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I had a not uncommon thing occur a few days ago and I think iWoman head profile hair music concept Royalty Free Stock Imagest might be interesting to write about.

I woke up with a song running through my head. Maybe you remember it, Terry Jacks’ version of Seasons in the Sun. Not the whole song, just a few phrases. I’ve only heard Jacks’ version of it though I understand there are others that don’t sing it quite so blithely or liltingly. Anyway, it was this:

“We had joy,

“We had fun,

“We had seasons in the sun,

(and then I think there’s a break from the lyrics, then it continues)

“And the hills that we climbed were just seasons out of time.”

Now, it’s not uncommon for me to wake up with songs in my head but they usually don’t stick with me for any length of time. This, however, kept coming back. I wondered why.

Double meaning Stock PhotoSo, being the meaning-making human that I am, I pondered it and other things going on with me. It occurred to me that it could relate to the stuff around some late blog entries that seem to have so stirred up "the other woman" so I worked with that.

I finally figured it out, to my satisfaction, at least.

It’s a message from "the other side," from my former husband, telling me that what we had was good but that there were difficult hills to be surmounted and they had nothing to do with the good stuff, they were "out of time," i.e., out of sequence, maybe, or out of step. Or maybe decided upon “out of time,” i.e., not of the physical world, before the physical world.

I think that he was telling me that it was time to get over those hills, to let go now. I feel that I’ve done so, or almost, anyway. It’s near.

Then, if you remember the song, you realize that it’s a song about death, about how it’s "hard to die when all the birds are singing in the sky" etc. Now, I happen toBirds in the sky Stock Images believe that no one dies before their time, that the time and manner of death are chosen before birth. If that’s true, then he’s also saying that he’d done what he came to do and while it was hard to die, his time was up.

That’s pretty woo-woo for most people to buy into, especially those who’ve lost someone "before their time" or something like that. For instance, I was told my former husband wasn’t supposed to be on that plane that crashed but he was filling in at the last minute for a guy who couldn’t make it. Make of that what you will, whether it wasn’t the other guy’s time or it was my former husband’s time, whatever, but that’s what I was given to understand.

Even so, I had a lot of grief around it all. Knowing and believing and feeling can be so far apart sometimes.

I think I can finally let go of the song now. I can also let go of him, I think. We’ll see. I won’t forget him because he was so much a part of my life in so many ways but he won’t continue to haunt me. So this will probably be the last blog post I make about our marriage, divorce, etc. If I do blog any more about it, it will be with much more distance and in a different context.

As I said, we’ll see. If I interpret this happening correctly, I’ll move on to something else.

In A Hotel Room


I’ve had quite a debate with myself about posting this, it’s so very, very intimately personal. And yet, that debate is clearly insisting in some way that I should post it. I mean, I wouldn’t be debating it if there weren’t some need of my Soul to have it out there. I think. My ego would just withdraw from something so raw.

But when it comes to debates between my ego and my Soul, it’s almost always my Soul that insists that discomfort is necessary or at least inconsequential. My ego feels that this is personal, none of your business, nothing you need to know. So the debate continues. But I’m pretty sure how it will end.

I wrote this several years ago. It occurred at a time when my husband was having an affair though he hadn’t yet been “outed.” For decades after our divorce I gave him the benefit of the doubt and blamed the affair and subsequent divorce on “the other woman.” She has to share complicity, of course, due to becoming involved with a married man but then, he probably came across as “sincere” when he complained about his marriage. I mean, isn’t that how most cheaters start their affairs? I can’t help but recall what so many had said about him when I was still a naïve college girl: “He’s the most sincere guy I’ve ever met,” iterated so many of my dorm mates.

I guess sincerity doesn’t preclude perfidy.

He was incapable of being sexually faithful, either to me or to her. If I’d paid attention I might have seen that much earlier, figured things out sooner.

First, there was the failed temptation of the “working girl” in Korea, failed only for lack of money, though. Who knows after that? Then there was his affair with the other woman, when he cheated, big time, on me. And there was this event when he was in the midst of the affair and he “cheated” on her with me, his wife.

I wonder why I ever gave him that benefit of the doubt.

 

I’m in a hotel room somewhere around Pecos, Texas. It’s a long time ago but not so far away.

I had hoped this trip through the west Texas desert and down to Big BeA man in the swimming pool Royalty Free Stock Photographynd would be a second honeymoon. My husband is outside in the swimming pool. I’m elated that he’s home but I’m also uneasy. He’s already been home for almost two of the three weeks’ leave he has coming, and we have yet to make love.

We’ve been married for over five years but even old married couples should have found occasion by now. Besides, with his various assignments we’ve only actually lived together about half that time so it’s not as if it’s old hat.

He spends his days at the stable with the Major and the horses. Our evenings and nights at home feel strained and quiet as we sit in separate chairs to watch TV. I often turn to look at him but I never see him looking at me. Something is obviously amiss but I don’t know what or how to address it.

I was young then, passive. And naïve.

Be thaLuxury infinity swimming pool caribbean sunset Stock Imaget as it may, I’m in that hotel room now. My husband opens the sliding glass door and for a second all I can see is his rangy silhouette against the late brilliance of the Texas desert light and the still blue water of the pool, his wet footprints already drying on the hot concrete. I want to think his hesitation is because he glimpsed me in my white gown and negligee, but it could as well have been that he was simply blinded by coming from the outside glare into the dim room.

He turns toward the bathroom without a word. I don’t know what I expected after carefully donning my nightwear and perfume, but it wasn’t dismissal, rejection. My heart drops into the hollow shell I immediately become. My eyes are suddenly hot and dry. I can’t swallow the lump in my throat or all the fiery anguish will come pouring out.Pretty woman in her negligee Stock Photography

I sit on the edge of the bed forever, a pale statue in flowing sheer robes. I’m not thinking, just lost, drowning in confusion and pain. If I were thinking, I’d be wondering what I did to cause him to become so remote. I mean, it must be something I did, right? What else could it be?

He’s been gone for nearly a year and it’s been some time since his letters held the longing and suggestive phrases of his earlier ones. My phone calls never seem to find him in his barracks room. I do find all sorts of excuses, though. I can’t call them reasons. I might have to face what I don’t want to know, don’t even want to vaguely consider. So I don’t.

Finally  Beard and Mustache Royalty Free Stock Imagehe comes out of the bathroom, dark hair damp and glistening, beard stubble already soft and thick enough to nearly conceal his lower face. He always grows a beard when he’s on leave.

He still hasn’t spoken but he’s coming toward me and my heart lifts as I look up into his dear but oddly expressionless face. He presses me back onto the bed, not harshly, but not gently, either, not like someone being careful not to hurt something precious.

He deliberately separates the edges of my negligee and pulls up my gown, helping me lift my hips to ensure that it goes all the way to my waist. Still not a word has he spoken. It’s finally going to happen. We’re going to make love!

My hands roam over his slim body as he positions himself above me and slowly lowers his weight after very little foreplay. He doesn’t look at me. He doesn’t kiss me, either. I wonder about that. And then his breath comes fast and so does mine, as I rise to meet him. It’s done.Broken heart Royalty Free Stock Image

My heart breaks, though I don’t quite realize it yet. That will come. All I know is something I never wanted to learn, the difference between making love and having sex.

He rolls off me, pulls the sheets down on the other side of the bed, slides between them, and is soon snoring, his back toward me. I haven’t yet moved, trying to process what just happened, unable or unwilling to. I finally sit up, remove the filmy robes that I’d hoped would entice him to love me, slip between the sheets on my side.

Crying 2 Royalty Free Stock PhotosAs I stiffly lie there, arms clamped to my sides, I watch the desert sunset quickly turn to night. The lump is back in my throat. I’m numb, but I feel a hot tear course down my cheek, becoming icy in the chill air-conditioned false atmosphere of an impersonal hotel room.


Early in this experience (my Search for Soul, though I didn’t know what it was at the time), I felt unutterably betrayed and abandoned, only I wasn’t sure by whom. I was totally lost, without even myself as I had been and without my self, who was I? Remember my dream of being lost in the woods with all forms of identity stripped from me? It was more prophetic than I could have imagined.

I was alone and I didn’t know who I was alone with. I walked, I Sketch doodles: stress and confusion Stock Imagestalked, I called myself by name, I even answered to that name. I functioned in the “real world,” but my ego-sense was gravely disrupted. If external things and situations could no longer tell me who I was, then who was I? What was happening to me? Why wasn’t my life working any more? Why had everything become so difficult?

Fear, perplexity, and uncertainty roiled in profusion. No matter how hard I struggled I continued to be sucked down in a frightening spiraling free-fall that seemed to have no end.

Falling/Flying Teen Royalty Free Stock PhotoIn her book, Emotional Alchemy, Tara Bennett-Goleman says of this condition that we “have no ground to stand on.” She continues, “The intensity of the experience overwhelms and breaks up our usual habits and patterns of perceiving and reacting.” For sure, nothing was “usual.” I also knew that I had no ground to stand on, that I was “up in the air;” what I didn’t know was, was I falling or was I flying?

“[L]ife,” Bennett-Goleman says, “offers this opportunity of disorienting shock, rapid transition and loss as a way to shake us loose from the weightiness of the identities we cling to.” No stretch of the Business identity Royalty Free Stock Photographyimagination could persuade my ego-identity to see this as any kind of opportunity and it definitely didn’t want to be shaken loose from its idea of who it was.

It struggled valiantly but fruitlessly. It’s not easy for the ego to learn, much less understand, that while it’s done a great job, there comes a time when it must step aside. It’s done a lot of difficult work becoming a “someone” and it is rarely willing to quietly resign what it sees as its hard-earned position.

I disagree with those who say that to become spiritually awake and mature our ego has to be killed, though. What must occur is a transformation. A way of life must die, that’s true, but killing suggests aggression leading to erasing, removing, eradicating. No wonder the ego resists.

TransformatMetamorphosis Royalty Free Stock Imageion indicates a growth in knowledge and understanding that allows something to still exist but in a changed form or relationship. While we’re living in this physical world we need a strong and mature ego.

We daren’t kill it.

Spirit, no matter how powerful, cannot function in the physical world without the consciousness of the ego as intermediary.

This is not simple quibbling over vocabulary. Never forget the power of words. The terms we apply to things and processes affect how we respond to events and how we develop through our experiences. Certain terms actually define our reality for us. Words and thoughts of violence and aggression can cause our egos to be fearful of being erased. Fear causes them to resist any change that suggests this might happen.

The ego must be transcended without destroying it. Transcendence andContemporary painting of meditation Royalty Free Stock Images ego transformation and the birth of our Authentic Self calls for a spirit of cooperation, not a contest of elimination between ego and the Soul/Higher Self. Ideally they should make a good team. The ego should be considered and even honored for its labors to become an individual, a “someone.”

I don’t believe ego is necessarily at odds with the Authentic Self, anyway, but is a more or less accurate reflection or aspect of that Self. Ego is just usually unaware of that relationship. I had another dream, the only truly recurring dream I’ve ever had, that explained that perfectly and yet, I didn’t “get” it. I’ll post it at a later date.

Midwife and newborn Royalty Free Stock PhotoSo, as with physical births, this process is more difficult and painful for some than for others, but by understanding what’s happening, I (ego) can learn to cooperate rather than resist. I can be both mother and midwife to my Authentic Self, to my Soul’s physical expression.

I will become who I was meant to be from the beginning.


Blue chaos Royalty Free Stock ImageYou must have chaos within you to give birth to a dancing star.
Friedrich Nietzsche

 

What do we give up to bring forth something new, to birth an Authentic Self, a Soul or God-spark, into our lives? I gave up my job, my career, my very identity, not by choice but in spite of my self. At first, all I could see was what I’d lost. It was a long time before I began to understand what I was gaining. What happened to and for me doesn’t happen the same way with everyone but sometimes something traumatic is the only way we’ll listen to our souls.

This tale of birthing is not a one-size-fits-all experience. It’s just a rFine art woman in light of spiritual awakening Royalty Free Stock Photographyecounting of my attempt to find meaning in what felt like the destruction of my life. I tell of some of my experiences along the path of spiritual awakening, my growing awareness, over several years. It describes various insights I’ve had and some conclusions I’ve reached. I don’t claim that these are original or unique, only that they’re personal.

While this birthing doesn’t require distressing events and conditions, they’re fairly common in our culture but they generally go unrecognized for what they can indicate. At the least they get our attention. I don’t want to over-dramatize or romanticize suffering in this process, but the fact is that suffering is quite often what opens the door to awakening.

Dark misery Royalty Free Stock PhotoBut no one is more spiritual just because they suffer. Someone once said, “Misery doesn’t make you better [or more spiritual] than anyone else, it just makes you miserable.” Misery or suffering is useful only for the meaning we give to it, how we use it. Spiritual growth is not a door we can unlock by deliberately causing ourselves pain. Still, if we’re comfortable where we are, we’re not likely to move away from there. Sometimes it takes something earthshaking to budge us.

Imagine our lives are like a milk stool with three leCartoon wooden stool Stock Photogs, one of doing, one of thinking, and one of feeling/intuition (the well known triumvirate of body, mind, and spirit). Too much or too little of any one of these functions causes imbalance. With adequate attention to each aspect/leg, we won’t need anything extreme to warn us we’re becoming unstable. But if we ignore any subtle warnings of imbalance (and they’re easy to overlook or misinterpret) the more likely it is we’ll experience something less restrained, maybe even traumatic, as a wakeup call.

Our culture places an especially high premium on the active legs of thinking and doing. By default we give less value to the deceptively more passive leg of feeling/intuition. So, despite my thinking “properly” and doing the culturally prescribed “all the right things,” over a period of a few years my life seemed to fall apart.

My intuition/feeling leg was much too short due to being ignored, overlooked, and repressed, and my stool finally tipped. I needed to birth a more balanced “me” whether or not I was ready or consciously wanted to.

Newborn baby moments after birth Royalty Free Stock PhotosAs with a physical baby this entity, this “me,” appeared on its own timetable and without concern for the convenience of its “mother.” My ignorance and resistance merely added to my difficulty. Even worse, I wasn’t aware that I was “pregnant.” No wonder I was confused and distressed.

Standard medical treatments and psychotherapy aimed at “fixing” me. That’s what we humans do, we fix things. We’re innate problem solvers. I didn’t need fixing, though. All I needed was support as the confusing process unfolded.

While far from fully effective, conventional methods weren’t entirely useless. Some helped to crack open psychological and spiritual doors I needed to pass through during this process. Despite outward appearances of disarray, little by little I came to understand that everything was going along just as it should.

That doesn’t mean that things were or are easy.

Sometimes during a physical birth, exhaustion and pain become overwhelmingAaaagh the  pain Stock Photo and the mother exclaims something like, “I can’t do this any more!”

Well, she must, as did I. Just as the process of labor isn’t under our conscious control, neither is this process. Just as a woman must relinquish her illusions of control over her body and the birth process, I had to give up the illusion of security and control I’d tried to build by doing all those right things. I had to learn to relax and “go with the flow.” Resistance is futile.

As with all births, this process requires letting go of an old way of life so New life Royalty Free Stock Imagessomething unique can enter the new way of life that’s beginning. My error was in trying to hang onto the old.

Well, what did I know? I still thought all the right things were supposed to pay off. Instead, the part of me that I thought was me was, and still is, being replaced by Who I Really Am.

The birth of an Authentic Self, or even just the awareness of an Authentic Self, shows us how mistaken we are about who we think we are.


Before I was aware of the Journey I was to undertake I had a dream that, even in my ignorance of mythology and symbolism, I recognized as being significant. There’s nothing weird, like blue sparkling ball-people, in this dream, but it had a lot to say. The gist of the message was clear but I was well along in my spiritual journey before I began to understand the archetypal symbolism of many of the details.

In my dream I’m leaving a place where I’ve worked for a long time. My hBeautiful Young Business Woman White On White Stock Photoair is pulled back tightly and I’m wearing a crisp white business suit. Like my hair, I’m restricted and controlled, “uptight,” and like my apparel, I’m “pure,” i.e., naïve. I wear black high-heeled pumps and have a black leather purse over one shoulder, a black leather document case hanging from the other. I clasp a small black hard-sided valise in my arms; I have a lot of baggage.

I’m in the shadow of a tall red-brick building but I can see clear dark woods, bright blue sky above. A narrow blacktopped alley in front of me goes around the corner of the building to my left. To my right a very tall, very long brick wall attached at a right angle to the building blocks the alley in that direction. The shadow extends only slightly past the far edge of the driveway beyond which is a seductively attractive grassy space that blends into a pleasantly open and light wooded area with dappled shade under tall trees. It resembles a well-kept park but there are no people and no swings or seesaws or other such fixtures. Apparently it’s not for Curve sidewalk in the park Royalty Free Stock Photosamusement.

A broad, smooth concrete walk edged by crisp, neatly trimmed grass is directly in front of me. I can see this walkway disappear in a gentle sweep to the left and down a slight slope not too far into the park. I stand on the threshold gazing into the woods as if looking for some sort of clue or hint or perhaps preparing myself. Finally I take a deep breath and resolutely begin to walk. I know my life is going to change greatly but I have no idea how.

The sidewalk makes walking easy and my heels click rhythmically as I stride briskly along. The weather is comfortable and I glimpse the clear sky whenever I look up through the trees. I negotiate the curve without slowing down or looking back.

The walkway dips into a swale, and then nearly imperceptibly and yet somehow quickly begins to change, morphing from flat smooth concrete to a rough, narrow pavement, then to worn brick and then cobblestones whRocky footpath in the mountains Royalty Free Stock Photosere my footing is unstable and I have to be careful as I stumble along. As I continue onward the track is further reduced to loose stone and then thin gravel. Finally there’s only the faintest suggestion of a narrow dirt footpath.

As the nature of the path changes, the light under the trees alters, turning dim as the overhead growth becomes dense and tangled. Rampant undergrowth also sneakily appears and crowds the path, branches and vines virulently snagging at my clothes and baggage. The woods changes from a bright, carefully tended park to a dark, threatening wilderness.

I’m doggedly trying to faithfully follow the path (I’m a “good girl,” remember? I do what I’m supposed to do.) but I keep coming up against impassable walls and barriers that force me to look for another way (I work hard, remember?). I can’t go back because whatever way or opening by which I came here has mysteriously closed or disappeared in some other manner.

So I keep moving in what I think is more or less forward even if I no longer know which direction that is. Sometimes I have to scrape between a barricade and the heavilyGreen morning Stock Images snarled undergrowth, other times I just have to push and force my way through the tangles and brambles until I can discover the nearly invisible path again. As faint as it’s become, I still try to maintain contact with it (can’t get away from that cultural conditioning). Eventually, it completely disappears and yet I know I must press onward but now without any guidance (Oh dear, what will I do without cultural conditioning?).

As long as I can move, I know I must do so in whatever way I can. The insistent rumble of distant thunder comes closer, followed by rain, at first barely able to penetrate the dense and matted canopy, finally increasing until there’s a thunderous frigid downpour in the midst of what seems to be darkest night.

By this point I’ve lost my baggage as the various pieces snag on tree branches and thorny vines or just simply mysteriously disappear when I set them down while I take a breather. All forms of identification, my purse with my ID cWoman with a suitcase Royalty Free Stock Photosards, checkbook, and credit cards, even my document case, have disappeared. Clothing items that I had in my valise have inexplicably been squirming their way out through the tightly closed sides.

On the occasions when I’ve noticed some garment has fallen by the wayside I’ve picked it up and quickly just stuffed it willy-nilly back into the suitcase before more items can wriggle out. No matter how hard I’ve tried, though, things have kept worming out and disappearing. I’ve lost more than I’ve held onto and pretty soon the empty valise is just gone, too.

Finally I’Evil vampire woman looking into bloody mirror Stock Imagem standing in the deluge without shoes or personal belongings, disheveled and dripping hair straggling onto my face as my smeared mascara and makeup paint a crazy mask. My suit is tattered and grimy, no longer recognizable as white, and my nylons are shredded, my legs scratched and bleeding. There’s no place to turn, no place to go.

I’m cold and lost, alone and confused, and there’s nothing left of all the important baggage I started out with. I just stand there with my arms held at my waist like a supplicant and look around helplessly. (“I can’t do this anymore!”)

That’s where my dream ended. While I had no idea of the meanings of any specific symbols at the time, or even their presence – and they abound – I couldn’t overlook the general message and its power.

Although I knew what it “meant,” however, I had no idea what it presaged.

Soul


For most of my life I believed I was a physical being who “had” a soul the way I had a house or a car or some other possession. The thing is, I never saw it and never consciously felt it.

Frankly, if I thought about it at all, I resented it. I’d been taught that if I was “good,” then when I died my soul would “go to heaven.” That irked me. If I was good, I should be the one to go to heaven.

See? I thought my physical body was me. I felt no kinship at all with my soul. Those who supposedly knew about these things said I had a soul so I believed it but I didn’t particularly like it.

Now, are you ready for this?

I don’t have a soul.

I am a soul. A God-spark, a spiritual entity, engaging in physical experience by having a body. I had it all backwards. That is, as a soul, I have a body, that body lives in me, but I am not that body, or at least not only that body.

The physical person I always believed was me can’t define herself by what she does or doesn’t do, or who reared her, or what may have been done to her or not done for her, or to whom she’s married, or how much education or money she may or may not have. Career and personal relationships and status no longer tell the world – or myself – who I am.

The “I” I thought I was is not the “I” I’m turning out to be.

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