I was raised in a very tight-knit, cloistered, fundamentalist religion which some might even refer to as a cult. There was a lot of love, and a lot of rules, and a lot of unnecessary angst over doomsday rather than looking at the possibilities that now might offer. One of the things that was drilled into my head was the notion of faith. From the fundamentalist point of view, this refers to faith in God, or Jesus Christ, or some other, intangible higher power ready and waiting to solve my problems now, but more importantly, at a later date in heaven. Fervent prayer was part of my daily routine. Fear of dying and not being “ready” was a constant. As I grew older, I eschewed this imputed faith preferring my own unique set of guidelines over a pre-determined, restrictive set of manmade rules and intangible rewards that only I might reap while my fellow humans went that other place. It never really made sense to me to live for a promise of heaven while I thought we were having one hell of a great time right here. If heaven is better than this, I would think, I’m not sure I want to go. So, I somehow lost my “faith” and focused on a path towards more heaven on earth. Faith fell into that realm of esoteric concepts to be studied elsewhere. I forgot that it’s actually a powerful tool for creating heaven here on earth and it’s in action all around us.
I can honestly say that today, I experience more magic, more angels in human clothes, and more bliss than anyone has ever described possible in heaven and I haven’t spent a moment of the last 25 years putting my faith in anything but myself and the Universe of beings all around me. Last weekend, visiting the enchanted forest retreat of my dear friends and human angels Joey and Molly, I was reminded of the true meaning of faith. Molly and Joey are two of the most enlightened, deep, beautiful souls I have ever met. Molly is a brilliant pianist and composer who gives of her time to teach gifted young children to create their own compositions and feel the harmony in everything. Joey, an original “hippy” and one of a handful of cool cats in the cast of Hair in Las Vegas in the ’70s, is also a wonderful musician and owns the house concert venue Strings. Together the two of them work tirelessly to continue to bring original, high quality music to the world. They’ve adopted me and both are helping me rediscover myself as a musician, teaching me to connect more deeply and allow my spiritual side to be out in the open more, and keeping me connected with the earth and my physical body. Most of all, they both have deep faith in me and knowing them and who they are, that faith makes me feel strong.
Last weekend, after a day of hard labor getting their cabin roof ready for the 100% humidity winter of a Redwood forest, the three of us were relaxing in the hot tub. I don’t really remember how we got around to it but I think we were talking about the role of parents. Joey made the comment that a parent’s job is to “empower” children which made me think of my dad. Then Molly piped up and told us how much she loved her dad and how empowering he was. Joey seconded that and I absolutely had to third it. The three of us just stopped and looked at each and recognized how odd it seemed for all of us to share a deep sense of connection with our fathers. We paused to express our gratitude and luck and just feel that connection together.
It was funny timing because just last week I learned, although I already knew inside, that my father’s insidious lymphoma was trying to make a comeback. It was also a week in which I learned that a project I have put into action, one that fully expresses the person I am and the community I’m involved with, is starting to take off (more on that later). The best and worst week all wrapped up into a neat little package and handed to me by the Universe with a “that a girl, we know you can handle it.” All weekend, I worked alongside Joey and Molly, spreading asphault to insulate the cabin roof against the impending winter rains, digging steps into the side of the ravene, searching steap hillsides for the perfect redwood spears for railings, and playing music, while laughing constantly and feeling fully alive. Each thing we did from the manual labor to playing my father’s violin, included my dad.
In dad’s world kids were to be worked from morning ’til night but never alone, always together. Always guided by the hand of a powerful, gifted, can-do adult. Not only did he teach me to play the violin and appreciate music, but he taught me to do physical stuff, and he showed me the world. By the time I was 18 I’d shingled roofs, hammered siding onto a house, spread stain, driven a tractor, shoveled manure, performed in 21 countries, you name it. “Empowerment” was dad’s middle name. All weekend, while enjoying the bliss of being a human in a life I couldn’t fathom I’d create, was the constant presense of someone who had the utmost faith in me from day 1. I learned to do things, a lot of things, because dad knew I could. He would always tell me I could do anything I wanted and I believed him. Now, all of a sudden, the notion of faith makes sense. It’s not some ethereal notion of believing and then magic happens. Believing in myself and the people I’ve attracted to my life is where the real power lies. Faith is a shared gift of communities and families that when applied liberally and with love, makes growth and expansion happen. The motto for the week thank to George Michaels, “You gotta have faith.” Thanks Dad!