Six years ago I found myself in a place where I knew I needed to change my life. I didn’t know what I needed to change it to, I didn’t know with whom and where I needed to go or even really what it all was about. I only knew that I was suffocating in the life that I was leading, it felt too small and constricting, lacking in meaning, purpose and joy. I knew if I stayed in it I would slowly become less and less the person that I was meant to be and that felt like a form of suicide. So I set out on a journey of opening; listening and following my own inner voice and the voice of the Divine as I knew it. My prayer as I set out was “Spirit of life open me”.
Last week I was reading some of my journal entries from the early years of this time period and was struck by how what I envisioned happening and where I thought I was going is so very different from where I am now. And yet I am in a beautiful new place in life that is feeling so very right. A place full of connection, meaning, purpose and joy as I move forward into serving the world in the way that I believe I am meant to serve. Getting here was not easy in any way. Along the way I had to leave my marriage of 24 years, deal with the grief and difficulty of a son with a drug addiction, learn to support myself financially and slowly but surely learn how to create the connections with others that I needed to feel supported emotionally and spiritually. I moved twice, decided to change my work situation to part time so that I could explore new options, spent lots of time and money on different healing modalities, sought spiritual community and connection and learned new spiritual practices to ground myself within the web of life that we all are a part of. Each step felt both difficult and wonderful as I opened to new experiences, people, thoughts, emotions, practices and places.
A quote I read by Rumi early in this process has been a guiding light for me: “When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy.” I could feel that river moving in me, that joy, even as my life around me fell apart or was pulled apart by my own actions. In my deepest pain and sorrow, in all of my fearful places and thoughts, there would be this undercurrent that was full of peace and joy because somehow I knew that I was doing all of this from my deepest self or soul. So now six years later I find myself in a whole new life that fits me, that is me, that allows me to breathe. I am still journeying, listening and opening. I don’t believe that I am “there” or even that there is a “there” that I need to get to. I do believe that I have learned to open to life, to open anew every day to what life holds. To be open to the pain or the pleasure, to take each day as the gift that it is, however it is. Even when I can’t be open, and there are often times that I can’t, to at least be aware that I am closing myself in some way. I’ve learned that I only need to listen and to take each step as it opens. I don’t need to know where the path is leading me, I just need to be on the path. As the Buddhists say “The path is the goal”. There is such joy in not having to control what is next but to live each moment as fully as possible for the moment that it is. Such joy in trusting that all that I need, all that I have to give, all that is good in life is here right now in this moment and will be here in the next moment and the next. The river is moving in me and I am moving in the river, how about you?
God takes our souls on journeys we know nothing of. Why? We don’t know, being as we are the passed-out reveler laid in a wagon and driven elsewhere. What we love, what we want, is this being held in a presence, the being taken. This is the satisfaction, not learning why or how or where we are, or when we will arrive somewhere else.
– Bahauddin, Rumi’s Father