At present, I have found myself invited again by God into transformation. At times I feel like it’s happening whether I want it to or not; whether I like it or not. It is for good. It is a trustworthy process, too, even though fear tells me another story. Even when ego wants to protect me from it. God calls it good and so it is good. My human mind calls it scary. My human body calls it painful. It is a very human experience. It is different this time, though. This is a new layer, one I haven’t uncovered before; a new depth I haven’t yet traveled. But that’s the process: death to the old and then birth to the new. From moth to butterfly. Some may call it reincarnation while others call it resurrection.
Today, I’m still the moth in that dark cocoon. I usually like to process and reflect first before I write, so I can neatly organize the story and deliver it perfectly and neatly wrapped with a bow on top. But I’m done with that. So this time, I am sharing as I live it. Real time. No processing first or analyzing or figuring out what I’m going through first. No waiting until I’ve reached the other side, because quite frankly, when I’m on the other side of this experience, I won’t have arrived at perfection or wholeness yet. The story never ends, it just has chapters and sections. One of my dearest spiritual teachers, Richard Rohr, teaches in his book Falling Upward that there are two halves of life. The first half is spent laying a foundation and building a container of self (ego) on that foundation. The second half fills up that container. I have also heard the concept of the stages of life. I think these ideas can blend together well. There are stages within the two halves. I’m not exactly sure what stage I’m in or if I’ve begun the second half of my life, but wherever I am at present, I am being transformed. Wherever I am, I find myself admitting that I don’t know much at all, and realizing that life is lived as this series of events that unfold, wrapped up in mystery. Mystery seems to be something that the mind and ego sees and desperately scrambles to figure out before it happens. At least, that is how I am observing it. I can accept mystery as a concept, but living, embracing and leaning into it are practices that take time to develop.
And this is where I find myself presently, in the midst of this practice of leaning in to mystery and uncertainty. Another teacher I am fond of describes this as being comfortable with uncertainty. Ha! Comfortable. But when I stop and contemplate that idea, it reminds me a little bit of what Jesus says about how we are given peace that can’t be explained. I have come face to face with the awareness that life is a great mysterious unfolding and I won’t be fully prepared for it all the time. This can look a lot like chaos to me and when I see chaos, Penelope freaks out (Penelope is the name I have given my ego narrative). When she freaks out, I have inner turmoil and unrest — exactly the opposite of the peace of Christ. Maybe the peace that the world gives is the so-called practice of preparing for the worst as this mystery of life unfolds. But I have discovered in the midst of this present moment that preparing for the worst keeps me in a cycle of fear and not in the peace of Christ. If I need to prepare myself for the worst, my mind imagines the worst things that could happen and spirals down into a darkness of which it is not easy to come out. But I wonder if dwelling in the peace of Christ might be experienced as being an active participant in the unfolding of life, unafraid of those what ifs, unafraid of “bad news”. I don’t know yet. I have not yet arrived at that level of spiritual maturity.
Wherever you are in the unfolding of life, know that we are closely connected. My experience is different, but we have something to teach each other along the way. And maybe we can also just relax together in the midst of the uncertainty and just find ourselves grateful for that connection, too.