Fall 2017: Possibilities
I know we are well into November—and the onset of winter—but I will still refer to this as my fall blog. Hopefully next month, I will return to my regular monthly musings. So much has happened in my life since the spring. I have definitely traversed my own Heroine’s Journey—and it’s been quite the wild ride! To (re)discover one’s Self is…well, it’s quite beyond words, really. I do know that I am grateful for the opportunity taken. Intimidating and scary as it was to embark on this Journey, the rewards have been beyond estimation. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. And I’ve no regrets.
I’ve looked back a few times (fortunately, not turning into a pillar of salt—for those familiar with the biblical OT story of Lot’s wife); but all I have seen is how far I’ve come. Obviously I am writing this while in a “good place.” There have definitely been many times of quiet (and not so quiet) despair. Along with the usual suspects of longing, anger, hurt, pain, insecurity, and intense confusion/questioning. I have had to close chapters of my life story and begin new ones.
Recently, my sister lent me a book called Anam Ċara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom by John O’Donohue (1997). Anam Ċara is Gaelic for soul friend. And while most of us look outside ourselves for that soul friend (and I am blessed to have more than one of those), I am learning to look inside myself as well. To befriend that deepest part of myself. Here’s a compilation of quotes that really resonated with me:
“The soul needs love as urgently as the body needs air. In the warmth of love, the soul can be itself. All the possibilities of your human destiny are asleep in your soul. You are here to realize and honour these possibilities. When love comes in to your life, unrecognized dimensions of your destiny awaken and blossom and grow. Possibility is the secret heart of time…Love is the nature of the soul. When we love and allow ourselves to be loved, we begin more and more to inhabit the kingdom of the eternal…We do not need to go out to find love; rather, we need to be still and let love discover us…We cannot fill up our emptiness with objects, possessions, or people. We have to go deeper into that emptiness; then we will find beneath nothingness the flame of love waiting to warm us.” (O’Donohue, pp. 9-12)
How beautiful is that! Which makes me think of the blogs I wrote about The Void (worth a re-read even for me). It’s something we all have to face, or else we get caught up in filling it with objects, possessions, or people—some leading to addictions of every shape, size, and colour. My “drug” of choice is food and sometimes retail therapy in the form of bargain hunting. In those moments, I have to become mindful of what is going on for me and choose a healthier coping strategy or method of self-soothing. Music is a big one for me—with no weight gain or self-loathing or over-spending. Journalling is another, as well as being out in nature.
One of the blessings of being where I am now is that I can look out my front window and observe nature without leaving the comfort of my cabin in cold weather! Yesterday, a wood pecker decided to taste-test the exterior of my humble abode right by the window. Fortunately, it didn’t have the right flavour; so he moved on to something more palatable. I also saw a deer in the distance; but the trees directly in front of my cabin blocked my view. Back to watching the wood pecker and other perching birds. Reminds me, I need to refill the bird feeder.
Pardon the wandering off on a rabbit trail.? Back to possibilities: “All the possibilities of your human destiny are asleep in your soul. You are here to realize and honour these possibilities.”(O’Donohue, p. 9) Within that inner Void lie possibilities. If we drown out the Void, we miss out. Embarking on my Heroine’s Journey of self discovery provided me the opportunity to realize and honour the possibilities deep within—to live out my True Self—to find my purpose. We each have personal purpose lying within the Void of possibilities. Your destiny—should you wish to accept it—is waiting to be awakened.
The word that struck me was “honour.” I cannot honour what lies deep within if I don’t befriend my soul—if I don’t allow myself to love and be loved—if I don’t look beneath the nothingness to find the flame of love waiting to ignite me. I am reminded of another Celtic concept: praying through the elements, particularly breathing in the Fiery Presence to become Fire. I need to let go of self-denial and self-denigration if I am to honour and realize the possibilities within—to be ignited or set on fire, as it were.
This brings to mind a quote by Marianne Williamson that has been used in a couple of “overcoming-the-odds” movies such as Coach Carter (2005) starring Samuel L. Jackson and Akeela and the Bee (2006) with Angela Bassett, Laurence Fishburne, and Keke Palmer. On a side note, these movies follow the Hero’s Quest motif from each gender’s perspective: Coach Carter, the masculine; Akeela and the Bee, the feminine.
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we’re liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
(pp. 190-191 of “A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of A Course in Miracles” by Marianne Williamson, 1993)
Embrace your possibilities. Or we risk growing stagnant, even bitter and resentful. Incapable of giving and receiving love.
“Others want to love, to give themselves, but they have no energy. They carry around in their hearts the corpses of past relationships and are addicted to hurt as confirmation of identity.” (O’Donohue, pp. 12-13)
What a profound metaphor for how we self-sabotage. We carry around the corpses of past relationships (the wounding by others). We can’t let go and free ourselves to honour possibilities. We strangely think that if we let go, we lose our sense of self, our identity. Somehow we have become convinced that the hurt is who we are. We become stuck in victim mode. Let go of the past hurts. Release yourself to live anew. To become a world of possibilities…
”To see a world in a grain of sand and heaven in a wild flower, Hold infinity in the palm of your hand and eternity in an hour.” poet William Blake (1757-1827)
That pep talk is as much for me as for you dear readers, my friends and fellow life-travellers. I may need to post the phrase, “Embrace your possibility,” somewhere I can see it everyday; along with “Befriend your own soul.” That really could be a killer combination—befriending myself and embracing the possibilities that surface. Who knows what could all come of that! ?
So…Allow the inner Void to exist. Peer over the edge. Let the spaciousness you see speak to you. And then look past, beneath the nothingness, to the flame of love waiting to warm and ignite you. It will illuminate the possibilities just waiting to be honoured and realized.