Always we begin again. ~St Benedict
As a child of my culture the New Year beckons. It is a beacon illuminating the past and the future.
The past few days I’ve been questioning what is my purpose? I’ve completed my doctoral dissertation, completed my wandering across the country exploring ideas about shared housing, chosen to live near some of my family, and I’ve reached a plateau in my journey with heart disease. I have a foster dog living with me and I’m working on the remodel of my kitchen; now what?
Sunday evening I took myself to see Philomena in part because Judy Dench is the lead actress and partly as practice for going to the movies by myself. When I returned home I read a little about Dame Judy and discovered that her vision is limited by macular degeneration. And yet she takes on new acting roles and still paints.
There is in us an instinct for newness, for renewal, for a liberation of creative power. We seek to awaken in ourselves a force which really changes our lives from within. And yet the same instinct tells us that this change is a recovery of that which is deepest, most original, most personal in ourselves. To be born again is not to become somebody else, but to become ourselves. ~Thomas Merton
This morning I’m beginning the book the Artist’s Rule for the second or third time but this time with a promise to myself that I would participate in the exercises instead of just reading the book. Clicking through author Christine Valters Painter’s website I came to http://abbeyofthearts.com/about/holy-disorder-of-dancing-monks/.
The heart of the contemplative life is never about escaping the world, but plunging ourselves fully into the heart of messiness and mystery.
As we deepen on the contemplative journey, our aim is to release our attempts at controlling our lives and surrendering into a far greater Mystery than our egos can contain. There are no step-by-step plans, only daily practice and immersion in the messiness of life as it comes. We live into the questions, as the poet Rilke so wisely wrote, rather than trying to find the answers. We practice being uncomfortable. We move more deeply into unknowing. ~ Christine and John Valters Painter
Hmm, that sounds like me in my response to my friend Nancy in her blog Clearing the Space, about my messy spirituality. So, I begin again going deeper, moving out of my comfort zone onto the pilgrim’s path. Stay tuned…