Monday, June 27, 2005

Gathering Soon, and a Passage

First and foremost, FGC Gathering begins Saturday, and I will most certainly be there! (I have an intense feeling of excited anticipation!) I'd love to meet other bloggers in person, if any are going. I know some of you out there are. I have no plan or idea about how to find people, but I thought I'd just bring it up anyway. (I'll be deeply involved with the high school program, making me less available than others, but as a Friend mentioned to me a little while ago, I do have to eat!)

Moving on, I've been reading A Certain Kind of Perfection by Marge Post Abbott. It's an "anthology of evangelical and liberal Quaker writers" spanning the last three centuries with a number of passages from well known, and some lesser known Friends. A particular part of a passage written by Adam Curle really stood out to me, especially pertaining to my situation with my step-mother, though it applies in all sorts of situations:

The absolute necessity for attentive listening was borne in on me very early in my experience of peace making. I became aware that what my friends and I were trying to say was often not heard, especially at the start of a meeting or if the situation were particularly tense. A question or observation would, it is true, be answered, but not responded to in any meaningful way. It was as though our words were filtered through a compound of anger, fear, resentment and perconception that radically changed their meaning. It was to this new meaning that the people we were talking with responded, often angrily and usually irrelevantly. Because of the general circumstances, what we said was often perceived as having a threatening or insulting meaning, or a perfectly straightforward question would be taken as criticism. ... We, in fact, were not being listened to, but if we had responded with irritation, it would mean that we, too, had not been listening. We assumed without question that the way to overcome these difficulties of communication was to say very little, certainly not to argue, re-explian, or contradict, but to be inwardly still and as receptive as possible. This would usually enable the storm of emotion, so natural in men under great pressure, to blow itself out.

[This can be found on page 150.]

The entire passage spoke of attentive listening, a concept important not only in our daily lives, but also spiritually. Goodness, I speak as if our daily lives are seperate from our spiritual lives - I believe they are one and the same, if only we can come to terms with that.

When my Native American friends visited me they would always fall silent, Quaker-like, and listen. How else, they asked, could they discover my condition and so speak to it, as they always did most effectively. [Found on page 151.]

There is so much truth in this, and it grounds me to read it.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Finding the Ground..

Finally, three weeks after a great physical transition - movement from one place to another, from one environment to an entirely different one - I am finally finding some grounding. With patience and the realization of how the Spirit has been moving in my life without my initial conscious awareness, I am beginning to find grounding that I was reaching for (and perhaps approaching) before my summer uprooting.

Through great conflict, I am finding great support and a growing strength. I am finding a greater power of Spirit and Light within myself than I originally consciously realized; I am finding love, even in dark places.

Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not iritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 1 Corinthians 13.4-7

For on reason or another, I felt the need to post that; love is so important in my life, and in everyone's. I hope to continue remembering that, even at my most exhausted and low moments.

I'm finding that my posts here often seem to be ministry to myself, something I did not expect to occur. In posting it, I make this available to any whom it may help or inspire. Perhaps one day my posts will be more well thought out and edited, more sorted and less blurted, but for now, this is what I feel I need to do here with this space.

Love and Light.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Brief Note

It looks as though I won't be nearly as active as I was a couple weeks ago for a little while. My computer has decided to reject the internet, and I've become incredibly busy at a new, full time job which will last through the summer.

I'll check back (probably) daily, but may not be doing much commenting or posting.

: /


Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Simplicity - an unfocused thought blurt

Through the chaos of my last couple weeks, the testimonies of simplicity and integrity have been coming up in my thought process quite a bit. Since I haven't felt like I've had time to really sit with these thoughts yet, what I have to say may not be as clear, focused, or articulate as I would hope, but I figure that writing it out may help me thresh through some of it a little better.

Simplicity. My thoughts on simplicity have been far from thorough, but different from typical interpretations of 'simple' that I usually hear or think about. I recently moved out of my dorm room at school and found that I had a great excess of stuff. I threw out what was trashable, gave away some of it, and brought the rest home - still an excess of necessary stuff. I decided that the next time I moved out (which turned out to be today, four days later), I would not bring nearly as much stuff as I brought home, in part as a dedication to simplicity. Excess stuff leads to mess, clutter, and often distracting complication to one's life - distracting from the Spirit. I did manage to bring a lot less stuff, but still probably more than I need. (I find, all too often, that I keep thinking to myself "well, I might need that one day; you never know!" The hard part about saying "no" to things like that is that I might actually be right - often it's not a completely misplaced or irrational thought. It still leaves me with excess stuff.) I think part of simplicity - and I admit that this is not an entirely original idea - is to not have so much stuff!

Another, perhaps more original (perhaps not), thought that has come to me is simplicity in terms of the least complicated. Some Friends find that being plain is how they feel called to live out the simplicity testimony, but I feel that this, for me at least, would complicate my life in distracting ways. I would become too focused on finding ways to fit in or explain my ways to people rather than being focused on the Spirit. While I realize that a certain amount of adversity is necessary when on a spiritual journey (spiritual development isn't always just a walk in the park, though a walk in the park might be quite helpful), such adversity should not necessarily distract. Perhaps for some, dealing with complications that occur because of personal callings to certain levels of simplicity may be more focusing - to always answer questions of "why?" or deal with social responses may cause one to constantly re-examine what it is one is doing and may help spiritual development. In my own experience so far, I'm finding myself beginning to be called to simplicity in other ways, such as reducing the amount of stuff in my life. I need to find a time to listen with this in mind - as I mentioned above, I'm not yet in a place where I feel like I can articulate in a clear and focused manner.

More later on simplicity after I find more focus time. Also coming, a post about a somewhat specific experience regarding integrity and honesty.

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