molting…for the birds?

I live in a great lower flat with a lot of architectural charm (HWFs, leaded glass windows, built-in china cabinet, etc), I have the best land”people” who live upstairs (whom I adore), I’m in a familiar neighborhood where many of the people I love are…sounds great doesn’t it?  It is…it truly, is great, but…I’m moving.

Here’s the problem…I need to reinvent my life; start all over, essentially.  I did a lot of this discerning, searching, and finding once before…started when I was 18 and I found my niche/calling and followed it when I was 24.  Fast forward 6 years and I found myself having to start over (not by my choice either).

Now, I’m 32 and don’t have a freaking clue…all I know is that to reinvent, I’m feeling the need to divest myself of all things clinging to, reminding, taunting, and shaming me of what I devoted my heart and self.  This is excruciatingly painful (Hey, my blog is not named “Land of rainbows and elves” for a reason…) and sometimes down right maddening.  Everything around me in my physical space is attached to my former life…including my silverware!  I mean, c’mon… who eats a bowl of pasta and tears up because their fork reminds them of their broken heart?

So…I’m molting.  I started with finding an apartment, in a neighborhood where the median age is 37, there are fun things to do, beautiful Lake Michigan is 2 blocks away, and my nuns (whom I love dearly, truly) won’t be beeping the horn and waving when I’m out running off rage from my situation.  Ha!  New space/location…check.

Then I did the first grown-up house like thing–I bought a new living room.  It’s my style, my colors, my design…plus they all match and didn’t come from 3 other convents before.  Begin to get rid of nun-household items…check.

I also refinished two of my dressers (knowing I couldn’t afford new everything…how do you turn nun dressers into Katyesque Chic?  Spend hours on Pinterest and rehab them yourself!)  Begin to have own style…check.

Sounds so glamorous and exciting doesn’t it?  I wish.  Today, I started packing by going through my boxes and bins to get rid of stuff…I have way too much crap.  Goodwill here I come!  Part of this cleaning out stuff is actually quite cathartic and meditative.  I was all good until a few things happened:

1.  I came across all of my ceremony photos and memorabilia.  I wanted to throw it all in the trash; wait, I did throw it all in the trash, and then one of my little voices said that might regret that in the long run.  It went in a bin that I hope I don’t open for a very long time.

2. I began getting rid of all of my nunny books and Franciscan memorabilia.  G’bye Francis and Clare!  G’bye San Damiano!  G’bye Joyce Rupp and Joan Chittister!

3.  I realized that no matter what I divest myself from, how I change my space or aesthetics…what I “molt”, I grow back the same feathers.  You can’t get rid of you or pawn it off on a charitable thrift organization.  I dissolved right then and there amid the boxes of books/paraphernalia ready to be moved on.  Boo!

Simply…I spent ~6 years discerning where I’m being called and then another 6 “integrating” and “transforming” to live out that call to end up unjustly discarded…unfortunately my heart and belief and faith don’t follow suit.  This life, this call, is in me…in a real way.  It brings me back to “Ignite or be gone” post…it was my “true and perfect joy”…I fell in love…I committed my life…ARGH!

Changing my physical enviornment…exterior molting, if you will, is an important part of my healing process…indeed.   Internal molting…it’s going to take a lot more than a box of Francis’, Clare’s, a Joyce Rupp prayer-book, your community’s history book, and the omnibus of Franciscan documents to settle this.  A new exoskeleton may look great, but they sure do come at a price.  What do they say…pain is beauty?  Hmmmm…

Be ignited…or be gone…

Tomorrow is my birthday–32 years old! I like to post an annual b-day post because I see it as a great opportunity to reflect on the year past and the year ahead.

I hesitated starting a new blog until I was in a “good space” again…where people could enjoy and be joyful about what’s coming from the inside…out. My creed burned through me and reminded me (oh so often I receive this reminder) that it’s real to have pain, speak your truth, grief is an experience of life, and joy…well “they” all tell me it’s there somewhere.

And that, folks, is where I am on the afternoon eve of my 32nd birthday…in pain, grieving, searching for my joy, and speaking my truth (as opposed to my preferred method of not speaking…anything)

Oh…you’re still reading? I haven’t scared you off yet? Way to go trooper! My 2012 b-day reflection begins with a poem by my FAVORITE poet, Mary Oliver:

What I Have Learned So Far

Meditation is old and honorable, so why should I not sit, every morning of my life, on the hillside, looking into the shining world? Because, properly attended to, delight, as well as havoc, is suggestion. Can one be passionate about the just, the ideal, the sublime and the holy, and yet commit to no labor in its cause? I don’t think so.

All summations have a beginning, all effect has a story, all kindness begins with the sown seed. Thought buds toward radiance. The gospel of light is the crossroads of–indolence, or action.

Be ignited, or be gone.

(Oliver, Mary. New and Selected Poems: Volume Two. 2005.)

Oh geeze…where do I start? Let’s move backwards…shall we? “Be ignited, or be gone…”–If you know me…you know that I have a fiery passion. If I had to sum up my life’s call in 5 words or less it would be these words. Ending this poem in this way I find hope in a seemingly hopeless situation. For me, it connotes that I still have enough to be ignited again. I need to find that which allows me to burn again fiercely and with sustenance. Or be gone…I couldn’t agree more…use it or lose it people.

It was this line: “Can one be passionate about the just, the ideal, the sublime and the holy, and yet commit to no labor in its cause? I don’t think so…” that pulled me in with gusto. As a passionate person, who just so happens to be ignited by justice and idealism for sure…sublimity…hmm, I supposed if I thought of the synonym transcendent then yes…my faith, my belief in God…sure I can be passionate about the sublime.  “Commit to no labor…” that phrase sits like a lump of mashed potatoes in my esophagus. 

Passion without an outlet?  What in the hell is that?  How do you respond to a call when the wires have been cut? (an aside…I can’t believe I just used an analogy of a wired phone line…LOL!)  How do you trust this so called “process” and believe that your energy, spirit, passion will be tapped and used for good in this world?  Be ignited or be gone…commit to no labor…I don’t think so. 

On the afternoon eve of my 32nd birthday, I struggle with not being able to commit to an outlet to which/whom I belong—at least one with integrity.  I identify my fire…it may be burning embers, but it still has energy potential.  I’m stuck though, ignited or be gone…more work to do…Happy 32!

Out of Retirement–the Virgin Post

Welcome to from my inside…out!

I recently retired from writing a blog I had ( since 2007.  The blog began entitled: Religious Life Rocks…The Adventures of One Fun Nun and then shifted in 2010 to Inner Excavation: Journey of I AM.  I began writing to give an account of what it was like to be a 20-something nun in today’s world. 

My life’s path has shifted; thus, the blog needed to also, so I retired.  Thanks so my loyal and faithful reader’s lamenting…I’ve decided to start fresh and try it again!  Here it goes…

What can you expect from my inside…out?

As my tag line indicates: real. truth. experience. joy.; really…this is it.  I’ll share what I think and what I experience…the good the bad and the ugly.  It is real, for me…all of the writing is from my perspective, from my inner truths…out.  I nor this blog are affiliated with any organization…it’s just me. J

It’s always my goal to post at least 2 times per month…sometimes it’s more frequently, sometimes I just can’t get there.

I truly hope you enjoy from my inside out…and that you find it to be a source of interest, inspiration, and who knows?