I was fortunate to have been born into a family of “freethinkers”. My lineage is abundant with people who have challenged the ruling class, either following the route of other contemporary or historical individualists, or making their maverick way, blazing trail through the dense forest of unconsciousness with a tool fashioned by their own hands, journeying for many miles and perhaps many moments with little or no encouragement.

Although I have understood that many of my ancestors were Seekers – intelligent, passionate, fiery, courageous and determined – I never got the impression that they were rebellious for rebellion’s sake. I believe they wanted to find Reasons for Being that made sense to their heart and to their mind. And yet I am certain the paths they chose were not easy ones to walk, and that they clung to those people, places and things that represented and reflected back to them the universal truths that whispered within them.

Of Cherokee, English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh, German, Dutch, and Finnish heritage, I can only imagine what immense challenges and heartbreaks my relatives faced – and I can only imagine what yours have faced as well – and continue to all over the world, where people are still punished by death (or worse) for what they believe is their highest dream, grandest idea, most expansive, life-supporting hope for how it could actually be on this planet if we all lived in harmony with one another and all life forms.

I wonder how many of my relatives were “punished by law” or put to death by a deep need to live in alignment with who they felt themselves to be; how many were burned at the stake, or hung or imprisoned because they just couldn’t agree with slavery of any kind, or holocausts of any kind, or separatism of any kind, or the concept of a god that wouldn’t love us if we blundered and stumbled our way through life, trying to figure it all out.

To sin literally means “to miss the mark”. I’d say that’s fairly easy to do at least a few times a day – even on our best day – not to mention over a whole lifetime. So, I’m guessing that I’ve come from a long line of Sinners and Heretics: people who probably just couldn’t understand why wanting the authentic best for themselves and for all sentient beings was so wrong – like so very many of us wonder. And why any god we believe in can’t be a loving god, inclusive even of other gods; other concepts of Wonder and Awe and Mystery…

And then we even kill each other in that name? I believe this is an aberration, a departure from the original idea, which, if I were to submit a guess, would be: Please Love.

A heresy is any belief or theory that is strongly at variance with established beliefs or customs. (Wikipedia) The term heresy, in Greek, αἵρεσις, originally meant “choice”. It also referred to the process whereby a young person would examine various philosophies to determine how to live one’s life.

 The process whereby a young person
would examine various philosophies

to determine how to live one’s life.

This has not been the common experience for many of us on the planet for hundreds of thousands of years. But I’d like to think that those of us living in these days and times will begin to change that.

I think “the powers that be” would want it that way. The true Powers that Be: this Knowing within each of us: We started out Good. We’re made of Good. We deserve Good. We’ve always wanted to inspire and share and give away that Goodness. But for most of us, before we even got a chance to uniquely express our Goodness, it was stunted and then rerouted and perhaps misguided into a whole different idea of Who We Are and what source of goodness and intelligence we came from – stunted and rerouted by mostly well-meaning loved ones and members of our society.

Yet, sometimes even our best intentions go awry. And sometimes, we don’t even have all of the information yet. Which is why there will always be Seekers. That is, until the Answers that lie within are allowed to be heard.

Here’s to a new thought about heresy. And here’s to You. You Know Who You Are…

– em claire




“Show yourself to me,”
said I to God again.
And this is what happened next:

I became pregnant with Light.
My eyes were sunrise and sunset, both.
Freckles announced themselves planets and stars
and beamed upon my cheeks.
Each of my lips became a kiss to the other;
my ears heard oceans of life.
Between my eyes there was an indigo wheel,
between my toes, blond fields.
My hands remembered climbing-trees,
my hair, each lover’s fingers.

And then I whispered,
“But why have you made me This way?”

and it was told to me this:

“Because I have never had Your name before
nor heard the way You sing it.
Nor stared into the Universe through eyes like These,
nor laughed This way, nor felt the path that These tears take.

Because I have not know These ecstasies,
nor risen to These heights,
nor experienced every nuance of the Innocence
with which you create your lows.

 Nor how a heart could grow so wide,

or break so easily



quite so Unreasonably.”



“Unreasonably” em claire

©2008 All Rights Reserved

(Em Claire is an American poet whose work appears in her book Silent Sacred Holy Deepening Heart, as well as in When Everything Changes, Change Everything. She may be reached through

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  • mewabe

    Wow!…Beautifully expressed!

    There is a place within each human being, a divine inner space, that is sovereign as the divine is sovereign, as love, as truth, as life are sovereign.

    This is where our real power abides, a power all creative people know and express, a power that threatens a world order whose very foundation is the denial, the suppression of this divine gift of inner sovereignty.

    Why, when, how did humanity ever agree to its self-enslavement?

  • Sinclair

    I’ve spent my time as a poet among American poets and found them to be about the least freethinking group of people I’ve ever met. Just about every one was relentlessly progressive and unable to think outside that box or tolerate people who did so.

    They were like the old joke about people being so nonconformist that they all dressed alike and thought alike.


    Em, your poem is magical! What an absolute gift!

    Namaste . . .


  • Mark Michael

    Are you ready to challenge what is?

  • Buzz

    I think Wikipedia is spot on by how it defines heresy. I’m not going to bother looking it up, but I’m sure it goes on to say how people who spoke heresy were treated. In modern society, a heretic might be someone who believes and practices Satanism and human sacrifice. When that country’s law enforcement caught the person, they would most likely be killed, or placed on display and then executed. Not much has changed in how we deal with heretics. If you live in the US, or most of the rest of the western world, ask a Muslim person if they are discriminated against in public places, especially high security areas like airports, political events, and military memorials.
    What can we do about this? How can we overcome our fears and end racial/religious discrimination while clear and present threat remains? ACIM says “nothing real can be harmed. Nothing unreal matters.” See the illusion. Be here now. Value the moment of Joy and safety you have here now, and do not concern yourself with things beyond your control, that are at most a mere possibility.
    If you are implying that you’re poem, an artistic expression of beauty, could be seen by some as heretical, I will be forever available to aid and defend your right to choose to express yourself openly and freely to people everywhere. I can use some very powerful words of my own when circumstances require. For example I can quote parts of the Bill of Rights and the Declaration of Independence off by heart.
    That might not be so surprising, till you learn that I’ve never set foot in any US State, territory or embassy, and I’m not a lawyer or human rights protest activist.

  • mark

    Excellent article !!

  • Laura Pringle

    Yes, great article, thanks so much for your words and thoughts! The poem is beautiful and compelling! Just what does the term American Poet mean? I published a book of poems but didn’t label myself as a particular type pf poet- didn’t know there were types. Duh? I never really think of myself as a poet but all those poems came to me in a period of about 3 yrs. and it was a direct result of the liberation I felt after finding my own inner voice then confirming it by reading Neale’s convos with God books in 1998-2001 🙂 Yippee!!!! Thanks for all you guys do!!!