Thursday, September 18, 2014

Rocking Chair Musings

There is a rocking chair at one of the houses where I work. I've never sat in it because it just didn't seem inviting. Until today. I settled into that chair with a cup of tea and a short to-do list and lulled myself into thought.

"A map can tell me how to find a place I have not seen but have often imagined. When I get there, following the map faithfully, the place is not the place of my imagination. Maps, growing ever more real, are much less true." - Jeanette Winterson from Sexing the Cherry 

I've stopped looking at maps. I'm more interested in listening to the compass of my spirit and then walking in the general direction she motions. She lovingly tugs when the way is not clear and the path uncertain. She reminds me to be patient and wait when I am eager and anxious. She reminds me of my passion and vision when too many thoughts and to-dos cloud my mind.

She leans in and tells me it's ok to be vulnerable. It's ok to be seen as incapable and weak. It's ok to let people in to those deep caves where my fear and insecurity dwell.

Community is only cultivated through vulnerability. If I truly love people, I will be vulnerable and real.

To be fully human is to feel and to share and walk and sit and laugh with others through their journeys.

I choose to be fully human. 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Handstands and Somersaults

I woke up at 3am to my dog panting and salivating on me. The thunder and lightning crashing outside ignited his anxiety, keeping us both from sleep. I slid out of bed and traipsed across the cold tile floor to where the rain beat sideways on the back patio. Mojo looked at me hesitantly, still hyperventilating, as I opened the back door and stepped into the storm.

When we woke up the next day, we looked outside at the flooded yard, streets, and park. Then Justin, Mojo, and I decided to go play. Handstands, somersaults, bodysurfing, and yoga in our own natural lake. This is the stuff laughter is made of.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Life Interrupted

Community was a disruption to my life.

I have had a tendency to see people, events, and circumstances as interruptions to my regularly scheduled life. An unexpected phone call when I'm running late, a blown tire when I am out of money, a needed conversation when I'm still angry, a change in the schedule when I've already planned it all out.

Living in Houston in intentional community helped me to discover that those people, events, and circumstances I saw as interruptions to life were actually LIFE itself happening. They weren't a sideshow or a disruption. They were life. They were the present moment happening. Once I was able to change my perception and expectation about time and people, I wasn't so angry when those unexpected things happened. In fact, I started embracing those "interruptions" as a reminder that life is happening and I had better pay attention to what is right in front of me.

I could see this house moving process as an interruption to what my life could be once I'm settled into a cozy living room that has already been arranged to my liking with people I'm already comfortable with. I could see these night shifts and new job as temporary until something better comes along. I could see conversations with new housemates as a nuisance because they just don't get me yet.

But if I saw those things in that way I'd lose out on the life that is trying to present itself to me through these people and circumstances. The process of moving out of my childhood home and into a house of my own is a process I need to be aware of and invested in. Every box unpacked, every cupboard filled, every piece of furniture rearranged is life happening. It is what is right now. I work nights and am exhausted. But I get to hang out with wonderful people who like to play air guitar with me in the kitchen and have dinner parties on the back patio during monsoons. It is the job that was opened up to me and I can find the beauty in it. I want to be invested in the getting-to-know-you process because that is the only way we can really know and be known. The only way to love people is to get to know people for who they truly are and sit or walk with them in it, all the light and dark and pain and passion and intensity and anger and rough edges and confusion. And that only happens through doing life with others. If I saw people as an interruption, I'd never really know what it is to love them.

This new house is a metaphor, as are most things in my life. New, open space providing infinite possibilities for community and relationship. There are boxes to still be unpacked, emotions to be unpacked, thoughts to be sifted through. There are conversations to have, tears to cry, stories to share, laughter to feel, and love to be shown.

Hope. There is always hope.