Project Me 37/100 – Wonderfully Uniquely Me, I Am

We are all born originals – why is it so many of us die copies?

– Edward Young

So who am I? Why am I original – and in living authentically, I will never be a copy. No reality TV “inspiration” for me! I’m a mother, wife, writer, lover, colleague, teacher, student, friend. Neighbour, swimmer, walker, talker, ex JP, ex wife, ex Toastmaster, woman, encourager, darkness & light, expert, seeker, searcher, Anam Cara, shit-stirrer, pilgrim, solitary, hermit, connector, poet, artist, creator, keener, traveller, tourist, wanderer, lover of home. Leader, see-Ee, pointer, healer, helper, judge, wise woman. Foolish woman. Tribe seeker, peace-keeper, exiled, flagellator, un-merciful, grace-less, full of grace. Unforgiving, too forgiving. Controller, goddess, sensual, passionate, cold. Wild, fearful, courageous. Co-creator, stroppy, moody, wild, earthed, agitated, calm, Pollyanna, no angel. Nurturer of others, forgetter and ignorer of myself. Manifester, generator, ignitor. I am present, past and all my hope and dreams.

And that’s only the start if it! I’m a mass of contradictions – but I AM wonderfully uniquely me, I am!

Project Me 19/101 Try Something Different: Surrender

The law of twice. If within a short period of time you get the same message, listen. Even if it comes from different sources or in different ways. So two people mention an unusual book? Perhaps it’s time to read it. One person mentions a new idea to you and you turn on the TV and there’s a programme on that exact thing. Over time, I’ve learned to be curious about this aspect of life.

I sometimes use Cheryl Richardson’s Grace App. I love the pictures and I love the gentle loveliness of each card. 50 cards and randomness mean the chances of you getting repeat cards are very low – but it happens. Particularly if you are not listening. The day I thought about this Project Me being a sort of pilgrimage I pulled a card. Haven’t done that in a while. It said Surrender. “Surrender is the key to open the door of grace.”

Hhhhm, I thought. Didn’t expect that one. Why do I need to surrender? What do I need to surrender? I don’t like the idea of surrender. It means I have to give up control – and as a recovering perfectionist, that’s an alien concept. So I dismissed it. I do that when I don’t like an idea 😉

But it seems to be something I must consider more deeply, as I read this today again, “by accident,”:

Very little grows on jagged rock. Be ground.
Be crumbled, so wildflowers will come up where you sit.
You’ve been stony for too many years.
Try something different. Surrender. ~ Rumi

You’ve been stony for too many years. Does this refer to my failure to nurture and care for myself? Things are getting shaken up – yet isn’t that necessary if things are to grow? My two favourite flowers are bluebells and snowdrops and last week in Inveraray we came across a fairy foxglove growing on the walls. What is more beautiful than a wildflower?

Be ground.

Be crumbled.

Try something different.

Surrender.

I’m listening
.

Project Me 18/101 – To Be A Pilgrim?

When I journal, sometimes I just write out how I’m feeling, sometimes I make plans and record dreams and feelings.  I realised last week how much I need to spend this time nurturing my spirit, and as one friend said, 30 minutes a day is the least we deserve to do that in! With my new working pattern, I can get up at the same time I always did and spend that time, guaranteed.

I read a few books in this time, books that nourish me – I’ve been working my way through Louise Hay’s How to Heal Your Life since January, sentence or paragraph at a time.  I’m also using a book I bought at Lindisfarne last year, called Celtic Daily Prayer and sometimes I’ve loved the theme of the month and sometimes I haven’t really got a lot out of it.  I’m on day 11 of July and it’s been all about pilgrimages and why these can be important, and as I sat down to read it, I did so with a heavy heart, thinking it wasn’t really worth my while reading it at all.  I love how the Universe laughs when we do that – because what I read was about T S Eliot, and how he noted that the Magi made a pilgrimage, but that act made life difficult for them because they “return where they came from, but changed, no longer at ease as they were before.”  And suddenly I realised the wonder of the timing again, and the truth of what it said.  I went back to the start of the month, to the introduction, where it said a pilgrimage was “a journeying to a particular place, in the expectation that such a journey will have deep significance.” It also said, “All kinds of people go on pilgrimages of sone sort or another, not all of them believers.  It is a chance for things to move, to change, perhaps even for God to break into their lives.”

 

I had created this project to learn what nurturing might mean to me, and to encourage me then put any learning into practice.  It would mean I would move, change, and yes, – the idea of just focussing on me is deeply significanct for me.  Though my initial thoughts of pilgrimage were of hard lonely paths, with occasional stop offs to get basic needs of food, water and sleep met, if it is a journey of significance, with an aim in mind, then I’m a pilgrim.

THIS is a journey to ME, and a journey of change, and change can be less than totally easy, and is usually more permanent than not, especially when it’s a journey of the spirit and heart.  If it’s a journey then there are days when I could get lost or side-tracked, or days when I have to deal with unexpected obstacles – but having that clear aim in mind will help get me back on the road I need to be on.  And since I’ve always been more of a traveller than a tourist, I’m sure I’ll find much of what happens an adventure!

To Be A Pilgrim

My mum sent me a picture this week out of her local paper. It was of me, sitting cross-legged in my Girls Brigade Uniform. Before I moved to the village of Saintfield (so called because St Patrick was supposed to have slept there on his way to Saul, Streull & Downpatrick), I had been in the Brownies. But I joined the GB when I was six & left when I was 14, and loved my time there, through all the parades, displays, competitions and services.

Each year we would have a special service, marching to the church along with the Boys Brigade. And we would often song the old song “To Be A Pilgrim.”

I read John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress many years ago but I believe that key theme of carrying burdens that we don’t need to carry still has great truth. Anything that we choose to still carry from our past is too heavy, as is anything we do that is done out of duty with a heavy heart or resentment, or anything we do because of a belief that no longer fits us.

If you are on a spiritual journey, you will carry them until your eyes are opened to a different way of living or doing things. Then you are forever changed. These moments of change are sometimes unnoticed, arriving without fanfares – or sometimes, they can make you instantly laugh out loud!

Our willingness to grow, learn, change and continue towards peace, happiness and joy are what the journey is all about. THIS is what makes us all pilgrims of some sort – even when at times, we might not know where we are headed.

Poet Mark Nepo writes this:

“To journey without being changed
is to be a nomad.
To change without journeying
is to be a chameleon.
To journey and be transformed
by the journey
is to be a pilgrim. ………

I, as you, consider myself to be a pilgrim of the deepest kind, journeying beyond any one creed or tradition, into the compelling, recurring space in which we know the moment and are changed by it. Mysteriously, as elusive as it is, this moment – where the eye is what it sees, where the heart is what it feels – this moment shows us that what is real is sacred.”