Sometimes, when I was a very small girl, sensing my mother's distraction, I would pull on her sleeve and say, "Listen to my word. Mommy, listen to my word." We've always thought that a funny and odd thing for a little girl to say.
Last Wednesday night my spiritual direction group wrapped up a month long exploration of Celtic spirituality. I shared this incredible blessing from John O'Donohue. I thought it particularly appropriate on that night.
Blessed be the longing that brought you here
And quickens your soul with wonder.
May you have the courage to listen to the voice of desire
That disturbs you when you have settled for something safe.
May you have the wisdom to enter generously into your own unease
To discover the new direction your longing wants you to take.
May the forms of your belonging - love, creativity and friendship -
be equal to the grandeur and the call of your soul.
May the one you long for long for you.
May your dreams gradually reveal the destination of your desire.
May a secret providence guide your thought and nurture your feeling.
May your mind inhabit your life with the sureness
with which your body inhabits the world.
May your heart never be haunted by ghost-structures of old damage.
May you come to accept your longing as divine urgency.
May you know the urgency with which God longs for you.
With a handful of dark green pipe cleaners and some quick instruction, we set out to weave a St. Brigid cross, mindfully. Despite my reassurances that whatever you created or didn't create, it was ok, the important part was experience, well, really, the opening to the experience, folks were nervous about doing things "right.". No matter how many times I said it, they had trouble accepting that the outcome was of little or not consequence.
Brigid Crosses are traditionally woven from reeds. I had a bag of materials in the garage, saved for the occasion but Michael unknowingly "decluttered" them. In the end I decided on pipe cleaners because I knew it would be easier for their unfamiliar fingers to manage and might help keep our focus on the meditation, rather than making a perfect cross. I said over and over again, "Remember, it's just a pipe cleaner!"
But even so, as we wove our pipe cleaner crosses, you could feel the judgment (and tension) begin to build.
For most of us, our minds told us that we were:
inferior or superior
too perfect or too sloppy
too fast or too slow
too determined or too hesitant
too focused or too scattered
The interesting thing to me was the nature of this judgement. This was not the "judging of one's neighbor" that we are warned against in the Bible.
This was different.
We didn't judge the woman to our left or the woman to our right or the woman across the room. We judged ourselves, pure and simple.
We were so judgmental of ourselves, we had no choice but to laugh at ourselves. The only other option would have been to judge ourselves for being so judgmental!
Do you see what tricks the mind plays?
That voice that urges you to peek at your neighbor out the corner of your eye...to check your measure against your friends...that voice is not God. The voice that says you are not good enough is never the voice of God. That voice is not Holy or Sacred and that voice surely does not speak Truth. That is a small, small voice. It only sounds big because it is trapped in your head...it's bouncing around and echoing off the walls of your mind until you can hear nothing else.
That small voice should not be able to drown out the love and longings that God speaks to you, but all too often we ignore the God-Voice that says we are beautiful, we are powerful, we are loved. We only hear that small, small voice that says we are not enough. It's small but it's loud and man oh man is it ever persistant.
We can't quite tune in to the God station....
we create our own static....
we can't quite make out the voice of the Divine.
But if we will stop and listen and acknowledge and reach out...if we share our small thoughts and big fears with trusted soul friends, we can turn the volume down on that small voice. We can remove the static and tune into Love.
When those small, mean thoughts cross my mind, my friend and mentor taught me to say, "Hello, old friend. Not today." I can choose to let those small thoughts pass on by. You can too.
Recently a friend sent me this quote from Sue Monk Kidd's book The Dance of the Dissident Daughter.
"Mindfulness has been called a powerful form of self-healing by many teachers and practitioners. How this process creates healing is part mystery and part grace. Somehow in a slow, hidden way, we're able to be with the depths of ourselves--our true natures, our souls--while at the same time observing our thoughts and feelings and not becoming caught up in them."
May you have the courage to listen to the voice of Love.
May you have the courage to reveal your true nature.
Can you feel me pulling on your sleeve?
"Listen! Listen! Listen to my word!
You are beautiful
You are powerful
You are magnificent
You are infinite
You are eternal
You are loved
You ARE enough
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