Newsletter June 2008 by Cathy Combs

Faith: Seeing Beyond The Paradox

I want to begin this newsletter by thanking all of you who take the time to read my work. I'm so very honored that my work is meaningful to you. I want to share with you the growing edge of where I am and where I'm going in my spiritual development. I've rewritten and retitled this newsletter over and over trying to hone in on the shifting sands that are moving with earthquake intensity and rapidity. That movement speaks so well to one of my favorite quotes, "I am in the world, not of the world!" This quote speaks so well to the Abraham teachings, to Eckhart Tolle's understandings, and to Byron Katie's teachings of "The Work" as she calls it. I am reminded of words that came through to me in the late 70s, "Beware of the pendulum as it swings from psychopathic rage to the "doormat mentality". There is a middle ground called Love." Living from Love is the epitome of actualizing that we are Spirit made manifest. We are Love Incarnate. My question is how do I do that right now in each moment? Some of my keys for being there are: Realize that people can't be anywhere other than where they are in the moment, and neither can I. That means Nonresistance to what is! Nonjudgment of what is. Love what is! Realize God is present as this moment! Remember what Abraham says, "We need contrast in order to see what we want and what we don't want." Some of my other favorite teachings are: See beyond appearances! Don't take things personally! Look for the blessing in the lesson! All things are working together for my Good and I am working with them in the Love and Wisdom and Power of Spirit!

I am exceedingly intense. Life is very precious to me. My expectations for myself are very high! Sometimes I don't know how to meet them. As I said last month abuse and inequity enrage me. Sometimes I have to take the VERY long view of how things are working together for Good! I am passionately devoted to being the change I want to see in the world. To that end I am currently reading a landmark book, The Feminine Face Of God: The Unfolding Of The Sacred In Women, written by Sherry Ruth Anderson and Patricia Hopkins, published in 1991 after five years of research. The authors interviewed over 100 women nationwide for a minimum of two days each, resulting in a 3,000 page typewritten manuscript of their tape recorded interviews. Jean Shinoda Bolen, MD and Jungian analyst, said this book "is as significant as Betty Friedan's The Feminine Mystique and Carol Gilligan's In A Different Voice were in articulating a growing edge of conscious awareness in women. The Feminine Face of God does for women's spirituality what these two books did for women's roles and women's ethics..."

The authors said the comment that stopped them in their tracks was when woman after woman being independently interviewed said, "I don't know how to pray. I don't know who to pray to. I don't know who I am as a woman." I was thunderstruck by these comments because they so clearly highlight the reality that humans are image makers! The authors made the very poignant statement, "while it is true that images of the Virgin Mary are present in every Catholic church, and that her position is highly venerated, for all that she is beloved, she is never mistaken for God." Another point the authors made, that has been made by Bishop John Shelby Spong and Joseph Campbell among many others, is the issue of the myth of Eve and Adam; a myth written with the deliberate political intent to discredit and disempower women. It is chilling to consider the impact of this myth, still so very alive today! Two other quotes from the women that just knocked me flat were one woman's statement that as a 15 year old she was in a convent school and she could hear the nun next door beating herself with a whip "for the sin of being a woman." The authors spoke to the issue of "the importance of language especially when it is used to teach spiritual principles.... We remembered the formal prayers still spoken by men today in the Jewish and Buddhist traditions, prayers of gratitude for having escaped the fate of being born in a female body." I'm highlighting some of these comments because they epitomize the necessity of moving to a hugely expanded Love, Compassion and Understanding especially since these attitudes are deliberately taught and are still so prevalent today! This book is especially important to me because as familiar as I am with the Goddess traditions this book made it very real how powerful and necessary feminine images of the Divine are for the healthy development of our global self-concept. Another landmark book I'm reading, "When God Was A Woman", written in1976, by Merlin Stone revealed another fact that knocked me flat. As many times as I've read and heard the Bible quote about not worshipping false idols it never occurred to me they were talking about not worshipping the Goddess!!! I was thunderstruck!!! I've taught Psychology at the college level. Attitudes shape our lives in the most fundamental ways! The misogyny expressed in the story of our humanity is still so very evident today worldwide. It's heartbreaking. I'm sharing these thoughts and feelings because they epitomize the contrast mentioned in the Abraham teachings. Contrast asks us so clearly "Are you sure this is what you want? Are you sure you don't want to align your feelings with Joy and Love rather than fear and self-hatred projected out onto all of life?" We can choose to live from the exponential Confidence and Magnanimity of Divine Love in us!

In a much more lighthearted way I want to share some comments about another landmark book I'm reading. It's a delightful story about holding the paradox. "The Go-Giver" is a 2007 national bestseller written by Bob Burg and John David Mann. I read this fabulous heartwarming book twice in four days. It's a story told as a fable about a young man, the prototypical "go-getter" and his journey toward learning that it is in giving that we are truly prosperous. This young man learns the Five Laws Of Stratospheric Success. Each Law significantly challenges his concepts of how to do business and yet he keeps on because he is intrigued by this journey. In hearing about the first Law, "The Law of Value: Your true worth is determined by how much more you give in value than you take in payment" he says, "That sounds like the road to bankruptcy." He learns that giving is truly how you "land the big contract." What I especially love about this book is the heartwarming style of the authors and the fact that the subtitle of this book is: A Little Story About A Powerful Business Idea. The fact that this book is a national bestseller tells me a lot of people value this changing business practice! I truly feel the timing couldn't be more monumental. I'm so very grateful for all the people in all the venues so valiantly working for change! Generosity takes great Faith, Love, Confidence and Understanding! Generosity is the magnanimous understanding of who we truly are. There is no greater Joy than living from that understanding!
Are you willing?
I AM!!!!!!
Spirit of Love thank you so very much for Your Presence in my life and all the world!!!!!!!!!

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