Allium: A Glimpse of Grace

Holly Thomas is a member of the Sourcing The Way Council and a writer, editor, writing coach, and artist. This is the first of a series in which she’ll share “glimpses” that come to her through meditation, Sourcing, and the occasional “bolt from the blue.”

I was listening to a radio interview with a holocaust survivor who had decided to tell his story after 70 years of hiding his concentration camp tattoo and keeping quiet. What convinced him to speak out was seeing a picture of himself on a website that claims the holocaust never happened. The site had labeled as fake a photo of the emaciated child he’d been at Auschwitz. Every time he showers he still thinks of the gas chambers. Asked his most vivid memory of being 4 years old, he said “the smell of burning human flesh.”

The glimpse

I put my head in my hands, and for a few seconds something shifted behind my tears. I, or I AM, felt and “experienced” the immensity and range of what people go through. I felt this immensity as what Experience experiences through us. I perceived it as how Source/God/All-that-is, by any name, discovers what it’s like to be embodied in human form and to explore existence ruthlessly, beautifully, or both, in every possible variation on human life. I got a glimpse of that totality—the expanse and the intimacy, the detachment and the care.

Often when my awareness leaps to some ‘higher order’ perspective, an image appears in my mind’s eye. It usually stays just long enough for me to register it, then disappears. This time, the image was an enormous sphere made up of every human life. I could see each person as alive and distinct, standing alone inside the cupped shape of his or her own existence. The cups were crowded together, but each held only one person.

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The result was much like the spherical cluster of individual blossoms in a giant allium. Within each blossom, the stamens and pistil have plenty of room, even though the sphere itself looks crowded.

Magnetic attraction

Zoomed in close enough to watch one person speaking, I simultaneously sensed our union within some living sphere, and the sharp necessity of our individuality. When the image zoomed back out, I saw the sphere’s entirety and felt a relentless curiosity—the Curiosity of whatever un-nameable Source we arise from.

At first that curiosity was frighteningly ‘other’, but as soon as I named my fear, compassion replaced it. Not my own compassion, but a sense of the Source’s concern for the human experience. Source may be an artist devoted to experiencing everything that is possible to experience, even when that includes vast cruelties and injustices. But in that moment, what I sensed at its center was goodwill—an affinity for love, if not love itself. Source seemed almost magnetically attracted to how we, and perhaps all sentient beings, encounter, recognize, and embody Grace. I felt Its sureness that our lives, as part of the entire living whole of individuality, somehow make Grace more real.

What I sensed is that Source, by whatever name, is not only curious, but kind. Maybe that’s because kindness fascinates it. Or maybe it’s because Source is as hopeful as it is inventive.

Perhaps what prompted the beginning of individuated consciousness was as much the yearning for company as a desire to experience and explore. Perhaps when Source set itself on a path toward embodying that consciousness, it discovered that beings capable of Grace do more to satisfy its yearning. Perhaps hope and kindness are things sentient beings inventedgifts Source cherishes and wants more of.

These many words fail to capture what it felt like for a few moments to sense into the All of us living as all of us. To connect with the potential majesty in every act of being, and the particular beauty in acts of being that offer courage, hope, forgiveness, grace, and love.

Or…

The practice of truth-seeking requires that I ask myself whether this vision was wishful thinking. Maybe there is no goodwill in some original Source of being. Maybe Source is immensely indifferent and our capacities for compassion and grace are just two flecks of color on an infinite canvas of creation. That’s not my preferred version of All That Is, but would it change anything? Each of us can still embody Grace. If Source exists but doesn’t care, our ability to look one another in the eyes and see mystery there, and to love into that mystery, is something from which even Source itself might learn.

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Challenging the Ego – Is it worth it?

With everything that is up in this world currently – the US election circus, the roaring patriarchy, the rise of the feminine in both men and women, our disregard for mother Nature, the arising call for people’s equal inherent value, to name a few – I feel called to write this post.

So, why the question, “Challenging the ego – is it worth it?”.

In spiritual circles it is sometimes said that we need to conquer the ego. That the ego is bad, that it is only out to serve and protect itself and its interests. I take a step back and compare this with what is going on in our human collective psyche – the seeming opposing forces calling for, on the one side, the individual’s right to choose and be in charge of his/her own life, where there is a belief that the success and therefore right of an individual has precedence above everything else, and on the other side, the call for a more humane attitude as there is an awareness that we are all connected, where looking out for one another will inherently mean that we are also looking out for ourselves, where there is a belief that it is possible to thrive by supporting one another.

For the past 10 years I have challenged my ego to own up to its ways while following an unseen trajectory. It has been a fascinating journey which has involved a lot of dedication, will, and a deep desire for evolution.

When I look up the meaning of ego I find: “A person’s sense of self-esteem or self-importance”. In psychoanalysis it refers to “the part of the mind that mediates between the conscious and the unconscious and is responsible for reality testing and a sense of personal identity.” In philosophy (in metaphysics) it refers to “a conscious thinking subject“. And from the Cambridge Dictionary: “your idea or opinion of yourself, especially your feeling of your own importance and ability”.

What I have found is that I have a choice. In my own experience I have learned that my views, beliefs, judgments about the world coming from my ego, can be either very limiting or very open and expansive. That my attitude creates a frame for how I perceive the world around me and my own life experience.


Early on it became clear that the structure I had created as a result of upbringing, social circle, and personal experiences was a tightly fitted suit that did a good job at keeping things in place, but was, however, equally limiting my ability to move and gain an expanded view of life and the world we live in.

On November 6th, 2006 I asked a similar question in my then blog, “Little Green Men and Tall Angelic Beings”. I wasn’t aware then that what I was challenging was the ego, my own as well as other people’s. I blush when I think that my voice from 10 years ago will be shared here as a raw expression of innocent curiosity and in part a hurt ego. I smile as I read this early contribution to the written word. It isn’t a poetic and eloquent expression, but a heartfelt sentiment to the experience of deviating from the norm, from spilling over other people’s measuring cups:

Is it worth it?

Standing out or being different is not easy. At the beginning I had to defend myself all the time, explaining to people why I would want to move abroad again… “Hadn’t I already been there and done that?” I tried to explain that it isn’t about what I do, it’s who I am.

My mother had said to me that I’d always been extremely curious and always had the need for change and learning new things. As if moving abroad was not enough, I know some of my friends lifted an eyebrow (some of them two) when I told them about my quest for spirituality.

Why is it that people automatically judge in a negative way when something different is on the horizon? Why is it so difficult for some people to sit back and just listen, take it all in, and then give their verdict? Many times I have had to fight verdicts based more on the other person’s fear of the unknown than on the actual facts. I think it is rude to slag someone off without knowing all the facts. The world would be a better place if humanity would focus on the good instead of the bad.

So, is it worth it? Hell, YES! I wouldn’t want it any other way. I have learned so much about myself as well as about other people. And I have become a better person as a result of it.

It is worth being different. Believe in yourself!

Many rivers have floated under lots of bridges since that post… In my “quest for spirituality”, I have made it central in my life to practice forgiveness and gratitude. I understand that one aspect of who we are is the sum of our experiences, and, based on our individual lens, all of us do the best we can with what we perceive that we’ve got. This isn’t a justification for awkward behaviour or action/reaction, just an expanded perspective as we all have “our own perceived truth”.

A few key learnings from the past 10 years:

  • Everybody needs to feel seen and heard
  • Everybody does the best they can with what they’ve got
  • We are always part of someone else’s experience
  • Our ego wants us to be safe
  • We can never fall off our path

I’ll end this post with my very first blog post ever, as the questions I posed then are still very much present and “up” in the collective. Although it wasn’t originally written with the ego in mind, I can’t help notice how the questions do their bit to keep the challenge alive.

Why is it…

30/10/2006  

Why is it…
…that most people are afraid, and feel the need to only believe that which they can see, hear or touch? …that most people don’t ever stop for a moment to live in ‘the now’? …that we are terrified of finding proof that we are not alone?

What would be so terrible…
…if we were to find that we are getting help with the big as well as the little things in life? …if humanity started to believe in a higher power? …if we were to accept that the universe is there for us and all we have to do is ask? …if we were to start to think about the person behind the mask we rush past in the street? …if we started focusing on what we have instead of mucking about focusing on what we don’t have?
 

A Poem for My Teachers in Hawaii

The weekend of October 21–23, 2016, I was in Hana on the island of Maui, in Hawaii, for a retreat with three Polynesian elders and 11 other now-dear brothers and sisters. From the elders we received direct and powerful transmissions of embodied wisdom. Many of the experiences were, for me, initiations into a greater conscious communion with the land and the living elements.

As a result, it has become clear beyond doubt that I am in partnership with the ‘āina (land), the people, the plants, the animals, the spirits, and the subtle beings of Hawaii. I know and can now declare that these islands are home for the next chapter of my life.

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Daybreak at the Ala Kukui retreat center in Hana, Hawaii

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Open to Your Truth and Fullness

On 10 July 2016, I meditated on the words that could perfectly represent what calls to me most deeply – my essential purpose and work in the world. About three minutes in, the below started to arrive and I was compelled to get up and start writing. It is true that supporting people in realizing and accepting their own divinity brings me unsurpassed joy. And in the context of Sourcing The Way, our work goes beyond the client’s Self-realization to include living and working beyond ego, as a radiantly whole person or organization. May these words be of service.

To Each One of My Dear Clients and Beloveds:

Time is short. Nonexistent, actually. So let us be brief: You are a unique Avatar, Buddha, Christ. You are a creator god on Earth; and even such expansive language understates Your majesty.

Continue reading Open to Your Truth and Fullness

The Business of Beyond: Setting the Stage

Lately, I have been given the opportunity to ponder what set me on to the path that I am on, and what it was that got me started. Curiously, what I notice is that one was a life event and the other was a life decision, or life choice if you will.

The life event I’m referring to is my grandmother’s passing in 2003. I wasn’t aware at the time that something had kicked off. Mostly there were life situations and things happening that propelled me forward, not much of what I would today refer to as “conscious decision making”. I didn’t see any connections between events, and the thought that it would be possible to them to string together, taking me in a certain direction, never crossed my mind. The events were easy to respond to in that they showed up with enough space in between them to help me see and understand that there was a next step there for me, i.e. it was time for a change.

The life decision that got me on to the path that I am on, happened in 2005. Or should I say – that consciously got me on to the path I am on… I had recently moved back to the UK. I was still in the same job as I had been in Sweden, the only difference being I now worked remotely. I continued to live life the way I had in Sweden, just in a different country. I had felt nudged to move back to the UK for no particular reason other than that I missed it. Or so I thought…

Looking back, once I had moved into my new place in St Albans, Hertfordshire, I was presented with one situation after the other, each speaking to their value as pieces in a puzzle.

Continue reading The Business of Beyond: Setting the Stage