Scotty, Beam Me Up!

The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.

— Psalms 19:1

I’ve always loved space. Like most children, I loved laying in the grass and looking up at a clear, starry night in wonder. I have a memory of a 4 or 5 year old me doing a school project which involved poking holes in a shoebox and then shining a powerful flashlight through to create a starry sky on the ceiling in the dark, an experience that delighted me. I also believed in God, and contemplating the cosmos has always connected me to God’s power, creativity, genius and goodness. Just like mountains or the ocean, stars and planets and nebulas have been evidence to me of God.

These fascinations allowed for a natural foray into my eventual love of scifi and all things cosmic. I grew up watching reruns of the original Star Trek TV show and now, scifi movies are among my favorites. Need a buddy to watch The Martian or Interstellar? I’ll be there faster than you can say “supernova”. I never miss the opportunity to see a good scifi movie on the big screen, and I’ve spent more time googling space-themed clothing than is probably normal.

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It’s hard to argue with Spock about humanity’s false concepts about God, after all.

About three years ago, I was reading an incredible book Jesus and Mary recommend called Through the Mists for the first time. I copied down practically ever other paragraph of this book into my journal, but one of the many amazing passages I wrote down relates to space, and it absolutely blew me away:

{Myhanene to Aphraar} “Paul said he at one time ascended into the third Heaven; he also once assured the Ephisians that Christ ‘hath ascended far above all Heavens’; and of God we are told that ‘the Heaven of Heavens cannot contain Him.’

We are thus scripturally warranted in using the plural number in speaking of the Heavens, just as Christ spoke of the many mansions. Now, the foundations of part of these mansions, or Heavens, are not so invisible to our friends on earth as is generally believed. I think they estimate the number of stars discernible at about one hundred millions, but of all this number with the added darker bodies remaining invisible, so far as I have learned, those that serve the purpose of preliminary existence, as earth, do not exceed the numbers of your fingers.”….

{Myhanene} “The rest are nuclei for varied grades of spiritual ascent. You have already seen how one class of soul is held bound to the earth, the influence of which attenuates until one is able to break away and seek other conditions?”

{Aphraar} “Yes.”

{Myhanene} “So from the material body of every star does there radiate an attenuated substance from which a serried ascent of spiritual conditions is built up, forming the divinely majestic staircase linking Heaven with Heaven, until the Heaven of Heavens is reached.”

My understanding of this passage is that Myhanene is saying first of all that there are no more than ten planets that sustain human life like earth, and possibly far less. So that’s a pretty cool thing to know in and of itself. Also, my interpretation is that Myhanene is saying here that the stars in space, that exist and we can see in the physical world, are actually the foundation of certain matter that the spheres of the spirit world are built from. That the stars we see from our blankets in the park are essential for the very structure of the spirit world. Talk about changing the way we look at the night sky! I had a proper nerd flip-out when I read that passage.

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I recently started watching the American show Cosmos (check Netflix). It’s an educational, documentary-style science show focusing on space. The first few episodes I watched discussed how the earth and our moon were formed, how stars are born, and how the entire universe formed even before that. A few of my favorite quotes so far from host Neil DeGrasse Tyson:

“Stars die and reborn […] They get so hot that the nuclei of the atoms fuse together deep within them to make the oxygen we breathe, the carbon in our muscles, the calcium in our bones, the iron in our blood. All was cooked in the fiery hearts of long vanished stars… The cosmos is also within us. We’re made of star stuff.

The atoms of our bodies are traceable to stars that manufactured them in their cores and exploded these enriched ingredients across our galaxy, billions of years ago. For this reason, we are biologically connected to every other living thing in the world. We are chemically connected to all molecules on Earth. And we are atomically connected to all atoms in the universe. We are not figuratively, but literally stardust.

Most astronomy shows, whether educational or scifi, do not discuss God at all and certainly don’t present all the science in the context of them being God’s creation. We currently live in a world where astronomy–and science in general–and God are often considered mutually exclusive. The opposite has always felt true for me: astronomy and learning things about space has always strengthened my faith in God. And with my new understanding  from Jesus and Mary’s teachings, I have come to also feel that science presents evidence of God’s Love.

One particular day, I was connecting in my geeky little heart to all of this and was laying on my bed, gazing at the ceiling and thinking about the wondrous things I’d learned from this Cosmos show I’d watched, and thinking about the Through the Mists passage. There I was, lost in my cosmic contemplations about God and the formation of the universe and the earth and the sun and my heart flooded with warmth and the sentence that came into my head was, All of that was made by God, for love, with love.  I thought, if we are, as Jesus says, “the greatest of Your [God’s] creations, and the most wonderful of all Your handiworks, and the object of Your great soul’s love and tenderest care”, then that must mean that all the cosmic miracles that have happened over billions of years were intended by God, planned to create a massive playground for God’s adored children. It baffles me that so much time passed in space before humans were even a part of it. All that planning, all that time, all those monumental events, and of every incredible thing in space that God has made, Her children are Her highest creations. Could it be that right from the beginning, it was all for us?

The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they reveal knowledge.
They have no speech, they use no words;
no sound is heard from them.
Yet their voice goes out into all the earth,
their words to the ends of the world.
In the heavens God has pitched a tent for the sun.
It is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber,
like a champion rejoicing to run his course.
It rises at one end of the heavens
and makes its circuit to the other;
nothing is deprived of its warmth.

— Psalm 19:1-6. (New International Version)

So these are some of my musings recently. Full disclosure: this blog may just have been a thinly veiled excuse for me to nerd out on space and God and post Star Trek quotes and cool pictures of starry nights! Best wishes in your galactic musings. 🙂

Live long and prosper,

Courtney

Emotional Overwhelm, Soul Hydration

In my previous blog post, I shared about my recent struggles to allow the next emotions I need to work through and to not fall into addictions to control them, and about my lack of faith and also my fear. I was feeling progressively worse over the course of those few weeks, and finally, the day after I posted my last blog, the kettle boiled over.

I woke up that day, felt emotionally the worst I had up until that point, made myself do some “productive” things anyway (not very self-loving), and then realized it just wasn’t going to happen. I couldn’t make myself do anything that day even if I wanted to. So I finally though, Right. I’m not going to try to be productive in any way. I’m just going to stay in these emotions even if its for the whole day. This is what I should have done long before now; but I’m going to do it now. So I was back in bed by 11:00 a.m. and decided to give into how awful I felt. And as soon as I did, all the emotion I’d been avoiding came crashing through like a torrent river through a dam, and I cried for probably about 4-5 hours. The next day I felt a little better than the day before, but still bad. I stayed in bed for a good part of the day again, and I cried for about another 3 hours.

I’ve had many times over the years before where I’ve cried for 2 or 3 or 4+ hours. Not super often, but it has happened, and I’ve had the experience before of letting myself fall into the darkness of a feeling and then experiencing the error lift and receiving more faith and feeling God more after, and so I was willing to try it again. But what’s interesting is how even though I’ve had those experiences before, with the next layer of emotions that I’m scared to experience, I still sometimes get worried it won’t actually work out this time. This time, at first I felt like, This is it. This might be what does me in. I’m going to be in bed crying like this for the next 4 months. These feelings are so awful I feel like I’m never going to be happy again. What if I can’t do this, God? What if I can’t make it through these emotions?

But because of those previous experiences, and partly because I’d allowed the pain to build up quite a lot (not good), I did let go and started to feel. When I’m really emotional, my prayers to God are an emotional conversation rather than one that I’m really thinking, but the prayers were sort of like,

God, this feels so awful. I know You can’t save me from these feelings and I don’t want You to. I just want to feel You while I’m feeling it all. Please help me get to the core emotions; I don’t want to waste time in effect emotions. I want to release my grasp on my resistances and just surrender to the full emotional overwhelm. Please help me be sincere, please help me feel Your truth about this. Please let me feel Your love and all the other feelings You feel about me. Please show me how to love myself more because I don’t know how to. I can’t do this without You.

Many times, within a few seconds flat, a heat wave would swell up in my body, like my body was burning up and I’d get super sweaty, something I’ve experienced before when in emotional overwhelm, but I’m still always amazed when it happens again. The room was at its normal temperature and I had barely moved my body, and yet when I’m in a core emotion I absolutely burn up. It always blows me away that much heat is generated by my own body, and how fast I go from feeling totally normal and then within a few seconds I feel so hot. Also, there are typically lots of sensations that happen in my body when I allow myself to be overwhelmed emotionally–changes in my heartbeat, pressure in certain areas of my body, release in other areas, tingling, etc. I remember when I first started experimenting with allowing really painful emotions and feeling them in my body, I was afraid they would physically shut my body down–stop my heart, collapse my lungs, I didn’t really know, I just felt like my body wasn’t going to be able to weather them. Now, I have pretty much no fear related to how it feels in my body; now the fears tend to be more about how bad it will feel emotionally and whether the emotional pain will ever end.

In the process of feeling it, I got this image of streams of sparkling, life-giving water running through the cracks of a desperate, parched desert floor, like some warmth in my heart. By the end of the tears on the second day, I felt tender and tired, but also soft, and had more peace in my heart, more faith in God, and a new sense of being close to myself. I went to bed super early on the second night and slept like a log. The next morning, I woke up feeling fantastic. And since then, things have felt quite good and I feel more faith and trust. It was just another great experience to build my faith about how powerful and simple the process really is: feel all our emotions in their full intensity, pray to God. Keep feeling, keep praying. Keep feeling, keep praying.

“God, walk with me while I uncover those worthless, hurting parts of myself. Help me towards humility rather than façade and defence.

Let my grieving open me to the truth about myself and to the love that already surrounds me. Let me strive to embrace the suffering of the past so that I may open my heart to a hopeful future, full of freedom.

-Mary Magdalene

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One of the reminders for me in the whole experience was how we have to create time and space to feel emotions. While it’s imperative we allow emotions at all times, anywhere and everywhere, it’s not going to be enough to only allow a few tears when we’re driving home from work. It’s not going to be enough to only allow ourselves to cry for 15 minutes and then pull ourselves out of it. Not that a few tears or 15 minutes is bad; I also have far more of those episodes than I do the long ones, and it’s naturally what will also happen when we’re allowing all our emotions. But looking back, any big core emotions I’ve ever worked through have required long periods of time dedicated to accessing them, and when I’ve finally gotten to them, they do take a lot of crying and feeling a lot of pain to get out.

These deep, old, festering wounds in our souls are not cleared with just a few tears. We have to have the self-love to make the space and time for ourselves to feel a lot more. I still have some emotions from my family and the world that cause me to forget that the most productive thing I can do with my day is to grow my relationship with God and feel my emotions. My two days of laying in bed and crying and doing little else were likely closer to God’s definition of productivity and a good use of time than avoiding that in favor of working and cleaning and whatever else I think is a more valid use of my time.

I’m starting to be a bit more ok with how I never have any clue before I start or during how long the emotional overwhelm is going to last, or how bad the feelings are going to get. We don’t know at the start of it if we might be crying for one hour or one week. We don’t know what will happen during or what will happen after. And that’s all part of the faith that we build each time we’re willing to go into emotional overwhelm and carry it through till it’s over. We may be afraid we’ll go crazy or lose control, afraid it will overtake us, afraid we won’t survive it. But we have to feel all of it anyway. We don’t get rid of those fears before we feel the emotions, those fears fall away when we feel it all and we see that we haven’t died or gone crazy, and afterwards, instead we feel so much better. We want a guarantee it’s going to be ok before we just do it, and that’s not how it’s going to go. From my experiences, I feel God isn’t going to take away the fears about emotional overwhelm in a way that helps us avoid them, but rather when sincerely feel our emotions even though we’re afraid, and also feel the fear itself, then God can share truth and love with us, which does shine light on our fears and they do fall away.

I can look back and see that when things have notably shifted in my life, it was when I went through total emotional overwhelm and felt some really big stuff. And far more so, when I allowed God to be with me and be part of the process. I know there will be many points in my future development where I again have to stretch to the next level of emotional overwhelm and face my fear and lack of faith in that next level of things, and I’ll have times that I put it off, avoid it, and am again tempted to revert to addictions and controlling the process. But I can feel that the more experiences we accumulate where we’ve allowed total emotional overwhelm to overtake us, involved God in the process and come through the other side seeing that yes, this is how our souls heal and it does work and we can do it, the more faith we’ll have in God’s design of our soul, and in God Herself.

Love,

Courtney