Thursday, August 7, 2008

Reflections while vacationing

I've been reading John O'Donohue this morning. Anam Cara, which is his book about soul friends. I read his profound words, words drenched in beauty, and I can feel my soul open. What wonder that evokes in me.

We live our lives so busy, so goal-oriented that we--No. Let me put this in the first person--I am so busy, so oriented toward getting things done, that I have spent my long-anticipated vacation actually working on a paper due soon for an interview about dual standing in the UCC. Finally, last night, I realized what I was doing, and today has been a completely different experience. Reading O'Donohue, I am transported to a different, and I think more real, reality.

Zen taught me that "This is it." This moment. This place. This body. When I am awake, aware, conscious of my being in time and space, then I am alive. This aliveness this morning, reading O'Donohue and stopping frequently to reflect, brought an opening of my soul. Through this opening came ... Love. I felt tremendous love for my daughters-by-marriage who were sitting here with me, both lost in their own books. Love prompted me to ask them whether, in their lives so far, they had experienced the love of an anam-cara, a soul friend. And then I read to them a small portion from O'Donohue's book. David came in from the beach just then, saying something about a siren he'd heard, so the moment was really lost, but after a moment or two, it didn't matter. My question arose from love, and love remained and is expressed in a myriad of ways from me toward them all.

As the morning has given way to afternoon now, I am grateful for the brief (but by no means small) experiences of the Really Real I have had this week...

Early evening Tuesday, Beautiful Genuine Musician went with me to the water's edge. We just stood there together in silence, allowing the roar of the ocean to fill us. The water, the star-filled sky, and the darkness were immense. I wondered whether she felt the awe of it as well, so I shared with her one of my experiences of losing my sense of self in the face of such majesty. What a sense of connection--holy connection, I think--when she reciprocated by sharing her own story of existential confrontation with forces greater than we are ourselves. Ahhh, the grace of life shared with one so dear.

And dear to me as well is Lovely Passionate Feminist who suggested a walk along the beach last night. I've been struggling with some vertigo, but like her sister Lovely Passionate Feminist was wonderfully kind in her care and concern for me as I had to hold her hand or shoulder to steady myself. As we walked together, I suddenly felt Joy. The joy of being in this breathtaking place with the family I love, the joy of the earth itself manifested in this unique moment and place by the vast water--dark, but sparkling with jewel-like glimmers from the moon's reflection. God is Beauty. And God is Joy as well.

David remarked just now how grateful he is that we've been able to get away like this, and how he wishes it didn't take several days to really begin to relax into a place. How true. For both of us, it's taken until now for the fast-paced busy-ness to ease off. I wish I could always be in touch with the Reality so vividly presented in O'Donohue's work. I'm grateful that I chanced upon his work, for it has never failed to help me open my soul to God.


Kathy Doerge said...

I'm glad the window has opened and sweet breezes of the Spirit and Life are refreshing and renewing you.

And in your sharing, I am transported there to join you in the joy...thank you.

Loving you!

mompriest said...

Oh,lovely. I begin stay-cation tomorrow...and I fear that as my husband works and my son is in school, that we really won't have a sense of togetherness. true we had a bit of that when our daughter was here...sigh...I am grateful that you are having such profound experiences with "step" children, doesn't always happen - so many blessings of thanksgiving on you and your family. Awesome! Enjoy!!

C. said...

I breathed more deeply and took a "mini-vacation" with you as you described your stepping into Reality in that ocean setting and the soul-to-soul experiences with two lovely young women, your daughters by marriage. Christ must be skipping with joy along with you as you receive the gift of refreshment and peace! CCW

RevDrKate said...

What a lovely post. Such gifts... the place, the people, the words from O'Donohue, your own wisdom and ability to wonder at it all and drink it in. Thank you for sharing it.

Jan said...

So nice to read your reflections and connect with you, Katherine. I'm glad you are in this place. You are a soul friend, which is a deepening relationship.

Jiff said...

Thank you for sharing from your heart.
Your post today felt like a conversation!
Thanks, too, for your note on my blog.

"PS" (a.k.a. purple) said...

Love Parker Palmer stuff...and wanting to participate in the Circle of Trust.