Tuesday, April 29, 2008

do it afraid

Spirit First may be the bravest thing I ever do. It was three years ago on a Saturday afternoon in March that Spirit First Meditation Retreat Center came to me. In the course of my day’s chores I happened to run across an image of a labyrinth, a simple image of the outline of a single labyrinth, and in an instant I “saw” the labyrinth life sized in beautiful grasses and blooming shrubs with a meditation sanctuary nearby. I imagined walking trails and fragrant gardens and various sanctuaries for quiet and contemplation, a place where Buddhists and Hindus, Muslims, Christians, and Jews find solace and healing. It was an immediate image and I knew if I ever created such a place, it would be a place that attends the needs of the spirit first.

That same day, just a few hours later, I read an expression for the first time that has become forever linked to the inspiration of building a meditation retreat center. The words I read were these: Never doubt in the darkness what God has shown you in the light. Somehow I knew there would be days of questioning what to do with my Spirit First inspiration and at the same time I was given my answer. Never doubt in the darkness what God has shown you in the light.

An idea is a gift from the Universe, a treasure not to be neglected or taken lightly. An idea, even if chosen not to be pursued, deserves our greatest consideration and respect whether our response to it is yes or no. But Spirit First…could it be possible?

Spirit First grew inside me, like a baby growing bigger and stronger until it is healthy enough for birth. During the past year I had much contemplation and sifted through many questions. Can I do this? Am I smart enough? Am I strong enough? Even if I am smart enough or strong enough, am I supposed to create this? Why was such an incredibly beautiful inspiration given to me and not to someone else? I would be happy to see someone else build this.

I sought answers to the question “What if I fail?” and it pulled me deeper into questions about failure. I wondered and I pondered. I began to realize failure is a human judgment. I came to understand that if an athlete spends his life training to become a gold medalist in the Olympics and never gets the gold (or even silver or bronze), he is not a failure—his realized success simply doesn’t fit the picture of success in his head. And Spirit First—she will become what she will become and I will consider my best attempts to be success. I will breathe life into her and help her grow.

Somehow for me building a sanctuary felt like an impossible task and from time to time I would go to a temple or sanctuary and sit next to it. I would sit and ponder the simplicity of building a thing...brick by brick. Don't create it in my head harder than it has to be. A thing is built brick by brick.

What I am doing is wonderful and rich and exciting but it also feels huge and scary. My beautiful friend Lora taught me an important lesson—as she raised her children and they faced seemingly impossible challenges, she would tell them, “Do it afraid.” She reminded me if we never do anything frightening, if we only ever do those things that feel safe and sure, we never grow and we limit our accomplishment. Courage is not defined by being without fear but rather by "doing it anyway."

And so, as I begin this wonderful journey of the creation of Spirit First, every step is an act of faith.

And I am willing to "do it afraid."
photography by permission

1 comment:

mermaid said...

Do it afraid.

Yes, Diana, there is space for everyone, everything. Your sanctuary is a testament to this.