onward christian pacifist, marching into life

Tuesday 20 May 2008

There is something sacred about shared spaces, even temporary ones. Being in the present to a conversation held across a table creates such a space, no matter where the conversation is being held in the real world, no matter whether the table is formica or cedarwood. Sharing life, sharing creativity, sharing ourselves perfume the air in the same way a forest freshens it and music and candles change its mood. But even better is sharing life within the forest itself. My heart responds to the life and creativity of that environment, resonates within me, drawing me (blessed relief) out of myself, out towards the other (whether the other is the environment itself, my dog, another person or God). I think all forms of beauty and creation have this effect of drawing us out of ourselves and into community, whether the forms come from the earth or out of our own hands and hearts.

Today I was discussing with Maggie, my art therapist, how it was that every single session of my art therapy so far has gone over time. Maggie's summation was that the answer to that was to just aim for a double session each fortnight, then. Some people, she said, just need more time than others, and it seems I'm fitting into that category, seeing every time we meet there is a flurry of talk, of activity. She knows finances are an issue for me at the moment so there is no change to the cost - and anyway, money is not the reason why she does what she does.

How generous she is (and how wise). Today, I drew with soft pastels onto large pieces of paper, standing up so as to get better leverage and a better rate of knots going. We discussed the inwardness of drawing as compared to the outwardness of painting, sculpting, of doing things that involve the movement of your body along with the movement of your hand. It felt quite exhilarating, standing up, throwing myself into it, drawing whatever, encouraging myself just a wee bit more to fall out into my expression because falling open doesn't mean I'm going to fall apart.

Small steps. This is hard. Small steps count. The kindness of others, especially when you are in numb places, fearful places, changing places, is a gift from God. Freely given, costing relatively little to the giver compared to the balm for the receiver, if able to be freely received.

Lester waited patiently in the car for two hours during my session. Afterward, we indulged in a leg-stretch at the Hamer Arboretum at Olinda, where Japanese cedars sit alongside oaks and gums and all sorts of wonderfulnesses. It was lovely, but cold and the night was edging in even at 4.30 so we didn't stay for as long as I would have liked. I plan to return when the days start lengthening once again. It felt mysterious and alive, enclosing, as we walked further down the trail as it got darker and denser. Almost like the Enchanted Wood :)

On our return back up to the car there was a park bench next to a large gum tree. Leaning against the tree trunk were two large sticks, perfectly sized to aid in walking the tree-rooted track, thoughtfully left by the previous users.

Small kindnesses. The most difficult kindnesses to learn are the ones that involve the overlooking of offences, the smoothing over of barbs and hurts, the turning of the other cheek, the offering of a hand, or the setting of a boundary, an outward focus and opening of ourselves to each other, heaven on earth, even when the other is undeserving.

That is the most difficult kindness because it seems to always come at a price for the learner. Necessary denumbings are so very painful. But do we miss out on the life that is out there because it's a hard thing to do? To walk anywhere but towards greater growth and greater openness and yes, greater vulnerability, is to walk nowhere, to walk into death.

Anyway, all the fun toys are life. Like carrots, they dangle themselves in front of my face, drawing me on, God-infused (he knows what I like), carrots like greater creativity, and greater wound healing. Carrots indeed ('cause he also know what a stubborn donkey I often can be :)


  1. that is something Ive really not let myself do this week, be drawn out, Ive wanted to pretend that Im ok being a hermit! ;)
    Just reading your post makes me want to walk in the forest and then draw on large pieces of paper. I used to love tracing leaves onto paper, to see the interesting lines and curves you could get!
    Sounds like a good day!! :)

  2. are you familiar with the work of Alice Miller? I recommend Prisioners of Childhood.
    your posts make me think of this book.

  3. Andi - yeah, I've been pretending I'm ok being a hermit too :) It was a good day. I was gonna drop in on the way home but it was 5.30 when I was going past and I figured you wouldn't want someone turning up on the doorstep at the witching hour :)

    Anonimo - geday. No, I've never heard of her before. Thanks for the recommendation

  4. this post reminds me of a great inhalation and equal exhalation

    and the comfort that settles into the body when one has been re-oxygenated

  5. Kel - nice :) Yeah, something like that :)

  6. beautiful post. i love kel's comment! deeply breathing in and out. aaaahhhhhhh...awe...amen

  7. Lucy - thank you. Yes, I love her comment too.

    Ahhh..awe..amen :) Cool :)


Newer Older