Walking by lamplight

Walking by lamplight

Someone asked me once, “Have you had any spiritual experiences lately”? I stared back at them, unsure where to begin. It’s not that I didn’t understand, but it just never occurred to me to stand in front of the ocean and ask it if it ever felt wet…

For me, all of life, every waking moment, is unquestionably and predominantly a spiritual experience. And I have felt this way ever since I was a very little girl, looking to the sky, and communing with a sister who promised me she would make it rain on her funeral if she could (and indeed, it poured rivers on that fateful day).

I feel that I am almost constantly communing with a divine essence to life. I am always assessing and feeling into a greater purpose to my days and my choices. I sometimes wish I knew how to “take things lightly” and just be a wild, free hippy spirit… but I can’t. I am much more naturally an intense, observant, reflective, introspective and independent spirit who seeks adventure of the soul more than adventure of the body.

Ironically, those who know me will often remark on the “adventuresome” life I lead, because of the travel involved in my work. But I can’t really relate to what they’re saying. If they knew the deep rivers of contemplation and struggle that have been necessary for me to “follow my heart”, they might not use that word to describe me.

My path through life has always been an adventure, yes, but it is also often a hard-fought trek through some very deep valleys. And so, my life is an adventure (not because I am “traveling”) because my path is to truly quest. And I know that a spiritual quest necessarily includes ache and longing — ache and longing are lamps on your path, they never leave you, and they never lead you astray.

Of course, that doesn’t mean they are easy teachers. Ache and longing are strict guides, which challenge you to walk into the unspoken and unexamined corridors of our beliefs, our systems, our hearts.

And so, for me, life itself is a spiritual quest... one that requires you to embrace the shadow and the light, the pain and the purpose, the sacrifice and the illusion. “Spiritual experience” is not a postcard from a monk on a mountainside; it is born in the very personal, human moments that you become overwhelmed by the beauty of an emotion, of an expression, of an individual’s commitment to purpose.

To live in this way, with this lens, is an art form. And it requires a lifetime… to practice, to apply, and to learn.

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