Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Protection revisited

I've been reading Eat, Pray, Love a little at a time each morning. The book is written by Elizabeth Gilbert. She writes about a year that she took to travel to Italy, India, and Indonesia. In it she chronicles the rich spiritual insights she gained from her journey. I like it because it's honest and vulnerable and deeply connected to real life. I'm not very far along in the book. The chapters are short, so I read a little each morning and find some rich things to think about.

The chapter I read this morning brought to mind last week's post about protection. In that post, I stated that I needed to find a new image of protection, one that leads me to engage rather retreat, one that encourages trust in the universe instead of assuming that I'm alone to face the world. In this chapter she talks about the painful process of waiting for her divorce to be finalized. When it reached the point of the ridiculous in terms of her ex-husband's insistence on contesting details of the settlement, she ends up on a small publicity tour for a book she'd written. She took along a friend whom she describes as having some sort of special round-the-clock connection to the universe.

Conversation during a long day of driving turned to Liz's divorce and when Liz exclaimed her wish that she could petition God to just end it, her friend encouraged her to do just that, to write a petition to God, explaining that Liz, as a member of the universe, has the right to petition and make her feelings known. So, in the car at that moment, Liz wrote a petition to God and signed it. Her friend told her she'd sign it too, then asked Liz who else she thought would sign it and so she begins to name people she knows, and then others whom she could imagine standing with her on the issue of her petition. Her friend encouraged her to call on anyone, living or dead, and start collecting signatures, and the list grew and grew. This is how she described it:
The names spilled from me. They didn't stop spilling for almost an hour, as we drove across Kansas and my petition for peace stretched into page after invisible page of supporters. Iva kept confirming--yes, he signed it, yes, she signed it-- and I became filled with a grand sense of protection, surrounded by the collective goodwill of so many mighty souls.
And there it was for me, in black and white, my new image for protection. Maybe what I need to do is take some time to write my own petition asking the universe to help me engage rather than retreat. And then I can imagine all those whom I think would sign that petition and in the moments when I find myself starting to retreat remember "the collective goodwill of so many mighty souls," and find the sense of protection I need to turn and engage instead.

I think it just might work, with some practice of course.

13 comments:

Marie said...

That is beautiful. What a gorgeous image. I'll sign.

Tamara said...

Would love to see this at the party we are planning together, (wink) (nudge)

J said...

I'll sign.

Phantom Scribbler said...

I'll sign, too,

Linda said...

Thanks, everyone!

Songbird said...

Yes, count my signature, too.

Katherine E. said...

I'll definitely sign, Linda!

Kathryn said...

Your very own cloud of witnesses...Please count me in too.

seeker said...

I'd sign it as well.

Mrs. M said...

I love this-- my spiritual director told me about this scene a few weeks ago, and it's really stuck.

New Kid on the Hallway said...

I'd sign.

I love your recent posts - sorry I haven't had the chance to comment more consistently.

Linda said...

Thanks to all of you. I'd be honored for you to join the list of "mighty souls!"

jo(e) said...

I love this idea. Count me in.