Friday, March 9, 2012

Post 5

These are my answers/responses to the introductory lesson of the Your Truest Self Course which started this week...

Lesson 1

1.The epigraph in the beginning of Your Truest Self reads:

On foot I had to walk through the solar systems,
before I found the first thread of my red dress. (Edith Sodergran)

Does this quote resonate with you? Do you feel you have been ‘searching’ for a long time?
What is it that you have been searching for?

I confess, I did respond to this quote, but not as a sign of longing, but to ask – Why a red dress? I want to see the line in context… so I’ve ordered a book of Edith’s poems… And I’ve enjoyed reading about this unknown-to-me poet on Google J

The image of a red dress indeed resonates with me… I used to own a silk, red dress which I felt a million dollars in! It was my ‘date’ dress when I was at college, and I have wonderful memories of wonderful dinners, and conversations with wonderfully interesting people in that dress… I know I shone in that dress – as only a girl in her late teens/early 20s can shine… That image, of a shining young woman in a red dress, encapsulates all I miss about my Oxford days… they were THE best days of my life, and they were 30 years ago *sigh*

2.Do you have a ‘holy longing’? What does that longing feel like?

I do have a ‘holy longing’… it is to know, and be known… to be in the presence of ‘my’ God (whoever he/she/it is!)… to be in the presence of others who deeply know me, and do not judge me… it is to feel safe, and understood… to be all of who I am, rather than just the pieces that people expect me to be… to be wholly me…

3.When you think of the word, ‘holy,’ what do you think of? Are there certain ‘holy people’ that you admire? What about them set them apart from others?

I think of the Christian mystics – Julian of Norwich, Theresa of Avila, John of the Cross – people who believed passionately, though the Church didn’t really understand them.

I also think of artists – as ‘Religion and art spring from the same root and are close kin’ (Nathanial Hawthorne) – as those who live authentically, who embody their vision of the world, who speak/paint/draw/write/act/sing their truth regardless of money/status/the world’s expectations…

4. Do you often feel like you are not ‘spiritual enough’? Do you compare your spiritual journey or growth to those of others?

Funnily enough, no, as I am quite convinced each spiritual journey is unique, and beyond comparison. However, I do envy those who have discovered their life purpose, and have the drive/energy/impetus to pursue it. At the grand age of almost 48, I am still searching for my purpose, which I find pathetic!

5. Do you struggle with issues of self-worth like many women? Of self-acceptance? In what ways does this play out in your life?

See the answer above! Clearly, I do L

I look at my self, my life, and think, ‘How did I get here?’ The only part that fits, and is true to ‘me’ as I see myself, is I am married to a lovely, lovely man, and we have two gorgeous children. The ‘rest’ is just evidence that I am a frustrated academic/writer/poet/painter… and I simply do not know what to do/be/say/feel next… *sigh*

6.Do you believe that every woman is a holy woman? Do you believe that you are?

I certainly think every woman – and man – has the potential to be holy. To be ‘wholly’ the person they were created to be. To live in accordance with their true self and their true values. To be fully integrated – body, soul, mind, spirit… This is what I think Jesus was, and the people are that I see living and expressing their true selves.

7. What is your response to the quote by Abraham Joshua Heschel on page xxiii: ‘Just to be is a blessing. Just to live is holy’?

I think the first part is certainly true – just to be alive, and relatively healthy, is indeed a blessing. I think any, who have come close to death, will know this… to see, hear, touch, taste, smell, to move, to have your faculties, is truly a blessing, something to be thankful for each and every day, something to not take for granted…

Yet, just to be alive doesn’t make you holy. Your decisions/choices/motivations/intentions have the potential to be holy, just as they have the potential to be unholy. And, as a conscious, human being, you have the freedom to choose, in any given moment, to be holy or unholy… To act in accordance with your deep, inner values, or not…

8. Reflect on the quote by Hildegard of Bingen on page xxiv: ‘At birth our divine potential is folded up in us like a tent. It is life’s purpose to unfold that tent.’ How do you feel about the notion of ‘unfolding your tent’?

I have read a lot about Hildegard, and have a CD of her chants, yet I’ve never heard of this quote before. I love it, and it resonates with me J I immediately thought of erecting a tent where the Divine could dwell, a tabernacle, a holy place…

The image just keeps giving… the tent pegs are my deep inner values, and I need to find a firm place to plant them and secure my tent… And the tent, the canopy, my concept of ‘I/me’ unfolds and enlarges to embrace the people/beings/creatures I wish to invite in, to sit, talk and sup with me…

And, ultimately, it is a temporary structure… I/me will only be in this form, in this world, in this time for a limited expanse… and it’s up to me to unpack my tent, live my life, and be ready to up sticks when the time comes…