Okay, yes, here we are. It’s the day before the United States official Election Day, the last day US citizens can cast our ballots. I, happily, live in a state that has had mail-in or drop-off voting for some time now (Oregon), and so I received notice of when my ballot had been received from it’s box AND when it had been counted. Ahhhhhhhhhhh…. A sigh of relief. I have done the harm reduction I can do by voting, and that not only that, but I have the relative sense of security of my vote being counted.
I mention all of this even though I know that many of you are not in the States. Because the United States elections up and down the ticket matter to the world. The Presidential election, for sure, but the Senate and House races, down-ticket races in states that are “purple” (Go, Peter Buck!—my dear brother who is running for the state house in Pennsylvania, an essential swing state.), all the way to city councils, mayoral races, school boards and other local votes and referenda. Remember, local officials decide all kinds of things about land use, clean water, construction, education, hell, they make it so that there are enough sidewalks (with curb cuts, thank you very much!) and bus lines to go around.
All that said, that’s not really what I want to talk to you about. Yes, do your harm reduction and VOTE, but that’s done, right? You know what you’re going to do, or you’re watching the election with interest from elsewhere. ‘Nuff said.
I want to talk with you about something related to my Very Exciting News!
The Way of the River has entirely new, entirely revamped, ENTIRELY new look and content. Not only is the color brown only in the images of actual forest rivers (which I do love), and nowhere in the rest of the images or the theme, but the whole feel and look and content is different. I am using lessons I have learned from The Heart of Business, and I couldn’t be happier with the result.
That said, I invite you to visit, and especially to visit the “Is This You?” page. (If you want to see some truly priceless photos of me from the ‘90s, the middle of the About Catharine page is fun too, but not required, by any means.)
The “Is This You?” page speaks about those of us who have hunted for a place where we can really find “the More” of spiritual depth. It’s about those of us who have a religious home but want a more profound experience of spirit. It’s about those of us who are neurodivergent or genderfluid, trans, or non-binary. It’s about those of us who are ambivalent about or alienated from traditional religion.
And so I’m going to share come copy from that page because I want to celebrate those of us who find ourselves reflected among this group. Not everyone I work with is isolated from beloved religious community – certainly, you don’t have to be, to be a part of The Way of the River – but many of us know what that particular pain feels like. And so in celebration, joy, and invitation, I give you, “Is This You?”
- Maybe you were deeply involved with a religious community, but have since been alienated, isolated, or rejected by that community, Despite loving that community, the feelings you had, or the sense of Divine connection you felt, you now feel utterly unwelcome to return and long for someplace to be safe and seen in your spirituality.
- Maybe you are a trans, genderfluid, or gender non-binary person who doesn’t feel at home–perhaps not even physically and emotionally safe in a religious congregation or community. Still, you have a deep longing for spiritual connection. Maybe other people’s prejudices have worn down your soul, so that you feel like looking for connection to the Sacred is a losing proposition altogether.
- Maybe you’re a religious leader yourself, but you’ve discovered the sad and frustrating thing about leading a religious community: you came to this work because you loved congregational life, but now you have no place to be ministered to, instead of always doing the ministering.
- Maybe you find it difficult to explain how deeply you long for the Divine. Maybe it even feels a little embarrassing to try, because you can’t imagine that anyone else will understand. Do words like yearning, longing, or seeking speak to you?
- Maybe you’re a committed member of a religious community because it really nourishes parts of who you are, because you love the community there, and because it’s comforting to go someplace each week where people know parts of you and your life. You find, though, that you long for a “deep dive” into the waters of spirituality, something More, something that maybe you can’t quite imagine, but are drawn to anyway.
- Maybe you identify as a freak–someone in the kink community, a modern primitive, a fire dancer and burner, someone who has always felt a little “out-of-bounds”– and so maybe you find it difficult to fully show up in spiritual communities. They feel like places you cannot bring your whole self to the table, where you are sure you will be judged, misunderstood, or rejected.
- Maybe you’re a neurodivergent person and you find it difficult to do the things that religious communities often demand–being in loud, crowded places; sitting still; making eye contact; and touching people to greet them. Maybe you need different things from what some other people need, and one of those needs is the compassionate touch of the Divine.
- There just doesn’t seem to be anywhere where you can be truly seen and heard in your longing for intimacy with the Infinite. And though you go back again and again, hoping it will be different, you find yourself disappointed each time.
You may be drawn to work with me if you
- are committed to your own authenticity — nothing fake or put on because a religious (or any other) group says it has to be;
- believe in the value of your own personal spiritual experience;
- are willing to put in the time it takes to develop a deeper relationship with Spirit;
- and know that when your spiritual life and practice is in order, the rest of your life feels better, clearer, deeper, and more joyful.
And so, dear friends, if any of this sounds like you, if any of this resonates with you, I invite you to a beat. To take a breath. And then consider whether you might like to work in a small group with other people who will understand where you’re coming from, other people who will know what you’re about, where you’ve been and how you’re doing.
And then simply email me for an assessment, a consultation call to talk about where you are and where you’d like to be spiritually, and maybe we can find a place to work together fruitfully, whether in a group, class, or individually. When so much is uncertain, so much is worrisome, having a companion along the way can be just the thing. And I’d love just to get to know you, in any case!
In these unsettled times, I offer you blessings, blessings, blessings.
PS – Want to see the new website in all its glory: https://thewayoftheriver.com!
PPS – Going into the Dark is coming!! The annual winter solstice retreat will be on your doorstep before you know it!
Okay, this letter will go out to my list ON Monday — we still have a few days left to vote in early voting states, so get out there and do your harm reduction!