I am delighted at the privilege of having this blog entry posted on the Hedgebrook Farmhouse Table Blog, January 14, 2016. (Hedgebrook photo)
In Awe of Seeming Randomness
Shoe started it… (We are extremely lucky when we have a friend like her.) She knew I was working on memoir.
Her: “Do you write poetry?”
Me (without hesitation): “No. I’m not a poet.”
Her: “You really should give it a try.”
She had planted a seed. Then, our lovely Bonnie Stinson announced her zine “Radicle” and tossed out the initial theme “Queer.”
WTF, I thought. Why not give it a go? I invited my inner muse to play along. She did not disappoint. “I Am Queer” appeared in “Radicle’s” first issue.
Muse then whispered, “What about those poems you wrote…?” and I recalled the reflections and meditations from ten to fifteen years ago that for some reason I’d saved. Re-reading them now proved a powerful experience of cellular recall, gratitude for the journey from there to here, and new appreciation of myself as a lyrical writer. Once gathered, some eighty pages sat before me. They, along with several new pieces, now live within Liminal: Poetry from the Depths of Transition, a volume I have just published via CreateSpace and now available on Amazon and Kindle.
In 1998, I was attending a Catholic seminary, working on a Masters degree in theology and a certificate in Pastoral Ministry/Spiritual Direction. Stacey Bakula, one of the younger cohort of students, asked me to be her spiritual director. What I did not know in that moment of accepting her request was that Stacey had a terminal neuro-degenerative disease. By the time I learned this several weeks later, something in my soul had already recognized our profound, impossible to explain, existential connection. Such a seemingly simple “Yes” would open for me a portal into acute awakening, root-stirring personal growth, and intense soul synthesis. That is a portion of the story I strive to recount as I write my memoir.
The pages of Liminal comprise a poetic memoir of moments in and movements through periods of deep transition—profound disorientation, heart-wrenching letting go, never- failing love and compassion, and radical spiritual evolution.
I am continually amazed at the journeys our souls navigate through our human lifetimes. Again and again, I sit in awe at the apparent randomness of our experiences, often recognizing only in hindsight how surprisingly appropriate the timing and content of encounters with others, chance meetings, and apparently spontaneous occurrences have been. Before I could even recognize what I needed in order to take my life course to its next level, the ingredients had already shown up. How many time might I have missed these openings, those invitations?
It doesn’t matter. I now know with certainty that I can trust the Universe to offer opportunities anew. She is infinitely more patient than I. I had to start with small things. Perhaps we all do. And not all of us will have to encounter the seismic upheavals I went through as a result to that “yes” to Stacey. But I now have no doubt that however it took place, I had to go into those tremors in order to follow my soul’s path.
My level of trust in the Universe’s wisdom, and my appreciation of her humor, continues to expand. My antennae tune in faster and more sharply these days. I rejoice when I observe friends and acquaintances experiencing their AHA! moments as well. Most of all, even in the midst of difficult times, gratitude and joy are ever accessible and intimately tangible. Language is such an inadequate vehicle for describing all of this.
My sojourn with Stacey ultimately led me to Whidbey Island and thereby to Hedgebrook. What a treasure this magnificent resource is. The voices of women, along with others who have been historically sequestered on the margins or silenced altogether, produce healing and transformative change in our world. How exciting it is to be a part of the Hedgebrook energy, to have access to the beautiful and powerful work of other women writers, to be able to encourage and be encouraged by such warm, supportive spirits.