Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Holding me back from myself

Yesterday morning as I was unloading the dishwasher while my girls were setting up the snack they volunteered to bring to our Quaker meeting, the metaphor of me working in the kitchen during worship was too powerful to ignore. But it's also painful to consider what action the meaning may spark.

I am so spiritually wiped out that I can barely feel God. Enough that I asked my spiritual friend of several years for a large dose of help this morning. She lovingly and caringly doled out what I so desperately needed: a practiced ear, a big heart, a knowingness and affirmation I have not often received and, as a result, need.

I seem such a far place from mid January when I spent a week alone writing in the woods and snow at another generous friend's condo. I was full of energy and joy, working on my work and sailing toward some imagined (though I suspect Divinely-inspired) bliss. Two events have intervened to take me somewhere else. Situations that fall into my pattern of giving myself away in exchange for something less than I am worth. I was prayerful on both counts and felt as I was doing what Spirit asked. I don't doubt that now, but am smarting from the dark hole into which I've fallen. I've been here before, but this time I seem to have tools I didn't earlier: awareness, a light to shine in the dark and the wisdom of a real friend.

I am supposed to be here, hard as the road was.  I have some excavating of old wounds to face instead of letting them scab over and grow deeper. I opened those wounds last week, journaling them. Today I exposed them, some for the very first time, to another human. And this time, I received the response I have so often missed.

I am becoming increasingly aware, however, that to move toward wholeness, I have to make a major change: unearthing myself from a previous source of nurture and growth. It seems I am only seen there for the light, bright parts of myself that I can give and not the dull, dirty parts that need attention. But for my spirit to shine, I MUST wade into the muck and reclaim those hidden pieces ... with or without my faith community. In not encouraging and nurturing the journey into darkness, I am suffocated and called to venture on accompanied or unaccompanied. This journey can not be stalled, neglected or delayed. My soul is at stake.

And I won't be alone.

• When have I been called away from something that no longer fits?
• How has a previous journey or awareness eased the transition?
• How do we recognize that finding our True Selves is a constant evolution and may mean leaving ideas, concepts and people behind.
• How do I nurture myself through those times?
• How can I be sure not to miss any new doors or openings?

the patterns from childhood
are so strong that it takes
something bigger than I to
shake them loose

that shaking can be brutal,
uncomfortable and tear
me from things and places
I hold dear

and yet, they are
holding me back


  1. Once again, Cathy, you've ministered to me through your own story and your queries. The title of this post proclaims a truth I keep re-learning - we're often our own worst enemies. But as you wisely point out, we build on those hard times and can take strength from the knowledge that we learn and grow from them. I'm glad you have a spiritual friend to lean on; you also have this friend, among others in your reading community, holding you.

  2. Iris, I could feel you as I wrote and posted this. I KNEW I would hear from you. Why is it so hard to learn this lesson? I do feel like a new person today, having shed so much old junk and I have been tender with myself instead of the usual pushing. When I think I am crazy and unwanted and have the courage to write that, I am so very blessed with amazing friends and I do feel being held by you, others and Spirit. Thank you, dear F/friend!
    -- Cathy

  3. A beautiful, tender, vulnerable post. For me, life is a *SPIRAL*... a bit like your art at the top... we spiral around and we *relearn* the same lessons, but at the next deeper level. This is the stuff of life... the stuff of the "False Self". Childhood wounds us [even the best of childhoods] and we unravel and unlayer those wounds as adults... especially after 50. Sometimes, walking that spiral path, we find ourselves on the backside of the mountain where it is dark... real dark... It feels like a descent into hell. Hell is the darkness that precedes the rebirth. It is in the facing of the darkness and falling gently through it to the other side that we come upon light again, dust our changed, evolved selves off and journey on. *Nothing* about ourselves has light shed on it until it is first accepted... darkness gets our undivided attention. Holding you in the Light <3

  4. Thank you, Sharon! All of what you say I am beginning to learn is so very true ... especially about acceptance before light. I had not thought of that before, yet it really resonates deeply. I appreciate your support, wisdom and prayer! And I love how you are re-inventing yourself ... you are a wonderful role model!
    -- Cathyf