I have a daily relationship with Jesus, through prayer, meditation and contemplation. It wasn’t always this way. I was brought up to be scientific, skeptical, suspicious of anything the least bit religious, but through the twists and turns of life I ended up in church one day, heart broken open, shedding years of grief, tears cascading from my eyes. I sought through prayer and meditation conscious contact with God, and miracles began to take place in my life. I know that God works through me now, through my hands, my voice and my heart. I take an active role in my spiritual unfolding; I am not a spectator here. I know that my life will be full of hills and valleys, and I am ok with this, because I know my place with the one who watches over me always, guiding me back home to peace.
This house. This magical house. In January of this year my house was sold at foreclosure auction; my name wasn’t on the title or the deed, and there was nothing I could do to stop the sale. I was terrified. Not long after the sale I was told I had to move, and I didn’t know where to go. I just knew I wanted to keep my kids in their school. I tripled the number of yoga classes I was teaching, sent feelers out, and prayed more than I ever have. In July, a miracle. Friends of friends had a rental home in my kids’ school district and their renters wanted to break the lease early! We met, I brought my financial documents, and proved I was able to pay rent. And just like that, my kids and I had a place to move into! I left behind the betrayal and grief of my past and turned toward new possibilities, a new phase of my life. I am grateful for the miracles of community, strength and faith. Every night when I tuck my kids into bed, I thank God for this house. This magical house.
She walked alone in the woods today, the wind following her with its whispers. She climbed up the steep slope, finding spots of bare earth to plant her feet in a slippery sea of fallen leaves. She found her favorite stone outcropping, sat and closed her eyes. Breathing slowly and deeply she received a vision of great warmth and delight, a future that waits for her willingness to let the past go. The cold began to seep in and she carefully picked her way here and there along the downward slope, superimposing the future vision upon the present matrix, thinking thoughts of integration.
Loosening the ties that bind me to an old, outdated mode of being, learning to breathe deeply and slowly and really see how unique this present moment is, seeing how life has always provided me what I need, and trusting that it always will, it all becomes so simple. Life isn’t meant to be figured out, dissected, overburdened with assigned meaning— but one breath, one step, one moment, one day at a time, life is meant to be lived.
Forgiveness cannot be forced. When my family fell apart I tried to rush to forgiveness, thinking that it would speed up the healing process. But I was just engaging in spiritual bypassing— using my spirituality to circumvent the messy trenches of deep grief and traumatic loss. I prayed to God to show me the way, hoping I could fly over the dark valley and avoid what lurked there in the shadows of my deepest, darkest memories. I read books and listened to speakers, I attended meetings, I thought I knew what I was doing, but I was really attempting to avoid the inevitable. Finally I discovered that what I really needed was to allow myself to feel. I had to go through the grieving process. I had to face the loss of the life I knew, I had to take each day one at a time. Some days the pain was so intense I didn’t think I could live through it. People would tell me It won’t be like this forever; I didn’t believe them. Over time, as I remained clear and focused on my goal to find a place for me and my kids, I noticed the fog was lifting; I felt more like myself with each passing day. Looking back I see that it was my effort to heal that blocked the healing. It was my belief that things should be a certain way that kept me from embracing things as they were. And now I’m still working on forgiveness, but at least I have the sense now to allow that grace to come, naturally, when the time is right and my heart is ripe for such sweetness…
The resistance rises up. Wanting to be more energized, less tired. Wanting to feel more confident, less worried. Wanting to feel more supported, less alone. Wanting to feel more peaceful, less stressed. On the heels of the resistance, stories… Stories about injustice, mistreatment, a wish for vindication, retribution. I can feel my body contract. I know this thinking isn’t healthy and I feel powerless to stop it. I know I need to pray, and even this evokes anger and the question Why do I have to try so hard? I guess I haven’t really surrendered yet. I guess I’m still trying to control the moment. I want to let go. Lord God, show me how to let go.
I’ve been turning my will and my life over to a power greater than myself… At first I was just dipping my toe into these waters, foreign waters, ones I was told to deny and mistrust. But it struck me one day that those who were telling me that a Higher Power didn’t exist weren’t happy people! Rule of Happiness #1: Don’t take advice from unhappy people. So I decided to try something different, and admit I knew nothing, and I had no control, and things had become unmanageable… and I began to pray… I turn this day over to you. I turn my life over to you. Guide me, let me surrender to your will, show me how to surrender gracefully, and let me do your good work this day. I’ve been praying like this for months. You know what is starting to happen? Peace. I think I’ll keep praying.