It’s funny looking back.
In spite of the fact that I went to church sometimes as a young adult, it’s the last place I would have gone to learn how to hear God’s voice. Even though I was a cradle Catholic and a definite believer in Jesus, I had never learned to integrate our faith tradition into my spirituality and was disillusioned by hypocrisy I had witnessed in the church. In my quest for wisdom, I became curious about other spiritual traditions.
During my time of searching, I found myself at a women’s spirituality conference at a local college with some girlfriends. It was a diverse group with an overall hippy-ish vibe. There was a lot of talk about wisdom, empowerment and native cultures. There was art for sale, and there were drumming circles. We learned about how God speaks to us through spirit guides and signs in nature including animals.
I thought the whole thing was a little awkward, but one concept stuck with me in a powerful way: the idea of following your intuition. In a breakout session, a lady who looked like a gypsy taught us to close our eyes, put our hands on our heart and listen for messages from God. It bothered me that I couldn’t hear anything except my own racing thoughts.
After that conference, I started intentionally praying and meditating more. As hard as it was to deal with all the distractions in my mind, I stubbornly persisted in this pursuit, determined to allow God direct the course of my life from that point on.
I had no idea what I was getting into! While follow your intuition makes for a lovely catch phrase, truly following God is the work of a lifetime. Along the way, He asks us to let go of our attachments to things we think we can’t live without and challenges us to step out of our comfort zones and do things we feel incapable of. We have to let go of our illusions and pick up our crosses to put others first – it’s all part of the package deal that includes His peace, joy and grace, which are worth every sacrifice.
So what does all this have to do with my “confessions of a mystical poet?” I just want to express that for me, writing poetry is just one more step on this awkward, scary, exciting and meaningful spiritual journey that began with putting my hand on my heart and listening for God’s voice all those years ago.
I also want to confess that though I am grateful for everything I’ve learned from other traditions and realize there are still issues within the church, I’ve found myself happily at home in the faith tradition of my childhood, surrounded by authentic Christian community and realizing I’ll always have more to learn from the deep wellsprings of our Catholic spiritual tradition. I am particularly grateful for the wisdom in Carmelite and Ignatian spiritualities, which I hope to write more about soon.
I also want to confess that even though my poems come from an authentic place of deep spirituality and personal encounter with God, I still deal with restless thoughts in prayer and all kinds of challenges and pitfalls in my life of faith. I hope to share more of these in my writing over time, to help others know what to expect on their own quest to follow Christ.
Finally, I want to confess that I’m still stubbornly committed to allowing God to direct the course of my life, and I have absolutely no idea where He’s leading me, but I think it might be fun to take others along for the ride.
God, help us learn to persist in prayer, so we can learn to follow Your still small voice inside. Thank you for the amazing adventures you have planned for each and every one of us. Give us the grace to follow You always, and help us support each other along the way.