Vulernability

I know vulnerability doesn’t relate specifically with Christianity. But it seems to be the theme of late. At least this week. Ok, who am I kidding? It’s probably my life’s work. Why? Because I am lousy at it.

A couple of people directed my attention to this TED talk on vulnerability yesterday, so this morning I sat down with my cup of tea and decided to listen to it…. while I read email. Because, it’s about vulnerability, see, and what could it possibly say that would demand twenty minutes of my precious child-free writing time?

Oh, silly me. The speaker, Brené Brown, had me laughing and then nearly crying. Her delivery and story sounds very similar to mine. Her description of therapy? Right on the money. She hit home. Dammit.

I am a very enthusiastic person; I get SO EXCITED about things. Which means that I get equally crushed and disappointed too. I try to temper both ends: my enthusiasm can overwhelm others – so put a lid on that! And I don’t know how to deal with my disappointment – so I drive it inward and just leave me alone already. But without vulnerability we aren’t fully open to the full range of life’s experiences and emotions; I believe that that openness is one of the results and requirements of a full spiritual existence.

I know that my soul’s longing for the Divine is in large part a hunger for wholeness, a wholeness free from guilt, fear and shame. I’m a work in progress on that front. I talk a really good game, but I’m still working out the pieces in action in my own life. My husband has helped me in this regard more than any other person. He demands that I be vulnerable, and I love that and hate it, both at the same time. Being a mother has also opened me up to levels of vulnerability in ways I’d never expected. I don’t know how mothers of ten kids function: there are two living, breathing pieces of my heart walking around in this world. What happens to them, happens to me.

I’m starting to make progress. As much as my gut instinct is to flee from vulnerability (my own and others), I no longer feel that being safe, closed off and emotionally withdrawn is worth it. I’ve tasted just enough of the sweet fruit of being vulnerable that I’d like to go back for more. But fear, guilt and shame still block my path pretty regularly. You might not believe it, but writing publicly and personally in this blog has been a big step forward for me.

(Ok, now I’m terrified that this post is becoming all therapeutic and shit, and soon I’ll start talking about my relationship with my parents and sobbing at the keyboard, and you’ll laugh at me…. VULNERABILITY! FLEE!!)

Phew. Crisis averted. Diverted. Hey, see what I’m doing here? I’m avoiding being vulnerable!

The last few days I’ve felt sensitive. Like some one left the door to my heart open and I’m getting all drafty. How do I engage with the world and still be vulnerable? My Facebook page is filled with links to things that I believe we really need to pay attention to: modern-day wage slavery, struggles of people without health care or insurance policies that max out on the dying, religious fundamentalists that believe there should be no separation of church and state – so long as it’s their religion in charge (Rick Santorum, I’m staring at you), lists of corporations which (not who – they aren’t people!) are sneakily and insidiously bribing legislation…. the list goes on and it feels so overwhelming. Will my kids grow up in a country where they are at the mercy of big business? Will they have clean water and healthy food? Will a bunch of men who practice a religion we don’t be in charge of my daughter’s body? Will the ocean run out fish in my lifetime?

It’s so overwhelming some days. I don’t know how to engage with out shutting the door to my heart and putting on my Strident Know-it-all Scholarly Debater costume.

The only thing I know to do is breathe. One breath at a time. One moment at a time. This practice makes each task five times longer to complete. Getting through the grocery store alone with out freaking out over which apple to purchase can take a really long time.

But there it is.

Thoughts? How do you stay open to vulnerability and still get through your day?

And really, please click on the link to the TED talk. Best twenty minutes you’ll spend today.

Resolution

So I went to sutra study. I was able to read a few comments on yesterday’s post before I left, rather in a distracted rush, for yoga class and sutra study. Many of you made excellent points and I was left feeling awkward, silly and vulnerable. I particularly hate feeling vulnerable. I am much better at over thinking things, if you hadn’t noticed.

When I started this project I knew this quarter would be a challenge for me, but I didn’t realize just how hard it would be for me. I’ve spent most of this quarter practicing Christianity by not practicing the Pagan things and Hindu things I’d like to practice. As the comments brought home, that’s not actually a practice. And it’s not very true to Christianity. I ‘knew’ both of those things, but I didn’t know what else to do.

Like all of the major world religions, Christianity is a broad tradition that embraces both fundamentalism and a liberal side so open that many might not recognize it as Christian. Until only a few years ago I was within the Christian tradition thanks to the wide berth a living tradition offers, yet it took a while to recognize that it wasn’t my narrative, it wasn’t my story. Christianity’s symbolism runs deep, but it’s not my metaphor.

When I started this project with Hinduism last summer I faced some of the same issues: how do I practice without falling into the snare of legalism. I think this is the problem that faces people who haven’t embraced the narrative and found a home in the story of a faith. In my reading I kept bumping up against Vedic orthodoxy and I didn’t like it one bit. I kept looking for the parts that resonated with me, and when I got to Tantra I found my narrative thread.

But Christianity is not my story anymore. How many times can I repeat this? It’s not you, the reader, I need to convince, it’s me. I was at peace with this, until I tried to return. And I can’t. There is no returning for me. And that’s what I realized on my drive to yoga. A huge weight lifted off my shoulders. I wanted to cry. I felt exposed.  Look at how ridiculous I’m being – and in ‘public’ too!

How do I stay true to the ‘rules’ I’ve set for myself on this project? I guess I stay true to them by staying true to myself. That means getting back to my practices – back to MY practices. I can finish out this quarter engaging with Christianity, engaging with a beautiful, rich tradition that has given me so much. But I won’t and don’t have to practice.

Several years ago, when I was studying with T Thorn Coyle, I used to beat myself up if I didn’t meditate for at least 20 minutes. And then I realized, the tools are there for me; I’m not here for the tools. Meditation isn’t going to come knocking on my door and ask why I shorted it ten minutes. Or forgot to show up. No, meditation is my tool to use for my liberation. Same with this project, same with this work, same for my path. They are tools that serve me, not the other way around. The point of this project was to get clear and to struggle and to find out more about myself and my practice, and I’d say it’s working!

I’ve been neglecting several things, all in the spirit of ‘not practicing.’ I haven’t set up my altars in my office. I’ve had this wonderful (if cold) new space for several weeks and it’s still unfinished and chaotic. I haven’t been doing my sitting or my prayers or making kala. Boy, do I feel the effects of not practicing! With the exception of the meditative mercy prayer, there hasn’t been anything else to fill the space. That is silly and not particularly helpful.

During yoga class we worked on back bends, which open up the front body, especially the space around the heart and breast bone. That exacerbated my feelings of vulnerability and at several points during class I wanted to cry. I’m not a crier and wish I was. I think it would be healthier for me. Yoga sutra study was nice but not what I’d made it out to be in my head. I felt foolish for making such a big deal about it. I still feel foolish.

humility, vulnerability, and resolution were the themes for me last night and they carry over this morning. On more than one occasion I’ve been encouraged to stop over thinking everything, to get more honest, more vulnerable, more personal here and it’s a struggle for me. But last night was a great gift to me, a release, a resolution. Thanks for helping me along.

Conflict

My lunch today was amazing. Like, really, really delicious. But the conversation was good too. Husband and kids and I sat around the table talking about the day thus far. ‘Oh I’m going to yoga tonight,’ I said, ‘but I’m undecided if I’ll stay on for the yoga sutras study group.’ After explaining myself, my husband just looked at me and said, ‘Why don’t you write about this?’ Good point.

So, here’s what I told him. After yoga class tonight – asana, physical practice – I’ve been invited to stay for a monthly study group of the yoga sutras, the philosophical and spiritual foundational text of classical yoga. It’s kind of like bible study, for yogis. Neat! But it doesn’t fit in with my Christian quarter.

Of course, I’m not really practicing much Christianity this quarter, am I? I’m practicing by not practicing the other things that make up my personal spiritual practice. Before, I used to get on my case about not practicing enough. I felt like I didn’t have a very dedicated practice at all, not compared to before I had kids, where I’d do forty minutes of yoga asana and thirty minutes of meditation every morning! But now that I’m not practicing other things I see just how much practice I had going, and how integrated into my entire day it was. As I’ve said before, that’s good information. I might never have discovered that were it not for this quarter!

My husband said, ‘What kind of Christianity are you trying to practice? It never would have bothered you five years ago when you still thought of yourself as Christian.’ He has a very good point. Except that five years ago I wouldn’t have viewed or approached the yoga sutras as they are: spiritual, foundational texts. I now see and embrace yoga as part of the greater Hindu tradition.

I could not stay tonight and attend next month, after my quarters shift again. That’s what I’m tempted to do. I want to stay true the aims of this blog project, on the other hand, maybe I’m making to big a deal over nothing?

What do you think? Should I attend tonight, or not? Why?

Virgin Mary in Song

Let’s have some music for your weekend!

My kids are feeling poorly. I’m blogged out from all the coverage of the Pantheacon transgender/Z Budapest conflict/discussion. So let’s have some beauty! To song!

The most famous of all songs about the Virgin Mary is the Ave Maria, the Latin version of the Hail Mary: “Hail Mary, full of grace, God is with you; blessed are you among women and blessed it the fruit of your womb, Jesus; Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.” This is a beautiful, simple prayer, that is essentially Marian theology distilled in to three sentences.

Let’s start with the most well known, and for good reason: Franz Schubert’s. I’m not sure who the singer or accompanist is but they do a very good job.

I recently read the following in an article, which is well worth reading in its entirety. (Thanks, Adam.)

‘Franz Schubert’s “Ave Maria,” which surprised some music critics when it debuted in 1825: Schubert seldom showed religious feeling in his compositions, yet “Ave Maria” is a breathtaking work of adoration of the Virgin Mary. What was with the sudden piety? Schubert dryly answered: “I think this is due to the fact that I never forced devotion in myself and never compose hymns or prayers of that kind unless it overcomes me unawares; but then it is usually the right and true devotion.” This musical prayer became among the most familiar and enduring religious pieces in history.’

Franz Biebl’s version is perhaps my all time favorite choral work involving the Ave Maria. This version is done by the phenomenal all male ensemble, Chanticleer. (Check out the mustache on one of the singers!)

Another musical Marian form is the Stabat Mater, from a 12th century poem. During this time period a new form of devotion developed in Europe, centered on the Mater Dolorosa – the Sorrowful Mother. Stabat Mater, Latin for ‘the Mother stood’, or with the first line of the poem (Stabat Mater dolorosa), ‘the sorrowful Mother stood’. What did she stand next to? The cross and Jesus, her son, crucified upon it. (For the absolute best book I’ve read about this form of devotion and its development, read Rachel Fulton’s From Judgement to Passion.)

In graduate school I wrote an entire paper on this particular poem and its use in music. I listened to something approaching twenty settings of it. The following are a few that stood out to me.

Here is Pergolesi’s version:

Rossini’s:

Dvorák’s, perhaps the most well-known setting, certainly the most well-known to me.

For more modern interpretations, Arvo Pärt:

Penderecki’s also impressed me, but I can’t find a good clip of it.

Let us not forget the glorious Eastern Orthodox tradition and their many songs to the Theotokos! The Estonian Phiharmonic Chamber Choir is world-renown and made a CD focusing on Russian Orthodox hymns. It is superb and I highly recommend it.

Anyone know of some non-classical songs about Mary? Clearly my classical music background is getting the best of me! I know of one gospel song, The Virgin Mary had a Baby Boy, and Breath of Heaven by Amy Grant:

Have a great weekend!

 

Lent comes early this year

…For me, at least.

Today is Fat Tuesday. Not being culturally Catholic, I’ve never had a grasp on when Mardi Gras occurs, but I think it’s today – a huge blow out before Ash Wednesday tomorrow when Lent begins for Catholics and other Christians. Eastern Orthodoxy doesn’t have this tradition. The two weeks leading up to Lent (which begins next week for them) are Meat Fare (eat the meat) and Cheese Fare (eat all the dairy but no meat), where they wind down before their vegan Lenten fast.

I used to observe the Orthodox fast for Lent. I viewed it as a spring cleaning and a form of positive self- and spiritual discipline. It’s been a few years since I’ve observed it, since I’ve not had a spring free of pregnancy or breastfeeding for four years now. This year, I’m still nursing, but I am going to observe the fast – only in an entirely non-traditional way. Late last spring I read a bunch of material (among it Why We Get Fat by Gary Taubes) that sold me on the primal/paleo style of eating. After eating that way more, but often less, for six months I felt great and had lost some of the baby weight I’d gained, but since arriving in the US we’ve reverted to a more standard American diet, and I’ve noticed some distinct results. I won’t go into detail, but I think I’ve got a gluten allergy. My form of Lent this year is to do a strict primal eating challenge. That takes me to end of this quarter; seeing as how I’m missing Easter, it all lines up nicely.

But let’s talk about Lent. I’ve talked before about fasting before (here and here). I think fasting is, over all, a beneficial practice, for our bodies and our spiritual practice, particularly for those of us, like myself, who are lucky enough to always have enough food to eat. Whether we go vegan, give up sugar, or fast from all food, the goal is to hone our senses, bodies, and focus – to gain strength from discipline, offer a sacrifice to the gods, and thus connect more deeply with the Divine. For some, fasting can bring about a trance-like or other euphoric experience.

But mostly? I hate the way Lent is discussed in the Western Christian tradition/s. In college, when I was most recently active in Protestant Christian life, people would talk about Lent and how they were giving up chocolate or something so banal and pointless as to actually make a mockery of the fast. I know, super judgmental, but there it is. That isn’t to say giving up chocolate couldn’t be a great start – after all, we need to set ourselves up for success, not failure and perhaps success with chocolate one year might lead to heftier goals the next. But generally, my experience was listening to people give up nothing costly and then forget about the practice in two weeks’ time.

On the flip side, the major theological idea underpinning Lent is suffering. The idea is that we fast so that we might share in the suffering of Christ. I have oodles of issues with this concept and I’m going to write about this…. later.

Here’s a breakdown of posts of I’m formulating and series I’m thinking of writing in the next five weeks:

I will finish my Testimony. I want to write about the Virgin Mary: a book review, discussion of some theology around her, and another music post for her. I have two additional books reviews I’m hoping to do: books by Rob Bell (and an interview/dialog with the person who recommended them to me) and one by Bertrand Russell. I also want to do a series on theological concepts in the Christian tradition: suffering, Incarnation, the crucifixion, and the resurrection. I may even attend a church service.

Are you observing Lent? If so, how? What does it mean to you? If you’re not Christian, is there some other way you ‘spring clean’?

 

Fifteen Years in the Wrong Shoes – part four

This part of my testimony is all about graduate school, and it brings us up to the present. When we left off I had just moved to Berkeley, started work on my master’s degree, and broken up with my girlfriend. You can read parts one, two, and three by clicking the links.

I think I always knew I was going to end up in Berkeley at the Graduate Theological Union. It had been on my radar for years. I liked the small school consortium and the ecumenical and interfaith make up of the place. It had a small Orthodox seminary with a chapel, and also had some of the most liberal Christian seminaries in the country. Liberal, but also academically respected. Rosemary Radford Ruether, pioneering feminist theologian, also taught there. I was very excited to dive deep into feminist theology.

And dive I did. I explored so many things. I bought my first tarot deck, something I’d been wanting to do for years but had been dissuaded by my ex-girlfriend. I read all kinds of new theologies. I started studying Latin. I loved most of my classes and, honestly? I could stay taking classes like those for the rest of my life. Nerd Niki was in heaven.

Emotionally and spiritually things were more complicated.

I still considered myself a Christian, although I recognized how ill-fitting the label was. I spent a year considering converting, officially, to Orthodoxy. I spent Tuesday evenings at the Orthodox Institute, attending services and fellowship (dinner and conversation). I was able to participate in readings and chanting (my first and only visit to the area Greek Orthodox church reminded me how rare it is to be able to participate like that). I felt welcomed despite my lack of ‘official’ status.

One of the things that I love about Orthodoxy is the lack of questions around ‘being saved.’ While most of the students attending services were ‘cradle Orthodox’, those born into the faith, many were also converts, and baptism is the act that yokes you to the Church. I’ve never been baptized, but I pondered it in my heart.

I felt more attached than ever to the Christian tradition. Attending services on Tuesday evenings at the Orthodox Institute, taking advanced theological classes, spending my days with other seminarians who were there to become priests and pastors, community organizers and activists, scholars and professors. Of course the more I found a potential fit, the more confused I was in general. One of the few times I went to chapel I had a vision of Athena standing at the altar, filling the entire vaulted space.

I was incredibly – and privately – judgmental about many of the people who arrived at school to be pastors. It seemed to me that those who sought to lead, inspire and heal others were the most in need of guidance, wisdom and healing themselves. Of course, only now do I recognize that perhaps those of there to study and perhaps someday contribute to the greater discourse might have been searching for wisdom and knowledge in an equally hungry and dysfunctional way. I know I was.

Still, I had a hard time feeling like I was on the same page with most of the Christians at seminary. I think I was so used to feeling like the odd one out and used to clinging to what I found liberating in the tradition that I never considered just walking away. Even after finding T Thorn Coyle’s book Evolutionary Witchcraft.

I was working part-time at a neighborhood bookstore. One day while tidying the shelves, I noticed a new book with an intriguing title. I pulled it off the shelf and read the flaps, the back, the table of contents, looked through the notes and index, and skimmed the introduction (isn’t that how you check out a new book? no?). I bought the book and took it home with me. I read the whole thing, then went back and worked through the exercises. Here was an approach to witchcraft that I could relate to. There was no polarity or gender essentialism. I liked that while ritual was part of the work, the way magic was described was not as some mystical gift that you discovered on your 13th birthday, but as a tool that one could hone and use. My queer, feminist, practical heart was pleased, as was my mystery loving, devout soul. After I discovered that Thorn lived in San Francisco, I emailed her and asked if she spoke or taught in the area. Yes, but not right now, was the reply; she’d put me on her mailing list.

And so I continued on with my work. I wrote my master’s thesis, mainly a literature review of white,* contemporary, feminist writing on the Virgin Mary. That process was a struggle, a dark night of the soul. I remember little of the three months I spent writing: 16 hour days in front of my laptop, double and triple checking my notes and sources, freaking out, fearing I had nothing to say, and what did any of this matter anyway? In the end, my thesis isn’t that great, but I passed and got my degree and moved on, with one eye to possibly going back to school to work on a PhD.

I found a job with a Bay Area adult Jewish education non-profit. I loved it. To someone raised secular and in what feels like at times, a rather tradition-less, white-bread non-culture, the rich tapestry of the Jewish world was inviting. I grew up with several Jewish friends and have long loved much about Jewish culture. At one point I asked myself ‘why not Judaism?’ There are so many things to love about Judaism. I particularly like its long tradition of questioning – questioning scripture, tradition and God Himself. But that last piece is part of my inability to embrace Judaism: I’m not a fan of Yahweh (or YHWH or G-d). I also realized that the narrative of Judaism is not my story. I remain a committed and loving friend of the Jewish tradition (and according to my former boss – and totally tongue-in-cheek here – an honorary Jew).

Realizing that piece about one’s narrative tradition was an eye opener for me. It’s helped me also see that while much of my own personal journey has followed along the Christian path, often times right along with it, the Christian narrative isn’t mine either. But I still didn’t see that clearly then.

About two years after reading Thorn’s book, I finally got an email saying that she would be teaching a two-year class on Feri witchcraft, using her book as a basis for the structure. I, and my then-fiance (now husband), signed up. I think there were 32 people initially, whittling down to about 23 or so by the end. This was my first ‘real’ forray into formal paganism of any kind – I still identified as a Christian! My love of the Virgin Mary was the only thing keeping me there, but still I clung to the claim. While many participants came to Feri and/or Paganism from a Christian background, now long rejected, no one ever dismissed my claims or experience. No one ever outwardly judged me. I felt very welcome.

What I struggled with was ritual. The theory, the personal work, the strong emphasis on personal practice – all that was welcome. But group ritual? I was profoundly uncomfortable. Chanting? Singing? Trance work? In ‘public’? I was freaked out. I look back and I realize that there were a few personalities and ‘performance styles’ that clashed intensely with mine. These days those things would be less of a problem, but starting out, with my issues of personal spiritual expression and performance anxiety…. it was a hot mess for me. I didn’t get much out of the rituals and mostly thought that they were psychological exercises.

After the two years were up, I felt changed. More open. More confident. Part of a larger, if amorphous, community. I felt I had connected with something – even if I was just touching the fringe on a great train of a cloak, like the woman being healed by touching the hem of Jesus’s tunic…. Early on in the training I remember thinking ‘This is great, but Feri isn’t for me.’ At the end of it, I wanted more. Feri was for me. But I wasn’t sure quite how. I was pregnant with my first child during the second half of the Feri training. He arrived just 8 weeks before the final gathering. Juggling new motherhood, work and a new degree program took up a lot of my energy.

During this time I was also getting more and more involved in yoga. I’d had my first yoga class when I was living in Seattle. It was mainly Iyengar style. I liked it a lot, and I incorporated a lot of what I’d learned into my own daily stretching and workouts. When I moved to Oakland after grad school the neighborhood studio had a woman teaching Anusara** style yoga and I loved it. In fact, much of the metaphysics sounded a lot like Feri to me.

Yoga and Feri were more and more the realities of my spiritual practice and informed how I viewed the world. Still, I did not take them on as identities. I clung to the last remaining shreds of a Christian identity. When our son was 7 months old my husband and I went on our first ever vacation together. We were in Australia visiting my family (my mother is Australian). My parents and sister had my son for the weekend. Husband and I were driving off to Daylesford in Victoria, talking about life and what to do next. We couldn’t stay in the Bay Area and raise kids – too expensive, not enough trees. I had recently started a PhD program through a university in Wales. My adviser was one of the few feminist theologians specializing in Mary and she was the only one I wanted to study with. What to do? Where to go?

In the midst of the discussion about what things we needed in a community, my husband turned to me and said, ‘Let’s move to Wales.’ It was like a bolt of inspiration from gods. We both recognized the sheer insanity of it, but also the odd ‘rightness’ of it. While in Daylesford we both got tarot readings – separately and by different people. Both readers commented on our up coming move abroad. Neither of us had said anything to anyone about this decision. Nine months later, almost to the day, we arrived in Wales. We’d sold or given away almost everything we owned. We’d scraped together the $10,000 for moving costs, plane tickets, and visas. And there we were. In rural Wales. We’d followed the voice of God and …… it led us into the verdant wilderness. Which will be the subject of part five.

Holy cow, five parts. Thanks for reading!

*White, because I am not fluent in Spanish, and so much of Latin America’s writing on Mary is inaccessible to me, and because there is little written about her in the African-American Christian tradition or in other cultures. Most of the writing on Mary comes from white European or white American writers (or if they’re not white, they are not writing in a racially intersectional way, which defaults to white, at this point). To include other cultures and a wider discussion on race within the theological discussion of Mary would have made my masters thesis unruly and way too long.

**Anusara is in the middle of a huge ‘scandal’ and upheaval. You can google it for yourself. I still think the system has much to offer and I continue to practice in this style, while also being deeply disappointed by what has unfolded.

Yesterday

Yesterday was a really good day. Not because it was Valentine’s Day (a non-holiday in my opinion), but because it started with a coffee date with an old friend I hadn’t seen in years and years. He was in town on business and we met up for a chat. (“Who’s John?” my husband asked. “You want a date on Valentine’s Day that badly, just ask!” Ha!)

After talking about our kids, our spouses, my recent move, the topic invariably turned to matters of religion. John’s a Christian, one who attends a mainline church on the liberal side of things. He told me he’s come to terms with the fact that there’s just a ton of stuff he doesn’t know, might never know, and that’s ok. He was honest about the fact that he doesn’t read my blog (“I suspect you have a lot of words about this topic.” He has no idea, does he?); this isn’t the topic he spends his precious non-working hours reading. I can respect that.

What the conversation highlighted to me is that I love talking about religion. I had to dial down my enthusiasm, scale back the two dollar words. I want to know what people think, and then talk about that. This particular conversation reminded me how much my thinking has shifted in the last few years. I do not view the world as a monotheist might; I definitely have a polytheistic view point. It makes discussing spiritual relativism interesting. I see little conflict; the monotheist sees quite a bit.

My baby (who is one today!) was fussing and tired and full of snot, so John and I cut our time together  short, right as we were in the thick of conversation. We’ll have other times to talk, now that I’m back in the great state of Washington for the long haul. I drove home buzzing. What do I do with this passion for religion? I could teach. I have a master’s degree. Perhaps the local community college would hire me or the nearby Evergreen State College. The thought of creating an entire class and teaching it scares me: I have many professor friends and I hear all about the struggles of teaching. And I don’t feel like I know enough! But I do.

I could get a PhD. I tried that. I may go back, but not to the same topic, not to the same type of program. I was really tired of engaging Christian theology so exclusively. I certainly won’t go back to a PhD program with wee children. I can barely keep up with this blog right now, due to sleep exhaustion.

I’ve even thought about looking at spiritual direction programs. Of course, starting another program seems silly right now. And I’m not sure I’m empathetic enough for this type of ‘counseling.’

Today, I’m enjoying the surge of enthusiasm I have for my chosen subject from the conversation with my friend. I’m fired up! This coincides with some dreams I’ve had recently and a strong pull to practice – not to practice Christianity, but to dive back into Feri, tarot, meditation, things I’ve put on the shelf for this quarter. I see them up there, shiny and inviting, familiar and full of surprises, and I want to stop reading theology, stop praying for mercy, stop rehashing my testimony (yes, I’m dragging my heels on part four).

This is good information. I’m grateful for this blog project. I feel like it is doing just what I’d hoped it would do: refine my own path, get me more comfortable with vulnerability and visibility, challenge my writing skills, and open up dialog with others. Thanks for joining me.