Last week, I invited you to join me in pondering what it might mean to be a heroine or a hero for someone else. I asked how it feels to be intentional about living in a transparent way; about living willingly in bright summer light, where anything you do is visible to anyone watching. I asked how you would feel about knowing that not only what you might regard as success, but what you might lament as failure, can be seen by those you love and those you fear and those you dislike and those you don’t know?
For some of us this is a familiar experience. I think of a young woman I know with Down’s Syndrome who is completely, genuinely transparent, holding back neither her unhappiness nor her joy, neither her worry nor her love. Caron seems to have no fear at all being exactly who she is. She wastes no time creating masks or illusions. She is Caron through and through. However, I suspect for most of us, such honesty is not only unfamiliar, it is somewhere on the continuum between scary and terrifying.
Maybe (maybe –) we are willing to consider this heroism business, but only if we can control what it looks like. Only if we can insure that it reflects well on us. Only if it fits with our image of ourselves as successful, spiritual, intelligent, powerful, productive, [fill in the blank.]
Are we willing to be heroes or heroines if we aren’t in control? If we sometimes look silly or confused or mistaken? If people don’t “understand” us? If people don’t affirm us?
This week, I offer you a meditation that may nudge you to ripen (it is Beltane, after all, the season of ripening) a little further into your own vocation as a hero or heroine or, if you prefer: a guide, a midwife, a role model, a teacher.
Close your eyes if you are comfortable doing that. Or you may prefer to use the flame of the candle as a focal point to help your heart and mind be still. Become aware of your breathing and allow it to be slow and deep, until you feel centered and calm.
You wake from sleep while it is still dark outside. You wonder what has awakened you and you listen attentively for a few moments. Then you notice that there is a voice calling you. You may perceive this as an actual voice, or as an impulse in your heart, or as a nudge in your mind.
You cannot quite make out the words, only your name. So, you rise and put on a sweater or a bathrobe and try to discover the source of the call. As you move through the house, the voice becomes clearer and it draws you toward the door. When you open the door, you hear it quite clearly beckoning you outside. Now you can hear everything the voice is saying and you realize that you are being asked to do something you do not want to do. What is it that is being asked?
Pause and notice your inner response to this command or request.
Without judging yourself, observe what you are feeling. Do you feel compelled to comply? If so, why? If you want to refuse the request, why do you want to refuse? Is it something that feels beyond your abilities? Something that frightens you? Something you feel is morally wrong? Something that challenges your image of yourself?
As you stand in the doorway, you realize that there is a package on the step and you pick it up. It is clear that the package is intended for you in this moment and you open it. When it is opened, you discover the contents and a piece of paper on which is written, ‘This has been provided.’
What is in the package? Does it help you decide how to respond? Does it give you a new perspective or a different option? With the package open in your hand, you make your decision. What do you decide?
Without judging yourself, notice your feelings and thoughts. Allow them to be as complex and nuanced as they truly are. Continue to breathe deeply and stay with the emotions as long as possible. When you are ready, step back across the threshold into your house either to prepare for the task you have been offered or to return to sleep.
Take 3 or 4 more deep breaths and then open your eyes gently and let yourself become centered in this time and place. Take some time to write or draw some reflections on the meditation, something that you can return to this week and consider again.
As you move through your week, may you know this blessing:
May you be blessed with the courage to claim love.
May you be blessed with the love to face danger.
May you be blessed with enough danger to spark gratitude.
May you be blessed with the gratitude to act with generosity.
May you be blessed with the generosity to be honest.
May you be blessed with the honesty to be courageous.
Text © 2014, Andrea La Sonde Anastos
Photos © 2012, Immram Chara, LLC
Yes, I know I missed getting the mailing list functional by the summer solstice. I apologize. In the spirit of honesty, I have to admit that I am not truly skilled at technological anything. My daughter promises to help when she returns from China.