Owls are everywhere -or so it seems. Only this morning I unexpectedly encountered some very cute owls on crocheted squares. I can’t see myself making any though!
Which is the real point of this owl-ish introspection today.
In this journey with the owls this year I’ve wanted to take time and reflect on who I am, and who I want to be. One lens is what old ways do I want to retain, and where do I need to re-train my thinking and actions?
It’s not so very long ago I’d have said – in all honesty and with all sincerity – that I didn’t have a creative fibre in my body (or something like that). Some good and wise owls lovingly challenged me on that – and slowly with their help I’ve come to appreciate that I am creative in different ways. It is true I don’t paint or draw, (and as many of you know I’m really, really struggling with the mindfulness colouring in book I was given at Christmas!) I don’t sew for fun – and rather than getting any pleasure from it, get very stressed by anything to do with sewing – other than the occasional spot of embroidery. I am not musical – I don’t sing or play, though I love to listen to music sometimes. But I strongly prefer quiet to background music which I actually find intrusive. (and a huge bug bear for me is the way music and sound is used in church in moments when quiet contemplation is needed)
Which brings me to an interesting observation (or two!).
Last week – in the steam room and the sauna at the local pool – (it’s a not-so-well-known-fact that owls love swimming, or at least this one does!) I found the loud chatter of the women there very intrusive. I’d never reacted that way before. So I don’t really know if they were exceptionally loud or not, or whether I was in a particularly contemplative zone myself and so needed space and peace to think … It was a pivotal moment in some way, because I suddenly got insight into how my chatter, and my questions can be a very unwelcome intrusion into the lives of others – particularly when I’m not with them, and so they are passive prisoners of my behaviour.
But enough of the “I’m nots” – here’s what I have learned along the way … I am creative in different ways. I write. I ask questions. I take photographs. I think … and so on.
As I already said I’ve wanted to take time this year and in the company of this parliament of owls, want to reflect deeply on who I am, and who I want to be. The areas I most want to grow in – and thus focus on – are the owl’s gifts of wisdom,perception and truth.
Wisdom says I’m doing too much right now.
Unexpectedly this owl has had more teaching and proofreading. I’m also taking part in a fabulous on-line course called literature and mental health. The course suggested it would take 4h a week to do it, but I’m finding the more time I give, the more I get out of it. It’s an investment in me – but that means cutting back on other things.
Truth has taught me that saying ‘no’ isn’t my strongest point, so I have to work hard to prioritise and then even harder stick to what seems to be the wise path to fly! I like to finish what I start, and always want to finish well – that comes at a cost. Perception is weighing up the cost and discerning whether the price is too much to pay at this particular moment.
Not unexpectedly we are approaching Lent – a season in the church year where we are encouraged to give up something or stop something OR take on a new practice etc. Last year I led an on-line group looking at the spiritual disciplines. This year wisdom says to try something else. But what? And how will I create the time to do it? In otherwords what will I need to give up (albeit temporarily) or move down the list of priorities to make it happen.
This is what I have decided on: Hungering for Life :A journey of creativity and transformation
It asks some fantastic questions
-what gnaws with hunger pangs at your soul, and what do you plan to
do about it?
-Are you hungering after God’s call for transformation within yourself?
– Is it your passion for justice and healing that eats at your heart?
-Is it your desire for the restoration of polluted areas of our earth?
– Or is it something else that comes to mind?
-Are you getting ready for life or for death?
But then encourages us to explore these creatively! – gulp!!!!!
When I downloaded it this weekend and skimmed through it – checking what I was letting myself in, and assessing whether it really was do-able – I let out a -whoo whoo – as owl’s do! – because one of the commitments of this Lentan practice is to
Take an Artist Date
Get Out and Take Notice
and yet another is
Focus on Life, Not Death
The observant amongst you (if anyone is still reading) will have noticed that I left out
“Give Free Reign to Creativity” and “Get Out and Have Some Fun” (i.e. play!). That’s because those are the parts of this I’m most nervous about, because they don’t come as easily. Yet I’m sensing that’s where I’ll grow the most this Lent.
Thanks for flying with me – and the pow-wows round the totem pole of life –
The pilgrimage continues …