Last night was Goddess Night... Ahhhh, Goddess night... the second Friday of the month, from 7:30pm until (well, um... late) is a sacred time for me and the women who gather at the church to share this incredible journey we call womanhood. This particular Friday night happened to be incredibly moving for me for several reasons.
First, it was an amazing feat of time juggling to get the children coordinated for the evening. Jason was in Detroit for a masonic speaker for the first part of the night, so it was time to call in the troops. Hah! I couldn't be more appreciative for my friend in Livonia who took Kayden rollerskating and made some delicious popcorn balls for a late movie (as evidenced by the blue marshmallow lips :), and to another friend for hosting Chailyn for a fun play date! Thanks to our gracious friends, each of our family members spent an evening nurturing our spirits in our own separate ways! I went to sleep last night feeling such gratitude for the people that surround me, who bring me peace in so many ways. ((( yes, sigh here )))
Second, the content of the Goddess evening was very deep and meaningful. Mary lead the group in a meditation that drew out the light in each and every woman in the room and connected us in a circle of life. We went on to our check-in, as usual, but this time it seemed that each woman had a unique narrative of creating healthy relationships within their families that was truly touching and inspiring. At one point, when Jeanie was talking about her recent accomplishments with her work against puppy mills, an explosion of warmth actually erupted in my chest and spread throughout my body. That feeling of warmth and connectedness continued through out the night... from the conversation over plates of food to the closing when we shared what gave us peace at the end of the day. I went home feeling completely content, like a warm blanket wrapped around my soul.
And indeed, I have been finding peace in my life lately. But I didn't find it in one place, like a treasure chest buried in the sand. Instead I found little pieces of it in many different places. One surprising place I found a piece was in my own body! I have been running. I started running because I registered for the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure in May, so I thought I'd better prepare myself. But once I started, I couldn't stop. For the first time this week, I ran three miles in under forty minutes! It felt GREAT to reach that milestone. Not to mention that the exercise, combined with a little bit of food control, have helped me lose eight and a half pounds since the beginning of February. I am discovering first hand just how connected are the body and mind. When I don't at least take a very long walk on a given day, I feel drowsy and down by night fall. The body and mind go hand in hand, or even closer! They are just two part of one organism... our self!
I found another piece in ritual. My family started an evening prayer ritual that has helped us connect to one another, and to really be introspective in regard to our own thoughts and behaviors. We gather in the meditation room. The children light a candle and Kayden usually says, "I have a light in me." Chailyn recites a prayer that he made up about peace, love, and light. We ring a chime for a short silent meditation on a topic that the kids come up with. We have had peace, the light in us, respect, etc... Then we talk about our thoughts. We reflect on how we could have behaved more according to whatever principle we meditated on. We forgive ourselves for mistakes and vow to do our kindest the next day. We end with the chalice meditation, a squeeze pass, and a collective extinguishing of the candle. This short ritual has brought our family together in so many ways. It has put "the spiritual path" directly into the course of our day, which can often become forgotten alongside the megahighway of daily routine.
The last piece was found scattered among my friends and family. Truly, the relationships that I have are like that warm blanket wrapped around my soul. I have been closer to Jason than ever (as he is also working on his inner peace). We are sharing an understanding, respect, and joy that can often drown under more than a decade of marriage. And after last night, I realized again how amazing it is to have a network of support in a practical way... but little do all of the amazing people in my life know that the practical support has an underlying layer of love and caring that shines through each and every time they reach out a hand to help. True friendship... that is what completes my circle of peace.
As the old adage so profoundly states: The size of a heart is not measured by how much one loves, but by how much one is loved by others. Hmmm, I feel my heart swelling just now...
May peace be with you... body, mind, and spirit.