head explosionThe prompt for today’s blog challenge is to write about something you are proud of.

I have a funny relationship with the word PRIDE. I feel ambivalent and almost like it’s a word that doesn’t really reflect the ME that thinks she is doing something in the world.  But here I go with my blog challenge:I said the prompt to myself and immediately one thing came to mind: I started a church.

Certainly I SHOULD be proud of that. quite the accomplishment. Who really wakes up in the morning with the idea to start a church? I know I didn’t. It wasn’t like other areas of my life, where for instance, I set an intention to lose 10 pounds and I did it! Or I wrote my daily blog- YEAH. It wasn’t one of those pre-mediated plans or projects that I had on my bucket list. But it happened, and I was the person who pulled it all together and made it happen. Strange as it sounds I really don’t feel like I can take credit. (We usually are taking credit when we feel PROUD – right? For example, I am the proud mother, I did a good job raising my son, or I am the proud owner of my business. There is a ME in there that wants and needs to get the brownie points, the sense of significance and kudos for my actions and when I get it I feel the PRIDE. Plus I store the credit as a memory for a day when it is debit all day long. It balances my internal scales. )

So with this church thing I never fully felt like I was doing it. It was as if a church was being born through me. Sort of like an artist who creates a painting, or a sculptor, or a dancer who puts the steps together for a beautiful routine. The church was somehow
to bring it into form: find a building, get a musician, buy a keyboard, get some chairs, post a notice of meeting in the paper, emails out,  make coffee, pray with people, have an idea about a message for each week, lead people in meditation, speak the message, ask for some money to pay for expenses. As time went on the buildings changed, so did the musicians and some of the people came and went. I got better at giving the talks without any notes and really loved that part of the church thing. In the end I left the church after 10 years to travel and speak and do my own non-church spiritual thing. It was all in the right time. I am just as “proud” of leaving the church as I am of starting the church. I didn’t feel it wasn’t “Me” doing but I was willing to take the credit that others gave to me.

When I look at that experience now, after being out of it for 5 years, the church really was not about the building, or even about what happened on Sundays. The experience was about the community that was co-creating itself day by day and year by year. We called it a church, but now that feels so very old and limited to me. What was alive and where my PRIDE gets all happy and wants to dance – is the relationships that were formed, the insights and deep levels of awareness and love that emerged, not just in me. That is something I can feel and know has happened and continues to happen even today as I continue to engage in new communities. But I guess where my PRIDE comes out to play is that I feel such joy knowing that those who were part of that church community experienced the grit and gristle, the push and pull, the love-hate, power struggles, the wins and loses that are part of living life fully. When we dare to participate in community we are going beyond our individual walls of self contained suffering, grief, sadness and touching one another with the same deep feelings and also the highs of love and joy and excitement and creativity.

So I do feel proud that I started the church, and also that I ended my time in that community. I continue to feel very very good that I participate in other communities that bring out the best and the not so best in each of us. I reminds me that life is relationship. It stretches me and allows me to feel more and more alive each day.