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Have you ever begun to feel awakened? Really awakened as if you've kind of been asleep in life. I am currently experiencing that sensation. I attribute it to sleeping better, feeling better, gaining more energy, being out in the world more, coming back into myself as my children gain some independence, planning for a new nurture studio, moving from winter to spring ...
In January, a wise nun whose counsel I sought after a powerful labyrinth experience suggested that, when we hit a stone in the dirt, our roots feel their way around, heading toward the source of water. Such a beautiful and apt metaphor. Dig those roots deep, she cautioned.
Sunday, while reading some last-minute passages for my "Comfort of Friends" group, which meets monthly to discuss death and being with the dying, I was again drawn down into the earth when Buddhist author Joan Halifax described the "transparent communion" of two souls in terms of a lotus. "The roots of the pure white lotus are buried deep in the pond's dark mud. But it's the very mud that nurtures and feeds the lotus, making it possible for the flower to open in splendor to the sun. The lotus flower is really our awakened mind, nourished by suffering."
She writes that though we may hide in "our cast-off and rotting selves," we are called to use the decay of suffering as food and energy to emerge back into the world. I believe she speaks, exactly, to my condition.
For 13-and-a-half-years my lotus has been latently laying in wonderfully rich muck, rising to the occasion at times, but never fully blooming. This spring, however, is different. Things are happening and not just internally. The dream of a space of my own, away from the house, is dancing toward reality, even supported by a grant. My faith community as a whole, not just my loyal base of close Friends, are with me, chomping at the bit to help me move, fix up the space, host an open house and get that open studio for under-served kids going. All while I am patiently still negotiating for the space.
The possibilities and potential are endlessly exciting. Like spotting the true light at the end of the tunnel and not the deflection of something unreal.
I want to roar forth and push this negotiating, but know from my time in the muck that I can wait; there's plenty to prepare. Besides, I have been assured that my path is paved with divine support. Back at the labyrinth weeks ago, I received this promise:
Let me in; I am always here
I will not give you more than
I am willing to assist.
Go home, my child
and BE with this.
Come to me often and
this will transpire.
You will be transformed.
Trust, Love, give
I am transforming into the lotus.
• When Have I felt awakened?
• What was the necessity of my sleep?
• How have I strengthened by roots?
• How do I know when it's time to leave the safe muck and rise to the surface?
• What is God's promise to me?
at first, you just lay down
because there's nothing else to do
the trauma or circumstance has
killed you either severely at once
or, slowly, over time
you sink deep
and deeper and the rot
and darkness become
a new home
one much too easy to linger in
until the time comes and
there is no more hiding
you've been stripped bear,
then rebuilt and
ready to emerge