Tears of Recognition...Clues on the Journey

I just read a post by Brother Dennis of the Community of Divine Love (a small Episcopal monastery outside of Los Angeles) the title of which is “I See You.”  I was scrolling through the posts and there was something about that line that tugged at my heart.  Then I read the post. Soon I was in tears. 
 
My tears are often a gauge for me of when I am “onto something.” 
 
They say to me, “Here, here, look here.  Here is where Life is.  Here is where Love is.  Here is where there is something that really matters.  Something that really matters to you especially.  Here is your work to do in the world.” 
 
Sometimes, of course, I cry tears of grief. They are good too.  Very good. Needed; cleansing tears.  But those aren’t the tears I’m talking about right now. 
 
The tears I’m talking about here are tears of recognition, I guess.  They arise when my heart connects with something bigger than me and says, “Yes, that’s it!”  I have long trusted these tears to guide me, though I don’t think I’ve said or thought that consciously until just this moment. 
 
As I reflect on these tears, my trusted guides, I remember:
 
Over 20 years ago watching a video about St. Timothy Academy in Philadelphia and these tears of guidance showed up. Soon after that I moved to Philadelphia where I remained for over 20 years. 
 
Walking into St. Martin-in-the-Fields Church in Philadelphia and these tears showed up. I never went back to my former church community after that – and St. Martin’s showed me new ways to meet God after old ways had become broken for me.
 
Many, many conversations with coaches, friends, my husband when I started to share something that I thought was “nothing” and the tears showed up to let me know that I was onto something bigger.
 
They are gift tears for me, these tears of recognition.  They are clues along the journey.
 
I use a lot of tools consciously to figure out my next steps.  I read books and analyze.  I pray and meditate.  Sometimes I use a time/joy diary which you can read about here.  I talk with trusted friends and professional coaches, spiritual directors, therapists.  Sometimes (and this is the first time I am admitting this in a public place) I use “woo woo” tools like Mythical Goddess Tarot Cards  - not because I believe they are “the truth” but because I find them to be useful tools that help me to connect to the wisdom that is deep in my own heart, much in the same way that the Bible has done for me at times as well. 
 
I guess I am a seeker in some core way. 

Always longing.  Always looking.  Always following that next hint towards what is somehow True, Alive, Loving and Healing.  In the Christian faith, people experience this seeker’s journey as following Jesus.  And I have my roots in that tradition, but I have found that the seeker’s journey is much bigger and broader.  The path much wider than any one religion or practice. 
 
The seeker’s journey doesn’t even require a belief in God, but it does require a recognition of… Something.  Something bigger.
 
Or at least a curiosity about the possibility that there is something bigger, better, more loving, more powerful, more healing than what we humans typically experience in day-to-day life. 
 
Following that longing, or that curiosity, can lead to some serious surprises.
 
It certainly did for Sister Greta, one of the founding members of the Community of Divine Love that I mentioned at the beginning of this post.  I read about Sister Greta in the book Wild Mercy by Mirabai Starr.  Mirabai writes of Sister Greta that, “No one could be more surprised than Greta when she turned out to be a Christian.”
 
Whatever that big Something is – humor is definitely part of it and a whole lot of mystery, too.
 
No one could be more surprised than me that I have turned out to be a person who talks about goddesses and is a pretty effective leader with a six-figure salary and a business on the side.  These were not the paths I started out on – or that the person who welled up with tears watching videos of children from Timothy Academy in the early 1990s could have imagined for me. 
 
I wonder, if you recognize yourself somewhere in my story? If you sometimes experience what I’m calling “tears of recognition” — even if you are so good at suppressing them that you rarely actually cry.  If you’ve gotten this far in this woo-woo-ish post, I’m guessing that some part of you feels that seeker’s longing for… something.
 
If you do, then I’d say there’s a good chance that we’re kindred spirits.  And more importantly I’d say that if you follow the hints of your longing you’ll be on the path to some amazing adventure and that it will involve more Beauty and Love and Healing and Justice for yourself and others than what you can imagine right now.
 
Sister Greta was a successful businesswoman.  Owner of a string of yoga studies.  Now she’s an Episcopal monk dedicated to prayer and active in work for restorative justice and prison reform.  Not the path she would have predicted.  But it’s brought more joy and more justice than what she could have imagined.
 
I hope today that you will allow yourself to follow the clues of your longing – whether your clues are tears, like mine we’re today, or if the hint comes in a leap of joy in your chest about the thought of doing something that “doesn’t make sense” or a feeling of being drawn to just sit and watch a butterfly for a few hours despite your long “to do” list. 
 
And, as Elizabeth Gilbert said in an interview that she did with Oprah a few years ago if you’re not a person who feels this deep longing, that’s okay too.  Just follow your curiosity.  It will work just as well – maybe better!
 
But do follow the hints.  Because we need the joy and justice that you are meant to bring into the world – your own particular version.
 
I’m smiling just thinking about it. 
 
Here’s to thriving…and justice.
 
Deb 

P.S.  Kinda interesting side note.  I wrote this post a few weeks ago - as a "back-up" post — one that I could use during a week that got a little hectic when I didn't get a new one completed.  As it turns out this week it's ended up that I actually got to meet Sister because she was hosting a morning of prayer that I was able to attend.  Cool timing, huh?  The photo in this week's blog is from that lovely morning.