There is a woman who has come to our group meetings at the shelter for several months. But last week she sat on the grass in the parking lot. “I can’t come today,” she said. “I would just cry.” But I invited her again, and she came.
We sat in a circle. A candle was lit. We sit in silence, finding a feeling of love in our heart. Thinking of someone we love. Or of nature. And then we go into this silence.
After the meditation, I saw her face had lightened. She was calm, she said, and in the meditation something different happened for her:
“I found a place that was like darkness, but not really dark. It was very peaceful. In that place there was no thinking. No emotion. I’ve never experienced that before.”
Deep in the heart is a place that we can live from. It’s difficult to find as there is so much that covers over this place. And so many distractions. But it is as close to us as a silver necklace. It’s like listening to a sound carried by the wind.
Several years ago I was in Oropa, Italy, at the shrine of the Black Madonna. I had injured my leg a few months earlier so I couldn’t walk up the steep steps to the church where most of the tourists visited.
Instead, I headed for a little chapel, a little off to one side where few tourists walked. It was built into the rock and I had heard it was where women had come for centuries to pray.
I pushed open the heavy wooden doors and stepped inside the darkened chapel. What happened was not anything I was expecting. Before I could orient myself in the chapel, I felt an energy activated in my heart, as if I had been struck in the chest. I was brought to tears. There was a deep sweetness to it. I looked around and saw a man sitting in silent prayer. A few women walking around quietly.
Behind a guard rail, was a niche in which stood a three foot high statue of the Black Madonna. The niche was painted a deep cerulean blue, with gold stars. Like the night.
And I ask, now, what will help us to claim this deep, dark mystery? How do we connect to it? To come to it deeply. How do we serve it?
Always, I begin with listening. We listen inside, and to life.
Last week, during the silent meditation with the women at the shelter, Ginny, who works with me, saw an image of a circle of lotus flowers, as many flowers as there were women sitting in our circle. And then she heard these words:
Women – reclaim your worth.
To me, this can be subtle, like how the woman sitting alone on the grass, felt unworthy of sharing her tears with the group, as if she had no right to her sorrow.
Or how we turn from our knowing, because it is harder sometimes to stand in what we know, in what our body knows.
But this we are learning, each of us in our own way. Because life needs us to live the power of our worth.
Yes, I see that now…thanks so much.
Hmmm, cause and effect…no, I was just looking at the wonder of that.
Interesting….thanks for your insight. I tend not to look at the cause and effect so much as just accepting the wonder of it.
Anne, Did it occur to you that you hurt your leg, which you didn’t understand at the time, just so you would walk into that chapel?
Anne, as always I am deeply touched by the delicacy of your work and the amazing insights you bring forth. The beauty
Exquisite, dear Anne … So much to contemplate in this post, but beyond its words, the energy of that chapel has entered my heart as well. Thank you for bringing it across time and oceans and lands and memory to this moment, where every woman who reads this, can be struck deep in the heart and reclaim her worth.
Thank you, thank you, thank you for this message. It strikes a deep chord especially at this particular time in my life. Sometimes it is very difficult to experience this being in this world, in this body, with all the sorrows and to be able to remember at the same time the beauty we truly are. Thank God for the support I am receiving from my awesome women