I've started several posts in the last month and before I could get them published, life interrupted and the words just seemed to disappear into the chaos of another day. Try try again.
It's been another spell of introspection starting with a workshop I attended on the second. "Manifesting Your Dreams in the New Year". It was held at the Hearthstone School in Sperryville, a wonderful place that has a huge stone fireplace in the lobby and smells like cedar and sage and mountain air. I always always feel better when I visit the mountains. It's almost as if I pass through some energetic shift on Rte. 522 as I drive through Scrabble, where the speed limit changes to 25 unexpectedly and with threat of aerial enforcement. Have you ever wondered exactly what that means?
Anyway, the workshop was facilitated by a very dear friend. I've known Christen for at least twenty five years and back then she did readings in her lovely old farm house. I remember that she always had the windows open just a little so that a breeze could gently play with the curtains.
Back then she was a channel. Bringing through information and counselling from Spirit Guides and Guardian Angels while in a meditative state. I was always mesmerized and a little envious that she had this whole circle of unseen friends who were wise and compassionate and 'no nonsense' when it came to living your best life.
Christen has grown and evolved in her practice and counselling and in 2000 created Spirit School for the Intuitive Arts ( http://www.spiritschool.net ). I attended one of the first courses of study, learning meditation, communicating with your Guides and Angels, releasing old belief systems and habits and energetic healing. Well, I tried to learn. For most of my adult life I listened for the voices of Angels or God. I never believed that God simply quit talking to us two thousand years ago, believing instead that we forgot how to listen. So I did. Listen. Until Shannon returned to Heaven. At that moment my inner hearing seemed to go deaf. It was wonderful to imagine benevolent beings watching over us, trying to communicate, keeping us from stepping into harm's way, until my own heart broke and the shattered pieces tried to follow Shannon there.
I was desperate to hear her voice, see her face, hear her laughter...but I'm not sure how I would have reacted had she simply appeared, a bright filmy apparition floating down the hallway. I know that she would never have wanted to frighten me. So she was subtle. And I was deaf...and often blind, to the whispers from my Angel.
There is a fine line between what we think we want and what we actually want. We walk that tightrope daily. I went to the workshop, hoping to figure some of it out. I don't do crowds very well anymore and I was expecting the usual thirty or so attendees. As the room continued to fill, beyond the first thirty, I had to hold onto the seat of my gray metal folding chair to keep from running. Close to one hundred people were there that day. There was some comfort in knowing that none of knew what we wanted but were all hoping to figure it ... together.
We were initially asked to write on a piece of paper, what our dreams are...and then manipulate the words to remove any negatives. I never really cared for positive affirmations although I know they can be incredibly effective. I was just never able to believe , " I am happy with my beautiful healthy body exactly as it is." I could say the words until the cows come home but I knew I was NOT happy when my thighs rubbed or my tummy rolled over on itself. I knew I did not think it was beautiful as age and gravity and lack of discipline made me resemble a melting candle when I stood before a full length mirror without clothes. So I was very happy when Christen suggested that we create the statement with the words intent and manifest in there so that it resembled truth. I intend to manifest a beautiful healthy body.
Now I knew we would be sharing and so I was careful to write only words that I would be willing to expose to a room full of strangers. I intend to manifest a relationship that makes me feel loved and cherished by my husband. Seemed honest and straight forward and safe. Who doesn't want that?
Well.... When I was asked to read it aloud, all eyes were intently focused on me. It was perhaps the first time any of them had really seen me that day as I have mastered the art of invisibility quite well post retirement.
"I intend to manifest a relationship that makes me feel loved and cherished by my husband."
"HMMMMMM..... not quite there yet," our group leader coached. "Try leaving out the manifesting part."
"I intend to feel loved and cherished by my husband."
"HMMMMMM..... almost but it's just not quite there yet."
I was starting to flush and sweat and squirm in my chair as she prompted me to leave out the 'intent' part. The whole exercise was starting to feel incredibly uncomfortable and my manifesting statement was being ironically transformed into a positive affirmation right before my very eyes.
"I feel loved and cherished by my husband."
"Ahhhh.... Now.... how does that feel?" she asked with enthusiasm and a tiny bit too much satisfaction.
I hesitated for just a moment and then blurted out with a tiny bit too much enthusiasm of my own... "LIKE A BIG FAT LIE ! That's how it feels."
There was an audible gasp from my group as our group leader unceremoniously moved on to the next participant.
I sat there feeling guilty. Afraid that I had offended. Worried that I was missing the whole point and that I might have discouraged some of my fellow travellers.
When the circle was complete we were given a break. At that point a tall thin mountain man, with long gray hair and beard sauntered over to my chair. He knelt down as if to share a confidence. We were practically nose to nose, his blue eyes bright, "Thank you so much for saying exactly what I was thinking."
Several other people made a point of giving me hugs or advice or a 'high fives'. I have to tell you that those few moments of open honest connection were the highlights of the day. Once again, I was reminded that we are more alike than we realize because we are so afraid to take off the mask. The mask that allows us to feel safe, hidden behind an image we hope to project. An image that will be acceptable. Approved of.
It's hard to be authentic when you're not sure what authentic really is. It's hard to be honest when most of the time no one really wants the truth. We want to do the best we can. We want that to be enough and we want to know that in our endless struggle for perfection we are not alone.
Think about it. Pick one person who you imagine has it all. One person who has achieved perfection. Got it? Okay now ... gourmet cook, immaculate home and garden, tireless romantic, beautiful physique, polite, charming, educated, well read.... you get the idea. Now... is it realistic to think that they never lose their temper? Never forget to brush their teeth? Always rinse their coffee cup. Always smile at strangers and never lose patience with their children or parents or friends. They never eat onions or garlic or work up a full stinky sweat. They never drop crumbs on the car seat... heck, they never eat in the car ! They are never late and always wear sunscreen.
I could go on and on... that is the fantasy world that I have created for myself, and the endless struggle to belong has worn me out. This morning I was at the lab at 8 for blood work. There were five of us in the waiting room. I had on black pants and a black turtle neck and both were covered with cat hair. I usually carry a lint roller in the car but this morning I forgot. Reality check... the little old lady snoring beside me didn't care. The young African American man engrossed in his Blackberry conversation didn't care. The young woman with the baby unhappily screaming because she didn't want her nose wiped certainly didn't care. So why was I sitting there fretting over a few cat hairs? I took a deep breath and happily read an article in More magazine about menopause and mad angry women.
Revelation... I am NOT the center of the Universe.
What a wonderful marvelous delectable cat hair covered relief !!