Restlessly we seek that which might satisfy our hunger. Many pathways lead upward yet we cannot see the whole distance. Beyond the top of the hill or around the corner remains a mystery.
Some pathways are safer than others. Occasionally they are blocked. Every path can, however, by dangerous. Earthquakes or falling rocks can destroy perfectly good highways. Despite the disruption we wish to continue. We may find a plank to place across the gap. Having travelled a little way, we discover our plank is sagging and wobbly. Many turn back. Some move forward. A few have enemies who push the would-be bridge into the chasm. We fall.
All of us fall at some point, losing our footing and our way. At the bottom, once we have regained our equilibrium and our eyes have adjusted to the dark, we might spy a crooked, narrow path leading up or another leading down. The downward path leads into deeper gloom and some require the intense darkness to see the light. Others begin the climb again. Still others remain where they are waiting for someone else to carry them. A few need carrying for everything is broken. Only gentle kindness can heal the wounds. Healing allows another attempt to climb the crooked path. And the path is narrow, crooked and steep.
The pathways of love invite us to forgive those who have pushed us into the chasm. Love demands we help those who are too broken to move. She also insists on letting go of hurts, taking responsibility for our own lives and choosing anew. Sometimes Love requires we move away from those we love to give them enough space to find themselves. For indeed, the darkness teaches lessons we need to learn. One such lesson reveals the fruit of blaming others. Only by letting go of blame can we be open enough to receive and embrace what pain has to teach. Then can we be thankful for both the good times and the bad. Certainly, both pathways lead to good eventually.
Someone asked me if I would like to be rich and famous. Such honours have never really interested me. My desire is more attuned to earning enough to pay the bills and enjoying my sacred space in the solitude of creativity. I would also like to contribute the betterment of the world. Although “famous” may not be required, well-known may be. So much for anonymity.
Award of Excellence
The latest assault on my hermitic tendencies is my nomination for the Sylvie Van Brabant Award of Excellence in the visual art domain. My first reaction is: I don’t deserve it. As such, my reaction is an insult to the person or persons who have considered my contributions to the world of art and have taken the time to submit the rather time-consuming forms required. We are our own worst critics. Nonetheless, I find it somewhat embarrassing if not troubling.
All occasions inspiring negative energy are worth examining. These red flags usually indicate an area in which personal growth is necessary. So, what’s the problem?
While I have managed to clear many of the chains that bind in my life, triggers still abound. Ordinarily they have roots in the distant past. Our human psyche clings to what was learned in order to survive. Occasionally looking back helps in the naming of a certain learned behaviour, reassessing its usefulness and letting go. Hence, moving on needs some time and quiet space.
Refusing to seek honours
As a result of many personal growth programs, the acquired tools cut the time substantially. My contemplation led me again to my dear father who, unfortunately, considered joy as conceit. Within this context, accolades were always discouraged. Inherently a source of discomfort, they sometimes sent me crying to my room. Consequently, I learned not to seek honours.
Since my vocation demands some notoriety, this behaviour is not useful. Although I may not seek honours I can accept them with gracious gratitude. Furthermore, I can use the occasions to toot my own horn, so to speak, announcing to the world that I am deserving of the honours conferred. Change is not instant. One day at a time.
“…Fr. Larry Landini, OFM, may have given the best explanation for why so many Christians seem to be ashamed and afraid of the body. …“Just remember, on the practical level, the Christian Church was much more influenced by Plato than it was by Jesus.” …For Plato, body and soul were incompatible enemies; matter and spirit were at deep odds with one another. But for Jesus, there is no animosity between body and soul. In fact, this is the heart of Jesus’ healing message and of his incarnation itself.” Richard Rohr Daily Meditations 8 April 2018
This morning I am at odds with my body. Not sure what I did but my back has a muscle knot that will not let go. Perhaps stress is the source my pain. I have a commission giving me a problem and a deadline coming too quickly. Furthermore, pain is not conducive to creative writing. As a result, this missal may not be as inspired as usual. The connection is weak.
Occasionally I dip into an obsessive preoccupation with the shape of my body. I no longer own a lithe, twenty-something physique. Many years have taken their toll. Lumps and bulges protrude in odd places. I think about dieting. Remembering I like ponchos and loose-fitting blouses, I let go of perfection.
Another hamper to my well-being lately is inconsistent exercise. Flying to Vancouver, guests for Easter and lack of routine have destroyed my neat and tidy system spanning a five-day swim/gym schedule. Perhaps inconsistency contributes to my present problem as well. Take a deep breath and release.
Body beautiful, lumps and all
Today is a new day and tomorrow another possibility. Beginning again is always available. I so enjoy the freedom of surrender. No longer obsessed about my appearance, I concentrate on being comfortable (no high-heel shoes for example). Eating less fits into this scenario. I feel better when I am lighter. I am thankful for my good health and my reasonably capable body. I take heart in the thought: “God is redeeming matter and spirit, the whole of creation.” ibid
As for my sore back, rest is in order, rest and a little magnet therapy. Taking in some spiritual nourishment will not hurt either. Pew sitting and Bible reading, what better occupation for a Sunday? Body and soul together. Life is good.
I have two local shows on the go at the moment. Check them out here.