my son’s high school graduation is tomorrow. today, marks pentecost in the Christian tradition. last night, was a night of magic as sister-friends and i planned a Feminine Wisdom journey. tomorrow, i begin a week-long Intensive in the Living School.
all this to say, initiation is on my mind.
initiation: the act of growing from one version of ourselves into a fuller, more integrated version. ultimately, moving from being earth-led to spirit-led.
in the weaving of this story, i want to begin with Thomas, my son.
he’s my middle child, my only boy. we’ve always communicated with clarity and understanding as if we are one. his birth story illustrates this perfectly: i told him it was time to come (my brother was in town and i wanted him to be here for the birth); and he came. we worked together during the birth like old dance partners, perfectly in sync. it was my first natural birth and he taught me to trust in myself and instilled in me a strength and courage in which i’d always draw. he came into the world with ease and beauty and took immediately to my breast. the origins of our connection was other-worldly; we had walked together for ions.
we still have this connection. the kind of connection that is evidenced in glances across the table, communication that calls for no words. his heart awakens the mama bear in me. i remember when he was just a few months old, sensing his tenderness and wanting to protect him from this world and what it does to our boys and men. so, i fattened him up. we still laugh about this–how fat he was a baby! i wanted so much to protect him.
i know that we receive not the children we want but the children we need. i’ve learned this first through his older sister and the ways in which mothering her has grown me, called me into fuller and fuller versions of myself in and through my love for her. as mothers, we are responsible for supporting the initiation of our children and through this process, we too are initiated. it’s a constant process of letting go, forgiving, grieving, and welcoming life that is unimaginable in its beauty.
on the eve of this rites of passage–both Thomas’ and my own–i am weepy. grateful, humbled, awed, heart-broken-wide-open at the beauty of it all. i do not yet fully know how mothering Thomas has initiated me. for now, it is not for me to understand. it is for me to allow.
i appreciate this awareness as it comes on this day of pentecost. i’ve come to cherish this day in the Christian tradition. it is a day that marks the birth of the Church, when the Holy Spirit filled the church with power and drew thousands of new believers. it was the church’s initiation. and by church, i mean here Jesus’ definition: “where two or more are gathered.” in other words, it was a communal initiation. a communal rites of passage.
throughout Scripture, Jesus refers to two forms of baptism: both by water and then by fire. baptism by fire is baptism of the Holy Spirit. it is initiation and what moves one into discipleship or a spirit-led life.
When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability. —Acts 2:1–4
initiation. in which each of the disciples were open to and willing to receive the Holy Spirit, individually and together. and the power that came!! it was unbelievable, unimaginable.
Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one of them heard them speaking in the native language of each. Amazed and astonished, they asked, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language? Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea, and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs–in our own languages we hear them speaking about God’s deeds of power.” All were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?’ But to others sneered and said, ‘They are filled with new wine.“–Acts 2:5-13
one thing that strikes me in this story is the speaking in tongues and that each could understand the other in their own native language–meaning beyond words expressed and understood, a heart-to-heart communication. and when this power is generated, it attracts and awakens others. we know this now to be true not only spiritually but also scientifically. energy attracts energy.
i’ve experienced this power. the power that comes in opening our hearts to something beyond us, in community. and what comes from this experience–the knowing, the connection, the mystery. i believe it is this power that comes from these experiences that is growing our humanity. it is this power that is compelling our evolution. it is this power that is initiating me/us.
last night, some sister-friends gathered at my home to be with a vision that we’ve been holding for some time. we began with opening our hearts. this was not planned or scheduled or an item on the agenda. it’s the kind of heart opening that comes with a desire to be human, to be real, to be true. the three of us, across age and race and background difference, shared stories uniquely ours. we spoke in tongues. and as we did, we each other understood one another as if we were speaking in one another’s native tongue. the stories were particular and transcendent.
as we wove and followed the threads, tracing the vision that we’d been holding and was holding us, a mama dear joined us. speaking yet in another tongue. silence fell on our raucous bunch as we listened to all she had to say to us. there was a lot. she was a diva and took her time with us. it was magic.
it felt like pentecost. Holy Spirit filling us, as church.
today, i had plans to visit a friend who was celebrating a big milestone. there would be travel. and, despite the fact i’d had this on my calendar and heart for weeks, i realized i needed to be home today. i needed to be still. with my crew, in my place.
it’s all too easy to move so quickly by our own life’s milestones–the big, the small–to show up for others. to be the good friend, the good (fill in the blank).
how can i/we be present to my/our own lives? and allow life to have its way with us? to open to and receive the Holy Spirit so that we can awaken to the power within us? so that we can awaken and enliven?
today, i’m following the guidance of our recent and profound teacher, the diva deer who made another visit this morning, providing a refresher course to her teachings: nourish, move slowly, release the shit (literally–this was quite a dramatic teaching, let me assure you!), and walk gracefully, step by faithful step.
i know we are all being prepared and formed with purpose. what that purpose is exactly, is none of our business. it is our business, to allow it.
tomorrow i will begin a week-long intensive in the Living School, studying with wisdom elders of the Christian mystical tradition lineage. and i will witness my baby boy graduate from high school.
come, Holy Spirit, come.