Browsing the archives for the Love of Self tag

Wake Up Call! – Dethrone Your Inner Critic

 


DETHRONE YOUR INNER CRITIC

Dethrone your inner critic and open your life to the positive energy of the Universe.

For years I thought it was normal behavior to be harsh on myself – my work wasn’t good enough, I could have done more for another person, my comments could have been phrased more clearly. The inner critic was running amok. This was not normal!

I made a choice to dethrone the inner critic.

I began to think of the inner critic as a monkey on my shoulder who delighted in tripping me up and keeping me from my own life and joy. The monkey’s comments from my shoulder did not have to be internalized or owned.

It was a simple yet life-changing new construct. I began to walk through the world differently. I discovered the life-giving energy of being kinder, gentler and more loving to myself and therefore to others. What needs to be dethroned in your life?

Call-to-Action:

  • Be mindful of what keeps you from the life-giving energy of the Universe

  • Be willing to dethrone it

Notice how dethroning what keeps you from your fullest self liberates your life.

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©2014 Robert V. Taylor

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Is Gay Spirituality Better…?

Robert V. Taylor

Robert V. Taylor

“Gay spirituality is better than any other” – the reporter desperately wanted me to endorse his belief.  I wasn’t going there. Righteous spiritual segregation is antithetical to the idea of a spiritual journey. So where does spirituality
for LGBTQ people connect with the human family and the Holy?

Our normative story usually includes experiencing bullying, fear of coming out, rejection by family when we do, the Holy used by religion to condemn.  We
might even be the victims of violence or discrimination. Our journey also
contains another story line. It is about courage and love birthed in us.

A more spacious invitation than the reporter’s belief invites us in. Spirituality in not about a theory, it is discovered in the reality of who we are. I’ve discovered that in the spiritual journey of immigrants, women, people of color and other minorities my own journey is inspired. Many of us fall into several self identifying categories.

The question is not whether your spirituality or mine is “better.”  It’s how does your journey create empathy with others?  How does your spirituality get fed by the
wisdom of those who are different from you? How does it connect you to oneness
with others?

Unlike the belief of that reporter my spirituality is not celebrated as a “better” treasure. I discover a much richer inclusive path in three pathways to celebrate and share the gift that is my life.

Whoever and whatever tries to define you wants to confine you. It creates an enclosure keeping you from the Holy discovered in your life. In accepting an enclosure you become cut-off from the unique gifts that only you have to offer.
You deprive yourself and the world of them. Allowing yourself to be enclosed can happen subtly over time. The good news is that we have a choice to break out of the enclosure.

When we discover our voice and claim it as an LGBTQ person we are on sacred ground. Instead of listening to the bad advice of those who do not want you to claim your voice, you discover that in the Holy is present in it. Not outside “there” somewhere, but in you.  You begin to be free of a narrow consciousness. Claiming your voice is a spiritual practice taking you to a field of feasting with others.

The Universe needs your story as much as that of anyone else. As you tell your story you discover self-compassion. In the telling you become awake to the sacred in you as an LGBTQ person. As you settle in and celebrate your voice you begin to listen to the stories and voices of others with new attentiveness. They become connecting stories. Through them your appreciation and love for yourself and others deepens. You discover a new way of being alive.

These three pathways of moving beyond enclosures, discovering and trusting your voice and connecting stories are markers of your authentic experience of being gay.

Love is the only thing that matters on our spiritual quest. Everything else pales in comparison. I am loved by the Holy for all of who I am. It’s a struggle for many to know and believe it every day. When I love myself and know that I am loved life becomes more radiant. I become more fully human, more alive as I am.

It takes courage to journey through the three pathways. The root word for courage means love. To be grounded in love we cannot avoid being courageous about who we are. Not the lonely isolated warrior courage, but the courage discovered in trusted people to call on along the journey. It’s all part of our spiritual positioning system.

When I’m grounded in these three pathways my encounters with others become sacred ground. Like the Hindu greeting Namaste the light me honors the light in you.

The three pathways are not just for GLBTQ people. Love and courage are not confined to GLBTQ spirituality. They’re each part of our common journey to become fully human –  as we are. We bring to the journey the only gift we can – ourselves.

So what are the markers of your spirituality?

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Harvey Milk & God Terrified Me

Harvey Milk and God each terrified me.  In that order.  I was a young white anti-apartheid activist in South Africa in the nineteen-seventies.  To be openly gay filled me with more fear than the fight against apartheid.  Yet I knew in my bones that Harvey Milk and anti-apartheid activists were pointing to the same truth about the magnificence of each person.

As a young man I rejected the theological and political notion that apartheid was divinely sanctioned.  It was inconceivable to me that humanity could be denied to another person based on race.  Yet that was the moral and religious justification claimed for a system based on the superiority of whites in South Africa.

My activism was strengthened by the courage of religious leaders like Desmond Tutu. They insisted that God loves every single person.  Equality, justice and human rights were expressions of that love.  As a young man I was certain that our differences were less significant than the oneness of our humanity. Except when it applied to me.  

Learning about Harvey Milk’s election to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1977 was shocking news. It seemed impossible to conceive of an openly gay elected official in South Africa where legislation gave impunity to the police to act against LGBT people.

I was a candidate for ordination to the Anglican priesthood in South Africa in the nineteen seventies.   I’d witnessed the witch hunt conducted by the church against gay seminarians.  I used to go to Mass each day to get on my knees to plead for God to change me; to take away my sexual orientation. 

Following Harvey Milk’s assassination in 1978 I experienced an epiphany.  If God had no use for hatred and exclusion based on race, surely the same was true about sexual orientation.  The truth of this filled me with terror.  Was Harvey Milk’s courage an invitation for all LGBT people everywhere to stop pleading to be changed?

The possibility of Harvey Milk and God offering an invitation to get up off our knees was an exhilarating truth.  It would take me years to live fully into that liberating notion of becoming fully human.  In the process I discovered that the root word for courage is the same word for love.  Maybe Tutu was correct that the Holy loved all people without condition. I imagined God smiling on Milk’s courage.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Mpho Tutu & Robert V. Taylor

Fifteen years later I asked Desmond Tutu when he would add LGBT people into his compelling vision that we are all “made for oneness.” He assured me that it would be after the fall of apartheid.  This iconic leader has been true to his word.  To the ire of many and the delight of others, Tutu is insistent that there are no outsiders with God or the human family. 

The shadow side of Milk’s invitation to courage was violence.  To be physically harmed or killed because of who you are is not something that most people seek.  My experience of threats directed against me over the years because of my openness as a gay man remind me that we have a long way to go in the United States before LGBT people know that we are viewed as outsiders.

But Harvey Milk’s life continues to have a ripple effect.  The young videographer who recently filmed me for a Seattle Men’s Chorus video unexpectedly told me that I’d been a hero of his.  I could not imagine why.  He said that as a high school student my prominence as an openly gay leader had given him courage in grappling with his own sexuality.  It was a simple moment.  In every encounter like that one I give thanks for the courage of people like Harvey Milk.  A young millennial man took for granted his ability to be open about his identity.  It seemed like reason enough to celebrate!

In the rural farming community of Eastern Washington where my partner and I spend time, we know that the politics is not as progressive as it is in cities like Seattle or New York.  But we hear the stories of families who accept, love and include their LGBT members.  For these families it is not a struggle, but a given.  I imagine Harvey Milk and God smiling on such inclusion.

The terror that Harvey Milk and God instilled in me have long dissipated.    Terror has made way for courage.  My own experience of exclusion is a reminder that it is dangerous to dismiss or exclude any person or group of people.  Harvey Milk’s courage is an invitation to celebrate oneness with our own self and others.

Share your story here!

Join Robert’s YouTube conversation about the Holy who includes and delights in each person – Exclusion in the Name of God – by clicking here

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Chely Wright – Contagious Courage!

Chely Wright’s courage is contagious!  Today she came out as a lesbian.  This County and Western star is gutsy!  Her voice of truth will inspire and give courage to millions.  The journey to becoming fully human is one that she embraces.

On Sunday night, members of her family and a small group of friends gathered in New York to celebrate and surround her with love.   We all knew that Chely’s decision to speak her truth was a risky one.  Never before has a female Country and Western singer publicly acknowledged her sexuality.  Some wondered whether she’d ever be invited back to sing at the Grand Old Opry, Country and Western’s revered temple of music.

chely wright

Chely Wright

A luminous spirit radiates from Chely Wright.  Her music, like her life, is filled with hope.  No wonder she was the first artist to go to Iraq after the fall of Saddam Hussein to sing for and encourage the troops.  Her Reading, Writing and Rhythm Foundation in Nashville works to encourage music education in public schools.  In the same way that her life and work gives hope and voice to others, her coming out is a lifeline of hope and life-giving spirit to those who want an authentic life.

We love celebrities.   We’re used to the imperfections of their lives picked over by the media.  Extra-marital affairs, sexting, substance abuse and ugly family dramas are the diet we’re used to being fed about them.

Chely Wright & Robert V. Taylor

Chely Wirght & Robert V. Taylor

Chely is a celebrity whose truth-telling invites people to think about living a life of integrity.  She has claimed the truth that she is loved by God and herself for exactly who she is.  In addition to her music, she has learned to trust her own voice of who she is as a person.  That is a courageous step on the path of any person becoming fully human, fully alive.

My brother-in-law and his friends are millennial country and western fans in a farming community.  They break the nasty stereotypes of Country and Western fans being bigoted rednecks.  Most of his generation thinks that the obsession with sexuality in some quarters is an “old persons” issue.  My guess is that most of these Millenials, far from scorning Chely Wright, will admire her for being real, truthful and authentic.

Her love of God, self, country and others suddenly became even more real!  That’s a life being lived well.  It is an invitation to have the same integrity about who we are as individuals.  Kudos to Chely Wright for her faith, hope, trust and love – in herself, God and her fans!

It is contagious courage – even the Grand Old Opry will surely continue to honor one of its own?

Share your story here

Read Chely’s memoir Like Me and enjoy her new CD Broken

Robert V. Taylor – Learning to Say Yes to Your Own Life!

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