“Spiritual unfolding is a universal field of influence and belonging. We all inhabit it and are inhabited by it.
It constitutes a central aspect of our being and becoming and unites us indelibly with the tapestry of creation itself.”
Hello Dear Friends and Readers,
This week I blogged my tenth post having to do with my cancer experiences. For the second time I am rejoicing in the closure of that particular topic. After my guest post next week, I will submit 4 posts about my connection to Marilyn Monroe or rather Norma Jeane in preparation for my upcoming book, Ragdoll Redeemed: Growing up in the shadow of Marilyn Monroe.
I am writing an extra post this week for two reasons. First, to thank all of you who have supported me throughout this blogging adventure. Those of you who know me know that writing is quite a challenge for me.
My second reason for writing is to alert you to next week’s post entitled, “Sacred Living and Sacred Dying” by Reverend Bill Sell-Lee. I am so excited to pass on this thought provoking post. Bill and I have both faced our own mortality through illnesses and walked with others as they continued on their journey beyond. These sometimes frightening, sometimes beautiful experiences have been the topic often shared by Bill and myself over the years. I thought it fitting that I end my cancer series on this provocative and inevitable subject.
Bill is a dear friend, colleague and spiritual companion. A retired Episcopal Priest following a career in engineering. As unrepentant seekers we bonded in our individual and collective endeavors toward the divine within-ness, the ground of our being, the spark within that is part of the Eternal flame.
In the early nineties we completed a two year non-denominational program in spiritual direction through The Pacific Northwest program in Spiritual Direction. After an extensive entrance process, I thought I had enrolled in a program to learn the ways and means of personal spiritual direction. Sort of like a nun without having to enter a convent. I was ready to work hard for the beloved God of my non-understanding. Oh how I wanted to know, to learn, to love. Turns out, I was enrolled in a program to learn how to become a spiritual director. Ooops. While I was delighted to be among so many non-denominational religious men and woman of “the cloth” I felt quite inadequate.
The program was extraordinary, if not exhausting. It was there that I learned of a program in theology offered at Seattle University. Relatively new to the area, living 2 hours from Seattle, I knew nothing of the school. It was the only school I had heard of where I could study things of God. I was determined to enter this intriguing program. I will never forget my entrance interview.
Interviewer J. “Could you tell me a little about your spiritual beliefs and habits?” (I immediately wished she had asked me about my sex life instead of my spiritual beliefs because talking about one’s view of God or mystery or maybe even a non-belief in God, often stirs ire in people. I felt scared but knew that I had to answer her).
Me: I can tell you that God, or the mystery, is the most important thing in my life. For many years I have maintained an early morning prayer and meditation practice. However, I have never been able to settle on any particular dogma.
J: You do understand that this is a Christian university?
Me: Aha, no, I did not realize that.
J: This is also a Jesuit University?
J: Maybe you could just curb your “Non-dogma” ideas around campus?
Me: Sure, ok, I can do that. (How in world do I get myself into these things I wonder)?
I cannot begin to tell you the depth and breadth of this experience. I loved it. I wrote endless papers about my “unorthodox” spiritual beliefs. I felt embraced, enlivened, and hungry for more spiritual knowledge. Never once was I asked to conform to anyone else’s beliefs in the mystery of God. I was encouraged to go deeper into my own understanding. I graduated with a master’s degree in theology and was profoundly proud to have been raised catholic even though “the church” is not the home of my heart.
My heart home, like my grandmother before me, is a small prayer table in the privacy of my home.
While at SU, we were all required to seek spiritual direction. I choose Bill Sell-Lee. As I bumbled my way through quantum theories, the notion that nothing exits or makes sense in isolation continued to perplex and attract me. I will always be grateful for Bill’s spiritual direction; constantly re-framing my questions into the deeper spiritual implications.
May you enjoy his article next week as much as I have (I got to read it already).
Happy Holidays, dawn
Article (December 6th) by Rev. Bill Sell-Lee, retired Episcopal Priest
Art work by Rev. Bob Luckin, Center for Spiritual Living
Quote by Diarmuid O’Murchu, Catholic Priest and social psychologist,
Author of Quantum Theology: Spiritual Implications of the New Physics