We are very close to the end of the spring quarter in the ancient calendar of the northern hemisphere. Next Wednesday will mark the final Imbolc meditation for 2014. So we are in a transition time, gathering up the lessons and tasks of this part of the life cycle and following our spirits forward on their continual learning curve, to the summer tasks and focus.
I have been inviting us to begin the process of culling and discarding what is worn or worn out so that we can open space for what will reveal itself in the quarter to come. As a personal aside I will observe that the process of writing these posts has brought to consciousness a ‘knowing’ that has been hovering in the back of my heart and mind for many years now: I need to be considerably more intentional about clearing clutter. I accumulate much faster than I ever (willingly) notice. I accumulate stories, negative self-images, unhealthy habits, material stuff – even with the “one in, one out” rule, events on my schedule, and commitments to friends. Which means that I really need to do more than spring cleaning. I need to do summer, autumn and winter cleaning as well.
But it seems to me that clearing clutter is more than simply creating order (of time, space, emotions, whatever). I propose that it has a larger purpose which is freeing our energy, heart, mind, soul, body, to take up our unique vocation with enthusiasm and focus. It is about lifting our gaze from the forest or the trees (or the unwashed laundry, the stacks of unread magazines, and the unfiled papers) to a broader horizon toward which we can live.
This is why our 24/7/365 addiction (and I use the word intentionally) to smartphones, tablets, and speakers in our ears worries me. Not only has the pace of interaction increased exponentially since my childhood, the number of expected interactions in an hour has become unbelievable. This not only provides a steady flow of stress hormones, but non-stop distraction. We spend so much time with the minutiae of other people’s lives that we forget we have one precious singular life of our own – a life that cannot be lived by anyone else. Our vicarious gluttony of every life around us sucks all the time and passion out of the challenging and miraculous unfolding of our own minutes and days and years.
I am wondering if the real issue is that we are afraid that who we are is not interesting enough to be worth our attention. But how would we know? It is rare that we look up from our texting long enough to look into someone’s eyes and allow them to see what is behind ours.
So, I have a radical proposal for this week. I propose we put down the phones and tablets; I propose we risk putting them entirely away for seven glorious days. I propose we take the bluetooth out of our ear and stick it in a drawer somewhere. Then, I propose we look at the faces around us. I propose we talk directly to the people who are actually in our immediate vicinity (home, office, school, bus, grocery store). I propose we pay attention to all the time we suddenly have to inhabit our own minds and hearts, all the time we have to dream our own dreams, to feel our own emotions, to ask our own questions.
Here are some of my questions:
When I die, what is the blessing I want people to remember I have given to the world?
Have I actually been that blessing? Or have I just wanted to be that blessing?
If I had one more hour in each day, how would I spend it?
What habit can I change that would liberate that one hour each and every day?
What is stopping me from changing that habit?
And here is my hope for this week:
May the one whose creation
is unfathomable space,
the dancing breath of atoms,
emptiness ready to receive;
may that one spin gaps in my busyness,
blow open the doors of my preoccupations,
and shatter all my distractions,
until I am the pure energy of curiosity
Make it so; oh, make it so.
Text © 2014, Andrea La Sonde Anastos
Photo © 2010, Immram Chara, LLC