It’s all about relationships

I’ve just said good-bye to a group that has been meeting alternately in my home for over 15 years. This last meeting was poignant and sad for it signified that the changes I have set in motion are not in the future or unreal: it is now and it is final.
A Course in Miracles is Christian and so for me to be involved was a kind of disconnect and a little silly. I don’t know anything about Christianity, nor religion per se, and have always felt that religion was not related to my life. However, these particular women have always made me feel welcome, loved and respected.
They are mostly Catholic women (including one who is about to be ordained a woman priest*)  who have loved their religion, albeit with some exceptions including an inordinate amount of guilt; ignoring women who have played significant roles in the religion; etc., and are very connected to the ‘Holy Spirit’. I am learning to know what it means to be spiritual through this avenue and find it very elusive. But because I am in a group with these beautiful and wonderful women, I feel the importance of sangha.
The Course emphasizes forgiveness and love. This I can get behind. The love part has helped me begin to see the beauty and worth in everyone thus making it easier to forgive. Forgiveness is tough – but when I have been able to achieve this – I really feel relieved and experience a new lightness with a touch of peace and patience.  Right now we are reading Richard Rohr’s * Immortal Diamond.  This reading has allowed me to understand deeper the incorrect thinking that has been characteristic of religion and in particular, Christianity. It seems, in one of his major themes, that the ‘church’ has left the personal connection to the divine up to and only with Priests and other hierarchy.  Rohr writes:

Science is no longer our enemy; instead quantum physics, biology, and other academic disciplines are revealing science as probably our new and best partner, much better than philosophy ever was. If something is spiritually true, it will also be true in the physical world too, and all religions will somehow be looking at that “one truth” from different angles, goals, assumptions, and vocabulary, as will all of the disciplines of any great university. If we are really convinced that we have the Great Big Truth, then we should also be able to trust that others will see it from their different angles – or it is not a great big truth. 

In my tradition (I have been training at Spirit Rock* in their Dedicated Practioners Program) the sangha is one of the three jewels: the Buddha, the dharma (teachings)  and the sangha, or community. So, from this perspective, it almost doesn’t matter what our orientation is, just as long as we find within ourselves wise effort and the rest of the Noble Eight-fold* path points.
All this is to say I have gotten so much from my ‘religious’ friends and have felt so held in love and will miss them terribly. I hope to attend a conference where Rohr will be presenting in New Mexico, where I will see some of these great women once again.
BestMiracles

The Miracles Group: Sue, Joanna, Kathleen, Sandra, me, Olga, and Catherine

*Richard Rohr’s site:

https://cac.org

*Spirit Rock Meditation Center:

https://www.spiritrock.org

*The Noble Eight-fold Path:

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/bodhi/waytoend.html

* Catholic Women Priests

http://romancatholicwomenpriests.org

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Preparing for The Big Trip

So much has been said about traveling around the country with a dog and in a van or RV. I am not doing anything new. But, I am surviving post Tom. Nothing could be more difficult.

 

My heart is aching for a life I once had and now I must turn away from all that I knew and loved. To begin this journey, I decided to physically take myself away from the life I so comfortably loved and lived for over 35 years. I am wrenching myself away because it is really difficult to make this decision to leave all the folks I love so much.

Why would I do this? So many people ask me this with incredulity. I feel I must face myself, my fears, and allow my heart to open again. I have let it close because of the pain. My trip may help me find my heart again, find whatever spunk and aliveness I had before Tom passed.

I loved Tom with all my heart. He was a rare soul, kind and wise and very loving. It is because of him that I am able to take this trip at all. He and I planned to do this together when Tom retired from his position as director at Park Day School. There for over 35 years he had developed a great love for the staff, parents, and children who came through the school. His relationships were paramount to his work and it was reflected in his dedication and deep caring for the direction of this progressive school.

We had intended to do this trip when he retired, but we both knew that it would be impossible to leave. I did not have the chance to try and pry him away as he developed cancer that consumed him in 2014.

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