Looking Within

Saturday 16 February 2008

Let your love flow outward through the universe,
To its height, its depth, its broad extent,
A limitless love, without hatred or enmity
Then as you stand or walk,
Sit or lie down,
As long as you are awake,
Strive for this with a one-pointed mind.
Your life will bring heaven to earth.

Sutta Nipata

It's comforting to be reminded that the aim of God in the end is to make us as vessels ever-growing receivers of his love - to allow love into ourselves - from others, too, but especially from God - and to swim in it, and learn to love ourselves - and then to spread that outwards. How painful it is to be in the process of that growth and to see the weeds within ourselves that hinder that. It's hard to underestimate the pain. We all understand this pain because we all must experience it.

How lovely it is to stop and take the time to look at our progress. It's easy to look at our cracks and faults and miss the healing going on at the edges, the puckerings that are beginning ever so slowly to signal the onset of healing.

It seems the lessons are never-ending for me lately, and I welcome them, coming thick and fast as they are. As painful as they are, the delight of new discovery within myself is a joy that never diminishes even if it is a discovery of a new weed. Discovering the terrain of my garden is always a place of safety, no matter how much I wish to flinch away from the hocks and thistles.

Yesterday reminded me of my propensity towards defensiveness, my rejection issues. I appreciate those willing to be honest with me. It is a difficult thing to be honest with another, to point out the things causing them to stumble. Hearing those words are painful. And our initial responses are always interesting to observe.

I watched myself do that yesterday, when I received an email from someone who I hope to one day be friends with. His words to me were honest and helpful, but it was interesting to see how differently I read them after a few hours to my first reading. My first response was defensive - they seemed accusatory. After I came home from work and reread them, with my defenses down and after prayer, they seemed honest and only slightly accusatory ;) (j/k)

Sigh. When do we ever really *see* reality? None of us do, not in its entirety. We are always filtering everything through our own wounds, or our own freedoms. That is both an encouragement and a warning.

I'm so tired of some of my wounds. I suspect they are in the process of being dismantled. That's the reason for the scaffolding. In other ways, that scaffolding is nothing other than my own crustiness, childhood constructions to attempt to protect. We all bring to the table what we can, and it amazes me that children are able to construct things to guard themselves which work so well (what amazingly adaptable creatures we are, like weeds growing out of footpath cracks).

Observing those still-standing-but-crumbling twin towers of rejection and defensiveness in myself alerts me to the residues of shame that still linger, like shallow pools of water on the rocks after the tide has gone out. I don't want those twin towers there anymore. They blight my landscape. They hold me back and they cause me to treat people much more harshly than I ever wish or intend to. They did their job, after a fashion, but now it is time for them to leave. They serve no purpose anymore, not now that I have got God to hide in instead of childhood cardboard constructs.

It is an encouragement and comfort to look to God after observing my biggest wounds. My self-nurturing thang isn't so well developed that it's an automatic response. But looking to God is self-nurture. It's like going off and having a nice bath. Looking to God is like looking in the mirror, only better, because looking to God reflects back his love to us and also reflects back our true natures to ourselves in some mystical not-yet-here-but-nevertheless-operational way.

God's creations are much prettier than my own. My twin towers housed stuff, and were practical. But they don't fit into the landscape being created in me, the new trees springing up and casting new shade, the delicate new mosses that are beginning to grow in that shade. The twin towers cast their own shade, sure, but it was too harsh for a lot to grow in its wake. The shade cast by self-nurturing allows all sorts of wonderful things to grow, hellebores and violets and ferns. Now it's just to learn how to tend them :)

Seriously, I mean it - happy Saturday, bloggers


  1. Sue, just as wonderful (yet painful) it is to have our illusions dissed it is also a wonderful day when the waves crash againt the house we have contructed (in this case the twin towers)on the sand. It's a most beautiful day when it happens...that is for those learning to live the life that is hidden with Christ in Father.

    I hurt with you sister, but I rejoice also.

  2. This came to mind also Sue and seems fitting.

    "There is a Wind… that wraps itself around the edges of necessity, tugging and pulling until those boundaries become torn and begin to move to the motion of that which is not visible."

  3. Thank you for these two beautiful comments, Kent.

    That quote was so beautiful I had to look it up :) Who else but Paul Young? :)

  4. Sometimes the only way I can look at me - the real deal of me - is through the eyes of others. I am blessed to have people in my life that will hold up the mirror for me and be honest. If it is cushioned in love, then I don't get defensive. When I am in a position of having to dole out some honesty, I do my best to proceed with caution and love.
    "The truth will set you free ... but it's going to hurt like hell first."

    I have a friend who is mighty self-destructive and the ultimate hypochondriac. Everything in her life is a big freakin' crisis and it is getting old for those of us around her. "The Boy Who Cried Wolf" story to a sick level. She drains those around her, as her need for attention escalates. I have prayed about this for some time. Do I will need to hold up the mirror for her? So for now, more prayer. Sometimes the next right thing is to do/say is absolutely nothing. Maybe she will arrive at the truth in her own time. Maybe. Maybe not.

  5. your remark about the tidal pools reminded me of a poem by Edna St Vincent Millay. She likened the loss of her love to the tepid pools left by the tide, drying inward from the edge. We all have to be patient with ourselves.

  6. Dream - yes, you're right - sometimes we are forced to look at ourselves when others hold up the mirror. It's a privilege for us to be able to do that with each other.

    That's a hard one with your friend. There's a self-righteous part of ourselves that rises up and says things like, "You've gone on with this long enough! Time for some home truths" and other smugnesses, but it's just not our place, is it, to decide when those times are, no matter how frustrating it is (and that must be a real frustrating thing). I'm always conscious too of how important timing is - that we can say something that will be totally edifying if we listen to that Voice, and if we go off on our own tangent half-cocked, the same words spoken at the wrong time can fall on deaf ears.

    Barbara - yes, it amazes me how much more I am growing and facing and shooting down now that I am being patient and nurturing with myself. it's quite wonderful, really

  7. I loved this post because it so resonated with me ways with all that has been going on in my life this week. I too have been where you are in the relationship sector. I appreciate your honesty and sometime I know we all need to whine.

  8. Yolanda - yeah, I need to whine a fair bit thes days, it seems :) Glad it resonated with you.

    I love that word - resonate. It's a nice thing to do with each other :)

  9. hey babe, I am transfixed by this artwork. What is it and whose is it. I haven't had time to read anyone's blogs with the boys throwing up all over the place 9and me too) but I stopped by and saw this paintung and I am in awe. Don't generally like modern stuff but I love this pic.

  10. Oh, no, you've got the bug too! Poo.

    Yes, it's luvverly, isn't it. If you click on it, you'll go to the pic at the DeviantArt site, and there's a link to his gallery on the left hand side.

    Hope you get better soon.


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