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Thursday, May 27, 2010

Silk Road Experience

We went to see the "Silk Road" exhibit at the Bowers Museum in Santa Ana. Wow!!! If you live in the area, make an effort to go. There are items as old as 7,000 bce!

The silk road was not actually a road, but was a group of caravan trails. Consequently there were people from Europe and Asia moving along the routes, a real mix of culture & peoples.

The highlight of the show, as advertised & for me too, is a 3,800 year old mummy of a young woman. We usually think of mummies as having been only in Egypt. The mummies of the silk trail were done naturally, not on purpose. The soil is saline. The winters were hard. So, some of the people buried in winter, froze, dehydrated & were preserved by the salts. Because of the natural process, the body is white and natural looking. The people buried in summer rotted & so left no mummy. The conditions had to be right.

Anyway, the mummy at the Bowers is a young woman. She even still has her eyelashes! Her hair is a reddish brown. She has a tiny nose & slender body. She is wrapped in a lovely, woven blanket & has gorgeous boots on her feet. She was other than Asian, European before there was Europe. It is a sort of spiritual experience to look through the glass, only a foot or so from her face, & see her. She almost looks like she could speak, so well-preserved. It is hard to realize she lived 3,800 +/- years ago.

I stood there transfixed. It was a time travel moment. Who were you lovely lady? What was your life like? Were you an adventurer out on the silk road? You look like a person of substance. Were you a trader, a successful woman, an early woman of commerce? What did you believe about God? Did you have a religion? How far were you from home? How special it is for me to meet you far into your future. You speak with your being, a testament that you lived & moved about the planet. A testament that you were beautiful and dressed in the best of your day. I wonder what else you would like us to know.

3,800 years from now, it is unlikely that it will even be known that I lived. What is my obligation to life? Since in the long run my contributions will end up to be anonymous & probably unknown, what am I called to do?

I go back to earlier ideas I've had --- to be the best Marlene I can be; to be a beneficial presence; when I die to be able to answer "yes, I learned how to love;" to develop my consciousness, my relationship with God; for that is all that is going with me when I leave here --- & these will also be traces I leave behind that linger and say that I was here. The footprints we leave are fleeting, yet I think they should be of the highest quality of which we are capable. Striving to be the best person I can be develops the inner of me, the part that goes on. The best things, no matter how magnificent, all stay behind & eventually turn to dust. Only the soul is eternal.

God, help me do the best I can with my life. Help my life be an arrow pointing to You, so that all who encounter me also encounter a bit of You. Your will be done.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Testing 1, 2, 3...

These are truly times to try our souls, at least mine. It seems that on many fronts life is pushing and pulling. There are the world and national tugs. There are personal tugs. There is a part of me that is observing and fascinated. There is also a part of me that is concerned. Yes, I know that technically I cannot be divided in parts, but I do have internal facets that take turns on being the prism through which I view the dance of life.

The world tugs at so many of us. Rumors of war in Korea and Iran, wars going on now, genocides reported, incredible torture of women, hunger, famine, orphans and on and on. It seems it has always been so on earth in one form or another. Is there a way to bring the kingdom of heaven to earth? I have believed that it is possible, but now I wonder. Perhaps this planet is a place for us to learn certain things, and the strife is part of our curriculum. Help me understand dear Lord.

Our nation and state tug at us also. So many trends away from our historic ways bring fear to the hearts of many. Our freedoms so precious, yet perhaps also so in jeopardy. God, I know You inspired our founders to create a new way to be a nation. Inspire us today with the vision You have for our nation.

Close to home I have tugs from those about whom I care. For example, a couple of weeks ago the husband of a friend was murdered, shot to death in front of her while she was duct taped. He was a lovely man, gracious and kind. It was right here in our "safe" valley. Then far away milewise, but close to my heart, a couple I have loved for a very long time is having serious problems. It was discovered that he, a supposed spiritual person, is extremely addicted to porn. Of all people on earth, I would not have thought this of him.

I give thanks for forgiveness, repentance and redemption, and of course for God's constant Love. I know there is a way "home" to spiritual wholeness even in the most dire of circumstances. I also know there is often pain along that route that has to be walked in order to get to the other side of it.

On the positive side, my dear son thinks he has found his mate. He is sure she is "the one!" I have been praying for all doors to open if this is true and to close if this is not true. I want so much for my son to love and to be loved, to know what it is like to be loved by a woman other than family. I also really, really don't want him to have yet another broken heart. He is a grown man, and at the same time he will always be my son, my dear little bundle of joy of long ago. My mother's heart wants to wrap him in safety.

Another tug is my upcoming trip, one more time to Russia. 19 years ago it began. I suspect this may be the last one. I'm not as strong physically as I'd like. I want to see and hug and be with my friends there at least one more time. I want to share spiritual thoughts and experiences at least one more time. The book, "Our Spiritual Ancestors Speak to Us Today, Especially About Love," is within minutes of being done. We'll be doing an introductory workshop here in July to try out some exercises and check out the materials. Yet, people who were going with me seem to be either unsure, unwell or unable. I prefer to have a companion from here. I've gone alone before, so I know I can do that. It is a richer and more enjoyable experience for me to have an American friend with me to share it all and to be able to speak with. On the other hand, it is better to go alone than to have the wrong person with me, which I've had in the past. Yes, I've had people who were spoiled and whiny and not okay with changes that always seem to spring up over there. I've had immoral people who posed as spiritual people, but really wanted a sensual trip with beautiful Russians. I've had people who actually went to sabotage our work over there for ego reasons or maybe other reasons.

God, I know that it has always been You calling me to Russia. You have been with me each step of the way, through the hills and valleys. I prepare to go at least one more time. As always, I need Your help. God please send me someone who would be a good, congenial, helpful, spiritual, & noble companion for this trip. Please deflect all others. Guide me in preparation to put together the workshops You want me to lead. Show me what You want of me, and help me to do just that. Help me bring the Spiritual Ancestors You led me to choose to life for all who attend. And, dear God, bring to me the money I need to be able to do this at least this one more time. And, there is in my heart that at least some of my books should be published in English. If it is Your will, open that door for the words You have inspired through me. I give thanks to know that You are always with me and therefore hear these words. I release this prayer to You. Your will be done. Amen.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


It seems that it is time to face my own mortality. Yes, I know that my soul is eternal. I also know we are given finite time on earth as who we are today.

It hit me in an interesting way. I was asked this week to be President of Riverside County for next year for a group of which I am a member and currently the chaplain. For the very first time in my life I declined primarily due to health issues. Up until now, I could choose to do whatever seemed right for me to do without considerations regarding my body. It would not have been long ago that I would have jumped at the chance. This time I had no choice. I am not able. I am honored to have been asked. I am sad that I really am not able.

I guess this has been creeping up on me. Fatigue has been growing. My ventricle is stiff so the lower chamber of my heart does not push out all of the blood. My back has to be carefully attended to. I have strange pains in my ribcage, and of course I am now 70.

So the question comes to me --- What can I do with the time left for me within the confines of physical issues?

It is very important to me that my new book, "Spiritual Ancestors Speak to Me Today," is almost ready to be translated and ready for at least one more workshop tour in Russia. In fact, some of it has been emailed and is being translated this moment, and I plan to have it all there by the end of this week. I truly want to be able to go at least one more time to share and to see my dear friends over there. After all, I've been going regularly beginning in 1991, so I have beloved friends with whom I have developed deeply loving and meaningful friendships. I pray my body will give me permission for at least one more trip there.

Perhaps I have more to write that I can leave behind for others to find and be lifted. I love to sew and quilt. Maybe some more spiritually oriented wall hangings need to be done. I love my family. Maybe I can spend more time with my children and grandchildren. I don't have much hope of spending significant time with my daughter and her children. But, I do have hope of spending more time with my son and his children. I'm not sure about my husband's children. They seem to be going their own way in a different direction. Although I love them very much, I doubt if I will be deeply involved with them.

The sorrow of my family is the distance between my daughter and her family. She and I talk on the phone for an hour or more regularly, but she doesn't want to come here or invite us there. She feels closer to her mate's family I guess. There are lots of them and lots of generations. It seems it's just more fun there. I don't know. I love them sooooo much. Sometimes I cry, but that of course does no good. I've told her how I feel, but nothing changes. So, I have to accept what is and go on.

I guess, if the opportunity opens, we'll probably move up to be closer to my son and his family. It makes a lot of sense.

So, it seems the time has come for me to work on my bucket list. What do I fervently want to do and am still able to do while I'm still on earth?

God, guide me to gracefully live out this last part of my earthly life. Lead me to do all I can do to leave a positive footprint before I go.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Fast Pace of Today

So many things are happening. Life is full. One of the great things is the book for Russia.
The wonderful little spiritual discussion group that meets with me twice a month is helping write the book for the next set of seminars in Russia. I've picked what I'm calling "spiritual ancestors" that have influenced my journey. Evelina wants me to focus on love this year, so I've selected quotes from them on love, and then I'm making comments about the quotes. I've invited the people in the spiritual discussion group to also make comments. Then I'm leaving a space for the reader to make their own comments. I am thrilled about how it is shaping up.

The 8 spiritual ancestors that I've chosen for this little book are: Lao Tzu, Buddha, Jesus, Meister Eckhart, Hildegard of Bingen, Mechtild of Magdeburg, Julian of Norwich and Teresa of Avila. There are, of course, many others whose thoughts and writings have affected me in the course of my life. I just selected some, with an emphasis on the women because women have been sorely neglected in so many arenas, maybe especially in the spiritual world.

I've said it before, but I really do hope that somehow my books can one day be published in English & available here beyond just a few copies for friends. I am honored that they are all translated & printed in Russian. It's awesome. I'd like to speak to the English speaking/reading world too. I pray for that.

Lord, You've led me, inspired me, moved me to write spiritual books. I am thankful for all You have done through me. I ask, if it is Your will, for the books to be published in English & available in bookstores here. Thank You!