Finisterre: Where Lies My Loyalty?

A pledge to keep walking beyond where I have once called home, onto where I am challenged to change, forgive, reconcile and surrender.

I stopped by my home for about twelve hours after returning from retreat in Connecticut last week. After packing up new clothes and more food, I headed to our off-road cabin near Trapper Creek where family and friends had arrived earlier for the annual spring-break gathering.

I was still “on retreat” from my time in Connecticut, still pondering the teachings and the experiences. I go there to awaken to what lies unconscious in my soul and is in need of some light to transform me to more of who I really am. One aspect of the teaching impacted me greatly; it challenged me to look at what I am loyal to.

Loyalty–“support that you always give to someone or something because of feelings of duty and love.” There are my conscious loyalties to family, to friends, to specific causes, to some institutions, to vows and to beliefs–all those needed some questioning and re-imagining during the retreat. Am I loyal to those things because my ego needs them to be? Which are still true and which are not?

Yet the loyalties that are more influential are those that lay settled in my unconscious–particularly around my loyalty to mother.

I know. It seems that any psychological cause goes back to the saying, “If it’s not the Mother, it’s the Mother.” And although I’m referring to my actual mother primarily, that term leaks out to include other mothering influences. Maybe anyone where I sense holding, support, and love. Initially, for all of us, even those who didn’t have the nurturing mother I had, there is some field of gold merging love as we are born that is held in our unconscious, and it is feels so rich and luscious and unconditional that we never want to lose it. Although this is a very shortened form of an explanation of this type of love, it is so pivotal for how we develop who we become. And it feels so vital to our actual existence, that this loyalty runs deep and mostly unchallenged. It’s too scary to not have it. It is our ground when we are feeling lost or threatened. I need only to remember the words of George Floyd asking for his mother in his dying breath.

I could tell that it was scary because I didn’t really want to do the inquiry into how my loyalty to my mother may block me from full loyalty to True Nature/God–and coming to my own true nature/self. But I trusted that it wouldn’t really change my love for my mother or any other of my beloveds. In fact, I sensed it would only enhance it–if I could just get past the fear.

For instance, I wondered what part of attending church was being loyal to my mother, as she was so adamant about our every Sunday participation there. She had told me the story about saying goodbye to her father at his deathbed, and his last words to her were, “Be a good girl and go to church and you’ll be all right.” Maybe loyalty to her father was also her loyalty to church–as well as a sincere loyalty to her faith and love of God. I’m not saying that these can’t co-exist–either in her or in me. But when I asked the question, I sensed the loyalty part to her did impact my attending church. It was so much a “should.” And it was so connected with receiving her approval–which as a child seemed like a way of assuring her love as well. But I am no longer a child. What part of me goes to church out of loyalty to my mother and what part is who I really am, what my soul uniquely turns to? Part of my life practice will be asking this question again and again. Where does my ultimate loyalty lie? To my mother or to the Divine? What is my truth in this?

Even as I wrote those words, I felt a little stab of non other than disloyalty. So there is something there, something more to see. And I can only guess that there is not only my loyalty to mother, but also to the church that traditionally teaches “Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy.” But where is my church now and how do I create it? Is it only on Sunday? The church itself is asking these questions. Yet there is an imprint on my young soul that feels guilt in asking those questions, and is loyal to early teachings. I know what I can do is simply feel the guilt and uneasiness or feel my resistance or whatever else arises. Dig up the unconscious and see what God will do with it now.

I also looked at what I am guessing is my loyalty to suffering. It’s pretty murky, but again both church teachings about suffering with Jesus, but also my mother’s suffering as a child and as a mother hold some stance in my soul. Suffering with them feels like showing my love and support and empathy. But is that what Jesus or my mother want? And how does that loyalty to suffering also serve to fuel my unhealthy martyr syndrome? I feel this old loyalty to suffering as I write this, feel how it has its hooks in me, sense how it even makes me feel powerful in a way. My ego feels virtuous in suffering, and as with all egoic patterns, it feels very familiar.

Where will all this inquiry and questioning lead me? All I can be sure of is that it is unknown. Most of the time I want to know and control. That is my fearful ego, always afraid when it can’t call the shots. But I know from experience, that this kind of questioning has led me into the unknown before, and always I have been held and loved, guided and turned closer and closer to that which I seek–my true self within the Holy. It’s fresh and rich and feels like I’ve dug a tunnel under and out of a jail cell.

I look back now and see that I did stay true to following my spiritual path instead of going with the family to the cabin when everyone else did. This loyalty didn’t change my love for them or their love for me. Perhaps it even brought us closer.

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