November 14, 2013
I’m keeping my promise to myself to post once a week and even though what follows was written in 2004 it still applies to my life today.
I may add a postscript….
GLIMPSES OF HEAVEN
Today I am more consciously aware of the world around me and my place in it, not because of anything I have done and because of everything I have done. When I say I’m more aware, not because of anything I’ve done I don’t mean that I passively sat back and let my life happen. Yet today, as I look back over the last 25 of my 71 years on earth, I know that one day at a time, my life unfolded.
Years of food addiction and people pleasing kept me asleep to who I was and all that I could be. During those years I unconsciously went through the motions of life, doing what I thought I should do rather than what I could do. Yes! Life happened to me while I actively participated in it. What I needed to do next was revealed to me and I acted. But I have a sense there was a Divine Plan and a purpose for all that occurred. I realize today that this process I call my awakening has been going on since the day I was born and maybe even before that, and I believe it will continue even after my body is gone. I can’t help but think about what Mohandas K. Ghandi said about his growth. “In my search after Truth, I have discarded many ideas and learned many new things. Old as I am in age, I have no feeling that I have ceased to grow inwardly, or that my growth will stop at the dissolution of the flesh. What I am concerned with is my readiness to obey the call of Truth, my God, from moment to moment.”
So…I cannot remember how the concept of God was first introduced to me. I also cannot remember a time when God, in varying degrees, has not been in my awareness. However, I do remember that as a little girl I was taught that God was everywhere, in everyone, and in everything and that there is no place, situation or circumstance where God is not. It was that basic belief that kept me searching and yearning to know God more deeply. That seed planted in my young mind was the force driving me along my spiritual path.
Over the years I have learned that “awakening” is not a destination. Awakening is a process of unveiling, of walking through one phase after another, one set of circumstances after another, trusting that what I need to know and do will be revealed. The awakening process, though simple in concept, such as “be in the present moment,” is difficult. Awakening requires courage and commitment. It also requires humility, that is, the ability to reach out for help in times of need. Most importantly, awakening takes the courage to be honest with ourselves and the people who are there to help us. The deeper I go spiritually, the more challenging my life experiences become for me, the greater the opportunity to experience the Grace of God.
These challenges have taken many forms: being a mother of three children, the death of their father at a young age, ( he was 39 years old), a second marriage that included five children and the scary big “C” in my body to name a few. But the greatest growth for me comes from everyday living experiences with my relationships. Working on the relationships with my family of origin, my husband, children, stepchildren, friends and coworkers has provided me and will continue to provide me with many opportunities to look at myself and to change.
And that brings me to the most important relationship I’ve had to work on…the one with myself. I spent at least ten years learning how to become my own best friend. By working the 12 Steps of Overeater’s Anonymous and participating in an Al-Anon program, private counseling, prayer and meditation, I learned to tame the critic within and to love myself unconditionally as I was being transformed. The more I learned about myself, deepening my relationship with God, through working the 11th Step*, the more my relationship with others improved. My experience showed me that in order to live a life that is fully conscious and peace-filled, I had to have a good relationship with myself. Today I live a healthy lifestyle, I eat moderate amounts of healthy food most of the time, and I exercise several times a week. But most importantly I have strong, clear boundaries and am careful not to do for others what they can do for themselves. I ask for help when I need it and I am willing to look within to resolve conflict in a relationship, asking myself, “What is my part in this?” and “What can I do to make a difference?”
In recent years, experiencing the Divine has come from discovering and claiming my creative yearnings. My Soul’s sincere desire to be a public speaker and to write articles such as this has provided me with the opportunity to confront and walk through my greatest fear…the fear of failure. Public speaking is easy for me. Writing those speeches is torture. And now knowing that someone else will read them… well I’ll keep on taking one step at a time, trusting that I will grow and change while learning all I can about writing.
For years I have attempted to practice the presence of God in all that I do. I pray and meditate on a regular basis and feel close to God when I’m writing. My awakening has been a gradual one. As a result of taking responsibility for my thoughts and actions and living as best I can surrendered to the will of God, I have more peace, more joy, more satisfaction and more fulfillment in my life. This awakening was not a euphoric, one-time experience, but has been glimpses of Heaven in the here and now.
*11th Step…..Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood God, praying only for knowledge of God’s will for us and the power to carry that out.
P.S. Yep that me and my story in a nutshell….Glimpses of heaven still show up, Grace filled experiences deepen my faith and next
time I’ll write about trust. I had someone ask me, “Anne, What is the difference between faith and trust?”……..stay tuned.