Post #9 Recovering Truth
February 19, 2015
I am meeting with Jen this morning to create the foundation for our work together.
I am up with my coffee in my favorite morning spot, writing in my journal,
“This is the story I will tell the world. The journey into my own soul, about the people, the places, the experiences. This is the donation of my heart to heal others.”
I’ve decided to take this project on with resources that I was handed down after my parents died, three months apart, six months earlier. Before my father died, while in the hospital after the motorcycle accident that eventually took his life, he would make comments that seemed to come out of nowhere. He had very rare lucid moments, and much of the time he was talking what might have sounded like nonsense if you weren’t in tune. One day while I was holding the bedside vigil, watching monitors, his breath, his heartbeat, wondering what was going come of this situation, and holding his hand, he said, “you’ll burn through it.”
I now had the money to invest in this project of my soul. I did not intend to burn through it, but he’d scared me in the moment, put me on alert. I’d set some aside for the future and made the decision to take this on. To devote this year to my soul and finding my personal legend under Jen’s guidance. To invest in healing myself, to undo generational patterns, to get to the bottom of my heart, for the sake of my children and their children’s children. My legacy would be a legacy of pure love.
Yesterday Jen sent me this letter:
The thought of your tender heart in service to the world fills me with deep joy. There is nothing in this world more sacred than a human heart that opens as a way of illuminating the path. This is my calling too. I can imagine no other way, so you can imagine how these words fill me with so much delight and happiness to know we are on this path together.
I love how your dad’s edict. “you’ll burn through it.”
I hope he is right, but not in the way he dreaded and feared. I hope you burn through every bit of legacy he left you, lighting up every word, every gesture, every curse, until all that remains from that fire is pure gold. I hope that you will examine everything he passed on to you and ask yourself, Is this for me? Or is this something to return to the earth, the way we buried the shell of what was left of him in order to honor and claim his spirit?
The path of devotion is the way of honoring our parents. The mother and the father. It is learning how to love the gifts they gave us while holding in gentle tenderness the wounds they passed on as well. Our parents are human, frail, eternal creatures. But they are also our Great Teachers, the ones we chose before the womb to shape our souls, and learning how perfect our choice was is a great and powerful lesson, one we can return to again and again, especially when we have gone through the process of allowing the dross to burn, so that we can claim all the precious metals: our most true inheritance.
Releasing the need to defend the sacred path is part of this journey. It actually makes a way for us to return to the proper honor of our parents, so your instincts to embrace your heart and stop apologizing for how wide open you want to cast your heart is correct as a woman and also as a daughter. From this intuitive place you are able to begin to break up the frozen ground, making way for your new life. From this place, you are able to take every curse, every misunderstanding and turn it into the seed of exponential blessing.
We will do this first by alchemizing the fear of your father.
We will take his worry for your well-being, his doubt of your instincts, his fear for your future, and will transform it into the gift of his highest intention. We will also take the burdens he carried right to his grave and ensure you are not carrying them needlessly as well. We will heal that line for the sake of your heart and for the future of your children and their children to come.
She instructs me to connect with my father with my heart, with my being, through all the moments of my life. She prompts me with questions like, “what was he like when you were 7, 17, at your wedding? How was he your champion, your hero.” She challenges me to call to my heart the feelings I had when I was around him. The day he died and I knew I would never see him again. She asked me to write, write until I had nothing left to say. She asked me to collect his pictures, artifacts, things that remind me most of him.
She promises to travel this path with me, uncovering the stories we need to find the gold, because she has stories of her own relationship with her father who has a blessing for me. “A man who burned through everything he had for the sake of his own difficult, sometimes limited heart. And because in his own way he wanted to make a difference, he wanted to be a blessing and he wanted his life to be blessed.”
She tells me that “we will find the gold we need to take with us on our path of devotion and we will carry this gold in our pocket as a secret weapon, a fine treasure.”
She writes, Your father will be returned to you as a guide, a presence that you can hear and trust because you will now listen from a heart made discerning by a purifying love that only allows in what serves the path of devotion for the sake of the greater good.
So dig deep, my sister, and burn bright. You can be trusted with this inheritance and you will take what is paper and temporary and transform it into pure gold fore the sake of something sustainable, real and beautiful. I have every confidence.
With all my love, Jen.
I’ve invited her to meet me at Christ Episcopal Church in Georgetown. I chose this place because a woman I admire and love was memorialized there. Her sons, her grandson and her husband stood before the church and told their stories of her as a mother and a lover. She was a woman of great beauty and depth who knew what she wanted and designed her life exactly that way. An enormous, devoted heart in the tiniest package of a woman, with an attractive sense of style, a charming personality and deeply present energy. I honestly adored her being. I wanted to go back there to be with her. I wanted to design my life exactly the way I wanted it to be. I desired her presence, her spiritual guidance.
The church was empty and closed when I arrived. I was just on the verge of disappointment when the cleaning staff opened the door and let me in. Jen arrived shortly after and we chose to sit in the choir seats where the sunlight was streaming in through stained glass. Sitting there with Jen, I feel safe. I see beauty, grace, peace, softness in her eyes and I hear it in her voice. I feel a true spiritual connection. I trust her deeply.
I tell her about Sharon, about how she “designed her life,” how her partner adored her and the love story he told at the altar, how devoted they were to each other. I spoke of my desire. My desire to design my life, a life devoted to loving and being loved.
She takes my hand and we move to the kneeling bench under the intricate stained glass with the image of Mother Mary, of her Son, of Angels with the sun beaming through lighting them up and landing on the tops of our heads, warming them as we bow, hold hands and she prays.
We come to you today Great Mother, so deeply dependent on your guidance. So deeply dependent on your grace. We come to you, with hearts full of longing. For partnership, for magic, for mystery, for the kind of transcendence that can transform us and make us into women who embody your presence, your startling grace.
I come to you today, particularly humbled by the story of Shelly’s friend and her husband. Of how they spoke of her and how she was loved. Great Mother, this is the love Shelly desires. This is the kind of woman we seek to become, and so we ask you, on our knees, our hearts wide open, to have your way with us. To take us and hold us and restore us and remake us. To protect this path we have chosen. To teach us what it means to be devoted. To show us in the most visceral human amazing way what it means to embody love. To create in us the kind of devotion that can make the world a very different place.
And we ask you all this, because more than anything else, we want our lives to matter. We want to make a difference. We want to be of service. We want to be beacons of hope. We want to be the reason there is more joy in the world. We want others to feel in our presence the thrill of a new way and the divine beauty of your grace.
So please, we are begging you, on our knees, to draw a hedge of protection around us. May we only experience what is yours for us, nothing more and nothing less. Do whatever you must to envelope us in your love and convince us in a way we have never known before that your love, your tender ways are the only way for us, today, tomorrow and forever and ever.
We rise, we hug and we make our way to the window seat at Baked and Wired for the laying of the foundation for our work together.
We sit down with coffee, cupcakes, cookies and tea. She is holding her coffee cup that the barista has written her name on, I find it very amusing as seeing as a few minutes ago we were on our knees, rapt and deep in prayer with Mother Mary, the Great Mother, God and the Angels.
She takes a sip of her dirty Jen coffee and looks at me very seriously, then gently asks,
“What do you want from this?”
I take a very deep breath, close my eyes, exhale and say, “I want to be a girl.”
Tears are stinging the backs of my eyes, “All my life I’ve felt like I had to be strong, independent, tough. I’ve felt like I had to handle ALL the things. I was raised like a boy. I’ve been called hard. I want to be soft. I want to be a girl. My ex used to say I should have married a chick, what he didn’t understand was, what I wanted was to BE the chick.”
“I want all the things that it means to be a girl. To love and be loved like a girl, cherished, provided for, taken care of, to be gentle, soft, receptive, flowy.”
She listens quietly with her heart open. I can feel it.
We let that sit there between us while we indulge ourselves in our cupcakes and coffee, tasting the sweetness and bitterness of living and loving. We scratch out a plan on a napkin. A plan the becomes a solid foundation for the year ahead.
We decide that the heart of our year long inquiry is to receive insight and wisdom regarding these core questions:
-How do we live a life of devotion in the real world?
-What does it mean to live a life of Universal trust, to surrender?
-What does it mean to be a “girl,” to operate in the feminine?
We create our Path of Devotion Intentions to each other. Jen records them and sends them back to me in writing.
-To hold one another in the highest unconditional positive regard.
-To hold everything that happens as correct and to trust everything is unfolding exactly as it should.
-Everything is belongs
-To honor the private and intimate nature of this year. To hold the teachings in sacred trust.
-To not hold back. To speak to shadows, tensions, concerns as well as to what feels resonant, beautiful, right.
-To let our time together plant seeds of deep service to the world that thrive exponentially.
-To stay in the process of unfolding, so that we might draw from a deep, eternal well.
-To trust the revelation that will surely come when the time is right to create from learning.
-To trust that every investment of material resources will be returned many fold in many forms of abundance and blessing.
-To welcome and receive every single thing meant for us so that we might be amazing channels of divine blessing.
I give her a ride to the metro, and while we are driving I am talking about “the guy” and the love I’ve been holding for him and she tells me this story about the seemingly foolish but equally brave things we do with our BIG Love.
And now I know she understands and can truly hold the depth of my longing as well as the capacity of my heart. She too believes in that kind of love and knows there is a place for it in the grand scheme of things. She understands when I say, “I love him.” Regardless of the circumstances, even if it’s nonsense, crazy or ridiculous. Because I do. I just do and I hold him in that love. She understands because I too was bold and foolish, I too bravely laid my love on a doorstep and he too, disappeared.
I drive home with all my emotions activated. I listen to this on repeat. I’ve taken a huge leap of faith for my soul. I’ve surrendered. I’m both thrilled and scared. I am very emotional. Something that wasn’t allowed or welcome being raised like a boy.
The next day I write to Jen.
Today I’ve been digging around in my heart. In my soul. Asking the questions you asked in your letters. Contemplating your statements. Reading the information and processing the tasks you have set before me.
As I thought about an image for this I considered an image of a garden, the secret garden of my heart. The one I have never really shared. The one that has never been tended too properly. Bruce Springsteen sings of it in his song Secret Garden.
I realized that today I am digging. Digging around in my heart. Digging around in my past, planting seeds for my future, breaking up frozen ground like you said earlier. So I decided to go with gardening tools. These are the real tools of my youth. When I said yesterday that we were raised like boys, I meant it. These were our tools. Most of our time spent with our father was spent doing hard labor. Digging postholes, moving mulch, taking down trees, mowing grass. Man’s work.
This is what it felt like today to dig around in my past and in my heart to create intentions for the month, for the our year and to transcribe my wildest dreams. I needed to dig deep. I am digging deep. Unlocking the secrets of my heart. My secret desires. My secret longings. Charging the depth of my soul. I want to know what it means to surrender myself completely to love, all kinds of love.
I invited you to that church because on the day that I was there the expressions of love were so moving. Expressions by my friend Sharon’s two sons and by her husband. Men openly expressing their love for a woman. The one thing that I will never forget is that Sharon told Michael her husband in their last days together was that Christ was in her. To me that meant she knew pure love, complete surrender.
Sharon’s spirit was with us yesterday. She let us in the church. She prayed with us. She was a woman who even in adversity, chaos, sickness and pain designed a life of beauty and love. That’s what I want my life to exemplify. Beauty and Love. Under all the circumstances.
I felt that your questions are what I need to open me up wider and deeper.
I trust you deeply. I am handing you my soul. I am saying, “Here, help me make sense of this. Help me make sense of this longing. Show me how to discern what is real. Hold my hand as I walk on this path of devotion. Devotion to pure love.
Connect me to my dreams so that I may truly follow the path knowing well between that which is my spirit and that which is my ego. Heal my heart with me so that I may hear its clear calling.
Show me the barriers that I do not recognize so that I may remove them. The path of least resistance to my heart. Push me when I need it. Dig deep. Bring out the heavy equipment.
I am offering full surrender. On behalf of all people. Men and Women.
I am a regular woman who wants to know what it truly means to be herself, the essence of me. I want to know what Pure Love is, Divine Love, what it feels like, looks like, tastes like, sounds like. I want to feel it in my body, in my heart and in my soul. How THIS woman can heal the world with her love? I want to know. I want to do that.
Without expectation. Without attachment to outcome. Knowing it will all unfold as it should and we will know the next right steps when they are before us.
For the core of our year long inquiry I add only this,
Reveal my Divine Service Assignment. I want to feel my purpose rise up.
I am grateful for your guidance and the structure. I ask only that you have full faith in your heart, full faith that your dreams and your inclinations are true and correct for us. I have full faith you.
Together. Love, Shelly
And then to myself I write:
I want to be someone whose life had an impact, to honor my personal legend, but also I want this.
I want to read love poems in bed together, drink coffee for hours and tell stories or say nothing at all.
I want to walk and hold hands and notice beauty and love.
I want to listen to music and dance.
I want to stare into your eyes while you tell me your stories.
I want to kiss your face and touch every inch of you and whisper my love into your ear.
I want to ride in the car and sing.
I want to feel your fingertips grazing the hem of my dress.
I want to hear your voice tell me the story of us.
I want to tell you my story of us, while tears of love roll down my face.
I want to hold your heart. Feel its beat.
I want you to feel so loved by me that you never feel unloved or alone again.
I want to lie down beside you at the end of the day and fall asleep to the sound of our breathing together.
I want you. Period.
What do we do with this longing in our hearts? What barriers need to come down to let the love in? What walls need the heavy equipment? The plans are written. Now, where do we begin to dig?
We are traveling the path of devotion together. Next stop, The Disruption.
Come along with us.
Father above, Great Mother below, may what comes next be the fruit of your love.
Family Recovery Advocate
I serve women seeking healing and transformation.
I serve people who have been impacted by addiction recover their lives.