This whole week I have been thinking about waking up. Not that physical kind of waking up, although I have been waking up with more physical energy then I have had for a while. Maybe that is related to my physically reawakening my body and making myself walk every 90 minutes whether I like it or not. It hurts and sometimes I can’t wait to get back to my chair, however, I know this is all good and it is all about my intentional journey to wholeness. My physical wellness was one of those areas where I could honestly say I was not doing my best. So now, I can say that I am and I even resumed doing my shake weight routine every other day and I really enjoy those.
As I have been sitting here thinking about all this, I came to realize that my spiritual waking up process is like that of my physical awakening process. The process of waking up is not always easy, but if I do not go through the challenging times, I will never be able to evolve spiritually or physically transform my body if I do not do the work of moving from knowing what I need to do to actually doing it.
I have found that each day I keep waking up to some new awareness of something in my world, to something new in my own life. I have been reading Sue Monk Kidd’s book The Dissident Daughter and she talked about the difference between changing the way we think and changing the way we practice. I have long been aware of how my life has been affected by living in a patriarchal culture. I teach this all the time. reading this book has challenged me to think about my own spiritual journey and how I have moved theologically from what I thought was a progressively queer liberation theology to a space that is more trans-denominational and probably best described as new age, old wisdom.
While I have had several ah ha moments this week, perhaps the one that was the most liberating for me was about trust and silence. For the last few years of my pastorate with my former church, I found myself in a neglectful relationship with my Bishop. I am not sure that I could call it that at the time. However, when I kept calling and asking for support and months went by with no response, I began feeling neglected. When I learned I had been lied to and manipulated, I felt this wave of anger rise within me. Maybe that is when I really began to wake up, at least to a space where I was no longer willing to allow anyone to abuse me. When I spoke to him about my anger, he tried to tell me all that was going on was my fault. The more I felt as if he was trying to put me in my place, the more I could feel this anger boiling up inside me. The more I asked him to take some responsibility for lying to me and treating me in abusive manner, the angrier he got. He finally said the problem is you do not trust me. I remember that and then the strong woman inside me said, “You’re right I do not.”
What I did not realize until this week, years later, was that when he said you do not trust me, what he was really saying was I do not trust you. I cannot trust you to be passive and submissive. I cannot trust you to stay in your place. I cannot trust you to not question authority. I cannot trust you to not let me abuse you. He was right. I was no longer willing to allow anyone to abuse me. At some point, I had woken up and changed an agreement within myself that allowed me to abuse myself or for others to abuse me.
Since then, I have been on this constant journey of waking up and I know that I am not done waking up. Every day is an opportunity for me to continue to wake up to all that life has to offer. It is an opportunity for me to wake up and see the shackles, which still exist in my life and work to remove them. It is an opportunity for me to do more then just wake up to understanding my oppression theoretically, but wake up to actively acting on things in my life so that those shackles are removed and no new ones are allowed on. The process of waking up is not always easy, and at times, it has been painful, however, I am so grateful for every time I wake up physically, spiritually, emotionally, and mentally. May this year be filled with opportunities for me to continuously wake up.