Last weekend, I spent a wonderful day at a spiritual retreat on reconciliation, facilitated by Laura Collins, www.livingrituals.com. We began with a meditation, and slowly, peace descended, caressing and embracing me. I began to let go of the tension and squirming in my chair to find just the right balance so I wouldn’t put pressure on the nerve that had been creating some pain. As I relaxed, I became excited about having a whole day to look inward – a kind of date with Spirit.
One room was designed with tables as stations for different areas of reconciliation: Self, Spirit, Community, Family and Earth. At the first table, I read a poem by Joyce Rupp, and one line resonated as a theme throughout the day: “Toss away the old map.” I slowly and repeatedly allowed that thought to move through my consciousness.
I realized that the present chaos in my life exists because I have stopped following the old map for my journey, and I have realized that part of the map no longer describes the existing terrain of my life. I am in the process of creating the life I’ve always desired, being a writer, but in the last few years, the world of publishing has changed. In order to succeed in it, I must dive into technology in a way I would prefer not to do. The old map of paper books, paper letters, paper queries is rapidly becoming extinct and I grieve the lost. But as I explore the new possibilities, I can see more opportunities for writers because of the expansive nature of the Internet and the networks created through social media. It is just that, for a non-technological person, the learning curve seems enormous.
So, as I moved through this day of meditation, reflection and quiet, I released more anxiety and let the layers of protection drop away. As each layer opened to the next, I began to ask “Am I being the person I want to be?” As I thought of my personal life, tears of sadness, assured me I was not. Where was the core of peace and love I valued? The emotional turmoil of the last few months flashed across my mind. Although I have been following a new map to develop my writing and to promote it, I have been plodding down a worn muddy path in my personal life, hanging onto anger and disappointment about a loss there, weighing down the joy that often tries to surface.
During the retreat, I wrote in my journal, felt the sun pour through the window and sank deeper into the silence, reminding myself that I did not have to do anything. I wandered to a table and began leafing through a tiny book written by Pema Chodron. Stopping on one page, I read, “What we call obstacles are really the way the world and our entire experience teach us we’re stuck.” Ah ha! The mountain of sadness and hurt I have been unable to conquer in the last few months is showing me the rocky terrain where I’m stuck. I cannot reach the summit with this old map. I have to let it go and design a new map for my journey, one that traces another path to the summit that is smooth and sweet with honeysuckle.
As the vision of this new map formed in my mind, I was filled with the loving warmth and peace of the Divine Mother and assured that the new map for my soul’s journey, as well as for my work, was unfolding before me. I sat in the silence, hands open to receive it. © 2011 Georganne Spruce