Monday, April 30, 2012

New Beginnings

"It all begins with intention." wonderful yoga teacher/mentor
It was the first morning here in our new place and I determined that this will begin well, this new adventure. I do have the intention here to make a new start, to do all in my power to create a life I can be in love with.

I have been thinking about those bits and pieces of the life I once loved.  They seem to fall in two broad categories...the ones I have some control over and...of course, the ones I don't! So, not being entirely without sense, I thought it would seem reasonable to put my energy into that second category.  I used to have a lovely morning ritual of yoga and morning prayer.  It was a gentle and sweet way to start the day, and I seemed to be able to face whatever came with greater mental and physical flexibility.  Somewhere along the way, however this practice got lost, and though I have thought a lot about and wished a lot about getting it back, I have never really taken action to do something about really making that happen.

Today was the day that changed.  Early on in the day, before too many other things could happen to derail me, I took myself to the space I have already created for my practice.  All the right things are there, the mat, the props, the music, the prayer book.  It it a lovely room, in its other incarnation, our guest room and my creative space.  A comfy futon couch lives there, as does our electric fireplace.  The walls are a deep soothing blue, the floors are wood.  The windows are big and let in the wonderful morning light.  I have assembled there all the things that speak to me of Spirit, the things that remind of times when I did take my practices seriously, and what went on in my life as result.

I was a little anxious when I faced the mat today.  I have been attending yoga classes on and off, but they have been primarily of the "restorative" variety.   While I do enjoy them, and to some extent "need" them of a Friday afternoon, I don't find that they require either the physical or the spiritual discipline that my own practice, well-done, asked of me. So I began gently with some cow and cat stretches.  I remember FB telling us that even if all we did was lay on a mat for a time each day to begin a regular practice, it mattered, it was a beginning.  But soon I found myself moving into the familiar rhythms of my old routine of asanas, ending with my my sun salutations...stretching and bending back and forward, down to the mat and rising again. Emotions ran high, laughter and tears all from the same deep well. I ended sitting with Morning Prayer. It was indeed, a good beginning.

The rest of the day was busy and productive.  More unpacking and settling.  I tamed the bathroom, got the office in at least a semblance of working order, figured out the very high tech washer and dryer enough to accomplish some laundry. Midway through the day there was a trip to the office to see a client and do some necessary paperwork, then some errands, a dogwalk and making dinner for my sweetie. The sweetie and I did a quick post-dinner trip for some things I need to take along to my clergy conference tomorrow. Then it was home to bed for him and last minute packing for me as I'll go right from work to the conference tomorrow.

I think tomorrow and, of course, the days that follow will be the test of my resolve.  It was pretty painless to start this today when I did not have an early morning commitment and I could be leisurely and take my sweet time about it.  Tomorrow it's up and out bright and early.  But even then, I intend to make time, even if it's just a few brief minutes, to go to the mat, to open the space and possibility for whatever might happen there. Writing here will keep me honest, keep me accountable. We will see how it goes.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Falling In Love Again

This post has been rattling around in my head for days.  It starts and stops and starts again, but always, it begins the same way, with this thought, "I really need to fall in love again."

Oh not with my husband (or someone else instead).  Oh my no!!!! I am as crazy in love with that sweet man as ever, maybe even more than that, as we approach our second anniversary. So no, not with him, but with my life, the whole of it, the arc of it, all the lovely little bits and pieces that fall in and out  to create every day.

There was a time when I did love my life.  A time when  I looked forward to most of every day with a sense of joy of and hope.  A time when it felt all of a piece, and I felt whole in it.  When my various worlds were intersecting pieces of something complex and wonderful that fed me and from which I turn made offerings of meaning to others.

There was work.  And while it was not perfect, (no job ever is!), it was good. I had a solid sense that I did something good, something that mattered, that made a difference. Internally I knew it and externally it was validated.

There was church.  Again, not perfect, but good, a "fit" in so many ways. There was the  rhythm of regular preaching and presiding, and the deep wrestling with the texts that came with that which enriched my spiritual life in wonderful ways, the chance to be of service in my congregation, my local community and the larger church. Again, validation, knowing both from within and without that this was good and right and fitting.

There was the web of relationships formed in a smallish community.  The ones that were close and personal -- my Soul Sisters, my Anam Cara, and other close friends, and those that simply were -- the person at the coffee shop who knew my "regular" morning beverage, the check-out folks at the grocery store and gas station who knew me by name, the smiles around town from those who knew and were known.

And even my house.  My big, old, rambling, drafty, needy house, with its porches and swing, it's very own particular charm. It all worked together to create this life that I simply.....loved.

So why on earth, I hear someone, somewhere, wondering (or perhaps it's in my head) did she leave this wonderful life that she loved so much? Good question.  Why indeed?!? It is true that to everything there is a time and a purpose and it was time. Time for change, yes, sometimes even time for leaving that which we love that has become too comfortable, to easy,  to allow for what we both hoped would be some fruitful new beginnings and growth.

Instead it has been a year in which much has felt as if it has been standing still, holding, fallow and in wait.  We have not settled-in, not in any meaningful way in any of the parts of our lives that matter to either of us.  Work, church, home, community....nothing has really clicked, taken hold, taken root.  There have been hopes and plans, tries and starts.  Things were plotted that were not sown,  planted that did not grow.  In this last year, I have not loved my life, I have simply resided in it.

I do, however, remain hopeful about our future.  One of the things I often talk about with my clients when they are struggling with an unhappy present is "What have you done  that worked for you in the past?"  So taking some of my own advice, I'm thinking about that, and hopefully we will be moving into some of those "things that worked" very soon.

We have intentionally made the choice to move our lives  into a small, self-contained community. In this community will be our home, my workplace and our church. My wise husband suggested this to me as I looked at accepting a new position, and initially I was somewhat resistant.  The plan was to be urban when we moved last year, I told him. We had "done" the small town thing. Yes, he reminded me....and happily so. Oh. Yeah. Right.  That did work didn't it? Happy, loving my life, all that. The plan here of course is not to try to recreate that previous life. That is neither possible nor desirable. But the parts that worked....those might be available to us in this new place. Proximity to the potential beloved is the first step for falling love, right? So proximate, we shall be! And from there...who knows?

My  future work setting remains somewhat an unknown quantity as a new job always does.  The portents are good however.  A future coworker has invited me to lunch, others have sent e-mails of welcome. The setting itself will be more like what I have enjoyed in the past. Our new home makes me smile when I walk in the door.  Our new church is lovely, and the people seem very welcoming as well as very much engaged in the work of the Gospel. The timeline for my actually being clergy there is still a little more amorphous than I would like. Patience? Not my best thing! But I am trusting that God does have a place for me at that very beautiful table, and all will unfold as it should. I am "in conversation" with the team, the mentor and all the folks that matter, and will wait, pray and hope.

My wise husband has suggested that we celebrate New Year's on May 15th this year.  It is our second wedding anniversary, and almost a year since our move here from Little Town on the Prairie.  It will also mark a close to this year in many ways.  Most things will be done or nearly so, and new things will be about to begin. I know there are many lessons for me in this year.  I am too close to it to see them all right now, but I trust they will unfold over time.  One thing I do know is that I need to unfurl the tight little knot that I have become if I want to allow myself to open again to being in love with life.  Loving life brings both joy and risk and I want to let both in again in full measure. May it be so.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Friday Five: Internet Connections

Jan says: "I have vaguely been hearing about the coming trend of people using mobile internet devices rather than desktop computers. Having four adult children, I see them using cell phones, laptops, tablets, ipods/iphones/ipads instead of the desktop computer, which I am using right nowSo I am asking you to answer the following questions about whatever device you most often use these days, first by telling us what you have:"
1. Do you use social connections, like Facebook, Twitter, Linked-in or whatever else there is? Describe how you use it/these. Oh my, yes...I am hooked up to all of it at some level, though usage varies.  I use my e-mail and Facebook, along with texting as the primary means of virtual communication, I tweet now and again and lurk there as a diversion at times, but it has never really become the part of me that it has for some of my friends.  I have noted that there are some really fascinating conversations (I guess???) that go on, especially about emergent church, that I would love to be more engaged in, even as a spectator, but I have to draw lines somewhere with the virtual world, and I guess that is one. Sigh.  Fb has many uses, connection with current friends, catch ups with people I've lost track of, seeing pics of the new baby or grand, getting great links to articles I may not otherwise have caught when my friends re-post things, seeing things that make me laugh, go "hmmmm" or YUCK or sometimes just pray for the sorry state of the world.  My circles on Fb tend to friends, family, RevGals and their churches and other churchy type organizations, so it is a good way for me to stay in touch with that side of my life while I work away in the "other side" of it. I am on Linked-in and have followed a few conversations there, but they tend to (IMHO) get a little long and drawn out and I kind of lose interest. I don't know what that says, that I enjoy following a Twitter thread more....but there it is!

2. Do you text on your cell phone? Work, friends, family? Yes, yes, and yes. I started texting with the old phone that had a traditional telephone keyboard and upgraded to a slide-out qwerty with my Android.  Much better (except for that ever-interesting auto correct!)

3. Do you play any games? Which ones? Sadly, yes. Several.  Some with bubbles, some with jewels, some with cards, some with dice, some with tiles.  Some alone and some with friends.  Some that I think were originally designed for persons much younger than myself.  It is downtime, and perhaps time that could be better spent.  Mind candy perhaps.  But then I remind myself about those studies that tell us that games are good for the brain.  I am simply keeping my synapses agile. That is my story and I am sticking to it. Play!

4. How do you predominantly use the various electronic devices you possess? I use a computer at work to do case notes, record assessment data and do correspondence, I write my sermons on a computer (though I have yet to preach from my tablet...I'm considering it). I also use the laptop, the tablet and my smartphone for e-mail, photos, music, and Fb and the tablet and computer for games.  They are somewhat interchangeable through there are limits with screen and keyboard size how much writing I want to do on anything other than the laptop. Visual: I am sitting in an airport, earbuds hooked up to smartphone which in tuned into a podcast of Krista Tippit, while I idly play with various apps on my tablet. I like the one that lets me make watercolory drawings for times such as this.  I am plugged into the wall with both chargers, sipping a mocha.  life is good!

5. How do you feel about blogging? Are you as involved in blogging as when you first started? What facilitates your blogging? Blogging saved my life.  That sounds a little dramatic, but when I was out there on the prairie wrestling with so many things, knowing there was a community like Revgals and being able to connect was soooo important.  Blogging was also the place I claimed my voice as a writer and got the confidence to say yes to some writing projects. No book yet, unlike some of my other blogging sisters, but maybe someday.   I also love reading blogs and regret there is not more time in the day to do that.  I would love to read every blog of every RevGal I know (who is still writing) on a regular basis, but it doesn't happen.  once in a while I treat myself with a binge and just read for hours and play catch up on everyone's life.  Of course the downside of that is that if something major has happened I feel like a complete schmuck not to have known.  Fortunately most of us are also on Fb and so we do keep up that way, and as many of us have commented, Fb has kind of replaced blogging in a not to satisfying, but much quicker way for many of us.

Bonus: Anything you want to add.  I always have to smile a bit when I think about myself in relation to technology.  I think it must have been somewhere back in about 2002 or so that I made the silly remark that I thought I might be kind of done with tech...that I knew what I was going to know, was doing what I was going to do....then came blogging, html codes, smart phones and apps, tablets, downloads and uploads, clouds and tweets. I'm still learning, and nope, not done, not yet!