December 7, 2008

Samuel: Hello, Dears. How did you make someone’s day better and brighter today? Aye.

I can give you several, but I will give you the simplest one. I was checking out at Garden Ridge, and the lady put my things in plastic bags, and as she did that another plastic bag fell off behind her on the floor. She did not go for it; she went to the cash register. And I walked around and picked it up, put it back on the rack for her, and she gave me the most genuine thank-you because it was so out of the ordinary, I think; she was so surprised. But it was a genuine thank-you.

S: And it was such a natural thing for you to do.

Gettin’ there.

S: On the fast road. That was lovely. Another? All right.

It was actually last night. It kind of carried over to today because we have talked about it several times. Mary and I were at a Silent Auction for a huge Catholic boys’ school, so there were nothing but Catholics there except for us, I think.

Except for us.

Except for us. So it was very interesting. We happened to be at a table with a woman who was eighty-five years old and she was Mama Jude reincarnated, my stepmother. So, when I was first sitting next to her I had a delightful time talking with her and getting to know her, and then it was like, now I want to do something else, I do not want to be latched on to this person all night. And, so I was thinking, Do I really want to sit there? Could Mary sit there? Could somebody else at the table? Could I arrange it? And so I decided to change my attitude about that and when it was time for our table to go up and get the buffet, I decided to stay with her and wait. And, I said, “no, no, let them go and when it is time, your daughter will hold us a place, and when it is time, we can just go up. There is no reason for you to stand; you do not need to stand right now.” So I just changed my attitude to, and decided to embrace her instead of resent what I was doing. It really made a difference. We had the best time all night. And she was holding court. People were coming to see her, just like Mama Jude. So I started getting into it and started laughing then. It was really a delightful gift for me. It ended up being a great gift for me. But I could see her happiness that a stranger was paying attention to her in a way that most people didn’t.

S: And you know, often what you are doing is giving a person a piece of their younger days. And that is a great gift.


Bobbi and I and Beaner were returning from a walk. We had gone to the arboretum and we were driving down our road, and our neighbor was at the side of the road with her very old dog who had just been attack by another one. It had come flying out the door and had attacked the dog. So the blood was dripping out of the dog’s chest. So I held the dog while Bobbi directed Paula in the right direction, since both were in shock, and sent them on the way to the vet.

S: That’s a lot better than [better and] brighter. It’s a help in time of need. Good work.

Two more. Aye, Cindy.

Well, someone, Kathy Farney, made my day brighter by offering to take me to Michael’s. Then I got to make a new eighty-two-year-old friend’s day brighter by saying, “Why don’t you come with us, and that way you won’t have to worry about how to drive it; you can just ride along.” She was just so tickled. So it was just like a double dip.

S: One more? Ran out of best and bright, did we?

Samuel, I guess this may be against the rules, because this is someone that made my day. It was a dream I had. Today’s my Mom’s birthday. And it was this dream; it was really weird, but David and I were at the cemetery where she was buried. I was dragging her coffin with a rope and it was one of those old-fashioned coffins. And I did not feel weirded out or anything until the lid kind of comes ajar and I was like, “Should I look, should I not look?” So, I look and my Mom had turned a little and she was sprouting wings. And it was just wonderful. So she made my day.

S: Well, that says a lot more than you might think. It is not easy to do that, not the spreading wings part. That’s mainly symbolic. But the getting into your dreams to pass a message along part, that’s not so easy. That tells you a whole lot right there.

This is a wonderful horrible time of year. It is a holiday season, yes, and holidays mean what.


S: Partying, yes.


S: Food, lots of food. Anybody in here trying to be careful about not ending the holidays as rolling about rather than walking about? Food, yes, all right.

Full of expectations.

S: Expectations, yes, that is very true, that is in there as well.

I have a Scrooge answer, stress.

S: Stress, that true. That’s part of why they are the most horrible part. The expectations, the stress. Yes.


S: Shopping. Yes.

Memories, both good and bad.

S: Memories. Yes.

Time visiting with friends and family.

S: Good, good.

Starting to reflect on the past year.

S: Good. It’s a time of child-like joy. And child-like tantrums. Have you ever seen an adult have a tantrum?

I live in the body of one. [Laughter]

S: That was really good. Did you hear what she said? “I live in the body of one.” Doesn’t that say a lot that that one line right there? It really does, it says a lot. I like that.

It is a time of renewal of hope, the return of light, Christmas, the star and the birth of Jesus. It’s beginning anew, with hope.

S: Yes, yes.

It’s a time of gifts and giving.

S: Yes, yes. And wanting and hoping, and being dashed aside, and finding the pony instead of the “it must be in here somewhere part,” as well. It is playtime, and not getting-enough-rest time, and needing-to-please-so-many-people time. It is, “I am very loved”, “I am very alone,” “I am,” and the key word in there is, “I,” “I,” “I,” because it is very much a season in which, for whatever reason more than other, there is a focus on yourself, oneself, what I must do, what I must know, what I must not do. And because of that, very often it is a season in which I, meaning you, can be disappointed. And, if it is I, meaning you, that knows how to take care of yourself, to do what works and to not do what does not work, then it can be a time of enjoying.  What are you going to have this year? Because you are in charge of it.

Now, this is sort of starting the meeting with a warning, because it is not where I am going to go with the meeting, but I feel the need to remind you, you are in charge of your life. This is the season in which it is so easy to let someone else lead your life. I encourage you, do something different this year. It does not matter what. Over the last couple of meetings I have spoken to you about dealing with stress and making sure that the things that you are doing in your life are a reflection of who you are in your life. And that is so needed at the holidays. If I suggested that this was the year, this year got a big experiment—do not do anything that you usually do, unless it is something that you love, enjoy, that’s a gift to you—would there be anything left for you to do? What if I asked you to try the experiment of giving no presents this year? Now if you think about it for a minute, think about it as if I suggested to you, be the gift, absolutely, but don’t give presents. Let the people that you usually exchange presents with know that, that you are working to simplify, that you are wanting to celebrate births, and birthdays, more. For holidays, you want to enjoy people. And you don’t want to get caught up in gift-giving, so you are not going to give gifts this year. What goes on in your mind with that idea. Do you find yourself thinking, “All right, there are people in my life who would understand that and be all right with it.” Who might they be? Who would understand? Who would be all right with that? You know, that makes sense, I agree with you, I would do that too. Yes, let’s do that. Who are the ones that you could not get away with that?


S: Probably so, probably so. You could probably sneak around it by giving it to the parents to give or something like that and still say that you are holding it. But all right, grandchildren; that is one. Who in your life would actually get irritated at you? Maybe even angry at you for leaving them out. “Are you doing it to everybody or just me?” And these people that are popping up in your mind as to, “Well that would work out there. Our relationship is not based on following a gift-exchange custom.” Or, “It would not work with these people. I could do that with everybody except my parents or whatever.” Is your giving to them a leash on you?

Those that you must fulfill the custom with, why? What is it that you are afraid would happen if you did not give? Again, I am not actually telling you to do that, unless you’re really brave. But you know, thinking through the “shoulds” that are so much a part of this season, thinking through the, “I have to do this”, “I must please this person,” think about it. Do you? Why? Who rules you? Who rules you?

I agree with Gayle, it is quite warm, don’t you think? And with Noki who says, “It is very warm in here and I am getting bored.” She is worried that you are not going to give her presents. You know there should be a welcoming for her. Sort of like a baby shower, there should be a Noki shower, don’t you think? Aye?

Fifteen years ago our financial situation changed drastically, and so I have done what you have talked about with every limb of my family and not one person has ever been upset about it.

S: Aye.

Not one.

S: If you chose to do that when everything was flowing easily, would they have also been all right with it?

I don’t know.

S: And they may well have. They may have.

I have wondered about that.

S: They might have wondered what that weird group that you are involved in was doing to you.

What has a hold on you this holiday. What are the things that you do to spite yourself? Can you make changes in any of those areas to give yourself a bit of a break? One of the difficulties with the season is—as I said—is that it tends to be run by “I.” On the other hand, maybe this is also the season in which the most important present you can give yourself is a little time, a little laughter, a little love. Maybe saying no to one thing or two. Or cutting back a little as an experiment could help make this season actually a gift for you rather than all the people in your life you take care of. All right, lecture over.

There are a lot of things I talk about on the December first-Sundays. And probably if you were going to put them all in one great big pot it would be that I talk about light.

Gwendolyn, can you reach up behind you for a moment or Stuart if it is better for you to do it, and just turn off a few lights so that you’ve got a sense of the sparkle that is in this room right now. Just knock them down for a bit. And unfortunately for all of you who are watching by a computer or by a recording later on, it is getting darker and darker. But what the people who are here are seeing are beautiful points of light all about the room. Some in groupings, some in lines. It is absolutely lovely. Being that this is the season of light, and that of the many stories about this time of year. And the many cultures that take part in the celebration at this time of year, what is in common with them is light. Be it that the darkest night of the year is over and from that point of the solstice every day will get a little bit longer light. Be it the light celebrated in the oil of the warriors who kept the light burning in order to clean the temple and return to their spiritual observances. Be it the light of the starry night guiding wise me [all right you didn’t get to hear that joke] to Bethlehem to see the birth or to see the results of the birth, I guess actually, to see Jesus who would become the Christ. Light fills all of those stories. And it fills all of those stories because, as I also say, almost every December first-Sunday, you are a light. You are not only light in a very true . . . Would it be easier now, Stuart, if you had the lights back, on or is everything going fine there?

It is fine with me with the video, but people are thinking no, that it might be hard to see . . .

It is nice.

It’s fine.

S: Well, I am hearing fine. There is also maybe a couple of seats that you could pull up more in the light, closer to the light, go to the light, oh. If you needed them or turn them back up. Stuart just gave you the view.

All right, so what I also say is, you are the light in a scientific way because the very energy that keeps each of yourselves working, the power of your own life force is indeed a measureable light that with just a little bit of training you can actually feel or see. You know it symbolically as well as somebody who just lights up your life or makes your heart lighter, or what might be a few more of those ideas?


S: Lit up the room.

She just glows.

S: Glows, lovely. Because the idea of light is a very powerful and very real energy that flows through your culture and many others.

Yes, indeed, this is a time of light. And yes, indeed, it is also so that you are the light in someone’s world, and what is by far more likely: you are a light that touches many in this world. And just because I like it so much, I am going to remind you as well of the illustration in which you are walking upstairs and you are going into your bedroom, let’s say. The light is off. What’s the first thing you do? All right, maybe I should not have said bedroom because, you are coming in from the meeting tonight and your house is dark and you go in and what’s the first thing you do? “Well, now, Samuel, I just reach over and turn on the light.” You don’t have to think about it; you don’t have to do any sort of magical working. Of course, it depends on when you’re from, of course, though, because to some that is a magical working that you can actual flip a switch or plug something in and there the light is, extending your day long enough for you to be able to stay up and work really late. Love that part. Then you wonder why it’s so hard to get up and you have to caffeine yourself enough to get moving and to get your brain working and then, never mind, I am not going to keep going there.

So, you turned on that light, not because, “I have been put on this earth to put light into this place, and here it is. I am now, turning on the light,” and whew, and there shall be and so there was. No, not for that, well, maybe for a couple of you, but now that you are not drinking anymore that doesn’t come up so much. You laugh. You don’t do it because you are angry with the darkness and there is a war to fight against the dark. You don’t do it because you could not get around the room, because you know you probably could without much damage, if any. You don’t have to have it on, do you? At least, if your memory is still working. “There is a chair here, avoiding the chair, I know that it is here somewhere.” You turn it on because it pleases you to do so. You turn it on because you want the convenience of that extra brightness. You turn it on because you want to see better.

And when you turn it on, there will be those people in your life that will come out of hiding from the corners screaming at you saying, “What have you done, what have you done? You cannot do that. We have spent a very long time learning to conquer the dark. We have worked very hard learning how to get around without the light. How dare you.” And there will be those that fall at your feet and say, “You have a gift, you have a gift far greater than any that I have ever seen because you, you have been able to turn on the light.” And, of course that is your cue to say, “You are welcome, I did it just for you, I know that you were coming along, I knew that you would be there in that corner, of course, that was just for you”. Or you would say, “I am so sorry, I will never do it again, I just, I cannot be with anybody being unhappy with what I am doing, so I will just walk around in the dark. And, the few bruises that come from it, I will suffer in silence, I’ll manage, it’s all right.”

And yet, it’s not the point at all, is it? The point is that you are the light, and whether you do anything particular to shine it up and make it pretty or to turn it on or turn it off, you are the light. And your life will cause others to throw rocks at you or throw palm leaves in your pathway hoping to do what they can to make your way easier. Your life is the light that touches others and brings them warmth and comfort, or maybe not so much warmth and comfort, or maybe your life is going to make clear things that have been kept hidden.

Your light is your life, and this is a time in which light is recognized as a function of power, so remember your light. Remember that in a planetary sort of way, your light grows brighter the closer you are willing to get to the source of that light. If you find the way to be dark, look to the source of light. And if you cannot find the source of it, settle yourself down long enough to go within yourself and to the eternal rhythm of your beating heart, visualize every cell of your being becoming brighter, and brighter, so that you might remember now and again that that’s what you really look like.

This is a season of light and yet, in this culture the most important story is about animals. It is about the reindeer.

[ …]

S: One of which has a nose of light. You’re right. Hmm. Rudolf the guardian reindeer.

Oh, there’s a good song.

S: And not only reindeerl flocks of sheep—“When shepherds watch their flocks at night” The shepherds wish your sort of light was handy so they could read, instead of stare at the sheep. Any shepherd would tell you that it is pretty boring. Sheep are pretty boring. Now that was fraught with meaning; did you get it? Fraught. Sheep—boring. There is a donkey, yes, that will have waffles? Different donkey?

[…] will have waffles […]

S: Thank you that helped. What’s a waffle?

[…] it’s like a pancake with lumps, but it’s heated between a griddle and you put syrup on it.

S: Lillibeth says that it is a pancake with lumps. But Lillibeth was coming up with something that sounded a little prettier than lumps. But all right waffle. I am not certain that the Christmas donkey usually referred to has much to do with waffles, but there it was, you never know what is floating around these days. Waffles, all right. There is perhaps a cow. Now why would you think there was a cow? Why would I think there was a cow?

Because there was a manger . . .

S: Because there’s a manger.

Yes […]

S: And mangers, they’re really not bassinets. They are feeding troughs for the donkey and the cow. And when you are living in a very poor time, you want to have your cows come in at night. Why would you want to do that?

To keep them safe.

S: To keep them safe, yes.

To keep the milk warm.

S: “To keep the milk warm,” he says. There were very likely dogs, maybe a barn cat or two. And you can count on, if there is a warm place to go on a chilly night where they are not going to get chased out too fast, there sure enough would be a mouse or two, maybe fifteen. You know how they go. “Got a warm place, join me, ha, ha, ha.” It is really a season filled by far more animals than people. Have you ever thought about that?


S: And I actually want you to think about that for a bit tonight. In the stories, the main character is rarely the donkey. Or do you think the wise men came across on camels or maybe horses. The dogs, the cats, the rats, the mice, the probable chickens and ducks and . . .


S: Of course the cows and the sheep. They by far outnumber the main characters in the usual play. And that’s because they weren’t the point, and yet, silently and invisibly, they have a very big impact on how the story goes. The shepherds that were out watching their flock, if they were not out watching their flock, if it were not for the sheep what would have been missed?

The star.

The light.


S: Angels, the angels who came down to say—you know it is such a group of heathens, I am constantly amazed at your remembrance of that famous story but try aright, try tonight—if it were not for the shepherds, they would have not been out there to see the angels to say what?


S: “Something’s big about to happen over in Bethlehem. And if you were wise, you would pack up your stuff and go see.” Well, maybe they did not say it quite like that. But the truth of it is that it’s not quite as prosaic as the songs would have you believe.


S: Hallelujah. Hallelujah, that’s the one. Hallelujah. So there are the shepherds, charged with watching the sheep, and of course in tribal times such as that, the sheep did not belong to any one person, and one shepherd looked after these sheep and this shepherd. No, they grazed together and there would be several shepherds. So, the sheep, if you can think of it this way, are across the hillside. What do you think they are doing?



S: All right, I want you to think this through for a moment. It’s nighttime.


S: Thus, the sheep are sleeping. So you have got one of the few times that the shepherds are not busily watching their sheep. All right, if you have ever known sheep you know how ridiculous that statement was, because when you are watching sheep you really have a lot of free time. Pretty much, they are going to follow the leader. That’s part of why sheep can be so boring. Because they are not thinking for themselves. They are doing what keeps them from being terrified into a sheep stampede. You laugh, that’s what they do. They run away. You think you have a good fight or flight. Sheep flight can’t beat it. They look like they are munching on the grass most of the time. But what they are really doing is they are saying, “What was that? Did you hear that?” And then there are two or more sheep—come on, help me out here—doing the same thing, “Are you hearing something?” “Maybe we should move?” “Ruuuuuun!” Because that is what sheep do. Do you think that if the angels came down in a great bubble of light, sort of like a good witch or a bad witch, came down in a great bubble of light and said to the shepherds, “I have great news for you,” what do you think the sheep would have done? Have you ever thought about that.

I thought they were stunned, like stunned into silence.

S: Aye. Like a fainting goat. They just drop right over.

[ . . . as in reverence . . . ].

S: That was it. That was it. Of course, they immediately kneeled down because they knew they were in the presence of angels, and. . . .  No they did not. The angels had to be discrete or the shepherds would lose their sheep. So it was probably more along the lines of, “Hey you, come here for a moment, behind the rock. I’ve got something to show you.” Maybe that’s not it. The sheep don’t get the credit they should. Nobody remembers the sheep because they live in their fear. Their answer is to bolt, to run, to get away, to break loose. The thing about a sheep is, safety is in unity. But the sheep remain very aware of the actions of the individual. So there they are in unity, by far a much bigger flock than any wolf could do damage to. But one starts looking around, “What was that?” and that individual fear starts spreading through the sheep, and unity based on fear will not survive. Unity based on weakness will not survive.

What is your strength? Well in this particular story, not being a sheep might be it. What about the camel? Who ever thinks of the camels? Everybody always talks about the three wise men who came from afar, which is further away than Cincinnati.

Afar. Now, do you think that could have been mistranslation? Has anybody ever wondered about that? Look afar. Well here you are in the middle of Kentucky, you know what I am saying, don’t ya. Look there. a fahr. Get some water, get a blanket, find the sheep. Afar.

They’ve come so far; they brought the gifts. I would like to suggest that the camels are the ones that brought the gifts. When you are only the heavy-labor worker, if you are only the slaves, if you are bearing the burden, you might be missing the point.

Suzie earlier talked about she changed her thinking. She chose not to be burdened, if you will, not to be burdened, but to enjoy what was going on. And in this amazing story that touches so many hearts in this culture in this time of year, in this lovely story, the burden being carried is not getting the spotlight. Doing the hard work and nobody noticing. Being the beast of burden, unnoticed, unlauded. Well, you never hear the camel lobby complaining about that. One of two things going on in there. The camels didn’t care because they really weren’t the point anyway. They were going to go there, carry the load or not, and it didn’t really matter. Or they were willing to be the beast of burden.

How many of you—maybe not so many—have been around camels much? This means that pretty much I can tell you whatever and you will believe it because you do not know better, right? There is only one way you can tame a camel so that it will bear your burden. You are not going to hear warm fuzzy stories about the baby camel, the mother died, and so Louise raised up the camel with love and her dog nurtured it. Your cats would have scratched the eyes out. You are not going to get any fuzzy stories about camels because the fact of it is that they do not like humans. Now, maybe if you are a little taller, your neck a little longer, your back a little more bent, maybe that would help a little. The only way to can get them to do your bidding is to hurt them. I don’t like that, but that’s not the point here. So you will see a ring in the soft part of the nose, so go ahead, I know that in polite company you are not supposed to do it, but I want you to stick your hand up to your nose, and I want you to feel the very soft tissue there. You feel that. Now, feel out into that nostril. Now there are a couple of you that might be able to give a show of this yourself with a piercing here or there, you think? Imagine that you have a ring put into that soft tissue or if you have pierced ears, you might could imagine if somebody takes you by that earring or that nose ring. The first time you learn real quick, don’t resist. Pain is an amazing teacher. A camel abides your presence because if it doesn’t it will be hurt. And once again we have a major player in this story that is motivated by pain, fear.

Let’s move on to the donkey, with or without the waffle. The donkey carried pregnant Mary—yes?—along the road that ended in the barn. How many of you in here have been pregnant? Anybody want to admit how heavy you were? And yet the donkey did its job. The donkey is trained. It is moved by affection or moved by pain, fear. There are a couple of you that are actually familiar with donkeys and so you will know when I say, you do better with that donkey with affection. When you give them pain, they become famous for balking, yes? I think that in this story, the donkey is the most human of them all. And what was the donkey’s duty? To help the tired and wearied one get where he/she needs to go. It was to be a sort of bridge, making it possible for the weary ones to go from here to here. And in that story does that donkey get that credit? Is it brought forth that this great creature of power and light that had the amazing honor to carry a great heavy weight from here to here, so that you can have the born-in-the-manger story? Does that donkey get any credit? Well, you know actually, of the many animals that are brought up at this time of year, the donkey actually gets a pretty good spotlight. Credit, yes.

But was that donkey doing something that it had trained all of its life to do? No. Was it doing something that no other donkey could do? No. Was it doing something that, when that great pregnant woman sat upon its back, it was shivered by the light, knowing that, “Oh, I am a holy donkey now. We will have waffles in the wilderness.” Not so. The donkey did what it did every day. The donkey did it most likely for the pleasure of it because there aren’t codicils to the story that say things like, “And they were incredibly late because the donkey would not go.” The donkey did what it needed to do to be what it was. The donkey wasn’t doing it for glory, wasn’t doing it for making the whole donkey race better known. The donkey simply did what it did every day and was chosen because it did it well. It did not balk, it did not fight. It did what the agreement was. You do this work today, you will have a dry place to sleep. You will be safe from the wolves—more in danger than the sheep really—and you will be fed. I must say that that sounds vaguely familiar, humanly speaking.

The theme of this season absolutely is light. But I want you to remember that the price of that light is life as a donkey. You are not seeking the glory. You are the means. Dare I say it that you are the channel for that glory? To be in the world, you are that strong back in a time of need. You are the sure and careful bridge. You’re not stupid. You’re not working in fear, because a donkey won’t do it. You’re working because you see the need; you are doing what you do. The agreement is good enough, you are happy to go with it.

And there it is, the whole story hinges on the back of a donkey. Of all the animals, the one that even today works because it’s all right with the agreement. I have never ever heard a donkey say, “Exactly when was it I signed this contract?” I have never heard a donkey say, “I didn’t remember it quite like this.” I have never heard a donkey say, “I’m not getting enough prestige.” The donkey says, “Yes, yes I will.” And that my friends, is what that story really is about. An incredible being of love, of power, of light, source in form, saying, “Yes, I will.” And comes in to the world after a journey on the back of a donkey that said, “Yes, I will.”

In this world so many people are only looking out for themselves. And it is very easy to fall into that trap, because in very many ways you are raised to do that. This might be the season to look at the whole Christmas thing a bit sideways. To not, not let all your attention go to the start, but to think a little bit about the donkey. In order for the great one to say, “Yes I will,” the donkey first said it, “Yes, I will.” Sure and steady as long as the balance is maintained. I vote for the donkey.

Glochanumora, dear ones. Happy, happy trails. And may they all be on the wide and beautiful back of a donkey that loves you.