“A LISTENING – Going through Lent is a listening. When we listen to the word, we hear where we are so blatantly unliving. If we listen to the word, and hallow it into our lives, we hear how we can so abundantly live again.”— Kneeling in Jerusalem by Ann Weems
When the answers are hollow, listen to hear the hallowed;
Speak less, listen more;
Listen to understand rather than to respond;
Be open to a new space of possibility;
I discovered Ann Weems work through listening to Amy Bost Henegar, who I discovered on Insight Timer. When we search with an open mind and heart, one thing leads to the next, connections begin to form and sense-making follows.
May we all be open to listening, changing and growth on our joyful journey to Bethlehem and the difficult journey to Jerusalem. Oasis and desert. Living and dying. Winter to spring. Renewed and strengthened.
“THE WAY TO JERUSALEM IS CLUTTERED – The way to Jerusalem is cluttered with bits and pieces of our lives that fly up and cry out, wounding us as we try to keep upon this path that leads to Life. Why didn’t somebody tell us that it would be so hard? In the midst of the clutter, the children laugh and run after stars. Those of us who are wise will follow, for the children will be the first to kneel in Jerusalem.” — Kneeling in Jerusalem by Ann Weems
“A thing of beauty is a joy forever: its loveliness increases; it will never pass into nothingness.” – John Keats
We are creatures who thrive on control and certainty. The past year has been filled with uncertainty and chaos. Lately, I hear a lot of people say “it is what it is,” a statement of acceptance, a prompt to let go of what’s not in our control. Some circumstances, other people, a pandemic, the past belong in this “bucket.” However, our attitude, thoughts, actions, reactions and perspective are not in this bucket. We have agency over these and should not “surrender” to mere acceptance and resignation.
As I look at the date today when I began writing, I realize that we are coming up on the one-year of the pandemic becoming part of the world’s everyday reality. I also realize that it’s in the backdrop for me, not the forefront. The distribution of the vaccine is in the forefront, promising hope and anticipation of getting to the other side of the pandemic and not returning to pre-pandemic times but to a new and even better tomorrow.
We are not there yet to be sure and many have lost loved ones the past year so we are amidst the grieving and trauma of what the pandemic has left in its wake. The dailyness of “pandemic” living has also taken it’s toll. Moving through grief and trauma, whether it be a pandemic or other life altering event, is the only way to the other side.
Daily rituals can expand “it is what it is” thinking to include anticipation of “what’s possible.” My strategies over the past year that have helped me move the pandemic to the backdrop rather than the forefront include training for a marathon, exercising, writing daily, going to the dog park with the girls and meditation/prayer using Insight Timer.
“Trauma comes to all of us, and its consequences can be terrible. The good news is that all of us can use tools of self-awareness and self-care to heal our trauma and, indeed, to become healthier and more whole than we’ve ever been.”― James S. Gordon, The Transformation: Discovering Wholeness and Healing After Trauma
There is good news to be found in each day. Pursue it. Each of us are the authors of our own life, so choose the “pen” of hope, faith, anticipation and light to write a beautiful narrative and happy ending.
“Ours is a time of anxiety because we have willed it to be so. Our anxiety is not imposed on us by force from outside. We impose it on our world and upon one another from within ourselves.” – Thomas Merton
We’re “connected” at all times – texting, email, cell phone … Technology is a major part of what I do in my career everyday, but it’s not a replacement for relationships and reflection. Take time each day to unplug by yourself and to reconnect with others one on one – face to face, not only Facebook to Facebook.
And don’t just buy the hammock and adirondack chairs for decoration. Put them to good use for regular restoration. At ease … that’s an order.
“Slow down and enjoy life. It’s not only the scenery you miss by going fast – you also miss the sense of where you are going and why.” – Eddie Cantor