A couple of posts ago I wrote about being all out to sea; adrift on the vast blueness that symbolises the infinite. Although I felt rudderless I was being steered by the gentle but firm hand of God. Most recently I have been on retreat learning about the subtle and magnificent teaching in the 14th century treatise The Cloud of Unknowing. Our very able teacher Cynthia Bourgeault has inspired me with her deep understanding of the writer’s perspective and has made available with great clarity the gift within the writing. It seems as though all my previous experiences have culminated in this deep understanding of what is now necessary. I see my life including all my actions and inactions totally differently. I’m experiencing a sense of greater freedom already and I am as yet to penetrate the cloud. The horizon is rich with promise. I now fully understand the yearning that has been urging me on for some time. Add to this the joy of daily swims when the wind and water turn from cold to warm magically upon submerging your body. The waka shaped roof of the chapel and its attendant Norfolk pines pointing heavenward like fingers pointing to the moon. All this held in the gentle embrace of silence. And so I come at last to land; no doubt I will bide here for a time before the gentle but firm hand of God moves me on.
This Christmas I received many gifts. None came wrapped in pretty paper with large bows. I actually thought Christmas was passing me by to begin with. Whilst everyone round me experienced the joys of family and free time I journeyed to the underworld and like Persephone I resisted frantically. It took a couple of weeks to uncurl from my foetal ball and realise that the end of the world hadn’t come. Finally as my nervous system relaxed and my perspective shifted I no longer regretted eating those three pomegranate seeds. Pluto’s underworld is, of course, full of riches. If only we can sit with our terror long enough to calm we will receive them. And that is what I did. So many silver linings to this cloud. A doctor who was locuming at my local practise who had a strong Integral faith attended to the healing of body and soul. My beloved husband who took care of me and all the challenges of home and visitors. My friends who gave up time with their families and their own time off to sit with me. My surgeon and my support team who accompanied me. My mum who put aside her own fear of rejection to bring me close when things were darkest. The calming peace of my garden where I grounded my inner disturbance. All these gifts have led to a further opening of my heart as i allowed myself to receive and receive. Never have three pomegranate seeds been such a rich harvest. My lesson? Well, that the very thing I think will destroy me makes me anew. I was as equally grateful for the gifts as I am for the suffering. In the garden of my soul many weeds have been pulled and flowers are flourishing, especially the pomegranate.