Spiritual Partners

Transformation, evolution into consciousness, is mostly an internal job.  We self-monitor and observe our inner processes.  We strive to balance out the ways we interface with the world:  if we are intellectual, we develop our physical bodies and emotional strength; if we deal with the world emotionally, we stretch our minds and bodies; and if we are physical beings, we learn to use our minds and hearts.  All three Ways need to be active in order for us to grow spiritually.

While all this personal work is necessary, it also helps to have partners on the journey—people who understand the Work.  All of us get tunnel vision.  Partners offer a wider view.  We get stuck.  Partners come with tool bags  full of spiritual crowbars and dynamite.  We are prone to navel-gazing.  Partners tap us on the shoulder and remind us to look up at the stars.

I’ve been incredibly blessed with travel companions.  I’d like to introduce you to just a few.


I met my friend, Lily, in 1997 at Lake Harriet Spiritual Community where we both ended up becoming Ministerial Guides.  We recognized the Divine in each other almost immediately and when we emailed we started using superhero monikers that have continued to today—Cat Woman and Submariner.

Lily is fearless and relentless in her Work, using her reactions and conflicts as a way to heal herself and others.  She is a channel for Divine Love and believes her mission on this earth is to help others remember themselves and return to Love.  Funny, irreverent, articulate and uncompromising, she is the most beautiful mirror in the world.

Once she wrote:

“Fuck the beatitudes!”  I’ll drink to that!  Or maybe we just need to modify…  “Blessed are the fucked, for they shall become unfucked.”  Would that be it?  It’s not very poetic, but I’d take unfucked today.

Have you ever wondered if maybe we’re not here for any reason at all.  Maybe when God looked down on creation as it began, the only comment was, “Oops!” Maybe God is like the Wizard of Oz… “Does anybody know how to stop this thing?”  But then, if he had come back for Dorothy she wouldn’t have learned of her own power.  So there’s the lesson of all the tough times.

Maybe we’re teaching God something too.  It could happen.  The angels say, “The gift is never given in only one direction.”

And on a different day, she said:

Remember that detachment does  not mean, “I don’t care.”  It means, “The ability to not be offended.”  In other words, if we are so emotionally involved in a situation/person, we lack healthy detachment and their every move triggers us/offends us.  We must pull back.  We must realize that what we once thought was intimacy is really enmeshment (i.e. too much closeness… all boundaries go away… we lose ourselves in the relationship.)  Much of what we, in this culture, think of as love is not love at all… it’s common need.  It’s about trying to complete ourselves.  This is what we must transcend.  This is tough!

I’m part of a large spiritual community called Foundation.  This group of seekers formed around teacher Ron Mangravite to study and follow the teachings of the ancient esoteric mystery traditions.  We study Kabbalah, Buddhism, Sufi teachings, the Gnostic Gospels, ancient Egyptian and Mayan teachings, myth, quantum physics, earth-based religions, holistic health and anything that shines light on the holistic map of human evolution.

Ron died before I joined Foundation, so one of his first students, Melanie Oates, has been my guide through The Mysteries and continues to be my teacher.  She lives in Pittsburgh, but comes to Minneapolis regularly where a large group of us work with her.

Barb, Barb & Laney in Des Moines

Members live all over the country, but I’m blessed to have three “sisters” in Des Moines who I meditate with regularly.  The four of us share our lives “where the rubber hits the road” or where our practices and studies push out our boundaries.  This is home for me.  With the three of them, I find acceptance and unconditional love, understanding and support in my version of the Work, and a deep sense of Fellowship.

Laney, Karen & Richard

This week members of Foundation will be meeting in North Carolina for its biannual retreat.  It’s been several years since I was able to afford the trip east, but I saw a couple of dear friends as they traveled down from Minneapolis to pick up Laney before heading on to North Carolina.  Like the Barbs and Laney, Karen and Richard add a richness to my spiritual life as my companions on the journey.  Having a spiritual community became vital for me when I lost my old life and relocated.  These folks remembered me when I couldn’t.  They gave me continuity and context.  They held me up until I could stand again.  Most of all, they understood.

The last spiritual partner I want to present is a man I’ve only talked to once.  He and I were both shy, standing in the Fellowship Hall of the Unitarian Universalist Church in White Bear Lake after one of his benefit performances.  But, Peter Mayer’s music is bold.  His songs embody everything I try to be in my spiritual life—open, reverent, hilarious, questioning and celebratory.  He, too, understands the life of a seeker and shares that quest in his music.  One of my favorites is Could You Be.

Could you be a window • In a darkened hall • To give a passing soul • A way of seeing through the wall • And people stop in front of you • And into you they peer • Uncertain what they see because • You’re not exactly clear? •• Could you be a lighthouse • Standing on a shore • Meant to send a light out • To the sailor in a storm • But even though you show your light • Not a boat can tell • You didn’t know you’re not supposed to • Shine it on yourself? •• Are you a bell that hasn’t tolled? • A drum that hasn’t rolled? • A word of hope unsaid? • A declaration never read? • Could you be? •• Could you be a siren • Made to raise your voice • But sinking in the silence • Afraid of making noise • Even though the enemy is flying overhead • Even though the fire is continuing to spread? ••  Are you a spear afraid of flight? • A constellation afraid of night? • A principle unknown? • A pilgrim holding on to home? • Could you be? •• A flare afraid to burn? • A wheel unfree to turn? • A compass shunning north • In a vessel straying way off course? • Could you be? • Could you be a lighthouse • Standing on a shore • That the lost are looking for?

Human beings are not meant to be solitary creatures.  We are social animals and need the love and support of others to grow.  As spiritual seekers, we also need folks who will challenge us, push us out of our patterns, and dare us to be more than we are.  This is not a path for weenies.  It takes stamina and courage to wake up and to continue to choose consciousness when the world would rather keep everyone sleep.  But the journey is so much richer with companions at your side.

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