Busting Wide Open

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…photo by Grace

Look at it. Isn’t it just amazingly beautiful? This tree is so plump with life, it just busted wide open – offering its juice-filled contents to anyone (or no one) who might pass by. After spending a few moments this morning admiring Her gift, I realized something.

I want to bust wide, too.

There is a scripture I love so much, Galatians 5:22-23. The Message gives it life like no other translation:

“But what happens when we live God’s way? S/he brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely.”

Just reading these words this morning makes my eyes fill with emotion.  Let’s see if I can explain why.  It may take a few posts to do that.

When I disappeared from Blogland, I was on a Mission.   Frankly, I didn’t know who I was any more.  I didn’t know what I believed in. And I didn’t know where I was going. That was a very scary place for me! My emotional life was on a downward spiral, the likes of which I hadn’t experienced for a long long time. My head was full of facts and speculations, static and stress.  My heart was a pile of broken glass – grieving for something that never even existed in the first place. And – the scariest part – I was without an anchor spiritually. With all of my spiritual “seeking” and adventuring, I had somehow disconnected from the Source of all Life in such a way that I no longer felt I really knew It’s presence.  I was truly lost – and I found myself flailing about and raging, swinging at demons and screaming silently about injustices, all the time begging – truly begging – for Someone or Something to show me my way Home. For Love.

Two distinct things happened to assist me on my way back Home. One, I unplugged from the Internet (both literally and figuratively) and tossed out all of my spiritual paraphanalia.  And then, I hit my knees, and surrendered.  Everything.  To be perfectly honest, I was in such a state of confusion, I wasn’t exactly sure WHAT I was surrendering to.  But I did it anyway, as an act of faith born out of desperation.

Now I see that I surrendered to Love.

I spent the next couple of weeks Seeking the Presence that is both within me, and around me.  I cried great gulping sobs – pouring out my Heart to “Anyone” who might be listening.  All of the pain and hurt.  All of the feelings of powerlessness and broken dreams.  All of the fear and aloneness. And then, when I was too exhausted to cry anymore, I slept.  Rather than blogging, I wrote in my journal – learning to reconnect with my own Voice that sounds like God.  And I read foraciously.  When I picked up “The Gift of Change”, by Marianne Williamson, I was like a starving person handed a 3 course meal.

It was then that I came to realize that there is nothing I’ve ever pointed the finger about, that I hadn’t done myself to some degree or another, at some time or another, to one person or another.  There is no “me” and “them”.  There is only “Us”.  My problems – and my answers – weren’t ‘out there’ at all. They were all inside of me.  All of them – demons and Divine alike – that whole time.

Sometimes when the Light hits one of my personal Shadows, its painful at first.  A real  gutwrenching sort of painful.  I felt temporarily blinded by the shear power of the Illumination It had brought, after walking in the Dark for so long.  So I cried some more, this time with repentance, release and renewal.  And where I could, I made amends – then hit my knees again.  And surrendered again.

When I came up, I was a changed person.  I had fallen in love again with God, and began to love my self.  Peace ran like a river within me, and the joy of living in the Present Moment began to permeate my life.  My outer world began to change in the most wonderful ways.  And I felt hopeful and full of life.  Which was a good thing.

Because just short while later, I would experience the worst act of betrayal in my entire life.

Falling Forward

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….photo by Grace

It’s still dark now at 6:00 a.m.  September is half over, and I notice the trees are beginning to put on their fiery colors.  I didn’t have to run the air conditioner at all yesterday, and the breeze coming through my bedroom window last night was cool and (almost) damp.

Fall is coming.

Fall is my favorite time of year.  I love wearing boots and blazers and neck scarfs.  I love padding around in Uggcovered feet with a steaming cup of coffee, waiting for the sun to rise.   Tastebuds are satisfied with savory barley stew and roasted butternut squash soup.  Homemade cookies and breads fill the house with the most delicious “homey” scents of cinnamon, nutmeg and pumpkin.

And yesterday I could really feel the change internally as well.  Seems my nesting gene is kicking in after a long hot summer.  I find myself wanting to gets some pretty Fall decorations placed about, and maybe it’s time to freshen my container garden with some Mums and Marrigolds.

I don’t use an alarm clock, and usually have no trouble waking up at 5:00 a.m. or so.  Until recently.  Several days now my eyes have suddenly popped open from a deep sleep, like I’ve forgotten something really important while I was dreaming.  I turn to look at the clock and find outrageously late (for me) times like 6:30 and 7:00 a.m.  I comfort myself with the thought that soon we’ll ‘fall backwards’ with Daylight Savings – I’m actually still right on time.

This coming Fall is different for me.  More different in more ways than I can ever remember.  Or maybe I should say I am different – more different than I can ever remembering being.  I’ve struggled a little bit with trying to decide how to describe what has happened inside of me over the last couple of months.  Then I let the struggle go and decided to simply begin to write about my journey in whatever way IT decides to present itself.

I am 50 years old and in the Autumn of my own life.  And while the fresh tender bloom of the Maiden is being replaced with the warm, rich colors of The Crone, I’ve been gifted with something else.  It’s something my Sisters the Pomegranates taught me.  I say “Sisters” because just yesterday, I found another tree!  On my way home, my Inner Compass took me off the sidewalk and onto a dirt path that winds it’s way up the hillside.  And halfway up, there She was!  How did I not see her before now?  What drew my eye to eye to Her?

She revealed Herself to me by her beautiful Fruit.

The Gift

The Queen – Photo by Grace

 “Can I have one of those?”

On the highest branches of a tree that grew along the walking path, I could see several large red fruit hung like Christmas ornaments.  After weeks of gazing at them hungrily, I wanted one of my own.  Not for food, mind you, although they are delicious, but for what they had come to mean to my Soul….and to the ongoing process of personal transformation I had been undergoing.

I’ll never forget the day I first became aware it.  Nearly falling flat on my face, I had tripped over a mangy clump of seeds in the middle of the road.  Who knows if it was tossed there by man or beast (although now I’m just as apt to believe it was the Tree Herself calling for my attention than anything else) but it definitely caught my attention and brought me to a dead stop.

A Pomengranate?  Why would someone be eating a pomegranate out here in the middle of  nowhere?  The thought of trying to eat such a juicy, messy, seedy fruit while bouncing up and down the path was laughable. I could just see myself trying, only to end up with a ruby red river trailing down my chin, staining my white T-shirt, and fingers, and everything else it touched.

As I was standing there pondering the pile, something crept into my line of vision, up and to the right.

Barely discernable in the natural compost piles, I could just make out some pomegranates in various states of decay, scattered around the base of a  wild looking tree.   It was adorned with pomegranates in various stages of bud, bulb, and burst. Well, whatdoyaknow? Pomegranates.  Out here!  Having my intial question answered, I headed back down the trail taking my thoughts with me.

Back in those days, I was just embracing the idea that everything I “stumble” upon in my life has meaning – if I pay attention, and take the time to look it up.  Hawk feathers at my feet.  Monarch butterflies landing on me from out of nowhere. Dragonflies and hummingbirds buzzing me, demanding my attention.  Even the trees that surrounded my home – Olive, Eucalyptus, Birch – were all rich in symbolic meaning.  Now, I added the pomegranate.

The Pomegranate has held the imaginations of humans – of women – for thousands upon thousands of years.   In art, literature, mythology, religion and handcrafts, the Pomegranate is as glorious in spiritual meaning as any other fruit – including the infamous Apple – and then some.  I had no idea!  But as I began to study the stories – especially that of Demeter and Persephone which speaks of the cyclical nature of life, death and rebirth –  I could see the Handwriting of the Divine all over the Wall.

So, I asked for one from the Tree.  I can’t tell you exactly why I asked (although speaking to plants and animals is something I do and they speak back, don’t cha know), but I did and then ran up the berm to gaze up into the low hanging branches.  I was eyeballing all of the fruit looking for Just The Right One, and I  found it – much higher than the rest, but perfectly formed and without injury from any creatures.  I pulled down a couple of the branches, stretched my hand into her Depths, and captured my treasure.

Ahhh, the weight of it in my palm was magnificent.  Not quite ripe on one side, as it turns out, I wondered at her perfect little crown and shape, and about how I might ripen it indoors.  Oddly, as I continued down the path, I felt stronger with it in my hand – as if I were running with some Sacred Flame.

Then, I saw it.

Blood.  There was blood dripping down my forearms from two scratches – two inches of bright crimson – one on each side.  I had been marked by The Tree and before  I had the chance to wipe away the blood, a powerful message struck me.

We were Bloodsisters – the Wild Pomegranate and I.  The Queen had just cut a covenant with me – exchanging her gift for something from me.

We were now One.