When I was 12 years old, my interior knowing staged a public rebellion over some of the teachings and practices of the Catholic church. This belief system ran deep in my blood; my grandpa, “Shorty” worshiped in a Belgian church built in the 1700’s. All grandparents and aunts and uncles spent part of Sunday morning at church. It felt like it was genetically embedded, that birth came with the expectation that those born into the family would as readily and easily embrace the teachings of the church as those that conceived them. Until I came along….
It was not planned, this rebellion. It just showed up, an interior nudge, and without pausing to consider the consequences, I listened and acted. Would it have been different had it been planned? Absolutely! I would have been terrified to commit this act of treason against family faith. So, I simply somehow showed up fully to the knowing that a portion of this belief system was just not making it into the heart and the head part was not making sense. So I said NO. Nope. Not gonna be part of this. Publicly refusing to participate in a practice that was not within me and was being forced on me, unwillingly. I was old enough to recognize that continuation of the practice I was expected to participate in lacked authenticity, and young enough to act impulsively without concern for the consequences. The heart led, the knowing led, and consequences to be meted out did not matter.
I don’t recall the consequences specifically; I do remember vividly the act of rebellion, the sense of purpose, the drive and my parents’ resulting, pre-programmed, conditioned response; mortified that their first born could conceive of such an act, and then, then to actually carry it out, in PUBLIC.
Like all defining acts, that time and space remains pivotal. It is part of my story, part of my journey, part of who I am today and also part of who I am not.
When we say NO to the pre-programmed conditioned responses, the world shifts. As a friend of mine shared recently, “people look at you when you begin to show up differently and ask ‘who are you and where did you come from and why are you showing up now?’” We may not consciously choose those defining moments and yet they appear, whether we act or not. The impact is felt and stays and we are thus changed. These changes often result in times of uncertainty, of wondering if we are alone, of searching for a support system that can understand, a system many people do not have readily available as their friends and family are not able to understand and embrace this new person that is showing up. We need a safe place to be held as we discover, examine and grow.
This is one of the ways that Pathways of Grace affiliates connect and are here to support this journey of saying NO and honoring the YES. Consider Pathways a resource that always welcomes you home, even when it feels like you are a million miles away. It is there when those you trusted are disappointed with, and maybe even rejecting of, the new you that is emerging. It is there to support the exploration whether it is a short walk or a climb up a very tall mountain.
Each affiliate has their own practice, their own journey, and their own way of connecting and sharing. You will find someone who can support you as you traverse the interior space of dark and light, saying yes and saying no, being and doing. Give Pathways or me a call (602.315.3438) and I’ll help you by listening, and finding the affiliate(s) who can support you.