It’s 5:30am in France, the land of some ancestors I’m eager to learn more about.
I think! There’s no clock in my hotel room.
My iPhone, which was happily charging away on the bedside shelf, popped some kind of restore message, with a picture of a cord on the screen, and won’t do anything.
What it says on my trusty new laptop about recovering it involves the elves sending my iPhone a message, which it can’t get/tell me.
It’s check out time in the morning for the next phase of this adventure. Which kind of requires being awake!
So… off to lobby, jammies and all, to ask if there’s wifi trouble in the hotel.
Night clerk not so much on the English. Me, not so much on the French.
Time out for picture drawing and hand waving.
Now, the plan is for the desk to call me in 2 hours to be sure I’m awake. (I totally am!)
So… 14 inner choruses of This is a challenge but not – cosmically – a huge one.
And then, a story for you!
One of my paint-type sisters and I went on an adventure to the Basilica of Our Lady of Duraude, also known as Notre Dame de la Daurade and the Black Madonna of Toulouse, which had been highly recommended for early arrivers.
A Black Madonna lives there! My first one in person!
Well, some of her lives there.
At some point in history, an attempt was made to destroy her. Only her head and a hand and the head of her infant remain. She wears a re-created robe and crown.
The art in that place is stunning. Many visitors came and went while we wandered and pondered.
Many of them stopped to light prayer candles and leave them on a small altar below the Madonna.
And, yes… this is not the way we learned things in a PC(USA) seminary!
Our visit was a huge multi-sensory experience for me. Echoes. Footsteps on very old tiled floors. Light coming through stained glass. The scent of the candles burning. Glorious paintings. The sculptural presence of massive organ pipes.
A whole lot of that artwork featured snakes! Snakes in tiled insets in the floors. Snakes in huge paintings. At least one of those paintings featured a larger than life-sized madonna figure standing with a crescent moon beneath her feet, much like Our Lady of Guadalupe. And the lower edge of the moon seemed positioned to cut off the head of the snake below it. (I have more questions about this!)
And, just perhaps for the wonder of it, a tiny spider web in a remote corner. An actual spider web!
I, of course, flashed instantly to Charlotte’s Web and found myself wondering what this cosmic Weaver-Dreamer might be trying to tell us.
I’m still listening for a message on that one.
What I do know is that I – like most of us – am a walking library of limiting beliefs, which, in my experience, often begin with the words…
There were a whole lot of we don’ts in that place. We don’t have images in churches. We don’t light candles as offerings. We don’t have saints…. Well, you get the drift!
And, yet, what if some of that don’t-ing is holding us back from experiences of feeling known? Of receiving the Divine with more parts of our awareness?
I’m just asking!
Here’s the punch line of this story…
The vast majority of us are walking this word with our own libraries of limiting beliefs. Current. Ancient. Individual. Traditional.
When we own, though, the miracle that they are simply beliefs – not absolute truth – we can thank the limiting ones for bringing us this far on our journeys and lay down, intentionally, the ones which are holding us back from being who we were created to be.
Can that feel scary? Yes!
Newness and hope often do!!!
For now, I’m hoping that, when my phone decides to play again, I can add some of the images I noticed to these wonderings. And we can all wonder together!
And maybe… just maybe… we might experiment with the notion that sometimes it’s possible to throw out the dirty bathwater without also throwing out the baby! I’m just sayin’…
ps… if you squint just a bit at the top photo, you might just notice a green snake lurking near the bottom in the stained glass! Curiouser and curiouser!
pps… need a black madonna of your own? There are several eager to be adopted at FierceArtWithHeart! Check in Original Paintings, Archival Prints, and Small Things! Can’t wait to see what you’ll choose!!!