(My Light Opera . . . )
I was here to make myself open to spirit guidance despite everything, so I forced myself to sing to the mountain. When the early sun had subdued the morning chill, I was able to take off my warm clothes and put on my hot pink sarong. Sun block, water and notebook in hand, I found a halfway comfortable place on the rocky beach and settled down to journal. I wrote freely, from my pain and from my heart, asking for guidance, yet feeling that I couldn’t quite trust it. Why did I always fluctuate back and forth from faith to cynicism? A psychic once told me that I often call for help from spirit and then I put up so many walls nothing can come through. Somehow, I knew that my inability to trust was intimately connected to painful unresolved issues with my mother.
Slowly, I allowed the land to support and nurture me. I journaled. I did yoga. I wandered about the space on the shore that I was making into my home. I swam in the frigid, shallow lake. Sometimes I took off the sarong and let the sun warm my skin. At last, I was letting the healing energy of the place fill me.
Then, in the early afternoon, I had a great insight. It was up to me to heal my concept of love. Since childhood, I have tried to twist love into what it was not...excusing and justifying what I couldn’t endure. Once, many years ago during an Al-Anon meeting, a seventy year old child of an alcoholic who remembered the pain of her childhood as vividly as I did told me, “If it doesn’t feel like love, it isn’t.” There was no need to condemn or judge, but it was also crucial not to tell stories to make things all better. That came from fear, not faith.
It all started with Mother, when I tried to make her love into what it wasn’t to make myself feel safe. I fell into a despair with this insight and floated aimlessly on the lake. How could I know that any love in my life was real, if my concept of love was so distorted? It was then that my guides and teachers led me relentlessly back to my journal to work out the other piece of the puzzle.
In the past, my feelings towards those I loved had been desperate, like a craving for coffee that had to be satisfied, even though I knew it would make me feel depressed and a little ill later on in the day.
“If it doesn’t feel like love, it isn’t.” But the love in my life did feel like love now. It was as nourishing as a swim in the clean lake, as gentle as the early morning sun. There was no sick feeling to it at all. There was no one in my life I desperately needed, even though there were many whom I wanted to be around. Could it be that I was already free, yet just not recognizing it? Could it be that I was truly healed? If so, perhaps I could now trust myself, just as my passenger had trusted me as we journeyed up that mountain road. Everyone had told me how well I had done, yet part of me hadn’t wanted to believe it. If I could open myself to the acknowledgement from others here in the material world, perhaps, similarly, I could open up to the spiritual realm I felt all around me.
In the sweat lodge, I had been clearly directed by spirit to sing an ancient Ave Maria I had learned many years ago. My first reaction was to scoff, “This is a Native American kind of ceremony. I can’t sing a Catholic chant.”
“Sing the Ave Maria!” the voice insisted. This beautiful music and my trained, light operatic voice reduced one of the women in the lodge to tears. It was exactly what she needed to connect with her mother, who had recently passed on to the other world. Trust was often so hard for me, but it wasn’t spiritual guidance I doubted. It was my own ability to hear it and know it for what it was.
After this insight, I sat at the rough altar I had made outside my tent in sight of the sacred mountain. For hours I chanted to the Goddess, using all the names I knew from the ancient mythology I loved so dearly. I sang and beat on an old piece of wood for a drum. I chanted to Hecate, Kali, Diana, Tara, Gaia, Athena, and other goddesses. As I sang to Her, the sacred mountain sat there serenely while a storm gathered over the lake and the sky darkened. I saw her, imperturbable in the murky light of evening, and realized that she had been there for thousands of years and would be there for thousands more. I felt her as a living presence and wondered if she could perceive me as well. My heart felt nourished and strengthened and I did not push the love away to make myself safe from disappointment.
Snug and secure, without a trace of fear, I heard the claps of thunder and the hail pelting upon my tent. The wind raced in afterwards, whipping at my home. Hav-ing figured out how to use the cord at the top to keep in the heat, I climbed into my sleeping bag and slept toasty warm.
I have known many times when it was a struggle to face the day. It has often taken all my courage to hold onto life, hoping that a tempest of emotional and physical hell would finally pass. And yet the storms did pass and here I was, healthy and happy, living in a spectacular place with a super relationship.
Wasn’t it time to be grateful? Wasn’t it time to see that, despite my confusion, love and guidance had been there all of the time? Clarity had come.
Coral undertook her spiritual adventure on a Spirit Quest led by Hanneli Francis and Melanie Rose in August, 1998. She lives and works at Breitenbush Hot Springs with her partner, Tim Zook, where she is completing her novel In Search of the Goddess. Writing this book has been a transforming experience and she fervently hopes that her readers will be inspired to explore their own goddess connections.To connect with Coral, or to find out about future Spirit Quest dates, contact Breitenbush Hot Springs, P.O. Box 578, Detroit, OR 97342; (503) 854-3320.