‘If you want to be spiritual, ask uncomfortable questions,’ Goddess News, Spiritual Blog, Divine Feminine,
Dr Joanna Kujawa, Spiritual Detective :).
The Spiral of Life: Goddess, Change and Turning Points in Life
The Goddess News Blog and Newsletter has just turned two. Happy Birthday to us all! Without your support none of this would have happened.
And today I am writing my 31st Goddess News blog. I have always ‘channelled’ my blogs; that is, I sit down with a general idea of what I am going to write about and then let it flow. Thus, each blog, with small exceptions, is written in one sitting – and this is what I am doing now. Since it is an anniversary, I thought I would share a reflection on the organic aspects of big changes in life and turning points in life. Trust me – I have had many of these, as I have lived an intense and rather adventurous life under the cover of being a quiet academic. I will share just some of these turning points with you. Ernest Hemingway said that the best way to start a story is somewhere in the middle, so this is where I will start.
Turning points in life can be very painful and unexpected but are often necessary to make major changes in life – and sometimes in ways that feel like these changes are made without our own volition or even against our own will. But this is not true. Regardless of how challenging they might be, more often than not we create such transformations for our own (higher) good. I can’t tell you how many times in my life I have kicked and screamed through a change and felt terribly wronged by it until – sometimes only years later – realising that not only had I created the change but I had wanted it.
To say that we are all complicated beings and that each of us has many ‘parts’ to our psyche is a understatement. It is my experience that the part of us which kicks and screams is usually our frightened self and the part that creates the necessary change is our Higher Self (for lack of better terminology). Supposedly unwanted and shocking changes usually happen when we, well, have lied to ourselves for too long, stayed in a job or a relationship that was not serving us anymore except, perhaps, helping to keep us surviving. And, I do believe, that sometimes it is nothing else but our own soul that can knock us out of survival mode, as if telling us, ‘You are more. You carry a divine being within. Act like one! It is not just about the mortgage and the bills.’ And then our soul mercilessly throws us into the Sea of Existence to teach us how to swim.
It is a tough lesson, I agree, especially when, in this embodiment, we do have so-called financial responsibilities and the material part of ourselves to support.
Yet, in my experience, if a change happens through the promoting of the soul or of Grace, we are not allowed to drown. On the contrary. We are given another chance to make a better choice.
Let me give you a few examples as illustrations of this.
I was in my early 30s, married and working as a teacher in Toronto. I can’t even express to you how much I hated my job. I hated it! I know this is an ugly word but, sorry, it fits exactly how I felt then. Not that it was a bad job. But it was not for me! I kept the job because I believed that it would save my marriage, that I would finally ‘fit in’ and have some money after being a postgrad student for a while. For those same reasons, I had also rejected two prestigious scholarships from the University of Toronto to do my PhD. And, of course, I hoped at the time that teaching would allow me the time to write and I could fulfil my dream of being a writer. But most of the time I was too exhausted to write and too unhappy to even dream.
I was living like this because, quite unconsciously, I was trying to be ‘good’ by society’s standards.
One day, my then-husband and I were on a bus to work (that day we were teaching at the same high school). I looked at the dirty slush of melting snow on the street then at my husband, whom I loved, and knew that I could not do this anymore.
More than that, I was given a vision. And in that vision, he and I were travelling on that bus for the rest of our lives, teaching in a high school, arguing about money, and wondering what life would have been had we made other choices.
That day, I made a choice that this would not happen. But it was not easy. I had always wanted to live in the tropics, so I applied for jobs around the world and eventually got one in Malaysia.
Nothing made sense then. Big changes never make rational sense to anyone, not even to us.
I thought, ‘Why the hell, I am leaving everything for another teaching job? I want to write.’ But the relentless voice within me said, ‘Take it,’ and I did.
In Malaysia, a year after teaching in a pre-University program, I was headhunted by an Australian University to teach for them and I ended up completing a PhD with them as well as I travelled and lived in the tropics, just as I had always dreamed of doing. In Malaysia I also had the best teaching experiences in my life and began writing again: short stories, which were later published in Best Australian Stories collections.
From there I moved on to Melbourne where I taught at various Universities and tertiary institutions and continued to write.
But that is only a small part of the story. There were other challenges, such as finding myself unemployed after finishing my PhD in Melbourne, having no money to pay the rent, living at a kind friend’s while desperately applying for jobs, and meditating for hours just to keep sane.
Guess what? It all paid off. The meditation gave me clarity. The temporary unemployment not only taught me compassion but also gave me an opportunity to join two Australian men who had made some discoveries in the Holy Land and who exposed me to the Gnostic Gospels. I managed to convince them to take me along and offered in return to write a book about their discoveries – The Jerusalem Diary – my first book. A few months later, I landed a job at a university (without ever applying for it).
So what does it all mean and what does it have to do with the Goddess?
In all ancient traditions, the Goddess is represented by a spiral, dancing Energy of Life. Call it Shakti, call it Intuition, or call it Grace. That Goddess is an expression of our lives. She is our Life – complex, spiral and filled with our Destiny. She reminds us that Life is not meant o be lived in a straight line.
She reminds us, as we follow her guidance, to live fully, to explore life and to trust. Yes, trust. It all works out. But we need to be fearless and trusting. We need to listen to our Inner Voice and NOT the deranged voice of the outside world that only wants us to repeat the lives of our ancestors. Perhaps these external voices are well meant but they are nevertheless fear based. Perhaps someone does not want us to fulfill our Destiny. That is their problem because they do not have the courage to live their own lives to the fullest. Perhaps they can’t for some reason. But we can.
That is why, I believe, spiritual practice (rather than worship) is so essential for our growth and connection with the Divine – whatever it is – because it allows us to hear this Inner Voice and helps us to block external noise. This is what the fear is – noise from the outside.
One of my writing goddesses, a French writer Colette, once said (I’m paraphrasing here), ‘You can live your life thinking what it could have been or you can live your life so one day you can say: Ah what a Life it has been!’
The difficult changes are asking us to make this choice.
If you have similar experiences please share and as, always, I would love to hear and read your comments.
Please look for my upcoming book, The Other Goddess: Mary Magdalene and the Goddesses of Eros and Secret Knowledge in April 2022.
Dr Joanna Kujawa
This is such a timely message for me. Thank you! I needed to be reminded of the exact message you have shared here today. Am loving your blog and how beautifully you articulate the gems of wisdom distilled from your life’s experience.
Blessings to you,
Thank you Teresa – this means a lot. I am so glad that you have found that blog timely :). I, too, sometimes, need to remind myself all of these as life constantly challenges us to grow – for our own evolution. Much love, Joanna
Beautiful writer, as your fellow traveler in this amusing journey of life I attest to witness you blossom ever so gracefully into the wise goddess you are today. I cheer you on my dear friend, may the Shakthi of the Universe recognise and bestow you with learnings you have come to learn and the teachings you have come to teach. May I add, your talent as a writer just gets better and better…thanks for this thought provoking, soul stirring post…just what I needed to hear too.
Oh my Goodness, Kathy – good to hear from you again in this space and thank you for the compliment ?. Yes, we have had some journeys have we not? It feels sometimes like a mad game but only on the surface and once we pass through the surface there is a great beauty in every journey and I believe that each soul strives for different experiences. We are taught to live from pint A to point B and accomplish things but I think that the soul wants to sail through life and experience what it wants to experience. I think we learn to surrender more with age and listen more to the pulse of Life – so there is hope that at the end of it all we will laugh with enjoyment. Much love and gratitude for your comment. Joanna
So good Joanna! I’m sharing with my friends. So timely. Thank you for sharing, Goddess 🙂
Thank you Anna :). So glad you liked it. Please feel free to share. Much love, Joanna xxx
This echoes exactly what is going on in my life right now and is just what I needed to hear. Thank you. I have been feeling lately that I am on a great precipice, a cliff. Something needs to change. I can’t go back the way I came but I am afraid to jump. This is not a small step on a journey, but a decision that I either make or I don’t. Do or die, sink or swim. I think what I have been missing is trust. Trust that it will work out and jumping is for the better. Thank you, again.
I have one question. In your article, what is the difference between spiritual practice and worship?
Thank you, Rachel, for your comment. I love when we share our personal stories. I think that live is an evolutionary process that requires us to face our fears and grow so we can become the beings we were supposed to become. As for your question: worship can be form of a spiritual practice in some traditions so of this works for you, you can continue with it. But I believe that the Universe wants us to get empowered, to take charge and discover that divinity in our own being, discover our own power. There are theologians who say that God grows through us. So for me, after many years of seeking for the best way meditation is the best spiritual practice. But this is very personal and other ways may serve other people better, such as self-inquiry or even active prayer which is saying ‘Thank you’ for what you are seeking trusting that it will manifest (rather than the traditional begging prayer). Also, journaling is a fantastic way to get in touch with that Inner Voice that can guide us. Discovering that Inner voice, getting in touch with It is, for me, the goal of meditation and then merging with it. So there are many ways. I would suggest journaling first. Much love, Joanna ? x
PS if you are interested in structured journaling, I have a small Workbook (30 pages or so on my website. It could give you some structure at the beginning, Up to you 🙂 x