Sunday, December 25, 2011

Live From the Heart: Steve Jobs, You Are Already Naked

Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple, passed away this year.  At the time Brene Brown shared a link to a speech Steve had given at a Stanford Graduation ceremony.

Steve is eloquent in his message. He needs no paraphrase. But his words caused me to reflect on so many things!

Steve dropped out of college but he hung around to learn.

I find this so inspiring since most of my life my sense of duty has stifled my joy in learning. I've mostly been  too concerned about doing what I perceived was 'good', passing the exam and making people proud to truly embrace the joy of expanding my mind and my horizons.

I landed at university, with one of the highest OP scores possible and an absolute bundle of emotional hang-ups. I immediately felt so intimidated by an environment seemingly full of incredibly smart, together and worldly people that I forgot that I actually seemed to do quite well with my own brain before then. I was so overwhelmed that I coped out and rebelled.

My allegiance to the call of 'doing what I think is expected of me' remained intact enough to keep me passing my courses but I skipped lectures, partied (far too hard) and tried desperately to avoid my extreme sense of insecurity about my brain and my worth by delaying all study to the very last minute.

My joy at learning often popped up during that final week of cramming when I would discover course content for the first time. My fascination for physiology, child development and the miraculous powers of healing and repair inherent in the human body had only minutes to be savoured before they were overshadowed by my intense panic at the lack of time to memorise these wonders and the terror of failure, which would cement in me the belief I was so desperately trying to avoid - 'That I'm just not good enough to acheive anything in life.'

Steve did it so differently and his story opens my heart a little to my grief at how much my own hang-ups have prevented my child-like interest in discovering new things.

By staying open to learning for its sheer enjoyment Steve stayed connected to his soul and his story highlights the benefits of trusting the wisdom of your soul's passions (even if you don't quite know where they will lead you!)

When he dropped-in on a calligraphy course Steve had no idea how his fascination for the art would fit into his future life or career. He just did it because he loved it. Later his knowledge of calligraphy would prove to be extremely helpful in his lucrative career. But when he attended the course he neither knew this nor cared. He simply followed his passion.

I find that God is teaching us this lesson constantly. He can reach us when we live in our souls - that passionate, creative, desirous part of our selves. 

When we live in our soulful place He can Love us, Inspire us, and also Correct our errors far more rapidly. But when we hang back, always trying to get it right, to be perfect to figure it out before we begin, we lock up possibility, change and growth. 

Trusting our passions and following them towards a destination we can't see right now can feel risky, and sometimes crazy, but Steve's example demonstrates how beautiful the process can really be.

Steve simply suggests "Find what you love and do it" 
As I've mentioned my own life has most often lacked this kind of simplicity. Instead its looked something like this:

Find what I love -> Try to get everyone else to love it or at least approve of it before I'll really go for 'it' -> Worry that I'm not good enough to succeed at 'it' anyway -> Try to find a small achievable version of 'it' so I'll be 'safe' while I try to live a happy life -> Worry (some more) that no-one will get me or 'it' and I'll end up all alone  -> Agonize  that I really want to do 'it' but I'm just not capable or good enough and so on and on... you get the picture..

I see now that there is so much power in simply doing 'it'. Yes, sometimes my fears will be realized, it may not go perfectly, but I will be engaged in a thing I love. 

And besides, there is nothing like facing a few fears to change our perspective and help us grow!

All of my anxiety, self doubt and need for approval has limited my life so much. I have wanted to be perfect before I began (mainly so I could hold onto the false idea that that way everyone would still 'love' me).

Now it feels like such a waste!
So as this new year approaches, I'm trying a new tack. I'm finding what I love and charging towards it, full of the knowledge that this way God is going to reveal to me both my errors and strengths. So far its hair-raising but also, in sweet moments, breath-taking in its beauty.

As Steve suggests "You are already naked"

This past year I've focussed much prayer on a desire to become more real. But honestly I've still been grappling with the 'good girl' facade I've worn (with varying degrees of success) for most of my life. Its been tough to let go and see how much of 'me' I've generated in order to feel safe and 'loved'.

What I've learned is that the biggest thing I've lost through investing in how I'm viewed, in trying hard to be liked, is my connection to myself.  

What I have perceived as the worst thing there is to loose, i.e. the approval of others, has caused me to loose my own perspective, my knowledge of myself and what I love and want. My life has been crowded with the desires of others and none of my own.

I've come to see that living emotionally 'naked' takes courage (at least for me) but that it is so, so worth it. There is rest to be found once we step off the fast-paced treadmill of always trying to maintain a facade. 

To me living 'naked' means no longer denying my desires and dreams in an attempt to avoid shame, fear or rejection. It means honouring my feelings and my self in my relationships with others, not suppressing them in order to make everyone happy or to avoid my own fears and embarrassment. 

In a naked life I am unapologetic in living in a way that I believe in. I don't shy away from my hopes or disappointments. I don't hide my light under a bushel, nor do I make out I'm prettier/ more accomplished/ more together/ wiser than I really am. 

The truth is that we are already naked in the eyes of the One Who Made us. There is no point in hiding who we are or what we really want.  Entering a relationship with Him requires our humility, our willingness to be 'naked'. For only when we see ourselves as we truly are, in our truth and error, can we be Shown a way to grow towards Him once again. 

Bless you Steve, may your adventures in the spirit world (where we are indeed naked) be rewarding and full of new invention!

Friday, December 23, 2011

The Gifts of Truth

I’ve been feeling inspired lately, recognising that

Change is possible

There is a quiet joy and celebration in me, as I notice “Wow, I’m different”
These are little changes, but they inspire me forward.
I am steeped in the quiet knowledge that

Courage is required if we are to truly Change

This quiet mantra is with me now. Not as an overbearing demand “You must change! You must grow!”
The cries of “If you don’t grow you aren’t worthy, if you’re not perfect noone will love you!” that have plagued me in the past are gone or fading.

Instead there is desire to change and grow. A deeper knowledge of Grace. And an understanding that

When we live in fear we loose sight of change

When we substitute fear for Truth in our lives, fear becomes our ruler, it restricts us, controls us, and limits our capacity to change. In fact fear screams at us “It’s not possible!” and without Truth we have nothing to combat the command.

I can see that the changes in me are only happening because I am growing a sincere desire to not only receive Truth about all things in my life, but also the willingness to live in Truth and to honour Truth at all times. This is where the courage bit really comes in!

But as always, when we step into more harmony with God, there are gifts.

I am finding, through my living and not just my thinking, that

One of the gifts of Truth is trust.

When a person is loyal to Truth – always and no-matter-what – the people around them can trust their word and their actions. A gift is born – the gift of closer bonds and deeper intimacy.

When I have the courage to live in Truth I literally feel the warms of God’s Love and Laws supporting me. Our relationship – the magic connection between me and my Creator (how humbling it is) – can truly commence. It is enabled by my willingness to acknowledge that it is He, not I, that controls how this Universe and the course of my life runs.

Fear, that harsh tyrant, would have me believe that I must control and protect every aspect of myself and my life, or all will be lost. This position places me, not only in opposition with all of the Loving Laws that God has created to guide me home to Him and who I truly am. But it also, in its arrogance, says that I must be the creator of who I am and what I become.

The Truth is something far more magical.

The Truth is that a Greater Hand than mine created me. He imprinted within me the design for a creature that I, in my current fear bound state, cannot even imagine. I must only surrender to His Love and Laws to enable the more beautiful, creative and loving creature to be born. 

Or it would be truer to say

I allow myself to be born again.

All of this grows, this trust in my Father, the deeper intimacy in my relationships, through my honour of Truth and thus my refusal to accept fear as my ruler.

Trust can only grow as we live in Truth.

In this season when there is such an emphasis on ‘gifts’ my wish for you, dear reader, is that you may begin to receive the gifts that Truth can bring to your life and to know that all things are possible with the One Who Loves the most.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

An End to Lollypop Love and the Launch of 'Live from the Heart' postings!

Just a quick note to those of you who wrote to me and said that you would like me to stop blogging:
I make no apology. I know that you aren’t into our teachings at all, but something we do talk about a lot (and I believe it’s a fairly highly valued feature of most people’s lives) is free will. Apparently some of you don’t recognise how this applies here, so I’ll try to break it down for you. Basically, you have and I have, this free will, which means – I am free to write what I want and you don’t actually have to read what is written here. I’m not spamming you with it; I’m not forcing it on you in any way.

Perhaps some of you are a little lost for other things to look at on the internet so maybe I can help you out.  I’ve posted some links that may be fun (don’t worry they don’t mention God, or the Divine Love Path... although I guess some of you just want to find more stuff about us so that you can rubbish us some more… and that, according to the free will concept, is totally up to you.. I must admit it seems like a bizarre kind of sport or masochistic pass time to find something you hate, but that doesn't actually invade on your life in any way, and to then spend your days immersed in it, attacking the thing or person.. when you could just go do something else..?? logic anyone??  )

Hope you all can appreciate I'm feeling a bit light-hearted about this issue today - and my comments are made in such a spirit!


FB & Me

My short disclaimer to precede this post is that what I am about to share is simply my feelings about my injured relationship with the social networking phenomena called Facebook, often affectionately referred to as FB. It is not meant to be a damning commentary on its existence or a blanket generalization about how everyone uses it!

A few weeks ago I deleted my Facebook  account. Facebook seemed very concerned to let me know that I could simply deactivate my account and not delete it – and was I sure I wanted to delete my account? I gladly checked the little box ‘yes’.

When Facebook fever first seemingly struck the world I was living in Scotland and I remember saying ‘My gosh, I couldn’t have a page devoted to my ‘face’!’ But one thing led to another. I sold it to myself as a way to stay in touch with the faces that I had known in far-flung places and to those that I was once near to.

As time went by I began to love seeing everyone’s photos and days so easily. In general I’m so interested in people – I love hearing what makes them tick, what they care about and how they change – and Facebook helped me know more of those things (or so I thought). I liked seeing infants grow into toddlers, and I could wallow in nostalgia as I clicked through shots of old lives and escapades.

Since then however lots of things have changed.

I’ve learned a lot about nostalgia[1]. I’ve moved the landscape of my life to a remarkably different vista. I’m changing and what I want is changing.

Lately I began to think about fairly floss[2] when I visited Facebook. Each visit was full of lightness and colour and news that used to give me a little sugary rush like I was ‘in touch’ with others and their lives. But there was a crash following the sweet high. There was nothing in my belly, or heart, only my head was buzzing with text and image. Instead of feeling like I was adding to my life by visiting my account, I felt was loosing life, loosing energy, loosing time.

I was 'keeping up' with the lives of people I cared about but it sure didn’t feel like being in a real relationship with them anymore. I began to ask questions like: I know the details about the lives of people I haven’t spoken to in over a decade, but does that mean I know them? Why do I spend ten minutes looking at someone’s wedding photos without communicating with them? More than that, why did I spend ten minutes on this and not on responding to an email or not digging in my garden?

Having all these Facebook friends was a lazy way for me to be a voyeur. I could visit photos or status, I could see what my ‘friends’ had done on the weekend, just through the click of a button but where was my heart connection to these people? Did we still even want to know each other?

And if I really did love these people, why wasn’t I calling them or emailing or visiting? It began to feel very fake and superficial.

How much of me wanting to ‘know’ as these people and see their lives on a screen headed with blue was actually me wanting to avoid my own loneliness?

When we eat a lot of refined sugar, our systems become exhausted because sugar actually depletes the energy of our system. In that process our bodies often crave more and more sugar. We crave the sweetness with increasing veracity to help us avoid the crash that inevitably comes to signal the effect we have just created in our body. We are actually starving for real nourishment. Our body is trying to tell us something but if we aren’t careful we end up feeding it with more and more junk and avoiding our own sustenance[3].

My relationship with Facebook came to resemble this effect. It was the way for me to avoid my emptiness and longing for real relationship.

I believe that we live in a world so depleted by a lack of true connection with each other, that hitting the ‘refresh’ button can feel like asking for another ‘hit’ of sugar to avoid the starvation signal our soul is emitting. At least that’s what it began to feel like for me.

I look around me and I see that much of society seems embroiled in a fast paced life where we are all so crazed to avoid the ‘crash’. It’s gotten so bad that we now require a constant news feed, like super sweet candy, a string of endless updates on what Danni is eating for breakfast, what Mike is wearing and where Anna is at, all so that we can feel like we are in touch, involved and yes even that we are loveable. Somewhere in the generation of cell phones and tabloid media and oh so much immediate gratification we have lost what we are truly here for – that is, to connect to true ourselves, to live from our hearts, to dream big, to create, (and to use the gifts of technology and progress to serve us in these pursuits).

On Facebook it’s easy to put our ‘best face’ forward. It’s easy to look great and have it all together. But my life often looks messy. I realised that my heart felt tired from my attempts to look all witty and wise. I was still trying to be hip and cool in a status update. This wasn’t helping me to be true, to be real, or to connect to my heartfelt dreams.

The internet has long been a place where I ‘numb’ out and avoid the hunger pains in my everyday life.  I’ve had the opportunity to spend quite a lot of time alone lately, in a place without phone or internet connection. This has helped me tune into my soul starving for true connection.
I am famished for connection with God and my soulmate. But often the loss of these things as I remember them, in their pure state, feels too painful to face. So I’d surf the net or Facebook as a way to avoid the emptiness. It was all a poor substitute for the kind of nourishing, sustaining connection I truly desire for my life.

I want to know God and my mate. I want my feet grounded in the earth, I want to feel the salt of sweat and tears on my skin and taste them in my mouth. I want to be present in this body and feel my own heart. I want to feel the spirit and soul of the people in my life. Most often I want to look into your eyes when I share with you.

In my alone time much is happening. I feel there is an integration occurring, of all that has happened in my past three years, and I am opening up to what is to come. I am becoming more and more sensitive to where my life feels empty and what my soul truly desires. The beauty of having more tolerance and openness to my empty feelings, my aches and lows, is that I want less and less to fill them up with false connections and fairy floss. Instead of ‘lollypop love’ I want to love in a way that is grounded in a joy, which comes from embracing my passions here and now. I want a love that lives when I look others straight in the eye, being and accepting exactly who I am in that moment and encouraging them to do the same.

So in tribute to grounded joy and nourishing our souls I plan to start weekly ‘Live from the Heart’ posts – sharing things I see that inspire me to live from the heart, to dream big and be creative. There are so many people who do this bravely out there in the world, but there are also those who do it in the quiet of their own lives. I want to share some of that good stuff here!

To start us off (in a small way):

This post from Emily which reminds me that, no matter what your day job – when you live from your heart you make art.

This song that I often sing goofily to my man…

And this note written by Sienna, aged 6. Sienna's mum came home from work one night to find it on her bed.

[1] Nostalgia no longer feels comforting or comfortable to me. When I really sat with my nostalgia I learned a lot about what it meant. Now my nostalgia says to me ‘I want to go back to a time that I thought was better or when I felt better or safer’. My next questions then involve ‘Why did I feel they were better?’ ‘What don’t I like about myself or what’s happening in my life now?’

If I live in nostalgia, I live in a place where I’m not loving or living fully in my present. When I go deep into what my nostalgia is about and resolve these things then I can look back easily and with fondness but I no longer have this burning sort of longing for times better or brighter. In the past nostalgia has helped me to avoid unresolved grief, conflict not dealt with in my present and fear of embracing my life in the present.

[2] We called it Fairy Floss when I was a kid so I’m keeping with my cultural idiom in the text! But for those overseas its also known as cotton candy or candy floss.

[3] I make no claims as a nutritionist here only as a reforming sugar addict… so I hope I’m ‘nutritionally correct’! …maybe one of you raw foodies reading can help me out on accuracy??

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

To Blog or Not to Blog....

**** For those interested in links mentioned in last weekend seminar and/ or ways to ask specific questions of myself or AJ, details are found at the end of this post *****

As I sit down to write there are many posts half written in my drafts box and yet none of them seem destined for completion. To be honest my heart feels heavy for other things. There is unfinished business between me and this blog, between me and my life and it is this ‘business’ that beckons me to words.

I started this blog sort of against my better judgement, or more accurately in spite of my greatest fears (which I used to call my better judgement!). I was inspired one afternoon after processing some fear that a blog was something that would be good for me to create. I had been praying heavily for weeks about becoming more authentic with those around me, and for the courage to share my heart more freely. When the idea came to me it filled me with such terror that I filed it in the recesses of my mind and labelled it ‘desire based upon error’. For a day I couldn’t even tell AJ (which is completely unheard of since there is barely a thought for either one of us that isn’t shared with the other). But the idea kept bugging me, it wouldn’t leave me alone and eventually I broke down and told AJ “I feel like I’m being inspired to blog about my experiences, but I know that is just a crazy idea, I just can’t figure out what injury is driving me…”

Of course when he gently smiled at me and said “I think that could be a good idea” I lost it even more. There was no way I could put my deepest feelings onto the internet. Because that is what a blog would mean… what good would it be if I shared half-heartedly? No, to do this would mean sharing all of my heart.

But then words just came, and made themselves into stories of me. I wrote my heart without much thought or revision.

After that more words came but I still didn’t think I could do it. I closed my journal and told myself that these words weren’t good words and that they couldn’t be shared.

Eventually the words won out and I put them here. I was still afraid but I opened my heart. In the past nine months, so many of you have welcomed my offerings. I feel so humbled by the love and encouragement you have poured over me. I can honestly say I didn’t anticipate it and I am grateful. Lots of times I still hold my breath when I click ‘post’ because I’m still struggling to love myself enough to honor my journey and my story no matter how others think or feel. Lately the comments I receive here have come in equal quantities. The hateful quotient of messages has risen to meet your grace-filled ones. I know that this is occurring because I still carry the injury that it is an offense to say plainly what I feel.

The reason I’m writing today is that I feel that somehow those nasty comments and the people who seem to circle our lives like vultures, always picking and implying and vilifying, seem to be winning in drowning out my voice. All my drafts are unfinished because my soul is fearing the hurt more than loving the process of writing and healing. Instead of grieving my injury and receiving the Truth that God wants me to own my experience, I am questioning my words and second guessing my own meanings. Meanings that God knows and sees are earnest. I question because I am afraid of being perceived as something I’m not and this is a vile affliction. I feel it sicken my belly and tighten up my sinew. For how can I grow to all I can be, how can I shed my inhibitions, and find a clear, strong voice, if I always seek first the approval of those who do not love? Surely someday, God, I will learn to seek your appreciation first? That I would learn to measure my worth in terms of Love and Truth and not in accolade or criticism from those who do not treasure these things as I strive to.

It’s true that at times I feel tired. My bones get weary and I just need to cry and feel like giving up for a while. But as always, after my rainclouds pass, I find God has renewed me. Once again I remember Love and Truth and the reason I love life so much.

The truth is I am on this journey because I love God so much and I want to know Him. It is like there is a vast, open valley inside my chest that longs to be filled with the Ocean of God’s Love. I have tried to live my life in avoidance of who I am. I tried to be just Mary Luck and not Mary Magdalene and it was crushing – I literally felt that my soul was drowning in denial. I have had to grieve (and rage) that I could never grow closer to God unless I allowed all of who I am, as much as that scared me. I’d be lying to say that there weren’t some days when I just plain wish I could live a life with a faith and belief system that others accepted and allowed me to be considered ‘normal’. Many days I do wish it, but I don’t wish it enough to sacrifice myself or my mate or God or the love that grows in my heart. These things are the best and most rewarding things I have ever known and I cannot let them die in order to placate my fears and please other people.

I write today because I need to remind myself. Instead of letting darkness and cruelty win in drowning my voice and my passion for God and growth, I need reminding of how truly magnificent God is and how His Love does sustain me.

Let me say in prefix to what I am about to state, that I don’t feel the need to spend loads of time justifying what I write or how I live my life. These are my choices. I know that God will not let me hide from the error in my ways or heart, nor will he overlook what love grows and motivates me from within. There is no hiding a heart from God. After what feels like a long search, that one Truth has the power to reassure and comfort me. I am content that by trusting Him, in humility, I will eternally grow. However in saying that, I do think its worth stating a few things, for the sake of explanation, about what I write and what happens here on the blog.

I made a commitment some time ago not to publish comments on this blog that were attacking, condescending, cruel or insincere. The internet is a medium so often used as a vehicle for people to be cruel and sadly it seems that when people can be anonymous and/or avoid face to face communication they find it easier to be unloving[1]. I personally believe in taking responsibility for myself, my feelings and being transparent and open. This is always my endeavor in any type of communication. I will not support others to be cruel either to myself or others and I believe there are other places on the internet dedicated to attacking Jesus and I. I don’t intend to create another! I happily publish comments that are sincere, questioning, reflective and/or appreciative. If you are anonymous and attacking, it won’t get published. It’s that simple. If you want to ask me a sincere question that doesn’t insult my ability to critically think and feel, please go ahead and I’d be happy to answer. (more about questions later…)

I have been accused of controlling the free will of others because I publish my feelings about things that happen in our life as it unfolds. I guess the best thing I can say about that is that comments like these reflect a poor understanding of the concept of free will. If I were to berate or bully others into editing their comments or beliefs about me (or any other thing) then I would indeed be attempting to impose upon their free will. By sharing the true events in my life and my feelings about things as they happen, I am merely reflecting my experience. This is simply an expression of my will. (Interestingly, people who try to bully me into not sharing my feelings and accuse me of affecting the free will of others as a way of pressuring me to shut up, are in effect trying to stop me using my will).

From time to time I mention my parents or people from my past in these posts. I am very sure that I only ever do so in order to honestly and accurately convey my process, and my emotions. It is in context of my story and not meant in any way to reflect theirs. I do not have the desire to blame, attack or in any way make a nasty point when I refer to others.

In our society it is very taboo to mention ones parents in anything other than glowing terms. The problem with such a culture is that it supports a conspiracy of denial of actual harm that has been done to us. This is especially difficult for those who have been physically and sexually abused by their parents. But it also applies to others of us, like me, where no such extreme treatment was endured, but a set of emotional contracts was set up in order that we would be ‘loved’.

Yes, I was injured by my parents. My parents also had parents who injured them, and these, my grandparents where also harmed by their parents. Anything a child receives that is not love will injure them. So it is inevitable that in a world, so injured in love, that we inherit injuries from the environment we exist in, most especially the people who raise us. It is an unfortunate fact that doesn’t go away when we ignore it. In fact I believe it makes it worse. A splinter ignored and denied can only fester and sting until it works its way out.

I certainly have compassion for the suffering around me. I know my parents did what they thought was right when I was a child, and in many cases tried not to repeat the pain of their own childhoods. My stating the truth about the multi-generational infection and injury that exists not just in my family but every family on the planet at this time is not out of judgement or blame. It is simply because I do not believe that one can heal an injured perception of love unless one first acknowledges that it is injured. I believe that sometime, some generation needs to stop passing on hate and hurt and instead turn around and face what has been coming down the line. We need to face the Truth that what we currently call love is not love but an injured mutation of it, simply so that it will stop happening and we may heal.

Stating and facing the truth of the pain in our pasts is the opposite of blaming, since to truly face the pain we must face that it is now within us, and only we have the power to heal it. But the crucial first step always remains acknowledging the truth. We cannot heal what we deny. No, if we want to heal, as I do, we must be brave enough to face what is inside of us as a result of this ‘injured substance often called love’ that we received. We must name it for what it is so that we can open to the pain of it and make room for God’s Truth to enter us. Once we have done this, we are healed, and we will not pass on this same love injury to others. This journey begins with facing the truth. I write as I face the truths of my past and as I grieve them. I write them only because they are a part of my story and I am learning, ever so slowly, to honor my story above the projections of others.

I am humbly aware God’s Truth may be different from ‘my truth’ or ‘my parents’ truth’. I also know that I can only find God’s Truth if I am prepared to relinquish my truth. And believe me I am down there amongst it, sucking back on many of my own errors (that I have held as ‘truths’) and praying to let them go.

When I began this journey I wanted dearly to hold onto my parents’ truth as The Truth. It took a lot of effort to face the pain that it wasn’t and be willing to change. But I did it because their ‘truth’ superimposed on my life was hurting me and holding me back.

The difference between my parents and I, is that I am in the midst of a process of giving up strongly held beliefs and emotions that have limited my life. Beliefs that I wanted to hold as truths because it felt so disorientating and painful letting them go. In the end though, to receive God’s Love and Truth I had to willing to give them up. My parents have not entered into such a process. I do not condemn them for this; in fact I know how difficult, challenging and confronting it is. I do not in anyway expect them to revise their beliefs or share my own.

I do not condemn them for not walking this Path, but I do not accept their attempts to control me in my desire to do so. And this is something which they have been attempting to do, quite vigorously, for quite sometime.

This is not a ‘me’ vs ‘them’ scenario. To me, it is about any of us, should we decide we want God, coming to accept God’s Truth and having the humility to be shown that Truth, whatever that is. None of us can blindly hold onto ‘No, I didn’t hurt my kids’, nor can we live in blame and avoidance of our own demands and addictions that may have caused us to be a spoiled brat, and expect to know God.

To heal we must find God’s Truth, definitive. I don’t proclaim to know it all but I do know that I’m the process of re-discovering it.

I’m writing today because the words stopped coming. I felt bullied by the darkness and pushed to forget what is most important to me. I have a long career as a ‘people pleaser’ and I know that my demons today are evidence of how much I still care about how others perceive me. I’m making progress but it still hurts to be misunderstood and maligned. I have been praying for a while because there are more words, even deeper and more personal, that have begun to tug on me to be written and shared. They are words about my first century life, about God. They want to tell you about my pain but also my increasing joy and passion. My body is heavy with posts, not yet at full term, about using the internet as a place to nurture and speaking out for Truth and Love. I know that the reason these words are not yet here is because my better judgement… uh hem.. I mean my deepest fears still rule in this regard. So I’m asking God to give me courage about the next phase in this space.

Before I go I wanted to invite you, especially those of you who I haven’t yet met in person, to send me any question you may have about me, Jesus, our life, the teachings, or yes, even Lady Gaga!! It’s for something new we are working on… I can’t guarantee that all questions will be answered but there is a small team of others who will do their best to have it so. Just pop questions in an email to (Obviously keep in mind the same general principles about commenting apply to questions).

Also here are the youtube links mentioned in the seminar on the weekend…

Contradictions in Bible

Contradictions about God

God’s Actions

With love and many thanks for your listening heart,


[1] The movie “Blindness” could be viewed as an interesting metaphor for this phenomenon.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Living the Life Unexpected

*** This post has been mentioned in the Brisbane paper today, Sunday 21st August, claiming that I am full of complaint. :)

Sadly it is clear that journalists feel the need to sensationalize facts in order to sell papers. This is why they create dramatic and misleading headlines which include words such as 'Doomsday' (we don't believe there is a doomsday) 'Cult' (dodgy overused word that I don't identify with and could be applied to any number of religious movements on the planet.. but a word used because it also brings to the mind of most readers horrible mass suicides, inquisitions, and people acting mindless zombies and/ or having group sex... and we do not endorse, support or participate in any of these things, or anything remotely resembling such things.)

I doubt whether anyone would read an alternative headline such as "Mary Luck Tells The Truth About Some Stuff That's Happened In Her Life". That's not too catchy, and does not create very much drama, anger, resentment or other emotions in potential readers.

I wrote the post that follows in a spirit of reflection, at times in wry humour, and in completing it I was left with a deep level of gratitude for the gifts that I have received by simply living fully through what have been some trying events and emotions.

It amazes me that many people feel that one is voicing complaint (or as the headline states 'claiming harrassment') when in fact one may be merely recounting the truth about events and the emotions that accompanied them. I do believe that I am allowed to recount the truth of what has happened and how I have felt over the past 3 years. (As a side note many of these events did occur prior to our recent media coverage. Therefore not all were not as a result of the coverage, as implied in the newspaper piece). Obviously others are also allowed their reactions to what I write :). Just thought I'd pop in and point out (for those not sensitive to the nuances in what I have written) that I in no way feel upset, 'crucified' or am crying out for sympathy!

It also does occur to me as I sit and write these words tonight that these new comments are very likely redundant as I believe if one were to read this post without prejudice one would probably feel all that I have just stated. On the other hand those who wish to judge my words through their own anger will likely skip over what I have just said!  

Anyway folks, wishing you abundant living and critical awareness of the world that surrounds you!

Love Mary                                                                                                                              


The following started out as a sort of zany thought process in my head one afternoon, reflecting on all of the crazy stuff that happens in my life. I began to think how cool it would have been if God or an angel could have given me a downloadable list before this all began… sort of a “What to Expect in the Life You Never Expected preparation list. I started writing it down in my journal to amuse myself. As I wrote (as often happens for me) the list became a process in itself. I began to reflect a lot more deeply on my past few years and it actually turned into some really good therapy.

Things to Expect When You Change Your Spiritual Beliefs, Reveal You Are a Re-incarnated Biblical Figure & Your Boyfriend is Jesus

  • Many people (including people you have known all of your life e.g. Mum or Dad) will now see your new partner as license to dismiss anything that comes out of your mouth as irrational and under the control of said new partner. It won’t matter how rational, well regarded or educated you were before; you will now very often be regarded as a bimbo with no mind of her own.
  • Some people, who claim to be Christians, and quote the Bible to you, will also feel it’s OK to threaten you with death.
  • In fact you had probably better get used to the fact that your belief system will pretty much challenge everyone e.g. people with ‘new age’ spiritual beliefs, Christians, Muslims, mediums, healers, historians, even atheists will be looking for your ‘angle’ to manipulate the ‘believers’. News and media industry of all kinds will be under extreme pressure to present you as loonies (even if they find you not to be) because popular societal belief will be so strongly against you. Just give up on being well received (at least for a while)!
  • Behaviour which would generally be viewed as harsh and attacking (e.g. verbally abusing your partner, slandering your partner, irrational defence of false beliefs about your partner, imputing evil motives to innocent thoughts or actions, threatening you with dis-ownership, having you uninvited from family events for no other reason than your loyalty to your partner, stating that you deserve rage and anger because you no longer tow the family line, expecting you to not only maintain a relationship and visits without your partner, but also while your partner is openly regarded as an evil, narcissist i.e.“we hate the partner you love, its not up for discussion, we know better than you, but you are still letting us down by not coming here without him and putting up with us projecting that, we want to know you but just not anything about the life you are leading with the evil demon” or sentiments to that effect.. and yes, even though you will be shocked that such things could ever happen, they will and in many cases these exact words will be used), when enacted by your immediate family, will be viewed, not only as reasonable behaviour, but proof of love, by same said family and also a great number of personal and family friends. Some strangers will even see fit to tell you that the outright attack of you, your partner, and your partner’s family, by your brother on an internet forum, is in fact evidence of his love for you.
This will be difficult. You will wonder where the family you knew has gone. After a while you will begin to wonder if you ever really knew them. You will feel sad for a long, long time about this.

Later on, you will begin to wonder at the larger connotations revealed by such events. Like, how injured is a world that believes that harsh words, violent emotions, raised voices and attempts to pressure people away from their own free will are all permissible when explained away as acts of love? You will see that this very same damage, carried in the psyche of humanity, is what begins wars and genocide. You will know then, with stark clarity that the healing of your own injured soul is the only hope to truly forgive, and to effectively act as a force of positive, loving change in the world.

  • Store assistants who were on a first name basis with one week, will run from the showroom in fright as they see you coming and have their manager to serve you, the week after you appear in a national newspaper.
  • People are going to feel it’s OK to laugh, point, and/or sneer at you while you are minding your own business doing your grocery shopping. In fact by now you are probably getting the picture that lots of things that people wouldn’t dream of doing to many others, they are going to feel justified in doing to you both merely on the basis of who you say you are. 
  • In the midst of really difficult times, when the media is slandering you and your very core trembles in terror at the violence and sexual threats that immediately fill your inbox, there may also arrive a treasure or two. Like the gorgeous email that managed to include genuine enquiry about homosexuality, Jesus, love, God and Lady Gaga in one paragraph. And you will laugh and cry at the same time because you realise that somewhere in Brazil or Montreal there is a really cool person that can see through the sensationalism and stupid lies. More than that, you know regardless of if that person ends up believing you or not, that you’d still like to know them and they you. If they didn’t live in some far flung place you’d have them over for dinner sometime and hang out.
  • Even when people have known you for years, and watched you close-hand for days and months at a time, the hardest thing for them will still be to believe what you say about your identity. And while you will understand what a big deal it is for them, (reflecting on how much the implications of it still boggle your own mind), this will place a sort of invisible barrier between you and them. Because there will always be the unspoken doubt in the air between you. And more than that, you will not feel entirely comfortable sharing of yourself and your own experience while you know that the other person does not really accept as truth that which is deeply personal, real and raw to you. You won’t blame anyone for this. You will only feel this as a sort of quiet, constant, loneliness until you open your heart to your Soulmate and find friendship, love and companionship there.
  • Prepare to be inspired and overwhelmed to finally meet a small group of new people who want God and growth as much as you do. This will feel like finally coming home.
The biggest homecomings – to your Soulmate and to God will be the most challenging. Truly, sister, this will challenge you in ways you didn’t think possible and most of the time it will feel like you are bending out of shape and growing at a pace so rapid it leaves you reeling – and yet this will be where you find your true joy. The unnamed longing inside of you will finally be acknowledged. You will come to know and understand yourself in a way that you have yearned for as long as you can remember. You will see yourself and your future in the eyes of another. You will feel complete.

Receiving your soulmate’s love will change you, and indeed it will be this gift of his that teaches you so much about the kindness, the long suffering-ness, forgiveness and gentle nature of real love. His tolerance and patience will simultaneously inspire and humble you. His passion and fidelity will be the most intense and beautiful offering ever presented to you. For some time you will struggle to be open to the grief of remembrance and loss that his offering of love triggers within you .

  • Don’t ever underestimate the power of your open heart to reach people. Yes, it will be tough for others to truly believe who you are, but when you share your authentic self, when you express your journey and your feelings from your open, un-edited heart, people will be moved. It will be hard for you to trust this. But every time you remember it, you will kick yourself for ever forgetting it.
  • In three years from your big ‘announcement’ you may find that not many (and I mean really, nearly NONE) of the people you knew ‘before’ want to know you anymore… Just be prepared for the landscape of your life to utterly change. In fact, forget it, you can’t really prepare for it, because before you begin it, you can’t quite conceive it.
But in amongst this there will be people who surprise you. And sometimes they surprise you because they weren’t front and centre in your life before, they are people you have known and loved but not necessarily the ‘BFF’ kind who you call every week and think you’ll be each others bridesmaids (you get the picture..) Sometimes they are those ones, but sometimes they are the people you least expect. And they shock you because, instead of ditching you when you break the ‘big news’, they say things like:

‘Hey, this is unexpected from you, but I really like you. I respect you as a person. I know you’re not an idiot or a liar. I know that you only do things that you really believe in… so can you tell more about what’s going on for you? What’s happening for you?’

These people may turn out to be rare but you will look at them with fresh eyes, because you know that out of everyone ‘before’ they must be the ones who saw you the most. You will be grateful, truly grateful for them. And partly because of them, and partly because of the others who can’t accept you anymore, you will come to reassess your life as it was ‘before’. You will see that there were measures you had in place, methods you used to quantify the quality of your life, that included how much you accomplished, the way you were viewed, how much socialising you did and so on. You will begin to see how flawed these measures were. You will start to review your life with altered eyes, ones that search out the threads of love. You will weep for the places that you hadn’t realised it was missing, in yourself, and in your relationships. But you will also treasure with a new attentiveness the people who practice acceptance, openness, and understanding with you, regardless of what they personally believe.

You will begin to see that sometimes it was ones you overlooked who demanded the least of you and who loved you most. And somewhere amidst all of this heart-breaking, heart-opening process you will realise your heart has expanded. You will find that, amongst all of the grief and undoing of the life you thought you had, you have been delivered an enduring gift. That gift is the greater knowledge of what love truly is, and how love acts, and that this currency, this love current flowing through your life, is the thing you will value the most forever more. 

You will have been given new eyes to see and value this thing, love. You will know that it is worth more than anything. Now, instead of common beliefs, emotional addictions, or shared interests, this love expression will be the thing to guide all future relationships. Love will be the new bedrock on which you want to base your life.

You will want to find and foster new strength within yourself: to seek out love, to give love, to forgive, to let-go, to finally believe that love just may be something you deserve and that never again will you live in relationships where others belittle you or dismiss your unique gifts and passions. 

  • Over time you may find that even those treasured ones, from ‘before’, that stood by you in friendship may yet begin to be challenged. Because, this living for God and 'just being true’, is radical in a world accustomed to façade and full of cynicism. Your words about your journey may start to stir new questions in these old friends about their own lives and relationships. They may shrink back a little in fear because they do not want change in this intense, all-encompassing way that you now do. You will see this and understand.
Others may withdraw because their husband or partner is frightened and judgemental of the man who says he is Jesus (even though they have never met him). And you won’t chase them because you know too well the pain of people pushing you to break the bond with the man you love. You know how people believing they have rights on your affections above all others feels like a bridle on your soul that smarts as you pull against it. You will let her go because you want her to be free to follow her dreams with her man, to be happy and to foster their love.

It might be that when you see a ‘before’ friend you talk about what’s happening with them (which is great – you ask and want to know their life), about the weather, about your dress or old memories but you never again seem to get to the part in the conversation where the talk turns to what you are doing now and what you live for. And if you try to bring that up sometimes they will accuse you of expecting them to believe as you do. And you will feel winded and stung and your eyes will fill salty, because you know that nothing is further from the truth.

Your heart will speak the silent question ‘But don’t you remember? This is what we always used to discuss, the things that mattered to us; the things that gave us meaning.’ But you won’t say it out loud because inside you will suddenly start to question if that really did happen? Or was it just the clatter and noise of agreeing voices that went on and not a true meeting of hearts in conversation?

Still another friend may try to convince you, each time that you speak, to just understand your parents who ridicule and reject your life, and just go see them. Because - this is what they would do. Time and again they will bring it up and it won’t matter how much you try to explain. You will try to tell this person, who you have known over three quarters of your life, but they just won’t see that you are learning to love yourself too much to endure rage and ridicule from anyone, and that you can no longer sacrifice the love and loyalty to your mate in order to placate the ire of the ones who are tied to you through blood.

You will get better at letting go because you are learning that grieving gives gifts of its own. You will know that your tears will help you give up expectations and instead of expecting friendship from these people you will just love them more (even if you see them less). You will feel that you will always be there with a hug and a heart listening should they pass your way again but that you will no longer desperately seek them out for words or comfort that they do not give. Because also, you are remembering (ever so slowly) to seek Love from One who provides it perfectly. This Love fills you up and starts to take away the gaping holes in your soul that before you so desperately sought to fill with friendship or a career or sex or travel. 

Where-as once you would have found it unbearable, now you will not feel so frightened to simply feel those empty places inside and let them be. You will begin to honour your sorrows and your losses. You learn that they are important because they are a part of your story, a part of who you are right now. And you will start to want to know her more, this you who you are right now.

And through all this realising and letting go and opening up and just allowing you will suddenly notice how much you are changed. Some days you will loose sight of this and then on others you will be halted in your tracks, stock still in the moment as you are struck at the quiet wonder of this newfound freedom you have discovered - to feel and be and know yourself.

You will know that in most ways the journey is still just beginning but you will be overcome by how exquisitely beautiful the road which you take, this Way to God, is and what a treasure it is to have Him find a place in your heart once again. Then there will be tears of joy, just as intense as those you have cried in loss, and you will wonder how you ever became worthy of such a Love; that there could be One Who, even knowing your failings and desperate error, would want Cherish and Nurture you in such an intimate and personal way again.

  • Some days you might feel just plain weary that every move you make, every gift you give, every time you express yourself publically, your motives are questioned, or you are analysed for proof that you really are either ‘the dark cult leader’, or ‘the bimbo manipulated by the dark cult leader’. You might feel tired of people thinking they know how you tick; that they know how you feel and what drives you.
And then, from time to time, you might just repent the fact that once you were also quite cynical about the motives of people who spoke of God. You will sit in your chair and smile and wonder at how sweet and strange this life is.

Again and again you will thank God for teaching you humility. A chorus of gratitude will rise to your lips, manifesting as half a smile, half a sigh, half a sob… and yes, it will feel like a ‘one and a half’ amount of thanks. You will feel that God has filled you to over capacity for thankfulness. 

You will feel blessed.
All photos are of winter 2011 in Wilkesdale,QLD

Friday, July 22, 2011

An Open Heart

Hi friends,

I wrote the following post while on the road somewhere this year; just about the time we thought the media was going to start their coverage of us. In the end I think the coverage began later and I didn’t ever get to publish this post. I found it today and thought it may be worth popping up. I am so happy to say that much of the emotion that was so raw at the time of writing these words is much softer now.

The experience with the media campaign about us really, REALLY assisted me to work through some big stuff. I actually feel liberated in a way I haven’t felt for a long time! Of course now I am in the thick of some other major emotions but rereading this post renewed yet again my faith in this process and overwhelmed me with gratitude for God. Truly, staying humble to whatever process God has presented for you to feel and heal through right in this moment, creates the space for alchemy to begin to work in your life. Staying humble through the media stuff was difficult for me. I totally absented my body at times, it was stressful and I saw whole areas of myself that are still vastly wounded. It humbled me to recognise my limits to loving. But recognising them and grieving them has changed me. More change has to come before I am anywhere near as loving as my mate (he was so incredibly inspiring in his capacity to love during this time) but experiencing all this definitely increased my faith in that possibility.

And also – how relieving that I don’t have to figure out how to let people know about my identity in awkward conversation anymore – thank-you channel 9 – the ultimate ice breaker! 

Love to you all,
Image Courtesy of:

Living With an Open Heart (& Shedding the Straight-Jacket of Cynicism)

This Easter, on Easter Sunday, no less, we were interviewed for the final time by the ‘cult investigator’, David. He originally approached us in December, stating that he wanted to include something about these teachings in a book. Initially, he told me that he thought we were not exploiting others and that he wanted only to do a fairly innocuous piece about us. Over the course of months the writing turned into filming and ultimately channel 7 became involved and film crews and sensation began to shroud this process.

Throughout it all I hadn’t ever been so naïve as to think that (especially as David is a Christian Minister) his assessment of us would be in agreement with these teachings or our beliefs about who we are. I did however have the hope that he would find us to be honest and sincere (as I know we are). He certainly maintained this impression i.e. one of respect of us as people and disbelief at our claims. That is until Sunday. In his final interview with us David revealed how he really feels – that I am a manipulated mouse and that AJ is a dangerous tyrant preying on others.

I respect that David is able to form his own opinions of us and even to present these on national TV (although I can’t lie - the latter bit hurts badly). What I found to be the hardest thing though was the juxtaposition of treatment of us off camera, friendly, conversational and seemingly respectful, to on camera, condescending and belittling and attacking. I respect a person who is open and transparent. This was my aim throughout the entire process. That David was not, was and is distressing for me. In the end I do feel naïve. I feel betrayed. I feel my open heart was used and manipulated. I also know that these are my feelings and I placed no demand on David or his crew to act differently. I gave them the opportunity to be honest and loving – not to agree – but to at least portray as we are. They did not take this opportunity.

My deepest distress was the way in which David treated AJ. His assertions that AJ, not only has manipulated me into believing I am Mary Magdalene, but also that he lords it over others and induces everyone around him into believing that they have been abused in their childhoods, felt so attacking and unjust. I watch AJ give constantly and see him strive with deep humility to clear his remaining errors. He loves in the most pure way I have ever witnessed and living with him I can certainly testify to how much respect and care he has for everyone we encounter.

The truth is I have long been a cynic in the ways of the world. In fact when we were first approached by David (and two other TV stations) I did not want to have anything to do with cameras and interviews.

I decided though to challenge some of my old beliefs, to change, and to engage with some members of the media. I realised that to live this path would be to approach this process with an open heart, an open mind and with a vulnerable sharing of who I am. I decided not to hide behind cynicism and fear. For what are my beliefs if they only exist in a darkened cupboard? If I am ready to relinquish them in fear as soon as someone shines a light in and says ‘What is it you are doing in there?’ were they really there in the first place?

And how strong is my faith if I cannot realise that as long as I stay humble God is teaching me lessons of Love in every moment? And that, while it may seem dark and confusing everywhere around me, that God’s Truth and Love can be a beacon to follow, even if I don’t see a destination.

And if I refuse to give a journalist am opportunity to act lovingly and fairly in his or her dealings with me – aren’t I then simply judgemental myself?

So it is going to be painful to feel mis-portrayed, sensationalised and idiotic. I really am just a simple girl. I am so terrified of upsetting so many Christians and inciting fear and drama in the lives of others. But let me tell you of a quiet gift I am being given. While none of this went as I had hoped, while they will likely choose to vilify us instead of document our lives, I can rest in the knowledge that I made a different choice. I didn’t hide myself in fear and judgement of them. I chose to live with an open heart, the heart that allows choice in others, the heart that allows for hope. And while my open heart hurts right now, there is a new awakening in me. The ugly brace of cynicism, that has held me restricted like a vice for so long, cannot increase its hold while I stay feeling. If I stay breathing and grieving and feeling I can keep my heart open to whatever awaits. (And when God is in the picture something beautiful always awaits us). This is like a new dawning for me – feeling the hurt is worthwhile because (some may say ironically) through feeling the pain I am liberated from my awful, cynical world view. When we allow ourselves to grieve we also nurture our capacity to one day hope. It was my shutting down of this process that led me into my straight- jacket of cynicism and worldliness.

I am so afraid of attack, and unworthy of attention. I am so sad at my family’s rejection. But feeling all of these things keeps me in connection with God and others and prevents me curling up into a tiny ball and cocooning myself away from life.

The show goes to air on Sunday and until then I just have to remember to keep breathing, to keep feeling.

And to remember that most often when our belief systems are confronted we do get angry. I should know! I was so angry with AJ in the first year of our relationship I left him three times. The second year wasn’t much better – I fought and refuted, I questioned and doubted, I tried to control and limit his passion and his voice (if you want proof of this just watch a old DVD – there are many tell-tale signs!!). So how can I judge others if the very same thing that angered me also angers them? Isn’t it a quality of love to allow others to feel whatever it is they feel? When we step into the process of change, very often our first emotions are anger and bewilderment. As we deal with these emotions, many times without even realising it, we have already begun the process of growth. I don’t advocate anger, but I would be a hypocrite to judge those who have it and I would be forgetful if I didn’t recognise it as a stepping stone along my own journey.

The fact that we opened our home to these people, that David and his producer stayed in our very beds and ate our (vegan) meals, was only ever a product of our love. I never hid who I was or how I felt. Although we both knew that events may lead in this sensational and critical direction (and that scared me) I recognised that if I were to truly love I would be both open and vulnerable, without expectation. We both even made a point of noting to others in our company that their attempts to convert David and Tim to our beliefs were unloving and did not respect their free will.

On Sunday a very many people are going to see a highly edited version of my life. They are going to hear from people around the world, most of whom we have never even met, but who are extremely angry with us because of the behaviour of their family members who purport to follow this path. They may even interview my own brother.

I cannot hide that this is a time of intense fear and sorrow for myself. It may challenge you as well. My only prayer is that you let this process refine your relationship, not with us, but with God. All of our noise and talk is only ever with the intent that you may truly come to know God and to experience His Love. If this next phase we are stepping into makes you doubt us that’s truly OK with me. I pray that it won’t lead you away from God.

So as Sunday looms and I feel about so many people seeing me on TV – finding myself in a place I never thought I would EVER be – I keep reminding myself of these things:
-       Trust God
-       Keep Breathing
-       Remember Love & Compassion for others – especially those who attack
(stay humble to my own feelings and I won’t become rigid or defensive, if I love myself enough to stay connected to myself I will be able to love others more, while I hold onto grief I hold onto the pain that can be inflicted through attack, when I allow myself to grieve I create space to love ALL others)
-       Don’t expect myself to be perfect

During this process of interviews that has lasted three months and triggered me on so many levels I have forgotten those four things many, many times. I am not perfect and I am very afraid. My heart aches from a deep rocky hollow within me. I have a cavern in my chest that cries out at a life without my family and a life of Truth that challenges so very many. But amidst all of this also these grows a new hope, a vision of a life without fear of how others will view me, and that place would be liberating indeed.

‘God, please help me welcome this pain so that I may know you as my true parent.
Help me to remember that my relationship with You is the one that will teach me love and that the opinions and judgements of the world around me mean little if they take me away from you.’