I decided on the Radical Mystic title for this blog last August, while I was on vacation from work. I felt I needed a more holistic name for my writing space, something that acknowledged the place of the Divine as my foundation in life for everything that I am and everything that I do. I assumed then that I would continue writing about my process as much as I had in the previous months. But that vacation was the first time I really gave myself a break from process (from doing anything at all actually) and in many ways it ended up lasting much longer than the two weeks I took off from work.
The “Why Radical Mystic?” page talks about what Radical Mystic meant to me eight months ago. It means something more now, or perhaps it’s more accurate to say that I’m embodying it more fully now.
As I look in hindsight on last year’s mission in vulnerability, and the last four years of continual growth and transformation, I can see how I pushed myself too hard in the name of healing and striving to be a more conscious and loving human being.
I’ve spent the last 22 years of my life working on being better, working on transcending my dysfunctional background and my resulting mental illness, working on raising myself and children out of poverty as a single mother, working on being the best mother I can be, working on being of “perfect” service to my community and the world, and working to be enlightened/evolved. I’ve called myself a masochist for God, enduring everything painful in the name of evolution.
In recent years, I also shamed myself when I had reasonable emotional reactions to being treated poorly by others, always pointing the finger back on myself, trying to figure out how I could change my stories, be more loving, and be less emotional. Because I grew up with violence as a primary language, I am deeply sensitive to anything that sounds or appears violent in myself and the possibility I might hurt others. I became so afraid of my own emotional reactions, even the most reasonable ones, that I pounded them down as much as I could, and berated myself for days or weeks when something leaked out onto others (no matter how much their emotional reactions were leaking out on me).
I worked on myself so hard, and continuously endured difficult relationship situations in the name of growth for so long, that I finally collapsed under the pain of it all. Instead of the big open loving heart that I hoped to be through my mission in vulnerability, my heart became a knot of stress, anxiety and shame. I was so hard on myself about my mistakes that I came to a place where I stopped trusting myself.
Essentially I shut down. I took a conscious vacation by going on an anti-depressant, giving myself an emotional break.
Now, as I come out of vacation and start processing my current health situation, I think that this pain in my body may actually be the result of years of unexpressed emotion. I think I’ve been so hard on myself that I haven’t let myself really feel the grief of losing my mother or the pain of how I lost her (I turned her death into a mission in transformation), the pain of being rejected by my other family members (I don’t want a relationship with people who don’t want one with me), the grief of my son leaving my home and moving across the country (it’s a natural part of motherhood), the hurt of public humiliation and private conflicts in my journey with the Imps (as a leader I have to be the “grown up” and keep it together no matter how people treat me), and the heartbreak of rejection, humiliation, objectification, betrayal, dishonesty, neglect, shaming, blaming, personal attacks, etc. in my personal relationships (any sadness, frustration or anger I feel I need to own as part of my own shadow and unhealthy stories).
As I come off the anti-depressant, my emotions are coming back in fullness. I’ve cried nearly every day the last month from some big feeling. As I become friends with my emotions again (oh, how I missed them!), something in me is shifting. Instead of seeing my big emotional nature as a burden to be managed and controlled, I am seeing all the beauty in feeling this deeply (and in being willing to share what I feel).
Four months ago I really had no idea what shape this year’s mission in self love would take, I just knew it was a necessary kindness after the mission in vulnerability. Now I understand that this self love journey is integral to my evolving any further in my mysticism and consciousness. I’ve stood on the edge and stared down the abyss of shame, which is essentially our deepest belief of separation from the Divine (or love, or connection, or whatever you want to call it). Shame is the primary reason for isolation. I could let it paralyze me – as it has so many people I love – or I could pull myself away from it and claim the beauty that is me, as well as the connection that is available to me.
Today being a Radical Mystic means a radical faith in myself as a piece of the Divine moving through the world as April. It means trusting my big emotions are God moving through me. My anger is as much God as my love. My despair is as much God as my ecstasy. My mistakes are as much God as my successes. What matters most is that I remain conscious of the Divine in my life, not that I try to be a perfectly evolved human being (whatever that is). Divine awareness drives my passion for social justice as much as it does for healthy intimate relationships. However, Divine awareness doesn’t mean being perfectly enlightened or transcending my capabilities for feeling sorrow and rage.
Dancing with the Divine, and Radical Mysticism in its truest sense, means accepting that everything within me is Divine (as well as everything in others).
My radical mysticism no longer looks like thinking and reading about self-development and spirituality every day or berating myself for every little thing I do that may have caused someone else the slightest amount of discomfort. It doesn’t look like a strict spiritual discipline or practice. What radical mysticism looks like now is fully accepting myself as I am and my beautiful life as it is in this moment.
I practice Divine service through my paid work and my work with the Imps. I feel Divine Love and practice healthy relationship with my loved ones. I continue to allow Love to open me and to consciously create a joyful and loving story out of my life. I am conscious of the Divine every day in the people and the world around me and experience great ecstasy, great joy, great sorrow and great rage at all I witness. My tears are prayers of gratitude for the gift of being alive.
And this is enough.
This is enough for God and it’s enough for Me.