I’m part of a number of amazing communities, and I’ve been thinking lots about that lately. Given that I’m not necessarily most comfortable in groups it always strikes me as utterly fascinating how important they become to me. And I’m always curious about my thoughts and emotions as I navigate being part of a collective. Where do I belong? How do I fit in? What’s my contribution? These are the things that have been on my mind.
I’m having the very interesting and valuable opportunity to work deeply in community with other women in an intensive as we work on our life and legacy design. It’s a call to deep and transformative work, and while there is naturally some guiding structure, so much of it is really about being present to what is showing up, what we want to create, and simply how to express more fully how spirit shows up in this world as our own bit of brilliance. I love this kind of stuff, and this type of deep exploration suits me perfectly. And doing it in the context of a community container is a gift as well, as it feels like the addition of another complex layer waiting to be minded for exquisite treasures.
It’s taken me quite some time to realize that I operate most joyfully in the world when I understand what containers I’m working in, and can utilize the sense of their boundaries to help me focus on digging down deep. Without this sense I can dig, but I’m likely to be working shallowly in all directions, rather than focused deeply. And so I like to pay attention to containers, and invite new ones into my life, and invent my own to navigate. Working with the cycles of the moon and the seasons are great examples of containers that delight and focus me. Opening to the invitation provided by drawing an oracle or tarot card is another example of a container. And perhaps one of my favorites, working with a poem or a bit of one.
This month I had the opportunity to learn a new practice from Rachelle Mee-Chapman of Flock – Lectio Divina. While traditionally it’s meant to be practiced with religious texts, poetry or inspiring quotes are fair game here as well. I was drawn to work with (and then create a piece of art about) Mary Oliver’s decree – “Instructions for Living a Life: Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it.”
I like how this “container”, Oliver’s instructions, is informing how I’m showing up in the world these days; to myself; and within the various communities I’m part of. It feels delicious and whole and expansive, and grounded and expressive as well. And it’s helped me see my place in the world, my contribution more clearly. Whew, big stuff!
Each part of this instruction becomes a mindful practice, each part is a blessing, and each part is an offering as well.
- Pay attention. The gift to me.
- Be astonished. My gift to the universe – my joyful gratitude for the sheer amazingness of it all, and getting to witness and be part of it all.
- Tell about it. My gift to the world, my community, others.
I’d love to hear what containers support you. What words or practices are guiding you at the moment? How you’re showing up in your life. Do leave a comment, and as Mary Oliver says, “Tell about it.”