Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Does God Use Social Media?

Yes. Because the divine- however we name it (God, Goddess, Great Mystery, Allah. . . )- that sacred life force that is both within and around all that is- can use anything to help us deepen and expand our awareness and our lives. Sometimes, it happens in Big Ways where the message is hard to ignore, and sometimes it happens in little ways- opportunities to bring some curiosity and gain some insight to the unfolding of daily life within and around us.

Here’s what happened: A week ago writer Vanessa Van Edwards sent me a link to her piece in The Huffington Post that included (with my permission) my poem, “The Invitation.” I hesitated to share the link. On the one hand I wanted to support Vanessa’s writing, but on the other hand I was afraid that calling attention to the article might look like I was tooting my own horn, saying, “Hey, look at me- isn’t my writing wonderful!” Yuck.

The desire to support Vanessa won out, and I put a link to the piece up on Facebook and Twitter. Two things happened immediately: I received an email from a woman I don’t know who told me she was embarassed for me because I'd allowed my writing to be presented in an “on-line tabloid.” She felt I had “sold out,” and wondered why I couldn’t be "faithful to higher spiritual values." She despaired at how I had “bragged” about such a thing by posting a link.

This wasn't the first time I’d received criticism for a piece of my writing finding its way into mainstream publication (although, as you can imagine, it doesn't happen that often when you use a name like Oriah Mountain Dreamer!) The accusation that made me wince had nothing to do with allowing my work to be published in mainstream media (I have no problem with that) but was the allegation that by sharing this news I was “bragging.”

And then the second thing happened: Feeling more than a little leery, I went onto Facebook. To my surprise a number of folks had shared, liked and commented on the link- congratulating me, directing friends to the page, talking about how much they’d loved the poem. I was. . . shocked. Truly. Criticism had been anticipated. Celebration of a small shared joy had not.

So I just sat with the feelings for a moment- the weary acceptance of judgement; the surprise at others being happy for me. And I flashed back to the hushed conversations that happened whenever I brought a report card home from school as a child. My mother would look at it quickly and then put it away whispering, “That’s good. But we can’t talk about it. It will make your brother feel badly because he’s not doing as well. I’ll tell your father about it after you’re both in bed.”  

Yep- there it was, the root of my uneasiness about sharing even small things that are going well: the learned belief that even my small successes would cause pain for someone else and so, should not be shared. I remembered feeling shame for wanting to have my report card acknowledged.

This freeing little aha-moment was brought to me by the combination of the angry, disappointed email and those who took joy in my work being shared. In noticing and being curious about my reactions to both, something shifted, softened, opened. An old fear was seen, shame was released, and something I knew lived in me in an less inhibited way: joy shared and celebrated- even joy about small daily things- is joy multiplied, and takes nothing away from anyone else

Does the divine use social media? Why not? The sacred speaks to us every day from within and around us, offering us the opportunity to learn, to grow, to heal and find new freedom from old beliefs we may not even be aware we are holding until they are highlighted by the day's unfolding.Yes, wisdom, insight, and a deepening of our life can and often does happen through exchanges- on social media or anywhere else. And I, for one, am deeply grateful.

Oriah (c) 2013

(And here's the link:


  1. Does God Use Social Media? you BET - messages from the universe come to me this way all the time !
    BUT especially when I really need them

  2. Please never stop "bragging", I love it when you do ;-) I LOVE to read everything from you everywhere, no matter where. Because no matter how often I read your words they move me beyond words and feed my soul and heal me instantly when nothing else does/can. THANK YOU for being true to yourself! xox Sabine

  3. I'm so glad that you find some way (conscious or unconscious) to toot your horn, Oriah, because it is so beautiful and needed! :) Have you read Gay Hendrick's book, "The Big Leap?" I read it this past December and discovered that one of my core hidden barriers to opening myself up to greater joy and being fully expressed is "the fear of outshining others." I found it extremely helpful and healing to put that into perspective being the shiny singer that you know I am...who also happens to have a lot of wounds from being so shiny. It sounds like this is a similar wound for you. I love that you have the beautiful awareness to recognize it...and to continue to grow & heal as you share your wonderful self with us. xo

    1. Melissa- know Gay's work but not that particular book- sounds good. And, having heard your wonderful music, the idea that you would hestiate for a second to shine in your gift is. . . unthinkable! Shine on!!

    2. Bless you, Oriah. Let's both keep shining, ok? :)

  4. Speaking of social media, I found your blog after reading an excerpt from your poem on somebody else's blog. I spent an hour reading many of your older posts and left feeling peaceful and in love. Thank you for your beautiful words. xx Hannah

    1. Hannah, so glad- and yes, although it can be like falling down a rabbit hole some days I have found new poets, great writers, musicans and information through social media. It is, of course, all how we use it (and I love the surprises.)

    2. and I just found it by reading an excerpt that was read at a friends wedding -she posted it on facebook...yes, the divine is wherever we're open to experiencing it I believe

  5. I have had a love/hate relationship with the 'empire' that is Facebook since the moment I signed up on it. I can honestly say that now, only recently, I have come to a sort of peace with it. Particularly for the reasons of the small and lovely tidbits and inspirations I receive each time I log on. I like what's real though, and I also embrace the 'not so lovely' and uneasy tidbits. Balance. It's all God(dess). Thank you Oriah, your writing is so raw and beautiful... I carried a copy of the invitation around with me for three straight years of travelling overseas ;)

    1. Dannie- I think the trick with FB is to decide how you want to use it. I wander only in very specific ways in within certain time frameworks- which works for me. So glad the poem spoke to you- love that it travelled with your (not being much of a traveller myself :-)

  6. Vanessa's article is good, making a challenge that might make some readers stop and think about their automatic interactions in social situations. My experience is that the Divine uses any and every medium to get my attention - the obvious ones like meditation and prayer, but also books, magazines, songs, nature, Facebook.... "The invitation" was an important part of my journey into being truer to myself: I was fortunate to be part of a spiritual community where I encountered it, but if it had been the pages of a national newspaper or online, the significance of the poem wouldn't have been diminished. The key for me is to live in awareness and accceptance of what I hear from the Divine, whatever medium is used! I don't believe that God is a snob - just aching to communicate with us, however it's done.

    1. Anne, yes, there are so many decrying the overstimulation of the too-much-information situation around us, it can be easy to forget that the sacred is everywhere. May we listen to that which has our name on it and comes to us from the divine :-)

  7. I was supposed to shine so that my mother could brag about me but not so much that I got the praise which resulted in shame ("You're too big for your britches."). It was a confusing line to walk that I wasn't even conscious of for 40 years. Mostly I wanted to hide but God made me 6'1" blond and gorgeous. At 45 I decided to just go with it - all that God gave me, including the wisdom and words and creativity that flows through me from the Divine. And people would just have to deal with it. And so, I've been a gift to the world. As have you.

    1. Karen- yes, those mixed messages can truly be the hardest to satisfy and then to bring to consciousness so they can be evaluated and, if need be, discarded. I love this: God made me 6'1" blond and gorgeous. Amen!

  8. Oriah - I will be one to want to add joy to your work. I've always loved your poem "The Invitation" when you first published it in '99.

    It spoke to me then and speaks to me now on how beautifully you expressed your desire and my desire to be real and connect from the heart.

  9. A poem to's sad that many don't realize that what's true to them is not to everyone and in sharing, even if it is not a shared truth that it should always be done in love, not judgement. Oriah your work has inspired me and NEVER have I seen boasting in it.

    Hold the Truth

    Can you hold the truth,
    deliver it with love
    and not judgement;
    translate it
    without attacking?
    Can you remember
    who you are,
    where you’ve been;
    internal faults secret
    to the world but exposed
    to infinite wisdom?
    Can old stories
    and judgments fall away
    so that sight unblemished
    by arrogance
    can find your sweet spot;
    that place where love
    and compassion dwell.

    Can you hold the truth
    and see that the path
    before you, knew you
    before you arrived,
    and the you that holds
    this truth is
    the big picture,
    the simplicity of
    an open heart to
    universal truths.

    1. Hassandra, lovely - thank you so much for sharing.