120px-Love_heart_uidaodjsdsewChasing love:

Love has been metered out in poems;

Woven into song lyrics;

Bellowed from tops of buildings;

Love, love, love, love;

Love, written and spoken for infinitude.

I read about love, I take in the written words about love. And, I wonder why the self-love piece took so long to chase down.  Ernest Holmes says, “Love is a cosmic force whose sweep is irresistible.” Why did I resist? I know forgiveness had something to do with it. If you’ve read my memoir, Flight Instructions: A Journey Through Guilt to Forgiveness, you know that my decades-long journey, my flight, has brought forgiveness. Self-love didn’t trail far behind, but the shield over my heart had been solidly riveted into place.

One of the principles I abide by from Science of Mind tells me, “All is love, but all is law, one balances the other.” Spiritual law makes no exemptions. Whatever a person thinks into the Law of Mind is returned to them. For years I tried to trick myself into thinking I possessed love of self, but the Law knew that the message came from my head, not my heart.

I made the decision in 2012 to travel the 12 inch distance down from my head to my heart for some serious listening. I learned that discovering sacred love is an inside job. I was able to suss out the barriers that were stalling my embrace of such a love. The foolery used as blinders were mostly egoist things: higher education, job status, bank account. My inner soul, however, wasn’t buying it. Finally congruence; a match, a link: mind, body, soul merging.

With my handy, rose-colored hindsight glasses, I now see that self-forgiveness and self-love ran parallel; both having been included in my Flight Instructions!

Your task is not to seek for love but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it. – Rumi

Christmastime Angst

Christmastime! My countdown began December 10th on the tail end of a move. Now it’s the 15th and none of the seasonal angst about the holidays has invaded my heart/mind. Perhaps the move distracted me, better yet; maybe I’ve learned how to recreate Christmas so it fits my life style. A lovely thing about Christmas […]

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I discover how denial meets surrender as I reread my book, Flight Instructions: A Journey Through Guilt to Forgiveness, while preparing for a workshop I’m facilitating about writing, “The Write Remedy: Healing through Writing.”  I use the wisdom and awareness I’ve gained from writing about my journey to wholeness. As I read, I internalize the material for the umpteenth time and get flashes of new insight about denial. I used denial as a veil to “protect” me as I navigated my way through the guilt of leaving my husband of fourteen years, and my three young children.

As I translate the defense mechanism of denial now, PMS, Post Memoir Syndrome, I sense that perhaps denial was surrender in disguise. With this recognition I gathered more clarity as to why I had to take this journey. In the early years after leaving, the consequences of what I did were so punishing I plunged into persistent, prolonged denial in order to survive.

So, yes, denial did get me through – through to the place where I could begin to shed the guilt and “surrender” to the next steps of my journey – leading me into my true nature, living into my spirituality and my authentic self. That doesn’t mean the pain of leaving wasn’t real in its buried state. On this heroine’s journey the dragons I had to slay were societal norms about women’s role, about the construction of family, and mothers and nurturing. In the 1970s, there were not many ways for a woman to fully express her multidimensional self without her defiance being vilified.

My legacy to my daughters’ is a new model. My journey was not about feminist rebellion, but about a woman bringing three daughters into the world, then having to leave them to find her way back to mothering in a new, albeit nontraditional way. As God would have it, I married the right man to father our daughters and keep them safe. Not by choice he let me go to take the journey I came here to embark upon.

In the end we were all set free.

Science of Mind tells us that denial is knowing that negative conditions need not be, and clears the way to the truth as thought rises to the spiritual perception. – Ernest Holmes

Remembering

Remembering Arthur, who in 1985 was twenty years my senior, Arthur who “loved me to pieces.” Who affirmed my beauty as well as my bright mind. Arthur who followed me across the country to Philadelphia where I attended University of Pennsylvania. I met Arthur as I moved through my feminist rebellion phase in my mid-forties. […]

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After an intense, loving spiritual retreat in Sun River, Oregon, with a few special women, I walked away drenched in love, knowing I’d been touched by Spirit. Without hesitation, I’d stepped into my power—the power-filled woman I was meant to be, oozing confidence, laced with love.

“You gave up your power to belong to your tribe.” These words uttered by Gary, a seer, a kinesiologist, in the early 2000s. The meaning of those words  is finally, fully sinking in. I now realize PMS – post memoir syndrome – that I had abdicated my power in childhood, relegating it to the cellar of my mind.

Through muscle testing, it was revealed that at age four I learned/sensed that I couldn’t be who I was intended to be, that I had to suppress my knowing because of gender confusion. My younger brother was the center of our mother’s attention, and it seemed he always got what he wanted, including going fishing with our father. Not that I wanted to go, but the message of him, the boy, being the favored one was there just the same. I let go of my power to fit in. Consequently, entering into adulthood, I clung to the fear that my power would push people, and love, away.

Working with Gary helped me learn how to trust that I could be loved if I fully reclaimed my rightful place. When Gary muscle-tested for my feminine, the High Priestess, the result was wish-washy. “You’ve hidden her behind the warrior, the masculine, so you could blend in. The High Priestess is more spiritual, creative, fun.” If you’ve read my memoir, Flight Instructions: A Journey Through Guilt to Forgiveness, you know how I played this out completely, over and over, and ended up feeling that my masculine energy had turned into my nemesis.

The dead-end job I’d landed upon returning to Portland in 2002 proved significant in helping to unravel the dynamic behind the power struggle. The faculty position provided the field to reenact the family experience, being silenced by one of the VPs (parent figure), and not having my talents and expertise acknowledged: a strong message that the position was no longer for me.

The undercurrent of my true nature, my “power,” ran deep. I’m amazed at all I’ve accomplished while unconsciously hanging out in the basement.

 

 

Link

In early 2000, saddled with a job that no longer suited me, I sought the guidance of a seer, a kinesiologist, named Gary. We’d begin each session with me telling him what I wanted to work on, then he’d do muscle testing. Early on in our work, he said, “You’re a spiritual healer.” Confused, as I’d not mentioned anything of a spiritual nature, my unimaginative reply was, “What?”

In a later session, Gary said, “You’re a writer.” I just stared at him. He repeated, “You’re a writer.”  “Huh?” Our work together spanned six months of delving into my true nature, heretofore, carefully buried. Much uncovering took place. These uplifting sessions opened the door to the next step in my spiritual evolution. Shortly thereafter, I found my way to Science of Mind, a New Thought philosophy, whose teachings taught me about the Divine Law of Cause and Effect, and forgiveness.

With faith and conviction, I slowly grew into the writer I was meant to be. With the only guidance on how to proceed being ‘you have a book to write.’ I grapple with how to begin, what to write. At the time, I was passionately involved with anti-racist work and assumed that was to be the book.  I spent six years writing a historical novel about race and racism which now resides in the bottom drawer of my desk: a stillbirth.

Initially when I balked at Gary’ suggestion, saying I didn’t want to do all the research that goes into writing a book, he replied, “No, no, not necessary, it’s all within you.”

After a proper mourning for my buried tome, I went into prayer/meditation mode, diving inward, focusing, asking myself what was mine to write. The results: the emergence of my awarding winning memoir, Flight Instructions: A Journey Through Guilt through Forgiveness.

Amen, and so it is!

Once the soul awakens, the search begins and you can never go back…you are inflamed with a special longing that will never again let you linger in the lowlands of complacency and partial fulfillment.– John O. Donohue

 

Ode to Papa – The Cross-over between Descriptors and History  

Descriptors of my father when young:

Gifted craftsman and carpenter/Quixotic

Alcoholic

Emotionally absent/Pushed me away

Alcoholic

Grass greener elsewhere

History – What I know now:

Always grieved Virginia, his first wife

Yearned for love and happiness

Found solace in alcohol/Fun-loving

Cared for my mother as she declined /His way of giving back

In the end, he gave me the greatest gift of all; his behavior allowed me to find my own way. At least that’s what my therapist, #4, used to tell me. I railed at his interpretation for years, feeling abandoned and fatherless most of my life. I especially wanted to blame Dad’s drunkenness, his parental unavailability, on ruining my relationships with men.

What I desperately wanted was a real hands-on father. I’d read articles about being a “father’s daughter,” men who nurtured their daughters, made them feel attractive and capable. I would have gladly taken the crumbs from under the table of a father’s daughter’s.

I’ve since made forgiveness a vocation and have put my past in its proper resting place. I tell the people I counsel that it’s okay to blame your parents for your problems, to be angry with them—for a while. Eventually, you must take responsibility for your own life—the good and the bad, as the unflinching Law of Cause and Effect slides into place.

In Robert Anderson’s play, I Never Sang for my Father, the protagonist says, “Death ends a life, but it doesn’t end a relationship.” I understand the meaning of those words now as I reframe the image of my father from neglectful alcoholic to a lost soul in search of meaning in the only way he knew how, not unlike me along my journey to spiritual wholeness.

My father, my papa, loved me in his way, on his terms.

Papa was my private, fantasy name for him, from the song, “Oh My Papa” . . . to me he was so wonderful. The fantasy lives on…

 

Change

Change is the one constant in life. The Greek philosopher Heraclitus says, “Nothing endures but change.” I invite you to count with me. How many states, cities, and countries have you lived in? How many times have you moved residences within the time period in each location? How many jobs have you held, how many […]

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Louisiana

Louisiana, Louisiana/They’re tryin’ to wash us away/They’re tryin’ to wash us away. -Randy Newman Ten years have passed since Louisiana got “washed away” by Hurricane Katrina. Thirteen years have passed since my departure from Louisiana, and I still mourn for New Orleans, the city I fell in love with. I commuted from New Orleans to Louisiana […]

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Forgiveness opens the heart to love and healing. It took me a hundred years before I was able to embrace this truth. After leaving my husband of fourteen years, and my three young children in the 1970s , shame and guilt for a long time.

Many of the days in the weeks and months that followed, I carried around the low level vibrations of denial, insecurity, and despair which lead to self-doubt and self-flagellation. Joy and pleasure came fleetingly.

While denial is a powerful tool which served to block out what felt like a shameful past, the guilt clung to me like moss on an old oak tree. I’d buoy myself up and go for joy and happiness then, Boom! I’d fall, literally, spraining my ankle, later breaking the same ankle, and intermittently scrapping my knees and shins.

Forty years later, with decades of therapy behind me, and reunification with my daughter’s, I wrote a memoir about the journey to forgiveness. This decision to write my story didn’t come in a single aha moment.  Friends and family nudged me forward, but I’d wave them off, “Oh, I wouldn’t know how, what would I say?” So, I filled my time with doing other things. Then, in 2012, during morning meditation I heard a voice say, “Get with it already!”  I gave up my volunteer work and other doings realizing it was time to “be,” to still my mind and dip into my heart to listen.

Perfection is being not doing; it is not to affect an act but to achieve a character.  –Bishop Fulton J. Sheen

If you’ve never tried being I will warn you, it’s not easy. It requires a great deal of courage to live in semi-solitude. When one is being, attention to detail is required. I needed to look up and down, concentrate and pick up my feet, stop stumbling, stop looking on the outside, and look inside of myself. In writing Flight Instructions, I dug deep, opening and closing many of the issues that were holding me back from my joy. The writing of memoir didn’t magically make it all better, but rather created a new beginning, an opening of doors to a greater awareness of my spiritual nature and the call for healing as my thoughts and feelings floated down from my head to my heart.

With the opening of those interiors doors, my understanding of love expanded—the self-love that I lost early in life, and have longed for every since, is now mine.

The International Forgiveness Day occurs on the first Sunday of August. On August 2, 2015, I, Kathleen Perkins, was honored as a Heroine of Forgiveness, “In recognition of her exemplary commitment to Forgiveness, Peace, and Reconciliation.”

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there. -Rumi