Porcupine’s quills transfigure her body with an elegance, just before they disfigure an enemy’s face. Similarly, our innate traits grace us, until we feel our principles being threatened beyond our maturity.
Porcupine typically mines her own business. Unlike the animal though, when we fail to develop our sensitivity and innocence, we keep our hackles raised, always prepared to attack.
Too often, people stunt a simple, childlike faith until it is nothing more than oblivious naiveté. When our inner strength is no longer equal to life’s challenges, we become frustrated, blaming anything other or giving in to abusive behavior.
Will we openly connect with people, encouraging their journeys or compete with them, by exploiting their giftedness? Initiating honest conversations curbs any need to digress to what Porcupine might call, death by pin prick.
When we’ve done our part and still find ourselves targets of constant needling, we can recognize it for what is, emotional abuse! Just as we expect children to physically grow, we anticipate ongoing emotional, mental and spiritual development, as well. And when our expansion intimidates other people, we have decisions to make.
So, what do we do when we’ve outgrown a spiritual community?
As a Spiritual Director, I’ve heard the following, repeatedly.
I have no intention of hurting anyone; I just want to quietly disappear.
I’ve exhausted the language and practices of my spiritual community. I am suffocating, but my family and friends are at home there.
Routinely, I find my truer Self in nature.
I know if I had a dire need, people would be there for me, yet I long for meaningful connections.
In listening to such statements and the stories that follow, it is clear that many people have not lost their faith, but rather immersed themselves deeper in relationship with the Sacred within. At such junctures, a spiritual director may be helpful.
Regardless, we can begin by asking Porcupine to develop our sensitivity into discernment and our innocence into healthy optimism. Then, even in the midst of troubling circumstances, we will be able to acknowledge our suffering without becoming harsh cynics.
Peel through and separate personal grievances from values. How can you best make Spirit flesh?
Will you be of greater benefit by staying in a place or leaving?