Super Mall of Enlightenment - The Homecoming Dress


Wake Once Know Eternity

Fall has arrived in the Midwest and that means football and homecoming. Quaint communities’ main street shops with their windows painted in preparation for the homecoming parade, football game and dance. It takes me back to the days when my children were playing in those games and attending those dances. OH SO important times to an adolescent's life. I have 2 boys and 1 girl. The stories I could tell about the perfect outfit for the dances are many. My oldest son was usually an easy task, he would tell me the color of the girls dress and I would go buy something from my favorite bargain department store. He never complained and always accepted whatever I brought home. My youngest son always had an outfit or theme in mind. Being a very creative soul he was great at pulling something together. He directed me to search for specific items, because of his clear vision it was a breeze to jump in and help. Now for my daughter, that was a whole other scenario.

Yesterday, I was remembering how painful those dress shopping trips were for me. They were not fun, they were not bonding; they were exhausting to say the very least. I know this sounds like bitter talk, but as in all of my life lessons, I promise it turns sweet.

There are two particular trips that are seared on my brain's memory banks. Those days are far behind us. Part of an old illusion, but they both carry their perfect life lesson. The first that comes to mind, ended with me in the bathroom of a restaurant crying. That lesson was easy, “Don’t take anything personal”. The second trip that came to mind has a much deeper lesson. Christina, this one is for you. Thank you for all of the life lessons we have learned hand in hand. You are not only my daughter; you are my soul sister and best friend. I love you now and forever.

Reference insert; there is a mall in the Chicagoland area called Woodfield. This is what wikipedia has to say about it:

Woodfield Mall opened on September 9, 1971, with 59 stores, growing to 189 stores with 1.9 million retail square feet by 1973, the largest mall in the United States at that time. It's the 10th largest mall in America to this date.

Wikipedia Woodfield_Mall

So it’s homecoming or maybe it wasn’t homecoming, it doesn’t matter all the trips and dances were basically the same. For this particular one, Christina and her friend had decided that this dress shopping outing required that we go to Woodfield Mall. NOOOOOOOO not Woodfield. I don’t like malls and that mega mall terrified me. I succumbed to their instance because I was trying to win my teenage daughters approval. What was I thinking?

We literally ran from one end of the mall to the other looking for the perfect dress. Christina had not vocalized a vision of what that dress would look like, not even a color. She just knew that somewhere in the 1.9 million retail square feet there was the dress of perfection. This trip of insanity ended 5 hours later, right back at the beginning in the first store purchasing the first dress that she had tried on. UGH!!!!! 5 hours of adolescent abuse; eye rolling, sighs of disgust at any suggestion I made, not to mention the whispers of defiance between the two of them. As I look back I realize Christina was in search of her own perfection, not the perfect dress. I too was in search of perfection but from a mother’s perspective. We were in search of love and acceptance, I was seeking it from her and she was seeking it from her peers. What left us exhausted, cranky and emotionally depleted was the inability to enjoy the outing; to just be at peace with the process and to find the humor, beauty and comradery of the moment. We were both way too focused on an unattainable perfection through the disguise of a garment.

As I reminisced and reflected on that outing and the many days of anguish and forsaken trips to the mall, I realized I was beginning to see a comparison. The rat race of seeking perfection in the material world, the undue pressure and expectations to be and look a certain way was no different than the “Super Mall of Enlightenment”. Isn’t this what so many of us are doing, running from one end of the enlightenment spectrum to the other, in search for our perfection? There are millions of spiritual square feet with millions of stores, filled with millions of ideas, processes, words, books, ceremonies, religions, teachings, prophets, gurus…….. all leading us back to the beginning, back to our first perfect thought, back to our inner knowing.

The vision that comes to mind is an underground mall of a million stores in a circular formation. The only way in or out is an elevator located in the center which goes up and connects to the outer realms. At birth we enter the elevator and go down, as we are enticed by the bright lights, shiny new objects and for sale signs, we slowly forget who we are and where we came from. Then we start running around from one end to the other, searching for what we have forgotten and for what will make us feel whole again. Some of us may choose to go through the bottom basement bargain store, full of racks filled with tattered and returned dreams. While others of us will choose to get stuck in front of a mirror trying on one new image after another. Know this; we will all end up back at center court in front of the elevator doors, some sooner than others. When we return to the center and remember who we really are, we will remember that the only way out is to ascend in the elevator to the outer realm.

My path to enlightenment is recognizing, acknowledging and acting upon my inner knowing, my connection to the oneness of all. I can only do so in this present moment and within my very being. This knowledge does not reside outside of me and it does not reside outside of the now. Is it the awakening of one’s self, as in a slow gentle return to consciousness or is it “I woke up”, as in a quick startled awareness? Something to ponder, is it one or the other, can it be either or is it both?

I was created in the likeness of my creator; I was created in love, I am perfect, magnificent and whole. Anything that states or demonstrates something different is just an illusion. Nothing can amplify or diminish my perfection or the love that I am. In our human experience we are born knowing this perfection but this knowledge may become covered by the sometimes painful illusions of this world. Choose to return to your center and remember!

In the beginning was the word and the word was with God, and the word was God. John 1:1 NIV

Word, I am Word.

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