Part Six: Simply Listen

The miracle of spring reminds us of the light within us that never ceases. The soul quietly cries out for attention amidst the distractions of the ego.

Listen, simply listen, one moment at a time, to it’s song of eternal love.

(To read the last post The Sacred Cloth of Ukraine click here).

When I last wrote about the unfolding of the two year cocoon in Part Five: The Gift of Mom(s), I was relinquishing my stubborn independence to allow the financial support of mom, giving me the space and time to go deeper within.

It was a journey into the interior castle of the soul, as St. Teresa of Avila describes, to know God more intimately (only at the time little i (the ego) thought she was being imprisoned).

I had no choice but to surrender each day to what was being asked of me.

Simple and spacious – no projects, no responsibilities, no volunteering, no working…no doing (kind of sounds like a vacation doesn’t it?!).

It was all about being…meditation, yoga, spiritual reading, a little journaling, time in nature, and cooking (mom liked that one :). 

The pandemic provided a perfect container for this. Was the timing coincidence or because of it?

I would try to visualize something that I believed was more purposeful or fun in the future and I’d get the gentle “no” from inside – total presence was my assignment. 

I was guided to let go of everything…every idea, every possibility, every fear, every desire…and simply listen….

…listen, not with the ears, but with the soul, for the sound of God in all of life.

No small task.

In the spring of 2021 there would be two experiences that continued to remind me that little i was clearly not in charge of my life – to listen, not to choose, and, as St. Teresa of Avila so wisely wrote, that ‘surrendering our will to God’s will is the hardest thing we can ever do.’

She wasn’t kidding. 

The first came in early April when a dear elder friend, who I consider my adopted grandmother, suddenly could not walk without great help. 

She was whisked off to the ER to find out she had a rare condition that would confine her to a wheelchair for the rest of her life. 

In one day, she suddenly went from living independently on her own with her two adorable cats, Itsy and Squeaks, to a rehab center learning how to live life from a wheelchair. 

She would not be returning to her home again. 

When we spoke on the phone, her distress was clear. I so deeply wanted to help, and said, “I’ll take your cats.”

She replied, “Oh, that would be wonderful to know my girls are with you.”

I could feel the relief in her heart, and mine too. 

I had imagined for years that I would take her cats if or when she could no longer take care of them, and here was that moment. 

But that night I felt restless, my heart racing, I didn’t sleep well, had bad dreams, and a sharp tightness filled my chest. 

I awoke in the morning knowing what I was being told – I could not take her cats, no matter how much my heart wanted to. 

I was to have no responsibilities.
“Damn it!” I yelled.
I called to tell her. 

My heart broke when I heard her voice and felt her heartbreak. 

She was giving up so much all at once, and I couldn’t do the one thing I wanted to do for her, and for the cats (I’m a total animal lover). 

The hardest time I have in following my intuition is when it causes someone I love pain and/or disappointment. 

This was no exception. 

The next day her son had the cats taken to the animal shelter for adoption. My heart broke again for all that was for her.

I’ll come back to this story after I share the second experience, also in April of 2021.

My mom has no cartilage left in her right knee.

She’s tried everything to alleviate the pain and avoid surgery… until one morning in early spring she said, “I’ve had it. I don’t want the pain any more. I want the knee replacement surgery.”

We found a doctor, made the appointment and she was scheduled to have it done late April.

As I’m on the phone making the arrangements for the equipment she’ll need post surgery, intuition suddenly spoke up.

A sharp tightness in my chest was followed by the words “It’s too soon” coming into my head.

“Ack, why?????”

I couldn’t understand and didn’t want to tell her.

I waited.

The phone rang an hour later.

It was her oldest sister (mom’s the youngest of three).

She called to tell mom that she was just diagnosed with advanced kidney cancer.

I stared out the window, mom sat down in shock.

I waited a couple of days to tell her about the “no” I was getting to her having surgery.

She was understandably frustrated when I did.

I told her maybe it had to do with her sister. To please trust me. I didn’t know why, but to please trust.

Again, it didn’t make sense to her, but she listened and cancelled the surgery.

I so much wanted her to be out of pain, but when she cancelled the surgery, the sharp tightness in my chest went away, telling me it wasn’t the right time. 

Two weeks later her sister called and asked mom to come to Rhode Island to take care of her during her chemo treatments (why doctors prescribe chemo to an 86 year old with advanced cancer is beyond me).

We were both waiting on our covid vaccine shots (that’s a story for another time), so it would be a couple of months before she could go.

It was now the end of May 2021. For the first time in fifteen years I planted a garden in my yard.

It felt right, digging in the dirt, being grounded with the earth itself…planting seeds, tending to life, but well within my assignment of non-doing.

One day while I was gardening a gift showed up in furry form, black as night, with bright yellow eyes.

Her name was Maggie. Maggie the cat.

She turned out to be part human too and quickly made herself at home in our home, coming in daily for rubbing and brushing, shrimp and sardines, laying on moms puzzle, and my absolute favorite, hanging out in the garden with me.

She was my neighbors cat, so no official responsibility, but all the love we could ask for.

My heart felt renewed.

A couple of weeks later, when I went to my elder friend’s new living facility to take her for a walk, she smiled and said, “My girls have found a new home! They were adopted together, that’s what I was hoping for.”

I was so so happy for her and the cats, and so relieved, the heartbreak dissolving into gratitude. 

“Thank you God!” I said silently. 

At some point I was going to learn about faith, whether little i was on board or not.

At the end of July, I dropped mom off at the airport, heading for Rhode Island to care for her sister.

It would be the first time we’d be apart in the last year and half. What was I to find? What was she to experience?

I went for a walk after and cried, our new separation filling the space between thoughts, reminding me how much I loved her and grown accustomed to her companionship.

It took over a year, but stubborn independence had officially been replaced with vulnerability and connection…I was slowing down, learning to be more present, more in tune, and more trusting of the guidance I was given. A month later I would see more clearly the purpose of this time in the cocoon.

As Martin Luther King, Jr. said so well, “Faith is taking the first step, even if you don’t see the whole staircase.”

More to come dear friend, from my heart to yours.

In the wake of this weeks mass shooting: May our thoughts and prayers comfort those affected by gun violence. May the laws change to protect the innocent. May hatred cease in the hearts of those who harm. Amen.

To read Part Seven: A Week of Silence click here.

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Categories: Gratitude, Heart Centered Living, Inner Wisdom & Intuition

About the Author: Angela Patnode

My passion, my calling, is for you to be totally you. Through private coaching, in-depth retreats, and online group coaching programs, I help you tap into your intuition and clarify your desires and vision, I guide you to take active steps toward making your desires a reality.

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