Thank you to all of our faithful supporters & encouragers through the years. We
appreciate you so much and are excited to discover what direction Mountain
Haven will be heading as we seek answers, rest, and direction this next year. We will
be taking another year of 2019-2020 to reset and reorient our future after the last year of this health battle. Thank you for standing with us.
MINISTRY AT A GLANCE
Financials: Monthly Revenue Required: $2700.00 and Monthly Revenue Received: $1,300.00 Remaining Need $1,400.00
Something Interesting or Unexpected that Happened: 1.) Kevin has spent the last 6 weeks recovering from his total proctocolectomy and he has been resting a lot, as well as fighting a few complications that we are hoping will be under control soon. He just started back to work 2 weeks ago and I know he is looking forward to slowly getting back into the groove of things as his body heals. 2.) Kaisha, Kevin and I, attended her orientation at Harbor City international school located in downtown Duluth. It’s a very fun charter school that is much smaller than the large public school, that she will be attending next year. 3.) Lilliana competed at the state dance competition and her team did very well. She also just completed a dance performance at the Marywood facility at St. Benedictine for the residents there.
Top Prayer Requests: Pray that we are able to live a non dual existence and are able to integrate the past, present and future
“May 2019 Mountain Haven Newsletters
“The Integrated Life”
You must be willing to burn yourself in your own flame. How could you rise anew if you have not first become ashes?” F. Nietzche
We just returned from a very short trip to Colorado to fix that beautiful driveway heading up the mountain. It was so emotional for me. The reality of the life that we lived out there, and are continuing to live from afar, juxtaposed with the reality of the current life we are living- hit me with such gravity it has taken me a couple weeks to re-orient. I was struck by my desire for comfort, routine, and habits. I think the older I get the more I want to settle into order, like it’s a soft down comforter just beckoning me to lay there for the evening. I think a down comforter is perfectly lovely and really nice.
What I realized is that I can’t keep trying to re-create spaces for memories that make me feel the most comfortable with myself and with Kevin. I need to enter into the discomfort instead of trying to hurry it along, acting as if it’s the wrong order at a restaurant that I can just wave my hand and send back. I think the ability to fully be present in our past, our present, and our future- is a gateway to non-dual living. It’s a space that we create intentionally by paying attention to ourselves.
I spent some time paying attention to myself and the sense of disenfranchised grief that I was experiencing, and I found that the way I was talking to myself was in a condemning way by telling myself that the intensity of my loss was just exaggerated and I should just get over it. I was hurrying grief. But the more time I let myself gaze out over the mountain that I had climbed thousands of times, and look at the graves of all the pets that we had buried on the property, and touch the spaces where so many hundreds of visitors had stayed— the more I was able to integrate my past adventures and losses into my present adventures and losses. It was painfully lovely in a way I hadn’t imagined.
There is this axiom that we all have heard it goes a little something like “don’t live in the past“. And then there are all the other axiom‘s like “plan for the future” . And another all-time favorite “live in the now.” Can you imagine how people feel, or even our kids feel when they are growing up and they are receiving all these messages that seem to have such a different focus and feel somewhat contradictory. It’s no wonder we grew up confused and our kids feel overwhelmed. The challenge is integration. I was feeling like I had to separate my life. Like it was a life in units, and the Mountain Haven unit of my life was over. That if somehow I fully jumped into the emotion of that loss and regret that somehow it would diminish me from keeping my eye on the future or making a good plan for the future. It would diminish gratefulness and joy.
I was struck by this thought (I believe it is partially influenced by my love of television shows or series that show multi dimensional living like “The Leftovers”). The thought was “what if all these memories and these experiences from the past that I am feeling in the present moment are designed to influence my future?” It was like standing on the side of that mountain I was living in three dimensions and I could feel peace, and I could feel hope. It wasn’t a place of frantic planning or fear that the next shoe was going to drop. It’s a word I might describe as trust. When I started taking the memories, the losses, and walking the mountain and counting he cost I could feel myself becoming incredibly and profoundly sad. And then when Kevin and I would talk about the memories and the adventures we had over the ten years, I could feel myself becoming incredibly nostalgic. I didn’t put some kind of false man-made construct or predisposed plan on myself of what needed to happen on that trip, and in doing that it did allow me to enter into conversations with people in a different way.
I think often times I enter conversations with Kevin, my children or others with an expectation that they will give me the answer that makes me the most comfortable or fits into my value system or my expectations. But when I relinquish the right to judge another’s motives, experiences, or words and live with attention to where my feet step, and the thoughts I’m thinking, or what words I’m saying- I allow myself to walk in truth, freedom, and a place where the ego is not in charge. For me that feels a little like what the New Testament called “spirit lead living” without all the religious dogma or pressure.
I could feel moments in my conversation with Kevin where my perception of events out on the mountain are very different than his, and his perceptions of events are so different from mine, and I want to be antagonistic and defensive and ultimately right. And I was struck by the reality that if all of us are just walking around trying to be right, (sometimes we are passive aggressive about it so it seems more tame and acceptable) but we aren’t really listening. We have to be aware no matter how strong we are, or what our internal resources are, or how much we quote scripture or read the word that we ARE ALL influenced by our past, by our family of origin, by our experiences, by our education, by our culture, and by our unique personality. I think this place of understanding does open our hearts up more to the concept and the enigma of what love is.
When Jesus told his disciples to love the Lord their God with their hearts their souls and their minds and to love their neighbor, he added “as you love yourself”. There is a fear of loving ourselves or paying too much attention to ourselves, or letting our emotions run our lives. But I’ve seen in myself, and this is strictly experientially speaking; that the more that I have made space for my doubts, my rage, my questions, my judgments, my hurts and most especially my fears, that I have allowed God into my heart, my soul and my mind – and I’ve been able to see more areas of growth and change necessary within myself. When I do this, at least in my process, it allows me to seek the safety of others who might give me feedback about behaviors that are being influenced by those ways that I conduct myself in the world, and then I’m able to change external behaviors. But not until I journey a bit with the tension.
When I feel I am being forced to change because it is good advice, or it just makes sense, or someone just doesn’t like my process, or because it seems logical, or because someone has interpreted my behavior through their own lens of hurt; I find that I do not have peace. I end up people pleasing, and may end up missing the next phase of growth that might be in the future for me. And I rob others of their own potential growth opportunity. Mountain Haven changed me, of that much I am sure. And now Duluth and my experiences here are changing me. For better or worse. I can barely keep up with the circumstances, but I’m hoping and I’m praying that I can find so many more moments like that moment on the mountain when I am fully present in all three dimensions – past present and future. I believe this will allow me to be the best wife, mother, friend, and human. I believe my integration will change my external behaviors slowly but surely. God, I hope so!!
I challenge you today to take a look at one behavior in your life -it might be influenced by your past such as your family of origin or a faulty belief system: analyze how it is affecting how you live in your present life, and go even further and play out how that could affect your future. Change is always possible.