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Carla’s Niche

Carla’s Letter Tapes

CAVEAT: Warning! These letters have not been edited by Carla. Expect errors.

Letter to B

April 23, 1990

Dear B,

(Carla first laughingly apologizes for any “rude noises” he may hear—she is singing tonight in church and will be dictating letters all day and needs to keep her throat “awash” so she won’t get hoarse before the evening.)

Your turn came up—let’s see how far apart we are—March 26 and I’m on the 12th—well that’s not too bad. I’ve been a lot further behind that that—I’ve been four months behind sometimes, so not bad, okay. I really do like to respond to people who are sharing notes from their spiritual path with me, as quickly as possible when I have had time to ponder what they have had to say and learn what they had to give me and decide what possibly I could do as a mirror’s reflection on what I read.

In the first place, I certainly do thank you for all your kind words. I feel very humbled by them. To myself I am simply the least of all and am very aware that there is a difficult side, a dark side, to every personality, and certainly mine. You’re not talking to a saint—you’re talking to somebody who’s making an effort to strive towards a more service to others orientation. And because I am extremely intense as a person, the fact that you are intense does not disturb me, but gratifies me.

I find myself most comfortable with people who will talk with me and hold a mirror up, not only to those things that are coming across to them as being helpful, but also are able to address any subject or discussion between us that has seemed to that person less than helpful or in some way distorted or if there has been a misunderstanding.

I have no desire to pump up my ego—I have a desire for good clear mirrors because I think that’s what we do for each other as spiritual friends and I hope that if our epistolary relationship continues, you will consider yourself not any sort of recipient of my kindness or student or anything like that, but accept the fact that we are all colleagues on this spiritual path. My notes from the spiritual road are exactly as valuable as yours—we’re walking the same dusty path and we each have unique things to offer.

I really do appreciate your writing rather than taping and I’m sorry again of the rudeness for the need to tape, but my hands are dog food and they won’t work so I don’t feel that what you said in your last letter—I had to look it up in the log to see if I had felt that way about it—I did not—that you were sort of babbling or spitting out questions—I felt that what you were doing was trying to talk to yourself as much as you were trying to talk to me.

You were trying to understand and grasp and have a feeling for yourself by talking to me. I think that’s one wonderful thing about a spiritually based correspondence is that we are not passing the time in a small room speaking of the weather. We are passing the time at not only a geographical distance, but a metaphysical distance from each other which allows us the freedom to let every thought resound and echo and finally come to rest so that we may listen to it with the amount of resonance it deserves.

It isn’t that I don’t have a good giggle as I go through whatever it is I answer to the person or that I would expect anybody else to be terribly dutiful and grim and serious because the spiritual path is very often a merry one—even at its worst it’s full of black comedy. It may be truly black, but it’s also humorous. So don’t think of yourself as a babbling brook, you didn’t sound to me like one—you sounded like someone with all of his heart and all his soul, all his mind and all his strength, to begin to know himself, his relationship to the Creation and to the Creator, and to become able to have resources that would move you closer to an immediately experience of the Creator.

I cannot think of anything that would sound to me less like a babbling brook. These are substantive questions and I respect the mind and the heart that has come to the point of working with them. That’s the position that I am now in, admittedly, I have been working on myself more years than you—really I started in ’62 meditating and you probably weren’t born then—I don’t know how old you are, but as I approach the near half-century mark, I’ll be 47 in July, I’ve become more and more aware that lots of people are very much younger than I am and yet still so very mature and so very eager to work and I don’t see any problem with age differences, whether they go young and old or old and young, I’ve worked with older people, I’ve worked with high school kids—that doesn’t make any difference to me.

You know, about the time that is coming to planet Earth, I’d like to pull back on that. It is not that I have any doubts that cataclysms are in the wind on planet earth. The outlook as to a polar shift, as to a disastrous and major earthquake that will make some place in Idaho a beachside resort—this is serious stuff, it’s very serious. But, it’s part of the illusion and when people talk to me about this time of change being so exciting and so serious, I feel the need to remind them of two things:

First of all, that we do dwell in an illusion and that the worst that can happen to us in this illusion during catastrophe is that we’ll shed the garment of our physical bodies and be free to pursue the examination of our incarnation and whatever healing is necessary and hopefully graduation into fourth density. If not, then placement in another third density world to do more work. So, that’s one thing.

The second thing is that in a very clear sense I feel that the feeling that people have had for thousands of years, literally, as you go back and read all old works, no matter how old they are, speak of apocalypse, and that the subjective nature of apocalypse is as important is the outer nature. The subjective nature of apocalypse is our own physical death, which is inevitable.

So that is tremendously exciting and tremendously serious. The fact that we have a measured length of time here and we don’t know how long that measure is, makes each moment so much more precious, and at the same time the thought that this is the place we chose to come to help and to learn our own personal lessons at the same time is very exciting.

It makes us want to work more carefully—with more discrimination—with more intensity, if possible, on ourselves—on clearing any uncleared energy patterns that we may have with ourselves which is often our own worst enemy—ourselves—or with other people that are around us, with the government or with anything that is an energy blockage in any way.

I’m not simply speaking of those that appear as physical illness—I’m speaking of those things that never leave the heart, that are not known to anyone but you. The you that knows them as a human is also a larger and impersonal you—the Creator self, and I think that all of these blockages must be taken very seriously and worked on immediately because as it says in the bible: “You do not know the day or moment with the bridegroom cometh.” In other words, you don’t know when you’re going to die. You just don’t know.

So I think it’s very important that each day you bring into realization that this is potentially the last day of your incarnation, so that you really want to be on top of and careful about what you are saying, how you are saying it, how much you lean back upon the everlasting love and light of the one Creator—how much you block that and act out your humanity in ways that do not aid you in polarization.

Now this thing about your Mom and Dad—I really sympathize with you about the situation with your Mom and Dad—I had the same situation with mine. I could never please either one of them. My father was a perfectionist and my mother wanted somebody that was not skinny, cross-eyed, and not very pretty. I’ve had an operation done on my eyes, so the cross-eyed part is gone, and as for the rest of me, I do all right now. People look a little bit sillier when they’re kids than when they’re grown up—I look fine now, but at any rate.

I also had an extremely enraged mother. She was not particular enraged at me, although I was the reason she’d had to get married and give up a career on Broadway. She was an immensely talented actress and dancer and lost her chance—several different chances. She was asked to be Dave Garroway’s first sidekick when he moved to New York and brought his show onto TV—but she was pregnant with me so there were reasons for her to resent me.

But I don’t believe that she ever actually resented me. I think there was enough caring in her for the baby that she’d had that she didn’t blame me personally, but simply hated the circumstance of being married and a housewife. Until she won her own freedom by sheer perseverance at the age of 30 and went off to college and went all the way through to the PhD level and became a psychologist and worked as a psychologist until she retired this last year, I thought she was a witch, I really did.

I would hold on to my crucifix and I spent a lot of time hiding from her. I desperately wanted to please mother, but I could not please her. I also wanted to please my father, but was never able to please him. If I showed him a report card that had all A’s and one B on it his only comment would be “Hey, what’s with this B?” The A’s didn’t count. It had to be perfect or it wasn’t acceptable.

So as I am manifestly imperfect, I was largely deemed unacceptable in the way that my father acted, although I don’t believe he ever would have agreed with this reading of his actions and would have been grieved terribly to know that that was the way I interpreted things.

They were both alcoholics when I was a kid—they both quit—my father is now dead. So I understand the ambivalence, the deep ambivalence about your mother. I certainly have equal amounts of unbelievable aggravation and irritation and dislike of her selfish behaviors, and admiration of the gypsy, daring soul that she is. Right now she’s on a tramp steamer sailing around the world all by herself.

She has a very low self-esteem, so did my father, which made it almost impossible for her to do anything other than what she did with me, which was to be disappointed because she wasn’t getting mirrored back the perfect being that her mother never mirrored back to her. So I have a couple of things that might help you out here.

First of all, I’ll tell you about my Dad and how he died and what happened there. I knew he was going to die a long time before he died because he had emphysema and his sister had died of emphysema just a year ago and he was sitting there getting thinner by the day and on oxygen all the time. He always had the oxygen tube up his nose.

He would not accept visits from me because he thought that if I wanted to come visit him, fine, but he didn’t want visitors because he was sick. I couldn’t think of a logical way to get around that, so I used an illogical way.

He was so afraid of intimacy that he couldn’t bear my love which he knew to be very intense—like you I’m a terribly intense person, I have no cool about me at all, I wear my heart on my sleeve and he couldn’t accept that.

So I got two identical stuffed animals and I gave one to him for Christmas. He died the following August—so he had it all that year. And I would send his stuffed animal notes from my stuffed animal, and I would ask the stuffed animal to watch over Daddy and be sure that everything was okay and tell him that our animals were clones and were, therefore, telepathic, and I took my stuffed animal with me every where I went and I would write little details of what the stuffed animal had seen and tell him if he wanted to know more to ask his stuffed animal because it knew everything.

And he was able to deal with that—that was an intimacy that didn’t threaten him and he carefully kept that stuffed animal right where he could see it clear up to the day he died. By the time he was ready to die, he was able to look me in the eye and say, “I really like you—you’re an absolutely great daughter—I couldn’t have ever asked for better.”

He would never have been able to say that without death staring him in the face.

Mother always wanted to think of herself as my best friend, and I tried to go along with it because I wanted so much to please her. There was an enormous amount of activity that I disapproved of in her—she was greedy—she would take money that was set aside for my school clothes and buy clothes for herself and I would do without. That sort of complete self-absorption was very typical of her.

I could cook a dinner, cook a dessert, get it all on the table, put the dishes back in the sink and ask for somebody to help me wash the dishes and be met by, “You ungrateful little wretch, you’re living in this family and you’re not doing anything to help out. Why aren’t you doing the dishes.” So I was unable to feel that I’d ever pleased my mother. And, of course, her narcissistic needs, that is, my being able to do the things that she hadn’t been able to do … didn’t work out, not because I couldn’t do them—I was considered a very excellent piano student—I had a very light touch—I didn’t have arthritis yet but my hands have always been weak, so it was considered that I would be a perfect Mozart performer and I do have a very good ear and interpretation of these things, but I had no earthly desire whatsoever to become a concert pianist and Mother was crushed at that.

I went through four years of ballet and was considered an extremely unusually gifted student and Mother was really grooving on this—thinking, ah, my daughter can do this—well, the second time my toes bled when I was on point, I’d started taking toe shoe classes, you don’t just dance with the little flats on, you have these shoes that have wooden blocks in the toe and you stand up on your toes and you do things. I was considered not only to be naturally graceful and able to do the moves but I also had a very unusual foot in that all my toes were in a line—it almost looked like somebody had just chopped off my foot they were so straight, and most ballerinas have to dance mostly on their big toe when they are on point, but I had a much better balancing center if I was balancing on one foot and this was considered to be tremendously helpful, so I just said, “Look, I don’t go in for my toes bleeding.” I don’t go in for pain, I’m not a masochist and I quit ballet. Well, my Mother was totally dashed.

I went to Alanon finally and discovered, lo and behold, that you can’t help other people, you can only help yourself. It’s not that you can help some people and can’t help others; you can’t help anybody. You might be a catalyst that is there and that without being changed yourself creates a condition in which the other person can do some learning. To me, that’s what spiritual correspondence is all about. We teach each other—we give each other the epiphanies of realizations that the other person has had that you haven’t and more and more we begin to have a larger and larger point of view. A greater compassion, a greater feeling of grasping the human/imperishable condition of this beautiful race that we have.

Again, you speak of the feelings of the Draft Board that you’re motivated by greed. It’s unfortunate that they feel that way but if I were you I wouldn’t let it touch me. What you have control over is yourself. You do not have control over anybody else, nor would you want any—you’re not responsible for anybody else’s spiritual development—you are not here to be understood, you are here to understand. You’re not here to be respected, you’re here to gain respect for this very difficult human condition, and if this all sounds much too idealistic to be true, it is indeed much too idealistic to be true in the mundane sense—that is to say, this world does not operate on these rules, so that if you wish to walk the path of a spiritual pilgrim, you will forever be bumping into a society that works on suppositions that you simply have no feeling of connection with—they don’t make any sense to you. You could, if you wanted to, get all bent out of shape about the whole thing.

I strongly advise you to rest quietly within yourself and know without having to prove to anybody that there is nothing of greed in you—I am absolutely sure of that. After that, as you said, the hardest part comes: the time of forgiveness. But remember, it is always easier to forgive other people than yourself and part of forgiveness of any transaction is forgiveness of yourself in that transaction.

You may have felt that you acted the best way you could, but somewhere deep inside of you is the feeling, “I could have communicated better” or “I could have made myself understood” or something along that line.

It’s to be released. This is not to be held because it’s unhealthy to your spirit to release and forgive others but not give the same courtesy of forgiveness and being shriven, to yourself, so focus—not selfishly—it’s not selfish to learn to love the self. It’s the foundation stone—it’s the cornerstone—it’s an absolute necessity for all spiritual growth that you will do in service to others.

I believe the way that Jesus gave the new law in the New Testament—“Thou shalt love thy God with all thy heart, and all thy mind, and all thy soul and all thy strength, and thy neighbor as thy self.” Upon these two laws—upon these two commandments hang all the law in the prophets. Now in the second requirement, to love thy neighbor has thyself, it seems quite obvious to me that you should “love thyself.”

So you’re not being selfish at all in trying to learn who you are and how you, in spite of all your inadequacies which we all have (we’re all clayfooted)—how can you love yourself. How can you come to a compassionate acceptance of yourself as you subjectively see yourself from moment to moment. It’s something that must begin to flow through you as blood would flow through your veins. Acceptance of yourself, love of yourself, frees you from the agonized self-concerns and self-examinations that take up your time when you could be serving others.

So love yourself. And if you do not love something in yourself, work on loving that self that you are—that brave self that had the courage to come into these terrible conditions on planet earth at this time. See the courage of that. See the risk that you took. You could have forgotten who you were. Love yourself! Steadfastly and faithfully, without question.

You are a part of the Creator. Then you are free to love—not in the limited human way, but because you’ve gotten yourself out of the way an infinity of love can begin to pour through you and compassion that does not wear you out or wipe you out, or make you feel that some vampire has sucked you dry, can begin to happen in your life. You need to hook up with infinity and the way to do that really, really involves the seemingly selfish work of getting to know the self and getting to love the self and forgiving the self—day, by day, by day.

You will be changing because you’re meditating and wishing to move forward on the spiritual path. So you do not come into easy times if you are a pilgrim on this path. You simply meet one adventure after another and every one is a challenge and everyone can be looked at negatively because it’s hard on you, or as a challenge to find the love that’s hidden in that circumstance and that’s what I would recommend for you. Not just with the Draft Board, but in any situation.

Now, you asked me, “Is loving them unconditionally and blessing all memories of them, both good and bad, truly enough to salvage our relations?” And then you say, right away, “I know this is a silly question.”

First of all—no. It’s not a silly question—it’s central. Number two—you cannot salvage a relationship. You can salvage yourself in the relationship. There’s nothing that can be done for other people. The best you can do for other people is just to be there when they need you. You have no power and should have no power over other people. If you’re on the path of service to others you are a servant and hopefully you help people by being a good mirror, but you cannot rescue another person. I know this is painful, but this is true.

You can try all you want, but each person has his own rhythm, each person his own moment of awakening and realization. You can hang around and watch and pray and wait for the time when you might be a good catalyst to them, but as far as getting in there and moving things around in their minds and helping them, forget it. It’s not going to happen.

Now, again, I repeat your concerns and questions are not being selfish. You must become comfortable within your own skin—not a self-indulgent person but a person who genuinely likes, loves and respects himself, before you can begin to be on any path of service.

The workshops that we offer are offered spasmodically, I guess you could say, irregularly, and revolve around my health, which is none to good at this point. We would like to teach an energy center clearing workshop sometime this summer and have absolutely no idea at this point whether we’ll be able to or not, because I’m on the list of probables for two major operations.

I’ve managed to delay the neck fusion operation until absolutely every bit of evidence that can be garnered, is garnered, so that I don’t rush into something that I regret later. I’ve really worked hard on getting to know everything about it and it does appear to me, both by the amount of pain I’m feeling and the intimations I’ve gotten from people’s reading of x-rays and so forth, that I will have to stabilize my neck. I understand it’s an operation that looks much worse than it actually is, which is good news, on the other hand, any time spent in the hospital is not particularly good news.

However, the last time I was in the hospital I was able to continuing praising and giving thanksgiving, seeing the sun rise, praising that, or some casual conversation with a nurse’s assistant that was really lovely, and to praise that. You can always find things to be giving thanksgiving for—the fact that you’re alive, the fact that your doctors are confident, or whatever. So I will again be challenged to that rather rigorous [prayer] of time and that’s just the way that is.

The other operation at this point is completely up in the air. Nobody knows what’s wrong with me—all anybody knows is I’m retaining a great deal of water and sort of look like a pregnant telephone pole. My body has always been that of a dancer’s—very slender, just the luck of the genetic draw, I guess—both my parents were slender all of their live, but I imagine that it’s very good for me to have a figure defect at this point because it is making me much more compassionate about how other people agonize over their own defects when really other people don’t even notice them. I’ve certainly found that to be true.

I will get Jim to send you directions on how to get to the house. The letter is completely out of date with all the information but we’ve just not written a new one. We’re kind of slow—we’re always working behind time. And if you do come, we’d be glad to share the exercises with you if a workshop doesn’t happen and you still want to come over a weekend—Saturday and Sunday, just let us know—at least two weeks in advance, and make sure it’s confirmed, because we do go out of town for two weeks out of the year—or almost three weeks out of the year so you wouldn’t want to show up to an empty house.

Jim takes about two weeks to get used to the idea of somebody coming into the house for teaching, even though I’m the one that does the teaching, he’s very much a loner. So I’ll send you the information and if you can’t wait for a workshop and you want to deal with these healing exercises then I would just advise a weekend trip. Come in Sunday morning—you could even leave on Monday morning and take in a Sunday night meditation.

That’s about all I can offer right now—but I certainly do offer that with a full heart, and yes, I do think a teacher always helps somebody who is working with new exercises and so forth and has got some experience with them because with experience comes a lot of realization and actually what has given us the most realization is our previous teaching, because when you teach you learn a whole lot more than your students do.

Bob, I must draw this to a close very quickly—it is Easter Week and I very much would like to get as much done as I can before (inaudible) service tonight which means that it’s now time for me to eat and get back to letters to other people. I shall chat longer at some later date.

Things with us are fine in spite of the various physical (inaudible). We have rather become used to the state of emergency that seems to have existed in my body (laughs) for the last God knows how many years, and actually we are doing quite well.

Just let me hear from you when you want to write and please realize that the blessing and honor of correspondence is mutual and you have just as much to teach me as I have to teach you.

Lots of love and talk to you later,

Carla

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