Tuesday, July 27, 2010

What are you seeking?

A few weeks ago I wrote a blog post about 'The Pearl of Great Price' that ended with three reflection questions.

  • What are you seeking?
  • Where are you experiencing anxiety and what is that anxiety trying to tell you?
  • What should you hold and what should you release?

Normally I'm very good about posting but bad about following up with the questions I suggest. I posited the questions at the end of the Contemplative Service, and, to help people remember them I gave out postcards with the three questions on them. I've kept one by my work computer and one at home. Consequently I've found myself drawn to the questions, but I can't get past the first one.

As I've sat and sporadically reflected the first thing I've noticed is how different I choose to respond to that question now. In the past a question like 'What are you seeking?' would have solicited a response that cataloged in detail all the things that I am longing for that are not 'The Kingdom of God'. The question would have been a prompt to beat myself up for being 'Un-spiritual' and 'sin ridden'. This time has been different. I became aware of how much the image of Psalm 131 has worked into my life:

My heart is not proud, O LORD,
my eyes are not haughty;
I do not concern myself with great matters
or things too wonderful for me.
But I have stilled and quieted my soul;
like a weaned child with its mother,
like a weaned child is my soul within me.

O Israel, put your hope in the LORD
both now and forevermore.

Still. Quiet. Rested. Relaxed. And definitely no seeking.

Not seeking is good right? It's a sign of contentment, and it can also be a sign of complacency. So many of the actions I take in life can be interpreted in many ways. I can sit and read a book or watch tv as a way of relaxing or it can be a means of avoidance. I often judge other people (and myself) by their actions, but it is the internal attitude that gives the action meaning.

So what have I learned asking myself about seeking?

I've started composing again. It's something I enjoy, but I I've working on the same piece for months now, I told myself that I had Writers Block and no time to compose, but the truth was I decided that if I didn't flow easily then it wasn't going to flow at all. I can be a lazy composer at times. Since I've been asking the question again I've found myself wanting to compose more and being more willing to push through the barriers that prevent me from putting notes on staves. I've even found myself wondering again about further study in the field, maybe a Masters Degree. I may not pursue it, but I'm enjoying the dreaming.

I've also found myself wondering about sailing. (!) A chance conversation with a co-worker prompted my reflection. She excitedly mentioned her new kayaking classes and it got me thinking. When I was child I adored the 'Swallows and Amazons' series by Arthur Ransome. Set between the wars, they were the fantastic adventures of children sailing small dinghies at various locations in the U.K. and further afield. I reread the books recently after Steve bought them for me for Christmas. I occasionally find myself wondering what it would be like to learn how to sail a small dinghy. As I drove over Atchafalaya this past weekend I imagined navigating the rivers in a small craft. I am not an outdoorsy person, but something about the idea of sailing resonates with me. I may not pursue lessons, but I'm enjoying the dreaming.

And so I keep asking myself the question 'What am I seeking?' because it has become a doorway that is opening me up to hopes, dreams and memories.

What are you seeking?

What dreams are you enjoying?


Kathy Kelley said...

I don't know what I am seeking but I do know the dreams or fanatasies I have

1. Build my own cordwood house in the woods with a green house pound to deal with graywater (in stead of a septic tank), green roof or roof to harvest rain water, solar panels and go as much of the grid as possible except I want cable modem. This will mean I need to look for a tenure track professorship in a climate in which I can do this.
2. Really become a writer--nonfiction essays, memior, poetry
3. Figure out how to bring the writing and my biisual art together
4. Find a tenure track position in visual art department where I can teach creative writing to visual artists--both as a creative practice to push their visual art and the practical side of writing artist statements and proposals.
4. That jk would forgive me and work with me to make something better than we ever had before and come build a house with me and a life.

1-3 are probably doable
4 is well just a silly fantasy

those are dreams

what I seek is far more fundamental and I can't always put my finger on it but today I seek ...I shall not want, to lay down in green pastures, to be lead along the quiet waters and to have my soul restored. That is today.

Kathy Kelley said...

I will blame my typos on phone blogging. Aaaggh