Fierce With Reality

The final question the Elders ask the one who has returned from the Quest is this: What gifts do you bring your people?

At age 85 Florida Scott-Maxwell wrote, "You only need to claim the events of your life to make yourself yours. When you truly possess all you have been and done. . . you are fierce with reality."

I first read those words about a dozen years ago and surrendering to this invitation to claim the events of my life keeps revealing and sculpting me. Sometimes this surrender feels like the warmth of the high-desert sun, evocative and thawing. At other times it has scorched and left tender what was previously unexposed. Stepping into this surrender has felt like stepping into a sandstorm designed for full-body exfoliation. Other times, it been like crossing into the enchantment of rain falling in the sunlight. The fully claimed events of my life have streamed over the earth of my being like spring rivulets, carving and bringing refreshment and new growth in the most unlikely directions. These events have coursed over and washed away all that was not deeply rooted and some things that were.

I don't know if I'm fierce with reality yet, but I want to be.

What gifts do I bring you, my people?

Only myself, on the way to becoming fierce with reality. Just me. My own mundane, ordinary, vibrant, miraculous, and fully-supported life.

What gifts do I bring you, my people?

Only the invitation for you also to claim your own life, that we might we on the way to becoming fierce with reality together. Just the invitation to receive that which has already been given. Just the invitation to welcome it all: joy and pain, clarity and doubt, success and failure, foolishness and wisdom, purpose and futility, bitterness and that which tastes sweet, .

Just the invitation that poet Derek Walcott extends in his poem, "Love after Love."

The time will come
when, with elation
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror
and each will smile at the other's welcome,

say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.

Welcome all of who you are to the table, soul friends. Claim your whole self. Without shame. Without fear. Or, if those beasts have followed, nipping at your heels, turn to face them, hands open and extending the nourishment of what you have claimed, the bread of your own life.

This is the gift I bring you. In my writing. In my spiritual direction offerings. In my teaching. In my friendship. Your own life, so full of the Sacred, is your most accessible sacred text. You are never without it. Sit. Feast on your life.

In love,


Lorilyn WieringComment