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Friday, 27 April 2007
FREE TO FORGIVE
Now Playing: April 27, 2007 (May Issue of Journey Magazine)

        As a young girl I liked to play with building blocks.  I advanced from wood blocks to metal erector sets.  The many dolls given to me did little to change my desire to build.  Perhaps this came from my father.  I watched him bring home numerous cinder blocks and giant concrete blocks from his job as a cement truck driver.  He would use these blocks for anything imaginable.  Proudly with a plump beet face and large bulging arm muscles he would carry his “finds” to our back yard, to the dismay of my mother.  I remember trying to build my own backyard hideaway with cinder blocks until I discovered spiders were already residents.  I switched to the bigger concrete blocks.  It was a tedious process and I still don’t know how I lifted them.  My parents did not mind me spending time in my hideaway.  They knew where I was because there was no door.  For reasons that I could not understand, I needed a hideaway.  At times I would leave the blocks behind to explore the woods.  My mother thought I got “lost” intentionally because I would sit for hours watching birds build their nests.  It fascinated me why birds built new nests every year.  This seemed foolish to me as a child but wise to me now.

            Over time a different hideaway of concrete blocks became my prison.  My childhood hideaway had been taken apart for “better purposes” as my father said.  My childhood pains became my new solid concrete blocks, a secure hideaway.  I aptly named each block:  abused, deprived, and rejected.  The largest block was named: “Self-blame.”  With passing years I added more blocks naming them for new hurtful experiences.  These blocks reinforced the original ones.  My hideaway soon had many escape rooms.  I learned how to control the light, lifting one block long enough to see with clarity than slamming it back down whenever I became afraid. 

But, I still had the door issue.  Occasionally a compassionate soul would walk in encouraging me to leave the blocks behind, but I steadfastly refused.  My blocks were justifiable for facts supported their existence.  I had been harmed, suffered from abuse of power, and my trust violated.  Experiences that built the heavier blocks were the untimely deaths of loved ones.  I had a right to be angry and fearful.  My prison grew and my resentments became confusing shackles.  Eventually, I added blocks of egotism, accomplishment and money.  These decorative blocks proclaimed to all that I was doing fine.

But the light persisted in shining through my blocks, more so after I became a reiki master.  The light shone directly into my higher consciousness.  My spiritual practice would turn a glaring lamp back onto me.  Block after block crumbled in this light.  When I channeled, I would talk of forgiveness, heart chakra energy and expansion of positive thoughts.  I worked to forgive with regularity and blocks disappeared into thin air.  Apparently, they were not heavy blocks at all.  It was I who had decided they were.

            After awhile, it seemed only several pieces from my original blocks remained.  One day I walked away from them and into the light. The doorway had always been open.  But, I didn’t walk alone.  I walked away with the help of spirit and my intent to live fearlessly and joyfully.  I asked for spirit to guide me to release these remnants from me because I could not by myself.  I realized how much my blocks had prevented me from living my life fully.    

Recently, I became an ordained interfaith minister. Spirit had tested me because a short time afterwards I endured a hurt from someone who meant much to me.  I chose to not justify my pain, reside in anger, seek retribution or dwell in resentment.  I chose to forgive.  That unbearable hurt became my blessing.  By choosing to forgive I chose to be free. 

            There was one block hiding which I had avoided.  It was the heaviest block of all, “Self-blame”.  I again asked spirit to help. As I walked out farther into the light I can see the world again with child-like eyes watching birds build nests.  Instead of disappearing, the block transformed into a beautiful bird that whistled a joyful tune of my deservedness to give and receive love. 

Inevitably there will again be hurts that will need to be forgiven and I will ask for forgiveness for any pain I inflict.  I can rebuild nests as my life changes in trust, not fear.  With spirit as my guide and forgiveness as the doorway to a better world I will never again build a hideaway.  Forgiveness brings freedom.

  

Mary Ann Reiger, Rev.


Posted by maryann-psychic at 1:05 PM EDT
Updated: Friday, 27 April 2007 4:49 PM EDT
Saturday, 18 March 2006
Calamity of Control: A Saturday to Surrender
I have seen her before but not sure where. Impatiently, she paced in front of our old brick office building, repeatedly ringing the doorbell. “These doors need to open now. I must be at work. Where is the guard?” I thought this was an easy excuse not to work on a blissfully sunny Saturday morning. “Take off, enjoy the day?” I suggested. Ignoring me she rang the doorbell then started to knock loudly on the glass. She swept a key card across the door’s security box. The gold framed glass doors did not open. She stomped her feet but the doors did not open. No one heard her.
Mesmerized I watched as the bright morning sun glanced off the gold metal door frames momentarily blocking her from my sight. How many doors had I tried to open that were shut tight I wondered, like the times I believed that if I tried hard enough I could fix the unfixable, like a broken marriage, bad poem or cracked cup. Surrender isn’t easy for us problem-solver types. We pride ourselves on our survival instincts. When does determination turn into control, desire become obsession or hard work turn into stubbornness? If I surrender does that mean I settle, give up, or I am not able to achieve my goals?
She stopped knocking on the door momentarily, looking around angrily for someone to blame. Dialing her cell phone her words turned into accusations with each new call. I waited absentmindedly scrambled my key ring staring at the useless keys. How many keys did I still carry to doors that had long been slammed shut? Did I hold on hoping that I could relive the past, make amends or was it denial? Occasionally, she would glare back at me as if to blame me for the locked doors. Blame is the refuge from the responsible self, handed out like useless keys.
A homeless man walked up. “Can you spare a dollar?” Out of my pocket I handed him a handful of change. He saw quite a few pennies, so argued. “But I needed a dollar!” Begrudgingly, he pocketed the change, grumbled and walked away. Among the pennies were several dollar coins he had not seen. When we demand control do we miss out on more?
The woman leaned against a gray stone wall. She looked up at the sun in a new way noticing its brilliance. Her shoulders drooped as she snapped her cell phone shut. “I don’t know what to do. My reports are due and I can’t be late.” She sighed. The heart wants what the heart wants and usually for valid reasons. Do we only surrender when we have worn ourselves out trying?
When I stopped controlling my life’s keys I began to succeed. Whenever I practice gratitude doors do open. I work to achieve my highest potential while recognizing I am part of the wholeness of spirit. I no longer wait to surrender. By surrendering I become a co-creator of an evolving life. Surrendering is not easy for me as it takes trust. Refusing to surrender creates the calamity of control. When I do surrender doors open and unimagined possibilities become realities, dreams are fulfilled in surprising ways or I learn my dreams can change. Surrendering allows me permission to change and grow.
The homeless man walked past while counting his change. Often we do not realize the many gifts we continually receive until we surrender. The woman relaxed and smiled as I walked up to the golden doors. I offered to help her call the building’s office. As I did. I noticed how well-polished the doors appeared. Patience to surrender when gleaming doors appear closed can be daunting. We can see our prize on the other side of the glass door but can’t reach it.
Soon we knew someone would arrive. Patiently we joked about the silliness of being indoors on such a sunny Saturday. Maybe things would turn out fine if we left.. Sometimes we surrender together.
A guard suddenly appeared. “This way!” He motioned then apologized for being late. Excitedly, he said. “Look at my daughter!” He pointed to a newborn baby picture on his cell phone then thanked us for being patient. The woman embarrassed rolled her eyes. Easily, he opened all the locked doors. When we stop creating calamity from our need to control we learn what newness can be created.
At last, I recognized the woman, because there were times I have been her. The guard grinned as he leaned back in his chair gazing in awe at his newborn baby’s pictures.
Most importantly, surrendering returns us to the innocence of a child.


Published in The Journey Magazine, Issue 27
March – April 2006

Posted by maryann-psychic at 10:15 AM EST
Sunday, 8 January 2006
Diversity
It was years since I had last visited the church of my childhood. There I was sitting in the last row uncomfortably on a wooden pew on a cold Thanksgiving day morning. My goal had been to pick up my brother after the service for dinner, but I arrived too early, and so I walked in. As goals sometimes go, my brother was not there. Snowflakes had clung to my coat anticipating an early exit by me. I spent moments staring at a single snowflake on my coat. As before, my attention span too easily wandered during church services. The church was expensively renovated overlooking a neighborhood crumbling from the weight of poverty. I shifted in my pew uncomfortable with this notion. Looking up at the ceiling of pictorial adornments the artistry was admittedly beautiful. From shimmering candlelight and stained glass windows sprung sentimental memories but also remindful reasons for my journey out of organized religion to the solitary path of spiritual discovery. My path had taken me into studies of psychology, world religions, ancient earth and native spiritualities and to energy healing practices, which is where I found my center. Intrigued by these surroundings, and knowing well that random events are never random, but instead usually pay-attention moments, I waited to discover why I was really here. I looked at the people who crowded the front pews. I sensed the spiritual humility of several devotees while others would look back at me quizzically is if I were an impostor.
Gazing up at the concave ceilings with a wide-eyed delight I began to see the grandeur art from a different perspective. Did the rows of people standing behind clouds exist on the “other side”? Could the flames of light above the pious be portrayals of active crown chakras? Could the light emanating from outreaching palms be energy points emitting healing? Perhaps halos were early interpretations of glowing auras. Are our underlying beliefs really that different, or, is it our egos that separate us to define reason for existence serving to justify that rationale at whatever cost. Separation creates opposing “god” teams, certain reasoning for many wars. Do we really need these teams? Can the spiritual connectedness I feel during reiki be the same experience as the eighty-year old woman kneeling in the front pew, her arthritic hands clutching her rosary beads? Are we essentially the same but clutching different definitions? Perhaps our diversity helped us to connect to spirit by creating rituals that express our heritage and community. But instead of rejoicing in diversity, we build walls and cast judging eyes upon impostors.
What if it was more important not that we pray to a particular god, but that we do pray; not that we heal by faith healing, reiki, western or eastern medicine, but that we do heal; and not that we love from duty, reaction or reciprocity, but that we do love. Imagine people gathering to easily share diverse methods to pray, heal, love and thus connect to spirit. Imagine each of us sharing traditions sans judgment, received with appreciation.
The doors to the church momentarily blew open. A blast of cold air pushed forth doubts discouraging my hopes to see this idyllic time occur. Those doubts soon faded as this ideal that warmed my soul was much more magnificent to me than any artwork.
I wondered if my favorite childhood room remained unchanged during the renovation. Discreetly, I walked back to a secluded enclosure. A beautiful statue of Mary stood untouched. Roses cascaded down layers of blue and white veils as she emerged from the side of a mountain cave. Small red novena candles flickered casting shadows hinting at the common symbolic meaning that was sadly divided by dogmatic fear. Years ago, I spent much time in meditation here, inspiring me to later study goddess spirituality, itself left standing in dark corners, ignored by many religions.
As the service concluded, I realized my brother must have grown hungry waiting for my arrival. Relieved to be back outside in my own church, the natural world, my coat instantly became dotted with snowflakes. I tried again to observe a single snowflake but gusts of wind blew the snow into rising swirls. We are perhaps like snowflakes. Each snowflake is unique. It is our journey to permit the wind, our minds, to propel us upward to seek. The diversity of each snowflake balances our connectedness. We are snowflakes who dance in the wind seeking the snow. We journey far, returning to our beginning, to realize that the snow, divine spirit, is present everywhere.
If our journey teaches us tolerance then our own snowflake dance can truly become a joyous symphonic celebration of our shared spiritual diversity.

Mary Ann Reiger, Spiritual Reiki Healer and
Intuitive Counselor, maryannreiger@yahoo.com
(216) 898-0919
Article Published in Journey Magazine January-
February, 2006


Posted by maryann-psychic at 2:44 PM EST

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