“You enter the forest
at the darkest point,
where there is no path.
Where there is a way or path,
it is someone else’s path.
You are not on your own path.
If you follow someone else’s way,
you are not going to realize
The above quote by Joseph Campbell from his Hero’s Journey pretty much sums up 2020 for me.
As I approached the year 2020, there was much excitement in the air. It was our intention at our Center for Spiritual Living to claim the year as 2020 Vision. We would be clear, and where we weren’t clear, we would spend the year, making sure we were clear about our life, our Center and our place in in the world. Little did we know that our very life would be dependent on our clarity. Little did we know that we would have to carve our own path through territory that we had never before experienced. We surely weren’t taught what we would confront in ministerial school. We would soon be totally dependent on our own beliefs and driven by our intuition.
And so, the year began with our Sacred Journey 2020, which proved from the start to be the most challenging Sacred Journey to date. What could go wrong went wrong. The weather disappointed us, participants in the journey left due to illness, we made last minute changes in schedule and activity changes as necessary. I will always remember our community holding the 8 foot banner at the Lydgate Pavilion, as they struggled to erect it in the stormy conditions, and the Sacred Earth Choir singing with the howling wind as accompaniment. Everything was pointing toward trouble; yet, we continued to persevere. We were clear. We knew that no matter what, our intention was to provide a deepening experience for all participants on the Sacred Journey of the Visionary. We succeeded because we didn’t give in to those things that were unexpected. We made the most of each moment. We carved our own path.
We had several other challenges between January and February that forced us to become clear on what our Center stood for and what kind of leadership we needed in order to maintain a strong center. It wasn’t easy to make the changes we knew we needed to make, but having clear vision isn’t necessarily the easiest road to take. People pleasing must be put aside and the Good of the Whole comes forward.
Our first two months of 2020 were indeed dark, forcing us to look deeply through the darkness to the clearing. I had a feeling that we were being prepared for something that would prove to be even more challenging. I didn’t know what it was. It was just a deep foreboding feeling. I took a deep breath and kept going.
So, when COVID19 became more and more prevalent in the U.S.: and then March 15 arrived and we had to shut our Center down to live community participation, we knew that the only thing that would save CSL Kaua`i was total clarity.
From Joseph Campbell – “The image that comes to mind is a boxing ring. There are times when…you just want that bell to ring, but you’re the one who’s losing. The one who’s winning doesn’t have that feeling. Do you have the energy and strength to face life? Life can ask more of you than you are willing to give.”
Yes, we were in the boxing ring; and, although I have never boxed, mentally the image I have of the COVID19 ring of unexpected surprises is being punched again and again with one change, restriction and uncertainty after another. If we were to turn the tide to victory, we would have to get up and practice what we preached week after week. We would have to rely on the Law of our Being to carry us through. We began to answer our own questions.
Why was CSL Kaua`i here? We knew that CSL Kaua`i was here to make sure every soul touched by it knew how magnificent they were. It was here to teach total responsibility for one’s life by living by that example. We knew that a strong loving self would navigate any storm. We were here to practice self-love.
What was ours to do? We would keep the light on and give our light to the world. We worked diligently with our team to make sure our message went out into the world through livestreaming, zoom and writing, too. We couldn’t have an all-or-nothing attitude. We would have to become like the bamboo in order to survive this. We would have to bend, never breaking.
Would we survive? The only person asking this question would be someone without a clear vision. That was not us. When we first conceived of CSL Kaua`i, our mantra any time we came up against a challenge was “We can never be threatened by anything or anyone.” We know that God is our Source and as long as CSL Kaua`i has a mission here, that Source provides for it. The Law of emergent evolution states that “When the Universe makes a demand upon itself, it meets that demand.” We would have to meet our demand and the people came forward near and far, expected and unexpected to let us know that we were needed and they put their finances, their time and their talent behind their claim. We are grateful and so blessed by so many.
We often ask why “bad” things happen to “good” people. This could definitely be questioned in regards to COVID19. However, when one sets an intention into the Universal Law with as much feeling as we did at the beginning of 2020, we do not know how that intention will be fulfilled. It’s called getting out of the way of the “how’s” or outlining. We intended clear vision and everything came up to make sure we had that clear vision. I am satisfied that we met the test, that we proved that we are above average as a community. I am satisfied that each person in our center joined us in above average behavior.
From Joseph Campbell: “The imitation of Christ is the joyful participation in the sorrows of the world.”
Yes, we didn’t and aren’t shrinking from the sorrows of the world; instead, we joyfully participated and are participating in them by rising in strength and commitment to assist where we can. We proved that we are above average and we will continue to do so.
There is something called “The Law of Averages.” We are all subject to the Law of Averages on the physical 3D plane of action. When we are not conscious of the gifts of the Spirit, when we are not practicing our wholeness, fully setting our loving intentions into motion, we are subject to the Law of Averages, which accounts for what seems like happenstance in the world. It is because within each of us there is a place which is Universal. It is the subjective side of our mind/consciousness. We are born into race consciousness and subject to all of it. It isn’t until we decide to rise above the Law of Averages that we live in a more elevated state of being. We live clearly, and when we meet a challenge we rise above that challenge and move through it with our true self, our Power, our Love.
I know that we are all above average in our true nature. We have the Intelligence of Infinite Intelligence. We are born from love. We have every gift of the Spirit to discover and to use. Yes, 2020 has been a year of clarity and I am grateful for every moment of it. We will take this strength into 2021 and whatever it brings. It won’t matter because we know who we are.
Being above average, doesn’t mean life is easy. In fact, if you talk to any athlete or musician or artist, you will have a great example of what it takes to be above average. To be above average means we seek to be more of ourselves, our true selves.
From Joseph Campbell:
“The journey of the hero is about the courage to seek the depths; the image of creative rebirth; the eternal cycle of change within us; the uncanny discovery that the seeker is the mystery which the seeker seeks to know. The hero’s journey is a symbol that binds, in the original sense of the word, two distant ideas, the spiritual quest of the ancients with the modern search for identity, “always the one, shape-shifting yet marvelously constant story that we find.”
And, now we continue into 2021, the year of Self-Love. This is the only place to start for we cannot be average and at the same time love ourselves deeply. Loving ourselves deeply will cause us to begin to nurture every part of ourselves – mental, emotional, spiritual, physical. We will live as conscious beings with a plan for our lives that goes beyond just surviving to thriving in every way possible. We will become the heroes that world needs right now.
Love and Aloha,
Rev. Rita Andriello-Feren, Spiritual Director CSL Kaua`i