(Written in March 2009)
I’ve been reading God’s Joyful Surprise by Sue Monk Kidd, whose Secret Life of Bees I love. This one is a little difficult because her experience is so different from mine. She was clearly loved by her parents, but at the same time she internalized the competitive cultural spirit — possibly because they had given her the confidence to succeed? So she tried to do it all “Super Mom” etc. and nearly killed herself. Being forced to slow down made her question how she was going about being a Christian and what was her relationship to God. She had experiences of God loving her unconditionally that I really envy. The closest I ever got was the Red Woman’s approval as I worked on the painting, the couch that morphed into a goddess, and the welcoming God at the gate of heaven. Unfortunately none of those lasted — and also they came spontaneously, when I wasn’t trying. I think of all the work I’ve done, the years of Zen practice, the years of therapy, for so little result. Though I can see that trauma had a large part in it. How could I advance spiritually with such gaping unhealed wounds? And it was the pain of the wounds that drove me, not a sense of discontent with a life that at least outwardly looked like a success.
I have been trying to hand my life over to God. I don’t remember exactly when I started, but I was feeling so confused and hopeless and discouraged, and that my own efforts were unavailing, so I started praying something like “I can’t do this, god, so if you want me to continue, if my life has some meaning in your scheme of things, then You must help me. You must show me what to do and help me do it.” I keep letting go of the financial situation into God’s hands, and I’ve been letting go of Neskaya too, since it’s obvious that I can’t make much contribution there the way I am right now. Not that I am somehow expecting god to make everything all right. I have no idea what God’s plan is, or how Neskaya fits into it.
What I’m trying to do is stay in the present moment as much as possible, take care of myself and my dog, and keep asking for help.