I ran into a friend the other day – he was finishing lunch, I was buying eggs and kefir – and I stopped to say hello. Jim was the facilitator of an A Course in Miracles discussion group that I attended for a while. I hadn’t seen him in several months. It was nice to catch up.
Later, it got me thinking about this website, which I shuttered back in the summer and re-opened earlier this month. I shut it down because it was complicating both personal and professional boundaries. At the time if felt like a practical decision, but I come to see more in the line of a defensive gesture. I needed some privacy, needed to create some quiet in which to settle out this business of disdaining the light of being read.
In mulling it over, a recurring word or theme is “congruent.” To me it means consistency at all levels of one’s existence – spiritual, physical, work, play. It means not parceling off different parts of life in an effort to hold other parts at bay.
And it means – for me anyway – that that I cannot please everyone, cannot bear for others their burden of judgement. What does this mean exactly? Well, for most of my adult life I have been deeply reticent about being a Christian and following Jesus. I don’t want to hurt or alienate friend who are legitimately pissed off at establishment sects of Christianity, whose lives are routinely invalidated by Christians who are alternately fearful, misguided and sometimes malicious.
I don’t want to defend the Pope anymore, or try to rationalize him, or be an apologist on behalf of progressive Protestants. I don’t want to pretend a scholarly interest in the link between Paganism and early Christian communities in a vain effort to validate both.
And I’m even more wary of talking about spirituality in terms of its application – what it actually means to me, now. I have wandered pretty far afield of all but the most wacky of Christians. Telling people that you channel Jesus as one of many ascended masters, that you can hear the Holy Spirit, that you believe (or want to believe) that your body and the world are effect and not cause, that you experience the world as a dream . . .
Well, it invites a bit of ridicule.
Yet being incongruent – being silent – is even worse. We limit ourselves when we parcel our energy up into little pockets. Poetry on this shelf, the Tarot cards on that one. Jesus here, Buddha there.
It’s like I’ve devoted my life to juggling and I don’t even like juggling. I’m not even particularly good at it.
Anyway, I have come around to thinking – and trying to put into practice – a conviction that you cannot peacefully or meaningfully keep the best parts of yourself to yourself. They are in you because they need to be shared – your identity lies in sharing them. If what you create – a poem, a blog post, a lesson plan – is created out of Love then it will find its way through the ether to those who need it.
Your job is to create, to extend. Period.
Or so I say. Or think. Or write anyway. I started this post very early in the morning and came into the basement after dinner – and maybe three thousand words into another project – to finish it.
I wonder how you do it Sean. Not just the juggling between differing beliefs and approaches (I cannot say I have finally settled down to one route and make no apologies for that) but the juggling with everything else in your life – wife, kids, job(s), parents, animals, growing food, home, walking, etc, etc. and, on top of everything else, producing this blog. How do you do it? Does the blog ever become a burden or a ‘should’ in your life? I wouldn’t blame you if it did.
Whether you continue into perpetuity and call it a day, we’ve all benefitted one way or another from your missives.
Thanks for the kind words, Bet.
Well, sometimes it feels like a bit much . . . but then I just walk away. I’m into simplifying life, not complicating it! Although of course there are plenty of ways in which I do, in fact, complicate it.
On the other hand, I’ve been writing for a long time and it comes pretty naturally to me, though. So it’s fairly easy to maintain, especially when I don’t get all “write every day!” and “write amazingly!” about it.
I guess it’s part of the overall practice . . . .
Thanks for reading & writing! I hope all is well in the English hills!
Oh and I forgot to say reading our e-mails (and my ramblings) to you and responding in a thorough and thoughtful manner. What patience.