Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Basking in my own Sophia

Saturday, I gave myself the luxury of spending an entire day on retreat, delving into the lessons of 2014 and looking ahead to 2015. I had planned to do the same last year, but awoke sick and cancelled. Fortunately, the leader walked me through the exercises, which I completed on my own. It took several weeks and I gained a new spiritual director as a result.

I was raring to go this year. At 3 p.m. after a 9 am start, the leader asked what our energy levels were and did we want to knock off early. No way, I said, I was ready to keep moving in this contemplative manner. And so we plodded on.

Trinity collage
The culmination of the retreat is selecting your word for the new year. You choose after you have mapped out the last year, looked at blessings and burdens and decided what will move forward and what will not. My map was a full-on disaster. Not in the things listed, actually many were blessings, but in the amount. No wonder I struggle with fibro, I thought when I looked at the riot of people, places, events, things for which I am grateful, things I would do differently, ideas that have matured, and the ways I have changed. And when I struck out VERY few to leave behind, it was all too clear that most of the mess will not be moving with me.

Last year's word was purification. After my new spiritual director handed it to me and I dashed to the car, the tears formed. I didn't want this word. Yet, on further reflection and meditation (which the retreat encourages), it did fit because, in a sense, it means freedom. My cinquen, a simple poem, for entering 2014 was:
bold, trusting
energetic, content, balanced
becoming, embracing, loving, freeing

Looking back, what it turned out to be was:
awareness, balance
gratitude, retreat, love
surrender, consent, blessed, gifted

I want a seamless life, I noted in my journal. Seamless as in whole and no distinction between spirituality and life. I am beginning to recognize the fruits of the Spirit ( love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control, according to Galations 5:22-23) as the result of life in the Spirit.

In continuing to process 2014 via collage, I unconsciously created a trio (trinity) of panels:
1) Releasing the pain, messiness and ugliness of myself to Spirit. Giving it ALL up when we've had enough and understand its not to ours to fix and eventually, surrender into the waiting arms of Jesus.`
2) Recognizing that with broken, jaded eyes all we see is brokenness and division. When the scales have been lifted, we see the Truth and God's reality that there really is no separation, not from birth and death, any thing or any one. All personal experience emanates from the Holy Spirit, God with me.
3) Consenting to God's constant invitation in the midst of both beauty and chaos. This is one step beyond surrender and one of consent to the empty chair God always holds open for us.

From this, I was able to create my "I am" statements:
I am the one healed by consenting to God's invitation .
I am the one who has received new eyes grounded in love, truth, reality and wholeness.
I am the one who consents to live in and with the Mystery of Spirit.
I am one.
I am.
I am seamless.

Sophia collage
We were so nurtured during this time with an abundance of materials, hospitality, beautiful space inside and out, openness, accompaniment and delicious food. Just last month, my pastoral counselor/shaman said I needed more nurturing. That I was burned out. This retreat was wonderful tonic.

After pumpkin-curry soup, a berry-studded salad, flowing drinks and chocolate, then some more reflection time, I was eager to select my new word.

Wisdom. Wow, such a sift.
My first thought was of Sophia and divine wisdom, then my encounter last September with a snake, another symbol of divine wisdom. I chanted my words (wisdom–Sophia-snake) as I walked outside in the warm rain, muddying my boots and traipsing over mole tunnels. Then I came in to journal and the message to relax in, inside, into wisdom, into my inner wisdom emerged. It is God calling me home, much as Dorothy discovers when the ruby slippers she's been wearing will take her home. I have always had the power within.

something ancient
calling me home
golden, wise, revered

home is embedded, imprinted
always been with me
wherever I travel
beyond time

own it

I choose to bask in my own Sophia.

• What am I carrying forward from 2014?
• Where have I witnessed Spirit?
• Where do I hope to encounter God?
• Where am I on the spectrum of surrender and consent?
• What is my poem or word for 2015?

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