Tag: soul work

My Friend the Sea – A Meditation

My Friend the Sea – A Meditation

Meditation

I love the beach. Who doesn’t? Who in their right mind anyway *smile*.  I am so ready to get out into the wide open sunshine, and to pay a visit to my friend, the sea. I know there are some who don’t care for the sand that gets into shoes and beach bags, but I find it impossible not to get lost in the sensation of it squishing between my toes as I walk the beach, flirting with the sea as it rises and falls.

There’s a rhythm to the ocean that lulls me, calls me, rocks me gently and insistently into my soul place. I drift away without effort, getting lost in the magnitude of its ever present ebbing and flowing, rising and falling, expanding and retracting. It beckons me to meld my spirit with it, to learn what lessons it has to teach me, to grow in my understanding that I too rise and fall, expand and contract, ebb and flow.

We are not rigid, consistent, structured, orderly creatures, we human beings. So why do we try so desperately to be so? Endlessly we seem driven to tame our spirits into submission, to create a reliable, solid, predictable foundation upon which to stand, immobile, unflinching. In doing so we contradict our very life force, a force that must breathe, must rise and fall, must know loud expression and silence, bold action and inaction, dancing wildly and praying softly. Our spirit must be allowed to soar to the highest heights and fade away into nothingness. When we remember that we are like the sea we become more flexible in our dealings with life, more resilient, more graceful, more soul driven, buoyed by our connection to all that is, resting in the knowledge that we are not alone.

A MEDITATION: Close your eyes and imagine the sea. Smell the salty air, the breeze on your face as it cools your skin, the sound of the waves as they roll closer and closer, reaching, stretching, longing to touch your toes; then…listen to the release as each wave relents in its effort to come to shore, falling away, the sound growing fainter and fainter until it is gone.  Are the waves sorrowful when they do not reach you? Do you yearn to run after them, to reach out and take hold of their force and power? Just notice what you are feeling. Don’t think. Continue to breathe in with the rise of each wave and breathe out as they fall. Feel your body swell like the waves with each inhale. Then, release your breath. Allow the air as it is released to co-mingle with each receding wave. Notice your breath as it ebbs and flows. Release your stress, your sadness, your striving, give it over to the receding wave and feel it wash out into the sea. Release what does not serve you, give it over to the tides. Lean into the ebb and flow of your imaginary ocean. Notice that you hold the same expansiveness within you, the same ability to release and let go. Take in, let go. Take in and let go.

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Unraveling Ourselves

Unraveling Ourselves

“Unraveling external selves and coming home to our real identity is the true meaning of soul work.”

Sue Monk Kidd3c15e6af5a296dd861c2bd8ba93aa29e

There is so much to be done in the unraveling department. The good news is that once true unraveling begins, one starts to feel lighter and lighter. The heavy weight of pain and confusion begins to lift and the challenges one faces are laced with hope. Feeling one’s real and honest identity become interconnected with one’s soul is both energizing and life affirming.

If anyone had told me years ago that I would feel younger, happier and freer at sixty-three than I had ever felt at any other time in my life, I would have been convinced they were smoking something. I lived pretty much most of fifty something years under a black cloud, fighting, struggling, despairing…suffering inside in a way I wouldn’t wish on anyone.

I was dedicated and earnest in my pursuit of self-understanding from a very early age. I was drawn to the spiritual life, like a magnet. I understand the human need and desire for a connection with the divine, implicitly. What I didn’t understand was my pain in the world. I didn’t understand how the world and the divine spoke to one another. The divine was speaking, but no one was listening.

Repeatedly throughout my life, I moved toward God and then fell away. I moved toward spiritual teachers and an understanding of an inner life, but when I attempted to carry it into the world I felt frustrated and alone. I did not know how to put words to any of what I knew to be true in a way that would convey to others.

The symbolic language I found and used to describe such things no longer worked in my practical, modern surroundings. I desperately wanted to find a connection between the two. I did not want to leave the world behind and go to a mountain top, although at times I wish I had. It could not have been more painful to be alone with God than it was to be alone in the world.

Now all these years later I’m beginning to see more clearly what happened. A product of my times, I found nowhere to go with my spiritual yearnings. Even seminary was an environment that was decidedly pragmatic in its approach to spirituality. One believed in the fundamentals of the Christian faith, even questioned and discussed them with other believers, but when all was said and done it was understood that the ultimate goal was to bring our faith and belief to others in the context of the church setting. What about bringing it into the world at large? Why must we put it into a box only to be brought out on Sunday morning in a pre-programmed environment? I couldn’t buy into any of it.

To my way of thinking what was always wrong with the “church” was what is still wrong with organized religion. It’s religion in a box. It’s not about spiritual listening and learning and becoming. It’s not about looking for God in the everyday world of board meetings and while making peanut butter sandwiches for your kids. We paid lip service to that, but there really was no support structure for such a lifestyle.  Religious traditions are too small, too narrow, too limiting for what I believe God to be and the spiritual life to require.

When “religion” didn’t answer my questions or satisfy my yearnings I didn’t abandon the Divine that lived in my heart. I just stopped paying attention to her voice. She was still there, calling to me, needling me, tormenting me. I chose instead to turn my back on my soul and sought refuge instead in the psychological realm. Therapy. Medication. Pain. More therapy. More pain.More medication.

I learned much about the human psyche, but it did not help me grow in self-esteem or  value the gift of life, because at my core I remained disconnected from my essential myself, my soul self. I was ignoring that place from which all real self-esteem comes. If we are not listening to our deep, inner voice and hearing the messages and guidance of our soul, we will never find peace. We will never understand who we are or what we have to offer the world. We will never trust that we are valuable, or that we matter, no matter what. No therapist, no religion, no worldly structure  or construct can ever teach us that.