Embracing My Wild Divinity

When I tell people I want to lead a wild life, to find the wild woman within, some women instinctively understand what I mean, while other folks just give me a blank stare. During my school days, the wild kids were those who smoked and drank, played loud music, partied, gave little consideration to rules or consequences. As young adults, the wild ones were … well, they were pretty much like the wild kids. Smoking and drinking, playing loud music, partying, giving little consideration to rules or consequences, sometimes riding motorcycles, hanging around bars, picking up mates for a night.

I have a hunch that when I tell the blank-stared folks of my desire for wildness, such images come to their minds, but the truth is, I have no interest in that particular kind of tameness. I call it tameness because although it seemed wild to us at the time, the activities were all part of the rebelliousness of youth, a reaction to the strictures of our lives, and, while not perfectly acceptable, perhaps, they were an adjunct to the urbanization and corporatizing of our tame world.

020bTo tell the truth, I’m not exactly sure what I mean by “wild woman.” I tried to do a bit of research into the mythology of wild women and kept bumping into the book Women Who Run With Wolves. My first reaction, of course, was to get the book, but then I changed my mind. I don’t want to know what other people mean by wildness. I want to find out what I mean. I do know that being a wild woman isn’t about getting into trouble or dangerous situations, it’s about embracing my connection to life, being the person I was meant to be without the structure of societal conventions or the bonds of other people’s expectations. It’s about finding the things that call to me from the soul rather than what beckons me from without. It’s about extending my reach, to want what up to now has escaped me. It’s about finding what feeds the hungry beast inside me. It’s about striking out on my own, trusting my instincts yet relying on experience. It’s about the having the courage and boldness to go where I must. It’s about living a natural life, following my own rhythms, being true to myself.

I’ve always been fascinated by the wild places of the world. The places deep within the Amazon that have never been touched by the modern world. The depths of the oceans that lie beyond our instruments. Deep caverns that have never been explored. I don’t suppose there are any of those places left except in my imagination, but still, I am caught by the lure of what might lie beyond our modern society and culture, what might exist beyond man-made (and woman-made) laws and conventions. Of course, any such cultures would have their own conventions that bind their members, so perhaps even the figments of my imaginings are tame in their own way.

And yet, and yet . . .

I wonder what wild places lie in my heart, my mind, my soul. What passions might I feel that I have not yet discovered? What ideas could I have that would spring forth as if from the earth itself? What unheard songs does the universe sing to me?

That is where I will find my wildness, not in bars, in a bottle, or dangling from a bungee cord.

Blessings from John O’Donohue:

“May the angel of wildness disturb the places where your life is domesticated and safe, take you to the territories of true otherness where all that is awkward in you can fall into its own rhythm.”

and

“May the beauty of your life become more visible to you, that you may glimpse your wild divinity.”

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Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Follow Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.

Friend of My Soul

I learned a new word today. Anam Cara. (I guess that’s really two words, isn’t it?) It’s Celtic. Anam means “soul” and cara means “friend.”

Soul friend.

I call my deceased life mate a soul mate, though I don’t necessarily believe we truly were soul mates.

Some people believe soul mates are separate halves of the same soul, split aparts. To these believers, you are only whole when you’ve met and connected with your other half, your soul mate. Although we were deeply connected, I do not believe we shared a single soul, nor did I ever believe it. Oddly, when I first met him, I entertained the idea that he was perhaps a “teacher.” You know the saying — when the student is ready, a teacher will appear. Well, I was ready, and Broken hearthe appeared. Even odder, when he was dying, long after I’d forgotten this romantic notion, he told me, “I won’t always be here to teach you.” I bristled at that, of course, because it sounded so paternalistic. It wasn’t until after his death when I told a friend of his words, that she reminded me of my youthful idea. The reminder sort of freaked me out, to be honest. Was I correct in that he came here to teach me, to help me gain whatever knowledge I could through his help? I do know that he had taken me as far as he could on my journey, and so . . . what? He went back whence he came and left me on my own? It’s because of this notion that I don’t necessarily believe we will be reunited when I die. I have the strangest feeling that he has gone beyond where I will be at my end, gone to a much higher plane. (What makes this whole idea so bizarre is that I’m not even sure I believe we retain some form of consciousness after this life. I do believe we are eternal, since energy can be neither created nor destroyed, but what form that energy takes, I cannot even begin to guess.)

This idea of his coming to be my teacher certainly is not the personification of “split aparts.” It’s closer to the concept of soul mates in reincarnation, where we supposedly meet the same people life after life. These constant companions, enemies, allies who share our repeated lives are our soul mates. Again, this is not apropos because I don’t believe in reincarnation. Although many people like the idea of reincarnation, I don’t. I think it makes us just a bit too complacent about accepting the unfairness of life. If someone has bad fortune or ill health, somehow it is his or her fault because of karmic debt. If a person has good fortune, that is also because of karma paying off a debt.

Some people define soul mate as “the one and only,” the person you share everything with including ideas and temperament, a person for whom you have a deep and abiding affinity. Perhaps this defined my relationship with my life mate, but somehow it doesn’t go deep enough. Seems sort of paltry, actually, as a description of our relationship. We didn’t particularly bring each other happiness, we didn’t always want the connection, but we were connected on a level neither of us ever understood. Perhaps we couldn’t understand because we never had a name for our connection.

John O’Donohue, Celtic Mystic, and author of the book “Anam Cara, a Book of Celtic Wisdom,” wrote: In the early Celtic church, a person who acted as a teacher, companion, or spiritual guide was called an anam ċara.  It originally referred to someone to whom you confessed, revealing the hidden intimacies of your life.  With the anam ċara you could share your innermost self, your mind, and your heart.  This friendship was an act of recognition and belonging.  When you had an anam ċara, your friendship cut across all convention, morality, and category.  You were joined in an ancient and eternal way with the “friend of your soul.”  The Celtic understanding did not set limitations of space or time on the soul.  There is no cage for the soul.  The soul is a divine light that flows into you and into your Other.  This art of belonging awakened and fostered a deep and special companionship.

In everyone’s life, there is great need for an anam ċara, a soul friend.  In this love, you are understood as you are without mask or pretension.  The superficial and functional lies and half-truths of social acquaintance fall away, you can be as you really are.  Love allows understanding to dawn, and understanding is precious.  Where you are understood, you are at home.  Understanding nourishes belonging.  When you really feel understood, you feel free to release yourself into the trust and shelter of the other person’s soul.”

In the end, it doesn’t matter whether we were soul mates or anam cara or something else beyond life and reason. All I know is that while we were together, he was my teacher, my guide, my companion, my business partner, my friend. Most of all, he was my home.

Now he is gone. Has been gone for almost four years. And I still feel homeless.

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Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Follow Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.

Another Blessing For You

Concerned about my struggles with my rage-ful brother, yesterday a friend sent me a blessing by John O’Donohue, an Irish poet, author, priest, and philosopher.  Today she sent another one that really speaks to my longing for freedom. May you, too, find harmony between your soul and your life.

Blessing by John O’Donohue

May you listen to your longing to be free.
May the frames of your belonging be generous enough for your dreams.
May you arise each day with a voice of blessing whispering in your heart.
May you find harmony between your soul and your life.
May the sanctuary of your soul never become haunted.
May you know the eternal longing that lives at the heart of time.
May there be kindness in your gaze when you look within.
May you never place walls between the light and yourself.
May you allow the wild beauty of the invisible world to gather you, mind you and embrace you in belonging.

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Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Follow Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.

A Blessing for You

Concerned about my struggles with my rage-ful brother, a friend sent me the following blessing by John O’Donohue, an Irish poet, author, priest, and philosopher.  And now I am passing it on to you in the hopes that it will make your day a bit brighter.

moonOn the day when the weight deadens on your shoulders and you stumble, may the clay dance to balance you.
 
And when your eyes freeze behind the grey window and the ghost of loss gets into you, may a flock of colors, indigo, red, green, and azure blue come to awaken in you a meadow of delight.
 
When the canvas frays in the currach of thought and a stain of ocean blackens beneath you, may there come across the waters a path of yellow moonlight to bring you safely home.
 
May the nourishment of the earth be yours.
May the clarity of light be yours.
May the fluency of the ocean be yours.
May the protection of the ancestors be yours.
 
And so may a slow wind work these words of love around you, an invisible cloak to mind your life.
_

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Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Follow Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.