I am deep into my preparations. I have been deep into my preparations for a while now…I made a lot of unusual (at least for me) choices about how to pass these months so that I would be free to devote myself to this time of preparation. I am, as always, working on my sense of intentionality. I am aware of change ahead, even if I do not understand its shape or direction.
And you ask, what are you doing to prepare? What is taking all this focus, all this time…what caused you to stay home during this last month of summer? Hours spent in prayer, reading? Yoga, meditation, personal cleansing?
Why no…I’m cleaning. Cleaning and throwing away, organizing and eliminating. There is a reason that I chose to study practical theology…I am a very practical person.
And so, when faced with “getting ready” for a big change, my first action is to clean, to re-arrange the furniture, to paint a wall. And in the course of these everyday activities, I have a chance to face less tangible baggage: the pile of unfiled pictures of long-departed parents and brother, a pile of old financial receipts from the time of my mother’s passing, old performance flyers, articles written on old newspaper jobs, and dust bunnies long ignored in corners behind bookshelves now emptied because those books have gone to new homes. In short, the remnant of 12 years of living in the same place, following the same path with small detours and variations.
I know that I am, in many ways, responding to my old New Age training….one must make space for the new before it can come into your life, after all. Much of New Age practice is about creating an empty space…and that is a useful part of spiritual practice. But as usual (and this is one of the reasons that I am now a Baptist and no longer a participant in Unity School of Religious Science), the New Age viewpoint has only half the equation…you cannot just make space, you must also fill that space with faith and love. If you wait passively for whatever comes, you might not be so happy with what takes up residence in the new space you created (for example, take a look at Luke 11:24-26, a passage I just stumbled into while looking for some type of verse about why it is a good idea to clean).
And I have found love in all these piles of paper and boxes. The love of parents who did the best that they could to raise a happy and intelligent child, against all the odds of their own personalities and all the odds of the troubles life threw their way; the love of an aunt who devoted her own life to taking care of her widowed mother and adopted her niece as her only child and legacy; the love and joy of so many colleagues with whom I have made music and laughter; the love of learning and faith instilled in me by a mother who never had much of a chance to pursue either. Oh yes, and the love of a puppy dog, who sheds a lot of hair to make those dust bunnies…
Cleaning, believe it or not, makes my heart full…full of what has been and will always be part of me; full of possibility with what is about to come.
I guess I’ll get back to work now…