Comforting Words: Still Dancing and Loving It!

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Still Dancing and Loving It!

Different year, different place but the affirmation is the same.

Soon after joining the Universal Centre of Truth (UCT) in Kingston, I had the pleasure of being part of the team that planned and coordinated the visit of Reverend Edwene Gaines to Jamaica. She is popular in the Unity church network and is a powerful inspirational and prosperity teacher.

It was her personal story that struck me and propelled me into the decision months later (in 2001) to travel to her ranch in Tennessee for a weekend retreat/workshop. The name of the retreat was by itself intriguing – Dancing with Your Dark Side – but what was more compelling was the knowledge that I had a dark (shadow) side!

My conscious spiritual journey had begun only a year prior, after leaving a high-paying dream job with a regional agency that had me traveling throughout the Caribbean. The separation from my family was too much. Although the financial reward was great, allowing us to purchase a house and keep our mortgage payments current, the impact that the distance was having on us as a unit and as a couple was too high a price. So we decided that I should return home.

Not more than a month after returning to Jamaica from St. Lucia, my journey deepened one Sunday morning in 2000. As I entered the hall where the church service was being held goose bumps covered my body. I sat with my mouth opened (and you know how big that is), my head shaking and tears streaming down my face as the female minister, Reverend Dr. Sheila McKeithen of UCT, delivered a message that I am convinced, to this day, was written for me.

I knew that morning that I was where I was supposed to be. The rest of that story is for another post.

The Universal Centre of Truth was where I started to learn about “consciousness,” and how thoughts and intentions affect one’s life. By the time I got to Edwene’s ranch, my understanding expanded even further and I started to see how my experiences up to that point were part of my dark side.

The personality that was named Claudette back in 1965 was living from the wounds, the darkness, that needed to be healed. I left that ranch knowing that the work had just begun and that at the top of the list was becoming more aware of my emotions.

I had to understand my feelings and their roots, how not to be afraid of expressing them while at the same time not letting them control me. The message was how to see my emotions and feelings as a barometer and use them to create a more honest and complete life.

Sitting in the airport in Atlanta, Georgia in 2001, waiting for my connecting flight (my woman-friend AA had met me there a few days earlier and we drove to and from Tennessee) I realized how blessed I was to have been at that retreat. I also realized that my life would take another turn – one that would take me deeper into ‘being’ who the Divine meant for me to be.

I left that ranch affirmed – that the abuse, the trials, the pain, the challenges and even the joys of my life up to that point were not in vain or without deeper meaning. Fast forward six years and I am again sitting in different airport in a different country – on the exact date and day as I was then. I know this as I took with me on this trip to Montreal my “Daily Word for Lent” – a journal that I use almost every year at this time.

My connecting flight to Edmonton from Ottawa is delayed and so I decided to write this post reflecting on another moment of synchronicity in my life.

Two books were my travelling companions and now I realize why I took them. This is possibly my tenth reading of Gary Zukav’s “Seat of the Soul,” but as my daughter and ‘son-in-law’ hovered, impatient for me to close my bag so that they could take it down to the car, I threw it in. The other is a book that a colleague at work loan me – “The Power of Your Subconscious Mind,” by Dr. Joseph Murphy.

Switching between both on the flight to Winnipeg then on to Montreal and with the realization that this trip was happening the same date as my trip to Edwene, the messages of both books had special significance.

Basically, both authors offer to those readers who care to ‘hear’ (are you one?) that:

  1. Intentions and choices are pivotal in the unfolding of how one experiences life – painfully or joyfully.
  2. To be unaware of one’s feelings and emotions is “foolish” and although you will grow, as you must, life will be a painful – sooner or later.
  3. Love (not romantic love) is the source of life and the healer of life and all things.
  4. Negative thoughts bring negative experiences and positive thoughts bring positive experiences.
  5. What you give, you get therefore give what you want to receive.

These teachings are in keeping with what both the UCT and Edwene offered. Over the years, I have tried to ‘walk’ these teachings as I have come to believe, as Socrates so brilliantly summarized – “An unexamined life is not worth living.” Indeed, over the years I have faltered and paid the price – sooner or later – I knew that then and I know that now.

The last few years of my life, particularly through my Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) training, I have intentionally gotten “in touch with my feelings,” and have been very mindful of my intentions and particularly my choices.

Have I been a total success? Certainly not but I have experienced a deep sense of integrity, a sense of openness and honesty, a more keen interest to see justice done and a connection and love for people that was never before my reality.

During the second day of my meetings in Montreal (which was actually with the same group of people who ‘held me up’ in prayer and with the singing of gospel songs back in October 2006) my inner work was affirmed.

My heart was full as I shared with my brothers and sisters my journey since they saw me last. I gave them the ‘full bill and receipt’, although a couple already knew quite a bit of the story.

There was a part of me that was scared to be so open about the issues – given that this was a group of ‘black’ people who stereotypically are not into the whole depression and therapy stuff. Our culture taught us to be tough, to pick yourself up and dust yourself off immediately – not to allow the ‘slave master’ to get the better of you. Black women learnt this lesson especially well.

To my surprise, not only was there a sense of being completely embraced but on the second day of the meetings they named me Chair-Elect for this National (Canada-wide) Steering Committee!

What an affirmation – not of me but of the work of Spirit in my life.

My flight will soon be announced and I will return to a city that I have come to call home, where much has happened and continues to happen. Much that is different from what I had imagined back in 2002 when we migrated to Canada and even up to October 2006.

However, through the Grace and Mercy of the Divine, I know that “all things are working together for good,” because I believe in a Power greater than myself and any human being. My intentions, my choices and my thoughts are pure and are continually being purified by the One Power and Presence that I have consciously re-committed the rest of my journey to.

Life is what you ‘think and intend’ it to be. You attract people and experiences that support your thoughts and your intentions. I know this to be true as since the recent upheaval in my life, I have seen the fruits of my thoughts and intentions by the people who enfolded me.

A special word of thanks to B for her quick action, Dr. P for her prayer support, AA for her support even though she was sleepy having spent the night delivering babies and Lance, my man, ha-ha, in response to my call from Montreal.

I danced in 2001 and through the strength of the Divine and with these and the other wonderful and true friends who have said yes to the Divine to journey with me, I am waltzing daily with my dark side until she is tired and takes a seat.



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