These are tender times. Many of us are still isolated in a quarantine that goes on with no end in sight. The world is in an uproar, but we remain observers. If we act, it’s through email messages or social media posts and zoom meetings. Meanwhile, our philosophies of life are exposed. With no one looking over our shoulders, we are free to be who we want to be and create (within HUGE limitations) our life’s meaning.
The times are calling us to go deep. What are your values? What do you believe about life?
I seek to cultivate a sacred, compassionate, creative life.
Sacred is a word people associate with religion. You may believe that each moment is created for and given to you by a loving higher power. (This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118) if that doesn’t fit for you, that doesn’t mean the moment is robbed of sanctity. We are mortal beings with limited life spans. Each moment is an irretrievable gift.
Casper ter Kuile, author of The Power of Ritual: Turning Every day Activities into Soulful Practices, suggests you consider what will help you connect with yourself, your community, the natural world, and the transcendent. Ritual infuses meaning into life.
Journaling is a way of connecting with yourself. You can record events, explore memories and imagination, and ask yourself questions. Some people write in their journals at the end of each day as a way of bringing the events of the day to a close and clearing their minds for rest.
When connecting with others, you can add meaning to those email messages and zoom meetings by consecrating them. At a recent meeting I attended, one participant showed as the lighted candle, flour, and statue arrangement she created behind her. Visible in the zoom frame, she said it brought a sense of calm and beauty to her as she joined the meeting.
Compassion means to feel with another. It needn’t be done in person. Seeking to understand the other, you can practice active listening and concentrate on building your relationship. The more easily done in phone or video calls, it is possible to “listen” through email messages. What is life like for this person? How are they feeling? What do they need? Open your heart and hear their answers. You can put a symbol (perhaps a heart?) on the corner of your computer monitor or phone to remind you of your commitment to compassionate connection.
How are you connecting with the natural world? Even when you can’t get outside, you can grow houseplants or look out the window. If you have your own yard, you can enjoy your private green space. Nature brings beauty to our lives and supports as physically, mentally, and spiritually. Watching it, we enter the present moment and remember our place as living beings. I connect with the natural world by depicting animals and plants in my watercolor paintings. Working from photographs, I spent time looking carefully at my subject, feeling kinship.
With intention, you can bring life meaning. Each moment can become precious, worthy of celebration. Transcendent means “beyond the ordinary.” Here in quarantine, each day is simultaneously mundane and miraculous.