In the Rockies

In the Rockies
Butler Gulch

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Letting Go

Attachments. There are many in our lives. Some, like family and friends, are important. Others get in our way on our spiritual journeys.

I like to lead, organize, plan--programs, events, organizations. I prefer to lead by putting together a team, working with others. That's fun for me--and it brings people into my life in energetic ways, working toward mutual goals.

So now I feel called to give up doing this for others. I need to do it for myself. That is, prepare and plan my healing story presentation (which I had a chance to give for a small group in January). I need a team. A friend offered to put together a DVD with my nature photographs, words and/or music perhaps. That is one tool I'd like to have. I can rent a projector that works with my laptop--and a screen if one is not available where I would give the programs. This sounds like a project. Right?! One where I could use my organizational skills, right.

But--there's that word. This is a story that isn't pretty. It's about sharing intimate details--not in writing, an easier way for me. It's about a spiritual journey that began with horrific memories that I didn't want to remember. It about fear, loss, terror. It's not the story that fits with who I look like to the outside world.

I like for my world to look as lovely as the scene in which I'm standing in the first photograph. There I'm comfortable talking about my blessings and the beauty of God's creation. That's a wonderful story. I can and do include Nature's beauty in my healing journey story. I'm not sure I would be writing this without the wonders of yellow centered violets, green, green moss, lichen covered rocks, and woolly worms--white fluffy clouds and blue skies. But the stories that integrate my strong bond with nature aren't pretty ones. I'd like to turn my back on them.
However, they are there and are part of my journey. I heard Scott Brown, the senator from Massachusetts interviewed about his memoir. He said that he wouldn't change a thing--and his story isn't pretty--that all that had happened to him made him who he is. Well, I wouldn't say that I wouldn't change a thing, but that I cannot change any of my past. I can have a different relationship to it, and that's worth exploring.

Cynthia Bourgeault pointed out, in the weekend workshop I attended, that we have our stories. That they are just stories, not who we are. My head knows this. My heart (whole being as Cynthia defines it) needs to get it. She suggested holding the stories lightly and not with attachment. This could leave me with a different feeling about the exposure. Here's to the Grace to do just that--hold the stories lightly and remember they are not who I am.
Then, perhaps, I'll have the courage to tell the difficult stories to those who need to reach down inside themselves and pull up their difficult stories for healing. Who knows? Perhaps that's the place where I must be for the memoir to reach publication. That would truly be a miracle.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Growing Up

I'm finally back to this writing site.

I was blessed to be with family and friends on my annual holiday trip to Nashville. My youngest grandson there turned 18 on December 22nd and his older brother, 20 on January 21st. Ben, the oldest, moved into a house in Nashville with three friends shortly before Christmas. Though Will (youngest) is being urged to leave home for college, I heard whispers of lonliness in my son's voice as he spoke of the possibility of an empty nest next fall. Since his wife has another year of law school (after this semester) and spends much of her time studying, he is imagining a lot of quiet alone time. That's not something he cherishes. More golf, yes. Fewer people for whom to cook? Not necessarily.

My son and daughter left and came back--more than once--and another young friend came to live with me as my daughter left for college in Colorado. My home had been a hub of activity for my children and their friends for years. The quiet would be nice, I thought. However, like my son, I wasn't accustomed to it. We are both people who need people in our lives.

I made growing into quiet time more challenging by moving to a new city with a new job, new home, new church, needing to make new friends. I solved the problem most days by packing up my car with whatever I needed for after-work activities and leaving the lovely home with a view of the lake and mountains for the city. I worked on my roses and small garden early in the morning before I left for work--or on Sunday afternoons.

I covered my inner lonliness with work and volunteer activities. I was too quick to take on challenges that shouldn't have been mine--and to try to be friends with women and men who needed something they thought I could provide. More than once I realized that I had been the one turned to in the hard times but ignored when fun was the agenda for the day.

I had a good life. That's how I thought of it (and still do most of the time)--a job that was challenging with a high profile in the business community, a church community that provided a social life and a place for me to hone leadership skills, volunteer activities that helped others, and volunteer positions in the arts community as well. There were women friends with whom I traded check ins. I could easily have a meeting or a friend to meet after work every day. I developed a group of women friends, who, like me, had careers that weren't the usual in that city at that time. I had time to hike and friends with whom to share my love of nature. Yet there was something missing. I would have told you it was having a good man in my life. It would take a
dramatic change and a spiritual awakening that didn't come quickly for me to realize that wasn't the missing piece.

Knowing that Divine Love is the answer to that inner longing and having it as the cornerstone of my life doesn't mean that I don't sometimes miss the clatter of those earlier times. It doesn't mean that having the right human lover wouldn't be a blessing. It does mean that there's no striving for something out there to fill that inner space. The Divine Indwelling was already there. I simply wasn't tuned in.