I started Fearlessly Feral because I believe, truly and strongly, that people can live wild and free. Yes, it is possible to live amazing, incredible, lush, luxurious lives free from limitations of any kind. Yes, even health limitations.
This isn’t pie in the sky stuff. It isn’t wishful thinking and it isn’t airy fairy.
I use myself as an example in my work because I live a Fearlessly Feral life. Not because I’ve had it easy. On the contrary, I used to think there was no road to get from the life I was living to the life I live today. I was right. So I built my own damn road. They said I should have died. They said I couldn’t function in society without drugs. They said I would suffer my entire life. They said all sorts of things. I didn’t believe any of it. I set out to prove them wrong and in the process discovered a way of living that is so beautiful I want to share how I did it with all of you.
Does it take work? You betcha. It takes work of the kind that most people think can’t be done, because it involves changing the way we think and believe. It involves changing who we are at deep fundamental levels. And I’ll be honest, it is one of my greatest frustrations that so many people balk at that. But it is also one of my greatest rewards that so many other people are willing to move toward it.
I am moved to write this today because lately I’ve witnessed so much limitation in people’s lives. I watched one man walking down the street the other day. I’ve known this man for years. He walked slowly, a little hunched over, like he was carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders. I got so sad that he was living the way he is living. I want to see him at his full potential, enjoying life. And he isn’t. Regularly I have conversations with folks who are experiencing some sort of limitation in their lives. They hate their jobs, they are in unsatisfying relationships, they have some pretty gnarly health issues. And I know that all of that is not necessary, and I affirm their good for them. But when I was in the studies that showed me how to do the stuff I do, they taught me that I must meet people where they are at. Perhaps. I’ve never been satisfied with that. Oh, I can meet them there, and do, because if I don’t they can’t hear me or any of the messages sent their way. Because I know they are getting messages from other areas besides myself. But I can also encourage them to move from where they are at to a better place, and I begin doing that fairly quickly.
And so I do. And we are now back full circle to Fearlessly Feral. This is why I speak. Why I write. Why I do the podcasts. Why I do the workshops and the retreats.
Because I believe it is possible for everyone to live Fearlessly Feral.
I am getting excited about going the annual Centers for Spiritual Living Convention in a couple of weeks! If you are going I would love to see you!
And, I would also love to see you at a book study I will be offering, beginning in March. It is based on the book called Trust: Mastering the Four Essential Elements of Trust, by Iyanla Vanzant. This book study will be a facilitated book study, meaning we won’t just be reading together but I will be guiding us into a deep dive of this great work. It will be held on Mondays, beginning March 4, for 5 weeks, from 2-4 PM Pacific time, via Zoom. Contact me to sign up.
And I’d like to share with you an insight I had simply by reading the Introduction in this book.
I think releasing needs to be added to the official list of spiritual practices in my latest book. So I’m going to add it.
Now, you may be wondering why it wasn’t there in the first place.
There’s the little question of what we are releasing to. Because in Science of Mind we teach that God isn’t something that is separate from us, so releasing gets a bit tricky. But stick with me!
So let me clarify a bit. And back up a bit as well. Releasing can also be called letting go or allowing. It’s the opposite of controlling. Go with the flow. Releasing is about faith and trust. Control is about fear.
And there is a happy medium there. One has to set boundaries, and take care of oneself. One can’t just willy nilly go along with whatever happens to come along, that just makes one a victim.
I’ve learned all this stuff through personal experience.
And to be honest, I’ve never been one to release. Mostly because my understanding of God is that It doesn’t do things, It doesn’t make decisions for us, It isn’t something that just takes care of things. God is an energy force that is a part of us, just as we are a part of It, that provides us with the power to do things, make our own decisions and take care of things. So if I release, I have nothing to release to.
Except I was experiencing some problems. Unpleasant ones. Stubborn ones. Unsolvable ones. I tried everything, and nothing worked. It was frustrating! I kept asking what these problems were wanting me to know, what they were trying to teach me, and I wasn’t getting any answers. I was just getting frustrated.
And then, through a series of tiny little events, it occurred to me that I needed to release. In a whole bunch of areas of my life.
So I did.
And I got instant relief.
But there’s still the whole question of what I’m releasing to.
And I still don’t quite know. But here’s the deal: I don’t have to know. I just need to set the intention to release, and let it happen. I don’t need to worry about the how or the what.
All I can tell you is that when I did that, I got instant relief. Instant.
I took my blood pressure, and yep, instant relief. My veins are very grateful I did that releasing.
Yep. This spiritual stuff is powerful.
So if you are experiencing problems, try releasing. Just letting go. Leave the question as to what you are releasing to. That is not the point here. The point is just to release. Let it go. Turn it in. Allow.
Simply set the intention. Don’t worry about how to do it, or what to release to. Just release.
Today I pay tribute to Dr. Ernest Holmes, the founder of Science of Mind, the teaching of Centers for Spiritual Living. You know those questions that ask about the one person you would love to be able to speak with, or the one person who had the most effect on your life? It’s this guy. Dr. Ernest Holmes, and today was his birthday. I was a child when I first became acquainted with the teaching he presented to the world in the form of a textbook in 1926, called the Science of Mind Textbook. I had some other things to do in life, mainly drink, but when it came time to move to the next stage of my personal development when I was about ten years sober, I came home to that teaching and began seriously studying it and applying its principles in my life. Each class I took, each workshop I attended changed me from the inside out and this teaching continues to do so as I live its principles.
I was unable to find out how many books Ernest Holmes wrote, but at one source I found 49 listings. I own 21 of Ernest Holmes’ books and have read and continue to use every single one of them in my own studies and research, and for my own reminders of the truth when I need refreshers. I read lots of other books, but I always begin and end with Ernest Holmes. He called Science of Mind the study of spiritual psychology and that is where my heart is, in spiritual psychology.
There is a web site called the Science of Mind archives that has a wealth of information and this quote is in the bio of Ernest Holmes: “Once, when asked to provide a concise definition of the Science of Mind teaching, he replied that it is a “correlation of laws of science, opinions of philosophy and revelations of religion applied to human needs and aspirations.”
So for his birthday I want to present to you some of my favorite Ernest Holmes quotes. This is by no means all of them. There are far too many to include. And these are just from the Science of Mind textbook, and more specifically, the Introduction. The text book itself is almost 600 pages long, and mine is filled with highlights and notes. I didn’t include any quotes from his other books.
“To learn how to think is to learn how to live…”
“… trained thought is far more powerful than untrained,….”
“… the very air is vibrant with power.”
“The answer to prayer is in the prayer. But what is a prayer? A prayer is a movement of thought, within the mind of the one praying, along a definite line of meditation; that is, for a specific purpose.”
“We do not will things to be done; things are brought into being, not by will, but by the power of the self-assertive Truth.”
“It has been said that we can know God only in so far as we can become God.” (See my podcast episode titled What It Does for my take on this quote. You can find my Fearlessly Feral Living podcast wherever you listen to podcasts)
“One of the great difficulties in the new order of thought is that we are likely to indulge in too much theory and too little practice.” (This one quote is why, if you work with me, I tend to nag a bit about spiritual practice.)
“ We should learn to control our thought processes…”
“ A new light is coming into the world. We are on the borderland of a new experience.”
Happy Birthday Ernest Holmes! I am so grateful for your contribution to the world, and to my life.
Is inner peace our birthright? Do we have an inherent right to inner peace simply because we exist? I don’t know if it is our birthright or not, but I can tell you this: peace is one of the attributes I request the most, particularly in the last 8 years.
And I know why I request this attribute. It’s because I believe I can’t do my work effectively if I am not at peace. This belief is the reason why self care is so important to me. If I want to be effective in the work I do in the world, I must be at peace.
Plus there’s that pesky little law of attraction that tells me I attract what I am. Which I believe to be true as well.
So I strive for peace when I don’t have it. When something pisses me off, I retreat to my cave to restore myself. That’s my first stop in self care. The next stop is processing: what am I feeling, allowing those feelings, expressing them in appropriate ways to allow them to move on out of here, then replacing those feelings with ones that once again allow me to go out into the world and do what is mine to do, effectively.
Repeat as necessary. And yes, it’s been necessary a lot since 2016. A lot.
But what if who I am, by nature of my birthright, means I can’t even begin to expect to be peaceful in this world? What if, by virtue of the color of my skin, I am faced with things that piss me off on a daily basis? On an hourly basis? How might that affect my beliefs? If I were a person of color, would peace even be on my list of things to do? Most likely not. Most likely I’d be more concerned with survival. Simple survival. Except it isn’t that simple. Simply walking out the door means, if you are a person of color, that you are entering a war zone. A place where you must constantly be on guard.
I know only a little of what that is like. As a woman, I know to be aware of my surroundings, to practice situational awareness. I know to always check the back seat of my car before getting into it. I know to always have some sort of weapon handy and to know how to use said weapon. I know some very basic defense moves. I am very aware that in a world in which many men think that women are second class citizens, I am considered prey by those men. Yeah, like most prey animals, I’m a little jumpy, especially when someone who thinks it’s ok to grab women by the pussy gets elected. When a predator gets elected. Which, if you haven’t connected the dots by now, is why it’s been necessary for me to repeat my little peace process since 2016. It’s when that pussy grabber got elected.
Why does this threaten me so much? Because we tend to emulate our leaders. This guy gets elected, and all of a sudden people have overt permission to behave as this guy behaves. They have permission to be bullies, to grope women, to belittle physically challenged people, to be judgmental, to use violence against people who disagree with them, to use more violence if they don’t get their way, to seek revenge, to carry the distorted and hateful message of white Christian nationalism. All of a sudden, the world is filled with people like this. They used to hide in the shadows. With that one election, all of a sudden they are coming out of the woodwork like super-cockroaches, no longer hiding in the dark but boldly standing in the light of day.
It’s no wonder I’m a bit jumpy. A bit prickly.
Now, if I were a different person, I would retaliate in kind. But I’m not. I’m a spiritual person. I live, breathe and move in spirituality. I believe in the power of unconditional love to heal all things. Oh, don’t get me wrong, if some bully threatens me I can and will defend myself; I have in the past and will do so again. By the way, those of you who think women should dress down so they don’t cause men to behave in inappropriate ways? Shame on you. Those of you who think boys will be boys? No. Teach those boys some respect, not that they have the right to accost a woman because she is dressed in a certain way. Those of you who think women who sleep around are sluts but men who do so are manly? Shame on you too. Those of you who think men are the head of the household? Nope. Not buying that one either. That one came from fragile men distorting the message of Jesus so they could shore up their delicate and large egos. And here I am, angry again. Yeah, prickly.
Let me try this again. Back to love. Breathing. Back to love. Ok, that’s better.
I believe in non-judgment, knowing that judging others ultimately hurts me more than anything else. I believe in forgiveness. I know the futility of attempting revenge and how opposite such a principle is to all of my beliefs. I know and believe in the concept of Oneness, and that it is thus my job to be peace and love as much as I can, because what I do and how I show up in the world does effect others. And quite frankly I’d rather affect them with love and peace than with bullying and judgment and revenge.
But the basic question remains, and is one I’ve been returning to: I’m white. I’m privileged because I don’t have to struggle to survive on a daily basis. The ism I experience is much more subtle than the ism people of color experience. They get blatant attempts on their very lives. I saw a postcard the other day that showed about a dozen black people, all dead, hanging from trees. A postcard! This morning I saw a video in which some white guy was talking about being white meant to be both a savior and a conqueror. He talked about white America and said this country was designed for them. And I got FURIOUS hearing that bullshit. That utter nonsense. The arrogance!
And I expressed my anger and a person who I respect responded to my comment with this quote from James Baldwin:
"To be a Negro in this country and to be relatively conscious is to be in a rage almost all the time."
Yeah. So I’m privileged. I’m not in a rage most of the time. Only part of the time.
And yeah, self care is a big fat hairy deal. Because we can’t go out in the world and expect to do effective work if we are angry.
So this is what I am up to now. Self care and social justice. The two go hand in hand. We cannot do our work effectively in this world unless we care for ourselves first.
As we approach the end of one year and the beginning of another, I believe it to be quite natural that we turn to a bit of reminiscing and review, along with contemplation and setting of intentions.
For me, on the outside, 2023 was filled with 9 talks, 5 workshops and 45 weddings. My podcast had 368 downloads last year, and I produced 10 new episodes in 2023. I also had the privilege of serving another community as Interim Minister, wrapping up that assignment in June.
I entered my first shooting competition this year and won a prize!
I spent six months in 2023 venturing into the world of online dating. I went on a lot of dates, met a lot of interesting people, and learned that I am no longer willing to settle. Still single over here and happy with that.
I have been working on my third book for a couple of years now and quite frankly, I was stuck. The book began life as a daily reader and it just wasn’t coming out. I had an epiphany while cleaning the horses’s stalls one day, and realized I needed to change the focus and emphasis of the book. A few edits and tweaks later and now the book is coming along nicely. It will be called “How to Live Fearlessly Feral” and will be a deep dive into spiritual practices and principles. Complete with monthly recommendations for leaning into, embodying and applying a different practice and principle each month. It will have four main sections, and I’m happy to report the first three sections are complete!
I think my greatest accomplishment this year has been in horseback riding. I got diagnosed with PTSD when I got sober at 32 years old, and while I have experienced years of symptom free living PTSD reared its head after a series of major changes and it affected my horse back riding more than anything else. And no, it has nothing to do with the horse and everything to do with PTSD. I had symptoms in other areas as well, but they were strongest with the horses back riding. With the patient and excellent work of an equine coach, I have been able to progress to the point where I am once again enjoying riding. I’ve gone from not being able to even get on to being able to ride again with joy. And that is wonderful.
One cannot do spiritual practices on a daily basis without having inner shifts and I experienced several of those. I am grateful for all of them and today I live life more confident and feeling whole. And I am grateful for that as well.
Now comes to good part: creation of 2024. And here is where we leave the past behind. We move forward into the future and use the practices of self awareness, connection, contemplation and setting of intentions to create what we want to create in the coming year. Meditation is good for clarity if you are unsure as to what you want life to look like in this coming year. Those practices exist for a reason and you can use them to your benefit.
This is the beauty of this teaching called New Thought. We are at choice. We are powerful. In fact, another name for New Thought is Liberation Theology and I love that! Use those spiritual practices. Do them consistently and persistently and watch your life become liberated from limitations like fear and shame and guilt and all that other nasty stuff. Do those spiritual practices persistently and consistently and watch your ability to create grow.
We create by being at peace with the old and being able to leave it behind. This creates a void, and we use spiritual practices to decide what we want to create. I mentioned them already. Self awareness, connection, contemplation and setting of intentions.
None of this New Year’s resolutions stuff.
By the way, those spiritual practices I keep mentioning? They come in handy in other ways as well. Yes, we have power. Yes, we are at choice. But none of what we teach guarantees that shit won’t happen. It can and it does. And it does so not because we thought it into existence. Sometimes shit just happens. Don’t go all shame based and blame yourself because shit happened. That’s where our power comes in.
Back to the future (see what I did there?). We get to set things up the way we want to set them up. Mary Oliver asked, “what is it you want to do with your one wild and crazy life?” When you know the answer to that, also know that you can create that.
On tap for 2024: publication of my third book, continued podcasting, more giving talks and doing workshops. More horse back riding, more competitive shooting. More speaking out against Christian nationalism, racism, misogyny, and politicians who believe in those things, including and especially that orange menace that is threatening our very democracy. I have some exciting things on tap for 2024 and I can’t wait to see how it all unfolds!
This is the perfect time of year to begin anew. To release the past with gratitude and forgiveness, if necessary, and to start fresh with new ideas and dreams, knowing you have within you a power that you can use. I can’t wait to see how it all unfolds for you as well.
And I leave you with this quote by Hunter S. Thompson: "Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in one pretty and well preserved piece, but to slide across the finish line broadside, thoroughly used up, worn out, leaking oil, and shouting GERONIMO!!!"
And so it is the end of the month. A momentous month! If you are just tuning in, November is the month during which I do a deepened gratitude practice. This practice consists of, every day, making a list of ten items for which I am grateful. Without repeating anything on the list. Which means at the end of the month I have a list of 300 things for which I am grateful. Doing the deepened gratitude practice this month was a bit different than in previous years. I remember my first few years of doing this practice, my gratitude lists all consisted of things: I was grateful for items in my life that either gave me joy or made my life easier. Things like kitchen appliances and vehicles, coffee pots and Instantpots and slow cookers. Hay, delivered and stacked for me. This year was different. Yes, I did list the things. But more importantly, I also listed inner awarenesses and shifts. Things like my confidence and inner peace and communications skills. Things like compassion and courage. This is important because when you believe in a teaching that says it all begins within, all those things are inner things, and I am happy to say that if I were to count the items there would be more inner than outer. And for that I am very grateful. Spiritual practices such as this are powerful, and when one takes the time to do the same practice each day for an entire month, it shows.
I’m working on a book about spiritual practices and principles. It’s called How to Live Fearlessly Feral. It’s going to be a bit like a daily reader, only instead of daily, it will be monthly. There’s a description of spiritual principles, and also of spiritual practices, and then for each month there will be a combo pack of practice(s) and principle to concentrate on for the month. A deep dive.
In anticipation of that, I’ve decided to start that right now. Tomorrow will be December 1. I hope you will join me in the spiritual practices of mindfulness and contemplation, all based on the spiritual principle of love. With a practical twist: clearing the clutter.
As you go through the month, pay attention to what occupies your day. This is basically what mindfulness is. As you pay attention, you may discern that there are some things that you wish occupied less of your day, and some things you wish occupied more of your day. You may see things in your home that seem like they are in the way, or that seem like they give you more joy than others. The key to this is to move towards having more things and activities that bring you joy, and less of the things and activities that don’t.
There are two things to consider here: there may be some activities that you don’t enjoy but can’t get rid of. Like a job. The key here is to change your perception. Surely you can find something about that job you enjoy, like perhaps the paycheck? If you have to be doing something you don’t enjoy but you have to do it, there is no sense in just putting up with it. You can change your perception of it by finding things to be grateful for about it. And if you can’t do that, perhaps it might be time to consider a different job.
The other thing to consider is that if you release things you don’t enjoy, there is a void. As they say, nature abhors a void. Which means that void is going to be filled. Here is the beautiful part: you can fill it, or let nature do it. It’s up to you. Personally, I like filling voids myself. I’m at choice as to what I want to fill it with. And here is where daydreaming comes in. I like to play a game I call “what if?” when it comes to daydreaming. I dream of possibilities, and then I fill voids with things that make it possible for good things to manifest.
So, for December: mindfulness and daydreaming. Based upon a foundation of love. Love what is happening now in your life, and find ways to love it all. Love the possibilities. And because it is holiday season, love everything and everyone. Find things to love!
In this way, you will set yourself up for a wonderful new year and enjoy the holiday season!
There are some exciting things going on in Fearlessly Feral Living, and with that are some opportunities for you!
First of all, we are growing! This is due mostly to the popularity of the podcast. In fact, we are growing to such a point that it is now time to step up the game in Fearlessly Feral Living.
I’m seeking partners! I’m looking for folks interested in and willing to participate in the growth of Fearlessly Feral. I am seeking your ideas and your wisdom! If you are interested in learning more, contact me. I also need a delegate for this year’s annual Centers for Spiritual Living elections. Want more information? Contact me.
In the meantime, I want to share some background about the title of this blog post.
Meister Eckhart said that if the only prayer one says is one of gratitude, it is enough.
Ernest Holmes said that the answer to the prayer is in the prayer. And I have learned that prayer changes the mind of the one doing the praying. I have also found that if I’m praying, my mind usually could use a bit of changing.
Gratitude as prayer is a powerful spiritual practice and I invite you to join me this month in a deepened gratitude practice.
This practice consists of a month long gratitude practice which consists of writing down ten things for which I am grateful, without repeating a single thing.
Ten things, every day, without repeating a single thing. That means that by the end of the 30 days I will have 300 things for which I am grateful.
Feel free to join me and others in this practice. And if you are on Facebook, be sure and join the Fearlessly Feral Living group to participate in a group chat that we are having about gratitude and the results of our list making.
“The great pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do.” Walter Bagehot
I love this quote. I love doing what people say I cannot do. I’ve been doing it a long time. In fact, I have a little physical emoji of a can that says “I can!” I suspect this thing was made to be one of those pins you stick on your lapel but since I wear very little jewelry and no accessories, this little can is now stuck in the wall in my bathroom where I can see it regularly.
I was thinking about this quote today and realized that it isn’t just people who tell us what we can and can not do, It is also ourselves. We all have those little inner voices that chatter away in the background, telling us “you can’t do that!”
But that isn’t true. We can. It sometimes takes a bit of work. It sometimes takes a change in what we believe to be true about ourselves. For example, do you believe that after you reach a certain age you can’t do certain things? Why do you believe that? Is it because someone told you? It is because the adults in your life modeled it for you? I was lucky, I had a dad who water skied and played professional trumpet till he was in his 80s. Then he retired and hit the road in a motorhome. He modeled for me that we do not have to believe what others, or ourselves, tell us about our age.
We are only as old as we make up our minds to be.
This is just one example of examining our thoughts and beliefs to discover what we believe about a thing, and then asking if it is really true. Or did we just assume it to be true?
Here’s the truth: you can be and do anything you wish. Period. Don’t let the naysayers, whether they are in your own mind or in the minds of others, tell you what you can and cannot do.
There is a Force in the universe that is everywhere present. I suspect you may agree with me on that, even if you call It a different name. I love the omnipresent feature of Spirit, because if It is truly everywhere present, It is also within me. From the teachings of Science of Mind and from other teachings, I have discerned that this truth has much greater ramifications than simply God is within me. It also means that God is AS ME. In fact, I like to think that, as human beings, we are the way that God shows up in the world. We are God’s opportunity to speak. I believe that this is what it means when the Bible says we are children of God. If this is true, then we have both a gift and a responsibility. The gift is that with God as us, we have all the power and love and joy that God has. This has great potential for being able to live our lives successfully, with joy and peace. It is truly a great gift. The responsibility is that, with God as us, we need to act like it and not allow our fearful humanness to get in the way. Here is where we can take the love, power, strength, joy, beauty and peace that is attributed to Spirit and make it ours. If we all live as if we truly believe that we are physical manifestations of God, imagine how wonderful things would be! So today I sink into the gratitude I feel for this wonderful truth, that God is such a part of me that I have all the power and love and of God as a part of me as well, and today I walk in power and strength, I have unconditional love for myself and others, I feel and appreciate the beauty and joy of life, and I feel at peace. I am One.
Henry David Thoreau once said, “if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.”
Do you have dreams? If not, why not? A good spiritual practice is to sit down and figure out what your dreams are for your life. And I have news for you: always have a dream. Because when we have a dream, the universe conspires for it to happen. Once we discern our dream, there is a giant YES there and everything that happens from that point onward is simply another step to achieving that dream. Sometimes it may not look that way. Have you ever heard that old adage about not praying for patience because you will get something to be patient about? Yeah, that. Just keep going. Handle whatever comes up with dignity and grace and keep moving confidently in the direction of your dream.
What if you have a dream, but you don’t think it is possible to achieve it? Dreams are nice, you might think, but they are just dreams. Not true. There are a lot of definitions for the word dream, but I prefer this one: an aspiration or a goal. Yes, dreams do come true. If you don’t think it is possible to achieve your dream, start there. Why do you not think it possible?
And if you do not have the confidence to advance in the direction of your dream, that is the place to begin.
Ultimately, dreams are good stuff. We have an idea or a dream, and the yes is always there, waiting for our participation in achieving it.
Today, I confidently advance in the direction of my dream.