On day three of Sara Bessey’s 40 Simple Practices for Lent, she invited us to contemplate what we would fast from (give up) for Lent. In my reflection, I also invited you to contemplate what you would take on (spiritual practice, healing practice) to fill in the void created by giving up a negative, limiting, undesired belief, practice or habit.
I wanted to check in and see how everyone was doing.
I will share my experience so far:
Pippa came into my life very quickly. I had gone to look at other dogs, just to look. Not to adopt. I was looking at two bonded older dogs. They were awesome, but the two dog energy was way too much for me at the moment. I felt an inward overwhelm.
On a whim I heard myself asking to meet Pippa. In she came. She was beautiful and shy. I was unsure. Then a moment shifted and she walked up to me, licked me, started wagging her tail and smiling. She was inviting me to bring her into my heart, into my family. My heart broke open.
Then I heard the words from the staff. “Would you like to meet with a behavior specialist because Pippa has leash aggression with dog?” I said yes. When the behavior specialist arrived, I learned it was people and dogs.
But what could I do? Pippa had won my heart. I could not imagine anything other than her sweet behavior. I took her home on a trial basis. On the way to the car, she showed her “I will protect my human” behavior on leash. We have work to do!
Because Pippa joined me, I began to reflect upon my interior space. I began to notice that I have an anxious presence within me. It was very much present at the moments that Pippa and I would be ready to step out the door for a walk, when people came to my house for dinner or group. I realized that for Lent, I desired to give up this anxious presence so that I could be a more non-anxious stabilizing presence for Pippa.
Pippa has shown me the when this anxious presence appears. She is a fantastic teacher in this respect.
I have been doing the interior work to uncover what is hidden below this anxious presence. It comes layer by layer, starting with the surface and diving deeper. Each layer uncovers the next opportunity to be a non-judgmental witness to my own interior wounds. Each layers invites me into deeper unconditional love for myself, for my Soul. Each layer unleashes more and more of the Sacred’s Light into my life.
Another lesson Pippa is teaching me is to ask for help. I do not have to do this alone. Support, whether people or flower essences, gives me greater courage to be present in a non-anxious way. I have nothing to fear really. Pippa is fine if I am fine. Pippa is relaxed if I am relaxed. Pippa reflects back to me my inner self. She reflects back to me how support shifts my interior self, opening up a new experience and expression.
I am one who does things on my own. I don’t need help. As a child, youth and young adult I was constantly proving myself — proving that I could do something. Growing up with two older brothers created that dynamic within myself. Being the first out queer person seeking ordination in the Philadelphia Baptist Association brought that dynamic deeper into reality for me. It has been my way of being. Yet, it does not serve me well.
Surrounding myself with supportive people, supportive energy, supportive Spirit strengthens me, instills courage, encourages me to be in a gently witness-self place, opens me in ways I did not know.
I am grateful for this Lenten season and the gifts it has already given me. I look forward to the next layer that Pippa will teach me to uncover as we both walk this healing growing path together.
I invite you to share in the comments how your Lenten journey is going.
How is the Sacred bringing teachers and support into your path to encourage you in your healing, growing journey?
Pastor Jocelyn Emerson weaves together her training as a Light and Energy worker, Reiki master, spiritual director, and Pastor with her life experience as a mystic and contemplative to offer a space of trust, safety, and honesty to support you on your life's journey.