Listen

The most beautiful quality of all in a human being, in my humble opinion?

The ability to listen deeply.

To listen from Presence. From stillness.

To listen without trying to fix someone, or change them, or ‘save’ them.

The ability to allow another to be exactly as they are.

Not giving unsolicited advice. Not lecturing them about the latest psychological research or the ‘most true’ spiritual teaching. Not trying to mould them, manipulate them into matching a concept of who they ‘should’ be. Not projecting your own trauma – or traumatic answers – all over them.

Just listening. Listening with an open mind and an open heart and a receptive nervous system.

Allowing them to breathe, to express, to weep, to question, to be completely unique, to expand into the space, to discover their own truth.

I have met world experts in intimacy, relationships and honest communication who are unable to do this.

I have met spiritual gurus, so-called “enlightened masters”, expert psychologists and life coaches who are utterly unable to do this.

I have met popular teachers and authors on ‘listening from the heart’, ‘holding space’, ‘pure awareness’ and ‘embodied spirituality’ who are unable to do this.

It is a rare gift – the ability to allow others to be exactly as they are.

Broken. Whole. Sad. Angry. Afraid. Lost. Awake or asleep. Whatever.

To listen to them with every fibre of your being.

To receive them through the senses, to listen like the wild animals of the forest.

To swaddle them in undistracted, fascinated attention.

To envelop them in a silent, warm Presence.

To make them feel – in those precious moments that you are together – like they are the most beloved One in the whole Universe.

When you sense this kind of sacred listening from someone, it’s unmistakable.

It cannot be manufactured.

It cannot be faked.

It is utterly rare and holy.

It is nothing less than unconditional love.

Your nervous system senses it and rejoices.

– Jeff Foster

Photo: Jeff and Alice

May be an image of 2 people and body of water

The Fulcrum

The bipolar madness of the human mind
only exists in the realms of Creation.
The same for any kind of mis-ease or dis-ease.
The inner dimensions of Spirit
swirl and sing in the Heartland
loving unconditionally both
the shadows and the light of the mind.
The mind is the ragged playground
you chose before birth to experience and finally
learn not to choose sides,
to climb out of the belted seats
of highs and lows
to find the still fulcrum
within your heart
beating softly like a Newborn’s. 
Here you realize that all hearts are the same.
Here you are seen and heard and felt completely.
When the storms of life buffet you,
blow you off the GPS orbit
through the Sourcelands,
climb from your seat,
imbedded in Time
onto the Fulcrum, so still
in the eternal moment. 
The Great Mystery is you,
the observer
infusing the Stormland of Life,
with the ambrosia of Spirit.

 

Photo by Norma Mortenson on Pexels.com

Getting What We Want

by Jeff Foster

We are taught

that we must struggle

to get what we want –

or to deserve it when we get it.

But what do we want?

Deep down,

we are not looking for more ‘stuff’.

We are looking for a feeling –

A sense of completion

A sense of wholeness

A sense of not seeking.

The end of struggle itself.

We seek a state of inner contentment

That has nothing to do with objects

Or money, or achievements, or goals

Or “having what we want”.

We are looking for our true nature

Wild, open, whole and free.

In seeking it, we push it away.

In running towards it, we lose ourselves.

Send your ideas into the ether

and rest now, child.

Dream your dreams and let them go.

Sink back into the moment.

Find completeness in the incompleteness.

Be happy with your marvellous unhappiness.

And rest in your restlessness.

Be perfectly unfinished.

Let go of the story of ‘lack’.

Let go of competition and domination.

Let go of winning, losing, being better.

Let go of ‘letting go’.

Find gratitude for what you have.

And presence in the place where you are.

You don’t need to manifest anything

To be happier than you ever dreamed.

Capitalism, socialism

The material world and the spiritual world

Red and blue, left and right

What you have and what you don’t have

And all the million opposites.

And all that has been written about truth.

These things all collapse into simplicity

And wonder.

Here is the abundance, then:

You, here, breathing,

Alive in this Mystery.

Awake to Yourself.

– Jeff Foster

May be an image of animal and nature

Splash

by John Roedel

(a promise to splash more in 2023)

I used to think that

achieving inner peace

would make my heart look

like a calm lake

I thought being in harmony meant:

no ripples

no waves

no lapping shores

~ just still water

it turns out that

serenity isn’t the absence

of movement

in fact

~ it’s quite

the opposite

because the more

peace I feel

the more my heart

churns and bubbles

like a lake boiling

as a ribbon of lava breaks through

underneath the water

I don’t think we were created

out of nothingness to come

here just to let our hearts become

an unmoving body of cold water

covered in standing algae

I think the Great Love placed

a fire in us so that our lives will

be a natural spring of swirling

hot healing water that never

looks the same way twice

the war machine thinks

it is the only thing that can

move and lumber

~ and that’s not simply true

peace is the most disturbing

force in the universe

peace is the tide that washes

away the ancient seaweed of

division that builds upon our shores

peace is anything but still

it’s a tsunami that can terraform

rock fortresses into open-air chapels

my love,

I’m starting to realize

that the less my heart moves

~ the heavier it gets

~ the more dust it collects

~ the less kindness I feel

but when I let my heart

constantly stir

like a cotton candy machine

~the lighter and

sweeter it becomes

empathy is an act of chaos

it takes the narcissistic scripts we have been given

and rewrites them into a handwritten gospel of understanding

peacefulness is

anything but still

~ it is pure motion

peace is the ripple

that starts in the center of my heart

and rushes out through the faucets

of my eyes, hands and tongue

out into the world

we aren’t here

to be stagnant

we are here to make a splash

~ john roedel

(photo by Sabri Tuzcu)

May be an image of nature and lake

The One Heart

wanted to know Itself as We.

It wanted to expand

its mellow, Baritone Breath into

a panorama, a multitude of

moist, rich, trembling Altos,

soaring Sopranos and

deep diving Basses 

all pinging inside Itself.

 

The One Heart speaks:

Creation lives in the tangle of shadows

within Me.

Creation is untangling, beginning to glow,

no longer needing shadows to grow Me,

to grow You, to grow Us.

I live within you and you

live within me.

There is no separation.

 

Many call Me “The Great Mystery” in

reverent, resigned tones,

and yet I tell you there is

little truth to that.

You can know me because you are Me.

 

You can intuit Me through your greatest sense- Feeling.

You elevate the Mind, but it is

the Heart who loves and it is

love that leads you

through your greatest lessons.

 

And through loving, you truly live,

moving one into the other.

Becoming each other in

every opening

of the moment.

 

Flamingos

by John Roedel

today would be a good day

for the two of us to take turns telling

each other what we remember

about the place we were before

we were born

I’ll go first

for me, I just have a few strands of

images left for me to cling to of what

I can recall

in the great before,

I remember rows and rows

of thick Juniper Trees

and the stone fountain

in front of them that

poured out the clearest

water I’ve ever see that

had little these little

radiant jelly fish swimming

around inside of it

or were they just stars?

I’m not sure – I can’t quite remember

I can recall being told by a voice

not to drink from the fountain

because doing so would send

me to Earth before I was ready

so, I didn’t

~ I wasn’t ready

not by a long shot

I rather enjoyed

this cosmic womb

I was resting in

I remember the smell

of nutmeg

it was everywhere

maybe that’s why I love Christmas

so much now?

and I remember you

oh, how I remember you

standing there in a white sun dress

or were you floating?

I’m not sure – I can’t quite remember that part

I recall the gold of your hair

blending in with the tawny sky

yes, I saw you in the before

~ long before you saw me

you were too busy laughing at a couple

dozen flamingos who were parading

around you

or were they angels?

I’m not sure – I can’t quite remember that part

Oh, how you glowed

I didn’t recognize it at the time

but you blazed like a lamp hung

up on the porch of a cabin in the bayou

glowing

like the long flame of a baptismal candle

like the new day sun over a Carolina gulf

like the burn of a campfire I want to sit around

like the way sunlight kisses stained glass

like…

one of those radiant jelly fish (or were they stars?)

that were floating in the stone fountain

that’s why you were glowing

you had just drank the water

it was your time for Earth

you were going soon

the flamingos (or were they angels?)

that were parading for you

formed a tight circle

and began to dance

their necks twisting around each other

~ forming ancient symbols

out of their contorting form

it was a choreographed

routine they have

been practicing for

all of eternity

just for you

and then I remember that

you were laughing so loud

~ watching them pirouette around you

and you were

swaying your lovely hips

to a song that nobody else

but you and the flamingos (maybe angels)

could hear

sway

sway

sway

it was entrancing

I was pulled to you

~ into the gravity of your grace

closer

then closer

closer till

I was orbiting you

like a moon

basking in the revelation of

your flamingo dance

that’s when you noticed me for the first time,

do you remember that?

you smiled

it was like lightning

~ a burst of beauty

then a few seconds later

a deep thunder in my formless body

and then

just like

that

you were gone

in a flash

I think it happened that quick

maybe you slowly faded away?

I’m not sure – I can’t quite remember that part

either way

you were gone

you were Earthbound

the flamingos (angels?) dispersed

and I was left alone

in your celestial wake

I had to follow you

I had to ~I had to ~I had to

I walked to the fountain

or was I floating?

I’m not sure – I can’t quite remember that part

and I cupped my hands down

into the glistening water

it was so cold

~ and suddenly I was very thirsty

I knew I wasn’t ready

to go but I had to find you

I had to ~I had to ~I had to

I had to chase you into the unknown

no matter the cost

no matter the danger

no matter the fact that I wasn’t ready

I took the water up to my lips

and drank

the water felt like bubbles

in my stomach

~ a couple at first

then a hundred

million more followed

I started laughing

the flamingos (angels! they were angels!

I’m sure of it now!) started their parade

around me

and I felt this gentle tugging on my soul

and I started to glow

and I couldn’t stop laughing

and that’s all I can remember

now I’m standing here

in this kitchen with you

wearing your pink pajamas

adorned with flamingos

watching you sway

your lovely hips to

a song that only you

can hear

today is a good day

to tell you that

I’m so glad

I chased you

across the cosmos

I may have not been ready for Earth

but I was ready for you

to be here

in a house surrounded

by Juniper Trees

with you

me with my coffee

(that features a sprinkles of nutmeg in it)

in my hand

and you with your

gold woven hair

watching you glow

all over again

watching you notice

me all over again

watching your smile

become a bayou lantern

watching you

sway

sway

sway

it’s like heaven

all over again

~ john roedel (johnroedel.com)

No photo description available.

Sunflower Wisdom

I’m a conditional atheist

God does not exist for me on
the tip of a sharpened sword

or on the lips of a sermonizing
hate-evangelist who is foaming at the mouth

or in the licking flames of a torch held
by a marching bigot or in any dogma that have been soaked in the ancient poison of guilt and self-shame

the divine doesn’t
exist for me anywhere
where wounds are being
caused in its name

I don’t know about
how any of this works
but I’ve never found
much of God in the towering
hierarchy of unchecked power

the Great Mystery isn’t a cracking whip
or a flag or an internet manifesto
or a pointed finger or a political party
or a dividing line or a box of ammo
or a corvette driven by a tv preacher
or a specific gender or a book bonfire

Creation is more of a florist
than she is a fundamentalist

the Weaver of Life is more interested
in stitching us together into a quilt
than how to separate us into metal bins

to come into relationship
with Unending Love shouldn’t
require us to loathe ourselves~ it should be the exact opposite

to know ourselves
is to know God

to love ourselves
is to love God

my love,

I believe that the divine
is just about everywhere

~ except in the slow-poison
sands of fear and control
where so many have built temples
for us to worship inside

~ in those places

I am an atheist
I don’t believe God
has ever existed

but everywhere else

there is so much
fertile soil

where we can let the sunflowers
of empathy grow wildly in
the spaces between us

and I’ve heard
that if we remain still

and listen so very closely
these evangelizing sunflowers
will whisper to each of us
a secret we once knew while we
were cooking in the cosmic womb:

“We are all loved equally.”

~ john roedel

The Wound is the Doorway



You are pure Awareness
with very human wounds.
You are indestructible Light,
untouchable and infinite, yes,
but you are also deeply sensitive, fragile,
a human with a tender heart
and unspeakable longings,
and more questions than answers.

Do not abandon yourself for the Absolute, friend,
but do not lose yourself in the relative either.
Just see them as One. God taking shape.
Non-duality dancing as duality,
as the deep mystery of the belly,
the throat, the genitals, the hot blood
and the yearning for home
and the search for union,
and the restlessness and the rest,
and the boredom and the joy of this ordinary life.

All form is sacred here,
since all form is formless here.
The relative is absolute in its holiness here.
Your pain is not an error here but a call to home.
Your sorrow is not a mistake but a movement of divinity.
And even your sense of incompleteness is complete, and your feeling of unworthiness has endless worth.

The old dream of perfection has crumbled.
The old myth of spiritual enlightenment has turned to dust.
The untouchable gurus with all the answers and no human flaws have been swept away.

Certainty has been destroyed by fire.

What is left to trust now
but the belly and the throat, the whistle of the kettle and the pitter-patter of rain hitting the roof, and the laughter of children, and the pressure between the eyes and the loneliness of evening, and the yearning for God and the simplicity of breathing.

The spiritual patriarchy is collapsing under its own weight.
The fear-based notions of how you “should” be.
The sad ideal of bliss and light and only positive vibes.
It has destroyed souls for too long.

A new spirituality is dawning.
One that allows for imperfection.
Healthy shame. Flaws. Not knowing.
Allows us to doubt. To feel sad. To break.
To be groundless yet know our ground.
To be Light yet love our darkness too.
To be Awareness yet maintain our humanity.

A spirituality not of opposites but of inclusion.
A spirituality of the feminine and the masculine working in harmony.
A spirituality of the breath, the dirt, the erotic, the taboo and the inconvenient, the impure and the unfinished and the unknowable.

A spirituality of you, as you are.

– Jeff Foster

Stair Steps

Climbing up from the Highway of Legends, Huerfano County, CO Photo by JW
Photo by JW
Photo by JW

by Janice Walters

 

Legends abound

but I haven’t found

the knowledge for me

in the steps that I see.

 

They don’t seem to speak

like the Twin Spanish Peaks,

yet I am drawn to them

like a shiny gem.

 

Rough in places, smooth in others;

compacted together like triplet brothers.

Perhaps with consciousness expanding

they are stair steps to understanding.

 

As I gaze at each step

there is a visual duet

between rock and sky

each in harmony reply.

 

“We’re here!”

–comprehension dawns clear.

Looking only at one,

I had come undone.

 

Together, not apart,

–that’s at the heart

of all understanding

–no misunderstanding.

 

After comprehending

all Nature’s blending

I breathe out a sigh;

–I finally heard

Rock and Sky.

 

JW