Saturday, May 9, 2020

Honoring the Difficult - Open once again to love, intimacy and trust

Alice Walker - The Same River Twice - Honoring the Difficult (1996)

On the level where I most like to live, the level of contemplation, I realize that during these ten years I have been involved in a series of spiritual tests: a test of my love of and loyalty to my  mother, as I witnessed her decline over so many soul-whipped years, and worried constantly about my ability to protect her and provide for her needs, even as I felt myself to be in mortal danger. A test of my loyalty to myself, in my relationship with a partner, as I wrestled my way to the limits of my capacity for understanding, forgiveness and acceptance. A test of my belief in the creative integrity of others, during my involvement with the collective creating our film. A test of my faith in Nature and my love of the earth, which was, I now understand, what my illness was about.

Just as Muslims, Jews and Christians have crises of faith, when their God seems to have hurt them or abandoned them or never seems to be near, Pagans (people whose primary spiritual relationship is with Nature and the earth; people who have traditionally been oppressed or destroyed by patriarchal religions) have crises, too. This became obvious to me only this summer, when, after an absence of many years, I began seriously to garden again. Kneeling on the earth as I planted each small seed or set out each tiny plant, I was shocked to realize how many years had passed since I had done this. "This" being the prayer involved in planting that, I am convinced, was one of the first acts of supplication, of worship, in the world. When I asked myself why this absence from "service," from worship, the answer was: fear. Fear of tick bite, fear of disease, fear of debilitation. Fear. The benign Goddess/God I had assumed the earth to be had turned on me. My faith was battered by that betrayal. And yet, as with a lover, what can one really absolutely trust? Only that she or he will be themselves. And that, I see, is how I must love the earth and Nature and the Universe, my own Trinity. Trusting only that it will be however it is, and accepting that some parts of it may hurt. And so, with socks pulled high and sleeves pulled low to protect myself from tick bite and disease, I am back into the relationship with Nature that sustains my happiness and my faith. Back as well into sharing my work collectively with others. Open once again to love, intimacy and trust.
[pages 42-43]

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