FOLLOW YOUR TEARS
After spending six months volunteering to co-chair the 19th annual Mary Magdalene Festival for Brigid’s Place nonprofit along with Sarah Gish, I was thrilled to have my soul nourished by Kayleen Asbo, PhD on the Many Faces of Mary Magdalene. Kayleen has five degrees, one undergraduate, three masters and now a PhD in Religious Studies focusing her efforts on uncovering the many mysteries of Mary Magdalene. She is witty, funny, factual and would never force her opinion on anyone. Her process includes uncovering disparities and themes within spiritual texts that have continued to disparage and misrepresent women’s divine feminine empowerment through Mary Magdalene.
First, I need to let you know that I was raised Catholic, or what I call a Cradle Catholic since my parents raised me in the Catholic religion. Yet, when I went to Texas A&M University, one of my first electives was Theology of Religion where I learned that all religions are basically different versions of many of the same messages of faith. From then on, I became, what I call a Spiritual Hoe digging and digging for more information away from faith-based religions and into a beautiful world of teaching and sharing what I had found along the way. As a Co-Chair for the Magdalene Festival, Sarah and I were brought together to hold the space for what had yet to become an incredible scholarship of education and experience with the embodiment of feminine empowerment. What I mean by that, is Kayleen shared with us the patterns and highlights from her research and then gave us group exercises and even an activity using the labyrinth all set to music, which she sang, and images from all over the world, so put us in an experiential space to witness our own personal growth. It was amazing and it was the first two times I experienced Spirit in a way that was new to me.
Kayleen explained how Mary Magdalene was portayed as either naked or the best dressed woman with pearls in her hair, highly educated, wearing velvet, gold jewelry, holding an egg, or an alabaster urn, candles, with an open book, reading, and with a skull. Magdalene means Tower and she was a powerful woman who was the first to bear witness to Jesus’ resurrection and continued to teach upon his death. She trained the trainers.
Her teachings include the idea that there are no dead ends in life’s journey, no decisions, but one path. Just like the labyrinth, looks are deceiving. If you compare yourself to others on the labyrinth, you will only find pain, because your path is the right one. You may think others are faster or closer or better, but your mind is only deceiving you. Enjoying the journey is a lesson we must all learn even when it includes sadness and grief. All you have to do is keep moving, one step at a time. The labyrinth is a dance of life, one step forward, and sometimes two steps back.
While I was on the labyrinth and Kayleen was singing, I felt the urge to follow a little lady who was older and we hadn’t officially met yet. As my mind calmed down, I stayed far behind her knowing that she was my guide. I was following in her footsteps. By the time we got to the center, I took a seat in the sixth petal to close my eyes and meditate. Between the music and so many ladies on the labyrinth, you could feel how special the setting was as it soaked in behind my eyes and in my breath. Off I went into space and time, and then I opened my eyes only to see a new creative and wonderful new friend across from me, facing me, also meditation with her eyes closed. She instantly kind of shocked me since everyone else was walking and I wasn’t expecting to see anyone at my level! She had great form, and after falling into a deep meditation I found myself leaning toward my feet and rounding my back, so I quickly closed my eyes, sat up straight and went back into my breathing focusing on my heart. Then, what felt like an eternity later, my eyes automatically flew open as I saw my guide walking into the center looking around confused, but she did not see me. As she turned around and exited the center rose area, I immediately got up and continued to follow her through sixty other women all crowded on the labyrinth, and as I watched the path closely, not to get off, we walked all the way out. The next day, the little lady came to my table to see if she could try some of the gluten free bread I had shared with them the day before, when I asked about the labyrinth. I told her that I was meditating for quite some time, when she walked in and I immediately got up and left with her, but what happened exactly because I thought I was behind you the entire time? She said that she had gone into the center the first time and then left, but with all the other ladies she, somehow, ended up in the middle again, and that’s when I saw her looking confused but I knew it was my sign to get up and get going again. I just smiled to myself. That makes sense now. You were inside Twice! By the way, what is your name? She says, Anne. Pause. That’s my grandmothers’ name. I was following my grandmother and she gave me time to connect with Spirit before coming back to the center and lead me out. I was following her footsteps. Thank you Spirit.
Kayleen brought her love and light to Houston to transform, educate and illuminate us in ways I can not explain. Spending time to coordinate and hold the space for her visit was a labor of love. I am thrilled to share the experience with my community which includes yoga teachers, yogis, cancer survivors and thrivers, medical research and healthy lifestyle advocates. My intention has not changed. It continues to be to share experiences that elevate and illuminate consciousness because we are all the same, and we are all connected. The words of wisdom come from all of us and together we are changing the world. Just look at what Cecil has done.
Follow your tears. Slow down enough to remember when you shed that last tear. When was it? Where was it? Don’t forget it. Follow it. Your body remembers everything. And it is an instrument for your life of learning. Listen within. It will reveal to you what you would sacrifice for and that brings grace and happyness. What do you really care about? I care about healing so many people all over the globe. It may have started with breast cancer, but it boils down to people. All humans. Whatever it takes for you to get back to ground zero is a good thing. For me, since I am stubborn it took a triple whappy, that’s whammy to happy, but now I can draw on experiences from not being able to have kids – the three miscarriages, predetermined genetic translocation in my eggs that made me one in nine people unable to have their own children and then trying invitro to find that rare egg that didn’t exist while paying for the hormone injections, to an international divorce that took four years and ejected me from Geneva to Houston, and then finding that I had breast cancer and having to go through chemo and radiation therapy to realize the blessings. Like my grandmother, I am resilient. I have much to share!