Finding Hope #29 Love Letter
It is the middle of the night.
The moon woke me up.
I got up and went outside to see what she wanted.
There she was.
A silver golden egg rocking across
the blue velvet hem of the Creator’s garment.
She lit things up in a warm blue light
and she wanted to show me
how roses look in the moonlight at 2 am
how the oak tree on the hill looks pure black
how the stars are at work keeping time
with the rhythm of the universe.
Did you see how Venus and Jupiter
are keeping one another company?
I called out to Our Lady,
What are we to do?
“Finding hope within your heart will show you what to do.
Faith will give you the courage. Hope will be your guide.
Love will keep you on the right path.
Stay as close as you can to one another.
And remember that I am always with you.”
LOVE LETTER FROM SHILOH
(raw, unedited version)
It is unusual for me to be awake in the middle of the night. I believe one of the secrets to my ability to get so much done in the day is that I sleep well at night. Isaiah and I had a wonderful night sitting on our couches, drinking wine that our dear friend Mary Stella gave us for a special evening just like this.
We marveled at our life before couches. How the couches made it so that we could just – BE – not on a bed, not at the table, not on a chair, but lounging. It was the presence of “couch” in my life that actually helped me to rest when I came home at night from work, because there was somewhere to DO that. Sounds odd saying it. Can furniture cause a transformation at the level of rest? For a woman who does too much, a nice couch is a Sabbath. AND the kind of night we had last night was made possible by red velvet couches, and red wine. We just talked and giggled for hours. And prayed. These days we seem to intertwine prayer with every conversation. He was at one end, and I was at the other, legs and feet intertwined. Candles. Kitty cat on the other couch. We spoke of love and sadness. Progress and challenge. Regrets and possibilities. Ways we can cut back and ways we can move forward.
And through that, and in this moment…
My heart is full. And heavy.
Filled with sad stories of ones close to me. And ones that are far off, that I don’t know, whose stories touch my heart through the news, and through the ethers. Once I made a commitment long ago when I was 22, to LOVE and to SERVE, my heart was awakened to the suffering of others to such a degree that I had to do art just to keep from being swallowed up by the sadness of knowing. I totally get it why so many of us are asleep, (metaphorically, because I hope YOU are sleeping right now) because to be awake is to carry something we may not have the spiritual muscle to carry. We have to practice carrying it in such a way that it is held gently – but powerfully – close to our hearts but not so close that we cannot breathe because, it is all so sad. And there is so much beauty. The side by side nature of sorrow and bliss is the state all of us live in at one level or another.
How do we keep our hearts open and awake when we feel hopeless about how things may be turning out? This is not easy. Attempting to TRULY love others, and ourselves, and our enemies, does something to a girl. It changes her. For me, I became an artist. And art became my ministry. If we are going to truly care, we must also truly serve. And serving, or Sava as they call it in the Yoga tradition, is unique to each of us. I beleive that we are “called” to serve in a way that is specific to WHO Creator made us to be.
Sometimes I think I am not doing enough to help. Because I think of the traditional models of serving – which are all so important. Food Water Shelter Education Safety.
But then I get off of my own case, and do what I tell my students to do –
Go where you are called. Follow your natural affinity towards the love you feel and see where it leads you. Don’t think it needs to be huge or lofty or of the “save the world” quality. Listen closely to what you feel is important and go where it goes – and keep on going and eventually you will find yourself in the middle of your unique service. We have to step out in faith on these “calls” though we don’t have any idea sometimes where it will lead. When we get there however, we will understand what that part of the journey has been about. In a way, it will make sense. BUT if we do not step out, how can we be led? My experience tells me that it the very act of the leap of faith that creates the next place to land – and the next – and the next. Not leaping is the issue. And sometimes, we leap and we fall. This hurts. And it is also a part of the journey. As we are looking face down in the dirt – feeling the wind knocked out of us – if we can not turn to anger, but to wonder and even gratitude that we did not die this time – then something can be revealed to us about what we are doing down there, breathing particles of earth.
As Isaiah and I were walking down the stairs leaving work last night, he turned and said, “Be so careful, I don’t ever want you to fall.” He meant literally of course. And in my heart I wanted to cry out – but I am falling. Falling in love. Falling down in my commitments. Falling in love. Falling for new projects. Falling out of grace. Falling towards Creator. Falling away from sin. Falling into things too big for me. Free falling in all the things that must be done. Falling more in love with you. Falling more in love with people. Falling for Beauty.
Falling for God.
I have taken on a lot, as those of you who keep up with my life through these newsletters know. When I see you – you say – WOW you really are stepping out there. WOW what a risk. You are growing. I am sometimes surprised at how I am being responded to – and how you have intimate knowledge of me – then I remember about my Love Letters to the world. This weekend and last at the Celebration of Craftswomen I was so blessed to see so many familliar faces, and so many I do not know, who read these writings and shared their experiences with me. Thank you.
Fast forward to the next day, I am at the Flying Goat Cafe in Healdsburg
Faith. Hope. Charity.
This is what I think I need for right now.
(Love is the other word that is sometimes used for Charity.)
Let us move in faith, practice hope, and live in love.
What else is there to do? This is a commitment. A practice. A way of being.
And there is something else we can do. It sounds hard at first. And it feels kind of impossible. We can claim our life as it is. We can REALLY look at what we have created and take responsibility for it. And give thanks for it. We can even embrace it. Because when we keep hiding things from ourselves, it is draining us on the unseen realms. By admitting and choosing to be real about both our predicament, and our blessings, we are empowered to GET ON WITH the business of living a vital life no matter what.
This is different than making ourselves “pay” for our shortcomings all the time.
We pay for it when we do not face it. Facing it allows us to offer it up, surrender it,
let it move to another place within us. It gets lodged in our heart, mind and body and shows up in strange ways. Soul confession does not solve everything, or sometimes anything, but to come clean with ourselves and others about where we have fallen is a part of the transformation journey.
What it does do is:
for something else to happen in.
A clearing occurs where new life can come.
For me, being Christian, this is a natural and continual process of surrendering to the will of the Divine, repenting, which for me means to turn from where I am completely and move to a new place in my spirit and in my life – on each topic. Because of how this word, -repent- has been used and and abused I think many of us have steered clear of it for good reason. I have however been in so many conversations with so many hurting people, where there is nothing else to say, but,
It is time to ask for forgiveness, time to offer forgiveness, to turn from where you were, to a new place. And I am included in that. It does not have to be BIG huge things. Often it is small things that rob us in small but consistent ways. Holding grudges. Blaming. Passive Agressiveness. Well intentioned gossip. Beating ourselves up. Overeating. Acting mean. Thinking we are worthless. Treating others as “less than”. Overspending. Holding on to being right. Not admitting when we are wrong. Letting old stories keep us down. Not reaching because we are afraid. Believing lies about us. Telling lies about us. Not being who we are.
I am going to share with you a kind of prayer that I do when I am ready to make changes. You can use it, or make up your own. Get by yourself, light a candle or sit outside – but if you can say it out loud that is best.I acknowledge these ways that I have harmed myself and others
…insert list here…
I ask for forgiveness and grant forgiveness where I am able
…insert list here…
I choose to move on from these ways of being
…insert list here…
I choose to claim these ways of being
…insert list here…
and so on…
And if you are one who does not believe in the Creator, it stands as it is.
And if you are one who does you can start with…
Creator, show me the way to make this happen
and you can end with something like:
Creator, I thank you in advance for guiding this process
and empowering me through your love to live the life you
intended for me to live.
and so on…
And the key is.
(drum roll please)
That we remember that we have done the work. When that old idea or behaviour comes up that is harming, we REMEMBER, OH YA, I dealt with that already! I don’t have to do that again. Then proceed as if it is indeed, complete. It may not feel like it is. But practice thinking it is done. Ask Creator for help in this process. It really does help!
One of the ways I practice my ministry is through having events. In another life, I would have founded a church. In this life, I cause CELEBRATION. We have a big weekend. It is the Feast Day of Our Lady. In my Gratitude section I am writing about Tonantzin, who I am so excited to see! I have shared a bit of our story and how it relates to Our Lady. I thought that writing about Our Lady would be so easy for me as I paint her and talk to her all the time. You can search her on the internet to learn more about her, there is plenty to read. But I am thinking that after our Celebration that the words will come. I have some new images inspired by Our Lady on our Electric Rose web-site in process. Writing about her right now feels like trying to paint the color green. Green is so totally perfect as it is – how can I add to it or attempt to offer something more to the holy color green?
Want to see what I have been working on?
And so I close, sending you LOVE across the starways and sun beams.
I hope this message sent you a spark, a bit of holy fire for the top of your heart –