Change and the movement of life – flow and motion – energy passing through places and phases. Here I sit in an old house with the shades drawn and the ceiling fans going fast, aware that the heat index is at a level that prompted my employer to call most of the staff and direct them to stay at home. It’s hot and humid…but only for now. This is what my street looked like in February:
I have been reading through some letters and journal entries that I wrote in the year 2007, the year before my husband died, when my teenaged girls were in serious distress and the entire family was in deep pain. Here’s a list of feelings I wrote about:
depression, disappointment, hurt, shame, guilt, disgust, loneliness, despair, anger/frustration, regret/sorrow, fatigue, pain, inadequacy, fear, fragility, helplessness
Here’s a list of feelings that I decorated with a jagged black boundary and labeled “Off Limits, Not Allowed”:
Beauty, Happiness, Joy, Love, Health, Excitement, Passion, Rest, Pleasure, Peace
I wrote: “What do you do with feelings? They’re supposed to have ‘a beginning, a middle, and an end’, but when you’ve had the same feelings swirling around you for a half a year, a year, several years — they aren’t just feelings anymore. They become a way of life. I feel like Job — afflicted with boils. These hives on my legs itch like crazy, and I have no clue why I have them. I just keep hoping they’ll just go away.”
When you attempt to stop the flow of energy and movement and turn your present feelings or thoughts into a way of life, it may seem like you’re taking control and choosing something you want. It may turn out to be something that mires you in suffering, however. That’s something of which to be aware. You could apply that to the physical environment: attempting to regulate the temperature and keep it at a constant 72 degrees Fahrenheit as a chosen way of life may cause you to suffer inordinately whenever the temperature is much lower or higher than that. Aversion and attachment causes suffering. Letting go of them allows the dance of life to swirl you into new places. If you find joy in the movement and change of life, you will not be disappointed. If you insist on sitting in the same pile of ashes for years, you will inevitably feel itchy and uncomfortable. You can hope that changes miraculously, or you can get up and move. As Jesus said to the man sitting at the Sheep’s Gate Pool complaining and making excuses, “Wilt thou be made whole?” (John 5:6) Do you want to enter the flow of life? It’s your choice…
Here endeth my sermon to myself.