Despair, Joy & Dancing Francis

I’ve been struggling to write lately. I’ve written short and quick social media posts, and presentations and prayers for retreats and workshops. But I’ve procrastinated and I’ve not written anything longer than a few paragraphs in months – including journaling.

I have lots of thoughts and feelings which usually are growing edge of something emerging in me I can’t quite name or want to make public! I think “I’ll write about that.” Publicly. On the internet on my web page. Gulp. Yikes. How would I say that? What could I write?

To be honest, I’ve been tired and overwhelmed trying to keep the plates spinning with a number of tasks and projects. Friends warn I’m overdoing it. I am eager to do what is mine to do and might have been over enthusiastic when I scheduled what I did. I am passionate. I have great hopes and desires. The energy and patience I need is not always present. The limitations of aging perhaps? Nope! I’m not ready to retire just yet.

I will also admit that sometimes the grief, despair, chaos and uncertainty overwhelm me. I journal with what arises or engage in creative practices such as SoulCollage® or walking the labyrinth. It passes. I sit without knowing with open hands and at times, find myself swimming in a sea of emotions. Since I can’t banish it, I let the discomfort in. It’s rarely easy. I wrestle, haggle, bargain, rationalize and curse eventually leaning into acceptance. Accept what I cannot change and change what I can has become a motto, a koan in my life. God grant me wisdom – soon!

I certainly do not want to put those difficult emotions out in the Universe especially for those who are also experiencing grief, chaos, uncertainty and more. I have avoided writing for that reason, too.

today, I have something to write about. I attended the SDI Engage 2022 conference in Santa Fe, New Mexico May 11-15. SDI, is a non-profit international organization dedicated to cultivating practices of deep listening and presence across all faith traditions and spiritual orientations. I decided I wanted to attend the conference in December, 2021 and made plans accordingly. I was at the end of the video conferencing interaction. Enough! I wanted to see some people in person!

The conference was a roller coaster of emotions for me. I experienced feelings of despair, hopelessness, anger, frustration AND feelings of joy, connection, peace and hope. Workshops fed my hungering soul. Some plenary speakers spoke to my heart. Others, not so much.

My friend, Mary, and I visited the Cathedral of St. Francis in the heart of Santa Fe the Wednesday before the conference started. We returned on the last evening of the conference. Both times we walked the labyrinth located to the left of the main entrance. Both experiences were Spirit filled. Wow!

We decided to celebrate our last evening together with dinner at Dinner for Two. I highly recommend a visit if you ever find yourself in Santa Fe. It was fun, funky and festive, and the food was excellent. Dance music of the ’70s and ’80s had us literally rockin’ in our chairs. Our friendly server and bartender, Clayton, exemplified the friendliness of Santa Fe folks. Retired surgeon Pete and his companion chatted as if we had known them their whole lives. This is Santa Fe.

It was almost a full moon that evening and my friend, Mary, excitedly suggested we go walk the labyrinth at the Cathedral after dinner. The moon was already up and shining so we made our way to the Cathedral. In the totally spontaneous and unplanned events Joy and the Divine show up!

As we began our walk, a live band in a hotel bar across the street began playing the Stevie Wonder tune “Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I’m Yours”. I HAD to take off my shoes! I was walking and dancing on holy ground. It was all holy. The song became our joyous prayer and we found ourselves dancing and walking through the Chartres style 11-circuit labyrinth under the almost full moon at a cathedral named for joy-filled Francis of Assisi. Another couple joined our walk. (We later learned they were conference participants as well from near Chicago!)

And the band played on! Soon our group of four became a “labyrinth flash mob” with people dancing through the circuits and have a grand ole time under the moonlight! I could only think of the refrain of the old ’70s song by one-hit-wonder King Harvest “Dancing in the Moonlight”. (I do not own the rights to this song. It may be subject to copyright laws.)

Spirit filled. Spontaneous. Joyful. A celebration of everything we experienced during the conference. Friendship. Connection. Prayer. Reflection. Challenged. Rollercoaster of emotions. Despair transformed to Hope.

In those moments we were all dancing with Francis and celebrating a lovely day, the presence of Spirit and connection with the One and the Many.

Be well and blessings ~ Christy

(This blog is not intended to serve as individual spiritual direction. If you would like to explore one-on-one spiritual companioning, grief work, group companioning, SoulCollage©, the labyrinth, Reiki, or mindfulness meditation please contact me. If you, your faith community, book club, or gathering of spirits would like to know more about spiritual companioning, please contact me to schedule an informational workshop. May these musings, photos, social media postings serve as a pause in your day, food for thought, or just a reminder to breathe in and breathe out all that is holy and good. The Divine Milieu is all around us. Thank you all for prayers, vibes, positive energy and support.)

Published by Christy Wesselman

I am a spiritual companion providing one on one monthly sessions to individuals who desire to discover their inner wisdom and connection to the One. I’m a trained SoulCollage facilitator and a Veriditas labyrinth facilitator. I also provide Reiki energy work. It gives me great joy to be able to walk with people on their spiritual journeys by deeply, contemplative listening with a compassionate heart.

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