January Challenge

17 Jan

“For those who have an intense urge for Spirit and wisdom, it sits near them, waiting.”  ~ Patanjali  *

A beautiful and inclusive soul, Barbara Franken, had a wonderful idea for the month of January on her blog.  She called her awakening tale:  January Challenge…My Awakening Experience and Moving On…  , and she invited her friends to join her in this exploration.  The 17th is my day to spin my tale for the 17th is the day of my birth in september and my daughter’s birth in november – which seems a poetic nod of the numeric sort to mystery and meaning.

the path

Having signed up to participate in this challenge, suddenly I was hit with a major case of…what is the name for this feeling of reluctance to go back over the details of my life because while it all truly happened to ME, NOW it actually feels like someone else?    The details feel tedious,  but here is where I found a place to start:

I once lived in a modern house under a canopy of old growth oaks.  We had a wooden swing hanging from a high branch out front, perfectly centered for viewing through a wall of windows.  

The house was knocked down for the value of the land when we left; all of my beautiful possessions were sold in an estate sale, yet it still exists for me,  not with regret, but with joy of a place I once inhabited.  The mirror of this experience loves to show me  the transient nature of our material world;  houses, possessions, our very bodies are one way for a while then everything changes – there is no thing to hold on to in this world.  There is no thing that I can grasp with my hand that will be forever the way it is right now.

I move along by some invisible force beckoning,  a god-sized finger points down the road a ways, a tap on my shoulder asks me to turn around,  the ground  trembles,  then finally earthquakes break the earth wide open beneath my feet; I fall endlessly it seems into the abyss, no house, no perceived security, a future written in permanent ink  now disappears off a page that never was ~  yet some thing never stops interrupting the regularly scheduled program. 

In the searching for some meaning, I’ve joined belief systems and left them only to create new ones to define who I thought I was.   I’ve been Presbyterian, Southern Baptist, Agnostic, Jewish (conservative, orthodox, reconstructionist, renewal, cabalistic, reform); then I felt the pull toward Buddhism, Taoism, random philosophy, the Vedas, and now finally  I have found the label I shall wear forever;  finally I have found a practice that suits me.  I am a Cannibal.  Eating the flesh of other humans has allowed me to come full circle to my Christian roots……..Are you still reading?

NO, REALLY… NOW there are No More Labels.  Finally, nothing – but an ongoing realization that when I ask, What is next?  I am answered, for that is the way the mystery has always spoken to me, bit by bit, pulling me in the moment to what is next.  I believed myself to be abandoned many times, but in the urge and asking, I was never left that way for good.

I have died  (or have gone to the other side for a bit), and returned by choice to raise my daughters.  I’ve had a post childbirth/near-death experience depression that turned into a dark cave-dark night of the soul –  that actually saved me.  If I had not given myself the experience of exploring my shadow, and of feeling the discomfort of the life I had chosen, if it had not gotten really, bloody uncomfortable, I might have lived the life of obligation and slow decay – so strong was my conditioned programming!  Here comes an apt quote given to me at a pivotal time from one of my key holders:  SeeingM:

“Barn’s burnt down – Now I can see the moon.”


My barn had to burn down.  It felt tragic, but now I have come to a place where I would bring marshmallows for the event – most days 🙂

My own confusion has wrought an imaginary sort of havoc; I’ve run around like a fool screaming fire more times than I can recall, but I’ve come to see those emergencies were of my own making.   I am okay.   I’ve always been okay.  

 Books often were the tool the mystery used to talk to me, though, at some points, people with the keys to my locked doors have magically appeared at the critical times they were needed.   These gifts from spirit are just as real as the laundry to be folded, the dishes to be washed, the papers to be graded that I can touch with my hands.   Lately, I am picking up on signals through people, numbers, patterns, flow and cilantro.  ha!  Not cilantro, but maybe someday.  That word just wanted to be there.

One of the most profound visitations I’ve had was invisible to everyone around me; it occurred in a moment, and filled me with the assurance that I have tapped into throughout these many years –  I have been shown how much I am loved and connected to love.

This meaningful moment for me occurred in my beautiful, modern house in my fancy neighborhood days with small children.  I was overwhelmed with fatigue and drain and disconnect in the task of taking care of my girls in days that seemed to go on and on.  My thyroid was beginning to not function so well, so I was exhausted all of the time without knowing why.    I was sitting on the couch in our breakfast nook next to the kitchen, surrounded by such wonderful windows but drowning in sheer exhaustion.   I just prayed a simple phrase, “help me through.

In that moment,   the most powerful and all encompassing love whooshed into my body – enough to make me swoon.   I was flooded with love so big,  I disappeared.  What I am describing was physical and real, and utterly unexplainable.   I can’t articulate just what happened.  It helped me through that day, but more importantly, the memory of some thing that personal and profound that answered me has helped me through these last 10 years of challenge.  As my life spiraled into outwardly seeming disarray, I had an inner knowing of this love that came when I called.  I was given a gift to get me through, to help me know I wasn’t alone, to pull me out of a cave, to pull me out of a marriage that could no longer work, to exhibit independence and strength to my daughters who were being sucked into the undertow of their father’s mental  plight.

More and more the wash of bliss seems to be a normal flow.  Behind the tasks of every moment is a spaciousness full of love, and humor, so forgive my silliness;   to me Awakening is not serious business but more a coming back to who I am, have always been, but forgot for a bit.  This original self is known by the comfort she embodies.  She is usually ready with a laugh, a dance, a deep breath, a stop for looking at the sky or a bug crawling by.

If it isn’t a momentary awakening experience like Eckhart Tolle and  Byron Katie, then perhaps it is just this walking along,  and getting pulled along, going along, trusting the path to strip and refurbish  – a cosmic car wash.  And boy, do we shine, so scrubbed and buffed at the end.  And boy, are we held during the tough, bristle-brush rubbings.  What mystery pulls me forth, I do not know, but conveying through I am, glancing right and left as I go, seeing you and you and you along the ride with me,  fractally small, connected to all, falling in love with a cat at the foot of my bed.

*  Thank you Erin for the wonderful quotation from her blog!

Here is a list of fellow path walkers and their stories as they participate in the January Challenge!

1st     Barbara  – http://memymagnificentself.wordpress.com
2nd    Paddy    – http://paddypicasso.wordpress.com
3rd     Emanuel- http://emantable.com/musings-of-a-table/
6th     Julianne – http://juliannevictoria.com
7th     Sarah     – http://theskycladwriter.wordpress.com
8th     Shree     – http://heartsongsblog.wordpress.com
9th     Dace      – http://mywaytotruth.wordpress.com
10th   Korinn    – http://www.korinn.com
11th   Sindy     – http://bluebutterfliesandme.wordpress.com
12th   Stefanie – http://dancingwithstefanie.com
13th   Mick      – http://meticulousmick.wordpress.com
14th   Joss      – Postphoned
15th   Megan   – http://mychroniclifejourney.wordpress.com
16th   Pat         – http://patinspire.org
17th   Marga    – http://lifeasimprov.com
18th   Kimberley – http://kimberlyharding.wordpress.com
19th   Becki        – http://isurvivedamurderattackmyfamilydidnt.com
20th   Serena      – http://beingmefromatoz.com
21st   Heather     – http://wildflowerwomen.wordpress.com
22nd  PurpleRay – http://purplerays.wordpress.com
23rd    Sue          – http://suedreamwalker.wordpress.com
24th    M…          – http://seeingm.wordpress.com
25th    Brian G    – http://middlepane.com
26th    Dotta       – http://dottaraphels.wordpress.com
27th    CW          – http://sunflowerrosecw.wordpress.com
28th    Laurie       – http://lauriesnotes.wordpress.com
29th    Debra       – http://ptero9.com
30th    Linda        – http://lindalitebeing.wordpress.com
31st    Michael     – http://navigator1965.wordpress.com
1st      Leigh        – http://bluegrassnotes.wordpress.com
2nd     Shaman   – http://shamanictracking.com
3rd     Joss         – http://crowingcrone.com
4th     Jenna       – http://jennadee222.wordpress.com

27 Responses to “January Challenge”

  1. kimberlyharding January 17, 2014 at 1:15 am #

    I loved this post. I had never heard the “Barn’s burnt” quote and think it is perfect. What an amazing journey – you show so much love and commitment.

    • marga t. January 17, 2014 at 3:55 pm #

      Thank you, Kimberly. I’m looking forward to catching you tomorrow 🙂 I used to think the barn was the literal house, and now I see the barn is “identity” – so many layers!

  2. Awareness ItSelf January 17, 2014 at 2:06 am #

    Cosmic car wash, held during those tough bristle brush rubbings indeed! What a great testament to trust, and an open invitation to Life’s mystery. By the way, Is Cannibal a new religion? And can anyone join? lol. Thanks for the mention. Take care sister 🙂

    • marga t. January 17, 2014 at 3:57 pm #

      It is a new religion, which I am starting, and you are the first convert! I’ll send you some recipes. I love how you are always up for the real and the fun, my sister, Erin!

  3. Michael January 17, 2014 at 2:17 am #

    I have missed your writing. It wasn’t even a hiatus, I know. It was a birthing.

    Someone had to say it, and you did… “To me Awakening is not serious business…” I love that line. I think there is an entire Universe somewhere that set up shop as soon as you wrote this.

    Love said, “Yes!” Called down to the boiler room and told the lads to put the rest of the coal into the boilers.

    The chief, an ornery old goat, called back to confirm: “How much, ma’am? Just checking.”

    “No more checking,” Love replied. “Ever. As far as the coal goes: all of it. And toot sweet.”

    Mustered the entire crew on deck. Grabbed a bullhorn. “Listen up, people. This, right now, is the end of serious business. Right here. I don’t want to hear another word about it. Now get to it. We’re going to BE this idea before nightfall, or else I’m a world without water.” The idea was stamped and ratified instantly. Breathed to life. There is a world now somewhere, full of serious people in charcoal colored suits, rubbing their chins, going about the earnest, honest work of pursuing what they already are, trying to break through this cloak of seriousness. Oh! Wait… I think…

    There is a bit of seriousness in your post, though. Malfunctions and darkness. Fire. A night passage. A near miss. Then grace. Those of us still trying to recover from what we thought was important are buoyed by your perseverance. We’re filling our barns up with coal. We have an idea we’d like to try out.

    Thank you…


    • marga t. January 17, 2014 at 4:47 pm #

      Mr. Michael, how marvelous you are! I love the whole worlds you are creating as well! Not to proselytize, but you are welcome to join my cannibal cult anytime 🙂 Toot Sweet! do you mean this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PX_HljAELcA
      or this:
      I love the all-ness of the whole which expresses itself through the vessel of you – such a unique and fresh expressions from thee!

      • Michael January 18, 2014 at 1:33 pm #

        At first, I meant the latter, but now, in hindsight, I meant them both. 🙂 Thank you for the clarification!

        As for the cult, I’m in. I think I was already in. My process of coming to know has been like walking a tightrope over meaninglessness, and each time I wobbled and threatened to fall, I bumped into an invisible fall prevention device that was always surround me. Each bump left a little clue, a marking. You start to stitch them together and realize you’re finding out who you really are, not preventing who you thought you were from falling.

        Is that kind of like the cult!?


      • marga t. January 20, 2014 at 4:20 am #

        Oh, I like your cult too – mine is more just a lunch bunch meeting for cannibals – yours with the tightrope and all is much more…soul productive 🙂 who we think we are is due for a good fall, at some point! Blessing to you!

  4. ptero9 January 17, 2014 at 4:41 am #

    We could be sisters! 🙂

    I’m not even tempted to regret the visits to the temple that I have made in my lifetime. There’s a touch of beauty in each one, safeguarded by people who settle, providing shelter for us weary travelers that want to say Yes to nearly everything put on their plate, as long as it’s a sampler tray.

    How wonderful to read your story filled with amazing insights that sparkle right off the page! I love how unserious you are too, seriously 🙂 I need to keep that in mind. Passion usually has its way with me, and admittedly, I submit. But, you’ve got me thinking or remembering that, really, shhh, it’s fun for me.

    Your writing is simply fab and it’s such a pleasure to get to know a bit more about you and your amazing journey.

    Thank you!

    • marga t. January 17, 2014 at 4:51 pm #

      Such a fun part of the journey is getting to slide down the buffet table with you, my sister! We like many of the same dishes 😉 I am working my way through The Names for God, now, but I tend to dwell on and savor your words slowly, as they tickle parts of my brain that enjoy along the lines of The Slow Food Movement…Thank you for taking the journey with me, Debra! xo!

      • ptero9 January 17, 2014 at 5:03 pm #

        Likewise Marga! 🙂

  5. barbarafranken January 17, 2014 at 8:52 am #

    So eloquently told Marga… it is a real pleasure to read your words… and yes a sparkling dancing journey… experiencing it all… feeling the deep seated love of all… the humour and the sadness… and finally returning back home… IAM so honoured that you are my friend… enjoy the rest of today… take care, Barbara

    • marga t. January 17, 2014 at 4:53 pm #

      Your connecting spirit has brought together a community of diversity and commonality that touches the heart. Hope the transitioning to your new space is going well! xo! marga

      • barbarafranken January 17, 2014 at 8:01 pm #

        we have actually just arrived in Benalmadena… to check out locations where we FEEL we would like to live in the next year… It feels as if it will all come together… open hearts and open minds…. We will find our ‘latest’ home… Thank you for being YOU… Barbara x

  6. seeingm January 19, 2014 at 4:49 pm #

    Stunner. Again. But have come to know to expect nothing less from my friends. -x.M

  7. Dotta Raphels January 19, 2014 at 11:22 pm #

    We are all cannibals in a way, eating each others flesh daily. I love your humor and take on life in general. The world is transient and only when we fully acknowledge this, will we begin to enjoy all life is and has to offer every inhabitant of this physical realm.

    When love reveals herself to us, she releases such a wave of calm and collective strength within, we then wonder why or how we survived so far without it;or so we thought…she was there all along 🙂

    I’m glad you gathered your children to keep their hearts safe from pain, nothing in this life is worth perpetual sorrowing.

    • marga t. January 20, 2014 at 4:17 am #

      It seems that life does depend upon life, though some of us have sharper incisors 🙂 I really enjoyed the wonderful blurb about your life, family, various living locations on this planet, and passion for living. You have so much in a nutshell when you talk of love’s revealing – so close all along – yes! And I bow to your understanding for me in my step away from “perpetual sorrowing.” You have a beautiful way of putting words together. I’m so very happy to meet you here today! xo!

  8. meticulousmick January 20, 2014 at 9:23 am #

    Very well written Marga, thanks for sharing. I can fully relate to how to put this down, even though the story has now been told so many times….MM 🍀

    • marga t. January 25, 2014 at 1:49 am #

      I like the phrase, put this down. I think I am ready to put “this” story down, and move on…so nice to lay down the story and just BE now! Warm wishes across the water to you!

  9. britlight January 23, 2014 at 7:05 pm #

    I feel the fledgling spring of tears reading this today. Love and gratitude to you, my dear WP friend.

    • marga t. January 23, 2014 at 9:34 pm #

      Hey there, Lisa! Love and gratitude often make me teary, too! I’m off to visit you, now!

  10. shamanictracker January 24, 2014 at 6:23 pm #

    Wooow, so intense and moving! I admit, I am not the one to read posts that are more than 3 paragraphs long hehe. But I read every word you wrote! You brave soul. I am in love with brave souls 🙂
    Thanks so much for sharing xox

    • marga t. January 25, 2014 at 1:45 am #

      Ha! I love your honesty. I hit a point when I am writing a post when I am pretty sure I’ve lost most people – so nice of you to keep on – it is a big commitment of attention and energy! I love your brave soul right back! xo! marga

  11. alohaleya March 7, 2014 at 2:14 pm #

    beautiful…it is wonderful to connect with you! aleya

    • marga t. March 7, 2014 at 2:56 pm #

      It is so wonderful to find a kindred friend, Aleya! I so love reading your words, experiencing the world through your eyes! xo! marga

      • alohaleya March 8, 2014 at 12:31 am #

        thank you! xo aleya


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