My world’s gotten small. It happened so subtly, I hardly noticed. But now that I’m aware of it, I can see signs of shrinkage–not caring that I don’t care, taking things personally, being angry about something because of its effect on me, giving priority to what works for me. When the universe revolves around me, my world is very small indeed.
The fact that I see this is a gift. God noticed and brought it to my awareness–not as a call to action but as a call to prayer. Notice, just notice, your self-preoccupation, says God. Notice it with me. Notice what I bring to help you loosen your grip and let go.
In last week’s post, I said that God makes a difference in our lives simply by being present. That doesn’t seem like enough when I think about it, but when I practice being present, well, that’s a whole different story.
I sat with God in my anger and sadness that my feelings had been overlooked. The thought that I didn’t matter felt unbearable. I knew there had to be a different way of looking at this, but for the life of me, I couldn’t see it. Jesus held my hand and told me that I mattered to him. But that’s not all Jesus did.
A few days later I was walking with a friend and told her what happened. She could relate, and after listening with empathy, she offered to tell me what she’d learned. I received the new perspective I’d hoped for and found compassion for the one who overlooked me and for myself.
I continued to notice when my world got small and resisted the urge to “do” before I’d “be” with God. God listened and expanded my world. I found myself drawn to participate in the Kairos Blanket Exercise and learn about our First Nations sisters and brothers. I told my daughter about it, and we dreamed of the day when the trauma caused by residential schools and the Doctrine of Discovery would be healed. We are grateful for the healing First Nations people are bringing to us.
After offering spiritual direction, I wonder if I did a good job. I think of how I could have done it differently. But when I sit with Jesus, I see him smile and am reminded that he can and does work in and around me. Nothing is wasted. All is good. He tells me to relax, breathe, be still, let go. And because he knows this is not easy for me, he hooks me up with my friend Rod’s meditations.
I didn’t have to keep my world from shrinking. I didn’t have to be on the alert that my ego was getting too big again. I didn’t have to fix myself. God took all that on. I just had to notice what God was bringing into view and be present with God in it.
God is safe. God doesn’t minimize, blame, or belittle me. God just loves me and opens my heart to the world.
In prayer, like the stars before the rising sun,
all the burdens of our autonomous self disperse
before the “piercing presence” of God.
Merton’s Palace to Nowhere
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The KAIROS Blanket Exercise™ program is a unique, interactive and participatory Canadian-Indigenous history lesson, developed in collaboration with Indigenous Elders, knowledge keepers and educators for reconciliation.
During the KBE, participants walk on blankets representing the land and into the role of First Nations, Inuit and Métis people by reading scrolls and carrying cards which ultimately determine their outcome as they literally walk through situations that include pre-contact, treaty-making, colonization and resistance.
The Exercise concludes with a debriefing, conducted as a “talking circle”, during which participants discuss the learning experience, process their feelings, ask questions, share insights and deepen their understanding.
Canada is in a season of reconciliation and we are all invited to participate.
Click on the link for more information on the Blanket Exercise that SoulStream is offering on February 10.