|Labyrinth center in Chartres Cathedral France September 2016|
On Inauguration Day weekend, I was at a retreat in Oklahoma City. That weekend brought into focus the path I have been intending to walk for several years. During this retreat, i received the gift of following this path.Since then my life has been an unfolding experiencing of qualities of The Higher Self. Yes, this has not been simple and easy, a new experience for me. I never had to study to pass a class in school.
As in Joseph Campbell's Hero With A Thousand Faces, I too have been on that journey.
I heard the Call to take this journey and responded with a vow to aspire to mindful presence and follow this path to more intentionally be of service to what this planet needs. Altruistic, yes, but also a Spiritual practice. This journey is absolutely necessary.
I met allies and opportunities along the way as the year proceeded to support and nurture my decision to be on this path. Teachings of Thich Naht Hanh, The Center for Contemplation and Action, The Florida Community of Mindfulness, and of course my Mentor, Pat Webb.
When the opportunity presented itself for me to practice mindful presence, I battled with my response to small town politics on a project for the community. Failing miserably in managing the anger I was feeling from the unjust maneuvering and manipulating that was going on, I made a decision that was huge for me - to sever my relationship with the planning committee. I agreed to another project which would be part of that community project and failed miserably again in the end by telling off a bully because I was too wrapped up in self pity.
These events, for which I am totally responsible, sent me into a battle with myself. I earnestly sought guidance from mentors and teachers, both in person and through reading about how to process anger on the spot, instead of a remorseful afterthought.
Then I was presented with one more opportunity to practice mindful presence and unconditional love and forgiveness.
As I was headed home, I spotted my ex-roommate's truck parked on the street. He no longer lives anywhere near here. My grieving process was definitely at the angry stage and there he was right when I was at the pinnacle of anger in my heart, generously displacing it on others.
I turned my car around, parked it and went in to the shop to be in his presence, determined to practice peace and compassion with this encounter.
He acted like I was a big imposition on him at that moment, yet I continued to beckon a peaceful discussion. I became aware that he was not healthy. I recalled noticing that his truck appeared to have been in an accident. He seemed to be attempting to sort out whether or not he knew this person in his presence, and I sensed his fear of this encounter.
Compassion filled my whole being and, yes, I was at peace with the violent hateful unjust way that this friendship had ended after twenty years. I took his hand, and squeezing it, wished him well and told him to take good care of himself. Turning away to continue my journey, I was aware that a neighbor, one who had been special to him, had come in to see him.
I left shaking uncontrollably, but within the next hour, that shaking released all that had happened during the drama of his parting ways and was being replaced with a showering of freedom, a renewed will to live, and gratitude to be alive and on this new path. I do believe this event was the turning point on my journey this year if not of my whole life to this moment.
By this time, October was almost over and it was time for the claim the victory of the great battle of a life's time. I attended a mindfulness retreat to be guided in deepening my meditation practice and learn more about meditation with readings from the ancients . The retreat center had a labyrinth which I walked during my solitary time twice a day. These walks were great opportunities to reflect on the intentional journey I had aspired to in January, the encounters on the journey through the year, and the transformation that was forming successfully in my Soul during this retreat.
And here I am at the end of this journey through a year, marked by a hurricane that came right up through the middle of Florida, hurricanes that nearly wiped out islands and island nations, earthquakes, volcanoes, and of course the unprecedented number and extent of wildfires in the West. The upheaval of the political systems in many countries, exposure of corruption, and abuse of living beings has resulted in a totally fear producing environment has all given cause for social outrage at its deepest place.
Yet, in the center of it all, there is a promise of peace, hope, love, joy and compassion and many other reminders that being alive is a good thing.
At the end of 2017, I am at home with all of it, not hiding from it or from the truth that I intend to continue to walk this path on this journey.
I have asked many if they have experienced shifts in the way they relate to the world 's encounters in today's world. All have confirmed a shift in their response to life. I would love to hear from you on your shifting perspective.
How are you beginning to feel at home on this planet and with yourself, responsible for touching peace and radiating joy where suffering is most acute?