Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Paying Attention in October

C and I talked recently about where I am in this process of self-discovery. We looked for metaphors…..In the chrysalis still metamorphosing from caterpillar to butterfly….in that deep transforming secret darkness? But that didn’t feel quite right. I feel beyond that. I do seem to have found my new self, and for the most part, I think I have started to come out into this brave new world. Newly hatched seems more apt. Just out of my egg, a new chick on the planet. Yes, that one fits! Wobbly and blinking in the light that sometimes enlightens and sometimes simply glares,obscures and confounds. Wandering around, sometimes in circles, trying to figure things out, figure me out, feeling sometimes very small and alone in a world that seems suddenly very big and sometimes very cold. Oh, but also very exciting! There are explorations to be made and journeys to be undertaken. And it’s all fine as long as I can find that wing to hide under now and again when it all becomes too much.

I found that wing that night. We had talked, circling from the Matthew passage that captured me at the clergy conference GBD "Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don't get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes." C wanted to know if I was hearing this as invitation or prescription. “Cod liver oil,” as she so graphically put it. She urged me to be invited. To take time to be deliberate, to give myself the gift of luxuriating in the free time that has sort of “magically” opened up in my life, to spend this time just being, noticing, without worry or concern about where it might end up, where I might end up.

That night I just kept weeping. It just kept coming, overfull, uncontainable. And as I cried, with tears from what seemed like a deep and bottomless source, I felt a warm and tender Presence surround me, tuck me, nestle me. God was there. And for a moment, the chick was at peace.

The idea of unstructured time has always made me uneasy, a little terrified actually. It’s one of many of the reasons I have always stayed so frenetically busy. It’s going to be a challenge to let myself have that, to not fill the emptier days with “stuff” just to have the comfort of a full calendar. It’s not like I have nothing to do in the coming weeks. October is pleasantly busy with commitments of church and work. But given some of the schedule insanity of my past…..yes, there are acres of time to make me anxious here!

But I have decided that I am going to make a choice for. I am choosing to use this opening of time and space as an invitation from the God who, after all, does love me and desires my best. I am going to “roll in it” as C put it. To take my camera and my notebook and go to the open fields and the woods and the trails and wallow in the lovely prairie light. To sit. To listen. To watch. To sink into in silence and solitude. To look around and look within and really try to see what is here, right now in this moment, while I have the time to do so.

And in this time, I have decided to commit to something. A spiritual discipline of writing that I am hoping will be a least useful and at most transformative, in the way that last November’s daily posts on gratitude were for me. I am committing to daily posts in the month of October focused on Matthew 6:34, especially the first part of the first phrase, “Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now...” I am going to try to see in how many ways in how many places, both internally and externally I can find what God is doing right now in my life, in the lives and the world around me, and do a daily post on that. What I remember from last November is that what I focus on is what I see. So there it is. Spiritual disciplines are enhanced by community, so if anyone would like to join me in this, I’d love to hear about it.

7 comments:

"PS" (a.k.a. purple) said...

Eyes wide open...self-aware...reflective...I will look forward to reading about "the chick".

writing as eliza said...

What a wonderful idea. I'm in this strange space of transition and settling in all at the same time! I think I might join you in this practice... if it is true that we see what it is we focus on, I'd really like to see more of God's presence in my life.

Thanks for this idea. Hope I can keep to this for a whole month...!

Katherine E. said...

Wow. You have my attention, Kate. Big time. I'm going to join you! Paying attention, waking up to the Presence of the Holy. Oh wow.

Thank you!

Ruth Hull Chatlien said...

This is an inspiring idea. I don't know if I can join you. I always need to think about things like this so I don't make commitments that I can't follow through, but if I do pick it up later, I'll let you know.

mompriest said...

Oh, love that spiritual discipline idea! really a great idea....and the newly hatched chick image too...

Rev SS said...

I'm looking forward to reading about "the chick" too (just posted on your update on L also)

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