For a while it’s been very quiet in these pages. After a jubilant start to the new year, the very light that I encouraged all of us to shine has not been seen here. But that doesn’t mean it has not been shining. Sometimes we need to allow the light to shine deeply within, to light up what has been hidden, to transform that which has been withheld, to rediscover that which was lost.
Our lives go through peaks and troughs. The other day I was asked to divide my life into seven year cycles in preparation for an upcoming workshop. Needless to say it took me an awfully long time to actually figure out how to make the equation… 7-14, 15-22…23-30.. wrong…. 7-13, 14-20… etc. And what’s more, I confounded the maths by trying to add the correct dates so that I could actually tally it up with my many diaries. At some point I turned 50 in 2005… and even I know that can’t be right.
But flummoxing by numbers apart, it was remarkable to see how life events that I believed had been precipitated by me, were in fact beautifully choreographed to fit these seven year cycles of personal growth and change. In other words, while it may be tempting to assign inner feelings and processes to outer events, I am finally beginning to understand that it is the other way around. We are always one step behind in our unfolding lives, and all we can do is open all of our senses to a gentle letting go of any notion of control.
So while the tide has been out on my creative expression, it has been very much in when it comes to exploring the opportunities and challenges of a life turned upside down, or, perhaps, the right way up. For now. For this part of my life. And sometimes war reporters are too caught up in the events of the war to be able to come back and report from the front-line with clarity. And thus the better choice is silence.
And perhaps this is the only reflection in this first come-back blog; to report that the inner war was not so dire and painful as we all might think. That all the resources we need to offer insight, solace, expression, courage, and creative lust are already there for us. All we need to do is let the outside world be the outside world for a while. To dive deep and trust that all is well. All is as it should be. So many people, individually and collectively, find themselves in the throes of struggle and pain right now. Collectively we are so afraid, we see the systems around us crumble, we make fear based decisions that affect others, like the Brexit, and yet the deepest darkest void that we all try to avoid is our innermost longing for love and light. For someone to say it will be okay. That all will be well.
But it is only in the bright sparkling stillness of your own being, when the mindless chatter of your brain is stilled and the adrenaline driven need to act on every provocation and fear is withheld, that you will, I promise, will find that still point of peace. That moment of connection where you know, not because I or anyone else says so, but because you experience it yourself at the very heart of your being. In the words of Julian of Norwich “that all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.”
Yes but….. I hear you think. What about this, and that. What about the grave illness that I am afraid of, the dissolution of the world order, the dissolution of my relationship, the death of a loved one. How can I not be afraid and want to try and change the situation, even though deep down inside I know I am helpless?
As a good Christian child and later rather reluctant Christian adult that felt her spirituality chafing at the bounds of dogma, I must have prayed the Lord’s prayer many thousands of times. And every time I mumbled ‘thy will be done’ there was always an underlying ego-sense that translated those words to ‘I will submit to letting Your will be done.’ And later I may even have added quasi-humbly, ‘Thy will through my will be done’. But a few weeks ago we had reason to say the Lord’s Prayer twice in one service. And on the second time around I finally got it. Thy WILL (will) be done. Whether we like it or not. And we can chose to be the helpless victims of events, or we can chose to surf on the currents of change, using our fear as the surfboard upon which to ride out our emotions, and invite Life to bring it on!
Yes, that’s hard. It really awfully painfully hard. Just like learning to surf. You will fall off. You will feel you are drowning in the tidal waves of affect. You may even think you are dying. Yes, it takes emotional and mental, especially mental, discipline to keep raising yourself above your mental and emotional fears, to a place where you can see more clearly, more effortlessly, that all is as it should be. Even our struggles. Even our losses. Our helplessness is our strength. Surrendering to that inner peace where you will find all the resources you need to buckle up, experience the ride and know more clearly what the next step might be.
And the ride knows where it is going. The ride that took me on a whirlwind of sexual awakening when I was 14, to adventure seeking when I was 21 in a country that beckoned me like home, to motherhood at the age of 28, and the glorious years of family life that followed, to the deep personal and spiritual growth processes from the age of 35 onward that led to an inevitable parting of ways with the man whom I believed would be my life companion until death parted us.
If I have learned anything in the past years, it is the sweet surrender to inevitability. The profound strength that can be found in embracing our very helplessness. The need for nothing more than the gentlest of touches on our imagined wheel of fortune. When at the still point of my own turmoil, above the winds of change, I heard; Be still, and breathe, and I will be with you. Be still, just breathe, and all will be well.