Every day during lent I would go to church and stand before the plaque reciting the prayers. Always self conscious of whether I was doing the prayer in the right way. Unsure of myself, fearful. Not sure if it was working to make me less of a sinner. Not sure how to feel forgiven. Finally breaking ties with an unforgiving church.
I took refuge in nature. Nature is my church. Her vastness, her power, beauty creating a sense of awe and inspiration. I would paddle her waterways, sail on her seas, hike through the trees and sleep under her stars. The beauty of the desert contrasting the shade and the granite rocks clustered along the Atlantic coastline. Nature, a true God(ess) worthy of both courage and fear.
And the destruction of rape, assault. Losing oneself to self destruction to numb the pain of it all. Confusion and loss, pain and spiralling downward toward hell. Perhaps there is no point, no forgiveness and one must suffer for ones sins.
My hands grasped the hard, rough granite cliff, as I edged my way upwards. Moving to the left following her lines, then switching and moving back to the right as the features of the cliff demanded. Exhilaration and fear driving a point of focus on the task at hand, the challenge before me. Putting aside the fear of falling, of harm and fulfilling the desire to just keep moving upward to the top. Aware only of the next move, the sun, the breeze, my balance, me breath; awareness of moving with nature, not separated from myself. This commanding my devotion.
Then came motherhood and the gift of a child. Devotion of purpose to provide for this wee one, to love, to nurture and nourish him. To support and govern the environment around him. To love and hold space for his grace to flourish… even through the loss of love and connection.
In the depths of despair again, turning back to movement. Only this movement came with devotion to a Goddess. Uncertainty reared its head when in pursuit of quiet moments of meditation and stillness. And sometimes all became clear and connected. Sitting under the bodhi tree seeking answers, solutions to challenges and suffering. Seeking peace, no striving for peace and knowing striving is the source of discontent.
Remembering the homeless children, starving girls begging with babies, the used people seeking what is just a dollar to me. The dog with its face torn and in throws of pain and confusion as people walk past, unseeing. Here I sit devoted to my own peace and contentment. Me at the centre of my world. Devoted to more for me and unseeing the blessings I have already been granted.
The moment of recognizing the beauty in all of it, the suffering a guide post, in the same way the awe of nature is also. It is all a part of a larger drama being played out and I can choose to be a player on the stage or a spectator in the theatre. I can move through the triumphs and the losses, feeling the blows and laughter, holding tight to MY desire. Or I can observe and love the multitude of expressions and the release myself being the centre.
Nothing is inauspicious nor meaningful. Everything is perfect just as it should be, including me. When the resistance to this shows up as it does, I can know beyond a shadow of doubt, that I have moved back to being the centre of my world, toward the self preservation of who I think I should be. I have moved my devotion and faith from the grandeur that is life and focused it on the smallness of my own ego and comfort. Away from true freedom, toward resistance, striving and suffering.