If you pray to a God that has to make you good, that’s the kind of God you will get, one who just can’t wait to tell you exactly what you have to do to BE good in his eyes, to be loved by him. You don’t get the God who says, “But sweetheart, you ARE good. You are loved just the way you are.” And you don’t get the God who whispers to you through the grass, who holds you in a hot wind embrace and washes your parched feet with water. And yet sometimes that God appears anyway.
I am in the Mohave Desert in 1968. Mother Earth picks me up and holds me in her lap and speaks to me the way a mother should. She tells me her secrets and sings through my hair like the wind in the cactus needles. I don’t have to please Mother Earth; I don’t have to be good for her. I am her daughter: she wants to love me. She speaks to me through the creases in the hills and the broken skeletons of long ago cactus and I, human being, am no different from them. I don’t think to write anything down. We are just talking, the Earth and I, everywhere I go. And for the very first time I am not lonely.
I want to stay there, and in my innocent 20 year old heart I ask God if I can become a desert hermit. The answer is immediate and clear. “No, Phyllis, you have already had lifetimes like this. You have to go back and work it out with people.” It’s not a loving voice and it’s not unloving either. It is just the truth and I don’t even know how I know that, but I do.
I can’t hold onto Goddess Mother Earth. I have some other work to do. And I lose my way for many, many years. Until finally the illusion of becoming worthy of God has eroded away to nothing.
You see, there is a whole other God out there who has a whole other face. This God has only one requirement, and that is that you LISTEN, and even that is not really a requirement. It is a choice. This God waits patiently, waits forever if need be, for you to choose to hear what is already being spoken, what you already know. This God does not speak from a mountaintop. This God lives and speaks inside you. This God spoke to Phyllis one day in 1994 and kept on talking. This God wants nothing more than to speak to you and inside you as well.