25: Tu verdadera Madre

Lourdes, France. 2007

A bit more than ten years ago, I got into a plane to Europe for the first time in my life. I was 18 and even though this meant I was accomplishing one of my dreams, the purpose of our travel was mixed with a farewell aroma. This was going to be my last trip with the greatest love I have ever met, and will meet in my transit on earth. After visiting Madrid and Barcelona, we crossed the Pirinees to get to the Lourdes Sanctuary, in France.

My heart was troubled and afraid, like never before in my life. I was facing the hardest reality I can remember: my mother was about to die and I was going to be left alone in this earth. This was way over my league, capacities and understandings. Everything I had relied and believed on, was soon going to be gone. We were there, on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean,  hoping for a miracle, as many other pilgrims that come to this gruta every dayWe were trusting we could remain together, to live the life we had dreamed of, to let her witness who I was going to become, when I grew up. We were praying for years of life and health, for memories and joy together. We wanted her to travel the world with me, to get to see her grandchildren, sing while driving under the rain and stare at the sunrise in the Caribbean sea. Time and an aggressive cancer appeared to be fading away our chances of doing any of these things.

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Lourdes, France. 2007

After praying the rosary and waiting for our time to get to see the image of the virgin, we finally got to our sacred space. My mother, held my hand, stared into my eyes in tears and told me: “Esta es tu verdadera madre, la que siempre acompañará cada uno de los dias de tu vida. Te presento a un corazón eterno, que siempre guiará tus pasos en el mundo” (This is your true mother, the one that can always be there for you in each and every day. I’m introducing you to an eternal love, that will always guide your steps in this world). And before we hugged each other, in an eternal grace moment that had filled my existence forever, she turned to the image of our heavenly mother and said: “To you I give back your daughter, so you can guide her heart and hold her, each and every day of her life”.

We hugged in tears, with the already known fact, that she was going to leave this place soon. The true miracle we were praying for, happened then, in that precise gesture of faith, in which we both surrender to the Will of our God and understood that I, her teenage daughter, would never walk alone, even if she was not going to be there to witness my way. And that she, was heading back were she belonged: To God. To his eternal grace. To that immutable place of rest, that she deserved more than anyone I have met.

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Lourdes, France, 2007

This place provided my soul with an unique and powerful grace, that grounded the faith that I hold on today. The possibility of remaining in the lap of my true mother and the Love that had guided my way, each and every one of my days, in a faith that became stronger than ever. Mystical beauty surrounded our encounter, and I promise that nothing I have ever lived in this world, could be compared to this experience.

I have gone back to this memory, many times in my existence. A lifetime has happened since then, and I have never doubted I have had a mother and an angel with me. Once we got back from this trip, my beloved Margarita never got to see the world again. Our farewell, in her bedroom (that lasted a few months),  was full of miracles and beauty. Psalm 23, filled each and every night of theses times together: The Lord is My Shepherd, I shall not want, she made me recite every night.  I had to sing to the virgin while she closed her eyes, which seemed to be the only sound of music that allowed her to sleep in tranquility. Until that sleep, became an eternal carrier of peace.

I can only say that I did have a Love, higher than myself, holding me day and night, through each of the hours we shared at that time. And that I am sure that her bravery was grounded in the belief that she was leaving to eternally meet our mother and her own mother on earth. And that everything else in this world, including her children, was going to be taken care of. By God, and her heritage of bravery and faith.

Whenever you feel afraid or alone, she said, this is what you should pray:

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
    He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
    he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
    for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk
    through the darkest valley,[a]
I will fear no evil,
    for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
    they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me
    in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
    my cup overflows.
Surely your goodness and love will follow me
    all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord
    forever.

I can say without hesitation, that this visit to Lourdes was and will forever be, the most precious afternoon I have ever lived. I saw in the human being I have loved the most, the biggest act of surrender and faith that I have ever witnessed. She could believe that there was going to be a mother, better than herself for me, her young and beloved only daughter. That there was an eternal and perfect love, that could truly be there when her humanity would not allow her to hold me. I, myself, understood, that this was the biggest gift she was giving me, by making sure that I could continue to walk this path,  receiving that protection that provided with the only certainty that we need to live in: grace and faith.

That hug left a trace in my heart, that divided my history forever. We were there, in the other side of the world, seeking for something that was human to desire: her healing. Instead, we got to live the true miracle that we both needed: the resolution of trusting in God’s ways, above our ways, and the intersection of a mother, that was holding  and crying with both of us, in that eternal encounter.

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 Lourdes, France, 2017

I promised to myself after I left Lourdes, that I was going to be back someday. It has been more than a decade from that spring, and my heart is filled with deep illusion to have the chance to finally head back,  to this mystical place on earth. But this time, I will not come to pray for miracles.

My trip to the sanctuary this June, will be devoted to an act of gratefulness by having the blessing of meeting in this life, a taste of heaven. For being touched by an angel. By a star that shines in my nights, a flower that  I get to smile to, in every shinny day… a heroine that inspires my days. I’m heading to France to hug my mother again, both the one in heaven and the one I met on earth, in the deep eternal Love that unites our hearts.

Lourdes, France. 2007

I can encounter them in my prayers, in a place that has no end, and no embodiment to limit our love. I will be showering my soul in the water the emerges in Lourdes, as a sign of devotion and commitment, to honor the true promise that I made: receiving the gifts of life, the peace that comes from grace and the bravery that results from faith.

Happy Birthday mi Margarita, God bless your soul, each and every day. While I transit through this world, waiting for the day in which we actually hug again, I’ll be endlessly attempting to imitate your faith and righteousness. I will be forever thankful and praying to be what you wanted me to be, that June of 2007: a devoted daughter of God.

Que hay un margarita que entra siempre por mi ventana

Y el viento de la mañana me arropa con su existir

Así me paso todos los días todos los días

Con esa luz estrella divina el cielo me esta mirando

Le canto me hace reír

Morir es nacer

En cada nota linda que yo encuentro en este mundo

Y en esta vida en cada ola del mar

En la sonrisa de esos niños

cuando hay amores de hermanos cuando se sale a trabajar

Por que eso es algo que siempre he visto en ti por que así fue que

me ensañaste todo lo q quiero ser y si me inspiras mucho mas que

esas palabras solo que yo contigo cantare y les contare

Que hay una margarita que entra siempre por mi ventana y el

viento de la mañana me arropa con su existir

Que hay una margarita que entra siempre por mi ventana y el viento

de la mañana me arropa con su existir

Volver a nacer

Y son gotas de lluvia que yo encuentro que desde el cielo me

contaminan solo de amor para estar aferrado a esos momentos que

en nuestro mundo gozamos y pudimos aprovechar

Por que eso es algo que yo siempre he visto en ti por que así fue que

me enseñaste todo lo que quiero ser y si me inspiras mucho mas que

esas palabras solo se que yo contigo cantare y les contare
Que hay una margarita que entra siempre por mi ventana y el viento

de la mañana me arropa con su existir

Ay esa risa que me alegra recuerdos bellos nunca tristezas yo te agradezco y al dios divino haber nacido

Morir es nacer… volver a nacer

volver a nacer… Mi Margarita.

SONG: MI MARGARITA –

AUTHOR: JERAU

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26: The strange and brave process of becoming

Sueños
Cuando la noche se acerca
Hay algo en mi alma que vuelve a vibrar
Con la luz de las estrellas
En mis sentimientos te vuelvo a encontrar
Quiero que me mires a los ojos
Y que no preguntes nada más
Quiero que esta noche sueltes
Toda esa alegría que ya no puedes guardar
Paso las horas fumando
Oyendo en el viento la misma canción
Porque el tiempo que vale
Lo marca el latido de mi corazón
Quiero que me mires a los ojos
Y que no preguntes nada más
Quiero que esta noche sueltes toda esa alegría
Que ya no puedes guardar
Deja que tus sueños sean olas que se van
Libres como el viento en mitad del mar
Creo que la vida es un tesoro sin igual
De los buenos tiempos siempre quiero más
Soy como el agua del río
Y por el camino me dejo llevar
Porque aprendí que la vida
Por todo lo malo algo bueno te da
Quiero que me mires a los ojos
Y que no preguntes nada mas
Quiero que esta noche sueltes toda esa alegría
Que ya no puedes guardar
Deja que tus sueños sean olas que se van
Libres como el viento en mitad del mar
Creo que la vida es un tesoro sin igual
De los buenos tiempos siempre quiero más
Deja que tus sueños sean olas que se van
Libres como el viento en mitad del mar
Creo que la vida es un tesoro sin igual
De los buenos tiempos siempre quiero más
By: DIEGO TORRES

Maybe because I am going through this myself, or should I say because I have been continuously in this state for a while, I have had the blessing to witness some important identity transformation processes. Brave souls, committed to self-knowledge and truth, had allow me to enter their own sacred spaces, and be able to witness their own ‘crazy’ realities. Identity jumps, transformation processes, conversion, becoming… I could use several names to describe this state of: I am not the person that should be inhabiting this reality, that I once thought was the best possible choice for my life. My place on earth appears to be other than this one. 

This has the form of career, vocation, relationship, geography…. You name it. Whatever we have decided to put as a core building brick of our identity, with the honest intention of making ourselves a better version of us, for the world and in the righteousness we once understood as the best one. But it turns to be that we are dynamic systems, as much as the world around us is. Even God is in transition with us (within his relationship as his creatures), re inventing our painted realities. And by that mean, we inhabit a multiplicity of growth processes in our lives, that sometimes, puts us in the situation of wearing a different size of ‘shoes’. And that discomfort will certainly make us stop and re arrange our path.

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These conversations usually start with an intense (even self) defense of the irrationality of the statement that is about to be made:

‘I know this makes no sense’ 

‘I’m calling you to talk about this, but please don’t think I am crazy. I have thought through this a lot. I just don’t understand where is this leading me too’

‘I cannot hold this anymore, I need to change my life. I am not this person.’

‘I have invested so much in my current path, and the people around me could suffer too much if I even attempt to state this out loud. This is a un-named truth that I don’t know if I have the bravery to hold. I had always thought about this in a different way’

‘I feel and I see now, that  I was probably deciding to be here for the wrong reasons.’  

‘I would have chosen differently if only I knew how I would feel today about this’

‘Why is this question coming to me now… Why did I have to come to know about this?’

‘My story would be a story of failure then’

And so on.

And no. It is never the story of failure. In fact, it is all the opposite. It is the most beautiful testimony of truth, faith and bravery. Everything that you know and have been, has allowed the complex and deep perspective that you inhabit today.

A million of questions, fears and uncertainty is usually accompanied with an unprecedented illusion of whatever is calling for that change. Yes, I can certainly say that usually I witness bright eyes and shaking voices, while they feel the freedom of being seen in a way that nobody else has. Hearts beat fast and at that same time, vertigo and complex choices appear across the way. It is scary but in the end, we know (deep inside) it’s worth the ride. Complex choices are such, because there is no easy ‘pro & cons’ or straightforward approach. They both are feasible and good in different dimensions. This is a matter of qualitative fit to our soul and existence.

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“You are probably the only (or one of the few) ones that can understand this… This is an almost impossible road to walk'”

And no, I am never that only person that can get it. And it is never impossible.  In fact, in the majority of the cases that I have around me in this process right now (and also in my own particular journey), I have come to discover that the people that truly loves us, already knew and were expecting that signal from us. And the ones that actually resist it, is because they are willing to protect us from pain (or because they lack of a full picture). Our loved ones want to wisely provide warnings, because every birth process makes you go through the most unexplainable suffering. And we don’t want the ones we love, to walk in that direction. Even though we know they need to do so, to encounter true peace.

By my own experience, and by being blessed by inhabiting the truth  of amazing people in transition, I have learned some things about these identity development processes. Not to mention my PhD (in Psychology), but that would be another matter: I don’t think knowledge can have the power of experience. And mainly, I have come to see that there is no amount of advice or idea that nobody (not even God) can provide, that results useful if oneself is not willing to walk the self-detachment path. Because if there is something true within these situations, is that they usually come in a form of intense change. And that means necessarily burning all, or the main pieces of yourself. And that’s a good place to start, with life and God.

Shinny eyes usually reveal how much joy and freedom is paving it’s way within these processes. An intense and new type of deep happiness usually accompanies the ‘impossible’ path, that we would have chosen in a ‘different’ time, situation or reality. There is no such other present than the one we have. And those dreams, are as real, as real are the choices and outward expressions of what we inhabit today. And actually, they are sometimes even carriers of biggest promises and purposes of our lives. It is just that we don’t see that clear yet. But they will for sure make perfect sense, at the end of the process of allowing them to paint our realities.

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I usually start my spiritual conversations by making an imagination exercise of positive assumptions: asking about their exploration phase or alternative. How would this look like for you in the future? Which are the steps towards it, starting tomorrow? How far can you envision this process through your life? Who are the companies you need? How much do you know about it? How do you feel when you talk about this? What would you have to give up? Who are the people that you want to share this with? How old are you, at the end of this imagined picture?

In general, I find fear and discomfort with the ideas of change,  grounded in a huge drive towards remaining in the known paths. And underneath that clothes, I always see an impressive truth paving its way with tremendous force and illusion, that speaks about the essence of that human being. For some reason, while seeking that infinite authentic beauty, the ends became the means, or the other way around.  But the transitional present seems always inhabitable and hard, while the new life appears charming and even unavoidable. Detailed plans, smiles and long term visions are usually confirmations of that need of transition.

It is always rational and logic to keep things as they are and have been for us, in particular when we have invested years and everything we are, in committing to a familiar path. But there is something bigger than that, and is the fact that the current reality already results un-meaningful, because our experiences are already speaking out loud about our need to change it. And as far as I have witnessed, that tends to have no other solution, than committing to an identity jump process or awaiting for the fire to burn harder and become more painful. It is wiser to decide how to get burned in beauty, than allowing that debris to be destroying things without control. Including the people around us.

These invitations are moments of revelation, that God allows in our lives to show us His ways of inhabiting this world with who we are. Each and every piece of our memory and understanding has already been allowed and co-created with Him, so whatever comes to be our path, is also His. However that looks like. He never moves away from our hearts. But it is human to struggle for continuity and coherence (because we would have to face strong human judgements otherwise) and this comes to be particularly harder for those that have an ample sense of justice, and worry about the implications of their behavior for the people around them. Empathy is a gift and also a heavy cross to carry.

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‘These persons that love me, and rely on my current path, will be discouraged. I cannot cause them this damage’. This is one of the biggest, justified and common worries.

My personal answer to this, is that the real damage is being already done by not being authentic and committed to the current reality. That lack of passion and purpose usually entails disordered responses and affections. And this means that right now, whatever allowed to inhabit the choices that were made, is not present anymore. Performing the roles and the realities that are not coherent with what we feel and think, is way more damaging for us and for the ones we love, than a simple transition momentum, that will be fully forgotten within months or weeks. It is never that crazy or impacting to make the change, as much as de-naturalizing it is to inhabit the uncomfortable world of what we are not to be in. As “good” or logic as remaining there could sound.

Just like when a mother is giving birth, the discomfort of the late pregnancy symptoms tends to be the clear sign of even desiring the pain of the delivery process. This does not mean at all that the fear for it blows away, or that it would hurt less. It only means that the look is fixed in the joy a lifetime with that new creature, that is worth the effort and the courage. I don’t see the possibility of not being ourselves, when I truly believe that this is only a matter of loving and corresponding Love, in the right way. In the honest relationship of commitment with joy and faith. Whatever feels miserable is not coming for God. He is willing to share life with us, not a set of distortions of his creation for and in us.

The gift of being who we are, is unique and perfect as it is. However that looks like and with the choices that it entails, sometimes the higher purpose of our existences relies on being brave enough to encounter and engage in those changes. Remaining paralyzed or afraid, is not only the worst possible outcome, but also the most damaging and dangerous decision we can make for us, and for the world around us. Resolute hearts are  paths to peace and righteousness.

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Seek for your ‘Sancho Panza’ and stop calling the dragons windmills, is my first advice. This thing, or whatever is going on in your soul, is real and true. It is worth the battle and the way, even if in the end you remain in your already chosen roles. At least, this identity jump will allow you to be the best version so far,  of what you are immerse in right now, and with a more honest and informed understandings of it. Engaging in a dialogue with our inner truths and assuming that even the last hair of our head is there for a reason, is the only way out of the spiral of doubt and discomfort that will always be the highest prices to pay, for whatever reality we are in.

It is not worth our life to remain in what we already sense in our deepness, that is not fitting our soul. I wish I could actually hug some of my beloved ones, and get into their heads to convince them that the cage is not real and that the future is worth the way. I desire with all my heart to make them (and myself) understand that the process of becoming is worth all the investment and faith that a human being can have… and that it will always end up better. But I am also fully aware that Don Quijote is not precisely the most cherished character of the universal literature and that fear is the root of every empty life. And that makes this  decision very hard.

Que los caminos se abran a tu encuentro, 

que el sol brille sobre tu rostro,

que la lluvia caiga suave sobre tus campos,

que el viento sople siempre a tu espalda.

Que guardes en tu corazón con gratitud 

el recuerdo precioso 

de las cosas buenas de la vida.

Que todo don de Dios crezca en ti 

y te ayude a llevar la alegría

a los corazones de cuantos amas.

Que tus ojos reflejen un brillo de amistad, 

gracioso y generoso como el sol,

que sale entre las nubes

y calienta el mar tranquilo.

Que la fuerza de Dios te mantenga firme, 

que los ojos de Dios te miren,

que los oídos de Dios te oigan,

que la Palabra de Dios te hable,

que la mano de Dios te proteja,

y que, hasta que volvamos a encontrarnos,

otro te tenga, y nos tenga a todos,

en la palma de su mano.

This is the more complex choice that a human being can be engaged in. Navigating from the island of the ‘comfort believes’, to travel through the scary ocean of authenticity. It requires bravery and humility. But most of all, we need a huge faith and grace in order to believe that those erroneously called ‘mistakes’ are not rocks in our way, but stairs to heaven. We needed to know what we know, by the opposite of it’s identity too.

Sometimes, even the situation of making ourselves vulnerable to transitions, is the best gift we can give to the ones we love. In fact, the truth of who we are (to the best of our ability and good intentions), is the only mechanism to meet the purpose that we came to meet in this world. And this way has all sorts of miracles and mysteries. And it is certainly full of absurd paths and questions too. And that is how it works. It is not supposed to ‘make sense’. Smooth plausibles, never leaded to extraordinary happenings.

So the uneasy and hard journey of becoming, is actually the biggest blessing of our lives. The jump to consciousness . To real and authentic faith. To Love.

  

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27: I missed you

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I had no clue of how much I missed you. Each of the hours that we shared together this weekend, were a tremendous connection to past, hidden and living pieces of my soul and my present. There was a me, before me, that loved you, and that still does today, that speaks out loud about my spiritual journey. We have traveled together for a long time and through all sorts of states and circumstances. We will continue to do so. Through the world and our hearts. And sometimes, I’ll be there for you in the silence of my prayers. And now you can certainly understand how much that means, in terms of loving, in my current life path.

I cannot express the gratefulness I feel. I can only say that it results in tears right now. Tears of grace. Of joy. Of becoming aware of the huge gift that you are, and have been in my life. Of the happiness that being seen, comes to bring to our stories. Being held in different dimensions. In our complex facets… or our spiritual dimension.

Naming out loud our truths, faith, dreams, fears, love, heart, troubles…. Hugging you. Reading and praying together. Laughing until our bellies hurt. Walking through strange parking lots. Getting lost in the darkness of the night. Singing out loud. Hiking in the woods, with the nudeness of our mystical realities.  Just running around and staring at the morning sun, with an iced latte (of course, with almond milk). These are for sure one of the most accurate definitions of freedom and happiness, I can recall. Simple small realities that make huge sense. Now, after all we have been discussing on these few hours (that flew away like in a parallel dimension of time), you can actually understand better, how much I needed this. Just as you mentioned you did too… Thank You.

Intimate relationships are the instruments of God’s love and guidance in the path of our lives. Being able be authentic without restriction and receiving such a high level of connection and empathy, is the only human carrier of the infinite joy that we can hold onto, within our spiritual experiences. We are closer to God whenever we love and know His creation: within us and with the ones that walk with us. Particularly with the blessed creatures that had decided to carry a resolute heart and remain in Love.

I miss you already, like if you had been here for a lifetime. In some sense, you have been part of me, for almost that same time. The ‘world’ (and now you know what world I am referring to) feels different without your presence now… because of the synchrony of our melodies and souls, that ended up resonating like a beautiful oasis in this chaos, that I call life today. You have heard me unambiguously and with an opened soul. No judgement or surprises in our shared space.

My window table, the coffee maker, Baru and some leftover waffles, are seeking for your company too. It is hurtful to feel that life provides us this amazing possibility of encounter, to elevate our souls in such a way, that we would just want to remain in there. This is how we become sure that we are getting closer to God, and not lost in it’s similar appearances in this reality. Those that can actually have the power to paralyze us in beauty, while preventing us in the walk we have to engage into, in order to get near to Him.

I love you, don’t ever forget that. More than I can easily express. You’re never alone. My prayers (and now you will always understand what I mean by this) will always include your name.

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Oleta State River Park, Miami, FL. March of 2018.

The Miami skyline looks grey while I write this post and I even needed to take a nap (everyone that knows me well, can understand how revealing this fact is) after you left. Through our encounter I can feel communion and connection with grace, just because I know that your heart belongs to the place that I have also been attempting to get to. Just like you, I feel discouraged and tempted sometimes (or most of the times?) by the world’s mirrors and judgements. But seeing the possibility of sharing meaning in your eyes, provides my heart with bravery.

Uh… we don’t know. We would never know until the end, where all this strange miracles and mysteries are leading us to. But as we said, we only have one choice: to decide, each step of the way, with our ultimate and immediate intentions to seek for enhancement and growth, in the ability of receiving and giving love. As simple as it sounds, as complex as it is.

This nostalgic state, is strangely mixed with a deep gratefulness in such a blended way that it’s hard to explain the emptiness and sense of completeness that I feel. But this unfulfilled infinite need, is exactly what God fires in us in order to drive our way to Him. These life reflections of His presence, fuel the thirst for the eternal welcoming openness of our soul to His company. You, the trees, the sunlight and even Baru’s stubbornness, painted a magical afternoon.

Oleta State River Park, Miami, FL. March of 2018. 

And now I ask myself, within this journey that we have shared, how is this reality informing my soul and future?

I can’t deny there is a weird sense of farewell, a smell of detachment and an illusion of practicing my actions towards the path I can, or will be walking further. There are some ‘nows’ that become forevers in our personal ways, and that while we are inhabiting them, we are almost aware of how much we will miss them forever. That, somehow, happened to me this weekend.

You were representing a connection with life and relationships in a very particular way, that  I had forgotten by being immerse in the reactivity that my story had been demanding from me, in the past years. Acknowledging in you, the immutable versions of my identity and the connections that it has, was feeding my being and will be converted in a lifetime memory. Our time together raised questions about my ability to stay apart or my need to remain tuned, to what you represent in my life.

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I know what you bet for (about my future), and we know what the purpose of all of this appears to be. This is just a very hard time for understanding, so let’s lay that down the rationalities and it’s questions, so that we can truly commit to surrender. We will get the signals, as time passes by. But now we know we have each other, to share these strange things that come to meet our way.

I cannot wait to witness the ‘next season’ of our stories. If there is something true here, is that we are closer to a mystery plot, than to a romantic, comedy or drama one. Curiosity is accompanied with butterflies in my stomach, when I think about how this life is going to be looking like for me, a couple of years for now. Most of the answers to the intense questions that I hold on today, would be for sure a ‘funny’ memory.

IMG_8718Oleta State River Park, Miami, FL. March of 2018.

How troubled and afraid… How stubborn and attached I am at the time. If we only knew what was paving its way for each of us, we would have never felt heavy, any of our luggages. I am pretty sure that someday, in the distance, or in the beauty of a shiny sunrise, we will laugh together of many of our present worries. There is a promise of joy and peace for each of us, that now we are sure we can inhabit and share, if our souls decide to.

Thank you, my hermanita del Alma. Thank you… For giving me one of the best memories of my life. I will carry this weekend in my luggage, in my writings and in my heart, maybe forever. Knowing now that somehow, in whichever way we can be able to encounter each other in the future, you will already know that I now have a different way of understanding relationships. I can travel through my prayers, and you can see me in that message. Or we can meet for a road trip to Colorado, or even in the Camino de Santiago.

God knows already 🙂

Buen Camino (de vuelta)…

El arrepentido

Carlos Vives & Melendi

Hoy voy a contar la historia
Del arrepentido
Que viviendo en la memoria
Se perdio el camino

Es hermano de ese que anda
Siempre en el futuro
Pasa temporadas largas
Sordo, ciego y mudo

Hoy voy a cantarte la cancion
Del arrepentido
Si saltas vives
Pero hay que saltar pa’ ‘dentro
Y no hay parada de metro
Que nos lleve a ese lugar

Donde los miedos
Se confunden con la vida
Y no queda otra salida
Que volvernos a encontrar
Con el presente

El que no lleva las cuentas pendientes
Del mas humilde hasta el mas influyente
El que te dice, oye Melen, portate bien
Vamos pa’ Oviedo que nos deja el tren

Hoy voy a contar la historia
Del que busca afuera
Queriendo encontrar culpables
Para sus problemas
Ese que va por la vida
Con la razon siempre
Y no sabe que no existe
Eso que defiende

Hoy voy a cantarte la cancion
Del arrepentido

Si saltas vives
Pero hay que saltar pa’ ‘dentro
Y no hay parada de metro
Que nos lleve a ese lugar

Donde los miedos
Se confunden con la vida
Y no queda otra salida
Que volvernos a encontrar
Con el presente

Donde huyen a los fantasmas
Y se ahogan las supersticiones
Donde todo el mundo baila al ritmo
De los corazones

Ay donde todos los miedos, Carlos
Se desaparecen
Donde todas las tristezas se van
Cuando me ven aparacer

Si saltas vives
Pero hay que saltar pa’ ‘dentro
Y no hay parada de metro
Que nos lleve a ese lugar

Donde los miedos
Se confunden con la vida
Y no queda otra salida
Que volvernos a encontrar

Despierta, con cada segundo que pasa
Se cierra una puerta
En cada mirada perdida se muere un paisaje
Que cada momento que vuela no vuelve

Despierta, conecta
Tu cuerpo mediante la mente
Que mueve hasta lo que no ves
Porque crees que es inerte

Y asi podras al fin saber lo que grita el planeta
Ya llego la hora de que miremos dentro
Despierta

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AQNj9fMnzDo

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28: My journey begins: Washington D.C.

Washington DC. March, 2018

The following 19 months will be marked by the most important exploration, discernment and discovery process of my life. I am going to be traveling to at least four different countries and 10 different cities, in 3 continents. And none of them will be called home. Furthermore, each of these trips will have a different purpose: training, teaching, religious exploration, research, presentations, community-based  work, and visiting old friends. If I begged God for answers, His response was an unmeasurable exposure to everything I have ever considered to be the most important places or people that define my identity. This is like a very good blend of what has provided meaning in my life. While inhabiting the highest version of love and faith I have ever met.

The feelings around this situation are mixed. I am excited, scared, anxious and overwhelmed. India, Paris, Lourdes, Barcelona, Madrid, Washington, San Francisco, Connecticut, Baru, Bogota, Colorado, Miami and Cartagena, seem to be the most perfect representative sample of experiences I could ever ask for. They build my memory with all sorts of understandings of life.

God has better ways of addressing my doubts and using my time than me. I have no idea  where this is going to lead me. The few people that know the meaning of each of these destinations in my personal history,  would be actually impressed of seeing that I will be having the chance to visit all of them, for these current specific questions and purposes, and just in a few months. This nothing other than a miracle.

So, my first stop: Washington DC.

I’ll  be there twice this year.

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Well, I should start by admitting that I am still failing a little bit in the purpose of being able to engage in the practice of being fully present in my reality. My emotions, memories and understandings, are still immensely engaged in that unconscious process of resisting change. My heart is attempting to recall my comfortable space: my already known ways and paths, as if they  were better realities for myself.

This first stop, in this long inner and complex journey, has been uneasy. I felt a lot of weight over my shoulders, and somehow an inner resistance to movement. I’m inhabiting simultaneously a grieving and illusion process. I can’t express myself accurately right now.

So, while being in this discomfort and in DC,  I decided to do my favorite plan in the world: walking by myself in a strange city. Loud and romantic music, through an unknown street, without any agenda or destination… and attempting to get lost in time and space.

Allowing my soul to be showered by unexpected beauty. I googled the nearest catholic church and spent a couple of hours in there. Peace and trust returned to my soul, and with my prayers, a deep openness and commitment resulted: to see and listen.

A new version of my life is going to be occurring soon, and there is no way to allow this process of becoming to happen, if I continue to focus in what is ‘missing’. What is coming across my path, is way better and beautiful than everything I have envisioned or experienced before. I have that certainty. It is God inviting me to inhabit this world in his love. This cannot get any better.

Keeping my attention in the guides,  messengers and directions of the path that I’m walking now, is my only purpose.

Just one day at the time.

DC was crazy busy. The fact of not having a single minute to breathe, helped a lot with my regency purposes. Good results from the strict agenda…

I was meeting with absolutely amazing people, full of huge messages and information that were very important for my present moment. Some of these were ideas, for my academic career and possible paths. But moreover, I received incredible insights, through  deep spiritual conversations, with a very particular mix of people.

From now on,  I want to record in this blog, what I’ll be calling my new “home”: my soul  and lessons.

In other words, somehow this space and writings are going to become my place on earth. The encounter with myself, God, and the chances of inhabiting this reality, while I navigate the most important questions of my life.

I hope to be able to commit here to what I have decided to be my goal of 2018: receiving Love.

While being surrounded by incredibly brave women (yes, all  my travel companions were brave women),  from very different backgrounds, career stages and identities, I was able to feel deeply connected to them. Ages ranged from 22 to 65. All possible american ethnicities and backgrounds. Starting from the leader of a federal agency and passing through a first year master student on health sciences. All sorts religions and beliefs and non-believers. Different regions of the country.

This was a dreamed diversity. And intercultural dialogue itself.

An impressive connection emerged among us, rooted in service and love for others.

We all had this huge drive towards social justice and an intense intention of provoking changes for those in suffering. Being in a room with such beautiful souls, made me aware of how much need we all have to inhabit a community of people that share our experiences and meanings.

I have to admit that this is hard to face right now. My loneliness in this matter, feels confusing.

I feel that I need to work towards sharing my reality (on a daily basis), with people that allow me to remain in my values, and allow me to grow in my purposes. Still not sure how that is going to look like… but it seems that DC, brought that certainty: I need these connections for my heart, in my future. I need to build a life in which I share my time with other people that are near my intentions. That are connected in Love.

I’ve been reading some of Saint Theresa’s diaries recently (as a result of the beauty of spending crazy amounts of time in airports, I can decide what to read sometimes). I think one the big lessons of this trip was exactly about a great danger that she mentions: solitude.

She writes about what entails being  “(…)a lonely soul, in between so much risks. It looks like if we don’t have who to share these things, nobody would help to carry them… Sharing is useful to not fall down, even if it is just out of shame, that sometimes we fail to have, when we are only with God. This is why I really encourage the ones who pray, to provoke friendships with people that are going through the same things. It is a greatly important thing to help one another”.

After envisioning that there is a huge need in me, in seeking a community of shared meaning, language and growth processes, some ideas about my future started to make much more sense. And at the same time, some places and paths, seem to be discarded.

For the record, some other lessons from DC :

Everything done with passion and love, will speak out loud of who your are. 

Never allow the world to transform your values, in the end, even if it is costly, this is what defines you. And ultimately, it is between us and God. 

Don’t remain silent, while having the possibility of acting accordingly, in order to transform your environment in a more just world.

Speaking the language of justice and peace is costly and uncomfortable. People will judge you, attempt to discourage and discredit you. This only means you are in the correct track and that you will find the right allies across the way. 

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Nusseum, Washington DC. March, 2018

Finally, this trip ended majestically and in tears. Actually I think this will require a totally different post, but is worth to mention.  My way back to Miami was marked by a deep and transforming re-encounter with one of my soulmates (See: Soulmates). This was probably the answer to the question that all this situation was bringing.

He has been one of the biggest loves of my life, and one of the most beautiful souls I have met in this world. After surprising me with an amazing card and the most beautiful flowers, he called me to make me aware that he was there for me.

That’s it.

“I’m here, I miss you. I need you back in my life and we have to make it happen”

I broke into tears. Tears that I was holding for a very long time.

He knew where my soul was right now, even though distance and time had already opened a good amount of question marks in between our stories.

“I want to to walk this path with you and meet you again in our parallel universe. Give me that chance. I know what and why you are doing all this. I’ve seen this in the past. We need this connection. I’m here. You don’t need to be alone in these struggles. I’m willing to walk by your side. I need that too.”

The questions, advice and caring words that he had for me, were nothing different that an impressive revelation of how much wonder I have around me. Tied to the message of sharing a community of meaning, he made me aware that our steps had to be leading us, to a unified path. We need to overcome the commonplaces that tears us apart. We have to re invent the ways to our deep encounters… those that have held our life at many times. The smell of those flowers had been caressing my sunrises.

Choices are to be made in order to build a daily environment that allows me to be loved and love in the right way.

However, how the definition of family and/or friendship could look like for me, in the future, is in question. Now I see that I am in need of that company. And that I am surrounded by heavenly messengers of grace.

I don’t feel I’m ready yet to elaborate on this. But certainly, his call, words and presence were not a casualty. I was being touched by an angel (messenger of God).

And to make this post even more strange, I’m ending it with a Colombian Vallenato….

ESTA VIDA

By Jorge Celedon

Me gusta el olor que tiene la mañana
Me gusta el primer traguito de café
Sentir como el sol se asoma a mi ventana
Y me llena la mirada de un hermoso amanecer
Me gusta escuchar la paz de las montañas
Mirar los colores del atardecer
Sentir en mis pies la arena de la playa
Y lo dulce de la caña cuando beso a mi mujer
Se… se que el tiempo lleva prisa
pa’ borrarme de la lista pero yo le digo que:
Ay que bonita es esta vida
Aunque a veces duela tanto
Y a pesar de los pesares siempre hay alguien nos quiere
Siempre hay alguien que nos cuida
Ay ay ay ay…que bonita es esta vida
Y aunque no sea para siempre
Si la vivo con mi gente
Es bonita hasta la muerte con aguardiente y tequila

Brindemos por la vida es linda
Quiérela quiérela

Me gusta escuchar la voz de una guitarra
brindar por aquel amigo que se fue
sentir el abrazo de la madrugada
y llenarme la mirada de otro hermoso amanecer..

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27: Even if you’re not here

No seré yo quien te despierte cada mañana
Con un chiquillo pegando gritos frente a tu casa
Ya no estaré detrás de ti cuando te caigas
Pero no creo sinceramente que te haga falta.
No seré yo quien guíe tus pasos cuando te pierdas
No seguiré quemando noches frente a tu puerta
Ya no estaré para cargarte sobre mi espalda
Pero no creo sinceramente que te haga falta
Y se que vas a estar mejor cuando me vaya
Y se que todo va a seguir como si nada
Yo seguiré perdido entre aviones
Entre canciones y carreteras
En la distancia no seré mas tu parte incompleta
Y se que vas a estar mejor cuando me vaya
Y se que todo va a seguir como si nada
Mientras escribo sobre la arena
La frase tonta de la semana
Aunque no estés para leerla en esta playa
No es que yo quiera convertirme en un recuerdo
Pero no es fácil sobrevivir a base de sueños
No es que no quiera estar contigo en todo momento
Pero esta vez no puedo darte lo que no tengo
y se que vas a estar mejor cuando me vaya
y se que todo va a seguir como si nada
Yo seguiré perdido entre aviones
Entre canciones y carreteras
En la distancia no seré mas tu parte incompleta
La Quinta Estación 
Loving someone means that everything you are, know, think, feel and desire, would be a function of his or her wellbeing. Receiving love, remaining on a relationship or knowing how to share life experiences with someone, are states or situations far away from this that I am describing. True love involves an intentional and real caring natural drive, that goes above and beyond self-interest and even consciousness. The beauty behind this, is how perfect itself the feeling is, regardless of it’s material, behavioral or relational expressions. Having the chance to live this, is a miracle. An extraordinary life experience. A blessing.
This drive, means that you develop an intense empathy that allows you to (or at least to attempt to) feel, think and perceive, as they are. To get at sense of what they are going through. Seeing like another is of course an impossibility but the process itself of discovering a new shared universe and attempting to paint beauty in it, is an act of loving.  Those ideas and beliefs about the world or yourself, are not anymore a truth or even a good fit, for someone else’s life. So love provokes this intense energy, that makes you get out of your known paths and your comfort zone, in order to learn a new language, worldview and reality.
Whenever you have the possibility of actually sharing and diving in the intensity of intimacy, a new shared space emerges and now the dynamic and nature of each, is modified by the relationship. And this flow of love is also transforming each of those (not split anymore) worlds too. We never go back to who we were after this. It is simply impossible.
The-Vow-Quotes-3
We carry, for the rest of our existence that name, that smell, that night, that space…. We endlessly attempt to honor that loving possibility, however it looks like in the present. As a scar, as a flower, as a star… In you, in that person, or within a relationship. Or in the material distance… Space is not a measure for this, because something has been embedded in your skin, in your story and in the way you inhabit reality.
In between the beauty of living this love, we fail to see sometimes that the best way to actually do something about that persons’ wellbeing is providing our absence. Or our silence.
This renounce means, for me, the biggest act of loving I have met yet. This is the outward expression of selfless interest: inhabiting the true happiness of being able to love in the right way, in a healthy, natural and spiritual sense.
1450487-Juana-In-s-de-la-Cruz-Quote-As-love-is-union-it-knows-no-extremes
The common contradiction comes usually to be, how is it then, than the highest version of an act of love, would not be the confirmation of the purity and worth, of remaining in that relationship?Well, itself the fact that each of the parts of yourself and your loved one are being transformed in real time, by living and loving, is not a necessary confirmed goodness. That shared space itself is also a new reality that is simultaneously changing and expanding with youAnd by good, I am referring here to: an exponential growth of each and both, in beauty, that doesn’t harm their nature. Furthermore, human love should bring us closer to Perfect Love. Through the impossibility of knowing and feeling that perfection of God, we are to be experiencing and witnessing it’s human expressions. That’s how mutuality emerges… but, we should be remaining in the purpose to reach that intimate infinite friendship and value it more than it’s world mirrors. The dynamic of this love should bring both closer, to divinity.
How do we know then?
When we are sure that every piece of the kingdom of ourselves has been shut down, and we surrendered, in order to inhabit both the shared reality and the person you love… you start to get these answers. Within this loving dynamic, and with your look fixed in Perfect Love, you can somehow envision who are you being and what are you engaging into, in the middle of that reality.
Is this a healthy and stable dynamic?
Are you able to leave?
Are you willing to actually put yourself in the place that your soul envisions as the best one for your loved one? Even if that means stepping back? Where is goodness in time? Your ultimate intentions within your immediate actions?
The affirmative answer to these questions, provides an endless ability to commit to whatever place you feel to be, where you know you could serve better. Where your heart leads you….
And there, in that conviction you rest… since there is no time or space that can get you out of this loving possibility, through whatever mechanism emerges as the tranquil and loving path.
There’s no absence or pain, that could actually get in the middle of the joy of loving the right way… the true way.
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28: Spiritual Exercises II

I surrender – Hillsong
Here I am
Down on my knees again
Surrendering all
Surrendering all
And find me here
Lord as You draw me near
Desperate for You
Desperate for You
I surrender
Drench my soul
As mercy and grace unfold
I hunger and thirst
I hunger and thirst
With arms stretched wide
I know You hear my cry
Speak to me now
Speak to me now
I surrender
I surrender
I wanna know You more
I wanna know You more
I surrender
I surrender
I wanna know You more
I wanna know You more
Like a rushing wind
Jesus breathe within
Lord have Your way
Lord have Your way in me
Like a mighty storm
Stir within my soul
Lord have Your way
Lord have Your way in me
Like a rushing wind
Jesus breathe within
Lord have Your way
Lord have Your way in me
Like a mighty storm
Stir within my soul
Lord have Your way
Lord have Your way in me
Like a rushing wind
Jesus breathe within
Lord have Your way
Lord have Your way in me
Like a mighty storm
Stir within my soul
Lord have Your way
Lord have Your way in me
Lord have Your way
Lord have Your way in me
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Drawing 1 – Sedalia, May of 2017

The first time I went to Sedalia for my spiritual exercises (See: 57 (2017): Spiritual Exercises/ The beginning) I made an important choice about how I wanted to record my current feelings and soul visions. Since I am an overly rational person, I needed to trick my brain a little, not to ‘control’ my possibilities of communicating how I was. In this sense, I brought some coloring pencils with me, and allowed myself to start free drawings, just as we all did when we were in pre-school.

The above figure was the first thing that I painted when I got there. At that time of my life, I was going through an intense and very hard process of understanding the limits on what I should do in the name of Love and God, and what I was doing. I could not relate to a bigger crisis in my history, since everything that I thought I had to hold onto and the ways I had to be and behave, were actually (literally) killing me. How?

I built a cage in my mind. To myself.

We usually think we are not free or capable of deciding certain things in our lives, because we already made some previous choices and commitments that make our reality “impossible” to be changed. We are reluctant to visit core identity choices. This is the case for all of us. We are humans…. We want to keep a sense of self with continuity and clarity and these processes are hurtful, hard and dangerous for us. Cages are comfortable.

So this drawing represented my attempt to remain in God’s Love by assuming I had to keep myself within a certain set of truths and religious beliefs (badly teached and/or interpreted by me). The yellow in the picture, represented God’s grace. I needed to remain there, more than anything in world and I was willing to give myself away to that purpose, however that looked like. I locked myself in the cage, so that I could be sure to keep my life in that Divine Love and supposed righteousness. But God was showing me an entire world in front on me, with mountains, rivers and unknown processes. And He was there too. In all of it.

‘If I get out of the cage, I could get lost. Maybe I end up flying away too far and I would not be able to head back’, I thought. Temptation: I do know how to remain in my best version to receive God’s Love. I can invite Him to stay with me. I’m under control.

No. God is not going or moving anywhere. You cannot build cages to keep his grace, because you’re locking Him too. He is also in and with You. And loving is not taking away your freedom or wellbeing to correspond that love. It’s the opposite in fact.

So my entire retreat (in 2017) was devoted to understand and attempt to destroy that cage. What are those beliefs that are rooted in myself, that are locking me and making me think that I have to be or stay in certain way? What are the religious realities that are getting in between Love and myself, by harming me? 

Seven days I continued to pray and commit to see and meet them. What are the ideas and realities I need to outgrow in order to be free to correspond God’s Love and will? How can I be myself to actually be authentically driven by Love and be truly mutual in this relationship?

The final drawing showed one of the most important transformations of my life:

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Sedalia, final drawing May of 2016

God was in everything and everywhere. He was also with me and within me, and I had a beautiful promise of peace and Love that could allow me the strength I needed, to walk the way that I had in front of me. It was not going to be easy. It is not supposed to be. But I had rested in the most beautiful and important relationship of my life, and that was enough to allow me to navigate the storms that I had to go through. My journey to authenticity was also my way of corresponding His Divine Love and it meant having to lay down every single piece of my cage and mind. I don’t think a human being can be engaged in a harder choice. Unfolding every belief that you hold, touching all the dimensions of your identity, to surrender yourself into a loving process of becoming. Of allowing God to be God, every step of the the way.

This clarity meant that I had to act accordingly. My situation back then, seemed to be already a a very transformed version of who I was a year before. But somehow I knew, that the outward expressions of this, had to be matched with the inner belief that I could actually continue to follow my heart and my soul, and trust that God’s work is slow. That we are instruments, as much as the other people around us are, in His language. So I just committed myself to burn the remaining debris of my egocentric pieces and self-built defenses, in order to allow Him to receive all I was and could be.

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Sedalia, May of 2017

My spiritual practice, readings and devotion, appeared to be growing exponentially as time passed. This first retreat, the 2016 Camino de Santiago (which why I started this blog) and my changing context, were firing something in me that I just felt I couldn’t hold anymore. My schedules, my interests, the way I saw reality and myself, were spinning in a very high frequency of both human and divine love. Clarity, confusion, vertigo and a thousand of miracles and mysteries, were continuing to bring down my cage and myself. The speed of my happening was just way higher than my known paths, or coping mechanisms. It had to be God paving the way through all of this.

In the middle of this process (during the summer) I had a near death experience in which I was clinically (literally) dying and the doctors’ couldn’t stabilize me. While in that state of “lack of consciousness” I was somehow aware of what was going on. I engaged in the most powerful prayer I have ever done: I thanked God for giving me the opportunity of living a life that I could passionately commit to so far, and full of gifts. I was happy to have the opportunity to meet Him. I was extremely grateful for every beautiful and hard memory. I just begged God for an intervention, so that my loved ones could use my life and ‘early’ death as a journey to faith and not as something that could make them step away from God’s grace.

At that precise moment, for some reason I heard it was not my time yet, and that my paths were ‘two’ not the ‘one’ I have met until today.  Suddenly, my vital signs went back to normal and the ambulance left that clinic to get me to a higher complexity hospital, where they could do something to save my life. You can tell they did.

As one of my best friends (and most important guides in life) says: that day a huge part of me died and was left behind. For some reason, I was not anxious to understand what that meant. The following days of recovery in which I slept for about 18 hours a day and navigated crazy states of alternated consciousness, were full of dreams in which I saw many situations and messages. One of them, occurred in Sedalia…. I needed to go back. But I was scared to do it that early, particularly because I had some spiritual guides around me saying that it was not a good idea. That I was “escaping” from my reality and I needed to learn to bring that state of contemplation to my daily choices and life.

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Sedalia, May 2016

For this reason, it was hard to decide to actually go back, even though I felt that I needed to do so. My mornings started to be filled with more than 2 hours of prayers and meditation. My daily mass became a need, and I worked my already packed schedules towards being able to commit to these practices, regardless of anything else. I trained my dog to pray with me in front of the bay. And each day passed by, full of a growing thirst for encountering myself again in that possibility of being in an Ecological Prayer (click to read the post to get a better sense of what I mean by this).

Now I see that again, I went too far in restricting myself from my own truth. My reality, my inner identity are in fact closer to devoting myself to prayer in silence, than to dealing with the world I inhabit right now. This is a very hard statement to make and actually it is the root of the biggest question of my life today. How am I going to inhabit this? This need? This intense relationship with God that is strongly giving meaning to many choices, ideas, values and beliefs that are very hard to explain to my context? This truth?

I am probably not what my current life companions think I am. Furthermore, I would probably not become what they predict I will be. I am not sure what is going to happen with my life after I finish what I started: my PhD. But probably, and now this seems a confirmed process, this is going to look quite different from what I envisioned and everyone is thinking from me, given my ‘successful’ academic trajectory.

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Sedalia, February of 2018

So I got to Sedalia a couple of weeks ago like this: see above the figure 1 of this year. Troubled, afraid, with a deep faith crisis and surrounded by an unmeasurable and implausible amount of stimulus around me. The world, or what I used to call the reality (and now I call the illusion, and the mechanisms I have built to cope with life) seemed too hard to inhabit. All the biggest questions of my life, the deepest ones, were in front of me, and I had two choices: I could get busy with everything around me and focus myself on not navigating them. Or I could decide to do something about the real deep priority of my life: my relationship with God.

The world could wait. And in fact, it did. The huge amount of opportunities and ‘academic’ outcomes continued to grow exponentially. And in the meantime, I was praying endlessly in my piece of heaven on earth, with very deep existencial questions about my faith, life, love, vocation and fears. I had the best spiritual guide I have ever met or heard of, so just as in any spiritual process I have fully committed to, I decided to lay down all of my certainties and anxieties and listen to what needed to be transformed in my understanding and life.

I don’t think I have ever felt my faith so troubled. And this also meant, I have never got to experience this much communion and connection with God afterwards. Every piece of my world seemed to be vibrations of His Love and his infinite beauty. And that was making my heart beat fast, as never before. This encounter, these possibilities of engaging myself in the silence of my prayers has been one of the most powerful experiences of my personal journey.

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Sedalia, February of 2018

Clarity. Lucidity.

Vision.

Choices.

Confirmation.

Those are the words that I can use to describe my state, while in Sedalia. All of my fears and ideas, ran away easily from me (and my comfort) in order to allow me the chance to surrender to the present moment and encounter God in all things. A deeper desire to commit to his Will and to my friendship with Him continued to grow. The life, the movements and people that I love the most, came to be carriers of truth and grace.

What happened to the big questions? My father asked me, when he picked me up at the airport at midnight, and after 7 days of silence. ‘I was learning to lay them down’, I said. ‘To contemplate each of them, while working myself towards the answers, with my behavior aligned to my true intentions… I am back to this reality and context, and I know what I have to do now: Remain in God. I am certain of the need I have to give away whatever knowledge I might have, to this world, and finish my PhD program. In the middle of that, I will have the opportunity to engage in that discernment process that I need. But that time, is going to be the entire 30 day retreat’.

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Sedalia, February of 2018

You are locking yourself in silence for 30 days? What do you mean? he said right away… He seemed very happy to see my peaceful state, but at the same time I could feel the fear in his eyes when I told him: I will remain in my spiritual exercises for a month. His curiosity was also accompanied by certain anxiety, and probably with some questions I could say he didn’t want (or was afraid) to actually ask. He hugged me goodbye, and reminded me how much I meant for him. How much he loved me.

After this chat with him, I have had to engage in the same type of conversation with my academic advisors, some friends and part of my family. I have also had to make probably some of the hardest choices of my life in the meantime… and for some intense reason I just feel that I can have a deep confirmation in my prayer of each one of these encounters. I needed to be honest about my priorities and current state.

Still inhabiting this world, meeting the commitments I have already made, and attempting to navigate the following 18 months sounds like a titanic process for me. There is a voice inside my soul, asking me to let go, to seek for what I know I need. And there are many other calls, and certainties about the need of collecting more information about the people, places and myself, that are yet to come, in order to navigate the possibilities of walking a different path. How is that going to look like for me? Where is it that I will find a home for this?

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Final drawing – Sedalia, May of  2018

One of my beloved ones told me that the time of ‘destroying’ my castle of certainties and attachments was gone already, and that I was going to be able to build things during my retreat. Probably get some answers and with them, a resulting drive to commit to a path. I thought that was true, even 3 days after being in silence…

But this was not the case. Not yet.

The clarity that came to my soul was in fact to delay my choices and allow time to unfold my future.  I saw that I had to patiently wait and contemplate. Receive the signals and guides along the way in the following months. Listen, watch, taste… Rest in my silence and in Love. He will provide me with the strength and with the clarity that I ask for, in order to meet this purposes.

Freeing myself from having an answer… Allowing mutuality in love. Understanding that my identity was also part of His ways of acting through us, and flying away from my fixed and ‘normative realities’ was the most beautiful gift of this retreat. The majority of my doubts are now a 2019 problem, while I focus on practicing Regency (full and complete attention that nourishes the object but that also is able to lay it down when it’s time to do so).

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Camino de Santiago, summer of 2016

Still the world feels very strange to inhabit for me, and the pains that it brings are extremely high. My faith is stronger than ever though, so now I do know that surrendering and waiting are the only ways to navigate my questions right now.  God will slowly walk me through the answers. Choices are to be made afterwards. A year, a dissertation, 5 countries (in 3 continents) and my re-encounter with Baru (the island) are yet to come…

My prayer is my understanding of loving others today. Silence is my company when in trouble. Peace is the gift of love. And in that grace I rest. I don’t need anything else.

I should end this post saying that this is a very sweet and bitter moment. Full of contradictory emotional and rational responses to all the clarity of my spiritual being. A huge movement is going on in the concert of my realities and identities. And yet, the illusion that keeps my days rolling is that I’ll be back to Sedalia sometime soon. With all my ‘data’ collected… And happy to be able to commit to this discernment process, for the time that I feel I want to do it… At least a month of spiritual exercises, sounds like the perfect breath I will need to cope with what is coming. And how to build this, is only through a calmed and informed manner.

Like the song magically states: Lord have Your way in me, Like a rushing wind Jesus breathe within, Lord have Your way, Lord have Your way in me... This has been my Sunday perfume: Singing out loud and cuddling with Baru.

Surrendering… To Love.

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29: Letting go

You don’t have to change for God to Love you. 

Be grateful for your sins. They are careers of grace. 

Say Goodbye to golden yesterdays – or your heart will never learn to love the present.

Antony de Mello, SJ. 

When I first came to Sedalia last year, I was full of ‘certainties’ and I wanted to be able to commit my life to meet them. My deepest desire was to live a life that included God in every single piece of my existence and that could honor his unmeasurable gifts. I thought that actually “I” could bring Him out or in my days, by committing myself to His grace. I have had to walk a very hard path in my life, and my faith held me in each of the steps of my way. But I was also raised in a very conservative (even unhealthy) religious setting.

I felt unable to get rid of my own structure of beliefs, when even I rationally saw their non-sense.  When it comes to the deepest components of our identity, there is no harder process to be engaged in, that the one that roots in our most inner truths. That touches everything we are and results in the transformation of all of the thoughts that we hold onto.

I had spent most part of my life in a pretty intense relationship with God, that was extremely (yes, extremely) mediated by religious beliefs. Somehow, I assumed that my understanding of God’s will in my life had to do with the human mechanisms that I had to follow Him. I assumed there were statements already granted in all the information that came from my catholic affiliation. I had a “fixed” God, with structural approaches to me. Even though I said I did, I honestly did not experience that His presence was with me, in me and in everything around me.

I failed to see that my spirituality was above and beyond a set of dogmas and truths, and that somehow, God was not an established and immobile set of beliefs and practices. The dynamic and relational understanding of our friendship, allowed me to see Him everywhere, in all the situations, things and people of my life. Including those that were hard to accept or understand.

God was and is part of my own inner realities too. Of those that I rejected myself. Being able to get rid of the most grounded and even unconscious thoughts of what “He wanted for me”, or what was “the right thing to do”, was nothing else than my own inability to understand that He acts through my identity, reality and life. Through the ordinary happenings and pilgrims that come to meet my path. And that I was resisting myself to be loved and transformed, by attempting to guide my life with most grounded ‘must be’s” and ‘should be’s”.

This is not only a matter of what our relationship with God is about in our prayer or how we think about Him. For me, this meant to un-learn and destroy every single belief that I held about myself and almost all the “sacred truths” of my  memory, in order to allow faith and Love to guide my Way.

Above all, trust in the slow work of God.
We are quite naturally impatient in everything
to reach the end without delay.
We should like to skip the intermediate stages.
We are impatient of being on the way to something
unknown, something new.
And yet it is the law of all progress
that it is made by passing through
some stages of instability—
and that it may take a very long time.

And so I think it is with you;
your ideas mature gradually—let them grow,
let them shape themselves, without undue haste.
Don’t try to force them on,
as though you could be today what time
(that is to say, grace and circumstances
acting on your own good will)
will make of you tomorrow.

Only God could say what this new spirit
gradually forming within you will be.
Give Our Lord the benefit of believing
that his hand is leading you,
and accept the anxiety of feeling yourself
in suspense and incomplete.

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, SJ

I have met people that could argue and defend that emptying yourself from all these certainties could be morally dangerous. Furthermore, I’ve been engaged in conversations in which I have been told that theology (probably a certain conservative part of it) would argue that God has an established language and fixed choices for our lives.  I respect that line of thought. But I can only speak for my own personal process (and admit that I have no idea about theology, even though I’ve been happily reading some stuff while being here in Sedalia). And in my experience, God is alive with me, moving the world and my universe, in all sorts of unbelievable manners. And it makes no sense to think this is just something static. It doesn’t match his profound Loving nature, with the fact of Him attempting to act against my own existence and dynamic reality.

I can say, without hesitation, that I had never had a greater faith and probably a bigger conviction on how to walk my life, than the one I do now. This is not anymore an outward group of statements that I follow in a cartesian manner, in order to ‘correspond God’s Love and Plan in my Life’. Now my attempts to see and receive His unmeasurable gifts, emerge from the deepness of my soul, from a clear and true attempt for intimacy and willingness to remain in Him. This is a process, not a linear commitment.

This is a totally different approach and direction, in relation to the one I was holding onto. Getting to this loving possibility, also meant accepting certain absurd and contradictory realities in my history and being. I had to believe that what I understood as  ‘evil’, un-meaningful, unacceptable or sinful, could actually constitute the vehicle to faith and transformation, that God had allowed for me. And He knew better than me what and why I needed to go through, for this. I just surrendered to Him, all of my questions. His processes are slow and wise: I’m convinced of that.

Resistance is a natural response to this approach, since by our human condition  we need to hold a sense of continuity and certainty, in order to ground our identity as coherent. But isn’t precisely the surrender to our self (and ego) the perfect way of corresponding God’s existence in our lives?

Instability, confusion, uncertainty, doubt and what has been called “the dark night of the soul”, are certainly the birth processes of the biggest transformations in faith and love that we can face. Avoiding them, lying to ourselves, or starting a career to hold into our certainties and approaches, will only not only delay, but also make our processes harder. And more painful.

In my case, I thought that there were bonds, promises and identities in my life that were already fixed for the rest of my existence and that nothing aside from my own failure to keep myself true to them, was the path to my own tranquility. And a “correct” relationship with God… Seen retrospectively this seems easily written. At the time, it was a titanic struggle between my own defenses of ‘this must be wrong’; ‘where is this coming from?’; ‘this is not coming from God’; ‘I should doubt from this advice’….

How much pride, how much ego. How much fear in the middle of all of these battles.

It is a dangerous line, many can say. I would think it is only threatening if it is not a path that you can honestly start. If you are willing to commit to it, in the fullness of your intentions, and in an infinite attempt to see God in all things and give out the best of yourself, with all its risks and renounces, it should be beautiful. If you do so, time and God will certainly guide each step of the way, towards the transformations and happenings that are to be part of your reality.

And this is never dangerous if we are fully committed and trustful, since God knows exactly how and when to turn every single wrong into the correct right. In His Love.

Breaking down… and allowing myself to be re built. That’s what happened. And I disappeared as I knew myself, to turn to be something that I don’t understand yet. But I’m resting in Him. And that Love and Grace, seems enough to live.

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