Through the Valley you walked, searching, ever searching…Your travels took you to many places, many expressions of the Divine! Small windows into another vision for who you really are would peek through…..and onward you trod…. until one day, one moment in time you awoke. There was a knowing that inside your very own soul, your very own being, you held the voice of God. –- Mary Catenacci, Voice for Love Embodiment student
I woke once again with the strange empty feeling, accompanied by curiosity. Why have I always had such similar dreams of wandering with people I don’t know, in places that are unfamiliar, searching but never finding something, but not knowing what? Such dreams have haunted me for years. Inwardly, they left me feeling as if my life was purposeless, though I rationalized that it meant that I was a wanderer, a journeyer through life.
Two nights ago, the dream changed. This time I was with some friends with whom I spent 19 years of my young adult life, while raising my family. The feeling of the dream was striking, for it brought back my feelings then, of never really being my Self with others during those years. My friends and family were always my major focus. That focus was exterior and involved all the things we would do for duty, fun, and helpfulness toward one another. It also involved a deep feeling of non-fulfillment, because the surface life did not fill that longing for fulfillment, which haunted me. Of course temporary relief came through frequent partying and drinking, but the problem feelings always returned. I attributed my lack to my inability to be someone significant in the world, because I didn’t yet have a profession other than supporting wife, mother, and student.
Eventually, we moved on to other places in the United States. I thought that I would find my ability to contribute significantly through a professional identity in different circumstances. We left our friends behind. We moved from place to place, and I attained 2 advanced degrees in my attempt to be someone of even small consequence, to make my life significant. I worked as a support person at many jobs. Still, those dreams haunted me. The feeling of lack of fulfillment and the longing for something I didn’t understand, nagged me, no matter what I did or where we moved.
Finally, divorce became inevitable, as married life seemed to be the culprit, holding me back from fulfillment, while I spent most of my physical resources helping others to be publically acknowledged. Loss seemed to increase: loss of place, loss of friends, loss of spouse and grown children, loss of familiarity with my distant grandchildren, loss of financial survival. But the drive to find what was missing was preeminent.
Soon, family and friends began to die. Then the temporary loss due to distance turned permanent, and regrets set in, despite the ongoing drive to “become.” All those years, I felt alone inside, a wandering, searching stranger in a strange land, someone who never quite belonged to anything, despite joining at the surface level. It was rare to find someone with whom I could share what I felt inside, though my newly found ACIM groups brought together many people who also seemed to be on the great search. Though the metaphysics of ACIM seemed to promise ultimate fulfillment, I never met an ACIM student who had found that state of fulfillment for which we all sought, regardless of how deeply they seemed to understand its profound concepts.
One thing I did learn is that nothing in the world is permanent. Death and taxes are not the real things that are inevitable. Loss is inevitable, repeatedly. Change is inevitable, repeatedly. Such things are intimate characteristics of everything experienced at the surface level. Not only was the forging ahead, to capture some mysterious inner prize, thwarted–life itself was taking things from me that I didn’t volunteer to give up! Life itself seemed a hostile barrier. Too many people wanted the same expressions, the same circumstances, the same things. All wanted to belong and feel valued through the achievement of what their society valued. Only a few could be the champions and achieve those goals. Yet they, too, seemed unsatisfied, and continued to seek more, leaving the majority of us as losers in one way or the other, by contrast and possession. There’s really very little to go around, when the variety of what is valued is so small and physically limited and so many value those same external things.
My dream last night brought back another familiar theme: abandonment by those I felt I needed. When I woke, I realized that I had spent a lifetime searching for something unknown but presumably fulfilling. I had a lot of anger. I felt that others had taken what I wanted and left me outside, behind, abandoned, and sure to be forgotten once out of site and mind.
At this point in my life, at 68 years of age, I can look upon these feelings that drove my life and haunted my dreams, because I have found that for which I once did not know I was looking. That great, yet unknown Prize; that feeling of fulfillment, is now available to me! It was never outside of me, in the circumstances of my perceivable life.
It was the Voice for Love that led me to this feeling of fulfillment, because it led me to my Self. I didn’t realize before, that I had been missing her all along. Now that I know her, I know that it was she that I had been seeking all my life. She is not alone. She connects, at will, with the reality of others, as she knows the experience of God’s presence within. She is Love. She is goodness personified. She has a deep desire to express and extend the love that she is, within the world. It is not so important that many others acknowledge that expression, but she does so desire to continually manifest expressions of who she is, within the temporary yet beautiful sojourn of life on earth.
To those who still experience being alone, being strangers in life, being seekers of some kind of spiritual or professional fulfillment, try this out: make a habit of spending a few minutes each day feeling your own inner goodness. Feel the state of love within. Feel its desire to always extend and manifest itself. Practice inwardly extending that love toward your own thoughts and emotions, including your dreams. Know that you are, in your eternal and ever present reality, still an extension of God’s Love. Feel your truth. You are not that physical persona you’ve tried so hard to impress upon an unforgiving, unaccepting and confusing world. Feel your Self.
For me, it helped to personify this “higher self.” I considered her to be a communication-vehicle of the Holy Spirit, and my best friend. I met with her daily, asked her questions, and received answers. The answers did not come directly in words, but rather in an overall knowingness. This is similar to how a composer gets an entire score all at once, and then plays it and/or writes it down. Our body translates the ideas into words or pictures or sounds, but the knowledge comes from a place within us, which is our life’s journey to find.
It was the practice of The Voice for Love’s 5 Steps that led me gently to this fulfillment. My dreams are a record of my journey, the script of my life’s inner feelings along the way. By contrast, they show me the difference between what was always false and what my truth is.
For me, now, being in “the present” is simply being aware of my inner truth as I meet all that life has to offer, including loss and change. It is a glorious inner garment, and it beats the hell out of Prada!