Answering the Call
I started writing to you my yearly end-of-year reflection to share with you the goodness that the past year has gifted me. I wanted to send you beautiful wishes and blessings for the new year. But then I got sick. Again.
It wasn’t easy to be interrupted in the middle of my plans for the new year. Not after I spent the majority of the past year recovering from the first infection.
Sometimes circumstances just dictate a surrender. They leave us no alternatives, rip us apart from our efforts to move forward and keep familiarity in motion.
We can find ourselves swept away by an abrupt lay-off from a job we gave our life to or a break-up we didn’t see coming, as if by a strong gust of wind we’re suddenly plucked from the comfort of a familiar branch, only to discover that all our attention is now suddenly focussed on the need to answer the Call.
It’s a Call to attend to something more urgent, something that comes from the deep. A Call characterised by the falling away of myriad everyday details and the naked stare of what’s left.
Perhaps your Call is a yearning for a more fulfilling life; perhaps it’s the craving to be truly seen; perhaps it’s to unbury old sadness and rub it with a lavender attention. And every plan you had brewing before is now simply another judicious ingredient in the cauldron of life’s long mystery.
We all have a Call to answer. At times it has felt as gentle as a falling feather, at others it’s the wrath of a sharp, coruscating wind. The difference between the first and the latter is how long, how many times and in how many ways we stoppered our ears and turned a blind eye towards our Calling because we were too afraid to face it.
Last Christmass we travelled to visit our family in Italy where I was snatched away from one world and thrown into another overnight. It started with a covid infection but it ended with a deep spiritual journey.
Nights of vomiting, lungs full of infected fluids, weeks of high fever, stabbing headaches, 7 kilos lost in ten days rendered me extremely weak. It was then, when I was powerless in face of my physical reality, that surrender brought so many angels and synchronicities into my daily life.
But I felt I was ready for this. Like I’d been preparing for the past two decades just for that.
If I hadn’t parted from my mother wound’s most limiting pattern of efforting, I most likely would have gone through the sickness and recovery with a lot of resentment for the loss of vitality and strength and with the fear that by depending on others to cook for me, to shop for me, to move house for me, I was becoming my most dreaded nightmare—dependent like my mother.
The word ‘surrender’ wasn’t even in my vocabulary before I started practicing meditation 21 years ago. It is used a lot in spiritual circles. I tried to understand it and practice it in many ways.
What I have come to realise is that surrender is a facilitator of humbleness that enables us to listen to the Call.
Surrender is an ecology of divine give and take.
Surrender is the gift of becoming firmly rooted.
The etymology of the word surrender refers to a process of yielding by giving something back. I think that what we can alway give back is our effort to hold on to our ideas about how things should happen.
As I dived more and more deeply into the surrender, something unexpected happened. While from the outside I looked like a woman who was losing her strength, struggling to breathe, whose business was falling apart, and whose mind was submerged in fog and she loses her words, from the inside I knew I was only growing stronger.
My intuition sharpened, the distance between me and the realm beyond the veil and its messages became much shorter and I heard the Call.
You see, in 2012 I left for a journey. After a very successful career as a nationally acclaimed researcher and evaluator for effective social change, with a comfortable material life and a joyful social network, I felt pulled to leave all that and step into a space of service to others. To gather in a life-long conversation with teachings and practices around what it means to be yourself in the world.
I had no idea what that meant. I had no clue how that should happen. I had no niche or marketing strategies. I just had ‘a feeling’. A growing itch.