“Nature is full of genius, full of the Divinity;
So that not a snowflake escapes its fashioning hand.”
~Henry David Thoreau
I met a Sudanese refugee this week that immigrated to the United States for work. He is an amazing man. I’ll call him “Steven.” Among the many humbling and gracious words he spoke, what shined most is his deep faith in God and enduring love for ALL people. He said he “vehemently” believes in doing things that “bring greatness” to the lives of others as well as himself. Steven is thankful to God for granting him many gifts and abilities, especially using them for “doing right things for others.” This brave and radiant young man gets up every morning with a smile on his face, knowing that God is always with him.
Three powerful themes emerged from my conversation with this migratory, luminous messenger. From his own words, first, we are not restricted by anybody or anything except our own choices. Second, a loving gracious God exists and “resides in us, with us, beside us, around us, and among us,” no matter what our race, religious, culture, gender, or life circumstances. And third, serving the one human body of God and individuals in our local communities can bring abundant JOY!
After meeting this delightful new acquaintance, I headed to our lake house, which is a few miles from a community that has a significant new population of Sudanese and Hispanic immigrants. I stopped at the local big box “Super Store” for a few grocery items. When I arrived, I felt different. As I looked around, I saw “Steven” everywhere. I walked up and down the aisles and couldn’t get the smile off my face. I was beaming with the grace-filled lessons of Steven’s love and joy. My heart was expanded and with each and every immigrant I saw, it grew even more with love, compassion, and joy. And then, something amazing happened.
As I was gathering my items and looking around, a young Sudanese child made eye contact with me, smiled, and waved. With surprise, my heart leaped out of my chest and I felt the presence of our shared Divinity and joy. It felt like a deeply sacred moment. There were no words between us, just a profound, yet brief surreal connection. We needed no words. We saw each other. I walked off dazed and intoxicated with the lessons of Steven stirring in my heart.
A few minutes later, in the next aisle over a family passed by. Not paying much attention, I was looking at my list when a young Hispanic girl pulled her hand away from her mom, and shouted loudly to get my attention, “Hi!”. I made eye contact with her, returned a smile, and said, “Hi!”
Seriously? Again? It was as if both kids were reaching out to me to share a soul moment. I was filled with gratitude. There was a familiar knowing among us. Our brief eye contact felt like an eternity of deeper seeing and recognition. I began to feel a universal oneness with everyone in the super store. I looked around with gentle compassion and curiosity. What was happening?
When life couldn’t get much sweeter, a third young Caucasian child laying on her daddy’s shoulder, lifted her head just a few feet from mine, grinned from ear to ear, and with the light of recognition in her eyes, greeted me with an adorable and engaging, “Hi!” I was enchanted as I stood soaking in the mystery of this unbelievable experience.
I thank Steven. His palpable love, joy, and heart for service, created a beautiful resonant field that ignited something in me. I believe the same gracious God, and Divine spark, which resides within Steven, resides within me, and within all people, including the three children I met at the super store. Maybe, the three children simply recognized it sooner than I did, and reached out in remembrance to reconnect in a beautiful living experience of Namaste.
[The definition of Namaste (pronounced na, ma, stay) is both a physical gesture and a spoken spiritual salutation, which is the recognition of the divine spirit (or soul) in another by the divine spirit in you. The word Namaste translates simply to “I bow to the divine in you.”]
(Image found with SCiAF, Scotland’s Aid Agency sciaf.org.uk)
Your soul is calling
Your wild, radical curiosity knows
Go deeper still
Unity is birthing herself
And dissolving all that is
Go deeper into the stillness
Feel the painful rupture
Breaking, burning, and
Bursting into consciousness
Surrender to her whisper
And screams of mortal pain
Bow to the carnage of duality
Dying… Death… Done
Go deeper still
Into the womb of promise
ONE is born
by Julie Krull
I had a freak accident last night. I went to the restroom in the middle of the night, fell, and lost consciousness. I don’t remember the event. My husband found me on the floor. The evidence suggests I fell, hit the right side of my head on the edge of the counter (small contusion), and then landed on my left side, hitting a blunt object and splitting the left side of my forehead open. This bazaar series of events landed me in the E.R., being treated for a concussion and receiving six stitches.
So, looking in the mirror this morning, I lovingly comforted the two inches of tender tissue. And, with complete acceptance, I intentionally looked myself in the eyes, and affirmed my innate beauty – bumps, bruises, bloody-messed-up hair, and all. I could do this because I was given a beautiful, incredible gift one week ago.
Last weekend, we went to our new favorite restaurant at the lake. I looked in the mirror while washing my hands. I hardly ever look up to the mirror – I usually look down at my hands. This is an old habit that was formed after years and years of self-criticism and self-rejection. I never really looked in the mirror much. However recently, I have spent considerable time and energy learning to love myself and love myself completely – just the way I am: flaws and all, perfectly imperfect. I have practiced self-compassion and have learned to re-claim the parts of me I had believed I needed to hide, reject, and try to fix. Self-compassion is a healing balm; self-love is a magic elixir. By reclaiming all the parts of me, I fell in love with my body – every wrinkle and age spot, my ankles, hands, thighs, stomach, breasts, my soft curves, every inch! I learned to respect the service my body plays in fulfilling my divine purpose. And, now I feel like a newborn infant, playing with her toes and giggling in delight of this thing called a body, a life. I love myself – all of me.
Back to the incredible gift from last week… In the restroom of the restaurant, when I was washing my hands, something sacred happened. You know how you “lock eyes” with someone from across the room? I did that. When I reached down to wash my hands, my eyes locked on to the eyes of my soul through the mirror, and I had a profoundly beautiful moment. They say that the eyes are the window to the soul. I get it. It’s as if the world had taken a timeout. Time stood still and the room disappeared. I was there with “my Self” gazing deep within my own eyes in the mirror. When the world stopped, a slice of divinity opened for a brief, magical moment. I literally could not move my gaze, as I witnessed “my Self” telling myself how beautiful I was. The warm gentle exchange was affirming. I felt a divine presence and relished in this sacred moment. I experienced the love of being my own “best friend.” It was as if the self-compassion and self-love clicked into a permanent place of celebration and infinite joy. I melted and softened even more as I stood gazing in that mirror. I passed a test, became whole again, and the love for myself, and ALL of who I am, became boundless, limitless, and immeasurable. It was sacred love.
Today, when I look into the mirror, I am aware of the nice scar that will line my forehead. I’ll consider it a “battle scar.” The self-limiting battle of self-criticism and self-rejection is OVER, and I won! I will wear the mark proudly as I have no room for self-limiting battles, vanity distractions, or ego blocks to divert me from this infinite, sacred love. I have divine purpose in this life and this experience has opened me to the fullness and greatness of who I am.