Spiritual Directors International

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Retreat

Guest Author: 
Karen Lee Erlichman, D.Min, LCSW

The Unbroken

There is a brokenness
out of which comes the unbroken
a shatteredness out of which blooms the unshatterable.
There is a sorrow
beyond all grief which leads to joy
and a fragility
out of whose depths emerges strength.

There is a hollow space
too vast for words
through which we pass with each loss,
out of which darkness we are sanctioned into being.
 
There is a cry deeper than all sound
whose serrated edges cut the heart
as we break open
to the place inside
which is unbreakable
and whole,
while learning to sing.

 ~Rashani

 

The journey toward wholeness invites us into a compassionate relationship with our own brokenness. Being in community creates a sacred space in which we can tenderly hold this paradox together. Poet, artist and activist Rashani writes in the above poem, we “break open to the place inside which is unbreakable and whole.”

Years ago, in my first experience with a Circle of Trust ®, I found a community in which my soul felt safe enough to reveal (to myself and others) the textures and terrains of my own brokenness. Over the years of participating in, and later facilitating, Circles of Trust ® and other retreats, this breaking through of true soul/self has yielded a profound experience of healing into wholeness.

Guest Author: 
Mirabai Starr

 

 

At night on my bed I longed

for my only love.

I sought him, but did not find him.

I must rise and go about the city,

the narrow streets and squares, till I find

my only love.

I sought him everywhere

but I could not find him.

From The Song of Songs

 

Love-longing is one of the casualties of the Post Modern Age.  We seem to have come to some kind of corporate decision that relegates spiritual passion to the psychological trash basket of romantic delusion. It’s the same thing we say when two people fall in love: “She is infatuated with an idea,” we declare, “not a real person.”  (We learned this in Psych 101, and it explains a lot about our own history of romantic disasters.)  Or: “She is a blank screen onto which he projects his own hopes and dreams of love.  It has nothing to do with her.”  The conclusion of this line of reasoning is that one day the lovers will wake up, the scales will drop from their eyes, and they will see each other truly.  That, we assert, is when the real work of relationship begins.  And that’s when many lovers bail and bolt, only to run the same delusional story on someone else.

Maybe.  Or perhaps falling in love is more like what Leonard Cohen said in an interview I read in Interview Magazine while pumping my quads on the Stair-Stepper at the gym years ago.  It’s not falling in love that’s the illusion (I’m paraphrasing here); it’s falling out of love.  When that intoxicating feeling of awe and connectedness washes over us and penetrates our consciousness, that’s when the shroud lifts and we see that person for who she truly is: a being of exquisite beauty and pure goodness.  When we fall out of love, the veil drops once again over our eyes, and we stop seeing our beloved as the holy creature he is.

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