest exactly as I planned. I also expected it to manifest according to my timetable and match my desired end results – money and respect. Full steam ahead! If I encountered resistance, I powered through it. We all know how well that works.

I expected to have a life-long career as a successful architect because that’s what I intended to do. I received a fabulous education in architecture and urban design and apprenticed for ten years. In my thirties and forties, I built a successful practice conforming to my expectations.

Then, without warning, a life crisis brought me to my knees. My Soul had other plans for me. I protested vigorously. I tried willing my life to yield to my desires and expectations. It had always worked. All my attempts to resist the calling of my Soul’s Design proved futile. Exhausted from the struggle and pain, I had no choice but to surrender. In surrender my Soul spoke, “Your box of expectations allows no space for the Divine. Creator desires to co-create with you. And when you open to co-creation, you will really enjoy the outcome.” Yeah well, we’ll see! 

My Soul spoke again, “Your life will be easier and more fulfilling when you learn the distinction between expectation and expectancy.” It continued, “A pregnant woman experiences expectancy. She doesn’t know exactly what her child will look like, or be like. She loves her child. She is patient, mostly. She allows her child to come into being. Be pregnant in each moment!”

I’m not a woman! Am I supposed to behave like one?

“No, just learn from them! Calm down. Practice breathing like you learned in Lamaze classes when your wife was pregnant. Pace yourself, allow your intentions to unfold naturally.”

So, expectancy is a softer vibration? “Yes,” my Soul said.  “Expectancy is a feeling rather than a mental construct. When you set an intention, ask that it be aligned with your Soul’s Design. It knows what, how and when your intention is to manifest. Maintain calm, happy certainty about the forthcoming birth of your intention. Hold the vision of it as already complete. Love it with all your heart. Sustain an attitude that the end result is the best for all concerned. And practice detachment from a specific outcome.”

Thanks! I can do that. I felt the vibrational distinction of expectancy. It felt like all kinds of cool stuff was about to happen.

A surreal calm came over me. Gone was the frenetic chaos of the worried doer. I felt free from slavery to my forceful will. I don’t have to do anything but stay out of my own way, be my authentic self and allow the Divine to work Its magic. Expectancy is the state of calm absolute certainty that all is well and in order. 

Blessings to all!

Trust

A long-submerged memory rose to the surface of my awareness one day. It sought the light and air for healing, the truth of union.

When I was four years old, my mother led me into a mysterious building.  It smelled  bad. The harsh lights made me squint. I held tight to my mother’s hand. She released me into the vice-like grips of three ladies dressed in black robes. They looked down at me and frowned. They dragged me kicking and screaming down a long corridor. They took me into a room, lifted me up onto a hard bed and held me down. They stripped me then strapped a mask over my face. I breathed a sickening smell. I woke up in a strange bed surrounded by white curtains. Both my hands were bandaged in gauze. I called out, “Mommy! Mommy!“  But she didn’t come.

In that moment, feeling abandoned and betrayed, I lost the trust of innocence. And I was angry! This began a pattern of distrusting women-mother, girlfriend, wife. I put my trust in my profession. Architecture, “the most demanding of mistresses,” was also a fickle temptress. She was a tease, always luring me with promises to fulfill my dreams. After forty-five years of devotion to her, she too abandoned me.

Once my childhood memory surfaced, it revealed that I had subconsciously associated abandonment and betrayal with women. It also revealed that my distrust had led me to behave with women in ways that kept this pattern in looping mode. Then it dawned on me. Women were simply messengers, reflecting back to me, my abandonment and betrayal of the feminine within me. I realized my wholeness was unattainable without her to balance my maleness. When I embraced her as part of me, I felt freed from the jaws of gender polarization, perhaps all polarization. After we made love I even felt more manly. My greatest treasure, creativity, exploded within me like the fireworks grand finale on the Fourth of July.

My story feels archetypal, as if we are all living out some ancient right of passage. At first bonding, a child mistakes the love of its mother for the love of god/goddess. At the Soul-appointed time, mother appears to betray her child. The illusion of separateness is set. The child loses its innocent trust, wanders for decades seeking something that might satisfy its longing for wholeness. With no satisfaction found in the external world, the child, now an adult, turns inward as a last resort and finds within its own Soul, its perfect mate. 

What happens next? Ah! Be the wholeness that I AM! Explore universes together, two as one! Create new worlds! Share profound experiences, the beauty everywhere, in and through us! Celebrate our contrasts and our commonalities! Be a mirror, reflecting wholeness to the world so others see their own! Be the fearless child, the innocent holy fool once again, loving freely! Summoning courage and boldness in our heart, we dive into the water, go deep to the silty bottom, and bring to the surface another shining pearl!    

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 Please visit Albert Moore on Facebook to watch the video illustrating the link between balancing masculine and feminine within us and the emergence of New Earth. 

Freedom

On a journey to the Pre-Columbian archeological site of Tiwanaku in the Andes of western Bolivia, I got separated from my travel companions. The site closed for the day, trapping me inside.  A fence topped with razor-wire prevented my escape. I walked along the fence looking for a way out. As daylight began to fade, I found a break in the fence and squeezed through. Off in the distance, I spotted a dirt road. Left or right? I chose right.

440px-Puerta_de_la_Luna_-_Tiahuanaco_(Bolivia)

Gate of the Moon Tiwanaku

A sudden thunderstorm soaked me to the bone. Shivering, I slogged through ankle-deep mud. Low ominous clouds made the blackest night fall fast. I was completely disoriented. Strangely, I felt no dread, no worry. Every cell in my body told me that nothing mattered—my family, my career, my life, not even my possible death. Everything felt irrelevant. That’s when real freedom struck me!  Janis popped in. “Freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose.” In that moment, I had nothing to defend or protect.

Each July 4th we Americans celebrate our freedoms. Many of us think of them as being derived from wars bravely fought and evil “others” defeated. I honor all those who fight these external wars, including my dad, mom and one of my sisters.

To me, external wars are internal ones denied. I am engaging the internal war, the only war that ends all wars. Combat with ego can be brutal. Ego’s divisive voice is the real terrorist. It declares there is an “other.” It could be a fellow human, the Earth, or my Creator out to get me. Ego dies a thousand deaths. This is the only war won by surrender.

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When I surrender to the oneness of my Soul, the illusion of “other” dissolves. Without “other” to judge or to judge me, there is no victim or perpetrator, no blame, shame or fault. The need for external conflict falls away, my mind’s creative capacities are free to serve my heart.

Inner freedom feels like all my senses are singing in harmony. My body feels luminous, at one with everything. I smile for no apparent reason.

Moment-by-moment mindfulness sustains this freedom. On my morning walk the other day, I caught myself judging an “other.” Immediately I felt imprisoned like I did at Tiwanaku. Escape required me to surrender again. A self-correcting measure emerged. I reframed my thoughts and language to acknowledge our oneness. The “other” dissolved. I was free again.

This 4th of July I celebrate the progress I’ve made in gaining the freedom to respond from my Soul’s Essence rather than   react from ego’s conditioning. It’s a freedom available to all who dare to surrender in order to bring forth the New Earth.

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Gate of the Sun Tiwanaku

Love

Figure8GardenNBG01_04_10_07DonBWalking through a beautiful botanical garden on a  sunny spring day recently, I spotted a man and woman, both silver haired, walking the path ahead of me. Their arms were wound around each other’s waists like teens in love. Love has no age limits, I thought. They turned around. I said, “You two give me hope!” My heart opened. I took a moment among spring’s blooms to drink from the well  of love within me. It is still deep, I found.

Two sons: talented young men now, for whom my love is absolute!                                

Creativity: I love expressing through architecture, art, writing, speaking, dreaming about humanity’s return to union. Losing all sense of myself, time, space or other when I’m immersed in these activities, I’m learning to emulate the all-loving Creator.

Companionship: the ways she views the world in contrast to my male point of view. My personal Jupiter, I love that she challenges me to expand. Inclusiveness feels so good!

Men: since we’ve aged out of competitiveness over sports, jobs, money and women, we can enjoy each other’s company again, like when we were young boys, eager to share our stories and our longings, loving life.

Women: having women friends who can set me straight, that’s another love of mine. 

Heaven and Earth: I love profound moments, intersections of communion. They feel like golden light running through my veins. Creator: thank you for making so much for me to love!

pasted-image-15It’s impossible for me to prioritize my loves in a linear list. But in a circle I have infinite room for more. They are all parts of me. I could no more do without any of my loves     than I could do without breath.

Sages say our loves in the world are reflections of our self- love. If I love so much and so many, does that mean I have   an abundance of self-love? I’d like to believe that’s true,     but sometimes when I reach down deep into my well of         love, I find it bone dry.  In those moments I recall something a very wise teacher once said to me: when you find yourself feeling sad, remember that you have equal capacity to feel joy. I think I’m finally getting what she really meant. In this dualistic world, the trick is to gracefully surf the ebbs and flows between opposites. Accepting the shifts between opposites can be challenging, especially for an idealist with strong desires and high expectations for his life. Where did I pick up this expectation that I can live constantly high on love? And yet, there are times when my well of love is overflowing.

On my morning walk today, the sun shone brightly in a cloudless sky, the deepest blue. Trees rustled in a gentle breeze. I saw an eagle soaring. I thought of my sons, my creativity, my friends. What a blessing to love so much and so many! Then I remembered: where I place my focus in the moment makes all the difference.

Perfection

Until I woke up in the hospital with both my hands in bandages, I never questioned my imperfection. Before that day I was a happy, innocent child.  Yes, I had noticed that my hands were different from those of other children and the adults around me, but I thought nothing of it. Everyone had something different about them. So what? My hands seemed normal to me. The bubble of innocence around me burst that day in the hospital. That was the day it first occurred to me that others felt the need to fix me. Was there something “wrong” with me?

At a tender age an “attitude“ took command of my personality. To prove my value, I became defiant. I’ll show you what I can do with my hands! I built hundreds of model cars, planes and ships. When I couldn’t hold small pieces of plastic to glue them together, I raided my mom’s sewing basket and found a pair of tweezers. I taped them in the web between my half-thumb and deformed index finger on my left hand. With this homemade prosthetic, I triumphed, now able to hold the smallest pieces. But “attitude” demanded further proof of my normalcy. I played football, basketball and baseball at positions challenging for my hands. I succeeded. I chose architecture as my profession. It required me to draft, draw freehand and make models. I took great delight in proving others wrong about me. “Attitude” required diligent perseverance in the face of all odds.

In my forties, I found myself in crisis. “Attitude” no longer worked to accomplish my goals. I had to find a new way. When I’m faced with serious challenges I go to the mirror, where I pose questions to the eyes staring back at me. I trust that my Soul has the answers I seek. My Soul explained: Your hands are a daily reminder to show compassion for the myriad ways in which The One expresses and explores the multiplicity of Its perfection in human form. As individual aspects of The One, all people are perfect as they are. Once you understand this, there is no more need for “attitude.”  Now prove your perfection only to yourself.

Changing my mind about myself has been an ongoing process. I’ve had to alter my judgmental beliefs about myself and the world. I’ve also had to change my inner dialogue about our physical differences. I’m learning that everyone is perfect in the eyes of the Soul.

Parents! Please consider the gifts that your children are as they were born, before you decide they need to be changed. What do their special conditions contribute to your family constellation and your perceptions of wholeness and perfection?  Doctors! Please, before you operate on a child with birth “defects,” consider that you may be attempting to fix something that is already perfect in the heart of The One.