“When a seed is planted its creative urge is its need to grow. It never stops trying. It is that determination to take hold which is the force of Life. All life, especially ours” ~ Cynthia Bond, Author of “Ruby.” I recently heard this quote while watching a segment of “Super Soul Sunday” with Oprah called, “Breathing Space.” It was accompanied by visuals of beautiful plants and flowers blooming in obvious places and not so obvious. I sat in awe as the words and images came together and touched something deep inside me. I just wanted to curl up and rest in their wisdom. Then I ran to my computer to copy down the quote because all I could think about was those of you who graciously read these blogs and who bravely seek growth under harsh or difficult circumstances. I share this idea with you as a way to inspire, encourage, and remind you that you are capable of accomplishing anything that you set your mind to. That you will find what you seek as long as you keep your eyes open. And if a flower can bloom through the cracks in a sidewalk, you too can manifest a miracle.
Every day I have the opportunity of bearing witness to your Truth. It is truly my pleasure and is continually reinforced as my life purpose. Although this also happens to serve as my “job,” I am grateful and consider it more of a spiritual practice. Yogi’s refer to it as “dharma.” Dharma literally means to function in order with the universe. I have been taught that when you live your dharma, you are sustained in every way, including financially. I have yet to read the book I mentioned above, but in listening to the author, I was inspired that in her attempts to share her own personal story of trauma mixed in with a composite of other’s stories, she found healing and acceptance for herself. That is why I do what I do. As you share your stories with me, you find healing and acceptance for yourself. Sometimes, I need to hold that vision for you for a bit, but eventually, you take the reigns and walk in the world with your head held high. One of the authors quotes sums it up best, “If you have experienced it, the least I can do is listen.” And that I am more than happy to do. In fact, I hold it as sacred. I learn more from you than you could ever imagine. I want you to know that through your acts of courage, I am inspired, touched, changed, pleasantly surprised, hopeful, and encouraged. I truly admire each and every one of you who seek to grow and better yourselves and the world around you.
What do you consider your spiritual practice? For many of you it may be traditional, like attending church or temple, meditating, interacting with nature, yoga, or prayer. You may also develop it through more non-traditional paths like reading, fellowship, community service, parenting, gardening, learning to follow your intuition, writing in a journal, connecting with animals or children or other vulnerable populations, listening to your friend, forgiveness, making a vision board, dreaming, using active imagination, delving into the unconscious, volunteering, or whatever else you engage in that connects you with something greater than yourself. It is through this practice that you are able to tap into a larger meaning or purpose and generate clarity about the next step.
I believe that having a spiritual practice is important. It can truly carry you through your darkest times. As a flower blooms, it begins as a seed in the dark. It spends a long time in the darkness as it makes its way to the surface. Can you imagine what it must feel like as it breaks through to the light? I’m sure you can as you remember times in your life when you have felt a breakthrough or triumphed through a transformative experience. And if I have not made it clear, this has nothing to do with the particular religion you practice. Although whatever you choose may be wrapped in the context of your religion, a spiritual practice is not religion-dependent.
Although not religion-dependent, a spiritual practice does imply that you are connecting with some sense of God, Spirit, Consciousness, Light, or Higher Power/Self/Inner Knowing. How do you conceive of that Greater Wisdom? Where do you encounter it? How do you know when you’ve experienced it?
In college, I discovered and explored many female authors who opened my world to a more creative, raw, and spiritual world view. I always experienced words as tangible and as portals to a deeper understanding of Life. Alice Walker was one of those teachers for me. “The Color Purple” dove into my soul and has never left. This story is the epitome of a flower blooming through the concrete. Fighting her way to a vision of herself as human let alone a woman worth celebrating, the central character, Celie, finds hope amidst abuse, neglect, shame, and darkness. A defining conversation for me from the book and movie was between Celie and another major character: Shug. Each woman representing a different aspect of the feminine archetype, Shug shares her experience of God like this:
“Here’s the thing, say Shug. The thing I believe. God is inside you and inside everybody else. You come into the world with God. But only them that search for it inside find it. And sometimes it just manifest itself even if you not looking, or don’t know what you looking for. Trouble do it for most folks, I think. Sorrow, lord. Feeling like shit. It? I ask. Yeah, It. God ain’t a he or a she, but a It. But what do it look like? I ask. Don’t look like nothing, she say. It ain’t a picture show. It ain’t something you can look at apart from anything else, including yourself. I believe God is everything, say Shug. Everything that is or ever was or ever will be. And when you can feel that, and be happy to feel that, you’ve found it.”
― Alice Walker, The Color Purple
My wish for you is that in your “audaciousness” to hope and grow, you find your way to a firmly rooted, fully expansive expression of yourself, that evolves and grows more and more in each moment. And I can’t wait to hear all about it!