As I’ve been walking on this journey, I’ve been making magical connections and reconnections with friends on profound spiritual paths. Some are just finding their online voices; others already have established presences in print and online.
To celebrate them, their journeys, and their present work, I am opening SoulPaths to their guest posts.
My first guest is my friend Mare Cromwell, whom I’ve known for more than 20 years, and whom I consider one of my spiritual sisters. She’s a published author, a blogger, and an absolutely amazing master gardener. Shortly after embarking upon a seven-year interspiritual quest which resulted in her book, If I Gave You God’s Phone Number, she took on an apprenticeship devoted to honoring and serving the Earth Mother. Our conversations now yield rich insights on connecting to Spirit in all creation. As she celebrates the launch of her book in e-book form, I’m delighted to host her posting here.
So – here’s Mare!
God’s phone number… Could it really exist? Has it ever existed?
For seven years between 1995 and 2001, I interviewed close to 50 people about God’s phone number. The actual question was: “If I gave you God’s phone number, what would you do with it?” My book If I gave you God’s phone number….Searching for Spirituality in America came out in 2002.
It has been nine years since the book was published. I’m not certain where that time has gone. But I strongly suspect that for many there may be more of a need for that direct line to the Divine now compared with nine years ago.
These days the news is surreal with the debt crisis, climate change, earthquakes, etc. I know that many people around me, strangers and friends, are praying and wishing they had a phone number to the Creator to buy food. To pay their rent or mortgage. To deal with a loved one’s health issue, etc.
Sadly, when I post the idea of calling God on the phone on various internet sites such as Reddit or other venues, most people trash the idea more quickly than mosquitoes get smacked. So it goes in our secular society where people can write knee-jerk comments without giving much thought. Sigh…
Truth be told, the concept of a phone number to God was not my original idea. There is an old song about calling God on the phone from the 30’s. I believe some churches still sing it.
But suppose there really was a direct connection to the Divine and we all had it? I truly believe that we’re all hardwired to have it from before we were born. But most of us have forgotten it. Even forgotten how to look for it. And thus many chase the nice cars and comfortable homes instead. That’s what our society teaches us to seek out – the income to have these items of comfort. (Please know that I’m not knocking a comfortable home. I love the comfort of my home. I just take issue with the mindset that that is the purpose of life.)
When I started my book in 1995, I did not know that I was working on a book. I was depressed and struggling to stave off the need for anti-depressants. At the time I was living out in the Maryland countryside working at a plant nursery and desperately seeking a path to healing. Just the year before I was helping to run an international environmental network.
On Father’s Day that summer, the elderly woman who was renting me a room reminded me to call my father that morning. And I, raised as a Catholic girl, had learned that God was the Ultimate Father. So on that Father’s Day morning I thought about calling God, the Father, on the phone shortly after my landlady left for church. I truly wanted some answers then.
The idea of calling God on the phone would not leave me that summer of ’95. It struck me that it would be a fascinating question to ask people. What would they do with God’s phone number?
Finally I surrendered to the niggling idea and purchased a tape recorder and it was dangerous to be near me after that. My landlady’s friends were targeted promptly. Then the children of friends. Then I progressed to seeking out a broad spectrum of folks from different belief systems, walks of life, etc.
I think most people had a hard time saying “No” to me. I’m rather persistent in that way. More importantly, providing a safe, nonjudgmental space for people to share about who the Divine is for them opened up realms of deeply personal and powerful beliefs. I was humbled by the interviews. And it was fun.
I did 49 interviews with a wide set of people. Young, old, Christian, Jewish, agnostic. An Afghani Sufi who veritably glowed and spoke wisdom in every statement. A Death Row inmate. People who had no intention of ever using God’s phone number and those who clearly already had the number and used it every day. The interviews were relatively easy to conduct. Figuring out how to lace all of the stories together into a cohesive book was far more challenging.
Certainly some people had similar questions for God, should they actually get the Great Mystery on the phone. Some individuals had spiritual views that startled me. Most of the people in the book were not listed with their real names since I wanted them to be completely comfortable with what they shared. We live in a society that does not discuss religion or spirituality for fearing of offending someone. I wanted them to speak their truth without any inhibitions. And so they did.
One of the revelations from the interviews was that each of us has our own unique relationship with the Divine. There are many paths and we’re all manifestations of our own individual soul paths that color our Godspace as no other’s. This is a beautiful aspect of our beingness. No one is exactly like us or has the exact same relationship with the Divine as we do.
Where am I now in this process?
That’s a good question. ;~)
I’ve just uploaded the e-book version of the tome up on Amazon (http://tinyurl.com/3htd8a5) and Smashwords (http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/78721). Within weeks, it should be available at practically all e-book sources including Barnes & Noble, etc.
Part of me thinks I’m a little insane for having the e-book out since I still have unsold hard copies of it in my basement. This is a house that is about to go on the market and the books, actual heavy hard bound books printed on 100% recycled paper need to go. I really should be trying to sell the hard-copy version. (Oh yeah, hard cover copy plug here: http://www.tocallgod.net)
Oh, you mean… where am I really now in this process? You mean the process of life and God, and spirituality? That question…
That’s an even better question. ;~p
Stay tuned until the next book.
No, that’s not fair to say that. I need to share something. The short answer is that I’m astounded every week by spirit and Creator and magic and healing. My life is an amazing adventure that takes me down and picks me back up again and carries me even higher to feeling God. Feeling compassion. Learning humility. Carrying forth in kindness. Opening up to the mystery and wisdom of other great teachers.
I still choose a church of gardens and wildness. Earth Mother is as much a part of my life as my cat and the passionflower outside my front door that graces me with stunningness this summer. Hummingbirds sneak me messages of joy in the midst of my confusion.
Spirit is powerful and strong and I’m listening and learning. Everyday.
I still want answers but different ones now. The interesting thing is I’ve learned how to listen better, how to tune in to my inner Godspace to find many of the answers.
That’s the challenging part – listening.
That’s where I am.
So now it’s my turn to ask. Where are you?
And what would you do if someone…anyone…gave you God’s phone number?