Spiritual maturity is largely a growth in seeing, and full seeing seems to take most of your lifetime, with a huge leap in your final years.*
Once we’ve had an experience we don’t go back to the way we were before that’s experience.**
It’s never too late to find the transformational in a difficult experience.
This is not to transform the experience –
It is what it is –
But to be transformed.
The more we revisit the difficult times
Finding within them thresholds of possibility,
The more able we will become to find these in our present circumstances.
If we feel the difficult moments to be wasted time
then this is what they will be.
John O’Donohue writes about thresholds,
Reminding his readers that this word relates
Separating the grain from the husk or straw
which are then left behind:
A threshold is not simply an accidental line that happens to separate one region from another. It is an intense frontier that divides a world of feeling from another. Often threshold only becomes visible once you have crossed it. Crossing can often mean the total loss of all you enjoyed while on the other side; it becomes a dividing line between the past and the future. More often than not, the reason you cannot return to where you were is that you have changed; your are no longer the one who crossed over.^
O’Donohue and Rohr both speak of seeing,
Marie and O’Donohue both speak of personal change.
There is always more within a difficult memory or feeling to be explored.
Towards this, we might take a simple mindful position –
An imaginative exercise
as our imaginations are one of the first casualties when we have experienced hurt –
Sitting upright but relaxed with both feet on the floor.
Coming into your body,
Bringing your attention and curiosity to your breathing.
Remaining here a moment.
Then bring to mind a difficult memory,
And allow yourself to feel its intensity for a moment or two,
Again bringing your curiosity to this.
What is this memory or feeling trying to say?
It will probably be inarticulate, clumsy, even hurtful.
Notice where the memory is resting in you
and make this a place for the feeling to rest,
As something to be cared for rather than ignored or needing to be distracted from.
Invite the memory to speak again.
You are deeply listening,
And the more time you are able to provide
the clearer the memory will speak
until a threshold appears that you will be able to cross.
The memory has not changed but you have.
Do get in touch with me if you would like to be accompanied in this.
The world is alive, generous, and waiting patiently for us to figure it out.^^
*From Richard Rohr’s Falling Upward;
**From Bernadette Jiwa’s What Great Storytellers Know;
^From John O’Donohue’s Benedictus.
^^Tom De Blasis, from Maria Popova and Claudia Bedrock’s A Velocity of Being.