When I wrote my last blog Healing from childhood religion, it was just before heading into a week long self retreat at a Benedictine Monastery on the central coast of California.
From the first conversation with the head priest, Father Stephen, despite my hesitancy in doing it at a Christian Monastery, I knew it was right.
When I arrived, I deeply knew I was exactly where I was suppose to be.
It was everything I could want and love about a retreat center – a beautiful setting and quiet (I was the only one there the first 5 days).
I walked into my room to find a spacious living room with large southeast and southwest facing windows (my favorite), a southeast facing bedroom and bath.
The dining area made of glass walls to the outside (with beautiful views), and a creek outside screamed YES in my heart. I cried with gratitude. It was like God said, “Here you go, the perfect place with everything you love.”
My intention going in to it was to “know God more deeply.” God sure set me up well to do so!
The first couple of days I attended meditation and Vespers in the chapel. I hadn’t sung Christian songs since my Catholic childhood days.
The triggers were still there – words like “sin, fear of God, Christ” got little i (my ego) going – she wanted to have a word with Father Stephen about it and the dogma behind how those words were being used, but wisdom stepped in and said, “Angela, that’s not why you’re here.”
Right – got it. Little i settled down and I actually started to greatly enjoy the singing, even if the words didn’t resonate.
It was about the devotion of the heart through the music. By the end of the retreat I loved it.
Also, during these first 3 days, I was receiving information (some call it a Divine download).
I resisted it at first, I didn’t want it. I was scared to receive it. I kept saying “NO” in my mind, NO not me, I’m not going to write about THAT. Absolutely NOT.
But by the morning of the fourth day, while sitting in meditation, it became a loving demand from God – “Write, Write, Write!!” came up directly in my mind.
“Okay, Okay!” I responded.
I looked around the room – what to write in. My little notebook was not big enough.
I looked to my left – Aha! My large drawing book. Big pages with lots of space. That’s it. I picked it up, put the pen to paper and what came out was outside of anything I’d written before.
It wasn’t coming from me. It was coming from Source and I wrote and I wrote and I wrote. There was not one single word crossed out, or a question of what to write.
It was there, flowing like a river. St. Teresa of Avila recalls how “God became the living book from which I drew the clear water of Divine Wisdom.”
That’s what it felt like. Awhile later I put it down, knowing it was complete for now. I came back to it again later in the day and wrote more of what was coming through.
And then something interesting happened. Little i got on her little driven horse and said, “Okay, we’ve got a purpose – we’ve got to write! Let’s write as much as possible since we have the time and space.”
But when I sat down to write again that night, there was nothing there. I tried writing but it was blocky and forced. I stopped. What was going on? I asked.
I closed my eyes and thought of Neal Donald Walsch who wrote the book Conversations with God. Okay, if he can have a written conversation with God, then maybe so can I.
I put the pen to the paper and this was what unfolded:
Why me Lord? Why me to write this?
You have the courage.
But I’m scared.
I’m with you my child, there is nothing to fear. Trust in Me, trust in the guidance you receive.
What if the guidance is not there?
Wait patiently. It will come. There is a time and place for each passage. Each expression of what is written.
How do I organize it?
Listen. One step at a time. It will be revealed. Take many breaks. Do not rush this.
My heart trembles – both with the task and the enormity of your love.
I am with you. If you can clean out your mothers house, you can do this. I have complete and utter faith and trust in you.
Funny God! And endearing. Thank you.
The tightness in my body relaxed and little i let go of what she believed needed to happen and when.
Throughout the rest of the week, I wrote when I was guided to do so, and only then. It felt right.
The topic and content isn’t ready to be put out in the world right now, but you’ll be the first to know when it is :-).
I met with Father Stephen at the end of the week. I didn’t know what I was going to say, but I knew I needed to share and/or ask something.
We sat down across from each other. I smiled thinking the last time I sat down to talk with a priest was in the confessional booth at St. Norbert’s Catholic Church when I was 8 (I was thankful this was different).
I said through tears, “I have this aching in my heart, an aching of love for God so great that all I want to do is stay here and be with God. Yet I love the world too. I love to dance and sing. I love to give to the world, but I find the world too much for me at times – for my body and heart and it’s sensitive nature. I don’t know what to do!”
He replied “Have you read anything by St. Teresa of Avila?” (I’m not sure if he saw my jaw drop to the floor since that’s the only books I’ve been reading for the last 6 months).
I smiled and nodded. Father Stephen went on to say, “Teresa called herself a “hermit in community,” meaning: take the time you need to be with God, while giving to the world in between. She started many monasteries, dealing with clergy and bishops and shop keepers, while knowing she was doing it for God, not for herself.”
“Right” I said. There is a way to do both, and it comes down to two things – selfless service (being a servant of God) and love of neighbor (loving all people unconditionally).
Teresa says that when we do these two things (without attachment) we reach our ultimate destiny – being one with God. So beautifully said, and I know it is the Truth (I know – easier said than done).
I left on day 8 wanting to stay longer with God, but knowing it was time to go too. The ache of being in love with God stays with me, drawing me to prayer each day.
It’s like my life has become a living prayer – talking with God throughout the day, keeping God on the forefront of my mind.
There is no other way for me – it is right and true for my heart.
Categories: Creativity, Heart Centered Living, Inner Wisdom & Intuition