Spiritual Climate NEwsletter OCTOBER 2006 Part 2: HEY! GIVE THAT BACK! by Wendy Ford

 

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Hey! Give That Back!

By Wendy Ford

Expropriate is defined in Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary as a verb:

To take away money or property especially for public use without payment to the owner, or for personal use illegally.

Did you ever watch the schoolyard game of Keep Away? Perhaps you were even a victim at one time or another or maybe even a participant. For those unfamiliar with this classic children’s game Keep Away consists of one person grabbing an item from another and tossing the item back and forth amongst two or more “others” just out of reach of the owner while taking great pleasure in watching the attempts of the owner to retrieve the item. Perhaps its owner chases after the person who grabbed it only to have the item tossed quickly to another just as they are about to capture the bully who took it. Other times the object is handed back and forth among the “players” so fast that it is difficult or impossible for the owner to keep track of who has the object.

Depending upon how much meaning the object has to its owner the attempts to recapture the object can become increasingly desperate. Apparently it is this reaction that is the main object of the game. The more desperate and upset the owner becomes the greater the perceived pleasure or “fun” of the perpetrators. The ultimate goal of course is to wear down the owner until tears are shed. The “game” is generally abandoned at this point with the object being tossed into the nearest bushes or tree or pond or other suitably difficult place for the owner to retrieve it. If it is an item of particular use or value the perpetrators may decide to keep it as their own. If the game is taking place in a schoolyard perhaps the recess bell is a blessed interruption or an adult in attendance intervenes but that is part of the challenge to the bullies. Play the game without interruption and play without being caught by an authority figure. Other children observing the game are generally not inclined to intervene and many are just glad they are not the victims.

A big secret that usually eludes the victim: if, when the bully takes the item, disinterest is feigned. The game is no longer fun and the bully or bullies will move on in search of another victim who will be more entertaining or who has an item they deem to be of with higher value to them.

The game generally starts very early in childhood. It can be found wherever a group of young children gather and over time take note of the similarities and differences among themselves. The stronger tend to pick on the weaker or more sensitive. Initially the game is really just a fun game involving much chasing, screaming and giggling with adults or older children around to intervene should things get too out of hand. But as children get older the game takes on deeper and darker meaning as the bullies emerge from the social group and it becomes a form of torment; a way for the bullies to assert their noble selves and show how strong and great they are thus intimidating the rest of their peers and giving themselves the perception they are really hot shots and superior to all others. It would appear that learning the process of expropriation has roots deep within most of our childhoods.

Keep Away continues to be played out in ever increasingly suave and sophisticated ways for the rest of our lives. The stronger always pick on the weaker. In this sense physical strength and prowess are not the sole defining factors of strength or weakness. The bullies of the schoolyard have learned how to function quite effectively in the adult world. Only now they have learned to disguise their schoolyard false bravado and false senses of their own greatness behind the appearances of wealth, knowledge, intelligence, power, assets, access to information, and the ability to withhold information or knowledge. But the game of Keep Away is ever present. Take something that has meaning or value to someone without consent and use it for your own reasons. Expropriation.

By definition in the Cambridge Dictionary expropriate is a verb that refers to property being taken especially for public use without payment.

Doesn’t it just sound like a fancy term used to distract attention from an act? Guess folks won’t notice what we’re up to if we call it something fancy. They won’t want to appear ignorant or stupid so they are less likely to question what we are doing, especially if we tell them it’s for public use. They’ve all been taught (trained, programmed) it’s not right to be selfish. If we tell them it’s for the greater good they’ll do it. They won’t want to look like bad citizens or disloyal.

In Roget’s Thesaurus guess what shows up as synonyms for expropriate? “Verb: expropriate: To take quick and forcible possession of: Commandeer, confiscate, grab, seize, snatch”. And as an idiom: “help oneself to”. Don’t two other words immediately jump to the head of the line: steal and theft?

Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary defines steal “to take something without the permission or knowledge of the owner and keep it”. The same source defines theft as “(the act of) dishonestly taking something which belongs to someone else and keeping it”.

It seems if something is taken dishonestly and without permission and then kept for oneself it is called theft or stealing. But if it is taken away for public use then it is expropriation. My, my, my. The line distinguishing the difference sure appears very thin. Looks like one big, fancy game of Keep Away.

Except that it has become a deadly game. Continue to give tax breaks to big corporations and the wealthy but Keep Away from the poor, the sick, the elderly. Refuse to infuse enough money into educational system so that our youth will be able to compete in the global economy. Allow the price of gasoline to go so high that people have to choose which tank to fill, their car gasoline tank or their own stomachs. Pay lip service to the need for alternative fuels but don’t fund the necessary programs to build the infrastructure required for distribution. Crow on about family values and morals then go on demanding mandatory overtime and requesting voluntary relinquishing of vacation time. Pay lip service to the need to save and protect our environment but deny funding to programs that would restore our coast marshlands. Wring hands and cluck tongues at how horrible the destruction was from Hurricane Katrina but tie up funds (our tax dollars which have been deducted, expropriated, from each of our earned dollars) so that after almost ONE YEAR the gulf area looks not that much different from a month after the event. Puff out those manly or womanly chests and pound on them with clenched fists to show strength and greatness to the world and to competitors. Gather cronies around and continue to show just how sophisticated the game of Keep Away can be.

Expropriation. Look around. Can evidence of it be seen? Probably right under your very nose. To whom do our natural resources belong? How is your paycheck being expropriated in the market place? Who owns your personal time, indeed ANY of your time and should that even have to be questioned? How much of it has been expropriated by your employer in the form of mandatory overtime? Who owns your ability or right to make decisions about your health care? Most of us are at the mercy of our healthcare insurance companies who, for the most part have very little concern over any one individual’s state of health. If you work in a field of research, who owns your “discoveries” (intellectual property)? Depending upon the employment agreement you may not even have the right ownership of your own ideas and discoveries, you may not be eligible to be credited with a patent. Expropriation.

Bullies can blind others with their false greatness, kindness and false genuineness so suavely and smoothly that they can be quite easily elevated to positions of power and influence. From those positions their acts of expropriation can often be completely unnoticed. Why? Because those of us who put them in those positions have for far too long had the belief they will act in our interest and we have blindly put our trust, money and very lives and well being in their hands. They have taken that trust and run with it. They have inflated their own egos and while one hand grabbed personal power the other has covered our mouths to smother our voices.

Their grasp has become so firm that it is strangling the very life out of us as individuals and families. It is crushing our children’s education and the very future of our country and society. And they will continue to get away with it unless the right questions are asked and followed up on, asked again and again with persistence until the truth is uncovered. Until enough eyes and ears are opened enough that folks will stop, shake loose of the grasp and say, “Hold on a minute. Just what is going on here? Just what do you think you are doing? And more importantly, why are you doing it? Who are you serving?” Until we as individuals choose to band together and make our voices heard the bullies will have no reason to stop.

A reverse game of Keep Away needs to start. We could call it Take It Back, or Give It Back. It appears through various sources and media that people are starting to look around and say, “Hey! Wait a minute! I didn’t say you could do that. What are you doing? I didn’t say you could have that. If you had asked, I might have been willing to share it or let you borrow it. But you can’t just take anything you want any time you want it. You aren’t in Willie Wonka’s Chocolate Factory stomping your foot ‘I want it NOW Daddy. Give it to me NOW!’ ” No.

Expropriation: just another fancy word for stealing and theft, which, by the way, ARE illegal. Just who are we going to hold accountable, along with When and Why aren’t the true journalists of the world pounding on this theme?

There are times to be generous and there are times when it is necessary to fight the bully who keeps trying to grab your stuff on the playground. Sometimes others will come to stand with you if they see you are willing to stand up to the bully. Sometimes when you fight the bully you end up with scraped knees, a torn jacket and a black eye, but sometimes you earn the respect of the bully and he thinks twice about messing with you in the future.

May the Lord of Life bless you with courage to enable you to stand up to the bully and fight for what is rightfully yours.

Wendy Ford

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you know you want to do it:

Spiritual Climate Newsletter JUNE 2006 Part 1 OWWW! STOP SQUEEZING SO HARD!  by Wendy Ford

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Owww! Stop Squeezing So Hard! (How Much More Will/Can We Take?)

By Wendy Ford

While finishing my paperwork the other night it occurred to me there was only one little bit of space on my kitchen table to put the paper I was writing on.  The rest of the table had disappeared under mounds and piles of paperwork, blank forms, file folders, copies of completed forms awaiting filing, reference books, a calendar was under there somewhere, stray paper clips that had somehow escaped the pages they had been holding together for me were scattered here and there, an empty ink pen cartridge had rolled under one of the folders, my calculator was leaning precariously against one of the piles, little itty bitty post notes were sticking their flaps out of records while strategically keeping a place that was important and needed attention, a crossed off checklist of telephone calls and e- mails sent and those awaiting a response was in jeopardy of being sucked under one of the file folders.  Oh, it was income tax time, right?  No.  Just some of the tools of the trade of a home health care provider.

It had somehow gotten to be eleven o’clock at night.  Hadn’t it been just eight when I looked at the clock a moment ago?  Having gotten home about six and already put in a load of laundry and started the dishwasher before sitting down with the paperwork and made countless phone calls to patients and sent a multitude of e-mails to nurses, supervisors and co-workers I couldn’t figure out how it could have gotten to be that late.  As I surveyed the apparent chaos, apparent I say because I do know where everything is, well, at least what pile it is in, all I could do was shake my head, yawn and head off to bed.  But first I needed to fill my tea bottles to take with me the next day, pack my lunch items, gather the paperwork and forms I would need, lay out my clothes, check my personnel e-mail and take a shower.  Had I eaten dinner?  Oh, well, too late for that now.  Making sure the alarm had been set my head blissfully hit my pillow and sleep was upon me.  Fortunately I am blessed with only a rare night of tossing and turning.

What needs to be noted at this point is my husband was out of town; we have no children, no pets and only one plant that needs an occasional watering.  How in the world do people even begin to cope and handle things when our society is demanding more and more and more of people’s time and resources?  How does a single parent do it?  Not only the parent part but also the combination of parenting and holding a job, often more than one job?  Or how do people hold a full time job, go to school and raise a family?

Arizona’s Governor Janet Napolitano is a regular monthly guest on our local National Public Radio station.  The subject of all day kindergarten came up.  This has been a fiscal issue for a while now and the Governor is pressing for funding “All Day K”.  Arizona is not very high in the ranking for education and this is a hot topic right now.  A female caller expressed her opinion that young children belong with their mothers in the loving and nurturing environment of the home where they can learn through love and support, not be in school all day.  She wasn’t aware of any studies that showed any advantage to All Day K versus the current half day.  I expressed some colorful opinions of my own to the caller by directing my responses at my car radio.  The Governor was much kinder in her response that not all children have the advantage of that kind of environment and family life.  She pointed out a recent study showed 85% of families in Arizona are in economic situations such that the parent(s) must work outside the home.  She added that if the caller would leave her address with the radio station she would be glad to see to it that the caller received more than enough material on the topic.

Upon further reflection, in the part of the caller’s statement where she revealed her ignorance regarding studies Truth was spoken: she “wasn’t aware”.  Yet she had a very strong opinion on a matter where ignorance was her only fact.

It is this kind of arrogant opinion born out of ignorance yet pronounced with such certainty that just lights my jets.  This caller was vomiting up some talking point she had been fed.  Don’t ask me my opinion about the source.  Without any supporting facts, never mind knowledge, about the situation she had accepted as truth what she had be told without any question.  She had melded that opinion into her self so smoothly and seamlessly that she genuinely thought of it as “her” belief.  Yet she admittedly has no knowledge base for “her” belief.

Now, bear in mind I am NOT arguing that having a stay at home Mom is the invalid belief.  My point relates to her lack of knowledge and awareness of studies showing the efficacy of full day kindergarten and the apparent refusal to acknowledge or consider the socioeconomic situations of any who may be in very different circumstances from her and the social circles she operates within.  Her apparent lack of awareness was glaring.  Her apparent inability to make the connection between Arizona’s rank at the bottom in education and the issue of full day kindergarten was even more alarming.  Not that All Day K is the single answer to Arizona’s miserable performance when it comes to the education of our children.  But that is a whole different topic.

Her point about the benefits afforded children who are raised in a loving and nurturing environment is absolutely accurate.  Unfortunately increasingly fewer and fewer families are able to pull that off.  So how has it come to be that the stay-at-home Mom should be put on the Endangered Species list?  Stay-at-home Moms have been the foundation of family and our society (stay-at-home Dads need to be included here, too).

Just what are we doing?  Why are we allowing employers to demand more and more of our time?  Why are we giving them that time?  Why are people willingly giving up vacation time?  Why are people willingly sacrificing family time for an employer?  Why do we permit them to shape our beliefs and opinions?  Just when did we start to swallow everything poured down our gullet like baby birds?  Just when did we all start to worship employment?  Just when was the employer handed all the power and control of our lives?

Bigger and more important questions loom like pink elephants in the corner:  Has anyone even taken a moment to pause, look around and notice that a problem exists?  Has anyone taken a deep look and asked, “Wait a minute, just what in the hell is going on here?  What do we think we are doing?”

There is no one answer to any of these questions.  It has all happened so slowly over the past twenty-five to thirty years that we have barely noticed.  It continues little by little, day by day.  We can all feel the pressure but few of us can step back, take a good hard and honest look and see what has happened.  Remember the experiment about the frog and the hot water?  Place a frog in hot water and it will jump out.  Place a frog in cool water and slowly turn up the heat and it will stay until the water becomes so hot the frog dies.  The pressures and compression of time in our lives is acting in precisely the same way.  It is happening so smoothly and quietly most of us aren’t aware of what is happening.

Many feel it is a reflection of their individual inadequacies that they can’t deal and cope.  Imagine that.  Employers and business have actually managed to brainwash us into believing it is our fault that their ever-increasing demands are becoming too much for many to bear. 

One neat trick has been used masterfully:  Isolation.  Individuals who are isolated are less likely to realize they aren’t alone with these responses to ever increasing pressure.  They think they alone are the ones who can’t cope.  Individuals who are isolated are less likely to ask probative questions or seek answers when things don’t add up or look or sound right.  They don’t dare ask meaningful questions.  We have been taught from early on not to sass or question authority.  Since critical thinking is no longer taught in our public schools who would even think it was within their rights to ask a question? 

Family Values?  Right.  When Corporate America is so enamored with this phrase, when political agendas are based on these two words, when an entire religious sect has cocooned itself around these words, then why in the hell is it being tolerated, no not just tolerated, but accepted, that businesses and employers are continuing to keep sucking up worker’s time and squeezing the very lives out of them drop by drop?  If “Family Values”, and Dr. Strickler has allowed me to use this term for the sake of point, were a genuine concern to business there would be an enthusiastic and open armed embracement by employers of paid maternity/paternity leaves, paid family leaves, job sharing, flex time, on site day care and kindergarten, sick child programs (where an employee can bring a child too sick to go to school so the parent can come to work) and the like.  One of the only reasons many employers have any of these is because of union demands or legislative decrees. 

Not all employers fall under the dark umbrella described.  There are many companies who are really trying to do the right thing while at the same time making a profit.  The company I have chosen to work for has accepted me on my own terms and is family friendly and supportive.  However, we serve our clients under federal, state and insurance guidelines.  None of these are particularly “worker/family” friendly and my company strives continuously to find ways to make sure its employees feel appreciated and supported.  The owners are constantly looking for ways to make the mountains and volumes of documentation required easier to follow and less time consuming to complete.  This is probably the best employer of my career.  Nevertheless, many a night is spent dictating and completing forms late into the night.

Why do I do it?  It’s a selfish reason.  The perks can’t be beat:  the smile, the hug, the light that can spark anew in the dimming days of life, the “thank you for coming, I feel so much better even though I still hurt”.  That’s why I do what I do, where I can.  No longer am I tied to an unrealistic productivity standard set by some administrator who would faint if faced with the day-to-day realities we in the field of home health service are faced with.  No longer am I pushed to the point of physical and mental exhaustion only to be told it’s not good enough or fast enough or not enough revenue was generated that day.  No longer do I toss and turn wondering how in the world I’ll make it through another day or week.  But I have been blessed to be in a profession that provides me with flexibility and wide choices of employment. 

Others are not as fortunate.  For any number of reasons people are locked into jobs or careers due to limitations in education, lack of freedom of mobility, and/or monetary and fiscal policies created by corporate and government hierarchies that box in people’s possibilities toward growth.  For many there are few options for change or options to explore.  These are the people who are functioning as a human harvest to Corporate America and business.

Pressure.  OK, we all have it to one degree or another in our lives no matter what its cause.  What is one of the major consequences of these insidiously increasing pressures?  Stress.  What are the leading causes of medical and psychological problems?  Stress and sleep deprivation.  What do stress and sleep deprivation contribute to?  Anxiety and Depression.  What are the biggest sellers for pharmaceuticals?  Medications for sleep aids, anxiety, depression, gastrointestinal problems, musculoskeletal problems, high blood pressure, and obesity.  Are you starting to get a picture? 

The pharmaceutical industry, imagine that, they even call it an “industry”, is one of the largest in the nation.  Behavioral pediatrician Lawrence H. Diller, MD, author of Running on Ritalin (Bantam, 1999), unveils a statistical poignancy in what I am referring to, “America uses 80 percent of the world’s Ritalin"  and that is just ONE drug!   Could it be that there is some quiet agenda being orchestrated?  “Get them so stressed out and medicated that they can no longer think for themselves, question anything and will be and do exactly what we want.  Then we will have complete and utter control and no one will even know it.”  And that, my friends is mighty scary. 

But even more horrifying is the question that now begs answer and discovery:  Who are “They”?  Clues might be found by looking into and discovering who it is that is doing the squeezing and pressuring.  Who is reaping the benefits?  What is the ultimate agenda?  Until enough people ask the right questions nothing can or will change.  Until enough people are willing to speak with clear voices and act from genuine knowledge no answers will be found or changes accomplished.

So, who or what policy are you being squeezed by?  How much longer will you allow the pressure to build?  What is it going to take to cause you to stop, dig your heels in, take a deep breath and yell, “Owww!  Stop squeezing so hard!”  Those of you out there who are old enough will remember the classic rant from the movie The Network, “I’m mad as Hell and I’m not going to take this anymore!”

May the Lord of Life grant you the courage to open your eyes, ears and the breath with which to yell.  Use your mouth to yell loudly and with great sincerity from the depth of your very being. 

Wendy Ford  

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you know you want to do it:

Spiritual Climate Newsletter MAY 2006 Part 2 BOSOMS, BRAS and the SPIRITUAL PATH, by Wendy Ford

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Bosoms, Bras and the Spiritual Path

By Wendy Ford

 

The first part of this article is germane to any female who has ever had to buy a brassiere.  Gentleman probably can’t relate but neither has the purchase of an athletic supporter or jock strap been in my experience.  My husband tells me the two experiences are not dissimilar.

 

Driving down the street my palms started to sweat, my stomach was heavy with dread.  My mission: the purchase of a new brassiere.  Having put the task off for far too long it was a trip of desperation.  The girls needed help.  Badly.  As the old joke goes:  What did one boob say to the other?  “If we don’t get some support around here soon they’ll think we’re knee caps.”  Anyway, as I pulled into the local Wal-Mart several deep breaths were needed and the fight against just driving to the dentist instead was a tough one.  Finding a parking spot went fine, letting go of the steering wheel was a little harder.  Once out of the car and pointed in the direction of the front door I breathed a huge sigh.  “OK, this isn’t so bad.  Just put one foot in front of the other and move.”  Entering the store was easy as the nice older lady greeting me managed to distract me with her friendly smile.  She had no idea the terror lurking just behind my smiled greeting back.

 

Gripping the handle of the cart as if it were a lifeline I pushed the cart ahead of me wielding it like some great shield heading into battle.  My approach to the lingerie area projected an air of confidence not felt.  After all, thousands maybe hundreds of thousands of women all over the country do this every day right?  Certainly I could accomplish this simple task.  Seeing the intended target area I turned my cart and entered the appropriate aisle.  (Cue the music from the shower scene in the movie Psycho.)

 

Bras to left of me, bras to right of me, bras hanging higher than I could reach and lower than anyone cares to comfortably go to read the tiny tags.  Just to reach in and look at a tag means one is accosted from left, right, above and below by the cups of other bras that seemed to take on a life all their own.  It was like entering the Enchanted Forest and the tree limbs were reaching out for me.  There were bras with plain or elastic shoulder straps, spaghetti straps, wide straps, flat straps, round straps and no straps.  There were bras that hook in the back, the front and some that just apparently were attached to nothing with no apparent way of staying on a human form.  There were bras with one hook, two hooks, three hooks and ones that looked like they could be worn into the gladiator ring.  There were bras in every color of the rainbow and in so many designs it was dizzying and dazzling.  There were bras with padding, without padding, bras with under wires, bras that squished ‘em together and bras that lift and separate.  There were bras that support for eighteen hours and ones that appeared to be worn with the intention of not being left on for very long.  Some didn’t have hooks at all, and some had these little sliding things that looked like the plastic bread wrapper doodads hooked together.  The materials varied from the very utilitarian white cotton to the wispiest of laces to something that looked like it could stop an armored bullet.

 

It all became too much.  I was overwhelmed. Retreat was sounded.  Clutching my cart for dear life I started to execute my escape plan and made it to the end of the aisle only to discover there were actually four aisles and three of those round racks that stand on the floor all filled to overflowing with more bras and all standing between me and the sock aisle which was my target for refuge.   By using the sock aisle adjacent to the underwear aisle as a shield I was able to evade the millions of bras that were now threatening to bury me alive.  My escape was to be to the main aisle where the books were but they had rearranged the stock and I came face to face with a wall of, oh no, cookies!  Gulping in air like a diver going down for a second time with the theme song from Mission Impossible now pounding in my head, I made a hard right avoiding eye contact with the cookies eventually finding the main exit.  Struggling to maintain a cool composed manner the cart was dutifully returned and placed in the cart corral.  After having made it to the safety of the fortress of my car I just went home. 

 

Good God.  It’s enough to traumatize the strongest among us.  No wonder young men’s palms begin to sweat when they think about venturing under the outer covering of their date’s ensemble.  Who knows what lurks beneath?  In the old days some young men practiced unfastening the mysterious bra using a bra attached to the back of a chair.  Back in the old days a bra was of white cotton and had two hooks in the back.  Some became so skilled in the maneuver they could flick open the bra one handed.  Or so I am told.  Not so today.  My sympathies to the dating males of today!

 

Eventually I went to a Foundations department of a ladies store where a very nice, patient and knowledgeable sales lady guided me through the process.  She made sure she understood my needs by asking the pertinent questions, took measurements then made suggestions as to the most appropriate garments.  She guided me to the correct area of the department where my size and style were located then left me to choose what I would purchase from the appropriate selections.  She answered my questions never once making me feel ignorant or stupid.  Did you know that over fifty percent of women are not wearing the correct size of bra? 

 

All right, all right.  What in the world does buying a bra have to do with the spiritual path?  Quite simply it is this:  It is not possible to grow spiritually or find Truth without expert guidance.  Without a True Spiritual Teacher, without being in that presence the spark of the Divine that lies in potential within each and every one of us cannot be nurtured and brought to full flame. 

 

One can walk into any metaphysical store and run into the same problem as the discount house lingerie department.  Books everywhere on topics from A to Z, self study and self help books and literature and tapes and CD’s, crystals and lotions and potions, amulets and necklaces, finger rings and toe rings, oils and waters, chimes and fountains, incense and potpourri, readers and advisors, aura photographers and palm readers.

 

But is rare to run into an expert within those walls.  By expert I mean a True Spiritual Teacher who can provide guidance and direction.  A Teacher who has the skills and gifts that enables him/her to be in contact with your soul.  The Teacher who in very short order knows the true you better than you.  The Teacher who, in reality, your Soul has petitioned for assistance in opening your access to communication with IT.

 

Once you have come into contact with your True Spiritual Teacher and have chosen to step onto your spiritual path you can be given access to skills and tools to use on your individual journey.  These tools and skills will promote the development of the ability to open the communication with your Soul.  Over time, if you keep asking, the “expert” will continue pointing you in the right direction giving you a nudge now and again when you stray, metaphorically shoving the mirror under your nose forcing you to look at what is going on when you refuse to see, clapping his hands sharply right next to your ear when you refuse to hear, rapping your knuckles soundly when you refuse to let go of some cherished misguided belief or opinion, yelling “get up” when you stumble, yet ready to hold out an open hand and heart to gently lift and support and nourish when needed, even when you might not realize you need it.  For without the “expertise” your journey toward spiritual growth and development is impossible to accomplish.  It is a paradox:  It is a solitary journey yet it cannot be embarked upon or continued alone.

 

How does one go about finding a True Spiritual Teacher?  Generally, if you ask and seek the Teacher will appear.  The very fact that you are reading this newsletter indicates some part of you is asking questions.  Dr. Strickler is my Spiritual Teacher.  He may not be the one for you.  The only way to find out is to get in contact, ask questions with a genuine thirst for knowledge and wisdom.  Be willing to admit you might be wrong in some of your beliefs and opinions, be willing to admit you have areas of ignorance and arrogance, be willing to look beyond false self imposed boundaries and be willing to let go of your attachment to the idea of being limited to just this physical form.  Be willing to shed a few tears, willing to lose some sleep, willing to shed the old you as the new you pushes outward from within.  Over time, be willing to be filled with a joy and wonderment at being alive, be willing and prepared for the death of the old you and the birth of a new and truer you. 

 

Over the years, under the guidance and direction of your Teacher, the layers will be peeled away and the spark of the divine hidden in potential will be provided with enough spiritual oxygen to flare into flame.  The communication lines with your Soul will have been cleaned of sludge and misconnections through the use of Divine Draino.   The divine seed of potential hidden deep within will begin to soften and sprout eventually allowing for the growth and unfoldment of who you truly are: a child of the Elohim.  A jewel in the crown of Creation.

 

Don’t be afraid to ask.  This is one area the do it yourself method won’t and can’t work.  Find an “expert”.

 

Blessings,

Wendy Ford 

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you know you want to do it:

Spiritual Climate Newsletter APRIL 2006 Part 2 THE EMERGENCE, by Wendy Ford

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THE EMERGENCE

By Wendy Ford

 

Over thirty years ago I met a young mother who I now consider to be my best friend.  She was carrying her 8-month-old first daughter on her hip and in the middle of getting everything together for a family clambake.  She was fairly quiet but as she greeted me during our introduction her smile was one that lit her up from the inside.  She immediately made me feel at ease and welcome with the quick acceptance my offer of assistance with the preparations.

 

Prior to the birth of their first child she had been an elementary school teacher of the emotionally handicapped.  She and her husband had agreed it was most important to be a stay at home Mom and the sacrifices they made over the years to accomplish that were nothing short of amazing.  When the youngest of her three children went to all day kindergarten she returned to teaching the mentally and emotionally handicapped.

 

Over the years we became close, sharing the secret thoughts that good friends share.  My husband and I baby-sat while she was giving birth to her second daughter and as time went on we developed very close and special relationships with her three children.  My husband helped her oldest daughter take that first wobbly ride on her bike with the training wheels off.  Shortly before her third child, a son was born my husband and I moved out of town.  We remained close, most vacations were spent visiting and long distance phone calls were frequent.  When she and her family moved to Florida we spent two weeks every February with her and her family.  The Christmas tree was left up and lit with our wrapped gifts underneath.  The kids thought it was pretty neat to have two Christmases. 

 

Over time I came to realize she was painfully shy around any other than family.  Even with family and good friends she confessed she rarely spoke without first thinking through the entire conversation in her head.  She usually planned every sentence ahead of time.  But in the classroom she was an entirely different person.  With her students she came alive.  She came up with innovative techniques and methods so effective that the IQ tests of many actually improved significantly enough that the school psychologist wanted to know what kind of magic she used to achieve such impressive results.  Her basic answer was no magic.  Just knowing the children well enough to know what buttons to press and switches to throw to allow that child access to their deeper hidden potential.  It was her innate ability to access and tap each child’s latent potential that set her apart.  It was watching the lights come on in her student’s eyes that was her greatest and most cherished reward.  

 

As the years went on my friend, my husband and I knew we were searching for that “something” to add meaning with personal and spiritual growth in our lives.  We constantly encouraged and welcomed her husband to join in our discussions and sharing of thoughts and information but he was just never interested.  He was of the opinion we were all a little nuts.  I truly believe had my husband and I not been included in these explorations her husband would have had her committed for psychiatric evaluation.  It was probably helpful that my husband was her husband’s brother.  The three of us explored and read.  We did the Medicine Cards, went through the Wayne Dyer books and tapes, attended sweat lodges, went to lectures and “readings” and were constantly sending each other references and tapes and book titles.  Each exploration brought us closer to that “something” but none quite hit the mark.

 

Then Dr. David Strickler came first into her life and then into ours.  We had found our Spiritual Teacher and Mentor and now friend.  Over the next ten years the three of us remained under Dr Strickler’s tutelage, my husband and I through long distance correspondence, phone calls and attending of classes when we were in town and my friend through direct attendance of his classes twice weekly.  It was not easy for her to attend those classes for she had limited financial resources and precious few hours to spare away from her family responsibilities.  Her study time was stolen from her sleep time, often needing to read by flashlight in the bathroom or closet so as not to disturb her husband.  She even left her family after her youngest had graduated from high school and drove over three thousand miles in pursuit of her spiritual studies.  My husband and I followed shortly thereafter and for the past four years the three of us have had the privilege of being in direct contact with Dr. Strickler several times weekly as a group and individually.

 

As a Spiritual Teacher, Dr. Strickler knows his students well enough to know what buttons to press and switches to throw in teaching each of us how to have conscious access to the latent potentials within, to access the Power of Conscious choice and to estimate the consequences  (positive, negative, & neutral) of the choices we select to engage.  It is his innate ability to access and tap each of our latent potentials that sets him apart as a True Spiritual Teacher.  Just as my friend experiences with her students, it is watching the lights come on in his student’s eyes that are among his greatest and most cherished rewards, in my view of him.  

 

Over the years the three of us have grown personally and spiritually.  We have grown as a group and as individuals.  Under the patient, oh so patient and sometimes not so patient, guidance and instruction of Dr. Strickler we have each spent long hours finding, uncovering, exploring then learning to deal with our personal demons, negative sides, strengths and weaknesses.  We are learning to discover knowledge and come closer to truths that are enabling each of us to push past personal barriers of ignorance and denial.  We are growing.  We are learning.

 

Each of us is going through personal transformational processes that are enabling movement ever closer to what Dr. Strickler refers to as "resurrecting from the tomb of the senses".  Each of us is learning through daily application of the tools and skills gifted to us by Dr. Strickler that we are so much more than just a physical body that is chained and grounded to the physical material plane by the limitation of the five physical senses.  We are learning to peer through the veils of misperceptions and imperfect or partial reflections the five physical senses convey to us, for that is all they are capable of.  It is not possible for perfection to be accurately reflected in this physical plane.  We are learning to hone our skills of discernment to gain a more accurate “picture” of what might really be going on in a given situation or the meaning behind spoken words.  We are learning to interpret the feedback given by our physical senses in a more accurate fashion.  We are learning the power and application of the spoken word.

 

For the past fourteen years I have been witnessing and experiencing the effects of the changes taking place in my friend as she grows and throws off old encumbrances and erroneous beliefs about herself and the world about her.

 

Last Saturday night I was honored to be witness to the emergence of this person who has been quietly growing and maturing and undergoing immense transformative processes.  It was her public emergence from the cocoon of silence.  My friend walked up on a stage with all the apparent confidence of a seasoned pro.  The mistress of ceremonies even commented to the crowd, “I can’t believe she’s actually going to say something.”   My friend stood freely, without a podium to hide behind or grab onto for support. She stood straight and tall in front of a freestanding microphone and gave a speech to over two hundred people. 

 

She spoke from the very core of her being.  She was articulate without a hint of the prespeech jitters she had confessed to fighting.  She spoke with a passion about how her spiritual life through studies under Dr. David Strickler and her professional life under the mentoring of Lorna Jean King in the application of groundbreaking methods of teaching autistic children using a sensory integration approach have finally blended together.  I sat entranced by her speech.  It wasn’t just a speech.  It was a statement:  “I am here.  I am Me.  I am.”  In listening to her speech I realized just how far she has come, how much she has grown and how much she has sacrificed over the years in the pursuit of her spiritual life and path. 

 

My friend is many things to many people and goes by many names: as a daughter she is Chris or Christie Jo, as a sister she is Chris or Chrissie, to her nephews she is Aunt Chris, to her children she is Mom, to her grandchild she is Ga Ga AZ, to her co workers she is Christine, to her students she is Miss Christine, to me she has grown from being Chris to Christine, and to the many friends and readers of Spiritual Climate Newsletter she is known as its Editor.  As of April 8th, 2006 she has another title:  First Recipient of the Lorna Jean King Teacher of the Year Award, 2006 awarded by The Children’s Center for Neurodevelopmental Studies in Glendale, Arizona.  Christine, it is with deep admiration and through the unconditional Love gifted to us by The One that I am proud to call you my friend.

 

Wendy

 

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Spiritual Climate Newsletter MARCH 2006 part 2 VALENTINE’S DAY: WHAT HAPPENED TO THE LOVE?  by Wendy Ford

 

Valentine’s Day: What Happened to the Love?

By Wendy Ford

 

Valentine’s Day.  Okay.  Soapbox time, guys.

 

It’s that time of year again.  The print media and airwaves are full of reminders about the big day.  Posters are everywhere, on the sides of buses, on billboards, plastered in the windows of stores, seemingly every ad on television and radio are being glaringly frontal about the best ideas for gifts (complete with the incentive of being able to put it on a credit card).  An idiot could not possibly miss the fact that the big day is just around the corner.  Someone commented on the radio this morning the average person would spend over ninety-seven dollars this year for Valentine’s Day.  Ninety-seven dollars!  Now how many people listening to that are going to be thinking, “He’d better spend that much on me.” Or “God, I’d better do some more shopping.” Or “Valentine’s Day!  Man I forgot all about it.  I’m going to get creamed if I don’t come up with something good.”  But then how many others are thinking, “I don’t take home that much money in a week.” Or “Ninety-seven dollars.  Valentine’s Day gift or gas in the car or food on the table?”

 

How does a piece of jewelry or bouquet of flowers convey esteem or love for another person?  Personally it seems just to be another way to get consumers to buy into the idea that if you don’t spend money on someone you don’t care about them and vice versa.  It’s become pretty widely accepted that if that special someone doesn’t give you something outlandishly extravagant on Valentines Day then perhaps you do not hold significant value for him or her.  Yep.  The word value was intentionally used.  Our consumerism-based society has managed to actually fool many into accepting the false idea that love has a monetary tie and value.

 

Don’t misunderstand.  It is not being said that Valentine’s Day has no meaning.  It can be a day when we just take a moment out of our busy schedules to stop or pause for a moment to honor someone else.  The cooking of a special meal requires personal time and effort be put into the planning, shopping, preparation and presentation.  Taking someone out to dinner requires the sacrifice of personal time.  The making of a card or writing a few corny lines of poetry or writing even the briefest of notes do the same because they are gifts from the heart. Someone had to sacrifice some personal time and energy.  Giving someone the gift of something that will pamper them in some way like a massage or trip to the spa or tanning bed allows that person to be gifted with some personal “me” time of their own, time they might not have otherwise spent on themselves.

 

But how does dashing into a store on the way home from work, grabbing whatever looks nice and throwing it on the seat of the car show how much you care or in how much regard you hold another, never mind that you love them? 

 

When did love start being quantified and equated with amounts of money; the bigger the gift, the flashier the jewelry the greater the love?  Two dozen very expensive roses certainly show deeper care more than one dozen.  Valentines Day isn’t just for lovers anymore, no indeed.  Wee tots in kindergarten and day care exchange valentines with every classmate and teacher.  The exchange of endearments among family members makes sense but is it really necessary to feel compelled to give a card to one’s hairdresser?  Why is it even considered by some to be the equivalent of some heinous crime to do nothing on this day for a mate or partner?  Now combine the idea of the mandatory gifts with the idea that Valentine’s Day is the biggest day for sex in the whole year!  Slinky lingerie, fancy nightwear are the thing for the day.  Sex means love after all, right? 

 

Marketers have done one heck of a job at brainwashing this society.  There are Valentine Day sales on everything from washers and dryers to cars to furniture.  The obligatory jewelry, stationary and candy markets have ingrained themselves so deeply that the first picture coming to mind for many when Valentine’s Day is mentioned is a candy filled cardboard heart and bouquet of flowers lying next to the well recognized jewelers box all tied up with a fancy ribbon and lace. Mandatory gifts are not truly gifts.  They are merely another way for one to get what one wants by paying another for services rendered.  From a different perspective they could be looked at as cleverly disguised forms of blackmail.  

 

In one explanation about the origins of Valentines Day is pointed to being a day lovers wrote notes to each other, not a day that elaborate gifts were exchanged.

 

No price can be put on that feeling in your heart when a young child places its hand in yours in complete and utter trust.  No value can be put on the look on a child’s face as it hands a cracked and squished homemade macaroni heart to its mother.  No price can be put on the act of a mate enfolding the other in an embrace that without words says, “Thanks for being there”.  No act of true and genuine human kindness comes with a price tag.  The gifts of personal time, energy and emotion have no price or value to the recipient.

 

True unconditional Love cannot be bought and sold.  It doesn’t have a monetary price or value placed on it.  It costs nothing to receive and costs nothing to give.  Humanity was created by the One out of Love.  There was no monetary value or cost put to it.  True unconditional Love can’t be manufactured or engineered into objects with a price tag.  No matter what the marketers want us to believe it can’t be done.

 

This Valentine’s Day consider giving something from the very symbol of the day: your heart.  Spend some time with your family or partner.  Make a phone call to someone you haven’t spoken with for too long a time.  Maybe you could perform some act of genuine human kindness like really noticing and looking at and smiling at the lady who sells you your morning coffee every day, or taking the time to smile at the clerk who sells you subway tokens, or giving your seat on the bus to a tired mother on her way to her second job.  Maybe you could promise, and follow through with, the gift of some time to a soup kitchen, local Red Cross or school.

 

Those are gifts from the heart, no strings attached — given freely and without expectation of receiving something in return.  It has nothing to do with the size of pockets or bank accounts or buildings.  The remarkable and amazing thing about all of this is you will get something in return.  It just can’t be measured or have a value placed on it.  The only thing Love requires is that it be shared.  Without being shared, Love withers and dies.  Love begets Love.  Love is what that funny feeling is in your chest when your heart swells just a little in response to the receipt of Love.  It may be an unfamiliar feeling to some.  But the really cool thing is you can get really high on it!  And the more you give, the more your get, and the more you get the better you feel.  In this one instance “acquisition” is not a dirty word.  Maybe one day you’ll look in the mirror and you’ll see a little glimmer of it being reflected in your eyes.  Don’t turn away.  It’s just Love and Life winking back at you.

 

Happy Valentine’s Day.

 

Wendy Ford

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