Maggi Storr, Tasmania Regional Meeting
A significant “aha!” moment occurred while I was walking down a street in Florence. I was suddenly filled with joy, moving through me like ecstasy. It was like a casting fell off my heart and opened to all-encompassing love. It was a profoundly spiritual experience. It has connected me to that city and particularly the Duomo and Piazza. When I go there tears roll down my cheeks.
I felt that opening of all-encompassing love some years later when I was led to a New Age community, De Lightberg ( The Light Mountain) in the south of Holland where I lived for eighteen months. The all embracing altruistic love by its members showed me this was “my chance” to experience a richness in my life that I had not realised was missing. I wish all could experience the wonder and joy of being connected in this way.
We had a beautiful biodynamic garden. I had not worked with those gardening principles before. Planting and reaping are deeply guided by the phases of the moon. Guiding all activities in the garden was the deep caring respect for nature, from the preparation of the soil, the plantings, and care for our tools. No machine touched the earth. To plant with respect, harvest with respect and eat the produce with respect nourished my Spirit, mind and body. At the time I realised that I and the Spirit of Nature were connected and I had been taken to De Lightberg to begin my spiritual journey.
Because I could not speak the language I gardened and spent many hours with Divine Grace and silence. The wonder of silence was deeply revealed to me. One time while weeding the peas in the glass house I begged God to speak to me repeatedly, but I was disappointed for I was seeking words. Then I heard a little noise and a bigger noise and then a crescendo of crackling; I could hear the peas growing! I was deeply humbled and cried with the revelation that God speaks to us in many ways.
When I was a little girl my parents had a market garden and I ran barefoot through it, picking strawberries and pulling carrots. My mother had a strong influence on me. During that time in the mid-forties we were surrounded by Greeks and Italians, new migrants. Conditions were basic. My mother circulated a petition amongst all the people of the area and we got electricity and the road sealed. She had that heart of wanting to help people, her community service caring spirit ran naturally through her veins. Later she had a fruit and vegetable shop in an inner city suburb in Adelaide. The new migrants, refugees and Colombo Plan people would come round. She would help them with whatever they needed, such as paper work they couldn’t understand, often disrupting our family tea time. That was really Love and Spirit in action. I realise now what an enlightening example she was to me.
While I was living at De Lightberg community, I met a member of Sukyo Mahikari (Original True Light). It is a spiritual Japanese practice focusing on the healing qualities of the Light and the deep understanding of Spirit first, mind follows and body belongs. During the next eleven and a half years the practice and service of radiating True Light to purify and heal the Spirit was my life. In 1987, over a period of eight months, I felt led to visit Mahikari Centres and isolated members in fourteen countries. That service was powerful and I am still in touch with some of those people. It showed me when you are led to Divine Service boundaries melt away.
What drew me to Friends was the culmination of many things I had experienced previously, the care and commitment of community, the service of social justice, peace and healing through the Light, and the coming together in the silence for the words of the Spirit to be spoken. I am a Quaker by convincement. I was nurtured and cared for by Maroochydore Meeting on the Sunshine Coast and those loving members. Through this I could live and enrich my life with Friends. I became a member in 2008.
Being a new Friend from the mainland to Tasmania I am deeply grateful for the care and opportunities to mature spiritually that I have found here. It has brought many loose ends together and strengthened my spiritual foundation. My life been graced by the land of the Mouheneener people and my connection with Religions for Peace, going to places where Aboriginal Communities, other peoples and nature have suffered, offering prayer, healing, apology and respectful silence; this too has been an enriching service I have shared with others.
It is an amazing time of my life.