This is a story about Synchronicity. About Embracing the Shadow. About Healing. And indirectly, about Dreams.
A few years ago, as I was cruising through Facebook, I came upon a post from Brother Jim, a monk at the Pecos Benedictine Monastery in Pecos, NM, that caught my attention. One of my Teachers, Sister (Sr.) Miriam, was nearing the end of her life.
Sr. Miriam, the Benedictine nun. Sr. Miriam, the Dreamworker.
Sr. Miriam, a Harbinger of Compassion, a Spiritual Director, a Reconciler of the Soul.
Way before I knew the "parts work" of Internal Family Systems, this Wise Woman guided me, with direction and example, of the power of embracing ALL of my self, even those aspects that I wanted to reject, deny, or somehow relegate to the dungeon of unacceptability. She showed me how to reach these pockets of energy as they appeared in my dreams.
It "just so happened" that I was at the start of a class on Jungian Principles at the Seminary of the Southwest in Austin. And was in the middle of a synchronicity, involving that class, that lead me to deepen my understanding of my own inner journey of re-connecting with the Feminine, and the ways that society, and particularly the Church, has become disconnected from Her. Read that story here.
Having been trained in Jungian Depth Psychology and DreamWork, Sr. Miriam was a much sought after Spiritual Director and Retreat Guidess. She sent me, and many others, off to Love the areas of personality that are hard to Love.
The anger. The shame. The entitled. The parts that could hurt others.
A wash of emotion came over me when I learned that she was dying, even though I had not seen her in many years, and even though I had only sat with her for a handful of hours. Nevertheless, she had left her mark on my heart, and in my work.
I had consistently been acknowledging her as part of the lineage of Teachings that I offered on working with dreams, on inner work, and on working with the Shadow. Her Presence had been with me often throughout the years!
Not only that, I had just visited the monastery, not 2 months prior, and had some affectionate time with her cat, Mineu, who repeatedly came to nap on the extra bed in my room, or on my suitcase! The first of this degree of intimacy this tiger-like cat had ever offered me in the 15 years I had been visiting the monastery!
I'll share an example of Sr. Miriam Wisdom...After she had guided me to a part of myself that was disconnected, that had been rejected by my "good" parts, she would instruct me to have an energy toward that part that was welcoming and embracing. She would move her arms in a gathering motion, as if bringing a person toward her for an embrace. The way we motion for someone to come close so we can hug them.
She modeled compassion and acceptance, saying, (as if to the disconnected part), "I see you. You are mine. I love you."
Powerful Stuff! To be Recognized. To be Claimed. To be Welcomed. To be Accepted. To be Loved.
The woman who stayed with Sr. Miriam during those last weeks of her life, graciously read my letter to her, and I kept in touch through Facebook, to know how she was doing, and when she was finally able to cross over into the next life. I felt such a strong re-connection with her. I was very touched that, when arrangements had been made for her memorial service, this woman sent me that information.
A Huge Synchronicity continued to unfold! I noticed that the celebration of Sr. Miriam's life was to be held in Natick, MA. Even though I met her in New Mexico, I knew she was from Boston. But I didn't expect to see Natick! You see, I had been traveling there (from Texas) for almost 20 years to visit my brother and my niece and nephew. I called my brother to ask if he would be willing to attend the service on my behalf, which he readily agreed to do. When he saw the announcement, he noticed that Sr Miriam had been living out these last days of her life in a nursing care facility where his wife (then girlfriend) worked. As it turned out, my sister-in-law actually helped to care for Sr. Miriam!
This just blew me away! As you can imagine! With the synchronicity that synchronistically was taking place simultaneously (redundancy intended!!) in the Jungian Dream class, I knew it was for me to pay attention!. During some of those days, the ground under my feet eluded me, caught up as I was in the spirit that transcends time and space.
I felt like a mantle was being passed, energetically. From a woman steeped in the traditions of the Catholic Church from early in the 20th century, yet able to be open to the Feminine energy of deep inner work. A woman who taught by guidance, and by example, that it is Compassion that Heals. And that Nothing is beyond welcoming, healing, loving.
As you may know, doing DreamWork is one of my favorite things! It is for that reason that I included a session for it, close to my birthday, within A Year of Spiritual Practices - A feminine Lens, a series of Sacred Circles. (It's next Tuesday, May 21, from 7-9pmCST.)
DreamWork is definitely a spiritual practice, as well as a regular way to open the doors to our hearts, minds, and souls. As I often express to my clients, dreams can help guide the whole process of healing and transformation, if you are able to listen to them in a deep way.
Are synchronicities lining up in your life? Have you had a big dream lately, or a series of them that won't let you go? Are you on the cusp of a shift or change, a time of expansion, and want to be intentional about moving into the new, listening to your dreams and your parts for guidance? I would love to accompany you on that journey, if what you read here resonates with you! Email me so we can chat a bit more!
I send a strong wave of gratitude to Sr. Miriam - that she was willing to follow her own inner guidance, that she taught with such humility, humor, and compassion, and that she opened up the power of DreamWork for me!