"Women have permeable boundaries" says the author of The Feminine Face of God. "Our bodies feel the irrevocable connection of the tides with our cycles of monthly bleeding." (I think I'm in the downward part of the cycle, even if there is no bleeding any more). Then she quotes several women talking about the difficulties of having a separate spiritual life and a marriage, where one feels 'locked in' or dependent on a husband for a sense of identity. "I don't know how to integate my inner life with my marriage, one person says, " I don't know how to find the balance between the separateness I need to nurture my spirit, and being close to my husband."
My spirit was greatly nurtured at a choir retreat this weekend, at a lovely sing-along around the piano, where our fabulously talented new director played all the songs we threw at him, plus a few more. Then he played a song from Godspell, By My Side, that I had sung long ago (almost 30 years). As I sang along with him, I felt something cracking down the middle, a little tiny earthquake of tears brought on by the feeling that comes only when I sing my heart out.
What an ache opened up inside! I went to bed, and soon was sobbing and trying not to make noise, cause sharing a room with three other women. Later I realized it was like the 52 year old turned and saw the 20 year old walking up to her. Some things haven't changed, like the longing for a pure love that soars up with open wings - sorry, can't explain that feeling of singing bliss. But coming home to husband and teenagers afterwards, drained and exhausted from 2 days of intensive singing work, I felt such a need to be alone, and to find that feeling again.
So the quote about permeable boundaries jumped out at me when I opened this book. It's partly a longing to be alone, to find that soul part of me, and yet quivering in my boots at this new open-heartedness, the prospect of living my joy out in the open? letting it fly, unstoppering the bottled up need for bliss and singing....
you see, we used to sing together and here I confess that my husband rarely reads my blog, and if he does he'll know what I'm talking about....we used to sing at our weekly 'satsang' gatherings years ago, in our young-love days. He played guitar, I sang and warbled folkie love songs by Elton John (Love is the opening door), Bruce Cockburn, Joni Mitchell, Fleetwood Mac.... we fell in love inside of the music-making.
I also remember what my twenty-year old zeal was like, and how love could not be limited to just one person, in my heart, in even earlier days. It had to be shared with all - massages, cooking, singing, cleaning, serving, giving....not limited to one person.
Yikes! I have opend up a can of worms with this singing -