Have you ever had the feeling that the universe is trying to tell you something?  Well, I have.  It happens with words and phrases I can’t stop thinking about or images and icons I can’t stop seeing.  And other ways.  My friend Elizabeth beautifully describes this exact phenomenon.  She finds herself keenly – painfully, even – aware of the energy of strangers, a psychic tells her she is a spiritual warrior, she finds moths – a symbol of metamorphosis – everywhere, and she opens Mark Nepo’s Book of Awakening randomly (or not) onto a page titled “How to be a Spiritual Warrior.”

The meta-thing is, I felt that way reading Elizabeth’s post.  Yes, yes, and yes.  For one thing, Mark Nepo’s Book of Awakening is the only book that lives permanently on my bedside table.  Everything she describes is intimately familiar to me, perhaps so close I never was able to put good, clear words around it.  Luckily for me, Elizabeth can.  She writes about reading Mark Nepo’s passage on how spiritual warriors have broken hearts, and my skin prickles and my eyes fill with tears.  I’ve written about this exact thing before.  But never this precisely or this beautifully:

I feel the energies of others so strongly because I am broken, my soul veined with deep fissures that allow their light and darkness to seep in through the cracks.  It seems like a lot of freight of haul around with me.  But there is a flip side.  Mystery and wonder are at my fingertips, although I’ve never fully allowed them to enter those deep crevasses.

I knew that I was so open to the energy of others and so finely aware to the nuances of a situation because of my own brokenness, though I’d never quite heard it said as beautifully as Elizabeth does.  That I am porous is a simple fact.  The myriad ways that that trait manifests in my life and personality is something I’m still untangling and understanding.  It occurred to me, suddenly, blindingly, as I read Elizabeth’s post, that instead of spending years trying to heal my brokenness, I ought to have instead spelunked into its caverns.  Perhaps it is in those caverns that the glittering universe that I’ve only glimpsed is hidden.

The easily-accessible mystery and wonder that Elizabeth mentions, the “flip side” of our common brokenness, is familiar to me as well.  Just last week I tweeted Shana Alexander’s quote: “We strain to renew our capacity for wonder, to shock ourselves into astonishment once again” with the caveat that I never have to strain.  If anything, I often wish I could tamp down my own awareness, my predilection towards awe.  It can be so sharp it cuts me, this constant noticing of life’s beauty.

I suppose this is just another circle in my orbit around the same questions, the echoing black hole in the center of my life.  Each time, I tell myself, I move closer to understanding my own essential nature, the commingled dark and brightness of my deepest wound, more clearly.  Thank you, Elizabeth.

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  1. Posted May 10, 2012 at 6:03 am | Permalink

    Thank YOU, Lindsey, for your eloquent reflection of my words here, which give ME new insights into just what I was trying to say last week. When I read about spiritual warriors having “broken hearts,” you immediately sprang to mind. I love your awareness that, instead of trying to heal a broken heart, you should have dove into the depths. This is a reality that is just beginning to dawn on me. I do think the questions that nag at us, the themes that seem to come up over and over again, are all different expressions of our essential nature. I always think of growth and development like make our way up a spiral: although we often find ourselves back where we started, we’ve moved up a “level” of awareness.

  2. Margaret
    Posted May 10, 2012 at 7:16 am | Permalink

    Clearly this is why I’m so drawn to your every word and post. I, too, feel the energy of friends, family, and strangers – profusely – at all times. It is a blessing and a curse. I feel broken, like a failure, enlightened and profoundly lucky all at once (to different degrees at various times, for sure). I feel that one half of me is healer, the other seeks healing. I am that person to whom everyone tells their life stories, who becomes the first shoulder to lean on, who becomes a key supporter in times of trouble and need. I have learned to keep people at bay for whom I just can’t be present – after all, you can not be all things to all people and the ones nearest and dearest to you – to me, anywyay – suffer the most if too much time is spent helping all the people on the periphery. It is tricky, especially for people such as myself who hate all shades of rudeness, or to ever come off as insensitive (especially because I am, on the contrary, so sensitive). On the other hand, when I really care, I really care, and whether or not I have the time for it, I am entrenched. But in the process, I can also lose myself if I am not taking the time I need (and I need a lot) to be by myself to regroup, and to be with the people I love the most to help get reenergized. I’m sure writing a blog, available to all, is one great way to overcome this obstacle! Lindsey, I always turn it back to myself in my comments, and I don’t mean to. Your writing just resonates and moves me so deeply, it is hard not to share even just the tiniest tip of my experience in my responses!! I read Elizabeth’s post too, both were my train reading into NYC this morning and I was riveted. I think I better pick up Mark Nepo’s Book of Awakening and learn more about being a Spiritual Warrior! Thanks for the beautiful, inspiring flow of your words, and for sharing yourself, as always.

  3. Margaret
    Posted May 10, 2012 at 7:41 am | Permalink

    And PS, I’ll be brief – I always feel like the universe is trying to tell me something! Words, sounds, symbols, signs, signals, messages – they accost me at every turn. I look for them, admittedly, but only because I know they are always there!

  4. Posted May 10, 2012 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    I often want to heal (seal up, replace, disappear) my brokenness too. But oh, the empathy that comes from that place. I have a feeling a greater Force than me has a specific plan for that brokenness, and is quite happy to leave it in place.

  5. Posted May 10, 2012 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

    I love how all three of us are Nepo fans. He says it all so well, and you and Elizabeth unravel it beautifully. Much love. xoxo

  6. Posted May 10, 2012 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

    I soooo feel this. I also have Nepo’s book on the bedstand, but much in it left to read (those uncanny gifts we receive). Meanwhile, I’m thinking that there may be some sort of an emerging network of the I-don’t-have-words-for-it that may be coalescing in the service of love, awakening and some sort of organically assembling ourselves into something which may lie beyond the realm of individual consciousness. Here’s to love, joy and presence in the flux. XO

  7. Posted May 11, 2012 at 7:34 am | Permalink

    I’ve been on my own journey of self discovery during the past year because of something that happened to me that I’ve always felt has left me broken. And feeling broken has made me feel different from everyone else. But reading your thoughts and the word “porous” really speaks to me and makes me look at my own brokenness in a different way. This is really brilliant – “instead of spending years trying to heal my brokenness, I ought to have instead spelunked into its caverns.” Maybe that’s what I’ve been doing on this journey but I never put words to it or didn’t know that’s what I was doing. I love this. Thanks for this post.

  8. Jill
    Posted May 23, 2012 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

    A feeling the universe is trying to tell me something? YES- right now! Same book on my night table, bought about a year ago—have never bought anything like it, but the serene cover and title called to me. Didn’t know why, I just knew I needed it. And there it has sat, unopened. As if I had the stirring of a need, but wasn’t able to name it. Maybe that purchase marked the genesis of the awakening I am now more actively craving? And now to read this post—it seconds the message I have known all along. Thanks to you…and the universe for the reminder. How I love (and count on) the messages that keep appearing until I am finally ready to notice them!