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Author: laviniachristine

Unconditional Love

Unconditional Love

 

“The beginning of love is the will to let those we love be perfectly themselves, the resolution not to twist them to fit our own image. If in loving them we do not love what they are, but only their potential likeness to ourselves, then we do not love them: we only love the reflection of ourselves we find in them”

― Thomas Merton

 

 

It can take a lifetime to understand what unconditional love entails. Often, later in life, reflection and a deep sense of regret is experienced for relationships gone awry. Age ushers in clarity by shining light on the shadows the sit between two people, especially those in which unrealistic expectations have resulted in harsh judgments. Harmful criticism that forces distance is never acceptable in a loving relationship. Sadly, this revelation often present after the damage has been done. Such is the irony of life.  

 

 Each new generation becomes more and more consumed by ego, negating the importance of intimate relationships. Separateness is the norm with love of self being paramount to love of others. This is no more self-evident than in the intimate relationships forged with close friends and family. The “need it now” and “me before all else” mantra leaves little room for the practice and disciple of deep love.

 

Love requires a letting go of the desire for control in all instances. This letting go while difficult, is necessary for love to flourish.  One must peel away a multitude of protective layers intended to soften the weight of living in a less than forgiving world. This takes great courage and an ability to feel fear but not be paralyzed by it.  Unconditional love finds breathe, when changing the lens in which one views another from the rose colored glasses of the ideal to the clearer lenses of the actual.

 

“Real intimacy is a sacred experience. It never exposes its secret trust and belonging to the voyeuristic eye of a neon culture. Real intimacy is of the soul, and the soul is reserved.”

― John O’Donohue

 

As is often the case, people are much harder on those they hold dear. Business associates and acquaintances received endless amounts of patience and support while a spouse, child or sibling can be the recipient of a critical barrage of judgments. I am just as guilty of this as the next, especially with my siblings. If not being careful, I only see the things that irritate or rub and completely overlook the beauty in the other. This beauty is always found in differences rather than similarities, the way in which one navigates the world apart from a tribe. What may appear to be foolhardy or even ill advised to one can be a great learning opportunity for another. If I love someone, I love all of them. I love the many ways in which they chose to show up in my life and at times, I love them from a distance as is necessary for my well being.

Holding another’s pain is yet another way in which unconditional love thrives. We are all delicate and fragile souls, baring scars from both intentional and unintentional wrongdoing. No amount of letting go will set us completely free from the conditioning of our upbringing and life experiences. It becomes a choice, when seeing scars in another, to gently soften the wound rather than rub salt. It is always easier to find fault in foreign ideas, actions and thoughts rather than looking intently within ourselves. Mirroring or projecting on to others all that we dislike about ourselves will never improve our lot. Reflecting pains and sorrows outward in the hopes of improving self-worth is not love but selfishness.

 

Therein is the beauty of unconditional love. It demands holding another’s heart while setting boundaries needed to honor spirit. There is never a rule book as to how this should play out, each individual is gloriously unique and so too is the act of loving. The goal should always be compassionate listening, gentle guidance and a letting go of the outcome.

 

Ask Me

Ask Me

Ask Me

Some time when the river is ice ask me

mistakes I have made. Ask me whether

what I have done is my life. Others

have come in their slow way into

my thought, and some have tried to help

or to hurt: ask me what difference

their strongest love or hate has made.


I will listen to what you say.

You and I can turn and look

at the silent river and wait. We know

the current is there, hidden; and there

are comings and goings from miles away

that hold the stillness exactly before us.

What the river says, that is what I say.

   

William Stafford

 

We all have our secrets, if someone tells you differently they are selling a mistruth of the highest order. Each person harbors shadows and darkness that linger among the embers of the light. It is because of these shadows one can see how extremely fragile we are. This life is living as if a delicate flower waiting to bloom yet instead choosing to close off out of fear and a need for self protection. No one leaves this world unscathed, in fact we are all marred by missteps, regrets and an underlying sadness for what we had hoped life to be.

 

Nothing speaks more beautiful to the irony of this condition than William Stafford’s Ask Me. He states, “Some time when the river is ice ask me mistakes I have made. Ask me whether what I have done is my life.” Having always cherished time spent hearing others stories and words of wisdom, it is difficult to comprehend that I too have a plethora of life experiences, yet feel less than worthy of imparting any wisdom earned onto others. Simply put, I am still trying to figure it all out and am doubtful that I will ever have complete understanding. Can it be possible that life continues to ramble along leading one further into the clouded beneath of uncertainty and fear? Is the only true meaning of it all persevering regardless of uncertainty?

 

“You are the sky. Everything else – it’s just the weather.”

― Pema Chödrön

 

I am not alone in holding illusions and fantasies of what living a storied life entails. The house with a picket fence, well behaved children excelling at everything they undertake, a job that is both satisfying and financially rewarding, physical health the sustains throughout the years and love. All possible scenarios but not always accomplished in the same stride as others. The frustration of delays, detours or missteps along the way can lead one to doubt what if anything holds meaning and true value in the wells of our soul. What if anything matters at the end of days?

 

As a young girl I pictured myself experiencing a great love affair with someone that held my heart just as I held his. This love would know me from my earliest of days until my ultimate departure from this world, a familiarity that would be both comforting and enduring. As fate would have it, this was not in the cards for me. I did in fact have a long marriage that proved to be barren of love and appreciation.  A dear friend once told me that nothing is more painful than indifference and this did, most sadly, prove to be true. I made myself small for two decades of my life and for that I harbor deep regret. Stafford’s line, “ask me what difference their strongest love or hate has made” speaks to me like no other. Hate can be as transformative as a powerful love in ways that reverberate throughout a body and soul. Hate and indifference block energy, creating barriers that can only be overcome with much time and self work. Pains such as these will be worn for as long as the river runs deep.

 

“Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.”

― Gautama Buddha

 

Staying with the metaphor of a river,  I can review  my life and see that I continue to flow whether under the ice, in the depths or on the surface. It is never a matter of time standing still but rather a rushing forth of water the proceeds all else. Water can move mountains and so too can time. In fact, the only constant I see thus far is the march of time. Stafford continues with, “and there are comings and goings from miles away that hold the stillness exactly before us.” What may seem like only the distance from one side of the bed to the other or one chair among many in an open room, is an acute representation of stillness often left unspoken. Distance is palpable even if only a few feet when defined by emotional numbness.

 

One of my main regrets is remaining in this space, this stillness, this separateness far too long. I am imperfect as are all others, yet I now choose to stand and speak my voice regardless of imperfections. If only I had known this a few decades ago, my river may have represented a much gentler flow with far less rapids and undertows. One might say however, that without all of those rapids I would never have reached this point of letting go. This may be true and as Stafford says in completion, “What the river says, that is what I say”. Here is to many more years of gently floating down the river of life, observing, learning and living.

Geography of a Life

Geography of a Life

 

“Your soul knows the geography of your destiny. Your soul alone has the map of your future, therefore you can trust this indirect, oblique side of yourself. If you do, it will take you where you need to go, but more important it will teach you a kindness of rhythm in your journey.”

― John O’Donohue

 

Have you ever looked at an old map and wondered how the cartographer viewed the world so differently than what is known to be true today? It was not very long ago when scientists believed the earth to be flat. As a lifelong student of geography, I have always been fascinated by this historical lens into human nature.  Reading and even touching old maps allows for a certain connection to past ideas along with a knowing that all things are relative with time.

 

Expanding on this, I find the field of astrophysics to be absolutely mind blowing. Framing all that ever was and all that will ever be within a set of scientific laws is an impossible task. Those who work in this field seem to have a particular ability to blur and bend the lines of this reality in the most creative of ways. Science and mysticism are kindred spirits, both resting on the unknown rather than the known. Highly speculative and ever evolving, the universe is akin to a good book daring one to read, yet never allowing the reader to reach the final chapter. A constant thirst for knowledge, that given the current information, can never be quenched.

 

“For millions of years, an ancient conversation has continued between the chorus of the ocean and the silence of the stone.”

―John O’Donohue , Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom

 

Because of this similarity it is possible to state with certainty that mysticism inhabits universal curiosity in a way that parallels science. Asking “what if?” and “why not?” echoes the constant state of questioning that is required of a seeker. Just as one ideology has been discovered and explored, another presents that speaks to the soul in a way that begs for attention. To some this may seem indecisive, but this could not be further from the truth. Mysticism allows for a constant push and pull of ideas without prejudice. Therefore beauty lies within the questions, not the answers.

 

With all of this being so, the map of ones life will vary widely from all others. There is no true way to a specific destination, but rather a multitude of possible roads that will lead to the same end. My geography may look much different from a friend or loved one. It is never for me to compare, but to focus on my unique map by following the directions therein. If I spend my days comparing and allowing the voice of the critic to rear its ugly head, I would be ignoring all that has been provided by spirit. The truth being that the geography of my physical body will change with age and eventually transform to the next. With patience and even some grace, my spiritual geography will also transform into exactly what is meant for me.

 

“Your body is your clay home; your body is the only home that you have in this universe. It is in and through your body that your soul becomes visible and real for you. Your body is the home of your soul on earth.”

― John O’Donohue

 

Just as a maps paper fades becoming yellow and frayed, so too does our past. The sharpness of past experiences should never remain brightly in the forefront but rather muted and distant, referenced only as a tool and not a crutch. Holding to the past will only delay the inevitable change in direction that is expected during moments of great transformation. Holding will delay the drawing of a new map and all the wonderful experiences that encompass the letting go of what no longer serves.

 

Embrace your unique geography, both inside and out. You are a beautiful child of the universe and exactly as you should be at this point. Learn to sit in this place knowing that more is yet to be discovered on the grand tapestry of life. Take heart in the roughness and discomfort and face each new day with interest and curiosity. One day, you will acknowledge all the detours and obstacles that you traversed and stand in awe of the beautiful work of art you have become.

 

Dive Into Your Wells of Everything

Dive Into Your Wells of Everything

 

Dive Into Your Wells of Everything

 

Leaving all that remains undone

Earnestly I look at the sun

Radiant beams of blinding light

Circle around, pulling me tight

 

Leaving all that is misunderstood

Bravely I dive where no one else could

Beyond the universal orbit of green

Beside and between the seen and unseen

 

Leaving silence by the breath of the wind

Neither afraid of damnation or sin

Deeply intrigued but never disturbed

Leaving many confused and perturbed

 

Standing aside wishing for more

Leaning into a turbulent shore

Alone and naked with nothing to bring

I dive into your wells of everything

 

-Lavinia Busch

Between and Beyond the Stardust

Between and Beyond the Stardust

Sunset

Slowly the west reaches for clothes of new colors

which it passes to a row of ancient trees.

You look, and soon these two worlds both leave you

one part climbs toward heaven, one sinks to earth.

leaving you, not really belonging to either,

not so hopelessly dark as that house that is silent,

not so unswervingly given to the eternal as that thing

that turns to a star each night and climbs–

leaving you (it is impossible to untangle the threads)

your own life, timid and standing high and growing,

so that, sometimes blocked in, sometimes reaching out,

one moment your life is a stone in you, and the next, a star.

-Rainer Maria Rilke

 

What does it mean to be human? We live a paradoxical condition in which we exist between two worlds. Just as the earth has cycles, so too does our life. We experience day and night, sadness and joy, fear and courage and darkness and light. Never one to dwell in one condition alone, I dance across the invisible barrier between and feel the pulse of this oneness. Setting aside absolutes requires an acknowledgement of this paradox with a comfort sitting in the unknowns of this same revelation.

 

We are all meant to live this human experience filled with silent houses and heavy stones all the while setting our intention toward the stars. It is only with this intention that we are able to float above adversity, leaning into both the darkness and light while claiming none.

 

Nothing is permanent. Just as Rilke writes, “Slowly the west reaches for clothes of new colors” the night turns to day and “one part climbs toward heaven, one sinks to earth.” No single experience remains. The beautiful moments in which a child is born are blurred by the many that follow in raising that child. The quiet and intensely beautiful connection of making love with a soulmate is jolted away by the commitments of a busy day. The memory of holding the hand of a loved one as they pass transforms to an acute feeling of separateness with two physical bodies now one.

 

Wandering the earth awake, I refuse to be claimed by any one disposition. Rather than walking on either side of a flowing spring, I prefer to walk down the middle with playful waves nipping at my ankles and murky depths below. It is only in this between I feel most like myself. Never one to find any particular identity that fits, I prefer to look to the stars even when my feet are firmly planted on the ground. The unrest that accompanies me is never far behind and the disappointment in my flawed humanness is sometimes too much to bear.

 

Rilke often speaks of this between expressing a longing that persists. I am grateful in finding his poems, each word speaking to my restless soul and lifting me up when all else seems an illusion. When my final moment arrives and I am moving toward the stars, I will gladly release the cords of connection to this place and fly freely to the next. It is only among the stardust and embers of the ancient that peaceful hearts resides. It is only in giving up the repeat of a single sunset that one captures the universe.

 

 

 

 

 

The Heartbeat of the Soil

The Heartbeat of the Soil

 

Be With Those Who Help Your Being

 

Be with those who help your being.

Don’t sit with indifferent people, whose breath

comes cold out of their mouths.

Not these visible forms, your work is deeper.

 

A chunk of dirt thrown in the air breaks to pieces.

If you don’t try to fly,

and so break yourself apart,

you will be broken open by death,

when it’s too late for all you could become.

 

Leaves get yellow. The tree puts out fresh roots

and makes them green.

Why are you so content with a love that turns you yellow?

   

Mewlana Jalaluddin Rumi

 

After having a dream that refused to leave me for days, I became frustrated with the repeated imagery and confusion about possible meaning. Aware that a dream such as this lingers as a token of importance, I still wanted the imagery to abate if only for awhile. This dream was so stubborn, it quickly became clear this was not a typical downloading of data that often accompanies a deep sleep but an opportunity to wake up and take note. The time had come to take out the proverbial notepad and start writing, regardless of potential. There was no rationalizing this task away, only the need for analysis and a way to place all discoveries within the confines of my current situation.

 

In this dream, I found myself lying on a soft blanket of soil while looking up at a very formidable tree; the kind of tree that stretches endlessly into the heavens and seems to brush the stars with its uppermost branches. As I reclined in a peaceful repose, I noticed the rays of the sun kissing the very top of the tree and skirting in and out of the various branches and leaves. It was a mesmerizing display of light that traveled at breakneck speed around the bulk of the tree.

 

“To be poor and be without trees, is to be the most starved human being in the world. To be poor and have trees, is to be completely rich in ways that money can never buy.”

― Clarissa Pinkola Estés,

 

For reasons unknown, I became aware this very same highway of light wrapping the length of the tree was in fact me. My spirit, being an energy that is free and boundless, was dancing along with the life system of the tree. I watched as this light show continued and marveled at the fact that I could be a part of an amazingly complex ecosystem in ways in which I could never have believed.

 

Moments later, the blanket of soft soil seemed to close in and become more tangible. With an element of fear, I realized I was not on top of the soil, but a part of it. Being of the soil meant I was underground and a part of the complex roots and superhighway of light connecting with the sky. Fear was replaced by a calm sensation of oneness with all else: the universe, sky, sun and this very tree with it’s steadfast roots. I was everything and everywhere, but at the same time small as a grain of soil. In this state, I was able to hear the heartbeat of the entire system in which I was a part of. I danced with a constant rhythm of energy swirling around and tangibly participated in the life cycle of this tree via a rhythmic heartbeat giving way to all else.

 

As magical as this all was, I could not resist reliving this experience as the days passed. We all have the divine spark within, just as the complex energy system the tree inhabited. This spark creates a magical and connected superhighway of energy that pulsates with life force.  If I recognize this spark in another they too can recognize it within me, including all that is known and unknown in this discovery. I must make an effort to quiet the noise in my life in order to experience the mystery of this connectivity each and every day no matter how mundane the tasks presented to me may be.

 

A monk asked Zhaozhou, “What is the living meaning of Zen?.”   

Zhaozhou said, “The oak tree in the courtyard.”

–  Case 37 from the Mumonkan (Wumenguan) Collection of Zen Koans

 

Nothing else seemed to matter in this state. Not the stress from work, people that had been less than kind, illness, nothing. All that mattered was connection with everything around me.  Believing the in all matters like calls out to like, it moves me to seek others that have this same sensibility. This has nothing to do with external worldly roles, rather a knowing that the soul next to me is a seeker such as myself. A seeker is one that asks questions, sees the light in others regardless of outside packaging and looks for beauty in all circumstance. I know that I must try to find this connection in a world that is closed off to interpersonal connection, compassionate attention and even personal touch.

I will not meet this challenge simply by sitting under a tree and feeling universal energy. No, the only way to find this other is by living a full life among the weeds and thorns. In the process of living this very messy life, my path will undoubtedly cross with those whom I seek. Each time I find another who has the heartbeat of the soil within, I feel a moment of recognition that says without words “I see you”. I enjoy this immensely and cherish it whenever and wherever it may approach. Seek out those that speak to you beyond the daily particulars of life. Once found, hold on and honor the spark that shines brightly in the being of another. This very spark is what lies within you and will continue to burn brightly after having connected with another.

 

Welcoming The Wild Woman Within

Welcoming The Wild Woman Within

“There is a time in our lives, usually in mid-life, when a woman has to make a decision – possibly the most important psychic decision of her future life – and that is, whether to be bitter or not. Women often come to this in their late thirties or early forties. They are at the point where they are full up to their ears with everything and they’ve “had it” and “the last straw has broken the camel’s back” and they’re “pissed off and pooped out.” Their dreams of their twenties may be lying in a crumple. There may be broken hearts, broken marriages, broken promises.”

― Clarissa Pinkola Estés,

 

As one might expect, I have been especially reflective given the New Year. During my morning walk I began a life review of sorts, testing for what might require some editing. Looking toward the mountain sunrise for inspiration, I heard the same words repeated over and over…”just keep writing.” Feeling the heartfelt importance of this statement, I sensed once again the wild woman within calling to me. The wild that I have spent much of my life concealing, the wild I was born with and can no longer contain and the wild that is no longer a whimper but a deafening roar.

 

Always a bit out of step with all those around me, I do see a change looming on the horizon. Our world has become increasingly uncomfortable with a deep, meaningful and soulful connection to the Divine, making it exceedingly difficult to ignore this roar any longer. The only possible choice is to honor this emerging voice by silencing the critiques and releasing this beautiful part of myself. The obstacles are many: rigid religious practice, family, stress from a overtaxing work environment, social expectations, political unrest, etc. I am completely drained from the constant push and pull of head versus heart. The need to express this part of myself is so intense it burns with a hot and untamed energy. One cannot neglect the wild within without suffering serious consequences of the soul.

 

“A starved soul can become so filled with pain, a woman can no longer bear it. Because women have a soul-need to express themselves in their own soulful ways, they must develop and blossom in ways that are sensible to them and without molestation from others.”

― Clarissa Pinkola Estés

 

It no longer matters who reads my words, or what others think. I have known for many years that I have an important voice and setting it free is the only option. Whatever shape this transformation takes, I am ready to move. No matter the discomfort of this evolution, I will persist. Something greater than myself beckons and I haven’t the strength to deny this other regardless of repercussions.

 

“Go out in the woods, go out. If you don’t go out in the woods nothing will ever happen and your life will never begin.”

― Clarissa Pinkola Estés,

 

As I tiptoe into the woods of transformation, I listen for guidance and call upon those who have walked this path before me. The fear inside is not match for the veracity of the call and I am at its mercy… finally. An easy breeze crosses my face as I feel the morning heat, my natural sanctuary. I gladly hear the whisper of spirit, intuition and grace.  With a knowing smile, I can finally aim to embrace this uncertainty with a full heart. The time to roar is upon me.

 

One Day At A Time

One Day At A Time

Nothing Gold Can Stay

Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

-Robert Frost

 

The holidays are a time of relaxation, family and freedom from a restrictive daily schedule. As we near the end of this year and stand on the precipice of the new, I find myself already thinking about the inevitable return to work and the bustle of a workday.  As a result, I find it difficult to live in the moment. I start to go over my to-do list and answer emails that have not even been received. Unfortunately, this forward thinking is difficult to turn off and I find myself strategizing everything. This continues to the point at which I beg my mind to turn off this constant internal dialogue, craving even a few moments of the elusive relaxation and freedom that comes with the break.

 

One single day, that is all we are ever promised. Tomorrow is just a dream and nothing is guaranteed. I struggle with this concept at times. As a planner I am often a few steps ahead of the curve, analyzing and coming up with necessary solutions. While this skill is helpful in some areas of life, it can be problematic when trying to fully embrace the moment. Reading Robert Frost’s poem brings to mind how fleeting life can be. If I blink by resisting the now, I might miss something meaningful and deeply regret it.

 

“Joy does not simply happen to us. We have to choose joy and keep choosing it every day.”

― Henri J.M. Nouwen

 

What I have come to understand is that we must strive to find the “holiday” in everyday. I certainly have not mastered this skill but I continue to recommit to the idea. Each day that I wake up and see a new sunrise is a blessing. There is never any need for a special occasion to remember this; rather the notion of finding joy in small moments becomes a daily goal. Be it the return to work with a warm greeting from a colleague, the hug from a loved one that will not be seen for some time or feeling the sun on my face as I take a solitary walk at dawn. All are joyous moments regardless of the occasion.

“If I did not simply live from one moment to another, it would be impossible for me to be patient, but I only look at the present, I forget the past, and I take good care not to forestall the future.”

St. Therese of Lisieux

 

As one that does not believe in new years resolutions, I can say with certainty that I will put more emphasis on the concept of joy in the New Year. Life can be messy with financial challenges, health issues and work related stresses. This much is guaranteed. Boldly putting one foot in front of the other is one way to conquer the fear and worry of life. With each new step I look for the moments of joy. Be it the blue jay I saw on my walk this morning, or the smile from a loved one that lets me know all is okay. Every moment is a blessing and once gone, just a memory. Cherish everything, even the difficult things. Life is best lived from a joyful heart.

 

Words have Meaning

Words have Meaning

 

Love after Love

The time will come

when, with elation,

you will greet yourself arriving

at your own door, in your own mirror,

and each will smile at the other’s welcome,

and say, sit here. Eat.

You will love again the stranger who was your self.

Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart

to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

all your life, whom you ignored

for another, who knows you by heart.

Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

the photographs, the desperate notes,

peel your own image from the mirror.

Sit. Feast on your life.

Derek Walcott

 

Midlife is a strange and unfamiliar territory with the tapestry of my life becoming a colorful cloth woven from unique experiences of old and of what is yet to come.  Even with the underlying sense of fatigue that accompanies a full life, I remain optimistic that patience, understanding and growth will sustain as I continue this very humbling and human journey. To this point, an area of introspection that still eludes me is complete self-acceptance. It is one thing to write, teach or talk about self love. It is still quite another  to feel what can only be called a lingering sense of unease with parts of myself that I find less desirable. With an embarrassing level of honesty, I wonder if feelings such as these will ever go away. In addition, the “love thyself” dialogue of late has me flustered. I find it exceedingly difficult to find a place of belonging in this narrative, leading to even more feelings of separateness from the group.

 

Words matter and in my case nothing more than the written word. The constant search for inspiration has provided some peace in this chapter of life. When I am totally spent and exhausted from constant reflection, I find refuge each and every time in the thoughts of another. Reading others words without prejudice somehow makes my confusion less so.

 

Love after Love by Derek Walcott is no different in this regard. His words soothe me in the most gentle of ways. “The time will come when, with elation, you will greet yourself arriving at your own door….” How wonderful to greet myself with elation as I might a dear friend that has been deeply missed. In truth, I have missed the girl that was creative, gentle-hearted, sensitive, curious and thoughtful. I have missed the girl that worried less about what others thought and more about big ideas and important questions. I have missed her and have begun welcoming her back with open arms. It is in this return to wholeness that I see myself apart from others opinions and begin to open as was meant only for me.

 

Life is a winding road peppered with diversions and distractions. It is curious that at this juncture I am returning to a more authentic self, before the self-critique took over and silenced all the beautiful uniqueness within. These words say it all; “Give back your heart, to itself, to the stranger who has loved you, all your life, whom you ignored…” I apologize to that young girl whom I left behind in an attempt to “blend” in. That beautiful child that was filled with such a loving and creative spirit. That child that was loved but often misunderstood. I welcome that child at my door and into my home. We are one and without each other I am lost.

 

I am forever thankful to all the intrepid writers that have continued to write regardless of audience. It is in your words that I have rediscovered self in the most glorious of ways. Words continue to matter. Nothing speaks to a seeker more than words of self-discovery. Keep writing my beautiful ones. It is within our words that we will be set free.

 

The Passing Of A Beautiful Spirit With An Untamed Heart

The Passing Of A Beautiful Spirit With An Untamed Heart

 

Events of late have me pondering the paradoxical elements running deeply within my family. Everyone has some wildness, weirdness and hyper intuition but may not elevate these qualities to the degree my family has. This hyper intuition present in all instances and I wonder how women managed to foster unconditional love within this uniqueness without losing themselves entirely in the process.

 

After much thought, I find I have come full circle: puzzled, awestruck, bemused and a bit afraid. There is much to live up to when placing myself aside those that have lived flawed lives while shining their soul so brightly. On most days, I just want to hide in a self made cave, sipping tea and reading a good book. The world can be far to intimidating and my home feels safe.

 

How does a women balance a gentle spirit with the constant calling of an untamed heart, a persistent wanderlust for people, place and thing? On a good day, I feel torn by my somewhat ferocious desire to make a difference in the world and the gentle spirited voice that wants to love with abandon, residing in a safe zone of warmth and kindness.

 

It takes great courage to break with one’s past history and stand alone.”

-Marion Woodman

 

Hearing the stories of my Grandmother Charlotte’s colorful life only fuel my desire to find a way forward. No matter how one interprets her life in review, there is no doubt that she did it her way. I always admired that she never tried to be anything but herself. In doing so, she had a unique ability to accept others as they were showing up, foibles and all. Even though one could absolutely say she was feisty with an inner fire that burned with a palpable heat, I never experienced a moment with her in which I did not feel seen. She captured my attention, locking in like a missile by speaking to whatever was in my heart. She never shied away from difficult things, at least not with me. Her blunt honesty delivered with a larger than life smile was appreciated more than I believe I ever let her know.

 

I often wonder if my life trajectory would have been different if I had known her earlier. She and her sister Frieda spoke to me, my gypsy spirit, in a way that others did not. Meeting her was jarring in that I saw someone living in a way that inspired yet frightened me. She had a loving partner who honored her uniqueness and the two of them seemed to exist in a self made bubble of recognition.  Wherever Charlotte was, so too was Wilton.  Two of the same, yet different sides of a coin. She was outgoing and vivacious, he quiet and introspection. I just can’t fathom one without the other.

 

One thing that remains is the endless wells of generosity I witnessed in Charlotte. She healed wounds in our family that only a child of adoption could know. My mother found a mirror in Charlotte and together they walked through the remainder of Charlotte’s life loving, learning and leaning on one other. No other example of unconditional love stands as profound as this. We gained another grandmother and she gained a daughter with a very loving extended family. In losing her, it brought into focus just how special relationships are and how fortunate it is to connect with another on any level.

 

“Death is our friend, precisely because it brings us into absolute and passionate presence with all that is here, that is natural, that is love.”
― Rainer Maria Rilke

 

I feel the space that she left and hope that in some small way, by living my life on my own terms, I honor that space. I hope to be able to add something positive to my environment, connecting with others in my own careful yet spiritual way. People talk to me and I believe this is a gift that grandma Charlotte passed along. I may not always welcome it, but maybe that is not the point. Maybe the point is how others honor me by sharing their stories. Each time someone opens up in a personal way, I try to honor this sharing while providing some comfort for whatever may be troubling them. I try to exchange energy in the most gentle and loving of ways and in doing so I am the recipient of their bravery, resilience and love. In this way my untamed heart is set free from the fear of living such a non-traditional way. In this way I am the lucky one.

 

Charlotte is pure light now and privy to all of the beauty and majestic wonder of this spectacular universe. She is everywhere yet nowhere, ever expansive and limitless, she is pure unadulterated love. Peace, blessings and light to her on this next chapter of her journey. I hope to carry with me a small spark of her fire that she so lovingly tended and shared with others.