THE SEVEN SPIRITUAL LIVES OF LINDA MARY MONTANO
Once upon a time, a very, very long time ago , in a land that was filled with water and movelment and mountains, there was born a very,very curious and alert young girl who was extremely interested in the mysteries of birth and death.Flower girl, that was her name and she loved life, wanted to see things and know things and be things. She wanted to ride horses and travel and dance.But when she came out of that mountain cave, she saw a very,very startling sight.
#1 THE CATHOLIC LIFE Things were strange and scary. People did things that were scary and everything was one big challenge. Too big to face. She thought, but maybe if I look like you, dress like you, and act like you, everyhting will be ok. Flower girl cried and cried and said, "everything is lost. I feel devestated, anxious and filled with dread and discomfort. I feel guilt and shame and all is horrible. I am bad, bad, bad and I am going away." She didn't know what to do and she became even more depressed, irratable and anxious, so she went back into the cave and swam and swam, coming up for air sometimes. One day she saw something like this.
#2 THE NUNS LIFE She said, "I know, I'll look like you and walk like you and talk like you and be like you. Then I'll be good, In fact I'll suffer even momre than you and I will be a saint." This lasted for awhile. Then flower girl said to herself, "I'm very good at feeling bad and I feel very bad about feeling so bad. Life is tragic." So she jumped back into the water and swam and dreampt about horses and good times eventhough she was terribly, terrible unhappy inside. She was so unhappy and so miserable that she came out of the water to look around and she saw people who looked beautifull and colorfull and they smiled and looked like this. #3 THE YOGA LIFE She asked "Am Igood? Am I free like you?" They said,"You have everything you need but you are not happy. Something's wrong. Where is your happiness?" Flower girl said, "I couldn't be happy there, I can't be happy here. Maybe I should dress like you and walk like you and talk like you,sing like you. Then I'll be happy. Do I seem happy now?" But alas, something was missing. Flower girl was not completely happy yet and said to herself," I am not free. I am locked in guilt and blame and self-destruction. I am still angry at myself. I am confused and out of control. I try to look happy and sweet just like you. But I can't. So she jumped back into the water and swam and swam but inside her head the voices said,"You are bad and acting good and good at feeling bad." She came up for some air and looked around and saw some people and they looked just like this.
#4 THE BUDDHIST LIFE And she said when she saw them, "I will walk like you and talk like you. I will dress like you and think like you. Then I wont be bad anymore. I'll be strong and calm, just like you."But something wasn't exactly right. She still wasn't able to completely walk like them or talk like them and she felt bad and she said,"I'm bad and weak and feeling good about feeling bad and this makes me feel very bad eventhough I talk a little bit like you and walk like you, I'm going away."So flower girl jumped into the water and swam and swam and swam and was actually enjoying herself a little bit. But just to check things out,she pulled her head out of the water and saw an incredible sight.
#5 THE FEMINIST LIFE There were people growing flowers and medicines and eating strange foods and she came out of the water and said, "I want to talk like you and walk like you and dance like you and sing like you. I want to be just like you."But after a little while she saw that nothing was right and she couldn't be like them exactly and she felt bad and she thought,"I feel bad and I feel good about feeling bad and that makes me feel very, very bad." And she went back into the water and swam away, far, far away from everyone into her mountain cave. She stayed there a long time and swam and dreamed dreams, but one day she came up for air to look around. She saw people who were from another time.
#6 THE NATURAL LIFE Other dreamers sitting around the fire singing their songs. Flower girl said, "Can I join you? Can I sing like you? Look like you? Dance like you? Walk like you? Talk like you? YOU are so wonderfull and I am not so wonderfull. I want to be just like you." And she tried and tried but this time, something had changed. She said,"I'm not going to say I'm wrong or that I'm bad.I'm not going to say that I'm not good at not being bad. I'm not going to think that way. Something very big had changed. This time she jumped into the water and she could feel the water when she was swimming and she said, "When I come out of the mountain cave, things will be different." So she came out and saw that there was birth and death and everyday life and ordinary things and she shouted to the world. AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!
#7 LIFE And then she said, "Thank you scary ones for patienly being there and teaching me , and thank you holy ones for gently being there and thank you beautifull ones for lovingly being there and thank you strong ones for forcibly being there and thank you healthy ones for happily being there and thank you generous ones for always being there. Guess what? You are all part of me and now I can dance in the light sometimes and be like you all sometimes and be like me sometimes and sometimes I feel sad and bad and happy and gay and I float away silently and sing, I AM, I AM, I AM, THANK YOU, I AM.!"
This story has no end because flower girl now goes to the Catholic Church all the time ,tries to talk like the strong ones sometimes but still goes back to her mountain cave to swim and knows that her heart has dreams and silent future flights. And if you look very closely,you can see her riding her horse, all the way home.