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Imagine being a very young elementary school girl and liking boys.  Sounds about normal, right?  Now imagine being a very young elementary school girl, liking boys AND liking girls.  Sound a bit confusing?  Ya; that’s the understatement of a life time!  Hi, I’m Martha Saathoff Spiva; I’m a 41-year-old married mom of 3 AND I’m bisexual!  This is my story.

One of my earliest childhood memories was attending a church with my mom.  We met in a 2-story office building just off of the LBJ Freeway in Dallas, Texas.  It was made of all black glass with cement pillars.  The minister was a woman.  We met in a big, square room with a stage/podium up front.  I was 5 years old.  There was an altar call…a come to Jesus moment.  And I KNEW I was being called to start my spiritual journey.  I went.  I asked Jesus into my heart.  From that moment on, my spiritual journey was the most important thing in my life.  This was a defining moment for me!

After we stopped going to that church, we started attending the Richardson Assembly of God Church.  After that we moved to the Lakewood Assembly of God Church 30 minutes away in (almost) downtown Dallas.  This is where I spent my formative years.  This is also the time my parents put me in a Baptist private school.  Needless to say, I grew up in a very conservative, right-wing, Texas, god-fearing home.  I knew my Bible backwards and forwards.  More importantly, I had my very own spiritual walk with God.

And this is where things got confusing……….

Like I said, I liked boys.  I have always liked boys.  When I was in kindergarten, I had a HUGE crush on “Talky” the 6th grade crossing guard and friend of one of my brothers.  In 1st grade, I had a boyfriend named Tracy Lewis (not the same Tracy that I married).  As I got older, there were always crushes on new boys and those crushes grew longer and more serious as I became a tween.  All the while, my spiritual conviction grew stronger and deeper.  But all the while, I LOVED girls.  I crushed on my girlfriends.  I would rather look at the women in my brothers’ girlie mags than look at the men.  Finally, at 11 years old, I couldn’t take the confusion anymore.  I needed to talk to someone.  And I thought my mom is the person I could talk to.

This is how it went………..

The car had just pulled up and parked in front of our home.  I asked my mom if we could talk.  “Mom,” I said, “I think I’m gay.”

Her reply:  “That’s impossible!  Besides, you don’t even know what that word means!”

“Yes, Mom, I do.  It means that I like girls.”

“But, Martha, you like boys, don’t you?  You have boyfriends don’t you?”

“Yes, Mom, I do.”

“Well, see!  You aren’t gay.  Besides, It’s impossible.  You are a good Christian young woman and it’s impossible for a good Christian young woman to be gay!  It’s a sin!”

With that she opened the door, stepped out of the car, and the conversation was never brought up again.

Just because the subject wasn’t brought up again, didn’t change what I felt inside.  Only now, it was worse.  I knew I was a “good Christian young woman”.  I knew I had a spiritual calling.  At 11 years old, I had already read the Bible once all the way through.  I prayed every day..a couple times a day.  I even prayed for these “urges” to go away.  They didn’t.  But I buried these feelings and didn’t mention them again for 11 more years!!!!

What happened in those 11 years?  I  met my husband at 14 years old.  I knew the minute I saw him that I was supposed to marry him.  And when we turned 19 years old, we did get married.  The crushes I had on my girlfriends became more serious, but I never mentioned them.  They fantasies I had about women became more intense, but I never mentioned them.  I became even  more confused.  I knew I was supposed to marry Tracy.  I knew I loved him.  Yet, what do I do about these other feelings?  Who and what the heck am I?  Somewhere in there, I learned that indeed I wasn’t gay/homosexual/lesbian.  By then, my vocabulary had grown.  I was bisexual.  Talk about confusing!!!!!  Great, so I know what label to wear, but where does that leave me?  How does that reconcile with  my Christian beliefs?

I became very suicidal for a number of reasons.  I felt like I had no one to talk to.  I wanted to come out to Tracy, but what if he left me?   We were, according to my intuition, supposed to get married!  I didn’t want to screw that up!  I couldn’t tell my girlfriends; we all belonged to Baptist Schools and Assembly of God Churches, and by now and I was also attending a Seventh Day Adventist Church with my boyfriend.  There was NO WAY I could tell anyone from any of these places!  I could be expelled from school.  I was already in enough trouble with the people in the SDA church for being too affectionate and intimate with Tracy.  And my girlfriends, I thought, would feel uncomfortable undressing in the locker room when I was around if they knew (not that I was lusting after them in the locker room…I was too busy  trying to cover up my hickies from the make out session the  night before!)  I was scared with nowhere to run!  The only person I could talk to was God…and I did that all the time!  I prayed.  I read my Bible.  I asked to be normal.  I WANTED to be “normal”.  I cried myself to sleep at night while praying for God to fix me.

At the same time, I remembered a time when I was in elementary school.  I was bullied all the way through my school years…elementary through high school.  I remember feeling like a piece of trash.  And one day after praying and reading my Bible, I sat in my room and drew a picture….more of a poster really.  It said, “I’m not junk, because God don’t make junk!”  This was the message that God gave me when I was a little girl.  I am a Special Creation and I am LOVED!!!!  This is how I survived!

Finally, at 22 years old, after being married for several years and having 2 boys, I found the courage to talk to Tracy.  “Tracy, I have to tell you something.  I hope you don’t get mad.  I hope you don’t want to leave me.  But I am bisexual.”  His response?  “Martha, I could have told you that.”

I’m sure there was more conversation after that, but I don’t remember that.  I just remember feeling so loved and accepted in that moment.  He knew me (and still does) and loved me for who I was even if I wouldn’t admit who I was to myself.  He loved me for who I am long before I loved me for who I am!  My intuition, the Grace of God, that Still Knowing….it was right!  I WAS supposed to marry him!

From that point on, I only came out to a few people where I felt I was safe.  With the invention of the internet and silly role-playing games called MUD(s)…Multi User Dungeons…(kinda like Dungeons and Dragons on-line) I was able to just be myself.  It was freeing. It was anonymous for the most part, but I did make some life long friends from that silly game and they are even friends with me on Facebook now…crazy!

We left our Christian churches behind.  I knew I was made the way I am and I could NOT belong to a faith/church/dogma that said God hated me (or my actions) and that I would be sent to hell for just being me..when I KNOW (from the message I was given as a little child) that God made me just as I am and I am NOT junk!  I never let go of my spiritual faith and personal walk with God.  Finally after all of these years, my husband and I have found the perfect place for our spiritual faith and walk, and it is one that is inclusive to all walks of life: gender, orientation, religious beliefs, races, colors!  It’s a beautiful thing and EXACTLY what Jesus the Master Teacher taught about love!

Anyway at the age of  30 I started feeling the need to really live my life and be “out”.  I was out to a select group of people who were also in the LGBT community.  But I longed to be out to my every day friends who I hung out with every single day.  So, at first, I told Anne and Kim.  Our sons were in Cub Scouts together…they were in Kindergarten together…our lives intertwined.  Anne’s hubby was the Pack Master for our Cub Scouts.  She told him.  I was able to remain a Den long as I didn’t make a big deal about it and tell the boys.  But then, when my oldest son moved to a boy scout troop and that particular troop practiced severe gay bashing, I could no longer stand by quietly and keep my boys in a program that taught them that their mom was a freak of nature.  So I wrote a letter explaining why I was pulling my boys out; I sent it to the people who needed to know (including Anne’s husband).  The next thing I knew, Anne was threatening me.  She had taken this so personally (even though her husband was NOT the one I was complaining about..he is a very good man and I totally respect him).   She threatened to out me to the principal of the elementary school our children attended.  She threatened to out me and cause a ruckus in my life and ruin my reputation at the school.  I was on the board of the Family Teacher Organization.  I was very involved in the school.  And she was going to venomously out me and cause issues in  my private life.  I was scared!

It was at that point, I felt I needed to come out to two more of my very close friends…..Beth and Annelle.  They served on the FTO board with me.  I told them EVERYTHING.  They love me…even today!  Thank you, Nell and Beth for loving me and never judging me (or if you did..for doing it quietly).  *laugh*

Shortly after the “near shoving out”, we decided that it would be better if we moved to Idaho.  My husband had a job opportunity here, and I felt like I could use the fresh start without having to look over my back all the time.  I wanted to live my life as “out”.  We moved here, and I immediately got involved with the LGBT community here.  The problem is, I am still bisexual.  Bisexuals not only get grief from the  straight, closed-minded people; but sometimes they also get it from inside their own community.  Sometimes homosexuals don’t like or accept us because they feel as if we just don’t know what we want and are just confused..we are just straight people playing around…or gays who don’t know it yet.  Yea….not so much!  After being shunned by my own community, I went back in the closet (for the most part).  I went back to feeling alone…even from within my own community.

Eventually, I got over all of this.  I was even given an award by The Community Center (the LGBT community hub I looked to when I first moved here) for being a good example of the LGBT life and my community service!  I received the award during Pride week!  FINALLY, I was being recognized  and ACCEPTED for who and what I am…and being awarded for it!!  I AM OUT!!!!!!

This year, in the after shock of 12 gay young men committing suicide because they could not stand the bullying brought on by their orientation, I am stepping up in a very public way.  I am coming out on Facebook and in my blog.  I am standing up and coming out for these 12 young men who couldn’t come out and stand up for themselves.  I am coming out and standing up for all those who are still in the closet, afraid for their lives, afraid of the rejection, afraid of the religious god-fearing haters who would tell them they are hell-bound sinners.  I am coming out LOUD and PROUD for all of those people being bullied..whether by children or adults, by the straight or the gay community…I am standing up for them!

I want those who are still hiding in their closets peeking out from behind the cracked door to know that it is okay.  It is more than possible to come out and do more than just survive out here!  Sure, there are still some haters out there, but things are so much better than they used to be.  There is a community out here that loves and supports you.  Please, if you are feeling scared and bullied, reach out to those of us who have been there..we are here for you.  We love you and want to support you.  There are so many resources for you.  You are NOT alone!

For more information and support, please check YouTube for “It Gets Better” project   and The Trevor Project

This is a picture of my 17 year old son Nate and I at the 2010 Boise Pride Parade!

This is me right after I was awarded the Willow Award from The Community Center…a Community Service Award given to a person of the LGBT community.

This is me and my amazing hubby, Tracy!  He loves me just the way I am!


Let me just say that I think I am in love with Christopher Moore’s writing!  When a friend of mine first suggested I read some of his books, I had my doubts.  Can a writer really be THAT good?  I have since discovered, that “Yes, Virginia, a writer can be that good!”  He can be serious and witty all at the same time.  His writing sucks you in and will make you want to sit in one place until you are done reading the book.  THEN…you will want to rush out and buy another one of his books!

I seriously think that if you are in a bummer of a mood, then you should just pick up one of his books and settle in for a good laugh.  They will certainly lift your mood :).

So…Lamb, The Gospel According To Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal.  Really?  Christ had a childhood pal?  Who’dathunk?  In all of my Bible school classes, I never even thought about Jesus having a regular childhood filled with the joys, pranks, and heart breaks of a regular child.  But why not?  I  mean, in church we were told that Jesus was sent here to earth to live a regular life and be the example of what a perfect sinless life would look like, right?  So in order to do that, wouldn’t he need to have friends/relationships that would tempt him?  Maybe that was Moore’s inspiration when he wrote this book.  I have no idea, but I do know that this book was amazingly funny and insightful.

At the very back of the book, there is a section that is almost a disclaimer i.e. “The names and identifications of the people in this story are fictional but the story is based on truth.”  Okay, that is not what this says, but you get the idea.  Moore does say that he didn’t write this to change your mind on what you believe, but if you do..well then…that’s up to you.  He does say that no one really knows what happened to Jesus  when he disappeared at the age of 10 or so, and that is what Moore says happened is his story.  He did borrow from other religious beliefs and from some of the stories of the Bible.  And from what I know from my studies, he did a great job!  In my opinion, this book while not meant to change our thinking or to prove a point did have some very profound statements and quotes and did make me think a bit about things.

On page 10 of the book, I found one of my most favorite quotes, “Children see magic because they look for it.”  From my studies in Wicca and just from my observations from raising 3 children, I know this to be true.  Children believe in the impossible and are fearless because that is the way we are inherently created.  It isn’t until an adult tells them otherwise, that they stop believing in magic and start becoming afraid of things!  Now think about the Miracles Jesus is said to have done and think about him as a child learning to perform these miracles.  What do you think his friends thought about that?  Then think about the way the ADULTS in the Bible stories reacted to these things….”IMPOSSIBLE!”  If we could only live and see life through the eyes of children!

On a personal level, one of the funniest thoughts/arguments in this book was whether or not Jews should eat Bacon.  When I was younger, I belonged to the Seventh Day Adventist Church, and they ate much like the Jewish people (minus the Kosher part).  We ate only “clean” foods which meant no pork.  So I gave up eating pork  for a couple of decades.  In Lamb, there is a conversation about different types of sin where Joshua (Jesus) basically said that God had a change of heart and we are allowed to eat pork but all other sins like adultery, stealing, lying, killing…..those were all still wrong.  I just thought this was funny.  This subject is mentioned a couple of times in the book, and each time I just got a huge chuckle out of it!  If you were one of those  people raised to believe this way, I’m sure you will get a chuckle too :).

Then there is the serious side of this book.  A big chunk of this book tells the story of what happened when Joshua disappeared between the ages of 10-30.  I don’t know about you, but I have heard different things, like he went to Egypt to learn the Mysteries there.  I guess Moore heard these stories too, because he takes Joshua on a journey to learn how to become the Messiah, and on this journey he studies with different people.  And this is where some of the seriousness takes place.

“The three jewels of the Tao:  compassion, moderation, and humility.  Balthasar said compassion leads to courage, moderation leads to generosity, and humility leads to leadership.”  This isn’t the first time I have heard that to be a good leader you must be humble.  Actually, I had just heard a speaker during a leadership meeting for Junior League say the exact same thing!

Here is another one of the passages I loved:

“What does the Tao value above all else?”….”inaction.  Contemplation.  Steadiness.  Conservatism.  A wall is the defense of a country that values inaction.  But a wall imprisons the people of a country as much as it protects them.  That’s why Balthasar had us go this way.  He wanted me to see the error in the Tao.  ‘One can’t be free without action.'”…”The compassion, humility, and moderation of the Tao, these are the qualities of a righteous man, but not inaction.”……

“Confucius is like the Torah, rules to follow.  And Lao-tzu is even more conservative, saying that if you do nothing you won’t break any rules.  You have to let tradition fall sometime, you have to take action, you have to eat bacon.”……

“Change,” Joshua said.  “A Messiah has to bring change.  Change comes through action.  Balthasar once said to me, ‘There’s no such thing as a conservative hero.’ ”

He’s right.  I can’t think of one Hero that was conservative.  To be a Hero you must take radical change.  Go against the grain.  Take chances.  Takes risks.  Break the mold!  Even let traditions fall….You have to realize that sometimes rules or agreements or whatever are created for a good reason BACK THEN, but that doesn’t mean that those reasons still stand.  Once we realize that something is “wrong” or not sitting well, it’s time to take a good look at why we do those things and really consider whether those decisions are still serving us.  If they are not, then make the change…even if it means ruffling a few feathers.  For that matter, on a very personal level, be your own Hero!  What in your life isn’t serving you?  Where are you just coasting by doing the same old things living the same old way and know that it’s not serving you?  Take a risk today to do something different and make your life better!  Stop being “conservative” and live your life OUT LOUD!!!!  EAT SOME BACON!!!!

Here’s another great thought and passage:

How many times have you heard this from someone in your life…..”If you already know everything, then how will I be able to teach you?  You must empty your cup before I can give you tea.”  LOL.  Right now I am taking a class called Science of Mind at my church.  And Rev. Jackie (our teacher) told us to take everything we ever learned in Sunday school or in other churches or other religious beliefs and forget about it for the next 10 weeks.  You can’t learn something, if you already know everything.  Then once you have gone through this class and have completed it, forget about it and get out there and start living!

“When you sit, sit.  When you breathe, breathe.  When you eat, eat.”….”Without the past, where is guilt?  And without the future, where is the dread?  And without guilt and dread, who am I?”  So many of my own spiritual teachers and even the books I have blogged about in this blog have said the same thing……..

Here is another thought that mirrored what I think and what I have been learning in my Science of Mind class:

“Love they neighbor as thou lovest thyself”….”for he is thee, and thou art he, and everything that is ever worth loving is everything.”  In other words, God is everything!

This thought just made me laugh:  “It’s very difficult to stay angry when a room full of bald guys in orange robes start giggling.  Buddhism”

A thought on compassion, and it describes the way I feel most of the time, “He loved constantly, instantly, spontaneously, without thought or words.  That’s what he taught me.  Love is not something you think about, it is a state in which you dwell.”  I  just thought that was a beautiful sentiment and description of the way we should all live our lives.  I know so many people who live their lives this way, and let me tell you from personal experience…..It is bliss.

There are so many great laughs and profound statements between the covers of this book.  But I will leave you with one last one, “What I am, is in you all.  the Divine Spark, The Holy Ghost, it unites you all.  It is the God that is in you all.”

One more thing before I end this blog.  There are alot of great nuggets of wisdom in this book.  These nuggets come from a few different spiritual traditions.  If you decide to pick up this book and read it, please realize that this is not supposed to be a true story and it is not supposed to be taken seriously!  It is satire, people!  With all of the wonderful insights I found in this book, you will find even more sex, scandal and plain silliness!  If you are easily offended, this may not be the book for you.  And if you don’t take yourself or your spiritual beliefs too seriously and you have a sense of humor about life, then by all  means, pick up this book and get ready for a great time!!!

This is probably one of the most beautiful novels I have ever read.  Yes, the craft of writing is beautiful, but I am talking about the feeling I get from reading it.  I feel excited, loved, warm rapturous, enlightened, freedom, beauty, reverence, sacred…all kinds of words.  It is a beautiful thing!

It took me a little while to get into the book. I am not certain why, but as soon as I did, it had me captured.  I read for 8 hour strait the other day.  I just couldn’t put it down.  However, bedtime came and I HAD to put Her down.  Yes, I called the book Her and yes, I meant the capital “H”.  Read the book, and you will understand.

I found this book on the Pearlsong Press website.  “Pearlsong focuses on women and health at every size, celebrating the natural diversity in body size and encourages people to stop focusing on weight in favor of listening to and respecting natural appetites for food, drink , sleep, rest, movement, and recreation.”  Not all of their books are about health, but ALL of them celebrate women!  This book certainly does!

This book reawakens the Divine Feminine (Divine She) within us all.  Saracino takes the reader on a mystical journey back in time when the Divine She was revered and the Earth was sacred.  She doesn’t just take the readers there, but she also takes our heroine, Madalene there.  As a reader, we become Madalene, and take this journey to reawaken the Divine within.  We remember what it was like when our menstrual cycles were celebrated instead of cursed.  We remember what it was like to live a life where our intuition flowed and our hearts were open.  We remember what it was like to live a simple life steeped in spiritual traditions.  For some, we hear/read the stories for the first time of how the Divine Feminine changed and morphed into the Catholic Mother Mary.

While reading this book, there were times, when I felt the call to action.  I felt the call to celebrate.  I became even more excited about my daughters impending menarche and the celebration and ceremony we will hold for her.  I laughed and I cried.  I wanted to scream at the injustice of change brought on by the lust for power.  I wanted to scream at the violation of Mother Earth.  The way we have treated Mother Earth is just a physical manifestation of the way we have treated our own Divine Feminine…the way we have treated our grandmothers, mothers, daughters, sisters…OURSELVES.

As women, it is time to stop the abuse.  It is time to stand up for ourselves and realize that WE ARE DIVINE BEINGS OF LIGHT.  We need to learn to love ourselves..our bodies..our minds..our hearts just the way we are.  It’s time that we honor our bodies and the natural cycles it goes through.  Celebrate our menses..honor our moon time.  Remember where we come from.  We remember we are sacred!  This isn’t about US..its about our daughters.  We need to honor ourselves so that we may teach our daughters that they too are sacred.  Change starts with US..right NOW.

What is the source of our downfall..our forgetting:

“Justice and compassion pose great threats to those who seek control.  Power is a lusty mistress.  It entices and corrupts even the most courageous of hearts.”

Here is a reminder:

“All colors, all races, all languages, all levels of intelligence, all manner of creativity.  Healers and  judges, farmers and millers, slaves and soldiers, men and women, children and animals.  Freedom was everyone’s birthright.  And all were meant to prosper and thrive.”

Here is our call to action:

“Life is temporary.  This beauty and the richness you have witnessed today, the sadness and the horrors, too, will remain, but you will not.  You must prepare to do your work.  Go forth and be a healer.  Speak your truth.  Do not waste your breath on meaningless endeavors.  Be true to  your calling, before your time is over.  that is the only way to make a benefit of your life.  For yourself ad for others you encounter.”

“We must rise up, we beings of the ancient memory, when we are able, and assert our mighty authority, our collective plea, our aboriginal insistence.  Our plight must be championed by those of the human race who can heed our siren-song, dare to take up our life-sustaining battle cry.  For Nature and the Divine Mother will not long be held hostage.  On this there is no dispute.”

And what if the call to action scares us?  What if the change scares us?:

“If you’re going to live your life in fear that someone or something is going to lie to you, you’re going to be very lonely.  Life is to be grabbed by the butt and shook for the sheer, juicy joy of living…..If sometimes you squeeze too hard  and you get shit on, so be it.  The good times you gain far outweigh the bad.”

Here’s to grabbing hold of the butts in life and shaking for the sheer, juicy joy of living!!!!

Okay, there was another quote from the second chapter of this book that really spoke to me.  It reminded me of why I started this particular blog and called it “The God Project”.

“Finally, profound moments of spiritual and religious experience take us beyond indentification with our isolated egos.  The sense of separateness falls away as we come into some deeper understanding of ‘It All’.”

“Whatever else we may seem to be, we’re also reflections or expressions of…and then we get names for the nameless:  ‘Awareness,’ ‘Being,’ ‘God,’ ‘Life,’ ‘the Formless,’ ‘the Way.’  Whatever it is, whatever it’s called, there’s only One of it.  It’s present in all creation.  We ourselves are rooted in it.  It is our essence.”

“Who we are, from this perspective, begins with the One.  Unity, not separateness, is our starting point.  And while our ego doesn’t disappear, its importance is certainly put in perspective as a result of having experienced a higher Self.”

Put simply, “We are one.”

We (or I) have spent so much time looking for God or Divinity outside of ourselves, yet all along, IT resides WITHIN us..each of us.  And when I thought about that, and realized simply, “We are one,” I saw the timeless beauty and Truth.

Here is another great quote that really describes “The God Project”

To study the Way is to study the Self.

To study the Self is to forget the Self.

To forget the Self is to be enlightened by all things.

To be enlightened by all things is to remove the barrier between Self and Other.

~Dogen Zenji

When I was little going to church was everything to me. I remember  there were times when my parents didn’t want to go to church, and I would cry and beg them to go.  I loved my personal walk with God. I loved the fellowship with the kids in my church.  I loved everything about it.  For a period of about 3 years, I was going to church 6 days out of 7.  I went to my church, my youth group, my choir practice and I did all of the things at my boyfriend’s (now husband’s) church too.  Church and my walk with God was everything to me.

I was raised in an Assembly of God church and my husband was raised in a Seventh Day Adventist church.  The two don’t really mix well.  At 18, I was baptised into the SDA church and we stayed there until 1997 or so.  I had some serious parts of life by then, and I realized that the conservative beliefs of the SDA church did not sit well with what I truly believed deep down in my heart.  I wasn’t certain I would ever find a church for me to belong to; for that matter, i wasn’t certain I even knew what I believed.

By the time 1999/2000 came around, I was studying mythology in college.  This is when I realized that I really didn’t believe in a Heaven up in the sky or a Hell down below the earth.  I didn’t believe in a God with a long white beard who pointed a finger and judged.  I didn’t believe in a God who would send people to hell to suffer the rest of their days in the after life.  I didn’t believe in a mansion in heaven that only the good could go to.  I didn’t believe that Same Sex relationships were wrong or a sin.  I believed in LOVE.  I believed that Heaven and/or Hell were right now, where we are…..we choose which we live in right now..Heaven or Hell.  I studied myths from all cultures and found out that every single one of them shared the same archetypes and stories; so how could we all be so different?  I realized that every spiritual tradition had the same stories just different names for the characters.  We all came from the same source…call it God/Spirit/Creator.  Then I found the Unity Church.  It was perfect for us at the time.

When we moved from Arizona to Idaho, we left behind the Unity church.  There wasn’t one here.  And we followed our eldest son’s interest in Wicca.  We studied the Western Earth Based religions.  We found beautiful rituals and prayers and a sense of peace in these studies.  Yet, I was still more in tune with Eastern beliefs and metaphysical studies.  How do I combine the two.

Anyway, we have spent years studying, and after 3 years of not belonging to a church, I found that I miss that sense of community and fellowship.  Today, Naomi and I visited The Center for Spiritual Living here in Boise.  I cried all the way through the service.  The service was filled with love, peace, and beauty.  If I wasn’t crying, I was nodding my head in agreement.  I found home.  The minute we walked in there, we were asked, “Would you like a hug?”  That is my kind of place!

Here are a few quotes from the teachings that really hit home today:

“All things are done to us as we believe.”  We were encouraged to really explore what we believe….so what do YOU believe?

When we ask “How can I express more love?” we find our purpose.  This is so true!  To me, expressing more love is being of service to others, and that is certainly my purpose in life.

“Whatever IT is, I am a natural extension of that, and so are you.” ~ Earnest Holmes

This is a beautiful church that teaches everything I believe… New Though mixed with Old Wisdom…respecting and drawing from Islam, Christianity, Shamanic & Hinduism traditions…always recognizing the Divine within us all.  Truly beautiful…..Love is all there is!

Today has been one of those days where I have mixed in a bit of everything, and I kinda like it that way.

I have already mentioned that I am finishing up Dan Brown’s Lost Symbol.  I love this book for so many reasons.  First, I love his writing style.  I also love the subjects he chooses.  There is always something to learn historically & spiritually fro his books.  On a personal level, though, this book really gets me.  It speaks a great deal about the Masons; my dad was a Mason.  Two of  my grandfathers both died Masons in good standing.  My mom was an Eastern Star, and her mom died an Eastern Star in good standing.  Unfortunately, neither of my parents encouraged us kids to get involved with the Masons or Eastern Stars.  I wish they had.  Reading Brown’s books help me feel closer to a part of their lives I never understood and they never really talked about.

What I love about reading books is that there can always be something learned from them…well okay, at least from the books I read…even the fictional ones.  I can always find a message of some kind in the books I read.  Here are a couple of thoughts I have gained from The Lost Symbol:

* “My body is but a vessel for my most potent treasure…my mind.”  The Bible says our body is a Temple and it must be treated as such.  Of course it says it is a Temple of God…..  Divinity lives with in us..this is true (at least for me).  But if we do not treat our bodies properly, then our mind will also get sick.  We must treat our bodies with respect and keep it healthy in order for our mind to work to its fullest potential.  Of course, we also must work our mind to keep it strong.  Puzzles, reading, games, laughter..all of these will help with that.

* “Truth has power.  And if we all gravitate toward similar ideas, maybe we do so because those ideas are true..written deep within us.  And when we hear the truth, even if we don’t understand it, we feel that truth resonate within us…vibrating with our unconscious wisdom.  Perhaps the truth is not learned by us, but rather, the truth is re-called….re-membered…re-cognized…as that which is already inside us.”  I loved this quote.  It reminded me of what I learned when I went to school for storytelling and took Mythology. I learned that all cultures shared the same stories..they all had flood stories..they all had virgin births and resurrecting deities and sacrifices….they all share the same stories but share them in different religions and call them by different names.  We are all the same.  If we all learned that, then maybe there would be more peace in this world…just maybe :).

* “Only through the death experience could man fully understand his life experience.  Only through the realization that  his days on earth were finite could he grasp the importance of living those days with honor, integrity, and service to his fellow man.”  I loved this quote and this idea.  It’s not a new idea to me.  There are several experiences or rituals that simulate death so that once can grow from this experience.  “Rebirthing” and what leads up to those kinds of rituals provide this experience.  A sweat lodge does this same kind of thing….  I have always believed that something first must die before something new can grow….  Sacrifices of existing life must happen before growth can happen.  scientifically this is true.  This theme is played out in so many movies and books.  I just watched “Funny People” with Adam Sandler, and he went through this same experience; if you can get past the crude “teenage/college boy” themes, the actual lesson is very profound.

You may or  may not know, that my husband and I were students of James Arthur Ray (from The Secret).  You may recognize his name from more recent news reports from 3 deaths in a sweat lodge incident in Sedona, Arizona, on October 9, 2009.  My husband and I stopped attending  James’ events a couple of years ago, but we had friends in that sweat lodge, and one of our friends died as a result of injuries from the sweat lodge.  What I have gone through after this incident is very difficult to explain especially to people who have never worked with James so I won’t even try to explain it.  But during the event where the sweat lodge was held, he spoke about death happening and being reborn.  He even quoted one of my favorite quotes, “It’s a great day to die” (from Joseph Campbell).  When 3 people died in the sweat lodge, the media took these quotes and these ideas and turned them into something sinister..using these quotes as “intent” to harm…or at least creating the illusion of.  That is soooooo NOT what happened.  A sweat lodge is a beautiful experience when it is done properly, and obviously something went horribly wrong at James’ event.

The media also portrays James as this horrible person with bad intentions.  I don’t know if that is really true.  I totally believe that James’ heart had beautiful intentions of spreading light and love.  I wasn’t just a student of James’; I also got to be his “point person”/body guard during  several of his events.  This position allowed me to get closer to him than most people ever get.  I got to see his human side..not just his stage presence.  Please do not take this to mean that I knew him well and very personally; that is not true.  I am just saying that his average students and even some of his most recent employees have never gotten that close to him…and I have a different perspective than most people.  Anyway, I have been a mess over what has happened in Sedona, and I’m still doing alot of healing.  Investigations are going on about the event, and no charges have been made yet.  In the process so many people are talking and so many rumors and flying, yet there are so many people who are NOT talking publicly or even to fellow students or “the community”.  I feel like I have lost a big family in all of this.  I feel alot of things.  But while reading The Lost Symbol, I read something that reminded me of James and what is going on right now.  I can’t find the passage now, and I didn’t mark it in the book, but it talks about the Ancient Mysteries were hidden because with them came great knowledge and with great knowledge comes great power…These Ancient Mysteries take root in ancient Egypt and are meant for light, love, good…and when used by people with good heart, love and intentions, it is a good thing.  Though many times people who already have power, want more power..this is where greed and ego step in.  When Greed and Ego step in, then these “good powers”….can and will be manipulated based on the energy of the person using them.  And there have been many people who have said of James that he started out with love, light, and good intentions, but with power comes the want for more power (ego and greed).  When Ego and Greed step in, then things go wrong……..and the effect?  3 people died on his watch during a ritual that is very sacred and beautiful.

I do not believe Jame intentionally meant to hurt anyone.  Knowing James the way I do, I believe he, at one time, had the best of intentions.  Yet, I also know pride got in the way with him at times…and I believe greed did too.  It’s not a judgement as much as it is an observation.

There is one more quote in here I would like to point out:

“From the Crusades, to the Inquisition, to American politics–the name of Jesus had been hijacked as an ally in all kinds of power struggles.  Since the beginning of time, the ignorant had always screamed the loudest, herding the unsuspecting masses and forcing them to do their bidding.  They defended their worldly desires by citing Scripture they did not understand.  They celebrated their intolerance as proof of their convictions.  Now, after all these years, mankind had finally managed to utterly erode everything that had once been so beautiful about Jesus.”

I love that quote. In this day and age, SCRIPTURE and JESUS and GOD have been cited for reasons same-sex marriage should not be legalized.  It has been used to deem homosexuality as a disease and something that can be cured.  It has been used to kill people who believed in different religions.  It has been used to start wars.  Really?  Is that was GOD, JESUS, and THE SCRIPTURE are all about?  No.  I don’t think so.  I can say from a very personal perspective, as someone who has used these very things against her, that NO, this is NOT what these things are about.  I remember as a kid being teased and tormented and all I could say to those who bullied me was, “I’m not junk, cause God doesn’t make junk.”  My mom thought I was wise beyond my years at the time..and I was.  I was 8 years old when I said this…maybe even younger.  But when I was 11 years old and told my mom that I thought I was gay, she practically turned my words on me…”You can’t be gay because you are a good Christian young women…and good Christian young women can’t be gay!  Besides you like boys don’t you?”    She was right about one thing.  I did like boys…and therefore I could  not be gay.  That however did not stop me from liking girls as well.  She was right.  I wasn’t gay.  I was/am bisexual, and I stand by my original statement, “I’m not junk, cause God doesn’t make junk!”  The creator made me the way that I am.  No one else out there made me this way.  I was born this way.  I have always like girls for as long as I can remember…AND I have liked boys.  Go figure!  Believe me, I prayed and prayed and prayed for God to straighten me didn’t work.  *laugh*  Anyway, I loved that quote from the book.  It really spoke to me and the way I believe that “good Christians” tend to think…and they quote GOD, JESUS, and THE SCRIPTURE and hide their intolerance and ignorance in their words.

So there ya go, from the sublime to the ridiculous, there is much to learn!

Why “The God Project”? That’s a really great question, and the only answer I have is: it came to me in the middle of the night while I was trying to sleep.

I spent much of my day (now yesterday) feeling a bit out of sorts (confused if you will). I had a teacher once, James Arthur Ray, who used to cheer and clap when you said you were confused. He said that being confused meant that you were about to learn something new. And yes, indeed, that is what this feels like. I have had this feeling before, and every time, there is something new to be learned just on the other side of this feeling. So I thought that maybe I would start a blog and see where this leads me, and I thought I would invite the general public, my friends and family to read along and take the journey with me.

I was lying in bed, trying to sleep, and thinking about what I would blog about. What is it that I need to learn? Since it was December 29th, I was thinking about the year that is ending and the year that is just ahead. What did I learn in 2009? What do I need to do in 2010 to change some things in my life? I’m not big on resolutions because I feel like they are just ideas that are destined to fail. Great way to start a new year, huh? Hey, I’m just being honest! I thought about setting goals for my life and setting challenges to meet. One of the ideas was reading (and completing) a different book each week (52 books this year. Some may read faster or slower than others, but still 52 books in 2010.) I would blog on these books and what I have learned. 52 book reports? Doesn’t that sound like fun?! I can tell you there was a time when I hated to read, and the thought of actually giving or writing a book report made me sweat!

But still, I have this feeling that I need to learn something. I need to grow. There is this flower just waiting to bloom in gloriously, full color, but yet, I don’t even know what seed to begin to sew in order for it to bloom! Crazy! And even if I did decide to start on this endeavor, what would I call the blog? 52 Book Reports? Ya, I would want to read a blog with that name, too! So there I was lying in bed, when all of a sudden “The God Project” popped in my head.

The God Project???? What the heck? Where did that come from, and why??? I don’t know. But when something like that just pops into my head, it must mean something; so there you have it. The name to my blog: The God Project.

The only conclusion I can make is that 2010 will be a year of great spiritual growth. The books I will read will be fiction, self-help, spiritual, non-fiction, historical (possibly), on wealth & health. They will be all over the place. I will endeavor to watch some uplifting and spiritually minded movies, but I promise you, I will also see some “stupid funny” movies such as “The Hangover”. And of course, since I AM a woman, I can assure you there will be some romantic comedies in there as well. Oh ya, and since I am a Mom, I can guarantee you there will be some kids movies thrown in for good measure! As for experiences, let me give you some examples of what happened in 2009. I climbed Table Rock Mountain here in Boise last year, and the first time I did it, I cried like a baby. It was a huge growth experience for me. I also shaved my head last summer (on the day Michael Jackson died) and I learned so much about myself. AND I started on a health kick, and I am still learning so much about myself and why I have an addiction to food; I’m sure this will be a topic of conversation as well.

When it comes to religion, I do not subscribe to any one doctrine, belief, religion, philosophy. I have read a lot of mythology. I have read the Bible several times. I have read the Hindu Vedas. I have read the Book of Mormon once. As a child I was Assembly of God turned Seventh Day Adventist at 18 years old. At 30, my family started attending the Unity Church and I started veering towards a more metaphysical/spiritual thinking. At 33 my family started practicing Wicca. Now at 40, I do not subscribe to any ONE thing. I believe in a Higher Power whom I pray/talk to every day. I believe there is divinity in all of us. I believe in polarity: for every good there is a bad. I believe a lot of things, which I’m sure you’ll figure out as time goes by.

So there you have it. The God Project. I guess I’ll sum it up with this text from the Bible: In Luke 17:20 it says “The Kingdon of God is within you.” We all have “The Divine” within us, whatever you believe “The Divine” to be. That is what this blog is all about. The God Project. The God within me. A self-discovery.

P.S. I would love suggestions for books to read and movies to see this year…let them fly!