Experiment with Light

The Light is that power which illuminates, guides and strengthens us, which some of us call “God”. It can never be known from ratiocination, only experience. In the Experiment with Light (EwL) we sit in a circle in a guided meditation, and individually access the Light, or God, or the subconscious, which guides each of us with something in that person’s life, now. Today, it was mind-blowing.

After coffee and chatting, we gathered in the meeting room, and introduced ourselves. I said how that morning it had felt like reaching Enlightenment, and was actually a huge step forward. We had an introduction, and a practice of Centring:

Sit up straight, feet flat on the floor, hands folded in your lap. Tense all the muscles in your body, as tight as possible, then relax. Check feet, calves, thighs, for any sign of tension. Check your back and neck, which hold a great deal of our stress. Check that your head is properly balanced on your neck, pulling neither forward nor back. Relax your feelings and your mind. If there is any tension be aware of it and let it go. Be present.

After lunch and more chatting-
-Why was that business meeting so right?
-Because I allowed it to be, allowed us to be what we were.

we did the practice. It is in six stages:

Relax body and mind.
Let the real concerns of your life emerge.
Focus on one issue. Try to get a sense of this thing as a whole.
Ask what makes it like that.
Welcome it.
When you accept it, you will begin to feel different.

An image may come to you, or music, or sensations. F is not at all visual, so they explained there need be no visualisation.

I began to feel intense feelings: confusion, hurt, stress, tension, fear. I cried a little, I rocked a little, leaning forward so my chair would not creak. It seemed that I felt my feelings in turn, having time to identify each then move on to the next.

It then seemed that I got Answers. One was, I become that person I want to be– an impossible illusion.
Then, I was myself, just myself- but somehow sorted, not feeling like this. Again, illusion.
Then, I was me- like this, feeling that. Through me the gale of life blows high. I am safe enough, for the moment.

We finish. We have twenty minutes of silence, to mull it over, and may take notes, draw something, or go into the garden. I check my mascara has not run in the tears, and reapply my lipstick: all this contemplation is beautiful and worthwhile, but one has standards. I write some notes, then go into the garden and stare at a complex beautiful pink flower- not a camellia- then a tiny purple wild-flower. Then the brightly sunlit grass, the trees, and the other people.

We share. Godric does not want to come in to the small group.
-You’re very special, he said.
-I know! We grin like children.

Final discussion. This is not therapy, and can take you to dark difficult places, they say.

-I am particularly well supported at the moment, seeing my psychiatrist on Thursday and my psychotherapist on Friday; but when that is finished I will go on with the dark places, healing, because that is what I do. I cleanse out pus, which stinks, and is better gone; and I take off my shackles. Moving a limb long frozen is painful and difficult, but then it relaxes, the muscle stiffness and joint pain goes, and the limb dances. I am rarely comfortable, but always safe.

I was surprised Annie spoke so strongly in favour of Reason. Reason is all we have. How can we communicate what is in our hearts? All we have is words. Those terrorist attacks yesterday (Friday)- so someone was moved by God to behead someone? John Lampen says reason is a useful tool, not to be undervalued, but it has to be balanced with intuition. We may test the spirits, together.

You may feel tired after the EwL. It is deep work.

Several times I felt like saying, I was in a Light Group before. The others cancelled it after a few months. They said we had not got as deep as other groups did, and the problem was me. Perhaps they were right. I did not say it: I would have been asking for absolution, again. I can’t be sure, but it seems alright: I can be in a light group, I don’t need absolution.

Cranach, Judith and Holofernes V

Biblical leadership

My latest follower is “Apostolic Mommy and Wife”. I am delighted that she should take an interest in this Christian blog, for much of my posting is about Biblical interpretation and Christian relationships with God and creation. Unfortunately I find her account of Christian marriage wanting.

It was a shock to find the writer on such a pink site, so clearly aimed at women, refer to “our wives”. Is this a man writing? It is unlikely to be a lesbian. I googled it, and found the article was plagiarized from here, or possibly this pdf:  lifted whole, rather than “adapted from” as she claims. This is objectionable, given that she wishes to make money from her site, asking readers to “Donate”, “Advertise with us” or go to “Our Youtube channel”. I am unclear whether the companies she reviews, including Kosher CasualI wore this dress to church today. I was able to sing, dance and shout to praise God’s name – All while feeling assured I was modestly covered- paid for the review.

On modesty, I saw a woman in a niqab yesterday walk across the square. Her loose summer burqa did not disguise the glorious sexiness of her relaxed, confident walk. Modesty rules can never prevent free people expressing ourselves; and as the Muslims recognise, arms and ankles, and singing and dancing, are sexy. The only way to be “modest” in this sense is to erase yourself.

The real author, Dennis Raney, recognises that some women wear the trousers, and even that some men are not strong or natural leaders, but still says that men should lead. God has placed the husband in the position of responsibility. It does not matter what kind of personality a man may have. Nor the woman: in fact Raney does not acknowledge different personalities among women, claiming that all wives want and need leadership.

Raney says husbands should give to their wives, but bizarrely claims it should be giving up: something you genuinely valued, like your golf game, a fishing trip, or your hobby. Rather, he needs to find ways of being with her to enrich them both. There must be room for two in a marriage. I get the impression that the husband Raney writes for finds his wife a mystery, but gives up his golf game because them’s the rules- rather than choosing to do something with her, because he prefers to. No wonder she “resists, fights and spurns” him. I am horrified that Raney imagines that couple could have been living together so long that their children are grown and gone.

The article is not wholly worthless. He correctly says women at different stages of life have different needs; but gives no Bible quote for that. The tiny amount of sanity in the article comes from contemporary morality and understanding. The Biblical bits lead him to make ridiculous assertions, missing the complexity of real life.

Cranach, Judith and Holofernes IV

Desire, action, achievement

I discover what I want, when I observe what I do. That is, the desires I actually act upon are opaque to me until I look back and see what I have done, where I have gone.

For example, either two and a half years ago I went from almost complete inadequacy, applying for a few jobs, doing voluntary work badly, to utter complete inadequacy, moping round the house all the time; or, alternatively, I withdrew from the World in order to have time and space for my psycho-spiritual healing. I would rather believe the latter, and it makes some sort of sense. I have healed, having greater acceptance and less pain.

There was certainly no conscious intention behind it. It felt like a failure, being unable to go on any more. Yet I could say that my whole organism, unconscious as well as conscious, has benefited, and perhaps moved towards what she knew would benefit her. On one view, I have Failed, on the other I have Acted, for my own good. Which would you rather believe?

I would rather believe the truth: but belief in failure makes me despair; and belief in my action is at least arguable.

I shared on facebook the mystic cryptic phrase I learn what I want when I see what I do and Lena misinterpreted it, thinking I wrote about what I chose to learn, rather than learning as a matter of observing what was in front of me. Derek got it: his Psychosexual Somatics Therapy course was very much about shadow motivations.

I used to think that I thought things through, made a rational decision, then carried it out. However what I did for that rational decision often had no real motivation behind it, and I did not follow through. Rather, I achieve worthwhile goals; but I start pursuing them before I realise, consciously, what the goal is. This thought comes from Serra considering a particular incident. I wanted that, but did not consciously understand it immediately.

It was a shadow desire, to heal, not one I could consciously admit. Consciously, I imagined I needed to get a job, and could do it. I want to allow my desires to be conscious, like my emotions become. It is hard for me to kick against the goads, hard for me to have conscious and unconscious at war, mutually despising.

It is strange, taking pride in what shamed me so deeply: the old pain of that shame washes over me, and as I delight in the pride, joy weeps.

Cranach, Judith and Holofernes II

What I want II

I may not have achieved enlightenment half an hour ago, but right now it feels like it.

What will I do today? There is the Experiment with Light workshop at the Quaker meeting. Do I really want to go? Should I cycle? Well, I may have damaged my tendon; and I have had a cold. I could get the bus. These are the options. What else would I do? I would do my washing and watch telly.

I wanted to watch Breaking Bad this morning, currently broadcast on Freeview 31, it was ep. 5/7. So I did, over breakfast, and watched Mike die with the most wonderful last words.

Do I want to go to Experiment with Light? A day with the Quakers. H might be there. Just possibly, it is unlikely. Do I really want to spend time with these people?

I want to cycle, and I have had pains in the back of my ankle. I put my seat up so that I would cycle on the ball of my foot rather than my instep, so that I would use my calves, which is far better technique, so that might strain my tendon just as it has been painful.

And that was it. I realised.

 I want to be someone else.

I want to be that person- who is always independent, who would cycle to Swanston without difficulty, who would then enjoy the Quaker day. I want to be the person I ought to be. I want to be cleverer. I want to enjoy the things I ought to want to do.

I don’t know where I got that person from.

I want to get the bus to the Quaker meeting. I really want to go now, I want to be in the place where I see reality more clearly. I shower, swearing fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck throughout-

that speech therapist, would not see me unless I asked my GP to see her again, ridiculed my appearance- shirt buttoned up to the neck??? Who dresses like that??? challenged me


and I didn’t know and I have not known since and I had Ideas- I want to hide, I want to be safe, I want to survive-

and now I have worked it out. I want to be someone else.

Okayyy- well, you can’t. You have tried that. It hasn’t worked.

Half an hour later I feel happy-

Actually there isn’t a 9.05 bus. Who knew? There is a bus at five past every other hour until it stops. I thought one of the buses wasn’t running. I checked the timetable (why check it, you know it already-


I feel exalted. I am just off to that Quaker thing. So much about my life makes sense now. Who knows what I might do?

Cranach, Judith and Holofernes VI

The intersex analogy

In explaining ourselves to cis people, should trans folk compare ourselves to intersex people? Probably not; but helloanonme gives wrong, offensively transphobic reasons to argue that.

Arguably, transsexualism syndrome is similar to intersex conditions. Gender identity as female is as much a sex-marker as having ovaries or a feminine pelvis. If someone really does not get why I would want to express myself female, I could explain not all my sex-markers point the same way- just like an intersex person. In some intersex conditions it would be more accurate to say that sex-markers have not fully developed- so in partial androgen insensitivity, someone XY may have a slightly enlarged clitoris rather than a fully developed penis. Categorisers have produced the Quigley Scale.

Helloanonme argues that intersex people have a hard time, and intersex people should be the ones to explain themselves. However that does not work as an argument: if the straight person has no idea what intersex conditions are, then the analogy will do no good.

The problem with the analogy is that it is a way of claiming that my desire to express myself female is not weird or reprehensible. I have no control over it, any more than an intersex person, so it is unfair of you to mock me for it.

However transsexualism is not weird or reprehensible. Transition is perfectly reasonable, for anyone who wishes to undertake it. No-one has a right to object. So the analogy is useless. Anyone who thinks my transition immoral- Thanks very much, Frankie– won’t be persuaded.

I don’t want to use that analogy any more. I am happy with my choice. Three years ago, when I commented on Helloanonme’s post, I was dealing with my internalised transphobia. It was not the hater whom I wanted to persuade, but myself.

But why would anyone object to the analogy? Helloanonme says intersex people can have a hard time, with other symptoms beside genital ones. OK- but does my analogy of transsexualism to intersex actually decrease understanding of intersex? Only, possibly, in this way: the hater, hearing us compared, hates intersex people as weird and disgusting as well as trans people. The intersex person objecting is saying “I may be weird, but at least I’m not as weird as them“. Arguments from how hard it is to live with a condition are ablist. Conditions affect different people in different ways. No, ways of being- calling these things “conditions”, as deviations from the illusory Normal, is also wrong: there is ordinary human diversity, and there are ways of living it.

I don’t want to use the analogy any more. But you have no right to object to me using it. You don’t get to define how I explain myself to the world.

I realised, writing this, that a strong motivator to activism- the need to persuade myself that it is OK to be me- no longer applies to me. Perhaps now is the time I should become activist. I can be a street fighter, now I am less easily hurt. I hate this guy’s argument, but I love his chutzpah: faced with an incident showing the complete moral bankruptcy of his position, Erick Erickson comes out fighting. It’s the Liberals’ fault, just like everything bad.

Cranach, Judith and Holofernes III

St Pauls

After seeing Serra, I touristed St Paul’s Cathedral.

There is a ban on photography. It irritated me, but H had been among huge crowds in Hagia Sophia, where most people did not look at the cathedral except through their screens, producing fifth-rate photos they might not look at again. The audio-guide irritated me, demanding that I take time to experience the spiritual presence, as if I had never thought of such a thing in my life. The Middlesex Regiment chapel in the north transept irritated me, with its Georgian and Regency memorials by public subscription to generals, still known to specialist historians, famous at the time for killing lots of people. The sculpted uniforms and drapery bored me, but then I saw the naked feet of an angel in a long robe and this tiny detail was enchanting, and the naked thigh of- Neptune, I seem to remember, bearing up some sailor or other- was exciting.

Under the Dome, it was too far away to see the monochrome pictures from Paul’s life, and I looked up as Christ descended from the Cross or stood in glory as the Vine, the branches growing from him, in glorious golden mosaic. Irritated as I am by the traditional churches, I would be poorer if I just ignored them.

I went up the dome. Having dispensed with the guide, I had not known that the Whispering Gallery is so named because if you sit precisely 180° across from another and whisper to the wall, she can hear you. I was quite shocked by a woman whispering into her hand “the guard has become suspicious of your activities”, and later asked a woman why she was talking to the wall. She explained, and exhorted her friend to “say something” though they had stopped. I did not experience it, and do not know if Wren intentionally created the effect.

David and harp

I took the photo clandestinely when there were no guards about. It is from north of the choir: David, I presume, with the harp, not well lit or well angled but the kind of view one might actually have, looking up without trying to get square on.

St Pauls- the saint blesses the Millennium Bridge

I took more photos from the Stone Gallery: I like St Paul blessing the Millennium Bridge, and if anyone wants to try the photo project of having two people, one in the stone gallery, one in Tate Modern, co-ordinating taking photos at precisely the same time so that the flash of each appears in the other’s photo, please let me know.

Topmost niche

I asked the guard if there were any plans to fill this niche in the lantern at the top of the dome, and she said I would have to ask the Premises Committee. I went round to get the niche in sunlight, and she got pushy about how you can’t go back on yourself. I only want to take a photograph.
-Is it for a specific project?-Yes, I said, thinking of this blog post, then she ceased her objection.

A life of achievement

Possibly I should not compare myself to Rachel or Caroline, but to Louise.

I would not say life has been easy for Rachel, but she has what I might like- good job, house, partner, children, pension fund… Her husband was joshing her son, who is going to Princeton, that he should call up Harvard, explain Princeton’s offer and ask if they could do better. This matters. These are good things. Comparing myself to Rachel makes me feel wholly inadequate. I was weeping about it this morning again: the dual matter of my wasted life, 49 years and so many experiences missed, and my precarious position- how will I support myself, now? I am sad, frightened, resentful, strong emotions in response to the real situation.

Life has not been easy for Louise, either. She has been in a wheelchair in institutions since childhood, being pushed around, washed and dressed. She can feed herself. I have not spoken to her much. Once, when Richard and I were in missed communication in part from my pomposity, her laughter pricked that bubble- I feel amused and rueful. I would not judge her for not having house, car, savings etc.

What do I WANT? I want security. Safety. That desire has led me to push away uncertainty and responsibility, without which gaining partner, children, pension fund is impossible. I have achieved what I wanted, whether I judge that a rational desire or not- time alone with low levels of stimulation has destressed me to the level of tolerable stress I feel now.

H absolved me, early Saturday evening. My absolution of myself is what matters: without it hers is insufficient, and with it, unnecessary- but it is nice. I had too much wine to remember exactly, but it was around four years being entirely reasonable to take time out for healing.

Life has not been easy for me. I don’t know what other life I might want. Being a solicitor in Edinburgh with a wife and children- would I have transitioned, and if not would that be bearable? Probably not. Down the road I did not take, through the door I did not open, I am not sure there is anything which I now would find preferable.

Cranach, Judith and Holofernes, his head

My achievement has been to become conscious of my bonds, and to loosen them. I have found how I fear and resist all my emotions. I have learned to be conscious of emotion as it happens, and am learning to accept it without resistance. Being hypersensitive, this is huge. Fighting myself less, I might-

who knows what I might do? I have no idea. My overwhelming desire for safety picks on a steady income, has no idea how to achieve that, and feels anxiety. My other desires, for heartfelt human connection, and to be the centre of attention on stage, with the adulation of crowds, seem equally impossible. I am so disconnected from my desires that I find out what I want when I observe what I do.

However on Saturday I achieved something Wonderful, after a two year effort.

Cranach, Judith and Holofernes

Positive thinking

I told Serra at the gender identity clinic about my visit to the post office. She said, perhaps it was a success even though the woman did not complete her transaction. Perhaps she had not entered the door of a shop before. Perhaps she had only needed the practice, not the transaction itself. I had thought my view of the incident was positive, but Serra did better.

I woke early on Friday, anxious about Saturday- I had not arranged a lift, I had a lot to do, there was the encounter later. It all mattered. Instant resistance to the emotion. I should not be feeling like this, it should not get to me like this. I feared it, feeling inadequate. I know where the resistance comes from. It is a judgment from childhood, when I took the judgment into myself. Yet the anxiety moved me to email, to deal with the transport at least. It made me do what I needed to do. The resistance did not stop it. I saw the resistance quickly, and knew it was false to me, now, however it saved me in the past.

Thursday, I sat outside in the sun and read. I have little to do. I felt bored and lonely. Serra connects my words about my need for a lift, when everyone’s car is full- “I need someone to make space for me”- to this feeling. I have suppressed, feared and hated my feelings. I come alive to them. With practice, I may even come alive to my wants and desires. They cannot be rationally explained, but they do make me happy. That is why I want to extend my time with Serra, possibly three extra sessions: I am extending my way of thinking, feeling, perceiving, being, accepting my reactions, and she may help me do this.

I do not want to fall back.

I was in her room, looking down and to the side, staring at my date of birth on her file. I noticed. “I am not looking at you.” Because I felt anxiety, which was then paranoia about the following day not going well. I was hurting. I can meet your eyes when I connect to my joy.

You care. It makes you alive, she says. Some people suppress emotions-
-like Permafrost. Steve Hauptman’s analogy pleases her. I am defrosting.

In the waiting room I met a bloke from rural Greece, who told me how stereotyped people were there, the men so macho- he mimed- the women so feminine- he said, high pitched. He does not see his mother. He has told her: she realised. “You want to be a man.” Oh! She spoiled the surprise!  I love his self-deprecating humour. He has come here for first assessment, aged nearly forty, after getting hormones privately. When I came here in 2001 they would not treat anyone who had gone private at all. He has curly side-burns.Then a doctor calls for him by a female name, and I feel such sadness.

Cranach, Madonna and child

Meeting for Worship for Business

Ian told me that some members of my AM are uncomfortable with this post. He did not say who. I would rather disquiet was expressed to me, than to others. I am quite happy that people know who I am. And if anything in the post is untrue, or gives a false impression by omission or undue emphasis, please tell me.

Here are some of the comments from facebook:

-A long and difficult road! I’m glad you have been able to stick with it this far and share the experience with us.
-This is wonderful Abigail – thank you for labouring with your meeting towards the goal of worshipful collective discernment. This is such a treasure of the Quaker way, it is worth great efforts to preserve and revive it. Elders in our AM have become more aware recently of our responsibility for supporting the clerks and for upholding the discipline and spirit of all of our meetings. At each meeting for business we now have a short reminder from one of the elders about Quaker practice (including ‘not harassing the clerks with unnecessary amendments’) which has proved very useful I think.
-Education, education and education. I hope that, if Friends can remember what it felt like to follow the discipline and come through, they might be able to do it again sometimes. I find it disturbing that Friends so often appoint people to a job and then don’t let them do it.
It sounds as if your AM is very lucky to have you.


On Saturday, we achieved what I had worked towards for two years, a Quaker business meeting in a spirit of Worship.

I wish I had supported Richard better as assistant clerk. He felt with an ageing and shrinking Quaker area meeting, the answer was to amalgamate with a neighbouring AM. He had no support for this, but brought it up over successive meetings. I should have warned him, we should have looked after him, but when in the AM in September 2013 he said this had been decided and we needed to consider how to go forward, the Quaker Business meeting, normally so douce, silent, reasonable, erupted. We were talking over each other. I stepped in to write the minute, and that week the humiliated Richard resigned from the Society, giving his reason as the increase in non-theism.

We were abashed. I became clerk three months early, and people expressed their support and care for me. I am still not working properly with my assistant clerk: by the time I had emailed Ian my draft minutes on Thursday, he was very busy at work, so that we did not actually discuss the meeting before sitting down together.

Much of the business of the next six months revolved around altering the structure of our business meetings. AM was always the second Sunday of the month, in the afternoon, after lunch provided by the host meeting, after Friends from other LMs worshipped locally then drove to the host AM. In September last year we had AM in the morning, following on immediately from unprogrammed worship, followed by lunch and then a speaker. My desire was that we worship together as an AM. 44 people attended worship that morning, more than anyone could remember, out of an AM membership under a hundred. When in October we set the pattern of meetings for this year, I experienced the objections to the new style of AM as peevish: the hour of unprogrammed worship must not be cut; there must be a shuffle break of ten minutes before business starts, even though we often had had three hour AMs in the afternoon. It did not help that the objections came from our largest LM and the support for changes from the other three LMs. I felt we reached consensus.

Often after AM I have had emails from S, more in sorrow than in anger- this is what I did wrong this time. She sends me draft minutes, and I rearrange the wording so as not to be seen to use her draft. She has proposed amendments to every single one of the minutes in a meeting, in the past, not always improving them: if we record the AM someone transferring in comes from, I doubt we need record the LM too.

What I have experienced in AM is niggling tension and conflict, not trusting the process or speaking in Ministry. When a particular person at some point in most AMs apologises for speaking twice on a matter, has the guidance any value? I see people- members, even an elder- whispering to each other as we try to draft a minute (I write it, then Ian proposes changes) and think of being warned to “Uphold the clerks” when I attended my first Monthly Meeting. Having experienced Richard’s attempted control of the meeting, I have avoided that, trying to be open to the words from others, and wondering if I offered too little guidance.

We were to have the Green Party parliamentary candidate speaking after AM in the morning in April. At LM, we had decided to invite her to speak, as she is our attender, and she was married in our meeting last year. In the week before, after concerns expressed privately that a parliamentary candidate should speak before the election, and two emails strongly objecting sent to the whole membership, I met with an elder and agreed to cancel Marion’s talk.

For AM this month, I wanted to consider the QCCIR response to the WCC: Are we a Church? In St Paul’s Cathedral on Friday, I mused on my love and irritation for wider Christianity. I had proposed it by email to LM clerks after the last AM, and received neither objection nor support.

Nominations has not gone smoothly over the last year. On Saturday I had drafted a long minute explaining precisely where the nominations came from, and offering a chance to reject those nominations, but in the ten minute shuffle break redrafted it simply to state the nominations. This took considerably less time.

Then we went on to the QCCIR summary paper. The first person to speak said these questions will take a great deal of time to answer, and she was not sure this was the right way to proceed. Our discernment could have been shut down before it started. I resisted the strong temptation to stand and explain why I had brought these questions to AM. And then, over forty minutes, silence deepened and people ministered, as moved by the Spirit. I had felt “Are we a church or an NGO?” to be unduly challenging. We are, and are not, Christian, theist, in the tradition and part of the wider Church. I love our formulation, we are a community of faith.

Here is our minute, of which I am particularly proud:

We have considered the summary paper of the QCCIR response to the World Council of Churches. This matter will come before Meeting for Sufferings in September. Quakers worldwide are by a large majority Christian, and one with experience of a programmed tradition found it had the true life. Some Friends see what we have in common with other Christians is far more important than what divides us. Others find little in common with the Evangelical emphasis on personal salvation. We are a community of faith, respecting all people seeking the spirit within. The heart of the church is worship, and we come to Meeting for Worship. We refer this matter to local meetings.

It is the kernel of the ministry of all of us. The amendment from the floor was to add that crucial word “other”.

After lunch, and our “Getting to know you” exercise, a recent attender came up. He is getting more irritated with his Anglican heritage, and we shared our mutual loathing for the doctrine of Substitutionary Atonement. He has worshipped with us for a year, this was his first AM, and he was bowled over by the difference of our business meeting from an ordinary committee meeting, and my sensitivity to the feeling of the meeting, as we found unity.

An elder said how wonderful it was that a meeting for business should feel like a meeting for worship. Yet it has to be: if we make rational decisions, we are stuck with mere rationality, but if we decide in worship we have Leadings and Unity! Others have expressed how well it went.

I went out and got drunk with a friend. We wondered if we were proper Quakers, wearing this, driving that: proper enough.

The two mules, a fable for the nations

Gender counselling III

I feel completely powerless.
-There’s your power, said Serra.
Oh! Yeah.

There’s the hook. Details: I told her I felt completely powerless, and she referred back to an incident I had described. So, what happened? What did you see? What did you do?
-I did that. Well, I had to, for this clear reason.
-Uh-HUUH, she said, grinning. Okay, it was not just for that reason, though I was not clear on that at the time.
-There’s your power, she said. You make connections. Yes, I do.

That was Friday. Yesterday was completely wonderful. I shone. I may unpack this more later, but I clerked the Quaker Area Meeting, and did it beautifully, getting through business expeditiously, giving people space to express their hearts’ leadings, which they did: I have created a space at our AM where we can open to each other, which is what I have worked to create over the last two years, and it came together Yesterday. I wrote a minute expressing those leadings compendiously yet elegantly. Then after, I had a drink with H.

My ankle’s a bit dicky, so I did not cycle to Meeting today. Bit hung over, bit tired after the so successful Effort I put in yesterday, then the glorious encounter.

I had the thought, there are two completely wonderful, unlooked-for things in my life. Both could end at any time. (There are many other wonderful things in my life, and I suppose they could end too- like life itself! Yet these two are the things I have fretted most about ending.)

I had felt, I am not in control. They could end. The thought has horrified me, even paralysed me. Yet this morning I had the thought, I am still an actor. I am not merely blown around by winds, I am responding. Would I want to be moving other people like chess pieces? Tempting though it is- it is the theme of “The Captive” in In Search of Lost time- I have regretfully to realise that would be boring and unpleasant too. Serra asked, “What would you prefer?” It is hard to think of anything.

So, panicky stress- These Things could END!
then the realisation from Serra that I cannot control, but I can influence, respond, entice

I am beautiful. That is the key to it- I am worthy of life– these realisations calm my panicky terror like a Mother visiting her hysterical infant in the cot, and picking him up. I have seen myself as worthless, and now I am valuing myself. Things fall into place.

It felt like I only have power to push people away, to turn my face to the wall, yet Serra showed me my true power, to make connections, to turn my Love on people and charm, heal or move them. If I try this in terror, lacking confidence, and fail, it increases my confusion and immobility. In that incident, Serra said, “You were Open”. Yes, I was.

Boldini, profile of a young woman