spiritual practices

You are Mine...I Love You...

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!

Buds to Blossoms!

It finally rained here in Austin last week! It rained a lot. And the heat broke a little bit.

And then I noticed that all my native plants had flower buds on them! The very next day they had burst into bloom! I’ve come to look forward to my flower garden in the fall. Surprisingly, it shows itself off best at the end of September. On the Fall Equinox, it looks just like Springtime around here!

All it took was some rain!

As I prepare for a new series in Sacred Circles, A Year of Spiritual Practices from a Feminine Perspective, I couldn’t help but make the comparison to my own process of “blooming.” It is with a regular practice of tuning into myself and into the Creative Life-Giving Spirit, that I come into my fullest Self. Which is ever evolving, and growing, blooming - with the right amount of water and sunshine, just like the Texas natives.

It wasn’t always that way. There was a time when my soul was akin to being in a dark room with no water, no sun, and stale air. A time when I was completely unfamiliar with practices that could connect me with the Spirit, and with mySelf.

I have offered great compassion to that young 20's woman, who had no idea what to do with her emotions, her thoughts, her sense of disconnection.  No idea how to connect with the immense spiritual support and love always surrounding her.

I didn't know about contemplative prayer or meditation.  I didn't know about reading sacred texts with my heart opened.  I didn't know about journaling.  Even though I went to a liturgical church, I didn't feel connected to the rituals and sacrament.  

I didn't know the vast source of guidance within me, and within creation, that was always coming through in my dreams, through synchronicity, through intuitive knowing, through cycles - cycles of seasons, of the moon, even the cycles of the church year.

I didn't know how to enter the imaginal realm - with the "parts" of my personality, with my inner child, with archetypal energies, with all of the forms through which God shows God's Self.  I didn't know that God could show up in a Feminine body and form! 

I had begun to separate from a deep connection to nature through horses and camping in the woods - a separation that wouldn't reconcile for almost 20 years.

I hadn't yet touched the Southwest and the deep and mysterious spirituality of the First Nations peoples.  I didn't yet know of the magical and deep ways the Holy Spirit had moved through so many women throughout time (yes - EVEN in the Church, when the powers-that-be thought that was impossible!).

I didn't yet know of the healing power that was trapped within my own being; or of the beauty that could come forth through art - from MY hands and heart!  Of the power of vibration and sound, even though I had been playing the piano most of my life.

I am convinced that it is in opening to the Spirit that dwells in our hearts, that the creative and healing power emerges!  And that we open to that Divine energy through spiritual practices, such as the ones I have mentioned here. 

Yes, the spiritual practices enable to us to connect with the Spiritual, God, the Source of All that Is.  AND the way to that connection is through our very own hearts, through our very own pain and healing, through our very own relationship with ourselves.  

Do you want to deepen, widen, and expand your own healing, your natural creativity, your sense of connection within yourSelf and to the Creative Spirit?  Are you tired of being on your own in your spiritual journey?  Are you in that place of not quite knowing what to do and how to do it, to take that next step along the way?

This is what Sacred Circles is all about! Please connect with me to learn more, to ask any questions, or to share your own thoughts about spiritual practices and your journey!

peace and healing!

Alisa Carr, Spiritual Director and LCSW -

Eye of the Heart