Posts by Vicki

Vicki Woodyard is the author of Life With A Hole In It and A Guru in the Guest Room. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia, and has been writing online for over ten years.

Breathing into the Heart

Last night a community of souls gathered under the roof of one man, Phil McWilliams. He is a magnet that draws us inward to the heart. Under his skilled guidance, we became one with the breath. For an hour and a half, he led us in breathing together. I sat in the adjoining room on a sofa, focusing on this somewhat awkward task of breathing in rhythm. At one point I heard spontaneous laughter in the living room. The inner joy was breaking forth.

Earlier we had shared a meal together and visited. A white German Shepherd named Winter carried his red frisbee around inviting people to play. It was a holy evening where merriment and awakening intermingled. In the photo I captured Phil (in the red scarf) and an attendee in a playful moment, mugging for the photo. To be around Phil is to experience a joyful heart.

Everybody’s up against it….

“Everybody’s up against it,” wrote Leonard Cohen. Truer words were never spoken. We are all the walking wounded. No perfection is possible in these realms.

Having said that, self-compassion is the greatest gift we can give a troubled world. Yes. Self-kindness will lead to other-kindness. That leaves only one thing to do—care for yourself consciously.

I am learning that my greatest gifts have come from the deepest darkness. Out of destruction comes a rebirth that is totally up to you.

I walk this earth alone and with God. I do not walk it with other individuals. At some point it becomes obvious that when I am alone with myself, I am most together! How can it be otherwise?

Some of you are suffering greatly as you read these words. Isolate yourself and go deeper into it. Shut the blinds to the endlessly needy world and save yourself. By so doing, you save the world.

Drop deeply down into the heart and let it weep for every iota that you have lost. It will be returned to you when you no longer cling to it.

Everybody’s up against it. No one gets off scot-free. Be as cracked as you need to be. There is no escape via the mind.

Vicki Woodyard

The Way out of Suffering

On Facebook I could post one-liners and here it is more difficult.The one that came to me just now is “Conscious suffering is the way out of mechanical suffering.” That is a huge truth. And as someone wrote, “The deeper the truth, the deeper the sleep.” We can only stay awake to the truth of our being for so long. When our energy reserve runs out, we must fall asleep again. Therefore, gathering energy is job one.

How do we gather enough energy to suffer consciously? That is a key question. It is always done in private only for yourself, never for others. We never do the work for anyone but ourselves. Being a do-gooder is not a solution to anything. Esoterically, there are no others, so that lets you off the hook.

Retire into your heart and stay there as long as you can. It won’t be long, but a few minutes is enough to reset the machine.

Put yourself in white light on a daily basis. Seek solitude. Seek to know yourself as you really are, warts and all. This will teach you compassion.

The only way out is through.

Vicki Woodyard

What if….

I used to judge myself all day long. That is called “being asleep.” Being awake is a horse of a different color. When you are awake, you accept everything just as it is, including your beautiful self.

I know; it’s impossible to remember this for more than a few seconds. But in those few seconds, pat yourself on the back rather than knocking yourself for a loop. You are just as God intended you to be.

Here is the deal, though. You are only to do this for yourself. Everyone’s job is to realize their innate perfection. I was born with a love of words that continues to delight me. But there was a time when I used them to excoriate people. Now I know better.

I can now forgive myself for being hypercritical and judgmental to the max. I didn’t know that I was perfect!

In my introversion, I am perfect. In my mental and emotional sensitivity, I am perfect. In my sorrow, I am perfect. I dip the pen in a crystal vase of tears and the words I write set me free. That is how perfect I am.

I lie in bed in the pre-dawn hours, having dreamt of holding a horse so it couldn’t get away. I woke up in an anxious state. Depression attacked me. I felt unworthy and doomed. That is exactly how I was supposed to feel. It was perfect for me to feel that way. In a few hours, the depression had lifted and all was right with the world again. That, too, was perfect.

It was perfect that my child and husband died. They left me with an abyss so wide I had to grow wings to fly over it. Now I see how magnificent God’s plan for his creation is. Love let me grow from tragedy. Now love lets me write about it. Perfect.

Vicki Woodyard

The Essence of Compassion

All of us are dealing with sorrow in one form or another. It seems that it is never the time or place to let the sorrow show, however. The British are known for having a stiff upper lip, but Americans are just as guilty of this, as is everyone. We are born into a world that does not know what to do with sorrow, so suppression is not taught but caught.

I remember feeling genuine sorrow when relatives would visit from another town. I was just a girl, but I loved hearing the family stories and preferred to sit with the grownups and listen. When they left, I would often cry. And then I grew up and married and left the family home. Every time I returned home for a visit, I was happy. And when the time to take leave came, I cried.

That was only the beginning of a lifetime of sorrow. When you consign a child of your own back to the earth, the tears become rain from heaven. They saturate the ground of your being. They walk with you everywhere you go.

I took to the spiritual path. It did not quell the sorrow of losing my husband. The tears over his departure will never stop entirely. But now I share with you the secret of a life lived from sorrow. Out of it, I come to know the truth of my being.

What is it? You may ask. And I would tell you that I don’t know, for truth is above the mind.

I have been talking to a mendicant in Indian many of you know as Surajit Basak. Here are a few of his words to me:

“LOVE is your eloquence…COMPASSION is your wisdom…om.”

He has advised me to ditch my intellect in favor of the great mystery. I have heard that before, but somehow his words hit home with me, as I hope mine do with you. We are all walking each other home, no matter where we live or what we do. It is the essence of compassion to honor the silence of the loving open heart.

Vicki Woodyard

Sorrow and Bliss

You are your life. As Vernon Howard said, “There is no difference in a person and his life.” What does this mean for you? It means precisely this: You can drop down into your heart and discover what you really want, not what your divided mind keeps you frantic with worry about.

The mind is about keeping you in slavery to the good opinions of other people. You can forget that because it never worked. You only think it has or will. Nope. The heart in its sorrow wants you back.

The heart sorrows for the mind in its suffering. The mind does not know this because it is born of division and conflict. Sorrow is the fruit of the heart.

Do not run away from your sorrow a moment longer. It has much to teach you. Turn away from those that would encourage you to follow your bliss. Sorrow and bliss are one and the same.

Do not try to sort out what I just said. Return to the heart and feel if this is true or not.

Vicki Woodyard

The Magic Formula

I don’t know the magic formula; nobody does. Forget the wisdom of the ages. You are feeling like a dope much of the time. How do I know that about you? Because I know myself. There are some situations that beg to be patiently suffered and I have been unable to. For instance, the day the kindly pediatric surgeon told my husband and I that our four-year-old had cancer. How could any parent in their right mind take that nondually?

My friend Peter and I had that understanding in common. When he had a series of strokes due to an accident, his whole life became one long series of medical misfortunes. He turned to advaita and it failed him. It had to. In its place arose his own wisdom. It turned out to be a little cat he placed on his chest so he could hear it purr.

Peter and I emailed each other for several years. Bob had just gotten his cancer diagnosis and I was flailing about in the waters of God’s love. “All they waves and billows have gone over me.” I hadn’t learned how to float and the salt water coming from my eyes was blinding me. “For what it’s worth, I hold your hand in this,” wrote Peter. Now he has passed on and every now and again I remember the sheer beauty of our friendship.

Peter and I knew the frailties of the human body. His was barely able to move and Bob’s was becoming unable to make red blood cells. We spent many an hour in the chemo room while he got tanked up. I would come home, fix dinner and collapse in front of the computer. There I discovered that even though I didn’t know the magic formula, it helped me to write and write and write. Peter was on the other end of the line, so to speak.

When Bob died, I had no magic formula for recovery. I spent several years enjoying insomnia! A friend said, “You are afraid to fall asleep for fear something worse will come upon you. You’re like a snail who’s been salted.” Bingo. At some point, Peter weakened to the point where one fine day I heard from him no more. Somewhere he is playing his penny whistle and watching clouds. He ended up having it all, the utter bliss of not knowing became his answer to the question of life.

There is no magic formula applicable to the masses. We awaken one by one and even that is not guaranteed. Don’t ask me if I’m awake. Anyone who answers that is talking in their sleep. If Peter should come back for another moment of friendship, I would not ask him if he was awake. I would look into his eyes and that would be quite enough.

Vicki Woodyard

The Light of Faith

There are reasons to leave Facebook, as I have said. I realize the majority of people prefer it, but I have never minded being in the minority. Awakening is for the few. For every step forward, there will be two steps back, and that is not a popular teaching. One is losing one’s old life and it is not easy, not easy at all.

Don’t think I know more than you. The secret is kept from us all until we have eyes to see and ears to hear. Wisdom comes and goes in the human being. It is for the good of all.

We have to do our wrestling with the angel, and yes, it does leave its mark on us. Otherwise we would be plastic people with plastic jobs in a plastic world. We want to go one step further into the darkness. May the light of faith go with us.


A Special Message

Dear Friends,

I am moved to write and say that I hope posting on the blog will offer everyone a feeling of fuller access. There is a bit more privacy here, for sure. And the need to visit everyone’s Facebook Page puts a guilt trip on people. I feel it. There comes a time when one knows things that can only be shared with the few. That would be conscious presence and silence. One must read between the lines to feel what is being written, as words are only vessels for silence at some point.

Dedication to truth is not lightly undertaken, as you know so well. It requires a stripping of everything false and who wants to go that far? Certainly not the ego.

I have a house project that will be going on the month of June and some minor eye surgery scheduled, so I will be picking and choosing when I post. My son is a great help to me; he drove me to the eye doctor today and then we stopped and had a sandwich on the way home. My eye doctor runs a first rate clinic and his warmth is obvious to all who see him. He treated my late husband Bob when he developed glaucoma from the chemo.

I love what Leonard Cohen said, “The only question to ask people is ‘What are you going through?'” Because all of us going through something all of the time, aren’t we? Those of us on the path are just trying to go through it more consciously.

My cup of gratitude is running over. May we all be able to say that!

I appreciate the few who read my words and find meaning in them. Thank you.


The Embrace of the Light

I am sitting in silence this morning, awaiting an appointment at the eye doctor. A slight nervousness is felt, a normal thing before any medical appointment. The only reason for it is that I am entirely human. Totally at the mercy of my emotions. Unable to create a fearless self. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Why is it that advaita promises something it cannot deliver? Because it appeals to those that seek a quick fix from their humanity. But it is simply impossible. We are here in this planetary kindergarten to learn humility and the power of grace. No one said it would be easy.

We are faulty creatures in temporary bodies. Once we have accepted our fragility, we are free to draw on a higher strength than that of our egos. First we must surrender all ideas of how it should be. Leonard Cohen is the teacher for many of us, as he sings of the compromises we all must make. He is beloved because he speaks the truth. And out of truth a deep love arises. We all yearn for truth so that we may come to love.

I will go to the eye doctor and find, as I always do, that my anxiety profited me nothing. I will come home and let my hair down. Sip coffee and rest in relief. What if I could rest in relief all of the time? That is a pipe dream. What I can do is work hard gathering energy to find the door that is the Christ Consciousness. Once I find it, I remember who I really am. Wordless, powerless and the beloved of God. I can now enter in as helpless as I really am. I await the embrace of the light.

Vicki Woodyard