The world that lives happily on your face

The humongous photograph in the Museum of Science and Industry stopped me in my tracks long enough to read the caption. I gasped, pivoted and fled the room, completely grossed out. For a split second, I even forgot where I had been headed before the frightening encounter. The gigantic face had to have been 20 feet tall–no exaggeration. A high-powered microscope revealed thousands of bugs scurrying across a man’s forehead, eyelids, cheeks and mouth. Ewww! 

You know, I hadn’t thought about that frightening photo in about 25 years. But yesterday, while thinking about how many invisible life forms live among us, the photo suddenly popped into my head, reminding me that many of those life forms actually live on us. While trying to verify my recollection, I found a BBC news article claiming that human skin is a “virtual zoo” of microscopic life forms.

Do you ever think about the world of organisms that lives happily on your face, in the air you breathe, the food you eat and the bed in which you sleep–or is the Loud Mouth the only one who is oblivious? Sure, we are aware that dust mites, germs and bacteria are rampant in our reality; but because they are invisible to the naked eye, we disregard their presence in our living space and totally ignore the fact that they have a life parallel to our own. In fact, our skin might be their world!

The same is true in the world we visited last week, the world of the tennis ball, fourth largest in a special system of spheres. Tennis is big brother to the marble, golf ball and powerball, kid brother to the hard ball, soft ball, fireball and volleyball. (Recently, the tiniest sphere, the BB, was cast aside after being treated like a member of the family for many, many years. Sad. The good news is that it’s still quite a distance from the goof ball, which lives in a world of its own. Even sadder.) Each of the other balls, however, still play a significant role in this unique universe. 

As you’ll recall, every soul in the tennis-sphere is transient. That’s the way the souls designed it. Also by design, something miraculous happens whenever one of them clothes itself in a body: All memory of the soul’s reality–its likeness to and oneness with its immortal Creator–is erased. As a practical matter, the memory loss enables each soul to begin the game of “So, You Think This Is Life?” with the same handicap on a level playing field.

Since the object of the game is for the souls’ bodies to reflect the divinity of their Creator in their behavior, they must first remember that they are divine and leverage their relationships in the invisible world to get the support they need to overcome anything they might hear on the tennis-sphere. Problem is, they’re oblivious; their memories have been wiped clean. They are convinced that they are merely mortal bodies, and they trust only what they can detect with their physical senses. To complicate matters, they also believe that the tennis-sphere not only is their real home, it is the only place in the universe that can sustain life.  

This is quite perplexing to anyone observing the tennis-sphere from a distance, because everyone in the tennis-sphere knows that nobody has ever come and stayed forever. They’ve also observed that everything on the sphere is constantly changing, deteriorating and disappearing–from bodies to buildings–evidence that the sphere is the permanent home of no one and nothing. It probably was never intended to be.

The vast majority of these forgetful souls also believes that the tennis-sphere is eternal and they are not. Consequently, whenever souls withdraw from their bodies and move on, according to the itineraries they established prior to arriving, the others believe that these departed souls are no longer alive, which makes them very unhappy. In truth, only the body the soul was wearing has died; the invisible soul within them, their breath of life, has not ceased to exist. 

The tennis-souls’ confusion over their identity and reality is best reflected in poems such as this one found on plaques, stones and paper and embroidered on cloth (author unknown):

“If tears could build a stairway and memories a lane,

I would walk right up to heaven and bring you home again.”

During the next few weeks, we’ll look at the inception and perpetuation of this belief, and the effect that it’s had on the joy and fulfillment of all souls who visit the tennis-sphere. Throughout this process, I’d like you to give some serious thought to the genesis of your own beliefs and, if you choose, update them. You already have empirical evidence that invalidates some of your beliefs, yet you are unwilling to release them. When you pay attention, you’ll discover that your beliefs directly impact your behavior and subsequently reflect in your life experiences.  

The fact that you’re paying any attention at all to the Loud Mouth indicates that your soul is ready to stretch, even if your body and brain are resisting. But this is not your body’s life, its your invisible invincible soul’s. Until it’s departure date, it will endeavor to accomplish its goal: To master the game of “So, You Think This Is Life?”

Every shift in your thoughts and beliefs will create a shift in your physical experience. Your soul knows that it has all eternity to win this game, and it will win, no matter how long it takes, how difficult you make the lessons or how painful you make your physical experience.

Please don’t feel pressured to do anything. You don’t have to know yourself right now. You don’t have to learn or grow. You can stand still and repeat your current mistakes as many times as you like–or you can create a more enlightened experience. 

If you want to free yourself from the quicksand sooner rather than later, put on your thinking cap and return to the beginning–not of the tennis-sphere but of our own planet:

  1. How many souls were the first visitors?  
  2. How did they multiply into billions?
  3. How did you reach that conclusion?

Please share your thoughts by clicking “Comments” next to the date at the top of the page instead of emailing, as many seem to prefer. We all know that Together Each Accomplishes More. Together, let’s create a more joyful and fulfilling life experience.

A reminder: Today is the last day to register for the dynamic Women’s Leadership Conference (March 26-28) at the Hilton/Indian Lakes Resort in Bloomingdale, Illinois. Thursday is spa day! To find out if there are any rooms and workshop seats still available, contact the Rev. Jacqueline Atkins, J.D. at revjatkins[at]

More trust = more peace

I had a different topic in mind for this week’s homily. Then I was abruptly awakened and given a new one. It was almost 3 o’clock this morning. That’s when my phone rang. 

It was my daughter, Maiysha. She was in the Amsterdam airport, en route to South Africa, and she was in tears.

“It appears that my wallet is missing,” she said calmly, but I could hear the tears in her voice.

There have been many moments during her young life that Maiysha has made me immensely proud. The moment she spoke those words ranked among my favorites: Why? She’d told me that it appeared that her wallet, debit card and all her cash were missing.

Whoo hoo! Maiysha not only had heard the Loud Mouth’s rants, she’d internalized them. How many times had I told her that what happens on planet Earth is a physical appearance–only a shadow of what’s really happening in the world of Spirit, the Source of all Life? How many times had I said that when we believe that the physical plane is real and the spiritual plane is not, we’re more likely to live in fear, a state that prevents us from thinking clearly and responding appropriately when challenges arise? 

Those concepts are tough to embrace because, like most of us, Maiysha spends practically every waking moment with people who believe that physical life is Life Itself.  

“Remember to breathe,” I said, reminding her of the email message from “Loving Each Day” that I’d forwarded hours earlier. (If you’re ready to think rather than blindly accept others’ beliefs, treat yourself to a free subscription of these daily thought-provoking emails.) Yesterday’s message was:

“When you find yourself in a tense situation, for example, you may notice that you are holding your breath. Putting your attention on your breathing can help you relax and immediately be in the here and now. This practice, found in many spiritual traditions, is often referred to as mindfulness, being present, or living in the now.

“You may ask, since we’re breathing all the time, why do we need to practice it? What we’re practicing is conscious awareness of the breath. Then breathing becomes a concentration exercise that not only focuses the mind but brings many healing benefits as well.” 

– John-Roger with Paul Kaye
(From: Momentum, Letting Love Lead – Simple Practices for Spiritual Living, p. 61)

“I am trying to breathe, Mom,” Maiysha said. “Actually, it’s helping me stay calm.” 

True, she wasn’t flipping out, despite the disappointment of retracing her steps, speaking with empathetic but unhelpful airport personnel, and coming up empty. Plus, her flight to Capetown left in less than an hour. Luckily, she had her passport and boarding pass. A limousine was picking her up at the airport, and her hotel was paid. But she had no money–and no access to any. As much as she hated to wake me, she needed her Mom by her side at that moment.

As I “stood” in line with her at the customer service counter, a more helpful airline employee took one look at my child’s tear-filled eyes and offered to check the cabin of the plane, just in case she’d left it onboard. It was a long-shot, but the wallet hadn’t turned up anywhere else. What if she’d been pick-pocketed?

I started to get dressed so that I could dash around the corner to her bank, and withdraw her daily cash limit with the duplicate debit card that had her bank had issued me. Afterward, we’d cancel both cards and I’d wire the cash to a location near her Capetown hotel.

That resolved her problem on the physical plane; but we knew there was more. We began to look deeper, pondering the questions I always ask in situations such as this: “Why did I create this predicament? How does it serve me: What learning opportunities does it present? How does it help me grow spiritually?”

When we see exclusively with our physical eyes, we miss the information, answers and blessings from Spirit that are so close to us. Seeking the opportunities for growth in every  situation brings us closer to the “I am always with you” Christ Spirit that lives within us. It allows us breathe peacefully, not panic. 

Sure, it was possible that thieves might have made a hefty withdrawal from their karmic accounts by trying to steal money from Maiysha’s bank account; but we trusted that God would bring perfect balance to both sides. Trusting that, we also realized what a divine blessing it was that she was compelled to buy a gift for her Dad at an airport shop; otherwise, she would have been in Capetown before discovering that her wallet was missing. Finally, we trusted that the situation would resolve itself for everyone’s Highest Good.

It certainly was good for me to witness Maiysha moving through this dilemma fearlessly and peacefully. She was prepared to accept the outcome of the search of the plane, no matter what. She merely hoped that she’d discover the outcome before time to board her next flight.

Finally, she spotted the agent approaching her. Before I could ask, I heard her say, “They found it!” 

We breathed more deeply. What an opportunity had been presented to us. We could mouth the words, “I trust God,” and we can say we trust in a perfect outcome. But until we demonstrate that trust to ourselves, they are empty words.  

What was the “perfect” outcome here: having Maiysha’s wallet returned intact? No, although it was. Remember “thy will be done?” That’s what it means: trusting and acquiescing to the will of your Higher Self. “Perfect” was whatever her soul wanted the outcome to be, even if it meant that the body surrounding the soul went to Capetown penniless. Physical life is just a shadow.

Wow, you’re not going to believe this: The phone just rang again. It was the doorman. It appears that I left my wallet in a chair downstairs a couple of hours ago. I hadn’t even missed it. As I rode the elevator down to the lobby, I couldn’t help but laugh at the irony. It’s as if it happened so that the story angle I’d been given came full circle.

Yes, every card and every penny in the wallet were there. But I would have been as peaceful, even if they hadn’t been.

Trust me: You can do this. You can enjoy the peace that comes from trusting the divine God within you, no matter what appears to go awry on planet Earth.

Will you be in the Chicago area March 26-28? The Loud Mouth in the Balcony is conducting a workshop at the Women’s Leadership Conference. For more information on this event and the other dynamic presenters, visit my website:

God as Valentine

Welcome to this space called Homilies for the Home-Churched. This is a space where Thinkers who are open to the possibility that God is Bigger and Better than we’ve read or heard, gather on a path to Inner Peace.

The inaugural homily is naturally about LOVE: God as Valentine.

Raise your hand if you expect your significant other to “show you some love” on Valentine’s Day. After all, there’s only one day in the year that celebrates Love. Maybe that’s why we have such great expectations. Admit it, Girls: We want something a lot more romantic and thoughtful than chocolates and flowers. If only our men were as romantic and thoughtful as our First Lady’s. (Sigh)

Chances are, it was chocolates and/or flowers again this year. Right? We held back the tears, fawned over the flowers, and munched every chocolate, hoping that that there was something gold, platinum or even diamond hidden inside one of those tiny cups. It was not to be.

Look on the bright side. It could have been worse.  

John Hinckley, Jr. comes to mind. Remember Hinckley? He attempted to assassinate then-President Ronald Reagan. It was a rather, er, dramatic way of expressing his love for actress Jodie Foster, whom he’d never met. Ms. Foster didn’t feel the love—and neither did anyone else, as far as I know.

I could be wrong. Does anybody out there believe that the blasts from Hinckley’s .22 pistol were appropriate expressions of love?

No? How about Susan Smith and Andrea Yates? Both women claim that their love for a man compelled them to drown their children. Do you think the men in question were freaked out or grateful that these living sacrifices were made on their behalf?

What did you think about these women committing filicide in the name of love: Was their behavior divine or satanic? 

I ask this because it has been written and oft repeated that God sanctioned the unspeakably inhumane torture of one of his children–ironically, the only good one. We have been told that this murder demonstrated God’s deep love for those who are not so good.

Is that what you believe? If so, do you also believe that Hinckley, Smith and Yates’ behavior was an expression of divine love? (Please note: this is an apples to apples comparison of behavior.)

Most of us don’t think about what we believe. We believe what others tell us to believe–and, in many cases, we are discouraged or even threatened if we don’t blindly accept their beliefs. In this space, you are encouraged to think, analyze and ask yourself… 

What Do I Believe–and Why Do I Believe It?

  1. Do I believe that God is Love? 
  2. How do I expect God to express love?  
  3. Do I believe that Love would torture an innocent person to death, to benefit the guilty? 
  4. Do I believe that God would torture an innocent person to death, to benefit the guilty?
  5. Do I believe that Love commits or sanctions inhumane behavior for any reason?
  6. Do I believe that God commits or sanctions inhumane behavior for any reason?
  7. Are live sacrifices satanic or loving acts?

There are no right or wrong answers here. The important thing is that you begin to think about your beliefs, and begin to understand what your beliefs mean and how they make you feel? For example, are you more likely to be fearful if you believe that God who solves problems by killing people? Does fear generate peace or stress?

I’ll be asking questions every week in the homily. You supply your own answers. As you explore your beliefs, in private, you’ll begin to discover a lot about yourself–perhaps even more about your perceptions of God.