I meet Mary Magdalene on the beach at Gentlewood, my home on Orcas Island. We walk towards Mt. Hood, Winslow my horse guide following close behind. Our steps crunch the path that is more pebbles than sand.
Let's walk more slowly and softly.
We slow down together and I look to Mary for direction.
I thought today's topic would be LISTENING. You thought about this at church and it is perfect.
Sally, what is your life telling you?
I am amazed at the wisdom of her question! Mary knows that I'm trying to live a path of daily pilgrimage since my return from her grotto in France. After the trip, I realized how pilgrimage is both path and journey. Daily walk and destination.
Go into your heart. Listen to what it wants you to know.
I close my mind's eyes and breathe deeply on my mediation mat, dropping into my heart space. I feel tightness in my chest. My heart tells me that I pushed my body too hard today.
I cleaned too much today trying to get ready for my move back to the house. I'm on a schedule--
Sally, startled (Mary's never interrupted me before):
Yes. And no. (I'm a bit confused now) I need to be out of my rental by the end of the month.
Everything and everyone is on a schedule, Sally. They are useful. They help us look ahead. The key is to look at the path below your feet. When you listen to this message in your body, what does it bring up for you?
A sense of anxiety. Being too busy. Busyness in general...This isn't what I want.
But it is what you are experiencing.
Sally, smiling in return:
Yes, it is. When I listen to the story of Lent and the walk to Easter, I get uncomfortable. Lots of feelings around judgment, trial, agony.
Now you're listening! Stay with this. Explore it. How is this relevant to your relationship with Jesus? To yourself and being on the Path? How can you better listen to the feelings of your world?
When you listen with an open heart an open mind will follow.
Mary, cocking her head:
What is that saying you have?
Two ears, one mouth.
Yes! That's right!
We stop to face the water. We listen to the sounds of waves, seagulls, and waving seagrass. I think about whether my relationship with Jesus is uncomfortable.
Mary, keeping her gaze on the view:
Have you noticed that when you truly listen to someone, time stands still?
After a pause, we begin to walk again. I stare down at the passing pebbles.
My heart feels burdened. It feels heavy when I think about Jesus carrying the cross.
What I didn't say aloud was my question around whether or how he still bears the cross of the world today.
It's important to feel that. To think about these things. Bear witness.
Passion is about love and suffering.
So, when I feel this I am bearing witness.
Yes. To bear witness is to be present on the Path. Your footsteps may become heavy. What is the burden you carry? What does this suffering teach you? Once you learn its lesson you can take it in and let it go. You've said many times that grieving is important. Grieve.
Sally, even burdens need compassion. After loving, listening is the most
important thing we do. Only when we truly listen can we get to the heart of the matter.
What I learned:
It's common to have many feelings at once. By listening and staying present, I was able to follow the thread of feelings though anxiety, discomfort, discovery and compassion in regards to my current feelings towards Lent.
Listening to the heart and body is the primary discipline for staying on the Path. When I get lost in "busyness," my first practice is to look down and feel in. Connect with my heart.
What is your life trying to tell you?
How can you listen to your heart more carefully the next few weeks?