The string loose between
here and the other world.
A tug from the other end
would be heaven.

Since you have gone,
vanished from my sight,
No more at home,
no more delight.

I walk the earth
am most alone when
thinking of you
flesh and bone.

Heart on heart
no more can be,
More of heaven,
less of thee.

Love no longer pulling taut,
I wander earth as astronaut.
Breathing air that lets me float
on waves of love I never sought.

Vicki Woodyard

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This Planetary Playground

Every day we have to reset our intention to remember ourselves. That we are love incarnate and have forgotten. Once we remember that, the battle has just begun. For as we witness our inner condition, there are lots of thoughts that have nothing to do with love. They are fear-based hangovers from many lifetimes. All we do is witness them, though.

At night I have trouble going to sleep and staying asleep. That is a battle in itself. And my dreams are generally frustrating ones. I often get up before light and have breakfast and return to bed. Then I dream some more and wake up more rested.

The silence is here more and more. I am immersed in it for longer periods of time. It informs me of eternity by its presence. The noisiness of thought is learning to surrender to this silence, although it is easily lost.

So many people online are not quite sure what is going on. Are there real friends in Facebook Land? I don’t think so. I think of them as reflections of the One, though. I enjoy reaching out and sharing with them what my journey is like. For I began in sorrow back in 2001 and wrote my way back into peace.

The sorrow will always run in the background and it gives my work a depth and seasoning that I do not resist. For others may be meeting it for the first time and need to acknowledge it. Sorrow and suffering mean you have a heart. Only sociopaths escape these emotions.

We must stop believing that nothing can be done, for love is doing it all. What we have to do is let go. We have to stop believing we are our stupid thoughts. They are leftovers from the back of the fridge that are no longer nourishing. Dump ‘em in the trash and breathe the aroma of awareness.

The intention to return to love is always honored even if you don’t feel like it the moment you choose it. We are all on a seesaw in this planetary playground. Some of us are up and others are down. We must be kind to ourselves, take naps and snacks and lots of timeouts to regroup.


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Empty Chair Teachings

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I slept poorly last night. Sometime before dawn I woke up to odd sounds. I lay there listening for a few minutes, then got up to ask Rob if he heard them. “They’re coming from outside,” he said in answer to my question about the source. I thought it might be from the heating vent. “It sounds like a big truck doing some sort of work,” he went on.

I got back into bed but it was hot in the bedroom and the noises continued for a long time. I was wide awake. I remembered dream fragments about healing people, about cleaning out my part of a vegetable drawer and the more I took out, the more appeared. So I gave them to the woman with the bin next to mine. I don’t know where we were.

This morning I had a bowl of Cheerios and a cup of tea. Then I read the paper and washed my hair. Of course I worked Facebook in first thing. It is always first thing. Our late friend Jeff Belyea admitted looking at Facebook before he began his day. And then one day he made his last post. It was a poem called “Bird of Paradise.” And then he walked into another room. A room of light, a room of eternity. And we all miss him ever day.

We are all doing time here, as someone said. No one actually knows anything about what is in the next room. I fancy my little girl and husband are there waiting for me to come home. For this world is not my permanent home. How could it be? Love does not know anything but itself and on this side of the veil, hatred makes its presence known. So Jesus had to remind us that His kingdom was not here but in heaven.

My friend Peter found his ego falling away and was forever grateful. After that he didn’t mind his crippled body for he had healed his soul. Now I walk through my days mostly alone and definitely not knowing anything. I often used to try and pry into the next world but it is under lock and key.

Here we never feel quite safe or properly loved. Losses loom large; in fact letting go is our primary job and no one teaches us how to do it properly. So we have spiritual teachers that give us pointers. Death itself is the greatest pointer. It is not the enemy but the awakening into eternity. It demands respect and awe. We fear and tremble in its face for we are life full-on and living the mystery of the opposites.

No one has all of the answers or even all of the questions. No one can ever love too much or become too wise. We must turn away from the mind and venture into the garden of the soul. There find Jeff and Peter and all of the beloved figures that left too soon. Smiling at us, they want us to do only one thing….learn to love ourselves while in these fragile temporary human incarnations. Anything else is just a diversion.

Vicki Woodyard

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Enlightenment, The Heady Elixir that Everyone Seeks

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There was a bit of a discussion about enlightenment on my Facebook Page today. I do believe the word “enlightenment” is dispensed way too often by people that have no idea of what they are talking about.

Everyone moves up and down in their level of consciousness. At one point we may do something considered to be enlightened, but that does not make us an enlightened person. Anyone who thinks so should read up on the subject a bit.

Idols fall because they have feet of clay. People behind pulpits are more apt to fall than ordinary Joes or Janes. It’s a matter of power. Power is sexy and therefore people want it. They also want their gurus to be perfect so that they can brag about them.

Anytime you brag about a guru, be prepared for trouble. That is why Vernon Howard said shocking things in all the talks he gave. He wanted to let people know if they tried to adore him, they would regret it.

Online gurus are a distinct breed of people. They are worshipped in pixels only. So anyone and everyone claims to have had an enlightenment experience. I don’t believe them and neither should you.

This is not written to be provocative but factual. I have been reading accounts of enlightenment online for years and I take every one of them with a grain of salt.

I have stood by the grave of a seven-year-old who some could have called enlightened. Instead they called her brave and loving. All these many years later I still study the principles of enlightenment, whatever shape or form they take. No human being can embody all of them.

Sorrow is a real thing. The death of a child never fades from a parent’s memory. I did not seek out a teacher; I was led to him. Probably because I was ready to be healed. Not that I was until last year. Then a shaman stood over my body while I cried for my daughter and husband. All he did was witness the tears and wipe them away. I did not realize he had healed me until weeks later

What do these last two paragraphs have to do with the preceding ones? I have no idea except they tumbled forth from my two hands. I believe in love and redemption and healing. But they do not come from man or woman. Enlightenment is a cheap thrill if you ask me. I look at people like Deepak Chopra and laugh. He has to do his thing, of course. But I haven’t seen anything to show me that he has developed any more of a soul than anyone else.

I must stop writing now before I say more things I might regret. Some of you will nod your heads in agreement. Others will not. I don’t care. I am just saying how I feel. If you seek enlightenment you will never find it. Maybe it finds a few people who are too humble to speak of it. That I don’t know

Vicki Woodyard

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This is the time of year when human beings are the most vulnerable. The shortened days, the severe cold weather, the bugs that circulate as you mingle with others. I feel as if nothing offers me any security or consolation. This is the season to let go and let God.

I have ordered a couple of books online and both seemed to be extraordinarily unhelpful. You can have a lovely book cover with nothing inside that speaks to you. The truth is rarely contained within anything but the soul and the soul is shivering now. Quivering with longing and fear of failure. Running out of answers, it turns to food. And food never fills the bill.

Inside the house I pace around. A tiger in its cage. A human being with no answers. The silence pounds against me as I try to find answers. They have disappeared like the sun.

More cold wet weather is on the way. My brother emails that he is not doing very well after his open heart surgery. I am helpless in that, too. Loved ones are frail and nothing withstands everything. My heart is restless in the rib cage.

We are all in this human dilemma together. Does Donald Trump’s bravado mean anything? No, indeed. Human bravado is always a false front. But Hillary has no answers either. I am and never have been a political animal. But times are hard and the stock market is falling and our country is under siege.

What do you do when answers are not forthcoming for healing people or nations? You wring your hands and lie in bed wide awake. You remember better times and tears fall onto the pillow. Childhood seems like something you would like to return to, but that is not an option.

I write almost daily, pound out essays not written by me but by higher hands. But sometimes January just proves to be too much. At times like these, we tie a knot and hang on. It is just at times like these that bromides do no good and the truth of impermanence looms large. May we all find shelter in the arms of love, even if it is just our own lonely pair of hands clasped to our breasts.

Kindness to oneself is harder to come by now, but self-care and self-kindness never hurt anyone. Then if we succeed in being gentle with ourselves, we can move on to being gentle to others. I will wind this up now and go watch a sitcom. Laughter helps to offset the very real sorrow in this world. Smiles are even better. So take care of yourself. You deserve it.


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The Trap Springs Shut

The Work, esoteric Christianity, is what sustains me as I plod along the darkened corridor of winter. There is so little light, either outwardly or inwardly. I wash my hair and it refuses to do anything but stand on end when it is dry. Everything is chapped and nothing tempts me to action. I am a slug stuck in neutral.

But I pick up a volume of Nicoll’s Commentaries in hopes of lifting myself above the doldrums of my consciousness. Always, always I read the same thing. Wake up. See yourself as you actually are. And that is the tonic that I need.

No need to fight back against the enemy, which is always within. No cause to dwell on what is owed you or what you owe others. As Vernon Howard said, all we owe others is our own awakening. Until then we are quite useless.

The game is rigged; the house always wins. So it is safe to walk away from the tyranny of ambition. Let others steal your thunder. Let them be crowned with laurels while you eat crow. Everything is possible for the surrendered man or woman.

So does this esoteric knowledge help? It only helps the surrendered parts of yourself. Call them together and see if they are amenable to lying down and playing dead, at least for a day. Maybe that will give you a chance to reorganize your life into something worth living.

No, you can’t organize it, but something higher now has a chance to step in and work miracles not in your name but in His. You can’t win over the world and you don’t have to win over God. The trap has sprung shut. Lie there and see who your true rescuer is.

Vicki Woodyard

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The Core Knowing

We each have a core knowing about the truth. And sadly, we are educated out of it as soon as we are born. Intuition, our God-given right, is squelched and replaced by “grownups” who know what is good for us.

As a tiny child, I remember getting homesick in the middle of the night at a sleepover and wanting to go home. I had kind parents that picked me up and honored my feelings of homesickness. I look back over my life now and fall in love with that tiny child that, even then, knew where she wanted to be. We are all homesick for truth.

Once we are grownups and just as wrong-headed as they are, we are in on the con game. We gladly give up our intuition in favor of social rules and regulations. We sit through hours of church when, like Emily Dickinson, we would prefer being in nature’s company.

Our minds are bored silly when they are crammed with useless rote knowledge we will never use. We never ever regain our lost innocence, but we can rebel against the prison that society keeps us in.

Esoteric education is about returning to the Self that is eternal and cosmic. Yes, we are the stars we look up at. We are the prairies and the seas. We are inescapably free and wear our chains unknowingly.My inner path has never let me down. It is only when I trust something outside of it that I get into trouble.

My core knowing is what leads me home. Nothing else can or ever will. It is the rock on which we all stand and society would discourage us from relying on it. No group of people is ever qualified to teach the soul of man what to do or be. If you resonate with this, you are at least halfway out of the jungle called society. Who ever said we were in need of mental knowledge to know ourselves was totally full of it. Sheesh! I’m just sayin’. Follow your heart. It is the only thing that knows.

Vicki Woodyard

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We bow our heads….

We bow our heads because thoughts become too heavy. Simple as that. I sit at the kitchen table feeling the weight of the world in my head. I would surrender but thinking remains seductive. As if the next thought will arrive with a payload.

In this world, duality holds sway and the body is a reflection of that. What lies ahead for me? I think gloomily. What should I do with myself today? Who have I loved this lifetime? Thoughts come at us from outside, sometimes being so painful they win. It is then that we are close to surrender. But surrender is just another thought.

Surrender is a tempting word, but how often have you been able to do it? I end up knuckling under to the desire of the moment, but that is hardly surrender in the saintly sense. I surrendered to boredom yesterday, filling the hours with sweets and TV.

Thinking takes us nowhere. Never has. Never will. Oh, we are taught logically as we move through our educations, never realizing that logic is enmeshed in the opposites, as are we. The first step on the inner way is to see that we are doomed as we presently are. No one is coming to save us.

No matter how many platitudes are posted online, human sorrows will cut deeper. There is simply no way out except through death. And we as human beings are totally resistant to that idea. We never dream that death and birth go together and that as we die, we live again in a higher form. Oh, Jesus said that again and again, but it has yet to sink in.

This is paragraph number six, but who is counting? 99 bottles of beer on the wall, 99 bottles of beer, as the old song goes. But the counting is insane and the cost is your life. What will it take to leave the herd and go off alone with your sorrow?

I cannot say that the Christ has ever come to me as I sit in darkness, but I have said “Let there be light. Help me.” And I am still here. And now and then it feels okay, just okay. Not joyous, not blissful, but a little better than the hells I have known. Someone is looking out for me as I slog through the battlefield of the mind. One day a full surrender will be made, but not by me. I will go home in good company, in the company of the One who sent me here.

This essay is a bunch of paragraphs that seem to be negative, but are they really? Isn’t truth the path to goodness? You tell me. I am no teacher and you are no student. We are in this together and alone. Perhaps the third force will allow us to see that we can never be anything but the One.

Vicki Woodyard

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The Mystery Remains

Nothing is ever resolved in the life of the ego. It is just one damned thing after another. I don’t care how many ebullient young teachers are yelling at me to be joyful, it ain’t gonna work.

Joy and sorrow are deeply intertwined for a reason; we live on the plane of the opposites. You take what you want and pay for it. God is not involved at all on this level. He is way above the drama unfolding daily on planet earth.

As fate would have it, I drew a card that said, “You will meet a tough teacher.” And Vernon Howard proceeded to rip my inner life to shreds and I loved every minute of it. He was a master at unmasking the ego and making a soul.

He was ravaged by cancer, as was his secretary, to whom I was deeply connected. After she passed, I remember thinking that she would not be back. She, who had modeled humility for me, was utterly gone and I was alone.

After my husband died, I was even more deeply alone. Joy is not something I put much stock in. Joy and pain entwined, yes. I know that. I know that.

Give me honesty any day if I have the choice between it and earthly joy. Give me a teacher that gets the job done; not some young person that has not been tried in the fire and come out made of pure love.

This is a tough place to raise kids, this planet. All of the platitudes on earth will not help anyone grow an inch. Facebook is eerily unreal with all of its beautiful photos and glorious posts. Yet people continue to sicken on fake food, come what may. Only the real will do for some of us.

I stand alone and that is how God wants it. Every one goes alone to the Alone. It is not an easy trip. Tests at every turn. But the law is to be risen above; the triumph happens when people are sleeping. It is then that the stone is rolled away. The mystery remains intact. Amen and so be it.

Vicki Woodyard

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The Blahs

It is a Tuesday in January and a bitter cold one at that. I am recuperating from spasms in my neck and back and a bit of a stomach upset. After days in the house, I venture forth to Macy’s. Once there, I look through the sales racks and find nothing I want to buy.

Back home, I fix a chicken sandwich for lunch. It did me good to get out for an hour or so. And now I am back here at ground zero, where my life seems to keep happening in the only way it can. And “happen” is the key word in everyone’s life.

In January I become the schlub of all schlubs. Nothing to recommend me. I look in the mirror at Macy’s. My makeup has been put on evenly, something I never see in the dark bathroom at home. My Lands End pants are way too long and pool over the tops of my sneakers. Not only am I not remotely spiritual, I look awful. So now I have this awesome triad going. An unaspiring heart, an upset stomach and a body that clearly has room for improvement. That is January in a nutshell for most of us.

And yet I don’t have to be overly concerned about any of it, for this, too, shall pass. My life will unfold as planned. Just when I think I am down for the count, something magical will happen to remind me that life is worth living. Those events are clearly out of my control and that is what makes them so delicious. For my plans never work out very well and my emotional strategies for safety routinely backfire.

How shall I wind this up? I could tell you that despite what I think of myself, God loves me just as I am. But maybe He doesn’t. Who knows, really? Maybe He was standing behind me in the dressing room while I tried on those distressing disguises and urged me to leave the store naked and afraid. Who knows anything, really?

As of now, I have spent about ten minutes pounding this note out. I have to go now and mend Jacob’s ladder (it’s missing a rung), and drive carpool to nowhere. There are no good radio stations left in town, so I will probably have to endure the silence along the way. Who knows, maybe that is just what I need.

Vicki Woodyard

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