Wednesday 27 March 2013

Wounds of Love

This afternoon, as part of Mandala a Month, I created my March mandala. This month the meditation focussed on the words of Teresa of Avila from her "Interior Castle". As I started working on my mandala I began at the outside and worked inwards. It was not until I had finished the circle that I decided to make the wounds of love. St Teresa says that wounds of love in our life pierce our spiritual life and take us deeper within our interior castle. This has certainly been my experience. It is the difficult things that happen in life that help us to grow and be transformed.

As I created my wounds of love and stuck them proudly on my mandala, I realized how perfectly I had made them. They were actually quite beautiful. I titled my mandala, "Perfect wounds of love". I sat and reflected on my mandala for a while and decided that I am very quick to make everything perfect in life. Even the hard stuff I manage to analyze, compartmentalize and store away as some significant learning experience. As I reflected on my perfect wounds of love, I decided they need to be less perfect.

Yes, it is important to integrate and learn from our experiences. It is, however, also important to experience the pain and suffering and not push it aside too quickly. This mandala has shown me a side to myself that would have taken years to discover on my own.

Monday 25 March 2013

Walking the Labyrinth

I was first introduced to the Labyrinth in 2006. The first time I walked one was not a startling experience for me, but I came away feeling at peace and feeling like the worries of life were in perspective. Since that time, I have walked countless labyrinths. There are some that I revisit,  but the experience is never the same. 

There is a labyrinth on a friend's property that is very simple and made out of rocks. I have walked this labyrinth a handful of times. In the Winter it is green and has flowers scattered amongst it. In Summer it is dry and more desolate. Funnily enough, the condition of that particular labyrinth has often mirrored the condition of my soul at the time of walking.

Another special labyrinth is one at a retreat centre where I stayed as part of my Spiritual Direction course. This course was a time of great growth and each time I walked the labyrinth there it was almost like a crystallizing experience. All of the doubts an confusion which had been swirling around in my head became clear and tangible while walking the labyrinth. Again, each time was a very different experience and a gift in my spiritual journey.

I have created my own labyrinth based on the pattern of the labyrinth in Amiens Cathedral in France. It is painted on gym mats and is put together like a jigsaw puzzle. Every time I set it up for people to walk I get excited with the anticipation with what might happen for people. I almost enjoy watching other people walk the labyrinth as much as I do walking it myself. 

You would think that after seven years of walking labyrinths I would be ready for the magic of the experience. No - each and every time I am surprised and touched by how the Spirit can work through tools like the labyrinth. I guess that is why they are still relevant and being used today. My hope is that the people that come to walk in the next two days in Margaret River will experience some of this mystery also.

Friday 22 March 2013

The Importance of Listening

I had a good reminder today of the importance of listening deeply to people. A person came to chat with me about an issue in their life at the moment. I thought I knew what we would be talking about, but we actually ended up discussing something completely different. The presenting issue of the person was actually hiding a deeper yearning that was waiting to be discovered.

I wonder how often we really listen to each other. I know I am often guilty of hearing what I want to hear. I wonder how many times I have missed the point and people have gone away feeling unheard. Our discussions with people are often two way and we can be so busy coming up with our next comment that we do not hear with clarity what has been said. 

The person I spent time with today went away thanking me for my "words of wisdom". I don't think there was anything particularly wise in anything I said. The real difference was that I had heard this person on a deeper level. I was reminded of the gift that I have received from others in the past - the gift of being heard.

Saturday 16 March 2013

Dreams, dangers and distractions

It has been a while seen I have posted on this blog. I could make up lots of excuses, tell you how busy I have been and have a good whinge, but none of this would be taking responsibility myself. The truth is that sometimes I need a wake up call, an alarm system that monitors my emotional and spiritual health and gets my attention. Well, lucky for me - I do have one.

I am a great believer that our dreams are our subconscious' attempt to get our attention. If we can be aware of our dreams and befriend them, they may just have a lot to teach us. I have read some of the books of John Sanford who describes dreams as God's forgotten language. It is a very valuable book, moreso than 10 dream decoders or symbol books. The first battle is to actually remember your dreams, but sometimes they are so vivid that we cannot help but remember them. I could write a novel or two based on some of the dreams I have had. 

Two nights ago I had a dream that I now call my "alarm system". I discovered, a few years ago now, that when I dream about a particular person, who for me symbolises freedom, vitality and life in its abundance, this is a message to myself about my deepest yearning. I used to be disturbed having dreams about this person, but now I know that all it means is that I have lost the love of life and have become too busy with the stuff of life. 

I have not had this dream for a long time, but was not surprised when the other night it cropped up again. It appears to me like a warning sign. It is a siren blaring out in the fog of life. Life had become super busy and, in my opinion, full of all the wrong things. So many things were distracting me from what I feel is the core of my life. I was spiritually dry and exhausted. Its difficult to write a good blog on Spirituality when you are in this place. So, now I have two warning systems; my dreams and the inability to post in this blog. So, if you don't hear from me for a while feel free to ask me how things are going :)