First, it's my birthday, and as it seems to work out every year, I'm going to the laundromat to wash clothes. This is not something I have planned as a tradition - it just sort of happens. I'm not complaining; I actually don't mind doing laundry, and there's something fitting about getting garments clean to usher in a new age.
I have, in fact, been thinking a bit about clothing. Eryl posted recently about her appreciation for high fashion, which made me think of the movie The Devil Wears Prada, which I then had to go watch again. And I've encountered some biblical references to clothing recently that remind me of the theological term I made up a few years ago: "pantstheism." This is not the same thing as pantheism, which is the belief that the Divine is within and contained by creation and does not exist outside of it. Pantstheism is basically an alternative to the word "panentheism," which is the concept that God exists within all of creation but also created it and is beyond it. The creation of my term was inspired by Psalm 102: 25-27:
In the beginning you laid the foundations of the earth,The Divine is in the creation the way we are in our clothes. Our favorite jeans and sweater take our shape, conform to our image, absorb the energy and scent of our bodies. God is both the maker and the wearer of the garment that is creation.
and the heavens are the work of your hands.
They will perish, but you remain;
they will all wear out like a garment.
Like clothing you will change them
and they will be discarded.
But you remain the same,
and your years will never end.
This rumination has been coming to me in a new way lately, as I've been immersed in contemplating the distinctions between the inner and the outer life. More than ever before, I'm focused on true inner change, deliberately turning my attention away from outer distractions, whether they be situations or thoughts. Mostly thoughts. Why don't I consider these thoughts part of the inner world, you may ask? Because I'm increasingly seeing this kind of Monkey Mind thought as something that is actually foreign to my true Self, which is why it is so confusing, unpleasant, and even destructive to identify with it. It's like wearing rough polyester clothing that's garish and too tight.
As I mentioned in a previous post, I was dreading Lent - the dryness of the desert, the stripping away. But I feel incredibly blessed to realize that the reason for this self-denial is to discover a joy and abundance so far beyond anything else that the stripping is a relief. The analogy that jumps immediately to mind is that if you want to fully experience the ecstasy of physical intimacy, you have to take off your clothes.
But in the moment before embrace there can be discomfort and disorientation; you are naked, and the room is too cold, the lights are too bright. You doubt who you are without your clothes, and if you identify with those thoughts, the embrace will be diminished or avoided altogether. I have had moments like this lately, too. But unlike the past, I'm finding it in my Self to not become so identified with these thoughts that I go hide in the closet or get dressed again in fifteen layers of confusion. And a large part of why I'm able to do this is because of blogging - being able to write and share my process with a supportive community that interacts with me by introducing me to wonderful resources or giving me helpful suggestions or simply listening and understanding.
Which leads me to another significance of this day, which is that this is my fiftieth post. I have been blogging for just over five months, and in this time I have connected with some incredible people and reclaimed my voice as a writer. I am continually astounded and inspired by the community I find myself part of here and its genuine effects on my life.
And so it's fitting that today I'm accepting an award from Entrepreneur Chick. I feel somewhat ambivalent about blogging awards for a number of reasons that I don't want to lengthen this post by discussing, but this particular award is one I will be pleased to display on my blog because it's pretty and happy-inducing to look at. And it has an orange flower!
I hereby dedicate this post and pass along this award to all of my blogging friends, my cross-pollinators. You know who you are. Your blogs and your comments have truly pollinated my life and helped me bloom, and for that I have immense gratitude.