Saturday, April 27, 2013

Divine Onion

Divine Onion

If I were an onion, how would you come to know me?

Would you set me on a table,
surround me with suitable props,
and then paint my likeness on a canvas?
Would you use me like paper,
make me into a book that you study and study,
until I become abstract and unknowable?
Would you peel back each of my layers,
one by one, until there was nothing left except empty space?
Would you get out a sharp knife
and chop me into bits and consume me?
Would you even cry when you cut me open?

Bury me deep within the soil of your heart, and I will nourish you.
But I cannot promise you that there will be no tears.

© 2008 Beth Mitchum

Monday, April 22, 2013

The Aftermath

I am glad that the citizens of Boston can start picking up the pieces of their shattered lives. There are many whose lives will never be the same, of course, and we will all view the marathon with different eyes. Peace to all, far and wide, who were negatively impacted by the acts of cowardice recently. Thank you to all who reached out a helping hand in a time of dire need. May your acts of courage be remembered and spotlighted. I ask the universe to speed physical and emotional healing to those in need of it and grant you a large dose of grace as you learn to walk and live again. In the aftermath of such ugly hatred, may the beautiful face of love shine from those around you, helping you to move forward with courage.

Friday, April 19, 2013

You Say Tomayto; I Say Tomahto

I have been led in the past few years to revisit my theological roots from my current position as a psychic. As some of you may know, my early metaphysical background lies in Charismatic and Pentecostal Christianity. I got my BA in Biblical Studies and History, as a pre-seminary major at a conservative college in Florida. My intent then was to go to seminary. I was accepted twice to attend Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary near Boston. This is a a prestigious school that is part of a consortium of institutes of higher learning, one of which is Harvard. Had I gone there for my Masters of Divinity, I would have been free to attend classes at Harvard, as well as several other universities in the area with theological schools. Both times after being accepted, I was guided away from following through on those plans. I suspect because I had other things to learn that could not have been learned in seminary. So instead, I went on to work in social work for over four years, dealing with abused teenagers from dysfunctional families.

From there my path continued to lead me in various directions including becoming a foster mother to six teenage daughters (NOT all at the same time), moving to NC, and after leaving Christianity, founding a Women's Spirituality group (dubbed Wi'Spir for wimmin and spirituality). Wimmin is a feminist spelling that was suggested decades ago to replace woman, since women were attempting to reclaim language from its misogynistic and male-dominated base. Anyway, I led that group, which was not part of any organized group, but was a free-spirited, free-thinking group, completely of my own making, but which fits most closely with what Margot Adler described in Drawing Down the Moon, as a Dianic Wiccan group. I did not then, nor do I now, claim the label Wiccan, because I am a fan neither of labels nor of organized religion of any flavor. I had gotten a bad taste in my mouth while moving in and out of conservative Christian circles. While I have studied Wiccan teachings and thought, just as I have studied Buddhist, Hindu, and Taoist thought, I have chosen to embrace fully none of these labels, though I was comfortable for a while to wear the label of Taoist. It still reflects a lot of what I think, feel, and have experienced to be true. However, in the past several years, since reconnecting with angels in a big way, I have felt that label didn't really allow for a complete understanding of where I am at present on my spiritual path.

While I have in no way returned to Christianity, I no longer get a twitch reading writings from the Christian tradition. Granted, I veer  towards liberal Christian thought, but that is so much more than I could do even just a couple of years ago. I could handle reconnecting with angels because they are limited to no specific religion and are present in all, without requiring an affiliation with any of them. Plus they allow room not for only the experience of psychic phenomena, but also the language of it. While involved in Charismatic and Pentecostal Christian circles, I was encouraged to participate via biblical teachings in developing and allowing psychic phenomena in my spiritual practice. Of course, the powers that be didn't use the word psychic. Instead they referred to them as "gifts (or manifestations) of the Spirit," as found in the New Testament book, First Corinthians (chapter 12, verses 7-11):

 7 But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good8 For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, and to another the word of knowledge according to the same Spirit ; 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, and to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit10 and to another the effecting of miracles, and to another prophecy, and to another the distinguishing of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, and to another the interpretation of tongues11 But one and the same Spirit works all these thingsdistributing to each one individually just as He wills(New American Standard Version of the Bible) 

What, pray tell, is the writer speaking of here if not psychic phenomena? Putting a Christian label on them doesn't change the metaphysical reality. During my ten-year stint in Christianity, I was encouraged to allow these psychic gifts to develop, and that is what I did. It took a while after I left Christianity for me to realize that these gifts were psychic abilities, something I think we all have to varying degrees. That I honed my psychic abilities in the midst of conservative Christian teachings is humorous to me now, given that their opinion of psychics is not merely dim. They think psychic phenomena are demonic. But you can't have it both ways. You can't call them the "gifts of the Holy Spirit" when a Christian demonstrates them and call them "demonic" when someone outside of their community manifests them.  The writer (presumably the Apostle Paul) says, "one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills."

As I continue walking a spiritual path, I have had to look back more than once at my early spiritual path and be grateful that I was able to nurture and develop my spiritual/psychic skills in an environment that was both personally safe and fairly socially acceptable at the time. I also received a lot of spiritual teaching that has come back to me at significant junctures, reminding me of things I already knew, because truth is truth no matter where you encounter it. Whatever you choose to call them, I was trained as a teenager to open myself to psychic phenomena and those gifts are with me still, continuing to grow stronger and continuing to inform me and guide me.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Got Clutter?

I had a funny early morning incident today. I woke up and for some reason turned my head immediately to the left of me where I had a stack of books, paperwork, and various other items I needed to sort and put away now that my taxes have been filed. I had done them on my bed, which is a space where I could contain the clutter. Not an ideal spot to do your taxes, to be sure, but it worked, and it didn't need to be there more than a week or so. This year I had a lot more paperwork to pull together. I had books on my bed because I had been reading up on reflexology and qi gong at night before I went to sleep, but I really needed to get the books off the bed. I mean really. Is it possible for me to read four books at once? I am known for keeping several books going at once, but I had finished one of the reflexology books already and hadn't used the chart in the back for a couple of weeks. It was definitely time to put it away and the others too. One book would be sufficient to read and there is a book shelf right next to my bed where it could live until I finished reading it.

On top of this stack of "stuff," was another book that I was sure I hadn't read for a couple of weeks, and which I was certain had not been on my bed when I fell asleep last night. It was lying at a slight angle as though it had been placed there specifically so I'd see it first thing when I opened my eyes. What was the book you asked? Daily Guidance from the Angels by Doreen Virtue. I was barely awake, but the humor of the angels' less than subtle message came through loud and clear. I chuckled and opened the book to where the ribbon bookmark was holding my place. The message for the day was "Clear Your Clutter." That made me laugh even more. I read the entry then went through my daily prayers, promising that I'd de-clutter the bed at least today as soon I as I was finished with meditation time. True to my word, as soon as I was done, I quickly sorted the books and papers that were cluttering my bed and put them all away before toddling out to the front of the house for breakfast. I continued de-cluttering in both the kitchen and the living room. While I didn't get the whole house done, by any stretch of the imagination, I did make a significant dent in a short space of time.

I can't wait to see how they'll deliver my next message. It's possible, of course, that my cats somehow knocked the book off the shelf and onto the bed, but even that would have required some angelic help to knock one book down without so much as nudging the books next to it or moving the beeswax candle in front of it. Then to get the book positioned perfectly so it was facing me at a perfectly displayed angle was nothing short of a miracle. Either way it would be pretty mind blowing. I got the message, however it happened, and a morning chuckle with it.

Day After

Day After

No matter what
there is always a day after.
A day after tragedy
rocks us to the core
as individuals,
as family members,
as neighbors,
as fellow human beings.
We might not know how
it feels to be you,
but we do know pain.
Many of us know
the kind of pain
that makes you wonder
how you will ever take
the next breath,
the next step,
the next meal.
We know that
the thought of tomorrow
in the aftermath
of today's pain
feels almost sacrilegious.
It feels like betrayal
to go on after such
unspeakable loss.
It feels wrong to move on,
as though this pain,
this loss, never happened.
But going on is not betrayal
of the loss that has been faced.
It is a promise of renewal
in the face of impossible odds.
It is the budding of a flower
that may take some time yet
before it blooms,
but it will bloom.
The flowers will bloom again,
no matter how harsh is the winter,
is the loss and the pain of today.
No matter what
there is always a day after.

© 2013 Beth Mitchum
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Boston Marathon Tribute

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Variations on a Universal Theme: The Golden Rule

If you live in the western hemisphere, then chances are you've heard, or even quoted, the Golden Rule, a la Christianity: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." (Matthew 7:12, Luke 6:31) Those of you from this tradition, and who are not versed in other religions, may not be aware that many traditions have very similar sayings that predate the Christian one by hundreds and even thousands of years. Indeed,  a negative version of this concept can be found in the Hebrew faith that informed Jesus (Leviticus, chapter 19 of the Bible and Shabbat, 31a of the Talmud).  This should in no way minimize your appreciation of the saying of Jesus. In fact, it is hoped that knowing how long this maxim has been in circulation might encourage you even more to follow this basic principle for living. All major religions and cultures have taught it. How well each of them have lived by it is a matter open to debate, given the often repressive nature of some of those religious traditions. 

Among major schools of thought where this reciprocal guide to relating to one another can be found are: Confucianism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, and Zoroastrianism. One of the most ancient occurrences is in ancient Egypt. The quote that follows is from the Wikipedia:

An early example of the Golden Rule that reflects the Ancient Egyptian concept of Maat appears in the story of The Eloquent Peasant, which dates to the Middle Kingdom (c. 2040–1650 BCE): "Now this is the command: Do to the doer to cause that he do thus to you."[18]*

While this version of the concept sounds as though it might have been drafted by an ancient Egyptian lawyer, it does illustrate the long history of a universal idea. I personally like the Wiccan version of it with its slightly different, free-spirited nuance to it: "An' ye harm none, do as ye will." It sort of sounds like the  Beatles' version of the Golden Rule. It makes me want to kick back and just "let it be," but the point is made. You have to be aware of how your actions affect others. 

While there are many ways to say it, the message remains the same. How you treat your neighbors should be grounded in an empathetic and respectful consideration of others. There's no way we can know how each person around us would like to be treated exactly, but how we treat them needs at least to begin with our basic understanding of ourselves and how we wish to be treated. Granted, there are people who claim to like pain and suffering, so how you treat a masochist might be a little different than how you wish to be treated. Yet basically there is this understanding that a foundation of peaceful relationships is to be discovered in what I think of as the mirror concept of relationships. Before you take action that has an impact on other people, ask the face in the mirror this question: Would I like it if someone did that to me? If the answer is a strong no, then you really need to rethink your plan of action. If what you are planning to do involves harming another being or restricting their freedom in some way, then your best bet is to steer clear of that path and search your heart before proceeding any further. Bear in mind that your rights end where your neighbor's rights begin.  You're free to flail your arms and swing your fists around until you enter someone else's air space and get near their nose.  

Following the Golden Rule requires us to examine our hearts to know how it is we ourselves wish to be treated. It also requires that we open our hearts and listen for a minute to the heartbeat of another being, whether they are a family member or a stranger we encounter randomly. Our actions have consequences, and one of those consequences is that how we treat others, ultimately comes back to us anyway. It's in our own best interest to "Do unto others as we would have them do unto us," because whatsoever we do unto others, we are doing to ourselves too anyway. That is referred to as the law of karma or even the law of attraction. One popular way of saying this is, "What goes around, comes around." In other words, beware of what you're putting out there into the universe by way of your actions and energy because it's going to come back to you, eventually or immediately, but it will come back. 

Since this concept is present in all religious traditions, I'd say it was safe to say that it belongs exclusively to none of them. It belongs instead to the entire world as a way of determining how we should treat other people. If we predicated our legal system on this principle rather than on all the ways we can restrict each other's behavior, we would not only have fewer laws, but we would also get along better. But we don't need to change our entire legal system right away. That would result in a lot of chaos and confusion. However, if each of us started to make decisions about what legislation and legislatures to vote for based on the Golden Rule, or some variation of it, we would gravitate more naturally to worrying less about what our neighbor does that in no way impacts us personally. Does it truly harm us, or are we merely attempting to control others based on our desire to make everyone around us just like we are because we are afraid of difference? If we can't make room for difference in our lives and society, it is most likely because we are afraid to grow. Growth requires us to change and change can be scary. Wherever we are, we can start to get along better with our neighbors, friends, family members, and even our life partners, if we look in the mirror first and ask ourselves, "How would I like it if someone were doing this to me?" 

So take your pick of flavors of the Golden Rule, since there are many to choose from. Perhaps the variety and nuances are a sign that not even the Golden Rule should be engraved in stone but should allow instead for personal freedom and growth.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Mystic Angel Healing Logo

It's about time for Mystic Angel Healing to get its own logo. It has become enough a separate entity within UltraVioletLove Publishing to have its own recognizable face. Here it is. Love to all. --MAH

The Dance of Love

It might be the polite thing to do something loving for someone who does something loving to you, but it is the right thing to do something loving for someone who does something hateful to you. That doesn't mean you have to stay within reach of further harm, but it means that even if it's from afar, love is what you send even when what you received was hatred flung at you from behind a fortress of fear and anger. Your lovingkindness might never yield a result that you witness, but it's still the right thing to do for you. You will heal faster, even from their abuse, by filling your heart with love and forgiveness. Forgiveness doesn't send the message that what happened was right. It sends the message that right does exist and that is what you are choosing. Right over more wrong. Love over more hate. We can change the dance of anger, hatred, and fear. It begins when we allow ourselves to learn the steps to the dance of love and forgiveness.