Part Three: Entering the Castle

If you missed the last post Part Two: Crossing the Threshold click here before reading on. 

I left off at the end of 2020 – I call it the Year of Letting Go. We all let so much go in 2020…how we lived our daily lives (in a nutshell), and for some, the loss of a loved one due to covid.

It was a clearing house of sorts, of what I thought mattered, and what I knew mattered.

It was also a releasing of pain and identities I’d carried for many years. 

I cried enough tears to fill a small swimming pool and was open and ready for something different.

That different turned out to be right around the corner.

In the wee hours of the morning of January 6, 2021, I awoke in the dark to feel something that is really hard to put into words as there are not words for it, but I’ll give it a go…

My entire being was like a gushing geyser of divine love flowing upward from my perineum through the top of my head.

“The portal is open.” I thought to myself. 

Before I describe what happened next, it’s important I share some key parts of my spiritual journey that led to this point to give it context.

I grew up Catholic, going to church every week, communion, confession, the whole lot.

I was an easy kid, except for church – I fought it from the time I was two years old. I left the church at 16.

For me, it was a place I felt fear and guilt and I’d had enough.

The word God for me had become one associated with sin and judgment and I wanted nothing more of it.

In 2002, at the age of 32, following a big wake up call, I knew I needed something spiritual, and Buddhism was what attracted me.

It didn’t mention the word God anywhere. I felt safe (I find it interesting now that I needed to feel safe from the word God).

In Buddhism the language was about mindfulness, consciousness and emptiness. It was transformative on many levels.

Meditation and the teachings gave me the training ground to rain in my wild horse of a mind and learn valuable practices of skillful living and compassion.

It laid the foundation.

My Buddhist teacher Matthew Flickstein, who I started working with in 2008, was clear and truthful.

He let me get away with nothing and was continuously peeling away the layers of my ego (little i can be very stubborn and sneaky at times).

Over the years, I signed up for every course Matthew taught and sat with him on many silent retreats. I brought his teachings to my offerings of meditation classes and workshops, retreats and with clients.

In 2014, though, I started to feel a shift. I didn’t know what it was or how to address it, and when that happens, I sometimes seek outside input.

A friend suggested a psychic in town that she found helpful. I’d never been to a psychic before so I thought, “Why not?”

She said some interesting things, but what stuck with me that would eventually alter the course of my spiritual journey was, “Listen to Caroline Myss’s book Entering the Castle.”

She was clear it needed to be on audio, not in written form.

I started listening to it on my bi-annual drives back and forth from California to Montana. 

Every fall and spring I would hear Caroline’s voice, her clear and direct style, interpreting the writings of Saint Teresa of Avila from Teresa’s book The Interior Castle written in 1588.

(Funny note – St. Teresa was Catholic)

It was the first time I would hear the words God and soul together, and the first time I’d start to open myself to the word God.

I realized that up until this point, I’d had a childhood relationship with God…the judgmental, condemning God I’d experienced in the Catholic Church as a kid.

Saint Teresa and Caroline were opening my mind to the possibility of an adult relationship with God – from the soul – a loving, compassionate, joyful…and intimate relationship.

The castle that St. Teresa refers to is the castle of the soul and goes on to describe the seven mansions within the castle of the soul.

I was transfixed.

I almost ran out of gas at one point I was so immersed in one of Caroline’s meditations while crossing the Nevada desert.

Meanwhile, I was taking a Dharma (Buddhist teachings) teacher training course with Matthew.

I grew more restless.

I felt a tugging in my chest and kept hearing intuition say the word “heart” over and over again, pulling me toward something, but what was it?

Matthew sensed something was happening and asked me directly in an email one day if I was really committed to the program.

Through tears I responded, “No, my heart isn’t in it.” I loved him so much and had such deep gratitude it was incredibly painful to let go.

I was not only letting go of him as my teacher, but letting go of Buddhism as my path. It no longer resonated and that was a hard reality to embrace.

A friend recently sent along this cartoon that sums up what I was feeling at that moment (and many times throughout my journey):

As a lost pilgrim without a path, I found solace in the devotional chanting of Kirtan, a Hindu call and response singing style. I loved it (and still do).

I decided to attended a workshop with Caroline Myss. It was only two days, but what unfolded in a moment over that weekend gave me the answer I had been searching for. 

I approached Caroline at a break after spending 10 minutes in a bathroom stall sobbing. I didn’t know what I was going to say when I approached her.

What came out was this, “I’m being called to God and I’m scared.”

She looked at me in her truthful and direct way and said, “Three things: don’t bargain with God, don’t think you’re special, and be humble.” I told her thanks, gave her a hug and walked away stunned.

Stunned that I had said the word God out loud for the first time with reverence in my heart (instead of in anger following an expletive), and stunned that she pointed so clearly at where little i can hide. She knew.

There was one other poignant moment of that weekend that would lay the groundwork for this new path.

Caroline said to the audience, “When we pray, we usually pray for something we want. Instead, pray for how you can serve… when you wake up in the morning say, “Thank you for this day, this day that shall never come again. How may I serve you today O Lord?””

Those two sentences became part of my daily prayers, teaching me about humility and wonder, about service instead of getting.

It taught me that God was not only all of creation in a broad sense, but God was very personal too.

All of this percolated in me until the summer of 2018, after spending seven months cleaning out my moms house of 52 years, that I experienced what I call the “Holy Wow” experience.

On the last day of a five day silent retreat at a friends cabin in Big Sur, California, I experienced something I had no context for. It was divine love and ecstasy, bliss and gratitude, roaring up through my body like a geyser, clearing out stuck energy in it’s path.

There was energetic vomiting, shaking, crying, and deep peace (read about the Holy Wow experience in more detail by clicking here). 

What I later realized is it was the rising up of the Divine feminine force I had repressed for most of my life (more of this part of the story on another day). 

This force, this geyser of divine ecstasy, was intense for many months following. And I was in deep love with God. I was ravished by it.

“You have made us for yourself, O God, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.”~Saint Augustine

The seeking I’d had for so many years stopped and what took it’s place was what I call a Holy Ache. 

It’s an incredibly sweet and joyful ache of the heart and soul yearning to be close to God. To be united with God. Like a child wanting to be closer to it’s mother even though it’s sitting in her lap. 

The intensity of the flow of divine ecstasy, thankfully, calmed down to a level I could live my daily life again (instead of being in the ethers) while still feeling the flow of God’s love in my body.

I learned that the body was not something to transcend, but a vessel from which to experience the deepest, most profound love we could ever know.

“In my soul, there is a temple, a shrine, a mosque, a church where I kneel.”
~Rabia (she was a Sufi mystic)

Fast forward now to the wee hours of the morning of January 6, 2021, waking to the divine ecstasy flowing up like Old Faithful, the portal open wide.

I sat up into meditation wondering what will happen this time.

The eternal love flowed up through my body, pulsing in waves of bliss.

The holy ache in my heart was so great, so blissful, so in love that I said, “God, I give myself to you. I give you all of me. Take me and use me as you need. I marry you. You are my beloved. You are my lover. You are my everything. I love you. I love you. I love you.”

I don’t use the word destiny, ever, but in this moment I knew it was my destiny to marry God. It was my destiny since I’d been born.

Tears of joy rolled down my cheeks.
I was truly home.

Only a few hours later I would be watching the violent and horrific acts unfold at the Capital building in D.C.

How was I to reconcile these two realities in my being – one of eternal love and one of anger and hatred?

The answer unfolds in Part Four next week.

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

To read Part Four: Igniting the Fire of Truth and Hope, click here.

Categories: Feminine Power, 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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