Deep Wells Require Tending
How is it with your spirit? What's holding you in balance after big losses? Amid big political and climate changes? What's holding you steady in the times when life doesn't unfold as you had expected?
Me? I've been walking a lot more. I've reduced my intake of the news and have limited my time on Facebook. I try to read balanced reporting from reliable sources. I talk with friends and family as much as possible. I'm eating more salad and less carbs, and most nights manage to sleep for eight hours.
I've cleaned closets and the basement, and donated lots to the recycle stores. I pay very close attention to the light, and the sky, and to random acts of kindness, even tiny ones, that I happen to witness. And also the way mothers cradle their children; how some couples seem to talk with each other with perfect clarity, silently from across the room; how sometimes someone very old seems to shine with light.
I've tried to be honest and also positive with the people around me. I go to spiritual direction and the Scrap Exchange for inspiration. I listen to loud rock music, soulful R&B, and Duke's radio station, which has truly weird music that makes me so happy that sometimes I won't get out of my car if a song's not finished.
And, I've turned over a lot of rocks in my mind, and looked at things I'd much prefer not to know about. White supremacy. Fascism, and how racism seems to be America's particular form of fascism, and how there's a tinge of that in each of us and in all that we do. Climate change. How our human biology responds to stress and how ugly our (that is, my) behavior and thinking can quickly become when stressed. I'm thinking a lot about how we can change our awareness and behavior, so that the future will be better for more people.
I'm longing to take a dive into UU theology, spirituality, and ethics. It feels as though I cannot possibly read enough about the dumbest things we've done as a religious movement, and how we survived that, and what we learned, and where grace has sometimes shone through despite our ridiculous errors. I'm fascinated by social change, and institutional power, and what happens when systems break down. I also want to spend time with real people, and hear about their loves and fears, hopes and longing.
It feels as though something is stirring deep within me. There's a well inside each of us Carl Jung believed, through which something like cosmic water comes bubbling up into each of our lives. It feels as though my well needs a little attention. There are a few loose rocks to reset, leaves to clear, inner critters who come to the well to admire and learn from.
I need some time to read, think, observe. So I'm going to rearrange my time off and take some study leave between Thanksgiving and Christmas. I will not "unplug." I'll be here in Durham, and I'll continue to work on stewardship and with the board and staff. But I'm going to limit the time that I come into the office (I'm very grateful to Jacqueline, Stacy, Daniel, and the staff and lay leaders who will cover for me so I can do this). I'll limit the rest of the meetings I would normally attend during those weeks. And we'll have three guest preachers on November 26, December 3 and December 10.
I'm taking this time because I think that we'll all be well served if I make sure my inner well is clear, and the water is flowing freely.