Category Archives: Gratitude


Our friend Lena passed into the spirit world on Friday morning, 19th March 2021.

Elena Shakanova

Lena worked with us in Divine Truth for around 8 years. During that time she helped with video recording, video editing, office inquiries, studio cleaning and maintenance, volunteer training and equipment care and storage.

Lena is a hard worker and we are grateful for her contributions towards helping us gift Divine Truth to others. She wants others to have the opportunity to hear God’s Truth.

While Lena often finds it difficult to trust others and feel the love others have for her, over the years I came to know her and I appreciate many things about her nature and character. Some of our favourite times with Lena include when she allows her unique way of seeing the world and God’s Truth to shine through. We have often enjoyed her analogies and hearing about the particular elements of a teaching or channelling that strike a cord or create a ‘light bulb moment’ for her.

Lena is always practical, good with manual tasks, and willing to give anything new a try even if she is afraid. She has a great deal of courage about new experiences. She takes personal responsibility very seriously and is neat, tidy, and very thorough, and this continues to show through in most aspects of her life.

Jesus and I encourage Lena to express herself freely when in our company, and we really enjoy her unique personality and humour that shows through during those moments.

She has an artistic nature which was often expressed when she was editing our videos. We also see her bring her sense of style and art to almost every area of her life, including her personal artwork, her fashion, her flair for food preparation and presentation, and the way she uses decor in her home. Lena has an eye for detail and aesthetics and would often notice a problem with a camera shot or fix our hair (we don’t really notice those things). She would remember where an item of equipment was kept and she was a thoughtful gift giver, often noticing something about me and giving accordingly.

Lena Recording VSP Meeting

Lena’s childhood experiences growing up in Russia were difficult and triggered her courage and desire to leave Russia on her own as a teenager and experience life in other places of the world. She lived for a time in America before settling in Australia where she met and married Igor.

Lena often commented about her early experience of Russian society and the way that women are sexualized by men in their families and in general society and how women, including mothers, train their daughters to meet the sexual expectations of men. This treatment had a large impact on Lena and the development of her illness, cervical cancer.

Like all of us, before we become at-one with God, Lena has unhealed emotions and addictions. It is her avoidance of some of these addictions and emotions that created her illness. From the time we met Lena and Igor in 2010 we were always talking with them about these relationship issues and the impact not dealing with them would have on their future lives.

In 2014 Lena told us that precancerous cells had been found. Since then we have had many discussions with her and Igor about the emotional causes of cervical cancer. We talked about her suppressed anger about having to please men sexually and the childhood events that led to her belief that she had to do that. In 2017 we asked Igor to no longer work with us because we were concerned about his attitude and behaviour towards Lena and women generally. We felt he needed time away from us to decide whether he wanted to deal with those problems. At the same time we spoke with Lena about her eagerness to comply with a man’s demands and refusal to confront the man’s treatment of her even when she felt it was unloving.

In late 2018, Jesus and I asked Lena to stop working with us so that she could focus entirely on releasing these addictions and her hurt emotions. Since Igor was no longer living with her, she was attempting to enter the same addictions with other men, including Jesus, and using her work with Divine Truth to avoid the realities of her illness. We told her we were very concerned about her desire to deny and ignore emotions that continued to harm her and that were developing into major physical problems. We told her that without dealing with them properly she would die from cancer. Although reluctant, Lena saw the points that we were raising with her and made some decisions to change her life and deal more directly with her illness.

In the intervening years we have kept in touch, visited Lena and Igor at home and in hospital, and discussed the same spiritual and emotional issues with them when invited to. On Sunday 14th March 2021, 5 days prior to her passing, Lena invited us to visit again and told us that she had made the decision to pass. Her physical pain had been increasing for a long time and for many reasons she was finding it difficult to release the emotional pain that caused her physical illness.

Some of Lena’s difficulties included; blaming herself for the way others treated her, being judgemental towards herself and others, being angry about having to be truthful about others’ unloving treatment and taking action to correct it and love herself in the situation, not wanting to feel her own loneliness, not wanting to feel about how unloved she had been in her childhood, not wanting to feel her anger about men’s sexual projections and sexual demands, and using addictions and pleasing others as methods of avoiding those emotions. She was often angry at those who love her and pandering towards those who didn’t. Although none of these difficulties are any part of Lena’s nature or personality, Lena has anger, fear, and sadness relating to the issues we discussed with her, and wants to avoid experiencing and releasing these painful emotions.

Lena could see that these problems were still difficult for her to address and experience and we discussed that she would have opportunities to work through these emotions and make new choices in the spirit world. We discussed her fears and having faith about passing, having faith about God, God’s Love for her, and God’s Truth about the power of releasing painful emotion. We told her about the great deal of love available to her in the spirit world if she chooses it. We talked about the prayers of friends and efforts of spirits that can assist her now that she is there.

As Aphraar states in ‘Through the Mists’:

If some strong hand could, but for an instant,
tear the veil aside, and bid the multitudes of earth behold the future as it
really is, what a revelation it would be! How it would change their sighs to
songs, remove all doubts of God’s eternal love, and proclaim a gospel for
which all hearts are crying. It would be to earth what it is to me; I who more
than once, or twice, or thrice had been cautioned that the life I led could only
meet with condemnation at the bar of God; and yet I found the first words
addressed to me were words of hope and encouragement – ‘I need not fear’

and in ‘The Life Elysian’:

The new life is so crowded with overwhelming surprises, so fruitful of charming
distractions, so beautifully bewildering with unimagined pleasures, so
tender in its diverting sympathies, that even earth’s purest conceptions
are certain to be shattered and carried away, and the perfect God-design
leads us gently forward into the fullness of our unanticipated joy.

Jesus feels that Lena was far too absorbed in fixing her physical symptoms rather than experiencing and taking action on her spiritual and emotional that cause her illness. I made a comment to Lena on one of our visits about how in the past I would become obsessed with a physical diet or ‘fix’ to avoid the emotional turmoil I was in at the time. She commented that she had also done this with some of the ‘therapies’ she tried in order to cure cancer. That is a good lesson which Lena was already ahead of the game in learning.

Lena came to see and continues to see lessons and truths that most people who listen to Divine Truth on Earth are still in denial of. Although Lena passed due to her physical illness, unlike many millions of humans who pass every year, she is aware of the spiritual and emotional causes of her passing and therefore we expect that in her spiritual life she will not encounter many of the difficulties that most people who pass from Earth experience.

Lena is resting quietly at the moment as her final two years of life on Earth were very exhausting and painful for her. Once she recovers some of her strength, we have made an arrangement with her to come and speak with us. We expect to continue to regularly talk to her as we do with many people who now live in the spirit world.

We love Lena and look forward to our ongoing and deepening friendship with her.

The Life Elysian

There breaks the soul from every weight away
And for itself beholds and understands!
In that clear dawn of life’s true morning light
It turns, reviews, and then must needs accept
Whate’er results from yesternight’s wild rush
And feverish greed, within the robing-room of earth.

‘Tis then it learns how cherished ignorance
False guide has been, and led the soul astray,
Appraising tinsel at the price of gold,
And teaching how base metal and true wealth were one,
That, also, all the wild array of masquerade,
Which fools had brought together for their revels,
Were robes, insignia, orders and rewards
Provided by the King, that all His sons
Might dress and grace the marriage feast!

There comes the Truth, and all the false array
In which we strutted forth, lordly and envied,
Must then be thrown aside and left behind,
As worse than useless – we have to pay their cost
Ere we can forward pass. Each soul with painful rue
There doffs its mantle of hypocrisy, to find
Its royal lustre and its richness vanished with the night,
Leaving but sign of poverty behind.

Then sighs the soul to learn its bankrupt state,
For till that moment none can ever know
The price it pays for such a treacherous robe,
And false deceitful outfit; –
We don it in expediency and haste,
We doff it in the searching light of God.

Where is laid bare all bruises, scars and wounds
We felt not when received in maddened rush
To save the object of our choice from other hands.
But in our passage to the feast we have to pause,
Consider, and discharge th’ account for what we thought
Was free to those who could secure and keep!
And this is painful reckoning.

When this is o’er, then breaks the soul away
And learns it has another role than masquerade
To play on life’s eternal stage. It throws aside
All relics of the brute, the savage and barbaric tastes,
And making restoration with a pure repentance
Steps to life’s mark clad but in freedom’s garb,
With naught to weight, to hinder or retard
Its course, and as a man starts on the race
Which has its goal and destiny in God.
‘Tis of this race I sing, and now I bid you come
And see how it is run on God’s own course –
The Life Elysian!

{Notes On} Missing the Gifts

I know of a woman, who, after eagerly anticipating the birth of her first child, took one look at him after delivery and said “But he’s a blond.” She refused to wash, hold or nurse him for days after his birth. She had anticipated a cherub with brown hair and eyes, and couldn’t accept the blue eyed beauty who arrived.

This woman had no appreciation for the utter wonder of this small new being, a child of God, grown in her womb and birthed by her.  She was not awed by the miracle of birth, or the gift that God offered her in the privilege of becoming a parent – which is the opportunity to learn about love, and God’s very nature through our own lived, visceral, heart-tugging experience with another being, a child.

She wanted a brown haired baby, and this one was blond. So he was rejected.

I know of another woman who felt certain that her long-standing boyfriend was soon to propose to her. She collected jewellery catalogues pondering which ring she would love to wear. When she found one she liked she strategically left her chosen ring circled in the pages, lying around her apartment. She was hoping her man would take the hint.

Sure enough, the day arrived when after a long and beautiful date that the boyfriend had planned, (culminating on the deck of a yacht no less), he got down on one knee and produced a ring box. This was it – her long anticipated moment. He asked to spend the rest of his life with her.

And yet as he opened the ring box her face suddenly fell in disappointment. He had purchased another ring! Her ‘perfect moment’ was suddenly marred as she gazed into the ‘wrong’ glittering diamond arrangement.

It turned out that she had previously marked another ring in the catalogue and the diligent boyfriend has seen this and bought it, thinking it was what she wanted.

After accepting his proposal, she promptly insisted that he go back and exchange the ring for the correct selection.

This woman could overlook the huge gratification of having the man that she professed to love, actually loving her back. (No small gift in itself people).

She could forget that this same man loved her so much that he wanted to spend, not just the afternoon, but the rest of his life with her, and only her.

She wasn’t interested that he was attentive enough to even notice a jewellery catalogue in her home, and to look to at it in order to attempt to make her dreams come true.

Nope, she felt that he ‘ruined’ the moment by not getting it exactly right.

True story.

So why am I telling you all this?

I’m telling you because these are examples of people who, because of their own agendas, overlooked gifts that were offered to them. Their examples might sound extreme to you? But I didn’t use them so that you could shake your head and judge these women.

No, I’m telling you because as I look at my own life and I see that I have been showered with gifts, and I have rejected so many of them because they didn’t come in the package or way that I wanted or anticipated. A lot of times, it is only with hindsight that I even recognise that a gift was even being offered.

I’m telling you because often we see the absurdity and hurtfulness in other people’s actions, but at the same time overlook how we ourselves are acting in very similar ways.


About five years ago, I had just returned from living overseas for an extended period. It had been a time of great personal change, new experiences and exposure to new ideas. I was at a point where I knew that I wanted to reassess what my life was all about.

I’d experimented with my career. I’d taken up more post-grad study. I’d recently broken up with a partner. While I thought I knew some things about what I wanted, there was a whole lot of stuff that just didn’t sit right about my future direction and life values. I sort of knew what I didn’t want, but internally I didn’t think I could get what I really dreamed of – because that stuff just doesn’t work in the ‘real world’, right?

Around this time my friend Jessica invited me to go out for dinner in Brisbane with her and some of her work colleagues and friends. After dinner we piled into a near-by night club called ‘Fridays’. Having lived in Brisbane for four years while I studied for my degree, being back in ‘Fridays’ brought back many memories of my uni days, not all of them were fun or flattering (smile). This night, I distinctly remember standing very soberly on the edge of a dance floor, surrounded by people of various ages and in varying degrees of inebriation and thinking “Here I am back in a familiar place, yet I feel so different. What is my life really all about anyway?”

I chose that moment to pray. Strange I know, but there it is.

Now, back then I wasn’t what you would call a formal ‘pray-er’. In fact I hadn’t explored my own feelings enough to decide what I really believed about God. But from what I now know about true prayer, I can tell you that I most definitely prayed at that moment.

Here’s what I prayed:

“God, please let me find the one man who is for me. I want the partner who will share my passions, and dreams, who will want to make a life together, a life that is about something meaningful and true. I want the ‘forever’ man who will be my friend and partner and who will want what I want for the world.”

It was a strong feeling, that I felt explode out of me like a shock wave. Then I just went back to making small talk with the journos I’d had dinner with.

You know what comes next in this story don’t you?

The next week AJ gave a talk at my parent’s home and he and Cornelius stayed overnight. It wasn’t a huge, harps playing, thunder clap kind of moment. I wish I could tell you that doves appeared in the sky and we gazed knowingly into each other’s eyes.

The event passed for me without much conscious acknowledgement (although many emotions were stirred). AJ was famously tongue tied, and I spent most of the time telling Corni about my travels, interspersed with me directing some pointed questions towards AJ about the Course in Miracles or something or other.

I couldn’t see the gift.

In fact, as is by now well recorded, as I got to know AJ I vacillated between extremes of attraction towards him and intense rejection, anger and denial of any feeling toward him.

Quite simply, meeting AJ triggered every fear and deeply suppressed sense of loss inside of me. So extreme was my fear and its denial, that I didn’t see our relationship as a gift. In fact I hardly saw his true personality at all. I rejected my feelings, resented the truth, and did a great many things to harm him and the possibility of us being together.

With every gift that God gives us He desires that we come to know ourselves more fully. And that we may be drawn by our own desire to grow closer to Him. This often means confronting the errors and blocks we have to knowing God’s Nature, Love and to recognising the Wisdom inherent in His Design.

I feel now that my meeting AJ again was perhaps the best gift I have ever, ever received – even better than our very first meeting in the 1st century. Yet at the time not only did I reject this gift, I resented the sense of a loss of control and terror of attack, that our meeting triggered in me.

The creation of our soul mate is an immense gift. It is the gift that delivers the exact answer to my prayer made in the night-club five years ago. Even in our injured state, being in a relationship with our soul mate has immense power to help us grow and know ourselves. Even if both halves of the soul are injured or hurting, if they desire to know and heal themselves, they naturally and automatically become a support, inspiration and example for the other simply through their own self-expression and journey.

But I literally couldn’t see or receive these gifts until I developed humility to my own fear and pain. The resistance to my own self caused me to be blind to what gifts I had received and was being offered.


Our friend Josh always says that God’s Law of Attraction brings you Truth in a graded way – first as a feather, then as a brick, and then as a truck. Meaning that God is gently trying to bring us towards Truth all the time, and when we engage our soul’s desire to grow and yet keep overlooking the feather-weight Truths that nudge us, a stronger attraction is required to wake us up to our error, enter the brick. And if we still deny or resist he brings us a truck sized event, all in the effort to help us see how we err from Love and Truth.

Imagine if we could all wake-up to the feathers brushing up against us, designed to show us our errors. If we saw these nudges and worked in our hearts on releasing their causes, our awareness and appreciation of gifts would overwhelm us.


I know that it has become fashionable in recent years to keep a ‘Gratitude Diary’ as a way of counting blessings, and seeing gifts. The problem with this approach is that we aren’t already automatically seeing and feeling the gifts. Instead we are employing a technique to grow our awareness. In principle I’m not opposed to any non-violent practice that assists a person to grow their awareness. Awareness is the first step we take when healing a problem, or opening to a gift.

However the problem with simply keeping a journal and not pausing to reflect more deeply to ask ourselves why we weren’t already noticing these gifts and rejoicing in them in our daily life, is that the practice will require constant repetition in order to provide any sense of joy. The joy cannot be deep and lasting because we are already suppressing or avoiding the feelings that prevent the natural recognition of gifts.

In my own example, it didn’t matter how intellectually aware I was of the gifts of my soul mate’s love, support and acceptance of me. While I justified my fear and pain, I simply didn’t honour or feel them as gifts. Until I was willing to be humble to my true feelings I couldn’t see that God had answered my prayer; instead I believed that He had dealt me a poor hand in life.

In the experience of the first women above, the emotions triggered by the birth of a son whose appearance reminded her of something painful, marred her joy at motherhood. So intense was the experience, that she couldn’t manufacture gratitude. Her only solution would have been to explore her reaction emotionally in order to resolve it and open her heart to her child.

In the second example, the woman had closed her heart to love, and instead lived in the injuries of façade. She believed that love equated to providing her with material things, and fulfilling her every wish. She literally could not see the gift of her boyfriend’s love and fidelity because she was obsessed with appearance, fanfare, and tradition. She demanded the fulfillment of her obsessions, rather than seeing what of value was being offered.

Intellectually counting gifts in order to grow gratitude is only effective if we understand that in a truly humble place we would not need to count our gifts – they would already be blindingly apparent and abundant on a moment to moment basis. So if we are using an intellectual technique to notice our gifts, in order to grow we must be willing to take the next step which is to heal our injuries that prevent us seeing receiving these gifts without the need for technique.

Also, if we try for gratitude, we can quickly end up in a stuck and self-punishing state. We can use our mind to see or count gifts around us, and yet finding that our heart is dead to them, we can end up berating ourselves. For example, I spent many nights punishing myself, because I had vast evidence of my soul mate’s kindness, patience and generosity with me and others, and I could see that I was not feeling grateful for these things. In fact I was actively rejecting and criticizing them.

By trying to be grateful, trying to manufacture gratitude because we ’know it’s the right thing to be’, we can end up creating a hell of self-flagellation for ourselves.

The only way to truly notice and receive gifts is to open our hearts and heal the injury that blocks us to receiving in the first place. Our lives lived in suppression of emotion cause us to seek out addictive and damaging prizes, rather than notice and honour the true and nourishing gifts that God and others offer us. It’s like trying to suppress a deep hunger with sugary sweets, that don’t stay in our stomach long and rot our teeth. Our real hunger and thirst is to feel and know ourselves and God, but most of us feel that’s frightening and dangerous so we bail out and deny.

Yet when we close down the experience of one emotion, we close down the potential experience of others. If we shut down our pain and fear, we can’t feel love or gratitude. It’s as simple and difficult as that.

I can tell you from lived experience that once you begin to open your heart to whatever is in there, without self-punishment, and with a desire to love and heal, gratitude is a natural result.

Can I inspire you today friend? The benefits of opening to our pain are not just a stronger sense of self, greater potentials of a relationship with God and a more loving lifestyle and relationships. Undertaking the journey of healing ourselves literally makes life come alive with a knowledge and experience of the gifts that God has offered.

I feel some pain as I begin to feel how many gifts I have overlooked, rejected or simply let pass me by in life. But there is also the excitement of knowing that as I continue, and grieve and grow, the gifts begin to appear in technicolour all around me.

Do you remember the wonderful world of Walt Disney – full of colour and magic? I liken those images to how life comes alive as we grow. The gifts spring out at us, to be relished and received readily.

But in order to live this we must be willing to examine our expectations, our agendas, and our preconceptions in the light of what is loving and what honours Truth. Only when we are willing to allow the pain of past hurts and the discomfort of letting go of unloving expectations can we even begin to notice the gifts being offered. And this is the first step in coming to discover and embrace the beauty and fulfillment that God has planned for us.

I have been blind to the many blessings and opportunities offered to me until I at last found the courage to begin to open my heart to all that was within it.

I even received the exact thing that I prayed for within one week of my prayer. But I missed the gift because I didn’t expect or want his name to be Jesus.

Disney Alice in Wonderland

Humility – Like Learning to Breathe

In this life I never learnt to breathe. I learnt to please and all the pleasing crushed the air out of me instead of letting it in. I had bronchitis and asthma often as a child and still there are many days when a stifling lack of breath, a wheeze, has me reaching for an inhaler.
I understand it now, this not having learnt breath. It’s about the moments I couldn’t bear. I could never stop to be in the moments of my life. I was always scurrying to the next one, I was always afraid to stop moving, to stop pleasing and appeasing. My joyous instants were fraught with the fear of the one that may follow it. I never grew up learning to just inhale, exhale through the painful times, the scary instants and as I grew I learnt to chase them down with booze or anger or running away into the next ‘adventure’.
Humility, to me, feels like learning to breathe. It is finding space to feel, to allow the entire me to be present. And in this allowing me, it suddenly seems like there is room to breathe, to breathe into the moments that hurt. This new breathing makes space for me, in spite of the pressures to conform to others. It is breathing in and out through the put- downs and the push-arounds that once made me shrink myself. And as I do this there is a growing softness that feels like the rigidity is gradually draining out of me through a slow leak in my shoe.
God knows how hard this place has been for me to find. Like a caged animal I have fought myself, fought to keep running, to keep from feeling. I have screamed a silent scream of anguish caused only by my rebellion. How could I have known that this space, this living humbly, is the most precious and expansive awakening? I could not have guessed that it feels so gently nurturing and beautifully consuming.
Humility to me is not bashing a pillow, or sobbing my heart out. It is a state, a way of living, that I may embody.

Humility commences with my willingness to feel and results in me embracing everything and somewhere in the vital space in between there comes a birthing of true love and compassion.

This new filling of my lungs has also expanded how I see myself, how I see others. God has shown me our brokenness and our beauty simultaneously. There is new space in my heart; the dust covers are being tossed off disused and neglected furnishings, such as patience, giving and kindness.

I find myself surrounded suddenly by brothers and sisters, not strangers or friends. I feel a tender (and still tentative) unfurling of innocent desire towards my mate. I catch myself crying at the bright blue sky bursting with pure white cotton ball clouds. I find joy in the little things and am overwhelmed by gratitude for the great gifts God showers on my every day. I know now that humility is the soil in which our connection to all others must germinate. It is the fertile ground to which God may come and cultivate a place in our hearts.

And while I know I am still so imperfectly proud so often, this yielding to humility is like a new trend in my heart that I never want to go out of fashion.

In my stutters and starts, in this learning to breathe, I have glimpsed God. And I find myself laughing, because He’s been here all along. He’s there at every breath – it’s only me that kept running, running, running from myself, the labour of it crushing my chest and stifling every gasp for air. I left no space to know Him, to let Him fill me up, to have Him patch up all those gaping wounds I smothered and stifled and suffocated, denying them air to breathe.

All that trying to live in the ‘now’ was wasted while I, myself, stifled the very intake of air that would ground me in it. And all the old meditation, the reframing, the “its all good”s seem cheap in the face of what I feel now. The minutes are longer and richer. I am present for the first time in so long. My gratitude grows not through making the best of things, or minimising the pains of my life. It springs forth as I begin to welcome all emotions, resting in the knowledge that they help me remember my own story, my own self once squashed and discarded. My heart swells in thankfulness as I see that God is teaching me Truth and Love again. How can I not be grateful to a God who has designed laws that engineer every experience, so that I may have an opportunity in each moment to grow towards Him, to become whole again? How can I not appreciate a universe designed to teach me everything about Love once I submit to the simplest thing – my fully feeling self something so vital and simple that once I stop fighting it seems just like breathing.
As I learn again to breathe and I make space for God to fill my lungs, to enter deep into me. And often now, as I exhale, a sweet new scent, that whispers something of love, liberation and contentment, wafts under my nostrils. Possibility and promise smell like nectar from an exotic fruit.
I give thanks for all things; I give thanks for every God gifted breath.

A Note to Those Reading:

I still have so much to learn and I know that sometime soon, I will realise that where I am now, this new type of breath, is only a glimmer of the humility I will need to truly know my Father.  This offering stems only from my desire to share with you the deeper peace I am finding through staying with my emotions, through desiring to know myself and see myself, not through the eyes of the world, but through the eyes of the One who loves the most. He loves me, its true, and in the light of His Grace I am so humbled by how much I still have to learn and grow. Thank-you today for reading my simple words. I am blessed to share this journey with you.

Gratitude & Growth

For the past few months I’ve been living in the mantra:
“God’s got me in a process – whatever comes, whatever happens all I need to do is stay humble and keep feeling, and praying, and I’ll grow”
And I’ve felt myself growing and learning and changing. I prayed and cried and journalled and just been heaps more honest with myself and it has all helped.
I’ve learnt to trust God more. I’ve begun to want Him and I’ve felt the tides of grief have been worth it. I’ve felt that they’ve left me cleaner and clearer.
But on Thursday, as the dust settled behind the rental car carrying the two men who had come to make the documentary about us, I didn’t want to be in the process anymore.
I wanted to find a dark, cosy hole of denial I could crawl into and forget about how exposed I felt, how awkward and inarticulate. I felt like I had failed to express how precious this Path is to me, how much it means to me, and I didn’t want to face certain exposure and ridicule.
AJ, Yeshua, my mate and the kindest soul I ever knew, kept reminding me that I’m just a work in progress but wow I felt so inadequate and imperfect. I felt like my mantra was smug and that I wasn’t ready for any of it, I just wanted a normal life again. I got into dangerous projection and denial territory.
I’m still coming out of it and I’m dismayed at how readily I slipped back into fear. I’m so fortunate to be surrounded by many who love me and I feel upset when I let my connection with them sever because I fear the reactions of people I have never met.
The luminous lesson I revisited today was that of gratitude. I have so much to be thankful for.
I have a man who loves me so completely that I can’t even comprehend it.
I have God in my life. This is such a magnificent and humbling gift. I have starved for Him for most of my life.
I live a life that I am passionate about, that upholds ideals that I believe in. I am supported in this by so many, many of whom (many of you) I have never even met. I never believed that I would find a way and a place to live that fulfilled me and answered all of my questions. I found it and I am grateful.
I eat good, nutritious food. I am clothed. I have shelter.
Yes, I still need to process my fears, and the road ahead may have some tough emotions and situations to face but my life holds so much richness and beauty and possibility.
Some years ago I spent two years living in a refugee camp in southern Beirut, Lebanon. My brothers and sisters in that camp taught me much about dignity and suffering, about war and traffic. They extended to me deep hospitality and warmth. I feel privileged that they opened their homes and hearts to me. I felt my offerings in their community were so feeble in comparison. I still think of them often. I hope one day that I can do something to change the way their lives are lived. At present they live with scarcity of opportunity, education, clean air and nutrition.
Many of my old friends feel I have sold out on my humanitarian ideals. In fact I feel I have embraced them more strongly. It was too easy for me to avoid my disillusionment and cynicism through actions; actions that I knew were futile to make lasting changes in people’s lives. It’s hard, in times when I feel hopeless about my own progress towards God, to not be tempted to go back and make a splint for a Haji in Bourj el Barajneh, Beirut. 
Instead I remember the ones who live there. It makes me more grateful for the gifts I have been given and it spurs me on to make changes in this one soul. Changes that I hope, will ripple more positively and in much wider concentric circles than the ones I have created in the past.

Reflections on 2010: Gratitude

Gratitude 2010
All of Queensland is covered in cloud and the rain hasn’t abated in a week.
AJ & I have spent the past few days visiting with dear friends, Raj and Sue, and Mike and Fi. It has been such a beautiful time filled with moments of tears and laughter, Truth and tea. Raj and Suz’s home is nestled amongst the clouds on a mountaintop surrounded by eucalypts and rather than feeling boxed in by all the rain we have found cosy spots for chats on the deck or alone time for individual processing. 

All of the rain and conversation has only intensified my usual propensity for self-reflection at this time of year. This morning we were due to go home but our roads are flooded. I found myself with my journal on the deck contemplating the year that (almost) was and the one to come.

2010 has been a good year for me. I’ve begun to shift and change and embrace this Path more fully.
There is so much to be grateful for. I find myself quite overcome by all of the gifts that I have come to recognise were always there for me, and all of those that I have opened myself to receive. My journaling this morning gradually became a chronicle and catalogue of the things that have opened, challenged and inspired me this past 12 months. I thought I would share some of them with you.
Finding God, Finding Faith
The further I journey along this path the more I am filled with awe of the great Love that God has provided to us. This infinitely challenging, beautiful and rich journey of self-discovery, of development in love and growth in Truth, which He has designed as our journey back to Him, has begun to feel more and more like a gift.
In 2010 I feel that I regained a connection with God and words can’t really do justice to the emotion that this stirs in me. I spent 31 years in disconnection from the most Loving, the Wisest and most Nurturing Being I will ever know.
It wasn’t such an easy process, reconnecting with my Creator. I’ve had to work through many preconceptions and injuries about Her. My Dad is angry at religion and as a child I took on a lot of these beliefs and associated ‘God’ with ‘religion’. I was so angry about the hypocrisy, judgement and violence I saw in supposed ‘followers’ of religions that I associated God and religion with judgement, hypocrisy and violence.
I never wanted to mention God because I was afraid of other people’s opinions of me (remember I’m the girl who always wanted to ‘fit in’). I didn’t want to be labelled the names I had heard bandied around with derision by others in my childhood i.e. “God Botherer”, “Bible Basher”, etc.
I was also a little confused by my dalliances into ‘New Age’ circles that made me feel that God was not an entity to be known, but a ‘life-force’ or that simply She didn’t exist except as nature or as the great energy of love.
Gradually I have been working through my fears about how others would perceive me, and the need for my father’s approval (which had previously kept me very aligned with his views).
This helped to free me up to begin to feel what I felt about God. Unfortunately then I realised that, quite separate from religion, I was quite angry with God. I couldn’t see the love in what had happened in my life. I raged at God feeling that I didn’t have a choice about being Mary Magdalene and what that meant for my life. I swore and yelled, I refused to move forward, I believed there should be another way or some concession should be made for me since it was all so bloody difficult and overwhelming! I wanted to be just like other people, not perceived by others as some cuckoo re-incarnation nut.
The great thing is that God didn’t mind. He let me be angry. He waited for me to get it out. And after I did some of His Wisdom began to enter me. I began to see that God wants me to discover me for a loving reason, to become the best I can be, and to connect again with Him in this process. All my rage and fear and desire for approval had blocked the message God was trying to get through to me. He was waiting for me experience my real emotional state before He could communicate with me some of His Personality and Love. He wanted me to embrace my fear and darkness so that I could be free of it forever.
God desires to know me, and desires that I know and feel myself. He wants me to embrace who I am – even if in the beginning ‘who I am’ is angry, sad, fearful or ashamed. He knows that in doing so I can begin to connect again with my true self – the passionate, unique, desirous and loving being He created. This was such an important turning point for me this year – realising that I may want God but if I didn’t want me, how could He and I have a relationship.
The truth was; I didn’t want me. Especially I didn’t want to admit, even to myself, that I am her, Mary Magdalene! I was OK if ‘me’ could just involve Mary Luck and all of her pain and shame, but to accept and embrace the real me? That seemed impossible.
I remember the moment when the realisation hit me – I can’t connect to God if I continue to run from who I am. I cried for a long, long time, because the fear of finding the real me, embracing her in her sorrow and shame, seemed excruciating – but – I really wanted God. It was this desire, to know and feel God that helped me push through the fear I had of being labelled a freak, through my fear of dying from the immense pain and loss inside of me. This was one of my greatest gifts in the year 2010 – connecting to my yearning for God. And in turn that passionate desire gave me the courage to step into the darkness and uncertainty of my emotions and life.
And do you know what? The truly the beautiful part of this process, the part that feels like a miracle (but is really just a reflection of the Coolness and Lovingness of God) is that God was there waiting for me. Her arms of Love were open and welcoming. And now, whenever I feel myself to be stagnate, or flagging, I remind myself of God’s Great Love and Her desire that I become whole again. God has made so many beautiful provisions for me – not the least of which is the Care and Love She provides to me when I am willing to step towards my fear, towards my true self and towards Her.
Words seem feeble to express my gratitude for my life at this very moment. I could not have reached this place that I am, closer to contentment than I have ever been before in this life, if I had not been humble to God’s Way of Love. I am so inspired about what the next year may bring. I am still afraid but I now know that God is Loving and if I continue to be humble, allowing God’s Laws to guide and assist me, I will be delivered into God’s Love and know true joy. I believe that this is the gift of Faith – something that many times I thought I would never feel again.
A Quick Run Down of a Few of My Favourite Things in 2010
  1. God; rediscovering the true nature of God, finding Faith.
  1. Yeshua a.k.a AJ Miller (my favourite person in the entire world, giver of Truth, wisdom, tenderness and honesty, thankyou for being in my world, you are so beautiful I can’t believe you are the other half of me).
  1. Deciding to find the real me, Mary Magdalene– I’m still so afraid of this decision!
“What if nobody likes me when I stop being the old me?”,
“What if I’m too passionate and ‘big’ for everyone to handle?”,
“What if I can’t cope with all the grief I’ve shut down for so long?”
But in the end I’m tired of being someone I’m not and I decided to face these fears rather than live in them. So far its working out!
  1. Prayer – my greatest tool and now hourly habit that helps me when it seems like my fears will swamp me and shut me down, I really learned the power of prayer in 2010.
  1. Time Alone – in our eco tent, no food, no internet, no distractions, just me and my feelings. I spent 31 years avoiding how I really felt about myself. Now all the low self worth and shame comes bubbling up when I’m alone, but allowing these things has also allowed me more connection to my joy, my creativity and to my soulmate.
  1. My Journal – the space where I have developed my self-reflection and found courage to face hard truths about myself.
  1. Letting Go Of Anger as my defence against fear and grief, as my major method of ‘control’, what a relief! All that anger was tiring and yuk and left me feeling unhappy with myself. I’m now saying a big ‘Hello’ to fear and terror which is full on, but every piece experienced and released brings so many rewards!
  1. The books of Alice Miller – I recommend these books to everyone, titles include: ‘The Drama of Being a Child’, ‘The Body Never Lies’, ‘The Truth Will Set You Free’, ‘Thou Shall Not Be Aware’ (thank-you Alice; may your journey in the spirit world be joyous and rewarding!).
  1. Opening to God Workshops – Oh the growth! I feel so honoured to have shared this workshop with so many people in the past year. I find your desire for Love and Truth beautiful. Of course, I often wish I could go back and give it all again, knowing what I know now and growing as I have done. I feel that I would reflect everything more perfectly! But truly the whole experience challenged me to go deeper, to find true humility and to start to embrace my passions again. I have so much gratitude for the experience. Thank-you Anna and Peter Patella for providing the venue and resources that enabled us to present the Truth so readily to others.
  1. Finding My Creativity Again – my passion for drawing, writing, digging in the earth all lay hidden under feelings of unworthiness and self loathing, as I let them go I am finding my creative, feminine self again.
  1. Rochelle Adams – body worker, kahuna masseuse, friend (thank-you sister for helping me take my first faltering steps towards experiencing my terror).
  1. Books, Movies & Media – that inspired my growth &/ or that I just love!
Will I Ever Be Good Enough? Healing Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers – Karyl McBride
The Gifts of Imperfection – Brene Brown
Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway – Susan Jeffers
Movies (a random selection)
Time Travellers Wife
The Road
Up In the Air
Battle Star Gallactica – (I’m as surprised as you are – I LOVED it!)
Modern Family – Helped me to remember how to laugh!
Glee – I love it and I’m not ashamed!
The Good Wife
  1. Those People Around Us that I see stepping towards their fear and pain in the faith that it will lead them closer to themselves and to God – you walk the road less travelled and inspire me so much.

If you dig gratitude and self-reflection you might also like Melanie’s beautiful Gratitude Diary.