Broken open: not a subject of comfort for most of us and, yet, that's what has been lain before me. Certainly not by choice, rather necessity – the necessity to survive with my soul in tact.
Last post, I wrote about an inability to worship, then involuntarily sharing that, as if something were guiding me, in my faith community. The results have rippled within and without. I am reminded that I do belong in this community even though I have clung to the outskirts in my woundedness. Reminded that I am loved, cared for, honored here for my whole self ... even the one that falls apart publicly. Reminded that I need community. An effervescent bubbling has internally erupted out of the fault within my heart and spirit. One that pumps, thumps and wants to go somewhere, but not just anywhere.
It is that bubbling, I believe, that reconnected me with a book I have always meant to read: Quaker Parker Palmer's Let Your Life Speak, Listening for the Voice of Vocation. I want to find out who I want to be while I am growing up instead of taking on work that is short-lived and incompatible with my soul. I happened upon the book while [re]searching something else on the internet and told myself I'd borrow it from the meetinghouse library Sunday after worship. As I was perusing the shelves, the minister [well, Quakers consider everyone a minister; our congregation is a hybrid and we have a hireling (paid) minister] came in with a book in hand just donated and asked if she could help me find something. "We do have a copy of one of his books, but I think it's checked out. However, we just got this one," she said. Instantly we both knew it was the one I needed. Synchronicity of Spirit?
|bubbling i/ii/iii – pastel on paper|
Right off the bat, he describes being so unformed that the only thing holding us together is an exoskeleton when we are "trying to live someone else's life or to live by an abstract form," which, he writes "will invariably fail – may even do great damage." Exoskeleton? That's my word, the one I use to describe the hold fibromyalgia has on me. How can he know?
And that faithlessness to our true nature, he says, is wreaking violence.
Wreaking violence? That reverberates in unknown interior places. The reverb makes the bubbling in my chest grow, spilling lower to the places I store my emotions; the personal-power and self-esteem chakras a recent check determined are closed or weak. The froth has nowhere to go but down, swirling with heat and opening my solar plexis and root.
Palmer writes about exploring liabilities, limits and shadow as well as strengths, virtue and the light, letting our lives tell us things we don't want to hear because "the dark journey strips ego of the illusion its in charge, so the self can emerge." This is where I have been living, in what feels like the negative, though Palmer also says that "vocation at its deepest level is something I can't NOT do." He relates the wisdom of a plainspoken, life-experienced Quaker who says she has learned as much from "way closing" as "way opening," terms Friends use for Spirit's direction.
"There is a great gulf between the way my ego wants to identify me with its protective masks and self-serving fictions and my true self," according to Palmer and my experience.
A bit of brokenness, I understand, is exposing the masks and fictions as well as their harmfulness to me and others and forcing me to consciously choose the nature I felt behind in childhood. The nature I have fought against and, in doing so, caused great emotional and physical pain.
And yet, the nature I know is mine and that I am embracing once again. The bubbling is my true self awakening and being acknowledged.
• How have I been broken open?
• What has it taught me?
• In not following my true self, how have I caused violence?
• How can I reverse that?
• What gulf exists between my ego, expectations and my true self?
lodged right in my heart,
so tightly knitted,
I didn't know
until one day
it burst open
its way down
the parts of me
and now that my
real self and
creativity are joined
the sky's the limit,
no matter what
the damaging ego has said