Searching for Silence in a Noisy World

Silence is the discipline by which the inner fire of God is tended and kept. ~Henri Nouwen

spiral galaxy

Recently, in a doctor’s office waiting room, three other women and I contently read books while the lone man sitting in front of me slouched in his chair. The doctor’s technician entered, looked around, and without asking, said, “It’s way too quiet in here. I’m going to turn on the TV.” Soon, Pa, Adam, Hoss, and Little Joe galloped across the screen, their musical accompaniment invading our quiet reverie.

Cast of Bonanza

Cast of Bonanza

This technician made an assumption about us. The room was not “way to quiet” for any of us, as our discussion following her intrusion indicated. Later, I asked her if she was uncomfortable with silence. She admitted she was and proceeded to describe how she incorporates “noise” into her world. She gave me a strange look when I told her, “I’m a contemplative. I enjoy silence.”

One of my pet peeves is being put on hold to loud, thumping music. A soft reminder that those I’m calling are still on the line would suffice, in my opinion. Rarely are they able to grant my request for silence. Most of the time I’m forced to wait out their jarring music while accomplishing nothing.

“Can’t people handle silence anymore?” I wonder. To me, it seems our world gets noisier all the time.

Horseshoe Falls

Often in our solitude, we can discover the miracles of life…taking our path of aloneness deep enough through the woods so we can reach that unspoiled clearing. ~Mark Nepo

I’m retired and live alone. While I need and very much enjoy the company of my family and friends, I have the luxury of a great deal of solitude and silence in my home. When I read spiritual literature, I need silent concentration to discover the deeper message. And when I write, with my contemplative style, solitude and silence give me the possibility of experiencing the inner fire of the Divine. Writing my memoir, mostly in solitude and silence, I reached Mark Nepo’s “unspoiled clearing,” making the process eminently worthwhile.

While I was contemplating writing on this topic, I heard an interesting NPR interview with Olivia Block, a composer from Chicago.

www.oliviablock.net

www.oliviablock.net

Olivia values and seeks out the loud sounds in her hometown, one of the noisiest of cities. She hears music in the tones of the elevated train’s brakes; textures in snippets of conversations, cell phones ringing, water lapping against rocks, two bottles banging together; the blending of prairie with the urban as the wind bangs rods together in a sculpture near a skyscraper. She finds this noise beautiful, often striking her in a cinematic way, helping her hear language differently.

I have writing friends who seek out noisy places or groups in order to write. It works for them. For the companionship, I wish it did for me. But because of our need for solitude, my writing partner and I found it necessary to write separately and then come together to share and give feedback.

It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize, accept, and celebrate those differences. ~Audre Lorde

With the advent of technology, we have become increasingly aware of the vast differences among us. Audre Lorde’s wisdom is needed in a world hurting from attempts to annihilate the differences that are feared…the diversity making us uncomfortable and others wrong.

In the face of global violence, my request is miniscule. Still, I ask consideration for those among us, like me, who find our noisy world jarring and actually value the gifts of silence and solitude. Before assuming, it’s “way too quiet,” please ask. Perhaps if we can learn to recognize and accept such a tiny difference, we can learn to celebrate the ones we fear.

Vive la difference!

How are you challenged to recognize, accept, and celebrate differences?

What request do you bring to the table?

Revisiting Beliefs

A member of our Angel Group told us she wasn’t sure what she believed anymore. And so, last week it was suggested we all share what we believe. A lively discussion ensued. I listened silently.

Then Carol turned to me and said, “Linda, you haven’t said anything. You’re our expert. What do you have to say?” She mistakenly thinks I’m an expert because I have a theological education.

I surprised the group by sharing I’m uncomfortable with discussions about religious beliefs. I see a lot of damage having been done in the name of beliefs. Historically, we’ve experienced religious wars because of differing beliefs. Even today extremist groups attempt to purify our world of “wrong” beliefs by murdering anyone who thinks differently. Our own culture wars and gridlock in Washington are a product of entrenched differing beliefs. Families can be torn apart. My son chose a more conservative path than mine and was sure I was going to hell. While I didn’t appreciate his judgment, I supported his finding a path that served his needs.

The Angels didn’t display any discord in our discussion last week, but then we are a group of like-minded women. Our differences in beliefs are miniscule, but we have a wide variety of experiences of the Divine. And that’s what interests me.

The Angels

The Angels

I find the wide variety of spiritual experiences fascinating. I’m more aligned with William James who wrote The Varieties of Religious Experiences. James was described as having been impatient with his academic colleagues and their endless hairsplitting over matters that had no relation to life. That’s kind of how I feel about discussions about beliefs. In his book, he attempted to penetrate into the hearts of human beings rather than establish dogma. I, too, am most touched by heart-centered sharing.

Varieties of Relig Exp

I also belong to an Integral Spirituality Study Group. We’ve just begun studying Steve McIntosh’s book, The Presence of the Infinite: The Spiritual Experience of Beauty, Truth, and Goodness. In the introduction, McIntosh outlines the values found in our country’s major worldviews along with the differing beliefs stemming from them. In Chapter 1, he expresses respect and appreciation for the strengths of each worldview–our experiences of beauty, truth, and goodness. He then holds up a vision of using these experiences as guiding principles in overcoming our belief system’s shortcomings. In that way, we can generate powerful spiritual leadership for resolving the many challenges we face in our world today.

The-Presence-of-the-Infinite-bookcover

I am inspired by McIntosh’s vision and grateful to have been given the ability to approach a dialogue about beliefs in a way that has the potential for co-creating a better world. I’ve moved forward since our discussion at Angel’s last week. That has to be an experience of goodness. I’ve grown.

2015 Reflections ~ 2016 Intentions

Elijah House

Elijah House

For me, 2015 started at Thanksgiving 2014. As was often true for me during the holidays, I was focused on what was missing in my life and feeling depressed. I was stuck in the writing of my memoir and felt the need for guidance. I thought time away might give me the direction I needed. And so I made arrangements for a silent retreat in Elijah House, a cottage in the woods at the Transfiguration Center of Spiritual Renewal near West Milton, Ohio. Last year on New Years Day, I wrote about the still, small voice of the Divine within giving me what I hoped for that weekend–clear guidance for how to write and deepen my memoir to serve a higher purpose. I set my 2015 intention to increase my awareness of the light of grace in the midst of life’s messiness.

Well, 2015 was certainly a grace-filled, messy year. My condo was no longer serving me and in January the way opened for me to move. The end of April I put it up for sale. At the same time, I found an editor for my memoir. I’d been impressed with some of her online comments about the way she works, and when I read, “I want my clients to know I’m their biggest cheerleader and greatest fan,” I knew she was the editor for me.

Cheerleader

The condo selling/home searching process was messy. I continued to work on my memoir while my condo didn’t sell and properties I liked did. My faithful friends assured me the right place for me wasn’t available yet and when it was, my condo would sell. They were right. In August, a buyer appeared and I found the perfect home for me.

The middle of September, I sent my manuscript to my editor. I told her I wasn’t in a hurry for her feedback because I’d be busy with moving. As my focus switched from writing to rehabbing my home, I convinced myself my memoir wasn’t that good and would probably never be published. I decided to be grateful for the transformation I experienced in writing it and for the healing in my relationship with my daughter. If all the work I put into it came to nothing more, that was a lot for which to be thankful.

On October 5, I took possession of the house and began the rehab process. On October 15, I moved in. By Thanksgiving I was settled enough to host a family dinner. Being in a house with a meditation room overlooking a woods and a creek gives me much joy.

Sun on trees

On November 29, I received my editor’s first comments. When I saw it drop into my inbox, I started shaking. I did a few things around the house to work up the courage to read it. I’d been discouraged by critical feedback in the past and braced myself to face the fact that I just wasn’t cut out to be a memoir writer. Oh, ye of little trust.

I headed for the recliner in my meditation room to read her four pages of comments. While most pointed to what needed revising, my confidence was bolstered by these words: “Part I, in particular, will need reworking to bring it to the quality of the rest of the manuscript.”

She went on: “…your manuscript is eminently publishable and quite astonishing. It is more intelligently written, more thoughtful, and more reflective than many memoirs I’ve read…”

I sat there stunned and thinking: she sees me very differently than I see myself. This woman from Wyoming who I’ve never met in person or talked with on the phone had seen into my soul.Full Circle

Judy brought me full circle, validating the message I received at my silent retreat about the deeper message in my memoir and the way I was to write it. In our further correspondence, she continues to change my perception of myself. And I am definitely experiencing her as my biggest cheerleader and greatest fan. Grace brought us together.

“Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.” ~Corrie ten Boom

And so, at the end of 2015, I stand in awe at the light of grace. As my memoir attests, my awakening has been a long one and is a process of reawakening and reawakening.

And my intention for 2016: Increase my trust in the light of the Divine within me and all of us. Be faithful to my part in co-creating a better world by risking revealing my messy true self–the one I write about in A Long Awakening to Grace.

When we’re willing to be imperfect and real, the gifts of courage, compassion, and connection just keep giving. Paraphrased from Brené Brown’s The Gifts of Imperfection.

Facing My Fear of Conflict

“When you’re scared, you stay as you are.” ~Stephen Richards, author of Releasing You From Fear

turbulent water

Our world is turbulent. As I write this, we’ve just experienced the worst terrorist attack on U.S. soil since 9/11. Fourteen people lost their lives. Fourteen families lost loved ones during our holyday season. A six-month-old infant lost her parents. My fear of conflict pales in comparison to what these people and many others in our world face on a daily basis. And this is the opportunity that came my way while rehabbing my new home–something I set an intention to do with joy and equanimity.

I hired a contractor and then found it necessary to fire him because the work his employee was doing was shoddy. He was using equipment that didn’t operate well. When I told him I’d hired someone else to finish the job, he threatened to put a lien on my house or take me to court. I paid him what I thought was fair for the work that had been done satisfactorily. He wanted more. His threats escalated.

screenbean-scared

Conflict scares me so much that sometimes my teeth chatter as though I’m in a deep freeze. I recognize this as a disability because conflict is a part of life. Trying to avoid it as I do often has negative consequences. So I told myself, “Going to court my be an interesting new experience.” I reached out to friends for support.

They gave me good advice. “Make a record of all transactions, take pictures, and stand your ground.” They pointed out I had a good case and he was unlikely to follow through. But his intimidating texts continued. He pointed out how much it would cost to go to court. My hands began to shake, my stomach tied up in knots, I couldn’t go to sleep or I’d wake up in the middle of the night unable to fall back asleep.

To soothe myself, I’d say, “Linda, this is just your fear of conflict. You aren’t going to die and you’re not going bankrupt.”

I texted him back about mediation being a less expensive option. He liked that idea and asked me to set it up. I chuckled at that and texted him back, “If that’s the route you want to take, you set it up.” My friends and I didn’t think he would, but he did.

For me, it wasn’t so much about the money as it was maintaining my self-respect. I didn’t want to give in to intimidation. I needed to pull on my inner strength. I didn’t want to give this contractor the message he could get away with bullying women.

The woman from the mediation center told me I might hear something new in our facilitated conversation that would change my perspective, so I put my checkbook in my purse just in case.

However, the new information seemed to support my position. He’d fired his employee and admitted he’d been lied to about the job. He also said I’d been nice whereas other people he’s dealt with have been nasty. He offered to drop the whole thing if I paid him $200 instead of the $300 he’d asked for. It was tempting to accept just to be done with this.

When I didn’t accept, he returned to his intimidating tactics, noting it was time for him to learn how the small claims court system works. He asked the mediator for directions to the court building and left in a huff.

screenbean-mad

I went out to lunch with my friend who accompanied me for support. Despite being distracted by fear and uneasiness, we had a lovely afternoon.

The next morning another friend called to share her experience reporting a contractor to the Better Business Bureau. She encouraged me to do the same. I hated the thought of my complaint appearing on a webpage for all to see. Even though uncomfortable with her suggestion, I went to the BBB webpage to check out the procedure. When I read they wouldn’t be involved if there was litigation, I decided if I was going to do it, now was the time.

Early the next morning, the contractor began texting and calling. Interpreting this as more intimidation, my hands shook and my heart pounded. With a friend’s encouragement, I returned his call. He said, “Let’s drop this. Lesson learned. I see where you’re coming from.”

I asked him what he was able to see now that he couldn’t see in the mediation. He admitted his employee, whom he had trusted, used poor equipment and he understood why I hired someone else to finish the job. Perhaps seeing my complaint in writing did the trick.

This experience helped me grow in my ability to handle conflict and intimidation. I stood up to bullying…with a lot of help from my friends. For that I am grateful.

beans conquering

I can’t help but wonder for what bigger conflict this is preparing me.

If you tend to avoid conflict, I’d love to hear how you’ve learned to handle your discomfort. I’m sure I have more to learn.

A Moving Re-creation

Moving, even when desired, is considered one of the top five stressful life events because it disrupts our routine. I took possession of my new home on October 5 and immediately began to try to create order out of chaos and beauty out of deterioration. This was definitely a departure from my routine.

As I admitted in my last blog post, I find messiness difficult to live with. A bit of a miracle has occurred since my silent retreat a year ago. Walking in the woods for an hour a day gave me new appreciation for the messiness and majesty of nature. Since then, I’ve felt drawn to trees. And so I chose a house overlooking a woods. This is the view of my back yard.

WOODS

My real growth is evident, however, in that the messiness of the house did not deter me from purchasing it. The bones were good, but it had not been updated since it was built about twenty-two years ago. I determined to have fun revitalizing it — considering it a form of recreation. I had no idea it would also be a form of re-creation. In truth, it hasn’t all been fun, but I’ve been meeting my challenges assertively. This conflict avoider is being re-created one step at a time.

I moved on October 15 and set about finding just the “right” place for my belongings. With my penchant for order, I actually enjoy this activity.

My sun room overlooks the woods. I envision this as my meditation/reading room. This morning is the first opportunity I’ve had to enjoy it.

Meditation Room

I picked up James R. Newby’s book, Sacred Chaos, and found this quote that made me smile.

In the mythology of Genesis we are created out of chaos, and it is out of the chaos in our lives that we are re-created over and over again as we seek spiritual intimacy. It is a continuous cycle of God and us, co-creating new beings, out of which we give birth to dancing stars.

cosmos

Let’s dance!

Doorway to the Divine

The whole universe and all events are sacred (doorways to the divine) for those who know how to see. In other words, everything that happens is potentially sacred if you allow it to be. ~Richard Rohr

I mentioned in my last post that one of the readers of my memoir, A Long Awakening to Grace, challenged me to dig deeper into my story. In the process of excavating, I invited my forty-four-year-old daughter to have a talk with me.

When I trained in Imago Relationship Therapy, we learned a valuable listening skill called “The Intentional Dialogue.” We were taught to leave our own world behind, our perceptions, thoughts, and feelings, in order to enter and be present to the world of another. Listening deeply in this way gives us an opportunity to understand the other person at the level of their soul. It can be quite revealing. I decided to use this skill during our talk, which proved to be a “doorway to the divine.”

ml1gNuu

After taking our places in my living room, I began, “I’d like you to tell me what it was like for you as a child having me for a mother.”

Being in my daughter’s world was heartbreaking as I listened to the depth of her anguish–sacred moments of truth telling. And then her magnanimous soul emerged. She gave me an unanticipated gift of grace–understanding and forgiveness.

Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future.     ~Paul Boese

My daughter received an empathetic response from me as I validated her reality. I received her understanding and forgiveness, thus allowing me to forgive myself. Our future is enlarged. If my memoir does nothing else, the writing has proved to be healing for both of us. And that is a lot! I am filled with awe and gratitude.

A Holy Pause

True personal growth is about transcending the part of you that is not okay and needs protection. ~Michael Singer

I set a goal at the beginning of 2015 to write one blog post a week. You have’t heard from me since April 21. In addition to moving my blog to my WordPress website, I’ve needed to take a “holy pause” to work on transcending a part of me that is not okay.

c8c2b-demon

Shame Demon strikes again.

In June 2014, I wrote about my Shame Demon battering me with harsh judgments after feedback received about my character at a workshop. In May 2015, I began receiving feedback from those agreeing to read my manuscript to help me improve my writing. One of them challenged me to dig deeper into my story and especially into my feelings and motivations surrounding myself as a mother. Once again the feelings of being inadequate and unworthy surfaced. My Shame Demon attempted to kill the meaning, purpose, joy and healing writing my memoir has given me.

Michael Singer is one of my favorite spiritual teachers. In his book, The Untethered Soul: the journey beyond yourself, he speaks of the roommate in our head–the mental voice that creates problems, makes us miserable, and never shuts up. Mine resembles that Shame Demon.

Michael-Singer-headshot3

Michael Singer

The Untethered Soul

 

While we would never listen to someone who says the bizarre things our “inner roommate” says, we allow this mental voice to ruin anything we’re doing in an instant. When caught in a shame spiral, our mental voice creates even more havoc than usual. Mine was running rampant. I considered letting go of moving forward with my memoir and further exposing my inadequacies. I thought about giving up on the idea of sharing my story with the world.

Just as I did in 2014, I withdrew into myself for a time, avoiding contact with others, the very action that feeds shame. And then a friend noticed. “You seem depressed,” she said.

I let her know a little of what “my roommate” was saying. She gave me a new perspective, a different voice to consider. Gradually, I opened up to more friends. Gentler perspectives than the harsh ones my “inner roommate”  offered came forth. Even on-line spiritual resources spoke to my situation.

This reminder of grace in the midst of our frailties:

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”  ~II Corinthians 9a

And days of wisdom from Richard Rohr’s Daily Meditations:

Richard-Rohr_home-view

~ Richard Rohr ~ Franciscan Priest

“Salvation isn’t about replacing our human nature with a fully divine nature, but growing within our very earthiness and embodiedness to live more and more in the ways of love and grace, so that it comes ‘naturally’ to us and is our deepest nature. This does not mean we are humanly or perfectly whole or psychologically unwounded, but it has to do with an objective identity in God that we can always call upon and return to without fail. Some doctrine of divinization is the basis for all reliable hope and any continual growth.”

“There are two major approaches to spirituality and conversion. We try to exclude and triumph over the negative parts, the shadow parts, the ‘inferior parts’ (I Cor. 12:22), as Paul calls them. This leads us to a kind of heroic spirituality based on willpower and the achievement of some sort of supposed perfection. But if you are honest, what you are really doing is pretending–and excluding the dark side that you do not want to look at, or the people you do not want to deal with. The way of Francis included and integrated the negative–forgiving and accepting the imperfection and woundedness of life. He agreed with Paul that the supposed inferior or weakest are, in fact, ‘the most indispensable.’ 

Salvation is not a divine transaction that takes place because you are morally perfect, but much more is an organic unfolding, a becoming who you already are, an inborn sympathy with and capacity for the very One who created you.”

“The whole universe and all events are sacred (doorways to the divine) for those who know how to see. In other words, everything that happens is potentially sacred if you allow it to be.” ~Richard Rohr

And so once more, I was given an opportunity to grow my shame resilience. I began accepting my weaknesses, looking for the doorway to the divine, and reminding myself of divine grace in the midst of all my life experiences. I moved forward.

 

An Opportunity to Practice

An intention for 2015:
Increase my awareness of the light of grace in the midst of life’s messiness.

Linda A. Marshall
 
On January 1st I posted this intention on my blog.
On January 2nd messiness entered my life.
As I set that intention, I wondered if I was inviting messiness in. It seems that I had.
I received a tearful phone call from my forty-three-year-old daughter who is single and has a disability. She depends on me. She’d just experienced a significant loss in her life.
I might have jumped in to try to control the situation. I’d certainly done that often enough in the past. But letting go and accepting my powerlessness over people, places, and things is something I began working on some thirty years ago.  
And, as I reminded myself, I’d made that intention. So, at the beginning of 2015, I remained calm and looked for the light of grace.
I listened to my daughter’s distress and then asked, “How can I support you? Just let me know what you need and I’ll do it.”
She was conflicted about what she needed from me. She needed my presence but my presence would not have been well received by those she had to deal with, making her situation even more distressing.
And so we waited for guidance. And then the still small voice of Wisdom within gave us the answer. “Reach out for support from a friend who cares.”
 Thank God for friends.
 
 
Karen has served as a gift of grace in the midst of the messiness in our life on several occasions. She appears in my memoir, A Long Awakening to Grace, as just such a gift. Once again, Karen entered as usual—with compassion, empathy, and a deep wisdom of her own.
I write this post with gratitude for the increase in my awareness of the light of grace and the decrease in the length of time it takes for me to notice. 
 
 

DEEPENING: Divine Messiness

Look for God’s realm peeking through our imperfect world.
Deb Kaiser-Cross
My friends, Kathryn, Sharon, Karen, Jennie and many others speak of feeling closer to the Divine in nature than anywhere else. Jennie, one of my writer friends, writes eloquently about it. With them in mind, I set off on Thanksgiving morning for a walk in the woods at the center where I am engaging in a personal, silent retreat, hoping for Divine guidance to deepen my memoir.
Where I experience the intimacy my friends speak of is most often in my journal. Writing letters and reflections to the Divine in my journal is my major spiritual practice. On occasion, a wisdom beyond my own emerges from my pen giving me guidance and a new perspective on life.
 But I’m curious about my friend’s experience and so, as I embark for the woods, I declare, “On my walk, I’m going to be more present to my surroundings to see if I can have their kind of experience with the Divine.”
From the windows in the back of my little cabin, I’ve been marveling at the large expanse of trees reaching their limbs to the sky. As I enter into their midst, my attention is drawn to that which is rotting—wet darkened leaves, broken limbs, and fallen trees. I chuckle at my neat, tidy, orderly, perfectionist self. The woods are messy. I probably miss my connection with the Divine in the woods because I’m not able to control the messiness.
 
I head for the aptly named Stillwater River at the edge of the woods. A huge rock provides seating as I gaze at the gently flowing water and journal my reflections. I much prefer the metaphor of the river flowing as life flows—around barriers, smoothing our rough places.
Once back in the silence of my cabin, I notice the messiness in my journal. In my writing, I wade through the messiness in my monkey-mind until a clearing of new awareness and understanding emerges. This weekend the still small voice of the Divine within gives me what I came hoping for—clear guidance for deepening my memoir.
Awe fills me as an awareness of the messiness of nature mirroring the messiness of life becomes clear. My memoir is about the messiest stretch of my life. I am reminded that in the midst of the mess, I have my most profound encounter with the Divine.
An intention for 2015: Increase my awareness of the light of grace in the midst of life’s messiness.

You Are Accepted…How Sweet The Sound

Paul Tillich quote
Recently Elizabeth Gilbert, author of the celebrated memoir, Eat, Pray, Love, posted this Paul Tillich quote on Facebook. I added it to my page noting that the reason my memoir, A Long Awakening to Grace, has that title is because it took me so long to experience this truth.

 

Elizabeth Gilbert

Elizabeth Gilbert

 
Patricia Hollinger’s poem, Amazing Grace, appeared in True Words from Real Women, a Story Circle journal of short pieces of life-writing by SCN members. The topic for the September issue was grace. Patricia gave me permission to share her poem with you.
Amazing Grace
 
                      Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound…
                                Just hearing the tune makes many a heart pound.
                                That saved a wretch like me!
                                Is what follows and causes me to plea.
                                I was NOT a wretch, “Damnit,” I said,
                                From such words I often fled.
                                With religious angst and major depression,
                                These words reinforced a negative impression.
                                I changed the word wretch to a soul like me,
                                After hours and hours of therapy.
                                Yes, I was lost in the throes of religious zealots,
                                Their words often stung me like BB pellets.
                                Now I am found in the truth of my soul,
                                Seeking this became my ultimate goal.
                                My eyes had been blinded for many years,
                                As I heard sermons designed to elicit fears.
                                “Tis the grace of the presence of a listening ear,
                                As I poured out my hopes and fears,
                               That brought me home to my true self,
                               Never again in fear will I sit on a shelf.

 

Patricia Ropp Hollinger
 
Dichotomy: Intellect & Soul
I could relate to Patricia’s blindness, having been blinded to grace myself for some of the very same reasons. While I didn’t intellectually take in the dogma, the words in the liturgy and music about sin and unworthiness found their way into my psyche, making my already difficult life circumstances even more grueling.
 
Thankfully, the preaching in my progressive denomination, often influenced by Paul Tillich’s theology, leans more toward emphasizing the love of the Divine. My own preaching certainly did. Still, like Patricia, I needed to pour out hopes and fears to compassionate listening ears. Much of my struggle in A Long Awakening to Grace is related to the confusing dichotomy between my intellect and my soul.
Graced with a Miracle: Radical Acceptance
 
And then, not so very long ago, a miracle happened. Another layer of numb gave way, awakening me to grace at a deeper level than I ever imagined possible. My eyes were opened to my wretchedness and at the same time to my loveableness. From this new vantage point, I could embrace the mixture we all seem to be…I could appreciate as never before our human journey of coming into consciousness of the divinity at our center.
 
With this radical acceptance of my humanness and my divinity, the dis-ease engendered by fear of condemnation, the stigma of guilt, and the decree of unworthiness has been tempered considerably. Their shadows continue to creep into my psyche from time to time. But awareness frees me to soulfully sing, Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound.

…remember that to be in grace means to submit to the voice greater.
Clarissa Pinkola Estés
Clarissa Pinkola Estés
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