Archive for June, 2008

Ritual

Let me start by saying I’m not a ritualistic person in terms of “having to do something” to make a point, follow a religion, or feel OK about myself. 

Having said that, I really, really love the early morning when I can follow a few soul-satisfying rituals that tune me into my day.  One of my favorite focuses on coffee … the way I make it, inhale it, vibe with it, and savor it.  There are many legends surrounding this taken for granted drink.  The one I think about a lot is that coffee was a gift from God — a drink savored by the Divine, and shared with the creation. 

Once I have my cup, I love to sit and simply listen to the world.  To breathe, deep, satisfying, long.  I am a person “in-tune” with my surroundings, and to have the opportunity to just feel the breath of creation on my skin … to listen to the songs of the birds (because if you listen long enough, you’ll hear the composition of the cosmos — no joke).  If I can sit still long enough, undisturbed and focuses, I can hear God talking to my soul.  Mystical?  Yeah.  Crazy?  Your opinion.

The other ritual I love is sitting at my husband’s laptop, and feeling the keys under my fingers as I rattle off some deep but meaningless thougths to random readers of this blog.  Blogging is a ritual that’s tough to define, unless you are one of those who thrive in this environment.  I’ve had people try to figure out why I blog, and even intimate that it’s meaningless — a waste of time.  Those people I have to smile at, because it’s one of those things that if you don’t get it– you just don’t get it.

Most of the rituals I relish in are like that.  But the older I get, the more I’m OK with that.  At one time, I desired to influence — to “make a difference” on the grand scheme of things.  But in that process, I lost who I was.  I know each of us make adjustments to live in the world around us.  But is it right?  Should be prostitue ourselves — our being at the deepest levels of who we are — simply to be counted among the “normal”? 

These  days, I’m satisfied to simply “be” and let the things I do and say speak for themselves.  If I influence, OK.  If I don’t, that’s OK, too. 

I pretended so long, trying to win the approval of people I thought I needed to love and appreciate me.  Now, I find that the people who care about me the most could care less what I “do,” and many times, even who I am.  Love is one of those weird, unpredictable things that we cannot ritualize, regardless of how hard we try.  It’s like things of the spirit.  If God is who we say, “he” is unpredictable and does not respond to our beconing.  Love is the same.  It just IS, and we spend so much time trying to figure it all out.  Crazy.

So I’m done philosophising for now, because the coffee water is ready.  And the residual smell of lavender from my morning shower is causing me to breathe deep and focus on the way it intermingles with the essence of morning gently blowing in my living room window.  The birds are calling; the leaves barely rustling.  They are inviting me to partake in the ritual of existing simply for the treasured moment. 

Peace.

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Just a sidenote…

…looking for a way to waste a few minutes?  Check out this site:

http://www.mentalfloss.com/blogs/archives/category/lists/

I love mental floss, and these lists are the “bomb”.  Have fun …

Not “Home,” But Alone

Spent last week away from the homestead — by myself (well, without the hubby or kids).  I decided since everyone would be out of town but “B” and “E,” I’d treat myself to a week at a local campground, scrap booking the tar out of the thirty-five years of photos I have.  I rocked!  (if I do say so myself). 

It worked out pretty cool — some of my “lifers” happened to be camped at the same grounds, and we actually ended up right next to each other.  They were gracious — allowing me my space, yet still providing some much needed breaks for me from my creative task.

Reliving the last twenty years or so of the life of my family was amazing — difficult sometime — buy refreshing to my soul.  I ate simply … fresh fruit, healthy snacks, etc.  I had no other focus but doing pages.  No chores — no obligations.  I have to admit, I survived much better than I thought I would.  So much so, it took me a couple of nights to readjust to sleeping with my hubby when he and the boy joined me at camp for the weekend. 

What the week did for me, though, was to remind me of what an amazing life I have.  What an incredible family I’ve been given.  What special (and sometimes freaky) friends have walked the journey with me.  And, it reminded me that whatever is going on now is simply temporary.  If I look back five years, I’d had never guessed we’d be where we are.  Ten years before that … I just had one child, and a baby on the way.  Five years before that it was just the two of us, traveling the country … wild.

People have come and gone … events I thought warranted a roll of film lost significance, while some “one picture” events still sing in my soul.  I also learned that I’ve done a decent job chronicling our life. 

Tonight, surrounded by part of the family and neighborhood friends looking at my hard work, I felt immense gratification.  Not pride — like, “Oh, look at what I did.”  But a deep sense that somehow, midst the craziness and stupidity of life, there are moments (sometimes caught on film) that make it a little better.  A little more worthwhile.  A little more beautiful. 

I’m thinking about making this pilgrimage a yearly thing.  All I know is that it was a very, very good thing.

Purging a bit …

I have a dear friend who is going through major transition right now.  For she and her family, it’s a physical move.  The unending sorting, packing, trashing … I’ve done it eight or nine times myself, so I know and sympathize soooo much. 

But her adventure caused me to do a bit of purging myself.   I have a sordid past … in the blogging world, anyway.  I have multiple blogs, and one of them (my “first” experience) was fun, and insightful, and a chronicle of who I was and who I am becoming.

The problem with the blog, though, is I innocently thought blogging was a great way to express my thoughts and feelings about life.  It was one sided — “in my opinion” kind of stuff.  So, I invited a bunch of people to join me on the journey.  Boy, was I naive …

Many of these people that I thought would join me in discussions and explorations turned on me.  They began using my blog entries to question my relationship with my husband (and I didn’t even write about that).  They made HUGE assumptions; they judged my thoughts, took things personal (which weren’t even about them), and they began avoiding me because somehow the random thoughts I wrote in my blog were offensive to them, and instead of talking about it, they made conclusions based on their own feelings, and took it out on me and my husband. 

Crazy world we live in.  When people who claim to have freedom are chained to their own opinions so tightly they can’t even consider someone else’s thoughts without being frightened.  Where people who believe in a God bigger than themselves continually wrestle and scam so that they can make their will appear to be God’s will by micromanaging situations.  When people would rather “damn” those around them rather than re-considering what God said in relation to who God is — because it messes with their level of spiritual achievement and enlightenment.  As my husband said, “They are safe; that’s all that matters to them.”  And unless you’re willing to be just like them … you’re in trouble. 

Long story short, my former blog taught me a lot.  But again this week (even though I haven’t posted on it since February), it got me in trouble and got my husband’s job “questioned.”  So today, I purged it — saved my favorite posts (to be published as articles at a later date) and deleted the rest. 

It feels a little like when you purge to move.  There’s a sadness about it, but a real freedom that comes through it, too.  So I’ll take a moment to grieve — both at the loss of the blog, and the freakin’ appearance that the small minded, self righteous won again — but then shake the dust off and move on.  There are more things to be said; more adventures to have.  More feathers to “ruffle” and more thoughts to be questioned.  And more posts to write.  Many, many more posts to write. 

 

Happy Trails to You

As I was sitting here, enjoying an ice-cold Coke and thinking about all the things I could be doing, I experienced a slight Nirvahnic (I think that’s a new word!) moment.  I realized that I had come to a point in my life where guilt has very little influence over me any more.

Not that I’m totally free.  I am a mom, after all.  Years from now I’m sure that one (or more) of my children will be in counseling (or talking to a friend over an icy cold Coke) and blaming me for their neurosis.  But overall, the guilt that use to drive so much of my life has been banished.  “Goodbye to you…”

In the one set of circles I run in, guilt is seen as a spiritual gift — or at least, the ability to manipulate someone with guilt is.  The never ending needs of people who are drawn to churches have to be doled out, and “dealt with,” as I’ve heard some pastors say.  Me, being the spouse of a pastor who actually really cares about people, constantly battled with the “shoulds” that intruded on our family.  And, as lovely as the man I married is, he comes from a background founded in guilt (both parental and spiritual), and he would allow the excess to careless spill over onto me at times.  Being the loving wife I am (just ask me), I would graciously (OK, not always graciously) take many things upon myself simply out of guilt.

But to be motivated by guilt is just wrong.  On a spiritual level (no where in the Bible), an emotional level (come on, do you really want people in your life motivated to be there just because you’re making them by making them feel bad??!!??), and just a humanity level.  I was in a culture where so much was “accomplished” by making another person feel bad — making them feel bad for “doing” or “not doing” a thing. 

Change that comes through the motivation of guilt never, ever is long term.  Guilt is a lie … while there are things we need to do to maintain certain levels of living (and that goes person to person — no one else can determine that for me, and I refuse to do that for anyone else), overall until someone wants to change or do something, I’ve found you’ll get haphazard results and half-assed attempts.  And that should never, ever be acceptable — in the church, or anywhere else.

Now, the majority of things I do, I do because I want to.  Because I see the value in it — whether it’s encouraging someone else, or building knowledge and experience into the kids — I do things with a willing and excited heart.  Like I said, there are still a few perfunctory happenings.  But overall, when I do something, it comes from the heart.  And woe unto the unsuspecting person who thinks they can still manipulate me with their spiritual gift of guilt.  I’ve been found to simply laugh in their general direction.

So, here’s a toast (envision me raising my icy cold Coke) to the end of guilt as we know it in my life.  That’s one thing I can guarentee I ain’t gonna miss.