Thursday, December 22, 2011
My Mystic Journey, Part II
I am referring to my spirituality in Christian terms, because at the time it was all I knew of spirituality and religion. I wanted a good life, and to build a strong family for my new baby girl. That meant going to church. My husband would consider himself a Christian, so those are the types of churches I started to investigate as I looked for Spirit. One of the first churches we went to believed that women could only wear dresses, no slacks were permitted. I didn't own a dress, and the nice church lady who pointed out I wasn't allowed to wear pants in church didn't seem to care. She told me if I wanted to attend church there, I had to wear a dress. That didn't match with what I knew of God, so that church was out. Another church was preaching fire and brimstone, so we never went back there. I didn't know much, but I knew the God I met wasn't like the God they were describing. I still didn't understand why he would send me back to this life, but I knew God was not punitive and judgmental.
I am very thankful my cousin Joey was a part of my childhood, because we played together as children I was aware there was more to homosexuality than it being a choice. I also knew because of my relationship with my cousin, that homosexuals were not deviant or bad people. I still didn't understand how people came to be homosexuals and I was reading a lot of theories on the subject, but I knew my cousin Joey did not deserve the wrath of God, which is what the preacher in my next church preached. I could cross another church off of my list. I was having trouble finding God in my community. As much as people talked about living a Christian life, you would think this would be easier. I went to several more churches, ruling them out as I discovered they did not meet the image I had of what God is.
During this church shopping period, life within my marriage was difficult at best. My husband had isolated me from the few friends I had, and my family background blinded my eyes to the abuse I was subjected to. The verbal and emotional abuse was bad, but what started out as playful wrestling now and then had emerged into physical contact when he was angry. I wasn't happy, but I remained committed to providing a solid family for my daughter. I didn't know the physical abuse would get worse, and even if I had known, my father had not treated me any differently. It would have been just an extension of what I had been subjected to my entire life. I prayed for strength as I continued to look for a church that held the same or similar view of what God represents as I did. It would be a very long search, indeed. I was determined to find Spirit.
My marriage continued to disintegrate and I worked up the courage to leave him when my daughter was around three years old. I went and spent the night at a friend's house after she convinced me I didn't have to take the abuse he subjected me to. It only lasted the one night because he convinced me he would change. I believed him. Shortly after that, I found out I was pregnant with my second child. I was taking the pill, so I didn't know how that could have happened. Many years later we would come to find out certain antibiotics nullified the effects of birth control pills. Despite how unhappy I was, I couldn't justify leaving a man who didn't cheat on me and wasn't a drunk. Those were the only reasons back then a woman should leave her husband. I wasn't sure my friend was right about the abuse stuff. She was married to a man who was submissive, and he let her walk all over him. Their marriage didn't seem any happier than mine was. I felt trapped. Since I believed I was living my life the "right" way, and making the "right" choices, I resigned myself to the life I had. In the darkened silence, I reached for Spirit and fed my lost & lonely soul.
I accepted my life for what it was. I wanted my children to be happy more than I desired to be happy myself. Now I know that is what it means to love without restrictions. I learned this from Spirit, and from the few people in my life who had loved me. The only thing I could do at this point was continue my private quest for spiritual growth, and keep searching for a church which confirmed what I already knew. I wanted a church in my life to expand on my soul, but all I found were churches willing to condemn it. I can't tell you how confusing this was. As my marriage became more violent, my husband began refusing to go to any church which did not support his rights as a husband. Those same churches presented an extremely violent image of God, an image to be feared if you did not live strictly by the interpretations of the preacher. My confusion increased as I strove to be a good wife and mother. I was doing all the "right" things, yet I was miserable. I knew God and wanted him to be a part of my life on earth, I wanted to share him with my children and yet I couldn't find him in church. I found myself lost again, but this time I had God with me in my heart. I knew I would be all right, but I didn't know what direction to go. I lived my life like this one day at a time, praying for guidance. As the days passed, my prayers for guidance became prayers for the safety of my girls & myself.
As time went on, my connection with God became deeper and more intense as I bore the violence in my life. I didn't know why I had to endure this, only that it was what it was. Somewhere in between all the messes in my life, I desired to be a better person as well. I thought if I was a good wife and a good mother, that would be enough. I began to realize it wasn't even close to enough, I had to grow and nurture my soul. I had to be a good person on the inside and out. I had to live my life in a manner consistent with what I knew God to be. At first, that meant living a life of piety. I had a few things to learn about spirituality, God, and being a good person. Becoming a good person was going to be more work than I ever imagined. As I went on my journey, and began making improvements with myself, I became judgmental of others who were not fitting into whatever I thought they should be. The perceptions of earth and people influenced me to a level of prejudice I had not been a party to before. I was just learning about racial prejudice, and someone's skin color was never an issue with me, but there are many types of prejudice and because I was new to learning about the world, I was very susceptible to their influences.
I began to think because I had God on my side, that also made me better than others. My poor self esteem fed into this belief, but I treated some people as if I were better than they were. I judged people on welfare unfairly, I judged drug abusers and alcoholics for their weaknesses, I judged people who weren't working, I judged just about everyone on just about everything. In hindsight, I see all those judgments I made about other people made me a very small person. Being judgmental is a type of euphoria in a way. As long as I can find fault in someone else, I can justify any number of inadequacies of my own. As long as I am better than someone else, I can ignore my own faults and crown myself a good person. I suppose that worked for me for a while, but it was a dark day when I realized just because I knew God, I still had a great deal to learn about the magnitude of what it meant. Even more importantly, I had to learn how to live my life in the beauty & grace I knew of Spirit. I found Spirit had very high expectations of me & in order to live in the grace of Spirit I would have to know myself first. Knowing myself was going to take me to places so deep, so very dark that I would question if the only purpose of my life was to suffer. I would uncover memories I wish I had never known. I had to learn where I had been so I could be confident of the life before me.
No journey comes without cost. The cost for me was to learn my past in order to understand my present. I can't fix what I don't know is broken. I knew my life was broken, but I didn't know why. Every journey begins with one step, but me being who I am wasn't satisfied with a step. I had to take a leap of faith. That leap occurred in the form of leaving my husband. I was learning a great deal about life and had grown to a point where I could no longer live in a marriage I knew was harmful. For a long time, I accepted his abuse as long as he wasn't abusing the girls. There came a point when I could no longer justify any reason to stay in the marriage, but I had no viable alternatives, either. My family would not help or support me in leaving him; they viewed him as a good man, certainly more than I deserved. I had no friends who would support me either. All we had were marital friends and he had already set the table for dinner there. All our friends viewed me as crazy and unstable. I had recently lost my job, we worked for the same company and he was friends with the owner. All I had was a high school education, and no means of supporting the girls and me. But I did have one thing more valuable than anything else I could have had in my life, a belief that if I walked with the guidance of God, everything would be all right. It might not be easy, but it would be all right.
So I took the leap and left my husband. I was terrified! But that leap really was the beginning of life for me. Throughout the years, there would be many new beginnings for me, but you never forget your first. You never forget how you felt that first time or how taking the leap & beginning again would empower you to lead your life in the future! Come to think of it, remembering how scared I was should have sent me into a closet, but facing my fear forever changed the course of what my life would have been, and for my precious girls, it forever altered the course their life should have taken. I was able to take this leap because I was secure in my faith. I knew God would provide me with what I needed, as long as I was willing to nurture my spirit. About this time, I started to learn about Angels. I had always known of their existence, but I didn't know how they fit into the whole scheme of things. I certainly didn't know I had an army of them, nor did I know they had been there all along. They were about to introduce themselves to me, one at a time. Spirit would take me to the next level of faith, showing me the wisdom of the ages, allowing me to play with my new skills & rediscovered knowledge until I was wise enough to reign myself back in. Spirit had more faith in me than I have yet to this day find in myself.
I spent the next couple of months at the Battered Women's Shelter, scared out of my ever loving mind. I had never been on my own before, going from my father to my husband. I was beginning to understand my own frailties, and what I lacked in my abilities to parent and function as an independent adult were evident. I was young enough not to understand how much work was in front of me, but old enough to know I needed to start doing it. My life was in a free fall, but it was a guided free fall. I didn't have a clue where I was going to land, but I did know I would land safely. In the Battered Women's shelter, the employees noticed my children exhibited behaviors indicating sexual abuse. I didn't know who might have harmed them, but I stepped up my guard for their safety. I knew the first part about my father by this time, and immediately suspected him, but logic didn't support my suspicion. I can't remember leaving the children alone with him for any time period. They were out of my direct sight with him, but not for long. When the shelter employees voiced their concerns, I never let them be out of my sight when I visited my father. That still left the who. I became a vigilant guardian for my girls. As sensitive as I was to the whispering of Spirit I became even more sensitive to the needs & emotions of my girls. They were too little to put into words who had harmed them or what they had done. In the same way I felt Spirit, I had to feel my girls.
Starting my new life was met with challenge after challenge, none of them minor. My children were reported to Children's Services by the employees of the shelter, for possible sexual abuse. I was referred to a counseling agency which specialized in counseling children from difficult and dysfunctional families. I continued with individual counseling on top of that. The very welfare I was so judgmental about I was now forced into a position of receiving. I was learning first hand how life is not always black and white, answers are rarely simple and getting off welfare once you are on it is a major feat in will power, drive and determination. I had a whole new perspective of the social services system, up front and personal. I tried to obtain work, because it is what I believed to be responsible, but try obtaining work without a car in a rural area. I lived in Massillon, Ohio at the time, and there was no bus line servicing the area. The bus line they had only serviced Massillon. Most of what I needed to do was in Canton, the next town over.
As I applied for employment, I soon discovered employment would not be enough to cover my daycare expenses. Welfare did not have a program to assist with daycare, and every dollar I earned took two or more dollars off the assistance I received. Working was becoming less of an option. As my children and I attended counseling, I also saw the support they needed to help them through counseling and the bitter separation from my husband was going to be substantial. I needed to work to feel like a productive human being, but they needed their mother to be available. The relationship between my husband and I was becoming more dangerous by the day. I thought once I left it would get better. I had no idea how much worse it was going to become. He stalked us relentlessly. He harassed and threatened me at every juncture, all within the law. He used the report at Children's Services to try to obtain custody of the girls, reporting me as an unfit mother. Being on welfare opened my eyes to my own ignorance, and it is one of the many things I am thankful for. Because this program was in place, I could give my children the time and devotion they needed to heal. I was also able to protect them in ways I never could have if I had been employed.
My soul was learning a great deal. People I had formerly held in disregard now warranted my compassion as I walked several miles in their shoes. I was learning life is complicated, and you can make good decisions and still have disastrous results. I had looked for confirmation of God in churches over and over again without success, so I settled for searching for him within myself. I started to use meditation to help me connect with God. During one meditation, an Angel introduced itself to me. From then on, God and Spirit took on a far different dimension than I had ever envisioned. It would also drive me farther away from current Christian theology, but it didn't stop me from looking for God there. I have always known I was different, so why would my spirituality stray from that? I was trying to fit in world that had boundaries I wasn't able to obey. I did try awfully hard to fit in there, though. The harder I tried to fit, the more I understood it was never going to happen.
As I fought battle after battle for my children, I placed our lives in God's hands. It was clear I didn't know what I was doing, so in my meditations I searched for knowledge. I learned, and grew, but life was still precarious. As I connected at a deeper level spiritually, I lost sight of the evil that can destroy your life. I placed my faith of inherent goodness in everyone I met, and the legal system that was supposed to protect me and the girls. I believed since I was connected with God, that no evil could touch me. I thought everyone who entered my life was worth being in it, so they entered without scrutiny. I returned in some ways to that childlike state of innocence. I had to understand there is a difference between giving your life to God, and absolving yourself from all responsibility for it. I had to learn there is a difference between judging someone worthy to be in your life, and discerning what is in your best interests. I had quite a bit to learn, and the lessons were not to come easily. Nothing worthwhile ever does.
I bought into those phrases like "Everything happens for a reason," "If it is God's will, your prayers will be answered," all those things we say to make us feel better about how scary life really is. We tell ourselves meaningless phrases like those in order to shift control over our lives over to someone we believe has better control over it. There is some truth to those statements, however, we use them in a manner inconsistent with how they should be applied. We were never meant to subjugate ourselves to the will of God. I didn't know that at the time. All I knew my entire life was subjugation. Submitting my life and free will to God felt like the next logical step. So I prayed before court hearings for God to guide the judge to get the girls safe from their own father. It didn't happen. I didn't question it, remained strong in my faith, and filed it under "God's will." It is not God's will that we should have suffering in our lives, but I didn't know that at the time, either. Despite my ignorance about my own life, Spirit sent people, protection and goodness in it so the evil that entered would not consume me. For every evil, there was something good and wonderful. I was then, and remain today in awe for all the wonderful things Spirit has gifted to me. My Angels kept me steady on my path, and comforted me when there was no comfort to be found. I may have been an adult, but I was spiritually young. I needed parents and Spirit understood this.
I have a few gifts many people don't understand. I learned very early on not to let many people know I have these gifts, and I still don't fully understand what I am supposed to do with them. Maybe nothing in this life, but I know now how NOT to use them. I can separate my spirit from my body to fly to other places, to be near people I love, or to visit my Angels. I learned this as a result of an extreme disassociative state, but I have been able to do it though I am not disassociated. Spirit bound me to my body after I fled from it at age six. Spirit understood very well that if I was aware I could do this, I would fly away from my life and never look back. I was too young to know what that meant for me spiritually, I was just a little child who didn't want to live the life I had. I wanted out. If I could have, I would have taken it. So Spirit bound me. I didn't like it, but I was too busy trying to survive to spend much time thinking about it. I wasn't really aware Spirit had bound me to my body until I was twenty-five, and realized I could fly at will. I had a lot to learn about flying, and the dangers associated with it. At first it was fun! I didn't know I could fly higher than earth, so I used my gift like any child would; I went to check up on people, to see what they were doing. That came back to bite me more than once until I learned I shouldn't be using my gift like that. People quickly look at you with suspicion.
Used for selfish intentions, it is a waste of a gift. I would go spy on my boyfriend, and I would inevitably tell him when I caught him in a lie. He accused me of being a witch, demanding to know how I could know the things I did. Of course I didn't tell him the truth. Displaying what I knew frightened him, and it drove a wedge between us. It was a wedge I could not recover from. I still didn't understand I was using my gift for the wrongs reasons, but I did understand I couldn't tell anyone anything I knew. Some things I had to keep to myself. Being able to fly was like a drug at first. I couldn't get enough of it! I loved it and I spent a substantial amount of time and energy to do it. I started leaving my body for longer and longer periods of time until one day I came back to find evil near my body. Evil was ready to enter my body, taking over my life. I got there before it could, but now I was aware there were very real dangers in leaving my body. The time it took to do this was time taken away from a life I was supposed to be living. I also knew if my spirit spent too much time away from my body, my body would die. I didn't know what that time frame was, but flying for fun wasn't worth the risks I was taking. It also consumed an enormous amount of physical energy, energy I needed to devote to my children.
I still used it for selfish reasons. I had to be hurt and I hurt someone else in the process before I understood I was playing with fire and I could get burned, or burn someone else. I met another soul mate. He was married, so I knew we weren't meant to be together, but he was unusual in that he could fly too! He was completely unaware of his spiritual ability, and he had no knowledge or connection with Spirit in this lifetime. I dismissed him quickly when I found out he was married, because though I didn't quite understand the whole soul mate thing yet, I knew some were not meant to be the love of your life. We talked to each other on a superficial level, but that is where it was left. One night, his spirit came to see me. You can't imagine how surprised I was! I never ran into anyone else who could fly, and here he was! He stayed only briefly before he was gone again, but I couldn't wait to talk to him about it the next time I saw him! Finally, someone else who could fly! I was thrilled, and eagerly anticipated the next time I saw him. I knew we shared something very special.
When I met up with him again, he began the conversation with "I don't know how to say this, and I can't explain it, but I can't talk to you anymore." I didn't understand at all. We never talked outside of meetings, which happened sporadically and by chance as a result of some professional activities we both attended. We never talked about anything I would need to explain to anyone else, or would be embarrassing if someone else heard our conversation. I tried to ask him why he was acting like this, but he turned and began a conversation with someone else. He acted like didn't know me. I was hurt, but there wasn't anything to do. I went about the business of my life. A few nights later, he flew to me again. I didn't think it would hurt anything to explore this experience, and I was enjoying the ride! It was a very intense experience. He could only fly to me at night, because it wasn't a conscious effort. He had to be asleep for his soul to be free. He was also a man who valued logic and reason, raised with conservative Christian parents, so this type of spirituality would have been rejected by him on a conscious level. I was not bound by those constraints, so I was able to fly at will. At this point, I had to be in a meditative state to accomplish this.
People who can fly, but are unaware they do so, often describe the flying as an intense dream state, where the colors are brighter, more vivid, and the emotions felt during the experience are felt at a visceral level. I didn't know he was aware of his visits to me on any level, so I also flew to him during my waking hours, not realizing I was creating a state of confusion and pain for him. Much of what I was learning, I was learning by the seat of my pants. I couldn't talk to anyone about this, and I couldn't find anything on the subject. I saw him occasionally, but he would turn away as if he never saw me to begin with. I am pretty sure he avoided me like the plague. This went on like this for a few months. As I saw him out, I never attempted to say hi, or initiate a conversation, but I did watch him closely. I watched him for any sign he was aware of the intimacies we shared when we flew. I was seeing a separation between the life we have here on earth, and the life we share with Spirit. There doesn't have to be a separation, but we are not Spiritually evolved enough to allow Spirit and logic to coexist in harmony. Organized religion is miles away from Spirit, and cannot conceive of a being in a state of purity. As long as God is viewed in the same thoughts as anything representing a negativity or disharmony, it will remain miles away from Spirit. It is sad, really. I think Spirit was kindred with mankind in our infancy, and I have read various cultures (most now distinct) which have reflected a primitive yet somewhat accurate version of Spirit. The Mayans & American Indian cultures had glimpses of Spirit before Spirit was transformed into the very profitable religious culture we see today.