Beautiful & Slow

Today I’m thankful for occasional chances to live slowly.

Today is Ash Wednesday.  I’m ambivalent toward formal religion and lean agnostic.  Even so, I sing in the choir of a local Anglican church.  Singing is like breathing to me.  I need both to live.  I attend most Sundays because we sing at set points through the entire service.  I don’t believe in the metaphysical aspects but I still find beauty in the rituals, and consider “seeking justice and loving mercy” a worthy idea.

I honestly love the liturgical calendar.  I’m struck by the idea that every day is a feast honoring someone.  Every day becomes a celebration.  Dividing the year into various “-tides” that reflect the cycle of seasons feels far less artificial to me than worrying about quarterly goals.  I don’t suffer from misguided nostalgia in thinking the past was “purer” because survival required so much more effort.  I do wonder whether we’ve compartmentalized and subdivided our lives so much as to be pointless.

I don’t sacrifice anything for Lent.  That would mean abiding by proscriptions I just don’t believe.  I do try to use the season to live an examined life.  I don’t have any grand final insights.  I write what I see.  I probably won’t be an objectively better person by Easter but I will be reminded that what I do has consequences for good or ill.  I don’t think knowing that is ever a bad thing.

 

Seeking Stillness

I did it again.  I apologize.  I’m still somewhat discombobulated after cramming so much travel into a short time.

My trip was a short retreat at a monastery.  I am not remotely spiritual.  However, I have yet to find any other places that offer such enveloping calm.  I love my work.  It can also be very stressful.  Occasionally I need to fully withdraw from my usual life and seek the quiet.  I’ve visited several different communities by using their retreat facilities.

This latest community has a moderately large vegetable garden.  I helped gather what was ready for harvest and sowed other crops for later in the year.  I tried to actually be helpful and not create more work for the overseer by my incompetence.  I’m not certain I met that goal but they were kind enough to remain silent.  I knew I’d needed to visit.  It wasn’t until returning home that I realized just how much I had needed to go.

Be kind to yourself.  You have one body and life.  Use them to maximise the good you do.

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