Sophia Reflection for June 12, 2021
August 2011. On a high cliff above the Hudson River in a former Catholic Monastery, now a Buddhist Prayer Center in Garrison, New York, the East Coast Mystery School Community is gathered for its penultimate experience. Before the weekend ends, there will be a hurricane. We will gather outdoors, above the river, letting the winds blow where they will….
Yet, when I think back to that weekend, a different sort of hurricane fills my memory.
On Saturday night, Jean Houston offered a time called “The Gifting”. In a curtained alcove, we were each in turn invited to speak with Jean about the desires we held for our lives. This process would continue into the early hours of the morning. Everyone had a chance to ask for a gift. Jean was empowered by the Beloved to respond.
T couldn’t give you this gift until you asked for it
I had a complex request prepared, one that involved many aspects of my ongoing ministry of spirituality for women. As I waited for my turn to speak with Jean, my eyes were drawn to a cross carved in the wood above what had been the monastery’s sacristy. A knowing rose from my depths that this symbol belonged to an earlier form of spirituality. Suddenly I knew clearly what I needed to ask for in the gifting.
When I was seated across from Jean, I made my request: “I want to be an embodiment of the Sacred Feminine.”
“I have seen this in you,” Jean said. “You are ready. I couldn’t give you this gift until you asked for it.”
Looking back now over the ten years since that Gifting, I recall the different ways I have sought to grow in this sacred relationship. As a writer, I was drawn to engage in a process I’d heard Jean recommend: daily conversations with the Beloved. The unlined pages of my large hardcover journals began to fill up with my black ink handwriting at an alarming rate. You may wonder how I could call it “conversation. I was the one writing both my questions and the answers…
Trust me in this: I began to recognize a different writing voice in the responses, one that was both more certain and more gentle than my own. I noticed that often when I asked an important or perplexing question, for which I could find no guidance, the Beloved’s words would clarify for me what had been fogbound, showing alternatives that my conscious mind had not been able to see or imagine.
If you enjoy journal writing, I recommend this process, adding a caution of patience and perseverance. Early in the dialogue writing the suggestions I received were about small things: a nudge to send an email, make a phone call, complete a task, or even take a break! I admit I was rather disappointed, having expected to be asked something exciting, noble, life-altering….
Today I found in an old journal something I wrote in 2012. I share these suggestions with you. You may wish to add others.
Nurturing a Relationship with the Beloved:
Care for the relationship as you would a sacred garden.
Spend time within this garden.
Be aware of new plants, growing, emerging.
Water these with your time and attention.
Dance, so that your whole body is involved in this gift
Imagine yourself striding through deep waters to keep the lower chakras aware and alive.
Look for weeds- noxious ones or even other plants that begin to demand space, light, air, water, distracting you from the great gift you are fostering within you. It takes time, energy, focus.
Above all, it takes acknowledgement that this is your most important work, the one thing necessary, without which all your other tasks would come to nothing….
You must structure your life around (this gift), as you would make room for a lover or friend whom you invite into your life…
This gift asks for space, attention, nurture, even the sacrifice of your more self-centred concerns… refocus your energy towards what the Sacred Presence feels and enjoys and longs for…would wish to do in/through/with you.
“Nearby is the country they call life.
You will know it by its seriousness
Give me your hand.” (Rainer Maria Rilke)
May you enter the adventure with trust and find delight in your relationship with the Beloved of your Soul.