|I spent last week trying to find my way through the anger and pain that bubbled up after Las Vegas. My teacher arrived. He led me on a path to wholeness. He showed me the sacred masculine.
And now I’m hopelessly in love.
Dear deep soul explorers,
I didn’t write a Notes from the Field letter last week. I wanted to but couldn’t. I was lost in the same pain you were experiencing when Las Vegas landed with a thud on our hearts’ doorsteps.
I didn’t want to write until I had something to say. Something helpful. Something hopeful.
But I didn’t have the help and I hadn’t found the hope, so for a week, I turned within in deep soul writing and deep soul reading to find my way.
It’s a conundrum, isn’t it. To acknowledge what is happening is to feel tangible pain. The heart cracks and sorrow seeps out. But to look away, to try to stay in a personal pain-free zone, that just leaves us numb.
But there is little help or hope in pain or numbness.
Well then, how about anger.
I feel anger.
- Anger that my country is the mass shooting capital of the world.
- Anger that politicians won’t even talk about gun control.
- Anger that they’ve sold their souls for a few pieces of silver from the NRA.
- Anger that this keeps happening.
- Anger that good people feel helpless.
As I poked around inside, I realized there was an even deeper and more frightening layer of anger.
I am angry that so many men are so angry.
As I acknowledged my own anger, I wondered: Are men lost in a jungle of anger and hate? Is there something I can do? Is there something all of us can do to heal their gaping wounds?
I did not have an answer to these questions.
But in perfect juxtaposition, I spent my week of anger and pain reading Thomas Merton’s journal, Learning to Love. Sitting alone in the dark, way past bedtime, I found myself falling in love with this man—this very real, very human, very masculine, very conflicted man.
Thomas Merton was a monk—a hermit monk—ensconced in a hermitage at a Trappist monastery in Kentucky. That is, until he went to a hospital in Louisville for an operation and fell in love with “M,” his nurse.
It’s quite the love story! Will Merton stay a monk… or will he follow his heart…
The backdrop to Merton’s internal wrestling match was the Vietnam War—a time I remember all too well. Merton was deeply disturbed by the climate of war in the United States. He spoke against the Vietnam War even before Martin Luther King Jr gave his famous address at Riverside Cathedral. At one point Merton even muses about asking to be transferred to a monastery in Chile so he can live in a country that doesn’t have the bomb.
On September 10, 1967, he wrote, “A feeling of great violence is in the air everywhere.”
Fifty years later, has anything changed?
My country not only has the bomb, it has a bombastic leader who threatens to use it. My country is not only at war; it seems to be in perpetual wars around the globe.
With heavy hearts, we too feel violence in the air.
So how do we live when the air is seeded with anger, hate, and violence? How do we live in a world overflowing with hurt?
In Learning to Love, Thomas Merton wrestles with these questions every day. He puts everything on the table—his love for “M” alongside his love for solitude, his fame alongside his desire for the poverty of God, his vow of chastity alongside his sexual desire, the violence in the air alongside his hopes for peace, his struggles with the politics of the church and the petty control of his abbot alongside his deep abiding love for God and the priesthood.
It is a rare and beautiful honor to be an intimate witness to this depth of soul examination. For 366 pages, Merton asks himself the same question we are asking: How do we live without the tension of opposites tearing us apart?
He acknowledges his love for “M” as fact. He acknowledges his love for solitude, his aloneness, as fact.
And concludes the opposites belong together:
“I cannot help placing (my love for “M”) at the heart of my aloneness, and not just on the periphery somewhere.”
Slowly he moves toward his answer: Hold the two opposites in your heart, knowing your heart is held in The Divine Heart, where opposites dissolve into wholeness.
After I closed Learning to Love. I felt I was almost ready to say something about how to hold the tension of opposites and move toward this blessed wholeness. But the how was still missing.
That was left for Julia Butterfly Hill.
Do you remember Julia Butterfly Hill? She sat in Luna, a 1,000-year-old, 200 foot tall, coastal redwood tree in Northern California for 738 days in 1997-1998 to protect Luna from being felled.
I picked up her book, The Legacy of Luna, to see if I wanted to recommend it to my book group.
I was flabbergasted to find the answer to my question on p 66.
After being flooded with light, verbal abuse, and noise around the clock, and nearly starved by loggers preventing supplies from getting to her, Julia reaches her epiphany:
“My first reaction was to want to strike out like an animal that’s hurt or afraid. I wanted to stop the violence, I wanted to stop the pain, I wanted to stop the suffering. I wanted to stop these men who were cutting this hillside in complete disregard for the forest and the people’s lives below. I had hate for everything.”
“I knew that if I didn’t find a way to deal with my anger and hate, they would overwhelm me and I would be swallowed up in the fear, sadness, and frustration. I knew that to hate and strike out was to be a part of the same violence I was trying to stop. And so I prayed.”
“…an overwhelming amount of love started flowing into me, filling all the dark hole that threatened to consume me. I suddenly realized that what I was feeling was the love of the Earth, the love of Creation. Every day we, as a species, do so much to destroy Creation’s ability to give us life. But that Creation continues to do everything in its power to give us life anyway. And that’s true love.”
“If that beautiful source of Creation of which we’re all a part could do that for us, then I had to find it within myself to have that feeling of unconditional love not only for the Earth as a planet, but also for humanity—even for those destroying the gift of life right in front of me.”
Julia resolved to connect with the loggers on a human level. She dropped photos of herself in pre-Luna clothes. The loggers couldn’t believe she looked so normal—and they began to talk, man to woman, human to human, story to story.
I read and reread this passage and felt my own resolutions bubbling up from my heart:
- I resolve to hold opposites tenderly in my heart until I find their sacred wholeness.
- I resolve to turn my weeping heart over to the Divine Feminine.
- I resolve to walk in the fullness of my Divine Feminine, welcoming the Sacred Masculine to walk with me, until the air is filled with hope, healing, and peace–for all.
Thomas Merton and Julia Butterfly Hill helped me find my way back home to wholeness. They helped me find the presence of the Sacred Masculine in the wounded masculine.
But they did something else. They led me–and you–right to this moment as we conclude our 2017 walk and step into 2018.
If you’ve followed me for awhile, you know I incorporate the ancient wisdom of numerology in my live The Lotus and The Lily course.
This past week, in the midst of Merton and Butterfly Hill, I met with intuitive numerologist, Emma Kupu Mitchell, our numerology guide in The Lotus and The Lily.
I knew that 2018 is a 2-year. But it’s not any 2-year. It’s an 11/2 year! Eleven is the master number of 2, the highest path to harmony.
And how does the 11 reach that high vibration of harmony?
It holds the tension of BOTH the Divine Feminine and the Sacred Masculine as they walk side-by-side and together–together–they open the double doors into the radiant light waiting for us in 2018.
Thank you, Thomas Merton.
Thank you, Julia Butterfly Hill.
Thank you, Emma Kupu Mitchell.
And thank you, 2018, for this sacred invitation to learn to walk together with all our brothers and sisters to create a world where love and harmony, not violence, are in the air.
If you’ve been in The Lotus and The Lily, you know the joy and miracles that await.
If you haven’t, please watch the video Emma and I created, study the course page, and consider joining us to create a truly beautiful, abundant, and harmonious 2018.
The Lotus and The Lily
This is everyone’s favorite course and it fills to overflowing every year. I have room for 50 souls. I hope you are one!
to embodying and integrating the wisdom of the Divine Feminine in harmony with the Sacred Masculine,