I have come to a point in my life when many of my peers are retiring from their life’s work and I find that mine is just emerging. From a lifetime of spiritual and personal journey; I have gathered insight, teachings, and experience that fuel my desire to serve others in their soul’s unfolding journey.
I have always had a sense that there was much more to “reality” than what my five senses and my culture presented to me. Part of coping with a dysfunctional family of origin was remaining connected with the numinous, the spiritual, and the sacred in life. From early days, I wanted to be a vessel through which the light and love of God would flow. I have come to recognize that desire as common to all of us. We are each a unique expression of that divine flow of energy in the world and we all desire to express it fully.
Seminary training and serving as a United Methodist clergywoman provided an opportunity to bring this desire into tangible expression. I loved proclaiming God’s grace and enjoyed guiding support groups for those struggling with sudden changes in their lives. I felt most alive and present when I was providing pastoral care for individuals and families in crisis who wanted to consider spiritual as well as practical factor in what they were experiencing. They wanted help integrating what they believed, hoped and trusted with unfamiliar and often unwelcome new realities.
When I left Christian ministry it was to move forward into retreat and meditation work to provide more of a deep mystical experience of the Sacred. At that time, I did not know my next steps would carry me into Zen Buddhist practice and co-leading The Still Point, Zen Practice Center with my husband, Bill. This was a significant transition point in some ways, and in others it was a corner I turned without even noticing.
Working in those same years as a Coordinator of Volunteers for a hospice, I deepened my understanding of the most central transition of this lifetime. From the early days of my ministry I knew the luminous nature of the moment of death and the feeling of a soul moving on in its eternal being. I learned a tremendous amount about compassionate care from my colleagues, volunteers, and the patients and families we served. Yet, it was not until I provided end of life care for my own parents that I felt the deep inner turmoil and challenges of being present with loved ones at this precious time. It can be hard to sense the eternal when caught up in the immediate practical and emotional demands of care. I share some of the insights of that experience in The Caregiver’s Tao Te Ching, which I co-authored with William Martin.
I went through what I would call a Dark Night cycle in my early 50’s. As my parents left this life, I found that the archetypal identities, mental filters, and emotional coping patterns of my childhood were ready to shake loose. As the same time, I discovered that my teaching and guidance work, while helpful to others, had taken on a tone that was not true to my soul. The ground went out from under my feet, and I walked out the door of The Still Point one day knowing I could not go back. I had to leave the kind of work I had done and loved my whole adult life.
The depth of this Dark Night took me months to navigate. I shifted my focus to an entirely new task, learning the skill of traditional hand binding and repair of books. The creativity and precision of this work gave my mind a place to focus. Long walks in nature nourished a deep connection with the Earth and nurtured a willingness to move more into the physical nature of my being. My absolute dependence on the Sacred to show me the next step took that relationship to a new level.
This whole process of releasing childhood systems created to keep that young one safe and of value to others, and apprenticing new mystical archetypes and interdependent perceptions of life took a decade. I gained new tools for understanding the energetic nature of our being, our connection to all living beings, the unity of Humanity, and our core Divine nature. Like all of us, my journey to fully incarnate as an eternal soul into this life has taken many decades and will continue until my final breath.
I offer my time and energy to be a counselor and midwife to others walking similar paths of self-discovery and soul evolution.