Posts Tagged ‘Spirituality’

DSC02179Crazy year so far… tornado hit our house at the end of Jan. and now having 10 of my my teeth recapped (took tetracycline as a kid and it ruined my teeth) but the restoration process has stirred up dormant issues apparently and have had 2 root canals in the last week.   Worse news… my teeth still hurt!  Afraid to call the endodontist and let him know because he’s most likely going to want to drill again.  YUCK!!   Mostly, I ask myself, what does all this mean?

Also considering going back to school at 50 years old and getting my Masters in Health Administration because I want to move out of pharmacy and work more in consulting or in a more global position such as a chief operating officer.  Really don’t want to spend the time or money, but also don’t want to be stuck in the same position of being a pharmacy director for the next 15 years.  So much to consider, so many choices, such a fork in the road, so to speak.

I’ve started working on an online program with the University of Spiritual Healing and Sufism to assist in connecting with divine guidance but also have a healing scheduled with one of the graduate students from there this week to expedite getting some much-needed answers.

Right before all this started, I felt led to start a new “Women Who Pray” movement with daily scheduled praying for “self” at 0830, 1230 prayer for someone who you don’t consciously pick but are led to pick by your heart and 1630  (second person you are led to pray for) daily.  I’ve been amazed at how many women are interested in joining this very contemplative prayer (no agenda, no specific request, no desire for results, no judgments) movement.  I plan to start a every other week meeting for us to get together and share our stories.  Women need connection, I definitely know this.  Here’s to the new movement of “Women Who Pray” and also to me getting some answers!


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My brother and I played


Mackie and Jackie,


Mackie was the strong one (my brother)


Jackie was the smart one (me) who told us what to do.


When our family was introduced by great aunts or my grandmother,


They would say, “This is Susan, Clara, Nancy


And Robert Romulus Moore the Fourth!


Being the last sister before the boy


Made me invisible.




At five, I was left at a rest stop


Because I went to the bathroom a second time.


My dad would drive until my bladder


Felt like it would burst.


The rest stop was in the mountains


Without exit ramps for miles


After, it took my father a long time


To run back along the highway to get me, I’m told.


I don’t remember.


Sometime that same year,


My dad came home from the hospital,


Post car-accident coma.


My mother took me to the doctor


For strep throat, again,


And I fell out of the car on the way home


In the middle of an intersection.


I ran for several blocks


Chasing our station wagon,


The right, back door swung open,


Before my mother noticed.


Swabbing my bleeding knees and hands,


“Don’t tell your father when we get home.


He might have a seizure.”




As a six year old


The stair landing was a convenient




Halfway point,


“Are you and dad getting divorced?”


I was sitting in the middle of


Sifting through burn-barrel trash,


The contents scattered around me,


Kleenex, scraps of note paper, newspapers


And shiny white tubes that slid in and out.


Later I would know


These as tampon inserters.


Mom’s face boiled and pinched.


I found it curious that she was more mad


About my question


Than from my playing


In her personal trash.




At eleven


I couldn’t sleep on my stomach


Because my chest hurt,


My mom took me to the doctor


Probably so he could explain my body to me


Better than she could,


He roughly stuck round band-aids on each nipple,


He did not talk to me and he did not say


It’s normal to have knots of pain


In budding breasts.




After my mother had “female surgery”


I wrote a poem,


Something about taking time to smell the roses,


A thirteen-year-old’s idea


Of cheering up her mother.


Church camp that weekend


Was chilled and stiff,


Mom’s face hung in hurt-lines,


I accepted her condemnation


A cheap, scratchy-laced nightgown


Against my bones.




At twelve,


I was practically decapitated


Riding my bike across the neighbor’s property line,


The newly, unmarked wire


Strung exactly neck high.


“You shouldn’t have been riding


That close to their house.”


Over the next years,


The shouldn’ts expanded into


“You shouldn’t flaunt yourself”


“You shouldn’t hurt people’s feelings”


“You shouldn’t be selfish”


“You shouldn’t be too confident”


“You shouldn’t ask questions.”




My first marriage lasted 3 & 1/2 years,


We date my entire teenage and college years,


I gifted this time to him,




My mother found my supply


Of birth control pills between my 2nd and 3rd year of college


“If you’re going to sleep with him


You need to get married.”


I sit on my mom and dad’s screened-in porch


Explaining how the wedding for which they paid,


How the vows I promised would last,


How my world had veered in a drastically different direction


From theirs,


“I hired a private detective….

I won’t stay in a marriage with a cheating husband…


I gave him the separation papers,”


I fling helpless words


At their blank faces.


I leave out the part where my husband


Explained his wandering was


My fault


“If you hadn’t let me do so many


Things without you;


If you had just told me no.”




Almost thirty,


I feel like calling mom


For the first time in years,


“Hello,” mom answers


In that distant, reluctant way.


“The neonatologist at my hospital,


Who is super-conservative, he never approves anything,


Is going to let me do massages on the NICU babies.


Can you believe that?”




Throat clear,


“What’s wrong with being a pharmacist?”


The phone receiver


Burns my ear.




After working at the hospital for 6 years,


I learned from listening to the


Labor and delivery room nurses


That I didn’t want to be one of those


“Yelling” laboring moms.


Thirty-six hours into


Pushing out a 10 lb. baby


Can evaporate the resolve


To not be a “yeller,”


Alone in my




Baby-extracting marathon,


I didn’t care


Whether I lived or died,


And yelled this fact frequently.


Not even my baby girl


Nestled in her daddy’s arms


Could budge me from


My pain reverie,


My shocked focus on


When I could get


Another dose of pain medication.




Now a real boss,


Just turned fifty,


Telling people what to do.


My friend, an orthopedic surgeon,


Asked for crossing over help


For a physician friend


With end-stage pancreatic cancer,


Ghost/spirit whispering being my secret life.


His friend wasn’t finished living,


Refused to cross over, firmly.


I watched him hopelessly drag his body around


Trying to find a place to plug in his light body


Which was withdrawn all the way to the


Top of his head (last place before dying).


My friend always states the obvious,


“No one lives for over a year with end-stage pancreatic cancer.


He shouldn’t still be alive.”.


After observing his friend deny his body’s decay


And ignore his wife’s exhausted vigil,


I had to agree.


“You’re right. He shouldn’t.”






















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The rage-unaware therapist

Concluded I must have

Control and independence issues

Because of my distrust of God

I wanted to leap on her desk,

Claw and scratch the annoying,

Mahogany-mirrored surface,

And rip the tedious, artsy prints off the wall.

I wanted to hurl her smiling, family pictures

And priggish, velvet-upholstered furniture

Through the over-large, antique windows,

Listening for the satiating crash below.

But most of all

I wanted to erupt my belly-full of emotions

And dragon-breath the whole room,


Blaze down the whole world

While I’m at it,

Down to embers and coals,

Letting my lack of trust in God

Bleed out through my pores

And rot gratefully in the earth.

Still sitting in the room,

Outwardly composed and reflective

I’m left with a humming inside

From my illusory deluge,

A buzzing, electrical charge

Vibrating in my ears and in my bones,

Like the call of a courting bird

Moving through layers of dense wood,

Reaching across foggy ravins

And bands of forest chirps and chitter,

Inexplicably received

By its intended

As a shivery echo of throat-song,

A summoning pulse of hope.

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She knew where the conversation was going before he unfolded his hands and began to talk.  Call it a religious intervention, she had been here with various other people before.  Never with family, however.  This was different because it mattered.  He had waited until the beach house was quiet, the middle of a hot afternoon, midweek of their yearly family reunion.  She wasn’t sure how this strange, no people-coming-in-and-out time had presented itself, but here they were, sitting across the long table from each other, brother and sister, she two years older at 41.  She fingered the sea-shell edged placemat as he began his speech, clearing his throat for emphasis.

“We’re worried about you.  I don’t think this move is a good idea.  What is this place you’re going to anyway?  I don’t think it has anything to do with Jesus.”

She pictured him at home, huddled with his wife for weeks in the evenings, discussing her situation, her decision to move to a new state near a metaphysical center where she would teach.  She could see them touching and thumbing through their bibles, leaning their heads together in prayer and determining the best way to influence her irresponsible actions.

“How do you know it has nothing to do with Jesus?”

Frustration rippled like a wave across his jaw and up to his receding hairline.  His piercing blue eyes were hardly ever soft anymore, hard engineering work and his role as a provider and father worn heavy across his shoulders.  She remembered them giggling in their bunk beds as children, pulling their wool blankets away from the sheet creating lightening pops of static, him on the bottom bunk and her on the top, him doing his first and then her making her blanket crackle in response.  Their secret laughter would leave them breathless, giddy, as the night curved around their joy and closeness.  Looking at his face now, his mouth was humorless and annoyed.

“I looked it up on the internet and I saw enough to know that it isn’t about Jesus.”

She felt her insides wither and her cheeks burn hot, a mixture of shame, anger and aloneness.  Every time she came to this place with someone, it was the same split-earth feeling, leaving her standing on one edge, peering helplessly at the other across a huge, gaping gorge.  This time it was much worse, because it was Rob, her beloved brother.  Her heart thumped recklessly in her chest as she calculated what to say, knowing with a sludgy twist in her stomach that there was no way they would ever be the same again, no way they would be the siblings throwing football in the front yard until way past dark, the shadows cocooning them in an intimacy as they listened for the thudding breath of each other’s catch.

“Rob, why do you believe what you believe?”

She could tell this was an unexpected turn, for him, in the way the conversation, the intervention, was supposed to go.  His face shadowed and he glanced off towards the door, as if wanting an interruption or reinforcements.  Studying his expression, she recalled the day, seven years earlier, they had all gathered at the airport to send him off to war, his face unreadable, his new wife tearfully clinging to his arm until the very last moment.

“I believe because that’s what it says in the bible and the bible is the word of God.”

His shoulders squared on her now and she could feel his religious-dogma shield position itself between them.  A spring inside her released and catapulted into the divided space.  Somehow the moment of acknowledging the loss of their sameness had vaulted her into a place of dangerous confidence and boldness.

Her words tumbled heedlessly, “But how do you know it’s the word of God?”

He looked shocked, as if she had struck him and she sat serenely, waiting for his response, warmed with triumph.

“That’s blasphemy!”

He stood up, bumping the chair with his leg and leaned over the table, resting his hands in the middle for emphasis.

“That place is a cult and it isn’t about Jesus.”

Stones rolled in her stomach, edgy and rough, and waves of nausea rose sourly into her throat.

“I know this, Rob, whenever you’re ready to figure out why you believe what you believe and not what someone TELLS you to believe, then we’ll have this conversation.”

He sat down roughly, the chair back striking the wall as he collapsed into its squeaky, wicker seat.  He shifted his body, turning stiffly away from her, facing the expansive, beach-front window, the humid air clouding the view into a misty blur.  Her ears vibrated wildly from her buzzing thoughts.

Desperate now to get her point across, to liberate his frantic hold on what she saw as empty, narrow beliefs, she pushed on breathlessly, “I believe the bible was written by MEN and it’s not literal and we have MINDS of our own and we’re supposed to THINK for ourselves.  Until then, it’s only CRAP that someone’s told you to believe and it means NOTHING.”

Seeing that she had him wordless, she added, “Like marriage… it only means something if you’re willing to lay your relationship out on the table and look at what’s REALLY happening, not what you think is happening.  Only then can you really LOVE each other, only then is it real and not just playing at being married.”

As soon as she said this, she could feel the failure of her two marriages lying in a wilted, reproachful heap, making her words echo weak and defenseless.  He did not look at her but she could see that he was no longer available to her, had left the room in his thoughts several long moments ago, his face rigid and unyielding.  Hopelessness wafted up from the gap like a bitter smell, an acrid vapor.  They sat a moment in self-conscious silence.  Coldness crept up to her and sat stiffly across her chest.  He looked at her, dismay clearly revealed in his dimmed eyes.  She realized that she had not won, that there was no winning when togetherness, closeness is what she wanted most.  He was lost to her now, stuck and in his beliefs, disappointed at her stubborn rebellion.

He stood up to leave, sighing and patting his thighs with finality, standing stiffly and dejected.  “I guess this hasn’t done any good.  I just hope you know what you’re doing.”

The room deflated and the air felt tight and dense.

“I know what I’m doing, Rob.”

His back was to her now and she felt the sting of his dismissal as she watched him open the door onto the deck and close it behind him.  She remained seated at the table, clutched in grief and numbness, her fingers mindlessly picking at the edges of the placemat, pushing sticky crumbs back and forth across the embroidered calm sea and blue-gray sky.

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He isn’t just a hearse driver, you know,

But you see him the in the “shadow light”

The time of day when stillness melts over into life.

His back is charged with purpose

As he exits the black limo

And swings through the screen door.

Mama doesn’t care

That he never called her even once,

She only cares that he’s here

And he’s hungry,

And he gives her a smile

That cracks her heart.

It’s the yellow-night-time

When the crows aren’t even

Brave enough to be obnoxious and loud.

He wanders around the house

Touching things.

Her eyes water from the corners,


Remembering the tousled-headed toddler

With outstretched arms.

“It doesn’t matter,”

She wants to say,

But the words won’t rise,

Like heavy roads

That burble under the pond foam.

He’s not hearing anyway,

His eyes lost in black and white memories

And unopened presents

From birthdays he missed

While he battled life

With closed fists

And clenched heart.

Everything begins to unwind and unfetter,

The clock moans as darkness

Swarms the room

And the house

And the space between

Mother and son.

“It doesn’t matter,”

Her heart whispers,

But it does,

Lost in the dark;


Even that

Means it matters.


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The green is fading to black,

And she doesn’t feel anything

About losing the color

In her big eyes,

They don’t function well anyway,

And she sees

What she doesn’t want to see.

What agony to know

The underbelly of the underneath,

Everything is warm and desirous

And hidden.

The are secrets

That mothers knew

But never dared to speak of,

And the children learn

That running through the woods

Can get them killed

Or worse.

I wander in the grown-up world

Like a kid with an old encyclopedia

Turned to the section


Not understanding the words,

Like a deaf-mute to the old ways,

I try to use this

To forge a new way,

But there are plenty of lonely nights

And briar patches

To navigate,

And I get so tired.

But she is dying

Behind the green-less eyes,

And it’s my job

To save her.

Leave me alone,

And I will make it,

I’m sure of my skills

And courage.

I just hope I haven’t run out of


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I’m fascinated with understanding the “why” of the choices we make as human beings.  I remember having a sense of the “background” of people, even as a small child, although at the time I didn’t have the context to fully comprehend what I was observing.  I could feel when people were “saying one thing but doing another.”  This was very confusing to me and gave me reason for a lot of disappointment and disillusionment growing up.  Now I realize that to be disappointed in a person’s or one’s own “shadow” or “unaware” self is a recipe for constant dissatisfaction.  We all have a very active unaware self and most of our lives have been created from this unconsciousness.  

The obvious motivator of this “other self” is fear.  Anytime we are in fear, we rely on the reality of our unconsciousness instead of listening to our wisdom.  We act out by using control, isolation, withdrawal, abuse, phoniness, anger, resistance, guilt, pain, and so on.  We have a myriad of behaviors that allow us to express our fear and unworthiness.  What I’ve learned by working with clients as a spiritual therapist, teacher, helper of people as they are dying, mother, wife, friend, and pharmacist is that there are some key character qualities that can help us recognize this aspect of ourselves and because of these attributes we are able to use our will and make the “higher” choice of listening to our spiritual nature. 

Self esteem is a word we hear frequently and much of the time it is culturally misunderstood.  And to a certain extent, the idea of self esteem that is cultivated in our society is a necessary first step in our growth.  Learning to be self-sustaining, finding our purpose in life, revealing our gifts in life, being the best we can be all sound very noble and enriching of our self esteem.  The problem is that our ego (the survival part of us) takes hold of what gains we might make with self esteem and mixes fear in the pot.  The result is that no matter what benefit we may see in self esteem growth as we move through life, our unconsciousness “taints” our perception of ourself and our life so that we can’t hold any really sense of worth.  We are left with only a fake, flimsy mask of self esteem that is subject to whatever whims our perceptions and experiences might bring to us at any given time.  

The attributes that can effectively move us out of this cycle depend on self-awareness.  We must be able to catch ourselves as we move into patterns of unworthiness.  As soon as I sense I am withholding my love, feeling sorry for myself or feeling angry, I need to notice that I’m doing that.  Every single time I am able to observe this, I build spiritual strength.  Every time I make the choice to move into care or understanding or forgiveness, I am enhancing my self esteem.  

The fruits of this kind of self awareness are spiritual integrity and accountability.  These two principles are the foundations of true self esteem, not society’s version of which we are accustomed.  Each time we make a choice to move out of unawareness by noticing when we are acting out of fear, then we add to our integrity and accountability “bank accounts.”  When we can take our actions a step further and not only stop ourselves from acting out of fear but can even switch to behaving through love, then we reap “compound interest” in our self esteem accounts.  

Why do we care about self esteem?  Because without self esteem we lose hope and purpose as human beings.  We develop illness, become depressed and cause pain in the lives of others and ourselves.  Often as I drive through the beautiful mountains where I currently live, I pass houses of occupants who throw piles of trash and junk in their yards.  Sometimes the debris is mounded up to the roof on their front porches, blocking their windows and doors.  With miles of amazing mountain range views available, these people choose to clutter and obstruct the natural wonders with their own accumulated refuse.  Why?  Why would a person choose pain, ugliness, depression instead of receiving the unlimited, free gifts of beauty all around them?  Because their self esteem feels so depleted, they live in such vile unworthiness, they are completely unable to perceive what is right in front of them.  

Choosing to foster self integrity and accountability often doesn’t occur to us because we minimize the huge significance of being honest (always) with ourselves and others.  We don’t realize how this builds congruency within us, which is the fabric of spiritual growth.  We find it tiresome and discouraging to notice when we are behaving in ways that are hurtful to others or ourselves so we prefer to see our masks.  Promoting our ego is a grooved pattern so we behave from the security of our habits instead of expressing our care.  But I know this as the truth… every single instance that we make the aware choice is a thousand times more powerful than any unconscious decision.  This is our David and Goliath certainty.  The weight of a loving action is far more potent than any action that comes from fear.  This is our spiritual evolution “leg-up;” we can undo much of our shadow with a fraction of the effort because love and kindness is exponentially commanding.  The blessing is the eternal hope and grace of which religions speak. We don’t have to climb a huge mountain to be redeemed.  We just have to make a different choice now, not burn and bury the whole negative baggage of our lives.  One choice at a time.  One objective observation of one’s self at a time.  One caring impulse in this moment.  

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