aloneness is not loneliness

“When you are alone you are not alone, you are simply lonely – and there is a tremendous difference between loneliness and aloneness. When you are lonely you are thinking of the other, you are missing the other. Loneliness is a negative state. You are feeling that it would have been better if the other were there – your friend, your wife, your mother, your beloved, your husband. It would have been good if the other were there, but the other is not. Loneliness is absence of the other. Aloneness is the presence of oneself. Aloneness is very positive. It is a presence, overflowing presence. You are so full of presence that you can fill the whole universe with your presence and there is no need for anybody. ”

above passage quoted from http://www.withunity.co.uk/news/osho-on-aloneness.html

 

i am thinking of definitions of virgin i have heard (as in the virgin mary) as being ‘woman unto herself’, a woman who is whole, complete unto herself.  hmmm. one who said ‘yes’ to bearing God into life without ‘need’ for the other to see her as worthy or good enough. one who trusted in her own goodness, spoken to her in the dark of night

grief and belovedness

 
dear all,

 i lost a very dear friend, mentor, counselor, a lover of my soul this winter.

i thank you for the space  to simply be, and to simply be with what is.

i write this morning simply for a listening ear. i write to hear myself.  i write because i suppose i need a receptacle willing to receive.  i write to receive myself.  may i be that ‘willing one’ for myself.

i wonder if the heart of god is not truly that receptive one, that my heart might pour the
contents of its experience, all that it sees and feels in this place of such intensity, into it for holding. and yet… i suppose this is the secret of secrets…. i am also called in this place to be the Receptive One. and these two receptacles are indeed One. it is me in the end who must finally receive myself and in that receiving of myself, that turning inward, find God there waiting for me. again. and it is God who begs to be received in that which my eyes see, gazing outward at the desolation, and god in the deep well within which my heart lies echoing its despair, longing to be known as Love.

oh…my heart is so full.
the snow geese fill the sky outside my window all morning long, returning.
the hawk sits atop the willow for but a moment, preying for a meal.
these two live in me.

this weekend, in the retreat i named, ‘re-membering our belovedness, a deepening re-union’, i think i expected/hoped to be brought ‘back’ to that place of blessing, that place of ‘behold my beloved, in whom i am well pleased’, to reclaim what was, to escape my current pain by remembering some previous blessing. not that exactly, but that is the best i can describe it. perhaps it was more like wanting some memory to hold onto in the midst of desolation. of course, in the end, i was re-membered in a different way.

but there is no clinging to the old allowed. old ways of escaping pain no longer valid. no metaphor upon which to cling as a raft to rise above and skim across these dark depths. no image. no great theological idea or analysis. i am being given nothing, no escape, no consolation, no companion, no momentary relief.

i am profoundly alone and there is no running from that. oh god. I AM. ALONE. and yet, (no ‘but’ here, this is indeed an ‘and’) in surrendering at last to it, that there is truly no one who can enter this place with me, no one now who can see me, whose eyes i can use as a beacon for the crossing, i must learn to see in the dark. i must learn to trust my own eyes. in this place of being unknown, i am being invited to receive the gift of knowing myself, of trusting in my own knowing, and of Knowing Love for myself. there is no one can give that to me.

oh god, the grief is so strong. the aloneness so palpable. at times i cry out to her…..

and God is here in the dark.

i realize i have known no other who has loved me as she did, who has honored me as she did, who has gazed upon and seen me as she did. how i fell into my depths with her and found her swimming there with me. it was as if she stood behind my eyes and saw through them and i, turning to see myself, through hers.

and now i am called to be One.

no longer can she carry for me. no longer can she carry me. it is me who must carry myself. and it is my body who must carry her.

reunion.

we are not two. (we never were) we are One. the Beloved is in me. the Beloved is me.

a flash of understanding came. an understanding of why i saw the body of my dead child in that painful moment of ‘looking’. both of these female souls i had given some part of myself to carry, my hope, my love, my pain, my darkness and my light, some part of my wholeness. so in their loss, i lost some part of myself. it is time to gather them in.

it is time to be alone.

no one else can hold for me what is mine to hold. to honor and obey. to love and
to cherish. perhaps this is my betrothal to the Beloved in me.

oh god. the screaming within as she (the child) was torn from me. the deadening
silence afterward. no one could join me there either. no one could understand
the loss. and now i weep as i could not then when my pain was trapped within
the blankness of the stare. oh god, how i weep. i weep for my aloneness then,
which was an aloneness utterly bereft of belovedness.

the image i have now is a wanting to go lie down upon the graves of those baby
girls, to lie face down upon the earth, my heart close and draw them back into
my body. yes. i can feel that. hearkening back……

this is a ‘no longer a wanting to get rid of’. this whole piece is a ‘no longer
wanting to get rid of’, isnt’ it?  a fuller embrace, a feeling fully, a being
more fully with what is…pain and darkness and death included in that embrace
of life. no wonder my heart feels so full that each tiny new piece added feels
as if it is too much to hold.

o Beloved. how you pursue me. relentless is Your pursuit. there is no place to
hide from you. in my most profound aloneness you are there calling me deeper
into You. in this stripping of all that brings me comfort, the One i find naked
standing there is You. only You, until Love is all that remains for me to cling
to. Belovedness.

o. it is as if my heart is so big and so small at once.
so close, so full, that it seemingly spills over the top,
so far down in the darkness that its call is as if from a deep well, beseeching
me to dive and swim in its black water, bathe in it, let its silky dark carress
my skin and awaken my flesh to its depths.
this surface bubbling over is but the echo…

all is well,
vicki

ps. this morning, i did a google search with the words ‘aloneness’ and
‘beloved’, knowing there was some ‘connection’ between the two, wanting to hear
what others have noticed about it.

i came upon these 2 poems…the only 2 poems on this particular page. what surprised me was the first with its expression of the embrace of the shadow, so strong has this call been for me, to somehow witness the ugliness and feel the anguish of it, and hear the call to love.

what i hadn’t ‘connected’ was that the full embrace of dark and light into oneself, into one’s loving, into wholeness and the experience of ALONENESS were part of the same path….

Love.

I am one with all things
– in beauty, in ugliness, for whatsoever is
– there I am.
Not only in virtue but in sin too I am a partner,
and not only heaven but hell too is mine.
Buddha, Jesus, Lao Tzu – it is easy to be their heir,
but Ghengis, Taimur, and Hitler?
They are also within me!
No, not half – I am the whole of mankind!
Whatsoever is man’s is mine
– flowers and thorns, darkness as well as light,
and if nectar is mine, whose is poison?
Nectar and poison – both are mine.

Whoever experiences this I call religious,
for only the anguish of such experience
can revolutionize life on earth.

Aloneness

An authentically religious man is an individual.
He is alone, and in his aloneness there is great beauty, great splendor.
I teach you that aloneness.
I teach you the beauty, and the grandeur, and the fragrance of aloneness.
In your aloneness you will reach to the heights of Everest.
In your aloneness you will be able to touch the farthest star.
In your aloneness you will blossom to your total potential.

Remain authentically true to your Self

Don’t betray yourself.

wounded healer?

my friend suggested to me that the way she experiences me is as ‘shaman and
healer’, earth mother, friend, sister, a strong spirit- steward of the earth- a
voice to bring the feminine sensibility back, a voice for wholeness.
‘Where there are people searching for wholeness you will shine the way.
You have in three short walks completely woken me from my sleep under water which was so very painful to me- restored my sanity and my health, and you have always managed to do so’
.

i don’t know about that, but i am grateful for the reminder that my woundedness itself is somehow gift, that my own vulnerably visible search for wholeness give permission to heal. for this moment, at least , i can embrace the ‘wounded healer’.

i am finding it interesting the way in which my friend, of whom i had recently lamented the  giving away of my newfound alone time, has now named for me the christ presence that i carry to her, has proclaimed the essence that i bring forth. and so the giveaway comes back in some way.

i wonder now about my body saying ‘no’ with this illness. i wonder about the energy transfer in that. what was drained from me in those walks (and elsewhere) that needs restoration.

and i wonder about my initial saying ‘yes’. did something in me know (something besidesvthe difficulty i have in saying ‘no’ to any call for nurture from another) thatvhere might be a portion of the answer to the ‘who am i’ that has been naggingvme?

was then the need indeed mutual. mine for her, hers for me…

quiet at last

my summer and early fall has been, once again, a time of increasing external
distraction and being pulled up from my sense of god in the depths. i notice
this each year, the way in which my summers are so very difficult for
me to stay connected to my self. at times, i can honor that this connectedness to others is also a very important part me, and obviously deeply valuable or i wouldn’t so often choose it over time alone when presented with the option.  still, i am aware that at least some of the choosing is a wounded choosing.

this is the first i have sat at the computer, praying and listening, like this for months. alas, even the computer can become just one more distraction as i am more likely to find myself surfing the news, reading quite fascinating articles and history, but not listening to myself, especially during times when i am otherwise distracted.

its as if i try to fill the sense of emptiness with noise, or quiet the nagging voice over my shoulder by drowning it out. summers are always a time of taking in (reading, etc), not listening, hmmmm, of trying to stuff the emptiness.

it also seems as if something in me is very ‘all or nothing’. in other words, if
i can’t have the spaciousness to completely go inward i can’t seem to move in
that direction at all. and it seems the space to turn inwards is
just so hard to find unless i am completely alone. i obviously have not yet
learned to value the being available to the quiet whisper within as much as being (all too readily) available to the seeming ‘urgencies’ without. what i am trying to say here is that everyone else comes first and its a long line 🙂

alas, i find myself with some quiet today. my body simply said ‘enough’ and i am sick…just enough to put me on the couch but not enough to knock me out. oh, the wisdom of the body….

my daughter finally feels moved out, at least for now.  i spent some time in her apartment last week, helping her to settle in and build the nest, so to
speak.  so this is the first week i have some alone time in many, many
months….that is , alone time enough to follow the call inward long and far
enough to reach my self.

interestingly, a lost friend (the same one whom i quoted above) called for breakfast the day after i returned from philadelphia. and we have been walking mornings since. but what i am noticing this morning, since my body said ‘no’ to the walk, is the opportunity for spaciousness that i simply gave away to her need (or was it also mine…).

 i have found the walks to be a place where she can process aloud to a listening heart. yes. something in her is stirring awake….as is something in me. oh the mirror!

i have been searching for something to fill my nagging sense of emptiness of
late (politics, etc), and that was part of my yes to her, i suppose. a boredom, a space to fill, a wanting something to fill my days. but also community, mutuality, real connectivity, sharing.

i am hearing so clearly this morning in these moments of quiet at last, that the fullness for which i yearn is found within. the voice, pleaing for that ‘something more’ in my ear, which i has been nagging me for so
many months is quiet at last this morning.

driving the car

i have a sense that i am in the midst of transition, much like a mother in the
transition stage of childbirth. it has been a painful time in some ways and i
truly cannot yet see the new life that is being born in me.

i am nearing the end of the active stage of mothering, my husband is nearing
retirement, and i am wondering what this new life might look like. sometimes
the fear is overwhelming, as my husband’s imaginings and my deepest desire
often don’t feel very congruent, and i worry about being swept off into a life
again, not of my (conscious) choosing.

and yet i really have no anchor, no deep sense of self or of call that keeps me
from being carried along. one ‘good’ moment in the past several months was a moment when i ‘lost control’ (hmmm) with my husband and son in the car and i forced my husband (physically) to stop the car and let me out. at the time i was feeling unheard, diminished, misunderstood and misrepresented by my teenaged son.

as i think on this instance today (then, i was totally shocked, and then guilty, at my wild loss of control, as were my husband and son) i can see it is a metaphor for my life at the time. if i look at the scenario as i would a dream, with someone else ‘driving the car’, i can see the total sense of groundlessness/anchorlessness that i was experiencing, and there was something in me rising to claim her own authentic self….

letter to my lover

ro,

i have been remembering this morning the portion of our wedding ceremony where we spoke of honoring the spiritual journey that we were choosing to travel with one another, where we stated our intention to consciously choose this path of marriage, trusting in the presence of God to go with us there. i don’t have the pages here in front of me, but i recall the passage of scripture. it goes something like this

3 ways are mysterious to me
4 i cannot understand
the way of the eagle in the sky
the way of the snake on the rock
the way of a ship on the sea
and the way of a man with a woman

these vows are meaningful to me and i recommitt myself to them, and to you, and mostly to trusting in the presence of God deep within them and within our joined lives, moving us, growing us, inviting us, calling us forth through the love that we share.

i deeply appreciate your attending to what you noticed in me the other night. i’m sorry we did not have more time to explore. i do miss those conversations with you. friday nights and saturday morning breakfasts have been lost somehow…

anyway, this feeling you noticed has been with me for some time now. i have also been aware that the flip side of my ‘lack of passion’ is a deep passion for
‘something more’. the feeling of emptiness is a longing for fullness. i have
suggested that it is like a voice just over my right shoulder, a voice
whispering its discontent and desire all at once, nudging me to embrace
something….

what i want to say here to you is this. you have not taken from me anything. a life in the convent is not more holy, nor more filled with the presence of god, than a life journeyed in marriage. my choice to be on this journey with you was and is my desire and my vow. i honor the promise god made to me, saying ‘yes’ i’ll go with you there. the three of us can dance, there is room enough.

my desire for intentional community, which melanie and i dreamed of during our lunch on tuesday, is perhaps simply a desire for intentionality, for attentiveness, for depth.  i do wish to be more intentional about attending to the Presence, to honoring it in the mundane. that is my work, i suppose, consecrating each moment, no matter what i ‘do’.  perhaps that is part of what i mean by living a soulful existence, that turn of phrase that so confused you.

oh perhaps i do ‘think too much’, as bob once said, but i simply cannot ‘go
through the motions’ of life. there must be meaning for me. there must be god for me.

sometimes i do wonder who i am. often, in truth. i wonder if there is some
specific gift which i am to bring forth. i remember the girl i once was, who
believed she had been whispered to by god that she was like mary, and was going to give birth to the next jesus…. and so the voice over my shoulder has been with me for so very long. it just is frequently drowned out. how am i called to give birth to god in this place? what is the gift that i bear for the world? what does it look like?

maybe it will become evident someday… but i think likely not, at least not to
me. perhaps others see it, perhaps i give it already. i don’t know. i do know i
won’t find it anywhere ‘out there’. i will find it ‘right here’ .

no, i needn’t jump ship to find the ocean. i am swimming in it. with you.

love in the hard places

a friend spoke of her experience of ‘being in the flow’, what she describes as
the combination of joy and bliss when she has noticed Presence communing with
her, she notices it, it notices her. the bliss of awareness…of noticing what
is…and not needing it to be any different than it is. this reminds me of another friend’s way of describing his own sense of ‘being in the present moment’, or ‘awareness
of god’. his words for this are ‘noticing Beauty’ and through practicing this
he somehow finds himself beheld as Beauty.

of course, you have heard me express my own understanding of ‘terrible beauty’,
which i have found restated by others well along this path as ‘tragic joy’,
this ‘god in all things, all things in god’ way of loving life.

this recent path of beholding the brokenness of humanity with reverence and
beauty is part of that for me. finding god right there, trusting in the
goodness and the beauty of the breaking itself. last month i came right home from a
gathering where a woman spoke of the women in sudan whom had been so brutally
violated as to need colostomy bags, and looked up the images and stories on the
internet. i wanted to see the face of God there.

i have known for some time that my relationship with humanity (as with jesus as
one such human incarnation of the divine) has been a broken piece for me. i
have NOT been madly in love with jesus…and so when he comes to make love to
me in my dreams? i know it must be god because it’s definitely not something i would invite
on my own. perhaps the continuation of those dreams, after finally allowing myself to be fully gazed upon by
him, will be my own full gaze upon him and fully loving his own brokenness, those
same scars that made thomas doubt.

slipping into this particular flow is not automatic for me, but it IS at the
root of my deepest desire, my relentless seeking. frequently god has taken me
there, to a place of such terrible beauty, following a particularly intimate,
unitive encounter. you know of what i speak there. more recently i have been
finding myself much more readily inviting god to come there with ME, to extend
god’s gaze with me as i witness, or am engaged in, a particularly painful human
experience (this is why i like welcoming prayer so much). usually there is a
slight lapse here for me, between the experience of human suffering and the remembrance to
invite Love. and while this invited gaze of Love can bring my own self
in line with the Love that resides inside of me so that i deeply experience the
Oneness that We are, there still resides inside of me the deeper desire to know
Love not within myself, nor even as the compassionate transcendent Other (that
is far too removed a Love for me), but in the very tragic scenario which i
behold. yes, perhaps this is my own gazing at the scars and recognizing god.

perhaps god brings the pain close to home in times such as this. to witness and
be with the pain in my family, in whom i can more easily recognize the
goodness, but at the same time for whom i hurt so much more and hunger to
understand, to see where god is in this?

for instance, i simply want to love my children…without shame, without excuses,
without defense. all of these cultural rules
about what love must look like exhaust me, as do all of these rules about what a
healthy adult looks like. perhaps, just perhaps, self reliance is not a god
after all. perhaps, just perhaps, fear and chaos are not unlovable. perhaps
god’s very self is in those scars. i wish to live my compassion, my
understanding, my forgiveness without shame, to simply be a fool for love.

and i wish to remember the softness of
Love in these hard places…

all is well,

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