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I Am The Face That Nobody Wants to See

10 Aug

Now I See as I Am Seen ~ I Am The Face No one Wants to See

DeBorah ~ MMC 2002 Grad

DeBorah ~ Marymount Manhattan College 2002 Graduation

I am the face of Mental Illness in America. The face that nobody wants to see. The face that people wish would go away. For years I tried to deny my illness which is hereditary.  I’ve had it since I was a teenager. But I just want people to know that I’m the person sitting next to you on the subway, bus, in church, temple, at your job; next to you in the Shopping Mall, walking down the street, enjoying a day in the park, having fun at a club or concert, the Veteran who served her country, the Woman who graduated Cum Laude from College while fighting unseen demons.

I am the Face of Domestic Violence.  I am the Face of Sexual Abuse.

Yes I’m one of the Everyday People.  Sometimes I feel as though I’m living in a Dystopian Universe. My own personal Hunger Games, bodies falling all around me. Yet I the Damaged Battle Scarred Warrior fight on.  One of Jephthah’s Daughters, I Refuse to be stigmatized because of the Stigmata I bear.  The Bread of Heaven Sustains Me.

I’ve taken measures to remove Toxic people and Naysayers from my Life.  I’ve formed a New Family since the one I was born into abandoned me.  Yes this is my Thorn in the Flesh and I Own it. Some battles I win. Some I lose. But throughout my life I remain me. Not ashamed of who I am or how I go about living my life.  No excuses. No apologies. Just me. Only those going through the Fire truly understand.

I AM!  I AM!!   I AM!!!

 

Escape from the Hotel California

10 Oct

Escape from the Hotel California

The Eagles – Hotel California

http://youtu.be/BjIJGxULpgo

Welcome to the Hotel California, 
Such a lovely place, (Such a lovely place) Such a lovely face
They’re livin’ it up at the Hotel California,
What a nice surprise, (What a nice surprise) Bring your alibis

Mirrors on the ceiling,
and pink champagne on ice, and she said:
“We are all just prisoners here,
Of our own device”
And in the master’s chambers
They gathered for the feast,
They stabbed it with their steely knives,
But they just can’t kill the beast

Last thing I remember, I was running for the door,
I had to find the passage back to the place I was before,
“Relax,” said the night man, “We are programmed to receive,
You can check out anytime you like… but you can never leave”

Island of the Dead Arnold Böcklin  (Swiss, Basel 1827–1901 San Domenico, Italy)

Island of the Dead
Arnold Böcklin (Swiss, Basel 1827–1901 San Domenico, Italy)

Suffering is acknowledged and discussed in Christianity, Buddhism and many other worldwide faiths. Suffering does endow us with wisdom beyond our years. I think suffering brings us a degree of wisdom, understanding and compassion only available to those who have gone through and come out on the other side. But the key words are to come out from the land of suffering and not stay living there. Let’s not take up residence in our own personal “Hotel Californias.”

Look to find Joy in everyday life. That’s why I Love taking photos. I Love writing poetry, stories and commentaries. As many of my friends, family and co-workers I also have a ridiculous sense of humor. I’ve learned to laugh at myself. I love to hear people’s stories. Not to make fun of them but to find the common points in life that we all share, no matter if we are Christian, Native American, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu or Buddhist. We have to find laughter in the midst of our greatest tragedies, triumphs, victories and even our defeats. Our respective faiths do not ignore or make believe suffering does not exist but our belief systems help us to transcend the mutual trials and tribulations of life.

Let’s look at two different scriptures from the Holy Bible that deal with suffering. Let’s also keep in mind that Biblical scriptures also have a historical and social context. While Biblical characters may or may not have been actual living people the dilemmas, emotions, and feelings are very real and very concrete.

2 Corinthians 4:7-9

New International Version (NIV)

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.

We are all a little broken. The cracks & chips cannot always be hidden nor should they be. We wear our scars like Warriors. These are the battle wounds that give us character and grace for living. Suffering can produce clarity of the mind, purity of the soul, and a different perspective on living.  At one time or another have we not all been Fallen Angels looking to be restored to the Kingdom?

 

Psalm 42

New International Version (NIV)

As the deer pants for streams of water,
    so my soul pants for you, my God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
    When can I go and meet with God?
My tears have been my food
    day and night,
while people say to me all day long,
    “Where is your God?”
These things I remember
    as I pour out my soul:
how I used to go to the house of God
    under the protection of the Mighty One[d]
with shouts of joy and praise
    among the festive throng.

Why, my soul, are you downcast?
    Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
    for I will yet praise him,
    my Savior and my God.

My soul is downcast within me;
    therefore I will remember you
from the land of the Jordan,
    the heights of Hermon—from Mount Mizar.
Deep calls to deep
    in the roar of your waterfalls;
all your waves and breakers
    have swept over me.

By day the Lord directs his love,
    at night his song is with me—
    a prayer to the God of my life.

I say to God my Rock,
    “Why have you forgotten me?
Why must I go about mourning,
    oppressed by the enemy?”
10 My bones suffer mortal agony
    as my foes taunt me,
saying to me all day long,
    “Where is your God?”

11 Why, my soul, are you downcast?
    Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
    for I will yet praise him,
    my Savior and my God.

 

The people portrayed in the Bible aren’t Super Heroes. They are everyday folks like you and me. If they did not have the foibles and fragilities of the human condition we could not and would not be able to relate on our level. Times change and the modern world has encroached upon our 21st lives but we still possess the same frailties’ and vulnerabilities of soul and spirit as our Biblical ancestors. They are real people with real problems. Sometimes they achieve good solutions sometimes they mess up totally but provide an example for us of what not to do.

I agree with the Buddha’s teachings that becoming too attached to anything, idea or philosophy can lead to suffering. However suffering in and of itself is not a character flaw. In fact some suffering helps to build your character and gives you a greater ability for compassion. That being said there is external suffering which happens through no fault of our own and there is self-imposed suffering caused by bad decisions and errors in judgment.

While watching a TV show about the late writer, author and playwright Tennessee Williams I felt such sorrow that a man with so much talent was derailed from a productive pathway.

He did have plenty of success with such plays as, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, The Glass Menagerie, A Streetcar Named Desire and many other famous plays and stories, however he was done in by the effects of a dysfunctional family, depression about his mentally ill sister Rose, and eventually he was done in by drugs and alcohol. The suffering he felt regarding his sister Rose was the sadness and frustration of seeing a beloved sibling encased within the walls of mental illness and being powerless to help her. His internal self-imposed suffering was caused by bad choices regarding substance abuse.

I too am a writer and author but through my Christian faith and Buddhist practice I will avoid the path of destruction that seems to plague many famous, writers, musicians, actors, and artists.

Suffering should invite self-examination of our lives. Are we repeating destructive patterns in our lives? Am I living right? Am I a blessing towards others? Do I negate others feelings or emotions just because they may not be in line with my own experience. In addition to prayer what are some practical hands-on ways I can help my sisters and brothers in need. Am I so fixed into my own suffering that I’m allowing “Wounded Soldiers in the Household of Faith” to fall on the battle ground.

The ultimate question is, “Is it time for us to change course?”

Prophetic Calling ~ Higher Ground

4 Aug

Prophetic Calling- Higher Ground

Knew that I was in the right place from the moment I walked through the door. Experiencing regeneration and renewal.

Higher Ground – Stevie Wonder (1973)

I have stepped into my Destiny. I did not choose the path, the Path chose me. The Ancestors knew what I needed and sent me the gifts of the spirit. As I wrote about in a previous post (Genetic Memory) my ancestors have begun to visit me with greater frequency.

As a child I was more open to the spirit world and I can recall from ages three to six I had many visitations from alternate universes. At age four I was looking at a baby photograph of myself and my brother on the living room wall and being able to go back to my origin or source and return at will. Around age five bedtimes became of time of numerous visitations but by then these creatures or creations began to frighten me. I did my best to will them away since it wasn’t something I could tell my parents.

Still the spirits attempted to get through some of them not so good. During my twenties I had some horrible nightmares of not being able to breathe or demons trying to choke or strangle me, but that may have been the result of too much fire and brimstone sermons. I was always impressionable and unbeknownst to some preachers sensitive spirits in their congregations pick up on the fear and punishment side of Christianity opening up a portal to hell as opposed to salvation and redemption. Now with my explorations of the Gospel of Inclusion (Bishop Carlton Pearson) Buddhism and discovering I’m a Clairsentient I’m learning better mind control and discerning the whys, wheres, and whats of my ancestors wishes.

DeBorah ~ MMC 2002 Grad

DeBorah ~ Marymount Manhattan College 2002 Graduation

Shinnyo-en Buddhism

Knew that I was in the right place from the moment I walked through the door. Experiencing regeneration, restoration and renewal.

I have stepped into my Destiny. I did not choose the path, the Path chose me. The Ancestors knew what I needed and sent me the gifts of the spirit. Clarity of Vision. Opening my spirit to distant Galaxies.

One of the guided meditation teachers spoke a word of knowledge over me that could have only come from God. Another step along the path of purification. This is the beginning of understanding the many spiritual events in my life. I have not left Christianity but I believe I was led to this type of Buddhist thought and teachings as a compliment to my Christian faith.  Shinnyo-en has fed my mind, spirit and soul.

Psalm 42

New International Version (NIV)

1 As the deer pants for streams of water,

    so my soul pants for you, my God.
2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
    When can I go and meet with God?
3 My tears have been my food
    day and night,
while people say to me all day long,
    “Where is your God?”
4 These things I remember
    as I pour out my soul:
how I used to go to the house of God
    under the protection of the Mighty One[d]
with shouts of joy and praise
    among the festive throng.

5 Why, my soul, are you downcast?
    Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
    for I will yet praise him,
    my Savior and my God.

6 My soul is downcast within me;
    therefore I will remember you
from the land of the Jordan,
    the heights of Hermon—from Mount Mizar.
7 Deep calls to deep
    in the roar of your waterfalls;
all your waves and breakers
    have swept over me.

8 By day the Lord directs his love,
    at night his song is with me—
    a prayer to the God of my life.

9 I say to God my Rock,
    “Why have you forgotten me?
Why must I go about mourning,
    oppressed by the enemy?”
10 My bones suffer mortal agony
    as my foes taunt me,
saying to me all day long,
    “Where is your God?”

11 Why, my soul, are you downcast?
    Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
    for I will yet praise him,
    my Savior and my God.

In fact many Bible verses and the words of Jesus come to me more frequently and with increased clarity!  I must study to show myself approved and to grasp the teachings. Realizing now that both mind and body must be purified and the ability to focus must be cultivated. So far have been to two Guided Meditations and the effects are Amazing! I’m calmer in mind, spirit, soul & body and am better able to handle difficult situations. Remember me as the one who woke up.  As my Japanese girlfriend who introduced me to Shinnyo-en practice You will find Yourself.

Shinnyo-en

enjoy-engage-enlighten

Shinnyo Meditation Center

19 West 36th Street,

New York, NY 10018

www.shinnyo-ny.org

Not everyone will understand where you’re going in this life. The revelation for this time is only for you. They are not yet ready. John 13:34-36

King James Version (KJV)
34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.

35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

36 Simon Peter said unto him, Lord, whither goest thou? Jesus answered him, Whither I go, thou canst not follow me now; but thou shalt follow me afterwards.

Galatians 5:22-23

New International Version (NIV)
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

1 Corinthians 12:7-11
The Message (MSG)
4-11 God’s various gifts are handed out everywhere; but they all originate in God’s Spirit. God’s various ministries are carried out everywhere; but they all originate in God’s Spirit. God’s various expressions of power are in action everywhere; but God himself is behind it all. Each person is given something to do that shows who God is: Everyone gets in on it, everyone benefits. All kinds of things are handed out by the Spirit, and to all kinds of people! The variety is wonderful:

wise counsel
clear understanding
simple trust
healing the sick
miraculous acts
proclamation
distinguishing between spirits
tongues
interpretation of tongues.
All these gifts have a common origin, but are handed out one by one by the one Spirit of God. He decides who gets what, and when.

 Baptist Buddhist

In the very short time I’ve committed to following the Shinnyo path I began to realize how hungry I was. Even though I was born and raised in the Christian faith when I was introduced to Shinnyo-en Buddhism I was as one starving and thirsty suddenly finding herself seated at a banquet table filled with delicious food and drink. It has been a process for me to throw off the shackles and chains of dogma and doctrine and allow new thought to enter in. For years I tried to suppress the spirit world with anti-depressants and other prescription drugs. Now I’m free from the constraints of my religious straitjacket empowered to put my truths my faith into action.

My parents were never committed to any church. In fact though they both believed in God they never attended church. I was brought up as a Freethinker and was always driving my parents’ crazy asking questions. Of course like nearly every Black kid growing up in the 1960s church was pretty much a non-negotiable. Every child in the neighborhood went to church. Since my mother was raised Baptist that’s where I went. If for some reason I did not make it out to Sunday school you can bet the Sunday School teacher would be calling my parents asking why I was not in church.  As I grew older I was swept up in the Evangelical movements of the 80s & 90s.  Even with the growing schemes and scandals I held onto my beliefs even though I was living a lifestyle contrary to the Bible. Only in May 2010 when my beloved Aunt Helen passed away did I realize that I had only attended church to please other people and did not believed most of what was preached from the pulpit.

In the back of my mind were questions, confusion, shame & guilt. I was a walking, talking living dichotomy.   Then right before Christmas 2006 not only did my life hit the fan but was completely shredded. I lost my “good job”, was unemployed for a year, my common-law husband left me for a younger new and improved woman. Finally in 2008 I started a new job that paid a lot less but at least I was working and had benefits.

More changes 2009 I turned 50. Am I really a card carrying member of AARP? The Change of Life. For a woman turning 50 is traumatic in more ways than one not only do we have to cope with physical and hormonal changes, there are the changes in society’s perception of older women. Sure Black don’t crack but age or maturity don’t lie. I’ve had to come to terms with what to do for my next 50 years on the planet. I’ve realized my calling as a writer.  Life is a walk by faith and not by sight experience.

One of the best things about being in one’s 50s is not caring what others think but following the path meant for me.  I’m still a Buddhist newbie and I’m struggling with some of the terminology but now my soul is being fed and even the Biblical scriptures have taken on new meaning and devotion. This Baptist Buddhist is beginning to find peace within her soul.

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