one of those times, again, where going to quaker meeting is such an event.  i’ve been contemplating finding a meeting or church closer to home, but haven’t been able to even work up the energy for that.

the thing is: it’s the long, sustained attendance at meeting is what really makes me feel centered, but going to meeting is a 4 hour commitment, at the least, and it’s really hard to make myself do that right now.

and i’ve been feeling a little nutty, so i feel like i really need to go to meeting.  but unfortunately, frequently, by the time my one-shot meeting attendance is done, i feel more nutty, because my day feels almost over and my work week feels so close.

i’ve been thinking about church as opposed to quaker meeting a little bit, too, because my head is a wild and frazzled place, and i barely get past the wild and frazzled in the hour of worship.  having someone do the spiritual thinking for me sometimes works to get me out of my head long enough to hear god.

i HAVE been trying to up my home spiritual practice a little bit, though, but what that amounts to right now is just trying to remember the serenity prayer when my head and heart get too wild and frazzled.

quakerism changed my life.  and i’m not currently convinced i’m living up to that.  i feel disappointed in myself right now, in my ability or drive to take care of my spiritual needs right now.  and then, of course, i know that judging myself is not actually all that helpful, of course.

my dream still is of a community of quakers and a quaker meeting, just down the street.  i hate that i even have a choice to just drift away from meeting like this, from time to time.  i hate that it takes forever to get to meeting so i don’t, and that that is understandable and acceptable.  (i would probably hate it, too, if it wasn’t understandable or acceptable.)

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Published in: on 25 November, 2012 at 1:59 pm  Comments (1)  

i know the secret to life. i’m okay when everything is not okay.

i’m at one of those magnificently shaky times where i feel like i have grasped the secret of the universe. *laughs*

it’s one of those times where i feel really grounded and like i’ve “got it” — but i know from experience that these moments are actually just a flicker in a life. that the thing that i’ve got will become part of my being, or i might even forget it, and not long from now, i will be caught up in the drama and confusion again.

i feel steady, but i know that factually, i am new to this faith, i am young, i am in love, i am myself in all of my flaws, and so i know that there will be more insights to come, and that i am coming at my life through this one lens.

BUT paradoxically, that knowledge makes me feel all the more grounded. because this awareness of my particular position, and this acceptance of that… is new.

the historical meaning of the word “convinced” in quaker terms, as i understand it, is something more along the lines of “convicted” than, um, believing something that’s been proven to you, as we understand the word today. i feel like that has happened to me recently. i feel like i have a path to follow and i need to be true to it, and i have been convicted in that way.

there’s always been that self-hate aspect to my understanding of christianity. i always thought that i could only get to know god if i hated myself. and the narrative that i hear so frequently about this “convincing” involves this sudden belief in one’s unworthiness.

and now i think i’m there. but it’s not unworthiness like… i’m bad. but this unworthiness like, i’ve got this tall order coming in from god, will i be faithful or will i get lost? and also this deep deep gratitude for everything, and feeling awed by that. we are all unworthy of this universe, and yet we are part of it and that is acceptable.

at some early morning session at our meetinghouse, someone from m&o said this thing– and it resonated, but of course now i’ve forgotten the exact words or where he got it from– but it was something like “you are fine just the way you are AND you could use some work.” and for me, that’s exactly IT right now.

i’ve been wrestling a lot with self-compassion and compassion for others lately. defensiveness and welcoming and sitting in sorrow and not trying to fix things immediately. and i feel like that quote is the secret to it. for me right now. i am fine just the way i am AND i could use some work. the people who i can’t stand right now… the people who i love but who disappoint me… the people who i adore… it’s true for us all. we are all connected and interconnected by this odd mix of being the exact right products of our pasts and also these bundles of unfulfilled possibilities. and it’s really beautiful.

and so i’ve been letting my heart get broken by all my flaws and all the flaws of the community i love… but i’m not letting it stop there. i CAN’T save us all from ourselves and i don’t actually want to (well, maybe sort of. i’m struggling with my desire to be a superstarsuperherobestbestbestever person). i accept that (again… sort of. *laughs*). but i can do what i can do. i can learn what i can learn and i can teach what i can teach… and i’m excited and terrified by that.

yes yes yes.

(this just in! the quote is from pema chödrön. it’s actually “you are perfect just the way you are and you could use a little work.” her teacher said it to her.)

everybody’s got their something

i’m reading two books that are working as companions to each other:

if god is love: rediscovering grace in an ungracious world by philip gulley & james mulholland

&

wide awake by david levithan

i’ve never read anything by the authors of the former, but it’s in our meetinghouse library, and it’s been recommended by a few people (like robin m.). it’s a hopeful, helpful book about acceptance, love and compassion as part of what god is and what god wants.

david levithan is my favorite young adult writer alive today. i’ve read 2 other books by him, and each book he writes seems to fill an empty space in the universe. the books he writes the world needs, and he writes them lovingly and elegantly. this book is about a time in the not too distant future when a gay jewish president is elected! it’s set after “the reign of fear” and during “the jesus revolution” when people– especially young people– are embracing that whole love and compassion and acceptance part of christianity. it’s a delicious book.

***

the beyond diversity 101 training has been postponed until the fall. i’m sad, but it also makes things feel a bit more expansive. i don’t have to “get everything done” by the end of march. and i feel okay with exploring local options a bit more.

as usual, i got my head out from under the blankets by laying out exactly what they were with a few friends (of varying capitalizations) and experiencing their compassion with my confusion. golly, i love that there are people in my life who will let me be a brat for awhile and will actually scold me for calling myself a brat, rather than for the bratty things. because the only way to get through them is to just have them and accept them and to… get through them.

you cannot scold yourself away. you will always be there with your everything. and so will everyone. and accepting all of that is the challenge. and it can be a pain in the butt, but it can also be really fun.

i’m having one of those life moments where it feels like you were walking along, having a nice time, and then someone came and threw a blanket on your head. and you know that this confusion is actually not real life, but you are still feeling very confused, ridiculously naive, and sort of very tired from dealing with it.

Published in: on 15 January, 2008 at 10:42 am  Comments (3)  

yesterday was one of the first times in a really long time that i nearly had an anxiety attack. it was wet and nothing was going right and i was soaked and had just gotten to work and was dropping a bunch of things and i was late because i had to run an errand for another coworker so i wasn’t getting completely informed about the change in the day’s schedule and i started stuttering and my throat got all tight.

and it’s funny when you realize that the reason you’ve felt so serene lately actually has less to do with personal growth than with your life just being more serene lately. and the way that cracks when things start to crack.

***

i had my second clearness committee for membership this past week, and it went a whole lot better. it did feel deeper in ways i don’t know how to describe, and i just felt more settled in my decision.

robin asked me if maybe i’d been experiencing buyer’s remorse. i’ve been thinking about that, and i still think the answer is no. for me, whenever i’ve experienced actual buyer’s remorse, it’s been a case of “okay, why did i just spend x amount of scarce resources on this? what was i thinking?” and what happened, i don’t think was about scarcity or a mistake in that sort of way.

i think if i was going to turn it into a shopping analogy, it would be more like looking through ads for computers. and they each have their list of specifications. and a lot of them are like “CHOCK FULL OF THIS ONE FEATURE!” and being like, “um… i’m not totally sure if my computer needs that one feature…” and deciding on one that does have that feature, but it’s not so much in the advertising. and so then, i spend a year studying this computer and learning more about it and also that one feature. and realizing that i kind of like that one feature and how it works with that particular computer. and so then, i’m standing at the counter with my money ready to buy this actual computer, and suddenly i remember that i’m okay with that one feature, and i’ve just spent all my energy studying this one computer and now that i’m okay with this feature, should i go back and delve into those other computers?

(the feature being christianity.)

***

the other thing is that thanks to allison, we’re working on starting a young adult group for our meeting. and i’m excited about it in theory, but a little freaked out about it in practice. a lot because i’ve really treasured having quakerism be a place in my life to have grown-up friends. and a lot because somehow because of being part of the meeting for a little over a year now, i’m a sort of resident expert, and i am really really not. there was a moment in my clearness committee where i was asked about helping to clarify other young people’s questions about quakerism, and i’m not sure if i’m up for the task. both because i’m not sure if i can do it (i told someone today that it’s like the near-sighted person without their glasses leading the blind), and because i’m not sure if i can do it gracefully. lately i’ve been feeling like a crotchety old man in general, and i guess this is just how i get to learn how to be my own age, and accept my own age, and accept people who are going through things i’m going through, rather than just hanging out with amazing role models. because my peers can be role models, too.

***

the last thing is that i have access to the old site again, so i‘m going to be putting up the old posts. so there will be some new things coming up, but i will be backdating them so they will hopefully be put in correct chronological order. put up all the old posts. i even managed to get the old comments in there, but all as one big block comment from me. but with credit to the names of the people who posted them.