The Beloved and I at Burnaby Lake

This beautiful magical day of the eclipse I went to Burnaby Lake to see The Beloved. The Beloved is the Divine Presence in all things. The Beloved is the Divine One that manifests all things. She is the Divine passion. She is the True One, and she will show herself to you if you care enough to quiet your mind. Bring the mind to stillness. She will come. Today the energy of the Lake is full. Beauty still exists in the flowers and leaves even though winter approaches. It is as though The Beloved is holding up her beauty for all to see as long as possible before the long winter sleep. The ducks frolicked today as though it were summer, and yet the darkness in the photos shows the approach of winter. As you look at the pictures, be open to see the divine.
IMG_3058
The most magical creature in the marsh is the Blue Heron. Today he sat in Eagle Creek, which feeds into Burnaby Lake, for a long photo shoot, just for me. The Beloved is so kind to me. She knows how I love the Blue Heron.
IMG_3142
The cycle of life was on display today. Salmon have made their way from the ocean, up through the Brunette River, over the Dam, into Burnaby Lake, and back into Eagle Creek so they can spawn in exactly the same place where they hatched. I saw them coming back from Eagle Creek, spawned out, ready to die in Burnaby Lake. The Blue Heron was feasting on dying Salmon. Tonight the Black Bears will be out in force, along with the Minks, to dine all night on Salmon. The beauty of the cycle was so moving, it brought me to tears, not for sadness but for joy and beauty of the way The Beloved has manifested Her nature. I am part of that manifestation. The immensity of The Beloved is mine as well. I am a part of Her and she is more than a mother to me, more than a lover.
IMG_2832
She is the beauty that comes with the dawn and shines through the twilight. She is the glory of the night, in whose beauty she walks.
Full Moon
She is the song of the birds which delight my heart. She is the Blue Heron who came today, not just for his Salmon, but for my heart. The beauty of this place owes itself to my heart. The Beloved is in all things because The Beloved is in me, and in her is my heart full, and Love stands still in a marsh that knows no time. Only in eternity is such Love found. I have found The Beloved in me…and I am Home for all ages…at Burnaby Lake♥♥Namaste dear ones.♥♥♥

THE BELOVED And I, Joseph Shore: A Collection of Writings about the Beloved

THE BELOVED

And I, Joseph Shore

 

Thunderstorms brought cooling rains to an overheated British Columbia coast, along with an incredible display of lightening. People sat on their porches and clapped and yelled in pleasure like they were watching fireworks on Canada Day. Today is cool and calm and my overheated long haired Himalayan cat is grateful. The energy of the day is sweet and slow. I can’t wait to get to Burnaby Lake tonight to see how the ducks and geese are fairing. We are getting so close now to giving up all illusions of particular identity. The sight of the Beloved is everywhere. I see her now in all forms, even the forms we call “bad” here in this dualistic world of opposites. I AM The Beloved. The jig is up. I have seen behind the curtain! There is just One of us here. Call him/her many names. They will all work. The Course calls him The Son of God, but that terminology is just meant for those who use the Bible and need their information corrected. As a name it is just a form. The Truth of the One may also be expressed as the sacred feminine and that is why I call her “The Beloved.” The first creation of God, She is, in a spiritual universe of One-ness, no different from God. There is no place God ends and The Beloved begins. They are One. And we are One in The Beloved. Namaste, my beauties♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

 

The night air glistens with stillness. The birds have retired to their nests but the sounds of night fill the air with a symphony of equal beauty. In the distance Coyotes sing their haunting song. Can you hear the Melos? Owls make comment in staccato. The cicadas sing their hypnotic tune. The sounds of night are magnificent and the Melos is in them. Within this nocturnal fortissimo, my mind comes to stillness. No thought intrudes. And in this stillness I see You. Your immensity is on display in my heart. Your boundlessness approaches me with a waiting kiss. I have beheld your Glory. You, it has always been You, my Beloved, my Enchantress, my Eternal Magician. What new form will you take to hide your immensity? I will seek You until I find you, hiding in the form of your choice. I will find You and join with You in a coupling forgotten from the foundation of time. Ecstasy…and we are One

 

Burnaby Lake has been my teacher for 25 years. I cherish and respect her as I would any other teacher. On these shore I have learned Oneness, not in some abstract way, but through the breeze rustling through the tree tops, the fragrance of the flowers, the beauty of the little flowers on the raspberry vines; and then the majestic beauty of Sandhill Cranes and Blue Herons, beautiful wood ducks, and all the fisher birds and the great Canadian Geese. My ego thoughts still; the chatter of the brain is stopped, and I am left with this immensity with which I fully identify. There are many minds within this immensity besides mine; the flowers, animals, ducks, geese, fishing birds, et al. We share this immensity and we are in truth all One Spirit and I am filled with love for all things. This full identification of one Self with the immensity IS Love. Yet it also brings something deeper. At times I see past the lake and instead see only the Beloved summoning me to join with her in embrace. I have channeled so many lines to you about the Beloved. Do you understand that the Beloved is God to me! She presents Herself to me as feminine. The full moon is the best time to see the Beloved. I shared this with you last year, but it bears repeating:

 

Dear Ones, I want to share the magic sight of the Beloved with you. ♥♥♥♥♥♥

 

I went to my holy place tonight. Two hours before sunset I went to the water fowl sanctuary at Burnaby Lake, a place that I have often written about in my blogs. This wonderful marsh is capable of bringing my mind to astonishment and peace. I am struggling for words to describe what I experienced tonight. As I entered the marsh lands I visited the gardens at the nature house, this garden that I know through the seasons. The Spring garden has now grown into a Summer garden with tall wild flowers of indigo, yellow, and red colors. The Honeysuckle still perfumes the garden. Bees, slugs, and hummingbirds do their work. The garden is alive and the presence of the Beloved is in all things, and enters me. As I am filled with the garden, my thoughts slow down, my mind stills, and tears come to my eyes for it is the Beloved that I see. The blackberries are thick on the vines, though they are not ripe yet. Marsh wrens and redwing blackbirds sit in the trees by the garden and give their little cries. As I go to the waterfowl sanctuary there is a fever of life going on. Mallards, wood ducks, tiels, pied-billed griebes, long-billed dowitchers, belted kingfishers, swim in circles, fish for food, nibble at grain thrown by children, young and old. The marsh is now thick with lily pads and the beautiful white lilies are still adorning the area. There is a rush of life. The full moon has energized the entire marsh. Ducks take off in flight from the water, their bell-beat of their wings sings the Melos of all things. They fly in circles, half a kilometer in diameter and then land back in the marsh in perfect precision. They are flying for fun!! They are drunk with the power of the full moon! The griebes, the dowitchers, the marsh wrens, the swallows are all drunk. The twilight comes, and the sleep drunk beavers reluctantly leave their lodges and glide through the lilies. There is but One here in this paradise. The BELOVED is showing herself in all the myriad forms of life, flowers, bees, birds, ducks, geese, kingfishers, so elegant they bring tears to my eyes and take my breath away. The baby ducklings I observed as hatchlings in the Spring have survived the eagles and crows and now swim with their mothers as beautiful young Mallards. Tiels, now unmated, swim in elegance among the wood ducks, and just when my heart can take no more, the Beloved shows me a tree in the distance and the most prized of sights in the marsh, the Blue Heron has come to show himself in elegance, splendor and beauty which takes the breath away and breaks my silence with tongues of angels coming out of my mouth, joining the sounds of the marsh. I AM THE BELOVED. I am not particular. I am part of this marsh and it a part of me. The twilight comes and empties its peace into the magic already on display. Peace and grandeur now mate in this place of wonder which is my heart as well. Tears cannot be stopped now, nor my tongues of angels. Fish come to the surface just to see me and I greet them with peace. The ducks and geese know me by heart, sight, and smell, for I am part of them. Oh, the Beloved, the Beloved, Thou who manifests all things for my heart. I and Thou are One and Oneness is all that inhabits this holy place. Consciousness is but a silly thing. This wondrous Oneness flows, uninhibited by consciousness. The flow is all there is, shaped as ducks, birds, flowers and me; there is nothing but the flow and this flow knows only a love that is so deep and impersonal that it obeys the moon and my heart. What need is there for words when there is the One, the Beloved. And in the top branch of the tallest true tree, the crowning joy and wonder of the marsh itself, the Blue Heron. Time has stopped but my heart is full and overflowing. In this place I am not a body. I am the Beloved. Wondrous Beauty and Timelessness have mated to form ME. I am the Beloved. I wait in this wonder until twilight has passed and the sun has set. Life is still full in the marsh. Ducks who would normally be in their beds, their bills tucked under their wings are still at play, scuffling with one another in a virtual frenzy of love’s presence. This is That!!! Love’s Presence has manifested as a marsh and as me. In the distance, an eagle flies across the lake to her nest in a far tree; a coyote sings its dour song and I know time has come for me to reluctantly leave this paradise for the night. Black Bears will be coming out soon, along with the minks and muskrats. The Beloved is such a shape shifter but Love is her only name and Oneness her garment. I have stilled the mind through tears of love for the Beloved, seen her naked in the twilight, her beautiful form more lovely than any woman I have known. No breasts are this lovely. No thighs this shapely; no legs this elegant. No thought of union this deep has entered the carnal mind. The Beloved and I are One and I am changed for it. The darkness has to pull me away from the marsh. I do not want to leave. How can I leave? How can I leave? I have seen through the Veil. I have seen that which we all seek for! I am that which we all wish to be! I am no longer a man, but the Beloved who gifts me with manhood and shows me my greatness in a beauty which cannot be spoken for it has no name. In tears I unlock the car door and so reluctantly become particular again. But it is all a ruse. I sit in top of a tree in the form of a Blue Heron. I pluck bits of grain as a long billed dowitcher, I nibble on lilies as a moon-struck beaver. I AM THAT I AM and there is nothing else. I AM THAT I AM. There is nothing else. There is nothing else. There is nothing else. My dear Ones, together with me in the Beloved, there is nothing else…but the FULL MOON in all its Glory!

 Full Moon

La Bella Luna Piena

This beautiful full moon tonight was wonderfully special. It gives such serene energy, mellow, and rich with gratitude. Use the energy to forgive someone today.

I went to my beautiful marsh, Burnaby Lake. The summer garden by the Nature House is now almost gone, but traces of its beauty still remain. I visited with the flowers, told them how much I loved them and what a wonderful job they had done this year. I petted the flowers and told them they were still lovely as I took their pictures. And then, I was overcome with tears by a visit from my old friends there in that holy place. My immensity returned to me and with it my stillness. These beloved gifts I gave to myself there in the presence of that autumnal garden. I thanked the Honeysuckle vines and kissed them. I plucked the last blackberries and thanked them for their sweet taste, and then I headed for the lake to see my ducks, geese, and waterfowl friends. Right away it was obvious that the ducks and geese reflected the serene energy of the moon. They were not frenetic in flight the way that had been in the summer full moons. They were all gently a chatter but not terribly interested in flying anywhere. People had come in droves to the waterfowl sanctuary for some reason unknown to most. They fed the ducks and scurried back home. The night air cooled to a Canadian chill before the grand arrival of La Bella Luna. First we were treated to a spectacular sunset with purple, orange and yellow colors reflecting off the cloud and pouring out its light on to the lake. Then finally the full moon rose and her sweet energy filled the marsh. She arose late tonight and towards her winter tilt, but there she was, In all her glory, looking slightly pink within the clouds. I just thanked the ducks, geese and waterfowl for their beauty and love. I thanked the marsh for another year of experience with her. I am that marsh. Those ducks are a part of me and I of them. That lake is my blood and I am its life. We are joined together in a song and dance of remembrance that makes Heaven blush. Shameless love fills my place and I am at peace. My heart has forgiven every one. I have forgiven the world. And now Heaven’s splendor radiates so strongly from every blade of grass, every blackberry vine, every flower in the garden, every duck and goose, every lily pad. The world that I had once made out of fear is gone with the past. The world I see now is a part of me and I of it and all a part of God. In the splendor of the grass do I walk, as each duck, bird, squirrel, beaver and muskrat. I am the great Blue Heron. I am the fishes he feeds on. I am the beaver in his den and the children he cares for. I AM THE FULL MOON AND THE UNIVERSE OF WHICH IT IS A PART. It is all me, not “Joe Shore.” He is just a body and a character I am playing. I thank “Joe” for his good work and at last I “love” him, but he is not ME. I am the radiance of the sun. I am the clouds that cover it. I am the mist that rises above the marsh. I AM THE FULL MOON THAT RISES OVER IT. I AM THAT I AM, not as a person, not as an Ego. I AM the immensity. I am the PLEROMA. I am the love that tells the flowers to spring up and the rain that nourishes them. I am the force that connects all things in spectacular quantum entanglement. I am the tears that run down my face now. I am the love that brought forth my companion, Blanche, who sits with me now in contentment. I AM THAT I AM and I am not alone for you are with me, and you and you and you and you and you who were my enemies, you who hurt for me, you who hated me as well as you who love me. You are here and we are One. This is the beautiful energy of this full Moon. La luna piena! Come bella sei tu. The gifts of Heaven you bring to those with eyes to see and ears to hear and hearts that yearn to be opened.

This immensity that I know now so intimately cannot be harmed. It cannot be diminished. It cannot fade. It will turn now into the winter of sleep. I will tell the flowers to sleep and the trees to shed their leaves. I will tell the berries they may safely go back into the cold earth and rest for a season. And I will tell my beautiful ducks to tuck their beaks under their wings and wait. I will come again and raise them to a new Spring and new hatchlings. In the meantime, this body that calls itself “Joe Shore” will visit them in the cold of winter and bring much needed seeds to them. I will tell them stories of the coming Spring and the love they will again feel for one another as mates are chosen, eggs laid, and ducklings hatch. This beauty will stay at Burnaby Lake until all the universe has awakened and returned to the Pleroma of God from which it came. I will never leave Burnaby Lake. We will ascend together…in the light of the glorious full moon. La Bella Luna Piena. This is as holy a writ as you will ever read and it is only fitting that, just for now, I say….
AMEN

 

 bench into eternity

On these shores, my mind now slips so happily and easily into the upper dimensions. The Lake has partnered with me in awakening for it has joined with me as a brother. The Lake and I are One, for the Lake is a manifestation of the Beloved. Love’s Presence fills my mind at the thought of her and to be with her is joy. Each leaf, each flower, each branch, every little stream that goes into her, all assist my mind. The Beloved  and I are One. We will go together into the higher dimensions, carrying our ducks and geese with us. My mind stills here and an ancient song fills my heart. I know no evil here, nor any little thought of conquest. Spirit has positioned me perfectly here and given me what I need to awaken. I will shake loose the skin of my little self and sluff off its housing. I am as God created me, spirit, not form. And now I am ready to journey cosmically into higher Spirit. I have others to join with, and the song of love comes with me to share with new brothers and sisters in higher places.

What an enormous and wonderful new frontier. What a good day to sail!!!

 

The stream of ages flows and in it is all that is of love. You and I are one bubble in that stream. Could we but see the world truly, the flow is all we would see. All love is the same. In every place and in every one you have experienced it, it is part of that stream of ages. I sit here now with my companion, Blanche, and we are one love in two silly bodies. The flow comes into and through the heart. Here we live and move and have our very being. We are Love’s Presence:) We are the magnificent radiance of God!♥♥♥ Could we but know that and stay in the flow, the world we think we see would disappear and all separations removed. Love is and we are its manifestations. We are the bubbles in the stream and the rocks over which it flows. We are source and the end. We Love therefore we are, not as separate bodies, but as One. We are the breath of the wind through the trees; we are the cat’s purr; we are the happiness of two becoming one; we are the birds that fly through the air and the fish that swim through the creeks; we are the Love that holds all things together as One; and we are here NOW, not in time, but in this moment of Love realized and fear vanquished. We are the tears that stream down our faces; we are the arms that embrace us; we are Love’s Presence, and there is nothing to do. No ambitions can stand in Love’s Presence. Consciousness itself cannot stand in Love’s Presence. From deep within the unconscious flow of the stream of ages, I know that I Love you.♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

 

The Message…..I went to Burnaby Lake tonight around sunset to get a feeling for the big night tomorrow….the full moon. Burnaby Lake has been my teacher for these many years and I have accepted my position as a learner. I always come expecting to get a message. Part of the way ACIM has changed my life is in my relationship with nature. I literally feel no distance between myself and nature. I “know” and feel all the flowers, animals, birds, ducks, geese to be my “brothers.” They are a part of the radiance of God along with me and my human brothers and I love them. There is some form of quantum communication we share. I know the flowers put on their best when I come to see them and the Honeysuckle smells sweet just for me. The bees linger longer around the flowers when they know I am watching them. The ducks and geese always put on a show for me. The lilies are more beautiful when I am there. The beavers flap their tails louder and the fish jump higher. We are one family and we love each other. Sometimes a deeper quantum happening takes place and I experience the Beloved in all things, including in me. At such times, all things remember their divinity and we are One. So tonight I listened for the message, thinking I could get a sense of what the full moon tomorrow will bring! I listened hard. I listened for the music nature sings to me. But there was silence. Then a flower spoke to me and I was overwhelmed in wholiness. Tears came down my face as the Blue Heron placidly swooped down from the trees and began to fish for his supper. He is my most prized sight in the marsh and I know he came out for me. My love for him was sent on quantum wings and he manifested. This marsh is a part of me, and I it. Here I am not Joe Shore. I am the Heron and the birds, the flowers and the bees. I am the fish that swim and the beavers that dance, and I am Whole. The Beloved and I are One. Maybe it won’t seem strange then that at this point I saw the ducks and geese placidly floating on the water, without thought or burden. And then it came into my old Hippie mind that they were “stoned.” They were absolutely “stoned” on the energy that was making its way into the marsh. They were “hammered.” A smirk and a smile came to my face, and I thought to ourself, “It’s going to be THIS kind of full moon, is it?” Bring it on. Bring out the Jethro Tull records and Led Zeppelin albums, and a little Joe Cocker too!! Bring out that Hookah!! We are going to watch the walls melt! What a message tonight and what a night tomorrow will bring!!!!!♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

 SUNP0050

The Angel of Peace lives here on these pages. Her name is Oneness! She knows my illusions and would gently lead me out of them to the Truth. “She walks in beauty, like the night of cloudless climes and starry skies…” And on her face all nature shines and points upwards to a love that is not of this world. In the trees the gentle breeze bespeaks her presence. Every bird and beast cries her name. She is The Beloved and I am found within her embrace. Speak to me no more of worldly things, of ambition wrought in the extreme, of the frightful ways of men. I would hear only Her voice and forget the world that knows only fear. Heaven’s ways would flood me and remembrance rush over me. In humble thanks I would be ready to give up little Joe Shore and go back into Oneness. She has captured my heart and gladly do I surrender it. What needs can there be in me when Her Peace is perfect? This I must remember. This Truth must stay and not leave to be rediscovered another day. Stay with me beautiful Angel. I would know Thee and drink deeply from your fountains. Love’s Presence is as sweet as clear water. I have no thirst.

 

The Love of God has come to me in fullness tonight. Tears fall down my face for the Presence he has brought to me. I love more tonight that I ever loved. I am in His Presence. I feel the presence of Jesus and the saints, the holy angels and the heavenly lights; I am just a short, tiny distance from my Father. And I am not alone, for you are there with me, and you and you, and you there, and you who are reading my posts for the first time. You are all here and we are all One in the infinite Love of God. The body can do nothing but weep but my spirit soars and I know I am the radiance of God. I have but one mission left me and that is to touch the world. Raise up my brothers and sisters. The Light has come. Raise up my beloved sisters, the Love of God has come to wipe away all illusions and lift you from them and take us all Home. Awaken sleeping children of God. Your Father has opened Heaven’s Gate and the angels sing songs in praise of our holiness, for we share it with the Father and never more shall we journey in childish dreams or suffer fears conjured by impossible thoughts. Tonight and forever, the sonship/the daughtership  awakens and returns to the Father/Mother.. Grateful is He that His Child has finally awakened from His long nightmare and bestowed on Heaven His greatest gift, His Love for His Father. The Lights in Heaven grow ever brighter tonight in celebration for an event told before eternity to last into infinity. What more can the Father do but run to His waking Son/Daughter, and with arms outstretched, vouch before all of Heaven that this my Son/Daughter thought s/he was dead, and is alive again. S/he thought He was lost, but S/he is found. “My Son, My Daughter, radiance of my Light, Joy of My Love, you, my Right arm and Left, You, Heaven’s Prince(ess), are Home and ever shall be so. ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

 

Burnaby Lake has been a part of my contemplative life for over two decades now. She and her feathery, finny, furry, wildlife have been my friends a long time. In fact, my last wishes are to have my ashes scattered over Burnaby Lake. It seems only fitting. I go there to experience my soul. As soon as I park and start walking down the path I feel Oneness embracing me. My soul speaks to me in the garden where bees and worms, butterflies and slugs greet me. My inner mind-chatter slows and then stops. I am left with tears of gratefulness for remembrance of who I am. My soul sings to me in the breeze that shuffles the tree tops, in the fragrance of the honeysuckle. My soul speaks to me in the gentle current of the creek as it runs into Burnaby Lake. I know I am not a body. Or rather, the world is my body.

Today is the March full moon and I had to go to Burnaby Lake to worship the Beloved. She showed herself so well in the twilight and the dawn of the moon. I went to see my duck friends to fulfill my promise I had made to them in the dead of winter. As they sat huddled together in the cold, their beaks tucked under their wings, I promised them I would return in Spring, that new life would come to them and they would think again of mating and making baby ducks. And so as I came to them tonight I could see that they had paired up, mallard to mallard, wood duck to wood duck, redwing blackbird to redwing blackbird. The geese also were busy preparing nests for goslings to come soon. As the Beloved showed herself at twilight, the ducks flew in pairs and formation in a glory of ecstatic flight. They flew in glorious circles for a radius of a half mile and then landed back where they had started in the waterfowl sanctuary. The ducks began a quacking rhythm, some quacking on the beat and some in syncopation. And then the most wonderful thing: frogs began to peep! Frogs and turtles have been disappearing from BC at an alarming rate as a sure sign of danger in the ecosystem. These are the first frogs I have heard in Burnaby Lake for several years.

There is such a peace in this full moon. Even the ducks, who in other full moons have become drunk and riotous tonight were more stately and calm in their happiness. I think that I shall never see anything as beautiful as a Mallard or a wood duck in flight. The bell-beat of their wings above my head cannot be described for the peace that it brought to me. Still, I worship the Truth of the Real World that I see in nature. She brings me to remembrance of the grandeur and eloquence of the Beloved who she reflects. God is in all things I see because God is in me♥ After an hour there in such peace I feel the Truth of who I am. I am not a body. I am Burnaby Lake. I am the ducks and geese that live there, the fish that swim there, the birds that fly in the trees, the blue Heron that fishes at dawn, the beavers, ever faithful, who build their dams. I am the redwing blackbirds who parade before us with their winsome cry and the flash of their beautiful red wings. I am the earthworms who trundle through the soil in the garden and the busy bees who fly from flower to flower, ever busy with the knowledge only humans call “the birds and the bees.” There is such gentle, stately passion on display tonight as this March full moon ushers in an early Spring for BC, a gift all too uncommon for us to receive. How often we have waited until July for Spring here in this Northern country. Tonight, as I worshiped with the ducks and critters at the lake, there were times when thought stopped and stillness offered itself to me as the mate I have always desired. She who would be ever faithful and all loving is in that silence and her name is The Beloved. Call her name in Sanskrit, in Farsi,in Hebrew, in the tongues of men and of angels, she will answer. After two hours at the Lake I am now immersed in the eternal Love of The Beloved. I belong here. I belong in this experience. I will never leave Burnaby Lake. The Beloved and I are One…and we are One with you dear readers. Selah♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

 306431_273898509382127_777054841_n

I went to my holy place this night of the full moon. It is cold and rainy here but even through the discomfort I sensed the presence of The Beloved, the reflection of heaven. This full moon the ducks and geese, griebs, and wood ducks did not seem cold. They were in a frenzy of activity, little whirling dervishes of full moon energy. The garden is fast asleep but I paid it a little visit. I know I belong here. The wind that whistles through the trees is my breath. The beautiful waterfowl are me with feathers, and I them. As I walk and adore them, I do it as them. The lake itself is cold and austere but it is just another disguise The Beloved takes, as though going to a costume party. Soon spring will be here and ducklings will appear from the reeds trailing behind momma in single file. The Lake will warm and flowers begin to bud. Humming birds will reappear and geese fattened down in Atlanta will return to their true home. These spring full moons will be wild with wonderful play and energy. The Beloved will show off her beautiful body, and I will know stillness again. My immensity will return to me as I feel myself in truth and I will know that I am not a body! Come Beloved, my angel. Come to the heart that longs to know you deeply and drink fully of your fountains, to feel the soft caress of your beautiful breasts, and touch those long legs. I would lift you into me and become One together. Thou art The Beloved and the desire of my heart. I see you here even in winter. You cannot hide from me. I know your heart. We are already One from a coupling in eternity before tiny mad ideas made the world. When time is done and lessons won, our coupling will know no end.♥♥♥♥♥
 301669_295729880437528_175144522496065_1181717_1141852574_n
My beautiful friend, Burnaby Lake, is sleeping now. Some of the ducks have decided to winter over. Most of the geese have flown to Atlanta or some such city. The beautiful garden in front of piper spit is now all asleep, dreaming of a spring yet to come. Much as I do, the lake endures the winter and looks forward to spring. I whispered into the ducks’ ears, “Spring will come again and love will fill you with thoughts of ducklings and happiness. You will lead your ducklings through warm water again with pride and gratefulness.” They did not need my reminder. I needed it. Through season after season Burnaby Lake has been my teacher on the path to enlightenment. No priest or preacher, no monk nor scholar could serve me so well. On the banks of this waterfowl sanctuary I have glimpsed eternity, felt the immensity of my true Self, and truly discovered my Oneness with all things. The ducks are a part of me and I of them, and the lake is the expression of all things. The experience of our Oneness I have termed “The Beloved” in many of my earlier postings. “The Beloved” is the Tao, the watercourse way, and it is the Divine. It is the One Son of God that ACIM speaks of. It is the radiance of God! Now it sleeps in winter even as Divine awareness sleeps in many of my brothers. But it will awaken in the spring as surely as divinity will awaken in all things. I am enrapped with wonder and blessing. No winter chill can make my memory fade of The Beloved’s embrace. I know her. I remember her when she dripped of moonlight. Her smile entranced the sun, and the rain ran through her hair to the world’s deepest valleys. She held all nature as a luminous presence and blessed it with a Song. In her presence I believed nothing, but knew all things, touched all things afresh, as fresh as a Holy Instant. Of newness her brow was formed; of peace, her face, of sensuousness her long legs; and wisdom followed her footsteps as she sang her Song. I know her. She is The Beloved and in her embrace I am an enlightened being. Neither time nor season can change Her. She changes not but abides in all things that change. She is my Beloved and we are One.
 
Fall has come to Burnaby Lake. The last hints of beauty of the summer garden are fast fading. The blackberries have mostly been consumed by birds, squirrels, and me. Leaves have fallen and now rustle on the paths. The ducks have regained their plumage from their late summer molting and are prepared for the changes that will come. Such a different marsh from the summer full moon which had the lake in a frenzy. Now the ducks sit perched on logs together, as if calmly awaiting instructions. The lake too has changed. The lilies are long gone and the lily pads look worn. But peace is still here. The immensity of which I am a part is still here. Timelessness is still here, with the Blue Heron and the Belted King Fisher. The Beloved is still here. I see her all the more she tries to hide, and I love her so. Every inch of the marsh now seems to be whispering some unspoken truth. The rustling of the leaves and the twilight chill bring me a sadness which I must examine. The ducks are not sad. The trees have begun to paint their autumn beauty. The woodland paths that surround the lake see few joggers now and painted leaves are everywhere. . But the Earth is soothing. Her fallen leaves paint the ground and delight the child in me. Her chilly nights speak of relief from the hot summer. Burnaby Lake will be caretaker to its peace as the Fall and Winter come. I will return here in cold days when the ducks are huddled together for warmth and they will share their peace with me as we wait….for another Spring. — at Burnaby Lake.
IMG_2918 
Angels are active symbols of God’s Love. An active symbol participates in the reality it symbolizes. As such, angels are active within the mind of the sonship. They work with our mind to unlearn illusions and remember the Love that we are in truth. If you put form to an angel, feathers, wings, or whatever, that form is just as illusory as any other byte of sensory data in this dream universe. I have just today been brought into contact with the primary angel whose message I have been channeling on facebook for the last two years. She is an angel of Peace and she worked very hard in Fatima. I have felt and known her in my love of nature and particularly in my love of Burnaby Lake. She IS “The Beloved” that I have felt so strongly there and written about here with passion. I am so blessed by Her and so grateful that she has graced me with Her Presence and her Truth. When I have talked about Love’s Presence, it is HER presence I have felt. And yet she points to God’s Love as the only reality. She has no personal reality of her own. There is no competition nor individuality among angels. If you give them different forms in your mind, you are creating distinctions that are not real. Making angelology real is as false as any other illusion. Her message has taken over my life. Only God’s Love is real and it has no opposite. It is all encompassing. Therefore there is no place outside of the Whole. There is no observer. There is no consciousness in Truth. Consciousness is the dream of separation, that we could somehow be different from our Father. The Beloved comes to me with that Truth as I am in nature. I do not see the ducks and geese as separate entities. I see them as part of my larger Self, along with the Lake and the moonlight that shines on it. It is The Beloved that I see in everything and when I see Her, I know Her and feel only Love. That is why God does not and cannot know about this dream world we are in. Were He to know about it, it would become real, and that it never can be. God knows that His Son is dreaming but He cannot know the dream, for it is unreal. But His angels are taught by the Holy Spirit and see our illusions a little while so they might lead us out of them. They work with the principle of Atonement and thus are under Jesus, the Head of the Atonement. Atonement is not “at-one-ment” as is often said. It is the “undoing” of illusions, the awareness of Love’s Presence by the removal of obstacles we have miscreated in our fear. Today I am thankful that THE BELOVED has made herself known to me so grandly and lovingly. Thank you my Beloved Angel. Thank you Father. Your son remembers a little more of you today and in the distance I can almost see Home. Selah!!
 
The Beloved comes to me now in waves. She is All there is. She is the One behind Shakti. The Beloved is Love and the Whole. She is Father, Son and Holy Ghost, the Godhead and beyond. The Beloved is the Whole and She is One-ness in flow. She is the smile behind the sunyata, and the Love that never fails. Catch her you cannot, but she comes in manifestations and reveals herself to me. My heart is full. Who could observe the Beloved? She is the Whole, outside of which there is nothing. Could a part of her break off and observe the Whole? Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha. This is a silly idea. No thing, no particle, can observe the Whole outside of which there is nothing! It could only happen in a dream where silliness appears to abide. The Beloved in Her truth as the Whole is not conscious. Consciousness is the phantom experience of the “observer.” Where there is no observer there is no consciousness. In eternity does the Beloved flow as Love which is not conscious of itself. There is nothing to impede the flow. But parts of the Beloved dream dreams of particularity, of observation. In their dreams they believe they are galaxies, planets, animals, and you and me! Deep, deep down in our dreaming self we remember The Beloved. She comes to us in all things: water lilies, fish, ducks, beavers, you and me, and undresses our eyes. “See me in this,” she says with a power far greater than any seduction can know. I am Love in the Presence of The Beloved. Her hair is the wind. Her face is the dawn. Her breasts are beyond compare, softer than the clouds, as moist as the dew. Her face is as peaceful as the twilight and as beautiful as geese in flight. The Beloved drips of moonlight. Her smile entrances the sun, and the rain runs through her hair to the world’s deepest valleys. She stands above the earth as a luminous presence and blesses it with her Song. In her presence I believe nothing, but know all things, touch all things afresh, as fresh as a dew drop that poises itself in eternity just so that we might join in its experience together. Of newness her brow is formed; of peace, her face, of deep sensuousness her long legs; and wisdom follows her footsteps as she sings her Song. I know her. I caress her. I run my fingers through her hair and kiss her soft lips. I feel her breasts gently and caress them with sweet kisses. I feel her long legs and my mouth deeply kisses them. She has never left my mind for we are One. We watch the rain together as it showers a pond. In the distance, Coyotes sing their songs and Owls make comment. In this flow are all things perfect and meaning is unfettered by form. Love has remembered itself and taken up residence in our midst. The Beloved and I are One and I remember. I remember and I will never forget again. I will let go this little dream of particularity. Why would I want to be a body when I can be One with The Beloved? I will go back into her where I belong and have never in fact left. The dream has vanished and we are One.
 lordofheaven
This is sort of what happened. Before all beginning there was Oneness, flowing with Love. There was no such thing as consciousness because there was no observer. The Oneness was/is the all encompassing whole. Nothing could be outside it to observe it. The Oneness flowed impersonally and unconsciously. It was like a Song, unaware of itself as a song, singing only Love’s Presence. Through a universe of spirit it flowed, and this song is the Beloved! In the depths of antiquity something seemed to happen which is impossible. One tiny part of the Beloved had a tiny, mad idea, that it could separate from the Whole and observe it. Since this would be impossible, the thought itself should have been laughed at. But the tiny part did not laugh and so, taking the idea seriously, it fell into a little dream, in which it believed it had broken off from the Whole and could now observe it from the outside. It is a ridiculous thought that any part of the all-encompassing Whole could stand outside and observe it! There is nothing outside of the Whole!! But the tiny part, with its tiny mad idea, dreamed that it had done so and become an observer. This dream of being the observer of the Whole is….(wait for it)…CONSCIOUSNESS!!!! Consciousness never existed in the Whole because there was no observer and in eternal fact there could never be an observer because the Whole is all-encompassing!!!! THE BELOVED IS ALL THERE IS IN REALITY! Now this little dreaming part thinks it is independent and observing the Whole. It is a dream. Two thoughts come to the tiny part . One thought says to him, “This is only a dream. There is nothing outside of the Beloved. You have done nothing but fall into a dream. Wake up!” The other thought that comes to the tiny part is “You have really done it this time. You have separated from The Beloved. You have hurt eternity! You have made the Whole less! Do you think you are going to get away with this? The Whole that you have separated from is not ‘The Beloved,’ as you think! It is an angry god who is going to punish you for separating from him.” For some reason–we will never know why–the tiny part believed this thought! Therefore  she believed herself to be bad, guilty, and terrified. This state of consciousness we now call the “ego.” The ego which began as the illusion of an “observer” outside of the Whole (an impossibility) has now made her dream a nightmare. Using her dreamy powers she projects herself into an imaginary universe (BIG BANG) to hide from this avenging god she fears. As she enters this imaginary universe she splits into zillions and zillions of pieces: light, matter, planets, stars, star dust, life-forms, human bodies. They are all a part of the one little observer who believes herself to be bad, guilty and afraid! You and I are parts of that little observer. We are CONSCIOUS observers and we all secretly feel sinful, guilty and fearful for reasons we cannot remember! Some of us say, “Let us grow in our consciousness.” It sounds good because we have forgotten our true state of being in the Whole in the universe of spirit. But in truth consciousness itself  is the dream, the illusion that any part could separate from an all-encompassing whole!! Consciousness itself is the illusion, the dream!!!!! You must get that or we can go nowhere!! How do we un-do the dream? How do we awaken back into our state of being in Oneness with The Beloved? First, we start simply by forgiving each other in this dream state. Nothing real is happening here. Forgive your brother or sister and feel them as part of you, for they are. All the splintered pieces are the same and each contains a memory buried deep of our true home in The Beloved. As we forgive, a little bit of remembrance comes to us. A little light comes into the dream. As it does we also become more loving. LOVE WILL AWAKEN US FROM THE DREAM!!♥♥♥♥ Now when the ego projected himself into this physical fake universe, there was a little bit of remembrance of the truth of the Beloved in her mind, and so this physical universe contains reflections of the true universe which is our Home. As we forgive and Love, we begin to see through the physical world and recognize the reflections of our true Home. We begin to awaken from the dream!! More and more remembrance comes to us. The memory of The Beloved is still in our split-off minds. This memory will gather together all the pieces until they all remember and awaken from the dream. The truth has never changed. The Beloved is still in eternity, extending Love through its spiritual universe. We are all still in the Whole. Nothing has changed. It was all just a silly dream!! Consciousness was a silly dream. Within all-encompassing reality the One Song still sings, unaware of itself as a song, singing only Love.

The Song that seems to be forgotten is not.
Its melody stays there, firm, beautiful,
structured as it was.
What could you do to change it?
And so it haunts you, coming back in little wisps
of memory, phrase by phrase, asking for its whole.
And you would remember.
Remember, and let a little of the Song
come back to you and through you.

In eternity where all is One,
A song was singing,
Unaware of itself as a song,
but aware of its content of love.
The song filled all that was or ever could be.
There was no place the song was not,
Nor was there any place which did not welcome it.
There was no place.
There was only the Song.
A note of the song heard itself
and thought of a descant to the melody
The descant became aware of itself
and wanted to listen to the Song.
The descant experienced the love in the Song it heard.
It filled itself with desire to hear.
More notes of the Song joined the descant as observers
And heard harmony to the Song.
Soon the Song was sung in harmony with many voices.
The descant said,
“Let us make form so that the Song can be remembered.”
Until this time there had been no difficulty in remembering the Song.
But other notes joined in the descant’s fear that the Song might be forgotten.
And fear began to remember the Song differently.
Soon the Song became embroidered with quick tempo changes, harmonic shifts,
Key changes, with such quantum rapidity that an ear was formed,
Then a brain, a mouth, a larynx, a body
And the Song forgot itself
But it could now hear.
It employed the body to search for the Song.
But no search satisfied it.

Soon the body forgot its purpose.
The Song which was fabric of its bones
Lay at rest in its tissues.
Having no purpose, the body began to think.
The Song which was only Love lay buried,
And the body thought of fear.
Fearful bodies created other fearful bodies
Each with a tiny memory of the Song
As a hologram within each cell.
There came a day when one body listened closely.
It heard first a tiny wisp of the Song,
Then a phrase, and then the whole Song.
It felt the Song in its bones and muscles,
Its brain and tissues,
And knew that it was the Song.
It told other bodies.
One by One they listened deep within and heard.
But the Song was complicated now,
Full of rapid key changes, tempo shifts, orchestral embroideries
The Song moved at quantum speed.
Bodies could not slow it down.
So they began to sing their own songs,
Some fearful but others prescient.
Great singers came into bodies and sang great songs.
Bodies began to remember more of the One Song.
It happened one day very quickly as a singer sang his song.
He listened deeply as he sang and observed his song closely.
He listened to his breath. He observed the tone until he saw his sound.
As his sound progressed he followed it,
First to his ear,
Then to his brain,
Then to his world.
He followed his sound to no place,
And there the One Song was singing,
Not complicated, not embroidered.
The slow, smooth melody began to unwind the fabric of his bones,
The sinews of his body,
For they were made of nothing but the melody made complicated.
As the body unwound there was no fear.
The slow, smooth Song spoke only of a Love that could not be different.
As complicated key and tempo changes resolved into the One Song,
Notes that had been trapped in the body rejoined the melody.
Note by note they flew from the body back into the Song.
As the last note approached the Song,
It tarried just a little as an observer.
Do I need to observe? It asked itself.
And as soon as it asked the question
It chose to rejoin the Song.

Singers, listen deep within,
And hear the Song that makes you sing.
Follow it and let it change you.
The Song that seems to be forgotten is not.
Its melody stays there, firm, beautiful,
structured as it was.
What could you do to change it?
And so it haunts you, coming back in little wisps
of memory, phrase by phrase, asking for its whole.
And you would remember.
Remember, and let the whole Song
Find itself in you.
In quiet eternity does the One Song sing,
Unaware of itself as a Song, singing only Love.

 
You are the Beloved. I do not complete you and you do not complete me. We are complete within ourselves and we are One Self. And so the two have found themselves as One and in this discovery Love is remembered. Love is present within our midst, giving us both our identity. But you are still the Beloved. You call to me from regions I have not explored and urge my footsteps on. Up just a little higher I see you over the stars calling to me. The breath of the stars knows your name in innocent remembrance. The Cosmos dances to your step. Planets smile at you as you brush their paths. You must know that you have been in my mind for all eternity. I am almost there. I see you, arms outstretched to the moon, a child of the stars..and my heart. “Come to me.” Angels blush at the site of our union. At last I remember you!! ♥♥

You have not changed.
As wisdom-bearer in Brahman’s House, who could change you?
As natural as the flow of the Tao, who could change you?
As the silence on the Buddha’s lips, who could change you?
In this space I have come to stillness
And in this stillness I have found you as perfect.
In perfection does my mind hold the moment and share it with you.
In this space where stillness shines there is relief from time
and freedom to remember the vast ages of our knowing.
Lifetimes upon lifetimes present themselves in parade of gallant splendor
for at last we remember.
Millions of years come to us in memory of who we are and the Love that grew within us.
We have not changed.
My alchemy shows its art.
In this space I have summoned stillness and I remember.

 
It is a good day!
I have pierced the veil of Brahma.
It is a good day.
I have touched the All and felt silence caress my lips.
It is a good day.
I have looked into chaos and pain,
Confusion and discord,
And I have seen you there,
Fresh as the dew on creation,
Innocent and whole.
It is a good day.
Peace has come to greet Love.
Who could deny them their union
Or freeze the genial currents of the soul so aroused?
 
A cabin sits on the shores of a small lake, surrounded by evergreen trees. There is a fire in the fireplace. A thunderstorm is brewing. Rain comes through the trees refreshing the forest, pelting the lake with its droplets. Yet stillness reigns in me as I share such heaven with one I love. This one is a girl I knew who dripped of moonlight. Her smile entranced the sun, and the rain ran through her hair to the world’s deepest valleys. She stood above the earth as a luminous presence and blessed it with a Song. In her presence I believed nothing, but knew all things, touched all things afresh, as fresh as a dew drop that poised itself in eternity just so that we might join in its experience together. Of newness her brow was formed; of peace, her face, of sensuousness her long legs; and wisdom followed her footsteps as she sang her Song. I know her. I will not tell you her name. She has never left my mind for we are One. We watch the rain together as it showers the pond. In the distance, Coyotes sing their songs and Owls make comment. In this flow are all things perfect and meaning is unfettered by form. Love has remembered itself and taken up residence in our midst. The rain dies down. The pond becomes peaceful again. Not a ripple is left. We watch the glowing embers die in the fireplace. Peace, Peace, Peace and Love is Present. Love has found one home in two hearts and the two hearts have become one.
The Cabin still sits there on the shores of that small lake waiting for our return and Love is still Present.
 IMG_2845
Back to Burnaby Lake

I went to Burnaby Lake today after teaching. I wanted to check out the coming of spring to this beautiful marsh which has given me so much over the years. Nature was out. The ducks and geese have had their babies. Redwing Blackbirds gave their distinctive cry while marsh wrens, swallows, chickadees joined in. The wood ducks are some of the most beautiful of God’s creatures. I observe them closely and the chitter chatter of my mind dies down. I welcome the space and grace of nature.

Tara Singh was our beloved teacher of ACIM. In his lecture “How to raise a child of God,” He said. “Nature can come to a stillness that is so alive that it would awaken you to a reality, to potentials you never knew before.” But we shy away from that stillness, that silence. Who is going to give the child the gift of silence.? Where do you think love is born? It is born in the stillness of silence.”
It doesn’t take long to observe the beauty of the ducks and geese to experience the wonder of nature and the presence of God in the stillness that nature would give to those who have the eyes to see, the heart to feel. It does not take long to come to the place where you easily see the ducks and geese and everything in nature as part of One Divine Mind along with you. You are not now the observer. You have moved beyond that. Now you have come home where you belong, home to the heart of God because you have reverenced your brother and sister ducks and geese and seen them as part of YOU, not the little social you of course, but your True Identity in mind and spirit. And nature has given you the gift you so thought you had lost, Peace and the wisdom found in stillness. The ten thousand things of the Tao all flow in Truth. They need no purpose, no motivation. And in this flow, you find your Peace which you thought you had lost. How could you lose part of your own essence? “Nothing real can be threatened?” Have you actualized that into your life? If you have, and most of us haven’t but we are working on it, then you could never be afraid again, nor could you imagine yourself as anything but what you ARE, part of the BELOVED, the spiritual creation of God. So when we find peace we keep it by sharing it with others and tonight I did this. There in this beautiful bird and water fowl sanctuary there are people who go to the far side of the dock to fish for carp. I had always judged them as invaders. What kind of person would invade a sanctuary just so he can catch a Carp that he is just going to throw away? And tonight there were two fishermen invading my space. But the Peace spoke to me and said, “Go join with them. See what peace would teach your judgment.” So I walked up to them in the spirit of peace and got to know them. Before long I had given my peace to them and had lost all judgment. “We are very careful not to hurt the ducks,” they explained. “That would be a terrible thing.” Peace makes its way to us from all the precious helpers heaven sends.
It is so hard to leave the marsh. Often I think, “Why can I not just live here, in the bushes and trees?” Why must I go back to the craziness of the city? And the answer is that there is more peace to share with my insane brothers asleep so deeply they do not know who they are. Not one of the divine facts that are in God’s universe of Spirit is known by the insane mind. Can you imagine that? It would be sort of like being born as a human but thinking with all dead seriousness that you are a chicken! We don’t know heaven’s truth of who we are, and that is all there is to know. But there is truth to be found in stillness, in the holy instant of “now.” Nature knows such peace it can give you stillness.

Joe at Johns-2

Fall at Burnaby Lake

I went back to my Burnaby Lake today, needing to see the Beloved. Whatever melancholy I had it was not shared by my beautiful garden and lake. The grandeur of the summer garden is gone now. Just a few flowers still bloom. But they are not sad. They are preparing for their long sleep in order to awaken afresh next May. The Honey Suckle has lost its little flowers and its sweet perfume. It stands there, a grand family of vines still.

It was warm today and the park was filled with people hustling and bustling, doing nothing. My ducks and geese were filled with energy, cavorting and playing, scrapping and scuffling with one another. The Canadian Geese stood on guard. They rule the lake when they are there. In their absence the default ruler are the Mallards. The cutest little shore dowitchers were pecking in the mud to find critters. But the most obvious sign to me of the Beloved was in the presence of so many beautiful Wood Ducks and the symphonic chorus of the birds. Blackbirds and Wrens sang the most beautiful songs, and I could feel the presence of the Beloved. But there were too many people there, stomping around, and appreciating nothing. Soon the winter will come and all the people will leave. Then I will go and find the silence and whisper sweet nothings into my ducks’ ears. They will be sitting with their beaks tucked under a wing to stay warm. I will whisper to them that I will come all through the winter and feed them, and assure them that Spring will come again, and again they will be warm with love, and thoughts of ducklings will fill their hearts and nests. I will love them when nobody is there. The Beloved is there then with such a strong presence. I need her Love, that Divine Feminine energy that will fill me with hope and assure me that she will never leave me. But for now, a little of Autumn remains and the transition goes on. The Lake and I are One. The Beloved and I are One…and now my happiness has returned with the Holiness of the Beloved. I love Her so. Her Love fills me with thanks for wanting her and caring for Her creatures. I am made for the Beloved. I am just as She created me and I will always, always love her.♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

IMG_2831 IMG_2832IMG_2860IMG_2845

If You Could Know

If you could know that these beautiful creatures were a part of YOU, would you still kill them? We are all One Spirit, a Divine Spirit, the Light of God, in these various bodies. Every byte of sensory information in this illusory universe (and perhaps others) is a broken off part of The Son of God. If you will awaken from your dream that tells you, you are a body, you will know. Only Love is real. The water in a creek runs over the rocks, and the rocks whisper, “Only Love is real.” The sea water breaks over rocks and the rocks whisper, “Only Love is real.” The Love of God is at high tide in your heart, and your heart whispers, “I surrender. I surrender to the Love that is all I am.♥♥♥
306431_273898509382127_777054841_n

Loving You

Walking through a wooded field, the thought of you comes into my mind as Love’s gift. Soon the thought becomes your presence and I realize that you are with me in a higher dimension. I enjoy nature’s presence and you are there. I feel peace and you are there. I admire the beautiful ducklings and you are there. The clouds hover low over the lake this twilight, like clouds over Valhalla, and you are there with me. I feel your presence, just in a higher dimension, and I am there with you. We are together in a Love which has no opposite and no need. No lower thought intrudes. You smile and hold me as we walk by the lake. No eyes can see us but ours, yet we are together now and we will never part. You look on lovingly as I write these lines, knowing they are of you. I am inundated with Love’s Presence and you share it. I have prayed for you, longed for you, and now you are here. Soon we will leave all lower dimensions together. But for now, I am fulfilled in your presence, assured that you know my love for you, as I know yours. I love you so. I love you so. Love has made itself present within our midst and lifted us both to higher places.Image

How Does Your Artist Grow?

HowDoes YourArtistGrow?

 

Many elements contribute to an artist more than early piano lessons or exposure to concerts. To me, wonderment at the natural world and the presence of beauty was the precursor to my artistic ability. It made me philosophically curious and from that curiosity a voice came to give expression to the awe.My country beginnings did not include very much music. But music comes from the natural world of which we are a part. That which awakened the artist in me was my childhood world of the garden and my maternal grandparents.

I was born April 16, 1948 in Carthage, Missouri, a little town of 11,000 people nestled next to the Missouri Ozarks. For the first eight years of my life my family lived in the country, five miles southwest of town, on a “truck farm.” For you city people who don’t understand this term, a “truck farm” in Missouri is a small acreage where one plants a few small crops and raises a few animals. It sounds like heaven to a kid, doesn’t it? Well, at least it did to this kid. My maternal grandparents lived on the adjacent tract providing me with every kid’s dream, to live right next to grandma and grandpa. Joining the tracts was a large acre garden that fed both families. It did much more that feed us. It nurtured us. Every inch of that childhood ground has stayed with me as faithfully as my grandmother’s voice and touch. Looking back now, I would have to say that my childhood was the garden.

My grandmother was a grand person indeed. Lena Ritchie was known throughout her neighborhood world as a supremely kind, God-fearing Baptist woman, who had a distinctive froggy, foggy voice. Grandmother had a vocal condition known now as “spastic dysphonia,” or colloquially called, “monster voice,” except that nothing could be monstrous about Lena. Everyone in the neighborhood heard her monster voice as the distinctive sound of her kindness. My grandmother gave me a wonderful model of love which often approached the ideal unconditional love we are all here to learn. I knew that no matter what I did, my grandmother would still love me. That love was her real theology.

Grandmother didn’t like to pick her flowers for a bouquet.She explained to her “Joe-Boy”that as far as she was concerned, flowers belonged alive and growing outside. If she picked them, they would die. I began to see that the ground of the garden gave life to all; the flowers, the potatoes, the berries, the corn, and us. We were the caretakers of the earth as the Bible said and we belonged in the garden.

I never met a better human being than my grandfather, George Ritchie. For most of his life grandpa had been a tenant farmer, plowing land near the Spring River, river-bottom area. Rivers and gardens were the models for his life. When grandpa retired from farming he purchased the land and house of my childhood and planted his garden. In the night he worked part time at Hercules Powder Plant, gun powder, that is, not facial! In the day time he worked in his garden. Usually he had two tag- a-long companions: an old mutt dog named Ginger for his color, and me, Joe-Boy.

When we weren’t in the garden we were usually fishin’. Grandpa may have claimed to fish to put dinner on the table, but that was just the ruse. He fished to be near the river. We seldom caught very many fish on our river expeditions. Everyone we caught was “a nice one.” We never caught a “bad” fish. I liked that. For me, much of the excitement came from our journeys through the tall river-grass and grandpa’s stories about copperhead snakes. Grandpa had discovered the “Ozark kung fu” of killing copperheads. He had learned it, like his other skills, out of necessity. After World War II, Hercules Powder Plant refused to allow their night watchmen to carry guns, fearing the risk of explosion was greater than the risk of burglary. So grandpa was allowed to carry only a three foot long “billy club.” Since his nightly patrols took him through heavy cover, he frequently encountered copperheads which he would rhythmically dispatch with a stroke of his club. You could call it “Ozark kung fu.” He had plenty of opportunity to hone his skills on our farm as well. Grandmother was a strict believer in the literal interpretation of Genesis and was sure that every snake ought to be ritually killed for righteousness sake. More than a few times, a cry could be heard in the neighborhood, “George, there’s a snake. Kill it!” It was grandmother’s one weakness. Grandpa could not refuse her. He became a master of snakes.

Once we safely negotiated the tall river grass, we baited our hooks with a variety of arcane, home-made mixtures, cast our lines, sat, became quiet, and grandpa and I flowed with the river. Usually we would catch a few perch, a mud-cat or acarp, and head back home to the garden.

When I was about seven years old, grandmother and grandpa introduced me to the wonders of Grand Lake O’ the Cherokees in nearby Oklahoma. For years they had been going there to the promised land of fishing, bringing back huge catches of crappie, blue-gill, catfish, and white bass, all for table fare. Having survived the great depression, they were determined never to go hungry again. A huge freezer chest of frozen fish from Grand Lake made it seem unlikely. And yet, like the river adventures, the important thing was really to go to the lake and be there. At Grand Lake, no convenience was denied a fisherman. Large in-door, heated fishing docks, with theatre seats for comfort, were situated over key areas for crappie and other pan fish. Cedar trees were suspended from the docks to entice the cover-minded crappies to huddle there in schools, unaware of the fate which awaited them. It was a grand invention for a Grand Lake. Grandmother and grandpa introduced me to these holy haunts with a fervor reserved otherwise only for the garden. I soon learned to jig, as well as fish with live bait. The crappie never had a chance.

We traversed the entire 1200 miles of shoreline of Grand Lake in our crusades for crappie. Holy memories are indelibly imprinted in my mind of our favorite docks. Grandpa liked Ice Box Bluff, but it was a little Spartan for grandmother. The theatre seats were not as plush and “comfy” as some other docks. But it was at Ice Box that grandpa fought the leviathan carp! Grandpa and I loved to fish for carp. They grew big and they gave a great fight. They also required imagination to catch because they had only a small, soft, sucker mouth, and were picky eaters. They had no real teeth but they had a sweet tooth, preferring baits made with lots of syrup, honey, coca cola, and Wheaties. I fixed a homemade carp bait that was a lot like banana bread so that if the carp didn’t bite we could eat the bait! Carp fishin’ was fun. Ever concerned about practicality, grandmother had even figured out a way to make them edible. Most people used to say, “Clean a carp on a pine board. Throw the carp away and eat the board!”But grandmother had found that if she cooked them for days in a pressure cooker she could make fish cakes out of them that tasted remarkably like salmon cakes. The grandmother of invention had given us a new reason to stalk the wily carp.

Grandpa took no prisoners. He used a forty-five pound test cotton line that looked sort of like a clothes line. In addition to the small treble hook which was concealed within the dough ball of homemade sweets, he suspended a large grappling hook to snag the carp under the chin in case the small hook missed. It was serious business!We usually caught carp weighing between four and seven pounds. But one day at Ice Box Bluff, grandpa set the hook into a big one. You can tell when the hook is first set how big the fish is. This one didn’t give. For heavenly days,” grandpa exclaimed. It was the closest he got to swearing. “What have I got here?” The carp fought long and valiantly but eventually could not contend with the clothes line rope, and grandpa pulled in his biggest Carp, weighing 13 pounds. It looked like it weighed 100 pounds and grandpa was just as proud of it as if it had. We ate it, of course. It provided fish cakes for a month!

TheValhalla of fishing docks was Teague’s Dock, surnamed “Old Lady Teague’s” by grandpa because it had been purchased from our friend, Leonard Pane, the area auctioneer, by a woman named “Teague” who possessed a redoubtable appearance, complete with multiple pounds of pancake makeup. With this curious visage she greeted the fishermen that came to her dock. Nobody liked her, including grandpa. But the dock had its own drawing power. It was plush to the hilt. Padded, comfortable theatre seats encircled the extremely large fishing well in the middle of a well heated dock. Snack bars and a bait shop were handy within the dock, and it was situated over one of the best locations in Grand Lake for crappie, catfish, bass, and of course,carp. I once saw a man catch and land a forty pound carp on an eight pound test line! I was awed as if watching the real life filming of one of those National Geographic presentations where monsters of the deep are shown to an audience all agape! But the sneakiest fishin’ took place when the crappies were nesting. The mother crappie sat on the nest guarding her eggs, while the daddy crappie patrolled the perimeter,striking at any object which came into his territory. We soon discovered that if we threw in a jig near the nest that we could catch the daddies like nobody’s business! Needless to say, I felt very guilty about this and have sought to atone for it ever since. The day’s limit by Oklahoma law was 37 crappie per day, per fisherman! Most of the other fish had no limits! We often caught our limit, returning home as proud as if we had found the Holy Grail. Now I wish we had let most of them go. I haven’t kept a fish I caught since then. Like the flowers that belonged alive in the garden, the fish belonged alive in the lake.

It is no small thing that Genesis talks about the”Garden of Eden.” That ancient writer knew perfectly well what an apt image the garden sets up in our minds, ancient, connecting, and wonderful. Grandpa loved to stroll through the garden to “visit” with all the wonderful things growing there. Ginger and I took in all of his love for the earth and the Creator of all life.But Ginger had an easier time of it in one important way. He didn’t have to be distracted by the competitive world-view being peddled on Sundays by the variety of Baptist preachers that sought to “instruct” us in the ways of their strange universe. Many of them did not act like Jesus in the Bible. They seemed to be so mad at everybody and everything. Finally I made a personal discovery that I should believe in the God that Jesus showed me. One of my helpers in this discovery was Rev. Ray Stone, pastor of the First Baptist Church when I was a small boy. Brother Ray stood out from the rest of the preachers of my childhood. He was full of Love and Light. He was a “gardener!” “Just be so in love with Jesus,” he would say, time and time again, in trying to warn of the pitfalls to come in life. You know, I was and still am!

God  created a Garden and I knew what a garden was like! He created a river, and I knew what a river was like. God wanted us with Him. God was like Jesus and grandmother Ritchie!I’ll take that God. He can stroll with us through the garden as we visit the plants. He can go to the river with us, and we will flow together!

When I was a little boy, I thought the worst thing I could imagine would be the death of my grandfather. How I loved grandpa. God was good and grandpa lived through my childhood. But when I was 9 our family moved out of the truck farm house and into the big city of Carthage,about five miles away. I gladly rode my bicycle back out into the country to be with grandmother and grandpa. But then one day Hercules Powder Plant blew up. The explosion could be felt as far away as Tulsa, 120 miles away. The explosion was just a quarter of a mile away from my grandparents’ house. Our family got into the car and drove out to Powder Town to check on my grandparents. We got to within a half mile of them before we met a road block. Dad and a few other men set off walking through the woods to try to reach their house while we drove back to Carthage to wait. They had survived the blast without injury but their house was significantly damaged. My childhood paradise had been destroyed.

Inmost people’s childhood there were moments of love and moments of pain. We live with the fact that there was a snake in the garden, but in time, we see that it was beautiful nevertheless. Though unable to forget them, the bad times can never compete with the wonder and beauty of the garden, with flowers that never got cut,with baby chickens and old dogs named Ginger, with the fresh, clean smell of the air after a thunderstorm, with grapes and berries, pecans and pear trees, with sun-ripened watermelons, and corn picked with our own hands, with homemade bread and canned preserves, with quilting bees and a neighborhood awash in friendliness, with trips to the river—for the river was always around us—and returns to the garden.

The bad times can never compete with the best days of family. The garden is my memory. I will hold to that. I wish I could take my garden and give it to others. But to each has been given his own. Not everyone’s garden looks the same, and in some the snake was more present than in others. But if you will look now, there is something of a garden to remember and hold to. When I leave this world I expect to visit the garden once again.I know grandmother and grandpa are waiting there for me. To them it will seem as if they only just arrived, or as if they never left. The tool shed door will still need fixing and the well water will still satisfy. Old Ginger will still follow grandpa’s every step and an old three legged cat, Smokey, will still climb trees. The mimosa tree will still attract the humming birds and the clothes dry clean on the line. And the River will still flow just nearby. The snake did not win. The garden stays, fixed in my heart with love that was true.

After Hercules Powder Plant blew up, my grandparents moved into Carthage and things were never the same. They lost that sense of freedom and joy that living in the country brought to them.

I grew up and became an opera singer. It didn’t matter to them. They loved me still. The rest of the clan thought of me as the black sheep in the family and would often say,“Warren and Beulah’s boy ran off to the big city to become an opry sanger. We never could understand what got into him.” Nevertheless grandpa and grandmother still loved me.

In his 80’s grandpa often wondered why he was permitted such a long life. He would often say, “All my friends are dead. Everybody I knew is dead. Why me? Why am I still alive?” But alive he was and still able to plow his small garden and drive his car.

He had a small infection when he was 90 and the doctor wanted to treat him in the hospital just to be careful. It was not supposed to be anything big.The night before he was to go into hospital, he called my grandmother to him and said, “Now Lena, I want you to know I am going to die now.” Grandmother told him, “George, don’t talk like that. You’re not that sick.” But he protested in what for him was a pretty heated way, “I know what I’m talkin’ about Lena. I’m going to die now!”

I was living in New York when one morning, around 4:00AM or so, I was awakened in the spirit. My body was still asleep, but it was as if my spirit were awake and observing. I saw two angels holding my grandpa, one under each arm. They were taking him around the earth to allow him to say goodbye to certain places and people.He wanted to see me. He was young and happy and full of excitement. He looked down and saw me in my apartment asleep and said, “Why there’s Joe down there.” Then he went on his journey. The next day I knew that the worst thing I could imagine had happened. My grandpa had died. I called home and found out that he had indeed passed away about the time that I saw him in spirit. I never had any further visions of my grandpa after that. It was sort of disappointing in a way, for there was such finality about that last vision. Grandmother was inconsolable at the funeral. When the vows say, “till death do we part,” it really means it. Marriage belongs to this earthly realm. It cannot be extended into spirit. When grandmother died not long afterwards, I did not get a parting vision of her, but in the weeks after her death she came to me in dreams many times. She was young and happy and just wanted to contact me. I asked her about how grandpa was and she gave me a very interesting answer that did not fit in with my world view at the time. She said, “I am not with grandpa now. We are all spread out here like stars in the sky according to our distance from God.” I had no idea what she was talking about. Could it be that we are all on our journey back to God? Could it be that there was a time before time when we were all apart of God, all one with Him, all whole, One Garden? And could it be that we will all be with Him again? Such wonderment was the precursor to my artistry as a singer. Then there came a time, and I could sing.

Worth as Value

For many years my neighbor across the street lived in a beautiful old country house surrounded by four huge, tall, evergreen tress that were at least 200 years old. They were so tall they seemed to reach the clouds. Every storm we had, I wa

tched the trees, sway and almost do back bends. They were so strong and inspiring. In her back yard, amid the trees, the elderly lady had the most beautiful flower garden you ever saw, and she had made it into a community garden. People from our block came there in friendship to work in the garden, tend to the flowers, and as they did, they extended love to one another.

We are now in an era that sees the need for localization. People everywhere are starting community gardens, converting vacant lots to vegetable gardens where a whole community works. Community is love extended in action.

Then one day my neighbor passed over. Her daughter inherited this paradise. However, instead of maintaining it she sold the house and property to a real estate agent. Our community watched in horror as a bulldozer came and tore down the house and the garden, but the worst was yet to come. Tree haters came with the intention of destroying those four 200 year trees!! First they cut off all the limbs of the trees, then they climbed the trees with their spikes and used a chain saw to cut the tops off the trees. Then they would slide down and chop off more until there was nothing left but a stump. Then the machines came and pulled the stump and all its roots out of the ground. As I watched all of this I was horrified. I felt the pain of the trees. (They are part of the sonship too and every part of the sonship, even a grain of sand, is sentient!) I wept for them. I have never experienced such pain communicated to my mind from the trees. Their first feeling was utter surprise and betrayal. They had been there, loyally standing guard for two hundred years. And then, the physical pain as they were tortured to death. All of this was done so the real estate agency could make a big ugly house for rich people to buy. You wonder, what kind of a person would be drawn to buy a house that was built over such destruction. Once again, we humans, failed a test to understand “worth” verses money. That old house, with its community garden and 200 year old trees was “worth” an enormous amount to this block. People who do not know worth will have no trouble destroying, not only trees, but animals, to build an ugly house. We had many sections of land here in Burnaby that were wild and inhabited by coyotes, Bears, and foxes and raccoons. The “industrialists” cleared all the wild property without any regard for the trees or animals living there. Now we have a problem of coyotes eating neighborhood cats, and bears frightening children! Such insanity!

ACIM tells us that everything, down to the smallest grain of sand, is a part of the Son of God. We are to forgive our brothers, but how do we forgive nature, or rather how does nature forgive US! We forgive nature by protecting it. The Course knows the same compassion as Buddhism, but the Course goes further and tells us that everything is sentient!!! Now scientists are seeing that. Fruit trees grow better fruit if music is played for them, and the branches grow in the direction of the speakers. Flowers grow prettier if you talk nicely to them and pat them gently. We have many, many brothers on this planet and we are not doing a good in compassion. That’s why a community garden is so important. It brings us and our flower and tree brothers together in love.