In a couple of days I’m heading for away for a fall mini-vacation to the mountains. Fall is my favorite time to vacation and I rarely get to experience its beauties away from the city, because of other demands. My friend, Leah, is hosting a wonderful series about the glories of the fall season on her blog. I’m hoping that I’m not too early to get to experience the season’s glory on my little mountain trip.
It’s mountains and leaves and fog that is on my mind, as I think about the past few days of my life.
I’ll admit it, I had a particularly tough weekend. Things are clearer and calmer now, but I think that it is worth sharing some of the particular chaos that can be, on occasion, my spiritual journey.
Yesterday, everything came to a peak (okay, either word I would have chosen would have been a bad pun) when I manufactured a migraine. Now wait, before you accuse me of going all new-age again, I know myself. I get stress migraines, as well hormone-related migraines, and, since the treatment for the physical cause of my migraine cycle has been working for almost a year, I will call a spade and spade and own up to having a stress migraine. I’ve worked and worshipped and performed through many a migraine in my day, but yesterday, I just couldn’t do it. I hit a wall, I was frozen.
I was totally fogged-in.
If you’ve been following my exploits, either in person or through this blog, you know that as part of my process, over the past couple of years, I basically stripped everything that was familiar out of my life and focused on listening — listening for the call of Spirit, listening for Guidance, listening for my own heart, and listening to those around me. And you will also know (although you may not have known that it was an intentional process) that, I have, one at a time, added things back in, things I thought that I wanted to try to reclaim — one at a time, as an intentional test of whether or not that activity was part of my call, part of who I am in this life, part of the tool kit that I need in order to accomplish my purpose on this earth. And all of this was very mindful and very intentional.
Because of that process of “adding-back”, I now write this blog, I was baptized, I was licensed, a took a fabulous, inspiring class and met wonderful people, and I sang at a music festival in Spain.
So I kept adding — and things started to go a little bit haywire. I added a committee at church that causes me to use skills and mental processes that I associate with an old way of life, I took on some additional concerts, some with people I have not worked with in years (again from what I call my “old” life), I agreed to a few more activities, I started attending meetings, I enrolled for another seminary class (again, a topic of study from my “old” life), I considered sending out resumes for auditions (and I did send out a few), and I accepted an audition invitation — an opera company audition. But I stopped adding in a mindful way — I’m not yet sure what was guiding me, if anything, but I was not any longer carefully considering and weighing each addition. And then, disaster.
Because you see, the image in my mind’s eye through all of this, the image that came back to me yesterday as I cried and rambled and accused everything from my upcoming trip to my audition last night for pulling me out of the flow of life, that image was the image of an old-fashioned scale with the old heavy round weights. And I just couldn’t shake the idea that I had somehow unbalanced that scale. A disaster for me, because achieving balance is for me the road to faith and sanity.
Not the kind of disaster that I would have had in the past, not a big-splat-public-fall-on-your-face disaster, but a disaster inside…inside of me. I started to get more and more angry, like an old version of myself; my personal projects that are closest to my feeling of call fell completely off the table and I didn’t know how I would get them back on; I began to doubt my decision-making process again; I felt like an animal trapped inside my skin, clawing to get out.
So I had a migraine. And I made my housemate’s life miserable all weekend. And I evaluated and disected my life and I cried and I prayed. And missed church and a class and I ate too many pieces of candy.
Then, last night, at 6 pm, I got in the car and drove to Rockville and did that audition.
Now, I am aware that the people I auditioned for last night have checked out this blog, they may have subscribed to it for all I know, and so they may see this. I decided this morning that that was okay, because, well, I don’t want to work with people who don’t know who I am any longer. That’s probably one reason why I write private things in a public forum. And I don’t mind if they know that — I had great anxiety before that audition, anxiety that adding opera back into my life would be a disaster. And after that audition, no matter what the outcome of that audition may be, I know that it will not be a disaster. Unless I make it one by not being mindful. And I thank them for that.
For you see, I know that my calling is about life, not just about a community in my life known as church. I know that it is time for me to take steps outside the safe walls of that community. I know that my calling cannot be realized in safety, that it requires risk. I know that it requires being seen, not hiding. But it also requires mindful choice and responsibility.
I chose; I auditioned.
And the fog burned off. For today, anyway.