Yesterday we spent the morning discussing different ways to use images in Spiritual Direction. One exercise that we did was to reflect back on our childhood's and remembering a place where we felt safe, secured, happy and loved.
I went to the old swing in our back garden.
It was very old and rusty. The orange paint was flaking off in places, but I used to spend hours on it. I would climb up the frame and sit on the crossbar, much to the chagrin of my mother, because I was about 14 feet off the ground when perched on the bar.
I was never content to gently swing. I would get the seat moving so fast and so high that the chains would creak in protest as I clung hard to prevent myself flying off into mum's roses. Sometimes my hands would be so strained after I'd spent time on the swing that it would hurt to open them.
I loved it.
When I got the swing up to full height I could see into our neighbors gardens. I could see the fire that before I could only smell. I could see the neighbors dog running around. I could see over our garage and watch people coming up and down our street.
All this, the sights, smells and feelings came rushing back to me as I reflected. I was sitting motionless in my chair, but inside I was soaring.
One thing really struck me. As some of the group shared their places, I noticed that most were passive. They would talk about lying underneath a tree or sitting on a rock. Mine was active. It was energetic, it was vibrant. This was my image of rest, of safety and security.
It's very evocative of my inner life. I may appear still, but my soul is energetic, swinging and swaying. Singing, dancing, leaping and swirling.
I practice stillness as a spiritual discipline. Spend times in breath prayer and centering prayer. But that stillness is fuel for my soul to soar.