Later in the day of my previous entry, my dissertation advisee successfully defended her dissertation. It was my first advisee to complete the program. I was relieved not to be involved in reviewing chapter drafts for the foreseeable future. Naturally, another one of my advisees surfaced just at the beginning of the winter break, after a four-year silence. She sent me an ill-conceived proposal that I have successfully bought myself some time to think about.
My husband and I marked the 29th anniversary of our meeting quietly by going to his sister's for dinner. Then we travelled to a neighboring state to spend time with two of his siblings and their families for Christmas. On New Year's Eve we had some friends my husband's church over for dinner, and on New Year's Day we visited one of my friends and his husband and his parents for a mid-day meal.
I have been continuing with therapy and with Rosen, and I have reactivated my interest in astrology.
The Charlie Hebdo killings are proving to be challenging to deal with. I'm concerned about how we came to this place and about where we are going from here. I find myself revisiting images and feelings related to 9/11, to the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq that followed, to the Boston bombing, to the manhunt that followed, etc. And in back of that are concerns about the rising political influence of right-wing xenophobes and images of World War II and the Balkan Wars, etc.
I'm trying to avoid sermonizing on social media, including the third-party sermonizing of posting articles, with or without personal comments attached. Some of the material that others have posted has been thought-provoking, but a lot of it falls into predictable stereotypes.
Two days after my last post I went for zikr for a second time with the couple I had seen the previous month. This time I was the only one there besides the hosts, and that provided an opportunity to discuss our respective spiritual searches in more detail. In the interim, they had been to see their shaykh, and he had revised his instructions regarding how to conduct the zikr. Whether because of the changes in the zikr, or because it was my second time visiting, the energy seemed clearer and more complete this time.
I have been reflecting a bit on my currently unaffiliated status (although my previous initiations are, perhaps, in some sense, still "open") and have also been taking some time to read up online on the experiences of some others in Sufism. One source I spent some time with was the Cult Education Institute's forum, in which there are two threads related to Sufism. Through that source I have become aware of some books, including one about spiritual abuse in a Sufi context. The author's bio states that, at the request of his shaykh, he led the University of Toronto Sufi Study Circle for about 15 years. I recall that, in November 2000, I attended a Sufi meeting at the University of Toronto. I think it may have been a meeting of that circle. If so, I likely met the author there. His book is a rambling, 500+-page, self-published discourse. Nonetheless, it is providing a framework that seems to be helping me to heal from some of the things I went through with my friends in the Amma group.
Somehow the combination of the various things that I have been trying, particularly since the death of one of my cats in August, seems to be leading me in a direction of healing. What does that mean? At this point, it means that, instead of feeling caught indefinitely in the same sorts of patterns with no credible prospects for moving beyond them, I am finding the means to experiment with different ways of interacting with people in my environment. Although none of these "ways of interacting" brings about the vivid sense of self-discovery that I seemed to experience when I met X over 11 years ago, nonetheless there is a sense of a kind of subtle resurgence of energy. It's like a faint flame or an underground spring, and sometimes it stays "online" long enough for me to feel supported from the inside, even while I try to make sense of events around me.
There is more I could write, but that is probably enough for now.