Lenten Pilgrimage | Mary + Gandhi teach us to LOVE ourselves


The YELLOW ROSE is a presence, an orientation and a readiness; a ground of being in a way that is authentic to who you are and how you want to live.


-Mary Magdalene, The Way of the Rose


In today's meditation, I walk on the large blue stones of the pathway to my beach, chanting my daily mantra: I lovingly embrace the day, walking with attention and intention, knowing that I am caring for myself. Ahead on the rocky beach, I see Mary Magdalene seated at my left and Gandhi seated at my right. I am at the culmination of this year’s Lenten pilgrimage and today we talk about LOVE.


Gandhi:

Today we talk about SELF LOVE.

I look to the both of them and know this will be important and wonder whether I will be confused. These are two power house masters and for some reason, they approach the topic of love from different vantage points. In the past, I assumed the difference was due to separate cultures, not to mention the immense time gap between their lives on earth, but for the first time I consider that it might be something much more obvious. Is it merely because of their sex? Or perhaps, more subtle: How does power factor into this equation? As I think about the possibilities, Mary grows her smile and Gandhi looks at me more intently.

Mary:

Let’s talk about the YELLOW ROSE. When you think about the yellow rose, what comes to mind for you Sally?

Sally:

I think of the area that corresponds to our solar plexus. It is the area of self-love. Where our esteem and confidence feed our will to share our gifts with the world.

This is an area I have the greatest trouble connecting with, frankly. At first, when you taught me about the yellow rose, I thought it had more to do with beauty. Then you helped me to see it was more about inner beauty, the values and beliefs that makes us who we are so we can give back to the world.

Gandhi:

That is correct Sally. You know the chakras are an ancient Indian system of healing and empowerment. In my culture, it is taken very seriously and has different levels of mastery. In simple terms, the chakra system is the relationship between your physical self and your energetic self. We can see both. We can see your with beautiful energies. We also see those who hold onto energetic weights that keep them from experiencing the fullness of life. Sometimes, you carry a “backpack.” This is what makes you exhausted; carrying the weight or worries of others.

In this time of trial for humanity, it is important to emphasize the role of self-love in the process of coming together as a people. If you cannot recognize your needs and how important you are, then you are unable to see the world around you with clear eyes.

I’m following Gandhi. He is talking about what I call CONNECTION. If you are unable to be grounded into your present experience, you will be unable to feel into your experience and process your emotions. When you connect with your heart first and tune into its desires instead of following the dictates of the mind, reality can be revealed as TRUTH. If you are unaware and follow your mind in the form of acting upon unbeneficial thoughts, then you are merely reacting to life. You don’t see the greater perspective. You are “taking on” or in my case, carrying an energetic back pack.

Gandhi:

That’s right.

I look to Mary.

Mary:

This is a pattern, Sally, and it is far from unusual. Give yourself some compassion here. You are a “feeler,” and feelers have the challenge of not picking up too much from what’s around them. You must become attuned to your sensitivities, especially in these times. Feelers need to feel. Once you feel, you move the energy through, you integrate the wisdom it offers and this allows you to open your heart.

Sometimes it’s hard to know if what you are feeling is yours or if it belongs to someone else. Boundaries requires an awareness that must be maintained. The separation allows your CLOUD of COMPASSION to strengthen and infuse the world around you with your gifts.

Breathe into your own space. Let yourself open into your own beliefs, values and meaning. This is the inner beauty that breathes life into your will! Honoring your beliefs allows you to serve others and serve yourself by respecting your own needs.

Remember that a peaceful mind will follow an open heart.

I understand Mary. I consider my pattern of putting others before me, as a healer, empath and medium. I remember one of the values that Jesus taught me, “Consider your own feelings, first.” I breathe deeply into the concept of my cloud of compassion and how I am a light for the world. The idea of opening my heart. Keeping my heart open. This seems like a constant challenge. In fact, I’m not sure it is possible.

And merely with the thought, Mary and Gandhi look down in unison. This is when I notice something in their laps. Below Mary is the head of a scarlet red rose, fully bloomed. It is floating in mid-air! Below Gandhi is a lotus in bloom. How perfect for the Mahatma. Its root goes into water that is also floating? and I try to trace it---

Gandhi:

Opening your heart is a practice. Do you remember the definition of a PRACTICE?

Sally:

“The effort to remain stable with open awareness.”

Gandhi, nodding yes:

A devotee is someone who walks slowly enough to be present in the moment. He notices what is at his feet so he can respond in a way that is true to his ideals, does not involve harm, and bears action with compassion. Sometimes that action is merely to be patient. Sometimes it involves speaking up in a way that is against the status quo. Sometimes it involves stopping on his path to check whether his motives are in line with the greatest good.

In this case, the greatest good is first seeing to your own self, your own life. Are you open to the reality of who you are? Can you really "see" yourself? Your heart? Do you understand how your life impacts others-or your own path?

I stare at Gandhi. I think about my recent life. Moving to Orcas to start my business. Going “all in.” The words from Marianne Williamson come to mind…Your playing small does not serve the world. Before my thought completes, Gandhi rises from his seat and they both lead me to the Douglas fir tree amidst the landscaping off the beach. It is the area of the yellow rose at Gentlewood.

Gandhi moves to my left and Mary to my right.

Gandhi:

Let’s practice together.

Mary:

Sally, close your eyes.

Mary, louder in an exalting voice:

Sally, do you believe you are a child of God?

Do you feel that you are loving, loved and deeply, deeply lovable?

Do you believe that your will is pure & has a stake in the life of your world?


Then, with us, accept the marriage of your passion with compassion!

And say YES to your open heart!

I chant yes! to Mary’s incantations and as she offers this vow of marriage, I begin to feel the inner bloom of a great energy…a manifestation of their blessings! I feel my heart open and vibrate with a new reverberation!!! As a smile paints my face, I feel the energy wave into ripples from around my chair. When I open my eyes, a new reality is revealed in my own backyard! I see two worlds; one, the physical world of my plantings-lavender, heather, beach wood- but superimposed on it is an energetic world! Flying female nymphs, little soldiers near rocks, why...I’m being shown the elemental world! The realization evaporates the second world, right before my eyes.

Mary:

Opening your heart is a practice. Being present to nature will open your heart, forgiveness opens the heart, showing gratitude…these are each sure-fire ways to keep your heart open, allowing the truth to be revealed to you. Open to the good that is you. Feel into the compliments that come your way.

Courageously accept yourself as a whole, radiant and spiritual being.

Love yourself as we love you.

Gandhi:

It is not necessary to think through this process. This is a state of being. You only need to take care of yourself. Love what you do, who you are. The rest will follow.

I nod in understanding. My chest hurts a little and my eyebrows furrow. Both Gandhi and Mary smile.

Gandhi:

Your heart is getting used to a new exercise! Be responsible. Get your fresh air. Eat well. Breathe deeply. Forgive yourself. You’ve done nothing wrong. When you walk, look ahead in gratitude. There is much to look forward to.

Mary and Gandhi turn around and begin to move toward the water. I lean forward to stand but the surrounding energy disallows this. A time to be patient. I take the cue and close my eyes. I feel into the stiffness of my heart and lungs, letting them know, I’m here. I’m here.


REFLECTION QUESTIONS:


  • What values, beliefs, gifts make up your inner beauty?

  • When does your heart close? How are you "playing small?"


PRACTICE:


1. Get a recording device. Your phone works well.

2. Recite Mary Magdalene's incantation above being sure to leave a pause after each question.

3. Find a quiet place. Light a candle, take a few deep breaths or say a short prayer. Play the recorder and affirm aloud your pledge to yourself and to Spirit. Activate your 3rd chakra and

Say YES! to an open heart and loving yourself!



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