August = Vision
When I look at the image that presented itself in my line of sight today, I am reminded of hospitality, and perhaps the image of an oasis. How about you?
The image has complex images – there is a bench in the background that is also reflected in the window, as well as a chair inside the office. Both the chair and the bench are possible invitations to sit awhile.
There is also a full water pan, thoughtfully provided for canine friends.
Finally the succulents seem green and inviting, in contrast to the concrete which seems barren and hard.
If you were to use this image to reflect upon your own life, where would you feel comfortable sitting down? Where are you green and full of life? Where do you see things that are full of life? Where do you find water?
What do you see?
My landlady is in the process of planting some things, perhaps in hope that there will be blooms this Autumn.
What are you planting right now that may blossom later this year?
August always has the feeling of a “hinge” month to me. While August is still in the season of Summer in the Northern Hemisphere, the focus shifts to early Autumn activities.
School will soon be in session. The University of California, Berkeley will begin the Fall Semester this month as well as many private and public primary and secondary schools. There will be far more people in the area as students arrive for the Fall semester and families return from vacations elsewhere. The pace has already quickened and the coffee shops are more crowded with computer toting patrons.
I love it! It is energizing but I also miss the relaxed feelings which the slower pace of the last two months elicited.
This month, Earthenware Ministry will be focusing on vision as sight-line. The word vision holds a number of meanings, such as apparition, a focused point in business strategy, as well as the act of seeing with our eyes. I am sure that I will touch on each of these aspects during the month. However, the deliberate limitation to vision as sight-line is in response to an internal question: “What do our eyes want us to see?” Also how does what we see connect to story? How do we describe in words, what our eyes see visually?
I will be posting an image daily as a personal challenge to “see” what is in my line of sight. I hope that you will join me in this challenge and post images on your blog and share them with me. I will enjoy seeing what you see. What is in your line of sight?
Today is the last day of July. It is time to announce the topic for the month of August. It is: Vision. During the month of August, we will look at vision as sight-line – seeing what is in front of oneself.
During this month, I will be challenging myself to take at lease one cell phone picture a day, and posting it. The image will be of something that has been in my line of sight. I invite you to do the same
What will we see?
How will our spirit’s respond?
How does this challenge relate to our July topic of story?
I hope that you will also use your journals to record any thoughts or recollections that emerge with these images.
We have come to the end of the month of July, as well as our current focus on stories.
However, I will continue through this blog to tell stories, and to reflect upon stories, although with a slightly different focus. Tomorrow, I will announce the topic for August.
As we move forward, I encourage you to continue to use your journals to listen and record the stories around you, especially the stories in your heart. The heart is one place in which creativity, spirituality and service as response come together. From this particular heart meeting, story always emerges.
Some prompts for further reflection on the topic of stories:
Are you a story-teller, or a story-listener? Which do you choose? And, when?
What are your favorite stories?
What means of expression, or combinations of expression, best tell your own unique story:
How does your story connect with other stories, both past and present?
Where is the Holy One in your story?
The stories that most draw me in emotionally are stories of service. How about you? The stories are seldom told by the person or persons doing the service. Rather, they are conveyed by the recipient (s) or the observer (s) of the action. This creativity of service chooses to meet ordinary human, animal, environmental etc. need, and to make a difference. These stories inspire me.
Our news broadcasts and posts most often report tragedy. It is easy to think that tragedy is the story that drives our imagination. And yet, over and over again, people reach out and do more than than they themselves think is possible. These inspirational stories receive less press, but are no less real.
As I write this post, I am aware of huge fires up and down the state of California. I know that men and women are putting their lives in danger, responding to the fires, and to people, animals, and the environment and in the aftermath of the fires, some of these people won’t stop after the fires are out. This is just one example.
Twice a week, I work at a residential facility for elders. I am able to witness the actions of care staff as they go about their duties. So often, I am able to witness actions that go beyond duty, to genuine service as one individual with another – and that service is reciprocated as fragile elders receive, and also give from who they are. I am always touched at the depth of these graced exchanges. This is another example.
There are many other examples. I know you have your own.
I am encouraging you to as a recipient, or an observer, please share your stories of service in 99 words or less. Please add them to the comments section, or provide a link from your own blog. Lets talk about story – stories of service.
One consideration in blogging about story is that the topic is complex. Story is one way in which we connect as human beings, build memories, pass down traditions and other needful things. However, story can also be used to destroy, oppress, and control people and communities. Stories can be told with a keening wail, shouted in celebration or in anger, sung or whispered. This is not something new. I imagine it has always been this way.
As we gather together, what stories do we hear? How do they make us feel? Do they draw us further away, or closer to, others? Do we listen to the stories told by others? How, and to whom, do we share our stories?
As a spiritual coach, what I listen to is story. I cannot magically fix wounds, deep or superficial. I can, often imperfectly, create a space in which the Holy One, my client, and myself are present to what the client expresses in his or her own way, his or her own story. Most often the light between us is one of a candle rather than a campfire or hearth, as a symbol of the Holy One who is with us. It is a graced privilege to listen to story.