Around the first of October, Mr D and I packed up a small suitcase and headed for the Sedona Creative Life Center for one of Ann Alber's playshops, this one entitled "Living in the Flow of Divine Grace." She could have called it Living in the Flow of Love because one of the first points she drove home is the misunderstood nature of grace. Ann said most orthodox religions say that we are unworthy but once in a while we get a shot of it anyway. Like a save-your-ass bonus from Above. Okay, I'm paraphrasing but all she really talked about the entire day was love.
LOVE, love, love. Making the moment-to-moment choice to stay in the flow of love.
She covered a lot of ground with her usual energetic delivery style, dusting each point with the sparkle of touching stories and personal experiences. She offered any number of ways to jump back into the flow when we go off the rails, but also a hopeful outlook on this topsy-turvy, angry, violent, terrifying world we are all sharing. Pulling sensitive souls from the Slough of Despond is one of the keynote themes for nearly every spiritual teacher these days.
Yes, things appear to be very dark and scary (okay, let's be real...more like terrifying) with little room for hope. But then more enlightenment is flooding the planet than in the entire history of humanity.
The concept of evolving from 3D to 5D perception is a hot topic in every spiritual circle these days. Some refer to it as the emergence of the multisensory human or universal human. Others just call it the divine human. Whatever you label you give it, mankind is supposedly in the throes of giving birth to an entirely new and higher state of consciousness. In the words of author Gary Zukav, the very container of our consciousness is changing. I find those words especially reassuring because it sounds like a done deal, like an evolutionary process we can't screw up. On the other hand we seem to be running out of time. Zack Bush seems to be less certain of the outcome but totally jazzed about the excitement of the process: "Thank you for being present at the tipping point of humanity."
For those who find this evolutionary leap intriguing, Ann covers it repeatedly and extensively each week in her Message from the Angels, accompanied by her own narrative about trying to walk the walk. The lightning bolt for me was the moment she said that each one of us is the sovereign lord, the ruler, the government head with absolute power over the 75 trillion intelligent beings that make up our body. As a former electrical engineer, she had done the math and said that's 400.5 times the population of planet Earth.
And why did that hit me so hard? Because I can lapse into an absolute swoon about the future of mankind on our current trajectory. The variations of Sapiens have only been part of the scene for a relatively brief time and yet our species has systematically laid waste to Nature's indescribable beauty and bounty. What we haven't destroyed yet, we are actively working on annihilating. Those with the vision and passion to usher in ways of living that are in harmony with nature (and each other for God's sake) are not the folks in power.
In Tom Shadyac's movie I Am, one of the many great minds he interviewed said that humanity will not be living as we do now if we are still around in 100 years. Part of me, sometimes an overwhelmingly big part of me, wants to leap forward into a zero carbon footprint, grow all my own food and live off the grid in a home built from recycled materials. Instead, I bring my own bags to the store and create a shocking amount of recyclable waste—most of which, who are we kidding, will still end up in a landfill.
I have no idea how to be the enlightened human of the future living in the world of today. I feel utterly helpless just thinking about the wars, violence, social injustice, misogyny, destruction, greed, and abuse of power (fill in your own words, there are so many to choose from) that have gone on for millennia.
But that was the magic of Ann's reminder: I am supremely powerful. I have sole responsibility for the health, harmony, and welfare of 37 trillion beings. This is my Kingdom, my Universe. How well am I doing?
Once the questions began, they swirled. My entire body was created in alignment with Love, in harmony with all of creation—which Richard Rohr calls the Universal Christ. How often does my noisy mind run roughshod over the quiet wisdom of my body? Do I even try to tune in to its messages and prioritize those needs? How often have I crammed downed food and drink or mind/emotion-altering substances that inflame and bloat and create toxic sludge? What wounds or unresolved traumas need to be healed to stop destructive emotional tyrants from running the show? My body blisses out on movement, yoga, and meditation but how many times am I too busy or harried or tired to do the one thing that would make all the difference? How often do I give my body the gift of time in nature, time to realign with Mother's peace and feel the rhythm of Her heartbeat.
Now, whenever dark thought clouds begin to gather about the future of humanity or the fate of our precious planet Earth, I remember where my absolute agency lies. It's not always easy and not a perfect practice. Dropping into the soft animal of my body (thank you for that image, Mary Oliver) instead of numbing or escaping in a myriad of different ways is new. Coming out of one very deep meditation, I realized something profound. This Kingdom of mine was created as a perfect democracy, a self-healing, self-governing, supremely intelligent whole capable of generating wave after wave of pleasure and contentment.
Like every miracle of nature, my beautiful body with its 75 trillion beings is a manifestation of perfect love. The real work of my busy little mind is be present, listen, and serve. It's a very very big job.