Spiritual realization is simply awakening to a direct stable perception that all beings are already and only the one Beingness of all things. … Full enlightenment isn’t required, but an intuition of this orientation is a necessary foundation for a healthy relationship to soul work. ~Terry Patten
Our Integral Spirituality Book Study Group chose Terry Patten’s book, A New Republic of the Heart: An Ethos for Revolutionaries for our current read. In Chapter 7, “The New Stories of Our Souls,” Terry writes about the real dynamics by which subtle energies create concrete experiences … how with practice we can learn to release subtle obstacles and attract freedom and blessing. He notes how slippery this profound realm of transformation can be. When we forget that we are all one with the Divine, we slip into “me” centered spirituality.
Reading Terry’s words caused me to ponder the source of the excruciating stomach pains I experience toward the end of my six-week encounter with the Medicaid bureaucracy.
A recap of the “highlights” of my experience:
- On May 3 I attempted to reach my disabled daughter’s Job Center Case Worker (JCCW) about a letter from them that Medicaid would no longer pay for her hospitalization as of March 31. After a $402 deduction from her June 1 check to cover April and May, her disability payment would thereafter be reduced by $134 a month. Left a message after the phone rang for one hour. We were told the JCCW would get back to us within 48 hours.
- On May 8 we finally received a call back. The JCCW didn’t understand why this was happening and said she would research the situation and try to prevent the deduction
- On May 21 I reached out to Senator Sherrod Brown’s office for assistance.
- On May 25 I reached out to the Ombudsman’s office for assistance.
- On May 30 I contacted Senator Brown’s and Ombudsman’s offices for progress reports. Nothing to report.
- On June 1 my daughter received her reduced check from Social Security.
- On June 4 I received a call from Senator Brown’s liaison at the Ohio Department of Medicaid (ODML). She indicated another document was needed. I was able to locate it, scanned it, and e-mailed it to her.
- Morning of June 6, the JCCW called. She was as confused as ever. She gave a checklist of documents needed … documents we had already submitted in October 2017. When I mentioned the document requested from ODML, she had no idea who that was.
- Afternoon of June 6, received a call for JCCW while I was at lunch with a friend. What I heard her saying over the noise in the restaurant is that all was resolved and reimbursement would be made.
- Late afternoon of June 6, received a call from a Job Center manager apologizing for the hardship this caused my daughter. When asked, she said we had done nothing wrong to precipitate this event.
- On June 9 (Saturday) my daughter received three confusing communications from the Job Center.
- Between June 11-14 I attempted to obtain clarification about these communications. Learned that as of March 31, my daughter is no long eligible for her health insurance program. Because she no longer works, her vision, dental, and hearing coverage is being dropped.
- June 15-present: Called OSHIIP (Ohio Senior Health Insurance Information Program) for help in determining next steps. Called providers and confirmed that they will take her current insurance. YEA!! Found dental insurance. Exploring vision insurance.
- June 15-17: My stomach was in pain. Sunday it was excruciating.
In my memoir, A Long Awakening to Grace, I recounted numerous such stressful and painful encounters with the bureaucracy as an advocate for my children. It makes sense that I resented this fight coming to my doorstep again … that I fear this overwhelming battle will never end.
I wanted to enter the fray from my “heart” and succeeded in being kind but firm with the workers who are not given the resources they need to do an effective job. My heart ached for those many others caught in this morass who lack advocates and resources. I recognize that this is one among many systems that needs to change. They do not support the lives they are designed to serve.
So, why the stomach pains toward the end of the process? In my last blog post I gave a clue … “Beginning tomorrow I plan to resume my life after this jolting disruption.” Shortly after I wrote that, my stomach pains intensified.
The truth is, caregiving and advocating for my daughter is my life and my job now … and I have not fully accepted that. I carry resentment about the “disruptions” to the life and retirement I had planned. And with that resentment, I started down a “me” centered spiritual path. I tried to cover these slippery subtle energies with my good intentions, but my stomach made it clear that all was not well with my soul.
I “see” now that I carried resentment and repressed anger in my body. I felt like a victim of the system again. My subtle … or not so subtle … energy tainted my “good intentions” and created a concrete experience … stomach pain.
And so that calls me to my spiritual practice of one more time embracing acceptance of what is. With this increased awareness of the energy I bring to the situation, I can strive to consciously channel it in the service of larger wisdom … something greater than myself … a higher calling.
This is an important awareness for me … part of the “inner work” Terry Patten recommends in order to be effective in engaging the mammoth amount of “outer work” that we face at this time in our history.
Thank you, Terry, for your inspiration and for calling me back to the freedom and blessing of my true self.
I would be interested in hearing how you relate to “me” centered spirituality.