St. John of the Cross- Dark Night of the Soul- part 1

St. John of the Cross- Dark Night of the Soul- part 1

“Those of you who find yourselves in this predicament need to comfort yourselves. Patiently persevere and do not let yourselves get upset. Trust in God, who does not abandon those who seek him with a simple and righteous heart. He will not neglect to give you what you need for your path until he delivers you into that clear, pure light of love. You are meant to receive this great gift, yet it is only through the dark night of the spirit that he will bring you to it.”

“To be truly humble is to feel a tender acceptance of all reality just as it is, including compassion for ourselves just as we are.”

“The secret essence of the soul that knows the truth is calling out to God…Let me only love you, Beloved. Let me quietly and with unutterable simplicity just love you.”

“The true teachers are often the invisible ones.”

“The dark night descends on a soul only when everything else has failed. When you are stuck spiritually.”

“This is the beginning of the blessedness. When the soul can do nothing but surrender. It has become clear that you are incapable of doing anything on your own to remedy your spiritual brokenness.”

“Unwilling to keep struggling, the soul finds itself surrendering to its deepest inner wound and breathing in the stillness there.”

“In striving to transcend the self, we actually mess it up. The dark night is God’s solution to our solutions, dissolving our best-laid constructions anew into the mystery of grace.”

“Cultivate a simple, loving attention toward the Beloved. That is when the Beloved takes over and all our holy intentions vaporize.”

“It is the Sabbath of the Soul when we heed the call to cease creating and remember that we were created.”

“In the silence, Divine Reality secretly reveals Itself to a consciousness cleared of the ongoing chatter of the false self.”

“In the dark night of each soul, we are simultaneously annihilated and immeasurably strengthened.”

“To step naked into the garden where the Beloved is waiting. The closer to home with God, the more ferocious the resistance of the fragmented self.”

“All we can do is surrender to the darkness and take humble refuge in the ineffable stillness of the soul’s spiritual meltdown.”

“God is teaching her in a secret way now, a way in which the faculties of sense and reason cannot interfere.”

“The dark night is about being fully present in the tender, wounded emptiness of our own souls.”

(Excerpts from St. John of the Cross-Dark Night of the Soul, translation by Mirabai Starr.)

 

 

Embracing Your “Open” Nest

Embracing Your “Open” Nest

“Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly.” (English Proverb)

Getting ready for her to leave: Is she my best friend? Do I make day to day plans solely dependent upon her? Does my day revolve around her schedule? Does she tell me everything going on in her life? Do we spend most of our time as parents talking about her?

I cannot depend on her to continue to breathe life into mine.

Moving from pitcher to catcher, with her at bat.

To transition as a parent, at the same time that she transitions to adulthood.

To allow myself to go through the stages of grief.

“There is a fallow time for the Spirit when the soil is barren because of sheer exhaustion.” (Howard Thurman)

From here on in, there are things that I will not be able to control about her life and future.

How?

  • Take a lot of long walks.
  • There cannot be change without loss. Imagine me without her living here.
  • Reconnect with who I am in addition to being a parent.
  • Step out of my comfort zone more often.
  • Progress, not perfection.
  • Give myself permission to let the spotlight shine on me.
  • Move forward into my New Normal. Closer toward my True Self. Step by slow step.
  • Return to my playful spirit.
  • Build a bridge to the other side.
  • Say Yes to new things.
  • Allow a year of preparation and change. A Sabbatical. A new kind of pregnancy.
  • Seek out mentors and role models.
  • Await the next assignment to find me.

“You cannot discover new oceans unless you have the courage to lose sight of the shore.” (Author unknown)

“The one who is swimming against the stream knows the strength of it.” (President Woodrow Wilson)

“I want you to get out there and walk—better yet, run! —on the road God called you to travel. I don’t want any of you sitting around on your hands. I don’t want anyone strolling off, down some path that goes nowhere. And mark that you do this with humility and discipline—not in fits and starts, but steadily, pouring yourselves out for each other in acts of love, alert at noticing differences and quick at mending fences.” (St. Paul. Ephesians 4:2-3 The Message Translation of the Bible)

Welcome the invitation to this new chapter of my life.

(Source: From Mom to Me Again. By Melissa Schultz.)

Picture your Future

Picture your Future

“In a quiet place with eyes closed, picture yourself getting on a magic carpet that takes you into the blue sky riding the currents like a bird, as far away or as close by as they take you. While on the magic carpet, know that you have all the knowledge, wisdom, skills and experience you need to be and do whatever you want. Nothing can stop you. No obstacles stand in your way. You have everything you need. You have permission and the freedom to be and do whatever you want. Continue to breathe and feel it inside you.

With that inner knowing, picture the magic carpet landing somewhere, a place where you can be truly yourself and do what you want. You get off the carpet and look around.

What do you see? Are you outside or inside? Pause to picture it.

What do you hear? Pause to hear it.

What do you smell? Pause to smell it.

What do you taste? Pause to taste it.

Are you alone or with someone? Pause. If with someone, is it one person, a group of people, or the public? Pause to be alone or with others.

What kind of clothes are you wearing to be who you are? Pause to be in those clothes.

What are you doing? Pause. What part of your body do you see yourself using? Is it your brain, your eyes, your ears, nose, voice, hands, legs, feet, your heart, your soul? Pause to do it.

How do you feel? Pause to feel it.

Now the magic carpet returns you to the present and the chair you are seated in. Gently open your eyes, move your toes and fingers, shake your hands and roll your feet, give your arms and legs a shake.

While the picture is still fresh in your mind, draw a picture or write a paragraph describing it in as much detail as you can.”

(Source: Retire to the Life you Love: Practical Tools for Designing Your Meaningful Future by Nell Smith.)

Interior Castle of St. Teresa of Avila: Mansion Seven Beauty

“The spiritual journey inward to the Beloved is the journey home. To who I truly am. A circular, spiral, womb-like experience. Non-linear. Journey of remembering and forgetting.

Contemplative prayer is about aligning myself with the highest intention; to be with my beloved.  Learning that we cannot figure out holy mystery with our minds.

When the sluggish worm completely dissolves into a sort of cellular soup, becoming nothing in a cocoon. And later transforms into a beautiful butterfly flitting about.

Coming to know God with God’s own mind. Coming to love God with God’s own heart. Looking through the eyes of love and seeing only love.

When lover dissolves completely into the Beloved. The subject/object distinction is obliterated. There is no longer union with the Beloved. There is only love. Consummated marriage of the soul.

Then we return to the world of seeming separation, knowing that there is no separation; that I am in Him and He is in me.

And now the only task is to give ourselves in service to the world. That is all that is left to do.  Seeing every face as the face of the Beloved.

To be of service may look very different from what we think it will look like. Do only what is yours to do. Let not others tell you otherwise.”

(Mirabai Starr speaking on The Interior Castle webinar series available through Center for Action and Contemplation. Learn more at https://cac.org/online-ed/interior-castle-course-description/)

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