Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Alchemical World

My happiest moments are joining the world in its churning, alchemical process. I take hard rice and transform it, with veggies and squash, into a new reality—a healing meal. I bring the scraps to my compost and, months later, bring rich dark earth to my garden beds. I bring tiny seeds also, which transform into plants and sturdy veggies that I bring to the stove and metamorphose into rich soup.

How wonderful to work with these mysterious powers that create the slow miracles of daily life. The world is a playground of magical matter that transforms. Likewise, with prayer, meditation, or mindfulness, our psyches transmute too.
© 2011 Laura Lewis-Barr all rights reserved No more to read on this post. Even though Blogger says Read more!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


Is it just me, or have you noticed that (within the last 20 years) the din of competing voices has grown more strident and piercing? As our population rises, does our competition for resources intensify? I’ve felt this--both inside my own psyche and in my world. Social “networking” is our current euphemism for our evermore aggressive rivalry. If there isn’t enough (jobs, money, prestige) to go around, I must howl louder and grab what I can. Even if the prize doesn’t truly satisfy or fit me—I must seize it and hang on tight. To seek “right livelihood” or my vocation (what is THAT?) is crazy. Wake up. There are not enough good jobs or decent salaries. I shouldn’t indulge in pipe dreams.

As a theatre artist and writer, I’ve always felt the scarcity of options and the intensity of competition. But now, in my 51st year, I’m exploring a new way. Could it possibly be true that there is some kind of Force (call it God for short), that calculates our unique needs? This Force doesn’t magically deliver our prayer-orders, like some Benevolent Bureaucrat in the sky. But consider this—an unseen algorithm--some mystical order that is part of the God Force. When we align ourselves in this Field of God, we find the path that leads to creativity and “just what I need.”

But how could this be true if reason shows me a small number of theatres producing plays and many more playwrights seeking admission? How can this work when 90% of the world’s resources are in the hands of 2%?

Good questions! But maybe the wrong questions. I am beginning to believe in Abundance as another frame of reality. One that, like the new physics, I cannot see (or even understand) but a fact that I experience every Spring when I throw out seeds and uncover my perennials.

How would it feel to believe that “there is enough for me” and “I get exactly what I need?”

Just writing that sentence brings peace and calm to my heart.

I’m writing lately without obsessing about selling, marketing, or promoting my work. What if I did what I feel called to do? What if I simply wrote and did the best I could? What if I trusted in God and Destiny? Why not try this? I’ve tried competition. Not only have I “failed” but my soul has withered. Trusting in God revives my soul. I give up worry, and a shriveled soul and get peace and joy? Not bad. It’s not easy—I have to have the courage to look selfish and fail. But I can do this. I can finally (finally! FINALLY!) start down my own unique path without retreating because I lost faith after calculating my odds of success.

What if I took my own path without the calculation?
© 2011 Laura Lewis-Barr all rights reserved. No more to read on this post. Even though Blogger says Read more!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Last night's dream

Have you seen "Inception?" Cool and provocative re: dreams.

Did you know that reading or hearing others' dreams can encourage them in you?

Here's part of mine from last night.
Dreamt I saw a very young doe sitting in the middle of the sidewalk. My dog Sophie trots over to the doe and I’m afraid that she will attack it. But she barely acknowledges it. I’m relieved. The doe rises on its thin limbs and starts to walk in Sophie’s direction. I intend to follow to check on it.

(I'm struck to see that my innocence (a motherless doe) and my instincts are about the same size in me. I may be a bumbling, fumbling fool in the world, but I have retained this rare doe. It has not been lost or killed (thanks be to God).

Where is the doe going? I don’t know--but it follows the dog. I follow these both—my instincts and innocence).

Would love to hear your dreams also.... Read more!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Falling Backwards....

Lately, I’m very conscious of my persona--the part of me that seeks to impress or pretend interest where there is none. It's a necessary construct but I long to spend more time working from my soulful, innocent, center. When I experience that truthful, generous space, my heart longs for it. My heartfelt prayer is for a vocation that brings out my best. A work that allows me to offer my unique talents from a more open, peaceful, and noncompetitive place.

To my worldly self, my willingness to trade money for meaning can feel like falling backwards off a steep cliff.

I’m comforted when I remember the archetype of the holy fool. Others have embraced his crazy journey. I can too.

Illustration by Ma Deva Padma

© 2011 Laura Lewis-Barr all rights reserved Read more!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Emotions and the Hero's Journey

There is no way to take our own hero’s journey without facing our confusing and painful emotions—especially fear, anger, and shame. When we fully explore this inner realm (of our emotions), we will experience the struggle of all heroes. The details of our outer life may be mundane, but our inner world contains the same demons, angels, allies, and monsters of all great mythic journeys. Our inner phantoms may be invisible but they are still very real. And just like adversaries in myths—our inner foes disintegrate and disappear when conquered.

Since our inner landscape is invisible to most others, we are tempted to ignore, avoid, or deny it. No one can prove that we are lying to ourselves when we disown our anger, fear, or shame. But our self-deception only prolongs our journey through our unique trials of self-actualization. The sooner we begin slaying our dragons, the sooner we can win our beloved and the pot of gold.

Like the knights of King Arthur—we are obliged to find our own unique path and take this journey alone.
© 2011 Laura Lewis-Barr all rights reserved Read more!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Interior decorator of my soul

We’ve lived in our tiny bungalow for 8 years. Even now, we are just learning to use the space well and organize our things. After each small or larger change, we wonder why it took us so long to fix our previous disorganization, clutter, or poor design. I’d like to live in “house perfect” (like my friends and family) but it’s a low priority. Improvements to our home move slow slow slowly…….

My inner world gets most of my attention. I ponder every inch of my soul’s living space. When I notice a broken thought, a dangling nerve, or a mismatched perception, I focus on it with laser-like attention. But I cannot simply give away this damaged piece of myself. I cannot simply buy a new thought, mood, or impression. I can only create new parts of myself slowly—if at all. But, once I glimpse my own brokenness, I find it hard to look away. I’m like my friend, Donna, who cannot rest if she sees a tilted picture frame. No matter how tired, she must get up and straighten the picture. It bothers her.

I’m like Donna. But instead of brainstorming about my kitchen that needs remodeling, I stare at the dented, scratched and damaged parts of myself. I move toward them and observe. I ponder and pray, ponder and pray, journal, ponder and pray. That’s all I know how to do.

Am I torturing myself by pondering my perceived “failures” so often? Feels like it. But I want to be in a showcase soul. As every homeowner knows, construction in a home (while you’re living in it) is harrowing. But we suffer through it because the rewards are great.
© 2011 Laura Lewis-Barr all rights reserved Read more!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Who am I?

My life is a skirmish—a war between my true Self and my Frankenself, the one pieced together from hurts and fantasies. Her gleaming smile, her Eileen Fisher suit—this monster charms as she steps over the bodies. She aims high. She will win.

So I confound her. I change my mind. I put away the suit and think. And pray. And wait. Who am I? What am I here for?

Frankenself shrieks. She screams about my failure. “Stick to the plan! Why can’t you stick to the plan??”

But I don’t want to bask in awards and an impressive bio. I’m searching for an elusive Self, the one who speaks little and disappears.
© 2011 Laura Lewis-Barr all rights reserved Read more!