The Beloved for Women

I am very excited to share with you about the Beloved which is the subject dearest to my heart. The word Beloved became a big part of my life when I was 20 and I first heard the voice of my Sufi teacher. I was driving and had the physical experience of my heart melting into a pool on the floor of the car. My teacher happens to be someone who talks about God as the Beloved – but this is a God who runs through all things like water. I am someone who is always seeking that stream of the Beloved energy in every single thing I encounter. I need to – it is like breathing for me.

 I just want to say here that Sufism is not relevant to Belovedjuice except for being part of my personal story, one of the threads that was woven in to this magic carpet that does not belong to any particular tradition.

 But there is another thread of the Beloved too. And this is the thread of the muse, the guide to soul, the one who leads us down, and shows us who we really are, in the underworld, the locus of the forbidden, neglected half of the spiritual journey. Forbidden in this culture – but central to many, many cultures and spiritual traditions throughout time, including my own Sufi tradition. This is really a distinct meaning of the word Beloved. And this one has a particular flavor for women. We hear a lot about female muses. But have you ever heard of the daimon lover? The personal guide to the realms of sexuality, creativity, and spirituality that are personal to you? If daimon sounds like demon – well, that’s what’s happened to this enlivening force in our culture – it has been, well, demonized! This word demon means to animate, to make alive – and we have forced that very life energy underground. I won’t go into now all the implications of this in our culture – you know about them all too well anyway. The worst part is, we’ve internalized them as women.

 The daimon lover or Spirit Mate or Beloved – whichever word works for you – provides us with a powerful ally in our quest to reclaim our own life force and be as alive as we can possibly be. This is a journey downward into the root of the root of our own meaning, our own essential nature, our own “mythopoetic identity” as my teacher Bill Plotkin would say – and it is a journey upward into ecstatic love. The Beloved is a bridge between this world and the spiritual worlds.

 

Longing

Gustav Klimt "The Beethoven Frieze: The Longing for Happiness Finds Repose in Poetry. Right wall."

Gustav Klimt “The Beethoven Frieze: The Longing for Happiness Finds Repose in Poetry. Right wall.”

 Everything that comes into life has two sides: the yin and the yang, the masculine and the feminine. The masculine side of love is “I love you.” Longing is the feminine side of love: I am longing for you, I am waiting for you. Longing is the cup waiting to be filled. And longing is an endangered species in our culture.

 Why do I say longing is an endangered species? Because everything in our culture tells us to fill the cup. You all know this story only too well. Longing exposes us to our own most tender, raw need. This is a need we cannot satisfy. There is also primal pain here: the original pain of being separated from the source, torn from the reedbed. So why feel it? Why not stay in the feel-good spirituality being offered to us from every side?

I want to tell you a secret about longing: it is the key to living with a felt sense of the Beloved at the center of our lives. I will say that again because there is nothing that I am more passionate about: Longing is the key to living with a felt sense of the Beloved at the center of our lives.

This gathering of souls is an opportunity to reclaim the power and urgency of your own longing. The heart’s longing is a force of nature.

In that spirit I am going to invite you out on the land to embody your longing in relationship to nature. I strongly suggest that you do this in as embodied a way as possible. Sing a song of yearning. Dance a dance of waiting. Stand on the ground and ache to be a bird. Find yourself courting sunset with gibberish words. Try on not having longing be a prelude to fulfillment, but allowing it to be an end unto itself, a way of loving the world just as important as “I love you.”

To Live your longing is a way of participating fully in life with an aspect of love that is needed for balance.

 

Much of this post is inspired by and adapted from the book Love is a Fire and I am Wood by Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee

Broken Whole

Screen shot 2013-08-25 at 4.24.25 AM 
by April Glaser   used by permission
I am not like other people.
I am more like the hawk –
wide in wing span
sailing abroad the covert
currents of infinite space
or the white fluff
that cotton wood’s shed
at summer’s inception,
hugging the mess of weeds
along sidewalk’s bend.
I am the pause in bodily conversation
where silence unfolds into
an utterance of subsistence,
and the ease with which the sun
descends from a fading sky,
or the blush of beauty he secretes.
I am truth’s praise
and mystery’s best kept secrets.
I am the anticipation of moon’s fullness
but also her brilliant glow
married to darkness.
I am the flowing sensation of river
and the unavoidable swelter of desert.
I am all lonely souls
sleepless nights, and the
ground clouds of perennial days –
both broken and whole.