Find a Stillness

SO MUCH is happening. Some is good, some is really startlingly horrible. This “both true at once” and everything in between is …well, I suppose it’s what being human is about.

Today, after a particularly energizing meeting, when I agreed to be part of a new RBP*, I stopped to take a quick internal inventory:

  • Heart racing
  • Brain buzzing
  • Skin lightly tingling

I was either super excited about the Work, or having a panic attack. Sometimes they feel similar, you know?

I mentioned to my colleague that it must be hard to fall asleep at night when so much growth and vibrancy is happening now in our organization. “It’s like you can feel the seeds about to sprout!” I said. She smiled, nodded, and I thought she was going to agree with me, but then she replied, “Yes, but I also know that seeds don’t grow unless they have some dark and quiet, too.”

yup.

A lot of time we use the metaphor “cultivating ideas” to mean helping ideas come to fruition, but any farmer will tell you that a cultivator is the tool you use to stir up the soil near your precious plants to keep the weed seeds from growing. Frequent cultivating is what you do to prevent seeds from growing by drying out the soil and keep roots from taking hold.

Friends, colleagues, dear ones, we are already in constant motion. Whether because the deadline looms or because our neurons are firing with glee, I urge us put down the “Garden Weasel“. When the work day is done, it’s time to let the idea seeds rest.

Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds you plant.

Valued Added Extras:

That reminds me of an art installation happening now in London called Empty Lot. Artist Abraham Cruzvillegas, filled wooden planters with soil from all over different parts of the city. Nothing has been planted in them but anything could grow, depending on what seeds are already in the soil.

Also here’s a lovely hymn, “Find A Stillness” by the UU Congregation of Atlanta arranged by Donald Milton III

*Really Big Project

Happy Things and Lots of Exclamation Points!!!!!!

Yeah, I, too, have noticed that the communications from people in my line of work often contain a humorous number of exclamation points, smiley faces, and generally excited messages. We are a people passionate about our work- enthusiastic about the truly beautiful opportunities for connection and grace in our programs. Sometimes, it can get a bit out of hand, so today I offer a slightly different tone. Yes, I still want to communicate the amazing, transformative energy of our program, but maybe with more question marks.

muddy-road

Living a faith-full life is challenging. Navigating the decisions of every day amid distractions and disappointments is hard work. Paradoxically, developing our hearts and minds calls us to stay open. Whether we are adults, youth, or children, the complicated business of getting through a day with an intact soul takes all the energy we’ve got. Can our church be not merely a place of refuge, but one of recharge, re-forming, and respect?

Our Unitarian Universalism wants to connect us with the power of Love. Our Unitarian Universalism wants us to build Beloved Community. Connecting with the power takes energy. Building anything stable takes solid materials and tools. What happens when we do not possess these resources? How can we make sure everyone has access to the healing, creative force that our church community can give?

All our congregations are experiencing declines in attendance and membership. Why are we losing ground? Why are the numbers dwindling? Partly it is the culture that surrounds us. Perhaps you have been following the series on NPR about the growth of the “nones” – the people without religious affiliation.  Could it be that we are focused on only one type of growth- numbers? What about developing other kinds of growth in the faith formation of the folks who are already in the pews (or even our members who are staying home on Sunday!)

This big hot mess we are living is you, me, them, and even those folks over there. All of us. When our conversations see the whole crowd and considers each voice as important, then I know our intentions have become reality.

When the experience of the child is considered wisdom for the Board table, then I know that our Principles are more than words.

When the door is held open for the parent, not for a tip, but to give respite from a world of fear and pain, then I see our compassion.

When we learn how to trust from Youth and give them cause to respect us, then I know we understand the chicken and the egg.

How might we imagine a better way? How might we support our people, even if it means we have to make changes? Can we honestly face the reality that changes need to happen, and be ready for something good to be just over the horizon?

This is the part where it helps to have faith. While I don’t know where we are headed or how we will get there, I do believe that the power of Love expands beyond our wildest imaginings. I know that when we tune into the frequency of connection, of caring, of creativity, then it is a tremendous force for life. And I know I don’t want to miss it happening. Woyaya. We are going.