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Monday, June 18, 2012

Spirit Level...VERY long post

Have you ever encountered another person, be it online or in person, regardless of how the connection initialized, and found yourself fascinated and drawn by that person? 

Sometimes you cannot even put your finger on what it is that has drawn you to that person, but there it is---this intrigue, this fascination, this.......overpowering desire to know and be known by that person. 

I have this experience every few years, where I will meet someone who just grabs my soul's attention, and I cannot walk away from them, even if the possibility of getting to know them seems like it would be impossible to make a connection. 

The first time I remember feeling this intense spirit level need for a particular connection was when I was about 11 years old.  The result ended up being a long nearly 15 year pen pal with my camp counselor Karen, who was an amazing woman who taught me so much, and whose life I got to watch unfold as she went to college, got married, formed a family, had tragedies and joys--her life was a great example to me, teaching me through a very difficult adolescence and early adulthood.  I did eventually lose touch with her, but she is never far from my heart, and crosses my mind often.  She was a gift to me, and she thanked me for being part of her life as well, though I have no idea what I brought to her.

The second time I had this draw to a person was a couple years later when I was around 13 (during the beginning of that difficult adolescence that I mentioned--which by the way was all internal, for the most part I was an easy teenager on the outside, but I had many internal struggles that I rarely shared) to a girl, Jen, a few years older than me, and she really helped me during my middle school years as a mentor and helping me connect to the right avenues to find support.  I do not know what I gave her, if anything, but I know the guidance she gave me.

The next time I felt this extreme fascination for another person, it was in my freshman year of college, and she was a fellow freshman, and we connected through mutual friends.  She is my Lizzer.  Our friendship grew over a few months, she was not an instant friend, but we had an instant connection, and I remember her telling me once that she thought I was an angel sent to help her through a very difficult time.  But she was my angel who helped me through many difficult times.  She and I became as close as two friends can be for a time, sharing so much of our lives.  We have been through a variety of spiritual explorations, seen each other through various relationships, celebrated each other’s journey to parenthood, and even though she lives on the other end of the country and we have not actually seen each other in six years (she has never met Josiah is person (though she has met Gonzo) and I have never met her little Owen in person), she is still one of the nearest and dearest people to my spirit--a true soul mate in the purest sense of having souls that are connected beyond time and space.   She is still an inner circle, heart level friend, who blesses my life every time I even think about her.  For the past 20 years, she has been one of the greatest gifts I have had enter my life.  I am looking forward to seeing her this summer sometime, with a couple of other friends whose friendships have withstood the test of time over the past 20 years since we all met in college.

The intense intrigue that I felt a couple of years later towards an amazing young lady in my Discovery class, I knew it meant that person would play a significant role in my life.  Even though we had many differences and I, at first, could not see a point of connection, I KNEW that ShawnE was a spirit level connection, because I felt it the first time I met her.  She has taught me so much over the years, and brought so many blessings into my life, my heart, and my mind that I cannot imagine a life without her smile and her presence. But I knew that first day that she was going to be significant.  18 years later, she is still a beautiful and amazing heart level friend, who is on my mind more often than you can imagine.  And every time we connect--be it through Facebook, email, written letters, phone, or the rare in person times, my heart and spirit are blessed beyond measure and explanation from this person who shares my heart, even though we live very different lives and have very different perspectives on so many things.

About a year later, I met this quiet, seemingly shy, very interesting woman at her house as I helped her move--she was the girlfriend of my best friend Kay’s colleague,  whom Kay had volunteered us to help them move.  There was a strength of spirit and wonder that surrounded Nykie, and though I felt (and really was) so completely out of my element, out of my comfort zone, that first day that I met the "Ford and Nykie" crowd, I knew there was something amazing about that quiet woman.  She is woman of amazing strength and stamina, an overcomer, a person who inspires me with her ability to roll with the punches of life, and come out as herself.  I miss her nearly every day; she is a blessing to my heart and to my life.  So many things I experienced through knowing her, and her forgiveness, her level of acceptance, and the just amazing spirit she carries--even when she cannot see it in herself.  She is a heart level friend, an inner circle spirit blessing being.  It has been 17 years since we first met, and nearly 9 years since I have given her a hug and seen her face to face.  I need to make a trip to Indiana, soon...

By the time I met Liz A, I knew what that intense feeling meant--within moments of walking into my ichthyology class a few years later, I just knew that THERE was a person who would grow into a heart level friend.  I had learned to trust that knowledge, that gift from God in a person.  I think I even went to Kay’s house (my best friend since our freshman year--who, by the way, did not give me that intense initial reaction, but has been a heart level friend for so long, so it is not exclusive to the amazing friendships I have, it is just that EVERY time I have felt it, there has been a significant contribution that that person made to my life and hopefully that I have made to theirs--it is a different connection than the typical one that has grown over time--it is like that connection already exists), and I said to her that I had met someone who was going to become an amazing friend.  And that Liz did--that dynamic, intense, motivated, fun, fun, fun, real, genuine, amazing human being became one of my dearest friends.  And what a life she has lived, what tragedies she has overcome, what adventures she has created, and what an inspiration she has been to me. For 14 years, she has had an special place as a heart level friend, and I WILL find a way to see her this year--even if I cannot attend her marriage, I will find a way to give her my blessings with a hug (as she has an amazing hug).

The next time I got that sense was about 3 years later when I was living in Ithaca, and we were meeting our new associate pastor.  Jacquie walked into the room, and my spirit did a backflip.  It was the most intense reaction I have EVER had to seeing another person.  I almost had to leave the room because my initial reaction was to run over to her and give her a hug and tell her I had missed her--a person whom I had never met in this lifetime.  Jacquie is hands down the most incredible spirit I have ever had the gift of meeting.  She is so many different things to me--she is my mentor, my friend, my teacher, a physical manifestation of God's love, an amazing human being, and a beloved gift to my heart.  She taught me the most valuable lesson that I have ever learned--that Shame Lies.  It may not mean much to others, but that lesson, the unconditional love that she taught with those two simple words freed me from so much that held me back from being myself, from embracing the gifts that I have been given.  I miss Jacquie every moment, and yet I always feel connected to her too.  It has been nearly 12 years since my spirit recognized her, and it has been 3 years since I have seen her face to face,  but she IS a large part of my heart.  And I hope that I can bless her in even a fraction of the ways she has blessed me.

A little over two years later I met Carol at ECHO 9 years ago, and even though I met so many amazing people at ECHO, people who are near and dear to my heart, she was the one that I had that initial, intense fascination with.  The sense that said "this person is significant for you".  Carol's laugh--her wonderful, amazing, incredible laugh--is one I can still hear echoing in my head, as it is a laugh that bring joy, pure joy.  Carol taught me to accept myself and accept what others can share, without trying to add more or take anything away.  There are many other things that carol brought into my life that is harder to define, but she brought me joy and acceptance--two gifts everybody always can use more of.  I have not seen Carol in a number of years, but she remains a very special person in my heart, and a friend who will always have a place in my life and my spirit.

A few years after that, I met a man named Joseph at a church meeting.  He was sitting across the room from me with a number of other people at this introductory meeting, and I just kept being drawn to him.  There was something about him that drew the focus of my spirit and my attention.  I chatted with this shy, quiet, gentle person afterwards, and just felt an instant connection—no THAT instant connection, one that I was now familiar with.  This was during the whole adoption saga and the Josiah medical intensive care emergencies insane life oh my God what the hell period of time (Yes I intentionally did not use punctuation, as that is how life felt at the time--no pauses, no commas, no period, no breaks).  The next few times I met this person, it was as he was in the M to F transgender process.  And I always felt this strong, strong pull towards Josie (which is who she is now).  Every time I encountered her at church or in the community, I knew that there was a connection I needed to make.  I loved Josie's hugs, Josie's gentle, kind, and loving presence.  I wanted so much to develop our friendship, and we had talked a number of times about connecting and getting together, but with the urgent chaos of my life at that time, I did not make the time to truly make that connection.  During the 2 years that I knew Josie with brief conversations, short connections, and the times we talked about connecting outside of church, I felt that it had to happen, there was something that was necessary to be shared--though we never got the chance to open that gateway, whatever it was--a lesson, a gift, a blessing, who knows...And it feels like such a significant loss, a hole in my spirit where something more was supposed to be.  A gift that I did not give and a blessing I did not receive.  I have completely lost touch with Josie.  I have a deep desire to connect with Josie again.  I have not seen her for about 4 years, as the time leading up to our move back to the Adirondacks was fraught with hell (to put it bluntly).  I have no idea how to even contact Josie, but I would love to connect, because there was, no…no, there IS something there.  When I think of Josie that strong draw, that significant pull is still there even after all these years.  It is something that is unfinished that makes my heart ache.  There is a blessing trapped in limbo...

It has been a few years since I have had that intense awareness, intrigue, fascination--whatever I call it--no word makes sense or fits this feeling well.  But anyway, with the insanity...hell... disconnection... fear... whatever these past few years have been consumed with has left me without connecting with new people.   So believe my surprise when this year I have had the experience of that feeling TWICE.  Never before have I had two people enter my life in such close succession that give me that sense of knowing there is something significant there.  

In February, I met this amazing, incredible, beautiful woman who lives on the other side of the world.  In so many ways we are worlds apart--figuratively and literally.  We connected online having a very incredible discussion about philosophy and labels and self-understanding.  It was the first time I have ever felt that feeling of--Oh my gosh, this person is a significant person to my spirit in some way--with a person I have never met face to face.  Abigail is such an incredible and amazing young woman, who has blessed my life, blessed my heart, and reminded me that can feel, that I can laugh, that I deserve to be happy.  And I have passed on the blessings that Jacquie taught me about the fact that shame lies, which was a gift that Abi needed.  Over the past few months, Abi is a significant, amazing person, who quickly has become so close to my heart.  I have enjoyed emailing, chatting, and skyping with her.  I am so blessed to know that she and her husband will be parents for the first time in a few months.  I am so blessed to know that she is finding more and more of herself, and her life.  I am so blessed to have met this incredible person, and she woke me up--which is a significant blessed gift that I did not know I needed.  I hope that she and I can have a long, incredible friendship.

Then about a month ago, I came across this fascinating person on the internet named Beth.  And when I first discovered her, I just let myself be fascinated for a few days--there are many fascinating people out there, but I rarely feel the need to say anything to them.  But this person got stuck in my head, with that same intriguing, intense, sense of need to connect.  So I sent her an email.  And we have exchanged a few emails, some with more "meat" than others.  We even met for coffee/soup last week briefly, which was great.  She is as fascinating and intriguing in real life as she is online.  And I still have the sense that there is something of significance that I need to connect with her on or about.  I fear that she may be thinking that I am kind of insane.  Honestly how crazy does it sound to have an random stranger tell you that they think they have a spiritual message or blessing to deliver to you but are not yet sure what that message or blessing is....  It is one of those spirit level connections that is looming but has not yet been fulfilled.  Knowing the sense I have surrounding Josie and the fact that she and I never really connected, and the sense of loss or incompleteness that still looms, I do not want repeat that error by walking away from this person, but more than that, there is something that I just cannot put my finger on that draws my attention, my focus, my spirit to her--and the only time I have ever had this sense, this feeling has resulted in the significant and amazing connections with the wonderful, beautiful, incredible people that I have written about in this post.  

So I have been thinking, and meditating, and praying, and listening to the amazing speakers in Healing with the Masters and the Self-Worth Summit, and have been exploring myself and my sense of self-worth (which seems to be less than it should be lately), and I have come to the conclusion that I am asking the wrong questions of myself and of the Spirit.  I need to stop wondering what on earth I can offer--what DO I have to offer, as I feel like I do not have much.  Perhaps I should ask the questions What do YOU need?  Maybe rather than coming from me, the answer needs to come from the other maybe I just need to ask the right question...  Perhaps the question should be "How is your spirit?" or "What does your spirit love?"  Those are both great questions--not mine, taken from Sonia Choquette, one of the Healing with the Masters presenters...

So my friends, my heart gifts, my beauties—What does your heart need? How is your spirit?  What brings you joy?

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