One of the soul seeds that I am incubating this season of Advent is greater self-acceptance. I am burdened at times by an inner critic who delights in censoring my efforts and who often whispers in my ear, “Can’t you do better than that?” Thankfully, I just returned to John O’Donohue’s book, Anam Cara where he wrote, “When you decide to practice inner hospitality, the self-torment ceases. The abandoned, neglected, and negative selves come into a seamless unity.” Wow!
Those words feel right to me. Yet, what does a practice of inner hospitality look like? I have made some progress using dreamwork and creative visualization in contemplative prayer, but I wondered how can I practice inner hospitality as I move through the course of an ordinary day? How can I stay awake to the new life stirring within?
A sign pointed the way as I unwrapped my International Santa Claus collection. I have some twenty pieces of different figurines which depict how different countries around the world imagine the embodiment of the Christmas spirit of giving. Each year I am delighted to be reminded of those many images. And each year, when it comes to releasing the Christkindl from Germany, I am reminded that it is broken. This particular Christkindl takes the form of a feminine angel, dressed in white holding a basket of treats and toys. She is beautiful to behold—except for her broken wing which has become completely detached from her body.
I have not known how to repair her, and those more gifted than I in that department tell me it cannot be done. So, every year I look at her, sigh, wrap her up with her broken wing and put her back into the box. She is then stored with the empty boxes of her counterparts who are joyfully on display throughout my house.
Not this year. As I looked at her just the other day, I said, out loud, “What’s wrong with an angel with only one wing?” And as I gazed at her, practicing visio divina, (praying on and with an object instead of a text) I saw just how beautiful she is. She is beautiful not despite her broken wing but because of her broken wing. I smiled at her with love, compassion and admiration.
Can I do the same for me? Often, I try to ignore my inner critic or silence her. I understand now that smiling and loving her with compassion and admiration is another way to practice inner hospitality. The route to inner healing is surely about embracing our wounds and making way for whatever seems broken or worn or dysfunctional.
I’ve named my angel Gretel. I am so grateful for her re-entrance into my life. I keep her close to me, carrying her from place to place. Most often she stands on the kitchen window sill above the sink while I do the dishes or on my desk when I do my work there. She reminds me to acknowledge and take care of my many selves of the Self. She has become a sacred sign that points the way to the growing soul seeds in my heart, waiting to be reborn and like the Christ child usher in a new creation.
As an Amazon Associate I receive a small amount for purchases made through appropriate links. Thank you for supporting Godspace in this way.
Join Christine Sine and Lilly Lewin on Wednesday, December 8th at 9am PDT (check my timezone) for our next FB Live happening on our Godspace Light Community Facebook Group! Can’t make it? No worries–we upload the sessions on our youtube channel so you can still enjoy the lively discussions and interesting topic. And catch us live for the next session–happening next on January 5th!