The Enlightenment Games

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I am not sure where that old expression “lays an egg” comes from. I have always taken it to mean that something or other failed, was a dud, etc.

Online nonduality laid an egg with me sometime ago and it wasn’t golden. I realized, as the old story goes, that it wasn’t alive online and especially dead on nonduality forums. And they were proliferous. A bully, a troll and a newbie walked into a nonduality forum. That isn’t a joke.

So first off, I realized that people weren’t interested in anything but awakening from the dream so they could brag about it. There were official lists of people who were “realized.” We all know about the guru rating service. Swami Z thought it was a guru dating service! He knew better than to hang out with people who were seeking enlightenment.

These days we have Facebook and you can choose to NOT “discuss it among yourselves.” I am for that option wholeheartedly. The mind games people looking for enlightenment play are startlingly boring. A “This is where I came in” type of boredom.

Seekers also want the person waking them up to be in the spotlight. If you can drop the name of a famous guru, it makes you feel smarter than the next seeker. And the Enlightenment Games go on. And on and on and on.

Is this a rant yet? Because I want it to be.

Vicki Woodyard

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Vintage Vicki

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The Oft-Broken Heart

I live in an oft-broken heart. I try my best to get around in it. There are jagged edges and sudden drop-offs that never cease to shock me. I forget that I need to re-sod some of the grass and pull the overgrown periwinkles. Ah, but I have a lot to do.

Every time I try to reinsulate my heart, the rains break through the roof again. I have thought of putting a cow up there and sodding the whole thing for her to eat—just like in a fairy-tale. Maybe I could throw the beans of old belongings out the window and have them grow into a wondrous vine.

Maybe your heart is just like mine—a broken-down old wreck of a place that used to be a palace. There are reminders of its glory days and its halcyon heights. I sometimes wind around the lane of long-lost loves and get strong whiffs of lavender. The Queen Anne’s Lace grows idly by the byroads of my heart these days and the seed pods are waving gently everywhere I look.

It’s not that this heart of mine has seen better days; it is stronger than ever in many ways. It knows its own worth now and how hard it has beat with every loving effort to transcend itself. I bow low to my heart; I really do. But consider how it needs to be loved by angels and by passers-by. Maybe you will be the one today to wish me well. I can meet you by the shady post where the ferns grow wild. Don’t be afraid.

Vicki Woodyard
Circa 2000

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Is God an Alpha Male?

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God is presented to us as an alpha male. “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” And we take the bait. After all, we are His sheep. But sheep can only eat bait for so long. All of a sudden a phrase comes to mind, “He maketh me to lie down in green pastures.” Ah, that’s more like it. A good nap in the sun with a cool drink of water whenever I need it.

But life is not all beer and skittles. Our minds soon see to it that we want freedom from ourselves. My teacher, Vernon Howard, said that there is no escape via the mind. We, as students, heard the words but didn’t have the strength to quit trying to set ourselves free.

“And ye shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.” Oh, I am not supposed to be in charge of my own freedom. Cool.” That doesn’t work either. Something is wrong and God, the alpha male, has never made an appearance. Where is He!

Advaita is an alpha male teaching and it never did much for me. At heart I am more of a Sufi, one that is a receiver of God. The feminine approach seems to work better for me. Rumi and Hafiz are my kind of guys. Mystical with a constant sense of wonder and amusement. I can dig it.

Alpha males run the discussions and forums online. They want results and they want to be in charge of telling you how to get them. They want you to roll over and show them your belly. Mine is way too tender for that.

This is a funky essay. Nothing new under the sun except what happens when you don’t wear sunscreen. Stay out of the direct sunlight. Interesting things grow in the deep shade of your humanity.

Vicki Woodyard

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The Precious Jewel of Who You Really Are

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When Theo returned to our city in March, I didn’t hear about it. But in August, by some kind twist of fate, a friend of mine told me he was coming to town that week. I quickly booked an hour of energetic healing with him. I tucked a copy of Bigger Than The Sky into my purse. I also took the rock I had picked up on Agata’s front porch. Her last words to me were “You can put the memories of this day into the rock.” Six months later she would be dead.

So there I was at the healing art center, watching Theo walk toward me. He ushered me into the room he was using and we exchanged greetings. I showed him the rock and asked him to bless it. He took it into his hands, letting his vibration enter it and then at some point returned it to me.

“How is your book?” he asked. I was surprised that he remembered; it had been a year since I saw him last. I had taken a copy of the cover to him and asked him to bless it, which he did. Now I drew my copy of the book out of my purse and asked him to bless it. You get the idea; I like the idea of holy men blessing things that are important to me.

“It isn’t selling,” I told him. “People that find it love it, but it is lost on amazon.”

“Why do you think that is?” he asked.

“Because it isn’t sexy,” I ventured. He laughed heartily. Then he said that it felt beautiful in his hands. “I know from holding it” he said, “that there are beautiful things inside.”

He then acted out a little scene where someone is in a bookshop looking for something, but they are not sure what. “They might go through rows of books, feeling they haven’t seen anything they are drawn to, and then suddenly, they find it!”

“Figure out in a sentence or two what this book is about,” he said. “The right people will find it.”

That was last week. His words are simple but they cut right to the chase. I just have to figure out what this book is about.

I feel it is about the last lesson; the one I have yet to learn. On impulse, I asked Theo if he would like it if I left my copy of the book with him. “Oh, yes,” he said, seemingly delighted. “I will read it. Thank you.”

In the foyer my son was waiting. I asked Theo if he minded posing for a photo with me and he graciously did. He even suggested we get a second one, “just to be sure.”

Yesterday I wrote something that solved a problem I had been carrying with me forever. It goes something like this. “Why don’t my books sell?” I would check and recheck amazon only to find no sales again today or the next day.

Theo was showing me that people must be led to things of value for them. They must discover them. That the reward is internal, not external. I was searching for sales and even if I found them, the outer reward would destroy my inner reward.

That is the genius of truth. It must be discovered. It is the ruby hidden in our own bundle. Perhaps that is what Peter discovered. After losing all he had in the outer world, he found the precious jewel of who he really was. And Theo is helping me to continue the lesson.

Vicki Woodyard

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The Loss of a Child

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The people that understand me the most have lost children. We are the forgotten mothers, the Typhoid Marys for mothers of healthy children. They do not know what to do with us. We do not know what to do with us, either. We have tried to be brave, to find God, to start over, to make amends for some seeming mistakes we made. Nothing works. The child is gone and you remain. Not only that, the siblings continue to suffer as well. The death of a child is the loss of hope in a normal life.

Most of the time we carry our sorrow well. I have learned how to honor my introversion, to be true to my desire to live the simplest possible life, to keep rebirthing myself through writing. But at all times and in all weather, the hint of death remains in the air. At the change of each season, we somehow remember the lost child, the hole in our lives caused by the death. The leaves tremble and fall. The snows arrive. The tulips arrive. The August sun sizzles. The sorrow bears witness.

I write this because it actually gives hope to bereaved parents when someone confirms how they feel. They are sick and tired of denying the life of their child. They are proud of how they cope with loss on a daily basis. They are stuck with a life they did not choose.

I cling to my wholeness in the midst of this sorrow. I surround myself with the Christ light within. I say no a lot. I have earned the privilege. I have finished with doing things that will never help me a bit.

My latest feeling is that I must stand apart from the false teachings found online. The ones that offer a life lived in an awakened state. What nonsense. Everyone falls from grace again and again. Everyone cries. Everyone does bad things.

The last thing I will say is that the siblings have to continue to suffer the loss. They have to live a compromised life just as we do. My cousin, now in her sixties, tells of how her parents never spoke of her dead sister. I seldom speak of my daughter. Most bereaved parents don’t because it is painful to do so.

I am quite all right these days. I know the truth of death and keep it over my left shoulder. If I am lucky, I have an angel on my right one. Even so, this personality called Vicki does the best it can. And sometimes she just has to sit down and write the truth.

Vicki Woodyard
(The photo is of my son and I at the cemetery where my husband and daughter are buried.)

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Everything’s Just Ducky….

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This is adjustment day for me. First I saw Ara, my chiropractor, for my stiff neck. Then I drove on down the road to get my glasses adjusted. Once home, I ate two boiled eggs and made some peach tea. The recipe? Take the top off a bottle of water and stuff a peach tea bag into it. I learned that from my Tai Chi teacher, Cate.

It was so funny yesterday. Somehow the topic of bladders came up and she said if you contracted your muscles when you assumed the Tai Chi stance, it was like doing Kegel exercises. She giggled and said, “There is no ‘pee’ in Tai Chi.” It’s such a fun group to attend. The love and hugs flow as freely as we students do, mirroring our beloved teacher. She also has a great assistant named Donna.

One student came in all teary. A large dog had attacked her small dog, killing it. It had died in her arms and she was still traumatized, having bite marks on her legs and arms. Another student’s husband had just had stents put in, so I could feel the emotional release this class offers everyone. I used to cry the following day, even called it “Cry Chi.” I had so much grief to release.

I am resting now. Drinking tea and reading My Berlin Kitchen, by Luisa Weiss. I got it from the library in paperback and it is a delicious read. There is nothing else to do today but take a walk. The air is unmistakably fall-ish and I can do my neck exercises while I walk.

An ordinary day offers itself in disguise. It starts off with a grunt or a snuffle. But then something in you sniffs the air and it feels like easing into a bank of clouds, if that were possible. A whipped cream day, a time for play, but it’s not a winter wonderland yet. It’s that first hint of fall, the promise of going back to school and new shows on TV.

So here I am, old enough to know better, and yet I don’t know a thing. In fact, I know so little that I am beginning to worry. I read a funny line in a book review where a woman who is beginning to forget things says, “I think it’ll be a smooth ride into senility for me.” Ha, ha! I love that. Age-ing is sage-ing, but it isn’t about learning. It’s about unlearning. I am eager to unlearn more and more.

Vicki Woodyard

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The Next Wave

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The next wave is one we will ride without words.

There is a whole new way of acquiring knowledge since the advent of the internet. (Thanks to Al Gore, tee hee.) What we do is log on to intellectual knowledge of the universe. We know a lot about God but we don’t know God. You can Google God, but you can’t Google where He lives. He is not on Google Maps as yet.

The next wave is building somewhere out there nowhere. And when the tsunami hits, no one will be harmed. So chill, bro. The big one is on the way.

I met a man last week who is called a shaman but he has a Ph.D. and is also an archaeologist, among other things. His healing work is what the next wave is about.

I was in his presence for an hour and that will have to last me for the next six months, which is when he will return.

He left me with something to remember him by. Myself.

Vicki Woodyard

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Control

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The body is weary,
The heart so teary,
How will I ever be whole?
Perhaps in a testing
there will come a resting
when I finally let go of control.

Vicki Woodyard

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That Thing Called Resonance

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Resonance is our spiritual radar. When we are vibrating on the same string with someone or something, no thought is necessary.

Like love, it never sings out of tune.

It is why I got bored with online discussions, forums and such. Too many words about nothing. Too many people jockeying for position, rechewing their cosmic cabbage, being alpha males (even the females.)

Saying nothing is like warm honey. If you like it, you love it.

My writing is usually brief and never intellectual. You either resonate with it or you don’t.

You will not find anything special here as far as I can tell.

But between the lines is where to look.

Vicki Woodyard

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When Questions Fall Away

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When the questions fall away, so do the answers. Transcendence happens above the opposites of question and answer, empty and full, rich and poor, etc.

Although I have been on the path of awakening for many years, questions still dog me. They catch my scent and follow me along the trail. I imagine you understand just what I mean. “What is my calling?” is one that nags at me from time to time.

What if the question falls away? Then the answer may or may not come; it just seems to be more of an unfolding than a question that can be answered.

Why did my child die? Why did my husband die? Why do I keep writing?

These are not questions that can be answered on the highest level. They may say my child died of cancer and that my husband did as well. More than that they cannot say. And who are “they?”

The shift into acceptance of something higher than the opposites may be imperceptible but it is unmistakable.

Things demanding answers are nowhere to be seen. There is just this moment to be lived.

I don’t know who is living it, whether it is Him or me. I tend to get them confused.

Vicki Woodyard

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