Today my walk to work took me past this skip.
It was very easy to think of plenty of candidates for things I could get rid of:
- anger and rage
- apathy and lethargy
I hadn’t been thinking about my ‘in the skip’ list for long, before I started realising that this wasn’t going to be very simple. Aside from the difficulty of how you could just let go of those things, I started to question whether or not I actually really wanted to. It was quite a revelation to me to realise that none of the things on my list were actually things I wanted to totally get rid of. Sometimes I should get angry and express it. Sometimes I need periods of time when I’m apathetic and lazy so that I can recharge my batteries a bit. There are some things it is right to be half-hearted about: it matters that they’re done, but I don’t need to focus on them with all of my precious attention.
I think that this can be a very hard thing for us to accept. In the church there is so much emphasis on being good, being kind, being accepting, being forgiving. As a woman in the church the strength of that message can be even greater. I’m not saying that those aren’t good things to strive for, but I think it can be very unhealthy in the christian community to believe that it is only ever appropriate to feel those things, or even worse that you have to at least pretend you feel them even when inside you are screaming.
Later on as I looked at the photo, I was struck by the name of the company hiring out the skip: ‘Steward’. Perhaps that is my lesson for the day. Any number of thoughts, feelings, emotions, desires and wishes will pass through me every day. In and of themselves they are all perfectly fine things to feel and experience. But what I want to learn is how to be a good steward of those things. Through contemplative prayer and meditation I want to develop the ability to recognise that nano-second between experiencing this wild variety of feelings and reacting to them. I want to develop the wisdom and clarity to be able to choose in that nano-second what to do, rather than just automatically reacting. I want to know when to choose to be kind and forgiving, and when to rage. I want to know when to choose to express my anger with all the force I can muster and then not feel the need to apologise for it because I know I have done the right thing. I need to remember that sometimes the loving thing is to choose to powerfully communicate what is wrong in a situation or in another person’s behaviour.
More glorious sunshine today. This photo is of the afternoon sunlight streaming in through a window in my hall.
No new thoughts here. The photo just reminds me that I want to be open to the light. I long for what is good and true and beautiful. I want to be open, to be transformed and to be transformational. I long to be more transparent, less occluded. I yearn to grow into one of those rare, wise old women with a real lightness of being.
Thank you for reading. If you are interested in looking at photos that others have taken in response to this challenge, you can follow Shelley here, Sharon here and Lisa here. My apologies if you’ve been trying to follow links to Sharon’s postings and have ended up on the wrong page. The links should now work properly!