When I arrived home from work that day, I gasped at this exquisite creation. Time, thought, patience, a balance of color, shape, and texture united in this stunning arrangement. This was soul work. I could see it, but I could also FEEL it. Sharlotte never said this to me with words, but I experienced it energetically from the moment I came in contact with this mandala.
Recently I have been pressing into what it means to love. As parents, we sometimes think love has to do with making sure our children are going in the "right direction" --whatever that is. As conscious members of a society we think love is fighting injustice. Some religions believe love is about informing people that they are sinners that need to be "saved." I know I don't have all the answers; I want to guide my children; I'm compelled to fight injustice; and deep down, I know most religious people truly think their holy judgment is for the sake of love. And though I wrestle with how to live love, I know that love is bigger than all that we desire and think we know.
Many years ago, I was awakened by Marianne Williamson's book "A Return to Love: Reflections on a Course in Miracles." In that book, Marianne reminds us of what it says in The Course: "The opposite of love is fear, but what is all-encompassing can have no opposite. This course can therefore be summed up very simply in this way: Nothing real can be threatened. Nothing unreal exists. Herein lies the peace of God."
Shortly before the above picture appeared in my newsfeed, some friends of mine were hosting a retreat where a modern day mystic, Mary Reed, would be sharing her visions, thoughts, and experiences. At this retreat, I was again reminded of the nature of love.
The most important concept for me that Mary shared that day was that for millennia people have been functioning from a "love trumps hate" or "good trumps bad" model. That is, people have been waging war to make peace; fighting against fear; fighting for love. The Course's statement that "what is all-encompassing can have no opposite" was echoed in Mary's message. She reminded us that what creates shifts is acceptance, not strife. The wounded parts of us, and the world, do not need rejection, but love, and love does not reject or deny any part...love is all-encompassing.
When we can accept all of the parts that are pointy, sharp, painful, and annoying, and love them just as they are, suddenly they become a part of a singularity... They can be reimagined in a new way; an integral part of the whole; a path to healing, wholeness, and unity.
Since the retreat with Mary I have been practicing this gently with myself, my family, my world. And as I saw the above photo show up on my screen, I realized that our individual and collective stories, emotions, and experiences are a part of a larger design; a design where each part (even the parts that are painful, sick, weak, damaged, and sad) is integral to our wholeness. Various shapes, colors, flavors, tones, weights, scents, and emotions are part of us, individually and collectively, and are not meant to be thrown out, pushed away, or judged as good or bad, but instead integrated as equals into the diverse mandala of our shared consciousness.