“Hungry Soul Hungry Body”
For several years, my bedroom has become my primary stage to interact with the world, not because of a profession that I hear pays handsomely, but due to a wound that has taken up residence on my most delicate behind. Between the colorful guest that visit, and the conversations via computer and telephone, and an active dream world, I have no deep sense of loneliness. But, I must say that my daily interrelationships with the great suburban and urban jungles, and the visual and energetic contact with the do-si-do of life beyond “my box,” have been missed.
I have a four hour window about three times a week to sit up, that I gratefully enjoy taking advantage of, although choosing how to spend this precious gift can be difficult. But, a couple of weekends ago, an opportunity to be amongst spiritually like minded people, and to playfully intermesh with the lively Greek culture came up on my radar screen. My spiritual director, Andrew Harvey, was speaking on the Sufi mystic, Rumi, in St. Petersburg, and only a mere thirty minutes away was Tarpon Springs, Florida’s spirited Greek community with fine Greek restaurants, bakeries, and shops staffed with enthusiastic locals ~ a perfect weekend to feed a hungry soul and hungry body.
Andrew has been my confidant in all things relating to my souls journey for nearly a year, but our relationship had been over the phone, and my attraction to his philosophy through his books and videos. To have the occasion to be in his passionate energy in an intimate group called to the deepest parts of me. Andrew would be lecturing the weekend, but Friday night he would present for two hours, which made it perfect for me. With Bonni’s care and love, my dream to hear this passionate mystic speak jumped off my list into my reality. So, knowing Bonni’s appreciation for Greek cuisine, we made a pact, Friday night in the midst of the fiery soul charmer, and Saturday afternoon in the warm-blooded Greek community of Tarpon Springs.
Although the weather in the Gulf of Mexico was wet and windy, we did not let it deter us. Bonni laid me down in the back of my van, named Gypsy, and excited for a brief but needed getaway, we ventured across our slender state. The clouds looked threatening, but we rambled along amongst a few showers amazed at all the new building, as we passed the attractions along the way. We arrived at our hotel in enough time to change quickly and head to the UnityChurch. For me, meeting Andrew, whom I welcomed into my inner hermitage and shared thoughts unspoken, would be the highlight of my year. Andrew’s ears were privy to most of my soul adventures, and his direction kept me from having the Thelma and Louise cliff hurling conclusion.
The poetry of Rumi comes to life and dances in your soul, when Andrew’s fire join forces with his deep feelings for the Beloved. Each word vibrates along your heart strings, to be interpreted by the individual relishing the varied tones of love. We were captivated by each word as they flowed eloquently from his lips to our ears, transporting us to unfamiliar ethereal heights. If any inner areas of love lay dormant within, they were awakened and restored to support the sacred activist being born that night. The words, like hallowed flames, burnt away our petty notions, and left us in wonderment of the Beloved and the depths of love ever present with daily communion with the Divine.
When the evening was over, Bonni and I looked at each other, and it was clear that a shift had taken place within both of us. We were empowered by the grace that flooded the room; personally I desired to stay ignited by the holy flame of passion and walk with those committed to sacred activism. It was a blessed night. As I rolled to the rear of the church, I was beaming. After nearly a year of deep sharing, I would embrace my friend, my brother in the physical. When I rolled up to him, I almost felt a bit tipsy from the intoxicating words he spoke all evening. But, I managed to look up into his welcoming eyes to say…
“Andrew, its Anita.”
The joy filled energy melded into our embrace as we hugged like long lost siblings. We treasured the moment, as our spirits bonded. And, with the same joy, I introduced him to Bonni. As he held her, he was ever so grateful for her care and love for me, as he knew from our conversations the enormity of the task. He invited us to stay for at least two hours of the next days lecture. As much as I was tempted to break my pact with Bonni over Tarpon Springs, my inner voice was clear, I was to keep my word.
As we left that evening, our hungry souls were truly nourished, and we chatted through the night at the hotel about how Andrew channeled the pure essence of Jalal ad-Din Rumi, the thirteenth century Sufi mystic.
To be continued…
Andrew Reading Rumi