Thursday, August 8, 2013

In the Void

I'm reading a new book. I picked it up in the bookstore when I went to church on Sunday.  It's called Finding Yourself in Transition, by Robert Brumet.  I had to read the title several times before I caught the play on words, but once I did, it certainly hit home.

I  am in transition, and through this transition, I will find myself anew.  I use that word, anew, rather than again, because I don't think I'm going to be the same person I was before I began this transition.  Why do I think that?   Because as I work through each day I'm having difficulty recognizing who I am.  I don't know where I fit anymore, and I can't see where I will fit once this transition period has passed.  I have a sense that there is something waiting for me, but at this time, I have no earthly idea what that might be. 

That's the kicker, I think. I'm expecting an earthly idea, and I don't think it will be an earthly one, but a spiritual one.  I've received several emails from people asking if I've done any circles yet, or if I've thought about when I might offer certain classes.  Thoughts of circles and classes have come,  but more because I feel like I should  be thinking of them, rather than because it's the right thing to do at this point.  Brumet says change is a process that requires us to "be willing to trust the divine wisdom and order within the process."  He says that "Trying to force our personal will on a process is usually counterproductive and may be very damaging." I've been attempting to do that, to honor my feelings and what my body is telling me as I go through each day.

What that means is, there are still many boxes to unpack. Some days I don't touch a box at all, but run errands or just explore the landscape.  Other days I dig in and unpack for hours, only stopping when I realize it's getting too dark to see and I have to turn on the lights.  At other times I spend hours in silence, aware of an energy running through me that is not the same energy I feel when I'm unpacking or out and about in my car.  I've been trying to do what feels right, rather than doing what someone else might think is right for me.  I think that anyone looking in from the outside might think my ways are a bit strange, as there isn't as much progress as someone else might make, and yet, where I am, feels right.

It feels right, but it isn't necessarily comfortable.  Brumet calls this part of the change process "the Void", where nothing "seems solid or definite:"  where "... time and space seem to lose their former reality."  He says that during this part of the process our feelings can go from the highest highs to the lowest lows, sometime feeling as if demons are within us, and at other times feeling the Divine in ways we never have before.  He says we may be challenged to draw on our deepest resources to see us through this difficult time, but that it can be " an enormously powerful period: a time of opening to new freedom and empowerment, a time of deep healing , a time of transformation."

I wasn't looking for another book when I stepped into the bookstore on Sunday.  I was really only trying to pass time until the service began.  If this move has taught me anything, it's that I have far too many books already. However, God must have known that I needed a different perspective, a new voice, to help me traverse this part of the journey, because Brumet's words have shored me up, assured me that I'm still on the path, and at the right place on the path.  He's given me a different way to see this space that I'm in, and a way to own it that I didn't have before.  He's also helped me remember that this is just a stage in a process, and that it will eventually end, and that I will be better for having experienced this time, for allowing myself to accept what is, rather than pushing it away. His understanding is that once we have come through the void and experienced all that it has to offer, we are empowered with wisdom and strength which are not given to us solely for our own benefit, but given to us "that we may serve others in some way." 

Ever since I learned Reiki, my prayer as I began each session has always been: "Let me be the channel for Your energy, the instrument of Your peace."  I will gladly embrace this void, this period of unknowing, if it enables me to be an even better channel and a greater instrument for the Divine.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Staying Connected

I went to church yesterday.  I haven't been to church for a regular Sunday service in years, more years than I can count on one hand, in fact.  But I need to meet new people and begin to build a community of like-minded folks in this new home town of mine,  and since I'm not a bar person, and my body isn't up to working out at the gym or stretching out in a yoga class, I thought attending church might be a good place to start. 

So on Saturday I did a web search for Unity Church in Nashville and got the address and the times for the services.  I chose Unity because I used to attend Unity in Pittsburgh and generally liked the service.  I decided I'd go to the 11 am service so I didn't have to get up so early, and also because I didn't know where I was going and didn't want to have to leave home at daybreak just to give myself enough time to find my way.  But by the time I fell asleep Saturday night, I'd changed my mind.  I just had too much to do, too many boxes to unpack, too much stuff to sort through.  I decided I'd go next week instead.

Deep down I knew I was using the unpacking as an excuse because I was dreading walking into a new place where I knew no one.  But since everything in my new home really is still in chaos and it's an effort just to find clean clothes each morning, it did seem like a viable excuse. 

However, I woke up extra early and the first thought I had was that I needed to go to church.  I pushed it aside and tried to go back to sleep, but couldn't.  So I got up.  I usually read while I eat breakfast, but I don't have a table and chairs yet, and it's a little challenging to balance a book, a breakfast plate and a cup of coffee on the arm of a camp chair, so I decided to turn on the television while I ate my breakfast.  Not much on that interested me at 8 am, but I did notice that Joel Osteen was on (if you're not familiar with Joel, you can check him out here: ), and so I clicked the remote to that channel to see what he was talking about.  Within five minutes, I was in tears, because the message he was sharing was exactly the message I needed to hear. 

He was talking about the importance of maintaining our connection to Spirit, and that when we do that, everything else falls into place much more easily.  He wasn't saying anything I didn't know and believe, and usually practice, but in the crazy, hectic weeks prior to me landing permanently in Nashville, I'd been more concerned with what I had to do to make the move happen, than I was with my connection to Spirit.  And to tell you the truth, that neglect was evident in  the things that were happening and the way that I was feeling.  I truly needed that reminder.

After listening to Joel, I decided that I'd go to church after all, because I was feeling disconnected and wasn't sure I could remedy that feeling on my own.  I wasn't really sure that attending church was going to remedy it either, but since it was the first thought I had when I woke up, I figured maybe there was a reason it was my first thought.  I have to tell you, I was supposed to be there!  The minister's message echoed Joel's, and the music, along with the message and the openness and friendliness of the congregation, did much to lift my spirits and renew my faith, as well as to remind me once again of what I need to focus on first each day.  

It's been so easy to let my spiritual practice take a back seat to all the million and one details that needed my attention in order to make this move happen.   So often I'd think about sitting quiet and connecting, and another thought would pop up about something that needed to be done, and fearful that I'd forget, I'd move on to that, telling myself I'd sit with Spirit later.  But often, that time, that very important time, never happened.   

But what did happen, because of my neglect, was that all the little things that didn't go the way I thought they would, that normally I would be able to take in stride without a hitch, began to get to me.  It was harder and harder to stay positive, and I found myself getting more and more caught up in fearful thoughts and negative self-talk.  Rather than being excited about the new possibilities of life in Nashville, I was focused on what I didn't have, what I'd left behind.  Those thoughts drained my energy and left me feeling isolated, alone, and depressed.  My physical body also suffered from all that negative energy, and the aches and pains that I normally hardly notice, became almost insurmountable barriers to physical movement.  Much as I hate to admit it, I was a mess as I sat in my camp chair watching Joel Osteen.

I'm always amazed at how easy it is to forget how important that consistent daily time in silent connection to the Divine really is to the rest of my existence.  This isn't the first time it's happened, and unfortunately, it probably won't be the last, because I am human  and it's so easy to get caught up in my thoughts and in the daily rush of life around me.  But I hope it will be a long, long time before I let it happen again because I still have a lot of boxes to unpack, new people to meet, and a new life to build, and I need and want all the help the Universe has to offer to make those things happen in the best possible way!