My life is changing. My daughter has moved out of our apartment. Our elderly dog is ill. My hand is losing function. [Excuse: All those changes are part of the reason my blog posts have skipped a couple weeks.]
How do I celebrate a sacred, compassionate creative life in these circumstances?
New Kind promise: I will navigate change by remembering who I want to be.
When I was a teenager, I would paddle a canoe on a small lake near our cabin in northern Wisconsin. Sometimes, after I was out on the lake, I would discover that the wind was stronger than I expected. Getting home became difficult. As I paddled, I would point the prow of the canoe back toward our beach, which had a small house painted green on its bank. My father bought the old 8 x 8’ icehouse as a playhouse for me but, as I got older, it became a storehouse for paddles and lifejackets. As the wind blew me off course, I would point the prow again and again toward the green playhouse and, paddling strongly, I would make my way home.
Now, buffeted by change, I must decide where to set my sights.
One of the most useful questions I have found, as I navigate the seas of life is: who do I want to be? The answer is in the tagline above: someone who celebrates the holy in life, who is compassionate toward herself and others and who has a creative practice. With that as my “green playhouse,” the next step is to “paddle strongly.”
What is the paddle? These days, it is my meditation practice. It cuts through the fluid thoughts and emotions that both support me and toss me around. Meditating, I open space for things to be as they are without wishing them different.
With my new consciousness of nonviolent communication, I can notice my emotions and the needs behind them and make requests of those around me. Needs don’t change – they are a function of being human. As my hand gets floppier, my requests will change and perhaps get more frequent. I want to remember – and make sure I communicate to others – that fulfilling requests is optional.
Happily, the practices that support the me I want to be – meditation, nonviolent communication and art-making (as well as all the kind promises) – are things that can be done in tiny, daily doses. They don’t require grand gestures or flamboyant resources.
Set my sights; paddle strongly.