One of my favorite things to do in the mornings, after meditating and doing my spiritual study, is to check my Facebook memories feed. It gives me a snap shot of my life in years past. This is very helpful because I don’t remember the past. Not really. I remember it in very general terms, but specifics are gone. I once had a friend tell me this was because I live so much in the moment that once that moment is gone, it is truly gone. I believe this ability is a gift. I work with so many people who remember the past like it was yesterday, and base their current lives on it, which leads to limitation. I much prefer not being able to remember the past, because I can dive into each new experience with childlike vision and very little fear. Except when PTS (I refuse to call it a disorder. There is absolutely nothing disordered about fearful reactions to shit happening) hits. The kicker there is that I still don’t remember much of the past, but my body remembers it, and anxiety kicks in, and it is very difficult to replace that anxiety with calm. PTS is quite inconvenient. But I discovered something about that PTS, and that discovery came about as a result of a question a prayer partner once asked me. I discovered that when I am tired, it is as if I’ve left a door open for that PTS to sneak in and take over. So the key is to stay in balance and be well rested. And I am lucky because in addition to not remembering the past much, I’m also disciplined. I go to bed at the same general time every evening, and get up at the same general time every morning. And on those nights when sleep is a bit elusive, I allow myself to sleep in. I get up every morning and do the same thing: I meditate, contemplate and study. I’ve been doing this for over 30 years. Such a disciplined spiritual practice is another gift. I say it’s a gift, but really, it wasn’t given to me. I developed it. It just feels like a gift now. The other thing in my life that is truly a gift is my intensity. Yes, I realize this intensity scares people and they tend to go away behind that fear. I’m ok with that, because that intensity has served to allow me to be extraordinarily successful at any endeavor I undertake. I take a deep dive into everything I do, whether it is cooking or gardening or a career. Skimming the surface of anything simply isn’t on my list of things to do. I was reminded of all of this as I reviewed my memories for today. Going backwards, there are springtime activities, ministerial activities, school activities, photography activities. With horseback riding interspersed throughout. A nice little snapshot. And then there is today. As people are settling in to sheltering in place, I am beginning to witness in my work all sorts of feelings: boredom, anxiety, confusion, anger. And then there are the ones who are gleefully taking advantage of the time. They are getting projects done around the house and beginning to experience what it is like to not be rushing around all the time doing stuff. They are beginning to experience what it is like to simply be, rather than to do. I believe this to be another gift. Beingness is, or can be, a foundation from which we move forward into the world doing. If we begin with beingness, we then discover who we be as people. We discover what our feelings are. We discover what the trend of our thinking is, whether it is positive or negative. We discover whether that is acceptable to us, and begin to wonder if we can change it if it isn’t. We might even begin to discover what our values and beliefs are. And change those if we wish. Because really, this time is an unprecedented opportunity for us to cultivate a nice little practice of contemplation and inner exploration, to get to know ourselves, and our Selves. We have the opportunity to change the world right now. Because we have the opportunity to change ourselves, and that is where change begins. So the affirmation for today is this: Today I gratefully accept the gift of being rather than doing, and I experience peace and calm as a result.
I’m in an interesting place today. Since December 1, (so basically for three full months) I’ve been so involved in an interim ministry assignment that I’ve allowed my other ministerial activities to take a back seat. I’ve not worked on my books. I’ve not made any progress setting up my podcast. I’ve come to a decision about the name and focus of my ministry, but haven’t taken any action on that decision. I’ve come to a decision about how I wish to get involved and be active in my organization, Centers for Spiritual Living, and I haven’t acted on that one either. Instead, I’ve been creating and doing talks, creating and doing workshops, creating and doing a full day retreat. And I’ve been doing some fairly intense one on one work with quite a few folks. This is all work I love, and it is all work that I set an intention to do when I was visioning for my ministry. But also included in that vision was the podcasts, the books, and more blogging. And UGG, I may have to do whatever necessary to get over my objections to video format, because I’m learning that is the in thing nowadays. And just by my language, you can tell a lot about me.
Go ahead, you can say it to me, I’m good with it, Ok boomer.
In short, I’ve been a bit out of balance. And now I am in a blissful almost three week break from intense interim ministry work. They actually told me they wanted a bit of a break! Apparently I’ve been working them too hard. Well, yes, I can see that. I sort of thought that was what I was there for, but they’ve been working hard right along side me and I’ve learned that most people are not as driven as I am. Hence, the out of balance.
Anyway, my intention during this time was to get some things done in the areas I’ve been neglecting. Plus I have a celebration of life ceremony to create, and several wedding ceremonies to create, and one batch of wedding photos to edit. Instead I’m contemplating which hot springs to go to and what seeds to plant for my summer garden. I’m recuperating from a cold. We’ve had unseasonably warm weather, so I’ve been sitting in the sun a lot. Just sitting.
I guess I’m just getting back into balance rather than swinging past it, so I’ll just lean on into this for a bit. Go with the flow is the phrase of the day today. There is a spiritual principle inherent in going with the flow. My friend Jeff Anderson, in his book “The Nature of Things,” says it like this: “in mind, body, heart and soul we are designed to be supple, to move and to bend in constant movement as the environment and conditions of life change, both around us and within us.”
In the Sermon on the Mount, this concept of going with the flow is described as meekness. “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.“ I say this because the metaphysical meaning of the word meek is yielding, pliable or flexible. And blessed means delighted. And the earth signifies our outer experience. Inheriting the earth thus means we have control of our outer experiences.
So today, I go with the flow. I remain supple. I remain flexible. And soon, I know that from within this suppleness and flexibility will come that state of being delighted. Until then, flow.