I had no idea what massive changes were headed our way when I took this photo November, 2019. It was a few months before everything changed in our world. We have since lost too many people and another layer of innocence and trust.
It feels too soon to look back and fully understand what happened, the physical, emotional and social effects (subtle, direct, long-lasting and permanent), and how we can grow from this in love and practical care of ourselves and one another. But, this morning I am remembering my grandmother saying, “You can add years to your life or life to your years.”
Time marches on for some of us. Kitties grow up and I am graying. And I am asking myself, what can I add to this moment? From this place and where I am right now?
Following is a transcript from a talk I gave last week at Unitarian Fellowship of Houston. The topic, Spiritual Individuation, is one close to my heart. They were kind enough to also post it on their YouTube page. I hope you find permission and support to be your authentic and wonderful self.
Good morning. Thank you for inviting me to join you this morning.
My husband and I have had the pleasure of being in your sacred space for several talks and celebrations. I like remembering the floor to ceiling windows inviting us to look out and into the artistry of all of the shades of greens outside, and the streams of light filling the room on the inside. It is with this recall and imagination of what you have built and share as a fellowship that I’d like to invite us to take a moment to take in a deep breath and settle in together.
When I was asked to join you this morning, I began thinking about what I would like to share with you about me. And, the topic of spiritual individuation?
I think both of these questions: about me and this topic, can to some degree, be answered in Kermit’s song.
The song, Not Easy Being Green, was sung by Jim Hanson in 1970. I was too old by that time to be watching Sesame Street as a kid, but I was attracted to the simple melody and lyrics as a teen who was appropriately asking all of those deep questions about, who am I? And the more tortuous questions that were coming up in my search for my own identity while comparing myself to others, like: Why am I a brunette and not a blonde? And, what will I be when I grow up?
Over the past few days I have let the light drain out of me like a leaky oil pan.
My little duck feet have all but stopped paddling beneath the surface of what you see.
I have found myself in the weeds. The still stagnant waters surround me in a slimy film of greens. And, nothing but small broken twigs show up as something to eat.
As I see it, I have but two options: to continue longingly staring, with these eyes of self-recrimination, at the sparkling-in-the-sun river flowing on without me, or, to close my eyes and float in the shade.
With still feet and busy mind, everything screams inside of me, saying, “You had no business coming to the river. You should have stayed in the pond.”
this is where I am. I can see and admit this now, at least to myself.
This is where the currents of God and my free choice have brought me, so this is where I will be. Where I will wait and pray between the ripples of my little duck soul and striving mind.
While walking the deserted beach, I prayed, “Please forgive me, God, for wanting a loved one’s struggle to be over so that she can go on home.”
I knew it wasn’t right of me to ask this. I usually affirm that God’s got this; that God’s timing is perfect; that I can not play God or question what is between God and a soul. But sometimes I slip and ask for mercy as “I” see it—to some degree, having more to do with my pain than theirs.
This is #2 in the Writers Series of encouragement for folks writing for personal and public purposes. In community we thrive and dare to fly.
Joni Mitchell bounces between writing music and painting moods. George W Bush balances statesmanship and painting portraits. Thomas Merton wrote of the contemplative life then showed us with his artistry how loudly a small sketch can shout. I am beginning to understand why creatives move between outlets of expression, and why the creative bounce brings more, not less, of the soul and satisfaction to each effort.