Drawing Close to Soul

by Julie on September 18, 2013 · 3 comments

 

Raising Her Hand

the too-full bud
learned never to speak out in class
was the weird one
showing up the other kids
learned to raise her hand
as late as possible
not because she didn’t know…but because she always did
too many years tight in the sheath of fear
then light came knocking
love crept through the frail stem
now
she’s raising her hand
she’s gonna raise every banner, every petal, every talent
open it up to the sun.

Bard Judith / Judy Alkema, 2013, shared with permission

~~~

“I have a lot of faith. But I am also afraid a lot, and have no real certainty about anything. I remembered something Father Tom had told me–that the opposite of faith is not doubt, but certainty. Certainty is missing the point entirely. Faith includes noticing the mess, the emptiness and discomfort, and letting it be there until some light returns.”
~ Anne Lamott

 

The emptiness and discomfort. The mess. I know these, well. To be honest, I know them often.

If we are honest, are any of us certain? We are living in powerfully uncertain times.

Funny thing is, I know about creativity and the creative process, and about how it feels when I’m in the unknown. It feels crappy. And, it also feels invigorating and beautiful and alive, too. Somewhere we know things are cooking inside, in the dark, in the womb.

And, I know that if I simply sit in and feel the discomfort, that at some point ‘light’ comes in. It reminds me of the moon. How it goes black. And for a time it is void. And then we begin to see it again, even if it is just a tiny slice. If we didn’t ‘know’ about the moon, meaning understand that how it works, would we still just believe that it would return?

So what’s happening in the mess? in the discomfort and darkness? A lot. Even if we aren’t conscious of it, much is taking place. Just like in the ground when a seed is planted. And, just like the moon when it is void. The moon hasn’t disappeared. But we cannot see it.

After seeing this quote, I was working on the copy for my new course, Becoming a Force of Nature. I was scooting right along and then suddenly I compared. Myself to others. My course to others. My copy to other copy. And, boom, I suddenly had a billion, zillion thoughts swirling in my head, thoughts that seemed to make the discomfort even more uncomfortable.

Comparison is one of the worst things for creativity. It just kills it.

 

So, I stopped working on it.

I stopped. I just set it aside, made dinner, tidied up, read my book*, and got ready for bed. As I settled into bed, I reflected on the fogginess I’d found myself in. I felt the discomfort. And, I asked for guidance. Whether it be a dream, or something else, I actively asked to be shown what I didn’t yet know. I asked for something to come to light my way. With that, I turned out my light and went to sleep.

In the morning, as I often do, I posted a photo of a flower to Facebook (the one above). As I shared this flower (the one at the top of this post), I found myself typing in this description:

“I love this stage of unfurling, when that first petal shows itself in full.
It’s a vulnerable place that we humans know, too.
Yet, look how gorgeous it is to begin to reveal.”

I woke up feeling much lighter about this place of vulnerability. What I chose to share was both intuition and muse.

And then… Boom. Boom. Boom. Suddenly, clear things appeared to light my way.

My friend shared that they felt in this place, too. I asked her how it felt, and she wrote,

“It feels beautiful, sacred, inevitable. And exposed, tender, vulnerable.
The precursor to full bloom feels like an intense risk.
And yet, it’s the risk I can’t afford not to take.”

And Judy shared the poem at the top of this post, titled Raising Her Hand. It caused my breath to catch. Here it is, again.

Raising Her Hand

the too-full bud
learned never to speak out in class
was the weird one
showing up the other kids
learned to raise her hand
as late as possible
not because she didn’t know…but because she always did
too many years tight in the sheath of fear
then light came knocking
love crept through the frail stem
now
she’s raising her hand
she’s gonna raise every banner, every petal, every talent
open it up to the sun.

Bard Judith / Judy Alkema, 2013, shared with permission

 

Friends messaged me privately. They wrote about how the light came to them…and they knew nothing about this quote above.

 

Another friend, Kelly Letky, shared this post where she offers,

And you, yes you, the one who says I am lost. Look into your heart. There are flowers growing there, right now.

Bloom.

Wonder.

Wander.

Breathe.

And then I knew. I could see how the flower unfolding fit so beautifully with my new course.

And, with that, I was back on track. I had a much better sense of what women are feeling with regards to allowing themselves to give way to the delicious, yet sometimes frightening, wild life force that courses through us…this wild force of nature.

Life is a mirror reflecting in an infinite number of ways and directions.

 

What about this opening…

this unveiling of ourselves, our true selves? That vulnerable place we feel when we decide to reveal another pink layer of soul we’ve never shared with the world. Are these places as tender as the wound we’re trying to protect? Are they strong and vital and ready to be known and seen? Does the tenderness come from the wound itself, rather than from the fresh soul flesh exposed?

Perhaps the real lesson is to come to live this this wisdom from Meister Eckhart: ‘the ground of the soul is dark.’

It is this rich dark from which everything is born. When I come to uncertainty, I am being invited into the ground of the soul. I wonder if this has to feel uncomfortable? I wonder if I can open to it in a new way, without all of the things I ‘make up’ about it?

Wondering reminds me of what Kelly shared, “Look into your heart. There are flowers growing there, right now.”

This impulse to blossom is strong within us. It is the force of nature pushing its way to birth and growth. When we try to deny it, it causes us pain and suffering.

Eventually the suffering of denial becomes greater than our fears of who we might be if we do reveal ourselves.

This is the place I am interested in, this place where discomfort seems to be so, but in closer light perhaps it is the drawing close to soul that is really causing this dis-ease because to know soul we must be shaken and transformed. The shell of the seed must crack and be destroyed so what is within can grow forth.

~~~

Today, September 18th, is the opening day for The Business of Soul Telesummit, hosted by Jennifer Urezzio. I’m honored to be one of over 32 speakers sharing wisdom about being in the spotlight. My interview is titled “You Belong in the Spotlight.” and I talk about … Belonging.

The telesummit is free and you sign up here.

~~~

Revised Sept 26, 2013:

My new course, Becoming a Force of Nature, is open for registration. There will be a set number of openings as this will be the first run. And as the first run, it will be priced lower than subsequent offerings.

If you’ve read my work for a while, you know what I’m about. While I’ve taught many places, this is the first big course I’ve offered online.  I am really excited about it and I’d love to have you join me.

* The book I’m reading? (Marianne Elliot’s, Zen Under Fire, which is fantastic!)

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Kim September 18, 2013 at 11:35 am

I love seeing how the universe responded to you, Julie. I tried to sign up for the list for Becoming a Force of Nature, but couldn’t get the submit button to work. Please add me.

Reply

laurajean31 September 19, 2013 at 4:23 am

What do you say when your spirit responds too deeply for words, when someone has shared a corner of her soul and aroused yours, stirring the heart of a woman on a threshold of breaking away , waiting for that next epiphany , ready to take a step of faith into the unknown, hesitant but knowing she must, remembering the shattered dreams, while cherishing the birthings , thankful for the darkness preceding life and embracing the pain, because someone else dared to be authentic, and honest and vulnerable, speaking words to break other women’s bonds.
I am that woman stepping over the threshold and Judy is my beautiful daughter. Thank you Julie and Judy for the amazing and courageous women you are.

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