How do you make God laugh? Tell him your plans.

Sunset over Cass Lake

It is so difficult to discover where we belong in this world.  This week I laid out a “plan” for really creating a place for me to teach and work with people.  I’m considering renting a space in Bemidji, buying chairs, setting up a white board, beginning to gather other people together.

As I jumped into my grand planning, I almost instantly fell back into all the places I’ve already been, the too-familiar topics that I’ve taught over the years, everything from basic NLP to parenting to learning and writing.  Just looking at my list of possible courses made me realize that I was going backwards and not forward.

But what would be forward for me?  I think I need to spend some time examining that.

Many people who go to workshops are looking for the easy answer, the quick fix that will put whatever is broken back together so they can get on with it.   And unfortunately,  too often the “get on with it” lacks any luster, grace, vision, purpose.  Getting on with it is usually just getting by.

In my thirty years of working with people, I see only that there is no quick fix, no easy answer, no certainty.  Life is difficult at best—always.  When I feel most alive is when I am face to face with the difficult.  There is something undiscovered, something I have to grapple with, something I have no idea how to solve.  All the parts of me must come together to help figure it out–and in these parts coming together, a new “me” is formed.  It is like I clicked the personal “refresh” key.

What do I care about these days?  I’ve been so careful to land on the side of science and not spirit—to not be branded as new age, healer, spiritualist, shaman, mentalist—but have I cut myself off from something that matters deeply to me?

Put as simply as I can put it—I want to know God or the Creator.

One time when we were at a spiritual retreat in an Ashram in the Catskills, I was in class where the facilitator was asking us why we were there.  A woman in the group kept giving him these vague and airy answers about seeking the light, finding grace, finding place, and he just kept asking her over and over again—Why are you here?  Finally, it was like something inside of her imploded, and she said with such feeling and such need, “I came because I want to know God!”

When she said that, all the hairs on my arms stood up.  She said it like she meant it.  She said it because there was nothing else she could say.

There is such uncertainty in that picture for me.  I can understand doing workshops in basic communication, getting along, learning to read other people, learning to read ourselves—but how would I begin to fashion a place where people came to my workshops because they shared the same questions I have—what are we doing here, who is the creator, how do I say yes to spirit, what clues and cues could help me discover that, how can my suffering gain elegance and meaning, what are my gifts–and how do I offer those gifts outwardly to a changing world?

I do understand that when all the fluff and stuff goes away, it is all about relationship.  If I deepen my relationship to myself, to spirit, and to others, I will find the answers.  They are hidden in the tangles, in the roiling emotions, in the small illogical impulse to act or move.

It makes me smile to think of the webpage I built just yesterday with all of the “courses” I could offer if I had my own “learning center.”  Today, in this moment, I guess I would rather have “the center of learning” be the focus.

Maybe I’ll build a new webpage and fill it with all the courses I would most like to take.  That might be a better starting place to fashion the kind of center that provides growth not just to others but to myself.  I’ve long known that I teach what I most need to learn.

There is a small, fearful part of me that worries what people will think of me.  The other day in a newsletter from Robert Fritz (I count him as one of my primary teachers) he talked about going to a Lady Gaga Concert.  At some point during the concert Lady Gaga asked the audience, “Are you having a good time?”  The audience yelled back, “Yes!” and Lady Gaga yelled back, “Well, I don’t give a F*%#.”  The rest of the concert was her teaching the audience why it was important to not give a F*%# what others think of you.  Why we must be willing to follow our own spirit.

I need a little strength with that myself.  You already know that I live on moonbeams, that I feed on sunshine, that I am the little pig who built her house of straw, that I can’t hold a job, can’t stay the course, can’t figure it all out—and can’t fix all of you.  So what else is there to know about me?  The worst has happened.

So—I guess I’ll take a chance and begin to fashion a “center of learning” that explores questions that have no answers.  Let me know if you want to register for one of these courses!


Here is a link to Robert Fritz’s post about Lady Gaga on his blog, Wise Pond—his blog is about the only one I read on a regular basis—the man is a genius when it comes to the creative process.  And as usual, you can subscribe to my weekly post below or in the upper right hand corner—and do forward to friends who you think are asking the same questions as I am.  By the way, the picture heading up my post today was taken a week or so ago along the Palace Casino road.  I was stunned by the sun rays reaching out and out and out.  Beautiful!

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How do you make God laugh? Tell him your plans. — 6 Comments

  1. Jamie I am sending you a huge HUG!!!* I just read this and am feeling in a very similar place with my own personal adventure. However, God put my plan on hold since last December and now I am feeling like I am right back at square one…But this time starting feeling like I am on a MISSION. Now I am in a position where the opportunities are sooo numerous that I just need to get out some scissors and cut a few of the rubber bands away that are pulling me in different directions. It is the weaker bands that snap and fall off…as easy as they seemed to sneak on. The bands that are the strongest are the one’s giving me support. I personally know that I love being a physical therapist. IT IS life-giving for me to help people and build relationships. Relationship to me is truly all we have after all the other stuff is gone. So I totally “Get” what you are saying. I would come to a workshops..because you have so many gifts to share and I really enjoy spending time with you.

    So to answer your question…YES!!!* Sign me up.

    PS Do you have a place where you want to put your learning center. I know of some beautiful land with an AMAZING VIEW!!!*, but it is a long way from here. 🙂

    • Hi,

      Thanks for keying into my thoughts. A center of learning at the base of Bear Butte would be almost a dream come true for me. The only problem is that I’ve transferred most of my energy to this place now. But let’s talk about it–a large strawbale structure –how cool would that be? I’ll help and introduce you to others who could help. I’m looking forward to seeing you this week.


  2. Jamie, WOW! You have just articulated so many of my own thoughts. I am always seeking and being filled with joy when I find nuggets of truth and love. You have been one of those arrival places for me. I want to share in your work. I would sign up in a minute.
    I had to go back and read the difference between a “learning center” and “the center of learning”. I envision a gathering of people who desire to seek peace through the natural world. I have felt the essence of God in a breeze, a sunlit undergrowth in the woods, the drumming of a grouse in the stillness, yet the opportunity to share with others enriches these experiences. I also find music, painting, creating. etc. coupled with peaceful experiences bring a deeper, or intimate experience of God. Maybe it is where the creator meets the source.
    Thank you for these thoughts and dreams. I know you well enough to know that you will make this happen and we will all be enriched by your energy. Let me know if I can be of help.

    • Hi,

      An old friend (Deb) and a new friend (Maggie). Milt also wondered about the “center of learning” versus the “learning center.” When I think of the center of learning I think of a deep, responsive, aware part of ourselves that, if we are attentive, holds so much information for us. It goes beyond the mind/brain and into heart/spirit. A marriage of the two is best.

      I’m looking forward to getting together this week–find that center of learning!


  3. My Cherished Friend,
    I,too, “almost instantly fell back” at your kitchen table in Piedmont eating pea soup. Jamie, I was right there with you as you spoke of wandering the earth(so to speak) and gathering people together. We,ve always shared the restless soul,’member? Compatriates, Chambers of Commerce buddies, heck, if you were going to bring Kurt Vonnegut I would’ve called you!!

    Jamie, there was a time…”old friends, they mean much more to me than new friends, because they see where I am and they know where I’ve been” (Harry Chapin)you’re right, Jamie, that time has passed. Love, you bunches, Deb

    • What a treat to see my dear, old friend here. Hi Deb. Yes, we traveled so many paths together. I think of sitting out in your log house, witching for water with Tom, talking, talking, talking. You and I were always masters at following a conversation to its very end. I miss you–love you–hope you are doing well.

      Jamie (Patti)

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