Dark

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The darkness runs deep in every human soul. Not evil, but darkness, which is altogether different. It is hard to put this into words, but I shall see what unfolds in this note. My darkest days were the direct result of memories of the highest light. That seven-year-old child gone forever, snatched away by the hand of a childhood cancer. Not only that, my 35 year-old self was gone as well. What to do but enter what no one wants to enter? The absence of light lasted a long time. The darkness, not velvet but jagged and fierce, came at me like a demon. It bared its teeth as I dared to walk through the Girl’s Department at Macy’s. “You cannot buy anything here,” it growled menacingly. And at night I would cry as quietly as I could. Only two men left in my household. My husband was stoic; so was our eleven-year-old son. The darkness had all three of us.

I yearned for another baby daughter, a new start might be my only hope. At forty I conceived again but miscarried before the third month. It was ignored. Everyone was relieved. I marched on. Time marched on. Grief was my sole companion.

Now I write about the light but only because I was tutored by the darkness. I knew I would not succumb, would not become a junkie or a mental patient or even a divorcee. I would stay the course, looking for God, looking for what could save me.

Even today darkness informs what I write. Light without shadow is too glaring and goody-two-shoed for one such as myself. I have put on the whole armor of God and stood in defiance of the darkness that drew my family into an ever tighter circle. First four, then three, now two.

I would like to hold each of you suffering losses in the hollow of my hand for I know what you go through in the course of an ordinary day. And especially on holidays. But about nine months ago, a shaman peeled my grief away to a considerable degree. I was ready or it would not have worked. I was ready to rejoin the company of the living.

I hope you are happy I made it. I hope you like what I write. It came with a price and it saved my life, more than likely.

Vicki Woodyard

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Love Is Hidden

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One book does not a teaching make.
Love is here but not to take.
I am love and I live on
still shining down upon the lawn
where I sat with sun and cat
never doubting I was that.

I wrote to you and
you were true to life and
true to me and so our book
is like a tree.

Its leaves are turning
and the burning fires of love
consume all that’s left
within the room of life and death
and love is hidden in each breath.

Vicki Woodyard

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Bigger Than The Sky, Vicki’s new book

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The other day when I asked Facebook Friends to buy a copy of Bigger Than The Sky, I feel I didn’t thank the ones who stood behind me all the way. Those that stepped right up and ordered a copy. Those that have loved and lost just as I have. Those that tire of phoned-in books written by people that claim enlightenment when there is no discernible proof that they are. I wouldn’t know enlightenment if it bit me in the asp. I just aspire to it like everyone else. I mean, who wouldn’t want to say they are one with everything and therefore capable of teaching others?

But Peter said in no uncertain terms that those claiming enlightenment did him no good at all. And I believed him. Because they had not helped me either. So we exchanged small talk that was life-changing for me. I don’t think it was for him, although a friend of mine who sees spirits said that Peter got as much out of the friendship as I did.

He has been gone a long time but everything he said stands the test of time. The things I write are written on the wind (that term has been used before….) I babble on and on about my inner and outer life as if it mattered. Someone took offense at how I wrote, saying it was all about me. Well, yes, it is. That is the only person I know much about. And I must say I don’t have a good handle on myself at all. I just seem to write about how things are going internally.

I hope to keep writing thousands of more notes. I am well over 2000 already. I think I am getting better just because I keep my hand in. My heart is slow to learn its lessons so I go over the same ground time and time again.

Many of you have to forgive me for being terse, caustic and on the other hand, overly sentimental. Scorpios sting and fly like eagles in the same lifetime. You never know what is going on with them. I do know that I tell it like it is and have a clear idea that what I write is totally personal. I don’t want anyone hanging around that isn’t in my corner, either. So to those of you who are, I love and appreciate you. We have a history together in one way or another. The only thing is that given my age, I tend to forget what it is! Ha ha ha ha ha.

Love,
Vicki

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A Rose in Snow

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Never let your own soul knowing die.~ Vicki Woodyard

The well within can run quite dry.
A suspicious look, a doubting eye.
And suddenly we have a cry.
But this moisture cannot fill the well.
Something’s wrong but who
can tell?

We cloud it over with a smile,
and yet we feel it all the while.
The doubt caused by another man
who seems to have a different plan.

Your inner compass, always true,
now makes you doubt that you can do
the things that feel so right until
this sudden inner blight.

Never doubt your own north star.
Always follow who you are.
Never follow doubt and pain
until you’re sure of home again.

Home is where your own soul blooms
because you always give it room.
This rose, this blossom in the snow,
is the only sacred way to go.

Vicki Woodyard

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Bigger Than The Sky: A Radical Awakening

Dear Readers,

If you haven’t ordered a copy of Bigger Than The Sky yet, please do. It has 26 5-star reviews on amazon.

Love,
Vicki Woodyard

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The Bus

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Back in the nineties, after Vernon Howard had been dead for a few years (he died in 1992), I met a mystic living outside of Atlanta. Her name was Shelley Smith and I have since lost touch with her. She said her guides were two snakes (kundalini) and she had a very strong Indian teacher who was quite old.

She had written a very hard-to-read little book called Mother Light and Bob saw that she was going to be signing copies at the now-defunct Oxford Book Store. I decided not to go, but at the last minute, I grabbed my purse and went with him.

She was sitting there alone with a stack of her books. Beautiful and blond, she was also gracious. We sat and talked with her and suddenly she turned and said to me, “You better be at the bus stop or it’s going to go on without you!”

I said, “How did you know about the bus stop?” For Vernon Howard’s last talk had been about getting on the bus and asking the driver to take you back home. “I didn’t,” she said. “But last night I had the vision of a silver bus with eyes all over it and heard those words.”

I was shaken and found myself taking her up on her offer to visit at her home. So one afternoon Bob and I took the drive outside of town to see her. It was lovely; she was a horsewoman and had a beautiful white horse. Her husband was not on the path and left us alone to visit.

I asked her more about the bus and she said it was absolutely safe. That was how it felt to her. Completely protected. Little did I know that Bob would have his cancer to deal with. She told me that day that he loved me very, very much. That she could feel it and wished her husband had such devotion.

We talked on the phone now and again and she and her husband visited once. And then they moved out of state and we lost touch. By then Bob had died. She called me up one time when I was going through the early days of my sorrow about his diagnosis. I could hardly speak I was so lost in grief. “This is your test,” she said. “It’s about life and death.” And it sure was.

Once she called and I told her I had had a dream about Vernon. In it, I said, I put my hands up to his and he read me a “charge.” She said, “Hold on a minute.” And the phone went silent. When she came back, she said that as I said those words, she felt nauseous and dizzy and wanted to throw the phone across the room it got so hot.” And I said, “Why?” and she said “The power coming through the line was too much for me.”

And so that is how Vernon Howard rolled and I with him. And I know nothing but to keep on keeping on. She told me once to keep digging in the spot where his teachings were, rather than to follow anyone else. They have borne fruit for me and countless others. The teachings are not easy for they demand isolation from society for along time, perhaps forever. But peace is the fruitage and peace is the supply.

Vicki Woodyard

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The Great Sorrow

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No one should minimize the great sorrow that living in this world entails sooner or later. You might be able to escape it at first if you are lucky, but some are initiated into it in the womb. I feel there has been too much made of happiness in the nondual teachings. As if the mind could arrange for the heart not to suffer if it just woke up. Ah, yes, nondualists get off on the phrase “waking up.” For them it is enough to say that they had an experience of being one with everything. I have been one with a lot of things that didn’t make me happy. The Medicine Room at St. Jude’s comes to mind. My little girl was a radiantly happy human being but not when she heard her name called to go there. For she would have to sit for hours with an I.V. drip of toxicity in her young veins. I, as her mother, was initiated into deep sorrow at St. Jude’s. As the shrink there told me, “This breaks weak people and makes strong people weak.” Yeah. Amen to that.

That was a lifetime ago. Later my husband would take his turn in the chemo room. But I had made a bit of progress. I was falling apart with grief but I had a certain core understanding that gave me a scaffolding to hang my sorrow on. I would spend all day with Bob in the chemo room, occasionally saying things silently like, “There is only the Self. There is only the Self.” And the Self that was Vicki cried out in exhaustion but she knew that something higher would see her through.

So when Peter and I began our online friendship, Bob and I led the same life during the day but in the evening I was becoming a writer. Peter was a vital part of that, as was my late friend John Logan. It was John who was able to see Bob rise directly into the light at the time of his death. It was John who told me after Bob’s death to get rid of all the medical paraphernalia I had in the house and reclaim the energy as my own. John had had throat cancer but ultimately died of a stroke. But like Peter, he fed me when the world could not.

Any teaching that doesn’t feed you when you are at your weakest is suspect. I avoid dry discourses like the plague. I tend to flower when getting lots of rest and silence. It is in that space that I can practice surrender. Yes, surrender has to be practiced. It is rare that anyone can make a final one.

I have no idea where I am on the path because ideas are not where it is located. More and more I feel myself entering a place of conscious sorrow for humanity. This is an appropriate reaction in this day and age; actually it has always been. Joy may come in the morning, but conscious sorrow is where you till the earth and water it with your tears and dedication to the great mystery. Now and then there is a shift into light and gratitude is the immediate response. The path takes care of the walkers; that is all we need to know. We need not try harder to make progress; it is enough to be weak and let God be our strength. And so be it and so it is.

Vicki Woodyard

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Deep Rest and an invitation to order Bigger Than The Sky

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I have been working at my craft for a long time. Through the dark night of the soul I wrote. Through the desolation and the isolation, through the guilt, self-judgement and remorse, I wrote on. I don’t know how these things work. I begin to study esoteric spirituality, the messages hidden in plain sight but overlooked by the ego. When my husband got ill, I begin to write. The words from the faucet were hot and scalding, as were my tears. It never felt anything but good, though, to get my emotions down on the screen.

Now Bigger Than The Sky is out and I am really happy with how it turned out. Every word counts. Every emotion registers. I did my darnedest to be true to what I was unfolding within me. It seems the book is about peace of the everlasting variety. But in the moments that Peter fell, I am sure it hurt because he was, after all, in a physical body. He reported on the blinding pain of migraines yet he never dwelled on any one pain. Mostly he was birthing joy. I know he is smiling down as I continue to write. Perhaps he is even holding my hand.

The life of a writer, this one anyway, is extremely pared down. Take this morning. I ate a bowl of cereal and drank a cup of chai. Then I watered my plants and took a bath. Now I am right back where I belong. You can find me here most anytime, just writing words as they arise. I am learning to live my life without taking too much thought about it. I have lovely books on my shelves but I don’t read a lot. Now and again I take one down and open it to a random page. Or I read something online. But truly it is not about the words. The ones I write are meant to strike quickly to the heart; that is how I roll.

Summer is on the doorstep and that is an invitation to deep rest. Last year I was editing Bigger Than The Sky and felt a continual sense of worry over getting it just right. And for the most part, I did. Catherine Noyce of Non-Duality Press was a great help to me. She considered the book to be a very special one and it is, indeed. If you haven’t read it, put it on your list. I may or may not write a fourth one.

Order Bigger Than The Sky here.

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Because of Thee

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I saw you in the tidal wave
reaching out to me.
I wondered if a death would happen
on a sunny sea.

I wondered if I’d die that day,
if I would plummet like a rock.
Nothing like it came to pass
and it rather seemed a shock.

Nothing happened in the wave
the moment timeless grew.
I thought of heaven, thought of hell
and how both were part of you.

The sun and water threatened me
and the fear begin to wane.
But nothing like it came to pass
so I floated timeless like a pane
of glass upon a windless sea.
And if the wave should drown me
it would be because of Thee.

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A Waking Dream

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I was walking up the rather steep hill at the top of our street this evening. Ahead of me a young woman was pushing a stroller. Her little girl was running beside her and she had a dachshund on a leash. As I walked slower up the hill, the little girl had run up to the top of a brick wall. She saw me and begin to wave so I waved back.

Her mother put the dog in the stroller and as I walked up to her, I said hello and we begin to chat. The little girl, whose name turned out to be Josie, begin to pick clover and hand the blossoms to me. I asked her mother how old she was and she said she’d be four in July. I thought of my daughter, who had been diagnosed with cancer right before her fourth birthday so long ago. On impulse I told her mother about my daughter.

Turns out she works for a children’s medical center and so was quite familiar with childhood cancers. Her mother had been diagnosed with breast cancer about 15 years ago and that is how she became interested in working with cancer patients.

While little Josie ran around the yard gathering clover for me, I told her that I had become a writer after losing my child and husband and that I might have to write an essay about meeting her when I got home.

I told her about Peter in Bigger Than The Sky and she said it was really hard to remember to stay in the moment when you were raising children. She has a six-month old baby boy, too. I shared with her what Leonard Cohen says about everyone living on the front line of their own life. She nodded in understanding.

I felt like I was meant to encounter the child at play this evening. Such a lovely little thing she is. A mane of light hair and a heart-shaped face, so happy to be outdoors on a May evening.

May all beings be happy. May all beings be at peace. I don’t remember the rest of the vow, but I will post the photo of my buddha with the clover she brought me.

Love,
Vicki

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