Bell near St. Clare's statue in the San Francisco de Asis courtyard
As I continue to practice dropping out of my mind and into my body, several interesting things have been occurring. One is that my normal state of intense study and research is becoming less normal. I simply don't have the same intensity of thinking, which also means less writing. I've been finding myself at a loss to even comment on all of your blogs. Even this post is more like an eruption than a coherent thought process.
At the same time, my level of physical activity has accelerated quite a bit. As I'm spending more time in my body than my head, really listening to it, I hear that it wants to move and work, for the sheer joy of it. I have taken up running with a zest I didn't know was possible. For most of my life, physical activity was something I thought about doing, felt like I should be doing, but didn't actually want to do. Now I look forward to it, and find myself having to temper my enthusiasm so I don't OVERdo it. I've also been working in the yard, gardening. I planted pumpkins, and they sprouted! My arms are sore today from pulling up weeds. There is an incredible level of satisfaction in all of this.
But nothing stays the same. I simply don't know from day to day what my perspective will be. It's as though things are shaking loose within me, swirling about, uprooted. I worked hard on trying to let go of a thing I wanted. That didn't work. So I started praying earnestly for that thing, something I'd never tried before. I prayed specifically and articulately every day with all my heart. Until I discovered I didn't really want what I was praying for. What a paradox - when I tried to not want it I wanted it more, and when I gave myself over to wanting it, I stopped wanting it.
Now the loud voice of wanting in my head is shrieking with rage because I've abandoned it and it doesn't have an anchor anymore. It's desperately trying to seek one, and I'm just watching and listening. Not judging, not giving in to its ludicrous demands, just seeing. Just hearing. Go ahead and rant and rave, I can't stop you anyway. I will just wait here in the quiet you can't touch until you diminish, which is already happening and is in fact the reason you're being so obnoxious, trying to cling to life.
Nothing stays the same. Everything shifts and sometimes that looks "wrong" or dangerous. "To enjarre or not to enjarre" got pushed way into the background this week because I got very sick. I won't go into the details, but I was showing exact symptoms of a pretty serious condition. However, by the time the doctor looked at me, the symptoms were gone and my tests came back fine. I'm convinced that I made myself sick by listening to the shrieking voice. I let it take me over for a couple of days, and became unguarded enough that the tumult of emotion that accompanied that rotten thinking caused something like an oil spill in my body.
When I finally felt better physically, and could listen to the shrieking without being taken over by it, I was eager to go for a run. It had been days since my enjarre encounter. I waited until evening so there would be no crowds at the church, since I was still not quite ready to deal with that challenge.
Nothing stays the same. Have I mentioned how very much I love the little grove by the church? Well, they cut down most of the trees. They only left the ones around the perimeter, but essentially, the grove is no longer. It's just an empty lot full of tree stumps. They took down the tire swing my son and his friend strung up with an old garden hose; in fact the tree it was hanging from is gone. I'm welling up with tears as I write this, as I did when I first saw it.
Nothing stays the same, but everything outward is reflected inwardly with an eternal tint. I think of the metaphor of pruning in John 15. Some prunings are bigger than others. Sometimes life is pruned so radically it's alarming, and doesn't fit my idea of how things "should" be. Do I really ultimately know what "health" means? Do I really know what is for the ultimate good of myself or the world?
Oil spills, sickness, destruction of trees. All ranting and raving is a wall of nothing against such things. These things happen, and I see them all together. I see in them meaning and connection that suggest a story I cannot fully tell. I hear in them only the call to awaken, the thunder of tremendous bells.