Sunday, November 21, 2010

A Week Of Thanksgiving, Day 2 * I Am Grateful For My Rainbow Life ~ On Spirituality and Embracing The Square Peg In The Round Hole...

"The true harvest of my life is intangible ~ a little stardust caught,
a portion of the rainbow I have clutched."  

~
Henry David Thoreau ~


From Day One I was a square peg in a round hole. I never seemed to quite fit anywhere, was sort of the odd kid out, peculiar, living in my own little world. Life will have it's way with you and my journey started very young. I have accepted every single thing I have been through in my life. Not all of these things have been pretty, some very painful, but they formed the person I am today. I embrace it all. It has taken me 56 years to say that.

I think it has been very good for me to have been a child growing through those early days of not fitting. I began to see alternative ways of thinking and living and being, from the beginning, even if I didn't know how to label them. It opened my heart to myriad possibilities and ways of being. I am not a "black or white" person, there isn't even any grey, but there is a rainbow universe inside of me that has grown and grown and grown until I have become a person who...

... Will accept you for who you are, even if parts of you make me uncomfortable, even if I can't have a relationship with you, I will be very gentle with you and wish you well and godspeed on your journey. I won't allow you to entangle me in your life and dramas, and I will keep very firm boundaries, but I can truly wish you well from the bottom of my heart, and I am very sincere, and compassionate, and kind even when telling you why I can't be there for you in the way that you would like me to be.

I am grateful that I have come to accept and forgive myself when I haven't handled connections with people well. I have tried to make amends if possible, have learned from my mistakes, and have even come to realize, without the anguish that I have had most of my life, that everyone isn't going to love me and that's okay. It's a bigger lesson than these words can hold, it is huge, and something I can release and move forward with, with the knowledge that some of the people I had thought and hoped would always be in my life will not be here, or at least not right now. Holding onto that sorrow breaks my heart and I cannot allow that to happen and move forward with my life. I bless them, and let them go, at least for now. I have learned to love myself enough not to get squeamish and do things that I don't want to do because I am afraid someone will get mad at me. That never leads to anything good.

Take a deep breath, feel inside, touch your soft center, massage the hurt places in your heart, and realize that life isn't perfect and it's never going to be...

But... it is also grand and so full of blessings that in the balance, if we can learn to see the glass half full and more, we can move into life more deeply, less judgmentally, can round our corners so that we are able to roll through life like a ball in a game of bumper pool instead of being slammed with a stick down a hole. I am still that ball and I will be bumped about, but when the tension leaves your body, when you let go, when you become very soft inside (and that is not the opposite of strong) you can take your bumps and keep on living and glowing and being all that you can be. I am somewhat mis-shapen, kind of lopsided and cattywompus, but I am happier than I have ever been. I have learned to play pool and I will take a licking and keep on ticking...

I am not Pollyanna. I am a realist who is trying to put a gentle, loving spin on things so that I can live my life without hurting myself or others and continue to grow and journey onward in the way that I am led to go without allowing other people's judgment keep me from being the person that I believe I am meant to be. I will do my work, despite the odds, despite criticism, in spite of it all, and I won't stop. 

This is the tremendous gift, rooted in Self-Love, that is called confidence. It does not come easily or quickly and when it comes you know that it is time for you to move forward and get on with it, whatever "it" is in your life. Some days I'm trudging, sometimes I'm skipping, but forward motion is all I ask for.
 
I am a Rainbow Spirit, and what enormous grace there is in this mode of being. I am open to living and loving in a way that many people cut themselves off from, a way that invites infinite possibilities into my life, from spiritual beliefs to gender realities to embracing what might seem like impossible, improbable and sometimes ridiculous life choices, and even if no one understands, even if people rail and wail and criticize me, I have the inner strength to forge ahead and be at peace within myself. What a gift this is, in my sixth decade. Praise be!

I believe in everything, or, perhaps, better put, I believe, I embrace, I learn from every form of spirituality that is based in love, non-judgment, kindness, and the Golden Rule. To wit: I was raised Catholic, left the church by the time I was 20 and became a spiritual pilgrim, a spelunker in the caverns of the human soul. I attended many Christian churches, studied Native American spirituality as well as Goddess and Earth-Based teachings, and I came to Buddhism in my twenties and am still a student of Buddhism today, thirty plus years later, even while having been ordained an Inter-Faith minister in a Christian Church with a rosary in one pocket, a mala in the other, an Indian carved fetish in my pouch along with a feather, a crystal, and other sacred objects, wearing necklaces with Kuan Yin, Lakshmi, Buddha, a cross, and many symbols of other forms of spirituality that I believe are beautiful, that have power, that have the ability to make the world a more loving, generous, compassionate place.

I will not take part in any religion or form of spirituality that hurts others, that cuts some groups of people out and makes them "other than," that interprets religious texts in a manner that is soul-crushing for people who don't see the world and our spirit path through it in the same way. Every religion has tremendous beauty in it. Symbols and signs and texts can be interpreted an infinite number of ways. My human heart is what I use as a guide through life, and I will pick up every teaching, every way of being that is luminous and beautiful, and I will kneel before the priest, the shaman, the monk, the tribe elder, the priestess, the minister, the nun and my next door neighbor as well as all of the animals in the world around me, and I will honor them all, and I will feel humble in their presence. To this end I remain a spiritual seeker, a pilgrim, and my work in the world is with words and fiber, with feathers and fur, and with the whole world despite the sadness, the tragedies, the wars, I must, as we all must, be a single candle that can perhaps light the way for one other soul. If we accomplish that, in this lifetime, we will have done enormous work, important work, necessary work and our souls will journey onward to the stars no matter what mode of transportation (belief system) we take to get there. 

I believe all of these things, and I try to live them in my life. This is all we can do. One step forward at a time, person to person, each one, reach one, and share a cup of kindness where you can. This is my religion.

I have so much to be grateful for. I am grateful for this week of Thanksgiving, a time set aside in daily meditation and prayer to recognize, express, and share gratitude, the bedrock of a life well lived, and then to pick up the threads before me and begin weaving the rest of my life.

I bow in thanksgiving, my cup runneth over. I wish for you an open heart and love to fill it. May you find peace.


5 comments:

Francis Hunt said...

One word sums this all up, Maitri;
beautiful!

Stay just the way you are!

Split Rock Ranch said...

Much love to you dear Maitri. I love you just the way you are! Blessings, light and love.

Lille Diane said...

I admire your rainbow spirit. I've always been a seeker, too. I appreciate your honesty, and sharing your heart openly. Many blessings to you, today and for all your tomorrows. I'm thankful to know you. Peace and Love <3

snore stop said...

Beautiful post,I appreciate your honesty, and sharing your heart openly.Thank you for bringing such nice posts.

Anny said...

Lovely thoughts. Happy Thanksgiving Maitri.

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