“Happiness is not a destination, it’s a method of travel.”
St. John of the Cross
The morning inquiry that took me on a journey:
Why do you want to be good?
Why do you want to be good? This is the inquiry that put a pyramid sized question mark right into the center of my quest. It seems a simple question, and one we have all worked with in one way or another since a child – and learning about that highly charged word: good.
We arrived in Teotihuacan yesterday for our Vision Quest and were greeted by a home in cobalt blue and terra cotta orange and images of the Lady, and jaguars everywhere, The Dreaming House.
This morning at sunrise I climbed the stairs outside of our casa to behold the Pyramid of the Sun, just a ten minute walk from here.
I wonder why I have been called here? Was the first question on my mind.
Arriving in a new place I have my own customs informed by the customs of many peoples of many lands. Something like this is my pattern, which changes based on where I am.
I asked for permission to be here and gave thanks for being here
Let the guardians of the land and casa know that I am here
Asked them to let know anything I needed to know
Asked how to be appropriate to traditions/energies while within my own
Turned to the four directions and made the sign of the cross
Said my prayers from my tradition
Asked for protection and right path for myself and fellow travellers
Asked to be a good servant to our guests and the Divine
Connected with the earth and let the beauty in, see it.
I let the Lady of Guadalupe know –
I am finally here to see Her.
Above is an early painting of mine, inspired by the Lady…
Then I approached the labyrinth and asked about my quest. Still in my blue Eileen West granny nightgown and my white foofie robe and slippers I entered the opening.
That is when that whopper question arose.
Why do I want to be good?
And I walked with that in my heart, placed as lightly as I could but somehow it still landed with a thud.
Before reading the ponderings I came up with – consider your own.
Yes now….precious being just stop and ask. See what arises for you.
Be curious and open – and let your ego do some of the talking so you can see what you might not be seeing.
Perhaps journal or take a walk or clean something up in your physical space while you inquire.
“I came into the unknown
and stayed there unknowing
rising beyond all science.
I did not know the door
but when I found the way,
unknowing where I was,
I learned enormous things,
but what I felt I cannot say,
for I remained unknowing,
rising beyond all science.
St. John of the Cross
As my thoughts arose I was doing a physical action. Picking up the stones on the path to put them back into their place on the labyrinth. I found myself delighted to be able to do this assignment and the place each one where each one went. Their place was clear and somehow they had been moved out by perhaps a careless foot or dog or who knows what. The stones, are precious stones, large and small the likes of which I have never seen in one place, placed here by the owner of the Dreaming House, a profoundly gifted sculptor.
As I put the stones in place and asked the question, it provided a context.
What if others saw me doing this – putting stones in place. Would they think I am doing something good, even if so simple, or would it seem inappropriate to come on to someone’s land and move stones out of the path out of a supposed premise of helping? I also picked up any little tiny bits of ‘stuff’ that wasn’t supposed to be there. I didn’t really want anyone to see me. It made me think of all the things we do in private, even if no one sees us and then, the things we do so that others can see us. I imagined them seeing a gringa in a blue nightgown and thinking me mad. We think about what others will think of us all the time, it is a default setting.
Knowing the importance of being seen by others to people on a healing journey I encourage others to share their good works so we can celebrate – so as we go into this inquiry I felt that was important to share.
In this process it might be interesting to just go out into the street, or a public place and start cleaning up with out being noticed. I have written before about cleaning up the bathroom sink or wiping the pee from the floors of public restrooms and found many of you said you did this too.
Here are some of my thoughts what do I want to be good:
Take One: heart
I want to feel good
I want to serve others
I want to serve God
Take Two: ego
I want to feel good and look good
I want to be seen serving others as it is important to me to service
I want God to know I am good so I serve.
Take Three: both
I want to feel good and doing good makes me feel good and look good
I want to serve others because it makes me happy to make them happy
I truly want to serve God, but not to earn or impress, but to be intimate with the Divine.
What came up for you?
Share in the conversation here.
As a part of my path, I long to serve because it is in my heart to serve and it makes me feel, in many cases, not good, but like I am on the path.
And that is the ultimate experience for me. Being on the path and knowing I am being guided – I know to be guided all I have to do is show up!
The layers of thinking about it helped to distinguish my experience and how I related to it and dismantle and face my ego. And see that often it can be all three for me. The whole thing made me feel happy to be alive and on a journey. Who knows what the week will hold. Guests are already arriving and our first Red Thread Circle is tonight in the Virgin de Guadalupe sanctuary that Emily Grieves painted over a whole year….
“They can be like the sun, words. They can do for the heart what light can for a field.” St. John of the Cross
Albondigas and the Spanish thread…
After comida of amazing albondigas and rice and tea we enjoyed a lovely meeting with our hosts, Emily Grieves, and the family of her husband including one of my favorite beings, Marco – you may have read about him in a Red Thread Letter because while Emily was working in the Color of Woman, he participated in some of the processes.
Emily, Jonathan and myself talked late into the evening about the state of the world, Indigenous culture, the roots here. And how we were going to teach together about the Lady in the context of the conquest – and what she really is, for us and for Mexico.
While at my sister’s house there was only one book I could find in English, Saint John of the Cross so I have been going there in my meditations – a Spanish saint, and here I am in Mexico confronted with the whole story of the Spanish and the Indigenous people here and how to be appropriate to all of it….which is a part of my quest – to realize I cannot be appropriate to all of it – I can only be with it and ask and see what happens and keep showing up present, ready to think, to feel, to be and to Love. Usually I feel animosity, towards the conquering ones, who doesn’t, and so when I have been in Mexico before I have anger at the Spaniards. So St. John is here to temper me.
Yesterday we saw the whole story through the eyes of the murals of Diego Rivera at the National Palace. And we went were in the Cathedral during prayers. I tied my red thread for my community onto the prayer ribbon altar. I don’t know ya’ll – I am just here experiencing it!
What I am left with is:
What is the hidden goodness
within that no one will ever see?
How do I go there
and contemplate the mysteries of the universe.
Without a desire for an outcome,
even in spiritual progress.
That is the goodness I seek.
I want to be good because I do. Because goodness matters to me. Because our earth needs us to be good. Because when I am operating in integrity and goodness I feel more like myself and how I want to feel. Of course I hope the Divine notices. Of course I hope (and who doesn’t) that their community and those they serve, think they are doing a good job. Of course I hope my mother thinks I turned out good :) Of course I look to see the good in others and let them know I see it.
This work, this journey and writing you is how I prepare
Each year, due to the rigor and nature of the work I do in the programs I offer, I have to do my own work in order to be prepared. My cup empties quickly if I don’t keep filling it up. With Red Madonna and Medicine Wheel of the Madonna and even Life Book starting in January, with a painting process on Our Lady of Love, I know I am here to be changed by the Lady. A life long dream to see her. And again, I have to keep renewing myself and doing my work to show up authentically.
Thank you for listening dear precious one, and joining me for a little Red Thread Café on the road in Mexico. Please forgive typos and errors as I am moving quickly towards the day at hand but wanted to send you a little message.
Wherever you are – may goodness be with you today. May love be present. And I hope beyond reason, that something I write or create continues to serve you on your path.
With mucho Corazon,
“Where there is no love, put love — and you will find love.”
St. John of the Cross
Mexican Hot Chocolate in Mexico City yesterday – YUMMERS! made by Angel…