I have just been wandering around my blog, re-reading some of the posts, re-watching some of the videos…I don’t know whether you all do this or not with your own blogs; but as I galloped down memory lane, I dived into diverse concepts, people and laughed out loud. It seems to have always been my style to jumble it all up, and this blog is no different. One minute we look at the deconstruction of a Tibetan sand Mandela, the next we are bathing in Rumi’s deliciousness, then we giggle with Fr Thomas Keating, struggle with Fr Lazarus, watch Daniel in Goa playing hangdrum, and then we are flying off in quantum physics and mechanics. Breaking down barriers, observing that we are all part of the same great One, no matter how we express that within our religious or cultural identities. I suppose with my blog, you are never quite sure what you are going to get next!
For as long as I can remember my experiences have always been given and shown to me as a richly piled smorgasbord of feasts. Buddhist, Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Sufi, Common Sense…. God offers me all these concepts plus music, science, philosophy, documentaries about different cultures and their ways of living and beliefs, and through all of these I learn, I listen, I see…and release ‘received’ cultural fundamentalism, and ‘received’ social norms.
I have known wealth and poverty. I have lived in bedsits and mansions. I have loved, lost, laughed, cried and despaired. I have soared on the wings of love to great heights and dived the depths of dark hatred. I have felt fear and anger and known fearlessness and a sense of invincibility when nothing could stop me. I have known loneliness of spirit and loneliness in crowds. I have felt connected to all and known us all as One. I have stood alone, been ridiculed, mocked, betrayed and feted and cheered. I have known family love and family rejection. Ultimately they are all the same ironically enough. For none of them are real in a true sense and none of them define who I am.Thats a bit Zen.
One thing emerges; that I have lived. I have lived with intensity and passion. I have not held back even when perhaps it might have been sensible to do so in the eyes of the world. And I have never been without God. I have turned my back on Him at times…but always known He was still watching me, whilst I behaved like a sulky child running away from home! And eventually when I got hungry, sure I turned round and came home. Nothing more was said. The one constant has been God. This next photo is a young Stephanie in a strop! Very metaphorical image for me turning my back on God and striding off in some alternative direction…shame about those shorts! but the photo depicts the mood. I am about 9 years old here.
There is not a time when I was not aware of Him in my life…and as Daniel Warples said in a reply to a recent you tube comment a couple of months ago to a question by a viewer…”We do not need an invitation to sit in nature”. Neither do we need other’s approval of how we meet and talk to our Divine Father. As a young child I spent most of my time in nature. I was a strange child I think, always happiest on my own in nature, though perfectly friendly, adaptable and sociable when with other people. My nickname as a child was “Smiler”. My visions that came to me from age 3 sort of absorbed me and the teaching was ongoing even when not in that state of vision, so it made me a bit different to other children I think, I spent hours and hours on my back watching clouds skit over the sky, or on my tummy watching bugs crawl through their jungles of grass in our orchard. I watched water boatmen walking on water in our pond, and dragonflies hovering, their beautiful wings iridescent in the light, like flying rainbows. And I talked to God, and He talked to me. I didn’t think this was at all unusual. Only as I grew older did people tell me most authoritatively that “this does not happen”. Oh yes it does! Why is it usually ‘religious’ people that tell you this?
Here is where I grew up. A perfect childhood really in terms of location, loving parents and never going hungry. Our old house stood in an acre of land and was in rural Norfolk, England. It was over a hundred years old and had its own well. We had an AGA in the kitchen and my mother bred bulldogs and dachshunds so every now and again a number of little milky smelling miracles would appear snuggled up with their mum by the AGA when I came down for breakfast, and I would wonder at the miracle of birth. My sister was 8 years older than I, and I was largely left to my own devices regards entertaining myself. Freedom, perfect freedom to roam to the water meadows at the bottom of the back fields, the pond where the bulrushes grew, to find blackbird and robin’s nests, to paddle in the streams and rivers. Freedom to chew on straw in the harvest fields in ‘houses’ made of straw, away from adults, what would Health and Safety make of such freedom nowadays! Take note…we survived! I climbed trees and regularly got stuck, and would have to sit there until my ever patient Dad heard my howls and rescued me, gently removing splinters and trying not to laugh!
Here is me at the age when the visions were already well established. This was taken about 1961 I think. That ages me! This was my first bulldog, Brenda who was perfection in patience.
By this time I was already experiencing seeing Jesus Christ every night and he was teaching me. I had never been to church at this age, although I went later when I was older and I had no school teaching me about him either. My parents are not religious and I had not been given any religious input by them. So it is difficult to explain why a child this young with no external input should be experiencing such experiences.
I can only speak as I have found and that is that when I ask a question it is answered, and answered/presented in numerous different ways until I have ‘got it’. I remember only a few years ago and I was going through one of my slight frilly panic moments about death. The answers came in this form and that form and then another…Stephanie was still not convinced. Then came an answer tailor made for me. Death was likened to me driving a car. When I am in the car and driving it, I am aware of every square inch of it, like it is my own body. I can feel it in my body if the right tyre slips…just a fraction. I know where it ends and where it’s parameters are. I feel the engine and respond to it. Drivers will know what I mean. But when I get out of the car although the car is still there, I do not feel it anymore. I can look round and see it there, but I do not feel it. It exists, I exist but we are no longer joined.
So for me, although the visions ceased when I was about 7 years old apart from two separate occasions, aged 12 and 32, I am still aware of the Divine Presence so close it is within, and when I ask, I am given, in terms of answers. I have never known a time when this was not. The joy inherent in this Divine Presence is free and celebratory and gives one courage to live and the ability to laugh at oneself when it all goes wrong. It helps us hit the deck and get up, dust ourselves down and carry on walking, humming, along the path. It wraps us in its limitless Love, watches us, encourages us, shares with us in a sense of rapture and Joy.
Creation is a miracle and one that our Creator still celebrates and is immersed in with infinite care and attention to our every need and experience and call to Him. My blog here is just a way of sharing that joy, fun, love, freedom that God is to me with others…of daring to say “why not” and having the trust to try to not worry if it doesn’t work out how you had expected. I think that some people forget the sheer fun of being with God. Never limit yourselves, don’t let others limit you…you were born to be free, to be courageous and outrageous…made in the image and likeness of God. So don’t allow others to confine you or tell you how you should be doing things, or that you are doing them wrong. Just let go, listen and let God and be yourself, love, live, laugh, learn, and give thanks for the amazing opportunity of life. Be who you were created to be.