The Fullest Circle

22 years ago I arrived in Australia, fresh faced and damaged, 18 going on 19, already affected yet still so naive. I moved in with my Dad in a Victorian suburb called Clifton Hill, in a cute little apartment opposite the massive park that dominates the suburb. I had intended on a fresh start, away from the mire and malignancy of Auckland, a city I loved and hated simultaneously. I came here, to Australia, to Clifton Hill to reinvent myself.

Of course, we all know that problems follow us, even across the expanse of oceans. A fresh start is a fallacy, especially at that age, when wisdom is yet to touch our brows. The span of experience between then and now is staggering. So many lives compacted into one. 41 years old, and I find myself back in Clifton Hill, cat sitting a marvellous creature named Keyser in a cute little shoebox apartment – right next door to where I used to live.

The concept of things coming full circle has always eluded me, being somewhat of an unintentional nomad. I have moved constantly in the 20 odd years I’ve been here, all within the same city, never settling for long, always trying to outrun the darkness. And here I am, back where I started, in much the same situation. Shell-shocked and blinking against the light as I start my life again. Again. Always again. It feels odd. I don’t feel completed, or satisfied, or finalised in any way. I feel much the same as I did then, albeit tempered by the complexities of a life well-lived. Here I am, talking as if I’m in my twilight years when really, I’m just beginning.

I have no idea what’s coming next. I don’t know what the Fates have in store for me. I know things are moving; my career, my self worth, my adultness, all are moving forward at a rate that I can’t fathom. I have no control, I’m just holding on and going for the ride, knowing that what’s to come will be as surprising and soul altering as what has been.

One thing that is different now to what was then: I am fierce now. More fierce than I have ever been. My heart is shredded, my soul is singed at the edges, but it gives me a power that I can’t describe. I am aware now, more awake than I ever could have imagined. I don’t see the path in front of me, but I’m now at a point where I don’t need to know what’s coming. I just have an unwavering faith that the Universe knows what it’s doing, and I’m about to enter something new and unimagined.

This blog, all the things I have written, splashing my innermost desires and despairs across the page gives only a fraction of what I experience. It’s my platform, my tool of self-expression. I have followers, but really, it’s just for me. My own little narcissistic soap box of opinions and responses; a sifting of disjointed thoughts into something clearer. Comprehensible.

I am here now.

I am here.

I am.

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An Empty Church

I am not what you would call a religious person. I was brought up in both the Catholic and Anglican Church, and have a respect and fascination for theology, but I do not believe in God in the Christian sense. I think Jesus the man was a dude who was totally switched on to what makes us human, but I don’t believe he was the Messiah. I have a deep and abiding Hermetic belief in the interconnectedness of all things. I feel the Universe is a conscious force that we are all connected to and are a part of. I believe in magic because I’ve seen and made it happen. But no, I don’t believe in God, certainly not the one that religion created.

Having said that, every time I walk into a church, I feel something. A presence, if you will, that is all-encompassing and powerful. It is full of love – not the butterflies and puppy dogs kind of love, but that deep, primordial, ancient love that is a little bit scary. I feel it more when the church is empty, devoid of humankind’s interpretation of that power. In going to mass – which I do rarely and only when my father is in the pulpit – I feel only the catechism; the dogma. I feel the congregation’s guilt for not being a good enough Christian. I feel their boredom as they reel off the prayers and responses by rote. I feel their hypocrisy, their hope that if they do this enough times, surely they’ll get into Heaven.

I don’t mean that as disrespectfully as it sounds. Some people’s faith is inspiring, quiet and beautiful; the type of faith that is unfettered by judgment, hate, and intolerance; that is fueled by love. My father’s faith in his God is comforting to me because my father’s God is accepting and loving and enriching, not vengeful and wrathful.

Maybe that’s what I feel when the church is empty. I feel the true belief, created by persons who strive to be Christ-like, whose love for themselves, their neighbour, and their God is uplifting and powerful. We have, as humans, an ability to influence the world around us purely through thought. Action and deed compounds this, of course, but in the simple moment of feeling love, compassion or empathy we can project that energy out and do some amazing things.

I have not been very loving of late. I have been caught up in anger and frustration and hurt towards people I once loved and respected, people I put things aside for and helped and looked after when they needed me. But now I have compassion fatigue and it’s exhausting me. Ageing me. Sickening me. People have poured their woes into me, and siphoned out my tolerance and acceptance, and now I feel I’ve been used up and spat out and trodden all over, and it makes me feel very sorry for myself.

And whose fault is it?

Mine. Entirely. Because as I sat in an empty church today and felt that power overwhelm me, I realised I haven’t been looking after me. I’ve been so concerned with others, and so caught up in my own pain, I forgot to love myself. Maybe I’ve never actually known how, but now I’ll start to learn. I have to. I’ll be the Universe expressing itself as a human being for a while and let the Universe love itself through me. Then everything else will fall into place and be connected again. Then I can love again, and be that compassionate, empathetic person I pride myself on being.

It’s hard. Oh my [insert deity here], it’s hard. I feel like a coal mine with no coal left. Like a dried up well. Like a million other metaphors that I can’t think of because I no longer have the resources left for thinking. But it’s either do it, or crumple, and I will not crumple. I want that feeling of being in an empty church everywhere I go.

Watch this space.