I have been afraid for a long time. Afraid to remember, afraid to tell my story.
Its hard to know how or from when to start telling my story…. Do I start three years ago?.. do I start 32 years ago?... 2000 years ago?... or in some space in between those points?
I’ve decided to start today and write what I think will become my story in a blog format. What will be in part my daily journal, in part a chronicle of my first century life and spirit life and I suspect in the main part a description of my ongoing struggle to come to terms with my identity, my passion for God and my emotional journey in striving to come to love myself and others in the Way that God loves each of us.
Why Tell My Story???
I want to try to explain why I have decided (feel compelled) to start this project. I’m struggling to find the words to do so and am reminded that AJ always says to me: ‘stop trying to explain and just say what you feel’ :-) so here is how I feel;
Mainly I feel ridiculous, awkward, self-conscious. Who would want to read my story anyway?! I’m afraid of being judged as self-involved and a freak… the intense vulnerability of it is terrifying..
I have been on this path for sometime now, teaching it even, but I have largely avoided sharing of myself and my experiences.
I have been full of the terror of judgement, ridicule, speculation, mis-interpretation… but fear is not love and it is not truth.. in fact I’ve been reflecting lately that fear is usually my excuse NOT to love and NOT to give myself a voice. I have become more able to see that even my smallest, seemingly inconsequential decisions, when driven by fear, inevitably result in more fear and pain for myself or for those around me. So I have been starting to view my fear as just an emotion, to experience some of it rather than live in it, to challenge it rather than accept it as truth and as I have been doing so I keep feeling that I need to share more of myself, to find my voice, to be more vulnerable.. to tell my story…
So here goes!
An Introduction – of sorts… :-)
There is no simple or easy way to summarise my life in the last three years, since I began to understand my emotions and memories, so I’m not going to try to do it all at once. I’ll just give you an introduction of sorts, some context hopefully and no doubt in future posts I will reflect and recount on it in other ways.
I’ve always considered myself a fairly down to earth person. I’m not really sure how others have perceived me. While I have always had an interest in things spiritual; it has been mainly a personal and fairly private interest. And I’ve always considered myself somewhat of a pragmatist. i.e. ‘OK so you/ I…. (insert various ‘spiritual practices here e.g. chanted for two hours/ attended a church service/ wear crystals/ went to Israel/ etc). …and how does that make you/ me a more loving person in daily life? How does that love reflect in your lifestyle? How does it translate to your shopping list, your voting ballot, the way you talk to your kids or the waiter, or the guy who just asked you for a dollar for the bus?’
Frankly a lot of times I just didn’t see it. I don’t believe that wearing crystals is the key to our spiritual enlightenment; I don’t believe that if you are on the church committee you are therefore a loving person.
What bothered me a lot was that I seemed to also encounter, in those people who had God or spirituality in their lives, the same injuries I thought were problems in the rest of the whole human race. It seemed that the only difference was that they dressed up their judgement and separation in ‘spiritual’ words. I felt like New Age throw away comments like: ‘you know we are all one, its all an illusion, a reflection, we are all God, etc…’ were actually ways to distance the person from love and connection with others and from their real emotions, when I was discussing things like mothers dying in Africa, refugees in the Middle East (OK so they are big topics, but these were the things I wanted my spiritual life to help me understand and respond to… and by the way I don’t think we are all one, life seems pretty real for those refugees, I don’t see you going through what they are going through and I’m sure God is not an axe murderer…’ which is of course vastly different from loving the axe murderer!). I couldn’t come to terms with Christianity because it excluded homosexuality, and it seemed to me at the time to be full of fear and exclusion, not acceptance and love. I couldn’t meditate.. my mind kept thinking all of the time and just what was the point again? I didn’t feel that peace and calm my yoga class was supposed to induce, my hamstrings are too tight.
I’ve always wanted to talk about the deeper pains, the things that are important to others but I have also always harboured a bigger insecurity. I wanted desperately to ‘fit in’. I felt so different as a kid, being the only one at school in a tiny farming community with homemade brown bread sandwiches and dried fruit in my lunch box, wearing second hand clothes and no TV. So as I grew up I never strayed too far from the mainstream (only enough to be fashionably cool and different) and I never wore my passion for understanding God and Love on my sleeve.
I want answers! Actually.. maybe not these answers…
This is why when I met AJ Miller in December 2007 it was simultaneously the most scary and exciting time in my life.
Here were the answers, they seemed infinitely loving and they translated into a practical world view. But I was also very afraid… ‘this man is saying he is JESUS… and I am Mary Magdalene…. This means NEVER FITTING IN AGAIN…’
Sadly my terror of rejection, ridicule, being perceived as a freak, arrogant and, insane interfered a lot in my early relationship with AJ and also in how I communicated my feelings and experiences to my family, friends and to others on this path
Not long after I met AJ I began to have memories in full force (I want to write more about this another time). I became very afraid. I felt disorientated, thought I was going mad and I grappled then (and now) with the bigger picture of what it all meant.
I shut down, I ran away, I got angry…. My family decided none of this was true and I was actually being manipulated by AJ.
This was an incredibly painful time for me. I have always felt so close to my family and for the first time in my adult life I felt that I thoroughly disagreed with them… but it was difficult for me to stay true to these feelings as the pain of their disapproval and rejection of my experiences was quite intense. I wanted desperately for them to understand and accept what I was going through.
There were many times when I tried to pressure AJ to change so that he would be more acceptable to my judgemental family and friends. There were also times I flat out rejected him because I felt I couldn’t trust my own feelings and the fear was overwhelming. I blamed him for my memories, I raged against my own inner knowing. I rationalized, I thought up other possible explanations.
I did not want this Truth.
I still feel so much sorrow over these times – the power of my fear to shut down love and trust of myself is a lesson hard learned. And during all of this AJ only ever respected my feelings and decisions – he stayed away when I demanded it and came back with a heart of love when I felt so lost and desperate and alone, as I often did.
The year following meeting AJ was one of the hardest in my life. I was full of terror about the experiences and feelings that I was having, regardless of whether I was around AJ or not. I knew the Truth lay with AJ but I risked loosing my family’s approval and my relationships with friends. I felt torn between changing the world in a socially acceptable way i.e. completing my Masters degree and heading off to a remote African village to work with disabled children, and following my heart and being regarded forever more as a crazy, cult lady by the majority of the world. There were many times when I quite seriously thought of packing up my backpack and getting on a plane to anywhere other than here.
Ultimately my heart won out. I’m ashamed to admit how long the decision between love and fear took, years really, and my relationship with AJ suffered as a result. I also now no longer seek out the company of my immediate family as when I do I am still met with their harsh judgements of my experience and of AJ, whom I love.
Today I still have great fears of ridicule and rejection, I still have pain at the lack of my parent’s approval and their anger but I have decided to stop letting these thing prevent me from sharing of myself.
My heart is full of love and passion for the message of God’s Way of Love, the Divine Love Path. My fears still make me feel that I would like to talk and teach about the Way while ignoring who I am and my personal journey, but that would be hypocritical. How can I encourage others to tell the truth, to be vulnerable and humble while I hide what is happening for me and how I feel?
I have decided to teach this path for the rest of my life – as I have done for most of the past 2000 years – and this online journal, however long it may last, is about me sharing that journey with whoever would like to hear about it.