Monday, December 20, 2010

The Gift That Keeps on Giving

M.M. Note: Adapted from the CSC's Holiday e-newsletter.

How are you doing with your holidays, my friend? ... My own tendency is to get excited early on, and then as the calendar starts counting down toward Christmas Day, I start to feel a bit stressed out!

With two young children in our family, hopes run high. And this year, my father, Roger Mills (co-founder of our non-profit) will not be with us--he'll be singing carols with the angels. He was a huge Christmas fan, a bedrock of our traditions. It won't be the same, for sure.

Then there are money concerns, holiday "Thank You's" to be paid out to teachers, housekeepers, the postman ... How much? ... Send Holiday cards or not? Use wrapping or newspaper? And, let's see, Christmas Eve dinner planning, shopping, special events for the children ... If you are Jewish, Muslim--or otherwise inclined--perhaps you are feeling quite relieved by now!

I recall a very old recording of a Sydney Banks talk, on which Syd described the feelings of contentment and gratitude that are a marker for deeper wisdom to come, for mental health and understanding. He used the analogy of Christmas. "You know that feeling that just hits you when you're walking down the street? Like, Geez, it's Christmas!"

Our holiday gift to you, no matter what holiday you celebrate (or don't), is the simple reminder that holiday spirit is a feeling that comes from within. Already, our family has failed on a number of "external" holiday "agenda items": We have given up on having beautiful and elaborate lights like our neighbors, our Christmas tree is not color coordinated, nor well lit, and has large, empty green patches. Holiday cards have not yet gone out, my husband may be working Christmas Eve, and we have not found a soup kitchen or other wonderful cause to participate in to teach our children important lessons in charity and giving.

Nonetheless, as I give up on these items, one by one, I see that my children are still thrilled with the holiday. They love singing the songs. They love Santa---the whole idea of Christmas. And when I am simply present with what is, the holidays are very pleasant, and spirited, indeed. A few nights ago, carols on the car radio inspired us to drive around our neighborhood admiring the holiday lights, with the children singing at the top of their lungs.

And as John Lennon sung: "Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans."

The best gift is the gift we each already have within us--the capacity to enter into a deeper feeling about life at any time: the richness, the guidance, the love, the "holiness" that comes from nowhere else, but from within ourselves. The present of Presence.

Here's hoping that no matter what you celebrate, or don't, you enjoy the quiet moments between "doings," and even during "doings" that are nourishment for our souls, our families, our lives.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

No Curriculum for Truth

Thank you for your posting on your blog. Now [because you did not seem to really answer my question] in your words, if I were a 5-year-old, how would you describe "specifically" the 3 p's to me? Example: "Well lil'guy first of all ... etc etc." and then ...

--Robert Walking Rabbit

[M.M. note: the "3 p's" refer to philosopher Mr. Sydney Banks' Three Principles of Mind, Consciousness and Thought. Please refer to Mr. Banks materials--books, audio files, videos--for more on these.]

Dear Robert,

I had a feeling you would ask this again! I did manage to skirt the issue, did I not?

Mr. Banks used to say, "There is no curriculum" for the 3 Principles--in schools, in communities, or elsewhere.

What this means is that there is no curriculum for Love. I recently posted the following quote on Facebook:

"You have identified yourself with secondhand information. Don't live with secondhand information. Don't live with beliefs. You have the capacity to explore and really find out what actually IS." (--from Jean Klein's dialogues in "Transmission of the Flame")

What Mr. Banks (and Mr. Klein) were trying to say is that if I use a curriculum of "how to teach or share" principles of Truth with a child, or anyone else, then when I am in the moment of sharing--rather than coming from my heart and my own understanding, I am coming from memory, from "secondhand information."

And rather than look deeply into my own heart, which might mean taking a pause, taking a moment out of "doing" and going into reflection ... into inquiry for myself (into the unknown), I, rather, come up with something someone else wrote in a book, or outlined for me to say.

That is not a terrible sin, and there is nothing wrong with sharing information from books, I am just pointing to the fact that we then bypass our own capacity for understanding in favor of someone else's capacity for understanding.

Do you understand?

You wrote to me via e-mail that "I do not know," "I leave that to the professionals." But, why is that, Rob? ... I know that you are speaking to a Kindergarten teacher about all of this, but might not this be a question you could explore together, from a feeling of curiosity and respect?

Or, if you do not feel "ready" to talk with her about such things, again, an invitation to sit with oneself, to gently ask: Why not?

I know you know that each one of us "practitioners" started once where you are. And over time, we began to deeply trust ourselves, our own connection to wisdom.

The truth is that the Principles are alive in every children's story, in everything that happens in every single day (there is thought, there is action based on thought and there is the love, wisdom and compassion that bubbles up in each of us--and in so many stories.) There are as many ways to explain the Principles are there are human beings on the planet--and so much the better if each one of us expresses uniquely.

I know you were thinking you would not get an answer out of me, (and still you have not, eh?) but I encourage you to not leave it at that, not drop the question for yourself, Rob. Perhaps wisdom guides you not to work with this teacher directly yet, but that is not the end of the story.

That is actually the beginning.

With Love,

Your Mystical Mama

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Teaching a Child with ADD/ADHD about the Mind

Dear Mystical Mama,

I know you suggest that to live in your health, as a parent, is the best course.

[Note: in 3 Principles psychology, this means "mental health," as in: a quiet mind, receptivity to insight, grounded feeling states (when possible!), & love. --M.M.]

But, besides this, do you know of how to best describe the principles, say, to a 5-year-old? Or what to suggest to parents on how to explain the principles to a five-year-old diagnosed with ADD or ADHD? Can a five-year-old with extreme hyperactivity, impulsiveness, short attention span, etc. grasp or understand how their own mind works?

If so, how would one explain it to the child themselves? Do you explain in story form, parables to them ...or is it fine to just live in it yourself? How do you explain the principles to your own children? Just curious here.

--Robert "Walking Rabbit"

Dear Robert "Walking Rabbit"

and Dear Parents, everywhere! We cannot underestimate the importance of "putting our own oxygen masks on first." (See the two posts below.) Indeed, how will we teach our children about their minds, when we do not even know how to handle, or understand our own?

Are we not all a little ADD/ADHD from time to time? Can we investigate within ourselves, becoming gently curious, as to why? What occurs in Thought to create a sort of "running mind?" How is it that we can run to the store and spend all kinds of money on unnecessary items in a sort of frantic frenzy--what is that state of mind? Or, what creates the need to always be stimulated by some form of entertainment, be that people, TV, books, radio, Internet, and now, gotta-love-it Facebook?

And what happens when, rather than respond and react to this sort of running thinking, we simply allow this mental frenzy to be, understanding that our Health lies beneath this, our Health is the container for this ... ?

Children, it's been said many times, also respond mostly to how we are, much more so than to what we say. This is actually true for adults, too, is it not? We respond to each other's energy. Thus, our own calm-mindedness, our own grounding, guides us around our children, and helps them to calm down, too.

My dear friend and 3 Principles colleague, Gabriela, used to work closely with autistic children. She noticed that the children "behaved better" around those adults whose energy was present with them, who were Mind-full with them (and here I mean the "big Mind" as Mr. Banks defines it.) Finally, our own grounding and understanding speaks to our effectiveness with children if we do decide to share: How attached are we to their "changing" and "getting" what we are saying? How urgent do we become in trying to share our message? Is our trying to teach them really our way of trying to save or protect ourselves somehow? Are we overly invested in the whole thing?

Therefore, do put your own oxygen mask on first! As another wise colleague, Elsie Spittle, has written: "When we change the way we see things, the things we see seem to change." And the "problems" we see in our children look far less insurmountable. In my own case, with my own children (4 and 6), many problems have simply disappeared with the withdrawel of my worry and attention. I "kid" you not!

Finally, please note that I am not advocating walking around in a false kind of "calm," in which you are stirring and unhappy underneath, but showing a placid face. We are going for total self-honesty here. This must be first, above all: self-honesty, ruthless self-honesty. And being truly calm-minded does not mean that one's physical actions are slow and evenly paced, somehow. It simply means that all action comes from the place of wisdom, within.

OK, now, I will actually answer your question Robert. (Geez! I know!) ... What are these many diagnoses for our children--and ourselves--that we face today? I am by no means the expert, but are they not all made up names to describe some condition we believe is somehow the same across individuals? As we have created the words "tree," "faucet," "lawnmower," so have we created "ADD," "manic-depressive," "bi-polar," "anxiety disorder." It is also true that when we rely on the word to convey meaning, we lose touch with the reality of our own, or our child's situation now. We stop exploring for ourselves, we stop observing. Let the experts handle that, we say. What do I know?

Do I believe that children and people with ADD can learn about their own minds? Yes. Do I believe they have mental health and wisdom? Yes. We have a 14-year-old with an ADHD diagnoses in a school with us now who can sit for 45 minutes as we talk about the 3 Principles in his classroom. His teacher says this is phenomenal. How is it so? Because we don't care if he does or not, actually. Because we love him anyway.

Now, I am not arguing for or against medication. I have seen Wisdom point in both directions on this one. But I am suggesting that a "diagnosis" is merely the current and latest thinking of a society that, generally speaking, does not really understand itself at all.

Can a five-year-old learn how their own mind works? Yes. Can we teach them directly? Yes. Can we use a parable? Yes. Is it enough to just live the Truth ourselves? Yes.

I have done all of the above with my own older daughter, and I notice that if I am invested in her learning, or anxious about her learning, she tends to tune out. When our dialogue takes place within a context of love and real curiosity, she gets a lot of it, as do I. But truly, what has been most effective for me is moving into the space and spirit of Love, for myself, within myself. Love for Life, Love for myself, Love for her. So healing. Love is Mental Health.

One final story: I worked with a mother of three rambunctious and "diagnosed" young boys (two of them were.) She wound up with some of the Sydney Banks DVD's and played them on her television one day--just for herself really. She told me that as Syd talked, the boys started to slowly stop what they were doing and come around the television to listen.

And so it seems that the truth is the truth is the truth--for us all. And it can emerge in our families in many forms, "principles" or not. Going back to check our own feeling state, (do we move from Love or anxiety?) is the key. If we are not getting oxygen, we have no oxygen, really, to give to our children, or anyone else, no matter what words we use.

I appreciate and invite your further comments or questions.

With Love,

Your Mystical Mama

"Putting On My Own Oxygen Mask First"

Dear Friends,

Here is the response from our worried Mother, "Helen." I feel her wisdom here can be helpful to us all ...

Dear Ami,

Thank you for "replacing my fog with sunshine." I am so grateful to be made aware that I am still learning something I thought I already knew. I know this is the truth. Common sense has returned ... I went back to the basics: quiet, still and present (took your advice that "if it feels urgent, it isn't"). It was a lesson to myself again to realize just how much one needs to slow down, to be able to be still, to have no attachment to the outcome (emphasis added), in order for one's common sense to flow up.

I do feel a sense of calm again. It is only in finding the calm now, that I realize how crowded my thoughts were. How quickly and easily we choose to "love fear" and "fear love" of oneself and others! This was one of the insights that came to me. Taking the time and space I needed for myself afforded me a way of finding my way back to my common sense: not taking things personally, and seeing that "it is what it is ... " Giving myself some distance from the situation gave me that Self-grounded feeling ... and that "knowing feeling" again. As a mother, sometimes I do "forget to put the oxygen mask on myself first, before I can help someone else!"

May peace be with you,


Thursday, November 4, 2010

Question: What the &*%$! should I do?

Dear Mystical Mama,

(Note: Identifying facts have been changed for this Mother. Letter edited slightly for clarity.)

I am 50 yrs. old, divorced, and I've lived in Texas for many years with my two children. My daughter is a senior in high school. Since starting Greg's course (Gregory Drambour of Sedona Sacred Journeys), I have read all Syd Banks books, and the three principles approach absolutely does resonate with me.

I am very aware now that neither my ex-husband nor myself have applied anywhere near the three principles approach whilst bringing up our children. My Daughter was diagnosed one year ago with ADD and secondary Anxiety/Depression, which I'm sure is due to the misdiagnosis and frustration she has endured for the last couple of years. She has a very high IQ, and is creative and musically talented, but has been quite misunderstood for about two years at school, by friends and family, causing disagreement, conflict and gross misunderstanding between my ex-husband and myself, which, ultimately has had negative effects on my daughter. This has been a very difficult time for all of us in trying to find common agreement without judgment toward any other person, or projecting our own experience and programming whilst doing the best we can in coping with a mentally ill, sick child.

We have reached an agreement on some of the treatment, and "Eleanor" is continuing to improve and cope. This has been a very exacerbated time of heightened and prolonged realizations of absolute separate realities.

My Question is: Could you suggest a specific approach using the three principles in helping the family unit as a whole deal with a diagnosis of ADD or other mental illness's with children/teenagers?

Dear "Helen,"

Thank you so much for your letter. There is actually no such thing as a “specific approach” from a 3 Principles understanding to the issues you bring up here. It seems there is a great deal of conflict and confusion about what to do with your daughter, and even about the “separate realities” you have noticed, and that you say have led to “prolonged realizations.” I am assuming a “prolonged realization” here is not a breakthrough (bringing relief and understanding), but rather just seeing that everyone is in a separate reality, with no movement forward, or toward peace of mind. Is this correct? On the other hand, there is improvement and coping on the part of your daughter.

If this is all correct, then what seems to be very clear is that there is still a lack of clarity. Regardless of the situation, it is insightful simply to notice the lack of clarity. When there is lack of clarity, often there is urgency, and as I said on the Teleconference call with Greg, “If it feels urgent, it isn’t.” (Please note: this is barring actual physical emergencies!)

The reason I cannot recommend a specific course of action is because only your own Wisdom can do that. And right now, without clarity, Wisdom is not speaking loudly enough for anyone to hear. Actually, Wisdom is speaking, but the more fearful, ego-based and urgent thoughts are just “noisier” right now.

If one can start to become more present—not projecting into the future, not regretting, perhaps, parenting or relationship “mistakes” in the past—Thought starts to slow down, to quiet down. When the mind becomes quiet, insights emerge. The feeling of an insight (as opposed to worry, anxiety, projection, judgment) is quite distinctive—there is a calm and peace that accompanies an insight. No one is held “to blame,” not even oneself!

It seems to me that since you are the one who is inquiring (and are therefore receptive), becoming quiet, being patient, trusting your inner Wisdom to emerge at the right time is the best “three principles approach” I can recommend. Do you see how I would recommend this to anyone, in any situation?

When thoughts arise (and it seems that there are thoughts of regret about the past for you), can you see them as just thoughts—notice how they are not helpful in this moment, notice how we all punish ourselves through self-blame, although we are all quite human and subject to many flaws? Forgiveness for oneself can ignite forgiveness for others, including (believe it or not) ex-spouses! We have all done the best we can with the thinking we had at our disposal at any given time. We are all just trying to make it through life.

As parents, we are likely to engage in a great deal of worry and anxiety about our children, especially if they have a frightening "diagnoses." Can we see that this worry and anxiety is helping neither them nor ourselves? Can we allow ourselves the space and time—even while our loved one seems to be “suffering”—to calm down and experience our own mental health and peace of mind?

Truly, a parent’s ability to find their own peace of mind is the absolute best parenting “technique” on the planet. If you can discover your own peace of mind, Helen, this peace will spread with ripples throughout the family and this situation. Peace for you brings peace between you and your former husband, brings peace to your daughter. Answers spring from peace, and just as often, "problems" simply dissolve.

So, the answer, as always, lies inside of you.

Can you let go, and trust yourself fully?

Yours Truly,


Saturday, October 23, 2010


In mystical and/or spiritual traditions, there is often a distinction between "Universal" or impersonal Love and "human," or personal love. Personal love is sometimes portrayed as a selfish, more narrow form of love, perhaps not love at all!

In truth, all pure feelings of Love are different flavors of the one True Love, the Love that you are made of, and that you always have to give ... When I love my children, my husband, my mothers (I have 2!), without expecting love in return, I am also opening my heart to love for others--for the kids, parents and teachers I work with, for clients, for the Barista who is taking her own sweet time, for my many, "differently opinionated" colleagues, for life and the world itself ...

And how about Yourself, my dear Friend, is there Love there for you, for this incredible energy that you are? Life ... and its unique manifestation as your beautiful eyes, fingers, and toes? Your beautiful Mind and humor? Your many gestures of kindness, accumulated into the thousands by now?

What a privilege to emerge as a part of this Life! Where will the flow of it carry you next? Can you trust the Wisdom of Love? Do you understand that it cannot fail? Do you know that Love whispers to you, from within your heart, every moment of every day, whispering, "Choose Me! Choose Me this time. I know exactly what to do here!"

Perhaps honesty and courage are required as a part of Love. In the end, none of this will hurt.

So, yes to Love! Love, love, love!

It's all good.

Monday, July 19, 2010

On Mental Health & Healing

Over the last 40 years, some of the most resistance to Mr. Sydney Banks' 3 Principles of Mind, Consciousness and Thought has come--and most vociferously, at times with hostility--from the mental health community itself.

I have experienced this hostility first-hand as a guest teacher in graduate psychology programs--and my father experienced it throughout his career. It is a wonder to me, because, as I look around, even casually, it seems obvious that the field, as a whole, does not have any kind of handle on mental health. Not even a definition for it!

People seem to suffer from more and more mental ailments, rather. The DSM grows and grows. Here in our well-heeled home base of Palo Alto, even people with tremendous resources and access to mental health services have committed suicide on the train tracks, several over the last year. (One woman jumped from a freeway overpass.) People here live with intense amounts of stress and pressure. Suffering "patients," or consumers, worldwide merely cope with and manage their mental illnesses.

I do not mean to disparage the very well-intentioned and innocent mental health professionals who try their best to help people ... Many of whom do help people through their basic caring and instinctive capacities for healing. It is simply a wonder to me, as I've said, that the mental health field, as a whole, would claim to know much, if anything, about mental health.

Mr. Banks did. A ninth-grade educated welder, his life-changing insight and awakening in the 1970's showed the world that mental health is not complicated. It does not come through "analysis," categorization, or re-living the past. It does not come from attaching more firmly to even positive concepts about who we think we are.

Mental health is simply being present, accessing the divine energy, Love, and creativity that is always with us.

Mr. Banks, of course, is not the only mystic or spiritual author who could define mental health. Yet his selfless dedication for more than four decades to working with those in the field--introducing neutral and universal "Principles" that can be understood in any setting--has led to development of practitioners throughout the United States, and globally, who both define mental health, and help people to find it, within. In my mind, Maslow's plea for a new "psychology of Being" has come to fruition.

"When clarity and purity of thought are present, the answer you seek will present itself, for what you seek is with you and has been with you always." --Sydney Banks, "The Missing Link."

Mental health is a quiet mind. Our birthright. Our access to a great, Divine, endless wellspring of insight, of spiritual knowledge, of connection to Life. It has nothing to do with the workings of our personal thought system. I suffered from depression in my 20's and my later research as an investigative journalist into medications and brain chemistry led me to the firm conviction that we had not found the panacea in Prozac. Indeed, my healing came from my own spiritual insights, insights into the role of Thought and feelings, and, finally, letting go of insecure thinking.

As the world seems to come crashing down around us: murders, wars, child abuse, drug abuse, family violence, perversions, ecological degradation, greed and materialism, and just plain old stress and insecurity--how can we say that we, as the human race, know anything about mental health?

It would be refreshing indeed if professionals in this field would summon the simple humility to say: maybe we don't know.

When we open up to the Unknown, the answers come rushing in. Suddenly, there is room.

Let's remember that once, we were convinced that the world was flat.

This is my deep, deep prayer for the world--that we open up to the Unknown, that true mental health, peace of mind, peace of spirit is unleashed within billions ...

What a wonderful world this would be!

With Love,

Your Mystical Mama

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Slowing Down to the Speed of Life

Acknowledgment for the splendid Blog Title goes to Richard Carlson & Joe Bailey, who co-wrote a Principles-based book of the same title (and therefore came up with it first.)

Thought for the summer: "If we all slowed down by half, the world would improve by 200 percent ... "

At the very least!

Think of it! Do we want more money and stuff, or do we want peace of mind? Does the money and stuff sometimes substitute for peace of mind (quite inadequately, I would suggest)? To quote someone very wise and profound whose name currently escapes me: "The truly wealthy (hu)man is the one who is happy with what (s)he has."

Please see the following: "Possum Living" and "Why Work?" ... a book and news article that surfaced in my life most recently.

Might global warming be stopped simply by stopping?

Might more innate and universal wisdom surface if we allowed for more space in our minds?

Might we learn the value of every Thing ... & begin to care less about the cost?

I am on this bandwagon!

with Love,

Your Mystical Mama

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Some Observations on Grief

Is there a “way” to grieve? Is our grieving influenced by what we think grieving should be? Are “stages” of grief true or even necessary?

I have been noticing the process of grief within myself since my father died, and actually, the sadness and feelings of loss started even before he died.

This process has not been what I expected, although I’m not sure I was actively expecting anything at all. I guess it’s not been what I expected given the way our society generally portrays grief.

A few days ago, a dear friend called to express condolences and we began a conversation about all of this. He suggested to me that my thoughts might be helpful to others who are dealing with grief. At first I thought, “Oh, it’s too early to put anything up about Dad’s death,” (he passed May 3) but then I realized that it didn’t feel wrong to me to do so … It felt wrong because of what “people might think.”

This ignited in me a sort of rebellious reaction to what I now see as societal thoughts and mores around grief. And so, I have decided to go ahead and post (!)

… My hope is that these reflections might help others who have perhaps come to find their grief unbearable and stifling.

Notes on Grief

Especially, somehow, over these last weeks, I have noticed the deep logic of Thought—of those Principles, Mind, Consciousness and Thought at work—as different flavors of “grief” wash over me.

I am discovering that, at least for me, to “grieve” … to experience the death of someone close, is much more varied than what I imagined. I am not experiencing “stages,” I am experiencing various thoughts, and the feelings that accompany them. My Stepmom, and Dad’s new widow, has been calling these “waves” or “surges.”

For example,

The thought: “I am so grateful to have had such a Father” brings with it its own set of feelings that are sometimes tearful, but also rich, and life affirming. I can well up with gratitude, and feel so very, very lucky.

The thought: “I will never do x, y or z with Dad again” brings the flood of “loss,” and even then, interesting to note, these thoughts are not actually related to the present moment, but to an imagined, or projected future, an imagined scene without Dad in it.

The thought: “I wish I had never done that/said that to him,” and the pain of regret slices through me.

The thoughts: “I am so glad I had a chance to do that/say that to him. To help him [in some way] … to be there for his dying,” bring the feelings of satisfaction, and gratitude again.

The thought: “He is gone now!” Bereavement. Something close to anguish.

The thought: “He will always be with me; he is in my soul, now, even in my very cells” and I feel Whole, I feel the sacred connectedness of life, of two souls who did love one another, and the eternal fruit of such love.

I went walking through the park, alone, late in the evening on the day of my father’s death. The clouds were closing up on lighter areas of the sky, in the west, where the sun had gone down. So there were silvers, grays, blacks, a background luminosity to the sky before the darkness of night. And I started to cry, thinking of Dad. I cried for some time, but it was not a crying I needed to stop, or even be comforted about. The crying was rooted in my love for Dad—I was crying over the beauty of the sky, the beauty of Relationship, the sacred passing of a Soul. It was sadness and joy all mixed together.

Later that night, I got a call from a dear, old friend. She was crying a “hard” kind of crying, it seemed. She told me she was angry about cancer. Several friends or people she knew had died from it. I shared with her that although I had been crying a lot that day, there was a safety in my crying, and that safety came from a kind of rootedness in Love. Like, yes, I could cry and mourn and be bereaved, but when I settled into the underlying current of Love there, I was safe within all of these emotions. I could allow them to come … and also, just as importantly, to go.

I must admit, there are times even now, with the death so recent, when I am not thinking of my father or his death at all!

When I go out in public, or get on the phone, people ask me:

“How are you?”

And they tell me,

“I’m so sorry … “

And these are, of course, common and appropriate comments from well wishers.

However, I can certainly say that there are times when I have been completely fine, good, even. Sometimes, I feel a great joy and freedom that seems related to the freedom of spirit I imagine for Dad now. There is also a new freedom in my life that is directly connected to his passing.

And when someone asks me, “How are you? … I am so sorry,” I remember that I am “supposed” to feel a certain way, as a member of this society (“death” is a bad thing) and so I try to look somber and tell the only truth I can in that moment without seeming to be disrespectful, or an unloving daughter: “Oh well, you know, I am up and down.” True enough.

There were so many aspects of my father’s death that were actually positive and uplifting. I shared this with another dear, old friend who called during my father’s dying, and she said, “Well, we can intellectualize it, or spiritualize it, but it is still difficult.”

I know my friend was simply trying to help me access my “real” feelings—to "let them out," as we say. And in many cases, this may be necessary. But truly, in that moment when she asked, the dying did not feel difficult. I want to honor that truth for me. Death and dying do not have to be difficult. They often are, but they don’t have to be.

Essentially, what I have discovered is that there is no one way to grieve. There are no rules. We get many ideas about death and grieving from society “out there.” The truest Truth for me, however, is always what I experience through direct observation: I have a thought, I have a feeling. I have sad moments, I have grateful moments, I have regretful moments, I have feelings of deep love and peace.

At times, I am overcome with an emotion, a feeling of flatness or sadness, without being able to identify any underlying thought. I accept this as just another current of feeling. I know Thought is there, perhaps subconscious, but I do not need to dig it up and find it. Eventually, this too shall pass.

For my Dad’s wife, in particular, I understand that there is “breaking up of a shared energy field” in the home, in the space (I got this phrase from the book, “The Light of Discovery” by Toni Packer, in her chapter on Grieving). That field must feel broken, a part of it gone, in the entire shared life, and that must feel like a giant vacuum at first. There are habits and activities that were always undertaken with “the Other.” There were perhaps future plans and dreams.

Unlike my Father’s death, which was, I suppose, “expected,” others die suddenly, younger, their deaths fly in the face of all reason, logic and expectation. Perhaps there has been a suicide. I can see how this kind of death would bring up all sorts of intense thoughts and reactions.

At the same time, I am sure that gentle, grateful, hopeful, connected thoughts are still available to survivors … in all cases. There is still the capacity to focus on what was learned and gained from the relationship, what still exists for us, how that person does indeed live forever within us. There is still the capacity to reach for and achieve forgiveness for oneself and for the One who has passed. It is never too late for love.

I read a quote in one book from a family member/survivor, who said, “They are in my DNA!”

Beneath all our thoughts of pain, of the future, of regret, guilt or loneliness, lies the deep, quiet, eternal Love for the Other … the true Relationship that cannot be lost. This Love has no capacity to hurt, it can only heal.

Can we give ourselves permission to go deeply into this Love and begin to understand that we have truly lost nothing?

The great beauty of my Father, Roger Clark Mills (now resting in peace), is that he shared with me the most valuable thing on this great planet earth—-peace of mind.

For the first two weeks after his death, I had a hard time “motivating,” getting anything done. I was tired, I was sad, depressed, whatever. Then, I had a moment in my backyard. The sun was out, the grass had just been cut. Bees were buzzing, and I finally took the time to just sit down in a lawn chair.

Looking out on the scene, my mind became still. It was then that I felt him ... Dad. This was the space he so cherished, and a space we often shared. This was his greatest gift to me, to know what is valuable and real in this mixed up world—-peace of mind.

Within peace of mind, we can feel grateful for anything. Within peace of mind, we come into what all Loved Ones truly want for us after their passing. And somehow, within peace of mind, we share in an energy that includes them still.

With Love,

Your Mystical Mama

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Comments from the Family

"The only thing that matters is this moment of happiness, right now."

--Barukh Bennaim

On the Death Bed II

"Intimacy is just unconditional Love, seeing the innocence in the Other."

--Roger Clark Mills

On the Death Bed

It seems to me, now
The ushering Out of a life
Is as Sacred as the ushering In.

The entire, unfathomable Universe
Of a personality
With its splendors, flaws, tics, traits

And Deep Intelligence …

The Great Complexity!
Ignited by the One Consciousness
Was Born and now Subsides

We witness,
in these sad & playful pajama party days
The Reality of Soul
And the Love that unites us, (always united us)
And brings us together now,
as around a sputtering candle,

Witnesses to last light
Which fades
on this night

… If only from our view.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Help Wanted!

I am sure this has been done before. Nonetheless, it was new to my mind …


Special Personal Assistant (SPA)

Salary: None

Location: Your home, such as it is

(This position requires use of one’s own home, car and personal monies.)

Job Duties: As a special personal assistant (SPA), you will provide client with the following services, including, but in no way limited to:

Personal shopping (including all personal necessities such as, but not limited to: clothing, food, drink, recreational items, etc., plus unnecessary items) Expense account will be drawn from personal monies. Expense account will also cover gifts and other items for client's friends.

Housekeeping Client will be living in your home. For at least the first five years of employment, client will not significantly assist with any housekeeping. This is non-negotiable. Client will likely create disproportionate increased demand for housekeeping of all sorts: laundry, cooking, cleaning, sorting, disinfecting, and etc.

Personal caretaking, including, but not limited to: bathing, grooming, brushing teeth, trimming nails, cleaning ears (inside and behind), toileting (specifically, disposing, wiping, flushing, and proper hygienic follow up), dressing, undressing, lifting, carrying, transporting, etc.

Entertainment: SPA will be responsible for keeping client entertained to his or her personal satisfaction during “Job Hours” (see below.)

Emotional Support: SPA will be responsible for providing both emotional and moral support to client, including but not limited to 1) serving as a proper “role model”* 2) amending and ameliorating any emotional distress experienced by client during “Job Hours” (see below.) SPA will also be responsible for maintaining and organizing client's social life, and for assuring client has one.

Health care: SPA will be responsible for managing all aspects of client’s health care and health care services—including maintaining proper insurance coverage—during “Job Hours” (see below.) If client suffers any permanent injuries during SPA tenure, SPA will be held fully responsible.

Job Hours: 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for duration of position (see below.)

Breaks: If SPA would like a break, SPA is solely responsible for arrangements to have job duties covered during the break period by a qualified professional. It is unwise to take frequent and/or extended breaks.

Sleep: Job duties continue during the period of time normally referred to as “sleep.” Expect sleep to be become highly truncated during the period, “Job Hours,” and for up to, but in no way limited to, 18 years.

Additional contractual items:

Seniority: After 13 (on average) years of employment, your client will not reward you with actual pay, increased benefits or any other form of employee recognition. Rather, your employer will potentially grow resentful and possibly hostile toward you while still depending heavily on your professional services, and drawing more heavily on “expense account.” (See above.)

Possible Occupational Hazards: Sleep deprivation, impacted personal relationships, increased stress, possible, numerous and unpredictable physical hazards, significant impacts on personal cash reserves and possible negative impacts on mental health status, especially during first years of position, but possibly also beyond that.

Duration of Position: Until client or personal assistant becomes deceased. Any attempts to leave this position before the 18th year of service will be considered a criminal act at worst, and a total, irreparable mistake at best. After the 18th year, SPA job duties may decline somewhat, however “the position” must continue to be maintained by you. There is no “sabbatical,” paid or unpaid leave, “exit strategy,” “escape clause,” “golden (or any other colored) parachute,” or “retirement” period for this position.

Benefits: There are no significant monetary benefits, and significant negative impacts on expense account/personal monies, for the period “Job Hours” up until roughly the 25th year of the position. After that time, it is highly likely that there will continue to be no monetary benefits, and possibly significant continued and compounded expenses, for the duration of the position. (See “Duration of Position” above.)

Non-monetary Benefits can include the following, and are in no way limited to: increased wisdom, increased intuitive capacity, increased capacity for compassion and love, increased humor, increased sense of being “present.” Great joy. Deepening of one’s overall “human-hood.” Confrontation/illumination of one’s inner weaknesses and demons. Possible accelerated spiritual development. Someone to Love.

Qualifications: Remarkably—and perhaps unfortunately—there are no qualifications for this highly demanding position. Seemingly unqualified applicants often “grow” into the position and eventually excel at job duties. We strongly advise those who do not feel even remotely qualified for this position, not to apply.

Note: the application process if often highly pleasurable.

Note to potential applicants: Contrary to the seemingly insurmountable challenges of the SPA position, there is extremely high demand for this position. Applicants who do not receive the position have been known to fall into emotional despair. Some individuals invest significant monetary and other resources toward landing the position. At the same time, persons who did not even truly mean to apply for the position can land the position, seemingly by accident or mistake.

Once the position is offered, there is no way to decline the position, although one can abandon position duties. Generally speaking, THIS IS CONSIDERED A CRIMINAL ACT AND IS FULLY PUNISHABLE BY LAW. (Please refer to the laws of your own country and/or state.) Important Exception: Legal means do exist for those who feel quite unqualified for the position, or who have landed the position by utter mistake or by force. In these cases, arrangements can be made to transfer client to a qualified applicant.

A note to those who have landed the position: Congratulations, and keep up the good work!

This position is offered by: God, Life, the Universe. God, Life, the Universe is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate based on gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, race, moral/ethical status, or any other consideration, whatsoever. Significant questions regarding this position may be directed to: Oneself.

*There is no specific handbook or manual provided for this duty.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Mouths of Babes, Part II

"Let's sit down and have a talk."

--3 & 1/2 year old Tori to sister Alia, 6

(after being told they must resolve their own dispute)