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“How do you feel?” “I don’t know…”


“How do you feel?”
“I don’t know…”

I don’t think it’s unusual not know what we’re feeling. Nor even to be unable to feel.
What are you feeling now?
Are you feeling a mixture of feelings?
Are you feeling one shallowly?
Are you feeling one deeply?

If you aren’t sure, there are some almost universal triggers to make or help you feel.

I’m not at all a fan of the musical genres jazz, classical, or country. I can enjoy occasional hits from each, but rarely more than one or two at a time. Upon hearing of my disdain for classical, my sister challenged me.

I believe this 3.5 minute piece is one of the almost universal triggers that cannot be heard without a maelstrom of accompanying feelings (listen with space to move your arms through their full ranges, and fasten your headphones or earbuds securely, for your head will dance upon your neck, and, almost certainly, you’ll need to stand, and quite possibly dance):

If you are a classical music aficionado, don’t try to convert me, but please do share with me pieces like this one, which do not require an appreciation for the art form, and do not for the uninterested include wasteful bridges, interludes, and introductions. I wish to hear more brief pieces like this, in which every note has intrinsic value, even to the infidel.

Neil D. 2020-07-19


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My love letter to me


My love letter to me
…from my mom,
…from my soul,
…from me.

[6 minute read]

My rational mind loves theology, and I can wrap many of my beliefs into tidy packages to delight my reason. But that’s horribly dangerous, just like this theology: “The wages of sin is death, and you need a savior.”

“Do you NOW see and feel, Neil? Despite the crown of thorns, humiliation, false charges, excruciating death, do I threaten my wrath? ‘Forgive them, Abba…’ He was not begging on your behalf because you are unworthy of Our love. He was vocalizing what flows inseparably FROM Our love. Our sadness that you ‘know not what you do…’ To your Selves.

“Do you NOW see and feel, Neil? When I, your passionate and personal God, say that I love you unconditionally, that means no necessity of forgiveness. Our acts of love are not to show you how sinful you are. They are deeds to show you the purity of Our love for you. There’s no need at all for forgiveness when all is love….

“Love does not originate FROM or BY forgiveness. Love is no hostage, contingent on redemption by contrition and absolution. There is NO requirement that forgiveness PRECEDE My love. Neither offense nor guilt affect pure love. Nothing binds love. Forgiveness is a coincidence of true love, NOT a prelude…

“Look at me, my son Neil. LOOK at me. Don’t be afraid. Look at my Son’s crucified, bloody face. Does He look angry?

“The sadness on his face is for you. His face is My face. I am not angry and demanding justice because you have hurt Me. I am the Lord your God, Who fears nothing. I do not fear being hurt. But I can and do feel hurt. I can and do feel sadness. They are part of love, and I AM love. So I am also Hurt. I am also Sadness. But hurt and sadness out of love, not out of fear. Fear is not part of love. Do not fear that you have hurt me, and need my forgiveness. For I love you already. Fearlessly, and fiercely.

“You only fear Me because you cannot feel and trust the fullness of pure love — yet. My Son’s passion is a show of love’s purity, not a message that you need to fear Us, nor that you needed His sacrifice…

“My Son’s passion is Our love story for you, Neil. Don’t corrupt it into a tragedy about sin and penalty and any sense of justice and consequences and conditions and laws and rules…

“His love is pure. My love is pure. Conditions and rules for gaining it are impurities.

“I am sad, because you hurt your self, child. I, the Lord Almighty, BEG and PLEAD with you, Neil… I do not COMMAND you by any other power or authority except love… Fearsomeness is false power, and I am not false. Love holds no space for fear. And I am love…

“Your very Creator is begging and pleading for you to feel Our love in the story of my Son’s life. We do not wish for you to see some sacrifice to atone for your shame and restore your worthiness. Our love is NOT affected by your sin. It doesn’t stop just because you sin. Don’t be so conceited to think you can diminish Our love! Let this love story fly past your ego and annihilate barriers of shame, to touch your tender soul, sweet boy…

“The story of Yeshua is about Our goodness and YOUR goodness… Our and your OUTRAGEOUS capacity for love. Be outraged about that! Stop – STOP – making it about your badness and failure to love. You are hurting and saddening Us and your eternal Self by your ego-centeredness. Center the story on your WHOLE Self, as I made you. Be Self-centered about THAT story.

“Look at me, my son Neil. LOOK at me. Don’t be afraid.

“Let this story through your ego-self to your soul-Self. Begging… Pleading… In love… THAT is who We are.

“Know your shame, son. We do. Let it waft into your ego’s consciousness, and your whole Self can be compassionate with it, as We are. Your repression is keeping Our love from your soul. Even your ego, Neil, can love Us, and can love all of you, if your soul can embrace your whole Self tenderly, as We created it to do. You are made to love. Your soul can do its work, son.

“Imagine my Son’s face at the wedding in Cana, with a joyous smile crinkling his eyes. Imagine the fiery warmth of those eyes locked on the eyes of the woman to be stoned, ‘Nor do I condemn you…’ That is not a warmth that flows FROM forgiving; it is the fire of passionate love, from which forgiveness – like all things truly and purely good – cannot be separated.

“We hurt when those whom We love feel hurt. Just as you do. ‘I have become one of you.’ I have joined humanity because humanity is worthy. You are worthy of Our unconditional love because that love is Ours to give, NOT yours to earn. NO conditions. I am all-powerful. And I am in you. Our power is not rooted in meting out justice. Do not be afraid. Our power is love. I dwell in you: YOUR power is love.

“The moment I and your mother brought you to life, she held you in her arms, and adored you with unconditional love. You had done nothing to earn or deserve it. It was hers to give, not yours to earn. Your soul is no different from your mother’s. Your soul is no different from Me.

“You too have unbounded power to give love without conditions. Please, Neil, pour it out, unshackled by shame, with NO conditions. And, please, begin with pouring it onto my own infinitely lovable son, whom your mother named Neil…

Neil D. 2020-03-06

Related: My love letter to you, My love letter to you PS

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Advent Prequel to Footprints


(Read the preface to this poem here.)


“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened…” (Mt 11:28)


Adeste fideles. (Come, faithful).


Advent Prequel To Footprints

(Neil Durso)

Energy, misbalanced.
Self-centered lifetime.
Other-centered lifetime.
Tiresome battles lost.

Shameful failure.
Wasted toils?
No. Delivery to the now.

A curled, sobbing heap,
Writhing on sands of self-desertion.
A finger trembling, raised to an eye…
Tap its pool of tears, running them thin,
Glimpse through the blur:

A shadow over tears on dead sand
Shades the relentless brightness of scorching shame,
Revealing a garment’s hem resting on sandaled toes.

Stretch out of despair a hand.
Touch a finger to the coarse fabric.

From that cloak, a hand extends,
Re-flavoring tears that flow still.
From a spring deep within, never fully felt.
Feel it now. Don’t wrestle floodgates inside.

Epic struggle.
Ordained end.
Rivulets of tears baptize anew.
Every ounce of unrequited effort poured out has prepared the way

Enormous fruitlessness was the way.
En route to the quenching fruit of energy exhausted.

The garment takes you up, in its arms
So gentle, their power feels misplaced.
You tremble at tenderness so unfamiliar.

From this bottom, from this birthplace,
In His wake are one set of footprints.

At cool evening’s arrival,
You’re lowered lovingly
To your own feet.
Refreshed.
At His side.
He at yours.
Two sets of feet imprint the sands.

Onward in silence.
For a time.
Then,
The silence drips into distant song
On fleeting breezes.

Whispering beneath the rising chorus,
“Whither, Yeshua?”
“The City of David.”

A bright star draws your gaze.
And He is gone.

Shepherds appear.
On pilgrimage.
To Light.

Above the sonorous din of lambs’ bleating,
Lyrics grow clearer…

Carried by the parade, your heart then
Your tongue join the hosts’ song.
Reborn of unshackled brokenness,
The beckoned joins the calling:

“O… O… come, all ye faithful…”
(song)


(Read the preface to this poem here.)


-Neil D. 2019-12-16
(revised from 2018-12-24)

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Green Shirt

The gently soft-spoken 20-something didn’t seem to ever stop talking except when he asked of me simple questions and waited for replies with earnestness that made me feel like my answer would be divine and resonate with profoundly undeniable truth and universal wisdom. He sat on a park bench with his beautiful, unthreatening, expectant, wide eyes open naturally enough to look up at me as I stood beside the bench on which he sat lower. His eyes weren’t bloodshot or distant, squinted or spookily wide. His pupils locked on my gaze, without blinking, without discomfort or shame. Without abiding by any conventions of time or rhythm familiar. Just natural, as anyone’s might be awaiting an answer, unconsciously exhaling the puff of smoke from a satisfying drag off the cigarette he just bummed off me…

He did that several times, awaiting several answers to several questions. Of me. Me. Me? Me!

Not hard answers to give. But not easy questions to ask. So, wait–maybe hard questions to answer, but not hard words to summon in answer: “Yeah.” “That’s true.” I know.” “I feel you.” “Right.” “Damn.” “I know.”

Know? Do I really *know* anything?

Now I know I do.

Green Shirt talked and asked about his joy and loss of waking next to her, whose name he didn’t remember. Of being anxious about how he would get eggs and bacon like yesterday. Would the nurses let him have the medicine he needed again?

He’s glad it’s warm today.

Hopes it will be tonight, wherever he winds up.

Wants to work on my car. She knows how to service bearings. He knows he has to clean up dog poop in the park before her company lets him collect cans. She’s not afraid to work hard. Why do they think their reality’s rules make more sense?

Yeah, I suppose Yeshua from Nazareth wore some shade of white fabric in the middle eastern form of that time. But I think, yesterday morning, He wore a green t-shirt.

If you see Green Shirt today, tell her I miss him. Tell him I said hello. Tell her I remember him. Say Hello to her for me. Thank him for talking to me about her own world. Tell her I love hymn… because he trusted me just to affirm her truth. And … loved ME too.

Neil D. 2019-07-25

Questionnaire: Crisis? Transformation


Do you feel like something familiar is falling apart?

Do you feel like you’ll do anything to keep it together?

Do you feel yourself trying to tighten controls and trying to think your way to certitude?

Do you feel like your soul is being forced to go to a new place?

Do you feel like you are living in confusing, shadowy space?

Do you feel yourself closing down or slowly turning bitter?

Do you feel you are in a moment of insecurity and crisis, and shoulds and oughts aren’t helping?

Do you feel like your efforts to make things better are just amplifying shame, guilt, pressure, and likelihood of backsliding into unhealthy patterns?

Perhaps this might help: “The pain of something old falling apart invites the soul to listen at a deeper level, and forces the soul to go to a new place. Most of us would never go to new places in any other way.” These words and questions by another author continue at https://feelwithneil.com/2020/07/18/dark-night-of-the-soul-7-richard-rohr/



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Woe to Work


Do you feel like a failure in God’s eyes when you sleep each night? Then why is the deeprest of depression “bad”? Why do you want self-pity to stop? You’ve been brainwashed.

Today, the work of God and the unfolding of newness in creation will get done. It seems God has NOT chosen to do that by miracles, lightning bolts, and gigantic gentle hands reaching down from the clouds. It unfolds AS creation. Through us creations.

You might think that happens only when you serve others self-sacrificially. If you can do that today, you feel more alive, as you give life. But God’s work gets done even when you feel too weak or sad to do that, hour after hour, day after day, year after year. Even when you are depressed, you are doing God’s work. On you.

Our religious and social conditioning makes us feel bad when sad. I do not think for one second that that is God’s conditioning—that we are to feel bad when sad.

Suspend your cultural and religious brainwashing that you only do God’s work when you serve others.

I do not think for a moment that self-pity is condemnable. Do you feel like a failure in God’s eyes when you sleep each night? When you rest? That’s ridiculous! If you delay sleep, give it too little attention, and let stress and busyness wear you dow, you eventually collapse exhausted. Nature, as authored by the Author of creation, prevails.

Who can be emotionally present and strong, when physically overspent?

Whether you feel physically or emotionally exhausted, Nature will prevail with sleepful rest or being deeprest. Depression is a natural signal from the author of nature. Yet, indoctrination by society wants to call prolonged sadness an illness. A disease. A dys-ease. Well, if you go 2 or 3 days without sleep, do you then sleep a mere 8 hours? Recovery takes days or weeks.

Give this a try: Sadness and depression are glorious and powerful signs and signals.

When one leaves this realm, we say, “Rest in peace.” In THIS realm, when your heart is tired, and Nature draws it into deeprest, society wants you to deny your exhaustion, get therapy, takes pills, etc., because society wants to maintain the illusion that death can be postponed, and in the meantime, society wants to own you. But Nature wants you to slow down and serve YOUR heart, with your own attention. If you don’t, you drag out that natural need, like a sleep-deprived zombie going through the motions unNaturally. Pretending. Sleepwalking.

Even during the overwhelming heaviness of depression, you are just as alive as when you’re exuberant. You are still unfolding God’s creative work. You are still being. The slowdown of depression is a clear and natural message from The Author: It’s time for YOU to love your whole being as The Author does.

If your heart is sleepwalking, your efforts to serve God’s children lovingly are not authentic. They are heartless, coming from a dreamy illusion. A false reality. Not who you truly are. You’re merely imitating people with waked hearts.

Denying your own heart’s Natural need for rest and retreat leaves you living a lie. THAT is what intensifies the pain of self-pity: Your energy spent denying your mortality. The weight of shame for living that lie of pretending that you can sacrifice yourself endlessly. Your competitive drive to out-give others is ego-centered and unNatural.

Stop listening to external voices, and hear your own heart. It needs rest.

It is not bad to rest when your soul whispers a lullaby to your ego.

It’s time to do God’s work, to serve God’s children. And you too are God’s child.

.
Neil D. 2021-03-02


Love’s In The Air (My Lenten Prayer)


Lover,
In my darkness, and light.
Lover
Of my sadness, and life.

Around me is love.
It’s everywhere.
Did you, my Lover,
Pour it there?
Am I to simply
Grow aware?

Or has it spilled
From my own heart?
Of all this love,
Which is MY part?

From You? From me?
Are both the same?
All which is “Love”
Has that one name.

Neil D. 2021-02-18

.

https://youtu.be/RoIvi1j6Bp8
Love Is In The Air
Everywhere I look around
Every sight and every sound
In the whisper of the trees
In the thunder of the sea
And I don’t know if I’m just dreaming
Don’t know if I feel sane
But it’s something that I must believe in
And it’s there when you call out my name
Love Is In The Air
In the rising of the sun
When the day is nearly done
And I don’t know if you’re an illusion
Don’t know if I see it true
But you’re something that I must believe in
And you’re there when I reach out for you


Aching To Know


God knows I’ve diagnosed everything wrong with me and others: My relationships. But, if everything has an explanation, faith would be moot. I am infinitely valued and infinitely complex. I am God’s unique child–not another like me.

Ever.

Though I compare my self to other selves, there is no comparison.

Creation without me is senseless. For I AM!

There is no creation without me, for as long as I am ordained to be. Which is forever!

I don’t think God intends me to understand all things. What would be the point of faith then? As a child needs a parent, so I need my divine Parent.

NEED.

Not a nice-to-have.

A fundamental and desperately hopeless–without hope–NEED.

It’s how I was made. To fundamentally need to know my Origin.

The Tree of Knowledge’s fruit is forbidden NOT because it hurts God. Directly. But only because God hurts, knowing that *I* hurt when I try to eat its fruit.

Its fruit is too big, chokes me. Not because of some inferiority, or curse. Or decree that I must be subservient to a master.

I cannot know all–even about my own self. I am too gloriously and unfathomably rich and complex. And that unknowability–even of
my
own
self
–makes me ache.

When I ache, my loving Parent aches more than I.

THAT is love. Love is immeasurably more than knowing, understanding.

Love is everything.

Both ways.

And even when it doesn’t come from my way?…

It’s coming from the Other Way…

.

Neil D. 2021-02-15 (originally February 15, 2019]

Related: Young Messiah: “There’s still so much that I don’t know. But I do know this… I think I’m here just to be alive. To see it. Hear it. Feel it. All of it. Even when it hurts. Someday you’ll tell me why else I’m here. I don’t know when. But you will. I know that. Because… Father, I am your child.”


Afraid to be sad?


Are there things you avoid because they make you sad, or might?

Are you afraid to be sad?

I’d like to think you really shouldn’t be afraid to be sad. You’re so, sooo much bigger than sadness. There’s plenty of room in the hugeness of who you are. Sadness won’t crowd out the rest.

While your sadness sulks in its small corner of you, it feels left out and lonely. Other parts inside you are fearful of acknowledging sadness, hiding over there in the corner. Other parts of you wish sadness would go away if they ignore it. But there is plenty, plenty of room in you for sadness.

Plenty of room for sadness to turn her face toward the rest of you and not be shamed.

The part of you that loves is more than enormous enough to love sadness.

Do you expect to have any happiness without risking sadness? You deserve some happiness, so you’re going to have to risk sadness.

You’re going to have to risk living. Or you’ll dying, without being aware of it, until you wake up later. Everyone wakes up. Don’t let fear of sadness keep your eyes slammed shut. Sadness isn’t anywhere as large as you think it is. Not compared to the love hiding inside you.

Neil D. 2021-02-13