Q’s to my A’s

I feel this blog is becoming more of a faith exploration space. Not my initial intention when I began writing this blog but… well that’s evolution for you. And once the flow begins and ya jump on board the…board, well ya go where the tide takes you I guess.

Faith feels the most real and important ‘thing’ for me at the moment. A depth, a sweetness if you like, soaking into… like I’m sat in sugar water and my skin is doing what skin does well, absorbing. And I could jump outta the sugar water, it gets a little damp and hot and sticky and funky smelling if I don’t move for a while, but I don’t. I can’t maybe. Because in this sweetness I get glimpses of what it feels like to be delicious. I feel entirely engrossed and porous, which can get somewhat overpowering but the reality is, is better than what’s outside.

It’s scary, right. This apocalyptic feeling, worn on the cuffs of all of us, hidden by the usual veil, left hand ignoring what the right is doing.

But the ignoring is becoming harder and feelings of security outside of myself are dying. There’s no where to place a foot, a rooting within society right now. And I guess the true reality is, there never has been. The veil is thinning, as it does before a mass contraction. Are the waters about to break?

And the questions come. When I feel I have an answer, the question comes. It’s topsy-turvy and it’s not how school taught us.
Question to answer… nope… answer to question.

Outside to understand what’s going on inside… nope… inside and understand nothing (and get used to it)

This is more of a pondering post… but then is that what we do, daily. Ponder. We hold onto weather reports like they are our totality, until eternity. And we know how quickly the weather can change.

So Q’s to my A’s, they just keep coming. And the sweet waters, they keep me hydrated even though I’m feeling a little prune-y 🙂

Thy will be done…

Ok, this is the hard stuff.

I’ve been saying the Lord’s Prayer for years. We said it before each class in school (catholic) and it’s kinda ingrained. School was a long time ago and it’s been bouncing around in my head ever since. Lately I’ve incorporated the prayer into my morning sadhana. And when I wanna go deep with Jesus, we join hands over this prayer.

Because it’s become habitual it’s easy to skim over what you’re actually saying. The words become a rhythm and that’s wonderful to soothe and connect BUT I’m now realising… never underestimate the power of words and what you’re actually praying for!

In meditation the other day I was just about to say ‘God, give me the courage to surrender to your will’, but wait… YOUR WILL?? What if it’s not what I want or like? And that’s where the huge question of ‘what does faith actually mean for me? slipped furiously in.

That line ‘Thy will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven’ has been kinda thrown away by me, for years. Heaven has always been depicted as ‘someplace’ perfect and bright and immaculate. So, of course I just visualised perfection on Earth.

Yet, scratch the surface of that and concepts of perfection and how EVERY individual has a different ideal… suddenly that picture begins to muddy and I see Heaven as a projection, not a place you go. A place you are. So, thy will be done, where you are, on earth.

And let’s be honest, another’s will upon us can be scary as anything. I think I may have used God. My will over the bigger picture.

‘God, please can you give me the strength…’

‘God, please can you help with….’

‘God, please help those….’

‘God, please allow whatever feelings I’m feeling to flow through me, without attachment…’

That’s a lot please can you prayers. And God answers! The LOVE is immense… But lately there’s been a shift.

‘God, please allow me to see your will…’ and BOOM. That’s not so easy. Gods will isn’t my will. It’s not what I want or think I need. It’s whats for me, not me for it. That’s a whole new walk of unknown, right? To open your arms and say ‘I’m here, FOR YOU to be led by YOU’. I’m getting scary chills even writing it!

So, what does faith actually mean? It’s evolving everyday. And in that evolution, it gets a little scarier and unknown and leaning in to God gets deeper and deeper… and trust becomes the only constant and that’s scary too. It’s like I fell into the arms of Jesus for safety and comfort but actually there’s no safety or comfort unless you really trust what’s for you, on a soul level. No swings and whistles, no temporary fixes or fixations that may distract for long enough to ease a craving. To trust the release of the root of our cravings and attachments, that takes guts. Faith is a courage walk. It’s saying yes to what doesn’t come easy, to what’s against our conditioning.

It’s a scary walk of fire. But fudging ‘ell, doesn’t it make life rich and beautiful! (Ok, maybe I’ll feel that tomorrow, today is more of a through-clenched-teeth day).

Life is never dull when you walk it with faith.

Accidental monk… kinda.

In the catholic tradition I was raised in, to be a monk meant a man living with other men, praying every day and living rent free in a monastery. Maybe it’s the same now, I’ve not done much research in that department but I’m listening to a podcast about mystics and many male christian mystics were monks.
And… I 100% resonate. (Adding here, I know nuns are traditionally women but I always felt more monk like than nun. Why? Don’t ask me!)

This whole modern monk thing came as a shock to me. How the fudge am I resonating so deeply with these teachings? I don’t see myself as a highly religious person, I certainly don’t align with the whole one role for man, another for woman. But, I’m most happy when I learning about spiritual practices or diving into ancient spiritual philosophies. And there’s a lot to learn, but when I feel a little burnt out by all the information hoarding, I tend to lean into the words of christian mystics for respite.

I am totally adoring and LOVIN’ Jesus. He’s a dude, he’s the dude! I never feel he’s not with me. Ive never felt weird talking to him or acknowledging he’s by my right side, all the freaking time. I don’t tell people, I’ve kept pretty quiet about my depth of love for Jesus but, for sure, it’s gotten stronger over the last 18 months. And it’s never felt like a thing I needed to shout from the roof tops, it’s always felt a part of life, like eating or pooping. Is what it is and kinda necessary.

I didn’t choose it either, this deep love for Jesus. In fact I didn’t want it, for over a decade.

I guess we’re chosen by what will essentially deeply move us, as if we chose it ourselves, maybe it wouldn’t move us so deeply. It would be ‘ego’ driven, and as satisfying as that can be, our ego wants more of it and then more after that and more after that. I never wanted more of Jesus, in fact the less I wanted, the closer I came to resting in christian teachings. The less I wanted to know, the deeper I felt called to meditate and low and behold, there was Jesus, just hanging out, like a serendipity meeting in the subconscious.

It’s not always easy to explain but I never felt called to have a family. I knew, from a very young age there was some spiritual depth that was for exploration, not children or general life happenings that may include a house or marriage or both.

I remember being sat in the back of my dads car when I was younger, we drove past the local church and I heard ‘I’m married to God’. Those words struck me hard. WTF. Nope, how can you marry something that doesn’t physically exist?

But I’m getting it, very very slowly getting it. I can’t explain it, but that’s what mysticism is, isn’t it. The mysterious, the unexplainable. And monk life, I get it, with added luxuries obviously. I think I’m kinda morphing into some modern, punkass monk, but without the monastery and the robe and the penis.

And some days I feel like every single second I’m in prayer, nodding to God. Others I feel like a hot, steaming earthy puddle… and I used to believe these were different states, but they’re totally not. God meets us EVERY WHICH WAY. The more I recognise that, the more contemplative life becomes.

So, accidentally I’m very much living this quiet, prayerful, messy life… like a monk, kinda?! And I hated it at first, and now I’m between hate and love but I’m met by God, wherever I am.


Freedom

The last few months…who am I kidding, the last 18 months, has got me assessing what freedom actually means, to me. I’ve not thought too much about freedom before as I realise the super privilege position I’ve been in. I’ve lived a life, be it not always within mental dynamics, that’s felt on the most part, free.

I could decided upon where to go and with who. Yes, I know we can get woven into relationships that once explored can have us questioning just how free we are around certain people, but without the intensity of that exploration, we can mainly choose our people.

So much has happened during this pandemic to send our nervous systems into a spin. Control has been taken away, we’ve been told how to behave and where to go and with who (or with no-one) and death, we’re exposed to figures and realisations, every day. I know you know this, we’re ALL in this. These experiences are not individual. This trauma has not just been affecting the separate self. It never has but we’ve liked to think it was. For centuries the notion of communicating our struggles and fears was kept ‘secret’. And as the world has begun to open up, due to whatever reason (social media, global connectivity etc) about just how complex and uniting our personal struggles are, we witness many of our anxieties and human responses to environmental stressors are indeed, shared. And now this global pandemic, this shared experience of restrictions and fear and doing things we’d have shook our head to a few years ago. Not only are we all in it, but we’re talking about it, globally, and maybe this is the most exposed we’ve ever been to collective trauma as information is instant now, from all corners of the world.

But…

Within these restrictions and difficulties of feeling personal choices not being so personal anymore, something incredibly expansive has happened, personally (and probably to many others too).

My faith has strengthened, big style! My relationship with God is my favourite. My meditation practice has also lengthened (because there was literally fuck all else to do!) and I’m not sure I would have found out about my ADHD brain if I’d not had such an intense time of reflection. I live with my folks, and as a 39 year old living with both her parents, the struggle has been REAL. It’s also been super healing and I’m not sure I’ve ever felt so whole and surrendered as I do now.

I can’t even explain it as I’m under no illusion, I know shit is gonna get tougher . We’re not outta the woods, and maybe we never will be. Maybe humans are supposed to be in the overgrowth. With the trees and ferns and weird bacteria that live on EVERYTHING and because we can’t see it, we forget it’s there.

I know the mystics talk about freedom being within our faith. Within our relationship with God. And boy, does it take a leap of faith to say ‘God, I know NOTHING. You do. Show me.’ And then you’re shown this shit show of ‘difficulty’ because you weren’t flipping listening and you begin to listen and then this incredible thing happens… we get dunked into unexplainable freedom for literally a few moments until it’s gone again. Yet I have more and more faith it’ll be back, when God sees fit.

So freedom, it’s a funny thing. I feel so grateful to live in a time when restrictions from government still includes access to lattes and fresh fruit and chocolate (for now, anyway). I’ve not starved and my home has been a safe haven, which I know for many is not the case. Not even sure I care that I can’t go to many places as my brain doesn’t like too much choice anyway, it’s chaotic enough without adding more decisions! So I’m lucky. I’m privileged to be able to reflect upon freedom as the act of reflection itself and the time to do so is, in my eyes, freedom.

So, maybe my freedom hadn’t been taken away at all. I got to see just how flipping lucky I am to say ‘I can’t so this right now but I will. For now, I meditate’… as I write this, I’m becoming utterly aware of just how free I actually am.

What does Love even mean?

Happy Monday!

Diving deep, what does Love even mean?

HA!

So, this Love word pops up EVERYWHERE.

All you need is Love. God is Love. Return to Love. We are Love. Love is our eternal being. I LOVE you.

And I love the word Love but what am I loving? The concept of love is super appealing, isn’t it. That we are beings radiating an energy that EVERY ONE is aspiring to feel or to be. That when we Love, it’s smooth. It’s a ride we’ve been lining up for our whole lives. We spend time, money, effort, we dedicate ourselves, often without conscious thought to this concept of Love and being in it or being it.

WHAT IS IT? Because I’m betting it means something for you that it doesn’t for me. And the feeling of it when we meet someone and we say those words, I love you, that’s tangible, isn’t it. It’s almost something we can touch and taste and the feeling is beyond overwhelming. Love songs and romcoms and poetry, we mostly resonate with the attraction thing. Lust, right. It gets in the way, or it is the way. I dunno but I fucking love lusting. I also know it’s not what we’re taught in spiritual teachings Love to be.

God is Love. Now, that’s not so tangible. And ALL the Love references in New Age stuff and quotes that float the internet like feathers in the breeze. That’s muddier. I get it, unconditional love. Really though, have we EVER loved unconditionally? Is it an unattainable concept… and is that the point, make it totally unattainable for the human and they’ll spend their whole lives feeling crap as they’re never quite getting ‘there’. Talk about guilt. Not just a catholic thing, huh.

And to not love things, material stuff as much as you love an idea, a concept, well they both feel as empty as each other if I’m honest.

So, what does Love mean?

Is it so fluid that it’s not meant to mean any more than it means to you in the moment you’re feeling it. And is it an expression, a momentary need, like when we graze ourselves and we scab. Love is the scabbing, the protection as cells come together and heal.

Love heals. We’re not in states of Love all the time. I can get so flipping angry some days and that’s bloody healing too. Anger heals. Imagine that. To not be afraid of anger, to see it as vital as Love. Is Love conditioning as we’re less likely to lash out. Less likely to disrupt others. To question. Oh, to question. Love is blind.

Humans have created the word Love. And like everything we create, it’s open to interpretation. I’ve Loved so hard I would fight for it. I’ve Loved so hard I would crack and die a little if I didn’t have it anymore. And I have. So, maybe Love is the container with ALL the other emotions. Or maybe Love is whatever the fuck you want it to be.

Winter can get VERY dark

I wrote a poem a few months ago, in December.

It’s called Together….

I stood above you 

With an axe

Wanting to slay 

Slicing you in two

Soaking the pillow with your warm, crimson blood

With hate at the end of my fingers

Wanting to wrap them around your neck

Squeezing so tightly 

Your eyes bulge and your nose turns blue

Those lips of yours, they’d quiver in fear 

I stood above you 

With fever in my eyes

Salty sweat engulfing you  

Watching you drown

Wanting to drink back my tears

Filling my belly like a balloon

I stood above you 

And if I were to burst

My guts would cover you 

Together dead

As it has always been.

The End. Need I say more?

Thinking about… death, again! (with a hint of faith)

Yes, I’m thinking about death, again. 

How can I not, were in the middle of a pandemic and the ‘news’ headlines have this crafty way of getting to you, invited or not. I’ve never been so confronted with people dying before. Figures, every day, and these figures grow and numbers become so many I’m not sure what to do with that information. My empathy levels are lessening, and that scares a little bit of crap out of me! My nervous system is crying yet my body feels a little numb and emotionally, I feel like I’m totally coping yet the smallest thing makes me want punch a hole in the wall. I’m coping, yes, but coping is what us humans do, we don’t have to do it well. However, flowing and surrendering, that is another matter.

In my thinking of death, in my thinking of how transitory this living malarkey is and how seriously we take it yet it can go in a flash, the one thing that feels more important than ever is faith.

Faith is such a strange thing as I find it a tough one to put into words. I don’t think faith can be explained, which is why religions have a million and one interpretations. I was brought up a Christian but what does that mean? I believe in Christ? I didn’t, I went to church every Sunday because I didn’t get a choice, not because I loved Jesus. I got bored, I sat and kicked my feet against the pew in-front of me and I got a look from mum that said ‘keep doing that and you’re in serious trouble young lady’. I listened to that look, my brother not so much and would often crawl across the floor, mum not noticing until it was too late to grab a leg and slide him back. Basically, it was just a thing, being a Christian was a thing I was and church was what I did. 

‘It’s in the Bible!!’

That was the answer I got to most of my questions as I grew more aware of the contradictions. I did try and read the Bible but I still didn’t get answers – I was a kid and kids are more literal and Jesus walking on water didn’t make sense to my questions of why do bad things happen and where do we go when we die? Nobody could explain, because honestly, no one knows! Heaven forbid that adults didn’t actually understand the bible either.

It’s like Shakespeare. No-one totally ‘gets it’. We read it at school and most of us were ‘what the hell does this even mean?’ and to appear clever and witty, we’d nod during English and plagiarise something smart we read, offloading it like it was our own. Or was that just me?? I bet Shakespeare didn’t even know… it’s poetry, his way of making sense of something that, in the end, doesn’t really mean anything.

And that is faith, interpretation. 

Now, I believe in Christ but in such a different way to how I thought it should be. Actually, I don’t believe in Christ, I believe Christ when I hear what is spoken to me through prayer, or when I meditate and feel ALL that Love.

I don’t label myself a Christian as I don’t need to. I connect with Jesus and that is that. I don’t have to be in some ruled existence or contract to say if I don’t do or say certain things, I’m a sinner or ‘wrong’. Nope, that is not how Christ works for me. See, interpretation. 

And death is so much a part of faith. My faith is strengthening the more I contemplate death. I’m watching myself and my parents age, I can see they’re not able to do things with as much ease as they once did. I can feel my body change and my dreams float away like little clouds passing, once gone, I can’t see them anymore. I can’t even remember their shape or distance from me. I can’t ‘be’ the me I was 10 years ago, she’s gone, my imagining of her has to die, otherwise the way I live my life gets really warped and frustrations with my ever-ageing body will get deeper and deeper until I end up hating what is inevitable, an ever-changing physicality. And I’ve been there, that warped place, I still go there some days and it’s always as I remember it, pretty dark.

So death, she’s in my thoughts and she’s feeding my faith and some days fear wins and I’m shit scared of losing what I have. Yet, knowing death IS happening, somehow that keeps my faith alive and day by day, faith grows. I like to see faith as a tree and when the sun shines or the moon is bright, fear is the shade below her branches. The shade is forever moving yet the tree, she don’t move an inch.