I was talking to my friend on the phone and soaking my feet in sea salt bath at the same time. I knew better than to mix water with talking on the phone, but both activities felt so good, I couldn’t give one of them up. Sure enough, I dropped my phone in the water. Splash!
I fished that phone out faster than greased lightning, and immediately thought of lightning.
“What if I get electrocuted?”
Of course, I didn’t say that out loud, but I got scared just the same. My friend was talking so fast and was full of such important information to share, that I couldn’t even interrupt her to share my fright. So, we kept talking for about an hour. My phone seemed fine and I plugged it in before I went to bed, like I always do. The next morning it was dead. I almost lost my breath when I realized that I was CUT OFF from all of my people and communications. And then, panic set in. Then immediately, another thought. Maybe I should be cut off from those distractions for a moment or two.
Look beyond all appearances and feel me. The beauty comes through you; radiate it.
That line was the last one in a larger message that I received in a spirituality class while I was an inpatient in treatment. The message inspired the odyssey of my recovery and my relationship with God, which is the subject of my forthcoming book, Going Naked, Being Seen: Mary Magdalene and the Return to God. I felt something powerful stirring within me as we shared in that class, and I captured the message. I had no idea what it meant, but over the next six years, I lived that message into being. By following that powerful movement, no matter what things looked like on the outside. I did that because I felt loved and seen; connected to something larger than me that I wanted to know. I had lived too long without feeling connected or truly seen, and powerless. From that moment on, I paid very close attention to the unseen world, and I began to intuit things, instead of making a plan or a judgement about an experience. I suddenly had some patience to see how things would organically unfold, when I stayed connected to that power, or lived with the belief that it was there, especially when I couldn’t see it. I was always led to the next thing I needed. But it was still survival mode, no matter how inspired. Because I was rebuilding a life from the ground up, I guess I had to keep things simple. One brick at a time, and without consulting an architect.
Now that some time has passed and I have gotten healthier and somewhat clear, I’m ready to put my toes in the cosmic sea of creation. And boy is this scary. It means that I have a greater responsibility than I originally understood; as a good steward of the life force and a spiritual and emotional adult, willing to accept the consequences of my decisions. And it has been this realization that has taken me some time to integrate. I’ve lived in a virtual cocoon as I finished my book and prepared it for publication this year. It was easy to be inspired, and capture that, but it was really challenging to prepare it as a book worthy of publication. Writing a book proposal and an effective query took a long time, serious work , and greater courage than I ever thought I could have. I never knew it would be so much work and that I would face so much rejection. But, I’ve gotten some attention from some beautiful and brilliant folks, and some fine literary agents too. That feels miraculous to me. I know it is God too, and that is the only reason I had the guts to continue to pursue the impossible. I want people to know this freedom is possible, and that I was as clumsily human as anyone, in the process of getting to it.
So, I was pretty mad at myself on Saturday morning when I realized I had to get myself to a Sprint store and likely buy a new phone. I didn’t want to spend hundreds of dollars now; I didn’t want to look stupid, and I didn’t want to go downtown because it would be teeming with people, and hot outside. But, I did, and I was thinking ridiculously negative thoughts about how much it would cost, or that I might not get a parking space, blah, blah, blah.
I was happy to get a parking spot right at the front door; not just the building, the door. And, to have a really sweet woman help me that did not think I was stupid and totally understood my panic. She knew I hadn’t purchased insurance on this phone, and she could tell I felt stupid about it now.
“Let me take this to our technician in the back. Do you have a few moments?”
“Yes, I do. I’ll just look at the phones, take your time.”
In no time she came out and the phone was working. It was a battery, that was all, and they gave it to me for free.
“It’s probably been getting weaker over time, but you might not have known why. It works a lot better now.”
I had got weaker over time too. And I appreciated the metaphor that the Universe delivered so I could feel connected again. The one feeling that I return to and know without a shadow of a doubt, that there is a source of power that, when I choose to believe it, and allow it to direct my movements, works things out for me in ways that are often better than any scenario I can come up with. Especially when I panic, or think I will be shamed or punished. That morning, a dead battery became my opportunity for an upgrade to clearer functioning. When I feel connected to God, I am a better person to this world. I’ve lived pretty close to the bone at times through my recovery process and I am grateful for that reality today. It made me pay attention to what really matters because my balance in the new world was fragile. I hope it always is really, because I don’t ever want to lose this feeling.