Recently, a dear friend of mine reminded me about the eventual effects of continuing to make withdrawals on those reserves that make you more fully human and not compensating with the appropriate deposits of what feeds that humanity. As you fill your coffers with spiritual tools and resources there has to be a point of counter balance (note I did not say equanimity) of what anchors you in this lifetime’s experience of manifest reality and all that goes into the informing of that life. This is not a new conceptualization of the need for renewal but one that we often overlook relying solely on the belief that the Universe will provide all that we need. The Universe does supply, but we are also tools of attraction, so if what I am setting out as the magnet of attraction is depleted in what makes me fully human than the spiritual resources I attract will not have the maximum potency of effect.
Being the driven and disciplined (or perhaps conditioned) individual that I am it is not uncommon for me to completely forget my physical needs in deference to the path of service and work that I wish to do. There are many forms of conditioned response we establish as we mature so it would be easy for me to blame conditioned response in this case from years of self-abuse as a classical ballet dancer. But, that thinking would only be a small piece of a larger puzzle. Chronological time factors in to the equation, at times insidiously, and as I am getting older, the feeling that “time is running out and there is still so much spiritual work to be done” fuels the furnace of neglect of that very container that enables that work to be accomplished. After all the greatest work is that of being human and having the capabilities of a physical being. As aspiration toward perfecting the spirit grows in urgency (very different word from Informed Will) this human aspect of our being can largely go completely unfed.
The irony is that I know all of these things and yet, somehow, I still do not consider my own human needs to be of the same importance as my spiritual. You could think of this as basking too long in the fullness of the sun’s light which dehydrates and burns the flesh that is the necessary container used to experience the pleasure of sun bathing The trick is to come to a point where the shade and shelter that is needed is derived from the physical/manifest sunblock that has been applied with each physical connection that allows us to safely enjoy and be rejuvenated by the brilliance of spiritual light.
In thinking about the reminder given and the need for restoration my plan is to reconnect to those things that brought me pleasure and fed my physical senses at a time when I was more wholly in touch with myself, and the experience of my human nature.
I love to read and for over a decade the “soul” source of the tomes have been non-fiction geared and carefully selected to inform my teaching and broaden my base of knowledge. So, for me, returning to a place of reading simply for the pure joy of losing yourself in the story means reading a fiction book. I have always loved everything about books and my rule of thumb has been the smaller the print and the thicker the book all the better. I worked as a page at our local library as my first teenage job and reveled in the smell of hardbound books, the feel of holding the book in your hands and turning each page not knowing what great adventure would continue written on its surface.
When you read non-fiction as a steady diet there is a decided difference in how you perceive the world around you. Suddenly, everything becomes a petri dish ready for examination. Even in the process of testing and questioning the facts obtained, it is still through the lens of the observer. Imagination may enter the equation, but the end goal is in seeking the truth. Taking a breather from this constant scrutiny offers opportunity for unstructured imagination to flow and awakening the space for languid and fantastic inner journeys. Ironically, listening to the wisdom of your own psyche will usually give you clue when its time to ease off. The periods of time where I simply could not read another book have been more frequent. Over saturation is the way I would describe it. Forcing the issue just results in having to reread what you set to because nothing is sticking. Time to “un-think” the diet and re-introduce some new foods.
I remembered how much I enjoyed reading the Anne Rice novels and the chapters I’ve read so far of the new series have been great.
Color It Simple
One of my favorite pastimes as a child and young adult was to color. A new box of 96-color crayons or colored pencils was my idea of visual and tactile delight. The kinesthetic quality enforced my appreciation of the skill and deftness of hand required. Engaging my visual sensitivities in the selection and matching of colors opened a new frame of reference about the varied tones, hues, shades and values available in this rich palette. The products of these experiences took the forms of embroidery, sewing, drawing and painting. Using this tool of expression I could control the result while allowing the inventive energy to flow and a single brushstroke or stitch done differently would completely alter the visual impact of the finished product. A trip to AC Moore and our basement (our eldest daughter is a Visual Artist) provided me with everything I will need to dive back into this place of renewal. A coloring book of Mandalas and a Paint-By-Number Owl should be a good start.
The Gift of Music
Music has always been a part of my daily life. There was a time when I would sit quietly day dreaming as I listened to my favorite composition. The sound would carry me into my own world of creative imagination and the effect was soothing and renewing regardless of the intensity or anguish of the tones I was hearing. I realized that for some time now, music has become the habitual background that plays on even though I am not focused in the listening. I do use music and sound regularly, the singing bowl, drum or correct tonal frequency to effect and stimulate spiritual growth; but, rarely just for the pure joy of surrendering myself to the sensation without expectation and intent. I thought back to the type of music I used to listen to that commanded my attention- and imagination. I downloaded some of my favorite bands and set off on a journey that took me where it willed and called up the visceral physical and emotional response in the memory of how much pleasure I had derived from it originally.
Dance Like No One is Watching
And, finally I return to what made me feel most alive and fully connected to my physicality and transcendence of its limitations. For me this is the ultimate test in turning off the critic, teacher, choreographer and goal of perfection (very human, though non-productive human responses) and allowing my body to move in a response that is purely of its own making. This is the exhilarating joy of painting a vision of space and energy crafted by the interaction of the physical form moving on a canvas that is limitless.
When I was performing, the rehearsal studio was Sacred Space and the theater was the Temple that called out to those appreciative of the art form. As we prepared backstage and transformed into whatever role was to be played, you could feel the palpable effect of this transformation on yourself and knew that any who were witness would for that brief amount of time be carried with you into the realm of imagination and forever changed because of it. For me, this is the space of interface between spirit and human.
I am older now, and joints often hurt, and muscle memory can be a real pain (literally), but none of those things can prevent me from reconnecting to that part of me that is most human. The soul infused abandon interwoven with the physicality of manifest form is the gold bullion that’s a valuable asset of deposit in both my spiritual and human banks.
Ready for What’s In-Coming!
For now, my Great Work of Spirit is to be receptive and aware of feeding what connects me to Humanity. To enjoy the flow of in coming experience that is self-initiated, physically driven. The “fun” part of the journey is to explore the potential held in nurturing a space of joy and levity in fostering a deeper appreciation of the gift of being fully present in that human experience. This is what sustains when times become challenging both mundanely and spiritually.
So, next you hear the phrase that you “are a spiritual being having a human experience” don’t forget about tending to all the needs of that human experience. Allow your senses to open to receiving the in coming flow of your own humanity.