Rejoice

16 Jan

Small. Today, my soul feels small.

Like I’m still standing on the beach.

In November, sandy brown blowing drifts lay across the flat stretch of the road which took me away from Ocracoke. Mounting over the Oregon Inlet Bridge, seagulls one after the other, like royal sentinels seemed to escort Clarence and I back to the mainland. But since Thanksgiving, not much has moved me. The path dumped me abruptly at my burgundy front door. And though these feet have climbed the choir loft of St. Andrew’s, walked the halls of the Biltmore Estate, rambled through the woods of Wythe County by frozen waterfalls, and now plodded the pavement of Rivermont sidewalks for weeks…something within me just cannot be raked up and carted away. During the falling leaves of October and November, seeking some sort of spiritual center was my goal. I read in my class at Hollins. I learned about mysticism, shamanism, esotericism, connection to the higher self and the spiritual world. In the exploration, artistic thought and playfulness returned. . .the right brained realm began to open.

And I felt hope.

But then the wind blew too much sand over the path. And really, was it taking me where I needed to go? Moments of insight were countered by the cracking of illusions. In my mind, still standing on the sand, a small soul wonders now where to go. When I am lost, I always turn to Joe.

People say that what we’re all seeking is a meaning for life. I don’t think that’s what we’re really seeking. I think that what we’re seeking is an experience of being alive, so that our life experiences on the purely physical plane will have resonances with our own innermost being and reality, so that we actually feel the rapture of being alive

― The Power of Myth

The Ultimate Ordeal perhaps is the realization that none of life has intrinsic purpose, only the one we want to assign ourselves in order to have the motivation to get up each day. To bear living, really living, not just making money, taking care of responsibilities, but having the true courage it takes to embrace the world and know it, takes a lot of energy. And I’m afraid I’m running low. The Universe seems to give a person lesson after lesson and that is the way of it. No real “reward”…no real “Here…you’ve trudged enough…here you go…this one part will be easier than the last.” Life really is perpetual difficulty balanced by moments of enlightenment. But I’ve learned, true meaningful living requires growing, learning, and actively seeking. Not just “what next” but “what else”.

On Christmas Eve at St. Andrew’s, the father said in mass,

“Be not afraid. Rejoice! Always search for joy. . .mere happiness can be ruined by daily trifles…Always look for joy.”

Sitting there on the stairs to the choir loft, overlooking the packed sanctuary, the lack of happiness in my life reared its dragonish head. Happiness? I haven’t been happy in a very long time, but I have experienced joy?

So I decided. I’m giving up looking for happiness.

To let it go means to create a space for something better, something I will not compromise upon.

And in this letting go, the space uncovered contains one primary emotion …I’m mad.

I’m mad that my grandfather died when I was eight and left me.
I’m mad that my mother didn’t have the self resources and maturity to parent well, to teach me how to live a holistically healthy life.
I’m mad that I had to parent her and that she was incapable of understanding me intellectually and emotionally.
I’m mad that no one realized that in the absence of my grandfather, the relationship with my stepfather was emotionally damaging.
I’m mad that my inadequate social education and low self esteem as a young person led me to make poor choices in romantic relationships.
I’m mad that it took me 35 years to discover that I had worth.
I’m mad that men, in general, have been a huge disappointment.
I’m mad that I worked so hard to hone my education, creativity, talents and personality only to realize that the more I grow, the more it isolates me from others.
I’m mad that I am able to nurture other people, to help them to grow, to give them what they need and that isn’t something I get in return.
I’m mad that deep intimacy with anyone other than myself doesn’t seem possible.
I’m mad at God.
I’m mad at me.

Carrying this fills up the space for joy, I know that now. And that being around other people who do not have a sense of what gives real joy and peace prohibits me from healing myself and preparing a space for my own. I’ve often wondered what I’m doing out here…what am I looking for? Why do I persistently fill my spare time with new experiences? Why does the road call to me? Why do I seek activities and people which are slightly frightening, but intriguing?

One answer resounds.

Because I might find some joy.

I know how it feels. Finding it and keeping it is the hardest part.

So my New Year’s resolution for 2014 is this:

1. If an activity doesn’t seem as if it will bring me joy, I’m not doing it.

2. If a connection or relationship doesn’t inspire joy, letting it add to the pile of pain I’m trying to let go of will not further the journey.

3. If something or someone embodies inherent joy, my own grows and is returned. And that is what I ultimately want.

To grow in joy.

That sense of oneness. . .I just need to keep following it.

It shows the way home.

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