10 Things I Love About ...

Monday 24 December 2007

Okay. Lucy has given me the letter B to play in the 10 Things I Love About game. So here goes. I must say, I feel like I'm gonna have trouble coming up with 5 let alone 10, but we shall see :) (Edit: it took me an hour and a half, but I did it. It was actually a lovely, meditative thing to do :)

Books Phwoar I love reading. Books are sensual. One of the things I did in The Artist's Way the other day was to write a letter to myself from me at 80. It was a very edifying thing to do (I'm pretty cool when I'm 80, it has to be said), and I found myself writing, "Keep working towards that mysterious art of novel writing, as daunting as that seems. Know that the vistas are wider, much wider than you can imagine even on your best day." The thought of writing a novel makes me quake. For me at this time it is far beyond my ability to accomplish (although I'm mindful that even published authors with 10 books under their belt feel the stagefright of thinking they can't do it again). But obviously it's something that my inner me wants to do. So that is my aim over the next several months. And therefore, my other aim, the other side of that equation, is to read more fiction. I looked at my "currently reading" pile the other day and realised that all except one was non-fiction - unbalanced. So, with delicious anticipation, I think of all the fiction I am going to read over the next several months and it tastes good in my mouth :)

Burgeoning I don't know if again I'm just extrapolating outward from my own experiences, but so much of life seems hopeful to me, burgeoning, as if its gonna burst its banks. It's like new vistas on the horizon, a stepping out which feels a bit scary, stepping out into God-knows-what, but gee, it's exciting. Even more exciting is the fact that what is now beginning to feel like excitement felt completely out of my range a couple of months ago. I am excited to see what the future holds for me, and also for the Body of believers. We feel pregnant, do we not? Can you feel it?

Breath Sometimes, if I catch myself early enough, so that I haven't allowed my thoughts to stress off so far that I am in another galaxy, I am able to bring myself back to the present by focussing on my breath, on the gentle rhythm of in-out in-out. It draws my attention to the rhythm of life that beats underneath everything, the Breath of God within reach even when it doesn't feel like it (I'm sure it's probably especially when I don't feel it, but that comfort is so cold sometimes as to be almost no comfort at all ;) I used to do yoga many moons ago, and one of the benefits I got from it was feeling much more centred in my own body, much more aware of my own body, and it made me realise that I spent a great deal of my time kind of out of my own body, as if I was living suspended a foot above my right shoulder, somehow. It's a dangerous place to be. Focussing on my breath helps me to be here, present, right in my body. Sheesh, it's hard work, though! Who would have thought something so basic could be so difficult to maintain?

Being I love it when I am relaxed enough to just be, to sit with all of the questions, with their mystery, and not need to know the answers. To know that the answers will all come at the right time. It doesn't happen nearly as much as I would like it to happen. I am doing everything in my power to make myself the kind of person that it can happen to more (eg, see above). Be still and know that I am God has been a mantra of mine this year. Sometimes it makes me sad that God is the most beautiful thing/god/ineffable indescribable being and yet my flesh can drag me away from him/her so quickly. But it's just how it is, bloggers, and so beating myself up about it accomplishes only negative things. The key is to be gentle, to know that I have spent years and years living independently, and it shall most likely take years and years to become more disciplined in staying in him/her and abiding in him/her. But when I get into the flow of it? Well, when I am in the flow of being, it feels like I shall never slip out. It feels like it would be impossible to do so, seeing this is life and slipping out is death. But I get sidetracked, waylaid, attracted by bright baubles and trinkets. But it's okay because s/he knows that I am made of dust, and s/he knows how to lure me back. S/he is rather the accomplished lover, is s/he not?

I love people who live the power of strength in weakness. They draw people in effortlessly, by invisible threads. They are being Jesusey. It is the ultimate in astonishment that God is kind, is it not? Kindness is an underrated concept, and even if we as the Body do nothing more than to be kind to those who life is not being kind to, then we will change the world. Benevolence, says Wikipedia, is the expression of agape love (unconditional love, the kind of love that God expresses towards us at all times). Andrea told me about a friend of hers the other day who just exudes the love of God. It spills out of her without trying, uncontrollably, like honey out of a hive and that's what I want to be when I grow up (I also want to be a revolutionary on weekends ;)

Beauty It doesn't really surprise me that there have been people and periods in the past where we have misjudged God's kindness and goodness (casting him/her in our own image is easier than receiving him/her in his/her own, with all the disorientation that implies). And it also doesn't surprise me that those times are often times of austerity. Not that austerity is a bad thing, mind you - depriving yourself of certain things for higher reasons is a sign of spiritual maturity. But austerity because you believe that beauty is something evil is ... well, I don't really need to describe how ridiculous that is, do I? At this time of unfolding and renewal and hope, I wanna sink in beauty, wrap myself up in it, run my hands along it, eat it and drink it, put it on my walls, bathe my eyes in it. It enlivens me; it reminds me that I am a co-creator in my life with God. It inspires me to try things that feel beyond my own ability. It reminds me of him/her and his/her beauty and how none of this compares at all to how beautiful God is in him/herself. And that, my dudes, gives me shivers.

Beyond I've always been drawn to what lies just beyond my reach. I am beginning to get back in touch even more with the me that knows much more than I consciously know. There is nothing more delicious to me than seeing a vista that I can't quite arrive at yet. A few breadcrumbs on the trail. An intuiting of where that delicious breadcrumb is gonna lead to. An opening up of paths. A sudden coming upon an unanticipated piece of life, of joy, in dark places. God loves putting breadcrumbs down. I love following them.

Blogging :) Oh, yes, I love blogging. I love the whole thing - crafting something, working out what I am thinking about something as I write, the immediacy of receiving comments, reading the blogs of others, sharing community with each other. I am really roolly glad to have joined the ranks of you dudes and dudettes who give me such food for thought. It's a really lovely thing, to be able to all get together and share our stuff even if over the other side of the world. I've made some good friendships and I look forward to getting to know you all even better next year.

Blue Is one of my favourite colours. Such a spiritual colour, I think. The colour of the sky, of freedom. My other favourite colours are yellow and orange. I've been spending too much time in the desert it seems :) I also love green, and it's funny how my workspace has just evolved out of a whole stack of green objects. Green, the colour of trees. I love colour. I notice it all the time. I always notice what colours people are wearing, that their houses are decorated in. Colour really just does it for me!!!

Branches Well, trees, really, but trees start with "t" so branches it is. I have a couple of prints up on my wall that my Mum got years ago when we were in the art gallery, on the less-than-handful of occasions we have been there. One is Autumn in the Fitzroy Gardens by John Mather, the other is Silent Gums by Walter Withers. There is a third, that famous three-panel piece the name of which I can't remember but which slightly depresses me. Interesting thing is that all three prints have trees on them. Maybe my Mum was tapping into something when she got those prints 10 years ago because surrounding my workspace with pictures of trees is probably about the best thing I can do :) They speak to me on so many levels. No wonder God uses them as metaphors; they are so rich with life and meaning. Trees take my breath away.

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