Living the Mystery

Gift of lavender from my romantic husband

Tonight the creekfrogs and nightsounds are serenading me along with Riley Lee's sleep songs. I've lit a candle and said a prayer and this is how you'll find me most nights, incense drifting slow, me holding words, holding space in the holy hush. 

I grew up in a large family, most of whom were born at home. One thing I remember so clearly is when my mother went into labor and the feeling that settled over the house after dark. After the younger children were asleep, and preparations were made for birth, and conversations centered around when to call the midwife, that aura of expectancy, the anticipation, the emotion, the quiet intensity of it all....I could taste it; I held it in my body and it felt alive, smoldering, like presence. Even as I wandered around wide-eyed, it felt like almost swimming through a new atmosphere of expectancy and the unknown.

That same sense is what I feel now during these times we live in and my own personal spiritual revolution. In some ways the wild urgency I've written about has become a bit quieter, more like a rhythm or undulating sense of imminent birth. Night has awakened to me. Like a secret time for keeping watch and holding vigil for what is to come. 

As this new focus on spirituality & faith continues to unwind I am inviting curiosity along, too. I'm still me, under it all. A soft and tender me. The artist. The creative and spiritual doula for deep and soulful women. The writer who loses her words half the time, but who loves beauty so much she weeps over the fragrance of incense. Who gets overwhelmed, who gained back all the weight she lost last summer, and is behind on emails and so many other real-life things. How do I stay real? How do I balance the urgency and the expectancy and my core value of sharing what matters, of being *real*...not glammed-up for the Internet but someone who is human and soft and longing and believes deeply and loves God and feels passionate and awkward and and and...

I read something recently that made me cry because...YES.

My anxiety comes in brain waves like questions:
Am I safe to be me?
Can I keep continuing in the way I am going?
Can I believe I’m not going to blow it?
If no one is on my side, can I keep being on my side?
Can I follow my vision?
Can I survive in the “Real World” even if I don’t play by its rules?
Can I stay vulnerable and soft and survive the blows?
Can I not hold back?
Can I enjoy myself?
— M. Steward

Oh my. Can I? That's a question I'm not sure I can answer right now but I feel all those things so intensely, like a quick inhale of sharp cold. How does one navigate all the things I'm sensing and believing and wondering and watching as I witness my own beautiful and terrifying journey? Yet I don't want to apologize for any of it, even as it creates new and sometimes incredibly uncomfortable dynamic shifts. It creates relational divides. It opens the potential for new fears. My fear of "being weird" would have stopped me in the past. My fear of saying the wrong thing would have kept me silent. My fear of making others hurt / angry / disappointed / triggered would have kept me hiding away in my work or endless daily tasks. My fear of being perceived as unloving and unkind would have held me back most of all. 

{What does this really mean? That I'm afraid of what people think? That I'm afraid of the truth? That I'm afraid of not being politically correct...or even more so, of being politically correct? That I'm afraid of stating an absolute? That I'm so afraid of offending one of the many "sides" I'm surrounded by so I say nothing at all? That I'm afraid I don't know enough about what I know to talk about it? —these are just a few of the questions I'm asking myself in the deep of the night.}

This I know: no matter where on the spectrum of political or spiritual "correctness" we find ourselves, shame knows exactly where and how to find us. This time asks for a whole new me. One I haven't seen before and don't know how to “present” in a graceful way. 

So what happens is that I just keep putting one foot in front of the other. In reality it's like I'm squeezing my eyes shut and praying that everything will be okay. I hold the awkwardness & uncertainty in one hand and my calling and commitment in the other, letting both dwell side by side and become part of the story.

I don't have to resolve them all today. I can let them be.

Hillary McFarland