I've stayed mostly quiet about our family's recent trauma. I've avoided speaking directly to what has happened, hoping to not make things worse, trying not to create big emotional blowbacks, wanting to not get caught up in trying to be "right."
I've felt lost and hopeless a lot, fearing for our future, and completely unsure what to do to try and bring us to some sort of peace or healing. I believe that what we have created together is special and unique and worth fighting for. I am convinced that we are strong enough to survive this. I think we have great gifts of strength and resilience and intellect that could all be put to work in service to saving our life and our love...
And I cannot see into what will be. I cannot be sure. I do not know.
Today, though, I seem to have broken through a barrier in my own thinking, and I do not feel so paralyzed. Today, it seems clear to me that I can begin to heal myself. I can't change what has happened, and I can't control what will happen, but I can reclaim my own power, and learn to be strong for myself and my family.
I am about to undertake a journey into my own spirituality -- something that was, once, a big part of my life, and something that I have in large part let go of during these last 8 years. I have, through much of my adult life, called myself a "spiritual backpacker." By that, I mean that I am inclined to travel very lightly with regard to spiritual dogma and ritual, carrying with me only those teachings and ideas that hold great value and power for me personally. In recent years, I've come to feel that, perhaps, I really don't believe in anything at all, and so have viewed myself, more and more, as a-religious.
That really isn't the truth, however. I do believe, strongly, in the creative divine -- the force that binds us each and all, and that works through us all to create the world and the universe anew in every moment. I believe that prayer is the evolutionary engine, and that we are driven to the expression of the mystery precisely because we know it is the truth of every atom and every cell across time and distance. I'm not Christian, and I'm not attracted to much that passes for "organized" religion, but I am most definitely a believer, and today I am reclaiming that for myself.
I first came to be aware of my own spiritual power when I was a child only 9 or 10 years old. I can still see myself in my mind's eye, standing in church, dressed in my red coat and hat, hearing the things that were just part of the accepted mythology of my Catholic upbringing, and thinking that it made no sense at all. I remember looking at my parents, looking around at the other adults nearby, looking back to the priest, and deciding that there was some huge lie being perpetrated by the lot of them. It was a seminal moment in my growing up. I never believed in the same way again. However, once I was freed from that foolishness, I became curious about what really might be going on when people gathered to pray and worship. I experimented with my own focus and my own attention and my own inner senses, and found that there were vibrations and currents around the whole experience that I could tap into and manipulate and wonder at. I found that I could reach out with my mind and make contact with people -- and it gave me a wicked thrill when, doing that, I could startle the priest at mass, or my teachers, or a bus driver, or... From that point on, I loved learning about the mystery that lies beyond our perceptions. From Ouija boards, to ghosts, to astral projection, I was hungry for experience and understanding of the spirit realm. As I got older, I found myself fascinated with mystics and theologians who could take me beyond the typical Sunday school understanding of the life of the spirit, and so I became a student of Paul Tillich, and Martin Buber, and Kathleen Norris. I read about reincarnation theology, and practiced the tricks of astral projection. I studied with a Lakota Sioux teacher, and I learned to push storms around from a wiccan friend. Oh yes, there's plenty I believe in, although I imagine that the average priest or minister would be horrified to know the contents of my "backpack."
I guess that all of that is a long-winded, round-about way of announcing to those who read here that I am off on a spiritual sojourn. I have no intention of leaving my loves or leaving my family, and I am determined to continue to fight for our mutual healing and future happiness, but I have personal work to do. As Tom and I chatted yesterday, he insisted that I have absolute freedom to do whatever I want, and while I might dispute that, I am free to believe and practice as I choose. It is high time that I got to work becoming whoever I am supposed to be in this life. Eight years is a long sabbatical. Back to work...
I'll be re-reading a book that I first found many years ago. It is called "Healing into Immortality," by Gerald Epstein, copyright 1994. It is billed as a new spiritual medicine of healing stories and imagery," and it takes a frankly religious approach to personal healing. I remember, from my first encounter with it, that I had to school myself to read it even when the language was more "churchy" than I was comfortable with. That said, I came to value it as a powerful guide to personal wellness, and I need to relearn the lessons it contains.
I'll be talking my way through its pages here in the next weeks and months. If you are interested in the dialog, then feel free to talk with me about it. If not, consider yourself warned -- it might be that you'll want to skip our place and find someplace that is more (or even a little bit) kinky. Believe me, I do understand...
There is nothing earth-shaking in any of that, and probably, for most of our readers, nothing even interesting. For me, however, it feels like a start toward something that feels whole and powerful and promising.