Posted by: innerpilgrimage | July 7, 2010

A Modern Gnostic Text for My Personal Journey (or, The Three Words for My Personal OA Journey)

      In the last few days, I have been treated to the best of Italy, traveled to an Ashram in India, and now I have just arrived in Bali to gain wisdom about balancing pleasure of the mundane world with the serenity of the spiritual world.

      That journey will be extremely familiar to those who have read Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love. I am gleaning so much from her own spiritual journey put to paper (same as I have before for others, like St. John of the Cross). I feel a depth of understanding, of connection with her journey. No, this is not the moment where I start stalking Ms. Gilbert and decide I have to be her best friend and start wearing a blonde wig because I deliriously decide I am her. Man, that was creepy to write! I am not really worried about Elizabeth Gilbert the writer. More power to her. Don’t know where she is; not worried about it; not wanting to seek her out. I think . . . I think I have learned that maybe I am a person of little dust over my eyes. My eyes are not hopelessly caked. Her Guru’s teachings have been passed through her and I sit in deep meditation (reading) in the middle of the night. In India, it was midday as I went to that sanctuary of words. And the inner path, the amazing internal journey of a person struggling to let go of the ego so God could rush in like the air after a lightning strike (with an audible, deafening roar like a thunderclap) hit me square in the soul. This is a book I need to be reading right now. A year ago? I wasn’t ready. A year from now? Too late. Right message. Right time. And I am humbly grateful for it (and the fact it was given with deep love from a close friend who I am realizing is my best-friend-who-I-am-not-married-to).
      I am seeking the spiritual path in a mundane world, and the idea of balancing those two worlds. Italy, through her eyes, was a delight, but it did not reach to me as much as the journey to the Ashram. I think because I have spent so much time facing off with “pleasure” and found myself unable to partake with any semblance of normalcy in it (when it comes to food), that the part about Italy was a fun travelogue, an opportunity to watch her finally walk from a relationship that was killing her. I, too, have melted into Davids (some were actually named “David”; most were not). I tell my friend, “I can be any man’s perfect woman for a week. Then I rebel.” The unspoken part is: ” . . . and become psychotic. Stalking psychotic. Lying psychotic. Screaming and gnashing teeth and wailing and wanting to scratch and hit and bite because the tempest of pain within wants that man to face the power of my pain.”
      Hell hath no fury . . .
      Anyway, that part of my life is in the past, and the residual pieces of it are sliding away from me. Instead of gripping them (or, more honestly, being gripped by them as I cling to them desperately), I am content to release them. The agony of wanting to fall in romantic love is gone (that really does help when one’s married, she says in self-annoyance), and what’s left is a hunger for a spiritual relationship with the Universe. With Creation. With, well, with my Creator.
      This last month has built so much that I could not understand, and I am collecting physical and mental knowledge so I can break down more of the wall between me and the spiritual. It’s bizarre, taking an internal journey at the same time I am taking an external one. Like driving in a car, I have a dual existence. I am the master of a vehicle that interacts with the world (though not, thank HP, in a calamitous way); I am the self inside that compartment, wearing a shell of metal, plastic, and glass. I am pushing through wind surrounded by people. I am burning petrol to get where my body (my car?) needs to be. So I can be released from the shell and . . . so I can leave the shell . . . No words. Hm. I know what I am feeling about it, but I have no words for it. So, distilled: Me traveling in shell, held apart from the world. Me leaving shell when I reach a temporary destination, and travel by foot. If that has a pull to anyone, run with it. The meaning is too big for me to use words to describe it–which is a good thing.
      It has been a rollicking journey over the last week. I did hit a meeting, and I shared that I have had both mundane-compulsive experiences and spiritual-serene experiences. How can the same week–even the same city!–hold two completely different experiences?
      Well, I’m finding the souls I interact with make a huge difference. On that first Sunday, at the gallery, it was drama and compulsion, and “Look at my Spiritual Advancement, oh I am sooooooooo wise!” And then there was the desperation to go back and get another shot of excitement. Oh, baby, I was jonesin’ the drama like it was heroin. I CRAVED it. I had, in essence, an ego-driven day.
      Walking back into the drama armed with two people who really foster peace, I was able to take their words and make peace. C— and L— are wonderful people who have something I can’t explain. C— could say, “Okay, it’s in the past. Let it go now,” in a way that didn’t piss me off. EVERYONE pisses me off when they tell me to let something go. C— didn’t. It was that peaceful, hopeful smile he offered, possibly. But whatever it was, I wanted the serenity he had. And the drama was too dramatic. But the situations did get diffused. And I enjoyed meeting C— and L—. They’re great together. She is stunning inside and out; he’s a cutie who is a little boy and wise old man thrown together. They just . . . fit. Add their two sweet dogs, and they’ve got a wonderful little Ashram, a commune of four souls with ten legs.
      I’ve fought taking control of my friend’s move, which is a cast-iron bitch because I feel guilty. But I also know that my best-friend-who-I’m-not-married-to is a control freak just like me.
      Oh, I got so mad at him this week for being told to calm down over and over, yet the minute he went frenetic and I used the same damned words, he turned it around and attacked me and told me I was being controlling. Oh, my mental self wanted my physical self to smack him for what I perceived to be the capital crime of Hypocrisy against Jess!
      And then I remembered . . . um, I am that person, too. I get upset and blame others for my butt-hurtedness (okay, it’s not a real word, but it expresses what I want to say . . .). I, in essence, demand the world be at peace while I rage like a storm ri-i-i-i-ight in the center of it all. Ring . . . Ring . . . Hello, Jess! This is your big, inflated Ego calling!
      So, I worked to let it go to my Higher Power. I kid you not. I went, “Clearly this is a learning experience, an opportunity. Let go the control of the move. Be the sand between the rocks. Do footwork, but make it small steps, not giant leaps.” So I packed his valuables with a love I do not hold for anything of my own. I transported them in my car. Hell, I even played some perky Enya for his plants while we drove (including “The Memory of Trees”, which I found a cute irony to play to plants).
      The things which were dear to his soul, which were the physical manifestation of collecting beauty (and he is a collector of beauty), became dear to my soul. I gently wrapped each piece of his heart in tissue. I packed it carefully. I moved it with extreme love and hand-transported it in my car. Because all of it means something to someone who means something to me. To me, it was a physical representation of what I should be doing with his heart, his love, his soul. Carry what small pieces he will allow; wrap it all gently in tissue; hand-carry it with love and great care to its destination so it arrives unbroken, and unscathed.
      Not so perfect, though. I had a lamp of his in the back of my car when I parked it last night, and it fell over onto the carpet of the back of my car because I did not take the time to pad around it when I was getting out of the way of the moving truck. But my Higher Power decided that the awareness I could take away with it (to be mindful next time) was worth only a quiet thump. Nothing broken. Nothing dented. Nothing dinged, scratched, cracked, or chipped. What a lovely forgiveness, a reminder that I have to be mindful all of the time. And I appreciate it being such a gentle one.
      Oh, yesterday was the capper, a wonderful moment of pure HP-driven life. Okay, so we’re on our way back from the condo to get more things. And I had two 16 oz Diet Cokes at In-N-Out. I mention In-N-Out because they are part of what I like about America. Private corporation, committed to good food and human decency to their employees. Really great company.
      Well, excess-plus-caffeine equals . . . well, we all know what it means. For some bizarre reason, my friend leads the truck down a street that I know connects to the house, but not “fast enough”. At a right-turn red light, I lose them in traffic. There’s no way I can get to the house without having an accident. Just . . . no. Self-will vs. reality, and I gave control over to my Higher Power, asking for a grocery store. Lo and behold, a block later? A grocery store. So, I stop at the grocery store, which showed up like a beacon of “Need to Be There, Jess.” (My HP loves surprises apparently, and I think sometimes it’s like a little kid just vibrating with excitement as you unwrap the gift s/he made on Mother’s Day or birthdays or the Winter Holidays. Just . . . that jubilation at having a special surprise just for you). Very important note . . . the whole row in front of the store is packed, okay? Remember this part. When I arrived, the whole row in front of the entrance and exit had not one space.
      After a little unpleasant moment that had to involve apologies, I was able to use the powder room. Two lanes open, lots of people in line, and I decide, “Well, I ought to pay my powder room tax,” so I try to find something I want. I find it and it’s more expensive there than the really expensive grocery store down the street from the home I own in this state.
      So, I walk toward the exit, get out, and . . . a friend I haven’t seen since mid-2009 is literally standing at her car right where I exited. In a parking stall in that front row that was completely full, but now has 2 empty spots to the left of hers. This person was in nearly all of my paralegal classes from the beginning. I helped this person when her father passed away, literally just as one of our classes started. And I got to see the depth of humanity in a very demanding professor, who urged me to take care of my friend over worrying about my classwork (which I was allowed to make up). And there she was, the woman who was and is and always will be my surrogate Mom, the woman who gave me smacks upside the head.
      She was stunned and delighted to see me . . . especially 100 lbs. healthier. And then my moving-into-my-place friend called me (or did I call him? Doesn’t matter. The connection happened), and I was able to tell him I was safe and that I reconnected with the third side of our little tight triangle friendship. And . . . I have changed. I. Have. Changed.
      As I try not to laugh in public, I have to add, “for the better”. I have turned down worse and worse paths, darker and darker places. But the slow careful steps toward the lit garden . . . no words. Just is. I can’t explain it. I’m just feeling it.
      And I am so thankful for the joys of an HP-driven life, when two people who wanted to reconnect but couldn’t figure out how when ego was involved just tripped over each other when the Universe was allowed to move us into position to reconnect. So much. So much. And despite having few words for some of it, it seems I had enough to fill this entry.
      My name is Jess, and I am a food addict. My 12-Step food-addicted journey has words. Eat. Pray. Love. Thank you, Elizabeth Gilbert, for writing it. I am finding my own answers, gleaning wisdom from your own hard-earned wisdom.
      No words any more. It’s time to go see what surprises, spiritual lessons, and Universal coincidences my HP has for me today.



  1. […] enjoying some really good spiritual enlightenment.       I read the book last year, at the beginning of July. It moved the Hell out of me, despite the romance in the […]

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