all of my energy today is going to have to go into staying steady. think i will go to the river and do that meditation i got from that pema chodron CD that chali gave me. i'm so glad that she is my sponsor... she *gets* me, she really sees me, without judgment, without blindness... she sees me with soft eyes, truth-eyes, compassionate eyes. she is so gentle with me, like a fucking lion tamer she is! she is constantly putting her healer's hands into my vicious jaws and gently lifting out the innocent victims of my cruel, angry thoughts and words. she teaches me by example how to relax, to be gentle; she is the distilled antidote to the anxious, constant stream of criticism that is running through my mind, about myself (especially) and others (when i feel threatened). she shows me how to be patient, how to wait, how to trust... really grateful for her. i don't talk to her that often, maybe once or twice a week, but i don't really need to talk to her more often than that... i'm not sure i could tolerate it! she busts off big chunks of truth for me to digest, and i need time in between sessions with her! but i appreciate her. sometimes i feel like we are dancers; occassionally she has misstepped, or i have, trampling each others toes... but the beauty of it is that we keep dancing, and i feel like somehow, by the grace of God really, a lovely bond of trust has come into being between us... a willingness to overlook the imperfection that we are both bound to bring to the table. we can even sit and openly point out and talk about our humanness and share a chuckle about it. i am becoming less fearful, little by little.
it is also easier to trust, relax and feel at peace in the world when you stop involving yourself in drama, bullshit, etc. when i approach other people and situations with a spirit of peace, they cannot help but respond in kind... even if they bring conflict or negativity to the table, it quickly fizzles out in the face of my non-engagement, and they either rise to and honor a peaceful vibe, or they are forced (not by me) to pick up their hater-pack and keep walking. i still often find myself being triggered into attack/defense modes, though, and getting pulled back down to that level, which is troubling. investing in the good, creating peace of mind/heart, conscious contact (as continuous as we can keep it), maintaining balance and restoring it when it is lost... those are my practices right now. working on confronting mySELF, and my own fears, rather than confronting other people. any conflicted feeling outside of me is ultimately only a reflection of some conflict within me. if it resolve what is going on inside, everything outside will take care of itself.
mmmm, God is talking about the future. dusting off some of my old dreams and realizing that He has purified my intentions over the past few years through some of this painful, hard-won clarity. my life's dream has always been to save some $, move to south america and buy a large tract of land to build a self-sufficient compound that is both orphanage and school... perhaps someday i will. but in the meantime, getting this post bacc in education. teaching in the public school system. and starting a non-profit, the scope of which i don't totally know yet, but it's more authentic to me and less escapist. "the house that love built": a home for foster children (and their families), a home for wards of the court/state, a home for pregnant teens... a home for those who may not be homeless in the sense of having nowhere to live, but who are homeless in the sense that they have never had a sense of *home*... a place of belonging and love, where others are invested in and committed to their welfare. a place where people can seek refuge from the disintegration of the family, nuclear and extended. a place where we can foster the children AND the parents, so that they can be families again. a place where we can teach teens how to be good parents, and provide them the community support and mentoring they need to mature and develop into the parents they can become... a place where children who have been thrown away and forgotten by society, who have fallen through the cracks, who have been tossed into the judicial system or gone through other hardships that have left them at the mercy of bureaucracy can be saved from that, given a home and a place to be loved, raised and educated, given parenting and help transitioning to adulthood instead of being sacrificed to institutions or hopeless futures. this is my dream! this is God's dream, His heart, beating inside of me. THIS is what i could devote the rest of my life to, passionately, without regret, and not care if i died with less than $10 in the bank as long as i had food to eat, a roof over my head, and the ability to work toward this goal til the day i die.
i think that if i finish cleaning up my credit, get that degree and teach, and save some money, it would be very feasible to buy properties in urban areas at a cheap price and rehab them for a low cost. that would be ideal anyway because i want them to be HOMES, like family-dwellings, not some institutional-feeling building. incorporate urban farming/gardening and good eco-practice (rain barrels, compost piles, and the like). imagine taking a foster child or children, helping them work through their issues, get them on the right track in school if need be, meanwhile working with their parents to address their issues (rehab, counseling, anger management, parenting classes, housekeeping/cooking/gardening/etc...), except instead of doing it the bullshit way it's done now, actually taking them into a home, SHOWING them and teaching them how to be a family, how to care for themselves and each other... beautiful. the possibilities for networking with other agencies and nonprofits, and grants/funding are limitless, and while i work on my degree i can research that and start planning. this is a big project and will probably be several years in the making, but if i start working towards it now, i can plant myself in a "job" that i would joyfully do everyday for the rest of my life, be able to make a living (literally, a living, not any extravagance) and serve God at the same time. beautiful. i get so excited every time i even think about any aspect of this... because it would be FUN, and fulfilling!
if you want to solve a problem, take all the focus off of the problem and start living the solution. be the change. etc. this has been said many times in many ways... but there it is. i think single-minded focus and attention is the solution. i have been prone to distraction, getting dragged off of my path by getting wrapped up in things that have nothing to do with who i am or what i'm about. this is what i am about... this is the path He is opening up in front of me, this is what i am meant to give my life for... there are a lot of ways to take up your cross, so to speak. Jesus literally gave his life... but we usually are not put in a position to have to die for our beliefs. instead, He is calling me to give up my life in the sense of, not directing it toward my own pleasure or satisfaction. not focusing on the job/house/car/relationship or whatever it is that i think i deserve/want/"need" for myself. if i devote myself to the work that He gives me to do, i will never want for anything, and i will have a full rich life, a peaceful one. my conflicts will be of spiritual opposition rather than personality/self-will clashes. i will always have something to contribute. this is really all i want. to be the adult that was not available to me as a child/teen... the mentor/"parent"/educator that i did not have. i had to learn the hard way and pick my way along my path as best as i could, with God's help... but it can be different for the generations coming up behind me. they don't have to go through what i went through. all of that pain can be put to a positive purpose if i can bring myself to give up illusion and devote myself to truth. i have often fooled myself by thinking that if only i could cut myself free from all of this baggage, that i could reward myself with the life i "deserve"... with material things, relationships, this cookie cutter life i thought i should have, that i thought equalled success. i now know that is hollow and that my freedom is conditional on my willingness to continually engage in the cause of freedom. i did not escape so that i could have my pleasure at the expense of (or willful ignorance) of others' suffering. i am ready to really give Him my life for real. besides, what did i ever make out of my own life that was so awesome? even the best products of my self-will were nothing compared to the future He promises.
this is serious. i am excited! but i know that this is going to entail a lot of sacrifice. that sacrifice is going to grow me into a new and better human being. i am so excited! i looked in the mirror this morning and for a moment i glimpsed my own face, but at 40, and 60. i saw my silver-grey hair, i saw the wisdom and joy in my face, and i thought, i have to begin living this way NOW, so that i will arrive there then... i have to be the woman now who will have become that beautiful spiritual grandmother. i want to follow in great aunt dot's footsteps. i wear her locket everyday, with the mustard seed inside, to remind me... a touchstone. anyway, He's planted this seed in my heart, and i gotta tell ya, every time i think about it, my heart overflows with joy and i say a little prayer of thanks, and feel like i am gonna cry, not for sadness but for joy... it overwhelms me, the simplicity and appropriateness of it. GOD IS GOOD. :)